Softpanorama

May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Contents Bulletin Scripting in shell and Perl Network troubleshooting History Humor

Neoliberalism war on labor

“Robots are coming for your job” may be more scare talk than reality,
but instilling that belief helps weaken labor bargaining power.

Outsourcing is the way to decimate union power

News Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Recommended Links The neoliberal myth of human capital Audacioues Oligarchy and Loss of Trust Neoliberal rationality Atomization and oppression of workforce
Scapegoating and victimization of poor and unemployed Destruction of the New Deal Glass-Steagall repeal Think Tanks as Enabler of Neoliberal Coup d'ιtat  Identity politics as diversion of attention from social inequality Identity politics as divide and conquer  Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite
Attack of Think Tanks Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite The Deep State Predator state Lewis Powell Memo The Essential Rules for Dominating Population
New American Militarism Neoconservatism Neo-fashism National Security State Propaganda  Inverted Totalitarism  Totalitarian Decisionism
Neoliberalism and Christianity Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism The Iron Law of Oligarchy Anglican Church on danger of neoliberalism Animal Farm Quite coup Neoconservatism as an attack dog of neoliberalism
  Crowd manipulation Agenda-setting theory Manufacturing Consent Jingoism of the US neoliberal elite Media-Military-Industrial Complex War is Racket
Small government smoke screen "Starving the beast" bait and switcht Bill Clinton, the man who sold Democratic Party to Wall Street and helped FIRE sector to convert the country into casino Over-consumption of Luxury Goods as Market Failure Two Party System American Imperialism, Transnational Capitalist Class and Globalization of Capitalism The Grand Chessboard
Ethno-linguistic and "Cultural" Nationalism as a reaction to Neoliberalism induced decline of standards of living American Exceptionalism Anatol Leiven on American Messianism Machiavellism Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc

Neoliberalism is based on unconditional domination of labor by capital ("socialism for rich, feudalism for labor"). American scholar and cultural critic Henry Giroux alleges neoliberalism holds that market forces should organize every facet of society, including economic and social life, and promotes a social darwinist ethic which elevates self-interest over social needs. A new class of workers, facing acute socio-economic insecurity, emerged under neoliberalism. It is called  'precariat'. 

The imposition of neoliberalism in the United States arose from a the political counterrevolution led by financial oligarchy in the 1970s. It was their reaction of two the falling rate of profitability in manufacturing industry and emergence of strong competitors both in Europe and Asia, competitors which no longer were hampered by WWII decimation of industrial potential and in some way even manage to benefit from reconstruction getting newer better factories then in the USA.

Neoliberalism doesn't shrink government but instead convert it into a national security state, which provides little governmental oversight over large business and multinationals, but toughly control the lower classes, the smacks -- including mass incarceration those at the bottom. With the inmates along with illegal immigrants slowly becoming an important  source of low-wage labor for some US corporations.

Neoliberal policies led to the situation in the US economy in which 30% of workers earn low wages (less than two-thirds the median wage for full-time workers), and 35% of the labor force is underemployed; only 40% of the working-age population in the U.S. is adequately employed. The Center for Economic Policy Research's (CEPR) Dean Baker (2006) argued that the driving force behind rising inequality in the U.S. has been a series of deliberate, neoliberal policy choices including anti-inflationary bias, anti-unionism, and profiteering in the health industry

It can not be hidden. Redistribution of wealth up is all the neoliberalism is about. Simplifying, neoliberalism can be defined as socialism for rich and feudalism for poor.

So forms of brutal exploitation when people work 12 hours a day (as contractors now, for whom  labor laws do not apply) or when even bathroom breaks are regulated now are more common.

Amazon, Uber and several other companies have shown that neoliberal model can be as brutal as plantation slavery.

In a way, we returned to the brutality of the beginning of XX century on a new level characterized by much higher level of instability of employment. This is not disputed  even for neoliberal stooges in economic departments of major universities ;-)

As interesting question arise: "What form the backlash might take, if any ?"

I think it is an observable fact that the US neoliberal elite is now is discredited: defeat of Hillary Clinton and ability to Trump to win nomination from Republican Party and then national elections signify the level of discreditation of the neoliberal elite. Success of Sunders in Democratic Party primaries and the fact that DNC needed to resort to dirty tricks to derail his candidacy signifies the same (even taking into account his betrayal of his voters).

If this does not suggest the crisis of neoliberal governance, I do not know what is. The crisis created conditions for increased social protest which at this stage used voters booth to say "f*ck you" to neoliberal elite.  In 2016 that led to election of Trump, but it was Sanders who captures social protest voters only to be derailed by machinations of DNC and Clinton clan.  At the same time, the efficiency with which Occupy Wall Street movement was neutered means that the national security state is still pretty effective in suppressing of dissent, so open violence probably will be suppressed brutally and efficiently.  "Color revolution" methods of social protest are not effective in  the USA sitution, as the key factor that allow "color revolutionaries" to challenge existing government. It is easy and not so risky to do when you understand that  the USA and its three letter agencies, embassies and NGOs stand behind and might allow you to emigrate, if you cause fail.  No so other significant power such as China or Russia can stand behind the protesters against neoliberalism in the USA. Neoliberals controls all braches of power. And internationally they are way too strong to allow Russia or China to interfere in the US election the way the USA interfered into Russian presidential election.   

Atomization of workforce and establishment of national security state after 9/11 so far prevented large organized collective actions (recent riots were not organized, and with the current technical capabilities of the three letter agencies any organization is difficult or impossible). I think that conversion of the state into national security state was the key factor that saved a couple of the most notorious neoliberals from being hanged on the electrical posts in 2008 although I remember slogan "Jump suckers" on the corner of Wall Street.

But neoliberal attacks on organized labor started much earlier with Ronald Reagan and then continued under all subsequent presidents with bill Clinton doing the bulk of this dirty job. his calculation in creating "New labor" (read neoliberal stooges of Wall Street masked as Democratic Party) was right and for a couple of elections voters allow Democrats to betray them after the elections. But eventually that changes. Vichy left, represented by "Clintonized" Democratic Party got a crushing defeat in 2016 Presidential elections. Does not mean that Trump is better or less neoliberal, but it does suggest that working class does not trust Democratic Party any longer. 

2008 was the time of the crush of neoliberal ideology, much like Prague string signified the crush of Communist ideology. but while there was some level of harassment, individual beatings of banksters in 2008 were non-existent. And in zombie stage (with discredited ideology) neoliberal managed to continue and even counterattack in some countries. Brazil and Argentina fall into neoliberal hands just recently.   Neoliberal actually managed to learn Trotskyites methods of subversion of government and playing on population disconnect in case of economic difficulties as well if not better as Trotskyites themselves.


Heelo
Top Visited
Switchboard
Latest
Past week
Past month


NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

[Aug 21, 2017] As the crisis unfolds there will be talk about giving the UN some role in resolving international problems.

Aug 21, 2017 | www.lettinggobreath.com

psychohistorian | Aug 21, 2017 12:01:32 AM | 27

My understanding of the UN is that it is the High Court of the World where fealty is paid to empire that funds most of the political circus anyway...and speaking of funding or not, read the following link and lets see what PavewayIV adds to the potential sickness we are sleep walking into.

As the UN delays talks, more industry leaders back ban on weaponized AI

[Aug 20, 2017] Bannon Was Set for a Graceful Exit. Then Came Charlottesville.

Aug 20, 2017 | www.msn.com

With little process to speak of, tensions over policy swelled. Ideological differences devolved into caustic personality clashes. Perhaps nowhere was the mutual disgust thicker than between Mr. Bannon and Mr. Trump's daughter and son-in-law.

Mr. Bannon openly complained to White House colleagues that he resented how Ms. Trump would try to undo some of the major policy initiatives that he and Mr. Trump agreed were important to the president's economic nationalist agenda, like withdrawing from the Paris climate accords. In this sense, he was relieved when Mr. Kelly took over and put in place a structure that kept other aides from freelancing.

"Those days are over when Ivanka can run in and lay her head on the desk and cry," he told multiple people.

Mr. Bannon made little secret of the fact that he believed "Javanka," as he referred to the couple behind their backs, had naïve political instincts and were going to alienate Mr. Trump's core coalition of white working-class voters.

[Aug 20, 2017] The chattering political classes have converged on the belief that Trump is not only incompetent, but dangerous. They use identity politics to discredit his base.

The USA started to imitate post-Maydan Ukraine: another war with statues... "Identity politics" flourishing in some unusual areas like history of the country. Which like in Ukraine is pretty divisive.
McAuliffe was co-chairman of Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, and was one of her superdelegates at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
Notable quotes:
"... The thrust appears to be to undercut components of his base while ratcheting up indignation. WaPo and the Times dribble out salacious "news" stories that, often as not, are substance free but written in a hyperbolic style that assumes a kind of intrinsic Trump guilt and leaps from there. They know better. No doubt they rationalize this as meeting kind with kind. ..."
"... It reminds me of the coverage in the run up to Nixon's resignation. Except this one's on steroids. I believe the DC folks fully expect Trump to be removed and now are focusing on the strategy that accrues the maximum benefit to their party. Unfortunately, things strongly favor the Democrats. ..."
"... Democrats want to drag this out as long as possible and enjoy the chipping away at segments of the Republican base while the Republicans want to clear the path before the midterms. However, the Republican officials, much as many or most can't stand Trump, have to weave a thin line because taking action against Trump would kill them in the primaries and possibly in the general. ..."
"... So the Democrats are licking their chops and hoping this can continue until the midterms with the expectation they will then control Congress. ..."
"... Some of you still don't get it. Trump isn't our last chance. Its your last chance. Yet still so many of you oxygen thieves still insist RUSSIA is the reason Hillary lost. You guys are going to agitate your way into a CW because you can't accept you lost. Many of you agitating are fat, slow, and stupid, with no idea how to survive. ..."
"... From day one after the unexpected (for the punditry class and their media coherts) elections results everybody was piling on Trump. The stories abound about his Russia Collusion (after one year of investigation not even a smoke signal) or his narcistic attitudes (mind you LeeG Trump always addresses people as We where as Humble Obama always addresses in the first person). ..."
"... I get this feeling the Swamp doesn't want a President who will at least try to do something for the American people rather than promises (Remember Hope and Change ala Obama, he got the Change quite a bit of it for him and his Banker Pals from what is left of the treasury and we the people are left with Hope). ..."
"... Someone on the last thread said in a very elegant way that what binds us Americans together is one thing, economic opportunity for all. I believe that was Trump's election platform, with the "for all" emphasized frequently. ..."
"... There is quite the precedent for the media treating trump as they do, Putin has been treated quite similarly, as well as any other politician the media cars disagree with [neocons/neolibs]... ..."
"... I think, during the election campaign, the negative media coverage may have well be a boon to him. Anyone who listened to the media, and then actually turned up at a Trump rally to see for himself, immediately got the idea that the media is full of shit. I think this won Trump a fair number of converts. ..."
"... But I think by now they are just over the top. It almost reminds me of Soviet denunciations of old communists who have fallen out of favor. ..."
"... The one clear thing is that there is a coup attempt to get rid of Donald Trump led by globalist media and supra-national corporate intelligence agents. Charlottesville may well be due to the total incompetence of the democratic governor and mayor. ..."
"... On the other hand, the razing of Confederate Memorials started in democrat controlled New Orleans and immediately spread to Baltimore. This is purposeful like blaming Russia for losing the 2016 election. ..."
"... The unrest here at home is due to the forever wars, outsourcing jobs, tax cuts for the wealthy and austerity. Under stress societies revert to their old beliefs and myths. John Brennon, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, George Soros and Pierre Omidyar are scorpions; they can't help themselves. After regime change was forced on Iraq, Libya, Syria and Ukraine; a color revolution has been ignited here in the USA; damn the consequences. We are the only ones that can stop it by pointing out what is really happening. ..."
"... What I see in my Democrat dominated county is that the blue collar folks are noting this overt coup attempt and while they didn't vote for Trump are beginning to become sympathetic towards him. I sense this is in part due to the massive mistrust of the MSM and the political establishment who are viewed as completely self-serving. ..."
"... I read a transcript of the entirety of Trump's news conference upon which CBS and others are basing their claims that Trump is "defending white supremacists," and at no point did he come within hand grenade distance of doing anything of the sort. What he did do is accuse the left wing group of being at fault along with the right wing group in causing the violence, and he did not even claim that they were equally at fault. ..."
"... There is no doubt whatever that his statement was entirely accurate, if in no other respect in that the left's decision to engage in proximate confrontation was certain to cause violence and was, in fact, designed to do so regardless of who threw the first punch. CBS and other media of its caliber are completely avoiding mentioning that aspect of the confrontation. ..."
"... CBS et. al. have been touting the left's possession of not one but two permits for public assembly, but they carefully do not point out that the permits were for two areas well removed from the area where the conflict occurred, and that they did not have a permit to assemble in that area. ..."
"... The media is flailing with the horror of Trump's advocacy of racial division, but it is the Democratic Party which has for more than a decade pursued the policy of "identity politics," and the media which has prated endlessly about "who will get the black vote" or "how Hispanics will vote" in every election. ..."
"... As a firm believer in the media efforts to sabotage Trump and a former supporter (now agnostic, trending negative - Goldman Sachs swamp creatures in the Oval Office????), he greatly disappointed me. First, i will state, that I do not believe Trump is antisemitic (no antisemite will surround himself with rich Jewish Bankers). ..."
"... It doesn't matter whether Trump is getting a raw deal or not. Politics has nothing to do with fairness. ..."
"... But when you've lost Bob Corker, and even Newt Gingrich is getting wobbly, when Fox News is having a hard time finding Republicans willing to go on and defend Trump, you don't need to be Nostradamus to see what's going to happen. ..."
Aug 20, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.com

doug , 17 August 2017 at 04:54 PM

The media, and political elite, pile on is precisely what I expect. The chattering political classes have converged on the belief that Trump is not only incompetent, but dangerous. And his few allies are increasingly uncertain of their future.

The thrust appears to be to undercut components of his base while ratcheting up indignation. WaPo and the Times dribble out salacious "news" stories that, often as not, are substance free but written in a hyperbolic style that assumes a kind of intrinsic Trump guilt and leaps from there. They know better. No doubt they rationalize this as meeting kind with kind. Trump is the epitome of the salesman that believes he can sell anything to anyone with the right pitch. Reporters that might normally be restrained by actual facts and a degree of fairness simply are no longer so constrained.

It reminds me of the coverage in the run up to Nixon's resignation. Except this one's on steroids. I believe the DC folks fully expect Trump to be removed and now are focusing on the strategy that accrues the maximum benefit to their party. Unfortunately, things strongly favor the Democrats.

Democrats want to drag this out as long as possible and enjoy the chipping away at segments of the Republican base while the Republicans want to clear the path before the midterms. However, the Republican officials, much as many or most can't stand Trump, have to weave a thin line because taking action against Trump would kill them in the primaries and possibly in the general.

So the Democrats are licking their chops and hoping this can continue until the midterms with the expectation they will then control Congress. After that they will happily dispatch Trump with some discovered impeachable crime. At that point it won't be hard to get enough Republicans to go along.

The Republicans can only hope to convince Trump to resign well prior to the midterms. They hope they won't have to go on record with a vote and get nailed in the elections.

In the meantime the country is going to go through hell.

turcopolier , 17 August 2017 at 05:19 PM
kerim,

Yes, we are staring into the depths and the abyss has begun to take note of us. BTW the US was put back together after the CW/WBS on the basis of an understanding that the Confederates would accept the situation and the North would not interfere with their cultural rituals.

There was a general amnesty for former Confederates in the 1870s and a number of them became US senators, Consuls General overseas and state governors.

That period of attempted reconciliation has now ended. Who can imagine the "Gone With the Win" Pulitzer and Best Picture of the Year now? pl

Tyler , 17 August 2017 at 05:30 PM
Some of you still don't get it. Trump isn't our last chance. Its your last chance. Yet still so many of you oxygen thieves still insist RUSSIA is the reason Hillary lost. You guys are going to agitate your way into a CW because you can't accept you lost. Many of you agitating are fat, slow, and stupid, with no idea how to survive.
Murali -> LeeG... , 17 August 2017 at 05:38 PM
I totally disagree with you LeeG. From day one after the unexpected (for the punditry class and their media coherts) elections results everybody was piling on Trump. The stories abound about his Russia Collusion (after one year of investigation not even a smoke signal) or his narcistic attitudes (mind you LeeG Trump always addresses people as We where as Humble Obama always addresses in the first person).

I get this feeling the Swamp doesn't want a President who will at least try to do something for the American people rather than promises (Remember Hope and Change ala Obama, he got the Change quite a bit of it for him and his Banker Pals from what is left of the treasury and we the people are left with Hope). I hope he will succeed but I learnt that we will always be left with Hope!

AK -> Dr.Puck... , 17 August 2017 at 06:27 PM
Dr. Puck,

The calls have begun:

That last tweet is from the Green Party candidate for VP. Those are just a few examples from a quick Google search before I get back to work. Those of you with more disposable time will surely find more.

BillWade , 17 August 2017 at 06:47 PM
Someone on the last thread said in a very elegant way that what binds us Americans together is one thing, economic opportunity for all. I believe that was Trump's election platform, with the "for all" emphasized frequently.

I believe Charlottsville was a staged catalyst to bring about Trump's downfall, there seems now to be a "full-court press" against him. If he survives this latest attempt, I'll be both surprised and in awe of his political skills. If he doesn't survive I'll (and many others, no matter the "legality of the process") will consider it a coup d'etat and start to think of a different way to prepare for the future.

A.I.Schmelzer , 17 August 2017 at 07:20 PM
There is quite the precedent for the media treating trump as they do, Putin has been treated quite similarly, as well as any other politician the media cars disagree with [neocons/neolibs]...

I think, during the election campaign, the negative media coverage may have well be a boon to him. Anyone who listened to the media, and then actually turned up at a Trump rally to see for himself, immediately got the idea that the media is full of shit. I think this won Trump a fair number of converts.

But I think by now they are just over the top. It almost reminds me of Soviet denunciations of old communists who have fallen out of favor.

As far as statue removal goes: There should be legal ways of deciding such things democratically. There should also be the possibility of relocating the statues in question. I imagine that there should be plenty of private properties who are willing to host these statues on their land. This should be quite soundly protected by the US constitution.

That these monuments got, iirc, erected long after the war is nothing unusual. Same is true for monuments to the white army, of which there are now a couple in Russia.

As far as the civil war goes, my sympathies lie with the Union, I would not be, more then a 100 years after the war, be averse to monuments depicting the common Confederate Soldier.

I can understand the statue toppler somewhat. If someone would place a Bandera statue in my surroundings, I would try to wreck it. I may be willing to tolerate a Petljura statue, probably a also Wrangel or Denikin statue, but not a Vlassov or Shuskevich statue. Imho Lees "wickedness", historically speaking, simply isn't anything extraordinary.

Haralambos -> turcopolier ... , 17 August 2017 at 07:29 PM
Col., thank you for this comment. I grew up in the "North" and recall the centenary of the Civil War as featured in _Life_ magazine. I was fascinated by the history, the uniforms and the composition of the various armies as well as their arms. I would add to that the devastating use of grapeshot. I knew the biographies of the various generals on both sides and their relative effectiveness. I would urge others to read Faulkner's _Intruder in the Dust_ to gain some understanding of the Reconstruction and carpetbagging.

I believe the choice to remove the monument as opposed to some other measure, such as the bit of history you offer, was highly incendiary. I also find it interesting that the ACLU is taking up their case in regard to free-speech: http://tinyurl.com/ybdkrcaz

I was living in Chicago when the Skokie protest occurred.

Fred -> Lars... , 17 August 2017 at 07:36 PM
Lars,

"They came to Charlottesville to do harm. They came armed and were looking for a fight."

I agree. This means Governor McAuliffe failed in his duty to the people of the Commonwealth and so did the Mayor of Charlottesville and the senior members of the police forces present in the city. Congradulations to the alt-left.

They - the left - previously came to DC to do harm - on flag day no less. Namely the Bernie Bro James Hodgkinson, domestic terrorist, who attempted to assasinate Steve Scalise and a number of other elected representatives. The left did not denounce him nor his cause. Sadly they did not even denounce the people who actually betrayed him - those who rigged the Democratic primary: Donna Brazile and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.

Seamus Padraig -> Dr.Puck... , 17 August 2017 at 07:40 PM
"I know of no call by anybody to remove all statues of the slaveholders. Please edify."

Well, it appears that Al Sharpton is now in favor of defunding the Jefferson Memorial. That's close, isn't it? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gg4XKIX1bs4&feature=youtu.be&t=5

VietnamVet , 17 August 2017 at 08:32 PM
PT

The one clear thing is that there is a coup attempt to get rid of Donald Trump led by globalist media and supra-national corporate intelligence agents. Charlottesville may well be due to the total incompetence of the democratic governor and mayor.

On the other hand, the razing of Confederate Memorials started in democrat controlled New Orleans and immediately spread to Baltimore. This is purposeful like blaming Russia for losing the 2016 election.

The protestors on both divides were organized and spoiling for a fight.

The unrest here at home is due to the forever wars, outsourcing jobs, tax cuts for the wealthy and austerity. Under stress societies revert to their old beliefs and myths. John Brennon, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, George Soros and Pierre Omidyar are scorpions; they can't help themselves. After regime change was forced on Iraq, Libya, Syria and Ukraine; a color revolution has been ignited here in the USA; damn the consequences. We are the only ones that can stop it by pointing out what is really happening.

James , 17 August 2017 at 09:32 PM
It seems to me that this brouhaha may work in Trump's favor. The more different things they accuse Trump of (without evidence), the more diluted their message becomes.

I think the Borg's collective hysteria can be explained by the "unite the right" theme of the Charlottesville Rally. A lot of Trump supporters are very angry, and if they start marching next to people who are carrying signs that blame "the Jews" for America's problems, then anti-Zionist (or even outright anti-Semitic) thinking might start to go mainstream. The Borg would do well to work to address the Trump supporters legitimate grievances. There are a number of different ways that things might get very ugly if they don't. Unfortunately the establishment just wants to heap abuse on the Trump supporters and I think that approach is myopic.

Jack , 17 August 2017 at 09:56 PM
There will always be an outrage du jour for the NeverTrumpers. The Jake Tapper, Rachel Maddow, Morning Joe & Mika ain't gonna quit. And it seems it's ratings gold for them. Of course McCain and his office wife and the rest of the establishment crew also have to come out to ring the obligatory bell and say how awful Trump's tweet was.

What I see in my Democrat dominated county is that the blue collar folks are noting this overt coup attempt and while they didn't vote for Trump are beginning to become sympathetic towards him. I sense this is in part due to the massive mistrust of the MSM and the political establishment who are viewed as completely self-serving.

Cvillereader -> turcopolier ... , 17 August 2017 at 10:17 PM
It is illegal in the Commonwealth of Virginia to wear a mask that covers one's face in most public settings.

LEOs in Central Va encountered this exact requirement when a man in a motorcycle helmet entered a Walmart on Rt 29 in 2012. Several customers reported him to 911 because they believed him to being acting suspiciously. He was detained in Albemarle County and was eventually submitted for mental health evaluation.

This is not a law that Charlottesville police would be unfamiliar with.

luxetveritas , 17 August 2017 at 10:45 PM
Chomsky: "As for Antifa, it's a minuscule fringe of the Left, just as its predecessors were. "It's a major gift to the Right, including the militant Right, who are exuberant."

"what they do is often wrong in principle – like blocking talks – and [the movement] is generally self-destructive."

"When confrontation shifts to the arena of violence, it's the toughest and most brutal who win – and we know who that is. That's quite apart from the opportunity costs – the loss of the opportunity for education, organizing, and serious and constructive activism."

Bill H , 18 August 2017 at 02:02 AM
I read a transcript of the entirety of Trump's news conference upon which CBS and others are basing their claims that Trump is "defending white supremacists," and at no point did he come within hand grenade distance of doing anything of the sort. What he did do is accuse the left wing group of being at fault along with the right wing group in causing the violence, and he did not even claim that they were equally at fault.

There is no doubt whatever that his statement was entirely accurate, if in no other respect in that the left's decision to engage in proximate confrontation was certain to cause violence and was, in fact, designed to do so regardless of who threw the first punch. CBS and other media of its caliber are completely avoiding mentioning that aspect of the confrontation.

CBS et. al. have been touting the left's possession of not one but two permits for public assembly, but they carefully do not point out that the permits were for two areas well removed from the area where the conflict occurred, and that they did not have a permit to assemble in that area. A pundit on CBS claimed that "if they went" to the park in question, which of course they did, "they would not have been arrested because it was a public park." He failed to mention that large groups still are required to have a permit to assemble in a public park.

The media is flailing with the horror of Trump's advocacy of racial division, but it is the Democratic Party which has for more than a decade pursued the policy of "identity politics," and the media which has prated endlessly about "who will get the black vote" or "how Hispanics will vote" in every election.

Old Microbiologist -> Lars... , 18 August 2017 at 03:53 AM
Lars, but they came with a legal permit to protest and knew what they would be facing. The anti-protestors including ANTIFA had a large number of people being paid to be there and funded by Soros and were there illegally. The same mechanisms were in place to ramp up protests like in Ferguson which were violent and this response was no different.

However, the Virginia Governor a crony of the Clintons, ordered a police stand down and no effort was made to separate the groups. I remind you also that open carry is legal in Virginia.

So, IMHO this was deliberately set up for a lethal confrontation by the people on the left. I will also remind you that the American Nazi Party and the American Communist Party among others, are perfectly legal in the US as is the KKK. Believing and saying what you want, no matter how offensive, is legal under the First Amendment. Actively discriminating against someone is not legal but speech is. Say what you want but that is the Constitution.

AK -> Richardstevenhack ... , 18 August 2017 at 04:02 AM
Richardstevenshack,

Your last paragraph is a suitably Leftist post-modern ideological oversimplification of an infinitely complex phenomenon. It also reveals a great deal of what motivates the SJW Left:

" As for the notion that this is a 'cultural issue', I quote: 'Whenever I hear the word culture, I reach for my revolver.' 'Culture' is the means by which some people oppress others. It's much like 'civilization' or 'ethics' or 'morality' - a tool to beat people over the head who have something you want. "

First, it is a cultural issue. It's an issue between people who accept this culture as a necessary but flawed, yet incrementally improvable structure for carrying out a relatively peaceful existence among one another, and those whose grudging, bitter misanthropy has led them to the conclusion that the whole thing isn't fair (i.e. easy) so fuck it, burn it all down. In no uncertain terms, this is the ethos driving the radical Left.

Second, I don't know exactly which culture created you, but I'm fairly sure it was a western liberal democracy, as I'm fairly certain is the case with almost all Leftists these days, regardless of how radical. And I'm also fairly certain the culture you decry is the western liberal democratic culture in its current iterations. But before you or anyone else lights the fuse on that, remember that the very culture you want to burn down because it's so loathsome, that's the thing that gave you that shiny device you use to connect with the world, it's the thing that taught you how to articulate your thoughts into written and spoken word, so that you could then go out and bitch about it, and it even lets you bitch about it, freely and with no consequences. This "civilization" is the thing that gives rise to the "morals" and "ethics" that allow you to take your shiny gadgets to a coffee shop, where the barista makes your favorite beverage, instead of simply smashing you over the head and taking your shiny gadgets because he wants them. These principles didn't arise out of thin air, and neither did you, me, or anyone else. This culture is an agreed-upon game that most of us play to ensure we stand a chance at getting though this with as little suffering as possible. It's not perfect, but it works better than anything else I've seen in history.

Old Microbiologist -> FourthAndLong... , 18 August 2017 at 04:12 AM
Not as significant but along a similar trend to re-write history is this pastor asking Chicago mayor Emmanuel to rename parks named for Presidents because they were also slave owners. http://legalinsurrection.com/2017/08/inevitable-chicago-pastor-demands-washington-name-be-removed-from-park-because-of-slavery-ties/
AK -> Tyler... , 18 August 2017 at 04:33 AM
In his inimitable fashion, I'll grant Tyler (and the Colonel, as well) the creditable foresight to call this one. Those of you who find yourselves wishing, hoping, agitating, and activisting for an overturn of the election result, and/or of traditional American culture in general would do well to take their warnings seriously.

If traditional American culture is so deeply and irredeemably corrupt, I must ask, what's your alternative? And how do you mean to install it? I would at least like to know that. Regardless of your answer to question one, if your answer to question two is "revolution", well then you and anyone else on that wagon better be prepared to suffer, and to increase many fold the overall quotient of human suffering in the world. Because that's what it will take.

You want your revolution, but you also want your Wi-Fi to keep working.
You want your revolution, but you also want your hybrid car.
You want your revolution, but you also want your safe spaces, such as your bed when you sleep at night.

If you think you can manage all that by way of shouting down, race baiting, character assassinating, and social shaming, without bearing the great burden of suffering that all revolutions entail, you have bitter days ahead. And there are literally millions of Americans who will oppose you along the way. And unlike the kulaks when the Bolsheviks rode into town, they see you coming and they're ready for you. And if you insist on taking it as far as you can, it won't be pretty, and it won't be cinematic. Just a lot of tragedy for everyone involved. But one side will win, and my guess is it'll be the guys like Tyler. It's not my desire or aim to see any of that happen. It's just how I see things falling out on their current trajectory.

The situation calls to mind a quote from a black radical, spoken-word group from Harlem who were around in the early to mid 60s, called the Last Poets. The line goes, "Speak not of revolution until you are willing to eat rats to survive." Just something to think about when you advocate burning it all down.

johnklis56@gmail.com -> rick... , 18 August 2017 at 07:19 AM
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) has added his name to a growing list of public officials in state governments encouraging the removal of Confederate statues and memorials throughout the South. Late in the day on Wednesday McAuliffe released an official statement saying monuments of Confederate leaders have now become "flashpoints for hatred, division and violence" in a reference to the weekend of violence which shook Charlottesville as white nationalists rallied against the city's planned removal of a Robert E. Lee statue. McAuliffe further described the monuments as "a barrier to progress" and appealed to state and local governments to take action. The governor said:

As we attempt to heal and learn from the tragic events in Charlottesville, I encourage Virginia's localities and the General Assembly – which are vested with the legal authority – to take down these monuments and relocate them to museums or more appropriate settings. I hope we can all now agree that these symbols are a barrier to progress, inclusion and equality in Virginia and, while the decision may not be mine to make...

It seems the push for monument removal is now picking up steam, with cities like Baltimore simply deciding to act briskly while claiming anti-racism and concern for public safety. Of course, the irony in all this is that the White nationalist and supremacist groups which showed up in force at Charlottesville and which are even now planning a major protest in Lexington, Kentucky, are actually themselves likely hastening the removal of these monuments through their repugnant racial ideology, symbols, and flags.

Bishop James Dukes, a pastor at Liberation Christian Center located on Chicago's south side, is demanding that the city of Chicago re-dedicate two parks in the area that are named after former presidents George Washington and Andrew Jackson. His reasons? Dukes says that monuments honoring men who owned slaves have no place in the black community, even if those men once led the free world.

Just a few I've seen....

James F , 18 August 2017 at 07:29 AM
Salve, Publius. Thanks for the article. Col. Lang made an excellent point in the comments' section that the Confederate memorials represent the reconciliation between the North and the South. The same argument is presented in a lengthier fashion in this morning's TAC http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/when-confederate-monuments-represent-reconciliation/ . That reconciliation could have been handled much better, i.e. without endorsing Jim Crow. I wish more monuments were erected to commemorate Longstreet and Cleburne, JB Hood and Hardee. I wish there was more Lee and less Forrest. Nonetheless, the important historical point is that a national reconciliation occurred. Removing the statues is a symbolic act which undoes the national reconciliation. The past which is being erased is not the Civil War but the civil peace which followed it. That is tragic.
Ishmael Zechariah -> Dr.Puck... , 18 August 2017 at 08:14 AM
Dr. Puck,
Do you agree w/ this elected representative's statement: ""I hope Trump is assassinated!" Missouri state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City, wrote during a morning Facebook exchange, referring to Republican President Donald Trump."
http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/chappelle-nadal-posts-deletes-facebook-post-hoping-for-trump-s/article_406059d6-1aa4-52fc-89ee-2a6a69baaf2e.html
Ishmael Zechariah
Kooshy -> Richardstevenhack ... , 18 August 2017 at 09:21 AM
IMO, most of the problems majority of people (specially the ruling class) have with Donald Trump' presidency is that, he acts and is an accidental president, Ironically, everybody including, him, possibly you, and me who voted for him knows this and is not willing to take his presidency serious and act as such. IMO, he happens to run for president, when the country, due to setbacks and defeat on multiple choice wars, as well as national economic misfortunes and misshapes, including mass negligence of working class, was in dismay and a big social divide, as of the result, majority decided to vote for some one outside of familiar cemented in DC ruling class knowing he is not qualified and is a BS artist. IMO that is what took place, which at the end of the day, ends of to be same.
Croesus -> doug... , 18 August 2017 at 09:52 AM
Netanyahu is under pressure for failing to speak out forcefully against Trump

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/benjamin-netanyahu-resists-calls-to-denounce-trumps-response-to-charlottesville/

Bibi has keen political skills. He hasn't lasted this long based on his mastery of judo.

Fred -> James F... , 18 August 2017 at 10:03 AM
James F,

" Removing the statues is a symbolic act which undoes the national reconciliation."

That is the intent. The coalition of urban and coastal ethnic populists and economic elites has been for increased concentration and expansion of federal power at the expense of the states, especially the Southern states, for generations. This wave of agitprop with NGO and MSM backing is intended to undo the constitutional election and return the left to power at the federal level.

TV , 18 August 2017 at 10:18 AM
I agree with most of Trump's policy positions, but he is negating these positions with his out-of-control mouth and tweets.
As much as I have nothing but contempt and loathing for the "establishment" (Dems, Republicans, especially the media, the "intelligence" community and the rest of the permanent government), Trump doesn't seem to comprehend that he can't get anything done without taming some of these elements, all of whom are SERIOUSLY opposed to him as a threat to their sinecures and riches.
"Who is this OUTSIDER to come in and think that he in charge of OUR government?"
blowback , 18 August 2017 at 10:33 AM
What seems like a balanced eyewitness account of Charlottesville that suggests that although the radicals on both sides brought the violence, it was the police who allowed it to happen.

https://newrepublic.com/article/144365/cops-dropped-ball-charlottesville

The need to keep protesters away from counter-protesters particular when both are tooled should be obvious to anyone, but not so with the protest in Charlottevlle.

doug -> Tyler... , 18 August 2017 at 10:40 AM
-"Trump isnt our last chance. Its your last chance."

Reminds me of the 60's and the SDS and their ilk. A large part of the under 30 crowd idolized Mao's Little Red Book and convinced themselves the "revolution" was imminent. So many times I heard the phrase "Up Against the Wall, MFs." Stupid fools. Back then people found each other by "teach-ins" and the so called "underground press." In those days it took a larger fraction to be able to blow in each other's ear and convince themselves they were the future "vanguard."

These days, with the internet, it is far easier for a smaller fraction to gravitate to an echo chamber, reinforce group think, and believe their numbers are much larger than what, in reality, exists. This happens across the board. It's a rabbit hole Tyler. Don't go down it.

turcopolier , 18 August 2017 at 10:45 AM
Booby

Yes, Forts Bragg, Hood, Lee, AP Hill, Benning, etc., started as temporary camps during WW1 and were so named to encourage Southern participation in the war. The South had been reluctant about the Spanish War. Wade Hampton, governor of SC said of that war, "Let the North fight. the South knows the cost of war." pl

ISL , 18 August 2017 at 10:53 AM
I would like to share my viewpoint. As a firm believer in the media efforts to sabotage Trump and a former supporter (now agnostic, trending negative - Goldman Sachs swamp creatures in the Oval Office????), he greatly disappointed me. First, i will state, that I do not believe Trump is antisemitic (no antisemite will surround himself with rich Jewish Bankers).

But violence on all sides is absolute BS. Nazi violence gets its own sentence and language at least as strong as the language he has no trouble hitting ISIS with. Didn't hear that. So I guess in his mind, the threat the US faced from Nazis during WW2 was less than a ragtag, 3rd world guerilla force whose only successes are because of 1. US, Saudi, and other weapons, and their war on unstable third world countries. Give me a break - did he never watch a John Wayne movie as a kid?

When I discuss nazi's, F-bombs are dropped. I support the right of nazi's to march and spew their vitriolic hatred, and even more strongly support the right of free speech to counter their filth with facts and arguments and history.

I am sorry, but Antifa was not fighting against the US in WW2. If one wants to critique Antifa, or another group, that criticism belongs in a separate paragraph or better in another press conference. Taking 2 days to do so, and then walking it back, is the hallmark of a political idiot (or a billionaire who listens to no one and lives in his own mental echo chamber).

If Trump gets his info and opinions from TV news, despite having the $80+ billion US Intel system at his beck and call, he is the largest idiot on the planet.

sid_finster , 18 August 2017 at 11:29 AM
It doesn't matter whether Trump is getting a raw deal or not. Politics has nothing to do with fairness.

But when you've lost Bob Corker, and even Newt Gingrich is getting wobbly, when Fox News is having a hard time finding Republicans willing to go on and defend Trump, you don't need to be Nostradamus to see what's going to happen.

[Aug 18, 2017] Postmodernism is a shift in Marxist theory from class conflict to identity politics conflict; instead of judging people by the content of their character, they are now to be judged by the color of their skin (or their ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, et cetera).

Aug 18, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Just Sayin' | Aug 17, 2017 4:18:43 PM | 58

re #50

OT but not really -
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-unfortunate-fallout-of-campus-postmodernism

"In an article for Quillette.com on "Methods Behind the Campus Madness," graduate researcher Sumantra Maitra of the University of Nottingham in England reported that 12 of the 13 academics at U.C. Berkeley who signed a letter to the chancellor protesting Yiannopoulos were from "Critical theory, Gender studies and Post-Colonial/Postmodernist/Marxist background."

This is a shift in Marxist theory from class conflict to identity politics conflict; instead of judging people by the content of their character, they are now to be judged by the color of their skin (or their ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, et cetera).

"Postmodernists have tried to hijack biology, have taken over large parts of political science, almost all of anthropology, history and English," Maitra concludes, "and have proliferated self-referential journals, citation circles, non-replicable research, and the curtailing of nuanced debate through activism and marches, instigating a bunch of gullible students to intimidate any opposing ideas.""

[Aug 17, 2017] Google Culture Wars

Notable quotes:
"... So, noting that on average, men have 90% more upper body strength than women, would I not be able to claim that any woman my height or less will not have my upper body strength? ..."
"... The problem is that PC is on the way to functioning like militant Islam with regard to unbelievers and apostates. ..."
"... "It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them". ..."
"... "There are only two important days in the life of any person, the day that your are born and then day you find out why." ..."
"... The supreme irony of l'affaire Damore is that was a primary point of Damore's memo and the response was perhaps the best proof of the validity of that point possible. Hence my "inept thinkers" comment. ..."
"... Look how Canadian 'hate speech laws' began with silencing 'Neo-Nazis' (fake ones, btw) and then spread to going after those who don't use proper pronouns. Self-Righteous Addiction created all these Self-Righteous Junkies. ..."
"... The bigger question is why Homo Sapiens is the only primate on the planet where The female is expected to be equal to the male ..."
"... The whole argument "for equality" is fundamentally flawed – it is the wrong goal. As individuals we humans want to be different – not equal. We want to bring something different to the table of social interaction. People who are equal have nothing to give to each other. ..."
"... P.S. No matter our intellectual capabilities, for 99% of us – doing a good job of raising our children – is the most lasting thing that we can ever do. They are our true legacy – what we do on the job is all too soon lost in the evolution of business. ..."
"... it is quite likely that variation is bigger in males, as usual with many other traits. ..."
Aug 17, 2017 | www.unz.com

Peripatetic commenter > , August 16, 2017 at 4:20 pm GMT

OT, but I am looking for a list of references to criticism of the criticism of The Bell Curve or supporters of The Bell Curve.

Can anyone help. A quick search via Duck Duck Go turned up a couple.

James Thompson > , Website August 16, 2017 at 5:05 pm GMT

@Peripatetic commenter Fine, but better to read a few chapters of the book.

res > , August 16, 2017 at 5:09 pm GMT

Thank you for your comprehensive post.

One thought about:

This argument makes me smile. Hyde seems to take as granted that males have an advantage on "tightly timed tests for mathematical and spatial tasks". Is it simply my male point of view that to do well on any test, in the sense of getting things right, and doing so quickly, would be considered a double advantage? Why regard speedy thinking as a complexity of interpretation? Why is speed in correctly completing a task judged to be "speed as much as skill"? Absurdly, the prompt and correct completion of a task seems to be cast as mere male impetuosity. Furthermore, any employer reading this argument would be justified in thinking "On difficult tasks involving maths and spatial analysis, women need more time" so, given a chance, it might be better not to employ them.

Agreed, but the timing issue for spatial tests actually strikes me as even more important than that. I am good at typical spatial tests, but one thing I have noticed is that for the hardest items I find myself going through a very working memory loaded process of checking whether a rotation works for a variety of details (number of details being limited by WM). I am pretty sure this process is more g loaded than spatial (have to find, remember, and analyze these differences). It is also slow at my WM limits (I trial and error choose which details to focus on for the hardest items). I am certain I could improve my performance by making pen and paper notes, but consider that cheating on those tests. It would be interesting to explore differences in solution speed and style both within and between groups (e.g. do similar scoring men and women differ in technique?).

Thus I tend to think the need for more time indicates a relative deficit in "real" spatial skill in favor of g. Whether this "real" spatial skill is what drives the relationship of spatial skills with programming is unclear, but I think it might be. I would hypothesize that it might not be easy for someone like me to emulate the reasoning a higher spatial ability person might use to solve real world problems (rotations are a relatively simple special case problem). If so, presumably this problem would be even worse for someone with even less "real" spatial ability.

Part of what I base my self assessment on is my sense that some people just immediately see the answer to hard spatial problems. Another part of this is my experience with tasks like navigating in complex topographical environments (I suspect that is a related skill). I routinely encounter people who I think are much better at navigation than I am (especially considered in tandem with more g loaded differences). My sense is that this instant recognition correlates with g but is a separate ability (perhaps more separate than the spatial test correlations indicate given my substitutability observation above). I would be very interested in either anecdotal observations or research discussing this!

Overall, my takeaways from the whole l'affaire Damore (surprised I haven't seen this pun used yet, just searched and here is a use , though I disagree with it that post and the comments are worth a look) are:

res > , August 16, 2017 at 5:20 pm GMT

@Peripatetic commenter Perhaps a good start is to read (or at least skim) Intelligence, Genes, and Success: Scientists Respond to The Bell Curve as a collection of critiques of The Bell Curve which seem better than most. Then look for critiques of that book and its papers.

Another approach would be to look at Linda Gottfredson's work, most notably: Mainstream Science on Intelligence: An Editorial With 52 Signatories, History, and Bibliography

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.366.7808&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Though IIRC that is more useful as a source of information to form critiques than as ready made rebuttals to any particular work.

P.S. I agree with Dr. Thompson about reading TBC, but based on your other comments assume you have done so already.

Peripatetic commenter > , August 16, 2017 at 6:29 pm GMT

The Note makes it very clear that men and women "differ in part due to biological causes", that many such differences are small, with significant overlaps, and that you cannot say anything about an individual on the basis of population level distributions.

So, noting that on average, men have 90% more upper body strength than women, would I not be able to claim that any woman my height or less will not have my upper body strength?

res > , August 16, 2017 at 7:40 pm GMT

@Peripatetic commenter Short answer, no. Though it arguably depends on where you fall in the male range and the population size (which controls how much of an outlier one can expect to occur). If you want to make this more concrete, here is a paper on strength differences which seems to imply (though I don't see it stated) a Cohen's d of about 3 for upper body strength: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4756754/
Plugging that into the visualizer here (3 is the maximum value supported) you see only 13% overlap: http://rpsychologist.com/d3/cohend/
Worth noting that these analyses don't account for size differences (so your equal height condition skews things).

To answer your question a different way, try looking at world championship weightlifting results. Can you lift more than the strongest woman there less than or equal to you in height (or weight as a proxy)? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_world_records_in_Olympic_weightlifting

https://rawpowerlifting.com/records/world_records/

Razib's grip strength post is a worthwhile look at this sort of thing: https://www.unz.com/gnxp/men-are-stronger-than-women-on-average

Peripatetic commenter > , August 16, 2017 at 8:04 pm GMT

To answer your question a different way, try looking at world championship weightlifting results. Can you lift more than the strongest woman there less than or equal to you in height (or weight as a proxy)?

I don't do weight training but if I did, I think I could and I would assert that world championship male weight lifters could.

Peripatetic commenter > , August 16, 2017 at 9:36 pm GMT

I started reading https://people.ok.ubc.ca/lgabora/papers/Gabora-Russon-EOI-2011.pdf

and found this:

The more we learn about nonhuman intelligence, however, the more we find that abilities previously thought to be uniquely human are not. For example, it was thought until the 1960s that humans alone make tools. But then Jane Goodall (1963) found wild chimpanzees making them. Later, several other species were found making tools too (Beck, 1980). Thus, ideas about what marks the boundary between human and nonhuman intelligence have undergone repeated

There is an enormous qualitative difference between the tools that Chimps (or other primates) use and something like, say, https://www.thoughtco.com/acheulean-handaxe-first-tool-171238 .

What is the use of making such statements? Chimps are not going to suddenly start making screw drivers or knives or bows and arrows etc. Is it thought that all other tool making is layered on top of the neural support Chimps use for making their very primitive tools?

Priss Factor > , Website August 17, 2017 at 4:38 am GMT

2 Kevins says we are living 'matriarchy'.

wayfarer > , August 17, 2017 at 4:44 am GMT

"Google Memo: Fired Employee Speaks Out!"

utu > , August 17, 2017 at 4:44 am GMT

@Peripatetic commenter

Tom Welsh > , August 17, 2017 at 8:44 am GMT

I suspect that no one with enough intelligence to think clearly understands what all the fuss is about. I have never been particularly successful at anything, despite my IQ of over 160 (according to Mensa). The only clearcut effect this has had, as far as I can make out, is that most people find my conversation obscure and boring.

If an IQ 60% above average confers no apparent practical advantage, what is the point in squabbling heatedly about hypothetical differences on the order of 1%? It is surely well established, even if it weren't glaringly obvious to common sense, that while pure intelligence is vital in some fields of work, its effects are usually swamped by those of other characteristics such as persistence, enthusiasm, charisma and empathy.

Indeed, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest that the very most intelligent people are disproportionately prone to mental disorders, existential horror, and despair. There is a lot to hate and fear in the world, and most people seem to be spared the worst consequences by the simplest of defence mechanisms – a sheer failure to notice.

Tom Welsh > , August 17, 2017 at 8:52 am GMT

@Peripatetic commenter "Is it thought that all other tool making is layered on top of the neural support Chimps use for making their very primitive tools?"

Yes. Although of course we are not chimps, nor are we directly descended from chimps. The human brain is immensely flexible and adaptable, and once the practice of solving problems by making tools became established, a whole vast new world opened up. Note that people were making stone tools for a very, very long time before the first metals were discovered. Note also that many of the human race's greatest discoveries may have been made only once or twice before spreading worldwide.

One serious weakness that most humans suffer from is an inability to visualize long periods of time. Just as, to the average citizen, a million, a billion, and a trillion are all more or less just "lots and lots", most of us really cannot conceive of a million years or what might happen in such a time. At about three generations per century, a million years represents about 30,000 generations. A mere 50 generations ago the Roman Empire was still flourishing.

James Thompson > , Website August 17, 2017 at 10:27 am GMT

@res Thanks for your thoughtful and detailed comments.

On the speed issue, for all tasks, I was objecting to Hyde's implied distinction between speed and ability, because ability is related to speed. I think that W.D.Furneaux was onto this issue years ago, and progressed it well. From memory, I have classified his key insight as saying that intellectual achievement depended on: speed, accuracy and persistence.

The first two are often a trade-off, though of course the brightest people are both speedy and accurate. Persistence is often an ignored characteristic, though it is a key part of most great intellectual achievements.

As regards g, at higher levels of ability it account for less variance.

1. Furneaux, W. D., Nature, 170, 37 (1952). | ISI |
2. Furneaux, W. D. "The Determinants of Success in Intelligence Tests" (paper read to Brit. Assoc. Adv. Sci., 1955).
3. Furneaux, W. D., Manual of Nufferno Speed Tests (Nat. Found. Educ. Res., London, 1955).
4. Furneaux, W. D., in Intellectual Abilities and Problem Solving Behaviour in Handbook of Abnormal Psychology (edit. by Eysenck, H. J.) (Pergamon Press, London, 1960)

James Thompson > , Website August 17, 2017 at 10:50 am GMT

@Peripatetic commenter I think you are right if we alter it from "any woman" to "almost any woman", simply because the difference in body strength (in the paper Res references, and in the others) is a d of 3.5 so I wouldn't bother with further calculations to correct for height. What would make a difference is the small numbers of elite women athletes, as shown in the paper Razib posted.

If one simplifies the whole issue to look at height, weight and body strength together, then women are at risk in any physical encounter with men, even old ones. This has been noticed before, resulting in kind societies paying extra respect to and showing more consideration for women, and in less kind societies to their abuse.

Miro23 > , August 17, 2017 at 12:21 pm GMT

I find the ferocity of some of the replies to Damore extreme. The vehemence of the opposition is coruscating, and absolute. These issues should be matters of scholarly debate, in which the findings matter, and different interpretations contend against each other.

Or maybe it's not for ferocious attacks or scholarly debate. It's just a difference of opinion (remember "diversity") – not something to get so excited about. The problem is that PC is on the way to functioning like militant Islam with regard to unbelievers and apostates.

Moi > , August 17, 2017 at 1:10 pm GMT

Free speech is an interesting concept – but don't try to put it into practice.

James Thompson > , Website August 17, 2017 at 1:19 pm GMT

@Tom Welsh Dear Tom,
An IQ of 160 is only found in 1 in 31,560 persons, being higher than 99.9976142490% of the population. This is more than a 60% advantage over the average citizen. IQ points are not percentages.

The work of Benbow and Lubinski shows that the higher the intelligence the greater the achievement. While other personality factors may be involved, they have yet to be shown to be as important. Typically, high ability people are shown to be more balanced than average, with lower rates of mental disorder.

dc.sunsets > , August 17, 2017 at 2:10 pm GMT

@James Thompson Not to worry. We have Hollywood providing young women with all the confidence necessary that, should she walk down a dark alley and be accosted by a man, she will likely strike him a few times in the face and walk away unscathed.

/sarc off.

If women grasped even vaguely just how great is the gulf between them and the overwhelming majority of men, I suspect we'd see a lot fewer women using their divorce attorney to torment their soon-to-be (or already) ex-husband. I've watched women metaphorically poke the most dangerous animal on Planet Earth, an adult male human, as he sits in a cage that lacks bars.

The only time I've seen the "Entertainment Industry" show what can really happen in a confrontation between a typical woman and a typical (in this case viciously predatory) man, it was in a foreign-made film titled "Irreversible," available on Amazon Video. It was without a doubt the most horrifying rape-beating ever put on film, and watching it would scare the living daylights out of women. It ran rings around any horror film ever made.

Tom Welsh > , August 17, 2017 at 2:10 pm GMT

@Moi That's nothing new, either.

"It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them".

– Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar, Ch. XX

Moi > , August 17, 2017 at 2:54 pm GMT

@Tom Welsh Sam Clemens was sui generis. And I love this one of his: "There are only two important days in the life of any person, the day that your are born and then day you find out why."

szopen > , August 17, 2017 at 3:22 pm GMT

Well, I was looking for people-vs-things preference differences expressed in easily calculable terms (i.e. something in terms of "men are rated as 10 on this trait, with SD 2, while women as 8, with SD 1.8″) but I couldn't; Can anyone help?

The best I could found was the study which claimed that in people-vs-things rating, within the top 25% of topc scorers – which would be, if I understood correctly, people who are the most interested in things (as contrasted with "interested in people") ratio of women to men is 0.287. That would mean there would be around 78% men, 22% women.

Now, the question is what is the cutoff for going to STEM, ie. what is average "things" preference for people to decide to follow career in STEM (or, more specifically, in engineering and computer science). Depending on value of this cutoff, the gap in CS and engineering might be, indeed, completely explained away by difference in people-vs-things interest, or even might imply men are discriminated against, HOWEVER, seeing as some of those preferences are calculated, I wonder whether it is not a kind of circular argument, kind of "there are more men into computer-related work, because more men are interested in computers".

Also, it seems that i saw in one study taht this difference decreases with age, which is strange. This would contradict the theory that the preference is driven by the social expectations (because, then "sexist" expectations would cause is to go up with age) but this could be explained by "it is caused by biology" theory; HOWEVER, the bad thing and the weakness is that "it's caused by biology" could be used to justify BOTH increasing and decreasing the gap – a realisation which leaves bad taste in my mouth.

Anyway I'd love to see
(1) studies quantifying the differences on a scale, not saying "the effect is large with Cohen's d=1.23″
(2) studies looking at specifically computer science and comparing their preferences with general population
(3) studies measuring the trait in very early age

res > , August 17, 2017 at 3:25 pm GMT

@James Thompson Thanks for expanding on the speed, accuracy and persistence idea. And giving references!

I am having trouble chasing down your references though. This 1967 letter gives a very similar list of references but states that there were errors in the 1952 Furneaux paper equations: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v214/n5092/abs/2141056a0.html

This book (The Measurement of Intelligence, edited by Michael? Eysenck, copyright 1973, I actually have a copy but am having trouble finding it, I think that chapter would be a good starting point for me): https://books.google.com/books?id=wjLpCAAAQBAJ&pg=PA236&lpg=PA236
gives a title for your first reference: Some Speed, Error and Difficulty Relationships within a Problem-solving Situation
From which I find: https://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v170/n4314/abs/170037a0.html
It is nice that Nature assigns DOIs to its old papers. That appears to be a two page letter. Interesting, but I am having trouble drawing inferences from it.

I am not sure I communicated my agreement with your earlier speed, accuracy, and persistence comments. I was trying to extend the idea to consider that slow speed might be an indicator of the substitution of skills (other than persistence, though that is certainly critical there) for the skill nominally being tested for. In my earlier example, g for spatial ability. For another example, I took an online autism test a while ago (identifying emotions from pictures). I scored above average (in a good way ; ), but found myself again using a more "logical" (g based IMHO) process for the harder items. I doubt that is the way most people approach that test (though I could be wrong) and my result might overstate my ability on the skill they are trying to test .

The fundamental distinction I am trying to make is between solving a problem in the same way (or sufficiently similar) just more slowly and solving the problem using a fundamentally different approach (or skill/ability?!). The former could be viewed as changing the clock speed on a computer and I think corresponds with the point you make about persistence. For the latter envision a case where one person solves a problem using visual intuition and a quick mathematical check while another person uses an extended mathematical derivation. I think this kind of substitutabiltity could be a problem in subtests intended to measure a specific skill (e.g. spatial!). And g is a very useful Swiss army knife ; ).

Perhaps this is a second order effect relative to the basic speed/persistence issue and should (could?) not really be considered until that has been solved? I guess I am just interested in anyone who has thought about this substitutability idea in the more general form. Furneaux seems focused on the speed side. In particular, Furneaux limits his consideration to the 10-85% range of difficulty while my personal experience is much more about the hard end of the difficulty scale.

