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Contents Bulletin Scripting in shell and Perl Network troubleshooting History Humor

Authoritarians and Corporate Psychopaths as Toxic Managers

News Books Recommended Links The psychopath in the corner office

Female Sociopaths

The Hare Psychopathy Checklist Borderline Psychopaths

Narcissists

Micromanagers Workplace bullies Incompetent Managers Authoritarians and F-scale Corporate bullshit as a communication method Surviving a Bad Performance Review
The Techniques of a Female Sociopaths Divorcing Borderline Psychopath Negative Politeness Tactful communication Rules of Communication Paranoid Managers Model of Corporate Psychopath Behavior
Understanding Micromanagers Surviving Micromanagers Office Stockholm Syndrome Mayberry Machiavellians in Office Steps for Decreasing Toxic Worry Large organizations Preventing Burnout
Stoicism  Learned helplessness Anger trap The Fiefdom Syndrome Fraud Caused by Social Pressures Workagolism and work overload Obsessive compulsive personality
Insubordination Threat Fake Sexual Harassment Claims Understanding Borderline Rage Analogy between corporate and psychopathic behavior Machiavellians Manipulators Tricks Diplomatic Communication Avoiding Anger Trap when dealing with corporate psychopaths
High Demand Cults Leaders Practices Sociopath attack methods Gaslighting Classic cycle of sociopathic relations (Evaluate-seduce-devalue-discard) Workplace mobbing Signs that you might be dismissed soon Projection
Groupthink Conformism Lysenkoism Psychopaths in Movies Quotes about Psychopaths Humor Videos
  "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark"

From Hamlet (I, iv, 90)

Introduction

Softpanorama Classification of Toxic Managers

Psychopaths are real aliens, "people without conscience"

Warning

Note: This is page devoted to all IT professionals who suffer from psychopathic bosses. Only those who already suffered or still suffering from one of those types can understand the level of pain as well as stakes involved in dealing with such individuals.

Introduction

If you are reading this page, you probably have problems with your boss ;-).  Now what ? Actually the situation is bad, and you are really trapped, but it is not inescapable situation. You can and should escape.  As old saying goes "Knowledge is power" and this is the area where this saying is literally true. Learning the ropes can help to find a way to escape, and lessen the current pain.

It is important to understand that whose managers who produce living hell are not all created equal. But they have a common tendency to project their dissatisfaction with their life and emotional emptiness outward and ascribe it to others. If they succeed it is all them, but if they fail, it's your fault.

They are incapable of trust, because everything they do is a facade, a lie, a Potemkin village.  The same Potemkin village as their family life, where wife and children at best are viewed as a desirable possession. And that's it.  They have utter contempt for other people, although they will use flattery, deceit and other means to create a dependency while they are using them. And after that is done, you will be discarded like an empty box. In other words they are real sharks, endlessly seeking the prey to fill their emotional emptiness with possessions, be they things or other people. And they are literally insatiable in their needs, and highly focused in their pursuit of them.

There two large group of dangerous managers who typically make the life of subordinates a living hell. We will call them "toxic managers".

Both types are power hungry and have inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, etc.”  (see Understanding Borderline Rage), which serves as a vehicles of intimidation and can be carefully rehearsed. The key differential is the amount of deceit in daily interactions and about personal and family history.  Manipulation and deceit are hallmarks of psychopathic personality. They live life as actors acting different roles depending on what is profitable and what helps to achieve their goals. Much like cult leaders (which who they have a lot in common) socialized psychopath are masters of creating an "artificial past" inventing their personal histories (including education, achievements, etc ) and sometimes even relatives as well as keeping victims from escaping. See The psychopath in the corner office for the list of traits that you need to try to match with to confirm this diagnose.

As this is not a psychiatry manual, we will use an umbrella term  "toxic managers" for both corporate psychopaths and (more numerous) authoritarian managers.  That term actually allow us to avoid nitpicking about whether particular manager is real psychopath, or something else and concentrate of patterns of behavior many of which are surprisingly common.  For our purpose real psychological diagnosis is of secondary importance, but methods of fight of this personality are of primary importance.

In this respect, what matter for us is the fact that both authoritarians and psychopath of various "denominations"  are really dangerous predators of corporate jungles in general and IT jungles in particular. And they blend extremely well into the current environment within government and mega corporations.

As all of them there is one important encompassing feature: predation. Most individuals in modern societies are caught up in the perpetual struggle of striking a balance between pursuing their own interests and respecting others' rights.  When their own pursuits take precedent over others, individuals typically feel some guilt or shame about their greed. But there is no such conflict inside sociopathic managers.  They do not need to rationalize their exploitation of other, they simply feel they are entitled.  Which makes them perfect predator of corporate jungles.  When in power, they typically use their animosity to keep others in line.  Often they create kind of cult of personality environment in which, like in Stalinist Russia, in order to survive, employees must identify with their aggressor or become one of the leader's victims (and please note that Joseph Stalin was a pretty charming personality in his narrow Politburo circle).

It goes without saying that presence of such individuals in the role of the manager puts a tremendous stress on his direct reports. Psychopaths are more that rare among general population and by some estimates represent over 1% of population and approximately 4% of managers. Authoritarians are more common and often constitute majority of middle managers in the corporation.  So both university students and regular cubicle dwellers should better know your enemy as they might need to deal with them in their first or next "manager-subordinate" relationship. They (especially Authoritarians) might be present among your immediate or extended family too.

Softpanorama Classification of Toxic Managers

With those reservations, we would distinguish the following non-orthogonal types based on a single,  dominant behavioral stereotype (for example all psychopath are bullies, but only bullies has this as a predominant feature). That's a crude and unscientific classification but it does has some practical value in dealing with this type of predators because our emphasis is of classifying and describing typical set of behaviors that those people use during "hunt" for prey.  It is valuable to knew something about what to expect if you are on the receiving end of such a behavior.  We will distinguish:

Authoritarians, quintessential kiss up kick down personalities

Authoritarians are more numerous and and while dangerious and toxic, they are less dangerous category in comparison with "real" phychopaths, especially micromanagers. If you boss fits the description you need to go to the church and light the candle. While your situation is bad and often justifiably can be called simply terrible, believe me it could be much, much worse (see below).

It is not always easy to detect authoritarian manager while not being his/her subordinates. Sometimes, like in romantic relations, it is quote difficult until it's too late. Typically authorititarian kiss up behavior can be polished to perfection and generally emogh equals he is often viewed as "normal" person. Trobles start only when you report to him.

Still there are som indicatins that are usful even when you are reporting to this jerk. In the latter  case indications are useless, because you are already cooked :-(.

One of the few good indications of authoritarian personality are extreme right wing views (see Double High Authoritarians). In any case as soon as this guy/nice lady become your boss, "kick down" side of his/her personality will be demonstrated to you in all glory and you will have zero problems with the detection. The only problem is that it's too late ;-).

Also it is not necessary that authoritarian boss should be incompetent. First of all, while there is correlation  between authoritarianism and low intelligence it is just a correlation. Some authoritarians are quite bright (for example, Bill O'Reilly -- a Fox News talking head to be more like double high authoritarian rather then a typical psychopath).

Another important trait that can be observed by outsiders and should warn you is that authoritarians tend to exhibit cognitive errors and symptoms of faulty reasoning. Specifically, they are more likely to make incorrect inferences from evidence and to hold ontradictory ideas that result from compartmentalized thinking. Moreover, they are typically unable to acknowledge their own limitations and assume responsibility for errors and blunders.  Here is a short but very useful list from Our Church Administration is Critically Infected « Another Voice

1.Illogical Thinking: The lack of independent, critical thinking.

2. Highly Compartmentalized Minds: Authoritarians’ ideas are poorly integrated with one another.

3. Double Standards : When your ideas live independent lives from one another it is pretty easy to use double standards in your judgments. You simply call up the idea that will justify (afterwards) what you’ve decided to do.

4. Hypocrisy: The leaders of authoritarian movements sometimes accuse their opponents of being anti-democratic and anti-free speech when the latter protest
against various books, movies, speakers, teachers and so on.

5. Blindness To Themselves: self-righteousness.

6. A Profound Ethnocentrism: Ethnocentrism means dividing the world up into in-groups and out-groups…….in-groups are holy and good…out-groups are evil and Satanic.

7. Dogmatism: the Authoritarian’s Last Ditch Defense: By dogmatism I mean relatively unchangeable, unjustified certainty. Loyal followers obey without questions…..

I would put dogmatism higher as this is valuable test which works when this type of people report to you or are on the same level as you and the personality they present to you is their "fake", Potemkin village facade.

But other then that this is an excellent, simply excellent list. One missing, but important feature is that authoritarians are generally more favorable to punishment and control than personal freedom and diversity. When discussing political preferences, tor example, they are more willing to suspend constitutional guarantees of liberty such as the Bill of Rights. They also are more likely to advocate strict, punitive sentences for criminals, and they admit that they obtain personal satisfaction from punishing such people. See Authoritarians

Bullies or aggressive psychopaths

Aggression in inherent in psychopath as a predator in corporate environment, and to tell that a psychopath is a bully is just to tell that the water is wet. So this is a sure sign that the boss is psychopath, but it does not help in classification of the set of behaviors that distinguish this particular predator from others. But for some sociopaths this pattern of behavior serves is the most favorite tactics that they use systematically. Those psychopaths have a distinct a tendency toward sadism and derive perverse gratification from harming others. They do like to hurt, frighten, tyrannize. They do it for a sense of power and control, and will often only drop subtle hints about what they are up to (this is also typical of authoritarians).

At the same time they systematically polish their aggressive, domineering manner in such a way to disguise any intimidation as legitimate corporate behavior and avoid coming under HR scrutiny for their behavior. Such pathological personalities always seek out positions of power, such as teacher, bureaucrat, manager, or police officer. You can also distinguish several subtypes:

I would like to stress it again that direct or indirect aggression is inherent in sociopath (a socialized psychopath) and to tell that a psychopath is a bully is just to tell that the water is wet.

US National Center for Education Statistics suggests that bullying can be broken into two categories:

Indirect bullying is more subtle and more likely to be verbal, such as the silent treatment, arguing others into submission, manipulation, gossip, staring, and mocking. While women can be as aggressive or even more aggressive then men they usually are more indirect. I would like to stress that gender differences in aggression are subject to review; human society is too complex and direct projection from animal world, for example, from great apes is of limited value. See important paper by Kaj Bjorkqvist Sex Differences in Physical, Verbal, and Indirect Aggression: A review of recent research

Accordingly, one should not expect women to develop and use exactly the same strategies for attaining their goals as men do. If strategies for aggression and conflict resolution are learned, not innate, then women are likely to learn different methods than men. Important aspects are power and capacity, not only physical, but also verbal, and social.

Human beings have nonphysical powers which are far beyond those of any other animal. Accordingly, human aggression has faces and forms, inconceivable within the realm of animal aggression. Extrapolations from animal studies are, therefore, misleading. Aggressive styles are also subject to developmental change during the life course. As indicated, animal aggression is mostly physical. Also among young children lacking verbal skills, aggression is predominantly physical.

Verbal skills, when they develop, are quickly utilized not only for peaceful communication, but also for aggressive purposes. When social skills develop, even more sophisticated strategies of aggression are made possible, with the aggressor being able to harm a target person without even being identified: Those strategies may be referred to as indirect aggression (Lagerspetz, Bjorkqvist, and Peltonen, 1988; Bjorkqvist, Lagerspetz, and Kaukiainen, 1992).

There are good reasons to believe that, as far as adult interpersonal conflict is concerned, physical aggression is really the exception, not the rule. Other means are more likely to be used.

Burbank (1987) reviews anthropological research on female aggression. She finds females of different cultures having a large potential of aggressive means to use in order to get even with their husbands, such as, e.g., locking them out of the house for the night: she regards this as an act of aggression. Burbank (1987) found females seldom to resort to physical aggression against their husbands, but they did so, occasionally. The most common reason was that their husbands had committed adultery. Burbank found, however, that women are much more often aggressive towards other women than towards men.

Here is one type from popular literature that fits the pattern:

The Fearmonger Boss. People do what a “fearsome” boss says because they’re afraid of him, which actually encourages further intimidation. He always has a threat, and he constantly follows through with that threat in order to keep his employees acquiescent.

Often bulling behavior is combined with paranoia tendencies (paranoiac self-defense). Again this category is fuzzy.

See Bullies or aggressive psychopaths  for more information

Paranoids

Paranoid managers are psychopaths for whom continual mistrust and misjudgment of environment dominates other (often no less pathological) personality features. Wikipedia defines paranoia in the following way:

Paranoid personality disorder is a psychiatric diagnosis that denotes a personality disorder with paranoid features. It is characterized by an exaggerated sensitivity to rejection, resentfulness, distrust, as well as the inclination to distort experienced events. Neutral and friendly actions of others are often misinterpreted as being hostile or contemptuous.

Unfounded suspicions regarding the sexual loyalty of partners and loyalty in general as well as the belief that one’s rights are not being recognized is stubbornly and argumentatively insisted upon.

Paranoid managers are suspicious, touchy, typically humorless, quick to take offense and slow to forgive, self-righteous (Which makes them remarkably similar to authoritarians and micromanagers). They are often argumentative and litigious. They seldom show tenderness and may avoid intimacy; often they seem tense and brusque.

Paranoid personalities find causal connections everywhere; for them nothing is coincidental.

They are constantly on guard and are hypersensitive to critique. That means that they often take offense where none is intended. Often they have problems with understanding humor. They appear cold and, in fact, often avoid becoming intimate with others. Often pride themselves on their rationality, objectivity and fairness. Paranoid managers rarely come forward to seek help from subordinates.

Often paranoia combines with "toxic incompetence" as they cannot make decision on time (analysis paralysis), insists of creating tons of useless documentation and due to this skip important project milestones, etc. Fear of exposure of paranoid manager is blended into a pattern of pervasive distrust and suspiciousness. An inability to trust, doubts about others' loyalty, distortion and fabrication of personal histories, qualifications and facts, misinterpretation, and bearing grudges unnecessarily are generally hallmarks of the disorder. Pathological and instinctive aggressive counter-attack, the need to control others is also a prominent feature. They like to collect evidence of subordinates. Paranoid managers often can be classified as "raw bullies", as in relations with subordinates they prefer to rely on brute force and direct intimidation.

For more information see Paranoids

Micromanagers

Tendency to micromanage subordinates is often combined with paranoia and bulling in various (but of course lesser then those classified as bullies or as paranoid) degrees. It also pretty often demonstrate itself as a distinct condition close to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OSD).

Micromanagers are remarkably close to authoritarian personalities in patterns of behaviour and demonstrate typical for the latter category bouts of anger (Borderline Rage). Reverse is not true, some authoritarians avoid micromanaging. Micromanagers often have almost pathological neatness; the latter is especially typical for women. Often their hairstyle is distinctly refined.

Especially dangerous are paranoid incompetent micromanagers (PIMM) the type which we will study in more detail on a separate set of pages:

Micromanagers is one of the few areas were gender stereotyping might provide some survival benefits. Women tend to be more detail oriented, and female corporate psychopaths more often tend to behave like micromanagers. Female PIMM can be mean, evil, vindictive and quite petty.

If a female boss is insecure about her skills and abilities she is more likely to exhibit PIMM behavior. Female PIMM are usually more skilled in using indirect aggression, especially isolation. 

Level of paranoia is elevated and often micromanagers simultaneously can be classified as paranoid managers. Among common traits are complete absence of trust in the staff, pathological need for control, pathologic dissatisfaction with results, and recurring "tantrums."

Many of PIMM can be also classified as bullies but again they, especially female PIMM, prefer indirect aggression to direct. Usually, female PIMM cultivate spying on subordinates and encourage "little birds" to rest on their shoulders and whisper all forms of gossip. This, these minions believe, ingratiates them to their bosses.

For more information see Micromanagers

Narcissists

The narcissistic bosses are characterized by "a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy," often evidenced as envy, taking advantage of others, an exaggerated sense of self-importance and entitlement, and arrogant or haughty behavior. There is not much hope for the poor shmacs toiling for the narcissistic personality-disordered boss who demands perfection, absolute loyalty, and 24/7 devotion to the job.

Narcissistic managers are not that different from other types and also suffer from compulsive need for control ("control freaks"). Narcissistic behavior is dominated by compulsive desire to project highly positive image  resulting in unstable behavior with emotional outbursts caused by insecurity and weakness rather than any real feelings of confidence or self-esteem.  One interesting feature of narcissists is that their behaviour in family environment is often more brutal and tyrannical then with subordinates of the office.  That makes they close to micromanagers.

Typically they are oversensitive to criticism and do not accept slightest criticism from below. They often can be simultaneously classified both as bullies and micromanagers. As they need to steal all the achievements of subordinates to built their image they are typically "gatekeepers" who try tightly control all the communications channels with the superiors'. Can be quite paranoid and react inadequately on any threat to their projected image.

For more information see Narcissists.

Manipulator bosses or Machiavellian boss ("wolfs in sheep closing")

Manipulative psychopaths are probably the smoothest of corporate psychopaths. Here we will mean a class of corporate psychopath who excels in manipulative behaviors including, but not limited to flattery and seduction. All psychopaths use this to a certain extent, but for this type this is a preferred tactic. Also they are typically talented actors and can wear their fake, "invented personality" with confidence and aplomb typical for great actors in movies and theater.

While manipulative behaviors including, but not limited to flattery and seduction are prominent, other features typical for corporate psychopath are usually present too. They are very similar to paranoid managers in their behavior toward subordinates, but unlike paranoids are capable to create a real smokescreen over their real personality by using flattery and seduction.

Unlike bullies they prefer indirect aggression to direct. They have tendency to play by the rules only as long as it suits them and break rules as soon as this is needed for achieving thier objectives. They are notoriously capable to exploit  "grey" area in their favor. This distinguishes them from paranoids. Like narcissists they fear becoming less valued, if their underlings get any recognition for exemplary work. Manipulator bosses are backstabbers who'll go to frightening lengths to look good to their superiors at the expense of denigrating subordinates.

Typically have a dual personality syndrome and behave completely differently with superiors then with subordinates. Here is how they are described in one of Monster career self-help articles:

The Manipulator Boss

Also known as the Machiavellian boss, this type is extremely intelligent and one of the most dangerous. The manipulator boss is highly focused, very motivated, and always has a secret plan. He looks at people as a means to an end. The world is a giant pyramid and the apex is his. People he touches or runs over on the way to the top are casualties he writes off. If you work for a manipulator, watch your back. Your best bet is to be open and honest with him. Volunteer information. Your boss, who has long forgotten what truth is, will be left impressed by it.

For more information see Manipulator bosses or Machiavellian boss ("wolfs in sheep closing")

Empty Suits (Aggressive Incompetent Managers)

We need to distinguish between normal and abnormal incompetence. Normal or institutional incompetence is inherent in large bureaucracies and in reflected on Peter Principle and Parkinson law.  In this case the manager was competent on some lower level of hierarchy but became incompetent after promotion or as often happens in IT due to loss of technical qualification in the current position. 

But there is also other, abnormal incompetence, when a person got to his position due to some "institutional lift" (for example being close friend or relative of  one of the higher level managers, or a secretary who is a mistress of the upper manager and was promoted to some technical position in IT department). This case  is also called pathological incompetence or colloquially "empty suits". 

It is usually quite toxic if such a manager is also aggressive. Unfortunately more often then not it is correlated with extreme aggressiveness as well as other personality problems -- most toxically incompetent managers are micromanagers or narcissists or bullies or some combination.   No substance and not much style. Just very sharp claws and elbows.

Such managers are more widespread that this is assumed in Harvard Business Scholl publications: in a large organization competence is not the primary value. Politics, connections, and clever tactics can compensate for incompetence. The sad truth that they are pretty typical in large organizations for reasons completely different from The Peter Principle.  In "bootlickocracy", the most incompetents are valued for "different reasons" and can easily propel themselves into a supervisory role.

Toxic incompetence is usually correlated with various other personality disorders and is prominent among corporate psychopaths.  Common clues include:

For more information see Empty Suits (Aggressive Incompetent Managers).

Psychopaths are real aliens, "people without conscience"

Psychopathic bosses are people that are so different from normal people that they can be truly called aliens. And those dramatic differences cannot be understood in terms of antisocial rearing or development. They operate using different set of assumptions, and it is the latter that makes them the natural "predators" of the corporate world, "criminals without criminal offences".

In corporate environment psychopath is the person who fails to recognize, much less to empathize with, the personal human dignity and rights of subordinates. That's why they are called "people without conscience".  They do not feel remorse at lying or manipulating, and they typically lie without limit creating an elaborate edifice of their fake past. This "addiction to lying" (and related inconsistencies in their descriptions of their past) is probably the most telling early warning sign about psychopath. Typically they "invent" their past. They have trouble with teamwork for the same reason. They will say one thing to one person, and something different to someone else.

As psychopaths are addicted to lying, they frequently contradict themselves. Typically they also enjoy harming and bullying others.  In young age they are often cruel to animals...

And it is difficult to understand how alien they are from "common people". To a certain extent they are insane. Please note that "sanity" does not mean perfection; it merely means sufficient engagement with the real world and society to allow us to survive both day-by-day and in the long term – thus “sane” individuals usually tend to obey traffic laws, learn from their mistakes and practical experience and, in the case of moral sanity, they recognize in others their worth and their capacity for joy and suffering.  Psychopaths are by definition reckless. This actions aren't merely misguided, but often are clinically dysfunctional. That's why they often self-destruct.

Furthermore, sanity implies an ability of introspection: capacity to critically evaluate one’s experience, to distinguish fact from fiction, and to tune behavior, to adapt to the real world. Insanity, by implication, suggests a significant level of detachment from reality and inability to change one behavior despite negative feedback from the environment.  For example, a psychopath not only can't recognize the human worth and the capacity for pleasure and pain in others, he does not recognize any value of that. For him treating people like objects is "normal" and any empathy is for suckers.  In this sense he/she is living in an "unreal", artificial world. Detached for reality world, the world were no empathy exits. It is often correlates with other psychological disorders such as paranoia.

The presence or absence of conscience and related lack of emotions is a deep human division, arguably as significant as intelligence, race, and closer then many would think to gender differences.

We don't know what makes psychopath ticks and how they acquire the set of behavioral patterns they demonstrate. So most of modern literature is limited to "traits based description". For  extensive list of traits see The psychopath in the corner office. This "trait classification" method that prevails in the literature is very limited and in general should be considered unscientific. As such, it overlaps with "popular urban mythology". Still even mythology is better then nothing and we do not have any other approach that is really better.

Warning

You need to understand that those description are pretty much ad hoc. Reality is more complex and does not fit well within this rigid scheme. Often traits are intermixed in a unique way that defy classification. That's why you need really put an effort into studying your particular type and documenting his/her behavior to get some real insights into particular beast you are dealing with. One important variable partially omitted is the level of intellect (also low IQ is reflected in Empty Suits (Aggressive Incompetent Managers) type).  Often psychopaths have high or very high IQ. 

There are probably several more important factors that were omitted. For example, gender differences are also very important and color psychopathic behavior in a unique way. See Female Sociopaths

Methods of attacks used by psychopathic bosses vary but one common is based on performance reviews. There are several traps there you can and should avoid.  See Surviving a Bad Performance Review

The simplest way to get some additional insight would be checkpoint list based on typical traits displayed by psychopaths. See The psychopath in the corner office

For psychopaths the office environment is a theatre of war and like in any war ends justify means. So dirty tricks are ok  as French proverb A la guerre, comme a la guerre  implies. They are typically used by psychopaths without any constrains (spreading dirty rumors is the specialty of female sociopath and those skills are usually polished since childhood to perfection.).  The greatest variety is observable from Machiavellians Manipulators but sophistication is typical for psychopath in general. See Machiavellians Manipulators Tricks.

You should remember  famous saying that "War is a continuation of policy by other means" and don't overreact.

First of all, like in real war, there is a "fog of war" over the whole situation (i.e., you are facing incomplete, dubious, and often completely erroneous information and high levels of fear, doubt, and excitement). Which complicate rational assessment of the situation so delays with the reaction and keeping your cards close to your chest might in many cases be not detrimental, but  advantageous.

Actually studying war tactics which were discussed, for example, in famous Clausewitz On War (available free from clausewitz.com.) and The Art of War  is not a bad idea. Among them (cited from Wikipedia):

There are several good books on the subject that you should definitely read. Stakes are so high that any additional ammo worth much more then its nominal cost. See a list of suggestions in  Toxic managers: The Problem of Corporate Psychopaths. But again, you should took information provided with a grain of salt.

Watching films that depict psychopath also provide some additional insight and this way of study should not be overlooked.  Unlike real events you can watch the film over and over again and that's enhance the understanding of specific tricks and attack methods. See Psychopaths in Movies. 

Some behavior patterns are really easier to study via movies. This is especially true about female sociopaths. For example there is certain logic in outbursts of anger used by psychopath. They are not completely spontaneous, but more of a sign that you entered the territory they already staked. Or they want something that you refuse to give. The same is true for authoritarians (authoritarian rage).  See Understanding Borderline Rage.

At the same time, being reserved is very important. One of the tactics used is to  provoked you into a burst of your own impulsive behavior as this way psychopath can play victim, while being actually an aggressor.  See Anger trap

Dr. Nikolai Bezroukov


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[Sep 10, 2016] Pathological Liar – Impulsive, Compulsive Lying, Self-Deception

Feb 05, 2016 | depressiond.com
Pathological Liar – All About PATHOLOGICAL LYING, Lying, Self-Deception, Types, Classification, from Pseudologia Fantastica to Habitual Lying.
  1. Pathological Liar – Definition

    Pathological liar refers to a liar that is compulsive or impulsive, lies on a regular basis and is unable to control their lying despite of foreseeing inevitable negative consequences or ultimate disclosure of the lie. Generally lies told by a pathological liar have self-defeating quality to them and don't serve the long term material needs of the person. Therefore pathological lying is lying that is caused by a pathology, occurs on a regular basis, is compulsive or impulsive & uncontrolled, and has self-defeating, self-trapping quality to it.

    Lying or self-deception is a part of everyday human interactions. In many cases lying can be beneficial for those who lie and those who are being lied to. Most of this type of lying with positive consequences occurs in a controlled way, thoughtfully, with careful weighting of beneficial consequences. Unlike these, the lies told by a pathological liar are uncontrolled and are likely to have damaging consequences.

    Pathological lying covers a wide range of lying behavior, from pseudologia fantastica to habitual lying. Lying is a commonly found clinical component with people who suffer from impulse control disorders such as gambling, compulsive shopping, substance abuse, kleptomania etc. Pathological lying is generally caused by a combination of factors, which may include genetic components, dysfunctional or insecure childhood, dyslexia or other type of cerebral dysfunction. Such conditions may host environment that is likely to emerge chronic or pathological lying as an adaptive defense mechanism. Dysfunctional family, parental overprotection, sibling rivalry, mental retardation are among many causes of pathological lying.

  2. Low Self-Esteem And Pathological Lying

    Low self-esteem is a commonly found feature in pathological liars. The lie maybe an attempt to feel good about themselves, generally for a short period of time, similar to the effect of drugs & alcohol. The same lie or deceit repeated over and over may create a myth of personal well-being or success or displacement of faults of own failures on others, thus creating an imaginary fantasy protection bubble, which may reinforce self-esteem. Pathological liars repeatedly use deceit as an ego defense mechanism, which is primarily caused by the lack of ability to cope with everyday problems in more mature ways (Selling 1942).

  3. Pathological Liar – Causes

    Causes of development of pathological lying can be, but are not limited to, one or more of the factors mentioned below:

    • A dysfunctional family;
    • Sexual or physical abuse in childhood;
    • Neuropsychological abnormalities; such as borderline mental retardation, learning disabilities etc.
    • Impulse control disorders; such as kleptomania, pathological gambling, compulsive shopping.
    • Accommodating or suggestible personality traits;
    • Personality disorders such as Sociopathic, Narcissistic, Borderline, Histrionic and more;
    • Substance abuse or substance abuse in family;
  4. Pathological Liar – Types
    • Daydreaming Pathological Liar – Pseudologia Fantastica

      Some of the more extreme forms of pathological lying is Pseudologia Fantastica. This is a matrix of facts & fiction, mixed together in a way that makes the reality and fantasy almost indistinguishable. The pseudologue type pathological liar makes up stories that seem possible on the surface, but over time things start falling apart. Pseudologues have dynamic approach to their lies, they are likely to change the story if confronted or faced with disbelief, they have excessive anxiety of being caught and they desperately try to modify their story to something that would seem plausible to create or preserve a sense of self that is something they wish they were or at least something better than they fear others would find out they are. The excessive anxiety is driven by unusually low self-esteem, the person tries to hide reality by creating a fake reality, and once the story has enduring quality to it, he/she is likely to repeat it and if repeated enough times he/she might start believing in it as well. This reality escape can be triggered of a past incident or of an unbearable present for the pseudologue.

      About 30% of daydreaming pathological liars have brain dysfunction. For some it may take the form of learning disabilities, ex. dyslexia. Often those with cerebral dysfunction have greater verbal production & lower developed logical, analytical parts of the brain, thus they often fail to control verbal output.

    • Habitual Liar

      Habitual pathological lying is, as the name suggest, habitual. Habitual liar lies so frequently, that it becomes a habit, as a result, he/she puts very little effort in giving a thought about what the output is going to be, nor does he/she care much to process whether it's a lie or not, it's simply a reflex & very often can be completely unnecessary or even opposite to his/her own needs. If he/she stops & thinks about it, he/she knows clearly it's a lie.

      Habitual liars lie for a variety of reasons, which include, but are not limited to:

      • Take advantage of the situation or misguide a rival
      • Avoid confrontation or punishment
      • Cover up lack of knowledge
      • Cover up embarrassment
      • To entertain oneself or others
      • Reinforce self-esteem, because of failing own expectation
      • Receive unearned praise or avoid disappointment or disproval
      • For no reason whatsoever

      Habitual liars gives very few if any psychical or vocal signs of lying, due to the effortless nature of lying. That said, since he/she gives a very little thought to his/her lies, they are usually inconsistent & obvious.

      Fear is a major contributor in developing habitual lying in a child & further advancement into adulthood, more so in conditions when the child finds truth telling results in more frequent or more severe punishment. Lack of appreciating and likelihood of unwanted consequences of telling the truth may result in frequent opting out for lying, which often involves less punishment & therefore becomes more desirable.

    • Impulsive Pathological Liar – Impulse Control Disorders & Lying

      Impulsive pathological liar lies due to impulse control problem, he/she lies to fulfill his/her present (in the moment) needs, without thinking of future negative effects that can be caused because of the lie. Impulsive pathological liar generally suffers from impulse control disorders, such as kleptomania, pathological gambling, compulsive shopping etc. Those suffering from impulse control disorders fail to learn from past negative experiences, frequently suffer from depression, likely to have history of substance abuse in family or have substance abuse problems themselves, likely to have deficiency in brain serotonin. Increase in brain serotonin may have positive effect in decreasing impulsiveness, such medication may have positive effects, however there hasn't been clinical research performed to confirm or deny this theory.

    • Substance Abuse Associated Pathological Liar

      Self-Deception is an undeniable part of addictive process. People abuse alcohol or other drugs constantly lie to themselves & others to avoid embarrassment, conflict, as well as to obtain the substance. Getting off substance requires learning to distance oneself from the deceit, therefore learning to be truthful is generally a part of any Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous program.

  5. Signs of Lying

    Human detection of deceit can be summarized by the following seven signs.

    7 Signs of Lying

    • Disguised smiling
    • Lack of head movement
    • Increased rate of self-adapters (eg., movements such playing with an object in hands, scratching one's head etc.)
    • Increased/Heightened pitch of voice
    • Reduced rate of speech
    • Pause fillers ("uh", "hm", "er")
    • Less corresponding, matching nonverbal behavior from the other communication methods (ex. the movement of hands doesn't match the substance of the lie that is being told orally)

Reference: (Fiedler, Walka, Zuckerman, Driver, Ford)

Pathological lying - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[Sep 14, 2016] Hillary Clinton views almost everytbody outside of the top one percent as Basket of deplorables

Notable quotes:
"... True. I attribute it all to deep-seated self loathing. Somewhere deep down the vestigal organ known as the "conscience" is paying attention. ..."
"... was taken as evidence in his own mind ..."
"... Liberals believe in addressing every issue within a socio-economic context (Crime, Terrorism, …) Except racism. That issue is context free ..."
"... Kids just feel and act, unconditioned. ..."
"... They are pure and genuine. They are not cheaters. Kids are our masters, we must learn from them. We should be more like kids. ..."
"... Today we can learn from them, just watch these kids in action. ..."
"... I was a-falling 'till you put on the brakes ..."
"... "I am skeptical that a large-scale expansion of government spending by itself is the best way forward, since larger fiscal deficits will lead to higher expected future taxes, which could further undermine private sector confidence" Neel Kashkari ..."
"... "In the minds of many, soil is simply dirt, but without it we would all cease to exist. Unlike the water we drink and the air we breathe, soil is not protected in the EU and its quality is getting worse" ..."
Sep 14, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
skeeter , September 13, 2016 at 4:54 pm

"Basket of deplorables," how pithy a metaphor for placing your detractors in a container from which their voices and needs can be discounted. Clinton gives us a great turn of phrase with which we can contemplate her inclination to strip the prerogatives of citizenship – such as the inclination not to select her at the ballot – from her detractors.

Agamben's thesis is that western constitutional democracies inevitably turn to the state of exception and strip citizenship from their peoples on the way.

We have been at it a long time in America. The delightful new twist is contemplating the election of a candidate who tells us that not being a card carrying identity politics connected elitist, or sycophant of, will get you relegated to the ranks of homo sacer – the bare human. And oh yes, the Secretary is inclined to be the decider. There is no functional distinction between the nightmares these candidates represent.

JohnnyGL , September 13, 2016 at 6:30 pm

Check this out….NPR quotes CNBC to smear Trump's day-care tax deduction plan with the old, "how you gonna pay for that?" line.

http://www.npr.org/2016/09/13/493755181/trump-campaign-sketches-out-family-care-plans-questions-linger-over-funding

Interesting to see that this is Ivanka's pet issue. Maybe Trump really intends on pushing for this?

It's nice to be pandered to!

RabidGandhi , September 13, 2016 at 2:56 pm

Re: Charles Blow, "if the basket fits…"
_____________

Blow makes it official: this is the Best Election Ever for Team Blue. First they get to bring their "kick-the-left" game up to the next level with the mugging of the Sanders campaign. Then they (finally!) get to copulate in public with their neo-con friends-with-benefits. And now, as Blow demonstrates, they are at last free to spew their hate against the ignorant chumps in flyover: all the bile they have piled up but just couldn't articulate because you gotta be PC ("impolitic" dixit Blow).

Read the comments on the NYT articles or in other liberal goodthink rags: HRC was just articulating what the entire Acela bubble wanted to say but was too tactful. Listen to HRC making the actual comments: there were no boos or gasps, just laughter (sadly showing how part of the LGBT movement has become appallingly intolerant: a vast cry from the movement's origins).

Blow is just one voice in a blue chorus singing battlesongs against the poor and the left. A very clarifying election indeed.

HopeLB , September 13, 2016 at 7:16 pm

Love your analysis!

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , September 13, 2016 at 7:52 pm

True. I attribute it all to deep-seated self loathing. Somewhere deep down the vestigal organ known as the "conscience" is paying attention.

Anonymous , September 13, 2016 at 3:00 pm

> "Wells Fargo Exec Who Headed Phony Accounts Unit Collected $125 Million" [Fortune]. I think it's very important that a woman –Carrie Tolstedt - shattered the glass ceiling for accounting control fraud.

When the story first broke a few days ago, I knew right away (as in, before even finishing reading the headline) that this was another accounting control fraud. It's really sad that NC is the only place where the term "control fraud" is used in connection with this scandal.

HopeLB , September 13, 2016 at 7:25 pm

I was entertaining a variation of that very idea. Some honest to God disgruntled and disappointed Justice Fighter from the FBI goes rogue, righting Comey's wrong, with the Russian Conspiracy twist(polonium) thrown in for ironic flair.

Jake Mudrosti , September 13, 2016 at 3:13 pm

The only positive thing to happen during this election season is the death of mainstream media. With their insufferable propaganda fully exposed, there is no coming back.

I have a bleaker view of human cognition, and so disagree. It must be noted that in the past couple weeks, an NC commenter honestly felt he needed to inform me of my own country of origin, because in his mind this was something that I clearly needed to be schooled about. Yes, the fact that I disagreed with his narrative was taken as evidence in his own mind that he needed to school me - to teach me where I'm from, and teach me how my friends and family died. A clearer example of basic cognitive failure would be hard to come by.

Yet, as 20th century world history shows very clearly, when a culture shifts in that direction, such self-certain lunacy just becomes the new order of the day. It becomes the style.

It seems that many of my previous NC comments mention Robert Jay Lifton's books, and, well, can't avoid doing it again. Critics of his analyses fault them for being "unfalsifiable," etc, but I counter by saying that they were offered in a totally different spirit as a summary of his painstaking observations rather than a cognitive theory.

If there's any hope of digging out of the cultural hole in the near term, I'd say that'd be the place to start.

Robert Hahl , September 13, 2016 at 5:04 pm

Thanks, I will look at Lifton.

Speaking of books that offer deep insights into human behavior without citing any evidence, I really loved Crowds and Power by Elias Canetti.

Kim Kaufman , September 13, 2016 at 3:24 pm

""Wells Fargo Exec Who Headed Phony Accounts Unit Collected $125 Million" [Fortune]. I think it's very important that a woman –Carrie Tolstedt - shattered the glass ceiling for accounting control fraud."

See? We're living in a post racist, sexist world. Now it's not only white men who can eff over everyone else, African-Americans and women can join that elite club of amoral people. And get rich doing it!

Arizona Slim , September 13, 2016 at 6:44 pm

And if you say anything mean about Carrie, you are being sexist!

DWD , September 13, 2016 at 3:39 pm

Liberals believe in addressing every issue within a socio-economic context (Crime, Terrorism, …)
Except racism. That issue is context free

Maybe it is just me but I disagree vehemently with this sentiment.

The reasoning is fairly simple: these issues that are used to divide us (racism, sexism, religion, economics) are made much stronger when the economy is the weakest.

If you need proof look to the great industrial states of the Midwest with their racist (now, never before) governments: Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and even Rauner in Illinois. These political beliefs would never gain traction when the economies were going great. Working people have taken the brunt of the globalization bullshit and the endless contempt of "Clinton Liberals" everywhere (apparently)

Gareth , September 13, 2016 at 5:23 pm

Economic hardship is an amplifier of racism. This is what the limousine liberals never seem to understand. For them is it much more satisfying to demonstrate their moral superiority through contempt for the deplorables.

hunkerdown , September 13, 2016 at 8:16 pm

The socio-economic context they're talking about is whether they can afford the deserving poor and the opera.

Also, what Gareth says.

abynormal , September 13, 2016 at 3:43 pm

Kids just feel and act, unconditioned.

They are pure and genuine.
They are not cheaters.
Kids are our masters, we must learn from them.
We should be more like kids.

Today we can learn from them, just watch these kids in action.
http://www.lifehack.org/428542/these-kids-really-show-the-bright-side-human-nature

2 days ago i went to a local park just to swing and to be honest, cry… where no one would be put out. took about a minute for a toddler to bring me a tiny flower…i didn't even know she was near. at first i was embarrassed but then realized her heart will grow thru endearing gestures. i smiled and asked her if she could show me how to swing as high as she does. hope yall get a rise out of kids. they can be near at the strangest moment…when we let them.

Janie , September 13, 2016 at 6:40 pm

Been thinking about you with tears in my eyes but unable to find the right words. You have more friends than you know.

Jim Haygood , September 13, 2016 at 7:17 pm

Good on you, aby.

The universe reached out to you.

Romancing The Loan , September 13, 2016 at 3:46 pm

Given that we're all becoming resigned to having a horrible president yet again I'm taking a surprising delight in the proliferating Clinton conspiracy theories after her collapse Sunday (the body double, the catheter, etc.). I hadn't seen this one before and thought I would share with the group – that Chelsea's 10M condo (where Hillary was taken), at The Whitman at 21 E. 26th St. in the NY – is supposedly (I have no idea) the same building as has listed " Metrocare Home Services "

The conspiracy theory is that Hillary has her own private hospital in the same building, which going to "Chelsea's apartment" is cover for.

I'm sure it's not true but, like all the others, it'd be pretty funny if it was and I'm sure the Clinton team would have zero compunction about the deception involved.

Jess , September 13, 2016 at 4:15 pm

That's so sweet and beautiful. I can imagine the scene in my mind, as I'm sure many other readers can.

Mark John , September 13, 2016 at 4:29 pm

It is amazing what one can come up with when one absolutely does not trust another. Let me say, first of all, that Hillary allowing herself to go out on a hot day in the middle of a large crowd after working like a "demon" (!!!) is not the best political move. It is like sticking one's head into the jaws of the conspiracy theorists and saying bite down hard.

But, if, perhaps Clinton is not soooo politically inept, which, Lord knows, she gives every evidence of being, here is an alternative perspective I cooked up with a little appetizer. . .

First item..The Clintons tell Loretta Lynch they want to keep her on at DOJ. But that will be hard to do if she is the face of not filing charges against Hillary. Let's do an impromptu meeting (Bill and Loretta Lynch) on airplane, then put it out in marquis letters so the conspiracy theorists run with it. Loretta Lynch honorably steps down, gets to keep her job if Hillary is elected.

From this line of thinking, conspiratorial as it also well is, Hillary is expected to clobber Donald Trump in the debates. Politically speaking, she has set for herself a very high bar, being so qualified and all. Let's use this illness thing, cook up a minor illness and Hillary faints at the 9/11 memorial. The conspiracy theorists run away with it, she is on death's door, yadayada. Some upside is that she will engender some sympathy.

Two weeks later at Hofstra, bar much lower, she comes back as robust as can be, bar set much , much lower. Headlines read "Clinton Comes Back Swinging" and "Clinton Alive and Well at Hofstra".

Roger Smith , September 13, 2016 at 4:52 pm

Absolutely incredible! Thanks for sharing!

Vatch , September 13, 2016 at 5:11 pm

In the movie "Being There", the super rich guy played by Melvyn Douglas has a mini hospital in his home. Maybe that's standard operating procedure for the oligarchs!

nowhere , September 13, 2016 at 5:56 pm

Two doors down from the panic room (the private server being behind the other door, of course).

Tom , September 13, 2016 at 7:16 pm

And one door away from the emergency chute that empties in the sub basement, where a disused subway tunnel has been refurbished to whisk away any particularly privacy-oriented presidential candidate, safe from prying eyes.

grayslady , September 13, 2016 at 7:18 pm

The whole building seems to have been the admin. headquarters for an outfit called Metrocare Home Services before it was refitted as a swanky, 4-unit residential building. Amusing, but no "there" there.

hunkerdown , September 13, 2016 at 8:26 pm

Red herring. "This facility is closed or merged with another facility. " (NYSDH)

Besides, she or anyone else with dough can have an ostentatiously well-appointed sickroom within the apartment, regardless of previous or present tenants of the building. And a home health care business wouldn't make a particularly useful front to stockpile advanced treatments etc. for what ails her. They tend not to keep much inventory, in my limited experience.

McWatt , September 13, 2016 at 3:47 pm

Had my catalytic converter stolen by thieves with battery operated sawsall's. They are under the car
and out in two minutes. Locally they get $40.00-50.00 for them. Cost to replace…Dealer $2,200.00,
local guy you know $1200.00 .

Police report in my area from two weeks ago said 12 were stolen in one night's rampage.

Paid Minion , September 13, 2016 at 4:12 pm

I got that beat……..

Car broken into, rummaged thru, change stolen from center console.

Money stolen = About four bucks

Damage to car = Shattered window, prybar damage to "A" pillar and window seals, when they tried to pry the window open = $1500.

Damage/theft ratio = 375 to 1

But according to this morning's post, they were probably tearing up my s##t because they were hungry, so I guess I should blame myself for only paying half my income in various taxes.

Robert Hahl , September 13, 2016 at 5:17 pm

You don't pay taxes, your employer does. If taxes dropped your income would adjust down by the same amount.

Sammy Maudlin , September 13, 2016 at 6:42 pm

That statement is wrong on numerous levels, number one of which is that while an employer may withhold earnings of a W-2 employee for the purpose of paying income taxes, it is the employee that pays those taxes. Until a return is filed and processed, the withheld amount is a deposit made on the employee's behalf. The amount of the deposit is based on the gross wages of the employee. If the tax rate drops, also would the deposit, and ultimately the tax. But the amount of gross wages are unaffected.

Also, last I checked, employers generally don't pay sales or property taxes for employees on non-employment related purchases.

cwaltz , September 13, 2016 at 7:46 pm

Oh good God, over 40% of the population gets their payroll taxes back.

Yes, it sucks that they are taken out to begin with, particularly when there are definitely pay periods when the 50 bucks could be utilized to pay a co pay or buy things that one needs.

Additionally, if you are paying property taxes to begin with you're one up on much of the population, it means you have a house or a car. You've made a conscious choice to own things. The streets your car and house are located on aren't free. The schools in your communities aren't no cost. I'm so over people whining about paying taxes.

Sammy Maudlin , September 13, 2016 at 8:03 pm

My comment strictly relates to the erroneous characterizations of the responsibility for paying taxes and the effect of a tax reduction on gross wages asserted by Robert Hahl.

I did not intend to address the amount thereof, justification for, nor the proper amount of self-righteousness a taxpayer may exude for paying said taxes.

Jay M , September 13, 2016 at 8:40 pm

getting some of the broken windows policing types on NC?

cwaltz , September 13, 2016 at 9:16 pm

I probably should have just called BS on his claim that he pays 50% in taxes or called him on his lack of empathy for those that actually go hungry(many of which are CHILDREN.)

My first instinct to tell those fortunate enough to have to pay is to tell them to go ahead and "spite" the system by getting that job at BK so they can live the "good life" on minimum wage and then they too can not pay taxes….of course, they'll also forgo retirement accounts, vacation days, owning a home, struggle with owning a car and the costs associated with it, etc, etc but hey, they won't be paying 50% in taxes.

Personally, I am profoundly grateful that our family pays a percentage in taxes(not 50% but above Mitt Romney.) It means we can afford a car, a house and we have a decent income. It means I can afford that DVD that I pay sales tax on. All in all it means our family is accumulating wealth.

Anyway, I should have directed this at the OP, not you.

Bubba_Gump , September 13, 2016 at 11:49 pm

Pretty sure my federal taxes go to defense contractors to make war. My state and local taxes cover what doesn't come from the feds anymore cause they're too busy spending on war. That's why I complain.

cwaltz , September 14, 2016 at 12:21 am

They go organizations that work on roads, they go to organizations that make sure you have clean water, organizations that make sure your kids don't eat lead, organizations that make sure you aren't eating food filled with e coli- Don't go to the states to help pay for schools or other local programs not covered by your local or state taxes.

Don't get me wrong, way too much money goes to war. On that we are in absolute agreement however, be angry instead that our government has so much potential to do so much more than destroy with that money. Our government could be doing more for things like schooling or health care and it would be a way better use of the monies we pay.

I think the right and left agree that the government is failing us. Where we disagree is on what to do about it. The right thinks that things will be better if the government gets smaller and gets out of the way. I tend to disagree. It needs good leaders that believe in accountability and have vision. It needs people to right size it, not downsize it and people that negotiate in good faith with the private sector, not roll over for it.

A government is only as good as it's leadership and right now we've got some pretty questionable leadership.

inode_buddha , September 13, 2016 at 10:10 pm

I would dearly love to know how to get it all back every year, having spent my entire life under 30k and paying (aggregate) about 20% per anum. What really gets me is listening to co-workers go on about how people go on welfare because the gov't gives them so much money.

cwaltz , September 14, 2016 at 12:40 am

All my experiences with those on welfare is it's a pretty miserable experience. After my stepfather died, my mom had to get help financially for her 3 minor children. They means tested everything, she couldn't even own a car for more than something ridiculous like $3000.

I also know someone who turned down work because actually working hours she did not know would be guaranteed the next month would have cut her food stamps the following month.

It seems positively contradictory to me to set up a system that encourages reliance forever because you are continually threatening the safety net of a person the minute they get a tiny bit ahead.

Personally, I'd love to see the government start doing what it does for the very rich and allowing or helping people to put assets away in an "emergency account(up to $5,000)." Instead it's only the really rich and middle class who get to put money away tax free for retirement(401ks, hsas, IRAs) schools for their kids, health care, etc, etc. All of this money is meant for long term savings which for someone on the bottom of the income ladder is something they can't do because they're too worried about having access to money when that crappy $3000 car breaks down.

It's a stupid, crazy system and I know we could be doing better.

Robert Hahl , September 14, 2016 at 1:45 am

Again, if all of your taxes were lowered, your employer would be able to pay you less, and that is what would happen.

Left in Wisconsin , September 13, 2016 at 6:04 pm

My guess would be $$ for heroin.

Paid Minion , September 13, 2016 at 6:16 pm

Oxycodone, or something like that. The "Drug du Jour" according to my kids.

It's hard for us old folk to keep track of all of the different ways people are effing themselves up anymore.

An interesting study could be made on how many people have made themselves essentially unemployable due to drugs/alcohol/excessive marijuana usage.

Better yet, align that study with the people essentially unemployable due to giant, unsightly tattoos.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , September 13, 2016 at 7:18 pm

I am told that the tattoo approval test is a generational thing…if you're old, you are not likely to have one or know a friend who has one (most of time…many wonderful older people – in this country or many other countries – have them).

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , September 13, 2016 at 7:23 pm

Property is theft.

Then you have theft of theft, that is, theft of property.

Property theft is under reported, it feels to me (based on my personal experience and talking with neighbors around here…do i live in a bad neighborhood?).

cwaltz , September 13, 2016 at 7:40 pm

You must have a fairly high income if your tax rate cumulatively is 50%.

Is that you Phil Mickelson whining that you only get to keep a portion of your 61 million that you got paid to play golf?

Jim Haygood , September 13, 2016 at 7:29 pm

Going from memory here, but I seem to recall reading in a car magazine - late 60s, early 70s - that master thieves in NYC could drop a 4-speed transmission from a curb-parked Corvette in 8 minutes flat.

Dropping a trans is not a trivial task.

Now butchers with sawzalls can swipe a cat converter in 2 minutes, with two quick, crude cuts through a thinwall exhaust pipe.

Just goes to show how skills have declined. :-(

I was a butcher cutting up meat
My hands were bloody, I'm dying on my feet
I was a surgeon 'till I start to shake
I was a-falling 'till you put on the brakes

- Rolling Stones, You Got Me Rocking

Jay M , September 13, 2016 at 8:42 pm

I was a-falling 'till you put on the brakes

hope you can believe in

steelhead23 , September 13, 2016 at 3:49 pm

"I am skeptical that a large-scale expansion of government spending by itself is the best way forward, since larger fiscal deficits will lead to higher expected future taxes, which could further undermine private sector confidence" Neel Kashkari

I am surprised you didn't comment on this, Lambert. The federal deficit is just a number. Kashkari's argument that increasing the deficit implies future higher taxes is bunk – displaying a lack in understanding monetary theory. I admit to only a cursory understanding, but the real purpose of income taxes is to slow the flow of money through the economy to reduce inflationary pressures. Federal infrastructure spending would boost the lagging economy, with virtually no downside. There is absolutely no need to pay-down the debt. I would be more comfortable with Kashkari as the treasurer of my local PTA than a regional Federal Reserve Bank president. Can't we do better?

Yves Smith , September 13, 2016 at 3:59 pm

Kashkari is a diehard libertarian. And he's upfront about it if you read up on his failed bid to be CA governor.

hunkerdown , September 13, 2016 at 4:51 pm

Kashkari's argument that increasing the deficit implies future higher taxes is bunk – displaying a lack in understanding monetary theory.

Kashkari, as a big banker, would presumably be the recipient of those higher taxes, since he would presumably be part of those financing said deficit. He's talking business, not monetary theory. It's the flexian way to presume that managers are there to be served.

John k , September 13, 2016 at 4:57 pm

Can either cut taxes, boost spending, or raise interest rates to suppress inflation.

Taxing citizens give value to the currency and thereby makes them willing to sell their goods and services to gov to obtain sufficient taxes to pay tax.
So gov levies a tax to obtain goods and services, not dollars that have no value to the entity that creates them.

Left in Wisconsin , September 13, 2016 at 6:09 pm

OTOH, here is Kocherlakota on Janet Yellen:

She argued in part that, thanks to its new tools of forward guidance and long-term asset purchases, the Fed would be able to offset the next recession, even if interest rates eventually stabilized at historically low levels.

Yet] two years into this hypothetical recession, the Fed would be refusing to provide more accommodation, even though the unemployment rate would be above 9 percent and it would be expecting the inflation rate to be falling further below its target for another three years.

But I wonder why the good econo-doctor has only got religion now that he is off the Fed.

allan , September 13, 2016 at 4:25 pm

Wake up and smell the methane impunity:

SoCal Gas to pay $4-million settlement over massive Porter Ranch gas leak
[LA Times]

Southern California Gas Co. agreed to a $4-million settlement Tuesday to end a criminal case filed by Los Angeles County prosecutors over the utility's handling of the massive gas leak near Porter Ranch last year.

The gas company pleaded no contest to one misdemeanor count of failing to immediately notify the California Office of Emergency Services and Los Angeles County Fire Department of the leak that began on or around Oct. 23, 2015, in the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field. The utility will pay the maximum fine of $75,000 for that three-day delay, according to the L.A. County district attorney's office.

The gas company will pay $232,500 in state penalties on top of that fine and $246,672 for the fire department's response to the leak.

Three other misdemeanor counts will be dismissed when the utility is sentenced on Nov. 29.

End of story. Literally.

This is believed to be one of the largest releases in human history of the most powerful green house gas.

nowhere , September 13, 2016 at 5:59 pm

Definitely makes a strong case for companies to continue to defer maintenance. Seems there is no downside.

Synoia , September 13, 2016 at 7:01 pm

It is nothing compared with the GHGs exhaled by the US DOD.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , September 13, 2016 at 7:14 pm

Who gets the puny $4 million money?

The state government?

The people who are victims directly or (in greater S. Cal areas or even neighboring states) indirectly?

The animals and plants that suffered through the release of more green house gas?

I really hope it's not more money to the state so they can hire more traffic cops to get those who do not stop completely at stop signs.

craazyman , September 13, 2016 at 4:40 pm

another confusing plantidote. Is the plantidoe the yellow flower or is it the green thingies by the rocks?

I suppose it's up to the viewer to decide. Which seems like a lot of work. Some crackpot might choose the rocks themselves and then argue that there's microscopic plants on the rocks and that's what they mean. if you can't see them, that's your problem. The world is like that, crackpots pointing at things only they can see and blaming you for not seeing them. Then kicking your ass if they can.

Things should be obvous. And they are obvious, if you know what's what. Then you don't need to kick people's ass unless they really deserve it. mostly you just lay around waiting for people to see the things you see, knowing that they would if they could. That's a lot different than blaming them and kicking their ass. That's a lot of work - to kick someone's ass. What a pain. Work is to be avoided if at all possible. That should be obvious to everybody

Chauncey Gardiner , September 13, 2016 at 5:31 pm

Thank you for keeping the spotlight focused on efforts of the TBTF banks and transnational corporations to gain passage of the TPP, TTIP and TiSA, Lambert. Appears their lobbyists and the Obama administration have a full-court press underway on members of Congress now. One can only guess at what is being offered our congressional representatives for their vote during the lame duck session after the November election in exchange for trading away our national sovereignty.

clarky90 , September 13, 2016 at 5:34 pm

A behind-the-scenes look at medical education

by Dr Jason Fung (one of my heroes!)

https://intensivedietarymanagement.com/big-pharma-behind-scenes/

"……..Doctors get continuing medical education (CME) through events like lectures and conferences. CME is necessary because many physicians practise for 30 or 40 years, and medicine is changing continuously, so they cannot rely on their medical school training, which might have happened in the 1960s. Doctors are required to get a certain number of hours of CME every year. You might imagine that doctors learn from unbiased experts dedicated to learning. Actually, nothing is further from the truth. The dirty little secret is that virtually all CME is sponsored heavily by Big Pharma giving them huge influence over what information is presented to doctors.

Every single level of CME has been corrupted by $$$. Let's start at the bottom.

In virtually every hospital in North America, there are lectures called 'rounds'. They happen in every specialty and almost every single day, mostly at lunchtime. What a great idea. Doctors would spend lunchtime teaching each other the intricacies of their specialty. Sorry, no. Most doctors don't prepare a full hours worth of lecture topic. Most are too busy to spend an hour listening a the lecture anyway. So, the friendly drug rep from Big Pharma helpfully gets lunch for everybody. Free lunch! That helps bring in the audience, but it doesn't help the fact that they still need a speaker………"

This probably explains, IMO, the pickle that HRC finds herself in

cwaltz , September 13, 2016 at 8:25 pm

I'm pretty sure the fluid and rest that she was prescribed by the MD, but she chose to ignore ,wasn't brought to you by pharmaceutical America.

The pickle Hillary finds herself in is a pickle of her own making.

Anne , September 13, 2016 at 8:47 pm

It isn't about her health, it's about her judgment. It's about the apparent decision not to disclose the pneumonia diagnosis until they were forced to – and even then, they tried three other "explanations" before – hours later – they announced that fully 48 hours earlier, she had been diagnosed with pneumonia. First, she wasn't feeling well. Then she became overheated. Then she was dehydrated. It wasn't until some time after her reappearance on the street looking fine and dandy that they disclosed the pneumonia.

Do you see the pattern? It's the same one we saw with the e-mails. We're seeing it with the Clinton Foundation. This is a woman who doesn't seem to feel any obligation or accept any responsibility for playing by the rules, for following the protocols.

And she has the nerve to blame the right-wing conspiracy that's out to get her when in reality she creates much of the controversy all by herself.

I don't frankly care if she has or had pneumonia or her toenail fungus was acting up, but what she has once again managed to do is make it impossible for people to believe whichever story qualifies as the latest, and if anything she said before then has even a shred of truth in it.

What I fear, and what I do think would be a concern, is if the pneumonia diagnosis is a giant head-fake designed to cover up that she may be experiencing some neurological problems, perhaps related to the 2012 concussion (and Lord only knows if that story was factual) that even her husband says took her every bit of 6 months to recover from.

I get why she would want to hide anything even remotely like that, but what she doesn't seem to understand is that she really has no right, as a candidate for the highest office in the land, to hide it. Again, and again, she allows her personal ambition to cloud her judgment; years and years of important and wealthy people telling her she's one of the smartest people in the room, paying to be in her presence, have convinced her she just knows better than anyone. That she doesn't have to listen, that she has nothing to learn.

And sometimes, she probably does, but she doesn't ever seem to be able to know when she doesn't. That – the judgment problem – that's what she has, and that's what matters here.

cwaltz , September 13, 2016 at 9:24 pm

Oh, I absolutely agree with you she has a judgment problem, straight down to ignoring good advice.

