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In Foreign Events Coverage Guardian Presstitutes Slip Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment

Reporters without conscience: once a nominally left of centre liberal publication became firmly embedded part of the Foreign Office, MI6 and the US Department of State

Skepticism > Political Skeptic > Media-Military-Industrial Complex > Propaganda

News Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Recommended Links Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak US and British media are servants of security apparatus Do the foreign state influence the US Presidential elections ? Steele dossier
NeoMcCartyism Luke Harding a pathetic author of rehash of Steele Dossier book Russiagate -- a color revolution against Trump by neocons and DemoRats MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage Pussy Riot Provocation and Deranged Pussy Worship Syndrome Brexit as the start of the reversal of neoliberal globalization Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17?
Hypocrisy of British elite Charlie Hebdo - more questions then answers Manchester attack vs Charlie Hebdo Media as a weapon of mass deception Putin-did-it fiasco Edward Lucas as agent provocateur American Exceptionalism
The importance of controlling the narrative Patterns of Propaganda The Real War on Reality Lewis Powell Memo Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Co-opting of the Human Rights to embarrass governments who oppose neoliberalism Manipulation of the term "freedom of press"
Diplomacy by deception Democracy as a universal opener for access to natural resources Color revolutions Ukraine: From EuroMaidan to EuroAnschluss Media-Military-Industrial Complex Manufactured consent The Iron Law of Oligarchy
Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Neo-fascism Nation under attack meme Nineteen Eighty-Four Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law Bullshit as MSM communication method Big Uncle is Watching You
Groupthink Soft propaganda Fighting Russophobia Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Propaganda Quotes Humor Etc

Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

Hermann Goering, President of the Reichstag, Nazi Party, and Luftwaffe Commander in Chief

  • Lapdog is easy role, watchdog is hard.
  • Lapdogs are lazy but get fed, watchdogs stand out in the cold, and get kicked.
  • Lapdogs get rich, watchdogs remain poor.
  • Lapdogs eat shit, and watchdogs kick ass.
  • Lapdogs need many masters, watchdogs are their own master.
  • Lapdogs are part of the problem, watchdogs are part of the solution.

@RIP, lapdogs are dismissed even by the asses they kissed, while history remembers watchdogs for the asses they kicked.

Backbutton

10 October 2014 3:46pm

When Gerald Celente branded the American media “presstitutes,” he got it right. The US print and TV media (and NPR) whore for Washington and the corporations. Reporting the real news is their last concern. The presstitutes are a Ministry of Propaganda and Coverup. This is true of the entire Western media, a collection of bought-and-paid-for whores.

by Paul Craig Roberts, June 4, 2013,

A lot of our problems come from the unwillingness of honest people to call out the liars, cranks, wh*res and hacks.

A Brief Theory of Very Serious People — Crooked Timber

Due to the size an introduction was converted to a separate page Guardian as a neoliberal propaganda mouthpeace


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[Dec 14, 2018] What percentage of CIA budget goes to the support of free press

Notable quotes:
"... Because once we go from "corruption is getting more and more common; something must be done" to "meh," we are crossing from a flawed democratic republic to outright tyranny and oligarchy with little way back. ..."
"... Why would anyone expect anything different from the Times, or any major U.S. Newspaper or media outlet? They are organs of the intelligence community and have been for many years. ..."
"... I think the ridiculous and pathetic explanations by NYT in this case are, in part, due to the fact that they simply don't care enough to produce better answers. In their view, these CIA connections and those with other Govt. agencies are paramount, and must be maintained at all costs. ..."
"... It is likely that the relationship is a little more formal than mere collusion ..."
"... "Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few" [George Bernard Shaw" ..."
"... Has been since Judith Miller told us there were WMD in Iraq in 2003. They don't plan anticipations of crises, but the actual crises themselves. In a moral world, the NYT is as guilty of genocide as Bush and Blair. ..."
Dec 01, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

capatriot , 29 Aug 2012 15:49

Good article. I especially like this:

The more important objection is that the fact that a certain behavior is common does not negate its being corrupt. Indeed, as is true for government abuses generally, those in power rely on the willingness of citizens to be trained to view corrupt acts as so common that they become inured, numb, to its wrongfulness. Once a corrupt practice is sufficiently perceived as commonplace, then it is transformed in people's minds from something objectionable into something acceptable.

Because once we go from "corruption is getting more and more common; something must be done" to "meh," we are crossing from a flawed democratic republic to outright tyranny and oligarchy with little way back.

Besides, they don't all do it ... there are honorable reporters out there, some few of whom work for the Times and the Post.

BradBenson , 29 Aug 2012 15:48
Another great article Glenn. The Guardian will spread your words further and wider. Salon's loss is the world's gain.

Why would anyone expect anything different from the Times, or any major U.S. Newspaper or media outlet? They are organs of the intelligence community and have been for many years. That these email were allowed to get out under FOIA is indicative of the fact that there are some people on the inside who would like to get the truth out. Either that, or the head of some ES-2's Assistant Deputy for Secret Shenanigans and Heinous Drone Murders will roll.

CautiousOptimist , 29 Aug 2012 15:40
Glenn - Any comments on the recently disclosed emails between the CIA and Kathryn Bigelow?
CasualObs , 29 Aug 2012 15:32
Scott Horton quote on closely related Mazzetti reporting (in this case regarding misleading reporting on how important CIA/Bush torture was in tracking down and getting bin Laden, the focus of this movie):

"I'm quite sure that this is precisely the way the folks who provided this info from the agency [to Mazzetti] wanted them to be understood, but there is certainly more than a measure of ambiguity in them, planted with care by the NYT writers or their editors. This episode shows again how easily the Times can be spun by unnamed government sources, the factual premises of whose statements invariably escape any examination."

http://www.hillmanfoundation.org/blog/winners-sinners-mary-murphy-mark-mazzetti

I think the ridiculous and pathetic explanations by NYT in this case are, in part, due to the fact that they simply don't care enough to produce better answers. In their view, these CIA connections and those with other Govt. agencies are paramount, and must be maintained at all costs.

If you don't like their paper-thin answers, tough. In their view (imo) this will blow over and business will resume, with the all-important friends and connections intact. Thus leaving the machinery intact for future uncritical, biased and manipulative "spin" of NYT by any number of unnamed govt. sources/agencies...

Montecarlo2 , 29 Aug 2012 15:29

In what conceivable way is Mazzetti's collusion with the CIA an "intelligence matter" that prevents the NYT's managing editor from explaining what happened here?

That one is easy, as we learned in the Valerie Plame affair. It is likely that the relationship is a little more formal than mere collusion.

hominoid , 29 Aug 2012 15:27
Just another step down the ladder towards despotism. "Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few" [George Bernard Shaw"
LakerFan , 29 Aug 2012 15:13

The relationship between the New York Times and the US government is, as usual, anything but adversarial. Indeed, these emails read like the interactions between a PR representative and his client as they plan in anticipation of a possible crisis.

Has been since Judith Miller told us there were WMD in Iraq in 2003. They don't plan anticipations of crises, but the actual crises themselves. In a moral world, the NYT is as guilty of genocide as Bush and Blair.

The humor seems to go completely out of the issue when 100,000 people are dead and their families and futures changed forever.

Like I said, in a moral world....

[Dec 14, 2018] New York Times aka The Langley Newsletter

"We pledge subservience to the Owners of the United Corporations of America, and to the Oligarchy for which it stands, one Greed under God, indivisible, with power and wealth for few."
Notable quotes:
"... bin laden gave terror a face. how conveeeenient for warmongers everywhere! ..."
"... CIA in collusion with mainstream newspaper NYT. And you call this news ? ..."
"... collusion between the us media and the us government goes back much, much further. Chomsky has plenty of stuff about this... ..."
"... The NYTimes has its own agenda and bends the news that's fit to print. Journalistic integrity? LOL. No one beat the war drums louder for Bush's Neocons before the Iraq war. Draining our nation's resources, getting young Americans killed (they didn't come from the 1%, you see). The cradle of civilization that's the Iraqi landscape wiped out. Worst, 655,000 Iraqis lost their lives, said British medical journal Lancet, creating 2.5mn each internal & external refugees. ..."
"... The NYT never dwelled on the numbers of Iraqis killed. Up to a few weeks ago, its emphasis on the current Syrian tragedy is to inform us on the hundreds or thousands who've lost their lives. ..."
"... World financial meltdown? When Sanford Weill of Citi pushed for the repeal of Glass-Steagall late 1990's, the FDR era 17-page law separating commercial from investment banks, a measure that's preserved the nation's banking integrity for over half a century, the Nyt added its megaphone to the task, urging Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin to comply, editorializing In 1988: "Few economic historians now find the logic behind Glass-Steagall persuasive" . In 1990, that "banks and stocks were a dangerous mixture" "makes little sense now." ..."
"... just off the top of my head I recall the editor of one of a British major was an MI5 agent; this is in the public domain. ..."
"... We pledge subservience to the Owners of the United Corporations of America, and to the Oligarchy for which it stands, one Greed under God, indivisible, with power and wealth for few. ..."
"... The NYT has been infiltrated for decades by CIA agents. Just notice their dogged reporting on the completely debunked "lone-gunman" JFK theory---they will always report that Oswald acted alone---this is the standard CIA story, pushed and maintained by the NYT despite overwhelming evidence that there was a conspiracy (likely involving the CIA). ..."
Aug 30, 2012 | www.theguardian.com

samesamesame , 1 Sep 2012 13:02

bin laden gave terror a face. how conveeeenient for warmongers everywhere!
loftytom , 1 Sep 2012 10:40

I assume we're going to see a NYT expose on the large scale dodgy dealings of the Guardian Unlimited group then?

They could start with the tax dodging hypocrisy first. http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2012/05/16/has-the-guardian-exploited-tax-loopholes-to-save-millions/

kantarakamara , 1 Sep 2012 10:04
"@smartypants54

29 August 2012 9:44PM
Glenn,

I've often wondered what you think of the journalism of someone like Seymour Hirsch. (sic) He broke some very important stories by cozying up to moles in the MIC.

You'e confusing apples with oranges. Hersh seeks information on issues that outrage him. These do not usually include propaganda for the intelligence agencies, but information they would like to suppress. He's given secret information because he appears to his informers as someone who has a long record of integrity.

Therealguyfaux -> Montecarlo2 , 1 Sep 2012 07:48
It's straight outta that old joke about the husband being caught by his wife in flagrante delicto with the pretty young lady neighbour, who then tells his wife that he and his bit on the side weren't doing anything: "And who do you believe-- me, or your lying eyes?"
Haigin88 , 1 Sep 2012 06:58
New York Times a.k.a. The Langley Newsletter
globalsage , 1 Sep 2012 06:32
CIA in collusion with mainstream newspaper NYT. And you call this news ?
snookie -> LakerFan , 1 Sep 2012 05:46
collusion between the us media and the us government goes back much, much further. Chomsky has plenty of stuff about this...
hlkcna , 1 Sep 2012 02:28
The NYTimes has its own agenda and bends the news that's fit to print. Journalistic integrity? LOL. No one beat the war drums louder for Bush's Neocons before the Iraq war. Draining our nation's resources, getting young Americans killed (they didn't come from the 1%, you see). The cradle of civilization that's the Iraqi landscape wiped out. Worst, 655,000 Iraqis lost their lives, said British medical journal Lancet, creating 2.5mn each internal & external refugees.

Following the pre-Iraq embellishment, NYT covered up its deeds by sacrificing Journalist Judith Miller. As Miller answered a post-war court case, none other than Chairman & CEO Arthur Sulzberger jr. locked arms with her as they entered the courtroom.

The NYT never dwelled on the numbers of Iraqis killed. Up to a few weeks ago, its emphasis on the current Syrian tragedy is to inform us on the hundreds or thousands who've lost their lives.

World financial meltdown? When Sanford Weill of Citi pushed for the repeal of Glass-Steagall late 1990's, the FDR era 17-page law separating commercial from investment banks, a measure that's preserved the nation's banking integrity for over half a century, the Nyt added its megaphone to the task, urging Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin to comply, editorializing In 1988: "Few economic historians now find the logic behind Glass-Steagall persuasive" . In 1990, that "banks and stocks were a dangerous mixture" "makes little sense now."

NYT, a liberal icon? In year 2000, when I lived in NYC, New York Daily News columnist A.M. Rosenthal used to regularly demonize China in language surpassing even Rush Limbaugh. I told myself nah, that's not the Rosenthal-former-editor of the NYT. Only when I read his obituary a few years later did I learn that it was indeed the same one.

Grandfield , 1 Sep 2012 00:56
Well of course. And just off the top of my head I recall the editor of one of a British major was an MI5 agent; this is in the public domain.
weallshineon , 1 Sep 2012 00:42
We pledge subservience to the Owners of the United Corporations of America, and to the Oligarchy for which it stands, one Greed under God, indivisible, with power and wealth for few.

NOAM CHOMSKY _MANUFACTURING CONSENT haven't read it? read it. read it? read it again.

thought totalitarianism and the ruling class died in 1945? think again. thought you wouldn't have to fight like grandpa's generation to live in a democratic and just society? think again.

You are not the 1 percent.

JET2023 -> MonaHol , 31 Aug 2012 21:53
Would that we could hold these discussions without reference to personal defamations -- "darkened ignorance" and "educate yourself" which sounds like "f___ yourself". Why can't we just say "I respectfully disagree"? Alas, when discussing political issues with leftists, that seems impossible. Why the vitriol?

Greenwald's more lengthy posts make it clear that he believes that people who differ with him are "lying" and basing their viewpoint upon "a single right wing blogger". He chooses this explanation over the obvious and accurate one -- legal rationales developed by the Office of Legal Counsel during the Bush administration. The date of Greenwald's archive is February 19, 2006. Oddly, he bases all of his contentions upon whatever he could glean up to that date. But the legal rationale for warrantless wiretaps was based upon memos written by John Yoo at the OLC that Greenwald did not have access to in 2006. The memos were not released until after Obama took office in 2009.

Obama released them in a highly publicized press conference staged for maximum political impact. Greenwald could not possibly have understood the legal rationale for the program since he had not been privy to them until March 2009 if, indeed, he has bothered to acquaint himself with them since then. Either way, nobody was "lying" except those who could have understood the full dimension and willfully chose to hide or ignore the truth. It's not exactly like I am new to this subject as you seem to imply. I wrote a 700 page book about Obama administration duplicity in this same vein. An entire chapter is devoted to this very topic.

Warrantless wiretaps were undertaken after a legal ruling from OLC. And after Obama took office, warrantless wiretaps were continued. Obviously since they were based upon OLC rulings, since no prosecutions have ever been suggested and since they have continued uninterrupted after Obama took office, the Justice Department under both administrations agrees with me and disagrees with Greenwald. We arrive at this disagreement respectfully. Despite Obama's voluminous denunciations of the Bush anti-terror approach on the campaign trail, he resurrected nearly every plank of it once he took office.

But this is a subsidiary point to a far larger point that some observers on this discussion to their credit were able to understand. Despite all of these pointless considerations, the larger point of my original post was that Greenwald missed the "real" story here, which was that the collusion between NYT and CIA was not due to institutional considerations as Greenwald seems to allege, but due to purely partisan considerations. That, to me, is the story he missed.

I find that people who are losing debates try to shift the focus to subsidiary points hoping that, like a courtroom lawyer, if they can refute a small and inconsequential detail raised in testimony, they will undercut the larger truth offered by the witness. It won't work. Too much is on the record. And neither point, the ankle-biting non-issue about legality of warrantless wiretaps or the larger, salient point about the overt partisan political dimension of NYT's collusion with a political appointee at CIA who serves on the Obama reelection committee, has been refuted.

Joseph Toomey
Author, "Change You Can REALLY Believe In: The Obama Legacy of Broken Promises and Failed Policies"

JoshuaFlynn , 31 Aug 2012 20:15
Conspiracy theorists, have been, of course, telling you this for years (given media's motive is profit and not honesty). I suppose the exact same conspiracy theorists other guardian authors have been too eager to denounce previously?
MonaHol -> JET2023 , 31 Aug 2012 18:50

The NSA wiretap program revealed by Risen was not illegal as Greenwald wrongly asserts. As long as one end of the intercepted conservation originated on foreign soil as it did, it was perfectly legal and required no FISA court authorization.

Mr. Toomey, in 2006 Greenwald published a compendium of legal arguments defending the Bush Admin's warrantless wiretapping and the (sound) rebuttals of them. It is exhaustive, and covers your easily dispensed with argument. By way of introduction to his many links to his aggregated, rigorous analyses of the legal issues, he wrote this:

I didn't just wake up one day and leap to the conclusion that the Administration broke the law deliberately and that there are no reasonable arguments to defend that law-breaking (as many Bush followers leaped to the conclusion that he did nothing wrong and then began their hunt to find rationale or advocates to support this conclusion). I arrived at the conclusion that Bush clearly broke the law only by spending enormous amounts of time researching these issues and reading and responding to the defenses from the Administration's apologists.

He did spend enormous time dealing with people such as yourself, and all of his work remains available for you to educate yourself with, at the link provided above.

JET2023 -> Franklymydear0 , 31 Aug 2012 18:43
Maybe you'd like to explain that to Samuel Loring Morison who was convicted and spent years in the federal system for passing classified information to Janes Defence Weekly. I'm sure he'd be entertained. Larry Franklin would also like to hear it. He's in prison today for violating the Espionage Act.

Courts have recognized no press privilege exists when publishing classified data. In 1971, the Supreme Court vacated a prior restraint against NYT and The Washington Post allowing them to publish the Pentagon Papers. But the court also observed that prosecutions after-the-fact would be permissible and not involve an abridgement of the free speech clause. It was only the prior restraint that gave the justices heartburn. They had no issue with throwing them in the slammer after the deed was done.

Thomas Drake, a former NSA official, was indicted and convicted after revealing information to reporters in 2010. The statute covers mere possession which even NYT recognized could cover reporters as well. There have been numerous other instances of arrests, indictments and prosecutions for disclosure to reporters. It's only been due to political calculations and not constitutional limitations that have kept Risen and others out of prison.

utkarsh356 , 31 Aug 2012 12:39
Manufacturing Consent: The political economy of mass media by Noam Chomsky can perhaps explain most of the media behaviour.
HiggsBoson1984 , 31 Aug 2012 12:26
The NYT has been infiltrated for decades by CIA agents. Just notice their dogged reporting on the completely debunked "lone-gunman" JFK theory---they will always report that Oswald acted alone---this is the standard CIA story, pushed and maintained by the NYT despite overwhelming evidence that there was a conspiracy (likely involving the CIA).
Leviathan212 , 31 Aug 2012 10:54
What outrages me the most is the NYT's condescending attitude towards its readers when caught in this obvious breach of journalistic ethics.

Both Baquet and Abramson, rather than showing some humility or contrition, are acting as if nothing bad has happened, and that we are stupid to even talk about this.

Leviathan212 -> AnnaMc , 31 Aug 2012 10:28

This article misses the elephant in the room. Namely, that the NYT only plays footsies with Democrats in positions of power. With the 'Pubs, it's open season.

Not true. There are many examples of the NYT colluding with the Bush administration, some of which Glenn has mentioned in this article. Take, for example, the fact that the NYT concealed Bush's wire-tapping program for almost a year, at the request of the White House, and didn't release details until after Bush's re-election.

ranroddeb , 31 Aug 2012 10:10
" The optics aren't what they look like " This phrase brings to mind the old Dem catch phrase " Who you gonna believe me or your lying eyes? " .

[Dec 14, 2018] Operation Mockingbird has never stopped

Notable quotes:
"... The Government leaks classified material at will for propaganda advantage, but hunts Assange and tortures Private Manning for the same. ..."
"... these emails reflect the standard full-scale cooperation – a virtual merger – between our the government and the establishment media outlets that claim to act as "watchdogs" over them. ..."
"... The issue under discussion here, however, is the extent to which the media is an eager partner in the message-sending, rather than an unwitiing tool. ..."
Aug 30, 2012 | www.theguardian.com
Chris Harlos , 29 Aug 2012 19:01
The New York Crimes. The seamless web of media, government, business: a totalitarian system. Darkly amusing, perhaps, unless one begins to tally the damage.

USA Inc. Viva Death,

Did you hear the one about the investment banker whose very expensive hooker bite off his crank?

rrheard , 29 Aug 2012 18:36
I'm not sure what's scarier--that the CIA is spending taxpayer dollars spending even a split second worrying about what a two bit hack like Maureen Dowd writes, or that the NY Times principals are so institutionally "captured" that they parrot "CIA speak".

Well what's actually scarier is that Operation Mockingbird has never stopped.

Or maybe that our purported public servants in the legislature are bipartisanly and openly attempting to repeal portions of the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and Foreign Relations Authorization Act in 1987 banning domestic propaganda.

America is becoming a real sick joke. And the last to know will be about 65% of the populace I like to call Sheeple.

024601 -> SanFranDouglas , 29 Aug 2012 18:32
Very depressing. I thought we would get a smart bunch over here. The major trend I've noticed instead? Blind support for the empire and the apparatus that keeps it thriving. Unable to be good little authoritarians and cheer for the now collapsing British Empire, they have to cheer for it's natural predecessor, the American Empire. This includes attacking all those who might question the absolute infallible of The Empire. Folks like.. Glenn. It is fascinating to watch, if not disheartening.
SanFranDouglas -> smartypants54 , 29 Aug 2012 18:29

So all cozying up to spooks is not always a bad thing, huh?

Just my point.

I see. I thought your point was that there was some sort of equivalence between Hersh's development of sources to reveal truths that their agencies fervently wished to keep secret and Mazzetti's active assistance in protecting an agency's image from sullying by fellow journalists.

I guess I stand corrected. . .

shenebraskan -> Jpolicoff , 29 Aug 2012 18:12
And that ended his career in government service, as it should have...or not:

From Wikipedia: John O. Brennan is chief counterterrorism advisor to U.S. President Barack Obama; officially his title is Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, and Assistant to the President.

Jpolicoff , 29 Aug 2012 18:01
Unfortunately this is nothing new for Mazetti or the New York Times, nor is it the first time Glenn Greenwald has called Mazetti out on his cozy relationship with the CIA:

The CIA and its reporter friends: Anatomy of a backlash
The coordinated, successful effort to implant false story lines about John Brennan illustrates the power the intelligence community wields over political debates.
Glenn Greenwald Dec. 08, 2008 |

...Just marvel at how coordinated (and patently inaccurate) their messaging is, and -- more significantly -- how easily they can implant their message into establishment media outlets far and wide, which uncritically publish what they're told from their cherished "intelligence sources" and without even the pretense of verifying whether any of it is true and/or hearing any divergent views:

Mark Mazzetti and Scott Shane, New York Times, 12/2/2008:

Last week, John O. Brennan, a C.I.A. veteran who was widely seen as Mr. Obama's likeliest choice to head the intelligence agency, withdrew his name from consideration after liberal critics attacked his alleged role in the agency's detention and interrogation program. Mr. Brennan protested that he had been a "strong opponent" within the agency of harsh interrogation tactics, yet Mr. Obama evidently decided that nominating Mr. Brennan was not worth a battle with some of his most ardent supporters on the left.

Mr. Obama's search for someone else and his future relationship with the agency are complicated by the tension between his apparent desire to make a clean break with Bush administration policies he has condemned and concern about alienating an agency with a central role in the campaign against Al Qaeda.

Mark M. Lowenthal, an intelligence veteran who left a senior post at the C.I.A. in 2005, said Mr. Obama's decision to exclude Mr. Brennan from contention for the top job had sent a message that "if you worked in the C.I.A. during the war on terror, you are now tainted," and had created anxiety in the ranks of the agency's clandestine service.

...The story, by Mark Mazzetti and Scott Shane, noted that John O. Brennan had withdrawn his name from consideration for CIA director after liberal critics attacked his role in the agency's interrogation program, even though Brennan characterized himself as a "strong opponent" within the agency of harsh interrogation techniques. Brennan's characterization was not disputed by anyone else in the story, even though most experts on this subject agree that Brennan acquiesced in everything that the CIA did in this area while he served there.

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/12/08/cia/print.html

CitizenTM , 29 Aug 2012 17:52
The Government leaks classified material at will for propaganda advantage, but hunts Assange and tortures Private Manning for the same.
tballou , 29 Aug 2012 17:51
"these emails reflect the standard full-scale cooperation – a virtual merger – between our the government and the establishment media outlets that claim to act as "watchdogs" over them."

Glenn - the only objection I have to your column and all your previous columns on this matter is that I am not sure the establishment media actually claim to be watchdogs, at least not any more, and certainly not since Sept 11. They really are more like PR reps.

SanFranDouglas -> OneWorldGovernment , 29 Aug 2012 17:51

The media is another tool in the [government, in this case] arsenal to help send a message, as are speeches before think tanks and etc.

Yes. The issue under discussion here, however, is the extent to which the media is an eager partner in the message-sending, rather than an unwitiing tool.

OneWorldGovernment , 29 Aug 2012 17:44
Did everyone forget the Judith Miller article? The usage of Twitter and other social media during the Iranian election of 2009? The leaks about the Iranian nuclear program in the Telegraph? ARDA?

The U.S. government, along with every other government in the world, uses the media to influence public opinion and send geopolitical messages to others that understand the message (normally not the masses). The media is another tool in the arsenal to help send a message, as are speeches before think tanks and etc.

We use social media to create social unrest if it aligns with our interests. We use the media to send political messages and influence public opinion. The vast majority of reporting in the N.Y. Times, WSJ, Guardian, Telegraph, and etc. do not reflect this, but every now and then "unnamed sources" help further a geopolitical message.

In this country, it has been that way since before the founding fathers and the Republic. Remember the Federalist, Anti-Federalist, Sam Adams as Vtndex, and etc.? Newspapers used for "propaganda" purposes.

SanFranDouglas -> smartypants54 , 29 Aug 2012 17:42

Upthread I asked him for his comments on the reporting of Seymour Hirsh. He is someone who cozied up to all kinds of people - and wound up busting some extremely important stories in the process.

I think a modest amount of review of Sy Hersh's work will demonstrate that his "cozying up" hasn't included running interference for the spooks' official PR flacks.

DuErJournalist , 29 Aug 2012 17:42
The New York Times: Burn after reading!

[Dec 14, 2018] The whole austerity crisis thing appears to have been engineered so that a few blinkered and unpatriotic, vulture mafia privateers can make a killing, selling off vital state assets, such as infrastructure and ports, to the Chinese. This is a very suspicious and widespread trend.

Notable quotes:
"... Bob Marley got it right.... the human race is becoming a rat race, and it's a disgrace. ..."
"... The biggest problem is the financialisation of the economy... what is the actual value of things? The market is so manipulated that real price discovery is not possible. ..."
"... We have an over-cooked service-sector economy unsustainably reliant on cheap debt, cheap energy, and cheap manufactured goods to fuel our 'high-end levels of consumption, and mobility or living standards, and an over-heated housing market that is unsustainably run according to the needs of investors and landlords rather than residents or tenants. ..."
"... What we need is a coordinated approach between our nations. Undercutting each other on corporate taxes, writing tax avoidance into law, and continuing to allow multinationals to influence our politicians and play our governments against each other is exactly the game we must end. ..."
"... Instead, it places the financially powerful beyond any state, in an international elite that makes its own rules, and holds governments to ransom. That's what the financial crisis was all about. The ransom was paid, and as a result, governments have been obliged to limit their activities yet further.... ..."
"... "Ransom". There is no better word to describe it. This (the ransom mentality) is exactly the reactionary, vindictive, doctrinaire psychology that must be extracted like a cancer from our institutional lives and the human species. A monolithic task. But identifying the cause is the first step to cure. ..."
"... these are the new medieval transnational barons ..."
Jun 09, 2013 | theguardian.com
MysticFish -> Crackerpot , 8 Jun 2013 14:43
@Crackerpot - The whole austerity crisis thing appears to have been engineered so that a few blinkered and unpatriotic, vulture mafia privateers can make a killing, selling off vital state assets, such as infrastructure and ports, to the Chinese. This is a very suspicious and widespread trend.
artheart , 8 Jun 2013 14:38

Bob Marley got it right.... the human race is becoming a rat race, and it's a disgrace.

I see it every day from the window of my flat, on a main road, in Bethnal Green. There's a 'mentally unstable' Rastafarian who stands by the overground station, and shouts things out to people like "You're living in babylon".

I do sometimes think he's not the mental one.

artheart -> HolyInsurgent , 8 Jun 2013 14:32
@HolyInsurgent

The biggest problem is the financialisation of the economy... what is the actual value of things? The market is so manipulated that real price discovery is not possible.

We have an over-cooked service-sector economy unsustainably reliant on cheap debt, cheap energy, and cheap manufactured goods to fuel our 'high-end levels of consumption, and mobility or living standards, and an over-heated housing market that is unsustainably run according to the needs of investors and landlords rather than residents or tenants.

The whole thing is going to blow apart. Our 'aspirations' are slowly killing us - they're destroying the social fabric.

MikeInCanada , 8 Jun 2013 14:28
What we need is a coordinated approach between our nations. Undercutting each other on corporate taxes, writing tax avoidance into law, and continuing to allow multinationals to influence our politicians and play our governments against each other is exactly the game we must end.
HolyInsurgent , 8 Jun 2013 14:08

Deborah Orr: Instead, it places the financially powerful beyond any state, in an international elite that makes its own rules, and holds governments to ransom. That's what the financial crisis was all about. The ransom was paid, and as a result, governments have been obliged to limit their activities yet further....

I never thought I would live long enough to see this level of honesty ATL. It should have been published long ago, but at least the discussion now begins.

"Ransom". There is no better word to describe it. This (the ransom mentality) is exactly the reactionary, vindictive, doctrinaire psychology that must be extracted like a cancer from our institutional lives and the human species. A monolithic task. But identifying the cause is the first step to cure.

peterpuffin -> PointOfYou , 8 Jun 2013 14:03
@PointOfYou - these are the new medieval transnational barons

[Dec 14, 2018] Here's the funny thing about those who cheer the broken neoliberal model. They promise we will get to those "sunny uplands" with exactly the same fervor as old Marxists.

Notable quotes:
"... Neoliberalism? This is not just a financial agenda. This a highly organized multi armed counterculture operation to force us, including Ms Orr [unless she has...connections] into what Terence McKenna [who was in on it] termed the `Archaic Revival'. That is - you and me [and Ms Orr] - our - return to the medieval dark ages, if we indeed survive that far. ..."
"... The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organised habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are moulded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. ..."
"... the UK government did intervene in the economy when it bailed out the banks to the tune of many billions of pounds underwritten by the taxpayer. The markets should always be regulated sufficiently (light touch is absolutely useless) to prevent the problems currently being experienced from ever happening again. ..."
"... Traditional liberalism had died decades before WWII and was replaced by finance capitalism. What happened after WW II was that capitalism had to make various concessions to avoid a socialist revolution: social and political freedoms indeed darted ahead. ..."
"... No chance mate, at least not all the time greasy spiv and shyster outfits like hedge funds are funding Puffin face and the Vermin Party. They are never going to bite the hand that feeds them ..."
"... And in case we get uppity and endeavour to challenge the economic paradigm and the rule of these neoliberal elites, there's the surveillance state panopticon to track our movements and keep us in check. ..."
"... There is not a shred of logical sense in neoliberalism. You're doing what the fundamentalists do... they talk about what neoliberalism is in theory whilst completely ignoring what it is in practice. In theory the banks should have been allowed to go bust, but the consequences where deemed too high (as they inevitable are). The result is socialism for the rich using the poor as the excuse, which is the reality of neoliberalism. ..."
"... She, knowingly, let neo-liberal economic philosophy come trumpeting through the door of No10 and it's been there ever since; it has guided our politicians for the past 30 odd years. Hence, it is Thatcher's fault. She did this and another bad thing: the woman who glorified household economics pissed away billions of pounds of North Sea Oil. ..."
"... Bailouts have been a constant feature of neoliberalism. In fact the role of the state is simply reduced to a merely commissioning agent to private parasitical corporations. History has shown the state playing this role since neoliberalism became embedded in policy since the 1970s - Long Term Capital Management, Savings and Loans, The Brady Plan, numerous PFI bailouts and those of the Western banking system during the 1982 South American, 1997 Asian and 2010 European debt crises. ..."
Jun 08, 2013 | discussion.theguardian.com

Jenny340 -> EllisWyatt, 8 Jun 2013 13:37

@EllisWyatt - Here's the funny thing about those who cheer the broken neoliberal model. They promise we will get to those "sunny uplands" with exactly the same fervor as old Marxists.
PointOfYou , 8 Jun 2013 13:37

Neoliberalism has spawned a financial elite who hold governments to ransom

Neoliberalism? This is not just a financial agenda. This a highly organized multi armed counterculture operation to force us, including Ms Orr [unless she has...connections] into what Terence McKenna [who was in on it] termed the `Archaic Revival'. That is - you and me [and Ms Orr] - our - return to the medieval dark ages, if we indeed survive that far.

The same names come up time and time again. One of them being, father of propaganda, Edward Bernays.

Bernays wrote what can be seen as a virtual Mission Statement for anyone wishing to bring about a "counterculture." In the opening paragraph of his book Propaganda he wrote:

"..The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organised habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are moulded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.

This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organised. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses.

It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind..."[28]

Bernays' family background made him well suited to "control the public mind." He was the double nephew of psychoanalysis pioneer Sigmund Freud. His mother was Freud's sister Anna, and his father was Ely Bernays, brother of Freud's wife Martha Bernays.

Snookerboy -> OneCommentator , 8 Jun 2013 13:17
@OneCommentator - the UK government did intervene in the economy when it bailed out the banks to the tune of many billions of pounds underwritten by the taxpayer. The markets should always be regulated sufficiently (light touch is absolutely useless) to prevent the problems currently being experienced from ever happening again.

Those at the bottom of society and those in the public sector are the ones paying the price for this intervention in the UK. If you truly believe in the 'free' market then all of these failing organisations (banks, etc) should have been allowed to fail. The problem is that the wealth created under the current system is virtually all going to those at the top of the income scale and this needs to change and is one of the main reasons that neo liberalism should be binned!

ATrueFinn -> OneCommentator , 8 Jun 2013 13:09
@ OneCommentator 08 June 2013 5:21pm

No, it was as recently as ww2 more or less

Traditional liberalism had died decades before WWII and was replaced by finance capitalism. What happened after WW II was that capitalism had to make various concessions to avoid a socialist revolution: social and political freedoms indeed darted ahead.

Do read a book about history!

clairesdad -> brighton2 , 8 Jun 2013 13:06
@brighton2 - No chance mate, at least not all the time greasy spiv and shyster outfits like hedge funds are funding Puffin face and the Vermin Party. They are never going to bite the hand that feeds them.
NotWithoutMyMonkey , 8 Jun 2013 13:01
And in case we get uppity and endeavour to challenge the economic paradigm and the rule of these neoliberal elites, there's the surveillance state panopticon to track our movements and keep us in check.
TedStewart , 8 Jun 2013 12:51
Neoliberalism has spawned a financial elite who hold governments to ransom

Are you saying neoliberalism is a great big useless pile of shit? Then you are absolutely right!

kingcreosote -> MickGJ , 8 Jun 2013 12:47
@ MickGJ 08 June 2013 1:08pm . Get cifFix for Firefox .

I know what you are saying it's just sooner or later as those at the bottom continue to be squeezed the wealthy will sow their own seeds of destruction. I think we are witnessing the end game which is reflected in the desperation of the coalition to flog everything regardless of the efficacy of such behavior, they feel time is running out and they would be right.

taxhaven , 8 Jun 2013 12:44
Call it what you will - "neoliberalism", "neoconservatism", "socialism" or whatever it is...

This debate is not even really solely about money: this is about liberty , about free choice, about being permitted to engage in voluntary exchange of goods and services with others, unmolested. About the users of services becoming the ones paying for those services.

Ultimately the real effect will be to remove power from governments and hand it back to where it belongs - the free market.

dmckm -> OneCommentator , 8 Jun 2013 12:43
@ OneCommentator 08 June 2013 5:04pm . Get cifFix for Firefox .

voluntary transactions among free agents. That's called a free market and it is by far the most efficient way to produce wealth humanity has ever known.

Could you explain how someone bound by a contract of employment, with the alternative, destitution, is a 'free agent'?

jazzdrum -> SpinningHugo , 8 Jun 2013 12:25
@SpinningHugo - Nothing comes out of nothing and i well remember black Monday in the City. That was the start of the spivs running the economy as if it were a casino. If you think its only on CiF that Thatcher gets the blame, think on this, Scotland, a whole nation blames her too.
TedSmithAndSon -> theguardianisrubbish , 8 Jun 2013 12:24
@theguardianisrubbish -

Unless you are completely confused by what neoliberalism is there is not a shred of logical sense in this.

There is not a shred of logical sense in neoliberalism. You're doing what the fundamentalists do... they talk about what neoliberalism is in theory whilst completely ignoring what it is in practice. In theory the banks should have been allowed to go bust, but the consequences where deemed too high (as they inevitable are). The result is socialism for the rich using the poor as the excuse, which is the reality of neoliberalism.

Savers in a neoliberal society are lambs to the slaughter. Thatcher "revitalised" banking, while everything else withered and died.

Neoliberalism is based on the thought of personal freedom, communism is definitely not. Neoliberalist policies have lifted millions of people out of poverty in Asia and South America.

Neoliberalism is based on the thought that you get as much freedom as you can pay for, otherwise you can just pay... like everyone else. In Asia and South America it has been the economic preference of dictators that pushes profit upwards and responsibility down, just like it does here.

I find it ironic that it now has 5 year plans that absolutely must not be deviated from, massive state intervention in markets (QE, housing policy, tax credits... insert where applicable), and advocates large scale central planning even as it denies reality, and makes the announcement from a tractor factory.

Neoliberalism is a blight... a cancer on humanity... a massive lie told by rich people and believed only by peasants happy to be thrown a turnip. In theory it's one thing, the reality is entirely different. Until we're rid of it, we're all it's slaves. It's an abhorrent cult that comes up with purest bilge like expansionary fiscal contraction to keep all the money in the hands of the rich.

outragedofacton -> MickGJ , 8 Jun 2013 12:02
@MickGJ - You are wrong about the first 2 of course. Banksters get others to do their shit.

But unfortunately the poor sods who went down on D Day were in their way fighting for Wall Street as much as anything else. It's just that they weren't told about it by the Allies massive propaganda machine. So partly right

5/10

LetsGetCynical , 8 Jun 2013 11:57

The response should be a wholesale reevaluation of the way in which wealth is created and distributed around the globe

Which would be what? State planning? Communism? Totally free market capitalism? Oh wait, we already have the best of a bad bunch, a mixed capitalist economy with democracy. That really is the crux of it, our system isn't perfect, never will be, but nobody has come up with a better solution.

outragedofacton -> artheart , 8 Jun 2013 11:55
@artheart - Thank goodness for RT.

Learn also about the West's nefarious activities in the Middle East.

ATrueFinn -> fr0mn0where , 8 Jun 2013 11:51
@ fr0mn0where 08 June 2013 4:29pm

Barclays bank "only" paid out £660m in dividends to the bearers of risk capital, while its bonus pot for a very select number of its staff was £1.5bn.

Fascinating! Now, one could infer that Barclays represent "beneficial capitalism", rewarding its hard-working employees, but maybe we won't.

This is not the traditional capitalist style

The Traditional capitalist is not an extinct species but under threat. For the time being the population is stagnant in some countries and even increasing in some others. However, due to the foraging capacity of Neoliberal creature , competing in the same economical niche, the size and life expectation of it are diminishing.

dmckm -> SpinningHugo , 8 Jun 2013 11:50
@ SpinningHugo 08 June 2013 10:59am . Get cifFix for Firefox .

She, knowingly, let neo-liberal economic philosophy come trumpeting through the door of No10 and it's been there ever since; it has guided our politicians for the past 30 odd years. Hence, it is Thatcher's fault. She did this and another bad thing: the woman who glorified household economics pissed away billions of pounds of North Sea Oil.

szwalby -> MickGJ , 8 Jun 2013 11:30
@MickGJ - No, you're right. Why let yesterdays experience feed into what you expect of the future? Lets go forwards goldfish like, every minute a brand new one, with no baggage!
And by the way, who saved the hide of the very much private sector banks and financial institutions? The hated STATE, us tax payers!
fr0mn0where -> ATrueFinn , 8 Jun 2013 11:29
@ATrueFinn -

I think I agree with everything that you say here? The people at the top these days aren't really of much use for anything, including capitalism. The only thing that they do excel at is lining their own pockets and securing their privileged position in society.

They have become quite up front about it. There was a bit of a fuss last year when Barclays bank "only" paid out £660m in dividends to the bearers of risk capital, while its bonus pot for a very select number of its staff was £1.5bn. Barclays released a statement before their AGM explaining:

"Barclays is fully committed to ensuring that a greater proportion of income and profits flow to shareholders notwithstanding that it operates within the constraints of a competitive market."

This is not the traditional capitalist style competition that they are talking about where companies competed as to who can return the biggest profit for their shareholders this now comes secondary to the real competition which is for which company can return the biggest bonuses for a small group of employees.

theonionmurders -> theguardianisrubbish , 8 Jun 2013 11:05
@theguardianisrubbish

Bailouts have been a constant feature of neoliberalism. In fact the role of the state is simply reduced to a merely commissioning agent to private parasitical corporations. History has shown the state playing this role since neoliberalism became embedded in policy since the 1970s - Long Term Capital Management, Savings and Loans, The Brady Plan, numerous PFI bailouts and those of the Western banking system during the 1982 South American, 1997 Asian and 2010 European debt crises.

No wonder you're so ignorant of the basics of economic policy if you won't flick through a book - fear of accepting that you're simply wrong is a sure sign of either pig ignorance or denial, and is as I said embarrassing so its not really much point in wasting anymore time engaging with you.

petercs , 8 Jun 2013 10:44

The neoliberal idea is that the cultivation itself should be conducted privately as well. They see "austerity" as a way of forcing that agenda.

..."neoliberal", concept behind the word, has nothing to do with liberal or liberty or freedom...it is a PR spin concept that names slavery with a a word that sounds like the opposite...if "they" called it neoslavery it just wouldn't sell in the market for political concepts.

..."austerity" is the financial sectors' solution to its survival after it sucked most the value out of the economy and broke it. To mend it was a case of preservation of the elite and the devil take the hindmost, that's most of us.

...and even Labour, the party of trade unionism, has adopted austerity to drive its policy.

...we need a Peoples' Party to stand for the revaluation of labour so we get paid for our effort rather than the distortion, the rich xxx poor divide, of neoslavery austerity.

Crackerpot , 8 Jun 2013 10:43
When the IMF 'admitted' that the first bail out of Greece was 'bungled' are they trying to imply that the subsequent bail outs have been a success....
artheart , 8 Jun 2013 10:34
People need to start watching The Keiser Report to hear the truth, if they can handle the truth. Link here: http://rt.com/shows/keiser-report/

I simply cannot recommend it enough.

MickGJ -> bluebirds , 8 Jun 2013 10:30

@bluebirds - deregulated capitalism has failed

Of course it has. And it will continue to "fail", while provide us with all sorts of goodies, for the foreseeable future. Capitalism's endless "failure" is of no more concern than human mortality. Ever tried, ever failed, try again, fail better.
epinoa -> CaptainGrey , 8 Jun 2013 10:25
@CaptainGrey -

Except it's not. It is still very much alive and growing.

In as much as a zombie is.

The "alternatives" have crashed and burned save Cuba and North Korea.

I'd say the current oligarchical form of capitalism has crashed quite spectacularly. I say this as a free market capitalist too.

[Dec 14, 2018] Noam Chomsky pointed this out aeons ago though-that the American model is to use tax money to benefit private interests through technological infrastructure

Notable quotes:
"... Now we see moneyed entities with vested interests, carpet bagging and flogging off the NHS and an unelected fossil fuel mandarin, at the heart of government decision making, appointing corporate yea-sayers, to the key government departments, with environmental responsibilities. Corporations capturing the state apparatus for their own ends, is 'corporatism.' ..."
"... "Neoliberalism in practice is every bit as bad as Communism in practice, with none of the benefits." ..."
"... The bailout is simply actual neoliberalism as opposed to the theory inside tiny right wing minds. The system depends on the wealthy not being allowed to suffer the consequences of their own greed, or it would represent revolution and still not work. ..."
"... Neoliberalism in practice is every bit as bad as Communism in practice, with none of the benefits. It always amusing to see neoliberal morons shout about the red menace when they're two sides of the same coin. ..."
"... Neoliberalism is nothing if not the opposite extreme of the communist planned economy. Like the communist planned economy, neoliberalism is doomed to failure. I think we've all been sold a lie. ..."
Jun 08, 2013 | discussion.theguardian.com

epinoa -> Fachan , 8 Jun 2013 10:19

@Fachan -

Just as democracy is the worst system of government except for all other, so capitalism is the worst economic model except for all other.

Shame we only have bastardized forms of them.
bridkid5 -> NotAgainAgain , 8 Jun 2013 10:18
@NotAgainAgain - this is very true, it reminds me of an engineering company I worked for in Nottingham (since gone under). The production manger was a corrupt thief. He gradually sub-contracted the production work out to other companies in the area, taking backhanders for his troubles.

Once all the production was farmed out, he somehow got himself promoted to director level, where he and a sycophant subbed all the design work out. So all the production and design was done out of house, standards dropped and the company closed, leaving him with a nice payoff, just prior to retirement.

Some would say he played a blinder, my interpretation is he ruined a perfectly viable company, making a very good product, and over the course of about 5 years put over 30 people out of work.

In a just world he would be spending his retirement in prison.

