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Forthcoming slow motion collapse of global neoliberal empire led by the USA

Analogies between collapse of neoliberalism and dissolution of the USSR. When ideology became discredited, the social system based on it enters zombie state. Neoliberalism which entered zombie state in 2008 now is more cruel and bloodthirsty then before

News Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism  Recommended Links Brexit 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 Key Myths of Neoliberalism Globalization of Corporatism Greenwald US
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 Inverted Totalitarism 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

Introduction

As the most recent transformation of capitalism, neoliberalism is a broad economic and political project of restoring class power of financial oligarchy it enjoyed in 20th of XX century (financial revanchism). It involved  consolidation, globalization and rapid concentration of financial capital (Giroux 2008; 2014).

As an ideology, consider profit-making to be the final arbiter and essence of democracy. And consumption is the only operable form of citizenship. With the related religious belief that the market can both solve all problems and serve as a model for structuring all social relations.

As the mode of governance, it produces the ways of life driven by a survival-of-the fittest ethic, grounded in the idea of the free, predatory individual in economic jungles. And it declared the morality of the right of ruling groups and institutions to exercise power ignoring issues of ethics and social costs (variant of "might is right" mentality).

As the political project, it involves 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 complete "marketization" and "commodification" of social relations.

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.

Neoliberalism is the second after Marxism social system that was "invented" by a group of intellectuals (although there was not a single dominant individual among them) and implemented via coup d'état. From above. Although is  formally only 37 years old (if we could the edge of neoliberalism from the election of Reagan, which means from 1981) neoliberalism as ideology was born in 1947.  And it already reached the stage of discreditation of its ideology. 

When ideology became discredited, the social system based on it enters zombie state. That happened with Bolshevism after its victory on the WWII when it became evident that working class does not represent the new dominant class and communist party is unable to secure neither higher productivity of economics, nor higher standard of living for people then the advanced capitalist societies. Soviet solders in 1944-1945 saw the standard of living in Poland (which was Russian province before the revolution, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Austria and started to suspect the dream of building communist society was just another "opium for the people", the secular religion which hides the rule of "nomenklatura".  They also realized that The Iron Law of Oligarchy  in applicable to the USSR no less that to any Western country. If we assume that Soviet ideology entered zombies state in 1945, or may be later in 1963 (with  Khrushchev Thaw) when it became clear that the USSR will never match the standard of living of the USA population. Any illusions of global Communist hegemony had evaporated with the collapse of Sino-Soviet relations in the 1960s. Around 1975, the Soviet Union entered a period of economic stagnation from which it  never emerged. Due to this the USSR looked to Europe, primarily West Germany, to provide hard currency financing through massive loans, while the U.S. became a major supplier of grain.

All in all the story of the USSR collapse suggests that after the ideology was discredited the society, which was based on it,  can last  several decades of even half a century (The USSR lasted another 28-46 years depending on the point at which you assume the ideology was completely discredited). But the sad story of the USSR after 1963 does suggests that if the ideology is "man made" like is both the case with Marxism and neoliberalism, the collapse of ideology is the prolog to the subsequent collapse of the society too (with substantial lag).  

Neoliberal society probably has at least the same staying power after 2008 -- when the ideology was discredited and neoliberalism entered zombie stage. If not more, as collapse of the USSR was prompted by the ascendance of neoliberalism and betrayal of Soviet nomenklatura which correctly decided that they will be better off under neoliberalism, then under Brezhnev socialism. And that, paradoxically, includes the KGB brass, which was instrumental in transition of the xUSSR space from Brezhnev socialism to neoliberalism (with the first stage of gangster capitalism). 

At the current stage collapse of neoliberalism, if we can use this word, is still very slow and almost invisible.  Brexit and election of Trump in the USA are probably two most notable events after 2008, that undermines "neoliberal globalization" -- one of the key components of neoliberalism, because like Communism before it is about building a global neoliberal empire (led by the USA financial oligarchy in close cooperation of other western oligarchies), without state borders.

We can envision  the same process of  the growing gap between ideology postulates and real life conditions, especially falling standard of living for most of the people (let's say, lower 80% in the USA. Top 20% including large part of "professional" class are doing just fine, much like nomenklarura in the USSR). Do let's make an unscientific estimate that another 40-50 years of neoliberalism from 2008 are probable. That gives are the estimate of probably disintegration as somewhere in 2050-2060.  "Plato oil" might speed this process up, as neoliberal globalization depends on cheap oil.

The limits of analogy between the collapse of neoliberalism and the collapse of the USSR

Like all analogies it far from being perfect.  Here are major objections:

  1. When the USSR collapsed neoliberal ideology was a clear alternative and the collapse of the USSR coincided with "triumphal march" of neoliberalism around the globe.  In a sense the USSR simply fall on the rails of the neoliberal train.
  2. Right now we do not see such a prominent alternative to the dominant neoliberal ideology, although it is clear that it is wrong and her promised are fake. Also neoliberalism  is still social system that is dominant globally. Not like Soviet Unit which existed in the hostile surrounding of major Western powers with their three letter agencies directly targeting this society, with huge money resources of Western financial system and the burning desire (especially by the US neoliberal elite, which came to power in 1980 ) to get rid of competition by any means possible. 
  3. While Trump administration remind in its incompetence Brezhnev administration, the gap is still tremendous. While Trump is definitely a third  rate politician, Gorbachov as a politician was a naive idiot, in comparison with whom Trump looks like a shrewd statesman (or, at least, a staunch nationalist.) Unless we assume that "Gorby" (cultivated by his handler Margaret Thatcher)  was a traitor (the version that became increasingly populate in post Soviet space after 1991). But the complete absence of political talent (Gorbachov came to power as a protégé of Andropov)  is still the primary suspect, because you should not assume sinister motives when incompetence is enough for the explanation of the events (  The Soviet collapse Contradictions and neo-modernisation ):

    The main charge that may be laid against Gorbachev as leader is that he lacked an effective strategy of statecraft: the mobilization of resources to make a country more self-confident, more powerful, more respected and more prosperous. Instead, Gorbachev frittered away the governmental capital accumulated by the Soviet regime, and in the end was unable to save the country which he had attempted to reform.

  4. Despite all difficulties the USA remains the owner of world reserve currency and the center of technological innovation (although in the later role it somewhat slipped). It military spending (which stimulate fundamental research) remains are the largest in the world. The country still remains the magnet for immigration from other countries.

Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich

There one, especially deep analogy between any neoliberal society and the USSR. Neoliberalism borrowed large part of its strategy and tactic of acquiring and maintaining power directly from  Marxism. Actually analogies with Marxism are to numerous to list. "Dictatorship of "free markets"" instead of dictatorship of proletariat. With the same idea that the intellectual "vanguard" recruited mainly from "Intelligentsia" (mainly right wing economists and philosophers of the  Mont Pelerin Society  created in `947 with the explicit goal to oppose socialism and Bolshevism) will drive steeple to the "bright future of all mankind" -- global neoliberal empire led by the USA. And that the end justifies the means.

In short, neoliberalism is a kind of "Trotskyism for rich." And it uses the same subversive tactics to get and stay in power, which were invented by Bolsheviks/Trotskyites. Including full scale use of intelligence agencies (during WWII Soviet intelligence agency -- NKDV -- rivaled the primary intelligence agencies of Nazi Germany -- Abwehr; CIA was by-and-large modeled on Abwehr  with Abwerh specialists directly participating in its creation ).  It also process the ideal of World Revolution -- with the goal of creating the global neoliberal empire. The neoliberal USA elite is hell-bent on this vision.

Like Trotskyism neoliberalism generally needs a scapegoat. Currently this role is served by Islamic fundamentalist movements.

Also like Bolshevism before, neoliberalism created its own "nomenklatura" -- the privileged class which exists outside the domain of capital owners. Which along with high level management and professionals include neoclassical academic economists. Who guarantee the level of brainwashing at the universities necessary for maintaining the neoliberal system.  This "creator class" fight for its self-preservation and against any challenges. Often quite effectively.

 Deification of markets (free market fundamentalism) like the idea of "dictatorship of proletariat" is "fools gold"

Yet another strong analogy is that the deification of markets much like the idea of "dictatorship of proletariat" is "fools gold". This fact was clearly established after the Great Recession, and one of the most succinct explanation of the stupidity of the idea of self-regulating market remains Karl Polanyi's famous book The Great Transformation.  Polanyi argued that the development of the modern state went hand in hand with the development of modern market economies and that these two changes were inextricably linked in history. And all talk about small state, state as "night watchman" are pure hypocrisy.  Like Marxism, neoliberalism really provides "the great transformation" because it both changes the human institutions and human morality. The latter in a very destructive way.  The book postulated that and "free market society" (where the function of social regulation is outsourced to the market forces)  is unsustainable because it is fatally destructive to human nature and the natural social contexts humans need to survive and prosper. 

Polanyi attempted to turn the tables on the orthodox liberal account of the rise of capitalism by arguing that “laissez-faire was planned”, whereas social protectionism was a spontaneous reaction to the social dislocation imposed by an unrestrained free market. He argues that the construction of a "self-regulating" market necessitates the separation of society into economic and political realms. Polanyi does not deny that the self-regulating market has brought "unheard of material wealth", but he suggests that this is too narrow a focus. The market, once it considers land, labor and money as "fictitious commodities" (fictitious because each possesses qualities that are not expressed in the formal rationality of the market), and including them "means to subordinate the substance of society itself to the laws of the market. This, he argues, results in massive social dislocation, and spontaneous moves by society to protect itself. In effect, Polanyi argues that once the free market attempts to separate itself from the fabric of society, social protectionism is society's natural response, which he calls the "double movement." Polanyi did not see economics as a subject closed off from other fields of enquiry, indeed he saw economic and social problems as inherently linked. He ended his work with a prediction of a socialist society, noting, "after a century of blind 'improvement', man is restoring his 'habitation.

But when 50 years passed and generation changed they manage to shove it down throat. Because the generation which experienced horrors of the Great Depression at this point was gone (and that include cadre of higher level management which still have some level of solidarity with workers against capital owners).

They were replaced with HBS and WBS graduates -- ready made neoliberals. Quit coup (in Simon Johnson terms) naturally  followed ( https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/05/the-quiet-coup/307364/ ) and we have hat we have.  In a sense neoliberalism and Managerialism ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Managerialism ) are closely related.

Typically, these countries are in a desperate economic situation for one simple reason—the powerful elites within them overreached in good times and took too many risks. Emerging-market governments and their private-sector allies commonly form a tight-knit—and, most of the time, genteel—oligarchy, running the country rather like a profit-seeking company in which they are the controlling shareholders. When a country like Indonesia or South Korea or Russia grows, so do the ambitions of its captains of industry. As masters of their mini-universe, these people make some investments that clearly benefit the broader economy, but they also start making bigger and riskier bets. They reckon—correctly, in most cases—that their political connections will allow them to push onto the government any substantial problems that arise.

Neoliberalism in zombie state (which it entered after 2008) remains dangerous and is able to counterattack -- the US sponsored efforts of replacement of left regimes in LA with right wing neoliberal regimes were by-and-large successful. I two key LA countries neoliberalism successfully counterattacked and won political power deposing more left regimes (Brazil and Argentina ). That happened despite that this phase of neoliberal era has been marked by slower growth, greater trade imbalances, and deteriorating social conditions. In Latin America the average growth rate was lower by 3 percent per annum in the 1990s than in the 1970s, while trade deficits as a proportion of GDP are much the same. Contrary to neoliberal propaganda the past 25 years (1980–2005) have also characterized by slower progress on social indicators for the vast majority of low- and middle-income countries [compared with the prior two decades ( https://monthlyreview.org/2006/04/01/neoliberalism-myths-and-reality/ ) :

In an effort to keep growing trade and current account deficits manageable, third world states, often pressured by the IMF and World Bank, used austerity measures (especially draconian cuts in social programs) to slow economic growth (and imports). They also deregulated capital markets, privatized economic activity, and relaxed foreign investment regulatory regimes in an effort to attract the financing needed to offset the existing deficits. While devastating to working people and national development possibilities, these policies were, as intended, responsive to the interests of transnational capital in general and a small but influential sector of third world capital. This is the reality of neoliberalism.

The danger of the end of "cheap oil" for neoliberalism

The Soviet Union collapsed partially due to the fact that collapse of oil prices (which might be engineered event) deprived it of the ability to buy the necessary goods from the West (which at this point included grain, due to inefficiency of Soviet model of  large centralized state owned agricultural complexes).

In case of the USA an opposite situation might also serve as a trigger: as soon as oil cross, say, $80 dollar per barrel mark most Western economies slide in "secular stagnation" and that means growing discontent of lower 80% of population. Also as  globalization is inherently dependent on cheap hydrocarbons and disappearance of cheap oil will male the current international patterns of flow of goods across countries with China as world manufacture  open to review.  

This is the situation when the irresistible force of globalization hits the brick wall of high oil prices. Also high cost of hydrocarbons means "end of growth" (aka permanent stagnation), and neoliberalism financial schemes based on cheap credit automatically implode in the environment of slow of zero growth. So expect that the next financial crisis will shake neoliberalism stronger then the crisis of 2008.

A lot of debt becomes unplayable, if growth stagnates. That makes manipulation of GDP numbers the issue of political and economic survival because this is the method of "inspiring confidence".  And the temptation to inspire confidence is too great to resists. Exactly like it was in the USSR. 

It might well be that the consistent price of oil, say, over $120 is a direct threat to neoliberal project in the USA. Even with prices over $100 the major neoliberal economics  tend to enter the stage of "secular stagnation". It also makes the US military which is a large consumer of oil in the USA much more expensive to run and virtually doubles the costs of  neoliberal "wars for regime change", essentially curtailing neoliberal expansion.

Election of Trump is just testament that some part of the US elite is ready for "Hail Mary" pass just to survive.  The same is true about financiering of color revolutions, which as a new type of neoliberal conquests of other countries, also require a lot of cash, although not at the scale of "boots on the ground".

 Zombie stage of neoliberalism: the consequences of the situation when neoliberal ideology is already discredited

The implosion of the entire global banking/mortgage industry in 2008 has essentially delegitimized neoliberalism as an economic and social model which the U.S. has been pleased to espouse as the royal road to prosperity for decades. It signified the end of Washington Consensus.

At this point ideology of neoliberalism was completely discredited in a sense that promise prosperity for all via "free market" mechanisms. The whole concept of "free markets" is from now on is viewed as fake. Much like happened with bolshevism in the USSR.

It actually was viewed as fake after the Great Depression too, but the generation that remembered that died out and neoliberalism managed to perform its major coup d'état  in the USA in 1981. After trail balls in Chile and GB. 

Also its fake nature became evident to large part of global elite (which probably never have any illusions from the very beginning) as well, which is even more dangerous, a large part of upper middle class in many developing countries, the social strata from which "fifth column of neoliberal globalization" is typically recruited. 

Global neoliberal empire still is supported by pure military and financial power of the USA and its Western (and some Asian, such as Japan) allies as well as technological superiority of the West in general. So right now mainly ideological postulates of neoliberalism, especially as its "free market absolutism", started to be questioned.  And partially revised (the trend which is visible in increase financial regulation in most Western countries). So "self-regulation free market model proved to be niether self-regulating, not really really free -- it just transferred the cost of its blunders on the society at large.  This form of neoliberalism with the core ideology intact but with modified one of several postulates can be called post-neoliberalism or zombie neoliberalism. 

Rule of financial oligarchy like the rule of "nomenklatura" in the USSR is under increasing scrutiny

While indoctrination now reached almost all adult population,  there are some instances of resistance, especially among young people, who are insisting that casino capitalism isa act of violence against them and destruction of their future. And if it does not come to an end, what we might experience a mass destruction of human life if not  the planet itself. 

Both Obama and Trump proved to be masters of the "bait and switch" maneuver, but the anger of population did not dissipated and at some point still can explode.

Rule of financial oligarchy also gradually comes under some (although very limited) scrutiny in the USA. Some measures to restrict appetites of financial oligarchy were recently undertaken in Europe (bank bonuses limitations).

HFT and derivatives still remain off-reach for regulators despite JP Morgan fiasco in May 2012 in London branch. Trade loss was around two billions, decline of bank value was around $13bn (The Guardian) At this stage most people around the world realized that as Warren Buffett's right-hand man Charlie Munger quipped in his CNBC interview Trusting banks to self-regulate is like trusting to self-regulate heroin addicts. At the meeting of the Group of 20 (G20) heads of states in the spring of 2009, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced the death of “the Washington Consensus” — the famous list of market-liberalizing policy prescriptions that guided the previous 20 or 30 years of neoliberal expansion into third world countries  (Painter 2009).

Prominent economists in the United States and elsewhere pointed out that after decades of reform, market-liberalizing policies had not produced the promised benefits for either economic growth or social welfare of countries were those policies were applied (Stiglitz 2002, 2006; Rodrik 2006). These criticisms further undermined the legitimacy of neoliberal governance, exactly the same way as similar criticism undermined socialist model of the USSR and Eastern Europe. the probem is that while socialist experiment could be compared with the Western countries capitalism achivement, here there is no alternative model with which to compare.

Still a backlash directed at the USA is mounting even from the former loyal vassals. Even the UK elite starts to display the behavior that contradict its role of the US poodle. The atmosphere is which the USA is considered "guilty" of pushing though the throats of other countries a utopia that harmed them is a different atmosphere for the US oligarchy that the role of it accustomed to.

Everybody is now aware of the substantial costs that the modern financial system has imposed on the real economy and no amount of propaganda and brainwashing can hide this simple fact. It is questionable that the "financial innovations" of the last three-four decades can compensate for those huge costs and that they warrants those costs. Shocks generated within the financial system and transformation of economies imposed by international financial oligarchy as the core of neoliberal elite, implies that the rule of financial oligarchy creates negative externalities for societies and that some types of financial activities and some financial structures should be treated like an organized crime (as purely parasitic, extortionist type of players).

Still this stage preserves several attributes of previous stage and first of all push for globalization and aggressive foreign policy. While economic crisis of 2008 destroyed legitimacy of ideology of neoliberalism, neoliberalism as an ideology continue to exists as a cult, much like communism as an ideology continues to exist, despite the failure of the USSR. And being phony ideology from the very beginning, a smokescreen for  the revanchism of financial oligarchy, it still can be promoted by unrelenting propaganda machine of the same forces which put it into mainstream albeit with les efficiency.  

Rise of nationalism as the reaction on neoliberal globalization
much like it was a reaction on Brezhnev's stagnation in the USSR

While no viable alternatives emerged, and inertia is still strong, and G7 block with the USA as the head is still the dominant world power, the crash are now visible in the global neoliberalism facede.  Like in 20th failure the globalization and unrestrained financial markets (which produced the Great Depression)  the financial crisi of 2008 led to the dramic rise of nationalism, especially in Europe (France, Hundary, Ukraine). In some countries, such as Ukraine, the net result of neoliberal revolution was establishing  far right regime which has uncanny similarities to the régimes which came to power in 30th such as Franko regime in Spain.  The global neoliberal dominance as a social system still continues, it is just the central idea of neoliberalism, the fake idea of self-regulating market that was completely discredited by the crisis (it was discredited before during Great Depression, but the generation the remembered the lesson is now extinct (it looks like it takes approximately 50 years for humanity to completely forget the lessons of history ;-).

This rise of nationalism was also a feature of the USSR political space in 80th. Formally it was nationalist sentiments that buried the USSR.

Around the world, economists and policymakers now come to consensus that excessive reliance on unregulated financial markets and the unrestrained rule of financial oligarchy was the root cause of the current worldwide financial crisis. That created a more difficult atmosphere for the USA financial institutions to operate abroad. Several countries are now trying to limit role of dollar as the world currency (one of the sins Saddam Hussein paid the price).

Also internal contradictions became much deeper and the neoliberal regime became increasingly unstable even in the citadel of neoliberalism -- the USA. Like any overstretched empire it became hollow within with stretches on potholes ridden roads and decaying infrastructure visible to everyone. Politically, the Republican Party became a roadblock for any meaningful reform (and its radical wing -- the tea party even sending its representatives to Congress), the Party that is determined to rather take the USA the road of the USSR, then change its ideology. All this points to the fact that neoliberalism as an socio-economic doctrine is following the path of Bolshevism.

Neoliberal propaganda gradually lost effectiveness,
 and now  invokes internal protest and rejection much like Marxist propaganda in the USSR

Neoliberalism failed to fulfill its promises for the bottom 80% of population. They became more poorer, job security deteriorated, good jobs dissaper, and even McJobs are scare judging from the fact that Wall Mart and McDonalds are able to fully staff their outlets.  McJobs are jobs that does not provide a living wages.  Opiod epidemics reminds me epidemics of alcoholism int he USSR during Brezhnev period.  Cannabis legalization belong to the same trend.

But its media dominance of neoliberalism paradoxically continues unabated. And this is despite the fact that after the crisis of 2008, the notion that finance mobilizes and allocates resources efficiently, drastically reduces systemic risks and brings significant productivity gains for the economy as a whole became untenable. We can expect that like was the case with Catholicism in middle ages and Bolshevism in the USSR, zombie phase of neoliberalism can last many decades (in the USSR, "zombie" state lasted two decades, say from 1970 to 1991, and neoliberalism with its emphasis on low human traits such as greed and supported by military and economic power of the USA, is considerably more resilient then Bolshevism). As of 2013 it is still supported by elites of several major western states (such as the USA, GB, Germany, France), transnational capital (and financial capital in particular) and respective elites out of the sense of self-preservation. That means that is it reasonable to expect that its rule in G7 will continue (like Bolshevism rule in the USSR in 70th-80th) despite probably interrupted by bursts of social violence (Muslim immigrants in Europe are once such force).

In the US, for example, income and wealth inequality continue to increase, with stagnating middle-class earnings, reduced social mobility, and an allegedly meritocratic higher education system, generously supported by tax exemptions, has been turned into the system whose main beneficiaries are the children of the rich and successful. Superimposed on this class divide is an increasingly serious intergenerational divide, and increases level of unemployment of young people, which make social atmosphere somewhat similar to the one in Egypt, although the pressure from Muslim fundamentalists is absent.

More and more neoliberalism came to be perceived as a ruse intended to safeguard the interests of a malignantly narcissistic empire (the USA) and of rapacious multinationals. It is now more and more linked with low-brow cultural homogeneity, social Darwinism, encroachment on privacy, mass production of junk, and suppression of national sentiments and aspiration in favor of transnational monopolies. It even came to be associated with a bewildering variety of social ills: rising crime rates, unemployment, poverty, drug addiction, prostitution, organ trafficking, and other antisocial forms of conduct.

While ideology of neoliberalism is by-and-large discredited, the global economic institutions associated with its rise are not all equally moribund. For example, the global economic crisis of 2008 has unexpectedly improved the fortunes of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), an organization long famous for the neoliberal policy conditions attached to its loans that served to incorporate countries into a global neoliberal economic system. In 2008, a cascade of financial crises in Eastern Europe and Iceland fattened the IMF’s dwindling loan portfolio.

World Trade Organization (WTO), the key US-used and abused universal opener of markets to US corporations and investments is in worse shape then IMF, but still is able to enforce Washington concensus rules. The Doha round of negotiations is stalled, mostly due to irresolvable disputes between developed and developing countries. Consequently, the current crisis of neoliberalism raises many important questions about the future path of the current international institutions promoting the neoliberal order. But still Russia joined WTO in 2012 which means that this organization got a new lease of life.

The slide to "Neoliberalism in name only" under Trump

When ideology collapses the elite often reports to corporatism (and in extreme case to neo-fascism) That happened briefly in the USSR under Andropov, but he did not last long enough to establish a trend.

Trumps "bastard neoliberalism (neoliberalism without neoliberal globalization) mixed with economic nationalism can be called "neoliberalism in name only". Trump foreign economic policies lookmore and more more like an economic aggression, economic racket, then a an economic platform. Nonetheless, that "neoliberalism in name only" is still a powerful global "brand" which the U.S. seeks to maintain at all costs for macro geopolitical reasons (The Great Crash, 2008: A Geopolitical Setback for the West , Foreign Affairs)

The financial and economic crash of 2008, the worst in over 75 years, is a major geopolitical setback for the United States and Europe. Over the medium term, Washington and European governments will have neither the resources nor the economic credibility to play the role in global affairs that they otherwise would have played. These weaknesses will eventually be repaired, but in the interim, they will accelerate trends that are shifting the world's center of gravity away from the United States.

A brutal recession is unfolding in the United States, Europe, and probably Japan -- a recession likely to be more harmful than the slump of 1981-82. The current financial crisis has deeply frightened consumers and businesses, and in response they have sharply retrenched. In addition, the usual recovery tools used by governments -- monetary and fiscal stimuli -- will be relatively ineffective under the circumstances.

This damage has put the American model of free-market capitalism under a cloud. The financial system is seen as having collapsed; and the regulatory framework, as having spectacularly failed to curb widespread abuses and corruption. Now, searching for stability, the U.S. government and some European governments have nationalized their financial sectors to a degree that contradicts the tenets of modern capitalism.

Much of the world is turning a historic corner and heading into a period in which the role of the state will be larger and that of the private sector will be smaller. As it does, the United States' global power, as well as the appeal of U.S.-style democracy, is eroding.

The USSR war in Afghanistan and the rampant militarism of the US neoliberal empire:
you can do anything with bayonets, but you can't sit on them

The USSR occupation of Afghanistan was actually a trap created by Carter administration in order to weaken and possibly destroy  the USSR. They wanted that the USSR experienced its own Vietnam-style defeat.  As a side effect they created political Islam and Islam fundamentalist movement (exemplified by former CIA asset Osama bin Laden) that later bite them in the back.

The US elite got into this trap voluntarily after 9/11: first via occupations of  Afghanistan (the war continues to this day), then occupation of Iraq, Lybia and initiating "color revolution" (and train and supply Sunni Islam fundamentalists, along with KSA and Turkey) to depose Assad government in Syria.

The USA still remains the most powerful country in the world with formidable military, and still can dictate it will military for small countries in a classic sense --  in a sense that "might makes right". It still can afford to behave as a word hegemon and the only source of justice ignoring the UN and other International organization, unless it is convenient to them.

But there are costs attacked and in case of Iraq war they are already substantial (to the tune of several trillion dollars). While effects on the USA economy of those set of wars of managing and expanding its neoliberal empire (and repartitioning ME, securing oil access and repartitioning the region in favor of Israel regional interests)  are still in the future, military adventurism was a gravestone on many previous empires, which tend to overstretch themselves and this fasten thier final day. 

As Napoleon noted "You can do anything with bayonets, but you can't sit on them". having first class military weakns is not everything when you face gurilla resisance in occupied country. Running aggressive foreign policy on a discredited ideology and relying on blunt propaganda and false flag operations is a difficult undertaking as resistance mounts and bubble out in un-anticipated areas.

Ukraine is one recent example, when neoliberal color revolution, which was performed by few thousands trained by the West far right militants, including openly neo-fascist squads, led to civil war in the country. Syria is another case of unanticipated effects, as Russia did not want to repeat experience of Libya and intervened, interfering with the USA goal of establishing Sunni-based Islamist regime, subservant to KSA and Turkey, and/or dismembering the country and creating   several weak Sunny dominated statelets with jihadists in power, the situation which greatly  benefit Turkey and Israel.  Israel correctly consider secular Assad régime as a greater threat and major obstacle in annexation of Golan Heights and eliminating Hezbollah in Lebanon.  It would prefer weak islamist regimes, hopefully engaged in protracted civil war to Assad regime any time.

Unfortunately, the recent troika of "neoliberalized" countries -- Libya, Syria  and Ukraine --  were not probably a swan song of muscular enforcement of neoliberal model on other countries. While sponsored by the USA and allies anti-Putin putsch in Russia (aka "white revolution") failed, events in Libya and, especially,  Ukraine prove the neoliberalism still can launch and win offensives at relatively low, acceptable cost (via color revolutions mechanism ). The main cost carry the population of the target country which is plunged  into economic and political chaos, in most cases including the civil war.  

But in the USA those wars also somewhat backfire with broken domestic infrastructure, decaying bridges and angered, restless, and partially drugged by opioids  population.  As well as thousands of crippled young men healthcare for whom till end of their lives will cost large amount of money.

In such circumstances chances of raising to power of an openly nationalistic leader substantially increase. Which was already demonstrated quite convincingly by the election of Trump.

Conclusions

Analogy of current crisis of neoliberalism int he USA and the USSR collapse is demonstrably far from perfect. The USSR was always in far less favorable conditions   then USA, operating is a hostile environment encircled by Western powers interested in its demise; also the collapse of the USSR happened during "triumphal march of neoliberalism" which provided ready-made alternative to Brezhnev's socialism and stimulated the betrayal of Soviet nomenklatura of their old ideology and "switching ideological camps").  But the key to collapse of the USSR was   the collapse of Bolshevik's ideology, which has happened some time from 1945 to 1963.

Still it allows to point out some  alarming similarities. Which does not bode well for the USA future, if the hypothesis that the same fundamental forces are in play in both cases. In this sense the collapse of neoliberal ideology ("free market fundamentalism"), which happened in  2008 is a bad sign indeed. .

There is still a chance that the US elite proves to be flexible and manage to escape this "ideological mousetrap" by switching to some new ideology, but they are pretty weak, if we look at the quality of Trump administration and the personalities in the USA Congress. Some of them too closely correspond to the depiction of sociopaths to stay comfortable.  The same was true about certain parts of Soviet "nomenklatura", especially leaders of Komsomol (All-Union Leninist Young Communist League ), from which such questionable post-communist figures such a Khodorkovsky, in Russia (of "pipes and corpses" film fame), and Turchinov in Ukraine  later emerged.

The recent humiliation of the US representative in the UN Nikki Haley by Bolivian representative also suggest that neoliberal propaganda lost large part of its effectiveness and unilateral military actions by the USA are now questioned more effectively: Bolivian UN Rep Sacha Llorenti Blasts U.S. for Attacking Syria, Educates Nikki Haley on Iraq, UN & U.S. History

Llorenti’s fourteen minute address to the UNSC was a tour de force – a critique of unilateral military action by the U.S. (it violates the UN charter), an analysis of previous emotional appeals for urgent action (think Colin Powell in 2003), as well as a reminder of the United States’ long history of interventionism in Latin America. Llorenti also called the UNSC to task for its internal structure, which grants considerably more power upon its five permanent members than it does its ten non-permanent members.

It was a remarkable anti-imperialist display. Read a partial transcript and/or watch the full video below.

That closely corresponds to what had happened with Bolshevism ideology around 1980 -- when it became the source of jokes both inside the USSR and abroad.  Or a little bit later, if we remember "Tear down this wall!" -- a line from a speech made by US President Ronald Reagan in West Berlin on June 12, 1987. When  Paul Craig Roberts  claims that It Has Become Embarrassing To Be An American  that is a symptom of a problem, yet another symptom of the demise of neoliberal propaganda,  despite obvious exaggeration.

It would be  too much stretch to state that neoliberal and especially globalist propaganda is now rejected both by population within the USA (which resulted in defeat of Hillary Clinton -- an establishment candidates and election of the  "wild card" candidate  -- Donald Trump -- with clearly nationalistic impulses) and outside the USA. 

 


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[Jun 17, 2018] The Necessity of a Trump-Putin Summit by Stephen F. Cohen

Highly recommended!
Decimation of anti-war forces and flourishing of Russophobia are two immanent features of the US neoliberalism. As long as the maintinace fo the US global neoliberal empire depends of weakening and, possibly, dismembering Russia it is naive to expect any change. Russian version of soft "national neoliberalism" is not that different, in principle form Trump version of hard "netional neoliberalism" so those leaders might have something to talk about. In other words as soon as the USA denounce neoliberal globalization that might be some openings.
Notable quotes:
"... The New York Times ..."
Jun 06, 2018 | www.thenation.com

Ten ways the new US-Russian Cold War is increasingly becoming more dangerous than the one we survived.

  1. The political epicenter of the new Cold War is not in far-away Berlin, as it was from the late 1940s on, but directly on Russia's borders, from the Baltic states and Ukraine to the former Soviet republic of Georgia. Each of these new Cold War fronts is, or has recently been, fraught with the possibly of hot war. US-Russian military relations are especially tense today in the Baltic region, where a large-scale NATO buildup is under way, and in Ukraine, where a US-Russian proxy war is intensifying. The "Soviet Bloc" that once served as a buffer between NATO and Russia no longer exists. And many imaginable incidents on the West's new Eastern Front, intentional or unintentional, could easily trigger actual war between the United States and Russia. What brought about this unprecedented situation on Russia's borders -- at least since the Nazi German invasion in 1941 -- was, of course, the exceedingly unwise decision, in the late 1990s, to expand NATO eastward. Done in the name of "security," it has made all the states involved only more insecure.

  2. Proxy wars were a feature of the old Cold War, but usually small ones in what was called the "Third World" -- in Africa, for example -- and they rarely involved many, if any, Soviet or American personnel, mostly only money and weapons. Today's US-Russian proxy wars are different, located in the center of geopolitics and accompanied by too many American and Russian trainers, minders, and possibly fighters. Two have already erupted: in Georgia in 2008, where Russian forces fought a Georgian army financed, trained, and minded by American funds and personnel; and in Syria, where in February scores of Russians were killed by US-backed anti-Assad forces . Moscow did not retaliate, but it has pledged to do so if there is "a next time," as there very well may be. If so, this would in effect be war directly between Russia and America. Meanwhile, the risk of such a direct conflict continues to grow in Ukraine, where the country's US-backed but politically failing President Petro Poroshenko seems increasingly tempted to launch another all-out military assault on rebel-controlled Donbass, backed by Moscow. If he does so, and the assault does not quickly fail as previous ones have, Russia will certainly intervene in eastern Ukraine with a truly tangible "invasion." Washington will then have to make a fateful war-or-peace decision. Having already reneged on its commitments to the Minsk Accords, which are the best hope for ending the four-year Ukrainian crisis peacefully, Kiev seems to have an unrelenting impulse to be a tail wagging the dog of war. Certainly, its capacity for provocations and disinformation are second to none, as evidenced again last week by the faked "assassination and resurrection" of the journalist Arkady Babchenko.

  3. The Western, but especially American, years-long demonization of the Kremlin leader, Putin, is also unprecedented. Too obvious to reiterate here, no Soviet leader, at least since Stalin, was ever subjected to such prolonged, baseless, crudely derogatory personal vilification. Whereas Soviet leaders were generally regarded as acceptable negotiating partners for American presidents, including at major summits, Putin has been made to seem to be an illegitimate national leader -- at best "a KGB thug," at worst a murderous "mafia boss."

  4. Still more, demonizing Putin has generated a widespread Russophobic vilification of Russia itself , or what The New York Times and other mainstream-media outlets have taken to calling " Vladimir Putin's Russia ." Yesterday's enemy was Soviet Communism. Today it is increasingly Russia, thereby also delegitimizing Russia as a great power with legitimate national interests. "The Parity Principle," as Cohen termed it during the preceding Cold War -- the principle that both sides had legitimate interests at home and abroad, which was the basis for diplomacy and negotiations, and symbolized by leadership summits -- no longer exists, at least on the American side. Nor does the acknowledgment that both sides were to blame, at least to some extent, for that Cold War. Among influential American observers who at least recognize the reality of the new Cold War , "Putin's Russia" alone is to blame. When there is no recognized parity and shared responsibility, there is little space for diplomacy -- only for increasingly militarized relations, as we are witnessing today.
  5. Meanwhile, most of the Cold War safeguards -- cooperative mechanisms and mutually observed rules of conduct that evolved over decades in order to prevent superpower hot war -- have been vaporized or badly frayed since the Ukrainian crisis in 2014, as the UN General Secretary António Guterres, almost alone, has recognized : "The Cold War is back -- with a vengeance but with a difference. The mechanisms and the safeguards to manage the risks of escalation that existed in the past no longer seem to be present." Trump's recent missile strike on Syria carefully avoided killing any Russians there, but here too Moscow has vowed to retaliate against US launchers or other forces involved if there is a "next time," as, again, there may be. Even the decades-long process of arms control may, we are told by an expert , be coming to an "end." If so, it will mean an unfettered new nuclear-arms race but also the termination of an ongoing diplomatic process that buffered US-Soviet relations during very bad political times. In short, if there are any new Cold War rules of conduct, they are yet to be formulated and mutually accepted. Nor does this semi-anarchy take into account the new warfare technology of cyber-attacks. What are its implications for the secure functioning of existential Russian and American nuclear command-and-control and early-warning systems that guard against an accidental launching of missiles still on high alert?

  6. Russiagate allegations that the American president has been compromised by -- or is even an agent of -- the Kremlin are also without precedent. These allegations have had profoundly dangerous consequences, among them the nonsensical but mantra-like warfare declaration that "Russia attacked America" during the 2016 presidential election; crippling assaults on President Trump every time he speaks with Putin in person or by phone; and making both Trump and Putin so toxic that even most politicians, journalists, and professors who understand the present-day dangers are reluctant to speak out against US contributions to the new Cold War.

  7. Mainstream-media outlets have, of course, played a woeful role in all of this. Unlike in the past, when pro-détente advocates had roughly equal access to mainstream media, today's new Cold War media enforce their orthodox narrative that Russia is solely to blame. They practice not diversity of opinion and reporting but "confirmation bias." Alternative voices (with, yes, alternative or opposing facts) rarely appear any longer in the most influential mainstream newspapers or on television or radio broadcasts. One alarming result is that "disinformation" generated by or pleasing to Washington and its allies has consequences before it can be corrected. The fake Babchenko assassination (allegedly ordered by Putin, of course) was quickly exposed, but not the alleged Skripal assassination attempt in the UK, which led to the largest US expulsion of Russian diplomats in history before London's official version of the story began to fall apart. This too is unprecedented: Cold War without debate, which in turn precludes the frequent rethinking and revising of US policy that characterized the preceding 40-year Cold War -- in effect, an enforced dogmatization of US policy that is both exceedingly dangerous and undemocratic.

  8. Equally unsurprising, and also very much unlike during the 40-year Cold War, there is virtually no significant opposition in the American mainstream to the US role in the new Cold War -- not in the media, not in Congress, not in the two major political parties, not in the universities, not at grassroots levels. This too is unprecedented, dangerous, and contrary to real democracy. Consider only the thunderous silence of scores of large US corporations that have been doing profitable business in post-Soviet Russia for years, from fast-food chains and automobile manufacturers to pharmaceutical and energy giants. And contrast their behavior to that of CEOs of PepsiCo, Control Data, IBM, and other major American corporations seeking entry to the Soviet market in the 1970s and 1980s, when they publicly supported and even funded pro-détente organizations and politicians. How to explain the silence of their counterparts today, who are usually so profit-motivated? Are they too fearful of being labeled "pro-Putin" or possibly "pro-Trump"? If so, will this Cold War continue to unfold with only very rare profiles of courage in any high places? 9. And then there is the widespread escalatory myth that today's Russia, unlike the Soviet Union, is too weak -- its economy too small and fragile, its leader too "isolated in international affairs" -- to wage a sustained Cold War, and that eventually Putin, who is "punching above his weight," as the cliché has it, will capitulate. This too is a dangerous delusion. As Cohen has shown previously , "Putin's Russia" is hardly isolated in world affairs, and is becoming even less so, even in Europe, where at least five governments are tilting away from Washington and Brussels and perhaps from their economic sanctions on Russia. Indeed, despite the sanctions, Russia's energy industry and agricultural exports are flourishing. Geopolitically, Moscow has many military and related advantages in regions where the new Cold War has unfolded. And no state with Russia's modern nuclear and other weapons is "punching above its weight." Above all, the great majority of Russian people have rallied behind Putin because t hey believe their country is under attack by the US-led West . Anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of Russia's history understands it is highly unlikely to capitulate under any circumstances.

  9. Finally (at least as of now), there is the growing war-like "hysteria" often commented on in both Washington and Moscow. It is driven by various factors, but television talk/"news" broadcasts, which are as common in Russia as in the United States, play a major role. Perhaps only an extensive quantitative study could discern which plays a more lamentable role in promoting this frenzy -- MSNBC and CNN or their Russian counterparts. For Cohen, the Russian dark witticism seems apt: "Both are worst" ( Oba khuzhe ). Again, some of this American broadcast extremism existed during the preceding Cold War, but almost always balanced, even offset, by truly informed, wiser opinions, which are now largely excluded.

Is this analysis of the dangers inherent in the new Cold War itself extremist or alarmist? Even SOME usually reticent specialists would seem to agree with Cohen's general assessment. Experts gathered by a centrist Washington think tank thought that on a scale of 1 to 10, there is a 5 to 7 chance of actual war with Russia. A former head of British M16 is reported as saying that "for the first time in living memory, there's a realistic chance of a superpower conflict." And a respected retired Russian general tells the same think tank that any military confrontation "will end up with the use of nuclear weapons between the United States and Russia."

In today's dire circumstances, one Trump-Putin summit cannot eliminate the new Cold War dangers. But US-Soviet summits traditionally served three corollary purposes. They created a kind of security partnership -- not a conspiracy -- that involved each leader's limited political capital at home, which the other should recognize and not heedlessly jeopardize. They sent a clear message to the two leaders' respective national-security bureaucracies, which often did not favor détente-like cooperation, that the "boss" was determined and that they must end their foot-dragging, even sabotage. And summits, with their exalted rituals and intense coverage, usually improved the media-political environment needed to enhance cooperation amid Cold War conflicts. If a Trump-Putin summit achieves even some of those purposes, it might result in a turning away from the precipice that now looms

[Jun 16, 2018] The Soviet Union has been gone for more than a quarter of a century and yet it is - to borrow a phrase from a popular Soviet song - is more alive than the living. The Soviet period has become a sort of a yardstick against which the modern Russia is compared in every area: culture, economy, moral climate, everything.

Notable quotes:
"... It is not "misunderstood" -- it is a complete caricature which now blows into the faces of those who helped to create it. Western Russia "expertise" is pathetic and some exceptions merely confirm the rule. Generally, the term "Russia scholar" when applied to most, in our particular case American, experts should be treated as a bad joke. This is not to mention that most of those "scholars" (with the exception of predominantly Jewish Soviet emigres, such as moron Max Boot) can not even speak, forget a complete command, Russian language. ..."
"... Quite a few grant-eating "liberals" inside Russia speak the language, but this does not make them any more competent. Basically, they illustrate the saying that "he, who pays the musicians, calls the tune". The same applies to "Russia scholars" residing in the US, regardless of their language proficiency. ..."
Jun 16, 2018 | www.unz.com

EugeneGur


The point is that Putin realizes that the Orthodox faith is the cultural framework of the Russian nation; its development historically, socially and culturally rest in the hands Orthodox Christianity.
No, it's not. No one can enter the same river twice. Russia will thankfully never go back to its Orthodox roots completely, although Orthodoxy will co-exist peacefully within the secular society. Putin's public insistence on rituals of the Orthodox faith is one of his least attractive features.

Thankfully that chapter of history is over
It's not over until it's over. This sentence of yours simply shows how misunderstood the Soviet period of the Russian history is in the West.

The Soviet Union has been gone for more than a quarter of a century and yet it is - to borrow a phrase from a popular Soviet song - is more alive than the living. The Soviet period has become a sort of a yardstick against which the modern Russia is compared in every area: culture, economy, moral climate, everything.

It is a universal agreement that in many areas Russia doesn't measure up to the Soviet standards - culture and education are the prime examples. Hardly anyone in Russia would disagree that in 25 years Russia hasn't produced anything even remotely comparable with the Soviet achievements in this spheres. Until it does - the Soviet Union will live one.

Andrei Martyanov , Website June 15, 2018 at 5:20 pm GMT

@EugeneGur

It's not over until it's over. This sentence of yours simply shows how misunderstood the Soviet period of the Russian history is in the West.

It is not "misunderstood" -- it is a complete caricature which now blows into the faces of those who helped to create it. Western Russia "expertise" is pathetic and some exceptions merely confirm the rule. Generally, the term "Russia scholar" when applied to most, in our particular case American, experts should be treated as a bad joke. This is not to mention that most of those "scholars" (with the exception of predominantly Jewish Soviet emigres, such as moron Max Boot) can not even speak, forget a complete command, Russian language.

AnonFromTN , June 15, 2018 at 5:46 pm GMT
@Andrei Martyanov

Quite a few grant-eating "liberals" inside Russia speak the language, but this does not make them any more competent. Basically, they illustrate the saying that "he, who pays the musicians, calls the tune". The same applies to "Russia scholars" residing in the US, regardless of their language proficiency.

Andrei Martyanov , Website June 15, 2018 at 6:00 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN

Quite a few grant-eating "liberals" inside Russia speak the language, but this does not make them any more competent. Basically, they illustrate the saying that "he, who pays the musicians, calls the tune". The same applies to "Russia scholars" residing in the US, regardless of their language proficiency.

Here, I have to politely disagree since Russian "liberals" both grant-supported and ones that are not is a separate animal altogether. First, most of them, grants or no grants, are the real deal, they got grants because they are the real deal, not the other way around, and causality in this case really matters.

I don't need even to know if Mr. Nekrasov or Gozman are grant-eaters, their hatred of everything Russian is palpable. The only weaker feeling than hatred they have is contempt. This cannot be hidden–it shines through. They do it for the idea and grants are just a bonus. It all goes back to Russian "Westerners" and liberals about whom Tyutchev (IIRC) left a profound paragraph.

[Jun 16, 2018] Current Russian regime got bad roots. It cares not for people. Current increase of retirement age is another testament to this

Russia still is a neoliberal country. What do you expect ?
It is interesting that Russia which oppose neoliberal globalization in foreign policy, implements neoliberal reforms within the country. The current pensoin reform is clienly neoliberal in spirit, even if it does not include privatization. there is a big different between those who work at factories and those who work at offices.
Notable quotes:
"... I don't share your and some other commenters' fixation on Jews. I believe it's a red herring. Elites, Jewish and gentile, are equally repulsive and guilty of most ills that afflict our world. Despite its many failings, one of the redeeming qualities of communism was that it called for confiscation of the possessions of moneyed elites. In reality, they were mostly hanged or shot. Considering what they are doing to the US and other countries, this was amply justified. ..."
"... Basically there were real issues behind those color revolutions in Ukraine and elsewhere but without progressive force caring about people there were ulterior forces that led those eruption of real grievances and these grievances are caused by the system of capitalism you have just described. Yours and other former Soviet citizens excellent education is another testament to communism regime. ..."
"... Regarding new found religious feelings. it is obviously all fake. ..."
"... I can't say that today's Russia is all bad or all good. I think open borders is a huge achievement. People have a chance to see the reality with their own eyes: wherever you go in Europe or Asia now, you meet lots of people from Russia, which means that they have the money to travel and an interest in other cultures, as you meet them in museums and at historical sites all over Europe. ..."
"... I do resent what current authorities did to the education system: they degraded it, ostensibly in an attempt to reform and make it more Western-like. I think these "reforms" were extremely ill-conceived, the school is becoming much worse (in fact, American-like, although it must be degraded a lot more to sink all the way down to the US level). ..."
"... I resent than instead of improving Russian Academy of Sciences (it was pretty bad in the USSR) they essentially emasculated it. If you go by publications, there is less decent research in Russia now than there was in the USSR. ..."
"... Huge inequality is another negative, especially considering that most oligarchs got rich by looting state property, and now continue to enrich themselves the same way (heads of most Russian corporations, state-owned and private, are nothing but thieves). That made Russia more US-like, but I consider that regress rather than progress. ..."
"... On the other hand, I consider it a huge achievement that in international affairs Russia today is pursuing its own interests, rather than engaging in a thankless task of saving the world. I subscribe to the Protestant dictum that "God helps those who help themselves", so whoever is worth saving will save themselves, and the rest be damned. ..."
Jun 16, 2018 | www.unz.com

AnonFromTN , June 15, 2018 at 2:40 am GMT

@Frankie P

Maybe it is presumptuous to express my opinion about another person's faith, but let me remind you that Putin was a KGB officer and a member of the communist party. As such, he was (or pretended to be) a militant atheist. Now he publicly goes to church and remains there throughout the service (mind you, Russian Orthodox Christmas and Easter services are all-night affairs). Thus, he either lied then or is lying now about his faith. Take your pick.

Yes, Orthodox Christianity was one of the pillars of Russian culture. But again, let me remind you that one of the greatest Russian writers, Leo Tolstoy, was excommunicated by the church. What's more, current patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox church, was photographed with a watch worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, owns an apartment in the center of Moscow, likely worth millions of $, and a collection or rare books in this apartment with a huge value. If you are a Christian, you should know that "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God" (Matthew 19:24; also Mark 10:25).