I just think it is interesting that the post I was commenting on seems to be a jab at doctors and continuing education and

Pharma may be responsible for many things, Hillary Clinton's decision not to follow her doctor's instructions on rest and fluid aren't one of them though. They are in no way responsible for "the pickle that HRC finds herself in." Hillary owns that.

Roger Smith , September 13, 2016 at 9:33 pm

+++ great post

Bubba_Gump , September 13, 2016 at 11:52 pm

Agree.

John k , September 13, 2016 at 6:16 pm

Can anybody point me to links to critical reviews of the Clinton foundation?
Thanks

nycTerrierist , September 13, 2016 at 7:34 pm

Charles Ortel is a good source, lots of links here:

https://twitter.com/charlesortel

sd , September 14, 2016 at 1:37 am

Kristi Culpepper
https://medium.com/@munilass

Amy Sterling Casil
https://medium.com/@ASterling

PlutoniumKun , September 13, 2016 at 6:27 pm

Re: EurActive article on soils.

The EU did have a Soil Framework Directive in the works for years but it was eventually stymied by the UK, as George Monbiot has pointed out . One of the good things about Brexit is that it will undoubtedly improve the EU's capacity to bring forward more environmental protect directives – the UK has always been one of the main obstacles in this.

ekstase , September 13, 2016 at 8:00 pm

"As part of the lockout, LIU cut off professors' email accounts and health insurance,"

If, God forbid, someone gets very ill or worse, because they have had their health insurance cut off, will that be bad for p.r.?

Jay M , September 13, 2016 at 8:13 pm

"I am skeptical that a large-scale expansion of government spending by itself is the best way forward, since larger fiscal deficits will lead to higher expected future taxes, which could further undermine private sector confidence" Neel Kashkari

what a commedian

Jay M , September 13, 2016 at 8:16 pm

"In the minds of many, soil is simply dirt, but without it we would all cease to exist. Unlike the water we drink and the air we breathe, soil is not protected in the EU and its quality is getting worse"

and the air and water, better?

(not opposed to regulation)

petal , September 13, 2016 at 8:49 pm

Primary Day in NH. I went about 6:45p, 15 minutes before the polls closed. On my way out, I asked the nice ladies staffing the place if turnout had been light. They said "Very" and made disappointed faces.

NotTimothyGeithner , September 13, 2016 at 10:19 pm

Aren't you out by Keene? Southwest NH isn't exactly a Republican hotbed.

NotTimothyGeithner , September 13, 2016 at 10:26 pm

There were Democratic primaries today for various state offices, but the GOP had the Senate primary and statewide races.

[Sep 13, 2016] Is Hillary Clinton Dishonest

Neocons like Nicholas Kristof support Hillar y, no question about it. But that does not make her less disonest. Actually that makes her more "dishonest/liar/don't trust her/poor character."
Notable quotes:
"... But Clinton's big challenge is the trust issue: The share of voters who have negative feelings toward her has soared from 25 percent in early 2013 to 56 percent today, and a reason for that is that they distrust her. Only a bit more than one-third of American voters regard Clinton as "honest and trustworthy." ..."
"... Indeed, when Gallup asks Americans to say the first word that comes to mind when they hear "Hillary Clinton," the most common response can be summed up as "dishonest/liar/don't trust her/poor character." Another common category is "criminal/crooked/thief/belongs in jail." ..."
"... Hillary isn't crooked. She is dishonest in the sense that she gets to power by any means she can, including doing a complete turn on long-held opinions or saying she's evolved but not changing the bits and pieces that go with that evolution. She is dishonest in the sense that she defends taking money from Wall Street but refuses to show what she took it for, while maintaining that she has never changed a decision as a result. The thing is, she's never been faced with having to vote against Wall Street in any significant way or make a decision that, potentially, Wall Street would view as negative. ..."
"... She is intellectually dishonest in that she adopts her opponents' positions in name only but refuses to adopt the planks that go along with it, all the while calling herself a progressive who gets things done. Hillary Clinton has always been a neoliberal Democrat. She and Bill Clinton redefined center right democrat during his tenure. There is nothing wrong with owning up to that political bent. There is everything wrong with pretending someone you are not, as evidenced by her favorability numbers. ..."
"... Dishonesty and the paranoid secrecy that goes with it are fundamental to her personality. That many American are not wrong in their widespread judgment of her character. That is something that juries and other such groups judge well. ..."
"... She has many specific instances of dishonesty. She was not shot at in Bosnia for example. Her sneaky dishonest attacks on Bernie were accompanied by sly smiles when she did them, pleased with herself for laying out a considered and prepared lie. ..."
"... To support Hillary, you must believe receiving hundreds of millions from special interests (speaking fees, the foundation & campaign) does not make you beholden to those special interests. Democrats used to claim money given to politicians had a corrupting influence, but now with Hillary the chosen one, Democrats require a showing of quid pro corruption. ..."
"... Her foreign policy experience--it should scare us all. She voted for the Iraq war before politically being required to apologize for it. As Sec. of State, she supported bombing Libya into a stateless terrorist haven, supported rebels, turned terrorists in Syria and she is an Israeli hawk. ..."
"... It is not because she is a woman. That is an excuse. It is because she is an extreme hawk, a Washington Consensus neoliberal of trade deals and Wall Street. It is because she is Hillary, not because Hillary happens to be a woman. ..."
"... No other candidate running for president has given paid speeches to Wall Street and corporate America. Clinton is the ONLY candidate to do so. She accepted speaking fees until early 2015 knowing she was about to announce her candidacy. This is UNPRECEDENTED. ..."
"... This label of dishonesty that trails Clinton is not just about the most recent stuff. There's the story from way back when about how the Clintons took almost $200,000 worth of stuff when they left the White House. They eventually decided to return or pay for $114,000 worth of items. Things they'd claimed to have received before taking up residence were shown to have been received after they arrived; they claimed as personal gifts things donors specified as designated for the White House itself, etc. ..."
"... So, repeat after me--taking hundreds of millions from every special interest group does not in any way influence Hillary's independent judgment. Keep repeating and eventually you will believe it. See how easy that is. ..."
"... Now on to repeating how the neocon foreign policy hawks supporting Hillary as the best commander in chief is good. ..."
"... is a trusted commenter Mission Viejo, CA 22 hours ago ..."
"... People have noticed how assiduously both Clintons have courted money over the years, whether it is Whitewater and everything else leading up to the present day fundraising, including the Times' revelatory piece on Ukrainian money in an energy deal, it all reeks, but as is wont with the Clintons, stops just shy of actual misdeed. ..."
"... With the proliferation of small digital sound recording devices, someone out there made a recording. And when it winds up public (probably during the general election campaign when it would do the most damage), it will be Mrs. Clinton's "47% moment". ..."
"... People find her dishonest and untrustworthy because she is. It doesn't take an advanced degree to see that she's a self-interested political animal through and through. She has a long, well-documented history of taking whatever position is most politically expedient and changing it when the polling changes. ..."
"... Furthermore her and her husband's well-documented history of taking money from everybody from Wall St. banksters to foreign autocrats for everything from private speeches the proceeds of which go directly into their pockets to their "foundation" suggests at the minimum a clueless recklessness about the appearance or corruption and at worst outright contempt for the intelligence of American voters. ..."
"... Again, it doesn't take membership in Mensa to apply a little critical thought and personal experience to the issue of her honesty or trustworthiness. Anybody who's ever done anything they felt even the tiniest bit ethically or morally uncomfortable about in order to keep their job or anybody who's observed this behavior in even the smallest or least significant way from colleagues knows Wall St. banksters and the Saudis princes don't give millions of dollars to people who aren't minimally receptive to their interests and people who take those millions don't do so with the intention of turning off that spigot down the line. ..."
"... What if decades of facially shady conduct is true? What if Bill Safire is right that HRC is a congenital liar? Why doesn't HRC give all this the lie by releasing her speech transcripts? Since leaving office the Clintons and the Foundation have amassed millions. Can we not think, as did Honore de Balzac that "behind every great fortune is a great crime"? How Mrs. Clinton must actually hate Barack Obama, Bernard Sanders and those under 40 who have or may yet deny her the crown. ..."
"... Often, the corruption is in the form of compensation after the public official leaves office. I used to work in NJ State Government. I can cite numerous examples of regulators who left public service, and were rewarded with lucrative contracts by the firms they formerly regulated. This would sometimes be laundered. For example, the former public official would join a law firm or consulting firm, and suddenly that firm would get a big contract from the firm they formerly regulated. ..."
"... In the case of Mrs Clinton, she was a "private citizen" only temporarily. She resigned as Secretary of State, but it was public knowledge that she was going to announce a Presidential run. ..."
"... She may not be dishonest, but boy is she greedy. ..."
"... Hillary is less transparent. She hides a lot. Does that make her dishonest? Maybe not. But unlikeable for sure. ..."
"... Sorry--the burden is squarely on Hillary to explain how money corrupts politicians, but she, Bill, the foundation and campaign taking hundreds of millions from special interests does not. Or, is a politician free to take all of the money her heart desires, unless there is iron clad proof of quid pro quo corruption? And if you believe that. you agree with the right wing majority in Citizens United. ..."
"... So the whitewashing of Hillary by the nominal Progressives begins. Whether or not she is "fundamentally" honest, as Jill Abrahamson has written, means what exactly? That she won't rob a bank, or pick your pocket? Yet she will defend bankers who rob their own banks and brokers who pick their investors' pockets every trading day by skimming others' potential profits with their high speed trades. Her husband's candidacy was rescued by winning the New York primary after his loss in New Hampshire and as President he deregulated the banks, and once he was in private life again, he became a centa millionaire by speaking in front of bankers. One would be naive to believe the Clintons did not make a deal the the banks put out the word. Perhaps there was no quid pro quo, but there certainly was some quo pro quid. Ditto for Hillary. ..."
"... Why a "Progressive" would paper over the record of Goldwater girl turned "NeoLiberal," which is pretty much the same thing, who is fundamentally against everything real Progressives stand for boggles the imagination. ..."
Apr 23, 2016 | New York Times

AFTER the New York primary, the betting websites are giving Hillary Clinton about a 94 percent chance of being the Democratic nominee, and Donald Trump a 66 percent chance of ending up as the Republican nominee.

But Clinton's big challenge is the trust issue: The share of voters who have negative feelings toward her has soared from 25 percent in early 2013 to 56 percent today, and a reason for that is that they distrust her. Only a bit more than one-third of American voters regard Clinton as "honest and trustworthy."

Indeed, when Gallup asks Americans to say the first word that comes to mind when they hear "Hillary Clinton," the most common response can be summed up as "dishonest/liar/don't trust her/poor character." Another common category is "criminal/crooked/thief/belongs in jail."

... My late friend and Times colleague William Safire in 1996 dubbed Clinton "a congenital liar."

... Then there's the question of Clinton raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars from speeches to Goldman Sachs and other companies. For a person planning to run for president, this was nuts. It also created potential conflicts of interest ...

... As for the fundamental question of whether Clinton risked American national security with her email server, I suspect the problem has been exaggerated

Rima Regas

is a trusted commenter Mission Viejo, CA 23 hours ago

Hillary isn't crooked. She is dishonest in the sense that she gets to power by any means she can, including doing a complete turn on long-held opinions or saying she's evolved but not changing the bits and pieces that go with that evolution. She is dishonest in the sense that she defends taking money from Wall Street but refuses to show what she took it for, while maintaining that she has never changed a decision as a result. The thing is, she's never been faced with having to vote against Wall Street in any significant way or make a decision that, potentially, Wall Street would view as negative.

She is intellectually dishonest in that she adopts her opponents' positions in name only but refuses to adopt the planks that go along with it, all the while calling herself a progressive who gets things done. Hillary Clinton has always been a neoliberal Democrat. She and Bill Clinton redefined center right democrat during his tenure. There is nothing wrong with owning up to that political bent. There is everything wrong with pretending someone you are not, as evidenced by her favorability numbers.

Hillary is not, nor has she ever been a progressive Democrat. That title is reserved for Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Raul Grijalva, Keith Ellison, and many other distinguished Democrats who have been in the progressive trenches for decades. http://wp.me/p2KJ3H-2cQ

You can't pretend to be someone you're not and expect everyone else to play along. http://wp.me/p2KJ3H-27p

Mark Thomason, is a trusted commenter Clawson, Mich 23 hours ago

Yes, Hillary is dishonest.

Dishonesty and the paranoid secrecy that goes with it are fundamental to her personality. That many American are not wrong in their widespread judgment of her character. That is something that juries and other such groups judge well.

She has many specific instances of dishonesty. She was not shot at in Bosnia for example. Her sneaky dishonest attacks on Bernie were accompanied by sly smiles when she did them, pleased with herself for laying out a considered and prepared lie.

If she is elected, we will be so sick of this that NYT columnists will be writing "how could we have not seen this?" Well, it is them leading the way.

They should expect to be reminded loudly and often.

ScottW, is a trusted commenter Chapel Hill, NC 22 hours ago

To support Hillary, you must believe receiving hundreds of millions from special interests (speaking fees, the foundation & campaign) does not make you beholden to those special interests. Democrats used to claim money given to politicians had a corrupting influence, but now with Hillary the chosen one, Democrats require a showing of quid pro corruption.

Sorry -- either money is corrupting or it is not, and the Clintons have personally received hundreds of millions from every possible special interest. By supporting Hillary you are saying special interest money is a good thing.

The Times also ran an interesting profile in the magazine section about how Hillary became a hawk. She follows the neocons playbook and as stated in the piece, one of her significant military advisors is a Fox news pundit. Hillary admits a mutual admiration with Kissinger.

So I don't trust Hillary when she says special interests do not influence her judgment. If they really don't--which is impossible to believe--they have wasted millions paying for 40 minute speeches. Lobbyists don't contribute money to candidates who don't not help their causes.

Her foreign policy experience--it should scare us all. She voted for the Iraq war before politically being required to apologize for it. As Sec. of State, she supported bombing Libya into a stateless terrorist haven, supported rebels, turned terrorists in Syria and she is an Israeli hawk.

All of this causes grave concerns that go well beyond trust.

Michael Ebner, Lake Forest, IL 7 hours ago

It comes down to the fact the HRC is the best Democratic aspirant for the party's presidential nomination in 2016.

I cast my ballot for her in the Illinois primary and will gladly do so again in November.

Do I have reservations? Surely.

But think of the reservations about some earlier Democratic as well as Republican nominees ....

Franklin Delano Roosevelt reneged on his longtime support for the League of Nations and adamantly refused to cross swords with Southern Democrats. Would you vote for Hoover, Landon, or Willkie?

Harry Truman had longstanding ties to Kansas City's Pendergast gang. I would have voted for him.

Eisenhower evaded a golden opportunity to denounce Joseph McCarthy while campaigning in Wisconsin during 1952. He forfeited the opportunity to call out McCarthy for his frontal attack on General George C. Marshall.

JFK as a US Senator stepped to the side on the Joseph McCarthy issue because his father was something of an enthusiast. If I could have voted in 1960, it would have been easy to vote for JFK rather than RMN.

LBJ was a political animal to his very core, but hands down a better choice than Senator Goldwater.

Jimmy Carter had made his way to the governorship of Georgia because of ties to the Talmadge organization that was out-and-out segregationist. In campaigning for the governorship JEC was something of a muted segregationist. I gladly voted for him over Gerald Ford.

And so on and so forth.

Saints don't rise to the presidency.

David Underwood, is a trusted commenter Citrus Heights 18 hours ago

Dishonest, you want dishonest, try Rumsfeld, Cheney, and the whole lot of them. She is evasive, she has made some exaggerations like being shot at, and yes she voted for W to attack Saddam if he did not stop killing his own people. She also has supported the Syrian rebels, as many of us have done, until they got subverted by Daesh.

The email issue is a GOP tail chase which is going nowhere, but keeps them accusing her, just as they did with Benghazi. She is tough putting up with all the crap I see from people here. Lies, opinions made of suppositions, unprovable accusations, a lesser person would have folded by now.

Anetliner Netliner, is a trusted commenter Washington, DC area 20 hours ago


I will vote for Clinton if she is the Democratic nominee, but find her deeply untrustworthy. Examples, gong back to the early '90s:

-The commodities trading episode. Clinton asserted that she learned to trade commodities "by reading the Wall Street Journal", which is impossible. I was a great fan of Clinton's until I heard her utter this falsehood on national television.
-Travelgate. Career civil service employees improperly fired at Clinton's behest, so that they could be replaced with the services of a member of the Clintons' inner circle.
-Poor judgment on foreign policy: Iraq (not bothering to read the National Intelligence Estimate before voting to go to war.) Libya. No fly zone in Syria. Failure to close the U.S. mission to Libya in the summer of 2012: the UK closed its mission in response to growing danger; why did the U.S. not follow suit?
-Poor judgment in governmental administration: use of a private e-mail server. Initial explanation: "I didn't want to carry two devices." (Absurd on its face to anyone who has ever used a smart phone.)
-Shifting positions: Keystone XL, Trans-Pacific Partnership, single-payer health care.
-Distortion of opponents' positions. From the current campaign: distortion of Bernie Sanders' positions on the auto bailout and gun control.

I could go on, but the pattern is clear. I respect Clinton's intelligence, but deplore her duplicity and poor judgment. I'll support her in November only because the alternatives are worse.

Mark Thomason, is a trusted commenter Clawson, Mich 22 hours ago

It is not because she is a woman. That is an excuse. It is because she is an extreme hawk, a Washington Consensus neoliberal of trade deals and Wall Street. It is because she is Hillary, not because Hillary happens to be a woman.


Mark Thomason, is a trusted commenter Clawson, Mich 22 hours ago

"and yet, she has been highly vetted prior to becoming First Lady, most certainly so prior to becoming a Senator for NYC"

Nonsense. Nobody vets the President's wife. She is who he married. Nobody vets a Senator either. We've got some pretty strange Senators, arrested in bathrooms and stuff. They'd never get past vetting.

RLS, is a trusted commenter Virginia 19 hours ago

Winchestereast,

No other candidate running for president has given paid speeches to Wall Street and corporate America. Clinton is the ONLY candidate to do so. She accepted speaking fees until early 2015 knowing she was about to announce her candidacy. This is UNPRECEDENTED. Of course, congressional Democrats don't say it publicly but many wish that Clinton had shown better judgment.


Siobhan, is a trusted commenter New York 21 hours ago

This label of dishonesty that trails Clinton is not just about the most recent stuff. There's the story from way back when about how the Clintons took almost $200,000 worth of stuff when they left the White House. They eventually decided to return or pay for $114,000 worth of items. Things they'd claimed to have received before taking up residence were shown to have been received after they arrived; they claimed as personal gifts things donors specified as designated for the White House itself, etc.

It's this kind of stuff that leaves people feeling that the Clintons just aren't trustworthy.

Link to above story:
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=121856&page=1


Scott Stafford, North America 7 hours ago

Ah. The Five Stages Of Every Clinton Scandal:

1. I did *absolutely nothing wrong*.
2. You can't *prove* I did anything wrong.
3. Technically speaking, no law was actually violated.
4. Well, it's a stupid law anyhow.
5. Everybody does it.

pjd, is a trusted commenter Westford 18 hours ago

"... if that's corrupt then so is our entire campaign finance system."

Yes, it is. It is driven by massive amounts of money. The only "sin" committed by Ms. Clinton in the case of her speaking fees is to take publicly traceable money. Meanwhile, the rest of the bunch are taking cash by the truckload thanks to the Supreme Court-approved Citizens United.

Politics _is_ a dirty business. No one is innocent.

ScottW, is a trusted commenter Chapel Hill, NC 21 hours ago

You and Kristof have joined the growing Democratic chorus that money is just a fact of politics. It may be true, but wasn't there a time Democrats advocated for taking money out of politics by overturning Citizens United? Or is it like Hillary's speaking transcripts, the Dems will agree to getting money out of politics when the Republicans do.

So, repeat after me--taking hundreds of millions from every special interest group does not in any way influence Hillary's independent judgment. Keep repeating and eventually you will believe it. See how easy that is.

Now on to repeating how the neocon foreign policy hawks supporting Hillary as the best commander in chief is good.

Rima Regas, is a trusted commenter Mission Viejo, CA 22 hours ago

Mark,

I have no disagreements with you. It is my personal code of ethics that stops me from going there, for as long as she isn't caught red handed. People have noticed how assiduously both Clintons have courted money over the years, whether it is Whitewater and everything else leading up to the present day fundraising, including the Times' revelatory piece on Ukrainian money in an energy deal, it all reeks, but as is wont with the Clintons, stops just shy of actual misdeed.

That is what the trust and favorability stats keep telling us, over and over again, no matter whether it is conservatives or democrats who are polled and, now, the Bernie Or Bust movement that is being vilified by the neoliberal punditry. There comes a time when people have had it up to here and it is my sense that it may finally be here. That is the topic of my Sunday essay. Krugman just posted a new blog post on a related topic. See my comment there.

Money and greed are the root of all evil.

RM, is a trusted commenter Vermont 21 hours ago

As for the speeches, you do not have to prove an actual "favor" in return for millions in payments. Any attorney (and Mrs. Clinton is an attorney) who has had any exposure to the canons of attorney ethics knows that both actual impropriety, and APPEARANCES of impropriety are to be avoided. "Appearance" requires no proof of an actual quid pro quo. Besides, the payments can be interpreted as payments in hope of future considerations. should she be in a position to provide such considerations.

And if she is elected President and never gives them a break, as she says she won't, that is maybe even worse. Is there anything as dishonest as a public official who takes a bribe, and then does not deliver for the briber?

With the proliferation of small digital sound recording devices, someone out there made a recording. And when it winds up public (probably during the general election campaign when it would do the most damage), it will be Mrs. Clinton's "47% moment".

AC, Astoria, NY 6 hours ago

People find her dishonest and untrustworthy because she is. It doesn't take an advanced degree to see that she's a self-interested political animal through and through. She has a long, well-documented history of taking whatever position is most politically expedient and changing it when the polling changes.

Furthermore her and her husband's well-documented history of taking money from everybody from Wall St. banksters to foreign autocrats for everything from private speeches the proceeds of which go directly into their pockets to their "foundation" suggests at the minimum a clueless recklessness about the appearance or corruption and at worst outright contempt for the intelligence of American voters.

Again, it doesn't take membership in Mensa to apply a little critical thought and personal experience to the issue of her honesty or trustworthiness. Anybody who's ever done anything they felt even the tiniest bit ethically or morally uncomfortable about in order to keep their job or anybody who's observed this behavior in even the smallest or least significant way from colleagues knows Wall St. banksters and the Saudis princes don't give millions of dollars to people who aren't minimally receptive to their interests and people who take those millions don't do so with the intention of turning off that spigot down the line.

Ronald Cohen, is a trusted commenter Wilmington, N.C. 19 hours ago

Nicholas Kristoff blames the media for the view that Hillary Clinton is dishonest and untrustworthy. I agree that the media as a blameworthy record in this election cycle of pushing Donald J. Trump by trumpeting his antics until he became a real danger while ignoring Bernard Sanders because he didn't suit the coronation of HRC in an effort, ongoing, of shoving Clinton down the National throat.

What if decades of facially shady conduct is true? What if Bill Safire is right that HRC is a congenital liar? Why doesn't HRC give all this the lie by releasing her speech transcripts? Since leaving office the Clintons and the Foundation have amassed millions. Can we not think, as did Honore de Balzac that "behind every great fortune is a great crime"? How Mrs. Clinton must actually hate Barack Obama, Bernard Sanders and those under 40 who have or may yet deny her the crown.


ScottW, is a trusted commenter Chapel Hill, NC 21 hours ago

If you are interested in a factually based article outlining the $21.6 million Hillary took in from special interests between 2013-2015, read the AP story. http://www.cnbc.com/2016/04/21/the-associated-press-firms-that-paid-for-...

Even if you support Hillary, it is good to know who is paying her what.

RM, is a trusted commenter Vermont 21 hours ago

Often, the corruption is in the form of compensation after the public official leaves office. I used to work in NJ State Government. I can cite numerous examples of regulators who left public service, and were rewarded with lucrative contracts by the firms they formerly regulated. This would sometimes be laundered. For example, the former public official would join a law firm or consulting firm, and suddenly that firm would get a big contract from the firm they formerly regulated.

In the case of Mrs Clinton, she was a "private citizen" only temporarily. She resigned as Secretary of State, but it was public knowledge that she was going to announce a Presidential run. A lot different than, say, Janet Reno giving a speech.

ScottW, is a trusted commenter Chapel Hill, NC 21 hours ago

@RM--you raise an excellent point. If you outlined a political couple who did what the Clintons have done making money from special interests, but did not reveal their identities, everyone would agree they would be unduly influenced by special interest money. Reveal their identities and suddenly Hillary's supporters suspend previous beliefs that money corrupts politicians. And that is why nothing ever changes.

Ronald Cohen, is a trusted commenter Wilmington, N.C. 19 hours ago

"The others are worse" argument should be addressed to the DNC and the party mandarins who won't field an honest candidate. If we don't vote for HRC then the party that ran her is to blame. Where are "the best and the brightest"? Why is our choice always between the dregs?

ScottW, is a trusted commenter Chapel Hill, NC 21 hours ago

Remember when you could say that money in politics was a corrupting influence and democrats did not challenge you to show a quid pro quo? Democrats have suddenly adopted the conservative majority's reasoning in Citizens United there must be a quid pro quo for money to be bad.

We need to tell all of the lobbyists and special interests funneling money to the Clintons they are wasting their money because unlike other politicians, they can never be influenced by that money.

organic farmer, NY 6 hours ago

If 50% of Kristof's statements were true or 'mostly true', would he be still employed by the NYT? If I told the truth half the time, I doubt my family and co-workers would be impressed! If 50% of what my employees say were lies, they would get fired.

As a female middle-aged Democrat, I will vote for Clinton in November if I have to, but it won't be with any enthusiasm or confidence, and certainly I will not be voting for a leader I believe in. As a woman, I admire her intelligence, ambition, and determination, and I'm fairly convinced her integrity is probably somewhat better than many in politics, but we desperately need a President with a different vision for our future. We don't need a divisive leader beholden to Big Banks, Big Ag, Big Business, Big Military - this will not serve the United States well.

RM, is a trusted commenter Vermont 19 hours ago

It would not be my fault that the Democratic party chose to force upon the voting public a candidate with high negatives. Such high negatives, that even Ted Cruz could defeat her.

Janice Badger Nelson, is a trusted commenter Park City, Utah, from Boston 15 hours ago

She may not be dishonest, but boy is she greedy.

You have got to hand it to her though, she has been through the mill and still stands there. I cannot imagine the humiliation she must have felt over the Lewinsky debacle. That alone would have done most of us in. But she ran for Senate and then President, became the Secretary of State and now is leading as the democratic candidate for President.

In her 60's. Quite remarkable, if you think about it. I do not know how she does it other than the fact she has supportive people surrounding her and that must help. I also think that she feels entitled somehow, and that is troubling to me. I also think her opponent, Senator Bernie Sanders, is a "what you see is what you get" kind of guy. I like that so much. Hillary is less transparent. She hides a lot. Does that make her dishonest? Maybe not. But unlikeable for sure.

RM, is a trusted commenter Vermont 20 hours ago

I won't. A decision to support the lesser of two evils is a decision to support an evil. Maybe if you sat it out, or voted third party, it would be a message to the major parties to nominate better candidates.

Perhaps, to record that you came to vote, and found both candidates unsupportable, you could write in "none of the above"

But vote the rest of the ticket.

ScottW, is a trusted commenter Chapel Hill, NC 18 hours ago

@Christine--you got me. You are right. Those special interests just gave Hillary and Bill hundreds of millions because they oppose everything the special interests want. None of the policies Hillary advocates are favored by any of those special interests. They are wasting their money!

Sorry--the burden is squarely on Hillary to explain how money corrupts politicians, but she, Bill, the foundation and campaign taking hundreds of millions from special interests does not. Or, is a politician free to take all of the money her heart desires, unless there is iron clad proof of quid pro quo corruption? And if you believe that. you agree with the right wing majority in Citizens United.

Of course you can believe that, but never again state that money corrupts politicians, nor ever state lobbyist spending tens of millions to influence policy is bad.

amboycharlie, Nagoya, Japan 9 hours ago

So the whitewashing of Hillary by the nominal Progressives begins. Whether or not she is "fundamentally" honest, as Jill Abrahamson has written, means what exactly? That she won't rob a bank, or pick your pocket? Yet she will defend bankers who rob their own banks and brokers who pick their investors' pockets every trading day by skimming others' potential profits with their high speed trades. Her husband's candidacy was rescued by winning the New York primary after his loss in New Hampshire and as President he deregulated the banks, and once he was in private life again, he became a centa millionaire by speaking in front of bankers. One would be naive to believe the Clintons did not make a deal the the banks put out the word. Perhaps there was no quid pro quo, but there certainly was some quo pro quid. Ditto for Hillary.

The Clinton Foundation took huge donations from dictatorial regimes worldwide and Hillary as SecState, rewarded them with arms deals they would otherwise not have gotten, due to their human rights violations. The list of apparent crimes by the Clintons goes on and on. Why a "Progressive" would paper over the record of Goldwater girl turned "NeoLiberal," which is pretty much the same thing, who is fundamentally against everything real Progressives stand for boggles the imagination.

Thomas Zaslavsky, is a trusted commenter Binghamton, N.Y. 16 hours ago

Wcdessert Girl, you are straining so hard to smear Bernie Sanders that you deserve to have a busted gut. (No that I'm wishing it upon you.) He got the normal Congressional salary (not all that large; barely upper middle class, these days) and the normal Congressional benefits (sure, we should all get them), and you question his financial integrity? Be ashamed.

Now, try to defend Hillary without a baseless smear against anyone else.

Liberty Apples, Providence 9 hours ago

``One basic test of a politician's honesty is whether that person tells the truth when on the campaign trail, and by that standard Clinton does well.''

Excuse me?

She lied about Sanders support for the auto bailout.
She lied about Sanders support for the Paris climate accord.
She was in knots trying to explain her position on the $15 minimum wage.

You get the idea. The truth has always been an inconvenience for the Clintons.

Barry, Minneapolis 10 hours ago

She lies about little things. Hot sauce. Medium sized things. Coming under fire; she only wanted to carry one cell; the papers that turned up in a parlor. Big things. "If I had known then." That was as bad as Nixon's "secret plan."

Nixon wasn't the New Nixon, but she is.

[Sep 12, 2016] Serving the Clintonian Interest: The last thing we need is a Clinton in charge of foreign policy

This is Christopher Hitchens biting analysis from previous Presidential elections, but still relevant
Notable quotes:
"... The last time that Clinton foreign-policy associations came up for congressional review, the investigations ended in a cloud of murk that still has not been dispelled. ..."
"... the real problem is otherwise. Both President and Sen. Clinton, while in office, made it obvious to foreign powers that they and their relatives were wide open to suggestions from lobbyists and middlemen. ..."
"... If you recall the names John Huang, James Riady, Johnny Chung, Charlie Trie, and others, you will remember the pattern of acquired amnesia syndrome and stubborn reluctance to testify, followed by sudden willingness on the part of the Democratic National Committee to return quite large sums of money from foreign sources. Much of this cash had been raised at political events held in the public rooms of the White House, the sort of events that featured the adorable Roger Tamraz , for another example. ..."
"... It found that the Clinton administration's attitude toward Chinese penetration had been abysmally lax (as lax, I would say, as its attitude toward easy money from businessmen with Chinese military-industrial associations). ..."
"... Many quids and many quos were mooted by these investigations (still incomplete at the time of writing) though perhaps not enough un-ambivalent pros . You can't say that about the Marc Rich and other pardons-the vulgar bonanza with which the last Clinton era came to an end. Rich's ex-wife, Denise Rich, gave large sums to Hillary Clinton's re-election campaign and to Bill Clinton's library, and Marc Rich got a pardon. ..."
"... Edgar and Vonna Jo Gregory, convicted of bank fraud, hired Hillary Clinton's brother Tony and paid him $250,000, and they got a pardon. Carlos Vignali Jr. and Almon Glenn Braswell paid $400,000 to Hillary Clinton's other brother, Hugh , and, hey, they , respectively, got a presidential commutation and a presidential pardon, too. ..."
"... Does this sibling and fraternal squalor have foreign-policy implications, too? Yes. Until late 1999, the fabulous Rodham boys were toiling on another scheme to get the hazelnut concession from the newly independent republic of Georgia. There was something quixotically awful about this scheme-something simultaneously too small-time and too big-time-but it also involved a partnership with the main political foe of the then-Georgian president (who may conceivably have had political aspirations), so once again the United States was made to look as if its extended first family were operating like a banana republic. ..."
"... In matters of foreign policy, it has been proved time and again, the Clintons are devoted to no interest other than their own. ..."
"... Who can say with a straight face that this is true of a woman whose personal ambition is without limit; whose second loyalty is to an impeached and disbarred and discredited former president; and who is ready at any moment, and on government time, to take a wheedling call from either of her bulbous brothers? This is also the unscrupulous female who until recently was willing to play the race card on President-elect Obama and (in spite of her own complete want of any foreign-policy qualifications) to ridicule him for lacking what she only knew about by way of sordid backstairs dealing. What may look like wound-healing and magnanimity to some looks like foolhardiness and masochism to me. ..."
Nov 01, 2008 | www.slate.com

It was apt in a small way that the first endorser of Hillary Rodham Clinton for secretary of state should have been Henry Kissinger. The last time he was nominated for any position of responsibility-the chairmanship of the 9/11 commission-he accepted with many florid words about the great honor and responsibility, and then he withdrew when it became clear that he would have to disclose the client list of Kissinger Associates. (See, for the article that began this embarrassing process for him, my Slate column "The Latest Kissinger Outrage.")

It is possible that the Senate will be as much of a club as the undistinguished fraternity/sorority of our ex-secretaries of state, but even so, it's difficult to see Sen. Clinton achieving confirmation unless our elected representatives are ready to ask a few questions about conflict of interest along similar lines. And how can they not? The last time that Clinton foreign-policy associations came up for congressional review, the investigations ended in a cloud of murk that still has not been dispelled. Former President Bill Clinton has recently and rather disingenuously offered to submit his own foundation to scrutiny (see the work of my Vanity Fair colleague Todd Purdum on the delightful friends and associates that Clinton has acquired since he left office), but the real problem is otherwise. Both President and Sen. Clinton, while in office, made it obvious to foreign powers that they and their relatives were wide open to suggestions from lobbyists and middlemen.

Just to give the most salient examples from the Clinton fundraising scandals of the late 1990s: The House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight published a list of witnesses called before it who had either "fled or pled"-in other words, who had left the country to avoid testifying or invoked the Fifth Amendment to avoid self-incrimination. Some Democratic members of the committee said that this was unfair to, say, the Buddhist nuns who raised the unlawful California temple dough for then-Vice President Al Gore, but however fair you want to be, the number of those who found it highly inconvenient to testify fluctuates between 94 and 120. If you recall the names John Huang, James Riady, Johnny Chung, Charlie Trie, and others, you will remember the pattern of acquired amnesia syndrome and stubborn reluctance to testify, followed by sudden willingness on the part of the Democratic National Committee to return quite large sums of money from foreign sources. Much of this cash had been raised at political events held in the public rooms of the White House, the sort of events that featured the adorable Roger Tamraz, for another example.

Related was the result of a House select committee on Chinese espionage in the United States and the illegal transfer to China of advanced military technology. Chaired by Christopher Cox, R-Calif., the committee issued a report in 1999 with no dissenting or "minority" signature. It found that the Clinton administration's attitude toward Chinese penetration had been abysmally lax (as lax, I would say, as its attitude toward easy money from businessmen with Chinese military-industrial associations).

Many quids and many quos were mooted by these investigations (still incomplete at the time of writing) though perhaps not enough un-ambivalent pros. You can't say that about the Marc Rich and other pardons-the vulgar bonanza with which the last Clinton era came to an end. Rich's ex-wife, Denise Rich, gave large sums to Hillary Clinton's re-election campaign and to Bill Clinton's library, and Marc Rich got a pardon.

Edgar and Vonna Jo Gregory, convicted of bank fraud, hired Hillary Clinton's brother Tony and paid him $250,000, and they got a pardon. Carlos Vignali Jr. and Almon Glenn Braswell paid $400,000 to Hillary Clinton's other brother, Hugh, and, hey, they, respectively, got a presidential commutation and a presidential pardon, too. In the Hugh case, the money was returned as being too embarrassing for words (and as though following the hallowed custom, when busted or flustered, of the Clinton-era DNC). But I would say that it was more embarrassing to realize that a former first lady, and a candidate for secretary of state, was a full partner in years of seedy overseas money-grubbing and has two greedy brothers to whom she cannot say no.

Does this sibling and fraternal squalor have foreign-policy implications, too? Yes. Until late 1999, the fabulous Rodham boys were toiling on another scheme to get the hazelnut concession from the newly independent republic of Georgia. There was something quixotically awful about this scheme-something simultaneously too small-time and too big-time-but it also involved a partnership with the main political foe of the then-Georgian president (who may conceivably have had political aspirations), so once again the United States was made to look as if its extended first family were operating like a banana republic.

China, Indonesia, Georgia-these are not exactly negligible countries on our defense and financial and ideological peripheries. In each country, there are important special interests that equate the name Clinton with the word pushover. And did I forget to add what President Clinton pleaded when the revulsion at the Rich pardons became too acute? He claimed that he had concerted the deal with the government of Israel in the intervals of the Camp David "agreement"! So anyone who criticized the pardons had better have been careful if they didn't want to hear from the Anti-Defamation League. Another splendid way of showing that all is aboveboard and of convincing the Muslim world of our evenhandedness.

In matters of foreign policy, it has been proved time and again, the Clintons are devoted to no interest other than their own. A president absolutely has to know of his chief foreign-policy executive that he or she has no other agenda than the one he has set. Who can say with a straight face that this is true of a woman whose personal ambition is without limit; whose second loyalty is to an impeached and disbarred and discredited former president; and who is ready at any moment, and on government time, to take a wheedling call from either of her bulbous brothers? This is also the unscrupulous female who until recently was willing to play the race card on President-elect Obama and (in spite of her own complete want of any foreign-policy qualifications) to ridicule him for lacking what she only knew about by way of sordid backstairs dealing. What may look like wound-healing and magnanimity to some looks like foolhardiness and masochism to me.

Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) was a columnist for Vanity Fair and the author, most recently, of Arguably, a collection of essays.

[Sep 10, 2016] Meet the Malignant Narcissist

Notable quotes:
"... A personality disorder characterized by grandiosity; an expectation that others will recognize one's superiority; a lack of empathy, lack of truthfulness, and the tendency to degrade others. ..."
"... Malignant narcissists not only see themselves as superior to others but believe in their superiority to the degree that they view others as relatively worthless, expendable, and justifiably exploitable. ..."
"... This type of narcissism is a defining characteristic of psychopathy/sociopathy and is rooted in an individual's deficient capacity for empathy. It's almost impossible for a person with such shallow feelings and such haughtiness to really care about others or to form a conscience with any of the qualities we typically associate with a humane attitude, which is why most researchers and thinkers on the topic of psychopathy think of psychopaths as individuals without a conscience altogether." ..."
Dec 09, 2015 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com
"A personality disorder characterized by grandiosity; an expectation that others will recognize one's superiority; a lack of empathy, lack of truthfulness, and the tendency to degrade others."

"Narcissism becomes particularly malignant (i.e. malevolent, dangerous, harmful, incurable) when it goes beyond mere vanity and excessive self-focus. Malignant narcissists not only see themselves as superior to others but believe in their superiority to the degree that they view others as relatively worthless, expendable, and justifiably exploitable.

This type of narcissism is a defining characteristic of psychopathy/sociopathy and is rooted in an individual's deficient capacity for empathy. It's almost impossible for a person with such shallow feelings and such haughtiness to really care about others or to form a conscience with any of the qualities we typically associate with a humane attitude, which is why most researchers and thinkers on the topic of psychopathy think of psychopaths as individuals without a conscience altogether."

"There is nothing about the man that is service-oriented. He's only serving himself."

https://www.youtube.com/embed/x54z2pRAvtg?rel=0"

[Sep 09, 2016] Hillary clinton and huma abedin abuse secret service agents

Notable quotes:
"... Kessler points out that Clinton's protestations that the material under investigation was not marked classified is immaterial, writing, "The pertinent laws make no distinction between classified material that is marked as such or not. If material is classified and is handled improperly, that is a violation of criminal laws." ..."
"... The FBI investigation has been galvanized further by recent revelations involving emails sent by Abedin and Clinton aide Cheryl Mills, as well as the fact that State Department BlackBerry devices belonging to Abedin and Mills have likely been liquidated or sold. ..."
"... There's not an agent in the service who wants to be in Hillary's detail. If agents get the nod to go to her detail, that's considered a form of punishment among the agents. ..."
"... The most egregious example of Clinton's arrogance was evidenced in one particularly nasty incident when she was First Lady. One former agent related, "The first lady steps out of the limo, and another uniformed officer says to her, 'Good morning, ma'am.' Her response to him was 'F-- off.' I couldn't believe I heard it." ..."
Jun 25, 2016 | breitbart.com

Ronald Kessler, writing for The Daily Mail, testifies that Hillary Clinton and her long-time aide Huma Abedin were detested by members of the Secret Service because the two women arrogantly treated the Secret Service agents like dirt.

Kessler, the author of The Secrets of the FBI and The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents, dismisses claims by members of the media that the current FBI investigation of Clinton is restricted to a "security investigation." He attests that the investigation of Clinton means that she violated criminal laws, as the FBI will not launch an investigation unless laws have been violated. Kessler points out that Clinton's protestations that the material under investigation was not marked classified is immaterial, writing, "The pertinent laws make no distinction between classified material that is marked as such or not. If material is classified and is handled improperly, that is a violation of criminal laws."

The FBI investigation has been galvanized further by recent revelations involving emails sent by Abedin and Clinton aide Cheryl Mills, as well as the fact that State Department BlackBerry devices belonging to Abedin and Mills have likely been liquidated or sold.

Some of the anecdotes involving the imperiousness and haughtiness of Clinton and Abedin include:

In 2008, Abedin lost her way driving Chelsea Clinton to the February 2008 Democrat presidential debate in Los Angeles. One agent who tried to help Abedin recalled, "She was belligerent and angry about being late for the event, no appreciation for any of it, not a thank-you or anything. That was common for her people to be rude."

Another Los Angeles imbroglio occurred when Abedin, who was not wearing a pin certifying her identity, tried to bluster past a female Secret Service agent. The agent, unaware of Abedin's identity, said, "You don't have the proper identification to go beyond this point." Another agent told Kessler, "Huma basically tried to throw her weight around. She tried to just force her way through and said belligerently, 'Do you know who I am?''"

Kessler noted that Secret Service Agents are not required to carry luggage for their protectees, but they will if they like them. One agent recollected that, in Abedin's case, "The agents were just like, 'Hey, you're going to be like that? Well, you get your own luggage to the car. Oh, and by the way, you can carry the first lady's luggage to the car, too. She'd have four bags, and we'd stand there and watch her and say, 'Oh, can we hold the door open for you?'" The agent added, "When it's convenient for them, they'll utilize the service for whatever favor they need, but otherwise, they look down upon the agents, kind of like servants."

An agent who still works for the Secret Service asserted:

There's not an agent in the service who wants to be in Hillary's detail. If agents get the nod to go to her detail, that's considered a form of punishment among the agents. She's hard to work around, she's known to snap at agents and yell at agents and dress them down to their faces, and they just have to be humble and say, "Yes ma'am," and walk away. Agents don't deserve that. They're there to do a job, they're there to protect her, they'll lay their life down for hers, and there's absolutely no respect for that. And that's why agents do not want to go to her detail.

The most egregious example of Clinton's arrogance was evidenced in one particularly nasty incident when she was First Lady. One former agent related, "The first lady steps out of the limo, and another uniformed officer says to her, 'Good morning, ma'am.' Her response to him was 'F-- off.' I couldn't believe I heard it."

Hillary was famous for wanting the Secret Service to be invisible; one former agent said, "We were basically told, the Clintons don't want to see you, they don't want to hear you, get out of the way. Hillary was walking down a hall, you were supposed to hide behind drapes used as partitions. Supervisors would tell us, 'Listen, stand behind this curtain. They're coming,' or 'Just stand out of the way, don't be seen.'"

Hillary berated a White House electrician changing a light bulb, screaming that he should have waited until the First Family was gone. Franette McCulloch, the assistant White House pastry chief at the time, remembered, "He was a basket case."

FBI agent Coy Copeland told Kessler that Hillary had a "standing rule that no one spoke to her when she was going from one location to another."

One agent was abused by Hillary during the Kenneth Starr investigation of the Whitewater scandal; he said, "Good morning, Mrs. Clinton," and she ranted, "How dare you? You people are just destroying my husband… And where do you buy your suits? Penney's?"

Weeks later, the agent confessed to Copeland, "I was wearing the best suit I owned."

[Sep 04, 2016] Under my definiton of sociopath , Hillary Clinton qualifies on just her laugh about death Muammar Gaddafi, who was sodomized with a bayonet

Notable quotes:
"... As part of the murder process of Muammar Gaddafi, he was sodomized with a bayonet. Out of respect for any children reading this blog, I'm not going to spell that out any further. What was Hillary's RECORDED reaction? ..."
"... "We came, we saw, he died," followed by a laugh and gleeful hand clap. ..."
"... Finally, using Richard Cohen as an source for anything is beyond the pale. This shill for Israel was all-in for the destruction of Iraq. He was a big fan of the destruction of Libya. He's a huge booster for the destruction of Syria. And he most definitely wants somebody in the White House who will finish off Iran. That person is Hillary Clinton. ..."
Sep 04, 2016 | angrybearblog.com

Zachary Smith / August 30, 2016 2:24 p.m.

As part of the murder process of Muammar Gaddafi, he was sodomized with a bayonet. Out of respect for any children reading this blog, I'm not going to spell that out any further. What was Hillary's RECORDED reaction?

"We came, we saw, he died," followed by a laugh and gleeful hand clap.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fgcd1ghag5Y

Under my definiton of "sociopath", Hillary Clinton qualifies on that one alone. Of course there are others….

*** My father, too, turned bribes into gifts. ***

I know some saintly people myself, and have no difficulty accepting this claim at face value. Stretching the analogy to the Clinton Foundation is, in my opinion, a stretch too far. If Hillary was as pure as the driven snow, why did she work so hard to ensure her communications were beyond the reach of the Freedom Of Information Act? Why has the State department refused to release her meeting schedules until after the election?

Finally, using Richard Cohen as an source for anything is beyond the pale. This shill for Israel was all-in for the destruction of Iraq. He was a big fan of the destruction of Libya. He's a huge booster for the destruction of Syria. And he most definitely wants somebody in the White House who will finish off Iran. That person is Hillary Clinton.

[Sep 03, 2016] The Clintons' political legacy of dishonesty

nypost.com

When Donald Trump, Ben Carson and other political outsiders first denounced political correctness, they instantly struck a nerve. They were promising to peel back the mushy language that government and so-called sophisticates use to conceal simple truths.

That urge came over me as I watched Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, along with Jeb Bush, ­argue over each other's immigration flip-flops during last week's GOP debate. Because Fox moderators used videos to demonstrate the differences between where the candidates once stood and where they stand, the truth was obvious, yet none of the three ­rivals dared say it.

Why couldn't even one acknowledge that he changed his position and explain why? And if none would, why didn't the others just say, "You're lying"?

These are three men I admire, yet each lacked the courage to be honest on a crucial point during a televised job interview. When did the truth become so toxic and ­untruths so acceptable?

Spin and puffery have a long history in politics, but something has snapped in our culture that we no longer even expect our leaders to talk straight. We have become immune to lies and the ­liars who tell them.

I blame it on the Clintons. Their survival despite a quarter-century of shameful dishonesty has led the way in lowering the bar for ­integrity in public life.

[Sep 03, 2016] Normal people mellow with age, sociopaths often harden

Notable quotes:
"... When we fully understand the brevity of life, its fleeting joys and unavoidable pains; when we accept the facts that all men and women are approaching an inevitable doom: the consciousness of it should make us more kindly and considerate of each other. ..."
Sep 03, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

abynormal , September 3, 2016 at 10:56 am

Right-O. Thank You Jerri-Lynn for clearing & bridging paths!

"When we fully understand the brevity of life, its fleeting joys and unavoidable pains; when we accept the facts that all men and women are approaching an inevitable doom: the consciousness of it should make us more kindly and considerate of each other. This feeling should make men and women use their best efforts to help their fellow travelers on the road, to make the path brighter and easier as we journey on. It should bring a closer kinship, a better understanding, and a deeper sympathy for the wayfarers who must live a common life and die a common death."
― Clarence Darrow

Emma , September 3, 2016 at 1:02 pm

Agreed. Just goes to show if an American trains hard enough, he or she can either choose to travel the world and piss around at gas stations, or rather, focus on hot 'foreign affairs' (!) and radiate wisdom like Jerri-Lynn!

"Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood." Marie Curie

[Sep 02, 2016] Corruption and pathological lies

Sep 02, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Clinton's 2009 ethics agreement: "I currently hold and will continue to hold my position with The Clinton Family Foundation, which maintains all its assets in cash. If confirmed as Secretary of State, I will not participate personally and substantially in any particular matter that has a direct and predictable effect upon this foundation, unless I first obtain a written waiver or qualify for a regulatory exemption" (pdf) [ Cryptome ]. First, "will not participate" sets a much higher bar than the ludicrously low "quid pro quo" standard set by Clinton's operatives and supporters. Second, is it really usual for charitable foundation to keep "all its assets in cash"? Why would Foundation do that? And why even say it does? (I'm resisting a joke about "maintains all its assets in Bitcoin"….)

"On the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton is a big critic of for-profit universities, attacking them for charging high prices but offering students little support and delivering degrees of questionable value. Her administration, she says, would crack down 'on for-profit colleges and loan servicers who have too often taken advantage of borrowers'" [ USA Today ]. "What Clinton doesn't mention are her close family connections to for-profit Laureate Education and the hefty $9.8 billion in loans accumulated just by students at Laureate's Walden University in Minnesota… If Clinton wonders why so many voters consider her to be graspy and question her trustworthiness, she need look no further than the tangled, lucrative ties among Laureate, its owners, the Clinton family and the Clinton Foundation." Graspy.

[Aug 30, 2016] So, Trumps crazy What about Hillary

Notable quotes:
"... compulsive lying can be associated with dementia or brain injury ..."
"... compulsive lying can be associated with a range of diagnoses, such as antisocial, borderline and narcissistic personality disorders. ..."
"... "This might explain Hillary's consistent unlikability factor, along with her consistent denial of lies, even in her lying about FBI Director Comey pointing out that she lied multiple times. Most of America believes her to be a liar, and yet she seems to have zero remorse, even and up to the point of costing American lives." ..."
"... In addition to pathological lying, Clinton's temper has reportedly been a problem in the past. A former military K9 handler described how then-Secretary of State Clinton once flew into a blind rage, yelling "get that f**king dog away from me." She then berated her security detail for the next 20 minutes about why the dog was in her quarters. After Clinton left after slamming the door in their faces, the leader of the detail explained to the K9 handler, "Happens every day, brother." ..."
"... "Hillary's been having screaming, child-like tantrums that have left staff members in tears and unable to work. She thought the nomination was hers for the asking, but her mounting problems have been getting to her and she's become shrill and, at times, even violent." ..."
Aug 07, 2016 | www.wnd.com

Hillary Clinton has indeed become well known as a serial liar, as fully two-thirds of Americans, 68 percent in a recent poll, said she was neither honest nor trustworthy. Not only does Clinton lie to protect herself, as she has regarding Benghazi and her private email server, but she lies when there appears to be no benefit to doing so.

For example, she famously claimed she was named after Sir Edmund Hillary for his conquering of Mt. Everest, even though that didn't happen until six years after Clinton was born. She also notoriously claim she landed under sniper fire in Bosnia in 1996, when newspaper and video accounts revealed exactly the opposite.

"Robert Reich, M.D., a New York City psychiatrist and expert in psychopathology, says compulsive lying can be associated with dementia or brain injury," Dr. Gina Loudon, a political psychology and behavior expert, told WND. "Otherwise, compulsive lying can be associated with a range of diagnoses, such as antisocial, borderline and narcissistic personality disorders.

"This might explain Hillary's consistent unlikability factor, along with her consistent denial of lies, even in her lying about FBI Director Comey pointing out that she lied multiple times. Most of America believes her to be a liar, and yet she seems to have zero remorse, even and up to the point of costing American lives."

In addition to pathological lying, Clinton's temper has reportedly been a problem in the past. A former military K9 handler described how then-Secretary of State Clinton once flew into a blind rage, yelling "get that f**king dog away from me." She then berated her security detail for the next 20 minutes about why the dog was in her quarters. After Clinton left after slamming the door in their faces, the leader of the detail explained to the K9 handler, "Happens every day, brother."

These types of outbursts continued after Hillary left her office as secretary of state. An aide on her presidential campaign told the New York Post last October: "Hillary's been having screaming, child-like tantrums that have left staff members in tears and unable to work. She thought the nomination was hers for the asking, but her mounting problems have been getting to her and she's become shrill and, at times, even violent."

[Aug 29, 2016] Commnets to the article Neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us by Paul Verhaeghe

Notable quotes:
"... As disgusted and determined as we might be, we still have to operate within the 'neoliberal' system. We are all 'us' in this context and we are all a product of our environment to some extent. however crap that environment might be. ..."
"... Combined with offshoring of as many jobs abroad as possible, free movement of unskilled workers and the use of agency labour to undercut pay and conditions, the future looks bleak. ..."
"... There is nothing meritocratic about neoliberlaism. Its about who you know. ..."
"... I understand what you say, and there is definitely an element within society which values Success above all else, but I do not personally know anyone like that. ..."
"... .....By "us" of course, you mean commies. I think you are inadvertently demonstrating another of Hares psychopath test features; a lack of empathy and self awareness. ..."
"... I've worked in a few large private companies over the years, and my experience is they increasingly resemble some sort of cult, with endless brainwashing programmes for the 'members', charismatic leaders who can do no wrong, groupthink, mandatory utilisation of specialist jargon (especially cod-psychological terminology) to differentiate those 'in' and those 'out', increased blurring of the lines between 'private' and 'work' life (your ass belongs to us 24-7) and of course, constant, ever more complex monitoring of the 'members' for 'heretical thoughts or beliefs'. ..."
"... And the most striking idea here: Our characters are partly moulded by society. And neo-liberal society, and it's illusions of freedom, has moulded many of us in ways that bring out the worst in us. ..."
"... Neo-liberalism has however killed off post war social mobility. In fact according to the OECD report into social mobility, the more egalitarian a developed society is, the more social mobility there is, the more productivity and the less poverty and social problems there are. ..."
Aug 29, 2016 | discussion.theguardian.com

Happytobeasocialist, 2014-09-29 09:07:21

Neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us

Less of the 'us' please. there are plenty of people who are disgusted by neoliberalism and are determined to bring it down

Pasdabong Happytobeasocialist , 2014-09-29 09:28:58
As disgusted and determined as we might be, we still have to operate within the 'neoliberal' system. We are all 'us' in this context and we are all a product of our environment to some extent. however crap that environment might be.
InconvenientTruths Happytobeasocialist , 2014-09-29 09:39:02
Neo-Liberal Elephant

There are constant laments about the so-called loss of norms and values in our culture. Yet our norms and values make up an integral and essential part of our identity. So they cannot be lost, only chaned

If you have no mandate for such change, it breeds resentment.

For example, race & immigration was used by NuLabour in a blatant attempt at mass societal engineering (via approx 8%+ increase in national population over 13 years).

It was the most significant betrayal in modern democratic times, non mandated change extraordinaire, not only of British Society, but the core traditional voter base for Labour.

To see people still trying to deny it took place and dismiss the fallout of the cultural elephant rampaging around the United Kingdom is as disingenuous as it is pathetic.

Labour are the midwives of UKiP.

This cultural elephant has tusks.

SaulZaentz , 2014-09-29 09:10:36
It's a race to the bottom, and has lead to such "success stories" as G4S, Serco, A4E, ATOS, Railtrack, privatised railways, privatised water and so on.

It's all about to get even worse with TTIP, and if that fails there is always TISA which mandates privatisation of pretty much everything - breaking state monopolies on public services.

Combined with offshoring of as many jobs abroad as possible, free movement of unskilled workers and the use of agency labour to undercut pay and conditions, the future looks bleak.

Happytobeasocialist , 2014-09-29 09:13:38

A neoliberal meritocracy would have us believe that success depends on individual effort and talents

There is nothing meritocratic about neoliberlaism. Its about who you know. In the UK things have gone backwards almost to the 1950s. Changes which were brought about by the expansion of universities have pretty much been reversed. The establishment - politics, media, business is dominated by the better=off Oxbridge elite.

AntiTerrorist , 2014-09-29 09:16:42
It is difficult for me to agree. I have grown up within Neoliberalism being 35, but you describe no one I know. People I know weigh up the extra work involved in a promotion and decide whether the sacrifice is worth the extra money/success.

People I know go after their dreams, whether that be farming or finance. I understand what you say, and there is definitely an element within society which values Success above all else, but I do not personally know anyone like that.

JamesValencia AntiTerrorist , 2014-09-29 09:25:40
He's saying people's characters are changed by their environment. That they aren't set in stone, but are a function of culture. And that the socio-cultural shift in the last few decades is a bad thing, and is bad for our characters. In your words: The dreams have changed.

It's convincing, except it isn't as clear as it could be.

AntiTerrorist JamesValencia , 2014-09-29 09:38:49
I understand his principle but as proof, he sites very specific examples...

A highly skilled individual who puts parenting before their career comes in for criticism. A person with a good job who turns down a promotion to invest more time in other things is seen as crazy – unless those other things ensure success. A young woman who wants to become a primary school teacher is told by her parents that she should start off by getting a master's degree in economics – a primary school teacher, whatever can she be thinking of?

This is used as an example to show the shifting mindset. But as I stated, this describes no one I know. We, us, commenting here are society. I agree that there has been a shift in culture and those reaping the biggest financial rewards are the greedy. But has that not always been the way, the self interested have always walked away with the biggest slice, perhaps at the moment that slice has become larger still, but most people still want to have a comfortable life, lived their way. People haven't changed as much as the OP believes.

The great lie is that financial reward is success and happiness.

CityBoy2006 AntiTerrorist , 2014-09-29 09:52:05

This is used as an example to show the shifting mindset. But as I stated, this describes no one I know

Indeed even in the "sociopathic" world of fund management and investment banking, the vast majority of people establish a balance for how they wish to manage their work and professional lives and evaluate decisions in light of them both.