This seems like a fairly obvious idea to me so I presume it has been considered. Perhaps some combination of "second order effect" and "hard to test" prevents something having been done about it?

One other thought that occurs to me. Does Furneaux's deemphasis of higher D(ifficulty) items say something about the difficulty of creating high ceiling tests? Is it possible that the combination of substitutability and more idiosyncratic skill profiles at the high end are part of that problem?

res > , August 17, 2017 at 3:32 pm GMT

@Miro23

It's just a difference of opinion (remember "diversity") – not something to get so excited about.

The supreme irony of l'affaire Damore is that was a primary point of Damore's memo and the response was perhaps the best proof of the validity of that point possible. Hence my "inept thinkers" comment.

Tom Welsh > , August 17, 2017 at 3:49 pm GMT

@dc.sunsets "No one is insuring your foods are safe".

Actually, Western governments have for decades been going out of their way to recommend actively unhealthy foods and drinks. In 1865, in 1910 and in 1939 it was clearly understood everywhere that meat, fish, poultry, eggs, vegetables, and nuts, together with some dairy and fruit, were the essential dietary items. Carbohydrates, sugars and grains in particular, were clearly understood to be fattening and probably causative of many diseases.

Yet since the US government led the charge with its McGovern Committee Report in the 1970s, Western governments have been warning against meat, saturated fat, and other healthy foods while urging consumption of more foods made from sugars and grains. We all require about 20% of daily energy from protein, and the rest is a mixture of fats and carbs. Cut out the fats, and that means 70-80% carbs, which leads inexorably to weight gain, metabolic syndrome, and for many people eventual diabetes.

Did I mention that Senator McGovern represented a grain-producing state?

Tom Welsh > , August 17, 2017 at 3:51 pm GMT

@res

I would like, in this context, to repeat my quotation of Alfred Korzybski's declaration.

"I have said what I have said. I have not said what I have not said".

Intelligent, let alone constructive, discourse will not be possible until everyone understands that saying and takes care to make sure they understand what others mean.

James Thompson > , Website August 17, 2017 at 4:15 pm GMT

@res Good points. Sorry about the references: I took the first ones to hand, and should have searched through my own posts. Have done that now, and found this:

http://www.unz.com/jthompson/you-want-it-good-or-you-want-it-tuesday

This will add some content, but I agree that I did not properly answer your question. I think the question you raise would be considered a task solving strategy problem: "I have tried shape, as I did on the easier items, but that doesn't work for this more difficult problems, so I will try feature categorization". That is, you went from a modular solution to a g-loaded general strategy when the module seemed to fail you.

My first point is that if we can find someone who solves even the difficulty problem easily, we hire them because their module does the job for us!
Second, and more interestingly, most problem solving approaches fail when the problem is both novel and very difficult. (I cannot say what makes a problem difficult, but it probably relates to the number of items and the number of operations involved in solving it). At that point in the act of creation, people try all manner of re-framings and re-descriptions, in the hope that an analogy might open up a new line of attack. For example, I cannot assist anyone with finding new elements. Despite that, out of ignorance I can make some suggestions. For example, would anything be gained by taking the target close down to absolute zero? Would it make it easier to hit something?

So, problem-solving strategies often become the real test. That also involves working out what problems you don't have to solve. During the Manhattan project one group started worrying that in focusing the charges they would get wear in the system which would throw out their very crucial calculations about the critical mass required. After a while a team member pointed out the obvious fact that the firing mechanism would only be used once.

You are right that a different approach is what we generally need for very difficult problems.
Sorry that I cannot answer all your interesting questions.

res > , August 17, 2017 at 5:00 pm GMT

@Tom Welsh That is a good quote. Perhaps I am being a bit dense, but I don't see the applicability to my comment 32. Especially given that I was not responding to you. Perhaps you could elaborate?

If anything the obligation to understand lies first with those criticizing Damore's memo.

Priss Factor > , Website August 17, 2017 at 6:34 pm GMT

@schrub

I don't mind DS not existing. The question is IF they can go after DS, where does it end?

Look how Canadian 'hate speech laws' began with silencing 'Neo-Nazis' (fake ones, btw) and then spread to going after those who don't use proper pronouns. Self-Righteous Addiction created all these Self-Righteous Junkies.

Delinquent Snail > , August 17, 2017 at 6:40 pm GMT

@Tom Welsh What? 3 generations a century? That would mean people are having kids in their 30s . Which didn't happen until this last century. Its more like 4-5, maybe even 6, generations a century.

I agree humans can't visualize large spans of time. Plus, a very large minority think the world was created 2017 years ago, so that doesn't help.

Astuteobservor II > , August 17, 2017 at 7:08 pm GMT

I find the ferocity of some of the replies to Damore extreme. The vehemence of the opposition is coruscating, and absolute. These issues should be matters of scholarly debate, in which the findings matter, and different interpretations contend against each other. Expressing different opinions should be a cue for debate, not outrage.

this is why I support him.

Bill Jones > , August 17, 2017 at 7:50 pm GMT

The bigger question is why Homo Sapiens is the only primate on the planet where The female is expected to be equal to the male.

Art > , August 17, 2017 at 8:04 pm GMT

The whole argument "for equality" is fundamentally flawed – it is the wrong goal. As individuals we humans want to be different – not equal. We want to bring something different to the table of social interaction. People who are equal have nothing to give to each other.

Our goal is to find a niche for ourselves – there is room for all different capabilities in a rational society. There is only so much need for rocket scientists.

Proving that men and women are equal is fools work.

Smart people will endeavor to prove that all work is of value – and deserving of a living compensation.

Peace ! Art

P.S. No matter our intellectual capabilities, for 99% of us – doing a good job of raising our children – is the most lasting thing that we can ever do. They are our true legacy – what we do on the job is all too soon lost in the evolution of business.

Bill Jones > , August 17, 2017 at 8:27 pm GMT

@James Thompson

Cspan had an excellent two hour or so interview of the guy on one of their weekend book shows a decade or so ago. Worth the search and a download of at least the audio.

szopen > , August 17, 2017 at 8:57 pm GMT

@res Thanks a lot for a link to "interpretating cohen's d"! FInally I understood the concept

However, the problem with COhen's d is that it assumes – if I am not mistaken – the equal standard deviations, while I think it is quite likely that variation is bigger in males, as usual with many other traits. That would mean that using "d" would not truly reflect the ratios of population over some cutoff, am i right?

res > , August 17, 2017 at 10:02 pm GMT

@szopen My understanding is the official definition of Cohen's d uses the pooled SDs of the subpopulations, but I am not sure how rigorously that subtlety is observed. For example, this page gives them as alternate definitions: https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Cohen%27s_d

I am not sure how much of a difference that makes in practice. That might be a good thing to investigate with some simulations.

Bill Jones > , August 17, 2017 at 11:45 pm GMT

@CanSpeccy

"To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not O.K."

Even if it demonstrably true. Can't let reality get in the way of the religion , can we?

[Aug 16, 2017] HARPER: IDENTITY POLITICS--WE ALL LOSE

Notable quotes:
"... I vividly recall staying up past 1 AM on election night 2016, watching CNN, as it became clear that Donald Trump had been elected the next President of the United States. News anchor Dana Bash was beside herself at the outcome, and at one point, in a fit of honesty, she exclaimed, "This means the end of identity politics." Well, yes, but a deep ideology like identity politics does not die a quiet and sober death. Last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, we saw identity politics playing out--violently. Whether it was the white protesters who formed part of the original crowd, or the black and "antifa" protesters who formed part of the counter-demonstration, we witnessed a clash of identities. ..."
"... Watching the tirades on MSNBC and other news outlets over the past 48 hours, I can't help but lament how twisted our public discourse has become. Clearly some of the counter-demonstrators were part of the very same "antifa" apparatus that got very different news coverage when they torched and trashed Seattle a number of years back in protest at a WTO meeting. This time around, they were defended by the icons of media, who denounced any thought that there was "moral equivalence" between their violence and the violence of the hardcore white racists who made up part of the protesters on UVA campus. ..."
"... There is a difference between legitimate civil rights struggles, which at times led to violence, and the reverse racism that I see and hear far too often out of the Black Lives Matter people. ..."
"... Soros Money Matters too. He is not a benign figure but a promoter of division and discord. I sat in a room when he complained bitterly, with racist overtones, during a meeting of the Drug Policy Foundation years ago, that there were not black voices promoting the legalization of crack cocaine, part of his libertine agenda. Is he a friend of the black community? I don't think so. ..."
"... Identity politics is a disease. It divides people and makes them into the sum of their self-defined attributes. Far from bringing about the end of identity politics, the Trump election has hardened the fault lines, whether on Capitol Hill or on the streets of American cities. ..."
Aug 16, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.com

I vividly recall staying up past 1 AM on election night 2016, watching CNN, as it became clear that Donald Trump had been elected the next President of the United States. News anchor Dana Bash was beside herself at the outcome, and at one point, in a fit of honesty, she exclaimed, "This means the end of identity politics." Well, yes, but a deep ideology like identity politics does not die a quiet and sober death. Last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, we saw identity politics playing out--violently. Whether it was the white protesters who formed part of the original crowd, or the black and "antifa" protesters who formed part of the counter-demonstration, we witnessed a clash of identities.

President Trump was not wrong when he said that there were violent protesters on both sides of the clash, and that many of the protesters were not there to show their racism, but to protest the tearing down of a statue of a figure in American history who cannot be airbrushed out of our nation's story. Is the next step to burn down the campus of Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, because it was co-named after Robert E. Lee after the Civil War?

Watching the tirades on MSNBC and other news outlets over the past 48 hours, I can't help but lament how twisted our public discourse has become. Clearly some of the counter-demonstrators were part of the very same "antifa" apparatus that got very different news coverage when they torched and trashed Seattle a number of years back in protest at a WTO meeting. This time around, they were defended by the icons of media, who denounced any thought that there was "moral equivalence" between their violence and the violence of the hardcore white racists who made up part of the protesters on UVA campus.

There is a difference between legitimate civil rights struggles, which at times led to violence, and the reverse racism that I see and hear far too often out of the Black Lives Matter people.

And there is the matter of George Soros spending millions of dollars to help launch that movement after Ferguson. Soros Money Matters too. He is not a benign figure but a promoter of division and discord. I sat in a room when he complained bitterly, with racist overtones, during a meeting of the Drug Policy Foundation years ago, that there were not black voices promoting the legalization of crack cocaine, part of his libertine agenda. Is he a friend of the black community? I don't think so.

Identity politics is a disease. It divides people and makes them into the sum of their self-defined attributes. Far from bringing about the end of identity politics, the Trump election has hardened the fault lines, whether on Capitol Hill or on the streets of American cities.

gaikokumaniakku , 16 August 2017 at 06:27 PM

Brennan Gilmore, Tom Perrielo, Michael Signer, and other friends of Podesta arranged the Charlottesville violence. This isn't just a bunch of college-age leftists getting excited about Derrida. The Charlottesville violence was the result of a conspiracy by well-connected insiders.

I quote the "Signs of the Times" website linked below:

The STOP KONY 2012 psyop was all about using the Joseph Kony boogieman to justify letting Barack Obama send Special Operations troops into Africa to run around and squash any and all resistance to our new imperialism campaign. It was a fraud. A show. And Brennan was part of it.

He was also part of the campaign of Tom Perriello's in Virginia to become the next governor.

End quote.

"Signs of the Times" dot net has a story on this that I will link in the third field below.

https://www.sott.net/article/359361-Charlottesville-Brennan-Gilmore-and-the-STOP-KONY-2012-Psyop

turcopolier , 16 August 2017 at 06:47 PM
gaikokumaniakku

I fear that we are approaching a season of disintegration. September 11 at Texas A&M and September 16 on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia will be indicators. pl

Lars , 16 August 2017 at 06:48 PM
On June 6, 1944, a bunch of "protesters" attacked Nazis and did so violently. Was there a moral equivalency then too? You have to reach rather low to accept Nazis, et al, and try to deflect blame for what they stand for. What the defenders of the Confederacy has managed to do is to thoroughly discredit their cause by associating with these despicable groups. It is again a lost cause and again, they only have themselves to blame.

We may be watching the end of the Trump era come nearer. By association, he is rapidly losing the moral stature of the office that he holds. A lot of people near him are losing their reputations forever.

turcopolier , 16 August 2017 at 06:48 PM
Lars

Of course Sweden did not fight the Nazis at all. Was there a moral equivalence there or was it just self-interest? In fact there were many Swedish volunteers in the 5th SS Panzer Division. What is the factual basis for saying that the people who would not have the statues moved are Nazi-associated or supporting? Do you think the UDC and SCV (of whom I am not qualified to be a member) are Nazi-associated? pl

[Aug 16, 2017] MoA - Smashing Statues, Seeding Strife

Aug 16, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org
Smashing Statues, Seeding Strife

In the aftermath of competing protests in Charlottesville a wave of dismantling of Confederate statues is on the rise. Overnight Baltimore took down four Confederate statues. One of these honored Confederate soldiers and sailors, another one Confederate women. Elsewhere statues were toppled or defiled .

The Charlottesville conflict itself was about the intent to dismantle a statue of General Robert E. Lee, a commander of the Confederate forces during the American Civil War. The activist part of the political right protested against the take down, the activist part of the political left protested against those protests. According to a number of witnesses quoted in the LA Times sub-groups on both sides came prepared for and readily engaged in violence.

In 2003 a U.S. military tank pulled down the statue of Saddam Hussein on Firdos Square in Baghdad. Narrowly shot TV picture made it look as if a group of Iraqis were doing this. But they were mere actors within a U.S. propaganda show . Pulling down the statue demonstrated a lack of respect towards those who had fought under, worked for or somewhat supported Saddam Hussein. It helped to incite the resistance against the U.S. occupation.

The right-wing nutters who, under U.S. direction, forcefully toppled the legitimate government of Ukraine pulled down hundreds of the remaining Lenin statues in the country. Veterans who fought under the Soviets in the second world war took this as a sign of disrespect. Others saw this as an attack on their fond memories of better times and protected them . The forceful erasement of history further split the country:

"It's not like if you go east they want Lenin but if you go west they want to destroy him," Mr. Gobert said. "These differences don't only go through geography, they go through generations, through social criteria and economic criteria, through the urban and the rural."

Statues standing in cities and places are much more than veneration of one person or group. They are symbols, landmarks and fragments of personal memories:

"One guy said he didn't really care about Lenin, but the statue was at the center of the village and it was the place he kissed his wife for the first time," Mr. Gobert said. "When the statue went down it was part of his personal history that went away."

(People had better sex under socialism . Does not Lenin deserves statues if only for helping that along?)

Robert Lee was a brutal man who fought for racism and slavery. But there are few historic figures without fail. Did not George Washington "own" slaves? Did not Lyndon B. Johnson lie about the Gulf of Tonkin incident and launched an unjust huge war against non-white people under false pretense? At least some people will think of that when they see their statues. Should those also be taken down?

As time passes the meaning of a monument changes. While it may have been erected with a certain ideology or concept in mind , the view on it will change over time:

[The Charlottesville statue] was unveiled by Lee's great-granddaughter at a ceremony in May 1924. As was the custom on these occasions it was accompanied by a parade and speeches. In the dedication address, Lee was celebrated as a hero, who embodied "the moral greatness of the Old South", and as a proponent of reconciliation between the two sections. The war itself was remembered as a conflict between "interpretations of our Constitution" and between "ideals of democracy."

The white racists who came to "protect" the statue in Charlottesville will hardly have done so in the name of reconciliation. Nor will those who had come to violently oppose them. Lee was a racist. Those who came to "defend" the statue were mostly "white supremacy" racists. I am all for protesting against them.

But the issue here is bigger. We must not forget that statues have multiple meanings and messages. Lee was also the man who wrote :

What a cruel thing is war: to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world.

That Lee was a racist does not mean that his statue should be taken down. The park in Charlottesville, in which the statue stands, was recently renamed from Lee Park into Emancipation Park. It makes sense to keep the statue there to reflect on the contrast between it and the new park name.

Old monuments and statues must not (only) be seen as glorifications within their time. They are reminders of history. With a bit of education they can become valuable occasions of reflection.

George Orwell wrote in his book 1984: "The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history." People do not want to be destroyed. They will fight against attempts to do so. Taking down monuments or statues without a very wide consent will split a society. A large part of the U.S. people voted for Trump. One gets the impression that the current wave of statue take downs is seen as well deserved "punishment" for those who voted wrongly - i.e. not for Hillary Clinton. While many Trump voters will dislike statues of Robert Lee, they will understand that dislike the campaign to take them down even more.

That may be the intend of some people behind the current quarrel. The radicalization on opposing sides may have a purpose. The Trump camp can use it to cover up its plans to further disenfranchise they people. The fake Clintonian "resistance" needs these cultural disputes to cover for its lack of political resistance to Trump's plans.

Anyone who wants to stoke the fires with this issue should be careful what they wish for.

Merasmus | Aug 16, 2017 12:42:12 PM | 1

"That Lee was a racist does not mean that his statue should be taken down."

How about the fact that he was a traitor?

"George Orwell wrote in his book 1984: 'The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.'"

The only reason statues of traitors like Lee exist is because the South likes to engage in 'Lost Cause' revisionism; to pretend these were noble people fighting for something other than the right to own human beings as pets.

james | Aug 16, 2017 12:42:57 PM | 2
isn't taking down statues what isis does?

erasing history seems part of the goal.. i feel the usa has never really addressed racism.. the issue hasn't gone away and remains a deep wound that has yet to heal.. events like this probably don't help.

DMC | Aug 16, 2017 12:45:04 PM | 3
The statues of Lee and his ilk should come down because they are TRAITORS who deserve no honor. Washington and Jefferson may have owned slaves but they were PATRIOTS. Its really that simple.
RUKidding | Aug 16, 2017 1:03:54 PM | 4
I don't want to get derailed into the rights or wrongs of toppling statues. I wonder whose brilliant idea it was to start this trend right at this particular tinder box moment.

That said, the USA has never ever truly confronted either: 1) the systemic genocide of the Native Americans earlier in our history; and b) what slavery really meant and was. NO reconciliation has ever really been done about either of these barbarous acts. Rather, at best/most, we're handed platitudes and lip service that purports that we've "moved on" from said barbarity - well I guess WHITES (I'm one) have. But Native Americans - witness what happened to them at Standing Rock recently - and minorities, especially African Americans, are pretty much not permitted to move on. Witness the unending police murders of AA men across the country, where, routinely, most of the cops get off scott-free.

To quote b:

The Trump camp can use it to cover up its plans to further disenfranchise they people. The fake Clintonian "resistance" needs these cultural disputes to cover for its lack of political resistance to Trump's plans.

While I dislike to descend into the liturgy of Both Siderism, it's completely true that both Rs and Ds enjoy and use pitting the rubes in the 99% against one another because it means that the rapine, plunder & pillaging by the Oligarchs and their pet poodles in Congress & the White House can continue apace with alacrity. And: That's Exactly What's Happening.

The Oligarchs could give a flying fig about Heather Heyer's murder, nor could they give a stuff about US citizens cracking each other's skulls in a bit of the old ultra-violence. Gives an opening for increasing the Police State and cracking down on our freedumbs and liberties, etc.

I heard or read somewhere that Nancy Pelosi & Chuck Schumer are absolutely committed to not impeaching Donald Trump because it means all the Ds have to do is Sweet Eff All and just "represent" themselves as the Anti-Trump, while, yes, enjoying the "benefits" of the programs/policies/legislation enacted by the Trump Admin. I have no link and certainly cannot prove this assertion, but it sure seems likely. Just frickin' great.

kgw | Aug 16, 2017 1:09:10 PM | 5
Lee was not a racist; I'd say you are addressing your own overblown egos. The U.S. Civil War was long in coming. During the 1830's during Andrew Jackson's presidency, and John Calhoun's vice-presidency, at an annual state dinner, the custom of toasts was used to present political views. Jackson toasted the Union of the states, saying "The Union, it must be preserved." Calhoun's toast was next, "The Union, next to our liberty, most dear."

Calhoun was a proponent of the Doctrine of Nullification, wherein if a national law inflicted harm on any state, the state could nullify the law, until such time as a negotiation of a satisfactory outcome could come about. The absolute Unionists were outraged by such an idea.

Curtis | Aug 16, 2017 1:27:39 PM | 6
My memory tells me that the invention of the cotton gin made cotton a good crop, but that you needed the slaves. Slaves represented the major money invested in this operation. Free the slaves and make slave holders poor. Rich people didn't like that idea. I think maybe the cotton was made into cloth in the factories up north. Just saying.
dh | Aug 16, 2017 1:27:57 PM | 7
How would 'addressing the problem' actually work? Should all native Americans and people of colour go to Washington to be presented with $1 million each by grovelling white men?
joeymac | Aug 16, 2017 1:34:24 PM | 8
Did not George Washington "own" slaves?
But, the memorials to GW, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, et al , does not honor them for owning slaves. Memorials of Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Jefferson Davis, et al , is because they took up arms against a legitimate government simply to support of a vile system.
kgw | Aug 16, 2017 1:37:23 PM | 9
@6
The manufacturing states put export duties on the agricultural states, and tariffs on British imported cloth. The English mills were undercutting the U.S. mills prices for a number of reasons, not the least of which was they were more experienced in the industry.
therevolutionwas | Aug 16, 2017 1:46:02 PM | 10
The civil war in the US was not really started because of slavery. Robert E. Lee did not join the south and fight the north in order to preserve slavery, in his mind it was state's rights. Lincoln did not start the civil war to free the slaves. See https://ixquick-proxy.com/do/show_picture.pl?l=english&rais=1&oiu=https%3A%2F%2Fupload.wikimedia.org%2Fwikipedia%2Fen%2Fc%2Fc9%2FThe_Real_Lincoln_cover_art.jpg&sp=b359dec0befbd12fc479633d5b6c6de4
Dan Lynch | Aug 16, 2017 1:49:57 PM | 11
The difference between a statue of Lee vs. a statue of Washington, Jefferson, LBJ, etc., is that Washington, Jefferson, and LBJ did some good things to earn our respect even though they did a lot of bad things, too. The Confederacy did no good things. It would be like erecting a statue to honor Hitler's SS.

If there were statues honoring the SS, would anyone be surprised if Jews objected? Why then does anyone fail to understand why blacks object to Confederate symbols?

I would, however, support statues that depict a Confederate surrendering. Perhaps the statue of Lee on a horse could be replaced with a statue of Lee surrendering to Grant?

I am not a fan of the "counter-protests." Martin Luther King never "counter-protested" a KKK rally. A counter-protest is a good way to start a fight, but a poor way to win hearts and minds. It bothers me when the 99% fight among themselves. Our real enemy is the 1%.

fi | Aug 16, 2017 1:56:38 PM | 12


George Washington "the father of our country" was a slave owner, a rapist and a murderer. What do we expect from his descendants?
should we remove his face of the dollar bill and destroy his statues?

The civil war was due to economic reasons, free labor is good business.
Now cheap Mexican-labor ( the new type of slavery) is good business to the other side.
when will the new civil war in the US start?


maningi | Aug 16, 2017 2:00:24 PM | 13
@b
Many years ago, within the leadership of my student organization, I initiated to rename the University I was attending, which was named after a communist ideological former state acting figure, with very bloody hands, co-responsible for the death of tenths of thousands and thousands of people. Today I still think, that educational and cultural institutions (and many more) should be named either neutral, or by persons with cultural background and with impeccable moral history, no many to be found. On the other side, I opposed the removal of the very statue of the same person at a nearby public plaza - and there it stands today - as a rather painful reminder of the past bloody history of my country, that went through a conflict, that today seems so bizarre. Wherever I go, I look into black abyss, knowing, that the very culture I belong to (the so called Christian Liberal Free Western World) has inflicted so many horrors and crimes against other nations and ethnic groups, its even difficult to count. Karlheinz Deschner wrote 10 books, titled "The Criminal History of Christianity (Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums - on YT you can find videos him reading from it). Yes, this is the very civilization, we Westerners originate from. It was deadly for centuries - and its about time to change this. And keeping the memory of our so bloody history, will help us to find the right and hopefully more peaceful solutions in the future. Don`t tear down monuments or change street names, but give them the so often shameful meaning, they had in history.
Northern Lights | Aug 16, 2017 2:03:05 PM | 14
Then southern states have no business being part of United States of America since their history and customs are not honored. That is good overall I think. Best for the world. Southern states are very unlikely to attack any other sovereign state thousands of miles away, but all united as unitary state, we can see how persistent in their aggression on the rest of the world they are. 222 years out of its 239 years US has been aggressor:
https://www.infowars.com/america-has-been-at-war-93-of-the-time-222-out-of-239-years-since-1776/
Time to break US lust for attacking, invading and raiding other countries.
james | Aug 16, 2017 2:05:07 PM | 15
what little of this history i know - which is to say very little - kgw reflects what i have read.. the problem is way deeper.. if you want to address racism, you are going to have to pull down most of the statues in the usa today of historical figures..
james | Aug 16, 2017 2:06:35 PM | 16
if - that is why way you think it will matter, lol.. forgot to add that.. otherwise, forget pulling down statues and see if you can address the real issue - like @4 rukidding and some others here are addressing..
ben | Aug 16, 2017 2:10:18 PM | 17
A little false equivalency anyone? I'm sure Adolph Hitler had some reasonable remarks at some point in his life, so, I guess we should tolerate a few statues of him also? States rights as the cause for the U$A's civil war? baloney, it was about the murder and enslavement of millions of humans.
Grieved | Aug 16, 2017 2:12:25 PM | 18
Bob Dylan's "Only a Pawn in Their Game" still spells out unsurpassed the divide and rule strategy, to my mind. Powers that be are rubbing their hands with satisfaction at this point, one would think.

I like your observation, b, that statues don't necessarily represent what they did when they were erected. It's an important point. It meant something at the time, but now it's a part of today's heritage, and has often taken on some of your own meaning. To destroy your own heritage is a self-limiting thing, and Orwell's point is well taken. Perhaps people without history have nowhere in the present to stand.

Northern Lights | Aug 16, 2017 2:12:50 PM | 19
Have to add, slavery wasn't the cause for the war. It was centralization, rights of the states. Yankees wanted strong central government with wide array of power, Southerners didn't. Yankees were supported by London banking families and their banking allies or agents in the US, Southerners were on their own. I personally think Southerners were much better soldiers, more honorable and courageous, but we lacked industrial capacity and financial funds. I could be biased having Southern blood, but my opinion anyway.
PavewayIV | Aug 16, 2017 2:13:51 PM | 20
therevolutionwas@10 - Have to agree. The events leading up to the US Civil War and the war itself were for reasons far more numerous and complex then slavery. Emancipation was a fortunate and desirable outcome and slavery was an issue, but saying the entire war was about ending slavery is the same as saying WW II was mostly about stopping Nazis from killing jews. Dumbing down history serves nobody.
dh | Aug 16, 2017 2:14:02 PM | 21
Still wondering how specifically the 'real issue' can be addressed. I don't think any amount of money will compensate plains Indians .actually some are quite well off due to casinos. But the days of buffalo hunting are gone and white people will not be going back where they came from. As for blacks in urban ghettos you could build them nice houses in the suburbs but I doubt if that will fix the drugs/gangs problem.
michaelj72 | Aug 16, 2017 2:15:36 PM | 22
"That Lee was a racist does not mean that his statue should be taken down."

If the sole criteria for taking down any statues was that a man was a 'racist', meaning that he hated people of color/hated black people, can we assume then that all those who owned slaves were also racist?

Then all the statues in the whole country of Jefferson, Washington, Madison, Monroe and perhaps all the Founding Daddies who owned slaves, should be removed. I am playing devil's advocate here.

Fashions come and go.... and so the vices of yesterday are virtues today; and the virtues of yesterday are vices today.


Bernard is correct at the end: "The fake Clintonian "resistance" needs these cultural disputes to cover for its lack of political resistance to Trump's plans." The Demos have nothing, so they tend to fall back on their identity politics.


FYI
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Presidents_of_the_United_States_who_owned_slaves

....In total, twelve presidents owned slaves at some point in their lives, eight of whom owned slaves while serving as president. George Washington was the first president to own slaves, including while he was president. Zachary Taylor was the last president to own slaves during his presidency, and Ulysses S. Grant was the last president to have owned a slave at some point in his life.


psychohistorian | Aug 16, 2017 2:17:06 PM | 23
Pitting people against people by inciting and validating fringe groups is a tried and true social manipulation ploy.....and it seems to be working as intended.

Focus is on this conflict gets folks riled up and myopic about who the real enemies of society really are.....and then that riled up energy is transferred to bigger conflicts like war between nations.....with gobs of "our side is more righteous" propaganda

Humanity has been played like this for centuries now and our extinction would probably be a kinder future for the Cosmos since we don't seem to be evolving beyond power/control based governance.

And yes, as Dan Lynch wrote just above: "It bothers me when the 99% fight among themselves. Our real enemy is the 1%"

ben | Aug 16, 2017 2:20:12 PM | 24
The U$A was conceived in genocide. I think we should throw out much of our history
woogs | Aug 16, 2017 2:27:34 PM | 25
Robert E. Lee a racist? No, he was a man of his time. B, you blew it with this one. You have confused what you don't know with what you think you know.

Now, if Lee was a racist, what about this guy?

From Lincoln's Speech, Sept. 18, 1858.

"While I was at the hotel to-day, an elderly gentleman called upon me to know whether I was really in favor of producing a perfect equality between the negroes and white people. While I had not proposed to myself on this occasion to say much on that subject, yet as the question was asked me I thought I would occupy perhaps five minutes in saying something in regard to it. I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the black and white races -- that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making VOTERS or jurors of negroes, NOR OF QUALIFYING THEM HOLD OFFICE, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any of her man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."

ben | Aug 16, 2017 2:36:31 PM | 26
@ 25: Leading an army to perpetuate a system that enslaves and murders millions, is just a bit different than being a racist. More false equivalency?
b | Aug 16, 2017 2:38:38 PM | 27
All states who joined the confederation cited the "need" and "right" to uphold slavery in their individual declarations. To say that the civil war was not about this point is strongly misleading. Like all wars there were several named and unnamed reasons. Slavery was the most cited point.

The argument of rather unlimited "state rights" is simply the demand of a minority to argue for the right to ignore majority decisions. With universal state rights a union can never be a union. There is no point to it. What is needed (and was done) is to segregate certain fields wherein the union decides from other policy fields that fall solely within the rights of member states. The conflict over which fields should belong where hardly ever ends.

P. S.--If it were up to me, I'd tear down monuments to most of the U$A's presidents for perpetuating and abetting the rise of an empire who has enslaved and murdered millions around the globe, simply for profits for the few. Economic slavery has replaced the iron shackles, but the murder is still murder...

Posted by: ben | Aug 16, 2017 2:45:29 PM | 28

P. S.--If it were up to me, I'd tear down monuments to most of the U$A's presidents for perpetuating and abetting the rise of an empire who has enslaved and murdered millions around the globe, simply for profits for the few. Economic slavery has replaced the iron shackles, but the murder is still murder...

Posted by: ben | Aug 16, 2017 2:45:29 PM | 28 /div

Jackrabbit | Aug 16, 2017 2:48:00 PM | 29
Northern Lights @19 is right.

The Northern manufacturers were exploiting the South and wanted to continue doing so. They didn't much care that the raw materials came from slave labor.

Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation to encourage slave rebellion (meaning fewer white Southern men available for military service) and to punish the South.

Yet, while slavery ended when the North won, we all know how that turned out. For nearly 100 years (and some might say, even today) , many black people were still virtual slaves due to discrimination and poor education.

woogs | Aug 16, 2017 2:53:03 PM | 30
B@27: you're missing a couple of very basic points.

First, not all states that seceded issued declarations. Virginia, for example, of which the 'racist' Robert E. Leehailed, only seceded after Lincoln made his move on fort sumter. In fact, Virginia had voted against secession just prior but, as with 3 other southern states, seceded when Lincoln called for them to supply troops for his war.

Speaking of declarations of causes, have a look at the cherokee declaration. Yes, united indian tribes fought for the confederacy.

Finally, the causes for secession are not the causes for war. Secession is what the southerners did. War is what Lincoln did. One should not have automatically led to the other.

Oilman2 | Aug 16, 2017 3:09:32 PM | 31
Well, just reading the comments here it is obvious that there are several versions of history taught at different times in the last century. If not, then all of us would "know" the real reason for the CW - there would be no need for discussion. What is also obvious is that this delving back into a muddied history, the defacing of formerly meaningful objects, the thrusting of certain "rights" into the face of anyone even questioning them - all of it is working. It is working extremely well in distracting us from things like the numerous economic bubbles, the deep state scratching at war or chaos everywhere, politicians who are at best prevaricating prostitutes and at worst thieves enriching themselves at our expense as we struggle to maintain in the face of their idiocy.

It simply doesn't MATTER what started the Civil War - it ought to be enough to look at the death toll on BOTH sides and know we don't need to go there again.

Who stands to gain from this? Because it surely isn't the historically ignorant antifa bunch, who are against everything that includes a moral boundary. It isn't the alt-right, who get nothing but egg on their face and decimation of position by virtue of many being "white". CUI BONO?

The single answer is threefold: media, the government and the military - who continue to refuse to address any of our problems - and feed us a diet of revolting pablum and double-speak.

Honestly, congress passed a law legalizing propaganda - did anyone notice? Did anyone factor in that they allowed themselves freedom to lie to anyone and everyone? It wasn't done for show - it was done to deny future accountability.

Don't let this site get bogged down in history that is being constantly rewritten on Wikipedia. Don't buy into the left/right division process. Don't let your self identify with either group, as they are being led by provocateurs.

The lies we know of regarding Iraq, Syria, Libya - aren't they enough to force people to disbelieve our media completely? The HUGE lies in our media about what is going on in Venezuela should be quite enough (bastante suficiente) to make most people simply disbelieve. But they cannot because they are only allowed to see and hear what our government approves - and for our government, lying is quite legal now.

Let the emotions go - they are pushed via media to force you to think in white or black, right or left, old vs young - any way that is divisive. Getting beaten for a statue would likely make the guy who posed for it laugh his butt off most likely...

Northern Lights | Aug 16, 2017 3:14:42 PM | 32
Speaking of Lincoln's quotes, here is a good one to dispel the myth about slavery being the cause of war.
Pres. Abraham Lincoln: "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so."

I the civil war was for the most part connected with the federal reserve central bank charter right which unionist Yankees frightful about possible restraints of bankers rights were keen to give London banking families unrestricted rights to do whatever they please in the US. Other reasons exclusively included expanding federal government powers. Adding personal income tax would be unimaginable prior to CW. Creation of all those fed gov agencies too. It was all made possible by London bankers' servants Yankees.

MRW | Aug 16, 2017 3:18:49 PM | 33
Posted by: therevolutionwas | Aug 16, 2017 1:46:02 PM | 10
The civil war in the US was not really started because of slavery. Robert E. Lee did not join the south and fight the north in order to preserve slavery, in his mind it was state's rights. Lincoln did not start the civil war to free the slaves.

You're right. The Emancipation Act was an afterthought really because Europe had turned against the idea of slavery before the Civil War broke out, in fact was repelled by it, and Lincoln knew that it would hurt commerce.
Northern Lights | Aug 16, 2017 3:19:39 PM | 34
@29
Jack the South was right. The South was always right.
woogs | Aug 16, 2017 3:21:37 PM | 35
The southern states felt they had a right to secede, using the tenth amendment as the legal basis. It states simply " The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.".

Furthermore, the union of states was referred to many times by the founders as a compact. Under the theory of compacts, when one party doesn't honor said compact, it is rendered null.

Slavery, regardless of how we may feel today, was a legal and federally protected institution. With the rise of the republican party, a campaign of agitation towards the south and slavery had begun. It is this agitation towards a legal institution that rankled southerners.

The south saw this coming well before the election of Lincoln. William seward, the favorite to win the election, gave a speech in l858 called "the irrepressible conflict". The south well knew of this and saw the writing on the wall if a republican was elected president.

When reading the declarations of causes, this background should be kept in mind if one wants to understand the southern position. Or, one can just count how many times the word 'slavery' appears like a word cloud.

Probably the best articulated statement on the southern position was south Carolina's "address to the slaveholding states".


Lea | Aug 16, 2017 3:29:49 PM | 36
I'm afraid if you go back in time, no US president can be saved from a well-deserved statue toppling. Including Abraham Lincoln, the hypocrite who DID NOT, and I repeat, DID NOT abolish slavery. The U.S "elite" has always been rotten through and through, so good luck with those statues.
https://www.currentaffairs.org/2017/06/the-clintons-had-slaves
woogs | Aug 16, 2017 3:33:55 PM | 37
Northern Lights@32:

You used Lincoln's inaugural address to show that the war was not over slavery. It's plain enough coming from the horse's mouth, so to speak.

Lincoln, in that same inaugural address, stated what the war would be fought over ...... and it was revenue.

Here's the quote:

The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the Government and to collect the duties and imposts; but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people anywhere.

historicus | Aug 16, 2017 3:35:02 PM | 38
As a rare book dealer and history buff with thirty-odd years of experience reading and studying original civil war era periodicals and documents, a fact stands out for me about these now-controversial statues. None is from the civil war period. Many, like the Lee statue in this article, date to the 1920's, which was the era of the second Ku Klux Klan. The infamous movie "Birth of a Nation" inspired the nationwide revival of that faded terrorist group. The year that statue was dedicated a hundred thousand Klansmen paraded in full regalia in the streets of Washington.

The children and grandchildren of the men who had taken up arms against the United States had by then completed a very flattering myth about 1861 - 1865. Consider too that romanticized lost cause mythology was integral to the regional spirit long before the rebellion. The Scots Irish who settled the American south carried with them the long memory their forebears' defeats at the Boyne and Culloden, at the hands of the English – the very ancestors of the hated Yankees living to the north of their new homeland.

Note also that many more CSA statues and memorials were built in the 1960s, as symbols of defiance of the civil rights movement of that era. The War for the Union was fought at its heart because the elite of the old south refused to accept the result of a fair and free democratic election, but for those who came after, white supremacy became the comforting myth that rationalized their ancestors' incredibly foolish treason.

I.W. | Aug 16, 2017 3:35:32 PM | 39
"Robert Lee was a brutal man who fought for racism and slavery."

Would this have been written in his time? Would it be written today in other countries (Africa included) where slavery (aka human trafficking) is big business today?

I'm disappointed that Moon of Alabama, usually so astute in its presentations, would print this article.

Don Wiscacho | Aug 16, 2017 3:37:30 PM | 40
A whole lot of false equivalence goin' on.

That the many statutes of America's founding fathers should be re-evaluated is actually a great idea. Many of these people were simply oligarchs who wanted to be the top of the pyramid instead of the British. Many owned slaves and perpetuated slavery. Others, like Andrew Jackson were legitimate psychopaths. Pretty much all of them cheered the genocide of Native Americans. So maybe we *should* have different heros.

Using the logic b spells out above, one could argue that statues of Nazis should be allowed too, after all they did come up with the Autobahn (modern highways), jet engines, and viable rockets, all technology used all over the world. Some patriotic, well meaning Germans fought in the Wehrmacht, don't they deserve statues, too? What about the Banderists and Forest Brothers? The Imperial Japanese? Don't those well-meaning fascists deserve to celebrate their heritage?

But simply saying that idea out loud is enough to realize what a crock that notion is. Nazis and fascists don't deserve statues, neither do confederates. Neither do most Americans, for that matter.

Trying to make some moral equivalence between NeoNazis and the leftists who oppose them is about as silly as it gets. I don't support violence against these idiots, and they have the same rights as anyone else in expressing their opinion. But to paint legit NeoNazis and the leftists opposing them (admittedly in a very juvenile manner) in the same brush ("Both sides came prepared for violence") is utter hogwash. We don't give Nazis a pass in Ukraine, don't give them a pass in Palestine, and we sure as hell don't give them a pass in the US. It doesn't matter what hypocritical liberal snowflake is on the other side of the barricade, the Nazi is still a f*****g Nazi.

Joe | Aug 16, 2017 3:39:00 PM | 41
"Robert Lee was a brutal man who fought for racism and slavery."

b, you have just displayed your ignorance of the character of Robert E. Lee, why he fought, and what he fought for. To give you the short n sweet of it, General Lee was a Christian gentleman respected by those in the North as well as the South. He fought the Federal leviathan as it had chosen to make war on what he considered to be his home and country--the State of Virginia. The issue at hand was not racism and slavery but Federal tyranny. Lincoln himself said he had no quarrel with slavery and as long as the South paid the Federal leviathan its taxes, the South was free to go. Make a visit to Paul Craig Roberts site for his latest essay which explains the world of the 1860s American scene much more eloquently than I can ...

folktruther | Aug 16, 2017 3:41:47 PM | 42
b is completely wrong in thread. The USA has been a highly racist power system historically where killing non-Whites has been a major historical policy. Lee is not merely a racist, he epitomizes this policy and is a symbol of it. Attacking racist symbols is essential to destroying racism.
woogs | Aug 16, 2017 3:45:05 PM | 43
Historicus@38: that 'fair and free democratic election' was replete with Lincoln supporters printing counterfeit tickets to the convention in order to shut out seward supporters.

The gambit worked and the rest, as they say, is history.

Ian | Aug 16, 2017 3:45:37 PM | 44
I suggest reading this article for some perspective:

http://takimag.com/article/carved_upon_the_landscape_steve_sailer#axzz4pwMfiSP8

karlof1 | Aug 16, 2017 3:51:18 PM | 45
Wow! What to write? Craig Murray wrote a very intriguing piece related to Charlottesville while putting the event somewhat into the context of the Scottish Independence Movement; it and the many comments are well worth the time to read and reflect upon, https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2017/08/americans-irish-uzbeks-ukrainians-pakistanis-balls-scots/

james @2--You are 1000000000% correct. And given the current state-of-affairs, will continue to fester for another century if not more thanks to historical ignorance and elite Machiavellian maneuvering.

Southern Extremist self-proclaimed Fire Eaters were the ones that started the war as they took the bait Lincoln cunningly offered them. If they'd been kept away from the coastal artillery at Charlestown, the lanyard they pulled may have remained still and war avoided for the moment. The advent of the US Civil War can be blamed totally on the Constitution and those who wrote it, although they had no clue as to the fuse they lit.

Chattel Slavery was introduced in the Western Hemisphere because the enslaved First Peoples died off and the sugar plantations needed laborers. Rice, tobacco, indigo, "Naval Stores," and other related cash crops were the next. Cotton only became part of the mix when the cotton gin made greatly lessened the expense of its processing. But, cotton wore out the thin Southern soils, so it cotton plantations slowly marched West thus making Mexican lands attractive for conquest. But slaves were used for so much more--particularly the draining of swamps and construction of port works. The capital base for modern capitalism was made possible by slavery--a sentence you will NOT read in any history textbook. There are a great many books written on the subject; I suggest starting with Marcus Rediker's The Slave Ship: A Human History , followed by Eric Williams's classic Capitalism and Slavery , Edward Baptist's The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism , and John Clarke's Christopher Columbus and the Afrikan Holocaust: Slavery and the Rise of European Capitalism .

There are even more books published about the war itself. But as many have pointed out, it's learning about the reasons for the war that's most important. Vice President Henry Wilson was the first to write a very detailed 3 volume history of those reasons, Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America beginning in 1872, and they are rare books indeed; fortunately, they've been digitized and can be found here, https://archive.org/search.php?query=creator%3A%22Wilson%2C+Henry%2C+1812-1875%22 Perhaps the most complete is Allan Nevins 8 volume Ordeal of the Union , although for me it begins too late in 1847, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ordeal_of_the_Union Finally, no study of the period's complete without examining the unraveling and utter dysfunction of the political process that occurred between 1856 and 1860 that allowed Lincoln to win the presidency, Roy Nichols's The Disruption of American Democracy illustrates that best.

The US Civil War can't be boiled down to having just one cause; it's causes were multiple, although slavery--being an economic and social system--resides at its core. As an historian, I can't really justify the removal of statues and other items of historical relevance, although displaying the Confederate Flag on public buildings I see as wrong; better to display the Spirit of '76 flag if stars and stripes are to be displayed. (I wonder what will become of the UK's Union Jack if Scotland votes to leave the UK.) Personal display of the Stars and Bars for me amounts to a political statement which people within the Outlaw US Empire still have the right to express despite the animus it directs at myself and other non-Anglo ethnicities. (I'm Germanic Visigoth with Spanish surname--people are surprised at my color when they hear my name.)

The current deep dysfunction in the Outlaw US Empire's domestic politics mirrors that of the latter 1850s somewhat but the reasons are entirely different yet solvable--IF--the populous can gain a high degree of solidarity.

ruralito | Aug 16, 2017 4:01:10 PM | 46
There's also the school of thought that holds that Honest Abe freed the slaves in order that northern industrialists could acquire replacements for workers lost in the war.
Pareto | Aug 16, 2017 4:05:35 PM | 47
"racism" i.e., when a white person notices demographic patterns lol.
Northern Lights | Aug 16, 2017 4:06:37 PM | 48
@37
Aye Woogs. All about expanding fed gov powers, most of which was focused on permanent central banking charter. Many forget that central banking charter had been in place before CW in the US and that great statesman Andrew Jackson repelled it. The first central banking charter caused terrible economic suffering, which is why it was repelled. People had more sense then. Not so much now.

"Gentlemen! I too have been a close observer of the doings of the Bank of the United States. I have had men watching you for a long time, and am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the breadstuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost, you charged it to the bank. You tell me that if I take the deposits from the bank and annul its charter I shall ruin ten thousand families. That may be true, gentlemen, but that is your sin! Should I let you go on, you will ruin fifty thousand families, and that would be my sin! You are a den of vipers and thieves. I have determined to rout you out, and by the Eternal I will rout you out!"
~Andrew Jackson

ken | Aug 16, 2017 4:11:20 PM | 49
It saddens me that so many buy into the South fought for slavery. That story line was used in the same manner that Weapons of Mass Destruction was used to war with Iraq. The difference is the internet was able to get the truth out. Doesn't do much good to argue as most believe the Confederate slavery propaganda. The US is done as a nation. A thousand different groups that hate each other preaching no hate. Yes it will limp along for a while but it's done for.
michaelj72 | Aug 16, 2017 4:23:39 PM | 50
@46 karlof1

many thanks for the history, and the books. I read Murray's essay and consider it a good take....


".... As an historian, I can't really justify the removal of statues and other items of historical relevance, although displaying the Confederate Flag on public buildings I see as wrong..."

I have to agree.


& there is at least one sane (african american) person in LA, as per below article

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-hollywood-forever-monument-20170815-story.html

"....Los Angeles resident Monique Edwards says historical monuments, like the Confederate statue removed from Hollywood Forever Cemetery, need to be preserved and used as teachable moments...."

joeymac | Aug 16, 2017 4:24:42 PM | 51
@Northern Lights (19)
Yankees wanted strong central government with wide array of power, Southerners didn't. Yankees were supported by London banking families and their banking allies or agents in the US, Southerners were on their own.

I recall that it was the slavers that wanted the central government to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act even in states that outlawed slavery; it was the slavers that insisted that slavery be legal in the new territories, regardless of the wishes of the settlers.

Also, the London industrial and banking interest strongly supported the breakaway slavers because:
(1) It was the slave produced cotton that fueled the textile industry in England.
(2) Imported British ¨prestige¨ items found a ready market with the nouveau riche planters grown fat on stolen labor.
(3) A Balkanized NA would be more subject to pressure from the ¨Mother Country.¨
(4) Lincoln refused to borrow from the bankers and printed ¨greenbacks¨ to finance the war; this infuriated the bankers.

Neo-Confederate revisionism creates mythical history, in a large part, by attempting to deify vile human beings.

Northern Lights | Aug 16, 2017 4:26:38 PM | 52
Me too Ken. Used to say to those I would like to offer them fairy dust to buy. Half of them didn't catch the meaning.
somebody | Aug 16, 2017 4:30:53 PM | 53
7
How about memorials for red indians and slaves.

Like this one .

somebody | Aug 16, 2017 4:34:53 PM | 54
51
I would say a country that cannot agree on its history has a huge problem.
woogs | Aug 16, 2017 4:35:22 PM | 55
Ben@26: Lincoln stated that he would only use force to collect imposts and duties.

The first battle of the war (actually more a skirmish) was the battle of Phillipi in western Virginia in early June, l86l.

To the best of my knowledge, there were no customs houses in western Virginia as it was not a port of entry. This was simply an invasion by the union army at Lincoln's command that revealed his true colors. The war was Lincoln's war, plain and simple.

Northern Lights | Aug 16, 2017 4:36:10 PM | 56
@51
Joey, I would like yo offer you fairy dust to buy. Interested? Luckily we should part our ways soon. Should have happened ages ago if you ask me. Your history is not our own. You were aggressors fighting for foreign entity. Time for us to part I think. have your own history and say whatever you want there. We will have ours.
NemesisCalling | Aug 16, 2017 4:40:58 PM | 57
In my view, b is comparing a modern sensibility on race relations with that of a mid 19th century confederate leader and so with this bad thesis it is quite easy to dismiss this post entirely. Was the north that much more enlightened on the treatent of blacks? I think not. Was the emancipation proclamation largely a political gesture to incite ire and violence not only among southerners but also slaves living in these states towards their owners? Meanwhile, the effect of such a proclamation was exempt on states where said effect would not "pinch" the south. The north, if anything, was even more racist using blacks as a means towards the end to consolidate power even more centrally.

It honestly reads like most neutral apologetic drivel out of the "other" msm which is on the ropes right now from an all-out wholly political assault. If you truly wanted to educate people on their history you would stand up for fair and honest discourse. Make no mistake, this is all about obscuration and historical-revisionism. Globalists gotta eat.

"Slavery as an institution, is a moral &political evil in any Country... I think it however a greater evil to the white man than to the black race... The blacks are immeasurably better off." Robert E. Lee

Sounds like a man with opinions, but without the burning fire to see that evil enshrined in a state-policy towards blacks. Basically, one condemns him for sharing a popular view of the day. CALL THE THOUGHT POLICE!

Clueless Joe | Aug 16, 2017 4:43:56 PM | 58
From a British point of view, Washington and Jefferson were traitors as well.
As for Lee, he was racist, but doesn't seem to have been more racist than the average Yankee. No more racist than Sherman or Lincoln, and less racist than many of the Confederate top guys, for instance.

Then, there's the nutjob idea that forcefully taking down other statues in the South will make these guys "win". At least, the Lee statue had a more or less legal and democratic process going on, which is the only way to go if you don't want to look like a Taliban.
Really, did these idiots not understand that bringing down Confederate statues without due process will massively piss off most of the locals? Do they really want the local hardliners to come armed and ready to use their guns, one of these days? Is this the plan all along, to spark another civil war for asshat reasons?

(Like B, toppling Saddam and communist statues was the very first thing I thought of. As if these poor fools had just been freed from a terrible dictatorship, instead of nothing having changed or been won at all in the last months)

john | Aug 16, 2017 4:51:09 PM | 59
ben says:

I think we should throw out much of our history

Paul Craig Roberts thinks so too

Mithera | Aug 16, 2017 4:54:03 PM | 60
I agree with Woogs (25). How stoopid are we ? History has been re-written and manipulated going back a long way. Most of the readers here know that our "masters" , and their versions of history are not accurate. Yet here we are arguing and such ... " he was good...NO He was bad...." acting as if we know truth from fiction. Back then, as now, it was all planned. Divide and conquer. Slavery was the "excuse" for war. The Power Elite" were based in Europe at that time and saw America as a real threat to their global rule. It was becoming too strong and so needed to be divided. Thus the people of those times were played....just as we are today. Manipulated into war. Of course America despite the Civil War , continued to grow and prosper so the elite devised another plan. Plan "B" has worked better than they could have ever imagined. They have infected the "soul" of America and the infection is spreading rapidly.Everyone , please re-read oilman2 comments (31)
Pnyx | Aug 16, 2017 5:16:11 PM | 61
Thanks B, precisely my thinking. It has a smell of vendetta. And I believe this sort of old testament thinking is very common in the u.s. of A. What's currently happening will further alienate both sides and lead to even more urgent need to externalize an internal problem via more wars.
virgile | Aug 16, 2017 5:18:00 PM | 62
If We Erase Our History, Who Are We?
Pat Buchanan • August 15, 2017
somebody | Aug 16, 2017 5:19:47 PM | 63
There is a reason for this craze to get rid of confederate statues.

Dylann Roof who photographed himself at confederate landmarks before he shot nine black people in a church .

It is futile to discuss what the confederacy was then, when white supremacy groups consider them their home today.

These monuments were not built after or during the civil war. And the reason for building them was racism .

In 2016, the Southern Poverty Law Center estimated that there were over 1,500 "symbols of the Confederacy in public spaces" in the United States. The majority of them are located, as one might expect, in the 11 states that seceded from the union, but as Vice aptly points out, some can be found in Union states (New York, for example has three, Pennsylvania, four) and at least 22 of them are located in states that didn't even exist during the Civil War.

How can that be possible? Because largely, Confederate monuments were built during two key periods of American history: the beginnings of Jim Crow in the 1920s and the civil rights movement in the early 1950s and 1960s.

To be sure, some sprung up in the years following the Confederacy's defeat (the concept of a Confederate memorial day dates back to back to 1866 and was still officially observed by the governments of Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina, as of the publication of the Southern Poverty Law Center's report), and some continue to be built!USA Today notes that 35 Confederate monuments have been erected in North Carolina since 2000.

But when these statues!be they historical place markers, or myth-building icons of Lee or Stonewall Jackson!were built seems to suggest these monuments have very little to do with paying tribute to the Civil War dead and everything to do with erecting monuments to black disenfranchisement, segregation, and 20th-century racial tension.

I don't know if b. realizes how many German monuments got destroyed because people did not wish to recall this particular part of history, the bomb raids of the allies helped, of course, but there are cemeteries of Marx, Engels and Lenin statues, and only revisionists recall what was destroyed after WWII .

Young people need some space to breath. They don't need monuments of war heros.

47 | Aug 16, 2017 5:20:32 PM | 64
b wrote "Statues standing in cities and places are much more than veneration of one person or group. They are symbols, landmarks and fragments of personal memories..."

Symbols indeed, traits in cultural landscapes. This piece may add another dimension to the importance of cultural landscape in the context of this conversation:
"To this day, the question remains: why would the Southerners remember and celebrate a losing team, and how come the non-Southerners care about it so passionately? A convenient answer revolves around the issue of slavery; i.e., a commemoration of the era of slavery for the former, and, for the latter, the feeling that the landscape reminders of that era should be entirely erased."
and
"In the past two decades, the American(s)' intervention has brought down the statues of Hussein, Gaddafi, Davis, and Lee respectively. Internationally, the work seems to be completed. Domestically, the next stage will be removing the names of highways, libraries, parks, and schools of the men who have not done an illegal act. Eventually, all such traits in the cultural landscape of Virginia may steadily disappear, because they are symbols of Confederacy."
http://www.zokpavlovic.com/conflict/the-war-between-the-states-of-mind-in-virginia-and-elsewhere/

virgile | Aug 16, 2017 5:20:37 PM | 65
What about the statues of the American "heroes" who massacred the Indians?
Robert Browning | Aug 16, 2017 5:24:32 PM | 66
It warms my heart that you are not a racist. But who really gives a fuck? And what makes you think not favoring your own kind like every other racial and ethnic group does makes you a better than those of your own racial group?? Something is wrong with you.
Bill | Aug 16, 2017 5:33:25 PM | 67
Statues are kim jong un like silly and useless anyway. Put up a nice obelisk or rotunda instead.
joeymac | Aug 16, 2017 5:33:44 PM | 68
@Clueless Joe (58)
From a British point of view, Washington and Jefferson were traitors as well.
Kindly correct me if i´m wrong, but, to my knowledge, there are no monuments to Washington or Jefferson on Trafalgar Square.
did these idiots not understand that bringing down Confederate statues without due process will massively piss off most of the locals?
It is my understanding that ¨due process¨ was underway because of pressure from the locals when the neo-Nazis sought to short circuit this process.
joeymac | Aug 16, 2017 5:47:36 PM | 69
@Northern Lights
Your history is not our own.