I don't share your and some other commenters' fixation on Jews. I believe it's a red herring. Elites, Jewish and gentile, are equally repulsive and guilty of most ills that afflict our world. Despite its many failings, one of the redeeming qualities of communism was that it called for confiscation of the possessions of moneyed elites. In reality, they were mostly hanged or shot. Considering what they are doing to the US and other countries, this was amply justified.

Sergey Krieger , June 15, 2018 at 9:25 am GMT
@AnonFromTN

I frankly do not think that communism requires redemption. It was first attempt at moving humanity towards next step in social evolution and it did not happen under the best conditions. It happened in the country ridden with accumulated problems from previous regime mishandling the country for a couple of centuries with those issues coming to a head and after so much pressure it resulted in massive eruption of violence which would have been even worse without Bolsheviks as it would lead to Russia disintegration and Russian state death., There would have happened something similar to modern Ukraine.

Basically there were real issues behind those color revolutions in Ukraine and elsewhere but without progressive force caring about people there were ulterior forces that led those eruption of real grievances and these grievances are caused by the system of capitalism you have just described. Yours and other former Soviet citizens excellent education is another testament to communism regime.

Current Russian regime got bad roots and I do not believe anything good will come out of these bad roots. The system is freakish and rotten at the core. It care s not for people. Current increase of retirement age is another testament to this. Bolsheviks when they started made their intentions rather obvious in destroyed and poor country. They assured real human rights while current system removed those rights and there is no guarantees that we as a soviet citizen used to enjoy. Obviously things were not perfect. They never are.

Regarding new found religious feelings. it is obviously all fake.

I also wonder what do you think of spontaneous life appearance? I read some books on this issue including Dawkins' and Behe, but considering your experience and professional background it would be very interesting to hear your thoughts.

AnonFromTN , June 15, 2018 at 4:21 pm GMT
@Sergey Krieger

I can't say that today's Russia is all bad or all good. I think open borders is a huge achievement. People have a chance to see the reality with their own eyes: wherever you go in Europe or Asia now, you meet lots of people from Russia, which means that they have the money to travel and an interest in other cultures, as you meet them in museums and at historical sites all over Europe.

I do resent what current authorities did to the education system: they degraded it, ostensibly in an attempt to reform and make it more Western-like. I think these "reforms" were extremely ill-conceived, the school is becoming much worse (in fact, American-like, although it must be degraded a lot more to sink all the way down to the US level).

I resent than instead of improving Russian Academy of Sciences (it was pretty bad in the USSR) they essentially emasculated it. If you go by publications, there is less decent research in Russia now than there was in the USSR.

Huge inequality is another negative, especially considering that most oligarchs got rich by looting state property, and now continue to enrich themselves the same way (heads of most Russian corporations, state-owned and private, are nothing but thieves). That made Russia more US-like, but I consider that regress rather than progress.

On the other hand, I consider it a huge achievement that in international affairs Russia today is pursuing its own interests, rather than engaging in a thankless task of saving the world. I subscribe to the Protestant dictum that "God helps those who help themselves", so whoever is worth saving will save themselves, and the rest be damned.

[Jun 15, 2018] The G7 summit collapses by Alex Lantier

Notable quotes:
"... The United States, the EU and Canada are preparing tariffs impacting untold billions of dollars in goods and threatening tens of millions of jobs worldwide. As the remarks of Trudeau and Trump show, US tariff threats are setting into motion an escalatory spiral of tariffs and counter-tariffs with potentially devastating consequences. ..."
"... The collapse of the G7 talks cannot be explained by the personal peculiarities of Donald Trump. Rather, this historical milestone is an expression of US imperialism's desperate attempts to resolve insoluble contradictions of world capitalism. Not only Trump, but prominent Democrats and large sections of the European media and ruling elite are all recklessly calling for trade war measures against their rivals. ..."
"... Analyzing US imperialist policy in 1928, the year before the eruption of the Great Depression, Leon Trotsky warned: "In the period of crisis, the hegemony of the United States will operate more completely, more openly, and more ruthlessly than in the period of boom. The United States will seek to overcome and extricate herself from her difficulties and maladies primarily at the expense of Europe, regardless of whether this occurs in Asia, Canada, South America, Australia or Europe itself, whether this takes place peacefully or through war." ..."
"... After the Stalinist bureaucracy dissolved the Soviet Union in 1991, lifting the main obstacle to US-led neo-colonial wars, Washington tried to counterbalance its economic weakness by resort to its vast military superiority. ..."
"... Over decades of bloody neo-colonial wars that killed millions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and beyond, the United States has sought to establish a powerful military position in the oil-rich Middle East. These wars placed its forces athwart key trade and energy supply routes of its main economic rivals. ..."
"... Amid growing tensions with the US, all of the European powers are rapidly rearming. ..."
Jun 15, 2018 | www.wsws.org

The summit issued a final communiqué papering over the conflicts, as is usual in G7 summits, condemning protectionism but making a few criticisms of the World Trade Organization in line with US complaints. The US was expected to sign, but Trump, after listening to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's post summit press conference while en route to Singapore for a summit with North Korean President Kim Jong-un, fired off a volley of tweets that signaled a comprehensive breakdown of the G7 talks.

After Trudeau said that the communiqué criticized protectionism and that Canada would maintain its $16 billion retaliatory tariffs on US goods, the biggest Canadian tariffs since World War II, Trump hurled invective at Trudeau, warning that he "will not allow other countries" to impose tariffs. He accused what are nominally the closest US allies of having targeted the US for "Trade Abuse for many decades -- and that is long enough."

In another tweet, the US president threatened a major escalation of trade war measures with tariffs on auto imports and announced the breakdown of talks: "Based on Justin's false statements at his news conference and the fact that Canada is charging massive Tariffs to our US farmers, workers and companies, I have instructed our US Reps not to endorse the Communiqué as we look at Tariffs on automobiles flooding the US market!"

This is the first time since G7 summits began in 1975 -- originally as the G5 with the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain and France -- that all the heads of state could not agree on a communiqué.

What is unfolding is a historic collapse of diplomatic and economic relations between the major imperialist powers. For the three quarters of a century since World War II, a broad consensus existed internationally in the ruling class that the trade wars of the 1930s Great Depression played a major role in triggering that war, and that trade wars should be avoided at all costs. This consensus has now broken down.

Explosive conflict and uncertainty dominate the world economy. The United States, the EU and Canada are preparing tariffs impacting untold billions of dollars in goods and threatening tens of millions of jobs worldwide. As the remarks of Trudeau and Trump show, US tariff threats are setting into motion an escalatory spiral of tariffs and counter-tariffs with potentially devastating consequences.

The collapse of the G7 talks cannot be explained by the personal peculiarities of Donald Trump. Rather, this historical milestone is an expression of US imperialism's desperate attempts to resolve insoluble contradictions of world capitalism. Not only Trump, but prominent Democrats and large sections of the European media and ruling elite are all recklessly calling for trade war measures against their rivals.

Analyzing US imperialist policy in 1928, the year before the eruption of the Great Depression, Leon Trotsky warned: "In the period of crisis, the hegemony of the United States will operate more completely, more openly, and more ruthlessly than in the period of boom. The United States will seek to overcome and extricate herself from her difficulties and maladies primarily at the expense of Europe, regardless of whether this occurs in Asia, Canada, South America, Australia or Europe itself, whether this takes place peacefully or through war."

The G7 summits were launched to manage conflicts between the major powers as the industrial and economic dominance established by US imperialism in World War II rapidly eroded, and after Washington ended dollar-gold convertibility in 1971. Still unable to catch up to its European and international competitors, the United States has for decades posted ever-larger trade deficits with rivals in Europe and Asia.

After the Stalinist bureaucracy dissolved the Soviet Union in 1991, lifting the main obstacle to US-led neo-colonial wars, Washington tried to counterbalance its economic weakness by resort to its vast military superiority.

Over decades of bloody neo-colonial wars that killed millions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and beyond, the United States has sought to establish a powerful military position in the oil-rich Middle East. These wars placed its forces athwart key trade and energy supply routes of its main economic rivals.

Trump's election and his denunciations of "trade abuse" of the United States by Europe, Japan and Canada marks a new stage in the crisis of world capitalism. Bitter US-EU divisions are growing not only over trade, but over EU opposition to the US policy of threatening Iran with war by ending the Iranian nuclear deal. After decades of economic crisis and neo-colonial war, the danger is rapidly emerging of a 1930s-style disintegration of the world economy into rival trading blocs and, as in that decade, the eruption of military conflict between them.

... ... ...

The European powers have responded to Trump with stepped-up threats of retaliatory measures. Following the summit, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called on the European powers to respond "together" in order to defend their "interests even more offensively."

Historically, trade war has been a precursor to military conflict. Prior to the summit, French President Emmanuel Macron responded angrily to Trump's threatened sanctions, declaring, "This decision is not only unlawful but it is a mistake in many respects. Economic nationalism leads to war. This is exactly what happened in the 1930s."

Amid growing tensions with the US, all of the European powers are rapidly rearming. Just one week before the G7 summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel signalled her support for Macron's proposal to create a joint European defence force, open to British participation and independent of NATO.

... ... ...

[Jun 13, 2018] Sanction Trump not Bourbon

Highly recommended!
The term "national neoliberalism" should probably be adopted as the most succinct term for Trump economic policy
Notable quotes:
"... To paraphrase Ralph Nader, the U.S. corporate state is a two-headed beast. Sure, President Trump and the Republican Party are currently handing over public lands to oil and gas companies, eliminating net neutrality, introducing pro-corporate tax legislation, kowtowing to the military industrial complex, defunding the welfare state, and attempting to privatize education and deregulate finance. ..."
"... But let's not forget our recent Democratic presidents, for example, who are also guilty of empowering and enriching big business and disempowering and impoverishing ordinary Americans. ..."
"... In war the moral is to the material as 3 is to one, said Bonaparte. The neoliberal world order according the Bretton Woods and Washington cannot raise and apply enough material [bombings, drones, aircraft carrier intimidation THAAD in Korea are the ante] without destroying itself and in its throes the world. ..."
"... The U.S. trade deficit in goods, without services, was $810 billion. The United States exported $1.551 trillion in goods. It imported $2.361 trillion. The USA imports more than they export to: China, Japan, Canada, Germany and Mexico. USA top 5 Trade deficits: China $375 billion, Mexico $71, Japan $69, Germany $65, and Canada 18 billion. ..."
Jun 10, 2018 | angrybearblog.com
likbez, June 10, 2018 2:26 am

Trump behavior at Canadian G7 meeting was boorish, but it is logical and is consistent which his previous stance on globalization: he rejects neoliberal globalization.

Sasha Breger Bush proposed the term "national neoliberalism" to depict the transition from "classic neoliberalism" which has been started with the election of Trump.

I think the term really catches the essence of the election of Trump. and should probably be adopted as a succinct description of Trump economic policy.

The nationalism, xenophobia, isolationism, and paranoia of Donald Trump are about to replace the significantly more cosmopolitan outlook of his post-WWII predecessors. While Trump is decidedly pro-business and pro-market, he most certainly does not see himself as a global citizen.

Nor does he intend to maintain the United States' extensive global footprint or its relatively open trading network. In other words, while neoliberalism is not dead, it is being transformed into a geographically more fragmented and localized system (this is not only about the US election, but also about rising levels of global protectionism and Brexit, among other anti-globalization trends around the world).

I expect that the geographic extent of the US economy in the coming years will coincide with the new landscape of U.S. allies and enemies, as defined by Donald Trump and his administration.

See https://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/12/24/trump-and-national-neoliberalism

He elaborated on this in his more recent article ( http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2018/0118breger-bush.html )

But if we take seriously the idea that Trump is a consequence of the disintegration of American democracy rather than the cause of it, this "blame game" becomes especially problematic.

Partisan bickering, with one party constantly pointing to the other as responsible for the country's ills, covers up the fact that Democrats and Republicans alike have presided over the consolidation of corporate power in the United States.

To paraphrase Ralph Nader, the U.S. corporate state is a two-headed beast. Sure, President Trump and the Republican Party are currently handing over public lands to oil and gas companies, eliminating net neutrality, introducing pro-corporate tax legislation, kowtowing to the military industrial complex, defunding the welfare state, and attempting to privatize education and deregulate finance.

But let's not forget our recent Democratic presidents, for example, who are also guilty of empowering and enriching big business and disempowering and impoverishing ordinary Americans.

JackD, June 10, 2018 9:58 am

@Likbez: "Sure, President Trump, etc" is your important sentence. It is the immediate need. First things, first.

ilsm, June 10, 2018 3:12 pm

In war the moral is to the material as 3 is to one, said Bonaparte. The neoliberal world order according the Bretton Woods and Washington cannot raise and apply enough material [bombings, drones, aircraft carrier intimidation THAAD in Korea are the ante] without destroying itself and in its throes the world.

Trump is not tearing apart NATO anyone not earning money is a PNAC think tanks knows NATO has become an aggression against Russia with similar intent as Hitler.

Grabbing Sevastopol and aiding Russians in territory occupied by Kyiv are [bold] defensive moves. The threat of Chinese islands in the South China Sea is the US Navy super carriers intimidations has no career raiding Hainan.

rps, June 10, 2018 7:42 pm

I was curious if Yglesias is a Canadian since his editorial sided with the G7 leaders stance against Trump's fair-trade often labelled as 'protectionism' of USA industries. He's a New Yorker as I pondered what's his stake in this political tirade against Trump's pro-America versus anti-globalist policies?

It appears that the media has glided over the fact Trump had suggested to the other G7 leaders that all trade barriers, including tariffs and subsidies, be eliminated, ""You go tariff-free, you go barrier-free, you go subsidy free." Protectionist Canadian PM Trudeau howled at a press conference after Trump had left on his way to Singapore. Why? Is it because Trudeau is committed to the welfare of Canadians and their industries? How dare the president of the USA- in turn, advocate for citizenry and country as does his G7 counterparts for their countries.

The U.S. trade deficit in goods, without services, was $810 billion. The United States exported $1.551 trillion in goods. It imported $2.361 trillion. The USA imports more than they export to: China, Japan, Canada, Germany and Mexico. USA top 5 Trade deficits: China $375 billion, Mexico $71, Japan $69, Germany $65, and Canada 18 billion.

More fun & facts:

US citizens and their jobs were swindled with cheaper foreign goods flooding American businesses and stores as good manufacturing jobs headed overseas. Jobs that created the middle class and all their earned benefits and standard of living decreased/disappeared quickly with NAFTA and the WTO.

Concisely, trade deficits destroyed the middle class, the working class, blue collar, and in turn, increased poverty and homelessness. Destroyed small town anywhere in the USA with manufacturing and jobs fleeing overseas in search of cheap labor. Go travel across the USA and see the boarded up towns, walk the streets of Flint Michigan, Detroit, Martinsville Virginia, Gary Indiana, Freeport Il, etc. Throw a dart at a USA map and you'll hit a town devastated by 'free' to lose your job trade. In 2014, 2.3 million job losses due to trade with China. Job losses in the millions have been slowly replaced with 'service' jobs and/or $8.00 an hour part-time no benefits workers as the new norm.

Remember when Walmart's original slogan was "Buy American"? Sam Walton before he died, was big on "Buy American," and it appeared in signs in the stores and on TV ads. His heirs quickly changed it to "Buy Chinese" destroying the american dream and small town USA.

Yet Yglesias' preference is all for the unbalanced trade with our G7 frenemies and punishing a president who chooses fair trade practices to ensure US jobs for American citizens. Makes me wonder who or what Yglesias truly advocates for, the NWO or the country of origin on his passport?

"What we must do is this: revise our tariff on the basis of a reciprocal exchange of goods, allowing other Nations to buy and to pay for our goods by sending us such of their goods as will not seriously throw any of our industries out of balance Such objectives as these three, restoring farmers' buying power, relief to the small banks and home-owners and a reconstructed tariff policy, are only a part of ten or a dozen vital factors. But they seem to be beyond the concern of a national administration which can think in terms only of the top of the social and economic structure. It has sought temporary relief from the top down rather than permanent relief from the bottom up. It has totally failed to plan ahead in a comprehensive way. It has waited until something has cracked and then at the last moment has sought to prevent total collapse.

It is high time to get back to fundamentals. It is high time to admit with courage that we are in the midst of an emergency at least equal to that of war. Let us mobilize to meet it." "The Forgotten Man" speech, 1937. Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Since Clinton signed NAFTA in 1994 and the WTO, American jobs and industry left our shores seeking the lowest common denominator- cheap slave labor. To paraphrase FDR into the late 20th and early 21st century, "Clinton and his successors concern of their national administrations thought in terms only of the top of the social and economic structure. It has sought temporary relief from the top down rather than permanent relief from the bottom up.It has totally failed to plan ahead in a comprehensive way."

Bruce Webb, June 10, 2018 9:16 pm

Nothing personally Rps, but you do not get Triffin Dilemma and global reserve currency. Please no more NAFTA obsession when no jobs left with that deal and exports excelerated. The global reserve currency and booming financial markets create a surplus in services over goods. It also creates the need for a goods deficit to stabilize the financial system. You cannot wave a wand and cure something that cannot be cured. You need a major depression to rebalance and drive capital from america.

Bruce Webb, June 10, 2018 9:19 pm

Likbez, Neoliberalism IS American. Trump is pro-East Asia

[Jun 13, 2018] NEO - Jacksonian Trump and the Root of Global Evil by Gordon Duff

Notable quotes:
"... Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War that has worked on veterans and POW issues for decades and consulted with governments challenged by security issues. He's a senior editor and chairman of the board of Veterans Today , especially for the online magazine " New Eastern Outlook ." ..."
June 6, 2018 | journal-neo.org

The Trump phenomenon, to paraphrase Lincoln, who may not have said this at all, "you can fool some of the people all of the time," deeply parallels the elections of 1824 and 1828. This is when consummate "outsider," a tough-as-nails backwoods "westerner" and war hero, Andrew Jackson, spouting conspiracy theories about corruption and "elites" rose to the presidency.

Trump advisor Steve Bannon actually studied Jackson and his rise to prominence, followed by a checkered presidency of broken treaties and violent retribution against his personal enemies.

Both Trump and Jackson brought first ladies to the White House with "deeply singed" reputations.

This is where the comparison ends. Jackson typically settled his personal grudges with a pistol or sword, not his mouth or lawyers. He warred on the Rothschilds' agents and their national bank set up by Federalist Alexander Hamilton.

Above all, Jackson was the "real deal," opposing elites who were then as they are today, utterly corrupt. Trump is certainly not the "real deal," not with a cabinet of the "worst of the worst" of corrupt elites and policies and appointments intended to stifle democratic institutions.

The Central Banks

The Fed

Trump's court appointments , rushed through congress, most unvetted and unqualified, dark histories of personal bias and corruption, many young enough to serve for decades, are intended to protect and serve the corrupt elites from public scrutiny and any legal process.

At the root of it all, in America as with America's NATO allies, are the central banks that date back centuries.

Jackson, in 1833, shut down the bank run by Nicholas Biddle and backed by powerful "bought and paid for" Senator Henry Clay. Jackson did so defending the constitution which clearly prohibited a central bank which the founding fathers recognized as the root cause of Europe's continual wars.

A year later, in 1834, congress censured Jackson for abusing presidential power. His congress was "owned" by Biddle and his European masters.

Today, we have a "dime store" Jackson, someone with the swagger and none of the real muscle. Perhaps Trump saw another example of an American who stood against the central bank, that being John Kennedy and his fate and that of his brother Robert.

Were one to follow this vein, as to who owns and controls the central banks, and how the restoration of the central bank in 1913 re-empowered America's European masters under the Federal Reserve Act, a fuller backdrop for understanding America's crippled political scene would entail. Our focus is elsewhere, and America's own debt slavery is an important component for certain.

American Terrorism

How does the world see the US?

Increasingly , the world is terrified of America. A single nation drowning in 21 trillion dollars of bankruptcy is blackmailing the world.

America clearly can't manage its own affairs at home, a nation with a third of its citizens living in or near absolute poverty, a nation ruled by functional illiterates or faithless warmongers, yet America continues its military crusade for what it calls "justice and freedom" that its own citizens seldom see.

Sanctions, trade wars and military bullying focused on rebuilding world divides, restoring world tensions and finding adversaries where partners or friends may well have been, is the watchword of American policy. Why?

America is breaking the rules. There was always "wiggle room" in the hodge-podge of international law, room for "justified war" and a door opened for the "victor's justice" we saw at the Nuremberg and Tokyo Tribunals after World War II.

Even that is gone today, and America's domestic political meltdown is largely responsible.

Were one to look to the roots, even before Machiavelli, one might turn to Sun Tzu. In his Art of War, Sun Tzu advised a combatant to always build a golden bridge for a retreating enemy. In the world of nuclear brinksmanship, this might be more aptly be expressed as a lesson most learned as children on the school playing fields.

Never humiliate a potential adversary.

Background

Unrest in US

At one time , Americans themselves were politically astute, at least an activist core, including up to 40 million union members when they held sway over politics.

At one time, the primary concern of Americans was economics, the day to day issues of job security, rising prices and economic survival for the family.

Demagogues would drum beat about the dangers of communism or the threat of drugs. Hollywood would depict, almost continually, a Soviet occupation of America, films like Red Dawn or even, jokingly, The Russians are Coming, The Russians Are Coming. No sane person took it seriously

However, as most recognize, sanity isn't now nor may ever have been the strong suit for many Americans.

Why Things Are Different

Depiction of Andrew Jackson at Battle of New Orleans

America was always strife with racial, religious and class differences. What few recognize is the regionalism that was initially expressed in the political aspirations of Andrew Jackson, America's first populist "outsider."

From the Atlantic, November 2016:

"Newt Gingrich has compared Trump to Jackson for some time. Rudolph Giuliani declared on election night that it was 'like Andrew Jackson's victory. This is the people beating the establishment.' That may seem a comforting comparison, since it locates Donald Trump in the American experience and makes his election seem less of a departure.

Is Trump's victory really like Jackson's? On the surface, yes: In 1828, an 'outsider' candidate appealed directly to the people against elites he called corrupt. A deeper look at Jackson's victory complicates the comparison, but still says much about America then and now.

Jackson's road to victory began with a defeat. He was a Tennessee politician and plantation owner turned soldier, a man who, unlike Trump, had deep experience in government. As a general, he became the greatest hero of the War of 1812, and capitalized on his fame by running for president in 1824. But the electoral votes were split between four candidates. The presidency was decided by the House of Representatives, which chose John Quincy Adams, the highly qualified secretary of state.

1833 Democratic cartoon shows Jackson destroying the "Devil's Bank" (Photo credit, Wikipedia)

Jackson politely congratulated the winner but was seething. He soon declared the system was rigged. The Jacksonians' phrase was 'bargain and corruption' -- they said the House speaker, Henry Clay, had thrown the vote in exchange for being named secretary of state.

This conspiracy theory added an element of rage to Jackson's basic argument that he was simply owed the presidency. Although the House had voted in accordance with the Constitution, Jackson insisted that he should have automatically won because 'the majority' of the people supported him. (He'd actually won a plurality of the popular vote, 40 percent, which was politically significant but had no legal bearing.)

With an eye to the next election, he set out to upend the political system, which had been running predictably for a generation. A party founded by Thomas Jefferson had installed four consecutive presidents. Most elections were not even close. Relatively few people voted, and many lacked voting rights. But the franchise was expanding to include all white men, and boisterous new political forces were sweeping the growing nation.

Jackson and his allies spent four years building a popular movement in favor of majority rule. They worked to delegitimize President Adams, promoting the "corrupt bargain" conspiracy theory and blocking his programs in Congress. In their 1828 rematch, Jackson defeated Adams in a landslide. His 1829 inauguration was recorded as a triumph of the people, who mobbed the White House in such numbers that they trashed it. It's this moment to which Giuliani referred on election night 2016."

Defining the Problem

War is a racket and a habit. (Four Horsemen of Apocalypse, by Viktor Vasnetsov, 1887)

In using "Jacksonesque" methods without Jackson, the man, with his own experiences and moral center as a balance, Bannon and Trump, now Trump with Bolton and Giuliani, personify not just corruption. The world is seeing a darkness unleashed, an America wielded as a sword for globalist forces.

What is different today is that forces that reined in the "globalist cabal," for lack of another term acceptable for publication, no longer exist.

The formula used to take America to war time and time again, 1898 with Spain or the two wars with Germany, jingoism, black propaganda, false flag terrorism, seen again on 9/11, has its limitations. When the US went to full scale war in Vietnam, justified by the Tonkin Gulf incident, reputedly a false flag attack on the US Navy by imaginary North Vietnamese patrol boats, the public eventually rose in relative "unison," to stop the war.

Most of these real men are now lost to the ages, prematurely dead from war toxin spray. How we miss their race.

Eventually, under the Clinton presidency, America had not only largely demilitarized, but had also entered into a series of treaties limiting strategic nuclear capabilities. The end result was a pay down on the national debt and an impeachment attempt against Clinton.

The false flag event that drove the fragile, drugged American psyche over the cliff

This was followed by the rigged election of 2000, then 9/11, then abrogated treaties, ten trillion in new debt, police state legislation, near total military rule and a permanent war footing.

What was different, what separated America of 1965-1970 and America of 2000?

The unions were gone and with them the political leaders who answered to the working class that fought the wars and paid the bills.

Campaign finance legislation was erased by a biased Supreme Court under Citizens United v. US in 2005.

Corporate control of media was complete.

Ragtag extremist billionaires, the Koch's, Adelson, Scaife, DeVos, Coors and a series of offshore "oligarchs" bought congress, as had been done during the Jackson presidency nearly two centuries before.

Then there is the internet. Where Jackson's electoral environment included limited suffrage, men only, property owners only, voting only by the few, the larger electorate of the 21st century were subject to advanced manipulation and thought control, real not imaginary, through social media.

In fact, two realities had been created, perhaps even more, separate worlds for each recognized and identified "type," based on psychological triggers. Think tanks and major military and intelligence contracting firms received and continue to receive billions to study and tune capabilities, not just altering opinions but further, altering the ability to perceive and judge.

Thus, when Jackson stood against congress, he had the support of the people, the frontiersmen, the farmers, the working classes, people now "chasing their own tails" at the behest of "fake everything."

Conclusion

What we are left with is an America capable of targeting any nation, capable of capriciousness unimagined by those who see it, who suffer it, those who assume rationality exists though not evidenced.

It was Baudelaire (1864, Le Joueur Genereaux):

"la plus belle des ruses du diable est de vous persuader qu'il n'existe pas!" (the most beautiful trick of the devil is to persuade you that he does not exist!)

Again we return to the issue of the unasked question of "why?" We know who, we know what, but as the question of "why" is never asked, then we are then faced with another question, more basic, more telling. Why are we afraid to ask a question? Why do we choose to turn away from what we know to be the presence of pervasive evil itself as a prime motivator?

Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War that has worked on veterans and POW issues for decades and consulted with governments challenged by security issues. He's a senior editor and chairman of the board of Veterans Today , especially for the online magazine " New Eastern Outlook ."

SOURCE New Eastern Outlook, Moscow

[Jun 12, 2018] Debacle in Quebec by Paul Krugman

Jun 12, 2018 | www.nytimes.com

... ... ...

Then Trump demanded that the other G7 members remove their "ridiculous and unacceptable" tariffs on U.S. goods – which would be hard for them to do, because their actual tariff rates are very low. The European Union, for example, levies an average tariff of only three percent on US goods. Who says so? The U.S. government's own guide to exporters .

True, there are some particular sectors where each country imposes special barriers to trade. Yes, Canada imposes high tariffs on certain dairy products. But it's hard to make the case that these special cases are any worse than, say, the 25 percent tariff the U.S. still imposes on light trucks . The overall picture is that all of the G7 members have very open markets.

So what on earth was Trump even talking about? His trade advisers have repeatedly claimed that value-added taxes, which play an important role in many countries, are a form of unfair trade protection . But this is sheer ignorance: VATs don't convey any competitive advantage – they're just a way of implementing a sales tax -- which is why they're legal under the WTO. And the rest of the world isn't going to change its whole fiscal system because the U.S. president chooses to listen to advisers who don't understand anything.

... ... ...

[Jun 10, 2018] Trump At G-7 Closing Remarks We're The Piggy Bank That Everybody's Robbing

Looks like Trump adopted Victoria Nuland "Fuck the EU" attitude ;-). There might be nasty surprises down the road as this is uncharted territory: destruction of neoliberal globalization.
Trump proved to be a really bad negotiator. he reduced the USA to a schoolyard bully who beats up his gang members because their former victims have grown too big.
As the owner of world reserve currency the USA is able to tax US denominated transactions both via conversion fees and inflation. As long as the USA has dollar as a reserve currency the USA has so called "exorbitant priviledge" : "In the Bretton Woods system put in place in 1944, US dollars were convertible to gold. In France, it was called "America's exorbitant privilege"[219] as it resulted in an "asymmetric financial system" where foreigners "see themselves supporting American living standards and subsidizing American multinationals"."... "De Gaulle openly criticised the United States intervention in Vietnam and the "exorbitant privilege" of the United States dollar. In his later years, his support for the slogan "Vive le Québec libre" and his two vetoes of Britain's entry into the European Economic Community generated considerable controversy." Charles de Gaulle - Wikipedia
Notable quotes:
"... Errrr, that so-called "piggy bank' just happens to; ..."
"... have the world's reserve currency ..."
"... dominates the entire planet militarily since the end of the Cold War ..."
"... dictates "regime change" around the world ..."
"... manipulates and controls the world's entire financial system, from the price of a barrel to every financial transaction in the SWIFT system. ..."
"... And Trump has the ignorance, the arrogance and the audacity to be pleading 'poverty?' ..."
Jun 10, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

On trade:

"We had productive discussion on having fair and reciprocal" trade and market access.

"We're linked in the great effort to create a more just and prosperous world. And from the standpoint of trade and creating more prosperous countries, I think they are starting to be committed to more fair trade. We as a nation lost $870 billion on trade...I blame our leaders and I congratulate leaders of other countries for taking advantage of our leaders."

"If they retaliate they're making a tremendous mistake because you see we have a tremendous trade imbalance...the numbers are so much against them, we win that war 1000 times out of a 1000."

"We're negotiating very hard, tariffs and barriers...the European Union is brutal to the United States....the gig is up...there's nothing they can say."

"We're like the piggy bank that everybody's robbing."

"I would say the level of relationship is a ten - Angela, Emmanuel and Justin - we have a very good relationship. I won't blame these people, unless they don't smarten up and make the trades fair."

Trump is now making the 20-hour flight to Singapore, where he will attend a historic summit with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un. We'll now keep our eye out for the finalized communique from the group. The US is typically a leader in the crafting of the statement. But this time, it's unclear if the US had any input at all into the statement, as only the leaders from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan as well as the presidents of the European Commission and European Council remain at the meeting. But regardless of who writes it, the statement will probably be of little consequence, as UBS points out:

Several heads of state will be heading off on a taxpayer-financed "mini-break" in Canada today. In all of its incarnations (over the past four years, we've gone from G-8 to G-6+1) the group hasn't really accomplished much since an initial burst of enthusiasm with the Plaza Accords and Louvre Accords in the 1980s.

And this meeting likely won't be any different.


Simplifiedfrisbee -> ravolla Sat, 06/09/2018 - 11:31 Permalink

Unprepared son of a bitch.

Sack of filth.

Klassenfeind -> Dickweed Wang Sat, 06/09/2018 - 11:43 Permalink

"We're the piggy bank that everybody is robbing." Excuse me?!

Errrr, that so-called "piggy bank' just happens to;

  1. have the world's reserve currency
  2. dominates the entire planet militarily since the end of the Cold War
  3. dictates "regime change" around the world
  4. manipulates and controls the world's entire financial system, from the price of a barrel to every financial transaction in the SWIFT system.

And Trump has the ignorance, the arrogance and the audacity to be pleading 'poverty?'

Who THE FUCK is robbing who here?!?

Escrava Isaura -> helltothenah Sat, 06/09/2018 - 14:51 Permalink

By the way, Trump is right on the tariffs in my view, Europeans should lower their tariffs and not having the US raising it.

Trump: "We're The Piggy Bank That Everybody's Robbing"

Isn't Trump great in catch phrases? Trump's base will now regurgitate it to death.

Now reconcile Trump's remarks with reality:

Professor Werner: Germany is for instance not even allowed to receive delivery of US Treasuries that it may have purchased as a result of the dollars earned through its current account surplus: these Treasuries have to be held in custody by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a privately owned bank: A promise on a promise. At the same time, German influence over the pyramid structure of such promises has been declining rapidly since the abolition of the German currency and introduction of the euro, controlled by an unaccountable supranational international agency that cannot be influenced by any democratic assembly in the eurozone. As a result, this structure of one-sided outflows of real goods and services from Germany is likely to persist in the short and medium-term.

To add insult to injury:

Euro-federalists financed by US spy chiefs

The documents show that ACUE financed the European Movement, the most important federalist organisation in the post-war years. In 1958, for example, it provided 53.5 per cent of the movement's funds.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/1356047/Euro-federalists-financed-by-US-spy-chiefs.html

bshirley1968 -> Escrava Isaura Sat, 06/09/2018 - 15:00 Permalink

Okay, everyone set your "team" aside for a few minutes and let's look at the facts and reality.

Do you really believe the rest of the world has trade advantages over the US? Well, let's consider major industries.

Agriculture.....maybe, but only sightly. Our farmers are the richest in the workd....by far.

Manufacturers.....probably so....because we gave it away to countries with slave labor. Manufacturers jobs were jobs where people could earn a decent living...and that had to go..can't be cutting into corporate profits with all that high cost labor.

Defense.....need I go here? We spend more than the next 11 countries combined! We sell more as well.

Energy.....we rule thus space because we buy it with worthless printed fiat debt...whenever we want to....and nd if you deny us, we will bomb the hell out of you and take it.

Technology. ....Apple, Microsoft, Intel, Google, Amazon, Oracle, Dell, Cisco.....who can touch that line up....not to mention all the on-line outfits like Facebook and Twitter.

Finance.....the best for last. We control the printing press that prints the dollar the rest of the world needs. We control energy and foreign policy. Don't do what we like and we will cut you off from SWIFT and devalue the hell out of your currency...and then move in for the "regime" change to some one who plays ball the way we like it. 85% of all international trade takes place in dollars everyday. We have the biggest banks, Wall Street, and infest the world with our virus called the dollar so that we can Jeri their chain at will.

Now I ask you....just where the hell is the "trade imbalances"? Sure there are some companies or job sectors that get a raw deal because our politicians give some foreigners unfair trade advantages here and there, but as a whole, we dominate trade by far. The poor in our country lives like kings compared to 5.5 billion of the world's population. Trump knows this.....or he is stupid. He is pandering to his sheeple voting base that are easily duped into believing someone is getting what is their's.

Hey, I am thankful to be an American and enjoy the advantages we have. But I am not going to stick my head up Trump's ass and agree with this bullshit. It is misdirection (corporate America and politicians are the problem here, not foreign countries) and a major distraction. Because all the trade in the world isn't going to pull us out of this debt catastrophe that's coming.

waspwench -> bshirley1968 Sat, 06/09/2018 - 16:47 Permalink

But, if we cut through all the verbiage, we will arrive at the elephant in the room.

American manufacturing jobs have been off-shored to low wage countries and the jobs which have replaced them are, for the most part, minium wage service jobs. A man cannot buy a house, marry and raise a family on a humburger-flippers wage. Even those minimum wage jobs are often unavailable to Americans because millions of illegal aliens have been allowed into the country and they are undercutting wages in the service sector. At the same time, the better paid positions are being given to H-1B visa holders who undercut the American worker (who is not infrequently forced to train his own replacement in order to access his unemployment benefits.)

As the above paragraph demonstrates the oligarchs are being permitted to force down American wages and the fact that we no longer make, but instead import, the things we need, thus exporting our wealth and damaging our own workers is all the same to them. They grow richer and they do not care about our country or our people. If they can make us all into slaves it will suit them perfectly.

We need tariffs to enable our workers to compete against third world wages in countries where the cost-of-living is less. (American wages may be stagnating or declining but our cost-of-living is not declining.) We need to deport illegal aliens and to stop the flow of them over our borders. (Build the wall.) We need to severely limit the H-1B visa programme which is putting qualified Americans out of work. (When I came to the US in 1967 I was permitted entry on the basis that I was coming to do a job for which there were not enough American workers available. Why was that rule ever changed?)

bshirley1968 -> waspwench Sat, 06/09/2018 - 18:45 Permalink

You are making my point. China didn't "off shore" our jobs....our politicians and corporations did. You can't fix that by going after other countries. You fix that by penalizing companies for using slave labor workers from other countries. Tariffs are not going to fix this. They will just raise prices on everyone.

I can't believe you Trumptards can't see this! Once again we will focus on a symptom and ignore the real problem. Boy, Trump and his buddies from NYC and DC have really suffered because of unfair trade practices, right? Why can't you people see that "government is the problem" and misdirection your attention to China, Canada, Germany, Mexico, or whomever is just that....misdirection.

I would tax the shit out of companies like Apple that make everything overseas with slave labor and then ship it in here to sell to Americans at ridiculous prices.

Plenty of down votes but no one has proven that I am wrong on one point.

mkkby -> helltothenah Sat, 06/09/2018 - 17:52 Permalink

The EU countries have free college, health care, day care and just about everything else. All paid for because they have no military spending.

It's all on the backs of the US tax payer. Or the fed, if you prefer.

Trump is working both angles. Forcing them to pay for their own defense. Forcing them to allow US products with no trade disadvantages. Go MAGA and fuck the EU.

[Jun 10, 2018] Trump and National Neoliberalism, Revisited by Sasha Breger Bush

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... But if we take seriously the idea that Trump is a consequence of the disintegration of American democracy rather than the cause of it, this "blame game" becomes especially problematic. Partisan bickering, with one party constantly pointing to the other as responsible for the country's ills, covers up the fact that Democrats and Republicans alike have presided over the consolidation of corporate power in the United States. To paraphrase Ralph Nader, the U.S. corporate state is a two-headed beast. Sure, President Trump and the Republican Party are currently handing over public lands to oil and gas companies, eliminating net neutrality, introducing pro-corporate tax legislation, kowtowing to the military industrial complex, defunding the welfare state, and attempting to privatize education and deregulate finance. But let's not forget our recent Democratic presidents, for example, who are also guilty of empowering and enriching big business and disempowering and impoverishing ordinary Americans. ..."
"... All of this is to say that I'm considerably less excited about 2018 and 2020 than many others -- on what counts as the U.S. left -- appear to be. Democratic Party victories at the ballot box would certainly reduce some of the pressures on a variety of marginalized groups who are suffering mightily under President Trump. This is, of course, a good thing. But, Democratic victories will not "fix" the structural problems that underpin our current political crisis nor will they ensure a freer and more just future. ..."
Jun 10, 2018 | www.dollarsandsense.org

This article is from Dollars & Sense : Real World Economics, available at http://www.dollarsandsense.org

Last winter, in the wake of the 2016 Presidential election, I wrote an article for Dollars & Sense in which I argued that Trump's election represented a transition toward "national neoliberalism" in the United States ("Trump and National Neoliberalism: Trump's ascendance means the end of globalism -- but not of neoliberalism," January/February 2017).

I argued that this emergent state of affairs would be marked by a completion of the takeover of the U.S. government by corporate interests. I saw the election of Trump -- a top one-percenter and real estate tycoon firmly rooted in the culture and logic of big business, who has somehow convinced many Americans that he is an anti-establishment "outsider" -- as an "unmasking" of the corporate state, a revelation of the ongoing merger between state and market that has arguably been ongoing since the 1970s. In short, I envisioned a movement away from "global neoliberalism," a state of affairs characterized by the increasing preeminence of transnational corporate capital in a relatively open global political-economic system, and towards "national neoliberalism," a state of affairs in which transnational corporate dominance is cemented in the context of an ever more fragmented and dangerous global system.

About ten years ago, political theorist Sheldon Wolin published Democracy Incorporated , diagnosing American democracy with a potentially fatal corporate disease. Referring to the specter of "inverted totalitarianism," Wolin writes in his preface:

Primarily it represents the political coming of age of corporate power and the political demobilization of the citizenry. Unlike the classic forms of totalitarianism [e.g. Germany, Italy], which openly boasted of their intentions to force their societies into preconceived totality, inverted totalitarianism is not expressly conceptualized as an ideology or objectified in public policy. Typically it is furthered by power-holders and citizens who often seem unaware of the deeper consequences of their actions or inactions. There is a certain heedlessness, an inability to take seriously the extent to which a pattern of consequences may take shape without having been preconceived. Wolin paints a picture of a gradual process of change in which many different actors, some wealthy and powerful and others not, unwittingly push the country's politics, bit by bit in piecemeal fashion, towards an undemocratic, corporate-controlled end. Many of these actors may have good intentions. Many of them may see themselves as champions of the people. Many of them may actually speak out against the very interests that they in other ways empower.

This framework for thinking about the plight of the United States, which has for me been legitimated over and over again during Trump's first year in office, conditions how I think about President Trump and the Republican Party, and how I think about our opportunities for nonviolent social transformation, freedom, and social justice. It's hard not to point to President Trump and blame him for our problems. He is a bigot who has struck out at immigrants, Muslims, Arabs, African-Americans, Mexicans, women, LGBT people, and disabled people. He lacks the basic knowledge of politics and foreign policy that are a necessary condition for competent leadership. He picked up a congratulatory call from the President of Taiwan in December 2016, disrupting relations with China, and called North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un "short" and "fat." He is a paranoid and narcissistic demagogue who has scorned and marginalized journalists, and made the terms "fake news" and "alternative facts" household words. He is a corrupt businessman who is using the levers of power that he controls to enrich Big Business, as well as his cronies, his friends, and himself. I could go on.

It's also hard not to point to Republicans in Congress. After the election, there was hope that the "never Trump" Republicans would win out and that Trump's agenda would be blocked. This has not happened. While some in Congress, like Senators McCain (R-Ariz.), Corker (R-Tenn.), Collins (R-Maine), Flake (R-Ariz.) and Murkowski (R-Alaska) have defied Trump in certain contexts (e.g. on foreign policy), on many issues congressional Republicans have simply fallen in line (e.g. with tax reform). Today, the Republican Party is often discussed by liberals in the same breath as Trump, with everyone hoping for good news in 2018 and 2020.

But if we take seriously the idea that Trump is a consequence of the disintegration of American democracy rather than the cause of it, this "blame game" becomes especially problematic. Partisan bickering, with one party constantly pointing to the other as responsible for the country's ills, covers up the fact that Democrats and Republicans alike have presided over the consolidation of corporate power in the United States. To paraphrase Ralph Nader, the U.S. corporate state is a two-headed beast. Sure, President Trump and the Republican Party are currently handing over public lands to oil and gas companies, eliminating net neutrality, introducing pro-corporate tax legislation, kowtowing to the military industrial complex, defunding the welfare state, and attempting to privatize education and deregulate finance. But let's not forget our recent Democratic presidents, for example, who are also guilty of empowering and enriching big business and disempowering and impoverishing ordinary Americans.

President Obama presided over the modernization of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, a process that President Trump is continuing. As William Hartung recently reported in Mother Jones , "There is, in fact, a dirty little secret behind the massive U.S. arsenal: It has more to do with the power and profits of weapons makers than it does with any imaginable strategic considerations." President Obama also helped corporations get richer and more powerful in other ways. He negotiated the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multilateral trade deal that, if Trump had not withdrawn us, would have expanded U.S. corporate access to overseas markets and given multinational corporates new policy leverage over governments (via investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms). (See Robin Brand, "Remembering the 'Tokyo No'," Dollars & Sense , January/February 2015.) In 2012, as he was running for his second term, Obama proposed a reduction in the corporate tax rate to 28%, not much different from the bill just passed by Congress. He also lobbied Congress for the $700 billion Wall Street bailouts after the Great Recession, continuing on the policy path set by his Republican predecessor, President Bush. (Obama received huge campaign contributions from finance, insurance, and real estate.) In terms of income inequality, CNBC had to reluctantly conclude that the gap widened under Obama, in spite of all his powerful rhetoric about equity and equality.

President Clinton negotiated and signed NAFTA into law, a trade agreement that created hardship for millions of American manufacturing workers and farmers, and generated large profits for multinational industrial and agricultural corporations. Clinton also pushed for welfare reform, signing into law a "workfare" system that required recipients to meet strict job and employment related conditions. Millions of people became ineligible for payments under the new system, and poverty increased especially among households in which members were long-term unemployed. Clinton's 1997 tax proposal advocated cutting estate taxes and capital gains taxes, and did not favor lower-income Americans. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities noted, "Analyses by the Treasury Department indicate that when fully in effect, the Clinton plan would give the 20 percent of Americans with the highest incomes about the same amount in tax cuts as the bottom 60 percent combined. This is an unusual characteristic for a tax plan proposed by a Democratic President."

All of this is to say that I'm considerably less excited about 2018 and 2020 than many others -- on what counts as the U.S. left -- appear to be. Democratic Party victories at the ballot box would certainly reduce some of the pressures on a variety of marginalized groups who are suffering mightily under President Trump. This is, of course, a good thing. But, Democratic victories will not "fix" the structural problems that underpin our current political crisis nor will they ensure a freer and more just future.

I plan to support third-party candidates at the ballot box in coming years, in the hopes of contributing to the creation of a new kind of political infrastructure that can help us to unmake the corporate state.

SASHA BREGER-BUSH is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Colorado–Denver.

[Jun 06, 2018] Despite the fact that Trump folded, for the foreseeable future the Neocons will continue to focus their energy on trying to impeach Trump by the Saker

This article on almost a year old but thinks are developing as predicted. Which increases its value.
"... Since when did Trump become an expert on political science and world history anyway? Who does he think he is lecturing? Yet another US middle school classroom?! Does he not realize that a good number of the countries represented at the UN consider themselves Socialist?! Furthermore, while I don't necessarily disagree with the notion that Socialist and Communist ideas have often been a disaster in the 20th century, Socialism in the 21st century is an entirely different beast and the jury is still very much out on this issue, especially when considering the social, political, economic, ecological, psychological and even spiritual disaster Capitalism is now proving to be for much of the planet. Being the President of a country as dysfunctional as the US, Trump would be well-advised to tone down his arrogant pontifications about Socialism and maybe even open a book and read about it. ..."
"... My guess is that all they want is to send a clear messages to the Comprador elites running most countries that this is the "official ideology of the AngloZionist Empire" and if they want to remain in power they better toe the line even if nobody takes this stuff seriously. Yup, back to a 1980s Soviet kind of attitude towards propaganda: nobody cares what everybody else really thinks as long as everybody continues to pretend to believe the official propaganda. ..."
"... Ever since the Neocons overthrew Trump and made him what is colloquially referred to as their "bitch" the US foreign policy has come to a virtual standstill. ..."
"... Because, and make no mistake here, if the US cannot get anything constructive done any more, they retain a huge capability to disrupt, subvert, create chaos and the like. ..."
"... However, the US themselves are now the prime victim of a decapitated Presidency and a vindictive and generally out of control Neocon effort to prevent true American patriots to "get their country back" (as they say) and finally overthrow the regime in Washington DC. ..."
Notable quotes:
"... Since when did Trump become an expert on political science and world history anyway? Who does he think he is lecturing? Yet another US middle school classroom?! Does he not realize that a good number of the countries represented at the UN consider themselves Socialist?! Furthermore, while I don't necessarily disagree with the notion that Socialist and Communist ideas have often been a disaster in the 20th century, Socialism in the 21st century is an entirely different beast and the jury is still very much out on this issue, especially when considering the social, political, economic, ecological, psychological and even spiritual disaster Capitalism is now proving to be for much of the planet. Being the President of a country as dysfunctional as the US, Trump would be well-advised to tone down his arrogant pontifications about Socialism and maybe even open a book and read about it. ..."
"... we all know who Trump's puppet-masters are nowadays so we know what to expect ..."
"... Trump is now clearly fully endorsing that fairytale that "The West" (in which Trump now hilariously includes Poland!) has defeated Hitler and saved the world. The truth is that the Nazis were defeated by the Soviets and that all the efforts of the Poles, French, Brits and even Americans were but a minor (20% max) sideshow to the "real event" (Those who still might believe in this nonsense can simply read this ). Yet again, that the Americans would feel the need to appropriate for themselves somebody else's victory is, yet again, a clear sign of weakness. Do they expect the rest of the planet to buy into this nonsense? Probably not. ..."
"... My guess is that all they want is to send a clear messages to the Comprador elites running most countries that this is the "official ideology of the AngloZionist Empire" and if they want to remain in power they better toe the line even if nobody takes this stuff seriously. Yup, back to a 1980s Soviet kind of attitude towards propaganda: nobody cares what everybody else really thinks as long as everybody continues to pretend to believe the official propaganda. ..."
"... Ever since the Neocons overthrew Trump and made him what is colloquially referred to as their "bitch" the US foreign policy has come to a virtual standstill. ..."
"... Because, and make no mistake here, if the US cannot get anything constructive done any more, they retain a huge capability to disrupt, subvert, create chaos and the like. ..."
"... However, the US themselves are now the prime victim of a decapitated Presidency and a vindictive and generally out of control Neocon effort to prevent true American patriots to "get their country back" (as they say) and finally overthrow the regime in Washington DC. ..."
"... It appears that for the foreseeable future Trump will continue to focus his energy on beating Obama for the status of "worst President in US history" while the Neocons will continue to focus their energy on trying to impeach Trump ..."
"... I still maintain that the worst President in history (excluding possibly Woodrow Wilson) was Bill Clinton (strongly influenced, no doubt, by Hillary.) Sure, the 90′s were a great time in America, but Clinton's evil actions (signing NAFTA, the Crime Bill, ignoring Bin Laden, and repealing Glass-Steagall to name just a few) had not yet come to fruition. ..."
"... Consider that the scene he bought into is the product of 70 years of constant propaganda aimed at the American psyche and how successful that has been. ..."
"... Hillary would not have done anything different than Trump. Trump is a dumb shit sycophant of the Deep State just like Hillary. ..."
"... "Step by step the US is getting closer to a civil war" That pretty much says it all. All it will take is for US troops to get an unexpected butt kicking somewhere, sometime. ..."
Sep 20, 2017 | www.unz.com

Late this morning, outraged emails started pouring in. My correspondents reported "getting sick" and having their "heart ache". The cause of all that? They had just watched Trump's speech at the UN...

