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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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[Oct 16, 2017] The Limits of Neoliberalism Authority, Sovereignty and the Logic of Competition by William Davies

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Faced with this mess, the obituarists for neoliberalism are out again. Some I recognise from 2008 - the definition of a left-wing economist being one who has spotted ten out of the last two crises of capitalism. Others have joined them, perhaps spurred on by the Brexit vote, or the rise of Donald Trump or the nice-sounding promises made by Theresa May. ..."
"... This is where, I think, we need to pay close attention to a key dimension of neoliberalism, which I focus on at length in this book, namely competition. One of my central arguments here is that neoliberalism is not simply reducible to 'market fundamentalism', even if there are areas (such as financial markets) where markets have manifestly attained greater reach and power since the mid1970s. Instead, the neoliberal state takes the principle of competition and the ethos of competitiveness (which historically have been found in and around markets), and seeks to reorganise society around them. Quite how competition and competitiveness are defined and politically instituted is a matter for historical and theoretical exploration, which is partly what The Limits of Neoliberalism seeks to do. But at the bare minimum, organising social relations in terms of competition' means that individuals, organisations, cities, regions and nations are to be tested in terms of their capacity to out-do each other. Not only that, but the tests must be considered fair in some way, if the resulting inequalities are to be recognised as legitimate. When applied to individuals, this ideology is often known as 'meritocracy'. ..."
"... Under these neoliberal conditions, remorse becomes directed inwards, producing the depressive psychological effect (or what Freud termed 'melancholia') whereby people search inside themselves for the source of their own unhappiness and imperfect lives (Davies, 2015). Viewed from within the cultural logic of neoliberalism, uncompetitive regions, individuals or communities are not just 'left behind by globalisation', but are discovered to be inferior in comparison to their rivals, just like the contestants ejected from a talent show. Rising household indebtedness compounds this process for those living in financial precarity, by forcing individuals to pay for their own past errors, illness or sheer bad luck ..."
"... Hardship itself doesn't necessarily lead to the hopelessness and fury of which Donald Trump seemingly speaks. But when hardship feels both permanent and undeserved, the psychological appeal of demagogues promising to divert blame elsewhere, be it towards Muslims, 'experts', immigrants, the Chinese, Brussels or wherever, becomes irresistible. Seemingly irrational or even nihilistic popular upheavals make some sense, if understood in terms of the relief they offer for those who have felt trapped by their own impotence for too long, with nobody available to blame but themselves. ..."
"... Statistical studies have shown how societies such as Britain and the United States have become afflicted by often inexplicable rising mortality rates amongst the white working class, connected partly to rising suicide rates, alcohol and drug abuse (Dorling, 2016). The Washington Post identified close geographic correlations between this trend and support for Donald Trump (Guo, 2016). In sum, a moral-economic system aimed at identifying and empowering the most competitive people, institutions and places has become targeted, rationally or otherwise, by the vast number of people, institutions and places that have suffered not only the pain of defeat but the punishment of defeat for far too long. ..."
"... The re-emergence of national borders as obstacles to the flow r of goods, finance, services and above all people, represents at least an interruption in the vision of globalisation that accompanied the heyday of neoliberal policy making between 1989-2008. If events such as Brexit signal the first step towards greater national mercantilism and protectionism, then we may be witnessing far more profound transformations in our model of political economy, the consequences of which could become very ugly. ..."
"... Once governments (and publics) no longer view economics as the best test of optimal policies, then opportunities for post-liberal experimentation expand rapidly, with unpredictable and potentially frightening consequences. It was telling that, when the British Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, suggested in October 2016 that companies be compelled to publicly list their foreign workers, she defended this policy as a 'nudge'. ..."
"... The Limits of Neolibcralism is a piece of interpretive sociology. It starts from the recognition that neoliberalism rests on claims to legitimacy, which it is possible to imagine as valid, even for critics of this system. Inspired by Luc Boltanski, the book assumes that political-economic systems typically need to offer certain limited forms of hope, excitement and fairness in order to survive, and cannot operate via domination and exploitation alone. ..."
"... The attempt to reduce all of human life to economic calculation runs up against limits. A political rationality that fails to recognise politics as a distinctive sphere of human existence was always going to be dumbfounded, once that sphere took on its own extra-economic life. As Bob Dylan sang to Mr Jones, so one might now say to neoliberal intellectuals or technocrats: 'something is happening here, but you don't know what it is'. ..."
Oct 16, 2017 | www.amazon.com

Foreword

... ... ...

The crash has sharpened the central contradiction in neoliberal economics: it has become purely a system that rewards dead money even while it fails to create new money. No ideology can survive unless it has something to offer the young and the almost young. You cant keep winning elections if you cant promise reasonable jobs, wage rises, affordable groceries and housing. Put another way, you can have neoliberalism but you cant have democratic validity.

This is the contradiction over which mainstream politicians wedded to neoliberalism - both left and Right - keep stumbling. Where they can, they rely on the old tricks to get by: operating party machinery, access to big money funders, consulting the manual of TV presentability. But the formula isn't reliable, as the New Labour generation can tell you. And where it can deliver majorities it doesn't confer legitimacy, as David Cameron and Hilary Clinton now know.

Faced with this mess, the obituarists for neoliberalism are out again. Some I recognise from 2008 - the definition of a left-wing economist being one who has spotted ten out of the last two crises of capitalism. Others have joined them, perhaps spurred on by the Brexit vote, or the rise of Donald Trump or the nice-sounding promises made by Theresa May.

I understand the thinking and I certainly get the thinking. But to imagine that an ideology that has ruled Britain for longer than Yugoslavia was communist will now just fall apart is sheer fantasy. It is to mistake word for deed, symbolism for policy. In Brexit Britain, not much has changed yet except for rhetoric. The Treasury continues with its austerity programme; the government presses on with its privatisations of whatever is left in public hands, from social housing to the Green Investment Bank; the establishment still hankers after those grand free-trade deals such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). True, there is more talk now about those 'left behind' by globalization, but the very phrasing gives away how shallow the concern is - this is your fault for not keeping up.

Besides, politics is never a simple test of logic. Winning or exercising power is not a chess game. As Will Davies points out in this book, neoliberalism began as, and largely remains, an elite project. What four decades of neoliberalism in practice have achieved is the bulldozing of many sites of dissent. To see what I mean, visit any of the places in Britain that have done worst out of it - from the North East to South Wales. The regional business elites have nearly all died or fled to London. The trade unions are a shadow of their former selves, as are the fierce tenants' associations. The universities are now largely anodyne. The local newspapers are typically mere repositories of agency copy and local advertisements, while the regional BBC studios have either shrunk or consolidated elsewhere. Without such civic institutions there is no hope of building an alternative.

The answer to neoliberalism isn't another ideology. It certainly isn't a Mont Pelerin Society of the Left, which would surely be as ghastly as it sounds. No, the answer is democracy. Without that, we will continue with the same bankrupt ideology -- expecting failure, and not being surprised or even angry' any more when it comes.

Adilya Chakrabortty

Senior Economics Commentator, The Guardian

Introduction

When exploring paradigm shifts in political economy, maybe it makes more sense to identify how protracted crises were book-ended historically than to seek specific turning points. Consider the crisis of Keynesianism, which provided the opening for the neoliberal take-over and overhaul of economic policy, including those Thatcher and Reagan victories. 1968 was a critical year, not only for the civic unrest that swept the world, but also for the early signs that the US economy would be unable to sustain its role in the global financial system on which Keynesian domestic policies depended. A slow-down in US productivity growth that year, combined with the fiscal costs of an escalation of the Vietnam war, meant that the dollar started to come under increased strain. The 'Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates, with the dollar (convertible to gold) at its centre, struggled on for another five years, before being abandoned under Richard Nixon.

It was a further three years before the final death-knell of Keynesianism was sounded, most loudly in Britain. In 1976, Britain's Labour government had to turn to the IMF for a loan, and agreed to adopt a new monetarist, neoliberal strategy for restoring the public finances. That September, Jim Callaghan, the leader of the Labour Party, famously addressed his party conference with the words:

... ... ...

In one sense, the 'book-ends' of this recent crisis are the inverse of the ones that killed Keynesianism. 1968 was a year of political and civic uprisings, under circumstances of rising prosperity and a still relatively coherent paradigm for economic policy making, albeit one that was showing early signs of deterioration. It was a public and political crisis, which posed a threat to a society of rising prosperity and falling inequality. The technical failings of Keynesianism only really emerged subsequently, before snowballing to the point where the macroeconomic paradigm could simply not be sustained any longer.

The crisis of neoliberalism has reversed this ordering. 2008 was an implosion of technical capabilities on the part of banks and financial regulators, which was largely unaccompanied by any major political or civic eruption, at least until the consequences were felt in terms of public sector cuts that accelerated after 2010, especially in Southern Europe. The economic crisis was spookily isolated from any accompanying political crisis, at least in the beginning. The eruptions of 2016 therefore represented the long-awaited politicisation and publicisation of a crisis that, until then, had been largely dealt with by the same cadre of experts whose errors had caused it in the first place.

Faced with these largely unexpected events and the threat of more, politicians and media pundits have declared that we now need to listen to those people 'left behind by globalisation. Following the Brexit referendum, in her first speech as Prime Minister, Theresa May made a vow to the less prosperous members of society, 'we will do everything we can to give you more control over your lives. When we take the big calls, we'll think not of the powerful, but you.' This awakening to the demands and voices of marginalised demographics may represent a new recognition that economic policy cannot be wholly geared around the pursuit of 'national competitiveness' in the global race', a pursuit that in practice meant seeking to prioritise the interests of financial services and mobile capital. It signals mainstream political acceptance that inequality cannot keep rising forever. But it is still rooted in a somewhat economistic vision of politics, as if those people 'left behind by globalisation' simply want more material wealth and 'opportunity', plus fewer immigrants competing for jobs. What this doesn't do is engage with the distinctive political and cultural sociology of events such as Brexit and Trump, which are fuelled by a spirit of rage, punishment and self-punishment, and not simply by a desire to get a slightly larger slice of the pie.

This is where, I think, we need to pay close attention to a key dimension of neoliberalism, which I focus on at length in this book, namely competition. One of my central arguments here is that neoliberalism is not simply reducible to 'market fundamentalism', even if there are areas (such as financial markets) where markets have manifestly attained greater reach and power since the mid1970s. Instead, the neoliberal state takes the principle of competition and the ethos of competitiveness (which historically have been found in and around markets), and seeks to reorganise society around them. Quite how competition and competitiveness are defined and politically instituted is a matter for historical and theoretical exploration, which is partly what The Limits of Neoliberalism seeks to do. But at the bare minimum, organising social relations in terms of competition' means that individuals, organisations, cities, regions and nations are to be tested in terms of their capacity to out-do each other. Not only that, but the tests must be considered fair in some way, if the resulting inequalities are to be recognised as legitimate. When applied to individuals, this ideology is often known as 'meritocracy'.

The appeal of this as a political template for society is that, according to its advocates, it involves the discovery of brilliant ideas, more efficient business models, naturally talented individuals, new urban visions, successful national strategies, potent entrepreneurs and so on. Even if this is correct (and the work of Thomas Piketty on how wealth begets wealth is enough to cast considerable doubt on it) there is a major defect: it consigns the majority of people, places, businesses and institutions to the status of'losers'. The normative and existential conventions of a neoliberal society stipulate that success and prowess are things that are earned through desire, effort and innate ability, so long as social and economic institutions are designed in such a way as to facilitate this. But the corollary of this is that failure and weakness are also earned: when individuals and communities fail to succeed, this is a reflection of inadequate talent or energy on their part.

This has been critically noted in how 'dependency' and 'welfare' have become matters of shame since the conservative political ascendency of the 1980s. But this is just one example of how a culture of obligatory competitiveness exerts a damaging moral psychology, not only in how people look down on others, but in how they look down on themselves. A culture which valorises 'winning' and 'competitiveness' above all else provides few sources of security or comfort, even to those doing reasonably well. Everyone could be doing better, and if they're not, they have themselves to blame. The vision of society as a competitive game also suggests that anyone could very quickly be doing worse.

Under these neoliberal conditions, remorse becomes directed inwards, producing the depressive psychological effect (or what Freud termed 'melancholia') whereby people search inside themselves for the source of their own unhappiness and imperfect lives (Davies, 2015). Viewed from within the cultural logic of neoliberalism, uncompetitive regions, individuals or communities are not just 'left behind by globalisation', but are discovered to be inferior in comparison to their rivals, just like the contestants ejected from a talent show. Rising household indebtedness compounds this process for those living in financial precarity, by forcing individuals to pay for their own past errors, illness or sheer bad luck (Davies, Montgomerie 8t Wallin, 2015).

In order to understand political upheavals such as Brexit, we need to perform some sociological interpretation. We need to consider that our socio-economic pathologies do not simply consist in the fact that opportunity and wealth are hoarded by certain industries (such as finance) or locales (such as London) or individuals (such as the children of the wealthy), although all of these things are true. We need also to reflect on the cultural and psychological implications of how this hoarding has been represented and justified over the past four decades, namely that it reflects something about the underlying moral worth of different populations and individuals.

Hardship itself doesn't necessarily lead to the hopelessness and fury of which Donald Trump seemingly speaks. But when hardship feels both permanent and undeserved, the psychological appeal of demagogues promising to divert blame elsewhere, be it towards Muslims, 'experts', immigrants, the Chinese, Brussels or wherever, becomes irresistible. Seemingly irrational or even nihilistic popular upheavals make some sense, if understood in terms of the relief they offer for those who have felt trapped by their own impotence for too long, with nobody available to blame but themselves.

One psychological effect of this is authoritarian attitudes towards social deviance: Brexit and Trump supporters both have an above-average tendency to support the death penalty, combined with a belief that political authorities are too weak to enforce justice (Kaufman, 2016). However, it is also clear that psychological and physical pain have become far more widespread in neoliberal societies than has been noticed by most people. Statistical studies have shown how societies such as Britain and the United States have become afflicted by often inexplicable rising mortality rates amongst the white working class, connected partly to rising suicide rates, alcohol and drug abuse (Dorling, 2016). The Washington Post identified close geographic correlations between this trend and support for Donald Trump (Guo, 2016). In sum, a moral-economic system aimed at identifying and empowering the most competitive people, institutions and places has become targeted, rationally or otherwise, by the vast number of people, institutions and places that have suffered not only the pain of defeat but the punishment of defeat for far too long.

NEOLIBERALISM: DEAD OR ALIVE?

The question inevitably arises, is this thing called 'neoliberalism' now over? And if not, when might it be and how would w r e know? In the UK, the prospect of Brexit combined with the political priority of reducing immigration means that the efficient movement of capital (together with that of labour) is being consciously impeded in a w r ay that would have been unthinkable during the 1990s and early 2000s. The re-emergence of national borders as obstacles to the flow r of goods, finance, services and above all people, represents at least an interruption in the vision of globalisation that accompanied the heyday of neoliberal policy making between 1989-2008. If events such as Brexit signal the first step towards greater national mercantilism and protectionism, then we may be witnessing far more profound transformations in our model of political economy, the consequences of which could become very ugly.

Before we reach that point, it is already possible to identify a reorientation of national economic policy making away from some core tenets of neoliberal doctrine. One of the main case studies of this book is antitrust law and policy, which has been a preoccupation for neoliberal intellectuals, reformers and lawyers ever since the 1930s. The rise of the Chicago School view of competition (which effectively granted far greater legal rights to monopolists, while also being tougher on cartels) in the American legal establishment from the 1970s onwards, later repeated in the European Commission, meant that market regulation became a more expert, esoteric and ostensibly non-political means of power. One of the ideals of neoliberal scholars, both in the Austrian tradition of Friedrich Hayek and the Chicago School of Milton Friedman, was that the economic 'rules of the game' be established beyond the reach of democratic politics, where they might be manipulated to suit particular short-sighted intellectual, social or political agendas. Independent central banks are one of the more prominent examples of this, but the establishment of rational, apolitical and European-wide antitrust and state aid rules would be another.

As I explore in Chapter 5, the banking crisis caused some immediate damage to this vision of apolitical, permanent rules of competitive economic activity. The need to rescue the financial system at all costs saw EU state aid rules being overlooked, at least for a few months, suggesting that neoliberalism entered a state of'exception where the state took rapid executive decisions, wherever they were deemed necessary. Takeover rules were suspended to allow banks to buy failing competitors, again on the basis that this was necessary to secure the existential viability of the economy as such. But as is common in the state of 'exception, this was all done to preserve the status quo on the basis that an emergency had struck. It wasn't done with the aim of transforming the economic paradigm.

While anti-trust and state aid are only one small area of European Commission powers, they are symbolically very important. Competition regulations represent the normative ideal of the marketplace, which - in the case of post-war Europe - is imagined as an international, even post-national space of freedom, transcending cultural, linguistic and political differences. The liberal vision of cosmopolitan Europe becomes realised in economic institutions such as the single currency, but also the rules that govern market competitors. For these reasons, Britain's post-Brexit opportunity to withdraw from European anti-trust and state-aid regulations is symbolic of the new post-liberal or post-neoliberal era that is emerging. Already, Theresa May has used her first few speeches as UK Prime Minister to push for a more interventionist state, that seeks to shape economic outcomes around national, political and social priorities (a reduction of immigration above all else) no doubt mindful of the fact that the British state will soon have far more discretion to do this, once it is no longer bound by state aid rules.

At the time of writing, the odds are against Trump becoming President of the United States, though one lesson of 2016 is not to be too confident regarding political odds. This means that the prospect of the United States abandoning its

... ... ...

The rise of behavioural economics, for example, represents an attempt to preserve a form of market rationality in the face of crisis, by incorporating expertise provided by psychologists and neuroscientists. A form of 'neo-communitarianism' emerges, which takes seriously the role of relationships, environmental conditioning and empathy in the construction of independent, responsible subjects. This remains an economists logic, inasmuch as it prepares people to live efficient, productive, competitive lives. But by bringing culture, community and contingency within the bounds of neoliberal rationality, one might see things like behavioural economics or 'social neuroscience and so on as early symptoms of a genuinely post-liberal politics. Once governments (and publics) no longer view economics as the best test of optimal policies, then opportunities for post-liberal experimentation expand rapidly, with unpredictable and potentially frightening consequences. It was telling that, when the British Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, suggested in October 2016 that companies be compelled to publicly list their foreign workers, she defended this policy as a 'nudge'.

The Limits of Neolibcralism is a piece of interpretive sociology. It starts from the recognition that neoliberalism rests on claims to legitimacy, which it is possible to imagine as valid, even for critics of this system. Inspired by Luc Boltanski, the book assumes that political-economic systems typically need to offer certain limited forms of hope, excitement and fairness in order to survive, and cannot operate via domination and exploitation alone.

For similar reasons, we might soon find that we miss some of the normative and political dimensions of neoliberalism, for example the internationalism that the EU was founded to promote and the cosmopolitanism that competitive markets sometimes inculcate. There may be some elements of neoliberalism that critics and activists need to grasp, refashion and defend, rather than to simply denounce: this books Afterword offers some ideas of what this might mean. But if the book is to be read in a truly post-neoliberal world, I hope that in its interpretive aspirations, it helps to explain what was internally and normatively coherent about the political economy known as 'neoliberalism', but also why the system really had no account of its own preconditions or how to preserve them adequately.

The attempt to reduce all of human life to economic calculation runs up against limits. A political rationality that fails to recognise politics as a distinctive sphere of human existence was always going to be dumbfounded, once that sphere took on its own extra-economic life. As Bob Dylan sang to Mr Jones, so one might now say to neoliberal intellectuals or technocrats: 'something is happening here, but you don't know what it is'.

[Oct 16, 2017] Friedrich Von Hayek

Highly recommended!
Oct 16, 2017 | www.amazon.com

From The Limits of Neoliberalism Authority, Sovereignty and the Logic of Competition (Theory, Culture & Society) William Davies 9

Friedrich Von Hayek believed that the intellectual, political and organizational forces of liberalism began a downward trajectory around 1870 (Hayek, 1944:21). In place of the decentralized structure of the Victorian marketplace and British classical economics, came trends towards bureaucratization, management and the protection of the social' realm, all accompanied by a growing authority for German institutionalist and historicist ideas. By the 1940s this had reached the point of emergency. Having witnessed a financial crisis usher in Fascism, Keynesianism and then a world war, Hayek viewed the choices of political modernity in starkly binary terms:

We have in effect undertaken to dispense with the forces which produced unforeseen results and to replace the impersonal and anonymous mechanism of the market by collective and "conscious" direction of all social forces to deliberately chosen goals. (1944:21)

Reversing this trend would mean restoring the political authority of'impersonal' and 'anonymous' mechanisms, and of 'individual' and 'unconscious' forces in public life, which lack any 'deliberately chosen goals'. When Hayek looked back to the high period of British liberalism, what he mourned was a society that had no explicitly collective or public purpose, and whose direction could not be predicted or determined. The central function of markets in this nostalgic vision was to coordinate social activity without intervention by political authorities or conscious' cooperation by actors themselves. And if there were other ways of coordinating individuals unconscious goals, impersonally and anonymously, these might be equally welcome as markets. The virtue of markets, for Hayek, was their capacity to replace egalitarian and idealist concepts of the common good that he believed could lead to tyranny.

Hayek's thought is widely recognized to have played a key role in inspiring and co-ordinating the intellectual and political movement which came to be known as 'neoliberalism' (Mirowski & Plehwe, 2009; Stedman-Jones, 2012; Bergin, 2013). This movement achieved a number of significant political and policy victories from the late 1970s onwards, resulting in a roughly coherent paradigm that spread around the world over the subsequent thirty years. Its major crisis, if that is what it actually was, began in 2007, when it emerged that Western investment banks had drastically under-calculated the risks attached to the US housing market, the fall-out from which was a macro-economic stagnation more enduring than any since the 1880s. While the neoliberal policy era was punctuated by unusually frequent financial crises (Harvey, 2005), what was most significant about the 2007-09 banking crisis - in addition to its scale - was the fact that it originated in Wall Street, bringing vast fiscal and social costs to a nation that had played a key role in propagating neoliberal policies. But the fact that this policy paradigm appears largely intact, several years after the dawning of the financial crisis, is now an object of scholarly interest in its own right (Crouch, 2011; Engelen et aL, 2011; Mirowski, 2013).

Running in parallel to this economic breakdown was a series of events that raised widespread moral concerns about the coherence of key public institutions and society more generally. Britain, for example, saw a succession of disturbances, apparently affected by forms of hedonistic self-interest: in 2009 Members of Parliament were discovered to be routinely lying about their expenses in order to inflate their pay; in 2011 journalists were discovered to be engaged in the criminal hacking of phones, possibly beknown to the police; in August 2011 disparate riots erupted across English cities, featuring seemingly hedonistic acts of destruction and the widespread looting of branded goods, with scarce collective or political grievance; and in 2012 it emerged that individuals working in major high street banks had conspired to alter the 'LIBOR' rate, which dictates the price at which banks lend to each other, and influences the rate at which banks will lend to customers, and questions were raised as to whether government officials had actively encouraged this. These unconnected events seem to suggest a normative and political crisis, whereby the very possibility of deliberate collective action is thrown into question. A form of institutionalized anti-institutionalism seemed to have become established. The routine nature of so much of this activity made it impossible to dismiss as mere 'corruption or criminality! Meanwhile, concerns about the effects of consumerism! inequality and loneliness upon health and mental health (which in turn bring major economic costs) have begun to raise elite concerns about the sustainability of the contemporary political-economic model (Davies, 2011a). 'Epidemics' of depression, anxiety, obesity and addictive behaviour register as an indictment on societies that have made calculated self-interest and competitiveness tacitly constitutional principles (Davies, 2012).

The inability to achieve a new political settlement or new economic paradigm is by some measures a testimony to the success of the neoliberal project. Hayek's complaint could now even be reversed: we have in effect undertaken to dispense with the forces which produced foreseen results and to replace the collective and 'conscious direction of all social forces towards deliberately chosen goals by the impersonal and anonymous mechanism of the market (or market-like behaviour). Having consciously opened ourselves up to spontaneous and uncertain processes, we are now unable to escape from them again. The powerlessness of political or moral authorities to shape or direct society differently demonstrates how far the neoliberal critique of economic planning has permeated. Whether Hayek would have still trusted 'unconscious social forces, when confronted with the libidinous, destructive rush of contemporary consumerism and financialization, is another question. The framing of neoliberal crises - including financial crises - in psychological and neurological terms (discussed in Chapter 5) can be seen partly as a last ditch effort to distinguish which 'unconscious' forces are to be trusted and which ones are not.

Defining neoliberalism

Neoliberalism is clearly not a unified doctrine to the extent that Keynesianism is. While Hayek is one of the obvious figureheads of the neoliberal 'thought collective (Mirowski & Plehwe, 2009) his work is at odds with many other neoliberal forms of policy and governance. The origins of the neoliberal movement can be traced to the contributions of Hayek and Ludwig Von Mises to the 'socialist calculation debate of the 1920s and 1930s (Mises, 1990; Hayek, 2009). The intellectual project of reinventing liberalism was scattered between London, New York, Chicago, Freiburg and Vienna, up until the 1970s (Peck, 2010). The application and adaptation of these ideas spread no less haphazardly, serving various masters as they w r ent. But what, I suggest, is the common thread in all of this - and what makes the term 'neoliberalism' a necessary one - is an attempt to replace political judgement with economic evaluation, including, but not exclusively, the evaluations offered by markets. Of course, both political and economic logics are plural and heterogeneous. But the central defining characteristic of all neoliberal critique is its hostility to the ambiguity of political discourse, and a commitment to the explicitness and transparency of quantitative, economic indicators, of which the market price system is the model. Neoliberalism is the pursuit of the disenchantment of politics by economics.

The language of politics, unlike the language of economics, has a self-consciously performative dimension. It is used with a public in mind, and an awareness that the members and perspectives contained in that public are plural and uncertain. The praxis and aesthetics of discourse are acknowledged in what we consider to be 'political' situations. These include legal process, in which text and speech resonate in public settings, and seek to do something as much as represent something. This doesn't mean that economics as a discipline is not performative, requires no public or has no praxis. On the contrary, a great deal of recent scholarship has demonstrated that economics is often powerfully performative (Callon, 1998; Mitchell, 2002; MacKen/.ie, 2006; MacKenzie et al., 2007) and employs political rhetorics (McCloskey, 1985). Quantification and measurement have their own affective and aesthetic qualities (Porter, 1995), but the example of market price indicates to an economic sensibility that ambiguity and performativity can be beneficially minimized or constrained. From a neoliberal perspective, price provides a logical and phenomenological ideal of how human relations can be mediated without the need for rhetorical, ritualized or deliberately performative modes of communication. Indeed, price may even suggest that peaceful human interaction is feasible without speech at all. The reduction of complex and uncertain situations to a single number, as achieved by a market, appears as a route out of the hermeneutic pluralism and associated dangers of politics. Whether generated by markets or by economics, a price is an example of what Poovey terms the 'modern fact', a simple 'preinterpretive' or 'noninterpretive' representation of a state of affairs (Poovey, 1998).

If today politics and public institutions appear to have disintegrated into merely calculated and strategic behaviour, one response would be to view this as a sideeffect of 'modernity' or 'advanced capitalism' or plain 'greed'. But perhaps a more fruitful one would be to examine this as a self-conscious project of rationalization on the part of intellectuals and policy elites. The disenchantment of politics by economics involves a deconstruction of the language of the 'common good' or the 'public', which is accused of a potentially dangerous mysticism. In the first instance, as manifest in the work of Mises and Hayek, this is an attack on socialism and the types of state expertise that enact it, but it is equally apparent in a critique of the liberal idea of justice, as in the work of Richard Posner and others. With some reservations, it is also manifest as a critique of executive political authority which is contrasted unfavourably with the economically rational authority of the manager. The targets of neoliberal critique are institutionally and ontologically various, which elicits different styles of critique. In each case, substantive claims about political authority and the public are critically dismantled and replaced with technical economic substitutes. These substitutes may need to be invented from scratch, hence the constructivist and often experimental dimensions of neoliberalism, a selection of which will be explored in detail in subsequent chapters.

As the more observant critics of neoliberalism have noted, it did not, therefore, seek or achieve a shrinking of the state, but a re-imagining and transformation of it (Peck, 2010; Mirowski, 2013). In the seventy years separating the golden age of Victorian liberalism and the intellectual birth of neoliberalism, the character of the state and of capitalism had changed markedly. The rise of American and German industrial capitalism had been achieved thanks to new economies of scale and organizational efficiencies associated with large corporations and hierarchical structures, including the birth of management (Chandler, 1977; Arrighi, 2009). Science and expertise were now formally channelled into business. Technical advancements in the fields of statistics and national accounts, followed by the birth of macroeconomics in the 1930s, meant that 'the economy' had appeared as a complex object of political management (Mitchell, 1998; Suzuki, 2003). And the on-going growth of a 'social' realm, measured and governed by sociology, social statistics, social policy and professions, meant that the American and European states of the 1930s had far more extensive capacities and responsibilities for audit and intervention than the British liberal state of the 1860s (Donzelot, 1991; Desrosieres, 1998).

The pragmatism of the neoliberal pioneers prevented them from proposing a romantic return to a halcyon age of classical liberalism, instead committing them to a reinvention of liberalism suitable for a more complex, regulated, Eordist capitalism. Hayek believed that 'the fundamental principle that in the ordering of our affairs we should make as much use as possible of the spontaneous forces of society, and resort as little as possible to coercion, is capable of an infinite variety of applications' (1944: 17). Victorian laissez-faire was only one empirical manifestation of the liberal idea. Restoring economic freedom would not be achieved simply through withdrawing the state from 'the market', but through active policy interventions, to remould institutions, state agencies and individuals, in ways that were compatible with a market ethos (however defined) and were amenable to economic measurement. The state is therefore a powerful instrument of neoliberalism, though also an object of its constant critique; this is one of many contradictions of neoliberalism, and one which has been raised to new heights since the banking crises of 2007-09.

Hayek's own interpretations of both liberalism and the political public sphere were highly idiosyncratic. Liberalism is associated primarily with the uncertainty of outcomes. Freedom, by this account, requires ignorance of the future, and the preservation of freedom requires a dogmatic agnosticism on the part of public institutions. 1 By contrast, political activity is interpreted as a project of determining outcomes and reducing uncertainty. At least in the modern era, politics is viewed as an instrument of planning and the pursuit of certainty, though this is concealed by the deceptive nature of political language. This pessimistic view directly inverts the (equally pessimistic) perspective of Hannah Arendt, for example, who saw liberal governance of the economic and 'social' realm as a poor, expertly managed substitute for the inherent uncertainty and vitality of political action (Arendt, 1958). Both positions celebrate, and arguably romanticize, uncertainty, but see its rationalist enemies in different places - the Hayekian neoliberal fears the politician, while the Arendtian political actor fears the economist.

Most analyses of neoliberalism have focused on its commitment to 'free markets, deregulation and trade. 1 shan't discuss the validity of these portrayals here, although some have undoubtedly exaggerated the similarities between 'classical' nineteenth-century liberalism and twentieth-century neoliberalism. The topic addressed here is a different one - the character of neoliberal authority, on what basis does the neoliberal state demand the right to be obeyed, if not on substantive political grounds? To a large extent, it is on the basis of particular economic claims and rationalities, constructed and propagated by economic experts. The state does not necessarily (or at least, not always) cede power to markets, but comes to justify its decisions, policies and rules in terms that are commensurable with the logic of markets. Neoliberalism might therefore be defined as the elevation of market-based principles and techniques of evaluation to the level of state-endorsed norms (Davies, 2013: 37). The authority of the neoliberal state is heavily dependent on the authority of economics (and economists) to dictate legitimate courses of action. Understanding that authority - and its present crisis - requires us to look at economics, economic policy experts and advisors as critical components of state institutions.

[Oct 13, 2017] Sympathy for the Corporatocracy by C. J. Hopkins

Highly recommended!
Biting satire...
Notable quotes:
"... The Tonight Show ..."
"... Now, despite what the Russian propagandists will tell you, this recent outbreak of fascistic behavior has nothing whatsoever to do with these people's frustration with neoliberalism or the supranational Corporatocracy that has been expanding its global empire with total impunity for twenty-five years. And it definitely has nothing at all to do with supranational political unions, or the supersession of national sovereignty by corporate-concocted "free trade" agreements, or the relentless privatization of everything, or the fear that a lot of people have that their cultures are being gradually erased and replaced with a globalized, corporate-friendly, multicultural, market-based culture, which is merely a simulation of culture, and which contains no actual cultural values (because exchange value is its only operative value), but which sells the empty signifiers of their eviscerated cultural values back to them so they can wear their "identities" like designer brands as they hunch together in silence at Starbucks posting pictures of themselves on Facebook. ..."
"... No, this discontent with the political establishment, corporate elites, and the mainstream media has nothing to do with any of that. It's not like global Capitalism, following the collapse of the U.S.S.R. (its last external ideological adversary), has been restructuring the entire planet in accordance with its geopolitical interests, or doing away with national sovereignty, and other nationalistic concepts that no longer serve a useful purpose in a world where a single ideological system (one backed by the most fearsome military in history) reigns completely unopposed. If that were the case, well, it might behoove us to question whether this outbreak of Nazism, racism, and other forms of "hate," was somehow connected to that historical development and maybe even try to articulate some sort of leftist analysis of that. ..."
"... a world where a single ideology rules the planet unopposed from without ..."
"... Brexit is about Britons who want their country back, a movement indeed getting stronger and stronger in EU member states, but ignored by the ruling 'elites'. ..."
"... A lot of these so called "revolutions" are fomented by the elite only to be subverted and perverted by them in the end. They've had a lot of practice co-opting revolutions and independence movements. ..."
"... "Independence" is now so fashionable (as was Communism among the "elite" back in the '30s), that they are even teaching and fostering independence to kids in kindergarten here in the US. That strikes me as most amusing. Imagine "learning" independence in state run brainwashing factories. ..."
Oct 13, 2017 | www.unz.com

Well all right, let's review what happened, or at least the official version of what happened. Not Hillary Clinton's version of what happened, which Jeffrey St. Clair so incisively skewered , but the Corporatocracy's version of what happened, which overlaps with but is even more ridiculous than Clinton's ridiculous version. To do that, we need to harken back to the peaceful Summer of 2016, (a/k/a the "Summer of Fear" ), when the United States of America was still a shiny city upon a hill whose beacon light guided freedom-loving people, the Nazis were still just a bunch of ass clowns meeting in each other's mother's garages, and Russia was, well Russia was Russia.

Back then, as I'm sure you'll recall, Western democracy, was still primarily being menaced by the lone wolf terrorists, for absolutely no conceivable reason, apart from the terrorists' fanatical desire to brutally murder all non-believers. The global Russo-Nazi Axis had not yet reared its ugly head. President Obama, who, during his tenure, had single-handedly restored America to the peaceful, prosperous, progressive paradise it had been before George W. Bush screwed it up, was on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon slow jamming home the TPP . The Wall Street banks had risen from the ashes of the 2008 financial crisis, and were buying back all the foreclosed homes of the people they had fleeced with subprime mortgages. American workers were enjoying the freedom and flexibility of the new gig economy. Electioneering in the United States was underway, but it was early days. It was already clear that Donald Trump was literally the Second Coming of Hitler , but no one was terribly worried about him yet. The Republican Party was in a shambles. Neither Trump nor any of the other contenders had any chance of winning in November. Nor did Sanders, who had been defeated, fair and square, in the Democratic primaries, mostly because of his racist statements and crazy, quasi-Communist ideas. Basically, everything was hunky dory. Yes, it was going to be terribly sad to have to bid farewell to Obama, who had bailed out all those bankrupt Americans the Wall Street banks had taken to the cleaners, ended all of Bush and Cheney's wars, closed down Guantanamo, and just generally served as a multicultural messiah figure to affluent consumers throughout the free world, but Hope-and-Change was going to continue. The talking heads were all in agreement Hillary Clinton was going to be President, and there was nothing anyone could do about it.

Little did we know at the time that an epidemic of Russo-Nazism had been festering just beneath the surface of freedom-loving Western societies like some neo-fascist sebaceous cyst. Apparently, millions of theretofore more or less normal citizens throughout the West had been infected with a virulent strain of Russo-Nazi-engineered virus, because they simultaneously began exhibiting the hallmark symptoms of what we now know as White Supremacist Behavioral Disorder, or Fascist Oppositional Disorder (the folks who update the DSM are still arguing over the official name). It started with the Brexit referendum, spread to America with the election of Trump, and there have been a rash of outbreaks in Europe, like the one we're currently experiencing in Germany . These fascistic symptoms have mostly manifest as people refusing to vote as instructed, and expressing oppressive views on the Internet, but there have also been more serious crimes, including several assaults and murders perpetrated by white supremacists (which, of course, never happened when Obama was President, because the Nazis hadn't been "emboldened" yet).

Now, despite what the Russian propagandists will tell you, this recent outbreak of fascistic behavior has nothing whatsoever to do with these people's frustration with neoliberalism or the supranational Corporatocracy that has been expanding its global empire with total impunity for twenty-five years. And it definitely has nothing at all to do with supranational political unions, or the supersession of national sovereignty by corporate-concocted "free trade" agreements, or the relentless privatization of everything, or the fear that a lot of people have that their cultures are being gradually erased and replaced with a globalized, corporate-friendly, multicultural, market-based culture, which is merely a simulation of culture, and which contains no actual cultural values (because exchange value is its only operative value), but which sells the empty signifiers of their eviscerated cultural values back to them so they can wear their "identities" like designer brands as they hunch together in silence at Starbucks posting pictures of themselves on Facebook.

No, this discontent with the political establishment, corporate elites, and the mainstream media has nothing to do with any of that. It's not like global Capitalism, following the collapse of the U.S.S.R. (its last external ideological adversary), has been restructuring the entire planet in accordance with its geopolitical interests, or doing away with national sovereignty, and other nationalistic concepts that no longer serve a useful purpose in a world where a single ideological system (one backed by the most fearsome military in history) reigns completely unopposed. If that were the case, well, it might behoove us to question whether this outbreak of Nazism, racism, and other forms of "hate," was somehow connected to that historical development and maybe even try to articulate some sort of leftist analysis of that.

This hypothetical leftist analysis might want to focus on how Capitalism is fundamentally opposed to Despotism, and is essentially a value-decoding machine which renders everything and everyone it touches essentially valueless interchangeable commodities whose worth is determined by market forces, rather than by societies and cultures, or religions, or other despotic systems (wherein values are established and enforced arbitrarily, by the despot, the church, or the ruling party, or by a group of people who share an affinity and decide they want to live a certain way). This is where it would get sort of tricky, because it (i.e., this hypothetical analysis) would have to delve into the history of Capitalism, and how it evolved out of medieval Despotism, and how it has been decoding despotic values for something like five hundred years. This historical delving (which would probably be too long for people to read on their phones) would demonstrate how Capitalism has been an essentially progressive force in terms of getting us out of Despotism (which, for most folks, wasn't very much fun) by fomenting bourgeois revolutions and imposing some semblance of democracy on societies. It would follow Capitalism's inexorable advance all the way up to the Twentieth Century, in which its final external ideological adversary, fake Communism, suddenly imploded, delivering us to the world we now live in a world where a single ideology rules the planet unopposed from without , and where any opposition to that global ideology can only be internal, or insurgent, in nature (e.g, terrorism, extremism, and so on). Being a hypothetical leftist analysis, it would, at this point, need to stress that, despite the fact that Capitalism helped deliver us from Despotism, and improved the state of society generally (compared to most societies that preceded it), we nonetheless would like to transcend it, or evolve out of it toward some type of society where people, and everything else, including the biosphere we live in, are not interchangeable, valueless commodities exchanged by members of a global corporatocracy who have no essential values, or beliefs, or principles, other than the worship of money. After having covered all that, we might want to offer more a nuanced view of the current neo-nationalist reaction to the Corporatocracy's ongoing efforts to restructure and privatize the rest of the planet. Not that we would support this reaction, or in any way refrain from calling neo-nationalism what it is (i.e., reactionary, despotic, and doomed), but this nuanced view we'd hypothetically offer, by analyzing the larger sociopolitical and historical forces at play, might help us to see the way forward more clearly, and who knows, maybe eventually propose some kind of credible leftist alternative to the "global neoliberalism vs. neo-nationalism" double bind we appear to be hopelessly stuck in at the moment.

Luckily, we don't have to do that (i.e., articulate such a leftist analysis of any such larger historical forces). Because there is no corporatocracy not really. That's just a fake word the Russians made up and are spreading around on the Internet to distract us while the Nazis take over. No, the logical explanation for Trump, Brexit, and anything else that threatens the expansion of global Capitalism, and the freedom, democracy, and prosperity it offers, is that millions of people across the world, all at once, for no apparent reason, woke up one day full-blown fascists and started looking around for repulsive demagogues to swear fanatical allegiance to. Yes, that makes a lot more sense than all that complicated stuff about history and hegemonic ideological systems, which is probably just Russian propaganda anyway, in which case there is absolutely no reason to read any boring year-old pieces, like this one in The European Financial Review , or this report by Corporate Watch , from way back in the year 2000, about the rise of global corporate power.

So, apologies for wasting your time with all that pseudo-Marxian gobbledygook. Let's just pretend this never happened, and get back to more important matters, like statistically proving that Donald Trump got elected President because of racism, misogyny, transphobia, xenophobia, or some other type of behavioral disorder, and pulling down Confederate statues, or kneeling during the National Anthem, or whatever happens to be trending this week. Oh, yeah, and debating punching Nazis, or people wearing MAGA hats. We definitely need to sort all that out before we can move ahead with helping the Corporatocracy remove Trump from office, or at least ensure he remains surrounded by their loyal generals, CEOs, and Goldman Sachs guys until the next election. Whatever we do, let's not get distracted by that stuff I just distracted you with. I know, it's tempting, but, given what's at stake, we need to maintain our laser focus on issues related to identity politics, or else well, you know, the Nazis win.

C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) and Broadway Play Publishing (USA). His debut novel, ZONE 23 , is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant. He can reached at cjhopkins.com or consentfactory.org .

jilles dykstra, October 13, 2017 at 3:15 pm GMT

Yesterday evening on RT a USA lady, as usual forgot the name, spoke about the USA. In a matter of fact tone she said things like 'they (Deep State) have got him (Trump) in the box'.

They, Deep State again, are now wondering if they will continue to try to control the world, or if they should stop the attempt, and retreat into the USA.
Also as matter of fact she said 'the CIA has always been the instrument of Deep State, from Kenndy to Nine Eleven'.

Another statement was 'no president ever was in control'.

How USA citizens continue to believe they live in a democracy, I cannot understand.

Yesterday the intentions of the new Dutch government were made public, alas most Dutch also dot not see that the Netherlands since 2005 no longer is a democracy, just a province of Brussels.

You can fool all people .

Che Guava, October 13, 2017 at 4:22 pm GMT

@jilles dykstra

Jilles,

I am thinking you take the article too literally.

jacques sheete, October 13, 2017 at 4:30 pm GMT

Brexit is about Britons who want their country back, a movement indeed getting stronger and stronger in EU member states, but ignored by the ruling 'elites'.

No doubt many do want their country back, but what concerns me is that all of a sudden we have the concept of "independence" plastered all over the place. Such concepts don't get promoted unless the ruling elites see ways to turn those sentiments to their favor.

A lot of these so called "revolutions" are fomented by the elite only to be subverted and perverted by them in the end. They've had a lot of practice co-opting revolutions and independence movements. (And everything else.)

"Independence" is now so fashionable (as was Communism among the "elite" back in the '30s), that they are even teaching and fostering independence to kids in kindergarten here in the US. That strikes me as most amusing. Imagine "learning" independence in state run brainwashing factories.

Does anyone else smell a rat or two?

Anon-og , October 13, 2017 at 5:16 pm GMT

"Now, despite what the Russian propagandists will tell you, this recent outbreak of fascistic behavior has nothing whatsoever to do with these people's frustration with neoliberalism or the supranational Corporatocracy that has been expanding its global empire with total impunity for twenty-five years. And it definitely has nothing at all to do with supranational political unions, or the supersession of national sovereignty by corporate-concocted "free trade" agreements, or the relentless privatization of everything, or the fear that a lot of people have that their cultures are being gradually erased and replaced with a globalized, corporate-friendly, multicultural, market-based culture, which is merely a simulation of culture, and which contains no actual cultural values (because exchange value is its only operative value), but which sells the empty signifiers of their eviscerated cultural values back to them so they can wear their "identities" like designer brands as they hunch together in silence at Starbucks posting pictures of themselves on Facebook."

Very impressed with this article, never really paid attention to CJ's articles but that is now changing!

[Oct 11, 2017] Russia witch hunt is a tactic used by the ruling elite, and in particular the Democratic Party, to avoid facing a very unpleasant reality: that their unpopularity is the outcome of their policies of deindustrialization and the assault against working class

Highly recommended!
Chris Hedges, who is doubtless a courageous journalist and an intelligent commentator, suggests that if we are to discuss the anti-Russia campaign realistically, as baseless in fact, and as contrived for an effect and to further/protect some particular interests, we can hardly avoid the question: Who or what interest is served by the anti-Russia campaign?
An interesting observation "The Democratic Party doesn't actually function as a political party. It's about perpetual mass mobilization and a hyperventilating public relations arm, all paid for by corporate donors. The base of the party has no real say in the leadership or the policies of the party, as Bernie Sanders and his followers found out."
The other relevant observation is that there is no American left. It was destroyed as a political movement. The USA is a right wing country.
Notable quotes:
"... This obsession with Russia is a tactic used by the ruling elite, and in particular the Democratic Party, to avoid facing a very unpleasant reality: that their unpopularity is the outcome of their policies of deindustrialization and the assault against working men and women and poor people of color. ..."
"... It is the result of the slashing of basic government services, including, of course, welfare, that Clinton gutted; deregulation, a decaying infrastructure, including public schools, and the de facto tax boycott by corporations. It is the result of the transformation of the country into an oligarchy. The nativist revolt on the right, and the aborted insurgency within the Democratic Party, makes sense when you see what they have done to the country. ..."
"... The Democratic Party, in particular, is driving this whole Russia witch-hunt. It cannot face its complicity in the destruction of our civil liberties -- and remember, Barack Obama's assault on civil liberties was worse than those carried out by George W. Bush -- and the destruction of our economy and our democratic institutions. ..."
"... Politicians like the Clintons, Pelosi and Schumer are creations of Wall Street. That is why they are so virulent about pushing back against the Sanders wing of the Democratic Party. ..."
"... The Democratic Party doesn't actually function as a political party. It's about perpetual mass mobilization and a hyperventilating public relations arm, all paid for by corporate donors. The base of the party has no real say in the leadership or the policies of the party, as Bernie Sanders and his followers found out. They are props in the sterile political theater. ..."
"... These party elites, consumed by greed, myopia and a deep cynicism, have a death grip on the political process. They're not going to let it go, even if it all implodes. ..."
"... The whole exercise was farcical. The White House would leak some bogus story to Judy Miller or Michael Gordon, and then go on the talk shows to say, 'as the Times reported .' It gave these lies the veneer of independence and reputable journalism. This was a massive institutional failing, and one the paper has never faced. ..."
"... The media's anti-Russia narrative has been embraced by large portions of what presents itself as the "left." ..."
"... Well, don't get me started on the American left. First of all, there is no American left -- not a left that has any kind of seriousness, that understands political or revolutionary theories, that's steeped in economic study, that understands how systems of power work, especially corporate and imperial power. The left is caught up in the same kind of cults of personality that plague the rest of society. It focuses on Trump, as if Trump is the central problem. Trump is a product, a symptom of a failed system and dysfunctional democracy, not the disease. ..."
"... For good measure, they purged the liberal class -- look at what they did to Henry Wallace -- so that Cold War "liberals" equated capitalism with democracy, and imperialism with freedom and liberty. I lived in Switzerland and France. There are still residues of a militant left in Europe, which gives Europeans something to build upon. But here we almost have to begin from scratch. ..."
"... The corporate elites we have to overthrow already hold power. And unless we build a broad, popular resistance movement, which takes a lot of patient organizing among working men and women, we are going to be steadily ground down. ..."
"... The corporate state has made it very hard to make a living if you hold fast to this radical critique. You will never get tenure. You probably won't get academic appointments. You won't win prizes. You won't get grants. ..."
"... The elite schools, and I have taught as a visiting professor at a few of them, such as Princeton and Columbia, replicate the structure and goals of corporations. If you want to even get through a doctoral committee, much less a tenure committee, you must play it really, really safe. You must not challenge the corporate-friendly stance that permeates the institution and is imposed through corporate donations and the dictates of wealthy alumni. Half of the members of most of these trustee boards should be in prison! ..."
"... Speculation in the 17th century in Britain was a crime. Speculators were hanged. And today they run the economy and the country. They have used the capturing of wealth to destroy the intellectual, cultural and artistic life in the country and snuff out our democracy. There is a word for these people: traitors. ..."
Oct 11, 2017 | www.unz.com

Originally from: The elites "have no credibility left" by Chris Hedges

But the whole idea that the Russians swung the election to Trump is absurd. It's really premised on the unproven claim that Russia gave the Podesta emails to WikiLeaks, and the release of these emails turned tens, or hundreds of thousands, of Clinton supporters towards Trump. This doesn't make any sense. Either that, or, according to the director of national intelligence, RT America, where I have a show, got everyone to vote for the Green Party.

This obsession with Russia is a tactic used by the ruling elite, and in particular the Democratic Party, to avoid facing a very unpleasant reality: that their unpopularity is the outcome of their policies of deindustrialization and the assault against working men and women and poor people of color. It is the result of disastrous trade agreements like NAFTA that abolished good-paying union jobs and shipped them to places like Mexico, where workers without benefits are paid $3.00 an hour. It is the result of the explosion of a system of mass incarceration, begun by Bill Clinton with the 1994 omnibus crime bill, and the tripling and quadrupling of prison sentences. It is the result of the slashing of basic government services, including, of course, welfare, that Clinton gutted; deregulation, a decaying infrastructure, including public schools, and the de facto tax boycott by corporations. It is the result of the transformation of the country into an oligarchy. The nativist revolt on the right, and the aborted insurgency within the Democratic Party, makes sense when you see what they have done to the country.

Police forces have been turned into quasi-military entities that terrorize marginal communities, where people have been stripped of all of their rights and can be shot with impunity; in fact over three are killed a day. The state shoots and locks up poor people of color as a form of social control. They are quite willing to employ the same form of social control on any other segment of the population that becomes restive.

The Democratic Party, in particular, is driving this whole Russia witch-hunt. It cannot face its complicity in the destruction of our civil liberties -- and remember, Barack Obama's assault on civil liberties was worse than those carried out by George W. Bush -- and the destruction of our economy and our democratic institutions.

Politicians like the Clintons, Pelosi and Schumer are creations of Wall Street. That is why they are so virulent about pushing back against the Sanders wing of the Democratic Party. Without Wall Street money, they would not hold political power. The Democratic Party doesn't actually function as a political party. It's about perpetual mass mobilization and a hyperventilating public relations arm, all paid for by corporate donors. The base of the party has no real say in the leadership or the policies of the party, as Bernie Sanders and his followers found out. They are props in the sterile political theater.

These party elites, consumed by greed, myopia and a deep cynicism, have a death grip on the political process. They're not going to let it go, even if it all implodes.

... ... ...

DN: Let's come back to this question of the Russian hacking news story. You raised the ability to generate a story, which has absolutely no factual foundation, nothing but assertions by various intelligence agencies, presented as an assessment that is beyond question. What is your evaluation of this?

CH: The commercial broadcast networks, and that includes CNN and MSNBC, are not in the business of journalism. They hardly do any. Their celebrity correspondents are courtiers to the elite. They speculate about and amplify court gossip, which is all the accusations about Russia, and they repeat what they are told to repeat. They sacrifice journalism and truth for ratings and profit. These cable news shows are one of many revenue streams in a corporate structure. They compete against other revenue streams. The head of CNN, Jeff Zucker, who helped create the fictional persona of Donald Trump on "Celebrity Apprentice," has turned politics on CNN into a 24-hour reality show. All nuance, ambiguity, meaning and depth, along with verifiable fact, are sacrificed for salacious entertainment. Lying, racism, bigotry and conspiracy theories are given platforms and considered newsworthy, often espoused by people whose sole quality is that they are unhinged. It is news as burlesque.

I was on the investigative team at the New York Times during the lead-up to the Iraq War. I was based in Paris and covered Al Qaeda in Europe and the Middle East. Lewis Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney, Richard Perle and maybe somebody in an intelligence agency, would confirm whatever story the administration was attempting to pitch. Journalistic rules at the Times say you can't go with a one-source story. But if you have three or four supposedly independent sources confirming the same narrative, then you can go with it, which is how they did it. The paper did not break any rules taught at Columbia journalism school, but everything they wrote was a lie.

The whole exercise was farcical. The White House would leak some bogus story to Judy Miller or Michael Gordon, and then go on the talk shows to say, 'as the Times reported .' It gave these lies the veneer of independence and reputable journalism. This was a massive institutional failing, and one the paper has never faced.

DN: The CIA pitches the story, and then the Times gets the verification from those who pitch it to them.

CH: It's not always pitched. And not much of this came from the CIA. The CIA wasn't buying the "weapons of mass destruction" hysteria.

DN: It goes the other way too?

CH: Sure. Because if you're trying to have access to a senior official, you'll constantly be putting in requests, and those officials will decide when they want to see you. And when they want to see you, it's usually because they have something to sell you.

DN: The media's anti-Russia narrative has been embraced by large portions of what presents itself as the "left."

CH: Well, don't get me started on the American left. First of all, there is no American left -- not a left that has any kind of seriousness, that understands political or revolutionary theories, that's steeped in economic study, that understands how systems of power work, especially corporate and imperial power. The left is caught up in the same kind of cults of personality that plague the rest of society. It focuses on Trump, as if Trump is the central problem. Trump is a product, a symptom of a failed system and dysfunctional democracy, not the disease.

If you attempt to debate most of those on the supposedly left, they reduce discussion to this cartoonish vision of politics.

The serious left in this country was decimated. It started with the suppression of radical movements under Woodrow Wilson, then the "Red Scares" in the 1920s, when they virtually destroyed our labor movement and our radical press, and then all of the purges in the 1950s. For good measure, they purged the liberal class -- look at what they did to Henry Wallace -- so that Cold War "liberals" equated capitalism with democracy, and imperialism with freedom and liberty. I lived in Switzerland and France. There are still residues of a militant left in Europe, which gives Europeans something to build upon. But here we almost have to begin from scratch.

I've battled continuously with Antifa and the Black Bloc. I think they're kind of poster children for what I would consider phenomenal political immaturity. Resistance is not a form of personal catharsis. We are not fighting the rise of fascism in the 1930s. The corporate elites we have to overthrow already hold power. And unless we build a broad, popular resistance movement, which takes a lot of patient organizing among working men and women, we are going to be steadily ground down.

So Trump's not the problem. But just that sentence alone is going to kill most discussions with people who consider themselves part of the left.

The corporate state has made it very hard to make a living if you hold fast to this radical critique. You will never get tenure. You probably won't get academic appointments. You won't win prizes. You won't get grants. The New York Times , if they review your book, will turn it over to a dutiful mandarin like George Packer to trash it -- as he did with my last book. The elite schools, and I have taught as a visiting professor at a few of them, such as Princeton and Columbia, replicate the structure and goals of corporations. If you want to even get through a doctoral committee, much less a tenure committee, you must play it really, really safe. You must not challenge the corporate-friendly stance that permeates the institution and is imposed through corporate donations and the dictates of wealthy alumni. Half of the members of most of these trustee boards should be in prison!

Speculation in the 17th century in Britain was a crime. Speculators were hanged. And today they run the economy and the country. They have used the capturing of wealth to destroy the intellectual, cultural and artistic life in the country and snuff out our democracy. There is a word for these people: traitors.