You are certainly entitled to your attitudes, hatreds, memories, affinities and such. You are not entitled to your own history. History is what happened. Quit lying about it!

Anonymous | Aug 16, 2017 5:59:02 PM | 70
Lee is the past. Obama is the present. The 'Nobel Peace Prize' winner ran more concurrent wars than any other president. He inaugurated the state execution of US citizens by drone based on secret evidence presented in secret courts. He was in charge when ISIS was created by the US Maw machine. What about removing his Nobel Peace Prize?
Erlindur | Aug 16, 2017 5:59:30 PM | 71
A long time ago Christians destroyed the old god's statues because they were pagan and didn't comply with their religion (or is it ideology?). Muslims followed and did the same on what was left. They even do that now when ISIS blows up ancient monuments.

What is next? Burning books? Lets burn the library of Alexandria once again...

aaaa | Aug 16, 2017 6:02:53 PM | 72
Just posting to say that I'm done with this place - will probably read but am not posting here anymore. Have fun
Clueless Joe | Aug 16, 2017 6:11:39 PM | 73
Joeymac 69:
I didn't mean the Charlottesville mess was done without due process. I refer to the cases that have happened these last few days - a trend that won't stop overnight.
Extremists from both sides aren't making friends on the other ones, and obviously are only making matters worse.

Somebody 63:
"It is futile to discuss what the confederacy was then, when white supremacy groups consider them their home today."
That's the whole fucking problem. By this logic, nobody should listen to Wagner or read Nietzsche anymore. Screw that. Assholes and criminals from now should be judged according to current values, laws and opinions, based on their very own crimes. People, groups, states, religions from the past should be judged according to their very own actions as well, and not based on what some idiot would fantasize they were 1.500 years later.

Merasmus | Aug 16, 2017 6:38:35 PM | 74
Looks like the Lee apologetics and claims that the war was about state's rights (go read the CSA constitution, it tramples the rights of its own member states to *not* be slave holding) or tariffs are alive and well in these comments. That's what these statues represent: the utter perversion of the historical record. And as pointed out @38, none of these statues are from anywhere near the Civil War or Reconstruction era.

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/06/the-myth-of-the-kindly-general-lee/529038/

https://www.civilwar.org/learn/primary-sources/declaration-causes-seceding-states

http://www.americancivilwarforum.com/five-myths-about-secession-169444.html?PageSpeed=noscript

https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/05/the-great-civil-war-lie/?mcubz=3

Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 16, 2017 6:43:32 PM | 75
I think anyone and everyone who instigates a successful campaign to destroy a memorial which glorifies war should be awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace & Sanity and be memorialised in bronze, nearby, as a permanent reminder that war WAS a racket, until Reason prevailed.
No offense intended.
Anonymous | Aug 16, 2017 6:49:20 PM | 76
Arch-propagandist Rove said "[Those] in what we call the reality-based community, [who] believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality. That's not the way the world really works anymore. We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality [e.g Russia hacked the election]. And while you're studying that reality!judiciously, as you will!we'll act again, creating other new realities [e.g. Neo-Nazi White Supremacism], which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

There is a coup underway to get rid of Trump [who's 'unpardonable crime' seems to be that he isn't going along with the War Party]. The War Party will try anything, anything, if there is a hope that it will work to get rid of him. When Trump launched the cruise missiles against Syria, there was a moment's silence, totally spooky given all the bs that was flying ... Would he start a war with Russia? Would Trump go all the way with that, as Clinton probably would have done? When the attack fizzled out, the chorus resumed their attacks as though nothing had happened.

Their tactical attacks change as they are revealed to be fakes. The current attack, probably using War Party provacateurs operating on both sides, is the next tactical phase - out with 'Russian Hacking the Election', in with 'Trump White Supremacist Nazi'. If there is the standard CIA regime change plan behind this (as outlined by John Perkins and seen in Ukraine, Libya, Syria)] and the relatively passive actions don't work, they will ultimately resort to hard violence. At that stage, they resort to using snipers to kill people on both sides.

The anti-fas' are supposedly liberal, anti-gun, but there already have been stories of them training with weapons, even working with the Kurds in Syria so the ground is laid for their use of weapons. There are those on the Trump side who would relish the excuse for gun violence irrespective on consequence so the whole thing could spiral out of control very rapidly and very dangerously.

Disclosure - I do not support Trump [or any US politico for that matter]. The whole US political system is totally corrupt and morally bankrupt. Those that rise [or more accurately those that are allowed to rise] to the top reflect that corruption and bankruptcy. This could get very very messy.

Lemur | Aug 16, 2017 6:50:58 PM | 77
There's nothing wrong with being racist. Racism is simply preference for one's extended family. 'b' calls the admittedly rather goony lot at C'ville 'white supremacists'. But do they want to enslave blacks or rule over non-whites? No. In fact most of the alt-right lament the slave trade and all its ills, including mixing two groups who, as Lincoln pointed out, had no future together. What the left wants to do is reduce Confederate American heritage and culture down to the slavery issue, despite the fact only a few Southerners owned slaves.

Now, within ethnic European countries, should whites be supreme? You're goddamn right they should. Just as the Japanese should practice 'yellow supremacy', and so on and so forth. Most of you lot here, being liberals, will be in favour of no fault divorce. You understand there can be irreconcilable differences which in way suggest either person is objectively bad. The same applies to disparate ethnicities. If white Slovaks and Czechs can't get one, why would white and non-white groups?

You lefties need to have a serious moral dialogue over your rejection of ethno-nationalism! Time to get on the right side of history! Have you noticed the alt-right, despite being comprised of 'hateful bigots', is favourably disposed toward Iran, Syria, and Russia? That's because we consistently apply principles which can protect our racially, culturally, religiously, and ethnically diverse planet, and mitigate conflict. But the woke woke left (not a typo) meanwhile has to 'resist' imperialism by constantly vilifying America. ITS NOT THAT I'M IN FAVOUR OF ASSAD OR PUTIN, ITS JUST THAT AMERICA IS SO NAUGHTY! OH, HOW BASE ARE OUR MOTIVES. OH, WHAT A POX WE ARE. Weak tea. You have no theoretical arguments against liberal interventionism or neoconservativism.

Newsflash folks. Hillary Clinton doesn't fundamentally differ from you in principle. She merely differs on what methods should be employed to achieve Kojeve's universal homogeneous state. Most of you just want to replace global capitalism with global socialism. Seen how occupy wall street turned out? Didn't make a dent. See how your precious POCs voted for the neoliberal war monger? Diversity increases the power of capital. The only force which can beat globalization is primordial tribalism.

I suggest you all start off your transition to nationalism by reading up on 'Social Democracy for the 21st Century'. http://socialdemocracy21stcentury.blogspot.co.nz/

Seamus Padraig | Aug 16, 2017 6:57:50 PM | 78
All in all, b, a pretty brave post -- especially in these dark times. Only a few minor points to add:
Robert Lee was a brutal man who fought for racism and slavery.

Lee wasn't known for being brutal. You're probably confusing him with Nathan Bedford Forrest, who had a notorious mean streak: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nathan_Bedford_Forrest

Lee actually thought the Civil War an awful tragedy. He was asked to choose between his state and his country. That's not much different from being asked to choose between your family and your clan.

Lee was a racist.

That might be true, depending on one's definition of a racist. But then, why should Abraham Lincoln get a pass? It's well known that he did not start the Civil War to end slavery -- that idea only occurred to him halfway through the conflict. But there's also the fact that, while he was never a great fan of slavery, he apparently did not believe in the natural equality of the races, and he even once professed to have no intention of granting blacks equality under the law:
"While I was at the hotel to-day, an elderly gentleman called upon me to know whether I was really in favor of producing a perfect equality between the negroes and white people. While I had not proposed to myself on this occasion to say much on that subject, yet as the question was asked me I thought I would occupy perhaps five minutes in saying something in regard to it. I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the black and white races -- that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making VOTERS or jurors of negroes, NOR OF QUALIFYING THEM HOLD OFFICE, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any of her man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."

It turns out that history's a complicated thing! To bad it wasn't all written by Hollywood with a bunch of cartoon villains and heroes ...
One gets the impression that the current wave of statue take downs is seen as well deserved "punishment" for those who voted wrongly - i.e. not for Hillary Clinton. While many Trump voters will dislike statues of Robert Lee, they will understand that dislike the campaign to take them down even more.

You nailed it, b. The way things are headed, I now wonder if I will someday be arrested for owning Lynard Skynard albums (the covers of which usually had Confederate battle flags) or for having watched Dukes of Hazard shows as a child. It's starting to get that crazy.

Anyway, thanks for running a sane blog in a mad world!

jdmckay | Aug 16, 2017 6:58:20 PM | 79
Good interview with a Black, female pastor in Charlottsville who was in church when the march began Friday night. They caught a lot that wasn't on network news.

http://www.msnbc.com/all-in/watch/trump-is-lying-about-charlottesville-says-witness-1025515075632

George Smiley | Aug 16, 2017 6:58:29 PM | 80
"Don't let this site get bogged down in history that is being constantly rewritten on Wikipedia. Don't buy into the left/right division process. Don't let your self identify with either group, as they are being led by provocateurs.

The lies we know of regarding Iraq, Syria, Libya - aren't they enough to force people to disbelieve our media completely? The HUGE lies in our media about what is going on in Venezuela should be quite enough (bastante suficiente) to make most people simply disbelieve. But they cannot because they are only allowed to see and hear what our government approves - and for our government, lying is quite legal now.

Let the emotions go - they are pushed via media to force you to think in white or black, right or left, old vs young - any way that is divisive. Getting beaten for a statue would likely make the guy who posed for it laugh his butt off most likely..."

Posted by: Oilman2 | Aug 16, 2017 3:09:32 PM | 31

Well said. Hope to see your thoughts in the future.

And as always, Karlof1 you have some insights I rarely get ever else (especially not in a comment section)

______________________________

"The US Civil War can't be boiled down to having just one cause; it's causes were multiple, although slavery--being an economic and social system--resides at its core. As an historian, I can't really justify the removal of statues and other items of historical relevance, although displaying the Confederate Flag on public buildings I see as wrong; better to display the Spirit of '76 flag if stars and stripes are to be displayed. (I wonder what will become of the UK's Union Jack if Scotland votes to leave the UK.) Personal display of the Stars and Bars for me amounts to a political statement which people within the Outlaw US Empire still have the right to express despite the animus it directs at myself and other non-Anglo ethnicities. (I'm Germanic Visigoth with Spanish surname--people are surprised at my color when they hear my name.)

The current deep dysfunction in the Outlaw US Empire's domestic politics mirrors that of the latter 1850s somewhat but the reasons are entirely different yet solvable--IF--the populous can gain a high degree of solidarity."

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 16, 2017 3:51:18 PM | 45

____________________________

Also, somebody @63, very poignant to mention. While I could care less whether about some statues stand or fall (it helps living outside the empire), to deny that they are (generally) symbols of racism, or were built with that in mind, is a little off base in my eyes. Going to repost this quote because I think it had quite a bit of value in this discussion.

"In 2016 the Southern Poverty Law Center estimated that there were over 1,500 "symbols of thE Confederacy in public spaces" in the United States. The majority of them are located, as one might expect, in the 11 states that seceded from the union, but as Vice aptly points out, some can be found in Union states (New York, for example has three, Pennsylvania, four) and at least 22 of them are located in states that didn't even exist during the Civil War.

How can that be possible? Because largely, Confederate monuments were built during two key periods of American history: the beginnings of Jim Crow in the 1920s and the civil rights movement in the early 1950s and 1960s.

To be sure, some sprung up in the years following the Confederacy's defeat (the concept of a Confederate memorial day dates back to back to 1866 and was still officially observed by the governments of Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina, as of the publication of the Southern Poverty Law Center's report), and some continue to be built!USA Today notes that 35 Confederate monuments have been erected in North Carolina since 2000.

But when these statues!be they historical place markers, or myth-building icons of Lee or Stonewall Jackson!were built seems to suggest these monuments have very little to do with paying tribute to the Civil War dead and everything to do with erecting monuments to black disenfranchisement, segregation, and 20th-century racial tension."

Peter AU 1 | Aug 16, 2017 6:59:17 PM | 81
@77

Racism means zero understanding or tolerance of other people/cultures, an attitude that ones own culture or skin colour or group is far superior to those 'others'.

NemesisCalling | Aug 16, 2017 7:01:45 PM | 82
@77 lemur

Hear, hear. Generally, a resurgence of American nationalism WILL take the form of populist socialism because it will mark a turning away from the global police state which America is leading currently and will replace it with nationalistic spending on socialist programs with an emphasis on decreased military spending. This will continue ideally until a balance of low taxation and government regulation form a true economy which begins at a local level from the ground up.

annie | Aug 16, 2017 7:05:36 PM | 83
the city council, elected by the people, voted to remove the monument.

Where are America's memorials to pain of slavery, black resistance?

In 1861, the vice-president of the Confederacy, Alexander H. Stephens, offered this foundational explanation of the Confederate cause: "Its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. "

how much public space in the US should be dedicated to monuments honoring these people in the coming century? and for the children and grandchildren of slaves walking by them every day? what about their heritage? and the public monuments to the indigenous people of this land who we genocided? oh right, as a country we have still not even officially recognized that genocide. monuments should not be solely a reflection of the past, but of the future, of who we want to be. who we choose to recognize in our public spaces says a lot about us.

anon | Aug 16, 2017 7:06:12 PM | 84
It's pretty fair too say several of the "alt-right" leaders who planned this event agent are provocateurs or Sheep Dipped assets running honeypot "white nationalist" operations.

You can see from the make-up of the phony "Nazis" in the groups and their continued use of various propaganda that serves only to tie people and movements OPPOSED by the Deep State to "Nazis" and racist ideology, you can see how on the ground level, this event has psyop planners' fingerprints all over it.


It's also fair too say the complicit media's near universal take on the event signals a uniform, ready-made reaction more than likely dictated to them from a single source.

Trump is attacked. The ACLU is attacked. Peace activists opposed to the CIA's regime change operation in Syria are attacked. Tucker Carlson is attacked. Everyone attacked that the CIA and various other aspects of the Deep State want attacked as if the MSM were all sent the same talking points memo.

And keep in mind, this all comes right after the news was starting to pick up on the story that the Deep State's bullshit narrative about a "Russian hack" was falling apart.

Also keep in mind it comes at a time when 600,000 Syrians returned home after the CIA's terrorist regime change operation fell apart.

(from Scott Creighton's blog)

Zico the musketeer | Aug 16, 2017 7:11:22 PM | 85
Is there a left in America?
I think is really fun to watch those burgers call an US citizen a lefties.

From outside US you ALL looks like ULYRA right wing.
This is ridiculous!

Sigil | Aug 16, 2017 7:21:33 PM | 86
The statues were erected when the KKK was at its peak, to keep the blacks in their place. They started getting torn down after the 2015 massacre of black churchgoers by a Nazi. For once, don't blame Clinton.
Vas | Aug 16, 2017 7:28:08 PM | 87
as the country becomes less and less white
more and more symbols of white supremacy
have to go..
perry | Aug 16, 2017 7:51:05 PM | 88
Karlof1@45

My only argument with your post is "Chattel Slavery was introduced in the Western Hemisphere"
Chattel = movable property as opposed to your house. In that day and long before women and children were chattel.

Thinking about what might have been might help. If the south had won would we have had a strong enough central government to create and give corporate charters and vast rights of way to railroads which then cross our nation. Would states have created their own individual banking systems negating the need for the all controlling Federal reserve? Would states have their own military units willing to join other states to repel an attack instead of the MIC which treats the rest of the world like expendable slaves?

Before our constitution there was the Articles of Confederation. Article 1,2+3.....
Article I. The Stile of this Confederacy shall be "The United States of America."

Article II. Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every Power, Jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.

Article III. The said States hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretense whatever.

This first set of laws in the new world was later undone in a secret convention with Madison, input from Jefferson and others found on our money and other honorariums. 1868 gave us the 14th amendment to the constitution that freed all who are born within this nation and were given equal rights. (Not saying that this worked for all slaves. Within a few years this was used to create corporate persons with access to the bill of rights.

I am thinking there were many reasons that people who lived in those times had to fight for what they did. We today are not in a position to judge why individuals fought. Certainly many poor white southerners who owned no slaves at all fought and died. Was it to keep slaves they did not own enslaved or did they fight and die for issues around protection of local or state rights, freedoms and way of life?

Histories are written and paid for by the winners who control that particular present time for the glorification of those rulers. A vast removal of historical artifacts speaks of a weak nation fading into the west's need to clean up some points from history of mean and brutal behaviors which we as a nation support now in the present but try and make it about others.

Peter AU 1 | Aug 16, 2017 8:01:00 PM | 89
A paragragh here from lemur 77 comment...
"Now, within ethnic European countries, should whites be supreme? You're goddamn right they should. Just as the Japanese should practice 'yellow supremacy', and so on and so forth. Most of you lot here, being liberals, will be in favour of no fault divorce. You understand there can be irreconcilable differences which in way suggest either person is objectively bad. The same applies to disparate ethnicities. If white Slovaks and Czechs can't get one, why would white and non-white groups?"

What is the United States of America? It is made up of British, French, Spanish and Russian territories aquired or conquered, the original colonists in turn taking them from the native inhabitants. The US has had a largley open imigration policy, people of all cultures, languages and skin colours and religions.
Why should white Europeans be supreme in the US lemur?

psychohistorian | Aug 16, 2017 8:01:58 PM | 90
The following is the guts of a posting from Raw Story that I see as quite related.
"
White House senior strategist Steve Bannon is rejoicing at the criticism President Donald Trump is receiving for defending white nationalism.

Bannon phoned The American Prospect progressive writer and editor Robert Kuttner Tuesday, according to his analysis of the interview.

In the interview, Bannon dismissed ethno-nationalists as irrelevant.

"Ethno-nationalism!it's losers. It's a fringe element," Bannon noted.

"These guys are a collection of clowns," he added.

Bannon claimed to welcome the intense criticism Trump has received.

"The Democrats," he said, "the longer they talk about identity politics, I got 'em. I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats."

Kuttner described Bannon as being in "high spirits" during the call

"You might think from recent press accounts that Steve Bannon is on the ropes and therefore behaving prudently. In the aftermath of events in Charlottesville, he is widely blamed for his boss's continuing indulgence of white supremacists," Kuttner explained. "But Bannon was in high spirits when he phoned me Tuesday afternoon to discuss the politics of taking a harder line with China, and minced no words describing his efforts to neutralize his rivals at the Departments of Defense, State, and Treasury."

"They're wetting themselves," Bannon said of opponents he planned to oust at State and Defense.
"

Curtis | Aug 16, 2017 8:25:00 PM | 91
Curtis 6 isn't me. However, I somewhat agree with the point.

Joe 41
Very true. Lee saw himself as defending Virginia. Slavery was the chief issue used in the states declarations of secession. But the end goal was a separate govt (that actually banned the importation of new slaves).

Nemesis 57
Excellent. Racism was bad in the North, too.

Alexander Grimsmo | Aug 16, 2017 8:37:55 PM | 92
Strange how the left are pulling down statues of democrats, and the right are fighting to have them stand. The confederates were democrats, but nobody seem to remember that now anymore.
sigil | Aug 16, 2017 8:51:24 PM | 93
Nothing strange about it. The Democrats dropped the southern racists and the Republicans picked them up with the Southern Strategy. It's all pretty well documented. The current Republicans are not heirs to Lincoln in any meaningful way.
michaelj72 | Aug 16, 2017 8:53:14 PM | 94
some may consider this interesting.. at the end of Robert Kuttner's conversation with Steve Bannon, Bannon says:

http://prospect.org/article/steve-bannon-unrepentant

...."The Democrats," he said, "the longer they talk about identity politics, I got 'em. I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.".....

Petra | Aug 16, 2017 9:11:29 PM | 95
Those who make silly talk about "Patriots and Traitors" (Swallows and Amazons?) are being obtuse about their history. The whole system was racist through and through, depended upon it and was built upon it, starting with the very first rapacious sorties inland from the swampy coast.

Some excellent commentary here, including james's percipient notes, Grieved's point, RUKidding's and karlof1's, perry's observations and speculations.

Aside, this "99% v.1%" discourse is disempowering and one has to ask whose interests such talk and attendant disempowerment serve.

Krollchem | Aug 16, 2017 9:33:38 PM | 96
Both sides of this ideological issue are frooty and do not see the invisible hands that manipulate their weak minds. See Mike Krieger On Charlottesville: "Don't Play Into The Divide & Conquer Game"
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-14/mike-krieger-charlottesville-dont-play-divide-conquer-game

Please note that slavery persisted in some Northern States after the end of the Civil War. The slave trade was even a profit center in the North:

http://www.tracingcenter.org/resources/background/northern-involvement-in-the-slave-trade/

VietnamVet | Aug 16, 2017 9:40:12 PM | 97
This is a meaningful post on a touchy subject. Global Brahmins are looting the developed world. Color revolutions and ethnic rifts make great fire sales. In a sane world, old monuments would molder away in obscurity. Instead a faux resistance to divide and conquer the little people has commenced. But, it is careening out of control due to austerity and job loss. Deplorable Bushwhackers are fighting for tribalism and supremacy. After the 27 year old war in Iraq, subjected Sunnis turned to their ethnic myths and traditions to fight back; obliterating two ancient cities and themselves. The Chaos is coming west.
John Merryman | Aug 16, 2017 9:43:21 PM | 98
The problem is that people focus on the effects of history, like slavery and the holocaust, but if you go into the causes and context of these events, then you get accused of rationalizing them. Yet being ignorant of the causes is when history gets repeated. By the time another seriously bad effect rises, it's too late.
As for slavery, it's not as though peoples lives haven't been thoroughly commodified before and continue to be. Yes, slavery in the early part of this country was horrendous and the resulting racism arose from the more reptilian parts of people's minds, but that part still exists and needs to be better understood, not dismissed.
It should also be noted that if it wasn't for slavery, the African American population would otherwise only be about as large as the Arab American population. It is a bit like being the offspring of a rape. It might the absolute worst aspect of your life, but you wouldn't be here otherwise. It's the Native Americans who really got screwed in the deal, but there are not nearly enough of them left, to get much notice.
John Merryman | Aug 16, 2017 9:47:52 PM | 99
PS,
For those who know their legal history, no, I'm not using a pseudonym. There is a lot of family history in this country, from well before it was a country.

[Aug 16, 2017] A New Martin Luther

Aug 16, 2017 | www.unz.com

Original: https://tsargrad.tv/articles/triumf-gendernyh-sharikovyh_79187

Translated by Fluctuarius Argenteus

Google fires employee James Damore for "perpetuating gender stereotypes.

– You persecute your employees for having opinions and violate the rights of White men, Centrists, and Conservatives.

– No, we don't. You're fired.

A conversation just like or similar to this one recently took place in the office of one of modern information market monsters, the Google Corporation.

Illustration to the Google scandal. James Damore fired for "perpetuating gender stereotypes". Source: Screenshot of Instragram user bluehelix.

Google knows almost everything about us, including the contents of our emails, our addresses, our voice samples ( OK Google ), our favorite stuff, and, sometimes, our sexual preferences. Google used to be on the verge of literally looking at the world with our own eyes through Google Glass, but this prospect appears to have been postponed, probably temporarily. However, the threat of manipulating public opinion through search engine algorithms has been discussed in the West for a long while, even to the point of becoming a central House of Cards plotline.

Conversely, we know next to nothing about Google. Now, thanks to an ideological scandal that shook the company, we suddenly got a glimpse of corporate values and convictions that the company uses a roadmap to influencing us in a major way, and American worldview even more so. Suddenly, Google was revealed to be a system permeated by ideology, suffused with Leftist and aggressively feminist values.

The story goes this way. In early August, an anonymous manifesto titled Google's Ideological Echo Chamber was circulated through the local network of Google. The author lambasted the company's ideological climate, especially its policy of so-called diversity. This policy has been adopted by almost all of US companies, and Google has gone as far as to appoint a "chief diversity officer". The goal of the polity is to reduce the number of white cisgendered male employees, to employ as many minorities and women as possible and to give them fast-track promotions – which, in reality, gives them an unfair, non-market based advantage.

The author argues that Leftism and "diversity" policies lead to creating an "echo chamber" within the company, where a person only talks to those who share their opinions, and, through this conversation, is reinforced in the opinion that their beliefs are the only ones that matter. This "echo chamber" narrows one's intellectual horizon and undermines work efficiency, with following "the party line" taking precedence over real productivity.

In contrast to Google's buzzwords of "vision" and "innovation", the author claims that the company has lost its sight behind its self-imposed ideological blindfold and is stuck in a morass.

As Google employs intellectuals, argues the critic, and most modern Western intellectuals are from the Left, this leads to creating a closed Leftist clique within the company. If the Right rejects everything contrary to the God>human>nature hierarchy, the Left declares all natural differences between humans to be nonexistent or created by social constructs.

The central Leftist idea is the class struggle, and, given that the proletariat vs. bourgeoisie struggle is now irrelevant, the atmosphere of struggle has been transposed onto gender and race relations. Oppressed Blacks are fighting against White oppressors, oppressed women challenge oppressive males. And the corporate management (and, until recently, the US presidency) is charged with bringing the "dictatorship of the proletariat" to life by imposing the "diversity" policy.

The critic argues that the witch-hunt of Centrists and Conservatives, who are forced to conceal their political alignment or resign from the job, is not the only effect of this Leftist tyranny. Leftism also leads to inefficiency, as the coveted job goes not to the best there is but to the "best woman of color". There are multiple educational or motivation programs open only to women or minorities. This leads to plummeting efficiencies, disincentivizes White men from putting effort into work, and creates a climate of nervousness, if not sabotage. Instead of churning out new ground-breaking products, opines the critic, Google wastes too much effort on fanning the flames of class struggle.

What is the proposed solution?

Stop diving people into "oppressors" and "the oppressed" and forcefully oppressing the alleged oppressors. Stop branding every dissident as an immoral scoundrel, a racist, etc.

The diversity of opinion must apply to everyone. The company must stop alienating Conservatives, who are, to call a spade a spade, a minority that needs their rights to be protected. In addition, conservatively-inclined people have their own advantages, such as a focused and methodical approach to work.

Fight all kinds of prejudice, not only those deemed worthy by the politically correct America.

End diversity programs discriminatory towards White men and replace them with non-discriminatory ones.

Have an unbiased assessment of the costs and efficiency of diversity programs, which are not only expensive but also pit one part of the company's employees against the other.

Instead of gender and race differences, focus on psychological safety within the company. Instead of calling to "feel the others' pain", discuss facts. Instead of cultivating sensitivity and soft skins, analyze real issues.

Admit that not all racial or gender differences are social constructs or products of oppression. Be open towards the study of human nature.

The last point proved to be the most vulnerable, as the author of the manifesto went on to formulate his ideas on male vs. female differences that should be accepted as fact if Google is to improve its performance.

The differences argued by the author are as follows:

Women are more interested in people, men are more interested in objects.

Women are prone to cooperation, men to competition. All too often, women can't take the methods of competition considered natural among men.

Women are looking for a balance between work and private life, men are obsessed with status

Feminism played a major part in emancipating women from their gender roles, but men are still strongly tied to theirs. If the society seeks to "feminize" men, this will only lead to them leaving STEM for "girly" occupations (which will weaken society in the long run).

It was the think piece on the natural differences of men and women that provoked the greatest ire. The author was immediately charged with propagating outdated sexist stereotypes, and the Google management commenced a search for the dissent, with a clear purpose of giving him the sack. On 8th August, the heretic was revealed to be James Damore, a programmer. He was fired with immediate effect because, as claimed by Google CEO Sundar Pichai, "portions of the memo violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace". Damore announced that he was considering a lawsuit.

We live in a post-Trump day and age, that is why the Western press is far from having a unanimous verdict on the Damore affair. Some call him "a typical sexist", for others he is a "free speech martyr". By dismissing Damore from his job, Google implicitly confirmed that all claims of an "echo chamber" and aggressive Leftist intolerance were precisely on point. Julian Assange has already tweeted: "Censorship is for losers, WikiLeaks is offering a job to fired Google engineer James Damore".

It is highly plausible that the Damore Memo may play the same breakthrough part in discussing the politically correct insanity as WikiLeaks and Snowden files did in discussing the dirty laundry of governments and secret services. If it comes to pass, Damore will make history as a new Martin Luther challenging the Liberal "Popery".

However, his intellectual audacity notwithstanding, it should be noted that Damore's own views are vulnerable to Conservative criticism. Unfortunately, like the bulk of Western thought, they fall into the trap of Leftist "cultural constructivism" and Conservative naturalism.

Allegedly, there are only two possible viewpoints. Either gender and race differences are biologically preordained and therefore unremovable and therefore should always be taken into account, or those differences are no more than social constructs and should be destroyed for being arbitrary and unfair.

The ideological groundwork of the opposing viewpoints is immediately apparent. Both equate "biological" with "natural" and therefore "true", and "social" with "artificial" and therefore "arbitrary" and "false". Both sides reject "prejudice" in favor of "vision", but politically correct Leftists reject only a fraction of prejudices while the critic calls for throwing all of them away indiscriminately.

As a response, Damore gets slapped with an accusation of drawing upon misogynist prejudice for his own ideas. Likewise, his view of Conservatives is quite superficial. The main Conservative trait is not putting effort into routine work but drawing upon tradition for creative inspiration. The Conservative principle is "innovation through tradition".

The key common mistake of both Google Leftists and their critic is their vision of stereotypes as a negative distortion of some natural truth. If both sides went for an in-depth reading of Edmund Burke, the "father of Conservatism", they would learn that the prejudice is a colossal historical experience pressurized into a pre-logical form, a collective consciousness that acts when individual reason fails or a scrupulous analysis is impossible. In such circumstances, following the prejudice is a more sound strategy than contradicting it. Prejudice is shorthand for common sense. Sometimes it oversimplifies things, but still works most of the time. And, most importantly, all attempts to act "in spite of the prejudice" almost invariably end in disaster.

Illustration to the Google scandal. A fox sits gazing at the Google's Ideological Echo Chamber exposing the ideas of the fired engineer James Damore. Source: Screenshot of Instragram user bluehelix.

However, the modern era allows us to diagnose our own prejudice and rationalize them so we could control them better, as opposed to blind obedience or rejection. Moreover, if the issue of "psychological training" ever becomes relevant in a country as conservative as Russia is, that is the problem we should concentrate on: analyzing the roots of our prejudices and their efficient use.

The same could be argued for gender relations. Damore opposes the Leftist "class struggle of the genders" with a technocratic model of maximizing the profit from each gender's pros and cons. This functionalism appears to be logical in its own way, but is indeed based on too broad assumptions, claiming that all women are unfit for competition, that all of them like relationships and housekeeping while all men are driven by objects and career. And, as Damore claims biological grounds for his assumptions, all our options boil down to mostly agreeing with him or branding him as a horrible sexist and male chauvinist.

However, the fact that gender roles historically developed based on biology but are, as a whole, a construct of society and culture does not give an excuse to changing or tearing them down, as clamored by Leftists. Quite the contrary: the social, cultural, and historical determinism of these roles gives us a reason to keep them in generally the same form without any coups or revolutions.

First, that tradition is an ever-growing accumulation of experience. Rejecting tradition is tantamount to social default and requires very good reasons to justify. Second, no change of tradition occurs as a result of a "gender revolution", only its parodic inversion. Putting men into high heels, miniskirts, and bras, fighting against urinals in public WCs only reverses the polarity without creating true equality. The public consciousness still sees the "male" as "superior", and demoting "masculinity" to "femininity" as a deliberate degradation of the "superior". No good can come of it, just as no good came out of humiliating wealth and nobility during the Communist revolution in Russia. What's happening now is not equal rights for women but the triumph of gender Bolshevism.

Damore's error, therefore, consists in abandoning the domain of the social and the historical to the enemy while limiting the Conservative sphere of influence to the natural, biological domain. However, the single most valuable trait in conservative worldview is defending the achievements of history and not just biological determinism.

The final goal of a Conservative solution to the gender problem should not be limited to a rationalist functionalization of society. It should lead to discovering a social cohesion where adhering to traditional male and female ways and stereotypes (let's not call them roles – the world is not a stage, and men and women not merely players) would not keep males and females from expressing themselves in other domains, provided they have a genuine calling and talent.

The art of war is not typical of a woman; however, women warriors such as Joan of Arc leave a much greater impact in historical memory. The art of government is seen as mostly male, yet it makes great female rulers, marked not by functional usefulness but true charisma, all the more memorable. The family is the stereotypical domain of the woman, which leads to greater reverence towards fathers that put their heart and soul into their families.

Social cohesion, an integral part of it being the harmony of men and women in the temple of the family, is the ideal to be pursued by our Russian, Orthodox, Conservative society. It is the collapse of the family that made gender relations into such an enormous issue in the West: men and women are no longer joined in a nucleus of solidarity but pitted against one another as members of antagonistic classes. And this struggle, as the Damore Memo has demonstrated, is already stymieing the business of Western corporations. Well, given our current hostile relations, it's probably for the better.

[Aug 11, 2017] Making Sense of the Google Memo

Notable quotes:
"... Neuroscientist Debra W. Soh, writing at Quillette, observes that ..."
"... It is well-established by Pinker and other scientists that women have higher IQs on average, while men preponderate the extremes of brilliance and dullness. ..."
Aug 11, 2017 | www.unz.com

...Damore has joined an increasing number of people from the worlds of business and academia to be sacrificed at the altar of diversity. In an unsurprising public relations move, Google has succeeded in saving some face by appeasing the partisans of political correctness and of so-called equality. Meanwhile, those who don't subscribe to the progressive delusion may feel more anxious at the prospect of failing to play the coward's game correctly. Can one sneeze these days without offending the HR department?

Google CEO Sundar Pichai, in a memo laden with incoherence and hypocrisy, says that

we strongly support the right of Googlers to express themselves, and much of what was in that memo is fair to debate, regardless of whether a vast majority of Googlers disagree with it. However, portions of the memo violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace. Our job is to build great products for users that make a difference in their lives. To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK. It is contrary to our basic values and our Code of Conduct, which expects "each Googler to do their utmost to create a workplace culture that is free of harassment, intimidation, bias and unlawful discrimination."

The memo has clearly impacted our co-workers, some of whom are hurting and feel judged based on their gender. Our co-workers shouldn't have to worry that each time they open their mouths to speak in a meeting, they have to prove that they are not like the memo states, being "agreeable" rather than "assertive," showing a "lower stress tolerance," or being "neurotic."

At the same time, there are co-workers who are questioning whether they can safely express their views in the workplace (especially those with a minority viewpoint). They too feel under threat, and that is also not OK. People must feel free to express dissent. So to be clear again, many points raised in the memo!such as the portions criticizing Google's trainings, questioning the role of ideology in the workplace, and debating whether programs for women and underserved groups are sufficiently open to all!are important topics. The author had a right to express their views on those topics!we encourage an environment in which people can do this and it remains our policy to not take action against anyone for prompting these discussions.

What were those "harmful gender stereotypes," so "offensive" to the good team members at Google? Let's take a look at the first paragraph of the memo that has so many people worried about the white patriarchal obstacle that, now as ever, stands cruelly in the progressive path.

I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don't endorse using stereotypes. When addressing the gap in representation in the population, we need to look at population level differences in distributions. If we can't have an honest discussion about this, then we can never truly solve the problem. Psychological safety is built on mutual respect and acceptance, but unfortunately our culture of shaming and misrepresentation is disrespectful and unaccepting of anyone outside its echo chamber. Despite what the public response seems to have been, I've gotten many personal messages from fellow Googlers expressing their gratitude for bringing up these very important issues which they agree with but would never have the courage to say or defend because of our shaming culture and the possibility of being fired. This needs to change.

Surely no unbiased reader can fail to find Damore's words eminently reasonable. Though recently fired, the man is no enemy of diversity and inclusion, nor does he say sexism is not a real problem. There is nothing here (or elsewhere in the memo) to suggest he is not fair-minded. Indeed, if you read his memo, you will surely see!so long, again, as you are not biased!that as people go, Damore is exceptionally fair in his perceptions and reasoning, though it is well to remember Emerson's maxim: "To be great is to be misunderstood." Damore is concerned to give some nuance to understanding the issues since, after all, it is not prima facie evident that men and women are utterly the same; with the result that, where a corporation's representation of gender does not wholly reflect the national population, sexism is present by definition. The crucial phrase is "differences in distribution." Though feminists, progressives and Leftists generally are keen to deny it, men and women are not mere blank slates on which the "unequal" environment imprints its ink; we should not assume as a matter of course that something is awry if the workplace reflects! as it inevitably must !those gender differences which we all seem to notice the moment we leave it.

Neuroscientist Debra W. Soh, writing at Quillette, observes that

within the field of neuroscience, sex differences between women and men!when it comes to brain structure and function and associated differences in personality and occupational preferences!are understood to be true, because the evidence for them (thousands of studies) is strong. This is not information that's considered controversial or up for debate; if you tried to argue otherwise, or for purely social influences, you'd be laughed at.

Sex researchers recognize that these differences are not inherently supportive of sexism or stratifying opportunities based on sex. It is only because a group of individuals have chosen to interpret them that way, and to subsequently deny the science around them, that we have to have this conversation at a public level. Some of these ideas have been published in neuroscientific journals!despite having faulty study methodology!because they've been deemed socially pleasing and "progressive." As a result, there's so much misinformation out there now that people genuinely don't know what to believe.

Also at Quillette , eminent evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller remarks that "almost all of the Google memo's empirical claims are scientifically accurate. Moreover, they are stated quite carefully and dispassionately. Its key claims about sex differences are especially well-supported by large volumes of research across species, cultures, and history."

Steven Pinker himself!he of the very solid liberal credentials!has published much rigorous work on natural gender differences, in both intelligence and personality traits. Here he is on YouTube, giving a talk which might be used to support James Damore's case:

Note, what is so revealing, that Pinker takes care to appease the dogmatic academic crowd via the usual trite and simplistic reduction of human history to patriarchal oppression, lest, like Ibsen's Dr. Stockmann, he be thought an enemy of the people. It can't be that man simply found himself in a harsh world in which his superior brute strength was an immense advantage. It can't be that a severe division of labor was for most of history inevitable for the sexes. Like the Jews, man has always been behind the scenes, conspiring to oppress everyone. Well, at least Pinker was prudent. After all, those aggressive, broad-shouldered feminists have been known to body slam many an hysterically logical speaker.

Like Geoffrey Miller's, Pinker's work helps us to see better what ordinary people already know well enough from everyday life (and which, thankfully for them, they feel no need to deny, outside of the increasingly touchy workplace, anyway): that men and women are indeed different; nor is it obvious, in a sane world, why that should be such a scandal. For these differences, qua differences, are value neutral. My working-class mother, who never finished high school, is not obviously inferior as a person to Heather MacDonald, despite my own admiration for that excellent and courageous scholar-journalist.

It is well-established by Pinker and other scientists that women have higher IQs on average, while men preponderate the extremes of brilliance and dullness. Many if not most Google employees surely do have exceptionally high IQs. That men should so excel at the Google corporation!as they do at so many other things at the highest level!reflects Nature itself and is consistent with a massive amount of empirical findings. It is also consistent with many traditional stereotypes, for the most part. The psychologist Lee Jusim, among others, has done excellent work on the overwhelming accuracy (though typically, much suppressed) of stereotypes. If you want to see a humorous example of the truth of stereotypes, see the exceedingly emotional reactions by the female Google employees!who have made their disgust well-known on Twitter!that Pichai describes in the second paragraph where I quote him above. It is reported that many female Google employees stayed home from work on Monday, triggered into melancholy by Damore's truthful words. Tragically, the feminist quilting bee soon degenerated into a wild intersectional tizzy, the rotund blue and pink-haired ladies of various races and gender identities squabbling over whose cat should first be allowed to peck at Damore's soon to be flayed carcass. Looking at the photos and social media accounts of Google's Diversity-rabble, one is struck by how stereotypical they are; virtually everyone looks fresh from a Judith Butler conference at Bryn Mawr college: trans-this, queer-that, communist, ad nauseam . Defective specimens of divorce culture, therapy culture, and human folly and degeneration generally. Persons who, hardly ever having been around traditional masculinity, cannot but misunderstand it, and with the all-too-human fear and hatred of the unknown. Perusing pictures of Google CEO Sundar Pichai, one perceives, quite palpably, a typical skinny, weak, effete twenty-first century Last Man: born to take orders from nasty women and resentment-pipers generally

Gender differences may be bad news for Feminist Dogma, yet as Pinker says in his talk, the truth cannot be sexist, nor should it be "harmful"!to an adult mind, at least. Of course, like Lawrence Summers, who was obliged to step down from the Harvard Presidency a while back for not going along with Feminist Dogma, Pinker has caught fire from feminists!increasingly nasty women, as it were. Sundar Pichai, like our feminists, says all the right things about diversity and the like, but when it comes to the reality of one gender being better, on average, at, say, engineering, he goes in for cant about "harmful gender stereotypes." If, though, anybody was to say, what there is also much evidence to support, that women, on average, are better at language skills than men, nobody would be troubled. Such hypocritical intolerance by the partisans of tolerance should be expected to continue apace, unless we others make a principled stand. Looking at the academy and at our intellectuals in general, we may wonder how so many people can manage to walk upright without a spine. Alas, more vital work for the deplorables.

The Diversity Idol is confused and inherently self-defeating. As Debra W. Soh puts it in the The Globe and Mail ,

research has shown that cultures with greater gender equity have larger sex differences when it comes to job preferences, because in these societies, people are free to choose their occupations based on what they enjoy.

As the memo suggests, seeking to fulfill a 50-per-cent quota of women in STEM is unrealistic. As gender equity continues to improve in developing societies, we should expect to see this gender gap widen.

The Diversity Idol also reeks of hypocrisy. Where are all the calls for more women in bricklaying and coal mining, fields in which there are hardly any women?

As for women's relative lack of leadership positions, at Google and elsewhere, much the best explanation is that by Jordan Peterson. The issue is not so much lack of ability as (sensible) lack of interest. Why, Peterson asks, should women want anything to do with what is commonly called leadership, seeing as it is generally a quite mad and foolish affair (endless work and stress, all for wealth that does not make happy)? Women's relative lack of interest in so-called leadership!which ultimately, today as yesterday, amounts in the main to men vying to outdo one another in order to win the favor of women in the sexual marketplace!signifies their greater good sense, which certainly is of a piece with their greater psychological and emotional discernment generally, and quite a long way from man's lunatic competitiveness and zeal for mammon. It is well to reflect on just what women are really missing out on by not exercising the power that men do, all in all. Is it a power worth having, most of the time? Do we not find our highest good when we are free to pursue that which has inherent value? Then too, there is the reality, hardly recognized in our time, that, as G.K. Chesterton put it, "feminism is mixed up with a muddled idea that women are free when they serve their employers but slaves when they help their husbands." For my own part, though an awful cook, I should rather be a house husband at home tending to my children than live a professional death-in-life at some touchy, humorless office.

In our status-obsessed society, there are constant gripes about how women are "excluded" from exercising power in the workplace. Meanwhile nobody says anything about the enormous psycho-biological power women possess simply by virtue of being women. This power, of course, is essentially determined by a woman's attractiveness, which is closely associated with youth and good health. No surprise, then, that women all over the world are forever trying to appear as attractive as possible, to the cost of billions every year. Such power, though inevitably prevalent in the workplace itself, far transcends it: it is a law of Nature itself, and indeed one of the strongest. As noted above, the endless male struggle for status mostly comes down to being able to obtain a desirable woman.

Today we see countless attractive young women spending vast amounts of time uploading photos of themselves on social media. How many wish to be a star! Hence that increasingly common phenomenon the duck face, which some might take for a kind of strange medical affliction: "Pucker up," thinks the generic young beauty in her vanity; "everybody's watching!" Like women on the many dating websites and apps, these social media darlings find that they can hardly keep up with all the male attention!surely an intoxicating pleasure, although doubtless often corrupting. No matter their intentions, and whether they are aware of it or not, such women are extremely powerful. The notion that a woman like Emily Ratajkowski is "oppressed" because of her "objectification" is absurd beyond description. Hers is a most willful objection; there is massive power in it; and even if the stunner was not affluent through her modeling and other endeavors, she would still not have to work: countess men would get in line to provide for her, now as ever. On the other hand, take away Bill Gates' billions, and how many women would even give that unattractive, uncharming fellow the time of day?

Google and other corporations, to maximize their profits, feel obliged to keep the diversity crowd happy. Yet there is, ironically, nothing the diversity crowd opposes more than diversity itself. To see this, consider that to effect "social justice," we must all become thesame , like a mad God who chooses to bungle His creation. For, so long as I differ from you in some way or other, it will always be possible to make a value judgment!of inferiority, of superiority, or of whatever!concerning that difference. And this would be true even if everyone had the same amount of money, even if there were no private property, and so on. For the most part, the social justice crowd is not motivated by benevolent justice, but by wicked resentment: that is why it wants not universal economic sufficiency (which I strongly support, insofar as it is achievable), but equality of outcome; with the result that comparative value judgment will be impossible.

Now equality of outcome derives from human psychology, from the permanent truth that there's nothing we children of pride detest more than the thought: "That person is better than me." Seeing other people perceive that superiority induces the same burning, violent envy, like a child who wants to destroy his parent's favored sibling. Indeed, from childhood on, man!the esteeming animal!defines himself in terms of competition, of rank, of hierarchy. No artist or athlete wants to be equal to another. Not every person, waxing indignant about inequality, wants to make the same income as every neighbor; very few do, in fact. Like suffering and death, this extreme competiveness is a law of Nature, from which we merely issue. Try to get rid of it, and see what mediocrity, corruption and degeneration follow. I say, look around you.

Biographical note: Christopher DeGroot is a writer and independent scholar in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

CanSpeccy > , Website August 11, 2017 at 4:27 am GMT

regardless of whether a vast majority of Googlers disagree with it.

Pichai is is an idiot. If a vast majority of "Googlers" disagreed with Damore's memorandum, how come most oppose his firing .

If Google's board wishes to avoid massive damage to the company, they should fire Pichai without delay on the grounds of his dishonesty and stupidity.

But the won't.

Good.

Let the manipulative, globalist, scum suffer massive damage to their credibility: credibility they do not deserve.

bliss_porsena > , August 11, 2017 at 4:58 am GMT

I have just staggered through Pepe Escobar on the Goolag Deep Swamp Memo and beg to be excused from more of the same, or similar.

jilles dykstra > , August 11, 2017 at 6:10 am GMT

Christopher Lasch, 'The Culture of Narcissism, American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations', 1979, 1980, London
already argues that truth does not matter any more.

TG > , August 11, 2017 at 7:46 am GMT

The field of Optometry is increasingly dominated by women. I have served on the admissions committee for an optometry school, and we'd like a better balance between male and female, but if most of the best applicants are female, well that's that and nobody whines. Many of these applicants are quite up-front about choosing optometry because it offers a better work-life balance than, say, ophthalmic surgery, and again, so what?

New enrollment in US medical schools is now 50/50 between men and women, and will likely become majority female before too long. Where is the angst?

And I remind you that, on average, people with degrees in medicine and optometry have significantly larger salaries than people with degrees in engineering, and significantly longer careers. On balance, I'd not say that professional women are doing all that bad. It's just that, for whatever reasons, the smart women tend to choose medicine over engineering. I fail to see a problem here.

Dieter Kief > , August 11, 2017 at 8:56 am GMT

The Pope, Emerson an Chesterton quotes are great. Especially the Pope-quote.
Thanks for putting Pinker, Peterson and Soh at the right place in the big picture.

These lines are a little bit misleading, because siblings rivlary is nothing exclusively boyish. There are women-athletes who want to win too, aren't there?

Seeing other people perceive that superiority induces the same burning, violent envy, like a child who wants to destroy his parent's favored sibling. Indeed, from childhood on, man!the esteeming animal!defines himself in terms of competition, of rank, of hierarchy. No artist or athlete wants to be equal to another. Not every person, waxing indignant about inequality, wants to make the same income as every neighbor; very few do, in fact.

((Article is very good – if a tad long, maybe.))

Zogby > , August 11, 2017 at 11:13 am GMT

How come noone is discussing the role that Pinchai is himself a product of affirmitive action plays in this? Do people really believe an Indian immigrant would serve as CEO of Google, as CEO of Microsoft if not for affirmitive action? Being CEO is not an engineering position. There are plenty of native-born mainstream Americans that could do these jobs. Most large American companies would never give the job of CEO to an immigrant from a 3rd-world country. Some of the business men that founded large companies may be immigrants, but it's different if they built the company. They're in control. Pinchai is just a hired hand, like Damore was.

Njguy73 > , August 11, 2017 at 11:26 am GMT

"Science is an odd sort of pursuit, way off the beaten track of human intellection There were theologians and politicians long, long, long before there were scientists. In dark moments I am inclined to think the former will still be with us long after the latter have been eliminated, probably via mass lynching Scientists themselves tend to forget this because they associate mainly with other scientists."

John Derbyshire, 2007

http://www.johnderbyshire.com/Opinions/Religion/religionandpolitics.html

jim jones > , August 11, 2017 at 11:28 am GMT

Good thread on Reddit by a hiring manager about the realities of diversity:

https://www.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/comments/6scd84/long_my_experience_as_a

Anonymous > , Disclaimer August 11, 2017 at 1:02 pm GMT

"It is well-established by Pinker and other scientists that women have higher IQs on average, while men preponderate the extremes of brilliance and dullness."

First time I'm hearing that claim. I've heard about the flatter, wider Bell Curve for men but the average IQ was either the same or even higher. That's also more logical since men need higher IQs to both prove themselves as providers and charm the pants off their mates. Women love intelligence + health in their mates while men look for beauty + health. A highly stratified, unequal and un-meritocratic (old money, castes or arranged marriages) system can distort the choices quite a bit but that's the baseline.

This is also interesting if true:

Recent research using DNA analysis answered this question about two years ago. Today's human population is descended from twice as many women as men.

I think this difference is the single most underappreciated fact about gender. To get that kind of difference, you had to have something like, throughout the entire history of the human race, maybe 80% of women but only 40% of men reproduced.

https://archive.is/9F5rK

CanSpeccy > , Website August 11, 2017 at 3:24 pm GMT

@The Alarmist Damone is somebody's shill. Nobody with two functioning brain cells would publish that memo in that environment without some expectation of losing his job; either he is looking for fame and a payout, or he is simply insane.

Damone [sic] is somebody's shill.

.So exposing the reality of liberal-leftist bigotry, bullying and discrimination is proof that you're "sombody's shill"? What kind of bullshit argument is that?

Nobody with two functioning brain cells would publish that memo in that environment without some expectation of losing his job; either he is looking for fame and a payout, or he is simply insane.

Which reveals what a scoundrel mentality you have. Exposing corruption, bigotry, and manipulation of the public mind through the control of information is something you think a sane person would do, only for fame or money.

The idea of blowing the whistle on a bunch of dirty manipulators, bigots, bullies and scumbags who routinely misdirect the public for both political ends or to boost profits because you no longer wish to work with them, or because you think the public should know what such people are doing, or because you believe in propagating truth not using the most powerful tools for the enlightenment of humanity for the purpose of pushing some grotesque leftist agenda is, apparently, to a moral numbskull such as yourself, unintelligible.

What a sick society America has become, that it can produce individuals who not only think as you do, but who think anyone who thinks otherwise is insane.

But the cherry on the cake is that Damore did not blow the whistle on anyone. He merely circulated a memorandum among what Pichai, Google's idiot savant CEO, calls "Googlers". It was Pichai, confirming his own idiocy, who blew the whistle on himself by firing Damore.

What delicious irony. The shit CEO of the dirty search engine company, dicked himself.

anonymous > , Disclaimer August 11, 2017 at 3:41 pm GMT

@jilles dykstra Christopher Lasch, 'The Culture of Narcissism, American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations', 1979, 1980, London
already argues that truth does not matter any more. Thanks for referencing this book. Read it when it was first published. As such it served as my introduction to Lasch, who was a very prescient thinker (read "The True and Only Heaven"). And here's what's disturbing: Lasch, as I recall, pointed out that narcissism is in fact a mental disorder which is considered to be so deep-seated as to be impossible to cure.

[Aug 11, 2017] Steve Sailer

Aug 11, 2017 | www.unz.com

From Ben Kurtz :

Google has just earned itself a lawsuit.

California Labor Code § 1102 requires that "no employer shall coerce or influence or attempt to coerce or influence his employees through or by means of threat of discharge or loss of employment to adopt or follow or refrain from adopting or following any particular course or line of political action or political activity." Furthermore, the "whistleblower" provisions at §1102.5 prohibit employers from adopting rules preventing disclosure of, or retaliating against an employee for having disclosed, "information to a person with authority over the employee, or another employee who has authority to investigate, discover or correct the violation if the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses a violation of state or federal statute, or a violation of or noncompliance with a local, state, or federal rule or regulation, regardless of whether disclosing the information is part of the employee's job duties."

The memo in question quite plausibly falls into both statutory sections ! advocating that someone "stop alienating conservatives" sure sounds like political activity, and warning of corporate policies and procedures "which can incentivize illegal discrimination," and asking that the employer cease "restricting [certain] programs and classes to certain genders or races" sure sounds like information which an employee would have "reasonable cause to believe" concerns noncompliance with federal and state anti-discrimination laws.

Even better: Somebody could go to jail for this.

Section 1103 provides: "An employer or any other person or entity that violates this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable, in the case of an individual, by imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one year or a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) or both that fine and imprisonment, or, in the case of a corporation, by a fine not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000).

Alec Leamas (hard at work) > , August 11, 2017 at 2:26 pm GMT

@jjbees I had this thought this morning, and while I know it has been said a million times, it still leaves me in awe:

It is so obviously true that men and women are different, that people of different races are different, that for someone to say otherwise is simply insane. These people are insane.

It is so obviously true that men and women are different, that people of different races are different, that for someone to say otherwise is simply insane. These people are insane.

The people at the top don't really believe it. But they do think saying so or acting as if it is true is a fatal breach of decorum and evidence that the speaker doesn't want it to be true. It's like telling a committed Christian that heaven doesn't seem all that nice or desirable.

From a practical perspective, it's harmful to say at Google because of the inevitable flip-outs and resultant lack of productivity.