You can read the full (rush, not official) text here or watch the video here . Most of it is so vapid that I won't even bother posting the full thing. But there are a few interesting moments including those:

"We will be spending almost $700 billion on our military and defense. Our military will soon be the strongest it has ever been"

This short sentence contains the key to unlock the reason behind the fact that while the US military is extremely good at killing people in large numbers, it is also extremely bad at winning wars. Like most Americans, Trump is under the illusion that spending a lot of money "buys" you a better military. This is completely false, of course. If spending money was the key to a competent military force, the US armed forces would have already conquered the entire planet many times over. In reality, they have not won anything meaningful since the war in the Pacific.

...then he suddenly decided to share this outright bizarre insight of his:

The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented. From the Soviet Union to Cuba to Venezuela, wherever true socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure.

Since when did Trump become an expert on political science and world history anyway? Who does he think he is lecturing? Yet another US middle school classroom?! Does he not realize that a good number of the countries represented at the UN consider themselves Socialist?! Furthermore, while I don't necessarily disagree with the notion that Socialist and Communist ideas have often been a disaster in the 20th century, Socialism in the 21st century is an entirely different beast and the jury is still very much out on this issue, especially when considering the social, political, economic, ecological, psychological and even spiritual disaster Capitalism is now proving to be for much of the planet. Being the President of a country as dysfunctional as the US, Trump would be well-advised to tone down his arrogant pontifications about Socialism and maybe even open a book and read about it.

I won't even bother discussing the comprehensively counter-factual nonsense Trump has spewed about Iran and Hezbollah, we all know who Trump's puppet-masters are nowadays so we know what to expect . Instead, I will conclude with this pearl from The Donald:

In remembering the great victory that led to this body's founding, we must never forget that those heroes who fought against evil, also fought for the nations that they love. Patriotism led the Poles to die to save Poland, the French to fight for a free France, and the Brits to stand strong for Britain.

Echoing the nonsense he spoke while in Poland, Trump is now clearly fully endorsing that fairytale that "The West" (in which Trump now hilariously includes Poland!) has defeated Hitler and saved the world. The truth is that the Nazis were defeated by the Soviets and that all the efforts of the Poles, French, Brits and even Americans were but a minor (20% max) sideshow to the "real event" (Those who still might believe in this nonsense can simply read this ). Yet again, that the Americans would feel the need to appropriate for themselves somebody else's victory is, yet again, a clear sign of weakness. Do they expect the rest of the planet to buy into this nonsense? Probably not.

My guess is that all they want is to send a clear messages to the Comprador elites running most countries that this is the "official ideology of the AngloZionist Empire" and if they want to remain in power they better toe the line even if nobody takes this stuff seriously. Yup, back to a 1980s Soviet kind of attitude towards propaganda: nobody cares what everybody else really thinks as long as everybody continues to pretend to believe the official propaganda.

[Sidebar: When my wife and I watched this pathetic speech we starting laughing about the fact that Trump was so obscenely bad that we (almost) begin to miss Obama. This is a standing joke in our family because when Obama came to power we (almost) began to miss Dubya. The reason why this is a joke is that when Dubya came to power we decided that there is no way anybody could possibly be worse than him. Oh boy where we wrong! Right now I am still not at the point were I would be missing Obama (that is asking for a lot from me!), but I will unapologetically admit that I am missing Dubya. I do. I really do. Maybe not the people around Dubya, he is the one who truly let the Neocon "crazies in the basement" creep out and occupy the Situation Room, but at least Dubya seemed to realize how utterly incompetent he was. Furthermore, Dubya was a heck of a lot dumber than Obama (in this context being stupid is a mitigating factor) and he sure did not have the truly galactic arrogance of Trump (intelligence-wise they are probably on par)].

In conclusion, what I take away from this speech is a sense of relief for the rest of the planet and a sense of real worry for the US. Ever since the Neocons overthrew Trump and made him what is colloquially referred to as their "bitch" the US foreign policy has come to a virtual standstill. Sure, the Americans talk a lot, but at least they are doing nothing. That paralysis, which is a direct consequence of the internal infighting, is a blessing for the rest of the planet because it allows everybody else to get things done. Because, and make no mistake here, if the US cannot get anything constructive done any more, they retain a huge capability to disrupt, subvert, create chaos and the like.

But for as long as the US remains paralyzed this destructive potential remains mostly unused (and no matter how bad things look now, Hillary President would have been infinitely worse!). However, the US themselves are now the prime victim of a decapitated Presidency and a vindictive and generally out of control Neocon effort to prevent true American patriots to "get their country back" (as they say) and finally overthrow the regime in Washington DC.

Step by step the US is getting closer to a civil war and there is no hope in sight, at least for the time being. It appears that for the foreseeable future Trump will continue to focus his energy on beating Obama for the status of "worst President in US history" while the Neocons will continue to focus their energy on trying to impeach Trump , and maybe even trigger a civil war. The rest of us living here are in for some very tough times ahead. As they say in Florida when a hurricane comes barreling down on you "hunker down!".

Dan Hayes , September 19, 2017 at 11:36 pm GMT

The Saker,

Netanyahu has spoken, stating that Trump has given the boldest, most courageous UN speech that he has ever heard. Well that settles that with the prescient oracle rendering his definitive and omnipotent judgment!

FKA Max , Website September 20, 2017 at 2:02 am GMT

For What It's Worth, Trump Great On Immigration, Refugees At U.N. Today

http://www.vdare.com/posts/for-what-its-worth-trump-great-on-immigration-refugees-at-u-n-today

A lot of old friends didn't like President Trump's UN speech today because it didn't break cleanly with UniParty foreign policy! E.g. Paul Craig Roberts' comments here. But it did contain these revolutionary comments on immigration and refugee policy ! The latter especially significant because Trump has to set the quota for U.S. quota for refugees (actually expedited, subsidized, politically favored immigrants) in the next few days. Who knows what Trump will do! But Hillary would never even have said it
[...]
For the cost of resettling one refugee in the United States, we can assist more than 10 in their home region.
[...]
For decades, the United States has dealt with migration challenges here in the Western Hemisphere. We have learned that, over the long term, uncontrolled migration is deeply unfair to both the sending and the receiving countries.

For the sending countries, it reduces domestic pressure to pursue needed political and economic reform, and drains them of the human capital necessary to motivate and implement those reforms.

For the receiving countries, the substantial costs of uncontrolled migration are borne overwhelmingly by low-income citizens whose concerns are often ignored by both media and government.

peterAUS , September 20, 2017 at 2:35 am GMT

Disagree with most of the article, of course. Agree with these three:

The Americans talk a lot, but at least they are doing nothing. That paralysis, which is a direct consequence of the internal infighting .

No matter how bad things look now, Hillary President would have been infinitely worse!) ..

The rest of us living here are in for some very tough times ahead.

Fidelios Automata , September 20, 2017 at 3:13 am GMT

I still maintain that the worst President in history (excluding possibly Woodrow Wilson) was Bill Clinton (strongly influenced, no doubt, by Hillary.) Sure, the 90′s were a great time in America, but Clinton's evil actions (signing NAFTA, the Crime Bill, ignoring Bin Laden, and repealing Glass-Steagall to name just a few) had not yet come to fruition.

Robert Magill , September 20, 2017 at 3:40 am GMT

Assuming the keen political insight Trump exhibited to get himself the job he sought still exists, perhaps all this insane blather is proof it continues. Consider that the scene he bought into is the product of 70 years of constant propaganda aimed at the American psyche and how successful that has been.

Then imagine Trump feeding the ravenous American mindset for the status quo while actually working around it. Brilliant! Then again, if he truly means what he says, all is lost.

http://robertmagill.wordpress.com

Realist , September 20, 2017 at 7:47 am GMT

@peterAUS

Hillary would not have done anything different than Trump. Trump is a dumb shit sycophant of the Deep State just like Hillary.

FKA Max , Website September 20, 2017 at 10:50 am GMT

@FKA Max

The speech was reportedly written by Stephen Miller, a.k.a. Darth Vader to many in the mainstream media,
- https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/trumps-strikingly-conventional-un-speech/2017/09/19/876cb41a-9d75-11e7-9c8d-cf053ff30921_story.html?utm_term=.6df8b480a4d8

Thank you Stephen Miller! He must be reading Peter Singer:

International support for countries bearing the greatest refugee burden also makes economic sense: it costs Jordan about €3,000 ($3,350) to support one refugee for a year; in Germany, the cost is at least €12,000.
- http://www.unz.com/isteve/im-not-sure-why-but-this-headline-cracks-me-up/#comment-1746720
Another threat to the Church is the illegal immigration control movement. If this movement succeeds, and what is perceived by Latin Americans and other governments as an escape valve is shut off, these governments would logically say, "Our demographic course cannot continue." These governments would have little choice but to confront the Church and say, "If we are to survive as governments, then we must get serious about population growth control. Otherwise, we in Latin America are destined to become a sea of chaos. We, as Latin Americans, must make family planning and abortion services fully available and encourage their use." Turning off the valve to illegal immigration is therefore a serious threat to the power of the Church.
- http://www.unz.com/article/rule-or-ruin/#comment-1623864 This is Michael Anton on Trump's UN speech:

President Trump's Message: Make The United Nations Great

In fact, he's strengthened our alliances in meetings in Washington with key allies, by going to foreign capitals - the trip to France and the Bastille Day with America's oldest ally, with which the United States has in recent years had something of a rocky relationship – was strengthened enormously by that visit to Paris this year. And the president has, you know, both on a personal level and on an alliance level, really strengthened the alliance with France and with President Macron. In fact, he met with him yesterday and had a very, extremely positive and friendly meeting where they talked substantive business, but they also talked about the history of the alliance and reminisced a bit about the grandeur of that trip to Paris in July.

http://www.npr.org/2017/09/19/552025707/president-trumps-message-make-the-united-nations-great

The French president's suggestion that African women are breeding like animals and must be restrained by an enlightened elite awakens primordial terrors in the hearts of the mainstream Left and Right.
[...]
If Europeans are replaced with Africans, Western Civilization will disappear. The choices are simple: The West, yes or no? The white race, yes or no? Our rulers have exhausted all other options.

http://www.unz.com/article/trumps-warsaw-speech-and-the-real-clash-of-civilizations/#comment-1946225

Peter Singer on How Political Correctness Let African Population Growth Run Amok for a Generation

The outrage evoked by Macron's remark, however, appears to have little to do with its inaccuracy. Macron violated a taboo that has been in place since the International Conference on Population and Development, held under the auspices of the UN in Cairo in 1994. The conference adopted a Programme of Action that rejected a demographically driven approach to population policies, and instead focused on meeting the reproductive-health needs of individuals, especially women. Population targets were out; rights were in.

http://www.unz.com/isteve/peter-singer-on-how-political-correctness-let-african-population-growth-run-amok-for-a-generation/

I would like to explain what led me to conclude that Emmanuel Macron has an "Alt Right" worldview.

http://www.unz.com/article/collateral-damage/#comment-1955020

Don't lose hope
[...]
I shared this video here at the Unz Review before, but I would like to share it again, because it best encapsulates and captures what I personally associate with term "Alt Right"

http://www.unz.com/article/the-system-revealed-antifa-virginia-politicians-and-police-work-together-to-shut-down-unitetheright/#comment-1967326

French army band medleys Daft Punk following Bastille Day parade

The Scalpel , Website September 20, 2017 at 1:35 pm GMT

"Step by step the US is getting closer to a civil war" That pretty much says it all. All it will take is for US troops to get an unexpected butt kicking somewhere, sometime.

Studley , September 20, 2017 at 2:04 pm GMT

Churchill himself, one of a long list of Anglo-genocidal killers (according to The Saker's last post) admitted that, "The Red Army tore the guts out of The Wehrmacht." Is this even in dispute?

In Russian thinking therefore, with only 20% contribution by American/UK Commonwealth forces, we subtract that, and this is the diplomatic question. Why would Stalin's T34s not have rolled up to The English Channel and installed compliant Communist regimes in France/Belgium/Holland as they did in Eastern Europe?

They did the same in North Korea by installing the grandfather (Kim Il-Sung) of this young 'Rocket Man' in 1945 at the conclusion of the fighting against Japan in the far-east.

[Jun 06, 2018] And everyone knows that the "trickle down" effect does not work but don't let this truth stand in the way of the neoliberals stampeding to the trough

Yep, this is a new form of crony capitalism.
Jun 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

shirleytemple -> incompatible , 3 Jun 2018 18:03

And everyone knows that the "trickle down" effect does not work but don't let this truth stand in the way of the neoliberals stampeding to the trough.
incompatible , 3 Jun 2018 17:56
Since the 1980s, free markets have been promoted as the best way to generate wealth (which may be true) and the best way to help everyone in society since there will be more wealth to go around. That has turned out not to work so well, since the wealth doesn't "trickle down", but instead concentrates in fewer and fewer hands.
NickThiwerspoon , 3 Jun 2018 17:54
An excellent analysis. Neo-liberalism is a mechanism which transfers money from the poor to the rich. Far from "trickle down" it is in fact "siphon up".
BelindaJonas -> Colin Connelly , 3 Jun 2018 17:29
Therein lies the crux - to some folk (most, I would hesitate) money is a means of survival.
To others, (those obsessed with it) it's the source of power. Ergo, of course you can have too much money, since it is physically impossible to spend it. But at the same time, you cannot, if so compelled, have too much power.
Put simply, it is unadulterated GREED. An addiction, if you like.
And for that, there is no cure.
B.J.
morgey -> The Hope , 3 Jun 2018 18:02
'Aspiring to become rich' is the most vapid of all aspirations.
francis nongham , 3 Jun 2018 18:00
Privatization is one method of stealing the people's assessts and giving it to the wealthy through ownership of shares. The Lieberals talk of mum & dad investors yet 98% of Australian shares are owned by the wealthiest 1%
Rob Robinson , 3 Jun 2018 17:59
There are so many who believe they will benifit from these ideologies , that they reinforce those who promote them . They simply don't realise they are not part of the equation , and any benifit gained by them is simply incidental. The target recipients have always been the Corporate bodies and those with their finger in the pie . Not once , to my recollection, has the Australian people , in general terms , benifited from the sale of public companies , banks or infrastructure .
ramAustralia , 3 Jun 2018 17:56
Brilliant article, hits the nail on the head! Australia really did go "off the tracks" with the regime of John "Mugabe" Howard with a system of patronage, corruption, and systemic bribery which gave us a third world government. Like other "mineral resource rich, failed states" the nation's wealth has been mostly stolen.

[Jun 06, 2018] Seven signs of the neoliberal apocalypse Page 3 of 10 Discussion The Guardian

Jun 06, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

BlackAbbott -> ID2778880 , 27 Apr 2018 04:31

It's not about money. Ultimately, it's not even about the financial system.


But it is about money and about the financial system.
Neo-liberals see things as a dollar value only nothing else is of value. The fact that Macro economics is a social science is discarded and Micro-economics covers all that is of value. The financial system is critical because it is based on lies publicly. This is one of the reasons that power may indeed be defining. But the reason behind it is the lies of finance. The key ones being tax does not fund government and banks create instant money when they give a loan. The repayments cancel the money creation they do not get collected and put out as new loans. Like wise when the federal government spends it also creates new money and drains ot away by tax which destroys it. The federal government cannot save for a rainy day. Another financial one that needs dumping is the lie that a surplus is good. It is not. So yes finance is critical Power is a symptom of the lies. Not the cause.
As soon as they reality is accepted the whole driving force of neo-liberalism falls to bits. It is exposed. Its reason to sell assets vanishes (federally) The passing of costs to the states shows as political crap.
ID2778880 -> BlackAbbott , 27 Apr 2018 04:16
It's not about money. Ultimately, it's not even about the financial system. The real showdown will start with the fight over energy and resources.

Tightening energy and resource supply, associated with environmental degradation to obtain those resources and a still increasing world population will be the death of neo-liberalism. But in my view, it is unlikely to be replaced by Communism.

Laurence Bury , 27 Apr 2018 04:20
We would have to look back to before the OPEC oil shocks of the early 1970s and the emergence of the Asian Tigers to see a different model of capitalism dependent on the West having a competitive industrial base with mass employment therein.
Hence, it is Varoufakis who is an old skool, radical chic of precisely this era and the sub-concept of neoliberalism is only of use to neo-Marxists like himself. Perhaps he can go and govern class relations (or foment their conflict) in apparently thriving Australian industry however?
MuzzaC -> curiouswes , 27 Apr 2018 04:11

I believe fraud and corruption caused the great depression.

But this is a part of the myth of the free market. If a market is truly free, those with enough money will always be able to influence the market for their own benefit. As soon as this happens the market fails in its chief function of efficiently allocating scarce resources. That's why there are regulators and anti-monopoly legislation, etc. etc. We pay billions each year to keep capitalism from eating itself.

Self-serving behaviour is only corruption if it is illegal, otherwise it's called business. It is regulation that makes it illegal, which is why we need strong, democratic control.

So saying that the GD was caused by corruption is the same as saying that free-market capitalism got out of control of democratic regulation. Same thing, different name.

AdelaideRose , 27 Apr 2018 04:10
The end of neoliberalism can't come soon enough for me. People and communities have been destroyed for the benefit of a few who don't care about anything other than their own wealth and power. Time to give the power to the people.
curiouswes -> Powerspike , 27 Apr 2018 03:24

THIS is "neo-liberalism"

not to me; I think you have a conglomerate of ideas and policies, some of which I'd categorize as neoliberal, but things like "extreme individualism" have nothing to do with neo liberalism per se.

I think if you give too much power to the state, you'll wind up with authoritarianism. maybe that doesn't concern you, maybe it does. I believe in the concept of labor unions. However I also believe in freedom. It may not be in our long term interest to give up freedom for the sake of a better economic prospect today.

HauntedTupperware , 27 Apr 2018 03:18
It's not going to happen Van. Unfortunately, this is a globally integrated system, which dwarfs the power of national politics and national economies, with maybe the exception of the US, and look what's going on in the US. Donald Trump is the president. I mean, what does that say about the United States, that they've elected a leader like Trump? How does the saying go, "Cometh the hour, cometh the man?" I guess they must have a death wish, unfortunately, they're going to take mos of the world's population with them. I'm not necessarily a pessimist, but I think a rational analysis leads to the conclusion, that we're doomed.
vanbadham -> discuz , 27 Apr 2018 03:13
The neoliberals in the West - unlike, disgustingly, those in South America - won hegemony because they did as Gramsci and Dutschke advised the left; they made "a long march through the institutions". Journalists, histoIran's, philosophers and academics were as necessary to the movement as economists and politicians. It was what enabled them to win elections. As the man said - "from the prophets, deserts come."
woddles -> curiouswes , 27 Apr 2018 03:13
So, no point?
Marxism was a suggested response to rampant capitalism where only the very few at the top benefited from the toil of all others.
I would have thought it was obvious. Or maybe you don't understand Marxism?
TWOBOBS -> AndyPe , 27 Apr 2018 03:10
I would suggest you're not on the bottom of the pile either, if you are reading the Guardian and commenting on a computer or an iPhone. The reality is, capitalism has seen the halving of world poverty levels over the last 30 years, and poverty continues to fall. Are there serious problems with inequality in the west, and the world generally? Yes. Capitalism needs to evolve. Better tax regimes and systems for wealth redistribution are needed. Communism is not the answer.
nogapsallowed , 27 Apr 2018 03:01
Every political party is a "collective" of sorts. But as far as I can scan the wasteland of Australian politics, I can't find any that is shining a path towards "freedom and enjoyment."

We need to reconceive politics just as we must the banks, churches and other terminally infected institutions of our time.

Ramsterbigboy -> Kinxil , 27 Apr 2018 02:58
"but let's stop being full anti elite, neo liberalism allowed several, unfortunately not all, of us, to feel a bit special."

That is not Van's or the Guardian's way.

Van how many "people hate it"? have you counted them by any chance?

Powerspike , 27 Apr 2018 02:52
Neo liberal practices i.e. their 1% stranglehold on the economy, their ideology of winner take all, etc are incompatible with a modern nation state, with civilised values, and with a harmonious society.
They are destroying the state and society.
BlackAbbott -> curiouswes , 27 Apr 2018 02:52

Unfortunately many don't care about truth.


And that is the reason we have neo-liberalism. The truth is not seen.
Awabakali , 27 Apr 2018 02:51
The simplest and most apposite critique of unbridled Capitalism is that is ideologically bound to the notion that consuming is good, increased production and use of finite resources is good, cheap labour is good, tax is bad, and sharing is bad...and that if Capitalism continues apace in its present form it will lead to the total pollution of the earth, the disappearance of all wild animals and plants, the end of bees and pollination, the rise of rampant diseases uncontrolled by drugs that are not affordable to the world's poor, and the eventual extinction of humans. Capitalism is not only dangerous, it is myopically spectacularly insane. Psychology demonstrates that humans have 3 classic responses to a crisis:

1.Denial
2.Fantasy
3.Acceptance of reality and action


1980's Denial phase: "It is exaggerated by mad greenies and ain't happening."

1990's Fantasy phase: "Recycling and prayer will fix it all."

2018 Reality and Action phase: "We are in deep shit....literally...and we need radical immediate action by governments, corporations, educational institutions and individuals to save the planet and us. Want your great grandkids to be alive in 2080? Then get out there shouting....TODAY!!!!!

Kinxil , 27 Apr 2018 02:49
"People hate it". That kind of sentence which make you consider closing the tab. Your point is sensible, neoliberalism has generated lot of bothering issues, but if it didn't exist, I wouldn't have an affordable car and computer, and I wouldn't have a giant amount of choice for goods to consider. It's time it ends, or rather rethink itself, but let's stop being full anti elite, neo liberalism allowed several, unfortunately not all, of us, to feel a bit special.
TWOBOBS -> jungney , 27 Apr 2018 02:38

No-one group or class is but collective action will create a far brighter and healthier future than the current regime of every woman for herself.

There is nothing stopping people now getting together into cooperatives/collectives/communes to start businesses, buy homes, job share.

[Jun 06, 2018] Is fascism a logical next stage of the collapse of neoliberalism, like hapened in Waimar before?

Jun 06, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

quintal -> Alpo88 , 3 Jun 2018 15:56

Hi Alpo

Fascism is the word that most interests me when looking a the present trajectory in Australia

We're not there yet

And there's no one on the government benches who's a new Hitler or Stalin or Mussolini

But the next generation ..............

They make me uncomfortable. Some of the younger and as yet unheralded apparatchiks on the conservative fringe worry me. They're smart. Know the advertising and selling the message strategies. Have money and are well connected to the barons/oligarchs who pull the strings and they're ambitious.

Paradoxically a collapse of the Liberal Party will help them. In spite of it all we need a fiscally conservative, slightly socially conservative political movement in Australia but the drift to extremism is quite pronounced and profoundly worrying, especially in a time where climate change poses existential questions about our future.

This next election will not be a cakewalk. It'll be as bitterly fought as any in a generation and the consequences of a loss will be, for progressive forces, catastrophic.

cheers

Alpo88 , 3 Jun 2018 14:58
"Although people with low expectations are easier to con, fomenting cynicism about democracy comes at a long-term cost. Indeed, as the current crop of politicians is beginning to discover, people with low expectations feel they have nothing to lose."..... Yes, but that's part of the Devilish Plan: Why do you think that the Neoliberals and Conservatives spend so much time nurturing their relationship with both Police and the Army?.... They want to be sure that if their Neoliberal-Conservative project goes truly belly up, they will be the ones holding the guns.

Yes, it's sinister.... it's dangerous.... it's a time bomb, and we can only defuse it with the help of a majority of Australians waking up, standing up and Democratically vote against Fascism.

[Jun 06, 2018] Inverted totalitarism described by a Guardia commenter

Jun 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Bearmuchly, 3 Jun 2018 16:37

Despite the huge changes in communication in the last several decades and the ever increasing levels of education in our society, politics have failed to engage the vast majority and that cohort of the cynical, the alienated, the disinterested, the lazy, the simply care less continues to grow.

In the last decade the only cause that evoked passion and engaged a larger number, finally forcing our elected members to act was same sex marriage .....a crescendo that took years to generate.

With the complicity of our media and the decline of that part of education that teaches analysis, social psychology and political philosophy (let alone teaches about basic political structures and mechanisms) our level of disengagement from the political process appears to be at an all time high. The performance of our legislators has become increasingly unaccountable and purely self interested .... we have re-created the "political class" of pre-war times where alienation was based on a lack of education and awareness and a sense of inferiority and powerlessness DESPITE our vastly improved communication, access to information and educational standards (not to mention affluence).

Basically, we have "dumbed down" to the extent where passion and ideology in politics is now the preserve of fewer and fewer. In a democracy this trend is of massive concern and a threat to its sustainability.... it also completely suits those that are focused on concentrating power and wealth... the more that don't give a toss the less likely you are to be encumbered by limitations, social considerations, ethics and morality.

Until we re-engage far larger numbers into the political process, raise the levels of awareness of political thought and choices, stop dumbing down and re-inject some broader passion and participation into our political processes then vested interests will continue to dominate.....and democracy will become increasingly undemocratic !

[Jun 06, 2018] Nationalism is a decision-making tool as it always poses a question; what is good for this country ?

This is not true: this question "what is good for the country" very soon mutates to "what is good for nationalists"
Jun 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

DesignConstruct -> quintal , 3 Jun 2018 17:39

We need a Nationalist government, which will automatically see itself as the mortal enemy of the primary Internationalist (there used to be a song about that) force in the world today, and which affects us greatly in terms of resource exploitation: Globalisation, or what we used to call 'multi national corporations' or 'international capital'.

Nationalism is a decision-making tool as it always poses a question; what is good for this country ?

DesignConstruct -> Alpo88 , 3 Jun 2018 17:24
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/opinion/we-need-real-leadership-and-real-democracy-from-our-politicians/news-story/f37a3a3951aa78df86892c71166fdbb5

When/if he mentions de-Globalisation, an Aus-Indonesian defence alliance, citizen initiated referenda, and a Constitutional ban on donations and parties , then people may listen, however he cannot be accused of being too imaginative or bright. He is however advocating authoritarianism not fascism.

quintal -> DesignConstruct , 3 Jun 2018 17:16
Hi DC

I halfway agree

We're not there yet

But .......

Fascism doesn't require a state sanctioned religion or suppression of religion

That said the Catholicism/fundamentalist Christian bent of the present cabinet and the demonisation of any green beliefs is uncomfortably close to what you describe

And the nexus between big business and govern, the destruction of public institutions, the reduction in the capacity of media to report truth and the vitriolic attacks on opponenents are straws in an ill wind

Cheets

Alpo88 -> DesignConstruct , 3 Jun 2018 17:11
You are right, it's not "fascismmmmmmmmmmmmmm".... it's Fascism. Which brings back to my memory what Tom Elliott (the son of Liberal Party former president John Elliott) wrote in the Herald Sun on 6 February 2015: "It's time we temporarily suspended the democratic process and installed a benign dictatorship to make tough but necessary decisions."

[Jun 05, 2018] Italy The Center Cannot Hold, by Diana Johnstone

Jun 05, 2018 | www.unz.com

The mystique of the European Union is anti-nationalism, based on the theory that "nations" are bad because they caused the devastating wars of the twentieth century, while European unification is the sole guarantee of "peace". Convinced of their mission, the Eurocentrists have had no qualms in throwing out the baby of democratic choice along with the nationalist bathwater.

The notion that "peace" depends on "Europe" persists despite the NATO bombing of Serbia and European participation in U.S. wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, not to mention EU participation in the current major military buildup in the Baltic States against "the Russian enemy". Indeed, thanks to NATO, the EU is gearing for a war even worse than the previous ones.

Since the "nation-state" is blamed for evil in the world, the Eurocentrists react with horror at growing demands in Member States for a return to "national sovereignty". This, however, is a natural reaction to the economic and social disasters resulting from policies dictated by EU institutions in Brussels. The 1992 Maastricht Treaty legally bound member countries to centralized neoliberal monetarist policies; not only "socialism" became illegal – even Keynesianism was ruled out. Promised endless peace and prosperity, citizens of European countries were cajoled into giving up their sovereignty to EU institutions, and many now want it back.

Disillusioned Italy

Italian disillusion is particularly significant. Italy was an exceptionally enthusiastic founding member of the unification begun with the 1957 Treaty of Rome. And yet, Italy's own history illustrates what can go wrong with such unification, since the 19 th century political creation of a unified Italy centered in Turin led to the enrichment of the industrial north at the expense of southern Italy, where the splendor of Naples declined into chronic poverty, crime and corruption. Now Italy is "the south", in the periphery of a European Union centered around Germany.

Antagonism between North and South Italy has given way to a much stronger antagonism between Italy and Germany – each blaming the other for the crisis.

It is only fair to recall that Germans were very attached to their Deutsche Mark and to their own austere financial policies. Germany could only be lured into the common currency by agreeing to let the euro follow German rules. France eagerly supported this concession based on the notion that the common currency would unify Europe. It is doing quite the opposite.

Germany is a major exporting nation. Its trade with the rest of the EU is secondary. It uses the EU as its hinterland as it competes and trades on the global scale with China, the United States and the rest of the world. The proceeds of Germany's favorable EU trade balance is less and less invested in those countries but in Germany itself or outside the EU. In the official German view, the main function of the Southern EU members is to pay back their debts to Germany.

Meanwhile, Italy's once flourishing industrial network has lost its competitive edge due to the euro. It cannot save its exports by devaluation, as it was accustomed to doing. Italy's debt is now 132% of its GNP, whereas the Maastricht Treaty governing the monetary union puts a ceiling of 60% on national debt. And to continue paying the debt, public services are cut back, the middle class is impoverished, the domestic market declines and the economy gets even weaker.

This is precisely the situation that has plunged Greece into ever deepening poverty.

But Italy is not Greece. Greece is a small peripheral country, which can be pounded to death by creditors as a warning of what can happen to others. Italy, on the contrary, is too big to fail. Its collapse could bring the whole EU crashing down.

Italy's Potential Strength Through Weakness

The traditional Italian parties had no solution beyond those that have ruined Greece: cut back social spending, impoverish workers and pensioners, and pay back the foreign banks, with interest.

The odd coalition of the League and the M5S was obliged to try something different: basically, to invest in the economy rather than abandon it to its creditors. Their program combines lower taxes with Keynesian stimulation of investment. Since the leader of the League, Matteo Salvini, and Luigi Di Maio of M5S do not like each other, they selected law professor Giuseppe Conte to be Prime Minister in their coalition cabinet. The interesting choice was that of Paolo Savona for the key post of Minister of Economy and Finance. Savona, whose long career has taken him across the summits of Italian and international finance, was certainly the most qualified choice imaginable. Savona knows everything there is to know about the Italian economy and international currency creation.

And yet, it was the appointment of this 81-year-old expert that created outrage in the Eurocenter.

The uproar was spurred by the fact that in one of his books Savona had described the euro as "a German prison". Savona had also said it was necessary to prepare a Plan B, to leave the euro if there is no other choice. "The alternative is to end up like Greece."

This hint of disloyalty to the euro was totally unacceptable to the European establishment.

The Center struck back in the person of the largely figurehead President of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, who used, or misused, his unique constitutional power by refusing to approve the government. On May 28, he designated as Prime Minister Carlo Cottarelli of the International Monetary Fund – a man who represented everything the Italians had just voted against. Known in Italy as "Mr. Scissors" for his advocacy of drastic government spending cuts, Cottarelli was supposed to run an apolitical "technical" government until new elections could be held in the fall.

This coup against the Italian voters caused momentary rejoicing in the Authoritarian Center. The European Budget Commissioner (a German of course), Günther Oettinger, was reported to be gloating over the prospect that "the markets" (meaning the financial markets) would soon teach Italians how to vote. Italy's economy "could be so drastically impacted", he said, as to send a signal to voters "not to vote for populists on the right and left."

This simply intensified Italian indignation against "German arrogance".

Meanwhile Savona wrote a letter to President Mattarella which introduced a bit of cold reason into an increasingly hysterical situation. He reminded the president that an important meeting of EU heads of state was to be held at the end of June; without a political government, Italy would be absent from negotiations which could seal the fate of the EU. Italy's plea for economic change could expect French support. Savona denied having called for leaving the euro; in the spirit of game strategy, he had mentioned the need for Plan B in order to strengthen one's position before negotiations. He made it clear that his strategy was not to leave the euro but to transform it into a genuine rival to the dollar.

"Germany prevents the euro from becoming 'an essential part of foreign policy', as the dollar is for the United States", wrote Savona. But change becomes necessary, as the dollar is less and less suitable for its role as world currency.

Indeed, the Italian crisis merges with a mounting trans-Atlantic crisis, the U.S. uses sanctions as a weapon in competition with its European "partners". The paradox is that Italy could use its very weakness to oblige Germany to reconsider its monetary policy in a moment when the German economy is also facing problems due to U.S. sanctions on deals with Russia and Iran, as well as protectionist measures. Savona's message was that clever diplomacy could work to Italy's advantage. In its own interest, Germany may need to accept transformation of the euro into a more proactive currency, able to defend European economies from U.S. manipulation.

It was a matter of hours before Cottarella stepped back and a new M5S-League government was formed, with Savona himself back as Minister of Relations with the European Union.

Italy's Double Jeopardy

The new Italian cabinet sworn in on June first is riven with contradictions. Despite all the released anti-EU sentiment, it is definitely not an "anti-EU" government. Conte is back as Prime Minister. The new foreign minister, Enzo Moavero Milnesi, is a staunch pro-European. As Interior Minister, the northern Italy chauvinist Salvini – who doesn't even care particularly for Southern Italians – will get tough with migrants. As Minister of Economic Development, Di Maio will try to find ways improve conditions in the southern regions that elected him. Since Salvini is the more experienced of the two, the League is likely to profit from the experiment more than the M5S.

Some Italians warn that by leaving the "German prison" Italy would simply find itself even more dependent on the United States.

One should never forget that ever since the end of World War II, Italy is an occupied country, with dozens of U.S. military bases on its territory, including air bases with nuclear weapons poised to strike the Middle East, Africa or even Russia. The Italian Constitution outlaws participation in aggressive war, and yet Italian bases are freely used by the United States to bomb whichever country it pleases, regardless of how Italians feel about it. Worst of all, the U.S. used its Italian "NATO bases" to destroy Libya, a disaster for Italy which thereby lost a valuable trade partner and found itself inundated with African refugees and migrants. While international financial experts exhort Italy to cut government expenses, the country is obliged by NATO to spend around 13 billion euros to buy 90 U.S. F-35 fighters and to increase its military spending to around 100 million euros per day.

Italy's economic prospects have been badly hit by U.S.-enforced sanctions against trade with Russia and Iran, important potential energy sources.

U.S. economic aggression, in particular Trump's rejection of the Iranian nuclear deal, is the issue with the potential to bring European leaders together at a time when they were drifting apart. But at present, the Europeans are unable to defy U.S. sanctions in punishment for trade with those countries because their international dealings are in dollars. This has already led to U.S. exacting billions of dollars in fines from the biggest French and German banks, the BNP and Deutsche Bank, for trading that was perfectly legal under their own laws. The French petroleum giant has been obliged to abandon contracts with Iran because 90% of its trade is in dollars, and thus vulnerable to U.S. sanctions. And that is why the idea is growing of building financial instruments around the euro that can protect European companies from U.S. retaliation. [2] See Wolfgang Münchau, "The euro must be made more robust to rival the dollar; US sanctions expose the mistakes made by the founders of the single currency", The Financial Times, 27 May, 2018. https://www.ft.com/content/ca8c6826-5f76-11e8-ad91-e...56df68

The Disappearance of the Left

The disappearance of left political forces has been almost total in Italy. There are many reasons for this, but a curable part of the problem has been the inability of what remains of the left to face up to the two main current issues: Europe and immigration.

The left has so thoroughly transformed its traditional internationalism into Europism that it has been unable to recognize EU institutions and regulations as a major source of its problems. The stigmatization of "the nation" as aggressively nationalistic has held back left ability to envisage and advocate progressive policies at the national level, instead putting its hopes forever in a future hypothetical "social Europe". Such a transformation would require unanimity under EU rules – politically impossible with 28 widely differing Member States.

Without such inhibitions, the far right capitalizes on growing discontent.

Another related handicap of the left is its inability to recognize that mass immigration is indeed "a problem" – especially in a country like Italy, with a flagging economy and 20% official unemployment (although this figure is probably too high, considering undeclared labor). There is resentment that prosperous Germany issued a general invitation to refugees, which for geographic reasons pile in Mediterranean countries unable to cope. The mass influx of economic migrants from Africa is not even "taking jobs away from" Italians – the jobs are not there to take. These migrants fled war and misery to come to Europe in order to earn money to send back to their families, but how can they meet possibly meet these expectations?

It is all very well to extol the glorious hospitality of America entreating the world to " Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me ". Such generosity was suited to a new nation with huge empty spaces and rapidly growing industry in need of a work force. The situation of a "full" nation in a time of economic downturn is quite different. What is to become of the tens of thousands of vigorous young men arriving on Italian shores where there is nothing for them to do except sell African trinkets on the sidewalks of tourist centers? To make matters worse, the great contemporary thrust of technical innovation aims at replacing more and more workers with robots. Leftist denial of the problem leaves its exploitation and resolution to the extreme right.

Some leftist politicians in Italy, such as Stefano Fassina of the Sinistra Italiana are waking up to this need. A left that dogmatically ignores the real concerns of the people is doomed. A bold, honest, imaginative left is needed to champion Italians' independence from both German-imposed austerity and the expensive military adventurism demanded by the United States. But the interlaced problems created by unregulated globalization do not lend themselves to easy solutions.

Notes

[1] David Adler, "Centrists Are the Most Hostile to Democracy, Not Extremists", The New York Times, May 23, 2018.

[2] See Wolfgang Münchau, "The euro must be made more robust to rival the dollar; US sanctions expose the mistakes made by the founders of the single currency", The Financial Times, 27 May, 2018. https://www.ft.com/content/ca8c6826-5f76-11e8-ad91-e01af256df68


Polish Perspective , June 4, 2018 at 12:47 pm GMT

Decent article, but a few quibbles.

Italy's primary problem is not the euro per se. It isn't even the much talked about "proliferagacy". Italy has in fact run a primary surplus for most of the last 20 years (primary surplus is the government budgetary balance sans interest payments). Italy's main problem is the disastrous lack of productivity.

Its per capita productivity growth has actually declined by 0.1% the last 20 years, versus around 0.7% positive growth for Germany and 0.6% for France. What explains this? Supply side factors. Italy has many large-scale firms which are world-class. This leads a naïve observer to conclude that the problem lies elsewhere.

Scratch the surface a little bit, and you'll find that the main problem for Italy is in the SME sector. The comparison with the German Mittelstand is relevant here. Though many German firms are still family-owned, they nevertheless have a significant amount of meritocracy. Family scions frequently take on more ceremonial roles if they can find a competent outsider to run large parts of the company. By contrast, Italian SMEs are much more nepotistic. Italy also has far less labour mobility, meaning that the potential pool of labour that a local company can draw from is quite limited.

There is therefore no easy solution. Devaluation is not a panacea. Italy is running a current account surplus already. Their problem is lack of growth, which in turn is rooted in supply-side factors.

There's a good paper by Luigi Zingales of University of Chicago (himself an Italian) as you can surmise. He writes a lot of what I've outlined in greater detail if anyone is interested in diving deeper:

https://research.chicagobooth.edu/-/media/research/stigler/pdfs/workingpapers/14diagnosingtheitaliandisease.pdf?la=en&hash=FB3054008103B1E0E24E3F7E1D307523B0B2AD5F

The Bank of Italy has also weighed in:

https://www.bancaditalia.it/pubblicazioni/qef/2018-0422/index.html?com.dotmarketing.htmlpage.language=1

The take-away is that there is no simple solution, Italy's problems are deep, structural and tied to their social organisation. Devaluation, while tempting, would not fix these issues and given that Italy is already running a current account surplus, it is hard to make the case for one. Their exports is already competitive. Their debt problem stems from lack of growth, not persistent budget deficits (mostly running a primary surplus for past few decades).

Polish Perspective , June 4, 2018 at 3:21 pm GMT
@Polish Perspective

Just to illustrate the point about the myth of 'profligate' Italy.

The problem is lack of growth, not lack of fiscal discpline. And the lack of growth is rooted in deeply entrenched supply-side structural patterns, which changing the currency (or letting it devalue) will do nothing to fix.

jilles dykstra , June 5, 2018 at 7:30 am GMT
The interesting thing is that it is in Italy the same as in France, both what is called extreme left, Mélenchon, and extreme right, Marine le Pen, are against the EU.
In the first round of the presidential elections Mélenchon and Le Pen together got 40% of the votes.
In Italy now what is called extreme left and extreme right together formed a government.
Brussels fears for the euro.
They're quite right, the southern European countries, including France, have a long histories of solving economic problems by devaluation, made impossible by the euro.
As the retired German sociologist Seeckt, retired men can speak their minds, says 'the big mistake of the EU was (and is, my opinion) that the northern EU countries said to the southern "become like us" '.
Cultures change very slowly, in France traces of the Louis XIV reign can still be found, a love of bureaucracy.
jilles dykstra , June 5, 2018 at 7:32 am GMT
@Polish Perspective

In about 1973 an Italian consultant said to me 'there is only one way to solve our problems, sell our civil servants for what they cost, and buy them back for what they're worth'.

renfro , June 5, 2018 at 7:49 am GMT

World Values Survey results indicate that in Europe and the United States, people who describe themselves as "centrist" on the average have less attachment to democracy (e.g. free and fair elections) that those on the left, and even those on the far right

I find this article sort of weird. And the above statement is based on this -- ->David Adler, "Centrists Are the Most Hostile to Democracy, Not Extremists", The New York Times, May 23, 2018
Which is based on this -- -> http://www.worldvaluessurvey.org/WVSDocumentationWV6.jsp

And theses questions: ..which are totally sloppy. For instance question V138. 'People obey their rulers. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10.' is a ridiculous kindergarten question. A 'serious' question on the value of democracy would have been "People obey the (rule of) law", not 'rulers'. Sorry, this is junk in which evidently those who didnt go for 1 or 2 or 9 or 10 were categorized as centrist and you and Adler somehow interpreted that as the problem.
Then you proceed to say .."Leftist denial of the problem leaves its exploitation and resolution to the extreme right.'
And that .'A bold, honest, imaginative left is needed to champion Italians' independence from both German-imposed austerity and the expensive military adventurism demanded by the United States. '

So what is your point? .That 'centrist' should move to the left to solve your problems?

The survey questions:

[MORE]

"I'm going to describe various types of political systems and ask what you think about each as a way of
governing this country. For each one, would you say it is a very good, fairly good, fairly bad or very bad
way of governing this country? (Read out and code one answer for each):
Very
good
Fairly
good
Fairly
bad
Very bad
V127. Having a strong leader who does not have to bother with parliament and elections
1
2
3
4
V128. Having experts, not government, make decisions
according to what they think is best for the country
1
2
3
4
V129. Having the army rule
1
2
3
4
V130. Having a democratic political system
1
2
3
4
(Show Card T)
Many things are desirable, but not all of them are essential characteristics of democracy. Please tell me for
each of the following things how essential you think it is as a characteristic of democracy. Use this scale
where 1 means "not at all an essential characteristic of democracy" and 10 means it definitely is "an
essential characteristic of democracy" (read out and code one answer for each):
Not an essential An essential
characteristic characteristic
of democracy of democracy
V131. Governments tax the rich and subsidize the poor. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
V132. Religious authorities ultimately interpret the laws. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
V133. People choose their leaders in free elections. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
V134. People receive state aid for unemployment. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
V135. The army takes over when government is incompetent. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
V136. Civil rights protect people from state oppression. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
V137. The state makes people's incomes equal. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
V138. People obey their rulers. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
V139 Women have the same rights as men.

Bartolo , June 5, 2018 at 9:00 am GMT
Good analysis of the reasons the left has declined. I do not see them changing course, but rather doubling down. In Spain, Podemos wants to have universal basic income (or something close to it) AND open borders
Seamus Padraig , June 5, 2018 at 9:05 am GMT

For a generation, acceptance of the neoliberal doctrine "there is no alternative" has paralyzed politics in the West. If there is no alternative, what is politics to be about?

What is politics to be about? Why, tranny bathrooms, of course!

Echoes of History , June 5, 2018 at 9:38 am GMT
My blood runs cold,
My nation has just been sold,
Thus the center cannot hold,
Thus the centrists must fold.
j2 , June 5, 2018 at 11:43 am GMT
Not being any kind of an economist and in general mistrusting economy as a wannabe science, I would just take a compass, find the economic center point of EU and draw a circle. Whatever is far from the center will face problems because in unification the center develops faster than the outskirts. The traditional solution to this dilemma is to have borders (no unification) since borders create a micro-economy that can function in its limits (better than outskirts of an unified economy) just like animal species can survive if there are natural barriers but removing them many species die out. Another alternative is to pack your bags and move closer to the center.
TG , June 5, 2018 at 12:13 pm GMT
I agree with much of this. But a quibble when you say that the EU was created out of a desire to remove the evil of nationalism and create peace. That's the lipstick on the pig. The EU was and is entirely devoted to boosting the profits of the super-rich, and putting big finance in charge. The push against nationalism has nothing to do with peace, and only because nationalism will tend to fight against the strip-mining of a society for profit. And massive immigration was never a moral issue, neither today nor in the America of a century ago. It was all about cheap labor and the massive profits that flow therefrom. Even with all those resources, mass immigration in the United States at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, created crushing poverty and a massive spike in crime. It was only after the borders had been closed, after the shock of the Wall Street crash in 1929 (no, NOT 1924), and there was an immigration time-out, that America developed its prosperous middle class. Which hurt profits for the rich, which is why it is being rolled back
gsjackson , June 5, 2018 at 12:16 pm GMT
@Seamus Padraig

LOL. Yes, there's a wedge issue a thinking man can sink his teeth into.

SCOTUS just reignited another one by surprisingly getting a case right, 7-2, in finding for religious liberty and the baker who didn't want to do a wedding cake for poofters. I seem to recall Tucker Carlson feeling the wrath and fury of all MSM for daring to suggest that the baker had a legitimate constitutional issue.

Breyer and Kagan voted with the Republican/goy majority. Kagan, of course, regularly gets offered up as the embodiment of in-your-face liberal-feminist-Jewish rule, but the couple of opinions I've read by her suggested a pretty good legal mind, possibly tempered by some common sense.

In any case, yes, identity politics provide the MSM with all the wedge issue substance needed for the American public discourse. Europe, however, may have some remaining expectations of adult content.

Glaivester , Website June 5, 2018 at 12:37 pm GMT
@Polish Perspective

SME sector? Please explain abbreviation.

Dagon Shield , June 5, 2018 at 12:55 pm GMT
It's pasta fagioli from now on
Liberty Mike , June 5, 2018 at 1:03 pm GMT
@Echoes of History

Son, I don't mean to be a scold,
But, you have been done told,
If you really want the gold,
Fortune favors the bold.

Chase , June 5, 2018 at 1:10 pm GMT
@Polish Perspective

These "problems" are 100% within the context of the neoliberal consensus. The idea that we have to have 2-3% annual growth – forever – or the world will somehow be devastatingly awful is not a very sound foundation for a Good life.