[Oct 08, 2017] THE CRISIS OF NEOLIBERALISM by Julie A. Wilson

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... While the Tea Party was critical of status-quo neoliberalism -- especially its cosmopolitanism and embrace of globalization and diversity, which was perfectly embodied by Obama's election and presidency -- it was not exactly anti-neoliberal. Rather, it was anti-left neoliberalism-, it represented a more authoritarian, right [wing] version of neoliberalism. ..."
"... Within the context of the 2016 election, Clinton embodied the neoliberal center that could no longer hold. Inequality. Suffering. Collapsing infrastructures. Perpetual war. Anger. Disaffected consent. ..."
"... Both Sanders and Trump were embedded in the emerging left and right responses to neoliberalism's crisis. Specifically, Sanders' energetic campaign -- which was undoubtedly enabled by the rise of the Occupy movement -- proposed a decidedly more "commongood" path. Higher wages for working people. Taxes on the rich, specifically the captains of the creditocracy. ..."
"... In other words, Trump supporters may not have explicitly voted for neoliberalism, but that's what they got. In fact, as Rottenberg argues, they got a version of right neoliberalism "on steroids" -- a mix of blatant plutocracy and authoritarianism that has many concerned about the rise of U.S. fascism. ..."
"... We can't know what would have happened had Sanders run against Trump, but we can think seriously about Trump, right and left neoliberalism, and the crisis of neoliberal hegemony. In other words, we can think about where and how we go from here. As I suggested in the previous chapter, if we want to construct a new world, we are going to have to abandon the entangled politics of both right and left neoliberalism; we have to reject the hegemonic frontiers of both disposability and marketized equality. After all, as political philosopher Nancy Fraser argues, what was rejected in the election of 2016 was progressive, left neoliberalism. ..."
"... While the rise of hyper-right neoliberalism is certainly nothing to celebrate, it does present an opportunity for breaking with neoliberal hegemony. We have to proceed, as Gary Younge reminds us, with the realization that people "have not rejected the chance of a better world. They have not yet been offered one."' ..."
Oct 08, 2017 | www.amazon.com

Quote from the book is courtesy of Amazon preview of the book Neoliberalism (Key Ideas in Media & Cultural Studies)

In Chapter 1, we traced the rise of our neoliberal conjuncture back to the crisis of liberalism during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, culminating in the Great Depression. During this period, huge transformations in capitalism proved impossible to manage with classical laissez-faire approaches. Out of this crisis, two movements emerged, both of which would eventually shape the course of the twentieth century and beyond. The first, and the one that became dominant in the aftermath of the crisis, was the conjuncture of embedded liberalism. The crisis indicated that capitalism wrecked too much damage on the lives of ordinary citizens. People (white workers and families, especially) warranted social protection from the volatilities and brutalities of capitalism. The state's public function was expanded to include the provision of a more substantive social safety net, a web of protections for people and a web of constraints on markets. The second response was the invention of neoliberalism. Deeply skeptical of the common-good principles that undergirded the emerging social welfare state, neoliberals began organizing on the ground to develop a "new" liberal govemmentality, one rooted less in laissez-faire principles and more in the generalization of competition and enterprise. They worked to envision a new society premised on a new social ontology, that is, on new truths about the state, the market, and human beings. Crucially, neoliberals also began building infrastructures and institutions for disseminating their new' knowledges and theories (i.e., the Neoliberal Thought Collective), as well as organizing politically to build mass support for new policies (i.e., working to unite anti-communists, Christian conservatives, and free marketers in common cause against the welfare state). When cracks in embedded liberalism began to surface -- which is bound to happen with any moving political equilibrium -- neoliberals were there with new stories and solutions, ready to make the world anew.

We are currently living through the crisis of neoliberalism. As I write this book, Donald Trump has recently secured the U.S. presidency, prevailing in the national election over his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. Throughout the election, I couldn't help but think back to the crisis of liberalism and the two responses that emerged. Similarly, after the Great Recession of 2008, we've saw two responses emerge to challenge our unworkable status quo, which dispossesses so many people of vital resources for individual and collective life. On the one hand, we witnessed the rise of Occupy Wall Street. While many continue to critique the movement for its lack of leadership and a coherent political vision, Occupy was connected to burgeoning movements across the globe, and our current political horizons have been undoubtedly shaped by the movement's success at repositioning class and economic inequality within our political horizon. On the other hand, we saw' the rise of the Tea Party, a right-wing response to the crisis. While the Tea Party was critical of status-quo neoliberalism -- especially its cosmopolitanism and embrace of globalization and diversity, which was perfectly embodied by Obama's election and presidency -- it was not exactly anti-neoliberal. Rather, it was anti-left neoliberalism-, it represented a more authoritarian, right [wing] version of neoliberalism.

Within the context of the 2016 election, Clinton embodied the neoliberal center that could no longer hold. Inequality. Suffering. Collapsing infrastructures. Perpetual war. Anger. Disaffected consent. There were just too many fissures and fault lines in the glossy, cosmopolitan world of left neoliberalism and marketized equality. Indeed, while Clinton ran on status-quo stories of good governance and neoliberal feminism, confident that demographics and diversity would be enough to win the election, Trump effectively tapped into the unfolding conjunctural crisis by exacerbating the cracks in the system of marketized equality, channeling political anger into his celebrity brand that had been built on saying "f*** you" to the culture of left neoliberalism (corporate diversity, political correctness, etc.) In fact, much like Clinton's challenger in the Democratic primary, Benie Sanders, Trump was a crisis candidate.

Both Sanders and Trump were embedded in the emerging left and right responses to neoliberalism's crisis. Specifically, Sanders' energetic campaign -- which was undoubtedly enabled by the rise of the Occupy movement -- proposed a decidedly more "commongood" path. Higher wages for working people. Taxes on the rich, specifically the captains of the creditocracy.

Universal health care. Free higher education. Fair trade. The repeal of Citizens United. Trump offered a different response to the crisis. Like Sanders, he railed against global trade deals like NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). However, Trump's victory was fueled by right neoliberalism's culture of cruelty. While Sanders tapped into and mobilized desires for a more egalitarian and democratic future, Trump's promise was nostalgic, making America "great again" -- putting the nation back on "top of the world," and implying a time when women were "in their place" as male property, and minorities and immigrants were controlled by the state.

Thus, what distinguished Trump's campaign from more traditional Republican campaigns was that it actively and explicitly pitted one group's equality (white men) against everyone else's (immigrants, women, Muslims, minorities, etc.). As Catherine Rottenberg suggests, Trump offered voters a choice between a multiracial society (where folks are increasingly disadvantaged and dispossessed) and white supremacy (where white people would be back on top). However, "[w]hat he neglected to state," Rottenberg writes,

is that neoliberalism flourishes in societies where the playing field is already stacked against various segments of society, and that it needs only a relatively small select group of capital-enhancing subjects, while everyone else is ultimately dispensable. 1

In other words, Trump supporters may not have explicitly voted for neoliberalism, but that's what they got. In fact, as Rottenberg argues, they got a version of right neoliberalism "on steroids" -- a mix of blatant plutocracy and authoritarianism that has many concerned about the rise of U.S. fascism.

We can't know what would have happened had Sanders run against Trump, but we can think seriously about Trump, right and left neoliberalism, and the crisis of neoliberal hegemony. In other words, we can think about where and how we go from here. As I suggested in the previous chapter, if we want to construct a new world, we are going to have to abandon the entangled politics of both right and left neoliberalism; we have to reject the hegemonic frontiers of both disposability and marketized equality. After all, as political philosopher Nancy Fraser argues, what was rejected in the election of 2016 was progressive, left neoliberalism.

While the rise of hyper-right neoliberalism is certainly nothing to celebrate, it does present an opportunity for breaking with neoliberal hegemony. We have to proceed, as Gary Younge reminds us, with the realization that people "have not rejected the chance of a better world. They have not yet been offered one."'

Mark Fisher, the author of Capitalist Realism, put it this way:

The long, dark night of the end of history has to be grasped as an enormous opportunity. The very oppressive pervasiveness of capitalist realism means that even glimmers of alternative political and economic possibilities can have a disproportionately great effect. The tiniest event can tear a hole in the grey curtain of reaction which has marked the horizons of possibility under capitalist realism. From a situation in which nothing can happen, suddenly anything is possible again.4

I think that, for the first time in the history of U.S. capitalism, the vast majority of people might sense the lie of liberal, capitalist democracy. They feel anxious, unfree, disaffected. Fantasies of the good life have been shattered beyond repair for most people. Trump and this hopefully brief triumph of right neoliberalism will soon lay this bare for everyone to see. Now, with Trump, it is absolutely clear: the rich rule the world; we are all disposable; this is no democracy. The question becomes: How will we show up for history? Will there be new stories, ideas, visions, and fantasies to attach to? How can we productively and meaningful intervene in the crisis of neoliberalism? How can we "tear a hole in the grey curtain" and open up better worlds? How can we put what we've learned to use and begin to imagine and build a world beyond living in competition? I hope our critical journey through the neoliberal conjuncture has enabled you to begin to answer these questions.

More specifically, in recent decades, especially since the end of the Cold War, our common-good sensibilities have been channeled into neoliberal platforms for social change and privatized action, funneling our political energies into brand culture and marketized struggles for equality (e.g., charter schools, NGOs and non-profits, neoliberal antiracism and feminism). As a result, despite our collective anger and disaffected consent, we find ourselves stuck in capitalist realism with no real alternative. Like the neoliberal care of the self, we are trapped in a privatized mode of politics that relies on cruel optimism; we are attached, it seems, to politics that inspire and motivate us to action, while keeping us living in competition.

To disrupt the game, we need to construct common political horizons against neoliberal hegemony. We need to use our common stories and common reason to build common movements against precarity -- for within neoliberalism, precarity is what ultimately has the potential to thread all of our lives together. Put differently, the ultimate fault line in the neoliberal conjiuicture is the way it subjects us all to precarity and the biopolitics of disposability, thereby creating conditions of possibility for new coalitions across race, gender, citizenship, sexuality, and class. Recognizing this potential for coalition in the face of precarization is the most pressing task facing those who are yearning for a new world. The question is: How do we get there? How do we realize these coalitional potentialities and materialize common horizons?

HOW WE GET THERE

Ultimately, mapping the neoliberal conjuncture through everyday life in enterprise culture has not only provided some direction in terms of what we need; it has also cultivated concrete and practical intellectual resources for political interv ention and social interconnection -- a critical toolbox for living in common. More specifically, this book has sought to provide resources for thinking and acting against the four Ds: resources for engaging in counter-conduct, modes of living that refuse, on one hand, to conduct one's life according to the norm of enterprise, and on the other, to relate to others through the norm of competition. Indeed, we need new ways of relating, interacting, and living as friends, lovers, workers, vulnerable bodies, and democratic people if we are to write new stories, invent new govemmentalities, and build coalitions for new worlds.

Against Disimagination: Educated Hope and Affirmative Speculation

We need to stop turning inward, retreating into ourselves, and taking personal responsibility for our lives (a task which is ultimately impossible). Enough with the disimagination machine! Let's start looking outward, not inward -- to the broader structures that undergird our lives. Of course, we need to take care of ourselves; we must survive. But I firmly believe that we can do this in ways both big and small, that transform neoliberal culture and its status-quo stories.

Here's the thing I tell my students all the time. You cannot escape neoliberalism. It is the air we breathe, the water in which we swim. No job, practice of social activism, program of self-care, or relationship will be totally free from neoliberal impingements and logics. There is no pure "outside" to get to or work from -- that's just the nature of the neoliberalism's totalizing cultural power. But let's not forget that neoliberalism's totalizing cultural power is also a source of weakness. Potential for resistance is everywhere, scattered throughout our everyday lives in enterprise culture. Our critical toolbox can help us identify these potentialities and navigate and engage our conjuncture in ways that tear open up those new worlds we desire.

In other words, our critical perspective can help us move through the world with what Henry Giroux calls educated hope. Educated hope means holding in tension the material realities of power and the contingency of history. This orientation of educated hope knows very well what we're up against. However, in the face of seemingly totalizing power, it also knows that neoliberalism can never become total because the future is open. Educated hope is what allows us to see the fault lines, fissures, and potentialities of the present and emboldens us to think and work from that sliver of social space where we do have political agency and freedom to construct a new world. Educated hope is what undoes the power of capitalist realism. It enables affirmative speculation (such as discussed in Chapter 5), which does not try to hold the future to neoliberal horizons (that's cruel optimism!), but instead to affirm our commonalities and the potentialities for the new worlds they signal. Affirmative speculation demands a different sort of risk calculation and management. It senses how little we have to lose and how much we have to gain from knocking the hustle of our lives.

Against De-democratization: Organizing and Collective Coverning

We can think of educated hope and affirmative speculation as practices of what Wendy Brown calls "bare democracy" -- the basic idea that ordinary' people like you and me should govern our lives in common, that we should critique and try to change our world, especially the exploitative and oppressive structures of power that maintain social hierarchies and diminish lives. Neoliberal culture works to stomp out capacities for bare democracy by transforming democratic desires and feelings into meritocratic desires and feelings. In neoliberal culture, utopian sensibilities are directed away from the promise of collective utopian sensibilities are directed away from the promise of collective governing to competing for equality.

We have to get back that democractic feeling! As Jeremy Gilbert taught us, disaffected consent is a post-democratic orientation. We don't like our world, but we don't think we can do anything about it. So, how do we get back that democratic feeling? How do we transform our disaffected consent into something new? As I suggested in the last chapter, we organize. Organizing is simply about people coming together around a common horizon and working collectively to materialize it. In this way, organizing is based on the idea of radical democracy, not liberal democracy. While the latter is based on formal and abstract rights guaranteed by the state, radical democracy insists that people should directly make the decisions that impact their lives, security, and well-being. Radical democracy is a practice of collective governing: it is about us hashing out, together in communities, what matters, and working in common to build a world based on these new sensibilities.

The work of organizing is messy, often unsatisfying, and sometimes even scary. Organizing based on affirmative speculation and coalition-building, furthermore, will have to be experimental and uncertain. As Lauren Berlant suggests, it means "embracing the discomfort of affective experience in a truly open social life that no

one has ever experienced." Organizing through and for the common "requires more adaptable infrastructures. Keep forcing the existing infrastructures to do what they don't know how to do. Make new ways to be local together, where local doesn't require a physical neighborhood." 5 What Berlant is saying is that the work of bare democracy requires unlearning, and detaching from, our current stories and infrastructures in order to see and make things work differently. Organizing for a new world is not easy -- and there are no guarantees -- but it is the only way out of capitalist realism.

Against Disposability: Radical Equality

Getting back democratic feeling will at once require and help us lo move beyond the biopolitics of disposability and entrenched systems of inequality. On one hand, organizing will never be enough if it is not animated by bare democracy, a sensibility that each of us is equally important when it comes to the project of determining our lives in common. Our bodies, our hurts, our dreams, and our desires matter regardless of our race, gender, sexuality, or citizenship, and regardless of how r much capital (economic, social, or cultural) we have. Simply put, in a radical democracy, no one is disposable. This bare-democratic sense of equality must be foundational to organizing and coalition-building. Otherwise, we will always and inevitably fall back into a world of inequality.

On the other hand, organizing and collective governing will deepen and enhance our sensibilities and capacities for radical equality. In this context, the kind of self-enclosed individualism that empowers and underwrites the biopolitics of disposability melts away, as we realize the interconnectedness of our lives and just how amazing it feels to

fail, we affirm our capacities for freedom, political intervention, social interconnection, and collective social doing.

Against Dispossession: Shared Security and Common Wealth

Thinking and acting against the biopolitics of disposability goes hand-in-hand with thinking and acting against dispossession. Ultimately, when we really understand and feel ourselves in relationships of interconnection with others, we want for them as we want for ourselves. Our lives and sensibilities of what is good and just are rooted in radical equality, not possessive or self-appreciating individualism. Because we desire social security and protection, we also know others desire and deserve the same.

However, to really think and act against dispossession means not only advocating for shared security and social protection, but also for a new society that is built on the egalitarian production and distribution of social wealth that we all produce. In this sense, we can take Marx's critique of capitalism -- that wealth is produced collectively but appropriated individually -- to heart. Capitalism was built on the idea that one class -- the owners of the means of production -- could exploit and profit from the collective labors of everyone else (those who do not own and thus have to work), albeit in very different ways depending on race, gender, or citizenship. This meant that, for workers of all stripes, their lives existed not for themselves, but for others (the appropriating class), and that regardless of what we own as consumers, we are not really free or equal in that bare-democratic sense of the word.

If we want to be really free, we need to construct new material and affective social infrastructures for our common wealth. In these new infrastructures, wealth must not be reduced to economic value; it must be rooted in social value. Here, the production of wealth does not exist as a separate sphere from the reproduction of our lives. In other words, new infrastructures, based on the idea of common wealth, will not be set up to exploit our labor, dispossess our communities, or to divide our lives. Rather, they will work to provide collective social resources and care so that we may all be free to pursue happiness, create beautiful and/or useful things, and to realize our potential within a social world of living in common. Crucially, to create the conditions for these new, democratic forms of freedom rooted in radical equality, we need to find ways to refuse and exit the financial networks of Empire and the dispossessions of creditocracy, building new systems that invite everyone to participate in the ongoing production of new worlds and the sharing of the wealth that we produce in common.

It's not up to me to tell you exactly where to look, but I assure you that potentialities for these new worlds are everywhere around you.

[Oct 01, 2017] Goodbye, American neoliberalism. A new era is here by Cornel West

Notable quotes:
"... The Bush and Clinton dynasties were destroyed by the media-saturated lure of the pseudo-populist billionaire with narcissist sensibilities and ugly, fascist proclivities. The monumental election of Trump was a desperate and xenophobic cry of human hearts for a way out from under the devastation of a disintegrating neoliberal order – a nostalgic return to an imaginary past of greatness. ..."
"... This lethal fusion of economic insecurity and cultural scapegoating brought neoliberalism to its knees. In short, the abysmal failure of the Democratic party to speak to the arrested mobility and escalating poverty of working people unleashed a hate-filled populism and protectionism that threaten to tear apart the fragile fiber of what is left of US democracy. And since the most explosive fault lines in present-day America are first and foremost racial, then gender, homophobic, ethnic and religious, we gird ourselves for a frightening future. ..."
"... In this sense, Trump's election was enabled by the neoliberal policies of the Clintons and Obama that overlooked the plight of our most vulnerable citizens. The progressive populism of Bernie Sanders nearly toppled the establishment of the Democratic party but Clinton and Obama came to the rescue to preserve the status quo. And I do believe Sanders would have beat Trump to avert this neofascist outcome! ..."
"... The neoliberal era in the United States ended with a neofascist bang ..."
"... The white house and congress are now dominated by tea party politicians who worship at the altar of Ayn Rand.....read Breitbart news to see how Thatcher and Reagan are idolised. ..."
"... if you think the era of "neo liberalism" is over, you are in deep denial! ..."
"... The age of Obama was the last gasp of neoliberalism. Despite some progressive words and symbolic gestures, Obama chose to ignore Wall Street crimes, reject bailouts for homeowners, oversee growing inequality and facilitate war crimes like US drones killing innocent civilians abroad. ..."
"... Didn't Obama say to Wall Street ''I'm the only one standing between you and the lynch mob? Give me money and I'll make it all go away''. Then came into office and went we won't prosecute the Banks not Bush for a false war because we don't look back. ..."
"... He did not ignore, he actively, willingly, knowingly protected them. At the end of the day Obama is wolf in sheep's clothing. Exactly like HRC he has a public and a private position. He is a gifted speaker who knows how to say all the right, progressive liberal things to get people to go along much better than HRC ever did. ..."
"... Even when he had the Presidency, House and Senate, he never once introduced any progressive liberal policy. He didn't need Republican support to do it, yet he never even tried. ..."
Nov 17, 2016 | www.theguardian.com

The neoliberal era in the United States ended with a neofascist bang. The political triumph of Donald Trump shattered the establishments in the Democratic and Republican parties – both wedded to the rule of Big Money and to the reign of meretricious politicians.

The Bush and Clinton dynasties were destroyed by the media-saturated lure of the pseudo-populist billionaire with narcissist sensibilities and ugly, fascist proclivities. The monumental election of Trump was a desperate and xenophobic cry of human hearts for a way out from under the devastation of a disintegrating neoliberal order – a nostalgic return to an imaginary past of greatness.

White working- and middle-class fellow citizens – out of anger and anguish – rejected the economic neglect of neoliberal policies and the self-righteous arrogance of elites. Yet these same citizens also supported a candidate who appeared to blame their social misery on minorities, and who alienated Mexican immigrants, Muslims, black people, Jews, gay people, women and China in the process.

This lethal fusion of economic insecurity and cultural scapegoating brought neoliberalism to its knees. In short, the abysmal failure of the Democratic party to speak to the arrested mobility and escalating poverty of working people unleashed a hate-filled populism and protectionism that threaten to tear apart the fragile fiber of what is left of US democracy. And since the most explosive fault lines in present-day America are first and foremost racial, then gender, homophobic, ethnic and religious, we gird ourselves for a frightening future.

What is to be done? First we must try to tell the truth and a condition of truth is to allow suffering to speak. For 40 years, neoliberals lived in a world of denial and indifference to the suffering of poor and working people and obsessed with the spectacle of success. Second we must bear witness to justice. We must ground our truth-telling in a willingness to suffer and sacrifice as we resist domination. Third we must remember courageous exemplars like Martin Luther King Jr, who provide moral and spiritual inspiration as we build multiracial alliances to combat poverty and xenophobia, Wall Street crimes and war crimes, global warming and police abuse – and to protect precious rights and liberties.

Feminists misunderstood the presidential election from day one Liza Featherstone By banking on the idea that women would support Hillary Clinton just because she was a female candidate, the movement made a terrible mistake Read more

The age of Obama was the last gasp of neoliberalism. Despite some progressive words and symbolic gestures, Obama chose to ignore Wall Street crimes, reject bailouts for homeowners, oversee growing inequality and facilitate war crimes like US drones killing innocent civilians abroad.

Rightwing attacks on Obama – and Trump-inspired racist hatred of him – have made it nearly impossible to hear the progressive critiques of Obama. The president has been reluctant to target black suffering – be it in overcrowded prisons, decrepit schools or declining workplaces. Yet, despite that, we get celebrations of the neoliberal status quo couched in racial symbolism and personal legacy. Meanwhile, poor and working class citizens of all colors have continued to suffer in relative silence.

In this sense, Trump's election was enabled by the neoliberal policies of the Clintons and Obama that overlooked the plight of our most vulnerable citizens. The progressive populism of Bernie Sanders nearly toppled the establishment of the Democratic party but Clinton and Obama came to the rescue to preserve the status quo. And I do believe Sanders would have beat Trump to avert this neofascist outcome!

Click and elect: how fake news helped Donald Trump win a real election Hannah Jane Parkinson The 'alt-right' (aka the far right) ensnared the electorate using false stories on social media. But tech companies seem unwilling to admit there's a problem

In this bleak moment, we must inspire each other driven by a democratic soulcraft of integrity, courage, empathy and a mature sense of history – even as it seems our democracy is slipping away.

We must not turn away from the forgotten people of US foreign policy – such as Palestinians under Israeli occupation, Yemen's civilians killed by US-sponsored Saudi troops or Africans subject to expanding US military presence.

As one whose great family and people survived and thrived through slavery, Jim Crow and lynching, Trump's neofascist rhetoric and predictable authoritarian reign is just another ugly moment that calls forth the best of who we are and what we can do.

For us in these times, to even have hope is too abstract, too detached, too spectatorial. Instead we must be a hope, a participant and a force for good as we face this catastrophe.

theomatica -> MSP1984 17 Nov 2016 6:40

To be replaced by a form of capitalism that is constrained by national interests. An ideology that wishes to uses the forces of capitalism within a market limited only by national boundaries which aims for more self sufficiency only importing goods the nation can not itself source.

farga 17 Nov 2016 6:35

The neoliberal era in the United States ended with a neofascist bang.

Really? The white house and congress are now dominated by tea party politicians who worship at the altar of Ayn Rand.....read Breitbart news to see how Thatcher and Reagan are idolised.

That in recent decades middle ground politicians have strayed from the true faith....and now its time to go back - popular capitalism, small government, low taxes.

if you think the era of "neo liberalism" is over, you are in deep denial!

Social36 -> farga 17 Nov 2016 8:33

Maybe, West should have written that we're now in neoliberal, neofascist era!

ForSparta -> farga 17 Nov 2016 14:24

Well in all fairness, Donald Trump (horse's ass) did say he'd 'pump' money into the middle classes thus abandoning 'trickle down'. His plan/ideology is also to increase corporate tax revenues overall by reducing the level of corporation tax -- the aim being to entice corporations to repatriate wealth currently held overseas. Plus he has proposed an infrastructure spending spree, a fiscal stimulus not a monetary one. When you add in tax cuts the middle classes will feel flushed and it is within that demographic that most businesses and hence jobs are created. I think his short game has every chance of doing what he said it would.

SeeNOevilHearNOevil 17 Nov 2016 6:36

The age of Obama was the last gasp of neoliberalism. Despite some progressive words and symbolic gestures, Obama chose to ignore Wall Street crimes, reject bailouts for homeowners, oversee growing inequality and facilitate war crimes like US drones killing innocent civilians abroad.

Didn't Obama say to Wall Street ''I'm the only one standing between you and the lynch mob? Give me money and I'll make it all go away''. Then came into office and went we won't prosecute the Banks not Bush for a false war because we don't look back.

He did not ignore, he actively, willingly, knowingly protected them. At the end of the day Obama is wolf in sheep's clothing. Exactly like HRC he has a public and a private position. He is a gifted speaker who knows how to say all the right, progressive liberal things to get people to go along much better than HRC ever did.

But that lip service is where his progressive views begin and stop. It's the very reason none of his promises never translated into actions and I will argue that he was the biggest and smoothest scam artist to enter the white house who got even though that wholly opposed centre-right policies, to flip and support them vehemently. Even when he had the Presidency, House and Senate, he never once introduced any progressive liberal policy. He didn't need Republican support to do it, yet he never even tried.

ProbablyOnTopic 17 Nov 2016 6:37

I agree with some of this, but do we really have to throw around hysterical terms like 'fascist' at every opportunity? It's as bad as when people call the left 'cultural Marxists'.

LithophaneFurcifera -> ProbablyOnTopic 17 Nov 2016 7:05

True, it's sloganeering that drowns out any nuance, whoever does it. Whenever a political term is coined, you can be assured that its use and meaning will eventually be extended to the point that it becomes less effective at characterising the very groups that it was coined to characterise.

Keep "fascist" for Mussolini and "cultural Marxist" for Adorno, unless and until others show such strong resemblances that the link can't seriously be denied.

I agree about the importance of recognising the suffering of the poor and building alliances beyond, and not primarily defined by, race though.

l0Ho5LG4wWcFJsKg 17 Nov 2016 6:40
Hang about Trump is the embodiment of neo-liberalism. It's neo-liberalism with republican tea party in control. He's not going to smash the system that served him so well, the years he manipulated and cheated, why would he want to change it.
garrylee -> l0Ho5LG4wWcFJsKg 17 Nov 2016 9:38
West's point is that it's beyond Trump's control. The scales have fallen from peoples eyes. They now see the deceit of neo-liberalism. And once they see through the charlatan Trump and the rest of the fascists, they will, hopefully, come to realize the only antidote to neo-liberalism is a planned economy.

Nash25 17 Nov 2016 6:40

This excellent analysis by professor West places the current political situation in a proper historical context.

However, I fear that neo-liberalism may not be quite "dead" as he argues.

Most of the Democratic party's "establishment" politicians, who conspired to sabotage the populist Sanders's campaign, still dominate the party, and they, in turn, are controlled by the giant corporations who fund their campaigns.

Democrat Chuck Schumer is now the Senate minority leader, and he is the loyal servant of the big Wall Street investment banks.

Sanders and Warren are the only two Democratic leaders who are not neo-liberals, and I fear that they will once again be marginalized.

Rank and file Democrats must organize at the local and state level to remove these corrupt neo-liberals from all party leadership positions. This will take many years, and it will be very difficult.


VenetianBlind 17 Nov 2016 6:42

Not sure Neo-Liberalism has ended. All they have done is get rid of the middle man.

macfeegal 17 Nov 2016 6:46

It would seem that there is a great deal of over simplifying going on; some of the articles represent an hysteric response and the vision of sack cloth and ashes prevails among those who could not see that the wheels were coming off the bus. The use of the term 'liberal' has become another buzz word - there are many different forms of liberalism and creating yet another sound byte does little to illuminate anything.

Making appeals to restore what has been lost reflects badly upon the central political parties, with their 30 year long rightward drift and their legacy of sucking up to corporate lobbyists, systems managers, box tickers and consultants. You can't give away sovereign political power to a bunch of right wing quangos who worship private wealth and its accumulation without suffering the consequences. The article makes no contribution (and neither have many of the others of late) to any kind of alternative to either neo-liberalism or the vacuum that has become a question mark with the dark face of the devil behind it.

We are in uncharted waters. The conventional Left was totally discredited by1982 and all we've had since are various forms of modifications of Thatcher's imported American vision. There has been no opposition to this system for over 40 years - so where do we get the idea that democracy has any real meaning? Yes, we can vote for the Greens, or one of the lesser known minority parties, but of course people don't; they tend to go with what is portrayed as the orthodoxy and they've been badly let down by it.

It would be a real breath of fresh air to see articles which offer some kind of analysis that demonstrates tangible options to deal with the multiple crises we are suffering. Perhaps we might start with a consideration that if our political institutions are prone to being haunted by the ghost of the 1930's, the state itself could be seen as part of the problem rather than any solution. Why is it that every other institution is considered to be past its sell by date and we still believe in a phantom of democracy? Discuss.

VenetianBlind -> macfeegal 17 Nov 2016 7:00

I have spent hours trying to see solutions around Neo-Liberalism and find that governments have basically signed away any control over the economy so nothing they can do. There are no solutions.

Maybe that is the starting point. The solution for workers left behind in Neo-Liberal language is they must move. It demands labor mobility. It is not possible to dictate where jobs are created.

I see too much fiddly around the edges, the best start is to say they cannot fix the problem. If they keep making false promises then things will just get dire as.

[Oct 01, 2017] Bulletproof Neoliberalism by Paul Heideman

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Mirowski identifies three basic aspects of neoliberalism that the Left has failed to understand: the movement's intellectual history, the way it has transformed everyday life, and what constitutes opposition to it. Until we come to terms with them, Mirowski suggests, right-wing movements such as the Tea Party (a prominent player in the book) will continue to reign triumphant. ..."
"... Joining a long line of thinkers, most famously Karl Polanyi, Mirowski insists that a key error of the Left has been its failure to see that markets are always embedded in other social institutions. Neoliberals, by contrast, grasp this point with both hands -- and therefore seek to reshape all of the institutions of society, including and especially the state, to promote markets. Neoliberal ascendancy has meant not the retreat of the state so much as its remaking. ..."
"... he also recognizes that the neoliberals themselves have been canny about keeping the real nature of their project hidden through a variety of means. Neoliberal institutions tend to have what he calls a "Russian doll" structure, with the most central ones well hidden from public eyes. Mirowski coins an ironic expression, "the Neoliberal Thought Collective," for the innermost entities that formulate the movement's doctrine. The venerable Mont Pelerin Society is an NTC institution. Its ideas are frequently disseminated through venues which, formally at least, are unconnected to the center, such as academic economics departments. Thus, neoclassical economists spread the gospel of the free market while the grand project of remaking the state falls to others. ..."
"... At the same time as neoliberal commonsense trickles down from above, Mirowski argues that it also wells up from below, reinforced by our daily patterns of life. Social networking sites like Facebook encourage people to view themselves as perpetual cultural entrepreneurs, striving to offer a newer and better version of themselves to the world. Sites like LinkedIn prod their users to present themselves as a fungible basket of skills, adjustable to the needs of any employer, without any essential characteristics beyond a requisite subservience. Classical liberalism always assumes the coherent individual self as its basic unit. Neoliberalism, by contrast, sees people as little more than variable bundles of human capital, with no permanent interests or even attributes that cannot be remade through the market. For Mirowski, the proliferation of these forms of everyday neoliberalism constitute a "major reason the neoliberals have emerged from the crisis triumphant." ..."
"... Finally, Mirowski argues that the Left has too often been sucked in by neoliberalism's loyal opposition. Figures like Joseph Stiglitz or Paul Krugman, while critical of austerity and supportive of the welfare state, accept the fundamental neoclassical economic precepts at the heart of neoliberal policy. Mirowski argues that we must ditch this tradition in its entirety. Even attempts to render its assumptions more realistic -- as in the case of behavioral economics, for example, which takes account of the ways real people diverge from the hyperrationality of homo economicus -- provide little succor for those seeking to overturn the neoliberals. ..."
"... Mirowski's insistence on the centrality of the state to the neoliberal project helps correct the unfortunate tendency of many leftists over the past decade to assent to neoliberal nostrums about the obsolescence of the state. Indeed, Mirowski goes further than many other critics who have challenged the supposed retreat of the state under neoliberalism. ..."
"... Loïc Wacquant, for instance, has described the "centaur state" of neoliberalism, in which a humanist liberalism reigns for the upper classes, while the lower classes face the punitive state apparatus in all its bestiality. ..."
"... Mirowski shows us that the world of the rich under neoliberalism in no way corresponds to the laissez-faire of classical liberalism. The state does not so much leave the rich alone as actively work to reshape the world in their interests, helping to create markets for the derivatives and securities that made (and then destroyed) so many of the fortunes of the recent past. The neoliberal state is an eminently interventionist one, and those mistaking it for the austere nightwatchman of libertarian utopianism have little hope of combating it. ..."
"... Mirowski's concern to disabuse his readers of the notion that the wing of neoliberal doctrine disseminated by neoclassical economists could ever be reformed produces some of the best sections of the book. His portrait of an economics profession in haggard disarray in the aftermath of the crisis is both comic and tragic, as the amusement value of the buffoonery on display diminishes quickly when one realizes the prestige still accorded to these figures. Reading his comprehensive examination of the discipline's response to the crisis, one is reminded of Freud's famous broken kettle. The professional economists' account of their role in the crisis went something like (a) there was no bubble and (b) bubbles are impossible to predict but (c) we knew it was a bubble all along. ..."
"... Though Krugman and Stiglitz have attacked concepts like the efficient markets hypothesis (which holds that prices in a competitive financial market reflect all relevant economic information), Mirowski argues that their attempt to do so while retaining the basic theoretical architecture of neoclassicism has rendered them doubly ineffective. ..."
"... First, their adoption of the battery of assumptions that accompany most neoclassical theorizing -- about representative agents, treating information like any other commodity, and so on -- make it nearly impossible to conclusively rebut arguments like the efficient markets hypothesis. ..."
Oct 01, 2017 | www.jacobinmag.com

To understand how a body of thought became an era of capitalism requires more than intellectual history.

"What is going to come after neoliberalism?" It was the question on many radicals' lips, present writer included, after the financial crisis hit in 2008. Though few were so sanguine about our prospects as to repeat the suicidal optimism of previous radical movements ("After Hitler, Our Turn!"), the feeling of the day was that the era of unfettered marketization was coming to a close. A new period of what was loosely referred to as Keynesianism would be the inevitable result of a crisis caused by markets run amok.

Five years later, little has changed. What comes after neoliberalism? More neoliberalism, apparently. The prospects for a revived Left capable of confronting it appear grim.

Enter Philip Mirowski's Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown . Mirowski maintains that the true nature of neoliberalism has gone unrecognized by its would-be critics, allowing the doctrine to flourish even in conditions, such as a massive financial crisis, that would seem to be inimical to its survival. Leftists keep busy tilting at the windmill of deregulation as the giants of neoliberalism go on pillaging unmolested.

Mirowski identifies three basic aspects of neoliberalism that the Left has failed to understand: the movement's intellectual history, the way it has transformed everyday life, and what constitutes opposition to it. Until we come to terms with them, Mirowski suggests, right-wing movements such as the Tea Party (a prominent player in the book) will continue to reign triumphant.

The book begins with the war of ideas -- a conflict in which, Mirowski argues, the Left has been far too generous in taking neoliberals at their word, or at least their best-publicized word. We have, in effect, been suckered by kindly old Milton Friedman telling us how much better off we'd all be if the government simply left us "free to choose." But neoliberals have at times been forthright about their appreciation for the uses of state power. Markets, after all, do not simply create themselves. Joining a long line of thinkers, most famously Karl Polanyi, Mirowski insists that a key error of the Left has been its failure to see that markets are always embedded in other social institutions. Neoliberals, by contrast, grasp this point with both hands -- and therefore seek to reshape all of the institutions of society, including and especially the state, to promote markets. Neoliberal ascendancy has meant not the retreat of the state so much as its remaking.

If Mirowski is often acidic about the Left's failure to understand this point, he also recognizes that the neoliberals themselves have been canny about keeping the real nature of their project hidden through a variety of means. Neoliberal institutions tend to have what he calls a "Russian doll" structure, with the most central ones well hidden from public eyes. Mirowski coins an ironic expression, "the Neoliberal Thought Collective," for the innermost entities that formulate the movement's doctrine. The venerable Mont Pelerin Society is an NTC institution. Its ideas are frequently disseminated through venues which, formally at least, are unconnected to the center, such as academic economics departments. Thus, neoclassical economists spread the gospel of the free market while the grand project of remaking the state falls to others.

At the same time as neoliberal commonsense trickles down from above, Mirowski argues that it also wells up from below, reinforced by our daily patterns of life. Social networking sites like Facebook encourage people to view themselves as perpetual cultural entrepreneurs, striving to offer a newer and better version of themselves to the world. Sites like LinkedIn prod their users to present themselves as a fungible basket of skills, adjustable to the needs of any employer, without any essential characteristics beyond a requisite subservience. Classical liberalism always assumes the coherent individual self as its basic unit. Neoliberalism, by contrast, sees people as little more than variable bundles of human capital, with no permanent interests or even attributes that cannot be remade through the market. For Mirowski, the proliferation of these forms of everyday neoliberalism constitute a "major reason the neoliberals have emerged from the crisis triumphant."

Finally, Mirowski argues that the Left has too often been sucked in by neoliberalism's loyal opposition. Figures like Joseph Stiglitz or Paul Krugman, while critical of austerity and supportive of the welfare state, accept the fundamental neoclassical economic precepts at the heart of neoliberal policy. Mirowski argues that we must ditch this tradition in its entirety. Even attempts to render its assumptions more realistic -- as in the case of behavioral economics, for example, which takes account of the ways real people diverge from the hyperrationality of homo economicus -- provide little succor for those seeking to overturn the neoliberals.

For Mirowski, these three failures of the Left go a long way toward explaining how neoliberals have largely escaped blame for a crisis they created. The Left persistently goes after phantoms like deregulation or smaller government, which neoliberals easily parry by pointing out that the regulatory apparatus has never been bigger. At the same time, we ignore the deep roots of neoliberal ideology in everyday life, deceiving ourselves as to the scale of the task in front of us.

Whatever criticisms of Mirowski's analysis are in order, much of it is compelling, particularly in regard to the intellectual history of the NTC. Mirowski's insistence on the centrality of the state to the neoliberal project helps correct the unfortunate tendency of many leftists over the past decade to assent to neoliberal nostrums about the obsolescence of the state. Indeed, Mirowski goes further than many other critics who have challenged the supposed retreat of the state under neoliberalism.

Loïc Wacquant, for instance, has described the "centaur state" of neoliberalism, in which a humanist liberalism reigns for the upper classes, while the lower classes face the punitive state apparatus in all its bestiality. But Mirowski shows us that the world of the rich under neoliberalism in no way corresponds to the laissez-faire of classical liberalism. The state does not so much leave the rich alone as actively work to reshape the world in their interests, helping to create markets for the derivatives and securities that made (and then destroyed) so many of the fortunes of the recent past. The neoliberal state is an eminently interventionist one, and those mistaking it for the austere nightwatchman of libertarian utopianism have little hope of combating it.

It's here that we begin to see the strategic genius of neoliberal infrastructure, with its teams of college economics professors teaching the wondrous efficacy of supply and demand on the one hand, and the think tanks and policy shops engaged in the relentless pursuit of state power on the other. The Left too often sees inconsistency where in fact there is a division of labor.

Mirowski's concern to disabuse his readers of the notion that the wing of neoliberal doctrine disseminated by neoclassical economists could ever be reformed produces some of the best sections of the book. His portrait of an economics profession in haggard disarray in the aftermath of the crisis is both comic and tragic, as the amusement value of the buffoonery on display diminishes quickly when one realizes the prestige still accorded to these figures. Reading his comprehensive examination of the discipline's response to the crisis, one is reminded of Freud's famous broken kettle. The professional economists' account of their role in the crisis went something like (a) there was no bubble and (b) bubbles are impossible to predict but (c) we knew it was a bubble all along.

Incoherence notwithstanding, however, little in the discipline has changed in the wake of the crisis. Mirowski thinks that this is at least in part a result of the impotence of the loyal opposition -- those economists such as Joseph Stiglitz or Paul Krugman who attempt to oppose the more viciously neoliberal articulations of economic theory from within the camp of neoclassical economics. Though Krugman and Stiglitz have attacked concepts like the efficient markets hypothesis (which holds that prices in a competitive financial market reflect all relevant economic information), Mirowski argues that their attempt to do so while retaining the basic theoretical architecture of neoclassicism has rendered them doubly ineffective.

First, their adoption of the battery of assumptions that accompany most neoclassical theorizing -- about representative agents, treating information like any other commodity, and so on -- make it nearly impossible to conclusively rebut arguments like the efficient markets hypothesis. Instead, they end up tinkering with it, introducing a nuance here or a qualification there. This tinkering causes their arguments to be more or less ignored in neoclassical pedagogy, as economists more favorably inclined toward hard neoliberal arguments can easily ignore such revisions and hold that the basic thrust of the theory is still correct. Stiglitz's and Krugman's arguments, while receiving circulation through the popular press, utterly fail to transform the discipline.

Mirowski also heaps scorn on the suggestion, sometimes made in leftist circles, that the problem at the heart of neoclassical economics is its assumption of a hyperrational homo economicus , relentlessly comparing equilibrium states and maximizing utility. Though such a revision may be appealing to a certain radical romanticism, Mirowski shows that a good deal of work going on under the label of behavioral economics has performed just this revision, and has come up with results that don't differ substantively from those of the mainstream. The main problem with neoclassicism isn't its theory of the human agent but rather its the theory of the market -- which is precisely what behavioral economics isn't interested in contesting.

In all, Mirowski's indictment of the state of economic theory and its imbrication with the neoliberal project is devastating. Unfortunately, he proves much less successful in explaining why things have turned out as they have. The book ascribes tremendous power to the Neoliberal Thought Collective, which somehow manages to do everything from controlling the economics profession to reshaping the state to forging a new sense of the human self. The reader is left wondering how the NTC came to acquire such power. This leads to the book's central flaw: a lack of any theory of the structure of modern capitalism. Indeed, the NTC seems to operate in something of a vacuum, without ever confronting other institutions or groups, such as the state or popular movements, with interests and agendas of their own.

To be fair, Mirowski does offer an explanation for the failure of popular movements to challenge neoliberalism, largely through his account of "everyday" neoliberalism. At its strongest, the book identifies important strategic failures, such as Occupy's embrace of "a mimicry of media technologies as opposed to concerted political mobilization." However, Mirowski extends the argument well beyond a specific failure of the Occupy movement to propose a general thesis that developments like Facebook and reality TV have transmitted neoliberal ideology to people who have never read Friedman and Hayek. In claiming that this embodied or embedded ideology plays an important role in the failure of the Left, he places far more explanatory weight on the concept of everyday neoliberalism than it is capable of bearing.

At the simplest level, it's just not clear that everyday neoliberalism constitutes the kind of block to political action that Mirowski thinks it does. No doubt, many people reading this article right now simultaneously have another browser tab open to monster.com or LinkedIn, where they are striving to present themselves as a fungible basket of skills to any employer that will have them. In this economy, everyone has to hustle, and that means using all available means. That many of these same readers have probably also done things like organize against foreclosures should give pause to any blurring of the distinction between using various media technologies and embracing the ideology Mirowski sees embodied in them.

Indeed, the ubiquity of participation in such technologies by people who support, oppose, or are apathetic about neoliberalism points to a larger phenomenon on which Mirowski is silent: the labor market. Put bluntly, it is difficult to imagine anyone engaging in the painfully strained self-advertisement facilitated by LinkedIn in a labor market with, say, 2-percent unemployment. In such a market, in which employers were competing for comparatively scarce workers, there would be very little need for those workers to go through the self-abasing ritual of converting themselves into fungible baskets of skills. In our current situation, by contrast, where secure and remunerative employment is comparatively scarce, it is no surprise that people turn to whatever technologies are available to attempt to sell themselves. As Joan Robinson put it, the only thing worse than being exploited by capitalism is not being exploited by it.

In evaluating the role of everyday neoliberalism, it is also helpful to move, for the moment, beyond the perspective of the United States, where the NTC has clearly had great success, and adopt that of countries where resistance is significantly more developed, such as Venezuela or South Africa. Especially in the former, popular movements have been notably successful in combating neoliberal efforts to take over the state and reshape the economy, and have instead pushed the country in the opposite direction. Is it really plausible that a main reason for this difference is that everyday neoliberalism is more intense in the United States? I doubt it. For one thing, the strength of Venezuela's radical movements, in comparison with the US, clearly antedates the developments (social media, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo , and so on) that Mirowski discusses.

Moreover, it is just as plausible that the entrepreneurial culture he describes is even more extensive in the slums of the global South, where neoliberal devastation has forced many poor households to rely on at least one family member engaging in semi-legal arbitrage in goods salvaged from garbage or made at home. Surely such activities provide a firmer foundation for commercial subjectivity than having a 401(k). That resistance has grown in such circumstances suggests that looking to malignant subjectivities to explain popular passivity is an analytic dead-end.

If everyday neoliberalism doesn't explain the comparative weakness of the US left, what does? This is, of course, the key question, and I can do no more than gesture at an answer here. But I would suggest that the specific histories of the institutions of the American left, from the Communist Party to Students for a Democratic Society to labor unions, and the histories of the situations they confronted, provide us with a more solid foundation for understanding our current weakness than the hegemony of neoliberal culture does. Moreover, with a theory of capitalism that emphasizes the way the structure of the system makes it both necessary and very difficult for most people to organize to advance their interests, it becomes very easy to explain the persistence of a low level of popular mobilization against neoliberalism in the context of a weakened left.

If Mirowski's account doesn't give us a good basis for explaining why popular resistance has been so lacking in the US, it nonetheless suggests why he is so concerned with explaining the supposed dominance of neoliberal ideology among the general population. From the beginning, he raises the specter of right-wing resurgence, whether in the form of Scott Walker surviving the recall campaign in Wisconsin, the Tea Party mania of 2010, or the success of right-wing parties in Europe. However, much of this seems overstated, especially from a contemporary perspective. The Tea Party has, for all intents and purposes, disappeared from the front lines of American politics, and the Republican Party, while capable of enacting all kinds of sadistic policies on the state level, has remained in a state of disarray on the national level since the 2006 congressional elections.

More fundamentally, the argument that the voting public embraces neoliberalism doesn't square well with recent research by political scientists like Larry Bartels and Martin Gilens emphasizing the profound disconnect between the policy preferences of the poor and what transpires in Washington. What appears to be happening is less the general populace's incorporation into neoliberalism than their exclusion from any institutions that would allow them to change it. Importantly, this alternative explanation does not rely on the Left conceit that rebellion lurks perpetually just below the placid social surface, ready to explode into radical insurgency at any moment. It simply contends that the political passivity of neoliberalism's victims reflects a real diminution of their political options.

Mirowski's failure to address these larger institutional and structural dynamics vitiates much of the explanatory power of his book. On a purely descriptive level, the sections on the intellectual history of neoliberalism and the non-crisis of neoclassical economics illuminate many of the hidden corners of neoliberal ideology. However, if Mirowski is right to suggest that we need to understand neoliberalism better to be successful in fighting it -- and he surely is -- then much more is needed to explain neoliberal success and Left failure.

To understand how a body of thought became an era of capitalism requires more than intellectual history. It demands an account of how capitalism actually works in the period in question, and how the ideas of a small group of intellectuals came to be the policy preferences of the rich. Mirowski has given us an excellent foundation for understanding the doctrine, but it will remain for others to explain its actual development.

https://staticxx.facebook.com/connect/xd_arbiter/r/Z2duorNoYeF.js?version=42#channel=f1c0e2812ec10f6&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.jacobinmag.com

[Oct 01, 2017] Neoliberal globalization will be dispaced by trade blocs, and several such blocks already exist such as the EU and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

As living standards continue to fall for the majority of their populations, tariff barriers will start to go up to protect their societies from cheap imports or from the "offshoring" of jobs. The freewheeling capitalism post 1979 is over. The crash of 2008 saw to that. Look at oil prices and global economic growth.
Notable quotes:
"... First. You assume that neo-Liberal "Free Trade" globalisation is going to continue. It will not. Trade blocs already exist e.g. the EU. As living standards continue to fall for the majority of their populations, tariff barriers will start to go up to protect their societies from cheap imports or from the "offshoring" of jobs. The freewheeling capitalism post 1979 is over. The crash of 2008 saw to that. Look at oil prices and global economic growth. ..."
"... Cheap labour costs are irrelevant if the skills are low grade and you have low productivity. Look at Germany. High quality skills, high quality manufacturing , high productivity and high wages. ..."
"... Manufacturers are already relocating closer to their markets where there is long term stability. China has already become far less attractive because of rising wages and no added value. The level of wealth inequity in China is also rising and China is heading for a demographic time bomb in the next 10 years which has already hit Japan. China will have its own serious problems in the next 10 years. ..."
Oct 01, 2017 | discussion.theguardian.com

Peter Rabbit -> NeilBarna, 2 Jun 2017 21:08

The premise of your argument is on very shaky ground for several reasons.

First. You assume that neo-Liberal "Free Trade" globalisation is going to continue. It will not. Trade blocs already exist e.g. the EU. As living standards continue to fall for the majority of their populations, tariff barriers will start to go up to protect their societies from cheap imports or from the "offshoring" of jobs. The freewheeling capitalism post 1979 is over. The crash of 2008 saw to that. Look at oil prices and global economic growth.

The present levels of wealth inequality in European countries and even in the U.S.A. will not be tolerated for much longer. The days of Gordon Gekko are numbered. Expect to see more State intervention in the economy together with more international cooperation over tax evasion and the systematic closing down of offshore, international tax havens.

Second. Education/Skills and Technology. Cheap labour costs are irrelevant if the skills are low grade and you have low productivity. Look at Germany. High quality skills, high quality manufacturing , high productivity and high wages.

Manufacturers are already relocating closer to their markets where there is long term stability. China has already become far less attractive because of rising wages and no added value. The level of wealth inequity in China is also rising and China is heading for a demographic time bomb in the next 10 years which has already hit Japan. China will have its own serious problems in the next 10 years.

The robots are already here and the investment is not in third world countries but in Europe and the U.S.A. These robots will make most of the working populations redundant in the next 20 years especially in manufacturing. This, together with the needs of an ever ageing population are going to be the real issues for the majority of us.

Third. The real elephant in the room which everyone is trying to ignore is climate change. The tipping point has now passed. We are going to see radical and dramatic global climate change in the next 10 years, not 20 or 30 years and with ever rising temperatures humanity is facing extinction and no amount of human technology is going to save the majority of us.

[Oct 01, 2017] Neoliberal economic policies in the United States The impact of globalisation on a `Northern country by Kim Scipes

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Following Frances Fox Piven, "neoliberal economic policies" refers to the set of policies carried out, in the name of individualism and unfettered markets, for "the deregulation of corporations, and particularly of financial institutions; the rollback of public services and benefit programs; curbing labor unions; 'free trade' policies that would pry open foreign markets; and wherever possible the replacement of public programs with private markets" (Piven, 2007: 13). ..."
"... The case of the United States is particularly useful to examine because its elites have projected themselves as "first among equals" of the globalization project ( Bello , 2006), and it is the place of the Global North where the neoliberal project has been pursued most resolutely and has advanced the farthest. In other words, the experiences of American workers illuminate the affects of the neoliberal project in the Global North to the greatest extent, and suggest what will happen to working people in other northern countries should they accept their respective government's adoption of such policies. ..."
"... However, it is believed that the implementation of these neoliberal economic policies and the cultural wars to divert public attention are part of a larger, conscious political program by the elites within this country that is intended to prevent re-emergence of the collective solidarity among the American people that we saw during the late 1960s-early 1970s (see Piven, 2004, 2007) -- of which the internal breakdown of discipline within the US military, in Vietnam and around the world, was arguably the most crucial (see Moser, 1996; Zeiger, 2006) -- that ultimately challenged, however inchoately, the very structure of the established social order, both internationally and in the United States itself. ..."
Oct 01, 2017 | links.org.au

Most contemporary discussions of globalization, and especially of the impact of neoliberal economic policies, focus on the countries of the Global South (see, for example, Bond, 2005; Ellner and Hellinger, eds., 2003; a number of articles in Harris, ed., 2006; Klein, 2007; Monthly Review, 2007; and, among others, see Scipes, 1999, 2006b). Recent articles arguing that the globalization project has receded and might be taking different approaches (Bello, 2006; Thornton, 2007) have also focused on the Global South. What has been somewhat discussed (see Giroux, 2004; Piven, 2004; Aronowitz, 2005) but not systematically addressed, however, is what has been the impact of globalization and especially related neoliberal economic policies on working people in a northern country? [i]

This paper specifically addresses this question by looking at the impact of neoliberal economic policies on working people in the United States . Following Frances Fox Piven, "neoliberal economic policies" refers to the set of policies carried out, in the name of individualism and unfettered markets, for "the deregulation of corporations, and particularly of financial institutions; the rollback of public services and benefit programs; curbing labor unions; 'free trade' policies that would pry open foreign markets; and wherever possible the replacement of public programs with private markets" (Piven, 2007: 13).

The case of the United States is particularly useful to examine because its elites have projected themselves as "first among equals" of the globalization project ( Bello , 2006), and it is the place of the Global North where the neoliberal project has been pursued most resolutely and has advanced the farthest. In other words, the experiences of American workers illuminate the affects of the neoliberal project in the Global North to the greatest extent, and suggest what will happen to working people in other northern countries should they accept their respective government's adoption of such policies.

However, care must be taken as to how this is understood. While sociologically-focused textbooks (e.g., Aguirre and Baker, eds., 2008; Hurst, 2007) have joined together some of the most recent thinking on social inequality -- and have demonstrated that inequality not only exists but is increasing -- this has been generally presented in a national context; in this case, within the United States. And if they recognize that globalization is part of the reason for increasing inequality, it is generally included as one of a set of reasons.

This paper argues that we simply cannot understand what is happening unless we put developments within a global context: the United States effects, and is affected by, global processes. Thus, while some of the impacts can be understood on a national level, we cannot ask related questions as to causes -- or future consequences -- by confining our examination to a national level: we absolutely must approach this from a global perspective (see Nederveen Pieterse, 2004, 2008).

This also must be put in historical perspective as well, although the focus in this piece will be limited to the post-World War II world. Inequality within what is now the United States today did not -- obviously -- arise overnight. Unquestionably, it began at least 400 years ago in Jamestown -- with the terribly unequal and socially stratified society of England's colonial Virginia before Africans were brought to North America (see Fischer, 1989), much less after their arrival in 1619, before the Pilgrims. Yet, to understand the roots of development of contemporary social inequality in the US , we must understand the rise of " Europe " in relation to the rest of the world (see, among others, Rodney, 1972; Nederveen Pieterse, 1989). In short, again, we have to understand that the development of the United States has been and will always be a global project and, without recognizing that, we simply cannot begin to understand developments within the United States .

We also have to understand the multiple and changing forms of social stratification and resulting inequalities in this country. This paper prioritizes economic stratification, although is not limited to just the resulting inequalities. Nonetheless, it does not focus on racial, gender or any other type of social stratification. However, this paper is not written from the perspective that economic stratification is always the most important form of stratification, nor from the perspective that we can only understand other forms of stratification by understanding economic stratification: all that is being claimed herein is that economic stratification is one type of social stratification, arguably one of the most important types yet only one of several, and investigates the issue of economic stratification in the context of contemporary globalization and the neoliberal economic policies that have developed to address this phenomenon as it affects the United States.