ATrueFinn -> MickGJ , 8 Jun 2013 10:13
@ MickGJ 08 June 2013 2:16pm

ext year's harvest (possibly of GM food which makes better use of scarce resources)

Indeed. Wheat will grow as flour and fly to our cupboards.

ATrueFinn -> fr0mn0where , 8 Jun 2013 10:10
@ fr0mn0where 08 June 2013 1:53pm

Income distribution and a happy workforce is actually very good for business as well as society!

Of course it is, but the capitalists do not know it. In many countries, including Finland, the "condition of the working classes", ie. working conditions, have been in rapid decline for the last 20 years.

Permanent salaried jobs have been replaced with temps from agencies, unpaid overtime is becoming the norm, burnouts are commonplace and so on.

If in your country things are different, no mass lay-outs and outsourcing to China, count yourself lucky!

crinklyoldgit , 8 Jun 2013 10:04
On form, Debs. Here is something I like.

But even though an illiterate market wouldn't be so great for them, they avoid their taxes, because they can, because they are more powerful than governments

Noam Chomsky pointed this out aeons ago though-that the American model is to use tax money to benefit private interests through technological infrastructure.

It was ever thus, if in slightly different forms. Still it is surprising that they have gone so quickly from their stated position at the start of the republic of a rejection of kings and emperors to their position now of corruption so ingrained it is impossible to make distinctions. Proxy emperors are emperors all the same, no matter the rhetoric that promotes them.

One senses that there is very little 'going back' possible. Besides, the great Neoliberal scam is predicated upon the qualities of the 'governments' we have and the capacity of those 'rhetoricians' with the capacity to say anything or play any role, to lick any arse, to get elected. Such apparent strength is weakness. In this world that now exists here, we have now entered the same world as the USSR in the eighties, where the announcement of bumper harvests of wheat, made everyone with a brain cell groan and think 'Oh fuck! no bread this winter-quick, run to the shops now, and buy up all the flour there'.

But there is now no way to declare that without being seen as beyond the pale-a bug eyed conspiracist.

Still, I am a believer in the connectedness of this world. The economic system and its mythologies are just weird and distorted canaries in the coalmine of the wider environment. It is indicating that there is a misalignment between the way we think and what is possible in this world. Austerity promoters and 'Keynsian' Ballsites are one and the same thing-both pretenders that the key to the problems is within their narrow gifts

Hubris is followed by nemesis. In a wider sense what we seen now is a complete failure of the capacity to educate and to learn,and moderate behaviour, and find some way of caring for our 'others', beyond the core of 'self'. nationalism is essentially an extension of 'self'. We now shall see the failure of a retraction of thought into nationalism and scapegoating.

I predict that the population of the world will decline over the next century-quite markedly.
The only solace is that at the end of the process, the pain will be forgotten. It always is.

MysticFish -> MickGJ , 8 Jun 2013 09:57
@MickGJ - Cameron said 'We will cut the deficit, not the NHS,' and promised to be the 'greenest government ever,' saying that you could 'go green,' if you voted 'blue.'

Now we see moneyed entities with vested interests, carpet bagging and flogging off the NHS and an unelected fossil fuel mandarin, at the heart of government decision making, appointing corporate yea-sayers, to the key government departments, with environmental responsibilities. Corporations capturing the state apparatus for their own ends, is 'corporatism.'

Spoutwell , 8 Jun 2013 09:53

Much of the healthy economic growth – as opposed to the smoke and mirrors of many aspects of financial services – that Britain enjoyed during the second half of the 20th century was due to women swelling the educated workforce.

There was very little 'healthy economic growth' in Britain in the second half of the 20th century. Britain was bankrupt after WW2 with its people dependent on Marshall Aid and food contributions from its former 'colonies'.

Whatever 'growth' occured after Marshall Aid arrived was scuppered by a class system where company managers were more concerned with walking on the workers than with keeping their businesses afloat while such discrimination provoked hard left trade union policies which left british industry uncompetitive and ultimately non-existent.

If that wasn't enough, Thatcherism arrived to re-inforce class discrimination, sell off national services and assets and replace social policy with neo-liberal consumerism. Whether the workforce was swollen by women or anyone else is immaterial.

The anti-democratic incestuous class conflict latent in British society continues to ensure that the UK will remain a mere vassal state of foot-soldiers and consumers for international neo-liberal capitalism.

MurchuantEacnamai -> DasInternaut , 8 Jun 2013 09:49
@DasInternaut - Completely agree. The performance has been poor to absymal. But this is a failure of democratic governance because the collective interests of citizens as consumers and service users are not being represented and enforced by the elected politicians since they have been suborned by the capitalists elites and their fellow-travellers.

The people, indeed, have been sold a lie, but, unfortunately, it is only UKIP which is making the political waves by revealing selected aspects of this lie. The three established parties have been 'bought' to varying extents. But more and more citizens are beginning to realise the extent to which they have been bought.

Itsrainingtin , 8 Jun 2013 09:44
There is an upside to all of this, maybe I wont get modded so much from now on for being so angry at the ideological criminals . Hopefully the middle classes will cotton on to the fact that all this is not a mad hatters tinfoil hobby, we need more of them to be grumpy.
szwalby -> MickGJ , 8 Jun 2013 09:43
@MickGJ - We've already seen it. Not great so far. GS4, Winterbourne view, southern cross, trains...............Welfare to work companies, delivering no better results than people left to their own devices. Energy companies.

We'll see if the new wave of free schools, academy schools, and all the service outsourced by the council perform any better.

Doubtful, as to make a profit, they have to employ poorer paid people, less well qualified, and once they've got a contract, they've got very little competition, as when the second round of bidding comes around, as the firms having got the first contract are the only one with relevant experience, they are assured of renewal, the money machine will keep going!

MurchuantEacnamai -> TedSmithAndSon , 8 Jun 2013 09:39
@TedSmithAndSon - There's a huge difference between meddling and ensuring effective governance. But I expect in your omniscence you know that.
theguardianisrubbish -> theonionmurders , 8 Jun 2013 09:38
@theonionmurders - I am not going to read a book.

Neoliberalism are policies that are influenced by neo classical economics. If you are suggesting that the neoliberal school of thought would advocate any kind of a bailout then you are mistaken. Where else have I "apparently" embarrassed myself?

theguardianisrubbish -> TedSmithAndSon , 8 Jun 2013 09:28
@TedSmithAndSon - This is just an inaccurate rant not a reply.

"The system depends on the wealthy not being allowed to suffer the consequences.."

Unless you are completely confused by what neolibralism is there is not a shred of logical sense in this.

"The debt industry are the lenders who take advantage of a financial system..."

Which is what savers are. They come in the form of individuals businesses and governments. This encompasses everyone.

"whilst paying the lowest possible rate. Wonga, for instance."

If you are a lender you do not pay anything, you receive.

"Thatchers revolution was to take our citizenship and give it a value, whilst making everyone else a consumer, all for a handful of magic beans in the shape of British Gas shares."

...not forgetting that she revitalised the economy and got everyone back to work again.

"Neoliberalism in practice is every bit as bad as Communism in practice, with none of the benefits."

Neoliberalism is based on the thought of personal freedom, communism is definitely not. Neoliberalist policies have lifted millions of people out of poverty in Asia and South America. Communism has no benefits for society open your eyes!

theonionmurders -> theguardianisrubbish , 8 Jun 2013 09:24

@theguardianisrubbish - Does this author not realise that a government bailout goes against the whole neoliberal school of thought?

No it isn't. You're confusing neoliberalism with neo classical economics. The level of knowledge on economic theory here is sometimes embarrassing.

http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/sociology/rsw/research_centres/theory/conf/rg/harvey_a_brief_history_of_neoliberalism.pdf

MickGJ -> ATrueFinn , 8 Jun 2013 09:16

@ATrueFinn - After they are finished, what do Singaporeans eat?

Next year's harvest (possibly of GM food which makes better use of scarce resources). I imagine the sun will eventually stop bombarding us with the energy that powers photosynthesis but I'm not losing any sleep over it.
richmanchester -> MurchuantEacnamai , 8 Jun 2013 09:13
@MurchuantEacnamai - I think the point is this, Amazon make money by selling books, they avoid paying taxes, yet expect an educated, literate population to be provided for them, on the grounds that illiterate people don't buy books, and expect roads to move the books around on.

So who will pay for this?

TedSmithAndSon -> theguardianisrubbish , 8 Jun 2013 09:12
@theguardianisrubbish - No! The bailout is simply actual neoliberalism as opposed to the theory inside tiny right wing minds. The system depends on the wealthy not being allowed to suffer the consequences of their own greed, or it would represent revolution and still not work.

The debt industry are the lenders who take advantage of a financial system designed to push profits upwards (neoliberalism in practice), whilst paying the lowest possible rate. Wonga, for instance.

Thatchers revolution was to take our citizenship and give it a value, whilst making everyone else a consumer, all for a handful of magic beans in the shape of British Gas shares.

Neoliberalism in practice is every bit as bad as Communism in practice, with none of the benefits. It always amusing to see neoliberal morons shout about the red menace when they're two sides of the same coin.

szwalby -> MickGJ , 8 Jun 2013 09:04
@MickGJ -

.and provides them at a massively inflated cost accompanied by unforgivable waste and inefficiency, appalling service and life-threatening incompetence.

as opposed to the private sector, who always does what it says it will do, at reasonable cost, for the benefit of their customers, and with due regards to ethics? Like the Banks, the financial sector, who will never sell you a product that isn't the best for you, regardless of their interest? the private companies like Southern Cross, GS4?

The private insurance who refuse to take you on the minute you've got some illness or disability? Get off it! The state isn't perfect, the services it provides are not perfect, but replacing them with private provision isn't the answer!

DasInternaut -> MurchuantEacnamai , 8 Jun 2013 08:59
@MurchuantEacnamai - How would you rate how well British government has done in ensuring markets are genuinely competitive. How well has British government done in ensuring our energy market is competitive, for example. Does the competitiveness we observe in the energy market give customers better or worse value than they had before deregulation? How do you rate the British government's performance in rail and public transport, with respect to competitiveness?

Personally, and notwithstanding the notable exception of telecoms, I rate the British (and US) government's performance in deregulating state entities, creating new markets and ensuring competition, as poor.

Neoliberalism is nothing if not the opposite extreme of the communist planned economy. Like the communist planned economy, neoliberalism is doomed to failure. I think we've all been sold a lie.

[Dec 14, 2018] Neoliberal ideology acted as a smokescreen that enabled the financially powerful to rewrite the rules and place themselves beyond the law

Notable quotes:
"... Neoliberalism has spawned a financial elite who hold governments to ransom ..."
"... Neoliberal ideology acted as a smokescreen that enabled the financially powerful to rewrite the rules and place themselves beyond the law. ..."
"... So it seems that your suggestion is for a return to western capitalism post-war style - would that be right? (b.t.w. if I bring up the whole Soviet Union thing, it is partly because quite a few commentators in this debate come across as if they wish for something much more leftist than that). ..."
"... What you have missed, is that the lions share of the proceeds of that growth are not going to ordinary people but to a tiny minority of super rich. It is not working for the majority. ..."
"... The taxpayers are left to pick up the tab, nations are divided against immigrants and scroungers and then unfettered evangelists like you can spout as pompously as you like about how much big business would like to remove the state from corporate affairs. ..."
"... Without the state there wouldn't be neo-Liberalism, it took state regulated capitalism to build what unfettered purists insist on tearing apart for short term greed. ..."
"... The trouble is Neo-Liberals do not want to remove the state at all, they want to BE the state and in the process rendering democracy pretty much meaningless. And they've succeeded. ..."
"... The biggest swindle ever pulled was turning the most glaring and crushing failure of unfettered corporatism into the biggest and most crushing power grab implemented in order to suppress the will of the people ..."
"... Nobody hates a market more than a monopoly and capitalism must inevitably end in monopoly as it has. For the profiteering monopolies investment especially via taxation is insane as it can only undermine their monopoly. ..."
"... The bankers have always known that the austerity caused by having to pay off un-payable loans, that increase every year, will eventually produce countries very similar to the "Weimar Days" in pre-Hitler Germany. ..."
"... They also know that drastic conditions such as these often lead to a collapse of democracy and a resurgence of Fascism. ..."
"... Neoliberalism could not exist without massive state support. So the term is meaningless. There is nothing "liberal" about having a huge state funded military industrial complex that acts a Trojan horse for global corporations, invading other countries for resources. ..."
"... Neoliberalism is a branch of economic ideology which espouses the value of the free-market, and removing all protective legislation, so that large companies are free to do what they want, where-ever they want, with no impediments from social or environmental considerations, or a nation's democratic preferences. ..."
"... Business-friendly to who exactly: the nation or hostile overseas speculators? ..."
"... The golden age of 1945 - 1975 or so witnessed huge rises in standards of living so your point linking neo-liberalism to rising standards of living is literally meaningless. There was an explosive growth in economic activity during the three or four post war decades ..."
"... The assumption shared by many round here that the young are some untapped resource of revolutionary energy is deeply mistaken ..."
Jun 10, 2013 | www.theguardian.com

WyldeWolfe , 10 Jun 2013 19:42

Neoliberalism has spawned a financial elite who hold governments to ransom

So it's been a success then.

disorderedworld , 10 Jun 2013 17:21
A wonderful article that names the central issue. Neoliberal ideology acted as a smokescreen that enabled the financially powerful to rewrite the rules and place themselves beyond the law. The resultant rise of financial capitalism, which now eclipses the productive manufacturing-based capitalism that was the engine of world growth since the industrial revolution, has propelled a dangerous self-serving elite to the centre of world power. It's not just inequality that matters, but the character of the global elite.
MatthewBall -> murielbelcher , 10 Jun 2013 16:23
@murielbelcher -

The neo-liberal order commenced only in the late 1970s - there was a very different order prior to this which was not "soviet socialism" as you term it.

So it seems that your suggestion is for a return to western capitalism post-war style - would that be right? (b.t.w. if I bring up the whole Soviet Union thing, it is partly because quite a few commentators in this debate come across as if they wish for something much more leftist than that).

Anyway, my worry with this idea is that I am just not convinced that life in "The West 1945-80" was better on the whole than in "The West 1980-present". It's true that unemployment is higher these days, but a lot of work in the post-war years was boring and physically exhausting; in factories and mines where conditions were degrading and bad for health; and where industrial relations were simply terrible. I think as well that the higher unemployment is a localized phenomenon that many developing countries are not experiencing (this is relevant because Deborah Orr proposes change for the whole world, not merely the West).

There were also frequent recessions and booms - in fact, more frequent (albeit shorter) than now. What seems to have changed in this respect is that, whereas we used to alternate regularly between 2-3 years of boom and 1-2 years of bust, we now have 15 years of continuous boom followed by a (maybe?) 10 year bust (this pattern began around 1980). If you asked me which of these two patterns I preferred, then I think I'd go for the pre-1980 pattern, but its not clear to me that the post-1980 pattern is so much worse as to underwrite a savage indictment of the whole system.

As for Casino banking: they should reform that. Britain's Coalition Government has done something in that respect, although its not very radical - I am hoping Labour can do more. There is certainly a lot to be said for banks going back to a pre-"Big Bang" sense of tradition and prudence.

Buts let's not also forget the plus sides in the ledger for post-1980 capitalism: hundreds of millions in the former third world lifted out of poverty; unprecedented technological innovation (e.g. the internet, which makes access to knowledge more equal even as income inequality grows); and the accomodation (at least in the West) of progressive social change, such as the empowerment of ethnic minorities, LGBT people and women.

Change, yes - but lets be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

MatthewBall -> Grich , 10 Jun 2013 15:40
@Grich -

What you have missed, is that the lions share of the proceeds of that growth are not going to ordinary people but to a tiny minority of super rich. It is not working for the majority. http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2010/07/58-of-real-income-growth-since-1976-went-to-top-1-and-why-that-matters.html

OK, but both the claim and the link cited in support talk only about a problem in the US. This can't really answer my point, which was that the rest of the world should not be expected to support a change to the economic system of the whole world just because of problems that are mostly localised to North America and Europe. People in developing countries might like the fact that they are, at last, catching "the West" up, and might well not care much about widening inequality of incomes in Western societies.

If you are going to propose changes that you want the whole world to adopt, as Deborah Orr does, then you should be careful to avoid casually assuming that Africa, India, China, et al, feel the same way about the world's recent history as we do. It seems to me that not enough care has been demonstrated in this regard.

MarkHH -> MickGJ , 10 Jun 2013 13:34

@MickGJ - Left to their own devices the most extreme neo-liberals would remove the state almost completely from corporate life.

Except when the State has to step in to prop up an unsustainable ideology. Then it's all meek murmurings and pleas for forgiveness and a timid "we'll be better from now" concessions and the Government obliges the public with the farce that they actually intend to do anything at all but make the public pay for the financial sector's state subsidized profligacy.

Once the begging bowl is re-filled of course then the pretense of "business as usual" profligacy rises to the fore.

The taxpayers are left to pick up the tab, nations are divided against immigrants and scroungers and then unfettered evangelists like you can spout as pompously as you like about how much big business would like to remove the state from corporate affairs.

When you well know that is the last thing big business would like to do. More of the state owned pie is always the most urgent of priorities. Poorer services at inflated costs equates as 'efficiency' until the taxpayer is again left to step in and pick up the bill.

Without the state there wouldn't be neo-Liberalism, it took state regulated capitalism to build what unfettered purists insist on tearing apart for short term greed.

The trouble is Neo-Liberals do not want to remove the state at all, they want to BE the state and in the process rendering democracy pretty much meaningless. And they've succeeded.

The biggest swindle ever pulled was turning the most glaring and crushing failure of unfettered corporatism into the biggest and most crushing power grab implemented in order to suppress the will of the people.

Just as IMF loans come with 'obligations' the principle of democracy itself was sold as part of 'the solution'.

The unsustainable, sustained. By slavery to debt, removal of society's safety net and an economy barely maintained by industries that serve the rich, vultures that prey on the weak and rising living costs and the drudgery of a life compounded by a relentless bombardment of everything in life that is unattainable.

Toeparty , 10 Jun 2013 05:28
Nobody hates a market more than a monopoly and capitalism must inevitably end in monopoly as it has. For the profiteering monopolies investment especially via taxation is insane as it can only undermine their monopoly. With the economy now globalised not even a world war could sweep away the current ossified political economy and give capitalism a new lease on life. It's socialism or monopoly capitalist barbarism. Make your choice.
DracoTBastard , 10 Jun 2013 05:26

The IMF exists to lend money to governments,

Money that the governments don't actually need as they can print their own money and spend it to use their countries own resources and then raise taxes to offset the extra spending and thus maintaining monetary value. The reality is that a government should never, ever borrow money.
Malakia123 , 10 Jun 2013 03:35
The beginning period between the two world wars (1919-33) in Germany called the Weimar Republic shows us exactly what severe austerity imposed by the Treaty of Versailles caused. Because the German economy contracted severely due to reparations payments, steady inflation and severe unemployment ensued. Of course the FED having started the Great Depression in America had not helped matters much anywhere in the world. The bankers have always known that the austerity caused by having to pay off un-payable loans, that increase every year, will eventually produce countries very similar to the "Weimar Days" in pre-Hitler Germany.

They also know that drastic conditions such as these often lead to a collapse of democracy and a resurgence of Fascism.

What causes inflation is uncontrolled speculation of the kind we have seen fed by private banking at various crucial points in history, such as the Weimar Republic. When speculation is coupled with debt (owed to private banking cartels) such as we are seeing in America and Europe now, the result is disaster. On the other hand, when a government issues its own "good faith" commerce-related currency in carefully measured ways as we saw in Roman times or Colonial America, it causes supply and demand to increase together, leaving prices unaffected. Hence there is no inflation, no debt, no unemployment, and no need for income taxes.

In reality, the Weimar financial crisis began with the impossible reparations payments imposed at the Treaty of Versailles. It is very similar to the austerity being imposed on European Nations and America as we speak – regardless of the fact that the IMF is trying to pose as "the Good Cop" at the moment! The damage has been done to nations like Greece, and others are soon to follow. The uncontrollable greed of banks and corporations is leading to an implosion of severe magnitude! It's time to open their books and put a stop to these private banks right now!

brucefiiona -> MysticFish , 9 Jun 2013 20:36
@MysticFish - So the US who has a greater spend on the military than communist China is neoliberal?

Neoliberalism could not exist without massive state support. So the term is meaningless. There is nothing "liberal" about having a huge state funded military industrial complex that acts a Trojan horse for global corporations, invading other countries for resources.

The term neoliberal is not only meaningless but misleading as it implies a connection with true liberalism, of which it has no meaningful connection.

brucefiiona , 9 Jun 2013 20:28
Do away with deceptive terms like neoliberalism, capitalism, socialism, left wing and right wing and things become clearer.

At root a lot of the people who get involved in all of the above have very similar character traits - love of power, greed, deceitful, ruthlessness. Most start out with these character traits, and others gain them as a result of power.

Anyone high up in politics or business is unhinged. You have to be. The organizational structures in these things are so synthetic, the beliefs so artificial, rigid, dogmatic and inhuman that only a unhinged person could prosper in this climate.

Most reasonable people admit doubt, are willing to accept compromise, are willing to make the occasional sacrifice for the greater good. All these things are what make us human, however all these things are seen as weaknesses in the inverted world of business and politics.

Business and politics creates an environment where the must inhuman traits prosper.

fr0mn0where -> murielbelcher , 9 Jun 2013 14:42
@murielbelcher -

"no but the highly placed banking and financial class are along with their venal political mates"

For sure but are they capitalists? Although they may well own capital does their power derive from the ownership of capital? You may, or may not be interested in this lecture on the future of capitalism by John Kay.

MysticFish -> AssistantCook , 9 Jun 2013 14:28
@AssistantCook - Neoliberalism is a branch of economic ideology which espouses the value of the free-market, and removing all protective legislation, so that large companies are free to do what they want, where-ever they want, with no impediments from social or environmental considerations, or a nation's democratic preferences. Von Hayek was a major influence and Thatcher was a loyal disciple, as was the notorious dictator, Pinochet. It is economic theory, designed for vulture capitalists, and unpopular industries like fossil fuel or tobacco, and usually the 'freedom' is all one-sided.
MysticFish -> DavidPavett , 9 Jun 2013 14:12
@DavidPavett - If states are too big, then what about multinational banks and corporations? I wonder why Neoliberal ideology does not try to limit the size of these. They are cumbersome and destructive, predatory dinosaurs and yet our politicians seem mesmerised to the point of allowing them special favours, tax incentives and the ability to determine our nation's policies in matters such as energy and health. Why not 'Small is Beautiful,' when it comes to companies? It doesn't make sense to shrink the state but then let non-transparent and unaccountable, multinational companies become too powerful. One gets the feeling the country is being invaded by the interests of hostile nations, using all-too-convenient Neoliberal ideology and hidden behind a corporate mask.
Jesús Rodriguez , 9 Jun 2013 12:46
Is the IMF ever stop evading its responsibility and blaming others for the worldwide financial tragedy it has provoked? Is it ever stop hurting the working class?
theguardianisrubbish -> murielbelcher , 9 Jun 2013 07:28
@murielbelcher -

"Neo-liberalism is based on the thought of personal freedom for the rich and powerful elites is all."

No it is not that is what you want to believe. There is nothing in this statement other than an opinion based on nothing.

"Many people across the globe were lifted out of poverty between 1945-1980 so what does your statement about neo-liberalism prove"

Which countries during this period saw massive sustainable reductions in poverty without some free market model in place?

"It is you who should open your eyes and stop expecting people on here to accept your ideological beliefs and statements as facts."

I don't expect people to accept my beliefs I am just pointing out why I think their beliefs are wrong. This is a comment section the whole idea of it is to comment on different views and articles. How can you ever benefit or make an accurate decision or belief if you do not try to understand what the opposite belief is? I think nearly everything I have said has been somewhat backed up by logic or a fact, I have not said wishy washy statements like:

"Neo-liberalism is based on the thought of personal freedom for the rich and powerful elites is all."

Unless you can expand on this and give evidence or some form of an example why you think its true then it makes no sense. You are not the only commentor on this article to make a similar statement and the way people have attempted to justify it is due to bailouts but as I have said a bailout is not part of the neoliberal school of thought so if you have a problem with bailouts you don't have a problem with neoliberalism.

theguardianisrubbish -> murielbelcher , 9 Jun 2013 07:10
@murielbelcher - I don't want to go to far into Thatcherism because it is slightly off topic. The early 80s recession was a global recession and yes during the first few years unemployment soared. Why was that because the trade unions were running amok the UK was losing millions of days of work per month.

Inflation was getting out of control and the only way to solve it was a self induced recession. You cannot seriously believe that without the reforms that she implemented we would not have recovered as quick as we did nor can you argue that it was possible for her or anyone else to turn around such an inefficient industry. Don't forget the problems of the manufacturing industry go back way before Thatcher's time.

theguardianisrubbish -> someoneionceknew , 9 Jun 2013 06:34
@someoneionceknew -

"Here's your problem. You believe that banks lend savings. They don't. Loans create deposits create reserves."

I am not claiming to be an expert on this if you are then let me know and please do correct me. I agree banks do not lend deposits but they do lend savings. There is a difference putting money on deposit is different to say putting money into an ISA. I don't agree though that deposits create reserves I believe that they come from the central bank otherwise banks would be constrained by the amount of deposits in the system which is not true and something you have said is not true.

Nevertheless, the majority of liquidity in the bond markets (like most other markets) comes from institutional investors, i.e pension funds, unit trusts, insurance companies, etc. They get their money from savings by consumers as well as sometimes companies. Ok we don't always give our money to insurance companies when we save but via premiums is another way the ordinary consumer contributes to this so called "debt industry". I also said that foreign and local governments buy debt and companies invest directly into the debt market.

MysticFish -> MickGJ , 9 Jun 2013 06:17
@MickGJ - Business-friendly to who exactly: the nation or hostile overseas speculators?
theguardianisrubbish -> TedSmithAndSon , 9 Jun 2013 06:14
"In theory the banks should have been allowed to go bust, but the consequences where deemed too high (as they inevitable are). "

Iceland would disagree.

"The result is socialism for the rich using the poor as the excuse, which is the reality of neoliberalism."

Why have only the rich benefited from the bailout? You are not making any sense.

"The result is socialism for the rich using the poor as the excuse, which is the reality of neoliberalism."

Why? You cannot just say a statement like that and not expand, it makes no sense.

"Thatcher "revitalised" banking, while everything else withered and died."

...but also revitalised the economy and got everyone back to work.

"Neoliberalism is based on the thought that you get as much freedom as you can pay for, otherwise you can just pay... like everyone else."

Again you have to expand on this because it makes no sense.

"In Asia and South America it has been the economic preference of dictators that pushes profit upwards and responsibility down, just like it does here."

Don't think that is true in most cases nor would it make sense. Why would a dictator who wants as much power as possible operate a laissez-faire economy? You cannot have personal freedom without having economic freedom, it is a necessary not sufficient condition. Tell me a case where these is a large degree of political freedom but little to no economic freedom. Moreover look at the countries in Asia and South America that have adopted a neoliberal agenda and notice their how poverty as reduced significantly.

"I find it ironic that it now has 5 year plans that absolutely must not be deviated from, massive state intervention in markets (QE, housing policy, tax credits... insert where applicable), and advocates large scale central planning even as it denies reality, and makes the announcement from a tractor factory."

Who has 5 year plans?

"In theory it's one thing, the reality is entirely different."

If the reality is different to the theory then it is not neoliberalism that is being implemented therefore it makes no sense to dispute the theory. Look at where it has been implemented, the best case in the world at the moment is Hong Kong look at how well that country has performed.

"a massive lie told by rich people "

I can assure you I am not rich.

"Until we're rid of it, we're all it's slaves."

Neoliberalism is based on personal freedom. If you believe this about neoliberalism in your opinion give me one economic school of thought where this does not apply.

theguardianisrubbish -> theonionmurders , 9 Jun 2013 05:35
@theonionmurders -

"Bailouts have been a constant feature of neoliberalism."

What you are saying does not make sense. Whatever you say about that there was no where else to turn the government had to bailout out the banks a neolibralist would disagree.

"In fact the role of the state is simply reduced to a merely commissioning agent to private parasitical corporations. "

That's corporatism which so far you have described pretty well.

"History has shown the state playing this role since neoliberalism became embedded in policy since the 1970s - Long Term Capital Management, Savings and Loans, The Brady Plan, numerous PFI bailouts and those of the Western banking system during the 1982 South American, 1997 Asian and 2010 European debt crises."

What?! Bailouts have been occurring before the industrial revolution. Deregulation in the UK occurred mainly during the 80s not 70's. Furthermore financial deregulation occurred in the UK in 1986. In the USA the major piece of financial deregulation was the Gramm Leach Bliley Act which was passed in 1999. So you have just undercut your own point with the examples you gave above. You could argue Argentina and we could argue all day about the causes of that, but I would say that any government that pursues an expansionary monetary policy under a fixed ER is never going to end well.

"...policy if you won't flick through a book."

My point was that when people quote a source they tend to either quote the page that the point comes from. To be honest if this book is telling you that neoliberalism and neoclassical are significantly different (which you seemed to suggest in you earlier post) then I would suggest put the book down.

ATrueFinn -> fireman36 , 9 Jun 2013 04:17
@ fireman36 09 June 2013 1:32am

Don't like it? Change the rules.

Exactly! However:

"Google, Amazon and Apple... avoid their taxes, because they can, because they are more powerful than governments."

Yes to the first, no to the second. Corporations with revenues exceeding the GDP of a small nation have quite a lot of power: Exxon's revenue is between the GDP of Norway and Austria. In Finland Nokia generated 3 4 % of the GDP for a decade and the government bent backwards to accommodate its polite requests, including a specific law reducing the privacy of employees' emails.

Grich -> MatthewBall , 8 Jun 2013 22:29
@MatthewBall -

I am not sure if this is true. We have the same economic system (broadly speaking, capitalism) as nearly every country in the world, and the world economy is growing at a reasonable rate, at around 3-4% for 2013-14 (see http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2013/01/pdf/c1.pdf for more details).

We percieve a problem in (most of) Europe and North America because our economies are growing more slowly than this, and in some cases not at all. The global growth figure comes out healthy because of strong growth in the emerging countries, like China, Brazil and India, who are narrowing the gap between their living standards and ours. So, the world as a whole isn't broken, even if our bit of it is going through a rough patch.

What you have missed, is that the lions share of the proceeds of that growth are not going to ordinary people but to a tiny minority of super rich. It is not working for the majority. http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2010/07/58-of-real-income-growth-since-1976-went-to-top-1-and-why-that-matters.html

oriel46 -> Fachan , 8 Jun 2013 22:08
@Fachan - Except that it isn't capitalism that was being criticized here, but neoliberalism: a distinction that's often lost on neoliberals themselves, ironically.
TomorrowsWorld , 8 Jun 2013 19:58
I'm sure that Denis Healy and any number of African economists would confirm that the IMF is quite simply a refuge of absolutely last resort, when investor confidence in your economy is so shattered that the only way ahead is to open the shark gates and allow big money to plunder whatever value remains there, without the benefit of any noticeable return for your people. Greece is but one more victim of a syndrome that encompasses all the science and forensic analysis of ritual sacrifice.
murielbelcher -> OneCommentator , 8 Jun 2013 19:10
@OneCommentator - don't confuse economic deregulation which acted as handmaiden to global finance and multinationals as economic freedoms for population

China's govt was doing what china's govt had decided to do from 1978 BEFORE the election of Thatcher in 1979 or Reagan in 1980 (office from Jan 1981), so very little correlation there I think

The GATT rounds whether you agree with their aims or not were the products of the post war decades, again before Thatcher and Reagan came to power

The golden age of 1945 - 1975 or so witnessed huge rises in standards of living so your point linking neo-liberalism to rising standards of living is literally meaningless. There was an explosive growth in economic activity during the three or four post war decades

murielbelcher -> theguardianisrubbish , 8 Jun 2013 19:04
@theguardianisrubbish - you can't get away with this

She DID not get everyone back to work again. There were two recessions at either end of the 1980s. She TRIPLED unemployment during the first half of the 1980s and introduced the phenomenon of high structural unemployment and placing people on invalidity benefits to massage the headline unemployment count. Give us the figures to back up your assertion that she "got everyone back to work again." I suspect that you cannot and your statement stands for the utter nonsense that it is in any kind of reality.

A few months after she was forced out Tory Chancellor Norman Lamont in 1991 during yet another recession declared that "unemployment was a price worth paying"!!!

Neo-liberalism is based on the thought of personal freedom for the rich and powerful elites is all. Many people across the globe were lifted out of poverty between 1945-1980 so what does your statement about neo-liberalism prove

It is you who should open your eyes and stop expecting people on here to accept your ideological beliefs and statements as facts.

Because they are not: in no shape, way or form

fireman36 , 8 Jun 2013 19:03
Not very impressed to be honest. For starters:

"The IMF exists to lend money to governments, so it's comic that it wags its finger at governments that run up debt. And, of course, its loans famously come with strings attached: adopt a free-market economy, or strengthen the one you have, kissing goodbye to the Big State."

That's glib and inaccurate. A better read about the IMF from an insider: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/05/the-quiet-coup/307364/ Digest: the biggest problem the IMF have to deal with in bailouts is always the politics of cronyism; free-market oligarchs and government in cahoots.

"Many IMF programs "go off track" (a euphemism) precisely because the government can't stay tough on erstwhile cronies, and the consequences are massive inflation or other disasters. A program "goes back on track" once the government prevails or powerful oligarchs sort out among themselves who will govern -- and thus win or lose -- under the IMF-supported plan. The real fight in Thailand and Indonesia in 1997 was about which powerful families would lose their banks. In Thailand, it was handled relatively smoothly. In Indonesia, it led to the fall of President Suharto and economic chaos."

MickGJ -> JohnBroggio , 8 Jun 2013 18:42

@JohnBroggio - who caters for the idealist vote?

Generally whoever happens to be in opposition at the time. This made the LibDems the ideal (sorry) choice for a long time but then they broke a long-standing if unspoken promise that they would never actually be in government.

Last weekś Economist has some very interesting stuff from the British Social Attitudes survey which shows the increasing drift away from collectivist ideals towards liberalism over each succeeding generation.

The assumption shared by many round here that the young are some untapped resource of revolutionary energy is deeply mistaken

[Dec 14, 2018] Neoliberalism has spawned a financial elite who hold governments to ransom by Deborah Orr

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The crash was a write-off, not a repair job. The response should be a wholesale reevaluation of the way in which wealth is created and distributed around the globe ..."
"... The IMF also admits that it "underestimated" the effect austerity would have on Greece. Obviously, the rest of the Troika takes no issue with that. Even those who substitute "kick up the arse to all the lazy scroungers" whenever they encounter the word "austerity", have cottoned on to the fact that the word can only be intoned with facial features locked into a suitably tragic mask. ..."
"... Yet, mealy-mouthed and hotly contested as this minor mea culpa is, it's still a sign that financial institutions may slowly be coming round to the idea that they are the problem. ..."
"... Markets cannot be free. Markets have to be nurtured. They have to be invested in. Markets have to be grown. Google, Amazon and Apple haven't taught anyone in this country to read. But even though an illiterate market wouldn't be so great for them, they avoid their taxes, because they can, because they are more powerful than governments. ..."
"... The neoliberalism that the IMF still preaches pays no account to any of this. It insists that the provision of work alone is enough of an invisible hand to sustain a market. Yet even Adam Smith, the economist who came up with that theory , did not agree that economic activity alone was enough to keep humans decent and civilised. ..."
"... Governments are left with the bill when neoliberals demand access to markets that they refuse to invest in making. Their refusal allows them to rail against the Big State while producing the conditions that make it necessary. ..."
Jun 08, 2013 | www.theguardian.com

The crash was a write-off, not a repair job. The response should be a wholesale reevaluation of the way in which wealth is created and distributed around the globe

Sat 8 Jun 2013 02.59 EDT First published on Sat 8 Jun 2013 02.59 EDT

The IMF's limited admission of guilt over the Greek bailout is a start, but they still can't see the global financial system's fundamental flaws, writes Deborah Orr. Photograph: Boris Roessler/DPA FILE T he International Monetary Fund has admitted that some of the decisions it made in the wake of the 2007-2008 financial crisis were wrong, and that the €130bn first bailout of Greece was "bungled". Well, yes. If it hadn't been a mistake, then it would have been the only bailout and everyone in Greece would have lived happily ever after.

Actually, the IMF hasn't quite admitted that it messed things up. It has said instead that it went along with its partners in "the Troika" – the European Commission and the European Central Bank – when it shouldn't have. The EC and the ECB, says the IMF, put the interests of the eurozone before the interests of Greece. The EC and the ECB, in turn, clutch their pearls and splutter with horror that they could be accused of something so petty as self-preservation.

The IMF also admits that it "underestimated" the effect austerity would have on Greece. Obviously, the rest of the Troika takes no issue with that. Even those who substitute "kick up the arse to all the lazy scroungers" whenever they encounter the word "austerity", have cottoned on to the fact that the word can only be intoned with facial features locked into a suitably tragic mask.

Yet, mealy-mouthed and hotly contested as this minor mea culpa is, it's still a sign that financial institutions may slowly be coming round to the idea that they are the problem. They know the crash was a debt-bubble that burst. What they don't seem to acknowledge is that the merry days of reckless lending are never going to return; even if they do, the same thing will happen again, but more quickly and more savagely. The thing is this: the crash was a write-off, not a repair job. The response from the start should have been a wholesale reevaluation of the way in which wealth is created and distributed around the globe, a "structural adjustment", as the philosopher John Gray has said all along.

The IMF exists to lend money to governments, so it's comic that it wags its finger at governments that run up debt. And, of course, its loans famously come with strings attached: adopt a free-market economy, or strengthen the one you have, kissing goodbye to the Big State. Yet, the irony is painful. Neoliberal ideology insists that states are too big and cumbersome, too centralised and faceless, to be efficient and responsive. I agree. The problem is that the ruthless sentimentalists of neoliberalism like to tell themselves – and anyone else who will listen – that removing the dead hand of state control frees the individual citizen to be entrepreneurial and productive. Instead, it places the financially powerful beyond any state, in an international elite that makes its own rules, and holds governments to ransom. That's what the financial crisis was all about. The ransom was paid, and as a result, governments have been obliged to limit their activities yet further – some setting about the task with greater relish than others. Now the task, supposedly, is to get the free market up and running again.

But the basic problem is this: it costs a lot of money to cultivate a market – a group of consumers – and the more sophisticated the market is, the more expensive it is to cultivate them. A developed market needs to be populated with educated, healthy, cultured, law-abiding and financially secure people – people who expect to be well paid themselves, having been brought up believing in material aspiration, as consumers need to be.

So why, exactly, given the huge amount of investment needed to create such a market, should access to it then be "free"? The neoliberal idea is that the cultivation itself should be conducted privately as well. They see "austerity" as a way of forcing that agenda. But how can the privatisation of societal welfare possibly happen when unemployment is already high, working people are turning to food banks to survive and the debt industry, far from being sorry that it brought the global economy to its knees, is snapping up bargains in the form of busted high-street businesses to establish shops with nothing to sell but high-interest debt? Why, you have to ask yourself, is this vast implausibility, this sheer unsustainability, not blindingly obvious to all?

Markets cannot be free. Markets have to be nurtured. They have to be invested in. Markets have to be grown. Google, Amazon and Apple haven't taught anyone in this country to read. But even though an illiterate market wouldn't be so great for them, they avoid their taxes, because they can, because they are more powerful than governments.

And further, those who invest in these companies, and insist that taxes should be low to encourage private profit and shareholder value, then lend governments the money they need to create these populations of sophisticated producers and consumers, berating them for their profligacy as they do so. It's all utterly, completely, crazy.

The other day a health minister, Anna Soubry , suggested that female GPs who worked part-time so that they could bring up families were putting the NHS under strain. The compartmentalised thinking is quite breathtaking. What on earth does she imagine? That it would be better for the economy if they all left school at 16? On the contrary, the more people who are earning good money while working part-time – thus having the leisure to consume – the better. No doubt these female GPs are sustaining both the pharmaceutical industry and the arts and media, both sectors that Britain does well in.

As for their prioritising of family life over career – that's just another of the myriad ways in which Conservative neoliberalism is entirely without logic. Its prophets and its disciples will happily – ecstatically – tell you that there's nothing more important than family, unless you're a family doctor spending some of your time caring for your own. You couldn't make these characters up. It is certainly true that women with children find it more easy to find part-time employment in the public sector. But that's a prima facie example of how unresponsive the private sector is to human and societal need, not – as it is so often presented – evidence that the public sector is congenitally disabled.

Much of the healthy economic growth – as opposed to the smoke and mirrors of many aspects of financial services – that Britain enjoyed during the second half of the 20th century was due to women swelling the educated workforce. Soubry and her ilk, above all else, forget that people have multiple roles, as consumers, as producers, as citizens and as family members. All of those things have to be nurtured and invested in to make a market.

The neoliberalism that the IMF still preaches pays no account to any of this. It insists that the provision of work alone is enough of an invisible hand to sustain a market. Yet even Adam Smith, the economist who came up with that theory , did not agree that economic activity alone was enough to keep humans decent and civilised.

Governments are left with the bill when neoliberals demand access to markets that they refuse to invest in making. Their refusal allows them to rail against the Big State while producing the conditions that make it necessary. And even as the results of their folly become ever more plain to see, they are grudging in their admittance of the slightest blame, bickering with their allies instead of waking up, smelling the coffee and realizing that far too much of it is sold through Starbucks.

[Dec 14, 2018] The era of neoliberalism has seen a massive increase in government, not a shrinkage. The biggest change is the role of governments - to protect markets rather than to protect the rights and dignities of its citizens

Notable quotes:
"... The era of neoliberalism has seen a massive increase in government, not a shrinkage. The biggest change is the role of governments - to protect markets rather than to protect the rights and dignities of its citizens. When viewed by outcome rather than ideological rhetoric, it becomes increasingly clear that neoliberalism has nothing to do with shrinking the state, freeing markets, or freeing the individual, and everything to do with a massive power grab by a global elite. ..."
"... What was the billions of pounds in bank bailout welfare and recession on costs all about? You tell me. All the result of the application of your extremist free market ideology? Let the banks run wild, they mess up and the taxpayer has to step in with bailout welfare and pay to clear up the recession debris ..."
"... Market participants and their venal political friends have during the past 30 years of extremist neo-liberal ideology rigged, abused, distorted and subverted their market and elite power to tilt the economic and social balance massively in their favour ..."
"... Neo liberalism = the favoured ideology of the very rich and powerful elite ..."
"... at last somebody is looking at globalisation and asking whose interests is it designed to serve? It certainly ain't for the people. ..."
"... the highly placed banking and financial class are along with their venal political mates ..."
"... We've had three decades of asset stripping in favor of the rich elites and look at the mess we're in now. ..."
"... I strongly believe that people are not being told the full story. Like the NSA surveillance revelation, the effects will not be pretty when the facts are known. No country needs the IMF. ..."
"... The mythology surrounding deficits and national debt is a religion that the world is in desperate need of debunking. Like religion, the mythology is used as a means of power and entrenchment of privilege for the Ruling Caste, not the plebs (lesser mortals). ..."
Dec 03, 2018 | www.theguardian.com
justamug , 8 Jun 2013 18:09
This article is a testament to our ignorance. Orr is no intellectual slouch, but somehow, like many in the mainstream, she still fails to address some fundamental assumptions and thus ends up with a muddled argument.

"What they don't seem to acknowledge is that the merry days of reckless lending are never going to return;"

Lending has not stopped - it's just moved out of one market into another. Banks are making profits, and banks profit are made by expanding credit.

Neoliberal ideology insists that states are too big and cumbersome, too centralised and faceless, to be efficient and responsive.

Yes and no. There is a difference between what is preached and what happens in practice. The era of neoliberalism has seen a massive increase in government, not a shrinkage. The biggest change is the role of governments - to protect markets rather than to protect the rights and dignities of its citizens. When viewed by outcome rather than ideological rhetoric, it becomes increasingly clear that neoliberalism has nothing to do with shrinking the state, freeing markets, or freeing the individual, and everything to do with a massive power grab by a global elite.
murielbelcher -> MurchuantEacnamai , 8 Jun 2013 18:06
@MurchuantEacnamai - well righty ideologues such as yourself and your venal political acolytes have utterly failed to support the case or institute measures that: "apply effective democratic governance to ensure market

What was the billions of pounds in bank bailout welfare and recession on costs all about? You tell me. All the result of the application of your extremist free market ideology? Let the banks run wild, they mess up and the taxpayer has to step in with bailout welfare and pay to clear up the recession debris

Market participants and their venal political friends have during the past 30 years of extremist neo-liberal ideology rigged, abused, distorted and subverted their market and elite power to tilt the economic and social balance massively in their favour

You the taxpayer are good enough to bail us out when we mess up but then we demand that your services are cut in return and that your employment is ever more precarious and wages depressed (at the lower end of the scale - never ever the higher of course!! That's the neo-liberal deal isn't it

Neo liberalism = the favoured ideology of the very rich and powerful elite and boy don't they know how to work its levers

freedomrespect , 8 Jun 2013 18:00
Very insightful commentary and at last somebody is looking at globalisation and asking whose interests is it designed to serve? It certainly ain't for the people. Amazing it's been approved on a UK liberal newspaper as well!
Boguille -> Fachan , 8 Jun 2013 17:57
@Fachan - There was nothing in the article about envy. It was an exposition of the failure of our present system which allows the rich to get ever richer. That would be fine if it weren't for the fact that the increasing disparity in wealth is bringing down the economy and making it less productive while leaving a large part of the population in, or on the verge of, poverty.
murielbelcher -> CaptainGrey , 8 Jun 2013 17:41
@CaptainGrey - but we're not talking about that form of capitalism are we?