Think about being in Babu's shoes – you've taken over a tech giant headquartered in the most socially radical region of the United States, which has employed countless employees who skew young and have been steeped from childhood in equalist fantasies. Even if James Damore's statements are correct and even if acting in conformity with the realities he sets forth would lead to the long term financial health and well-being of the Company, in the short term it's a disaster to have all of your Monster Baby employees pitching fits and potentially acting as saboteurs inside the organization to punish you for not getting rid of the heretic. It's easier to throw the occasional James Damore into the volcano (ensuring he will probably be the last) and take the legal consequences than to leave him in place and see the place burnt to the ground.

oddsbodkins > , August 11, 2017 at 2:27 pm GMT

@jjbees It's always tempting to think that one's enemies are collectively insane. They aren't.

Even Japanese soldiers who held out on islands for years were not insane. What they were is loyal, dedicated, and convinced.

tullamore92 > , August 11, 2017 at 3:11 pm GMT

@jjbees https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/124952-in-my-study-of-communist-societies-i-came-to-the

schmenz > , August 11, 2017 at 3:30 pm GMT

@reiner Tor This makes them all the more dangerous. Exactly.

anon > , Disclaimer August 11, 2017 at 3:33 pm GMT

I think Google should just pack up and move a little north. They can setup shop in Canada (Vancouver is a nice city; they have lot of real estate on Vancouver Island, if they want to build a silicon valley). The politics in US is simply too poisonous for an information/knowledge/wisdom plumber.

Tim Howells > , August 11, 2017 at 3:35 pm GMT

Yeah, yeah but does the employee belong to a protected class? Don't get your hopes up.

Achmed E. Newman > , Website August 11, 2017 at 3:56 pm GMT

@reiner Tor

It is so obviously true that men and women are different, that people of different races are different, that for someone to say otherwise is simply insane. These people are insane.

This makes them all the more dangerous.

Hence, the invention of the straight-jacket – probably by some white man or something. Go long straight-jackets, bitchez! [/style: zerohedge-commenter]

San Fernando Curt > , Website August 11, 2017 at 3:56 pm GMT

The day they haul out Cherry Sundae and clap him in irons would be de day ob de Jubilee. I won't hold my breath.

KM32 > , August 11, 2017 at 4:08 pm GMT

There is zero chance that he'll be prosecuted for this. What the law says is one thing, and how it is interpreted is another.

NickG > , August 11, 2017 at 4:59 pm GMT

Is a Google Executive Headed for Jail?

This would have been vastly more entertaining in pukka colonial vernacular .

Is Google's top coolie to be banged up in the chokey?

James Bowery > , Website August 11, 2017 at 5:02 pm GMT

It's an execrable law but I wouldn't be honest if I didn't recognize the perverse "social justice" it would provide, if not selectively enforced. Of course, it will be selectively enforced, as are all such execrable laws.

If I could, I'd sentence every CEO, and every journalist covering the Damore story to read this:

http://jimbowery.blogspot.com/2017/08/the-mau-mauing-of-james-damore.html

Desiderius > , August 11, 2017 at 5:03 pm GMT

@jjbees It's sad funny reading the Heterodox Academy's response which bends over backward to take the madness seriously in a vain (in more ways than one) attempt to preserve their centrist brand.

Jack D > , August 11, 2017 at 5:11 pm GMT

@reiner Tor Any child can believe things that are simply and obviously true, but as Orwell observed, "There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them."

Therefore, believing in absurd stuff is sort of an intellectual badge – "I believe in stuff that is absurd on its face and have the ability to rationalize anything. So you know that I must be a bona fide intellectual."

reiner Tor > , August 11, 2017 at 5:48 pm GMT

@Jack D Yes, but it doesn't make them any less crazy. Or dangerous.

Jim Don Bob > , August 11, 2017 at 5:57 pm GMT

Please God!

whorefinder > , Website August 11, 2017 at 5:57 pm GMT

Yeah, he ain't going to jail.

Everyone knows these kinds of "crimes" are really there to be used against white men. They are selectively enforced. So California will either decline to prosecute!and if questioned, say Newspeakingly that there "not enough evidence"!or, if they are forced prosecute, give him probation.

This is rather how "hate crime" legislation (which is clearly unconstitutional, but hey, Diversity!) works. Blacks whined about how they're always criminals and whitey isn't, legislators responded with legislation giving judges the power to overpunish whiteys in white/nonwhite crimes to satisfy the bloodlust. And when blacks commit one? The prosecutors ignore the hate crime aspects and treat it as a non-hate crime.

This happens in a lot of physical fights. In fights, people tend to scream lots of demaning insults at each other; it's the nature of the adrenaline (and in men, also testosterone) kicking in. SO if a white and black and get in a fight and the white lets a racial slur slip out!even if the fight clearly began over something non-racial(i.e. a traffic incident, a fight over a girl)!-the prosecutors will climb all over each other to get whitey on a hate crime. But even if a blacks starts out with the clear intention to assault white people for being white!"I'm going to go beat up some white people, yo, I hate them"! you watch how rarely they get the "hate crime" charge.enhancement.

It's Bonfire of the Vanities 's theme writ into law.

keuril > , August 11, 2017 at 6:08 pm GMT

@Jack D Any child can believe things that are simply and obviously true, but as Orwell observed, "There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them."

Therefore, believing in absurd stuff is sort of an intellectual badge - "I believe in stuff that is absurd on its face and have the ability to rationalize anything. So you know that I must be a bona fide intellectual."

Therefore, believing in absurd stuff is sort of an intellectual badge – "I believe in stuff that is absurd on its face and have the ability to rationalize anything. So you know that I must be a bona fide intellectual

That is, by the way, exactly how Amazon has achieved its ludicrous valuation!an army of insecure, pseudo-intellectual analysts affirming that a company that has never managed a substantial profit in more than 20 yrs as a public corporation can indefinitely "reinvest revenues something something." The same madness we find in the political sphere exists in the financial sphere as well.

[Aug 11, 2017] Google's ideological echo chamber

The most stupid thing to do was to fire this guy. The paper raises an important question -- at what point affirmative action becomes discrimination. But the author does not understand that gender bias is an important part of identity wedge -- a powerful tool under neoliberalism to split and marginalized opposition to neoliberal fat cats adopted and polished by Clintonized Democratic Party (DemoRats).
Notable quotes:
"... ( Editor's note: The following is a 10-page memo written by an anonymous senior software engineer at Google.) ..."
"... This silencing has created an ideological echo chamber where some ideas are too sacred to be honestly discussed. ..."
"... [1] This document is mostly written from the perspective of Google's Mountain View campus, I can't speak about other offices or countries. ..."
"... [2] Of course, I may be biased and only see evidence that supports my viewpoint. In terms of political biases, I consider myself a classical liberal and strongly value individualism and reason. I'd be very happy to discuss any of the document further and provide more citations. ..."
"... [3] Throughout the document, by "tech", I mostly mean software engineering. ..."
"... [4] For heterosexual romantic relationships, men are more strongly judged by status and women by beauty. Again, this has biological origins and is culturally universal. ..."
"... [5] Stretch, BOLD, CSSI, Engineering Practicum (to an extent), and several other Google funded internal and external programs are for people with a certain gender or race. ..."
"... [6] Instead set Googlegeist OKRs, potentially for certain demographics. We can increase representation at an org level by either making it a better environment for certain groups (which would be seen in survey scores) or discriminating based on a protected status (which is illegal and I've seen it done). Increased representation OKRs can incentivize the latter and create zero-sum struggles between orgs. ..."
"... [7] Communism promised to be both morally and economically superior to capitalism, but every attempt became morally corrupt and an economic failure. As it became clear that the working class of the liberal democracies wasn't going to overthrow their "capitalist oppressors," the Marxist intellectuals transitioned from class warfare to gender and race politics. The core oppressor-oppressed dynamics remained, but now the oppressor is the "white, straight, cis-gendered patriarchy." ..."
"... [8] Ironically, IQ tests were initially championed by the Left when meritocracy meant helping the victims of the aristocracy. ..."
"... [9] Yes, in a national aggregate, women have lower salaries than men for a variety of reasons. For the same work though, women get paid just as much as men. Considering women spend more money than men and that salary represents how much the employees sacrifices (e.g. more hours, stress, and danger), we really need to rethink our stereotypes around power. ..."
"... [10] "The traditionalist system of gender does not deal well with the idea of men needing support. Men are expected to be strong, to not complain, and to deal with problems on their own. Men's problems are more often seen as personal failings rather than victimhood,, due to our gendered idea of agency. This discourages men from bringing attention to their issues (whether individual or group-wide issues), for fear of being seen as whiners, complainers, or weak." ..."
"... [11] Political correctness is defined as "the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against," which makes it clear why it's a phenomenon of the Left and a tool of authoritarians. ..."
Aug 11, 2017 | www.wnd.com

( Editor's note: The following is a 10-page memo written by an anonymous senior software engineer at Google.)

I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don't endorse using stereotypes. When addressing the gap in representation in the population, we need to look at population level differences in distributions. If we can't have an honest discussion about this, then we can never truly solve the problem. Psychological safety is built on mutual respect and acceptance, but unfortunately our culture of shaming and misrepresentation is disrespectful and unaccepting of anyone outside its echo chamber. Despite what the public response seems to have been, I've gotten many personal messages from fellow Googlers expressing their gratitude for bringing up these very important issues which they agree with but would never have the courage to say or defend because of our shaming culture and the possibility of being fired. This needs to change.

TL:DR

Background [1]

People generally have good intentions, but we all have biases which are invisible to us. Thankfully, open and honest discussion with those who disagree can highlight our blind spots and help us grow, which is why I wrote this document.[2] Google has several biases and honest discussion about these biases is being silenced by the dominant ideology. What follows is by no means the complete story, but it's a perspective that desperately needs to be told at Google.

Google's biases

At Google, we talk so much about unconscious bias as it applies to race and gender, but we rarely discuss our moral biases. Political orientation is actually a result of deep moral preferences and thus biases. Considering that the overwhelming majority of the social sciences, media, and Google lean left, we should critically examine these prejudices.

Left Biases

Right Biases

Neither side is 100% correct and both viewpoints are necessary for a functioning society or, in this case, company. A company too far to the right may be slow to react, overly hierarchical, and untrusting of others. In contrast, a company too far to the left will constantly be changing (deprecating much loved services), over diversify its interests (ignoring or being ashamed of its core business), and overly trust its employees and competitors.

Only facts and reason can shed light on these biases, but when it comes to diversity and inclusion, Google's left bias has created a politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence. This silence removes any checks against encroaching extremist and authoritarian policies. For the rest of this document, I'll concentrate on the extreme stance that all differences in outcome are due to differential treatment and the authoritarian element that's required to actually discriminate to create equal representation.

Possible non-bias causes of the gender gap in tech [3]

At Google, we're regularly told that implicit (unconscious) and explicit biases are holding women back in tech and leadership. Of course, men and women experience bias, tech, and the workplace differently and we should be cognizant of this, but it's far from the whole story.

On average, men and women biologically differ in many ways. These differences aren't just socially constructed because:

Note, I'm not saying that all men differ from women in the following ways or that these differences are "just." I'm simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don't see equal representation of women in tech and leadership. Many of these differences are small and there's significant overlap between men and women, so you can't say anything about an individual given these population level distributions.

Personality differences

Women, on average, have more:

Note that contrary to what a social constructionist would argue, research suggests that "greater nation-level gender equality leads to psychological dissimilarity in men's and women's personality traits." Because as "society becomes more prosperous and more egalitarian, innate dispositional differences between men and women have more space to develop and the gap that exists between men and women in their personality becomes wider." We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism.

Men's higher drive for status

We always ask why we don't see women in top leadership positions, but we never ask why we see so many men in these jobs. These positions often require long, stressful hours that may not be worth it if you want a balanced and fulfilling life.

Status is the primary metric that men are judged on[4], pushing many men into these higher paying, less satisfying jobs for the status that they entail. Note, the same forces that lead men into high pay/high stress jobs in tech and leadership cause men to take undesirable and dangerous jobs like coal mining, garbage collection, and firefighting, and suffer 93% of work-related deaths.

N on-discriminatory ways to reduce the gender gap

Below I'll go over some of the differences in distribution of traits between men and women that I outlined in the previous section and suggest ways to address them to increase women's representation in tech and without resorting to discrimination. Google is already making strides in many of these areas, but I think it's still instructive to list them:

Philosophically, I don't think we should do arbitrary social engineering of tech just to make it appealing to equal portions of both men and women. For each of these changes, we need principles reasons for why it helps Google; that is, we should be optimizing for Google!with Google's diversity being a component of that. For example currently those trying to work extra hours or take extra stress will inevitably get ahead and if we try to change that too much, it may have disastrous consequences. Also, when considering the costs and benefits, we should keep in mind that Google's funding is finite so its allocation is more zero-sum than is generally acknowledged.

The Harm of Google's biases

I strongly believe in gender and racial diversity, and I think we should strive for more. However, to achieve a more equal gender and race representation, Google has created several discriminatory practices:

These practices are based on false assumptions generated by our biases and can actually increase race and gender tensions. We're told by senior leadership that what we're doing is both the morally and economically correct thing to do, but without evidence this is just veiled left ideology[7] that can irreparably harm Google.

Why we're blind

We all have biases and use motivated reasoning to dismiss ideas that run counter to our internal values. Just as some on the Right deny science that runs counter to the "God > humans > environment" hierarchy (e.g., evolution and climate change) the Left tends to deny science concerning biological differences between people (e.g., IQ[8] and sex differences). Thankfully, climate scientists and evolutionary biologists generally aren't on the right. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of humanities and social scientists learn left (about 95%), which creates enormous confirmation bias, changes what's being studied, and maintains myths like social constructionism and the gender wage gap[9]. Google's left leaning makes us blind to this bias and uncritical of its results, which we're using to justify highly politicized programs.

In addition to the Left's affinity for those it sees as weak, humans are generally biased towards protecting females. As mentioned before, this likely evolved because males are biologically disposable and because women are generally more cooperative and areeable than men. We have extensive government and Google programs, fields of study, and legal and social norms to protect women, but when a man complains about a gender issue issue [sic] affecting men, he's labelled as a misogynist and whiner[10]. Nearly every difference between men and women is interpreted as a form of women's oppression. As with many things in life, gender differences are often a case of "grass being greener on the other side"; unfortunately, taxpayer and Google money is spent to water only one side of the lawn.

The same compassion for those seen as weak creates political correctness[11], which constrains discourse and is complacent to the extremely sensitive PC-authoritarians that use violence and shaming to advance their cause. While Google hasn't harbored the violent leftists protests that we're seeing at universities, the frequent shaming in TGIF and in our culture has created the same silence, psychologically unsafe environment.

Suggestions

I hope it's clear that I'm not saying that diversity is bad, that Google or society is 100% fair, that we shouldn't try to correct for existing biases, or that minorities have the same experience of those in the majority. My larger point is that we have an intolerance for ideas and evidence that don't fit a certain ideology. I'm also not saying that we should restrict people to certain gender roles; I'm advocating for quite the opposite: treat people as individuals, not as just another member of their group (tribalism).

My concrete suggestions are to:

De-moralize diversity.

As soon as we start to moralize an issue, we stop thinking about it in terms of costs and benefits, dismiss anyone that disagrees as immoral, and harshly punish those we see as villains to protect the "victims."

Stop alienating conservatives.

Confront Google's biases.

Stop restricting programs and classes to certain genders or races.

Have an open and honest discussion about the costs and benefits of our diversity programs.

Focus on psychological safety, not just race/gender diversity.

De-emphasize empathy.

Prioritize intention.

Be open about the science of human nature.

Reconsider making Unconscious Bias training mandatory for promo committees.

[1] This document is mostly written from the perspective of Google's Mountain View campus, I can't speak about other offices or countries.

[2] Of course, I may be biased and only see evidence that supports my viewpoint. In terms of political biases, I consider myself a classical liberal and strongly value individualism and reason. I'd be very happy to discuss any of the document further and provide more citations.

[3] Throughout the document, by "tech", I mostly mean software engineering.

[4] For heterosexual romantic relationships, men are more strongly judged by status and women by beauty. Again, this has biological origins and is culturally universal.

[5] Stretch, BOLD, CSSI, Engineering Practicum (to an extent), and several other Google funded internal and external programs are for people with a certain gender or race.

[6] Instead set Googlegeist OKRs, potentially for certain demographics. We can increase representation at an org level by either making it a better environment for certain groups (which would be seen in survey scores) or discriminating based on a protected status (which is illegal and I've seen it done). Increased representation OKRs can incentivize the latter and create zero-sum struggles between orgs.

[7] Communism promised to be both morally and economically superior to capitalism, but every attempt became morally corrupt and an economic failure. As it became clear that the working class of the liberal democracies wasn't going to overthrow their "capitalist oppressors," the Marxist intellectuals transitioned from class warfare to gender and race politics. The core oppressor-oppressed dynamics remained, but now the oppressor is the "white, straight, cis-gendered patriarchy."

[8] Ironically, IQ tests were initially championed by the Left when meritocracy meant helping the victims of the aristocracy.

[9] Yes, in a national aggregate, women have lower salaries than men for a variety of reasons. For the same work though, women get paid just as much as men. Considering women spend more money than men and that salary represents how much the employees sacrifices (e.g. more hours, stress, and danger), we really need to rethink our stereotypes around power.

[10] "The traditionalist system of gender does not deal well with the idea of men needing support. Men are expected to be strong, to not complain, and to deal with problems on their own. Men's problems are more often seen as personal failings rather than victimhood,, due to our gendered idea of agency. This discourages men from bringing attention to their issues (whether individual or group-wide issues), for fear of being seen as whiners, complainers, or weak."

[11] Political correctness is defined as "the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against," which makes it clear why it's a phenomenon of the Left and a tool of authoritarians.

[Aug 11, 2017] Thompson

Aug 10, 2017 | www.unz.com

Simply because the immediate reaction to the Google Memo concentrated on sex differences I gathered together some posts on sex differences, showing that the sexes differ somewhat in their abilities: not very much, but enough to make a difference at the extremes, and it is the extremes which make a difference to technology based societies, and to a technology dependent world. I left out any mention of the notion that a "diverse" workforce is better than better than a workforce selected purely on ability to do the task in question. My mistake, which I will try to repair now.

I wondered, some years ago, what evidence there was for the proposition that diversity was a good thing. I would like to collect more proposals, because the ones sent to me proved unconvincing. You may have heard a claim that having women in the workforce boosts profits by 40%. This turns out to be a misunderstood joke.

http://www.unz.com/jthompson/davos-diversity

Now to the general claim that having women in a group boosts anything, or that having a variety of intellectual levels in a group boosts anything. That was taken apart in a set of experimental studies by Bates and Gupta.

http://www.unz.com/jthompson/group-iq-doesnt-exist

My conclusion was:

So, if you want a problem solved, don't form a team. Find the brightest person and let them work on it. Placing them in a team will, on average, reduce their productivity. My advice would be: never form a team if there is one person who can sort out the problem.

Perhaps Damore was a guy who could sort out problems, until the last problem, that is.

I repeat my January 2015 request: if you have any good studies showing that having a sexually or racially diverse workforce boosts profits over a workforce selected on competence alone, please send me send them to me in a comment to this item.

Roast beef, August 10, 2017 at 4:18 pm GMT

https://publications.credit-suisse.com/tasks/render/file/index.cfm?fileid=8128F3C0-99BC-22E6-838E2A5B1E4366DF

Some of the findings of our initial report are confirmed – greater diversity in boards and management are empirically associated with higher returns on equity, higher price/book valuations and superior stock price performance. However, new findings emerge from this added management analysis – we find no evidence that female led companies reflect greater financial conser- vatism where leverage is concerned. Also, dividend payout ratios have been shown to be higher. Female CEOs have proven to be less acquisitive than men when assuming the leadership position. The analysis makes no claims to causality though the results are striking.

epochehusserl , August 10, 2017 at 4:40 pm GMT

Diversity and inclusion are buzzwords made up by Gramscian marxists to rationalize group rights made up by the courts after not being satisfied with equality under the law. Those buzzwords do nothing to resolve the existential and morals issues raised by group rights. Whose diversity and inclusion are the best anyways? What if I think I would be enriched by this rather than that diversity and inclusion?

TheJester , August 10, 2017 at 5:42 pm GMT

An Example: Talented Individuals vs. Mediocre Groups

In the late 1990s, I was in charge of a regional office of a high tech company that had a problem. We had delivered a complex air defense system but the command module could not communicate with the missile batteries. This was serious stuff. The company put teams of software developers on the problem back at the main campus. They worked for over a month without result. The customer was getting antsy, which is a euphemism for nasty.

Then, the company deployed Burt (not his real name) to the customer location to see what he could do. Burt sat at the conference table in my outer office reading reams of code printed in large binders like a novel (I'm not kidding) no notes, just reading and noticing. Burt didn't even bother with a computer screen or debugging software.

Then, he exclaimed, "I've got it!" (I'll always remember that moment.) Burt noticed that the date format for the commands being sent from the command module was in a different format than the date format expected by the missile batteries.

QED a technical problem that had been plaguing the company for months, that had immobilized a major air defense system, and that had put the company's product line at risk solved by an individual with a few hours of work. I made sure that Burt got a big bonus.

The point: If you ran a startup hoping to bring "creative destruction" to a sector in a high-tech society, would you want (1) a politically correct software development team carefully tailored to meet affirmative action quotas for males, females, Blacks, Hispanics, homosexuals, lesbians, and the transgendered in spite of their IQs and personal qualities or, as James Damore argues, would you want (2) a group of "Burt's" acting alone or in concert because of their IQs and unique personal qualities?

The histories of Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, and Google suggest the latter. The former brings with it progressively higher social and financial "carrying costs" that prejudice the success of any bleeding-edge high-tech endeavor.

MikeyParks , August 10, 2017 at 6:35 pm GMT

When the "diversity" is strictly cosmetic and all points of view are basically identical, what you have is not diversity, it's as Damore described it, an "echo chamber." Google should be smart enough to know this. I would guess that this kind of non-diverse diversity hinders productivity because there are no new ideas, just regurgitations of the party line.

res , August 10, 2017 at 6:44 pm GMT

I like this one: https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/insights/diverse-backgrounds-personalities-can-strengthen-groups

In a recent article disentangling what researchers have learned over the past 50 years, Margaret A. Neale finds that diversity across dimensions, such as functional expertise, education, or personality, can increase performance by enhancing creativity or group problem-solving. In contrast, more visible diversity, such as race, gender, or age, can have negative effects on a group!at least initially.

Of course viewpoint diversity is never what is actually meant by "diversity."

Sadly that article did not include a link to the research. I think this is it (free full text): http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1529-1006.2005.00022.x
The summary has a paragraph matching my quote above.

Anonymous , Disclaimer August 10, 2017 at 7:09 pm GMT

We used to abhor meetings back in the days before the US military was feminized and subject to collaborative group think. So much to do so little time.

We called meetings and other collaborative exercises "circle jerks".

From Wikipedia:

A circle jerk is a sexual practice in which a group of men or boys form a circle and masturbate themselves or each other. In the metaphorical sense, the term is used to refer to self-congratulatory behavior or discussion amongst a group of people, usually in reference to "boring time-wasting meetings or other events".

I suspect that "circle jerks" will become more frequent as Google transitions to a more female-friendly, collaborative organizational structure.

James Thompson , Website August 10, 2017 at 8:35 pm GMT

@Roast beef Thanks. Reading it now. Makes good points, but hard to find appropriate comparison companies for longitudinal comparisons. As authors say, it could be bigger companies doing the "female quota" thing while smaller companies are less inclined or less able to do so. Still reading it, and mostly thinking about the methods .

lump1 , August 11, 2017 at 1:52 am GMT

This is definitely an important question to tackle directly. My two bits is that we should try to disentangle causality if possible. It's not enough just to find correlations between high valuation and racial diversity. It might be like finding correlations between high valuation and having Michelin-star chefs in the company cafeteria. I bet the correlation exists, but it happens because already-successful companies get money to blow on inessential nice things. Diversity is a nice thing that already-successful companies can buy when they have money to spare, but just because they end up with it doesn't mean that it helped them succeed. I mean, it might – I don't know the data – but mere correlations could mislead us. Correlations across time would impress me more. If individual companies grow faster when more diverse and slower after they lose diversity, then the findings would be harder to dismiss.

James Thompson , Website August 11, 2017 at 6:18 am GMT

Agree we need a longitudinal study.

YetAnotherAnon , August 11, 2017 at 8:56 am GMT

Off topic, but it seems Guardian readers are woke to the "everyone must go to university" scam. Bit late but never mind.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/02/i-feel-like-wasting-life-readers-overqualified-jobs

Top rated comment

I think the "50% of the population must have degrees" brigade are to blame for this. It was always going to devalue the worth of an academic degree by attempting to have half of the population wandering the job centres armed with a useless (but very costly) scrap of parchment.

What on earth were successive governments thinking?

But even if the degrees are not as valuable as the salesman (who came to your school and persuaded you, age 17, to sign up for a £60k loan with hefty interest rates) told you, at least you've had three years of leftie indoctrination (e.g. "no borders, no nations" or "Farage is a racist") which will stand our elites in good stead over your lifetime. And you've paid for it yourself!

Dieter Kief , August 11, 2017 at 11:17 am GMT

"if you want a problem solved, don't form a team"

Novels are written by one person – (as Steve Sailer mentions here and there, novels, especialy the really good ones, are very complex things). Great works of art or compositions, – mostly the same thing as in the novels-example.

Pop-music (Rock etc. too) might be an exception: Here, groups yield very interesting results.
(On usually not that high intellectual levels – is that the reason for this exception?)

James Thompson , Website August 11, 2017 at 1:56 pm GMT

Interesting example of pop-music. Usually the song writers are far fewer than the song players.

Joe Franklin , August 11, 2017 at 3:23 pm GMT

@epochehusserl Diversity and inclusion are buzzwords made up by Gramscian marxists to rationalize group rights made up by the courts after not being satisfied with equality under the law. Those buzzwords do nothing to resolve the existential and morals issues raised by group rights. Whose diversity and inclusion are the best anyways? What if I think I would be enriched by this rather than that diversity and inclusion? Diversity and Inclusion are euphemisms when employed by leftist (i.e. Democrats and Neocons) .

The federal government recognizes Diversity as a number of protected class groups that self-identify as being underprivileged, oppressed, disadvantaged, underutilized, and underserved.

Protected class groups identify the Nazi and white supremacist as their common oppressor.

The federal government recognizes Inclusion as federal entitlements for protected class groups.

Here's an example of several federal protected class groups recognized and entitled by the University of Nebraska:

http://www.unk.edu/about/compliance/aaeo/hiring_guidelines/identification_of_protected.php

Identification of Protected Class Groups

The following five groups are considered "Protected Classes" under various federal laws. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) requires reporting employment information on the first two groups, females and minorities, which are traditionally underutilized.

See also

Google Sex French Fries Fear and Loathing in Psychology Friday Movies

The Motivational Quotient

The Lack of Progress in Science: Sex Differences Razib Khan July 31, 2016 1,300 Words 100 Comments Genetics Allows the Dead to Speak from the Grave Razib Khan June 14, 2015

[Aug 09, 2017] Equality Or Diversity - An Outrageous Memo Questions Google

That reminds my witch hunt against Summers after his unfortunate speech (although there were other, much more valid reasons to fire him from his position of the president of Harvard; his role in Harvard mafia scandal ( Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia ) is one ).
Notable quotes:
"... Google's Ideological Echo Chamber - How bias clouds our thinking about diversity and inclusion ..."
Aug 09, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org
memo about " Google's Ideological Echo Chamber - How bias clouds our thinking about diversity and inclusion ":
At Google, we're regularly told that implicit (unconscious) and explicit biases are holding women back in tech and leadership. Of course, men and women experience bias, tech, and the workplace differently and we should be cognizant of this, but it's far from the whole story. On average, men and women biologically differ in many ways. These differences aren't just socially constructed because:
- ...
- ...

Google company policy is in favor of "equal representation" of both genders. As the existing representation in tech jobs is unequal that policy has led to hiring preferences, priority status and special treatment for the underrepresented category, in this case women.

The author says that this policy is based on ideology and not on rationality. It is the wrong way to go, he says. Basic differences, not bias, are (to some extend) responsible for different representations in tech jobs. If the (natural) different representation is "cured" by preferring the underrepresented, the optimal configuration can not be achieved.

The author cites scientific studies which find that men and women (as categories, not as specific persons) are - independent of cultural bias - unequal in several social perspectives. These might be life planning, willingness to work more for a higher status, or social behavior. The differences evolve from the natural biological differences between men and women. A gender preference for specific occupations and positions is to be expected, Cultural bias alone can not explain it. It therefore does not make sense to strive for equal group representation in all occupations.


From James Damore's memo

From there he points to the implementation of Google's policy and concludes:

Discrimination to reach equal representation is unfair, divisive, and bad for business.

Google fired the engineer. Its 'Vice President of Diversity, Integrity & Governance' stated:

We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company. [..] Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions. But that discourse needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws.

(Translation: "You are welcome to discuss your alternative policy views - unless we disagree with them.")

The current public discussion of the case evolves around "conservative" versus "progressive", "left" versus "right" categories. That misses the point the author makes: Google's policy is based on unfounded ideology, not on sciences.

The (legal) "principle of equality" does not imply that everyone and everything must be handled equally. It rather means that in proportion with its equality the same shall be treated equally, and in proportion with its inequality the different shall be treated unequally.

The author asks: Are men and women different? Do these differences result in personal occupation preferences? He quotes the relevant science and answers these questions with "yes" and "yes". From that follows a third question: What is the purpose of compelled equal representation in occupations when the inherent (natural gender) differences are not in line with such an outcome?

Several scientist in the relevant fields have stated that the author's scientific reasoning is largely correct. The biological differences between men and women do result in observable social and psychological differences which are independent of culture and its biases. It is to be expected that these difference lead to different preferences of occupations.

Moreover: If men and women are inherently equal (in their tech job capabilities) why does Google need to say that "diversity and inclusion are critical to our success"? Equality and diversity are in this extend contradictory. (Why, by the way, is Google selling advertising-space with "male" and "female" as targeting criteria?)

If women and men are not equal, we should, in line with the principle of equality, differentiate accordingly. We then should not insist on or strive for equal gender representation in all occupations but accept a certain "gender gap" as the expression of natural differences.

It is sad that Google and the general society avoid to discuss the questions that the author of the memo has asked. That Google fires him only confirms his claim that Google's policy is not based on science and rationality but on a non-discussible ideology.

Posted by b on August 8, 2017 at 01:41 PM | Permalink

TSP | Aug 8, 2017 2:03:15 PM | 1

I worked under a lady CEO. It was so refreshing compared to life under men. There was open dialogue, I felt I could voice ideas safely.

I think all CEO's would be females. It's like their social approaches to inclusion is unilaterally better than (white) men.

Is that sexist?

(From a 50 year old white man).

karlof1 | Aug 8, 2017 2:06:12 PM | 2
Thanks, b, for the change in academic realms from geopolitics to anthropology. You wrote:

"The biological differences between men and women do result in observable social and psychological differences which are independent of culture and its biases."

I disagree. From an anthropological perspective, biological differences form the basis for all cultures and thusly cannot be independent of culture since they form its core. Yes, Google's policy is ideological, but what policy can claim to be ideologically neutral? IMO, the answer is none. Here I invoke Simon de Beauvoir's maxim that females are "slaves to the species" that she irrefutably proves in The Second Sex . Fortunately, some societies based upon matrilineal cultures survived into the 20th century thus upending the male dominated mythos created to support such culturally based polities.

marxman | Aug 8, 2017 2:18:30 PM | 3
bell curve much? read the Mismeasure of Man by Stephen Jay Gould. generally your work is excellent but this post is of poor quality.
Thegenius | Aug 8, 2017 2:45:39 PM | 4
The truth is google only hire women so that the nerds working there can get laid.
Thegenius | Aug 8, 2017 2:48:13 PM | 5
@TSP

Were you beaten senselessly by your dad when you were a child?

Anti-Soros | Aug 8, 2017 2:50:21 PM | 6
Social engineering is what it is. Social engineering is what it does.

It's an elite corporate project to androgynise humanity, a la 1984.

Simply put, women will not achieve their full potential outside the family.

The corporate project will continually have to put in place special discriminatory measures to pretend they're equal in the SMET areas when all the evidence shows they're not, other than in very special cases.

It's a project that's doomed to failure in the end, but much misery will be caused to both men and women as this elite project continues.

Thankfully, the rest of the world isn't as brainwashed as Westerners.

They're the future.

Bruce Ballai | Aug 8, 2017 2:52:24 PM | 7
You can disagree with B's science, and you can disagree with James' science. James was fired for expressing his opinions and beliefs. This is so little about sexism and so much about freedom of speech and freedom to consider other ideas. Bias shut that down at Google. These comments are in line with shutting down independent thinking. I'm a little surprised to see that sort of ideology here. When people - like B, like James - put their own circumstances at risk for the sake of open mindedness, they deserve as much support as culture and society can offer.
Thegenius | Aug 8, 2017 2:54:50 PM | 8
If Google or other silicon valley tech companies dont hire unqualified women, the place would be a sausage fest of socially inept nerds
Bamdad | Aug 8, 2017 2:55:42 PM | 9
Ivan Illich wrote a very interesting and controversial book "Gender" on the difference between Gender and Sex. I do recommend every one to read this book (and all of other Illich's writings).
james | Aug 8, 2017 2:57:20 PM | 10
thanks b... this is more politically correct material.. it is what canada and probably many western countries have been doing for some time.. google is a piece of crap corporation as far as i am concerned, so this is in keeping with their neo-liberal agenda..

@7 bruce... i agree it is about freedom of speech, something sorely missing in the politically correct realm of western society at this point in time..

dh | Aug 8, 2017 3:04:46 PM | 11
'non-discussible ideology'.....great phrase b. None of it much matters because in 10-20 everybody will be bi-sexual or trans-gender anyway. Any hold outs will be required to attend re-education courses.
anon | Aug 8, 2017 3:12:33 PM | 12
he says men are better than women - women are "neurotic" and can't handle stress and don't do as much hard work as men and spend more money and on and on and on....

his level of argument and citation is about that of a teenager. he makes a lot of statements with no support, such as men are better coders than women because women like social interaction more. and even if men really are more cutthroat than women, his assumption is that being cutthroat in management makes better companies. (Microsoft made great money, not great products.)

furthermore, his definition of 'left' and 'right' are narrowed to probably his entire life experience which appears to be just out of college?

Anti-Soros | Aug 8, 2017 3:14:18 PM | 13
There is some hope though.

The whole SJW thing is being exposed day and daily for the complete nihilistic fraud it is.

Especially in America.

If you wanted to destroy a country then Gender Games is the way to go.

Globalists must destroy the US and Europe to achieve their goal, but they must just keep them alive until Russia is destroyed.

A delicate balancing act.

Anti-Soros | Aug 8, 2017 3:18:11 PM | 14
Left and Right are elite frauds, though the Left primarily carried forward the gender destruction project.

The Right was bullied into it and for the most part has jumped aboard.

They seem to be fighting back a bit now.

james | Aug 8, 2017 3:20:20 PM | 15
@11 dh.. lol.. that's about it... it isn't enough us old white males are trying to be flexible here...
Merasmus | Aug 8, 2017 3:21:12 PM | 16
@6

"Simply put, women will not achieve their full potential outside the family.

The corporate project will continually have to put in place special discriminatory measures to pretend they're equal in the SMET areas when all the evidence shows they're not, other than in very special cases."

I really wonder how someone can go through life interacting with women every day, and most likely having wives, daughters, nieces, etc, and still hold the opinion that "by the way, you're inferior shit and stupid and only good for producing babies". I would think first of all that actual interaction with women would reveal this not to be the case, but if nothing else I would think not being a freaking sociopath with a bleak worldview would prevent someone from being ending up as such a douchebag.

I also love stuff like this: "It's an elite corporate project to androgynise humanity, a la 1984."

Good god, masculinity is the most fragile thing in existence. Anything, absolutely anything, that in any way threatens its privileged position brings forth the waves of hyperbolic whinging. Talk about being triggered. How about you stop defining your manliness by subjugating women. Efforts to correct inequalities do not mean men are being turned into women, or whatever gibberish you're complaining about.

T-Sixes | Aug 8, 2017 3:22:14 PM | 17
With respect to the commenter alias "karlof1", you seem to have drifted off-topic somewhat.

Please point out specifically where the author of the now infamous Google memo seeks to in any way denigrate women to a position in any way resembling slavery.

You have signally failed to refute anything in the memo as you have resorted to the lazy straw man of sexism.

You can doubtless try harder and probably do better -- 0/10, for now, and see me at the end...

And while you're at it, why is feminism preferable to chauvinism - do please explain clearly and try to stay on point.

Anti-Soros | Aug 8, 2017 3:25:23 PM | 18
Who, I mean who!

Who truly believes that women prefer coding all day long.

You need to be a bit autistic spectrum to enjoy that.

That's why there's so many nerds in these areas.

Perhaps women need to be given extra vaccines at a young age and then they'll develop the skills necessary to succeed in these spheres.

Trading your sociality for nerdom is not a choice many women want to make.

I wouldn't make it myself, and I worked in this area.

Used to make my brain hurt, a lot.

All abstract, nothing tactile.

keep women human, is what I say!

Anti-Soros | Aug 8, 2017 3:29:57 PM | 19
Merasmus

The family is not an inferior thing. Women are not an inferior thing.

The family is the centre of life and women its masters.

That's where they will achieve a truly fulfilling life.

Why should women want to demean themselves by accepting the poor male equivalent of female creativity.

Dafranzl | Aug 8, 2017 3:36:05 PM | 20
I was a pilot for Lufthansa and really had no problems with our
ladypilots. Of course they had and have the same salary as males. But what was interesting:only a few chose to apply for the job, with LH this meant to pass a test then enter the pilotschool and passt al checks, incl. licencing. But:the percentage of the few who reallly passed all this was around 90 percent, I mean, a girl who wants this real tech job and is intelligent will get it. Boys tend to overestimate their abilities and therefor fail. Only about 10 percent who try the test actually pass it. That is pne typical gender difference. PS:I am male ;)
T-Sixes | Aug 8, 2017 3:42:57 PM | 21
Completely agree with poster "Anti-Soros" -- "Merasmus" is twisting this obtusely beyond all recognition, read the memo, "Merasmus", and make your own mind up, so as you don't come over so utterly lopsided and brainwashed in your awareness of sexual politics. And, on that note, as to "Dafranzl", is your comment not verging on real, like genuine, sexism in that you are expressing some kind of shock horror that women can actually pass a couple of tests and fly a plane?
Merasmus | Aug 8, 2017 3:46:10 PM | 22
@Anti-Soros

I'm pretty sure it should be up to the women to decide what they want to do with their lives. Some may want to be housewives, others don't. It's about freedom of choice (you know, that thing conservatives are always claim they care so much about). You really don't see any problem with men telling women what women truly want in life, and ensuring that that one thing is the only option available to them, do you? It's amazing how men will declare that the different sexes have different natural spheres, and then put family in the women's column, and literally everything else, and the freedom to choice from all those other things, in the men's column.

Anti-Soros | Aug 8, 2017 4:03:23 PM | 23
Merasmus

You seem to think that the family and children are some sort of lower form of achievement.

Where'd you get that idea?

As I said, female creativity is the closet thing to godliness any human can get.

Don't trade that for poor male efforts at creativity.

There only sadness and frustration lie.

So much so indeed that the elite project in creativity is currently engaged in attempting to undermine God and Female creativity with its own version of androids, robots and all the rest of the cheap Frankenstein tricks for which frustrated males and their ersatz creativity are famous.

When will a bridge or an app, a poem, a book, a piece of music, ever come close to creating and nurturing life itself.

Johan Meyer | Aug 8, 2017 4:07:20 PM | 24
There is a big cultural problem that keep women out of technical fields. In the west, the striving to a career leads to a sudden mid 30s realization that maybe they do want a family. My experience with west Africans is that they marry younger, have their families and get on with careers. This also has the benefit of them going into the work force when they are a bit more mature, and have actual life responsibilities.
okie farmer | Aug 8, 2017 4:19:29 PM | 25
The Mismeasure of Man
From Wikipedia

The Mismeasure of Man

Stephen Jay Gould

The Mismeasure of Man is a 1981 book by Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould.[1] The book is both a history and critique of the statistical methods and cultural motivations underlying biological determinism, the belief that "the social and economic differences between human groups!primarily races, classes, and sexes!arise from inherited, inborn distinctions and that society, in this sense, is an accurate reflection of biology."[2]
The principal assumption underlying biological determinism is that, "worth can be assigned to individuals and groups by measuring intelligence as a single quantity." This argument is analyzed in discussions of craniometry and psychological testing, the two methods used to measure and establish intelligence as a single quantity. According to Gould, the methods harbor "two deep fallacies." The first fallacy is "reification", which is "our tendency to convert abstract concepts into entities"[3] such as the intelligence quotient (IQ) and the general intelligence factor (g factor), which have been the cornerstones of much research into human intelligence. The second fallacy is that of "ranking", which is the "propensity for ordering complex variation as a gradual ascending scale."[3]
The revised and expanded second edition (1996) analyzes and challenges the methodological accuracy of The Bell Curve (1994), by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray. Gould said the book re-presented the arguments of what Gould terms biological determinism, which he defines as "the abstraction of intelligence as a single entity, its location within the brain, its quantification as one number for each individual, and the use of these numbers to rank people in a single series of worthiness, invariably to find that oppressed and disadvantaged groups!races, classes, or sexes!are innately inferior and deserve their status."[4]

Piotr Berman | Aug 8, 2017 4:22:17 PM | 26
For starters, good coding is not a male characteristic, because most of the gender is quite terrible. So the question is: are "good coders" a more sizable minority among men or women? Both percentages are culture related, and they probably have a gender component.

A weird thing is the gender ratio of women/men students of computer science seems quite even in some Asian cultures, like Iranian, and very lopsided (1-9, 2-8) in American culture that has a "feminity ideals" like "girls are not good at math". That is overlayed with relatively meager rewards in American society for engineering fields, compared to law and medicine. I suspect that the ratio of male jurists in Iran is very lopsided, so girls, for the want of good legal jobs, go for engineering and math. (That is not a serious theory.)

Merasmus | Aug 8, 2017 4:37:41 PM | 27
@Anti-Soros

Ah, benevolent sexism. Putting women on a pedestal and making it their prison.

"Women are not an inferior thing."

It would help in convincing others that you actually believe this if you hadn't literally opened with (and then reiterated later) saying that women are generally too stupid to work in STEM fields.

"Who truly believes that women prefer coding all day long."

You could start by asking some women programmers. Though I really should point out the false dichotomy you're engaging in here: women can be mothers or they can be something else, in your mind they can never be both.

"So much so indeed that the elite project in creativity is currently engaged in attempting to undermine God"

Because I'm sure the (supposed) creator of the entire universe can be undermined by a hairless chimpanzee. "And I would have gotten away with it too, if hadn't been for you meddling humans!"

@T-Sixes

I don't particularly care about the memo or its asinine content. I'm responding to what people have said in these comments.

As for the memo itself, neither side comes out looking particularly good. The engineer's memo essentially boils down to "girlz r stoopid, and need to get out of my workplace" (he's not attempting to engage in debate, which some of his defenders have claimed, as in 'he's just asking questions and the PC police are too scared to engage him'), and Google's response was "you voiced an unacceptable opinion so we're going to fire you" (they aren't interested in debate either, but he wasn't offering one in the first place). It also has a lot of the inane 'both sides have good points, the best answer is in the middle' centrist faux wisdom I've come to expect from the type of idiot who makes up most of the Silicon Valley echo-chamber. Ah yes, the right is 'pragmatic'. They're pragmatically destroying their economies by forever seeking tax cuts and the reduction of a national 'debt' they don't even understand the nature of. Spare me.

Thegenius | Aug 8, 2017 4:38:00 PM | 28
@26
Women are more group oriented and dont like to do solitary work like coding
Damon Harris | Aug 8, 2017 4:46:21 PM | 29
Convenient that we just ignore the substantial body of research on gender bias in professional fields, particularly tech.

Abstract

Biases against women in the workplace have been documented in a variety of studies. This paper presents a large scale study on gender bias, where we compare acceptance rates of contributions from men versus women in an open source software community. Surprisingly, our results show that women's contributions tend to be accepted more often than men's. However, for contributors who are outsiders to a project and their gender is identifiable, men's acceptance rates are higher. Our results suggest that although women on GitHub may be more competent overall, bias against them exists nonetheless.

Damon Harris | Aug 8, 2017 4:47:03 PM | 30
Link to the earlier post: https://peerj.com/articles/cs-111/
Merasmus | Aug 8, 2017 4:50:17 PM | 31
@26

The explanation for Iran I've heard is that STEM fields simply aren't held in high esteem in Iran, so at a minimum it's a dearth of male interest in the area that has created a lot of openings for women. On top of that there may be cultural/social pressure for women to go into less prestigious fields while all the 'more important' areas are dominated by men. It's certainly fun to think about how projects like Iran's recent ballistic missile test are in large part facilitated by female input. If Iran is to hold the US at bay (or punish it heavily should it actually attack), it's going to be with weapons created by people working in fields that are apparently held in low esteem.

james | Aug 8, 2017 4:58:00 PM | 32
one thing women can do that men can't? that's right.. some things are factual.. a lot of stuff is culturally and socially imposed though... women working doing coding.. have at it.. forcing equal numbers being hired sure seems like 'politically correct thinking' to me... give the job based on the qualifications.. skip with the politically correct bullshit..
Johan Meyer | Aug 8, 2017 5:05:11 PM | 33
@okie farmer
Perhaps different types of intelligence exist, but if they do, they are highly correlated, hence the emphasis on (the mathematically dubious) g .

FWIW, I advocate a modified lead/iodine deficiency model to explain most variation in IQ. Unlike older studies, more recent studies have found a small IQ gap between men and women, and women having a narrower IQ range (standard deviation) than men, i.e. fewer outliers high and low. If you look at US blacks, they have a narrower standard deviation of IQ than whites as well as a lower mean IQ. This may be understood quite readily:

Healthy pubertal brain development adds to the standard deviation e.g. 9 points standard deviation in my proposed model---12^2+9^2=15^2, where 15 is the defined std deviation over population of IQ. Poor environment e.g. poison or lacking nutrition cause mean to differ as well.

The environmental argument is usually attacked on the basis of twin studies, e.g. using the Falconer equations. That is because the equations are not usually derived from first principles. To wit, one has mean environmental effect, deviation from mean environmental effect correlated with gene, and uncorrelated with genes, which might not even be environmental, but simple developmental noise. Those arguing that twin studies show the environmental effect to be small, ignore that means are subtracted in calculating the Pearson correlation.

For women, especially after bromide replaced iodine in preparing dough for bread, late 70s or early 80s, the need for iodine will not be met sufficiently during puberty, as both breasts and the brain require iodine for development, in large quantities, and with feminising endocrine disruptors in greater quantities in the environment, breast sizes have risen on average (cup size inflation). Note deviation from previous generations' size should matter for same genes, not deviation from population mean, so if daughter is bigger than mother, e.g., then lower IQ expected, but not because daughter is bigger than agemate, as the environmental mean is shared (but does not enter Falconer equations' correlations, being subtracted)...

With US blacks, lead poisoning is still an issue, albeit much smaller than during the 90s. Look at the NHANES III data---the histogram of blood lead is nearly inverse, which suggests sporadic poisoning (lead paint, with dBLL/dt=R-BLL (ln 2)/\tau_{1/2} where R is the rate of intake (function of time, zero most of the time under sporadic poisoning). Also, sub-Saharan Africa largely avoided the Bronze Age, going straight to iron work---the Bantu used a bit of copper but not much evolutionary pressure to develop resistance to lead uptake. If you read e.g. Unz review, I did previously argue that blacks in US are more likely to live in lead painted housing, based on BLL, but US data show whites as likely to live in such housing---blacks take up more lead for same environment.

Johan Meyer | Aug 8, 2017 5:07:33 PM | 34
Forgot to add---lead almost always is present in soft metal e.g. copper deposits.
ab initio | Aug 8, 2017 5:10:44 PM | 35
I find it fascinating that the liberal snowflake SJWs claim to promote diversity except diverse opinion. There's a reason that the neocons were liberals.

And the communist heroes of the left including Lenin & Mao are comparable to the fascists with my way or the highway to death.

ben | Aug 8, 2017 5:12:48 PM | 36
depends entirely on the type of jobs applied for. If one can pass the physical and mental tests for the job applied for, gender or race shouldn't matter. That's assuming the employer's requirements are reasonable.
somebody | Aug 8, 2017 5:13:08 PM | 37
Google probably knows that Russia and China have competitive advantage in employing women.

BBC

According to Unesco, 29% of people in scientific research worldwide are women, compared with 41% in Russia. In the UK, about 4% of inventors are women, whereas the figure is 15% in Russia.

or here

Is engineering destined to remain a male-dominated field? Not everywhere. In China, 40% of engineers are women, and in the former USSR, women accounted for 58% of the engineering workforce.

Women get these jobs when they are needed, if not, they are expected to stay at home. It is not about free speech, feminism, ability or choice.

This plateau is of concern to policy experts. For the last decade, the European Commission has highlighted the risks related to the shortage of engineers and has called on member states to draw more widely on the pool of female talent. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics warned last year that the demand for computer engineers in the U.S. would see an increase of 36% by the year 2012. It seems urgent in these conditions to train more women. So what are the obstacles?

Google needs those female engineers. As simple as that.

ben | Aug 8, 2017 5:19:14 PM | 38
P.S.---If men weren't so afraid of the power women weld, because of our lust for pro-creation, things could be different.
karlof1 | Aug 8, 2017 5:19:39 PM | 39
T-Sixes @17--

I didn't address the content of the memo, if you had read more carefully. I quoted a sentence b wrote and went on from there. Seems your knee-jerk hit you I the head.

Lea | Aug 8, 2017 5:34:19 PM | 40
The same thing had been said in 2011 by a Norwegian documentary, "Brainwash" (highly recommended viewing, it can be found on Youtube with English subtitles).
The Norwegian government cut its funding for "Gender studies" after its airing.

I am a woman, and its seems to me the politically correct comments here all have one thing in common: they confuse two distinct notions, difference and inferiority.
I feel different from men, I know I am, but in no way do I feel inferior. I am not interested in sports, cars or coding. I am interested in psychology, childhood and fashion. Sorry, it's not cultural, since it's the same the world over. I will add it cannot be cultural, because the sex roles are differentiated in the animal kingdom too. Take a male lion and a female - the male naps, she hunts. All the other animals equally show different patterns of behaviour according to their sex, save ants, amoebae, viruses and other microbes, bugs or non-mammals. So, pretending that there are no differences between men and women, when all it takes is two minutes of observation of nature (let alone a clothes shop during sales) is sheer gaslighting.

Men and woman are complementary, which is way more beautiful, diverse and life-enhancing than that drab uniformity/sameness that, it seems to me, emanates from people who are so narcissistic they are scared stiff of anything that is not their mirror image.

As for me, I love men, and I love the fact we are different. With men's abilities and women's, there is nothing we can't accomplish together.

T-Sixes | Aug 8, 2017 5:36:15 PM | 41
@Merasmus

"I don't particularly care about the memo or its asinine content. I'm responding to what people have said in these comments."

-- OK, so be a good girl and make yourself useful: you can start with the housework. Please explain how can you comment so vitriolically upon specific matters you admit that know almost nothing about?

"As for the memo itself, neither side comes out looking particularly good. The engineer's memo essentially boils down to "girlz [sic] r stoopid [sic], and need to get out of my workplace""

-- You are mistaken, as usual: the points are societal, biological and anthropological in their character and not AT ALL driven by chauvinism, which your bitter and ill-informed input, certainly, is.

"(he's [sic] not attempting to engage in debate, which some of his defenders have claimed, as in 'he's just asking questions and the PC police are too scared to engage him'), and Google's response was "you voiced an unacceptable opinion so we're going to fire you" (they aren't interested in debate either, but he wasn't offering one in the first place)."

-- Absolute nonsense, as usual: the guy's gripe seemed to be that there's no oxygen in which to engage with certain subject matter. There's a stultifying, stifling, suffocating, oppressive atmosphere perpetuated and sustained by people just like you, "Merasmus".

"It also has a lot of the inane 'both sides have good points, the best answer is in the middle' centrist faux wisdom I've come to expect from the type of idiot who makes up most of the Silicon Valley echo-chamber."

-- You mean, it's balanced and considered? Have you finally read it now, then?

"Ah yes, the right is 'pragmatic'. They're pragmatically destroying their economies by forever seeking tax cuts and the reduction of a national 'debt' they don't even understand the nature of. Spare me."

-- Are we drifting tediously away from the salient points, due to your total lack of knowledge or awareness of what you are talking about?

T-Sixes | Aug 8, 2017 5:41:10 PM | 42
@karlof1 - so, to be clear, you are commenting on an article regarding a memo you haven't read? Do you not think it might be an advisable next step for you to take the time to read the memo, in order to better inform yourself, so that you don't keep jerking and hitting yourself in the head?
T-Sixes | Aug 8, 2017 5:46:05 PM | 43
If you would like to read the memo, let me help you: https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3914586/Googles-Ideological-Echo-Chamber.pdf
Temporarily Sane | Aug 8, 2017 6:26:24 PM | 44
@TSP 1
I worked under a lady CEO. It was so refreshing compared to life under men. There was open dialogue, I felt I could voice ideas safely.

I think all CEO's would be females. It's like their social approaches to inclusion is unilaterally better than (white) men.

Is that sexist?

Your experience says more about your boss as an individual and has little or nothing to do with her gender. The worst boss I have had was a woman and so was the best boss I have worked for.

The myth of the "kinder, gentler" female leader has been thoroughly debunked. Hillary Clinton and Margaret Thatcher were both women. Thinking woman are morally and ethically "purer" than men is ridiculous.

As for Google vs. the engineer...of course he was fired. Corporations are not democracies. They are top-down dictatorships.

smuks | Aug 8, 2017 6:38:28 PM | 45
Sorry, but you miss a or perhaps 'the' crucial point here.

So let's say that men & women are indeed different, and this also influences their job preferences, independently of societal influence. I have my doubts, but let's just assume it for now.

Now if an employer thinks that men and women have different qualifications and strengths, s/he might come to the conclusion that they complement each other. It would thus make perfect sense to build teams with a balanced gender mix, in order to optimize results for the company. Whether or not each individual employee is the best possible hire is secondary - it's overall performance that counts.

Actually the first commenter TSP pretty much confirms this thesis, albeit only anecdotally.

PS. had to laugh reading post #4, thanks!

james | Aug 8, 2017 6:50:00 PM | 46
@40 lea. thanks.. i see it much the same way as you..

@45 smuks... as i mentioned - hire people, regardless of sex, race, and etc - based off merit and qualifications.. skip with the politically correct bs.. yes, i agree with @1, however anecdotal is it and i got a laugh from @4 too!

as for a lack of engineers and etc in the west.. i always think back to the joke about their being 30 engineers for every 1 banker in japan, verses 30 banker types for 1 engineer in the usa.. it was something like that... i guess you could throw in real estate sales people instead of bankers if you want... it paints a picture that probably has a good degree of relevance to the changing fortunes of countries, or cultures that pursue a certain path, over other ones also available.