Once this global-historical perspective is understood and after quickly suggesting in the "prologue" why the connection between neoliberal economic policies and the affects on working people in the United States has not been made usually, this paper focuses on several interrelated issues: (1) it reports the current economic situation for workers in the United States; (2) it provides a historical overview of US society since World War II; (3) it analyzes the results of US Government economic policies; and (4) it ties these issues together. From that, it comes to a conclusion about the affects of neoliberal economic policies on working people in the United States .

Prologue: Origins of neoliberal economic policies in the United States

As stated above, most of the attention directed toward understanding the impact of neoliberal economic policies on various countries has been confined to the countries of the Global South. However, these policies have been implemented in the United States as well. This arguably began in 1982, when the Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, Paul Volcker, launched a vicious attack on inflation -- and caused the deepest US recession since the Great Depression of the late 1920s-1930s.

However, these neoliberal policies have been implemented in the US perhaps more subtly than in the Global South. This is said because, when trying to understand changes that continue to take place in the United States, these economic policies are hidden "under" the various and sundry "cultural wars" (around issues such as drugs, premarital sex, gun control, abortion, marriages for gays and lesbians) that have been taking place in this country and, thus, not made obvious: most Americans, and especially working people, are not aware of the changes detailed below. [ii]

However, it is believed that the implementation of these neoliberal economic policies and the cultural wars to divert public attention are part of a larger, conscious political program by the elites within this country that is intended to prevent re-emergence of the collective solidarity among the American people that we saw during the late 1960s-early 1970s (see Piven, 2004, 2007) -- of which the internal breakdown of discipline within the US military, in Vietnam and around the world, was arguably the most crucial (see Moser, 1996; Zeiger, 2006) -- that ultimately challenged, however inchoately, the very structure of the established social order, both internationally and in the United States itself. Thus, we see both Democratic and Republican Parties in agreement to maintain and expand the US Empire (in more neutral political science-ese, a "uni-polar world"), but the differences that emerge within each party and between each party are generally confined to how this can best be accomplished. While this paper focuses on the economic and social changes going on, it should be kept in mind that these changes did not "just happen": conscious political decisions have been made that produced social results (see Piven, 2004) that make the US experience -- at the center of a global social order based on an "advanced" capitalist economy -- qualitatively different from experiences in other more economically-developed countries.

So, what has been the impact of these policies on workers in the US?

1) The current situation for workers and growing economic inequality

Steven Greenhouse of The New York Times published a piece on September 4, 2006, writing about entry-level workers, young people who were just entering the job market. Mr. Greenhouse noted changes in the US economy; in fact, there have been substantial changes since early 2000, when the economy last created many jobs.

Yet, the percentage drop in wages hides the growing gap between college and high school graduates. Today, on average, college grads earn 45 per cent more than high school graduates, where the gap had "only" been 23 per cent in 1979: the gap has doubled in 26 years (Greenhouse, 2006b).

A 2004 story in Business Week found that 24 per cent of all working Americans received wages below the poverty line ( Business Week , 2004). [iii] In January 2004, 23.5 million Americans received free food from food pantries. "The surge for food demand is fueled by several forces -- job losses, expired unemployment benefits, soaring health-care and housing costs, and the inability of many people to find jobs that match the income and benefits of the jobs they had." And 43 million people were living in low-income families with children (Jones, 2004).

A 2006 story in Business Week found that US job growth between 2001-2006 was really based on one industry: health care. Over this five-year period, the health-care sector has added 1.7 million jobs, while the rest of the private sector has been stagnant. Michael Mandel, the economics editor of the magazine, writes:

information technology, the great electronic promise of the 1990s, has turned into one of the greatest job-growth disappointments of all time. Despite the splashy success of companies such as Google and Yahoo!, businesses at the core of the information economy -- software, semi-conductors, telecom, and the whole range of Web companies -- have lost more than 1.1 million jobs in the past five years. These businesses employ fewer Americans today than they did in 1998, when the Internet frenzy kicked into high gear (Mandel, 2006: 56) .

In fact, "take away health-care hiring in the US, and quicker than you can say cardiac bypass, the US unemployment rate would be 1 to 2 percentage points higher" (Mandel, 2006: 57).

There has been extensive job loss in manufacturing. Over 3.4 million manufacturing jobs have been lost since 1998, and 2.9 million of them have been lost since 2001. Additionally, over 40,000 manufacturing firms have closed since 1999, and 90 per cent have been medium and large shops. In labor-import intensive industries, 25 per cent of laid-off workers remain unemployed after six months, two-thirds of them who do find new jobs earn less than on their old job, and one-quarter of those who find new jobs "suffer wage losses of more than 30 percent" (AFL-CIO, 2006a: 2).

The AFL-CIO details the US job loss by manufacturing sector in the 2001-05 period:

As of the end of 2005, only 10.7 per cent of all US employment was in manufacturing -- down from 21.6 per cent at its height in 1979 -- in raw numbers, manufacturing employment totaled 19.426 million in 1979, 17.263 million in 2000, and 14.232 million in 2005. [iv] The number of production workers in this country at the end of 2005 was 9.378 million. [v] This was only slightly above the 9.306 million production workers in 1983, and was considerably below the 11.463 million as recently as 2000 (US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2006b). As one writer puts it, this is "the biggest long-term trend in the economy: the decline of manufacturing." He notes that employment in the durable goods (e.g., cars and cable TV boxes) category of manufacturing has declined from 19 per cent of all employment in 1965 to 8 per cent in 2005 (Altman, 2006). And at the end of 2006, only 11.7 per cent of all manufacturing workers were in unions (US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2007).

In addition, in 2004 and 2005, "the real hourly and weekly wages of US manufacturing workers have fallen 3 per cent and 2.2 per cent respectively" (AFL-CIO, 2006a: 2).

The minimum wage level went unchanged for nine years: until recently when there was a small increase -- to $5.85 an hour on July 24, 2007 -- US minimum wage had remained at $5.15 an hour since September 1, 1997 . During that time, the cost of living rose 26 percent. After adjusting for inflation, this was the lowest level of the minimum wage since 1955. At the same time, the minimum wage was only 31 per cent of the average pay of non-supervisory workers in the private sector, which is the lowest share since World War II (Bernstein and Shapiro, 2006).

In addition to the drop in wages at all levels, fewer new workers get health care benefits with their jobs: [vi] in 2005, 64 per cent of all college grads got health coverage in entry-level jobs, where 71 per cent had gotten it in 2000 -- a 7 per cent drop in just five years. Over a longer term, we can see what has happened to high school grads: in 1979, two-thirds of all high school graduates got health care coverage in entry-level jobs, while only one-third do today (Greenhouse, 2006b). It must be kept in mind that only about 28 per cent of the US workforce are college graduates -- most of the work force only has a high school degree, although a growing percentage of them have some college, but not college degrees.

Because things have gotten so bad, many young adults have gotten discouraged and given up. The unemployment rate is 4.4 per cent for ages 25-34, but 8.2 per cent for workers 20-24. (Greenhouse, 2006b).

Yet things are actually worse than that. In the US , unemployment rates are artificially low. If a person gets laid off and gets unemployment benefits -- which fewer and fewer workers even get -- they get a check for six months. If they have not gotten a job by the end of six months -- and it is taking longer and longer to get a job -- and they have given up searching for work, then not only do they loose their unemployment benefits, but they are no longer counted as unemployed: one doesn't even count in the statistics!

A report from April 2004 provides details. According to the then-head of the US Federal Reserve System, Alan Greenspan, "the average duration of unemployment increased from twelve weeks in September 2000 to twenty weeks in March [2004]" (quoted in Shapiro, 2004: 4). In March 2004, 354,000 jobs workers had exhausted their unemployment benefits, and were unable to get any additional federal unemployment assistance: Shapiro (2004: 1) notes, "In no other month on record, with data available back to 1971, have there been so many 'exhaustees'."

Additionally, although it's rarely reported, unemployment rates vary by racial grouping. No matter what the unemployment rate is, it really only reflects the rate of whites who are unemployed because about 78 per cent of the workforce is white. However, since 1954, the unemployment rate of African-Americans has always been more than twice that of whites, and Latinos are about 1 1/2 times that of whites. So, for example, if the overall rate is five percent, then it's at least ten per cent for African-Americans and 7.5 per cent for Latinos.

However, most of the developments presented above -- other than the racial affects of unemployment -- have been relatively recent. What about longer term? Paul Krugman, a Nobel Prize-winning Princeton University economist who writes for The New York Times, pointed out these longer term affects: non-supervisory workers make less in real wages today (2006) than they made in 1973! So, after inflation is taken out, non-supervisory workers are making less today in real terms that their contemporaries made 33 years ago (Krugman, 2006b). Figures provided by Stephen Franklin -- obtained from the US Bureau of Statistics, and presented in 1982 dollars -- show that a production worker in January 1973 earned $9.08 an hour -- and $8.19 an hour in December 2005 (Franklin, 2006). Workers in 2005 also had less long-term job security, fewer benefits, less stable pensions (when they have them), and rising health care costs. [vii]

In short, the economic situation for "average Americans" is getting worse. A front-page story in the Chicago Tribune tells about a worker who six years ago was making $29 an hour, working at a nuclear power plant. He got laid off, and now makes $12.24 an hour, working on the bottom tier of a two-tiered unionized factory owned by Caterpillar, the multinational earth moving equipment producer, which is less than half of his old wages. The article pointed out, "Glued to a bare bones budget, he saved for weeks to buy a five-pack of $7 T-shirts" ( Franklin , 2006).

As Foster and Magdoff point out:

Except for a small rise in the late 1990s, real wages have been sluggish for decades. The typical (median-income) family has sought to compensate for this by increasing the number of jobs and working hours per household. Nevertheless, the real (inflation-adjusted) income of the typical household fell for five years in a row through 2004 (Foster and Magdoff, 2009: 28).

A report by Workers Independent News (WIN) stated that while a majority of metropolitan areas have regained the 2.6 million jobs lost during the first two years of the Bush Administration, "the new jobs on average pay $9,000 less than the jobs replaced," a 21 per cent decline from $43,629 to $34,378. However, WIN says that "99 out of the 361 metro areas will not recover jobs before 2007 and could be waiting until 2015 before they reach full recovery" (Russell, 2006).

At the same time, Americans are going deeper and deeper into debt. At the end of 2000, total US household debt was $7.008 trillion, with home mortgage debt being $4.811 trillion and non-mortgage debt $1.749 trillion; at the end of 2006, comparable numbers were a total of $12.817 trillion; $9.705 trillion (doubling since 2000); and $2.431 trillion (US Federal Reserve, 2007-rounding by author). Foster and Magdoff (2009: 29) show that this debt is not only increasing, but based on figures from the Federal Reserve, that debt as a percentage of disposable income has increased overall from 62% in 1975 to 96.8% in 2000, and to 127.2% in 2005.

Three polls from mid-2006 found "deep pessimism among American workers, with most saying that wages were not keeping pace with inflation, and that workers were worse off in many ways than a generation ago" (Greenhouse, 2006a). And, one might notice, nothing has been said about increasing gas prices, lower home values, etc. The economic situation for most working people is not looking pretty.

In fact, bankruptcy filings totaled 2.043 million in 2005, up 31.6 per cent from 2004 (Associated Press, 2006), before gas prices went through the ceiling and housing prices began falling in mid-2006. Yet in 1998, writers for the Chicago Tribune had written, " the number of personal bankruptcy filings skyrocketed 19.5 per cent last year, to an all-time high of 1,335,053, compared with 1,117,470 in 1996" (Schmeltzer and Gruber, 1998).

And at the same time, there were 37 million Americans in poverty in 2005, one of out every eight. Again, the rates vary by racial grouping: while 12.6 per cent of all Americans were in poverty, the poverty rate for whites was 8.3 percent; for African Americans, 24.9 per cent were in poverty, as were 21.8 per cent of all Latinos. (What is rarely acknowledged, however, is that 65 per cent of all people in poverty in the US are white.) And 17.6 per cent of all children were in poverty (US Census Bureau, 2005).

What about the "other half"? This time, Paul Krugman gives details from a report by two Northwestern University professors, Ian Dew-Becker and Robert Gordon, titled "Where Did the Productivity Growth Go?" Krugman writes:

Between 1973 and 2001, the wage and salary income of Americans at the 90th percentile of the income distribution rose only 34 percent, or about 1 per cent per year. But income at the 99th percentile rose 87 percent; income at the 99.9th percentile rose 181 percent; and income at the 99.99th percentile rose 497 percent. No, that's not a misprint. Just to give you a sense of who we're talking about: the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that this year, the 99th percentile will correspond to an income of $402,306, and the 99.9th percentile to an income of $1,672,726. The Center doesn't give a number for the 99.99th percentile, but it's probably well over $6 million a year (Krugman, 2006a) .

But how can we understand what is going on? We need to put take a historical approach to understand the significance of the changes reported above.

(2) A historical look at the US social order since World War II

When considering the US situation, it makes most sense to look at "recent" US developments, those since World War II. Just after the War, in 1947, the US population was about six per cent of the world's total. Nonetheless, this six per cent produced about 48 per cent of all goods and services in the world! [viii] With Europe and Japan devastated, the US was the only industrialized economy that had not been laid waste. Everybody needed what the US produced -- and this country produced the goods, and sent them around the world.

At the same time, the US economy was not only the most productive, but the rise of the industrial union movement in the 1930s and '40s -- the CIO (Congress of Industrial Organizations) -- meant that workers had some power to demand a share of the wealth produced. In 1946, just after the war, the US had the largest strike wave in its history: 116,000,000 production days were lost in early 1946, as industry-wide strikes in auto, steel, meat packing, and the electrical industry took place across the United States and Canada , along with smaller strikes in individual firms. Not only that, but there were general strikes that year in Oakland , California and Stamford , Connecticut . Workers had been held back during the war, but they demonstrated their power immediately thereafter (Lipsitz, 1994; Murolo and Chitty, 2001). Industry knew that if it wanted the production it could sell, it had to include unionized workers in on the deal.

It was this combination -- devastated economic markets around the world and great demand for goods and services, the world's most developed industrial economy, and a militant union movement -- that combined to create what is now known as the "great American middle class." [ix]

To understand the economic impact of these factors, changes in income distribution in US society must be examined. The best way to illuminate this is to assemble family data on income or wealth [x] -- income data is more available, so that will be used; arrange it from the smallest amount to the largest; and then to divide the population into fifths, or quintiles. In other words, arrange every family's annual income from the lowest to the highest, and divide the total number of family incomes into quintiles or by 20 percents (i.e., fifths). Then compare changes in the top incomes for each quintile. By doing so, one can then observe changes in income distribution over specified time periods.

The years between 1947 and 1973 are considered the "golden years" of the US society. [xi] The values are presented in 2005 dollars, so that means that inflation has been taken out: these are real dollar values, and that means these are valid comparisons.

Figure 1: US family income, in US dollars, growth and istribution, by quintile, 1947-1973 compared to 1973-2001, in 2005 dollars

Lowest 20%

Second 20 %

Third 20%

Fourth 20%

95 th Percentile [xii]

1947

$11,758

$18,973

$25,728

$36,506

$59,916

1973

$23,144

$38,188

$53,282

$73,275

$114,234

Difference (26 years) $11,386

(97%)

$19,145

(100%)

$27,554

(107%)

$36,769

(101%)

$54,318

(91%)

1973

$23,144

$38,188

$53,282

$73,275

$114,234

2001

$26,467

$45,355

$68,925

$103,828

$180,973

Difference (28 years) $3,323

(14%)

$7,167

(19%)

$15,643

(29%)

$30,553

(42%)

$66,739

(58%)

Source: US Commerce Department, Bureau of the Census (hereafter, US Census Bureau) at www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/histinc/f01ar.html . All dollar values converted to 2005 dollars by US Census Bureau, removing inflation and comparing real values. Differences and percentages calculated by author. Percentages shown in both rows labeled "Difference" show the dollar difference as a percentage of the first year of the comparison.

Data for the first period, 1947-1973 -- the data above the grey line -- shows there was considerable real economic growth for each quintile . Over the 26-year period, there was approximately 100 per cent real economic growth for the incomes at the top of each quintile, which meant incomes doubled after inflation was removed; thus, there was significant economic growth in the society.

And importantly, this real economic growth was distributed fairly evenly . The data in the fourth line (in parentheses) is the percentage relationship between the difference between 1947-1973 real income when compared to the 1947 real income, with 100 per cent representing a doubling of real income: i.e., the difference for the bottom quintile between 1947 and 1973 was an increase of $11,386, which is 97 per cent more than $11,758 that the top of the quintile had in 1947. As can be seen, other quintiles also saw increases of roughly comparable amounts: in ascending order, 100 percent, 107 percent, 101 percent, and 91 percent. In other words, the rate of growth by quintile was very similar across all five quintiles of the population.

When looking at the figures for 1973-2001, something vastly different can be observed. This is the section below the grey line. What can be seen? First, economic growth has slowed considerably: the highest rate of growth for any quintile was that of 58 per cent for those who topped the fifth quintile, and this was far below the "lagger" of 91 per cent of the earlier period.

Second, of what growth there was, it was distributed extremely unequally . And the growth rates for those in lower quintiles were generally lower than for those above them: for the bottom quintile, their real income grew only 14 per cent over the 1973-2001 period; for the second quintile, 19 percent; for the third, 29 percent; for the fourth, 42 percent; and for the 80-95 percent, 58 percent: loosely speaking, the rich are getting richer, and the poor poorer.

Why the change? I think two things in particular. First, as industrialized countries recovered from World War II, corporations based in these countries could again compete with those from the US -- first in their own home countries, and then through importing into the US , and then ultimately when they invested in the United States . Think of Toyota : they began importing into the US in the early 1970s, and with their investments here in the early '80s and forward, they now are the largest domestic US auto producer.

Second cause for the change has been the deterioration of the American labor movement: from 35.3 per cent of the non-agricultural workforce in unions in 1954, to only 12.0 per cent of all American workers in unions in 2006 -- and only 7.4 per cent of all private industry workers are unionized, which is less than in 1930!

This decline in unionization has a number of reasons. Part of this deterioration has been the result of government policies -- everything from the crushing of the air traffic controllers when they went on strike by the Reagan Administration in 1981, to reform of labor law, to reactionary appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, which oversees administration of labor law. Certainly a key government policy, signed by Democratic President Bill Clinton, has been the North American Free Trade Act or NAFTA. One analyst came straight to the point:

Since [NAFTA] was signed in 1993, the rise in the US trade deficit with Canada and Mexico through 2002 has caused the displacement of production that supported 879,280 US jobs. Most of these lost jobs were high-wage positions in manufacturing industries. The loss of these jobs is just the most visible tip of NAFTA's impact on the US economy. In fact, NAFTA has also contributed to rising income inequality, suppressed real wages for production workers, weakened workers' collective bargaining powers and ability to organize unions, and reduced fringe benefits (Scott, 2003: 1).

These attacks by elected officials have been joined by the affects due to the restructuring of the economy. There has been a shift from manufacturing to services. However, within manufacturing, which has long been a union stronghold, there has been significant job loss: between July 2000 and January 2004, the US lost three million manufacturing jobs, or 17.5 percent, and 5.2 million since the historical peak in 1979, so that "Employment in manufacturing [in January 2004] was its lowest since July 1950" (CBO, 2004). This is due to both outsourcing labor-intensive production overseas and, more importantly, technological displacement as new technology has enabled greater production at higher quality with fewer workers in capital-intensive production (see Fisher, 2004). Others have blamed burgeoning trade deficits for the rise: " an increasing share of domestic demand for manufacturing output is satisfied by foreign rather than domestic producers" (Bivens, 2005). [xiii] Others have even attributed it to changes in consumer preferences (Schweitzer and Zaman, 2006). Whatever the reason, of the 50 states, only five (Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming) did not see any job loss in manufacturing between 1993-2003, yet 37 lost between 5.6 and 35.9 per cent of their manufacturing jobs during this period (Public Policy Institute, 2004).

However, part of the credit for deterioration of the labor movement must be given to the labor movement itself: the leadership has been simply unable to confront these changes and, at the same time, they have consistently worked against any independent action by rank-and-file members. [xiv]

However, it must be asked: are the changes in the economy presented herein merely statistical manipulations, or is this indicating something real?

This point can be illustrated another way: by using CAGR, the Compound Annual Growth Rate. This is a single number that is computed, based on compounded amounts, across a range of years, to come up with an average number to represent the rate of increase or decrease each year across the entire period. This looks pretty complex, but it is based on the same idea as compound interest used in our savings accounts: you put in $10 today and (this is obviously not a real example) because you get ten per cent interest, so you have $11 the next year. Well, the following year, interest is not computed off the original $10, but is computed on the $11. So, by the third year, from your $10, you now have $12.10. Etc. And this is what is meant by the Compound Annual Growth Rate: this is average compound growth by year across a designated period.

Based on the numbers presented above in Figure 1, the author calculated the Compound Annual Growth Rate by quintiles (Figure 2). The annual growth rate has been calculated for the first period, 1947-1973, the years known as the "golden years" of US society. What has happened since then? Compare results from the 1947-73 period to the annual growth rate across the second period, 1973-2001, again calculated by the author.

Figure 2: Annual percentage of family income growth, by quintile, 1947-1973 compared to 1973-2001

Population by quintiles

1947-1973

1973-2001
95th Percentile

2.51%

1.66%

Fourth quintile

2.72%

1.25%

Third quintile

2.84%

.92%

Second quintile

2.73%

.62%

Lowest quintile

2.64%

.48%

Source: Calculated by author from gather provided by the US Census Bureau at www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/histinc/f01ar.html .

What we can see here is that while everyone's income was growing at about the same rate in the first period -- between 2.51 and 2.84 per cent annually -- by the second period, not only had growth slowed down across the board, but it grew by very different rates: what we see here, again, is that the rich are getting richer, and the poor poorer.

If these figures are correct, a change over time in the percentage of income received by each quintile should be observable. Ideally, if the society were egalitarian, each 20 per cent of the population would get 20 per cent of the income in any one year. In reality, it differs. To understand Figure 3, below, one must not only look at the percentage of income held by a quintile across the chart, comparing selected year by selected year, but one needs to look to see whether a quintile's share of income is moving toward or away from the ideal 20 percent.

Figure 3: Percentage of family income distribution by quintile, 1947, 1973, 2001.

Population by quintiles 1947 1973 2001

Top fifth (lower limit of top 5percent, or 95th Percentile)-- $184,500 [xv]

43.0% 41.1% 47.7%
Second fifth--$103,100 23.1% 24.0% 22.9%
Third fifth--$68,304 17.0% 17.5% 15.4%
Fourth fifth--$45,021 11.9% 11.9% 9.7%
Bottom fifth--$25,616 5.0% 5.5% 4.2%

Source: US Census Bureau at www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/histinc/f02ar.html .

Unfortunately, much of the data available publicly ended in 2001. However, in the summer of 2007, after years of not releasing data any later than 2001, the Census Bureau released income data up to 2005. It allows us to examine what has taken place regarding family income inequality during the first four years of the Bush Administration.

Figure 4: US family income, in US dollars, growth and distribution, by quintile, 2001-2005, 2005 US dollars

Lowest 20%

Second 20%

Middle 20%

Fourth 20%

Lowest level of top 5%

2001

$26,467

$45,855

$68,925

$103,828

$180,973

2005

$25,616

$45,021

$68,304

$103,100

$184,500

Difference

(4 years)

-$851

(-3.2%)

-$834

(-1.8%)

-$621

(-.01%)

-$728

(-.007%)

$3,527

(1.94%)

Source: US Census Bureau at www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/histinc/f01ar.html . (Over time, the Census Bureau refigures these amounts, so they have subsequently converted amounts to 2006 dollar values. These values are from their 2005 dollar values, and were calculated by the Census Bureau.) Differences and percentages calculated by author.

Thus, what we've seen under the first four years of the Bush Administration is that for at most Americans, their economic situation has worsened: not only has over all economic growth for any quintile slowed to a minuscule 1.94 per cent at the most, but that the bottom 80 per cent actually lost income; losing money (an absolute loss), rather than growing a little but falling further behind the top quintile (a relative loss). Further, the decrease across the bottom four quintiles has been suffered disproportionately by those in the lowest 40 per cent of the society.

This can perhaps be seen more clearly by examining CAGR rates by period.

We can now add the results of the 2001-2005 period share of income by quintile to our earlier chart:

Figure 5: Percentage of income growth per year by percentile, 1947-2005

Population by quintiles

1947-1973

1973-2001

2001-2005

Top 95 percentile

2.51%

1.66%

.48%

Fourth fifth

2.72%

1.25%

-.18%

Third fifth

2.84%

.92%

-.23%

Second fifth

2.73%

.62%

-.46%

Bottom fifth

2.64%

.48%

-.81%

Source: Calculated by author from data gathered from the US Department of the Census www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/histinc/f01ar.html .

As can be seen, the percentage of family income at each of the four bottom quintiles is less in 2005 than in 1947; the only place there has been improvement over this 58-year period is at the 95th percentile (and above).

Figure 6: Percentage of family income distribution by quintile, 1947, 1973, 2001, 2005.

Population by quintiles 1947 1973 2001 2005

Top fifth (lower limit of top 5percent, or 95th Percentile)-- $184,500

43.0% 41.1% 47.7% 48.1%
Second fifth--$103,100 23.1% 24.0% 22.9% 22.9%
Third fifth--$68,304 17.0% 17.5% 15.4% 15.3%
Fourth fifth--$45,021 11.9% 11.9% 9.7% 9.6%
Bottom fifth--$25,616 5.0% 5.5% 4.2% 4.0%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau at www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/histinc/f02ar.html .

What has been presented so far, regarding changes in income distribution, has been at the group level; in this case, quintile by quintile. It is time now to see how this has affected the society overall.

Sociologists and economists use a number called the Gini index to measure inequality. Family income data has been used so far, and we will continue using it. A Gini index is fairly simple to use. It measures inequality in a society. A Gini index is generally reported in a range between 0.000 and 1.000, and is written in thousandths, just like a winning percentage mark: three digits after the decimal. And the higher the Gini score, the greater the inequality.

Looking at the Gini index, we can see two periods since 1947, when the US Government began computing the Gini index for the country. From 1947-1968, with yearly change greater or smaller, the trend is downward, indicating reduced inequality: from .376 in 1947 to .378 in 1950, but then downward to .348 in 1968. So, again, over the first period, the trend is downward.

What has happened since then? From the low point in 1968 of .348, the trend has been upward. In 1982, the Gini index hit .380, which was higher than any single year between 1947-1968, and the US has never gone below .380 since then. By 1992, it hit .403, and we've never gone back below .400. In 2001, the US hit .435. But the score for 2005 has only recently been published: .440 (source: http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/histinc/f04.html ). So, the trend is getting worse, and with the policies established under George W. Bush, I see them only continuing to increase in the forthcoming period. [And by the way, this increasing trend has continued under both the Republicans and the Democrats, but since the Republicans have controlled the presidency for 18 of the last 26 years (since 1981), they get most of the credit -- but let's not forget that the Democrats have controlled Congress across many of those years, so they, too, have been an equal opportunity destroyer!]

However, one more question must be asked: how does this income inequality in the US, compare to other countries around the world? Is the level of income inequality comparable to other "developed" societies, or is it comparable to "developing" countries?

We must turn to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for our data. The CIA computes Gini scores for family income on most of the countries around the world, and the last time checked in 2007 (August 1), they had data on 122 countries on their web page and these numbers had last been updated on July 19, 2007 (US Central Intelligence Agency, 2007). With each country listed, there is a Gini score provided. Now, the CIA doesn't compute Gini scores yearly, but they give the last year it was computed, so these are not exactly equivalent but they are suggestive enough to use. However, when they do assemble these Gini scores in one place, they list them alphabetically, which is not of much comparative use (US Central Intelligence Agency, 2007).

However, the World Bank categorizes countries, which means they can be compared within category and across categories. The World Bank, which does not provide Gini scores, puts 208 countries into one of four categories based on Gross National Income per capita -- that's total value of goods and services sold in the market in a year, divided by population size. This is a useful statistic, because it allows us to compare societies with economies of vastly different size: per capita income removes the size differences between countries.

The World Bank locates each country into one of four categories: lower income, lower middle income, upper middle income, and high income (World Bank, 2007a). Basically, those in the lower three categories are "developing" or what we used to call "third world" countries, while the high income countries are all of the so-called developed countries.

The countries listed by the CIA with their respective Gini scores were placed into the specific World Bank categories in which the World Bank had previously located them (World Bank, 2007b). Once grouped in their categories, median Gini scores were computed for each group. When trying to get one number to represent a group of numbers, median is considered more accurate than an average, so the median was used, which means half of the scores are higher, half are lower -- in other words, the data is at the 50th percentile for each category.

The Gini score for countries, by Gross National Income per capita, categorized by the World Bank:

Figure 7: Median Gini Scores by World Bank income categories (countries selected by US Central Intelligence Agency were placed in categories developed by the World Bank) and compared to 2004 US Gini score as calculated by US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

Income category

Median Gini score

Gini score, US (2004)

Low income countries (less than $875/person/year)

.406

.450

Lower-middle income countries (between $876-3,465/person/year)

.414

.450

Upper-middle income countries (between $3,466-10,725/person/year

.370

.450

Upper-income countries (over $10,726/person/year

.316

.450

As can be seen, with the (CIA-calculated) Gini score of .450, the US family income is more unequal than the medians for each category, and is more unequal than some of the poorest countries on earth, such as Bangladesh (.318 -- calculated in 2000), Cambodia (.400, 2004 est.), Laos (.370-1997), Mozambique (.396, 1996-97), Uganda (.430-1999) and Vietnam (.361, 1998). This same finding also holds true using the more conservative Census Bureau-calculated Gini score of .440.

Thus, the US has not only become more unequal over the 35 years, as has been demonstrated above, but has attained a level of inequality that is much more comparable to those of developing countries in general and, in fact, is more unequal today than some of the poorest countries on Earth. There is nothing suggesting that this increasing inequality will lessen anytime soon. And since this increasing income inequality has taken place under the leadership of both major political parties, there is nothing on the horizon that suggests either will resolutely address this issue in the foreseeable future regardless of campaign promises made.

However, to move beyond discussion of whether President Obama is likely to address these and related issues, some consideration of governmental economic policies is required. Thus, he will be constrained by decisions made by previous administrations, as well as by the ideological blinders worn by those he has chosen to serve at the top levels of his administration.

3) Governmental economic policies

There are two key points that are especially important for our consideration: the US Budget and the US National Debt. They are similar, but different -- and consideration of each of them enhances understanding.

A) US budget. Every year, the US Government passes a budget, whereby governmental officials estimate beforehand how much money needs to be taken in to cover all expenses. If the government actually takes in more money than it spends, the budget is said to have a surplus; if it takes in less than it spends, the budget is said to be in deficit.

Since 1970, when Richard Nixon was President, the US budget has been in deficit every year except for the last four years under Clinton (1998-2001), where there was a surplus. But this surplus began declining under Clinton -- it was $236.2 billion in 2000, and only $128.2 billion in 2001, Clinton 's last budget. Under Bush, the US has gone drastically into deficit: -$157.8 billion in 2002; -$377.6 billion in 2003; -$412.7 billion in 2004; -$318.3 billion in 2005; and "only"-$248.2 billion in 2006 (Economic Report of the President, 2007: Table B-78).

Now, that is just yearly surpluses and deficits. They get combined with all the other surpluses and deficits since the US became a country in 1789 to create to create a cumulative amount, what is called the National Debt.

B) US national debt. Between 1789 and1980 -- from Presidents Washington through Carter -- the accumulated US National Debt was $909 billion or, to put it another way, $.909 trillion. During Ronald Reagan's presidency (1981-89), the National Debt tripled, from $.9 trillion to $2.868 trillion. It has continued to rise. As of the end of 2006, 17 years later and after a four-year period of surpluses where the debt was somewhat reduced, National Debt (or Gross Federal Debt) was $8.451 trillion (Economic Report of the President, 2007: Table B-78).

To put it into context: the US economy, the most productive in the world, had a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $13.061 trillion in 2006, but the National Debt was $8.451 trillion -- 64.7 per cent of GDP -- and growing (Economic Report of the President, 2007: Table B-1).

In April 2006, one investor reported that "the US Treasury has a hair under $8.4 trillion in outstanding debt. How much is that? He put it into this context: " if you deposited one million dollars into a bank account every day, starting 2006 years ago, that you would not even have ONE trillion dollars in that account" (Van Eeden, 2006).

Let's return to the budget deficit: like a family budget, when one spends more than one brings in, they can do basically one of three things: (a) they can cut spending; (b) they can increase taxes (or obviously a combination of the two); or (c) they can take what I call the "Wimpy" approach.

For those who might not know this, Wimpy was a cartoon character, a partner of "Popeye the Sailor," a Saturday morning cartoon that was played for over 30 years in the United States . Wimpy had a great love for hamburgers. And his approach to life was summed up in his rap: "I'll gladly give you two hamburgers on Tuesday, for a hamburger today."

What is argued is that the US Government has been taking what I call the Wimpy approach to its budgetary problems: it does not reduce spending, it does not raise taxes to pay for the increased expenditures -- in fact, President Bush has cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans [xvi] -- but instead it sells US Government securities, often known as Treasuries, to rich investors, private corporations or, increasingly, to other countries to cover the budget deficit. In a set number of years, the US Government agrees to pay off each bond -- and the difference between what the purchaser bought them for and the increased amount the US Government pays to redeem them is the cost of financing the Treasuries, a certain percentage of the total value. By buying US Treasuries, other countries have helped keep US interest rates low, helping to keep the US economy in as good of shape as it has been (thus, keeping the US market flourishing for them), while allowing the US Government not to have to confront its annual deficits. At the end of 2006, the total value of outstanding Treasuries -- to all investors, not just other countries -- was $8.507 trillion (Economic Report of the President, 2007: Table B-87).

It turns out that at in December 2004, foreigners owned approximately 61 per cent of all outstanding US Treasuries. Of that, seven per cent was held by China ; these were valued at $223 billion (Gundzik, 2005).

The percentage of foreign and international investors' purchases of the total US public debt since 1996 has never been less than 17.7 percent, and it has reached a high of 25.08 per cent in September 2006. In September 2006, foreigners purchased $2.134 trillion of Treasuries; these were 25.08 per cent of all purchases, and 52.4 per cent of all privately-owned purchases (Economic Report of the President, 2007: Table B-89). [xvii] Altogether, "the world now holds financial claims amounting to $3.5 trillion against the United States , or 26 per cent of our GDP" (Humpage and Shenk, 2007: 4).

Since the US Government continues to run deficits, because the Bush Administration has refused to address this problem, the United States has become dependent on other countries buying Treasuries. Like a junky on heroin, the US must get other investors (increasingly countries) to finance its budgetary deficits.

To keep the money flowing in, the US must keep interest rates high -- basically, interest rates are the price that must be paid to borrow money. Over the past year or so, the Federal Reserve has not raised interest rates, but prior to that, for 15 straight quarterly meetings, they did. And, as known, the higher the interest rate, the mostly costly it is to borrow money domestically, which means increasingly likelihood of recession -- if not worse. In other words, dependence on foreigners to finance the substantial US budget deficits means that the US must be prepared to raise interests rates which, at some point, will choke off domestic borrowing and consumption, throwing the US economy into recession. [xviii]

Yet this threat is not just to the United States -- according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), it is a threat to the global economy. A story about a then-recently issued report by the IMF begins, "With its rising budget deficit and ballooning trade imbalance, the United States is running up a foreign debt of such record-breaking proportions that it threatens the financial stability of the global economy ." The report suggested that net financial obligations of the US to the rest of the world could equal 40 per cent of its total economy if nothing was done about it in a few years, "an unprecedented level of external debt for a larger industrial country" according to the report. What was perhaps even more shocking than what the report said was which institution said it: "The IMF has often been accused of being an adjunct of the United States , its largest shareholder" (Becker and Andrews, 2004).

Other analysts go further. After discussing the increasingly risky nature of global investing, and noting that "The investor managers of private equity funds and major banks have displaced national banks and international bodies such as the IMF," Gabriel Kolko (2007) quotes Stephen Roach, Morgan Stanley's chief economist, on April 24, 2007: "a major financial crisis seemed imminent and that the global institutions that could forestall it, including the IMF, the World Bank and other mechanisms of the international financial architecture, were utterly inadequate." Kolko recognizes that things may not collapse immediately, and that analysts could be wrong, but still concludes, "the transformation of the global financial system will sooner or later lead to dire results" (Kolko, 2007: 5).

What might happen if investors decided to take their money out of US Treasuries and, say, invest in Euro-based bonds? The US would be in big trouble, would be forced to raise its interest rates even higher than it wants -- leading to possibly a severe recession -- and if investors really shifted their money, the US could be observably bankrupt; the curtain hiding the "little man" would be opened, and he would be observable to all.

Why would investors rather shift their investment money into Euro-bonds instead of US Treasuries? Well, obviously, one measure is the perceived strength of the US economy. To get a good idea of how solid a country's economy is, one looks at things such as budget deficits, but perhaps even more importantly balance of trade: how well is this economy doing in comparison with other countries?

The US international balance of trade is in the red and is worsening: -$717 billion in 2005. In 1991, it was -$31 billion. Since 1998, the US trade balance has set a new record for being in the hole every year, except during 2001, and then breaking the all time high the very next year! -$165 B in 1998; -$263 B in 1999; -$378 B in 2000; only -$362 B in 2001; -$421 B in 2002; -$494 B in 2003; -$617 B in 2004; and - $717 B in 2005 (Economic Report of the President, 2007: Table B-103). According to the Census Department, the balance of trade in 2006 was -$759 billion (US Census Bureau, 2007).

And the US current account balance, the broadest measure of a country's international financial situation -- which includes investment inside and outside the US in addition to balance of trade -- is even worse: it was -$805 B in 2005, or 6.4 per cent of national income. "The bottom line is that a current account deficit of this unparalleled magnitude is unsustainable and there is no hope of it being painlessly resolved through higher exports alone," according to one analyst (quoted in Swann, 2006). Scott notes that the current account deficit in 2006 was -$857 billion (Scott, 2007a: 8, fn. 1). "In effect, the United States is living beyond its means and selling off national assets to pay its bills" (Scott, 2007b: 1). [xix]

In addition, during mid-2007, there was a bursting of a domestic "housing bubble," which has threatened domestic economic well-being but that ultimately threatens the well-being of global financial markets. There had been a tremendous run-up in US housing values since 1995 -- with an increase of more than 70 per cent after adjusting for the rate of inflation -- and this had created "more than $8 trillion in housing wealth compared with a scenario in which house prices had continued to rise at the same rate of inflation," which they had done for over 100 years, between 1890 and 1995 (Baker, 2007: 8).

This led to a massive oversupply of housing, accompanied with falling house prices: according to Dean Baker, "the peak inventory of unsold new homes of 573,000 in July 2006 was more than 50 per cent higher than the previous peak of 377,000 in May of 1989" (Baker, 2007: 12-13). This caused massive problems in the sub-prime housing market -- estimates are that almost $2 trillion in sub-prime loans were made during 2005-06, and that about $325 billion of these loans will default, with more than 1 million people losing their homes (Liedtke, 2007) -- but these problems are not confined to the sub-prime loan category: because sub-prime and "Alt-A" mortgages (the category immediately above sub-prime) financed 40 per cent of the housing market in 2006, "it is almost inevitable that the problems will spill over into the rest of the market" (Baker, 2007: 15). And Business Week agrees: "Subprime woes have moved far beyond the mortgage industry." It notes that at least five hedge funds have gone out of business, corporate loans and junk bonds have been hurt, and the leveraged buyout market has been hurt (Goldstein and Henry, 2007).

David Leonhardt (2007) agrees with the continuing threat to the financial industry. Discussing "adjustable rate mortgages" -- where interest rates start out low, but reset to higher rates, resulting in higher mortgage payments to the borrower -- he points out that about $50 billion of mortgages will reset during October 2007, and that this amount of resetting will remain over $30 billion monthly through September 2008. "In all," he writes," the interest rates on about $1 trillion worth of mortgages or 12 per cent of the nation's total, will reset for the first time this year or next."

Why all of this is so important is because bankers have gotten incredibly "creative" in creating new mortgages, which they sell to home buyers. Then they bundle these obligations and sell to other financial institutions and which, in turn, create new securities (called derivatives) based on these questionable new mortgages. Yes, it is basically a legal ponzi scheme, but it requires the continuous selling and buying of these derivatives to keep working: in early August 2007, however, liquidity -- especially "financial instruments backed by home mortgages" -- dried up, as no one wanted to buy these instruments (Krugman, 2007). The US Federal Research and the European Central Bank felt it necessary to pump over $100 billion into the financial markets in mid-August 2007 to keep the international economy solvent (Norris, 2007).

So, economically, this country is in terrible shape -- with no solution in sight.

On top of this -- as if all of this is not bad enough -- the Bush Administration is asking for another $481.4 billion for the Pentagon's base budget, which it notes is "a 62 per cent increase over 2001." Further, the Administration seeks an additional $93.4 billion in supplemental funds for 2007 and another $141.7 billion for 2008 to help fund the "Global War on Terror" and US operations in Iraq and Afghanistan (US Government, 2007). According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), in 2006, the US "defense" spending was equivalent to 46 per cent of all military spending in the world, meaning that almost more money is provided for the US military in one year than is spent by the militaries of all the other countries in the world combined (SIPRI, 2007).

And SIPRI's accounting doesn't include the $500 billion spent so far, approximately, on wars in Afghanistan and Iraq .

In short, not only have things gotten worse for American working people since 1973 -- and especially after 1982, with the imposition of neoliberal economic policies by institutions of the US Government -- but on-going Federal budget deficits, the escalating National Debt, the need to attract foreign money into US Treasuries, the financial market "meltdown" as well as the massive amounts of money being channeled to continue the Empire, all suggest that not only will intensifying social problems not be addressed, but will get worse for the foreseeable future.

4) Synopsis

This analysis provides an extensive look at the impact of neoliberal economic policies enacted in the United States on American working people. These neoliberal economic policies have been enacted as a conscious strategy by US corporate leaders and their governmental allies in both major political parties as a way to address intensifying globalization while seeking to maintain US dominance over the global political economy.

While it will be a while before anyone can determine success or failure overall of this elite strategy but, because of is global-historical perspective, sufficient evidence is already available to evaluate the affects of these policies on American working people. For the non-elites of this country, these policies have had a deleterious impact and they are getting worse. Employment data in manufacturing, worsening since 1979 but especially since 2000 (see Aronowitz, 2005), has been horrific -- and since this has been the traditional path for non-college educated workers to be able to support themselves and their families, and provide for their children, this data suggests social catastrophe for many -- see Rubin (1995), Barnes (2005), and Bageant (2007), and accounts in Finnegan (1998) and Lipper (2004) that support this -- because comparable jobs available to these workers are not being created. Thus, the problem is not just that people are losing previously stable, good-paying jobs -- as bad as that is -- but that there is nothing being created to replace these lost jobs, and there is not even a social safety net in many cases that can generally cushion the blow (see Wilson, 1996; Appelbaum, Bernhardt, and Murnane, eds., 2003).

Yet the impact of these social changes has not been limited to only blue-collar workers, although the impact has been arguably greatest upon them. The overall economic growth of the society has been so limited since 1973, and the results increasingly being unequally distributed since then, that the entire society is becoming more and more unequal: each of the four bottom quintiles -- the bottom 80 per cent of families -- has seen a decrease in the amount of family income available to each quintile between 2001-05. This not only increases inequality and resulting resentments -- including criminal behaviors -- but it also produces deleterious affects on individual and social health (Kawachi, Kennedy and Wilkinson, eds., 1999; Eitzen and Eitzen Smith, 2003). And, as shown above, this level of inequality is much more comparable internationally to "developing" countries rather than "developed" ones.

When this material is joined with material on the US budget, and especially the US National Debt, it is clear that these "problems" are not the product of individual failure, but of a social order that is increasingly unsustainable. While we have no idea of what it will take before the US economy will implode, all indications are that US elites are speeding up a run-away train of debt combined with job-destroying technology and off-shoring production, creating a worsening balance of trade with the rest of the world and a worsening current account, with an unstable housing market and intensifying militarism and an increasingly antagonistic foreign policy: it is like they are building a bridge over an abyss, with a train increasingly speeding up as it travels toward the bridge, and crucial indicators suggest that the bridge cannot be completed in time.

Whether the American public will notice and demand a radical change in time is not certain -- it will not be enough to simply slow the train down, but it must turn down an alternative track (see Albert, 2003; Woodin and Lucas, 2004; Starr, 2005) -- but it is almost certain that foreign investors will. Should they not be able to get the interest rates here available elsewhere in the "developed" parts of the world, investors will shift their investments, causing more damage to working people in the United States .

And when this economic-focused analysis is joined with an environmental one -- George Monbiot (2007) reports that the best science available argues that industrialized countries have to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 90 per cent by the year 2030 if we are to have a chance to stop global warming -- then it is clear that US society is facing a period of serious social instability.

5) Conclusion

This article has argued that the situation for working people in the United States, propelled by the general governmental adoption of neoliberal economic policies, is getting worse -- and there is no end in sight. The current situation and historical change have been presented and discussed. Further, an examination and analysis of directly relevant US economic policies have been presented, and there has been nothing in this analysis that suggests a radical, but necessary, change by US elected officials is in sight. In other words, working people in this country are in bad shape generally -- and it is worse for workers of color than for white workers -- and there is nothing within the established social order that suggests needed changes will be effected.

The neoliberal economic policies enacted by US corporate and government leaders has been a social disaster for increasing numbers of families in the United States .

Globalization for profit -- or what could be better claimed to be "globalization from above" -- and its resulting neoliberal economic policies have long-been recognized as being a disaster for most countries in the Global South. This study argues that this top-down globalization and the accompanying neoliberal economic policies has been a disaster for working people in northern countries as well, and most particularly in the United States .

The political implications from these findings remains to be seen. Surely, one argument is not only that another world is possible, but that it is essential.

© Kim Scipes, Ph.D.

[Kim Scipes is assistant professor of sociology , Purdue University, North Central, Westville , IN 46391. The author's web site is at http://faculty.pnc.edu/kscipes .This paper was given at the 2009 Annual Conference of the United Association for Labor Education at the National Labor College in Silver Spring , MD. It has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Kim Scipes' permission.]

* * *

Note to labor educators: This is a very different approach than you usually take. While presenting a "big picture," this does not suggest what you are doing is "wrong" or "bad." What it suggests, however, is that the traditional labor education approach is too limited: this suggests that your work is valuable but that you need to put it into a much larger context than is generally done, and that it is in the interaction between your work and this that we each can think out the ways to go forward. This is presented in the spirit of respect for the important work that each of you do on a daily basis.

[Oct 01, 2017] I think we're seeing a regionalization of global power structures within the state system -- regional hegemons like Germany in Europe, Brazil in Latin America, China in East Asia

monthlyreview.org
Oct 01, 2017 | 20think%20we're%20seeing%20a%20regionalization%20of%20global%20power%20structures%20within%20the%20state%20system%20 -- %20regional%20hegemons%20like%20Germany%20in%20Europe,%20Brazil%20in%20Latin%20America,%20China%20in%20East%20Asia.

I think we're seeing a regionalization of global power structures within the state system -- regional hegemons like Germany in Europe, Brazil in Latin America, China in East Asia.

Obviously, the United States still has a global position, but times have changed. Obama can go to the G20 and say, "We should do this," and Angela Merkel can say, "We're not doing that." That would not have happened in the 1970s.

So the geopolitical situation has become more regionalized, there's more autonomy. I think that's partly a result of the end of the Cold War. Countries like Germany no longer rely on the United States for protection.

Furthermore, what has been called the "new capitalist class" of Bill Gates , Amazon , and Silicon Valley has a different politics than traditional oil and energy.

As a result they tend to go their own particular ways, so there's a lot of sectional rivalry between, say, energy and finance, and energy and the Silicon Valley crowd, and so on. There are serious divisions that are evident on something like climate change, for example.

The other thing I think is crucial is that the neoliberal push of the 1970s didn't pass without strong resistance. There was massive resistance from labor, from communist parties in Europe, and so on.

But I would say that by the end of the 1980s the battle was lost. So to the degree that resistance has disappeared, labor doesn't have the power it once had, solidarity among the ruling class is no longer necessary for it to work. It doesn't have to get together and do something about struggle from below because there is no threat anymore. The ruling class is doing extremely well so it doesn't really have to change anything.

Yet while the capitalist class is doing very well, capitalism is doing rather badly. Profit rates have recovered but reinvestment rates are appallingly low, so a lot of money is not circulating back into production and is flowing into land-grabs and asset-procurement instead.

Jul 23

[Oct 01, 2017] After Neoliberalism Empire, Social Democracy, or Socialism by Minqi Li

Collapse is indeed very slow as in 2017, or 13 years after the article was written neoliberalism remains dominant social system on the globe. Brexit and Trump victory were the only two major "confidence diminishing" events after the crisis of 2008.
Notable quotes:
"... A neoliberal regime typically includes monetarist policies to lower inflation and maintain fiscal balance (often achieved by reducing public expenditures and raising the interest rate), "flexible" labor markets (meaning removing labor market regulations and cutting social welfare), trade and financial liberalization, and privatization. These policies are an attack by the global ruling elites (primarily finance capital of the leading capitalist states) on the working people of the world. Under neoliberal capitalism, decades of social progress and developmental efforts have been reversed. Global inequality in income and wealth has reached unprecedented levels. In much of the world, working people have suffered pauperization. Entire countries have been reduced to misery. ..."
"... Human Development Report ..."
"... In many countries, working people have suffered an absolute decline in living standards. In the United States, the real weekly earnings of production and nonsupervisory workers (in 1992 dollars) fell from $315 in 1973 to $264 in 1989. After a decade of economic expansion, it reached $271 in 1999, which remained lower than the average real wage in 1962. In Latin America, a continent that has suffered from neoliberal restructuring since the 1970s, about 200 million people, or 46 percent of the population, live in poverty. Between 1980 and the early 1990s (1991–1994), real wages fell by 14 percent in Argentina, 21 percent in Uruguay, 53 percent in Venezuela, 68 percent in Ecuador, and 73 percent in Bolivia. 2 ..."
"... Under neoliberalism, governments have mostly pursued tight fiscal and monetary policies, restraining public spending. With liberalized financial markets, governments that run fiscal deficits are likely to be "punished" by private investors who may respond with capital flight and attacks on the currency. Therefore, governments (especially the governments of peripheral and semiperipheral countries) are under strong pressures to maintain fiscal balance by cutting expenditures. All neoliberal regimes seek to limit government expenditure. To summarize, in the neoliberal era, all three components of global effective demand are subject to strong downward pressures and have tended to either contract or stagnate. ..."
"... If the U.S. dollar is not going to depreciate against any other currency, why does the current account deficit have to be corrected? If the rest of the world's central banks keep intervening, flooding the world with their own currencies (euros, Japanese yens, and the Chinese renminbi) to prevent dollar depreciation, why cannot the United States run an ever-larger current account deficit for an indefinite period of time? It cannot go on indefinitely because the rising U.S. current account deficits absorb a growing proportion of the global saving. A theoretical limit will be reached when the entire world's saving is exhausted to finance the U.S. current account deficit. But the practical limit will be reached long before the theoretical limit. This course would raise U.S. and Japanese government debt to astronomical levels. These gigantic government debts would exist along with enormous household and corporate debts in the United States and Europe. ..."
"... To contain the explosion in the U.S. current account deficit, imports need to be reduced. One way is to reduce such key imports as motor vehicles and electronic goods by increasing their cost in U.S. dollars through a revaluation of the yen and the renminbi. This can only be achieved by political pressure, and it is being applied. Other substantial imports, such as clothing and footwear, cannot be reduced in quantity since U.S. producers no longer exist to supply the amount needed. Here costs can be contained by the relentless imposition of a "race to the bottom" -- the continual transfer of production to ever poorer and more desperate countries. Here some military force works wonders in enforcing neoliberal immiseration; consider the results of U.S. intervention in Nicaragua and Africa. But the key import is mineral fuels, and here the long-term cost can only be contained by U.S. control of the physical resources. The hand on the spigot that regulates production (and therefore price) must be controlled by the United States. This is one aspect of the economic benefits of U.S. global political power sought through military strength. ..."
"... But how can this imperialist project be financed? The costs of U.S. military expansion are likely to aggravate rather than alleviate the U.S. economic crisis. Stephen Roach of Morgan Stanley asks the question: "Can a saving-short US economy continue to finance an ever-widening expansion of its military superiority?" His answer is: "The confluence of history, geopolitics, and economics leaves me more convinced than ever that a US-centric world is on an unsustainable path." 12 ..."
"... Whatever the economic "costs" or "benefits," U.S. imperialism is losing the political and ideological battle. According to the latest survey of the Pew Global Attitudes Project (based in Washington), "America's image around the world has taken a sharp turn for the worse." 14 The project of a U.S. global neoliberal empire based on force has ..."
Jan 01, 2004 | monthlyreview.org

Topics: Economic Theory , Political Economy , Stagnation

The author has benefited from discussions with David Kotz, Robert Pollin, James Crotty, Gerald Epstein, Leo Panitch, Gregory Albo, Samuel Gindin, and Patrick Bond.

Since the early 1980s, the leading capitalist states in North America and Western Europe have pursued neoliberal policies and institutional changes. The peripheral and semiperipheral states in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe, under the pressure of the leading capitalist states (primarily the United States) and international monetary institutions (IMF and the World Bank), have adopted "structural adjustments," "shock therapies," or "economic reforms," to restructure their economies in accordance with the requirements of neoliberal economics.

A neoliberal regime typically includes monetarist policies to lower inflation and maintain fiscal balance (often achieved by reducing public expenditures and raising the interest rate), "flexible" labor markets (meaning removing labor market regulations and cutting social welfare), trade and financial liberalization, and privatization. These policies are an attack by the global ruling elites (primarily finance capital of the leading capitalist states) on the working people of the world. Under neoliberal capitalism, decades of social progress and developmental efforts have been reversed. Global inequality in income and wealth has reached unprecedented levels. In much of the world, working people have suffered pauperization. Entire countries have been reduced to misery.

According to United Nations' Human Development Report , the world's richest 1 percent receive as much income as the poorest 57 percent. The income gap between the richest 20 percent and the poorest 20 percent in the world rose from 30:1 in 1960, to 60:1 in 1990, and to 74:1 in 1999, and is projected to reach 100:1 in 2015. In 1999–2000, 2.8 billion people lived on less than $2 a day, 840 million were undernourished, 2.4 billion did not have access to any form of improved sanitation services, and one in every six children in the world of primary school age were not in school. About 50 percent of the global nonagricultural labor force is estimated to be either unemployed or underemployed. 1

In many countries, working people have suffered an absolute decline in living standards. In the United States, the real weekly earnings of production and nonsupervisory workers (in 1992 dollars) fell from $315 in 1973 to $264 in 1989. After a decade of economic expansion, it reached $271 in 1999, which remained lower than the average real wage in 1962. In Latin America, a continent that has suffered from neoliberal restructuring since the 1970s, about 200 million people, or 46 percent of the population, live in poverty. Between 1980 and the early 1990s (1991–1994), real wages fell by 14 percent in Argentina, 21 percent in Uruguay, 53 percent in Venezuela, 68 percent in Ecuador, and 73 percent in Bolivia. 2

The advocates of neoliberalism promised that the neoliberal "reforms" or "structural adjustments" would usher in an era of unprecedented economic growth, technological progress, rising living standards, and material prosperity. In fact, the world economy has slowed towards stagnation in the neoliberal era. The average annual growth rate of world GDP declined from 4.9 percent between 1950 and 1973, to 3.0 percent between 1973 and 1992, and to 2.7 percent between 1990 and 2001. Between 1980 and 1998, half of all the "developing countries" (including the so-called "transition economies") suffered from falling real per capita GDP. 3

The global economy has been kept afloat by the debt-financed U.S. economy. Between 1995 and 2002, the U.S. economy accounted for 96 percent of the cumulative growth in world GDP. 4 The U.S. expansion has been financed by reducing domestic savings, raising the private sector debts to historically unprecedented levels, and running large and ever-rising current account deficits. The process is unsustainable. The enormous imbalances have to be corrected one way or the other. If the United States cannot continue to generate ever-rising current account deficits and none of the other large economies are capable of functioning effectively as the autonomous driving force, the neoliberal global economy will be under powerful downward pressures and exposed to the threat of increasingly frequent and violent financial crises.