GordonLiddle , 2014-09-29 09:17:21
One could use another word or two, crony capitalism being a particularly good pair. Not what you know but who.
SaulZaentz GordonLiddle , 2014-09-29 09:36:48
Indeed. How come G4S keep winning contracts despite their behaviour being incompetent and veering on criminal, and the fact they are despised pretty much universally. Hardly a meritocracy.
dreamer06 SaulZaentz , 2014-09-29 13:40:16
http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/uk/defence/article3862998.ece
(paywall)

You can add A4E to that list and now Capita who have recruited all of 61 part time soldiers in their contract to replace all the thousands of sacked professionals

Pasdabong ElQuixote , 2014-09-29 09:33:20
.....By "us" of course, you mean commies. I think you are inadvertently demonstrating another of Hares psychopath test features; a lack of empathy and self awareness.
KatieL dieterroth , 2014-09-29 09:58:16
"Since the living standards of majority in this country are on a downward trend"

The oil's running out. Living standards, on average, will continue to decline until either it stops running out or fusion power turns out to work after all.

Whether you have capitalism or socialism won't make any difference to the declining energy input.

dieterroth , 2014-09-29 09:19:32
I'm sure I read an article in the 80s predicting what the author has written. Economics and cultural environment is bound to have an effect on behaviour. We now live in a society that worships at the altar of the cult of the individual. Society and growth of poverty no longer matters, a lone success story proves all those people falling into poverty are lazy good for nothing parasites. The political class claims to be impotent when it comes to making a fairer society because the political class is made up of people who were affluent in the first place or benefited from a neo-liberal rigged economy. The claim is, anything to do with a fair society is social engineering and bound to fail. Well, neo-liberal Britain was socially engineered and it is failing the majority of people in the country.

There is a cognitive dissonance going on in the political narrative of neo-liberalism, not everyone can make it in a neo-liberal society and since neo-liberalism destroys social mobility. Ironically, the height of social mobility in the west, from the gradual rise through the 50s and 60s, was the 70s. The 80s started the the downward trend in social mobility despite all the bribes that went along with introducing the property owning democracy, which was really about chaining people to capitalism.

Johanni dieterroth , 2014-09-29 10:24:23

I'm sure I read an article in the 80s predicting what the author has written.

Well, a transformation of human character was the open battle-cry of 1980s proponents of neoliberalism. Helmut Kohl, the German prime minister, called it the "geistig-moralische Wende", the "spiritual and moral sea-change" - I think people just misunderstood what he meant by that, and laughed at what they saw as empty sloganeering. Now we're reaping what his generation sowed.

thebogusman Johanni , 2014-09-29 13:15:54
Tatcher actually said that the goal of neoliberalism is not new economics but to "change the soul"!
arkley dieterroth , 2014-09-29 18:10:04
OK, now can you tell us why individual freedom is such a bad thing?

The previous period of liberal economics ended a century ago, destroyed by the war whose outbreak we are interminably celebrating. That war and the one that followed a generation later brought in strict government control, even down to what people could eat and wear. Orwell's dystopia of 1984 actually describes Britain's wartime society continuing long after the real wars had ended. It was the slow pace of lifting wartime controls, even slower in Eastern Europe, and the lingering mindset that economies and societies could be directed for "the greater good" no matter what individual costs there were that led to a revival of liberal economics.

Febo , 2014-09-29 09:21:28
Neoliberalism is a mere offshoot of Neofeudalism. Labour and Capital - those elements of both not irretrievably bought-out - must demand the return of The Commons . We must extend our analysis back over centuries , not decades - let's strike to the heart of the matter!
Febo undersinged , 2014-09-29 09:49:03
Both neofeudalism - aka neocolonialism-abroad-and-at-home - and neoliberalism rest on the theft of the Commons - they both support monopoly.
callaspodeaspode undersinged , 2014-09-29 10:11:05
Collectivist ideologies including Fascism, Communism and theocracy are all similar to feudalism.

I've worked in a few large private companies over the years, and my experience is they increasingly resemble some sort of cult, with endless brainwashing programmes for the 'members', charismatic leaders who can do no wrong, groupthink, mandatory utilisation of specialist jargon (especially cod-psychological terminology) to differentiate those 'in' and those 'out', increased blurring of the lines between 'private' and 'work' life (your ass belongs to us 24-7) and of course, constant, ever more complex monitoring of the 'members' for 'heretical thoughts or beliefs'.

'Collectivism' is not as incompatible with capitalism as you seem to think.
You sound like one of those 'libertarians'. Frankly, I think the ideals of such are only realisable as a sole trader, or operating in a very small business.

Progress is restricted because the people are made poor by the predations of the state

Neoliberalism is firmly committed to individual liberty, and therefore to peace and mutual toleration

It is firmly committed to ensuring that the boundaries between private and public entities become blurred, with all the ensuing corruption that entails. In other words, that the state becomes (through the taxpayers) a captured one, delivering a never ending, always growing, revenue stream for favoured players in private enterprise. This is, of course, deliberate. 'Individual liberties and mutual toleration' are only important insomuch as they improve, or detract, from profit-centre activity.

You have difficulty in separating propaganda from reality, but you're barely alone in this.

Lastly, you also misunderstand feudalism, which in the European context, flourished before there was a developed concept of a centralised nation state, indeed, the most classic examples occurred after the decentralisation of an empire or suchlike. The primary feudal relation was between the bondsman/peasant and his local magnate, who in turn, was subject to his liege.

In other words a warrior class bound by vassalage to a nobility, with the peasantry bound by manorialism and to the estates of the Church.

Apart from that though, you're right on everything.

JamesValencia , 2014-09-29 09:21:56
I completely agree with the general sentiment.
The specifics aren't that solid though:

- That we think our characters are independent of context/society: I certainly don't.
- That statement about "bullying is more widespread" - lacks justification.

The general theme of "meritocracy is a fiction" is compelling though.
As is "We are free-er in many ways because those ways no longer have any significance" .

And the most striking idea here: Our characters are partly moulded by society. And neo-liberal society, and it's illusions of freedom, has moulded many of us in ways that bring out the worst in us.

UnironicBeard JamesValencia , 2014-09-29 10:39:08
The Rat Race is a joke. Too many people waste their lives away playing the capitalist game. As long as you've got enough money to keep living you can be happy. Just ignore the pathetic willy-wavers with their flashy cars and logos on their shirts and all that guff
CharlesII JamesValencia , 2014-09-29 13:27:30

- That statement about "bullying is more widespread" - lacks justification.

Absolutely. I stopped reading there. Bullying is noticed now, and seen as a 'bad thing'. In offices 30, 50, years ago, it was standard .

JamesValencia UnironicBeard , 2014-09-29 13:42:50
Preaching to the converted, there, Beard :)

All we need is "enough" - Posession isn't that interesting. More a doorway to doing interesting stuff.
I prefer to cut out the posession and go straight to "do interesting stuff" myself. As long as the rent gets paid and so on, obviously.

Doesn't always work, obviously, but I reckon not wanting stuff is a good start to the good life (ref. to series with Felicity Kendall (and some others) intended :)
That, and Epicurus who I keep mentioning on CIF.

dieterroth undersinged , 2014-09-29 09:26:28
Rather naive. History is full of brilliant individuals who made it. Neo-liberalism has however killed off post war social mobility. In fact according to the OECD report into social mobility, the more egalitarian a developed society is, the more social mobility there is, the more productivity and the less poverty and social problems there are.
dieterroth undersinged , 2014-09-29 09:28:55
"Collectivism gave us Communism, Nazism and universalist religions that try to impose uniformity through the method of mass murder."

Capitalism and free markets gave us them as all were reactions to economic failure and having nothing to lose.

Febo undersinged , 2014-09-29 09:34:05
I agree - the central dilemma is that neither individualism nor collectiviism works.

But is this dilemma real? Is there a third system? Yes there is - Henry George.

George's paradigm in nothing funky, it is simply Classical Liberal Economics - society works best when individuals get to keep the fruits of thier labour, but pay rent for the use of The Commons.
At present we have the opposite - labour and capital are taxed heavily and The commons are monopolised by the 1%.
Hence unemployment
Hence the wealth gap
Hence the environmental crisis
Hence poverty

checkreakity , 2014-09-29 09:23:39
This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn't abide by our community standards . Replies may also be deleted. For more detail see our FAQs .
RidleyWalker , 2014-09-29 09:24:11
So the values and morals that people have are so wafer thin that a variation in the political system governing them can strip them away? Why do the left consistently have such a low opinion of humanity?
NinthLegion RidleyWalker , 2014-09-29 09:26:57
But it's because these values and moralities are so wafer thin that the Right can swing them in precisely the direction they want to. Greed is good!
LouSnickers RidleyWalker , 2014-09-29 09:28:35
They dont like us!

But then, I dont care for them, either!

dieterroth RidleyWalker , 2014-09-29 09:32:10
"Why do the left consistently have such a low opinion of humanity?"

Open your eyes and take a lokk at the world. There is enough wealth in the world for everyone to live free from poverty. Yet, the powerful look after themselves and allow poverty to not only exist but spread.

yamba , 2014-09-29 09:30:07
Reminds me very much of No Country for Old Men , by Cormac McCarthy.
annabelle123 yamba , 2014-09-29 11:00:22
That's a good description of the NHS.
WinstonThatcher , 2014-09-29 09:30:58
It's certainly brought out the worst in the Guardian, publishing as it does oodles of brainless clickbate.
nishville WinstonThatcher , 2014-09-29 11:13:50
>If you've ever dithered over the question of whether the UK needs a written constitution, dither no longer. Imagine the clauses required to preserve the status of the Corporation. "The City of London will remain outside the authority of parliament. Domestic and foreign banks will be permitted to vote as if they were human beings, and their votes will outnumber those cast by real people. Its elected officials will be chosen from people deemed acceptable by a group of medieval guilds …".<
paul643 , 2014-09-29 09:31:59

Bullying used to be confined to schools; now it is a common feature of the workplace.

I don't believe that bullying is new to the workplace., in fact I'd imagine it was worse before the days of elf 'n' safety.

vivientoft paul643 , 2014-09-29 13:05:01
Why do you say that?
annabelle123 , 2014-09-29 09:32:23
I agree with much of this. Working in the NHS, as a clinical psychologist, over the past 25 years, I have seen a huge shift in the behaviour of managers who used to be valued for their support and nurturing of talent, but now are recognised for their brutal and aggressive approach to those beneath them. Reorganisations of services, which take place with depressing frequency, provide opportunities to clear out the older, experienced members of the profession who would have acted as mentors and teachers to the less experienced staff.
saltash1920 annabelle123 , 2014-09-29 09:39:31
I worked in local authority social care, I can certainly see the very close similarities to what you describe in the NHS, and my experience in the local authority.
Davai annabelle123 , 2014-09-29 09:48:06
Yes those were the days when you had people and personnel departments, rather than 'human resources' I suspect. You can blame the USA for that.

Constant reorgs are a sure sign of inept management.

They're also a sure sign of managers who want to 'hang out' with highly-paid, sexy management consultants and hopefully get offered a job.

But you're a psychologist so you know that already!

David Craig's books are worth a read.

annabelle123 saltash1920 , 2014-09-29 10:58:42
I can well imagine there are big similarities. Friends of mine who work in education say the same - there is a complete mismatch between the aims of the directors/managers and that of the professionals actually providing the teaching/therapy/advice to the public. When I go to senior meetings it is very rare that patients are even mentioned.
StVitusGerulaitis , 2014-09-29 09:32:59

Bullying used to be confined to schools; now it is a common feature of the workplace.

This is an incredibly broad generalisation. I remember my grandfather telling me about what went on in the mills he worked in in Glasgow before the war, it sounded like a pretty savage environment if you didn't fit in. It wasn't called bullying, of course.

I put this simple statement to you: meritocratic neoliberalism favours certain personality traits and penalises others.

Isn't this true of pretty much any system? And human relationships in general? I cannot think of a system that is completely blind to the differences between people. If you happen to be lazy or have a problem with authority you will never do as "well" (for want of a better term).

MickGJ StVitusGerulaitis , 2014-09-29 16:15:49

Isn't this true of pretty much any system?

Don't be silly my saintly chum: who ever heard of a psychopath rising to the top in any other system than neo-liberal capitalism?
Socratese , 2014-09-29 09:33:25
I have always said to people who claim they are Liberals that you must support capitalism,the free market,free trade, deregulation etc etc when most of them deny that, I always say you are not a Liberal then you're just cherry-picking the [Liberal] policies you like and the ones you don't like,which is dishonest.
There is nothing neo about Liberalism,it has been around since the 19th century[?].People have been brainwashed in this country [and the USA] since the 1960's to say they are liberals for fear of being accused of being fascists,which is quite another thing.
I have never supported any political ideology,which is what Liberalism is,and believe all of them should be challenged.By doing so you can evolve policies which are fair and just and appropriate to the issue at hand.
pinniped Socratese , 2014-09-29 10:24:59
Ah yes, No True Liberal.
saltash1920 , 2014-09-29 09:34:32
Neoliberalism has only benefited a minority. Usually those with well connected and wealthy families. And of course those who have no hesitation to exploit other's.

In my view, it is characterized by corruption, exploitation and a total lack of social justice. Economically, the whole system is fully dependent on competition not co-operation. One day, the consequences of this total failure will end in violence.

rivendel saltash1920 , 2014-09-29 17:40:04
One day, the consequences of this total failure will end in violence.

And if we keep consuming all our resources on this finite planet in pursuit of profit and more profit there will be no human race we will all be extinct.,and all that will be left is an exhausted polluted planet that once harbored a vast variety of life.
Isent neolibral capitalism great.

Highlights saltash1920 , 2014-09-29 21:52:03

One day, the consequences of this total failure will end in violence.

Violence has already begun, in wars and protests, beheadings and wage cuts which leave people more and more desperate.

PonyBoyUK , 2014-09-29 09:36:18

We tend to perceive our identities as stable and largely separate from outside forces

Which is exactly what we've been led to believe, by outside forces.

For other related films, please see:

The Corporation http://www.thecorporation.com/

and

The Century of the Self http://www.thecorporation.com/

PonyBoyUK PonyBoyUK , 2014-09-29 10:09:55
(doh!)

The Century of the Self - http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-century-of-the-self/

NinthLegion , 2014-09-29 09:40:58
As Marx so often claimed, values, ethics, morality and behaviours are themselves determined by the economic and monetary system under which people live. Stealing is permitted if you are a banker and call it a bonus or interest, murder is permitted if your government sends you to war, surveillance and data mining is permitted if your state tells you there is a danger from terrorists, crime is overlooked if it makes money for the perpetrator, benefit claimants are justified if they belong to an aristocratic caste or political elite.......

There is no universal right or wrong, only that identified as such by the establishment at that particular instance in history, and at that specific place on the planet. Outside that, they have as much relevance today as scriptures instructing that slaves can be raped, adulterers can be stoned or the hands of thieves amputated. Give me the crime and the punishment, and I will give you the time and the place.

Jack3 NinthLegion , 2014-09-29 10:44:31
For a tiny elite sitting on the top everything has been going exactly as it was initially planned.

"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men
living together in Society, they create for themselves in the
course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a
moral code that glorifies it".
F. Bastiat.

Finn_Nielsen Jack3 , 2014-09-29 10:58:47
Bastiat was closer to a neoliberal than a Marxist...
skagway Jack3 , 2014-09-30 14:48:40
very true.
Pasdabong , 2014-09-29 09:41:24
Excellent article.
I'm amazed that more isn't made of the relationship between political environment/systems and their effect on the individual. Oliver James Affluenza makes a compelling case for the unhappiness outputs of societies who've embraced neo liberalism yet we still blindly pursue it.
The US has long been world leader in both the demand and supply of psychotherapy and the relentless pursuit of free market economics. these stats are not unconnected.
abugaafar , 2014-09-29 09:42:40
I once had a colleague with the knack of slipping into his conversation complimentary remarks that other people had made about him. It wasn't the only reason for his rapid ascent to great heights, but perhaps it helped.
ThroatWobblaMangrove abugaafar , 2014-09-29 22:58:31
That's one of my favourite characteristics of David Brent from 'The Office'. "You're all looking at me, you're going, "Well yeah, you're a success, you've achieved you're goals, you're reaping the rewards, sure. But, OI, Brent. Is all you care about chasing the Yankee dollar?"
crasspymctabernacle , 2014-09-29 09:42:47
This description is, of course, a caricature taken to extremes

Not when applied to IDS and other members of the cabinet.

BlueBrightFuture , 2014-09-29 09:43:50
Neoliberalism is another Social Darwinist driven philosophy popularised after leading figures of our times (or rather former times) decided Malthus was probably correct.

So here we have it, serious growth in population, possibly unsustainable, and a growing 'weak will perish, strong will survive' mentality. The worst thing is I used to believe in neoliberal policies, until of course I understood the long term ramifications.

PonyBoyUK BlueBrightFuture , 2014-09-29 10:11:45
It's a really good idea, - until you start thinking about it...
AlbertaRabbit BlueBrightFuture , 2014-09-29 10:27:02
And then there's reality.

And the reality is that "neoliberalism" has, in the last few decades, freed hundreds of millions in the developing word from a subsistence living to something resembling a middle class lifestyle.

This has resulted in both plummeting global poverty statistics and in greatly reduced fecundity, so that we will likely see a leveling off of global population in the next few decades. And this slowing down of population growth is the most critical thing we could for increasing sustainability.

BlueBrightFuture PonyBoyUK , 2014-09-29 10:33:06
I suspect the logical conclusion of the free market is that the State will become formally superseded by an oligopoly - perhaps the energy sector.

I also suspect at least one third of the population in over-developed countries will simply become surplus to requirement.

Everybody wants an iPhone, nobody wants to work in Foxconn.

jimcol , 2014-09-29 09:44:45
It is rooted, I think, in the prevailing idea that what we own is more important than what we do. Consumerism grown and fostered by the greedy.
vacuous jimcol , 2014-09-29 19:17:20
The problem is a judeo-christian idea of "free choice" when experiments, undertaken by Benjamin Libet and since, indicate that it is near to unlikely for there to be volitionally controlled conscious decisions.

http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/v11/n5/abs/nn.2112.html

If we are not even free to intend and control our decisions, thoughts and ambitions, how can anyone claim to be morally entitled to ownership of their property and have a 'right' to anything as a reward for what decisions they made? Happening is pure luck: meaningful [intended] responsibility and accountability cannot be claimed for decisions and actions and so entitlement cannot be claimed for what acquisitions are causally obtained from those decisions and actions.There is no 'just desserts' or decision-derived entitlement justification for wealth and owning property unless the justifier has a superstitious and scientifically unfounded belief in free choice.

CityBoy2006 , 2014-09-29 09:47:04

Bullying used to be confined to schools; now it is a common feature of the workplace

Compared to say, that experienced by domestic staff in big houses, small children in factories, perhaps even amongst miners, dockers and steel workers in the halcyon days of the post-war decade when apparently everything was rosy?

This whole article is a hodge podge of anecdote and flawed observations designed to shoehorn behaviour into a pattern that supports an economic hypothesis - it is factually groundless.

Catonaboat CityBoy2006 , 2014-09-29 10:09:47
Well I'd say he was spot on, when someone with the handle CityBoy2006 his a classic work place tantrum over the article.
HarryTheHorse CityBoy2006 , 2014-09-29 11:13:24

Compared to say, that experienced by domestic staff in big houses, small children in factories

Yes, but if it was left to people like you, children would still be working in factories. So please do not take credit for improvements that you would fight tooth and nail against

perhaps even amongst miners, dockers and steel workers in the halcyon days of the post-war decade when apparently everything was rosy?

They had wages coming to them and didn't need to rely on housing benefit to keep a roof over their head. Now people like you bitterly complain about poorly paid workers getting benefits to sustain them.

Slapchips , 2014-09-29 09:47:28
People who "work hard and play hard" are nearly always kidding themselves about the second bit.

It seems to me that the trend in the world of neoliberalism is to think that "playing hard" is defined as "playing with expensive, branded toys" during your two week annual holiday.

Davai Slapchips , 2014-09-29 09:52:24
'Playing hard' in the careerist lexicon = getting blind drunk to mollify the feelings of despair and emptiness which typify a hollow, debt-soaked life defined by motor cars and houses.

All IM(NVH)O, of course. DYOR.

Sammy_89 Davai , 2014-09-29 09:56:06
Pays for schools and hospitals, though
Davai Sammy_89 , 2014-09-29 09:59:43
Oh we had those before 1989.

It isn't a binary 'naked selfish captalist/socialist decision'. There is middle ground.

eldorado99 , 2014-09-29 09:49:50
"support any political movement we like."

Except those which have privacy from state surveillance as their core tenet.

ID12345 , 2014-09-29 09:50:07
Green Party: We need to fight Neoliberalism.
Loadsofspace , 2014-09-29 09:51:42
The "Max Factor" life. Selfishness and Greed. The compaction of life. Was it not in a scripture in text?. The Bible. We as humans and followers of "Faith" in christian beliefs and the culture of love they fellow man. The culture of words are a root to all "Evil. Depending on "Who's" the Author and Scrolling the words; and for what reason?. The only way we can save what is left on this planet and save man kind. Is eradicate the above "Selfishness and Greed" ?
ForwardMarch , 2014-09-29 09:51:50

We are indeed freer than before, in the sense that we can criticise religion, take advantage of the new laissez-faire attitude to sex and support any political movement we like. We can do all these things because they no longer have any significance – freedom of this kind is prompted by indifference.

These changes listed (and then casually dismissed) are monumental social achievements. Many countries in the world do not permit their 'citizens' such freedom of choice and I for one am very grateful to live in a country where these things are possible.

Of course there is much more to be done. But I would suggest that to be born in Western Europe today is probably about as safe, comfortable, and free than at any time and any place in human history. I'm not being complacent about what we still have to achieve. But we won't achieve anything if we take such a flippant attitude towards all the amazing things that have been bequeathed to us.

CityBoy2006 ForwardMarch , 2014-09-29 09:55:24
Excellent observation, it's the same way that technology that has quite clearly changed our lives and given us access to information, opportunity to travel and entertainment that would have been beyond the comprehension of our grandparents is dismissed as irrelevant because its just a smart phone and a not a job for life in a British Leyland factory.
Finn_Nielsen ForwardMarch , 2014-09-29 10:09:36
It takes a peculairly spoilt and arrogant Westerner to claim that the freedom to criticise religion isn't significant or that we're only allowed to do so because it's no longer important. Tell that to a girl seeking to escape an arranged marriage in Bradford...
HarryTheHorse CityBoy2006 , 2014-09-29 11:15:51
So being able to have a smart phone compensates for not having a secure place to live? What an absurd bubble you metropolitan types live in.
Harry Palmer , 2014-09-29 09:52:22
OK. Now off you go and apply the same methodology to people living in statist societies, or just have a go at our own civil service or local government workers. Try social workers or the benefits agency or the police.

Let us know what you find.

WindTurbine , 2014-09-29 09:53:31
The author makes some good points, although I wouldn't necessarily call our system a meritocracy.
I guess the key one is how unaware we are about the influence of economic policy on our values.
This kind of systems hurts everyday people and rewards psychopaths, and is damaging to society as a whole over the long term.
Targetising everything is really insidious.
jclucas , 2014-09-29 09:53:32
That neoliberalism puts tremendous pressure on individuals to conform to materialistic norms is undeniable, but for a psychotherapist to disallow the choice of those individuals to nevertheless choose how to live is an admission of failure.

In fact, many people today experience the shallowness and corrupt character of market society and elect either to be in it, but not of it, or to opt out early having made enough money, often making a conscious choice to relinquish the 'trappings' in return for a more meaningful existence. Some do selfless service to their fellow human beings, to the environment or both, and thereby find a degree of fulfillment that they always wanted.

To surrender to the external demands of a superficial and corrupting life is to ignore the tremendous opportunity human life offers to all: self realization.

WindTurbine jclucas , 2014-09-29 10:01:42
It's not either-or, system or individual, but some combination of the two.
Decision making may be 80% structure and 20% individual choice for the mainstream - or maybe the other way round for the rebels amongst us that try to reject the system.

The theory of structuration (Giddens) provides one explanation of how social systems develop through the interactions between the system and actors in it.

I partly agree with you but I think examples of complete self realisation are extremely rare. That means stepping completely out of the system and out of our own personality. Neither this nor that.

jclucas WindTurbine , 2014-09-29 10:21:57
The point is that the individual has the choice to move in the right direction. When and if they do make a decision to change their life, it will be fulfilling for them and for the system.
AlbertaRabbit , 2014-09-29 09:54:07

Our presumed freedom is tied to one central condition: we must be successful – that is, "make" something of ourselves. You don't need to look far for examples. A highly skilled individual who puts parenting before their career comes in for criticism. A person with a good job who turns down a promotion to invest more time in other things is seen as crazy – unless those other things ensure success.

I have been in the private sector for generations, and know tons of people who have behaved precisely as described above. I don't know anyone who calls them crazy. In fact, I see the exact opposite tendency - the growing acceptance that money isn't everything, and that once one has achieved a certain level of success and financial security that it is fine to put other priorities first rather than simply trying to acquire ever more.

arkley AlbertaRabbit , 2014-09-29 09:59:50
The ATL article is rather stuffed full of stereotypes.

And speaking personally, I have turned down two offers of promotion to a management position in the last ten years and neither time did I get the sense people thought I was crazy. They might have done if I were in my late twenties rather than mid-fifties but that does reinforce the notion that people - even bosses - can accept that there is more to life than a career.

Sammy_89 arkley , 2014-09-29 10:04:29
I agree about the stereotypes. Also, has anyone ever seriously advised a primary school teacher that they need a masters degree of economics?! I highly doubt that that is the norm!
MickGJ Sammy_89 , 2014-09-29 16:18:57

Also, has anyone ever seriously advised a primary school teacher that they need a masters degree of economics?! I

Sounds more like parents advising an exceptionally bright child to go as far as she can with her education before she starts work.

I can't see why a primary school teacher should be dissuaded from doing a master's degree.

arkley , 2014-09-29 09:55:46
How does that navel look today?

I hate to break it to you but no matter how you organise society the nasty people get to the top and the nice people end up doing all the work. "Neo-liberalism" is no different.

Sammy_89 arkley , 2014-09-29 10:02:10
Or you could put it another way - 'neoliberalism' is the least worst economic/social system, because most people are far more powerless and far more worse off under any other system that has ever been developed by man...
TeddyFrench arkley , 2014-09-29 10:06:38
For a start you need a system that is not based on rewarding and encouraging the worst aspects of our characters. I try to encourage my kids not to be greedy, to be honest and to care about others but in this day and age it's an uphill struggle.
Finn_Nielsen Sammy_89 , 2014-09-29 10:11:42
It's a funny kind of neoliberalism we're supposedly suffering under when you consider the ratio of state spending to GDP...
regfromdagenham , 2014-09-29 09:57:13
"A neoliberal meritocracy would have us believe that success depends on individual effort and talents, meaning responsibility lies entirely with the individual and authorities should give people as much freedom as possible to achieve this goal."

In the UK we have nothing like a meritocracy with a privately educated elite.

Success and failure are just about parental wealth.

Willhelm123 , 2014-09-29 09:57:41
I kind of see the point of this. What's the alternative though?
MickGJ Willhelm123 , 2014-09-29 16:23:10

I kind of see the point of this. What's the alternative though?

Doing some research?
gcarth , 2014-09-29 09:57:45
"So the values and morals that people have are so wafer thin that a variation in the political system governing them can strip them away? Why do the left consistently have such a low opinion of humanity?"

RidleyWalker, I can assue you that it is not the left but the right who consistently have a low opinion of humanity. Anyway, what has left and right got to do with this? There are millions of ordinary decent people whose lives are blighted by the obscentity that is neo-liberalism. Neo-liberalism is designed to make the rich richer at the expense of the poor. Neo-liberalism is responsible for the misery for millions across the globe. The only happy ones are those at the top of the heap...until even their bloated selfish world inevitably implodes.
Of course these disgusting parasites are primitive thinkers and cannot see that we could have a better, happier world for everyone if societies become more equal. Studies demonstrate that more equal societies are more stable and content than those with ever-widening gaps in wealth between rich and poor.

injinoo gcarth , 2014-09-29 10:01:41
Which studies and which equal societies are you referring to. It would be good to know in order to cheer us all up a bit.
Sammy_89 gcarth , 2014-09-29 10:08:52
Neoliberalism...disgusting parasites...primitive thinkers...misery of millions...bloated selfish world

This reads like a Soviet pamphlet from the 1930's. Granted you've replaced the word 'capitalism' with 'neoliberalism' - in other words subsstituted one meaningless abstraction for another. It wasn't true then and it certainly isnt true now...

injinoo , 2014-09-29 09:59:38
Not sure why you think all this is new or attributable to neoliberalism. Things were much the same in the 1960's and 1970's. All that has changed is that instead of working on assembly lines in factories under the watchful gaze of a foreman we now have university degrees and sit in cubicles pressing buttons on keyboards. Micromanagement, bureaucracy, rules and regulations are as old as the hills. Office politics has replaced shop floor politics; the rich are still rich and the poor are still poor.
Sammy_89 injinoo , 2014-09-29 10:10:20
Well, except that people have more money, live longer and have more opportunities in life than before - most people anyway. The ones left behind are the ones we need to worry about
rosemary152 injinoo , 2014-09-29 14:32:18

Things were much the same in the 1960's and 1970's.

There is a difference. We now have the psychopathic-tendency merchants in charge, both of the banks, multinationals and our government.

MickGJ injinoo , 2014-09-29 16:24:51

Not sure why you think all this is new or attributable to neoliberalism. Things were much the same in the 1960's and 1970's.

And you can read far more excoriating critiques of our shallow materialistic capitalism, culture from those decades, now recast as some sort of prelapsarian Golden Age.
regfromdagenham , 2014-09-29 10:00:59
The psychopaths have congregated in Wall Street and the City.

One of the problems with psychopaths is that they never learn form mistakes.

Anyone that is watching will realise we are well on our way to the next Wall Street Crash - part 3.

Wall Street Crash Part 1 - 1929
Wall Street Crash Part 2 - 2008
Wall Street Crash Part 3 - soon

Each is bigger and better than the last - there may not be much left after Part 3.

injinoo regfromdagenham , 2014-09-29 10:03:58
Actually, the 1929 crash was not the first by any means. The boom and bust cycle of modern economics goes back a lot further. When my grandparents talked about the "Great Depression" they were referring to the 1890's.
regfromdagenham injinoo , 2014-09-29 10:05:24
The financial psychopaths never learn!
Isiodore injinoo , 2014-09-29 10:49:57
The nineteenth century saw major financial crises in almost every decade, 1825, 1837, 1847, 1857, 1866 before we even get to the Great Depression of 1873-96.
harrogateandrew , 2014-09-29 10:01:24
And Socialism doesn't!

Socialism seems to be happy home of corruption & nepotism. The old saw that Tory MP's are brought down by sex scandals whilst Labour MP's have issues with money still holds.

Portman23 harrogateandrew , 2014-09-29 10:06:13
Why is that relevant? This is a critique of neo liberalism and it is a very accurate one at that. It isn't suggesting that Socialism is better or even offers an alternative, just that neo liberalism has failed society and explores some of how and why.
TeddyFrench , 2014-09-29 10:01:25
The main problem is that neoliberalism is a faith dressed up as a science and any evidence that disproves the hypothesis (e.g. the 2008 financial collapse) only helps to reinforce the faith of the fundamentalists supporting it.
AlbertaRabbit TeddyFrench , 2014-09-29 10:10:36
The reason why "neoliberalism" is so successful is precisely because the evidence shows it does work. It has not escaped peoples' notice that nations where governments heavily curtail individual and commercial freedom are often rather wretched places to live.
TeddyFrench AlbertaRabbit , 2014-09-29 10:31:54
You conflate individual freedom with corporate freedom.

Also, what happened in 2008 then? Anything to do with the hubris over free markets and de-regulation or was it just a blip?

JonPurrtree TeddyFrench , 2014-09-29 11:16:25
It would be nice to curtail coprorate freedom without curtailing the freedom of individuals. I don't see how that might work.

"hubris over free markets" might well be it.
But I might be understanding that in a different way from you. People were making irrational decisions that didn't seem to take on basic logic of a free market, or even common sense. Such as "where is all this money coming from" (madoff, house ladder), "of course this will work" (fred goodwin and his takeovers) and even "will i get my money back" (sub-prime lending).

hansen , 2014-09-29 10:02:14
So why don't we do something about it....genuinely? There appears to be no power left in voting unless people are given an actual choice....Is it not time then to to provide a well grounded articulate choice? The research, in many different disciplines, is already out there.
menedemus hansen , 2014-09-29 10:27:39
What can we do? It appears we are stuck between the Labour party and the Conservatives. Is it even possible for another party to come to power with the next couple of elections?
ElDanielfire menedemus , 2014-09-29 11:41:06
The Lib Dems? ;)
gandrew hansen , 2014-09-29 13:04:53
the Greens, clearly.
AlbertaRabbit , 2014-09-29 10:03:31

The sociologist Zygmunt Bauman neatly summarised the paradox of our era as: "Never have we been so free. Never have we felt so powerless." We are indeed freer than before, in the sense that we can criticise religion, take advantage of the new laissez-faire attitude to sex and support any political movement we like. We can do all these things because they no longer have any significance – freedom of this kind is prompted by indifference. Yet, on the other hand, our daily lives have become a constant battle against a bureaucracy that would make Kafka weak at the knees. There are regulations about everything, from the salt content of bread to urban poultry-keeping.

Verhaeghe begins by criticizing free markets and "neo-liberalism", but ends by criticizing the huge, stifling government bureaucracy that endeavours to micro-manage every aspect of its citizens lives, and is the opposite of true classic liberalism.

Must be confusing for him.

Oscar Mandiaz AlbertaRabbit , 2014-09-30 01:37:24
probably not as confusing as it seems to be for you.
this is just the difference between neoliberalism in theory and in practise.
like the "real existierende sozialismus" in eastern germany fell somewhat short of the brilliant utopia of the theorists.
verhaeghe does not criticise the theoretical model, but the practical outcome. And the worst governmant and corporate bureaucracy that mankind has ever seen is part of it. The result of 30+ years of neoliberal policies.
In my experience this buerocracy is gets worse in anglo saxon countries closest to the singularity at the bottom of the neolib black hole.
I am aware that this is only a correlation, but correlations, while they do not prove causation, still require explanation.
Bloreheath , 2014-09-29 10:03:35
Some time ago, and perhaps still, it was/is fashionable for Toryish persons to denigrate the 1960s. I look back to that decade with much nostalgia. Nearly everyone had a job of sorts, not terribly well paid but at least it was a job. And now? You are compelled to toil your guts out, kiss somebody's backside, run up unpayable debts - and, in the UK, live in a house that in many other countries would have been demolished decades ago. Scarcely a day passes when I am not partly disgusted at what has overtaken my beloved country.
LargeMarvin Bloreheath , 2014-09-29 11:25:19
And scooters were 150s and 200s.
capchaos , 2014-09-29 10:04:26
An excellent article! The culture of the 80's has ruled for too long and its damage done.... its down to our youth to start to shape things now and I think that's beginning to happen.
Davai capchaos , 2014-09-29 10:20:12
Is it?

I think the levels of debt amongst young 'consumers' would suggest otherwise.

They are after all, only human. Prone to want the baubles dangled in front of them, as are we all.

Gogoh , 2014-09-29 10:06:33
Brilliant article.
IGrumble , 2014-09-29 10:13:27
Neo-Liberalism as operated today. "Greed is Good" and senior bankers and those who sell and buy money, commodities etc; are diven by this trait of humankind.

But we, the People are just as guilty with our drives for 'More'. More over everything, even shopping at the supermarket - "Buy one & get ten free", must have.

Designer ;bling;, clothes, shoes, bags, I-Pads etc etc, etc. It is never ending. People seem to be scared that they haven't got what next has, and next will think that they are 'Not Cool'.

We, the people should be satisfied with what have got, NOT what what we havn't got. Those who "want" (masses of material goods) usually "Dont get!"

The current system is unsustainable as the World' population rises and rises. Nature (Gaia) will take care of this through disease, famine, and of course the stupidity of Humankind - wars, destruction and general stupidity.

pinniped , 2014-09-29 10:13:49
What's a meritocracy? Oh, that's right - a fable that people who have a lot of money deserve it somehow because they're so much better than the people who work for a living.
Keo2008 , 2014-09-29 10:13:54

Neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us

Speak for yourself.

Some of us are just as kind and tolerant as we have always been.

Huples Keo2008 , 2014-09-29 10:37:19
The world is nastier than it was before outsourcing and efficiencies.
I am glad you have emerged unscathed

However be happy he is speaking as it allows your natural tolerance to shine ;-)

AlbertaRabbit Huples , 2014-09-29 11:34:05
The world was an even nastier place before the current era. During the 1970s and early 1980s there was huge inflation which robbed people of their saving, high unemployment, and (shudder) Disco.

People tend to view the past with rose-coloured glasses.

Finn_Nielsen , 2014-09-29 10:15:28
What neoliberalism? We've got a mixed economy, which seemingly upsets both those on the right who wish to cut back the state and those on the left who'd bolster it.
Isiodore , 2014-09-29 10:16:21
I work in a law firm specialising in M&A, hardly the cuddliest of environments, but I recognise almost nothing here as a description of my work place. Sure, some people are wankers but that's true everywhere.
alazarin , 2014-09-29 10:16:26
I'm enjoying watching the logical and conceptual contortions of Kippers on CiF attempting to positions themselves as being against neo-liberalism.
Finn_Nielsen , 2014-09-29 10:17:26

You don't need to look far for examples.

Indeed not, you just made a few up.

Babartov , 2014-09-29 10:19:39
human socieity has always rewarded aggressive individuals willing to tread on others.

it's how we roll

pauledwards1000 , 2014-09-29 10:20:17

"Bullying used to be confined to schools".

That is patently untrue. Have you ever been outside your home and do you actually know anyone?

PeteCW pauledwards1000 , 2014-09-29 10:32:52
Have you ever been outside your home and do you actually know anyone?

This sentence could usefully be applied to the entire article.

Gogoh , 2014-09-29 10:20:46
FDR, the Antichrist of the American Right, famously said that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. And here we are with this ideology which in many ways stokes the fear. The one thing these bastards don't want most of us to feel is secure.
freepedestrian , 2014-09-29 10:23:16
There is no "free market" anywhere. That is a fantasy. It is a term used when corporations want to complain about regulations. What we have in most industrialized countries is corporate socialism wherein corporations get to internalize profits and externalize costs and losses. It has killed of our economies and our middle class.
dr8765 freepedestrian , 2014-09-29 11:35:11
True. All markets are constructs. Each simply operates according to the parameters put in place by those who have constructed it.

Socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor has almost become a cliche, but that doesn't make it any less true.

iruka , 2014-09-29 10:26:05
Socialism or barbarism -- a starker choice today than when the phrase was coined.

So long, at least, as we have an evolved notion of what socialism entails. Which means, please, not the state capitalism + benign paternalism that it's unfortunately come to mean for most people, in the course of its parasitical relationship with capitalism proper, and so with all capitalism's inventions (the 'nation', the modern bureaucracy, ever-more-efficient exploitation to cumulatively alienating ends......)

It's just as unfortunate, in this light, that the term 'self-management' has been appropriated by the ideologues of pseudo-meritocracy, in just the way the article describes..

Because it's also a term (from the French autogestion) used to describe what I'd argue is the most nuanced and sophisticated collectivist alternative to capitalism -- an alternative that is at one and the same time a rejection of capitalism.... and of the central role of the state and 'nation' (that phony, illusory community that plays a more central role in empowering the modern state than does its monopoly on violence)... and of the ideology of growth, and of the ideal of monolithic, ruthlessly efficient economic totalities organised to this end....

It's a rejection, in other words, of all those things contemplation of which reminds us just how little fundamental difference there is between capitalism and the system cobbled together on the fly by the Bolsheviks -- same vertical organisation to the ends of the same exploitation, same exploitation to the ends of expanding the scope and scale of vertical organisation, all of it with the same destructive effects on the sociabilities of everyday life....

Self-management in this sense goes beyond 'workers control'; (I'd argue that) it envisions a society in which most aspects of life have been cut free from the ties that bind people vertically to sources of influence and control, however they're constituted (private and public bureaucracies, market pressures, the illusory narratives of nation, mass media and commodity...).

The horizontal ties of workplace and local community would thus be constitutive, by default, and society as a whole would become very little more than the sum of its parts -- mutating on a molecular local level as people collectively and democratically decided, in circumstances that actually granted them the power to do so, how to balance the conflicting needs and desires and necessities that a complex society and a complex division of labour present. 'Balance' because there really isn't any prospect of a utopian resolution of these conflicts -- they come with civilisation -- or with barbarism, for than matter, in any of its modern incarnations.

Etc. etc.. Avoiding work again.....

Finn_Nielsen iruka , 2014-09-29 10:44:27
What about those who disagree with such a radical reordering of society? How would the collective deal with those who wished to exploit it?
I'm genuinely interested, beats working...
AlbertaRabbit iruka , 2014-09-29 11:18:41

The horizontal ties of workplace and local community would thus be constitutive, by default, and society as a whole would become very little more than the sum of its parts -- mutating on a molecular local level as people collectively and democratically decided, in circumstances that actually granted them the power to do so, how to balance the conflicting needs and desires and necessities that a complex society and a complex division of labour present.

Why do socialists so often resort to such turgid, impenetrable prose? Could it be an attempt to mask the vacuity of their position?

Catonaboat , 2014-09-29 10:26:13
I read this article skeptically, but then realised how accurately he described my workplace. Most people I know on the outside have nice middle class lives, but underneath it suffer from anxiety, about 1 not putting enough into their careers 2 not spending enough time with their kids. When I decided to cut my work hours in half when I had a child, 2 of my colleagues were genuinely concerned for me over things like, I might be let go, how would I cope with the drop in money, I was cutting my chances of promotion, how would it look in a review. The level of anxiety was frightening.

People on the forum seem to be criticizing what they see as the authors flippant attitude to sexual freedom and lack of religious hold, but I see the authors point, what good are these freedoms when we are stuck in the stranglehold of no job security and huge mortgage debt. Yes you can have a quick shag with whoever you want and don't need to answer to anyone over it on a Sunday, but come Monday morning its back to the the ever sharpening grindstone.

Norfolk , 2014-09-29 10:26:18
This reminds me of the world I started to work in in 1955. I accept that by 1985 it was ten times worse and by the time I retired in 2002, after 47 years, I was very glad to have what I called "survived". At its worst was the increasing difference between the knowledge base of "the boss" when technology started to kick in. I was called into the boss's office once to be criticised for the length of a report. It had a two page summery of the issue and options for resolving the problem. I very meekly inquired if he had decided on any of the options to resolve the problem. What options are you talking about? was his response, which told me that either he had not read the report or did not understand the problem. This was the least of my problems as I later had to spend two days in his office explaining the analysis we (I) were submitting to the Board.
Fooster , 2014-09-29 10:26:35

A highly skilled individual who puts parenting before their career comes in for criticism. A person with a good job who turns down a promotion to invest more time in other things is seen as crazy – unless those other things ensure success. A young woman who wants to become a primary school teacher is told by her parents that she should start off by getting a master's degree in economics – a primary school teacher, whatever can she be thinking of?

Ladies, step away from the jobs.
MissingInActon , 2014-09-29 10:27:29
Speak for yourself.
The current economic situation affects each of us as much as we allow it to. Some may well love neo-liberalism and the concomitant dog eat dog attitude, but there are some of us who regard it as little more than a culture of self-enrichment through lies and aggression. I see it as such, and want nothing to do with it.
If you live by money and power, you'll die by money and power. I prefer to live and work with consensus and co-operation.
I'll never be rich, but I'll never have many enemies.
Jack3 MissingInActon , 2014-09-29 11:30:37

I see it as such, and want nothing to do with it.

Spot on. Neither I.

fanofzapffe , 2014-09-29 10:28:07
I have a book to promote against the 'success narrative'. I'm hoping it fails.
slorter , 2014-09-29 10:30:18
Hedge-fund and private-equity managers, investment bankers, corporate lawyers, management consultants, high-frequency traders, and top lobbyists.They're getting paid vast sums for their labors. Yet it seems doubtful that society is really that much better off because of what they do. They play zero-sum games that take money out of one set of pockets and put it into another. They demand ever more cunning innovations but they create no social value. High-frequency traders who win by a thousandth of a second can reap a fortune, but society as a whole is no better off. the games consume the energies of loads of talented people who might otherwise be making real contributions to society - if not by tending to human needs or enriching our culture then by curing diseases or devising new technological breakthroughs, or helping solve some of our most intractable social problems. Robert Reich said this and I am compelled to agree with him!
nishville , 2014-09-29 10:33:03
Brilliant article. It is not going to change anything, of course, because majority of people of this planet would cooperate with just about any psychopath clever enough not to take away from them that last bit of stinking warm mud to wallow in.

Proof? Read history books and take a look around you. We are the dumbest animals on Earth.

PeteCW nishville , 2014-09-29 10:38:25
Yeah - people are stupid scum aren't they? 'Take a look around you' - wallowing in stinking warm mud all the time. Dumb animals.

Elsewhere in this comment - being a clever psychopath is not nice.

Finn_Nielsen PeteCW , 2014-09-29 10:45:42
I'm not sure I want anything changed by those who hold humanity in contempt...
petrolheadpaul nishville , 2014-09-29 11:22:14
Rubbish. We are the most intelligent and successful creature that this planet has ever seen. We have become capable of transforming it, leaving it and destroying it.

No other species has come close to any of those.

SpursSupporter , 2014-09-29 10:34:29

Bullying used to be confined to schools; now it is a common feature of the workplace.

I started work nearly 40 years ago and there were always some bullies in the workplace. Maybe there are more now, I don't know but I suspect it is more widely reported now. Workplace bullies were something of a given when I started work and it was an accepted part of the working environment.

Be careful about re-inventing history to suit your own arguments.

richiep40 , 2014-09-29 10:35:01
I'm surprised the normalization of debt was not mentioned. If you are debt free you have more chance of making decisions that don't fit into the model.

So what do we do now, we train nearly 50% of our young that having large amounts of debt is perfectly normal. When I was a student I lived off the grant and had a much lower standard of living than I can see students having now, but of course I had no debt when I graduated. I know student debt is administered differently, I'm talking about the way we are training them to accept debt of all sorts.

Same applies to consumerism inducing the 'I want it and I want it now', increases personal debt, therefore forcing people to fit in, same applies to credit cards and lax personal lending.

Although occasionally there are economic questions about large amounts of personal debt, politically high personal debt is ideal.

PeteCW , 2014-09-29 10:35:45
All this article proves is that you've read, and can quote from, books written by other academics that you agree with.
TheKernel PeteCW , 2014-09-29 10:41:36
Not sure if you're in the sector, in large parts that's kind of how academia works?

This is also what's referred to in the trade as an opinion piece, where an author will be presenting his views and substantiating them with reference to the researches of others.

Quite simple, really.

Sputnikchaser , 2014-09-29 10:38:33
There is no mystery to neoliberalism -- it is an economic system designed to benefit the 0.1% and leave the rest of us neck deep in shit. That's why our children will be paying for the bankers' bonuses to the day they die. Let's celebrate this new found freedom with all the rest of the Tory lickspittle apologists. Yippee for moral bankruptcy -- three cheers!
Themiddlegound , 2014-09-29 10:39:51
David Harvey wrote the best book ever written on the subject.

http://www.sok.bz/web/media/video/ABriefHistoryNeoliberalism.pdf

It's only 200 pages but by god did he nail it.


The Simple Summary is the state/ royality used to hold all the power over the merchants and the public for centuries. Bit by bit the merchants stripped that power away from royality, until eventually the merchants have now taken over everybody. The merchants hold all the power now and they will never give that up as there is nobody to take it from them. By owning the state the merchants now have everything that go with it. The army, police and the laws and the media.

David Harvey puts it all under the microscope and explains in great detail how they've achieved their end game over the last 40 years.

There are millions of economists and many economic theories in our universities. Unfortunately, the merchants will only fund and advertise and support economic theories that further their power and wealth.

As history shows time and time again it will be the public who rip this power from their hands. If they don't give it up it is only a matter of time. The merchants may now own the army, the police, the laws and the parliament. They'll need all of that and more if the public decide to say enough is enough.

Sidefill , 2014-09-29 10:40:51
Bullying used to be confined to schools? Can't agree with that at all. Bullying is an ingrained human tendency which manifests in many contexts, from school to work to military to politics to matters of faith. It is only bad when abused, and can help to form self-confidence.

I am not sure what "neo" means but liberal economics is the basis of the Western economies since the end of feudalism. Some countries have had periods of pronounced social democracy or even socialism but most of western Europe has reverted to the capitalist model and much of the former east bloc is turning to it. As others have noted in the CiF, this does not preclude social policies designed to alleviate the unfair effects of the liberal economies.

But this ship has sailed in other words, the treaties which founded the EU make it clear the system is based on Adam Smith-type free market thinking. (Short of leaving the EU I don't see how that can be changed in its essentials).

Finally, socialist countries require much more conformity of individuals than capitalist ones. So you have to look at the alternatives, which this article does not from what I could see.

jet199 , 2014-09-29 10:42:40
To be honest I don't think Neoliberalism has made much of a difference in the UK where personal responsibility has always been king. In the Victorian age people were quite happy to have people staving to death on the streets and before that people's problems were usually seen as either their own fault or an act of God (which would also be your own fault due to sin). If anything we are kinder to strangers now, than we have been, but are slipping back into our old habits.
I think the best way to combat extreme liberalism is to be knowing about our culture and realise that liberalism is something which is embedded in British culture and is not something imposed on us from else where or by some -ism. It is strengthen not just by politics but also by language and the way we deal with personal and social issues in our own lives. We also need to acknowledge that we get both good and bad things out of living in a liberal society but that doesn't mean we have to put up with the bad stuff. We can put measures in place to prevent the bad stuff and still enjoy the positives even though some capitalists may throw their toys out of the pram.
ForgottenVoice jet199 , 2014-09-29 10:46:38
Personal responsibility is EXACTLY what neoliberalism avoids, even as it advocates it with every breath.

What it means is that you get as much responsibility as you can afford to foist onto someone else, so a very wealthy person gets none at all. It's always someone else's fault.

Neoliberalism has actually undermined personal responsibility at every single step, delegating it according to wealth or perceived worth.

dairymaid jet199 , 2014-09-29 11:37:13
If Liberalism is the mindset of the British how come we created the NHS, Legal Aid, universal education and social security? These were massive achievements of a post war generation and about as far removed from today's evil shyster politics as it is possible to be.
NaturalOutswing , 2014-09-29 10:43:32
"Our society constantly proclaims that anyone can make it if they just try hard enough, all the while reinforcing privilege and putting increasing pressure on its overstretched and exhausted citizens"

What to people mean when they use the word "society" in this context?

gjjwatson , 2014-09-29 10:46:23
When we stopped having jobs and had careers instead, the rot set in. A career is the promotion of the self and a job the means to realise that goal at the expense of everyone else around you.
The description of psychopathic behaviour perfectly describes a former boss of mine (female). I liked her but knew how dangerous she was. She went easy on me because she knew that I could do the job that she would claim credit for.
The pressure and stress of, for example open plan offices and evaluation reports are all part of the conscious effort on behalf of employers to ensure compliance with this poisonous attitude.
The greatest promoter of this philosophy is the Media, step forward Evan Davies, the slobbering lap dog of the rich and powerful.
On the positive side I detect a growing realisation among normal people of the folly of this worldview.
RamjetMan gjjwatson , 2014-09-29 10:53:56
Self promoters are generally psychopaths who don't have any empathy for the people around them who carry them everyday and make them look good. We call these people show bags. Full of shit and you have to carry them all the time....
anorak , 2014-09-29 10:46:37
No shit Sherlock. Did you get a grant for this extensive research?
ID8665572 , 2014-09-29 10:49:43
"meritocratic neoliberalism favours certain personality traits and penalises others..."
I put to you the simple premsie that you can substitute "meritocratic neoliberalism" with any political system (communism, fascism, social democracy even) and it the same truism would emerge.
Martyn Blackburn , 2014-09-29 10:50:06
"Neoliberalism promotes individual freedom, limited government, and deregulation of the economy...whilst individual freedom is a laudable idea, neoliberalism taken to a dogmatic extreme can be used to justify exploitation of the less powerful and pillaging of the natural environment." - Don Ambrose.

Contrast with this:

"Neoliberal democracy, with its notion of the market uber alles ...instead of citizens, it produces consumers. Instead of communities, it produces shopping malls. The net result is an atomized society of disengaged individuals who feel demoralised and socially powerless." - Robert W. McChesney in Profit over People, Noam Chomsky.

It is fairly clear that the neoliberal system is designed to exploit the less powerfull when it becomes dogmatic, and that is exactly what it has become: beaurocracy, deregulation, privatisation, and government power .

ForgottenVoice , 2014-09-29 10:50:10
Neoliberalism is a virus that destroys people's power of reason and replaces it with extra greed and self entitlement. Until it is kicked back to the insane asylum it came from it will only keep trying to make us it's indentured labourers. The only creeds more vile were Nazism and Apartheid. Eventually the neoliberals will kill us all, so they can have the freedom to have everything they think they're worth.
pagey23 , 2014-09-29 10:50:48
Liberal Socialism is what we have, how is 45% of the economy run by government and a 1 trillion pound debt economic liberalism
RamjetMan pagey23 , 2014-09-29 10:57:08
Yes we have big government and a finance system which prop each other up. Why it's called neoliberalism is beyond me.
MSP1984 , 2014-09-29 10:51:35

Yet, on the other hand, our daily lives have become a constant battle against a bureaucracy that would make Kafka weak at the knees. There are regulations about everything, from the salt content of bread to urban poultry-keeping.

Isn't a key feature of neo-liberalism that governments de-regulate? It seems you're willing to blame absolutely everything on neoliberalism, even those things that neoliberalism ostensibly opposes.

Sandra Mae , 2014-09-29 10:52:53
The Professor is correct. We have crafted a nightmare of a society where what is considered good is often to the detriment of the whole community. It is reflected in our TV shows of choice, Survivor, Big Brother, voting off the weakest or the greatest rival. A half a million bucks for being the meanest most sociopathic person in the group, what great entertainment.
Jem Bo , 2014-09-29 10:53:35
articulateness - not much fluency in a sentence when using that word is there?
Choller21 Jem Bo , 2014-09-29 10:58:30
Articulocity.
illeist , 2014-09-29 10:54:39
Always a treat to read your articles, Mr Verhaeghe; well written and supported with examples and external good links. I especially like the link to Hare's site which is a rich resource of information and current discussions and presentations on the subject.

The rise of the psychopath in society has been noted for some time, as have the consequences of this behaviour in wider society and and a growing indifference and increased tolerance for this behaviour.

But what are practical solutions? MRI brain scans and early intervention? We know that behaviour modification does not work, we know that antipsychotic and other psychiatric medication does not alter this behaviour, we know little of genetic causes or if diet and nutrition play a role.

Maybe it is because successful psychopaths leverage themselves into positions of influence and power and reduce the voice, choices and influence of their victims that psychopathy has become such an unsolvable problem, or at least a problem that has been removed from the stage of awareness. It is so much easier to see the social consequences of psychopathy than it is to see the causal activity of psychopaths themselves.

Jack3 illeist , 2014-09-29 11:54:12
To deal with this problem is the most urgent and crucial for humanity if we hope for any future at all.
dr8765 , 2014-09-29 10:54:46
Great article. Thanks.
tufsoft , 2014-09-29 11:00:33
People are pretty much bound to behave this way when you replace the family with the individual as the primary unit of society
quark007 , 2014-09-29 11:02:51
Neoliberalism has entered centre stage politics not as a solution, it is just socialism with a crowd pleasing face. What could the labour party do to get voted in when the leadership consisted of self professed intellectuals in Donkey Jackets which they wore to patronise the working classes. Like the animal reflected in the name they became a laughing stock. Nobody understood their language or cared for it. The people who could understand it claimed that it was full of irrelevant hyperbole and patronising sentiment.

It still is but with nice sounding buzz words and an endless sound bites, the face of politics has been transformed into a hollow shell. Neither of the party's faithful are happy with their leaders. They have become centre stage by understanding process more than substance. As long as your face fits, a person has every chance of success. Real merit on the other hand is either sadly lacking or non existant.

gman1 , 2014-09-29 11:05:43
banxters blah blah
LargeMarvin , 2014-09-29 11:06:40
As one who was a working class history graduate in 1970, this is not exactly news.
Andyz , 2014-09-29 11:08:13
Most people's personalities and behaviour are environment driven, they are moulded by the social context in which they find themselves. The system we currently inhabit is one which is constructed on behalf of the holders of capital, it is a construct of the need to create wealth through interest bearing debt.

The values of this civilisation are consumer ones, we validate and actualise ourselves through ownership of goods, and also the middle-class norms of family life, which are in and of themselves constructs of a liberal consumer based society.

We pride ourselves on tolerance, which is just veiled indifference to anything which we feel as no importance to our own desires. People are becoming automatons, directed through media devices and advertising, and also the implanted desires which the consumer society needs us to act upon to maintain the current system of economy.

None of this can of course survive indefinitely, hence the constant state of underlying anxiety within society as it ploughs along on this suicidal route.

Finn_Nielsen Andyz , 2014-09-29 11:13:15
WAKE UP SHEEPLE
Fence2 , 2014-09-29 11:09:28
Good article, however I would just like to add that the new breed of 'business psychopath' you allude to are fairly easy to spot these days, and as such more people are aware of them, so they could be displaced quite soon, hopefully.
regfromdagenham , 2014-09-29 11:10:22
Cameron and the Conservatives have long been condemning the lazy and feckless at the bottom of society, but has Cameron ever looked at his aristocratic in-laws.

His father-in-law, Sir Reginald Sheffield, can be checked out on Wikipedia.

His only work seems to have been eight years as a conservative councillor (lazy).

He is a member of three clubs, so he likes to go pissing it up with his rich friends (feckless).

This seems to be total sum of his life's achievements.

He also gets Government subsidies for wind turbines on his land (on benefits).
His estate has been in the family since the 16th Century and the family have probably done very little since, yet we worry about the lower classes having two generations without work, in the upper classes this can go on for centuries.

Wasters don't just exist at the bottom of society.

Mr. Cameron have a closer look at your aristocratic in-laws.

colddebtmountain , 2014-09-29 11:12:39

This is the consequence of a system that prevents people from thinking independently and that fails to treat employees as adults.

Fundamentally the whole concept is saying "real talent is to be hunted down since, if you do not destroy it, it will destroy you". As a result we have a whole army of useless twats in high positions with not an independent thought between them. The concept of the old boys network has really taken over except now the members are any mental age from zero upwards.

And then we wonder why nothing is done prperly these days....

regfromdagenham , 2014-09-29 11:13:44
If you want to get into this in a bit more depth:

"Status Anxiety" by Alain de Botton is worth a read.