George Smiley | Aug 8, 2017 7:07:43 PM | 47
What awful discussion here. Says a lot that the most adult and mature commentators here are those that I find myself somewhat in disagreement with.

Looking forward to your next piece though as always Bernard. Not that I don't like this either per se - but I'd be lying if I didn't say I find your non-geopolitical work to result in the silliest and most ideological of discussions and commentators. Though I still encourage you to keep doing what fufils you regardless.

Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 8, 2017 7:49:44 PM | 48
...
Good god, masculinity is the most fragile thing in existence.
...
Posted by: Merasmus | Aug 8, 2017 3:21:12 PM | 16

How dare you ponder male flaws in a debate about female flaws!?

Curtis | Aug 8, 2017 8:26:23 PM | 49
I agree with his ultimate conclusion:
Discrimination to reach equal representation is unfair, divisive, and bad for business.

Forced equality is not the way to go. It winds up twisting society in bad ways. Is this the number one problem facing the US and American businesses? Isn't group think bad whether from the inside or the outside? Playing one group (sex, race, etc) off against the other does make a good distraction.

Merasmus | Aug 8, 2017 8:42:28 PM | 50
@T-Sixes

I'm not a woman, you idiot. And I never said I hadn't read it, I said I wasn't addressing it, only responding to things said in these comments.

>various [sics]

Good job! It's almost like I was mocking the memo-maker as a grown up version of the kind of boy who puts 'No Girls Allowed' signs outside his treehouse. A kind of manchild, if you will.

"Absolute nonsense, as usual: the guy's gripe seemed to be that there's no oxygen in which to engage with certain subject matter. There's a stultifying, stifling, suffocating, oppressive atmosphere perpetuated and sustained by people just like you, "Merasmus"."

Riiiiiiiiiiight.

The part about centrism is in relation to the memo explicitly talking about Left and Right politics, and how each side supposedly has valid points. This is precisely the type of centrism that is a. destroying the US and the EU, and b. rapidly disintegrating, especially in America.

@Lea

One key difference would be that humans are (ostensibly) a higher lifeform that isn't driven entirely by instinct. So appealing to how things work in the wider natural world is something of a non-starter. Regardless, even if you were going to do that, there are creatures far more closely related to us than lions we could draw comparisons to. For some *strange* reason people appealing to nature never have much to say about the Bonobo...

"So, pretending that there are no differences between men and women, when all it takes is two minutes of observation of nature"

Literally no one is making this claim though. I have literally never met a feminist who claimed sexual dimorphism didn't exist in humans. What I seen is a whole lot of people who absolutely refuse to differentiate between sex and gender, however.

"Men and woman are complementary [...] With men's abilities and women's, there is nothing we can't accomplish together."

Nice sentiment. The problem is I have never met anyone who, while complaining about women in the workplace and talking about how there's some natural division of labor, then suggested anything like a 50/50 split. Or even 60/40, or 70/30. Instead, they do what Anti-Soros above does, and relegate women to breeding and housekeeping, making the divide more like 90/10 or 95/5 or some similar extremely lopsided value. They give to men by far the greater share of opportunity and freedom, and claim this is a natural and fair division, while telling the women they shouldn't even desire more, and should be content with a 'woman's unique happiness'.

NemesisCalling | Aug 8, 2017 8:46:56 PM | 51
@40 Lea

Nailed it. And I believe the purpose of b's foray into gender and/or lgbtq discrimination is that, currently, it is intrinsically tied to the empire's tactics of subversion and infiltration. It upsets me to no end that fomenting discord between the yin and the yangs of the world is the lockstep modus operandi of the bringers of chaos. "Linear" thinking a la "women can't do it" or "women must do it" are really just distractions, and they are important architectural designs of the true believers in the uniparty who are trying to crush the way to peace.

Any meddlesome actions taken by any entity, whether affirmative action or discrimination against men due to preferencing female hires, is sure to end in disaster anyway. Look at the US and tell me it is not a powder keg. Russia, in the wisdom of ages, saw the ngos in their country for what they were. Eliminating these meddlesome devices is best by nipping them in the bud.

The female always overcomes the male anyway by weakness and stillness. Water over rock. When women want to be rock (Hillary Clinton), you've got problems.

ben | Aug 8, 2017 9:08:59 PM | 52
Lea @ 40: Very thoughtful and insightful comment, thanks..

Unfortunately, most men can't get by the second strongest drive in human existence, the drive to pro-create, and it clouds our thinking. History gives credence to this theory.

psychohistorian | Aug 8, 2017 9:15:31 PM | 53
I haven't seen the term patriarchy introduced to this discussion. I think patriarchy is a good term for the historical attitudes that assert innate/generic/gender related qualitative differences between female/male capabilities.

I posit that women are better at gestating children than men and any other comparison is mostly self serving conjecture because of woefully inadequate science.

And I agree with NemesisCalling that ".....it is intrinsically tied to the empire's tactics of subversion and infiltration. It upsets me to no end that fomenting discord between the yin and the yangs of the world is the lockstep modus operandi of the bringers of chaos. "Linear" thinking a la "women can't do it" or "women must do it" are really just distractions, and they are important architectural designs of the true believers in the uniparty who are trying to crush the way to peace."

x | Aug 8, 2017 9:15:51 PM | 54
@ Posted by: Lea | Aug 8, 2017 5:34:19 PM | 40

A pleasently mature position expressed clearly.

Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 8, 2017 9:22:18 PM | 55
...
..."Dafranzl", is your comment not verging on real, like genuine, sexism in that you are expressing some kind of shock horror that women can actually pass a couple of tests and fly a plane?

Posted by: T-Sixes | Aug 8, 2017 3:42:57 PM | 21

There was nothing ambiguous about what Dafranzl wrote. He expressed genuine respect and explained why he is NOT surprised by their success.

falcemartello | Aug 8, 2017 9:27:45 PM | 56
Oh the totalitarian times we are living.
gepay | Aug 8, 2017 9:31:14 PM | 57
I read the memo. Compare the tone of the memo to the misogyny and sexism of the miners in the movie North Country starring Charlize Theron - the racism of the segregated South of the 50s. There were a number of statements he definitely should have left out even if he thinks they are true. "Considering women spend more money than men and that salary represents how much the employees sacrifices (e.g. more hours, stress, and danger), we really need to rethink our stereotypes around power." or "Women are more prone to stress" (although I would agree with him if he had said - women who are mothers worry more than men) "Neuroticism (higher anxiety, lower stress tolerance). This may contribute to the higher levels of anxiety women report on Googlegeist and to the lower number of women in high stress jobs." He could have left out his poor analysis of left-right. It is true for me that suffocating and/or just silly political correctness is found more often on the left liberal side. Of many conservatives it can be said, "The totally convinced and the totally stupid have too much in common for the resemblance to be accidental." Robert Anton Wilson He did show a bias when discussing the differences between men and women. Maybe because I'm an older white man I didn't find them so much insulting as debatable.
There are many other statements that I found correct "men take undesirable and dangerous jobs like coal mining, garbage collection, and firefighting, and suffer 93% of work-related deaths." "Philosophically, I don't think we should do arbitrary social engineering of tech just to make it appealing to equal portions of both men and women." It certainly is true that many of the problems that diverse peoples or women have are equally true of many white men not in the upper crust. "This silencing has created an ideological echo chamber where some ideas are too sacred to be honestly discussed." (Have I found this to be true - revisionist Holocaust history for example)
I certainly think he shouldn't have been fired for bring up these issues. The differences between men and women as they relate to employment should be considered and studied. His firing, in fact, proves one of the points he was trying to make.
Grieved | Aug 8, 2017 9:39:28 PM | 58
Wow.

So this is what they call identity politics. And this is how it drives out issue-based discussion - in this case freedom of expression within the corporation.

Got it, thanks.

ps.. @ 37 somebody - thanks for that slice of real life.

fudmieer | Aug 8, 2017 10:28:34 PM | 59
observable biological diffs (karlof1); womanless females (AntiSoros). google perks (thegenius); thought blockouts (Ballai); neo-liberal agenda (james); non-discussible ideology (dh); a unique corporate category-classified androgine (Merasmus); blinder-enhanced directed-answer response (T-Sixes); amazing test results (Dafranzl); the (statistically) mature woman (Hohan Meyer); determinism (okie farmer); absolutes (ab initio); train more women (somebody); different but not inferior; even complimentary (Lea); top down dictators (Sane); flaws (Hoarsewhisperer); discriminatory (Curtis); rocking women are problems (NemesisCalling);
please consider the following http://www.unz.com/jman/the-five-laws-of-behavioral-genetics/
Johan Meyer | Aug 8, 2017 10:48:34 PM | 60
@59 I actually referred to that piece obliquely, by calling variation not correlated with genes, 'noise,' in particular his last point, from Emil Kierkegaard. Btw if the latter is reading, Mr Kierkegaard, in our last email exchange, in references to a paper by Debes, you interpreted his beta (-2.2) times his proxy (blood lead level's base 10 logarithm) naively, to wit that the logarithm of blood lead level predicts IQ. A simple problem, involving that same ODE---maternal leave, paid or not---expectant mothers' exposure to lead during the pregnancy, under the frequent poisoning regime (gasoline/petrol) will roughly stop upon taking maternal leave, and thus the (linear) dose during the pregnancy will be linearly related to the logarithm of the cord (birth) blood lead level. There is more to say, and I shall email a more detailed commentary shortly...
Thirdeye | Aug 8, 2017 11:34:00 PM | 61
@45

The memo actually said something similar about using the complementary traits of men and women in teams. He mentioned how women's traits were good for the design of user interfaces and men's traits were good for the back end. What made Steve Jobs so distinctive wasn't that he was a great engineer or inventor (he wasn't). He thought about user experience like a woman. Apple was great on the "female" side of software engineering while Microsoft was great on the "male" side. Microsoft did, and still does, better on the back end but, as Jobs famously criticized them for about 25 years ago, their products lacked culture and taste.

Thirdeye | Aug 8, 2017 11:37:08 PM | 62
Camille "if it were up to the women we would still be living in grass huts" Paglia would have a field day with this one.
Thirdeye | Aug 8, 2017 11:53:56 PM | 63
@25

IQ is not biological determinism. Saying that it is strictly hereditary is. There is a strong correlation between IQ and ability to perform intellectual tasks, and with social performance up to about IQ 120. The correlation drops away above that because the extremely profound thinking at which higher IQ provides an advantage is less tied to social performance. I see no contradiction between saying IQ is a valid measure of cognitive ability and saying that it is culturally influenced. Some cultures do not foster the development of cognitive ability.

[Jul 25, 2017] Class Warfare 7-25-2017

Jul 25, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

"Low-income families are still unable to accrue enough savings to see themselves through a period of joblessness. Some 37% of those households are "liquid asset poor," based on the latest U.S. Census Bureau data, meaning they don't have enough money in their bank account or other assets to replace three months of income at the poverty level (that's just $6,150 for a family of four)" [ MarketWatch ]. "'This inability to save stems in part from the increasing number of jobs that don't provide a reliable stream of income, leaving many working families vulnerable to jarring ups-and-downs in their take-home pay,' the report [from the Washington, D.C.-based Prosperity Now] concluded.

It also found that one-in-five households experienced 'moderate to significant income volatility' from month-to-month during the past year due to irregular jobs." And if the global elites have their way , one-in-five will increase to (say) four-of-five.

"Revealed: the insidious creep of pseudo-public space in London" [ Guardian ]. "Pseudo-public space – squares and parks that seem public but are actually owned by corporations – has quietly spread across cities worldwide. As the Guardian maps its full extent in London for the first time, Jack Shenker reports on a new culture of secrecy and control, where private security guards can remove you for protesting, taking photos or just looking scruffy."

"How Kids See the World Depends a Lot on Genetics" [ NIH ]. "The findings come from experiments that tracked the eye movements of toddlers watching videos of other kids or adult caregivers. The experiments showed that identical twins!who share the same genes and the same home environment!spend almost precisely the same proportion of time looking at faces, even when watching different videos.

And when identical twins watched the same video, they tended to look at the same thing at almost exactly the same time! In contrast, fraternal twins!who shared the same home environment, but, on average, shared just half of their genes!had patterns of eye movement that were far less similar." Next: Put lead in the drinking water of just one twin, come back in a decade.

marym , July 25, 2017 at 2:23 pm

Apologies if this has been posted before.

Summer for Progress

Platform:

H.R. 676 Medicare for All Act
H.R. 1880 College for All Act of 2017
H.R. 15 Raise the Wage Act
H.R. 771 Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance
H.R. 2840 Automatic Voter Registration Act
H.R. 3227 Justice is Not For Sale Act of 2017
H.R. 1144 Inclusive Prosperity Act
Coming soon: Climate Change Bill

There's a petition and a high-level schedule of organizing events.

The platform list has links to the actual bills – some have summaries, others don't. The petition has a few-words summary of each bill and a list of supporting organizations. Website says paid for by Our Revolution.

Lambert Strether Post author , July 25, 2017 at 2:43 pm

That's very solid. I don't see the Debt Jubilee!

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , July 25, 2017 at 2:56 pm

No 'Get Money Out of Politics' either.

Perhaps Big Money is boycotting that platform.

jrs , July 25, 2017 at 3:51 pm

I don't think that's actually possible short of a constitutional amendment, basically because the F-ups on the supreme court have ruled otherwise. So it makes sense to focus on what is actually within congresses power.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , July 25, 2017 at 5:17 pm

There is always the possibility that we get this, or that, now, so we don't bother them. again, or not for a long time, about getting money out of politics.

marym , July 25, 2017 at 3:07 pm

Strategy seems to be based on bills that Houses Dems were actually willing to introduce, rather than on specific (possibly more or different) demands of the various organizations, though I don't know whether any are (yet) looking for a Debt Jubilee.

Vatch , July 25, 2017 at 4:14 pm

I would add these to the list:

H.R.790 – Return to Prudent Banking Act of 2017 (Glass Steagall restoration)

H.R.2295 – Carried Interest Fairness Act of 2017 (hedge fund billionaires compare bills like this to Nazi atrocities , so it must be good)

Rhondda , July 25, 2017 at 8:52 pm

Yes! Good call!

kurtismayfield , July 25, 2017 at 2:36 pm

"Why Republicans should keep doing nothing"

Remember, the biggest fear for a Republican Congress member is not their Democratic opponent, it is being primaried. They ran on repealing Obamacare, and they can't do nothing when they control everything in Washington.

[Jul 25, 2017] Anti-Populism Ideology of the Ruling Class by James Petras

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... ' Anti-populism' is the simple ruling class formula for covering-up their real agenda, which is pro-militarist, pro-imperialist (globalization), pro-'rebels' (i.e. mercenary terrorists working for regime change), pro crisis makers and pro-financial swindlers. ..."
"... The economic origins of ' anti-populism' are rooted in the deep and repeated crises of capitalism and the need to deflect and discredit mass discontent and demoralize the popular classes in struggle. By demonizing ' populism', the elites seek to undermine the rising tide of anger over the elite-imposed wage cuts, the rise of low-paid temporary jobs and the massive increase in the reserve army of cheap immigrant labor to compete with displaced native workers. ..."
"... Demonization of independent popular movements ignores the fundamental programmatic differences and class politics of genuine populist struggles compared with the contemporary right-wing capitalist political scarecrows and clowns. ..."
"... The anti-populist ideologues label President Trump a 'populist' when his policies and proposals are the exact opposite. Trump champions the repeal of all pro-labor and work safety regulation, as well as the slashing of public health insurance programs while reducing corporate taxes for the ultra-elite. ..."
"... The media's ' anti-populists' ideologues denounce pro-business rightwing racists as ' populists' . In Italy, Finland, Holland, Austria, Germany and France anti-working class parties are called ' populist' for attacking immigrants instead of bankers and militarists. ..."
"... In other words, the key to understanding contemporary ' anti-populism' is to see its role in preempting and undermining the emergence of authentic populist movements while convincing middle class voters to continue to vote for crisis-prone, austerity-imposing neo-liberal regimes. ' Anti-populism' has become the opium (or OxyContin) of frightened middle class voters. ..."
Jul 07, 2017 | www.unz.com

Introduction

Throughout the US and European corporate and state media, right and left, we are told that ' populism' has become the overarching threat to democracy, freedom and . . . free markets. The media's ' anti-populism' campaign has been used and abused by ruling elites and their academic and intellectual camp followers as the principal weapon to distract, discredit and destroy the rising tide of mass discontent with ruling class-imposed austerity programs, the accelerating concentration of wealth and the deepening inequalities.

We will begin by examining the conceptual manipulation of ' populism' and its multiple usages. Then we will turn to the historic economic origins of populism and anti-populism. Finally, we will critically analyze the contemporary movements and parties dubbed ' populist' by the ideologues of ' anti-populism' .

Conceptual Manipulation

In order to understand the current ideological manipulation accompanying ' anti-populism ' it is necessary to examine the historical roots of populism as a popular movement.

Populism emerged during the 19 th and 20 th century as an ideology, movement and government in opposition to autocracy, feudalism, capitalism, imperialism and socialism. In the United States, populist leaders led agrarian struggles backed by millions of small farmers in opposition to bankers, railroad magnates and land speculators. Opposing monopolistic practices of the 'robber barons', the populist movement supported broad-based commercial agriculture, access to low interest farm credit and reduced transport costs.

In all cases, the populist governments in Latin America were based on a coalition of nationalist capitalists, urban workers and the rural poor. In some notable cases, nationalist military officers brought populist governments to power. What they had in common was their opposition to foreign capital and its local supporters and exporters ('compradores'), bankers and their elite military collaborators. Populists promoted 'third way' politics by opposing imperialism on the right, and socialism and communism on the left. The populists supported the redistribution of wealth but not the expropriation of property. They sought to reconcile national capitalists and urban workers. They opposed class struggle but supported state intervention in the economy and import-substitution as a development strategy.

Imperialist powers were the leading anti-populists of that period. They defended property privileges and condemned nationalism as 'authoritarian' and undemocratic. They demonized the mass support for populism as 'a threat to Western Christian civilization'. Not infrequently, the anti-populists ideologues would label the national-populists as 'fascists' . . . even as they won numerous elections at different times and in a variety of countries.

The historical experience of populism, in theory and practice, has nothing to do with what today's ' anti-populists' in the media are calling ' populism' . In reality, current anti-populism is still a continuation of anti-communism , a political weapon to disarm working class and popular movements. It advances the class interest of the ruling class. Both 'anti's' have been orchestrated by ruling class ideologues seeking to blur the real nature of their 'pro-capitalist' privileged agenda and practice. Presenting your program as 'pro-capitalist', pro-inequalities, pro-tax evasion and pro-state subsidies for the elite is more difficult to defend at the ballot box than to claim to be ' anti-populist' .

' Anti-populism' is the simple ruling class formula for covering-up their real agenda, which is pro-militarist, pro-imperialist (globalization), pro-'rebels' (i.e. mercenary terrorists working for regime change), pro crisis makers and pro-financial swindlers.

The economic origins of ' anti-populism' are rooted in the deep and repeated crises of capitalism and the need to deflect and discredit mass discontent and demoralize the popular classes in struggle. By demonizing ' populism', the elites seek to undermine the rising tide of anger over the elite-imposed wage cuts, the rise of low-paid temporary jobs and the massive increase in the reserve army of cheap immigrant labor to compete with displaced native workers.

Historic 'anti-populism' has its roots in the inability of capitalism to secure popular consent via elections. It reflects their anger and frustration at their failure to grow the economy, to conquer and exploit independent countries and to finance growing fiscal deficits.

The Amalgamation of Historical Populism with the Contemporary Fabricated Populism

What the current anti-populists ideologues label ' populism' has little to do with the historical movements.

Unlike all of the past populist governments, which sought to nationalize strategic industries, none of the current movements and parties, denounced as 'populist' by the media, are anti-imperialists. In fact, the current ' populists' attack the lowest classes and defend the imperialist-allied capitalist elites. The so-called current ' populists' support imperialist wars and bank swindlers, unlike the historical populists who were anti-war and anti-bankers.

Ruling class ideologues simplistically conflate a motley collection of rightwing capitalist parties and organizations with the pro-welfare state, pro-worker and pro-farmer parties of the past in order to discredit and undermine the burgeoning popular multi-class movements and regimes.

Demonization of independent popular movements ignores the fundamental programmatic differences and class politics of genuine populist struggles compared with the contemporary right-wing capitalist political scarecrows and clowns.

One has only to compare the currently demonized ' populist' Donald Trump with the truly populist US President Franklin Roosevelt, who promoted social welfare, unionization, labor rights, increased taxes on the rich, income redistribution, and genuine health and workplace safety legislation within a multi-class coalition to see how absurd the current media campaign has become.

The anti-populist ideologues label President Trump a 'populist' when his policies and proposals are the exact opposite. Trump champions the repeal of all pro-labor and work safety regulation, as well as the slashing of public health insurance programs while reducing corporate taxes for the ultra-elite.

The media's ' anti-populists' ideologues denounce pro-business rightwing racists as ' populists' . In Italy, Finland, Holland, Austria, Germany and France anti-working class parties are called ' populist' for attacking immigrants instead of bankers and militarists.

In other words, the key to understanding contemporary ' anti-populism' is to see its role in preempting and undermining the emergence of authentic populist movements while convincing middle class voters to continue to vote for crisis-prone, austerity-imposing neo-liberal regimes. ' Anti-populism' has become the opium (or OxyContin) of frightened middle class voters.

The anti-populism of the ruling class serves to confuse the 'right' with the 'left'; to sidelight the latter and promote the former; to amalgamate rightwing 'rallies' with working class strikes; and to conflate rightwing demagogues with popular mass leaders.

Unfortunately, too many leftist academics and pundits are loudly chanting in the 'anti-populist' chorus. They have failed to see themselves among the shock troops of the right. The left ideologues join the ruling class in condemning the corporate populists in the name of 'anti-fascism'. Leftwing writers, claiming to 'combat the far-right enemies of the people' , overlook the fact that they are 'fellow-travelling' with an anti-populist ruling class, which has imposed savage cuts in living standards, spread imperial wars of aggression resulting in millions of desperate refugees- not immigrants –and concentrated immense wealth.

The bankruptcy of today's ' anti-populist' left will leave them sitting in their coffee shops, scratching at fleas, as the mass popular movements take to the streets!

[Jul 21, 2017] The level of povery in some regions of the USA is quite staggering

Notable quotes:
"... To Tyler, the collapse of the coal industry had left two kinds of people in these mountains. There are those who work. And there are those who don't: the unemployed, the disabled, the addicted, and the people who, like his family, belonged to all three groups. Those who work rarely mix with those who don't, except in brief encounters at the grocery store, at the schools or, for Tyler, along the side of the road, where he knew he was likely to encounter acts of generosity as well as outbursts of resentment. ..."
Jul 21, 2017 | www.msn.com
Originally from: In former coal country, the working poor show open contempt for neighbors who seek handouts

... ... ...

Tyler would hold a sign on the side of the road and beg for money. He would go to a town 30 miles down the road and stand at one of the region's busiest intersections, where he prayed no one would recognize him, to plead for help from people whose lives seemed so far removed from his own.

To Tyler, the collapse of the coal industry had left two kinds of people in these mountains. There are those who work. And there are those who don't: the unemployed, the disabled, the addicted, and the people who, like his family, belonged to all three groups. Those who work rarely mix with those who don't, except in brief encounters at the grocery store, at the schools or, for Tyler, along the side of the road, where he knew he was likely to encounter acts of generosity as well as outbursts of resentment.

As he walked toward the car and got inside, he had so many hopes in his head. He hoped he would get enough money to feed his family. He hoped the cops wouldn't arrest him. But most of all, he hoped he wouldn't run into a man named David Hess.

... A Washington Post analysis of government statistics found 102 counties, where, at minimum, about one in six working-age residents receive either Supplemental Security Income, a program for the disabled poor, or Social Security Disability Insurance for disabled workers. These are places ! primarily white, rural and working-class ! where once-dominant industries have collapsed or modernized and the number of people who are jobless or receiving public-assistance benefits has soared.

"There is a critical divide in the minds of low-income whites, between people who work, even if they struggle, and what has historically been called 'white trash,' " said Lisa Pruitt, a professor at the University of California at Davis who researches rural poverty and grew up in Newton County, Ark., which has one of the nation's highest disability rates. "The worst thing you can do in rural America among low-income whites is not work." There's a mentality, she said, that "only lazy white trash" accept what's derided as "handouts."

"Were you morally upstanding or were you not?" was a question Jennifer Sherman, the author of " Those Who Work, Those Who Don't: Poverty, Morality, and Family in Rural America ," came to associate with the idea of work and public benefits while living in a remote California community where the timber industry had capsized. "Could you make some claim to work and having a work ethic or could you not? It was your claim to moral capital and your identity."

Nearly two-thirds of rural Americans say it's more common for irresponsible people to receive government help they don't deserve than for needy people to go without assistance, compared with 48 percent of city residents, according to a recent Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll . Rural Americans are also more apt to say poverty is the result of laziness.

... ... ...

He could hardly remember a period in his life when it seemed he had more. He never knew the good times his parents would sometimes recall, when the coal mines were open, and his father was getting work all over Buchanan County. He knew only what happened after. The mining accident in 2001 that nearly killed his father, then the anxiety and depression that led to disability benefits. His father's addiction to prescription pills, taken to dull the pain from the mines, and, later, the drug charges and incarceration in 2005. Tyler asking Sheila, also on disability because of depression and anxiety, also addicted to pain pills, to quit drugs. And her saying she would, but only if he'd promise to finish college, find a job somewhere else and take her away from here.

The car went past the McDonald's where Tyler had worked until he was fired for missing a shift during a snowstorm. Next it passed the Food City, where, the year before, Tyler's father had seen a man holding a sign and begging for money, which gave him the idea to do the same.

Tyler used to feel certain that he would keep his promise to Sheila. He had avoided the traps that had ensnared so many others around him. He hadn't gotten a girl pregnant. He hadn't used drugs, like his brother, now incarcerated, as well. He had graduated high school, something neither of his parents had done, then married his girlfriend, Morgan, who was 17. And after securing financial aid and buying a car with money saved from work, he started welding classes at a community college nearly an hour's drive away. In the mornings, he would take his father to a corner to beg, head off to class, and in the afternoons, they'd return home together. But then came the confrontations with Hess, his father's second incarceration in March for selling hydrocodone and clonazepam, and a car crash that took away his driver's license and totaled his car. Without transportation, he decided to drop out of school and stay home with his mother, wife and other housemates.

[Jul 19, 2017] A 21st-Century Form of Indentured Servitude Has Already Penetrated Deep into the American Heartland

Notable quotes:
"... By Thom Hartmann. a talk-show host and author of over 25 books in print.. Originally published at AlterNet . ..."
"... Yes. I thank Hartmann for pointing out the latest power grabs by our corporate masters. Still, his ignoring Clinton, Obama and the rest just puts him in with all the other political tribalists, who by their tribalism distract from the main problems – and their ultimate solutions. It's a class war, Thom, The Only War That Matters. ..."
"... I can disagree with you that this here republic is a democracy. ..."
"... Fair enough. The United States is no longer a representative democracy (and it was only that way occasionally in the past); it's currently an oligarchic plutocracy. But if we hope to regain any semblance of a representative democracy, we need to actively participate. There are many reasons why we've degenerated into a plutocracy, and one of those reasons is that people don't participate enough. ..."
"... "And anything that would make somebody not want to move here or start a company here is going to slow down our progress." ..."
"... The vast majority of the labor market is shifting gears to function as the servant class to the very rich. It is a painful transition as recent gains in labor rights are lost. ..."
"... The last 70 years was an aberration. It will not return, short of a major uprising. Given the state's security apparatus that prospect is extremely unlikely. ..."
"... And I do not agree with Thom's Indentured servitude meme; he gives no real examples, just generalities. I would submit that a neo-feudal system is the fact on the ground. The difference; a serf has land (and yes, he's attached to it), a house, and a modicum of freedom; as long as he takes care of his lord. ..."
"... All information is managed; and this includes the unemployment figures; pure fiction by the way. An indentured servant has work; 20 million(?) or more Usians have no work, and little hope of finding meaningful employment. ..."
"... The importance of this can not be underestimated; human dignity is at stake; we're a society brought up on the importance of being "gainfully" employed. Our society is being intentionally crushed to make us serfs in a neo-feudal society. ..."
"... 20+ years ago in Athens, GA, there was a local chicken place. Good food if you like that kind of thing. Come to find the employees who fried the chicken and worked the service counter were forbidden by the language of their "contracts" to quit for a dollar an hour more at another local restaurant. The first company didn't actually have the means to take its former employees to court, but they had the "right" to do so. Bill Clinton, neoliberal to his rotten core, was happily the president, feeling our pain. ..."
"... These days, even janitors are being required to sign non-compete clauses. When Krishna Regmi started work as a personal care aide for a Pittsburgh home health agency in 2015, he was given a stack of paperwork to sign. "They just told us, 'It's just a formality, sign here, here, here,' " he said. Regmi didn't think much of it. That is, until he quit his job nine months later and announced his decision to move to a rival agency ! and his ex-employer sued him for violating a noncompete clause Regmi says he didn't know he had signed. The agreement barred Regmi from working as a personal care aide at another home health agency for two years. ..."
"... In California, North Dakota and Oklahoma, the law says the agreements are unenforceable; judges will just throw them out. In other states, statutes and case law create a set of tests that the agreements must pass. In Oregon, for instance, they can only be enforced if workers have two weeks to consider them before taking a job, or if the worker gets a "bona fide advancement" in return, such as a raise. ..."
"... The author fails to point out that H1-B is also indentured servitude. ..."
"... The merging of corporate power with the state is called "fascism." This was described by both Benito Mussolini and FDR's vice-president Henry Wallace. But the term "fascism" isn't mentioned in the article. Importantly, fascists are sworn enemies of communism and socialism, and this is how they can be identified. ..."
"... The US is definitely getting more feudal. ..."
"... It's about bullying and intimidation. Like most bullies, the companies are cowards who would back down if challenged, because it would make little economic sense to sue minimum-wage ex-employees. They're relying on the employees being too cowed to call their bluff, so they choose to stay even if unhappy. ..."
"... Non-compete clauses sound like something that will create a hostile work force; that may not be so good for these companies. Articles like this make me think of "Space Merchants", an amusing science fiction satire on capitalism by Pohl and Kornbluth. ..."
"... Perhaps there are other options in responding to the types of abuse detailed in this post, in addition to the political action Thom Hartmann called for. One such action might be characterized as "Passive NonParticipation" with your brains, craftsmanship and know-how to the extent possible, yet still retain your job. ..."
Jul 19, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
July 19, 2017 by Lambert Strether By Thom Hartmann. a talk-show host and author of over 25 books in print.. Originally published at AlterNet .

Indentured servitude is back in a big way in the United States, and conservative corporatists want to make sure that labor never, ever again has the power to tell big business how to treat them.

Idaho , for example, recently passed a law that recognizes and rigorously enforces non-compete agreements in employment contracts, which means that if you want to move to a different, more highly paid, or better job, you can instead get wiped out financially by lawsuits and legal costs.

In a way, conservative/corporatists are just completing the circle back to the founding of this country.

Indentured servitude began in a big way in the early 1600s, when the British East India Company was establishing a beachhead in the (newly stolen from the Indians) state of Virginia (named after the "virgin queen" Elizabeth I, who signed the charter of the BEIC creating the first modern corporation in 1601). Jamestown (named after King James, who followed Elizabeth I to the crown) wanted free labor, and the African slave trade wouldn't start to crank up for another decade.

So the company made a deal with impoverished Europeans: Come to work for typically 4-7 years (some were lifetime indentures, although those were less common), legally as the property of the person or company holding your indenture, and we'll pay for your transport across the Atlantic.

It was, at least philosophically, the logical extension of the feudal economic and political system that had ruled Europe for over 1,000 years. The rich have all the rights and own all the property; the serfs are purely exploitable free labor who could be disposed of ( indentured servants , like slaves, were commonly whipped, hanged, imprisoned, or killed when they rebelled or were not sufficiently obedient).

This type of labor system has been the dream of conservative/corporatists, particularly since the "Reagan Revolution" kicked off a major federal war on the right of workers to organize for their own protection from corporate abuse.

Unions represented almost a third of American workers when Reagan came into office (and, since union jobs set local labor standards, for every union job there was typically an identically-compensated non-union job, meaning about two-thirds of America had the benefits and pay associated with union jobs pre-Reagan).

Thanks to Reagan's war on labor, today unions represent about 6 percent of the non-government workforce.

But that wasn't enough for the acolytes of Ayn Rand, Ronald Reagan and Milton Friedman. They didn't just want workers to lose their right to collectively bargain; they wanted employers to functionally own their employees.

Prior to the current Reaganomics era, non-compete agreements were pretty much limited to senior executives and scientists/engineers.

If you were a CEO or an engineer for a giant company, knowing all their processes, secrets and future plans, that knowledge had significant and consequential value!company value worth protecting with a contract that said you couldn't just take that stuff to a competitor without either a massive payment to the left-behind company or a flat-out lawsuit.

But should a guy who digs holes with a shovel or works on a drilling rig be forced to sign a non-compete? What about a person who flips burgers or waits tables in a restaurant? Or the few factory workers we have left, since neoliberal trade policies have moved the jobs of tens of thousands of companies overseas?

Turns out corporations are using non-competes to prevent even these types of employees from moving to newer or better jobs.

America today has the lowest minimum wage in nearly 50 years , adjusted for inflation. As a result, people are often looking for better jobs. But according to the New York Times , about 1 in 5 American workers is now locked in with a non-compete clause in an employment contract.

Before Reaganomics, employers didn't keep their employees by threatening them with lawsuits; instead, they offered them benefits like insurance, paid vacations and decent wages. Large swaths of American workers could raise a family and have a decent retirement with a basic job ranging from manufacturing to construction to service industry work.

My dad was one of them; he worked 40 years in a tool-and-die shop, and the machinist's union made sure he could raise and put through school four boys, could take 2-3 weeks of paid vacation every year, and had full health insurance and a solid retirement until the day he died, which continued with my mom until she died years later. Most boomers (particularly white boomers) can tell you the same story.

That America has been largely destroyed by Reaganomics, and Americans know it. It's why when Donald Trump told voters that the big corporations and banksters were screwing them, they voted for him and his party (not realizing that neither Trump nor the GOP had any intention of doing anything to help working people).

And now the conservatives/corporatists are going in for the kill, for their top goal: the final destruction of any remnant of labor rights in America.

Why would they do this? Two reasons: An impoverished citizenry is a politically impotent citizenry, and in the process of destroying the former middle class, the 1 percent make themselves trillions of dollars richer.

The New York Times has done some great reporting on this problem, with an article last May and a more recent piece about how the state of Idaho has made it nearly impossible for many workers to escape their servitude.

Historically, indentured servants had their food, health care, housing, and clothing provided to them by their "employers." Today's new serfs can hardly afford these basics of life, and when you add in modern necessities like transportation, education and child-care, the American labor landscape is looking more and more like old-fashioned servitude.

Nonetheless, conservatives/corporatists in Congress and state-houses across the nation are working hard to hold down minimum wages. Missouri's Republican legislature just made it illegal for St. Louis to raise their minimum wage to $10/hour, throwing workers back down to $7.70. More preemption laws like this are on the books or on their way.

At the same time, these conservatives/corporatists are working to roll back health care protections for Americans, roll back environmental protections that keep us and our children from being poisoned, and even roll back simple workplace, food and toy safety standards.

The only way these predators will be stopped is by massive political action leading to the rollback of Reaganism/neoliberalism.

And the conservatives/corporatists who largely own the Republican Party know it, which is why they're purging voting lists , fighting to keep in place easily hacked voting machines , and throwing billions of dollars into think tanks, right-wing radio, TV, and online media.

If they succeed, America will revert to a very old form of economy and politics: the one described so well in Charles Dickens' books when Britain had " maximum wage laws " and "Poor Laws" to prevent a strong and politically active middle class from emerging.

Conservatives/corporatists know well that this type of neo-feudalism is actually a very stable political and economic system, and one that's hard to challenge. China has put it into place in large part, and other countries from Turkey to the Philippines to Brazil and Venezuela are falling under the thrall of the merger of corporate and state power.

So many of our individual rights have been stripped from us, so much of America's middle-class progress in the last century has been torn from us , while conservatives wage a brutal and oppressive war on dissenters and people of color under the rubrics of "security," "tough on crime," and the "war on drugs."

As a result, America has 5 percent of the world's population and 25 percent of the world's prisoners , more than any other nation on earth, all while opiate epidemics are ravaging our nation. And what to do about it?

Scientists have proven that the likelihood the desires of the bottom 90 percent of Americans get enacted into law are now equal to statistical " random noise ." Functionally, most of us no longer have any real representation in state or federal legislative bodies: they now exist almost exclusively to serve the very wealthy.

The neo-feudal corporate/conservative elite are both politically and financially committed to replacing the last traces of worker power in America with a modern system of indentured servitude.

Only serious and committed political action can reverse this; we're long past the point where complaining or sitting on the sidelines is an option.

As both Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama regularly said (and I've closed my radio show for 14 years with), "Democracy is not a spectator sport."

griffen , July 19, 2017 at 5:43 am

Wait, no mention of the Clinton administration and those Rubin acolytes? I find that hard to believe, those 8 years in the 90s were significant for today's outsized CEO pay and incentives.

WheresOurTeddy , July 19, 2017 at 5:48 am

First-Term Reagan Baby approves this post. New Deal was under attack before FDR's body got cold. Truman instead of Wallace in the VP slot in '44 was a dark day for humanity.

Remember the Four Freedoms.

Arizona Slim , July 19, 2017 at 8:37 am

The New Deal was under attack from day one.

Disturbed Voter , July 19, 2017 at 6:24 am

To keep doing what doesn't work, is insane. So keep voting for your incumbents! Not!

r.turner , July 19, 2017 at 12:57 pm

Massive political action? Not gonna happen.

BoycottAmazon , July 19, 2017 at 6:40 am

Then there is probation board / court bonds slavery. The slave is captured by the police, then chained to debt and papers first by a bond and then later upon "early" release to a probation officer. The slave has restrictions on his freedom by the probation orders, and must make good the money owed the bondsman and the court ordered fines. The slaves work for the benefit of the political and monied class who don't need to pay much if any tax burden for all their government delivered goods thanks to this system of slavery.

DanB , July 19, 2017 at 6:45 am

Hartmann closes with, "As both Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama regularly 'Democracy is not a spectator sport'." Hello Thom: Sanders has twisted himself with pretzel logic regarding neoliberalism and Obama is a full-blown neoliberal (who you seem to forget admired Ronald Reagan).

Colonel Smithers , July 19, 2017 at 7:17 am

Thank you, Dan.

That sentence also caught my attention and reminded me of John Kennedy junior's George magazine, marketing "politics as a lifestyle choice" and featuring Cindy Crawford on the inaugural cover. Allied to the MSM's obsession with identity politics, as a neo-liberal and neo-con driver of news, one is soon distracted from, if not disgusted with, what's going on. Thank God for (the) Naked Capitalism (community).

Livius Drusus , July 19, 2017 at 7:28 am

Yeah like Obama cared about unions and workers' rights. What happened to EFCA? What happened to the comfy shoes Obama said he would wear to walk with public sector workers in Wisconsin? Obama never fought for workers but he fought like hell for the TPP even going on Jimmy Fallon's show and slow jamming for it.

Obama is like the rest of the neoliberal Democrats. They think that unions and workers' rights are anti-meritocratic. Unions are only good for money and foot soldiers during the election. After the election they are basically told to get bent.

lyman alpha blob , July 19, 2017 at 8:11 am

Yes thanks for mentioning the EFCA. I'm so old I remember when the Democrat party campaigned hard on that – "If you give us back the majority in Congress blah blah blah .". And as soon as they won said majority they never mentioned it again.

Dirk77 , July 19, 2017 at 9:38 am

Yes. I thank Hartmann for pointing out the latest power grabs by our corporate masters. Still, his ignoring Clinton, Obama and the rest just puts him in with all the other political tribalists, who by their tribalism distract from the main problems – and their ultimate solutions. It's a class war, Thom, The Only War That Matters.

Vatch , July 19, 2017 at 12:50 pm

One can disagree with Obama or Sanders about various issues, but democracy is definitely not a spectator sport. People need to vote in both primary and general elections, and not just in the big Presidential years. People need to vote in midterm primary and general elections, as well as the elections in odd numbered years, if their states have such elections.

They also need to actively support good candidates, and communicate their opinions to the politicians who hold office. Periodically, people post comments about the futility of voting, or they say that not voting is a way to send a message. Nonsense! Failure to participate is not a form of participation, it's just a way of tacitly approving of the status quo.

Eureka Springs , July 19, 2017 at 2:01 pm

Well I hope I can disagree with you that this here republic is a democracy. There isn't even a party I can think of which operates democratically.

Supporting a good candidate is asking people to participate in spectator sport-like activity. The people, party members, should determine a platform and the candidate/office holder should be obligated to sell/enact/administrate it.

The rich tell their politicians/parties what to do so should the rest of us.

Vatch , July 19, 2017 at 3:56 pm

"I can disagree with you that this here republic is a democracy."

Fair enough. The United States is no longer a representative democracy (and it was only that way occasionally in the past); it's currently an oligarchic plutocracy. But if we hope to regain any semblance of a representative democracy, we need to actively participate. There are many reasons why we've degenerated into a plutocracy, and one of those reasons is that people don't participate enough.

"Supporting a good candidate is asking people to participate in spectator sport-like activity"

Sure, if people don't participate in the primary process, all they have to choose from in the general election is a couple of tools of the oligarchs. They also need to do many of the things in the quote from Howard Zinn that Alejandro provided.

Alejandro , July 19, 2017 at 3:11 pm

"If democracy were to be given any meaning, if it were to go beyond the limits of capitalism and nationalism, this would not come, if history were any guide, from the top. It would come through citizen's movements, educating, organizing, agitating, striking, boycotting, demonstrating, threatening those in power with disruption of the stability they needed."–Howard Zinn

AND this:

" Democracy is not a spectator sport."– Lotte Scharfman
http://www.capecodtimes.com/article/20081004/opinion/810040340

David, by the lake , July 19, 2017 at 7:04 am

As others have pointed out already, it is important to note that corporatism is not a uniquely Republican characteristic.

Roger Smith , July 19, 2017 at 7:33 am

Great post, although I think it goes a little out of its way to ignore referencing Democrats as an equal part of the problem, as they too are "conservative/corporatists". Party politics is theater for the plebes, nothing more. These "people" have the same values and desires.

Colonel Smithers , July 19, 2017 at 7:40 am

Thank you to Lambert. Indentured labourers were also used by the French colonial ventures, including Mauritius / Ile Maurice, known as Isle de France when under French rule from 1715 – 1810.

Many of the labourers lived alongside slaves and, later, free men and women. They also intermarried, beginning what are now called Creoles in the Indian Ocean, Caribbean and Louisiana. I am one of their descendants.

In 1936, my great grandfather and others, mainly Creoles, founded the Labour Party in Mauritius. A year later, they organised the first strike, a general, which resulted in four sugar factory workers being shot and killed at Union-Flacq sugar estate. From what my grandmother and her aunt and sister, all of whom used to knit banners and prepare food and drink for the 1 May, and my father report, it's amazing and depressing to see the progress of the mid-1930s to 1970s being rolled back. It's also depressing to hear from so many, let's call them the 10%, criticise trade unions and think that progress was achieved by magic. Plutonium Kun wrote about that recently.

19battlehill , July 19, 2017 at 8:12 am

Thom – I agree with your outrage; however, the truth is that economically the US has been broke since the 1970's and it doesn't matter. Nothing will change until our we have an honest monetary system, and until unearned income is tax properly – the rich have gotten richer and corporations have hijacked our government, whining about it does nothing, this will go on until something breaks and then we will see what happens.

cnchal , July 19, 2017 at 8:14 am

What is going on in Idaho? Why would the state politicians do such a thing? From the Idaho link which is the NY Times, reveals the real reason. Believe it or not.

"We're trying to build the tech ecosystem in Boise," said George Mulhern, chief executive of Cradlepoint, a company here that makes routers and other networking equipment. "And anything that would make somebody not want to move here or start a company here is going to slow down our progress."

Alex LaBeau, president of the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry , a trade group that represents many of the state's biggest employers, countered: "This is about companies protecting their assets in a competitive marketplace ."

Alex doesn't get irony. What price discovery? Where are economists on this? Why are they radio silent? To paraphrase Franklin, a market, if you can keep it.

Again and again and again, we see narcissist lawyer/politicians doing stuff that is completely demented, from a normal person's point of view. They will be gone in a few years, but the idiotic laws remain.

Arizona Slim , July 19, 2017 at 8:42 am

Note the use of the word "ecosystem." A bullshhhh tell if there ever was one.

jrs , July 19, 2017 at 10:28 am

Tech is neither here nor there in it, I mean they say being able to leave jobs easily was a tech advantage in California where people could leave to start new businesses etc.. So I'm not sure how tech actually lines up on it, and it's almost not the point, even when it does good it's no substitute for an organization that really represents labor. It might be better in California due to tech pressure, but probably mostly because it's a deep blue state, which tends to make places slightly more tolerable places to live. Well as much as we're going to get when what we really need is socialists in the legislature but nonetheless.

Yes these practices are slavery. Indentured servitude is almost too polite, but I get it's more P.C..

Vatch , July 19, 2017 at 4:54 pm

It's not exactly the same as employee non-competition contracts, but remember the scandal about the Silicon Valley companies that privately agreed not to hire each others' employees? Here's one of the many articles about this:

http://www.businessinsider.com/emails-eric-schmidt-sergey-brin-hiring-apple-2014-3

Tom G. , July 19, 2017 at 12:12 pm

I imagine that a few companies will move to Idaho to take advantage of the favorable legal climate, and will leave even more quickly when they can't recruit the talent they need. Speaking as a Software Engineer, the only impact this new law has is to put Idaho at the top of my list of "places I won't consider for relocation."

MG , July 19, 2017 at 12:41 pm

Mulhern is an idiot then because there is a fair amount of evidence that CA's lax enforcement and very skeptical enforcement of non competes is an important factor on why Silicon Valley has thrived. My sense is that this is purely to protect the status quo among large local employers and nothing to do with growing the local ecosystem or smaller firms. Good luck trying to recruit top-flight talent especially engineers/programmers to Boise with most companies have a vigorous year or 2-year non-competes in place.

cnchal , July 19, 2017 at 8:18 pm

> Mulhern is an idiot . . .

Ultimately, Idahoans will shoot themselves in the asses, never mind assets. I know "ecosystem" is a bullshit tell but it's another word for network effects and the network is short circuited by these laws.

Laws preventing an employee from leaving means there is less mixing of talent, making everyone worse off. That's how we learn, getting in there and doing it, whatever it is, and by moving to another employer you transfer and pick up knowledge and experience.

What makes it farcical, is that Big Co Management never envisions itself in their employees shoes.

Mike G , July 19, 2017 at 1:29 pm

"And anything that would make somebody not want to move here or start a company here is going to slow down our progress."

He's right, but in the wrong way. Idaho's new feudal employment laws ensure I will never move there for a tech job.

RenoDino , July 19, 2017 at 8:29 am

The vast majority of the labor market is shifting gears to function as the servant class to the very rich. It is a painful transition as recent gains in labor rights are lost. Becoming a willing supplicant and attaching oneself to a rich and powerful family is the best way to better one's prospects. The last 70 years was an aberration. It will not return, short of a major uprising. Given the state's security apparatus that prospect is extremely unlikely.

Anti Schmoo , July 19, 2017 at 8:54 am

Not a Thom Hartmann fanboy; he deals in glittering generalities and treats serious subject matter in a deeply superficial manner. Having been a Teamster in warehousing and metal trades; they were corrupt and in management's pocket in those places I worked. I'm a huge proponent for labor and the ideal of labor unions (as imagined by the wobblies); not the reality on the ground today.

And I do not agree with Thom's Indentured servitude meme; he gives no real examples, just generalities. I would submit that a neo-feudal system is the fact on the ground. The difference; a serf has land (and yes, he's attached to it), a house, and a modicum of freedom; as long as he takes care of his lord.

Usian's are now, in fact, prisoners of war. Living in a broken system where voting no longer counts; the very back bone of a democratic society. The "two" parties have merged into one entity looking very much like the ouroboros (a snake eating its tail).

All information is managed; and this includes the unemployment figures; pure fiction by the way. An indentured servant has work; 20 million(?) or more Usians have no work, and little hope of finding meaningful employment.

The importance of this can not be underestimated; human dignity is at stake; we're a society brought up on the importance of being "gainfully" employed. Our society is being intentionally crushed to make us serfs in a neo-feudal society.

RickM , July 19, 2017 at 8:56 am

20+ years ago in Athens, GA, there was a local chicken place. Good food if you like that kind of thing. Come to find the employees who fried the chicken and worked the service counter were forbidden by the language of their "contracts" to quit for a dollar an hour more at another local restaurant. The first company didn't actually have the means to take its former employees to court, but they had the "right" to do so. Bill Clinton, neoliberal to his rotten core, was happily the president, feeling our pain. And his own, courtesy of Newt Gingrich et al.

Colonel Smithers , July 19, 2017 at 9:05 am

Thank you, Rick. It was not just our pain that Clinton and Nootie were feeling. Speaking of Mr Bill, his family's role in Haiti, amongst other places reduced to penury, should earn them a place in infamy.

oaf , July 19, 2017 at 9:39 am

"we're long past the point where complaining or sitting on the sidelines is an option."

but marches and *Occupy*s (sp?) FEEL SO GOOD!!! like we are ACTUALLY MAKING A DIFFERENCE!

jrs , July 19, 2017 at 10:41 am

he didn't suggest that, maybe that's what he meant, maybe somewhere else in his communications he says that, but it's not in the article.

Yes a problem is people don't know where or even how to apply any sort of pressure to change things

But one plus of these things being somewhat decided on the state level, is it is more obvious how to go about change there than with the Fed gov where things seem almost hopeless, try to elect people who stand against these policies for instance, easier done some places than others of course, but

jawbon , July 19, 2017 at 11:30 am

Occupy did make a difference, at least in how the public paying attention mostly to broadcast news and the "important" newspapers were concerned. Young people, especially, began to realize what they were up against in this corporatized economy where all the power went to the wealthy.

I'll bet a lot of Occupiers actually began to understand just what Neoliberalism meant!

And the amount of planning and effort the Obama WH spent organizing the Federal agencies and state/local governments to shut down the Occupy encampments indicated to me just how much they feared the effects of Occupy.

different clue , July 19, 2017 at 8:02 pm

Well . . . Occupy was clearly making enough of a difference that the Obama Administration worked with the 18 Democratic Party Mayors of 18 different cities to stamp it out with heavy police stompout presence. The Zucotti clearout in NYC, for example, was just exactly the way Obama liked it done.

Enquiring Mind , July 19, 2017 at 10:03 am

People subject to politicians should begin a coordinated effort to use a common approach to get the truth. Demand transparency, with all campaign contributions, lobbyist contacts, voting records, committee memberships and such all in one place. Use that information to provide a score to show the degree of voter representation. Not sure how that would work, just brainstorming to try some new approach as current ones have failed.

Vatch , July 19, 2017 at 10:05 am

A couple of months ago, this article was published:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2017/05/27/noncompete-clauses-jobs-workplace/348384001/

These days, even janitors are being required to sign non-compete clauses. When Krishna Regmi started work as a personal care aide for a Pittsburgh home health agency in 2015, he was given a stack of paperwork to sign. "They just told us, 'It's just a formality, sign here, here, here,' " he said. Regmi didn't think much of it. That is, until he quit his job nine months later and announced his decision to move to a rival agency ! and his ex-employer sued him for violating a noncompete clause Regmi says he didn't know he had signed. The agreement barred Regmi from working as a personal care aide at another home health agency for two years.

. . . . .

Bills in Maine, Maryland and Massachusetts would restrict noncompete agreements that involve low-wage employees; New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat, is pushing for the same change in his state. Proposals in Massachusetts and Washington would also restrict the agreements for other types of workers, such as temporary employees and independent contractors.

Such bills face an uphill struggle, however, often because of stiff opposition from business. "Non-compete agreements are essential to the growth and viability of businesses by protecting trade secrets and promoting business development," the Maryland Chamber of Commerce said in written testimony opposing a bill Carr introduced that would have voided agreements signed by workers who earn less than $15 an hour. The bill passed the House in February but died in the Senate.
. . . . . .

Some good news:

In California, North Dakota and Oklahoma, the law says the agreements are unenforceable; judges will just throw them out. In other states, statutes and case law create a set of tests that the agreements must pass. In Oregon, for instance, they can only be enforced if workers have two weeks to consider them before taking a job, or if the worker gets a "bona fide advancement" in return, such as a raise.

States have tightened up enforcement criteria in recent years, propelled by news reports, Starr's research and encouragement from the Obama White House. In addition to Illinois' law banning noncompete agreements for low-wage workers, last year Utah passed a law that voided agreements that restricted workers for more than a year; Rhode Island invalidated them for physicians; and Connecticut limited how long and in what geographic area physicians can be bound.

Yet Starr's survey research suggests that tweaking the criteria may have a limited effect on how often the agreements are signed. In California, where noncompete agreements can't be enforced, 19 percent of workers have signed one, he said. In Florida, where the agreements are easily enforced, the share is the same: 19 percent.

Softie , July 19, 2017 at 10:30 am

The author fails to point out that H1-B is also indentured servitude.

Jacob , July 19, 2017 at 11:00 am

The merging of corporate power with the state is called "fascism." This was described by both Benito Mussolini and FDR's vice-president Henry Wallace. But the term "fascism" isn't mentioned in the article. Importantly, fascists are sworn enemies of communism and socialism, and this is how they can be identified.

gepay , July 19, 2017 at 11:23 am

NC is one of the few blogs where I read the comments.- this was a good article until the wtf comment at the end. Great Britain in an 1833 Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom abolished slavery throughout the British Empire (with the exceptions "of the Territories in the Possession of the East India Company" (how is that not surprising), Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, and Saint Helena; the exceptions were eliminated in 1843). "Who ya gonna get to do the dirty work when all the slaves are free?" Indentured servants from India – the biggest ethnic group in British Guiana (now Guyana) are from India Indians. The US is definitely getting more feudal.

d , July 19, 2017 at 12:58 pm

while i dont disagree thats it not happening, it just seems extremely short sighted, as without a large growing middle class, corporations are dooming them selves to lower income (profits) in the long term. but then no one can really accuse corporations of having a long term view

different clue , July 19, 2017 at 8:09 pm

But perhaps the rich people hiding behind the corporate veil are motivated by class sadism, not class greed. Perhaps they are ready to lose half what they have in order to destroy both halves of what we have.

Benedict@Large , July 19, 2017 at 1:30 pm

I don't see the problem. You're getting somewhere around minimum wage, and so a lawyer wouldn't take you even if you knew how to find one suitable, which you don't.

So you look at your boss and say, "Sue me." What's the gut to do? Hire a lawyer? Use one on staff? This is a civil case, so what damages is he claiming?

Then how's the judge going to look on this. Any judge I've known would be pissed livid to get stuck with a bullcrap case like this. Imagine when every judge is looking at his docket filled with this nonsense. How long before he starts slapping your boss with contempt?