The social and economic disasters brought about by neoliberalism have already led to pervasive and growing popular resistance. The further deterioration of global economic conditions might well push hundreds of millions of people beyond the threshold of tolerance. A global rebellion against neoliberalism and capitalism cannot be ruled out. Those who consider themselves to be on the left, progressives or revolutionaries, should be ready, first of all intellectually, for such a development.

Neoliberalism and Global Stagnation

Neoliberalism is not able to provide an institutional framework for sustained global capital accumulation. Neoliberalism undermines and dismantles the institutions set up to stabilize the capitalist economy and alleviate capitalist social contradictions. The capitalist global economy is therefore left exposed to increasingly frequent and violent financial crises. As the editors of Monthly Review put it: "Globalization under neoliberal regimes has meant in many ways the globalization of stagnation tendencies and financial crisis." 5

Global effective demand is the sum of global private consumption, global private investment, and global government expenditures. Under neoliberalism, global inequality has reached unprecedented levels and working people in many parts of the world have suffered from absolute pauperization. It follows that the purchasing power of the great majority of the world population has fallen or grown more slowly than world output.

Private investment in the face of global overcapacity stagnates, and private capital turns to speculation in financial instruments. As a result of financial liberalization, cross-border speculative capital flows have greatly increased, raising the danger of capital flight and financial crisis. Against such dangers, some central banks are forced to maintain high interest rates, in effect paying a risk premium to global finance capital. The average ratio of real interest rate to GDP growth rate in the seven leading capitalist economies was 0.97 between 1881 and 1913, 2.40 between 1919 and 1939, 0.36 between 1946 and 1958, 0.55 between 1959 and 1971, 0.47 between 1972 and 1984, and 2.34 between 1985 and 1997. It is worth noting that the real interest rate has been higher than the economic growth rate only in two periods, the interwar depression years and the neoliberal era. A ratio greater than one implies an inversion of the roles of productive and speculative investment, and is a signal of systemic crisis. 6

Under neoliberalism, governments have mostly pursued tight fiscal and monetary policies, restraining public spending. With liberalized financial markets, governments that run fiscal deficits are likely to be "punished" by private investors who may respond with capital flight and attacks on the currency. Therefore, governments (especially the governments of peripheral and semiperipheral countries) are under strong pressures to maintain fiscal balance by cutting expenditures. All neoliberal regimes seek to limit government expenditure. To summarize, in the neoliberal era, all three components of global effective demand are subject to strong downward pressures and have tended to either contract or stagnate.

The nineteenth century Marxists regarded the contradiction between socialized production and the capitalist system of private appropriation as the basic contradiction of capitalism. One may argue that the increasing socialization of production has found its expressions in the rising importance of fixed capital and the increasingly complex and interrelated financial structures. Since Keynes, many economists have understood that investment in fixed capital is subject to fundamental uncertainty and is often beyond the reach of rational calculation. The growing complexity of financial structures has greatly increased the chance that sudden movements in investors' confidence and psychological conditions may lead to drastic and substantial fluctuations of investment and through investment, the economy. To prevent capitalist economies from falling into deep recessions or depressions, it is necessary to have a "big government" that can function effectively as the macroeconomic stabilizer. 7

Neoliberalism, by pursuing financial liberalization and attacking the public sector, has significantly undermined and in some cases totally dismantled its stabilizing functions. The neoliberal era has seen increasingly frequent and violent financial crises. The Mexican crisis in 1995 was followed by the Asian Crisis in 1997, the Russian and the Brazilian crises in 1998, and the Argentine crisis in 2001. The role of the global macroeconomic stabilizer has been played throughout by the U.S. Treasury and by U.S. imports of goods and services increasingly in excess of U.S. exports; can this continue?

The U.S Financial Bubble and Imbalances

Without a large economy capable of generating some autonomous demand, the global economy might have already entered into a downward spiral. The U.S. economic boom in the second half of the 1990s and its large and growing trade deficit have functioned as counteracting forces against the generally contractionary tendencies of neoliberalism.

The U.S. economic boom was led by debt-financed private sector consumption and by a burst of corporate investment in "high tech." The private sector financial balance (incomes less expenditures) moved from the historically normal range of 3–4 percent of GDP to unprecedented negative territory, reaching negative 5.5 percent by the third quarter of 2000. Household and corporate sector debts as a percentage of GDP were at historical peaks. Households were willing and able to borrow at such a rate because of the great asset price bubble. Measured by indicators such as Tobin's "Q" (the ratio of market value of assets to replacement cost of capital) or by reference to price-earning ratios, the U.S. stock market bubble that reached its greatest expansion in 2000 is the most extreme in U.S. economic history. 8

When the stock market bubble burst, corporate sector spending slowed significantly (particularly in "high tech"). To avoid a deep recession, the U.S. general government fiscal balance has moved from a surplus of 1.4 percent of GDP to a deficit of 4.6 percent of GDP between 2000 and 2003, or a swing of 6 percent of GDP, and the U.S. Federal Reserve has lowered the short-term interest rate from 6.5 percent to 1.25 percent. Despite the dramatic loosening of fiscal and monetary policy, U.S. growth has been sluggish and employment stagnant. These policies have in effect helped to sustain the bubble. Household sector debt expansion has been sustained, the stock market bubble has not been fully deflated, and a housing market bubble is in turn approaching its peak.

The U.S. current account deficit, largely the result of a steadily increasing deficit in its international trade in goods and services, reached 5 percent of GDP in late 2002. For the capitalist world's hegemonic power to run a current account deficit on such a large scale is without historical precedent. By contrast, on the eve of the First World War, Britain ran current account surpluses close to 4 percent of GDP.

The U.S. current account deficits are matched by reciprocal capital inflows from the rest of the world. For the ever-rising U.S. current account deficits to continue, the rest of the world must be willing to hold an increasingly bigger proportion of their financial reserves in dollar-denominated assets. Stephen Roach, the chief economist of Morgan Stanley, points out:

Currently, about 75 percent of the world's total foreign exchange reserves are held in the form of dollar-denominated assets -- more than twice America's 32 percent share of world GDP (at market exchange rates). At the same time, foreign investors hold about 45 percent of the outstanding volume of US Treasury indebtedness, 35 percent of US corporate debt, and 12 percent of US equities. All of these ratios are at or near record highs. Never before has the world put more stock in America -- both as an engine of growth and as a store of financial value. The problem is that the math gets exceedingly tenuous if it is projected into the future. 9

Projections of current account deficits at current rates need not go far into the future to become "tenuous." According to one study by the Levy Economics Institute, under plausible assumptions, and supposing the U.S. economy to grow at a rate sufficient to lower the unemployment rate, the U.S. net foreign liability would reach more than 60 percent of GDP and the current account deficits could reach 8.5–9.5 percent of GDP before 2010.

Alternative Scenarios of Global Economic Crisis

There are four possible ways for the unsustainable growth in the U.S. current account deficit to be reversed. First, if the rest of the world grows more rapidly, indeed far more rapidly, than the current growth rate of the U.S. economy, there will be increased demand for U.S. goods and services, allowing U.S. exports to grow more rapidly to close the gap with the imports. Second, the U.S. current account deficit could be corrected by contracting U.S. domestic demand. Third, the explosive growth in the current account deficit may be corrected through adjustments in "relative prices" -- i.e., devaluation of the U.S. dollar. Finally, the exercise of political and military power might affect the components of the growth in the current account deficit in a manner favorable for the United States.

There is no prospect in the next several years of the first possibility, i.e., growth in the rest of the world at a significantly faster pace than current growth in the United States. The burden shall fall on the second and third options which, while achievable, pose immense risks.

Limiting domestic U.S. growth, and therefore imports and the trade deficit, by raising domestic interest rates is certainly within the theoretical ability of U.S. policy makers. Indeed this would be the "orthodox" IMF medicine administered to any other state on the planet were it to find itself in anything like the U.S. current account difficulties. But the United States is not like any other state on the planet, it is the hegemon. No institution exists to force such medicine upon it. And for the U.S. ruling elite, this course is not politically possible, at least at this stage of the electoral cycle. But of even greater concern are the dangers posed by the vast unprecedented accumulation of U.S. consumer and mortgage debt. Absent a surge in domestic growth, which would itself aggravate the current account difficulty, rising interest rates risk a wave of personal bankruptcies of Great Depression proportions.

The remaining option is dollar devaluation, and it is clear that a gradual and controlled devaluation is the policy preferred by the U.S. Treasury, and already being put into effect. The depreciation of the dollar makes U.S. goods cheaper and foreign goods more expensive for U.S. households and corporations. It helps to stimulate exports and dampen imports. However, dollar depreciation reduces U.S. demand for foreign goods and exports deflationary pressures to the rest of the world.

The Asian economies (Japan, China, and Southeast Asia) together run current account surpluses of $230–240 billion a year, or nearly half of the U.S. current account deficits. But the Asian economies have either pegged their currencies to the U.S. dollar or have intervened heavily to prevent currency appreciation. This leaves the burden of adjustment almost entirely on Europe.

The European economy has not been able to generate any expansion in domestic demand, and its growth has relied exclusively on exports. Europe's largest economy, the German economy, is in recession and such signs of growth as exist elsewhere are weak. Dollar depreciation therefore is particularly threatening for the European economies. Further, the Euro-area governments are constrained by the so-called "Stability and Growth Pact" which requires fiscal deficits no greater than 3 percent of GDP.

Financial circles have urged the European governments to pursue "structural reforms," bringing labor and product market policies to U.S. standards. "Structural reforms" will supposedly unleash productivity growth that "in the long run," will create conditions for vigorous demand expansion. From the point of view of financial capitalists, for vigorous accumulation to take place there has to be a dramatic improvement in profitability and capitalist confidence. For the capitalists to be confident, "structural reforms" have to take place to break the resistance of the working class. At this moment, it is not at all clear that the European capitalist class can decisively defeat the resistance of the working class. But if the so-called "structural reforms" are indeed carried out, their negative effects on domestic demand (through further attacks on working people's living standards) may very well overwhelm whatever "positive" effects they may have on the "long run" accumulation.

With the European economy stagnating, it is inconceivable that it can absorb enough U.S. exports to correct the U.S. current account deficit. A correction that depends entirely on dollar depreciation would require a catastrophic decline in the dollar's value. By some estimates, the dollar may need to fall by 30–50 percent. Such a decline would be politically, economically, and psychologically unacceptable. 10

If the U.S. dollar is not going to depreciate against any other currency, why does the current account deficit have to be corrected? If the rest of the world's central banks keep intervening, flooding the world with their own currencies (euros, Japanese yens, and the Chinese renminbi) to prevent dollar depreciation, why cannot the United States run an ever-larger current account deficit for an indefinite period of time? It cannot go on indefinitely because the rising U.S. current account deficits absorb a growing proportion of the global saving. A theoretical limit will be reached when the entire world's saving is exhausted to finance the U.S. current account deficit. But the practical limit will be reached long before the theoretical limit. This course would raise U.S. and Japanese government debt to astronomical levels. These gigantic government debts would exist along with enormous household and corporate debts in the United States and Europe. 11

How can these debts be financed? There are two possibilities. First, a global depression and widespread household and corporate bankruptcies may destroy much of the private debts. This is the historical solution that has obtained in all prior systemic crises of capitalism. In theory, as debt is devalued the conditions for a new cycle of capitalist accumulation on an even higher level gradually come to exist. But in the last such global depression such spontaneous recovery was inadequate, for reasons inherent in monopoly capital that are even stronger today. This option therefore supposes an extended period of depression. Whatever the outcome on this hypothesis one thing is certain, neoliberalism would be dead for a very long time, if not forever.

Secondly, the enormous private and public sector debts could be inflated away, that is, financed by printing money. Given the magnitude of the enormous debts to be inflated away, the inflation strategy may send the global economy into vicious cycles of hyperinflation and skyrocketing interest rates. If there is any one option ruled out by all of the various global ruling classes, it is this.

Towards an Imperial Solution?

Is there a solution to the crisis within the existing exploitative, oppressive framework? The U.S. economy is in deep crisis, and given the role it plays in the world economy much depends upon it. But U.S. imperialism continues to control the world's most powerful, unchallenged military forces. Can the U.S. ruling elite use its forces to build an exploitative empire, establish unprecedented political and military dominance over the world, and in the process manage its economic crisis? In fact, current U.S. policy is an attempt to do just that.

To contain the explosion in the U.S. current account deficit, imports need to be reduced. One way is to reduce such key imports as motor vehicles and electronic goods by increasing their cost in U.S. dollars through a revaluation of the yen and the renminbi. This can only be achieved by political pressure, and it is being applied. Other substantial imports, such as clothing and footwear, cannot be reduced in quantity since U.S. producers no longer exist to supply the amount needed. Here costs can be contained by the relentless imposition of a "race to the bottom" -- the continual transfer of production to ever poorer and more desperate countries. Here some military force works wonders in enforcing neoliberal immiseration; consider the results of U.S. intervention in Nicaragua and Africa. But the key import is mineral fuels, and here the long-term cost can only be contained by U.S. control of the physical resources. The hand on the spigot that regulates production (and therefore price) must be controlled by the United States. This is one aspect of the economic benefits of U.S. global political power sought through military strength.

The other aspect of any strategy to contain the unsustainable growth in the current account deficit needs to be an expansion of U.S. exports. Yet with the U.S. manufacturing base in terminal decline, only the prospect of monopoly prices for "intellectual property" offers hope. Here too the imposition of monopoly prices for the licenses, genetically modified seeds, pharmaceuticals, songs and movies, is a matter purely of political power based on military strength.

But how can this imperialist project be financed? The costs of U.S. military expansion are likely to aggravate rather than alleviate the U.S. economic crisis. Stephen Roach of Morgan Stanley asks the question: "Can a saving-short US economy continue to finance an ever-widening expansion of its military superiority?" His answer is: "The confluence of history, geopolitics, and economics leaves me more convinced than ever that a US-centric world is on an unsustainable path." 12

Could the U.S. military expansion be financed by the expansion itself? Andy Xie of Morgan Stanley estimated that the direct and indirect effects of the U.S. occupation of Iraq could save the United States $40 billion a year in expenditures on oil imports. 13 Assuming these "benefits" are fully realized, that is only a fraction of the U.S. current account deficits.

But faced with the increasingly pervasive popular resistance in Iraq, the United States has not yet been able to realize any of these projected "benefits." Months after the so-called "major combat operations" ended and despite the fact that the United States has committed half of its entire regular army in Iraq, the United States is losing its grip on Iraq, unable to control the roads and borders, the water, and the electricity supply.

Out of the U.S. Army's thirty-three combat brigades, sixteen are now in Iraq, two are in Afghanistan, two are in South Korea, and one is in Kosovo. Of the twelve brigades in the United States, three are in modernization training, three are in reserve for possible war in Korea, and two are going to relieve the troops in Afghanistan. There are only four brigades left to relieve the sixteen brigades in Iraq. In effect, the United States has exhausted its entire regular army just to occupy such totally impoverished third world countries as Afghanistan and Iraq.

Whatever the economic "costs" or "benefits," U.S. imperialism is losing the political and ideological battle. According to the latest survey of the Pew Global Attitudes Project (based in Washington), "America's image around the world has taken a sharp turn for the worse." 14 The project of a U.S. global neoliberal empire based on force has already failed. Not because of internal limits in the working of capitalism alone, but because the attempt to avoid the economic crisis that neoliberal policies produce through global military dominance has already come up against its limits in popular resistance in Iraq. The crisis of neoliberalism shall follow.

... ... ...

Minqi Li Minqi Li was a political prisoner in China during 1990–1992. He teaches political economy at the Department of Political Science of York University, Toronto, Canada.

[Sep 26, 2017] Is Foreign Propaganda Even Effective by Leon Hadar

Highly recommended!
I think the key to collapse of Soviet society and its satellites was the victory of neoliberal ideology over communism. It was pure luck for neoliberalism was that its triumphal march over the globe coincide with deep crisis of both communist ideology and the Soviet elite (nomenklatura) in the USSR. Hapless, mediocre Gorbachov, a third rate politician who became the leader of the USSR is a telling example here. Propaganda, especially "big troika" (BBC, Deutsche Welle and Voice of America), also played a very important role in this. Especially in Baltic countries and Ukraine.
Domestic fake new industry always has huge advantage over foreign one in the USA and other Western countries, because of general cultural dominance of the West.
The loss of effectiveness of neoliberal propaganda now is the same as the reason for loss of effectiveness of communist propaganda since 60th. In the first case it was the crisis of communist ideology, in the second is the crisis of neoliberal ideology. Everybody now understands that the neoliberal promises were fake, and "bait and switch" manuver that enriched the tiny percentage of population (top 1% and even more 0.01%).
When the society experience the crisis of ideology it became inoculated toward official propaganda -- it simply loses its bite.
Notable quotes:
"... As the The Economist notes, a 2015 survey of the top 94 cable channels in America by the research firm Nielsen found that RT did not even make it into the rankings, capturing only 0.04 percent of viewers, according to the Broadcast Audience Research Board. ..."
"... RT has claimed dominance on YouTube, an assertion that apparently caught the attention of the U.S. intelligence community, which noted that RT videos get 1 million views a day, far surpassing other outlets. ..."
"... Or as media-effects theorists explain the communication process, the intentions of the producer (Soviet Union) and the conventions of the content (communist propaganda) were interwoven in a strategy aimed at influencing the receiver (the American audience). But the majority of Americans, with the exception of a few hard-core ideologues, interpreted the content of the message as pitiful Soviet propaganda, assuming they even paid attention to it. ..."
"... There is no doubt that Moscow, which regarded President Harry Truman as its leading American political nemesis, was hoping that Progressive presidential candidate Henry Wallace would win the 1948 election -- and had tailored its propaganda effort in accordance with that goal. That pro-Wallace campaign took place at a time when the American Communist Party still maintained some influence in the United States, where many Americans still sympathized with the former World War II ally and a large number of Soviet spies were operating in the country. But then Wallace's Progressives ended up winning 2.5 percent of the vote, less than Strom Thurmond's Southern segregationist ticket. ..."
"... Yet we are supposed to believe that by employing RT, Sputnik, Facebook, Twitter, and a bunch of hackers, the Russians could help their American candidate "steal" the 2016 presidential election. Is there any evidence that those white blue-collar workers and rural voters in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan -- the people who provided Trump with his margin of victory -- were even exposed to the reports distributed by RT and Sputnik, or by the memes constructed by Russian trolls or their posts on Facebook? ("Hey, did you watch RT last night?") ..."
"... Yet the assertion that a "silver bullet shot from a media gun" in the form of Russian propaganda was able "to penetrate a hapless audience" in the United States has been gaining more adherents in Washington and elsewhere. This conspiracy seems to correlate the intent of the Russian government and the content of their messages with the voting behavior of Americans. ..."
"... In a strange irony, those who are promoting this fallacious assertion may -- unlike their Russian scapegoat -- actually succeed in penetrating a hapless American audience. ..."
Sep 26, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The Russians can dish it out, but don't expect Americans to swallow everything.

During the Cold War, it became an article of faith among Western policymakers and journalists: One of the most effective ways to discredit the leaders of Communist countries would be to provide their citizens with information from the West. It was a view that was shared by Soviet Bloc regimes who were worried that listening to the Voice of America (VOA) or watching Western television shows would induce their people to take political action against the rulers.

So it was not surprising that government officials in East Germany, anxious that many TV stations from West Germany could be viewed by their citizens, employed numerous means!such as jamming the airwaves and even damaging TV antennas that were pointing west!in order to prevent the so-called "subversive" western broadcasts from reaching audiences over the wall.

After the Berlin Wall collapsed in 1989, communication researchers studying public attitudes in former East German areas assumed that they would discover that those who had access to West German television!and were therefore exposed to the West's political freedom and economic prosperity!were more politically energized and willing to challenge the communist regime than those who couldn't watch Western television.

But as Evgeny Morozov recalled in his Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom , a study conducted between 1966 and 1990 about incipient protests in the so-called "Valley of the Clueless"!an area in East Germany where the government successfully blocked Western television signals!raised questions about this conventional wisdom.

As it turns out, having access to West German television actually made life in East Germany more endurable. Far from radicalizing its citizens, it seemed to have made them more politically compliant. As one East German dissident quoted by Morozov lamented, "The whole people could leave the country and move to the West as a man at 8pm, via television."

Meanwhile, East German citizens who did not have access to Western German television were actually more critical of their regime, and more politically restless.

The study concluded that "in an ironic twist for Marxism, capitalist television seems to have performed the same narcotizing function in communist East Germany that Karl Marx had attributed to religious beliefs in capitalist society when he condemned religion as the 'opium of the people.'"

Morozov refers to the results of these and other studies to raise an interesting idea: Western politicians and pundits have predicted that the rise of the Internet, which provides free access to information to residents of the global village, would galvanize citizens in Russia and other countries to challenge their authoritarian regimes. In reality, Morozov contends that exposure to the Internet may have distracted Russian users from their political problems. The young men who should be leading the revolution are instead staying at home and watching online pornography. Trotsky, as we know, didn't tweet.

Yet the assumption that the content of the message is a "silver bullet shot from a media gun to penetrate a hapless audience," as communication theorists James Arthur Anderson and Timothy P. Meyer put it, remains popular among politicians and pundits today, despite ample evidence to the contrary.

Hence the common assertion that a presidential candidate who has raised a lots of money and can spend it on buying a lots of television commercials, has a clear advantage over rivals who cannot afford to dominate the media environment. But the loser in the 2016 presidential race spent about $141.7 million on ads, compared with $58.8 million for winner's campaign, according to NBC News . Candidate Trump also spent a fraction of what his Republican rivals had during the Republican primaries that he won.

Communication researchers like Anderson and Meyers are not suggesting that media messages don't have any effect on target audiences, but that it is quite difficult to sell ice to Eskimos. To put it in simple terms, media audiences are not hapless and passive. Although you can flood them with messages that are in line with your views and interests, audiences actively participate in the communication process. They will construct their own meaning from the content they consume, and in some cases they might actually disregard your message.

Imagine a multi-billionaire who decides to produce thousands of commercials celebrating the legacy of ISIS, runs them on primetime American television, and floods social media with messages praising the murderous terrorist group. If that happened, would Americans be rallying behind the flag of ISIS? One can imagine that the response from audiences would range from anger to dismissal to laughter.

In 2013 Al Jazeera Media Network purchased Current TV , which was once partially owned by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, and launched an American news channel. Critics expressed concerns that the network, which is owned by the government of Qatar and has been critical of U.S. policies in the Middle East, would try to manipulate American audiences with their anti-Washington message.

Three years later, after hiring many star journalists and producing mostly straight news shows, Al Jazeera America CEO Al Anstey announced that the network would cease operations. Anstey cited the "economic landscape" which was another way of saying that its ratings were distressingly low. The relatively small number of viewers who watched Al Jazeera America 's programs considered them not anti-American but just, well, boring.

You don't have to be a marketing genius to figure out that in the age of the 24/7 media environment, foreign networks face prohibitive competition from American cable news networks like CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, social media, not to mention Netflix and yes, those online porno sites. Thus the chances that a foreign news organization would be able to attract large American audiences, and have any serious impact on their political views, remain very low.

That, indeed, has been the experience of not only the defunct Al Jazeera America , but also of other foreign news outlets that have tried to imitate the Qatar-based network by launching operations targeting American audiences. These networks have included CGTN (China Global Television Network), the English-language news channel run by Chinese state broadcaster China Central Television ; PressTV, a 24-hour English language news and documentary network affiliated with Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting ; or RT (formerly Russia Today), a Russian international television network funded by the Russian government that operates cable and satellite television channels directed to audiences outside of Russia.

After all, unless you are getting to paid to watch CTGN, PressTV, or RT -- or you are a news junkie with a lot of time on your hands -- why in the world would you be spending even one hour of the day watching these foreign networks?

Yet if you have been following the coverage and public debate over the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, you get the impression that RT and another Russian media outlet, Sputnik (a news agency and radio broadcast service established by the Russian government-controlled news agency Rossiya Segodnya ), were central players in a conspiracy between the Trump presidential campaign and the Kremlin to deny the presidency to Hillary Clinton.

In fact, more than half of the much-cited January report on the Russian electoral interference released by U.S. intelligence agencies was devoted to warning of RT's growing influence in the United States and across the world, referring to the "rapid expansion" of the network's operations and budget to about $300 million a year, and citing the supposedly impressive audience numbers listed on the RT website.

According to America's spooks, the coordinated activities of RT and the online-media properties and social-media accounts that made up "Russia's state-run propaganda machine" have been employed by the Russian government to "undermine the U.S.-led liberal democratic order."

And in a long cover story in The New York Times Magazine this month, with the headline, " RT, Sputnik and Russia's New Theory of War, " Jim Rutenberg suggested that the Kremlin has "built one of the most powerful information weapons of the 21st century" and that it "may be impossible to stop."

But as the British Economist magazine reported early this year, while RT claims to reach 550 million people worldwide, with America and Britain supposedly being its most successful markets, its "audience" of 550 million refers to "the number of people who can access its channel, not those who actually watch it."

As the The Economist notes, a 2015 survey of the top 94 cable channels in America by the research firm Nielsen found that RT did not even make it into the rankings, capturing only 0.04 percent of viewers, according to the Broadcast Audience Research Board.

The Times' s Rutenberg argues that the RT's ratings "are almost beside the point." RT might not have amassed an audience that remotely rivals CNN's in conventional terms, "but in the new, 'democratized' media landscape, it doesn't need to" since "the network has come to form the hub of a new kind of state media operation: one that travels through the same diffuse online channels, chasing the same viral hits and memes, as the rest of the Twitter-and-Facebook-age media."

Traveling "through the same diffuse online channels" and "chasing the same viral hits and memes" sounds quite impressive. Indeed, RT has claimed dominance on YouTube, an assertion that apparently caught the attention of the U.S. intelligence community, which noted that RT videos get 1 million views a day, far surpassing other outlets.

But as The Economist points out, when it comes to Twitter and Facebook, RT's reach is narrower than that of other news networks. Its claim of YouTube success is mostly down to the network's practice of buying the rights to sensational footage -- for instance, Japan's 2011 tsunami -- and repackaging it with the company logo. It's not clear, however, how the dissemination of a footage of a natural disaster or of a dog playing the piano helps efforts to "undermine the U.S.-led liberal democratic order."

It is obvious that the Russian leaders have been investing a lot of resources in RT, Sputnik, and other media outlets, and that they employ them as propaganda tools aimed at promoting their government's viewpoints and interests around the world. From that perspective, these Russian media executives are heirs to the communist officials who had been in charge of the propaganda empire of the Soviet Union and its satellites during much of the 20th Century.

The worldwide communist propaganda machine did prove to be quite effective during the Great Depression and World War II, when it succeeded in tapping into the economic and social anxieties and anti-Nazi sentiments in the West and helped strengthen the power of the communist parties in Europe and, to some extent, in the United States.

But in the same way that Western German television programs failed to politically energize East Germans during the Cold War, much of the Soviet propaganda distributed by the Soviet Union at that time had very little impact on the American public and its political attitudes, as symbolized by the shrinking membership of the American Communist Party.

Or as media-effects theorists explain the communication process, the intentions of the producer (Soviet Union) and the conventions of the content (communist propaganda) were interwoven in a strategy aimed at influencing the receiver (the American audience). But the majority of Americans, with the exception of a few hard-core ideologues, interpreted the content of the message as pitiful Soviet propaganda, assuming they even paid attention to it.

Soviet propaganda may have scored limited success during the Cold War when it came to members of the large communist parties in France, Italy, and Japan, as well as exploited anti-American sentiments in some third-world countries. In these cases, the intentions of the producer and the convention of the message seemed to be in line with the interpretations of the receivers.

There is no doubt that Moscow, which regarded President Harry Truman as its leading American political nemesis, was hoping that Progressive presidential candidate Henry Wallace would win the 1948 election -- and had tailored its propaganda effort in accordance with that goal. That pro-Wallace campaign took place at a time when the American Communist Party still maintained some influence in the United States, where many Americans still sympathized with the former World War II ally and a large number of Soviet spies were operating in the country. But then Wallace's Progressives ended up winning 2.5 percent of the vote, less than Strom Thurmond's Southern segregationist ticket.

Yet we are supposed to believe that by employing RT, Sputnik, Facebook, Twitter, and a bunch of hackers, the Russians could help their American candidate "steal" the 2016 presidential election. Is there any evidence that those white blue-collar workers and rural voters in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan -- the people who provided Trump with his margin of victory -- were even exposed to the reports distributed by RT and Sputnik, or by the memes constructed by Russian trolls or their posts on Facebook? ("Hey, did you watch RT last night?")

Yet the assertion that a "silver bullet shot from a media gun" in the form of Russian propaganda was able "to penetrate a hapless audience" in the United States has been gaining more adherents in Washington and elsewhere. This conspiracy seems to correlate the intent of the Russian government and the content of their messages with the voting behavior of Americans.

In a strange irony, those who are promoting this fallacious assertion may -- unlike their Russian scapegoat -- actually succeed in penetrating a hapless American audience.

Leon Hadar is a writer and author of the books Quagmire: America in the Middle East and Sandstorm: Policy Failure in the Middle East. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, The Washington Post, Washington Times, The Los Angeles Times, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and the National Interest.

The Color of Celery , says: September 26, 2017 at 1:20 am

For an example of the success of propaganda, look at Breitbart. The messages online during the 2016 election were pervasive and insidious. I think this post underestimates the threat by focusing on traditional media instead of social interaction.

RT covered Assange during the election better than other outlets.

It's easy to see everything from a personal perspective and forget that we are very diverse. We don't live in an ABC, CBS, and NBC world anymore, with information controlled. Changes in thought and belief happen online now, in many, many different venues.

polistra , says: September 26, 2017 at 3:39 am
A government that has confidence in its own support doesn't need to fight foreign information. In the '30s and '40s the US government encouraged shortwave listening, and manufacturers made money by adding SW bands to their radios. We were going through a depression and then a war, but our government was CONFIDENT enough to encourage us to understand the world.

Since 1950 the government has been narrowing the focus of external input because it knows that it no longer has the natural consent of the governed. TV and the Web are intentional forms of jamming, filling our eyes and ears with internally produced nonsense to crowd out the external info.

Meddlesome , says: September 26, 2017 at 7:44 am
The ones you have to worry about are those much closer to home – "inside the tent".

Friends in the UK, Canada, and Europe are appalled at the distorting effect Israeli propaganda has on American news sources, and how unaware of it typical Americans seem to be.

Indeed, it is odd and more than a little worrying that all the concern about "foreign meddling" has so far failed to engage with Israel, which is hands down the best funded, most sophisticated and successful foreign meddler.

The FBI annually reports that Israel spies on us at the same level as Russia and China. But we have yet to fully register that Israeli spying includes systematic efforts to influence American elections and policies, efforts that dwarf those of Putin's Russia both in scale and impact.

Fran Macadam , says: September 26, 2017 at 9:24 am
I think that the corporate masters of propaganda media and politics in these United States, have, in the words of Edward G. Robinson's Rico in Little Caesar, "gotten to where you can dish it out, but you can't take it anymore."

It's counterfactual to conflate Soviet propaganda with the perspective of Russians today, unless Communism never really was the real point. In fact, it's our own leaders in media and politics who now increasingly issue dogmatic and insulting derogatory language, sounding more and more like late Soviet propagandists themselves.

Pelayo Viriato , says: September 26, 2017 at 10:20 am
@The Color of Celery:

So what? What's wrong with people being exposed to a broad array of points of view, trying to better understand the world and constantly challenging, refining, and reshaping their worldview in the process?

You're coming perilously close to suggesting that Americans who are critical of their government are dupes of hostile foreign powers ! an unfair, unhelpful, and undemocratic assertion.

ZGler , says: September 26, 2017 at 11:45 am
The problem with Russian trolls is that people don't know they are Russian trolls. They think they are their fellow Americans and neighbors on Facebook. The influence of foreign propaganda on Americans is not due to transparent media like Al Jazeera. It's due to propaganda disguised as your neighbor's opinion.
Mike Johnson , says: September 26, 2017 at 3:33 pm
this conversation cant be taken serious without a serious discussion on Israel, who by the way provides the perfect case and point of how effective foreign propaganda can be. They work through our media, school systems and even our churches. Just look at what happened to McGraw Hill for daring to show before and after maps of the Palestine over the years.

[Sep 23, 2017] The Dangerous Decline of U.S. Hegemony by Daniel Lazare

Notable quotes:
"... By Daniel Lazare September 9, 2017 ..."
"... But this is one of the good things about having a Deep State, the existence of which has been proved beyond a shadow of a doubt since the intelligence community declared war on Trump last November. While it prevents Trump from reaching a reasonable modus vivendi ..."
"... If the U.S. says that Moscow's activities in the eastern Ukraine are illegitimate, then, as the world's sole remaining "hyperpower," it will see to it that Russia suffers accordingly. If China demands more of a say in Central Asia or the western Pacific, then right-thinking folks the world over will shake their heads sadly and accuse it of undermining international democracy, which is always synonymous with U.S. foreign policy. ..."
"... There is no one – no institution – that Russia or China can appeal to in such circumstances because the U.S. is also in charge of the appellate division. It is the "indispensable nation" in the immortal words of Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State under Bill Clinton, because "we stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future." Given such amazing brilliance, how can any other country possibly object? ..."
"... Next to go was Mullah Omar of Afghanistan, sent packing in October 2001, followed by Slobodan Milosevic, hauled before an international tribunal in 2002; Saddam Hussein, executed in 2006, and Muammar Gaddafi, killed by a mob in 2011. For a while, the world really did seem like " Gunsmoke ," and the U.S. really did seem like Sheriff Matt Dillon. ..."
"... Although The New York Times wrote that U.S. pressure to cut off North Korean oil supplies has put China "in a tight spot," this was nothing more than whistling past the graveyard. There is no reason to think that Xi is the least bit uncomfortable. To the contrary, he is no doubt enjoying himself immensely as he watches America paint itself into yet another corner. ..."
"... Unipolarity will slink off to the sidelines while multilateralism takes center stage. Given that U.S. share of global GDP has fallen by better than 20 percent since 1989, a retreat is inevitable. America has tried to compensate by making maximum use of its military and political advantages. That would be a losing proposition even if it had the most brilliant leadership in the world. Yet it doesn't. Instead, it has a President who is an international laughingstock, a dysfunctional Congress, and a foreign-policy establishment lost in a neocon dream world. As a consequence, retreat is turning into a disorderly rout. ..."
"... The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy ..."
Sep 21, 2017 | www.defenddemocracy.press

The bigger picture behind Official Washington's hysteria over Russia, Syria and North Korea is the image of a decaying but dangerous American hegemon resisting the start of a new multipolar order, explains Daniel Lazare.

By Daniel Lazare
September 9, 2017

The showdown with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is a seminal event that can only end in one of two ways: a nuclear exchange or a reconfiguration of the international order.

While complacency is always unwarranted, the first seems increasingly unlikely. As no less a global strategist than Steven Bannon observed about the possibility of a pre-emptive U.S. strike: "There's no military solution. Forget it. Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don't die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don't know what you're talking about. There's no military solution here. They got us."

This doesn't mean that Donald Trump, Bannon's ex-boss, couldn't still do something rash. After all, this is a man who prides himself on being unpredictable in business negotiations, as historian William R. Polk, who worked for the Kennedy administration during the Cuban Missile Crisis, points out . So maybe Trump thinks it would be a swell idea to go a bit nuts on the DPRK.

But this is one of the good things about having a Deep State, the existence of which has been proved beyond a shadow of a doubt since the intelligence community declared war on Trump last November. While it prevents Trump from reaching a reasonable modus vivendi with Russia, it also means that the President is continually surrounded by generals, spooks, and other professionals who know the difference between real estate and nuclear war.

As ideologically fogbound as they may be, they can presumably be counted on to make sure that Trump does not plunge the world into Armageddon (named, by the way, for a Bronze Age city about 20 miles southeast of Haifa, Israel).

That leaves option number two: reconfiguration. The two people who know best about the subject are Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Both have been chafing for years under a new world order in which one nation gets to serve as judge, jury, and high executioner. This, of course, is the United States.

If the U.S. says that Moscow's activities in the eastern Ukraine are illegitimate, then, as the world's sole remaining "hyperpower," it will see to it that Russia suffers accordingly. If China demands more of a say in Central Asia or the western Pacific, then right-thinking folks the world over will shake their heads sadly and accuse it of undermining international democracy, which is always synonymous with U.S. foreign policy.

There is no one – no institution – that Russia or China can appeal to in such circumstances because the U.S. is also in charge of the appellate division. It is the "indispensable nation" in the immortal words of Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State under Bill Clinton, because "we stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future." Given such amazing brilliance, how can any other country possibly object?

Challenging the Rule-Maker

But now that a small and beleaguered state on the Korean peninsula is outmaneuvering the United States and forcing it to back off, the U.S. no longer seems so far-sighted. If North Korea really has checkmated the U.S., as Bannon says, then other states will want to do the same. The American hegemon will be revealed as an overweight 71-year-old man naked except for his bouffant hairdo.

Not that the U.S. hasn't suffered setbacks before. To the contrary, it was forced to accept the Castro regime following the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, and it suffered a massive defeat in Vietnam in 1975. But this time is different. Where both East and West were expected to parry and thrust during the Cold War, giving as good as they got, the U.S., as the global hegemon, must now do everything in its power to preserve its aura of invincibility.

Since 1989, this has meant knocking over a string of "bad guys" who had the bad luck to get in its way. First to go was Manuel Noriega, toppled six weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall in an invasion that cost the lives of as many as 500 Panamanian soldiers and possibly thousands of civilians as well.

Next to go was Mullah Omar of Afghanistan, sent packing in October 2001, followed by Slobodan Milosevic, hauled before an international tribunal in 2002; Saddam Hussein, executed in 2006, and Muammar Gaddafi, killed by a mob in 2011. For a while, the world really did seem like " Gunsmoke ," and the U.S. really did seem like Sheriff Matt Dillon.

But then came a few bumps in the road. The Obama administration cheered on a Nazi-spearheaded coup d'état in Kiev in early 2014 only to watch helplessly as Putin, under intense popular pressure, responded by detaching Crimea, which historically had been part of Russia and was home to the strategic Russian naval base at Sevastopol, and bringing it back into Russia.

The U.S. had done something similar six years earlier when it encouraged Kosovo to break away from Serbia . But, in regards to Ukraine, neocons invoked the 1938 Munich betrayal and compared the Crimea case to Hitler's seizure of the Sudetenland .

Backed by Russia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad dealt Washington another blow by driving U.S.-backed, pro-Al Qaeda forces out of East Aleppo in December 2016. Predictably, the Huffington Post compared the Syrian offensive to the fascist bombing of Guernica .

Fire and Fury

Finally, beginning in March, North Korea's Kim Jong Un entered into a game of one-upmanship with Trump, firing ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan, test-firing an ICBM that might be capable of hitting California , and then exploding a hydrogen warhead roughly eight times as powerful as the atomic bomb that leveled Hiroshima in 1945. When Trump vowed to respond "with fire, fury, and frankly power, the likes of which the world has never seen before," Kim upped the ante by firing a missile over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.

As bizarre as Kim's behavior can be at times, there is method to his madness. As Putin explained during the BRICS summit with Brazil, India, China, and South Africa, the DPRK's "supreme leader" has seen how America destroyed Libya and Iraq and has therefore concluded that a nuclear delivery system is the only surefire guarantee against U.S. invasion.

"We all remember what happened with Iraq and Saddam Hussein," he said . "His children were killed, I think his grandson was shot, the whole country was destroyed and Saddam Hussein was hanged . We all know how this happened and people in North Korea remember well what happened in Iraq . They will eat grass but will not stop their nuclear program as long as they do not feel safe."

Since Kim's actions are ultimately defensive in nature, the logical solution would be for the U.S. to pull back and enter into negotiations. But Trump, desperate to save face, quickly ruled it out. "Talking is not the answer!" he tweeted . Yet the result of such bluster is only to make America seem more helpless than ever.

Although The New York Times wrote that U.S. pressure to cut off North Korean oil supplies has put China "in a tight spot," this was nothing more than whistling past the graveyard. There is no reason to think that Xi is the least bit uncomfortable. To the contrary, he is no doubt enjoying himself immensely as he watches America paint itself into yet another corner.

The U.S. Corner

If Trump backs down at this point, the U.S. standing in the region will suffer while China's will be correspondingly enhanced. On the other hand, if Trump does something rash, it will be a golden opportunity for Beijing, Moscow, or both to step in as peacemakers. Japan and South Korea will have no choice but to recognize that there are now three arbiters in the region instead of just one while other countries – the Philippines, Indonesia, and maybe even Australia and New Zealand – will have to follow suit.

Unipolarity will slink off to the sidelines while multilateralism takes center stage. Given that U.S. share of global GDP has fallen by better than 20 percent since 1989, a retreat is inevitable. America has tried to compensate by making maximum use of its military and political advantages. That would be a losing proposition even if it had the most brilliant leadership in the world. Yet it doesn't. Instead, it has a President who is an international laughingstock, a dysfunctional Congress, and a foreign-policy establishment lost in a neocon dream world. As a consequence, retreat is turning into a disorderly rout.

Assuming a mushroom cloud doesn't go up over Los Angeles, the world is going to be a very different place coming out of the Korean crisis than when it went in. Of course, if a mushroom cloud does go up, it will be even more so.

* Daniel Lazare is the author of several books including The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy (Harcourt Brace).

Read also: The Brazilian Coup and Washington's "Rollback" in Latin America

[Sep 23, 2017] The Exit Strategy of Empire by Wendy McElro

Highly recommended!
Garrett 's book The People's Pottage The Revolution Was-Ex America-Rise of Empire i ncludes a timeless quote on U.S. foreign policy. "You are imperialistic all the same, whether you realize it or not... You are trying to make the kind of world you want. You are trying to impose the American way of life on other people, whether they want it or not." The "Rise of Empire" opens with the sentence "We have crossed the boundary between Republic and Empire." It contains a critical view of President Truman's usurpation of Congress' power to declare war. Some of the "distinguishing marks" of an empire taken from history were "Domestic policy becomes subordinate to foreign policy" and " A system of satellite nations". I think most of us are would be familiar with those two in modern context. His labeling of this policy as the "Empire of the Bottomless Purse" was historically accurate.
The book was printed in 1953. What's amazing is how little some political ideology has changed since then. Take this quote; "And the mere thought of 'America First', associated as that term is with 'isolationism', has become a liability so extreme that politicians feel obliged to deny ever having entertained it." Think back to Ron Paul's 2008 campaign and how he was labeled an "isolationist" for similar views of nationalism.
Notable quotes:
"... These are not sequential stages of Empire but occur in conjunction with one another and reinforce each other. That means that an attempt to reverse Empire in the direction of a Republic can begin with weakening any of the five characteristics in any order. ..."
"... Deconstructing these executive props, one by one, weakens the Empire. When all five components are deconstructing, the process presents a possible path to dissolving Empire itself. ..."
"... That was why Garrett does not deal with how to reverse the process of Empire. Once an empire is established, he argues, it becomes a "prisoner of history" in a trap of its own making. He writes, "A Republic may change its course, or reverse it, and that will be its own business. But the history of Empire is a world history and belongs to many people. A Republic is not obliged to act upon the world, either to change it or instruct it. Empire, on the other hand, must put forth its power." ..."
"... Collective security and fear are intimately connected concepts. It is no coincidence that the sixth component of Empire -- imprisonment -- comes directly after the two components of "a system of satellite nations" and, "a complex of vaunting and fear." ..."
"... An empire thinks that satellites are necessary for its collective security. Satellites think the empire is necessary for territorial and economic survival; but they are willing to defect if an empire with a better deal beckons. America knows this and scrambles to satisfy satellites that could become fickle. Garrett quotes Harry Truman, who created America's modern system of satellites. "We must make sure that our friends and allies overseas continue to get the help they need to make their full contribution to security and progress for the whole free world. This means not only military aid -- though that is vital -- it also means real programs of economic and technical assistance." ..."
"... Garrett also emphasizes how domestic pressure imprisons Empire. One of the most powerful domestic pressures is fear. An atmosphere of fear -- real or created -- drives public support of foreign policy and makes it more difficult for Empire to retreat from those policies. ..."
"... Empire has "'less control over its own fate than a republic,' he [Garrett] commented because it was a 'prisoner of history', ruled by fear. Fear of what? 'Fear of the barbarian.'" ..."
"... It does not matter whether the enemy is actually a barbarian. What matters is that citizens of Empire believe in the enemy's savagery and support a military posture toward him. Domestic fear drives the constant politics of satellite nations, protective treaties, police actions, and war. Foreign entanglements lead to increased global involvement and deeper commitments. The two reinforce each other. ..."
"... The fifth characteristic of Empire is not merely fear but also "vaunting." Vaunting means boasting about or praising something excessively -- for example, to laud and exaggerate America's role in the world. Fear provides the emotional impetus for conquest; vaunting provides the moral justification for acting upon the fear. The moral duty is variously phrased: leadership, a balance of power, peace, democracy, the preservation of civilization, humanitarianism. From this point, it is a small leap to conclude that the ends sanctify the means. Garrett observes that "there is soon a point from which there is no turning back .The argument for going on is well known. As Woodrow Wilson once asked, 'Shall we break the heart of the world?' So now many are saying, 'We cannot let the free world down'. Moral leadership of the world is not a role you step into and out of as you like." ..."
Sep 23, 2017 | ronpaulinstitute.org
The Exit Strategy of Empire Written y Friday September 22, 2017
The Roman Empire never doubted that it was the defender of civilization. Its good intentions were peace, law and order. The Spanish Empire added salvation. The British Empire added the noble myth of the white man's burden. We have added freedom and democracy.

-- Garet Garrett, Rise of Empire

The first step in creating Empire is to morally justify the invasion and occupation of another nation even if it poses no credible or substantial threat. But if that's the entering strategy, what is the exit one?

One approach to answering is to explore how Empire has arisen through history and whether the process can be reversed. Another is to conclude that no exit is possible; an Empire inevitably self-destructs under the increasing weight of what it is -- a nation exercising ultimate authority over an array of satellite states. Empires are vulnerable to overreach, rebellion, war, domestic turmoil, financial exhaustion, and competition for dominance.

In his monograph Rise of Empire, the libertarian journalist Garet Garrett (1878–1954), lays out a blueprint for how Empire could possibly be reversed as well as the reason he believes reversal would not occur. Garrett was in a unique position to comment insightfully on the American empire because he'd had a front-row seat to events that cemented its status: World War II and the Cold War. World War II America already had a history of conquest and occupation, of course, but, during the mid to late 20th century, the nation became a self-consciously and unapologetic empire with a self-granted mandate to spread its ideology around the world.

A path to reversing Empire

Garrett identifies the first five components of Empire:

These are not sequential stages of Empire but occur in conjunction with one another and reinforce each other. That means that an attempt to reverse Empire in the direction of a Republic can begin with weakening any of the five characteristics in any order.

Garrett did not directly address the strategy of undoing Empire, but his description of its creation can be used to good advantage. The first step is to break down each component of Empire into more manageable chunks. For example, the executive branch accumulates power in various ways. They include:

Deconstructing these executive props, one by one, weakens the Empire. When all five components are deconstructing, the process presents a possible path to dissolving Empire itself.

A sixth component of Empire

But in Rise of Empire, Garet Garrett offers a chilling assessment based on his sixth component of Empire. There is no path out. A judgment that renders prevention all the more essential.

That was why Garrett does not deal with how to reverse the process of Empire. Once an empire is established, he argues, it becomes a "prisoner of history" in a trap of its own making. He writes, "A Republic may change its course, or reverse it, and that will be its own business. But the history of Empire is a world history and belongs to many people. A Republic is not obliged to act upon the world, either to change it or instruct it. Empire, on the other hand, must put forth its power."

In his book For A New Liberty, Murray Rothbard expands on Garrett's point: "[The] United States, like previous empires, feel[s] itself to be 'a prisoner of history.' For beyond fear lies 'collective security,' and the playing of the supposedly destined American role upon the world stage."

Collective security and fear are intimately connected concepts. It is no coincidence that the sixth component of Empire -- imprisonment -- comes directly after the two components of "a system of satellite nations" and, "a complex of vaunting and fear."

Satellite nations

"We speak of our own satellites as allies and friends or as freedom loving nations," Garrett wrote. "Nevertheless, satellite is the right word. The meaning of it is the hired guard." Why hired? Although men of Empire speak of losing China [or] Europe [how] could we lose China or Europe, since they never belonged to us? What they mean is that we may lose a following of dependent people who act as an outer guard."

An empire thinks that satellites are necessary for its collective security. Satellites think the empire is necessary for territorial and economic survival; but they are willing to defect if an empire with a better deal beckons. America knows this and scrambles to satisfy satellites that could become fickle. Garrett quotes Harry Truman, who created America's modern system of satellites. "We must make sure that our friends and allies overseas continue to get the help they need to make their full contribution to security and progress for the whole free world. This means not only military aid -- though that is vital -- it also means real programs of economic and technical assistance."

In contrast to a Republic, Empire is both a master and a servant because foreign pressure cements it into the military and economic support of satellite nations around the globe, all of which have their own agendas.

Garrett also emphasizes how domestic pressure imprisons Empire. One of the most powerful domestic pressures is fear. An atmosphere of fear -- real or created -- drives public support of foreign policy and makes it more difficult for Empire to retreat from those policies. In his introduction to Garrett's book Ex America, Bruce Ramsey addresses Garrett's point. Ramsey writes, Empire has "'less control over its own fate than a republic,' he [Garrett] commented because it was a 'prisoner of history', ruled by fear. Fear of what? 'Fear of the barbarian.'"

It does not matter whether the enemy is actually a barbarian. What matters is that citizens of Empire believe in the enemy's savagery and support a military posture toward him. Domestic fear drives the constant politics of satellite nations, protective treaties, police actions, and war. Foreign entanglements lead to increased global involvement and deeper commitments. The two reinforce each other.

The fifth characteristic of Empire is not merely fear but also "vaunting." Vaunting means boasting about or praising something excessively -- for example, to laud and exaggerate America's role in the world. Fear provides the emotional impetus for conquest; vaunting provides the moral justification for acting upon the fear. The moral duty is variously phrased: leadership, a balance of power, peace, democracy, the preservation of civilization, humanitarianism. From this point, it is a small leap to conclude that the ends sanctify the means. Garrett observes that "there is soon a point from which there is no turning back .The argument for going on is well known. As Woodrow Wilson once asked, 'Shall we break the heart of the world?' So now many are saying, 'We cannot let the free world down'. Moral leadership of the world is not a role you step into and out of as you like."

Conclusion

In this manner, Garrett believed, Empire imprisons itself in the trap of a perpetual war for peace and stability, which are always stated goals. Yet, as Garrett concluded, the reality is war and instability.

It is not clear whether he was correct that Empire could not be reversed. Whether or not he was, it is at its creation that Empire is best opposed.

Reprinted with permission from the Future of Freedom Foundation .


Related

[Sep 22, 2017] Flags, Symbols, and Statues Resurgent As Globalism Declines

Sep 22, 2017 | www.strategic-culture.org

As the forces of globalism retreat after numerous defeats in the United States, the United Kingdom, Turkey, and other nations, there is a resurgent popularity in national, historical, and cultural symbols. These include flags, statues of forbearers, place names, language, and, in fact, anything that distinguishes one national or sub-national group from others. The negative reactions to cultural and religious threats brought about by the manifestations of globalism – mass movement of refugees, dictates from supranational organizations like the European Union and the United Nations, and the loss of financial independence – should have been expected by the globalists. Caught up in their own self-importance and hubris, the globalists are now debasing the forces of national, religious, and cultural identity as threats to the "world order."

The most egregious examples of globalist pushback against aspirant nationhood and the symbols of national identity are Catalonia and Kurdistan. Two plebiscites on independence, a September 25, 2017 referendum on the Kurdistan Regional Government declaring independence from Iraq and an October 1 referendum on Catalonia beginning the process of breaking away from the Kingdom of Spain, are expected to achieve "yes" votes. Neither plebiscite in binding, a fact that will result in both votes being ignored by the mother countries.

Iraq, the United States, Turkey, and Iran have warned Kurdish Iraq against holding the independence referendum. The United States is prepared to double-cross its erstwhile Kurdish allies for a fourth time. President Woodrow Wilson, who has been cited as the "first neoconservative or neocon, reneged on Kurdish independence during the post-World War I Versailles peace conference. Henry Kissinger double-crossed Kurdish leader Mustafa Barzani in 1975 with the Algiers Accord between Iraq and Iran, a perfidious act that forced 100,000 of Barzani's Kurdish forces into exile in Iran. George H. W. Bush promised the Kurds help after Operation Desert Storm in 1991 if they revolted against Saddam Hussein's government. US military aid was not forthcoming and the Kurds were forced into a small sliver of northern Iraq, over which a US "no-fly zone" was imposed. Now, Donald Trump's administration has warned the Kurds not to even think about independence, even though the Kurdish peshmerga forces helped the US and its allies to drive the Islamic State out of Kirkuk and the rest of northern Iraq.

In Spain, the conservative prime minister is trying to emulate the Spanish fascist dictator Generalissimo Francisco Franco in making threats against Catalonia's independence wishes.

In response to the Catalan Parliament's vote to hold an October 1 referendum on Catalonia's independence from Spain, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and his People's Party government have promised to round up the pro-independence members of the Catalan government, as well as pro-independence legislators of the parliament and mayors, and criminally charge them with sedition.

Rajoy's stance should be no surprise since his party, the Popular Party, is the political heir of Franco's Falangist party. Franco's version of the Nazi Gestapo, the Guardia Civil, brutally suppressed Catalan and Basque identity. Particular targets for suppression, according to Falangist doctrine, were "anti-Spanish activists," "Reds," "separatists," "liberals," "Jews," "Freemasons," and "judeomarxistas."

The Falange was eventually replaced by the National Movement, which continued many of Franco's policies, including repression of the Catalan and Basque culture, autonomy, and language.

The Francoist People's Alliance, founded in 1989 by Franco's Interior Minister, Manuel Fraga Iribarne, eventually morphed into the People's Party of Rajoy. The People's Party considers itself "Christian Democratic," but it receives support from Franco's fascist Roman Catholic order, the Opus Dei.

Rajoy is using a decision by Spain's Constitutional Court, suspending the independence referendum in Catalonia, as justification for his threats against the region. Apparently, the neo-fascist government of Spain has been trawling Twitter to collect the names of Catalan mayors who have posted photographs of themselves and messages of support for the "Junts pel Si" (Together for Yes) pro-independence coalition. The mayors, along with members of parliament and the government in Barcelona, are being placed on a Guardia Civil list targeting them with arrest and incarceration if the referendum is carried out.

Rajoy has also warned officials of local municipal councils that their cooperation in holding a referendum vote will be considered an act of sedition and that they, too, face arrest and detention.

Rajoy's channeling of Franco will only solidify anti-Spanish feelings in Catalonia, even among those not keen on independence. The iron boot of Rajoy and the People's Party in Catalonia will only boost support for Catalan independence from those mildly opposed to it or neutral. If Catalonia's regional and local government leaders are paraded off to prisons, the peaceful independence movement in the region could easily turn violent. There is also widespread support for Catalan independence in the separatist Basque region, where parades have been held in support of the Catalan cause. In August, 3000 pro-Catalan independence Basques marched in the Basque city of San Sebastian. If Rajoy carries through with his threat against Catalonia, the Basque region will also see it as a threat to them and join in a renewed campaign of violence against the Madrid neo-fascists. The Basque secessionist terrorist group ETA agreed to disarm in 2011 but it has not turned in all its weapons.

The Basque party EH Bildu has already submitted a bill in the regional Basque parliament that is a copy of the Catalan independence referendum bill that passed the parliament in Barcelona.