Also, a better insight into the psychopaths amongst us, including bankers, can be gained from Robert Hare's book:

"Without Conscience"

yoghurt2 , 2014-09-29 11:14:19
Neoliberalism is fine in some areas of self-development and actualization of potential, but taken as a kind of religion or as the be-all and end-all it is a manifest failure. For a start it neglects to acknowledge what people have in common, the idea of shared values, the notion of society, the effects of synergy and the geo-biological fact that we are one species all inhabiting the same single planet, a planet that is uniquely adapted to ourselves, and to which we are uniquely adapted.

Generally it works on the micro-scale to free up initiative, but on the macro-scale it is hugely destructive, since its goals are not the welfare of the entire human race and the planet but something far more self-interested.

undersinged , 2014-09-29 11:14:37

I put this simple statement to you: meritocratic neoliberalism favours certain personality traits and penalises others.

This is inevitable. All societies have this property. A warrior society rewards brave fighters and inspiring leaders, while punishing weaklings and cowards. A theocracy rewards those who display piety and knowledge of religious tradition, and punishes skeptics and taboo-breakers. Tyrannies reward cunning, ruthless schemers while punishing the squeamish and naive. Bureaucratic societies reward pernickety types who love rules and regulationsn, and punish those who are careless of jots and tittles. And so on.

A neoliberal meritocracy would have us believe that success depends on individual effort and talents

It does. In fact, it does in all societies to some extent, even societies that strive to be egalitarian, and societies that try to restrict social mobility by imposing a rigid caste system. There are always individuals who fall or rise through society as a result of their abilities or lack thereof. The freer society is, the more this happens.

For those who believe in the fairytale of unrestricted choice, self-government and self-management are the pre-eminent political messages, especially if they appear to promise freedom.

Straw man. Even anarchists don't believe in completely unrestricted choice, let alone neoliberals. Neoliberalism accepts that people are inevitably limited by their abilities and their situation. Personal responsibility does not depend on complete freedom. It depends on there being some freedom. If you have enough freedom to make good or bad choices, then you have personal responsibility.

Along with the idea of the perfectible individual, the freedom we perceive ourselves as having in the west is the greatest untruth of this day and age.

The idea of the perfectible individual has nothing to do with neoliberalism. On the other hand, it is one of the central pillars of Marxism. In philosophy, Marx is noted as an example of thinker who follows a perfectionist ethical theory.
undersinged undersinged , 2014-09-29 11:18:55
One more: Socialist societies reward lazy and feckless people, and punish strivers who display initiative.
gjjwatson undersinged , 2014-09-29 11:22:15
You miss the point. Neoliberalism promotes negative values and is used consciously to control personal freedom and undermine positive individuality.
Vanillaicetea undersinged , 2014-09-29 11:39:22
An excellent demolition of this piece of whiny idiocy.
variation31 , 2014-09-29 11:16:27
A frightening article, detailing now the psychological strenngths of people are recruited, perverted and rotted by this rat-race ethic.

Ironic that the photo, of Canary Wharf, shows one of the biggest "socialist" gifts of the country (was paid largely by the British taxpayer, if memory serves me correctly, and more or less gifted to the merchant bankers by Thatcher).

66Applicationsperjob , 2014-09-29 11:16:34
Meritocratic neoliberalism; superficial articulateness which I used to call 'the gift of the gab'. In my job, I was told to be 'extrovert' and I bucked against this, as a prejudice against anyone with a different personality and people wanting CLONES. Not sensible people, or people that could do a job, but a clone; setting the system up for a specific type of person as stated above. Those who quickly tell you, you are wrong. Those that make you think perhaps you are, owing to their confidence. Until your quietness proves them to be totally incorrect, and their naff confidence demonstrates the falseness of what they state.
JonPurrtree 66Applicationsperjob , 2014-09-29 11:17:25
I call it the bullshit based economy.
undersinged JonPurrtree , 2014-09-29 11:23:55
Most of the richest people in the world are not bullshitters. There are some, to be sure, but the majority are either technical or financial engineers of genius, and they've made their fortune through those skills, rather than through bullshit.
JonPurrtree undersinged , 2014-09-29 11:30:52
Plenty of bullshit keeping companies afloat.

Apart from tetra brik. Thats a useful product.

66Applicationsperjob , 2014-09-29 11:19:11
Hague lied to the camera about GCHQ having permission to access anyone's electronic devices. He did not blush, he merely stated that a warrant was required. Only the night before we were shown a letter from GCHQ stating that they had access without any warrant.

The ability to LIE has become a VIRTUE that all of us could well LIVE WITHOUT.

undersinged 66Applicationsperjob , 2014-09-29 17:34:47

The ability to LIE has become a VIRTUE

That's not new. It has been widely held that rulers have a right (and sometimes a duty) to lie ever since Machiavelli's Prince was published some 500 years ago.
regfromdagenham , 2014-09-29 11:19:34
The thinking behind our age was covered in a three part BBC documentary "The Trap".

It was made in 2006, before the financial crisis.

http://thoughtmaybe.com/the-trap/

Why was Iraq such a disaster?
Find out in Part 3.

seamuspadraig , 2014-09-29 11:26:02

The sociologist Zygmunt Bauman neatly summarised the paradox of our era as: "Never have we been so free. Never have we felt so powerless." We are indeed freer than before, in the sense that we can criticise religion, take advantage of the new laissez-faire attitude to sex and support any political movement we like. We can do all these things because they no longer have any significance – freedom of this kind is prompted by indifference.

Freedom's just another word for nothin' left lose.
-Janice Joplin

RaymondDance seamuspadraig , 2014-09-29 11:45:35

Freedom's just another word for nothin' left lose.
-Janice Joplin

Kris Kristofferson actually,

LargeMarvin seamuspadraig , 2014-09-29 14:46:09
Actually it was written by Kris Kristofferson and, having a house, a job pension and an Old Age Pension, frankly, I disagree. The Grateful Dead version is better anyway.
mjhunbeliever seamuspadraig , 2014-09-30 15:46:19
This little video may throw some light on that for you, Paradox of Choice.
dr8765 , 2014-09-29 11:26:23

.... economic change is having a profound effect not only on our values but also on our personalities.

I have long thought that introverts are being marginalised in our society. Being introvert seems to be seen by some as almost an illness, by others as virtually a crime.

Not keen on attending that "team bonding" weekend? There must be something wrong with you. Unwilling to set out your life online for all to see? What have you got to hide?

A few very driven and talented introverts have managed to find a niche in the world of IT and computers, earnig fortunes from their bedrooms. But for most, being unwilling or unable to scream their demands and desires across a crowded room is interpreted as "not trying" or being not worth listening to.

seamuspadraig , 2014-09-29 11:28:28

It's important to be able to talk up your own capacities as much as you can – you know a lot of people, you've got plenty of experience under your belt and you recently completed a major project. Later, people will find out that this was mostly hot air, but the fact that they were initially fooled is down to another personality trait: you can lie convincingly and feel little guilt. That's why you never take responsibility for your own behaviour.

Perfectly describes our new ruling-class, doesn't it!

Monchberter , 2014-09-29 11:30:05
Neoliberalism:

'Get on', or get f*****d.
Be hard working, or be dispensable.

Trilbey Monchberter , 2014-09-29 12:32:14
Does neoliberalism = fascism = brutality?
Vanillaicetea , 2014-09-29 11:30:29

It's important to be able to talk up your own capacities as much as you can – you know a lot of people, you've got plenty of experience under your belt and you recently completed a major project. Later, people will find out that this was mostly hot air, but the fact that they were initially fooled is down to another personality trait: you can lie convincingly and feel little guilt. That's why you never take responsibility for your own behaviour.

Sounds like a perfect description of newspaper columnists to me.

illogicalcaptain , 2014-09-29 11:33:08
It's just the general spirit of the place: it's on such a downer and no amount of theorising and talking will ever solve anything. There isn't a good feeling about this country anymore just a lot of tying everyone up in in repressive knots with a lot of hooey like talk and put downs. We need to find freedom again or maybe shove all the pricks into one part of the country and leave them there to fuck each other over so the rest of us can create a new world free of bullcrap. I don't know. Place is a superficial mess: 'look at me; look at what I own; I can cook Coq Au Vin and drink bottles of expensive plonk and keep ten cars on my driveway'
Nah. Fortuneately there are still some decent people left but it's been like Hamlet now for quite some time - "show me an honest man and I'll show you one man in ten thousand" Sucks.
chriskilby , 2014-09-29 11:33:17
So it's official. We are ruled by psychopaths. Figures.
Trilbey chriskilby , 2014-09-29 12:35:58
Perhaps I can help out. There's some good research here:

Are CEOs and Entrepreneurs psychopaths? Multiple studies say "Yes

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/drishtikone/2013/10/are-ceos-and-entrepreneurs-psychopaths-multiple-studies-say-yes/

Menscheit11 , 2014-09-29 11:33:31
This article is spot on and reflects Karl Marx's analysis regarding the economic base informing and determining the superstructure of a given society, that is, its social, cultural aspects. A neo-liberal, monetarist economy will shape and influence social and work relationships in ways that are not beneficial for the many but as the commentator states, will benefit those possessed of certain thrusting,domineering character traits. The common use of the word "loser" in contemporary society to describe those who haven't "succeeded" financially is in itself telling.
Trilbey Menscheit11 , 2014-09-29 12:37:59
Some people are brave enough to buck the system, I'm not, I just keep going to work everyday to get slaughtered.
LargeMarvin Menscheit11 , 2014-09-29 14:48:16
Freud's model of the mind is pretty good too, though psychoanalysis itself is controversial. The Krel forgot one thing.................
qwertboi , 2014-09-29 11:34:29
What an incisive article!

It would be the perfect first chapter (foreword/introduction) in a best seller that goes on, chapter by chapter, to show that neoliberalism destroys everything it touches:

Personal relationships;
trust;
personal integrity;
trust;
relationships;
trust;
transactions and trade;
trust;
market systems;
trust;
communities;
trust;
political relationships;
trust;

Etc., etc., etc..
trust;
society;
trust;

Menscheit11 , 2014-09-29 11:35:37
This analysis can be found in Marx's critique of the economy published in 1859.
lexcredendi , 2014-09-29 11:36:17
James Meek seems to have nailed it in his recent book, where he pointed out that the socially conservative Thatcher, who wanted a society based on good old fashioned values, helped to create the precise opposite with her enthusiasm for the neoliberal model. Now we are sinking into a dog-eat-dog dystopia.
Trilbey lexcredendi , 2014-09-29 12:53:48
Many of the good old fashioned conservatives had time honoured values. They believed in taking care of yourself but they also believed in integrity and honesty. They believed in living modestly and would save much of their money rather than just spend it, and so would put some aside for a rainy day. They believed in the community and were often active about local issues. They cared about the countryside and the wildlife. They often recycled which went along with their thriftiness and hatred of waste.

This all vanished when Thatcher came in with her selfish 'greed is good' brigade. Loads of money!

LargeMarvin lexcredendi , 2014-09-29 14:49:34
Even shampoo and sets have not come back, though unfortunately slickbacks have.
PonyBoyUK , 2014-09-29 11:36:31

We are indeed freer than before, in the sense that we can criticise religion, take advantage of the new laissez-faire attitude to sex and support any political movement we like. We can do all these things because they no longer have any significance –

Ha Ha!...

Oh, wait, now I'm sad.... Damn it.

freepedestrian , 2014-09-29 11:38:34
There is nothing "neo" nor "liberal" about neoliberalism. It is a cover for corporations and the wealthy elite to get more corporate welfare .
PonyBoyUK freepedestrian , 2014-09-29 12:28:59
Take what you do, define it in a word or two and then use the most concise antonym. - That is what you will tell the public.

State-protected oligopolies = "The Free Market"

Aggressive wars on civilian populations = "The war on Terror" / "The Ministry of Defence"

Age-old economic oppression = "Neoliberal economics"

Public Manipulation = "Public Relations"

Political Oppression = "Democracy"

LargeMarvin freepedestrian , 2014-09-29 14:50:47
In practice yes, but on the theoretical level the title is valid. It is the resurrection of policies from the 1860s.
Toeparty , 2014-09-29 11:38:44
Capitalist alienation is a daily practise. The daily practise of competing with and using people. This gives rise to the ideology that society and other people are but a means to an end rather than an end in themselves that is of course when they are not a frightening a existential competitive threat. Contempt and fear. That is what we are reduced to by the buying and selling of labour power and yes, only a psychopath can thrive under such conditions.
Vanillaicetea , 2014-09-29 11:42:49
According to the left if your only ambition is to watch Jeremy Kyle, pick up a welfare cheque once a week and vote for which ever party will promise to give you £10 a week more in welfare: you're an almost saint like figure.

If you actually do something to try to create a better and more independent life for yourself, your family and your community: you're "displaying psychopathic tendencies" .

Raymond Ashworth Vanillaicetea , 2014-09-29 11:49:07
Strawman.
Themiddlegound Vanillaicetea , 2014-09-29 11:49:49
If you actually do something to try to create a better and more independent life for yourself, your family and your community: you're "displaying psychopathic tendencies".

So how do you create a better community ?

By paying your taxes on your wealth that so many of you try to avoid. Here lies the crux of the matter. There would be no deficit if taxes were paid.

Some of the rich are so psychpathic they think jsut because they employ people they shouldn't pay any tax. They think the employees should pay thier tax for them.

Why has tax become such a dirty word ? Think about it before you answer.

RaymondDance Themiddlegound , 2014-09-29 11:54:25

There would be no deficit if taxes were paid.

Of course there would.

Themiddlegound , 2014-09-29 11:45:14
I've studied neoliberalism for nearly 20 years.

The conclusion is for me is that it is a brilliant economic model. It is the sheer apathy of the voters and that they are cowards because they don't make it work for them. They allow the people who own the theory to run it for themselves and thus they get all the benefits from it.

I'll try and explain.

Their business plan.

The truth is neoliberalism has infact made the rich western countries poorer and helped so many other poorer countries around the world get richer. Let's face facts here giving to charities would never have achieved this and something needed to be done to even up this world inequality. The only way you are ever going to achieve world peace is if everybody is equal. It's not by chance this theory was introduced by America. They are trying to bring that equality to everyone so that world peace can be achieved. How many more illegal wars and deaths this will take and for how long nobody knows. They are also very sinister and selfish and greedy because if the Americans do achieve what they are trying to do. They will own and countrol the world via washington and the dollar. The way the Americans see it is that the inequality created within each country is a bribe to each power structure within that country which helps America achieve it's long term goals. It creates inequality within each country but at the same time creates equality on the world stage. It might take 100 years to achieve and millions of deaths but eventually every country will be another state of America and look and act like any American state. Once that is achieved world peace will follow. America see it as a war and they also see millions of deaths as acceptable to achieve their end game. I of course disagree there must be a better way. How will history look at this dark period in history in 300 years time if it does achieve world peace in 150 years time ?

In each country neoliberalism works but at the moment it only works for the few because the voters allow it. The voters allow them to get away with it through submission. They've allowed their parliaments to be taken over without a fight and allowed their brains to be brainwashed by the media controlled by the few. Which means the the whole story of neoliberalism has been skewed into a very narrow view which always suits and promotes the voices of the few.

Why did the voters allow that to happen ?

Their biggest success the few had over the many was to create an illusion that made tax a toxic word. They attacked tax with everything they had to form an illusion in the voters minds that paying tax was a bad thing and it was everybodys enemy. Then they passed laws to enhance that view and trotted out scare stories around tax and that if they had to pay it then everybody would leave that country. They created a world set up for them and ulitimately destroyed any chance at all, for the success of neoliberalism to be shared by the many. This was their biggest success to make sure the wealth of neoliberalism stayed with them.

As the author of this piece says quite clearly. "An economic system that rewards psychopathic personality traits has changed our ethics and our personalities"

One of these traits is that they believe they shouldn't pay tax because they are creating jobs and the tax their employees pay should be the amount of tax these companies pay. Again this makes sure that the wealth is not shared.

Since they now own and control parliaments they also use the state to pay these wages in the way of tax credits and subsidies and grants as they refuse to pay their employees a living wage. It is our taxes they use to do this. Again this is to make sure that the wealth is not shared.

There are too many examples to list of how they make sure that the wealth generated by neoliberalism is not shared. Then surely it is up to the voters to make sure it does. Neoliberalism works and it would work for everybody if the voters would just grow a set of balls. Tax avoidance was the battle that won the war for the few. It is time the voters revisited that battle and re write it so that the outcome was that the many won not just the few. For example there would be no deficit if the many had won that battle. Of course they wouldn't have left a market of 60 million people with money in their pockets, it would have been business suicide.

This is a great example of how they created an illusion, a false culture, a world that does not exist. The focus is all on the deficit and how to fix it, as they socialise the losses and privatise the profits. There is no eyes or light shed on why there is a deficit due to tax avoidance. It's time we changed that and made Neoliberlaism work for us. If we don't then we can't complain when it only works for the few.

Neoliberlaism works. It's about time we owned it for ourselves. Otherwise we'll always be slaves to it. It's not the theory that is corrupt it is the people who own it.

RaymondDance Themiddlegound , 2014-09-29 11:53:29

There is no eyes or light shed on why there is a deficit due to tax avoidance.

... or because politicians have discovered that you can buy votes by giving handouts even to those who don't need them, thereby making everyone dependent on the largesse of the state and, by extension, promoting the interests of the most irresponsible politicians and the bureaucracies they represent.

dr8765 Themiddlegound , 2014-09-29 12:02:36
You seem to regard what you call neoliberalism as a creator of wealth. You then claim that the reason for this wealth accruing almost entirely to an elite few is the "the voters" have prevented neoliberalism from distributing the wealth more equitably.

I can't really follow the logic of your argument.

Neoliberalism seems to be working perfectly for those few who are in a position to exploit it. It's doing what it's designed to do.

I agree that the ignorance of "the voters" is allowing the elite to get away with it. But the voters should be voting for those who propose an alternative economic model. Unfortunately, in the western world at the present time, they have no viable alternative to vote for, because the neoliberals have captured all of the mainstream political parties and institutions.

Themiddlegound RaymondDance , 2014-09-29 12:03:10
That's all fine and dandy and I agree.

However, you missed one of the main points. Our parliament has been taken over by the few.

One man used to and probably still does strike fear into the government. Murdoch. Problem is there are millions like him that lobby and control policy and the media.

foralltime , 2014-09-29 11:46:59
..."There are regulations about everything,"... Yes, but higher up the scale you go, the less this regulation is enforced, less individual accountability and less transparency. Neoliberalism has turned society on its head. We see ever growing corporate socialism subsidising the top 1% and heavily regulated hard nosed market capitalism for the rest of us resulting in massive inequality in wealth distribution. This inequality by design makes the rich richer and the poor poorer. We've created a society where people who were once valued as an individual part of that society are now treated as surplus to requirements and somehow need to be eliminated.
RaymondDance , 2014-09-29 11:50:02

Bullying used to be confined to schools

Blimey - and people like this constantly accuse conservatives of being nostalgic for a past that never existed.

LargeMarvin RaymondDance , 2014-09-29 14:54:59
Fair comment. I went to a grammar school where there was, luckily, very little bullying. The bullying happened when I got back to the 'hood.
zavaell , 2014-09-29 11:51:37
All I know is that when I read the comments on cif, I cannot believe that these are people who would be expected to read the Guardian.
RaymondDance zavaell , 2014-09-29 11:56:26

I cannot believe that these are people who would be expected to read the Guardian.

One of the best things about cif is that it allows a wider audience to see just how deluded and narcissistic Guardian readers are.

busyteacher zavaell , 2014-09-29 12:23:12
They're mostly tight g*ts who refuse to pay to use the Mail/Telegraph sites. This is just about the last free forum left now and it's attracting all kinds of undesirables. The level of personal insult has gone up enormously since they came here. Most of us traditional Ciffers don't bother with many posts here any more, it's too boring now.
LargeMarvin zavaell , 2014-09-29 14:55:44
It's called Revenge of the Killer Clerks.
WarwickC , 2014-09-29 11:53:18

Our presumed freedom is tied to one central condition: we must be successful – that is, "make" something of ourselves.

That's always been the way, I think. It's life.
We are all of us the descendants of a million generations of successful organisms, human and pre-human.
The ones that didn't succeed fel by the wayside.
We're the ones left to tell the tale.

Stephen Porter WarwickC , 2014-09-29 12:34:35
We're the ones left to tell the tale"

and what a tale it will be for the last human standing!

EstebanMurphy WarwickC , 2014-09-29 13:14:33

That's always been th

[Aug 29, 2016] [Aug 29, 2016]Commnets to the article Neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us by Paul Verhaeghe

Notable quotes:
"... As disgusted and determined as we might be, we still have to operate within the 'neoliberal' system. We are all 'us' in this context and we are all a product of our environment to some extent. however crap that environment might be. ..."
"... Combined with offshoring of as many jobs abroad as possible, free movement of unskilled workers and the use of agency labour to undercut pay and conditions, the future looks bleak. ..."
"... There is nothing meritocratic about neoliberlaism. Its about who you know. ..."
"... I understand what you say, and there is definitely an element within society which values Success above all else, but I do not personally know anyone like that. ..."
"... .....By "us" of course, you mean commies. I think you are inadvertently demonstrating another of Hares psychopath test features; a lack of empathy and self awareness. ..."
"... I've worked in a few large private companies over the years, and my experience is they increasingly resemble some sort of cult, with endless brainwashing programmes for the 'members', charismatic leaders who can do no wrong, groupthink, mandatory utilisation of specialist jargon (especially cod-psychological terminology) to differentiate those 'in' and those 'out', increased blurring of the lines between 'private' and 'work' life (your ass belongs to us 24-7) and of course, constant, ever more complex monitoring of the 'members' for 'heretical thoughts or beliefs'. ..."
"... And the most striking idea here: Our characters are partly moulded by society. And neo-liberal society, and it's illusions of freedom, has moulded many of us in ways that bring out the worst in us. ..."
"... Neo-liberalism has however killed off post war social mobility. In fact according to the OECD report into social mobility, the more egalitarian a developed society is, the more social mobility there is, the more productivity and the less poverty and social problems there are. ..."
Aug 29, 2016 | discussion.theguardian.com

Happytobeasocialist, 2014-09-29 09:07:21

Neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us

Less of the 'us' please. there are plenty of people who are disgusted by neoliberalism and are determined to bring it down

Pasdabong Happytobeasocialist , 2014-09-29 09:28:58
As disgusted and determined as we might be, we still have to operate within the 'neoliberal' system. We are all 'us' in this context and we are all a product of our environment to some extent. however crap that environment might be.
InconvenientTruths Happytobeasocialist , 2014-09-29 09:39:02
Neo-Liberal Elephant

There are constant laments about the so-called loss of norms and values in our culture. Yet our norms and values make up an integral and essential part of our identity. So they cannot be lost, only chaned

If you have no mandate for such change, it breeds resentment.

For example, race & immigration was used by NuLabour in a blatant attempt at mass societal engineering (via approx 8%+ increase in national population over 13 years).

It was the most significant betrayal in modern democratic times, non mandated change extraordinaire, not only of British Society, but the core traditional voter base for Labour.

To see people still trying to deny it took place and dismiss the fallout of the cultural elephant rampaging around the United Kingdom is as disingenuous as it is pathetic.

Labour are the midwives of UKiP.

This cultural elephant has tusks.

SaulZaentz , 2014-09-29 09:10:36
It's a race to the bottom, and has lead to such "success stories" as G4S, Serco, A4E, ATOS, Railtrack, privatised railways, privatised water and so on.

It's all about to get even worse with TTIP, and if that fails there is always TISA which mandates privatisation of pretty much everything - breaking state monopolies on public services.

Combined with offshoring of as many jobs abroad as possible, free movement of unskilled workers and the use of agency labour to undercut pay and conditions, the future looks bleak.

Happytobeasocialist , 2014-09-29 09:13:38

A neoliberal meritocracy would have us believe that success depends on individual effort and talents

There is nothing meritocratic about neoliberlaism. Its about who you know. In the UK things have gone backwards almost to the 1950s. Changes which were brought about by the expansion of universities have pretty much been reversed. The establishment - politics, media, business is dominated by the better=off Oxbridge elite.

AntiTerrorist , 2014-09-29 09:16:42
It is difficult for me to agree. I have grown up within Neoliberalism being 35, but you describe no one I know. People I know weigh up the extra work involved in a promotion and decide whether the sacrifice is worth the extra money/success.

People I know go after their dreams, whether that be farming or finance. I understand what you say, and there is definitely an element within society which values Success above all else, but I do not personally know anyone like that.

JamesValencia AntiTerrorist , 2014-09-29 09:25:40
He's saying people's characters are changed by their environment. That they aren't set in stone, but are a function of culture. And that the socio-cultural shift in the last few decades is a bad thing, and is bad for our characters. In your words: The dreams have changed.

It's convincing, except it isn't as clear as it could be.

AntiTerrorist JamesValencia , 2014-09-29 09:38:49
I understand his principle but as proof, he sites very specific examples...

A highly skilled individual who puts parenting before their career comes in for criticism. A person with a good job who turns down a promotion to invest more time in other things is seen as crazy – unless those other things ensure success. A young woman who wants to become a primary school teacher is told by her parents that she should start off by getting a master's degree in economics – a primary school teacher, whatever can she be thinking of?

This is used as an example to show the shifting mindset. But as I stated, this describes no one I know. We, us, commenting here are society. I agree that there has been a shift in culture and those reaping the biggest financial rewards are the greedy. But has that not always been the way, the self interested have always walked away with the biggest slice, perhaps at the moment that slice has become larger still, but most people still want to have a comfortable life, lived their way. People haven't changed as much as the OP believes.

The great lie is that financial reward is success and happiness.

CityBoy2006 AntiTerrorist , 2014-09-29 09:52:05

This is used as an example to show the shifting mindset. But as I stated, this describes no one I know

Indeed even in the "sociopathic" world of fund management and investment banking, the vast majority of people establish a balance for how they wish to manage their work and professional lives and evaluate decisions in light of them both.

GordonLiddle , 2014-09-29 09:17:21
One could use another word or two, crony capitalism being a particularly good pair. Not what you know but who.
SaulZaentz GordonLiddle , 2014-09-29 09:36:48
Indeed. How come G4S keep winning contracts despite their behaviour being incompetent and veering on criminal, and the fact they are despised pretty much universally. Hardly a meritocracy.
dreamer06 SaulZaentz , 2014-09-29 13:40:16
http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/uk/defence/article3862998.ece
(paywall)

You can add A4E to that list and now Capita who have recruited all of 61 part time soldiers in their contract to replace all the thousands of sacked professionals

Pasdabong ElQuixote , 2014-09-29 09:33:20
.....By "us" of course, you mean commies. I think you are inadvertently demonstrating another of Hares psychopath test features; a lack of empathy and self awareness.
KatieL dieterroth , 2014-09-29 09:58:16
"Since the living standards of majority in this country are on a downward trend"

The oil's running out. Living standards, on average, will continue to decline until either it stops running out or fusion power turns out to work after all.

Whether you have capitalism or socialism won't make any difference to the declining energy input.

dieterroth , 2014-09-29 09:19:32
I'm sure I read an article in the 80s predicting what the author has written. Economics and cultural environment is bound to have an effect on behaviour. We now live in a society that worships at the altar of the cult of the individual. Society and growth of poverty no longer matters, a lone success story proves all those people falling into poverty are lazy good for nothing parasites. The political class claims to be impotent when it comes to making a fairer society because the political class is made up of people who were affluent in the first place or benefited from a neo-liberal rigged economy. The claim is, anything to do with a fair society is social engineering and bound to fail. Well, neo-liberal Britain was socially engineered and it is failing the majority of people in the country.

There is a cognitive dissonance going on in the political narrative of neo-liberalism, not everyone can make it in a neo-liberal society and since neo-liberalism destroys social mobility. Ironically, the height of social mobility in the west, from the gradual rise through the 50s and 60s, was the 70s. The 80s started the the downward trend in social mobility despite all the bribes that went along with introducing the property owning democracy, which was really about chaining people to capitalism.

Johanni dieterroth , 2014-09-29 10:24:23

I'm sure I read an article in the 80s predicting what the author has written.

Well, a transformation of human character was the open battle-cry of 1980s proponents of neoliberalism. Helmut Kohl, the German prime minister, called it the "geistig-moralische Wende", the "spiritual and moral sea-change" - I think people just misunderstood what he meant by that, and laughed at what they saw as empty sloganeering. Now we're reaping what his generation sowed.

thebogusman Johanni , 2014-09-29 13:15:54
Tatcher actually said that the goal of neoliberalism is not new economics but to "change the soul"!
arkley dieterroth , 2014-09-29 18:10:04
OK, now can you tell us why individual freedom is such a bad thing?

The previous period of liberal economics ended a century ago, destroyed by the war whose outbreak we are interminably celebrating. That war and the one that followed a generation later brought in strict government control, even down to what people could eat and wear. Orwell's dystopia of 1984 actually describes Britain's wartime society continuing long after the real wars had ended. It was the slow pace of lifting wartime controls, even slower in Eastern Europe, and the lingering mindset that economies and societies could be directed for "the greater good" no matter what individual costs there were that led to a revival of liberal economics.

Febo , 2014-09-29 09:21:28
Neoliberalism is a mere offshoot of Neofeudalism. Labour and Capital - those elements of both not irretrievably bought-out - must demand the return of The Commons . We must extend our analysis back over centuries , not decades - let's strike to the heart of the matter!
Febo undersinged , 2014-09-29 09:49:03
Both neofeudalism - aka neocolonialism-abroad-and-at-home - and neoliberalism rest on the theft of the Commons - they both support monopoly.
callaspodeaspode undersinged , 2014-09-29 10:11:05
Collectivist ideologies including Fascism, Communism and theocracy are all similar to feudalism.

I've worked in a few large private companies over the years, and my experience is they increasingly resemble some sort of cult, with endless brainwashing programmes for the 'members', charismatic leaders who can do no wrong, groupthink, mandatory utilisation of specialist jargon (especially cod-psychological terminology) to differentiate those 'in' and those 'out', increased blurring of the lines between 'private' and 'work' life (your ass belongs to us 24-7) and of course, constant, ever more complex monitoring of the 'members' for 'heretical thoughts or beliefs'.

'Collectivism' is not as incompatible with capitalism as you seem to think.
You sound like one of those 'libertarians'. Frankly, I think the ideals of such are only realisable as a sole trader, or operating in a very small business.

Progress is restricted because the people are made poor by the predations of the state

Neoliberalism is firmly committed to individual liberty, and therefore to peace and mutual toleration

It is firmly committed to ensuring that the boundaries between private and public entities become blurred, with all the ensuing corruption that entails. In other words, that the state becomes (through the taxpayers) a captured one, delivering a never ending, always growing, revenue stream for favoured players in private enterprise. This is, of course, deliberate. 'Individual liberties and mutual toleration' are only important insomuch as they improve, or detract, from profit-centre activity.

You have difficulty in separating propaganda from reality, but you're barely alone in this.

Lastly, you also misunderstand feudalism, which in the European context, flourished before there was a developed concept of a centralised nation state, indeed, the most classic examples occurred after the decentralisation of an empire or suchlike. The primary feudal relation was between the bondsman/peasant and his local magnate, who in turn, was subject to his liege.

In other words a warrior class bound by vassalage to a nobility, with the peasantry bound by manorialism and to the estates of the Church.

Apart from that though, you're right on everything.

JamesValencia , 2014-09-29 09:21:56
I completely agree with the general sentiment.
The specifics aren't that solid though:

- That we think our characters are independent of context/society: I certainly don't.
- That statement about "bullying is more widespread" - lacks justification.

The general theme of "meritocracy is a fiction" is compelling though.
As is "We are free-er in many ways because those ways no longer have any significance" .

And the most striking idea here: Our characters are partly moulded by society. And neo-liberal society, and it's illusions of freedom, has moulded many of us in ways that bring out the worst in us.

UnironicBeard JamesValencia , 2014-09-29 10:39:08
The Rat Race is a joke. Too many people waste their lives away playing the capitalist game. As long as you've got enough money to keep living you can be happy. Just ignore the pathetic willy-wavers with their flashy cars and logos on their shirts and all that guff
CharlesII JamesValencia , 2014-09-29 13:27:30

- That statement about "bullying is more widespread" - lacks justification.

Absolutely. I stopped reading there. Bullying is noticed now, and seen as a 'bad thing'. In offices 30, 50, years ago, it was standard .

JamesValencia UnironicBeard , 2014-09-29 13:42:50
Preaching to the converted, there, Beard :)

All we need is "enough" - Posession isn't that interesting. More a doorway to doing interesting stuff.
I prefer to cut out the posession and go straight to "do interesting stuff" myself. As long as the rent gets paid and so on, obviously.

Doesn't always work, obviously, but I reckon not wanting stuff is a good start to the good life (ref. to series with Felicity Kendall (and some others) intended :)
That, and Epicurus who I keep mentioning on CIF.

dieterroth undersinged , 2014-09-29 09:26:28
Rather naive. History is full of brilliant individuals who made it. Neo-liberalism has however killed off post war social mobility. In fact according to the OECD report into social mobility, the more egalitarian a developed society is, the more social mobility there is, the more productivity and the less poverty and social problems there are.
dieterroth undersinged , 2014-09-29 09:28:55
"Collectivism gave us Communism, Nazism and universalist religions that try to impose uniformity through the method of mass murder."

Capitalism and free markets gave us them as all were reactions to economic failure and having nothing to lose.

Febo undersinged , 2014-09-29 09:34:05
I agree - the central dilemma is that neither individualism nor collectiviism works.

But is this dilemma real? Is there a third system? Yes there is - Henry George.

George's paradigm in nothing funky, it is simply Classical Liberal Economics - society works best when individuals get to keep the fruits of thier labour, but pay rent for the use of The Commons.
At present we have the opposite - labour and capital are taxed heavily and The commons are monopolised by the 1%.
Hence unemployment
Hence the wealth gap
Hence the environmental crisis
Hence poverty

checkreakity , 2014-09-29 09:23:39
This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn't abide by our community standards . Replies may also be deleted. For more detail see our FAQs .
RidleyWalker , 2014-09-29 09:24:11
So the values and morals that people have are so wafer thin that a variation in the political system governing them can strip them away? Why do the left consistently have such a low opinion of humanity?
NinthLegion RidleyWalker , 2014-09-29 09:26:57
But it's because these values and moralities are so wafer thin that the Right can swing them in precisely the direction they want to. Greed is good!
LouSnickers RidleyWalker , 2014-09-29 09:28:35
They dont like us!

But then, I dont care for them, either!

dieterroth RidleyWalker , 2014-09-29 09:32:10
"Why do the left consistently have such a low opinion of humanity?"

Open your eyes and take a lokk at the world. There is enough wealth in the world for everyone to live free from poverty. Yet, the powerful look after themselves and allow poverty to not only exist but spread.

yamba , 2014-09-29 09:30:07
Reminds me very much of No Country for Old Men , by Cormac McCarthy.
annabelle123 yamba , 2014-09-29 11:00:22
That's a good description of the NHS.
WinstonThatcher , 2014-09-29 09:30:58
It's certainly brought out the worst in the Guardian, publishing as it does oodles of brainless clickbate.
nishville WinstonThatcher , 2014-09-29 11:13:50
>If you've ever dithered over the question of whether the UK needs a written constitution, dither no longer. Imagine the clauses required to preserve the status of the Corporation. "The City of London will remain outside the authority of parliament. Domestic and foreign banks will be permitted to vote as if they were human beings, and their votes will outnumber those cast by real people. Its elected officials will be chosen from people deemed acceptable by a group of medieval guilds …".<
paul643 , 2014-09-29 09:31:59

Bullying used to be confined to schools; now it is a common feature of the workplace.

I don't believe that bullying is new to the workplace., in fact I'd imagine it was worse before the days of elf 'n' safety.

vivientoft paul643 , 2014-09-29 13:05:01
Why do you say that?
annabelle123 , 2014-09-29 09:32:23
I agree with much of this. Working in the NHS, as a clinical psychologist, over the past 25 years, I have seen a huge shift in the behaviour of managers who used to be valued for their support and nurturing of talent, but now are recognised for their brutal and aggressive approach to those beneath them. Reorganisations of services, which take place with depressing frequency, provide opportunities to clear out the older, experienced members of the profession who would have acted as mentors and teachers to the less experienced staff.
saltash1920 annabelle123 , 2014-09-29 09:39:31
I worked in local authority social care, I can certainly see the very close similarities to what you describe in the NHS, and my experience in the local authority.
Davai annabelle123 , 2014-09-29 09:48:06
Yes those were the days when you had people and personnel departments, rather than 'human resources' I suspect. You can blame the USA for that.

Constant reorgs are a sure sign of inept management.

They're also a sure sign of managers who want to 'hang out' with highly-paid, sexy management consultants and hopefully get offered a job.

But you're a psychologist so you know that already!

David Craig's books are worth a read.

annabelle123 saltash1920 , 2014-09-29 10:58:42
I can well imagine there are big similarities. Friends of mine who work in education say the same - there is a complete mismatch between the aims of the directors/managers and that of the professionals actually providing the teaching/therapy/advice to the public. When I go to senior meetings it is very rare that patients are even mentioned.
StVitusGerulaitis , 2014-09-29 09:32:59

Bullying used to be confined to schools; now it is a common feature of the workplace.

This is an incredibly broad generalisation. I remember my grandfather telling me about what went on in the mills he worked in in Glasgow before the war, it sounded like a pretty savage environment if you didn't fit in. It wasn't called bullying, of course.

I put this simple statement to you: meritocratic neoliberalism favours certain personality traits and penalises others.

Isn't this true of pretty much any system? And human relationships in general? I cannot think of a system that is completely blind to the differences between people. If you happen to be lazy or have a problem with authority you will never do as "well" (for want of a better term).

MickGJ StVitusGerulaitis , 2014-09-29 16:15:49

Isn't this true of pretty much any system?

Don't be silly my saintly chum: who ever heard of a psychopath rising to the top in any other system than neo-liberal capitalism?
Socratese , 2014-09-29 09:33:25
I have always said to people who claim they are Liberals that you must support capitalism,the free market,free trade, deregulation etc etc when most of them deny that, I always say you are not a Liberal then you're just cherry-picking the [Liberal] policies you like and the ones you don't like,which is dishonest.
There is nothing neo about Liberalism,it has been around since the 19th century[?].People have been brainwashed in this country [and the USA] since the 1960's to say they are liberals for fear of being accused of being fascists,which is quite another thing.
I have never supported any political ideology,which is what Liberalism is,and believe all of them should be challenged.By doing so you can evolve policies which are fair and just and appropriate to the issue at hand.
pinniped Socratese , 2014-09-29 10:24:59
Ah yes, No True Liberal.
saltash1920 , 2014-09-29 09:34:32
Neoliberalism has only benefited a minority. Usually those with well connected and wealthy families. And of course those who have no hesitation to exploit other's.

In my view, it is characterized by corruption, exploitation and a total lack of social justice. Economically, the whole system is fully dependent on competition not co-operation. One day, the consequences of this total failure will end in violence.

rivendel saltash1920 , 2014-09-29 17:40:04
One day, the consequences of this total failure will end in violence.

And if we keep consuming all our resources on this finite planet in pursuit of profit and more profit there will be no human race we will all be extinct.,and all that will be left is an exhausted polluted planet that once harbored a vast variety of life.
Isent neolibral capitalism great.

Highlights saltash1920 , 2014-09-29 21:52:03

One day, the consequences of this total failure will end in violence.

Violence has already begun, in wars and protests, beheadings and wage cuts which leave people more and more desperate.

PonyBoyUK , 2014-09-29 09:36:18

We tend to perceive our identities as stable and largely separate from outside forces

Which is exactly what we've been led to believe, by outside forces.

For other related films, please see:

The Corporation http://www.thecorporation.com/

and

The Century of the Self http://www.thecorporation.com/

PonyBoyUK PonyBoyUK , 2014-09-29 10:09:55
(doh!)

The Century of the Self - http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-century-of-the-self/

NinthLegion , 2014-09-29 09:40:58
As Marx so often claimed, values, ethics, morality and behaviours are themselves determined by the economic and monetary system under which people live. Stealing is permitted if you are a banker and call it a bonus or interest, murder is permitted if your government sends you to war, surveillance and data mining is permitted if your state tells you there is a danger from terrorists, crime is overlooked if it makes money for the perpetrator, benefit claimants are justified if they belong to an aristocratic caste or political elite.......

There is no universal right or wrong, only that identified as such by the establishment at that particular instance in history, and at that specific place on the planet. Outside that, they have as much relevance today as scriptures instructing that slaves can be raped, adulterers can be stoned or the hands of thieves amputated. Give me the crime and the punishment, and I will give you the time and the place.

Jack3 NinthLegion , 2014-09-29 10:44:31
For a tiny elite sitting on the top everything has been going exactly as it was initially planned.

"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men
living together in Society, they create for themselves in the
course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a
moral code that glorifies it".
F. Bastiat.

Finn_Nielsen Jack3 , 2014-09-29 10:58:47
Bastiat was closer to a neoliberal than a Marxist...
skagway Jack3 , 2014-09-30 14:48:40
very true.
Pasdabong , 2014-09-29 09:41:24
Excellent article.
I'm amazed that more isn't made of the relationship between political environment/systems and their effect on the individual. Oliver James Affluenza makes a compelling case for the unhappiness outputs of societies who've embraced neo liberalism yet we still blindly pursue it.
The US has long been world leader in both the demand and supply of psychotherapy and the relentless pursuit of free market economics. these stats are not unconnected.
abugaafar , 2014-09-29 09:42:40
I once had a colleague with the knack of slipping into his conversation complimentary remarks that other people had made about him. It wasn't the only reason for his rapid ascent to great heights, but perhaps it helped.
ThroatWobblaMangrove abugaafar , 2014-09-29 22:58:31
That's one of my favourite characteristics of David Brent from 'The Office'. "You're all looking at me, you're going, "Well yeah, you're a success, you've achieved you're goals, you're reaping the rewards, sure. But, OI, Brent. Is all you care about chasing the Yankee dollar?"
crasspymctabernacle , 2014-09-29 09:42:47
This description is, of course, a caricature taken to extremes

Not when applied to IDS and other members of the cabinet.

BlueBrightFuture , 2014-09-29 09:43:50
Neoliberalism is another Social Darwinist driven philosophy popularised after leading figures of our times (or rather former times) decided Malthus was probably correct.

So here we have it, serious growth in population, possibly unsustainable, and a growing 'weak will perish, strong will survive' mentality. The worst thing is I used to believe in neoliberal policies, until of course I understood the long term ramifications.

PonyBoyUK BlueBrightFuture , 2014-09-29 10:11:45
It's a really good idea, - until you start thinking about it...
AlbertaRabbit BlueBrightFuture , 2014-09-29 10:27:02
And then there's reality.

And the reality is that "neoliberalism" has, in the last few decades, freed hundreds of millions in the developing word from a subsistence living to something resembling a middle class lifestyle.

This has resulted in both plummeting global poverty statistics and in greatly reduced fecundity, so that we will likely see a leveling off of global population in the next few decades. And this slowing down of population growth is the most critical thing we could for increasing sustainability.

BlueBrightFuture PonyBoyUK , 2014-09-29 10:33:06
I suspect the logical conclusion of the free market is that the State will become formally superseded by an oligopoly - perhaps the energy sector.

I also suspect at least one third of the population in over-developed countries will simply become surplus to requirement.

Everybody wants an iPhone, nobody wants to work in Foxconn.

jimcol , 2014-09-29 09:44:45
It is rooted, I think, in the prevailing idea that what we own is more important than what we do. Consumerism grown and fostered by the greedy.
vacuous jimcol , 2014-09-29 19:17:20
The problem is a judeo-christian idea of "free choice" when experiments, undertaken by Benjamin Libet and since, indicate that it is near to unlikely for there to be volitionally controlled conscious decisions.

http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/v11/n5/abs/nn.2112.html

If we are not even free to intend and control our decisions, thoughts and ambitions, how can anyone claim to be morally entitled to ownership of their property and have a 'right' to anything as a reward for what decisions they made? Happening is pure luck: meaningful [intended] responsibility and accountability cannot be claimed for decisions and actions and so entitlement cannot be claimed for what acquisitions are causally obtained from those decisions and actions.There is no 'just desserts' or decision-derived entitlement justification for wealth and owning property unless the justifier has a superstitious and scientifically unfounded belief in free choice.

CityBoy2006 , 2014-09-29 09:47:04

Bullying used to be confined to schools; now it is a common feature of the workplace

Compared to say, that experienced by domestic staff in big houses, small children in factories, perhaps even amongst miners, dockers and steel workers in the halcyon days of the post-war decade when apparently everything was rosy?

This whole article is a hodge podge of anecdote and flawed observations designed to shoehorn behaviour into a pattern that supports an economic hypothesis - it is factually groundless.

Catonaboat CityBoy2006 , 2014-09-29 10:09:47
Well I'd say he was spot on, when someone with the handle CityBoy2006 his a classic work place tantrum over the article.
HarryTheHorse CityBoy2006 , 2014-09-29 11:13:24

Compared to say, that experienced by domestic staff in big houses, small children in factories

Yes, but if it was left to people like you, children would still be working in factories. So please do not take credit for improvements that you would fight tooth and nail against

perhaps even amongst miners, dockers and steel workers in the halcyon days of the post-war decade when apparently everything was rosy?

They had wages coming to them and didn't need to rely on housing benefit to keep a roof over their head. Now people like you bitterly complain about poorly paid workers getting benefits to sustain them.

Slapchips , 2014-09-29 09:47:28
People who "work hard and play hard" are nearly always kidding themselves about the second bit.

It seems to me that the trend in the world of neoliberalism is to think that "playing hard" is defined as "playing with expensive, branded toys" during your two week annual holiday.

Davai Slapchips , 2014-09-29 09:52:24
'Playing hard' in the careerist lexicon = getting blind drunk to mollify the feelings of despair and emptiness which typify a hollow, debt-soaked life defined by motor cars and houses.

All IM(NVH)O, of course. DYOR.

Sammy_89 Davai , 2014-09-29 09:56:06
Pays for schools and hospitals, though
Davai Sammy_89 , 2014-09-29 09:59:43
Oh we had those before 1989.

It isn't a binary 'naked selfish captalist/socialist decision'. There is middle ground.

eldorado99 , 2014-09-29 09:49:50
"support any political movement we like."

Except those which have privacy from state surveillance as their core tenet.

ID12345 , 2014-09-29 09:50:07
Green Party: We need to fight Neoliberalism.
Loadsofspace , 2014-09-29 09:51:42
The "Max Factor" life. Selfishness and Greed. The compaction of life. Was it not in a scripture in text?. The Bible. We as humans and followers of "Faith" in christian beliefs and the culture of love they fellow man. The culture of words are a root to all "Evil. Depending on "Who's" the Author and Scrolling the words; and for what reason?. The only way we can save what is left on this planet and save man kind. Is eradicate the above "Selfishness and Greed" ?
ForwardMarch , 2014-09-29 09:51:50

We are indeed freer than before, in the sense that we can criticise religion, take advantage of the new laissez-faire attitude to sex and support any political movement we like. We can do all these things because they no longer have any significance – freedom of this kind is prompted by indifference.

These changes listed (and then casually dismissed) are monumental social achievements. Many countries in the world do not permit their 'citizens' such freedom of choice and I for one am very grateful to live in a country where these things are possible.

Of course there is much more to be done. But I would suggest that to be born in Western Europe today is probably about as safe, comfortable, and free than at any time and any place in human history. I'm not being complacent about what we still have to achieve. But we won't achieve anything if we take such a flippant attitude towards all the amazing things that have been bequeathed to us.

CityBoy2006 ForwardMarch , 2014-09-29 09:55:24
Excellent observation, it's the same way that technology that has quite clearly changed our lives and given us access to information, opportunity to travel and entertainment that would have been beyond the comprehension of our grandparents is dismissed as irrelevant because its just a smart phone and a not a job for life in a British Leyland factory.
Finn_Nielsen ForwardMarch , 2014-09-29 10:09:36
It takes a peculairly spoilt and arrogant Westerner to claim that the freedom to criticise religion isn't significant or that we're only allowed to do so because it's no longer important. Tell that to a girl seeking to escape an arranged marriage in Bradford...
HarryTheHorse CityBoy2006 , 2014-09-29 11:15:51
So being able to have a smart phone compensates for not having a secure place to live? What an absurd bubble you metropolitan types live in.
Harry Palmer , 2014-09-29 09:52:22
OK. Now off you go and apply the same methodology to people living in statist societies, or just have a go at our own civil service or local government workers. Try social workers or the benefits agency or the police.

Let us know what you find.

WindTurbine , 2014-09-29 09:53:31
The author makes some good points, although I wouldn't necessarily call our system a meritocracy.
I guess the key one is how unaware we are about the influence of economic policy on our values.
This kind of systems hurts everyday people and rewards psychopaths, and is damaging to society as a whole over the long term.
Targetising everything is really insidious.
jclucas , 2014-09-29 09:53:32
That neoliberalism puts tremendous pressure on individuals to conform to materialistic norms is undeniable, but for a psychotherapist to disallow the choice of those individuals to nevertheless choose how to live is an admission of failure.

In fact, many people today experience the shallowness and corrupt character of market society and elect either to be in it, but not of it, or to opt out early having made enough money, often making a conscious choice to relinquish the 'trappings' in return for a more meaningful existence. Some do selfless service to their fellow human beings, to the environment or both, and thereby find a degree of fulfillment that they always wanted.

To surrender to the external demands of a superficial and corrupting life is to ignore the tremendous opportunity human life offers to all: self realization.

WindTurbine jclucas , 2014-09-29 10:01:42
It's not either-or, system or individual, but some combination of the two.
Decision making may be 80% structure and 20% individual choice for the mainstream - or maybe the other way round for the rebels amongst us that try to reject the system.

The theory of structuration (Giddens) provides one explanation of how social systems develop through the interactions between the system and actors in it.

I partly agree with you but I think examples of complete self realisation are extremely rare. That means stepping completely out of the system and out of our own personality. Neither this nor that.

jclucas WindTurbine , 2014-09-29 10:21:57
The point is that the individual has the choice to move in the right direction. When and if they do make a decision to change their life, it will be fulfilling for them and for the system.
AlbertaRabbit , 2014-09-29 09:54:07

Our presumed freedom is tied to one central condition: we must be successful – that is, "make" something of ourselves. You don't need to look far for examples. A highly skilled individual who puts parenting before their career comes in for criticism. A person with a good job who turns down a promotion to invest more time in other things is seen as crazy – unless those other things ensure success.

I have been in the private sector for generations, and know tons of people who have behaved precisely as described above. I don't know anyone who calls them crazy. In fact, I see the exact opposite tendency - the growing acceptance that money isn't everything, and that once one has achieved a certain level of success and financial security that it is fine to put other priorities first rather than simply trying to acquire ever more.

arkley AlbertaRabbit , 2014-09-29 09:59:50
The ATL article is rather stuffed full of stereotypes.

And speaking personally, I have turned down two offers of promotion to a management position in the last ten years and neither time did I get the sense people thought I was crazy. They might have done if I were in my late twenties rather than mid-fifties but that does reinforce the notion that people - even bosses - can accept that there is more to life than a career.

Sammy_89 arkley , 2014-09-29 10:04:29
I agree about the stereotypes. Also, has anyone ever seriously advised a primary school teacher that they need a masters degree of economics?! I highly doubt that that is the norm!
MickGJ Sammy_89 , 2014-09-29 16:18:57

Also, has anyone ever seriously advised a primary school teacher that they need a masters degree of economics?! I

Sounds more like parents advising an exceptionally bright child to go as far as she can with her education before she starts work.

I can't see why a primary school teacher should be dissuaded from doing a master's degree.

arkley , 2014-09-29 09:55:46
How does that navel look today?

I hate to break it to you but no matter how you organise society the nasty people get to the top and the nice people end up doing all the work. "Neo-liberalism" is no different.

Sammy_89 arkley , 2014-09-29 10:02:10
Or you could put it another way - 'neoliberalism' is the least worst economic/social system, because most people are far more powerless and far more worse off under any other system that has ever been developed by man...
TeddyFrench arkley , 2014-09-29 10:06:38
For a start you need a system that is not based on rewarding and encouraging the worst aspects of our characters. I try to encourage my kids not to be greedy, to be honest and to care about others but in this day and age it's an uphill struggle.
Finn_Nielsen Sammy_89 , 2014-09-29 10:11:42
It's a funny kind of neoliberalism we're supposedly suffering under when you consider the ratio of state spending to GDP...
regfromdagenham , 2014-09-29 09:57:13
"A neoliberal meritocracy would have us believe that success depends on individual effort and talents, meaning responsibility lies entirely with the individual and authorities should give people as much freedom as possible to achieve this goal."

In the UK we have nothing like a meritocracy with a privately educated elite.

Success and failure are just about parental wealth.

Willhelm123 , 2014-09-29 09:57:41
I kind of see the point of this. What's the alternative though?
MickGJ Willhelm123 , 2014-09-29 16:23:10

I kind of see the point of this. What's the alternative though?

Doing some research?
gcarth , 2014-09-29 09:57:45
"So the values and morals that people have are so wafer thin that a variation in the political system governing them can strip them away? Why do the left consistently have such a low opinion of humanity?"

RidleyWalker, I can assue you that it is not the left but the right who consistently have a low opinion of humanity. Anyway, what has left and right got to do with this? There are millions of ordinary decent people whose lives are blighted by the obscentity that is neo-liberalism. Neo-liberalism is designed to make the rich richer at the expense of the poor. Neo-liberalism is responsible for the misery for millions across the globe. The only happy ones are those at the top of the heap...until even their bloated selfish world inevitably implodes.
Of course these disgusting parasites are primitive thinkers and cannot see that we could have a better, happier world for everyone if societies become more equal. Studies demonstrate that more equal societies are more stable and content than those with ever-widening gaps in wealth between rich and poor.

injinoo gcarth , 2014-09-29 10:01:41
Which studies and which equal societies are you referring to. It would be good to know in order to cheer us all up a bit.
Sammy_89 gcarth , 2014-09-29 10:08:52
Neoliberalism...disgusting parasites...primitive thinkers...misery of millions...bloated selfish world

This reads like a Soviet pamphlet from the 1930's. Granted you've replaced the word 'capitalism' with 'neoliberalism' - in other words subsstituted one meaningless abstraction for another. It wasn't true then and it certainly isnt true now...

injinoo , 2014-09-29 09:59:38
Not sure why you think all this is new or attributable to neoliberalism. Things were much the same in the 1960's and 1970's. All that has changed is that instead of working on assembly lines in factories under the watchful gaze of a foreman we now have university degrees and sit in cubicles pressing buttons on keyboards. Micromanagement, bureaucracy, rules and regulations are as old as the hills. Office politics has replaced shop floor politics; the rich are still rich and the poor are still poor.
Sammy_89 injinoo , 2014-09-29 10:10:20
Well, except that people have more money, live longer and have more opportunities in life than before - most people anyway. The ones left behind are the ones we need to worry about
rosemary152 injinoo , 2014-09-29 14:32:18

Things were much the same in the 1960's and 1970's.

There is a difference. We now have the psychopathic-tendency merchants in charge, both of the banks, multinationals and our government.

MickGJ injinoo , 2014-09-29 16:24:51

Not sure why you think all this is new or attributable to neoliberalism. Things were much the same in the 1960's and 1970's.

And you can read far more excoriating critiques of our shallow materialistic capitalism, culture from those decades, now recast as some sort of prelapsarian Golden Age.
regfromdagenham , 2014-09-29 10:00:59
The psychopaths have congregated in Wall Street and the City.

One of the problems with psychopaths is that they never learn form mistakes.

Anyone that is watching will realise we are well on our way to the next Wall Street Crash - part 3.

Wall Street Crash Part 1 - 1929
Wall Street Crash Part 2 - 2008
Wall Street Crash Part 3 - soon

Each is bigger and better than the last - there may not be much left after Part 3.

injinoo regfromdagenham , 2014-09-29 10:03:58
Actually, the 1929 crash was not the first by any means. The boom and bust cycle of modern economics goes back a lot further. When my grandparents talked about the "Great Depression" they were referring to the 1890's.
regfromdagenham injinoo , 2014-09-29 10:05:24
The financial psychopaths never learn!
Isiodore injinoo , 2014-09-29 10:49:57
The nineteenth century saw major financial crises in almost every decade, 1825, 1837, 1847, 1857, 1866 before we even get to the Great Depression of 1873-96.
harrogateandrew , 2014-09-29 10:01:24
And Socialism doesn't!

Socialism seems to be happy home of corruption & nepotism. The old saw that Tory MP's are brought down by sex scandals whilst Labour MP's have issues with money still holds.

Portman23 harrogateandrew , 2014-09-29 10:06:13
Why is that relevant? This is a critique of neo liberalism and it is a very accurate one at that. It isn't suggesting that Socialism is better or even offers an alternative, just that neo liberalism has failed society and explores some of how and why.
TeddyFrench , 2014-09-29 10:01:25
The main problem is that neoliberalism is a faith dressed up as a science and any evidence that disproves the hypothesis (e.g. the 2008 financial collapse) only helps to reinforce the faith of the fundamentalists supporting it.
AlbertaRabbit TeddyFrench , 2014-09-29 10:10:36
The reason why "neoliberalism" is so successful is precisely because the evidence shows it does work. It has not escaped peoples' notice that nations where governments heavily curtail individual and commercial freedom are often rather wretched places to live.
TeddyFrench AlbertaRabbit , 2014-09-29 10:31:54
You conflate individual freedom with corporate freedom.

Also, what happened in 2008 then? Anything to do with the hubris over free markets and de-regulation or was it just a blip?

JonPurrtree TeddyFrench , 2014-09-29 11:16:25
It would be nice to curtail coprorate freedom without curtailing the freedom of individuals. I don't see how that might work.

"hubris over free markets" might well be it.
But I might be understanding that in a different way from you. People were making irrational decisions that didn't seem to take on basic logic of a free market, or even common sense. Such as "where is all this money coming from" (madoff, house ladder), "of course this will work" (fred goodwin and his takeovers) and even "will i get my money back" (sub-prime lending).

hansen , 2014-09-29 10:02:14
So why don't we do something about it....genuinely? There appears to be no power left in voting unless people are given an actual choice....Is it not time then to to provide a well grounded articulate choice? The research, in many different disciplines, is already out there.
menedemus hansen , 2014-09-29 10:27:39
What can we do? It appears we are stuck between the Labour party and the Conservatives. Is it even possible for another party to come to power with the next couple of elections?
ElDanielfire menedemus , 2014-09-29 11:41:06
The Lib Dems? ;)
gandrew hansen , 2014-09-29 13:04:53
the Greens, clearly.
AlbertaRabbit , 2014-09-29 10:03:31

The sociologist Zygmunt Bauman neatly summarised the paradox of our era as: "Never have we been so free. Never have we felt so powerless." We are indeed freer than before, in the sense that we can criticise religion, take advantage of the new laissez-faire attitude to sex and support any political movement we like. We can do all these things because they no longer have any significance – freedom of this kind is prompted by indifference. Yet, on the other hand, our daily lives have become a constant battle against a bureaucracy that would make Kafka weak at the knees. There are regulations about everything, from the salt content of bread to urban poultry-keeping.