Catiline , June 5, 2018 at 1:20 pm GMT
@Polish Perspective

That fiscal discipline you speak of is a significant factor in Italy's lack of growth. Furthermore, it was designed and implemented for precisely that reason.

Beckow , June 5, 2018 at 2:02 pm GMT
@Polish Perspective

Their (Italy's) problem is lack of growth, which in turn is rooted in supply-side factors

That is a fallacy that lies at the heart of the current European crisis. (I agree with the other things you wrote.). It is not the 'supply', but lacking demand that is constraining growth. All supply and higher productivity solutions are based on more 'flexible' labor, removal of barriers, including borders, more 'competition' in everything. That translates in practise into working more for less .

It had worked initially in the 70′s to 90′s when the entrenched inefficiency was the main issue. It hasn't worked in the last 10-15 years. Suggesting more 'supply and higher productivity' reforms simply means doubling down on policies that are failing. What is needed is a huge shift in the labor markets toward more demand for workers so they can improve their work lives, raise incomes, create more economic security. What Europe (and West in general) need is a very tight labor market. By all means, cut and simplify taxes, abandon austerity, promote some inflation, but the main reform that is needed is to restrict outside labor migration and simultaneously restrict outflow of work. That is explicitly anti neo-liberalism, it is also at the heart of the populist appeal.

Left has completely lost its way with its inability to distinguish between its local voters and the feel-good charity towards the rest of the world. They are in effect being used by the most anti-left business interests to keep labor as cheap as possible. Power to negotiate doesn't come from institutions – it comes from having a strong hand in the labor demand-supply equation.

Given the left collapse, the future is with the nationalist political forces. Trump understands it, so does Salvini, La Pen, Orban, The names might change, but unless democracy is completely abolished the 'selfish', restrict cheap labor politicians will eventually prevail.

Wizard of Oz , June 5, 2018 at 2:30 pm GMT
@Catiline

Please help me understand the implications of your comment.

Are you implying support for government debt fuelled expenditures as in Greece before the GFC – or Argentina time and again?

Are you really saying the EU's (?EZ's) fiscal discipline rules were designed so that Italy (and maybe some and what other country?) would have lower growth in economic activity? If so why? And designed and intended by what persons?

Anon [370] Disclaimer , June 5, 2018 at 2:34 pm GMT
@Glaivester

It's very commonplace. You should have been able to find it with a search which took less time than you comment/reply.

gwynedd1 , June 5, 2018 at 2:52 pm GMT
@Catiline

Lot of people still think Keynes is wrong because its used as an excuse to tax and spend. He wasn't wrong about the fact that fiance matters. Neither was Kalecki and neither was Irving Fischer wrong that fiance matters after figuring out his disastrous mistake. Even Thomas Mun understood money needs to circulate. Seems like Europe thinks the idea's of the Spanish empire are best. Hoard coin.

Curmudgeon , June 5, 2018 at 4:20 pm GMT
@Beckow

It seems to me that the issue boils down to this:
- Capitalism seeks to concentrate capital and maximize profits;
- Communism seeks to concentrate capital, albeit in a different form than capitalism and minimize profits.
- Efficiency means low cost and/or poorly made, and competition is no longer local, its global.
- Free trade has replace fair trade.

The economic system in place today is not sustainable. In the not so distant past, products exported had to have an internal market, or they were considered "dumped" into the market at artificially low prices. tariffs were imposed for dumping. Today, electronic products, such as alarm clocks, which are made in Asia, are dumped into the American market. The electrical systems in Asia are incompatible with the 110v 60hz system in the US.
Ice hockey equipment is made in that global ice hockey powerhouse, Mauritius, as are winter parkas and mitts. Cars produced in Japan include models for export that would not fit on the roads in Japan. The list of these types of productions is endless. De-regulation has produced 20th and 21st century sweatshops in areas like call-centres, which are fast becoming off-shored.

Local and national producers have been eliminated due to ending import duties to protect internal companies. The set up has shifted taxation on imported goods to income taxes and business taxes.
The narrative says competition is good, and higher production means lower cost to the consumer. That only works when the competition is on a level playing field, and I'm employed to be able to buy what is on offer. As for consumer products, how many TVs or refrigerators do I really need? Korea has the capacity to supply all of the world's automobiles. Over supply is rampant.

So, who really benefits? Those who seek to concentrate the wealth, and have the capability to transfer out of the country, the value of a smaller (economic) country's GDP, with the push of a button. When it all collapses they'll be off on their private islands or hiding in their bastions.

On another note, yes, Italy is occupied, but so is Germany. The current German government, according to a 1956 Constitutional Court ruling is not the legitimate government of Germany. The "Old" Reich i.e. Wiemar Republic is. Therefore, it is an occupation government of the Allies.
As if we didn't understand that.

Z-man , June 5, 2018 at 5:08 pm GMT
A lot of bad assumptions and conclusions in this article.
Matteo Salvini has been supported by the southerners as well as the northerners because he is defending Italy and Italians from the Globalists and their hordes invading Italy and DiMaio and the MS5 agree with him and gave him the Interior ministry to handle it. But he still gets a lot of resistance from the controlled globalist press. Go Salvini!
Dieter Kief , June 5, 2018 at 5:41 pm GMT
@Polish Perspective

The problem is lack of growth

Definitely so.

And the problem is, that Italy lacks competitiveness on a global scale. It's a puppet-home perspective (and zero-sum-reasoning) to argue, that German exports are the reason, that Italin exports declined. – Look at delivery cars, for example. something now even Italian customers by more and more in Asia (once, this was a quasi monopoly, because it was just something everybody did, to buy Italian Vans. – Even that is eroding now. And look at -look at what you want in Italy consumer products, industrial products,

Meanwhile, Italy's once flourishing industrial network has lost its competitive edge due to the euro.

So – this is a complete hoax, in the end. Especially since Italy is drowned in cheap money – except that most of it is not invested, nowadays, but used to pay – for the pensions, for social security, for univeristies the Police

Meanwhile in rome: The local authorities tell the public, that there are "missing busses" at RomaTransporti or however th correct name of thsi fabulous enterprise is. Story is true though: There are at least dozens 8some say:Hundreds!) of buses, which exist only in the paperwork

Ozymandias , June 5, 2018 at 5:57 pm GMT
@Chase

"The idea that we have to have 2-3% annual growth – forever – or the world will somehow be devastatingly awful is not a very sound foundation for a Good life."

Growth in GDP per capita is sustainable provided excess population is disposed of, which, historically, it always has been via conflict. A world without war and the sanctity of human life are the ideas in opposition here.

WorkingClass , June 5, 2018 at 6:41 pm GMT
Centrist is a focus group tested term used to hide what a Centrist actually is. Neither Center Right nor Center Left has ANY ideology. A Centrist seeks/holds office to receive money from rent seekers. Nothing else.
peterAUS , June 5, 2018 at 7:17 pm GMT
Bottom line, IMHO:
A good idea (EU) failed because power corrupts.
A bad idea (nationalism) is coming up. Won't be pretty, especially there.
As

Growth in GDP per capita is sustainable provided excess population is disposed of, which, historically, it always has been via conflict. A world without war and the sanctity of human life are the ideas in opposition here.

Nobody is willing, apparently, to address the real issue:
Automation, overproduction, mass of people not needed as workers/employers anymore.
The nature of (modern/future) work, DISTRIBUTION of produced good and services, organization of such society, etc.

Nationalism is regression into known.

We need a change of a full paradigm. Pass too hard.

Looking at the mix of "people" and "leaders" I go for a decent bloodshed as the most likely option, hopefully not within next 10 years.
Hopefully.

obwandiyag , June 5, 2018 at 7:31 pm GMT
More than half of Italy's economy is underground. Thus your "statistics" are groundless.
nickels , June 5, 2018 at 8:16 pm GMT
@Polish Perspective

This analysis sounds like a total crock.

From what other authors say, and what seems far more reasonable, demand has collapsed because the corporate locust is doing the same thing they are doing in America, namely destroying the entire industrial base and leaving a wasteland of debt and unemployment. Add to that an inability to have a monetary policy and it's game over:

Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, a former chairman of Ferrari, Fiat and Alitalia, and now a public enemy because of his dismissal of the "Made in Italy" label, acquired both companies and moved them to Turkey, choosing profit over quality -- and Italian jobs. Montezemolo, of aristocratic background, is a champion of Italian neoliberalism, having founded the influential "free market" think tank Italia Futura (Future Italy) in 2009.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/05/30/this-new-italy.html

nickels , June 5, 2018 at 8:31 pm GMT
@nickels
дулебг , June 5, 2018 at 9:40 pm GMT
"Capital osmosis" is well known fact in economic science, and it means that, inside one limited area, profit always runs from the "lower capitally equipped" sides to higher ones. That is the reason why countries always take the money from rich sides and give it to poorer ones. The truth isn't that poor part of nation works less, or that is stupid or unorganized; no, the truth is in that "osmosis".

[Jun 05, 2018] Seven signs of the neoliberal apocalypse Van Badham Opinion The Guardian

Jun 05, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

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

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

ss="rich-link"> Australia needs tough cop to fight wage theft, Sally McManus says Read more

It wasn't, as even he admitted later . And given some of the events of the contemporary political moment, it's possible to conclude from auguries like smoke rising from a garbage fire and patterns of political blood upon the floor that history may be hastening neoliberalism towards an end that its advocates did not forecast.

Three years ago, I remarked that comedian Russell Brand may have stumbled onto a stirring spirit of the times when his "capitalism sucks" contemplations drew stadium-sized crowds. Beyond Brand – politically and materially – the crowds have only been growing.

Is the political zeitgeist an old spectre up for some new haunting? Or are the times more like a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "the combination of inequality and low wage growth is fuelling discontent. Time to sing a new song."

In days gone past, they used to slice open an animal's belly and study the shape of its spilled entrails to find out. But we could just keep an eye on the news.

Here are my seven signs of the neoliberal apocalypse:

1. Girl crushes on Sally McManus

The first sign appears with the noise of thunder – personalised in the form of ACTU secretary, Sally McManus, and the trade union movement revival. No Australian of my own generation or younger would likely possess any cultural memory of a trade union leader as hero – let alone one whose packed-to-the-rafters appearance at Melbourne's Town Hall last week brought with it chants and pennants, t-shirts and cheers a column of selfie-hunters. "We want to see an end to neoliberalism!" she roared to wild applause in the barnstorming style that's drawing similar crowds across the country. You had to feel sorry for conservative commentator Janet Albrechtsen, who rode in to defend business-as-usual in a column entitled "I have to admit a slight girl-crush on ACTU boss Sally McManus". "She's really not my type," McManus retorted . Burnnnn.

Sally McManus (@sallymcmanus)

She's really not my type. pic.twitter.com/7aA1T6hab5

April 17, 2018
2. Yanis Varoufakis praises the Communist Manifesto

The second bears a great sword – and that's the dashing former finance minister of Greece, Yanis Varoufakis. As a scion of very modern political pedigree, he's an extraordinary (brilliant) choice to pen the new introduction to a re-released Marx and Engels' Communist Manifesto . A revolutionary provocation considered so incendiary it was banned on its 1848 publication, the book only achieved distribution when its entry into court documents as evidence of sedition legally enabled it to be printed again. Varoufakis's praise of it in his introduction is no less provocative; he sees the book as a work of prediction. "We cannot end this idiocy individually," he writes of our present capitalist iteration, "because no market can ever emerge that will provide an antidote to this stupidity. Collective, democratic political action is our only chance for freedom and enjoyment."

Sign up to receive the latest Australian opinion pieces every weekday

https://www.theguardian.com/email/form/plaintone/4160

3. Paul Keating's rejection

It was a year ago that a third sign first appeared, when the dark horse of Australian prime ministers, Paul Keating, made public an on-balance rejection of neoliberal economics. Although Liberal PM Malcolm Fraser instigated Australia's first neoliberal policies, it was Keating's architecture of privatisation and deregulation as a Labor treasurer and prime minister that's most well remembered. Now, "we have a comatose world economy held together by debt and central bank money," Keating has said, "Liberal economics has run into a dead end and has had no answer to the contemporary malaise." What does the disavowal mean? In terms of his Labor heir Bill Shorten's growing appetite for redistributive taxation and close relationship to the union movement, it means "if Bill Shorten becomes PM, the rule of engagement between labour and capital will be rewritten," according to The Australian this week. Can't wait!

4. Hipsters picket trendy cafe

The fourth sign comes as the death of a certain kind of pale passivity and acceptance of the status quo among the young. But much as Kendall Jenner got the mood so wrong when she tried to retail Pepsi through the form of a mock riot last year, this week the kids in Melbourne got the times very, very right. On Tuesday, a flash mob of young people descended on no less than hipper-than-hip Northcote coffee palace, Barry, demanding the instant redress of alleged unfair dismissal and wage theft from staff pay packets. Not so long ago, it was the Melbourne fashion for young people to sit at cafes and joke about how exploited at work they were. The evolution to shouty pickets and cafe shut downs indicate in a period of record low wage growth, the laughs have worn quite thin.

5. The reds are back under the beds

There's always a bit of judgment and vengeance inherent to the factional shenanigans of Australia's Liberal party, but its refreshed vocabulary warrants inclusion as the fifth sign. Michael Sukkar, the member for Deakin, has been recorded in a dazzling rant declaring war on a "socialist" incursion into a party whose leader is a former merchant banker who pledged to rule for "freedom, the individual and the market" the very day he was anointed. Sukkar's insistence is wonderful complement to the performance art monologues of former Liberal MP Bronwyn Bishop on Sky, where she weekly decries socialism is to blame for everything from alcoholism to energy prices. The reds may not be under the beds quite yet, but if Sukkar's convinced some commie pinkos are already gatecrashing cocktail events with the blue-tie set, they're certainly on his mind.

6. Tony Abbott becomes a fan of nationalising assets

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

ss="rich-link"> Yanis Varoufakis: Marx predicted our present crisis – and points the way out Read more 7. Blue-collar billionaires

In the established canon, the final sign, the seventh, installs new saints on to golden altars before praying supplicants. And I'd suggest some circumspection before the incense is lit and venerations begin. A clear electoral yearning for a sincere leadership of politics beyond the neoliberal frame has encouraged lying populists on the right, like the "blue-collar billionaire" opportunistic falsity of Trump. For a left regaining momentum, there's also danger; seizing at instant, available heroes propels into leadership politicians who are polarising and imperfect for the task.

The pressing need is not to pray for intercession; Varoufakis's call is right – "collective, democratic political action" is the genuine alternative, and it's broader democratic investment in the institutions of parties, movements, academies and media that always builds the world to come. That is, after all, what the neoliberals did. And look – just look – how far they got.

• Van Badham is a Guardian Australia columnist


sierrasierra , 27 Apr 2018 05:50

Neoliberalism so far and it's a rather interesting read if you follow global politics, yes countries like people have ' charts' and Australia's is realtively tame:

http://astrologyforaquarius.com/sky-watch-and-a-global-events-forecast/mars-cycle-january-29-2017-january-2-2019 /

ID2778880 -> DickTyger , 27 Apr 2018 05:48
This is absolutely true. Unintended consequences will always arise if the dim-witted tamper with complex systems they do not understand.

Brexit is a classic case. It has blown up in the faces of its proponents and the rather more level-headed among them are desperately trying to contain the spreading damage.

GraemeHarrison -> Weakaspiss , 27 Apr 2018 05:46
Ably assisted by Rupert's >75% control of print media... with his 'Get Bill' campaigns (first Hayden, later Shorten) with 'Get Juliar' in between! The masses are swayed by big media, enough to deliver the 1-3% needed to gain a parliamentary majority!
uhurhi , 27 Apr 2018 05:43
"new introduction to a re-released Marx and Engels' Communist Manifesto.
Collective, democratic political action is our only chance for freedom and enjoyment."

Might be true. But frightening that people should naively still think that democracy is to be found in the 'Dictatorship of the Proletariate' [ ie those who know what's good for you even if you don't like it ] of the Communist Manefesto after the revelations of what that leads to in the Gulag Arichipeligo , Mao's China , Pol Pot , Kim John - un . How quickly the world forgets. - you might just as well advocate Mein Kampf it's the same thing in the end !

curiouswes -> Jamie Richardson , 27 Apr 2018 05:42
I don't think socialism can work without giving up too much freedom. Once you are in the Leviathan's clutches, it is difficult to break free. In the USA, we have a great system. I call it socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor. It works great, but it only works great for 1% of the people.
Starwars102 -> Awabakali , 27 Apr 2018 05:40
https://mises.org/wire/real-relationship-between-capitalism-and-environment
This idea of Capitalism fundamentally and completely undermining the environment is a myth. You realise that the worst possible environmental degradation today occurs in extremely poor countries which have neither the economic base, nor the surplus money to care for the environment. Compound this with terrible legal systems in many of those countries and you get the economic degradation you have today.
GraemeHarrison -> Powerspike , 27 Apr 2018 05:36
The fact that multinationals are happy to take Australian minerals from the land, make money selling products to Australians, yet pay nil tax in Australia tells you everything you need to know about how much they care for our 'state and society'.
daily_phil , 27 Apr 2018 05:35
Does present day neo-liberalism actually qualify as a political movement?

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

RedmondM -> charleyb23 , 27 Apr 2018 05:33
And while we are discussing totalitarian thugs how many died at the hands of Hitler, Mussolini, Pinochet, Peron, Marcos and others of the right?

The death toll of just Mao far exceeds the combined death toll of the the others you mentioned.

GraemeHarrison -> vanbadham , 27 Apr 2018 05:33
Plus, unlimited funding for elections has cemented capitalism's ability to 'buy' all the elections, and hold-captive all the regulators it needs. Without the Citizens United decision from right wing SCOTUS judges, US elections would be far more representative. Only in capitalism can one believe that "money equals free speech". No such provision is in the US constitution, so it is only these Bush-appointed judges who have determined that money can rule the people. Even more stupid are the countries that have followed the USA down this slippery slope. If you can fund politicians to undermine the ATO and ASIC, why not also allow corporations to just pay bribes to judges to get decisions they would like?
MuzzaC -> curiouswes , 27 Apr 2018 05:33
Thanks curiouswes. Nice to engage in a polite discussion for a change.

I think you are right, in that all revolutions are susceptible to falling to their own methods. Any mechanism for revolution legitimises the same mechanism for counter-revolution. This is why violent revolution leads to militarism and authoritarianism. I don't think anyone welcoming Lenin at the Finland Station did so because they wanted to live in a police state. By the same token, I don't think that Socialism is inherently linked to giving the state authoritarian power. In fact Socialism and democracy are perfectly compatible, because democracy (one citizen one vote) is the counterweight to capitalism (one dollar one vote).

As for globalism, it's the natural mode of capitalism and has been for centuries. Colonial expansion and capitalism became synonymous with things like the Dutch East India Company. Neoliberalism wants global reach for capital, but not for the regulators. They want keep their tax-haven cake and eat it too. Typically, what they want is less about a free market and more about freedom to game the market.

GraemeHarrison -> Confucion , 27 Apr 2018 05:27

Democracy paralyses

No, the current malaise is not 'due' to democracy, but despite it. America has unlimited political funding by capitalism to sway elections to their desires. Australia is in almost the same position, due to weak political funding reporting, and nil limits on what 'non-party' entities can spend on elections, or in the case of Rudd's removal, how just $45m in advertising by the MCA managed to remove a sitting PM, because the handful of MCA members did not want a resource tax. Our democracy has slipped into being a plutocracy (rule by the wealthy).
Robert Davie , 27 Apr 2018 04:54
Neoliberalism has inflicted a great deal of damage on western economies through the off-shoring of industries and jobs by the wealthy elites who were aided by the donor addicted political class. As a result, western democracies have weakened themselves in the eyes of the world community who now see us as examples of dysfunctional economies and governing methods. Who can blame them when the leading champion of the rules based order is so smitten with debt it must withdraw into itself under the threat of debt default.

The way forward for us is not to look back at what is lost but too look at developing new manufacturing industries and in particular, high technology manufacturing involving vehicles, batteries, solar panels, biotechnology and other related areas.

KCJ1951 , 27 Apr 2018 04:41
What is always revealing about Vanessa and her obsession with neoliberalism, is her intellectual dishonesty wrapped in a smattering of populist half-truths while ignoring any fact that might get in the way of the emotional narrative.
How successful were the largely populist socialist governments in latin America: Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador and, of course, the socialist paradise of Venezuela?
We don't have to go back 40 years Vanessa. A quick peek east across the Pacific to the last decade of failed populist socialist ideology in South America tells enough.
PS: Delighted to see that you are back to full health after the 2 months of "absolute hell" that you went through during the SSM postal survey - Q&A.
Peter Krall , 27 Apr 2018 04:40
Neoliberalism, capitalism even, may well be dying. But the spectre of socialism is dead. What you hear when kicking the cupboard is just the squeaking of the door, not the spectre supposedly rumoring inside.

Worse, socialism did not just disappear but considerable fractions degenerated into all kinds of zombies: you have the aggressive dreamers, who confound anecdotes about repair-cafes or school meals with economic modeling and won't accept any response but flattery (yes, the 'senior' economic commentator is an example). You have the fascists supporting Assad because he administrates the legacy of his Hitler-admiring father and people like the Eichmann-assistant Alois Brunner, and a lot of them identify as 'anti-imperialist left-wingers'. You have the naive nation-state nostalgics who believe the value of work can be increased by blocking immigration, ignoring that the assembly of a car for the German market can be done in the Netherlands or Slovakia just as well as in the UK.

To be sure: I know that persons like Varoufakis (or Badham) are neither fascists nor morons. I wished it were these people who shaped the society after the downfall of laissez-faire capitalism. But I fail to believe it. I believe that the end of laissez-faire capitalism will coincide with the rise of fascism. Thus, I propose to extend capitalism's life expectancy be shifting tax burdens from income and profit to wealth and to create a favorable environment for tech-addicted turbo-capitalism.

[Jun 05, 2018] Trade Wars: How Exposed Are EU States and Industries to the US

Jun 05, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Among EU countries, Ireland is still the most exposed but roughly 7.8% of aggregate domestic value-added (i.e. GDP) ends up in final goods and services purchased in the US (Figure 2). While arguably this is a lot, Ireland's exposure measured in value-added terms is about half of that derived from gross bilateral exports (amounting to approximately 13.5% of GDP). The value-added figures also show relatively large exposures to US demand for Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, to the tune of 3.5% of the GDP. On the other hand, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, and Malta are the least vulnerable to US final consumption. Large countries such as France and Italy sit in the middle of these extremes at around 2%.

The exposure of the EU as a whole to US demand in value-added terms is lower compared to that suggested by gross exports to GDP . For individual countries other than Ireland, gross flows overestimate exposure to US consumption most for Lithuania (+1.3 pp.) and Belgium (+1.2 pp.). The contrary is true especially for Luxembourg (-1.7 pp.), Slovenia (-0.8 pp.), and Cyprus (-0.7 pp.).


Jim Haygood , June 4, 2018 at 12:16 pm

Stuff they don't teach at Wharton to presidential trade warriors, courtesy of Dr Hussman:

The inflow of foreign savings is the mirror image of our current account deficit, because if we don't pay for our imports by sending foreigners goods and services, it turns out that we pay for them by sending them securities.

Because the balance of payments always sums to zero, whenever we export securities to foreigners, on balance, we also run a trade deficit.

Since real investment in factories, capital goods, and housing has to be financed by savings, you'll also find that our trade deficit regularly "deteriorates" during U.S. investment booms, and "improves" during recessions.

https://www.hussmanfunds.com/comment/mc180604/

Our trade deficit represents vendor financing. Refuse foreigners' E-Z terms financing for container loads of stuff, and pretty soon the US economy's gonna be wheezing like a 90-year-old with a two-pack-a-day habit.

This ain't rocket science -- except in the benighted precincts of Foggy Bottom. Flake-o-nomics don't pay.

Jeff , June 4, 2018 at 12:26 pm

Another question is how much of these figures are really "trade" and how much is funny accounting?
If I see the bizarre Ireland accounts, I can't help but think of Apple, Google and other pharmaceuticals being incorporated in Ireland but not really producing much over there.

Larry Motuz , June 4, 2018 at 4:51 pm

I'd love to see something like this done for Canada with its far more integrated economy with that of the United States.

I also wonder if anyone has discussed Canada's/Mexico's refusal to consider the U.S. Administration's proposed five year sunset clauses as indicative of their feared foreign capital investment 'leveraging' that would, prima facie , clearly favor longer term foreign investment in the U.S. facilities. In my view, even U.S. firms contemplating capital investment in Canada would refrain from doing so if the longer term future of 'free trade' was put into jeopardy every five years.

[May 28, 2018] Neoliberal globalization is collapsing in various way in different countries

Notable quotes:
"... Back to Turkey. The largest net backstabbing of Turkish economy could be the slowdown of investments from the Gulf, where Erdogan bravely sided with Qatar. Erdogan engineered de facto confiscation of media assets owned by tycoons sympathetic to the opposition, to be purchased by Qataris, now Qatar is to Turkey what Adelson is to Israel. ..."
"... Add the effect of Iran sanctions -- it increased prices of oil and gas, but no associated increase the demand from the Gulf, on the northern shore there is a prospect of tightened belts, on the southern shore anti-Turkish policies, and Qatar alone is too small ..."
May 24, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

...Rusal, the dominant aluminum maker in Russia recently was sanctioned by USA, while a while ago it gained control of a large portion of alumina production -- aluminum ore, bauxite, has to be processed into more pure feedstock for smelting factories, called alumina. Now aluminum producers in many areas, notably, Europe, have a shortage of alumina that may lead to mothballing of some smelters; the largest alumina facility in Europe is in Ireland and it is owned by Rusal. Perhaps great for American smelter owners, but there has to be some teeth gnashing in Europe.

Back to Turkey. The largest net backstabbing of Turkish economy could be the slowdown of investments from the Gulf, where Erdogan bravely sided with Qatar. Erdogan engineered de facto confiscation of media assets owned by tycoons sympathetic to the opposition, to be purchased by Qataris, now Qatar is to Turkey what Adelson is to Israel.

Siding with Qatar would eliminate investments from KSA and UAE, and draconian treatment of Saudi princes and other tycoons probably led to their assets being under the control of the Crown Prince.

This is not particularly recent, but financial markets tend to have delayed fuse. Add the effect of Iran sanctions -- it increased prices of oil and gas, but no associated increase the demand from the Gulf, on the northern shore there is a prospect of tightened belts, on the southern shore anti-Turkish policies, and Qatar alone is too small.

Plus Erdogan himself promised to "pay more attention to Turkish central bank", and justifiably or not, that is a very strong sell signal for the currency.

[May 24, 2018] Eurasia Group It really is the end of the [neoliberal] world as we know it by : Ian Bremmer

Notable quotes:
"... The following is an interview with Ian Bremmer by Peter Foster, Europe Editor at The Telegraph. Find the original piece here . ..."
"... This interview was originally published by The Telegraph here . ..."
May 24, 2018 | www.eurasiagroup.net

21 November 2016
Ian Bremmer on the end of the Pax Americana, and what comes next

The following is an interview with Ian Bremmer by Peter Foster, Europe Editor at The Telegraph. Find the original piece here .

The so-called 'Pax Americana' that delivered 70 years of peace and rising prosperity after the end of the Second World War has been fraying for over a decade as globalisation, the rise of China and the emergence of a revanchist Russia forces a re-ordering of global institutions. But 2016 has seen a dramatic acceleration in the unravelling of that old world order.

The election of Donald Trump , the UK vote for Brexit and surging populist movements all over Europe has left fresh clouds of uncertainty hanging over the future of a Western-backed world.

Here Ian Bremmer, the US political scientist who coined the phrase "G-Zero" to describe a world without any clear global leadership, speaks exclusively to Peter Foster, our Europe Editor, about the challenges ahead, and how the West can rise to meet them.

People feel that with Brexit, and now the election of Donald Trump that the 'sky is falling in' – how worried do we need to be?

From an international perspective, we should be very worried. It's the end of Pax Americana – the G-Zero has been a long-time coming, and now it's officially here. One of the best things about being a superpower is that no one can do as much injury to you as you can do to yourself. That's also one of the worst things.

We saw this with the massive overreaction to 9/11 , and how much it hurt the US in the eyes of the rest of the world. Somehow, we managed to outdo ourselves this election cycle and the selection of Donald Trump .

It's clear that the US doesn't have the international credibility it once had. Compounding that is that American voters no longer want to be the global policeman, the architect of global trade or the cheerleader of global values.

Problem is, no one else can play that role. So if Americans don't do it, no one will. The great irony in all this is that the world is actually doing better than it ever has. Since 1990, we've lifted 1.3 billion people out of extreme poverty.

For the first time ever, less than 10 per cent of the global population lives in extreme poverty. Think about that – it's the biggest accomplishment of humanity, ever.

Much of that has to do with technology, which provided us with the extraordinary and unprecedented resources to fix these problems. But now the question has shifted from "do we have the tools to make the world a better place" to "will our politics allow us to make the world a better place?" It's not just a critical question; it's the critical question.
How much of Obama's legacy can survive – the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the Iran deal, the Russian sanctions, the strengthening of Nato in Europe? And which bits are the most important to preserve?

I'll be honest -- from where I'm standing, Obama's foreign policy legacy was already in shambles. He didn't get the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal done, which would have made a big difference.

The Paris Agreement was already too late and too little by the time it arrived and now Trump now gets to unwind it entirely. The "Russia Reset" was largely a failed policy (arguably even his biggest), and now Trump gets to waltz in and show how great friends he is with the Russians.

Under Obama's watch, the US-Europe relationship deteriorated to its weakest point in 70 years. And Nato hardly got any stronger during Obama's leadership.

Still, some things will stick. The Iran deal is real , and if Trump tries to unravel it, he's going to be doing it alone allies aren't following suit. That includes Russia, who helped negotiate the deal in the first place.

Going forward, maintaining the Transatlantic alliance and the "pivot" to Asia are the most important foreign policy objectives left to preserve. But they're both exceptionally weak at the end of Obama's administration, and both look to deteriorate further under Trump.

If Marine Le Pen wins the French presidential election is that the "end of the EU" as one official recently described it to me? Would Sarkozy be any better?

No, the EU could still serve an important role despite a Le Pen victory this spring. But the grand ambition that comes from an overarching, supranational identity that would bind values and rule of law together, that will be all but over.

We've already begun to see it with the rise of populism across plenty of EU member states, but a Le Pen victory would drive that stake in further.

How dangerous for global stability is the recent Russian cyber-intervention into the US election?

By itself, not that dangerous given that Trump ended up winning the election. Had Hillary Clinton won , it would be a lot more destabilizing since it would actively deteriorate Washington-Moscow relations.

More broadly speaking, the precedent of forced transparency continues to grow and undermine the central power of governments across the world, and is particularly dangerous for those weaker and more brittle institutions around the world.

What is the risk that a Trump administration starts to remove the US from the global architecture of economy and trade?

The US remains the largest global economy and has outsized weight accordingly. It's an extremely attractive market for foreign investors, and that won't be changing anytime soon. But the US won't be playing the role of trade architect anymore, that's for certain.

So we're going to continue to see the architecture of global trade fragment even further under a Trump administration. We're also going to see American allies hedge faster away from the US over the next 4-to-8 years. And not just towards allies far afield like in Asia – Canada looks poised to be a particularly large beneficiary

What are the biggest centrifugal forces in world affairs at the moment, in your view?

1. Populism empowered by technology. A global phenomenon, but with particular traction in the US and Europe.

2. Erosion of the social safety net. Undermines the legitimacy of established institutions, particularly for centralized state governments.

3. The continued rise of China, along with its alternative economic rule set, principles and priorities.

4. The continued rise of Putin (and simultaneous decline of Russia), along with his alternative security rule set, principles and priorities.

Russia has made the United Nations look utterly impotent over Syria. John Bolton, who loathes the UN, is a key Trump adviser. What hope for António Guterres when he takes over as UN Secretary-General?

It's going to get harder, no doubt about that. I sat down for dinner with Antonio literally the night after the US election. Trump ran a campaign directly against globalism – and given that the UN is the embodiment of globalism (albeit an imperfect one), the incoming UN Secretary-General recognizes that this directly affects his agenda.

Budgets are likely to get slashed, and the climate agenda will get undermined at every turn. We aren't heading for good times on the multilateralism front. China launched its own answer to the World Bank, the Asia Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB) which was welcomed by Britain, but initially rebuffed by the Obama administration.

Should we welcome the AIIB, as part of the regionalising of global finance, which arguably should make it more resilient, or are we witnessing the Balkanization of global financial structures?

Given that wishing it away isn't going to work at this point, the West should welcome it. There's a reason they coined the phrase "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em."

The West should want the AIIB to succeed, and should work with it to have influence over its direction from within.

If TPP and TTIP are dead ducks in a 'Trumpiverse', then what next for world trade?

World trade will become much more fragmented and driven by alternative actors than the ones we're accustomed to. We're already seeing that the real money and global strategy right now is being driven by Beijing.

China is soon to be the world's largest economy, and will do so while being authoritarian and state capitalist. That's unprecedented. It's also the end of the global free market and the beginning of a hybrid global economy.

You've talked about the urgent need for the IMF to 'get political' and 'develop a political mandate'? What does that mean? Where could it make a difference in practice?

I feel very strongly we are experiencing an unwinding of the geopolitical order that we have all grown used to and critical organisations that are part of the fabric of that architecture – like the IMF, the UN, the WTO – are going to be under a lot of pressure.

If they are going to get it right, not only are they going to have to engage with actors who are not really aligned with them as much as they would like, but they are also going to have to address the roots of the current problems which are not only economic, but political.

The IMF has historically not had that political mandate but they need it now because it will determine whether or not they are successful. They need a voice, or they will suffer death by a thousand cuts. The arrival of Trump in the White House the perfect moment to establish their independence and credibility.

How much blame should Obama shoulder for the implosion of the Pax Americana – I'm thinking particularly of his decision to essentially allow a sectarian controlled-burn in the Middle East, sparking a refugee crisis and raising questions about US commitment to underwriting global order?

To be honest, the end of Pax Americana has more to do with structural factors than anything else. The energy revolution is undermining the Middle East; Europe is dealing with its own succession of crises and teeters on the edge of fragmentation; China is rising as an alternative economic force; Russia is rising as an alternative military force.

True, Obama didn't help stop these developments much, but they were coming either way. Trump is simply the nail in the coffin of the Pax Americana era.

You've talked about the need to re-write the social contract, given the populist rejection of the establishment. What does that mean in practice?

In practice, it means that the middle and working classes will have to feel like their governments are legitimate and responding to their need. That means funding functioning infrastructure, health care, and education; it means providing the feeling that there are opportunities in the future.

So either we see serious redistribution and spending to make that happen or we have to accept a permanent disenfranchised population that gets walled off and/or revolts.

How important is the rise of the robots and the so-called 'third' industrial revolution to the current erosion of global order?

The rise of the robots is critical , and it's been driving a lot of the populism/protectionism sentiment in the US and Europe. And it's going to hit emerging markets next. And let's be honest; AI [Artificial Intelligence] and robotics have the potential to upend society to a staggering degree, taking labor out of the capital equation for lots of actors.

The only thing worse that having a job that doesn't pay you a decent wage is not having a job at all.

Lastly, you have observed that "things/processes/technology tend to be globalising, it's the people that aren't" - given that the march of technology cannot be stopped, what can be done for the people?

As I wrote above, this is the social safety net question. If you are a defender of globalisation, you also need to be a defender of the people globalisation is displacing. Otherwise it will never work. If you didn't believe that before, 2016 should convince you otherwise.

This interview was originally published by The Telegraph here .

[May 21, 2018] On neoliberalism

While it is stupid to argue that neoliberalism does not exist: it exits both as ideology, economic theory and politicl pratice (much like Marxism before it; yet another "man-made" ideology -- actually a variation of Trotskyism, this discussion does illuminate some interesting and subtle points.
Notable quotes:
"... Neoliberalism is a time-limited global system sustained by coercive imposition of competitive behaviour, parasitic finance & privatisation. ..."
"... But it's better to think of neoliberalism as a bunch of arrangements ("system" if you remove connotations of design) rather than as an ideology. Ed has a point when he says that almost nobody fully subscribes to "neoliberal ideology": free market supporters, for example, don't defend crony capitalism. ..."
"... Perhaps the texts of transnational trade treaties might be the best place to search for a de facto definition of neoliberalism. ..."
"... Whether or not the present neoliberal system is the result of a single coherent ideology, it emerged from the 70s on as a set of related (if not deliberately coordinated) responses to the structural crises of the older postwar Keynesian system. And there was definitely a cluster of policy-making elites in the early 70s making similar observations about the failure of consensus capitalism. ..."
"... It is possible to have 'hard' and 'soft' neoliberalism depending on whether the state employs 'carrots' or 'sticks', but essentially almost the entire UK political system agreed that 'There Is No Alternative' until Corbyn became Labour leader. ..."
"... I think Will Davies has hit the spot with his definition of neoliberalism as "the disenchantment of politics by economics". In other words, neoliberalism is first and foremost a political praxis, not an economic theory. It is about power, hence the continuing importance of the state. ..."
"... That is the Great Transformation and neoliberalism as its current phase are about turning institutions into businesses (including marriage), and part of this is "managerialism". This is not done because businesses are inherently better for every purpose than institutions, but because businesses are better vehicles than institutions for tunnelling (looting) by their managers. ..."
"... Neo-liberals are not opposed to all types of government intervention. But like neo-classical economists, they believe ultimately in the price mechanism to allocate resources - in the long run, if not the short. ..."
"... In terms of sincerity, Milton Friedman asserted in "Capitalism and Freedom" that the more a society was "free market," the more equal it was. Come the preface to 50th anniversary edition, he simply failed to mention that applying his own ideology had refuted his assertion (and it was an assertion). ..."
"... Neo-liberalism never been about reducing "the State" but rather strengthening it in terms of defending and supporting capital. Hence you see Tories proclaim they are "cutting back the state" while also increasing state regulation on trade unions -- and regulating strikes, and so the labour market. ..."
"... Somewhere along the line neo-liberalism got associated with austerity and small-government policies. The latter I think was because they are (correctly) associated with promoting privatisation and deregulation policy. ..."
"... But the market is the creation of man. It has no power, no judgement, other than that bestowed on it by us. My problem with neoliberalism is the belief that decisions can be made on the basis of a money metric whereas we know that money is not necessarily a good measure of value. ..."
"... Neoliberalism is real, but only describes background theoretical claims. It is wrong to apply the term to the broader political movement it supported. The political movement was dedicated to maximizing the power and freedom of action of large-scale capital accumulators. Lots of ideas from neoliberal intellectual argumentation were used to increase the power of capital accumulators, and neoliberal economists tended to ignore many aspects of the political movement they supported (strongr state power, crony capitalism, monopoly power) not strictly part of neoliberal theory ..."
"... usually the theory was just a weapon used in internal battles or as a PR tool to mask less savory political objectives. ..."
"... Repeating the message: "neoliberalism" has a pretty much official definition, the "Washington Consensus". And the core part of the "Washington Consensus" is "labour market reform", that is in practice whichever policies make labour more "competitive" and wages more "affordable". ..."
"... The "free markets" of neoliberalism are primarily "free" labour markets, that is free of unions. ..."
"... I would argue that, in terms of practical working definitions, Max Sawicky's definition of neo-liberalism seems to work well, at least in the U.S. context (second half of post): https://mikethemadbiologist.com/2017/04/28/remember-the-victims-of-the-nebraska-public-power-district/ ..."
May 16, 2018 | stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com

Is neoliberalism even a thing? This is the question posed by Ed Conway, who claims it is "not an ideology but an insult." I half agree.

I agree that the economic system we have is "hardly the result of a guiding ideology" and more the result of "happenstance".

I say this because neoliberalism is NOT the same as the sort of free market ideology proposed by Friedman and Hayek. If this were the case, it would have died on 13 October 2008 when the government bailed out RBS . In fact, though, as Will Davies and Adam Curtis have said, neoliberalism entails the use of an active state. A big part of neoliberalism is the use of the state to increase the power and profits of the 1% - capitalists and top managers. Increased managerialism, crony capitalism and tough benefit sanctions are all features of neoliberalism. In this respect, the EU's treatment of Greece was neoliberal – ensuring that banks got paid at the expense of ordinary people.

I suspect, though, that measures such as these were, as Ed says, not so much part of a single ideology as uncoordinated events. Tax cuts for the rich, public sector outsourcing and target culture, for example, were mostly justified by appeals to efficiency, and were not regarded even by their advocates as parts of a unified theory. To believe otherwise would be to subscribe to a conspiracy theory which gives too much credit to Thatcher and her epigones.

In this sense, I mostly agree with Paull Mason :

Neoliberalism is a time-limited global system sustained by coercive imposition of competitive behaviour, parasitic finance & privatisation.

I'm not sure about that word "system". Maybe it attributes too much systematization to neoliberals: perhaps unplanned order would be a better phrase. But it's better to think of neoliberalism as a bunch of arrangements ("system" if you remove connotations of design) rather than as an ideology. Ed has a point when he says that almost nobody fully subscribes to "neoliberal ideology": free market supporters, for example, don't defend crony capitalism.

And it's useful to have words for economic systems. Just as we speak of "post-war Keynesianism" to mean a bundle of policies and institutions of which Keynesian fiscal policy was only a small part, so we can speak of "neoliberalism" to describe our current arrangement. It's a better description than the horribly question-begging "late capitalism".

This isn't to say that "neoliberalism" has a precise meaning. There are varieties of it, just as there were of post-war Keynesianism. Think of the word as like "purple". There are shades of purple, we'll not agree when exactly purple turns into blue, and we'll struggle to define the word (especially to someone who is colour-blind). But "purple" is nevertheless a useful word, and we know it when we see it.

If neoliberalism is a system rather than an ideology, what role does ideology play?

I suspect it's that of post-fact justification.

Put it this way. In the mid-80s nobody argued that the share of GDP going to the top 1% should double. Of course, many advocated policies which, it turns out, had this effect. Some of them intended this. But those policies were justified on other grounds, often sincerely. Instead, the belief that the top 1% "deserve" 15% of total incomes rather than 7-8% has mostly followed them getting 15%, not led it. A host of cognitive biases – the just world illusion, anchoring effect and status quo bias underpin an ideology which defends inequality. John Jost calls this system justification (pdf) . You can gather all these biases under the umbrella term "neoliberal ideology" if you want. But it follows economic events rather than is the creator of them.

So, I half agree with Ed that neoliberalism isn't a guiding ideology. But I also agree with Paul, that it is a way of describing a particular economic system.

I don't, however, want to get hung up on words: I'd rather leave such pedantry to the worst sort of academic. What's more important than language is the brute fact that productivity and hence real incomes for most of us have stagnated for years. In this sense, our existing economic system has failed the majority of people. And this is true whatever name you give it.

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Comments

Scratch , May 16, 2018 at 04:13 PM

Perhaps the texts of transnational trade treaties might be the best place to search for a de facto definition of neoliberalism.

There's not much room to blur, obfuscate (beyond the natural impenetrability of legalese) or wreath around with dubious ethicism in these documents I'd imagine.

Luis Enrique , May 16, 2018 at 04:53 PM
if it's a way of describing the prevailing economic system, does it make sense to describe people as neoliberals? Does that imply that everyone who is not a radical revolutionary (i.e. anyone who if they got their way in government would still be within normal variation in policies from a USA Republican administration to the Danish Labour party?). So the Koch brothers are neoliberals and Brad De Long is a neoliberal despite them disagreeing vehemently about most things?

I know we have lots of other words that are used in wildly inconsistent ways (capitalism, socialism) but I can't help being irked by the sheer incoherence of the things that neoliberals are accused of. Most recent example to come to mind, somebody in conversation with Will Davies on Twitter claimed neoliberals oppose redistribution (and Will did not correct him). FFS.

Mike W , May 16, 2018 at 06:04 PM
Conway says:

'But, despite the fact that neoliberalism is frequently referred to as an ideology, it is oddly difficult to pin down. For one thing, it is a word that tends to be used almost exclusively by those who are criticising it - not by its advocates, such as they are (in stark contrast to almost every other ideology, nearly no-one self-describes as a neoliberal). In other words, it is not an ideology but an insult.'

Well political science and history uses models too. What is the problem of say David Harvey's definition in, A Brief History of ...that which doesn't exist (2007)?

Rather I think he means it upsets 'main stream' economics professors, to be called this term, and rather than opt for Wren Lewis gambit (there is such a thing as 'Media Macro' or 'Tory Macro', or 'Econ 101', which I found interesting as it happens) Conway has gone for pedantry and first year Politics student essentialism, ie what is Democracy? type stuff.

As it happens he is dated and plain wrong above.

https://www.adamsmith.org/blog/coming-out-as-neoliberals

Hope this helps Ed

Ralph Musgrave , May 16, 2018 at 06:32 PM
Neoliberalism, at least in the UK, was in part a reaction by Thatcher & Co to the excesses of previous Labour administrations: excesses in the form of "if an industry looks like going bust, let's pour whatever amount of taxpayer's money into it needed to save it". Thatcher & Co's reaction was: "s*d that for a lark – the rules of the free market are better than industrial subsidies (especially industrial subsidies in cabinet ministers' constituencies)"
Kevin Carson , May 16, 2018 at 06:39 PM
Whether or not the present neoliberal system is the result of a single coherent ideology, it emerged from the 70s on as a set of related (if not deliberately coordinated) responses to the structural crises of the older postwar Keynesian system. And there was definitely a cluster of policy-making elites in the early 70s making similar observations about the failure of consensus capitalism.
Ben Philliskirk , May 16, 2018 at 07:11 PM
"if it's a way of describing the prevailing economic system, does it make sense to describe people as neoliberals?"

Yes, these are largely people who reacted to the 'series of events' that occurred in the global economy in the 1970s by essentially accepting a certain set of policies and responses, many of which involved seeking to insulate the state against collective popular demands, intervening against organised labour, deregulating finance and targeting state intervention towards private business.

It is possible to have 'hard' and 'soft' neoliberalism depending on whether the state employs 'carrots' or 'sticks', but essentially almost the entire UK political system agreed that 'There Is No Alternative' until Corbyn became Labour leader. Many of these people were hardly hardcore ideologists but rather pragmatic or unimaginative types that were unwilling to challenge the 'status quo' or the prevailing economic system, just as there were very few classical liberals from WWI onwards.

From Arse To Elbow , May 16, 2018 at 07:40 PM
I think Will Davies has hit the spot with his definition of neoliberalism as "the disenchantment of politics by economics". In other words, neoliberalism is first and foremost a political praxis, not an economic theory. It is about power, hence the continuing importance of the state.

This instrumentality echoes Thatcher's insistence that "Economics are the method; the object is to change the heart and soul", which shows that there was more in play in the late-70s and early-80s than simply responding to the "structural crises of the older postwar Keynesian system".

Sarah Miron , May 16, 2018 at 09:06 PM
You should be reading Philip Mirowski instead. The economist and historian of science Philip Mirowski is considered the foremost expert on this subject, he has written many books on this the latest is:

"The Knowledge We Have Lost in Information: The History of Information in Modern Economics":

https://www.amazon.com/Knowledge-Have-Lost-Information-Economics/dp/0190270055/

*

Neoliberalism is a philosophy based on the metaphor/idea that the "market" is an information process ad it is quasi-omniscient, that "knows" more than any and all of us could ever know. It makes certain claims about what "information" is and what a "market" is. It's mostly started with the Mont Perelin Society think-tank.

Sarah Miron , May 16, 2018 at 09:11 PM
Here's an intro:

His papers:

Some lectures:

Blissex , May 16, 2018 at 10:02 PM
"productivity and hence real incomes for most of us have stagnated for years."

But for many, usually people who vote more often or more opportunistically, they have been years of booming living standards.

The core of the electoral appeal of thatcherism is that thatcherites whether Conservative or New Labour have worked hard to ensure that upper-middle (and many middle) class voters collectively cornered the southern property market, creating a massive short squeeze on people short housing.

So many champagne leftists of some age talk about policies and concepts, but for the many the number one problem for decades has been managing to pay rent.

Blissex , May 16, 2018 at 10:05 PM

"neoliberalism is first and foremost a political praxis, not an economic theory. It is about power, hence the continuing importance of the state."

That's a very good point, but I would rather say that's a good description of New Right/thatcherite (and "third way" clintonian/mandelsonian) politics, and neoliberalism is the economic policy aspect.

There is after all something called "The Washington consensus" that is a "standard" set of neoliberal economic policies.

Blissex , May 16, 2018 at 10:12 PM
"Neoliberalism is a philosophy based on the metaphor/idea that the "market" is an information process"

Written that wait it evokes Polanyi's "Great transformation" where markets mechanisms have displaced social mechanisms in many areas.