People around the world are rejecting the notion that states, harboring more than one nation, ethnic group, or tribal entity, should be recognized by globalist institutions like the EU and UN as representing all the constituent parts. Currently, the Republic of Macedonia is negotiating with Greece, the EU, and NATO on membership under a nation-state name that suits Greece. Greece does not recognize Macedonia by that name because it believes Macedonia harbors irredentist designs on Greek Macedonia. Greece insists the country use the provisional name of FYROM, which stands for the "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia." Macedonian nationalists scoff at such a name, likening it to being forced to use the fictional Klingon language of "Star Trek."

As a result of the United Kingdom's exit from the EU, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland are demanding that London grant them the right to maintain their own economic and other links with the Eurocrats in Brussels. Scotland may hold a second independence referendum with or without the blessing of London. The Welsh Assembly in Cardiff is sounding more and more like the Scottish Parliament in demanding a separate deal with the EU for Wales. Even in the heart of the EU bureaucracy – Belgium – Flanders and Wallonia show no signs of abandoning their march toward independence, leaving Brussels as its own independent city-state hosting the headquarters of the EU, NATO, and Godiva Chocolatier. Rather than the Belgian flag, one is more likely to find Flemish flags flying from poles in Antwerp and Walloon flags adorning buildings in Liège.

Around the world, statues of historical figures are being defaced and removed by contrarian groups who bear ethnic or political grudges. They include Confederate General Robert E. Lee throughout the United States, Captain James Cook in Australia, Father Junipero Serra in California, Christopher Columbus in New York, King Kamehameha in Hawaii, Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, and Marthinus Pretorius and Paul Kruger in South Africa. This all represents the trend toward dissolution of the nation-state. Nation-state flags, monuments of past political and religious figures, and other nation-state symbols are not only being questioned but, in some cases, ignored or cast aside completely. The world is "going tribal" and there is little the governing globalists and elites can do about it. They brought this situation upon themselves with their aloofness and ignorance. The UN General Assembly will soon welcome 193-member state leaders to its plenary session in New York. The UN may do well to plan for future sessions at which 300 or more member-state leaders, from Åland to Zanzibar and Baltistan to Mthwakazi, converge on New York.

Tags: Neocons Catalonia Kurdistan Middle East UK New World Order

[Sep 21, 2017] Neoliberalism has had its day. So what happens next? by Martin Jacques

This article sounds pretty true almost a year after its initial publication with the exception of Trump, who easily betrayed his election platform.
The point of the article is that what you call the left ceased to be social democrats when they embraced neo-liberalism.
Notable quotes:
"... Subsequent economic policy, especially in the Anglo-Saxon world, has relied overwhelmingly on monetary policy, especially quantitative easing. It has failed. The western economy has stagnated and is now approaching its lost decade, with no end in sight. ..."
"... But how did neoliberalism manage to survive virtually unscathed for so long? Although it failed the test of the real world, bequeathing the worst economic disaster for seven decades, politically and intellectually it remained the only show in town. Parties of the right, centre and left had all bought into its philosophy, New Labour a classic in point. They knew no other way of thinking or doing: it had become the common sense. It was, as Antonio Gramsci put it, hegemonic. But that hegemony cannot and will not survive the test of the real world. ..."
"... The effect of the financial crisis was to undermine faith and trust in the competence of the governing elites. It marked the beginnings of a wider political crisis. ..."
"... But by far the most disastrous feature of the neoliberal period has been the huge growth in inequality. ..."
"... As Thomas Piketty has shown, in the absence of countervailing pressures, capitalism naturally gravitates towards increasing inequality. In the period between 1945 and the late 70s, Cold War competition was arguably the biggest such constraint. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, there have been none. As the popular backlash grows increasingly irresistible, however, such a winner-takes-all regime becomes politically unsustainable. ..."
"... Brexit, too, was primarily a working-class revolt. Hitherto, on both sides of the Atlantic, the agency of class has been in retreat in the face of the emergence of a new range of identities and issues from gender and race to sexual orientation and the environment. The return of class, because of its sheer reach, has the potential, like no other issue, to redefine the political landscape. ..."
"... The re-emergence of class should not be confused with the labour movement. They are not synonymous: this is obvious in the US and increasingly the case in the UK. Indeed, over the last half-century, there has been a growing separation between the two in Britain. The re-emergence of the working class as a political voice in Britain, most notably in the Brexit vote, can best be described as an inchoate expression of resentment and protest, with only a very weak sense of belonging to the labour movement. ..."
"... The neoliberal era is being undermined from two directions. First, if its record of economic growth has never been particularly strong, it is now dismal. Europe is barely larger than it was on the eve of the financial crisis in 2007; the United States has done better but even its growth has been anaemic. Economists such as Larry Summers believe that the prospect for the future is most likely one of secular stagnation ..."
"... A sure sign of the declining influence of neoliberalism is the rising chorus of intellectual voices raised against it. From the mid-70s through the 80s, the economic debate was increasingly dominated by monetarists and free marketeers. But since the western financial crisis, the centre of gravity of the intellectual debate has shifted profoundly. This is most obvious in the United States, with economists such as Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman, Dani Rodrik and Jeffrey Sachs becoming increasingly influential. Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century ..."
"... He proposes that US corporations should be required to invest their cash reserves in the US. He believes that the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) has had the effect of exporting American jobs to Mexico. On similar grounds, he is opposed to the TPP and the TTIP. And he also accuses China of stealing American jobs, threatening to impose a 45% tariff on Chinese imports. ..."
"... To globalisation Trump counterposes economic nationalism: "Put America first". His appeal, above all, is to the white working class who, until Trump's (and Bernie Sander's) arrival on the political scene, had been ignored and largely unrepresented since the 1980s. Given that their wages have been falling for most of the last 40 years, it is extraordinary how their interests have been neglected by the political class. Increasingly, they have voted Republican, but the Republicans have long been captured by the super-rich and Wall Street, whose interests, as hyper-globalisers, have run directly counter to those of the white working class. With the arrival of Trump they finally found a representative: they won Trump the Republican nomination. ..."
"... Another plank of Trump's nationalist appeal – "Make America great again" – is his position on foreign policy. He believes that America's pursuit of great power status has squandered the nation's resources. He argues that the country's alliance system is unfair, with America bearing most of the cost and its allies contributing far too little. He points to Japan and South Korea, and Nato's European members as prime examples. He seeks to rebalance these relationships and, failing that, to exit from them. ..."
Aug 21, 2016 | www.theguardian.com

he western financial crisis of 2007-8 was the worst since 1931, yet its immediate repercussions were surprisingly modest. The crisis challenged the foundation stones of the long-dominant neoliberal ideology but it seemed to emerge largely unscathed. The banks were bailed out; hardly any bankers on either side of the Atlantic were prosecuted for their crimes; and the price of their behaviour was duly paid by the taxpayer. Subsequent economic policy, especially in the Anglo-Saxon world, has relied overwhelmingly on monetary policy, especially quantitative easing. It has failed. The western economy has stagnated and is now approaching its lost decade, with no end in sight.

After almost nine years, we are finally beginning to reap the political whirlwind of the financial crisis. But how did neoliberalism manage to survive virtually unscathed for so long? Although it failed the test of the real world, bequeathing the worst economic disaster for seven decades, politically and intellectually it remained the only show in town. Parties of the right, centre and left had all bought into its philosophy, New Labour a classic in point. They knew no other way of thinking or doing: it had become the common sense. It was, as Antonio Gramsci put it, hegemonic. But that hegemony cannot and will not survive the test of the real world.

The first inkling of the wider political consequences was evident in the turn in public opinion against the banks, bankers and business leaders. For decades, they could do no wrong: they were feted as the role models of our age, the default troubleshooters of choice in education, health and seemingly everything else. Now, though, their star was in steep descent, along with that of the political class. The effect of the financial crisis was to undermine faith and trust in the competence of the governing elites. It marked the beginnings of a wider political crisis.

But the causes of this political crisis, glaringly evident on both sides of the Atlantic, are much deeper than simply the financial crisis and the virtually stillborn recovery of the last decade. They go to the heart of the neoliberal project that dates from the late 70s and the political rise of Reagan and Thatcher, and embraced at its core the idea of a global free market in goods, services and capital. The depression-era system of bank regulation was dismantled, in the US in the 1990s and in Britain in 1986, thereby creating the conditions for the 2008 crisis. Equality was scorned, the idea of trickle-down economics lauded, government condemned as a fetter on the market and duly downsized, immigration encouraged, regulation cut to a minimum, taxes reduced and a blind eye turned to corporate evasion.

It should be noted that, by historical standards, the neoliberal era has not had a particularly good track record. The most dynamic period of postwar western growth was that between the end of the war and the early 70s, the era of welfare capitalism and Keynesianism, when the growth rate was double that of the neoliberal period from 1980 to the present.

But by far the most disastrous feature of the neoliberal period has been the huge growth in inequality. Until very recently, this had been virtually ignored. With extraordinary speed, however, it has emerged as one of, if not the most important political issue on both sides of the Atlantic, most dramatically in the US. It is, bar none, the issue that is driving the political discontent that is now engulfing the west. Given the statistical evidence, it is puzzling, shocking even, that it has been disregarded for so long; the explanation can only lie in the sheer extent of the hegemony of neoliberalism and its values.

But now reality has upset the doctrinal apple cart. In the period 1948-1972, every section of the American population experienced very similar and sizable increases in their standard of living; between 1972-2013, the bottom 10% experienced falling real income while the top 10% did far better than everyone else. In the US, the median real income for full-time male workers is now lower than it was four decades ago: the income of the bottom 90% of the population has stagnated for over 30 years .

A not so dissimilar picture is true of the UK. And the problem has grown more serious since the financial crisis. On average, between 65-70% of households in 25 high-income economies experienced stagnant or falling real incomes between 2005 and 2014.

Large sections of the population in both the US and the UK are now in revolt against their lot

The reasons are not difficult to explain. The hyper-globalisation era has been systematically stacked in favour of capital against labour: international trading agreements, drawn up in great secrecy, with business on the inside and the unions and citizens excluded, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) being but the latest examples; the politico-legal attack on the unions; the encouragement of large-scale immigration in both the US and Europe that helped to undermine the bargaining power of the domestic workforce; and the failure to retrain displaced workers in any meaningful way.

As Thomas Piketty has shown, in the absence of countervailing pressures, capitalism naturally gravitates towards increasing inequality. In the period between 1945 and the late 70s, Cold War competition was arguably the biggest such constraint. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, there have been none. As the popular backlash grows increasingly irresistible, however, such a winner-takes-all regime becomes politically unsustainable.

Large sections of the population in both the US and the UK are now in revolt against their lot, as graphically illustrated by the support for Trump and Sanders in the US and the Brexit vote in the UK. This popular revolt is often described, in a somewhat denigratory and dismissive fashion, as populism. Or, as Francis Fukuyama writes in a recent excellent essay in Foreign Affairs : "'Populism' is the label that political elites attach to policies supported by ordinary citizens that they don't like." Populism is a movement against the status quo. It represents the beginnings of something new, though it is generally much clearer about what it is against than what it is for. It can be progressive or reactionary, but more usually both.

Brexit is a classic example of such populism. It has overturned a fundamental cornerstone of UK policy since the early 1970s. Though ostensibly about Europe, it was in fact about much more: a cri de coeur from those who feel they have lost out and been left behind, whose living standards have stagnated or worse since the 1980s, who feel dislocated by large-scale immigration over which they have no control and who face an increasingly insecure and casualised labour market. Their revolt has paralysed the governing elite, already claimed one prime minister, and left the latest one fumbling around in the dark looking for divine inspiration.

The wave of populism marks the return of class as a central agency in politics, both in the UK and the US. This is particularly remarkable in the US. For many decades, the idea of the "working class" was marginal to American political discourse. Most Americans described themselves as middle class, a reflection of the aspirational pulse at the heart of American society. According to a Gallup poll, in 2000 only 33% of Americans called themselves working class; by 2015 the figure was 48%, almost half the population.

Brexit, too, was primarily a working-class revolt. Hitherto, on both sides of the Atlantic, the agency of class has been in retreat in the face of the emergence of a new range of identities and issues from gender and race to sexual orientation and the environment. The return of class, because of its sheer reach, has the potential, like no other issue, to redefine the political landscape.

The working class belongs to no one: its orientation, far from predetermined, is a function of politics

The re-emergence of class should not be confused with the labour movement. They are not synonymous: this is obvious in the US and increasingly the case in the UK. Indeed, over the last half-century, there has been a growing separation between the two in Britain. The re-emergence of the working class as a political voice in Britain, most notably in the Brexit vote, can best be described as an inchoate expression of resentment and protest, with only a very weak sense of belonging to the labour movement.

Indeed, Ukip has been as important – in the form of immigration and Europe – in shaping its current attitudes as the Labour party. In the United States, both Trump and Sanders have given expression to the working-class revolt, the latter almost as much as the former. The working class belongs to no one: its orientation, far from predetermined, as the left liked to think, is a function of politics.

The neoliberal era is being undermined from two directions. First, if its record of economic growth has never been particularly strong, it is now dismal. Europe is barely larger than it was on the eve of the financial crisis in 2007; the United States has done better but even its growth has been anaemic. Economists such as Larry Summers believe that the prospect for the future is most likely one of secular stagnation .

Worse, because the recovery has been so weak and fragile, there is a widespread belief that another financial crisis may well beckon. In other words, the neoliberal era has delivered the west back into the kind of crisis-ridden world that we last experienced in the 1930s. With this background, it is hardly surprising that a majority in the west now believe their children will be worse off than they were. Second, those who have lost out in the neoliberal era are no longer prepared to acquiesce in their fate – they are increasingly in open revolt. We are witnessing the end of the neoliberal era. It is not dead, but it is in its early death throes, just as the social-democratic era was during the 1970s.

A sure sign of the declining influence of neoliberalism is the rising chorus of intellectual voices raised against it. From the mid-70s through the 80s, the economic debate was increasingly dominated by monetarists and free marketeers. But since the western financial crisis, the centre of gravity of the intellectual debate has shifted profoundly. This is most obvious in the United States, with economists such as Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman, Dani Rodrik and Jeffrey Sachs becoming increasingly influential. Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century has been a massive seller. His work and that of Tony Atkinson and Angus Deaton have pushed the question of the inequality to the top of the political agenda. In the UK, Ha-Joon Chang , for long isolated within the economics profession, has gained a following far greater than those who think economics is a branch of mathematics.

Meanwhile, some of those who were previously strong advocates of a neoliberal approach, such as Larry Summers and the Financial Times 's Martin Wolf, have become extremely critical. The wind is in the sails of the critics of neoliberalism; the neoliberals and monetarists are in retreat. In the UK, the media and political worlds are well behind the curve. Few recognise that we are at the end of an era. Old attitudes and assumptions still predominate, whether on the BBC's Today programme, in the rightwing press or the parliamentary Labour party.

Following Ed Miliband's resignation as Labour leader, virtually no one foresaw the triumph of Jeremy Corbyn in the subsequent leadership election. The assumption had been more of the same, a Blairite or a halfway house like Miliband, certainly not anyone like Corbyn. But the zeitgeist had changed. The membership, especially the young who had joined the party on an unprecedented scale, wanted a complete break with New Labour. One of the reasons why the left has failed to emerge as the leader of the new mood of working-class disillusionment is that most social democratic parties became, in varying degrees, disciples of neoliberalism and uber-globalisation. The most extreme forms of this phenomenon were New Labour and the Democrats, who in the late 90s and 00s became its advance guard, personified by Tony Blair and Bill Clinton, triangulation and the third way.

But as David Marquand observed in a review for the New Statesman , what is the point of a social democratic party if it doesn't represent the less fortunate, the underprivileged and the losers? New Labour deserted those who needed them, who historically they were supposed to represent. Is it surprising that large sections have now deserted the party who deserted them? Blair, in his reincarnation as a money-obsessed consultant to a shady bunch of presidents and dictators, is a fitting testament to the demise of New Labour.

The rival contenders – Burnham, Cooper and Kendall – represented continuity. They were swept away by Corbyn, who won nearly 60% of the votes. New Labour was over, as dead as Monty Python's parrot. Few grasped the meaning of what had happened. A Guardian leader welcomed the surge in membership and then, lo and behold, urged support for Yvette Cooper, the very antithesis of the reason for the enthusiasm. The PLP refused to accept the result and ever since has tried with might and main to remove Corbyn.

Just as the Labour party took far too long to come to terms with the rise of Thatcherism and the birth of a new era at the end of the 70s, now it could not grasp that the Thatcherite paradigm, which they eventually came to embrace in the form of New Labour, had finally run its course. Labour, like everyone else, is obliged to think anew. The membership in their antipathy to New Labour turned to someone who had never accepted the latter, who was the polar opposite in almost every respect of Blair, and embodying an authenticity and decency which Blair patently did not.

Labour may be in intensive care, but the condition of the Conservatives is not a great deal better

Corbyn is not a product of the new times, he is a throwback to the late 70s and early 80s. That is both his strength and also his weakness. He is uncontaminated by the New Labour legacy because he has never accepted it. But nor, it would seem, does he understand the nature of the new era. The danger is that he is possessed of feet of clay in what is a highly fluid and unpredictable political environment, devoid of any certainties of almost any kind, in which Labour finds itself dangerously divided and weakened.

Labour may be in intensive care, but the condition of the Conservatives is not a great deal better. David Cameron was guilty of a huge and irresponsible miscalculation over Brexit. He was forced to resign in the most ignominious of circumstances. The party is hopelessly divided. It has no idea in which direction to move after Brexit. The Brexiters painted an optimistic picture of turning away from the declining European market and embracing the expanding markets of the world, albeit barely mentioning by name which countries it had in mind. It looks as if the new prime minister may have an anachronistic hostility towards China and a willingness to undo the good work of George Osborne. If the government turns its back on China, by far the fastest growing market in the world, where are they going to turn?

Brexit has left the country fragmented and deeply divided, with the very real prospect that Scotland might choose independence. Meanwhile, the Conservatives seem to have little understanding that the neoliberal era is in its death throes.

Dramatic as events have been in the UK, they cannot compare with those in the United States. Almost from nowhere, -> Donald Trump rose to capture the Republican nomination and confound virtually all the pundits and not least his own party. His message was straightforwardly anti-globalisation. He believes that the interests of the working class have been sacrificed in favour of the big corporations that have been encouraged to invest around the world and thereby deprive American workers of their jobs. Further, he argues that large-scale immigration has weakened the bargaining power of American workers and served to lower their wages.

He proposes that US corporations should be required to invest their cash reserves in the US. He believes that the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) has had the effect of exporting American jobs to Mexico. On similar grounds, he is opposed to the TPP and the TTIP. And he also accuses China of stealing American jobs, threatening to impose a 45% tariff on Chinese imports.

To globalisation Trump counterposes economic nationalism: "Put America first". His appeal, above all, is to the white working class who, until Trump's (and Bernie Sander's) arrival on the political scene, had been ignored and largely unrepresented since the 1980s. Given that their wages have been falling for most of the last 40 years, it is extraordinary how their interests have been neglected by the political class. Increasingly, they have voted Republican, but the Republicans have long been captured by the super-rich and Wall Street, whose interests, as hyper-globalisers, have run directly counter to those of the white working class. With the arrival of Trump they finally found a representative: they won Trump the Republican nomination.

The economic nationalist argument has also been vigorously pursued by -> Bernie Sanders , who ran Hillary Clinton extremely close for the Democratic nomination and would probably have won but for more than 700 so-called super-delegates, who were effectively chosen by the Democratic machine and overwhelmingly supported Clinton. As in the case of the Republicans, the Democrats have long supported a neoliberal, pro-globalisation strategy, notwithstanding the concerns of its trade union base. Both the Republicans and the Democrats now find themselves deeply polarised between the pro- and anti-globalisers, an entirely new development not witnessed since the shift towards neoliberalism under Reagan almost 40 years ago.

Another plank of Trump's nationalist appeal – "Make America great again" – is his position on foreign policy. He believes that America's pursuit of great power status has squandered the nation's resources. He argues that the country's alliance system is unfair, with America bearing most of the cost and its allies contributing far too little. He points to Japan and South Korea, and Nato's European members as prime examples. He seeks to rebalance these relationships and, failing that, to exit from them.

As a country in decline, he argues that America can no longer afford to carry this kind of financial burden. Rather than putting the world to rights, he believes the money should be invested at home, pointing to the dilapidated state of America's infrastructure. Trump's position represents a major critique of America as the world's hegemon. His arguments mark a radical break with the neoliberal, hyper-globalisation ideology that has reigned since the early 1980s and with the foreign policy orthodoxy of most of the postwar period. These arguments must be taken seriously. They should not be lightly dismissed just because of their authorship. But Trump is no man of the left. He is a populist of the right. He has launched a racist and xenophobic attack on Muslims and on Mexicans. Trump's appeal is to a white working class that feels it has been cheated by the big corporations, undermined by Hispanic immigration, and often resentful towards African-Americans who for long too many have viewed as their inferior.

A Trump America would mark a descent into authoritarianism characterised by abuse, scapegoating, discrimination, racism, arbitrariness and violence; America would become a deeply polarised and divided society. His threat to impose 45% tariffs on China , if implemented, would certainly provoke retaliation by the Chinese and herald the beginnings of a new era of protectionism.

Trump may well lose the presidential election just as Sanders failed in his bid for the Democrat nomination. But this does not mean that the forces opposed to hyper-globalisation – unrestricted immigration, TPP and TTIP, the free movement of capital and much else – will have lost the argument and are set to decline. In little more than 12 months, Trump and Sanders have transformed the nature and terms of the argument. Far from being on the wane, the arguments of the critics of hyper-globalisation are steadily gaining ground. Roughly two-thirds of Americans agree that "we should not think so much in international terms but concentrate more on our own national problems". And, above all else, what will continue to drive opposition to the hyper-globalisers is inequality.

thetowncrier , 21 Aug 2016 00:51

In the 1970s attacks on social democracy, at least in the UK, were treated with the same disdain by the political and media establishments as attacks on monetarism are today. Thatcher, as it happens, was widely pilloried within her own party for articulating a departure from contemporary economic orthodoxy, and the Tory establishment used their lackeys in the press to continue their assault on her after she became Party Leader.

The lesson, dare I say it, is twofold. Firstly, whether they are wedded to one economic system or another, the ruling classes are inherently conservative, reluctant to sanction change and fearful of anything that chips away at their privilege. Secondly, the press, far from playing a watchdog role on the state and its corporate masters, actually helps to sustain them. This should be clear to anyone who has witnessed the Guardian's reporting of Jeremy Corbyn, but it goes far beyond this newspaper to every title in the country. The same process can be witnessed in the US, and throughout the Eurozone.

You might think this settles the matter, but there is a limit to media propaganda that journalists simply cannot see, which is why so many have scratched their heads at the ascendance of Sanders and Corbyn. I don't think either of these men will ever lead their respective countries, but as you say at the end of this piece the overridding reasons that put them there - an inefficient, corrupt and backwards economic system - are not going away any time soon. They are actually going to get worse, because the establishments in Europe, the UK and the US have cornered their respective electoral 'markets', sponsoring obedient politicians who will gladly do their bidding. These people have no courage and no foresight, and will drag the West further into decline precisely as they claim to advance it.

maxfisher -> thetowncrier , 21 Aug 2016 01:40

Precisely. Jonathan Cook's uses Kuhn's paradigm shift thesis to describe exactly that which you adumbrate:

Importantly, a shift, or revolution, was not related to the moment when the previous scientific theory was discredited by the mounting evidence against it. There was a lag, usually a long delay, between the evidence showing the new theory was a better "fit" and the old theory being discarded.
The reason, Kuhn concluded, was because of an emotional and intellectual inertia in the scientific community. Too many people – academics, research institutions, funding bodies, pundits – were invested in the established theory. As students, it was what they had grown up "knowing". Leading professors in the field had made their reputations advancing and "proving" the theory. Vast sums had been expended in trying to confirm the theory. University departments were set up on the basis that the theory was correct. Too many people had too much to lose to admit they were wrong.
A paradigm shift typically ocurred, Kuhn argued, when a new generation of scholars and researchers exposed to the rival theory felt sufficiently frustrated by this inertia and had reached sufficiently senior posts that they could launch an assault on the old theory. At that point, the proponents of the traditional theory faced a crisis. The scientific establishment would resist, often aggressively, but at some point the fortifications protecting the old theory would crumble and collapse. Then suddenly almost everyone would switch to the new theory, treating the old theory as if it were some relic of the dark ages.


http://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2016-07-22/why-corbyn-so-terrifies-the-guardian /
janonifus -> thetowncrier , 21 Aug 2016 01:59

Brilliant. A comment which engaged with the article and says a lot which is sensible. But I disagree with your final conclusion.

I agree that neither Corbyn nor Sanders (nor Trump) will lead their countries but I don't believe their parties will remain stranded on electoral territory which is increasingly infertile. They will move and better, stronger candidates will emerge.

That's not optimism though, or at least not unbridled optimism. I'd welcome a better representation of the left wing's alternative to economic liberalism but a more determined, organised and coherent successor to Trump? That's obviously frightening.

bourdieu , 21 Aug 2016 01:03

I often like Jacques's writing but its Anglocentrism needs to be challenged. Neo-liberalism has earlier origins than Reagan and Thatcher - East Asia in the late 1950s and Latin America in the late-60s and 70s. This matters because it is in Asia especially that the new ideas for a post-neo-liberal era will be found.

And the Sanders-Trump-Brexit trinity of insurgency against neo-liberalism needs to had Xi Jinping added to it. For what it Xi other than China's Donald Trump? A different political persona - avuncular Xi Dada etc. - but his China Dream, making China great again, his Maoist revival, and more all speak of someone overturning China's own post-Mao translation of global neo-liberalism (Socialism with Chinese characteristics).


thetowncrier
, 21 Aug 2016 01:08

As for the economics, the problem with the current economic model is really very simple. Too much money is going to the top 10% in Western societies, and most of this money is not being invested back into the economies in which it is generated or redistributed to the populace through taxation. Great chunks, indeed, get siphoned out of the West and end up in tax havens, where its owners languish like the bloated feudal overlords they are.

This system cannot sustain itself, and is ripe for another global meltdown. Every major recession in capitalist history has come about in the wake of an accumulation of wealth at the top end of society and a corollary decline in earnings and disposable income at the bottom and middle rungs. If you give a minority of people too much money, or at least access to too much money (as was the case in the banks in 2007-8), expect to count the cost soon enough. The system of social democracy allows policymakers to mitigate this problem by redistributing wealth through taxation, and that is precisely what governments should be doing now. However, to expect them to do so when they are in hock to corporations is roughly equivalent to expecting the Pope to talk authoritatively on evolutionary biology. It won't happen, not with the cowards and shysters who dominate our political systems, and it will probably take another major world war to bring about the change we need.

Lancasterwitch , 21 Aug 2016 01:19

The problem is TPTB aka the 1% are in charge and they think that Reagan/Thatcher/Friedman economics has been a huge success. So it doesn't matter who or what the 99% vote for - they can even vote for no more austerity (as in Greece) or even no more EU - the 1% are not going to give up, because most of them don't appear on any ballot paper.
So, as Tony Benn famously asked, "How do we get rid of you?"


CitizenDrob
-> blimeyoreilley
, 21 Aug 2016 01:57

Nevertheless change is coming, not to debate it or plan for its arrival would be irresponsible and ultimately disastrous for us all. Inequality in any system cannot be sustained indefinitely and that rule will apply to the internal politics and economies of nations as well as between nation states.
One way or another there will be a rebalancing of economies, it's inevitable, we can either take advantage of the necessary changes or it will lead to anarchy.
Head in the sand is an option but not the clever one - history will judge us poorly if we do not at least attempt to take proper control of our resources now and at least try to correct the imbalances in our economies.

GutsandGlory , 21 Aug 2016 01:30

Brexit is a classic example of such populism. It has overturned a fundamental cornerstone of UK policy since the early 1970s. Though ostensibly about Europe, it was in fact about much more: a cri de coeur from those who feel they have lost out and been left behind

Quit with the patronising assumption that we voted Brexit because we felt 'left behind', and didn't have the brain power to understand what we were voting for. Everyone in my work, neighbourhood, flat share and extended family were discussing nothing but the EU, it's pros and cons, and arguing their positions right up until the referendum.

CheeseHeads -> GutsandGlory , 21 Aug 2016 02:17

Totally agree. Many on the left still think of Brexiters as knuckle dragging idiots who have destroyed a liberal utopia called the EU. They still think of the working class as something to be pitied that needs guidance because of their own ignorance.
Well BREXIT was a real boot up the arse for them.

abugaafar , 21 Aug 2016 01:33

I found this a very well written and interesting article, but curiously parochial given that it's about globalisation. If you just consider Europe and the United States it seems irrefutable that globalisation has grossly enriched a fortunate few and left many more to struggle with stagnating and insecure incomes. The problem, in that context, is clearly inequality. But was inequality, on a global scale, not the problem before globalisation was conceived, and has globalisation not done much to reduce global inequality? It is not surprising if the reduction has been at the expense of the world's relatively rich, the middle and working classes of the western world. But the winners are not just the rich western elite, but also the millions who have benefitted from free migration and the transfer of capital and jobs to what used to be the third world. If the remedy for western economic ills is, effectively, deglobalisation, there will be losers there too as well as, we hope, winners at home.

[Sep 20, 2017] Sovereign Nations Is Main Theme Of Trump's UN Speech

Sovereignty is oppose of neoliberal globalization, so in a way this is an some kind of affirmation of Trump election position. How serious it is is not clear. Probably not much as Imperial faction now controls Trump, making him more of a marionette that a political leader of the USA.
Notable quotes:
"... Trump labeled the Syrian government "the criminal regime of Bashar al Assad." The "problem in Venezuela", he said, is "that socialism has been faithfully implemented." He called Iran "an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violent, bloodshed and chaos." He forgot to mention pistachios . The aim of such language and threats is usually to goad the other party into some overt act that can than be used as justification for "retaliation". But none of the countries Trump mentioned is prone to such behavior. They will react calmly - if at all. ..."
"... The stressing of sovereignty and the nation state in part one was the point where Trump indeed differed from his interventionist predecessors. But its still difficult to judge if that it is something he genuinely believes in. ..."
"... There is no emphasis on sovereignty b. Trump says that Russia's and China' threat to the sovereignty of countries is bad but the sovereignty of small countries the US does not like is somehow threatened by these countries themselves. Which I interpret as a threat - "you endanger yourself if you don't do as told". ..."
"... "The stressing of sovereignty and the nation state in part one was the point where Trump indeed differed from his interventionist predecessors. But its still difficult to judge if that it is something he genuinely believes in" ..."
"... The word sovereignty has taken on different and sinister implications with the UN Responsibility to Protect Act in 2005. The US pushed for this and it squeaked by and they used it to justify the invasion of Libya in 2011. I think Libya was a major turning point. I don't think Russia and Iran are going to back off easily. (I originally posted this in 2015 at another site) The US also seems to have pretty much lost what humanitarian clout they may have had. ..."
"... He talks about the period from 1989 when we had the Panama invasion and collapse of the Soviet Union as leading to an unleashing of US military power leading to the Iraq War in 2003. This war serious dented the image of the US as being a humanitarian actor and the US pushed for the UN Responsibility to Protect Act in 2005 which was used to justify the Libya invasion. ..."
"... Prashad sees the results of that invasion and what is going on now in Syria as reflecting that the period 2011-2015 is seeing the end of this US unipolarism that lasted from 1989 to 2011. ..."
"... How can Trump believe in defending Westphalia Treaty principles, sovereignty and the nation state, when US policy in the Arab world consists in destroying all these? This is rather like Warren Buffett lamenting that American billionaires are so rich, and pay less taxes than their secretaries. They are just laughing at us in our faces. ..."
"... Sound more or less like Hussein Obomo address at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Sept. 24, 2013 - America is exceptional ? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HT5BjNDg5W0 No wonder Putin and Xi did not care to attend. Anyway Putin winning in Syria and Xi gaining in economic, science and technology ..."
"... I agree with other commenters about the Orwellian nature of the speech. Sovereignty is an interesting word to abuse and I expect we will see more abuse of it. How can the US ever be a sovereign nation when it does not own its own financial system? But in the interim all other aspects of sovereignty will be examined but not global private finance.....unless the China/Russia axis hand is forced into the open. ..."
"... Trump - the Republican Obama ..."
"... "The sanction game is over. It's only the dying empire of the Federal Reserve, ECB, Wall Street, City of London and their military strong arm operating in the Pentagon that have yet to accept this new reality. ..."
"... The days of bullying nations and simply bombing them into submission is over as well. Russia and China have made it very clear this is no longer acceptable and Russia has all but shut down the operations in Syria. The "ISIS" boogeyman is surrounded and fleeing into Asia and recently showed up in the Philippines. The fact that a group of desert dwellers acquired an ocean going vessel should be enough evidence to even the most brain-dead these desert dwellers are supported by outside forces – like the CIA. Otherwise, from where did the ship(s) materialize?" ..."
"... it seems to me with Trump an era of so-called globalization has come to its end. ..."
"... Of course countries subjected to senseless US sanctions, like Russia, are concerned with sovereignty. They are ..."
"... baseless economic attacks by the country that controls world banking. ..."
"... 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 USA. 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. ..."
Sep 20, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Today the President of the United States Donald Trump spoke (rush transcript) to the United Nations General Assembly. The speech's main the me was sovereignty. The word occurs 18(!) times. It emphasized Westphalian principles .

[W]e do expect all nations to uphold these two core sovereign duties, to respect the interests of their own people and the rights of every other sovereign nation

All leaders of countries should always put their countries first, he said, and "the nation state remains the best vehicle for elevating the human condition ."


The Ratification of the Treaty of Münster, 15 May 1648 - bigger

Sovereignty was the core message of his speech. It rhymed well with his somewhat isolationist emphasis of "America first" during his campaign. The second part of the speech the first by threatened the sovereignty of several countries the U.S. ruling class traditionally dislikes. This year's "axis of evil" included North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, Syria and Cuba:

The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary."

Many people will criticize that as an outrageous and irresponsible use of words. It is. But there is nothing new to it. In fact the U.S., acting on behalf of the UN, totally destroyed Korea in the 1950s. The last U.S. president made the same threat Trump made today:

President Barack Obama delivered a stern warning to North Korea on Tuesday, reminding its "erratic" and "irresponsible" leader that America's nuclear arsenal could "destroy" his country.

The South Korean military sounds equally belligerent :

A military source told the Yonhap news agency every part of Pyongyang "will be completely destroyed by ballistic missiles and high-explosives shells". ... The city, the source said, "will be reduced to ashes and removed from the map".

Trump labeled the Syrian government "the criminal regime of Bashar al Assad." The "problem in Venezuela", he said, is "that socialism has been faithfully implemented." He called Iran "an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violent, bloodshed and chaos." He forgot to mention pistachios . The aim of such language and threats is usually to goad the other party into some overt act that can than be used as justification for "retaliation". But none of the countries Trump mentioned is prone to such behavior. They will react calmly - if at all. There was essentially nothing in Trump's threats than the claptrap the last two U.S. presidents also delivered. Trump may be crazy, but the speech today is not a sign of that.

The stressing of sovereignty and the nation state in part one was the point where Trump indeed differed from his interventionist predecessors. But its still difficult to judge if that it is something he genuinely believes in.

Posted by b on September 19, 2017 at 01:05 PM | Permalink

somebody | Sep 19, 2017 1:32:33 PM | 2
There is no emphasis on sovereignty b. Trump says that Russia's and China' threat to the sovereignty of countries is bad but the sovereignty of small countries the US does not like is somehow threatened by these countries themselves. Which I interpret as a threat - "you endanger yourself if you don't do as told".
If we desire to lift up our citizens, if we aspire to the approval of history, then we must fulfill our sovereign duties to the people we faithfully represent. We must protect our nations, their interests and their futures. We must reject threats to sovereignty from the Ukraine to the South China Sea. We must uphold respect for law, respect for borders, and respect for culture, and the peaceful engagement these allow.

And just as the founders of this body intended, we must work together and confront together those who threatens us with chaos, turmoil, and terror. The score of our planet today is small regimes that violate every principle that the United Nations is based. They respect neither their own citizens nor the sovereign rights of their countries. If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph. When decent people and nations become bystanders to history, the forces of destruction only gather power and strength.

b | Sep 19, 2017 1:51:10 PM | 3
@1 somebody - thanks - link corrected.

@2 somebody - yes, unaimed hostile prose from the speechwriter. Such is in the speech of every U.S. president. But it is not the general theme of the Trump speech when one reads it as one piece. The weight is put in the other direction (though the media will likely point to the threats instead of reading the more extraordinary parts where Trump pushes national sovereignty.)

Luther Blissett | Sep 19, 2017 1:53:43 PM | 4

If there is more to this than the usual US double-speak, I don't see it.

james | Sep 19, 2017 1:57:07 PM | 5
thanks b... ''the criminal regime of donald trump'' is much more on target....
Perimetr | Sep 19, 2017 2:02:47 PM | 6
"The stressing of sovereignty and the nation state in part one was the point where Trump indeed differed from his interventionist predecessors. But its still difficult to judge if that it is something he genuinely believes in"

It appears that his generals are instructing him what to "believe in". At least, he certainly doesn't seem to "believe in" most of his campaign promises, not unlike his recent predecessors. The whole "democracy and freedom" thing in the US is just a charade, as far as I am concerned.

financial matters | Sep 19, 2017 2:22:58 PM | 7
The word sovereignty has taken on different and sinister implications with the UN Responsibility to Protect Act in 2005. The US pushed for this and it squeaked by and they used it to justify the invasion of Libya in 2011. I think Libya was a major turning point. I don't think Russia and Iran are going to back off easily. (I originally posted this in 2015 at another site) The US also seems to have pretty much lost what humanitarian clout they may have had.

I think this was a very good interview of Vijay Prashadby by Chris Hedges

Prashad

He talks about the period from 1989 when we had the Panama invasion and collapse of the Soviet Union as leading to an unleashing of US military power leading to the Iraq War in 2003. This war serious dented the image of the US as being a humanitarian actor and the US pushed for the UN Responsibility to Protect Act in 2005 which was used to justify the Libya invasion.

Prashad sees the results of that invasion and what is going on now in Syria as reflecting that the period 2011-2015 is seeing the end of this US unipolarism that lasted from 1989 to 2011.

--------

The good news is that Syria is turning out much different than Libya. Would be great to see the US cooperate with the China/Russia etc economic goals rather than stirring up trouble in the Phillippines, Myanmar etc. The first test will be to see if Trump can deliver single payer health care to the US. :) ie start to back off on the anti socialism rhetoric

Jeff Kaye | Sep 19, 2017 2:24:19 PM | 8
The "nation state" brought us the millions slaughtered in World War 1. The nation states threatened by the internationalist communist ideology of the USSR (in its early days) ultimately brought us World War 2. The hypertrophied nation state that is the United States of America will bring us World War 3 in its drive to secure its total supremacy. Luckily for us, there will be no World War 4.
Christophe Douté | Sep 19, 2017 2:27:49 PM | 9
How can a country A be "forced to defend itself" by a country B so weak comparatively to country A it can actually be "totally destroyed" by country A?

How can Trump believe in defending Westphalia Treaty principles, sovereignty and the nation state, when US policy in the Arab world consists in destroying all these? This is rather like Warren Buffett lamenting that American billionaires are so rich, and pay less taxes than their secretaries. They are just laughing at us in our faces.

Robert Beal | Sep 19, 2017 2:34:28 PM | 10
beyond hypocrisy, refined doublespeak
OJS | Sep 19, 2017 2:40:10 PM | 11
Sound more or less like Hussein Obomo address at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Sept. 24, 2013 - America is exceptional ? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HT5BjNDg5W0 No wonder Putin and Xi did not care to attend. Anyway Putin winning in Syria and Xi gaining in economic, science and technology
Don Bacon | Sep 19, 2017 2:43:24 PM | 12
The United Nations is based upon the equal sovereignty of nations.
--from the UN Charter --
Article 2
The Organization and its Members, in pursuit of the Purposes stated in Article 1, shall act in accordance with the following Principles.
1. The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.
2. All Members, in order to ensure to all of them the rights and benefits resulting from membership, shall fulfill in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the present Charter.
3. All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.
4. All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations
Krollchem | Sep 19, 2017 2:46:18 PM | 13
Trump's speech seemed to represent an ignorant mouthy bully with a big stick who is threatening any nation he is told to hate. I have to agree with Paveway IV that Trump is just the announcer. The "national sovereignty" comments were just for internal consumption for his base of supporters.

The "Trump world: appears to be getting very crazy given the agendas of the people who handle Trump:
http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_77417.shtml
http://www.unz.com/jpetras/who-rules-america-2/

To a major extent Trump's focus on the "great leader" of countries opposed to the US helps simplify the hate for the "little people" in the US. They have not noticed that the US (as in most other Western countries) has many mini "great leaders" who work toward the same goals while distracting the "little people" with political theatre.

Linda O | Sep 19, 2017 3:05:11 PM | 14
I really don't know what the purpose of this rambling threat to the rest of the world was supposed to accomplish.

Yes, it really was nothing new. The fundamental material of the speech was the very same garbage written by the same Washington establishment of previous administrations - essentially the nuclear armed US regime is 'special' and reserves the right to attack and destroy any country it chooses to.

While the Trump speech is rightly being both ridiculed around the world, what is very scary is the humiliated Trump base is seizing on it.

The Trump base is begging for their failed 'God Emperor' to attack someone to feel better about their own humiliation.

Very, very scary.

Don Bacon | Sep 19, 2017 3:10:41 PM | 15
Sovereignty is also an excuse for US intervention, get it? . . .Trump does....
America stands with every person living under a brutal regime. Our respect for sovereignty is also a call for action. All people deserve a government that cares for their safety, their interests, and their well-being, including their prosperity.
duplicitousdemocracy | Sep 19, 2017 3:27:35 PM | 16
His speechwriters deserve to be fired and the text size on both teleprompters should have been increased. Alternatively, he should wear glasses (along with a more suitably fitted toupee). Sarah Palin would seem like Einstein at the side of this clown.
Ort | Sep 19, 2017 3:32:27 PM | 17
Trump's speech is Orwellian! Not just generally-- it is arguably an elaboration of a close paraphase of an Orwell quote, to wit: "All nations are sovereign, but some nations are more sovereign than others."

I have a strongly ambivalent reaction to Trump's UN appearance-- although I confess that I can only stand to watch and listen to him for brief time periods. It's appalling and embarrassing to watch any of the US's seemingly inexhaustible supply of lizard-brained degenerates at the UN. But part of me thinks it's better to have the quintessential Ugly Amerikan beating his chest and engaging in rhetorical feces-flinging. At least the rest of the world won't be bamboozled, the way they might be by a smooth, silver-tongued liar.

likklemore | Sep 19, 2017 3:50:54 PM | 18
@OJS 11

Putin, Xi and other leaders did not attend this year's UN gathering. They are busy attending the affairs of their citizens.

We are being distracted from the game changer ahead – de-dollarization now on the fast track.
While the toothless dog barks,

Putin orders to end trade in US dollars at Russian seaports

https://www.rt.com/business/403804-russian-sea-ports-ruble-settlements/

This is on the heels of Trump's threatening to exclude China from use of SWIFT (the USD) and China's gold yuan oil futures contract coming mid October as opposed to USD. The petro-yuan is a game changer; hitting the petro-dollar hegemony that keeps the dollar in worldwide demand.

The toothless dog has only his bark. Are Americans prepared for hyper-inflation?

psychohistorian | Sep 19, 2017 4:08:53 PM | 19
I agree with other commenters about the Orwellian nature of the speech. Sovereignty is an interesting word to abuse and I expect we will see more abuse of it. How can the US ever be a sovereign nation when it does not own its own financial system? But in the interim all other aspects of sovereignty will be examined but not global private finance.....unless the China/Russia axis hand is forced into the open.

The abuse of the term sovereignty by Trump is part of a crafted Big Lie message. Just like Trump linking to the poster of him, with a rope over his shoulder, dragging a barge of companies back to America......the internationalism genie will never go completely back into the bottle and is counterproductive to all.

Christian Chuba | Sep 19, 2017 4:46:02 PM | 20
John Bolton and the moron, Sean Hannity, love the speech. That should be all anyone needs to know. It was Orwellian, super-villain, double-speak.
If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph.
Madman. How has Iran violated the U.N. charter? They were invited into Iraq and Syria by the UN recognized govts. Okay, they make veiled threats against Israel, they get a demerit for that. Even if you argue that they are 'predicting' rather can 'threatening to cause' Israel's demise, I'd take that as a veiled threat. But Israel makes equally hostile comments towards Iran albeit, in a passive / aggressive manner. Netanyahu, 'We recognize Iran's right to exist but truth be told the planet, no wait, the entire universe itself would be better off if they disappeared'.
Jackrabbit | Sep 19, 2017 5:02:50 PM | 21
Trump - the Republican Obama
Jackrabbit | Sep 19, 2017 5:12:32 PM | 22
If you like your sovereignty, you can keep your sovereignty.
Andy | Sep 19, 2017 5:12:41 PM | 23
Well, it has finally arrived at the U.N. speech. Trump is showing his real colors, whether they are forced or were originally his own. It doesn't matter. He is spouting the same nonsenze as the neocons and the rest of them. He has crossed over - he maybe never knew the way through, but was only parroting other's views. He is clearly a chameleon, willing to change his stripes on a dime. The man is darkly lost in the woods, or is it the swamp?
chet380 | Sep 19, 2017 5:26:05 PM | 24
Sorry, somewhat off-topic --

While there have been hints that the Rohingya "rebels" are receiving funds from expatriates in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, is there anything concrete that connects the CIA to the rebels?

Laguerre | Sep 19, 2017 5:42:58 PM | 25
Frankly Trump is a big mouth, but there's no evidence that he's more than that. If he wanted war, we'd already be there. It's different from Saddam in the old days, who went to war within a year of becoming leader, or the Saudi crown prince, Muhammad bin Salman, who launched the war against Yemen.

59 Tomahawks, that's the style. I haven't seen different from then.

Taxi | Sep 19, 2017 5:46:38 PM | 26
Hypocrisy - huuuge hypocrisy, believe me it was tremendous hypocrisy!
mcohen | Sep 19, 2017 5:47:45 PM | 27
trump is mr thunder thump
Bart in VA | Sep 19, 2017 5:50:25 PM | 28
He called Iran "an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violent, bloodshed and chaos."

Like the pundits who shadow him, he really has no understanding of irony.

Bart in VA | Sep 19, 2017 5:52:58 PM | 29
#4 - "Failed State" - A country too poor for us to exploit.
Lochearn | Sep 19, 2017 6:01:13 PM | 30
The advantage of having Trump around is that he seems to diffuse energy. He is not building a case against N. Korea like Bush did with Iraq, but instead he is big on bluster. There is no appeal to the emotions of people and their fears and as such he is not marketing it, something he knows a lot about. In his own way I believe he is defusing the situation by talking big but remebering Bannon's comments when he left. And as a consummate player at the table of power (unlike the novice Obama) he has his status.

What interests me is Tillerson and the State Department and its attitude to Israel. Syria is where Israel met its match and was soundly thrashed. The world will never be the same again, And the State Department is recognizing this reality. I think there is a recognition in certain powerful quarters that whole neocon-Zionist shit has got America nowhere. As Talking Heads said, "We're on the road to nowhere."

Extra | Sep 19, 2017 6:12:58 PM | 31
Andy@23
It's the swamp. Sounds like Pete Seeger's 'Waist deep in the Big Muddy' all over again.
Chauncey Gardiner | Sep 19, 2017 6:15:58 PM | 32
The speech (it reminds me on movie The Kings Speech https://youtu.be/PPLIw64rLJc TERRIBLE MOVIE) is for internal the US purpose, for Amerikkaans. Majority of them, according to the Gov. media outlets, support military action against DPRK and mostly likely against Iran (the most hatred nation by far) as well. Amerikkaans will support any crime anywhere and probably destruction of whole planet Earth.

In the same time his words and deeds are the most irrelevant of any US presidents. I bet he never heard of that word "sovereignty" before nor for "nation state". This morning when Trump woke up some member of National Security Council put sheet of paper with the speech on his desk and tell him "Read this!". Just as they did to Obama in many occasions, one of example is this: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/video/2016/may/04/obama-drinks-flint-water-video

There some people in the US who knows what is going on:

http://nationalinterest.org/feature/redefining-winning-afghanistan-22176

For all the very considerable expense, however, the American military does not have a very impressive record of achieving victory. It has won no wars since 1945!especially if victory is defined as achieving an objective at acceptable cost!except against enemy forces that essentially didn't exist.
james | Sep 19, 2017 6:24:49 PM | 33
@7 financial matters.. good comment and relevant.. i agree with you.. unipolar no more.. however, not quite multipolar yet either... we are still in a transitional place.. syria is no libya fortunately.. but causing this kind of shit around the globe is what the usa is known for.. they will continue to make war projects, especially if you believe as b notes a couple of threads ago - trump is no longer calling the shots.. it is military guys full on..
Lochearn | Sep 19, 2017 6:26:51 PM | 34
@ 52

I rather liked the film "The King's Speech because it was about speech. Your English is fucking awful Chancey, not good enough for this forum. Get some lessons and come back.

Chauncey Gardiner | Sep 19, 2017 6:28:50 PM | 35
@Lochearn | Sep 19, 2017 6:26:51 PM | 34

Read this Nazi. https://www.sprottmoney.com/Blog/actions-of-a-bully-child-or-dying-empire-sanctions-and-threats-rory-hall.html

"The sanction game is over. It's only the dying empire of the Federal Reserve, ECB, Wall Street, City of London and their military strong arm operating in the Pentagon that have yet to accept this new reality.

The days of bullying nations and simply bombing them into submission is over as well. Russia and China have made it very clear this is no longer acceptable and Russia has all but shut down the operations in Syria. The "ISIS" boogeyman is surrounded and fleeing into Asia and recently showed up in the Philippines. The fact that a group of desert dwellers acquired an ocean going vessel should be enough evidence to even the most brain-dead these desert dwellers are supported by outside forces – like the CIA. Otherwise, from where did the ship(s) materialize?"

Chauncey Gardiner | Sep 19, 2017 6:29:56 PM | 36
Lochearn | Sep 19, 2017 6:26:51 PM | 34

You like a movie. Of course, it is for morons.

Lozion | Sep 19, 2017 6:38:33 PM | 37
Comment @4 is spot on..
Chauncey Gardiner | Sep 19, 2017 6:39:43 PM | 38
@Lochearn aka Nazi

I recognize you from before, but how do you like these links?

https://www.sprottmoney.com/Blog/actions-of-a-bully-child-or-dying-empire-sanctions-and-threats-rory-hall.html

http://nationalinterest.org/feature/redefining-winning-afghanistan-22176

Where have you raised, under rock or in cave?

Chauncey Gardiner | Sep 19, 2017 6:51:12 PM | 39
For a Nazi. A question, do you believe in science? Here is one. But does one need to be scientist to figure this out?"The Rise of Incivility and Bullying in America"

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201207/the-rise-incivility-and-bullying-in-america

you are lost case anyway but here is good text from fellow Amerikkaan. But "Rise" from where? I would argue not from Zero but from 60 on scale of 100.

Agree?

karlof1 | Sep 19, 2017 6:56:49 PM | 40
Violating the sovereign sanctity of nations is what the Outlaw US Empire has done without parallel since the United Nation's formation. One of those nations was Vietnam, and a somewhat respected documentary film maker looks like he's going to try--again--to pull wool over the eyes of his intended audience by trying to legitimate the Big Lie that provided the rationale for the Outlaw US Empire's illegal war against Vietnam. The detailed argument regarding Ken Burns's effort to "correct" the actual historical record can be read here, https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/09/19/getting-the-gulf-of-tonkin-wrong-are-ken-burns-and-lynn-novick-telling-stories-about-the-central-events-used-to-legitimize-the-us-attack-against-vietnam/ and it is probably the sort of history Trump would enjoy since he doesn't seem to know any better.
Chauncey Gardiner | Sep 19, 2017 7:09:16 PM | 41
@Lochearn aka Nazi

How many nick/names do you have? You may hide under this and that stupid but your associations are still here. You stay stupid. I know, I know the truth hurts. You Amerikkaans are not used to it. Go and watch a porn, before de-dollarization is in full swing. Than you are going to stave to death, no more credit cards and quantitative easing. That's is Trump's speech for.

https://www.opednews.com/articles/What-Happened-to-All-Those-by-Jim-Hightower-Banksters_Homeownership_Housing-170819-119.html

Wall Street bought them -- and is now leasing them out and driving up rents.

Chauncey Gardiner | Sep 19, 2017 7:13:05 PM | 42
Oh my terrible English. Forgive me, would you?

Instead "stave" should be "starve".

All this has to do with shitty Europe, Germany first and foremost.

MadMax2 | Sep 19, 2017 7:14:02 PM | 43
Posted by: financial matters | Sep 19, 2017 2:22:58 PM | 7
Nice interview from a couple of years back. Prashad's worldview is worthy of reposting. Enjoyable. Cheers.

US Americans might have proved themselves very adept at destroying both nation states and the English language, though it will be Syria who restores true meaning to the word 'sovereign' - with some collective help of course.

The almost failed state will emerge from this steeled with a sense of identity, pride and purpose. The minnow that refused to buckle.

The Don putting together some performances that finally warrant the unified, rabid reaction from the press....

Oilman2 | Sep 19, 2017 7:42:50 PM | 44
"But its still difficult to judge if that it is something he genuinely believes in."

Are you serious? Everything coming out of DC is still the same - sanctions against other sovereign countries who do not tow the line the US demands, cruise missiles for the little guys, disavowing and de-legitimizing the JCPOA, unrelenting 'freedom of navigation' patrols, threats to cut nations off from the SWIFT system, every word out of Nikki Haleys' mouth... It's really easy to go on and on, and his first year isn't even done.

The amount of disrespect for other sovereign nations by the USA is mind boggling, and that is only the official stuff. Throw in CIA ops and NGO ops and there you have an entire other level of the failure to recognize sovereignty.

Can you send me some of what you are smoking? Because it obviously makes you oblivious to the obvious, and that may help my mood...

Chauncey Gardiner | Sep 19, 2017 7:48:40 PM | 45
Obviously, the UN has became an arena of the one country show and that country puppets. Zionist PM, the West most "faithful ally" on Middle East, and his speech. Mix of infantilism, rhetoric and implicit racism of "God Chosen People". And sea of self-congratulating lies.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/47844.htm

In par with Trump's speech.

Chauncey Gardiner | Sep 19, 2017 7:56:52 PM | 46
Oilman2!

is that you?

Chauncey Gardiner | Sep 19, 2017 8:05:13 PM | 47
What is Trump's speech for?

Senate backs massive increase in military spending
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-defense-congress/senate-backs-massive-increase-in-military-spending-idUSKCN1BT2PV

V. Arnold | Sep 19, 2017 8:12:32 PM | 48
karlof1 | Sep 19, 2017 6:56:49 PM | 40

Great comment re: Vietnam. The Ken Burns documentary is just one more fairy tale of the U.S. involvement/war in Vietnam.
Among the many myths, foremost is that Ho Chi Minh was a communist; he most assuredly was not. Yes, he was a member of the party in France, but it is irrelevent to history (Ho was a nationalist).
Did you know he tried to engage FDR?
Below is a remarkable interview with John Pilger on the real history of the U.S. and Vietnam; it ain't pretty. Even Mao tried to engage the U.S., which the U.S. duly ignored.

https://www.rt.com/shows/watching-the-hawks/403760-nuclear-standoff-crisis-china/

PavewayIV | Sep 19, 2017 8:12:34 PM | 49
Why is everyone hating on Trump? Be realistic: sometimes you have to genocide 25 million people to save them. We're the God damn hero here - you bastards should be thanking the USA.

Well, I guess we're really not trying to save the North Koreans at all. But they refuse to leave the buffer zone (all of North Korea) that is protecting the world from red Chinese expansion south. Worse than that, the North Koreans insist on protecting themselves BY FORCE from the US. How evil is that?

Reminds me of those evil Syrians and Iraqis who refuse to vacate the buffer zone protecting Israel from Iran. The nerve!