Surely you must realise that there are very very different forms of capitalism. The capitalism that reigns now would not have permitted the creation of the NHS had it not been devised in the1940s when a very different type of capitalism reigned. Its political acolytes and its cheerleader press would have denounced the NHS as an extremist commie idea!!

murielbelcher -> fr0mn0where , 8 Jun 2013 17:39
@fr0mn0where - it was crumbling in the 1980s

The Chicago boys swarmed into eastern Europe after 1989 to introduce a form of gangster unbridled capitalism. The very Chicago boys led by Milton Friedman who used the dictator Pinochet's Chile as test bed for their ideology from September 1973 after the coup that overthrew Allende

murielbelcher -> fr0mn0where , 8 Jun 2013 17:35
@fr0mn0where - no but the highly placed banking and financial class are along with their venal political mates

We've had three decades of asset stripping in favor of the rich elites and look at the mess we're in now.

murielbelcher -> MatthewBall , 8 Jun 2013 17:33
@MatthewBall - social democracy

The neo-liberal order commenced only in the late 1970s - there was a very different order prior to this which was not "Soviet Socialism" as you term it.

As such this extremist rich man's ideological experiment has had a long innings and has failed as the events of 2008 laid bare for all to see - it has been tried out disastrously on live human beings for 34 years and has now been thoroughly discredited with the huge bank bailouts and financial crash and ensuing and enduring recession It was scarcely succeeding prior to this with high entrenched rates of unemployment, frequent recessions/booms and busts and unsustainable property bubbles and deregulated unstable speculative aka casino banking activity

Time for a change

RidiculousPseudonym , 8 Jun 2013 17:26
This is basically right, but a few comments.

1. Neoliberalism cannot be pinned on one party alone. It was accepted by the Thatcher government, but no Prime Minister since has seriously challenged it.

2. Neoliberalism is logically contrary to conservative values. Either there are certain moral imperatives so important that it is worth wasting money over them, or there are not. No wonder that Tories are torn in two, not to mention Labour politicians who also try to combine neoliberalism and moral principle.

3. Saying "even Adam Smith" is understandable but unfair. His work was rather enlightened in the context of mercantilism, and of course the Wealth of Nations was not his only book. Others will know his work better than me, but I think he dwells rather strongly on problems of persistent poverty.

4. The political and redistributive functions of nations are indeed damaged by neolib, but I don't think there is any realistic way of getting that power back without applying capital controls. If we apply capital controls, all hell breaks loose.

5. Ergo, we are stuck with a situation where neolib is killing democracy, distributive justice and conservative moral values, but there is nothing we can do about it without pulling the plug altogether and unleashing a sharp drop in wealth and 1930s nationalistic havoc. A bit of a tragedy, indeed.

HolyInsurgent , 8 Jun 2013 17:22

Deborah Orr: The IMF exists to lend money to governments, so it's comic that it wags its finger at governments that run up debt.

I strongly believe that people are not being told the full story. Like the NSA surveillance revelation, the effects will not be pretty when the facts are known. No country needs the IMF. Any national government with its own national currency sovereignty can pay its own debts within its own country with its own currency. International borrowing in foreign markets is the biggest myth since religion. But since neoliberalism and its inherent myths have been swallowed whole for so long, we are still at the stage where the child points and laughs at the nude emperor. The fallout from the revelation and remedy is to follow.

The problem with the Eurozone is not that the Euro is the "national" currency. Control of the Euro resides with the European Central Bank, not the Troika (European Commission, European Central Bank, IMF). The European Central Bank, as sole controller of the Euro (the "national" currency), can issue funds to constituent Eurozone states to the extent necessary. I challenge anyone to demonstrate how any central bank does not have power over its own currency!

The mythology surrounding deficits and national debt is a religion that the world is in desperate need of debunking. Like religion, the mythology is used as a means of power and entrenchment of privilege for the Ruling Caste, not the plebs (lesser mortals).

someoneionceknew -> colonelraeburn , 8 Jun 2013 17:18
@colonelraeburn - Excuse me? Private bank credit caused the housing price inflation.

Politicians were complicit in deregulating and appointing non-regulators but they didn't make the loans.

MickGJ -> DavidPavett , 8 Jun 2013 17:16

@DavidPavett - Does anyone have any idea what this is supposed to mean? There are certainly no leads on this in the link given to "the philosopher" John Gray

Gray wrote this in the Guardian in 2007:

Whether in Africa, Asia, Latin America or post-communist Europe, policies of wholesale privatisation and structural adjustment have led to declining economic activity and social dislocation on a massive scale

This doesn't seem to support Orrś assertion that he is calling for a structural adjustment, rather the opposite. I'ḿ not really familiar with Grayś work but he seems to be rather against the universal imposition of any system, new or old.
katiewm -> CaptainGrey , 8 Jun 2013 16:46
@CaptainGrey - Capitalism is not an undifferentiated mass. Late-stage neoliberal hypercapitalism as practiced in the US and increasingly in the UK is a very different beast than the traditional European capitalist social democracy or the Nordic model, which have been shown to work relatively well over time. In fact, neoliberal capitalism - the sort Orr is talking about here - is marked by increasing decline both in the state and in the economy, as inequality in wealth distribution creates a society of beggars and kings instead of spenders and savers. The gains achieved through carefully regulated capitalism won't stick around in the free-for-all conditions preferred by those whose ideology demands the sell-off of the state.
jazzdrum -> PeterWoking , 8 Jun 2013 16:16
@PeterWoking - For some parts of the world , yes they are more affluent now , but a huge part of the globe is still without food and water .

I think de regulation of the financial sector has caused a huge amount of damage to the world all round and to be honest, i expect more of the same as the Bankers are still in control.

[Dec 14, 2018] Hidden neoliberal inner party : US chamber of commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and The Business Roundtable

Notable quotes:
"... The American Chamber of Commerce subsequently expanded its base from around 60,000 firms in 1972 to over a quarter of a million ten years later. Jointly with the National Association of Manufacturers (which moved to Washington in 1972) it amassed an immense campaign chest to lobby Congress and engage in research. The Business Roundtable, an organization of CEOs 'committed to the aggressive pursuit of political power for the corporation', was founded in 1972 and thereafter became the centrepiece of collective pro-business action. ..."
"... Nearly half the financing for the highly respected NBER came from the leading companies in the Fortune 500 list. Closely integrated with the academic community, the NBER was to have a very significant impact on thinking in the economics departments and business schools of the major research universities. ..."
"... In order to realize this goal, businesses needed a political class instrument and a popular base. They therefore actively sought to capture the Republican Party as their own instrument. The formation of powerful political action committees to procure, as the old adage had it, 'the best government that money could buy' was an important step. ..."
"... The Republican Party needed, however, a solid electoral base if it was to colonize power effectively. It was around this time that Republicans sought an alliance with the Christian right. The latter had not been politically active in the past, but the foundation of Jerry Falwell's 'moral majority' as a political movement in 1978 changed all of that. The Republican Party now had its Christian base. ..."
"... It also appealed to the cultural nationalism of the white working classes and their besieged sense of moral righteousness. This political base could be mobilized through the positives of religion and cultural nationalism and negatively through coded, if not blatant, racism, homophobia, and anti feminism. ..."
"... The alliance between big business and conservative Christians backed by the neoconservatives consolidated, not for the first time has a social group been persuaded to vote against its material, economic, and class interests ..."
"... Any political movement that holds individual freedoms to be sacrosanct is vulnerable to incorporation into the neoliberal fold. ..."
"... Neoliberal rhetoric, with its foundational emphasis upon individual freedoms, has the power to split off libertarianism, identity politics, multiculturalism, and eventually narcissistic consumerism from the social forces ranged in pursuit of social justice through the conquest of state power. ..."
"... By capturing ideals of individual freedom and turning them against the interventionist and regulatory practices of the state, capitalist class interests could hope to protect and even restore their position. Neoliberalism was well suited to this ideological task. ..."
"... Neoliberalization required both politically and economically the construction of a neoliberal market-based populist culture of differentiated consumerism and individual libertarianism. As such it proved more than a little compatible with that cultural impulse called 'postmodernism' which had long been lurking in the wings but could now emerge full-blown as both a cultural and an intellectual dominant. This was the challenge that corporations and class elites set out to finesse in the 1980s. ..."
"... Powell argued that individual action was insufficient. 'Strength', he wrote, 'lies in organization, in careful long-range planning and implementation, in consistency of action over an indefinite period of years, in the scale of financing available only through joint effort, and in the political power available only through united action and national organizations'. The National Chamber of Commerce, he argued, should lead an assault upon the major institutions––universities, schools, the media, publishing, the courts––in order to change how individuals think 'about the corporation, the law, culture, and the individual'. US businesses did not lack resources for such an effort, particularly when they pooled their resources together. ..."
Nov 27, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Themiddlegound -> Themiddlegound , 11 Jun 2013 05:42

The American Chamber of Commerce subsequently expanded its base from around 60,000 firms in 1972 to over a quarter of a million ten years later. Jointly with the National Association of Manufacturers (which moved to Washington in 1972) it amassed an immense campaign chest to lobby Congress and engage in research. The Business Roundtable, an organization of CEOs 'committed to the aggressive pursuit of political power for the corporation', was founded in 1972 and thereafter became the centrepiece of collective pro-business action.

The corporations involved accounted for 'about one half of the GNP of the United States' during the 1970s, and they spent close to $900 million annually (a huge amount at that time) on political matters. Think-tanks, such as the Heritage Foundation, the Hoover Institute, the Center for the Study of American Business, and the American Enterprise Institute, were formed with corporate backing both to polemicize and, when necessary, as in the case of the National Bureau of Economic Research, to construct serious technical and empirical studies and political-philosophical arguments broadly in support of neoliberal policies.

Nearly half the financing for the highly respected NBER came from the leading companies in the Fortune 500 list. Closely integrated with the academic community, the NBER was to have a very significant impact on thinking in the economics departments and business schools of the major research universities. With abundant finance furnished by wealthy individuals (such as the brewer Joseph Coors, who later became a member of Reagan's 'kitchen cabinet') and their foundations (for example Olin, Scaife, Smith Richardson, Pew Charitable Trust), a flood of tracts and books, with Nozick's Anarchy State and Utopia perhaps the most widely read and appreciated, emerged espousing neoliberal values. A TV version of Milton Friedman's Free to Choose was funded with a grant from Scaife in 1977. 'Business was', Blyth concludes, 'learning to spend as a class.

In singling out the universities for particular attention, Powell pointed up an opportunity as well as an issue, for these were indeed centers of anti-corporate and anti-state sentiment (the students at Santa Barbara had burned down the Bank of America building there and ceremonially buried a car in the sands). But many students were (and still are) affluent and privileged, or at least middle class, and in the US the values of individual freedom have long been celebrated (in music and popular culture) as primary. Neoliberal themes could here find fertile ground for propagation. Powell did not argue for extending state power. But business should 'assiduously cultivate' the state and when necessary use it 'aggressively and with determination'

In order to realize this goal, businesses needed a political class instrument and a popular base. They therefore actively sought to capture the Republican Party as their own instrument. The formation of powerful political action committees to procure, as the old adage had it, 'the best government that money could buy' was an important step. The supposedly 'progressive' campaign finance laws of 1971 in effect legalized the financial corruption of politics.

A crucial set of Supreme Court decisions began in 1976 when it was first established that the right of a corporation to make unlimited money contributions to political parties and political action committees was protected under the First Amendment guaranteeing the rights of individuals (in this instance corporations) to freedom of speech.15 Political action committees could thereafter ensure the financial domination of both political parties by corporate, moneyed, and professional association interests. Corporate PACs, which numbered eighty-nine in 1974, had burgeoned to 1,467 by 1982.

The Republican Party needed, however, a solid electoral base if it was to colonize power effectively. It was around this time that Republicans sought an alliance with the Christian right. The latter had not been politically active in the past, but the foundation of Jerry Falwell's 'moral majority' as a political movement in 1978 changed all of that. The Republican Party now had its Christian base.

It also appealed to the cultural nationalism of the white working classes and their besieged sense of moral righteousness. This political base could be mobilized through the positives of religion and cultural nationalism and negatively through coded, if not blatant, racism, homophobia, and anti feminism.

The alliance between big business and conservative Christians backed by the neoconservatives consolidated, not for the first time has a social group been persuaded to vote against its material, economic, and class interests the evangelical Christians eagerly embraced the alliance with big business and the Republican Party as a means to further promote their evangelical and moral agenda.

Themiddlegound -> Themiddlegound , 11 Jun 2013 05:23

Any political movement that holds individual freedoms to be sacrosanct is vulnerable to incorporation into the neoliberal fold.

The worldwide political upheavals of 1968, for example, were strongly inflected with the desire for greater personal freedoms. This was certainly true for students, such as those animated by the Berkeley 'free speech' movement of the 1960s or who took to the streets in Paris, Berlin, and Bangkok and were so mercilessly shot down in Mexico City shortly before the 1968 Olympic Games. They demanded freedom from parental, educational, corporate, bureaucratic, and state constraints. But the '68 movement also had social justice as a primary political objective.

Neoliberal rhetoric, with its foundational emphasis upon individual freedoms, has the power to split off libertarianism, identity politics, multiculturalism, and eventually narcissistic consumerism from the social forces ranged in pursuit of social justice through the conquest of state power. It has long proved extremely difficult within the US left, for example, to forge the collective discipline required for political action to achieve social justice without offending the the Construction of Consent desire of political actors for individual freedom and for full recognition and expression of particular identities. Neoliberalism did not create these distinctions, but it could easily exploit, if not foment, them.

In the early 1970s those seeking individual freedoms and social justice could make common cause in the face of what many saw as a common enemy. Powerful corporations in alliance with an interventionist state were seen to be running the world in individually oppressive and socially unjust ways. The Vietnam War was the most obvious catalyst for discontent, but the destructive activities of corporations and the state in relation to the environment, the push towards mindless consumerism, the failure to address social issues and respond adequately to diversity, as well as intense restrictions on individual possibilities and personal behaviors by state-mandated and 'traditional' controls were also widely resented. Civil rights were an issue, and questions of sexuality and of reproductive rights were very much in play.

For almost everyone involved in the movement of '68, the intrusive state was the enemy and it had to be reformed. And on that, the neoliberals could easily agree. But capitalist corporations, business, and the market system were also seen as primary enemies requiring redress if not revolutionary transformation: hence the threat to capitalist class power.

By capturing ideals of individual freedom and turning them against the interventionist and regulatory practices of the state, capitalist class interests could hope to protect and even restore their position. Neoliberalism was well suited to this ideological task. But it had to be backed up by a practical strategy that emphasized the liberty of consumer choice, not only with respect to particular products but also with respect to lifestyles, modes of expression, and a wide range of cultural practices. Neoliberalization required both politically and economically the construction of a neoliberal market-based populist culture of differentiated consumerism and individual libertarianism. As such it proved more than a little compatible with that cultural impulse called 'postmodernism' which had long been lurking in the wings but could now emerge full-blown as both a cultural and an intellectual dominant. This was the challenge that corporations and class elites set out to finesse in the 1980s.

In the US case a confidential memo sent by Lewis Powell to the US Chamber of Commerce in August 1971. Powell, about to be elevated to the Supreme Court by Richard Nixon, argued that criticism of and opposition to the US free enterprise system had gone too far and that 'the time had come––indeed it is long overdue––for the wisdom, ingenuity and resources of American business to be marshaled against those who would destroy it'.

Powell argued that individual action was insufficient. 'Strength', he wrote, 'lies in organization, in careful long-range planning and implementation, in consistency of action over an indefinite period of years, in the scale of financing available only through joint effort, and in the political power available only through united action and national organizations'. The National Chamber of Commerce, he argued, should lead an assault upon the major institutions––universities, schools, the media, publishing, the courts––in order to change how individuals think 'about the corporation, the law, culture, and the individual'. US businesses did not lack resources for such an effort, particularly when they pooled their resources together.

[Dec 09, 2018] NYT and CIA have had relationship with, and was caught having planted CIA workers as NYT writers

Notable quotes:
"... Non-elite members of the Party -- functionaries -- mistake their "secret" knowledge as professional courtesy rather than as perquisite and status marker. (I don't suppose it's a secret to anyone that the US CIA regularly plants stories in the NYTimes and elsewhere... unless you weren't paying attention in the strident disinfo campaign prior to the Iraq invasion.) ..."
Aug 30, 2012 | www.theguardian.com
sanda1scuptorNYC , 30 Aug 2012 07:36
Howard Zinn said, in a speech given shortly after the 2008 Presidential election, "If you don't know history, it's like you were born yesterday. The government can tell you anything." (Speech was played on DemocracyNow www.democracynow.org about Jan. 4, 2009 and is archived, free on the website.)

Being older (18 on my last Leap Year birthday - 72), I recall the NYTimes and CIA have had relationship with, and was caught having "planted CIA workers" as NYTimes writers. Within my adult lifetime, in fact.

sigil , 30 Aug 2012 05:49

This is what the CIA reflexively does: insists that [...] it is an "intelligence matter".

In a sense the CIA is always going to be right on this one - "Central Intelligence Agency" - but only as a matter of nomenclature, rather than of any other dictionary definition of the word "intelligence".

Brusselsexpats , 30 Aug 2012 05:49
Actually the collusion between the CIA and big business is far more damaging. The first US company I worked for in Brussels (it was my first job) was constantly being targeted by the US media for having connections to corrupt South American and Third World regimes. On what seemed like an almost monthly basis our personnel department would send round memos saying that we were strictly forbidden to talk to journalists about the latest exposé.

It was great fun - even the telex operators knew who the spies were.

kcameron , 30 Aug 2012 05:26
The line "'The optics aren't what they look like,' is truly an instant classic. It reminds me of one of my favorite Yogi Berra quotes (which, unlike many attributed to him, is real, I think). Yogi once said about a restaurant in New York "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded." Perhaps Yogi should become an editor for the Times.
AmityAmity , 30 Aug 2012 04:55
British readers will no doubt be shocked -- shocked! -- to learn of cozy relations between a major news organization and a national intelligence agency.

... ... ...

MiltonWiltmellow , 30 Aug 2012 02:40

"'I know the circumstances, and if you knew everything that's going on, you'd know it's much ado about nothing,' Baquet said. 'I can't go into in detail. But I'm confident after talking to Mark that it's much ado about nothing.'

"'The optics aren't what they look like,' he went on. 'I've talked to Mark, I know the circumstance, and given what I know, it's much ado about nothing.'"

How can you have a Party if you don't have Party elites?

And how can a self-respecting member of the Party claim their individual status within the Party without secret knowledge designed to identify one another as members of the Party elite?

[Proles are] natural inferiors who must be kept in subjection, like animals ... Life, if you looked about you, bore no resemblance not only to the lies that streamed out of the telescreens, but even to the ideals the Party was trying to achieve. ... The ideal set up by the Party was something huge, terrible, and glittering -- a world of of steel and concrete, of monstrous machines and terrifying weapons -- a nation of warriors and fanatics, marching forward in perfect unity, all thinking the same thoughts and shouting the same slogans, perpetually working, fighting, triumphing, persecuting -- 300 million people all with the same face. The reality was decaying, dingy cities, where underfed people shuffled to and fro in leaky shoes... [ 1984 ,pp 73-74]

It makes no difference if an imagined socialist England, a collapsing Roman city-state empire, an actual Soviet Union, or a modern American oligarchy.

Party members thrive while those wretched proles flail in confused and hungry desperation for something authentic (like a George Bush) or even simply reassuring (like a Barack Obama.)

Non-elite members of the Party -- functionaries -- mistake their "secret" knowledge as professional courtesy rather than as perquisite and status marker. (I don't suppose it's a secret to anyone that the US CIA regularly plants stories in the NYTimes and elsewhere... unless you weren't paying attention in the strident disinfo campaign prior to the Iraq invasion.)

Manzetti has "no bad intent" because he is loyal to the Party.

Like all loyal (and very well compensated) Party members, he would never do anything as subversive as reveal Party secrets.

People can be detained for almost any reason these days!

After all, what's the future of a Party that lacks effective enforcement?

[Dec 09, 2018] The fatal flaw of neoliberalism: it s bad economics: Neoliberalism and its usual prescriptions – always more markets, always less government – are in fact a perversion of mainstream economics by Dani Rodrik

Notable quotes:
"... The term is used as a catchall for anything that smacks of deregulation, liberalisation, privatisation or fiscal austerity. Today it is routinely reviled as a shorthand for the ideas and practices that have produced growing economic insecurity and inequality, led to the loss of our political values and ideals, and even precipitated our current populist backlash ..."
"... The use of the term "neoliberal" exploded in the 1990s, when it became closely associated with two developments, neither of which Peters's article had mentioned. One of these was financial deregulation, which would culminate in the 2008 financial crash and in the still-lingering euro debacle . The second was economic globalisation, which accelerated thanks to free flows of finance and to a new, more ambitious type of trade agreement. Financialisation and globalisation have become the most overt manifestations of neoliberalism in today's world. ..."
"... That neoliberalism is a slippery, shifting concept, with no explicit lobby of defenders, does not mean that it is irrelevant or unreal. ..."
"... homo economicus ..."
"... A version of this article first appeared in Boston Review ..."
"... Main illustration by Eleanor Shakespeare ..."
Nov 14, 2017 | www.theguardian.com
As even its harshest critics concede, neoliberalism is hard to pin down. In broad terms, it denotes a preference for markets over government, economic incentives over cultural norms, and private entrepreneurship over collective action. It has been used to describe a wide range of phenomena – from Augusto Pinochet to Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, from the Clinton Democrats and the UK's New Labour to the economic opening in China and the reform of the welfare state in Sweden.

The term is used as a catchall for anything that smacks of deregulation, liberalisation, privatisation or fiscal austerity. Today it is routinely reviled as a shorthand for the ideas and practices that have produced growing economic insecurity and inequality, led to the loss of our political values and ideals, and even precipitated our current populist backlash .

We live in the age of neoliberalism, apparently. But who are neoliberalism's adherents and disseminators – the neoliberals themselves? Oddly, you have to go back a long time to find anyone explicitly embracing neoliberalism. In 1982, Charles Peters, the longtime editor of the political magazine Washington Monthly, published an essay titled A Neo-Liberal's Manifesto . It makes for interesting reading 35 years later, since the neoliberalism it describes bears little resemblance to today's target of derision. The politicians Peters names as exemplifying the movement are not the likes of Thatcher and Reagan, but rather liberals – in the US sense of the word – who have become disillusioned with unions and big government and dropped their prejudices against markets and the military.

The use of the term "neoliberal" exploded in the 1990s, when it became closely associated with two developments, neither of which Peters's article had mentioned. One of these was financial deregulation, which would culminate in the 2008 financial crash and in the still-lingering euro debacle . The second was economic globalisation, which accelerated thanks to free flows of finance and to a new, more ambitious type of trade agreement. Financialisation and globalisation have become the most overt manifestations of neoliberalism in today's world.

That neoliberalism is a slippery, shifting concept, with no explicit lobby of defenders, does not mean that it is irrelevant or unreal. Who can deny that the world has experienced a decisive shift toward markets from the 1980s on? Or that centre-left politicians – Democrats in the US, socialists and social democrats in Europe – enthusiastically adopted some of the central creeds of Thatcherism and Reaganism, such as deregulation, privatisation, financial liberalisation and individual enterprise? Much of our contemporary policy discussion remains infused with principles supposedly grounded in the concept of homo economicus , the perfectly rational human being, found in many economic theories, who always pursues his own self-interest.

But the looseness of the term neoliberalism also means that criticism of it often misses the mark. There is nothing wrong with markets, private entrepreneurship or incentives – when deployed appropriately. Their creative use lies behind the most significant economic achievements of our time. As we heap scorn on neoliberalism, we risk throwing out some of neoliberalism's useful ideas.

The real trouble is that mainstream economics shades too easily into ideology, constraining the choices that we appear to have and providing cookie-cutter solutions. A proper understanding of the economics that lie behind neoliberalism would allow us to identify – and to reject – ideology when it masquerades as economic science. Most importantly, it would help us to develop the institutional imagination we badly need to redesign capitalism for the 21st century.


N eoliberalism is typically understood as being based on key tenets of mainstream economic science. To see those tenets without the ideology, consider this thought experiment. A well-known and highly regarded economist lands in a country he has never visited and knows nothing about. He is brought to a meeting with the country's leading policymakers. "Our country is in trouble," they tell him. "The economy is stagnant, investment is low, and there is no growth in sight." They turn to him expectantly: "Please tell us what we should do to make our economy grow."

The economist pleads ignorance and explains that he knows too little about the country to make any recommendations. He would need to study the history of the economy, to analyse the statistics, and to travel around the country before he could say anything.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Tony Blair and Bill Clinton: centre-left politicians who enthusiastically adopted some of the central creeds of Thatcherism and Reaganism. Photograph: Reuters

But his hosts are insistent. "We understand your reticence, and we wish you had the time for all that," they tell him. "But isn't economics a science, and aren't you one of its most distinguished practitioners? Even though you do not know much about our economy, surely there are some general theories and prescriptions you can share with us to guide our economic policies and reforms."

The economist is now in a bind. He does not want to emulate those economic gurus he has long criticised for peddling their favourite policy advice. But he feels challenged by the question. Are there universal truths in economics? Can he say anything valid or useful?

So he begins. The efficiency with which an economy's resources are allocated is a critical determinant of the economy's performance, he says. Efficiency, in turn, requires aligning the incentives of households and businesses with social costs and benefits. The incentives faced by entrepreneurs, investors and producers are particularly important when it comes to economic growth. Growth needs a system of property rights and contract enforcement that will ensure those who invest can retain the returns on their investments. And the economy must be open to ideas and innovations from the rest of the world.

But economies can be derailed by macroeconomic instability, he goes on. Governments must therefore pursue a sound monetary policy , which means restricting the growth of liquidity to the increase in nominal money demand at reasonable inflation. They must ensure fiscal sustainability, so that the increase in public debt does not outpace national income. And they must carry out prudential regulation of banks and other financial institutions to prevent the financial system from taking excessive risk.

Now he is warming to his task. Economics is not just about efficiency and growth, he adds. Economic principles also carry over to equity and social policy. Economics has little to say about how much redistribution a society should seek. But it does tell us that the tax base should be as broad as possible, and that social programmes should be designed in a way that does not encourage workers to drop out of the labour market.

By the time the economist stops, it appears as if he has laid out a fully fledged neoliberal agenda. A critic in the audience will have heard all the code words: efficiency, incentives, property rights, sound money, fiscal prudence. And yet the universal principles that the economist describes are in fact quite open-ended. They presume a capitalist economy – one in which investment decisions are made by private individuals and firms – but not much beyond that. They allow for – indeed, they require – a surprising variety of institutional arrangements.

So has the economist just delivered a neoliberal screed? We would be mistaken to think so, and our mistake would consist of associating each abstract term – incentives, property rights, sound money – with a particular institutional counterpart. And therein lies the central conceit, and the fatal flaw, of neoliberalism: the belief that first-order economic principles map on to a unique set of policies, approximated by a Thatcher/Reagan-style agenda.

Consider property rights. They matter insofar as they allocate returns on investments. An optimal system would distribute property rights to those who would make the best use of an asset, and afford protection against those most likely to expropriate the returns. Property rights are good when they protect innovators from free riders, but they are bad when they protect them from competition. Depending on the context, a legal regime that provides the appropriate incentives can look quite different from the standard US-style regime of private property rights.

This may seem like a semantic point with little practical import; but China's phenomenal economic success is largely due to its orthodoxy-defying institutional tinkering. China turned to markets, but did not copy western practices in property rights. Its reforms produced market-based incentives through a series of unusual institutional arrangements that were better adapted to the local context. Rather than move directly from state to private ownership, for example, which would have been stymied by the weakness of the prevailing legal structures, the country relied on mixed forms of ownership that provided more effective property rights for entrepreneurs in practice. Township and Village Enterprises (TVEs), which spearheaded Chinese economic growth during the 1980s, were collectives owned and controlled by local governments. Even though TVEs were publicly owned, entrepreneurs received the protection they needed against expropriation. Local governments had a direct stake in the profits of the firms, and hence did not want to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.

China relied on a range of such innovations, each delivering the economist's higher-order economic principles in unfamiliar institutional arrangements. For instance, it shielded its large state sector from global competition, establishing special economic zones where foreign firms could operate with different rules than in the rest of the economy. In view of such departures from orthodox blueprints, describing China's economic reforms as neoliberal – as critics are inclined to do – distorts more than it reveals. If we are to call this neoliberalism, we must surely look more kindly on the ideas behind the most dramatic poverty reduction in history.

One might protest that China's institutional innovations were purely transitional. Perhaps it will have to converge on western-style institutions to sustain its economic progress. But this common line of thinking overlooks the diversity of capitalist arrangements that still prevails among advanced economies, despite the considerable homogenisation of our policy discourse.

What, after all, are western institutions? The size of the public sector in OECD countries varies, from a third of the economy in Korea to nearly 60% in Finland. In Iceland, 86% of workers are members of a trade union; the comparable number in Switzerland is just 16%. In the US, firms can fire workers almost at will; French labour laws have historically required employers to jump through many hoops first. Stock markets have grown to a total value of nearly one-and-a-half times GDP in the US; in Germany, they are only a third as large, equivalent to just 50% of GDP.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest 'China turned to markets, but did not copy western practices ... ' Photograph: AFP/Getty

The idea that any one of these models of taxation, labour relations or financial organisation is inherently superior to the others is belied by the varying economic fortunes that each of these economies have experienced over recent decades. The US has gone through successive periods of angst in which its economic institutions were judged inferior to those in Germany, Japan, China, and now possibly Germany again. Certainly, comparable levels of wealth and productivity can be produced under very different models of capitalism. We might even go a step further: today's prevailing models probably come nowhere near exhausting the range of what might be possible, and desirable, in the future.

The visiting economist in our thought experiment knows all this, and recognises that the principles he has enunciated need to be filled in with institutional detail before they become operational. Property rights? Yes, but how? Sound money? Of course, but how? It would perhaps be easier to criticise his list of principles for being vacuous than to denounce it as a neoliberal screed.

Still, these principles are not entirely content-free. China, and indeed all countries that managed to develop rapidly, demonstrate the utility of those principles once they are properly adapted to local context. Conversely, too many economies have been driven to ruin courtesy of political leaders who chose to violate them. We need look no further than Latin American populists or eastern European communist regimes to appreciate the practical significance of sound money, fiscal sustainability and private incentives.


O f course, economics goes beyond a list of abstract, largely common-sense principles. Much of the work of economists consists of developing stylised models of how economies work and then confronting those models with evidence. Economists tend to think of what they do as progressively refining their understanding of the world: their models are supposed to get better and better as they are tested and revised over time. But progress in economics happens differently.

Economists study a social reality that is unlike the physical universe. It is completely manmade, highly malleable and operates according to different rules across time and space. Economics advances not by settling on the right model or theory to answer such questions, but by improving our understanding of the diversity of causal relationships. Neoliberalism and its customary remedies – always more markets, always less government – are in fact a perversion of mainstream economics. Good economists know that the correct answer to any question in economics is: it depends.

Does an increase in the minimum wage depress employment? Yes, if the labour market is really competitive and employers have no control over the wage they must pay to attract workers; but not necessarily otherwise. Does trade liberalisation increase economic growth? Yes, if it increases the profitability of industries where the bulk of investment and innovation takes place; but not otherwise. Does more government spending increase employment? Yes, if there is slack in the economy and wages do not rise; but not otherwise. Does monopoly harm innovation? Yes and no, depending on a whole host of market circumstances.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest 'Today [neoliberalism] is routinely reviled as a shorthand for the ideas that have produced growing economic inequality and precipitated our current populist backlash' Trump signing an order to take the US out of the TPP trade pact. Photograph: AFP/Getty

In economics, new models rarely supplant older models. The basic competitive-markets model dating back to Adam Smith has been modified over time by the inclusion, in rough historical order, of monopoly, externalities, scale economies, incomplete and asymmetric information, irrational behaviour and many other real-world features. But the older models remain as useful as ever. Understanding how real markets operate necessitates using different lenses at different times.

Perhaps maps offer the best analogy. Just like economic models, maps are highly stylised representations of reality . They are useful precisely because they abstract from many real-world details that would get in the way. But abstraction also implies that we need a different map depending on the nature of our journey. If we are travelling by bike, we need a map of bike trails. If we are to go on foot, we need a map of footpaths. If a new subway is constructed, we will need a subway map – but we wouldn't throw out the older maps.

Economists tend to be very good at making maps, but not good enough at choosing the one most suited to the task at hand. When confronted with policy questions of the type our visiting economist faces, too many of them resort to "benchmark" models that favour the laissez-faire approach. Kneejerk solutions and hubris replace the richness and humility of the discussion in the seminar room. John Maynard Keynes once defined economics as the "science of thinking in terms of models, joined to the art of choosing models which are relevant". Economists typically have trouble with the "art" part.

This, too, can be illustrated with a parable. A journalist calls an economics professor for his view on whether free trade is a good idea. The professor responds enthusiastically in the affirmative. The journalist then goes undercover as a student in the professor's advanced graduate seminar on international trade. He poses the same question: is free trade good? This time the professor is stymied. "What do you mean by 'good'?" he responds. "And good for whom?" The professor then launches into an extensive exegesis that will ultimately culminate in a heavily hedged statement: "So if the long list of conditions I have just described are satisfied, and assuming we can tax the beneficiaries to compensate the losers, freer trade has the potential to increase everyone's wellbeing." If he is in an expansive mood, the professor might add that the effect of free trade on an economy's longterm growth rate is not clear either, and would depend on an altogether different set of requirements.

This professor is rather different from the one the journalist encountered previously. On the record, he exudes self-confidence, not reticence, about the appropriate policy. There is one and only one model, at least as far as the public conversation is concerned, and there is a single correct answer, regardless of context. Strangely, the professor deems the knowledge that he imparts to his advanced students to be inappropriate (or dangerous) for the general public. Why?

The roots of such behaviour lie deep in the culture of the economics profession. But one important motive is the zeal to display the profession's crown jewels – market efficiency, the invisible hand, comparative advantage – in untarnished form, and to shield them from attack by self-interested barbarians, namely the protectionists . Unfortunately, these economists typically ignore the barbarians on the other side of the issue – financiers and multinational corporations whose motives are no purer and who are all too ready to hijack these ideas for their own benefit.

As a result, economists' contributions to public debate are often biased in one direction, in favour of more trade, more finance and less government. That is why economists have developed a reputation as cheerleaders for neoliberalism, even if mainstream economics is very far from a paean to laissez-faire. The economists who let their enthusiasm for free markets run wild are in fact not being true to their own discipline.


H ow then should we think about globalisation in order to liberate it from the grip of neoliberal practices? We must begin by understanding the positive potential of global markets. Access to world markets in goods, technologies and capital has played an important role in virtually all of the economic miracles of our time. China is the most recent and powerful reminder of this historical truth, but it is not the only case. Before China, similar miracles were performed by South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and a few non-Asian countries such as Mauritius . All of these countries embraced globalisation rather than turn their backs on it, and they benefited handsomely.

Defenders of the existing economic order will quickly point to these examples when globalisation comes into question. What they will fail to say is that almost all of these countries joined the world economy by violating neoliberal strictures. South Korea and Taiwan, for instance, heavily subsidised their exporters, the former through the financial system and the latter through tax incentives. All of them eventually removed most of their import restrictions, long after economic growth had taken off.

But none, with the sole exception of Chile in the 1980s under Pinochet, followed the neoliberal recommendation of a rapid opening-up to imports. Chile's neoliberal experiment eventually produced the worst economic crisis in all of Latin America. While the details differ across countries, in all cases governments played an active role in restructuring the economy and buffering it against a volatile external environment. Industrial policies, restrictions on capital flows and currency controls – all prohibited in the neoliberal playbook – were rampant.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Protest against Nafta in Mexico City in 2008: since the reforms of the mid-90s, the country's economy has underperformed. Photograph: EPA

By contrast, countries that stuck closest to the neoliberal model of globalisation were sorely disappointed. Mexico provides a particularly sad example. Following a series of macroeconomic crises in the mid-1990s, Mexico embraced macroeconomic orthodoxy, extensively liberalised its economy, freed up the financial system, sharply reduced import restrictions and signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta). These policies did produce macroeconomic stability and a significant rise in foreign trade and internal investment. But where it counts – in overall productivity and economic growth – the experiment failed . Since undertaking the reforms, overall productivity in Mexico has stagnated, and the economy has underperformed even by the undemanding standards of Latin America.

These outcomes are not a surprise from the perspective of sound economics. They are yet another manifestation of the need for economic policies to be attuned to the failures to which markets are prone, and to be tailored to the specific circumstances of each country. No single blueprint fits all.


A s Peters's 1982 manifesto attests, the meaning of neoliberalism has changed considerably over time as the label has acquired harder-line connotations with respect to deregulation, financialisation and globalisation. But there is one thread that connects all versions of neoliberalism, and that is the emphasis on economic growth . Peters wrote in 1982 that the emphasis was warranted because growth is essential to all our social and political ends – community, democracy, prosperity. Entrepreneurship, private investment and removing obstacles that stand in the way (such as excessive regulation) were all instruments for achieving economic growth. If a similar neoliberal manifesto were penned today, it would no doubt make the same point.

ss="rich-link"> Globalisation: the rise and fall of an idea that swept the world Read more

Critics often point out that this emphasis on economics debases and sacrifices other important values such as equality, social inclusion, democratic deliberation and justice. Those political and social objectives obviously matter enormously, and in some contexts they matter the most. They cannot always, or even often, be achieved by means of technocratic economic policies; politics must play a central role.

Still, neoliberals are not wrong when they argue that our most cherished ideals are more likely to be attained when our economy is vibrant, strong and growing. Where they are wrong is in believing that there is a unique and universal recipe for improving economic performance, to which they have access. The fatal flaw of neoliberalism is that it does not even get the economics right. It must be rejected on its own terms for the simple reason that it is bad economics.

A version of this article first appeared in Boston Review

Main illustration by Eleanor Shakespeare

[Dec 09, 2018] Britain on the Leash with the United States but at Which End by James George Jatras

Oct 13, 2018 | off-guardian.org

The "special relationship" between the United States and the United Kingdom is often assumed to be one where the once-great, sophisticated Brits are subordinate to the upstart, uncouth Yanks.

Iconic of this assumption is the mocking of former prime minister Tony Blair as George W. Bush's "poodle" for his riding shotgun on the ill-advised American stagecoach blundering into Iraq in 2003. Blair was in good practice, having served as Bill Clinton's dogsbody in the no less criminal NATO aggression against Serbia over Kosovo in 1999.

On the surface, the UK may seem just one more vassal state on par with Germany, Japan, South Korea, and so many other useless so-called allies . We control their intelligence services, their military commands, their think tanks, and much of their media. We can sink their financial systems and economies at will. Emblematic is German Chancellor Angela Merkel's impotent ire at discovering the Obama administration had listened in on her cell phone, about which she – did precisely nothing. Global hegemony means never having to say you're sorry.

These countries know on which end of the leash they are: the one attached to the collar around their necks. The hand unmistakably is in Washington. These semi-sovereign countries answer to the US with the same servility as member states of the Warsaw Pact once heeded the USSR's Politburo. (Sometimes more. Communist Romania, though then a member of the Warsaw Pact refused to participate in the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia or even allow Soviet or other Pact forces to cross its territory.

By contrast, during NATO's 1999 assault on Serbia, Bucharest allowed NATO military aircraft access to its airspace, even though not yet a member of that alliance and despite most Romanians' opposition to the campaign.)

But the widespread perception of Britain as just another satellite may be misleading.

To start with, there are some relationships where it seems the US is the vassal dancing to the tune of the foreign capital, not the other way around. Israel is the unchallenged champion in this weight class, with Saudi Arabia a runner up. The alliance between Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) – the ultimate Washington "power couple" – to get the Trump administration to destroy Iran for them has American politicos listening for instructions with all the rapt attention of the terrier Nipper on the RCA Victor logo . (Or did, until the recent disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Whether this portends a real shift in American attitudes toward Riyadh remains questionable . Saudi cash still speaks loudly and will continue to do so whether or not MbS stays in charge.)

Specifics of the peculiar US-UK relationship stem from the period of flux at the end of World War II. The United States emerged from the war in a commanding position economically and financially, eclipsing Britannia's declining empire that simply no longer had the resources to play the leading role. That didn't mean, however, that London trusted the Americans' ability to manage things without their astute guidance. As Tony Judt describes in Postwar , the British attitude of " superiority towards the country that had displaced them at the imperial apex " was "nicely captured" in a scribble during negotiations regarding the UK's postwar loan:

In Washington Lord Halifax
Once whispered to Lord Keynes:
"It's true they have the moneybags
But we have all the brains."

Even in its diminished condition London found it could punch well above its weight by exerting its influence on its stronger but (it was confident) dumber cousins across the Pond. It helped that as the Cold War unfolded following former Prime Minister Winston Churchill's 1946 Iron Curtain speech there were very close ties between sister agencies like MI6 (founded 1909) and the newer wartime OSS (1942), then the CIA (1947); likewise the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ, 1919) and the National Security Administration (NSA, 1952). Comparable sister agencies – perhaps more properly termed daughters of their UK mothers – were set up in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. This became the so-called "Five Eyes" of the tight Anglosphere spook community, infamous for spying on each others' citizens to avoid pesky legal prohibitions on domestic surveillance .

Despite not having two farthings to rub together, impoverished Britain – where wartime rationing wasn't fully ended until 1954 – had a prime seat at the table fashioning the world's postwar financial structure. The 1944 Bretton Woods conference was largely an Anglo-American affair , of which the aforementioned Lord John Maynard Keynes was a prominent architect along with Harry Dexter White, Special Assistant to the US Secretary of the Treasury and Soviet agent.

American and British agendas also dovetailed in the Middle East. While the US didn't have much of a presence in the region before the 1945 meeting between US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Saudi King ibn Saud, founder of the third and current ( and hopefully last ) Saudi state – and didn't assume a dominant role until the humiliation inflicted on Britain, France, and Israel by President Dwight Eisenhower during the 1956 Suez Crisis – London has long considered much of the region within its sphere of influence. After World War I under the Sykes-Picot agreement with France , the UK had expanded her holdings on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire, including taking a decisive role in consolidating Saudi Arabia under ibn Saud. While in the 1950s the US largely stepped into Britain's role managing the "East of Suez," the former suzerain was by no means dealt out. The UK was a founding member with the US of the now-defunct Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) in 1955.

CENTO – like NATO and their one-time eastern counterpart, the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) – was designed as a counter to the USSR. But in the case of Britain, the history of hostility to Russia under tsar or commissar alike has much deeper and longer roots, going back at least to the Crimean War in the 1850s . The reasons for the longstanding British vendetta against Russia are not entirely clear and seem to have disparate roots: the desire to ensure that no one power is dominant on the European mainland (directed first against France, then Russia, then Germany, then the USSR and again Russia); maintaining supremacy on the seas by denying Russia warm-waters ports, above all the Dardanelles; and making sure territories of a dissolving Ottoman empire would be taken under the wing of London, not Saint Petersburg. As described by Andrew Lambert , professor of naval history at King's College London, the Crimean War still echoes today :

"In the 1840s, 1850s, Britain and America are not the chief rivals; it's Britain and Russia. Britain and Russia are rivals for world power, and Turkey, the Ottoman Empire, which is much larger than modern Turkey -- it includes modern Romania, Bulgaria, parts of Serbia, and also Egypt and Arabia -- is a declining empire. But it's the bulwark between Russia, which is advancing south and west, and Britain, which is advancing east and is looking to open its connections up through the Mediterranean into its empire in India and the Pacific. And it's really about who is running Turkey. Is it going to be a Russian satellite, a bit like the Eastern Bloc was in the Cold War, or is it going to be a British satellite, really run by British capital, a market for British goods? And the Crimean War is going to be the fulcrum for this cold war to actually go hot for a couple of years, and Sevastopol is going to be the fulcrum for that fighting."

Control of the Middle East – and opposing the Russians – became a British obsession, first to sustain the lifeline to India, the Jewel in the Crown of the empire, then for control of petroleum, the life's blood of modern economies. In the context of the 19th and early 20th century Great Game of empire, that was understandable. Much later, similar considerations might even support Jimmy Carter's taking up much the same position, declaring in 1980 that "outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force." The USSR was then a superpower and we were dependent on energy from the Gulf region.

But what's our reason for maintaining that posture almost four decades later when the Soviet Union is gone and the US doesn't need Middle Eastern oil? There are no reasonable national interests, only corporate interests and those of the Arab monarchies we laughably claim as allies. Add to that the bureaucracies and habits of mind that link the US and UK establishments, including their intelligence and financial components.

In view of all the foregoing, what then would policymakers in the United Kingdom think about an aspirant to the American presidency who not only disparages the value of existing alliances – without which Britain is a bit player – but openly pledges to improve relations with Moscow ? To what lengths would they go to stop him?

Say 'hello' to Russiagate!

One can argue whether or not the phony claim of the Trump campaign's "collusion" with Moscow was hatched in London or whether the British just lent some " hands across the water " to an effort concocted by the Democratic National Committee, the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, the Clinton Foundation, and their collaborators at Fusion GPS and inside the Obama administration. Either way, it's clear that while evidence of Russian connection is nonexistent that of British agencies is unmistakable, as is the UK's hand in a sustained campaign of demonization and isolation to sink any possible rapprochement between the US and Russia .