Verhaeghe begins by criticizing free markets and "neo-liberalism", but ends by criticizing the huge, stifling government bureaucracy that endeavours to micro-manage every aspect of its citizens lives, and is the opposite of true classic liberalism.

Must be confusing for him.

Oscar Mandiaz AlbertaRabbit , 2014-09-30 01:37:24
probably not as confusing as it seems to be for you.
this is just the difference between neoliberalism in theory and in practise.
like the "real existierende sozialismus" in eastern germany fell somewhat short of the brilliant utopia of the theorists.
verhaeghe does not criticise the theoretical model, but the practical outcome. And the worst governmant and corporate bureaucracy that mankind has ever seen is part of it. The result of 30+ years of neoliberal policies.
In my experience this buerocracy is gets worse in anglo saxon countries closest to the singularity at the bottom of the neolib black hole.
I am aware that this is only a correlation, but correlations, while they do not prove causation, still require explanation.
Bloreheath , 2014-09-29 10:03:35
Some time ago, and perhaps still, it was/is fashionable for Toryish persons to denigrate the 1960s. I look back to that decade with much nostalgia. Nearly everyone had a job of sorts, not terribly well paid but at least it was a job. And now? You are compelled to toil your guts out, kiss somebody's backside, run up unpayable debts - and, in the UK, live in a house that in many other countries would have been demolished decades ago. Scarcely a day passes when I am not partly disgusted at what has overtaken my beloved country.
LargeMarvin Bloreheath , 2014-09-29 11:25:19
And scooters were 150s and 200s.
capchaos , 2014-09-29 10:04:26
An excellent article! The culture of the 80's has ruled for too long and its damage done.... its down to our youth to start to shape things now and I think that's beginning to happen.
Davai capchaos , 2014-09-29 10:20:12
Is it?

I think the levels of debt amongst young 'consumers' would suggest otherwise.

They are after all, only human. Prone to want the baubles dangled in front of them, as are we all.

Gogoh , 2014-09-29 10:06:33
Brilliant article.
IGrumble , 2014-09-29 10:13:27
Neo-Liberalism as operated today. "Greed is Good" and senior bankers and those who sell and buy money, commodities etc; are diven by this trait of humankind.

But we, the People are just as guilty with our drives for 'More'. More over everything, even shopping at the supermarket - "Buy one & get ten free", must have.

Designer ;bling;, clothes, shoes, bags, I-Pads etc etc, etc. It is never ending. People seem to be scared that they haven't got what next has, and next will think that they are 'Not Cool'.

We, the people should be satisfied with what have got, NOT what what we havn't got. Those who "want" (masses of material goods) usually "Dont get!"

The current system is unsustainable as the World' population rises and rises. Nature (Gaia) will take care of this through disease, famine, and of course the stupidity of Humankind - wars, destruction and general stupidity.

pinniped , 2014-09-29 10:13:49
What's a meritocracy? Oh, that's right - a fable that people who have a lot of money deserve it somehow because they're so much better than the people who work for a living.
Keo2008 , 2014-09-29 10:13:54

Neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us

Speak for yourself.

Some of us are just as kind and tolerant as we have always been.

Huples Keo2008 , 2014-09-29 10:37:19
The world is nastier than it was before outsourcing and efficiencies.
I am glad you have emerged unscathed

However be happy he is speaking as it allows your natural tolerance to shine ;-)

AlbertaRabbit Huples , 2014-09-29 11:34:05
The world was an even nastier place before the current era. During the 1970s and early 1980s there was huge inflation which robbed people of their saving, high unemployment, and (shudder) Disco.

People tend to view the past with rose-coloured glasses.

Finn_Nielsen , 2014-09-29 10:15:28
What neoliberalism? We've got a mixed economy, which seemingly upsets both those on the right who wish to cut back the state and those on the left who'd bolster it.
Isiodore , 2014-09-29 10:16:21
I work in a law firm specialising in M&A, hardly the cuddliest of environments, but I recognise almost nothing here as a description of my work place. Sure, some people are wankers but that's true everywhere.
alazarin , 2014-09-29 10:16:26
I'm enjoying watching the logical and conceptual contortions of Kippers on CiF attempting to positions themselves as being against neo-liberalism.
Finn_Nielsen , 2014-09-29 10:17:26

You don't need to look far for examples.

Indeed not, you just made a few up.

Babartov , 2014-09-29 10:19:39
human socieity has always rewarded aggressive individuals willing to tread on others.

it's how we roll

pauledwards1000 , 2014-09-29 10:20:17

"Bullying used to be confined to schools".

That is patently untrue. Have you ever been outside your home and do you actually know anyone?

PeteCW pauledwards1000 , 2014-09-29 10:32:52
Have you ever been outside your home and do you actually know anyone?

This sentence could usefully be applied to the entire article.

Gogoh , 2014-09-29 10:20:46
FDR, the Antichrist of the American Right, famously said that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. And here we are with this ideology which in many ways stokes the fear. The one thing these bastards don't want most of us to feel is secure.
freepedestrian , 2014-09-29 10:23:16
There is no "free market" anywhere. That is a fantasy. It is a term used when corporations want to complain about regulations. What we have in most industrialized countries is corporate socialism wherein corporations get to internalize profits and externalize costs and losses. It has killed of our economies and our middle class.
dr8765 freepedestrian , 2014-09-29 11:35:11
True. All markets are constructs. Each simply operates according to the parameters put in place by those who have constructed it.

Socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor has almost become a cliche, but that doesn't make it any less true.

iruka , 2014-09-29 10:26:05
Socialism or barbarism -- a starker choice today than when the phrase was coined.

So long, at least, as we have an evolved notion of what socialism entails. Which means, please, not the state capitalism + benign paternalism that it's unfortunately come to mean for most people, in the course of its parasitical relationship with capitalism proper, and so with all capitalism's inventions (the 'nation', the modern bureaucracy, ever-more-efficient exploitation to cumulatively alienating ends......)

It's just as unfortunate, in this light, that the term 'self-management' has been appropriated by the ideologues of pseudo-meritocracy, in just the way the article describes..

Because it's also a term (from the French autogestion) used to describe what I'd argue is the most nuanced and sophisticated collectivist alternative to capitalism -- an alternative that is at one and the same time a rejection of capitalism.... and of the central role of the state and 'nation' (that phony, illusory community that plays a more central role in empowering the modern state than does its monopoly on violence)... and of the ideology of growth, and of the ideal of monolithic, ruthlessly efficient economic totalities organised to this end....

It's a rejection, in other words, of all those things contemplation of which reminds us just how little fundamental difference there is between capitalism and the system cobbled together on the fly by the Bolsheviks -- same vertical organisation to the ends of the same exploitation, same exploitation to the ends of expanding the scope and scale of vertical organisation, all of it with the same destructive effects on the sociabilities of everyday life....

Self-management in this sense goes beyond 'workers control'; (I'd argue that) it envisions a society in which most aspects of life have been cut free from the ties that bind people vertically to sources of influence and control, however they're constituted (private and public bureaucracies, market pressures, the illusory narratives of nation, mass media and commodity...).

The horizontal ties of workplace and local community would thus be constitutive, by default, and society as a whole would become very little more than the sum of its parts -- mutating on a molecular local level as people collectively and democratically decided, in circumstances that actually granted them the power to do so, how to balance the conflicting needs and desires and necessities that a complex society and a complex division of labour present. 'Balance' because there really isn't any prospect of a utopian resolution of these conflicts -- they come with civilisation -- or with barbarism, for than matter, in any of its modern incarnations.

Etc. etc.. Avoiding work again.....

Finn_Nielsen iruka , 2014-09-29 10:44:27
What about those who disagree with such a radical reordering of society? How would the collective deal with those who wished to exploit it?
I'm genuinely interested, beats working...
AlbertaRabbit iruka , 2014-09-29 11:18:41

The horizontal ties of workplace and local community would thus be constitutive, by default, and society as a whole would become very little more than the sum of its parts -- mutating on a molecular local level as people collectively and democratically decided, in circumstances that actually granted them the power to do so, how to balance the conflicting needs and desires and necessities that a complex society and a complex division of labour present.

Why do socialists so often resort to such turgid, impenetrable prose? Could it be an attempt to mask the vacuity of their position?

Catonaboat , 2014-09-29 10:26:13
I read this article skeptically, but then realised how accurately he described my workplace. Most people I know on the outside have nice middle class lives, but underneath it suffer from anxiety, about 1 not putting enough into their careers 2 not spending enough time with their kids. When I decided to cut my work hours in half when I had a child, 2 of my colleagues were genuinely concerned for me over things like, I might be let go, how would I cope with the drop in money, I was cutting my chances of promotion, how would it look in a review. The level of anxiety was frightening.

People on the forum seem to be criticizing what they see as the authors flippant attitude to sexual freedom and lack of religious hold, but I see the authors point, what good are these freedoms when we are stuck in the stranglehold of no job security and huge mortgage debt. Yes you can have a quick shag with whoever you want and don't need to answer to anyone over it on a Sunday, but come Monday morning its back to the the ever sharpening grindstone.

Norfolk , 2014-09-29 10:26:18
This reminds me of the world I started to work in in 1955. I accept that by 1985 it was ten times worse and by the time I retired in 2002, after 47 years, I was very glad to have what I called "survived". At its worst was the increasing difference between the knowledge base of "the boss" when technology started to kick in. I was called into the boss's office once to be criticised for the length of a report. It had a two page summery of the issue and options for resolving the problem. I very meekly inquired if he had decided on any of the options to resolve the problem. What options are you talking about? was his response, which told me that either he had not read the report or did not understand the problem. This was the least of my problems as I later had to spend two days in his office explaining the analysis we (I) were submitting to the Board.
Fooster , 2014-09-29 10:26:35

A highly skilled individual who puts parenting before their career comes in for criticism. A person with a good job who turns down a promotion to invest more time in other things is seen as crazy – unless those other things ensure success. A young woman who wants to become a primary school teacher is told by her parents that she should start off by getting a master's degree in economics – a primary school teacher, whatever can she be thinking of?

Ladies, step away from the jobs.
MissingInActon , 2014-09-29 10:27:29
Speak for yourself.
The current economic situation affects each of us as much as we allow it to. Some may well love neo-liberalism and the concomitant dog eat dog attitude, but there are some of us who regard it as little more than a culture of self-enrichment through lies and aggression. I see it as such, and want nothing to do with it.
If you live by money and power, you'll die by money and power. I prefer to live and work with consensus and co-operation.
I'll never be rich, but I'll never have many enemies.
Jack3 MissingInActon , 2014-09-29 11:30:37

I see it as such, and want nothing to do with it.

Spot on. Neither I.

fanofzapffe , 2014-09-29 10:28:07
I have a book to promote against the 'success narrative'. I'm hoping it fails.
slorter , 2014-09-29 10:30:18
Hedge-fund and private-equity managers, investment bankers, corporate lawyers, management consultants, high-frequency traders, and top lobbyists.They're getting paid vast sums for their labors. Yet it seems doubtful that society is really that much better off because of what they do. They play zero-sum games that take money out of one set of pockets and put it into another. They demand ever more cunning innovations but they create no social value. High-frequency traders who win by a thousandth of a second can reap a fortune, but society as a whole is no better off. the games consume the energies of loads of talented people who might otherwise be making real contributions to society - if not by tending to human needs or enriching our culture then by curing diseases or devising new technological breakthroughs, or helping solve some of our most intractable social problems. Robert Reich said this and I am compelled to agree with him!
nishville , 2014-09-29 10:33:03
Brilliant article. It is not going to change anything, of course, because majority of people of this planet would cooperate with just about any psychopath clever enough not to take away from them that last bit of stinking warm mud to wallow in.

Proof? Read history books and take a look around you. We are the dumbest animals on Earth.

PeteCW nishville , 2014-09-29 10:38:25
Yeah - people are stupid scum aren't they? 'Take a look around you' - wallowing in stinking warm mud all the time. Dumb animals.

Elsewhere in this comment - being a clever psychopath is not nice.

Finn_Nielsen PeteCW , 2014-09-29 10:45:42
I'm not sure I want anything changed by those who hold humanity in contempt...
petrolheadpaul nishville , 2014-09-29 11:22:14
Rubbish. We are the most intelligent and successful creature that this planet has ever seen. We have become capable of transforming it, leaving it and destroying it.

No other species has come close to any of those.

SpursSupporter , 2014-09-29 10:34:29

Bullying used to be confined to schools; now it is a common feature of the workplace.

I started work nearly 40 years ago and there were always some bullies in the workplace. Maybe there are more now, I don't know but I suspect it is more widely reported now. Workplace bullies were something of a given when I started work and it was an accepted part of the working environment.

Be careful about re-inventing history to suit your own arguments.

richiep40 , 2014-09-29 10:35:01
I'm surprised the normalization of debt was not mentioned. If you are debt free you have more chance of making decisions that don't fit into the model.

So what do we do now, we train nearly 50% of our young that having large amounts of debt is perfectly normal. When I was a student I lived off the grant and had a much lower standard of living than I can see students having now, but of course I had no debt when I graduated. I know student debt is administered differently, I'm talking about the way we are training them to accept debt of all sorts.

Same applies to consumerism inducing the 'I want it and I want it now', increases personal debt, therefore forcing people to fit in, same applies to credit cards and lax personal lending.

Although occasionally there are economic questions about large amounts of personal debt, politically high personal debt is ideal.

PeteCW , 2014-09-29 10:35:45
All this article proves is that you've read, and can quote from, books written by other academics that you agree with.
TheKernel PeteCW , 2014-09-29 10:41:36
Not sure if you're in the sector, in large parts that's kind of how academia works?

This is also what's referred to in the trade as an opinion piece, where an author will be presenting his views and substantiating them with reference to the researches of others.

Quite simple, really.

Sputnikchaser , 2014-09-29 10:38:33
There is no mystery to neoliberalism -- it is an economic system designed to benefit the 0.1% and leave the rest of us neck deep in shit. That's why our children will be paying for the bankers' bonuses to the day they die. Let's celebrate this new found freedom with all the rest of the Tory lickspittle apologists. Yippee for moral bankruptcy -- three cheers!
Themiddlegound , 2014-09-29 10:39:51
David Harvey wrote the best book ever written on the subject.

http://www.sok.bz/web/media/video/ABriefHistoryNeoliberalism.pdf

It's only 200 pages but by god did he nail it.


The Simple Summary is the state/ royality used to hold all the power over the merchants and the public for centuries. Bit by bit the merchants stripped that power away from royality, until eventually the merchants have now taken over everybody. The merchants hold all the power now and they will never give that up as there is nobody to take it from them. By owning the state the merchants now have everything that go with it. The army, police and the laws and the media.

David Harvey puts it all under the microscope and explains in great detail how they've achieved their end game over the last 40 years.

There are millions of economists and many economic theories in our universities. Unfortunately, the merchants will only fund and advertise and support economic theories that further their power and wealth.

As history shows time and time again it will be the public who rip this power from their hands. If they don't give it up it is only a matter of time. The merchants may now own the army, the police, the laws and the parliament. They'll need all of that and more if the public decide to say enough is enough.

Sidefill , 2014-09-29 10:40:51
Bullying used to be confined to schools? Can't agree with that at all. Bullying is an ingrained human tendency which manifests in many contexts, from school to work to military to politics to matters of faith. It is only bad when abused, and can help to form self-confidence.

I am not sure what "neo" means but liberal economics is the basis of the Western economies since the end of feudalism. Some countries have had periods of pronounced social democracy or even socialism but most of western Europe has reverted to the capitalist model and much of the former east bloc is turning to it. As others have noted in the CiF, this does not preclude social policies designed to alleviate the unfair effects of the liberal economies.

But this ship has sailed in other words, the treaties which founded the EU make it clear the system is based on Adam Smith-type free market thinking. (Short of leaving the EU I don't see how that can be changed in its essentials).

Finally, socialist countries require much more conformity of individuals than capitalist ones. So you have to look at the alternatives, which this article does not from what I could see.

jet199 , 2014-09-29 10:42:40
To be honest I don't think Neoliberalism has made much of a difference in the UK where personal responsibility has always been king. In the Victorian age people were quite happy to have people staving to death on the streets and before that people's problems were usually seen as either their own fault or an act of God (which would also be your own fault due to sin). If anything we are kinder to strangers now, than we have been, but are slipping back into our old habits.
I think the best way to combat extreme liberalism is to be knowing about our culture and realise that liberalism is something which is embedded in British culture and is not something imposed on us from else where or by some -ism. It is strengthen not just by politics but also by language and the way we deal with personal and social issues in our own lives. We also need to acknowledge that we get both good and bad things out of living in a liberal society but that doesn't mean we have to put up with the bad stuff. We can put measures in place to prevent the bad stuff and still enjoy the positives even though some capitalists may throw their toys out of the pram.
ForgottenVoice jet199 , 2014-09-29 10:46:38
Personal responsibility is EXACTLY what neoliberalism avoids, even as it advocates it with every breath.

What it means is that you get as much responsibility as you can afford to foist onto someone else, so a very wealthy person gets none at all. It's always someone else's fault.

Neoliberalism has actually undermined personal responsibility at every single step, delegating it according to wealth or perceived worth.

dairymaid jet199 , 2014-09-29 11:37:13
If Liberalism is the mindset of the British how come we created the NHS, Legal Aid, universal education and social security? These were massive achievements of a post war generation and about as far removed from today's evil shyster politics as it is possible to be.
NaturalOutswing , 2014-09-29 10:43:32
"Our society constantly proclaims that anyone can make it if they just try hard enough, all the while reinforcing privilege and putting increasing pressure on its overstretched and exhausted citizens"

What to people mean when they use the word "society" in this context?

gjjwatson , 2014-09-29 10:46:23
When we stopped having jobs and had careers instead, the rot set in. A career is the promotion of the self and a job the means to realise that goal at the expense of everyone else around you.
The description of psychopathic behaviour perfectly describes a former boss of mine (female). I liked her but knew how dangerous she was. She went easy on me because she knew that I could do the job that she would claim credit for.
The pressure and stress of, for example open plan offices and evaluation reports are all part of the conscious effort on behalf of employers to ensure compliance with this poisonous attitude.
The greatest promoter of this philosophy is the Media, step forward Evan Davies, the slobbering lap dog of the rich and powerful.
On the positive side I detect a growing realisation among normal people of the folly of this worldview.
RamjetMan gjjwatson , 2014-09-29 10:53:56
Self promoters are generally psychopaths who don't have any empathy for the people around them who carry them everyday and make them look good. We call these people show bags. Full of shit and you have to carry them all the time....
anorak , 2014-09-29 10:46:37
No shit Sherlock. Did you get a grant for this extensive research?
ID8665572 , 2014-09-29 10:49:43
"meritocratic neoliberalism favours certain personality traits and penalises others..."
I put to you the simple premsie that you can substitute "meritocratic neoliberalism" with any political system (communism, fascism, social democracy even) and it the same truism would emerge.
Martyn Blackburn , 2014-09-29 10:50:06
"Neoliberalism promotes individual freedom, limited government, and deregulation of the economy...whilst individual freedom is a laudable idea, neoliberalism taken to a dogmatic extreme can be used to justify exploitation of the less powerful and pillaging of the natural environment." - Don Ambrose.

Contrast with this:

"Neoliberal democracy, with its notion of the market uber alles ...instead of citizens, it produces consumers. Instead of communities, it produces shopping malls. The net result is an atomized society of disengaged individuals who feel demoralised and socially powerless." - Robert W. McChesney in Profit over People, Noam Chomsky.

It is fairly clear that the neoliberal system is designed to exploit the less powerfull when it becomes dogmatic, and that is exactly what it has become: beaurocracy, deregulation, privatisation, and government power .

ForgottenVoice , 2014-09-29 10:50:10
Neoliberalism is a virus that destroys people's power of reason and replaces it with extra greed and self entitlement. Until it is kicked back to the insane asylum it came from it will only keep trying to make us it's indentured labourers. The only creeds more vile were Nazism and Apartheid. Eventually the neoliberals will kill us all, so they can have the freedom to have everything they think they're worth.
pagey23 , 2014-09-29 10:50:48
Liberal Socialism is what we have, how is 45% of the economy run by government and a 1 trillion pound debt economic liberalism
RamjetMan pagey23 , 2014-09-29 10:57:08
Yes we have big government and a finance system which prop each other up. Why it's called neoliberalism is beyond me.
MSP1984 , 2014-09-29 10:51:35

Yet, on the other hand, our daily lives have become a constant battle against a bureaucracy that would make Kafka weak at the knees. There are regulations about everything, from the salt content of bread to urban poultry-keeping.

Isn't a key feature of neo-liberalism that governments de-regulate? It seems you're willing to blame absolutely everything on neoliberalism, even those things that neoliberalism ostensibly opposes.

Sandra Mae , 2014-09-29 10:52:53
The Professor is correct. We have crafted a nightmare of a society where what is considered good is often to the detriment of the whole community. It is reflected in our TV shows of choice, Survivor, Big Brother, voting off the weakest or the greatest rival. A half a million bucks for being the meanest most sociopathic person in the group, what great entertainment.
Jem Bo , 2014-09-29 10:53:35
articulateness - not much fluency in a sentence when using that word is there?
Choller21 Jem Bo , 2014-09-29 10:58:30
Articulocity.
illeist , 2014-09-29 10:54:39
Always a treat to read your articles, Mr Verhaeghe; well written and supported with examples and external good links. I especially like the link to Hare's site which is a rich resource of information and current discussions and presentations on the subject.

The rise of the psychopath in society has been noted for some time, as have the consequences of this behaviour in wider society and and a growing indifference and increased tolerance for this behaviour.

But what are practical solutions? MRI brain scans and early intervention? We know that behaviour modification does not work, we know that antipsychotic and other psychiatric medication does not alter this behaviour, we know little of genetic causes or if diet and nutrition play a role.

Maybe it is because successful psychopaths leverage themselves into positions of influence and power and reduce the voice, choices and influence of their victims that psychopathy has become such an unsolvable problem, or at least a problem that has been removed from the stage of awareness. It is so much easier to see the social consequences of psychopathy than it is to see the causal activity of psychopaths themselves.

Jack3 illeist , 2014-09-29 11:54:12
To deal with this problem is the most urgent and crucial for humanity if we hope for any future at all.
dr8765 , 2014-09-29 10:54:46
Great article. Thanks.
tufsoft , 2014-09-29 11:00:33
People are pretty much bound to behave this way when you replace the family with the individual as the primary unit of society
quark007 , 2014-09-29 11:02:51
Neoliberalism has entered centre stage politics not as a solution, it is just socialism with a crowd pleasing face. What could the labour party do to get voted in when the leadership consisted of self professed intellectuals in Donkey Jackets which they wore to patronise the working classes. Like the animal reflected in the name they became a laughing stock. Nobody understood their language or cared for it. The people who could understand it claimed that it was full of irrelevant hyperbole and patronising sentiment.

It still is but with nice sounding buzz words and an endless sound bites, the face of politics has been transformed into a hollow shell. Neither of the party's faithful are happy with their leaders. They have become centre stage by understanding process more than substance. As long as your face fits, a person has every chance of success. Real merit on the other hand is either sadly lacking or non existant.

gman1 , 2014-09-29 11:05:43
banxters blah blah
LargeMarvin , 2014-09-29 11:06:40
As one who was a working class history graduate in 1970, this is not exactly news.
Andyz , 2014-09-29 11:08:13
Most people's personalities and behaviour are environment driven, they are moulded by the social context in which they find themselves. The system we currently inhabit is one which is constructed on behalf of the holders of capital, it is a construct of the need to create wealth through interest bearing debt.

The values of this civilisation are consumer ones, we validate and actualise ourselves through ownership of goods, and also the middle-class norms of family life, which are in and of themselves constructs of a liberal consumer based society.

We pride ourselves on tolerance, which is just veiled indifference to anything which we feel as no importance to our own desires. People are becoming automatons, directed through media devices and advertising, and also the implanted desires which the consumer society needs us to act upon to maintain the current system of economy.

None of this can of course survive indefinitely, hence the constant state of underlying anxiety within society as it ploughs along on this suicidal route.

Finn_Nielsen Andyz , 2014-09-29 11:13:15
WAKE UP SHEEPLE
Fence2 , 2014-09-29 11:09:28
Good article, however I would just like to add that the new breed of 'business psychopath' you allude to are fairly easy to spot these days, and as such more people are aware of them, so they could be displaced quite soon, hopefully.
regfromdagenham , 2014-09-29 11:10:22
Cameron and the Conservatives have long been condemning the lazy and feckless at the bottom of society, but has Cameron ever looked at his aristocratic in-laws.

His father-in-law, Sir Reginald Sheffield, can be checked out on Wikipedia.

His only work seems to have been eight years as a conservative councillor (lazy).

He is a member of three clubs, so he likes to go pissing it up with his rich friends (feckless).

This seems to be total sum of his life's achievements.

He also gets Government subsidies for wind turbines on his land (on benefits).
His estate has been in the family since the 16th Century and the family have probably done very little since, yet we worry about the lower classes having two generations without work, in the upper classes this can go on for centuries.

Wasters don't just exist at the bottom of society.

Mr. Cameron have a closer look at your aristocratic in-laws.

colddebtmountain , 2014-09-29 11:12:39

This is the consequence of a system that prevents people from thinking independently and that fails to treat employees as adults.

Fundamentally the whole concept is saying "real talent is to be hunted down since, if you do not destroy it, it will destroy you". As a result we have a whole army of useless twats in high positions with not an independent thought between them. The concept of the old boys network has really taken over except now the members are any mental age from zero upwards.

And then we wonder why nothing is done prperly these days....

regfromdagenham , 2014-09-29 11:13:44
If you want to get into this in a bit more depth:

"Status Anxiety" by Alain de Botton is worth a read.

Also, a better insight into the psychopaths amongst us, including bankers, can be gained from Robert Hare's book:

"Without Conscience"

yoghurt2 , 2014-09-29 11:14:19
Neoliberalism is fine in some areas of self-development and actualization of potential, but taken as a kind of religion or as the be-all and end-all it is a manifest failure. For a start it neglects to acknowledge what people have in common, the idea of shared values, the notion of society, the effects of synergy and the geo-biological fact that we are one species all inhabiting the same single planet, a planet that is uniquely adapted to ourselves, and to which we are uniquely adapted.

Generally it works on the micro-scale to free up initiative, but on the macro-scale it is hugely destructive, since its goals are not the welfare of the entire human race and the planet but something far more self-interested.

undersinged , 2014-09-29 11:14:37

I put this simple statement to you: meritocratic neoliberalism favours certain personality traits and penalises others.

This is inevitable. All societies have this property. A warrior society rewards brave fighters and inspiring leaders, while punishing weaklings and cowards. A theocracy rewards those who display piety and knowledge of religious tradition, and punishes skeptics and taboo-breakers. Tyrannies reward cunning, ruthless schemers while punishing the squeamish and naive. Bureaucratic societies reward pernickety types who love rules and regulationsn, and punish those who are careless of jots and tittles. And so on.

A neoliberal meritocracy would have us believe that success depends on individual effort and talents

It does. In fact, it does in all societies to some extent, even societies that strive to be egalitarian, and societies that try to restrict social mobility by imposing a rigid caste system. There are always individuals who fall or rise through society as a result of their abilities or lack thereof. The freer society is, the more this happens.

For those who believe in the fairytale of unrestricted choice, self-government and self-management are the pre-eminent political messages, especially if they appear to promise freedom.

Straw man. Even anarchists don't believe in completely unrestricted choice, let alone neoliberals. Neoliberalism accepts that people are inevitably limited by their abilities and their situation. Personal responsibility does not depend on complete freedom. It depends on there being some freedom. If you have enough freedom to make good or bad choices, then you have personal responsibility.

Along with the idea of the perfectible individual, the freedom we perceive ourselves as having in the west is the greatest untruth of this day and age.

The idea of the perfectible individual has nothing to do with neoliberalism. On the other hand, it is one of the central pillars of Marxism. In philosophy, Marx is noted as an example of thinker who follows a perfectionist ethical theory.
undersinged undersinged , 2014-09-29 11:18:55
One more: Socialist societies reward lazy and feckless people, and punish strivers who display initiative.
gjjwatson undersinged , 2014-09-29 11:22:15
You miss the point. Neoliberalism promotes negative values and is used consciously to control personal freedom and undermine positive individuality.
Vanillaicetea undersinged , 2014-09-29 11:39:22
An excellent demolition of this piece of whiny idiocy.
variation31 , 2014-09-29 11:16:27
A frightening article, detailing now the psychological strenngths of people are recruited, perverted and rotted by this rat-race ethic.

Ironic that the photo, of Canary Wharf, shows one of the biggest "socialist" gifts of the country (was paid largely by the British taxpayer, if memory serves me correctly, and more or less gifted to the merchant bankers by Thatcher).

66Applicationsperjob , 2014-09-29 11:16:34
Meritocratic neoliberalism; superficial articulateness which I used to call 'the gift of the gab'. In my job, I was told to be 'extrovert' and I bucked against this, as a prejudice against anyone with a different personality and people wanting CLONES. Not sensible people, or people that could do a job, but a clone; setting the system up for a specific type of person as stated above. Those who quickly tell you, you are wrong. Those that make you think perhaps you are, owing to their confidence. Until your quietness proves them to be totally incorrect, and their naff confidence demonstrates the falseness of what they state.
JonPurrtree 66Applicationsperjob , 2014-09-29 11:17:25
I call it the bullshit based economy.
undersinged JonPurrtree , 2014-09-29 11:23:55
Most of the richest people in the world are not bullshitters. There are some, to be sure, but the majority are either technical or financial engineers of genius, and they've made their fortune through those skills, rather than through bullshit.
JonPurrtree undersinged , 2014-09-29 11:30:52
Plenty of bullshit keeping companies afloat.

Apart from tetra brik. Thats a useful product.

66Applicationsperjob , 2014-09-29 11:19:11
Hague lied to the camera about GCHQ having permission to access anyone's electronic devices. He did not blush, he merely stated that a warrant was required. Only the night before we were shown a letter from GCHQ stating that they had access without any warrant.

The ability to LIE has become a VIRTUE that all of us could well LIVE WITHOUT.

undersinged 66Applicationsperjob , 2014-09-29 17:34:47

The ability to LIE has become a VIRTUE

That's not new. It has been widely held that rulers have a right (and sometimes a duty) to lie ever since Machiavelli's Prince was published some 500 years ago.
regfromdagenham , 2014-09-29 11:19:34
The thinking behind our age was covered in a three part BBC documentary "The Trap".

It was made in 2006, before the financial crisis.

http://thoughtmaybe.com/the-trap/

Why was Iraq such a disaster?
Find out in Part 3.

seamuspadraig , 2014-09-29 11:26:02

The sociologist Zygmunt Bauman neatly summarised the paradox of our era as: "Never have we been so free. Never have we felt so powerless." We are indeed freer than before, in the sense that we can criticise religion, take advantage of the new laissez-faire attitude to sex and support any political movement we like. We can do all these things because they no longer have any significance – freedom of this kind is prompted by indifference.

Freedom's just another word for nothin' left lose.
-Janice Joplin

RaymondDance seamuspadraig , 2014-09-29 11:45:35

Freedom's just another word for nothin' left lose.
-Janice Joplin

Kris Kristofferson actually,

LargeMarvin seamuspadraig , 2014-09-29 14:46:09
Actually it was written by Kris Kristofferson and, having a house, a job pension and an Old Age Pension, frankly, I disagree. The Grateful Dead version is better anyway.
mjhunbeliever seamuspadraig , 2014-09-30 15:46:19
This little video may throw some light on that for you, Paradox of Choice.
dr8765 , 2014-09-29 11:26:23

.... economic change is having a profound effect not only on our values but also on our personalities.

I have long thought that introverts are being marginalised in our society. Being introvert seems to be seen by some as almost an illness, by others as virtually a crime.

Not keen on attending that "team bonding" weekend? There must be something wrong with you. Unwilling to set out your life online for all to see? What have you got to hide?

A few very driven and talented introverts have managed to find a niche in the world of IT and computers, earnig fortunes from their bedrooms. But for most, being unwilling or unable to scream their demands and desires across a crowded room is interpreted as "not trying" or being not worth listening to.

seamuspadraig , 2014-09-29 11:28:28

It's important to be able to talk up your own capacities as much as you can – you know a lot of people, you've got plenty of experience under your belt and you recently completed a major project. Later, people will find out that this was mostly hot air, but the fact that they were initially fooled is down to another personality trait: you can lie convincingly and feel little guilt. That's why you never take responsibility for your own behaviour.

Perfectly describes our new ruling-class, doesn't it!

Monchberter , 2014-09-29 11:30:05
Neoliberalism:

'Get on', or get f*****d.
Be hard working, or be dispensable.

Trilbey Monchberter , 2014-09-29 12:32:14
Does neoliberalism = fascism = brutality?
Vanillaicetea , 2014-09-29 11:30:29

It's important to be able to talk up your own capacities as much as you can – you know a lot of people, you've got plenty of experience under your belt and you recently completed a major project. Later, people will find out that this was mostly hot air, but the fact that they were initially fooled is down to another personality trait: you can lie convincingly and feel little guilt. That's why you never take responsibility for your own behaviour.

Sounds like a perfect description of newspaper columnists to me.

illogicalcaptain , 2014-09-29 11:33:08
It's just the general spirit of the place: it's on such a downer and no amount of theorising and talking will ever solve anything. There isn't a good feeling about this country anymore just a lot of tying everyone up in in repressive knots with a lot of hooey like talk and put downs. We need to find freedom again or maybe shove all the pricks into one part of the country and leave them there to fuck each other over so the rest of us can create a new world free of bullcrap. I don't know. Place is a superficial mess: 'look at me; look at what I own; I can cook Coq Au Vin and drink bottles of expensive plonk and keep ten cars on my driveway'
Nah. Fortuneately there are still some decent people left but it's been like Hamlet now for quite some time - "show me an honest man and I'll show you one man in ten thousand" Sucks.
chriskilby , 2014-09-29 11:33:17
So it's official. We are ruled by psychopaths. Figures.
Trilbey chriskilby , 2014-09-29 12:35:58
Perhaps I can help out. There's some good research here:

Are CEOs and Entrepreneurs psychopaths? Multiple studies say "Yes

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/drishtikone/2013/10/are-ceos-and-entrepreneurs-psychopaths-multiple-studies-say-yes/

Menscheit11 , 2014-09-29 11:33:31
This article is spot on and reflects Karl Marx's analysis regarding the economic base informing and determining the superstructure of a given society, that is, its social, cultural aspects. A neo-liberal, monetarist economy will shape and influence social and work relationships in ways that are not beneficial for the many but as the commentator states, will benefit those possessed of certain thrusting,domineering character traits. The common use of the word "loser" in contemporary society to describe those who haven't "succeeded" financially is in itself telling.
Trilbey Menscheit11 , 2014-09-29 12:37:59
Some people are brave enough to buck the system, I'm not, I just keep going to work everyday to get slaughtered.
LargeMarvin Menscheit11 , 2014-09-29 14:48:16
Freud's model of the mind is pretty good too, though psychoanalysis itself is controversial. The Krel forgot one thing.................
qwertboi , 2014-09-29 11:34:29
What an incisive article!

It would be the perfect first chapter (foreword/introduction) in a best seller that goes on, chapter by chapter, to show that neoliberalism destroys everything it touches:

Personal relationships;
trust;
personal integrity;
trust;
relationships;
trust;
transactions and trade;
trust;
market systems;
trust;
communities;
trust;
political relationships;
trust;

Etc., etc., etc..
trust;
society;
trust;

Menscheit11 , 2014-09-29 11:35:37
This analysis can be found in Marx's critique of the economy published in 1859.
lexcredendi , 2014-09-29 11:36:17
James Meek seems to have nailed it in his recent book, where he pointed out that the socially conservative Thatcher, who wanted a society based on good old fashioned values, helped to create the precise opposite with her enthusiasm for the neoliberal model. Now we are sinking into a dog-eat-dog dystopia.
Trilbey lexcredendi , 2014-09-29 12:53:48
Many of the good old fashioned conservatives had time honoured values. They believed in taking care of yourself but they also believed in integrity and honesty. They believed in living modestly and would save much of their money rather than just spend it, and so would put some aside for a rainy day. They believed in the community and were often active about local issues. They cared about the countryside and the wildlife. They often recycled which went along with their thriftiness and hatred of waste.

This all vanished when Thatcher came in with her selfish 'greed is good' brigade. Loads of money!

LargeMarvin lexcredendi , 2014-09-29 14:49:34
Even shampoo and sets have not come back, though unfortunately slickbacks have.
PonyBoyUK , 2014-09-29 11:36:31

We are indeed freer than before, in the sense that we can criticise religion, take advantage of the new laissez-faire attitude to sex and support any political movement we like. We can do all these things because they no longer have any significance –

Ha Ha!...

Oh, wait, now I'm sad.... Damn it.

freepedestrian , 2014-09-29 11:38:34
There is nothing "neo" nor "liberal" about neoliberalism. It is a cover for corporations and the wealthy elite to get more corporate welfare .
PonyBoyUK freepedestrian , 2014-09-29 12:28:59
Take what you do, define it in a word or two and then use the most concise antonym. - That is what you will tell the public.

State-protected oligopolies = "The Free Market"

Aggressive wars on civilian populations = "The war on Terror" / "The Ministry of Defence"

Age-old economic oppression = "Neoliberal economics"

Public Manipulation = "Public Relations"

Political Oppression = "Democracy"

LargeMarvin freepedestrian , 2014-09-29 14:50:47
In practice yes, but on the theoretical level the title is valid. It is the resurrection of policies from the 1860s.
Toeparty , 2014-09-29 11:38:44
Capitalist alienation is a daily practise. The daily practise of competing with and using people. This gives rise to the ideology that society and other people are but a means to an end rather than an end in themselves that is of course when they are not a frightening a existential competitive threat. Contempt and fear. That is what we are reduced to by the buying and selling of labour power and yes, only a psychopath can thrive under such conditions.
Vanillaicetea , 2014-09-29 11:42:49
According to the left if your only ambition is to watch Jeremy Kyle, pick up a welfare cheque once a week and vote for which ever party will promise to give you £10 a week more in welfare: you're an almost saint like figure.

If you actually do something to try to create a better and more independent life for yourself, your family and your community: you're "displaying psychopathic tendencies" .

Raymond Ashworth Vanillaicetea , 2014-09-29 11:49:07
Strawman.
Themiddlegound Vanillaicetea , 2014-09-29 11:49:49
If you actually do something to try to create a better and more independent life for yourself, your family and your community: you're "displaying psychopathic tendencies".

So how do you create a better community ?

By paying your taxes on your wealth that so many of you try to avoid. Here lies the crux of the matter. There would be no deficit if taxes were paid.

Some of the rich are so psychpathic they think jsut because they employ people they shouldn't pay any tax. They think the employees should pay thier tax for them.

Why has tax become such a dirty word ? Think about it before you answer.

RaymondDance Themiddlegound , 2014-09-29 11:54:25

There would be no deficit if taxes were paid.

Of course there would.

Themiddlegound , 2014-09-29 11:45:14
I've studied neoliberalism for nearly 20 years.

The conclusion is for me is that it is a brilliant economic model. It is the sheer apathy of the voters and that they are cowards because they don't make it work for them. They allow the people who own the theory to run it for themselves and thus they get all the benefits from it.

I'll try and explain.

Their business plan.

The truth is neoliberalism has infact made the rich western countries poorer and helped so many other poorer countries around the world get richer. Let's face facts here giving to charities would never have achieved this and something needed to be done to even up this world inequality. The only way you are ever going to achieve world peace is if everybody is equal. It's not by chance this theory was introduced by America. They are trying to bring that equality to everyone so that world peace can be achieved. How many more illegal wars and deaths this will take and for how long nobody knows. They are also very sinister and selfish and greedy because if the Americans do achieve what they are trying to do. They will own and countrol the world via washington and the dollar. The way the Americans see it is that the inequality created within each country is a bribe to each power structure within that country which helps America achieve it's long term goals. It creates inequality within each country but at the same time creates equality on the world stage. It might take 100 years to achieve and millions of deaths but eventually every country will be another state of America and look and act like any American state. Once that is achieved world peace will follow. America see it as a war and they also see millions of deaths as acceptable to achieve their end game. I of course disagree there must be a better way. How will history look at this dark period in history in 300 years time if it does achieve world peace in 150 years time ?

In each country neoliberalism works but at the moment it only works for the few because the voters allow it. The voters allow them to get away with it through submission. They've allowed their parliaments to be taken over without a fight and allowed their brains to be brainwashed by the media controlled by the few. Which means the the whole story of neoliberalism has been skewed into a very narrow view which always suits and promotes the voices of the few.

Why did the voters allow that to happen ?

Their biggest success the few had over the many was to create an illusion that made tax a toxic word. They attacked tax with everything they had to form an illusion in the voters minds that paying tax was a bad thing and it was everybodys enemy. Then they passed laws to enhance that view and trotted out scare stories around tax and that if they had to pay it then everybody would leave that country. They created a world set up for them and ulitimately destroyed any chance at all, for the success of neoliberalism to be shared by the many. This was their biggest success to make sure the wealth of neoliberalism stayed with them.

As the author of this piece says quite clearly. "An economic system that rewards psychopathic personality traits has changed our ethics and our personalities"

One of these traits is that they believe they shouldn't pay tax because they are creating jobs and the tax their employees pay should be the amount of tax these companies pay. Again this makes sure that the wealth is not shared.

Since they now own and control parliaments they also use the state to pay these wages in the way of tax credits and subsidies and grants as they refuse to pay their employees a living wage. It is our taxes they use to do this. Again this is to make sure that the wealth is not shared.

There are too many examples to list of how they make sure that the wealth generated by neoliberalism is not shared. Then surely it is up to the voters to make sure it does. Neoliberalism works and it would work for everybody if the voters would just grow a set of balls. Tax avoidance was the battle that won the war for the few. It is time the voters revisited that battle and re write it so that the outcome was that the many won not just the few. For example there would be no deficit if the many had won that battle. Of course they wouldn't have left a market of 60 million people with money in their pockets, it would have been business suicide.

This is a great example of how they created an illusion, a false culture, a world that does not exist. The focus is all on the deficit and how to fix it, as they socialise the losses and privatise the profits. There is no eyes or light shed on why there is a deficit due to tax avoidance. It's time we changed that and made Neoliberlaism work for us. If we don't then we can't complain when it only works for the few.

Neoliberlaism works. It's about time we owned it for ourselves. Otherwise we'll always be slaves to it. It's not the theory that is corrupt it is the people who own it.

RaymondDance Themiddlegound , 2014-09-29 11:53:29

There is no eyes or light shed on why there is a deficit due to tax avoidance.

... or because politicians have discovered that you can buy votes by giving handouts even to those who don't need them, thereby making everyone dependent on the largesse of the state and, by extension, promoting the interests of the most irresponsible politicians and the bureaucracies they represent.

dr8765 Themiddlegound , 2014-09-29 12:02:36
You seem to regard what you call neoliberalism as a creator of wealth. You then claim that the reason for this wealth accruing almost entirely to an elite few is the "the voters" have prevented neoliberalism from distributing the wealth more equitably.

I can't really follow the logic of your argument.

Neoliberalism seems to be working perfectly for those few who are in a position to exploit it. It's doing what it's designed to do.

I agree that the ignorance of "the voters" is allowing the elite to get away with it. But the voters should be voting for those who propose an alternative economic model. Unfortunately, in the western world at the present time, they have no viable alternative to vote for, because the neoliberals have captured all of the mainstream political parties and institutions.

Themiddlegound RaymondDance , 2014-09-29 12:03:10
That's all fine and dandy and I agree.

However, you missed one of the main points. Our parliament has been taken over by the few.

One man used to and probably still does strike fear into the government. Murdoch. Problem is there are millions like him that lobby and control policy and the media.

foralltime , 2014-09-29 11:46:59
..."There are regulations about everything,"... Yes, but higher up the scale you go, the less this regulation is enforced, less individual accountability and less transparency. Neoliberalism has turned society on its head. We see ever growing corporate socialism subsidising the top 1% and heavily regulated hard nosed market capitalism for the rest of us resulting in massive inequality in wealth distribution. This inequality by design makes the rich richer and the poor poorer. We've created a society where people who were once valued as an individual part of that society are now treated as surplus to requirements and somehow need to be eliminated.
RaymondDance , 2014-09-29 11:50:02

Bullying used to be confined to schools

Blimey - and people like this constantly accuse conservatives of being nostalgic for a past that never existed.

LargeMarvin RaymondDance , 2014-09-29 14:54:59
Fair comment. I went to a grammar school where there was, luckily, very little bullying. The bullying happened when I got back to the 'hood.
zavaell , 2014-09-29 11:51:37
All I know is that when I read the comments on cif, I cannot believe that these are people who would be expected to read the Guardian.
RaymondDance zavaell , 2014-09-29 11:56:26

I cannot believe that these are people who would be expected to read the Guardian.

One of the best things about cif is that it allows a wider audience to see just how deluded and narcissistic Guardian readers are.

busyteacher zavaell , 2014-09-29 12:23:12
They're mostly tight g*ts who refuse to pay to use the Mail/Telegraph sites. This is just about the last free forum left now and it's attracting all kinds of undesirables. The level of personal insult has gone up enormously since they came here. Most of us traditional Ciffers don't bother with many posts here any more, it's too boring now.
LargeMarvin zavaell , 2014-09-29 14:55:44
It's called Revenge of the Killer Clerks.
WarwickC , 2014-09-29 11:53:18

Our presumed freedom is tied to one central condition: we must be successful – that is, "make" something of ourselves.

That's always been the way, I think. It's life.
We are all of us the descendants of a million generations of successful organisms, human and pre-human.
The ones that didn't succeed fel by the wayside.
We're the ones left to tell the tale.

Stephen Porter WarwickC , 2014-09-29 12:34:35
We're the ones left to tell the tale"

and what a tale it will be for the last human standing!

EstebanMurphy WarwickC , 2014-09-29 13:14:33

That's always been th

[Aug 29, 2016] Neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us

Notable quotes:
"... the financial crisis illustrated at a macro-social level (for example, in the conflicts between eurozone countries) what a neoliberal meritocracy does to people. Solidarity becomes an expensive luxury and makes way for temporary alliances, the main preoccupation always being to extract more profit from the situation than your competition. Social ties with colleagues weaken, as does emotional commitment to the enterprise or organisation. ..."
"... Bullying used to be confined to schools; now it is a common feature of the workplace. This is a typical symptom of the impotent venting their frustration on the weak – in psychology it's known as displaced aggression. There is a buried sense of fear, ranging from performance anxiety to a broader social fear of the threatening other. ..."
"... Constant evaluations at work cause a decline in autonomy and a growing dependence on external, often shifting, norms ..."
Sep 29, 2014 | www.theguardian.com

An economic system that rewards psychopathic personality traits has changed our ethics and our personalities

'We are forever told that we are freer to choose the course of our lives than ever before, but the freedom to choose outside the success narrative is limited.' Photograph: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

We tend to perceive our identities as stable and largely separate from outside forces. But over decades of research and therapeutic practice, I have become convinced that economic change is having a profound effect not only on our values but also on our personalities. Thirty years of neoliberalism, free-market forces and privatisation have taken their toll, as relentless pressure to achieve has become normative. If you're reading this sceptically, I put this simple statement to you: meritocratic neoliberalism favours certain personality traits and penalises others.

There are certain ideal characteristics needed to make a career today. The first is articulateness, the aim being to win over as many people as possible. Contact can be superficial, but since this applies to most human interaction nowadays, this won't really be noticed.

It's important to be able to talk up your own capacities as much as you can – you know a lot of people, you've got plenty of experience under your belt and you recently completed a major project. Later, people will find out that this was mostly hot air, but the fact that they were initially fooled is down to another personality trait: you can lie convincingly and feel little guilt. That's why you never take responsibility for your own behaviour.

On top of all this, you are flexible and impulsive, always on the lookout for new stimuli and challenges. In practice, this leads to risky behaviour, but never mind, it won't be you who has to pick up the pieces. The source of inspiration for this list? The psychopathy checklist by Robert Hare , the best-known specialist on psychopathy today.

This description is, of course, a caricature taken to extremes. Nevertheless, the financial crisis illustrated at a macro-social level (for example, in the conflicts between eurozone countries) what a neoliberal meritocracy does to people. Solidarity becomes an expensive luxury and makes way for temporary alliances, the main preoccupation always being to extract more profit from the situation than your competition. Social ties with colleagues weaken, as does emotional commitment to the enterprise or organisation.

Bullying used to be confined to schools; now it is a common feature of the workplace. This is a typical symptom of the impotent venting their frustration on the weak – in psychology it's known as displaced aggression. There is a buried sense of fear, ranging from performance anxiety to a broader social fear of the threatening other.

Constant evaluations at work cause a decline in autonomy and a growing dependence on external, often shifting, norms. This results in what the sociologist Richard Sennett has aptly described as the "infantilisation of the workers". Adults display childish outbursts of temper and are jealous about trivialities ("She got a new office chair and I didn't"), tell white lies, resort to deceit, delight in the downfall of others and cherish petty feelings of revenge. This is the consequence of a system that prevents people from thinking independently and that fails to treat employees as adults.

More important, though, is the serious damage to people's self-respect. Self-respect largely depends on the recognition that we receive from the other, as thinkers from Hegel to Lacan have shown. Sennett comes to a similar conclusion when he sees the main question for employees these days as being "Who needs me?" For a growing group of people, the answer is: no one.

Our society constantly proclaims that anyone can make it if they just try hard enough, all the while reinforcing privilege and putting increasing pressure on its overstretched and exhausted citizens. An increasing number of people fail, feeling humiliated, guilty and ashamed. We are forever told that we are freer to choose the course of our lives than ever before, but the freedom to choose outside the success narrative is limited. Furthermore, those who fail are deemed to be losers or scroungers, taking advantage of our social security system.

A neoliberal meritocracy would have us believe that success depends on individual effort and talents, meaning responsibility lies entirely with the individual and authorities should give people as much freedom as possible to achieve this goal. For those who believe in the fairytale of unrestricted choice, self-government and self-management are the pre-eminent political messages, especially if they appear to promise freedom. Along with the idea of the perfectible individual, the freedom we perceive ourselves as having in the west is the greatest untruth of this day and age.

The sociologist Zygmunt Bauman neatly summarised the paradox of our era as: "Never have we been so free. Never have we felt so powerless." We are indeed freer than before, in the sense that we can criticise religion, take advantage of the new laissez-faire attitude to sex and support any political movement we like. We can do all these things because they no longer have any significance – freedom of this kind is prompted by indifference. Yet, on the other hand, our daily lives have become a constant battle against a bureaucracy that would make Kafka weak at the knees. There are regulations about everything, from the salt content of bread to urban poultry-keeping.

Our presumed freedom is tied to one central condition: we must be successful – that is, "make" something of ourselves. You don't need to look far for examples. A highly skilled individual who puts parenting before their career comes in for criticism. A person with a good job who turns down a promotion to invest more time in other things is seen as crazy – unless those other things ensure success. A young woman who wants to become a primary school teacher is told by her parents that she should start off by getting a master's degree in economics – a primary school teacher, whatever can she be thinking of?

There are constant laments about the so-called loss of norms and values in our culture. Yet our norms and values make up an integral and essential part of our identity. So they cannot be lost, only changed. And that is precisely what has happened: a changed economy reflects changed ethics and brings about changed identity. The current economic system is bringing out the worst in us.

Psychology Work & careers Economics Economic policy

more on this story

[Aug 28, 2016] Hitchens on Hillarys Lies

Mar 31, 2008 | The Weekly Standard
A must-read from Christopher Hitchens:
The punishment visited on Sen. Hillary Clinton for her flagrant, hysterical, repetitive, pathological lying about her visit to Bosnia should be much heavier than it has yet been and should be exacted for much more than just the lying itself. There are two kinds of deliberate and premeditated deceit, commonly known as suggestio falsi and suppressio veri. (Neither of them is covered by the additionally lying claim of having "misspoken.") The first involves what seems to be most obvious in the present case: the putting forward of a bogus or misleading account of events. But the second, and often the more serious, means that the liar in question has also attempted to bury or to obscure something that actually is true. Let us examine how Sen. Clinton has managed to commit both of these offenses to veracity and decency and how in doing so she has rivaled, if not indeed surpassed, the disbarred and perjured hack who is her husband and tutor.
Hitchens is outraged, and eloquently so as always--it's definitely worth reading through. Still, I'm surprised that anyone can be surprised by the Clinton's lies anymore. Frankly, I find them rather comforting in comparison to Obama's new kind of politics, which best I can tell seems to be the same old politics in a new self-righteous package. All politicians lie, and the Clintons more than most. I can't imagine that voters haven't already internalized this reality--which is why I tend to think the explanation for Hillary's plummeting poll numbers must lie elsewhere. Samantha says it's the whining, which is as good an explanation as any.

[Aug 27, 2016] Hillary Clinton Exposed, Movie She Banned From Theaters Full Movie

This is hour and a half movie with some interesting momemtn. Pretty educational
May 21, 2014 | YouTube
Kevin Canada (CIA NWO MIND CONTROL) 2 years ago
The conference spawned books by both Brzezinski and Peccei: Technetronic Era and The Chasm Ahead, respectively. In calling for the establishment of a post-industrial dictatorship, Brzezinski wrote: "..new forms of social control may be needed to limit the indiscriminate exercise by individuals of their new powers." He went on to suggest bio-chemical means to control the populace and stated: "It will soon be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over every citizen and to maintain up-to-date complete files..."

In his later book Between Two Ages, he called for the establishment of a global government, and, in the manner of a thug working a protection racket, indicated what the global elite would do to punish the masses if they resisted. ....

[Aug 26, 2016] Rep. Gowdy Hillary Clinton is a 'habitual, serial liar'

Fox News Video

- 2:08 - Republican lawmaker questions absence of emails sent by secretary of state on foundation

[Aug 25, 2016] Hillary Clinton will lose the election if this video goes viral!

Aug 25, 2016 | www.youtube.com

Somebody doing pretty good job for Trump. really impressive video. If Trump transmit it battle state Hillary probably will be cooked.

YouTube

Needa Shreerangath 3 days ago i can't believe this crooked woman run for president!
Bungis Albondigas 2 days ago When the BBC reporters broke news of Gaddafis murder, they kind of all did it with a little glee, and the tone of their voice was one of excitement and bemusement, more so than one that would be typically used when reporting on a statesmen's death. But it was quite obvious to the public that the whole thing stunk worse than a rotten tomato covered in ghost queef. Sure, it's not like Gaddafi was a particularly nice man to those who wanted to ruin his country. But he didn't kill them because he wanted to be Evil, he killed them because he was protecting his country from both the meddling of money-motivated foreign powers, and filthy terrorist scum, the kind that has been blowing up the EU and US recently. He was loved, in a country where on any hill at any given time, some kid could have shot his head off with an old gun. But that never happened. He didn't need no pope mobile. In the end, he was gutted alive in the sewers. Would the news reporters sound happy if Hilary or Donald suffered the same fate? Would you make a home invader who killed a family member a cup of tea, or lock them in the basement and kill them?
fire5479 1 day ago Liar, liar her pantsuits are on fire.
MICKEY MARQUEZ 2 days ago pinokio seems as a innocent boy comparing with this demonic creation Hillary

[Aug 25, 2016] Main Street gets a nod from Hillary Clinton

[Video]
Notable quotes:
"... She knows a little about a lot and that is very dangerous. Let's see who her cabinet is. Friends or real players in the office they hold. Oh, she is the biggest liar I have personally ever seen nominated for President of any party ever. ..."
"... She is more crooked than a dog's hind leg! ..."
"... Clinton, a self-absorbed pathological liar, has an excuse for just about everything, and if elected president, the only policy to recieve any priority must come attached with a multi-millon dollar 'donation' to ever see the light of day. ..."
"... She'll promise the world to the world. And deliver nothing, all she cares about is your vote on her quest for power.. ..."
"... The main problem I have with any Clinton proposal is, "who's going to believe anything she says". That's the bi-product of getting away with everything, no one forgets. ..."
Aug 25, 2016 | finance.yahoo.com
Billy Boy 59 minutes ago
She knows a little about a lot and that is very dangerous. Let's see who her cabinet is. Friends or real players in the office they hold. Oh, she is the biggest liar I have personally ever seen nominated for President of any party ever.

So guess what, the BITCHAAA will say anything for your vote. Doesn't matter if you are a legal resident or a pigmie from Guinea she will blow smoke up your #$%$ while trying to find a way for you to vote. I think she should give every burried dead person last rights a minimum of once a week for their vote too.

She is more crooked than a dog's hind leg!

F 6 hours ago

How can nearly every comment on this, and most other articles as a matter of fact, be so anti-Hillary, yet the 'polls' have her in the lead? How can this be?
Tulane 6 hours ago
Not journalism. Propaganda.
David 2 hours ago

Clinton, a self-absorbed pathological liar, has an excuse for just about everything, and if elected president, the only policy to recieve any priority must come attached with a multi-millon dollar 'donation' to ever see the light of day.

Boot 2 hours ago
She'll promise the world to the world. And deliver nothing, all she cares about is your vote on her quest for power..
Stanley 2 hours ago
The main problem I have with any Clinton proposal is, "who's going to believe anything she says". That's the bi-product of getting away with everything, no one forgets. With Obama emptying the prisons onto the streets, fighting against law enforcement, and giving all our biggest enemies nuclear weapons, Hillary should offer to drop-out and let someone run with judgment skills. Even then, they would still have to run on Obama's record.

[Aug 24, 2016] Hillary Clinton received a score of 152 on the Psychopathic Personality Inventory test, putting her in the top 20 percent.

Aug 24, 2016 | marknesop.wordpress.com

https://www.rt.com/uk/356820-trump-psychopathic-hitler-oxford/

Psychologist Dr. Kevin Dutton has ranked the psychopathic traits of the Republican candidate and various historical figures using a standard psychometric tool – the Psychopathic Personality Inventory. Experts suggested likely scores against a series of questions. Trump scored 171, two points more than Hitler.

Saddam Hussein topped the list, scoring 189, while Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton received a score of 152, putting her in the top 20 percent.

Margaret Thatcher scored 136 points, and Elizabeth I was put at 130.

Dutton says the test scores people on eight traits that contribute to a psychopathic character. They are fearlessness, cold-heartedness, egocentricity, ruthlessness, self-confidence, charisma, dishonesty and deficits in empathy and conscience.