We're sitting around complaining how bad our bosses are, bet we have another, must worse problem. Employees have turned to wimps over their boss's every utterance. Here's a tip. Probably a half and more of whatever is in you employment "contract" (it probably doesn't even qualify legally as one) is either illegal or unenforceable. Pretend it isn't there.

And above all, STOP rolling over to these jerks. If your biggest problem is a non-compete on a minimum wage contract, your world has already fallen apart. If your bosses problem is that he thinks he needs them, his world is about to.

Mike G , July 19, 2017 at 5:27 pm

It's about bullying and intimidation. Like most bullies, the companies are cowards who would back down if challenged, because it would make little economic sense to sue minimum-wage ex-employees. They're relying on the employees being too cowed to call their bluff, so they choose to stay even if unhappy.

Edward , July 19, 2017 at 2:31 pm

Non-compete clauses sound like something that will create a hostile work force; that may not be so good for these companies. Articles like this make me think of "Space Merchants", an amusing science fiction satire on capitalism by Pohl and Kornbluth.

Swamp Yankee , July 19, 2017 at 2:49 pm

The East India Company did not establish a foothold in Virginia! That was the Virginia Company! This basic factual error mars an article that otherwise makes a very good point.

Swamp Yankee , July 19, 2017 at 2:58 pm

Nor was Virginia a State at the time ! a colony until the Revolution. These are critical distinctions.

This is the kind of thing that drives history teachers crazy.

Chauncey Gardiner , July 19, 2017 at 7:28 pm

Perhaps there are other options in responding to the types of abuse detailed in this post, in addition to the political action Thom Hartmann called for. One such action might be characterized as "Passive NonParticipation" with your brains, craftsmanship and know-how to the extent possible, yet still retain your job.

In the waning years of the Soviet Union, the mantra was "They pretend to pay us, and we pretend to work." I suspect many American workers have already figured out the minimum amount of work necessary to retain their jobs and incomes, hence the recent decline in one of the "elite's" most cherished metrics, "productivity" (besides wealth concentration, of course).

[Jul 19, 2017] The First Neoliberals: How free-market disciples and union busters became the prophets of American liberalism by Corey Robin

Notable quotes:
"... New Republic ..."
"... Returning to that first paragraph of Peters's piece, we find the basic positions of the neoliberal persuasion: opposition to unions and big government, support for the military and big business. ..."
"... Above all, neoliberals loathed unions, especially teachers unions. They still do , except insofar as they're useful funding devices for the contemporary Democratic Party. ..."
"... But reading Peters, it's clear that unions were, from the very beginning, the main target. The problems with unions were many: they protected their members' interests (no mention of how important unions were to getting and protecting Social Security and Medicare); they drove up costs, both in the private and the public sector; they defended lazy, incompetent workers ("we want a government that can fire people who can't or won't do the job"). ..."
"... The Other America ..."
04, 2016 | www.jacobinmag.com

On Tuesday, New York magazine's Jonathan Chait tweeted , "What if every use of 'neoliberal' was replaced with, simply, 'liberal'? Would any non-propagandistic meaning be lost?"

It was an odd tweet.

On the one hand, Chait was probably just voicing his disgruntlement with an epithet that leftists and Sanders liberals often hurl against Clinton liberals like Chait.

On the other hand, there was a time, not so long ago, when journalists like Chait would have proudly owned the term neoliberal as an apt description of their beliefs. It was the New Republic , after all, the magazine where Chait made his name, that, along with the Washington Monthly , first provided neoliberalism with a home and a face.

Now, neoliberalism, of course, can mean a great many things , many of them associated with the Right. But one of its meanings ! arguably, in the United States, the most historically accurate ! is the name that a small group of journalists, intellectuals, and politicians on the Left gave to themselves in the late 1970s in order to register their distance from the traditional liberalism of the New Deal and the Great Society.

The original neoliberals included, among others, Michael Kinsley, Charles Peters, James Fallows, Nicholas Lemann, Bill Bradley, Bruce Babbitt, Gary Hart, and Paul Tsongas. Sometimes called " Atari Democrats ," these were the men ! and they were almost all men ! who helped to remake American liberalism into neoliberalism, culminating in the election of Bill Clinton in 1992.

These were the men who made Jonathan Chait what he is today. Chait, after all, would recoil in horror at the policies and programs of mid-century liberals like Walter Reuther or John Kenneth Galbraith or even Arthur Schlesinger, who claimed that "class conflict is essential if freedom is to be preserved, because it is the only barrier against class domination." We know this because he so resolutely opposes the more tepid versions of that liberalism that we see in the Sanders campaign.

It's precisely the distance between that lost world of twentieth century American labor-liberalism and contemporary liberals like Chait that the phrase "neoliberalism" is meant, in part , to register.

We can see that distance first declared, and declared most clearly, in Charles Peters's famous " A Neoliberal's Manifesto ," which Tim Barker reminded me of last night. Peters was the founder and editor of the Washington Monthly , and in many ways the éminence grise of the neoliberal movement.

In re-reading Peters's manifesto ! I remember reading it in high school; that was the kind of thing a certain kind of nerdy liberal-ish sophomore might do ! I'm struck by how much it sets out the lineaments of Chait-style thinking today.

The basic orientation is announced in the opening paragraph:

We still believe in liberty and justice for all, in mercy for the afflicted and help for the down and out. But we no longer automatically favor unions and big government or oppose the military and big business. Indeed, in our search for solutions that work, we have to distrust all automatic responses, liberal or conservative.

Note the disavowal of all conventional ideologies and beliefs, the affirmation of an open-minded pragmatism guided solely by a bracing commitment to what works. It's a leitmotif of the entire manifesto: everyone else is blinded by their emotional attachments to the ideas of the past.

We, the heroic few, are willing to look upon reality as it is, to take up solutions from any side of the political spectrum, to disavow anything that smacks of ideological rigidity or partisan tribalism.

That Peters wound up embracing solutions in the piece that put him comfortably within the camp of GOP conservatism (he even makes a sop to school prayer) never seemed to disturb his serenity as a self-identified iconoclast. That was part of the neoliberal esprit de corps: a self-styled philosophical promiscuity married to a fairly conventional ideological fidelity.

Listen to how former New Republic owner Marty Peretz described that ethos in his look-back on the New Republic of the 1970s and 1980s:

My then-wife and I bought the New Republic in 1974. I was at the time a junior faculty member at Harvard, and I installed a former student, Michael Kinsley, as its editor. We put out a magazine that was intellectually daring, I like to think, and politically controversial.

We were for the Contras in Nicaragua; wary of affirmative action; for military intervention in Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur; alarmed about the decline of the family. The New Republic was also an early proponent of gay rights. We were neoliberals. We were also Zionists, and it was our defense of the Jewish state that put us outside the comfort zone of modern progressive politics.

Except for gay rights and one or two items in that grab bag of foreign interventions, what is Peretz saying here beyond the fact that his politics consisted mainly of supporting various planks from the Republican Party platform? That was the intellectual daring, apparently.

Returning to that first paragraph of Peters's piece, we find the basic positions of the neoliberal persuasion: opposition to unions and big government, support for the military and big business.

Above all, neoliberals loathed unions, especially teachers unions. They still do , except insofar as they're useful funding devices for the contemporary Democratic Party.

But reading Peters, it's clear that unions were, from the very beginning, the main target. The problems with unions were many: they protected their members' interests (no mention of how important unions were to getting and protecting Social Security and Medicare); they drove up costs, both in the private and the public sector; they defended lazy, incompetent workers ("we want a government that can fire people who can't or won't do the job").

Against unions, or conventional unions, Peters held out the promise of employee stock-ownership plans ( ESOPs ), where workers would forgo higher wages and benefits in return for stock options and ownership. He happily pointed to the example of Weirton Steel :

. . . where the workers accepted a 32 percent wage cut to keep their company alive. They will not be suckers because they will own the plant and share in the future profits their sacrifice makes possible. It's better for a worker to keep a job by accepting $12 an hour than to lose it by insisting on $19.

(Sadly, within two decades, Weirton Steel was dead, and with it, those future profits and wages for which those workers had sacrificed in the early 1980s.)

But above all, Peters and other neoliberals saw unions as the instruments of the most vile subjugation of the most downtrodden members of society:

A poor black child might have a better chance of escaping the ghetto if we fired his incompetent middle-class teacher . . .

The urban public schools have in fact become the principal instrument of class oppression in America, keeping the lower orders in their place while the upper class sends its children to private schools.

And here we see how in utero how the neoliberal argument works its magic on the Left.

On the one hand, Peters showed how much the neoliberal was indebted to the Great Society ethos of the 1960s. That ethos was a departure from the New Deal insofar as it proclaimed its solidarity with the most desperate and the most needy.

Michael Harrington's The Other America , for example, treated the poor not as a central part of the political economy, as the New Deal did. The poor were superfluous to that economy: there was America, which was middle-class and mainstream; there was the "other," which was poor and marginal. The Great Society declared a War on Poverty, which was thought to be a project different from managing and regulating the economy.

On the other hand, Peters showed how potent, and potently disabling, that kind of thinking could be. In the hands of neoliberalism, it became fashionable to pit the interests of the poor not against the power of the wealthy but against the unionized working class.

(We still see that kind of talk among today's Democrats, particularly in debates around free trade, where it is always the unionized worker ! never the well-paid journalist or economist or corporate CEO ! who is expected to make sacrifices on behalf of the global poor. Or among Hillary Clinton supporters, who leverage the interests of African American voters against the interests of white working-class voters, but never against the interests of capital.)

Teachers unions in the inner cities were ground zero of the neoliberal obsession. But it wasn't just teachers unions. It was all unions:

In both the public and private sector, unions were seeking and getting wage increases that had the effect of reducing or eliminating employment opportunities for people who were trying to get a foot on the first run of the ladder.

And it wasn't just unions that were a problem. It was big-government liberalism as a whole:

Too many liberals . . . refused to criticize their friends in the industrial unions and the civil service who were pulling up the ladder. Thus liberalism was becoming a movement of those who had arrived, who cared more about preserving and expanding their own gains than about helping those in need.

That government jobs are critical for women and African Americans ! as Annie Lowrey shows in an excellent recent piece ! has long been known in traditional liberal and labor circles.

That it is only recently registered among journalists ! who, even when they take the long view, focus almost exclusively, as Lowrey does, on the role of GOP governors in the aughts rather than on these long-term shifts in Democratic Party thinking ! tells us something about the break between liberalism and neoliberalism that Chait believes is so fanciful.

Oddly, as soon as Peters was done attacking unions and civil-service jobs for doling out benefits to the few ! ignoring all the women and people of color who were increasingly reliant on these instruments for their own advance ! he turned around and attacked programs like Social Security and Medicare for doing precisely the opposite: protecting everyone.

Take Social Security. The original purpose was to protect the elderly from need. But, in order to secure and maintain the widest possible support, benefits were paid to rich and poor alike. The catch, of course, is that a lot of money is wasted on people who don't need it . . .

Another way the practical and the idealistic merge in neoliberal thinking in is our attitude toward income maintenance programs like Social Security, welfare, veterans' pensions, and unemployment compensation. We want to eliminate duplication and apply a means test to these programs. They would all become one insurance program against need.

As a practical matter, the country can't afford to spend money on people who don't need it ! my aunt who uses her Social Security check to go to Europe or your brother-in-law who uses his unemployment compensation to finance a trip to Florida. And as liberal idealists, we don't think the well-off should be getting money from these programs anyway ! every cent we can afford should go to helping those really in need.

Kind of like Hillary Clinton criticizing Bernie Sanders for supporting free college education for all on the grounds that Donald Trump's kids shouldn't get their education paid for? (And let's not forget that as recently as the last presidential campaign, the Democratic candidate was more than willing to trumpet his credentials as a cutter of Social Security and Medicare , though thankfully he never entertained the idea of turning them into means-tested programs.)

It's difficult to make sense of what truly drives this contradiction, whereby one liberalism is criticized for supporting only one segment of the population while another liberalism is criticized for supporting all segments, including the poor.

It could be as simple as the belief that government should work on behalf of only the truly disadvantaged, leaving everyone else to the hands of the market. That that turned out to be a disaster for the truly disadvantaged ! with no one besides themselves to speak up on behalf of anti-poverty programs, those programs proved all too easy to eliminate, not by a Republican but by a Democrat ! seems not to have much troubled the sleep of neoliberalism.

Indeed, in the current election, it is Hillary Clinton's support for the 1994 crime bill rather than the 1996 welfare reform bill that has gotten the most attention, even though she proudly stated in her memoir that she not only supported the 1996 bill but rounded up votes for it.

Or perhaps it's that neoliberals of the Left, like their counterparts on the Right , simply came to believe that the market was for winners, government for losers. Only the poor needed government; everyone else was made for capitalism.

"Risk is indeed the essence of the movement," declared Peters of his merry band of neoliberal men, and though he had something different in mind when he said that, it's clear from the rest of his manifesto that the risk-taking entrepreneur really was what made his and his friends' hearts beat fastest.

Our hero is the risk-taking entrepreneur who creates new jobs and better products. "Americans," says Bill Bradley, "have to begin to treat risk more as an opportunity and not as a threat."

Whatever the explanation for this attitude toward government and the poor, it's clear that we're still living in the world the neoliberals made.

When Clinton's main line of attack against Sanders is that his proposals would increase the size of the federal government by 40 percent, when her hawkishness remains an unapologetic part of her campaign, when unions barely register except as an ATM for the Democratic Party, and Wall Street firmly declares itself to be in her camp, we can hear that opening call of Peters ! "But we no longer automatically favor unions and big government or oppose the military and big business" ! shorn of all awkward hesitation and convoluted formulations, articulated instead in the forthright syntax of common sense and everyday truth.

Perhaps that is why Jonathan Chait cannot tell the difference between liberalism and neoliberalism.

[Jul 19, 2017] 'Cultural Marxism' is usually a euphemism for political correctness and identity politics which the right-wing commentariat see rooted in 1960s counter culture supposedly influenced by French and Frankfurt School marxian philosophy.

Jul 19, 2017 | discussion.theguardian.com

, GalahadThreepwood

, 21 Aug 2016 02:16
This is a good analysis. Given the author's not insignificant role in the surreptitious imposition of the cultural Marxism under which we all live today in which the expression of any ideas by those in public life which run counter to the cultural and economic consensus are greeted with loud indignation, feigned offence and derision, frequently leading to social ostracism, one wonders how the new ideas are to be even debated, let alone taken up.

Pikkety (?) is a good example of original thinking, with whom I don't personally agree, but the way in which he has been derided in most MSM or, worse, completely ignored shows up shallowness of modern political and philosophical discourse.

, panchozecat GalahadThreepwood , 21 Aug 2016 03:07
I have no idea what you mean by 'cultural Marxism', it seems you're way off beam. We have lived through a period of hegemony dominated by neo liberal capitalism - as Martin describes so well. Share Facebook Twitter
, zibibbo panchozecat , 21 Aug 2016 10:38
'Cultural Marxism' is usually a euphemism for political correctness and identity politics which the right-wing commentariat see rooted in 1960s counter culture supposedly influenced by French and Frankfurt School marxian philosophy.
, Marscolonist , 21 Aug 2016 02:17
Similarly Malcolm Turnbull, the ultimate symbol of the success of greed who promoted massive tax cuts to the corporations as an election strategy, was stunned by his rejection at the last election and by the rise of Pauline Hanson, an individual who represents an Australian version of Donald Trump.

Meanwhile other neo-liberal reactionaries like the Premier of NSW, Mike Baird, continue to sell public assets such as the electricity supply, dismantle and dismiss democratically elected local councils, give business owners two votes in Sydney City council elections, tear down functional buildings such as the Power House Museum and the Entertainment center in order to hand the sites to property developers and approves coal mines on prime agricultural land and in areas of great natural beauty yet imagines that he will get away with what he is doing.
He may well discover that come the next election, even the ordinary members of his own party will desert him as the revolt against his destructive and arrogant mis-government catches up with him.

[Jul 04, 2017] Emmanuel Macron and Justin Trudeau: when brutal neoliberalism tries to re-brand itself through fresh faces

Notable quotes:
"... Based on little but gut instinct, I think Trudeau is the worst. ..."
"... Trudeau is a Canadian Obama. Canada is always a few years behind the U.S. ..."
"... Macron like so many other neoliberals likely buys the idea that deregulation and cutting taxes on the wealthy will make France more competitive and attractive to international business. Don't out faith in patriotism. ..."
"... After spending the last year or so worshipping the dandruff on Macron's collar, the French media has now suddenly started pointing out – quite fairly – that he's as likely to be as much of a puppet of Berlin and Frankfurt as were his predecessors. ..."
"... He and his backers want to dismantle the few remaining economic and social protections in France, and the best way to do this is to blame it on somebody else. His enthusiasm for Europe and the Franco-German axis is partly instinctive (a generational issue) but also partly because he can say, hand on heart, "they made me do it." And anyone who criticizes decisions made in Europe is obviously playing the game of the National Front . ..."
Jul 04, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

PlutoniumKun , July 4, 2017 at 7:54 am

Emmanuel Macron and Justin Trudeau: when brutal neoliberalism tries to re-brand itself through fresh faces failed evolution

I'm trying to work out which one is the worst, especially as my own Prime Minister is apparently a huge fan of both and is modelling himself on them (even down to his socks ).

Based on little but gut instinct, I think Trudeau is the worst. His cynicism on climate change is breathtaking, even by modern neolib standards. I doubt after his actions on Keystone XL, etc., his word can be trusted on anything. Even the Guardian, that great bellwether of faux liberalism, seems to be having second thoughts about their adoration of his cute looks .

I have no doubt that Macron is also bought and paid for by bankers, but I do hold out hope that at least he is aware of the stupidity of German style ortho austerity and the need for fiscal expansion across Europe, and at least he seems willing to put words into action on climate change (easier for a French government of course, as they always preferred nuclear power to fossil fuels). I suspect though that his fiscal expansion preference will be via increasing private debt to compensate for public sector retrenchments.

The thing about French leaders is that they tend to put French nationalism above economic ideology, so if he follows the pattern, his main focus will be on strenghtening France relative to Germany, which is no bad thing for Europe as a whole.

NotTimothyGeithner , July 4, 2017 at 9:13 am

Trudeau is a Canadian Obama. Canada is always a few years behind the U.S.

Macron like so many other neoliberals likely buys the idea that deregulation and cutting taxes on the wealthy will make France more competitive and attractive to international business. Don't out faith in patriotism.

David , July 4, 2017 at 11:28 am

After spending the last year or so worshipping the dandruff on Macron's collar, the French media has now suddenly started pointing out – quite fairly – that he's as likely to be as much of a puppet of Berlin and Frankfurt as were his predecessors.

The various dismissive remarks made in both capitals about his plans for reforming Europe have been extensively covered. But I don't think it matters to Macron. He and his backers want to dismantle the few remaining economic and social protections in France, and the best way to do this is to blame it on somebody else. His enthusiasm for Europe and the Franco-German axis is partly instinctive (a generational issue) but also partly because he can say, hand on heart, "they made me do it." And anyone who criticizes decisions made in Europe is obviously playing the game of the National Front .

[Jul 04, 2017] Economics of the Populist Backlash naked capitalism

Populism is a weasel word that is use by neoliberal MSM to delitimize the resistance. This is a typical neoliberal thinking.
Financial globalization is different from trade. It is more of neocolonialism that racket, as is the case with trade.
Notable quotes:
"... Financial globalisation appears to have produced adverse distributional impacts within countries as well, in part through its effect on incidence and severity of financial crises. Most noteworthy is the recent analysis by Furceri et al. (2017) that looks at 224 episodes of capital account liberalisation. They find that capital-account liberalisation leads to statistically significant and long-lasting declines in the labour share of income and corresponding increases in the Gini coefficient of income inequality and in the shares of top 1%, 5%, and 10% of income. Further, capital mobility shifts both the tax burden and the burden of economic shocks onto the immobile factor, labour. ..."
"... I suggest that the fact that these two countries are arguably the most unequal in the advanced world has something to do with this. Also, on many measures I believe these two countries appear to be the most 'damaged' societies in the advanced world – levels of relationship breakdown, teenage crime, drug use, teenage pregnancies etc. I doubt this is a coincidence. ..."
"... Forced Free Trade was intended to be destructive to American society, and it was . . . exactly as intended. Millions of jobs were abolished here and shipped to foreign countries used as economic aggression platforms against America. So of course American society became damaged as the American economy became mass-jobicided. On purpose. With malice aforethought. ..."
"... "Populism" seems to me to be a pejorative term used to delegitimize the grievances of the economically disenfranchised and dismiss them derision. ..."
"... In the capitalist economies globalization is/was inevitable; the outcome is easy to observe ..and suffer under. ..."
"... they never get into the nitty-gritty of the "immobility" of the general populations who have been crushed by the lost jobs, homes, families, lives ..."
"... This piece was a lengthy run-on Econ 101 bollocks. Not only does the writer dismiss debt/interest and the effects of rentier banking, but they come off as very simplistic. Reads like some sheltered preppy attempt at explaining populism ..."
"... But like almost all economists, Rodrik is ignoring the political part of political economy. Historically, humanity has developed two organizational forms to select and steer toward preferred economic destinies: governments of nation states, and corporations. ..."
"... The liberalization of trade has come, I would argue, with a huge political cost no economist has reckoned yet. Instead, economists are whining about the reaction to this political cost without facing up to the political cost itself. Or even accept its legitimacy. ..."
"... Second, there are massive negative effects of trade liberalization that economists simply refuse to look at. Arbitration of environmental and worker safety laws and regulations is one. ..."
"... As I have argued elsewhere, the most important economic activity a society engages in us the development and diffusion of new science and technology. ..."
"... Rodrik is also wrong about the historical origins of agrarian populism in USA. It was not trade, but the oligopoly power of railroads, farm equipment makers, and banks that were the original grievances of the Grangers, Farmers Alliances after the Civil War. ..."
"... The salient characteristic of populism is favoring the people vs. the establishment. The whole left/right dichotomy is a creation of the establishment, used to divide the public and PREVENT an effective populist backlash. As Gore Vidal astutely pointed out decades ago, there is really only one party in the U.S. – the Property Party – and the Ds and Rs are just two heads of the same hydra. Especially in the past 10 years or so. ..."
Jul 04, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

'Populism' is a loose label that encompasses a diverse set of movements. The term originates from the late 19th century, when a coalition of farmers, workers, and miners in the US rallied against the Gold Standard and the Northeastern banking and finance establishment. Latin America has a long tradition of populism going back to the 1930s, and exemplified by Peronism. Today populism spans a wide gamut of political movements, including anti-euro and anti-immigrant parties in Europe, Syriza and Podemos in Greece and Spain, Trump's anti-trade nativism in the US, the economic populism of Chavez in Latin America, and many others in between. What all these share is an anti-establishment orientation, a claim to speak for the people against the elites, opposition to liberal economics and globalisation, and often (but not always) a penchant for authoritarian governance.

The populist backlash may have been a surprise to many, but it really should not have been in light of economic history and economic theory.

Take history first. The first era of globalisation under the Gold Standard produced the first self-conscious populist movement in history, as noted above. In trade, finance, and immigration, political backlash was not late in coming. The decline in world agricultural prices in 1870s and 1880s produced pressure for resumption in import protection. With the exception of Britain, nearly all European countries raised agricultural tariffs towards the end of the 19th century. Immigration limits also began to appear in the late 19th century. The United States Congress passed in 1882 the infamous Chinese Exclusion Act that restricted Chinese immigration specifically. Japanese immigration was restricted in 1907. And the Gold Standard aroused farmers' ire because it was seen to produce tight credit conditions and a deflationary effect on agricultural prices. In a speech at the Democratic national convention of 1896, the populist firebrand William Jennings Bryan uttered the famous words: "You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold."

To anyone familiar with the basic economics of trade and financial integration, the politically contentious nature of globalisation should not be a surprise. The workhorse models with which international economists work tend to have strong redistributive implications. One of the most remarkable theorems in economics is the Stolper-Samuelson theorem, which generates very sharp distributional implications from opening up to trade. Specifically, in a model with two goods and two factors of production, with full inter-sectoral mobility of the factors, owners of one of the two factors are made necessarily worse off with the opening to trade. The factor which is used intensively in the importable good must experience a decline in its real earnings.

The Stolper-Samuelson theorem assumes very specific conditions. But there is one Stolper-Samuelson-like result that is extremely general, and which can be stated as follows. Under competitive conditions, as long as the importable good(s) continue to be produced at home – that is, ruling out complete specialisation – there is always at least one factor of production that is rendered worse off by the liberalisation of trade. In other words, trade generically produces losers. Redistribution is the flip side of the gains from trade; no pain, no gain.

Economic theory has an additional implication, which is less well recognised. In relative terms, the redistributive effects of liberalisation get larger and tend to swamp the net gains as the trade barriers in question become smaller. The ratio of redistribution to net gains rises as trade liberalisation tackles progressively lower barriers.

The logic is simple. Consider the denominator of this ratio first. It is a standard result in public finance that the efficiency cost of a tax increases with the square of the tax rate. Since an import tariff is a tax on imports, the same convexity applies to tariffs as well. Small tariffs have very small distorting effects; large tariffs have very large negative effects. Correspondingly, the efficiency gains of trade liberalisation become progressively smaller as the barriers get lower. The redistributive effects, on the other hand, are roughly linear with respect to price changes and are invariant, at the margin, to the magnitude of the barriers. Putting these two facts together, we have the result just stated, namely that the losses incurred by adversely affected groups per dollar of efficiency gain are higher the lower the barrier that is removed.

Evidence is in line with these theoretical expectations. For example, in the case of NAFTA, Hakobyan and McLaren (2016) have found very large adverse effects for an "important minority" of US workers, while Caliendo and Parro (2015) estimate that the overall gains to the US economy from the agreement were minute (a "welfare" gain of 0.08%).

In principle, the gains from trade can be redistributed to compensate the losers and ensure no identifiable group is left behind. Trade openness has been greatly facilitated in Europe by the creation of welfare states. But the US, which became a truly open economy relatively late, did not move in the same direction. This may account for why imports from specific trade partners such as China or Mexico are so much more contentious in the US.

Economists understand that trade causes job displacement and income losses for some groups. But they have a harder time making sense of why trade gets picked on so much by populists both on the right and the left. After all, imports are only one source of churn in labour markets, and typically not even the most important source. What is it that renders trade so much more salient politically? Perhaps trade is a convenient scapegoat. But there is another, deeper issue that renders redistribution caused by trade more contentious than other forms of competition or technological change. Sometimes international trade involves types of competition that are ruled out at home because they violate widely held domestic norms or social understandings. When such "blocked exchanges" (Walzer 1983) are enabled through trade they raise difficult questions of distributive justice. What arouses popular opposition is not inequality per se, but perceived unfairness.

Financial globalisation is in principle similar to trade insofar as it generates overall economic benefits. Nevertheless, the economics profession's current views on financial globalisation can be best described as ambivalent. Most of the scepticism is directed at short-term financial flows, which are associated with financial crises and other excesses. Long-term flows and direct foreign investment in particular are generally still viewed favourably. Direct foreign investment tends to be more stable and growth-promoting. But there is evidence that it has produced shifts in taxation and bargaining power that are adverse to labour.

The boom-and-bust cycle associated with capital inflows has long been familiar to developing nations. Prior to the Global Crisis, there was a presumption that such problems were largely the province of poorer countries. Advanced economies, with their better institutions and regulation, would be insulated from financial crises induced by financial globalisation. It did not quite turn out that way. In the US, the housing bubble, excessive risk-taking, and over-leveraging during the years leading up to the crisis were amplified by capital inflows from the rest of the world. In the Eurozone, financial integration, on a regional scale, played an even larger role. Credit booms fostered by interest-rate convergence would eventually turn into bust and sustained economic collapses in Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Ireland once credit dried up in the immediate aftermath of the crisis in the US.

Financial globalisation appears to have produced adverse distributional impacts within countries as well, in part through its effect on incidence and severity of financial crises. Most noteworthy is the recent analysis by Furceri et al. (2017) that looks at 224 episodes of capital account liberalisation. They find that capital-account liberalisation leads to statistically significant and long-lasting declines in the labour share of income and corresponding increases in the Gini coefficient of income inequality and in the shares of top 1%, 5%, and 10% of income. Further, capital mobility shifts both the tax burden and the burden of economic shocks onto the immobile factor, labour.

The populist backlash may have been predictable, but the specific form it took was less so. Populism comes in different versions. It is useful to distinguish between left-wing and right-wing variants of populism, which differ with respect to the societal cleavages that populist politicians highlight and render salient. The US progressive movement and most Latin American populism took a left-wing form. Donald Trump and European populism today represent, with some instructive exceptions, the right-wing variant (Figure 2). What accounts for the emergence of right-wing versus left-wing variants of opposition to globalization?

Figure 2 Contrasting patterns of populism in Europe and Latin America

Notes : See Rodrik (2017) for sources and methods.

I suggest that these different reactions are related to the forms in which globalisation shocks make themselves felt in society (Rodrik 2017). It is easier for populist politicians to mobilise along ethno-national/cultural cleavages when the globalisation shock becomes salient in the form of immigration and refugees. That is largely the story of advanced countries in Europe. On the other hand, it is easier to mobilise along income/social class lines when the globalisation shock takes the form mainly of trade, finance, and foreign investment. That in turn is the case with southern Europe and Latin America. The US, where arguably both types of shocks have become highly salient recently, has produced populists of both stripes (Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump).

It is important to distinguish between the demand and supply sides of the rise in populism. The economic anxiety and distributional struggles exacerbated by globalisation generate a base for populism, but do not necessarily determine its political orientation. The relative salience of available cleavages and the narratives provided by populist leaders are what provides direction and content to the grievances. Overlooking this distinction can obscure the respective roles of economic and cultural factors in driving populist politics.

Finally, it is important to emphasise that globalization has not been the only force at play - nor necessarily even the most important one. Changes in technology, rise of winner-take-all markets, erosion of labour market protections, and decline of norms restricting pay differentials all have played their part. These developments are not entirely independent from globalisation, insofar as they both fostered globalization and were reinforced by it. But neither can they be reduced to it. Nevertheless, economic history and economic theory both give us strong reasons to believe that advanced stages of globalisation are prone to populist backlash.

Anonymous2 , July 3, 2017 at 6:43 am

An interesting post.

One question he does not address is why the opposition to globalization has had its most obvious consequences in two countries:- the US and the UK with Trump and Brexit respectively.

I suggest that the fact that these two countries are arguably the most unequal in the advanced world has something to do with this. Also, on many measures I believe these two countries appear to be the most 'damaged' societies in the advanced world – levels of relationship breakdown, teenage crime, drug use, teenage pregnancies etc. I doubt this is a coincidence.

For me the lessons are obvious – ensure the benefits of increased trade are distributed among all affected, not just some; act to prevent excessive inequality; nurture people so that their lives are happier.

John Wright , July 3, 2017 at 9:39 am

re: "ensure the benefits of increased trade are distributed among all affected"

Note that for the recent TPP, industry executives and senior government officials were well represented for the drafting of the agreement, labor and environmental groups were not.

There simply may be no mechanism to "ensure the benefits are distributed among all affected" in the USA political climate as those benefits are grabbed by favored groups, who don't want to re-distribute them later.

Some USA politicians argue for passing flawed legislation while suggesting they will fix it later, as I remember California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein stating when she voted for Bush Jr's Medicare Part D ("buy elderly votes for Republicans").

It has been about 15 years, and I don't remember any reform efforts on Medicare Part D from Di-Fi.

Legislation should be approached with the anticipated inequality problems solved FIRST when wealthy and powerful interests are only anticipating increased wealth via "free trade". Instead, the political process gifts first to the wealthy and powerful first and adopts a "we'll fix it later" attitude for those harmed. And the same process occurs, the wealthy/powerful subsequently strongly resist sharing their newly acquired "free trade" wealth increment with the free trade losers..

If the USA adopted a "fix inequality first" requirement, one wonders if these free trade bills would get much purchase with the elite.

different clue , July 4, 2017 at 4:14 am

Forced Free Trade was intended to be destructive to American society, and it was . . . exactly as intended. Millions of jobs were abolished here and shipped to foreign countries used as economic aggression platforms against America. So of course American society became damaged as the American economy became mass-jobicided. On purpose. With malice aforethought.

NAFTA Bill Clinton lit the fuse to the bomb which finally exploded under his lovely wife Hillary in 2016.

Ignacio , July 3, 2017 at 7:35 am

The big problem I find in this analysis is that it completely forgets how different countries use fiscal/financial policies to play merchantilistic games under globalization.

Doug , July 3, 2017 at 7:41 am

Yves, thanks for posting this from Dani Rodrik - whose clear thinking is always worthwhile. It's an excellent, succinct post. Still, one 'ouch': "Redistribution is the flip side of the gains from trade; no pain, no gain."

This is dehumanizing glibness that we cannot afford. The pain spreads like wildfire. It burns down houses, savings, jobs, communities, bridges, roads, health and health care, education, food systems, air, water, the 'real' economy, civility, shared values - in short everything for billions of human beings - all while sickening, isolating and killing.

The gain? Yes, as you so often point out, cui bono? But, really it goes beyond even that question. It requires asking, "Is this gain so obscene to arguably be no gain at all because its price for those who cannot have too many homes and yachts and so forth is the loss of humanity?

Consider, for example, Mitch McConnell. He cannot reasonably be considered human. At all. And, before the trolls create any gifs for the Teenager-In-Chief, one could say the same - or almost the same - for any number of flexians who denominate themselves D or R (e.g. Jamie Gorelick).

No pain, no gain? Fine for getting into better shape or choosing to get better at some discipline.

It's an abominable abstraction, though, for describing phenomena now so far along toward planet-o-cide.

Thuto , July 3, 2017 at 7:56 am

"Populism" seems to me to be a pejorative term used to delegitimize the grievances of the economically disenfranchised and dismiss them derision.

Another categorization that I find less than apt, outmoded and a misnomer is the phrase "advanced economies", especially given that level of industrialization and gdp per capita are the key metrics used to arrive at these classifications. Globalization has shifted most industrial activity away from countries that invested in rapid industrialization post WW2 to countries with large pools of readily exploitable labour while gdp per capita numbers include sections of the population with no direct participation in creating economic output (and the growth of these marginalized sections is trending ever upward).

Meanwhile the financial benefits of growing GDP numbers gush ever upwards to the financial-political elites instead of "trickling downwards" as we are told they should, inequality grows unabated, stress related diseases eat away at the bodies of otherwise young men and women etc. I'm not sure any of these dynamics, which describe perfectly what is happening in many so called advanced economies, are the mark of societies that should describe themselves as "advanced"

Yves Smith Post author , July 3, 2017 at 8:24 pm

Sorry, but the original populist movement in the US called themselves the Populists or the Populist Party. Being popular is good. You are the one who is assigning a pejorative tone to it.

Hiho , July 4, 2017 at 1:32 am

Populism is widely used in the mainstream media, and even in the so called alternative media, as a really pejorative term. That is what he means (I would say).

witters , July 3, 2017 at 7:56 am

"What all these share is an anti-establishment orientation, a claim to speak for the people against the elites, opposition to liberal economics and globalisation, and often (but not always) a penchant for authoritarian governance."

On the other hand:

"What all these share is an establishment orientation, a claim to speak for the elites against the people, support for liberal economics and globalisation, and always a penchant for authoritarian governance."

Wisdom Seeker , July 3, 2017 at 1:29 pm

You nailed it. Let me know when we get our Constitution back!

Eclair , July 3, 2017 at 8:09 am

"Financial globalisation appears to have produced adverse distributional impacts within countries as well, in part through its effect on incidence and severity of financial crises. Most noteworthy is the recent analysis by Furceri et al. (2017) that looks at 224 episodes of capital account liberalisation. They find that capital-account liberalisation leads to statistically significant and long-lasting declines in the labour share of income and corresponding increases in the Gini coefficient of income inequality and in the shares of top 1%, 5%, and 10% of income. Further, capital mobility shifts both the tax burden and the burden of economic shocks onto the immobile factor, labour."

So, translated, Rodrick is saying that the free flow of money across borders, while people are confined within these artificial constraints, results in all the riches flowing to the fat cats and all the taxes, famines, wars, droughts, floods and other natural disasters being dumped upon the peasants.

The Lakota, roaming the grassy plains of the North American mid-continent, glorified their 'fat cats,' the hunters who brought back the bison which provided food, shelter and clothing to the people. And the rule was that the spoils of the hunt were shared unequally; the old, women and children got the choice high calorie fatty parts. The more that a hunter gave away, the more he was revered.

The Lakota, after some decades of interaction with the European invaders, bestowed on them a disparaging soubriquet: wasi'chu. It means 'fat-taker;' someone who is greedy, taking all the best parts for himself and leaving nothing for the people.

sierra7 , July 4, 2017 at 12:04 am

"So, translated, Rodrick is saying that the free flow of money across borders, while people are confined within these artificial constraints .."

Nailed it!! That's something that has always bothered me it's great for the propagandists to acclaim globalization but they never get into the nitty-gritty of the "immobility" of the general populations who have been crushed by the lost jobs, homes, families, lives .there should be a murderous outrage against this kind of globalized exploitation and the consequent sufferings. Oh, but I forgot! It's all about the money that is supposed to give incentive to those who are left behind to "recoup", "regroup" and in today's age develop some kind of "app" to make up for all those losses .

In the capitalist economies globalization is/was inevitable; the outcome is easy to observe ..and suffer under.

Left in Wisconsin , July 4, 2017 at 11:09 am

they never get into the nitty-gritty of the "immobility" of the general populations who have been crushed by the lost jobs, homes, families, lives

That's a feature, not a bug. Notice that big corporations are all in favor of globalization except when it comes to things like labor law. Then, somehow, local is better.

edr , July 3, 2017 at 9:35 am

"The economic anxiety and distributional struggles exacerbated by globalization generate a base for populism, but do not necessarily determine its political orientation. The relative salience of available cleavages and the narratives provided by populist leaders are what provides direction and content to the grievances. "

Excellent and interesting point. Which political party presents itself as a believable tool for redress affects the direction populism will take, making itself available as supply to the existing populist demand. That should provide for 100 years of political science research.

Anonymous2 : "For me the lessons are obvious – ensure the benefits of increased trade are distributed among all affected, not just some; act to prevent excessive inequality; nurture people so that their lives are happier."

Seems so simply, right ?

Anonymous2 , July 3, 2017 at 11:09 am

It ought to be but sadly I fear our politicians are bought. I am unsure I have the solution . In the past when things got really bad I suspect people ended up with a major war before these sorts of problems could be addressed. I doubt that is going to be a solution this time.

Kuhio Kane , July 3, 2017 at 10:10 am

This piece was a lengthy run-on Econ 101 bollocks. Not only does the writer dismiss debt/interest and the effects of rentier banking, but they come off as very simplistic. Reads like some sheltered preppy attempt at explaining populism

Hiho , July 4, 2017 at 2:27 am

Well said.

washunate , July 4, 2017 at 9:35 am

Yep, Rodrik has been writing about these things for decades and has a remarkable talent for never actually getting anywhere. He's particularly enamored by the neoliberal shiny toy of "skills", as if predation, looting, and fraud simply don't exist.

Left in Wisconsin , July 4, 2017 at 11:11 am

And yet, in the profession, he is one of the least objectionable.

Tony Wikrent , July 3, 2017 at 10:44 am

This is a prime example of what is wrong with professional economic thinking. First, note that Rodrik is nominally on our side: socially progressive, conscious of the increasingly frightful cost of enviro externalities, etc.

But like almost all economists, Rodrik is ignoring the political part of political economy. Historically, humanity has developed two organizational forms to select and steer toward preferred economic destinies: governments of nation states, and corporations.

Only nation states provide the mass of people any form and extent of political participation in determining their own destiny. The failure of corporations to provide political participation can probably be recited my almost all readers of NC. Indeed, a key problem of the past few decades is that corp.s have increasingly marginalized the role of nation states and mass political participation. The liberalization of trade has come, I would argue, with a huge political cost no economist has reckoned yet. Instead, economists are whining about the reaction to this political cost without facing up to the political cost itself. Or even accept its legitimacy.

Second, there are massive negative effects of trade liberalization that economists simply refuse to look at. Arbitration of environmental and worker safety laws and regulations is one. Another is the aftereffects of the economic dislocations Rodrik alludes to.

One is the increasing constriction of government budgets. These in turn have caused a scaling back of science R&D which I believe will have huge but incalculable negative effects in coming years. How do you measure the cost of failing to find a cure for a disease? Or failing to develop technologies to reverse climate change? Or just to double the charge duration of electric batteries under load? As I have argued elsewhere, the most important economic activity a society engages in us the development and diffusion of new science and technology.

FluffytheObeseCat , July 3, 2017 at 12:32 pm

Intellectually poisoned by his social environment perhaps. The biggest problems with this piece were its sweeping generalizations about unquantified socio-political trends. The things that academic economists are least trained in; the things they speak about in passing without much thought.

I.e. Descriptions of political 'populism' that lumps Peronists, 19th century U.S. prairie populists, Trump, and Sanders all into one neat category. Because, social movements driven by immiseration of the common man are interchangeable like paper cups at a fast food restaurant.

sierra7 , July 4, 2017 at 12:15 am

Agree with much of what you comment .I believe that the conditions you describe are conveniently dismissed by the pro economists as: "Externalities" LOL!! They seem to dump everything that doesn't correlate to their dream of "Free Markets", "Globalization", etc .into that category .you gotta love 'em!!

Tony Wikrent , July 3, 2017 at 11:16 am

Rodrik is also wrong about the historical origins of agrarian populism in USA. It was not trade, but the oligopoly power of railroads, farm equipment makers, and banks that were the original grievances of the Grangers, Farmers Alliances after the Civil War.

In fact, the best historian of USA agrarian populism, Lawrence Goodwyn, argued that it was exactly the populists' reluctant alliance with Byran in the 1896 election that destroyed the populist movement. It was not so much an issue of the gold standard, as it was "hard money" vs "soft money" : gold AND silver vs the populists' preference for greenbacks, and currency and credit issued by US Treasury instead of the eastern banks.

A rough analogy is that Byran was the Hillary Clinton of his day, with the voters not given any way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs or the House of Morgan.

Massinissa , July 3, 2017 at 9:33 pm

Honestly I would say Bryan is more an unwitting Bernie Sanders than a Hillary Clinton. But the effect was essentially the same.

flora , July 3, 2017 at 9:35 pm

"the oligopoly power of railroads, farm equipment makers, and banks that were the original grievances "

That power was expressed in total control of the Congress and Presidential office. Then, as now, the 80-90% of the voters had neither R or D party that represented their economic, property, and safety interests. Given the same economic circumstances, if one party truly pushed for ameliorating regulations or programs the populist movement would be unnecessary. Yes, Bryan was allowed to run (and he had a large following) and to speak at the Dem convention, much like Bernie today. The "Bourbon Democrats" kept firm control of the party and downed Jennings' programs just as the neolib Dem estab today keep control of the party out of the hands of progressives.

an aside: among many things, the progressives pushed for good government (ending cronyism), trust busting, and honest trade, i.e not selling unfit tinned and bottled food as wholesome food. Today, we could use an "honest contracts and dealings" act to regulate the theft committed by what the banks call "honest contract enforcement", complete with forges documents. (Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle (1906) about the meatpacking industry. What would he make of today's mortgage industry, or insurance industry, for example.)

washunate , July 3, 2017 at 11:26 am

For an author and article so interested in international trade, I'm fascinated by the lack of evidence or argumentation that trade is the problem. The real issue being described here is excessive inequality delivered through authoritarianism, not international trade. The intra-city divergence between a hospital administrator and a home health aid is a much bigger problem in the US than trade across national borders. The empire abroad and the police state at home is a much bigger problem than competition from China or Mexico. Etc. Blaming international trade for domestic policies (and opposition to them) is just simple misdirection and xenophobia, nothing more.

Wisdom Seeker , July 3, 2017 at 1:52 pm

I take exception to most of Prof. Rodrik's post, which is filled with factual and/or logical inaccuracies.

"Populism appears to be a recent phenomenon, but it has been on the rise for quite some time (Figure 1)."

Wrong. Pretending that a historical generic is somehow new Populism has been around since at least the time of Jesus or William Wallace or the American Revolution or FDR.

"What all these share is an anti-establishment orientation, a claim to speak for the people against the elites, opposition to liberal economics and globalisation, and often (but not always) a penchant for authoritarian governance."

Wrong. Creating a straw man through overgeneralization. Just because one country's "populism" appears to have taken on a certain color, does not mean the current populist movement in another part of the world will be the same. The only essential characteristics of populism are the anti-establishment orientation and seeking policies that will redress an imbalance in which some elites have aggrandized themselves unjustly at the expense of the rest of the people. The rest of the items in the list above are straw men in a generalization. Rise of authoritarian (non-democratic) governance after a populist uprising implies the rise of a new elite and would be a failure, a derailing of the populist movement – not a characteristic of it.

"Correspondingly, the efficiency gains of trade liberalisation become progressively smaller as the barriers get lower."

If, in fact, we were seeing lower trade barriers, and this was driving populism, this whole line of reasoning might have some value. But as it is, well over half the US economy is either loaded with barriers, subject to monopolistic pricing, or has not seen any "trade liberalization". Pharmaceuticals, despite being commodities, have no common global price the way, say, oil does. Oil hasn't had lowered barriers, though, and thus doesn't count in favor of the argument either. When China, Japan and Europe drop their import barriers, and all of them plus the U.S. get serious about antitrust enforcement, there might be a case to be made

"It is useful to distinguish between left-wing and right-wing variants of populism"

Actually it isn't. The salient characteristic of populism is favoring the people vs. the establishment. The whole left/right dichotomy is a creation of the establishment, used to divide the public and PREVENT an effective populist backlash. As Gore Vidal astutely pointed out decades ago, there is really only one party in the U.S. – the Property Party – and the Ds and Rs are just two heads of the same hydra. Especially in the past 10 years or so.

About the only thing the author gets right is the admission that certain economic policies unjustly create pain among many groups of people, leading to popular retribution. But that's not insightful, especially since he fails to address the issue quantitatively and identify WHICH policies have created the bulk of the pain. For instance, was more damage done by globalization, or by the multi-trillion-$ fleecing of the U.S. middle class by the bankers and federal reserve during the recent housing bubble and aftermath? What about the more recent ongoing fleecing of the government and the people by the healthcare cartels, at about $1.5-2 trillion/year in the U.S.?

This is only the top of a long list

PKMKII , July 3, 2017 at 2:28 pm

What arouses popular opposition is not inequality per se, but perceived unfairness.

Which is the primary worldview setting for the neo-reactionary right in America. Everything is a question of whether or not ones income was "fairly earned."

So you get government employees and union members voting for politicians who've practically declared war against those voters' class, but vote for them anyway because they set their arguments in a mode of fairness morality: You can vote for the party of hard workers, or the party of handouts to the lazy. Which is why China keeps getting depicted as a currency manipulator and exploiter of free trade agreements.

Economic rivals can only succeed via "cheating," not being industrious like the US.

Livius Drusus , July 3, 2017 at 6:45 pm

That describes a number of my relatives and their friends. They are union members and government employees yet hold hard right-wing views and are always complaining about lazy moochers living on welfare. I ask them why they love the Republicans so much when this same party demonizes union members and public employees as overpaid and lazy and the usual answer is that Republicans are talking about some other unions or other government employees, usually teachers.

I suspect that the people in my anecdote hate public school teachers and their unions because they are often female and non-white or teach in areas with a lot of minority children. I see this a lot with white guys in traditional masculine industrial unions. They sometimes look down on unions in fields that have many female and non-white members, teachers being the best example I can think of.

tongorad , July 3, 2017 at 10:11 pm

Economists understand that trade causes job displacement and income losses for some groups.

No, no they don't.

[Jul 03, 2017] Identity politics and cultural marxism

Notable quotes:
"... Among the sources of division are the various forms of identity politics that have swamped academia and popular culture, and which the alt-right sees as "inclusive" of everyone except white people many of whom are clearly "have nots." In this world, some, as George Orwell (1903 – 1950) predicted, are clearly more equal than others. ..."
Jul 03, 2017 | www.unz.com

Among the sources of division are the various forms of identity politics that have swamped academia and popular culture, and which the alt-right sees as "inclusive" of everyone except white people many of whom are clearly "have nots." In this world, some, as George Orwell (1903 – 1950) predicted, are clearly more equal than others.

The Left, frustrated by Trump's rise and its inability to control the public conversation, has reached the point where violence is acceptable (Richard Spencer has been physically sucker-punched on video).

Its representatives in dominant media, including social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, are doing everything they can to censor the alt-right, including making it difficult for its most visible leaders to function in public.

As I finish this essay, Spencer was verbally confronted by - who else? - a female academic while working out in a gym, minding his own business. She demanded - and got - his membership in the gym revoked!

[Jun 30, 2017] Andy Haldane told BBC Newsnight that businesses had not invested enough to give the productivity improvements necessary to push up pay.

Jun 30, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
Warren , June 30, 2017 at 3:29 pm

https://www.youtube.com/embed/TTXWBm8Xpgo?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Published on 29 Jun 2017
People in the UK feel "frustrated and squeezed" because their pay has flatlined for a decade, the Bank of England's chief economist has said.

Andy Haldane told BBC Newsnight that businesses had not invested enough to give the productivity improvements necessary to push up pay.

Newsnight is the BBC's flagship news and current affairs TV programme – with analysis, debate, exclusives, and robust interviews.

[Jun 28, 2017] Grenfell tragedy has so cruelly exposed the underlying reality of social relations between the classes-and it did so in London, one of the richest cities in the world

Notable quotes:
"... "There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen." ― Vladimir Lenin "There are events in world history that lead to a fundamental change in consciousness and create the basis for developing a socialist political orientation among broad masses of workers. The June 14 Grenfell Tower inferno is such an event. In years to come it will be necessary to refer to the political life of Britain in terms of "before" and "after" Grenfell. This is because the tragedy has so cruelly exposed the underlying reality of social relations between the classes-and it did so in London, one of the richest cities in the world, and in London's richest constituency. ..."
"... Grenfell is a national disaster. Thirteen days after Britain's deadliest fire for over 100 years, there is still no official acknowledgement of the numbers killed-either because the powers-that-be dare not admit to the death toll or they are so indifferent to the lives of Grenfell's residents that they simply do not know." ..."
Jun 28, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
Northern Star , June 27, 2017 at 11:55 am
"There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen." ― Vladimir Lenin

"There are events in world history that lead to a fundamental change in consciousness and create the basis for developing a socialist political orientation among broad masses of workers. The June 14 Grenfell Tower inferno is such an event.

In years to come it will be necessary to refer to the political life of Britain in terms of "before" and "after" Grenfell. This is because the tragedy has so cruelly exposed the underlying reality of social relations between the classes-and it did so in London, one of the richest cities in the world, and in London's richest constituency.

Grenfell is a national disaster. Thirteen days after Britain's deadliest fire for over 100 years, there is still no official acknowledgement of the numbers killed-either because the powers-that-be dare not admit to the death toll or they are so indifferent to the lives of Grenfell's residents that they simply do not know."

"This weekend, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn spoke before 200,000 people at Glastonbury. In his speech he asked, "Is it right that so many people are frightened of where they live at the moment, having seen the horrors of what happened at Grenfell Tower?"

Corbyn cited Shelley's famous injunction to workers, made in response to the 1819 Peterloo Massacre: "Rise like lions after slumber." But he wants the working class to lie down like lambs.

*****His aim is to stifle popular outrage and restore social peace, as epitomised by his priestly call for the "unity" of "intelligent human beings." ****

(Sound familiar??? just imagine a Corbyn ,Warren and Sanders menage a trois!!)

That is why he supports the efforts of Prime Minister Theresa May to direct anger over Grenfell into the safe channels of a public inquiry-out of which, he maintains, several years from now some carefully costed and insignificant reforms will emerge."

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/06/27/pers-j27.html

Meanwhile for the residents of Camden the nightmare continues:

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/06/26/camd-j26.html

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/06/27/vide-j27.html

https://ads.pubmatic.com/AdServer/js/showad.js#PIX&kdntuid=1&p=156204

marknesop , June 27, 2017 at 4:12 pm
I don't see Corbyn as a great messiah, but I feel I must point out he has to parse his words very carefully. If the public rioted in response, causing billions in property damage in its fury, Auntie Theresa and her cronies would be only too happy to say Corbyn caused it. He needs to play to their anger, but not to let them get too angry without a concrete focus for it.
<

[Jun 26, 2017] How Can A Human Justify Asking To Be Paid $15 To Work Zero Hedge

Jun 26, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk.com,

McDonald's announced it will replace cashiers in 2,500 stores with self-service kiosks.

The story buzzed across the internet but Business Insider reported McDonald's shoots down fears it is planning to replace cashiers with kiosks .

"McDonald's has repeatedly said that adding kiosks won't result in mass layoffs, but will instead move some cashiers to other parts of the restaurant where it's adding new jobs, such as table service. The burger chain reiterated that position again on Friday."

Is McDonald's denial believable? What would you expect the company to say?

McDonald's has to deny the story or it might have a hiring problem, a morale problem, and other problems.

"Our CEO, Steve Easterbrook, has said on many occasions that self-order kiosks in McDonald's restaurants are not a labor replacement," a spokeswoman told Business Insider. "They provide an opportunity to transition back-of-the-house positions to more customer service roles such as concierges and table service where they are able to truly engage with guests and enhance the dining experience."

Move cashiers to table service? Really?

Yeah, right.

An interesting political rule from the British sitcom "Yes, Minister" is to "never believe anything until it's officially denied".

Will Humans Be Necessary?

When someone can be replaced by a robot, how can the push for $15 be justified?

Psychology Today asks Will Humans Be Necessary?

Will automation kill as many jobs as is feared? A widely cited Oxford University study predicts that 47% of jobs could be automated in the next decade of two. Price Waterhouse pegs the U.S. risk at 38%. McKinsey estimates that 45% of what people are paid for could be automated using existing technology!

No less than Tesla's Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Stephen Hawking fear the loss of jobs will cause world cataclysm.

Lower-level jobs at risk

Let's start with jobs likely to be eliminated, starting with the present and with those lower-level jobs.

Already, don't you prefer a ATM to a teller, self-checkout to the supermarket checker, drive-through tolls rather than stop for the toll-taker, automated airline check-in rather than waiting for a clerk, shopping on Amazon rather than fighting traffic, parking, and the check-out experience with a live clerk, assuming the store has what you want in your size? Indeed, malls are closing while online retailers led by Amazon are growing.

As minimum wage and mandated benefits rise, fast-food restaurants especially are accelerating use of, for example, order-taking kiosks, which McDonald's is rolling out in 2,500 stores, robotic burger flippers and fry cooks, even pizza, ramen and sushi makers . Even that fail-safe job, barista, is at-risk, Bosch now makes an automated barista . Mid-range restaurants such as Olive Garden, Outback, and Applebee are replacing waiters with tabletop tablets . Will you really miss having your conversation interrupted by a waiter hawking hors de oeuvres and expecting a 15+% tip? If you owned a fast-food franchise, mighn't you be looking to replace people with automated solutions? Can it really be long until there are completely automated fast-food and even mid-range restaurants?

Robots are already being used as security guards. There are humanoid robots that can move heavy boxes, walk in uneven snow, and get up, not annoyed when thrown to the ground. (And won't sue for failure to supervise or an OSHA violation.)