As for Russiagate itself, just try to find anyone involved who's actually Russian. The only basis for the widespread assumption that any material in the Dirty Dossier that underlies the whole operation originated with Russia is the claim of Christopher Steele , the British "ex" spy who wrote it, evidently in collaboration with people at the US State Department and Fusion GPS. (The notion that Steele, who hadn't been in Russia for years, would have Kremlin personal contacts is absurd. How chummy are the heads of the American section of Chinese or Russian intelligence with White House staff?)

While there are no obvious Russians in Russiagate, there's no shortage of Brits. These include (details at the link) :

Andrew Wood , a former British ambassador to Russia Stefan Halper , a dual US-UK citizen. Ex-MI6 Director Richard Dearlove . Robert Hannigan , former director of GCHQ; there is reason to think surveillance of Trump was conducted by GCHQ as well as by US agencies under FISA warrants. Hannigan abruptly resigned from GCHQ soon after the British government denied the agency had engaged in such spying. Alexander Downer , Australian diplomat (well, not British but remember the Five Eyes!). Joseph Mifsud , Maltese academic and suspected British agent.

At present, the full role played by those listed above is not known. Release of unredacted FISA warrant requests by the Justice Department, which President Trump ordered weeks ago, would shed light on a number of details. Implementation of that order was derailed after a request by – no surprise – British Prime Minister Theresa May . Was she seeking to conceal Russian perfidy, or her own underlings'?

It would be bad enough if Russiagate were the sum of British meddling in American affairs with the aim of torpedoing relations with Moscow. (And to be fair, it wasn't just the UK and Australia. Also implicated are Estonia, Israel, and Ukraine .) But there is also reason to suspect the same motive in false accusations against Russia with respect to the supposed Novichok poisonings in England has a connection to Russiagate via a business associate of Steele's, one Pablo Miller , Sergei Skripal's MI6 recruiter . (So if it turns out there is any Russian connection to the dossier, it could be from Skripal or another dubious expat source, not from the Russian government.) Skripal and his daughter Yulia have disappeared in British custody. Moscow flatly accuses MI6 of poisoning them as a false flag to blame it on Russia.

A similar pattern can be seen with claims of chemical weapons use in Syria : "We have irrefutable evidence that the special services of a state which is in the forefront of the Russophobic campaign had a hand in the staging" of a faked chemical weapons attack in Douma in April 2018. Ambassador Aleksandr Yakovenko pointed to the so-called White Helmets, which is closely associated with al-Qaeda elements and considered by some their PR arm: "I am naming them because they have done things like this before. They are famous for staging attacks in Syria and they receive UK money." Moscow warned for weeks before the now-postponed Syrian government offensive in Idlib that the same ruse was being prepared again with direct British intelligence involvement, even having prepared in advance a video showing victims of an attack that had not yet occurred.

The campaign to demonize Russia shifted into high gear recently with the UK, together with the US and the Netherlands, accusing Russian military intelligence of a smorgasbord of cyberattacks against the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) and other sports organizations, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the Dutch investigation into the downing of MH-17 over Ukraine, and a Swiss lab involved with the Skripal case, plus assorted election interference. In case anyone didn't get the point, British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson declared : "This is not the actions of a great power. This is the actions of a pariah state, and we will continue working with allies to isolate them."

To the extent that the goal of Williamson and his ilk is to ensure isolation and further threats against Russia, it's been a smashing success. More sanctions are on the way . The UK is sending additional troops to the Arctic to counter Russian "aggression." The US threatens to use naval power to block Russian energy exports and to strike Russian weapons disputed under a treaty governing intermediate range nuclear forces. What could possibly go wrong?

In sum, we are seeing a massive, coordinated hybrid campaign of psy-ops and political warfare conducted not by Russia but against Russia, concocted by the UK and its Deep State collaborators in the United States. But it's not only aimed at Russia, it's an attack on the United States by the government of a foreign country that's supposed to be one of our closest allies, a country with which we share many venerable traditions of language, law, and culture.

But for far too long, largely for reasons of historical inertia and elite corruption, we've allowed that government to exercise undue influence on our global policies in a manner not conducive to our own national interests. Now that government, employing every foul deception that earned it the moniker Perfidious Albion , seeks to embroil us in a quarrel with the only country on the planet that can destroy us if things get out of control.

This must stop. A thorough reappraisal of our "special relationship" with the United Kingdom and exposure of its activities to the detriment of the US is imperative.

James George Jatras is an analyst, former U.S. diplomat and foreign policy adviser to the Senate GOP leadership.

[Dec 09, 2018] Proportional representation is definitely the way to go. I am sick to death of the born-to-rule mentality of the major parties, and how they change the rules to benefit themselves and to exclude others

Notable quotes:
"... Yes, its far better than the "first past the post" systems of the UK and the US where the number of votes split between two almost identical candidates can lead to a far different candidate winning with only a little over a third of the total vote. ..."
Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

MikeSw , 30 Oct 2018 22:36

Proportional representation is definitely the way to go. I am sick to death of the born-to-rule mentality of the major parties, and how they change the rules to benefit themselves and to exclude others.

Minority government? There is no such thing - there is only 'government', and it is supposed to involve all members of parliament in the decision-making process. 'Majority' governments are an anathema to good governance. Every time I hear the likes of Tony Abbott claim they have a mandate to implement ALL their policies, even though they only receive around 35% of the primary vote, I want to throw something at the TV.

Bugger them! Make them work for a living - and make them consider ALL views, not just the ones from their own party.

Bradtheunveiler -> BrianLC , 30 Oct 2018 22:36
Win the ALP will next election. By a huge majority too. Looking forward to neg gearing and CGT discount reform in particular.
Onesimus_Tim -> StuartJJ , 30 Oct 2018 22:35

Preferences are an extremely good feature of our voting system

Yes, its far better than the "first past the post" systems of the UK and the US where the number of votes split between two almost identical candidates can lead to a far different candidate winning with only a little over a third of the total vote.

Preferential voting also makes it more possible for the major party duopoly being overturned, allowing people to vote for a good independent without taking the risk of helping a despised major party candidate from winning by default.

[Dec 09, 2018] The problem with representative democracy is that it represents the special interest groups far more than it represents the citizenry

Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Territorian -> Hoskins50 , 30 Oct 2018 23:49

"The problem with representative democracy is that it represents the special interest groups far more than it represents the citizenry." You are spot on.

Nigel Scullion: Minister for Handing out buckets of money to NT Country Liberal Party supporters. Scullion just happened to be a professional fisher before entering parliament.
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/oct/31/indigenous-advancement-funding-redirected-to-cattlemen-and-fishing-groups

Barnaby Joyce: Minister for Agriculture while his Department was too scared to report disgusting conditions in the live sheep export trade.
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/oct/31/agriculture-minister-promises-to-fix-live-export-regulation-after-damning-report

DukeofWoyWoy , 30 Oct 2018 23:48
What a logical and stirring argument you put forward Richard Denniss, and a large majority of the electorate would have to agree.
However there is also a large number of people in the electorate that cannot appear to rise from their nightly slumber without wearing their Blue, Red, Green or Orange tinted glasses before facing the new day.
And because of this, and preferential voting, sneaking in the background is a plethora of the wild mindless sub creatures called politicians who demand their rights to sit in the big white building on Canberra;s Capital Hill, just waiting to spoil not only the electorate's party but also known to prostitute the country's governance to their own advantage.
Richard, we desperately need a follow up stirring article on how to overcome this black menace to our country, for the sake of our country.
Hoskins50 , 30 Oct 2018 23:38
If you think the public has an appetite for more bureaucrats, more rules and regulations to micromanage people's lives and even more political wheeling and dealing in Canberra, you should get out more.

That the coalition government is on the slide is of no long term consequence. We'll get a Labor government next year and in a few years another coalition government and so on.

What is of long term significance is the loss of public trust in pretty much all of the institutions - including goverment and the various government agencies that would be more powerful under your scenario.

The problem with representative democracy is that it represents the special interest groups far more than it represents the citizenry. Perhaps the solution lies in more direct democracy.

The same sex marriage plebiscite demonstrated that we commoners can deliberate on a sensitive issue, and in doing so behave far better than our elected representatives in Parliament. And can make a sensible and progressive decision that our elected representatives could not - both coalition and Labor MPs had opposed same sex marriage when it was raised in th e Parliament.

The internet provides a platform for direct decision making by the citizenry. Perhaps we should try that instead of what you are suggesting.

diggerdigger , 30 Oct 2018 22:12
It's been clear for years that proportional representation has progressively meant death to effective government, and that it forces major parties policy development further to the political fringes to appeal to the fruit loops on the periphery of their respective demographics. Time for a return to simple preferential voting (a-la-house of Reps) in the senate, and an overhaul of what's considered a valid ballot - if you want to only rank 1, 2, 3 or all candidates it should be entirely your choice.

Hung parliaments, with diametrically opposed clumps of "independents" jointly holding the balance of power can only ever deliver legislative stasis and constant political turmoil (as we have experienced since 2010 and Europe and the US have suffered for the last decade).

Oh for the good old days when one or the other of the major parties held a working majority in both houses, and policy was targeted at the 'sensible centre" of the Australian electorate. At worst, they only had to deal with a couple of sensible Democrats, and the odd lunatic fringe-ist like Harradine.

[Dec 09, 2018] People who vote but really don't get represented. All those votes just get mopped up by two major parties who represent thatsame neooliberal sharks who want to devour the voters

Notable quotes:
"... I find the Australian electoral system very mediocre. All those people who vote but really don't get represented. All those votes that just get mopped up by the major parties. I really can't understand why Australians have put up with such a poor system for so long. ..."
Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

RonGlaeston , 31 Oct 2018 04:56

Yes, yes! MMP!!

Having spent many years in a New Zealand under a First Past the Post system and then Mixed Member Proportional, I am an enthusiastic supporter of proportional systems.

I find the Australian electoral system very mediocre. All those people who vote but really don't get represented. All those votes that just get mopped up by the major parties. I really can't understand why Australians have put up with such a poor system for so long.

Hettie7-> melbournesam 31 Oct 2018 00:45

Proportional representation makes the most sense. Each party gets the same percentage of seats in the parliament as it received votes in the election. That really is fair.

[Dec 09, 2018] Nationalisation of essential services is required to put this country back on an even keel. It was a stupid idea by governments (of all persuasions) to sell off monopoly essential service assets. The neoliberal experiment has failed.

Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

RonRabbit99 , 31 Oct 2018 01:17

Nationalisation of essential services is required to put this country back on an even keel. It was a stupid idea by governments (of all persuasions) to sell off monopoly essential service assets. The neoliberal experiment has failed.
Carlosthepossum , 31 Oct 2018 01:15
'Neoliberalism is dead.'
However, we cannot rest until it is buried and cremated.
economicalternative -> Bewareofnazihippies , 31 Oct 2018 01:03
Beware: Just build a HUGE worker owned, democratically run (by workers) sector to compete against privately owned concerns. If workers are (democratically) involved in running and managing their own workplaces that will give plenty of competition for private concerns. Workers will be involved in the 'politics' and economics of their local area as part of work. They'll have more control over the technologies they want to use, how much profit they want to make or not, wages, investment, working conditions and all aspects of their concern. Workers would 'participate' more and be more involved in thinking about larger concerns. This would make a nation/region more democratic on the 'ground'. Not just reliant on 'representative' democracy/voting. You'd still need over-arching government(s) but people would have more direct control over their livelihoods and work conditions. Such a BIG sector would give (I'm talking about Health, Education, manufacturing etc - not 'bread shop', basket-weaving coops/social enterprises) private enterprise some REAL competition on prices and services. It would deliver democracy to masses of people, some control over wealth generation/economy and on a large enough scale CHANGE society in terms of social justice and politics.

You don't need to go to State control or Private control of 'the economy'. Just the right kinds of structures.

Nintiblue , 31 Oct 2018 01:03
Its not dead yet.

Neoliberalism is like a cancer on a health democracy. If we'd treated it in its early magnifications (when the Librerals and far right old version of Labor), first started selling off public assets (that are then charged back to citizens to use at increasing price rates etc), we would have been fine.

But now the cancer is deep in democracy's lymph glads ( in many of our public services) and so needs radical prolonged treatment and some surgery to assure the country's thriving democracy survives.

First surgically remove the source: cease (vote out always) all right wing conservative nutters from ever gaining power, or media mogul influence of government. Most but not all hide in the Coalition.

Then, begin the reconstruction surgery to re-assert public assets and services. This is a temporary but life saving cost.

Then, monitor and manage, (educate) the citizens about this scourge on democracy.

Dunkey2830 , 31 Oct 2018 01:00

The death of neoliberalism means we can finally have a national debate about the size and role of government, and the shape of the economy and society we want to build.

Neoliberalism is far from dead Richard - neoliberalism is deeply entrenched in mainstream thinking its corporate enriching magic works insidiously - mostly subliminally under cover of 'sensible' free market self clearing 'orthodox' economics.
You and many others from 'progressive' TAI almost daily, unwittingly play a role in reinforcing and entrenching neoliberal ideology in the community by framing macroeconomic analysis/commentary in neoliberal terms.
Your oft repeated call for 'budget balance' over the business cycle is such an example. Only fiscal deficits can build a prosperous productive nation in the absence of consistent external surpluses - no government can ever build and expand a nation without permanently injecting more funds into the non government sector than (through taxation etc) it withdraws.

Both our major parties of government espouse neoliberal economic orthodoxy as if there is no alternative - and no one calls them out - not even the quasi progressive TAI.

DSGE based 'orthodox' economics provides the lifeblood to neoliberalism - the myth of tax collections funding expenditure provides plausible cover to constrain spending on citizen/social services - but when it comes to war/corporate subsidy spending, such constraints are immediately abandoned.
Hetereodox MMT exposes the lie of such DSGE myths - but faithful Ptolemaic 'progressives' refuse to investigate or debate such Copernican macroeconomic sacrilege.

The recent TAI 'outlook' economic conference (proudly sponsored by 'The Australian'!! ) was a classic progressive 'fail'; loaded with orthodox 'experts' like Bowen and Keating spouting austerity inducing neoliberal orthodoxy - not one heterodox economist was invited to present the unwelcome, uncomfortable truth of sovereign nation macroeconomic reality.
Prof Bill Mitchell is Australia's most widely & internationally respected REAL progressive heterodox academic - yet the TAI ignores him.

Neoliberalism won't die until it extracts the last breath of available wealth from Australia's citizenry. It will die a savage death with the onset of the impending depression 'to end all depressions' when the collapsing housing bubble leaves citizens with a 'decades long' bubble of unpayable private debt.

Only then will people realise they have been elaborately 'conned' - too late.

P.S. For all TRUE progressives:
Some brilliant short videos here and here by Parody Project.

CaligulaMcNutt -> CaptnGster , 31 Oct 2018 00:54
That's really the point, much as you might expect government like the Howard and Abbott ones to have stuck to their claimed neo-liberal principles, neither substantially altered the compulsory nature of the scheme, despite the fact that it ran more or less completely contrary to Chicago School principles. Howard might have been fond of shouting "socialism" or "nanny state" when he felt the need to criticise something, but deeds speak stronger than words, and for all his p!ssing and moaning he was never going to do anything that stopped all those truckloads of money finding their way to his friends in the banking industry.
Alltherage -> elliot2511 , 31 Oct 2018 00:51
Yes historically high mass immigration in Australia has been used as a trojan horse by the adherents of neo-liberalism - to break down the pay and conditions of Australian workers and their rights and entitlements.
By importing "ready made" skilled workers, neither the Government or the private sector have had to go to the trouble of training their workforce nor bear any of the costs of educating and training them.
As to the lower skilled imported workers, in the main, this is a crude device to cut out the locals so that accepted or legislated pay and conditions can be lowered. Most of those imported workers don't know their rights and are ripe for exploitation.
The shonks, rip off and quick buck merchants love neo-liberalism for the what it has done to the Australian labour market.
And the Labor party has been complicit in all this - when it should have been protecting Australians and Australian workers present and future from the ravaging impacts of neo-liberalism.
Ozperson , 31 Oct 2018 00:48
For something that's supposedly dead, it still looks like neoliberalism is in charge to me. The relentless commodification of every aspect of life continues apace. Money is still the measure of everything and takes precedence over the environment, ethics, community, creativity, discovery, and virtually everything else you care to name. When water thiefs, big bankers, corrupt politicians, environmental despoilers, and those that start pointless wars are IN GAOL, then I'll start to believe things are changing.
Saint-Just -> FelixKruell , 31 Oct 2018 00:47
Neoliberalism is not simply an economic agenda. From the beginning it was conceived as and then constructed to be much more than that - it was in fact as much a pedagogical cum psychological operation to change minds across generations with regard to free-market capitalism and thus to orient all thinking to that, than it was a matter of simple monetary or trade policy. Of course, this had to be done with a good deal of repression and oppression backing it up, here and there - Chile e.g. Thus electing neoliberalism is an effect of this pedagogy over time - we are all schooled in its 'normality - and not a reflection of either some natural desire for it or an educated choice.
Nicholas Haines , 31 Oct 2018 00:40
I agree that we should be discussing fiscal policy but I suspect that Richard Denniss is using a false frame for this topic. He probably adheres to the claim made by the macroeconomic equivalent of pre-Copernican physics that a government that issues its own currency, enforces taxes in that currency, and allows the currency to float in foreign exchange markets can run out of its currency.

The fiscal policy of the federal government should be to employ all available labour in socially useful and environmental sustainable productive activity, maintain price stability, minimize inequality of income and wealth, and fund public services and infrastructure to the maximum extent permitted by the resources that are available for sale in the government's currency.

If you think that the government's fiscal policy should be to reduce a fiscal deficit or deliver a fiscal surplus, you are a dill.

It makes no sense to target a particular fiscal balance because the outcome is driven largely by the aggregated spending and saving decisions of the domestic non-government sector and the external sector. The federal government does not control those variables.

The federal government needs to target economically, socially, and environmentally desirable goals and allow the fiscal balance to reach whatever level is needed at any given time to achieve those goals.

economicalternative -> BlueThird , 31 Oct 2018 00:39
'Democracy' needs to be structural as well as a moral idea. Workers have been disempowered and impoverished and disenfranchished by neoliberalism. An answer to structurally improve the wealth AND democratic power of the workers is to build a HUGE co operative sector in each economy: worker owned workplaces/businesses/concerns AND democratically run. THAT will improve the situation for workers/punters: democracy where they live and work. Democracy rooted not in fine ideas only about rights but bedded down in economic livelihoods. People will take an interest in their local 'politics' and also understand more of the politics of the nation. You don't have to get rid of 'capitalism' just give it a 'good run' for it's money - some real COMPETITION. Cooperatively run Hospitals, owned by doctors and nurses and other stakeholders - not for profit - that'll soon see the 'private' for profit' health providers/rorters wind their prices and necks in. Socially owned, worker-owned, government/taxpayer supported enterprise, work places, democratically run will boot up the level of 'democracy' in our societies. We can still have voter style over-arching national government of course. If you don't root democracy where people actually can participate and which gives them a lot of control over their workplaces/livelihood, then it can all be hijacked by the greedy and cunning (see neoliberalism). OH, a large cooperative sector in the economy democratically run by workers won't deliver 'heaven on earth' - it'll still be run by people!
slorter -> HauptmannGurski , 31 Oct 2018 00:37
It is also a tool of the neoliberals along with the whole neoliberal trend in macroeconomic policy. The essential thing underlying this, is to try to reduce the power of government and social forces that might exercise some power within the political economy -- workers and others -- and put the power primarily in the hands of those dominating in the markets. That's often the financial system, the banks, but also other elites. The idea of neoliberal economists and policymakers being that you don't want the government getting too involved in macroeconomic policy. You don't want them promoting too much employment because that might lead to a raise in wages and, in turn, to a reduction in the profit share of the national income.

Austerity fits into the mix very well Keeping wages low, or debt pressure high, means workers will be less likely to complain or make demands. As workers struggle to provide their families with all the temptations that a capitalist society offers, they become far less likely to risk their employment, and less able to improve their situation.

At bottom, conservatives believe in a social hierarchy of "haves" and "have nots". They have taken this corrosive social vision and dressed it up with a "respectable" sounding ideology which all boils down to the cheap labour they depend on to make their fortunes.

Alltherage -> misterwildcard , 31 Oct 2018 00:29
It shows a great sense of inferiority and knowing our "proper"place, that the populace apparently accepted the colloquial term for neo-liberalism or economic rationalism, as being "trickle down economics" and that all that the populace deserved and was going to get was a trickle of the alleged wealth and benefits created.
Why were most people so compliant and accepting of something that as a concept, from the outset, was clearly signalling it would economically completely discriminate against the 99% and was intended to provide such a meager share of the wealth and economic benefits generated?
eerstehondopdemaan -> MikeSw , 31 Oct 2018 00:23
Excellent statement Mike.

A quick look around the world provides clear evidence that there really are a lot of alternatives.

That's the crux: many (western, developed) countries before us have proven over and over again that the best type of democratic government is one in which consensus is the basis for long-term decisions to the benefit of all. Is it tedious? Yes. Frustrating at times? You bet. Slow? Indeed, quite often so. But the point is, consensus-based decision making works and eventually is in everyone's interest (left, right and centre), resulting in better long-term outcomes. With the added benefit that new "majority" Governments won't throw out the children with the bathwater all the time.

I'd add one aspect to the article though, and that is to combine a form of proportional representation with longer terms of Government. You won't get much meaningful done in 3 years, whatever form of representation you choose. 4 years, 5 years... whatever strikes the best balance between governments getting some runs on the board and voters feeling empowered to change government coalitions in the ballot box when they stuff up.

[Dec 09, 2018] Neoliberalism clearly works for the interests of the minority and against the interests of the majority. Households are now worse off than they were 6 years ago and large businesses are enjoying record profits.

But what economic system worked in the interests of majority of population. There was only one such system -- USA in 1935-1970th and it was the result of WWII and record profits of the US corporation after the war, when both Europe and Japan were devastated.
In no way the USSR was social system that worked for the majority of population. It worked for the Nomenklatura -- a pretty narrow caste, similar to current top 1% under neoliberalism.
Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

regoblivion , 31 Oct 2018 00:08

I like Prof.Bill Mitchell's saying that most Progressives are Neo liberals in disguise. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOMo3xuSyWM&t=66s

Until we ditch the Neo Liberal garbage about Deficits, Debt and their confusion about Monetary and Fiscal Policy, nothing can change.

meanwhile Tick Tock goes the Carbon Clock.

ianwford , 31 Oct 2018 00:02
Neoliberalism clearly works for the interests of the minority and against the interests of the majority. Households are now worse off than they were 6 years ago and large businesses are enjoying record profits. It feels as if the australian economy is being run for the benefit of a small percentage of wealthy shareholders.

[Dec 09, 2018] Neoliberalism contains policies that the right have embraced with open arms, like compulsory retirement savings (which have enriched the private sector, especially banks and their shareholders), would have caused sharp intakes of breath from the steely-eyed theorists who came up with the concept

While a purported devotion to the principles and precepts of neo-liberalism has been claimed by decades of right-wing politicians, businesses and bankers, drilling down deeper often reveals that what is really happening in favoring the economic interests of the few at the expense of the many, and very often involving compulsorily actions like switch to 401K accounts. Which was stoke of genius for neoliberals to fleeces common people. acquired
Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

CaligulaMcNutt , 30 Oct 2018 23:45

Speaking as no fan of neo-liberalism, but there is a risk that the term gets overused. Things that the right have embraced with open arms, like compulsory retirement savings (which have enriched the private sector, especially banks and their shareholders), would have caused sharp intakes of breath from the steely-eyed theorists who came up with the concept. While a purported devotion to the principles and precepts of neo-liberalism has been claimed by decades of right-wing politicians, businesses and bankers, drilling down deeper often reveals that what is really happening in favouring the economic interests of the few at the expense of the many, and very often involving compulsorily acquired public resources being re-directed to business, with barely even the thinnest veneer of genuine theoretical observance to the neo-liberal model. Both neo-liberalism itself, and bogus claims of its practical use and benefits, need to be dead and buried.
LovelyDaffodils -> misterwildcard , 30 Oct 2018 23:45
I really would love the rich and powerful who basically prey on the average person/worker/mums and dads, to be held accountable and penalised properly in relation to their deeds. These bastards destroy families in their grab for greed, and almost every time they are excused by their cohorts, and even go on to bigger and better opportunities to keep feeding their voracious greedy appetites. Basically they steal, so why isn't their proceeds of crime taken back by government; and why do they not do any jail time?
GreyBags , 30 Oct 2018 23:36
Natural monopolies like water and power, roads and public transport should be in public hands. All call centres dealing with government issues should be done by public servants, not outsourced to foreign corporations.

I'd start with a bank. Give people a non-greed infested alternative.

Under neo-liberalism we have gone from 1 person, 1 vote to $1, one vote. The con job that is 'small government and little or no regulations' is bad for society and the environment. Greed over need.

slorter -> MachiavellisCat , 30 Oct 2018 23:20
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/10/30/why-a-neoliberal-society-cant-survive /

Dr. T. J. Coles is director of the Plymouth Institute for Peace Research and the author of several books, including Voices for Peace (with Noam Chomsky and others) and the forthcoming Fire and Fury: How the US Isolates North Korea, Encircles China and Risks Nuclear War in Asia (both Clairview Books).

Jakartaboy , 30 Oct 2018 22:42
The current economic model being used by capitalist countries across the world is failing most of the people in these countries while enriching tiny elites. Unfortunately, politicians in these countries are often in the pockets of the elite or are themselves members of the elite.

We need a new economic narrative which better reconciles the needs of the population with the directives of the market.

[Dec 09, 2018] China version of neoliberalism is not without huge problems

Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

diggerdigger -> everywhereman , 30 Oct 2018 23:41

Why not? Profits to the nation, not greedy corporates and their shareholders.

I think you will find there were no profits made that could be put "to the nation." When the wall came down, the USSR and the entire eastern bloc were completely bankrupt.

As was Mao's China prior to the emergence of Deng and his "to get rich is glorious" mantra, that set China on its current path. Of course his generally market-oriented approach has since been bastardised to one of One Party State-capitalism dominated by cronyism, corruption, and a perverted justice system.

Yes it has generated vast wealth, but it is an empire built on sand. As any analysis of its shadow banking system will show.

And while the legions of newly minted millionaires of party benevolence celebrate, the hundreds of millions stuck in poverty are left to fend for themselves.

[Dec 09, 2018] The death of neoliberalism means we can finally have a national debate about the size and role of government, and the shape of the economy and society we want to build

Neoliberalism is a secular religion, so it doe need to be rational, to remains influential or even dominant, much like Bolshevism or Trotskyism (actually neoliberalism should be viewed as a perverted mutation of Trotskyism -- Trotskyism for irch) . It took 70 years for Bolshevism to became discredited and collapse (under the attack from neoliberalism).
In the absence of alternatives neoliberalism might continues to exist in zombie state for a very long time.
Notable quotes:
"... Poverty rate in the USA has been increasing since about the year 2000. ..."
"... Why do you think that all around the world voters are going hard against Neoliberalism and why do you think that Neoliberals are desperately trying to save their bankrupt philosophy by hiding behind Nationalism and Racism? ..."
"... While I would very much like to agree with the notion that neo-liberalism is dead, there's rather too much evidence that its pernicious influence lingers ghost-like and ghastly, having suffused far too many politicians of an ultra-conservative ilk ..."
"... The true believers in the neo-liberal faith, as it was never other than a creed espoused by Thatcher and Pinochet among others, are like those in the catholic church who continued to advocate an earth centric universe long after science proved them wrong. ..."
"... It will be a long wait until these myopic adherents to the gospel of Hayek, Friedman and Buchanan, are consigned to the waste bin of history where they belong. Until then, it will remain a struggle to right the many wrongs of this mis-guided and shallow populism. ..."
"... The neocons have had their day, though it'll no doubt take one hell of an effort to drag them out of their crony-capitalist, snouts-in-the-trough ways. The profit motive in the provision of essential services should be confined to covering costs, maintenance and associated investment. ..."
Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

GreenExerciseAddict , 30 Oct 2018 23:29

The death of neoliberalism means we can finally have a national debate about the size and role of government, and the shape of the economy and society we want to build.

Unfortunately, I see lots of deaths but none of them is neoliberalism. I can see death of a decent safety net in Australia. Death of biodiversity. Death of ecosystems. Death of intelligent debate. Death of science.

Alpo88 -> Fred1 , 30 Oct 2018 23:26
You are completely delusional Freddie.

Poverty rate in the USA has been increasing since about the year 2000. The international poverty trend has been decreasing over time only because the definition of poverty is to earn less than $1.25 per day..... So, if you earn $10/day you are well above the poverty line: Good luck living on that income in any OECD country!

Standards of living are decreasing in Australia... ever heard of the housing crisis? The household debt crisis?.... Paying for hospital and medicines, education, electricity and other services.... should I go on?.... ACOSS found that "there are just over 3 million people (13.2%) living below the poverty line of 50% of median income – including 739,000 children (17.3%)".

"The evil neo-liberalism" has delivered poverty, massive inequality, dissatisfaction, unemployment/sub-employment and casualization, collapse of public services, high costs of living.... and deterioration of the environment...

Why do you think that all around the world voters are going hard against Neoliberalism and why do you think that Neoliberals are desperately trying to save their bankrupt philosophy by hiding behind Nationalism and Racism?

Revenant13 , 30 Oct 2018 23:24
While I would very much like to agree with the notion that neo-liberalism is dead, there's rather too much evidence that its pernicious influence lingers ghost-like and ghastly, having suffused far too many politicians of an ultra-conservative ilk.

The true believers in the neo-liberal faith, as it was never other than a creed espoused by Thatcher and Pinochet among others, are like those in the catholic church who continued to advocate an earth centric universe long after science proved them wrong.

It will be a long wait until these myopic adherents to the gospel of Hayek, Friedman and Buchanan, are consigned to the waste bin of history where they belong. Until then, it will remain a struggle to right the many wrongs of this mis-guided and shallow populism.

David Smith -> adamhumph , 30 Oct 2018 23:21
Abso-bloody-lutely! The neocons have had their day, though it'll no doubt take one hell of an effort to drag them out of their crony-capitalist, snouts-in-the-trough ways. The profit motive in the provision of essential services should be confined to covering costs, maintenance and associated investment. It's so painfully obvious that the market has not met the needs of the average citizen without absurd cost. Bring on the revolution!

[Dec 09, 2018] What made anyone think neo-liberalism was going to work? Why was this even tried or got past a focus group?

Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

misterwildcard , 30 Oct 2018 22:12

What made anyone think neo-liberalism was going to work? Why was this even tried or got past a focus group?
Only the Murdoch press ever dreamed this could have any merit and a few totally selfish and controlling wealthy people. 2008 and the GFC should have killed this idea instead it gained traction as the perpetrators not only were not prosecuted but were subsidised to create more havoc. Find the culprits and jail them ... it is not too late.

[Dec 09, 2018] All essential infrastructure should be Nationalised. Water electricity supply and generation, ports and railways, educational facilities, one major bank, one country wide telco and mail delivery.

Notable quotes:
"... What about "competition", the God of Neoliberals?.... Competition can have some positive role in society only in an environment of Regulation. That's why the future is neither Neoliberal nor Socialist, but a Mixed Economy Social Democracy. ..."
"... Bring back a Commonwealth Bank! In fact bring back State run Electricity, Gas and Water utilities... ..."
"... The Coalition these days proudly subsidise their friends and regulate their enemies in order to reshape Australia in their preferred form. ..."
Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

adamhumph , 30 Oct 2018 22:14

All essential infrastructure should be Nationalised. Water electricity supply and generation, ports and railways, educational facilities, one major bank, one country wide telco and mail delivery. Remove the for profit aspect, and they become assets. In at least a few of these they also provide training opportunities across a wide spectrum of careers
Joshua Tree , 30 Oct 2018 22:13
Nationalise the banks and the Mining Industry . Take back control of outrageous wages in both these sectors and return profits to the taxpayer .

Nationalise the State Governments in other words get rid of them and appoint federal controlled administrators same with local councils, sack the lot of them and appoint administrators.

Alpo88 , 30 Oct 2018 22:08
Just like the AFP is "nationalised", or education is also to a big extent "nationalised", alongside a big chunk of the health system.... so we can nationalise other things, such as the modes of production and distribution of energy, major mineral resources, etc.

What about "competition", the God of Neoliberals?.... Competition can have some positive role in society only in an environment of Regulation. That's why the future is neither Neoliberal nor Socialist, but a Mixed Economy Social Democracy.

Which party is for a Mixed Economy Social Democracy?.... Labor and to some extent the Greens. A bunch of independents are also happy with the concept.... Together they are currently a majority, only waiting for a Federal election.

JAKLAUGHING , 30 Oct 2018 22:08
Bring back a Commonwealth Bank! In fact bring back State run Electricity, Gas and Water utilities...
Joey Rocca , 30 Oct 2018 22:01

The Coalition these days proudly subsidise their friends and regulate their enemies in order to reshape Australia in their preferred form.

Spot on Richard, excellent article. A Federal ICAC is a must.

[Dec 09, 2018] Neoliberalism is more like modern feudalism - an authoritarian system where the lords (bankers, energy companies and their large and inefficient attendant bureaucracies), keep us peasants in thrall through life long debt-slavery simply to buy a house or exploit us as a captured market in the case of the energy sector.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... I don't like using the term "neo-liberalism" that much because there is nothing "new" or "liberal" about it, the term itself just helps hide the fact that it's a political project more about power than profit and the end result is more like modern feudalism - an authoritarian system where the lords (bankers, energy companies and their large and inefficient attendant bureaucracies), keep us peasants in thrall through life long debt-slavery simply to buy a house or exploit us as a captured market in the case of the energy sector. ..."
"... Since the word "privatisation" is clearly no longer popular, the latest buzzword from this project is "outsourcing". ..."
"... As far as I can see "neo-liberalism", or what I prefer to call managerial and financialised feudalism is not dead, it's still out and about looking around for the next rent-seeking opportunity. ..."
"... In the political arena, is enabling porkies facilitate each other in every lunatic pronouncement about "Budget repair" and "on track for a surplus". And its spotty, textbook-spouting clones ("all debt is debt! Shriek, gasp, hyperventilate!") fall off the conveyor belts of tertiary education Australia-wide, then turn up on The Drum as IPA 'Research Fellows' to spout their evidence-free assertions. ..."
"... And don't forget the handmaiden of neoliberalism is their macroeconomic mythology about government "debt and borrowing" which will condemn our grandchildren to poverty - inter-generational theft! It also allows them to continue dismantling government social programs by giving tax-cuts to reduce "revenue" and then claiming there is no money to fund those programs. ..."
"... "Competition" as the cornerstone of neoliberal economics was always a lie. Corporations do their best to get rid of competitors by unfair pricing tactics or by takeovers. And even where some competitors hang in there by some means (banks, petrol companies) the competition that occurs is not for price but for profit. ..."
"... We find a shift away from democratic processes and the rise of the "all new adulation of the so-called tough leader" factor, aka Nazism/Fascism. From Trump to Turkey, Netanyahu to Putin, Brazil to China, the rise of the "right" in Europe, the South Americas, where the leader is "our great and "good" Teacher", knows best, and thus infantalises the knowledge and awareness of the rest of the population. Who needs scientists, when the "leader" knows everything? ..."
"... There are indeed alternatives to neoliberalism, most of which have been shown to lead back to neoliberalism. Appeals for fiscal and monetary relief/stimulus can only ever paper over the worst aspects of it's relentless 'progress', between wars, it seems. ..."
"... Neoliberalism seems vastly, catastrophically misunderstood. Widely perceived as the latest abomination to spring from the eternal battle 'twixt Labour and Capital, it's actual origins are somewhat more recent. Neoliberalism really, really is not just "Capitalism gone wrong". It goes much deeper, to a fundamental flaw buried( more accurately 'planted') deep in the heart of economics. ..."
"... In 1879 an obscure journalist from then-remote San Francisco, Henry George, took the world by storm with his extraordinary bestseller Progress and Poverty . Still the only published work to outsell the Bible in a single year, it did so for over twenty years, yet few social justice advocates have heard of it. ..."
"... George gravely threatened privileged global power-elites , so they erased him from academic history. A mind compared, in his time with Plato, Copernicus and Adam Smith wiped from living memory, by the modern aristocracy. ..."
"... In the process of doing so, they emasculated the discipline of economics, stripped dignity from labour, and set in motion a world-destroying doctrine. Neo-Classical Economics(aka neoliberalism) was born , to the detriment of the working-citizen and the living world on which s/he depends. ..."
Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

ElectricJolt , 31 Oct 2018 04:38

I don't like using the term "neo-liberalism" that much because there is nothing "new" or "liberal" about it, the term itself just helps hide the fact that it's a political project more about power than profit and the end result is more like modern feudalism - an authoritarian system where the lords (bankers, energy companies and their large and inefficient attendant bureaucracies), keep us peasants in thrall through life long debt-slavery simply to buy a house or exploit us as a captured market in the case of the energy sector.

Since the word "privatisation" is clearly no longer popular, the latest buzzword from this project is "outsourcing". If you've had a look at The Canberra Times over the last couple of weeks there have been quite a few articles about outsourcing parts of Medicare and Centrelink, using labour hire companies and so on – is this part of a current LNP plan to "sell off" parts of the government before Labour takes the reins in May?

As far as I can see "neo-liberalism", or what I prefer to call managerial and financialised feudalism is not dead, it's still out and about looking around for the next rent-seeking opportunity.

Friarbird , 31 Oct 2018 04:02
Neoliberalism "dead"? I think not. It is riveted on the country like a straitjacket.

Which is exactly what it was always intended to be, a system gamed and rigged to ensure the wage-earning scum obtain progressively less and less of the country's productive wealth, however much they contributed to it. The wage theft and exploitation Neoliberalism fosters has become the new norm. Neoliberal idealogues thickly infest Federal and State Treasuries.

In the political arena, is enabling porkies facilitate each other in every lunatic pronouncement about "Budget repair" and "on track for a surplus". And its spotty, textbook-spouting clones ("all debt is debt! Shriek, gasp, hyperventilate!") fall off the conveyor belts of tertiary education Australia-wide, then turn up on The Drum as IPA 'Research Fellows' to spout their evidence-free assertions.

The IPA itself has moles in govt at every level--even in your local Council. Certainly in ours.

Neoliberalism is "dead"? Correction. Neoliberalism is alive, thriving---and quick to ensure its glaring deficiencies and inequities are solely attributable to its opponents. Now THERE'S a surprise.....

totaram -> JohnArmour , 31 Oct 2018 03:01
Agree! And don't forget the handmaiden of neoliberalism is their macroeconomic mythology about government "debt and borrowing" which will condemn our grandchildren to poverty - inter-generational theft! It also allows them to continue dismantling government social programs by giving tax-cuts to reduce "revenue" and then claiming there is no money to fund those programs.
exTen , 31 Oct 2018 02:30
Neoliberalism will not be dead until the underpinning of neoliberalism is abandoned by ALP and Greens. That underpinning is their mindless attachment to "budget repair" and "return to surplus". The federal government's "budget" is nothing like a currency user's budget. Currency users collect in order to spend whereas every dollar spent by the federal government is a new dollar and every dollar taxed by the federal government is an ex-dollar. A currency cannot sensibly have "debt" in the currency that it issues and no amount of surplus or deficit now will enhance or impair its capacity to spend in future. A currency issuer does not need an electronic piggybank, or a Future Fund, or a Drought Relief Fund. It can't max out an imaginary credit card. It's "borrowing" is just an exchange of its termless no-coupon liabilities (currency) for term-limited coupon-bearing liabilities (bonds). The federal budget balance is no rational indicator of any need for austerity or for stimulus. The rational indicators are unemployment (too small a "deficit"/too large a surplus) and inflation (too large a "deficit"/too small a "surplus"). Federal taxation is where dollars go to die. It doesn't "fund" a currency issuer's spending - it is there to stop the dollars it issues from piling up and causing inflation and to make room for spending by democratically elected federal parliament. The name of the game is to balance the economy, not the entirely notional and fundamentally irrelevant "budget".
Copperfield , 31 Oct 2018 01:51
"Competition" as the cornerstone of neoliberal economics was always a lie. Corporations do their best to get rid of competitors by unfair pricing tactics or by takeovers. And even where some competitors hang in there by some means (banks, petrol companies) the competition that occurs is not for price but for profit.

And changing the electoral system? Yes indeed. After years of observation it seems to me that the problem with our politics is not individual politicians (although there are notable exceptions) but political parties. Rigid control of policies and voting on party instruction (even by the Greens) makes the proceedings of parliament a complete waste of time. If every policy had to run the gauntlet of 150 people all voting by their conscience we would have better policy. The executive functions could be carried out by a cabinet also elected from those members. But not going to happen - too many vested interests in the parties and their corporate sponsors.

gidrys , 31 Oct 2018 01:34
With the election of Bolsonaro in Brazil (even though nearly 30% of electors refused to vote) it may be a little presumptuous to dissect the dead corpse of neoliberalism, as Richard Denniss' hopes that we can.

What is absolutely gob-smacking is that Brazilians voted for him; a man that Glenn Greenwald describes as "far more dangerous than Trump" , that Bolsonaro envisages military dictatorships as "being a far more superior form of government" advocating a civil war in order to dispose of the left.

Furthermore, the election of this far-right neoliberal extremist also threatens the Amazon forest and its indigenous people; with a global impact that will render combatting climate change even more difficult.

Locally, recent Liberal Party battles over leadership have included the neolib factor, as the lunatic right in that party - who I suspect would all love to be a Bolsonaro themselves - aggressively activate their grumblings and dissension.

Oh, Richard how I wish you were right; but in the Victorian election campaign - currently underway - I have seen Socialist candidates behaving in a manner that doesn't garner hope in a different way of doing politics.

The fact that 'our' democracy is based on an adversarial, partisan system leaves me with little hope. Alain Badiou wrote that "ours is not a world of democracy but a world of imperial conservatism using democratic phraseology" ; and until that imposition is discarded 'our' democracy will remain whatever we are told it is, and neolibs will continue to shove their bullshit down our throats as much as they can.

beeden , 31 Oct 2018 01:33
There is no abatement to the wealthiest in the global communities seeking greater wealth and thus increasing inequality.

Taking a local example,

We find a shift away from democratic processes and the rise of the "all new adulation of the so-called tough leader" factor, aka Nazism/Fascism. From Trump to Turkey, Netanyahu to Putin, Brazil to China, the rise of the "right" in Europe, the South Americas, where the leader is "our great and "good" Teacher", knows best, and thus infantalises the knowledge and awareness of the rest of the population. Who needs scientists, when the "leader" knows everything?

Have the people of the world abrogated their democratic responsibility?

Or is it the gerrymandering chicanery of US Republican backers/politicians( so long as you control the voting machines ) that have sent the ugly message to the world, Power is yours for the making and taking by any means that ignores the public's rights in the decision making process. Has the "neo-liberal" world delivered a corrupted system of democracy that has deliberately alienated the world's population from actively participating fully in the full awareness that their vote counts and will be counted?

Do we need to take back the controls of democracy to ensure that it is the will of the people and not a manipulation by vested interest groups/individuals? You're darn tootin'!!!

Matt Quinn , 31 Oct 2018 01:32
A thoughtful piece. Thanks. There are indeed alternatives to neoliberalism, most of which have been shown to lead back to neoliberalism. Appeals for fiscal and monetary relief/stimulus can only ever paper over the worst aspects of it's relentless 'progress', between wars, it seems.

Neoliberalism seems vastly, catastrophically misunderstood. Widely perceived as the latest abomination to spring from the eternal battle 'twixt Labour and Capital, it's actual origins are somewhat more recent. Neoliberalism really, really is not just "Capitalism gone wrong". It goes much deeper, to a fundamental flaw buried( more accurately 'planted') deep in the heart of economics.

Instead of trying to understand Neo-Classical Economics it is perhaps more instructive to understand what it was built, layer by layer, to obscure. First the Land system, then the Wealth system, and finally the Money system (hived off into a compartment - 'macroeconomics'). Importantly, three entirely different categories of "thing" .

In 1879 an obscure journalist from then-remote San Francisco, Henry George, took the world by storm with his extraordinary bestseller Progress and Poverty . Still the only published work to outsell the Bible in a single year, it did so for over twenty years, yet few social justice advocates have heard of it.

George set out to discover why the worst poverty always seemed to accompany the most progress. By chasing down the production process to its ends, and tracing where the proceeds were going, he succeeded spectacularly. From Progress and Poverty , Chapter 17 - "The Problem Explained" :

Three things unite in production: land, labor, and capital. Three parties divide the output: landowner, laborer, and capitalist. If the laborer and capitalist get no more as production increases, it is a necessary inference that the landowner takes the gain.

George gravely threatened privileged global power-elites , so they erased him from academic history. A mind compared, in his time with Plato, Copernicus and Adam Smith wiped from living memory, by the modern aristocracy.

In the process of doing so, they emasculated the discipline of economics, stripped dignity from labour, and set in motion a world-destroying doctrine. Neo-Classical Economics(aka neoliberalism) was born , to the detriment of the working-citizen and the living world on which s/he depends.

Einstein was a fan of George, and used his methods of thought-experiment and powerful inductive reasoning to discover Relativity, twenty years later. Henry Georges brilliant insights into Land (aka nature), Wealth (what you want, need), and Money (sharing mechanism) are as relevant as ever, and until they are rediscovered, we are likely to re-run the 1900's over and over, with fewer and fewer resources.

~ How Land Barons, Industrialists and Bankers Corrupted Economics .