I find it surprising that Hilary did not peg the needle. Obama who, in candid moments, brags about being "really good at killing people" should be way up there as well (the article did not mention him which seems surprising). Or, is being good at killing people more of a sociopath thing? Anyway, here are what sociopaths do:

Glibness and Superficial Charm.
Manipulative and Conning. They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. …
Grandiose Sense of Self. …
Pathological Lying. …
Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt. …
Shallow Emotions. …
Incapacity for Love.
Need for Stimulation

OMG, that describes American leaders and foreign policy to perfection! The only item missing is exceptionalism

Jen , August 23, 2016 at 8:55 pm
Exceptionalism would come under Grandiose Sense of Self.

[Aug 23, 2016] How Abusive Employers Combined With Job Insecurity Lead to Suicides

Notable quotes:
"... During the 15 months that I worked at Pitt, I felt the brunt of this lady's abuse. She'd call me into the office, launch into a blistering tirade, and I would sit there, stunned. And, to her, that was another cause for anger. Why was I just sitting there and not reacting? ..."
"... The authors fail to get to the real fundamentals of this phenomenon. The two ends of the spectrum that they delineate can be housed under a single umbrella, that of neoliberalism. And it is obvious that neoliberalism can kill. And Durkheim would have agreed readily that ideas can kill, and not just via suicide. ..."
"... Give yourself a break inode_buddha. Thirty years ago, you, and myself as well, made a rational decision as to what direction to take. At the time, construction and the associated trades were honourable and respectable. A decent living could be made, and a future was in sight. Neo-Liberalism has, since then, destroyed most things that benefited anyone other than the criminal management classes. Humanity has had to stand up and fight for decency and equality throughout history. ..."
"... I have to tell you, as a small business owner myself, this "regulations are burdensome" argument is a crock. Lobbyists in DC learned decades ago that the best way to put a sympathetic face on their efforts to get waivers for big businesses is to have small business owners act as their mouthpieces. And there are enough extreme libertarians everywhere that it's not hard to find someone to screech that the regulations he is subject to are horrible irrespective of how much a burden they really are. ..."
"... "Perhaps this world is another planet's hell." – Aldous Huxley. Yes, it is definitely. Perhaps pretty soon they will start strip search employees when they come to work. ..."
"... Increasing numbers of suicides are one outcome of these environments. But as the writers point out, there are a number of other symptoms associated with these toxic workplaces, none good. They range from physical and mental health issues, to various forms of addiction, burnout, and secondary effects on employees' personal lives and those of their family members or partners. ..."
"... I agree that neoliberal ideology, globalization, and the basic structures of our debt-based economy all play a key role in enabling the intentional development of these organizational environments. ..."
"... I believe the roots of the problem lie in a broader and deeper systemic failure. ..."
"... market failure ..."
"... This article highlights suicide, but drug and alcohol abuse are just as much a result of poor employment outcomes as suicide and for the same reasons. ..."
Aug 22, 2016 | naked capitalism

Yves here. It's hardly a secret that employers have become more abusive towards employees because they can get away with it. The difficulty of finding new employment, particularly for mid and senior level jobs, combined with the fact that most workers (even comparatively well paid ones) are only a paycheck or two away from financial desperation, means bosses have tremendous leverage over workers. And more and more firms embrace coerciveness as a virtue. In the past, it's more often taken the form of cultishness, which is a very effective business model, as Goldman and Bain attest, but more recently, outright mistreatment is becoming common. For instance, Amazon has so successfully cultivated a "culture of fear" that t he overwhelming majority of employees cry at work .

Note the claim in the article about elevated suicide rates at Apple supplier Foxconn is contested; some contend that statistically, its rate of suicides is no higher than for other employers. However, many of the dorms apparently had mesh canopies to prevent suicides, so one wonders if direct comparisons are apt.

By Sarah Waters, a Senior Lecturer in French Studies, University of Leeds and Jenny Chan, a Departmental Lecturer in Sociology and China Studies, University of Oxford. Originally published at The Conversation

A Paris prosecutor recently called for the former CEO and six senior managers of telecoms provider, France Télécom, to face criminal charges for workplace harassment. The recommendation followed a lengthy inquiry into the suicides of a number of employees at the company between 2005 and 2009. The prosecutor accused management of deliberately "destabilising" employees and creating a "stressful professional climate" through a company-wide strategy of "harcèlement moral" – psychological bullying.

All deny any wrongdoing and it is now up to a judge to decide whether to follow the prosecutor's advice or dismiss the case. If it goes ahead, it would be a landmark criminal trial, with implications far beyond just one company.

Workplace suicides are sharply on the rise internationally, with increasing numbers of employees choosing to take their own lives in the face of extreme pressures at work. Recent studies in the United States, Australia, Japan, South Korea, China, India and Taiwan all point to a steep rise in suicides in the context of a generalised deterioration in working conditions.

Rising suicides are part of the profound transformations in the workplace that have taken place over the past 30 years. These transformations are arguably rooted in the political and economic shift to globalisation that has radically altered the way we work.

In the post-war Fordist era of industry (pioneered by US car manufacturer Henry Ford), jobs generally provided stability and a clear career trajectory for many, allowing people to define their collective identity and their place in the world. Strong trade unions in major industrial sectors meant that employees could negotiate their working rights and conditions.

But today's globalised workplace is characterised by job insecurity, intense work, forced redeployments, flexible contracts, worker surveillance, and limited social protection and representation . Zero-hour contracts are the new norm for many in the hospitality and healthcare industries , for example.

Now, it is not enough simply to work hard. In the words of Marxist theorist Franco Berardi, "the soul is put to work" and workers must devote their whole selves to the needs of the company.

For the economist Guy Standing, the precariat is the new social class of the 21st century, characterised by the lack of job security and even basic stability. Workers move in and out of jobs which give little meaning to their lives. This shift has had deleterious effects on many people's experience of work, with rising cases of acute stress, anxiety, sleep disorders, burnout, hopelessness and, in some cases, suicide .

Holding Companies to Account

Yet, company bosses are rarely held to account for inflicting such misery on their employees. The suicides at France Télécom preceded another well-publicised case in a large multinational company – Foxconn Technology Group in China – where 18 young migrant workers aged between 17 and 25 attempted suicide at one of Foxconn's main factories in 2010 (14 of whom died ).

The victims all worked on the assembly line making electronic gadgets for some of the world's richest corporations, including Samsung, Sony and Dell. But it was Apple that received the most criticism, as Foxconn was its main supplier at the time.

... ... ...

upstater , August 22, 2016 at 10:36 am

One of our son's best friends from high school was a funny, bright kid that got a BS/MS in Computer Science from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) a few years ago. He did his first coop at a software firm in Boston that dealt with electricity demand management.

Then he went to work for Apple, first as a coop then as an employee.

Last April the poor kid killed himself in a conference room at Apple's HQ .

By the time his name was announced to the media, everything about him on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc had disappeared. They scrubbed him off the internet. We don't know if he posted anything before his death, but our son said his pages were pretty generic for a 25 year old.

Let it suffice to say something went terribly wrong in the libertarian paradise of Silicon Valley, really just a ritzier version of FoxConn. Having known him through high school and occasional visits thereafter, one never would have thought such an end would have been possible.

RIP, Ed.

Swendr , August 22, 2016 at 2:10 pm

It's happening on the job, at school, and damn near any other social institution where the stakes can be ratcheted up in intensity. Suicide is one end of the spectrum of dysfunction. Going postal is another. Our elites don't like wet work much, so they find other ways to get rid of the undesirables. I doubt they planned it this way, but isn't it sweet that all you have to do is stop being fake-nice as a boss and the problem takes care of itself?

nobody , August 22, 2016 at 11:40 am

It's not only corporations, of course, that have problems with endemic abuse and need to be taking responsibility, nor is the issue restricted to institutions where profits take precedence über alles. Here is the link for the site "Academia Is Killing My Friends," which is described in the "About" section like this:

I am a final year PhD student in the Social Sciences. Last year a fellow PhD student committed suicide after being harassed by a lecturer. I got angry and made this site. This site is a response to the cultures of violence, fear and silence I have witnessed and experienced in my academic community. Sexual harassment, mental illness and unpaid labor are the accepted and expected norms. Abusive academics are well known and yet remain in the community. We are powerless and afraid of backlash, unemployment and failure. All of this gets worse as public spending is cut and universities become increasingly neoliberal institutions. This site is a 'fuck you' to the silence and fear. It is, I hope, a space where we can share our stories of abuse, exploitation and suffering in academia.

There are now 104 stories and counting. An excerpt from a recent post (#103):

I started out an idealistic and hopeful student. Worked to pay for college, good grades, got into a good PhD program. Worked hard, had a good mentor, published, moved on to postdoc. I thought that I could keep working hard, publish and move into some reasonable career trajectory. Right?

Well, we all know why we're here. I can't even go into the details. It's a familiar story – sexism, racism. Abuse by an advisor, with nowhere to turn. Rampant discrimination and harassment. When I looked for help (from the wrong people, apparently), I was told to suck it up, work harder. Constant financial worries. Every little setback used up my savings. I got sick and never really recovered… stress and overwork guaranteed that. I was good at living modestly, but that wasn't enough to sustain me. Now, I'm just trying to pick up the pieces. I feel floored by the lack of opportunities and support through most of my career. I had no idea how much a career in academia would rely on having money to begin with. I feel like this work has stolen my life away. And I'm not the only one – I know plenty of people who have had a similar experience. The best people leave early.

Worst of all, I don't even feel that I can tell my story. Nobody wants to hear it. Nobody would lift a finger to protect me from retribution. Nobody wants to address problems like this. I feel so much grief for the good I might have done in another profession, the life I could have lived. I don't know what to do with this grief.

nobody , August 22, 2016 at 12:06 pm

Where did the link go? Well, here it is:

http://academiaiskillingmyfriends.tumblr.com/

Arizona Slim , August 22, 2016 at 12:47 pm

Some of the worst abuse I ever experienced was in academia. Here's an example:

During the mid-1980s, I was on the staff of a journal at the University of Pittsburgh. My boss, the departmental librarian, must have come from the Attila the Hun School of Management, because that's how she treated people. Shortly after I started my job, I got on her bad side. I have no idea why this happened. Thirty years late, I still can't figure it out.

It may have had something to do with the introductory meeting we were supposed to have with the journal's publisher.

Well, being the good little employee that I thought I was, I had my office clock set to the correct time. I didn't know it at the time, but the library clock was 10 minutes fast. Yep, the same trick that bars pull on their customers. Getting them out the door before the official closing time.

So, I got to the library a few minutes before 9 a.m. Plenty of time to for the boss and me to walk over to the publisher's office. Bossola was SEETHING. I was LATE! Just look at that CLOCK! It was already after nine!

Over to the publisher's office we walked, and guess what. They weren't even ready for us. So we sat in the waiting area for a while.

The publisher and his staff couldn't have been nicer. The polar opposite of my boss.

During the 15 months that I worked at Pitt, I felt the brunt of this lady's abuse. She'd call me into the office, launch into a blistering tirade, and I would sit there, stunned. And, to her, that was another cause for anger. Why was I just sitting there and not reacting?

During her final tirade, when she told me to start looking for another job, I'd had enough. I told her that I was going to start looking for another city.

Well, guess who sat there, stunned.

She insisted that I didn't have to do anything THAT drastic. But my mind was made up. I was done with her, done with Pitt, and done with Pittsburgh.

Three and a half months and several wonderful bicycling miles later, I landed in Tucson, and I'm still here. Without that nasty boss, I probably wouldn't be in this wonderful city.

As for Ms. Nasty, she left Pitt and went on to become the head librarian at Chatham College, which was nearby. Small women's college. Known for its caring, friendly, and supportive environment. Ms. Nasty didn't last very long there.

And she didn't last very long at St. Michael's College in northern Vermont. I think that she was fired from that institution, but I'm not sure. Let's just say that I hope she was, because she deserved a taste of her own medicine.

Softie , August 22, 2016 at 2:55 pm

Here is a story that scared shit of Academia's organized crime ring for a little while in the early 90s.

"The University of Iowa shooting took place at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa on November 1, 1991. The gunman was Gang Lu, a 28-year-old former graduate student at the university. He killed four members of the university faculty and one student, and seriously wounded another student, before taking his own life."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Iowa_shooting

Nelson Lowhim , August 22, 2016 at 4:11 pm

Damn. Thing is I've heard this from Actuarials and docs. It's everywhere the "well, just work harder". But some of it is on the employees. None have the frame of mind to kick back, to unionize, and hard (when was unionizing ever easy?). None. All have the neoliberal view that: work hard and you'll be fine. And so when that button is pushed, they go for broke until burned out. It's that or be labeled lazy. Well, being unemployed is also an issue, but there's also the matter of having the language to fight back, to not feel guilty for working less than 100 hours a week etc.

PlutoniumKun , August 22, 2016 at 5:15 pm

I think an important point about Unions which people forget is that they provide an opportunity for people to vent and let off frustration. I've been a Union rep at various places and many times I would have people come in to have a rant about a certain manager or policy. At the end I would say 'do you want to make a formal complaint?' and the answer would be no – the person just wanted to get it off their chest in a confidential manner.

And to know that if they needed it, there was back up. Non-union places I've worked in, even good ones, lack that safety valve.

FluffytheObeseCat , August 22, 2016 at 7:14 pm

The last post on this tumblr is from February of 2016. It's been inactive for half a year. The links may be valuable however.

inode_buddha , August 22, 2016 at 12:16 pm

I'm in the process of paying a personal price for this BS as I type this, having walked off the job a few months ago. I'm not gonna drive 30 miles each way for 1/2 of what I should be making only to be treated like shit by management brown-nosers. Bad news is, I'm mid-career and not a spring chicken. Considering leaving the field altogether or doing my own startup. But if I had known then what I know now, I would have had the voice recorder app on my phone, recording everything….

thump , August 22, 2016 at 12:36 pm

Thanks for posting about the blog "Academia is Killing My Friends," but I couldn't find the link, so here it is:

http://academiaiskillingmyfriends.tumblr.com/

larry , August 22, 2016 at 12:36 pm

The authors fail to get to the real fundamentals of this phenomenon. The two ends of the spectrum that they delineate can be housed under a single umbrella, that of neoliberalism. And it is obvious that neoliberalism can kill. And Durkheim would have agreed readily that ideas can kill, and not just via suicide.

PQS , August 22, 2016 at 1:01 pm

Ugh. After twenty years in commercial construction, I thought our industry was an outlier for abuse, psychotic management, and general HR mayhem. Apparently not. Arizona Slim, I could have profiled Mrs. Nasty at any number of firms I worked for…she's not unusual.

I stay at smaller companies with good people for less money because I just can't handle the high pressure and abusive environment of Big Time Construction Firms. I also have zero interest in big projects anymore – too many psycho Owners who appear to delight in torturing the contractor as a hobby. The men I work with think I'm nuts to turn down some work. I tell them, there's no reward for it. No pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, no big promotion – just health problems and more commuting for the same old, same old.

inode_buddha , August 22, 2016 at 1:59 pm

You too? Abuse, and psycho management is why I'm considering leaving the trade altogether, too bad I've invested 30 years and a few schools into it…. but of course, nobody *made* me invest in myself and believe in the american dream /sarc

ambrit , August 22, 2016 at 2:11 pm

Give yourself a break inode_buddha. Thirty years ago, you, and myself as well, made a rational decision as to what direction to take. At the time, construction and the associated trades were honourable and respectable. A decent living could be made, and a future was in sight. Neo-Liberalism has, since then, destroyed most things that benefited anyone other than the criminal management classes. Humanity has had to stand up and fight for decency and equality throughout history.

redleg , August 22, 2016 at 8:20 pm

The decent living in the construction trades, for me anyways, has started and (so far) ended as a contract employee. I'm at the cusp of 50 and am looking at disaster if I can't find something permanent. My spouse has her dream job (that unfortunately comes with mediocre pay) so moving the fam for a job is our of the question. I'm one dropped contract away from my professional expiration date – too old for entry level, not experienced enough for management, unable to move to a better job market if such a thing existed.

But at least I paid off my student loans, so that's not hanging over my head like the sword of Damocles.

ambrit , August 22, 2016 at 2:01 pm

Living on the road, out of town, at the jobsite, etc. etc. There's a reason why so many of the Superintendents and Foremen I've encountered on big jobs drink to excess.

I've had my share of Mz/Mr Nasty bosses. The worst thing one can do to one of these persons, as I learned one afternoon, is to laugh at them when they "put you in your place." The program is going south anyway. If the wherewithall is available for a drive home, go ahead and let 'them' know you're not going to put up with abuse anymore. (Easier said than done, I'll agree, but, as long as you and yours aren't starving, why not? You'll sleep better at night. Take my word for it.)
Smaller outfits are, from my experience, easier to get along with because the manager is often the owner or family and not divorced from the ground floor experience. Reason is used instead of formula.

I used to hold the same belief about construction being the bilge of the work world. Then I worked for the USPS for almost three years. Then the dreaded Lowes Home Improvement set its avernal brand sizzling on my soul.

Ah my, what a picaresque novel all this would make.

PQS , August 22, 2016 at 3:01 pm

Picaresque novel or hilarious TV show. I've written the scripts in my head a thousand times….clueless architects, raging Owners, ridiculous Inspectors, overfed upper management/sales staff, etc. etc.

I agree that laughter is truly the best medicine in this business. As a friend once told me, "Sometimes you gotta let the crazy people be crazy."

Jim Haygood , August 22, 2016 at 8:42 pm

'what a picaresque novel all this would make"

Charles Bukowski [lowbrow NC spell checker don't know him] has covered the USPS bit.

Over to ambrit for the Lowe's sequel. :-)

ambrit , August 22, 2016 at 10:09 pm

Hmmm..

Some titles: "Faking, Inc.," "Department of Imaginary Tools," "Bargain Employee of the Month," and the annual winner, "Going Out of Business Sale: Season Three."
Since I'll need to go back to work for a few years, until my miniscule SS kicks in, I might do a Home Depot Equal Opportunity for Exploitation Edition.

(When I grow up I want to be a Day Trader! Maybe I'll take a flutter in pork bellies on the Chicago Exchange.)

Arizona Slim , August 22, 2016 at 3:51 pm

In her own strange way, Ms. Nasty had quite a positive effect on my life. As our relationship deteriorated, I started piling up the savings. I was planning my escape, even before that final tirade.

My last six weeks at Pitt were amazing. After I tended my resignation (on Friday, February 13, 1987), the whole department was impressed with how relaxed and happy I was. It was as if a different Slim had moved into my body.

Yes, there was that farewell luncheon where Ms. Nasty refused to raise her glass in a toast, but you know what? I was going to be out the door in a few hours, so I no longer cared. In fact, I found her refusal rather amusing.

What came next was even better. That pile of savings was deployed for something I really enjoyed. Long-distance bike touring! Rode thousands of miles in a little over three months! And then I settled here in Tucson!

Where I found a job similar to my Pitt job, but with a nice boss. That was my last FT job. I've been a freelancer since 1994.

So, Ms. Nasty, thanks for the motivation. And I do hope that you learned how to be nice to people who are, ahem, beneath you.

Synoia , August 22, 2016 at 1:18 pm

That's what Labor (or socialist) political parties used to do, and Corbyn's trying to re-institute in the UK.

One cannot be pro-trade (as currently defined) and pro democratic not pro citizen, not pro-labor.

The US has never permitted socialism, and prefers crony capitalism, which is actually close to fascism.

The whole defense Military Industry Complex of Government and Industry is a definition of fascism in the US. I place no regard on Ike's warning about the MIC as he did noting until the end of his reign, and then made a speech.

Roquentin , August 22, 2016 at 1:49 pm

At long last I've finally managed to get out of a job I couldn't stand after working there for nearly a decade. The pay was ridiculously low, even relative to the industry standard. Management routinely promoted narcissistic, ignorant cronies who never told them the word "no." I couldn't be happier it's finally over. They've had so much turnover in the past couple of years entire departments are composed of entirely new people. The CEO cares about nothing except looking good to the shareholders and owners, and that's pretty much the attitude from the top on down. Look good to the people with power and to hell with the rest.

I'd be surprised if the company still existed 5-10 years from now.

DarkMatters , August 22, 2016 at 2:20 pm

Soooo glad I'm retired. I was starting to see more and more of this over the last couple of decades, and it escalated as times worsened. I wish libertarians and free-marketers would contemplate the situations described here, and consider what kind of a world it would be if financial oligarchs held even more power. What hope would there be to counter this sort of abuse?

Nelson Lowhim , August 22, 2016 at 4:19 pm

This works perfectly into their view of "weaker" elements being discarded. Pretty fascist at the end of the day.

kareninca , August 22, 2016 at 7:56 pm

I wouldn't exactly call myself a libertarian (I'm not sure what I am), but I think that the libertarian response would be that if there were fewer pointless regulations people would be much more readily able to work for themselves, and not for an abusive boss. It is unbelievably hard to start a business now, even a solo one, due to regs. And I'm not talking about reasonable regs (don't dump toxins in waterways). I'm talking about regs that have been invented by big existing businesses to keep upstarts from starting.

A number of years ago there was an article about someone who tried to start a storage company in the CT/RI area and how they eventually gave up because the regs made the process insane; there's not much that's simpler than a storage company. Most small business owners I know tell me they could not start now because it has all gotten too complicated; they have been able to cobble together responses to the new regs as they go, but starting at this point would be impossible for them.

Picture what it would be like if you could look at your skill set, and go out and work for yourself without a huge amount of extremely complex taxes and paperwork. A strange thought, isn't it?

I'm not saying this would be an option for most people ( not at all ), but it does not now even exist as an escape valve. Now you have to have millions in start-up funds to start some BS company (e.g. one more stupid company that delivers food to patron's homes) that isn't actually meant to make money (it just exists to get money from investors), and you need that much to deal with the paperwork.

And, if someone wants to pop up and say "the paperwork is not so bad and complicated," please remember that you are a NC poster and are in the top ten percent of the population for ability to deal with paperwork.

Yves Smith Post author , August 23, 2016 at 5:41 am

I have to tell you, as a small business owner myself, this "regulations are burdensome" argument is a crock. Lobbyists in DC learned decades ago that the best way to put a sympathetic face on their efforts to get waivers for big businesses is to have small business owners act as their mouthpieces. And there are enough extreme libertarians everywhere that it's not hard to find someone to screech that the regulations he is subject to are horrible irrespective of how much a burden they really are.

Specifically, regarding a storage business, I can't fathom your view that storage companies should not be regulated. If I am putting my valuable stuff in the hands of someone else, I sure as hell want protection that they won't cut all the locks and run off with everything, or find more legitimate ways of stealing, like create excuses to jack up my storage costs by 10X and hold my goods hostage. And what about requiring them to have adequate fire protection and security? Even if they aren't crooks, cheap and reckless will also result in my property being stolen or damaged.

In general, entrepreneurship is way oversold in America to legitimate the bad treatment of workers: "If things are as bad as you say, why put up with it? Go start your own business!" That's ridiculous since staring your own business requires that you be both a good salesman and a good general manager, and good salesmen are almost without exception terrible managers, as anyone in Corporate America will tell you. And it's extremely hard to make partnerships work unless the principals worked together in the same company for years (ie, they grew up with the same training and rules, and so will default to the same assumptions as to how things are done). Even in consulting, I've seldom seen people who come of of different large firms work well together absent a strong organization around them.

The proof that pretty much no one should go into business for themselves is 9 out of every 10 businesses fail within three years. The percentabe is no doubt higher if you extend the time frame to five years. I've started two successful businesses in the US and one that didn't work out in Oz, but an overseas launch is much harder and it seemed too dodgy to go beyond the two years I'd invested (as in I might have made it a go had I kept on, but I decided it was more prudent to cut my losses).

And I don't know where you get your information about new business from. It's pretty clear you aren't in that world. You don't need millions in funds. The overwhelming majority of new ventures are funded from savings, credit cards, and loans from friends and family.

And if you aren't able to handle regulatory filings (or find a lawyer or accountant who can help) you aren't competent to be in business for yourself. Running a business means you run into obstacles all the time and need to find ways around them. Do you not think that private firms also require paperwork, like vendor approval processes and documenting your invoices? If you can't handle paperwork, you need to stay on a payroll.

cyclist , August 23, 2016 at 10:47 am

While I agree with Yves that there is too much libertarian bitching about regulations, there are a lot of really stupid laws on the books that we could easily do without. As an example, I was recently looking at an RFP from a public agency in the state of MI. One of the requirements for bidders responding was to provide a notarized affidavit that the company was not controlled by the Republic of Iran! Apparently this is Michigan Public Act 517 of 2012. BTW, the winning bidder, a large US corporation, certified they are not secretly controlled by the evil Ayatollahs.

jrs , August 22, 2016 at 8:39 pm

yes but most people won't be able to work until they are dead, because they aren't able to or because noone is going to hire them (it's why people collect social security at 62, it's not because this is the smartest financial plan, it's clearly not) and I hope most don't take the "therefore middle aged or senior aged suicide" route.

If you are able to work until you die a natural death good for you I guess (even better to be able to choose to retire of course), but it's not going to be an option for many people even if they want it to be, health or the job market WILL force them out.

Softie , August 22, 2016 at 2:46 pm

"Perhaps this world is another planet's hell." – Aldous Huxley. Yes, it is definitely. Perhaps pretty soon they will start strip search employees when they come to work.

ambrit , August 22, 2016 at 10:13 pm

"Out of the Silent Planet" by C. S. Lewis.

Chauncey Gardiner , August 22, 2016 at 4:12 pm

Excellent and timely article. As the writers observe, the problem is global in nature. If you work in or have worked in corporate America, you likely have personally experienced or seen the results of the deliberate creation of a stressful professional climate and workplace environment, abusive psychological bullying, and intentional destabilization of employees.

Increasing numbers of suicides are one outcome of these environments. But as the writers point out, there are a number of other symptoms associated with these toxic workplaces, none good. They range from physical and mental health issues, to various forms of addiction, burnout, and secondary effects on employees' personal lives and those of their family members or partners.

Although it seems that individuals with psychopathic characteristics often rise in management in many of these organizations, I believe the roots of the problem lie in a broader and deeper systemic failure. I agree that neoliberal ideology, globalization, and the basic structures of our debt-based economy all play a key role in enabling the intentional development of these organizational environments.

nobody , August 22, 2016 at 6:13 pm

It may be a global problem, but it seems particularly acute in the US. Ian Welsh's observations ring true to me:

One of the most striking things about much of American culture is the simple meanness of it. The cruelty… There is also a culture of punching down… America has a high-violence, high-bullying society… [Y]ou can have a high-violence society in which it is considered unacceptable to attack the weak (doing so is viewed as cowardice), but that's not the case in America. In American culture, the weak are the preferred target. Failure is punishable by homelessness, suffering, and death… You'd better get down on your knees and do whatever your boss wants, because if you're fired or let go you may never work again, and if you do hang on at a bottom-wage job, well, your life will suck… Having learned that the right way to treat anyone who is weaker than them is with demands for acquiescence and dominance displays, to many Americans, to interpret any sign of weakness as requiring them, as a moral duty, to dominate and hurt the weak person. People become what is required of them. They learn from authority figures how to behave… The entire process makes America a far more unpleasant place to live or visit than is necessary. The structure of dominance, meanness and cruelty is palpable to the visitor, and distressing; even as it warps the best inhabitant.
Tony Baloney , August 22, 2016 at 7:02 pm

You nailed it "nobody".

James Kroeger , August 22, 2016 at 10:01 pm

I believe the roots of the problem lie in a broader and deeper systemic failure.

Yes, a systemic failure, but to be more precise, it is ultimately a particular kind of market failure that gives employers an incentive to abuse their employees.

The best way to understand what I mean is to imagine a labor market where there are always more jobs available than there are people to fill them. In an economy that is experiencing a chronic labor shortage, employers would have a market incentive to actually start treating their employees with respect.

In markets where labor surpluses are carefully maintained (virtually every market you've ever known), business owners/managers feel free to express anger at any employee shehe feels a 'power advantage' over. They sense they have this advantage when/if they believe the employee fears losing hiser job more than the employer fears losing the employee.

It really would force a profound change in employer-employee relations, generally. Employers would be compelled by the marketplace to not only find ways to motivate their employees to work hard, but also to find ways to make them feel content , psychologically.

In an economy that is experiencing a sustained labor shortage, the crudest and least sympathetic methods of motivating employees would be gradually phased out.

'Bottom feeders' in the competition for scarce labor would have a constant incentive to try to retain employees, and to 'go the extra mile' to work with people who are having problems. Individuals who are having personal problems would not be simply cast aside, as they are now.

The national government could do something to help those businesses that are struggling within very [price-] competitive markets, providing counseling services, etc., to help those employees who are struggling with various problems outside of the job environment.

In our current labor surplus economy, lawsuits may give some employers an incentive to treat their people with respect, but it won't get anywhere close to providing THE solution to the problem that we would experience if we were to create and indefinitely maintain a labor shortage in the economy.

so , August 22, 2016 at 7:05 pm

humans sure do have a long way to go.

Jim Haygood , August 22, 2016 at 8:53 pm

Low end, dead end, godsend, pretend
it don't matter anyway

Perfect chorus of a country song.

perpetualWAR , August 22, 2016 at 10:06 pm

Quiet desperation. Isn't that the life of most Americans?

ambrit , August 22, 2016 at 10:17 pm

And to think that Pink Floyd recorded the verse; "Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way." Back in 1968.
Quiet desperation is a characteristic of a declining society.

redleg , August 23, 2016 at 12:08 am

As far as I can tell quiet desperation is the life of most people.
This article highlights suicide, but drug and alcohol abuse are just as much a result of poor employment outcomes as suicide and for the same reasons.
When people stop being quietly desperate is when change happens.
I refer to CCR's Effigy although as a Gen-X -er I Prefer the Uncle Tupelo version

veganjules , August 22, 2016 at 10:17 pm

Guys. You're also forgetting that if the U.S. took in the Nazi Scientists and Death Specialists and used them and their techniques to crush real democratic, fair, egalitarian societies in Latin America (Chomsky) and then learned to transmute overt war (+nazi techniques) and colonialism into Finance (Hudson)–then we are currently dealing with something 'worse than Nazi Germany' (my 90 year old neighbor).

[Aug 23, 2016] Trump Tweets Video Of Hillary Clinton Referring To Blacks As Super-Predators Video

RealClearPolitics

Donald Trump retweeted the video of Hillary Clinton referring to black gang members as "super-predators" who need to be "brought to heel" in support of criminal sentencing reforms in 1996.

YouTube
‎@YouTube

... ... ...

Clinton has faced this controversy already during the 2016 campaign. "Well, first of all, you know, I have said that I should not have used that word. You know, I was talking about drug gangs and traffickers and cartels, but it was a poor choice of words," Clinton told the hosts of WWPR-FM's "The Breakfast Club," a popular black radio show in New York City in April.

During the heat of the Democratic primary she was interrupted by Black Lives Matter activists demanding an apology for her use of the term. "Do you want to hear the facts or do you just want to talk?" she asked the protesters before they were removed from the building.

[Aug 22, 2016] Modern America The Empire of Lies

Notable quotes:
"... alternative media source Counter Punch would use a hash tag #NeverHillary, while giving the recent Democrats' champion the following evaluation: "She's sleazy – a cheater and a liar" ..."
"... The Baltimore Sun did not hesitate to accuse Clinton of the deliberate concealment of facts from Congress and the American people either, noting that the State Department's inspector general released a report last week concluding that Hillary Clinton is a breathtakingly brazen and consistent liar. ..."
"... So what behavior one can expect from most American citizens, including these "hero-swimmers", when even at the highest levels, officials are lying blatantly, while displaying no fear whatsoever of any potential consequences? ..."
"... In lies we trust here, it is our symbol and our flag, because we are the Empire of Lies ..."
Aug 20, 2016 | New Eastern Outlook

But honestly, what does one expect from the likes of Hillary Clinton if even the Washington Post wouldn't hesitate to present a video filled with her lies and "shifting positions?" Her ideas on Bosnia, healthcare, Wall Street, NAFTA are ever-shifting, since she's convinced that Americans are unable to memorize basic facts or recall even recent American history.

Accusing Hillary Clinton of blatant hypocrisy, alternative media source Counter Punch would use a hash tag #NeverHillary, while giving the recent Democrats' champion the following evaluation: "She's sleazy – a cheater and a liar", noting that she wanted to set the minimum wage at the level of 12 dollars per hour, but since Bernie's 15 dollars per hour was more popular, she claimed she wanted to introduce precisely the same wage. When pressed, she conceded she'd "like" 15 dollars per hour, but would not lift a finger to make it happen federally. Incredibly, she still conducts herself in this same manner.

The Baltimore Sun did not hesitate to accuse Clinton of the deliberate concealment of facts from Congress and the American people either, noting that the State Department's inspector general released a report last week concluding that Hillary Clinton is a breathtakingly brazen and consistent liar. What's infuriating about all of this is that it is not, in fact, news. Over a year ago, Hillary Clinton held a press conference at the United Nations with the intent to put the whole controversy around her released emails to rest, yet, nearly every significant statement she made was a lie, The Baltimore Sun would note, adding that we have known it for a year now, that from the earliest days of this scandal, Clinton was lying.

So what behavior one can expect from most American citizens, including these "hero-swimmers", when even at the highest levels, officials are lying blatantly, while displaying no fear whatsoever of any potential consequences? What's even more striking is that those liars are being promoted and encouraged in the US political establishment, and they are being allowed to occupy the highest political positions in the state, as if we are being told: "In lies we trust here, it is our symbol and our flag, because we are the Empire of Lies."

Martin Berger is a freelance journalist and geopolitical analyst, exclusively for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook."
http://journal-neo.org/2016/08/20/modern-america-the-empire-of-lies-2/

[Aug 14, 2016] The cry of management bullying reduces wholesale ownership to bad personal behaviour, something to be corrected by the schoolteacher or the next authority up.

Notable quotes:
"... As extracurricular lesson. ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com

clinical wasteman , August 13, 2016 at 11:31 am

BULLYING: (1.) Workplace. Cuts conflict over time and money down to schoolyard scale. If one schoolchild 'bullies' another the injury is real but the two are formal equals under the same coercive structure. Neither owns the other's means of survival.

Apply the metaphor to boss and worker, then, and the stakes of the conflict evaporate, or rather stay in the hands that always held them. The cry of 'management bullying' reduces wholesale ownership to bad personal behaviour, something to be corrected by the schoolteacher or the next authority up. A plea for Help that counts as the surrender (usually by proxy) of the managed.

(2.) As extracurricular lesson. Actual schoolyard violence is 'bullying' when the perpetrator fits the profile for Multi-Agency Intervention better than the target. In the opposite case, counsellors and Restorative Justice practitioners may declare the ordeal a lesson in Life Skills for the injured party. A salutary warning that s/he must either curb a too-sharp tongue or be unemployable as well as regularly beaten up in years to come.

From the many more than 25 "words and phrases" at: http://www.wealthofnegations.org/

[Aug 07, 2016] Is hillary a female phychopath

Notable quotes:
"... It makes me wonder if we ought not to be discussing Clinton in the frame of "The Ego Candidate". It's tempting to characterize Trump for that label, given his boastfulness which does seem to be part of his character. But for all that, Trump comes across to me as mostly law-abiding, and someone who recognizes and observes limits. Clinton neither recognizes or observes anything of the kind, and she is limited only by what she cannot get away with. ..."
marknesop.wordpress.com
marknesop , August 5, 2016 at 5:06 pm
Sayyyyyy…..didn't someone here theorize, right after the news broke that the DNC's emails had been hacked, and Hillary blamed the Russians so people would forget what she and the rest of the coven did to Sanders, that the actual attacker was more likely someone much closer to home?

Enter the Disgruntled US Intelligence Worker . According to US government whistleblower William Binney, somebody in the NSA released Hillary's and the DNC's emails, infuriated at Teflon Hillary's non-stick escape from any accountability for her hijinks.

The headline suggests he knows, but the body of the story suggests he is just speculating, though. But it raises a valid point – the NSA probably has all those emails, including the 30,000 she deleted on the grounds that they were 'personal'.

Cortes , August 5, 2016 at 11:41 pm

The following piece by Andrew Napolitano speculates on what might have triggered a disgruntled NSA person to leak materials:

http://www.unz.com/anapolitano/lessons-from-the-deep-state/

At some point between now and November, is anyone in the media going to put the questions about the likelihood of NSA possession of, and therefore ease of FBI access thereto, the "missing" emails to Director Comey? Or will TPTB just smile grimly and pray no further leaks arrive to shatter the Narnian alternative reality world they inhabit?

marknesop , August 6, 2016 at 9:16 am

What an excellent article, quite a bit more authoritative than the one I cited although it helpfully offers the same source, and it shapes some more pieces of the puzzle which now make more sense. The compromising of intelligence personnels' identities was something that, to the best of my knowledge, was never discussed in any stories on her email peccadilloes. Intelligence agencies quite properly despise anyone who casually blows the cover of its operatives. It makes me wonder if we ought not to be discussing Clinton in the frame of "The Ego Candidate". It's tempting to characterize Trump for that label, given his boastfulness which does seem to be part of his character. But for all that, Trump comes across to me as mostly law-abiding, and someone who recognizes and observes limits. Clinton neither recognizes or observes anything of the kind, and she is limited only by what she cannot get away with.

Thanks for posting that revealing corroborative piece.

[Aug 01, 2016] Bullying Definition

Notable quotes:
"... Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems. ..."
"... Kids who bully use their power-such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity-to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people. ..."
"... The set of behaviors definition given is not age dependent. The definition may have been provided to provide a basis for recognizing and determining a set of behaviors that may be defined as bullying, but says nothing about age levels. It's a description of a set of human behaviors being applied to a particular age group for the sake of defining a particular basis of illegal behavior. ..."
www.stopbullying.gov

Below is the definition of bullying from stopbullying.gov. (US Department of Health & Human Services)

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.

In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:

Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.

Types of Bullying

There are three types of bullying:

Jack, August 1, 2016 11:23 am

Warren,
That is a nonsensical reply. The set of behaviors definition given is not age dependent. The definition may have been provided to provide a basis for recognizing and determining a set of behaviors that may be defined as bullying, but says nothing about age levels. It's a description of a set of human behaviors being applied to a particular age group for the sake of defining a particular basis of illegal behavior.

Ed, Maybe bullying should be described as a high priority issue in our schools, but assigning it to the number one spot may be a bit hyperbolic.

Edward Lambert, August 1, 2016 12:07 pm

Jack,
It is a very high priority. I went to a presentation by the local school superintendent. She said bullying was the #1 priority by law. She has to drop anything and everything that she is doing when a case of bullying presents itself by law. That is how serious the situation became.

[Jul 16, 2016] Female Sociopaths - different but just as dangerous!

www.decision-making-confidence.com
Particular Characteristics of Female Sociopaths Vs Males

Incidence

How many female sociopaths are there? Robert Hare believes that about 1% of the population fits the profile of psychopath, and male psychopaths are 7 times more common than female psychopaths.

But there are some things to keep in mind here. When most people think of 'sociopath' they typically think 'male' and 'serial killer'. They do not generally think of women psychopaths. This can lead to a situation where they are dealing with a psychopath in their life but do not realize who they are dealing with.

Add to this the fact that sociopaths have been called chameleons for their ability to blend into society and it adds to the difficulty in counting them.

Plus, whether you consider it sexist or not, the female aspect needs to be considered when talking about manipulation. Women have been known to 'bat their eyelids' and show their cleavage or 'show a bit of leg', for example, to good effect.

How female sociopaths show up in society

The most obvious group are the serial killers. And yes, there have been lots of female serial killers as well as males!

Unlike the males however, there is usually not a sexual element to their crimes. It's much more usual to be money or power related. And the female sociopaths typically know their victims; it's rare for them to kill strangers. An interesting group are the female sociopaths who become nurses or doctors. These cold-blooded killers hide themselves where nobody would suspect them, in a caring profession!

And then they set to work. For example, Beverley Allitt, a 23-year-old nurse in the UK killed 4 and attacked 9 other children within a couple of months before she was caught. A Texas nurse Genene Jones is believed to have killed between 11 and 46. It's of this group that people usually say "But they seemed like such nice people!"

Another subset are those who kill one or several husbands for the inheritance and life assurance.

Obvious Delinquents

Some female sociopaths demonstrate antisocial behavior as children and as adolescents. Lying, stealing, truancy, cruelty to animals and siblings, drug abuse, early sexual activity. Of course, there may be frequent run-ins with the law. Their parents are very often distraught because there is so little they can do. As adults, these female sociopaths may end up abusing alcohol and drugs and end up in and out of prison.

Some therapists believe that there is such a disregard for society among them that a sociopath that has not broken the law just hasn't been found out yet!

Cult leaders

Many of the women who lead destructive cults are sociopaths.

There seems to be two themes among female sociopaths that are not so prevalent in male led groups, one being the avoidance of sex and the other being food.

The women psychopaths may target women who want to get away from sex for whatever reason. Instead they offer female nurturing and support.

As well as offering meals when potential 'clients' have none, there are cults based on eating healthily or losing weight. This is typical of cults, they offer something people want but behind the outer facade is a second set of ideas or principles. People enter for one thing and end up having the leader control their lives.

Socialized sociopaths

These are the ones that are so difficult to count! Despite their sociopath symptoms, they manage to integrate themselves into society to varying degrees. Everything from solitary lives where they live on the money they make from crimes for which they are not caught, to getting married, settling down and having children.

It's interesting to read or listen to the stories of some of these female sociopaths. Typically, they realize as children that they are different in some way. They think differently and make different decisions. Then they begin to understand that they are not so 'affected' by emotions. It's seems that it's common for them to think that this is because they are smarter than those around them.

They begin from an early age to look for clues to recognize the emotions that others are actually having. They learn to mimic the emotions so as not to stand out, or to please others. They learn to create relationships that are beneficial for them.

Female sociopaths have all the symptoms of sociopaths. The lying, the parasitic lifestyle, the need for excitement and the desire to control. It's possible that there are many female sociopaths who live, for all intents and purposes, what looks like a normal life from the outside. They are content to just blend in and do what "normal" people do.

Others however, want more. More money, more power, more control, more excitement. And they get themselves into trouble because of the impulsivity or the failure to control their emotions, or the irresponsibility.

One of the ways this shows up is in problems in their marriage. In true sociopath style, they attract a man, create an intimate relationship, influence his decision making and get married. It's common for them to isolate the man from his friends and family to varying degrees. They can be very domineering and controlling, using sex as a means to manipulate. The man may suffer verbal abuse, psychological abuse, emotional abuse and even physical abuse.

Had a bad experience?

Have you had a run-in with a sociopath? The more people know about these demons the better! Tell your story here

When there are children involved it gets infinitely more complicated. Especially in separations and divorces. The female sociopaths have no difficulty (remember no remorse, guilt or pity for anybody) in using the children as pawns or objects to try to continue to manipulate the man.

They will extract information from the children about the father to use against him, they will influence how and what the children think about the father, and they may prevent the father from having any contact with the children. The welfare of the children is not considered. What's important is that they continue to maintain control and power.

In family matters where the police or the courts involved, they have no difficulty in lying, inventing stories and doing whatever is necessary to get what they want. They can play the victim role very well, as most sociopaths do, and will use society's preferences towards women and mothers to their advantage.

Some female sociopaths simply go from one relationship to another. They use their sociopathic charm, good looks and female wiles to create a relationship, take what they want and then disappear, leaving a trail of brokenhearted and confused men behind them. Men who are somewhat poorer after the experience!

This piece was originally written about a male but I think it works equally well like this!

She will choose you, charm you with her words, and control you with this presence. She will delight you with her wit and her plans. She will show you a good time, but you will always get the bill. She will smile and deceive you, and she will scare you with her eyes. And when she is through with you, and she will be through with you, she will desert you and take with her your innocence and your pride. You will be left much sadder but not a lot wiser, and for a long time you will wonder what you did wrong.

From an essay signed, "A psychopath in prison".

Testosterone

Apparently both male and female psychopaths have high levels of testosterone. It has been found that in normal populations, higher levels of testosterone are associated with higher sex drive, more sexual activity and more attractiveness to the opposite sex.

This will make female sociopaths more appealing to males. Add to this the lack of inhibition, and the grandiose sense of self and you have a lethal combination! Think femme fatale!

It may also explain the lack of desire to have children and the failure to look after them if they do. It's not uncommon for female sociopaths to leave young children unattended, for example, because they have other more important things to do.

How we perceive women

We normally think women are empathic and nurturing and don't expect to see cold-hearted, uncaring, callous behaviors in women.

We don't consider that they could be more devious, manipulative, destructive, vindictive and downright nasty than their male counterparts.

But just ask any man who has been a victim of female sociopaths...!

Learn what to do if you think you might be in a relationship with a sociopath and how to stop mind control...

[Jul 16, 2016] Confessions of a Sociopath A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight

Just a reminder: like in any fashionable themes that are authors who try to did gold out of it. This is one of the genre:. From comments: "As a training psychologist, I was very disappointed with this memoir. I'm very interested in sociopathy and from how this is written, it seems that Thomas is more likely to be a narcissist than a sociopath. I don't think this book is an accurate account of sociopathy and I'm questioning the formal diagnosis. Additionally, It seemed that Thomas kept repeating the same points over and over, which made it very difficult to read at times. It also was difficult due to my growing distaste for Thomas as an individual (mostly due to her conceitedness - another reason I believe she's a narcissist). However, I will give the book a few stars for being written well and keeping my attention enough to at least finish the book."
Notable quotes:
"... I think everyone learns to lie about his or her emotions to a certain extent; I just take it a step farther. People ask, "How are you?" and you respond, "fine," even though you had a fight with your spouse that morning, have a sick child, or any multitude of things that make it hard for you to feel fine about almost anything in your life. You could honestly answer the question, but you don't because overt displays of strong emotion in ordinary social interactions are not accepted. Most of the time I don't need to show any emotion at all, and I try to limit the times that I do by begging off attending funerals, weddings, etc. When I do show up to these functions, I try to mimic the other attendees. If I'm dealing with a person one-on-one, I just try to reflect their emotions; usually they're distracted enough by their own overflowing emotions not to notice my lack of them. ..."
"... The author goes into some detail in trying to distinguish psychopaths, sociopaths, and person with anti-social personality disorder; but for the majority of the world these distinctions are exercises in semantics only. ..."
"... I've dealt with sociopathic and psychopathic individuals, and they aren't these brilliant, charming, care free people that this book would like you to believe. I'm sorry, but she is not a sociopath. So she is full of herself and likes to toy with the lives of others, apparently she has never met a high school aged girl. If she had, she would see that she is stuck in her own adolescence. She truly wants to believe that she is a sociopath because then she is not like the majority of people. ..."
"... As she says, 1 in 25 people are statistically sociopaths. I'm guessing she hasn't even verified those statistics. What sample size is it derived from? Is the sample really indicative of the entire earth's population? ..."
"... I didn't learn anything from this book; it contains the usual suspects in terms of how she defines herself, the kinds of things she does, etc. This book was written for those who are not familiar with sociopathy, and since it's a pop psych deal all over social media, the author is capitalizing; there are statements in that book that seriously cast doubt on her claims, and others that pinpoint, so it seems to be she did a lot of research to write this, rather than glean her own experience. Considering her penchant to drone about her intelligence, her special abilities, and her success, sociopaths lie, manipulate, and cheat to the nth degree; this is what I'm getting from this; sociopaths are easily detectable, at least to me; I think my discernment skills are far superior to those of the author. One star for the subject, it is familial, and one star for the brazen ability to recognize she cannot fool all, but can fool many. ..."
"... The females are less inclined to criminal behavior and better able to pretend to empathy they don't possess, but they do not have the loyalty or empathy the rest of us have, which means they cannot learn from their behavior the way the rest of us can. ..."
"... I'm sorry to say, this book was a disappointment. It was a long, painful, boring read. First of all, Ms. Thomas isn't a very good writer. Full of run-on sentences and endless, dull descriptions of how great she thinks she is because she lacks empathy and a conscience (she seems to think of these as traits only weak or stupid people have, reminding me of Ayn Rand without an iota of the latter's intelligence), Thomas comes off more as an obnoxious, self-centered, common narcissist than a true sociopath. ..."
"... Thomas (who owns the website Sociopath World) is not a criminal. She may well be sociopathic in that she seems to take pleasure in cheating, manipulating, hurting, and discarding others, once gleefully watched a possum drown, and admits she enjoys ruining the reputations of people she has worked with. She clearly has no empathy and seems to have no emotions. ..."
"... M. E. Thomas is clearly a malignant narcissist, but by calling herself a "sociopath" you feel like you've been the victim of a bait-and-switch (which is in itself sociopathic, I suppose). ..."
"... The only reason I didn't feel completely ripped off was because the yard sale copy of this book set me back only $1; if I'd purchased it at full price, I'd be pretty annoyed right now. It was all I could do to even finish this book. It was that boring. Don't waste your time. If you want to read a good book about sociopathy, read Marsha Stout's The Sociopath Next Door instead. If you really need to read something that comes "out of the horse's mouth," you'd do better with Sam Vaknin ..."
"... I so wish i hadn't wasted my money on this book. The writing was weak and she often contradicts herself and i was utterly bored half way through. Her examples of her sociopathic behaviour aren't very radical - provoking her father to anger in teen years, taking a neighbors bike without permission and returning it (so naughty!), following a man who angered her with murderous intent for a block or so until she lost him. 300 pages of self-aggrandizing that comes across as juvenile and insecure. Perhaps she is malicious and conniving and maybe even a sociopath whatever that actually is (I am not a fan of the DSM), but ultimately its not that interesting, definitely not enlightening. ..."
www.amazon.com

Amazon.com Books

As M.E. Thomas says of her fellow sociopaths, "We are your neighbors, your coworkers, and quite possibly the people closest to you: lovers, family, friends. Our risk-seeking behavior and general fearlessness are thrilling, our glibness and charm alluring. Our often quick wit and outside-the-box thinking make us appear intelligent-even brilliant. We climb the corporate ladder faster than the rest, and appear to have limitless self-confidence. Who are we? We are highly successful, noncriminal sociopaths and we comprise 4 percent of the American population."

Confessions of a Sociopath -part confessional memoir, part primer for the curious-takes readers on a journey into the mind of a sociopath, revealing what makes them tick while debunking myths about sociopathy and offering a road map for dealing with the sociopaths in your life. M. E. Thomas draws from her own experiences as a diagnosed sociopath; her popular blog, Sociopathworld.com; and scientific literature to unveil for the very first time these men and women who are "hiding in plain sight."

Q&A with M. E. Thomas

Q. Were you always aware that you were different?

A. Yes, though when I was young, I thought maybe it was just because I was smarter than everyone else. I saw things that other children did not see, was aware of the adult world in a way that even my smart siblings were not-awkward interactions from the end of an affair, why my grandpa treated my dad differently from his other children (he was adopted), and so on. I knew other people did not see these things because I would reference them and get blank stares in return. I learned to keep things to myself, even to pretend I didn't see them. Those were probably some of my first attempts to wear a mask of normalcy.

Q. What are the common characteristics/behaviors shared by most sociopaths? Do they describe you, too?

A. Lack of remorse or concern for hurting or stealing; being deceitful, manipulative, impulsive, irritable, aggressive, and consistently irresponsible; failure to conform to social norms; and being unconcerned about people's safety, including their own. You need to have at least three of these to be a sociopath. I have them all, to varying degrees.

Q. You believe that sociopaths have a natural competitive advantage. Why?

A. Sociopaths have several skills that lend themselves to success in areas such as politics and business: charm, an ability to see and exploit weaknesses/flaws (which in politics is called "power-broking" and in business, "arbitrage"), confidence, unflagging optimism, an ability to think outside the box and come up with original ideas, and a lack of squeamishness about doing what it takes to get ahead.

Q. If you don't have a sense of morality, or feel the emotions that most people do, how are you able to operate in the world without being detected?

A. I think everyone learns to lie about his or her emotions to a certain extent; I just take it a step farther. People ask, "How are you?" and you respond, "fine," even though you had a fight with your spouse that morning, have a sick child, or any multitude of things that make it hard for you to feel fine about almost anything in your life. You could honestly answer the question, but you don't because overt displays of strong emotion in ordinary social interactions are not accepted. Most of the time I don't need to show any emotion at all, and I try to limit the times that I do by begging off attending funerals, weddings, etc. When I do show up to these functions, I try to mimic the other attendees. If I'm dealing with a person one-on-one, I just try to reflect their emotions; usually they're distracted enough by their own overflowing emotions not to notice my lack of them.

Q. Research shows that one in twenty-five people is a sociopath, yet most of us believe we've never met one. Are we just kidding ourselves? Are you able to spot them?

A. Statistically, everyone has met at least one sociopath; in fact, most people will have a close encounter with a sociopath at some point in their lives, either as a friend, family member, or lover. Sometimes I can tell who they are. I find that many successful sociopaths will leave deliberate clues as to what they are, the thought being that only other sociopaths would recognize them. I think sociopaths, like serial killers, often have a yearning to be acknowledged for who they are. They want people to admire their exploits, and that is hard to get when they are completely hidden, so they make small compromises.

By Sara on December 15, 2015 Format: Paperback

2.0 out of 5 stars Questioning the legitimacy of "sociopath" diagnosis

As a training psychologist, I was very disappointed with this memoir. I'm very interested in sociopathy and from how this is written, it seems that Thomas is more likely to be a narcissist than a sociopath. I don't think this book is an accurate account of sociopathy and I'm questioning the formal diagnosis. Additionally, It seemed that Thomas kept repeating the same points over and over, which made it very difficult to read at times. It also was difficult due to my growing distaste for Thomas as an individual (mostly due to her conceitedness - another reason I believe she's a narcissist). However, I will give the book a few stars for being written well and keeping my attention enough to at least finish the book.
3.0 out of 5 stars D_shrink VINE VOICE on March 31, 2013

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )

At least she is coming out to all but her family. This is written as a confessional/memoir of its author Monica E. Thomas,a pseudonym, necessitated by the subject matter and to protect her present socioeconomic life.

Having just read the reviews written before mine, it would seem I am the first to have actually read the entire book, well, at least, so far.

I would agree with the other reviewers that the book is technically well written, but does get long in the tooth by the half way mark, with many points being repeated several times which lengthened the book with no apparent advantage that I could ascertain; otherwise I would have given 4 stars.

I would agree that the author as self described is unlikeable, but whom I found very interesting simply because I am a retired psychologist and spent the last ten years working with female murderers. The author goes into some detail in trying to distinguish psychopaths, sociopaths, and person with anti-social personality disorder; but for the majority of the world these distinctions are exercises in semantics only.

To help clarify this point, as the author takes some time discussing her rational for the distinction. A psychiatrist, Hervey Clecky wrote the magnum opus on psychopathology in 1941 in a book called MASK OF SANITY; he might be better known to you for his book on multiple personality disorder which was turned into a movie in 1957 called THE THREE FACES OF EVE.

A Dr. Robert Hare building upon Clecky's work devised a 20 question scale to judge antisocial personality disorder. He only used convicts to base his results on, so it is not representative of the general population and certainly doesn't have the background of the MMPI. Hare felt that there were differences between people who committed violent and aggressive act and those who did not. He felt that the aggressive ones should be considered to have ASPD and the others would simply be called sociopaths. The term psychopaths had fallen out of favor.

However, much of the world still considered all three terms to be interchangeable, and if you look up psycho/sociopath in the APA Dictionary it will refer you to Antisocial Personality Disorder. The author particularly chose to make this distinction to differentiate her disorder from those with the more severe form. Basically the author feels that being diagnosed as a sociopath doesn't mean you are bad, but simply that you don't act in socially approved manner unless it benefits the actor.

At one point the author describes her entire dysfunctional family and wonders if she might have turned out differently if raised in a different environment. You know, the argument of nature versus nurture.

1.0 out of 5 stars By N@t@ni on September 12, 2013 Format: Hardcover
Yawn M. E. is a self serving, arrogant and shallow author... her memoir does not show any insights by carefully and thoughtfully analyzing one's life and behavior. Her memoir is simply a regurgitation of already published data, and boring stories to relate to such data and to rationalize poor behavior. She has to hit us over the head about how brilliant she is, and how successful she is, and how much better she is because she is a sociopath, when one wonders if she is just an arrogant and unlikable person. If she demonstrates a typical non-dangerous sociopath, we don't really need to read a book about it, we see it every day and just avoid such people. She talks about power struggles in the most inane and trite situations possible, reeking of low self esteem. She makes gross generalizations about "empaths", which are generally overstated and wrong. This memoir at best, reads like a narcissist's journal entry/book report and at worst, just a terribly boring book.
1.0 out of 5 stars By Dr. Charles Finley on September 26, 2013 Format: Hardcover
Pointless Endeavor I was going to give this book two stars simply because it was written better than some of the garbage available today such as 50 shades of anything, yet cannot because the content is monotonous trash. I would never recommend this book to anyone. It is certainly a work of fiction and the author is even more boring than she is self absorbed. The author doesn't display the true traits of a sociopath. She sounds more narcissistic than anything else. She contradicts herself numerous times throughout the book alluding to why she isn't really a sociopath. It's amusing that sociopaths and psychopaths are being glamorized these days as if they don't have a disorder and they are instead instilled with super human powers.

I've dealt with sociopathic and psychopathic individuals, and they aren't these brilliant, charming, care free people that this book would like you to believe. I'm sorry, but she is not a sociopath. So she is full of herself and likes to toy with the lives of others, apparently she has never met a high school aged girl. If she had, she would see that she is stuck in her own adolescence. She truly wants to believe that she is a sociopath because then she is not like the majority of people.

As she says, 1 in 25 people are statistically sociopaths. I'm guessing she hasn't even verified those statistics. What sample size is it derived from? Is the sample really indicative of the entire earth's population? I only ask these questions because I am sure that she hasn't despite her self-proclaimed brilliance. Getting fired from a law firm and teaching at a 4th tier law school doesn't make you a model of success. Even Dr. Phil could see through miss JRL's ploy for fame. Sorry M.E. Thomas but you aren't special, unique, or different than everyone else. We all have these same feelings. Your actions are driven by the very insecurities that you claim you don't have. Welcome to the real world.

1.0 out of 5 stars By BookReader on June 10, 2016 Format: Kindle Edition

I'm an empath and proud to be one!

I thought this book is interesting. I purchased it because recently I had a bad experience befriending someone who I believe is a sociopath. This friend eerily has every trait of one. I trusted this person. He was charming, witty and a sponge. He is a fifty year old man who hasn't worked since his early twenties. He lies a lot and quite a master at it. But I didn't realize this until later after I was allowing him to use my internet/ WiFi for free for well over a year. I found myself paying for his bills and feeding him and even giving him the use of my new car. This guy didn't have anything and had an excuse for everything. I began to open my eyes and see that his friendships were solely based on merits of what they offered him. They were merely vehicles to get what he needed. After he started making comments to me that when I die, he was going to grab up all my possessions before my daughter had chance, red flags started going off in my head. He claimed he was teasing, but a tease is the truth behind a smile. He liked talking a lot about my death and harped on my material things. He became possessive of my things as if it was his. He even tried to control my spending. I might add, we were never more than friends and we never shared the same dwelling. Finally after catching him in several lies, I dropped our friendship. That's when he underhandedly took my personal information and gave it out over social media to hurt my business.