But Just yesterday I realized that Polanyi was subtly off-target: it is not markets-vs-society (two fairly abstract concepts) but instead institutions-vs-businesses.

That is the Great Transformation and neoliberalism as its current phase are about turning institutions into businesses (including marriage), and part of this is "managerialism". This is not done because businesses are inherently better for every purpose than institutions, but because businesses are better vehicles than institutions for tunnelling (looting) by their managers.

Blissex , May 16, 2018 at 10:17 PM
"the "market" is an information process ad it is quasi-omniscient, that "knows" more than any and all of us could ever know"

There have been a few books arguing that "the market", being omniscient, all powerful, and just in judging everybody and giving them exactly what they deserve, has replaced God, and today's sell-side neoliberal Economists are its preachers:

Nanikore , May 17, 2018 at 07:21 AM
Economists started using the term neo-liberalism a bit later, after it became a derogatory term - and after 2008 began to disassociate from it (a few, and very few, did after the Asian Financial Crisis).

It is important to realise I think that it is a term that closely linked to political science -- and in particular a branch of international relations. The person most associated with Neo-liberalism is Francis Fukuyama. What he did was link capitalism and democracy; both he said had triumphed and because they respect the freedom of individual liberty and they allowed markets, which are the most efficient way of allocating resources, to operate liberally. Its heyday was at the time of the collapse of the Berlin Wall - "the end of history" as FF famously said.

Political scientists see neo-classical economics and neo-liberalism as very compatible, because of the formers basic construct of individual optimisation, rational choice and market efficiency. Often they are grouped together and contrasted with radical and realist (realpolitik) approaches. For neo-liberals and neo-classicists, markets get prices right, whether they do so with a lag is a minor point.

NK.

Nanikore , May 17, 2018 at 07:46 AM
Neo-liberals are not opposed to all types of government intervention. But like neo-classical economists, they believe ultimately in the price mechanism to allocate resources - in the long run, if not the short.

They have no problem with welfare states. Like neo-classical economists they accept the second welfare theorem.

They are pro-globalisation: they don't like international trade, capital or immigration controls. Why? Because they impact on individual liberty and distort market prices.

International relations were often guiding reasons behind economic policy that were pro-globalisation. By encouraging globalisation, you were encouraging international capitalism and thereby the spread of democracy (a la Francis Fukuyama). International relations policy was close to the PM, and run from the Cabinet Office.

I would argue that Blair and Jonathan Portes are prime examples of neo-liberals. And indeed the Clinton/Blair years were quintessentially neo-liberal in the formerly correct use of the term. Thatcher, as a strong opponent of the welfare state, was not.

Nanikore , May 17, 2018 at 08:49 AM
One further point. Neo-liberals are progressively and socially liberal, as well as economically liberal. They believe in cosmopolitanism and diversity and put much emphasis on minority and women's rights.

NK.

Anarcho , May 17, 2018 at 09:31 AM
"In fact, though, as Will Davies and Adam Curtis have said, neoliberalism entails the use of an active state."

It has always been like that -- Kropotkin was attacking Marxists for suggesting otherwise over a hundred years ago.

"In the mid-80s nobody argued that the share of GDP going to the top 1% should double. Of course, many advocated policies which, it turns out, had this effect. Some of them intended this. But those policies were justified on other grounds, often sincerely."

Yes, different rhetoric was often used -- but the net effect was always obvious, and pointed out at the time. But you get better results with honey than vinegar...

In terms of sincerity, Milton Friedman asserted in "Capitalism and Freedom" that the more a society was "free market," the more equal it was. Come the preface to 50th anniversary edition, he simply failed to mention that applying his own ideology had refuted his assertion (and it was an assertion).

Neo-liberalism never been about reducing "the State" but rather strengthening it in terms of defending and supporting capital. Hence you see Tories proclaim they are "cutting back the state" while also increasing state regulation on trade unions -- and regulating strikes, and so the labour market.

Luis Enrique , May 17, 2018 at 12:12 PM
how coherent are the comments above?

fr'instance

"intervening against organised labour" China bans unions, doesn't it? Are they in this tent too?

"targeting state intervention towards private business" not quite sure what that means but pre-1970 import substitution industrial policy is what?

am I a neoliberal because I think markets do process dispersed information and that competition does some good things (I am worried about monopolies, I would be worried about non-competitive government procurement) or am I not a neoliberal because I am nowhere near thinking markets are omniscient and could write long essays on how markets fail?

am I a neoliberal because I think the Washington Consensus is broadly sensible (with some reservations) or not a neoliberal because I'd like to see far more social housing?

and so on

Nanikore , May 17, 2018 at 03:13 PM
Somewhere along the line neo-liberalism got associated with austerity and small-government policies. The latter I think was because they are (correctly) associated with promoting privatisation and deregulation policy.

But neo-liberals have never been against welfare states in principle or counter-cyclical policy in principle.

Key-neo-liberals, however, were pro-austerity policy after the Asian Financial Crisis - but this included most of the mainstream economics establishment (most crucially of all Stanley Fischer at the IMF). Their rational (naturally enough) related to consistency, credibility, incentives and moral hazard arguments. There were a few who protested (eg Stiglitz). But they were exceptions.

NK.

e , May 17, 2018 at 03:28 PM
@ Luis Enrique
I don't think you'd make the grade as a 'true' neo-liberal unless you'd be happy for your social housing to be less then optimal and only for the destitute. Do you see moral hazard if the housing market is once again sidestepped in favour of decent homes for average every-day heroes, or do you subscribe (explicitly) to the view that the state must sanction and hurt in order that individuals strive?
C Adams , May 17, 2018 at 06:48 PM
@Blissex

"There have been a few books arguing that "the market", being omniscient, all powerful, and just in judging everybody and giving them exactly what they deserve, has replaced God...."

But the market is the creation of man. It has no power, no judgement, other than that bestowed on it by us. My problem with neoliberalism is the belief that decisions can be made on the basis of a money metric whereas we know that money is not necessarily a good measure of value.

Ben Philliskirk , May 17, 2018 at 08:17 PM
@ Luis Enrique

'"intervening against organised labour" China bans unions, doesn't it? Are they in this tent too?'

Well yes. They have taken it further than most countries, stripping back their welfare system while increasing state promotion of capitalist development.

'"targeting state intervention towards private business" not quite sure what that means but pre-1970 import substitution industrial policy is what?'

Import substitution industrial policy is protectionism, not neoliberalism. I'm referring to governments' privatisation and outsourcing of public services and industries, taking them out of political responsibility and collective provision, while at the same time providing them with subsidies and guaranteed markets.

Luis Enrique , May 17, 2018 at 09:26 PM
Ben, ok protectionism is a different tactic than outsourcing but it's intervention towards private business so maybe that's not a defining characteristic of neoliberalism?

And if the Chinese Communist party is neoliberal and also the Koch brothers I am not convinced this is a useful nomenclature

Avraam Jack Dectis , May 17, 2018 at 10:31 PM
Is Productivity Growth like Evolution ? Is it possible that productivity growth is like evolution: It can be a fortitous accident or it can happen due to competitive pressure. The fortuitous accidents are the new technologies whose advantages are so obvious they are quickly adopted.

The competitive pressures can be constraints on profits or resources that force greater efficiency. Perhaps, now, in the UK, there is no shortage of reasonably priced personnel, infrastructure and goods. So, if productivity growth is low, you can be certain neither requirement has been met.

If neither requirement has been met, then, it may well be that there is excessive unused capacity and, if that is the case, GDP growth has been suboptimal.

Which leads to the best question: Is greater GDP growth the result of greater efficiency or is greater efficiency the result of greater GDP growth?

The conclusion is that it may be a mistake to guide policy under the assumption that GDP growth must he preceded by productivity growth. Failing to realize this may be a cause of unnoticed suboptimal GDP growth. .

Hubert Horan , May 18, 2018 at 04:53 PM
1. Neoliberalism is real, but only describes background theoretical claims. It is wrong to apply the term to the broader political movement it supported. The political movement was dedicated to maximizing the power and freedom of action of large-scale capital accumulators. Lots of ideas from neoliberal intellectual argumentation were used to increase the power of capital accumulators, and neoliberal economists tended to ignore many aspects of the political movement they supported (strongr state power, crony capitalism, monopoly power) not strictly part of neoliberal theory

2. The overlap and confusion between neoliberal theory and the political movement for unfettered freedom for capital accumulator is consistent with the broader history of movement conservatism. After WW2, conservatives (broadly defined) had a fixation with developing an intellectual foundatation/justification for their policy preferences. Partly as a reaction to the perception that FDR-LBJ era liberalism was based on theories published by Ivy League professors. The Mont Pelerin intellectual thread that Mirowski and others describe was part of this process. But (even for the liberals) it was always a mistake to claim that intellectual/ideological theorizing lead to political policy and action. It was sometimes the opposite; usually the theory was just a weapon used in internal battles or as a PR tool to mask less savory political objectives.

3. Democratic neoliberalism (Brad DeLong) was always a totally different animal. It was a reaction to the economic crises of the 70s/80s--New Deal policies written in 1934 didn't seem to be working; maybe would should incorporate market forces a bit more.

At the same time Republican neoliberalism had abandoned all pretense of detached analysis and was now strictly a tool supporting the pursuit of power.

Calgacus , May 18, 2018 at 07:38 PM
"Put it this way. In the mid-80s nobody argued that the share of GDP going to the top 1% should double. Of course, many advocated policies which, it turns out, had this effect. Some of them intended this. But those policies were justified on other grounds, often sincerely. Instead, the belief that the top 1% "deserve" 15% of total incomes rather than 7-8% has mostly followed them getting 15%, not led it. "

This is just not true. People did argue that, did announce the intent of these policies in public. Bill Mitchell's former student Victor Quirk is great on such declarations of war on the poor from the rich throughout history. Mitchell himself wrote that he was surprised how many and how blatant these declarations were.

Blissex , May 18, 2018 at 09:54 PM
"But the market is the creation of man. It has no power, no judgement, other than that bestowed on it by us."

But the neoliberal thesis is that it is all-knowing, all-powerful, all-judging. "vox populi vox dei" taken to an extreme.

"My problem with neoliberalism is the belief that decisions can be made on the basis of a money metric"

That to me seems a very poor argument, because then many will object that ignoring the money metric means that you want someone else to pay. Consider the statement "everybody has a right to healthcare free at the point of use": it is mere handwaving unless you explain who and how to pay for it.

The discussion in the money yes/no terms is for me fruitless, because there are two distinct issues in a project: the motivation for there being the project, and the business of doing the project.

Claiming that the *only* motivation for a project should be money seems to me as bad a claiming that given a good motivation how to pay for a project does not matter. Projects don't reduce to their motivation any more than they reduce to the business of doing them.

An extreme example I make is marriage: for me it is (also) a business, as it requires a careful look at money and organization issues, but hopefully the motivation to engage in that business is not economic, but personal feelings.

That's why I mentioned a better-than-Polanyi duality between businesses and institutions: institutions as a rule carry out businesses but for non-business motivations, while "pure" businesses have merely economic motivations.

For example a university setup as a charity versus one setup a a business: both carry out business activities, but the motivation of the former is not merely to do business.

Blissex , May 18, 2018 at 09:57 PM
Repeating the message: "neoliberalism" has a pretty much official definition, the "Washington Consensus". And the core part of the "Washington Consensus" is "labour market reform", that is in practice whichever policies make labour more "competitive" and wages more "affordable".

The "free markets" of neoliberalism are primarily "free" labour markets, that is free of unions.

Mike the Mad Biologist , May 19, 2018 at 01:06 AM
I would argue that, in terms of practical working definitions, Max Sawicky's definition of neo-liberalism seems to work well, at least in the U.S. context (second half of post): https://mikethemadbiologist.com/2017/04/28/remember-the-victims-of-the-nebraska-public-power-district/
C Adams , May 19, 2018 at 08:06 PM
@ Blissex "ignoring the money metric means that you want someone else to pay."

Not sure I follow. If payment is made via money then that is not ignoring the money metric, i.e. money as a measure of value. Do we want someone to do the project and is someone willing and able to do it? If, yes, then money is not (or at least does not need to be) the constraint. It is a mechanism to facilitate the project. If we want universal healthcare, money is not the constraint, the constraint is the ability of society to train and sustain (feed and house) the required expertise.

dilberto , May 19, 2018 at 08:11 PM
"What is neoliberalism?"

Neo-liberalism is an economic idea based on the conjecture that by reverting the level of state spending and regulation of an economy to that which existed at an earlier stage of its economic development will produce the same level of economic growth which the economy experienced then.

But the level of output of an economy is a reflection of the level of the efficiency of that economy, the level of economic growth therefore reflects the rate of increase in its efficiency in terms of increased economic output as the economy develops, a measure which inevitably reduces in its order as an economy approaches its maximum level of efficiency and output. So the rate of economic growth of an economy will inevitably be progressively reduced as an economy matures as the opportunities for efficiency improvements are exploited and the number that remain diminish.

The level of state spending and regulation typical of economically developed societies are responses to the social change which economic development itself has brought about. Abolishing those responses therefore is likely only to serve to reintroduce the social problems which led to their introduction and to make the social consequences of economic development more arduous for the lower social and economic groups disfavoured by that process of social change.

Neo-liberalism is, like other materialist ideology of the progressive left and right, a predominantly economic idea which is a product of the affluent and intellectual classes who themselves, being a product of their elevated economic condition, being dependent upon it and therefore having a vested interest in its continuance, are imbued with a bias which sees the improvement in the general economic condition as a natural unmitigated good and are therefore oblivious or apathetic to its non-material consequences as material progress causes a society and its population to diverge from its native and surviving character as it adapts to the historically exceptional conditions of modernity and undermines its cultural foundation and ultimately threatens its long term cultural future.

nicholas , May 19, 2018 at 10:16 PM
It seems clear from the above posts that there is no clear consensus about what neo-liberalism actually is.

I suggest the use of the term is little more than a cloak used to cover up an uncomfortable reality for those on the left. Traditional left wing policies, such as nationalisation, state intervention in the economy such as rent controls, high marginal tax rates, and strong trade unions systematically failed to deliver prosperity. States which moved to economic models involving more reliance on markets to shift labour and capital to new activities seemed to prosper far better. Rather than say that conservatives such as Friedman were proved right about the fundamental propositions about how an economy should be organised, the soft left adopted conservative policies, and have dressed it up as 'neo-liberalism' to save face.

Indeed, some on the left, such as 'filthy rich' Mandelson, embraced the market economy with the zeal of converts, and have ignored its faults and problems, and have failed to seek to mitigate or remedy these faults and problems.

Nanikore , May 20, 2018 at 07:26 AM
@nicholas

The best thing to do is consult a first or second year undergraduate political science or international relations text. Burchill "Theories of International Relations, Palgrave is a good one, and used in many UK universities. There will be a chapter on neo-liberalism in them. These texts give you the standard blurb on what neo-liberalism really is (as well as what the other major schools of thoughts are together with critiques of all of them).

Neo-liberalism is very much a coherent (but by no means flawless) theory.

Neo-liberalism comes from the subject of international relations. Fukuyama is the most representative neo-liberal. Important is the notion of 'soft power': the spread of capitalism and western culture and other forms of globalisation spreads western notions of democracy and human rights. It was important to integrate countries into the international capitalist (and engage them in the multilateral) system. At the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall this seemed to be a convincing theory. It was very much adopted as a key foreign policy strategy in the UK and the US. One of its biggest blows, however, is the lack of political reform we have seen in China. What this showed was that democratisation does not necessarily follow capitalism and globalisation.

NK.

Nanikore , May 20, 2018 at 07:42 AM
Just to qualify what I said above - the would not use the term "western notions". Ie they would not associate democracy or human rights with being western. They are very cosmopolitan, and believe in the notion of universal, (not relative), values.
Blissex , May 20, 2018 at 03:29 PM
""ignoring the money metric means that you want someone else to pay."
... then money is not (or at least does not need to be) the constraint. It is a mechanism to facilitate the project. If we want universal healthcare, money is not the constraint,"

Oh please, this is just two-bit nominalism: "money" then is just the mechanism by which "you want someone else to pay" and indeed:

"the constraint is the ability of society to train and sustain (feed and house) the required expertise."

That is the *physical* aggregate constraint, regardless of whoever pays, the practical constraint, given that physical stuff is purchased with money, creating or obtaining that money.

The question is then distributional, who is going to pay the money to "train and sustain (feed and house) the required expertise". Unless there are ample unused resources, someone will have to pay.

What right-wingers object to is the idea that "universal health care" is paid for as a percent of income, so that someone on £100,000 a year pays £8,000 a year for exactly the same level of service that someone on £10,000 a year pays £800 a year for.

Jo Park , May 20, 2018 at 07:08 PM
@Luis Enrique: Correct - you are not a neoliberal as you'd like to see far more social housing? A neoliberal believes in more economic freedom, so you achieve the aim of housing people who need state help for housing, food, energy etc by giving them the money to buy a basic level of those things. The State should not be in the business of saying this house here is not a social housing one, but this next that gets built is.
Calgacus , May 21, 2018 at 02:37 AM
Blissex: "Oh please, this is just two-bit nominalism: "money" then is just the mechanism by which "you want someone else to pay""

Umm, no. In real terms, the someone else who is paying in health care is mainly the health care professional treating you.

"Unless there are ample unused resources, someone will have to pay."

But in all modern capitalist countries there are ample unused resources as far as the eye can see. Medicine is one way to use them up, nearly cost-free, and all benefit. Most people value "not being dead" highly. As Paul Samuelson said responding to stupid worries about the cost of the US health care system, so it's 15% (or whatever). It's the best 15% of the economy.

The real problem is that "socialized medicine" is too efficient in real terms, and doesn't create corrupt and powerful satrapies to demand public money, as the US health system does. Since the UK has the most efficient health care system, it has the least real resource "someone has to pay" problem, but it causes the biggest demand gap, the true longterm, macro problem. The opposite for the USA. The real right wing concern is that the underpeople get health care at all, not some smokescreen triviality about nominal taxation.

Most written about health care, as about war, follows the backwards, mainstream way. C Adams is following the correct, MMT/Keynesian way. If that is two-bit nominalism, we need more of it.

Robert Mitchell , May 21, 2018 at 04:37 AM
Blissex: "Oh please, this is just two-bit nominalism: "money" then is just the mechanism by which "you want someone else to pay""

"Unless there are ample unused resources, someone will have to pay."

The Fed proved in 2008 it has ample resources, created with keystrokes, without limits.

In normal times banks and private money markets create dollar-denominated credit at will; in a panic, the Fed backstops the private credit.

Thus, print to pay for social spending. Index incomes to price rises. You can print faster than prices will rise ...

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

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

By Christine Berry. Originally published at openDemocracy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Nobody can agree on what it means

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

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

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

3. Neoliberalism is just good economics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * *

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

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


diptherio , May 17, 2018 at 10:23 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JBird , May 17, 2018 at 8:05 pm

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

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

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

Exactly. Bravo.

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

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

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

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

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

DanB , May 17, 2018 at 10:29 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HotFlash , May 17, 2018 at 11:53 am

Thank you, Mr. Valiant,

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

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

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

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

PKMKII , May 17, 2018 at 3:12 pm

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

vlade , May 17, 2018 at 10:33 am

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

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

Grebo , May 17, 2018 at 10:22 pm

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

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

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

vlade , May 18, 2018 at 3:09 am

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

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

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

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

johnnygl , May 17, 2018 at 11:20 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

TG , May 17, 2018 at 11:38 am

Well said!

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

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

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

HotFlash , May 17, 2018 at 11:58 am

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

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

Carey , May 17, 2018 at 10:25 pm

That middle paragraph is simply outstanding. Thank you.

Hunter , May 18, 2018 at 4:09 am

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

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

animalogic , May 18, 2018 at 12:56 am

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

Absolutely.

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

Summer , May 17, 2018 at 11:45 am

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

Perfect description and funny too!

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

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

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

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

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

HotFlash , May 17, 2018 at 12:02 pm

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

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

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

shinola , May 17, 2018 at 12:06 pm

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

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

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

animalogic , May 18, 2018 at 1:42 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carey , May 17, 2018 at 10:57 pm

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

Altandmain , May 17, 2018 at 12:56 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adam Smith on price gouging:

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

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

Adam Smith on lobbyists:

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

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

The interests of business and the public are not aligned.

Adam Smith on the 1%:

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

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

Adam Smith on Profit:

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

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

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

Today's problems with growth and demand.

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

ChrisPacific , May 17, 2018 at 6:52 pm

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

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

skippy , May 18, 2018 at 5:27 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WheresOurTeddy , May 17, 2018 at 1:29 pm

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

Ignacio , May 17, 2018 at 2:14 pm

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

Norb , May 18, 2018 at 9:33 am

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

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

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

PKMKII , May 17, 2018 at 3:01 pm

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

Grebo , May 17, 2018 at 10:51 pm

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

EoH , May 17, 2018 at 3:40 pm

Nicely written and argued.

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

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

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

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

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

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

JBird , May 18, 2018 at 2:37 am

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

Jill , May 18, 2018 at 12:14 am

Mirowski addressed this very issue in this paper –

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

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

everydayjoe , May 18, 2018 at 4:44 am

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

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

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

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

Expat , May 18, 2018 at 6:10 am

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

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

eg , May 18, 2018 at 7:56 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

brumel , May 18, 2018 at 10:16 am

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

beachcomber , May 18, 2018 at 12:08 pm

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

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

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

EoH , May 18, 2018 at 12:43 pm

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

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

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

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

From the article:

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

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

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

Galatea55 , May 18, 2018 at 1:43 pm

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

EoH , May 18, 2018 at 7:31 pm

Or Mirowski and Bourdieu.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carey , May 19, 2018 at 3:40 pm

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

EoH , May 18, 2018 at 7:30 pm

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

[May 14, 2018] In an ongoing operation, the US imperialist hawks seek to wipe out the last Leftist govements in LA

May 14, 2018 | failedevolution.blogspot.gr

In an ongoing operation, the US imperialist hawks seek to wipe out the last Leftist governments in Latin America Ten years ago, most of Latin America was governed by Center-Left progressive or even Leftist governments. For example, Cristina Fernandez in Argentina, Evo Morales in Bolivia, Rafael Correa in Ecuador, Fernando Lugo in Paraguay, Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, and Lula da Silva in Brazil, just as an example. And Hugo Chavez, of course, in Venezuela. Since then, the so-called 'pink tide' has receded quite dramatically. Of these 10 governments that were Left of Center, only four remain. Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, Morales in Bolivia, Vazquez in Uruguay, and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua. What happened? Some would argue that the US played an important role in at least some of these changes.

globinfo freexchange

Speaking to Greg Wilpert and the RealNews , Mark Weisbrot explains the impact of the Leftist or Center-Left governments on Latin America, as well as the US efforts to overthrow these governments and replace them by Rright-Wing puppet regimes. This is a struggle that has become common in a region that heavily suffers for decades by the US dirty interventions as it is considered the backyard of the US empire and the primary colonial field for the big US corporations:

If you look at the region as a whole, the poverty rate dropped from 44 to 28 percent. That was from around 2003-2013. And that was after the two decades prior where poverty had actually increased, there was no progress at all. So that was a huge change, and it was accomplished in different countries, in different ways.

There were large increases in public investment in Bolivia and Ecuador. In Brazil you had also some increase in public investment, big increases in the minimum wage. Every country did different things to help bring healthcare, and increase, in some countries, access to education. And there were a whole lot of reforms, changes in macroeconomic policy, getting rid of the IMF.

So there were a lot of different things that these governments did that prior governments were either unable, or unwilling to do to improve people's living standards during a period of higher economic growth, which they also contributed to.

When Right-Wing governments took over most of the continent you have different things that have changed.

One is, of course, they're implementing, as you would expect, Right-Wing reforms. Trying to cut pension system, the pension in Brazil. Passing a constitutional amendment which, even most economists in the world wouldn't support in Brazil, which prohibits the government from increasing spending beyond the rate of inflation. You have huge increases in utility prices in Argentina, laying off thousands of public sector workers. So, everywhere where the Right has come back, you do have some regressive changes.

The US has been involved in most of these countries in various ways. Obviously in Venezuela they've been involved since the coup in 2002, and they tried to overthrow the government and tried to help people topple the government on several occasions there.

In Brazil, they supported the coup against Dilma, the parliamentary coup. So, they didn't do that strongly, but they sent enough signals, for example, as the House was voting to impeach Dilma without actually presenting a crime that she committed. The head of the Foreign Relations Committee from the Senate came and met with the No3 official from the US State Department, Tom Shannon. And then, in August of that year, the Secretary of State, John Kerry, went down there and had a press conference with the Acting Foreign Minister, Jose Serra. And they talked about how great relations with the US were going to be before Dilma was actually removed from office. So these were ways of endorsing the coup.

The FBI, the Department of Justice contributed to the investigation that was instrumental in imprisoning Lula. What they did in that investigation we don't know exactly, but we do know enough about it to know that it wasn't a neutral investigation. That is, the investigation did end up decapitating the Workers' Party for now. First helping get rid of Dilma, but more importantly, or more substantially, in terms of its contribution, they helped put Lula in prison and prevent him from running for office.

In Paraguay, the US helped in the consolidation of that parliamentary coup by organizing within the Organization of American States.

In Haiti, in 2004, they took the president and put him on a rendition plane, and flew him out of the country. That was in broad daylight.

In Honduras, is probably the biggest role that the US has played, both in consolidating the military coup in 2009. Hillary Clinton acknowledged her role in making sure that President Zelaya, the democratically elected president, would not return to office, and then more recently, in November, they helped consolidate the results of an election which pretty much all observers regarded as stolen.

In Argentina, other branches of government were involved as well as the executive, but the executive cut off lending from multilateral development banks such as the Inter-American Development Bank, and tried to block loans at the World Bank, as well. And they restored everything as soon as the Right-Wing government was elected. And then, there was Judge Griesa in New York, who took over 90 percent of Argentina's creditors hostage in order to squeeze them so that the government would pay off the vulture funds. And this was very political, because he also lifted the injunction as soon as you had the Right-Wing government.

This is very important, because obviously it's not necessarily a conspiracy of all these branches of government. The legislative branch was involved in this as well, in the United States. But they all have the same mindset, and they're all trying to get rid of these Left governments, and they had a massive contribution. In Argentina, that did contribute to the downfall of Cristina Kirchner. It contributed to balance of payments problems that they had there. So this was important, and it's totally ignored in the United States.

You have intervention in Mexico, for example. US officials have already said how worried they are that AMLO, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who is the frontrunner in the upcoming election in July. And he's probably going to win, but they're already trying to undermine him, lobbying accusations of Russia involvement, which is the new trend. Of course, completely unsubstantiated.

In Venezuela they're doing something probably never done in the last 50 years, openly calling for a military coup, and actually a financial embargo they've put in place, and threatening even a worse embargo if they don't get rid of the current government. So that's a more aggressive form of intervention than you had even under the prior administrations.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/nhNNi-kXE_4


As has been mentioned previously:

A wave of neoliberal onslaught shakes currently Latin America. While in Argentina, Mauricio Macri allegedly took the power normally, the constitutional coup against Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, as well as, the usual actions of the Right opposition in Venezuela against Nicolás Maduro with the help of the US finger, are far more obvious.

The special weight of these three countries in Latin America is extremely important for the US imperialism to regain ground in the global geopolitical arena. Especially the last ten to fifteen years, each of them developed increasingly autonomous policies away from the US close custody, under Leftist governments, and this was something that alarmed the US imperialism components.

Brazil appears to be the most important among the three, not only due to its size, but also as a member of the BRICS, the team of fast growing economies who threaten the US and generally the Western global dominance. The constitutional coup against Rousseff was rather a sloppy action and reveals the anxiety of the US establishment to regain control through puppet regimes. This is a well-known situation from the past through which the establishment attempts to secure absolute dominance in the US backyard.

The importance of Venezuela due to its oil reserves is also significant. When Maduro tried to approach Russia in order to strengthen the economic cooperation between the two countries, he must had set the alarm for the neocons in the US. Venezuela could find an alternative in Russia and BRICS, in order to breathe from the multiple economic war that was set off by the US. It is characteristic that the economic war against Russia by the US and the Saudis, by keeping the oil prices in historically low levels, had significant impact on the Venezuelan economy too. It is also known that the US organizations are funding the opposition since Chávez era, in order to proceed in provocative operations that could overthrow the Leftist governments.
The case of Venezuela is really interesting. The US imperialists were fiercely trying to overthrow the Leftist governments since Chávez administration. They found now a weaker president, Nicolás Maduro - who certainly does not have the strength and personality of Hugo Chávez - to achieve their goal.

The Western media mouthpieces are doing their job, which is propaganda as usual. The recipe is known. You present the half truth, with a big overdose of exaggeration. The establishment parrots are demonizing Socialism , but they won't ever tell you about the money that the US is spending, feeding the Right-Wing groups and opposition to proceed in provocative operations, in order to create instability. They won't tell you about the financial war conducted through the oil prices, manipulated by the Saudis, the close US ally.

Regarding Argentina, former president, Cristina Kirchner, had also made some important moves towards the stronger cooperation with Russia, which was something unacceptable for Washington's hawks. Not only for geopolitical reasons, but also because Argentina could escape from the vulture funds that sucking its blood since its default. This would give the country an alternative to the neoliberal monopoly of destruction. The US big banks and corporations would never accept such a perspective because the debt-enslaved Argentina is a golden opportunity for a new round of huge profits. It's happening right now in debt colony, Greece.

[May 13, 2018] And interesting admission of the stress the neoliberlaism is under from Michael Hayden

Notable quotes:
"... Ex-NSA chief says Americans have been conned by Russia and Trump and should look to intel community for salvation. ..."
"... The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies, Michael Hayden, Penguin Press, 304 pages ..."
"... He warns that "the structures we rely on to prevent civil war and societal collapse are under stress." ..."
"... Simply put, Hayden's book is blowing 10 dog whistles at once. Arise ye patriots [of neoliberalism] of Langley and Fort Meade! ..."
"... The IC lost all trust after the Iraqi WMD lie. They'll never get it back. That doesn't mean Trump isn't a liar too. But it's not either/or. ..."
May 10, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Originally from: Can Michael Hayden Be This Blinded By Hate By Peter Van Buren

Ex-NSA chief says Americans have been conned by Russia and Trump and should look to intel community for salvation.

Former Director of the National Security Agency Michael Hayden. Gage Skidmore/Shutterstock The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies, Michael Hayden, Penguin Press, 304 pages

Former NSA and CIA head Michael Hayden's new book The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies wants to be the manifesto behind an intelligence community coup. It ends up reading like outtakes from Dr. Strangelove .

Trump cannot discern truth from falsehood, Hayden says, and is the product of too much fact-free thinking, especially on social media ("computational propaganda" where people can "publish without credentials") where lies are deployed by the Russians to destroy the United States. Instead Hayden calls for artificial intelligence and a media truth-rating system to "purify our discourse" and help "defend it against inauthentic stimulation."

Hayden believes in the "fragility of civilization" as clearly as he believes there is a "FOX/Trump/RT" alliance in place to exploit it. Under Trump, "post-truth is pre-fascism, and to abandon facts is to abandon freedom." Hayden claims Trump has a "glandular aversion" to even thinking about how "Russia has been actively seeking to damage the fabric of American democracy."

Salvation, it would seem, depends on the intelligence community. Hayden makes clear, ominously quoting conversations with anonymous IC officers, that no one else is protecting America from these online threats to our precious bodily fluids . He warns that "the structures we rely on to prevent civil war and societal collapse are under stress." The IC on the other hand "pursues Enlightenment values [and] is essential not just to American safety but to American liberty."

Hayden recalls how he reminded a lad fresh to the IC to "protect yourself. And above all protect the institution. American still needs it." He has a bit of advice about the CIA: "We are accustomed to relying on their truth to protect us from foreign enemies. Now we may need their truth to save us from ourselves." The relationship between Trump and the IC, Hayden threatens, is "contentious, divisive, and unpredictable" in these "uncharted waters for the Republic."

Simply put, Hayden's book is blowing 10 dog whistles at once. Arise ye patriots [of neoliberalism] of Langley and Fort Meade!

Yet for all his emphasis on truth, Hayden is curiously lax in presenting actual evidence of the apocalypse. You are left to believe because Hayden says you must: paternalism at its best. Plus, to disbelieve is to side with Putin. The best we get are executive summary-like statements along the lines of "There is clear evidence of what I would call convergence, the convergence of a mutually reinforcing swirl of Presidential tweets and statements, Russian influenced social media, alt right websites and talk radio, Russian 'white' press like RT and even mainstream U.S. media like Fox News."

With that established, Hayden informs us that when the IC tried to warn Trump of the Russian plot, he "rejected a fact-based intel assessment because it was inconsistent with a preexisting world view or because it was politically inconvenient, the stuff of ideological authoritarianism not pragmatic democracy." Comrade, er, Candidate Trump, says Hayden matter-of-factly, "did sound a lot like Vladimir Putin." The two men, he declaims, are "Russian soulmates."

Hayden figures that if you've read this far into his polemic, he might as well just splurge the rest of his notes on you. Trump is "uninformed, lazy, dishonest, off the charts, rejects the premise objective reality even existed." He's fueled by Russian money (no evidence of this is presented in the book, Hayden says, because it's hidden in the tax returns, as if Line 42 on Trump's 1040 would read "Putin Black Funds $5 mil," and the IRS, which does have the returns, overlooked that).

Trump is an "unwitting agent" of Putin, which Hayden tells us in Russian is polezni durak , so you can see he knows his Cold War lingo. We hear how Wikileaks worked with the Russkies, how Trump Jr. worked with the Russkies, how the Russkies wormed their way into Tower so they could see the Big Board, how the whole brouhaha over #TakeAKnee was Russian meddling, and how Jill Stein existed to "bleed off votes from Clinton" -- every Mueller fan-fiction trope tumbling from the pages like crumbs left over from an earlier reader.

That's why The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies reads like as a polemic. But it also fails as a book.

There are pages of filler, jumbled blog post-like chapters about substate actors and global tectonics. Hayden writes in a recognizable style that might be called Bad Military, where everything must eventually be tied to some Big Idea, preferably with classical references Googled-up to add gravitas.

So it is not enough for Hayden to state Trump is a liar. He has to blame Trump for usurping the entire body of Western thought: "We are in a post-truth world, a world in which decisions are far more based upon emotion and preference. And that's an overturning of the Western way of thought since the Enlightenment." Bad things are Hobbesian; good things Jeffersonian, Madisonian, or Hamiltonian. People Hayden agrees with get adjectival modifiers before their names: the perceptive scholar ____, the iconic journalist ____, the legendary case officer ____. It makes for tiresome reading, like it's Sunday night edging 4 a.m. and you still have nine undergrad papers on the causes of the Civil War to grade.

Hayden is openly contemptuous of the American people, seeing them as brutes who need to be led around, either by the Russians, as he sees it now, or by the IC, as he wishes it to be. Proof of how dumb we are? Hayden cites a poll showing 83 percent of Republicans and 27 percent of Democrats don't believe the IC analysis that Russia meddled in the 2016 election when they damn well should. Further proof? Russian bots at work on Twitter influencing conservative minds by using the hashtags #God and #Benghazi.

In our odd times, Hayden is a Hero of the Resistance. Seemingly forgotten is that, as head of the NSA, he implemented blanket surveillance of American citizens in a rape of the Fourth Amendment, itself a product of the Enlightenment, justifying his unconstitutional actions with a mishmash of post-truth platitudes and still-secret legal findings. Hayden also supported torture during the War on Terror, but whatever.

This book-length swipe right for the IC leaves out the slam dunk work those agencies did on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Any concern about political motives inside the IC is swept away as "baseless." Gina Haspel , who oversaw the torture program, is an "inspired choice" to head CIA. Hayden writes for the rubes, proclaiming that the IC produces facts when in reality even good intel can only be assessments and ambiguous conclusions.

That people so readily overlook Hayden's sins simply because he rolls off snark against Trump speaks to our naiveté. That men like Hayden retain their security clearances while serving as authors and paid commentators to outlets like CNN speaks to how deep the roots of the Deep State reach. That some troubled Jack D. Ripper squirreled inside the IC might take this pablum seriously is frightening.

Peter Van Buren, a 24-year State Department veteran, is the author of We Meant Well : How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People and Hooper's War : A Novel of WWII Japan. Follow him on Twitter @WeMeantWell .


Jack May 9, 2018 at 11:09 pm

The "assault on intelligence" indeed.
Kent , says: May 10, 2018 at 6:39 am
The IC lost all trust after the Iraqi WMD lie. They'll never get it back. That doesn't mean Trump isn't a liar too. But it's not either/or.
Robert Hume , says: May 10, 2018 at 8:57 am
He's not blinded by hate. If you actually read the book, he describes his issues with Obama, Clinton and everyone else. The fact remains he outlined the truth: Trump is a bumbling fool who cannot distinguish truth fro fiction and is the most corrupt president ever to inhabit the oval office, and has no idea what he's doing.
Stephen J, , says: May 10, 2018 at 9:06 am
This interesting article states: Gina Haspel, who oversaw the torture program, is an 'inspired choice' to head CIA. Really, torture is used by gangsters and other underworld villains. Therefore, I ask based on the evidence against governments. "Are We Seeing Government by Gangsters"? http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2018/03/are-we-seeing-government-by-gangsters.html
C. L. H. Daniels , says: May 10, 2018 at 10:00 am
The guy sounds like a certain Senator from Wisconsin:

"The reason why we find ourselves in a position of impotency is not because the enemy has sent men to invade our shores, but rather because of the traitorous actions of those who have had all the benefits that the wealthiest nation on earth has had to offer – the finest homes, the finest college educations, and the finest jobs in Government we can give."

balconesfault , says: May 10, 2018 at 10:40 am
I've never been a fan of Hayden, and his current salvos against Trump aren't going to change that.

But "Trump cannot discern truth from falsehood, Hayden says, and is the product of too much fact-free thinking, especially on social media "

There's a serious rebuttal to this?

Kurt Gayle , says: May 10, 2018 at 10:43 am
Peter Van Buren reminds us all: "Seemingly forgotten is that, as head of the NSA, he implemented blanket surveillance of American citizens in a rape of the Fourth Amendment "

The 4th Amendment to the US Constitution:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

[May 02, 2018] Neoliberalism and Christianity

Highly recommended!
Money quote: " neoliberalism is the fight of finance to subdue society at large, and to make the bankers and creditors today in the position that the landlords were under feudalism."
Notable quotes:
"... ... if you take the Bible literally, it's the fight in almost all of the early books of the Old Testament, the Jewish Bible, all about the fight over indebtedness and debt cancellation. ..."
"... neoliberalism is the fight of finance to subdue society at large,and to make the bankers and creditors today in the position that the landlords were under feudalism. ..."
"... They call themselves free marketers, but they realize that you cannot have neoliberalism unless you're willing to murder and assassinate everyone who promotes an alternative ..."
"... Just so long as you remember that most of the strongest and most moving condemnations of greed and money in the ancient and (today) western world are also Jewish--i.e. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, the Gospels, Letter of James, etc. ..."
"... The history of Jewish banking after the fall or Rome is inextricable from cultural anti-judaism of Christian west and east and de facto marginalization/ghettoization of Jews from most aspects of social life. The Jewish lending of money on interest to gentiles was both necessary for early mercantilist trade and yet usury was prohibited by the church. So Jewish money lenders were essential to and yet ostracized within European economies for centuries. ..."
"... Now Christianity has itself long given up on the tradition teaching against usury of course. ..."
"... In John, for instance most of the references to what in English is translated as "the Jews" are in Greek clearly references to "the Judaeans"--and especially to the ruling elite among the southern tribe in bed with the Romans. ..."
May 02, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , May 1, 2018 2:27:06 PM | 13

Just finished reading the fascinating Michael Hudson interview I linked to on previous thread; but since we're discussing Jews and their religion in a tangential manner, I think it appropriate to post here since the history Hudson explains is 100% key to the ongoing pain us humans feel and inflict. My apologies in advance, but it will take this long excerpt to explain what I mean:

"Tribes: When does the concept of a general debt cancellation disappear historically?

"Michael: I guess in about the second or third century AD it was downplayed in the Bible. After Jesus died, you had, first of all, St Paul taking over, and basically Christianity was created by one of the most evil men in history, the anti-Semite Cyril of Alexandria. He gained power by murdering his rivals, the Nestorians, by convening a congress of bishops and killing his enemies. Cyril was really the Stalin figure of Christianity, killing everybody who was an enemy, organizing pogroms against the Jews in Alexandria where he ruled.

"It was Cyril that really introduced into Christianity the idea of the Trinity. That's what the whole fight was about in the third and fourth centuries AD. Was Jesus a human, was he a god? And essentially you had the Isis-Osiris figure from Egypt, put into Christianity. The Christians were still trying to drive the Jews out of Christianity. And Cyril knew the one thing the Jewish population was not going to accept would be the Isis figure and the Mariolatry that the church became. And as soon as the Christian church became the establishment rulership church, the last thing it wanted in the West was debt cancellation.

"You had a continuation of the original Christianity in the Greek Orthodox Church, or the Orthodox Church, all the way through Byzantium. And in my book And Forgive Them Their Debts, the last two chapters are on the Byzantine echo of the original debt cancellations, where one ruler after another would cancel the debts. And they gave very explicit reason for it: if we don't cancel the debts, we're not going to be able to field an army, we're not going to be able to collect taxes, because the oligarchy is going to take over. They were very explicit, with references to the Bible, references to the jubilee year. So you had Christianity survive in the Byzantine Empire. But in the West it ended in Margaret Thatcher. And Father Coughlin.

"Tribes: He was the '30s figure here in the States.

"Michael: Yes: anti-Semite, right-wing, pro-war, anti-labor. So the irony is that you have the people who call themselves fundamentalist Christians being against everything that Jesus was fighting for, and everything that original Christianity was all about."

Hudson says debt forgiveness was one of the central tenets of Judaism: " ... if you take the Bible literally, it's the fight in almost all of the early books of the Old Testament, the Jewish Bible, all about the fight over indebtedness and debt cancellation. "

Looks like I'll be purchasing Hudson's book as he's essentially unveiling a whole new, potentially revolutionary, historical interpretation.

psychohistorian , May 1, 2018 3:31:50 PM | 26
@ karlof1 with the Michale Hudson link....thanks!!

Here is the quote that I really like from that interview
"
Michael: No. You asked what is the fight about? The fight is whether the state will be taken over, essentially to be an extension of Wall Street if you do not have government planning. Every economy is planned. Ever since the Neolithic (era), you've had to have (a form of) planning. If you don't have a public authority doing the planning, then the financial authority becomes the planners. So globalism is in the financial interest –Wall Street and the City of London, doing the planning, not governments. They will do the planning in their own interest. So neoliberalism is the fight of finance to subdue society at large,and to make the bankers and creditors today in the position that the landlords were under feudalism.
"

karlof1, please email me as I would like to read the book as well and maybe we can share a copy.

And yes, it is relevant to Netanyahoo and his ongoing passel of lies because humanity has been told and been living these lives for centuries...it is time to stop this shit and grow up/evolve

james , May 1, 2018 10:30:01 PM | 96
@13 / 78 karlof1... thanks very much for the links to michael hudson, alastair crooke and the bruno maraces articles...

they were all good for different reasons, but although hudson is being criticized for glossing over some of his talking points, i think the main thrust of his article is very worthwhile for others to read! the quote to end his article is quite good "The question is, who do you want to run the economy? The 1% and the financial sector, or the 99% through politics? The fight has to be in the political sphere, because there's no other sphere that the financial interests cannot crush you on."

it seems to me that the usa has worked hard to bad mouth or get rid of government and the concept of government being involved in anything.. of course everything has to be run by a 'private corp' - ie corporations must run everything.. they call them oligarchs when talking about russia, lol - but they are corporations when they are in the usa.. slight rant..

another quote i especially liked from hudson.. " They call themselves free marketers, but they realize that you cannot have neoliberalism unless you're willing to murder and assassinate everyone who promotes an alternative ." that sounds about right...

@ 84 juliania.. aside from your comments on hudsons characterization of st paul "the anti-Semite Cyril of Alexandria" further down hudson basically does the same with father coughlin - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Coughlin.. he gets the anti-semite tag as well.. i don't know much about either characters, so it's mostly greek to me, but i do find some of hudsons views especially appealing - debt forgiveness being central to the whole article as i read it...

it is interesting my own view on how money is so central to the world and how often times I am incapable of avoiding the observation of the disproportionate number of Jewish people in banking.. I guess that makes me anti-semite too, but i don't think of myself that way.. I think the obsession with money is killing the planet.. I don't care who is responsible for keeping it going, it is killing us...

WJ | May 1, 2018 10:48:58 PM | 100

James @96,

Just so long as you remember that most of the strongest and most moving condemnations of greed and money in the ancient and (today) western world are also Jewish--i.e. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, the Gospels, Letter of James, etc.

The history of Jewish banking after the fall or Rome is inextricable from cultural anti-judaism of Christian west and east and de facto marginalization/ghettoization of Jews from most aspects of social life. The Jewish lending of money on interest to gentiles was both necessary for early mercantilist trade and yet usury was prohibited by the church. So Jewish money lenders were essential to and yet ostracized within European economies for centuries.

Now Christianity has itself long given up on the tradition teaching against usury of course.

WJ , May 1, 2018 8:23:40 PM | 88
Juliana @84,

I too greatly admire the work of Hudson but he consistently errs and oversimplifies whenever discussing the beliefs of and the development of beliefs among preNicene followers of the way (as Acts puts is) or Christians (as they came to be known in Antioch within roughly eight or nine decades after Jesus' death.) Palestinian Judaism in the time of Jesus was much more variegated than scholars even twenty years ago had recognized. The gradual reception and interpretation of the Dead Sea Scrolls in tandem with renewed research into Phili of Alexandria, the Essenes, the so-called Sons of Zadok, contemporary Galilean zealot movements styles after the earlier Maccabean resistance, the apocalyptism of post exilic texts like Daniel and (presumably) parts of Enoch--all paint a picture of a highly diverse group of alternatives to the state-Church once known as Second Temple Judaism that has been mistaken as undisputed Jewish "orthodoxy" since the advent of historical criticism.

The Gospel of John, for example, which dates from betweeen 80-120 and is the record of a much earlier oral tradition, is already explicitly binitarian, and possibly already trinitarian depending on how one understands the relationship between the Spirit or Advocate and the Son. (Most ante-Nicene Christians understood the Spirit to be *Christ's* own spirit in distributed form, and they did so by appeal to a well-developed but still largely under recognized strand in Jewish angelology.)

The "theological" development of Christianity occurred much sooner that it has been thought because it emerged from an already highly theologized strand or strands of Jewish teaching that, like Christianity itself, privileged the Abrahamic covenant over the Mosaic Law, the testament of grace over that of works, and the universal scope of revelation and salvation as opposed to any political or ethnic reading of the "Kingdom."

None of these groups were part of the ruling class of Judaean priests and levites and their hangers on the Pharisees.

In John, for instance most of the references to what in English is translated as "the Jews" are in Greek clearly references to "the Judaeans"--and especially to the ruling elite among the southern tribe in bed with the Romans.

So the anti-Judaism/Semiti of John's Gispel largely rests on a mistranslation. In any event, everything is much more complex than Hudson makes it out to be. Christian economic radicalism is alive and well in the thought of Gregory of Nysa and Basil the Great, who also happened to be Cappadocian fathers highly influential in the development of "orthodox" Trinitarianism in the fourth century.

I still think that Hudson's big picture critique of the direction later Christianity took is helpful and necessary, but this doesn't change the fact that he simplifies the origins, development, and arguably devolution of this movement whenever he tries to get specific. It is a worthwhile danger given the quality of his work in historical economics, but still one has to be aware of.

[Apr 30, 2018] Trade Wars US against EU, Neocons against Globalists

Apr 30, 2018 | www.defenddemocracy.press

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and UK Prime Minister Theresa May have agreed in phone talks that the European Union should be ready to defend its trade interests if the United States takes any trade measures against the bloc, the German government said Sunday.

"The chancellor also spoke with the president [Macron] and the prime minister [May] on trade relations with the United States. They agreed that the United States should not take trade-linked measures against the European Union and that, otherwise, the European Union should be ready to defend its interests within the framework of the multilateral trading system," the statement read.

[Apr 29, 2018] Macron The Last Multilateralist by Patrick J. Buchanan

He wants the return of France colonial glory.
Notable quotes:
"... Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, ..."
"... . To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com. ..."
Apr 27, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

"Together," President Macron instructed President Trump, "we can resist the rise of aggressive nationalisms that deny our history and divide the world."