[Dec 09, 2018] Neoliberalism is dead. Now let's repair our democratic institutions by Richard Denniss

Notable quotes:
"... Should we create a national anti-corruption watchdog, replace the productivity commission with a national interest commission, or abolish the failed network of finance sector regulators and build a new one from scratch? ..."
"... Proportional representation is neither radical nor a silver bullet. ..."
"... Ironically, one of the major objections to proportional representation in Australia has been that it tends to deliver minority government, a situation that the major parties prefer to avoid. But now that we are back in our second minority federal government in five years, the idea that avoiding proportional representation is an effective way to avoid minority government seems a bit optimistic. ..."
"... class warfare (by the rich against the 99%, though I should not need to say that) is still very much alive. ..."
"... The rise of nationalism is indeed worrying situation.. but its clear that mass discontent is driving a 'shift' away from the status quo and that opportunists of every creed are all trying to get in on the action.. ..."
"... the elephant in the room that no one wants to discuss is population growth and lack of natural resources and meaningful 'employment' .. which self serving politicians are exploiting via playing the fear card and creating further division in society in order to embrace and increase their own power. Further more, no one, it seems, has any valid answers as regards resolving the division and creating a path forward.. thereby making more conflict an inevitability. ..."
"... Like Octopus, the globalists have every one of their eight legs in a different pot of gold. On their arms, suction cups maintain an iron grip. Trying to pull those suckers out, leaves us raw and bleeding. To release their grip, without hurting ourselves, we must aim for the brain. ..."
"... Murdoch's media empire has arms in every Democracy on earth. As his poisonous ink spread across our lands, we wallowed in the dark. ..."
"... The Oil and Coal Tycoons have arms in every black hole on earth. As their suckers pull black gold from the land beneath our feet, we choke on the air we breathe. ..."
"... The Financial Tyrants have arms in our buildings, factories, farms and homes. Their suckers stripped our pockets bare and we ran out of money. ..."
"... The False Prophets spread their arms into our private lives. Their suckers turned our modest, humble faiths into global empires filled with mega-churches, televangelists, jet-setting preachers and evangelical armies Hell bent on disruption and destruction. ..."
"... Neoliberalism may be dead but the former Trotskyites who invented it are still alive and they still have an agenda. ..."
"... Neo Liberalism was a project cooked up back in the late 1970s by the Capital owning classes & enacted by successive govts of "right" or "left" ever since. They feared the growing power of the working & middle classes which they felt threatened their own power & wealth. So they set out to destroy any ability of the working class to organise & to gut the middle class. ..."
"... Key to this was decoupling wages from productivity & forcing us all into debt peonage. Deregulation of the financial markets & the globalization of capital markets, disastorous multilateral trade deals & off shoring jobs, slashing state social programmes, Union busting laws all part of the plan. All covered with a lie that we live in meritocracies & the "best & brightest" are in charge. The result has been evermore riches funneled to the wealthiest few percent & a wealth gap bigger than that of the gilded age ..."
"... The majority press are so organised around the idea that neoliberalism in the sense captured economically and to some extent socially as construed in the article above; ..."
Oct 31, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

he opposite of a neoliberal economic agenda isn't a progressive economic agenda, but democratic re-engagement. Neoliberalism taught us that "there is no alternative" to cutting taxes, cutting services and letting the banks treat us as they see fit. But of course not even the Coalition believes that any more. These days they proudly subsidise their friends and regulate their enemies in order to reshape Australia in their preferred form.

While the hypocrisy is staggering, at least voters can now see that politics, and elections, matter. Having been told for decades that it was "global markets" that shaped our society, it's now clear that it is actually the likes of Barnaby Joyce and Tony Abbott who decide whether we get new coal mines or power stations. Luckily, millions of voters now realise that if it's OK to subsidise new coal mines, there's no reason we can't subsidise renewables instead.

Neoliberalism: the idea that swallowed the world Read more

The parliament is filling with people of all political persuasions who, if nothing else, decry the neoliberal agenda to shrink our government and our national vision. While there's obviously quite a distance between MPs who want to build the nation, one new coal mine at a time, and those who want to fill our cities with renewable energy, the whole purpose of democracy is to settle such disputes at the ballot box.

The Liberals want to nationalise coal-fired power stations and pour public money into Snowy 2.0 . The ALP want much bigger renewable energy targets and to collect more revenue by closing billions of dollars in tax-loopholes . The Greens want a publicly owned bank and some unions are pushing to nationalise aged care. It's never been a more exciting time to support a bigger role for government.

So, what to nationalise? What new machinery of state should we build first? Should we create a national anti-corruption watchdog, replace the productivity commission with a national interest commission, or abolish the failed network of finance sector regulators and build a new one from scratch?

Or should we think bigger? Is it time to rethink not just the agenda of our parliament but the way that we choose our parliamentarians? Is it time to replace our system of electing one representative from each of our 150 electorates with a more proportional system of representation where each region elects multiple members of parliament?

We can finally have a national debate about the size and role of government, and the shape of the economy and society we want to build

At the last federal election the major parties attracted 76.5% of the primary votes for members of the House of Representatives but won 96% of the seats. While our system of preferential voting allowed Kerryn Phelps to win Wentworth from the Liberals with a primary vote of 29% of the vote, our "winner takes all" system means the 43% of electors who voted for Dave Sharma have no voice in the House of Representatives. But while such voicelessness might feel uncomfortably unfamiliar for the Liberal voters of Australia's wealthiest electorate, such an outcome is the norm for the quarter of the Australian population who cast a first preference vote for independents and minor parties each election.

Proportional representation is neither radical nor a silver bullet. The reason the Senate is more diverse in its representation of women and minor parties is that each state elects six members of the Senate at a half Senate election. This means that candidates only need to gain 14% of the vote to win a seat in the Senate, compared to the 50% needed to win a lower house seat. Tasmania and the ACT have systems of proportional representation, and internationally around 80 countries rely on some version of proportional representation to settle the question of who gets to sit in Parliament.

Ironically, one of the major objections to proportional representation in Australia has been that it tends to deliver minority government, a situation that the major parties prefer to avoid. But now that we are back in our second minority federal government in five years, the idea that avoiding proportional representation is an effective way to avoid minority government seems a bit optimistic.

The Liberal party and the conservative media are no longer afraid of minority government. While the government warned the voters of Wentworth that

minority government would lead to "chaos", it turns out, like most of the Coalitions forecasts, this was errant nonsense. The ACT has been in minority government for 10 years and there have been minority governments in NSW, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia.

The big con: how neoliberals convinced us there wasn't enough to go around | Richard Denniss Read more

The more independents and minor party MPs winning seats in the lower house the greater the probability that a general election will deliver a "hung parliament". There are now six independent and minor party MPs in the House of Representatives and the result in Wentworth has inspired talk of Jane Caro taking on Tony Abbott , Farmers Federation chair Fiona Simson challenging Barnaby Joyce and backbench Liberal MP Julia Banks running as an independent. There is little doubt that there will be a bigger crossbench in the coming year and little doubt that it will have a larger share of women than the current Coalition party room.

The death of neoliberalism means we can finally have a national debate about the size and role of government, and the shape of the economy and society we want to build. But we need to do more than talk about tax and regulation. Australia is one of the oldest parliamentary democracies in the world, and we once helped lead the world in the design of democratic institutions and the creation of an open democratic culture. Let's not allow the legacy of neoliberalism to be a cynical belief that there is no point repairing and rebuilding the democratic institutions that ensure not just our economy thrives, but our society as well. A quick look around the world provides clear evidence that there really are a lot of alternatives.

Richard Denniss is chief economist for the Australia Institute


R_Ambrose_Raven , 1 Nov 2018 16:38

Mmmm, well, class warfare (by the rich against the 99%, though I should not need to say that) is still very much alive.

Globalisation-driven financial deregulation was commenced here by Hawke Labor from 1983 as a Laberal facade for the Australian chapter of the transnational ruling class policy of self-enrichment. It was sold to the aspirationals as the ever-popular This Will Make You Rich - as ever-rising house prices did, for home-owners then (paid for now through housing unaffordability for their descendants). Then, transnational capital was able to loot both aspirationals' productivity gains (easily 10% of GDP) plus usurious interest from the borrowings made by the said aspirationals (easily 6% of GDP) to keep up with the Joneses. Now, it loots 90% of all increases in GDP, leaving just 10% in crumbs from the filthy rich man's table for 15 million workers to share.

We don't notice as much as we should, because the mainstream (mainly but not only Murdoch) media is very good at persuading us - then and now - that there is nothing to see. It is a tool of that transnational class, its role being to manufacture our consent to our own exploitation. Thus they play the man because it is politically easier than open demands that the public be robbed. In the case of penalty rates, thus adopting the obvious hypocrisy of which "The Australian" accuses Shorten. Or they play the woman, in the case of the ferocious, relentless media vilification of Julia Gillard and Gillard Labor – five years after the demonization of Gillard Labor's Great Big New (Carbon) Tax, the need for one is now almost universally accepted. Or they play the players, hence a focus on Dutton's challenge that pretends that he has meaningful policies.

Labor's class traitors clearly intended to aggressively apply the standard neoliberal model – look at how it helps their careers after politics (ask Anna Blight)! Shorten is not working to promote some progressive agenda, he is doing as little as possible, and expects to simply be voted into The Lodge as a committed servant of transnational capitalism.

Colinn -> bushranga , 1 Nov 2018 16:14
Wait till the revolution comes and we get the bastards up against the wall.
Colinn -> WABogan , 1 Nov 2018 16:11
join the far queue
The aged are the community elders with a lifetime of experience.
The youth are the people who marched against the Vietnam War in our day.
And the boring people in the middle bringing up their families.
I want all those people having strong influence.
Colinn , 1 Nov 2018 15:53
I stopped voting 40 years ago because the voting system is mathematically rigged to favour the duopoly. Until a large number of minor parties can share their preferences and beat the majors, which is now starting to happen. This is not just voting for a good representative, but voting against the corrupt parties. A minority government should lead to proper debate in parliament. More women will lead to lower levels of testosterone fuelled sledging and better communication. A "Coalition of Representative Independents" could form government in the future, leading by consensus and constantly listening to the community.
tjt77 -> BlueThird , 1 Nov 2018 11:35
The rise of nationalism is indeed worrying situation.. but its clear that mass discontent is driving a 'shift' away from the status quo and that opportunists of every creed are all trying to get in on the action..

The big nut to crack is HOW do we collectively find sane and honest leadership ? A huge part of the problem is the ongoing trend of disdain for government in favor of embracing private monopolies as the be all and end all for solving the ongoing societal rift. .. which has created a centralization of wealth and the power that that wealth yields.. allied to the fact that huge swaths of the population in EVERY nation were hiding when the brains were allocated.. and hence are very easy to dupe..

the elephant in the room that no one wants to discuss is population growth and lack of natural resources and meaningful 'employment' .. which self serving politicians are exploiting via playing the fear card and creating further division in society in order to embrace and increase their own power. Further more, no one, it seems, has any valid answers as regards resolving the division and creating a path forward.. thereby making more conflict an inevitability.

MeRaffey , 1 Nov 2018 08:05
Like Octopus, the globalists have every one of their eight legs in a different pot of gold. On their arms, suction cups maintain an iron grip. Trying to pull those suckers out, leaves us raw and bleeding. To release their grip, without hurting ourselves, we must aim for the brain.

Murdoch's media empire has arms in every Democracy on earth. As his poisonous ink spread across our lands, we wallowed in the dark.

The Oil and Coal Tycoons have arms in every black hole on earth. As their suckers pull black gold from the land beneath our feet, we choke on the air we breathe.

The Financial Tyrants have arms in our buildings, factories, farms and homes. Their suckers stripped our pockets bare and we ran out of money.

The False Prophets spread their arms into our private lives. Their suckers turned our modest, humble faiths into global empires filled with mega-churches, televangelists, jet-setting preachers and evangelical armies Hell bent on disruption and destruction.

Denniss offers us the cure! Start thinking fresh and new and starve the globalists to death. They fed us BS, we ate BS and now we are mal-nourished. We need good, healthy ideas.

Land. Infrastructure. Time.

Time - "WE" increased productivity and the globalists stole the rewards. Time to increase our FREE time. 32 hours is the NEW full time. Pay us full time wages, give us full time benefits, and reduce our work days by 20% and suddenly we have 20% more jobs. As the incomes of billionaires drop, the money in circulation will increase. We are the job creators - not globalists.

21st Century Infrastructure is about healthy human beings - not the effing economy. Think healthcare, education, senior care and child care. If we find out you have sent your money off-shore, your local taxes will increase by ten. So please, do, send your money off-shore - our cities and towns would love to increase taxes on your stores, offices and real estate by ten.

No more caps on taxes. If you are a citizen, you pay social taxes on every dime you get. In America you will be paying 15.3% of every dollar to social security. That's $153,000.00 a year for every million dollars you take out of our economy.

Land is not something you put in a museum, lock away in a vault, or wear on your neck. Think fresh and new. If you own land, you are responsible for meeting community rules.

No more empty, weed filled lots allowed. If you have empty land, you better put in a nice garden, pretty trees and walkways or we will do it for you and employ "eminent-domain" on your bank accounts to pay for it.

No more empty buildings. If you own an empty building you will put it to good use, or we will do it for you - and keep the profits to fund our local governments, schools, hospitals, and senior/child care centers.

No more slumlords allowed. We have basic standards, for everyone. If we catch you renting a slum to anyone, we will make repairs for you, and if you do not pay the bill, we will put a lien on your building and wait until you sell it to pay ourselves back.

We do not trust you big-box types anymore. If you want to build your mega-store in our cities, towns or communities, you must, first, deposit the entire cost of tearing it down, and landscaping a park, or playground when you leave. While you stay, we will invest your deposit in index funds and assure ourselves enough money down the road.

Sorry you BIG guys and gals, but you will find our countries are very expensive places for you to invest. We put our families, our neighborhoods and our lives first.

Proselytiser -> FarmerDave , 1 Nov 2018 07:30
That would be fantastic.

However - and it's a big however - there is a very real danger that at the next election the libs will again win by default due to the fact that many traditional labour voters are defecting to the greens instead. Sadly, LNP supporters are a lot less likely to vote green. Our best hope is to wipe the LNP out at the next election by voting labour, and then at the election after that establishing the greens in opposition. It is unfortunatly unlikely to happen at the next election....and I just hope that voters in certain seats understand that by voting for the greens they might be in fact unwittingly handing the reins back to the least green party of all: the LNP.

childofmine , 1 Nov 2018 04:04
Neoliberalism may be dead but the former Trotskyites who invented it are still alive and they still have an agenda.
Idiotgods , 1 Nov 2018 03:25
Neo Liberalism was a project cooked up back in the late 1970s by the Capital owning classes & enacted by successive govts of "right" or "left" ever since. They feared the growing power of the working & middle classes which they felt threatened their own power & wealth. So they set out to destroy any ability of the working class to organise & to gut the middle class.

Key to this was decoupling wages from productivity & forcing us all into debt peonage. Deregulation of the financial markets & the globalization of capital markets, disastorous multilateral trade deals & off shoring jobs, slashing state social programmes, Union busting laws all part of the plan. All covered with a lie that we live in meritocracies & the "best & brightest" are in charge. The result has been evermore riches funneled to the wealthiest few percent & a wealth gap bigger than that of the gilded age

Phalaris -> fabfreddy , 1 Nov 2018 03:18
The essential infrastructure to ensure a base level quality of life for all. Really it's not difficult. What are you afraid of?
Phalaris , 1 Nov 2018 03:15
The majority press are so organised around the idea that neoliberalism in the sense captured economically and to some extent socially as construed in the article above; as normal and natural that nothing can be done. As the system folds we see in its place Brexit, neoconservatism, Trump.

This is not new found freedom or Liberatarianism but a post liberal world where decency and open mindedness and open nuanced debate take a a back seat to populism and demagoguery.

Citizen0 , 1 Nov 2018 00:52
The whole purpose of Anglophone liberal democracy has been twofold: 1. to establish and protect private property rights and 2. TO guarantee some individual liberties. Guess who benefits from the enshrinement of private property rights as absolute? Big owners, and you know who they are. ... Individual tights are just not that sacred, summon the latest bogeyman, and they can be shrunken or tossed.
Alan Ritchie , 31 Oct 2018 22:24
Neoliberalism, the economic stablemate of big religion's Prosperity Evangelism cult. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosperity_theology . Dual streams of bull shit to confuse the citizens while the Country's immense wealth is stolen.
PaulC_Fitzroy -> Bearmuchly , 31 Oct 2018 22:19
I certainly agree with you.

It seems there's been a turning point recently though in the ideas of neoliberalism, as pointed out by Denniss that suddenly it's okay for all and sundry to talk about nationalising industries and infrastructure. It will probably take a couple of decades to turn things around in practical ways. And there are surely plenty of powerful supporters of the ideas of neoliberalism still around.

HonestQuestion , 31 Oct 2018 19:00
Is neo-liberalism really dead or is it wishful thinking?
If neo-liberalism really is on the decline in Australia, all i can say is bravo to Australia, use this opportunity to build a stronger government and regain the terrain that was lost during the TINA (there is no alternative) years.
Here in Canada neo-liberalism is stronger than ever, maybe because of the proximity to the cancerous tumor at the south, so when i read this article, i did it with a bit of skepticism but also with a bit of envy and a bit of hope for the future.
MrTallangatta , 31 Oct 2018 18:58
Neoliberalism is *not* dead, and it is counter-productive to claim that it is. It is clearly the driver of what passes for policy by the LNP government. Just as trickle-down economics remains as the basis of the government's economic actions.
sangela -> mikedow , 31 Oct 2018 18:50
I love it!!
Nintiblue , 31 Oct 2018 18:48
It will look like it's dead when back bone services and infrastructure utilities are returned to public ownership.

Those things are not fit for market style private ownership for a few big reasons:

They are by their nature natural monopolies (so a market private ownership won't work and will rapidly creep up prices of reduced service precisely because they not in a natural market context.

These core services and utilities are mega scale operations beyond a natural market ROI value.

These core sovereign services and utilities, are nation critical to the national economy and political stability. The last thing we want to do is hand that sovereign power over to private control.

PaulMan , 31 Oct 2018 18:47
Australia is a very fortunate country. It enjoys national sovereignty, unshackled by crippling bonds to anything like the neoliberal EU. It is thus able to concentrate on solving its own issues.
StephenO -> ildfluer , 31 Oct 2018 18:47
When The Guardian's editorial staff goes down to Guatamala City, they can stand on a soap box in front of Subway sandwich or McDonalds or Radio Shack.

Europe doesn't do socialism. It's a capitalist system with a high rate of taxes to support a generous social welfare.

sangela -> Matt4720 , 31 Oct 2018 18:46
Jane is too radical and progressive for Warringah...maybe they don't know that?
sangela , 31 Oct 2018 18:45
Great article. Must say that we do have more than one vote per electorate. They're called preference votes. Kerryn Phelps get 23% of the primary PLUS a heap of preferences! But a proportional system would change a whole lot of results
ildfluer -> Matt4720 , 31 Oct 2018 18:41
Yes. But only if she relinquishes her British citizenship in time.
Fred1 -> Alpo88 , 31 Oct 2018 18:38
Firstly we are not in America. America is a basket case and has been since, well, forever.

Secondly the so called "housing crisis" is a simple consequence of a growing population. In the 1950s there were just 8m people in Australia, there 10m in the 1960s and 12m in the 1970s. And, no, neo-liebralism didn't cause the growing population. People having sex and living longer caused the growing population. It is therefore all the more remarkable that we have actually built enough houses to house a population which has doubled in size.

Thirdly, in the last 30 years 1 billion people have been lifted out of poverty. When you talk about huge, unprecedented, un-fucking-believable levels of poverty, super-massive inequality, dissatisfaction (Really? This is now a measure?), unemployment/sub-employment and casualization, collapse (collapse?) of public services, high(er) costs of living.....do you think you're being a little overly dramatic?

Do you really think it all comes to back to one silly economic theory?

Nothing to do with the reality of automation, globalisation, growing populations and the realities of living in 2018 rather than 1978?

Are voters around the world going hard against Neoliberalism? (I note it's now a capitalised term).

In the US they voted for a billionaire who blamed immigrants for people's problems while promising tax and spending cuts.....sounds like an even more extreme version of neo-liberlaism to me.

In Britain they voted for Brexit to....oh that's right....kick out immigrants and burn "red tape".

In Brazil, yep, more neo-liberalism on steroids.

In fact, looking around the world it's actually the far right which are seizing power.

And this is the issue with the obsessive preoccupation with community decline. It feeds directly into the hands of fascism and the far right.

I'm not saying things are perfect. I would prefer to see much more government investment. The only way we'll get that is to educate ourselves about how government finances work so that we're not frightened off by talk of deficits.

However, by laying this all on the door of one rather silly economic theory is to ignore that economics is nothing without human beings. It is human beings who are responsible for all of the good and bad in the world. No theory is going change that. If the world is the way it is it's because humans made it like this.

The "deterioration of the environment"? We did that not neo-liberalism .....

JustInterest , 31 Oct 2018 18:37
In answer to the headline article question, yes WE citizens should collectively strive to think radically, bigger and better than the existing status quo.

PAY CITIZENS TO VOTE!

We must bypass the vested interests and create a new system which encourages active, regular participation in democracy.... lest we wake up one day and realise too late that, by stealth and citizen apathy, the plutocrats and their corporate fascist servants have usurped our nation state, corrupted our law and weakened our institutions, to such a point that our individual rights are permanently crushed.

Change is coming, like it or not. This century - there is great risk to society that advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics and lifespan enhancing genetic engineering will be used by ultra-rich plutocrats to make the vast majority of humanity redundant (within a couple of generations).

Citizens should advocate for DIRECT DEMOCRACY in which citizens are PAID on a per vote per issue basis (subject to verification checks that support the rewarding of effort- citizens should be asked to first demonstrate that they have made effort to obtain sufficient knowledge on a particular topic, prior to being rewarded for their service of voting. Such a process can be opt-in, those who want to be paid, work to do so by learning about the governance issue which is to be voted upon. In this way, a minimum wage can be obtained by direct citizen participation in the governance of communities and our nation). We have the technologies TODAY to undertake open-ledger, smart-phone enabled, digital/postal voting on a per issue basis... which can be funded by EFFECTIVE taxation on large multinational corporations and ultra-wealthy (foreign) shareholders. Citizen will is needed to influence change - the major political parties did not want a Federal ICAC and they certainly will not support paid direct citizen democracy unless voters overwhelming demand it.

Citizens already accept that politicians are paid to vote (and frequently "rewarded" for their "service" to large corporations and wealthy (foreign) shareholders by unethical, corrupt means). Thus, in principle, why can society not collectively accept direct payment to citizens for their individual vote upon an issue? Why do citizens continue to accept archaic systems of democracy which have clearly FAILED to meet the needs of our population in the 21st century?

Citizens are not sufficiently politically engaged in democracy and their civic responsibilities BECAUSE they are not incentivised to do so and because they are economic slaves without the luxury of time to sort through deliberate overload of disinformation, distortion, distraction and deception. Citizens are struggling to obtain objective understanding and to think critically because these crucial functions of democracy are innately discouraged by our existing 20th century economy (that is, slaves are busy support the systems of plutocrats in order that they may live, ants to a queen).

We must advocate for change in the systems of democracy which are failing our communities, our nation, our planet. For too long, plutocrats and their servants have maintained control over economic slaves and the vast majority of the population because citizens have accepted the status quo of being governed by the powerful.

Technology has permanently changed our species. We must all collectively act before innate human greed, lust for power and fear of loss of control (by the wealthy few) lead the majority on an irrational path toward destruction - using the very technologies which helped set us free from the natural world!

JustInterest -> NoSoupforNanna , 31 Oct 2018 18:35
In answer to the headline article question, yes WE citizens should collectively strive to think radically, bigger and better than the existing status quo.
PAY CITIZENS TO VOTE!

We must bypass the vested interests and create a new system which encourages active, regular participation in democracy.... lest we wake up one day and realise too late that, by stealth and citizen apathy, the plutocrats and their corporate fascist servants have usurped our nation state, corrupted our law and weakened our institutions, to such a point that our individual rights are permanently crushed.

Change is coming, like it or not. This century - there is great risk to society that advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics and lifespan enhancing genetic engineering will be used by ultra-rich plutocrats to make the vast majority of humanity redundant (within a couple of generations).

Citizens should advocate for DIRECT DEMOCRACY in which citizens are PAID on a per vote per issue basis (subject to verification checks that support the rewarding of effort- citizens should be asked to first demonstrate that they have made effort to obtain sufficient knowledge on a particular topic, prior to being rewarded for their service of voting. Such a process can be opt-in, those who want to be paid, work to do so by learning about the governance issue which is to be voted upon. In this way, a minimum wage can be obtained by direct citizen participation in the governance of communities and our nation). We have the technologies TODAY to undertake open-ledger, smart-phone enabled, digital/postal voting on a per issue basis... which can be funded by EFFECTIVE taxation on large multinational corporations and ultra-wealthy (foreign) shareholders. Citizen will is needed to influence change - the major political parties did not want a Federal ICAC and they certainly will not support paid direct citizen democracy unless voters overwhelming demand it.

Citizens already accept that politicians are paid to vote (and frequently "rewarded" for their "service" to large corporations and wealthy (foreign) shareholders by unethical, corrupt means). Thus, in principle, why can society not collectively accept direct payment to citizens for their individual vote upon an issue? Why do citizens continue to accept archaic systems of democracy which have clearly FAILED to meet the needs of our population in the 21st century?

Citizens are not sufficiently politically engaged in democracy and their civic responsibilities BECAUSE they are not incentivised to do so and because they are economic slaves without the luxury of time to sort through deliberate overload of disinformation, distortion, distraction and deception. Citizens are struggling to obtain objective understanding and to think critically because these crucial functions of democracy are innately discouraged by our existing 20th century economy (that is, slaves are busy support the systems of plutocrats in order that they may live, ants to a queen).

We must advocate for change in the systems of democracy which are failing our communities, our nation, our planet. For too long, plutocrats and their servants have maintained control over economic slaves and the vast majority of the population because citizens have accepted the status quo of being governed by the powerful.

Technology has permanently changed our species. We must all collectively act before innate human greed, lust for power and fear of loss of control (by the wealthy few) lead the majority on an irrational path toward destruction - using the very technologies which helped set us free from the natural world!

exTen , 31 Oct 2018 17:13
Richard went off the rails in his opening sentence: "The opposite of a neoliberal economic agenda isn't a progressive economic agenda, but democratic re-engagement."

I say this because economically misinformed democratic engagement is a shackle around democracy, at best, if not fatal to democracy. And the biggest and most fundamental misinformation, spouted every bit as much by ALP and Greens as the Libs, is that we must strive for a "sustainable surplus".

As Richard rightly observes, "Neoliberalism taught us that "there is no alternative" to cutting taxes, cutting services and letting the banks treat us as they see fit. But of course not even the Coalition believes that any more." But that doesn't stop them, or Labor, or the Greens from guaranteeing the continuance of the neoliberal cut & privatise mania by insisting that they believe in "budget repair" and "return to surplus" - an insistence which their economically illiterate or misled supporters accept. If you believe in the obviously ridiculous necessity for a currency issuer to run balanced budgets, you are forced into invalid neoliberal thinking, into accepting a false "necessity" for cuts and privatisations, or economy-sedating taxation increases.

Thorlar1 , 31 Oct 2018 08:13
Rumours of neoliberalism's death have been somewhat exaggerated. Its been on life support provided by the LNP since John Howard and there are still a few market fundamentalists lurking in the ranks of the ALP, just waiting for their chance to do New Labor MkII in memory of Paul Keating.

Neoliberalism's lasting legacy will not be the ludicrous economic programs, privatisations and deregulation, those can all be rolled back if some party would grow a spine. The real damage was caused by the aping of the US and UK's cult of individual responsibility, the atomising effects of neoliberal anti-social policy and demonisation of collective action including unionism.

All of which have hastened the atrophy of our democracy.

First things first lets get rid of the neo-liberal national dinosaurs still wallowing in parliament unaware of the mass extinction awaiting them in March next year. At the same time vote in a minority Labor government with enough independent cross benchers, including a preponderance of Greens to keep the bastards honest.

Then just maybe we can start looking at the wider project of repairing Australian society and democracy while we try and reverse the near-decade of damage the LNP have done with their dangerous pro-fossil fuel stance, their insane climate change denial and hypocritical big business friendly economic policies.

Should be a snap!

exTen -> Loco Jack , 31 Oct 2018 08:05
The irony is that it's simple. It's the Heath Robinson contraptions that the economic priesthood for the plutocracy snow us with that are complicated, that turn us off economic thinking because they are impenetrable and make no sense. The simplicity comes from acccepting the blinding obvious truth, once you think about it. The federal government is the monopoly issuer of the AUD. The rest of the world are users, not issuers. Its "budgets" are not our budgets. Nothing like them. Kind of the opposite. Its surpluses are the economy's deficits. Its deficits are the economy's surpluses.

[Dec 09, 2018] Neoliberalism us the economic stablemate of big religion's Prosperity Evangelism cult

Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Alan Ritchie , 31 Oct 2018 22:24

Neoliberalism, the economic stablemate of big religion's Prosperity Evangelism cult. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosperity_theology . Dual streams of bull shit to confuse the citizens while the Country's immense wealth is stolen.

[Dec 09, 2018] The TPP is the penultimate wet dream of all neoliberal multinational vulture corporations

Notable quotes:
"... Apologies, but Neoliberalism is far from 'dead'. But of course it should never have given 'life'. However, if it were 'dead' why did Labor vote with the Coalition to ratify the ultra-Neoliberal TPP??? The TPP is the penultimate wet dream of all neoliberal multinational vulture corporations. Why???? Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) Under these rules, foreign investors can legally challenge host state regulations outside that country's courts. A wide range of policies can be challenged. ..."
Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

MobyAhab , 31 Oct 2018 00:09

Apologies, but Neoliberalism is far from 'dead'. But of course it should never have given 'life'. However, if it were 'dead' why did Labor vote with the Coalition to ratify the ultra-Neoliberal TPP??? The TPP is the penultimate wet dream of all neoliberal multinational vulture corporations. Why???? Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) Under these rules, foreign investors can legally challenge host state regulations outside that country's courts. A wide range of policies can be challenged.

Yeah! Philip Morris comes to mind. "The cost to taxpayers of the Australian government's six-year legal battle with the tobacco giant Philip Morris over plain packaging laws can finally be revealed, despite the government's efforts to keep the cost secret.

The commonwealth government spent nearly $40m defending its world-first plain packaging laws against Philip Morris Asia, a tobacco multinational, according to freedom of information documents.

Documents say the total figure is $38,984,942.97."

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jul/02/revealed-39m-cost-of-defending-australias-tobacco-plain-packaging-laws

[Dec 09, 2018] Neo- liberalism is not dead its only just started. We are not in an era of democracy and freedom but of Oligarchy and governmental servitude. In the era of legalised privateering.

Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Moron_Strictos_freed , 31 Oct 2018 00:00

Neo- liberalism is not dead its only just started. We are not in an era of democracy and freedom but of Oligarchy and governmental servitude.
Less restrictions doesn't mean freedom it mean free booters, privateers , and plunderers are given government support and handouts the only thing free is their right to take.

The pirates who plunder the most are given Hero status and those plundered are laughed at as losers.

Looks around you governments are becoming agents of theft find ways to channel money to those who don't need it . They say its right wing fascism but its not for all their evil the fascists were determined to improve the lot of the people, however perversely they went about it.

What we have today is legalised privateering.

None of the political parties today have the least intention to change a system that works for them.

Bewareofnazihippies -> Fred1 , 30 Oct 2018 23:58
Fred, I can't remember who said it, but an observer of human systems and institutions made the observation that unless the prevalent social, economic or political structures of the day was not either changed or renewed, then those within the system would 'game' it; corrupting it from within for personal benefit to the detriment of society as a whole.
This perfectly sums up neo-liberalism.
Whatever positive virtues were extolled when this ideology was adopted wholesale by so many governments and societies (and please spare me the '-we delivered billions out of poverty!' line, that was a positive byproduct, never the objective of neo-liberalism), it has since become thoroughly corrupted, serving an ever shrinking percentage of society - entrenching a super-wealthy 'ruling class' that makes a mockery of the idea of democracy.
It's time to ditch this 21st Century feudalistic construct, and replace it with something that serves the whole of society with more justice than this current gravy train for the one percenters.
Bluetwo , 30 Oct 2018 23:54
Fully agree with the things being said here. The privatisation of essential services has been a bloody disaster. Telecommunications, health, education energy production/distribution. Look at what the NSW conservatives are doing the the public transport or the feds have done to our communications, including Telstra the ABC and SBS.

But the issue is that this will just turn into an ongoing political football with each successive conservative government trying to sell off the farm again.

These critical public services and infrastructure must be protected in law needing a referendum to make major changes. Also their funding must be guaranteed and they must be run at arms length from the government to reduce political interference and ensure they are delivering the best possible service and are competitive with the huge private sector operators.

There charter of operation and obligation to the public must be extremely robust and clearly outline their duties of care to operate in a transparent and open fashion putting the public interest as a priority.

FelixKruell , 30 Oct 2018 23:50

The opposite of a neoliberal economic agenda isn't a progressive economic agenda, but democratic re-engagement.

You can have democratic engagement voting for a 'neo-liberal economic agenda'. In fact we've had it for decades.

But of course not even the Coalition believes that any more. These days they proudly subsidise their friends and regulate their enemies in order to reshape Australia in their preferred form.

They're politicians - they've never applied their ideological views in a pure way. This is nothing new.

Ironically, one of the major objections to proportional representation in Australia has been that it tends to deliver minority government, a situation that the major parties prefer to avoid.

There's a big difference between minority government by a major party + a handful of votes, versus a minority government by a handful of minority parties, or a major party + a minor party. They tend to lead to the kind of instability we'd prefer to avoid.

The death of neoliberalism means

I think you've called it a bit prematurely. Both major parties here are still peddling neo-liberalism, with policies which only differ on the margins.

[Dec 09, 2018] Never forget that fascism is the natural defence mechanism of capital. After it is accrued, it must be defended

Notable quotes:
"... Neoliberal doctrine leads to skyrocketing inequality, a swelling in the desperate and forgotten poor who are vulnerable to populist messaging and the idea of a strongman peddling easy answers to keep people safe as civil unrest increases. Fascism seeks power for power's sake and total control over the populace, and always cruelty to the marginalised, the 'others'. How all the right wingers hand-wringing over the idea of 'socialist communisms!!1!' can't see that, I don't know. ..."
"... All over the world, failed neoliberalism is being replaced by right-wing populist nationalism & I don't think "repairing democratic institutions" is at the top of their to-do list. ..."
"... I'm certainly in favour of greater nationalisation, especially of essential services. But around the world, neo-liberalism has morphed into neo-fascism and this is where the next fight must be. ..."
"... In social systems, natural selection favours cooperation. In addition, we are biased toward ethical behaviours, so cooperation and sharing are valued in human societies. ..."
"... The consequences of four decades of financialized neoliberal trade policies were by no means equally shared. Internal and external class relations were made evident through narrowly distributed booms followed by widely distributed busts. ..."
"... No wonder you get fascist right wing insurgence in this climate! ..."
Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

CatPerson420 , 30 Oct 2018 23:18

Never forget that fascism is the natural defence mechanism of capital. After it is accrued, it must be defended. The current trend in global politics is not an anomaly but an entirely predictable outcome.

Neoliberal doctrine leads to skyrocketing inequality, a swelling in the desperate and forgotten poor who are vulnerable to populist messaging and the idea of a strongman peddling easy answers to keep people safe as civil unrest increases. Fascism seeks power for power's sake and total control over the populace, and always cruelty to the marginalised, the 'others'. How all the right wingers hand-wringing over the idea of 'socialist communisms!!1!' can't see that, I don't know.

It's too late for the US I fear, and time is rapidly running out for the UK if they don't pull their finger out and have another referendum before the self immolation of Brexit.

Rikyboy , 30 Oct 2018 23:07
All over the world, failed neoliberalism is being replaced by right-wing populist nationalism & I don't think "repairing democratic institutions" is at the top of their to-do list.

If Australia does swing the pendulum to the left, it, along with NZ, will be one of the few countries to do so. De-privatising will not be easy & will be met with a huge reactionary backlash. They'll need to tread very carefully if they want to stay in government.

jclucas , 30 Oct 2018 23:02
Neoliberalism may be dead but the neoliberals in the government will never admit it as they seamlessly transition to authoritarian nationalism with populist promises - and failure to deliver on them.

The neoliberal project was always a philosophical cover for crony capitalism that betrayed the public interest by rewarding vested interests for their patronage, perverted democracy, and served as a mechanism for perverting the natural function of an economy - to fairly distribute goods, resources, and services throughout society - to favor the welfare of the few over the many.

The self-interested culture of neoliberalism - the cult of the individual that denies the common good - pervades every aspect of Australia's life as a nation - business, politics, sport, education, and health - denying and crowding out public spirit, selfless service, and societal wellbeing.

For meaningful change to occur there must be a rebirth of the conception of the public good, and the virtue and necessity of acting to realise it.

However at this stage there is not a communal recognition of what the problem is let alone how to go about repairing it. For that to happen there must be a widely accepted narrative that naturally leads to the obvious actions that must be take to redress the damage done by the neoliberal con job: decreasing economic inequality, restoring democracy, and rebuilding a sense of common cause.

Piecemeal change will not be sufficient to enact the the sweeping transformation that has to occur in every department of life. It is not enough to tax multinationals, to have a federal integrity commission, to build a renewable future, or to move to proportional representation.

Someone, some party, some coherent philosophical perspective has to explain why it must be done.

BlueThird , 30 Oct 2018 22:57
It's certainly the case that the Liberal party, in particular, are now using ideas that fall outside and to the right of neo-liberalism, but it's also obviously the case that neo-liberalism and current Liberal thinking share the same underlying goal. Namely, the transfer of wealth and power towards a narrower and narrower group of people and corporations.

That suggests the death of neo-liberalism is coming about because – having done so much damage already – it's no longer capable of delivering the required results, and that we're moving into a new phase of the death spiral. I think that can also be seen in both the US (where Trump is using the identified problems of neo-liberalism to further the same basic agenda, but with less decorum and a larger cadre of useful idiots) and the UK (where there's still a very strong possibility that Brexit will be used as an excuse to roll back great swathes of social and democratic safeguards).

Perhaps even more worrying – given the latest reports on how we're destroying habitat as well as the climate, and how much of our biodiversity is in South America, particularly the Amazon – is that Brazil is how on a similar path.

The likelihood is that the Liberal party won't get away with what they have planned, but they – and the forces behind them – certainly won't stop trying. And unfortunately it's far from obvious that the Labor party will repudiate neo-liberalism anytime soon. That they signed up for the latest iteration of TPP is hardly a good omen.

Democratic re-engagement is the better way forward from neo-liberalism, but unfortunately I think it's unlikely to be the one that we end up taking.

All of that said, the deepest problem of all is the way in which democracy and government have been corrupted, often via the media, but typically at the behest of corporations, and if there is a way forward it has to be found in addressing those interactions

tolpuddler , 30 Oct 2018 22:28
I'm certainly in favour of greater nationalisation, especially of essential services. But around the world, neo-liberalism has morphed into neo-fascism and this is where the next fight must be.
slorter , 30 Oct 2018 22:19
Well we have had 3+ decades of the dogma!

In social systems, natural selection favours cooperation. In addition, we are biased toward ethical behaviours, so cooperation and sharing are valued in human societies.

But what happens when we are forced into an economic system that makes us compete at every level? The logical outcome is societal decline or collapse.

Perhaps the worst aspect of neoliberalism was its infection of the Labor party. This has left our social infrastructure alarmingly exposed.

The consequences of four decades of financialized neoliberal trade policies were by no means equally shared. Internal and external class relations were made evident through narrowly distributed booms followed by widely distributed busts.

Globally, debt has forced policy convergence between political parties of differing ideologies. European center-left parties have pushed austerity even when ideology would suggest the opposite.

No wonder you get fascist right wing insurgence in this climate!

Thank you Richard Denniss we need to highlight this more and more and start educating the dumbed down population saturated with neoliberal snake oil!

[Dec 05, 2018] Manufacturing Official Narrative by C.J. Hopkins

Guardian is just a propaganda outlet. That sad fact does not exclude the possibility of publishing really good articles, thouth. That still happens occasionally.
The fact that they follow MI6 and Foreign Office talking points in all foreign events coverage a is just a testament the GB is a "national security state". Nothing more, nothing less.
Notable quotes:
"... I'm not going to debunk the Guardian article here. It has been debunked by better debunkers than I (e.g., Jonathan Cook , Craig Murray , Glenn Greenwald , Moon of Alabama , and many others). ..."
"... The short version is, The Guardian 's Luke Harding, a shameless hack who will affix his name to any propaganda an intelligence agency feeds him, alleged that Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager, secretly met with Julian Assange (and unnamed "Russians") on numerous occasions from 2013 to 2016, presumably to conspire to collude to brainwash Americans into not voting for Clinton. Harding's earth-shaking allegations, which The Guardian prominently featured and flogged, were based on well, absolutely nothing, except the usual anonymous "intelligence sources." After actual journalists pointed this out, The Guardian quietly revised the piece ( employing the subjunctive mood rather liberally ), buried it in the back pages of its website, and otherwise pretended like they had never published it. ..."
"... By that time, of course, its purpose had been served. The story had been picked up and disseminated by other "respectable," "authoritative" outlets, and it was making the rounds on social media. Nonetheless, out of an abundance of caution, in an attempt to counter the above-mentioned debunkers (and dispel the doubts of anyone else still capable of any kind of critical thinking), Politico posted this ass-covering piece speculating that, if it somehow turned out The Guardian 's story was just propaganda designed to tarnish Assange and Trump well, probably, it had been planted by the Russians to make Luke Harding look like a moron. This ass-covering piece of speculative fiction, which was written by a former CIA agent, was immediately disseminated by liberals and "leftists" who are eagerly looking forward to the arrest, rendition, and public crucifixion of Assange. ..."
"... And this is why The Guardian will not be punished for publishing a blatantly fabricated story. Nor will Luke Harding be penalized for writing it. Luke Harding will be rewarded for writing it, as he has been handsomely rewarded throughout his career for loyally serving the ruling classes. Greenwald, on the other hand, is on thin ice. It will be instructive to see how far he pushes his confrontation with The Guardian regarding this story. ..."
"... It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it. ..."
"... Those who are conforming to [official truth] are doing so, not because they are deceived, but because it is safer and more rewarding to do so. ..."
"... The powerless are either servants of power or they are heretics. There is no third alternative. ..."
"... It is important to realize that "the truth" is not going to "rouse the masses from their slumber" and inspire them to throw off their chains. People are not going to suddenly "wake up," "see the truth" and start "the revolution." ..."
"... The distinction is simple. We can't know the truth about distant and complex events like 9/11 or JFK unless we were directly involved, and those people are all dead. For big events we have to rely on, or ignore, the official accounts. ..."
"... Given all this, still, we can approach an approximation of truth that some can agree on. Here is where the trouble starts . ..."
Dec 03, 2018 | www.unz.com

...First, let's look at a concrete example of our system manufacturing official narrative (aka "official truth" or "truth" -- note quotes ). I'm going to use The Guardian 's most recent blatantly fabricated article (" Manafort held secret talks with Assange in Ecuadorian embassy ") as an example, but I could just as well have chosen any of a host of other fabricated stories disseminated by "respectable" outlets over the course of the last two years. The " Russian Propaganda Peddlers " story. The " Russia Might Have Poisoned Hillary Clinton " story. The " Russians Hacked the Vermont Power Grid " story. The " Golden Showers Russian Pee-Tape " story. The " Novichok Assassins " story. The " Bana Alabed Speaks Out " story. The " Trump's Secret Russian Server " story. The " Labour Anti-Semitism Crisis " story. The " Russians Orchestrated Brexit " story. The " Russia is Going to Hack the Midterms " story. The " Twitter Bots " story. And the list goes on.

I'm not going to debunk the Guardian article here. It has been debunked by better debunkers than I (e.g., Jonathan Cook , Craig Murray , Glenn Greenwald , Moon of Alabama , and many others).

The short version is, The Guardian 's Luke Harding, a shameless hack who will affix his name to any propaganda an intelligence agency feeds him, alleged that Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager, secretly met with Julian Assange (and unnamed "Russians") on numerous occasions from 2013 to 2016, presumably to conspire to collude to brainwash Americans into not voting for Clinton. Harding's earth-shaking allegations, which The Guardian prominently featured and flogged, were based on well, absolutely nothing, except the usual anonymous "intelligence sources." After actual journalists pointed this out, The Guardian quietly revised the piece ( employing the subjunctive mood rather liberally ), buried it in the back pages of its website, and otherwise pretended like they had never published it.

By that time, of course, its purpose had been served. The story had been picked up and disseminated by other "respectable," "authoritative" outlets, and it was making the rounds on social media. Nonetheless, out of an abundance of caution, in an attempt to counter the above-mentioned debunkers (and dispel the doubts of anyone else still capable of any kind of critical thinking), Politico posted this ass-covering piece speculating that, if it somehow turned out The Guardian 's story was just propaganda designed to tarnish Assange and Trump well, probably, it had been planted by the Russians to make Luke Harding look like a moron. This ass-covering piece of speculative fiction, which was written by a former CIA agent, was immediately disseminated by liberals and "leftists" who are eagerly looking forward to the arrest, rendition, and public crucifixion of Assange.

At this point, I imagine you're probably wondering what this has to do with manufacturing "truth." Because, clearly, this Guardian story was a lie a lie The Guardian got caught telling. I wish the "truth" thing was as simple as that (i.e., exposing and debunking the ruling classes' lies). Unfortunately, it isn't. Here is why.

Much as most people would like there to be one (and behave and speak as if there were one), there is no Transcendental Arbiter of Truth. The truth is what whoever has the power to say it is says it is. If we do not agree that that "truth" is the truth, there is no higher court to appeal to. We can argue until we are blue in the face. It will not make the slightest difference. No evidence we produce will make the slightest difference. The truth will remain whatever those with the power to say it is say it is.