His grandiose arrogance I think is his weakness, though, he doesn't see it that way. His arrogance blinded him into to believing that I couldn't connect the dots. That's when I started looking further into personality disorders. I honestly believe he is a sociopath.

All his friendships are superficial. He only becomes friends with those who can benefit his needs. He's a pathological liar. He will steal from you and take whatever he wants and is very aggressive and feels he is entitled. He is charming and smart and loves to brag about his intelligence. He snarls his nose at his friends, thinking he is far superior. Even though he doesn't have a job and is dependent of others' financial support. I sit in my house everyday feeling like a prisoner. He knows when I'm home and when I leave. He watches me like a hawk. He's a collector of information of his neighbors. He studies people and pits out his next victim.

This book helped me to understand the mind of the sociopath. However, I don't agree entirely with the writer's view on empaths. She boast that empaths bring havoc to the business world because they allow their emotions to get in the way of decision making.

First, I'd like to say that most sociopaths do not function well in this world. They are cunning, underachievers, narcissist, unable to hold down any kind of job, yet they have this since of value that their opinion and intelligence far exceeds anyone else even though they have never kept even the most mundane jobs for more than a few short mouths. Instead of focusing on a career, they use all their energy into manipulating their victims.

They can be violent but they are all a predator and can't be trusted. I believe a sociopath's spurious confidence blinds them, keeping them from seeing the true reality. The reality is that a person or empath, has great leader ability. They are able to understand the heart of this country and will take in consideration that their decision making is not based on selfish motivation but based on heart and endeavor to help others rise above the occasion. Empaths are the ones who make this country. And yes, I am an empath and I am proud to be one!

I gave the writer a three star. I feel that's a fair mark. It's sort of hard to reward someone who's character is questionable.

2.0 out of 5 stars By TK on April 23, 2016 Format: Paperback

Cookie cutter information

I didn't learn anything from this book; it contains the usual suspects in terms of how she defines herself, the kinds of things she does, etc. This book was written for those who are not familiar with sociopathy, and since it's a pop psych deal all over social media, the author is capitalizing; there are statements in that book that seriously cast doubt on her claims, and others that pinpoint, so it seems to be she did a lot of research to write this, rather than glean her own experience. Considering her penchant to drone about her intelligence, her special abilities, and her success, sociopaths lie, manipulate, and cheat to the nth degree; this is what I'm getting from this; sociopaths are easily detectable, at least to me; I think my discernment skills are far superior to those of the author. One star for the subject, it is familial, and one star for the brazen ability to recognize she cannot fool all, but can fool many.

4.0 out of 5 stars By M'ette on March 21, 2016 Format: Paperback

Narcissism is the most prominent indicator of a sociopath, especially at an older age!

A reviewer describes this person as a malignant narcissist which would be an apt description for a layperson to make, but having been married to a very intelligent sociopath for nearly ten years, and currently having one as a mother-in-law, I can claim that without doubt that the lack of conscious marks a sociopath as a sociopath.
The females are less inclined to criminal behavior and better able to pretend to empathy they don't possess, but they do not have the loyalty or empathy the rest of us have, which means they cannot learn from their behavior the way the rest of us can.

My mother-in-law knows something is missing but she doesn't know what that is, not having the education to tell her. She can pretend to be a kind old lady, but she very quickly loses patience with this effort and has alienated everyone who has has dealt with her for any length of time at all. She is, at heart, mean, nasty and cold. I do not think she has the capacity to be different or be kind.

She is nearly a century of age and cannot learn differently. People are agast to see her coming because they have never been around someone so narrowly selfish, self-serving and manipulative. They try to be kind and professional in dealing with her, and being a sociopath, she is unaware of genuine feelings, and believes they actually like her.

These people are out there, in droves, and dealing with one is like nothing else one would ever experience. When I saw this side of my ex-husband I was shocked to the core and felt like I'd been unknowingly married to an insect for years!

His mother was glad I divorced him, and while she loves him, has no illusions about what her son is. That takes courage and keen insight.

Lauren Bennett on February 20, 2016 Format: Paperback

A couple of weeks ago I went to a yard sale and a book caught my eye, because of its subject matter–a copy of M. E. Thomas' autobiography, Confessions of a Sociopath: a Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight.

Ever-fascinated with all things Cluster B, including first-person accounts by narcissists, psychopaths and other antisocial types, I got busy reading that same evening. It took me two weeks to finish the book, when normally I'd devour a book of this length and subject matter in just a few days.

I'm sorry to say, this book was a disappointment. It was a long, painful, boring read. First of all, Ms. Thomas isn't a very good writer. Full of run-on sentences and endless, dull descriptions of how great she thinks she is because she lacks empathy and a conscience (she seems to think of these as traits only weak or stupid people have, reminding me of Ayn Rand without an iota of the latter's intelligence), Thomas comes off more as an obnoxious, self-centered, common narcissist than a true sociopath.

Thomas (who owns the website Sociopath World) is not a criminal. She may well be sociopathic in that she seems to take pleasure in cheating, manipulating, hurting, and discarding others, once gleefully watched a possum drown, and admits she enjoys ruining the reputations of people she has worked with. She clearly has no empathy and seems to have no emotions.

She crows on endlessly about how her lack of a conscience or any empathy has freed her from having to worry about what others think and therefore indicates what she thinks of as her superior intellect. But like the narcissist she really is, she overvalues her achievements and intelligence. She works as an attorney but doesn't seem to be able to stay employed for long, and really doesn't have any other impressive achievements under her belt. Her "theories" about sociopathy are nothing more than rehashes of what other people have already described in psychology texts, and less readable than theirs. Overall, Thomas comes off as self-congratulating, obnoxious, unlikeable, and very shallow. She also comes off as rather dumb.

M. E. Thomas is clearly a malignant narcissist, but by calling herself a "sociopath" you feel like you've been the victim of a bait-and-switch (which is in itself sociopathic, I suppose). The cover of the book is a picture of a sinister female mask on a white background, and you open the book expecting something more than you actually get, at least some sort of depth or insight into her own behavior. But Thomas has no real insight and the book reads more like a resume of her fake "achievements" than a psychological memoir. She talks about her family, who she describes as neglectful, but she doesn't seem to think they were particularly abusive. She takes arrogant pride in her "sociopathy," repeating the word again and again throughout the text, as if to drive home the fact that she really is one, when it seems that she "protesteth too much" and underneath all that bluster, suspects she may not be one. That kind of insecurity over the possibility of not really being what one says they are is a lot more typical of NPD than psychopathy or sociopathy, who don't care what others think of them. Thomas also talks about wanting to have a family and her religion (Mormonism) a lot. Maybe her religion keeps her from acting out against others in more heinous ways and gives her a sort of "cold" conscience, but I sure hope God doesn't let her have children. She doesn't seem capable of maintaining a relationship, so that doesn't exactly work in her favor.

Although narcissists are thought of as having no emotions, it isn't really true that they don't, and there are narcissists and sociopaths who have been able to write about themselves in an emotionally engaging, albeit dark and depressing, way. There is rage and hurt seething behind the surface of their words. But Thomas writes in a cold, emotionless way, probably because she's such a bad writer. As a result, you feel about as excited reading her "memoir" as you'd feel reading the most boring high school textbook–and learn a whole lot less.

The only reason I didn't feel completely ripped off was because the yard sale copy of this book set me back only $1; if I'd purchased it at full price, I'd be pretty annoyed right now. It was all I could do to even finish this book. It was that boring. Don't waste your time. If you want to read a good book about sociopathy, read Marsha Stout's The Sociopath Next Door instead. If you really need to read something that comes "out of the horse's mouth," you'd do better with Sam Vaknin. [...]

0 out of 5 stars By H. Swanby on January 22, 2016 Format: Paperback

300 pages of dull narcissism

I so wish i hadn't wasted my money on this book. The writing was weak and she often contradicts herself and i was utterly bored half way through. Her examples of her sociopathic behaviour aren't very radical - provoking her father to anger in teen years, taking a neighbors bike without permission and returning it (so naughty!), following a man who angered her with murderous intent for a block or so until she lost him. 300 pages of self-aggrandizing that comes across as juvenile and insecure. Perhaps she is malicious and conniving and maybe even a sociopath whatever that actually is (I am not a fan of the DSM), but ultimately its not that interesting, definitely not enlightening.

4.0 out of 5 stars
By White Rabbit on January 8, 2016 Format: Paperback

Entertaining Self-Aggrandizement Thinly Veiled as Pseudo-Analysis

This was a super-fast, easy, entertaining read, but it reminded me of the glib answer to the interview question "what's your weakness?" : "I'm a perfectionist." The author is undoubtedly bright, although probably not nearly as "brilliant" as she avows on every page. By structuring her personal & professional life to avoid any long-term serious human interaction or competition, she intentionally insulates herself from any real challenges to her thinking or persona. For instance, by bragging that her starting salary as a new lawyer was 170k, she dates herself precisely to the "fattest" 7 years the legal profession has ever had. She did not land that job because she was so brilliant, but because law firms during that period were hiring any carbon-based life form. Also, her assessment that sociopaths are "too rational" (i.e., not guided by emotion or constrained by herd mentality/morality) gets it diametrically wrong. Those sociopaths who either turn criminal (& are found out) or carve out less "successful" lives actually suffer from too LITTLE rational thinking, analysis, and sober calculation, not too much. This is likely correlated to their own inflated ego/self-assessment (as this author exemplifies), or imperviousness/reduced sensitivity to pain/negative consequences, and it leads to failure to accurately assess/predict the negative consequences of their actions, from underestimating the likelihood of getting "caught" to not being able to sustain any romantic relationship longer than the author's case of 8 months. Thus I think it is not "too much logic" that is the root of the problem (but merely its outside manifestation), but bad math, which is rather ironic for someone who envisions/imagines herself to be a brilliant differential engine unhampered by bloody wet emotion. What perpetuates both the sociopathological & narcissistic self-perspective (which, incidentally, is far more common and far more adaptive than the author thinks) is the carefully constructed bubble of invincibility these people construct around themselves, often choosing to rise no higher than the pond in which they assure themselves they are the biggest or flashiest fish. It is easy to imagine yourself King of the Jungle when you surround yourself with declawed kittens. Nonetheless, interesting breezy read, although the book would have better without the utterly banal and transparently false hand-wringing/crocodile tears of the Epilogue.

[Jul 16, 2016] Are you a female sociopath - Telegraph By Helena Kealey

telegraph.co.uk

By Helena Kealey

5:24PM BST 06 Oct 2014

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Witness the rise of the female sociopath. Cruel, calculating and calm under pressure; these emotionally detached women are in our lives, on our television screens and with the release of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl this weekend, making waves in our cinemas. Sociopaths can be charming, funny and even practised at appearing sympathetic. In fact, one per cent of all women are sociopaths. To put that in context, one to two per cent of the population has red hair. It's likely that you know one, and it's even possible that you are one. Take this test to find out if you are in the emotionally detached one per cent. To take the quiz on your phone: click here.

[Jul 16, 2016] Rethinking Female Sociopathy, Part One by Dr Tara J. Palmatier

Notable quotes:
"... Rethinking Female Sociopathy ..."
January 4, 2012 | shrink4men.com

Shrink4Men: Helping men break free from abusive relationships since 2009

... ... ...

What are the characteristics of a sociopath?

Psychologists Hervey Cleckley and Robert Hare both developed sociopathy checklists. The following characteristics are culled from their work.

Sociopaths have Jekyll and Hyde personalities and can be superficially charming. Their outward appearance is often very conventional or they disguise themselves as helpless victims. Alternately, sociopaths may come across as grandiose and narcissistic. Sociopaths come in all shapes, sizes, sexes, ethnicities and walks of life.

Sociopaths seem to have contempt for their victim's feelings and believe their victims deserve to be hurt, taken advantage of and exploited. They have no empathy or very selective empathy (e.g., your wife shows empathy toward someone who hurts or bullies you). They lie, cheat, manipulate, and/or verbally and/or physically intimidate others to get their way or to "win." To a sociopath, the ends justify the means.

Sociopaths may refuse to recognize that others have rights and believe they're entitled to violate the rights of others. In fact, they often try to control and humiliate their victims. They see people as objects and value others based upon their utility and ease of exploitation rather than fellow human beings. People are either targets and opportunities for exploitation. They don't have friends, but rather victims and accomplices who later become victims.

Sociopaths often have a gross and exaggerated sense of entitlement. They seem incapable of true love relationships and often confuse love with ability to control and exploit someone. They are unable to form healthy attachments with others.

Sociopaths seem to be able to lie very easily. You can have a video or audio recording of them perpetrating a crime or some abusive act and they will still pee on your leg and tell you it's raining. They often believe their own lies and may even be able to pass a polygraph. They seem to lack the capacity for remorse or guilt. For example, many of my clients are more likely to squeeze blood from a stone than to receive a sincere apology from their wives, girlfriends or exes.

When sociopaths seem to be expressing positive feelings it is typically because they are mimicking others to appear socially and psychologically normal. For example, a man on the Shrink4Men forum found a note his wife wrote to herself reminding herself to act nice and to pretend to be interested in her husband's day in order to get something she wanted from him. Warm and loving behavior may be a manipulation in order to be better able to exploit their victims. For example, they pull you close to be able to get a better swing at you – emotionally or physically.

Sociopaths have a need for extreme stimulation in order to feel emotion and are prone to feeling chronically bored. Some may resort to physical violence, gambling, drugs and alcohol, and/or promiscuity; while others create unnecessary conflict and drama for stimulation.

Sociopaths blame others for their bad behaviors and do not take personal responsibility for their actions. At their core, they are filled with rage, which is often split off and projected onto their victims. Sociopaths have poor behavioral and emotional controls and can be impulsive. They often alternate rage and abuse with small expressions of love and approval to keep their victims under their control.

Sociopaths lack boundaries and do not care how their behavior affects others. They may become enraged and/or desperate when their victims try to enforce boundaries on their abusive behaviors. They have difficulty maintaining friendships, and, is it any wonder given how they treat others?

They typically end relationships and/or try destroying former friends who have seen behind their masks. Some may have long-term friendships, but they either seem to be long-distance or friendships with incredibly damaged individuals with low self-esteem who admire the sociopath, i.e., sycophants.

Some may have a history of childhood emotional and behavioral disturbances while others do not. Some sociopathic individuals come from otherwise healthy and loving families.

Sociopaths are often irresponsible and unreliable. They have a history of breaking promises yet become enraged and vengeful if they believe someone has broken a promise to them. They have unrealistic life plans and often live beyond their means. Many live what can be described as a parasitic life in that they get through life by exploiting others.

Sociopaths may have diffuse identities. Many dramatically change their appearance or outward persona in order to exploit new victims or to avoid punishment. For example, when many of my clients met their wives and girlfriends, they feigned similar interests, beliefs, etc., and pretended to be someone they weren't in order to secure the relationship.

Sociopaths are ungrateful and contemptuous of people who try to help and understand them. Oftentimes, they do not believe anything is wrong with them, which is why therapy rarely works. If they acknowledge a problem, they usually blame others for it. Or, if they are formally diagnosed with a mental illness or other personality disorder, they may use their diagnosis to absolve them of their abusive behaviors.

Sociopaths typically do not trust others. They can be authoritarian, paranoid and secretive. They seek relationships with others who will accept, tolerate, condone or admire their bad behavior. They like nothing better than to have a willing victim.

Sociopaths often try to control every aspect of their victims' lives. They can be pretty territorial about their victims, which their victims often confuse with love and jealousy. It's not about love. You're their half-dead mouse and they don't want any other predators messing with "their property." A good example of this is when a woman becomes unhinged when her ex begins dating or gets remarried - especially if she's already moved onto to another victim, er, I mean, relationship .

Lastly, and I think this characteristic will resonate with many of you, sociopaths have an emotional need to justify their crimes and demand that their victims show them gratitude, love and respect. In other words:

Sociopaths expect that their victims show gratitude for being victimized by them.

In a few days, I will post the second part of Rethinking Female Sociopathy , so please check back.

[Jul 16, 2016] Female sociopaths display all the symptoms of a sociopath: lying, a parasitic lifestyle, the need for control, and the craving for excitement.

Notable quotes:
"... "She will choose you, charm you with her words, and control you with her presence. She will delight you with her wit and her plans. She will show you a good time, but you will always get the bill. She will smile and deceive you, and she will scare you with her eyes. And when she is through with you, and she will be through with you, she will desert you and take with her your innocence and your pride. You will be left much sadder but not a lot wiser, and for a long time you will wonder what you did wrong." ..."
"... Most of us think of women as sensitive and nurturing. We don't expect to see uncaring, cold-hearted, callous behaviors in women. It's hard to imagine them being more conniving, controlling, destructive, malicious and downright mean than the male sociopath. ..."
male%20sociopaths%20display%20all%20the%20symptoms%20of%20a%20sociopath:%20lying,%20a%20parasitic%20lifestyle,%20the%20need%20for%20control,%20and%20the%20craving%20for%20excitement.%20https:

Female sociopaths display all the symptoms of a sociopath: lying, a parasitic lifestyle, the need for control, and the craving for excitement. Many live what looks like a typical life from the outside, content with blending in and doing what "normal" people do.

Others need more... more money, more control, more power, more excitement. They often get into trouble as they become impulsive, unable to control their emotions and behaving irresponsibly.

These behaviors often bring problems witin their marriage. Showing true sociopath style, they entice a man, create an intimate relationship, manipulate his decisions, and get married. They may try to isolate the man from his family and friends. They become bossy and controlling and will use sex as a tool to manipulate. The man is often subjected to emotional, verbal, psychological, and physical abuse.

If there are children of the marriage, it becomes ever more difficult. If there is a separation or divorce, the sociopath will easily use the children as pawns or objects as a way to continue to control the man.

They will not hesitate to obtain information from the children to use against their father, will lie to brainwash them into thinking Daddy is "bad" and will keep the father from having contact with them. They do this to keep their power and control and the wellbeing of the children is never a concern.

Female sociopaths have no problem lying, making up stories and doing whatever is necessary to get what they want. This works well in family matters where police or courts are involved. They are very convincing when playing the victim, and use society's favoritism towards women and mothers to their full advantage.

Many female sociopaths go from one relationship to another. They use their sociopathic charm, good looks and female allures to build a relationship, take what they want, and disappear. Men are disposable! They leave behind a trail of broken hearts and baffled men, many who are poorer after the experience!

The writing below was cited from "Decision Making Confidence"

"She will choose you, charm you with her words, and control you with her presence. She will delight you with her wit and her plans. She will show you a good time, but you will always get the bill. She will smile and deceive you, and she will scare you with her eyes. And when she is through with you, and she will be through with you, she will desert you and take with her your innocence and your pride. You will be left much sadder but not a lot wiser, and for a long time you will wonder what you did wrong."

Most of us think of women as sensitive and nurturing. We don't expect to see uncaring, cold-hearted, callous behaviors in women. It's hard to imagine them being more conniving, controlling, destructive, malicious and downright mean than the male sociopath.

However, just ask any man who has been a victim of a female sociopath...

If you're a man in an abusive relationship, it's important to know that you're not alone. It happens to men from all cultures and all walks of life. Figures suggest that as many as one in three victims of domestic violence are male. However, men are often reluctant to report abuse by women because they feel embarrassed, or they fear they won't be believed, or worse, that police will assume that since they're male they are the perpetrator of the violence and not the victim.

An abusive wife or partner may hit, kick, bite, punch, spit, throw things, or destroy your possessions. To make up for any difference in strength, she may attack you while you're asleep or otherwise catch you by surprise. She may also use a weapon, such as a gun or knife, or strike you with an object, abuse or threaten your children, or harm your pets. Of course, domestic abuse is not limited to violence.

Domestic violence and abuse can have a serious physical and psychological impact on both you and your children. The first step to stopping the abuse is to reach out. Talk to a friend, family member, or someone else you trust, or call a domestic violence helpline.

Admitting the problem and seeking help doesn't mean you have failed as a man or as a husband. You are not to blame, and you are not weak. As well as offering a sense of relief and providing some much needed support, sharing details of your abuse can also be the first step in building a case against your abuser and protecting your kids.

When dealing with your abusive partner:

Help for abused men: Moving on from an abusive relationship

Support from family and friends as well as counseling, therapy, and support groups for domestic abuse survivors can help you move on from an abusive relationship. You or your children may struggle with upsetting emotions or feel numb, disconnected, and unable to trust other people. After the trauma of an abusive relationship, it can take a while to get over the pain and bad memories but you can heal and move on.

Even if you're eager to jump into a new relationship and finally get the intimacy and support you've been missing, it's wise take things slowly. Make sure you're aware of any red flag behaviors in a potential new partner and what it takes to build healthy, new relationships.

In the U.S. and Canada: Call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-888-799-7233

[Jul 15, 2016] The female sociopath

Notable quotes:
"... Unlike these women, the functional sociopath isn't "dismissible" as a slave to her emotions. She is not outwardly violent. Patently remorseless, clear-eyed and calculating, she is chameleonic in the extreme, donning one feigned feeling after another (interest, concern, sympathy, simpering insecurity, confidence, arrogance, lust, even love) to get what she wants. ..."
"... "You might call it seduction," she suggests, but really "it's called arbitrage and it happens on Wall Street (and a lot of other places) every day." Whatever you choose to call it, its appeal is undeniable when linked to the professional and personal advancement of women. "In general, the women in my life seemed like they were never acting, always being acted upon," Thomas laments. ..."
"... With it, researchers over the last decade have estimated that sociopaths comprise three to four percent of the U.S. population, or roughly 10 million people who regularly demonstrate a lack of empathy, a conniving and ruthless attitude towards interpersonal relationships, and immunity to experiencing negative emotions. A mere 1.5 million of them are women. ..."
digg.com

...Gone Girl, one of the most popular and addictive novels of the past decade, as Amy Dunne - the beguiling and cerebral housewife who stages her own murder and frames her philandering husband. Amy's creator, the novelist Gillian Flynn, has proudly described her character as a "functioning sociopath," which she is quick to distinguish from "the iconic psycho bitch." The iconic psycho bitch, Flynn explains, is crazy because "her lady parts have gone crazy." Think of Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, so consumed with desire for Michael Douglas that she boils his daughter's pet rabbit to death; think of Sharon Stone and Jennifer Jason Leigh (and Kathy Bates and Rebecca De Mornay) chasing men through dim rooms with sharp objects.

Unlike these women, the functional sociopath isn't "dismissible" as a slave to her emotions. She is not outwardly violent. Patently remorseless, clear-eyed and calculating, she is chameleonic in the extreme, donning one feigned feeling after another (interest, concern, sympathy, simpering insecurity, confidence, arrogance, lust, even love) to get what she wants.

And why should she feel bad about it?

For M.E. Thomas, author of Confessions of A Sociopath, such affective maneuvers are tantamount to "fulfilling an exchange." "You might call it seduction," she suggests, but really "it's called arbitrage and it happens on Wall Street (and a lot of other places) every day." Whatever you choose to call it, its appeal is undeniable when linked to the professional and personal advancement of women. "In general, the women in my life seemed like they were never acting, always being acted upon," Thomas laments.

Sociopathy's silver lining was that it gave her a way to combat that injustice, in the boardroom of the corporate law firm she worked for in Los Angeles, but also in the bedroom, where she marveled at how her emotional detachment let her commandeer her lovers' hearts and minds. Somewhere along the way, pathology became recoded as practice - a set of rules for how to manage the self and others.

She is the apotheosis of the cool girl power that go-getter "feminists" have peddled to frustrated women over the last half-decade.

No wonder the female sociopath cuts such an admirable figure. Intensely romantic, professionally desirable, she is the stuff of fiction, fantasy, and aspirational reading. And while actual female sociopaths like Thomas are rare, and sociopathy isn't even recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the female sociopath looms large in our cultural imagination. Amy Dunne may stand as the perfect example - a "Cool Girl" on the outside, ice cold within - but she is not alone. Of late, she has faced stiff competition from fictional females like Lisbeth Salander, the ferocious tech genius in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, or Laura, the shape-shifting alien who preys on unwitting men in Under the Skin. Network television has been even kinder to the female sociopath, placing her at the center of workplace dramas like Damages, Revenge, Bones, The Fall, Rizzoli and Isles, Person of Interest, Luther, and 24. Here, she has mesmerized audiences with how nimbly she scales the professional ladder, her competence and sex appeal whetted by her dark, aggressive, risk-taking behavior, and lack of empathy.

And so we lean in to the cultural logic of the female sociopath, for she is the apotheosis of the cool girl power that go-getter "feminists" have peddled to frustrated women over the last half-decade. The female sociopath doesn't want to upend systems of gender inequality, that vast and irreducible constellation of institutions and beliefs that lead successful women like Gillian Flynn to decree that certain women, who feel or behave in certain ways, are "dismissible." The female sociopath wants to dominate these systems from within, as the most streamlined product of a world in which well-intentioned people blithely invoke words like arbitrage, leverage, capital, and currency to appraise how successfully we inhabit our bodies, our selves. One could easily imagine the female sociopath devouring books with titles like Bo$$ Bitch, Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office, The Confidence Gap, and Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman to hone her craft - to learn how to have it all. From atop the corporate ladder, she can applaud her liberation from the whole messy business of feeling as a step forward for women, when it's really a step back.

The result is a self-defeating spectacle of feminism that finds a kindred spirit in Rosamund Pike on the cover of W, erasing her own perfect face to reveal that what lies beneath might be nothing. Like Gone Girl's Amy Dunne, who confesses that she "has never really felt like a person, but a product" - plastic, fungible, ready to be consumed by anyone, at any time - the female sociopath is a product of a broken promise made to women, by women. She is a product poised to disappear into the immense darkness from which she came.

If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them

Female sociopaths are rare, making up only 15% of all those diagnosed.

Ask any psychiatrist, and he will tell you that the female sociopath is a rare, almost mythological, creature. Ask Dr. Robert Hare, perhaps the most prolific researcher in criminal psychology and creator of the Hare Psychopath Checklist (PCL-R), and he will place the ratio of male to female sociopaths at seven to one - practically unworthy of discussion, let alone veneration. The PCL-R, which Hare developed during his work with inmate populations in Canada, is widely considered the gold standard for identifying and discussing anti-social behavior - and by the same token, for identifying and discussing what constitutes "normal" social behavior. With it, researchers over the last decade have estimated that sociopaths comprise three to four percent of the U.S. population, or roughly 10 million people who regularly demonstrate a lack of empathy, a conniving and ruthless attitude towards interpersonal relationships, and immunity to experiencing negative emotions. A mere 1.5 million of them are women.

[Jul 15, 2016] Female Sociopaths - different but just as dangerous!

Notable quotes:
"... Some female sociopaths demonstrate antisocial behavior as children and as adolescents. Lying, stealing, truancy, cruelty to animals and siblings, drug abuse, early sexual activity. Of course, there may be frequent run-ins with the law. Their parents are very often distraught because there is so little they can do. As adults, these female sociopaths may end up abusing alcohol and drugs and end up in and out of prison. ..."
"... Female sociopaths have all the symptoms of sociopaths. The lying, the parasitic lifestyle, the need for excitement and the desire to control. It's possible that there are many female sociopaths who live, for all intents and purposes, what looks like a normal life from the outside. They are content to just blend in and do what "normal" people do. ..."
"... One of the ways this shows up is in problems in their marriage. In true sociopath style, they attract a man, create an intimate relationship , influence his decision making and get married. It's common for them to isolate the man from his friends and family to varying degrees. They can be very domineering and controlling, using sex as a means to manipulate. The man may suffer verbal abuse, psychological abuse, emotional abuse and even physical abuse. ..."
"... When there are children involved it gets infinitely more complicated. Especially in separations and divorces. The female sociopaths have no difficulty (remember no remorse, guilt or pity for anybody) in using the children as pawns or objects to try to continue to manipulate the man. ..."
"... In family matters where the police or the courts involved, they have no difficulty in lying, inventing stories and doing whatever is necessary to get what they want. They can play the victim role very well, as most sociopaths do, and will use society's preferences towards women and mothers to their advantage. ..."
"... Apparently both male and female psychopaths have high levels of testosterone. It has been found that in normal populations, higher levels of testosterone are associated with higher sex drive, more sexual activity and more attractiveness to the opposite sex. This will make female sociopaths more appealing to males. Add to this the lack of inhibition, and the grandiose sense of self and you have a lethal combination! Think femme fatale! It may also explain the lack of desire to have children and the failure to look after them if they do. It's not uncommon for female sociopaths to leave young children unattended, for example, because they have other more important things to do. ..."
"... We normally think women are empathic and nurturing and don't expect to see cold-hearted, uncaring, callous behaviors in women. We don't consider that they could be more devious, manipulative, destructive, vindictive and downright nasty than their male counterparts. But just ask any man who has been a victim of female sociopaths...! ..."
www.decision-making-confidence.com
Incidence

How many female sociopaths are there? Robert Hare believes that about 1% of the population fits the profile of psychopath, and male psychopaths are 7 times more common than female psychopaths.

But there are some things to keep in mind here. When most people think of 'sociopath' they typically think 'male' and 'serial killer'. They do not generally think of women psychopaths. This can lead to a situation where they are dealing with a psychopath in their life but do not realize who they are dealing with.

Add to this the fact that sociopaths have been called chameleons for their ability to blend into society and it adds to the difficulty in counting them.

Plus, whether you consider it sexist or not, the female aspect needs to be considered when talking about manipulation. Women have been known to 'bat their eyelids' and show their cleavage or 'show a bit of leg', for example, to good effect.

How female sociopaths show up in society

The most obvious group are the serial killers. And yes, there have been lots of female serial killers as well as males!

Unlike the males however, there is usually not a sexual element to their crimes. It's much more usual to be money or power related. And the female sociopaths typically know their victims; it's rare for them to kill strangers. An interesting group are the female sociopaths who become nurses or doctors. These cold-blooded killers hide themselves where nobody would suspect them, in a caring profession!

And then they set to work. For example, Beverley Allitt, a 23-year-old nurse in the UK killed 4 and attacked 9 other children within a couple of months before she was caught. A Texas nurse Genene Jones is believed to have killed between 11 and 46. It's of this group that people usually say "But they seemed like such nice people!"

Another subset are those who kill one or several husbands for the inheritance and life assurance.

Obvious Delinquents

Some female sociopaths demonstrate antisocial behavior as children and as adolescents. Lying, stealing, truancy, cruelty to animals and siblings, drug abuse, early sexual activity. Of course, there may be frequent run-ins with the law. Their parents are very often distraught because there is so little they can do. As adults, these female sociopaths may end up abusing alcohol and drugs and end up in and out of prison.

Some therapists believe that there is such a disregard for society among them that a sociopath that has not broken the law just hasn't been found out yet!

Cult leaders

Many of the women who lead destructive cults are sociopaths.

There seems to be two themes among female sociopaths that are not so prevalent in male led groups, one being the avoidance of sex and the other being food.

The women psychopaths may target women who want to get away from sex for whatever reason. Instead they offer female nurturing and support.

As well as offering meals when potential 'clients' have none, there are cults based on eating healthily or losing weight. This is typical of cults, they offer something people want but behind the outer facade is a second set of ideas or principles. People enter for one thing and end up having the leader control their lives.

Socialized sociopaths

These are the ones that are so difficult to count! Despite their sociopath symptoms, they manage to integrate themselves into society to varying degrees. Everything from solitary lives where they live on the money they make from crimes for which they are not caught, to getting married, settling down and having children.

It's interesting to read or listen to the stories of some of these female sociopaths. Typically, they realize as children that they are different in some way. They think differently and make different decisions. Then they begin to understand that they are not so 'affected' by emotions. It's seems that it's common for them to think that this is because they are smarter than those around them.

They begin from an early age to look for clues to recognize the emotions that others are actually having. They learn to mimic the emotions so as not to stand out, or to please others. They learn to create relationships that are beneficial for them.

Female sociopaths have all the symptoms of sociopaths. The lying, the parasitic lifestyle, the need for excitement and the desire to control. It's possible that there are many female sociopaths who live, for all intents and purposes, what looks like a normal life from the outside. They are content to just blend in and do what "normal" people do.

Others however, want more. More money, more power, more control, more excitement. And they get themselves into trouble because of the impulsivity or the failure to control their emotions, or the irresponsibility.

One of the ways this shows up is in problems in their marriage. In true sociopath style, they attract a man, create an intimate relationship, influence his decision making and get married. It's common for them to isolate the man from his friends and family to varying degrees. They can be very domineering and controlling, using sex as a means to manipulate. The man may suffer verbal abuse, psychological abuse, emotional abuse and even physical abuse.

When there are children involved it gets infinitely more complicated. Especially in separations and divorces. The female sociopaths have no difficulty (remember no remorse, guilt or pity for anybody) in using the children as pawns or objects to try to continue to manipulate the man.

They will extract information from the children about the father to use against him, they will influence how and what the children think about the father, and they may prevent the father from having any contact with the children. The welfare of the children is not considered. What's important is that they continue to maintain control and power.

In family matters where the police or the courts involved, they have no difficulty in lying, inventing stories and doing whatever is necessary to get what they want. They can play the victim role very well, as most sociopaths do, and will use society's preferences towards women and mothers to their advantage.

Some female sociopaths simply go from one relationship to another. They use their sociopathic charm, good looks and female wiles to create a relationship, take what they want and then disappear, leaving a trail of brokenhearted and confused men behind them. Men who are somewhat poorer after the experience!

This piece was originally written about a male but I think it works equally well like this!

She will choose you, charm you with her words, and control you with this presence. She will delight you with her wit and her plans. She will show you a good time, but you will always get the bill. She will smile and deceive you, and she will scare you with her eyes. And when she is through with you, and she will be through with you, she will desert you and take with her your innocence and your pride. You will be left much sadder but not a lot wiser, and for a long time you will wonder what you did wrong.

From an essay signed, "A psychopath in prison".

Testosterone

Apparently both male and female psychopaths have high levels of testosterone. It has been found that in normal populations, higher levels of testosterone are associated with higher sex drive, more sexual activity and more attractiveness to the opposite sex. This will make female sociopaths more appealing to males. Add to this the lack of inhibition, and the grandiose sense of self and you have a lethal combination! Think femme fatale! It may also explain the lack of desire to have children and the failure to look after them if they do. It's not uncommon for female sociopaths to leave young children unattended, for example, because they have other more important things to do.

How we perceive women

We normally think women are empathic and nurturing and don't expect to see cold-hearted, uncaring, callous behaviors in women. We don't consider that they could be more devious, manipulative, destructive, vindictive and downright nasty than their male counterparts. But just ask any man who has been a victim of female sociopaths...!

Learn what to do if you think you might be in a relationship with a sociopath and how to stop mind control...

[May 18, 2016] Less Than Artful Choices Narcissistic Personality Disorder According to Donald Trump

Notable quotes:
"... So, without further ado, Trump's quotable illustration of the hallmarks of NPD, defined according to DSM-IV as, "A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy." The disorder is indicated by at least five of the following: ..."
Big Think

Donald Trump was born in 1946. 34 years later, in the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the American Psychiatric Association's hefty volume of mental disorder classifications, the term "Narcissistic Personality Disorder" (NPD) first appeared as a diagnosable disease – Trump would doubtless say it was created in his honor (characteristic #1 of NPD: An exaggerated sense of self-importance). After all, the newly-minted personality disorder made its debut only nine years after he took the helm of his father's company… and renamed it from Elizabeth Trump & Son to The Trump Organization.

The most recent DSM, DSM-IV, is currently under extensive revision, with DSM-V scheduled for publication sometime in 2013, and both its listed diseases and their definitions are undergoing extensive scrutiny and contentious debate. On the chopping block are five of the ten or so so-called personality disorders, including NPD. Among the reasons for the cut are the frequent overlap between disorders, the general lack of stability of symptoms, and the range of those symptoms in reality, as compared to the either/or approach of the manual (either you have a disorder or you don't). So, before NPD becomes a thing of the past, at least in its current form, I thought we'd take a moment to reflect on some less than artful choices – or the things that make Trump look like he just stepped out of the fourth edition, symptom by symptom.

A caveat: I am obviously exaggerating, both Trump and narcissism. But debate on personality disorders, classifications, diagnoses, and treatments is well worthwhile, and a colorful spokesperson never hurts.

So, without further ado, Trump's quotable illustration of the hallmarks of NPD, defined according to DSM-IV as, "A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy." The disorder is indicated by at least five of the following:

1. An exaggerated sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

A sense of one's own importance, a grandiose feeling that one is alone responsible for any achievement is a hallmark of the narcissist. Grandiosity is one of the central tenets of a narcissistic personality. Narcissists tend to take credit for everything, as if no one else contributed to the end product. Witness Trump's declaration that, "When people see the beautiful marble in Trump Tower, they usually have no idea what I went through personally to achieve the end result. No one cares about the blood, sweat, and tears that art or beauty require." What do you know: not only is Trump a developer and an artistic visionary, but he seems to be a stellar architect and construction worker as well.

And history will agree (naturally). "Anyone who thinks my story is anywhere near over is sadly mistaken," says Trump. Sadly, indeed.

2. Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love How many presidential runs does it take for the process to be defined as a preoccupation rather than an occupation?

I'd leave it at that, except for the existence of this little gem: "My fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well documented, are various other parts of my body." Not only all-powerful, but all-beautiful, too. The man has it all.

3. Believes he is "special" and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions) To narcissists, the "little people" or anyone beneath them (which is mostly everyone) don't matter. Trump's lambasting of Rosie O'Donnell is a good case in point: "Rosie O'Donnell called me a snake oil salesman. And, you know, coming from Rosie, that's pretty low because when you look at her and when you see the mind, the mind is weak. I don't see it. I don't get it. I never understood – how does she even get on television?"

Clearly, Rosie lacks the power to understand the dazzling intellect that is Donald Trump. Trump needs someone of equal status to appreciate his immensity. But it can't be Larry King, because as he told King, "Do you mind if I sit back a little? Because your breath is very bad. It really is. Has this been told to you before?"

4. Requires excessive admiration No matter the sincerity, as long as the praise comes frequently and at a high enough volume. Says Trump, "All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me – consciously or unconsciously. That's to be expected." Clearly. Admired, wherever he may go, even when he's talking about himself in the third person, as in, "Love him or hate him, Trump is a man who is certain about what he wants and sets out to get it, no holds barred. Women find his power almost as much of a turn-on as his money."

As he puts it, "Nobody but a total masochist wants to be criticized."

5. Has a sense of entitlement The world owes the narcissist everything; he, in turn, owes it nothing. I think Trump's attitude can be summed up with this approach to marriage: "I wish I'd had a great marriage. See, my father was always very proud of me, but the one thing he got right was that he had a great marriage. He was married for 64 years. One of my ex-wives once said to me, 'You have to work at a marriage.' And I said, 'That's the most ridiculous thing.'"

6. Selfishly takes advantage of others to achieve his own ends I don't have a quote for this one, but perhaps we can talk to one of his ex-wives.

7. Lacks empathy Narcissists don't sympathize with the feelings of others. Who are these "others," anyway? No one matters except for me. I won't recreate the Rosie rampage in full, but sentiments like, "I'll sue her because it would be fun. I'd like to take some money out of her fat ass pockets," capture the spirit.

8. Is often envious of others or believes others to be envious of him Here, it seems like Trump is dominated by the second sentiment, the expectation that everyone is envious of his success. Everyone wants to be Trump. As he puts it, "The old rich may look down their noses at me, but I think they kiss my ass."

9. Shows arrogant, haughty, patronizing, or contemptuous behaviors or attitudes Again, other people don't matter. They can be treated like nothing, because who are we kidding – nothing is the closest description of what they are.

Clients don't matter. As Trump puts it, "When I build something for somebody, I always add $50 million or $60 million onto the price. My guys come in, they say it's going to cost $75 million. I say it's going to cost $125 million, and I build it for $100 million. Basically, I did a lousy job. But they think I did a great job." Take them for the suckers they are; that's the ticket.

The media doesn't matter. According to Trump, "You know, it really doesn't matter what (the media) write as long as you've got a young and beautiful piece of ass." The piece of ass doesn't matter, either; any will do.

Other businesses don't matter. As Trump says, "If you want to buy something, it's obviously in your best interest to convince the seller that what he's got isn't worth very much."

But it's ok. Trump doesn't have to be nice. After all, it's not like he wants to run for office or anything: "I'm not running for office. I don't have to be politically correct. I don't have to be a nice person. Like I watch some of these weak-kneed politicians, it's disgusting. I don't have to be that way."

Too bad. We need a good candidate. Because according to Trump, "One of the key problems today is that politics is such a disgrace. Good people don't go into government."

[May 18, 2016] Barack Obama – Narcissist or Merely Narcissistic?

Notable quotes:
"... Narcissism is a defense mechanism whose role is to deflect hurt and trauma from the victim's "True Self" into a " False Self " which is omnipotent, invulnerable, and omniscient. This False Self is then used by the narcissist to garner narcissistic supply from his human environment. Narcissistic supply is any form of attention, both positive and negative and it is instrumental in the regulation of the narcissist's labile sense of self-worth. ..."
"... Many narcissists are over-achievers and ambitious. Some of them are even talented and skilled. But they are incapable of team work because they cannot tolerate setbacks. They are easily frustrated and demoralized and are unable to cope with disagreement and criticism. Though some narcissists have meteoric and inspiring careers, in the long-run, all of them find it difficult to maintain long-term professional achievements and the respect and appreciation of their peers. The narcissist's fantastic grandiosity, frequently coupled with a hypomanic mood, is typically incommensurate with his or her real accomplishments (the "grandiosity gap"). ..."
"... An important distinction is between cerebral and somatic narcissists. The cerebrals derive their Narcissistic Supply from their intelligence or academic achievements and the somatics derive their Narcissistic Supply from their physique, exercise, physical or sexual prowess and romantic or physical "conquests". ..."
"... Subtly misrepresents facts and expediently and opportunistically shifts positions, views, opinions, and "ideals" (e.g., about campaign finance, re-districting). These flip-flops do not cause him overt distress and are ego-syntonic (he feels justified in acting this way). Alternatively, reuses to commit to a standpoint and, in the process, evidences a lack of empathy. ..."
"... Narcissism is regarded by many scholars to be an adaptative strategy ("healthy narcissism"). ..."
"... Pathological narcissism is the art of deception. The narcissist projects a False Self and manages all his social interactions through this concocted fictional construct. ..."
"... When the narcissist reveals his true colors, it is usually far too late. His victims are unable to separate from him. They are frustrated by this acquired helplessness and angry at themselves for having they failed to see through the narcissist earlier on. ..."
"... The narcissist instantly idealizes or devalues his interlocutor. This depends on how the narcissist appraises the potential his converser has as a Narcissistic Supply Source. The narcissist flatters, adores, admires and applauds the "target" in an embarrassingly exaggerated and profuse manner or sulks, abuses, and humiliates her. ..."
"... In general, the narcissist always prefers show-off to substance. One of the most effective methods of exposing a narcissist is by trying to delve deeper. The narcissist is shallow, a pond pretending to be an ocean. He likes to think of himself as a Renaissance man, a Jack of all trades. The narcissist never admits to ignorance in any field yet, typically, he is ignorant of them all. It is surprisingly easy to penetrate the gloss and the veneer of the narcissist's self-proclaimed omniscience. ..."
"... In general, the narcissist is very impatient, easily bored, with strong attention deficits unless and until he is the topic of discussion. One can publicly dissect all aspects of the intimate life of a narcissist without repercussions, providing the discourse is not "emotionally tinted". ..."
lettingfreedomring.com
Barack Obama appears to be a narcissist . Granted, only a qualified mental health diagnostician (which I am not) can determine whether someone suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and this, following lengthy tests and personal interviews. But, in the absence of access to Barack Obama, one has to rely on his overt performance and on testimonies by his closest, nearest and dearest.

Narcissistic leaders are nefarious and their effects pernicious. They are subtle, refined, socially-adept, manipulative, possessed of thespian skills, and convincing. Both types equally lack empathy and are ruthless and relentless or driven.

Perhaps it is time to require each candidate to high office in the USA to submit to a rigorous physical and mental checkup with the results made public.

I. Upbringing and Childhood

Obama's early life was decidedly chaotic and replete with traumatic and mentally bruising dislocations. Mixed-race marriages were even less common then. His parents went through a divorce when he was an infant (two years old). Obama saw his father only once again, before he died in a car accident. Then, his mother re-married and Obama had to relocate to Indonesia : a foreign land with a radically foreign culture, to be raised by a step-father. At the age of ten, he was whisked off to live with his maternal (white) grandparents. He saw his mother only intermittently in the following few years and then she vanished from his life in 1979. She died of cancer in 1995.

Pathological narcissism is a reaction to prolonged abuse and trauma in early childhood or early adolescence. The source of the abuse or trauma is immaterial: the perpetrators could be dysfunctional or absent parents, teachers, other adults, or peers.

II. Behavior Patterns

The narcissist:

Narcissism is a defense mechanism whose role is to deflect hurt and trauma from the victim's "True Self" into a " False Self " which is omnipotent, invulnerable, and omniscient. This False Self is then used by the narcissist to garner narcissistic supply from his human environment. Narcissistic supply is any form of attention, both positive and negative and it is instrumental in the regulation of the narcissist's labile sense of self-worth.

Perhaps the most immediately evident trait of patients with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is their vulnerability to criticism and disagreement. Subject to negative input, real or imagined, even to a mild rebuke, a constructive suggestion, or an offer to help, they feel injured, humiliated and empty and they react with disdain (devaluation), rage, and defiance.

From my book "Malignant Self Love – Narcissism Revisited":

"To avoid such intolerable pain, some patients with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) socially withdraw and feign false modesty and humility to mask their underlying grandiosity . Dysthymic and depressive disorders are common reactions to isolation and feelings of shame and inadequacy."

Due to their lack of empathy, disregard for others, exploitativeness, sense of entitlement, and constant need for attention (narcissistic supply), narcissists are rarely able to maintain functional and healthy interpersonal relationships.

Many narcissists are over-achievers and ambitious. Some of them are even talented and skilled. But they are incapable of team work because they cannot tolerate setbacks. They are easily frustrated and demoralized and are unable to cope with disagreement and criticism. Though some narcissists have meteoric and inspiring careers, in the long-run, all of them find it difficult to maintain long-term professional achievements and the respect and appreciation of their peers. The narcissist's fantastic grandiosity, frequently coupled with a hypomanic mood, is typically incommensurate with his or her real accomplishments (the "grandiosity gap").

An important distinction is between cerebral and somatic narcissists. The cerebrals derive their Narcissistic Supply from their intelligence or academic achievements and the somatics derive their Narcissistic Supply from their physique, exercise, physical or sexual prowess and romantic or physical "conquests".

Another crucial division within the ranks of patients with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is between the classic variety (those who meet five of the nine diagnostic criteria included in the DSM), and the compensatory kind (their narcissism compensates for deep-set feelings of inferiority and lack of self-worth).
Obama displays the following behaviors, which are among the hallmarks of pathological narcissism:

III. Body Language

Many complain of the incredible deceptive powers of the narcissist. They find themselves involved with narcissists (emotionally, in business, or otherwise) before they have a chance to discover their true character. Shocked by the later revelation, they mourn their inability to separate from the narcissist and their gullibility.

Narcissists are an elusive breed, hard to spot, harder to pinpoint, impossible to capture. Even an experienced mental health diagnostician with unmitigated access to the record and to the person examined would find it fiendishly difficult to determine with any degree of certainty whether someone suffers from a full fledged Narcissistic Personality Disorder or merely possesses narcissistic traits, a narcissistic style, a personality structure ("character"), or a narcissistic "overlay" superimposed on another mental health problem.

Moreover, it is important to distinguish between traits and behavior patterns that are independent of the patient's cultural-social context (i.e., which are inherent, or idiosyncratic) and reactive patterns, or conformity to cultural and social morals and norms. Reactions to severe life crises or circumstances are also often characterized by transient pathological narcissism, for instance (Ronningstam and Gunderson, 1996). But such reactions do not a narcissist make.

When a person belongs to a society or culture that has often been described as narcissistic by scholars (such as Theodore Millon) and social thinkers (e.g., Christopher Lasch) how much of his behavior can be attributed to his milieu and which of his traits are really his?

The Narcissistic Personality Disorder is rigorously defined in the DSM IV-TR with a set of strict criteria and differential diagnoses.

Narcissism is regarded by many scholars to be an adaptative strategy ("healthy narcissism"). It is considered pathological in the clinical sense only when it becomes a rigid personality structure replete with a series of primitive defence mechanisms (such as splitting, projection, projective identification, or intellectualization) and when it leads to dysfunctions in one or more areas of the patient's life.

Pathological narcissism is the art of deception. The narcissist projects a False Self and manages all his social interactions through this concocted fictional construct.

When the narcissist reveals his true colors, it is usually far too late. His victims are unable to separate from him. They are frustrated by this acquired helplessness and angry at themselves for having they failed to see through the narcissist earlier on.

But the narcissist does emit subtle, almost subliminal, signals ("presenting symptoms") even in a first or casual encounter. Compare the following list to Barack Obama's body language during his public appearances.

These are:

IV. Narcissistic and psychopathic Leaders

The narcissistic or psychopathic leader is the culmination and reification of his period, culture, and civilization. He is likely to rise to prominence in narcissistic societies.

The malignant narcissist invents and then projects a false, fictitious, self for the world to fear, or to admire. He maintains a tenuous grasp on reality to start with and this is further exacerbated by the trappings of power. The narcissist's grandiose self-delusions and fantasies of omnipotence and omniscience are supported by real life authority and the narcissist's predilection to surround himself with obsequious sycophants.

The narcissist's personality is so precariously balanced that he cannot tolerate even a hint of criticism and disagreement. Most narcissists are paranoid and suffer from ideas of reference (the delusion that they are being mocked or discussed when they are not). Thus, narcissists often regard themselves as "victims of persecution".

The narcissistic leader fosters and encourages a personality cult with all the hallmarks of an institutional religion: priesthood, rites, rituals, temples, worship, catechism, mythology. The leader is this religion's ascetic saint. He monastically denies himself earthly pleasures (or so he claims) in order to be able to dedicate himself fully to his calling.

The narcissistic leader is a monstrously inverted Jesus, sacrificing his life and denying himself so that his people – or humanity at large – should benefit. By surpassing and suppressing his humanity, the narcissistic leader became a distorted version of Nietzsche's "superman".

But being a-human or super-human also means being a-sexual and a-moral.

In this restricted sense, narcissistic leaders are post-modernist and moral relativists. They project to the masses an androgynous figure and enhance it by engendering the adoration of nudity and all things "natural" – or by strongly repressing these feelings. But what they refer to as "nature" is not natural at all.

The narcissistic leader invariably proffers an aesthetic of decadence and evil carefully orchestrated and artificial – though it is not perceived this way by him or by his followers. Narcissistic leadership is about reproduced copies, not about originals. It is about the manipulation of symbols – not about veritable atavism or true conservatism.

In short: narcissistic leadership is about theatre, not about life. To enjoy the spectacle (and be subsumed by it), the leader demands the suspension of judgment, depersonalization, and de-realization. Catharsis is tantamount, in this narcissistic dramaturgy, to self-annulment.

Narcissism is nihilistic not only operationally, or ideologically. Its very language and narratives are nihilistic. Narcissism is conspicuous nihilism – and the cult's leader serves as a role model, annihilating the Man, only to re-appear as a pre-ordained and irresistible force of nature.

Narcissistic leadership often poses as a rebellion against the "old ways" – against the hegemonic culture, the upper classes, the established religions, the superpowers, the corrupt order. Narcissistic movements are puerile, a reaction to narcissistic injuries inflicted upon a narcissistic (and rather psychopathic) toddler nation-state, or group, or upon the leader.

Minorities or "others" – often arbitrarily selected – constitute a perfect, easily identifiable, embodiment of all that is "wrong". They are accused of being old, they are eerily disembodied, they are cosmopolitan, they are part of the establishment, they are "decadent", they are hated on religious and socio-economic grounds, or because of their race, sexual orientation, origin … They are different, they are narcissistic (feel and act as morally superior), they are everywhere, they are defenceless, they are credulous, they are adaptable (and thus can be co-opted to collaborate in their own destruction). They are the perfect hate figure. Narcissists thrive on hatred and pathological envy.

This is precisely the source of the fascination with Hitler, diagnosed by Erich Fromm – together with Stalin – as a malignant narcissist. He was an inverted human. His unconscious was his conscious. He acted out our most repressed drives, fantasies, and wishes. He provides us with a glimpse of the horrors that lie beneath the veneer, the barbarians at our personal gates, and what it was like before we invented civilization. Hitler forced us all through a time warp and many did not emerge. He was not the devil. He was one of us. He was what Arendt aptly called the banality of evil. Just an ordinary, mentally disturbed, failure, a member of a mentally disturbed and failing nation, who lived through disturbed and failing times. He was the perfect mirror, a channel, a voice, and the very depth of our souls.

The narcissistic leader prefers the sparkle and glamour of well-orchestrated illusions to the tedium and method of real accomplishments. His reign is all smoke and mirrors, devoid of substances, consisting of mere appearances and mass delusions. In the aftermath of his regime – the narcissistic leader having died, been deposed, or voted out of office – it all unravels. The tireless and constant prestidigitation ceases and the entire edifice crumbles. What looked like an economic miracle turns out to have been a fraud-laced bubble. Loosely-held empires disintegrate. Laboriously assembled business conglomerates go to pieces. "Earth shattering" and "revolutionary" scientific discoveries and theories are discredited. Social experiments end in mayhem.

It is important to understand that the use of violence must be ego-syntonic. It must accord with the self-image of the narcissist. It must abet and sustain his grandiose fantasies and feed his sense of entitlement. It must conform with the narcissistic narrative.

Thus, a narcissist who regards himself as the benefactor of the poor, a member of the common folk, the representative of the disenfranchised, the champion of the dispossessed against the corrupt elite – is highly unlikely to use violence at first.

The pacific mask crumbles when the narcissist has become convinced that the very people he purported to speak for, his constituency, his grassroots fans, the prime sources of his narcissistic supply – have turned against him. At first, in a desperate effort to maintain the fiction underlying his chaotic personality, the narcissist strives to explain away the sudden reversal of sentiment. "The people are being duped by (the media, big industry, the military, the elite, etc.)", "they don't really know what they are doing", "following a rude awakening, they will revert to form", etc.

When these flimsy attempts to patch a tattered personal mythology fail – the narcissist is injured. Narcissistic injury inevitably leads to narcissistic rage and to a terrifying display of unbridled aggression. The pent-up frustration and hurt translate into devaluation. That which was previously idealized – is now discarded with contempt and hatred.

This primitive defense mechanism is called "splitting". To the narcissist, things and people are either entirely bad (evil) or entirely good. He projects onto others his own shortcomings and negative emotions, thus becoming a totally good object. A narcissistic leader is likely to justify the butchering of his own people by claiming that they intended to kill him, undo the revolution, devastate the economy, or the country, etc.

The "small people", the "rank and file", the "loyal soldiers" of the narcissist – his flock, his nation, his employees – they pay the price. The disillusionment and disenchantment are agonizing. The process of reconstruction, of rising from the ashes, of overcoming the trauma of having been deceived, exploited and manipulated – is drawn-out. It is difficult to trust again, to have faith, to love, to be led, to collaborate. Feelings of shame and guilt engulf the erstwhile followers of the narcissist. This is his sole legacy: a massive post-traumatic stress disorder.

DISCLAIMER

I am not a mental health professional. Still, I have dedicated the last 12 years to the study of personality disorders in general and the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) in particular. I have authored nine (9) books about these topics, one of which is a Barnes and Noble best-seller ("Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited"). My work is widely cited in scholarly tomes and publications and in the media. My books and the content of my Web site are based on correspondence since 1996 with hundreds of people suffering from the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (narcissists) and with thousands of their family members, friends, therapists, and colleagues.

[May 18, 2016] 10 Signs That Youre in a Relationship with a Narcissist

Notable quotes:
"... the narcissist is someone who has "buried his true self-expression in response to early injuries and replaced it with a highly developed, compensatory false self." ..."
"... In our highly individualistic and externally driven society, mild to severe forms of narcissism are not only pervasive but often encouraged. ..."
"... It is more accurate to characterize the pathological narcissist as someone who's in love with an idealized self-image , which they project in order to avoid feeling (and being seen as) the real, disenfranchised, wounded self. Deep down, most pathological narcissists feel like the "ugly duckling," even if they painfully don't want to admit it. ..."
"... Some narcissists have an exaggerated sense of self-importance, believing that others cannot live or survive without his or her magnificent contributions. ..."
"... "Some people try to be tall by cutting off the heads of others" - Paramhansa Yogananda ..."
"... Making decisions for others to suit one's own needs. The narcissist may use his or her romantic partner, child, friend, or colleague to meet unreasonable self-serving needs, fulfill unrealized dreams , or cover up self-perceived inadequacies and flaws. ..."
www.psychologytoday.com

Be on the lookout for these, before you get manipulated.

"That's enough of me talking about myself; let's hear you talk about me"

― Anonymous

"It's not easy being superior to everyone I know."

― Anonymous

Psychologist Stephen Johnson writes that the narcissist is someone who has "buried his true self-expression in response to early injuries and replaced it with a highly developed, compensatory false self." This alternate persona to the real self often comes across as grandiose, "above others," self-absorbed, and highly conceited. In our highly individualistic and externally driven society, mild to severe forms of narcissism are not only pervasive but often encouraged.

Narcissism is often interpreted in popular culture as a person who's in love with him or herself. It is more accurate to characterize the pathological narcissist as someone who's in love with an idealized self-image , which they project in order to avoid feeling (and being seen as) the real, disenfranchised, wounded self. Deep down, most pathological narcissists feel like the "ugly duckling," even if they painfully don't want to admit it.

How do you know when you're dealing with a narcissist? The following are some telltale signs, excerpted from my book (click on title): " How to Successfully Handle Narcissists (link is external) ". While most of us are guilty of some of the following behaviors at one time or another, a pathological narcissist tends to dwell habitually in several of the following personas, while remaining largely unaware of (or unconcerned with) how his or her actions affect others.

1. Conversation Hoarder . The narcissist loves to talk about him or herself, and doesn't give you a chance to take part in a two-way conversation. You struggle to have your views and feelings heard. When you do get a word in, if it's not in agreement with the narcissist, your comments are likely to be corrected, dismissed, or ignored. As in: "My father's favorite responses to my views were: 'but…,' 'actually…,' and 'there's more to it than this…' He always has to feel like he knows better." ― Anonymous

2. Conversation Interrupter. While many people have the poor communication habit of interrupting others, the narcissist interrupts and quickly switches the focus back to herself. He shows little genuine interest in you.