In an address before Congress on Wednesday, France's Macron denounced "extreme nationalism," invoked the UN, NATO, WTO, and Paris climate accord, and implored Trump's America to come home to the New World Order.

"The United States is the one who invented this multilateralism," Macron went on, "you are the one now who has to help preserve and reinvent it."

His visit was hailed and his views cheered, but on reflection, the ideas of Emmanuel Macron seem to be less about tomorrow than yesterday. For the world he celebrates is receding into history. The America of 2018 is coming to see NATO as having evolved into an endless U.S. commitment to go to war with Russia on behalf of a rich Europe that resolutely refuses to provide for its own defense.

Since the WTO was created in the mid-90s, the U.S. has run $12 trillion in trade deficits, and among the organization's biggest beneficiaries -- the EU. Under the Paris climate accord, environmental restrictions are put upon the United States from which China is exempt. As for the UN, is that sinkhole of anti-Americanism, the General Assembly, really worth the scores of billions we have plunged into it?

"Aggressive nationalism" is a term that might well fit Napoleon Bonaparte, whose Arc de Triomphe sits on the Champs-Elysees. But does it really fit the Hungarians, Poles, Brits, Scots, Catalans, and other indigenous peoples of Europe who are now using democratic methods and means to preserve their national homes?

And the United States would seem an odd place to go about venting on "aggressive nationalisms that deny our history." Did Macron not learn at the Lycee Henri IV in Paris or the Ecole Nationale d'Administration how the Americans acquired all that land? General Washington, at whose Mount Vernon home Macron dined, was a nationalist who fought for six years to sever America's ties to the nation under which he was born. How does Macron think Andrew Jackson acquired Florida from Spain, Sam Houston acquired Texas from Mexico, and Winfield Scott and Zachary Taylor acquired the Southwest? By bartering?

Aggressive nationalism is a good synonym for the Manifest Destiny of a republic that went about relieving Spain of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines. How does Macron think the "New World" was conquered and colonized if not by aggressive British, French, and Spanish nationalists determined to impose their rule upon weaker indigenous tribes? Was it not nationalism that broke up the USSR into 15 nations?

Was not the Zionist movement that resurrected Israel in 1948, and in 1967 captured the West Bank and then annexed East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, a manifestation of aggressive nationalism?

Macron is an echo of George H.W. Bush who in Kiev in 1991 warned Ukrainians against the "suicidal nationalism" of declaring independence from the Russian Federation. "Aggressive nationalisms divide the world," warns Macron. Well, yes, they do, which is why we have now 194 members of the U.N., rather than the original 50. Is this a problem? "Together," said Macron, "we will build a new, strong multilateralism that defends pluralism and democracy in the face of ill winds."

Macron belongs to a political class that sees open borders and free trade thickening and tightening the ties of dependency, and eventually creating a One Europe whose destiny his crowd will forever control.

But if his idea of pluralism is multiracial, multiethnic, and multicultural nations, with a multilateral EU overlord, he is describing a future that tens of millions of Europeans believe means the deaths of the nations that give meaning to their lives.

And they will not go gently into that good night.

In America, too, millions have come to recognize that there is a method to the seeming madness of open borders. Name of the game: dispossessing the deplorables of the country they love.

With open borders and mass migration of over a million people a year into the USA, almost all of them from third-world countries that vote 70 to 90 percent Democratic, the left is foreclosing the future. They're converting the greatest country of the West into what Teddy Roosevelt called a "polyglot boarding house for the world." And in that boarding house the left will have a lock on the presidency.

With the collaboration of co-conspirators in the media, progressives throw a cloak of altruism over the cynical seizure of permanent power.

For, as the millions of immigrants here legally and illegally register, and the vote is extended to prison inmates, ex-cons, and 16-year-olds, the political complexion of America will come to resemble San Francisco.

End goal: ensure that what happened in 2016, when the nation rose up and threw out a despised establishment, never happens again.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever . To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.

[Apr 29, 2018] Grab the Popcorn Trump Promises to 'Take On' EU in New Trade War - Sputnik International

Notable quotes:
"... In asserting that the EU was primarily formed to divert financial gains from the US, Trump promised that what he termed "disastrous trade deals" would stop, as he was going to personally "take on" the economic European powerhouse, as well as China, the largest economy in Asia and the second largest economy in the world. ..."
Apr 29, 2018 | sputniknews.com

As the US president struggles at home with a legislature and judiciary increasingly unwilling to do his bidding, new bluster and threats of a trade war with other nations appear to have become Trump's rallying cry to the faithful. US President Donald Trump, at a meeting of his followers in Michigan on Saturday, suggested that his administration would do everything within its power to shift what the White House terms Washington DC's trade imbalance with the European Union, and hinted darkly that Americans must prepare for a bumpy and uncomfortable ride, according to RT.

In asserting that the EU was primarily formed to divert financial gains from the US, Trump promised that what he termed "disastrous trade deals" would stop, as he was going to personally "take on" the economic European powerhouse, as well as China, the largest economy in Asia and the second largest economy in the world.

At a carefully curated supporters-only promotional speaking event in Michigan, the strikingly unpopular US leader claimed that EU trade policies existed only "to take advantage of the United States," cited by RT.

The US president warned of tough economic times for residents of the wealthiest country on earth, declaring that, "In short term you may have to take some problems, long term -- you're going to be so happy."

The former reality television producer and hotel magnate did not elaborate on the kind of problems Americans could expect to face.

In keeping with an ongoing talking point repeatedly used by the president, Trump blamed previous US administrations for the issues he describes as problems.

"I don't blame them," the US president declared -- referring to those nations with which he seeks to engage in trade wars -- adding, "I blame past presidents and past leaders of our country."

A May 1 deadline has been implemented for the March 1 Trump ultimatum to various nations -- including China and the EU -- to either curb aluminum and steel exports to the US or face sharply-increased import taxes.

The ultimatum triggered a speedy global backlash alongside threats of retaliation from China, the EU, and most other nations.

At a meeting of EU members in Sofia on Saturday, Belgian Finance Minister Johan Van Overtveldt noted that Trump's strong-arm tactics will backfire, adding that trade wars are a no-win scenario over the long term.

"A trade war is a losing game for everybody," Van Overtveldt observed.

[Apr 29, 2018] Brussels is a real swamp

Apr 29, 2018 | russia-insider.com

Samantha patty donovan 4 years ago ,

Agree, Patty.

The same for the un-elected Mandarins in Brussels. They are a real swamp. Lazy, clueless, overpaid and greedy still. They are powerhungry despite their tremendous lack of any political clout.

Vasalls through blackmail by 3 letter agencies?

The same for german Mrs. Merkel. Being a german citizen, I am ashamed of thus woman and her orwellian ,politics'.

Today, the former CEO of Thyssen-Krupp, Prof. Dr. Dieter Spethmann, a lawyer, called for her urgent removal from the job by publishing an Open Letter in mmnews (a blog).

EVcine Samantha 3 years ago ,

Trust me on this Merkel is mild compared to Cameron, Obama, Harper and Abbott !

teddyfromcd Samantha 2 years ago ,

there is a JUNIOR BRITISH MP -- WHO is assigned to BRUSSELS -- and has appealed to VOTERS for 'brexit" by saying "please put me out of a job"...

[Apr 29, 2018] We Won't Talk With A Gun Pointed To Our Head Europe Braces For Trade War With The US

Apr 29, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

With just days left until the May 1 deadline when a temporary trade waiver expires and the US steel and aluminum tariffs kick in, and after last-ditch attempts first by Emmanuel Macron and then Angela Merkel to win exemptions for Europe fell on deaf ears, the European Union is warning about the costs of an imminent trade war with the US while bracing for one to erupt in just three days after the White House signaled it will reject the bloc's demand for an unconditional waiver from metals-import tariffs .

"A trade war is a losing game for everybody," Belgian Finance Minister Johan Van Overtveldt told reporters in Sofia where Europe's finance ministers have gathered. " We should stay cool when we're thinking about reactions but the basic point is that nobody wins in a trade war so we try to avoid it at all costs. "

Well, Trump disagrees which is why his administration has given Europe, Canada and other allies an option: accept quotas in exchange for an exemption from the steel and aluminum tariffs that kick on Tuesday, when the temporary waiver expires. "We are asking of everyone: quotas if not tariffs," Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Friday. This, as Bloomberg points out , puts the EU in the difficult position of either succumbing to U.S. demands that could breach international commerce rules, or face punitive tariffs.

Forcing governments to limit shipments of goods violates World Trade Organization rules, which prohibit so-called voluntary export restraints. The demand is also contrary to the entire trade philosophy of the 28-nation bloc, which is founded on the principle of the free movement of goods.

Adding to the confusion, while WTO rules foresee the possibility of countries taking emergency "safeguard" measures involving import quotas for specific goods, such steps are rare, must be temporary and can be legally challenged. The EU is demanding a permanent, unconditional waiver from the U.S. tariffs.

Meanwhile, amid the impotent EU bluster, so far only South Korea has been formally spared from the duties, after reaching a deal last month to revise its bilateral free-trade agreement with the U.S.

Europe, on the other hand, refuses to reach a compromise, and according to a EU official, "Trump's demands to curb steel and aluminum exports to 90 percent of the level of the previous two years are unacceptable." The question then is whether Europe's retaliatory move would be painful enough to deter Trump and lift the sanctions: the official said the EU's response would depend on the level of the quotas after which the punitive tariffs would kick in; meanwhile the European Commission continues to "stress the bloc's consistent call for an unconditional, permanent exclusion from the American metal levies."

"In the short run it might help them solve their trade balance but in the long run it will worsen trade conditions," Bulgarian Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov said in Sofia. "The tools they're using to make America great again might result in certain mistakes because free world trade has proven to be the best solution for the development of the world so far."

Around the time of his meeting, French President Emmanuel Macron made it clear that the EU is not afraid of an escalating trade war and will not be intimidated, saying " we won't talk about anything while there's a gun pointed at our head. "

He may change his opinion once Trump fires the first bullet.

Adding to Europe's disappointment, during her visit to the White House on Friday, Angela Merkel said she discussed trade disputes with Trump and that she failed to win a public commitment to halt the tariffs.

Meanwhile, Merkel's new bffs over in France are also hunkering down in preparation for a lengthy conflict. French economy minister Bruone Le Maire told his fellow European bureaucrats Sofia during a discussion on taxation: "One thing I learned from my week in the U.S. with President Macron: The Americans will only respect a show of strength."

Coming from the French, that observation is as accurate as it is delightfully ironic.

And now the real question is who has the most to lose from the imminent Transatlantic trade war, and will surrender first.

[Apr 28, 2018] Macron The Last Multilateralist

Notable quotes:
"... "Since the WTO was created in the mid-90s, the U.S. has run $12 trillion in trade deficits, and among the organization's biggest beneficiaries -- the EU." ..."
Apr 28, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

"Together," President Macron instructed President Trump, "we can resist the rise of aggressive nationalisms that deny our history and divide the world."

In an address before Congress on Wednesday, France's Macron denounced "extreme nationalism," invoked the UN, NATO, WTO, and Paris climate accord, and implored Trump's America to come home to the New World Order.

"The United States is the one who invented this multilateralism," Macron went on, "you are the one now who has to help preserve and reinvent it."

His visit was hailed and his views cheered, but on reflection, the ideas of Emmanuel Macron seem to be less about tomorrow than yesterday.

For the world he celebrates is receding into history.

The America of 2018 is coming to see NATO as having evolved into an endless U.S. commitment to go to war with Russia on behalf of a rich Europe that resolutely refuses to provide for its own defense.

Since the WTO was created in the mid-90s, the U.S. has run $12 trillion in trade deficits, and among the organization's biggest beneficiaries -- the EU.

Under the Paris climate accord, environmental restrictions are put upon the United States from which China is exempt.

As for the UN, is that sinkhole of anti-Americanism, the General Assembly, really worth the scores of billions we have plunged into it?

"Aggressive nationalism" is a term that might well fit Napoleon Bonaparte, whose Arc de Triomphe sits on the Champs-Elysees. But does it really fit the Hungarians, Poles, Brits, Scots, Catalans, and other indigenous peoples of Europe who are now using democratic methods and means to preserve their national homes?

And the United States would seem an odd place to go about venting on "aggressive nationalisms that deny our history."

Did Macron not learn at the Lycee Henri IV in Paris or the Ecole Nationale d'Administration how the Americans acquired all that land?

General Washington, at whose Mount Vernon home Macron dined, was a nationalist who fought for six years to sever America's ties to the nation under which he was born.

How does Macron think Andrew Jackson acquired Florida from Spain, Sam Houston acquired Texas from Mexico, and Winfield Scott and Zachary Taylor acquired the Southwest? By bartering?

Aggressive nationalism is a good synonym for the Manifest Destiny of a republic that went about relieving Spain of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines.

How does Macron think the "New World" was conquered and colonized if not by aggressive British, French, and Spanish nationalists determined to impose their rule upon weaker indigenous tribes?

Was it not nationalism that broke up the USSR into 15 nations?

Was not the Zionist movement that resurrected Israel in 1948, and in 1967 captured the West Bank and then annexed East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, a manifestation of aggressive nationalism?

Macron is an echo of George H.W. Bush who in Kiev in 1991 warned Ukrainians against the "suicidal nationalism" of declaring independence from the Russian Federation.

"Aggressive nationalisms divide the world," warns Macron.

Well, yes, they do, which is why we have now 194 members of the U.N., rather than the original 50. Is this a problem?

"Together," said Macron, "we will build a new, strong multilateralism that defends pluralism and democracy in the face of ill winds."

Macron belongs to a political class that sees open borders and free trade thickening and tightening the ties of dependency, and eventually creating a One Europe whose destiny his crowd will forever control.

But if his idea of pluralism is multiracial, multiethnic, and multicultural nations, with a multilateral EU overlord, he is describing a future that tens of millions of Europeans believe means the deaths of the nations that give meaning to their lives.

And they will not go gently into that good night.

In America, too, millions have come to recognize that there is a method to the seeming madness of open borders. Name of the game: dispossessing the deplorables of the country they love.

With open borders and mass migration of over a million people a year into the USA, almost all of them from third-world countries that vote 70 to 90 percent Democratic, the left is foreclosing the future. They're converting the greatest country of the West into what Teddy Roosevelt called a "polyglot boarding house for the world." And in that boarding house the left will have a lock on the presidency.

With the collaboration of co-conspirators in the media, progressives throw a cloak of altruism over the cynical seizure of permanent power.

For, as the millions of immigrants here legally and illegally register, and the vote is extended to prison inmates, ex-cons, and 16-year-olds, the political complexion of America will come to resemble San Francisco.

End goal: ensure that what happened in 2016, when the nation rose up and threw out a despised establishment, never happens again.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever. To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.

12 Responses to Macron: The Last Multilateralist

georgina davenport April 27, 2018 at 12:29 am

Let's remember, it was nationalism that led German, Japan and Italy into the two world wars. Like everything, nationalism is not absolutely good or absolutely bad.

European nationalism that led them to colonize other weaker countries was not a good thing. Nationalism that led the colonized countries to fight for independence was a good thing.

The current rising of nationalism is not a good thing because it is often bound up with white nationalism, a belief that the non-whites are inferior people undeserving of care and happiness.

While I understand the anxiety of White people for losing their power of dominance, multiculturalism is a future that can't be rolled back no matter how much they long for the past white homogeneity. Because technology that made our world smaller and flatter can't be uninvented.

I agree the West can't absorb all the immigrants who want to find new life in the West. The solution is not to shun the immigrants and pretend they don't exist. The solution is to acknowledge their suffering and their need for a stable home and help them build that at their home countries.

Biologically, it is known that our genes get stronger with more diversity, that community gets weaker with too much in breeding. So is our strength as a people, culturally, philosophically, spiritually and creatively.

Petrus , says: April 27, 2018 at 3:55 am
Another nice notion on the mis/abuse of the world nationalism from Mr. Buchanan. From a Central European perspective, however Macron's alleged multilateralism as presented in Washington is just a pretence peddled for the media – teaming up with Angela Merkel (more specifically, with Germany's economic strength), Macron pretty much insists on reining in the rebellious Visegrad 4 politically, without the slightest interest in reaching a mutually beneficial compromise with them.
Dan Green , says: April 27, 2018 at 8:43 am
If only the deplorable's had come to their senses, and elected Hillary, to carry on Hope and Change, we wouldn't be having all this polarity.
Kurt Gayle , says: April 27, 2018 at 8:49 am
Pat points to Macron's globalist trade babble to Congress answers:

"Since the WTO was created in the mid-90s, the U.S. has run $12 trillion in trade deficits, and among the organization's biggest beneficiaries -- the EU."

President Trump's economic nationalist/fair trade agenda can fix this problem.

KD , says: April 27, 2018 at 9:21 am
It strikes me that both France and Germany have large enough populations, economies and technical know-how to produce effective modern fighting forces. Second, given the size of EU, it is clear that the EU, if it could get its act together, would be capable of projecting force in the world on an equal playing field with the United States.

The European Leaders appeals to Trump to pursue European interests in American foreign policy are simply pathetic. If Europe has foreign interests, they will only be able to protect and insure them if they retake their sovereignty and independence on the world stage.

Europe can, and I suspect Europe will, because their problem is not just Trump and whether he is impeached or re-elected, it is that European interests are being held hostage to the American Electorate, which can and will return a Cowboy to the Presidency long after Trump is gone.

I don't see how, given the developments with the Iran Deal, as well as other frictions, that the NATO alliance can remain standing. None of the above reflections are particularly ideological, and it seems impossible that Merkel and Macron couldn't entertain such thoughts.

Europe can, and inevitably will, declare independence from the Americans, and I see NATO unraveling and a new dawn of European "multilateralism" taking its place.

Emil Bogdan , says: April 27, 2018 at 11:11 am
Nationalism and Multiculturalism cannot coexist separately, they're in tendsion as we all try to balance the scales.

Without the benefit of nationalism, the Koreas would not have done what they just did. My own "ethnic people" are the minority of 1.2 million Hungarians who live in Romania, who have lived there for centuries and will not leave their homeland except many of them do, like my parents did, and many of my other relatives and friends–the number was 1.5 million not too long ago, and I was estimating 1.8, but man, we are dwindling. Only 1.2 million! That shocks me. Nationalism keeps us alive. But if that's all we had, then the Romanians would be totally nationalistic too, and they will forcefully seek to curtail minority rights, language, culture, and slowly choke us out. That's the nationalist philosophy on minorities.

That's your philosophy, and you're saying what will happen here is liberals will slowly turn the country into San Francisco. You make the same error as my friend in another thread. You cannot compare a city and its politics to a province or a country, or to any territory that contains vast farmlands.

Pat, you are saying that it's possible for the entire Byzantine Empire to take on the precise political complexion of the walled city of Constantinople. That city cannot feed itself, it's not a self-contained social or political entity.

The roiling cities of San Francisco/Bay Area and glorious Constantinople are and were completely and totally dependent on the countryside, and thus, on the politics the rurals tend to practice. The rurals need to feel the effects of city politics too.

No city anywhere is self-contained, and most cities are more liberal than their hinterlands, so should we do away with cities?

You can see it as symbiotic or some kind of yin and yang tension, however you prefer. But one is good and the other is evil? I don't buy that.

Emil Bogdan , says: April 27, 2018 at 11:26 am
I'm pretty sure I should say ALL cities are more liberal then the surrounding countrysides which feed them. After all, the city is really just the most commonly known major local market, which the villages eventually form organically. One village in particular stands out, and the neighbors start flocking more and more to its market, some decide to move there and contribute even more to the good energy, and voila, the first city is soon born.

Then it takes on pride, and starts thinking it's superior to the "rubes." It isn't. I was lucky enough to get my foundations in a village, I know its incredible efficiency and _conservative_ values and lifestyle, but trust me, there's plenty of drunkenness and scandal, even among the sainted rubes who raised me.

Keep slapping down the cities, Pat, but don't exaggerate the threat, no self-supporting society on Earth could live the way those freaks live in San Francisco, or Constantinople, that's a fact.

Emil Bogdan , says: April 27, 2018 at 12:12 pm
My apologies, I know I go on a little long sometimes:

I am an American now, and America is my "us," I don't have mixed political allegiances, just cultural ones. I don't live in my original homeland anymore. The choice to leave wasn't mine, though.

If I had a choice to leave my country of origin, the land I was raised in and find familiar–and I have been in America since age twelve, so I do see it as home and very familiar–I would be daunted. Speaking as an average American adult, I know that moving to another English-speaking and equally advanced country is complicated enough for the average American. Imagine uprooting and going to a foreign land whose language you don't know yet, where everything is a lot more expensive. Try getting a job there. Let's say you have no college degree. Try it. I wouldn't want to.

Immigrants are tough as nails, I'm sorry to say. You have no chance against them, actually. You cannot even conceive of the willpower and trials by fire. Most people quite understandably can't fathom it, unless they actually try it or see it with their own eyes.

[Apr 25, 2018] How The Globalism Con Game Leads To A 'New World Order' by Brandon Smith

Notable quotes:
"... The ultimate goal of the new world order as an ideology is total centralization of economic and governmental power into the hands of a select and unaccountable bureaucracy made up of international financiers. This is governance according the the dictates of Plato's Republic; a delusional fantasy world in which benevolent philosopher kings, supposedly smarter and more objective than the rest of us, rule from on high with scientific precision and wisdom. It is a world where administrators become gods. ..."
"... Large corporations receive unfair legal protection under limited liability as well as outright legislative protection from civil consequences (Monsanto is a perfect example of this). They also receive immense taxpayer funded welfare through bailouts and other sources when they fail to manage their business responsibly. All this while small businesses and entrepreneurs are impeded at every turn by taxation and legal obstacles. ..."
"... Only massive corporations supported by governments are able to exploit the advantages of international manufacturing and labor sources in a way that ensures long term success. Meanwhile economic models that promote true decentralization and localism become impractical because real competition is never allowed. The world has not enjoyed free markets in at least a century. What we have today is something entirely different. ..."
"... The fact is, globalist institutions and central banks permeate almost every corner of the world. Nations like Russia and China are just as heavily tied to the IMF and the Bank for International Settlements and international financial centers like Goldman Sachs as any western government. ..."
"... The first inclination of human beings is to discriminate against ideas and people they see as destructive and counter to their prosperity. Globalists therefore have to convince a majority of people that the very tribalism that has fueled our social evolution and some of the greatest ideas in history is actually the source of our eventual doom. ..."
"... As mentioned earlier, globalists cannot have their "new world order" unless they can convince the masses to ask for it. Trying to implement such a system by force alone would end in failure, because revolution is the natural end result of tyranny. Therefore, the new world order has to be introduced as if it had been formed by coincidence or by providence. Any hint that the public is being conned into accepting global centralization would trigger widespread resistance. ..."
"... This is why globalism is always presented in the mainstream media as a natural extension of civilization's higher achievement. Even though it was the dangerous interdependency of globalism that helped fuel the economic crisis of 2008 and continues to escalate that crisis to this day, more globalism is continually promoted as the solution to the problem. It is spoken of with reverence in mainstream economic publications and political discussions. It receives almost religious praise in the halls of academia. Globalism is socioeconomic ambrosia -- the food of deities. It is the fountain of youth. It is a new Eden. ..."
"... Obviously, this adoration for globalism is nonsense. There is no evidence whatsoever that globalism is a positive force for humanity, let alone a natural one. There is far more evidence that globalism is a poisonous ideology that can only ever gain a foothold through trickery and through false flags. ..."
Apr 25, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.com,

When globalists speak publicly about a "new world order" they are speaking about something very specific and rather sacred in their little cult of elitism. It is not simply the notion that civilization shifts or changes abruptly on its own; rather, it is their name for a directed and engineered vision - a world built according to their rules, not a world that evolved naturally according to necessity.

There are other names for this engineered vision, including the "global economic reset," or the more general and innocuous term "globalism," but the intention is the same.

The ultimate goal of the new world order as an ideology is total centralization of economic and governmental power into the hands of a select and unaccountable bureaucracy made up of international financiers. This is governance according the the dictates of Plato's Republic; a delusional fantasy world in which benevolent philosopher kings, supposedly smarter and more objective than the rest of us, rule from on high with scientific precision and wisdom. It is a world where administrators become gods.

Such precision and objectivity within human systems is not possible, of course . Human beings are far too susceptible to their own biases and personal desires to be given totalitarian power over others. The results will always be destruction and disaster. Then, add to this the fact that the kinds of people who often pursue such power are predominantly narcissistic sociopaths and psychopaths. If a governmental structure of high level centralization is allowed to form, it opens a door for these mentally and spiritually broken people to play out their twisted motives on a global stage.

It is important to remember that sociopaths are prone to fabricating all kinds of high minded ideals to provide cover for their actions. That is to say, they will adopt a host of seemingly noble causes to rationalize their scramble for power, but in the end these "humanitarians" only care about imposing their will on as many people as possible while feeding off them for as long as time allows.

There are many false promises, misrepresentations and fraudulent conceptions surrounding the narrative of globalism. Some of them are rather clever and subversive and are difficult to pick out in the deliberately created fog. The schemes involved in implementing globalism are designed to confuse the masses with crisis until they end up ASKING for more centralization and less freedom.

Let's examine some of the most common propaganda methods and arguments behind the push for globalization and a "new world order"

Con #1: Globalism Is About "Free Markets"

A common pro-globalism meme is the idea that globalization is not really centralization, but decentralization. This plays primarily to the economic side of global governance, which in my view is the most important because without economic centralization political centralization is not possible.

Free markets according to Adam Smith, a pioneer of the philosophy, are supposed to provide open paths for anyone with superior ideas and ingenuity to pursue those ideas without interference from government or government aided institutions. What we have today under globalism are NOT free markets. Instead, globalism has supplied unfettered power to international corporations which cannot exist without government charter and government financial aid.

The corporate model is completely counter to Adam Smith's original premise of free market trade. Large corporations receive unfair legal protection under limited liability as well as outright legislative protection from civil consequences (Monsanto is a perfect example of this). They also receive immense taxpayer funded welfare through bailouts and other sources when they fail to manage their business responsibly. All this while small businesses and entrepreneurs are impeded at every turn by taxation and legal obstacles.

In terms of international trade being "free trade," this is not really the case either. Only massive corporations supported by governments are able to exploit the advantages of international manufacturing and labor sources in a way that ensures long term success. Meanwhile economic models that promote true decentralization and localism become impractical because real competition is never allowed. The world has not enjoyed free markets in at least a century. What we have today is something entirely different.

Con #2: Globalism Is About A "Multipolar World"

This is a relatively new disinformation tactic that I attribute directly to the success of the liberty movement and alternative economists. As the public becomes more educated on the dangers of economic centralization and more specifically the dangers of central banks, the globalists are attempting to shift the narrative to muddy the waters.

For example, the liberty movement has railed against the existence of the Federal Reserve and fiat dollar hegemony to the point that our information campaign has been breaking into mainstream thought. The problem is that globalism is not about the dollar, U.S. hegemony or the so-called "deep state," which in my view is a distraction from the bigger issue at hand.

The fact is, globalist institutions and central banks permeate almost every corner of the world. Nations like Russia and China are just as heavily tied to the IMF and the Bank for International Settlements and international financial centers like Goldman Sachs as any western government.

Part of the plan for the new world order, as has been openly admitted by globalists and globalist publications, is the decline of the U.S. and the dollar system to make way for one world financial governance through the IMF as well as the Special Drawing Rights basket as a mechanism for the world reserve currency. The globalists WANT a less dominant U.S. and a more involved East, while the East continues to call for more control of the global economy by the IMF. This concept unfortunately flies over the heads of most economists, even in the liberty movement.

So, the great lie being promoted now is that the fall of the U.S. and the dollar is a "good thing" because it will result in "decentralization," a "multi-polar" world order and the "death" of globalism. However, what is really happening is that as the U.S. falls globalist edifices like the IMF and the BIS rise. We are moving from centralization to super-centralization. Globalists have pulled a bait and switch in order to trick the liberty movement into supporting the success of the East (which is actually also globalist controlled) and a philosophy which basically amounts to a re-branding of the new world order as some kind of decentralized paradise.

Con #3: Nationalism Is The Source Of War, And Globalism Will End It

If there's one thing globalists have a love/hate relationship with, it's humanity's natural tribal instincts. On the one hand, they like tribalism because in some cases tribalism can be turned into zealotry, and zealots are easy to exploit and manipulate. Wars between nations (tribes) can be instigated if the tribal instinct is weighted with artificial fears and threats.

On the other hand, tribalism lends itself to natural decentralization of societies because tribalism in its best form is the development of many groups organized around a variety of ideas and principles and projects. This makes the establishment of a "one world ideology" very difficult, if not impossible. The first inclination of human beings is to discriminate against ideas and people they see as destructive and counter to their prosperity. Globalists therefore have to convince a majority of people that the very tribalism that has fueled our social evolution and some of the greatest ideas in history is actually the source of our eventual doom.

Nationalism served the globalists to a point, but now they need to get rid of it entirely. This requires considerable crisis blamed on nationalism and "populist" ideals. Engineered war, whether kinetic or economic, is the best method to scapegoat tribalism. Every tragedy from now on must eventually be attributed to ideas of separation and logical discrimination against negative ideologies. The solution of globalism will then be offered; a one world system in which all separation is deemed "evil."

Con #4: Globalism Is Natural And Inevitable

As mentioned earlier, globalists cannot have their "new world order" unless they can convince the masses to ask for it. Trying to implement such a system by force alone would end in failure, because revolution is the natural end result of tyranny. Therefore, the new world order has to be introduced as if it had been formed by coincidence or by providence. Any hint that the public is being conned into accepting global centralization would trigger widespread resistance.

This is why globalism is always presented in the mainstream media as a natural extension of civilization's higher achievement. Even though it was the dangerous interdependency of globalism that helped fuel the economic crisis of 2008 and continues to escalate that crisis to this day, more globalism is continually promoted as the solution to the problem. It is spoken of with reverence in mainstream economic publications and political discussions. It receives almost religious praise in the halls of academia. Globalism is socioeconomic ambrosia -- the food of deities. It is the fountain of youth. It is a new Eden.

Obviously, this adoration for globalism is nonsense. There is no evidence whatsoever that globalism is a positive force for humanity, let alone a natural one. There is far more evidence that globalism is a poisonous ideology that can only ever gain a foothold through trickery and through false flags.

We live in an era that represents an ultimate crossroads for civilization; a time of great uncertainty. Will we seek truth in the trials we face, and thus the ability to create our own solutions? Or, will we take a seemingly easier road by embracing whatever solutions are handed to us by the establishment? Make no mistake -- the globalists already have a solution prepackaged for us. They have been acclimating and conditioning the public to accept it for decades now. That solution will not bring what it promises. It will not bring peace, but eternal war. It will not bring togetherness, but isolation. It will not bring understanding, but ignorance.

When globalists eventually try to sell us on a full-blown new world order, they will pull out every conceivable image of heaven on Earth, but they will do this only after creating a tangible and ever present hell.

* * *

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[Apr 24, 2018] The Varieties of Russian Conservatism by Paul Grenier

Notable quotes:
"... Times Literary Supplement ..."
"... sine qua non ..."
"... The common good "cannot be reduced to the goods of individual private parties, and cannot be deduced from them. Just as the sum of the parts does not make up the whole, in the same way the sum of private interests may sometimes work even against itself it is the state that represents the common good." Isn't this something we can learn from in the West today? ..."
"... Russia's "[Christian] Orthodox spirit and the ethic of solidarity ..."
"... Like the Catholic Church, the Russian Orthodox Church has recently forged its own Social Concept of the ROC, which fleshes out this call for fairness as an aspect of human dignity. ..."
"... The City of Man ..."
"... Among Russia's virtues, it must be emphasized, is a far greater freedom of speech than it is typically given credit for. Russian participants in the Kaliningrad conference demonstrated a boldness of imagination, a variety and depth of thought on alternate futures for their country that is by no means always evident in political speech even in the United States. ..."
"... The author would like to thank Dr. Adrian Walker, Matthew Cooper and especially Dr. Matthew Dal Santo for their valuable suggestions and comments on an earlier draft. ..."
"... Paul Grenier is an essayist and translator who writes regularly on political-philosophical issues. ..."
Jun 19, 2015 | www.theamericanconservative.com
A staunchly traditional society grapples with modernity's disruptions, seeking conservatisms far beyond Putinism.

It's a truism that America is a liberal place. Americans emphasize the importance of the individual and tend to reject notions of hierarchy and authority. Russia by contrast is known to be a more conservative society, one where the interests of the group come ahead of those of the individual; and where, for centuries, respect for hierarchy and authority has usually been the norm.

All the same, the "news" of Russia's return to conservatism has hit many observers in the West like the proverbial ton of bricks. The typical response has been to blame the Russian president for steering Russia away from the liberal path, the path of becoming a " normal country" with "Western values."

Others have sought to understand Russian political culture on its own terms. A recent analysis ("The New Eurasians," Times Literary Supplement , May 13, 2015) stands out from the crowd by making a serious effort to read present-day Russian conservatism in its historical context. Lesley Chamberlain dismisses the glib reduction of Russia to its present-day leader. Russia, she writes, is not ruled by Vladimir Putin: to the contrary, "the power that rules Russia is tradition." Far from it being the case that a benighted Russian public is being led to conservatism artificially by its government, the reverse is the case: the vast majority of Russians, perhaps eighty percent "are intensely conservative."

Like most in the commentariat, Chamberlain finds cause for alarm in Russia's return to type. She worries about a Russia seeking to create "an alternative version of the contemporary Christian, or post-Christian, world, contiguous with but distinct from the West."

Chamberlain reduces today's incarnation of Russian conservatism to the more or less vague bundle of geographic and neo-imperial notions that goes by the name Eurasianism, often linked with the name of Alexander Dugin.

To be sure, anti-Western Eurasianism is part of contemporary Russian conservatism. But it is only one part. Excessive focus on this angle has created the impression that Dugin-esque Eurasianism is the only game in town when it comes to Russian conservatism. It isn't. It's not even the only version of what might be called the 'Russian national greatness' school of conservatism.

If we wish to understand Russia in something like its true complexity, we have to take the trouble to listen to it, to let it speak in its own voice instead of constantly projecting onto it all our own worst fears. Precisely because Eurasianism has already hogged all the attention, I won't deal with it here.

... ... ...

Liberal Conservatism

Some participants straddled several categories of conservatism at once. In other cases, for example that of the above-mentioned Makarenko, their thought fit neatly within a single category -- in his case, that of liberal conservatism.

For Makarenko, modern Russian political practice has far too utilitarian an attitude toward rule of law and democracy. If it can be demonstrated that the latter support state sovereignty, then all is well and good; but whenever either are perceived as a threat to the state -- then democracy and rule of law are always the ones that have to suffer. From his perspective, Russia would do better to learn from Burke, who looked not so much to the sovereignty of the state as to the sovereignty of the parliament .

Matveichev, no doubt the most eclectic thinker in the group, on certain subjects occupied the liberal end of the spectrum. For example, in an essay on corruption and the state, he approvingly cites the work of Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto to make the point that rule of law -- as it is practiced, nota bene , in the United States -- is the sine qua non of economic prosperity. What I found fascinating about Matveichev's position is that he then takes his argument in a Hegelian and Platonic direction.

It is the state -- not the market on its own -- that provides these all important forms , and bad as the corruption of state institutions may be, a bad form is nonetheless better than no form at all -- including for business. The common good "cannot be reduced to the goods of individual private parties, and cannot be deduced from them. Just as the sum of the parts does not make up the whole, in the same way the sum of private interests may sometimes work even against itself it is the state that represents the common good." Isn't this something we can learn from in the West today?

Left Conservatism

The "left conservatives" at the conference -- represented most prominently by Dr. Alexander Schipkov, an expert on Church-state relations -- are critical of liberal capitalism and indeed are also critical of the current Russian state to the extent that its "conservatism" is reducible merely to "family values" without including the all-important component of economic fairness. His views are close to that of Catholic Distributists as well as to those of "radical orthodox" theologians like William Cavanaugh and John Milbank.

According to Schipkov, Russians of various backgrounds (left and right, secular and religious, red and white) need to forge a common ethic. But in truth, Russia already has such an ethic, one that unifies all the disparate phases in its often tragic and contradictory history. Consciously playing off of Weber, Schipkov refers to Russia's "[Christian] Orthodox spirit and the ethic of solidarity ." In a fascinating essay on this same subject, Schipkov makes clear that his concept of solidarity owes much to the writings of the early 20th century German philosopher Max Scheler, who likewise had such a big impact on the thought of Pope John Paul II.

Though the Russian Church continues to play a defining role in the ethical formation of the nation -- no other pre-1917 institution, after all, still exists -- over time it will be replaced by other institutions, according to Schipkov. Like the Catholic Church, the Russian Orthodox Church has recently forged its own Social Concept of the ROC, which fleshes out this call for fairness as an aspect of human dignity.

Creative Conservatism

Because it tends to evoke the disastrous social and economic effects of "liberalisation" during the 1990s, the term "liberal" has become something of a swear word in today's Russia. But what, exactly, does this much reviled "liberalism" consist in? In my own presentation (English translation forthcoming at SolidarityHall.org ) I suggested that Russians need to define liberalism -- and conservatism -- more carefully, while distinguishing both from their ideological perversions.

To his credit, Oleg Matveichev has taken the trouble to craft a precise definition of the liberal doctrine of human nature in terms worthy of a Pierre Manent ( The City of Man ). According to Matveichev, liberalism reconceives the very essence of man as freedom, self-sufficiency, and self-definition. Seen through this liberal prism, the goal of our existence becomes self-emancipation from the chains of the past and the dead weight of tradition.

Having redefined the meaning of history, Matveichev continues, the "liberals" then set about condemning those who would thwart its "progress," dismissing them as "conservatives" and "reactionaries." Is it not time, Matveichev asks, to throw off the chains of this label invented for us by our adversaries? Why define ourselves as mere "conservatives"? Why not creatively reimagine an alternative 'meaning of history" ourselves?

Can conservatism be "creative?" And if so, how? Mikhail Remizov, president of the National Strategy Institute, answered, in effect, "how can it be anything else?" Critics on the left sometimes attack conservatism by saying, that conservatives do not preserve tradition, they invent it. Remizov dismisses the implied insult, because it demonstrates a misunderstanding of how traditions work: (re)invention " is the normal, creative approach to tradition." Remizov agrees with Hans-Georg Gadamer that sharply contrasting tradition and modernity is a silly and flat-footed way of looking at tradition, because the latter is always in any case a complex creative task of making adjustments and dialectical zig-zags. Such an understanding of culture and tradition as creativity fits, of course, quite nicely with the philosophy of Nicholas Berdyaev. It is hard to think of another thinker for whom creativity plays a more central role.

Alexei Kozyrev, associate dean of the philosophy department at Moscow State University, illustrated the same creative conservative principle when he spoke of the Russian Orthodox Church's Social Concept. The task of modern man, according to that document, is to find creative ways to retrieve the thought of the Church Fathers, for example that of Gregory of Nyssa, who counseled demonstrating our human dignity "not by domination of the natural world but by caring for and preserving it." The Social Concept likewise calls for defending the dignity of the unborn embryo and of the mentally ill. Here, in an unexpected twist, the Western environmental movement meets the pro-Life movement, challenging perhaps our own ideological boundaries.

... ...

Dialogue with Russia?

Lesley Chamberlain claimed that Russia is not a puzzle. In fact that is precisely what it is. As should be clear even from the above very partial survey, Russian conservatism, like Russia itself, embraces a contradictory collection of flaws and virtues. Both the flaws and the virtues are large.

Among Russia's virtues, it must be emphasized, is a far greater freedom of speech than it is typically given credit for. Russian participants in the Kaliningrad conference demonstrated a boldness of imagination, a variety and depth of thought on alternate futures for their country that is by no means always evident in political speech even in the United States.

For Western liberals, it is tempting to present Russian conservatism as always intrinsically dangerous. But I believe the loss is ours. Russian conservatism -- or at any rate important elements of it -- contains something potentially valuable to the West as it seeks to forge a strategy for dealing with the growing disorder in the world. What justifies engagement with Russia is before all else its ability to contribute to solving the problem that all of us face: how to devise a softer version of western modernity, one which allows for the preservation of tradition while simultaneously retaining what is most valuable in the liberal tradition.

The author would like to thank Dr. Adrian Walker, Matthew Cooper and especially Dr. Matthew Dal Santo for their valuable suggestions and comments on an earlier draft.

Paul Grenier is an essayist and translator who writes regularly on political-philosophical issues.


Andrew W June 19, 2015 at 9:03 am

@JonF

The presumption amongst Russian conservatives is not that Russia is perfect as it is but that Russia's foundational values are good. This is something they have in common with American conservatives, British Conservatives like Peter Hitchens, and probably most conservatives in most societies. They would also lament their social ills.

I am not going to accuse you of not having read the article, but that comment of yours could easily have been made by someone who simply read the title and jumped to the comments section.

Joseph Kellner , says: June 19, 2015 at 4:53 pm
The author's point on free speech is an important one – there is a lot of very deep and open discussion in Russia at the moment about the country's direction (including even television debates with ten times the intellectual content of what we find in the States). Putinism is not a clear ideological system, and for the most part there is no official orthodoxy being pressed on scholars or the public, many currents exist. Most of the major viable currents, as this article suggests, are variants of conservatism; Western-style liberal democracy has (at the moment) lost nearly all it's appeal to the intelligentsia and the average person alike.

Re: Jon F's comment – unfortunately, in my view he is right. We shouldn't believe that Russia is a place of thriving family values simply because they say it more often and louder. Statistics are not the best way to see this – I personally believe (from experience in the capital and the provinces) that if Russians divorce less, they cheat more. If they have fewer abortions, they have more children born into undesirable childhoods. Russian conservatism does have its virtues and the country must to admire, but respect for women and children are far from a given.

Cornel Lencar , says: June 21, 2015 at 3:26 pm
The tendency to see Russia in black/white only, with a pre-imposed bias is no different than the tendency to see the US (and sometimes the west) and its values in similar manichean perspectives. Adding depth and colour to the other takes work, and especially the willingness to empathise, even for a little while, in order to gain more understanding, before employing a critical eye. And from this perspective I think the article does a good job.
Paul Grenier , says: June 22, 2015 at 7:21 pm
W. Burns: I don't recall that specific issue raised at the conference, but the Revolution and subsequent experience is much debated, including in other writings by the participants, e.g. by Shchipkov (his preferred spelling btw, not my Schipkov), whose take is much like that of Berdyaev: the communist experience is in partial continuity with aspects of Russia's tradition, e.g. of economic 'fairness' (equalizing plots on the peasant commune, etc.) and privileging the group over the individual. I started with the analysis by L. Chamberlain in part because her wide lens-perspective helps make sense of that experience.
David Naas and Cornel Lencar: I wish there were more who shared your perspective. Thanks.
Regarding Russian values vs. practice, aspirations vs. real-world problems. Who among us is without sin? Is U.S. practice so pristine that we should disdain talking to the Russian side? That is the material point.
Since the conference I have continued reading the work of these (and other conference) attendees meant for a Russian audience. They are very, very far from smug about their internal problems; quite the contrary.
Dave P.: As far as I know, the conference Proceedings so far are only in Russian, but there are pretty detailed English-language abstracts. Try contacting ISEPR (their site, ISEPR.ru, also has an English-language version).

[Apr 24, 2018] Herding Hamsters and Other Cosmic Reflections, by Fred Reed

This is all about hamster herding, as neoliberalism in is crisis both domestically and internationally.
Notable quotes:
"... Whoever wrote Trump's speech for him -- he obviously cannot put together two sentences with dependent clauses without wandering onto the far shores of incoherence -- worked the moral-outrage pump hard. The gas attack, by whomever made, killed, eeek, squeak, seventy civilians and little children. More hamster-herding: git along little furry dogies. On many days in the Mid-East, the United States has killed more civilians than all the gas attacks real or invented in the entire war. The pilots, unprincipled as are all military men, know they are doing it, and don't care. They get paid for their humanitarianism. By us. ..."
"... Assad had won his war and had no need of gassing a few civilians. He would have to know that it would give Washington a pretext for an attack. Which it did. Is Assad so foolish? ..."
"... Similarly with the poisoning of what's-his-spy and his daughter. Russia had nothing to gain and a great deal to lose, as we have seen. It is one thing to believe Mr. Putin capable of bad things. To believe him stupid is quite another. Note that Theresa May became hysterical before it was established that Russia did it, which has still not been established. The orchestrated expulsion of Russian diplomats by all the vassal states, also before anything definitive had been determined, was just too cute. ..."
"... Who had anything to gain by the gaseous adventurism Answer: The American Empire -- not America, not Americans -- and Israel. Both are desperate to keep Syria from surviving. Note that Washington has a history of lying the country into wars. The Maine in 1898, the Gulf of Tonkin, the imaginary WMD in Gulf I. Plus ca change, plus ca doesn't. ..."
"... Because the Empire's hegemony over the Mid-East, Asia, and the world weakens. The Empire totters. Syria is at the heart of the looming demise. ..."
"... If -- when -- America leaves, Pakistan will become an economic client state of China, without a shot being fired. Afghanistan will quickly follow as China invests in its minerals. This is why Washington cannot leave. ..."
"... Washington's approach to hegemony is military, relying on bombing and economic sanctions. This requires huge military expenditures that cripple the domestic economy and produces countless countries that would break with America if they could. By contrast, China's approach is economic, smarter and much cheaper. ..."
"... "Get ready Russia, missiles will be coming at Syria, nice and new and 'smart'!" This is not adult language. It is the taunting of a twelve-year-old. Nya hnya nya! Yet it is classic Trump. This man has absolute power to launch wars whose consequences we will have to bear. Is this not splendid? ..."
"... The strangest thing with Syria is how obsessed the Empire is with destroying it. Various reasons are given such as Israel, gas pipelines, and containing Iran. At the end of the day I think it's primarily psychological. The Empire is outraged that the Assman dares to resist. ..."
"... As to "hamster herding", include "media herding", consenting and dissenting alike. The main reasons for the latter are "bread" writing, and real "believes" of ignorance. Seems the layer, includes second tier politicians, "public intellectuals" alike. A case of "garbage in, garbage out" and a secondary condition of individual middle class jockeying. ..."
"... As to the choice of what can be called "military capitalism" of the US, it has no longer any other options, contrary to Russia and China. Give or take a single percentage point or two, there must be some insiders that fully understand that the global system of economics is now running into the wall, there is no solution to that. Neither is there a venue-way for China, or Russia, economically, outside of global consent. They might have a few cycles more of trade, cleaning the plate, which they choose to do, what looks admirable in the short term to many, but ultimately will equally grind to a standstill. ..."
"... the elites depend on the loot provided by enormous military budgets, and sanctions they can work around .Historically, empires are rarely allowed to shrink until the home country is completely bankrupt. ..."
Apr 22, 2018 | www.unz.com

Only three weapons of mass destruction exist: Nuclear explosives, artillery, and aerial bombing. Think Dresden, Hiroshima, Guernica, Falluja.

Two: Whoever wrote Trump's speech for him -- he obviously cannot put together two sentences with dependent clauses without wandering onto the far shores of incoherence -- worked the moral-outrage pump hard. The gas attack, by whomever made, killed, eeek, squeak, seventy civilians and little children. More hamster-herding: git along little furry dogies. On many days in the Mid-East, the United States has killed more civilians than all the gas attacks real or invented in the entire war. The pilots, unprincipled as are all military men, know they are doing it, and don't care. They get paid for their humanitarianism. By us.

Three: Something smells. The use of toxins, either by Assad in Syria or by Russia in West Pakistan -- England, I meant, England -- makes no sense. Assad had won his war and had no need of gassing a few civilians. He would have to know that it would give Washington a pretext for an attack. Which it did. Is Assad so foolish?

Similarly with the poisoning of what's-his-spy and his daughter. Russia had nothing to gain and a great deal to lose, as we have seen. It is one thing to believe Mr. Putin capable of bad things. To believe him stupid is quite another. Note that Theresa May became hysterical before it was established that Russia did it, which has still not been established. The orchestrated expulsion of Russian diplomats by all the vassal states, also before anything definitive had been determined, was just too cute.

Hamster herding.

Four: Who had anything to gain by the gaseous adventurism Answer: The American Empire -- not America, not Americans -- and Israel. Both are desperate to keep Syria from surviving. Note that Washington has a history of lying the country into wars. The Maine in 1898, the Gulf of Tonkin, the imaginary WMD in Gulf I. Plus ca change, plus ca doesn't.

Five: Syria is of no importance, at all, to America or Americans. It has nothing America wants or needs. It poses no danger to America. It is somewhere else. This lack of vital interest to America it shares with North Korea, Afghanistan, the Ukraine, the Crimea, the South China Sea, and all the other places where the Empire looks for war. Then why does Washington risk nuclear war by accident with Russia, which also poses no danger to America?