Nor are there many "truths" (i.e., your truth and my truth). There is only one "truth" the "official truth". The "truth" according to those in power. This is the whole purpose of the concept of truth. It is the reason the concept of "truth" was invented (i.e., to render any other "truths" lies). It is how those in power control reality and impose their ideology on the masses (or their employees, or their students, or their children). Yes, I know, we very badly want there to be some "objective truth" (i.e., what actually happened, when whatever happened, JFK, 9-11, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Schrödinger's dead cat, the Big Bang, or whatever). There isn't. The truth is just a story a story that is never our story.

The "truth" is a story that power gets to tell, and that the powerless do not get to tell, unless they tell the story of those in power, which is always someone else's story. The powerless are either servants of power or they are heretics. There is no third alternative. They either parrot the "truth" of the ruling classes or they utter heresies of one type or another. Naturally, the powerless do not regard themselves as heretics. They do not regard their "truth" as heresy. They regard their "truth" as the truth, which is heresy. The truth of the powerless is always heresy.

For example, while it may be personally comforting for some of us to tell ourselves that we know the truth about certain subjects (e.g., Russiagate, 9-11, et cetera), and to share our knowledge with others who agree with us, and even to expose the lies of the corporate media on Twitter, Facebook, and our blogs, or in some leftist webzine (or "fearless adversarial" outlet bankrolled by a beneficent oligarch), the ruling classes do not give a shit, because ours is merely the raving of heretics, and does not warrant a serious response.

Or all right, they give a bit of a shit, enough to try to cover their asses when a journalist of the stature of Glenn Greenwald (who won a Pulitzer and is frequently on television) very carefully and very respectfully almost directly accuses them of lying. But they give enough of a shit to do this because Greenwald has the power to hurt them, not because of any regard for the truth. This is also why Greenwald has to be so careful and respectful when directly confronting The Guardian , or any other corporate media outlet, and state that their blatantly fabricated stories could, theoretically, turn out to be true. He can't afford to cross the line and end up getting branded a heretic and consigned to Outer Mainstream Darkness, like Robert Fisk, Sy Hersh, Jonathan Cook, John Pilger, Assange, and other such heretics.

Look, I'm not trying to argue that it isn't important to expose the fabrications of the corporate media and the ruling classes. It is terribly important. It is mostly what I do (albeit usually in a more satirical fashion). At the same time, it is important to realize that "the truth" is not going to "rouse the masses from their slumber" and inspire them to throw off their chains. People are not going to suddenly "wake up," "see the truth" and start "the revolution." People already know the truth the official truth, which is the only truth there is. Those who are conforming to it are doing so, not because they are deceived, but because it is safer and more rewarding to do so.

And this is why The Guardian will not be punished for publishing a blatantly fabricated story. Nor will Luke Harding be penalized for writing it. Luke Harding will be rewarded for writing it, as he has been handsomely rewarded throughout his career for loyally serving the ruling classes. Greenwald, on the other hand, is on thin ice. It will be instructive to see how far he pushes his confrontation with The Guardian regarding this story.

As for Julian Assange, I'm afraid he is done for. The ruling classes really have no choice but to go ahead and do him at this point. He hasn't left them any other option. Much as they are loathe to create another martyr, they can't have heretics of Assange's notoriety running around punching holes in their "truth" and brazenly defying their authority. That kind of stuff unsettles the normals, and it sets a bad example for the rest of us heretics.

#

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

Manufacturing Truth

James Forrestal , says: December 3, 2018 at 6:26 pm GMT

Good piece. I think there's another layer, though.

The truth or falsehood of individual facts about the physical world can often be determined with near-certainty. But when it comes to history, or "news" about current events/ politics, reality is much too complex to address directly. Too many individual facts to be comprehensible, let alone useful.

We must pick, choose, emphasize, or ignore particular elements, and arrange them into some kind of structure, in order to form a useful narrative. Or in the case of "news," the legacy media oligarchy largely performs this function for us -- we simply passively accept/ adopt their narrative. Or, in many cases, "choose" between the closely-related variants of that narrative offered by the "liberal" vs. "conservative" press.

This process of abstraction, simplification, and organization inevitably involves data loss. So no narrative is "true" in the same sense that individual facts about the real world are true. But some narratives incorporate large amounts of "facts" that are demonstrably false, and some are more useful/ descriptive/ predictive than others. No one engaged in this process is "objective." They -- or we -- are all in some way part of the story. It should be self-evident that some narratives are more useful to the perceived interests of owners of major media outlets than others, and that these will assume a much more prominent place in their coverage than ones that are deleterious to those interests.

Ideally, most people would take these factors into account when evaluating the "news," and maintain a much more skeptical attitude than they typically do. But there are several factors that prevent this.

One is simply time/ efficiency. These individual narratives, taken together, support -- and are supported by -- our overall worldview. There aren't enough hours in the day to be constantly skeptical about everything, especially since the major tools of distortion involved in constructing mainstream narratives tend to be selection bias/ memory-holing, with obvious lies about known facts (like the Guardian story referenced here) used only sparingly. It's simply not practical to to constantly consider potentially "better" narratives, and to reevaluate one's worldview based on these.

And which narrative we believe often has more to do with perceived social pressure/ social acceptability than with "truth." As you put it,

Those who are conforming to it are doing so, not because they are deceived, but because it is safer and more rewarding to do so.

Mass media pushing a common narrative creates an artificial perception of social consensus. Creating, or even finding, alternative narratives means fighting the inertia of this perceived consensus, and potentially suffering social costs for believing in the "wrong" one. The social role of narratives is largely independent of their "truth" -- if what you're "supposed" to believe is highly implausible, that actually gives it higher value as a signal of loyalty to the establishment.

It's probably best to maintain a resolutely agnostic attitude toward most "news" items, unless one is particularly interested in that particular event. " Why are they pushing this particular story?" "Why now ?" and " What are they trying to accomplish here?" are often more useful questions than "Is it true?"

It's not a new issue -- only exacerbated by the advent of mass visual media:
"Propaganda" -- Edward Bernays (1928)
"The Free Press"– Hilaire Belloc (1918)

Kratoklastes , says: December 3, 2018 at 11:17 pm GMT
I get what Hopkins is trying to do here, but redefining terms (i.e., "truth") doesn't do what he thinks it does.

The truth is not ' what most people think '; it's not ' what we are told to believe '; it's not ' the official narrative '.

There is a useful cautionary tale embedded in Hopkins' piece, but he doesn't tease it out properly.

Take this excerpt:

The truth is what whoever has the power to say it is says it is. If we do not agree that that "truth" is the truth, there is no higher court to appeal to. We can argue until we are blue in the face. It will not make the slightest difference. No evidence we produce will make the slightest difference. The truth will remain whatever those with the power to say it is say it is.

With significant caveats, it is a reasonable description of the way the political world works: if the political class decides that its interests are best served by declaring that a specific narrative X is 'true', it will obtain immediate compliance from about half the livestock, and can then rely on force (peer pressure; subsidy or taxation; state coercion) to get an absolute majority of the herd to declare that they accept the 'truth' of X .

If X is objectively false, too bad.

Try to run a legal argument based on the objective falsity of a thing that the political class has deemed to be true: you'll be shit outta luck.

This is highly relevant where I am sitting: here are two examples – one really obvious, one a bit less so (but far more important because of its radical implications).

Obvious Example: Drug Dogs

Recent research has shown that drug sniffing dogs give false positive signals between 60% and 80% of the time – i.e., in terms of identifying people who are in actual physical possession of drugs at any point in time, drug sniffing dogs perform worse than a coin toss.

Note that this is before considering that the dog's handler is often pointing the dog at a target that the handler thinks is likely to be carrying drugs. (Although in reality, drug dogs are paraded around at concerts and in public spaces, sniffing every passer-by).

However there is an Act of Parliament (capitalise all the magic words) that asserts that a signal from a drug sniffing dog is sufficient to qualify as what Americans call "probable cause" – i.e., reasonable suspicion for a search.

Does anyone think that evidence should be admissible if it results from a search conducted based on 'probable cause' derived from a method that produces worse outcomes than tossing a coin?

Judges will tie themselves into absolute epistemological knots to get that evidence admitted – and they will refuse to permit defence Counsel from adducing evidence about drug dog inaccuracy because since the defendant actually did have drugs in their possession, the dog didn't signal falsely.

In other words, the judge conflates posterior probability with prior probability; the prior probability that the dog is correct, is 10%-40%; this should not suffice to generate probable cause (or 'reasonable suspicion).

More Interesting Example: 'Representative' Democracy

In general, Western governments assert that their legitimacy stems from two primary sources: some founding set of principles (usually a constitution – written or otherwise), and 'representativeness' (including ratification of the constitution by a representative mechanism, for those places with written foundational documents).

The Arrow Impossibility Theorem [1,2] and the Gibbard-Satterthwaite Theorem [3,4], both show that there is no way of accurately determining group preferences using an ordinal voting mechanism.

What this boils down to, is that representativeness is a lie – and it's a lie before any consideration of voting outcomes ; it's a meta -problem (the problem that ordinal voting cannot do what it is claimed to do – viz ., accurately identify the 'will of the people'/'social preferences'/'what the people want').

Beyond the meta-problem, there is also the actual counting problem: no government has ever been elected having obtained the votes of an outright bare majority, i.e., 50%-plus-1 of the entire eligible franchise. (It's more like 25-35% for most parliamentary systems – for US presidential elections in the full-franchise period, the winner is voted for by 29% of the eligible population; you would be horrified to look at US Senate results).

So when the new unhappy lords (and their Little Eichmann bureaucrat enablers) promulgate laws based on assertions of legitimacy because of a constitutional Grundnorm and/or the representative nature of government both of those things are pretty obvious furphies; they are objectively not 'truth' and no amount of heel-clicking and wishing will make it so.

Which brings us to a key legal aphorism that has a jurisprudential history going back four centuries: Ratio legis est anima legis, et mutata legis ratione, mutatur ex lex – which dates from Milborn's case ( Coke 7a KB [1609]).

The reason for a law is the soul of the law, and if the reason for a law has changed, the law is changed .

What this means – explicitly – is that " no law can survive the [extinction of the] reasons on which it is founded ".

American courts re-expressed this as " cessante ratione legis, cessat ipsa lex " (the reason for a law having ceased, the law itself ceases) – e.g., in Funk v. United States , 290 US 371 (1933) in which Justice Sutherland opined –

This means that no law can survive the reasons on which it is founded. It needs no statute to change it; it abrogates itself . If the reasons on which a law rests are overborne by opposing reasons, which in the progress of society gain a controlling force, the old law, though still good as an abstract principle, and good in its application to some circumstances, must cease to apply as a controlling principle to the new circumstances.

(Emphasis mine)

Again: try running this argument in a court: " The asserted basis for all laws promulgated by the government, is provably false. Under a doctrine with a 4-century jurisprudential provenance, the law itself is void ."

See how far you get.

So Hopkins makes a good-but-obvious point – power does not respect either rights or truth; as such it does you no good whatsoever to have the actual truth on your side. He should have made the point better.

References (links are to PDFs of each paper)

[1] Arrow (1950). " A Difficulty in the Concept of Social Welfare " Journal of Political Economy 58 (4): 328–346

[2] Geanakoplos, John (2005). " Three Brief Proofs of Arrow's Impossibility Theorem " Economic Theory 26 (1): 211–215

[3] Gibbard (1973). " Manipulation of voting schemes: a general result " Econometrica 41 (4): 587–601.

[4] Satterthwaite (April 1975). " Strategy-proofness and Arrow's Conditions: Existence and Correspondence Theorems for Voting Procedures and Social Welfare Functions " Journal of Economic Theory 10: 187–217.

Brabantian , says: December 3, 2018 at 11:18 pm GMT
C J Hopkins, despite some good quotes and insights above, regrettably falls into the trap of peddling Derrida-tier relativistic nonsense, playing a word game about 'truth', as if 'truth' was not real merely because most people have strong incentives to avoid being devoted to it

Where you stand depends upon where you sit, etc., Karl Marx's dictums about economic and power positions shaping consciousness, and of course the century-old classic:

It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.

from Upton Sinclair (1878-1968). Hopkins more or less repeats Sinclair when he says

Those who are conforming to [official truth] are doing so, not because they are deceived, but because it is safer and more rewarding to do so.

Despite selling-out truth to the relativism devil in some passages, Hopkins nevertheless creates some quotable, including the particularly insightful:

The powerless are either servants of power or they are heretics. There is no third alternative.

The following notion of Hopkins is seen now and then in the alt-sphere, but always bears repeating

It is important to realize that "the truth" is not going to "rouse the masses from their slumber" and inspire them to throw off their chains. People are not going to suddenly "wake up," "see the truth" and start "the revolution."

... ... ...

Kratoklastes , says: December 3, 2018 at 11:28 pm GMT
@Tulip

The coin of truth is iron and blood.

That's absolutely, 100% wrong.

Iron and blood are the tools used to force people to accept what isn't true. (Another way to tell: it was uttered by a fucking politician – a cunt who wanted to live in palaces paid for by the sweat of other people's brows).

Truth does not need violence to propagate itself: in a completely-peaceful system of free exchange, bad ideas (of which lies are a subset) will get driven out of the market place because they will fail to conform to ground truth.

Falsehood requires violence (arguably it is a form of violence: fraud is 'violent' because it causes its victims to misallocate their resources or to deform their preferences and expectations).

In a very real sense, truth does not need friends: all it requires is an absence of powerful enemies.

RobinG , says: December 4, 2018 at 12:21 am GMT
@James Forrestal

Occupation of the American Mind: Israel's Public Relations War in the United States

https://www.occupationmovie.org/

This film shows a great example of propaganda in action. Free to watch now and this link also includes a short version and a trailer.

Jett Rucker , says: Website December 4, 2018 at 3:04 am GMT
When I tell any Truth, it is not for the sake of Convincing those who do not know it, but for the sake of defending those who Do.

~ William Blake, 1810

polistra , says: December 4, 2018 at 7:33 am GMT
The distinction is simple. We can't know the truth about distant and complex events like 9/11 or JFK unless we were directly involved, and those people are all dead. For big events we have to rely on, or ignore, the official accounts.

But we CAN know the truth about our own situation, our own neighborhood, and our own families. The current riots in France are a concrete ASSERTION of local truth against the blatant and condescending official lies. The majority of France is getting poorer and suffering more from migrant crime. Macron insists that starvation is necessary to serve Gaia, and crime is necessary to serve Juncker. The people would prefer to have a leader that serves France.

The scalpel , says: Website December 4, 2018 at 1:07 pm GMT
@FB Scientific truth is limited by two factors – assumptions, and hidden variables. For example, we might drop a brick in a vacuum and believe that it falls at 9.8 m/s squared. Here, we make the assumption that the force of gravity is constant. And for most of history we were unaware of the hidden variable of relativity to the speed of light.

So, assuming (LOL) that we are able to eliminate all assumptions and account for all hidden variables, there is a scientific truth. That is ASSUMING we are not just a simulation in someone elses computer!

Given all this, still, we can approach an approximation of truth that some can agree on. Here is where the trouble starts .

DFH , says: December 4, 2018 at 4:05 pm GMT
What is truth? – John 18:38
FB , says: December 4, 2018 at 4:26 pm GMT
@The scalpel LOL and then there is the 'observer effect' also especially in good old quantum mechanics in the end scientific truth does boil down to what 'some can agree on'
Tulip , says: December 4, 2018 at 5:40 pm GMT
@Kratoklastes Strength is the production of force over distance. That is to say, force is a quantifiable, physical phenomenon that, deconstruct it as much as you want, will hit you like a tsunami whether you believe it or not.

Force only works because there is a real world that transcends philosophical bullshit and marketing.

The subjective piece is will: victory is attained when the enemies will to resist is crushed. Through the repeated use of physical force, eventually any enemy can be worn down and vanquished.

The world is finite, desire is infinite, and for every desire and appetite, there is a will. As multiple wills will that they attain their infinite desires in a finite world, there will always be a conflict of will, which will always ultimately be resolved by force. Which means ultimately, despite the rich imaginations and appetites of humans, and their related striving, physical force will ultimately rule the day, and conquer, condition, and constrain the mental life of mankind.

Of course, desire and appetite will not take no for an answer, and in their frustration, they will imagine, fantasize, and conceptualize rationales for why this is not so. This is the nature of our desires, and in good times of prosperity and peace, they may even bend our reason in the direction of these appetites and fantasies, until the instincts for self preservation and endurance rust, and are even forgotten. But like the moon revealed by a passing cloud, the perpetual war of human existence will inevitably reassert itself, and those that have prepared for the inevitable will vanquish those who were content to daydream when they should have been preparing.

TimothyPMadden , says: December 4, 2018 at 8:52 pm GMT
What is truth ?

Truth is a word .

After reading the article and the aggregate comments, I am strengthened in my belief that the physics analogy of Schrödinger's cat is among the most useful (and notwithstanding the otherwise valid criticism of it in the comments). In the same way that the Oxford English Dictionary, for example, does not purport to define a given word, per se , but rather gives a detailed description of how the word has in fact been used over the years and centuries.

I refer to my version of Schrödinger's cat as counter-sense words or oscillating-contradictions .

Oscillating contradictions and cogno-linguistic manipulation

The primary means by which corporate supremacy, for example, is achieved and maintained in practice is via the maintenance and use of a small arsenal of about two dozen critical counter-sense or yo-yo -like words/terms that are asserted or claimed to mean either "X" or "Minus-X" at the option of the decision-maker.

Among the most important and sui generis (in a class of its own) is the word person which is held to mean a living, breathing being of conscience (literally a being of equity) with the rights, powers and privileges of such being ("X"), or else it can mean a corporate entity which is a notional/inanimate item of property to be bought and sold and otherwise traded for profit in the stock and financial markets ("Minus-X").

By way of example/demonstration of the ongoing cognitive manipulation process, if someone had managed to hit the judges of the U.S. Supreme Court with a blast of truth-ray just before they announced their decision in Citizens United, here is what we may have got instead:

[MORE]

We here at the Supreme Court are part of what can be fairly and broadly referred to as an arm of the entrenched-money-power.

At certain times and under certain circumstances it is to our enormous advantage over you the masses that corporations be natural-persons-in-law with the rights, powers and privileges of a natural person or living being of conscience.

At other times and other circumstances it is to our enormous advantage over you the masses that corporations be items of property that can be actively bought and sold and traded for profit in the stock and financial markets.

Your laughable naiveté is manifest in your expectation that you are going to receive a definitive answer from this Court, or even that it is possible for us to give you one. Among the foundational purposes of this Court is to actively prevent that question from being answered definitively at all. The instant we give a definitive answer, the game is over.

Whatever answer we give you must perpetuate the systematized delusion that the same concept (corporate personhood) can mean either X (a living being of conscience), or minus-X (an item of property), depending on the ever-changing needs of the decider.

So our current answer is that a corporation is a natural-person-in-law with the rights, powers and privileges of a natural person, except when it isn't. We'll let you know next time whether that situation has changed in the meantime.

Essentially all counter-sense words/terms follow that same template .

Notwithstanding that the respective concepts are logically and objectively mutually exclusive , the judges of the Courts (and the broadly-defined financial-world/social-control-structure) maintain that it can be either or both , and we'll let you know if and when it becomes important.

So a corporate person has a right of free speech when giving money to influence political parties, but not to object to itself being sold as a piece of property in the stock and financial markets or when it is acquired in a merger or takeover financed by its own assets. If a corporation has the legal capacity and rights of a natural person, then how can it be owned as the legal property of another? The purpose of the Courts is to ensure that that question is never presented in that way.

After person , the remaining most significant counter-sense or yo-yo -like words are (surprise surprise) essentially all money-and-finance-based, and the most important among these is the word principal and its role in facilitating illegal front-loading or ex-temporal fraud (interest illegally and unlawfully compounded in advance).

Is the amount of principal the actual or net amount advanced by the creditor and received by the debtor for their own use and control?

Or is it the amount that the debtor agrees that they owe regardless of the amount received?

Is the amount of principal a question of fact ? Or of the agreement of parties ?

[Here is the premise / offer that is referenced immediately below:]

Lender (e.g., typical second-mortgage lender): "I will loan you $10,000 at 20% per annum provided that you sign and give to me a marketable security that claims or otherwise purports to evidence that I have loaned you $15,000 at 10% per annum, plus an undisclosed and unregistered side-agreement and cheque (check) back to me for a bonus or loan fee of $5,000 as a payment from the nominal proceeds."

In the process example used above, what is the principal amount of the loan? Is it $10,000 because that is the factual net amount invested by the creditor and received by the debtor for their own use? Or is it $15,000 because that is the amount that the debtor is required to falsely agree that they have received and owe as a condition of the loan? Or is it $20,000 because that is the total cash-equivalent/money assets ($15,000 mortgage + $5,000 cheque) that the debtor has to give to the creditor?

Is it a noun/fact ? Or is it an adjective/opinion merely pretending to be a noun? All debt and therefore money in the world today depends on the answer to that question that theoretically cannot exist.

Principal is a special type (and most significant form) of counter-sense word or oscillating contradiction where dictionaries normally only give one sense, while commercial practice defines the contrary. It would be very difficult to put the Whatever-the-debtor-agrees-that-they-owe sense into a dictionary, because the fraud against meaning (as well as the criminal law) is manifest in spelling it out, and ever more so in more specialized financial dictionaries.

So virtually every legal, financial, accounting, and ordinary English dictionary and/or regulation defines it to the effect "The actual amount invested, loaned or advanced to the debtor/borrower net of any interest, discount, premium or fees", while virtually every financial security in the real world at least implicitly incorporates the fraudulent alternative/contrary meaning.

This in turn allows the academic world to function on the rational/factual definition, while the markets maintain a wholly contradictory deemed or pretended reality, while both remain oblivious to the contradiction.

Thus principal means the nominal creditor's actual and net investment, unless it doesn't .

With this class of counter-sense word where there is a necessary and definitive answer, the real job of the judges of the Courts becomes to make certain that the question is never officially asked, and under no circumstances is it to be definitively answered.

With just one of these words you can theoretically steal the Earth . With a financial system that is relatively saturated with them, such becomes child's play . With these rules a group of competently-trained chimpanzees otherwise pulling levers at random could do as well as the so-called wizards of Wall Street .

And significantly, these oscillating contradictions enable the judges to be self-righteous in the extreme on behalf of the entrenched-money-power, while looting the little people of the product of their labour.

As in: You have received the principal amount ($10,000) and you are going to pay back the principal amount ($15,000) plus the ever-accumulating (and super-leveraged) interest upon it according to your contract, while the meaning of the word oscillates between fact and opinion – between a noun and an adjective – according to what the judge needs it to mean (or accommodate) at any given instant in time.

It seems impossibly obvious in this simple example, but with several of them orchestrated simultaneously or sequentially, anything can truly be made to mean anything .

A partial list of the most critical oscillating-contradicitions includes: loan, credit, discount, interest, rate-of-interest, agreement, contract, security, repay, restitution, etc., all of which mean either "X" or its conceptual opposite "Minus-X" at the option of the entrenched-money-power whose vast financial fortunes are founded on such cogno-linguistic arbitrage .

Here are what I believe to be four essential tools needed to triangulate reality via congo-linguistic parallax . The first two are mine, and the last two are from the American and English Courts, respectively.

1. Humans are highly cogno-linguistic . We perceive reality very largely as a function of the language that we use to describe it. Most everyone inherently believes and presumes that you have to be able to think something before you can say it. The greater reality is that, above a certain base level of perception and communication, you have to have the words and language by which to say something before you can think it .

2. The world is ever-increasingly controlled and administered by people who genuinely believe whatever is necessary for the answer they need. Administrative agents of the entrenched-money-power have solved the criminal-law enigma of mens rea or guilty mind by evolving or devolving (take your pick) into professional schizophrenics who genuinely believe whatever they need to believe for the answer they need, and who communicate among themselves subconsciously by how they name things. They suffer a cogno-linguistically-induced diminished capacity that renders them incapable of perceiving reality beyond labels .

3. Their core business model or modus operandi is the systematized delusion :

"A "systematized delusion" is one based on a false premise, pursued by a logical process of reasoning to an insane conclusion ; there being one central delusion, around which other aberrations of the mind converge." Taylor v. McClintock, 112 S.W. 405, 412, 87 Ark. 243. (West's Judicial Words and Phrases (1914)).

4.

One must not confuse the object of a conspiracy [to defraud] with the means by which it is intended to be carried out. Scott v. Metropolitan Police Commissioner [1974] 60 Cr. App. R. 124 H.L.

I have long since abandoned my search for truth, per se, since I came to realize that the best I can ever do is to constantly strive to move closer to it. With apologies to the physicists, Truth is the Limit of Infinite Good Faith .

The Scalpel , says: Website December 5, 2018 at 12:34 am GMT
@Tulip " which will always ultimately be resolved by force."

Right there is where you lost the plot. That statement is just your opinion and it cannot be proven true. The rest of your argument falls victim to this logical error.

" and those that have prepared for the inevitable will vanquish those who were content to daydream when they should have been preparing."

Also, just your opinion. For example, the "dreamer" might die still comforted by his/her dreams, while the "prepper" might waste his life witing for the "inevitable' that never arrives.

redmudhooch , says: December 5, 2018 at 2:15 am GMT
Truth shall set you free.

For the First Time Since 9/11, Federal Gov't Takes Steps to Prosecute the Use of Explosives to Destroy WTCs

https://thefreethoughtproject.com/911-lawyers-petition-grand-jury-explosives/

In what can be described as a monumental step forward in the relentless pursuit of 9/11 truth, a United States Attorney has agreed to comply with federal law requiring submission to a Special Grand Jury of evidence that explosives were used to bring down the World Trade Centers.

The Lawyers' Committee for 9/11 Inquiry successfully submitted a petition to the federal government demanding that the U.S. Attorney present to a Special Grand Jury extensive evidence of yet-to-be-prosecuted federal crimes relating to the destruction of three World Trade Center Towers on 9/11 (WTC1, WTC2 and WTC7).

After waiting months for the reply, the U.S. Attorney responded in a letter, noting that they will comply with the law.

Some good documentary films here to watch for free:

http://metanoia-films.org/psywar/

Heres a couple more. Occupation of the American Mind is very good. All of John Pilgers films are great.

James Forrestal , says: December 5, 2018 at 3:58 am GMT

@Wizard of Oz

My question/quibble relates to your objection to the use of sniffer dogs to establish probable cause for search because it is no better than a coin toss. That seems fallacious if, according to your figures, the dogs sniff 500 people and get excited by 10 of them of which 3 are correctly identified and 7 are false positives.

Yeah. The concepts of sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value might be very helpful in assessing this.

[Dec 04, 2018] Neoliberalism has spawned a financial elite who hold governments to ransom by Deborah Orr

Notable quotes:
"... The IMF exists to lend money to governments, so it's comic that it wags its finger at governments that run up debt. And, of course, its loans famously come with strings attached: adopt a free-market economy, or strengthen the one you have, kissing goodbye to the Big State. ..."
"... Yet, the irony is painful. Neoliberal ideology insists that states are too big and cumbersome, too centralized and faceless, to be efficient and responsive ..."
"... The problem is that the ruthless sentimentalists of neoliberalism like to tell themselves – and anyone else who will listen – that removing the dead hand of state control frees the individual citizen to be entrepreneurial and productive. Instead, it places the financially powerful beyond any state, in an international elite that makes its own rules, and holds governments to ransom. That's what the financial crisis was all about ..."
"... Markets cannot be free. Markets have to be nurtured. They have to be invested in. Markets have to be grown. Google, Amazon and Apple haven't taught anyone in this country to read. But even though an illiterate market wouldn't be so great for them, they avoid their taxes, because they can, because they are more powerful than governments. ..."
"... The neoliberalism that the IMF still preaches pays no account to any of this. It insists that the provision of work alone is enough of an invisible hand to sustain a market. Yet even Adam Smith, the economist who came up with that theory , did not agree that economic activity alone was enough to keep humans decent and civilised. ..."
Jun 08, 2013 | www.theguardian.com

The crash was a write-off, not a repair job. The response should be a wholesale reevaluation of the way in which wealth is created and distributed around the globe

he IMF's limited admission of guilt over the Greek bailout is a start, but they still can't see the global financial system's fundamental flaws, writes Deborah Orr.

The International Monetary Fund has admitted that some of the decisions it made in the wake of the 2007-2008 financial crisis were wrong, and that the €130bn first bailout of Greece was "bungled". Well, yes. If it hadn't been a mistake, then it would have been the only bailout and everyone in Greece would have lived happily ever after.

Actually, the IMF hasn't quite admitted that it messed things up. It has said instead that it went along with its partners in "the Troika" – the European Commission and the European Central Bank – when it shouldn't have. The EC and the ECB, says the IMF, put the interests of the Eurozone before the interests of Greece. The EC and the ECB, in turn, clutch their pearls and splutter with horror that they could be accused of something so petty as self-preservation.

The IMF also admits that it "underestimated" the effect austerity would have on Greece. Obviously, the rest of the Troika takes no issue with that. Even those who substitute "kick up the arse to all the lazy scroungers" whenever they encounter the word "austerity", have cottoned on to the fact that the word can only be intoned with facial features locked into a suitably tragic mask.

Yet, mealy-mouthed and hotly contested as this minor mea culpa is, it's still a sign that financial institutions may slowly be coming round to the idea that they are the problem. They know the crash was a debt-bubble that burst. What they don't seem to acknowledge is that the merry days of reckless lending are never going to return; even if they do, the same thing will happen again, but more quickly and more savagely. The thing is this: the crash was a write-off, not a repair job. The response from the start should have been a wholesale reevaluation of the way in which wealth is created and distributed around the globe, a "structural adjustment", as the philosopher John Gray has said all along.

The IMF exists to lend money to governments, so it's comic that it wags its finger at governments that run up debt. And, of course, its loans famously come with strings attached: adopt a free-market economy, or strengthen the one you have, kissing goodbye to the Big State.

Yet, the irony is painful. Neoliberal ideology insists that states are too big and cumbersome, too centralized and faceless, to be efficient and responsive. I agree.

The problem is that the ruthless sentimentalists of neoliberalism like to tell themselves – and anyone else who will listen – that removing the dead hand of state control frees the individual citizen to be entrepreneurial and productive. Instead, it places the financially powerful beyond any state, in an international elite that makes its own rules, and holds governments to ransom. That's what the financial crisis was all about. The ransom was paid, and as a result, governments have been obliged to limit their activities yet further – some setting about the task with greater relish than others. Now the task, supposedly, is to get the free market up and running again.

But the basic problem is this: it costs a lot of money to cultivate a market – a group of consumers – and the more sophisticated the market is, the more expensive it is to cultivate them. A developed market needs to be populated with educated, healthy, cultured, law-abiding and financially secure people – people who expect to be well paid themselves, having been brought up believing in material aspiration, as consumers need to be.

So why, exactly, given the huge amount of investment needed to create such a market, should access to it then be "free"? The neoliberal idea is that the cultivation itself should be conducted privately as well. They see "austerity" as a way of forcing that agenda. But how can the privatization of societal welfare possibly happen when unemployment is already high, working people are turning to food banks to survive and the debt industry, far from being sorry that it brought the global economy to its knees, is snapping up bargains in the form of busted high-street businesses to establish shops with nothing to sell but high-interest debt? Why, you have to ask yourself, is this vast implausibility, this sheer un-sustainability, not blindingly obvious to all?

Markets cannot be free. Markets have to be nurtured. They have to be invested in. Markets have to be grown. Google, Amazon and Apple haven't taught anyone in this country to read. But even though an illiterate market wouldn't be so great for them, they avoid their taxes, because they can, because they are more powerful than governments.

And further, those who invest in these companies, and insist that taxes should be low to encourage private profit and shareholder value, then lend governments the money they need to create these populations of sophisticated producers and consumers, berating them for their profligacy as they do so. It's all utterly, completely, crazy.

The other day a health minister, Anna Soubry , suggested that female GPs who worked part-time so that they could bring up families were putting the NHS under strain. The compartmentalised thinking is quite breathtaking. What on earth does she imagine? That it would be better for the economy if they all left school at 16? On the contrary, the more people who are earning good money while working part-time – thus having the leisure to consume – the better. No doubt these female GPs are sustaining both the pharmaceutical industry and the arts and media, both sectors that Britain does well in.

As for their prioritising of family life over career – that's just another of the myriad ways in which Conservative neoliberalism is entirely without logic. Its prophets and its disciples will happily – ecstatically – tell you that there's nothing more important than family, unless you're a family doctor spending some of your time caring for your own. You couldn't make these characters up. It is certainly true that women with children find it more easy to find part-time employment in the public sector. But that's a prima facie example of how unresponsive the private sector is to human and societal need, not – as it is so often presented – evidence that the public sector is congenitally disabled.

Much of the healthy economic growth – as opposed to the smoke and mirrors of many aspects of financial services – that Britain enjoyed during the second half of the 20th century was due to women swelling the educated workforce. Soubry and her ilk, above all else, forget that people have multiple roles, as consumers, as producers, as citizens and as family members. All of those things have to be nurtured and invested in to make a market.

The neoliberalism that the IMF still preaches pays no account to any of this. It insists that the provision of work alone is enough of an invisible hand to sustain a market. Yet even Adam Smith, the economist who came up with that theory , did not agree that economic activity alone was enough to keep humans decent and civilised.

Governments are left with the bill when neoliberals demand access to markets that they refuse to invest in making. Their refusal allows them to rail against the Big State while producing the conditions that make it necessary. And even as the results of their folly become ever more plain to see, they are grudging in their admittance of the slightest blame, bickering with their allies instead of waking up, smelling the coffee and realising that far too much of it is sold through Starbucks.

[Dec 03, 2018] Neoliberalism is just a sanitised-sounding expression, to cover-up the fact that what we are really seeing here is re-branded, far-right corporatist ideology

Notable quotes:
"... 'Neoliberalism' is just a sanitised-sounding expression, to cover-up the fact that what we are really seeing here is re-branded, far-right, corporatist ideology. ..."
"... There is a major dividing line. There are those who recognise the abuses of the system and lobby for changes and there are those who lobby for further exploitation. ..."
"... The West became over-indebted when it embraced globalisation which necessarily impoverishes the Middle and Working Classes of the developed nations. A chap called Jimmy Goldsmith warned of this and was widely condemned for it. There is another issue Guardianistas would rather not confront : you can a welfare state or you can have open borders. But you can't have both. ..."
"... Private enterprise is inefficient because at it's heart it rules out cooperation. Being happiest if it's a monopoly, there's nothing a business would like better than wipe out all competition. ..."
"... Right now, the neoliberals think that those in the Far East are the workers and those in the West are the consumers, until the Far East becomes the market and wages so low in the West that they become the workers, unless of course some kind souls decide to invest money in Education, Health and infrastructure in Africa on a huge scale, so we then have Africa as the workers and the far East as the market, and the West, apart from those who own large numbers of shares or business outright, presumably either starve to death or pull themselves up by their bootstraps, and start all over again, inventing and setting up completely new industries, providing the newly universally educated and healthy Chinese and Africans and South Americans haven't done it first. ..."
"... The economic model we have is bankrupt and in its death throes ..."
"... Except it's not. It is still very much alive and growing. ..."
"... deregulated capitalism has failed. That is the product of the last 20 years. The pure market is a fantasy just as communism is or any other ideology. In a pure capitalist economy all the banks of the western world would have bust and indeed the false value "earned" in the preceding 20 years would have been destroyed. ..."
"... "Multinationals need to recognise that paying tax is an investment. Without that tax, their markets will slowly evaporate." However, the gains for the transnational rich are immediate and enormous, while the failure of their markets is slow and, so far, almost entirely painless. ..."
"... Accountants now hold the whip hand in government and business. They know the price of everything but the value of nothing. They advocate selling off industries, outsourcing to low wage economies, zero hours contracts and deregulation (under the bogus campaign line of cutting red tape). ..."
"... Google, Amazon and Apple haven't taught anyone in this country to read. But even though an illiterate market wouldn't be so great for them, they avoid their taxes, because they can , because they are more powerful than governments. ..."
"... If you invent a set of rules that says a country that deficit spends above an arbitrary percentage of its GDP is horribly inefficient and far too high then it should not be a surprise that when that happens, it is described as such. ..."
"... But the basic problem is this: it costs a lot of money to cultivate a market – a group of consumers – and the more sophisticated the market is, the more expensive it is to cultivate them. A developed market needs to be populated with educated, healthy, cultured, law-abiding and financially secure people ..."
"... The economic model we have is bankrupt and in its death throes is gobbling up the last scintilla of surplus that can be extracted from the poor ( anyone not independently wealthy). ..."
Dec 03, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

MysticFish , 8 Jun 2013 04:29

'Neoliberalism' is just a sanitised-sounding expression, to cover-up the fact that what we are really seeing here is re-branded, far-right, corporatist ideology.

"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power."
- Benito Mussolini

NotAgainAgain -> EllisWyatt , 8 Jun 2013 04:15
@EllisWyatt -

There is a major dividing line. There are those who recognise the abuses of the system and lobby for changes and there are those who lobby for further exploitation.

So on the one hand there are relatively rich philanthropists who are quietly supporting campaigns to redistribute wealth and our abstaining, and on the other you have people arguing for repealing employment legislation.Worst of the lot are people who pretend to care about the poor but then proceed to fill their own boots.

As consequence people like Warren Buffet should perhaps be among the good guys, whilst people like Tony Blair are the worst of lot.

Uncertainty -> RedHectorReborn , 8 Jun 2013 04:09
@RedHectorReborn - The rich have extracted all of the wealth from the wells and is now turning to fracking, regardless of the cost to us all.
thenardiers , 8 Jun 2013 04:08
All very true. The failures of markets are well documented in economics: the tendency towards monopoly, the failure to value social goods etc.

In addition, it is ironic that the arch advocates of the 'free market' came begging ( read lobbying) to their governments insisting upon public financial bailouts for themselves or their counter parties. It was the 'free markets' failure to correctly price 'risk' that was the route of the economic collapse.

As regards access to 'free markets' it seems patently obvious that if you extract the most money from that market (Amazon et al), you should contribute a fair share towards the infrastructure of that market: roads, educations, health care etc.

1nn1t -> EllisWyatt , 8 Jun 2013 04:06

@EllisWyatt - ... we have a real problem with corporations that have a default setting of minimize taxes through ever more complex structures. It can't be beyond the wit of HMRC to reduce the complexity of the tax legislation and make it harder to avoid? The prize is continued access to the UK market

We also have the problem that for half the households in the land the level of welfare and benfits rather than wages is the major determinant of their disposable income and general prosperity.

The welfare code is now comparable in size to the tax code. The tax-benefit affairs of the working poor in the UK are now becoming as complex as those of the companies that employ them.

The welfare rights industry, which is essentially tax-benefit-lawyering for claimants, is now as large and complex as the tax-lawyering industry for companies.

It really is insane that we set the minimum wage so low that it attracts income tax, and then attempt to collect tax from the employing company to fund a tax credit to top up the same low wages that the same company is paying.

marienkaefer , 8 Jun 2013 04:00
The neoliberalism that the IMF still preaches pays no account to any of this. It insists that the provision of work alone is enough of an invisible hand to sustain a market

Does it? where does it say that? An article which as usual blanket condemns "financial institutions" but actually means banks.

gyges1 , 8 Jun 2013 03:59
The West became over-indebted when it embraced globalisation which necessarily impoverishes the Middle and Working Classes of the developed nations. A chap called Jimmy Goldsmith warned of this and was widely condemned for it. There is another issue Guardianistas would rather not confront : you can a welfare state or you can have open borders. But you can't have both.
JamesValencia , 8 Jun 2013 03:59
Most interesting.

Though I'd say private enterprise is capable of building markets - but not of sustaining them. Take books: If few people know how to read, someone will start a fee paying school to teach those who can pay for it. Then books will take off. And that will generate money for some, who'll send their kids to school.

However it will always, inevitably, crash at some point: Business can build up, but will always do it in destructuve cycles - exactly like the brush fires that destroy and regenerate the savannas. As somebright spark once said: Capitalism contains the seeds of it's own destruction, or something along those lines.

And we don't want to live like that - so we have regulation, and the state.And the state fertilises, and safeguards, by cutting the grass, making mulch, and spreading the rich gooey muck all over the nice, green, verdant, state controlled pampa.

The cowboys, now, they prefer no cutting of grass, and letting their cattle chomp away undistrurbed. And now my analogy is starting to wear thin.

The bottom line: Private enterprise is inefficient because at it's heart it rules out cooperation. Being happiest if it's a monopoly, there's nothing a business would like better than wipe out all competition.

Hence, the necessity for state spending, and state regulation, which the private sector is blind to, because it can't look ahead.

Rochdalelass , 8 Jun 2013 03:57
Well said Deborah!

People are members of families, and are employers and workers, who are customers or clients, and part of their local communities and professions and trades and hobbyists/clubs who are large scale wholesale consumers who create the markets that provides employment and income to individuals who are workers. And, and, one big circle.

Right now, the neoliberals think that those in the Far East are the workers and those in the West are the consumers, until the Far East becomes the market and wages so low in the West that they become the workers, unless of course some kind souls decide to invest money in Education, Health and infrastructure in Africa on a huge scale, so we then have Africa as the workers and the far East as the market, and the West, apart from those who own large numbers of shares or business outright, presumably either starve to death or pull themselves up by their bootstraps, and start all over again, inventing and setting up completely new industries, providing the newly universally educated and healthy Chinese and Africans and South Americans haven't done it first.

OK. I was against it for a long time, but go ahead. There's no way of avoiding it. Eat the Rich. Apart from the fact that ultra thin is fashionable, and with all that dieting and exercising, they are the only people who actually get the time for lots of exercise these days, and they'll taste incredibly tough and stringy.

EllisWyatt -> CaptainGrey , 8 Jun 2013 03:56
@CaptainGrey - Ssshhh not on CiF, we all know that capitalism has failed its just that we can't point to a successful alternative model because such a thing has never existed, its just that this time its different and the model I advocate will lead us all to the sunny uplands of utopia.

Obviously there will be a little bit of coercion and oppression to get us to those sunny uplands, but you can't make an omlette etc. plus don't worry that stuff will only happen to "bad people"

CaptainGrey -> emkayoh , 8 Jun 2013 03:55
@emkayoh -

The economic model we have is bankrupt and in its death throes

Except it's not. It is still very much alive and growing. The "alternatives" have crashed and burned save Cuba and North Korea. Capitalism, especially the beneficial capitalism of the NHS, free education etc. has won and countless people have gained as a result.
bluebirds -> CaptainGrey , 8 Jun 2013 03:55
@CaptainGrey - deregulated capitalism has failed. That is the product of the last 20 years. The pure market is a fantasy just as communism is or any other ideology. In a pure capitalist economy all the banks of the western world would have bust and indeed the false value "earned" in the preceding 20 years would have been destroyed.
MylesMackie , 8 Jun 2013 03:55
In the 19th century based on experience the public services became part of the public sector to avoid corruption and corporate blackmail. The neoclassical revolution of the late 20th century has pushed us back to days when elites regarded the state as their property. Democracy was a threat which won out either through the British model or violent revolution. A small elite cannot endure if the majority feel exploited.

The Bilderberg Conference should look to the past and learn from the mistakes committed. Neoclassicism will eventually impoverish them

1nn1t -> UnevenSurface , 8 Jun 2013 03:53

@UnevenSurface - Multinationals need to recognise that paying tax is an investment. Without that tax, their markets will slowly evaporate.

"Multinationals need to recognise that paying tax is an investment. Without that tax, their markets will slowly evaporate." However, the gains for the transnational rich are immediate and enormous, while the failure of their markets is slow and, so far, almost entirely painless.
EllisWyatt -> UnevenSurface , 8 Jun 2013 03:52
@UnevenSurface - I think corporation tax is becoming obsolete given globalization and the increasing dominance of online / global distribution.

Amazon, Starbucks (and to a lesser extent Google) need to have people on the ground in their market, for customer service, distribution, warehouse staff, baristas etc. So they'll pay employer taxes etc.

The question is is that enough? I think we are missing a trick with the UK market due to outdated tax legislation that hasn't really changed in 30 years.

After the US the UK is arguably the most attractive market in the world. Large, homogenous, wealthy with a low propensity to save and a rapid rate of adoption of new technology / products. We need to think about how we can exploit this in relation to corporate taxes because even though I am far from left wing, we have a real problem with corporations that have a default setting of minimise taxes through ever more complex structures.

It can't be beyond the wit of HMRC to reduce the complexity of the tax legislation and make it harder to avoid? The prize is continued access to the UK market

bluebirds , 8 Jun 2013 03:42
Accountants now hold the whip hand in government and business. They know the price of everything but the value of nothing. They advocate selling off industries, outsourcing to low wage economies, zero hours contracts and deregulation (under the bogus campaign line of cutting red tape).

All of these policies will ultimately end up with capitalism destroying itself. Low wage stagnation will result in penniless consumers which results in no growth which results in cuttin wages to maintain shareholder returns which results in penniless consumers etc etc etc. All our institutions are gradually eroded and life for the average citizen will become more and more unpleasant.

Willsmodger , 8 Jun 2013 03:42
Profit share may be a way forward, it's not perfect, companies can effectively use it to freeze wages and benefit from unpaid overtime, that creates unemployment as four people working a couple of hours extra ever day are denying someone else a job, but used in the right way it could ensure people get a share in the wealth they help create.

At the sharp end it's tough, at the company I worked at, all the managers were summoned to a meeting in September and told they had until Christmas to increase turnover and profits, or they would be out of a job.