Only US lapdog nations have the right to defend themselves - as long as its with US-made weapons and they're protecting themselves from anybody except the US. And we get to build US bases on their soil. Who wouldn't want that? Because the US is... what did Trump say... RIGHTEOUS. You know:

"...good, virtuous, upright, upstanding, decent; ethical, principled, moral, high-minded, law-abiding, honest, honorable, blameless, irreproachable, noble; saintly, angelic, pure..."

Tell me which one of those synonyms DOES NOT apply to the US? I prefer 'angelic'.

The first thing psychopaths do when they attain any measure of power and control is to redefine evil as anything that threatens their power and control. Then constantly hammer that threat into the minds of the little people so the little people don't think too hard about stringing them up from the lamp posts.

Everything the US has done in my lifetime has been about preserving and protecting the US government no matter how corrupt, evil or immoral it acts. Protecting the people is only given lip service when it can be used to justify further protections for the state. Creation of the Department of Homeland Security Stazi is probably the end stage for full-spectrum dominance over the little people - it is slowly morphing (as planned) into a federal armed force to protect the US government FROM the little people. I guess the FBI wasn't up to the task.

"The government you elect is the government you deserve" Thomas Jefferson, Founding Terrorist.

V. Arnold | Sep 19, 2017 8:14:56 PM | 50
PavewayIV | Sep 19, 2017 8:12:34 PM | 49

Spot on...

Krollchem | Sep 19, 2017 8:26:44 PM | 51
Chauncey Gardiner@ 32

Do you agree that to point of National Interest article seem to be that the US is not capable of invading and controlling non-European countries?

I did find the Cato Institute author to be very poorly informed about the US invasions of Granada and Panama, the Balkan wars, the Kosovo invasion and the Syrian war.

As for ISIS, the author does not know anything about the incubation of ISIS by the US administrations and the Libyan war (Hillary/Obama/Sarkozy) connection . He also does not discuss the billions in military hardware that the US allowed ISIS to capture in Iraq.

As for the US efforts they are more about preventing the formation of an integrated economic sphere between Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanese Republic. The war efforts by the US in fighting ISIS are minimal compared to the Syrian and Russian efforts, yet he lies by omission to pump up the US efforts. At least he didn't attempt to praise Turkey (sic) for their efforts in cutting off aid to ISIS and Al Qaeda (under all its names).

Remember that the Cato Institute is another flavor of the NGO spider supporting the deep state!

Please understand that this is not a personal attack as I am here to learn and share.

John Gilberts | Sep 19, 2017 8:44:57 PM | 52
Canada's Trudeau will follow Trump at the UN on Thursday. Today he received an award from the Atlantic Council: 'Worldwide the long established international order is being tested..' And obviously the sexy northern selfie-king knows his place in it...
https://youtube.com/watch?v=Kp49TFRMR8g
Don Bacon | Sep 19, 2017 8:51:24 PM | 53
@ 49
Yes, to save the 25 million North Koreans the US must destroy them!

"No one has shown more contempt for other nations and for the wellbeing of their own people than the depraved regime in North Korea. It is responsible for the starvation deaths of millions of North Koreans, and for the imprisonment, torture, killing, and oppression of countless more."
. ..but there are limits. . .

"The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea."

So give me that "no more contempt" line again, Donald? (Personally, I can't imagine Hillary doing any less. So much for elections.)

Chauncey Gardiner | Sep 19, 2017 8:56:49 PM | 54
"Why is everyone hating on Trump?" Preposterous. You give him too much importance. He is rather the object of ridicule.

"The word occurs 18(!) times."

While the word Sovereignty

Maybe by accident maybe not just conspicuous coincidence. But it seems to me with Trump an era of so-called globalization has come to its end. With self-inflicted wounds ($20T Gov. debt) and new president who is (initially) inward looking, it is time to talk about old stuff. As if the US statehood has been in question for a moment. Old trick of capitalist class.

Chauncey Gardiner | Sep 19, 2017 9:04:30 PM | 55
I was looking for Putin and Sovereignty and I've found this: http://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-uses-putins-arguments-to-undermine-the-world
nonsense factory | Sep 19, 2017 9:21:01 PM | 56
File under "propaganda for domestic consumption"

Targeting Iran was never about nuclear weapons (the U.S. let Pakistan expand its nuclear weapons program without interfering, despite knowing all about the AQ Khan network, because Pakistan was cooperating with the U.S. agenda in Afghanistan and elsewhere), it was about the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline (during the GW Bush era) and the expansion of economic ties with Syria (during the Obama era).

Now, with the easing of sanctions, Iran's pipeline deals have been revived, such as Iran-Pakistan, or Iran-India (undersea) , Iran-Europe, with China and Russia and Turkey as potential partners. Meanwhile, the proposed TAPI pipeline backed by the Clinton, Bush & Obama State Departments, as well as Chevron and Exxon, from Turkmenistan to the Indian Ocean, is still held up due to instability in Afghanistan (i.e. the Taliban would immediately blow it up). Obama's 30,000 troop surge to 100,000 couldn't solve that, and the recent Trump troop surge (much smaller) will have little effect on that either.
TAPI pipe dreams continue, Sep 17 2017

There's no way Trump or Tillerson would ever be honest about this in an international forum, any more than Obama and Clinton would, or Bush and Condi Rice, but it's the same old "great game" for Central Asian oil and gas that's dominated U.S. regional foreign policy since the end of the Cold War.

Don Bacon | Sep 19, 2017 9:26:11 PM | 57
@ 54/55
Of course countries subjected to senseless US sanctions, like Russia, are concerned with sovereignty. They are subject to baseless economic attacks by the country that controls world banking.
b4real | Sep 19, 2017 10:12:08 PM | 59
[throws meat to the lions] Orlov has a great read up
Debsisdead | Sep 19, 2017 10:16:10 PM | 60
It is foolish to consider the trumpet's lunatic ravings in isolation, according to that organ of empire foreign policy dot com , the amerikan airforce is ready and rearing to go and blast the bejeezuz outta North Korea.
Sure it may be bluster when they come out with seeming tosh like:
""We're ready to fight tonight," Gen. Robin Rand, commander of the Air Force's Global Strike Command, told reporters at an Air Force conference in Washington on Monday. "We don't have to spin up, we're ready.""

Because everyone knows that a manned tactical airforce is on the way out, that bombing a population has only ever served to strengthen resolve within that population, but the first point that the airforce of jocks n fighters is verging on obsolescence, might just drive the generals of middle management, concerned that their career is about to hit a brick wall, to go for one last roll of the dice. Blow some shit up, create a few heroes and maybe the inevitable can be staved off for long enough for their scum to rise to the surface, jag a great gig with a contractor, then retire in luxury. I mean to say it's gotta be worth a shot right? The alternative of layoffs and all the sexy fighting stuff being done by unsexy drones, is just too awful to consider.

So what if Guam gets wasted, a good memorial at Arlington will balance that shit and when it is all said and done, most of the people who will get nuked by DPRK aren't amerikans - but here's the best bit, we can sell them to the idjits just like they were, while we build the anger and bloodlust, then backpedal on that when it comes down to lawsuits, compensation or whatever it is those whale-fuckers whine about - right?

A pre-emptive attack based on the possibility that DPRK hasn't yet developed nuke tech sufficiently, but will do so "if we continue to sit on our asses" would be an easy sell to an orange derp whose access to alternative points of view has been cut off.
The only real question is whether the rest of the military (the non-airforce parts) go for it.
The navy likely will because they are in the same boat (pun intended) as the airforce when it comes down to usefulness as a front line conflict agent and they too will likely get a role to play in the destruction of North Korea - at the very least as a weapons platform (just like with the mindless Syria aggression) and may even get to be the forward C&C base since South Korea isn't mobile and may cop a fair amount of DPRK reaction.

Only the army for whom a pre emptive attack on the people of North Korea has little upside, but lots of downside, may oppose this insane butchery. The army will be tasked with neutralising a population whose innate loathing of all things amerikan has just been raised by about ten notches. So soon after the Iraq debacle, they may see an attack as all negative in that once again they will cop the blame and even worse the old enemies - the airforce and navy - will come out smelling like roses. It is true that the bulk of the yellow monkey's 'advisors' are army types, so under normal circumstances they would obstruct any such bullshit grabs for the brass ring by the navy & airforce upstarts - but there is a high probability that the army leadership will do no such thing.
The reason for that is as old as humanity itself and I was sad to see that it copped little mention in the last thread about the 'soft' coup at the whitehouse.

Many people were cheering the takeover by the military doubtless the same people who imagine that "amerika could be great again - if only we go back to the way it was in the 1950's and 60's". What they miss is that everything is fluid; nothing is held in stasis as a proof that perfection has been reached. The 'eisenhower/johnson years were merely steps on the path, the world was never gonna stay in white bourgeois contentment no matter whether unwhites kicked up or not. There are diverse reasons for that from ambitious careerism forcing change so a lucky few can ascend one more rung on the ladder, to the reality that it is impossible for all humans to be content all the time -some groups will be disadvantaged, advertise that then be 'adopted' by careerists as an excuse for forcing change. That is inevitable - as inevitable as the reality that once the military gained power, their next move would be to consolidate it and to try ensure that they kept it for ever.

In other words the initial coup may have been largely bloodless (altho several million dead mid easterners would strongly disagree if they could) but any study of human behavior reveals that it is the need to hold on to power which is what really incites oppression violence and mass murder.
The Pennsylvania Avenue generals understand that the simplest way of retaining control is gonna be if the orange 'whipped* gains re-election. If the orange chunder is gonna win the next one he needs to hit some home runs and have a lot less ties or outright defeats.

At this stage it doesn't matter what turkey kicked up the Korea bizzo, or even it it has any moral dimension at all, what matters is that the trumpet has made it a major issue and if he doesn't 'prevail' in the short-term, the odds of him retaining support much less gaining more support, are gone - very likely for the duration of the tangerine prezdency. It's not as if the ME situation offers the slightest chink of light at the end of the tunnel. Syria is history now and that Iran thing has a good chance of dividing europe from amerika, just as climate change has. I reckon that the junta who, individually & institutionally have a big investment in Nato, will be looking to steer the orange nit away from inciting a confrontation over the nuke deal. Korea could be the alternate shiny thing the junta draws trumpet's attention to in order to distract the dingbat.

So even though it is a total cleft stick that the junta is in, I reckon it is extremely probable that the army branch of the amerikan government will allow the airforce and possibly the navy as well, their moment in the sun.

The way this fuckwittery is shaping up, people of Korea are more likely to be enduring Predators up their jacksies than not, before the end of "the summer of '18'

*anyone who doesn't see that the trumpet displays all the signs (boasting of alleged performance, number of 'conquests' size of penis etc) of a man who is unable to have his voice heard above the demands of the women around him, doesn't comprehend the nature of inter-gender relationships (doncha love 'inter-gender' it sounds exactly like the type of pallid word the identity-ists would use heheh).

Forest | Sep 19, 2017 10:45:08 PM | 61
Ah sovereignty vs. solvency.

There's the rub.

V. Arnold | Sep 19, 2017 10:47:15 PM | 62
Debsisdead | Sep 19, 2017 10:16:10 PM | 60

The main problem I have with your post is China. You do not say anything about China. The Chinese made it clear that if the U.S. pre-emptively attacks the DPRK; China will get involved; and I should think Russia will be somehow involved as well. Moon Jae-In has told the U.S. it (SK) will be the one to decide on an attack, as it should.

But, I do get your drift; I just hope the U.S. will not act...for once. That said; I do think the U.S. lost its tether decades ago...

V. Arnold | Sep 19, 2017 11:00:10 PM | 63
The other possiblity the U.S. won't attack DPRK is that the U.S., cowardly as it is; hasn't attacked a country of any military consequence since WWII.
Don Bacon | Sep 19, 2017 11:36:48 PM | 64
There's one little factor about getting it on with DPRK, besides the ones mentioned, and that is that SecDef Gates several years ago declared that Korea was safe enough to allow it to be an accompanied tour, i.e. soldiers could have their families join them in the Land of the Morning Calm. This coincided with the consolidation of US bases, with a ten billion dollar expansion of Camp Humphreys about seventy miles south of the DMZ. So now we have high-rise apartments with wives, kids, pets, etc. in this "safe" place, now 35,000 strong including all. They practice evacuation. From a recent report --

The noncombatant evacuation operations, or NEO, are aimed at making sure everybody knows their roles in the event of a noncombatant evacuation, which may be ordered in the event of war, political or civil unrest, or a natural or man-made disaster. "I liken the NEO operation to being a scaffolding. It's not a fully fleshed out plan because it's preparing for a million different worst-case scenarios," 1st Lt. Katelyn Radack, a spokeswoman for the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, told Stars and Stripes. ... Brandy Madrigal, 32, was participating in her third NEO -- so she knew exactly what to pack when she got the call to report to the Assembly Point at the main gym at Camp Humphreys on June 5. She ticked off the list -- clothes, food for the kids, documents, phone, toiletries -- before driving with her two children from their first-floor apartment to the base to be processed.

Imagine that -- all those people assembling in one place for "processing." They'd get processed, all right. So the US Army won't be red-hot for the mighty US Air Force to (again) conduct its aerial murder in North Korea, with their loved ones being in rocket range of a counter-attack. That's in addition to any feelings people have for the ten million plus South Koreans in Seoul, close to the border.

Stumpy | Sep 19, 2017 11:54:05 PM | 65
Karlof @ 40

re: Ken Burns Viet Nam -- one only has to look at the sponsors. Burns will cleave to the line only more so. Darling of the aristocratic charities. Somehow reaching the glory 50 years later. Now that Agent Orange has nearly completed the harvest.

Action against Iran and NK, could it really be termed "war", anymore?

ben | Sep 20, 2017 12:16:54 AM | 66
Luther Blissett @ 4 said:"sovereign nation" = a country that obeys the US over its own interests

"rogue nation" = a country that has actual sovereignty

Succinct but true..

The fucking hypocrisy in that UN speech takes my breath away. Trump and his mannerisms sure do remind me of "il Duce".

Debsisdead | Sep 20, 2017 12:19:55 AM | 67
@ V Arnold # 62

I deliberately left China outta the equation because the conflict with DPRK will be engineered to be kicked off with a provocation allegedly committed by DRPK, amerika will 'respond' andthe war will quickly escalate. Yes PRC may become involved, but getting into a war with amerika right now is not great for the PRC either, if the most vital concern is the proximity of amerikan troops to the China border, amerika can give an agreement signed in blood that amerikan military will pull back behind the 38th parallel once the 'regime has been changed' and that only Korean men and equipment will remain.

Of course China would be smart to distrust that but sold correctly with incentives and maybe even the use of some mutually trusted referee, China might decide that is a superior option to kicking off ww3.

As for the enlisted mens families somehow I doubt that the military cares any more about them than it does the men and women they have in their forces - so not very much - smart officer class types will be considering the need to 'further their children's education back home' right now, whether or not the trump decides to go for broke. As I pointed out before, the plan will require that DRPK feels trapped into committing some type of really egregious provocation, or false flagging such a provocation.

Imagine Guam got nuked and all initial evidence pointed to DRPK, China is in a tough spot plus most amerikans will be of the opinion that protecting the families in South Korean barracks comes second to vengeance. That would be an easy sell on fox and msnbc.

Amerika seemingly being attacked is also gonna end msnbc & the rest's potshots at the orange derp, just as 911 halted just about all reference to the view shrub stole the election from Gore in the MSM.

Linda O | Sep 20, 2017 12:20:32 AM | 68
Ignoring Trump.

What scares me the most about the US regime's threats to attack and destroy North Korea is I had naively assumed that all the talk was just the standard game theory back and forth. There never was any real threat beyond the occasional minor incident like there have been in the past few decades.

And I didn't understand why China would so openly and absolutely support North Korea with any sort of attack by the US regime.

But then I read some of the neocon online postings or writings about North Korea and it was a sickening shock to realize that I had been so foolish to believe the Korean crisis was not about Korea, but China.

Getting the US regime's military directly on the Chinese border is something the neocons are perfectly willing, and most likely gleefully happy, to trade millions to tens of millions of North and South Korean lives for.

I can't imagine the revulsion and horror the rest of the world must be feeling towards the United States right now.

Nuff Sed | Sep 20, 2017 12:33:07 AM | 69
Talking of Westphalia... Here is an excerpt from an article of mine which which appeared in the Vineyard of the Saker's site earlier this year:
https://thesaker.is/sacred-communities-and-the-emergent-multipolar-landscape/

The German philosopher and sociologist Ferdinand Tönnies (1855 – 1936) distinguished between two types of social groupings. Gemeinschaft (often translated as community or left untranslated) and Gesellschaft (often translated as society). Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft describe the crucial distinction between community and "Civil Society"; community being characterized by a dispensationalist consensus or a sacred communal consensus on a dispensation sent down from on high, and the latter being characterized as a consensus to "agree to disagree" and to agree that a consensus in any meaningful form can no longer be reached, paving the way to a "conventional" polity (agreed to by secular-humanist convention). This "agreement to disagree" which crystalized between the Peace of Augsburg (1555) and the Peace of Westphalia (1644 – 1648) was, in effect, the West's long and excruciating decision to throw out the baby of Community with the bathwater of the Church's malfeasance in the revolutionary fervor of the Reformation and the "Enlightenment" that followed in its wake. But whereas the integrality of church and state was lost with the Peace of Westphalia circa 1648 whereat pre-Westphalian communities gave way to the Westphalian order of "Civil Societies", the Islamic Revolution of 1979 restored community to the Moslem nation of Iran.

psychohistorian | Sep 20, 2017 12:49:38 AM | 70
I posted this comment over in the latest Syria summary thread but then thought that it belongs here as an example of the craven duplicity of empire about Syria sovereignty.

The following is a link and article quote from China news that says Russia is accusing the US of chickenshit (my term) tactics in Syria

"He said the advancing Syrian government troops supported by the Russian Air Force managed to break the fierce resistance and liberate
more than 60 square km of territory on the left bank of the Euphrates River in the last 24 hours.

But their advance was hampered by a sudden rise of the water level in the Euphrates and a two-fold increase of the speed of its current
after the government troops started crossing the river, Konashenkov said.

In the absence of precipitation, the only source of such changes in the water level could be a man-made discharge of water at the dams
north of the Euphrates, which are held by the opposition formations controlled by the international coalition led by the United States, he said.
"

Russia accuses U.S., opposition of hampering Syrian gov't troops' advance

ProPeace | Sep 20, 2017 1:02:39 AM | 71
What's worries me the most in Trumps speech, sounds actually ominously, is the phrases "dead Poles, fighting [???!!!] French, strong[!] English" ... Is this what's planned for the near future? I'm not liking it a bit.

What about Syria's sovereignty? VoltaireNet predicts launching a big campaign to carve out AnloZio run "Kurdistan" (a la Kosovo) from her right after illegal Sep 25th referendum organized by the Barzani mob. Was the speech (written by Jewish ) hinting to POTUS support for that? Meyssan says that Trump could go both ways. I concur, confusing the enemy has been the name of his game so far.

Orwellian "two minutes of hate" against Trump in the lame-scream media does it stop either:

Situation in the US is getting worse, seems that this Fall big changes are coming, and no lies can hide the truth: LIES, LIES & OMG MORE LIES Who is the enemy? Some names can be found here (and in a recent Eric Zuesse piece):

Southern Poverty Law Center Transfers Millions in Cash to Offshore Entities

ProPeace | Sep 20, 2017 1:08:39 AM | 72
Hitlary Killton just can't go away:

Hillary Clinton May Challenge Legitimacy of Presidential Election

The Borg, the AngloZio pedo-satanic cabal of the City of London Crown Corporation, the web of merchants of death and corporate oligarchy have been doing whatever possible to help her stay relevant and expand information war, blame Russia:

Amazon Censor Bad Reviews of Hillary Clinton's New Book

Why Is Google Hiring 1,000 Journalists To Flood Newsrooms Around America?

Hysterical US Lawmakers Breach Time and Space Limits in Fight With Radio Sputnik

james | Sep 20, 2017 1:43:12 AM | 73
@59 b4real.. thanks.. great article.. here it is again for anyone interested..

http://cluborlov.blogspot.ca/2017/09/military-defeat-as-financial-collapse.html

psychohistorian | Sep 20, 2017 3:10:44 AM | 74
@ james #72 with Orlov link

Nice summary but I disagree with the dedollarization part. To me, ending the US dollar as reserve Currency is just a part of the issue. If that occurs American paper money becomes worthless as the article states. While this bankrupts the US, what will it do to the global world of private finance, BIS, SWIFT, IMF, etc.? Does private finance, private property and inheritance all get dealt with in this adjustment? How long will the adjustment period take?

What is clear though now is that there are two factions that are moving in "opposite" directions and the implications will lock up global commerce at some point....fairly soon (weeks/months)......and hopefully adults from all sides will work things out peacefully.

dirka dirka | Sep 20, 2017 4:15:13 AM | 75
Pistachio imperialism -- Bring it on --
john | Sep 20, 2017 5:25:11 AM | 76
these 16 years of bin laden wars constitute the most concerted assault on sovereignty since time out of mind. conspicuously in the cradle of civilization...cultural harmonies undermined and religious sects set at each others throats, tribes ripped from their roots, their facilities and systems desecrated, their families ravaged by rack and ruin and displacement, an alien scourge unleashed on their landscape.

but as someone upstream suggested, the window on these destructive incursions might be closing, what with Russia and China being unconquerable and all.

of course there are other dark forces gnawing at sovereignty , possibly even more stealthily treacherous ones...

like the alien scourge of mass tourism.

b | Sep 20, 2017 5:35:41 AM | 77
Others pointing out the "sovereignty" contradictions: Obama lover and liberal (zionist) interventionist Peter Beinart:

A Radical Rebuke of Barack Obama's Foreign Policy Legacy - Donald Trump used his first address at the United Nations to redefine the idea of sovereignty.

On the one hand, Trump defended sovereignty as a universal ideal. On the other, he demanded that America's enemies stop mistreating their people. The result was gobbledygook.
...
to make his incoherence even more explicit, Trump declared that "our respect for sovereignty is also a call for action. All people deserve a government that cares for their safety, their interests and their well-being." That's like saying that my respect for your right to do whatever you want in your garden should be a call to action for you to stop growing weed.
...
For Trump, by contrast, sovereignty means both that no one can tell the United States what to do inside its borders and that the United States can do exactly that to the countries it doesn't like. That's not the liberal internationalism that Obama espoused. Nor is it the realism of some of Obama's most trenchant critics. It is imperialism. General Pershing, in the Philippines, would have approved.

The Saker at UNZ: Listening to the Donald at the UN

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 USA. 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.
ashley albanese | Sep 20, 2017 5:57:26 AM | 78
Pressure will be intense on U S business in east coast China to refrain from converting their 'yuan' profits into gold .
What a contradictory set of pressures much
ashley albanese | Sep 20, 2017 5:59:47 AM | 79
what a contradictory set of pressures much U S business will be under . That's the nature of Capitalism , isn't it ?
anonymus | Sep 20, 2017 6:49:13 AM | 80
Wtf? Actor Morgan Freeman featuring in cold war warmongering propaganda campaign directed against Russia and Putin. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uz9PNoecNxU
notlurking | Sep 20, 2017 7:10:22 AM | 81
anonymus | Sep 20, 2017 6:49:13 AM | 79

I would think that most of Hollywood is neolib heavy on foreign policy.....

Linda O | Sep 20, 2017 8:03:48 AM | 82
My god... That Morgan Freeman video is bizarre and sickening. I see that dimwitted lowlife Rob Reiner was one of the people who funded that garbage.

[Sep 20, 2017] It appears that for the foreseeable future the Neocons will continue to focus their energy on trying to impeach Trump

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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
Sep 20, 2017 | www.unz.com

...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 judgement!

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

FKA Max > , Website September 20, 2017 at 3:52 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

Talha > , September 20, 2017 at 4:27 am GMT

We will be spending almost $700 billion on our military and defense.

Yeah – this ain't your grandpa's government-sponsored transgender surgery – inflation, let me tell ya! Yuge!

Peace.

Cyrano > , September 20, 2017 at 5:18 am GMT

If Kim Jong-un is the Rocket Man, then Trump definitely has to be the Space Oddity, which means that they could be a perfect match – they are both out of this world. Maybe they can randevu somewhere in outer space where they'll both be sitting in their tin can, so they can resolve their differences there.

Jokes aside, for the current situation I blame the Koreans, no, not those Koreans – the South Koreans. How do you allow US to interject itself into a family dispute? US operate strictly on the basis of traitors. Every country has them: they can be called different names: opposition groups, dissidents, rebels, democratic reformers – whatever.

There is one simple test for all of them to do in order to find out if they are doing something right for their country. If any of those groups, anywhere in the world, in any country find themselves that they are being supported by US – that means that they are doing something wrong and harmful for their country and they should stop their activity immediately and make 180 degrees adjustment. Same thing goes for South Korea – the mere fact that they are supported by US means that they are wrong. It's as simple as that.

anon > , Disclaimer September 20, 2017 at 5:23 am GMT

Saker, where is the value in taking a nuanced speech and then hammering at pieces of it out of context? Trump didn't insult all nations which incorporate socialist policies – he mentioned, rightly, that full blown socialism/communism has been used to repress the freedom and ingenuity of peoples all over the world – and he did so to highlight that it's being done in Venezuela.

As for criticism of America's ideals because of mistakes and over-reach in her history – it's foolish to expect Trump to refrain from preaching good ideas because of the sins of others.

I hope you continue to enjoy living your attack mode life. Meanwhile, the world must get on with it.

anon > , Disclaimer September 20, 2017 at 5:32 am GMT

Oh, and one more thing – of course WWII would have turned out differently had Stalin not callously sacrifices millions of his subjects. As it would have had America not made its efforts.
Shame on you for giving credit for victory to only one party.

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.

[Sep 19, 2017] Is this the beginning of the end for neoliberalism?

Notable quotes:
"... East Twickenham, Middlesex ..."
"... International officer, GMB ..."
"... Wallington, Surrey ..."
"... Leamington Spa, Warwickshire ..."
Apr 13, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF. Her claims that the IMF helped avoid another great depression in 2008 are challenged

Your editorial on the French elections ( 11 April ), with its encouraging mention of the rise of the higher tax and spend candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, failed to mention possibly his biggest electoral draw: the fact that he is a leftwing protectionist . Prior to the 2012 election, polls showed that over 80% of French across the political spectrum thought that free trade had a negative impact on employment. So it's not just immigration that is fuelling ever-broadening support for Marine Le Pen, it is also the fact that she too is an overt protectionist.

These trends have obviously not been lost on the unholy trinity of free trade pushers the IMF, WTO, and the World Bank ( Report , 11 April). Having forced nations across the world to accept their open-borders, export-led growth mantra they are now busy crying crocodile tears for the "left behind", the inevitable result of their policies. They still rail against protectionism, despite the fact that if it has a progressive end goal, it could enhance the economic and social conditions of the globally disadvantaged.

In terms of the relevance of all this to the UK, and at the risk of intruding on public grief, what are the Labour party's views on these under-publicised protectionist trends? The likes of Trump and Le Pen have been able to turn it into a politically potent and successful issue, so why are so many progressives over here absent from this pivotal debate?
Colin Hines
East Twickenham, Middlesex

The attempt by the World Bank , IMF and WTO to defend the role of "free" trade merely serves to underline their role as advocates of a neoliberal order that impoverishes the many and benefits the few. The call for a "robust global trading system based on the WTO" is aimed at locking in countries to a system that removes decision-making from sovereign states and places it instead in the boardrooms of transnational corporations. When their report states that trade is good for growth, what they really mean is that it is good for corporate balance sheets. And when they refer to helping those "left behind", they are inviting us to believe in discredited theories of trickle-down economics which holds that what is good for the rich is good for the poor.

As we move into the uncertainties of a new post-Brexit trading regime, it is incumbent upon us to develop alternative models to outdated concepts that automatically equate GDP growth with increased wellbeing. And it's also time to not only challenge the WTO's direction of travel but also to recognise it for what it is and campaign for its abolition, replacing it instead with a consensual model of economic integration based on the needs and aspirations of independent states and their regional priorities. As Donald Trump preaches protectionism, he would do well to heed his far wiser predecessor, Thomas Jefferson, when he said: "Peace commerce and honest friendship with all nations entangling alliances with none."
Bert Schouwenburg
International officer, GMB

We must not lose sight of the downsides to globalisation and world trade. The rampant consumerism which is driving economic growth is certainly lifting incomes for some while also lining the pockets of global corporations. But only recently ( Pollutionwatch , 10 April) you reported that our consumption of Chinese products causes about 55,000 early deaths from air pollution across China every year. While the three organisations say that they want to pay attention to disadvantaged individuals and communities, they will not be able to "lift up those who have been left behind" if they are dead.
Fiona Carnie
Bath

"We worked together to ensure that the great recession did not become another great depression", says Christine Lagarde of the IMF. The truth is quite the opposite – they and their supporters in the US, the World Bank and the WTO, brought about the crash in 2008 with their insistence on deregulation of the finance business. The aftermath of 2008 is still penalising the poor and what used to be the better-off, both in the rich and poor worlds.
Michael McLoughlin
Wallington, Surrey

Doughnut economics is very compelling, but George Monbiot ( Opinion , 12 April) and, presumably, Kate Raworth, seem not to have encountered A Blueprint for Survival. This remarkable document was published by the Club of Rome, with spadework by MIT, in 1969. It postulated that pollution would end matters if the world proceeded on its continual pursuit of economic growth. That hasn't happened, but not for our want of trying. But the important message was how to create a no-growth, vibrant successful economy by pouring all the world's efforts into recycling, making things that lasted as long as possible and general encouragement of invention centred on conservation of resources and environment.

I and my colleagues teaching general studies in FE spent some enlightening weeks with our students exploring the validity of the proposals. I also wrote to my MP asking what the government's attitude was; I got a nondescript reply. And that's where matters shuddered to a permanent halt. I do hope Kate Raworth has better luck for all our sakes.
Ted Clark
Leamington Spa, Warwickshire

[Sep 19, 2017] When all parties want 'an economy that works', you know neoliberalism is kaput by Tim Jackson

May 31, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

Tim Jackson Free-market economics has undermined the fabric of society and left millions behind – and manifestos across the political spectrum recognise it

'Privatised gain and socialised loss is the defining story of capitalism over the last decades.'

When all parties want 'an economy that works', you know neoliberalism is kaput Tim Jackson Free-market economics has undermined the fabric of society and left millions behind – and manifestos across the political spectrum recognise it

Something strange is happening in British politics. I'm not talking about the divisive quagmire of Brexit or the frightening rise of xenophobia. I'm talking about a broad cross-party agreement that the economic model of the last half a century has failed. I'm referring to an (almost) ubiquitous call across the multi-coloured manifestos of the 2017 election to start building "an economy that works" – for everyone.

Isn't it a bit odd to find this exact same turn of phrase across the political spectrum: blue , red , orange , green ? (Only Ukip has no truck with an economy that works.) It looks a little bit like someone has been copying someone else's homework; and it isn't entirely clear who. When Theresa May first used the phrase, on the steps of Downing Street back in July 2016 , she made it sound like her own idea. But in fact she lifted the language – lock, stock and barrel – from a speech Jeremy Corbyn gave at the launch of Labour's inaugural state of the economy conference . He promised to "create an economy that works for all, not just the few".

A careful archivist could uncover a longer pedigree. The phrase appeared on the Green party's website long before Corbyn and May borrowed it. Interesting. The Greens picked it up from a campaign launched by the Aldersgate Group – an alliance of leaders driving action for a sustainable economy. Curiouser and Curiouser. Ultimately, we can trace it to the worldwide chorus of disapproval against the " age of irresponsibility " that created the financial crisis.

Almost a decade on, it seems kind of obvious that something different is needed . An economy that works has to be a good thing, right? Meaningful work, decent incomes, good life chances, reliable access to healthcare and education, affordable housing, resilient communities, inclusive societies, living in a world that doesn't trash the climate or the rivers or the soils. What's not to like about this vision – a tantalising promise to create a "good society"?

Of course it rather depends who you are. And what your life chances happen to be at the time of asking. There's a minority who have done rather well from an economy that doesn't work at all. The much reviled 1% . A financial (and political) elite who've managed to benefit massively from the machinery of growth: globalisation, financial deregulation, asset price speculation, collateralised debt obligations, credit default swaps. An impenetrable language hiding a tale of human misery. Not just to benefit, indeed, but to use their considerable power in persuading a captive state to stack the odds in their favour and sweep the risks under the public carpet. Privatised gain and socialised loss is the defining story of capitalism over the last decades.

But it also depends how you set about translating vision into practice. How, for instance, does an economy that works, actually work? What does work itself look like in the economy of tomorrow? Work is more than just the means to a livelihood. It's a vital ingredient in our connection to each other – part of the "glue" of society. Good work offers respect, motivation, fulfilment, involvement in community and in the best cases a sense of meaning and purpose in life.

The reality, of course, is often different. Too many people are trapped in low-quality jobs with insecure wages . If they're lucky. Two-thirds of European countries now have youth unemployment rates higher than 20%. In Greece and Spain , youth unemployment in 2015 was close to 50%. This enormous waste of human energy and talent is also a recipe for civil and social unrest. It undermines the creativity of the workforce and threatens social stability. The long-term implications are nothing short of disastrous.

Some of this is on the radar. Matthew Taylor's review of employment practices will be one of the first things to arrive on the next prime minister's desk. The chances are it will be an immensely useful document, particularly if it goes beyond the vaguely puritanical promises to crack down on tax evasion in the gig economy that currently pepper the blue manifesto. Even more so, if it dares to talk about the quality of work. Or if it begins to question the prevailing assumption that a hi-tech digitalised world of robots and AI is going to save us.

Let's be clear. Technical innovation can deliver us a better quality of life, freedom from drudgery, the ability to be more productive. But there are also places where it makes no sense. Certain kinds of tasks rely inherently on people. The care and concern of one human being for another is a case in point. Its quality rests primarily on the attention paid by one person to another. And yet compassion fatigue is a rising scourge in a health sector hounded by meaningless productivity targets.

Craft is another example. It is the accuracy and detail inherent in crafted goods that endows them with lasting value. It is the attention paid by the carpenter, the tailor and the designer that makes this detail possible. Likewise it is the time spent practising, rehearsing and performing that gives creative art its enduring appeal. What – aside from meaningless noise – is to be gained by asking the London Philharmonic to reduce their rehearsal time and play Beethoven's 9th Symphony faster and faster each year?

An economy that works must have something to do with investing in work itself. Care, craft, culture, creativity: these sectors offer a new vision of enterprise: not as a speculative, profit-maximising, resource-intensive division of labour, but as a form of social organisation embedded in the community, working in harmony with nature to deliver the capabilities that allow us to prosper.

Much of this exists in the rainbow manifestos of the 2017 election, but there are differences of course. Labour, remarkably, has fully costed the vision. The Tories appear somewhat arrogant in failing completely to do so. The Lib Dems have understood that the vision needs to be personal. The Greens have gone furthest in offering innovative policy to deliver it. Their proposals to trial a land tax, to challenge executive remuneration and to introduce a universal basic income are radical, pragmatic and extremely timely in dealing with the challenges ahead.

Manifestos will come and go but one startling realisation persists. The failed experiment of free-market, neoliberal economics that has haunted modern politics, undermined the fabric of society, disempowered government and left millions behind, may just be coming to an end. Building an economy that works for everyone has become a precise, definable and meaningful task.

Tim Jackson is the author of Prosperity without Growth (Routledge)

JudeSherry , 20 Jul 2017 07:16

We give our power to corporations and governments. This can be given through consumerism or a vote. Indeed we need to stop believing this is the only way we give or take back power. But to ignore that both of these very important actions is irresponsible and delusional.

Indeed we need collective action and what biggest collective action do we take part in every day then the energy & stuff we consume.

In a neo-liberal world view 'the market' wins every time, and if we keep driving, eating meat, flying 'the market' will provide this for us with as much profit for shareholders. This in turn will give corporations & shareholders more resources to lobby for less regulations and more data to argue that this is what people want, so we should ensure they get what they want. In turn ensuring governments have no option but to continue as as they are.

We can make personal choices to earn a living in a responsible manor, to not partake in excessive consumption, to live a life based on real needs not fickle ego wants. We can do all this while also taking part in collective action. In fact I believe choosing a life of less will free us up to do more. I feel much more energised reducing my consumption than the depression I was in when living a life I knew made others suffer through the job I had, the stuff I bought etc.

The idea that we cannot do individual and collective action is insulting to every human. We all have a responsibility in the actions we take, we are not afforded the same privilege of ignorance that previous generations had, our material wealth comes at a cost, a cost we in privileged countries do not pay.

Andre Piver , 19 Jul 2017 13:45
Yes left out of the general conversation , sad and obvious, once stated; Inseparable from the lifeblood of our long supply lines (including political donations and wages for enslaved debtors) being corporate. These are new cancerous multi-organismal organisms rampaging......not an idle metaphor, but actually sharing many specific properties, no limits on reproduction of the pattern, no attachment to place and likely to wipe out the larger host planet...is there any better hope than collapse sooner than later? Unfortunately, amongst individuals more information than ever available but little experiential preparation, sense of connection and belonging necessary to spark a material revolution rather than just more information sharing.
Eddiel899 , 19 Jul 2017 11:14
Everything in the world today revolves around ownership and ownership rights. Is it not strange therefore that there are many people who would like us to believe that there is no such thing as ownership of human life.
Yet these people would like us to believe that all life is based on evolutionary principles of survival of the fittest and of course the fittest are those who set themselves no limit to their exploitation of human life and the human environment.
And these are the same people who tell us that they are the only ones who can be trusted to manage our lives and our environment.
Lame0912 , 19 Jul 2017 05:48
Neoliberalism has conned us. Fullstop.
By fragmenting society (do you remember "There is no such a thing as a society"? I'm sure you all do) into millions of individual atoms, power is left in the hand of the very few.
And we are conned into believing we can better our work situation by individually bargaining, or that we can fend for ourselves individually in every important aspect of life (say education or health just to name two) where, in fact, we are confronting a concentration of power never seen in human history.
chasadel , 19 Jul 2017 00:24
Personally, I think the point at which the corporate world will wake up & listen is when living costs rise so much that us plebs won't have any free cash to buy their products any longer and their diminished profit margins will start to tell the story. The world is raped & poisoned almost beyond repair while these corporate pigs have only one thing on their minds - increased growth & profits. This is happening now with many of us surviving by only buying food and necessities and forced to forego luxuries such as holidays & dining out etc. This is the stark reality of living in this corporate greed driven world. I am now in my late 50s, grew up with Thatcher and am still hearing this neoliberalism garbage and wondering why my fellow citizens continue to vote these idiots in to run our country (I live in Australia now which has similar issues). There is a tipping point that many of us are fast approaching. This whole neoliberalism crap has got to stop before we self-destruct and destroy our planet! The corporate world must accept responsibility for this situation and must be held accountable, as many have made fortunes from their irresponsible attitudes towards the planet's resources. I agree with the author of this piece, but lets start with voting in governments who govern for their people and NOT the greedy corporations. The younger generations, who have been politically ambivalent so far, are slowly waking up to what is happening and will only act when they realise what the corporations have done to our world and the limited opportunities that await them. Where is Monsieur Guillotine when you need him?
GreyBags , 18 Jul 2017 22:57
The self centred greed merchants will fight to the last breath for their right to destroy the planet for personal gain. Those who are not already rich and powerful who push denialist lines are the right wing equivalent of Stalin's 'Useful Idiots'.

It is time the farmers and the small business owners realise that right wing parties only funnel more and more money into the unquenchable maw of big business. What is good for big business is bad for everyone and everything else on the planet.

diggerdigger , 18 Jul 2017 22:31
If you, as a comfy middle class First World urban individual, can't even be bothered to switch off all unused appliances at the wall because it is inconvenient, then you lose all entitlement to complain about the cost of energy - both monetary and climatically. You also lose your entitlement to complain that "corporate" energy providers aren't being forced to do more to reduce their carbon footprint.

A Choice report in 2016 estimated that one act alone could reduce your personal GHG emissions by 1000kg/yr as well as at least $100 off your electricity bill. Not a big difference on its own, but if there are 10 million households in Oz doing that, then that's 10Mt less GHG emissions every year, and you can claim the moral high ground when demanding the onus for action be put back on government and private industry.

Of course, the reality is that virtually no-one in the First World (me included) does this because when it comes down to it, we choose convenience over cost, and would rather sheet home all responsibility and obligation for "doing something about it" to someone else. Preferably those "big evil faceless capitalists" who provide all those things that we poor powerless disenfranchised individuals want and demand.

I'm sorry - but if you want change you have to take responsibility for your own individual contribution to the problem. We're like drug addicts claiming its not our problem or our fault that we're hooked on the shit of every day consumption ...

BTW - I accept I'm a glass house dweller with a handful of stones - I can't be arsed turning stuff off or choosing inconvenience over moral superiority, but then I don't complain when I get my electricity bill, or get stuck in traffic.

https://www.choice.com.au/home-improvement/energy-saving/standby-energy-savers/articles/standby-energy

Matt Quinn -> Lawrie Griffith , 18 Jul 2017 21:55
Cheating is the game. Sooner or later the cheats outweigh wealth producers, a crash ensues until enough 'aspirationals' are shaken out of the elite, and it starts over. The devil is in the details, and we all need to know them:

Resources for seekers of economic truth, the pre-requisite for justice:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
How land barons, industrialists and bankers corrupted economics - Review and outline of "Progress and Poverty" & "Corruption of Economics", links below.

The Corruption of Economics , Gaffney & Harrison (1994) - How you were Robbed.
Progress and Poverty , Henry George (1879) - The Cause(singular) of Poverty.
Seven Deadly Innocent Frauds of Economic Policy , Mosler (2010) - How $'s Work.

Iamfuture , 18 Jul 2017 18:25
Neo-Liberalism aka Neo Colonialism is empowered by the Vatican/Crown-Bar/Banker/Global Militia-Police States and THEIR governments, IMF/World Bank to DRIVE the masses to naively wrongly believe via their small collective efforts we can cut emissions sufficiently to stop Climate Change. As the articles published New York Times...The Uninhabitable Earth...correctly assesses C/C changes thus far and their projected amplification going forwards, that we are passing the point of no return to save ourselves and planet. In the mean time, the public, politicians, bankers, wealthy, poor, slaves and owners of oil and gas industry care not for any change to current systems. They do this while well knowing to continue as is to destroy the planet. yet each one individually may we be terrified of the consequences for their children and generations and know they are powerless to stop the rot. Others in turn who have spent millions of their own as well as others money to invent develop the required emissions reduction tech & renewable energy system, have wisely after finding out there is no Public/Private/Government/Banks money available for such noble pursuits, long given up with their efforts. Be these people individuals of small teams they resign themselves to giving up such effort to save the planet with a new understanding that no matter what they seek to do, be it disruptive or paradigm changing they now KNOW those in power via governments, banks, military, police state are under orders to STOP them. It is curious that Guardian Journo's, Writers, Reporters, Invites appear to be afraid of confronting the reality that we humans are in a full blown war with very ancient evil actors and off-worlders in league with equally corrupt evil humans who have little compunction to sell humanity down the road for a price. It is only when closeted 'fraidy cat' news men and women grow some courage will we see publication about real matters few want to appear in media, they having spent centuries using the vast wealth and influence and arms covering up, the mankind would remain in the dark. Do if able fellow Man/Women...do if able awaken from the subtle spell cast over your mind, via global electronic transmissions systems which is preventing you from seeing past the veil of deception hard at work killing your species and world.
Eddiel899 , 18 Jul 2017 13:17
What is needed is recognition of the truth in regard to human life and the position it holds in the world in which we live.
At present there are two rather extreme positions:
1. the liberal democracy position that sees human life as no different to any other form of life and insists that all forms of life have equal value and therefore all life should be treated equally.
2. The neo-liberal position that see human life as no different to any other form of life but due its position on the evolutionary table it must insist on complete dominance of not only all other forms of life but also over the weaker or more docile individuals of the human species.
But there is a third position based on the Christian position where human life is entitled by its nature to dominate all other forms of life but because human life has a value and a destiny that nothing in this world can confer it has a responsibility for sustaining and nourishing all future generations of human life through nourishing and cherishing what is available in all other forms of life.
RobinS -> Lawrie Griffith , 18 Jul 2017 10:08
My, non-economist, understanding of the consequence of Hayek/Rand/Friedman et al thinking - essentially selfishness, individuality and greed - is Commons Tragedy. E are now experiencing many such Tragedies - atmospheric and ocean pollution (CO2, plastics etc), species extinctions, ever greater failure of antibiotics, bonus culture....

This is the ghastly consequence of 'There is no alternative' religious ideological mantra. It has to be denounced but few are doing so. When has a senior politician, elder statesman or mainstream journalist ever denounced the dogma? Those who try, are lampooned, ridiculed and rubbished.

"Thinking is difficult; that's why most people judge," said Carl Jung. I'm trying to think about what's going on - as above - but what judgement is given?

Lawrie Griffith , 18 Jul 2017 09:07
This has to be one of the best articles ever published in the Guardian.
Articulated within it is a core truth about human affairs.
When those who wield power make everyone responsible for everything, we end up with no one responsible for anything.
Look at the lie the powerful tell our children:
You can be anything you want. Yeah right.
Code for: Your life is crap because you are a loser .
The media is soaked with the lesson that only rule breakers succeed, that co-operation is antisocial and will crush an individuals opportunity. Lies.
This is a disease that is rampant in an America that got rich fighting two world wars and never left victorian era capitalism behind.
Even middle of the road media and political parties like the lib-dems etc. hold to this myth, when the truth is that economic fundamentalism (and its hand maiden religion) crush individual opportunity through economic inequality.
Democracy is the enemy of unfettered power, and democracy is collective behaviour.
Martin Lukacs is correct.
We will all do our part, (and I will do my bit) but the battle to save the planet will only be achieved through political means.
freeman69 -> jeroenspeculaas , 18 Jul 2017 08:11
Excellent points. By the same token, the established trade unions were also cleverly absorbed in to the system such that they have become, in many instances, agents of neo-liberalism. Same for New Labour. But there is now an appetite for a pull back and hopefully the momentum can continue.
pacoguerilla , 18 Jul 2017 06:02
Globalisation intensifies transport of material and goods, polluting air, sea, ground. Growing population increases demand for cheap goods produces regardless of the consequences on the environment. Pressure on natural ressources leads to destruction of biodiversity, e.g. cutting down forest to grow palm trees. Electrification is supported bu nuclear lobbies, leading to other Fukushima accidents. Large scale investments are urgently need to complete Inga hydroelectric dawn, to produce electricity for central Africa. This can only be done by rich governments, able to tax multinational companies. But, these escape to taxes by hiding their profits in fiscal paradises. Individuals need to unite to force government to act in the common and public interests, not for private interests.
redactedusername , 18 Jul 2017 04:52
The author makes some refreshing observations about the way that we have been 'trained' to not think systemically. One might go even further and propose that if we did think systemically, we may not be in the mess we are currently in because we would have recognised that - as Barry Commoner put it way back in 1971 - "there's no such thing as a free lunch in nature" (I paraphrase).

Gregory Bateson, again back in the late 60s and early 70s, was adamant that a species that destroys its environment destroys itself, because the unit of survival is the organism plus its environment, not one without the other.

Even Darwin understood this, and his claim that evolution was the survival of the fit does not mean the ascendancy of alpha individuals, but rather the continuous process of species adapting (i.e., fitting) their environmental niches.

In other words, everything is interconnected, and when we lose sight of those webs of connectivity we begin to die out, in one way or another. We see this in habitat fragmentation - when habitats become fragmented, the species that are connected within those habitats are impacted and begin to die out - the percolation theory, in effect.

The point being is that thinking systemically is not news ... or rather, it shouldn't be. So when this author (correctly) points to the neoliberal agenda as divide and conquer he is quite right to do so, because that division separates us from each other and us all from the planetary systems on which we quite literally depend. Chief Seattle is alleged to have observed that once the last tree has been cut down and the last fish fished, we will realise that one cannot eat money. We seem to have forgotten this basic and fundamental wisdom of who we are, and more critically, our ontological status as a species .

The emphasis in the modern day on individual action is all well and good, and should be continued. But we should not overlook the elephant in the room, and I think that this is the author's main point: we are almost all participants in an exploitive economic model that recasts the world as a vast resource base that belongs to no-one so therefore is free for the taking. But these commons are by definition, held in common for all of us, and for those who have yet to be born.

There are plenty of examples from around the world compiled by Elinor Ostrom and colleagues, of communities who have banded together in self-organising groups to care for these common pool resources (e.g. irrigation, plantation, and other resource systems) in novel ways that undermine Hardin's so-called 'tragedy' of the commons that could only be resolved via government intervention or private ownership, and these groups deal effectively with the free-rider problem and violators of the group normative agreements.

I'm pleased to note that ecological economics has begun the process of recalibrating the linear models of classical economic theory, and while the notion of valuing ecosystem services is very anthropocentric, it is still at least a start for those who only think in terms of profit and loss to begin to attribute inherent value to the complex and interwoven systems that have, for so long, been taken for granted and abused. Kate Raworth's "Doughnut economics" is an excellent starter to begin thinking about these issues.

By reconnecting the different nodes in the network, by looking at the ripple effect of actions at a local scale traveling out towards wider, more spatially and temporally remote areas, and holding those who treat the planet as their corporate profit enhancing vehicle to account, calling upon our politicians to be clear about what they are going to do to address this rot, perhaps these may prove to be the more effective measures in the long run.

But, of course, we don't have that much time according to the rapidly accumulating evidence. Therein lies the rub. Moreover, those who stand to lose out through changes in the dominant economic paradigm are not going to surrender without a fight, and unfortunately, they have the capacity to call on politicians and the police and military forces to do their bidding and to defend their interests.

Nevertheless, all credit to this author for naming the elephant in the room: working in groups and communities, making the inter-connections explicit between what happens to my patch and what happens elsewhere, physically and socially, economically and culturally, these seem to offer the best hope in trying to preserve something for those who have yet to follow and who will inherit whatever we bequeath them.

sierrasierra , 18 Jul 2017 04:43
"Neoliberalism has not merely ensured this agenda is politically unrealistic: it has also tried to make it culturally unthinkable. Its celebration of competitive self-interest and hyper-individualism, its stigmatization of compassion and solidarity, has frayed our collective bonds. It has spread, like an insidious anti-social toxin, what Margaret Thatcher preached: "there is no such thing as society."

There's another word for this and it's called 'cancer' the metaphoric kind in addition to the physical and emotional kinds.

ColinKnight -> TheSnial , 18 Jul 2017 03:07

Unfortunately, that's not true. Brexit was organised by ultra-neoliberals who see the EU as a barrier to tearing down the state. Their goal is to inflict a form a Shock Doctrine on the country which pushes us into the arms of a right-wing Anglosphere and the same sort of anti-environmental policies pursued by Trump, Abott and Harper. It's a delusion to think that Brexit represents anything else: no country is an island, even though we literally are surrounded by sea.

You're basing your statements on what you would like to believe, driven by the romanticism of family, rather than the facts.

You could start by recognising that the EU is a protectionist trading area. Set up from the very beginning to protect both French farming and German manufacturing, in a time when world tariffs were relatively high.

Whilst world tariffs have have since reduced drastically to typically 3 to 5%, those EU tariffs are still unrealistically very high, at typically 20% on EU agricultural imports and 10% on EU manufacturing imports, which the UK has to pay as party to the customs union. The beneficiaries of those EU tariffs are not the citizens and consumers of the EU, who as a result have to pay a lot more for non-EU products, but the organisations that the high tariffs protect.

Due to their protectionism, that harms EU citizens, the EU tariffs are now way out of step with typical low and reducing world tariffs.

Consequently, when we leave the EU, and are outside the high EU tariff walls of the customs union, many products will be far cheaper, and UK consumers will benefit greatly. Those benefits will increase even further, when we leave the customs union, as we are able to progressively agree unilateral low tariff trade deals with multiple nations that are outside the EU.

conguruous , 18 Jul 2017 02:18
Fine words, intelligent ideas, excellent analysis of the neoliberal mad house we live in. Consumerism and greed, narcissistic megalomania and political apathy all mixed into a pot of poison that is infecting the entire planet and, through solution and abuse, all its life forms. Each generation, each civilisation faces its nemesis and ours is well understood; but like all those who went before us, we will face our extinction unable to do much about it. In pursuit of happiness, it behoves us all to reflect in philosophical and spiritual ways; to understand the wounds and suffering we each bear and to find compassion for ourselves and each other. Even though we must try, all our political and material attempts to solve our problems fall into the same bottomless hole. So little we can do out there; so much we can do within.
Gonebush , 18 Jul 2017 01:45
Excellent article. Big business corporations are becoming the effective governments of nations and will soon be able to enforce their interests without government restraints--unless people take committed, collective action against their encroaching powers. Many governments have sunk alarmingly into isolation, incompetence and ineffectiveness, not to mention dependence on corporate donations. They must now be disregarded as guardians and promoters of their peoples' interests.
LeftyMcPitchfork , 18 Jul 2017 01:41
Holy Guacamole you're so oblivious to your own neoliberal tendency to absolve your first world capitalist consumption from blame for the ills of the world, I actually had to create a Guardian account to express my incredulous disgust that you'd actually attempt to use socialism as an excuse for individuals to weasel out of responsibility for their consumer choices.

Anarchist, vegan and far left groups have known for decades in a capitalist market economy like ours YOU MUST OPT OUT. It's as simple as not joining a murderous street gang.. You also don't buy the products or from companies killing the earth.

Buy local food, and ethical small business. Recycle, trade, buy used goods, use less fuel, stop eating meat, drink coffee at home or at a local cafe instead of in a disposable Starbucks cup. Its the only way to build a new healthy culture. You can't keep blaming corporations if you keep lining their pockets.

It is both. I find this article dangerously simplistic and as some one who is really far left, disgusted that you'd use socialism as an excuse to passively keep participating in corporate capitalism. Nothing could be more neoliberal than that!

quokkaZ -> iruka , 18 Jul 2017 01:23

That's exactly why some people get so incandescently angry at Green Parties

How about we drop the psycho babble and cut to the chase. Some environmentalists are angry at green parties because of their stupid anti-science polices on very important questions inclusing nuclear power and GMOs.

And a great deal more people are angry at Green Parties because a large percentage of people on the planet consume too little rather than too much. They live in an unacceptable state of poverty. There is only one fix for that - economic development. All this talk of consumption presupposes that there is some plausible reduction of consumption in developed countries that could compensate for the economic development in the rest of the world. Manifestly there cannot be. In the end western green ideology cannot end up with any other logical conclusion than keeping vast swathes of the worlds population poor - for the sake of the environment. Despite all protestations and rationalizations the conclusion is inevitable. They cannot combine humanism and environmentalism and if you can't do that you will fail.

And an inevitable conclusion entirely missed by greens - the climate problem is just as much (or even more) a problem of production rather than consumption. France does not have a lower per person carbon emissions footprint because they are frugal, or more ethical or any of the rest of the nonsense. It's because of nuclear power.

iruka , 18 Jul 2017 00:15
Green consumerism clearly invites comparisons to religion, as described by Marx: "..the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions..."

It's a way of achieving a sense of wholeness and purity in a corrupt world, and a sense of having taken substantive action in a world that has rendered us powerless. It's an excuse for believing that we aren't - collectively, passively - dooming our grandchildren to a world in which the living, to quote Merkin Muffley, will envy the dead. Individual green piety is the opiate of the people.

Of course for that matter: individualism and consumerism themselves, pursued within the atomising conditions of any modern society, are for most people not fields of dumb, solipsistic egoism. They're means of negotiating and establishing some sense of being a moral creature. They're ways of conforming, of touching some sort of (wholly imaginary) shared consciousness. They're forms of pious religious conformity in their own right.

That's exactly why some people get so incandescently angry at Green Parties, or at exhortations to consume less: it isn't that their self-indulgence or their selfishness is being called out. It's that their habitual sense of being a moral person is being undermined.

The anger is almost inevitable given how rudimentary and self-contradictory a sense of one's own goodness that's rooted wholly in conformity is bound to be (see: "only following orders...")

Federalist10 , 17 Jul 2017 23:55

...it is time to stop obsessing with how personally green we live...