Because the Empire's hegemony over the Mid-East, Asia, and the world weakens. The Empire totters. Syria is at the heart of the looming demise.

Things go badly, Empire-wise. Start with the war on Afghanistan, now creeping toward its third decade, and neighboring Pakistan. China invests heavily in infrastructure in Pakistan: The Karakoram Highway, the Karachi reactors, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, the IP pipeline, Guadar. If -- when -- America leaves, Pakistan will become an economic client state of China, without a shot being fired. Afghanistan will quickly follow as China invests in its minerals. This is why Washington cannot leave.

Afghanistan borders Iran, which Washington maintains as an enemy at the behest of Israel. Iran borders Iraq, wrecked by the United States and sharing a religion with Iran. Without the threat of American military power, it could easily align itself with Iran and Asia. In Syria, Assad seems to have won unless the Empire doubles or triples down. Thus the contrived gassing of children and Trump's missile attack. Turkey balances between east and west, and could easily decide that Asia is the future.

The Empire totters, wounded and dangerous.

Six: Washington's approach to hegemony is military, relying on bombing and economic sanctions. This requires huge military expenditures that cripple the domestic economy and produces countless countries that would break with America if they could. By contrast, China's approach is economic, smarter and much cheaper. It is China's Belt and Road Initiative to integrate all of Eurasia into one huge trading block, excluding guess who, that has the Empire in a panic. How do you bomb a trade agreement?

Seven: Russia and China have adult leadership. Putin and Xi are stable, intelligent, and competent. Their interests are not Washington's and they will do whatever is in the interest of their countries, but they are not stupid, ignorant, weak, juvenile, or crazy. By contrast, Trump is a loon, ignorant of practically everything, mentally chaotic, and easily modified.

Do you think this excessive? Ponder this luminous tweet

"Get ready Russia, missiles will be coming at Syria, nice and new and 'smart'!" This is not adult language. It is the taunting of a twelve-year-old. Nya hnya nya! Yet it is classic Trump. This man has absolute power to launch wars whose consequences we will have to bear. Is this not splendid?


Thorfinnsson , April 16, 2018 at 6:15 pm GMT

At this stage in the game I'm not one to ramble about "3D Chess", but I get the sense that Trump's tweeting was intended to warn Putin and thus deescalate. Of course on the flip side we have (uncomfirmed) reports that Trump and his bloodthirsty NSC chair Fox Bolton were arguing for a bigger attack than the generals would agree to.

If nothing else it's quite clear that any effort to withdraw from Syria simply immediately results in a false flag attack. Even if chemical weapons were as awful as is supposed (I agree with Mr. Reed), that doesn't make it relevant to American interests.

The strangest thing with Syria is how obsessed the Empire is with destroying it. Various reasons are given such as Israel, gas pipelines, and containing Iran. At the end of the day I think it's primarily psychological. The Empire is outraged that the Assman dares to resist. `

dearieme , April 16, 2018 at 8:38 pm GMT
"Note that Washington has a history of lying the country into wars. The Maine in 1898 ..": add the War of 1812. In fact, presumably add all other American wars until, I suppose, WWII. And even then the US severely provoked Japan, though it seems to me that the blame for the war was Japan's: even the perfidious Yanks couldn't force her to behave with such reckless idiocy in the Pacific.
Si1ver1ock , April 16, 2018 at 11:26 pm GMT
People used to be proud to be Americans. Now many feel ashamed, not only of their leaders, but also their country.

The shame will only grow as more of the Empire's evil acts are committed and revealed.

Yorik , April 17, 2018 at 2:01 am GMT
Re: "It serves nicely, however, to alarm publics with minds of low voltage."

In 1958, I still believed that there was a significant intellectual difference between the American bourgeosie and the cattle one sees peering between the slats of large trucks as they contentedly munch hay on their way to the abattoir.

–Revilo Oliver

Yorik , April 17, 2018 at 2:29 am GMT
@Si1ver1ock

People used to be proud to be Americans.

That was owing to the public's colossal ignorance of its history, its predatory character, and its total faith in the national myths of manifest destiny, etc.

Diversity Heretic , April 17, 2018 at 8:41 am GMT
@Anon

The percentage of gas casualties who died as a result of their wound was much lower than for injuries inflected by other means (shell splinters, explosives, bullets). Taking countermeasures against chemical attacks is possible. To be effective, gas usually has to be delivered by the ton, usually by artillery. Nerve gas is much deadlier, but also very tricky to use.

Not advocating gas warfare, but it's not a death ray.

m___ , April 17, 2018 at 9:37 am GMT
In the whole of the Unz sphere, the only article that makes sense of Syria pot-shots, by adhering to a necessary global scope.

Irrelevant. Trump is a punching bag, that is as much as Obama was a surfboard, these figureheads are actors, better or worse. Putin, Xi, do matter, Putin harnessed a streamlined decision making nucleus out of chaos internally, it again gave meaning to the mention of "Russia". Xi probably does matter, we do not know, neither of us were able to observe one or the other. What matters is that there is rational coherence in both systems, China and Russia. Because of infighting, the West looks ridiculously bloated, and stumbling.

As to "hamster herding", include "media herding", consenting and dissenting alike. The main reasons for the latter are "bread" writing, and real "believes" of ignorance. Seems the layer, includes second tier politicians, "public intellectuals" alike. A case of "garbage in, garbage out" and a secondary condition of individual middle class jockeying.

As to the choice of what can be called "military capitalism" of the US, it has no longer any other options, contrary to Russia and China. Give or take a single percentage point or two, there must be some insiders that fully understand that the global system of economics is now running into the wall, there is no solution to that. Neither is there a venue-way for China, or Russia, economically, outside of global consent. They might have a few cycles more of trade, cleaning the plate, which they choose to do, what looks admirable in the short term to many, but ultimately will equally grind to a standstill.

Our take,

globally, there is some consensus about above, in minimal, stealthy cycles, and the situation in Syria today is to be seen as a proverbial napkin sketch of the architect of project global government. Putin was degraded in his status, his error, to propagate nationalistic posing on the world scene, was offensive to the project of world rule. He got away with a warning and loss of face.

There was, and is, to be seen some experimenting with method (stealth outside the public view), timeliness and international consent. That is hopeful, if one can get from a pot-shot, and not firing back, to addressing the real problems of the world, all and every, only solvable by global consent, and in a timely manner, Syria must be seen as a hopeful experiment of "global collegiate" ruling.

If "real" war, not policing, "real" major shifts of riches, from finite, generational elites to abhorrent masses of commoners and ridiculous attitudes middle classes, results, we humbly retract. The crest of the wave will have an undercurrent: even worse conditions applied to the number of human under-classes, even temporarily more wastelands created, but adhering to collegiate global consent, and sold to the masses as a prime Hollywood style production. That is what the elites seem to strive for.

The important element is they seem to grasp, as only sub-group of humanity, that they are condemned to one another, the "chevalier seul" attitudes are projections to the public.

pyrrhus , April 18, 2018 at 1:51 am GMT
@another fred

Indeed, the people want it very much But the elites depend on the loot provided by enormous military budgets, and sanctions they can work around .Historically, empires are rarely allowed to shrink until the home country is completely bankrupt.

[Apr 22, 2018] One of the signs of an empire that is failing is the increasing disconnect (and cynicism) between the rulers and the ruled - no matter what the system of government may be

Notable quotes:
"... Overall, my impression is that a huge amount of the American populace is entirely disengaged from what's going on because all of it is too upsetting of the accustomed comfortable lifestyle. ..."
"... There's no sense of how random and stupid (and increasing) violence connects to neocon policies over the past 20 plus years or so. The problems leading potentially to very serious war conflict are demonized away in terms of black vs. white terms, America always the righteous. ..."
Apr 22, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Sid2 | Apr 22, 2018 1:34:57 PM | 11

Just back from a road trip in America where I uncharacteristically watched TV in the evenings. My main impression = appalled at the intellectual decline and I kept saying to myself, "If anyone wants to know why we're stupid, here (TV) is the reason."

Interestingly, what I formerly could not stand, FOX news, showed some dignity and intelligence over what appears to be unraveling in the cover-up of what is now "FBI-gate" versus the old and worn-out Russia-gate stuff. I was amused at FOX news' presentation of the latest DNC lawsuit as more hopeless apologizing for Clinton's loss, and a development which could backfire into disclosure finally, and much more focus on what Clinton was up to with the DNC maligning of Sanders, plus the politicizing of the intelligence agencies, as with Comey, Brennan, and Clapper.

As to Americans generally, a lot of good people, nice and helpful if they can just relax into ordinary relating as with services and restaurants. In meeting with relatives, obvious MSM propaganda layering their opinions. I was struck for example that the homeless problem could be dismissed because some homeless didn't want to take advantage of housing help offered (the specifics of that not offered, nor am I aware of what's meant here). The tendency is to dismiss the troubling into simplification, and get back to what feels good as soon as possible. But this is completely normal human behavior in my 5 decades or so of watching political developments.

Overall, my impression is that a huge amount of the American populace is entirely disengaged from what's going on because all of it is too upsetting of the accustomed comfortable lifestyle.

There's no sense of how random and stupid (and increasing) violence connects to neocon policies over the past 20 plus years or so. The problems leading potentially to very serious war conflict are demonized away in terms of black vs. white terms, America always the righteous.

I do feel, however, that alternative media, such as via MoA here, are very helpful to growing awareness, particularly among young people. I am eager to see new independent political parties, committed to serving the people, but not yet aware of any of these coming about. I would also echo pyschohistorian and others from the previous thread to ask b to be the leader/organizer via emails, should there come a time when this site is attacked and taken out somehow.

Thank you, b, and commenters here for this energetic and hopeful community.

les7 , Apr 22, 2018 2:59:15 PM | 20

@11

Thanks for that snapshot description. One of the signs of an empire that is failing is the increasing disconnect (and cynicism) between the rulers and the ruled - no matter what the system of government may be. Your description provides a graphic picture of that disconnection.

In another vein, Media again posits the SAA as going against the rebel controlled areas in the south. I believe that the SAA will instead consolidate areas around Homs and southern Hama then focus on Deir Ezzour and the cross-river attacks from the US protected eastern shore of the Euphrates.. This action will take us through to mid-June. At that point I anticipate some kind of incidents having to do with the Idlib pocket.

[Apr 21, 2018] The Blight of Ukania

I always thought that Brexit was UK populati0on protest against neoliberalism.
Notable quotes:
"... Then there is of course the ongoing Brexit shambles. The inflexible Eurocrats have always only had one position on Brexit: accept our terms for leaving the EU or you get nothing. ..."
"... Ukania's chief Brexit negotiator, David Davies, is a retired special-services commando who was given the job because he is the Conservative's most dyed-in-the-wool anti-EU ideologue. ..."
"... On the other hand, this Empire 2.0 fantasy also serves a more sinister purpose. The Brexiteer dream is basically a fusion of neo-imperial illusions with a no-holds-barred neoliberalism. ..."
Apr 21, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

Tom Nairn coined the phrase "Ukania" to designate the confused and disorganized hotchpotch of an island-nation off the coast of northern Europe, tottering on the nation-state equivalent of varicose-veined and arthritic legs, and further enfeebled by an unproductive nostalgia for Empire (aka Empire 2.0).

... ... ...

"Dilapidation" is the word to describe the UK today. I was last there in November and will be there again in July. Frequent, indeed daily, contact with family and friends confirms that the UK is indeed Nairn's "Ukania".

This week London overtook New York as a "murder capital". Brits were shocked, because this reversed their notion of the US as a place where gun nuts can kill whenever they want.

I tried to reassure my Brit friends and family that the murder statistics for New York don't include police killings of unarmed black men, and that inclusion of the latter statistic in the murder toll would probably tell a somewhat different story.

Ukania has stringent gun laws, but nearly all the killings in London are stabbings. Acid attacks have also become increasingly common.

The causes for this outbreak of knifings and acid-throwing are almost certainly multiple. A decaying social fabric caused by nearly a decade of Tory austerity, high youth unemployment as well as employed youth who nonetheless dominate the precariat, and savage cuts in police numbers (a result of deliberate Tory policy to hand over policing to private security firms, who in turn donate generously to the Tories), are almost certainly key factors here.

The Tories however have "none of the above" on their list of causes for London's crime wave. For them and their allies in the rightwing media, drugs, a form of rap known as UK drill, and social media are to blame!

This ignorance is obviously contrived -- absolutely unlike the social media-illiterate geriatric US senators who questioned Mark Zuckerberg on the issue of Facebook's data leaks, and who in their genuine bafflement were unable to tell the difference between Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp, among other things.

Unlike the technologically-senile US senators befuddled by contemporary social media and its associated technologies, the Tories know damn well the underlying conditions for London's stabbing and acid-throwing epidemic.

Then there is of course the ongoing Brexit shambles. The inflexible Eurocrats have always only had one position on Brexit: accept our terms for leaving the EU or you get nothing.

The Ukanians in response alternate hopelessly between faux bravado ("we're prepared to leave with nothing") and conciliatory placation ("please, oh please, can we come to a fresh understanding of what's on the table? ").

The Eurocrats see right through the phony bravado and dismiss it outright, while responding to pleas for a "fresh understanding" with a bored shrug– in effect saying that it is "you deluded Brits who need to understand we are not having negotiations about the terms of your departure, but only about such minutiae as the timetabling of this this or that move that (according to us) needs to be made".

The intransigent Eurocrats thus insist that negotiations can only be about "process", while the Ukanian government persists in thinking the door is somehow still open for negotiations about "substance".

Alas, those who insist on talking about "process" have held all the cards from the beginning. The Ukanians have not helped themselves by sending absolute third-raters to deal with the meritocratic wolves in Brussels. The EU wolves make it to the top by speaking two to three, or more, languages fluently, by graduating from Europe's top schools of international relations and public administration, and by having decades of experience in international diplomacy.

Ukania's chief Brexit negotiator, David Davies, is a retired special-services commando who was given the job because he is the Conservative's most dyed-in-the-wool anti-EU ideologue. Davies sits at the Brussels negotiating table without a piece of paper in front of him, while his guileful and well-schooled EU counterparts consult bulky folders as they take the woefully underprepared and intellectually underwhelming ex-commando to the woodshed. It is, in sporting terms, the equivalent of the lard-encased Donald Trump presuming he can win an Olympic race against Usain Bolt.

Ukania's self-deceptions are not confined to its dealings with the wolves of Brussels. Most of the Brexiteers (not to be confused with Lexiteers, of whom I've always been one) are gripped by nostalgic imperial fantasies. The neo-imperial fantasy of these Brexiteers is that the former members of their Empire will fall in line, dutifully, in order to conclude trading agreements with their ex-imperial master– the Brexiteer hope being that these Empire 2.0 "agreements" will somehow compensate economically for the cessation of trading links with the EU countries. This is simply not going to happen, given the dynamos driving post-imperial economic development.

The EU exists for the purpose of extending and sustaining the European embodiment of the current neoliberal order, and in so doing maintaining the very comfortable livelihoods of its Eurocratic elite. But that, or its equivalent, alas, is also the "mission" of the members of the ex-Empire, who are supposed by the Brexiteers to salute and fall in line when asked to do so by their erstwhile imperial master!

The raison d'etre of such countries as India, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, etc., is precisely to subserve the exigencies of the forms of capitalist of accumulation prevailing in their countries, forms which in turn coincide more or less with the needs of their national elites.

And this post-imperial raison d'etre is clearly not congruent with daydreamed requirements imposed by a post-Brexit Empire 2.0 nostalgia on the part of Ukania. Australia and New Zealand now have their economic systems attuned, profitably, to demand from China and the rest of the Pacific Rim; Canada likewise with regard to the US; and India in relation to the economies of the Gulf States; and so on.

Ukania will get nowhere with Empire 2.0 après Brexit unless it can provide terms of trade and revenues matching or surpassing those now available to its former colonies.

... ... ...

On the other hand, this Empire 2.0 fantasy also serves a more sinister purpose. The Brexiteer dream is basically a fusion of neo-imperial illusions with a no-holds-barred neoliberalism.

The EU at least insists on health and safety standards that are better than India's. But why shouldn't India's standards be good enough for Ukania's pampered workers? The latter's ancestors worked in dark satanic mills, so surely these f*@#ers can work in factories recycling toxic metals from discarded computers and mobile phones? The EU's food inspection standards are better than China's, but why should Ukania hold itself to a standard higher than China's? Milk "supplemented" with de-icer fluid anyone? The EU has minimal standards on bank operations and financial transactions – get rid of these and Ukania can be freed to become the world's premier haven for tax-dodgers and money launderers. Okay, it already holds the latter title, but Ukania will be able to lower the bar even more on money laundering once it gets rid of the EU's regulatory shackles.

... ... ...

[Apr 17, 2018] After Greeks and British, now Italians reject neoliberal EU. Not many ideas what to put in its place. Defend Democracy Press

March 5, 2018 | www.defenddemocracy.press

After Greeks and British, now Italians reject neoliberal EU. Not many ideas what to put in its place. 06/03/2018 Italian election results: How the world's press reacted

Italy's governing centre-left Democratic Party has seen disappointing losses in the election result, while the populist League and Five Star Movement have had remarkable gains. Here's how the world's press reacted to the vote.

Read more at https://www.thelocal.it/20180305/italian-election-results-how-international-press-reacted

Eurosceptic Italy in race to form majority government

Five Star Movement and the League vie to form a coalition, but ultimate decision is held by President Sergio Mattarella

Mon 5 Mar 2018

The two populist parties that won major upsets in the Italian election – the Five Star Movement (M5S) and the League (La Liga) – are in a race to be the first to try to form a majority government after the election produced a hung parliament.

The decision will ultimately fall to Italy's president, Sergio Mattarella, who could take weeks to determine whether the anti-establishment M5S, which took 32.6% of the vote, or a fragile centre-right alliance led by the League's bombastic Matteo Salvini, with 35.7% of the vote, are better equipped to create a majority government.

Read more at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/05/italy-turns-back-on-europe-as-election-points-to-hung-parliament

[Apr 09, 2018] Former President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa shut down the US base at Manta. His successor, Lenin Moreno, has proven to be some kind of neoliberal mole

Apr 09, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

PrairieBear , Apr 8, 2018 5:04:50 PM | 17

@11 Yes, Maracutu, shivers are pretty much a daily thing for me in these times. An "accidental" bombing of Latakia was the spark that finally set off WWIII in the old, but still popular, nuclear apocalypse novel Alas Babylon .

@ all Meanwhile, as all the Mad Magazine "Spy vs Spy" nonsense spins out in the UK, the Empire is keeping busy on the other side of the pond. In late March, a couple of nice folks from the US Southern Command paid a courtesy "friendship" visit to Ecuador:

https://actualidad.rt.com/actualidad/266769-ecuador-funcionarios-comando-sur-eeuu

Also, we apparently have US troops in Ecuador once again:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2nClTjCs3I

During his term as President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa had (not very) politely and very firmly invited US military personnel to go home (or at least elsewhere than Ecuador) and he shut down the US base at Manta. His successor, Lenin Moreno, has proven to be some kind of neoliberal mole who wormed himself into the Alianza Pais and has completely betrayed the Citizens' Revolution. In less than a year in office, he has wrecked most of the progress slowly and steadily made under 10 years of Correa's leadership. In the past month or so, there have been three "terrorist" attacks on the Colombian border. These are supposedly connected with FARC. There had been NO troubles with FARC under Correa.

So far, I have not found any English-Language media talking about any of this. I have not found mention of how many US troops are involved. I have seen that there are now 500 additional ones in Peru to help with security for some summit Trump is going to. Of course, the ones in Ecuador are only there to be "helpful" to the country.

Also: RIP Nash Van Drake and his guinea pig siblings (has anyone heard what their names were, if any?). The murder of these pets may just be a weird side story to this madness, or it may have been to cover up and destroy evidence. The explanations for their deaths seem very suspicious to me. Some years ago, I had a male cat whom I let outside sometimes. He got himself shut in the neighbor's garage one afternoon. I looked everywhere, placed want ads, etc. No luck. Having basically given up, I discovered by accident he was in there after a week. I called the neighbor, who came out late at night and opened the garage up and I coaxed him out. Cat was very happy to be home and glad to see his food and water dish, but he was hardly malnourished. He essentially was no worse for wear, physically.

It takes quite a long time without food for a healthy, well-fed house cat to become "severely malnourished," unless perhaps there are some other special health problems already or special needs. I don't know the timeline of when they went in and found him. Two weeks? Three? Even then, look at all the videos out there of sick, malnourished cats rescued and nursed back to health.

I know a lot less about guinea pigs, but similar with them. If they had a bottle waterer mounted on the side of their cage, it was probably kept refilled pretty often. Even if already down by half, it should have lasted a while. How much water would they drink in normal house temperatures in the UK in late winter?

[Apr 08, 2018] The UK and France are in deep economic trouble and need an external enemy such as Russia using an incident such as the Skripal affair to deflect the people from focusing on removing their government leaders

Notable quotes:
"... The UK and France are in deep economic trouble and need an external enemy such as Russia using an incident such as the Skripal affair to deflect the people from focusing on removing their government leaders. If all else fails, the UK Royals will have a couple of weddings and babies to take up the front pages for most of this year. Meanwhile, like the Skripals, several UK/EU agents involved in the HillaryGate Steele dossier trail of evidence such as Christophe Steele, Joseph Mifsid, and Gianni Pittella have disappeared: ..."
"... In the UK case of May and BoJo, any alternative will result in a continuation of the decline of the society. To be honest, much of the decline is baked in structural with the loss of income from former "slave" colonies and the decline of North Sea oil and gas reserves. Staying in the EU against the will of the people will continue to further drain resources to Germany, which has structurally colonialized Western Europe. ..."
"... France, like the UK, has extracted the wealth from their former colonies and facing a reduction in tribute from these sources. Macron has attempted to maintain control of some colonies such as Mali and really wants to conquer Syria. I suspect the meetings between Macron and MbS will result in an agreement for Saudi Arabia to buy French weapons while France getting financial aid to expand French troop bases in Syria. ..."
"... Almost all sectors of the French society are protesting against the neo-feudal policies of Macron, FIRE economy participants and his dwarves in the National Assembly. There are strikes among: ..."
"... The EU is also experiencing internal dissent with the Visegrad four (Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia) plus Italy and Austria and thus needs an external enemy to distract its members. I suspect that a Ukrainian invasion of DPR/LPR will once again be used as a flash point create "two minutes of hate" against Russia ..."
Apr 08, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Krollchem , Apr 8, 2018 5:18:42 PM | 18

The UK and France are in deep economic trouble and need an external enemy such as Russia using an incident such as the Skripal affair to deflect the people from focusing on removing their government leaders. If all else fails, the UK Royals will have a couple of weddings and babies to take up the front pages for most of this year. Meanwhile, like the Skripals, several UK/EU agents involved in the HillaryGate Steele dossier trail of evidence such as Christophe Steele, Joseph Mifsid, and Gianni Pittella have disappeared:

https://disobedientmedia.com/2018/04/all-russiagate-roads-lead-to-london-as-evidence-emerges-of-joseph-mifsuds-links-to-uk-intelligence/

https://via.hypothes.is/https://www.buzzfeed.com/albertonardelli/the-mysterious-professor-at-the-center-of-the-russia-trump?utm_term=.paVe5QKjLR#.imWM6VNRLp

https://www.buzzfeed.com/albertonardelli/the-mysterious-professor-at-the-center-of-the-russia-trump?utm_term=.paVe5QKjLR#.imWM6VNRLp

In the UK case of May and BoJo, any alternative will result in a continuation of the decline of the society. To be honest, much of the decline is baked in structural with the loss of income from former "slave" colonies and the decline of North Sea oil and gas reserves. Staying in the EU against the will of the people will continue to further drain resources to Germany, which has structurally colonialized Western Europe.

France, like the UK, has extracted the wealth from their former colonies and facing a reduction in tribute from these sources. Macron has attempted to maintain control of some colonies such as Mali and really wants to conquer Syria. I suspect the meetings between Macron and MbS will result in an agreement for Saudi Arabia to buy French weapons while France getting financial aid to expand French troop bases in Syria.

Somehow, the current revolution in France is blacked out in the Western Media. Videos of the current revolution are common on Youtube such as: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g21_myERteQ

Almost all sectors of the French society are protesting against the neo-feudal policies of Macron, FIRE economy participants and his dwarves in the National Assembly. There are strikes among:

For a schedule of the rolling strikes in France see: http://www.cestlagreve.fr/

Macron has already deployed the CRS assassins and the street war will begin when EU police and military invade to crush to protestors. This will be far more violent than May 1968 and may usher in the 6th Republic. Unfortunately, Macron would prefer the cities to burn rather than resign and turnover the government to the President of the Senate.

The EU is also experiencing internal dissent with the Visegrad four (Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia) plus Italy and Austria and thus needs an external enemy to distract its members. I suspect that a Ukrainian invasion of DPR/LPR will once again be used as a flash point create "two minutes of hate" against Russia :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4zYlOU7Fpk

These EU conflicts will not end peacefully as the system will fight back rather than step aside.

[Apr 05, 2018] Resurgence of nationalism put neoliberal globalism

This Guardian pressitute can't even mentions the term neoliberalism, to day noting to accept that neoliberalism now experience a crisis (which actually started in 2008)
Globalization blowback will not totally bury neoliberal globalization, but it puts some limits on transnational corporations racket...
Apr 05, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

Originally from The demise of the nation state By Rana Dasgupta

hat is happening to national politics? Every day in the US, events further exceed the imaginations of absurdist novelists and comedians; politics in the UK still shows few signs of recovery after the " national nervous breakdown " of Brexit. France " narrowly escaped a heart attack " in last year's elections, but the country's leading daily feels this has done little to alter the " accelerated decomposition " of the political system. In neighbouring Spain, El País goes so far as to say that "the rule of law, the democratic system and even the market economy are in doubt"; in Italy, "the collapse of the establishment" in the March elections has even brought talk of a "barbarian arrival", as if Rome were falling once again. In Germany, meanwhile, neo-fascists are preparing to take up their role as official opposition , introducing anxious volatility into the bastion of European stability.

But the convulsions in national politics are not confined to the west. Exhaustion, hopelessness, the dwindling effectiveness of old ways: these are the themes of politics all across the world. This is why energetic authoritarian "solutions" are currently so popular: distraction by war (Russia, Turkey); ethno-religious "purification" (India, Hungary, Myanmar); the magnification of presidential powers and the corresponding abandonment of civil rights and the rule of law (China, Rwanda, Venezuela, Thailand, the Philippines and many more).

What is the relationship between these various upheavals? We tend to regard them as entirely separate – for, in political life, national solipsism is the rule. In each country, the tendency is to blame "our" history, "our" populists, "our" media, "our" institutions, "our" lousy politicians. And this is understandable, since the organs of modern political consciousness – public education and mass media – emerged in the 19th century from a globe-conquering ideology of unique national destinies. When we discuss "politics", we refer to what goes on inside sovereign states; everything else is "foreign affairs" or "international relations" – even in this era of global financial and technological integration. We may buy the same products in every country of the world, we may all use Google and Facebook, but political life, curiously, is made of separate stuff and keeps the antique faith of borders.

Yes, there is awareness that similar varieties of populism are erupting in many countries. Several have noted the parallels in style and substance between leaders such as Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Narendra Modi, Viktor Orbán and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. There is a sense that something is in the air – some coincidence of feeling between places. But this does not get close enough. For there is no coincidence. All countries are today embedded in the same system, which subjects them all to the same pressures: and it is these that are squeezing and warping national political life everywhere. And their effect is quite the opposite – despite the desperate flag-waving – of the oft-remarked " resurgence of the nation state ".

[Apr 05, 2018] The Globalisation: the rise and fall of an idea that swept the world

Apr 05, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

The future of economic globalisation, for which the Davos men and women see themselves as caretakers, had been shaken by a series of political earthquakes. "Globalisation" can mean many things, but what lay in particular doubt was the long-advanced project of increasing free trade in goods across borders. The previous summer, Britain had voted to leave the largest trading bloc in the world. In November, the unexpected victory of Donald Trump , who vowed to withdraw from major trade deals, appeared to jeopardise the trading relationships of the world's richest country. Forthcoming elections in France and Germany suddenly seemed to bear the possibility of anti-globalisation parties garnering better results than ever before. The barbarians weren't at the gates to the ski-lifts yet – but they weren't very far.

In a panel titled Governing Globalisation , the economist Dambisa Moyo , otherwise a well-known supporter of free trade, forthrightly asked the audience to accept that "there have been significant losses" from globalisation. "It is not clear to me that we are going to be able to remedy them under the current infrastructure," she added. Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, called for a policy hitherto foreign to the World Economic Forum : "more redistribution". After years of hedging or discounting the malign effects of free trade, it was time to face facts: globalisation caused job losses and depressed wages, and the usual Davos proposals – such as instructing affected populations to accept the new reality – weren't going to work. Unless something changed, the political consequences were likely to get worse.

The backlash to globalisation has helped fuel the extraordinary political shifts of the past 18 months. During the close race to become the Democratic party candidate, senator Bernie Sanders relentlessly attacked Hillary Clinton on her support for free trade . On the campaign trail, Donald Trump openly proposed tilting the terms of trade in favour of American industry. "Americanism, not globalism, shall be our creed," he bellowed at the Republican national convention last July. The vote for Brexit was strongest in the regions of the UK devastated by the flight of manufacturing. At Davos in January, British prime minister Theresa May, the leader of the party of capital and inherited wealth, improbably picked up the theme, warning that, for many, "talk of greater globalisation means their jobs being outsourced and wages undercut." Meanwhile, the European far right has been warning against free movement of people as well as goods. Following her qualifying victory in the first round of France's presidential election, Marine Le Pen warned darkly that "the main thing at stake in this election is the rampant globalisation that is endangering our civilisation."

It was only a few decades ago that globalisation was held by many, even by some critics, to be an inevitable, unstoppable force. "Rejecting globalisation," the American journalist George Packer has written, "was like rejecting the sunrise." Globalisation could take place in services, capital and ideas, making it a notoriously imprecise term; but what it meant most often was making it cheaper to trade across borders – something that seemed to many at the time to be an unquestionable good. In practice, this often meant that industry would move from rich countries, where labour was expensive, to poor countries, where labour was cheaper. People in the rich countries would either have to accept lower wages to compete, or lose their jobs. But no matter what, the goods they formerly produced would now be imported, and be even cheaper. And the unemployed could get new, higher-skilled jobs (if they got the requisite training). Mainstream economists and politicians upheld the consensus about the merits of globalisation, with little concern that there might be political consequences.

Back then, economists could calmly chalk up anti-globalisation sentiment to a marginal group of delusional protesters, or disgruntled stragglers still toiling uselessly in "sunset industries". These days, as sizable constituencies have voted in country after country for anti-free-trade policies, or candidates that promise to limit them, the old self-assurance is gone. Millions have rejected, with uncertain results, the punishing logic that globalisation could not be stopped. The backlash has swelled a wave of soul-searching among economists, one that had already begun to roll ashore with the financial crisis. How did they fail to foresee the repercussions?

[Apr 01, 2018] Globalization by Dan Crawford

Mar 30, 2018 | angrybearblog.com
The story of globalization from a US point of view continues. Here AB reader Denis Drew is highlighted at DeLong's website:

Comment of the Day : Dennis Drew : GLOBALIZATION: WHAT DID PAUL KRUGMAN MISS? : "I'm always the first to say that if today's 10 dollars an hour jobs paid 20 dollars an hour

(Walgreen's, Target, fast food less w/much high labor costs) that would solve most social problems caused by loss of manufacturing (to out sourcing or automation). The money's there. Bottom 40% income take about 10% of overall income. "Mid" take about 67.5%. Top 1%, 22.5%. The instrument of moving 10% more from "mid" to the bottom is higher consumer prices arriving with the sudden reappearance of nationwide, high union density (see below for the easy application). The instrument of retrieving the "mid's" lost 10% is Eisenhower level confiscatory taxes for the top 1%.

Jack Kennedy lowered max income tax rate from 92% to 70% to improve incentives (other cuts followed). But with the top 1% wages now 20X (!) what they were in the 60s while per capita only doubled since, there will be all the incentive in the world left over while we relieve them of the burden of stultifying wealth. ;-)

[Apr 01, 2018] On What We Missed About Globalization

Apr 01, 2018 | angrybearblog.com

... ... ...

Brad argues that globalization is as good for the USA as Krugman thought in the 1990s. He has three key arguments. One is that the manufacturing employment which has been off shored is unskilled assembly and such boring jobs are not good jobs. The second is that the problems faced by US manufacturing workers are mostly due to electing Reagan and W Bush and not trade. Finally he notes that local economic decline is not new at all and that trade with South Carolina did it to Massachusetts long before China entered the picture. The third point works against his general argument and is partly personal. I won't discuss it except to note that Brad is right.

I have criticisms of Brad's first two arguments. The first is that the boring easy manufacturing jobs were well paid. They are bad jobs in that thinking of doing them terrifies me even more than work in general terrifies me, but they are (or mostly were) well paid jobs. There are still strong forces that make wages paid to people who work near each other at the same firm similar. As very much noted by Dennis Drew, unions used to be very strong and used that strenth to help all employees of unionized firms (and employess of non-union firms whose managers were afraid of unions). I think that, like Krugman, Brad assumes that wages are based on skills importantly including ones acquired on the job. I think this leaves a lot out.

... ... ...

Kaleberg , April 1, 2018 4:03 pm

An argument no one mentions is about comparative advantage. The US had a comparative advantage in manufacturing. It had the engineers, the technicians, the labor, the venture capital and so on. When transportation costs are low and barriers minimal, comparative advantage is something a nation creates, not some natural attribute. The US sacrificed that comparative advantage on the altar of ideological purity. Manufacturing advantage is an especially useful type of advantage since it can permeate the remaining economy. We sacrificed it, and we have been paying for it. Odds are, we will continue to pay.

likbez , April 1, 2018 6:38 pm

The problem here is that neoliberalism and globalization are two sides of the same coin.

If you reject globalization, you need to reject neoliberalism as a social system. You just can't sit between two chairs (as Trump attempts to do propagating "bastard neoliberalism" -- neoliberal doctrine is still fully applicable within the country, but neoliberal globalization is rejected)

Rejection of neoliberal globalization also implicitly suggests that Reagan "quiet coup" that restored the power of financial oligarchy and subsequent dismantling of the New Deal Capitalism was a disaster for common people in the USA.

While this is true, that's a very tough call. That explains DeLong behavior.

[Mar 30, 2018] The Death Of The Liberal World Order by Leonid Savin

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... And, quoting his colleague Archon Fung from the Harvard Kennedy School, " American politics is no longer characterized by the rule of the median voter, if it ever was. Instead, in contemporary America the median capitalist rules as both the Democratic and Republican parties adjust their policies to attract monied interests." And finally Mr. Ringen adds, "American politicians are aware of having sunk into a murky bog of moral corruption but are trapped." ..."
"... Trump merely reflects the dysfunctionality and internal contradictions of American politics. He is the American Gorbachev, who kicked off perestroika at the wrong time. ..."
"... Global financial services exercise monopolistic power over national policies, unchecked by any semblance of global political power. Trust is haemorrhaging. The European Union, the greatest ever experiment in super-national democracy, is imploding ..."
"... Probably this is because the Western model of neoliberalism does not provide any real freedom of commerce, speech, or political activity, but rather imposes a regime of submission within a clearly defined framework. ..."
"... america is going through withdraw from 30 years of trickledown crap. the young are realizing that the shithole they inherit does not have to be a shithole, and the old pathetic white old men who run the show will be dead soon. ..."
"... The liberal order is dying because it is led by criminally depraved Predators who have pauperized the labor force and created political strife, though the populists don't pose much threat to the liberal-order Predators. ..."
"... However by shipping the productive Western economies overseas to Asia, the US in particular cannot finance and physically support a military empire or the required R&D to stay competitive on the commercial and military front. ..."
"... So the US Imperialists are being eclipsed by the Sino-Russo Alliance and wants us to believe this is a great tragedy. Meanwhile the same crew of Liberal -neoCon Deep Staters presses on with wars and tensions that are slipping out of control. ..."
Mar 30, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored Leonid Savin via Oriental Review,

A few days ago the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haass, published an article, titled "Liberal World Order, R.I.P." In it, he states that the current threat to the liberal world order is coming not from rogue states, totalitarian regimes, religious fanatics, or obscurantist governments (special terms used by liberals when referring to other nations and countries that have not pursued the Western capitalist path of development), but from its primary architect -- the United States of America.

Haass writes: " Liberalism is in retreat. Democracies are feeling the effects of growing populism. Parties of the political extremes have gained ground in Europe. The vote in the United Kingdom in favor of leaving the EU attested to the loss of elite influence. Even the US is experiencing unprecedented attacks from its own president on the country's media, courts, and law-enforcement institutions. Authoritarian systems, including China, Russia, and Turkey, have become even more top-heavy. Countries such as Hungary and Poland seem uninterested in the fate of their young democracies

"We are seeing the emergence of regional orders. Attempts to build global frameworks are failing."

Haass has previously made alarmist statements , but this time he is employing his rhetoric to point to the global nature of this phenomenon. Although between the lines one can easily read, first of all, a certain degree of arrogance -- the idea that only we liberals and globalists really know how to administer foreign policy -- and second, the motifs of conspiracy.

"Today's other major powers, including the EU, Russia, China, India, and Japan, could be criticized for what they are doing, not doing, or both."

Probably this list could be expanded by adding a number of Latin American countries, plus Egypt, which signs arms deals with North Korea while denying any violation of UN sanctions, and the burgeoning Shiite axis of Iran-Iraq-Syria-Lebanon.

But Haass is crestfallen over the fact that it is Washington itself that is changing the rules of the game and seems completely uninterested in what its allies, partners, and clients in various corners of the world will do.

" America's decision to abandon the role it has played for more than seven decades thus marks a turning point. The liberal world order cannot survive on its own, because others lack either the interest or the means to sustain it. The result will be a world that is less free, less prosperous, and less peaceful, for Americans and others alike."

Richard Haass's colleague at the CFR, Stewart Patrick, quite agrees with the claim that it is the US itself that is burying the liberal world order . However, it's not doing it on its own, but alongside China. If the US had previously been hoping that the process of globalization would gradually transform China (and possibly destroy it, as happened to the Soviet Union earlier), then the Americans must have been quite surprised by how it has actually played out. That country modernized without being Westernized, an idea that had once been endorsed by the leader of the Islamic revolution in Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini.

Now China is expanding its influence in Eurasia in its own way, and this is for the most part welcomed by its partner countries.

But this has been a painful process for the US, as it is steadily and irrevocably undermining its hegemony.

"Its long-term ambition is to dismantle the U.S. alliance system in Asia, replacing it with a more benign (from Beijing's perspective) regional security order in which it enjoys pride of place, and ideally a sphere of influence commensurate with its power.

China's Belt and Road initiative is part and parcel of this effort, offering not only (much-needed) infrastructure investments in neighboring countries but also the promise of greater political influence in Southeast, South, and Central Asia. More aggressively, China continues to advance outrageous jurisdictional claims over almost the entirety of the South China Sea , where it continues its island-building activities, as well as engaging in provocative actions against Japan in the East China Sea," writes Patrick.

And as for the US:

"The United States, for its part, is a weary titan, no longer willing to bear the burdens of global leadership, either economically or geopolitically.

Trump treats alliances as a protection racket, and the world economy as an arena of zero-sum competition. The result is a fraying liberal international order without a champion willing to invest in the system itself. "

One can agree with both authors' assessments of the changed behavior of one sector of the US establishment, but this is about more than just Donald Trump (who is so unpredictable that he has staffed his own team with a member of the very swamp he was preparing to drain) and North American populism. One needs to look much deeper.

In his book, Nation of Devils: Democratic Leadership and the Problem of Obedience , Stein Ringen, a Norwegian statesman with a history of service in international institutions, notes:

"Today, American democratic exceptionalism is defined by a system that is dysfunctional in all the conditions that are needed for settlement and loyalty...

Capitalism has collapsed into crisis in an orgy of deregulation. Money is transgressing into politics and undermining democracy itself ."

And, quoting his colleague Archon Fung from the Harvard Kennedy School, " American politics is no longer characterized by the rule of the median voter, if it ever was. Instead, in contemporary America the median capitalist rules as both the Democratic and Republican parties adjust their policies to attract monied interests." And finally Mr. Ringen adds, "American politicians are aware of having sunk into a murky bog of moral corruption but are trapped."

Trump merely reflects the dysfunctionality and internal contradictions of American politics. He is the American Gorbachev, who kicked off perestroika at the wrong time. Although it must be conceded that if Hillary Clinton had become president, the US collapse would have been far more painful, particularly for the citizens of that country. We would have seen yet more calamitous reforms, a swelling influx of migrants, a further decline in the nation's manufacturing base, and the incitement of new conflicts. Trump is trying to keep the body of US national policy somewhat alive through hospice care, but what's really needed is a major restructuring, including far-reaching political reforms that would allow the country's citizens to feel that they can actually play a role in its destiny.

These developments have spread to many countries in Europe, a continent that, due to its transatlantic involvement, was already vulnerable and susceptible to the current geopolitical turbulence. The emergence of which, by the way, was largely a consequence of that very policy of neoliberalism.

Stein Ringen continues on that score:

"Global financial services exercise monopolistic power over national policies, unchecked by any semblance of global political power. Trust is haemorrhaging. The European Union, the greatest ever experiment in super-national democracy, is imploding "

It is interesting that panic has seized Western Europe and the US -- the home of transatlanticism, although different versions of this recipe for liberalism have been employed in other regions -- suffice it to recall the experience of Singapore or Brazil. But they don't seem as panicked there as in the West.

Probably this is because the Western model of neoliberalism does not provide any real freedom of commerce, speech, or political activity, but rather imposes a regime of submission within a clearly defined framework. Therefore, the destruction of the current system entails the loss of all those dividends previously enjoyed by the liberal political elites of the West that were obtained by speculating in the stock market, from the mechanisms of international foreign-exchange payments (the dollar system), and through the instruments of supranational organizations (the UN, WTO, and World Bank). And, of course, there are the fundamental differences in the cultural varieties of societies.

In his book The Hidden God, Lucien Goldmann draws some interesting conclusions, suggesting that the foundations of Western culture have rationalistic and tragic origins, and that a society immersed in these concepts that have "abolish[ed] both God and the community [soon sees] the disappearance of any external norm which might guide the individual in his life and actions." And because by its very nature liberalism must carry on, in its mechanical fashion, "liberating" the individual from any form of structure (social classes, the Church, family, society, and gender, ultimately liberating man from his very self), in the absence of any standards of deterrence, it is quite logical that the Western world was destined to eventually find itself in crisis. And the surge of populist movements, protectionist measures, and conservative policies of which Haass and other liberal globalists speak are nothing more than examples of those nations' instinct for self-preservation. One need not concoct conspiracy theories about Russia or Putin interfering in the US election (which Donald Trump has also denied, noting only that support was seen for Hillary Clinton, and it is entirely true that a portion of her financial backing did come from Russia). The baseline political decisions being made in the West are in step with the current crisis that is evident on so many levels. It's just that, like always, the Western elites need their ritual whipping boy(although it would be more accurate to call it a human sacrifice). This geopolitical shake-up began in the West as a result of the implicit nature of the very project of the West itself.

But since alternative development scenarios exist, the current system is eroding away. And other political projects are starting to fill the resultant ideological void -- in both form as well as content.

Thus it's fairly likely that the current crisis of liberalism will definitively bury the unipolar Western system of hegemony.

And the budding movements of populism and regional protectionism can serve as the basis for a new, multipolar world order.

J S Bach Fri, 03/30/2018 - 22:48 Permalink

Oh, Wicked Witch of the West Wing, the cleansing fire awaits thy demise! Those meds can only keep you standing for so long. Keep tripping. Keep stumbling. Satan calls you to him. The day approacheth. Tick tock tick tock. 👹😂

beepbop -> TeamDepends Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:01 Permalink

The Death Of The Liberal World Order

The Re-Birth Of the Neocon World Disorder

Neocons=Bolsheviks=Zionists. Over 100 years of bloodshed and mayhem.

dogsandhoney2 -> J S Bach Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:05 Permalink

hillery-cfr neoliberalism is a right-wing politic, actually.

HedgeJunkie -> carbonmutant Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:04 Permalink

Democracy ultimately melts down into chaos. We have a perfectly good US Constitution, why don't we go back to using it as written? That said, I am for anything that makes the elites become common.

curbjob -> carbonmutant Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:26 Permalink

Democracy is a form of government. Populism is a movement. Populist movements come about when the current form of government is failing ... historically it seems they seldom choose wisely.

Dilluminati Fri, 03/30/2018 - 22:58 Permalink

Ridiculous cunt Hillary thinks after getting REJECTED by the voters in the USA that somehow being asked to "go the fuck away and shut the fuck up" makes her a women's leader. The cocksucker Soros and some of these other non-elected globalist should keep in mind that while everybody has a right to an opinion: it took the Clinton Crime Family and lots of corruption to create the scandals that sets a Clinton Crime Family member aside, and why Soros was given a free pass on election meddling and not others requires congressional investigation and a special prosecutor. And then there is that special kind of legal and ignorant opinion like David Hogg who I just disagree with, making him in my opinion and many fellow NRA members a cocksucker and a cunt. I'd wish shingles on David Hogg, Hillary Clinton, and Soros.

Theos Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:02 Permalink

bullshit

america is going through withdraw from 30 years of trickledown crap. the young are realizing that the shithole they inherit does not have to be a shithole, and the old pathetic white old men who run the show will be dead soon.

all i see is a bunch of fleeting old people who found facebook 10 years late are temporarily empowered since they can now connect with other equally impotent old people.

Posa Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:10 Permalink

The usual self-serving swill from the Best and the Brightest of the Predator Class out of the CFR via Haas.

The liberal order aka the New British Empire, was born 70 years ago by firebombing and nuking undefended civilian targets. It proceeded to launch serial genocidal rampages in the Koreas, SE Asia, Latin America until finally burning down a large portion of the Middle East.

The fact that there has not been a catastrophic nuclear war is pure dumb luck. The Deep State came within seconds of engineering a nuclear cataclysm off the waters of Cuba in 1962. When JFK started dismantling the CIA Deep State and ending the Cold War with the USSR, Dulles dispatched a CIA hit-squad to gun down the President. (RFK and Nixon immediately understood the assassination was a CIA-led wet-works operation since they chaired the assassination committees themselves in the past).

The liberal order is dying because it is led by criminally depraved Predators who have pauperized the labor force and created political strife, though the populists don't pose much threat to the liberal-order Predators.

However by shipping the productive Western economies overseas to Asia, the US in particular cannot finance and physically support a military empire or the required R&D to stay competitive on the commercial and military front.

So the US Imperialists are being eclipsed by the Sino-Russo Alliance and wants us to believe this is a great tragedy. Meanwhile the same crew of Liberal -neoCon Deep Staters presses on with wars and tensions that are slipping out of control.

Yen Cross Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:17 Permalink

I'll pay extra for a ticket to the George Soros funeral. That's like Game-7 at the Libtard world series!

devnickle Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:22 Permalink

Death to globalism. It is the Satan World Order.

Grandad Grumps Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:30 Permalink

Liberalism is anything but liberal... and I suppose that is the problem with it. It aims to do to the western world what Mao did to China and Stalin did to Russia. Many people were murdered or imprisoned and people had no rights, just obligations to dictators and their cronies.

I think this world is past the point where any benefit is gained from having "owners of the people", benevolent or otherwise. And we certainly do not benefit from perverted demonic entities even if they come bearing technology. The price is too high.

Populism goes along with essential freedoms for the human race.-

Yogizuna Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:30 Permalink

As I told the idiotic retards who argued with me on Prodigy fucking 27 years ago, China will not change because of increased trading and the West making them wealthier. In fact, just the opposite. I wonder if they have caught on yet?

SuzerainGreyMole Fri, 03/30/2018 - 23:40 Permalink

One can understand the demise of the West of many levels. Downfall and then Renewal!

... ... ...