At the same company, one of my managers complained that a successful manager at another branch was a crook. The CEO replied 'Yes, but he's a crook that makes a million pounds in profit every year'. I wonder how Deborah's article would have gone down with him?

peterfieldman , 8 Jun 2013 03:42
Everything was easier when the U S and Europe ran the world's economies with Bank regulations, currency controls and only the establishment could avoid income, capital gains and IHT taxes and grow wealthy generation after generation. Today there are simply too many players in the global arena and the rules have been torn up. We are in a jungle where greed is rife and only the powerful and corrupt survive, shipping and burying their loot in offshore havens.

We need a new global order with a change of mentality and more morality among the world's politicians, banking and corporate leaders. Unless we end corruption and exploitation of natural resources in the poor nations and a fairer distribution of the economic wealth the world faces economic and social collapse

Febo , 8 Jun 2013 03:41

Google, Amazon and Apple haven't taught anyone in this country to read. But even though an illiterate market wouldn't be so great for them, they avoid their taxes, because they can , because they are more powerful than governments.

Is it beyond the wit of government to close these (perfectly legal) loopholes? Otherwise, what you are asking for is for these companies to make charitible donations to government - nothing wrong with that per se, but let's not hide behind the misleading term 'tax avoidance' - companies are obliged to minimise taxes within the law, face it.

Liquidity Jones -> NicholasB , 8 Jun 2013 03:35
@NicholasB -

It is perfectly clear that in much of the EU public expenditure has been horribly inefficient and far too high

If you invent a set of rules that says a country that deficit spends above an arbitrary percentage of its GDP is horribly inefficient and far too high then it should not be a surprise that when that happens, it is described as such.

Whether that has any basis in reality or, as I suspect, is only relevant within its own ridiculous framework, is surely the question.

NotAgainAgain -> Fachan , 8 Jun 2013 03:32
@Fachan -

Deborah Orr is established writer for the Guardian and Married to a Will Self whose is almost certainly a millionaire. She is one of the rich. The idea that envy is driving her politics is just utterly absurd, and suggests a total lack of reflection.

finnkn , 8 Jun 2013 03:31

But the basic problem is this: it costs a lot of money to cultivate a market – a group of consumers – and the more sophisticated the market is, the more expensive it is to cultivate them. A developed market needs to be populated with educated, healthy, cultured, law-abiding and financially secure people

Not really; Amazon is just as happy to sell us trashy films, multipacks of chocolate, obesity drugs and baseball bats to stove our neighbour's head in. There's certainly an argument to be made that companies should have a duty to invest in the infrastructure that enables their product to be transported, stored etc...but they shouldn't be expected to give a toss if their customers are unhealthy ignoramuses. A market's a market.

NotAgainAgain -> NicholasB , 8 Jun 2013 03:24
@NicholasB -

But some countries manage to do this much more efficiently and effectively than others.

In Europe it would appear to be the Social Democratic Nordic countries and Germany which has very strong employment rights. Korea's economic growth was based on government investment and a degree of protectionism. These are precisely the ideas that neoliberalism opposes.

Liquidity Jones , 8 Jun 2013 03:23
If they had adopted The Keynes Plan at the 1944 Bretton Woods conference then the IMF and the World Bank would never have been set up. We most likely would not have had the euro crisis and the problem of trade imbalances between counties would most likely have gone away.

Now that is what I call 'Keynesian'. Feel free to continue to make up your own definitions though.

kingcreosote , 8 Jun 2013 03:19
Socialism for the 1% with the rest scraping around for the crumbs in an ever more divided world run by The Bilderbergers who play the politicians like puppets.
RedHectorReborn -> emkayoh , 8 Jun 2013 03:18
@emkayoh - I am not sure its in its death throes, I think what we are seeing is capitalism attempting to transform itself again. The success of that transformation will depend on how willing people across the western world to put up with reduced welfare, poverty pay and almost no employment rights. If we say no and make things too hot for the ruling class we have a chance to take control of the future direction of our world, if not then what's the point.
NicholasB , 8 Jun 2013 03:16
This is a strange rant. Everyone agrees that free markets need to be nurtured by appropriate state institutions. But some countries manage to do this much more efficiently and effectively than others. It is perfectly clear that in much of the EU public expenditure has been horribly inefficient and far too high.

There is no contradiction between being in favour of free markets and believing that markets and societies should be nurtured appropriately. We think people should be free and all accept that they should be nurtured.

UnevenSurface , 8 Jun 2013 03:10

So why, exactly, given the huge amount of investment needed to create such a market, should access to it then be "free"?

Corporate taxation is best explained as the license that business pays to access the market -- which is in turn created through the schools, hospitals, roads, etc. that the tax pays for. Unfortunately the new Corporate Social Irresponsibility being acted out by multinationals today neatly avoids paying that license, and sooner or later will damage them. Multinationals need to recognize that paying tax is an investment. Without that tax, their markets will slowly evaporate.

emkayoh , 8 Jun 2013 03:09
The economic model we have is bankrupt and in its death throes is gobbling up the last scintilla of surplus that can be extracted from the poor ( anyone not independently wealthy).

[Dec 03, 2018] Neoliberalism is a modern curse. Everything about it is bad and until we're free of it, it will only ever keep trying to turn us into indentured labourers. It's acolytes are required to blind themselves to logic and reason to such a degree they resemble Scientologists or Jehovah's Witnesses more than people with any sort of coherent political ideology, because that's what neoliberalism actually is... a cult of the rich, for the rich, by the rich... and it's followers in the general population are nothing but moron familiars hoping one day to be made a fully fledged bastard.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... What sticks in the neoliberalism craw is that the state provides these services instead of private businesses, and as such "rob" them of juicy profits! The state, the last easy cash cow! ..."
"... Who could look at the way markets function and conclude there's any freedom? Only a neoliberal cult member. They cannot be reasoned with. They cannot be dissuaded. They cannot be persuaded. Only the market knows best, and the fact that the market is a corrupt, self serving whore is completely ignored by the ideology of their Church. ..."
"... when Thatcher and Reagan deregulated the financial markets in the 80s, that's when the trouble began which in turn led to the immense crash in 2008. ..."
"... Neo-liberalism is just another symptom of liberal democracy which is government by oligarchs with a veneer of democracy ..."
"... The state has merged with the corporations so that what is good for the corporations is good for the state and visa versa. The larger and richer the state/corporations are, the more shyster lawyers they hire to disguise misdeeds and unethical behavior. ..."
"... If you support a big government, you are supporting big corporations as well. The government uses the taxpayer as an eternal fount of fresh money and calls it their own to spend as they please. Small businesses suffer unfairly because they cannot afford the shyster lawyers and accountants that protect the government and the corporations, but nobody cares about them. ..."
"... Deborah's point about the illogical demands of neoliberalism are indeed correct, which is somewhat ironic as neoliberalism puts objective rationality at the heart of its philosophy, but I digress... ..."
"... There would not be NHS, free education etc. without socialism; in fact they are socialism. It took the Soviet-style socialism ("statism") 70 years to collapse. The neoliberalistic capitalism has already started to collapse after 30 years. ..."
"... I'm always amused that neoliberal - indeed, capitalist - apologists cannot see the hypocrisy of their demands for market access. Communities create and sustain markets, fund and maintain infrastructure, produce and maintain new consumers. Yet the neolibs decry and destroy. Hypocrites or destructive numpties - never quite decided between Pickles and Gove ..."
"... 97% of all OUR money has been handed over to these scheming crooks. Stop bailing out the banks with QE. Take back what is ours -- state control over the creation of money. Then let the banks revert to their modest market-based function of financial intermediaries. ..."
"... The State can't be trusted to create our money? Well they could hardly do a worse job than the banks! Best solution would be to distribute state-created money as a Citizen's Income. ..."
"... To promote the indecent obsession for global growth Australia, burdened with debt of around 250 billion dollars, is to borrow and pay interest on a further 7 billion dollars to lend to the International Monetary Fund so as it can lend it to poorer nations to burden them with debt. ..."
Dec 03, 2018 | www.theguardian.com
szwalby , 8 Jun 2013 06:03
This private good, public bad is a stupid idea, and a totally artificial divide. After all, what are "public spends"? It is the money from private individuals, and companies, clubbing together to get services they can't individually afford.

What sticks in the neoliberalism craw is that the state provides these services instead of private businesses, and as such "rob" them of juicy profits! The state, the last easy cash cow!

TedSmithAndSon , 8 Jun 2013 06:01
Neoliberalism is a modern curse. Everything about it is bad and until we're free of it, it will only ever keep trying to turn us into indentured labourers. It's acolytes are required to blind themselves to logic and reason to such a degree they resemble Scientologists or Jehovah's Witnesses more than people with any sort of coherent political ideology, because that's what neoliberalism actually is... a cult of the rich, for the rich, by the rich... and it's followers in the general population are nothing but moron familiars hoping one day to be made a fully fledged bastard.

Who could look at the way markets function and conclude there's any freedom? Only a neoliberal cult member. They cannot be reasoned with. They cannot be dissuaded. They cannot be persuaded. Only the market knows best, and the fact that the market is a corrupt, self serving whore is completely ignored by the ideology of their Church.

It's subsumed the entire planet, and waiting for them to see sense is a hopeless cause. In the end it'll probably take violence to rid us of the Neoliberal parasite... the turn of the century plague.

fr0mn0where -> CaptainGrey , 8 Jun 2013 05:51
@CaptainGrey -

"Capitalism, especially the beneficial capitalism of the NHS, free education etc. has won and countless people have gained as a result."

I agree with you and it was this beneficial version of capitalism that brought down the Iron Curtain. Working people in the former Communist countries were comparing themselves with working people in the west and wanted a piece of that action. Cuba has hung on because people there compare themselves with their nearest capitalist neighbor Haiti and they don't want a piece of that action. North Korea well North Korea is North Korea.

Isn't it this beneficial capitalism that is being threatened now though? When the wall came down it was assumed that Eastern European countries would become more like us. Some have but who would have thought that British working people would now be told, by the likes of Kwasi Kwarteng and his Britannia Unchained chums, that we have to learn to accept working conditions that are more like those in the Eastern European countries that got left behind and that we are now told that our version of Capitalism is inferior to the version adopted by the Communist Party of China?

jazzdrum -> bullwinkle , 8 Jun 2013 05:51
@bullwinkle - No , when Thatcher and Reagan deregulated the financial markets in the 80s, that's when the trouble began which in turn led to the immense crash in 2008.
Eddiel899 , 8 Jun 2013 05:51
Neo-liberalism is just another symptom of liberal democracy which is government by oligarchs with a veneer of democracy.

This type of government began in America about 150 years ago with the Rockefellers, Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, Ford etc who took advantage of new inventions, cheap immigrant labour and financial deregulation in finance and social mores to amass wealth for themselves and chaos and austerity for workers.

All this looks familiar again today with new and old oligarchs hiding behind large corporations taking advantage of the invention of the €uro, mass immigration into western Europe and deregulation of the financial "markets" and social mores to amass wealth for a super-wealthy elite and chaos and austerity for workers.

So if we want to see where things went wrong we need only go back 150 years to what happened to America. There we can also see our future?

WilliamAshbless -> CaptainGrey , 8 Jun 2013 05:49
@CaptainGrey

The beneficial capitalism of the NHS, free education etc. has won

Free education and the NHS are state institutions. As Debbie said, Amazon never taught anyone to read. Beneficial capitalism is an oxymoron resulting from your lack of understanding.

cpp4ever -> CaptainGrey , 8 Jun 2013 05:41
@CaptainGrey -

especially the beneficial capitalism of the NHS, free education etc. has won and countless people have gained as a result.

At one and the same time being privatized and having their funding squeezed, a direct result of the neoliberal dogma capitalism of austerity. Free access is being eroded by the likes of ever larger student loans and prescription costs for a start.

ATrueFinn -> SpinningHugo , 8 Jun 2013 05:41
@ SpinningHugo 08 June 2013 10:02am .

Nah. They achieved this by copying the west.

I would not go that far. The Western Capitalist Party is only now getting to be as powerful as CCP and China started the "reforms" in the late 1970s.

succulentpork , 8 Jun 2013 05:36

they avoid their taxes, because they can, because they are more powerful than governments

Let's not get carried away here. Let's consider some of the things governments can do, subject only to a 5 yearly check and challenge:

  1. force people upon pain of imprisonment to pay taxes to them
  2. pay out that tax money to whomever they like
  3. spend money they don't have by borrowing against obligations imposed on future taxpayers without their agreement
  4. kill people in wars, often from the comfort of a computer screen thousands of miles away
  5. print money and give it to whomever they like,
  6. get rid of nation state currencies and replace them with a single, centrally controlled currency
  7. make laws and punish people who break them, including the ability to track them down in most places in the world if they try and run away.
  8. use laws to create monopolies and favour special interests

Let's now consider what power apple have...

- they can make iPhones and try to sell them for a profit by responding to the demands of the mass consumer market. That's it. In fact, they are forced to do this by their owners who only want them to do this, and nothing else. If they don't do this they will cease to exist.

generalelection , 8 Jun 2013 05:26
The state has merged with the corporations so that what is good for the corporations is good for the state and visa versa. The larger and richer the state/corporations are, the more shyster lawyers they hire to disguise misdeeds and unethical behavior.

If you support a big government, you are supporting big corporations as well. The government uses the taxpayer as an eternal fount of fresh money and calls it their own to spend as they please. Small businesses suffer unfairly because they cannot afford the shyster lawyers and accountants that protect the government and the corporations, but nobody cares about them. Remember, that Green Energy is big business, just like Big Pharma and Big Oil. Most government shills have personally invested in Green Energy not because they care about the environment, only because they know that it is a safe investment protected by government for government. The same goes for large corporations who befriend government and visa versa.

... ... ...

finnkn -> NeilThompson , 8 Jun 2013 05:20
@NeilThompson - It's all very well for Deborah to recommend that the well paid share work. Journalists, consultants and other assorted professionals can afford to do so. As a self-employed tradesman, I'd be homeless within a month.
finnkn -> SpinningHugo , 8 Jun 2013 05:17
@SpinningHugo - Interesting that those who are apparently concerned with prosperity for all and international solidarity are happy to ignore the rest of the world when it's going well, preferring to prophesy apocalypse when faced with government spending being slightly reduced at home.
sedan2 -> Fachan , 8 Jun 2013 05:11
@Fachan -

Dont see a lot of solutions in this article - as long as our sentiments revolve around envy of the rich, we wont get very far

Yeah, there actually wasn't anything in this article which even smelled of "envy of the rich". Read it again.

KingOfNothing -> 1nn1t , 8 Jun 2013 05:03
@1nn1t - That is a point which just isn't made enough. This is the first group of politicians for whom a global conflict seems like a distant event.

As a result we have people like Blair who see nothing wrong with invading countries at a whim, or conservatives and UKIP who fail to understand the whole point of the European Court of Human Rights.

They seem to act without thought of our true place in the world, without regard for the truly terrible capacity humanity has for self destruction.

REDLAN1 , 8 Jun 2013 05:03
Deborah's point about the illogical demands of neoliberalism are indeed correct, which is somewhat ironic as neoliberalism puts objective rationality at the heart of its philosophy, but I digress...

The main problem with replacing neoliberalism with a more rational, and fairer system, entails that people like Deborah accept that they will be less wealthy. And that my friends is the main problem. People like Deborah, while they are more than happy to point the fingers at others, are less than happy to accept that they are also part of the problem.

(Generalisation Caveat: I don't know in actuality if Deborah would be unhappy to be less wealthy in exchange for a fairer system, she doesn't say)

Herbolzheim , 8 Jun 2013 04:49
Good critique of conservative-neoliberalism, unless you subscribe to it and subordinate any morals or other values to it. She mentions an internal tension and I think that's because conservatism and neoliberal market ideology are different beasts.
NotAgainAgain -> CaptainGrey , 8 Jun 2013 04:47
@CaptainGrey -

There are different models of capitalism quite clearly the social democratic version in Scandinavia or the "Bismarkian" German version have worked a lot better than the UKs.

DavidPavett , 8 Jun 2013 04:45

Yet, mealy-mouthed and hotly contested as this minor mea culpa is, it's still a sign that financial institutions may slowly be coming round to the idea that they are the problem.

How is it a sign of that? We are offered no clues.

What they don't seem to acknowledge is that the merry days of reckless lending are never going to return;

Try reading a history of financial crashes to dislodge this idea.

... even if they do, the same thing will happen again, but more quickly and more savagely.

This may or may not be true but here it is mere assertion.

The IMF exists to lend money to governments, so it's comic that it wags its finger at governments that run up debt.

At this point I start to have real doubts as to whether Deborah Orr has actually read even the Executive Summary of the Report this article is ostensibly a response to.

All the comments that follow about the need for public infrastructure, education, regulated markets and so on are made as if they were a criticism of the IMF and yet the IMF says many of those same things itself. The IMF position may, of course, be contradictory - but then that is something that would need to be demonstrated. It seems that Deborah has not got beyond reading a couple of Guardian articles on the issues she discusses and therefore is in no position to do this.

Thus, for example in its review of world problems of Feb 2013 the IMF comments favorably that in Bangladesh in order to boost competitiveness

Efforts are being made to narrow the skills gap with other countries in the region, as the authorities look to take full advantage of Bangladesh's favorable demographics and help create conditions for more labor-intensive led growth. The government is also scaling up spending on education, science and technology, and information and communication technology.

Which seems to be the sort of thing Deborah Orr is calling for. She should spend a little time on the IMF website before criticising the institution. It is certainly one that merits much criticism - but it needs to be informed.

And the solution to the problems? For Deborah Orr the response

... from the start should have been a wholesale reevaluation of the way in which wealth is created and distributed around the globe, a "structural adjustment", as the philosopher John Gray has said all along.

Does anyone have any idea what this is supposed to mean? There are certainly no leads on this in the link given to "the philosopher" John Gray. And what a strange reference that is. John Gray, in his usual cynical mode, dismisses the idea of progress being achieved by the EU. But then I suppose that is consistent from a man who dismisses the idea of progress itself.

... Conservative neoliberalism is entirely without logic.

The first step in serious political analysis is to understand that the people one opposes are not crazy and are not devoid of logic. If that is not clearly understood then all that is left is the confrontation of assertion and contrary assertion. Of course Conservative neoliberalism has a logic. It is one I do not agree with but it is a logic all the same.

The neoliberalism that the IMF still preaches pays no account to any of this [the need for public investment and a recognition of the multiple roles that individuals have].

Wrong again.

It insists that the provision of work alone is enough of an invisible hand to sustain a market.

And again.

This stuff can't be made up as you go along on the basis of reading a couple of newspaper articles. You actually have to do some hard reading to get to grip with the issues. I can see no signs of that in this piece.

EllisWyatt -> NotAgainAgain , 8 Jun 2013 04:43
@NotAgainAgain - We are going off topic and that is in no small part down to my own fault, so apologies. Just to pick up the point, I guess my unease with the likes of Buffet, Cooper-Hohn or even the wealthy Guardian columnists is that they are criticizing the system from a position of power and wealth.

So its easy to advocate change if you feel that you are in the vanguard of defining that change i.e. the reforms you advocate may leave you worse off, but at a level you feel comfortable with (the prime example always being Polly's deeply relaxed attitude to swingeing income tax increases when her own lifestyle will be protected through wealth).

I guess I am a little skeptical because I either see it as managed decline, a smokescreen or at worst mean spiritedness of people prepared to accept a reasonable degree of personal pain if it means other people whom dislike suffer much greater pain.

Again off topic so sorry about that

NotAgainAgain -> mountman , 8 Jun 2013 04:43
@mountman -

The critical bit is this

"There is a clear legal basis in Germany for the workplace representation of employees in all but the very smallest companies. Under the Works Constitution Act, first passed in 1952 and subsequently amended, most recently in 2001, a works council can be set up in all private sector workplaces with at least five employees."

http://www.worker-participation.eu/National-Industrial-Relations/Countries/Germany/Workplace-Representation

The UK needs to wake up to the fact that managers are sometimes inept or corrupt and will destroy the companies they work for, unless their are adequate mechanisms to hold poor management to account.

ATrueFinn -> SpinningHugo , 8 Jun 2013 04:42
@ SpinningHugo 08 June 2013 9:26am

More people lifted out of poverty in China over the last 25 years than the entire population of South America.

Maybe we need the Chinese Communist Party to take over the world?

ATrueFinn -> CaptainGrey , 8 Jun 2013 04:40
@ CaptainGrey 08 June 2013 8:43am

Capitalism, especially the beneficial capitalism of the NHS, free education etc. has won

There would not be NHS, free education etc. without socialism; in fact they are socialism. It took the Soviet-style socialism ("statism") 70 years to collapse. The neoliberalistic capitalism has already started to collapse after 30 years.

irishaxeman , 8 Jun 2013 04:40
I'm always amused that neoliberal - indeed, capitalist - apologists cannot see the hypocrisy of their demands for market access. Communities create and sustain markets, fund and maintain infrastructure, produce and maintain new consumers. Yet the neolibs decry and destroy. Hypocrites or destructive numpties - never quite decided between Pickles and Gove, y'see.
EllisWyatt -> JamesValencia , 8 Jun 2013 04:38
@JamesValencia - Actually on reflection you are correct and I was wrong in my attack on the author above. Having re-read the article its a critique of institutions rather than people so my points were wide of the mark.

I still think that well heeled Guardian writers aren't really in a position to attack the wealthy and politically connected, but I'll save that for a thread when they explicitly do so, rather than the catch all genie of neoliberalism.

bullwinkle -> bluebirds , 8 Jun 2013 04:38
@bluebirds -

@CaptainGrey - deregulated capitalism has failed. That is the product of the last 20 years. The pure market is a fantasy just as communism is or any other ideology. In a pure capitalist economy all the banks of the western world would have bust and indeed the false value "earned" in the preceding 20 years would have been destroyed.

If the pure market is a fantasy, how can deregulated capitalism have failed? Does one not require the other? Surely it is regulated capitalism that has failed?

snodgrass , 8 Jun 2013 04:36
97% of all OUR money has been handed over to these scheming crooks. Stop bailing out the banks with QE. Take back what is ours -- state control over the creation of money. Then let the banks revert to their modest market-based function of financial intermediaries.

The State can't be trusted to create our money? Well they could hardly do a worse job than the banks! Best solution would be to distribute state-created money as a Citizen's Income.

EllisWyatt -> 1nn1t , 8 Jun 2013 04:35
@1nn1t - Some good points, there is a whole swathe of low earners that should not be in the tax system at all, simply letting them keep the money in their pocket would be a start.

Second the minimum wage (especially in the SE) is too low and should be increased. Obviously the devil is in the detail as to the precise rate, the other issue is non compliance as there will be any number of businesses that try and get around this, through employing people too ignorant or scared to know any better or for family businesses - do we have the stomach to enforce this?

Thirdly there is a widespread reluctance to separate people from the largesse of the state, even at absurd levels of income such as higher rate payers (witness child tax credits). On the right they see themselves as having paid in and so are "entitled" to have something back and on the left it ensures that everyone has a vested interest in a big state dipping it hands into your pockets one day and giving you something back the next.

Broken system

1nn1t -> Uncertainty , 8 Jun 2013 04:34

@Uncertainty - Which is why the people of the planet need to join hands.

The only group of people in he UK to see that need were the generation that faced WW2 together. It's no accident that, joining up at 18 in 1939, they had almost all retired by 1984.
BruceMullinger , 8 Jun 2013 04:31
To promote the indecent obsession for global growth Australia, burdened with debt of around 250 billion dollars, is to borrow and pay interest on a further 7 billion dollars to lend to the International Monetary Fund so as it can lend it to poorer nations to burden them with debt.

It is entrapment which impoverishes nations into the surrender of sovereignty, democracy and national pride. In no way should we contribute to such economic immorality and the entire economic system based on perpetual growth fuelled by consumerism and debt needs top be denounced and dismantled. The adverse social and environmental consequence of perpetual growth defies all sensible logic and in time, in a more responsible and enlightened era, growth will be condemned.

[Dec 03, 2018] The banks put their own short-term interests above their long-term interests of financial stability

Notable quotes:
"... Socialism for the 1% with the rest scraping around for the crumbs ..."
"... Don't you think a global recession and massive banking collapse should be classified as 'crash and burn'? ..."
"... It's one of the major contradictions of modern conservatism that the raw, winner-takes-all version of capitalism it champions actually undermines the sort of law abiding, settled communities it sees as the societal ideal. ..."
"... Rich people have benefited from this more than most: they need workers trained by a state-funded education system and kept healthy by a state-funded healthcare system; they depend on lending from banks rescued by the taxpayer; they rely on state-funded infrastructure and research, and – like all of us – on a society that does not collapse. Whether they like it or not, they would not have made their fortunes without the state spending billions of pounds ..."
"... You have to be careful when you take on the banksters. Abe Lincoln John Kennedy and Hitler all tried or (in Kennedy's case planned) on the issuance of money via the state circumventing the banks. All came to a sticky end. No wonder politicians run scared of them. ..."
"... Now, that's a novel interpretation! The working people in "Communist" countries had free healthcare and education, guaranteed employment and heavily subsidized housing. The reason we have healtcare and free education is that working people in Capitalist countries would otherwise have revolted to have Socialism. In the absence of competition, there is no benefit for the Capitalist to be "beneficial". ..."
"... The banks could plainly see that they were stoking a bubble, but chose not to pass on the increased risk of lending to consumers by raising their interest rates and coolling the market. Why? Because they were making a handsome short-term profit. The banks put their own short-term interests above their long-term interests of financial stability. When the house of cards came tumbling down - we bailed them out. It was idiotic banks who failed to properly control their risk of lending that caused the crash, not interventionist politicians. ..."
Jun 08, 2013 | www.theguardian.com
JFBridge , 8 Jun 2013 08:21
Virtually everyone knows what went wrong, with the exception only of uncontrollable ultra-right neoliberal buffs who try and put the blame on everyone else with various out and out lies and deceptions, and they are thankfully petering and dying out by the day, including deluded contributors to CiF, who seem to be positively and cruelly reveling in the suffering their beloved thesis has and is causing.

So, now that we know the symptoms, what about the cure? The coalition want to make the poor and vulnerable suffer even more than they have done over the last three decades or so while still refusing to clamp down and wholly regulate the bankers, corporates and free markets, who still hold too much power like the unions in the 70's,while Ed Miliband and 'One Nation Labour' merely suggest in mild, diffident terms about financial regulation and a more balanced economy, while still not wanting to upset those nice bankers too much.

It's time they were upset though, and made to pay for their errors and recklessness; while they still award themselves bonuses and take advantage of Gideon's recent tax cut, the poor and vulnerable who were never responsible for the long recession now have money taken off them and struggle to feed, pay bills and clothe themselves and their families, supported by the Daily Fail and co. who look on them as scrounging, lazy, criminal, violent, drunken, drug addicted and promiscuous sub-humans, who deserve their fate.

There's quite a few in the middle/professional classes (many bankers) if they didn't know, but they don't bother with such, do they?

MatthewBall -> emkayoh , 8 Jun 2013 08:20
@emkayoh -

The economic model we have is bankrupt and in its death throes

I am not sure if this is true. We have the same economic system (broadly speaking, capitalism) as nearly every country in the world, and the world economy is growing at a reasonable rate, at around 3-4% for 2013-14 (see http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2013/01/pdf/c1.pdf for more details).

We perceive a problem in (most of) Europe and North America because our economies are growing more slowly than this, and in some cases not at all. The global growth figure comes out healthy because of strong growth in the emerging countries, like China, Brazil and India, who are narrowing the gap between their living standards and ours. So, the world as a whole isn't broken, even if our bit of it is going through a rough patch.

This is pertinant to a discussion of Deborah Orr's article, because in it she calls for global changes:

The response from the start should have been a wholesale reevaluation of the way in which wealth is created and distributed around the globe, a "structural adjustment", as the philosopher John Gray has said all along.

My point is: I don't think this argument will work, because I don't see why the emerging countries would want wholesale change to what, for them, is quite a successful recipe, just because it going down badly in Europe. Instead, European countries need to do whatever it takes to fix their banking systems; but also learn to live within their means, and show some more of the discipline and enterprise that made them wealthy in the first place.

jazzdrum -> Uncertainty , 8 Jun 2013 08:12
@Uncertainty - I`m not defending philanthropy, i am saying in answer to some personal attacks on Miss Orr below the line, that her status as either rich or poor is irrelevant, it is her politics that count .
Tony Benn and Polly Toynbee both receive much abuse in this manner on Cif.
00000010 -> colonelraeburn , 8 Jun 2013 08:10
@colonelraeburn - You really are under the quaint illusion you are in a democracy...
MickGJ -> kingcreosote , 8 Jun 2013 08:08

@kingcreosote - Socialism for the 1% with the rest scraping around for the crumbs

And yet the rest have more crumbs than under any other conceivable system. Look at the difference that even limited market liberalisation has made to poverty in China. No loaf, no crumbs. You can always throw the loaf out of the window if you don't like the inequality and then no-one can have anything.

That's fair, isn't it?

Uncertainty -> jazzdrum , 8 Jun 2013 07:57
@jazzdrum - I don't have much time for those rich who feel guilty about their greed and do 'charity' to salve their souls. Oh and get a Knighthood as a result.

The more honest giver is the person who gives of what little they have in their purse and go without as a result. Not a tax dodge re-branded as philanthropy.

Also, such giving from the rich often has strings and may be tailored to what they think are the 'deserving poor'. I don't like that either.

Uncertainty -> CaptainGrey , 8 Jun 2013 07:54
@CaptainGrey - That is not capitalism. You cannot point to the benefits of socialism and call it capitalism.

Don't you think a global recession and massive banking collapse should be classified as 'crash and burn'?

liberalcynic -> Herbolzheim , 8 Jun 2013 07:52
@Herbolzheim - It's one of the major contradictions of modern conservatism that the raw, winner-takes-all version of capitalism it champions actually undermines the sort of law abiding, settled communities it sees as the societal ideal.
Rainborough , 8 Jun 2013 07:51
"Why, you have to ask yourself, is this vast implausibility, this sheer unsustainability, not blindingly obvious to all?"

- asked the journalist employed by an organ of the capitalist press, with an implausible air of puzzlement.

liberalcynic -> szwalby , 8 Jun 2013 07:50
@szwalby -

The state, the last easy cash cow!

Damn, you've just revealed Richard Branson's secret business plan.
AndyPerry , 8 Jun 2013 07:39
More and more people are beginning to understand this as a fundamentally political problem ( ref. @XerXes1369). The 'left' prefers to concentrate on the role of a financial elite (which is supposed to be exerting some kind of malign supernatural force on the state), to divert attention from what mainstream 'left' poltics in this society has turned out to be.
szwalby -> colonelraeburn , 8 Jun 2013 07:26
@colonelraeburn -

When the state is taking over 60% of the income of even those on minimum wages we se how, from the very top to the very bottom, that the state is the problem.

It's become a monster that will destroy us all.

I would query where you get these figures from, but where it not for the state, do you really think that somebody on the minimum wage, keeping 100% of their wages, would be able to afford, out of these wages, health care, schooling for their children, infrastructure maintenance, their own police force and army, their own legal system? This from an article in the Independent:

Rich people have benefited from this more than most: they need workers trained by a state-funded education system and kept healthy by a state-funded healthcare system; they depend on lending from banks rescued by the taxpayer; they rely on state-funded infrastructure and research, and – like all of us – on a society that does not collapse. Whether they like it or not, they would not have made their fortunes without the state spending billions of pounds.

So the state, although not perfect benefit all of us, get over it!
outragedofacton , 8 Jun 2013 07:23
You have to be careful when you take on the banksters. Abe Lincoln John Kennedy and Hitler all tried or (in Kennedy's case planned) on the issuance of money via the state circumventing the banks. All came to a sticky end. No wonder politicians run scared of them.
CaptainGrey -> WilliamAshbless , 8 Jun 2013 07:04
@WilliamAshbless -

Free education and the NHS are state institutions. As Debbie said, Amazon never taught anyone to read. Beneficial capitalism is an oxymoron resulting from your lack of understanding.

Yes they are state institutions and the tax system should be changed to prevent Amazon et al from avoiding paying their fair share. But beneficial capitalism is not an oxymoron, it is alive and present in virtually every corner of the world. Rather than accuse me of not understanding, I think you would do well to take the beam out of your eye.
ATrueFinn -> fr0mn0where , 8 Jun 2013 07:02
@ fr0mn0where 08 June 2013 10:51am

I agree with you and it was this beneficial version of capitalism that brought down the Iron Curtain. Working people in the former Communist countries were comparing themselves with working people in the west and wanted a piece of that action.

Now, that's a novel interpretation! The working people in "Communist" countries had free healthcare and education, guaranteed employment and heavily subsidized housing. The reason we have healtcare and free education is that working people in Capitalist countries would otherwise have revolted to have Socialism. In the absence of competition, there is no benefit for the Capitalist to be "beneficial".

s0lar1 -> colonelraeburn , 8 Jun 2013 06:33
@colonelraeburn -

The banks couldn't stop property hyperinflation, at 20% a year for well over a decade.

The banks could plainly see that they were stoking a bubble, but chose not to pass on the increased risk of lending to consumers by raising their interest rates and coolling the market. Why? Because they were making a handsome short-term profit. The banks put their own short-term interests above their long-term interests of financial stability. When the house of cards came tumbling down - we bailed them out. It was idiotic banks who failed to properly control their risk of lending that caused the crash, not interventionist politicians.

[Dec 03, 2018] The classic form of neoliberal corruption: The rotating door betweens banks and intelligence agencies brass

This is the key feature of modern National Security State. Note where Mueller was after his retirement and before becoming the Special Procecutor.
Dec 03, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

MysticFish -> gbru2505 , 8 Jun 2013 16:23

@gbru2505 -

Last week there was a story where HSBC have taken on a senior ex-MI5 person to shore up their money laundering 'problems'. They're being fined over a billion dollars by the fed for taking blood money from murderers, drug dealers and corrupt politicians.

Not the Security Services' Director General by any chance?

-- In a filing to the Bermuda Stock Exchange ("BSX"), HSBC Holdings plc (Ticker: HSBC.BH), announced the appointment of Sir Jonathan Evans to the Board of Directors.

The filing stated:

Sir Jonathan Evans (55) has been appointed a Director of HSBC Holdings plc with effect from 6 August 2013. He will be an independent non-executive Director and a member of the Financial System Vulnerabilities Committee.

Sir Jonathan's career in the Security Service spanned 33 years, the last six of which as Director General. During his career Sir Jonathan's experience included counter-espionage, protection of classified information and the security of critical national infrastructure. His main focus was, however, counter-terrorism, both international and domestic including, increasingly, initiatives against cyber threats. As Director General he was a senior advisor to the UK government on national security policy and attended the National Security Council.

He was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in the 2013 New Year's Honours List and retired from the Service in April 2013.

http://www.bsx.com/NewsArticle.asp?articleID=1100794622

gbru2505 , 8 Jun 2013 16:13
I think there's some really good points in the article.

Last week there was a story where HSBC have taken on a senior ex-MI5 person to shore up their money laundering 'problems'. They're being fined over a billion dollars by the fed for taking blood money from murderers, drug dealers and corrupt politicians.

Their annual fee for this guy with 20 years experience to tackle a billion dollar fine and the disfunction in their organisation? A lousy 100 k. Fee to UK for training him? 0.

Ridiculous! It should have been 10 times that for him and a finders fee of perhaps 10 million to the state.

Realistically, the state has NO clue about it's real value, or the real value of the UK population. And the example above, I think, demonstrates banks' attitude to the global demand that they clean up their act. We neef to take this lot to the cleaners before the stench gets any worse.

[Dec 03, 2018] Neoliberalism is a secular religion because it relies of beliefs (which in this case are presented using the mathematical notation of neoclassic economics)

Like bolshevism this secular regions is to a large extent is a denial of Christianity. While Bolshevism is closer to the Islam, Neoliberalism is closer to Judaism.
The idea of " Homo economicus " -- a person who in all his decisions is governed by self-interest and greed is bunk.
Notable quotes:
"... There is not a shred of logical sense in neoliberalism. You're doing what the fundamentalists do... they talk about what neoliberalism is in theory whilst completely ignoring what it is in practice. ..."
"... In theory the banks should have been allowed to go bust, but the consequences where deemed too high (as they inevitable are). The result is socialism for the rich using the poor as the excuse, which is the reality of neoliberalism. ..."
"... Neoliberalism is based on the thought that you get as much freedom as you can pay for, otherwise you can just pay... like everyone else. In Asia and South America it has been the economic preference of dictators that pushes profit upwards and responsibility down, just like it does here. ..."
"... We all probably know the answer to this. In order to maintain the consent necessary to create inequality in their own interests the neoliberals have to tell big lies, and keep repeating them until they appear to be the truth. They've gotten so damn good at it. ..."
"... Neoliberalism is a modern curse. Everything about it is bad and until we're free of it, it will only ever keep trying to turn us into indentured labourers. ..."
"... It's acolytes are required to blind themselves to logic and reason to such a degree they resemble Scientologists or Jehovah's Witnesses more than people with any sort of coherent political ideology, because that's what neoliberalism actually is... a cult of the rich, for the rich, by the rich... and it's followers in the general population are nothing but moron familiars hoping one day to be made a fully fledged bastard ..."
"... Who could look at the way markets function and conclude there's any freedom? Only a neoliberal cult member. They cannot be reasoned with. They cannot be dissuaded. They cannot be persuaded. Only the market knows best, and the fact that the market is a corrupt, self serving whore is completely ignored by the ideology of their Church. ..."
Dec 03, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com
TedSmithAndSon -> theguardianisrubbish , 8 Jun 2013 12:24
@theguardianisrubbish -

Unless you are completely confused by what neoliberalism is there is not a shred of logical sense in this.

There is not a shred of logical sense in neoliberalism. You're doing what the fundamentalists do... they talk about what neoliberalism is in theory whilst completely ignoring what it is in practice.

In theory the banks should have been allowed to go bust, but the consequences where deemed too high (as they inevitable are). The result is socialism for the rich using the poor as the excuse, which is the reality of neoliberalism.

Savers in a neoliberal society are lambs to the slaughter. Thatcher "revitalised" banking, while everything else withered and died.

Neoliberalism is based on the thought of personal freedom, communism is definitely not. Neoliberalist policies have lifted millions of people out of poverty in Asia and South America.

Neoliberalism is based on the thought that you get as much freedom as you can pay for, otherwise you can just pay... like everyone else. In Asia and South America it has been the economic preference of dictators that pushes profit upwards and responsibility down, just like it does here.

I find it ironic that it now has 5 year plans that absolutely must not be deviated from, massive state intervention in markets (QE, housing policy, tax credits... insert where applicable), and advocates large scale central planning even as it denies reality, and makes the announcement from a tractor factory.

Neoliberalism is a blight... a cancer on humanity... a massive lie told by rich people and believed only by peasants happy to be thrown a turnip. In theory it's one thing, the reality is entirely different. Until we're rid of it, we're all it's slaves. It's an abhorrent cult that comes up with purest bilge like expansionary fiscal contraction to keep all the money in the hands of the rich.

Jacobsadder , 8 Jun 2013 11:35
Bloody well said Deborah!

Why, you have to ask yourself, is this vast implausibility, this sheer unsustainability, not blindingly obvious to all?

We all probably know the answer to this. In order to maintain the consent necessary to create inequality in their own interests the neoliberals have to tell big lies, and keep repeating them until they appear to be the truth. They've gotten so damn good at it.

iluvanimals54 , 8 Jun 2013 07:58
Today all politicians knee before the Altar that is Big Business and the Profit God, with his minions of multinational Angels.
TedSmithAndSon , 8 Jun 2013 06:01
Neoliberalism is a modern curse. Everything about it is bad and until we're free of it, it will only ever keep trying to turn us into indentured labourers.

It's acolytes are required to blind themselves to logic and reason to such a degree they resemble Scientologists or Jehovah's Witnesses more than people with any sort of coherent political ideology, because that's what neoliberalism actually is... a cult of the rich, for the rich, by the rich... and it's followers in the general population are nothing but moron familiars hoping one day to be made a fully fledged bastard.

Who could look at the way markets function and conclude there's any freedom? Only a neoliberal cult member. They cannot be reasoned with. They cannot be dissuaded. They cannot be persuaded. Only the market knows best, and the fact that the market is a corrupt, self serving whore is completely ignored by the ideology of their Church.

It's subsumed the entire planet, and waiting for them to see sense is a hopeless cause. In the end it'll probably take violence to rid us of the Neoliberal parasite... the turn of the century plague.

[Dec 03, 2018] The problem with giving any novel political idea a really extended trial is that you have to try it out on live human beings.

Dec 03, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

MatthewBall -> Rainborough , 8 Jun 2013 14:19

@Rainborough -

How many alternative economic systems would you say have been given a fair trial under reasonably favorable circumstances?

A good question. Answer: admittedly, not a huge number - but not none either. Feudalism held sway in the middle ages and mercantilism in the 18th century, before both fell out of fashion. In the 20th century Russia stuck with communism for 74 years, and many other countries tried it for a while. At one time (around 1949-89) there were enough countries in the communist block for us to be able to say that they at least had a fair chance to make it work - that is, if it didn't work, they can't really blame it on the rest of the world ganging up on them.

Lately, serious challengers to the global economic order have been more isolated (Venzuela, Cuba, North Korea?) - so maybe you could argue that, if they are struggling, it is because they have been unfairly ganged up on. But then again, aren't they pursuing a version of socialism that has close affinities to that tried in the Soviet Union?

The problem with giving any novel political idea a really extended trial is that you have to try it out on live human beings. This means that, once a critical mass of data has built up that indicates a political idea doesn't work out as hoped, then people inevitably lose the will to try that idea again.

So my question is: are critics of the current world economic order able to spell out exactly how their proposed alternative would differ from Soviet-style socialism?

[Dec 03, 2018] There is no alterative (TINA) myth expressed via "Just as democracy is the worst system of government except for all other, so capitalism is the worst economic model except for all other"

Neoliberalism is clearly the result of coup d'état of financial oligarchy. So other forms of capitalism are possible.
Below is a set of typical augments for TINA from Guardian posts
Notable quotes:
"... How many alternative economic systems would you say have been given a fair trial under reasonably favorable circumstances? ..."
Dec 03, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Rainborough -> Fachan , 8 Jun 2013 10:24

@Fachan - " Just as democracy is the worst system of government except for all other, so capitalism is the worst economic model except for all other."

How many alternative economic systems would you say have been given a fair trial under reasonably favorable circumstances?

epinoa -> Fachan , 8 Jun 2013 10:19

@Fachan -

Just as democracy is the worst system of government except for all other, so capitalism is the worst economic model except for all other.

Shame we only have bastardized forms of them.
MickGJ -> 00000010 , 8 Jun 2013 09:51

@00000010 - Neo-Liberalism is the only choice.

I'd tend to agree with you but in that case it's not an ideology, merely pragmatism. The convergence of the parties merely reflects the wider consensus in society.
Eddiel899 -> colonelraeburn , 8 Jun 2013 06:48
@colonelraeburn -

But you haven't got any alternative

The alternative is simple but people have become so wedded to the libertarian parts of liberal democracy that it will be some time before they are ready to contemplate the alternative, a return to the Judaeo/Christian version of human rights - an absolute right to God who made us, to the truth, to life, to a natural family, and to own the means of earning a living - to which all should be entitled and all should be held to account.

These are rights that any sensible person will tell you that we should be entitled to but believe it or not they are anathema to liberal democracy which is based on exploiting the selfishness of the individual to the detriment of the common good and the good of society at large.

colonelraeburn -> Eddiel899 , 8 Jun 2013 06:06
@Eddiel899 - Neo-liberalism is just another symptom of liberal democracy which is government by oligarchs with a veneer of democracy.

But you haven't got any alternative.

What are we supposed to do elect you Guardian Occupy lot on the promise you will come up with something.

You will have to do better than that.

[Dec 03, 2018] What is the result of "the peal oil" and technological progress (which was a side result of the Cold War arm race, especially in computers and communications, and in no way activity of private sector alone) is presented a gift from neoliberalism to mankind

This post is a variant of "fake prosperity" -- yet another neoliberal myth. Also known as "rising tidelift all boats"
The improvement of the standard of living in 90th was mainly due to economic plunder of xUSSR and Eastern Europe as well as well as communication revolution happening simultaneously. The period from 1990 to 2000 is known as "Triumphal March of Neoliberalism". Aftger year 200 neoliberalism went into recession and in 2008 in deep crisis. The neoliberal ideology was dead by 2008.
Dec 03, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

OneCommentator -> ATrueFinn , 8 Jun 2013 12:21

@ATrueFinn -

Indeed. That was in the time of feudalism and mercantilism.

No, it was as recently as WW2 more or less. After that it followed a confusing period where social and political freedoms darted ahead up to the '80s when the economic freedoms started being championed by the right: Thatcher, Reagan, etc.

That saw a liberalisation of trade and an explosive growth in international trade with huge benefits for the whole world: developing countries like the Asian dragons have seen their standards of living skyrocket and practically they can't get up with the developed countries in one generation. China, and India to an extent, is following on that path with pretty good results.

As the same time the developed countries saw a huge improvement in their standard of living with products and services available at incredible prices. Even the countries that did not get on this yet are benefiting and the fact that starvation in the world is less of a problem is the proof of that for example.

OneCommentator , 8 Jun 2013 12:04

The response should be a wholesale reevaluation of the way in which wealth is created and distributed around the globe

But we know already how that is done: voluntary transactions among free agents. That's called a free market and it is by far the most efficient way to produce wealth humanity has ever known. Sure, we tried other methods (slavery, forced labour, communal entities, government controlled economies, tribal economies, etc.) but nothing worked as well as free markets.