Martin, this is dangerously off base.

As the Laudato Si encyclical reminds us, personal responsibility is the root of all moral action. Indeed, we have barely begun to obsess.

Yes, neoliberalism is killing us, and we have a moral duty to fight corporate desecration in all its forms. But this alone won't let us personally off the hook.

stanphillips , 17 Jul 2017 22:16
This is a great article, although it is wishful thinking to imagine that it would be anything but difficult to counter the attacks that corporations, many governments and the conservative media would use to stifle attempts to at organizing opposition to the oligarchies, their cronies in power and nationalizing power grids, water supply and public transport, to name a few.

Population growth is not given enough attention, given that in western societies that has generally been on the decline. Not so in other parts of the world, particularly South and Central America, parts of Africa and the Indian sub-continent.

Therein lies the difficulty, because to effect the changes mentioned in the article would be difficult enough in western nations. To enable them in countries where the rule of law and natural justice is transient and either flexible or non-existent depending on who is in power would be well nigh impossible, although use of resources per capita in those countries can be much less than the so-called "affluent" west. Most importantly, female rights in those countries (as they still are to a degree in western countries) are often ignored and they are paramount to solving environmental problems.

In no way can a habitable biosphere be achieved or maintained without the empowerment of women, without women occupying positions of power across the board on their own terms and absolutely having control over their own persons and reproductive rights

GabrielM -> bobkolker 17 Jul 2017 21:13

But most scientific and technological innovation is government funded, because it's far too risky for hedge funds or the like to take any interest until there are proven results. Then the corporate world cashes in: on a much safer developmental basis. Read Mariana Mazzucato of Sussex University about this. Conventional wisdom flogs the lie that entrepreneurs take all the risk -- they don't: governments do.

GabrielM -> biggshoson 17 Jul 2017 20:20

Maybe it was his intention to say that individual effort is "not enough" but my impression was that his anger at the divide-and-rule, atomising effects on us as consumers of products of large corporations, made him overstate his case: that neoliberalism exemplified by corporations was blinding us to the pointlessness of individual action as a "feel-good" factor only, with no real relevance to the scope of the problem.

I think this is misguided on two counts: first that this so-called "individual" action might accurately reflect a solitary situation e.g. sorting stuff for recycling, but it's essentially undertaken with a collective understanding that resources are limited, that the way we dispose of what we regard as "waste" which could also be regarded as a resource, has consequences in terms of eg pollution.

Second, that such individual-but-also-collective actions do in aggregate make a tangible difference to available resources and pollution; it's not just an inconsequential ritual. And the dividing lines between personal and political are often far from clear, in a context where local government often sets the parameters of what is or is not possible: e.g. provision or not of recycling facilities, of allotments for flat dwellers, etc for growing the carrots. It doesn't necessarily take a delegation to raise issues with a local Council or MP: a few concerned and persistent individuals can make sure something gets attended to.

The individual can be very political just by writing well-informed letters and refusing to take silence or no for an answer. We have more power than we think we do, and organising is even better.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Sep 17, 2017] Who Is the Real Enemy by Philip Giraldi

Highly recommended!
"... And even given that, I would have to qualify the nature of the threats. Russia and China are best described as adversaries or competitors rather than enemies as they have compelling interests to avoid war, even if Washington is doing its best to turn them hostile. Neither has anything to gain and much to lose by escalating a minor conflict into something that might well start World War 3. Indeed, both have strong incentives to avoid doing so, which makes the actual threat that they represent more speculative than real. And, on the plus side, both can be extremely useful in dealing with international issues where Washington has little or no leverage, to include resolving the North Korea problem and Syria, so they U.S. has considerable benefits to be gained by cultivating their cooperation. ..."
Notable quotes:
"... And even given that, I would have to qualify the nature of the threats. Russia and China are best described as adversaries or competitors rather than enemies as they have compelling interests to avoid war, even if Washington is doing its best to turn them hostile. Neither has anything to gain and much to lose by escalating a minor conflict into something that might well start World War 3. Indeed, both have strong incentives to avoid doing so, which makes the actual threat that they represent more speculative than real. And, on the plus side, both can be extremely useful in dealing with international issues where Washington has little or no leverage, to include resolving the North Korea problem and Syria, so they U.S. has considerable benefits to be gained by cultivating their cooperation. ..."
"... Cohen-Watnick is thirty years old and has little relevant experience for the position he holds, senior director for intelligence on the National Security Council. But his inexperience counts for little as he is good friend of son-in-law Jared Kushner. He has told the New York Times ..."
"... Both Cohen-Watnick and Harvey share the neoconservative belief that the Iranians and their proxies in Syria and Iraq need to be confronted by force, an opportunity described by Foreign Policy ..."
"... What danger to the U.S. or its actual treaty allies an Iranian influenced land corridor would constitute remains a mystery but there is no shortage of Iran haters in the White House. Former senior CIA analyst Paul Pillar sees "unrelenting hostility from the Trump administration" towards Iran and notes "cherry-picking" of the intelligence to make a case for war, similar to what occurred with Iraq in 2002-3. And even though Secretary of Defense James Mattis and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster have pushed back against the impulsive Cohen-Watnick and Harvey, their objections are tactical as they do not wish to make U.S. forces in the region vulnerable to attacks coming from a new direction. Otherwise they too consider Iran as America's number one active enemy and believe that war is inevitable. Donald Trump has unfortunately also jumped directly into the argument on the side of Saudi Arabia and Israel, both of which would like to see Washington go to war with Tehran on their behalf. ..."
"... You forgot the third significant potential threat from a friendly nation, i.e. Israel. Israel will sabotage any effort to normallize relations with Russia or even Iran. They will resort to false flag operations to start a war with Iran. ..."
"... The problem with this White House, as well as the previous ones, is that none of the so-called experts really understand the Middle East. The US is not interested in having friendly relations with all nations. All her efforts are towards one goal, the world domination. Even if President Trump wanted to normalize relations with Russia, the MSM, the democrats, as well as, his republican opponents will not let him. ..."
"... That is why the constan drumbeat of Russia's meddling in the 2016 election despite the fact that no proof has been given so far. Similarly, the "Iran has nuclear weapons" narrative is constantly repeated, the reports by IAEA and the 17 Intelligence Agencies to the contrary not withstanding. ..."
"... The elevation of Muhammad bin Salman to the Crown Prince position will only make the Middle East situation worse. Israel will be able to manipulate him much more easily than the old guard. ..."
"... Trump has no control of most government functions, particularly foreign affairs. The Deep State takes care of that for him. The Deep State has been calling the shots for decades and all Presidents who weren't assassinated have complied. Democracies never work and ours quit long ago. ..."
"... The BIGGEST threat to the USA is from within, as we are nothing more than an occupied colony of Apartheid Israel, paying that bastard state tributes each year in the form of free money and weapons, political backing at the UN, and never tire of fighting her wars of conquest. ..."
"... The also have a choke-hold on Congress, which is always eager to wag their tail and hope their Yid Overlord gives them a treat and not a dressing-down in the Jew MSM, which is a career killer. ..."
"... Israel's current "agreements" and its "kowtowing" to Saudi Arabia speaks VOLUMES. Once again, Israel is about to get others to do their "dirty work" for them. ..."
"... There's no alternative to Saudi royal family rule of the peninsula. Who's there to replace them? Any other group, assuming there might be one somewhere waiting in the wings, would probably be anti-American and not as compliant as the Saudis. They've spent gigantic sums in the endless billions buying military equipment from the US, weapons they can't even fully use, as a way of making themselves indispensable customers. Many other billions of petrodollars find their way westward into our financial systems. They collaborate with the US in various schemes throughout the Muslim world using their intelligence services and money in furtherance of US goals. ..."
"... Mattis still seems stuck with his Iran obsession. Shame I thought he had the intellectual curiosity to adapt. Trump has good instincts, I hope Tillerson comes to the fore, and Bannon stays influential. ..."
"... Iran is US enemy #1 not only because it is against that country smaller than New Jersey with less people (Israel) but also because Iran has been a model for other countries to follow because of its intransigence to US oppression and attacks, financial political and cyber. As the world becomes multi-polar, Iran's repeated wise reactions to the world hegemon have been an inspiration to China and others to go their own way. The US can't stand that. ..."
"... Contrary to the popular view, Wahabism is necessary to keep the local population under control. Particularly the minority Shia population who live along the eastern coast, an area, which incidentally also has the all the oil reserves. USA fully understands this. Which is why they not only tolerated Wahabism, but strongly promoted it during Afghan jihad. The operation was by and large very successful btw. It was only during the '90s when religion became the new ideology for the resistance against the empire across the Muslim world. Zero surprise there because the preceding ideology, radical left wing politics was completely defeated. Iran became the first country in this pattern. The Iranian left was decimated by the Shah, another vassal. So the religious right became the new resistance. ..."
"... And as far as the KSA is considered, Wahabi preachers aren't allowed to attack the USA anyway. If any individual preacher so much as makes a squeak, he will be bent over a barrel. There won't be any "coming down very hard on Saudi Arabia" because USA already owns that country. ..."
"... The British Empire 'made' the House of Saud. Thinking it wise to use Wahhabism to control Shia Islam is like thinking it wise to use blacks to control the criminal tendencies of Mexicans. ..."
Jul 11, 2017 | www.unz.com

It is one of the great ironies that the United States, a land mass protected by two broad oceans while also benefitting from the world's largest economy and most powerful military, persists in viewing itself as a potential victim, vulnerable and surrounded by enemies. In reality, there are only two significant potential threats to the U.S. The first consists of the only two non-friendly countries – Russia and China – that have nuclear weapons and delivery systems that could hit the North American continent and the second is the somewhat more amorphous danger represented by international terrorism.

And even given that, I would have to qualify the nature of the threats. Russia and China are best described as adversaries or competitors rather than enemies as they have compelling interests to avoid war, even if Washington is doing its best to turn them hostile. Neither has anything to gain and much to lose by escalating a minor conflict into something that might well start World War 3. Indeed, both have strong incentives to avoid doing so, which makes the actual threat that they represent more speculative than real. And, on the plus side, both can be extremely useful in dealing with international issues where Washington has little or no leverage, to include resolving the North Korea problem and Syria, so they U.S. has considerable benefits to be gained by cultivating their cooperation.

Also, I would characterize international terrorism as a faux threat at a national level, though one that has been exaggerated through the media and fearmongering to such an extent that it appears much more dangerous than it actually is. It has been observed that more Americans are killed by falling furniture than by terrorists in a year but terrorism has a particularly potency due to its unpredictability and the fear that it creates. Due to that fear, American governments and businesses at all levels have been willing to spend a trillion dollars per annum to defeat what might rationally be regarded as a relatively minor problem.

So if the United States were serious about dealing with or deflecting the actual threats against the American people it could first of all reduce its defense expenditures to make them commensurate with the actual threat before concentrating on three things. First, would be to establish a solid modus vivendi with Russia and China to avoid conflicts of interest that could develop into actual tit-for-tat escalation. That would require an acceptance by Washington of the fact that both Moscow and Beijing have regional spheres of influence that are defined by their interests. You don't have to like the governance of either country, but their national interests have to be appreciated and respected just as the United States has legitimate interests within its own hemisphere that must be respected by Russia and China.

Second, Washington must, unfortunately, continue to spend on the Missile Defense Agency, which supports anti-missile defenses if the search for a modus vivendi for some reason fails. Mutual assured destruction is not a desirable strategic doctrine but being able to intercept incoming missiles while also having some capability to strike back if attacked is a realistic deterrent given the proliferation of nations that have both ballistic missiles and nukes.

Third and finally, there would be a coordinated program aimed at international terrorism based equally on where the terror comes from and on physically preventing the terrorist attacks from taking place. This is the element in national defense that is least clear cut. Dealing with Russia and China involves working with mature regimes that have established diplomatic and military channels. Dealing with terrorist non-state players is completely different as there are generally speaking no such channels.

It should in theory be pretty simple to match threats and interests with actions since there are only a handful that really matter, but apparently it is not so in practice. What is Washington doing? First of all, the White House is deliberately turning its back on restoring a good working relationship with Russia by insisting that Crimea be returned to Kiev, by blaming Moscow for the continued unrest in Donbas, and by attacking Syrian military targets in spite of the fact that Russia is an ally of the legitimate government in Damascus and the United States is an interloper in the conflict. Meanwhile congress and the media are poisoning the waters through their dogged pursuit of Russiagate for political reasons even though nearly a year of investigation has produced no actual evidence of malfeasance on the part of U.S. officials and precious little in terms of Moscow's alleged interference.

Playing tough to the international audience has unfortunately become part of the American Exceptionalism DNA. Upon his arrival in Warsaw last week, Donald Trump doubled down on the Russia-bashing, calling on Moscow to "cease its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere and its support for hostile regimes including Syria and Iran." He then recommended that Russia should "join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and in defense of civilization itself."

The comments in Warsaw were unnecessary, even if the Poles wanted to hear them, and were both highly insulting and ignorant. It was not a good start for Donald's second overseas trip, even though the speech has otherwise been interpreted as a welcome defense of Western civilization and European values. Trump also followed up with a two hour plus discussion with President Vladimir Putin in which the two apparently agreed to differ on the alleged Russian hacking of the American election. The Trump-Putin meeting indicated that restoring some kind of working relationship with Russia is still possible, as it is in everyone's interest to do so.

Fighting terrorism is quite another matter and the United States approach is the reverse of what a rational player would be seeking to accomplish. The U.S. is rightly assisting in the bid to eradicate ISIS in Syria and Iraq but it is simultaneously attacking the most effective fighters against that group, namely the Syrian government armed forces and the Shiite militias being provided by Iran and Hezbollah. Indeed, it is becoming increasingly clear that at least some in the Trump Administration are seeking to use the Syrian engagement as a stepping stone to war with Iran.

As was the case in the months preceding the ill-fated invasion of Iraq in 2003, all buttons are being pushed to vilify Iran. Recent reports suggest that two individuals in the White House in particular have been pressuring the Trump administration's generals to escalate U.S. involvement in Syria to bring about a war with Tehran sooner rather than later. They are Ezra Cohen-Watnick and Derek Harvey, reported to be holdovers from the team brought into the White House by the virulently anti-Iranian former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Cohen-Watnick is thirty years old and has little relevant experience for the position he holds, senior director for intelligence on the National Security Council. But his inexperience counts for little as he is good friend of son-in-law Jared Kushner. He has told the New York Times that "wants to use American spies to help oust the Iranian government," a comment that reflects complete ignorance, both regarding Iran and also concerning spy agency capabilities. His partner in crime Harvey, a former military officer who advised General David Petraeus when he was in Iraq, is the NSC advisor on the Middle East.

Both Cohen-Watnick and Harvey share the neoconservative belief that the Iranians and their proxies in Syria and Iraq need to be confronted by force, an opportunity described by Foreign Policy magazine as having developed into "a pivotal moment that will determine whether Iran or the United States exerts influence over Iraq and Syria." Other neocon promoters of conflict with Iran have described their horror at a possible Shiite "bridge" or "land corridor" through the Arab heartland, running from Iran itself through Iraq and Syria and connecting on the Mediterranean with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

What danger to the U.S. or its actual treaty allies an Iranian influenced land corridor would constitute remains a mystery but there is no shortage of Iran haters in the White House. Former senior CIA analyst Paul Pillar sees "unrelenting hostility from the Trump administration" towards Iran and notes "cherry-picking" of the intelligence to make a case for war, similar to what occurred with Iraq in 2002-3. And even though Secretary of Defense James Mattis and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster have pushed back against the impulsive Cohen-Watnick and Harvey, their objections are tactical as they do not wish to make U.S. forces in the region vulnerable to attacks coming from a new direction. Otherwise they too consider Iran as America's number one active enemy and believe that war is inevitable. Donald Trump has unfortunately also jumped directly into the argument on the side of Saudi Arabia and Israel, both of which would like to see Washington go to war with Tehran on their behalf.

The problem with the Trump analysis is that he has his friends and enemies confused. He is actually supporting Saudi Arabia, the source of most of the terrorism that has convulsed Western Europe and the United States while also killing hundreds of thousands of fellow Muslims. Random terrorism to kill as many "infidels and heretics" as possible to create fear is a Sunni Muslim phenomenon, supported financially and doctrinally by the Saudis. To be sure, Iran has used terror tactics to eliminate opponents and select targets overseas, to include several multiple-victim bombings, but it has never engaged in anything like the recent series of attacks in France and Britain. So the United States is moving seemingly inexorably towards war with a country that itself constitutes no actual terrorist threat, unless it is attacked, in support of a country that very much is part of the threat and also on behalf of Israel, which for its part would prefer to see Americans die in a war against Iran rather that sacrificing its own sons and daughters.

Realizing who the real enemy actually is and addressing the actual terrorism problem would not only involve coming down very hard on Saudi Arabia rather than Iran, it would also require some serious thinking in the White House about the extent to which America's armed interventions all over Asia and Africa have made many people hate us enough to strap on a suicide vest and have a go. Saudi financing and Washington's propensity to go to war and thereby create a deep well of hatred just might be the principal causative elements in the rise of global terrorism. Do I think that Donald Trump's White House has the courage to take such a step and change direction? Unfortunately, no.

Jake > says: July 11, 2017 at 4:12 am GMT

The title of the article tells it all.

Saudi Arabia is THE worst nation in the Middle East.

Why does the US follow along blindly? Well, it is a WASP thing. We are the new Brit Empire. By the height of the Victorian era, virtually all English Elites were philoSemitic. Roughly half of the UK WASP Elite philoSemitism was pro-Jewish and half was pro-Arabic/Islamic. And by the time of WW1, the English Elite pro-Arabic/Islamic faction came to adore the house of Saud. So, our foreign policy is merely WASP culture continuing to ruin most of the rest of the world, including all the whites ruled by WASP Elites.

Priss Factor > , Website , July 11, 2017 at 4:41 am GMT
US foreign policy is simple. Zionist Emperor goes thumbs up or thumbs down on whatever nation based on his own interests. That's about it.

Priss Factor > , July 11, 2017 at 4:49 am GMT

In reality, there are only two significant potential threats to the U.S. The first consists of the only two non-friendly countries – Russia and China – that have nuclear weapons and delivery systems that could hit the North American continent and the second is the somewhat more amorphous danger represented by international terrorism.

No, the only threats are the following three:

Too many Meso-Americans invading from the border. These people have totally changed the SW and may drastically alter parts of US as well. This is an invasion. Meso-Americans are lackluster, but Too Many translates into real power, especially in elections.

The other threat is Hindu-Indian. Indians are just itching to unload 100s of millions of their kind to Anglo nations. Unlike Chinese population that is plummeting, Indian population is still growing.

The other threat, biggest of all, is the Negro. It's not Russian missiles or Chinese troops that turned Detroit into a hellhole. It is Negroes. And look at Baltimore, New Orleans, Selma, Memphis, Oakland, St. Louis, South Side Chicago, etc.

Afromic Bomb is more hellish than atomic bomb. Compare Detroit and Hiroshima.

Also, even though nukes are deadly, they will likely never be used. They are for defensive purposes only. The real missiles that will destroy the West is the Afro penis. US has nukes to destroy the world, but they haven't been used even during peak of cold war. But millions of Negro puds have impregnanted and colonized white wombs to kill white-babies-that-could-have-been and replaced them with mulatto Negro kids who will turn out like Colin Kapernick.

http://stuffblackpeopledontlike.blogspot.com/2017/07/pattern-recognition-great-sin-than.html

The real missile gap is the threat posed by negro dong on white dong. The negro dong is so potent that even Japanese women are going Negroid and having kids with Negro men and raising these kids as 'Japanese' to beat up real Japanese. So, if Japan with few blacks is turning like this, imagine the threat posed by Negroes on whites in the West.

Look at YouTube of street life and club life in Paris and London. Negro missiles are conquering the white race and spreading the savage genes.

Look how Polish women welcomed the Negro missile cuz they are infected with jungle fever. ACOWW will be the real undoing of the West.

Replies: @Z-man

Besides what Priss Factor said above the following is to be reinforced with every real American man, woman and child.

Israel , which for its part would prefer to see Americans die in a war against Iran rather that sacrificing its own sons and daughters.
Israel, the REAL enemy! , @K India is looking to unload hindus to U.S? Quite the opposite. India is 'losing' its best brains to the U.S so its trying to attract them back to their country. For eg: The chief- architect of IBM's Watson is a Hindu Indian and so is the head of IBM's neuro-morphic computing. These people are advancing western technology.... civilian and also defense (IBM is collaborating with the American defense organization DARPA) instead of helping India achieve technological competence. And most of other super intelligent Indians also India is losing them to the west.

(i dont hate the west for doing that. Any country in amercia's place would have done the same. It is india's job to keep its best brains working for it and not for others. And india is trying its best to do that albeit unsuccessfully.)

Wally > , July 11, 2017 at 5:02 am GMT

The US govt. does what "that shitty little country" tells them to do.

The True Cost of Parasite Israel. Forced US taxpayers money to Israel goes far beyond the official numbers. http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-true-cost-of-israel/

How to Bring Down the Elephant in the Room: http://www.unz.com/tsaker/how-to-bring-down-the-elephant-in-the-room/

RobinG > , July 11, 2017 at 5:49 am GMT

100 Words #UNRIG adds AMERICA FIRST, NOT ISRAEL to Agenda.
."A.I.P.A.C.. you're outta business!"

Due to slanderous attacks by a Mossad internet psy-op, Steele now prioritizes Israeli malign influence on US. Also, check out Cynthia McKinney's twitter.

#UNRIG – Robert David Steele Weekly Update

@Durruti Nice action approach to cure ills of society.

Enclosing copy of flier we have distributed - with a similar approach at a cure.

*Flier distributed is adjusted & a bit more attractive (1 sheet - both sides).

The key is to Restore the Republic, which was definitively destroyed on November 22, 1963.

Feel free to contact.

Use this, or send me a note by way of a response.

For THE RESTORATION OF THE REPUBLIC

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles "

The above is a portion of the Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson.

We submit the following facts to the citizens of the United States.

The government of the United States has been a Totalitarian Oligarchy since the military financial aristocracy destroyed the Democratic Republic on November 22, 1963 , when they assassinated the last democratically elected president, John Fitzgerald Kennedy , and overthrew his government. All following governments have been unconstitutional frauds. Attempts by Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King to restore the Republic were interrupted by their murder.

A subsequent 12 year colonial war against Vietnam , conducted by the murderers of Kennedy, left 2 million dead in a wake of napalm and burning villages.

In 1965, the U.S. government orchestrated the slaughter of 1 million unarmed Indonesian civilians.

In the decade that followed the CIA murdered 100,000 Native Americans in Guatemala .

In the 1970s, the Oligarchy began the destruction and looting of America's middle class, by encouraging the export of industry and jobs to parts of the world where workers were paid bare subsistence wages. The 2008, Bailout of the Nation's Oligarchs cost American taxpayers $13trillion. The long decline of the local economy has led to the political decline of our hard working citizens, as well as the decay of cities, towns, and infrastructure, such as education.

The impoverishment of America's middle class has undermined the nation's financial stability. Without a productive foundation, the government has accumulated a huge debt in excess of $19trillion. This debt will have to be paid, or suffered by future generations. Concurrently, the top 1% of the nation's population has benefited enormously from the discomfiture of the rest. The interest rate has been reduced to 0, thereby slowly robbing millions of depositors of their savings, as their savings cannot stay even with the inflation rate.

The government spends the declining national wealth on bloody and never ending military adventures, and is or has recently conducted unconstitutional wars against 9 nations. The Oligarchs maintain 700 military bases in 131 countries; they spend as much on military weapons of terror as the rest of the nations of the world combined. Tellingly, more than half the government budget is spent on the military and 16 associated secret agencies.

The nightmare of a powerful centralized government crushing the rights of the people, so feared by the Founders of the United States, has become a reality. The government of Obama/Biden, as with previous administrations such as Bush/Cheney, and whoever is chosen in November 2016, operates a Gulag of dozens of concentration camps, where prisoners are denied trials, and routinely tortured. The Patriot Act and The National Defense Authorizations Act , enacted by both Democratic and Republican factions of the oligarchy, serve to establish a legal cover for their terror.

The nation's media is controlled, and, with the school systems, serve to brainwash the population; the people are intimidated and treated with contempt.

The United States is No longer Sovereign

The United States is no longer a sovereign nation. Its government, The Executive, and Congress, is bought, utterly owned and controlled by foreign and domestic wealthy Oligarchs, such as the Rothschilds, Rockefellers, and Duponts , to name only a few of the best known.

The 2016 Electoral Circus will anoint new actors to occupy the same Unconstitutional Government, with its controlling International Oligarchs. Clinton, Trump, whomever, are willing accomplices for imperialist international murder, and destruction of nations, including ours.

For Love of Country

The Restoration of the Republic will be a Revolutionary Act, that will cancel all previous debts owed to that unconstitutional regime and its business supporters. All debts, including Student Debts, will be canceled. Our citizens will begin, anew, with a clean slate.

As American Founder , Thomas Jefferson wrote, in a letter to James Madison:

"I set out on this ground, which I suppose to be self evident, 'that the earth belongs in usufruct to the living':"

"Then I say the earth belongs to each of these generations, during it's course, fully, and in their own right. The 2d. Generation receives it clear of the debts and incumberances of the 1st. The 3d of the 2d. and so on. For if the 1st. Could charge it with a debt, then the earth would belong to the dead and not the living generation."

Our Citizens must restore the centrality of the constitution, establishing a less powerful government which will ensure President Franklin Roosevelt's Four Freedoms , freedom of speech and expression, freedom to worship God in ones own way, freedom from want "which means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peace time life for its inhabitants " and freedom from fear "which means a world-wide reduction of armaments "

Once restored: The Constitution will become, once again, the law of the land and of a free people. We will establish a government, hold elections, begin to direct traffic, arrest criminal politicians of the tyrannical oligarchy, and, in short, repair the damage of the previous totalitarian governments.

For the Democratic Republic!
Sons and Daughters of Liberty
florent.defeu@yahoo.com

MEexpert > , July 11, 2017 at 5:50 am GMT

In reality, there are only two significant potential threats to the U.S. The first consists of the only two non-friendly countries – Russia and China – that have nuclear weapons and delivery systems that could hit the North American continent and the second is the somewhat more amorphous danger represented by international terrorism.

You forgot the third significant potential threat from a friendly nation, i.e. Israel. Israel will sabotage any effort to normallize relations with Russia or even Iran. They will resort to false flag operations to start a war with Iran.

The problem with this White House, as well as the previous ones, is that none of the so-called experts really understand the Middle East. The US is not interested in having friendly relations with all nations. All her efforts are towards one goal, the world domination. Even if President Trump wanted to normalize relations with Russia, the MSM, the democrats, as well as, his republican opponents will not let him.

That is why the constan drumbeat of Russia's meddling in the 2016 election despite the fact that no proof has been given so far. Similarly, the "Iran has nuclear weapons" narrative is constantly repeated, the reports by IAEA and the 17 Intelligence Agencies to the contrary not withstanding.

The elevation of Muhammad bin Salman to the Crown Prince position will only make the Middle East situation worse. Israel will be able to manipulate him much more easily than the old guard.

jilles dykstra > , July 11, 2017 at 6:59 am GMT
The western world is dependent on oil, especially ME oil. Saudi Arabia was made the USA's main oil supplier at the end of 1944. The Saud dynasty depends on the USA. That the Sauds would sponsor terrorism, why would they ? And which terrorism is Muslim terrorism ?

Sept 11 not, Boston not, Madrid and London very questionably. We then are left with minor issues, the Paris shooting the biggest. That Saudi Arabia is waging war in Yemen certainly is with USA support. The Saudi army does what the USA wants them to do.

Ludwig Watzal > Website , July 11, 2017 at 7:01 am GMT
Mr. Giraldi, you forgot to mention Israel as one of America's biggest liabilities besides Saudi Arabia. But with such amateur dramatics in the White House and on the Security Council, the US is destined for war but only against the wrong enemy such as Iran. If the Saudis and the right-wing Netanyahu regime want to get after Iran they should do it alone. They surely will get a bloody nose. Americans have shed enough blood for these rascal regimes. President Trump should continue with his rapprochement towards Russia because both nation states have more in common than expected.
animalogic > , July 11, 2017 at 7:32 am GMT
I'm a little disappointed in this article. Not that it's a bad article per se: perfectly rational, reasonable, academic even. But unfortunately, it's simply naive.
"Realizing who the real enemy actually is and addressing the actual terrorism problem would not only involve coming down very hard on Saudi Arabia rather than Iran, it would also require some serious thinking in the White House about the extent to which America's armed interventions all over Asia and Africa have made many people hate us enough to strap on a suicide vest and have a go."

Realize who the real enemy is ? Come down hard on the Saud's ? No -- really ?

The titanic elephant in the room -- that US foreign policy is not governed by "rationality" but by "special interests" seems .missing. Israel, the Saudi's themselves, the MIC & so on & so forth ARE the special interests who literally "realise" US Policy.

Paul > , July 11, 2017 at 7:44 am GMT

200 Words Well, the real enemy of the people are the real terrorists behind the scenes. Those who planned the 9/11 false flag. Those who sent the Anthrax letters to resisting congress members. Those who pre-planned the wars of aggression in the whole middle east.

So any appeal to the "White House" is almost pointless since the White House is one element of the power structure captured by the war-criminal lunatics.

To change something people in the US should at first stop buying their war criminal lying mass media.

Then they should stop supporting ANY foreign intervention by the US and should stop believing any of the preposterous lies released by the media, the state dept., or any other neocon outlet.

Actually Trump was probably elected because he said he was anti-intervention and anti-media. But did it help?

The US needs mass resistance (demonstrations, strikes, boycotts, non-participation, sit-ins, grass-root information, or whatever) against their neocon/zionist/mafia/cia power groups or nothing will change.

We need demonstrations against NATO, against war, against false flag terrorism, against using terrorists as secret armies, against war propaganda!

B.t.w. Iran has always been one of the main goals. Think of it: Why did the US attack Afghanistan and Iraq? What have those two countries in common? (Hint: a look on the map helps to answer this question.)

Replies:

@Wizard of Oz

I am beginning to get interested in why some people are sure 9/11 was a false flag affair covered up by a lot of lies. So may I try my opening question on you. How much, if any of it, have you read of the official 9/11 commission report? ,

@Corvinus

"Well, the real enemy of the people are the real terrorists behind the scenes. Those who planned the 9/11 false flag."

Adjust tin foil hat accordingly.

Realist > , July 11, 2017 at 8:24 am GMT

"The White House is targeting Iran but should instead focus on Saudi Arabia"

Trump has no control of most government functions, particularly foreign affairs. The Deep State takes care of that for him. The Deep State has been calling the shots for decades and all Presidents who weren't assassinated have complied. Democracies never work and ours quit long ago.

Chad > , July 11, 2017 at 8:28 am GMT
I fully agree that attacking Iran would be yet another disaster but I don't understand why Saudi Arabia is portrayed as an 'enemy', the 'real' one, no less, in alt-media circles like this.

I mean let's be honest with ourselves. KSA is the definition of a vassal state. Has been so since the state established established relations with the USA in the 1940s and the status was confirmed during the 1960s under King Faisal. Oil for security.

Why pretend that they have any operational clearance from the US?

Contrary to the popular view, Wahabism is necessary to keep the local population under control. Particularly the minority Shia population who live along the eastern coast, an area, which incidentally also has the all the oil reserves.

USA fully understands this. Which is why they not only tolerated Wahabism, but strongly promoted it during Afghan jihad. The operation was by and large very successful btw.

It was only during the '90s when religion became the new ideology for the resistance against the empire across the Muslim world. Zero surprise there because the preceding ideology, radical left wing politics was completely defeated. Iran became the first country in this pattern. The Iranian left was decimated by the Shah, another vassal. So the religious right became the new resistance.

And as far as the KSA is considered, Wahabi preachers aren't allowed to attack the USA anyway. If any individual preacher so much as makes a squeak, he will be bent over a barrel. There won't be any "coming down very hard on Saudi Arabia" because USA already owns that country.

So what's the answer? Well, props to Phillip as he understood – "it would also require some serious thinking in the White House about the extent to which America's armed interventions all over Asia and Africa have made many people hate us enough to strap on a suicide vest and have a go."

Bingo.

Replies:

@Jake

Your analysis starts too late. The US supports Wahhabism and the House of Saud because the pro-Arabic/Islamic English Elites of 1910 and 1920 and 1935 supported Wahhabism and the House of Saud.

The British Empire 'made' the House of Saud,

Thinking it wise to use Wahhabism to control Shia Islam is like thinking it wise to use blacks to control the criminal tendencies of Mexicans.

Anonymous > , July 11, 2017 at 9:33 am GMT

@Priss Factor

US foreign policy is simple. Zionist Emperor goes thumbs up or thumbs down on whatever nation based on his own interests.

That's about it. That's most of unz.com summed up in a single sentence!

Johnny Smoggins > , July 11, 2017 at 10:19 am GMT

The casus belli of America's hostility towards Iran is the 3000 year old grudge that the Jews have been holding against Persia.
Z-man > , July 11, 2017 at 11:22 am GMT
@Priss Factor

In reality, there are only two significant potential threats to the U.S. The first consists of the only two non-friendly countries – Russia and China – that have nuclear weapons and delivery systems that could hit the North American continent and the second is the somewhat more amorphous danger represented by international terrorism.

No, the only threats are the following three:

Too many Meso-Americans invading from the border. These people have totally changed the SW and may drastically alter parts of US as well. This is an invasion. Meso-Americans are lackluster, but Too Many translates into real power, especially in elections.

The other threat is Hindu-Indian. Indians are just itching to unload 100s of millions of their kind to Anglo nations. Unlike Chinese population that is plummeting, Indian population is still growing.

The other threat, biggest of all, is the Negro. It's not Russian missiles or Chinese troops that turned Detroit into a hellhole. It is Negroes. And look at Baltimore, New Orleans, Selma, Memphis, Oakland, St. Louis, South Side Chicago, etc.

Afromic Bomb is more hellish than atomic bomb. Compare Detroit and Hiroshima.

Also, even though nukes are deadly, they will likely never be used. They are for defensive purposes only. The real missiles that will destroy the West is the Afro penis. US has nukes to destroy the world, but they haven't been used even during peak of cold war. But millions of Negro puds have impregnanted and colonized white wombs to kill white-babies-that-could-have-been and replaced them with mulatto Negro kids who will turn out like Colin Kapernick.

http://stuffblackpeopledontlike.blogspot.com/2017/07/pattern-recognition-great-sin-than.html

The real missile gap is the threat posed by negro dong on white dong. The negro dong is so potent that even Japanese women are going Negroid and having kids with Negro men and raising these kids as 'Japanese' to beat up real Japanese. So, if Japan with few blacks is turning like this, imagine the threat posed by Negroes on whites in the West.

Look at youtube of street life and club life in Paris and London. Negro missiles are conquering the white race and spreading the savage genes.

Look how Polish women welcomed the Negro missile cuz they are infected with jungle fever. ACOWW will be the real undoing of the West.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yB69UkJGwk

Besides what Priss Factor said above the following is to be reinforced with every real American man, woman and child.

Israel , which for its part would prefer to see Americans die in a war against Iran rather that sacrificing its own sons and daughters.

Israel, the REAL enemy!

eah > , July 11, 2017 at 11:26 am GMT
The WH should focus on the USA.
Replies: @Sowhat And what grudge is that? The only two I can find are connected. The deposing of our puppets, the Assads and the nationalization of their natural resources. I have the impression that it removes around future hegemon and the rich gas reserves off their coast and the decades long desire to run a pipeline west to the Mediterranean.

Greg Bacon > Website , July 11, 2017 at 11:41 am GMT

The BIGGEST threat to the USA is from within, as we are nothing more than an occupied colony of Apartheid Israel, paying that bastard state tributes each year in the form of free money and weapons, political backing at the UN, and never tire of fighting her wars of conquest.

You won't see Israeli troops in the streets, since their confederates control the economy thru their control of the FED and US Treasury and most of those TBTF banks, which we always bail out, no matter the cost.

The also have a choke-hold on Congress, which is always eager to wag their tail and hope their Yid Overlord gives them a treat and not a dressing-down in the Jew MSM, which is a career killer.

The WH is also Israeli territory, especially now with a Jew NYC slumlord now Trump's top adviser and his fashion model faux Jew daughter egging Daddy on to kill more Arab babies, since she can't stand the sight of dead babies

Wizard of Oz > , July 11, 2017 at 11:50 am GMT

@Paul Well, the real enemy of the people are the real terrorists behind the scenes. Those who planned the 9/11 false flag. Those who sent the Anthrax letters to resisting congress members. Those who pre-planned the wars of aggression in the whole middle east.

So any appeal to the "White House" is almost pointless since the White House is one element of the power structure captured by the war-criminal lunatics.

To change something people in the US should at first stop buying their war criminal lying mass media.

Then they should stop supporting ANY foreign intervention by the US and should stop believing any of the preposterous lies released by the media, the state dept., or any other neocon outlet.

Actually Trump was probably elected because he said he was anti-intervention and anti-media. But did it help?

The US needs mass resistance (demonstrations, strikes, boycotts, non-participation, sit-ins, grass-root information, or whatever) against their neocon/zionist/mafia/cia power groups or nothing will change.

We need demonstrations against NATO, against war, against false flag terrorism, against using terrorists as secret armies, against war propaganda!

B.t.w. Iran has always been one of the main goals. Think of it: Why did the US attack Afghanistan and Iraq? What have those two countries in common? (Hint: a look on the map helps to answer this question.) I am beginning to get interested in why some people are sure 9/11 was a false flag affair covered up by a lot of lies. So may I try my opening question on you. How much, if any of it, have you read of the official 9/11 commission report?

Replies:

@Sowhat

https://forbiddenknowledgetv.net/former-nist-employee-speaks-out-on-wtc-investigation/

@NoseytheDuke

A better question: Have YOU read The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation by Phillip Shenon?

Sowhat > , July 11, 2017 at 12:13 pm GMT

@eah The WH should focus on the USA. And what grudge is that? The only two I can find are connected. The deposing of our puppets, the Assads and the nationalization of their natural resources. I have the impression that it removes around future hegemon and the rich gas reserves off their coast and the decades long desire to run a pipeline west to the Mediterranean.
anarchyst > , July 11, 2017 at 12:24 pm GMT
Israel's current "agreements" and its "kowtowing" to Saudi Arabia speaks VOLUMES. Once again, Israel is about to get others to do their "dirty work" for them.

The point that everybody seems to miss is the fact that Judaism and Islam are inextricably linked. In fact, one could safely argue that Islam is an arabicized form of Judaism.

1. Both Judaism and Islam promote their own forms of supremacy, relegating non-adherents as "lesser human beings", or in Judaism's take "no better than livestock, albeit with souls, to be used for the advantage of the jew".

2. Both systems proscribe lesser (or no) punishment for those of each respective "tribe" who transgress against "outsiders"–goyim or infidels. Both systems proscribe much harsher punishments against "outsiders" who transgress against those of each respective "tribe".

3. When it comes to "equality under law", Israel is no better than Saudi Arabia, as a jew who has a disagreement with an "outsider" will always have the advantage of a judicial system which almost always rules for the jew.

4. Both Judaism and Islam have taken it upon themselves to be arbiters of what the rest of the world should follow, demanding that "outsiders" conform to what THEY believe, thinking that they know what is best (for the rest of us). Just look at the demands moslems (who are guests in western Europe) make of local non-moslem populations.

Read the jewish Talmud and islamic Koran you will find virtually identical passages that demonize and marginalize those of us who are "goyim" or "infidels".
A pox on both their houses

Replies:

@ThreeCranes

Now before I say what I'm going to say I want to say that Israel has the right to define and defend her interests just as China, Russia and USA do, as Geraldi says above. No nation or people can be denied this (without force).

Having said that, I am grateful to you, anarchyst, for having pointed out the familial similarities between Islam and Judaism. In addition to what you say there is the fact that the Jewish genome is virtually identical to that of the Palestinians--except for that of Ashkenazi Jews who are more than half European.

As far as I can see, Ashkenazi Jews have an existential choice. They can identify with their European half whereby they acknowledge that the Greeks and not Moses made the greatest contributions to humanity (and more particularly, their humanity) or they can go with their atavistic Semitic side and regress to barbarism. Science, Logic, Math, History, Architecture, Drama and Music or blowing up Buddhas and shrouding your women. Take your pick.

Of course, this is sorta unfair in as much as they were kicked out of Europe and now dwell in the ME where if they try to act like Europeans they will be persecuted by their neighbors as apostates. The Jews do indeed have a tough row to hoe. , @bjondo Jews/Judaism bring death, destruction, misery.

Muslims/Islam (minus Western creation of "Muslim"terrorists) brought golden ages to many areas.

Christianity and Islam elevate the human spirit. Judaism degrades.

bjondo > , July 11, 2017 at 12:31 pm GMT

SA is the tail wagged by US. US is the tail wagged by internal Jew. Israel/Jewry the enemy of all.

Terrorism is Israeli weapon to take down Sunnis and Shias.

US is Israel's go-to donkey.

Sauds gone tomorrow if wished. And they may be with Arabia broken into pieces. Yinon still active.

Agent76 > , July 11, 2017 at 12:54 pm GMT
June 7, 2017 We Have Met the Evil Empire and It Is Us

Life in America was pure injustice, the lash and the iron boot, despite the version of history we have been given by the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations who "re-invented" America and its history through taking control of public education in the late 1940s. You see, the multi-generational ignorance we bask in today is not unplanned. The threat represented by advances in communications and other technology was recognized and dealt with, utterly quashed at birth.

http://www.veteranstoday.com/2017/06/07/we-have-met-the-evil-empire-and-it-is-us/

ThreeCranes > , July 11, 2017 at 1:41 pm GMT
@anarchyst Israel's current "agreements" and its "kowtowing" to Saudi Arabia speaks VOLUMES. Once again, Israel is about to get others to do their "dirty work" for them.
The point that everybody seems to miss is the fact that Judaism and Islam are inextricably linked. In fact, one could safely argue that Islam is an arabicized form of Judaism.

1. Both Judaism and Islam promote their own forms of supremacy, relegating non-adherents as "lesser human beings", or in Judaism's take "no better than livestock, albeit with souls, to be used for the advantage of the jew".

2. Both systems proscribe lesser (or no) punishment for those of each respective "tribe" who transgress against "outsiders"--goyim or infidels. Both systems proscribe much harsher punishments against "outsiders" who transgress against those of each respective "tribe".

3. When it comes to "equality under law", Israel is no better than Saudi Arabia, as a jew who has a disagreement with an "outsider" will always have the advantage of a judicial system which almost always rules for the jew.

4. Both Judaism and Islam have taken it upon themselves to be arbiters of what the rest of the world should follow, demanding that "outsiders" conform to what THEY believe, thinking that they know what is best (for the rest of us). Just look at the demands moslems (who are guests in western Europe) make of local non-moslem populations.

Read the jewish Talmud and islamic Koran...you will find virtually identical passages that demonize and marginalize those of us who are "goyim" or "infidels".
A pox on both their houses... Now before I say what I'm going to say I want to say that Israel has the right to define and defend her interests just as China, Russia and USA do, as Geraldi says above. No nation or people can be denied this (without force).

Having said that, I am grateful to you, anarchyst, for having pointed out the familial similarities between Islam and Judaism. In addition to what you say there is the fact that the Jewish genome is virtually identical to that of the Palestinians–except for that of Ashkenazi Jews who are more than half European.

As far as I can see, Ashkenazi Jews have an existential choice. They can identify with their European half whereby they acknowledge that the Greeks and not Moses made the greatest contributions to humanity (and more particularly, their humanity) or they can go with their atavistic Semitic side and regress to barbarism. Science, Logic, Math, History, Architecture, Drama and Music or blowing up Buddhas and shrouding your women. Take your pick.

Of course, this is sorta unfair in as much as they were kicked out of Europe and now dwell in the ME where if they try to act like Europeans they will be persecuted by their neighbors as apostates. The Jews do indeed have a tough row to hoe.

Sowhat > , July 11, 2017 at 1:49 pm GMT
@Wizard of Oz I am beginning to get interested in why some people are sure 9/11 was a false flag affair covered up by a lot of lies. So may I try my opening question on you. How much, if any of it, have you read of the official 9/11 commission report? https://forbiddenknowledgetv.net/former-nist-employee-speaks-out-on-wtc-investigation/
virgile > , July 11, 2017 at 1:55 pm GMT
Trump is torn between Israel's permanent need to weaken its powerful neighbors (Iraq, Iran) and the necessity to protect the USA from terrorists attacks.

Iran is an hypothetical threat to Israel, Saudi Arabia has proven to be a threat to the world.

SolontoCroesus > , July 11, 2017 at 2:07 pm GMT
Saudi Arabian Manal al-Sharif is the latest (((MSM))) media darling; she wrote a book about being imprisoned for driving in Saudi Arabia. She is attempting to expand a movement to strike down the Saudi ban on women driving. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/09/opinion/sunday/saudi-arabia-women-driving-ban.html

At the same time, (((MSM))) gleefully focuses on Iranian women who are wearing white hijab in protest of restrictions on women's attire in Iran. http://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2017/05/24/why-women-and-some-men-in-iran-are-wearing-white-headscarves-on-wednesdays/

I think these women ought to get together.

In Iran, women drive.

In Tehran and other Iranian cities including Iran's holiest, that is, most conservative cities like Mashad. there are taxi companies owned and run by women.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/turnstyle/iranian-women-take-the-wh_b_879041.html

Tehran traffic makes NYC look like Mayberry RFD; many Iranians use small motorcycles to commute and take care of daily chores. It's not at all uncommon to see an Iranian woman in full chador driving a motorcycle with a child and parcels in tow.

Iranian women could offer to teach the women of Saudi Arabia to drive.

What could Saudi women teach Iranian women?

NoseytheDuke > , July 11, 2017 at 2:08 pm GMT

@Wizard of Oz I am beginning to get interested in why some people are sure 9/11 was a false flag affair covered up by a lot of lies. So may I try my opening question on you. How much, if any of it, have you read of the official 9/11 commission report? A better question: Have YOU read The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation by Phillip Shenon?

siberiancat > , July 11, 2017 at 2:08 pm GMT

Why is is so difficult to avoid this ugly term 'regime'? Does it really add anything to the discourse?
anonymous > , July 11, 2017 at 2:33 pm GMT
There's no alternative to Saudi royal family rule of the peninsula. Who's there to replace them? Any other group, assuming there might be one somewhere waiting in the wings, would probably be anti-American and not as compliant as the Saudis. They've spent gigantic sums in the endless billions buying military equipment from the US, weapons they can't even fully use, as a way of making themselves indispensable customers. Many other billions of petrodollars find their way westward into our financial systems. They collaborate with the US in various schemes throughout the Muslim world using their intelligence services and money in furtherance of US goals.

They live the royal life thanks to being able to use the money from their nation's resource wealth as their own personal kitty, living in palaces, buying obscene amounts of jewelry and other luxury goods, and so on. They'll never give that up and being a close ally of the US affords them protection which of course they pay for. They may be seen as an enemy by the average person but not at the elite level with whom they all consort and roll around in the money with.

LondonBob > , July 11, 2017 at 2:39 pm GMT
http://mihsislander.org/2017/06/full-transcript-james-mattis-interview/

Mattis still seems stuck with his Iran obsession. Shame I thought he had the intellectual curiosity to adapt. Trump has good instincts, I hope Tillerson comes to the fore, and Bannon stays influential.

Don Bacon > , July 11, 2017 at 3:02 pm GMT
Iran is US enemy #1 not only because it is against that country smaller than New Jersey with less people (Israel) but also because Iran has been a model for other countries to follow because of its intransigence to US oppression and attacks, financial political and cyber. As the world becomes multi-polar, Iran's repeated wise reactions to the world hegemon have been an inspiration to China and others to go their own way. The US can't stand that.
Corvinus > , July 11, 2017 at 3:28 pm GMT
@Paul Well, the real enemy of the people are the real terrorists behind the scenes. Those who planned the 9/11 false flag. Those who sent the Anthrax letters to resisting congress members. Those who pre-planned the wars of aggression in the whole middle east.

So any appeal to the "White House" is almost pointless since the White House is one element of the power structure captured by the war-criminal lunatics.

To change something people in the US should at first stop buying their war criminal lying mass media.

Then they should stop supporting ANY foreign intervention by the US and should stop believing any of the preposterous lies released by the media, the state dept., or any other neocon outlet.

Actually Trump was probably elected because he said he was anti-intervention and anti-media. But did it help?

The US needs mass resistance (demonstrations, strikes, boycotts, non-participation, sit-ins, grass-root information, or whatever) against their neocon/zionist/mafia/cia power groups or nothing will change.

We need demonstrations against NATO, against war, against false flag terrorism, against using terrorists as secret armies, against war propaganda!

B.t.w. Iran has always been one of the main goals. Think of it: Why did the US attack Afghanistan and Iraq? What have those two countries in common? (Hint: a look on the map helps to answer this question.) "Well, the real enemy of the people are the real terrorists behind the scenes. Those who planned the 9/11 false flag."

Adjust tin foil hat accordingly.


Father O'Hara > , July 11, 2017 at 3:59 pm GMT
@Jake The title of the article tells it all.

Saudi Arabia is THE worst nation in the Middle East.

Why does the US follow along blindly? Well, it is a WASP thing. We are the new Brit Empire. By the height of the Victorian era, virtually all English Elites were philoSemitic. Roughly half of the UK WASP Elite philoSemitism was pro-Jewish and half was pro-Arabic/Islamic.

And by the time of WW1, the English Elite pro-Arabic/Islamic faction came to adore the house of Saud.

So, our foreign policy is merely WASP culture continuing to ruin most of the rest of the world, including all the whites ruled by WASP Elites. SECOND worst,my friend.

Jake > , July 11, 2017 at 4:23 pm GMT
@Chad I fully agree that attacking Iran would be yet another disaster but I don't understand why Saudi Arabia is portrayed as an 'enemy', the 'real' one, no less, in alt-media circles like this.

I mean let's be honest with ourselves. KSA is the definition of a vassal state. Has been so since the state established established relations with the USA in the 1940s and the status was confirmed during the 1960s under King Faisal. Oil for security.

Why pretend that they have any operational clearance from the US?

Contrary to the popular view, Wahabism is necessary to keep the local population under control. Particularly the minority Shia population who live along the eastern coast, an area, which incidentally also has the all the oil reserves. USA fully understands this. Which is why they not only tolerated Wahabism, but strongly promoted it during Afghan jihad. The operation was by and large very successful btw. It was only during the '90s when religion became the new ideology for the resistance against the empire across the Muslim world. Zero surprise there because the preceding ideology, radical left wing politics was completely defeated. Iran became the first country in this pattern. The Iranian left was decimated by the Shah, another vassal. So the religious right became the new resistance.

And as far as the KSA is considered, Wahabi preachers aren't allowed to attack the USA anyway. If any individual preacher so much as makes a squeak, he will be bent over a barrel. There won't be any "coming down very hard on Saudi Arabia" because USA already owns that country.

So what's the answer? Well, props to Phillip as he understood - "it would also require some serious thinking in the White House about the extent to which America's armed interventions all over Asia and Africa have made many people hate us enough to strap on a suicide vest and have a go."

Bingo. Your analysis starts too late. The US supports Wahhabism and the House of Saud because the pro-Arabic/Islamic English Elites of 1910 and 1920 and 1935 supported Wahhabism and the House of Saud.

The British Empire 'made' the House of Saud. Thinking it wise to use Wahhabism to control Shia Islam is like thinking it wise to use blacks to control the criminal tendencies of Mexicans.

Durruti > , July 11, 2017 at 4:25 pm GMT

1,000 Words @RobinG #UNRIG adds AMERICA FIRST, NOT ISRAEL to Agenda.
..................."A.I.P.A.C.. you're outta business!"

Due to slanderous attacks by a Mossad internet psy-op, Steele now prioritizes Israeli malign influence on US. Also, check out Cynthia McKinney's twitter.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxcnaNND4XM

#UNRIG - Robert David Steele Weekly Update Nice action approach to cure ills of society.

Enclosing copy of flier we have distributed – with a similar approach at a cure.

*Flier distributed is adjusted & a bit more attractive (1 sheet – both sides).

The key is to Restore the Republic, which was definitively destroyed on November 22, 1963.

Feel free to contact.

Use this, or send me a note by way of a response.

For THE RESTORATION OF THE REPUBLIC

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles "

The above is a portion of the Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson.

We submit the following facts to the citizens of the United States.

The government of the United States has been a Totalitarian Oligarchy since the military financial aristocracy destroyed the Democratic Republic on November 22, 1963 , when they assassinated the last democratically elected president, John Fitzgerald Kennedy , and overthrew his government. All following governments have been unconstitutional frauds. Attempts by Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King to restore the Republic were interrupted by their murder.

A subsequent 12 year colonial war against Vietnam , conducted by the murderers of Kennedy, left 2 million dead in a wake of napalm and burning villages.

In 1965, the U.S. government orchestrated the slaughter of 1 million unarmed Indonesian civilians.

In the decade that followed the CIA murdered 100,000 Native Americans in Guatemala .

In the 1970s, the Oligarchy began the destruction and looting of America's middle class, by encouraging the export of industry and jobs to parts of the world where workers were paid bare subsistence wages. The 2008, Bailout of the Nation's Oligarchs cost American taxpayers $13trillion. The long decline of the local economy has led to the political decline of our hard working citizens, as well as the decay of cities, towns, and infrastructure, such as education.

The impoverishment of America's middle class has undermined the nation's financial stability. Without a productive foundation, the government has accumulated a huge debt in excess of $19trillion. This debt will have to be paid, or suffered by future generations. Concurrently, the top 1% of the nation's population has benefited enormously from the discomfiture of the rest. The interest rate has been reduced to 0, thereby slowly robbing millions of depositors of their savings, as their savings cannot stay even with the inflation rate.

The government spends the declining national wealth on bloody and never ending military adventures, and is or has recently conducted unconstitutional wars against 9 nations. The Oligarchs maintain 700 military bases in 131 countries; they spend as much on military weapons of terror as the rest of the nations of the world combined. Tellingly, more than half the government budget is spent on the military and 16 associated secret agencies.

The nightmare of a powerful centralized government crushing the rights of the people, so feared by the Founders of the United States, has become a reality. The government of Obama/Biden, as with previous administrations such as Bush/Cheney, and whoever is chosen in November 2016, operates a Gulag of dozens of concentration camps, where prisoners are denied trials, and routinely tortured. The Patriot Act and The National Defense Authorizations Act , enacted by both Democratic and Republican factions of the oligarchy, serve to establish a legal cover for their terror.

The nation's media is controlled, and, with the school systems, serve to brainwash the population; the people are intimidated and treated with contempt.

The United States is No longer Sovereign

The United States is no longer a sovereign nation. Its government, The Executive, and Congress, is bought, utterly owned and controlled by foreign and domestic wealthy Oligarchs, such as the Rothschilds, Rockefellers, and Duponts , to name only a few of the best known.

The 2016 Electoral Circus will anoint new actors to occupy the same Unconstitutional Government, with its controlling International Oligarchs. Clinton, Trump, whomever, are willing accomplices for imperialist international murder, and destruction of nations, including ours.

For Love of Country

The Restoration of the Republic will be a Revolutionary Act, that will cancel all previous debts owed to that unconstitutional regime and its business supporters. All debts, including Student Debts, will be canceled. Our citizens will begin, anew, with a clean slate.

As American Founder , Thomas Jefferson wrote, in a letter to James Madison:

"I set out on this ground, which I suppose to be self evident, 'that the earth belongs in usufruct to the living':"

"Then I say the earth belongs to each of these generations, during it's course, fully, and in their own right. The 2d. Generation receives it clear of the debts and incumberances of the 1st. The 3d of the 2d. and so on. For if the 1st. Could charge it with a debt, then the earth would belong to the dead and not the living generation."

Our Citizens must restore the centrality of the constitution, establishing a less powerful government which will ensure President Franklin Roosevelt's Four Freedoms , freedom of speech and expression, freedom to worship God in ones own way, freedom from want "which means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peace time life for its inhabitants " and freedom from fear "which means a world-wide reduction of armaments "

Once restored: The Constitution will become, once again, the law of the land and of a free people. We will establish a government, hold elections, begin to direct traffic, arrest criminal politicians of the tyrannical oligarchy, and, in short, repair the damage of the previous totalitarian governments.