Instead of hiring architects for tens of thousands of dollars, many people are opting to spend just a few hundred bucks to instantly get any of thousands of often award-winning house plans which, if needed, can be inexpensively customized to suit. Far fewer architects needed.

BlackRock, the world's largest fund company has replaced seven of its 53 analysts with AI-driven stock-picking.

The remaining jobs

In such a world, how can a human justify asking to be paid to work?

Four scenarios

The range of scenarios would seem circumscribed by these. How likely do you think each of these are?

  • Continue on the current path: The world continues to slowly make progress, e.g., birth rates declining in developing nations, slowed global warming, more education and health care. Those positives would be mitigated by declining jobs, more concentration of wealth.
  • World socialism.
  • Mass population reduction, for example, by nuclear war, pandemic, or, per Clive Cussler, highly communicable biovirus simultaneously put into the water supply of a half-dozen cruise ships?
  • A world run by machines and the few people they deem worthy.
  • Here is a debate between an optimistic and a pessimist on the future of the world.

    The truth may well be something we can't even envision. After all, he who lives by the crystal ball usually eats broken glass.

    Note that Psychology Today author Marty Nemko did not ask about $15. He wonders if pay for some jobs is worth anything at all.

    saudade -> 2banana , Jun 26, 2017 5:15 AM

    How about just reinstitute slavery and be done with it.

    Erek -> AVmaster , Jun 26, 2017 6:21 AM

    When all the jobs are taken over by machines there won't be anybody with money left to buy or pay for anything at all. WTF then? A world of no work is a world of little or no income. The ones who survive are the ones who know how to provide for themselves without the use of currency (barter, trade, farming, etc ).

    crazzziecanuck -> Erek , Jun 26, 2017 6:59 AM

    Before that happens, these machines will be heavily vandalized. It's all part of the inevitable ISEP problem (It's Someone Else's Problem).

    For one firm to do this, it's understandable, but for an entire sector, they're ripping their face off and everyone else's. But those making the decisions are unwilling or unable to care about even their long-term positions. To start, they largely exist to kick the can down the road until ... you guess it! ... it's ISEP. It's a problem for the next round of overcompensated intellectual-light and morally-bankrupt executives.

    But don't think "the market" is going to fix that. Markets never do. Markets have failures all the time yet people still pretend like they have this inherent magical property. Markets would be fine ... in a human-free world ... because anything a sociopath touches will be turned to sh*t. And power, be it government or "market" will attract these people. Any ideology can work, but only until the sociopaths game the sh*t out of the system and destroy it from the inside.

    Now, the less stupid people in these positions will realize the ISEP problem but know full well the government of the future can be extorted into, effectively, bailing them out somehow. Think of the "mandate" of ObamaCare and realize "thinkers" at the Heritage Institute saw this down the road back in the early 1980s. Right now, I'm starting to wonder if this whole "livable wage" is just a proxy bailout on behalf of large actors like McDonald's (who can no longer expect growth as the incomes and costs at the bottom shrink in the former and explode in the latter). That leadership knows full well that even if they took a leadership position on living wages, they'll be expected to be the only ones. The sociopaths at the other firms will think ... you got it! ... ISEP. Those firms can continue on f**king their employees while a large firm like McDonald's is expected to shoulder the entire burden or drive them into bankruptcy. In either of those cases, the status quo remains across the industry.

    FIRE-HC-E (Financial, Insurance, Real Estate, Healthcare, Education; the major rackets of ourlives) is destroying the markets for not just McDonald's employees, but also markets for other brick-and-mortar companies like Apple or Home Depot. This is why I focus heavily on our poor leadership because the leadership of the industrial sectors as a whole just sat back and watched as the likes of Wall Street slowly eroded the bedrock of the economy.

    Everything is a racket.

    Took Red Pill -> blown income , Jun 26, 2017 7:40 AM

    The author, Mike Shedlock, links to a POS article in Psychology Today, authored by Marty Nemko Ph.D. Did anyone else read that? It says under An optimistic vision "Longer term, it's even possible that we'll be able to accomplish more of what we want by using gene therapy or a chip embedded in our brain -Research to make that happen is already being funded by the federal government." Ah, no thank you!

    Mike also asks " how can the push for $15 be justified? And links to the Psycholgy Today article which say "we may also need a guaranteed basic income paid heavily by successful corporations and wealthy individuals". Which view do you support Mike?

    Psychology Today article also states "What about journalism? Even in major media outlets, many journalism jobs have already been lost to the armies of people willing to write for free. In addition, software such as Quill can replace some human journalists" Maybe in this case, that's not a bad thing.

    NidStyles -> Took Red Pill , Jun 26, 2017 8:05 AM

    More like Shylock....

    If it's being printed commercially, it's probably bullshit.

    [Jun 26, 2017] In Towns Already Hit by Steel Mill Closings, a New Casualty: Retail Jobs

    Jun 26, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

    Fred C. Dobbs , June 25, 2017 at 09:03 PM

    In Towns Already Hit by Steel Mill Closings, a New Casualty: Retail Jobs

    https://nyti.ms/2u369Ph
    NYT - RACHEL ABRAMS and ROBERT GEBELOFF - JUNE 25, 2017

    Thousands of workers face unemployment as retailers
    struggle to adapt to online shopping. But even as
    e-commerce grows, it isn't absorbing these workers.

    JOHNSTOWN, Pa. - Dawn Nasewicz comes from a family of steelworkers, with jobs that once dominated the local economy. She found her niche in retail.

    She manages a store, Ooh La La, that sells prom dresses and embroidered jeans at a local mall. But just as the jobs making automobile springs and rail anchors disappeared, local retail jobs are now vanishing.

    "I need my income," said Ms. Nasewicz, who was told that her store will close as early as August. "I'm 53. I have no idea what I'm going to do."

    Ms. Nasewicz is another retail casualty, one of tens of thousands of workers facing unemployment nationwide as the industry struggles to adapt to online shopping.
    Continue reading the main story
    Photo
    A sporting goods store in a Johnstown, Pa., mall is having a going-out-of-business sale. Credit George Etheredge for The New York Times

    Small cities in the Midwest and Northeast are particularly vulnerable. When major industries left town, retail accounted for a growing share of the job market in places like Johnstown, Decatur, Ill., and Saginaw, Mich. Now, the work force is getting hit a second time, and there is little to fall back on.

    Moreover, while stores in these places are shedding jobs because of e-commerce, e-commerce isn't absorbing these workers. Growth in e-commerce jobs like marketing and engineering, while strong, is clustered around larger cities far away. Rural counties and small metropolitan areas account for about 23 percent of traditional American retail employment, but they are home to just 13 percent of e-commerce positions.

    E-commerce has also fostered a boom in other industries, including warehouses. But most of those jobs are being created in larger metropolitan areas, an analysis of Census Bureau business data shows.

    Almost all customer fulfillment centers run by the online shopping behemoth Amazon are in metropolitan areas with more than 250,000 people - close to the bulk of its customers - according to a list of locations compiled by MWPVL International, a logistics consulting firm. An Amazon spokeswoman noted, however, that the company had recently opened warehouses in two distressed cities in larger metropolitan areas, Fall River, Mass., and Joliet, Ill.

    The Johnstown metropolitan area, in western Pennsylvania, has lost 19 percent of its retail jobs since 2001, and the future is uncertain. At least a dozen of Ooh La La's neighbors at the mall have closed, and a "Going out of business" banner hangs across the front of the sporting goods store Gander Mountain.

    "Every time you lose a corner store, every time you lose a restaurant, every time you lose a small clothing store, it detracts from the quality of life, as well as the job loss," said John McGrath, a professor of management at the University of Pittsburgh Johnstown.

    This city is perhaps still best known for a flood that ravaged it nearly 130 years ago. After rebuilding, Johnstown eventually became prosperous from its steel and offered a clear path to the middle class. For generations, people could walk out of high school and into a steady factory job.

    But today, the area bears the marks of a struggling town. Its population has dwindled, and addiction treatment centers and Dollar Generals stand in place of corner grocers and department stores like Glosser Brothers, once owned by the family of Stephen Miller, President Trump's speechwriter and a policy adviser.

    When Mr. Trump spoke about "rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation" in his Inaugural Address, people like Donald Bonk, a local economic development consultant, assumed that Mr. Miller - who grew up in California but spent summers in Johnstown - was writing about the old Bethlehem Steel buildings that still hug long stretches of the Little Conemaugh River.

    The county voted overwhelmingly for Mr. Trump, eight years after it helped to elect Barack Obama. (It also voted for Mitt Romney in 2012, but not by as wide a margin.)

    Here and in similar towns, when the factory jobs left, a greater share of the work force ended up in retail.

    Sometimes that meant big-box retailers like Walmart, which were often blamed for destroying mom-and-pop stores but at least created other jobs for residents. The damage from e-commerce plays out differently. Digital firms may attract customers from small towns, but they are unlikely to employ them.

    Some remaining retailers are straining for solutions. ...

    [Jun 25, 2017] The idea of basic income is incompatible with the neoliberalism

    Notable quotes:
    "... What's needed is not the arbitrary adoption of UBI, but a conversation about what a welfare state is for. In their incendiary book Inventing the Future, the authors Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek argue for UBI but link it to three other demands: collectively controlled automation, a reduction in the working week, and a diminution of the work ethic. Williams and Srnicek believe that without these other provisions, UBI could essentially act as an excuse to get rid of the welfare state. ..."
    "... What's needed is not the arbitrary adoption of UBI, but an entirely different conversation about what a welfare state is for. As David Lammy MP said, after the Grenfell Tower disaster: "This is about whether the welfare state is just about schools and hospitals or whether it is about a safety net." The conversation, in light of UBI, could go even further: it's possible for the welfare state not just to act as a safety net, but as a tool for all of us to do less work and spend more time with our loved ones, pursuing personal interests or engaging in our communities. ..."
    Jun 25, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

    Christopher H. June 25, 2017 at 07:01 AM

    https://lanekenworthy.net/2017/06/23/in-work-poverty-in-the-us/

    Lane Kenworthy's article shows how America is already great, with many more people working in poverty than in the UK, Ireland or Australia. Maybe the robots stole better paying jobs? Maybe they need more education and to skill up?

    Christopher H. , June 25, 2017 at 07:02 AM

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/23/universal-basic-income-ubi-welfare-state?CMP=share_btn_tw

    Love the idea of a universal basic income? Be careful what you wish for

    Ellie Mae O'Hagan

    Friday 23 June 2017 10.36 EDT

    Yes, UBI could be an important part of a radical agenda. But beware: its proponents include neoliberals hostile to the very idea of the welfare state

    For some time now, the radical left has been dipping its toes in the waters of universal basic income (or unconditional basic income, depending on who you talk to). The idea is exactly as it sounds: the government would give every citizen – working or not – a fixed sum of money every week or month, with no strings attached. As time goes on, universal basic income (UBI) has gradually been transitioning from the radical left into the mainstream: it's Green party policy, is picking up steam among SNP and Labour MPs and has been advocated by commentators including this newspaper's very own John Harris.

    Supporters of the idea got a boost this week with the news that the Finnish government has piloted the idea with 2,000 of its citizens with very positive results. Under the scheme, the first of its kind in Europe, participants receive €560 (£473) every month for two years without any requirements to fill in forms or actively seek work. If anyone who receives the payment finds work, their UBI continues. Many participants have reported "decreased stress, greater incentives to find work and more time to pursue business ideas." In March, Ontario in Canada started trialling a similar scheme.

    Given that UBI necessarily promotes universalism and is being pursued by liberal governments rather than overtly rightwing ones, it's tempting to view it as an inherently leftwing conceit. In January, MEPs voted to consider UBI as a solution to the mass unemployment that might result from robots taking over manual jobs.

    From this perspective, UBI could be rolled out as a distinctly rightwing initiative. In fact it does bear some similarity to the government's shambolic universal credit scheme, which replaces a number of benefits with a one-off, lower, monthly payment (though it goes only to people already on certain benefits, of course). In the hands of the right, UBI could easily be seen as a kind of universal credit for all, undermining the entire benefits system and providing justification for paying the poorest a poverty income.

    In fact, can you imagine what UBI would be like if it were rolled out by this government, which only yesterday promised to fight a ruling describing the benefits cap as inflicting "real misery to no good purpose"?

    Despite the fact that the families who brought a case against the government had children too young to qualify for free childcare, the Department for Work and Pensions still perversely insisted that "the benefit cap incentivises work". It's not hard to imagine UBI being administered by the likes of A4e (now sold and renamed PeoplePlus), which carried out back-to-work training for the government, and saw six of its employees receive jail sentences for defrauding the government of £300,000. UBI cannot be a progressive initiative as long as the people with the power to implement it are hostile to the welfare state as a whole.

    What's needed is not the arbitrary adoption of UBI, but a conversation about what a welfare state is for. In their incendiary book Inventing the Future, the authors Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek argue for UBI but link it to three other demands: collectively controlled automation, a reduction in the working week, and a diminution of the work ethic. Williams and Srnicek believe that without these other provisions, UBI could essentially act as an excuse to get rid of the welfare state.

    What's needed is not the arbitrary adoption of UBI, but an entirely different conversation about what a welfare state is for. As David Lammy MP said, after the Grenfell Tower disaster: "This is about whether the welfare state is just about schools and hospitals or whether it is about a safety net." The conversation, in light of UBI, could go even further: it's possible for the welfare state not just to act as a safety net, but as a tool for all of us to do less work and spend more time with our loved ones, pursuing personal interests or engaging in our communities.

    UBI has this revolutionary potential – but not if it is simply parachuted into a political economy that has been pursuing punitive welfare policies for the last 30 years.

    On everything from climate change and overpopulation to yawning inequality and mass automation, modern western economies face unprecedented challenges. These conditions are frightening but they also open up the possibility of the kind of radical policies we haven't seen since the postwar period. UBI could be the start of this debate, but it must not be the end.

    Christopher H. -> Christopher H.... , June 25, 2017 at 07:06 AM
    "In January, MEPs voted to consider UBI as a solution to the mass unemployment that might result from robots taking over manual jobs."

    MEPs stands for Members of the European Parliament.

    Julio -> Christopher H.... , June 25, 2017 at 08:41 AM
    One of the reasons I support UBI is that it refocuses political discussions to some of the fundamental issues, as this article points out.
    libezkova -> Julio ... , June 25, 2017 at 11:21 AM
    > "One of the reasons I support UBI is that it refocuses political discussions to some of the fundamental issues, as this article points out."

    I agree. UBI might probably be the most viable first step of Trump's MAGA. But he betrayed his electorate. Similarly it would be a good step in Obama's "change we can believe in" which never materialized. The level of automation that currently exists makes UBI quite a possibility.

    But...

    The problem is the key idea of neoliberalism is "socialism for rich and feudalism and/or plantation slavery for poor." So neither Republicans, nor Clinton Democrats are interested in UBI. It is anathema for neoliberals.

    [Jun 21, 2017] Unions in Decline Some International Comparisons

    Jun 21, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    libezkova , June 21, 2017 at 11:55 AM
    " This pattern suggests that existence of unions, one way or another, may be less important for economic outcomes than the way in which those unions function. "

    This is a typical neoliberal Newspeak. Pretty Orwellian.
    In reality atomization of workforce and decimation of unions is the explicit goal of neoliberal state.

    Neoliberalism war on organized labor started with Reagan.

    Neoliberalism is based on unconditional domination of labor by capital ("socialism for rich, feudalism for labor").

    American scholar and cultural critic Henry Giroux alleges neoliberalism holds that market forces should organize every facet of society, including economic and social life, and promotes a social Darwinist ethic which elevates self-interest over social needs.

    That means maintaining the unemployment level of sufficiently high level and political suppression of workers rights to organize.

    A new class of workers, facing acute socio-economic insecurity, emerged under neoliberalism. It is called 'precariat'.

    Neoliberal policies led to the situation in the US economy in which 30% of workers earn low wages (less than two-thirds the median wage for full-time workers), and 35% of the labor force is underemployed; only 40% of the working-age population in the U.S. is adequately employed.

    The Center for Economic Policy Research's (CEPR) Dean Baker (2006) argued that the driving force behind rising inequality in the US has been a series of deliberate, neoliberal policy choices including anti-inflationary bias, anti-unionism, and profiteering in the health industry.

    Amazon, Uber and several other companies have shown that neoliberal model can be as brutal as plantation slavery.

    Central to the notion of the skills agenda as pursued by neoliberal governments is the concept of "human capital."

    Which involves atomization of workers, each of which became a "good" sold at the "labor market". Neoliberalism discard the concept of human solidarity. It also eliminated government support of organized labor, and decimated unions.

    Under neoliberalism the government has to actively intervene to clear the way for the free "labor market." Talk about government-sponsored redistribution of wealth under neoliberalism -- from Greenspan to Bernanke, from Rubin to Paulson, the government has been a veritable Robin Hood in reverse.

    [Jun 18, 2017] Even raising wages can be the way to squeeze workforce

    Notable quotes:
    "... The Fed should initiate a campaign: 'Patriotism is paying your workers more." ..."
    Jun 18, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

    JohnH - , June 17, 2017 at 11:27 AM

    The Fed should initiate a campaign: 'Patriotism is paying your workers more." It worked for Henry Ford. And it would work to restore robust economic growth.

    Strangely, most economists want to REDUCE workers' purchasing power, which makes sense for individual firms but is bad for the economy as a whole.

    pgl - , June 17, 2017 at 11:54 AM
    Henry Ford - progressive? Seriously? He did this in order to get workers to put in more effort. In other words - good for the bottom line. Something call efficiency wages. We would provide you with a reading list but we know you would not actually read any of it. You never do.
    Christopher H. - , June 17, 2017 at 12:40 PM
    If the Fed wanted tighter labor markets where workers had more bargaining power, they wouldn't have started tightening monetary policy in 2013.

    No need to start a PR campaign aimed at employers.

    Funny how it was only a George W. Bush guy, Neel Kashkari, who dissented on raising rates.

    djb - , June 18, 2017 at 06:16 AM
    dean baker once pointed out that fiscal policy is problematic if it is just going to be reversed by monetary policy

    monetary policy focuses on not having unemployment levels get lower than nairu,

    and thus no matter what the fiscal interventions, we can never get unemployment below a certain level

    believing that nairu is some "natural phenomenon" that is where the universe will always tend to

    puts monetary policy, otherwise theoretically sound, in the way of achieving true full employment
    not helping achieve it

    so you don't just need fiscal, you need policies that work on the actual value of nairu and the amount of inflation that occurs when unemployment is low than nairu

    apparently this guy William vickery has a lot of ideas on how to accomplish that

    Paine - , June 18, 2017 at 07:19 AM
    Lerners map

    Market anti inflation policy

    This is he answer to market power of firms
    Old man Galbraith wanted the state
    to administer the prices of the oligoplistic corporate core of the economy

    MAP is the mechanism to impose

    Paine - , June 18, 2017 at 08:54 AM
    A report by David colander abba Lerners partner on map

    https://www.jec.senate.gov/reports/97th%20Congress/Incentive%20Anti-Inflation%20Plan%20(1034).pdf

    anne - , June 18, 2017 at 09:10 AM
    https://www.jec.senate.gov/reports/97th%20Congress/Incentive%20Anti-Inflation%20Plan%20(1034).pdf

    APRIL 28, 1981.

    INCENTIVE ANTI-INFLATION PLANS
    By David Colander

    I. INTRODUCTION

    How can something as simple as inflation be so difficult to solve? If inflation were simply a matter of "too much money chasing too few goods," then one would expect that the government could control the money supply and consequently control the inflation. The government has failed to act in this way and unless one subscribes to a sadistic theory of government, its failure suggests that there are non-monetary or "real` causes embedded in our political and economic institutions.

    This study provides some insight into the nature of those real causes, and develops a strategy to combat inflation. Part of that strategy includes monetary restraint; however. to be politically acceptable, monetary restraint must be made more efficient. Some method must be developed to translate quickly a decrease in the growth of the money supply into a decrease in the price level, not into a decrease in employment and output.

    The method suggested by this report is an incentive based incomes policy or incentive anti-inflation plan. These policies minimize government intervention in the market economy while channeling restrictive monetary policy into anti-inflation incentives rather than into anti-production incentives. They provide the necessary supply side incentives to stop inflation.

    Incentive anti-inflation plans take various forms. Many of the arguments for and against such policies have incorrectly interpreted the methodology and goals of these policies. Specifically, these policies are not designed to solve inflation by themselves, but instead must function as complements to, rather than substitutes for, the appropriate monetary and fiscal policy. These proposals are not meant to replace the market with government regulation; they recognize the market's advantages and use market incentives to check inflation programs as strong as, and no stronger than, the pressures for inflation.

    To function properly, incentive anti-inflation plans must be supported by an effective legal structure, an enforcement mechanism and a general public acceptance that the plans are fair. These are difficult requirements but all markets need these foundations. There is a fundamental difference between the government's role in establishing a legal framework and its role in directly regulating market decisions. Anti-inflation incentive plans require only the former....

    djb - , June 18, 2017 at 11:52 AM
    "If inflation were simply a matter of "too much money chasing too few goods," then one would expect that the government could control the money supply and consequently control the inflation"

    first off, they should NOT be looking at it as money supply paying for the goods

    they should be looking at it as income paying for the goods

    money times velocity of money

    cm - , June 17, 2017 at 12:45 PM
    Ford paid workers more to be able to squeeze more assembly line output from them with limited risk of turnover, as leaving for another job would mean a pay cut. He also had ideas about intervening in their home lives.

    [Jun 17, 2017] The Collapsing Social Contract by Gaius Publius

    Highly recommended!
    Notable quotes:
    "... Until elites stand down and stop the brutal squeeze , expect more after painful more of this. It's what happens when societies come apart. Unless elites (of both parties) stop the push for "profit before people," policies that dominate the whole of the Neoliberal Era , there are only two outcomes for a nation on this track, each worse than the other. There are only two directions for an increasingly chaotic state to go, chaotic collapse or sufficiently militarized "order" to entirely suppress it. ..."
    "... Mes petits sous, mon petit cri de coeur. ..."
    "... But the elite aren't going to stand down, whatever that might mean. The elite aren't really the "elite", they are owners and controllers of certain flows of economic activity. We need to call it what it is and actively organize against it. Publius's essay seems too passive at points, too passive voice. (Yes, it's a cry from the heart in a prophetic mode, and on that level, I'm with it.) ..."
    "... American Psycho ..."
    "... The college students I deal with have internalized a lot of this. In their minds, TINA is reality. Everything balances for the individual on a razor's edge of failure of will or knowledge or hacktivity. It's all personal, almost never collective - it's a failure toward parents or peers or, even more grandly, what success means in America. ..."
    "... unions don't matter in our TINA. Corporations do. ..."
    "... our system promotes specialists and disregards generalists this leads to a population of individualists who can't see the big picture. ..."
    "... That social contract is hard to pin down and define – probably has different meanings to all of us, but you are right, it is breaking down. We no longer feel that our governments are working for us. ..."
    "... Increasing population, decreasing resources, increasingly expensive remaining resources on a per unit basis, unresolved trashing of the environment and an political economy that forces people to do more with less all the time (productivity improvement is mandatory, not optional, to handle the exponential function) much pain will happen even if everyone is equal. ..."
    "... "Social contract:" nice Enlightment construct, out of University by City. Not a real thing, just a very incomplete shorthand to attempt to fiddle the masses and give a name to meta-livability. ..."
    "... Always with the "contract" meme, as if there are no more durable and substantive notions of how humans in small and large groups might organize and interact Or maybe the notion is the best that can be achieved? ..."
    "... JTMcFee, you have provided the most important aspect to this mirage of 'social contract'. The "remedies" clearly available to lawless legislation rest outside the realm of a contract which has never existed. ..."
    "... Unconscionable clauses are now separately initialed in an "I dare you to sue me" shaming gambit. Meanwhile the mythical Social Contract has been atomized into 7 1/2 billion personal contracts with unstated, shifting remedies wholly tied to the depths of pockets. ..."
    "... Here in oh-so-individualistic Chicago, I have been noting the fraying for some time: It isn't just the massacres in the highly segregated black neighborhoods, some of which are now in terminal decline as the inhabitants, justifiably, flee. The typical Chicagoan wanders the streets connected to a phone, so as to avoid eye contact, all the while dressed in what look like castoffs. Meanwhile, Midwesterners, who tend to be heavy, are advertisements for the obesity epidemic: Yet obesity has a metaphorical meaning as the coat of lipids that a person wears to keep the world away. ..."
    "... My middle / upper-middle neighborhood is covered with a layer of upper-middle trash: Think Starbucks cups and artisanal beer bottles. ..."
    "... The class war continues, and the upper class has won. As commenter relstprof notes, any kind of concerted action is now nearly impossible. Instead of the term "social contract," I might substitute "solidarity." Is there solidarity? No, solidarity was destroyed as a policy of the Reagan administration, as well as by fantasies that Americans are individualistic, and here we are, 40 years later, dealing with the rubble of the Obama administration and the Trump administration. ..."
    "... The trash bit has been linked in other countries to how much the general population views the public space/environment as a shared, common good. Thus, streets, parks and public space might be soiled by litter that nobody cares to put away in trash bins properly, while simultaneously the interior of houses/apartments, and attached gardens if any, are kept meticulously clean. ..."
    "... The trash bit has been linked in other countries to how much the general population views the public space/environment as a shared, common good. ..."
    "... There *is* no public space anymore. Every public good, every public space is now fair game for commercial exploitation. ..."
    "... The importance of the end of solidarity – that is, of the almost-murderous impulses by the upper classes to destroy any kind of solidarity. ..."
    "... "Conditions will only deteriorate for anyone not in the "1%", with no sight of improvement or relief." ..."
    "... "Four Futures" ..."
    "... Reminds me of that one quip I saw from a guy who, why he always had to have two pigs to eat up his garbage, said that if he had only one pig, it will eat only when it wants to, but if there were two pigs, each one would eat so the other pig won't get to it first. Our current economic system in a nutshell – pigs eating crap so deny it to others first. "Greed is good". ..."
    "... Don't know that the two avenues Gaius mentioned are the only two roads our society can travel. In support of this view, I recall a visit to a secondary city in Russia for a few weeks in the early 1990s after the collapse of the USSR. Those were difficult times economically and psychologically for ordinary citizens of that country. Alcoholism was rampant, emotional illness and suicide rates among men of working age were high, mortality rates generally were rising sharply, and birth rates were falling. Yet the glue of common culture, sovereign currency, language, community, and thoughtful and educated citizens held despite corrupt political leadership, the rise of an oligarchic class, and the related emergence of organized criminal networks. There was also adequate food, and critical public infrastructure was maintained, keeping in mind this was shortly after the Chernobyl disaster. ..."
    Jun 16, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
    Yves here. I have been saying for some years that I did not think we would see a revolution, but more and more individuals acting out violently. That's partly the result of how community and social bonds have weakened as a result of neoliberalism but also because the officialdom has effective ways of blocking protests. With the overwhelming majority of people using smartphones, they are constantly surveilled. And the coordinated 17-city paramilitary crackdown on Occupy Wall Street shows how the officialdom moved against non-violent protests. Police have gotten only more military surplus toys since then, and crowd-dispersion technology like sound cannons only continues to advance. The only way a rebellion could succeed would be for it to be truly mass scale (as in over a million people in a single city) or by targeting crucial infrastructure.

    By Gaius Publius , a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States and frequent contributor to DownWithTyranny, digby, Truthout, and Naked Capitalism. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius , Tumblr and Facebook . GP article archive here . Originally published at DownWithTyranny

    "[T]he super-rich are absconding with our wealth, and the plague of inequality continues to grow. An analysis of 2016 data found that the poorest five deciles of the world population own about $410 billion in total wealth. As of June 8, 2017 , the world's richest five men owned over $400 billion in wealth. Thus, on average, each man owns nearly as much as 750 million people."
    -Paul Buchheit, Alternet

    "Congressman Steve Scalise, Three Others Shot at Alexandria, Virginia, Baseball Field"
    -NBC News, June 14, 2017

    "4 killed, including gunman, in shooting at UPS facility in San Francisco"
    -ABC7News, June 14, 2017

    "Seriously? Another multiple shooting? So many guns. So many nut-bars. So many angry nut-bars with guns."
    -MarianneW via Twitter

    "We live in a world where "multiple dead" in San Francisco shooting can't cut through the news of another shooting in the same day."
    -SamT via Twitter

    "If the rich are determined to extract the last drop of blood, expect the victims to put up a fuss. And don't expect that fuss to be pretty. I'm not arguing for social war; I'm arguing for justice and peace."
    - Yours truly

    When the social contract breaks from above, it breaks from below as well.

    Until elites stand down and stop the brutal squeeze , expect more after painful more of this. It's what happens when societies come apart. Unless elites (of both parties) stop the push for "profit before people," policies that dominate the whole of the Neoliberal Era , there are only two outcomes for a nation on this track, each worse than the other. There are only two directions for an increasingly chaotic state to go, chaotic collapse or sufficiently militarized "order" to entirely suppress it.

    As with the climate, I'm concerned about the short term for sure - the storm that kills this year, the hurricane that kills the next - but I'm also concerned about the longer term as well. If the beatings from "our betters" won't stop until our acceptance of their "serve the rich" policies improves, the beatings will never stop, and both sides will take up the cudgel.

    Then where will we be?

    America's Most Abundant Manufactured Product May Be Pain

    I look out the window and see more and more homeless people, noticeably more than last year and the year before. And they're noticeably scruffier, less "kemp,"​ if that makes sense to you (it does if you live, as I do, in a community that includes a number of them as neighbors).

    The squeeze hasn't let up, and those getting squeezed out of society have nowhere to drain to but down - physically, economically, emotionally. The Case-Deaton study speaks volumes to this point. The less fortunate economically are already dying of drugs and despair. If people are killing themselves in increasing numbers, isn't it just remotely maybe possible they'll also aim their anger out as well?

    The pot isn't boiling yet - these shootings are random, individualized - but they seem to be piling on top of each other. A hard-boiling, over-flowing pot may not be far behind. That's concerning as well, much moreso than even the random horrid events we recoil at today.

    Many More Ways Than One to Be a Denier

    My comparison above to the climate problem was deliberate. It's not just the occasional storms we see that matter. It's also that, seen over time, those storms are increasing, marking a trend that matters even more. As with climate, the whole can indeed be greater than its parts. There's more than one way in which to be a denier of change.

    These are not just metaphors. The country is already in a pre-revolutionary state ; that's one huge reason people chose Trump over Clinton, and would have chosen Sanders over Trump. The Big Squeeze has to stop, or this will be just the beginning of a long and painful path. We're on a track that nations we have watched - tightly "ordered" states, highly chaotic ones - have trod already. While we look at them in pity, their example stares back at us.

    Mes petits sous, mon petit cri de coeur.

    elstprof , June 16, 2017 at 3:03 am

    But the elite aren't going to stand down, whatever that might mean. The elite aren't really the "elite", they are owners and controllers of certain flows of economic activity. We need to call it what it is and actively organize against it. Publius's essay seems too passive at points, too passive voice. (Yes, it's a cry from the heart in a prophetic mode, and on that level, I'm with it.)

    "If people are killing themselves in increasing numbers, isn't it just remotely maybe possible they'll also aim their anger out as well?"

    Not necessarily. What Lacan called the "Big Other" is quite powerful. We internalize a lot of socio-economic junk from our cultural inheritance, especially as it's been configured over the last 40 years - our values, our body images, our criteria for judgment, our sense of what material well-being consists, etc. Ellis's American Psycho is the great satire of our time, and this time is not quite over yet. Dismemberment reigns.

    The college students I deal with have internalized a lot of this. In their minds, TINA is reality. Everything balances for the individual on a razor's edge of failure of will or knowledge or hacktivity. It's all personal, almost never collective - it's a failure toward parents or peers or, even more grandly, what success means in America.

    The idea that agency could be a collective action of a union for a strike isn't even on the horizon. And at the same time, these same students don't bat an eye at socialism. They're willing to listen.

    But unions don't matter in our TINA. Corporations do.

    Moneta , June 16, 2017 at 8:08 am

    Most of the elite do not understand the money system. They do not understand how different sectors have benefitted from policies and/or subsidies that increased the money flows into these. So they think they deserve their money more than those who toiled in sectors with less support.

    Furthermore, our system promotes specialists and disregards generalists this leads to a population of individualists who can't see the big picture.

    jefemt , June 16, 2017 at 9:45 am

    BAU, TINA, BAU!! BOHICA!!!

    Dead Dog , June 16, 2017 at 3:09 am

    Thank you Gaius, a thoughtful post. That social contract is hard to pin down and define – probably has different meanings to all of us, but you are right, it is breaking down. We no longer feel that our governments are working for us.

    Of tangential interest, Turnbull has just announced another gun amnesty targeting guns that people no longer need and a tightening of some of the ownership laws.

    RWood , June 16, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    So this inheritance matures: http://www.nature.com/news/fight-the-silencing-of-gun-research-1.22139

    willem , June 16, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    One problem is the use of the term "social contract", implying that there is some kind of agreement ( = consensus) on what that is. I don't remember signing any "contract".

    Fiery Hunt , June 16, 2017 at 3:17 am

    I fear for my friends, I fear for my family. They do not know how ravenous the hounds behind nor ahead are. For myself? I imagine myself the same in a Mad Max world. It will be more clear, and perception shattering, to most whose lives allow the ignoring of gradual chokeholds, be them political or economic, but those of us who struggle daily, yearly, decadely with both, will only say Welcome to the party, pals.

    Disturbed Voter , June 16, 2017 at 6:33 am

    Increasing population, decreasing resources, increasingly expensive remaining resources on a per unit basis, unresolved trashing of the environment and an political economy that forces people to do more with less all the time (productivity improvement is mandatory, not optional, to handle the exponential function) much pain will happen even if everyone is equal.

    Each person does what is right in their own eyes, but the net effect is impoverishment and destruction. Life is unfair, indeed. A social contract is a mutual suicide pact, whether you renegotiate it or not. This is Fight Club. The first rule of Fight Club, is we don't speak of Fight Club. Go to the gym, toughen up, while you still can.

    JTMcPhee , June 16, 2017 at 6:44 am

    "Social contract:" nice Enlightment construct, out of University by City. Not a real thing, just a very incomplete shorthand to attempt to fiddle the masses and give a name to meta-livability.

    Always with the "contract" meme, as if there are no more durable and substantive notions of how humans in small and large groups might organize and interact Or maybe the notion is the best that can be achieved? Recalling that as my Contracts professor in law school emphasized over and over, in "contracts" there are no rights in the absence of effective remedies. It being a Boston law school, the notion was echoed in Torts, and in Commercial Paper and Sales and, tellingly, in Constitutional Law and Federal Jurisdiction, and even in Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure. No remedy, no right. What remedies are there in "the system," for the "other halves" of the "social contract," the "have-naught" halves?

    When honest "remedies under law" become nugatory, there's always the recourse to direct action of course with zero guarantee of redress

    sierra7 , June 16, 2017 at 11:22 am

    "What remedies are there in "the system," for the "other halves" of the "social contract," the "have-naught" halves?" Ah yes the ultimate remedy is outright rebellion against the highest authorities .with as you say, " zero guarantee of redress."

    But, history teaches us that that path will be taken ..the streets. It doesn't (didn't) take a genius to see what was coming back in the late 1960's on .regarding the beginnings of the revolt(s) by big money against organized labor. Having been very involved in observing, studying and actually active in certain groups back then, the US was acting out in other countries particularly in the Southern Hemisphere, against any social progression, repressing, arresting (thru its surrogates) torturing, killing any individuals or groups that opposed that infamous theory of "free market capitalism". It had a very definite "creep" effect, northwards to the mainstream US because so many of our major corporations were deeply involved with our covert intelligence operatives and objectives (along with USAID and NED). I used to tell my friends about what was happening and they would look at me as if I was a lunatic. The agency for change would be "organized labor", but now, today that agency has been trashed enough where so many of the young have no clue as to what it all means. The ultimate agenda along with "globalization" is the complete repression of any opposition to the " spread of money markets" around the world". The US intends to lead; whether the US citizenry does is another matter. Hence the streets.

    Kuhio Kane , June 16, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    JTMcFee, you have provided the most important aspect to this mirage of 'social contract'. The "remedies" clearly available to lawless legislation rest outside the realm of a contract which has never existed.

    bdy , June 16, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    The Social Contract, ephemeral, reflects perfectly what contracts have become. Older rulings frequently labeled clauses unconscionable - a tacit recognition that so few of the darn things are actually agreed upon. Rather, a party with resources, options and security imposes the agreement on a party in some form of crisis (nowadays the ever present crisis of paycheck to paycheck living – or worse). Never mind informational asymmetries, necessity drives us into crappy rental agreements and debt promises with eyes wide open. And suddenly we're all agents of the state.

    Unconscionable clauses are now separately initialed in an "I dare you to sue me" shaming gambit. Meanwhile the mythical Social Contract has been atomized into 7 1/2 billion personal contracts with unstated, shifting remedies wholly tied to the depths of pockets.

    Solidarity, of course. Hard when Identity politics lubricate a labor market that insists on specialization, and talented children of privilege somehow manage to navigate the new entrepreneurism while talented others look on in frustration. The resistance insists on being leaderless (fueled in part IMHO by the uncomfortable fact that effective leaders are regularly killed or co-opted). And the overriding message of resistance is negative: "Stop it!"

    But that's where we are. Again, just my opinion: but the pivotal step away from the jackpot is to convince or coerce our wealthiest not to cash in. Stop making and saving so much stinking money, y'all.

    Moneta , June 16, 2017 at 6:54 am

    The pension system is based on profits. Nothing will change until the profits disappear and the top quintile starts falling off the treadmill.

    Susan the other , June 16, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    and there's the Karma bec. even now we see a private banking system synthesizing an economy to maintain asset values and profits and they have the nerve to blame it on social spending. I think Giaus's term 'Denier' is perfect for all those vested practitioners of profit-capitalism at any cost. They've already failed miserably. For the most part they're just too proud to admit it and, naturally, they wanna hang on to "their" money. I don't think it will take a revolution – in fact it would be better if no chaos ensued – just let these arrogant goofballs stew in their own juice a while longer. They are killing themselves.

    roadrider , June 16, 2017 at 8:33 am

    There's a social contract? Who knew?

    Realist , June 16, 2017 at 8:41 am

    When I hear so much impatient and irritable complaint, so much readiness to replace what we have by guardians for us all, those supermen, evoked somewhere from the clouds, whom none have seen and none are ready to name, I lapse into a dream, as it were. I see children playing on the grass; their voices are shrill and discordant as children's are; they are restive and quarrelsome; they cannot agree to any common plan; their play annoys them; it goes poorly. And one says, let us make Jack the master; Jack knows all about it; Jack will tell us what each is to do and we shall all agree. But Jack is like all the rest; Helen is discontented with her part and Henry with his, and soon they fall again into their old state. No, the children must learn to play by themselves; there is no Jack the master. And in the end slowly and with infinite disappointment they do learn a little; they learn to forbear, to reckon with another, accept a little where they wanted much, to live and let live, to yield when they must yield; perhaps, we may hope, not to take all they can. But the condition is that they shall be willing at least to listen to one another, to get the habit of pooling their wishes. Somehow or other they must do this, if the play is to go on; maybe it will not, but there is no Jack, in or out of the box, who can come to straighten the game. -Learned Hand

    DJG , June 16, 2017 at 9:24 am

    Here in oh-so-individualistic Chicago, I have been noting the fraying for some time: It isn't just the massacres in the highly segregated black neighborhoods, some of which are now in terminal decline as the inhabitants, justifiably, flee. The typical Chicagoan wanders the streets connected to a phone, so as to avoid eye contact, all the while dressed in what look like castoffs. Meanwhile, Midwesterners, who tend to be heavy, are advertisements for the obesity epidemic: Yet obesity has a metaphorical meaning as the coat of lipids that a person wears to keep the world away.

    My middle / upper-middle neighborhood is covered with a layer of upper-middle trash: Think Starbucks cups and artisanal beer bottles. Some trash is carefully posed: Cups with straws on windsills, awaiting the Paris Agreement Pixie, who will clean up after these oh-so-earnest environmentalists.

    Meanwhile, I just got a message from my car-share service: They are cutting back on the number of cars on offer. Too much vandalism.

    Are these things caused by pressure from above? Yes, in part: The class war continues, and the upper class has won. As commenter relstprof notes, any kind of concerted action is now nearly impossible. Instead of the term "social contract," I might substitute "solidarity." Is there solidarity? No, solidarity was destroyed as a policy of the Reagan administration, as well as by fantasies that Americans are individualistic, and here we are, 40 years later, dealing with the rubble of the Obama administration and the Trump administration.

    JEHR , June 16, 2017 at 11:17 am

    DJG: My middle / upper-middle neighborhood is covered with a layer of upper-middle trash: Think Starbucks cups and artisanal beer bottles. Some trash is carefully posed: Cups with straws on windsills, awaiting the Paris Agreement Pixie, who will clean up after these oh-so-earnest environmentalists.

    Yes, the trash bit is hard to understand. What does it stand for? Does it mean, We can infinitely disregard our surroundings by throwing away plastic, cardboard, metal and paper and nothing will happen? Does it mean, There is more where that came from! Does it mean, I don't care a fig for the earth? Does it mean, Human beings are stupid and, unlike pigs, mess up their immediate environment and move on? Does it mean, Nothing–that we are just nihilists waiting to die? I am so fed up with the garbage strewn on the roads and in the woods where I live; I used to pick it up and could collect as much as 9 garbage bags of junk in 9 days during a 4 kilometer walk. I don't pick up any more because I am 77 and cannot keep doing it.

    However, I am certain that strewn garbage will surely be the last national flag waving in the breeze as the anthem plays junk music and we all succumb to our terrible future.

    jrs , June 16, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Related to this, I thought one day of who probably NEVER gets any appreciation but strives to make things nicer, anyone planning or planting the highway strips (government workers maybe although it could be convicts also unfortunately, I'm not sure). Yes highways are ugly, yes they will destroy the world, but some of the planting strips are sometimes genuinely nice. So they add some niceness to the ugly and people still litter of course.

    visitor , June 16, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    The trash bit has been linked in other countries to how much the general population views the public space/environment as a shared, common good. Thus, streets, parks and public space might be soiled by litter that nobody cares to put away in trash bins properly, while simultaneously the interior of houses/apartments, and attached gardens if any, are kept meticulously clean.

    Basically, the world people care about stops outside their dwellings, because they do not feel it is "theirs" or that they participate in its possession in a genuine way. It belongs to the "town administration", or to a "private corporation", or to the "government" - and if they feel they have no say in the ownership, management, regulation and benefits thereof, why should they care? Let the town administration/government/corporation do the clean-up - we already pay enough taxes/fees/tolls, and "they" are always putting up more restrictions on how to use everything, so

    In conclusion: the phenomenon of litter/trash is another manifestation of a fraying social contract.

    Big River Bandido , June 16, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    The trash bit has been linked in other countries to how much the general population views the public space/environment as a shared, common good.

    There *is* no public space anymore. Every public good, every public space is now fair game for commercial exploitation.

    I live in NYC, and just yesterday as I attempted to refill my MetroCard, the machine told me it was expired and I had to replace it. The replacement card doesn't look at all like a MetroCard with the familiar yellow and black graphic saying "MetroCard". Instead? It's an ad. For a fucking insurance company. And so now, every single time that I go somewhere on the subway, I have to see an ad from Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

    visitor , June 16, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    There *is* no public space anymore. Every public good, every public space is now fair game for commercial exploitation.

    And as a result, people no longer care about it - they do not feel it is their commonwealth any longer.

    Did you notice whether the NYC subway got increasingly dirty/littered as the tentacles of privatization reached everywhere? Just curious.

    DJG , June 16, 2017 at 9:37 am

    The importance of the end of solidarity – that is, of the almost-murderous impulses by the upper classes to destroy any kind of solidarity. From Yves's posting of Yanis Varoufakis's analysis of the newest terms of the continuing destruction of Greece:

    With regard to labour market reforms, the Eurogroup welcomes the adopted legislation safeguarding previous reforms on collective bargaining and bringing collective dismissals in line with best EU practices.

    I see! "Safeguarding previous reforms on collective bargaining" refers, of course, to the 2012 removal of the right to collective bargaining and the end to trades union representation for each and every Greek worker. Our government was elected in January 2015 with an express mandate to restore these workers' and trades unions' rights. Prime Minister Tsipras has repeatedly pledged to do so, even after our falling out and my resignation in July 2015. Now, yesterday, his government consented to this piece of Eurogroup triumphalism that celebrates the 'safeguarding' of the 2012 'reforms'. In short, the SYRIZA government has capitulated on this issue too: Workers' and trades' unions' rights will not be restored. And, as if that were not bad enough, "collective dismissals" will be brought "in line with best EU practices". What this means is that the last remaining constraints on corporations, i.e. a restriction on what percentage of workers can be fired each month, is relaxed. Make no mistake: The Eurogroup is telling us that, now that employers are guaranteed the absence of trades unions, and the right to fire more workers, growth enhancement will follow suit! Let's not hold our breath!

    Daniel F. , June 16, 2017 at 10:44 am

    The so-called "Elites"? Stand down? Right. Every year I look up the cardinal topics discussed at the larger economic forums and conferences (mainly Davos and G8), and some variation of "The consequences of rising inequality" is a recurring one. Despite this, nothing ever comes out if them. I imagine they go something like this:

    A wet dream come true, both for an AnCap and a communist conspiracy theorist. I'm by no means either. However, I think capitalism has already failed and can't go on for much longer. Conditions will only deteriorate for anyone not in the "1%", with no sight of improvement or relief.

    I'd very much like to be proven wrong.

    Bobby Gladd , June 16, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    "Conditions will only deteriorate for anyone not in the "1%", with no sight of improvement or relief." Frase's Quadrant Four. Hierarchy + Scarcity = Exterminism (From "Four Futures" )

    Archangel , June 16, 2017 at 11:33 am

    Reminds me of that one quip I saw from a guy who, why he always had to have two pigs to eat up his garbage, said that if he had only one pig, it will eat only when it wants to, but if there were two pigs, each one would eat so the other pig won't get to it first. Our current economic system in a nutshell – pigs eating crap so deny it to others first. "Greed is good".

    oh , June 16, 2017 at 12:10 pm

    Our country is rife with rent seeking pigs who will stoop lower and lower to feed their greed.

    Vatch , June 16, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    In today's Links section there's this: https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/jun/14/tax-evaders-exposed-why-super-rich-are-even-richer-than-we-thought which has relevance for the discussion of the collapsing social contract.

    Chauncey Gardiner , June 16, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    Don't know that the two avenues Gaius mentioned are the only two roads our society can travel. In support of this view, I recall a visit to a secondary city in Russia for a few weeks in the early 1990s after the collapse of the USSR. Those were difficult times economically and psychologically for ordinary citizens of that country. Alcoholism was rampant, emotional illness and suicide rates among men of working age were high, mortality rates generally were rising sharply, and birth rates were falling. Yet the glue of common culture, sovereign currency, language, community, and thoughtful and educated citizens held despite corrupt political leadership, the rise of an oligarchic class, and the related emergence of organized criminal networks. There was also adequate food, and critical public infrastructure was maintained, keeping in mind this was shortly after the Chernobyl disaster.

    Here in the US the New Deal and other legislation helped preserve social order in the 1930s. Yves also raises an important point in her preface that can provide support for the center by those who are able to do so under the current economic framework. That glue is to participate in one's community; whether it is volunteering at a school, the local food bank, community-oriented social clubs, or in a multitude of other ways; regardless of whether your community is a small town or a large city.

    JTMcPhee , June 16, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    " Yet the glue of common culture, sovereign currency, language, community, and thoughtful and educated citizens held despite corrupt political leadership, the rise of an oligarchic class, and the related emergence of organized criminal networks."

    None of which applies to the Imperium, of course. There's glue, all right, but it's the kind that is used for flooring in Roach Motels (TM), and those horrific rat and mouse traps that stick the rodent to a large rectangle of plastic, where they die eventually of exhaustion and dehydration and starvation The rat can gnaw off a leg that's glued down, but then it tips over and gets glued down by the chest or face or butt

    I have to note that several people I know are fastidious about picking up trash other people "throw away." I do it, when I'm up to bending over. I used to be rude about it - one young attractive woman dumped a McDonald's bag and her ashtray out the window of her car at one of our very long Florida traffic lights. I got out of my car, used the mouth of the McDonald's bag to scoop up most of the lipsticked butts, and threw them back into her car. Speaking of mouths, that woman with the artfully painted lips sure had one on her

    [Jun 16, 2017] Future of Unions in Balance as Trump Prepares to Reshape National Labor Board

    Notable quotes:
    "... NLRB v. Noel Canning ..."
    Jun 16, 2017 | www.truth-out.org

    The NLRB is the administrative agency that is tasked with enforcing the National Labor Relations Act , the federal statute that gives employees the right to unionize and collectively bargain. The NLRB consists of five members who are appointed to five-year terms by the president upon the advice and consent of the Senate.

    Right now, there are two vacancies on the board that President Donald Trump will fill. Once the Senate confirms President Trump's nominees, Republicans will control the board for the first time since 2007 .

    The background of the three candidates reportedly under consideration suggests that the board will in fact be much friendlier to business interests under the Trump administration. One of the potential nominees, Doug Seaton , has made a career of being a " union-buster ," the term used to describe a consultant brought in by employers to beat a unionization campaign. Another, William Emanuel , is a partner at Littler Mendelson, one of the largest and most successful anti-labor law firms in the country. Less is known about the third potential candidate, Marvin Kaplan, but his history as a Republican staffer suggests he may also represent employers' interests.

    Many observers assume that this new board will overturn many Obama-era precedents that favored unions. These precedents include questions such as how to define bargaining units, at issue at both Yale and Elderwood.

    But the new board could go even further and roll back pro-union decisions dating back decades. This could be devastating to already weakened unions. With private sector union membership hovering at a dismal 6.4 percent -- down from about 17 percent in 1983 -- nothing short of the end of the labor movement could be at stake.

    (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics) (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics )

    How Politics Intruded on the NLRB

    The composition of the NLRB is important because most claims regarding the right to organize and collectively bargain are decided by the agency.

    Unlike other employment statutes, such as Title VII and the Fair Labor Standards Act , individuals and unions cannot file claims in federal court and instead must participate in the administrative process set up by the National Labor Relations Act. While aggrieved parties can appeal board rulings to federal appeals courts, judges grant a high degree of deference to NLRB decisions.

    In other words, three board members -- a bare majority of the board -- have an enormous ability to influence and shape American labor policy.

    Given the amount of power these three individuals can wield, it is no wonder that the NLRB has become highly politicized in the decades since its creation in the 1930s. Ironically, the board was originally established as a way to try to insulate labor policy from political influences.

    The drafters of the labor act believed that the federal courts were hostile to labor rights and would chip away at the protections in a way that would be bad for unions. Instead, the board has become a political battlefield for the two parties who hold very different views about labor policy.

    This politicization came to a head during the Obama administration, when it became impossible to confirm anyone to serve on the NLRB. In response, Obama appointed several members using his recess appointment power, which allows the president to avoid Senate confirmation of nominees when Congress is in recess.

    Employers challenged the move, and the Supreme Court eventually invalidated the recess appointments as executive overreach in NLRB v. Noel Canning . After the decision, Obama and the Senate finally agreed on five members that were confirmed. This new board, with a Democratic majority, then decided many of the precedents that employers hope the new members will overturn.

    Flaws in the National Labor Relations Act

    So what will happen if Elderwood and Yale bet wrong and lose their appeals in front of the new Republican-controlled board?

    In all likelihood, not much. The board process is long and cumbersome. It often takes years from the filing of a charge for failure to bargain to the board's decision. In the meantime, employers hope that unions will have turnover in their membership, become disorganized and lose support.

    Moreover, the penalties available under the National Labor Relations Act are weak . If an employer is found to have violated the act, the board can issue a "cease-and-desist" letter and require the employer to post a notice promising not to engage in further violations. These penalties hardly encourage employers to comply with their obligations, especially when they have so much to gain from obstructing attempts to unionize and collectively bargain.

    If the labor movement is to survive, the National Labor Relations Act needs to be reformed to fix these problems. Instead, a few years of a Republican-controlled NLRB could be organized labor's death knell .

    [Jun 09, 2017] Trump actions do not match his rhetoric: another bait and switch like in case of Obama ?

    Notable quotes:
    "... Trump actions do not match his rhetoric. His policies give large tax cuts to very wealthy people. He is not pursuing an agenda in favor of less inequality, faster growth or higher employment. Unfortunately, the pursuit of tax cuts for the wealthy will likely make the rest of us poorer. ..."
    "... Yes Trump has proven to be much more stupid and ineffective I thought he would be. Maybe it was the way he vanquished his many competitors in the Republican primary and beat Hillary. ..."
    "... He's been negligent and stupid except apparently with judges. He'd rather play golf and tweet. ..."
    Jun 09, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

    jonny bakho , June 09, 2017 at 09:37 AM

    Trump actions do not match his rhetoric. His policies give large tax cuts to very wealthy people. He is not pursuing an agenda in favor of less inequality, faster growth or higher employment. Unfortunately, the pursuit of tax cuts for the wealthy will likely make the rest of us poorer.
    RC AKA Darryl, Ron said in reply to jonny bakho... , June 09, 2017 at 09:45 AM
    "Trump actions do not match his rhetoric..."

    [From his accomplishments as POTUS so far one must wonder whether his socks would match were he left to dress himself.]

    Christopher H. said in reply to RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , June 09, 2017 at 10:08 AM
    Yes Trump has proven to be much more stupid and ineffective I thought he would be. Maybe it was the way he vanquished his many competitors in the Republican primary and beat Hillary.

    He's been negligent and stupid except apparently with judges. He'd rather play golf and tweet.

    RC AKA Darryl, Ron said in reply to Christopher H.... , June 09, 2017 at 10:34 AM
    Agreed. But that still does not make all of his voters racist. Maybe some of them were misled, but the ones that I know were just plain desperate. They did not expect Trump to perform especially well as POTUS. It was enough for them that he was not Hillary.
    Christopher H. said in reply to RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , June 09, 2017 at 10:44 AM
    "But that still does not make all of his voters racist."

    Never said it did. I agree that for many of them the vote was a middle finger at the establishment.

    Corbyn has shown you can do well by running a good campaign which is anti-austerity and about delivering for the average voter.

    [Jun 08, 2017] What is the Last Man (Nietzsche) - Apotheosis Magazine

    Jun 08, 2017 | www.apotheosismagazine.com
    The glorious German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche in Thus Spoke Zaratustra brought up the concept of the Last Man. Trawling through the internet you will hear about the Last Man constantly, but no accurate definition or statement about what a Last Man actually is. So this article will discuss the character traits of the Last Man – let's just hope that the Last Man does not remind you of yourself.

    The Last Man is primarily characterized as the type of individual that is fat, lazy and falls asleep watching TV after over indulging in junk food. This clearly denotes the type of man that is content with living a life whose primary and only purpose is to exist in a perpetual state of comfort, security and pleasure. This is a value system that does not idealize or extol higher values, challenging circumstances or hard work.

    Zarathustra after descending the mountains is trying to deliver a sermon to a crowd of people that are hanging around the marketplace. Individuals that normally hang around a marketplace are typically known as commoners – especially in Nietzsche's time – and their primary concern is grotesque entertainment, gossip, manners and commerce.