The calls for governments' intervention in the economy is misguided and counterproductive. They already extract about 50% of all wealth created in this country. That's way too much since most of the money taken by governments is money diverted from productive use.

ATrueFinn -> OneCommentator , 8 Jun 2013 12:00
@ OneCommentator 08 June 2013 4:46pm

Wrong. Traditional liberalism supported both social and economic freedoms. That included support for most of the civil rights and freedoms we enjoy today AND free trade and free investments.

Indeed. That was in the time of feudalism and mercantilism.

I take this opportunity to draw everyone's attention to a Finnish theorist and proponent of liberal economical and political thinking, whose treatise on liberal national economy preceded Adam Smith by 11 years: Anders Chydenius (1729-1803).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anders_Chydenius

I have the feeling that he and Smith are rolling in their graves seeing what is done under the auspices of "liberalism".

SpinningHugo -> jazzdrum , 8 Jun 2013 05:59
@ jazzdrum 08 June 2013 10:51am . Get cifFix for Chrome .

Margaret Thatcher left office 23 years ago. The de-regulation of the City occurred in 1986, 27 years ago. Since then UK GDP has more than doubled, inflation and unemployment are far lower, and the numbers living in extreme poverty have fallen dramatically.

And yet in CiF world it is all Thatcher's fault.

[Dec 03, 2018] Neoliberal propaganda dictum: Nobody is owed a good living in this world

This is an attractive but idealistinc notion, because the person destiny often is shaped by forces beyond his control. Like Great Depression or WWII. The proper idea is that the society as a whole serves as a "social security" mechanism to prevent worst outcomes. At the same time neoliberalism accept bailout for financial sector and even demand them for goverment.
Dec 03, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

OneCommentator -> dmckm , 8 Jun 2013 13:03

@dmckm - Nobody is owed a good living in this world. That's what freedom means: one is free to chose the best way to make a living. Are you saying that by forcing people to pay you something they don't want to is freedom?

[Dec 03, 2018] No market is 'Free'. Free markets do not exist. Markets are there for those with a vested interest. i.e. the banksters. Note the growth of Hedge funds or slush funds for the rich.

Dec 03, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Stonk , 8 Jun 2013 08:18

No market is 'Free'. Free markets do not exist. Markets are there for those with a vested interest. i.e. the banksters. Note the growth of Hedge funds or slush funds for the rich.

[Dec 03, 2018] The detachment from reality of "free market" propaganda is intentional. This notion is pure propaganda and there were never "free market" in any country in history of mankind

Neoliberalism like Bolshevism is based on brainwashing and propaganda. In this case by bought by financial elite and controlled by intelligence agencies MSM.
Notable quotes:
"... Neoliberalism? This is not just a financial agenda. This a highly organized multi armed counterculture operation to force us, including Ms Orr [unless she has...connections] into what Terence McKenna [who was in on it] termed the `Archaic Revival'. That is - you and me [and Ms Orr] - our - return to the medieval dark ages, if we indeed survive that far. ..."
"... The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organised habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are moulded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. ..."
"... A free market larger than a boot fair has never existed. A market can never have power, it's just a market after all. It's the people in the market that have power... or some of them... the few... have it disproportionately compared to others, and straight away the market isn't free. ..."
"... It's only even approximately free when properly regulated, but that's anathema to market fundamentalists so they end up with a market run for the benefit of vested interests that they will claim is "free" until their dying breath. ..."
"... Power belongs with democratically elected governments, not people in markets responsible only to themselves. Amazing that people still think as you do after all that's happened. ..."
Dec 03, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

LiberteEgalite1 -> taxhaven , 8 Jun 2013 13:31

@taxhaven - I love this "free markets" expression, but can we really have free markets please then? This means that no taxpayer money is to be spent to bail out the capitalist bankers when things so sour.

It also means that there is completely free movement of labor so I as an employer should be able to hire anyone I like for your job and pay the wage that the replacement is willing to take i.e. tough luck to you if the person is more qualified and is willing to work for less but does not have the work visa because in free markets there will be no such things as work permits.

PointOfYou , 8 Jun 2013 13:37

Neoliberalism has spawned a financial elite who hold governments to ransom

Neoliberalism? This is not just a financial agenda. This a highly organized multi armed counterculture operation to force us, including Ms Orr [unless she has...connections] into what Terence McKenna [who was in on it] termed the `Archaic Revival'. That is - you and me [and Ms Orr] - our - return to the medieval dark ages, if we indeed survive that far.

The same names come up time and time again. One of them being, father of propaganda, Edward Bernays.

Bernays wrote what can be seen as a virtual Mission Statement for anyone wishing to bring about a "counterculture." In the opening paragraph of his book Propaganda he wrote:

".. The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organised habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are moulded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.

This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organised. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses.

It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind..."[28]

Bernays' family background made him well suited to "control the public mind." He was the double nephew of psychoanalysis pioneer Sigmund Freud. His mother was Freud's sister Anna, and his father was Ely Bernays, brother of Freud's wife Martha Bernays.

TedSmithAndSon -> taxhaven , 8 Jun 2013 13:25
@taxhaven -

about being permitted to engage in voluntary exchange of goods and services with others, unmolested.

And if we ever had that, would it make the ideal society?

A free market larger than a boot fair has never existed. A market can never have power, it's just a market after all. It's the people in the market that have power... or some of them... the few... have it disproportionately compared to others, and straight away the market isn't free.

It's only even approximately free when properly regulated, but that's anathema to market fundamentalists so they end up with a market run for the benefit of vested interests that they will claim is "free" until their dying breath.

Power belongs with democratically elected governments, not people in markets responsible only to themselves. Amazing that people still think as you do after all that's happened.

[Dec 03, 2018] Is this corporatism when corporate funded think-tanks are having their non-mandated corporatist policies prioritized over government election pledges on policy?

Dec 03, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

MickGJ -> MysticFish , 8 Jun 2013 09:44

@MysticFish - If these are completely different things, why has the austerity-stricken tax-payer been co-opted into paying for events like Thatcher's funeral

How is that corporatism?

Bilderberg policing,

How is that corporatism?

corporate funded think-tanks are having their non-mandated corporatist policies prioritized over government election pledges on policy?

Are they?
MysticFish -> MickGJ , 8 Jun 2013 09:24
@MickGJ -

Neo-liberalism and fascist corporatism are completely different things.

If these are completely different things, why has the austerity-stricken tax-payer been co-opted into paying for events like Thatcher's funeral and Bilderberg policing, and why is it that corporate funded think-tanks are having their non-mandated corporatist policies prioritised over government election pledges on policy?

[Dec 03, 2018] Neoliberal myth: Austerity is caused by incompetent governments unable to balance their budgets

In reality this is mostly neocolonial way of dealing with countries. Allowing local oligarchy to steal as much loaned by foreign states money as they can and converting the country into the debt slave. Look at Greece and Ukraine for two prominent examples.
The position of OneCommentator is a typical position of defenders and propagandists of neoliberalism
IMF is part of "Washington Consensus" with the direct goal of converting countries into debt slaves of industrialized West. It did not work well with Acia counties, but it is great success in some countries in Europe and most of Africa and Latin America (with Argentina as the most recent example)
Notable quotes:
"... As central banks such as the FED and the ECB operate with insatiable greed and cannot be audited or regulated by any government body anywhere in the world, due to their charters having been set up that way, then bankers are free to meet secretly and plot depressions so as to gain full control over sovereign nations and manipulate markets so that their "chums and agents" in business can buy up assets and land in depressed economies – while possible wars could also make corporations and banks more money as well! ..."
Dec 03, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com
OneCommentator -> petercs , 8 Jun 2013 11:46
@petercs -

..."neoliberal", concept behind the word, has nothing to do with liberal or liberty or freedom..

Wrong. Traditional liberalism supported both social and economic freedoms. That included support for most of the civil rights and freedoms we enjoy today AND free trade and free investments. It used to be that liberals were practically unpopular with right wing (traditional conservative for example) parties but more or less on the same side as left wing parties, mainly because of their social positions. More recently the left wing parties became more and more unhappy with the economic freedoms promoted by liberals while the right wing parties embraced both the economic and social freedoms to a certain degree.

So, the leftists found themselves in a bind practically having reversed roles which the the conservatives as far as support for liberalism goes. So, typically, they're using propaganda to cover their current reactionary tendencies and coins a new name for liberals: neoliberals which, they say, are not the same as liberals (who are their friends since liberal means freedom lover and they like to use that word a lot).

"austerity" is the financial sectors' solution to its survival after it sucked most the value out of the economy and broke it.

Austerity is caused by incompetent governments unable to balance their budgets. They had 60 years to do it properly after ww2 and the reconstruction that followed but many of them never did it. So now it is very simple: governments ran out of money and nobody wants to lend them more. That's it, they hit the wall and there is nothing left on the bottom if the purse.
OneCommentator , 8 Jun 2013 10:49

The IMF exists to lend money to governments, so it's comic that it wags its finger at governments that run up debt.

It is a bit more complicated than that. Developed countries like Greece are supposed to run more or less balanced budgets over longer periods. Sure, they need to borrow money on a regular basis and may that is supposed to be done by issuing bonds or other forms of government debt that investors buy on the open market. For such governments the IMF is supposed to just fill in in a minor way not to provide the bulk of all the loans needed on a temporary basis. Because of incompetent governments Greece is practically bankrupt hence it is not going to be able to pay back most of the existing debts and definitely not newer debts. So practically the IMF is not, ending money to them, it is giving them the money. So, I would say that they have a good reason to wag its finger.

Malakia123 , 8 Jun 2013 11:15

LOGIC 101: Introductory Course of Study

If private, stockholder-held central banks such as the FED and the FED-backed ECB were not orchestrating this depression, and anybody who believed they were was a "wacko-nutcase conspiracy theorist", then why do they keep repeating the same mistakes of forcing un-payable bailout loans, collapsing banks, wiping out people's savings and then imposing austerity on those nations year after year – when it is clearly a failed policy?

Possible Answers :

1. Bank presidents are all ex-hippies who got hooked on LSD in the 70's and have not yet recovered fully as their brains are still fried!

2. Central bankers have been recruited from insane asylums in both Europe and America in government-sponsored programs to see whether blithering idiots are capable of running large, international financial institutions.

3. All catastrophic events in the banking/business world, such as the derivative and housing crash of 2008, the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and The Great Depression of 1929-40 were totally random events that just occurred out of nowhere and central banks were caught off guard – leaving them no option but to play with their willies for years on end until a major war suddenly happened to pull the whole world out of "bad times"!

4. As central banks such as the FED and the ECB operate with insatiable greed and cannot be audited or regulated by any government body anywhere in the world, due to their charters having been set up that way, then bankers are free to meet secretly and plot depressions so as to gain full control over sovereign nations and manipulate markets so that their "chums and agents" in business can buy up assets and land in depressed economies – while possible wars could also make corporations and banks more money as well!


Please choose one of the possible answers from above and write a short 500 word essay on whether it may or may not true – using well-defined logical arguments. I expect your answers in by Friday of this week as I would like to get pissed out of my mind at the pub on Saturday night!

petercs , 8 Jun 2013 10:44

The neoliberal idea is that the cultivation itself should be conducted privately as well. They see "austerity" as a way of forcing that agenda.

..."neoliberal", concept behind the word, has nothing to do with liberal or liberty or freedom...it is a PR spin concept that names slavery with a a word that sounds like the opposite...if "they" called it neoslavery it just wouldn't sell in the market for political concepts.

..."austerity" is the financial sectors' solution to its survival after it sucked most the value out of the economy and broke it. To mend it was a case of preservation of the elite and the devil take the hindmost, that's most of us.

...and even Labour, the party of trade unionism, has adopted austerity to drive its policy.

...we need a Peoples' Party to stand for the revaluation of labour so we get paid for our effort rather than the distortion, the rich xxx poor divide, of neoslavery austerity.

[Dec 03, 2018] I do always enjoy the scenes in Saving Private Ryan when thousands of heavily-armed Goldman Sachs employees land on Omaha beach.

Dec 03, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

MickGJ -> outragedofacton , 8 Jun 2013 08:50

@outragedofacton - You have to be careful when you take on the banksters.
Abe Lincoln, John Kennedy and Hitler all tried or (in Kennedy's case planned) on the issuance of money via the state circumventing the banks.

I hadn't realised the John WIlkes Booth and Lee Harey Oswald were bankers.

But I do always enjoy the scenes in Saving Private Ryan when thousands of heavily-armed Goldman Sachs employees land on Omaha beach.

[Dec 03, 2018] Central bankers have been recruited from insane asylums in both Europe and America in government-sponsored programs to see whether blithering idiots are capable of running large, international financial institutions

Notable quotes:
"... As central banks such as the FED and the ECB operate with insatiable greed and cannot be audited or regulated by any government body anywhere in the world, due to their charters having been set up that way, then bankers are free to meet secretly and plot depressions so as to gain full control over sovereign nations and manipulate markets so that their "chums and agents" in business can buy up assets and land in depressed economies -- while possible wars could also make corporations and banks more money as well! ..."
Dec 03, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Malakia123 , 8 Jun 2013 11:15

LOGIC 101: Introductory Course of Study

If private, stockholder-held central banks such as the FED and the FED-backed ECB were not orchestrating this depression, and anybody who believed they were was a "wacko-nutcase conspiracy theorist", then why do they keep repeating the same mistakes of forcing un-payable bailout loans, collapsing banks, wiping out people's savings and then imposing austerity on those nations year after year -- when it is clearly a failed policy?

Possible Answers :

1. Bank presidents are all ex-hippies who got hooked on LSD in the 70's and have not yet recovered fully as their brains are still fried!

2. Central bankers have been recruited from insane asylums in both Europe and America in government-sponsored programs to see whether blithering idiots are capable of running large, international financial institutions.

3. All catastrophic events in the banking/business world, such as the derivative and housing crash of 2008, the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and The Great Depression of 1929-40 were totally random events that just occurred out of nowhere and central banks were caught off guard -- leaving them no option but to play with their willies for years on end until a major war suddenly happened to pull the whole world out of "bad times"!

4. As central banks such as the FED and the ECB operate with insatiable greed and cannot be audited or regulated by any government body anywhere in the world, due to their charters having been set up that way, then bankers are free to meet secretly and plot depressions so as to gain full control over sovereign nations and manipulate markets so that their "chums and agents" in business can buy up assets and land in depressed economies -- while possible wars could also make corporations and banks more money as well!


Please choose one of the possible answers from above and write a short 500 word essay on whether it may or may not true -- using well-defined logical arguments. I expect your answers in by Friday of this week as I would like to get pissed out of my mind at the pub on Saturday night!

[Dec 03, 2018] I've spat my tea every time I hear some non-Brit brag of their freedom from royal tyranny. They are blissfully unaware they have created/inherited such in all but name

Dec 03, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Itsrainingtin -> crinklyoldgit , 8 Jun 2013 10:30

@ crinklyoldgit

Still it is surprising that they have gone so quickly from their stated position at the start of the republic of a rejection of kings and emperors to their position now of corruption so ingrained it is impossible to make distinctions.

Too right, I've spat my tea every time I hear some non-Brit brag of their freedom from royal tyranny. They are blissfully unaware they have created/inherited such in all but name. Fat Cat Bastard or Henry the Eighth, try to spot the difference in style or attitude.

[Dec 01, 2018] A typical normal person reaction on reading a fresh issue of NYT or Guardian is screaming "ALL LIES, ALL LIES, ALL LIES"

Slightly edited for clarity ;-)
Notable quotes:
"... The Western MSM is a lying scamming neoliberal propaganda machine. ..."
Dec 01, 2018 | www.unz.com

Rational , says: November 29, 2018 at 7:51 pm GMT

"ALL LIES, ALL LIES, ALL LIES"

So he screamed in the cafeteria and spilled his morning coffee. We all wondered what happened to him and so we looked at his friend, and he told us that he must have read the NYT, as that was his common reaction, a cry of pain and anguish and screams of "all lies, all lies, all lies" whenever he reads the newspaper or watches the TV, esp. NYT.

Your article and the previous news about Manfort visiting Assange and the funny timing of the same reminded me of this story.

The Western MSM is a lying scamming neoliberal propaganda machine.

[Dec 01, 2018] The Times isn't a newspaper at all but a clandestine operation run by intelligence units.

Notable quotes:
"... You might like to report on the recent bill in Congress giving broadcasters "immunity" for spying. The New York Times acquires information from spying on citizens by the CIA twenty four hours a day - aa CIA Wire Service which is unconscionable for a newspaper. Such information allows the Times to keep competitors out of favored industries, scoop other news groups, and enhance revenues by pirated material. The Times isn't a newspaper at all but a clandestine operation run by intelligence units. ..."
"... Interestingly, the NYT revelation itself was illegal, a felony under the Intelligence Act of 1917. ..."
"... Which, ipso facto, makes at least that part of the Intelligence Act of 1917 unconstitutional: "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press" ( US. Constitution, Amendment I ). This perhaps explains why no newspaper has ever been prosecuted under the Intelligence Act of 1917. Prosecutors would rather have it available as a threat rather than having it thrown out as unconstitutional, and of course the Supreme Court can't rule on its constitutionality unless someone has standing to bring a case against it before them. ..."
"... It's also not surprising that the CIA would take an interest in how it is perceived. I would argue that the CIA was actually preventing or controlling the flow of info the WH was giving to filmmakers. ..."
"... This story only scratches the surface on the extent of corruption in US media and journalism in general over the last 10-15 years. The loss of journalistic integrity and objectivity in US media is on display as many media outlets showcase their one-sided liberal or conservative views. Sadly, the US media has become just as polarized as the government. However, the greatest corruption is not with the govt-media connection; the greatest corruption involves the lobbyists - foreign and domestic. Lobbying groups exert an enormous influence on politicians and the media and it extends to both sides of the aisle. ..."
"... It's no secret that the CIA and State Department have colluded with media since 1950. Public relations is nothing more than propaganda. And if you think the CIA doesn't have it's own PR department, with *hundreds* of employees, dedicated to misinformation, spin, half-truths, and psychological operations, well, consider this your wake-up call. ..."
"... "The CIA owns everyone of any significance in the major media." - William Colby - Former CIA Director ..."
"... "We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." - William Casey, CIA Director 1981 ..."
"... While you rightly characterize this case as indicating the "virtual merger" of government and media "watchdogs," I think a meta-theme running through your writings illuminates the "virtual merger" of both corporate & state power (esp. after Citizens United), ..."
"... the real issue is not personalities or trivial post deletions, the real issue is that the CIA is tightly bound to the institutions of America ... and that this is not a good thing for everyone ..."
Aug 30, 2012 | www.theguardian.com
Zilchnada -> TerryMKl , 31 Aug 2012 09:47
...this is the norm not the exception. It's also representative of a very significant cross section of the State Department/CIA/Pentagon/DC Beaurcratic Machine, made up of various Leftists, Statists, academia, and privileged youth with political science degrees from east coast/DC/Ivy League schools.
TerryMKl , 31 Aug 2012 08:44
I am having a very difficult time wrapping my mind around this story.....we have an alleged CIA spokesperson purportedly attempting to engage in damage control with a prominent national newspaper regarding the flow of information between the CIA and film-makers doing a story on the Bin Laden raid. Ostensibly, the information provided, regarding the raid, was to help secure the President's reelection bid?

I note that the logo on the phone of the published photo of CIA spokesperson Marie Harf looks remarkably similar, if not identical, to the Obama campaign logo. A "Twitter" account profile for M's. Harf references that she is a "National Security Wonk at OFA...." . Could the "OFA" she makes reference to possibly be "Obama for America"? Her recent tweet history includes commentaries critical of Romney and his supporters, which appear to be in response to her observations while watching Republican Convention coverage.

My understanding heretofore was that those engaged in the Intelligence Community, particularly spokespersons, preferred to keep a low profile and at least appear apolitical. Based upon the facts as presented, one must reexamine whether a US intelligence agency is engaging in the most blatant form political partisanship to unduly influence a US Presidential election.

zany12 , 31 Aug 2012 08:31
You might like to report on the recent bill in Congress giving broadcasters "immunity" for spying. The New York Times acquires information from spying on citizens by the CIA twenty four hours a day - aa CIA Wire Service which is unconscionable for a newspaper. Such information allows the Times to keep competitors out of favored industries, scoop other news groups, and enhance revenues by pirated material. The Times isn't a newspaper at all but a clandestine operation run by intelligence units.
TheCharlatone , 31 Aug 2012 07:23
I'm surprised by the pettiness of it all. And it's this pettiness that makes me think that such data exchange is not only routine, but
an accepted way to enhance a career. After all, who really cares what Dowd writes? I believe Chomsky called her 'kinda a gossip columnist'. And, that's what she is.

That anyone would bother passing her column to the CIA is, on the face of it, a little absurd. I don't say she is a bad columnist, she's probably quite good, but hardly of interest to the CIA, even when she is writing about the CIA. So basically, someone passed her column along, because this is normal, and the more ambitious understand that this is how you 'get along'.

This kind of careerism is something I see, on some level, every day: the ambitious see the rules of the game, and follow them, and the rationale comes later. For most of us, this doesn't involve the security services. However, the principle that the MSM is, at the least, heavily influenced by state power is fairly well understood by now in more critical circles: all forms of media are subject to unusual and particular state pressures, due to their central import in propaganda and mass-persuasion. The NYT is, in short, an obvious target for this kind of influencing. And as such should really know much much better.

Sadly, I have come to the conclusion that most of what I read, or see on the nightly broadcasts, is essentially bullshit. I could switch to RT, and in a way its counter-point would be useful in stimulating my own critical thinking, but much of what RT broadcasts is also likely to be bullshit. We have a world of competing propaganda memes where nobody knows the truth. It's like we are all spooks now, each and every one of us. An excellent article, again.

Franklymydear0 -> JET2023 , 31 Aug 2012 04:26

Interestingly, the NYT revelation itself was illegal, a felony under the Intelligence Act of 1917.

Which, ipso facto, makes at least that part of the Intelligence Act of 1917 unconstitutional: "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press" ( US. Constitution, Amendment I ). This perhaps explains why no newspaper has ever been prosecuted under the Intelligence Act of 1917. Prosecutors would rather have it available as a threat rather than having it thrown out as unconstitutional, and of course the Supreme Court can't rule on its constitutionality unless someone has standing to bring a case against it before them.

gibbon22 , 31 Aug 2012 03:57
Excellent article, but it's not necessarily a surprise to see a reporter who has developed a relationship with his source do that source a favor in hopes that the favor will some day be returned with greater access.

It's also not surprising that the CIA would take an interest in how it is perceived. I would argue that the CIA was actually preventing or controlling the flow of info the WH was giving to filmmakers.

This story only scratches the surface on the extent of corruption in US media and journalism in general over the last 10-15 years. The loss of journalistic integrity and objectivity in US media is on display as many media outlets showcase their one-sided liberal or conservative views. Sadly, the US media has become just as polarized as the government. However, the greatest corruption is not with the govt-media connection; the greatest corruption involves the lobbyists - foreign and domestic. Lobbying groups exert an enormous influence on politicians and the media and it extends to both sides of the aisle.

marjac , 31 Aug 2012 02:27
Obama's CIA leaking to anyone, including the NY Times and colluding? I'm shocked do your hear, shocked..........
Zilchnada , 31 Aug 2012 01:02
What the commoners fail to understand is that the Public Relations (PR) industry controls 75% of the information that you are fed from major media outlets. It's an industry that has artfully masked everything you thought you knew. It's no secret that the CIA and State Department have colluded with media since 1950. Public relations is nothing more than propaganda. And if you think the CIA doesn't have it's own PR department, with *hundreds* of employees, dedicated to misinformation, spin, half-truths, and psychological operations, well, consider this your wake-up call.
jaydiggity , 30 Aug 2012 22:30
"The CIA owns everyone of any significance in the major media." - William Colby - Former CIA Director

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." - William Casey, CIA Director 1981

Christopher Tucker , 30 Aug 2012 21:52
Glenn, thanks for illuminating the insidious, dangerous cynicism pervading American media & culture, which have become so inured to hypocrisy, corruption & desecration of sacrosanct democratic values & institutions that has been crucial to the normalization of formerly intolerable practices, laws & policies eating away at the foundations of our constitutional democracy. The collective moral, principled "lines in the sand" protecting us from authoritarian pressures are steadily being washed away, compromised, thanks to media obsequious complicity.

While you rightly characterize this case as indicating the "virtual merger" of government and media "watchdogs," I think a meta-theme running through your writings illuminates the "virtual merger" of both corporate & state power (esp. after Citizens United), and all the "checks & balances" enshrined in our constitution after 9/11 (e.g. deferential judiciary, bi-partisan Congressional consensus on increasingly authoritarian, secretive US executive, propagandistic media, etc.). At least that's my thinking, and I see no significant countervailing pressure capable of slowing- let alone reversing- this authoritarian re-ordering of our constitutional order & political culture, though a few exceptions exist (e.g. Judge Forrest's suprising courage to suspend NDAA provision 1021), and rare journalists like yourself.

One astounding example of this widespread cynicism facilitating this authoritarian trend, was the media's rather restrained response to the revelation that elements in the massive Terrorist/Military Industrial Complex (HBGary) had been plotting military-style social-engineering operations to discredit & silence progressive journalists, specifically naming YOU, who I see as one of the rare defenders of the constitutional/democratic "lines in the sand" under relentless attack. Where was the overwhelming collective shock & outrage, or media demanding criminal investigations into US taxpayer-funded attacks on our so-called "free press?"

The paucity of outrage, outraged- but did not surprise- me, and neither does this revelation of a cozy relationship between censored/propagandistic media, CIA, White House, etc., as indicated by my articles about the " War on Whistleblowers, " " Where's the Free Press, " & " NDAA 2013 Legalizing US Propaganda Could Make Americans Less Gullible. "

My question for Glenn, is whether he thinks it would be possible for him to get legal standing to sue the private (& US??) entities, which proposed the covert discrediting/repression operations targeting you specifically?

I'm no lawyer, but it seems the documents published by Anonymous, reveal actions constituting criminal conspiracy. Given the proposed methods included forms of politically-motivated military warfare & coercion, the guilty parties would likely be aggressively investigated and charged with some terrorist crimes, if they had been busted planning attacks on people/entities that trumpeted Obama administration policies or its corporate backers (i.e. if they were Anonymous). The HBGary proposal to discredit/silence Wikileaks defenders strongly indicated they had experience with- & confidence in- such covert operations. Requiring a journalist/academic to be covertly discredited/destroyed/silenced before they get legal standing would be as absurd as the Obama administration's argument that Chris Hedges & Co. plaintiffs lack standing because they hadn't yet been stripped of their rights & secretly indefinitately detained without charges or trial.

I thought you might be in the unique position to use the US courts to pry open & shine some light upon the clearly anti-democratic, authoritarian abuses of power, & virtual fusion of corporate & state powers, which you so eloquently write about.

Grizz Mann , 30 Aug 2012 21:34
Is the CIA stuff in with the FAST AND FURIOUS files?
kschroder , 30 Aug 2012 20:26
I glad that foreign journalism is available for me to read our the internet, it's the only way i can find truthful information about what's going on in my own country (USA). I've known the liberal media bias was a problem for a long time, but articles like this continually remind me that things are far worse than they appear.
JRobinetteBiden , 30 Aug 2012 20:08
State-run media; right along with Apie-See, Empty-See and See-BS...
Steven Kingham , 30 Aug 2012 20:02
This is hilarious - even the left-wing Guardian is contemptuous of the lap-dog relationship the US press has with the Obama administration.
SmirkingChimp , 30 Aug 2012 19:09
All the actions surrounding the NY Times and the CIA on this issue are atrocious. With this type of "journalistic independence", why am I paying for a Times account??
Intercooler , 30 Aug 2012 18:16
As a favor to all readers, following is a summation of all past, present, and future ideas as articulated by the Fortune Cookie Thinker, John Andersson:
  1. A certain amount of genocide is good because the world is overpopulated.
  2. You should never question authority; after all, you are not an expert on authority.
  3. Everyone wins when we kill terrorists; the more we kill, the more we generate, thus the more we kill again, which makes us win more.
  4. It is not possible to have absolute power; therefore, power does not corrupt.
  5. Drones kill bad people. Only bad people are killed by drones. Thus, drones are good. We should have more drones. That is all.

I secretly think he's the real "Jack Handy" from the Deep Thoughts series on SNL.

kerrypay , 30 Aug 2012 18:00
In my high school history class in 1968 I learned all about how newspapers printed propaganda stories before WWI and Spanish American war in order to influence the public so they would want to go to war and it was called "yellow journalism". I also had an English teacher that taught us about "marketing" and how they use visuals and printed words and film to make us want to buy a product. My father taught me to NOT BELEIVE everything you read. Now it is called "critical thinking" and has been added as a general education class in college that you have to take for a college degree. Critical thinking about what you read and see and hear should be taught as early as 10 year olds so people can think for themselves. I do not read main stream newspapers in America but read news sites all over the world.

THANK GOD FOR THE INTERNET THAT YOU CAN READ WHAT OTHER NEWSPAPERS. I discovered Glenn on Democracy Now and they are my go to place to read about what is really happening.

JohnAndersson , 30 Aug 2012 17:47
the real issue is not personalities or trivial post deletions, the real issue is that the CIA is tightly bound to the institutions of America ... and that this is not a good thing for everyone

[Dec 01, 2018] The critical articles are nothing more than smokescreens. We are led to believe how hard-hitting the newspapers are and how they hold the politicians and other power-brokers to fire. All hogwash. It is better we recognize that the citizens are merely props they need to claim legitimacy.

Notable quotes:
"... We should not even talk about "conflict of interest" anymore. It is a collusion all the way. We saw it in the phone hacking scandal here, now at the New York Times. I have always wondered about these white tie dinners in Washington DC and how chummy and cozy the reporters looked mingling with the power-holders and -brokers. ..."
"... In what is turning out to be the CIA Century, the American President and major news outlets seem to operate under CIA authority and in accordance with CIA standard operating procedures. ..."
"... Or Afghanistan. Many of the cruise missile libs supported the invasion of Afghanistan but not Iraq. ..."
"... The press is managed on behalf of what I will call US powers. Those powers seem to be high level military, clandestine agencies, financial industry "leaders", and war contractors. The political parties and the faces they present to the public (with some few exceptions) act as functionaries to keep up the illusion that the US is a democracy. ..."
"... And I am not sure why I associate Washington's bureaucratic CIA with dancing midgets. ..."
Aug 30, 2012 | www.theguardian.com
jayant , 30 Aug 2012 11:17
If we thought the public trust in journalism is low, then this news only pushes it down further. Do people in journalism care? Some do very much but for the most the media and the power-holders are in collusion.

We should not even talk about "conflict of interest" anymore. It is a collusion all the way. We saw it in the phone hacking scandal here, now at the New York Times. I have always wondered about these white tie dinners in Washington DC and how chummy and cozy the reporters looked mingling with the power-holders and -brokers.

The critical articles are nothing more than smokescreens. We are led to believe how hard-hitting the newspapers are and how they hold the politicians and other power-brokers to fire. All hogwash. It is better we recognize that the citizens are merely props they need to claim legitimacy.

SeminoleSky , 30 Aug 2012 11:11
Not till this moment did I realize that we are under siege. I thought Julian Assange was the one under siege but he was just trying to offer us a path to freedom. With Assange neutralized and The New York Times and its brethren by all appearances thoroughly compromised, how can any one of us stand for all of us against government malfeasance let alone tyranny?

Where would you go if you had dispositive proof of devastating government malfeasance? In what is turning out to be the CIA Century, the American President and major news outlets seem to operate under CIA authority and in accordance with CIA standard operating procedures.

It would actually be foolish to take evidence of horrific government behavior to the titular head of the government {who'd likely persecute you as a whistleblower} or the major news organizations supposedly reporting to us about it {they'd bring it right back to the government for guidance on what to do}.

Without safe and reliable ways to stand and speak for and to each other on a large scale about the foul deeds of our government, we are damned to live very lonely vulnerable lives at the mercy of an unrestrained government.

Excerpt from script of Three Days of the Condor --

  • Higgins: I can't let you stay out, Turner.
  • Turner slowly stops, leans back against a building, shakes his head sadly.
  • Turner: Go home, Higgins. They have it all.
  • Higgins: What are you talking about?
  • Turner: Don't you know where we are?
  • Higgins looks around. The huge newspaper trucks are moving out.
  • Turner: It's where they ship from.
  • Higgins' head darts upward and he reads the legend above Turner's head. THE NEW YORK TIMES. He is stunned.
  • Higgins: You dumb son of a bitch.
  • Turner: It's been done. They have it.
  • Higgins: You've done more damage than you know.
  • Turner: I hope so.
  • Higgins: You want to rip us to pieces, but you damn fool you rely on us. {then} You're about to be a very lonely man, Turner.
  • ***
    Higgins: It didn't have to turn out like this.
  • Turner: Of course it did.
  • Higgins: {calling out as they depart separate ways} Turner! How do you know they'll print it?
  • Turner stops. Stares at Higgins. Higgins smiles.
  • Higgins: You can take a walk. But how far? If they don't print it.
  • Turner: They'll print it.
  • Higgins: How do you know?
BillOwen , 30 Aug 2012 11:00
Several commenters have pointed out that the NYT does do "good" journalism. That is true. It is also true that they tell absolute lies. See Judith Miller. The best way to sell a lie is to wrap it in the truth.
OnYourMarx -> avelna2001 , 30 Aug 2012 10:57
Or Afghanistan. Many of the cruise missile libs supported the invasion of Afghanistan but not Iraq.
Intercooler , 30 Aug 2012 10:56
I know it's late in the comments thread by the time anyone bothers to read THIS minor contribution, but I think it worth mentioning how this article from Glenn proves just how important are outlets like Democracy Now, RT, Cenk Uyger, Dylan Ratigan, et al. You really have to turn away from the mainstream media as a source of anything. Far too compromised, by both their embeddedness with the government, and their for-profit coroporate owners.

Note CNN's terrible ratings problems as of late, and the recent news that they are considering turning to more reality-type shows to get the eyeballs back. If that isn't proof positive of the current value of corporate news, I don't know what is.

DemocracyNow.org. I think I'm going to donate to them today....

Franklymydear0 -> rransier , 30 Aug 2012 10:08

i'm do not understand why so many people are against authority in general, even when the legal & enforcement system is there to protect your property, life and rights. i understand when corruption exists, it should be seriously addressed, but why throw out a whole system that is "somewhat working"? why blindly call for revolution?

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

Do you understand now?

Ahzeld , 30 Aug 2012 10:07
This is a political officer acting as editor of a major newspaper. I agree this has been going on for some time. Here is my analysis of that. The press is managed on behalf of what I will call US powers. Those powers seem to be high level military, clandestine agencies, financial industry "leaders", and war contractors. The political parties and the faces they present to the public (with some few exceptions) act as functionaries to keep up the illusion that the US is a democracy.

Romney and Obama are functionaries. They do as they're told. Obama is the more useful of the two as fewer people seem able to look honestly at his policies. They will not oppose Obama for doing the same things and worse as Bush. It is why all stops are being pulled out to get him, rather than Romney elected. The policies will be the same but the reaction of our population to each man is vastly different.

So yes, the capture of the media has been going on for quite some time. It appears nearly consolidated at this time. Instead of using this as a reason to ignore the situation, it is more important than ever to speak out. History is helpful in learning how to confront injustice. It is not a reason, as I see many use it, to say; "well it's always been that way, so what?" In history, we learn about corruption but we also learn that people opposed corruption. Is there some reason why we cannot also oppose corruption right now?

evenharpier -> MonotonousLanguor , 30 Aug 2012 09:16
"During the Vietnam War the Military Briefings were Derisively called the Five O' Clock Follies."

... ... ...

IgAIgEIgG , 30 Aug 2012 08:32
I though Michael Wolff's recent analysis of Apple (here in the Guardian) was in many ways metaphorical for Western leadership, his article acting in some ways to explain the behavior we see in cultural "elites."

Worth the read.

And somehow, after reading this article, all I can think of is the Wizard of Oz and a dancing midget army singing in repetitive, high-pitched tones.

And I am not sure why I associate Washington's bureaucratic CIA with dancing midgets.

BaldieMcEagle , 30 Aug 2012 08:15
Who will be the first commenter to leave the classic devastating critique: "The author fails to present a balanced view, showing only one side. The author's argument has no substance and is not really worth anything."

Don't forget this one: "The author just complains and complains without ever offering a solution or a better approach."

Also, can anyone 'splain me how to do a "response"?

thedark , 30 Aug 2012 08:09
I think Glenn Greenwald would be better off concerning himself less with matters below the ads and more with researching interesting stuff.

[Dec 01, 2018] Assange Never Met Manafort by Craig Murray

Notable quotes:
"... I can also assure you that Luke Harding, the Guardian, Washington Post and New York Times have been publishing a stream of deliberate lies, in collusion with the security services. ..."
Nov 27, 2018 | www.unz.com

Luke Harding and the Guardian Publish Still More Blatant MI6 Lies

The right wing Ecuadorean government of President Moreno continues to churn out its production line of fake documents regarding Julian Assange, and channel them straight to MI6 mouthpiece Luke Harding of the Guardian.

Amazingly, more Ecuadorean Government documents have just been discovered for the Guardian, this time spy agency reports detailing visits of Paul Manafort and unspecified "Russians" to the Embassy. By a wonderful coincidence of timing, this is the day after Mueller announced that Manafort's plea deal was over.

The problem with this latest fabrication is that Moreno had already released the visitor logs to the Mueller inquiry. Neither Manafort nor these "Russians" are in the visitor logs.

This is impossible. The visitor logs were not kept by Wikileaks, but by the very strict Ecuadorean security. Nobody was ever admitted without being entered in the logs. The procedure was very thorough. To go in, you had to submit your passport (no other type of document was accepted). A copy of your passport was taken and the passport details entered into the log. Your passport, along with your mobile phone and any other electronic equipment, was retained until you left, along with your bag and coat. I feature in the logs every time I visited.

There were no exceptions. For an exception to be made for Manafort and the "Russians" would have had to be a decision of the Government of Ecuador, not of Wikileaks, and that would be so exceptional the reason for it would surely have been noted in the now leaked supposed Ecuadorean "intelligence report" of the visits. What possible motive would the Ecuadorean government have for facilitating secret unrecorded visits by Paul Manafort? Furthermore it is impossible that the intelligence agency – who were in charge of the security – would not know the identity of these alleged "Russians".

Previously Harding and the Guardian have published documents faked by the Moreno government regarding a diplomatic appointment to Russia for Assange of which he had no knowledge. Now they follow this up with more documents aimed to provide fictitious evidence to bolster Mueller's pathetically failed attempt to substantiate the story that Russia deprived Hillary of the Presidency.

My friend William Binney, probably the world's greatest expert on electronic surveillance, former Technical Director of the NSA, has stated that it is impossible the DNC servers were hacked, the technical evidence shows it was a download to a directly connected memory stick. I knew the US security services were conducting a fake investigation the moment it became clear that the FBI did not even themselves look at the DNC servers, instead accepting a report from the Clinton linked DNC "security consultants" Crowdstrike.

I would love to believe that the fact Julian has never met Manafort is bound to be established. But I fear that state control of propaganda may be such that this massive "Big Lie" will come to enter public consciousness in the same way as the non-existent Russian hack of the DNC servers.

Assange never met Manafort. The DNC emails were downloaded by an insider. Assange never even considered fleeing to Russia. Those are the facts, and I am in a position to give you a personal assurance of them.

I can also assure you that Luke Harding, the Guardian, Washington Post and New York Times have been publishing a stream of deliberate lies, in collusion with the security services.

I am not a fan of Donald Trump. But to see the partisans of the defeated candidate (and a particularly obnoxious defeated candidate) manipulate the security services and the media to create an entirely false public perception, in order to attempt to overturn the result of the US Presidential election, is the most astonishing thing I have witnessed in my lifetime.

Plainly the government of Ecuador is releasing lies about Assange to curry favour with the security establishment of the USA and UK, and to damage Assange's support prior to expelling him from the Embassy. He will then be extradited from London to the USA on charges of espionage.

Assange is not a whistleblower or a spy – he is the greatest publisher of his age, and has done more to bring the crimes of governments to light than the mainstream media will ever be motivated to achieve. That supposedly great newspaper titles like the Guardian, New York Times and Washington Post are involved in the spreading of lies to damage Assange, and are seeking his imprisonment for publishing state secrets, is clear evidence that the idea of the "liberal media" no longer exists in the new plutocratic age. The press are not on the side of the people, they are an instrument of elite control.

Assange Never Met Manafort

SporadicMyrmidon , says: December 1, 2018 at 7:47 am GMT

My opinions are conflicted, but I'd rather give Assange a Nobel Peace Prize than a criminal conviction. He definitely deserves a Nobel Prize more than Obama. I was in an eatery in Cambridge, MA, when I heard Obama's prize announced, and even there people where aghast and astounded.
jilles dykstra , says: December 1, 2018 at 10:25 am GMT
The Guardian was bought by Soros, a few years ago.
Washpost, NYT and CNN, Deep State mouthpieces.
That the USA, as long as Deep State has not been eradicated completely from USA society, will continue to try to get Assange, and of course also Snowdon, in it claws, is more than obvious.
So what are we talking about ?
Assange just uses the freedom of information act, or how the the USA euphemism for telling them nothing, is called.
How Assange survives, mentally and bodily, being locked up in a small room without a bathroom, for several years now, is beyond my comprehension.
But of course, for 'traitors' like him human rights do not exist.
Bill Jones , says: December 1, 2018 at 10:33 am GMT
I tried this in the Grauniad search box

Term: "Far Right" result: "About 1,400,000 results (0.23 seconds)"

Term : "Far Left" result: "About 7,310 results (0.22 seconds) "

Only Pol Pot is to the Left of that bird-cage liner.

anon [271] Disclaimer , says: December 1, 2018 at 10:38 am GMT
"I can also assure you that Luke Harding, the Guardian, Washington Post and New York Times have been publishing a stream of deliberate lies, in collusion with the security services."

These outfits are largely state-run at this point. The Washington Post is owned by Jeff Bezos, a man with deep ties to the CIA through his Amazon company (which depends upon federal subsidies and has received security agency "support") and the Guardian is clandestinely funded through UK government purchases, among other things. MI6 has also effectively compromised the former integrity and objectivity of that outlet by threatening them with prosecutions for revealing MI6 spy practices. And the NYT has always been state-run. See their coverage of the Iraq War. The Israelis have bragged about having an asset at the Times. The American government has several.

Altai , says: December 1, 2018 at 11:38 am GMT
It's amazing to see the obvious progression of the lies as they take hold in an anti-Trump elite who seem completely impervious to understanding his victory over Clinton. All these people who claim to be so cosmopolitan and educated seem to think Assange or Manafort would have any interest in meeting each other. (Let alone in the company of unspecified 'Russians'.)

At first it was that Assange was wrong to publish the DNC leaks because it hurt Clinton and thus helped Trump.

Then it was that Assange was actively trying to help Trump.

Now it's that Assange is in collusion with Trump and the 'Russians'.

The same thing happened with the Trump-Russian nonsense which goes ever more absurd as time goes on. Slowly boiling the frog in the public's mind. The allegations are so nonsensical, yet there are plenty of educated, supposedly cosmopolitan people who don't understand the backgrounds or motives of their 'liberal' heroes in the NYT or Guardian who believe this on faith.

None of these people will ever question how if any of this is true how the security services of the West didn't know it and if they supposedly know it, how come they aren't acting like it's true. They are acting like they're attempting to smear politicians they don't like, however.

Che Guava , says: December 1, 2018 at 11:51 am GMT
Luke Harding is particularly despicable. He made his name as a journalist off privileged access to Wilkileaks docs, and has been persistently attacking Assange ever since the Swedish fan-girl farce.

Assange did make a mistake (of which I am sure he is all too aware now) in the choice to, rather than leave the info. open on-line, collaborate with the filthy Guardian, the sleazy NYT, and I forget dirty name of the third publication.

Big tactictal error.

Che Guava , says: December 1, 2018 at 12:05 pm GMT
@anon Since you are posting as Anon coward, I am not expecting a reply, but would be interested in (and would not doubt) state funding of the 'Guardian'?

As for the NYT, they are plainly in some sense state-funded, but the state in question is neither New York nor the U.S.A., but the state of Israel.

mike k , says: December 1, 2018 at 12:33 pm GMT
Only the thoroughly brainwashed can doubt the truths in this article. Unfortunately that includes a huge number of Americans.
Bill Jones , says: December 1, 2018 at 1:05 pm GMT
@Altai The one lesson that the left has learned is to double downin perpetuity.

Their invincible arragance is matched only by their stupidity.

Simon Tugmutton , says: December 1, 2018 at 1:23 pm GMT
@Che Guava Perhaps he is referring to the sheer volume of ads the British government places for public sector appointments. As for the paper edition, most of it seems to be bought by the BBC!

[Dec 01, 2018] In a separate interview, a retired four-star general, who has advised the Bush and Obama Administrations on national-security issues, said that he had been privately briefed in 2005 about the training of Iranians associated with the M.E.K. in Nevada

Dec 01, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

RobGehrke -> MonaHol , 30 Aug 2012 06:12

"What do you mean by claiming Hersh "cozys up" to MIC ppl? And what would be a specific example of a story he broke after doing that?"

Our Men in Iran?

"We did train them here, and washed them through the Energy Department because the D.O.E. owns all this land in southern Nevada," a former senior American intelligence official told me. ... In a separate interview, a retired four-star general, who has advised the Bush and Obama Administrations on national-security issues, said that he had been privately briefed in 2005 about the training of Iranians associated with the M.E.K. in Nevada

http://www.new