[Mar 28, 2018] Britain Has No Clue Why It's Punishing Russia by Mark Galeotti

Firs of all Mark Galeotti is very weak. That's incurable.
I want your money poor Pinocchio -- that the new slogan of May government. Kind of compensation for Brexit losses at Russian oligarchs expense.
What Russophobe Galiotti does not understand is that this another nail in the coffin of neoliberalism. As soon as you start to distriminate between oligarche neoliberalism stops and nationalism starts
Notable quotes:
"... Of course, the irony is that by driving out Russian money, London would in part be doing Putin's work for him ..."
"... He has launched a " de-offshorization " campaign to try to persuade, cajole, and intimidate oligarchs and minigarchs into bringing their money back home. Along with the stabilization of the economy as a whole, this has had some limited success. While more than $31 billion flowed out of the country last year alone, this is a dramatic fall from 2014's $154 billion . ..."
"... The thought that Britain would actually be returning capital into Putin's grasp may be an uncomfortable one. After all, a third possible policy goal would be actively to seek to undermine the regime in Moscow. ..."
Mar 28, 2018 | foreignpolicy.com

This is also a project in which further international cooperation would be crucial. Chasing that money and the influence it buys out of London but seeing it find comfortable new homes in Paris, Frankfurt, and New York is only half the job done and will do little to chasten Moscow. Although it will be difficult to persuade others to turn away tempting business, the unexpected support Britain is receiving from European Union partners in particular suggests this may be an opportune moment to convince them that in its experience this money is too toxic to be safe and that this is a Western, not just a British, problem.

Of course, the irony is that by driving out Russian money, London would in part be doing Putin's work for him . Since 2014, the Russian economy has been in the doldrums. Furthermore, Putin is a man who understands power better than economics, and he is unhappy to see elites stash their money outside his grasp.

Putin is a man who understands power better than economics, and he is unhappy to see elites stash their money outside his grasp.

He has launched a " de-offshorization " campaign to try to persuade, cajole, and intimidate oligarchs and minigarchs into bringing their money back home. Along with the stabilization of the economy as a whole, this has had some limited success. While more than $31 billion flowed out of the country last year alone, this is a dramatic fall from 2014's $154 billion .

The thought that Britain would actually be returning capital into Putin's grasp may be an uncomfortable one. After all, a third possible policy goal would be actively to seek to undermine the regime in Moscow. Overt efforts at regime change would be dangerous and likely counterproductive, but London may feel that it should not pass up opportunities to weaken the Kremlin

London may feel that it should not pass up opportunities to weaken the Kremlin
, in the hope that this may tame its appetite for playing confrontational geopolitics.

... ... ...

Mark Galeotti is a senior research fellow at the Institute of International Affairs Prague and a visiting fellow with the European Council on Foreign Relations.

[Mar 27, 2018] Globalists Admit Defeat, Russia and China Facilitate Rise of Multipolar World by by Dmitry Kosyrev

Notable quotes:
"... The views and opinions expressed by Dmitry Kosyrev are those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik. ..."
Mar 27, 2018 | sputniknews.com

The recent German Marshall Fund's Brussels Forum, which brought together influential American neocons and trans-Atlantic leaders from Europe, marked the failure of the Western-centered globalist idea, Sputnik political observer Dmitry Kosyrev notes, adding that meanwhile, Russia and China continue to facilitate the emergence of a multi-polar world. Globalists have admitted their defeat by recognizing that neither Russia nor China will dance to their tune, Sputnik political observer Dmitry Kosyrev writes .

"It seems that work has begun to revive the half-dead 'liberal world order'," the observer noted. "It will take quite some time, and it is not necessary that the United States will be its epicenter. However, this 'order' will not be global -- goodbye, illusions. It will involve only part of the countries while China, Russia and some other states won't be affected [by the project]."

The observer referred to the 2018 German Marshall Fund's (GMF) Brussels Forum , citing Josh Rogin of The Washington Post. The Brussels Forum is an annual high-level meeting of influential politicians, corporate leaders and scholars from North America and Europe. The event had the eloquent title "Revise, Rebuild, Reboot: Strategies for a Time of Distrust." The organizers of the forum raised the alarm over "a decline in trust, both in domestic and international spheres."

"We lost sight of what it took to create this international order and what an act of defiance of history and even defiance of human nature this order has been. We have the capacity to push back -- we just need to understand the pushback needs to start occurring," Robert Kagan, neoconservative American historian and husband of former US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland told the forum, as quoted by Rogin.

For his part, Senator Chris Murphy bemoaned the fact that US President Donald Trump is not interested in "projecting liberal values" into other countries, let alone trade liberalization. The White House's recent initiative to introduce additional tariffs on aluminum and steel imports has prompted a wave of criticism from the US' global partners and allies.

Furthermore, the US president made it clear that the US will not support numerous international institutions and withdrew from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Murphy called upon the defenders of the liberal world order to team up and "build new alliances within their societies."

On the other hand, the transatlantic bloc has seemingly recognized its failure to impose a Western-style political order on Russia and China.

"We can no longer expect that the principles of liberal democracy will expand across the globe," Rogin wrote. "We can no longer assume the United States will carry the bulk of the burden."

Following Trump's win in 2016, The New York Times called Germany's Angela Merkel the last defender of the trans-Atlantic alliance and liberal values.

However, not everything is rosy in the European garden, Kosyrev noted referring to the rise of right-wing forces in Austria, Italy, Hungary, Poland and other EU member states. Although Merkel still remains at the helm of German politics, the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) entered the Bundestag in September 2017 as the third-largest party.

Given all of the above, the rebuilding of the liberal international order will take years, Kosyrev presumed.

According to the political observer, Russia and China could benefit from the inner struggle in the trans-Atlantic camp. On the other hand, he does not exclude that the West will continue its overseas operations to maintain the status quo. To illustrate his point, Kosyrev referred to Syria: While Washington has virtually no leverage to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, it continues its saber-rattling, threatening Damascus with a massive strike.

The failure of globalism means the further rise of a multi-polar order based on the principles of equality and sovereignty with its own norms and regulations, the political observer concluded.

The views and opinions expressed by Dmitry Kosyrev are those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

[Mar 26, 2018] The Real Reason for Trump's Steel and Aluminum Tariffs by Martin Feldstein

Mar 15, 2018 | www.project-syndicate.org

The Trump administration's proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports will target China, but not the way most observers believe. For the US, the most important bilateral trade issue has nothing to do with the Chinese authorities' failure to reduce excess steel capacity, as promised, and stop subsidizing exports.

CAMBRIDGE – Like almost all economists and most policy analysts, I prefer low trade tariffs or no tariffs at all. How, then, can US President Donald Trump's decision to impose substantial tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum be justified? 3

Trump no doubt sees potential political gains in steel- and aluminum-producing districts and in increasing the pressure on Canada and Mexico as his administration renegotiates the North American Free Trade Agreement. The European Union has announced plans to retaliate against US exports, but in the end the EU may negotiate – and agree to reduce current tariffs on US products that exceed US tariffs on European products.

But the real target of the steel and aluminum tariffs is China. The Chinese government has promised for years to reduce excess steel capacity, thereby cutting the surplus output that is sold to the United States at subsidized prices. Chinese policymakers have postponed doing so as a result of domestic pressure to protect China's own steel and aluminum jobs. The US tariffs will balance those domestic pressures and increase the likelihood that China will accelerate the reduction in subsidized excess capacity.

Because the tariffs are being levied under a provision of US trade law that applies to national security, rather than dumping or import surges, it will be possible to exempt imports from military allies in NATO, as well as Japan and South Korea, focusing the tariffs on China and avoiding the risk of a broader trade war. The administration has not yet said that it will focus the tariffs in this way; but, given that they are being introduced with a phase-in period, during which trade partners may seek exemptions, such targeting seems to be the likeliest scenario.

For the US, the most important trade issue with China concerns technology transfers, not Chinese exports of subsidized steel and aluminum. Although such subsidies hurt US producers of steel and aluminum, the resulting low prices also help US firms that use steel and aluminum, as well as US consumers that buy those products. But China unambiguously hurts US interests when it steals technology developed by US firms.

Until a few years ago, the Chinese government was using the Peoples Liberation Army's (PLA) sophisticated cyber skills to infiltrate American companies and steal technology. Chinese officials denied all wrongdoing until President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping met in California in June 2013. Obama showed Xi detailed proof that the US had obtained through its own cyber espionage. Xi then agreed that the Chinese government would no longer use the PLA or other government agencies to steal US technology. Although it is difficult to know with certainty, it appears that such cyber theft has been reduced dramatically.

The current technology theft takes a different form. American firms that want to do business in China are often required to transfer their technology to Chinese firms as a condition of market entry. These firms "voluntarily" transfer production knowhow because they want access to a market of 1.3 billion people and an economy as large as that of the US.

These firms complain that the requirement of technology transfer is a form of extortion. Moreover, they worry that the Chinese government often delays their market access long enough for domestic firms to use their newly acquired technology to gain market share. 1

The US cannot use traditional remedies for trade disputes or World Trade Organization procedures to stop China's behavior. Nor can the US threaten to take Chinese technology or require Chinese firms to transfer it to American firms, because the Chinese do not have the kind of leading-edge technology that US firms have.

So, what can US policymakers do to help level the playing field?

This brings us back to the proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum. In my view, US negotiators will use the threat of imposing the tariffs on Chinese producers as a way to persuade China's government to abandon the policy of "voluntary" technology transfers. If that happens, and US firms can do business in China without being compelled to pay such a steep competitive price, the threat of tariffs will have been a very successful tool of trade policy.

[Mar 26, 2018] Brexit: UK Capitulates

Notable quotes:
"... The UK is clearly past the point where it could undo Brexit . There was pretty much no way to back out of Brexit, given the ferocious support for it in the tabloids versus the widespread view that a second referendum that showed that opinion had changed was a political necessity for a reversal. Pundits and politicians were cautious about even voicing the idea. ..."
"... The UK still faces high odds of significant dislocations as of Brexit date . All sorts of agreements to which the UK is a party via the EU cease to be operative once the UK become a "third country". These other countries have every reason to take advantage of the UK's week and administratively overextended position. Moreover, these countries can't entertain even discussing interim trade arrangements (new trade deals take years) until they have at least a high concept idea of what the "future relationship" with the EU will look like. Even though it looks likely to be a Canada-type deal, no one wants to waste time negotiating until that is firmed up. ..."
"... On the World Service this morning, the BBC reported from the "cultural front line against Putin". A playwright (perhaps a member of playwrights against Putin) was given half an hour from 5 am to witter on. This is half an hour more than what Brexit will get on the airwaves today. ..."
"... I think the key thing that is driving the politics for the moment is that May has shown an absolute determination to hold on to power at any cost, and she realises that having a transition agreement is central to this. ..."
"... I think you are right that the main political priority now in London is preserving May in her position. ..."
"... -- and I mean no -- ..."
Mar 26, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

A reader was kind enough to ask for a Brexit update. I hadn't provided one because truth be told, the UK press has gone quiet as the Government knuckled under in the last round of negotiations.

It is a mystery as to why the hard core Brexit faction and the true power brokers, the press barons, have gone quiet after having made such a spectacle of their incompetence and refusal to compromise. Do they not understand what is happening? Has someone done a whip count and realized they didn't have the votes if they tried forcing a crisis, and that the result would probably be a Labour government, a fate they feared far more than a disorderly Brexit?

As we've pointed out repeatedly, the EU has the vastly stronger negotiating position. The UK could stomp and huff and keep demanding its super special cherry picked special cake all it wanted to. That was a fast track to a crash-out Brexit. But it seems out of character for the Glorious Brexit true believers to sober up suddenly.

Some observations:

The transition deal is the much-decried "vassal state ". As we and others pointed out, the only transition arrangement feasible was a standstill with respect to the UK's legal arrangements with the EU, save at most some comparatively minor concessions on pet issues. The UK will remain subject to the authority of the ECJ. The UK will continue to pay into the EU budget. As we'd predicted, the transition period will go only until the end of 2020.

The UK couldn't even get a break on the Common Fisheries Policy. From the Guardian :

For [fisherman Tony] Delahunty's entire career, a lopsided system of quotas has granted up to 84% of the rights to fish some local species, such as English Channel cod, to the French, and left as little as 9% to British boats. Add on a new system that bans fishermen from throwing away unwanted catch and it becomes almost impossible to haul in a net of mixed fish without quickly exhausting more limited quotas of "choke" species such as cod .

Leaving the EU was meant to change all that .Instead, growing numbers of British fishermen feel they have been part of a bait-and-switch exercise – a shiny lure used to help reel in a gullible public. Despite only recently promising full fisheries independence as soon as Brexit day on 29 March 2019, the UK government this week capitulated to Brussels' demand for it to remain part of the common fisheries system until at least 2021, when a transition phase is due to end. Industry lobbyists fear that further cave-ins are now inevitable in the long run as the EU insists on continued access to British waters as the price of a wider post-Brexit trade deal.

The one place where the UK did get a win of sorts was on citizen's rights, where the transition deal did not make commitments, much to the consternation of both EU27 and UK nationals. Curiously, the draft approved by the EU27 last week dropped the section that had discussed citizens' rights. From the Express :

Italy's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Angelino Alfano, demands EU citizens' rights be protected after Brexit .

The comments from Italy's foreign minister come after the draft Brexit agreement struck between Britain and the EU on Monday was missing "Article 32", which in previous drafts regulated the free movement of British citizens living in Europe after Brexit.

The entire article was missing from the document, which goes straight from Article 31 to Article 33.

MEPs from the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Labour, Greens, SNP and Plaid Cymru have written to Brexit Secretary David Davis for clarification about the missing article, while citizens' group British in Europe said the document failed to provide them with "legal certainty".

A copy of the letter sent to Mr Davis seen by the Independent said: "As UK MEPs we are deeply worried about what will happen to British citizens living in EU27 member states once we leave the EU.

This issue has apparently been pushed back to the April round of talks. I have not focused on the possible points of contention here. However, bear in mind that EU citizens could sue if they deem the eventual deal to be too unfavorable. Recall that during the 2015 Greece-Troika negotiations, some parties were advocating that Greece leave the Eurozone. A counterargument was that Greek citizens would be able to sue the Greek government for their loss of EU rights.

The UK is backing into having to accept a sea border as the solution for Ireland. As many have pointed out, there's no other remedy to the various commitments the UK has already made with respect to Ireland, as unpalatable as that solution is to the Unionists and hard core Brexiters. The UK has not put any solutions on the table as the EU keeps working on the "default" option, which was included in the Joint Agreement of December. The DUP sabre-rattled then but was not willing to blow up the negotiations then. It will be even harder for them to derail a deal now when the result would be a chaotic Brexit.

The UK is still trying to escape what appears to be the inevitable outcome. The press of the last 24 hours reports that the UK won't swallow the "backstop" plan that the EU has been refining, even though it accepts the proposition that the agreement needs to have that feature . The UK is back to trying to revive one of its barmy ideas that managed to find its way into the Joint Agreement, that of a new super special customs arrangement.

Politico gives an outline below. This is a non-starter simply because the EU will never accept any arrangement where goods can get into the EU without there being full compliance with EU rules, and that includes having them subject to the jurisdiction of the ECJ and the various relevant Brussels supervisory bodies. Without even hearing further details, the UK's barmy "alignment" notions means that the UK would somehow have a say in these legal and regulatory processes. This cheeky plan would give the UK better rights than any EU27 member. From Politico :

The key issues for debate, according to one senior U.K. official, is how the two sides can deliver "full alignment" and what the territorial scope of that commitment will be -- the U.K. or Northern Ireland.

The starting point of the U.K.'s position will be that "full alignment" should apply to goods and a limited number of services sectors, one U.K. official said.

On the customs issue, the proposal that Northern Ireland is subsumed into the EU's customs territory is a non-starter with London

The alternative would be based on one of the two customs arrangements set out by the government in August last year and reaffirmed by May in her Mansion House speech. They are either a customs partnership -- known as the "hybrid" model internally -- or the "highly streamlined customs arrangement" known by officials as "max-fac" or maximum facilitation.

The hybrid model would mean the U.K. continuing to police its border as if it were the EU's customs border, but then tracking imports to apply different tariffs depending on which market they end up in -- U.K. or EU. Under this scenario, because Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland would share an external EU customs border, as they do now, it would remove the need for checks on the land border between the two.

The complexity and unprecedented nature of this solution has led to accusations from the Brussels side that it amounts to "magical thinking."

The "max-fac" model is simpler conceptually but would represent a huge logistical effort for U.K. customs authorities. It would involve the use of technological and legal measures such as electronic pre-notification of goods crossing the border and a "trusted trader" status for exporters and importers, to make customs checks as efficient as possible.

While the U.K. will present both customs arrangements as possible ways of solving this aspect of the Irish border problem, one senior official said that the "hybrid" model was emerging as the preferred option in London.

The UK is already having trouble getting its customs IT upgrade done on time, which happens to be right before Brexit. As we wrote early on, even if the new programs are in place, they won't be able to handle the increased transactions volume resulting from of being outside the EU, and I haven't seen good figures as to what the impact would be of the UK becoming a third country but having its transition deal in place. In other words, even if the "mac-fac" scheme were acceptable to the EU (unlikely), the UK looks unable to pull off getting the needed infrastructure in place. Even for competent shops, large IT projects have a high failure rate. And customs isn't looking like a high capability IT player right now.

So the play for the EU is to let the UK continue to flail about and deliver Ireland "solutions" that are dead on arrival because they violate clearly and consistently stated EU red lines. The UK will then in say September be faced with a Brexit deal that is done save Ireland, and it then have to choose between capitulating (it's hard to come up with any way to improve the optics, but we do have a few months for creative ideas) or plunging into a chaotic Brexit.

The EU27 reaffirmed the EU's red lines in the most unambiguous language possible . F rom their "Guidelines" published March 23 :

6.The approach outlined below reflects the level of rights and obligations compatible with the positions stated by the UK

7. In this context, the European Council reiterates in particular that any agreement with the United Kingdom will have to be based on a balance of rights and obligations, and ensure a level playing field. A non-member of the Union, that does not live up to the same obligations as a member, cannot have the same rights and enjoy the same benefits as a member.

The European Council recalls that the four freedoms are indivisible and that there can be no "cherry picking" through participation in the Single Market based on a sector-by-sector approach, which would undermine the integrity and proper functioning of the Single Market.

The European Council further reiterates that the Union will preserve its autonomy as regards its decision-making, which excludes participation of the United Kingdom as a third-country in the Union Institutions and participation in the decision-making of the Union bodies, offices and agencies. The role of the Court of Justice of the European Union will also be fully respected.

8. As regards the core of the economic relationship, the European Council confirms its readiness to initiate work towards a balanced, ambitious and wide-ranging free trade agreement (FTA) insofar as there are sufficient guarantees for a level playing field. This agreement will be finalised and concluded once the UK is no longer a Member State.

The EU also reaffirmed the obvious, "Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed."

The EU nevertheless has relented in its negotiating tactics . The EU's initial approach was to put the most contentious issues up front: the exit tab, Ireland, freedom of movement. You will notice it has achieved closure only only one of those issues where the EU's initial position had been that they had to be concluded before the two sides would discuss "the future relationship," as in trade. This is the opposite of the approach that professional negotiators use, that of starting with the least contentious issues first to establish a working relationship between both sides and create a sense of momentum, and then tackling the difficult questions later. The EU has now allowed the UK to defer resolving the messy issue of Ireland twice, and it is not clear if any progress has been made on the citizens' rights matter.

The UK is clearly past the point where it could undo Brexit . There was pretty much no way to back out of Brexit, given the ferocious support for it in the tabloids versus the widespread view that a second referendum that showed that opinion had changed was a political necessity for a reversal. Pundits and politicians were cautious about even voicing the idea.

As we've pointed out, coming up with the wording of the referendum question took six months. In the snap elections last year, the Lib Dems set forth the most compact timeline possible for a Brexit referendum redo which presupposed that the phrasing had been settled. That was eight months. And you'd have to have a Parliamentary approval process before and a vote afterwards (Parliament is sovereign; a referendum in and of itself is not sufficient to change course).

Spain has been making noises about Gibraltar but they aren't likely to mean much . I could be proven wrong, but I don't see Spain as able to block a Brexit deal. Article 50 says that only a "qualified majority" vote is required to approve a Brexit agreement. Spain as a lone holdout couldn't keep a deal from being approved. And I don't see who would join Spain over the issue of Gibraltar. In keeping, Spain joined with the rest of the EU27 in approving the latest set of texts.

The UK still faces high odds of significant dislocations as of Brexit date . All sorts of agreements to which the UK is a party via the EU cease to be operative once the UK become a "third country". These other countries have every reason to take advantage of the UK's week and administratively overextended position. Moreover, these countries can't entertain even discussing interim trade arrangements (new trade deals take years) until they have at least a high concept idea of what the "future relationship" with the EU will look like. Even though it looks likely to be a Canada-type deal, no one wants to waste time negotiating until that is firmed up.

Like it or not, May is the ultimate survivor . Politico described the method in her seeming madness :

May has lasted in office longer than many pundits predicted she would because, weak as her grip on power may have been since she lost her parliamentary majority last year, she has timed her surrenders cleverly.

It looks chaotic and undignified, but the prime minister has hunkered down and let pro- and anti-Brexit factions in her party shout the odds in the media day and night, squabble publicly about acceptable terms for a deal, leak against each other and publish Sunday newspaper columns challenging her authority.

Then in the few days before a European summit deadline for the next phase of a deal, she has rammed the only position acceptable to Brussels through her Cabinet and effectively called the hard Brexiteers' bluff.

But what kind of leader marches her country into at worst an abyss and at best a future of lower prosperity, less clout, and no meaningful increase in autonomy? Like it or not, the UK is a small open economy, and its leaders, drunk on Imperial nostalgia, still can's stomach the idea that the UK did better by flexing its muscle within the EU that it can ever do solo.


Which is worse - bankers or terrorists , March 26, 2018 at 5:55 am

I'm curious as to the ramifications of the Northern Ireland sea border. Is reunification possible with the ROI, given that the Unionists have been completely castrated?

I'm a Californian so am not one that is tuned into the history.

PlutoniumKun , March 26, 2018 at 6:29 am

Theoretically, there is no fundamental problem with a NI sea border and NI remaining within the UK. Northern Ireland already has its own Assembly and its own laws (the Assembly is suspended at the moment), so it can, if the EU agreed, stay within the EU (albeit without a separate vote or voice at the table). There are precedents for this, such as the dependant territories of France . It would be constitutionally messy, but if authorized by Parliament in London and in the EU itself, it would likely be legally watertight so far as I am aware.

Hardline Unionists oppose this partly because they are ideologically opposed to the EU anyway (although its highly likely many of their constituents don't agree), but also because they see this as a 'thin end of the wedge' leading to a United Ireland. More thoughtful Unionists realise that a sort of 'foot in both camps' approach might actually be an economic boon to Northern Ireland – it could attract a lot of investment from companies wishing easy access to both the internal UK market and Europe.

Colonel Smithers , March 26, 2018 at 6:26 am

Thank you, Yves.

"The UK press has gone quiet as the Government knuckled under in the last round of negotiations." The MSM, corporate or government (BBC and Channel 4), are under orders to go quiet. In any case, it's easier and more fun to cover the anti-semites and anti-transgender whatever in the Labour Party, Trump's extra-marital goings-on and whatever dastardly plot Putin has come up with.

On my 'phone's news feed yesterday and today, the Corbyn's anti-Semitism is not shifting from the top line. The only change is from where the latest article is sourced.

On the World Service this morning, the BBC reported from the "cultural front line against Putin". A playwright (perhaps a member of playwrights against Putin) was given half an hour from 5 am to witter on. This is half an hour more than what Brexit will get on the airwaves today.

How are things playing out locally, Buckinghamshire in my case? The economy is slowing down. More shops are closing. Some IT contractors report contracts not being renewed and having to look for business outside the UK. East Europeans working in farming, care and social services have been replaced in many, but not all, cases by immigrants from south Asia. An cabbie and restaurateur report the worst festive season and first quarter of the year for many, many years.

At Doncaster races last Saturday, the opening day of the flat season, some bookies were offering odds of Tory victory in 2022, if not an earlier khaki one. It seems that May is a survivor and Corbyn's Labour has peaked. All very depressing.

PlutoniumKun , March 26, 2018 at 6:41 am

I think the key thing that is driving the politics for the moment is that May has shown an absolute determination to hold on to power at any cost, and she realises that having a transition agreement is central to this. I've also been puzzling over the relative acquiescence of the hard Brexiteers – I think they've been told by their paymasters that accepting a lousy transitional deal is the key to a 'clean' and firm Brexit. I believe the phrase Gove was reported as using was that they should 'keep their eye on the prize'. I think, as Yves says, the Tory establishment fears a move against May will precipitate a Corbyn government, so they see it as a strategic necessity to keep her in position, and postpone the main Brexit fallout for later.

Of lesser importance, but also I think a relevant consideration given the strong support given by Merkel, Barnier and Tusk to the Irish PM, Varadkar, is that he is rumoured to be planning a snap election in the autumn. His stance on Brexit has proven popular and he sees the time as ripe to go for an overall majority (he is currently leading a minority government). He is very much an EU establishment favourite, so I don't doubt that some of the motivation is to help his domestic politics by giving him what are perceived as 'wins' over Brexit.

If this is the case, then barring an unexpected event, I think there will be a strong political push on both sides to sign off a transition deal which would be both a complete surrender by the UK, but with sufficient spin by a supportively dim witted UK press will allow her to push the whole Brexit issue politically to one side for a year or two. The Tories will be hoping that this can be sold to the public as a success for long enough for them to work out how to stop Corbyn.

David , March 26, 2018 at 8:22 am

I'm taking the liberty of re-posting a comment I made yesterday on one of the links – a Richard North piece – to which none of the usual Brexit scholars responded (Sunday .). It bears very much on this discussion and echoes a number of points made above.

"Richard North's Brexit article is well informed as one would expect, but I think that, like a lot of other commentators, he's missing something. May is a post-modern politician, ie there is no particular link between what she says and does, and her understanding of its impact on the real world. Only her words and actions actually count, and, whether it's threatening Russia or threatening Brussels, real-world consequences don't form part of the calculation, insofar as they actually exist. Her only concern (and in this she is indeed post-modernist) is with how she is perceived by voters and the media, and as a consequence whether she can hang onto her job. I think May has decided that she will have an agreement at any cost, no matter if she has to surrender on every single issue, and throw Northern Ireland to the wolves. She wants to be seen as the Prime Minister who got us "out of Europe," just as Ted Heath got us in. The content of the final deal is secondary: not that she wouldn't prefer to please the City and the Brexit ultras if she could, but if there's a choice she will sacrifice them for a picture of her shaking hands with Barnier and waving the Union Jack with the other hand. The resulting chaos can then be blamed on a treacherous Europe. Indeed, if May can stick it out until next year, I think she'll keep her job. What a thought." I think many of the hardline Brexiters have the same idea – the political prize is exiting the EU: the damage is a secondary consideration. Any deal, no matter how humiliating, can be spun in the end as a triumph because we will have broken the shackles of Brussels.

I'd add that the EU's emphasis on the priority to give to NI was an each-way bet, as I argued at the time. Either the Tory government collapsed, and something more reasonable took its place, or May gave way on everything else, in the hope of surviving and somehow finding a NI solution later. This has indeed proved to be the case.

Finally, I wouldn't put too much store by the imperial nostalgia argument, not least because few Brexiters were even alive then. The real nostalgia is for an independent Britain capable of playing a role on the world stage, perhaps at the head of a coalition of likeminded nations. The idea of a Commonwealth Free Trade area, for example, was raised in the 1975 EU referendum debate, and has its ultimate origins in the ideas of Mill and others in the 19th century for a kind of British superstate, incorporating Australia, New Zealand, Canada and perhaps South Africa. Its ghost still walks.

Finally, let's not get too carried away with the small size of the British economy. It's the fifth or sixth largest economy in the world, depending on how you calculate it, ahead of Russia, India, Italy and Spain.

PlutoniumKun , March 26, 2018 at 9:12 am

Thanks for that, David.

I think you are right that the main political priority now in London is preserving May in her position. Whether or not she does a good deal (or any other good policy work) has become irrelevant. Its all about survival, and keeping Corbyn at bay.

Michael KILLIAN , March 26, 2018 at 9:30 am

Who are the 'wolves' to whom NI may be thrown? More interesting, who are the strange Tory Brexiteers, not exactly in sync with the needs and expectations of the City of London, big business in Britain, etc? The people for whom an imperial past is still a ghost that walks? A possible answer here:
https://www.lrb.co.uk/v40/n05/william-davies/what-are-they-after

templar555510 , March 26, 2018 at 9:33 am

Thank you David. I agree with your definition of the present Brexit set-up and May herself as post-modernist . The same could be said even more so about Trump . They have in their very different ways taken politics to a place beyond policies and even identities ( it's most recent iteration ) to this very new place where the public ( translation : American people ) simply roll over and get out of bed the next day to whatever is new and move on whether it be bombing in Syria, or Trump and a prostitute . I think the technology of the smart phone and everything that emanates from it is the handmaiden to this change . The speed of daily life as orchestrated by the smart phone has brought us all , whether we like it or not, to this post-modern , everything is a cultural construct , position which is possibly the most terrifying reality the West has ever had to face and yet it barely registers .

vlade , March 26, 2018 at 9:45 am

On your last point – it used to be larger. It would have been inconcievable even 50 years ago that the UK's economy could be compared with Spain's.

The point being that the correlation of physical closeness and trade is about as close as you get in economics to a natural law. The UK is now spurning (wilfully limiting its access to) the closest and the richest markets it has. That will have impact – and no amount of Brexiter's wishful thinking will replace it – if for nothing else, the likelyhood of the UK SMEs suddenly wanting to export to China/India/NZ/whatever is not going to grow with Brexit. Those who wanted and could, already do. The other don't want and are unlikely to want to in a new world.

Olivier , March 26, 2018 at 3:52 pm

Vlade, 50 years ago Africa still started at the Pyrenées, as the saying was in France. It is not that the UK has shrunk so much as that Spain has dramatically improved its position. So, unhelpful comparison. How the UK fared over those 50 years relative to, say, France and Germany or even Italy, would be more instructive.

Marlin , March 26, 2018 at 5:15 pm

In relation to France it stayed roughly the same. But actually the share of British GDP to world GDP is much smaller and international specialisation and globalisation is much increased. For the question if the UK can act as a "big" economy in relation to economic policy the latter is more important.

The Rev Kev , March 26, 2018 at 9:39 am

You watch. About the same time that the British wake to find that the elites have sold them down the river through devastating incompetence and sheer bloodymindedness, they will find that in the transition to Brexit that the government would have voted themselves all sorts of laws that will give them authoritarian powers. And then it will be too late.
It won't matter how bad May is at that point and she might just resign and let somebody else deal with all the fallout over the new regulations at which time she will be kicked upstairs to the House of Lords. Isn't the way that it works in practice? Don't make any preparations, tell the people that they have got it all organized, then when it all hits they start pumping out emergency orders and the like.

Anonymous2 , March 26, 2018 at 10:44 am

It all seems quite curious does it not (curiouser and curiouser?). I wonder if I smell a rat? Forgive me; I have a suspicious nature. I was thinking partly of the role of Gove, which prompted some idle musings.

Gove is reportedly telling people who support Brexit to keep their eyes on the prize, by which he is said to mean letting the clock run down to 29 March 2019 at which time the UK is officially out of the EU. When I read Gove, I tend to think Murdoch, who pulls Gove's strings. Yves quite rightly asks what the press barons are about; that is generally worth knowing when it comes to UK politics. Is Murdoch playing a longer game?

The argument goes that once the UK is out of the EU it will be much harder to get support for it to go back in again as the UK would only be allowed back in without the special privileges it had negotiated for itself over the decades : opt out from Euro, Schengen, various justice issues, the budget rebate. Is this determining Murdoch's approach at the moment – ensure that the UK is outside the EU at almost any cost before proceeding to the next stage, when Ministers will be largely unable to call Brussels in to help them against him and his allies?

Why might Murdoch want to do that? There is talk that May will be ditched once she does a deal. If it is seen as a bad deal then she becomes the scapegoat (and Gove steps in to her shoes?). Post March 2019, it might then be the plan to seek to undercut the effect of any deal struck now by, for example, pulling out of the Good Friday Agreement if that proves to be an obstacle to the trade deals Fox is so keen to sign (is he expecting kickbacks?). At that point the UK might declare that with the demise of the GFA it was no longer constrained by the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement with regards to the Irish Border and with one leap the UK would be free. I have seen cynics suggest that the men of violence in Northern Ireland might be encouraged to go on a bit if a spree to justify claims that the GFA had failed.

I hope I am wrong but as I said I have a suspicious nature and, having watched more of Murdoch's machinations than I have ever wished, know that he is very capable of playing a long game.

PlutoniumKun , March 26, 2018 at 11:06 am

I'm loath to indulge in conspiracy theorising, but when it comes to Brexit (and Northern Ireland) conspiracies are legion and real.

I'm sure in any spiders web Murdoch will be found in the middle of it, and there is certainly something up, thats the only explanation for the low key response of the hard Brexiters. It wouldn't surprise me if he has realised that a tanking UK economy isn't exactly good for his investments (its also worth noting that it seems to have belatedly been realised by the UK media economy that many of them will have to up sticks to Europe if they are to keep broadcasting rights).

My guess is that they 'have a plan' which will involve Gove playing middle man, but actually working for a decisive Brexit doing his duty for the country at some stage to step into Mays shoes. All sorts of behind the scenes promises (mostly jobs, no doubt) have probably been made. I suspect a centre piece of it would be a dramatic repudiation of any deal, supposedly on the UK's terms.

As for Northern Ireland, anything is possible. Several of the Loyalist terrorist groups have been shown over the years to be little more than puppets of the security forces, they will do what they are told. And there have long been rumours that at least one of the fringe Republican groups is so completely infiltrated that they are similarly under control. There have been nearly 50 years of shady assassinations and bombings in NI and the Republic which have the fingerprints of intelligence services, so quite literally, I could believe almost anything could happen if it was in their interest. People who c ould maintain a boys home as the centre of a paedophile ring for political purposes are capable of almost anything.

Clive , March 26, 2018 at 11:56 am

Oh yes, this is a big part of the history of "the troubles". So much of what went on in that conflict was beneficial to the U.K. government. Budget, manpower, little oversight, draconian powers and a lot more besides was enabled merely because of the paramilitary activities. It's not hard to look for well documented examples -- such as the mass warrantless surveillance of all U.K.- Republic telecommunications http://www.lamont.me.uk/capenhurst/original.html by the U.K. security services.

And virtually everyone in the dissident republican movement was under constant monitoring which was put down to "luck" https://www.independent.co.uk/news/how-ira-plotted-to-switch-off-london-1266533.html when schemes were foiled. And even then, there was so much self licking ice creams going on with the RUC effectively knowing about and even setting up IRA hits which were carried out by informants https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_McGartland .

And, there's more, a lot of provisional activity was just your common or garden organised crime -- protection rackets, kidnapping and bribery.

To say that the troubles were merely to do with republicanism and unionism is like saying US Civil War was only about racism and ignoring the politics and the economics.

David , March 26, 2018 at 12:37 pm

I think that we should remember how much the anti-EU fraternity in politics and the media have had a symbiotic, if not downright parasitic, relationship with the EU itself. Much of their commerce depended on us being members, and so being able to strike poses and make cheap cracks about Europe and Brussels. I have a feeling that reality is starting to dawn, and they are standing to understand that politics will be a great deal more complicated, and probably nastier, after Brexit than even it is now.They'll have to find something else to complain about for easy applause instead of just bashing Brussels.
As for conspiracy theories, well I have the same skepticism about them of most people who've worked in government, and I happen to have been reasonably close to a number of people who had to deal with these issues in the 1970s and 1980s. There was certainly complicity in some cases, and some of the actors involved broke the rules badly , but it's a stretch from that to talk of conspiracies. With what objective? And what objective would such conspiracies have today, and how could they be implemented? The universal refrain among everyone I knew involved in the security forces at the time was Get Us Out of Here.

Anonymous2 , March 26, 2018 at 12:56 pm

To avoid confusion, I was not so much thinking conspiracy as trying to get inside Murdoch's head.

What might his objectives be? Well, the first of course is more power and wealth for himself, but he is not above making mischief.

Clive , March 26, 2018 at 1:02 pm

It'll put a cat amongst the pigeons and no mistake. If I may put in a word from the deplorables who voted Brexit, there's a lot which -- for both the UK and the EU -- was made a whole lot easier because a problem issue could simply be labelled as the British complaining and not understanding The Project.

Take energy. It was probably energy supply as much as Greece and the Ukraine which tipped me over into Brexit. At the behest of the U.K., the European energy industry became, at least in theory, a pan-continental endeavour free from national restrictive practices. Well, a fat lot of good that turned out to be. As exemplified by the recent cold weather snap, UK wholesalers when faced with a shortfall in natural gas supplies spiked the offer price into the stratosphere http://mip-prod-web.azurewebsites.net/PrevailingViewGraph/ViewReport?prevailingViewGraph=ActualPriceGraph&gasDate=2018-03-26 . No -- and I mean no -- EU suppliers made any bids. Now, it's either a Single Market or it isn't. It either looks and acts like it's subject to market forces or it doesn't. The rules are either enforced properly amongst all participants or they aren't. Irony's of irony's, when the U.K. needed an augmented natural gas input to match system demand, the only country to answer their doorbell was Russia. That, and some U.K. big capacity users releasing stocks from storage.

Now, the smell of the nationalist pulling up the drawbridge in energy supply is causing the Commission to try to document how in fact the Single Market sometimes isn't a market at all but just a token gesture and is working on the usual eurofudge http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2018.032.01.0052.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2018:032:TOC (the contortions of which did genuinely have me laughing out loud). There's going to be a lot more of this to come once the U.K. can't be the donkey this kind of tail is routinely pinned on.

And it'll be the same in the U.K. of course. Without the EU ready to play it's role of perpetual bogeyman, we'll have no one to blame but ourselves. And I still cannot, in all honesty, say anything other than bring it on.

(ask me in 5 years if I still think the same..!)

Ape , March 26, 2018 at 1:44 pm

People have avoided the difficulty of reciprocal citizen's rights. How can the UK reciprocate with all the EU countries? Simultaneously? Where UK non-citizen residents can relocate for 30 years to an EU country then relocate back in the same way that a Brit in France can move to Germany for 30 years and then move back under current rules? It's even worse if you consider reciprocity to include the rights of all people outside their citizenship country's right to relocate.

The only obvious solution is to reduce Brits to the same status of any immigrant to a EU country. That means not being able to shift your permanent residency without applying for immigration.

Unless you are blue card eligible that's non-trivial.

[Mar 26, 2018] [neo]Liberal World Order, RIP by Richard N. Haass

This guy is a neoliberal stooge. Still some of his observations are interesting
Neoliberalism emerged in late 70th, not after WWII (althouth this ideology existed since late 30 in some smaa think tanks). First couple of decades after WWII were the triumph of New Deal Capitalism -- the gold age for the US workers, and the USA as a country. Only with Reagan neoliberal coup d'état, the dismantling of the New Deal and reemergence of financial oligarchy as the "owners" of the country begin in full force. Traitors of his class and party such as Clinton (who sold Democratic Party to Wall Street, converting it into yet another party of financial capital) and Obama just ended the process which started in full force under Reagan.
Notable quotes:
"... After a run of nearly one thousand years, quipped the French philosopher and writer Voltaire, the fading Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire. Today, some two and a half centuries later, the problem, to paraphrase Voltaire, is that the fading [neo]liberal world order is neither [neo]liberal nor worldwide, nor orderly. ..."
"... [neo]Liberalism is in retreat. Democracies are feeling the effects of growing populism. Parties of the political extremes have gained ground in Europe. The vote in the United Kingdom in favor of leaving the EU attested to the loss of elite influence ..."
"... Attempts to build global frameworks are failing. Protectionism is on the rise; the latest round of global trade talks never came to fruition. There are few rules governing the use of cyberspace. ..."
"... The rise of populism is in part a response to stagnating incomes and job loss, owing mostly to new technologies but widely attributed to imports and immigrants. Nationalism is a tool increasingly used by leaders to bolster their authority, especially amid difficult economic and political conditions. And global institutions have failed to adapt to new power balances and technologies. ..."
"... the US is not just another country. It was the principal architect of the [neo]liberal world order and its principal backer. It was also a principal beneficiary. ..."
"... America's decision to abandon the role it has played for more than seven decades thus marks a turning point. The [neo]liberal world order cannot survive on its own, because others lack either the interest or the means to sustain it. ..."
Mar 26, 2018 | www.project-syndicate.org

America's decision to abandon the global system it helped build, and then preserve for more than seven decades, marks a turning point, because others lack either the interest or the means to sustain it. The result will be a world that is less free, less prosperous, and less peaceful, for Americans and others alike.

After a run of nearly one thousand years, quipped the French philosopher and writer Voltaire, the fading Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire. Today, some two and a half centuries later, the problem, to paraphrase Voltaire, is that the fading [neo]liberal world order is neither [neo]liberal nor worldwide, nor orderly.

The United States, working closely with the United Kingdom and others, established the [neo]liberal world order in the wake of World War II. The goal was to ensure that the conditions that had led to two world wars in 30 years would never again arise.

... ... ...

All this and more was backed by the economic and military might of the US, a network of alliances across Europe and Asia, and nuclear weapons, which served to deter aggression. The [neo]liberal world order was thus based not just on ideals embraced by democracies, but also on hard power. None of this was lost on the decidedly illiberal Soviet Union, which had a fundamentally different notion of what constituted order in Europe and around the world.

The [neo]liberal world order appeared to be more robust than ever with the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union. But today, a quarter-century later, its future is in doubt. Indeed, its three components – [neo]liberalism, universality, and the preservation of order itself – are being challenged as never before in its 70-year history.

[neo]Liberalism is in retreat. Democracies are feeling the effects of growing populism. Parties of the political extremes have gained ground in Europe. The vote in the United Kingdom in favor of leaving the EU attested to the loss of elite influence . Even the US is experiencing unprecedented attacks from its own president on the country's media, courts, and law-enforcement institutions. Authoritarian systems, including China, Russia, and Turkey, have become even more top-heavy. Countries such as Hungary and Poland seem uninterested in the fate of their young democracies.

It is increasingly difficult to speak of the world as if it were whole. We are seeing the emergence of regional orders – or, most pronounced in the Middle East, disorders – each with its own characteristics. Attempts to build global frameworks are failing. Protectionism is on the rise; the latest round of global trade talks never came to fruition. There are few rules governing the use of cyberspace.

At the same time, great power rivalry is returning...

There are several reasons why all this is happening, and why now. The rise of populism is in part a response to stagnating incomes and job loss, owing mostly to new technologies but widely attributed to imports and immigrants. Nationalism is a tool increasingly used by leaders to bolster their authority, especially amid difficult economic and political conditions. And global institutions have failed to adapt to new power balances and technologies.

But the weakening of the [neo]liberal world order is due, more than anything else, to the changed attitude of the US. Under President Donald Trump, the US decided against joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership and to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. It has threatened to leave the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Iran nuclear deal. It has unilaterally introduced steel and aluminum tariffs, relying on a justification (national security) that others could use, in the process placing the world at risk of a trade war. It has raised questions about its commitment to NATO and other alliance relationships. And it rarely speaks about democracy or human rights. "America First" and the [neo]liberal world order seem incompatible.

My point is not to single out the US for criticism. Today's other major powers, including the EU, Russia, China, India, and Japan, could be criticized for what they are doing, not doing, or both. But the US is not just another country. It was the principal architect of the [neo]liberal world order and its principal backer. It was also a principal beneficiary.

America's decision to abandon the role it has played for more than seven decades thus marks a turning point. The [neo]liberal world order cannot survive on its own, because others lack either the interest or the means to sustain it. The result will be a world that is less free, less prosperous, and less peaceful, for Americans and others alike.

[Mar 21, 2018] An insane anti-Putin propaganda campaign in the West helped Russian people to learn their lesson: another Yeltsin or Gorbachev in Russia are now highly unlikely. In fact, the West will regret the day Putin is gone.

Mar 21, 2018 | www.unz.com

yurivku , Next New Comment March 21, 2018 at 12:53 pm GMT

@jilles dykstra

" As far as we all know now are quite hard times to Russia and to the world as a whole. "

Why do we have these hard times ?
Could it be globalisation, western greed, and western aggression ?

Well, probably it can be more clear for those who are attacking and humiliating Russia in all directions? The West-ZUS-UK

But I think it's just an agony of Empire seeing the world order is about to change. And yes it's "western greed" which have a "western aggression" as a consequence.

The "globalisation" actually IS that world order which the West trying to establish. Russia in all times in all its internal structure was a subject of annexation and submission. But we never agreed and never will do it, until alive. The West is too stupid to get that simple thing to know and leave us to live as we are about to.

[Mar 18, 2018] Globalists Or Nationalists Who Owns The Future by Patrick Buchanan

Mar 13, 2018 | Buchanan.org

Robert Bartley, the late editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal, was a free trade zealot who for decades championed a five-word amendment to the Constitution: "There shall be open borders."

Bartley accepted what the erasure of America's borders and an endless influx or foreign peoples and goods would mean for his country.

Said Bartley, "I think the nation-state is finished."

His vision and ideology had a long pedigree.

This free trade, open borders cult first flowered in 18th-century Britain. The St. Paul of this post-Christian faith was Richard Cobden, who mesmerized elites with the grandeur of his vision and the power of his rhetoric.

In Free Trade Hall in Manchester, Jan. 15, 1846, the crowd was so immense the seats had to be removed. There, Cobden thundered:

"I look farther; I see in the Free Trade principle that which shall act on the moral world as the principle of gravitation in the universe -- drawing men together, thrusting aside the antagonisms of race, and creed, and language, and uniting us in the bonds of eternal peace."

Britain converted to this utopian faith and threw open her markets to the world. Across the Atlantic, however, another system, that would be known as the "American System," had been embraced.

The second bill signed by President Washington was the Tariff Act of 1789. Said the Founding Father of his country in his first address to Congress: "A free people should promote such manufactures as tend to make them independent on others for essential, particularly military supplies."

In his 1791 "Report on Manufactures," Alexander Hamilton wrote, "Every nation ought to endeavor to possess within itself all the essentials of national supply. These comprise the means of subsistence, habitat, clothing and defence."

This was wisdom born of experience.

At Yorktown, Americans had to rely on French muskets and ships to win their independence. They were determined to erect a system that would end our reliance on Europe for the necessities of our national life, and establish new bonds of mutual dependency -- among Americans.

Britain's folly became manifest in World War I, as a self-reliant America stayed out, while selling to an import-dependent England the food, supplies and arms she needed to survive but could not produce.

America's own first major steps toward free trade, open borders and globalism came with JFK's Trade Expansion Act and LBJ's Immigration Act of 1965.

By the end of the Cold War, however, a reaction had set in, and a great awakening begun. U.S. trade deficits in goods were surging into the hundreds of billions, and more than a million legal and illegal immigrants were flooding in yearly, visibly altering the character of the country.

Americans were coming to realize that free trade was gutting the nation's manufacturing base and open borders meant losing the country in which they grew up. And on this earth there is no greater loss.

The new resistance of Western man to the globalist agenda is now everywhere manifest.

We see it in Trump's hostility to NAFTA, his tariffs, his border wall.

We see it in England's declaration of independence from the EU in Brexit. We see it in the political triumphs of Polish, Hungarian and Czech nationalists, in anti-EU parties rising across Europe, in the secessionist movements in Scotland and Catalonia and Ukraine, and in the admiration for Russian nationalist Vladimir Putin.

Europeans have begun to see themselves as indigenous peoples whose Old Continent is mortally imperiled by the hundreds of millions of invaders wading across the Med and desperate come and occupy their homelands.

Who owns the future? Who will decide the fate of the West?

The problem of the internationalists is that the vision they have on offer -- a world of free trade, open borders and global government -- are constructs of the mind that do not engage the heart.

Men will fight for family, faith and country. But how many will lay down their lives for pluralism and diversity?

Who will fight and die for the Eurozone and EU?

On Aug. 4, 1914, the anti-militarist German Social Democrats, the oldest and greatest socialist party in Europe, voted the credits needed for the Kaiser to wage war on France and Russia. With the German army on the march, the German socialists were Germans first.

Patriotism trumps ideology.

In "Present at the Creation," Dean Acheson wrote of the postwar world and institutions born in the years he served FDR and Truman in the Department of State: The U.N., IMF, World Bank, Marshall Plan, and with the split between East and West, NATO.

We are present now at the end of all that.

And our transnational elites have a seemingly insoluble problem.

To rising millions in the West, the open borders and free trade globalism they cherish and champion is not a glorious future, but an existential threat to the sovereignty, independence and identity of the countries they love. And they will not go gentle into that good night.

[Mar 15, 2018] One strong indication that Skripal case is used for a preplanned propaganda campaign against Russia that specialists in the UK who know their stuff no longer get airtime while people like Luke Harding, who plainly don t, are all over the media

First Steele dossier. Now Skripals.. What's next ?
Notable quotes:
"... But even to an outsider, and even if we take it all at face value, that official account of the Wiltshire poisoning is now