    After delivering his sermon about the Overman/Superman (or Ubersmensch) Nietzsche receives an apathetic and mocking response. One must imagine how extremely jarring this was for Zarathustra considering he has just descended from his sojourn in the mountains to proclaim this message. Rather comically, you can imagine Nietzsche's Zarathustra as the typical hobo you hear in the town centre raving about God or some other incoherent babble, whilst others walk past laughing, scared or neutral. Except this raving mystic is much more coherent than usual and is delivering some badass Nietzschean theory.

    Nietzsche: " There they stand; there they laugh: they do not understand me; I am not the mouth for these ears They have something of which they are proud. What do they call it, that which makes them proud? Culture, they call it; it distinguishes them from the goatherds. They dislike, therefore, to hear of "contempt" of themselves. So I will appeal to their pride.
    I will speak to them of the most contemptible thing: that, however, is the Last Man !"

    Contempt here is being used in its typical notion, the feeling that something is worthless and should not be considered. Here, as suggested by the text, Nietzsche will appeal to their "pride" by talking to them about what he believes is the most contemptible thing – The Last Man . This Last Man is the embodiment of their culture. So, Nietzsche is clearly telling us that the Last Man is valueless and worthless.

    What is the Last Man :

    Nietzsche: "I tell you: one must still have chaos in oneself, to give birth to a dancing star. I tell you: you have still chaos in yourselves.
    Alas! There comes the time when man will no longer give birth to any star. Alas! There comes the time of the most despicable man, who can no longer despise himself.
    Lo! I show you the Last Man ."

    The Last Man cannot despise himself. That is, he cannot feel or understand that his actions, values or decisions may under some or all circumstances be lacking in value. This is important. To not have the orientation that your actions may be lacking, be worthless or unsubstantial entails that you do not have any serious self-reflective capacity to evaluate your actions. The Last Man we can reasonably assume acts in a manner that is contemptible and embarrassing for a culture to promote. So the fact that the Last Man does not have the consciousness nor the insight to evaluate his actions as lacking value or real meaningful substance means that he is unable to change them in a positive manner and be something other than the Last Man . Only the Last Man can be the type of man that lacks insight to such degree that he finds it not only acceptable, content, but also agreeable to be the Last Man.

    Nietzsche: "What is love? What is creation? What is longing? What is a star?" -- so asks the Last Man, and blinks. The earth has become small, and on it hops the Last Man, who makes everything small. His species is ineradicable as the flea; the Last Man lives longest."

    The Last Man according to Nietzsche's rendering of him is the type of individual that does not care or even remotely try to answer the questions of his existence, those that profoundly affect and determine his life. The Last Man , by this characterization, is neither a romantic, a philosopher, a scientist or a poet.

    And due to the unquestioning nature of this type of man, the world has been made small and manageable. According to this type of man, the striving, the ambition, the determination to battle against hardship and the desire to become more than we currently are is a deterrent to happiness.

    Nietzsche: "The earth has become small, and on it hops the Last Man, who makes everything small. His species is ineradicable as the flea; the Last Man lives longest.

    Yet despite all of this, the Last Man , due to his security, comfort and pleasure believes:

    Nietzsche: ""We have discovered happiness" -- say the Last Men, and they blink."

    Nietzsche goes on to discuss the herd-like collective behaviour and the smug mentality of this group that dogmatically and unquestionably believes the man of the present to better than the men of the past. If this is true, then the values and behaviors that instantiate the Last Man are, according to him, to be preferred over all other values. Once again, the Last Man is unwilling to question his values against any other lifestyle or generational values, due to their inability to evaluate values that should guide their or others' behaviour.

    Nietzsche: "No shepherd, and one herd! Everyone wants the same; everyone is the same: he who feels differently goes voluntarily into the madhouse. Formerly all the world was insane," -- say the subtlest of them, and they blink.

    Despite Zarathustra's attempt to shame the market crowd with a contemptible notion of their culture through the concept of the Last Man , the crowd continue to mock him by clamoring to become the Last Man . As we can see, they have truly misunderstood Nietzsche's message and this market crowd is the collective manifestation of the Last Man .

    --

    If you're interested in buying Thus Spoke Zarathustra please use the link below to support and improve Apotheosis Magazine

    [Jun 02, 2017] Union busting should be a crime

    Notable quotes:
    "... Nobody would argue I think that when 1935 Congress passed the NLRA(a) it consciously left criminal prosecution of union busting blank because it desired states to individually take that up in their localities. Conversely, I don't think anybody thinks Congress deliberately left out criminal sanctions because it objected to such. ..."
    "... I'm thinking that if we cannot get (would be) progressive academics, journalists, politicians to get off their duffs about making union busting a felony -- that maybe unions can start putting the question on the ballot wherever that can be done. ..."
    Jun 02, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

    Denis Drew , June 01, 2017 at 08:12 AM

    [CUT-AND-PASTE]

    Trump won by trading places with Obama.

    NYT's Nate Cohn: "Just as Mr. Obama's team caricatured Mr. Romney, Mr. Trump caricatured Mrs. Clinton as a tool of Wall Street" ... "At every point of the race, Mr. Trump was doing better among white voters without a college degree than Mitt Romney did in 2012 - by a wide margin.

    " ... Mr. Obama] would have won Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin each time even if Detroit, Cleveland and Milwaukee had been severed from their states and cast adrift into the Great Lakes.)"
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/23/upshot/how-the-obama-coalition-crumbled-leaving-an-opening-for-trump.html

    America should feel perfectly free to rebuild labor union density one state at a time -- making union busting a felony.

    Republicans will have no place to hide.


    [CUT-AND-PASTE]
    Nobody would argue I think that when 1935 Congress passed the NLRA(a) it consciously left criminal prosecution of union busting blank because it desired states to individually take that up in their localities. Conversely, I don't think anybody thinks Congress deliberately left out criminal sanctions because it objected to such.

    Congress left criminal sanctions blank in US labor law because it thought it had done enough. States disagree? States are perfectly free to fill in the blanks protecting not just union organizing but any kind of collective bargaining more generally -- without worrying about federal preemption. Don't see why even Trump USC judge would find fault with that.

    This column from the other day gives me hope that Krugman may (finally) be catching on to the centrality of re-building union density.
    https://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2017/05/23/trucking-and-blue-collar-woes/

    Republicans will have no place to hide.

    Denis Drew - Denis Drew ... , June 01, 2017 at 08:17 AM
    I'm thinking that if we cannot get (would be) progressive academics, journalists, politicians to get off their duffs about making union busting a felony -- that maybe unions can start putting the question on the ballot wherever that can be done.

    Mostly a matter of overcoming inertia and proceeding to become like every other modern democracy on every issue (wages, medical, education and more). That all starts with upending the power equation -- political as well as economic: rebuilding union density is the alpha and omega of doing that.

    REPUBLICANS WILL HAVE NO PLACE TO HIDE.

    [May 31, 2017] Exploitation is an outcome. A nebulous description of the status quo. I suggest we are talking about moving people toward slavery

    Notable quotes:
    "... Exploitation is an outcome. A nebulous description of the status quo. I suggest we are talking about moving people toward slavery. ..."
    May 29, 2017 | econospeak.blogspot.ca
    Sandwichman, May 27, 2017 at 03:52 PM
    The "future of work" has a checkered past.
    Paine - Sandwichman ... , May 28, 2017 at 06:01 AM
    The future of exploitation
    That is primarily the exploitation of nature and of workers

    This Is the Sphynx of capitalism

    Private ownership of vast self renewing fully automatic
    production complexes
    Strikes us all as improbable

    And yet

    Look at "the Private essence"
    of the fire sector !


    It grows ever more robust ferocious all conquering

    JF - , May 28, 2017 at 06:34 AM
    Apt. The best representative of the controling force of the financial sector is the ECB. It is able to buy financial assets with the stroke of keys on a computer but someone, somehow also made sure the publics' governments cannot di thus even though it is the publics' governments who maintain the laws, enforcement mechanisms, infrastructures for the markets, and social securities that benefit those who trade among the financial trading marketplaces.

    Europe needs even more that the US to watch this. A new polity comes to mind for me, returning control to the people (catchy phrase, I just made it up, call it a trumpism).

    Helicopter bikini-s 1☮ - , May 28, 2017 at 07:37 AM
    F inance
    I nsurance
    R eality
    E ducation

    S ubsidized debt servitude
    E xcessive propaganda
    C onsutant's fees, disguised kickbacks
    T ort litigation, added value
    O rganized crime
    R hetoric

    Johannes Y O Highness - , May 29, 2017 at 06:00 AM

    .....In Memoria

    To celebrate Memorial Day here is my impression of MF, Milton Friedmann :

    The Pilkington process of production of soda-lime float-glass requires extremely high temperatures. The process takes some time to cool down and turn off, days to warm back up for more process. In other words, the factory is geared to continuous production at steady velocity thus requires constant market for the product.

    Need for constant output leads to the convention of middle-man contracts from middle-man who agrees to buy product at same volume for month after month.

    The middle-man's sales vary month over month but his inventory grows or shrinks from the steady contracted inflow from factory. In short, the inventory fluctuates not from inflow but only from fluctuations in outflow.

    Outflow is controlled by price adjustments to whatever volume the market will bear. Price depend only on customer demand not supply fluctuations.

    The middle-man dumps inventory by dropping the price but builds inventory by raising price. When he has inflationary expectations he hoards inventory in hopes of selling later at higher price.

    When he has deflationary expectations to avoid future drop in profit margin he dumps inventory quickly using price incentives.

    In other words, deflationary expectations accelerates his M2V, but inflationary expectations decelerates his money stock velocity.

    His customers have the liquidity to buy more during deflation, lower prices. They buy less during high prices, inflation.

    This same mechanism of expectations controls many other assembly line industries where steady output of production owns maximum economy of scale.

    And that, Girls, Boys & little MF-s, is my

    impression of
    MF
    !

    Mr. Bill - , May 28, 2017 at 04:54 PM
    Exploitation is an outcome. A nebulous description of the status quo. I suggest we are talking about moving people toward slavery.

    I was thinking today, since it is in fact, Memorial Day and, according to Wickapedia :

    "Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country's armed forces.[1]".

    This is not what they fought and died for. They fought and died for an inclusive society with abundant opportunity for their children and, for themselves.

    It is shameful that we are honoring our war dead, today. Like the last 50 years, when Ronny Reagan, draft dodger, took over.

    [May 30, 2017] This is a new status quo -- neoliberal status quo .

    Notable quotes:
    "... There will be a third world country within the USA segregated from the rest of society. It already exists (Wall-mart and retail workers are definitely a part of it; single mothers is another category). But it will grow. ..."
    May 30, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

    Tom aka Rusty Tuesday, May 30, 2017 at 08:32 AM

    Seems to me there are several problems here:

    too many involuntary part-timers
    too little bargaining power by workers
    downward pressure from global labor markets on our labor market
    geographical mismatches supply/demand (and difficulty relocating)
    etc.

    The fix? I'm not certain what will work at this point.

    libezkova, May 30, 2017 at 03:32 PM

    "The fix? I'm not certain what will work at this point."

    This is a new status quo -- "neoliberal status quo".

    So there is no fix in the pipeline. The idea is to suppress the protest, not to meet the workers demands. And so far they are very successful.

    And, I think, unless there is a open rebellion (unlikely in the national security state) there will be no fix in the future. When goals of a particular society are so screwed, there can be no fix.

    There will be a third world country within the USA segregated from the rest of society. It already exists (Wall-mart and retail workers are definitely a part of it; single mothers is another category). But it will grow.

    In a way, we can think about election of Trump as kind of rebellion against the destruction of jobs and associated destruction of standard of living for a large part of the US population.

    Destruction of jobs is why the USA has an opiates epidemics. That's like epidemic of alcoholism in the USSR. Sign of desperation.

    And it is the neoliberal establishment which imposed on people those "several problems":

    [May 22, 2017] Th>e best technique of obtaining soundbytes and posturing for neoliberal elite is based on so-called wedge issues

    Notable quotes:
    "... Calibrate your position so it is a good scrap of meat for your "base" while it drives the adversaries to conniptions, the conniptions provide talking points and together, drive the clueless in your direction. Wash, repeat. ..."
    www.moonofalabama.org
    Piotr Berman | May 18, 2017 10:04:50 PM | 77
    "Donald Trump used alt-right messaging to get into the White House but he and his third-rate staff haven't the slightest clue of what gave rise to the deplorables in the first place and how to address the root despair of the western working class." VietnamVet

    I do not know how highly rated the staff was, but it was sufficiently high. If the opponent has fourth-rate staff, it would be wasteful to use anything better than third-rate. Figuring what gave rise to the deplorable is a wasted effort, sociologist differ, and in politics the "root causes" matter only a little.

    And all authorities suggest to exploit the despair with soundbites and posturing. Granted, this is a platitude, but how to obtain compelling soundbites and posturing? I think that the best technique is based on so-called wedge issues.

    A good wedge issue should raise passions on "both sides" but not so much in the "center", mostly clueless undecided voters.

    Calibrate your position so it is a good scrap of meat for your "base" while it drives the adversaries to conniptions, the conniptions provide talking points and together, drive the clueless in your direction. Wash, repeat.

    [May 20, 2017] Demand, Secular Stagnation and the Vanishing Middle-Class

    Notable quotes:
    "... The anger and despair crystalized into a 'groundswell of discontent' among those left behind, which likely helped to propel Donald Trump into the White House on the promise of 'making America great again'. ..."
    "... That's my feeling too about one of the key factor that propelled Trump -- "the anger and despair". For some, voting for Trump was a showing middle finger to Washington establishment. ..."
    "... Thus, the battle lines between neoliberal and a "social contract" approach to employment are clearly cut. So far Wall Street, the City, and other worldwide "epicenters for free-market discipline," are winning the battle. According to "free market discipline" dogma, if you are hired at below living wave (as in Wall Mart or other retail chain) it's your own fault. Very convenient theory. The fact that it produce strong desire to shoot or hang all neoliberal economists notwithstanding ;-) ..."
    May 20, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    Christopher H., May 20, 2017 at 10:36 AM
    From INET in today's links.

    https://www.ineteconomics.org/perspectives/blog/the-new-normal

    The New Normal

    By Servaas Storm

    MAY 19, 2017

    Demand, Secular Stagnation and the Vanishing Middle-Class

    The Great Financial Crisis of 2008 deeply scarred the U.S. economy, bringing nine dire years of economic stagnation, high and rising inequalities in income and wealth, steep levels of indebtedness, and mounting uncertainty about jobs and incomes

    . Big parts of the U.S. were hit by elevated rates of depression, drug addiction and 'deaths of despair' (Case and Deaton 2017), as 'good jobs' (often in factories and including pension benefits and health care coverage) leading to careers, were destroyed and replaced by insecure, freelance, or precarious 'gigs'. All this is evidence that the U.S. is becoming a dual economy-two countries, each with vastly different resources, expectations and potentials, as America's middle class vanishes (Temin 2015, 2017).

    The anger and despair crystalized into a 'groundswell of discontent' among those left behind, which likely helped to propel Donald Trump into the White House on the promise of 'making America great again'.

    likezkova, May 20, 2017 at 12:35 PM

    "The anger and despair crystalized into a 'groundswell of discontent' among those left behind, which likely helped to propel Donald Trump into the White House on the promise of 'making America great again'."

    That's my feeling too about one of the key factor that propelled Trump -- "the anger and despair". For some, voting for Trump was a showing middle finger to Washington establishment. When jobs are gone, people are essentially put against the wall. Neoliberal politicians, be it "DemoRats", or "Repugs" do not care, as under neoliberalism this is a domain of "individual responsibility". The neoliberal stance is that you need to increase your value in the "job market" so that you will be eventually hired on better conditions. Very convenient theory for capital owners.

    Thus, the battle lines between neoliberal and a "social contract" approach to employment are clearly cut. So far Wall Street, the City, and other worldwide "epicenters for free-market discipline," are winning the battle. According to "free market discipline" dogma, if you are hired at below living wave (as in Wall Mart or other retail chain) it's your own fault. Very convenient theory. The fact that it produce strong desire to shoot or hang all neoliberal economists notwithstanding ;-)

    Academic prostitution is not that different and probably less noble that a regular one.

    [May 18, 2017] Toward a Jobs Guarantee at the Center for American Progress by Lambert Strether

    Notable quotes:
    "... By Lambert Strether of Corrente ..."
    "... The Financial Times ..."
    "... customer ..."
    May 17, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
    Posted on May 17, 2017 By Lambert Strether of Corrente

    I had another topic lined up today, but this ( hat tip alert reader ChrisAtRU ) is so remarkable - and so necessary to frame contextualize immediately - I thought I should bring it your attention, dear readers. The headline is "Toward a Marshall Plan for America ," the authors are a gaggle of CAP luminaries with Neera Tanden leading and Rey Teixeira trailing, and the "Marshall Plan" indeed includes something called a "Jobs Guarantee." Of course, I trust Clinton operatives like Tanden, and Third Way types like Teixeira, about as far as I can throw a concert grand piano. Nevertheless, one sign of an idea whose time has come is that sleazy opportunists and has-beens try to get out in front of it to seize credit[1] and stay relevant. So, modified rapture.

    In this brief post, I'm going to look at the political context that drove CAP - taking Tanden, Teixeira, and the gaggle as a proxy for CAP - to consider a Jobs Guarantee (JG), briefly describe the nature and purpose of a JG, and conclude with some thoughts on how Tanden, Teixeira would screw the JG up, like the good liberals they are.

    Political Context for CAP's JG

    Let's begin with the photo of Prairie du Chien, WI at the top of CAP's JG article. Here it is:

    I went to Google Maps Street View, found Stark's Sports Shop (and Liquor Store), and took a quick look round town. Things don't look too bad, which is to say things look pretty much like they do in my own home town, in the fly-over state of Maine; many local businesses. The street lamps make my back teeth itch a little, because along with bike paths to attract professionals, they're one of those panaceas to "bring back downtown," but as it turns out Prairie du Chien has marketed itself to summer tourists quite successfully as " the oldest Euro-American settlement established on the Upper Mississippi River," so those lamps are legit! (Of course, Prairie du Chien, like so much of flyover country, is fighting an opioid problem , but that doesn't show up in Street View, or affect the tourists in any way.)

    More to the point, Crawford County WI, in which Prairie du Chien is located, was one of the counties that went for Obama, twice, and then flipped to Trump ( 50.1% Trump, 44.6% Clinton ), handing Trump the election, although the CAP authors don't mention this. AP has a good round-up of interviews with Prairie du Chien residents , from which I'll extract the salient points. On "flipping," both from Obama (since he didn't deliver) and away from Trump (if he doesn't deliver):

    In 2012, [Lydia Holt] voted for Barack Obama because he promised her change, but she feels that change hasn't reached her here. So last year she chose a presidential candidate unlike any she'd ever seen, the billionaire businessman who promised to help America, and people like her, win again. Many of her neighbors did, too .

    In this corner of middle America, in this one, small slice of the nation that sent Trump to Washington, they are watching and they are waiting, their hopes pinned on his promised economic renaissance. And if four years from now the change he pledged hasn't found them here, the people of Crawford County said they might change again to someone else.

    "[T]hings aren't going the way we want them here," she said, "so we needed to go in another direction."

    And the issues:

    [Holt] tugged 13 envelopes from a cabinet above the stove, each one labeled with a different debt: the house payment, the student loans, the vacuum cleaner she bought on credit.

    Lydia Holt and her husband tuck money into these envelopes with each paycheck to whittle away at what they owe. They both earn about $10 an hour and, with two kids, there are usually some they can't fill. She did the math; at this rate, they'll be paying these same bills for 87 years.

    Kramer said she's glad the Affordable Care Act has helped millions get insurance, but it hasn't helped her he and her husband were stunned to find premiums over $1,000 a month. Her daughter recently moved into their house with her five children, so there's no money to spare. They opted to pay the penalty of $2,000, and pray they don't get sick until Trump, she hopes, keeps his promise to replace the law with something better.

    Among them is a woman who works for $10.50 an hour in a sewing factory, who still admires Obama, bristles at Trump's bluster, but can't afford health insurance. And the dairy farmer who thinks Trump is a jerk - "somebody needs to get some Gorilla Glue and glue his lips shut" - but has watched his profits plummet and was willing to take the risk.

    And of course jobs (as seen in this video, "Inside the Minds and Homes of Voters in Prairie du Chien, WI," made by students at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee).

    So that's Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. CAP frames the electoral context this way:

    While the election was decided by a small number of votes overall, there was a significant shift of votes in counties in critical Electoral College states, including Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

    (I could have told them that. In fact, I did! ) And the reasons for the shift:

    What was going on in these heavily white working-class counties that might explain support for Trump? Without diminishing the importance of cultural and racial influences, it is clear to us that lingering [sic] economic pressures among important voting blocs helped to create a larger opening for Trump's victory.

    We do not yet know the exact reasons for the drop in turnout among young people and black voters. But with President Obama not on the ticket to drive voter enthusiasm, it is quite possible that lingering job and wage pressures in more urban areas with lots of young people, and in areas with large populations of African-Americans, yielded similar, if distinct, economic anxiety in ways that may have depressed voter turnout among base progressives. The combined effect of economic anxiety may have been to drive white noncollege voters toward Trump and to drive down voter engagement and participation among base progressives.

    Either way, issues related to lost jobs, low wages, high costs, and diminished mobility played a critical role in setting the stage for a narrow populist victory for Trump.

    (I could have told them that, too. In fact, I did! ) Note the lingering "Obama Coalition" / identity politics brain damage that casually assumes "base progressives" equate to African-Americans and youth. Nevertheless, mild kudos to CAP for fighting through to the concept that "economic pressures among important voting blocs helped to create a larger opening for Trump's victory." The CAP paper then goes on to recommend a JG as an answer to such "economic pressures."[2]

    Nature and Purpose of a JG

    Here's the how and why of a JG (though I wrote it up, I had the help of practioners):

    How would the JG work from the perspective of a working person (not an owner?) Or from the perspective of the millions of permanently disemployed? The MMT Primer :

    If you are involuntarily unemployed today (or are stuck with a part-time job when you really want to work full time) you only have three choices:

    Employ yourself (create your own business-something that usually goes up in recessions although most of these businesses fail) Convince an employer to hire you, adding to the firm's workforce Convince an employer to replace an existing worker, hiring you

    The second option requires that the firm's employment is below optimum-it must not currently have the number of workers desired to produce the amount of output the firm thinks it can sell. &#8230;

    If the firm is in equilibrium, then, producing what it believes it can sell, it will hire you only on the conditions stated in the third case-to replace an existing worker. Perhaps you promise to work harder, or better, or at a lower wage. But, obviously, that just shifts the unemployment to someone else.

    It is the "dogs and bones" problem: if you bury 9 bones and send 10 dogs out to go bone-hunting you know at least one dog will come back "empty mouthed". You can take that dog and teach her lots of new tricks in bone-finding, but if you bury only 9 bones, again, some unlucky dog comes back without a bone.

    The only solution is to provide a 10 th bone. That is what the JG does: it ensures a bone for every dog that wants to hunt.

    It expands the options to include:

      There is a "residual" employer who will always provide a job to anyone who shows up ready and willing to work.

    It expands choice. If you want to work and exhaust the first 3 alternatives listed above, there is a 4 th : the JG.

    It expands choice without reducing other choices. You can still try the first 3 alternatives. You can take advantage of all the safety net alternatives provided. Or you can choose to do nothing. It is up to you.

    If I were one of the millions of people permanently disemployed, I would welcome that additional choice. It's certainly far more humane than any policy on offer by either party. And the JG is in the great tradition of programs the New Deal sponsored, like the CCC, the WPA, Federal Writers' Project , and the Federal Art Project . So what's not to like? ( Here's a list of other JGs). Like the New Deal, but not temporary!

    Intuitively: What the JG does is set a baseline[3] for the entire package offered to workers, and employers have to offer a better package, or not get the workers they need. When I came up here to Maine I'd quit my job voluntarily and so wasn't eligible for unemployment. Then the economy crashed, and I had no work (except for blogging) for two years. There were no jobs to be had. I would have screamed with joy for a program even remotely like this, and I don't even have dependents to take care of. It may be objected that the political process won't deliver an offer as good as the Primer suggests. Well, don't mourn. Organize. It may be objected that a reform like the JG merely reinforces the power of the 0.01%. If so, I'm not sure I'm willing to throw the currently disemployed under the bus because "worse is better," regardless. Anyhow, does "democratic control over the living wage" really sound all that squillionaire-friendly to you? Aren't they doing everything in their power to fight anything that sounds like that? The JG sounds like the slogan Lincoln ran on, to me: "Vote yourself a farm!" [3]

    So, what does the JG for the economy? MMT was put together by economists; from an economists perspective, what is it good for? Why did they do that? The Primer once more:

    some supporters emphasize that a program with a uniform basic wage[4] also helps to promote economic and price stability.

    The JG/ELR program will act as an automatic stabilizer as employment in the program grows in recession and shrinks in economic expansion, counteracting private sector employment fluctuations. The federal government budget will become more counter-cyclical because its spending on the ELR program will likewise grow in recession and fall in expansion.

    Furthermore, the uniform basic wage will reduce both inflationary pressure in a boom and deflationary pressure in a bust. In a boom, private employers can recruit from the program's pool of workers, paying a mark-up over the program wage. The pool acts like a "reserve army" of the employed, dampening wage pressures as private employment grows. In recession, workers down-sized by private employers can work at the JG/ELR wage, which puts a floor to how low wages and income can fall.

    Finally, research indicates that those without work would prefer to have it :

    Research by Pavlina Tcherneva and Rania Antonopoulos indicates that when asked, most people want to work. Studying how job guarantees affect women in poor countries, they find the programs are popular largely because they recognize-and more fairly distribute and ­compensate-all the child- and elder care that is now often performed by women for free (out of love or duty), off the books, or not at all.

    Enough of this crap jobs at crap wages malarky!

    And here's the how and why of a JG, as described by CAP :

    We propose today a new jobs guarantee, and we further expect a robust[3] agenda to be developed by the commission.

    The low wages and low employment rates for those without college degrees only exist because of a failure of imagination. There is no shortage of important work that needs to be done in our country. There are not nearly enough home care workers to aid the aged and disabled. Many working families with children under the age of 5 need access to affordable child care. Schools need teachers' aides, and cities need EMTs. And there is no shortage of people who could do this work. What has been missing is policy that can mobilize people.

    To solve this problem, we propose a large-scale, permanent program of public employment and infrastructure investment-similar to the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the Great Depression but modernized for the 21st century. It will increase employment and wages for those without a college degree while providing needed services that are currently out of reach for lower-income households and cash-strapped state and local governments. Furthermore, some individuals may be hired into paying public jobs in which their primary duty will be to complete intensive, full-time training for high-growth, in-demand occupations. These "public apprenticeships" could include rotations with public and private entities to gain on-the-ground experience and lead to guaranteed private-sector employment upon successful completion of training.

    Such an expanded public employment program could, for example, have a target of maintaining the employment rate for prime-age workers without a bachelor's degree at the 2000 level of 79 percent. Currently, this would require the creation of 4.4 million jobs. At a living wage-which we can approximate as $15 per hour plus the cost of contributions to Social Security and Medicare via payroll taxes-the direct cost of each job would be approximately $36,000 annually. Thus, a rough estimate of the costs of this employment program would be about $158 billion in the current year. This is approximately one-quarter of Trump's proposed tax cut for the wealthy on an annual basis.

    With tis background, let's look at how liberals would screw the JG up.

    How a CAP JG Would Go Wrong

    Before getting into a little policy detail, I'll examine a few cultural/framing issues. After all, CAP does want the program's intended recipients to accept it with good grace, no? Let me introduce the over-riding concern, from Joan C. Williams in The Financial Times : "They don't want compassion. They want respect" :

    Williams warns that Republican errors alone won't give Democrats back the WWC.

    Or any part of the WC; as even CAP recognizes, although WWC disproportionately voted Trump, and non-WWC disproportionately stayed home.

    While [Williams] agrees that the Democrats have mobilised their base since Trump's election, she has "one simple message" for the party: it needs to show the WWC respect, "in a tone suitable for grown-ups". Democrats must say: "We regret that we have disrespected you, we now hear you." She asks: "Is this so hard? Although the risk is that the response will be, 'Oh, those poor little white people with their opioid epidemics, let's open our hearts in compassion to them.' That's going to infuriate them. They don't want compassion, they want respect."

    To show respect, it would really behoove liberals to deep-six the phrase "economic anxiety," along with "economic frustrations," "economic concerns," "economic grievances," and "lingering economic pressures."[4] All these phrases make successful class warfare a psychological condition, no doubt to be treated by a professional (who by definition is not anxious, not frustrated, has no grievances, and certainly no economic pressures, because of their hourly rate (or possibly their government contract).

    To show respect, it would also behoove liberals to deep-six the concept that markets come first; people who sell their labor power by the hour tend to be sensitive about such things. Take, for a tiny example, the caption beneath the image of Prairie du Chein. Let me quote it:

    A customer crosses the street while leaving a shop along the main business district in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, January 2017.

    Really? A customer ? Does the human figure have to be a customer ? Why?

    Along the same lines, drop the "affordable" crap; ObamaCare should have ruined that branding already; what seems like it's affordable to CAP writers in the Beltway probably isn't affordable at all to somebody making $10 an hour. Anyhow, if something like childcare or for that matter #MedicareForAll ought to be a universal direct material benefit, then deliver it!

    To show respect, abandon the "Marshall Plan" framing immediately. Because it means the "winners" are going to graciously help the "losers," right? And prudentially, liberals don't really want to get the working class asking themselves who conducted a war against them, and why, right?

    To show respect, make the JG a truly universal benefit, a real guarantee, and don't turn it into an ObamaCare-like Rube Goldberg device of means-testing, worthiness detection, gatekeeping, and various complex forms of insult and degradation, like narrow networks. This passage from CAP has me concerned:

    Such an expanded public employment program could, for example, have a target of maintaining the employment rate for prime-age workers without a bachelor's degree at the 2000 level of 79 percent.

    That 'target" language sounds to me very much like the "dogs and bones" problem. Suppose currently we have 6 bones and 10 dogs. The "target" is 7 bones. Suppose we meet it? There are still 3 dogs without bones! Some guarantee! The JG should be simple: A job for everyone who wants one. None of this targeting or slicing and dicing demographics. The JG isn't supposed to be an employment guarantee for macro-economists (who basically have one anyone).

    To show respect, make the JG set the baseline for wages (and working conditions). This passage from CAP has me concerned:

    Second, because it would employ people to provide services that are currently needed but unaffordable, it would not compete with existing private-sector employment.

    This language seems a bit slippery to me. If Walmart is paying $10.00 an hour, is the JG really going to pay $9.50?

    Finally, you will notice that the CAP JG is shorn of any macro-economic implications. Note, for example, that replacing our current cruel system of regulating the economy by throwing people out of work isn't mentioned. Note also that CAP also accepts the false notion that Federal taxes pay for Federal spending. That puts CAP in the austerity box, meaning that the JG might be cut back just when it is most needed, not least by working people.

    Conclusion

    I do want to congratulate CAP, and without irony, for this passage:

    [The JG] would provide the dignity of work, the value of which is significant. When useful work is not available, there are large negative consequences, ranging from depression, to a decline in family stability, to "deaths of [sic] despair."

    It's good to see the Case-Deaton study penetrating the liberal hive mind. Took long enough. Oh, and this makes the JG a moral issue, too. The pallid language of "economic anxiety" should be reformulated to reflect this, as should the program itself.

    NOTES

    [1] The JG originally comes from the MMT community; here is a high-level summary . Oddly, or not, there's no footnote crediting MMTers. Interestingly, Stephanie Kelton, who hails from the University of Missouri at Kansas City's MMT-friendly economics department, before Sanders brought her onto the staff at the Senate Budget committee, was not able to persuade Sanders of the correctness and/or political utility of MMT generally or the JG in particular.

    [2] I guess those famous Democrat 2016 post mortems will never be published, eh? This will have to do for a poor substitute. Or maybe the Democrats just want us to read Shattered .

    [3] In my view, "robust" is a bullshit tell. Back when I was a hotshot consultant, the operational definition of "robust" was "contained in a very large three-ring binder."

    [4] Dear God. Are these people demented? Nobody who is actually under "economic pressure" would use these words. And so far as I can tell, "lingering" means permanent.

    About Lambert Strether

    Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism ("Because markets"). I don't much care about the "ism" that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don't much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue - and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me - is the tens of thousands of excess "deaths from despair," as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics - even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton's wars created - bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow - currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press - a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let's call such voices "the left." Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn't allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I've been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

    ChrisAtRU , May 17, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    Clive , May 17, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    No, thank you!

    Dead Dog , May 17, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    Yes, a great essay. And thank you commentariat.
    Of course, there is a potential conflict from those who want a basic income, but don't want to work. Such a position frames such people badly, but a basic income remains an essential part of a JG world IMO.
    The JG would provide incentive if you didn't lose the safety net and could add to it by working in a JG program.
    Most here in this place accept that a sovereign government can pay for programs which are not funded by taxes (or debt) and the JG and basic income concepts could be a way to test this in a controlled way.
    The main reason I think that politicians continue to have blinkers (LA LA, CAN'T HEAR YOU) with respect to MMT is that they are scared witless of a government with unlimited spending powers. That's why we can't have nice things.

    jrs , May 17, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    don't want to work, hmm I don't even know if I could work in a job without a decent amount of slack (A.D.D. mind may not be capable of it or something and often not for lack of trying, though I do a decent amount of unpaid work in my precious leisure time). Or at least not the full 40 hours, so if the job guarantee bosses are slave drivers, I don't know, I'd probably be fired from my job guaranteed job period.

    But what if a job was aligned with one's interest? Don't know, never experienced that.

    But all that aside and never even mind unemployment, given how horrible the job circumstances are that I see many people caught in (and I definitely don't mean having slack – that's a good thing, I mean verbal ABUSE, I mean working endless hours of unpaid overtime etc.), any alternative would seem good.

    nycTerrierist , May 17, 2017 at 6:19 pm

    +1!

    PKMKII , May 17, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    The "target" language also makes me worry that they're defining optimal employment by the inflation-obsessed standards of Chicago-school economists, thus coming up short in the name of protecting the investor class.

    Minor quibble: Does Maine constitute flyover country? Usually that term means the parts of the country that the well-to-do "fly over" from east coast cities to west coast ones, with perhaps an exception for Chicago. You wouldn't fly over Maine for any of those routes. Not to mention, Maine is a popular vacationing/summer home state for rich New Englanders, so it doesn't exactly have an "other" status for them the way rural Wisconsin would.

    Huey Long , May 17, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    I think Maine is legit flyover country as flying over Maine was once mandatory on the transatlantic route in order to Gander Airport in Newfoundland. I know, I know, it's a bit of a stretch but I'm trying here!

    As for Maine's other status, you're spot on about "down east" (coastal) Maine and some of the lakes being popular with the landed gentry, but the interior of the state is sparsely populated, poor, white, and marginalized. Many of the paper mills have gone belly-up and the economy in many places consists of picking potatoes or cutting down trees.

    Knifecatcher , May 17, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    I used to do a lot of business travel to Nova Scotia. Hard to get there from the US without flying over Maine. But I think Lambert meant flyover in the pejorative "why would you live here when you could be an artisanal pickle maker in Brooklyn" sense.

    Peham , May 17, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    Thanks much! A JG as you describe plus nationalizing all our current rentier industries ought to just about do the trick.

    Sutter Cane , May 17, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    Are you still guaranteed a job if you happen to make any negative comments about Neera Tanden? (Asking for Matt Bruenig)

    nihil obstet , May 17, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    Matt Bruenig had other issues with the article: More Job Guarantee Muddle . While he points out that the jobs suggested in the article should be permanent rather than temporary jobs, I go on with my own little sense of discomfort that they all involve putting the otherwise jobless in charge of caring for the helpless. I don't find that a good idea. I've spent enough time both working with and volunteering in human service organizations to have observed that it's not really appropriate work for a lot of people, even for many good-hearted volunteers. It really dampens my enthusiasm for a JG that I have yet to see an argument for it that doesn't invoke child and elderly care as just great jobs that the jobless can be put to doing.

    Just another quibble with this post. I first heard of a job guarantee and heard arguments for it in the U.S. civilian society from Michael Harrington in the early 1980s (guaranteed jobs have been a feature of the state capitalist societies that call themselves socialist throughout the 20th c.), so I don't find it particularly odd when the MMT community isn't mentioned as originating the idea. In fact, I tend to respond with "Hey, MMTers, learn some history."

    jrs , May 17, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    good points.

    Susan the other , May 17, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Thanks for this article Lambert. Why should we trust CAP to handle this when they have done nothing toward this end in their entire history. In fact, in undeniable fact, if we don't do something about demand in this country we will have no economy left at all. For these guys to even approach a JG you know they are panicked. Nobody goes over this fact because it turns them all into instant hypocrites. I spent yesterday listening to some MMTers on U-Tube, Wray and some others. They all clearly and succinctly explain the systemic reasons for JG. Not nonsense. In fact, MMT approaches a JG as the opposite of nonsense on so many levels. As you have pointed out – these CAP people are a little late to reality. And their dear leader Obama is first in line for the blame, followed closely by Bill Clinton and his balance-the-budget cabal of bankster idiots. And etc. And these JG jobs could be just the jobs we need to turn global warming around. It could be the best spent money ever. It is a very straight-forward calculation.

    Sue , May 17, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    Dispel ambiguity. Call it LWUJG, Living Wage Universal Job Guarantee

    Sandler , May 17, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    I don't know how you even bother. America is so far away from this intellectually and culturally, there is no chance. Right now the "jobs guarantee" is get arrested for something bogus and be sentenced to prison to do forced labor for outsourcing corporations (yes this is real). Look where the GOP stands on basic issues which were settled long ago in Europe, they are in the Stone age. The Dems are right wing everywhere else.

    With US institutions usually run horribly how do you expect this to be well run? Is the VA a shining example? I certainly would not have hope for this at the federal level.

    Murph , May 17, 2017 at 3:43 pm

    I feel the same way often but I've got to allow myself some hope once in a while. This development is at least turn in the right direction for the moment, nothing else. There's nothing wrong with being (aprehensively) pleased about that.

    Sandler , May 17, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    I'd like to get a basic unemployment welfare scheme going first. We don't even have that! We have an "insurance" program which requires you to first have held a job which paid enough for long enough, and then get fired, not quit. And it only pays for six months. Again, this was settled in other rich countries a long time ago.

    Darius , May 17, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    Swing for the fences, ladies or gentlemen. Throw incremental change overboard, along with Hillary, Tim Kaine and Neera.

    Disturbed Voter , May 17, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    There is a job guarantee in Castro's Cuba. So wonderful, people are swimming from Miami to Havana ever day.

    Though you have it exactly right in the US the job guarantee is to be a felon on a privatized prison farm usually called a "plantation". I am looking forward to my neighbors finally being put to work. At least it is only building a Presidential Library for Obama, not a pyramid for Pharaoh.

    witters , May 17, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    "There is a job guarantee in Castro's Cuba. So wonderful, people are swimming from Miami to Havana ever day."

    That is why Cuba will never last! It will die in minutes, without any outside help!

    Mind you, here's a thought. Maybe the one's who didn't want to work, left for Florida!

    diptherio , May 17, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    My prediction: by the time this makes it through Congress, it will be a guarantee for no more than 15 hours per week at slightly below the minimum wage and you'll only be able to be in the program for nine months, total during your lifetime. Or am I being overly cynical?

    Maybe we need to update that old saw: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they co-opt your idea and strip the soul out of it, then you kinda win but not really, but hey that's progress, right?"

    Even though I'm cynical, I'm with Lambert in being for just about anything that makes us bottom-20%ers lives better, even if it is highly flawed. Heck, I'd even be for a BIG on that basis, even if Yves is right about the negative side-effects of that policy.

    Huey Long , May 17, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    they co-opt your idea and strip the soul out of it, then you kinda win but not really, but hey that's progress, right?"

    SPOT ON!!!

    This is EXACTLY what Bismark did in 1883 with his Staatssozialismus (state socialism) reforms.

    Disturbed Voter , May 17, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    In 1883, Germany still had hope it was only 12 years old!

    Jeff , May 17, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    If I understood correctly, Norway is running such a program since many years.
    Basically, when you are out of a job, you get unemployment benefits (a low but decent salary, health care and other modern facilities unheard of is the US) – which last forever .
    On the other hand, any public institution can call you in to help a hand: washing dishes at the school kitchen one day, waiting on the elderly the other day, helping out in the local library wherever hands are needed but not available.
    So it is not really a JG, but you are guaranteed to help out your local community, and you are guaranteed a minimal income. That seems close enough to me.

    Fred1 , May 17, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    This is just positioning to defend against a challenger from the left who is promoting a genuine JG.

    See we agree about a JG, I'm for it too and here is my 9 point proposal on my website.

    robnume , May 17, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    Thanks, Lambert, for a very interesting post. I combed through CAP's panel of "experts." I was not impressed.
    I'm going to start my own think tank. Gonna call it CRAP: Center for Real American Progress.

    lyle , May 17, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    Of course in the north in the winter you could go back to shoveling snow with snow shovels (no machines allowed) and ban use by public employees of riding lawnmowers in the summer in favor of powered walk behind mowers. From what I have read this is what china did on the 3 gorges dam, partly making the project a jobs project by doing things in a human intensive way. (of course you could go back to the hand push non powered reel mower but then you have to worry about folks and heart attacks. (Or use those in their 20s for this. Growing up in MI and In this is how we mowed the yard. (in the 1950s and 1960) and for snow shoveling, my dad got a snow blower when I went off to college.
    Now if you really want a low productivity way of cutting grass get one of the hand grass trimmers and set to work cutting it by that, it would employ a lot of folks and not have the exertion problem of a push mower (Again I used these in the 1960s in MI before we had the string trimmers and edgers etc. (also recall the old hand powered lawn edgers.)

    craazyboy , May 17, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    I'm partial to John Cleese Silly Walks. It would be creative and artistic. We need more art.

    Samuel Conner , May 17, 2017 at 9:46 pm

    It sounds like the CAP JG proposal is "top down" in that the "palette" of jobs to be funded is decided by the same agency (or an agency at the same level of government) as the fund disbursement authority, or is specified in the law itself.

    IIRC, the JG concept proposed in the MMT primer would devolve the decision of "how to usefully employ willing underutilized workers" to local level. Funding would still be Federal. There would be some kind of "request for proposals/peer review" process to decide which locally-wanted projects would receive JG dollars (presumably in order to be a guarantee, enough projects would be approved for every locality to employ the available under-utilized willing workforce. If a locality only proposed one project, that would be funded)

    It that right, Lambert? Is "top down" another way that centrists could screw up a JG? And might the "local devolution" aspect of the NEP/MMT Primer concept appeal to folks on the right?

    washunate , May 18, 2017 at 12:13 am

    Great write up. I obviously have a long-running disagreement on the policy prescription of JG, but I do find it interesting talking about how groups like CAP present it outside the specific confines of MMT (and, apparently, without even tipping the hat to them ?).

    One concrete bit of info I would love to know is how they estimate 4.4 million workers for take-up. First, it's a hilarious instance of false precision. Second, it's remarkably low. $15/hr is approximately the median wage. Tens of millions of workers would sign up, both from the ranks of the crap jobs and from the ranks of those out of the labor force.

    [May 15, 2017] Neoliberalisms Latin American Struggle by Robert Hunziker

    Notable quotes:
    "... "For example, when we say that the Chilean state should become a true guarantor of material rights, that is certainly antithetical to the neoliberal capitalist vision which turns rights into a business to be regulated by the market," - ..."
    "... Robert Hunziker lives inLos Angeles and can be reached at roberthunziker@icloud.com ..."
    Jan 09, 2015 | www.counterpunch.org

    "For example, when we say that the Chilean state should become a true guarantor of material rights, that is certainly antithetical to the neoliberal capitalist vision which turns rights into a business to be regulated by the market," - Camila Vallejo (former Chilean student protest leader) interview by Zoltαn Glόck at CUNY Graduate Center, Oct. 15, 2012.

    Neoliberalism has been an "occupying force in Latin America" for over three decades while it has stripped the nation/state(s) of the functionality of a social contract, pushed through wholesale privatization of public enterprises, and expropriated the people's rights to formal employment, health, and education, all of which are crowning glories for "free-market determinism."

    Throughout Latin America (as well as around the world), neoliberalism's motif consists of assault on the state, in favor of the market, on politics, in favor of economics, and on political parties, in favor of corporations. Singularly, neoliberalism brings in its wake a "corporate state."

    Henceforth, the corporate state, shaped and formed by neoliberal principles, pushes the social contract backwards in time to the age of feudalism, a socio-economic pyramid with all of the wealth and influence at the pinnacle, but, over time, like an anvil balanced on balsa wood.

    Albeit, the Left, with renewed vigor, has pushed back against neoliberalism's robbing the poor to enrich the rich. And, there are clear signals that this pushback has gained traction throughout Latin America.

    The harsh social consequence of neoliberalism's free-market economics propels social movements in Latin America into the forefront of resistance. These social movements, including the Zapatistas (Chiapas, Mexico), the Landless Peasant Movement ("MST") in Brazil, the indigenous movements of Bolivia and Ecuador, and the Piqueteros or Unemployed Workers' Activists in Argentina, and the students in Chile constitute some of the more prominent groups in opposition to neoliberalism's tendency for subjugating the people, similar to a plantation economy like the American South, circa 19th century, whereby "slaves" are reclassified as "workers." It's worked for decades.

    In that regard, as much as neoliberalism started (1970s) in Chile at the behest of Milton Friedman, its comeuppance is now coming to a head, as the legacy of the Latin American Left revitalizes throughout the continent.

    People protesting in the streets understand the principle "to democratize means to de-marketize, to recuperate for the terrain of people's rights that which neoliberalism has delivered into the hands of the market," Emir Sader, The Weakest Link? Neoliberalism in Latin America, New Left Review 52, July-August 2008.

    "Latin America is seeing its biggest wave of protests in years," Sara Schaefer Munoz, Protest Wave Poses Test for Latin American Leaders, The Wall Street Journal, Sept. 9, 2013. Tens of thousands hit the streets in Brazil, Mexico, Columbia, and Chile where, across the board, they demand the return of some alikeness of a viable social contract.

    The Free Market Battles The People

    In strong opposition to interference with neoliberalism, as stated in the Wall Street Journal: "There is always the temptation [for governments] to spend, to improve roads or give credit to small producers,' said Alejandro Grisanti, an economist with Barclays PLC, 'But if the market smells even a little fiscal relaxation, it will be a negative."

    Thus, the battle lines between neoliberalism and a social contract are embedded within the dictates of the "free market," which, if it "smells" a little fiscal relaxation, negative consequences will hit the country via Wall Street and the City, the worldwide "epicenters for free-market discipline," chastising the perpetrators.

    Thus and so, the battle lines are clear, Markets on one side, people on the other. The markets control the press, the banks, the military, the educational establishment, the media, the communications, and the police. The People control protests. The war continues in the streets.

    As it happens, the Western press does not follow it in any detail, but hidden wars have been ongoing throughout Latin America for years.

    Chiapas, Mexico, "The Zapatistas form the most important resistance movement of the last two decades," Chris Hedges, We All Must Become Zapatistas, Truthdig, June 1, 2014: "They understood that corporate capitalism had launched a war against us. They showed us how to fight back. The Zapatistas began by using violence, but they soon abandoned it for the slow, laborious work of building 32 autonomous, self-governing municipalities."

    In Bolivia, the Cochabamba Water War of 2000 erupted in protest of privatization of the city's municipal water supply accompanied by blatant increases in water bills. Coordinadora in Defense of Water and Life, a community coalition of citizens of Cochabamba, activated tens of thousands protesting in the streets. This massive public pressure caused the city to reverse the water privatization.

    Brazil's landless peasant movement ("MST"), 2,000,000 strong, commenced three decades ago, campaigning across the country to change a semi-feudal situation in which, they claim, less than 3% of the population owns two-thirds of the land and more than half the farmland lies idle, while millions of rural workers lack employment. Government forces have killed fifteen hundred (1,500) land reform activists. This hidden war continues to this day, as their struggle is carried out in the remote hinterlands.

    Institutionally, the past decade has resulted in a pronounced shift away from pro-market forces, as repudiation of pro-market policies i.e., the Washington Consensus, is the raison d'etre of opposition candidates. By 2010, " roughly 330 million people – or two thirds of Latin America's total population - living in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Uruguay, and Venezuela were governed by the left at the national level," Gustavo A. Flores-Macias, After Neoliberalism? The Left and Economic Reforms in Latin America, Oxford University Press, 2012.

    "It's not hard to understand why: Economics. Few want to go back to the disastrous neoliberalism of the 1980s and 1990s," Greg Grandin, Why the Left Continues to Win in Latin America, The Nation, October 27, 2014, "The inability of the right to pull together a coalition and articulate a larger vision shows the depths to which the Cold War in Latin America served as something like a five-decade-long voter-preference-suppression project. Washington-led and financed anti-communism united the right's various branches. Without such an organizing principle the right can't electorally compete, at least for now, with what voters, all things considered, want: economic justice, a dignified life, peace and social welfare."

    The Twilight of Neoliberalism

    "There is no alternative [to free market policies]," the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once (1980s) pronounced, but across Latin America, there has been a steady erosion of support for the free market model.

    Wherever Latin American countries have rejected neoliberalism, life is better. "Poverty in Latin America has been reduced substantially in the last three decades. In the late 1980s, nearly half of Latin America's population lived in poverty. Today the fraction is about a third. This marks important progress, and it has continued in some area nations. However, it is worth noting that between 2002 and 2008, poverty contracted most in Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Argentina, countries which had largely abandoned neoliberalism," Dr. Ronn Pineo, Senior Research Fellow, The Free Market Experiment in Latin America: Assessing Past Policies and the Search for a Pathway Forward, Council on Hemispheric Affairs, April 11, 2013.

    Overall income inequality data for Latin America is less positive; however, during the 2000s the Gini coefficient (a measure of economic inequality) improved in seven countries, five of which, Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Paraguay have moved the furthest away from neoliberalism.

    In 1970, the richest one percent in the continent earned 363 times more than the poorest one percent. Thirty years later, on the heels of the neoliberal experiment, it's 417 times.

    Mainstream economic publications, like The Economist, claim the continent is well on its way to building middle class societies. Au contraire, the evidence suggest otherwise, as 8 out of 10 new jobs in Latin America are in the "informal sector" where more than half of all Latin American workers slug it out as itinerant retail sales clerks, day laborers and other loosely organized day jobs, slugging it out without regulations or benefits, slugging it out by scratching out a measly day-by-day existence. Proof positive of neoliberalistic policies enfeebling Latin American life.

    Furthermore, because the bar is set so low for middle class status in Latin America, it's in the sewer.

    For example, in Chile, which is the darling of neoliberalists: "Mid-level income is very low in Chile. As a result the distance between the lower classes and the middle class is very small. Their precarious economic position makes them susceptible to social decline due to unemployment, illness, or poverty in old age," Chile's Middle Class Survives on Shaky Ground, Deutsche Welle, 2014. The middle class is defined as those who make more than $500 per month, which equates to $3.12 per hour.

    Throughout Latin America, neoliberalism does not work for society because, by siphoning away funds for the betterment of society to enrichment of the elite, two-thirds of Latin American municipalities do not have the funds to treat their sewage but do dump in rivers, and three-fourths do not check public drinking water, so, little wonder tourists get diarrhea on regular occasion.

    Here's what Cambridge economist Ha-Joon Chang says about neoliberal policies in Latin America: "Over the last three decades, economists provided theoretical justifications for financial deregulation and the unrestrained pursuit of short-term profits Economics has been worse than irrelevant. Economics, as it has been practiced in the last three decades, has been positively harmful," Ibid.

    Neoliberalism in Latin America has been a bust, a dud, a fiasco, except for the wealthy for whom it turned into the bonanza of a lifetime. The people know it, and they're slowly, methodically, assuredly turning left.

    What of the rest of the world?

    Robert Hunziker lives inLos Angeles and can be reached at roberthunziker@icloud.com

    [May 15, 2017] Chris Hedges The Whoredom of the Left - Chris Hedges - Truthdig

    May 15, 2017 | www.truthdig.com

    VANCOUVER, British Columbia

    Prostitution is the quintessential expression of global capitalism. Our corporate masters are pimps. We are all being debased and degraded, rendered impoverished and powerless, to service the cruel and lascivious demands of the corporate elite. And when they tire of us, or when we are no longer of use, we are discarded as human refuse. If we accept prostitution as legal, as Germany has done, as permissible in a civil society, we will take one more collective step toward the global plantation being built by the powerful. The fight against prostitution is the fight against a dehumanizing neoliberalism that begins, but will not end, with the subjugation of impoverished girls and women.

    Poverty is not an aphrodisiac. Those who sell their bodies for sex do so out of desperation. They often end up physically injured, with a variety of diseases and medical conditions, and suffering from severe emotional trauma. The left is made morally bankrupt by its failure to grasp that legal prostitution is another face of neoliberalism. Selling your body for sex is not a choice. It is not about freedom. It is an act of economic slavery.

    On a rainy night recently I walked past the desperate street prostitutes in the 15 square blocks that make up the Downtown Eastside ghetto in Vancouver-most of them impoverished aboriginal women. I saw on the desolate street corners where women wait for customers the cruelty and despair that will characterize most of our lives if the architects of neoliberalism remain in power. Downtown Eastside has the highest HIV infection rate in North America. It is filled with addicts, the broken, the homeless, the old and the mentally ill, all callously tossed onto the street.

    [May 15, 2017] The explosive mixture of middle-class shrinking and dual economy in the West

    This idea of two segregated societies within one nation is pretty convincing.
    Notable quotes:
    "... A book released last March by MIT economist Peter Temin argues that the U.S. is increasingly becoming what economists call a dual economy; that is, where there are two economies in effect, and one of the populations lives in an economy that is prosperous and secure, and the other part of the population lives in an economy that resembles those of some third world countries. ..."
    "... The middle class is shrinking in the United States and this is an effect of both the advance of technology and American policies ..."
    "... In the United States, our policies have divided us into two groups. Above the median income - above the middle class - is what I call the FTE sector, Finance, Technology and Electronics sector - of people who are doing well, and whose incomes are rising as our national product is growing. The middle class and below are losing shares of income, and their incomes are shrinking as the Pew studies, both of them, show. ..."
    "... The model shows that the FTE sector makes policy for itself, and really does not consider how well the low wage sector is doing. In fact, it wants to keep wages and earnings low in the low wage sector, to provide cheap labour for the industrial employment. ..."
    "... As already described , the middle-class, which has not collapsed yet in France, still has the characteristics that fit to the neoliberal regime. However, it is obvious that this tank of voters has shrunk significantly, and the establishment is struggling to keep them inside the desirable 'status quo' with tricks like the supposedly 'fresh', apolitical image of Emmanuel Macron, the threat of Le Pen's 'evil' figure that comes from the Far-Right, or, the illusion that they have the right to participate equally to almost every economic activity. ..."
    "... The media promotes examples of young businessmen who have succeed to survive economically through start-up companies, yet, they avoid to tell that it is totally unrealistic to expect from most of the Greek youth to become innovative entrepreneurs. So, this illusion is promoted by the media because technology is automating production and factories need less