For the Democratic Republic!
Sons and Daughters of Liberty
florent.defeu@yahoo.com

SolontoCroesus > , July 11, 2017 at 4:28 pm GMT

Scholars at Mercatus Center, George Mason Univ. https://www.mercatus.org/statefiscalrankings

are studying US states and ranking them according to financial stability measures. The states with biggest problems -- Illinois, California, New Jersey, Connecticut -- are in the mess they are in largely because of pension liability issues: some pensions are unfunded or underfunded.

I recall that ten years ago about a dozen Jewish organizations formed the "Iran Task Force," ** whose primary activity was to persuade managers of State pension funds to divest from Iran-connected companies; that is, corporations & banks, etc. that did business with Iran. I recall very clearly that Arnold Schwartznegger was the poster child for California's vanguard role in divesting from such nasty nasty companies, in accord with the wishes of Jewish Israel-firsters.

Perhaps the Mercatus scholars could prepare an exercise in alternative financial history: What shape would the US economy, and the various States's economies, be in if the US were NOT so overwhelmingly influenced by Israel firsters, and were NOT persuaded, Against Our Better Judgment, to entangle themselves in Israel's nefarious activities?

____
** The 2007 Iran Task Force is NOT the same as the group formed in 2015 or so, embedded in US House/Senate, with Joe Lieberman and Michael Hayden playing prominent roles in attempting to influence the Iran Deal.

The 2007 initiative was sponsored by groups such as ZOA, RJC, AIPAC, etc., and / or spun off groups such as Foundation for Defense of Democracy, United Against Nuclear Iran.

[Sep 17, 2017] Brexit outcome was theater in the sense that it had nothing to do with fulfilling the expectations of people who voted for it.

The first robin does not make spring...
Notable quotes:
"... Yes, in the sense that it had nothing to do with fulfilling the expectations of people who voted for it. But certainly it may had something to do with weakening the EU under German and to lesser extent French leadership. Releasing thousands of refugees from Turkey to Europe in 2015 in the direction of Germany was probably also a part of weakening the EU plan. The wholehearted welcoming of refugees by Merkel and German elites is a part of a theater as well but for a different audience. ..."
"... What about Viktor Orbán? What about the whole Visegrad Group? What about Marine Le Pen? Do you side with them, or against them, in their struggle against the wholesale cultural transformation of Europe through mass immigration? ..."
"... The Empire "lowerarchy" only needs entertain the voter masses during the theatric event popularly known as POTUS elections. They know that the People never get a candidate choice which is not pre-approved. ..."
"... In fact, I intuit that The Empire appreciates having even major "idiot" donors to their uni-Party campaign theater. ..."
Sep 11, 2017 | www.unz.com

utu > , September 11, 2017 at 6:44 pm GMT

@ChuckOrloski

Good points, Priss Factor, and I will add one for your consideration.

At Davos 2017, Anthony Scaramucci assured the congregation that "President Trump is the last hope of the globalists."

I am mindful how powerful forces of Deception can cunningly co-opt populism / nationalism to their N.W.O. advantage.

A question.

Do you believe international banksters gave the Brits an opportunity to decide whether "in or out" of the EUROPEAN UNION?

I think the Brexit outcome was theater, a globalist "invasion" & occupation of planet-scale perception.

Thanks and I trust you will reply!

===

I think the Brexit outcome was theater

Yes, in the sense that it had nothing to do with fulfilling the expectations of people who voted for it. But certainly it may had something to do with weakening the EU under German and to lesser extent French leadership. Releasing thousands of refugees from Turkey to Europe in 2015 in the direction of Germany was probably also a part of weakening the EU plan. The wholehearted welcoming of refugees by Merkel and German elites is a part of a theater as well but for a different audience.

Vinteuil > , September 11, 2017 at 7:58 pm GMT

@Vinteuil If The Powers That Be (TPTB) in Europe constantly attacked Islam & demanded the repatriation of Muslims to their homelands, the Dinh/Revusky thesis would at least *make sense.* The hatred of Muslims by TPTB would explain why they go to such trouble to fake all these attacks.

But, in fact, said powers endlessly insist that Not All Muslims Are Like That, and do everything they can to import more of them.

Angela Merkel, anybody? Jean-Claude Juncker? The entire European MSM? I mean, hello?

And they stigmatize anybody who doubts the wisdom of this policy - like, say, Marine Le Pen or Viktor Orbán - as "far right" extremists! Serious question, VD/JR:

What about Viktor Orbán? What about the whole Visegrad Group? What about Marine Le Pen? Do you side with them, or against them, in their struggle against the wholesale cultural transformation of Europe through mass immigration?

ChuckOrloski > , September 11, 2017 at 9:12 pm GMT

@utu I think the Brexit outcome was theater

Yes, in the sense that it had nothing to do with fulfilling the expectations of people who voted for it. But certainly it may had something to do with weakening the EU under German and to lesser extent French leadership. Releasing thousands of refugees from Turkey to Europe in 2015 in the direction of Germany was probably also a part of weakening the EU plan. The wholehearted welcoming of refugees by Merkel and German elites is a part of a theater as well but for a different audience. Utu,

For me, the title of this article alone is a learning experience.

The Empire "lowerarchy" only needs entertain the voter masses during the theatric event popularly known as POTUS elections. They know that the People never get a candidate choice which is not pre-approved.

In fact, I intuit that The Empire appreciates having even major "idiot" donors to their uni-Party campaign theater.

Thanks for conveying wisdom!

[Sep 17, 2017] Trump can not be successful and deliver relief to his working class supporters unless he takes on the fattened neoliberal hogs

Sep 17, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.com

10 November 2016

Jack , 10 November 2016 at 12:13 PM
Sir

IMO, Trump can't be successful and deliver relief to his working class supporters unless he takes on the fattened hogs. That means ensuring real competition in the marketplace and breaking up the cartels that have used the power of big government to fatten themselves at the expense of the Deplorables.

This means the FTC, FCC and other agencies created to ensure real competition have to change their recent DNA which has been to be an arm of big business. They will have to regenerate and take to heart once again the ethos of Wright Patman and enforce the Robinson-Patman Act with the intensity of a wounded water buffalo.

This will be vigorously opposed by both parties and all the K Street lobbies and the powerful financial interests. The same interests that opposed his candidacy and pulled out all the stops to manufacture the election result. He will have to run a permanent campaign to rally the Deplorables and the Sanderistas to fight the vested interests of the Borg who will oppose the loss of their gravy train with all the power they have.

Obamacare is the disaster it is because it did nothing to lower health care costs. We spend twice per capita on health care compared to other western nations and our health care costs have been rising at a CAGR of 9%, which means costs double every 8 years. So cosmetic changes like health savings accounts is not going to do anything. It will require busting all the monopoly practices, which means allowing the importation of pharmaceuticals and requiring Medicare and other plans to negotiate the lowest prices for drugs by purchasing them anywhere in the world. It will require legislation that requires complete transparency by health providers. It means getting to the bottom of the costs and knocking it down. IMO, he should appoint a presidential commission to do a study and recommend a new health care delivery architecture that reduces cost by at least half. That may mean a system like Germany or Canada.

Similarly, he should instruct the FTC and FCC and the DOJ to break up the media, banking and Wall St cartels. Draining the Swamp must be his first priority or else the Borg hydra will stymie any reform.

You are right Sir that if the ziocons like Bolton and Woolsey and all the others burrow into his national security decision making team it would be an unmitigated disaster.

Trump is in an unique position. The Borg opposed him with all they got. He owes them nothing. He can fight a lonely fight with the Deplorables to drain the swamp. We know it can be done as it has been done in our history. He'll need a few allies in Congress. We need the Wright Patman of this generation to work with President Trump. He'll need a guy like David Stockman to be the point man to simplify, rationalize and slim down our bloated government. This will be an uphill battle but he ran an improbable campaign and defeated the Borg. Will he run another hard fought campaign to truly Drain the Swamp and reduce the size and scope of the federal government?

kao_hsien_chih -> Jack... , 10 November 2016 at 02:01 PM
Hear, hear. In terms of the opportunities and risks, Trump is in position to be either the greatest president since, or even including, FDR, or be the greatest disaster since James Buchanan. I think we have the duty as citizens to set aside silly embitterment of the past and to help him become the former.

[Sep 13, 2017] Neo-liberalism is intristically connected with technological advances such as Internet, smartphones by George Monbiot

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Now however that very same technological advancement is hollowing out blue collar jobs and even white collar jobs. ..."
"... I suspect the rich will depend more and more on robots plus a few servants to serve their needs, hence the masses of workers and consumers will no longer be needed. ..."
"... The coup that transformed the relationship between British politics and journalism began at a quiet Sunday lunch at Chequers, the official country retreat of the prime minister, Margaret Thatcher. She was trailing in the polls, caught in a recession she had inherited, eager for an assured cheerleader at a difficult time. Her guest had an agenda too. He was Rupert Murdoch, eager to secure her help in acquiring control of nearly 40% of the British press. ..."
"... the unregulated nature of neo liberalism and unrestrained greed bordering on psychopathy that rules the corporate world inexorably led to a system that is rigged and corrupt to the core. ..."
"... Politicians and the media are owned by the same corporations that set the narrative and bend the rules. How else would it be possible, in the era of ultimate access to information, in two of the most advanced countries in the world, to have election results that favor the exact parties who had no arguments and no facts on their side? ..."
"... There is no center left in the US and the UK, as far as I can tell. There hasn't been for decades. You cannot give all the tools of power (politicians that make the legislation, and media to promote the narrative) to a very tiny minority and be anything other than center right at least. Take Obama, for example, which is painted as center left, or liberal, by the US mainstream media, which is just laughable. Even if he promoted his "socialist" Obamacare (which is way less progressive than what Nixon had in mind), he's been actively promoting the same rigged system where lobbyists and corporations for big pharma can force the politicians, through the legal bribery that is the current electoral process, to ignore the will of the majority of people and abolish the ACA, as if it were never in place. Same with gun control - 90% of Americans are in favour of some sort of background checks? Eff them, the NRA lobbyists, their money and propaganda tools are easily making sure that whatever the will of the majority is, it will never get into any piece of legislation. ..."
"... Hayek was woefully ignorant to human nature. He didn't account for inherited wealth or class systems. Until these things are dismantled, it's impossible to have a genuinely free market with a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. ..."
"... Neoliberalism is the ideology of children who didn't get their needs met or suffered abuse or neglect. The more adverse child experiences one suffers, the greater the danger they pose to everyone else, and they seem to gravitate to warped belief systems where compassion or relying on others is deemed deeply shameful ..."
"... For a long time, people on the (real?) left who were denouncing the effects of ultra liberalism were seen as dangerous idealists, plain commies or immature kids. The tide seems to be slowly shifting but it will probably get worse before it gets better. ..."
"... An interesting point of view but probably too late. Trump will never dismantle neoliberalism. His rhetoric is hot air and he has no answers to the complex problems of the 21st century. ..."
"... No Trump does not have the answers that are needed to address neoliberalism. A sharp short economic collapse will not change the pathway we are all on. If we look back to the Great Depression, Hoover followed by Roosevelt shows us what is likely to transpire, there would have to be something else in the mix to bring about real change. ..."
"... In anycase Hayek's philosophies are really just an extension of what was going on during the Great Depression, the pathway to neoliberalism had it's seeds going back before this period. ..."
"... neoliberal innovation generally its also about disempowerment and ultimately rent capitalism based neo-feudal enslavement. ..."
"... Those of is who've been warning of the failure of neoliberalism in both economic and civic terms don't need convincing, and it's increasingly obvious that by defensively ignoring dissenting voices the political consensus was sowing the seeds of its own demise. Now, instead of having to work with social democrats to reinvest, to responsibly regulate, to strengthen social bonds, they have to pander to a brew breed of fascists, who they have created. ..."
"... It's not one or the other. Both globalisation and automation have taken jobs away. We exported a large amount of our manufacturing to where labour was cheaper ( far east , china etc). ..."
"... To describe Clinton as liberal, in the American tradition, is realistic, but to describe her as 'left', apart from as an opposite to far-right, makes as much sense as calling John Major or Ted Heath Marxists. ..."
Sep 13, 2017 | theguardian.com

88y1r2s9yz74, 14 Nov 2016 3:32

Neo-liberalism has had the advantage that technological advancements have lifted the standard of living for all up to this point. They can claim that as their win since capitalism and competition have driven at least the retail products, distribution and take up.

Now however that very same technological advancement is hollowing out blue collar jobs and even white collar jobs.

What to do with all those people who aren't PhD material and don't have employment and a resulting claim of the wealth? What will be the result if there is no social democratic solution to the dilemma?

We found out last Tuesday.

apainter -> 88y1r2s9yz74 , 14 Nov 2016 5:47
I suspect the rich will depend more and more on robots plus a few servants to serve their needs, hence the masses of workers and consumers will no longer be needed. Wars and famines will be useful in reducing the population but the ruling class may have to resort to death camps to eliminate the surplus. Violent revolution could be a response.
OurPlanet -> 88y1r2s9yz74 , 14 Nov 2016 13:16
"We found out last Tuesday." A result more like chopping off one's collective nose to spite your face? The difference is between looking into a sewer and out of rage jumping into it.
name1 , 14 Nov 2016 3:32
Great article George

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/apr/28/how-margaret-thatcher-and-rupert-murdoch-made-secret-deal

The coup that transformed the relationship between British politics and journalism began at a quiet Sunday lunch at Chequers, the official country retreat of the prime minister, Margaret Thatcher. She was trailing in the polls, caught in a recession she had inherited, eager for an assured cheerleader at a difficult time. Her guest had an agenda too. He was Rupert Murdoch, eager to secure her help in acquiring control of nearly 40% of the British press.

Both parties got what they wanted.

thenewcat , 14 Nov 2016 3:32
The usual tiresome drivel where anyone you disagree with is a neoliberal. Just with monbiot it's dressed up better because he's a good writer. Just a couple of the obvious flaws:

Hayek is summarised briefly and painted as bad, so clearly everything he believed in must be bad. There's no attempt to justify why say, free trade is bad. It's just taken as a given

Despite this, the us election was the most protectionist since the war. Clinton is owing to populism when she knows trade is good, but trump was just a straightforward appeal to populist anger. What this has to do with neoliberalism is anyone's guess

The climate change bit is just hilarious. Having painted the entire Clinton and Blair legacy as neo liberal, he then claims it is neo liberals who will assault all that is decent starting with climate change. The fact that they have constantly accepted climate change and supported all the efforts to curb it (including Paris) is just ignored

In summary, this is the same kind of boring assault on anyone who disagrees with the article self appointed progressive left that led to 'red tories' and other lazy labels. Trump and brexit are populist in nature, propelled by ignorance. It doesn't make the centre left neo liberal just because they accept the basic premise of a free market

diablo0210 -> thenewcat , 14 Nov 2016 4:44
"Hayek is summarised briefly and painted as bad, so clearly everything he believed in must be bad. "

Must've missed that in the article. Anyway, I agree with Monbiot in what I think is the core of the article: the unregulated nature of neo liberalism and unrestrained greed bordering on psychopathy that rules the corporate world inexorably led to a system that is rigged and corrupt to the core.

Politicians and the media are owned by the same corporations that set the narrative and bend the rules. How else would it be possible, in the era of ultimate access to information, in two of the most advanced countries in the world, to have election results that favor the exact parties who had no arguments and no facts on their side?

How is it possible that a lot, if not a majority of Americans, think that universal healthcare and education are bad things? How on Earth can people living in countries where the system is so skewed that the people responsible for the 2008 depression never spent a day in jail, think that the root of all their ills are a Mexican and a Polish chaps? How can one complain about poor people or immigrants taking advantage of the public funding, their "hard earned money", and being proud to support someone who admits publicly of not paying taxes for years?

How can so many people be capable of this type of mental gymnastics if the winners of this greed contest wouldn't have twisted the system and imposed the narrative for many years?

"It doesn't make the centre left neo liberal just because they accept the basic premise of a free market"

There is no center left in the US and the UK, as far as I can tell. There hasn't been for decades. You cannot give all the tools of power (politicians that make the legislation, and media to promote the narrative) to a very tiny minority and be anything other than center right at least. Take Obama, for example, which is painted as center left, or liberal, by the US mainstream media, which is just laughable. Even if he promoted his "socialist" Obamacare (which is way less progressive than what Nixon had in mind), he's been actively promoting the same rigged system where lobbyists and corporations for big pharma can force the politicians, through the legal bribery that is the current electoral process, to ignore the will of the majority of people and abolish the ACA, as if it were never in place. Same with gun control - 90% of Americans are in favour of some sort of background checks? Eff them, the NRA lobbyists, their money and propaganda tools are easily making sure that whatever the will of the majority is, it will never get into any piece of legislation.

In a summary of my own: yes, if you put in place the tools that allow a bunch of plutocrats to corrupt a system so it always works in their favour, and most of the times against the popular will, you ARE a red tory or a DINO.

TamLin , 14 Nov 2016 3:33
George, Margaret Thatcher was one of your lot, wasn't she? She was one of the world's first national leaders to stress the need for action on climate change and fight the war on coal. Here are some extracts from her speech to the UN delivered in November 1989. It reads a lot like some of your articles. You didn't ghost write it, did you? If not, clearly, you and Maggie drew your inspiration from some of the same sources.

We are seeing a vast increase in the amount of carbon dioxide reaching the atmosphere. The annual increase is three billion tonnes: and half the carbon emitted since the Industrial Revolution still remains in the atmosphere.

At the same time as this is happening, we are seeing the destruction on a vast scale of tropical forests which are uniquely able to remove carbon dioxide from the air.

Every year an area of forest equal to the whole surface of the United Kingdom is destroyed. At present rates of clearance we shall, by the year 2000, have removed 65 per cent of forests in the humid tropical zones.[fo 3]

The consequences of this become clearer when one remembers that tropical forests fix more than ten times as much carbon as do forests in the temperate zones.

We now know, too, that great damage is being done to the Ozone Layer by the production of halons and chlorofluorocarbons. But at least we have recognised that reducing and eventually stopping the emission of CFCs is one positive thing we can do about the menacing accumulation of greenhouse gases.

It is of course true that none of us would be here but for the greenhouse effect. It gives us the moist atmosphere which sustains life on earth. We need the greenhouse effect!but only in the right proportions.

More than anything, our environment is threatened by the sheer numbers of people and the plants and animals which go with them. When I was born the world's population was some 2 billion people. My [ Michael Thatcher] grandson will grow up in a world of more than 6 billion people.

Put in its bluntest form: the main threat to our environment is more and more people, and their activities: The land they cultivate ever more intensively; The forests they cut down and burn; The mountain sides they lay bare; The fossil fuels they burn; The rivers and the seas they pollute.....

Let me quote from a letter I received only two weeks ago, from a British scientist on board a ship in the Antarctic Ocean: he wrote, "In the Polar Regions today, we are seeing what may be early signs of man-induced climatic change. Data coming in from Halley Bay and from instruments aboard the ship on which I am sailing show that we are entering a Spring Ozone depletion which is as deep as, if not deeper, than the depletion in the worst year to date. It completely reverses the recovery observed in 1988. The lowest recording aboard this ship is only 150 Dobson units for Ozone total content during September, compared with 300 for the same season in a normal year." That of course is a very severe depletion.

He also reports on a significant thinning of the sea ice, and he writes that, in the Antarctic, "Our data confirm that the first-year ice, which forms the bulk of sea ice cover, is remarkably thin and so is probably unable to sustain significant atmospheric warming without melting. Sea ice, separates the ocean from the atmosphere over an area of more than 30 million square kilometres. It reflects most of the solar radiation falling on it, helping to cool the earth's surface. If this area were reduced, the warming of earth would be accelerated due to the extra absorption of radiation by the ocean."

"The lesson of these Polar processes," he goes on, "is that an environmental or climatic change produced by man may take on a self-sustaining or 'runaway' quality ... and may be irreversible." That is from the scientists who are doing work on the ship that is presently considering these matters.

These are sobering indications of what may happen and they led my correspondent to put forward the interesting idea of a World Polar Watch, amongst other initiatives, which will observe the world's climate system and allow us to understand how it works.

http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/107817

optimist99 -> TamLin , 14 Nov 2016 4:03
So what? Even the nazis were right about tobacco. Thatcher came from a scientific background and knew anti-science clap-trap when she saw it.
baconmfr -> TamLin , 14 Nov 2016 6:12
Brilliant comment Tamlin thanks for posting. I didn't realise the 'blonde beast' had such solid environmental insights. You only have to peep over the channel to France to see Hayek and Thatcher were on the mark, whilst Mitterrand and other statist socialists were so horribly wrong. If only there were more politicians today that were as committed, hard working and wise as Thatcher.
soundofthesuburbs , 14 Nov 2016 3:33
Current ideas put human self-interest at dead centre but neglected to take into account how all systems are rigged to benefit those that put them in place.

Loading the dice:

1) Capitalism. The Aristocracy were there during the transition from Feudalism to Capitalism and barely noticed the difference as their life of luxury and leisure continued as before. Capitalism contains a welfare state for the idle rich.

2) The monetary system. Banks create money out of nothing for loans and collect interest on this money they magic out of thin air. Governments borrow money off private banks and taxation has to be used to pay back the interest. The monetary system is a levy on all taxpayers.

3) The legal system. Expensive barristers provide the mechanism for the rich to increase their chance of winning the case.

4) The education system. A two tier, private and state, education system ensures the wealthy can give their children a better start in life.

The system is fully loaded. If we tell them it's a meritocracy and it is the best that get to the top hopefully they will believe it. What would a meritocracy really look like?

1) In a meritocracy everyone succeeds on their own merit. This is obvious, but to succeed on your own merit, we need to do away the traditional mechanisms that socially stratify society due to wealth flowing down the generations. Anything that comes from your parents has nothing to do with your own effort.

2) There is no un-earned wealth or power, e.g inheritance, trust funds, hereditary titles In a meritocracy we need equal opportunity for all. We can't have the current two tier education system with its fast track of private schools for people with wealthy parents.

3) There is a uniform schools system for everyone with no private schools. As the children of the wealthy wouldn't be able to succeed on a level playing field we can't have one.

Even when the system was fully loaded already the wealthy work tirelessly and relentlessly to bias the system even more, they couldn't believe their luck when the ideas of neoliberalism appeared.

The system is now so biased the IMF is worried about global aggregate demand as the global consumer has been impoverished. The debt that papered over the cracks is maxing out and the system is collapsing.

Any system will be biased by those that put it in place.

Left to their own devices they will carry on biasing the system until it eventually fails.

"The Marxian capitalist has infinite shrewdness and cunning on everything except matters pertaining to his own ultimate survival. On these, he is not subject to education. He continues wilfully and reliably down the path to his own destruction"

lingyai -> soundofthesuburbs , 14 Nov 2016 4:32
good post..
JammyJar -> soundofthesuburbs , 14 Nov 2016 5:48
Seconded as a good post But I don't like the, "in a meritocracy we need equal opportunity for all" as it too strongly suggests direct assistance and so implies idleness or entitlement. I would prefer that: in a meritocracy no one is actively suppressed, that is everyone is given the opportunity to try to succeed without discrimination, prejudice, funny handshakes, unmerited (not means tested) backhanders/benefits.
Zakelius -> soundofthesuburbs , 14 Nov 2016 9:06

What would a meritocracy really look like?

There would be no identity politics or feminism. Where do we sign up?

JohnFurlong89 , 14 Nov 2016 3:35
Hayek was woefully ignorant to human nature. He didn't account for inherited wealth or class systems. Until these things are dismantled, it's impossible to have a genuinely free market with a natural hierarchy of winners and losers.
Jodelschule , 14 Nov 2016 3:35
"The key task now is to tell a new story of what it is to be a human in the 21st century."

People's despair has been hijacked by demagogues and they elected the gravedigger to get them out of a pit. As it happened so often in history. Both here and in the US, and the picture of the unelected, private, political non-entity Farage to stage a grin-fest with Trump is unbearable.

We need to learn that we are part of something bigger which is worth preserving and we have to come together to do this. We have to establish a circular economy where ideologies such as captalism have no place. This goes past politics and left-right. Otherwise we have to learn this the hard way. Our planet will force us. When the last drop of oil is pumped out of the ground, when all the water has been polluted, when the number of wild species is reduced to rats, cockroaches, ants and humans, when the heat is unbearable and the oceans are full of acid: Then we will learn how to work together to preserve our species.

If we haven't blown each other up in the meantime in a fight for resources .
I worry for our children.

DunedainRanger -> qvky18koutks , 14 Nov 2016 4:02
Indeed. He seems to be saying Hayek is the anti-Christ. Where did I put my copy of the Apocalypse.....
Shrimpandgrits -> DunedainRanger , 15 Nov 2016 7:37
My sister is a generous donor to the Catholic Church. She prays for me constantly, not least because of my libertarian leanings -- and because I am as gay as a goose, queer as an ... um, er ... Canadian goose. Now my sister is very defensive about the Jesuit pope, who shuns Trump but embraces Castro and Maduro. Because of culture, the words of the Ave Maria and the Credo come to me in Latin. Hayek makes sense, but mostly because of his interplay with Keynes.
DunedainRanger -> Shrimpandgrits , 15 Nov 2016 8:54
Hayek obviously made sense to Margaret Thatcher too, daughter of a shop keeper and raised a Methodist. She was once interviewed for a job as a chemist with the company I used to work for but was rejected, rumour had it for not being assertive enough. A talented girl with a good upbringing who became a prisoner and ultimately victim of the establishment.
HaveYouSeenThisMan , 14 Nov 2016 3:37
Basically its: free market bad, free movement of people good. Good luck with this at the upcoming French and German elections.
optimist99 -> HaveYouSeenThisMan , 14 Nov 2016 4:08
Simple dichotomies never make sense.. The oversimplification of complex issues is typical of the self-interested media manipulation resulting from a neoliberal and uncontrolled gutter press. Hence "Brexonomics" - a creed fueled by irrationality.
johnhk , 14 Nov 2016 3:37
Really sorry but disagree that humans are remarkably unselfish. There are many decent , caring, striving to help individuals. But they are vastly out numbered by those who are otherwise. Every time somebody buys a motor vehicle they are being selfish. Almost nowhere do they need it. They want for convenience, laziness, self- grandisemnet, something to spend their money on. But they do not need and yet its existence and use despoils and degrades.

Every time they buy cheap fashion with clothers made essentially to be thrown away they are selfish. Every time they copulate, without using contraception and without wanting the resulting baby they are selfsih. Even if they want the baby, after the first two, why? They are being selfish.

Every time they invade somewhere, for oil or to impose an ideology whether capitalism or religion, they are selfish.

That is not to say that Hayek, and acolytes Reagan, Thatcher and the endlessly greedy "people" who propagate variations of their ideas should not have been burned at the stake. The problem is those who are greedy and selfish are almost always more ruthless than those who are not.

ID1071189 -> johnhk , 14 Nov 2016 3:54
Try just accepting human nature as it is.
jimmartn -> johnhk , 14 Nov 2016 4:00
you don't live in the country where there is no public transport,
ID6691418 -> johnhk , 14 Nov 2016 4:40
I see your point and agree with it. Why should one person drastically reduce their enjoyment of life to try to reduce global warming when their actions will have, essentially, no impact on total CO2 emissions. But here's what can be done. Collective action where everyone agrees to limit fossil fuel emissions. That's what national governments are for and that is what the UN was created for - to find solutions for world wide problems.
EdwardBernays , 14 Nov 2016 3:38
Neoliberalism is the ideology of children who didn't get their needs met or suffered abuse or neglect. The more adverse child experiences one suffers, the greater the danger they pose to everyone else, and they seem to gravitate to warped belief systems where compassion or relying on others is deemed deeply shameful
dreamwatcher -> EdwardBernays , 14 Nov 2016 4:02
I am no psychologist, but it must be evident to most that, at the micro level, childhood trauma and mental, physical and sexual abuse experienced at a young age within the family unit can lead to the child intending to rebalance and repay the power imbalance in adult life, with invariably adverse consequences for their environment and those around them.

Looking at the world today it is not hard to see the culmination of the sins of the father over the centuries in the form of decent, hard-working people with no power struggles to redress being subjected to endless and downright cruel, even vindictive actions and policies enshrined into law and played out across the world stage by those who have abused power to make it to the top.

And it is the socially disadvantaged and most vulnerable in society who have invariably suffered the most, hence the vast inequality in wealth distribution which has gathered momentum in recent years.

Brexit and Trump are a symptom, a reaction and a backlash to the traumatized child reclaiming and abusing their power on a macro level.

pierotg -> EdwardBernays , 14 Nov 2016 4:41
Really good point. Spot on.
jessie69 , 14 Nov 2016 3:38
Dogs are very social animals........and there are examples of unselfish behaviour in the dog world with the likes of Greyfriars Bobby, Lassie etc etc....my little dog would defend me to the death !.....rats of course are very different !!...
Jodders -> jessie69 , 14 Nov 2016 4:03
Kind of counter to sort of arguments I'd want to make on the subject but Grey Friars Bobby kept visiting that graveyard because they didn't bury the paupers all that deep and the hungry wee dog could get hold of a lot of juicy bones. Which I suppose is neo-liberalism summed up: the poorest left so hungry they'll end up competing over the bones of the dead. Hopefully that last sentence is metaphorical.
missbrette , 14 Nov 2016 3:39
For a long time, people on the (real?) left who were denouncing the effects of ultra liberalism were seen as dangerous idealists, plain commies or immature kids. The tide seems to be slowly shifting but it will probably get worse before it gets better.
Sowester , 14 Nov 2016 3:39
An interesting point of view but probably too late. Trump will never dismantle neoliberalism. His rhetoric is hot air and he has no answers to the complex problems of the 21st century. The only thing that will save us will be a short sharp economic collapse. It was narrowly avoided in 2008 but all the seeds for another are there. If it happens on Trump or Mays watch new voices can be heard and social democracy can regain the ascendency it had after 1945. There needs to be pain before that and it wont be long before it arrives.
BabyJonker -> Sowester , 14 Nov 2016 8:06
I suspect you're right. People are talking about Trump as thought this is endgame, we've hit the bottom of the barrel and it can't get much worse. I think there's still a ways to go though before people stop accepting that a change of management isn't enough anymore, and an economic crisis worse than anything in living memory will most likely be the catalyst for change.

Sadly history tells us that as the political class gets more desperate, they'll start pointing fingers of blame at just about everyone before they accept any responsibility, which means a lot of unhappiness misdirected at a handful of tiny groups of people who are totally unconnected to anything that they're being accused of.

Uhmmmmm -> Sowester , 14 Nov 2016 12:24
No Trump does not have the answers that are needed to address neoliberalism. A sharp short economic collapse will not change the pathway we are all on. If we look back to the Great Depression, Hoover followed by Roosevelt shows us what is likely to transpire, there would have to be something else in the mix to bring about real change.

In anycase Hayek's philosophies are really just an extension of what was going on during the Great Depression, the pathway to neoliberalism had it's seeds going back before this period.

The most likely game changer at present is more than likely global warming, I see nothing else on the horizon.

Newtownian , 14 Nov 2016 3:39
If you want to see a nefarious extension of neoliberal rentier debt economics George can I suggest you have a close look at a new emerging threat in sheets clothing - the Circular Economy. This isnt just about cuddly saving the planet. Like neoliberal innovation generally its also about disempowerment and ultimately rent capitalism based neo-feudal enslavement.
Topher , 14 Nov 2016 3:40
The issue is how the political class which is currently being unseated can respond to this new reality, how they are able to change or if they are able to. And subsequent to that, whether the public will allow them to play any part. This is a non trivial issue: most politicians have grown up with a dogmatic belief in this failed system, and our electorate are not in a forgiving mood.

Those of is who've been warning of the failure of neoliberalism in both economic and civic terms don't need convincing, and it's increasingly obvious that by defensively ignoring dissenting voices the political consensus was sowing the seeds of its own demise. Now, instead of having to work with social democrats to reinvest, to responsibly regulate, to strengthen social bonds, they have to pander to a brew breed of fascists, who they have created.

w7ujt1hjpvef -> Topher , 14 Nov 2016 3:42
The political class is remaining firmly in place, ironically.
Helen121 -> Topher , 14 Nov 2016 3:52
The political class is not being unseated though, is it? Its becoming more entrenched and with a lot more power. There will be no checks and balances on "the God Emperor" Trump (as the American Nazis are calling him).
Topher -> Helen121 , 14 Nov 2016 4:11
Trump is not from the political class. He is from something much worse - the class of extreme narcissist, hugely wealthy populists - but has minimal connections with the machinery of government.
Longrigg , 14 Nov 2016 3:40
For me the core problem, as ever, is that the messengers (the corporate owned media) tell the majority that neoliberalism is just fine and the problem is with anyone who challenges this narrative. This is why the anger gets twisted around with the masses voting for Brexit or Trump.

Globalisation resulted in the loss of jobs for many of the 99% and today May promises that as a result of Brexit we will be going even more for globilisation. Things can only get worse as the minority who understand the issue will be too few to overturn a Tory majority in a FPTP system with opposition divided.

whatisquicksand -> Longrigg , 14 Nov 2016 4:01
It is not globalisation that takes away the jobs but automation. Many of the jobs lost from America's rust belt moved to other more highly automated factories in other States.
lingyai -> whatisquicksand , 14 Nov 2016 4:42
It's not one or the other. Both globalisation and automation have taken jobs away. We exported a large amount of our manufacturing to where labour was cheaper ( far east , china etc).
ShaneFromMelbourne , 14 Nov 2016 3:40
Honestly, we are a few more elections away before the punters realize that no peaceful political solutions are possible; expect armed insurrection in the USA by 2030 at most......
Evangelist9 -> ShaneFromMelbourne , 14 Nov 2016 4:12
Well, at least the population are already tooled up for that, what with so many of them owning (quite legally) multiple firearms.
SilkverBlogger , 14 Nov 2016 3:41
Trump insulted his opponents into defeat and humiliation. This is him from day one and his TV series. At 70 dont expect this dog to learn new tricks. In fact he's proved time and again his inability to learn.

No, fancy theories about neo-liberalism will not help us understand or predict his behaviour... all we need to know is the pattern of the psychology of bullying and intimidation. One can only hope he will drown in his own virulence

Waster1000 -> SilkverBlogger , 14 Nov 2016 3:44
I think you are focusing on the wrong candidate. Clinton lost because we are fed up with the patronising liberal left, who do not actually care about the people they purport to represent.
SilkverBlogger -> Waster1000 , 14 Nov 2016 3:57
Granted, but the alternative we got is not the solution... its only a wild gamble with the Tarot cards of Armageddon. Oh well, ours is not to reason why.. etc
fleeing -> Waster1000 , 14 Nov 2016 14:21
To describe Clinton as liberal, in the American tradition, is realistic, but to describe her as 'left', apart from as an opposite to far-right, makes as much sense as calling John Major or Ted Heath Marxists.
Skepticsayer , 14 Nov 2016 3:41
Good article, and goes some way to explaining the economics but it doesn't quite explain the huge ideological shift of the traditional working classes away from the political Left. I'm afraid Labour, the Lib Dems and Greens as well as mainstream media, particularly Ch 4 and the BBC, suppressed any criticism of multi-culturalism and immigration while blatantly ignoring, disregarding and, far worse, actually disparaging the "white working classes." If you went into any school in this country, the walls were/ are covered with positive images of black, Asian and ethnic minorities and lessons encourage "sharing" and positive imagery of those cultures' faiths, food, celebrations, all good stuff!!

Except that white working class culture has been too often excluded or portrayed super negatively and stereotypically as fish and chip eating, white van driving, boxing, football, racist epsilons... is it a surprise that white working class kids are now performing worse than any other? And look at any Ch 4 programme about this cohort of society: "Benefits Street"... or news items about Brexit supporters full of imagery of toothless people, many with obvious addiction problems and/ or special needs and mobility scooters... I remember black people used to be horrifically subjected to the same stereotypes. So here we have the root of the problem, which is a complete imbalance in terms of who is officially approved and encouraged in this country and who is excluded and degraded. The "divisiveness" is owned by the Left. The lid is now off the pot but the Left can only blame themselves!!

hendrixisking -> Skepticsayer , 14 Nov 2016 3:46
Yes, Labour is not the friend of the white working class anymore !!
Skepticsayer -> hendrixisking , 14 Nov 2016 3:55
The thing is that the so called "white working class" is as diverse, if not more diverse ethnically and culturally, than any other!!

It is however, portrayed as an homogenous lump (my mum is white working class and my dad Punjabi Muslim and most where I come from highly diverse and mixed communities) by the political class and media to feed and agenda, which is about blaming. The "white working class" is blamed for every perceived threat ideologically and economically - they are branded on the one hand as inherently racist, intolerant and blaming immigrants for everything; on the other, for being inherently lazy, uneducated and low skilled and so this narrative justifies importing 300, 000 annually from overseas... people held up against the latter "highly educated and skilled" and "hardworking"!!

Both perspectives are in fact highly propagandist and play to stereotypes- the heroic immigrant labourer upholding our NHS and economy vs. the lazy, stupid Brit (always white and working class) who would prevent our country and economy progressing.

[Sep 13, 2017] As John Kenneth Galbraith pointed out in The Affluent Society there is always a desperate attempt to hold onto the conventional wisdom that those at the top have invested so much time and effort in. The death throes of each system are maintained for as long as feasible until it is almost impossible for anyone to believe that the current system can work

Notable quotes:
"... The Clinton and Remain campaigns shared an approach of trying to convince people ahead of time that what they need is not necessarily what they want. Both campaigns lost ..."
"... Ryan now leads the neoliberal cause in the party and a lot of what Trump wants to do (borrow and spend on public projects or limit free trade for example) will not sit well with them. ..."
"... George has highlighted the key battle - can the 'swarm that is now surrounding Trump, fill this empty vessel' and bend him to their ideology or will he prove true to his campaign promises. As each of his promises is one by one 'modified' the danger increases that those who voted for him realise that they have been shafted once again. I suspect though, that they may never come to realise who is doing this to them. ..."
"... This is the most enlightening article I have read in the Guardian. It goes a long way to explaining the root of Thatcherism, and why she behaved as she did, towards so many organisations, she saw as the enemy of her chosen path! I have wondered why she is remembered with such fondness by many, and her legacy revered, when it left so many problems for the future. Sure, the rich got richer, our manufacturing base was decimated, and those unholy bankers, stockbrokers, arms dealers and the like, revelled in her folly! ..."
"... Trump offered change, Hillary Clinton was the status quo. The establishment couldn't accept their neoliberal ideas had failed and the people had to push them out. The status quo has failed – wake up – this is the new reality. ..."
"... We need to recognise that we have been through many versions of Capitalism and they all fail as this version is failing now. ..."
"... Unfettered Capitalism has a catastrophic failure mode and dressing it up in the Emperor's New Clothes of supply side economics didn't make a blind bit of difference. We've done Neo-Keynesian stimulus. After eight years of pumping trillions into the top of the economic pyramid, banks, and waiting for it to trickle down. It didn't work, hardly anything trickled down. ..."
"... Your examples of "failures" actually demonstrate exactly the opposite: that capitalism is resilient. It survived 2 world wars, the 1930's depression, withdrawal of the gold standard (which had far-reaching effects on the "establishment"), the 2008 crash, the oil crises of the 1970s (that caused your "stagflation") and pretty much everything else that has been thrown at the financial world in the past 100 years. ..."
Sep 13, 2017 | theguardian.com

KTBFFH , 14 Nov 2016 3:46

I don't necessarily disagree with much of this piece but I can't help feeling that the hints given by Monbiot about some new thinking to combat neoliberalism being developed is more about hope than expectation.

I am rather more cynical. The Clinton and Remain campaigns shared an approach of trying to convince people ahead of time that what they need is not necessarily what they want. Both campaigns lost and the fall-out has included lots of cries that people are fed up with being told what to think and do by the "liberal elite". Fine, so now they believe they can think and do more themselves.

It may be better to sit back for a while to let people rejoice in getting what they want in order that they can self-educate through grim reality that what they thought they wanted was a fiction. Sometimes people have to find out for themselves that they have made a terrible mistake.

NeilJ01 -> KTBFFH , 14 Nov 2016 3:50
Given that on both sides of the Atlantic, the majority of people oppose the shift to the right, surely all that is needed is some decent organization against them and leadership capable of galvanizing the repulsion of this year's events. My fingers are firmly crossed, but I cannot see anything on the horizon at the moment.
Johanes -> KTBFFH , 14 Nov 2016 4:08
"Sometimes people have to find out for themselves that they have made a terrible mistake" - shame that in the meantime, that "terrible mistake" is pounced upon as democratic justification for the entry of economic elites waiting in the wings.

Do you really think people's "mistakes" (a) are random, and/or (b) will be allowed to lead to the general good without being hijacked?

NeilJ01 , 14 Nov 2016 3:47
It is not clear how Trump's election is going to be handled by the GOP. Ryan now leads the neoliberal cause in the party and a lot of what Trump wants to do (borrow and spend on public projects or limit free trade for example) will not sit well with them.

George has highlighted the key battle - can the 'swarm that is now surrounding Trump, fill this empty vessel' and bend him to their ideology or will he prove true to his campaign promises. As each of his promises is one by one 'modified' the danger increases that those who voted for him realise that they have been shafted once again. I suspect though, that they may never come to realise who is doing this to them.

northsylvania -> NeilJ01 , 14 Nov 2016 4:23
Trump has said that he wants to continue holding rallies, something political pundits put down to his overwhelming ego. He might want an army of the dedicated behind him to convince the power structure that it would be in their own best interests to give him what he wants. It's telling that he chose Priebus, a member of the power structure, to be chief of staff and Bannon to be his chief strategist.
Helen121 , 14 Nov 2016 3:48
I'm not convinced that Trump is going to steer the world away from neo-liberalism. If anything, Hayek is now going to run wild...
factgasm -> Helen121 , 14 Nov 2016 4:15
The People keep voting for their oppressors - because that's the only choice the system offers them.
rcourt130864 -> Helen121 , 14 Nov 2016 8:20
Neoliberalism could burn itself out - could get messy!
Oldfranky , 14 Nov 2016 3:48
This is the most enlightening article I have read in the Guardian. It goes a long way to explaining the root of Thatcherism, and why she behaved as she did, towards so many organisations, she saw as the enemy of her chosen path! I have wondered why she is remembered with such fondness by many, and her legacy revered, when it left so many problems for the future. Sure, the rich got richer, our manufacturing base was decimated, and those unholy bankers, stockbrokers, arms dealers and the like, revelled in her folly!

Multi National companies thrived, setting up bases all over the World to avoid tax, whilst the ordinary folk were hounded by Inland Revenue, for all that was due. I trust Mrs May will not exemplify her, and make sure the Country is a fairer place for all, as she said in her statement in front of No 10!

Oldfranky -> Oldfranky , 14 Nov 2016 4:09
As an addenda: Not that the Left has done any better, especially under the neo conservative Blair and his cohort Brown, and now Corbyn!
ehywhat , 14 Nov 2016 3:48
I have to say, Trump has not looked to me like any kind of very happy bunny since he got elected. He looks pretty worried and overwhelmed. I wonder whether he can stay the course?
MyEvilHiddenAgenda -> ehywhat , 14 Nov 2016 12:08
I noticed this too. He looked very subdued - miserable, even - in that meeting with Obama. His conciliatory victory speech sounded nothing like his rallies. Perhaps this is why every supposed saviour turns out to be a complete fraud. They're all being taken out the back, shot, and replaced with doubles by the Illuminati as soon as they win. I think it's more likely Trump simply has no appetite for the job and no real convictions, yet lots of people to please.
soundofthesuburbs , 14 Nov 2016 3:48
Trump offered change, Hillary Clinton was the status quo. The establishment couldn't accept their neoliberal ideas had failed and the people had to push them out. The status quo has failed – wake up – this is the new reality.

Capitalism gets itself into dead ends - 1930s, 1970s, today's secular stagnation and new normal. Let's keep lowering interest rates and adding more QE forever, it hasn't worked for eight years maybe in a hundred years time it will start to work or perhaps it won't. Show me a version of Capitalism that hasn't failed. We need to recognise that we have been through many versions of Capitalism and they all fail as this version is failing now.

As John Kenneth Galbraith points out in "The Affluent Society" there is always a desperate attempt to hold onto the "conventional wisdom" that those at the top have invested so much time and effort in. The death throes of each system are maintained for as long as feasible until it is almost impossible for anyone to believe that the current system can work. A new system comes along with promises that everything will be much better, and it is, for a decade or two.

  1. Capitalism mark 1 – Unfettered Capitalism. Crashed and burned in 1929 with a global recession in the 1930s. The New Deal and Keynesian ideas promised a bright new world.
  2. Capitalism mark 2 – Keynesian Capitalism. Ended with stagflation in the 1970s. Market led Capitalism ideas promised a bright new world.
  3. Capitalism mark 3 - Unfettered Capitalism (Part 2 – Market led Capitalism) Crashed and burned in 2008 with a global recession in the 2010s. It has followed the same path as Unfettered Capitalism (Mark 1).

[Some analogies]

Unfettered Capitalism has a catastrophic failure mode and dressing it up in the Emperor's New Clothes of supply side economics didn't make a blind bit of difference. We've done Neo-Keynesian stimulus. After eight years of pumping trillions into the top of the economic pyramid, banks, and waiting for it to trickle down. It didn't work, hardly anything trickled down.

The powers that be are now for Keynesian stimulus. Carry out infrastructure projects that create jobs and wages which will be spent into the economy and trickle up (pumping money into the bottom of the economic pyramid). A new brush sweeps clean, the old ideologues stuck in their old failed ways must go. The Left is still full of neoliberal ideologues; it's time to move on.

graun -> soundofthesuburbs , 14 Nov 2016 4:07

Show me a version of Capitalism that hasn't failed

Your examples of "failures" actually demonstrate exactly the opposite: that capitalism is resilient. It survived 2 world wars, the 1930's depression, withdrawal of the gold standard (which had far-reaching effects on the "establishment"), the 2008 crash, the oil crises of the 1970s (that caused your "stagflation") and pretty much everything else that has been thrown at the financial world in the past 100 years.
nishville -> soundofthesuburbs , 14 Nov 2016 4:17
After eight years of pumping trillions into the top of the economic pyramid, banks, and waiting for it to trickle down. It didn't work, hardly anything trickled down.

And it won't until you prick it with pitchforks.

[Sep 01, 2017] French President Macron calls for military buildup in foreign policy address by By Alex Lantier

Notable quotes:
"... The Macron administration is facing the collapse of American imperialist hegemony that has shaped world politics since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the Stalinist bureaucracy's dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. ..."
"... He said, "We are passing through a period of most intense questioning of the diplomatic certainties and of confusion about developments in 25 or 50 years. Today, the post-1989 order, one based on a form of globalisation that became totally unfettered and the hyper-power of one state, is shattered." ..."
Aug 31, 2017 | www.wsws.org

Speaking Tuesday to a conference of French ambassadors for his inaugural foreign policy speech, President Emmanuel Macron laid out plans for a military build-up and an aggressive global policy. He made clear that the counterpart to the assertion of French imperialist interests overseas would be an escalation of police-state measures, such as the state of emergency, at home.

The Macron administration is facing the collapse of American imperialist hegemony that has shaped world politics since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the Stalinist bureaucracy's dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. The quarter-century of Middle East wars and ebbing US influence have undermined the geo-strategic order on which French capitalism worked out its world policy. Macron himself all but acknowledged that, after Trump's election to the White House, the political foundations of Europe are collapsing.

He said, "We are passing through a period of most intense questioning of the diplomatic certainties and of confusion about developments in 25 or 50 years. Today, the post-1989 order, one based on a form of globalisation that became totally unfettered and the hyper-power of one state, is shattered."

Without naming the United States or the Trump administration, Macron presented Europe as a democratic counterweight to a collapse of the world capitalist order, declaring: "Europe is one of the last refuges where the Enlightenment ideals of electoral and representative democracy, the respect for human personality, religious tolerance and freedom of expression and the belief in progress are still largely shared."

Only a few paragraphs later, however, he acknowledged that Europe is threatened with war, as well. Pointing to potential conflict between Russia and Ukraine in the aftermath of the 2014 NATO-backed coup in Kiev, he said, "We have forgotten that the last 70 years of peace on the European continent were an aberration of our collective history. That is however what the building of European institutions allowed us to create. But the threat is on our doorstep, and war is on our continent."

The inescapable conclusion from Macron's remark that the last 70 years since World War II were an "aberration" is that world war is again a possibility, including in Europe. The "End of History" triumphalism of bourgeois commentators, who declared that the Stalinist dissolution of the Soviet Union spelled the definitive triumph of capitalism, has collapsed. The same objective contradictions of capitalism that drove the Russian working class to socialist revolution a century ago are erupting today.

Under Macron, moreover, the French bourgeoisie is embarking on policies of militarism, politicised racism, and attacks on social and democratic rights that twice in the last century led Europe to war. Macron called for a major military build-up, including an increase in defence spending to 2 percent of Gross Domestic Product, and called for making "the struggle against Islamist terrorism the main priority of our foreign policy." He called for making the French army "one of the very best in the world, the best in Europe, to protect France and also our continent."

... ... ...

Macron called for careful engagement with China and its New Silk Road infrastructure project, which Washington strongly opposes, and which he saw as a challenge for French and European diplomacy: "I say with great gravity, if we are not able to use multilateral strategies, other great powers will seize these tools. The New Silk Road is a classic example of a major geopolitical project carried out by China, which we must take into account from the standpoint of our European interests."

[Aug 28, 2017] ECONOMIST Watch Reading The Mouthpiece Of Anti-Trump Globalism So You Don't Have To

Ecomonist is a propaganda venue not so much about globalism as about neoliberalism. This is one of the leading neoliberal publications.
Notable quotes:
"... Mr Derbyshire is wrong to say that the Antifa and their like are funded by the "Billionaire Left". They do fund them, but to call them the Billionaire Left is incorrect. These people are best described as Corporatist Oligarchs, aided and created by Neoliberalism. Neoliberalism is not liberal, it is thoroughly illiberal and unconcerned about free markets or free societies. As an example, SABMiller and Anheuser-Busch are merging. They will have 45% of the US beer market, when merged. 30 years, when the US still had competition laws, this would not be permitted. Indeed, it would not even be attempted. ..."
Aug 28, 2017 | www.unz.com

Given that The Economist is a major journalistic voice for the globalist, nation-hating, open-borders, anti-Trump club of the Billionaire Left ; and given that AntiFa is the " muscle " of that club; it's not very surprising that when our President attacks AntiFa, The Economist pulls out all the stops.

The cover of the current (August 19th-25th) issue tells you all you need to know. Trump is bellowing into a megaphone drawn as a sideways-lying KKK hood.

The accompanying editorial is what you'd expect.

His unsteady response [i.e. to the riot engineered by state and city authorities in Charlottesville last week] contains a terrible message for Americans. Far from being the savior of the Republic, their President is politically inept, morally barren and temperamentally unfit for office.

It comes of course with a doctored version of history to conform to current CultMarx dogmas.

White supremacists and neo-Nazis yearn for a society based on race, which America fought a world war to prevent.

If you had asked 1,000 Americans in 1945 what they had been fighting for, then ranked their responses by common themes, I venture to suggest that "to prevent a society based on race" would not have been anywhere near the top of the rankings. I wonder if it would even have figured at all.

And what a great many white Americans today yearn for is a society not based on race: one in which their own race is not constantly belittled and insulted by talk of "white privilege," one not riddled with preferences and favoritism on behalf of other races, one in which multicultural triumphalists do not crow over whites' impending replacement, and elites do not seem hell-bent on bringing about that replacement .

The Economist tells us that defending Confederate statues!a cause which, for 150 years, was not even present in the collective American consciousness because those statues were not threatened!is a rearguard action by the evil, bitter past against the Radiant Future .

Mr Trump's seemingly heartfelt defence of those marching to defend Confederate statues spoke to the degree to which white grievance and angry, sour nostalgia is part of his world view.

Perhaps one man's "angry, sour nostalgia" is another man's natural reaction to great but unnecessary social changes undertaken to the advantage of people who hate him.

Diversity Heretic > , August 25, 2017 at 6:44 am GMT

What do you have to drink to get through Economist drivel/propaganda? I'm spending some time in a hotel where we have CNN. I can't watch more than two to three minutes–nothing but Trump criticism. The Russian news channels are more informative even though my Russian is very rudimentary

Verymuchalive > , August 25, 2017 at 9:33 am GMT

Mr Derbyshire is wrong to say that the Antifa and their like are funded by the "Billionaire Left". They do fund them, but to call them the Billionaire Left is incorrect.
These people are best described as Corporatist Oligarchs, aided and created by Neoliberalism. Neoliberalism is not liberal, it is thoroughly illiberal and unconcerned about free markets or free societies. As an example, SABMiller and Anheuser-Busch are merging. They will have 45% of the US beer market, when merged. 30 years, when the US still had competition laws, this would not be permitted. Indeed, it would not even be attempted.

Effective competition laws are one of the cornerstones of a Capitalist society, or even one with a more Mixed Economy. Large areas of the US economy are now dominated by oligopolies: individual companies are often largely owned or controlled by one person, sometimes a few. These oligopolists seek cheap labour, open borders, free trade and exemption from the laws of the state. Indeed, as the TPTA made explicit, they wanted to be subject to rules made by themselves, not any state.
Their aims cannot be said to be left wing. These policies benefit a small number of oligarchs and their associates, whose income has risen enormously. Most of the rest of us suffer as a result.

These oligarchs not only fund dim-witted left wing groups to do their bidding, they control most of the media and the political parties. They constitute a very serious threat to the State, Society and ordinary people.

These oligopolies must be broken up and sold in parts to a wide range of new owners. Effective Competition Laws must be reinstated and anti-completion laws ( e.g. Telecommunications Act 1996 ) rescinded. The holdings of individual oligarchs should be confiscated without compensation and the worst offenders (Soros, Bezos, Zuckerberg et al ) sent to Work Camps in Northern Alaska, along with all the staff of $PLC. The money so confiscated should be donated to charitable funds, e.g. VDARE, The John Derbyshire Retirement Fund.

Joe Levantine > , August 25, 2017 at 1:11 pm GMT

As a previous 20 year subscriber to the Economist magazine, this article touches a raw nerve in me. There was a time when I had a fascination with the world of globalism and the Economist was a source of great wisdom to be cherished on a Sunday morning. But as the real world of globalism started showing its ugly head, I started getting tired of this mouthpiece of the Illuminati and their mega sophisticated propaganda news of which I will expose some of the important myths they have acclaimed during the 90′s and in the first decade of the 21st century. Unfortunately, I don't have the references for these articles as I am drawing from my long memory:
-In one of their articles about the falling crime rate in America, they credited Roe vs Wade for legalizing abortion " which led to a marked decline in undesired children and therefore a reduced crime rate". Indicting innocent unborn children as potential criminals is the Economist way. It escaped them, that had abortion been legal when Steven Jobs saw the light of day, chances are the man would have not lived as a child born out of wedlock.
-The Economist called for Arab oil producers to reduce the price of a barrel of oil to USD 5.00 to drive all potential non OPEC competitors out of the market in order to survive the coming drop in the price of oil. What happened after this article is that oil prices kept creeping up until it reached the price of USD 147.
-The Economist was a supporter of the abrogation of the Glass Steegal Act that separated commercial banking from investment banking calling it an outdated law. Needless to remind the reader that the cancellation of the law by the Clinton Administration at the behest of Robert Rubin who had been appointed as Citi Chair while still working for the U S government was a case of conflict of interest and the reason for the 2008 financial crisis and the phony legacy of " too big to fail" and " too big to jail".
- The Economist was as big of a supporter of the war on Iraq just as its ilk The New York Slimes, a war that has killed millions and cost the American tax payer trillions of Dollars.
I will limit my critique of the Economist to the above points while hoping that other new doubters in the authenticity of this propaganda machine will contribute theirs.

peterike > , August 25, 2017 at 5:31 pm GMT

The New Yorker used a similar Trump/KKK cover. These people have such origi