3. Rule Breaker. The narcissist enjoys getting away with violating rules and social norms, such as cutting in line, chronic under-tipping, stealing office supplies, breaking multiple appointments, or disobeying traffic laws. As in: "I take pride in persuading people to give me exceptions to their rules" ― Anonymous

4. Boundary Violator. Shows wanton disregard for other people's thoughts, feelings, possessions, and physical space. Oversteps and uses others without consideration or sensitivity. Borrows items or money without returning. Breaks promises and obligations repeatedly. Shows little remorse and blames the victim for one's own lack of respect. As in: "It's your fault that I forgot because you didn't remind me"― Anonymous

5. False Image Projection. Many narcissists like to do things to impress others by making themselves look good externally. This "trophy" complex can exhibit itself physically, romantically, sexually, socially, religiously, financially, materially, professionally, academically, or culturally. In these situations, the narcissist uses people, objects, status, and/or accomplishments to represent the self, substituting for the perceived, inadequate "real" self. These grandstanding "merit badges" are often exaggerated. The underlying message of this type of display is: "I'm better than you!" or "Look at how special I am-I'm worthy of everyone's love, admiration, and acceptance!" as in: "I dyed my hair blond and enlarged my breasts to get men's attention-and to make other women jealous " - Anonymous. Or "My accomplishments are everything" ― Anonymous executive Or "I never want to be looked upon as poor. My fiancé and I each drive a Mercedes. The best man at our upcoming wedding also drives a Mercedes." ― Anonymous.

In a big way, these external symbols become pivotal parts of the narcissist's false identity, replacing the real and injured self.

6. Entitlement. Narcissists often expect preferential treatment from others. They expect others to cater (often instantly) to their needs, without being considerate in return. In their mindset, the world revolves around them.

7. Charmer. Narcissists can be very charismatic and persuasive. When they're interested in you (for their own gratification), they make you feel very special and wanted. However, once they lose interest in you (most likely after they've gotten what they want, or became bored), they may drop you without a second thought. A narcissist can be very engaging and sociable, as long as you're fulfilling what she desires, and giving her all of your attention.

8. Grandiose Personality. Thinking of oneself as a hero or heroine, a prince or princess, or one of a kind special person. Some narcissists have an exaggerated sense of self-importance, believing that others cannot live or survive without his or her magnificent contributions. As in: "I'm looking for a man who will treat my daughter and me like princesses" ― Anonymous singles ad. Or: "Once again I saved the day-without me, they're nothing" ― Anonymous

9. Negative Emotions. Many narcissists enjoy spreading and arousing negative emotions to gain attention, feel powerful, and keep you insecure and off-balance. They are easily upset at any real or perceived slights or inattentiveness. They may throw a tantrum if you disagree with their views, or fail to meet their expectations. They are extremely sensitive to criticism, and typically respond with heated argument (fight) or cold detachment (flight). On the other hand, narcissists are often quick to judge, criticize, ridicule, and blame you. Some narcissists are emotionally abusive. By making you feel inferior, they boost their fragile ego, and feel better about themselves. As in: "Some people try to be tall by cutting off the heads of others" - Paramhansa Yogananda

10. Manipulation: Using Others as an Extension of Self. Making decisions for others to suit one's own needs. The narcissist may use his or her romantic partner, child, friend, or colleague to meet unreasonable self-serving needs, fulfill unrealized dreams , or cover up self-perceived inadequacies and flaws. As in: "If my son doesn't grow up to be a professional baseball player, I'll disown him" ― Anonymous father. Or: "Aren't you beautiful? Aren't you beautiful? You're going to be just as pretty as mommy" ― Anonymous mother

Another way narcissists manipulate is through guilt, such as proclaiming, "I've given you so much, and you're so ungrateful," or, "I'm a victim-you must help me or you're not a good person." They hijack your emotions, and beguile you to make unreasonable sacrifices.

If you find yourself in a relationship with a difficult narcissist, there are many strategies and skills you can utilize to help restore health , balance, and respect. In my book (click on title): " How to Successfully Handle Narcissists (link is external) ," you'll learn how to maintain composure, ways to be proactive instead of reactive, seven powerful strategies to handle narcissists, eight ways to say "no" diplomatically but firmly, keys to negotiate successfully with narcissists, and seven types of power you can utilize to compel cooperation .

For more on dealing with difficult people, see my publications (click on titles):

Follow me on Twitter (link is external) , Facebook (link is external) , and LinkedIn (link is external) !

Preston Ni, M.S.B.A. is available as a presenter, workshop facilitator, and private coach. For more information, write to commsuccess@nipreston.com (link sends e-mail) , or visit www.nipreston.com (link is external) .



Old News ;-)

4 Warning Signs You're Dating a Narcissist World of Psychology

That is what a relationship with a narcissist is like. In the beginning there's flash and excitement. Their presence is magnetic and he or she seems larger than life. They are intelligent, charming, and popular, and when they're the center of attention, some of the spotlight shines on you, too, leaving you glowing with pride, importance, and accomplishment. Yet after a while, you discover that under the surface the relationship is hollow. Soon, the excitement and status wear thin.

This is because a true narcissist lacks inner qualities necessary for a healthy bond: empathic perspective-taking, a moral conscience, stable confidence, and the ability to be intimate and genuine with another human being. Being in a relationship with a narcissist (especially if you don't realize they are one) can leave you feeling worthless, emotionally exhausted, and unfulfilled.

So how can you know if you are in this kind of "hollow chocolate bunny" relationship before it crashes and burns in heartache? Do you have to wait until your relationship sours to find out? Not necessarily. Spotting the signs early means being able to avoid getting entangled in a narcissist's web, and could spare you from doing the challenging, messy work of digging yourself out later.

Here's a few signs to look for in your partner, which may signal that the person you are dating has narcissistic tendencies, and the negative effects those behaviors can have on you:

1. He poses as "The Most Interesting Man in the World."

A narcissist may initially intrigue you with his or her apparent confidence, swagger, or audacity, regaling you with stories about accomplishments, rubbing elbows with influential people, or their innumerable talents and gifts. He or she may seem fun and magnetic, always the center of attention and the life of the party, but this may actually be a facade - a ploy to satisfy the narcissist's pathological need for praise and reassurance. You may come to find out that the stories are exaggerated (or altogether false), their confidence is artificial and fragile, and his or her need for attention may trump good judgment or others' needs.

2. You feel talked down to.

Because narcissists deeply lack self-esteem, almost everything else in their lives is orchestrated to hide their weaknesses and give them a temporary sense of power and success. This can take the form of subtle insults that cause you to question your worth, such as a dismissive sneer when you make an observation, a condescending "that's nice" when you share an accomplishment you're proud of, or demeaning comments about your behavior or appearance.

When you look to a partner who is a narcissist, it can feel like you're looking into a funhouse mirror and getting back a distorted view of yourself. Your flaws seem to be highlighted and your strengths diminished - a careful ruse constructed to ensure the narcissist holds themselves in a more flattering light.

3. She acts like the victim.

Narcissism also is characterized by extreme self-centeredness. Anything that is outside the narcissist's experience or that contradicts his or her beliefs is wrong, foolish, or crazy. For this reason, a conflict with a narcissist is almost certain to end with all the blame being directed to you. This, combined with the funhouse mirror effect, can make even minor arguments emotionally exhausting.

Nothing you say can convince the narcissist that you're not making intentional and irrational attacks against him or her. In the narcissist's eyes, you're somehow responsible for their sadness, anger, or even immoral behavior.

4. Your relationship feels one-sided and shallow.

When it's time to move from casual to committed, this is where the "hollow chocolate bunny" effect of narcissism really shows through. A relationship with a narcissist is unlikely ever to reach greater depths of sharing, emotion, and intimacy.

A narcissist is likely to spend time with you when it suits his or her emotional, physical, or sexual needs, and dismiss or ignore your needs, desires, and preferences. Your time together is likely to be marked by a lack of genuine interest in anything other than him- or herself. For example, you could get late-night calls when he or she is distraught, excited, or wants something but similar calls from you may not even be answered. Attempts to share your deeper thoughts, beliefs, or feelings may be given lip service, ignored, or dismissed.

If these seem to describe your current relationship, don't panic. In fact, seize the opportunity to reflect and evaluate your twosome. These red flags may help shed light on the dysfunction you're bearing and guide you away from further pain. If you want to make things work, there are ways to cope with dating or living with a narcissist, including developing conflict-resolution skills and bolstering your own confidence and self-esteem to shield you against narcissistic attacks.

Ultimately, knowledge is power. Being aware of signs of narcissism (and some of the problems that can arise from dating a narcissist) allows you to be prepared and to make informed decisions about the relationship.

8 Undeniable Signs You've Fallen For A Narcissist

The Huffington Post | Brittany Wong | Posted 01.14.2016 | Divorce

Read More: Narcissism, Narcissist, Dating a Narcissist, Relationship With a Narcissist, How to Spot a Narcissist, Relationship Problems, Toxic Personality, Toxic Relationships, Divorce News


It's easy to fall for a narcissist: they're charming, polished and quick to get in your good graces with compliments and constant attention. Once you ...

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10 Signs You're In Love With A Narcopath

YourTango | Posted 12.03.2015 | Divorce

Read More: Narcissist, Sociopath, Narcopath, Yourtango, Signs He's a Narcissist, Signs You're a Narcissist, Narcissist Signs, Dating a Narcissist, Divorce News


What do you get when you cross a sociopath with a narcissist?

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Are You Dating a Narcissist?

Lena Aburdene Derhally | Posted 07.07.2015 | Women

Read More: Narcissism, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Dating a Narcissist, Dating Advice, Relationship Advice, Women News


There are definitely fairy tale stories out there of two people falling madly in love with each other right at the get go and spending their lives happily ever after, but that is generally not the norm. Keep your guard up the more intensely the person is into you and the earlier on it occurs.

Read Whole Story

6 Warning Signs You're Dating a Narcissist

Divorced Moms | Posted 03.19.2015 | Divorce

Read More: Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Divorce a Narcissist, Dating a Narcissist, Nancy Kay, Divorce News


Could you be dating a narcissist and not even know it?

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Can A Narcissist Love Me?

Melissa Schenker | Posted 09.22.2014 | Women

Read More: Dating a Narcissist, Narcissism, Women, Relationships, Men Women Relationships, Love, Women News


A narcissist can seem to love you. A narcissist can make it look like love. A narcissist can say the words of love. A narcissist can think it's love. Unfortunately, when involved with a narcissist, you are enmeshed but not in love. You can be enmeshed and mistake that for love. But enmeshment and love are not the same thing.

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Is There Something Wrong With Me if I've Been Involved with a Narcissist?

Melissa Schenker | Posted 08.13.2014 | Women

Read More: Women's Empowerment, Narcissism, Self-Esteem, Am I Dating a Narcissist, Is My Boyfriend a Narcissist, Dating a Narcissist, Signs of Narcissism, Relationship Advice, Women News


If you are still involved with a narcissist, you may not realize how completely your attention has been diverted from your self and your own life.

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7 Strategies for Dealing With the Narcissist You Love

Dr. Craig Malkin | Posted 06.23.2014 | Healthy Living

Read More: Healthy Relationships, Attachment, Narcissist, Relationships, Dating a Narcissist, Narcissism, Unhealthy Relationships, Insecurity, Narcissists, Emotional Intelligence, Healthy Living News


If you've tried a more loving approach to sharing what hurts in your relationship, and the narcissist in your life still won't soften, you truly have done everything you can.

Read Whole Story

Can Narcissists Change?

Dr. Craig Malkin | Posted 11.10.2013 | Healthy Living

Read More: Narcissism, Healthy Relationships, Narcissists, Unhealthy Relationships, Attachment, Narcissist, Relationships, Dating a Narcissist, Emotional Intelligence, Insecurity, Healthy Living News


As a therapist, I've seen firsthand that changing relational patterns often transforms even the most inflexible "trait" into something softer, gentler -- not a fixed feature, but a protection that eventually yields to touch and intimacy in all the ways one would hope.

Read Whole Story

5 Early Warning Signs You're With A Narcissist

Dr. Craig Malkin | Posted 07.30.2013 | Women

Read More: Attachment, Narcissism, Insecurity, Relationships, Emotional Intelligence, Tina Swithin, Narcissist, Video, Healthy Relationships, Unhealthy Relationships, Dating a Narcissist, Narcissists, Women News


The most glaring problems are easy to spot -- but if you get too hung up on the obvious traits, you can easily miss the subtle (and often more common) features that allow a narcissist to sneak into your life and wreak havoc.

[May 18, 2016] Obamas Malignant Narcissism

www.americanthinker.com
Here's a partial checklist . You decide.

1. "Common to malignant narcissism is narcissistic rage . Narcissistic rage is a reaction to narcissistic injury (when the narcissist feels degraded by another person, typically in the form of criticism )."
2. "When the narcissist's grandiose sense of self-worth is perceived as being attacked by another person, the narcissist's natural reaction is to rage and pull down the self-worth of others (to make the narcissist feel superior to others). It is an attempt by the narcissist to soothe their internal pain and hostility, while at the same time rebuilding their self worth."
3. "Narcissistic rage also occurs when the narcissist perceives that he/she is being prevented from accomplishing their grandiose fantasies."
4. "Because the narcissist derives pleasure from the fulfillment of their grandiose dreams (akin to an addiction), anyone standing between the narcissist and their (wish) fulfillment ... may be subject to narcissistic rage. Narcissistic rage will frequently include yelling and berating of the person that has slighted the narcissist, but if strong enough could provoke more hostile feelings."
5. "Individuals with malignant narcissism will display a two faced personality. Creation of a 'false self' is linked to the narcissist's fear of being inadequate or inferior to others and this mask becomes ingrained into their personality so as to project a sense of superiority to others at all times."
6. "The narcissist gains a sense of esteem from the feedback of other people as it is common for the malignant narcissist to suffer from extremely low levels of self-esteem."
7. "The ... false self of the malignant narcissist is created because the real self doesn't meet his or her own expectations. Instead, the narcissist tends to mimic emotional displays of other people and creates a grandiose self to harbor their internalized fantasies of greatness."
8. "The [false self] is used by the narcissist to present to the outside world what appears to be a normal, functioning human being and to help maintain his or her own fantasies of an idealized self. The narcissist constantly builds upon this false self, creating a fictional character that is used to show off to the world and to help them feed off the emotions of other people."
There's ongoing debate about "malignant narcissism" as a diagnosis, and some people prefer to use the standard DSM-IV version . It doesn't make much difference in this case.

... ... ...

It's possible that Obama may be a "fanatic type" of narcissist. That could mean a world of trouble for the Democrats, for the nation, and given his position in the world, for other countries as well.
Here is Theodore Millon's definition of the fanatic type:
fanatic type - including paranoid features. A severely narcissistically wounded individual, usually with major paranoid tendencies who holds onto an illusion of omnipotence. These people are fighting the reality of their insignificance and lost value and are trying to re-establish their self-esteem through grandiose fantasies and self-reinforcement. When unable to gain recognition of support from others, they take on the role of a heroic or worshipped person with a grandiose mission.

[May 18, 2016] Can Narcissists Change

Notable quotes:
"... Trait labels like narcissist, or the admittedly less stigmatizing ones like extrovert and introvert, merely provide a shorthand description. They're a stand-in for "this person scored high on a trait measure of narcissism or extroversion or introversion." They can never hope to capture the whole person. ..."
"... For more by Dr. Craig Malkin, click here . ..."
"... For more on emotional intelligence, click here . ..."
www.huffingtonpost.com

The author is a Clinical Psychologist, Lecturer Harvard Medical School

At the end of May 2013, I wrote an article titled "5 Early Warning Signs You're With a Narcissist." It sparked a number of rich conversations through comments, emails, Facebook and Twitter . Not surprisingly, the vast majority of reactions came from people who feared they were currently in a relationship with a narcissist. Nevertheless, some of them - often among the most heartfelt and desperate of messages - came from people who'd either been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), or felt convinced they met criteria for the diagnosis. From both sides, the same question surfaced again and again: Is there hope for those with NPD and the people who love them? Is there anything we can do if we see early warning signs or actual diagnostic criteria besides end the relationship? As simple as they might seem on the surface, questions like these resonate with some of the deepest concerns in psychology. Can we change our personalities? More to the point, can people who meet criteria for personality disorders open themselves up to new and better experiences in relationships and in the world? I'm going to go on record as saying, yes, I do believe it's possible for people to change, even if they've been diagnosed with something as deeply entrenched and formidable as a personality disorder.

Trait labels like narcissist, or the admittedly less stigmatizing ones like extrovert and introvert, merely provide a shorthand description. They're a stand-in for "this person scored high on a trait measure of narcissism or extroversion or introversion." They can never hope to capture the whole person. (Bear in mind that even Jung, who introduced the latter concepts, firmly believed we all possess both an introvert and an extrovert side , regardless of how much we tend to one side or the other.) Nevertheless, when they become diagnostic labels, like "narcissist" or "Narcissistic Personality Disorder," these stark descriptions imply something that goes far beyond a tendency or a style - they suggest permanence and a set of stable enduring features. I have more hope than this. I believe that rather than simply being "who we are," our personalities are also patterns of interaction. That is, personality, whether disordered or not , has as much to do with how (and with whom) we interact as it does with our genes and wired-in temperament.

So what pattern does the narcissist follow? Many have suggested that NPD emerges from an environment in which vulnerability comes to feel dangerous, representing, at worst, either a grave defect, or at best, a stubborn barrier to becoming a worthwhile human being - that's simplifying a great deal of research and theory, but it's a workable summary - hence the correlation between NPD and insecure attachment styles , in which fears of depending on anyone at all engender constant attempts to control the relationship or avoid intimacy altogether. If you devote yourself to directing interactions or holding people at arms length, it's a lot harder to become vulnerable (needless to say, the "safety" is largely an illusion). People with NPD have learned to ignore, suppress, deny, project and disavow their vulnerabilities (or at least try) in their attempts to shape and reshape "who they are" in their interactions. Change - allowing the vulnerability back in - means opening up to the very feelings they've learned to avoid at all costs. It's not that people with NPD can't change, it's that it often threatens their sense of personhood to try. And their failed relationships often confirm, in their minds, that narcissism is the safest way to live. Put another way, narcissists can't be narcissistic in a vacuum. They need the right audience in order to feel like a star, for example, so they often cultivate relationships with people who stick around for the show, instead of the person. Over time, as their perfect façade starts to slip, their constant fear that people will find them lacking becomes a horrifying reality. The very people who stuck around for the show lose interest when it ends - which merely convinces the narcissist they need to hide their flaws and put on a better show. Alternatively, even when they fall for someone who could be more than just an adoring fan - someone who offers the hope of a more authentic, enduring love - narcissists still live with the paralyzing fear they'll somehow be deemed unworthy. Their terror is frequently out of awareness, and nearly always managed with bravado and blame, but it's profound and palpable. Sadly, their anger at having their mistakes and missteps exposed ultimately alienates their loved ones, and the demise of yet another relationship prompts them to redouble their efforts to avoid vulnerability - in short, it pushes them towards more narcissism.

The sad irony of the narcissistic condition is that, in an effort to protect themselves, narcissists inevitably invite the very rejection and abandonment they fear in the first place. The key then, to interacting with someone you suspect is narcissistic, is to break the vicious circle - to gently thwart their frantic efforts to control, distance, defend or blame in the relationship by sending the message that you're more than willing to connect with them, but not on these terms - to invite them into a version of intimacy where they can be loved and admired, warts and all - if they only allow the experience to happen. As a therapist, I've seen firsthand that changing relational patterns often transforms even the most inflexible "trait" into something softer, gentler - not a fixed feature, but a protection that eventually yields to touch and intimacy in all the ways one would hope. Narcissism is a way of relating. Not everyone can shift into a more flexible form of intimacy, but some can, and in the next post, I plan to share steps you can take to help you decide whether or not the person you're with is capable of seeing themselves - and you - through a less-constricting lens than the narcissistic worldview. If you like my posts, let me know! Let's connect on facebook and twitter. I frequently respond to comments and questions there. And feel free to check out www.drcraigmalkin.com for more tips and advice, as well as information on my book in progress . For more by Dr. Craig Malkin, click here . For more on emotional intelligence, click here .

[May 18, 2016] 5 Early Warning Signs Youre With a Narcissist

Notable quotes:
"... Feelings are a natural consequence of being human, and we tend to have lots of them in the course of normal interactions. But the very fact of having a feeling in the presence of another person suggests you can be touched emotionally by friends, family, partners, and even the occasional tragedy or failure. Narcissists abhor feeling influenced in any significant way. It challenges their sense of perfect autonomy; to admit to a feeling of any kind suggests they can be affected by someone or something outside of them. So they often change the subject when feelings come up, especially their own, and as quick as they might be to anger, it's often like pulling teeth to get them to admit that they've reached the boiling point - even when they're in the midst of the most terrifying tirade. ..."
"... If you like my posts, let me know! Let's connect on facebook and twitter. I frequently respond to comments and questions there. And feel free to check out www.drcraigmalkin.com for more tips and advice, as well as information on my book in progress . ..."
"... For more by Dr. Craig Malkin, click here . ..."
www.huffingtonpost.com

Dr. Craig Malkin , Author, Clinical Psychologist, Lecturer Harvard Medical School

At the beginning of April this year, I was tapped by the Huffington Post Live team for a discussion on narcissism . I happily agreed to appear, for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that narcissism happens to be one of my favorite subjects. Early in my training, I had the pleasure of working with one of the foremost authorities on narcissism in our field, and in part because of that experience, I went on to work with quite a few clients who'd been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder . That's where I learned that the formal diagnostic label hardly does justice to the richness and complexity of this condition. The most glaring problems are easy to spot - the apparent absence of even a shred of empathy, the grandiose plans and posturing, the rage at being called out on the slightest of imperfections or normal human missteps - but if you get too hung up on the obvious traits, you can easily miss the subtle (and often more common) features that allow a narcissist to sneak into your life and wreak havoc. Just ask Tina Swithin , who went on to write a book about surviving her experience with a man who clearly meets criteria for NPD (and very likely, a few other diagnoses). To her lovestruck eyes, her soon-to-be husband seemed more like a prince charming than the callous, deceitful spendthrift he later proved to be. Looking back, Tina explains, there were signs of trouble from the start, but they were far from obvious at the time. In real life, the most dangerous villains rarely advertise their malevolence. So what are we to do? How do we protect ourselves from narcissists if they're so adept at slipping into our lives unnoticed? I shared some of my answers to that question in our conversation, and I encourage you to watch it. But there were a few I didn't get to, and others I didn't have the chance to describe in depth, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to revisit the topic here. Tread carefully if you catch a glimpse of any of these subtler signs:

1) Projected Feelings of Insecurity: I don't mean that narcissists see insecurity everywhere. I'm talking about a different kind of projection altogether, akin to playing hot potato with a sense of smallness and deficiency. Narcissists say and do things, subtle or obvious, that make you feel less smart, less accomplished, less competent. It's as if they're saying, "I don't want to feel this insecure and small; here, you take the feelings." Picture the boss who questions your methods after their own decision derails an important project, the date who frequently claims not to understand what you've said, even when you've been perfectly clear, or the friend who always damns you with faint praise ("Pretty good job this time!"). Remember the saying: "Don't knock your neighbor's porch light out to make yours shine brighter." Well, the narcissist loves to knock out your lights to seem brighter by comparison.

2) Emotion-phobia: Feelings are a natural consequence of being human, and we tend to have lots of them in the course of normal interactions. But the very fact of having a feeling in the presence of another person suggests you can be touched emotionally by friends, family, partners, and even the occasional tragedy or failure. Narcissists abhor feeling influenced in any significant way. It challenges their sense of perfect autonomy; to admit to a feeling of any kind suggests they can be affected by someone or something outside of them. So they often change the subject when feelings come up, especially their own, and as quick as they might be to anger, it's often like pulling teeth to get them to admit that they've reached the boiling point - even when they're in the midst of the most terrifying tirade.

3) A Fragmented Family Story: Narcissism seems to be born of neglect and abuse, both of which are notorious for creating an insecure attachment style (for more on attachment, see here and here ). But the very fact that narcissists, for all their posturing, are deeply insecure, also gives us an easy way to spot them. Insecurely attached people can't talk coherently about their family and childhood; their early memories are confused, contradictory, and riddled with gaps. Narcissists often give themselves away precisely because their childhood story makes no sense, and the most common myth they carry around is the perfect family story. If your date sings their praises for their exalted family but the reasons for their panegyric seem vague or discursive, look out. The devil is in the details, as they say - and very likely, that's why you're not hearing them.

4) Idol Worship: Another common narcissistic tendency you might be less familiar with is the habit of putting people on pedestals. The logic goes a bit like this: "If I find someone perfect to be close to, maybe some of their perfection will rub off on me, and I'll become perfect by association." The fact that no one can be perfect is usually lost on the idol-worshipping narcissist - at least until they discover, as they inevitably do, that their idol has clay feet. And stand back once that happens. Few experiences can prepare you for the vitriol of a suddenly disappointed narcissist. Look out for any pressure to conform to an image of perfection, no matter how lovely or magical the compulsive flattery might feel.

5) A High Need for Control: For the same reason narcissists often loathe the subject of feelings, they can't stand to be at the mercy of other people's preferences; it reminds them that they aren't invulnerable or completely independent - that, in fact, they might have to ask for what they want - and even worse, people may not feel like meeting the request. Rather than express needs or preferences themselves, they often arrange events (and maneuver people) to orchestrate the outcomes they desire. In the extreme form, this can manifest as abusive, controlling behaviors. (Think of the man who berates his wife when dinner isn't ready as soon as he comes home. He lashes out precisely because at that very moment, he's forced to acknowledge that he depends on his wife, something he'd rather avoid.) But as with most of these red flags, the efforts at control are often far subtler than outright abuse. Be on the look out for anyone who leaves you feeling nervous about approaching certain topics or sharing your own preferences. Narcissists have a way of making choices feel off-limits without expressing any anger at all - a disapproving wince, a last-minute call to preempt the plans, chronic lateness whenever you're in charge of arranging a night together. It's more like a war of attrition on your will than an outright assault on your freedom. None of these signs, in isolation, proves that you're with a narcissist. But if you see a lot of them, it's best to sit up and take notice. They're all way of dodging vulnerability, and that's a narcissist's favorite tactic.

If you like my posts, let me know! Let's connect on facebook and twitter. I frequently respond to comments and questions there. And feel free to check out www.drcraigmalkin.com for more tips and advice, as well as information on my book in progress . For more by Dr. Craig Malkin, click here .

[May 18, 2016] Is Donald Trump Actually a Narcissist Therapists Weigh In!

Notable quotes:
"... As Dr. Robert Klitzman, a professor of psychiatry and the director of the master's of bioethics program at Columbia University, pointed out, the American Psychiatric Association declares it unethical for psychiatrists to comment on an individual's mental state without examining him personally and having the patient's consent to make such comments. ..."
"... To degrade people is really part of a cluster-B personality disorder: it's antisocial and shows a lack of remorse for other people. The way to make it O.K. to attack someone verbally, psychologically, or physically is to lower them. That's what he's doing. ..."
"... Narcissists are not necessarily liars, but they are notoriously uncomfortable with the truth. The truth means the potential to feel ashamed. If all they have to show the world as a source of feeling acceptable is their success and performance, be it in business or sports or celebrity, then the risk of people seeing them fail or squander their success is so difficult to their self-esteem that they feel ashamed. We call it the narcissistic injury. They're uncomfortable with their own limitations. It's not that they're cut out to lie, it's just that they can't handle what's real ..."
"... Most narcissists don't seek treatment unless there's someone threatening to take something away from them. There'd have to be some kind of meaningful consequence for him to come in. ..."
"... They're aware; the problem is, they don't care. They know how you'd like them to act; the problem is, they've got a different set of rules. The kind of approach that can have some impact is confrontational. It confronts distorted thinking and behavior patterns in the here-and-now moment when the narcissists are doing their thing in the session. It's confronted on the spot; you invite them to do something different, then you reinforce them for doing so. ..."
www.vanityfair.com

Vanity Fair

As his presidential campaign trundles forward, millions of sane Americans are wondering: What exactly is wrong with this strange individual? Now, we have an answer.

For mental-health professionals, Donald Trump is at once easily diagnosed but slightly confounding. "Remarkably narcissistic," said developmental psychologist Howard Gardner, a professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education. "Textbook narcissistic personality disorder," echoed clinical psychologist Ben Michaelis. "He's so classic that I'm archiving video clips of him to use in workshops because there's no better example of his characteristics," said clinical psychologist George Simon, who conducts lectures and seminars on manipulative behavior. "Otherwise, I would have had to hire actors and write vignettes. He's like a dream come true."

That mental-health professionals are even willing to talk about Trump in the first place may attest to their deep concern about a Trump presidency. As Dr. Robert Klitzman, a professor of psychiatry and the director of the master's of bioethics program at Columbia University, pointed out, the American Psychiatric Association declares it unethical for psychiatrists to comment on an individual's mental state without examining him personally and having the patient's consent to make such comments. This so-called Goldwater rule arose after the publication of a 1964 Fact magazine article in which psychiatrists were polled about Senator Barry Goldwater's fitness to be president. Senator Goldwater brought a $2 million suit against the magazine and its publisher; the Supreme Court awarded him $1 in compensatory damages and $75,000 in punitive damages.

But you don't need to have met Donald Trump to feel like you know him; even the smallest exposure can make you feel like you've just crossed a large body of water in a small boat with him. Indeed, though narcissistic personality disorder was removed from the most recent issue of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, for somewhat arcane reasons, the traits that have defined the disorder in the past-grandiosity; an expectation that others will recognize one's superiority; a lack of empathy-are writ large in Mr. Trump's behavior.

"He's very easy to diagnose," said psychotherapist Charlotte Prozan. "In the first debate, he talked over people and was domineering. He'll do anything to demean others, like tell Carly Fiorina he doesn't like her looks. 'You're fired!' would certainly come under lack of empathy. And he wants to deport immigrants, but [two of] his wives have been immigrants." Michaelis took a slightly different twist on Trump's desire to deport immigrants: "This man is known for his golf courses, but, with due respect, who does he think works on these golf courses?"

Mr. Trump's bullying nature-taunting Senator John McCain for being captured in Vietnam, or saying Jeb Bush has "low energy"-is in keeping with the narcissistic profile. "In the field we use clusters of personality disorders," Michaelis said. "Narcissism is in cluster B, which means it has similarities with histrionic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and antisocial personality disorder. There are similarities between them. Regardless of how you feel about John McCain, the man served-and suffered. Narcissism is an extreme defense against one's own feelings of worthlessness. To degrade people is really part of a cluster-B personality disorder: it's antisocial and shows a lack of remorse for other people. The way to make it O.K. to attack someone verbally, psychologically, or physically is to lower them. That's what he's doing."

What of Trump's tendency to position himself as a possible savior to the economy despite the fact that four of his companies have declared bankruptcy? "It's mind-boggling to me that that's not the story," said Michaelis. "This man has been given more than anyone could ever hope for," he added, referring to the fact that Trump is not wholly self-made, "yet he's failed miserably time and time again." Licensed clinical social worker Wendy Terrie Behary, the author of Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed, said,

"Narcissists are not necessarily liars, but they are notoriously uncomfortable with the truth. The truth means the potential to feel ashamed. If all they have to show the world as a source of feeling acceptable is their success and performance, be it in business or sports or celebrity, then the risk of people seeing them fail or squander their success is so difficult to their self-esteem that they feel ashamed. We call it the narcissistic injury. They're uncomfortable with their own limitations. It's not that they're cut out to lie, it's just that they can't handle what's real."

Indeed, the need to protect or exalt the self is at odds with the job requirements of a president. Michaelis said, "He's applying for the greatest job in the land, the greatest task of which is to serve, but there's nothing about the man that is service-oriented. He's only serving himself." As Prozan sees it, "He keeps saying he could negotiate with Putin because he's good at deals. But diplomacy involves a back and forth between equals." Dr. Klitzman added, "I have never met Donald Trump and so cannot comment on his psychological state. However, I think that, in general, many candidates who run for president are driven in large part by ego. I hope that does not preclude their motivation to govern with the best interests of the public as a whole in mind. Yet for some candidates, that may, alas, be a threat."

Asked what, if Mr. Trump were their patient, they would "work on" with him, several of the therapists laughed. "I'd be shocked if he walked in my door," said Behary. "Most narcissists don't seek treatment unless there's someone threatening to take something away from them. There'd have to be some kind of meaningful consequence for him to come in." Simon concurred but added, "There is help available, but it doesn't look like the help people are used to. It's not insight-oriented psychotherapy, because narcissists already have insight. They're aware; the problem is, they don't care. They know how you'd like them to act; the problem is, they've got a different set of rules. The kind of approach that can have some impact is confrontational. It confronts distorted thinking and behavior patterns in the here-and-now moment when the narcissists are doing their thing in the session. It's confronted on the spot; you invite them to do something different, then you reinforce them for doing so."

But for at least one mental-health professional, the Trump enigma, or should we say non-enigma, is larger than the bluster of the man whose own Web site calls him "the very definition of the American success story, continually setting the standards of excellence"-to this mind-set, Trump may be a kind of bellwether. Mr. Gardner said, "For me, the compelling question is the psychological state of his supporters. They are unable or unwilling to make a connection between the challenges faced by any president and the knowledge and behavior of Donald Trump. In a democracy, that is disastrous."

[May 17, 2016] 6 Warning Signs Youre Dating a Narcissist

Notable quotes:
"... By Nancy Kay from DivorcedMoms.com ..."
Jan 17, 2015 | www.huffingtonpost.com

By Nancy Kay from DivorcedMoms.com Could you be dating a narcissist and not even know it? After starting to date again after divorce , I often found myself drawn toward highly successful professional men who are competitive in business and strongly determined to continue to build their own financial empire. Their determined, confident attitudes and visible business successes appealed to my strong desires for security and stability. A recent first date I went on was with this type of guy. My date with a dentist turned into a three-hour marathon of misery for me when he insisted that we sit in a back booth that he had reserved in advance with the hostess by visiting the restaurant the night before and then he told our server that he would leave an extra generous tip if she served our meals at a very leisurely pace. Right away he launched into a one-sided brag fest about how he got elected president of his college fraternity and why he easily scored highest in his graduating class on the dental board exam. He then dropped names of all the famous people he knows who live in our city and then went on to reveal the names of all the famous people his dad knows too. By the time the pasta finally arrived, I wanted to collapse into my plate from sheer boredom and exhaustion. After that mind-numbing experience, I ran to my car and swore off dating for several months. Unfortunately this was just one more very disillusioning date with a narcissistic man . I had already experienced many others. Several times I dated a man exclusively for three to six months, expecting things to become more serious over time, only to have them abruptly break things off with very little explanation or distance themselves with vague excuses about why they couldn't continue to spend time with me. After spending many frustrating weeks trying to figure out how to get each of these men I had dated exclusively to connect with me on an emotional level so that our relationship could continue to grow, I finally discovered that there was a big disconnect between the type of relationship I was expecting to unfold and what these narcissistic men were able to contribute in terms of intimacy, emotional connection and respectful two-way communications. I discovered that I was living on crumbs and pretending it was a whole nutritious meal. Are you dating a narcissist? Here are six warning signs: 1. He is pre-occupied with how things around him appear and how he is perceived by others. He aggressively pursues financial success and is not content with what he already has acquired or achieved. He has a strong craving for admiration, praise and his home, car, clothes and high status are a direct measurement of how successful he appears to others. 2. He exploits or takes advantage of others to get what he wants. Narcissists are highly skilled at using others' talents; taking advantage of their desire to avoid conflicts and their good natured helpfulness as a means to an end to achieve their own goals. 3. He does not appreciate or even see your unique abilities and natural gifts. Highly self-absorbed, narcissists are so driven by how they can use others to benefit themselves that your own individual strengths, abilities and achievements are often ignored or dismissed as inconsequential. 4. He resents authority and despises correction or being told what to do. He is reluctant to accept any blame or criticism and strongly prefers to be in control of things and those around him at all times. Having his faults pointed out to him or even having to admit that he made a mistake can set him off into a fit of rage. 5. Petty arguments often erupt into power struggles. The narcissistic man thrives on being right so disputes are rarely resolved. Mediation and counseling rarely helps to improve communications with a narcissist because this type of person sees themselves as under attack and can't stand for their actions to be subject to the opinions of others and held up to the light. 6. He disregards your healthy needs for attention and affection. Since narcissistic men often lack empathy and the self-examination necessary to create an intimate relationship, you'll often find yourself running on empty. Attempts to get more affection from him often leads to him creating a secret life to run to and evading your questions about what is really happening or not happening in your relationship. If you recognize these signs in a man that you are dating, it is helpful to remember that narcissists have very rigid expectations (especially for themselves) and so this type of man rarely changes his ways. Understanding or experiencing intimacy and love within the context of a balanced and healthy relationship is not on the agenda of a narcissist. Unfortunately, many times we keep trying to change a narcissistic man into who we'd like them to become or the reverse - trying to twist ourselves like pretzels into a perfect version of what he wants instead of cutting our losses. Recognizing the traits of a narcissistic man and realizing how deeply rooted they are is critical so that we can begin taking back control of our own life and start to move forward in a healthier direction.

[May 17, 2016] Are You Dating a Narcissist

www.huffingtonpost.com

< Have you ever had a situation that goes something like this?: You meet someone and it feels like the stars align. This person is so into you and lavishes you with attention, romance and gifts. The relationship moves very quickly and it feels like you have met "the one." Months down the road when things have settled in comfortably, things start to change. The person who used to adore and worship you now fluctuates between needing you desperately and devaluing you. Perhaps as time goes on, the person who you thought cared so much becomes more emotionally unavailable, distant and cruel. The "Jekyll" part of the personality starts to overtake the "Hyde." How did this person who used to be so wonderful and made such an effort to be with you all of the sudden turn out to be so opposite than what you thought? This can leave someone confused, hurt, angry and depressed. If this situation sounds similar to something you have experienced, you may be or may have dated someone with narcissistic tendencies. Here are some of the warning signs:

1. They are madly in love with you right off the bat and the relationship moves very quickly: People with narcissistic tendencies use fantasy like projections when picking a mate. Usually it takes a certain amount of time to fall in love with someone. Sure, you can feel chemistry and a connection with someone but to fall in love with who a person truly is (flaws and all) takes some time. A person with narcissistic tendencies loves the intense feelings and the attention. Sadly, their intense interest in you is more so about them and their needs than it is about you.

2. They fluctuate between adoring you and devaluing you: People with narcissistic tendencies are very hot and cold. They can be mean and critical one second and then sweet and loving the next. This becomes very confusing because you are still seeing glimpses of the wonderful person you first fell in love with but you are also getting to see another side that makes you feel bad about yourself.

3. They have little ability to empathize and everything is on their terms: Someone with narcissistic tendencies doesn't really see things from your world or from your point of view. Everything is about them and what they want. They ignore your needs in the relationship and only focus on getting what they want or what works best for them. They will always be their number one priority and everyone else will always come after that.

4. They cheat, lie or manipulate and don't feel remorse: Narcissists don't really empathize so when they do something to hurt you, they don't really feel remorseful. This can actually be the most hurtful part because it may make you feel like they never cared about you at all. Moving on can be very hard because a lot of people feel that they need closure or apologies that they will never get from narcissistic people.

5. When it's all over, it's like you never mattered: A classic case narcissist mostly uses people for their own gain and has very little emotional connection to those that are in their lives. Because of this, they discard people in their lives very easily. I recently watched an episode of the new HBO show Girls and in this particular episode, one of the characters who had broken up with her serious long-term boyfriend 2 weeks prior now finds he already has a new girlfriend. Shocked that he could move on so quickly from something so serious she exclaims. "you're a sociopath!!" and walks away. Even though she was the one who broke up with him, she is shocked that it feels like their relationship meant nothing to him at the end of the day and that she was easily replaceable. People recovering from narcissistic relationships are often in shock that someone who once claimed to love them so much has moved on so quickly and without any sense of remorse.

How to spot a narcissist:

I always tell my clients to take the time to really get to know the people they are dating before getting too emotionally invested or putting all their eggs in one basket. There are definitely fairy tale stories out there of two people falling madly in love with each other right at the get go and spending their lives happily ever after, but that is generally not the norm. Keep your guard up the more intensely the person is into you and the earlier on it occurs. Past relationship patterns are also very important to look at. As mentioned above, people who are narcissistic are intense very quickly and end up leaving a trail of shattered relationships and people who are left to pick up the pieces (and often need quite a bit of therapy after being in the destructive path of a narcissist). If you get an idea of the dating history of someone and it follows a certain pattern, pay attention to that. Yes, people can change, but past relationship patterns can raise a lot of red flags. The reason people have a hard time of extricating themselves from a narcissistic relationship is because it is hard to get past the fact that someone who used to be so wonderful and loving can turn so cold, hateful and lacking in remorse. These people hang on because of the glimpses they get of the good side and hold out the hope that if they were only "good enough" or "better", or unconditionally accepted and loved this person then they could get the nice and kind person back.

It turns into a vicious cycle and the more you get into a relationship, the harder it is to get out of. Being in a relationship with a narcissist will make you feel crazy and most narcissists actually don't actively leave relationships; they wait to be left first. It can be really hard to get out of a relationship like this and if you have never been in one, it's hard to know how. If someone makes you feel worthless or crazy and you know they are not treating you with respect, or empathizing with you, that might be hard to change. Learning to spot negative patterns early and having the strength to know what you deserve in a relationship is one of the best things to do if you find yourself involved with one of these people.

Recovery after a narcissistic relationship:

Recovery after a narcissistic relationship can be very difficult. Many people are driven to therapy because they have been left completely shattered and fragile after a relationship with a narcissist. The most important thing to remember is that it's not about YOU. This has everything to do with the flaws of the narcissist and their inability to make real, meaningful connections with others. What they have done to you is what they have done and will continue to do in all their relationships unless they recognize this within themselves and get help. The problem is, most narcissistic people never recognize that they need to change. Remember that you deserve a relationship that builds you up, that makes you feel safe, and that brings you happiness and warmth. A person who is narcissistic cannot give this to you, simply because they are not capable of it.

**This article originally appeared on Pamela's Punch

[May 17, 2016] 10 Signs Youre In Love With A Narcopath

Notable quotes:
"... "You're the prettiest. The sexiest. The skinniest. The best mom. The funniest." ..."
"... "You have such a sexy voice. Not too high, nor too low; it's just perfect. My friend Courtney's voice is super high-pitched and she has this weird way of talking through her teeth. Annoying." ..."
"... "You have a great body. I guess I'm used to having more to hug with my ex!" ..."
www.huffingtonpost.com
What do you get when you cross a sociopath with a narcissist? The least funny joke and the worst kind of hybrid: a narcissistic sociopath, narcopath for short. Both a narcissist and sociopath have an inflated sense of how important they are, as well as a constant need for praise and admiration. One commonality between the two is their ability to fool others in order to get what they want, without remorse. But what sets them apart is that a narcopath is unable to handle criticism or be viewed in a negative light, whereas a sociopath couldn't care less who thinks what or how they're perceived. When you hear the word narcopath you may picture a deranged, knife-wielding lunatic - at least that's what I pictured before I met my own. Unfortunately, this couldn't be further from the truth. Narcopaths are boogie men in disguise and wolves in sheep's clothing. Their abuse is sometimes so subtle that you don't see it until the curtain closes and your world is torn apart. Still unsure if you're in a relationship with a narcopath? Here are ten telltale signs that you might be.

1. Things move from zero to one hundred in seconds.

From the beginning, nothing is normal with a narcopath. Things progress at warp speed, hop-scotching over the usual stages of a relationship. Instead of slowly getting to know one another, you go from the first date to planning your future together within weeks of meeting. And when your gut warns you things are moving too fast, you tell it to shut up because you've finally found your soulmate.

2. They're a broken record of compliments.

A narcopath will sweep you off your feet, place you on a pedestal, then worship you from down below. They'll tell you the things you've always wanted to hear, saying them over and over and over again. But listen closely and you'll notice there's not much variation in these love monologues, and their sweet-nothings sound more like a script than anything from the heart. "You're the prettiest. The sexiest. The skinniest. The best mom. The funniest." If everything feels staged and too good to be true, it probably is.

3. They flatter you with comparisons.

There's no period at the end of a compliment. Instead, a narcopath compliments you by comparing you to someone else in their life. In my case, he'd say things like, "You have such a sexy voice. Not too high, nor too low; it's just perfect. My friend Courtney's voice is super high-pitched and she has this weird way of talking through her teeth. Annoying." Or, "You have a great body. I guess I'm used to having more to hug with my ex!" Praising you by putting down others is a huge red flag, not to mention incredibly distasteful. And while it's no doubt flattering to hear these praises, keep in mind that one day they'll be offering them to someone else and using your name to fill the second blank.

4. Your chemistry between the sheets is off the charts.

You've never felt this much passion with anyone else. Pushing all the right buttons in just the right ways, it's like they're reading your mind and its desires. The reason sex is so mind-blowing, at least in the beginning, isn't because they know what to do with their hands; they know what to do with your mind . They'll make you feel like you're the only one who's ever existed to them. Yes, narcopaths are indeed that great - at acting, that is. By mirroring your every emotion they're able to make their own emotions seem genuine and fool you into thinking yours are real.

5. Their eyes are windows to nothingness.

My Narc-in-a-Box would stare at me with such intensity I'd become nervous, fidget, and quickly turn away. Speaking directly into my eyes with a deadpan and unwavering stare, I don't think he blinked once during our four months together. At times his gaze was so piercing that his pupils practically vanished. But sadly, behind all that intensity lied a vast amount of dark nothingness. I turned away from that stare because it made me feel uneasy in all the wrong ways.

6. They always lead the conversation back to themselves.

On the surface, a narcopath seems hyper-focused on you and genuinely interested in learning all there is to know. Yet the moment you begin divulging this information, they quickly interrupt with a story of their own. It's like a revolving door: They ask you a question to gain the opportunity to talk about themselves. They're quick to interject with their thoughts and opinions, and always have a similar experience to share with you. Experiences that, once dissected, are nothing more than sweetly camouflaged one-uppers and indirect ways to let you know that they know better.

7. They have a checkered relationship history.

I've never met anyone with such an odd and storied relationship history. He traveled to Texas after meeting a girl online, then met his ex-wife online, and later flew in another girl he met online (through a quiz website!) all the way from Europe, before finally meeting me online. Narcopaths often leave long trails of broken relationships behind them, but of course they were never the ones responsible for breaking them. And no matter how long ago it ended, they'll claim all their former flames still burn strongly for them from afar.

8. They use big words that have little substance.

Have you ever read something that initially seems incredibly deep and profound, until you reach the end and realize it's nothing but a nonsensical jumble of fancy words? A narcopath craves superiority and thrives on being smarter than everyone in the room. The only the problem is that often times they're not, forcing them to fake it and pray no one catches on. On the surface, a narcopath seems highly intelligent and cultured, but dig deeper and you'll discover it's nothing but fluff.

9. They give because it makes them look better.

Give and you shall receive. Or, in the narcopath's case, give and tell everyone within a thousand mile radius who you gave to and exactly how much. A narcopath doesn't give because it makes them feel good on the inside; rather, they give because it makes them look good from the outside. No kind deed goes unnoticed, because they'd never allow it. Whether it's helping an old lady cross the street, giving a homeless person a buck, or donating to their children's PTA, they'll make sure someone knows about their generosity.

10. They're no stranger to the silent treatment.

Narcopaths love to dish it out. You may see glimpses of this passive-aggressive form of punishment early on in the relationship, or it might come on suddenly out of left field. Either way, the silent treatment is without a doubt the most vile and abusive trait that narcopaths possess. Like a child, anytime they can't get their way or feel threatened, they stomp away with their arms crossed and punish you with a deafening silence. The harder you reach out, the more you cry, and the angrier you become, the better they feel. It's normal for your partner to get angry, sulk, or brood sometimes. What isn't normal is using silence as a weapon to punish and control you, then sitting back and gaining pleasure from your pain.

This article originally appeared on YourTango .

[May 17, 2016] 7 Strategies for Dealing With the Narcissist You Love

Notable quotes:
"... Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline . ..."
Jun 23, 2014 www.huffingtonpost.com

Late last year, I wrote a piece where I shared a perspective, based on growing research , that narcissism isn't simply a stubborn trait, but a style of coping. The seeds of that idea turned into a book , scheduled for release in spring next year. Since I promised a follow up, I'm taking a brief break from the larger project to deliver on my promise. Here's a glimpse at what's to come. If you think your partner's a narcissist , you might want to try these seven strategies. Check For Abuse : None of what I'm about to suggest is likely to help if the person you love is physically or emotionally abusive. Not all narcissists, even those diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) , resort to abuse. But some do - and if you're on the receiving end, your first step should be to explore what makes it hard for you to leave . If you're facing abuse, it doesn't matter whether it's driven by your partner's narcissism, chronic pain, or drug addiction - the problem is the abuse, plain and simple. And the abuser is 100 percent responsible for his or her choice. Until that changes, you probably won't feel safe enough - nor should you - to take the kinds of risks I'm recommending here. Check for Denial: Most people recognize denial when they see it. It's easily the most famous of all the defense mechanisms. The alcoholic who protests, "I just enjoy the taste of fine wine!"; the terminally ill patient who assures everyone, "It's just a cough"; and the narcissist who, despite having alienated all her friends and lost her job, proclaims, "I'm just fine" - all are exhibiting denial. The more denial a narcissist displays, the less hopeful you should feel about change. How bad is denial? In adolescents , it predicts some of the most ruthless, demanding forms of narcissism - adults who happily admit "I find it easy to manipulate people." Make sure your partner can admit something's wrong, even if it's as simple as saying, "my life isn't where I hoped it would be." Contrary to what you might think, some narcissists do seek therapy . Which kinds? The "vulnerable" ones, riddled with shame and fear; they freely admit they have problems instead of burying them beneath near-delusional denial. In fact, they're also more likely to stick with treatment once they start. Beware the Manipulator : Across studies , narcissists who score high on measures of entitlement and exploitation (or, EE, as researchers call it) have the highest levels of aggression, a strong impulse to cheat, and even, when angered, a penchant for stealing or sabotaging property at work. In fact, EE singlehandedly accounts for most of the worst behaviors a narcissist can display. Manipulative narcissists are also more likely to score higher on measures of Psychopathy and Machiavellianism. The former is a cold callous personality linked to criminal behaviors, while the latter, as you can guess from the name, describes a cutthroat, "do whatever it takes" personality. Along with narcissism, these two traits comprise personality's dark triad . Not all narcissists are cold and manipulative. But the ones who are pose the greatest threat because they're so practiced at play-acting and deceit you'll have a hard time separating fact from fiction. Check Their Willingness to Change: This one might seem obvious, but it's crucial enough that it bears mentioning. The easiest way to test a partner's capacity to change is to seek help from a couples therapist - or any therapist for that matter. Even people who aren't narcissists can be leery of therapy, so this one shouldn't be considered a litmus test. If your partner's willing to work with you, though, your odds at improving the relationship have probably jumped by an order of magnitude. Check Your Anger: "You've always been the paranoid, jealous type," sneers your partner after you openly wonder about the amount of time he's spending with his attractive coworker. Our natural tendency, when faced with such shocking indifference to our fear of losing love or needing more closeness and comfort, is to protect ourselves. For many people, this means donning battle armor and launching an attack. "You're the most selfish person I know! I don't know why I'm with you!" As understandable as the protective measures are, they cut us off from crucial information: Can our partners hear our sadness and fear and feel moved? If there's any way at all to reach through the detachment, it's by sharing our feelings at a more vulnerable level. Try this: "You mean so much to me; I hear you talking to her and I'm scared I'm not enough for you." Or, "Your opinion means the world to me; when I hear you talk to me that way I feel so small and worthless in your eyes." Most partners, if they can feel anything at all, will melt when they hear comments like this. They don't just convey your pain with greater clarity; they remind your partner why the behavior hurts - because it comes from the one person who matters most. How effective is this kind of communication? Across decades of studies, 90 percent of couples who learned to share the sadness and fear beneath the anger, healed their broken bond and enjoyed happy, closer relationships. Likewise, in multiple recent studies , narcissists who focused on caring and closeness ("communal behavior") actually scored lower over time on several measures of narcissism; those who saw their partners as communal (compared to those who didn't) even said they'd be less likely to cheat . Check Your Silence: Say you come home from a hard day at work, and your boyfriend, grumbling about the weekend plans being up in the air, starts lecturing you about how indecisive you are. "You sure take a long time to make decisions, don't you?" Condescending remarks like this don't always enrage us. When our self-esteem is already crumbling, they often shut us down completely; we crawl away, crestfallen, or slip into hours of silence. But we have to find a voice again if we want things to get better. Research suggests that silent withdrawal is just another way of coping with feeling sad or fearful about our connection with people we love; your best bet, as with anger, is to go beneath the impulse to shut down and share the upset. "I'm feeling so put down right now I'm afraid you've stopped caring about me altogether." Why is this so important? Though they appear to be universal ways of coping with fears about the people we love, anger and withdrawal also ramp up our partners' insecurities . The result? Our loved ones fall back on their usual way of protecting themselves - like criticism or indifference - instead of hearing our pain. If they're narcissists, that means they resort to their favorite MO - narcissism. Be Honest with Yourself: If you've tried a more loving approach to sharing what hurts in your relationship, and the narcissist in your life still won't soften, you truly have done everything you can. This might be the only hope for change. Those of you who wrote in to say you already tried this and it didn't work have made a valiant effort; you may have exhausted your supply of empathy from working so hard. If so, my heart goes out to you. But staying in an unhappy relationship comes at a steep price, including your self-esteem. Ask yourself, honestly - are you staying because your partner's doing his best to change - or because it feels too hard to leave? Even if the people we love want to change, none of us should be expected to endure the same hurts over and over. Narcissistic arrogance and hostility elicit our worst behaviors ; they get beneath our skin, working away like a thousand needles. The natural response is to pull away or lash back; but if you do your best to share the pain openly, letting your loved ones see your softer feelings, you're giving them their best - and only shot - at hearing you. If they can't understand your pain then, perhaps they never will. As sad and difficult as it feels, you might need to take care of yourself by leaving. Because regardless of which habit steals their attention away from genuine love and intimacy, if our loved ones can't risk change, their problems are here to stay. Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline . If you like my posts, let me know! Let's connect on facebook and twitter. And be sure to sign up for my newsletter, for more tips and advice, as well as information on my forthcoming book , about understanding and coping with narcissism in all its forms, in our friends, lovers, colleagues-and even ourselves. HARPERWAVE AND HARPER UK, SPRING 2015

Follow Dr. Craig Malkin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/DrCraigMalkin

[May 16, 2016] Stockholm Syndrome The Psychological Mystery of Loving an Abuser, Page 1

Notable quotes:
"... In the final analysis, emotionally bonding with an abuser is actually a strategy for survival for victims of abuse and intimidation. The "Stockholm Syndrome" reaction in hostage and/or abuse situations is so well recognized at this time that police hostage negotiators no longer view it as unusual. ..."
"... Stockholm Syndrome (SS) can also be found in family, romantic, and interpersonal relationships. The abuser may be a husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, father or mother, or any other role in which the abuser is in a position of control or authority. ..."
"... In relationships with abusers, a birthday card, a gift (usually provided after a period of abuse), or a special treat are interpreted as not only positive, but evidence that the abuser is not "all bad" and may at some time correct his/her behavior. Abusers and controllers are often given positive credit for not abusing their partner, when the partner would have normally been subjected to verbal or physical abuse in a certain situation. An aggressive and jealous partner may normally become intimidating or abusive in certain social situations, as when an opposite-sex coworker waves in a crowd. After seeing the wave, the victim expects to be verbally battered and when it doesn't happen, that "small kindness" is interpreted as a positive sign. ..."
"... During the relationship, the abuser/controller may share information about their past - how they were mistreated, abused, neglected, or wronged. ..."
"... Sympathy may develop toward the abuser and we often hear the victim of Stockholm Syndrome defending their abuser with "I know he fractured my jaw and ribs…but he's troubled. He had a rough childhood!" ..."
"... Keep in mind: once you become hardened to the "sad stories", they will simply try another approach. I know of no victim of abuse or crime who has heard their abuser say "I'm beating (robbing, mugging, etc.) you because my Mom hated me!" ..."
"... In abusive and controlling relationships, the victim has the sense they are always "walking on eggshells" - fearful of saying or doing anything that might prompt a violent/intimidating outburst. For their survival, they begin to see the world through the abuser's perspective. They begin to fix things that might prompt an outburst, act in ways they know makes the abuser happy, or avoid aspects of their own life that may prompt a problem. If we only have a dollar in our pocket, then most of our decisions become financial decisions. If our partner is an abuser or controller, then the majority of our decisions are based on our perception of the abuser's potential reaction. We become preoccupied with the needs, desires, and habits of the abuser/controller. ..."
"... Controlling partners have increased the financial obligations/debt in the relationship to the point that neither partner can financially survive on their own. ..."
"... The legal ending of a relationship, especially a marital relationship, often creates significant problems. ..."
"... The Controller often uses extreme threats including threatening to take the children out of state, threatening to quit their job/business rather than pay alimony/support, threatening public exposure of the victim's personal issues, or assuring the victim they will never have a peaceful life due to nonstop harassment. ..."
counsellingresource.com
While the psychological condition in hostage situations became known as "Stockholm Syndrome" due to the publicity, the emotional "bonding" with captors was a familiar story in psychology. It had been recognized many years before and was found in studies of other hostage, prisoner, or abusive situations such as:

In the final analysis, emotionally bonding with an abuser is actually a strategy for survival for victims of abuse and intimidation. The "Stockholm Syndrome" reaction in hostage and/or abuse situations is so well recognized at this time that police hostage negotiators no longer view it as unusual. In fact, it is often encouraged in crime situations as it improves the chances for survival of the hostages. On the down side, it also assures that the hostages experiencing "Stockholm Syndrome" will not be very cooperative during rescue or criminal prosecution. Local law enforcement personnel have long recognized this syndrome with battered women who fail to press charges, bail their battering husband/boyfriend out of jail, and even physically attack police officers when they arrive to rescue them from a violent assault.

Stockholm Syndrome (SS) can also be found in family, romantic, and interpersonal relationships. The abuser may be a husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, father or mother, or any other role in which the abuser is in a position of control or authority.

It's important to understand the components of Stockholm Syndrome as they relate to abusive and controlling relationships. Once the syndrome is understood, it's easier to understand why victims support, love, and even defend their abusers and controllers.

Every syndrome has symptoms or behaviors, and Stockholm Syndrome is no exception. While a clear-cut list has not been established due to varying opinions by researchers and experts, several of these features will be present:

Stockholm Syndrome doesn't occur in every hostage or abusive situation. In another bank robbery involving hostages, after terrorizing patrons and employees for many hours, a police sharpshooter shot and wounded the terrorizing bank robber. After he hit the floor, two women picked him up and physically held him up to the window for another shot. As you can see, the length of time one is exposed to abuse/control and other factors are certainly involved.

It has been found that four situations or conditions are present that serve as a foundation for the development of Stockholm Syndrome. These four situations can be found in hostage, severe abuse, and abusive relationships:

By considering each situation we can understand how Stockholm Syndrome develops in romantic relationships as well as criminal/hostage situations. Looking at each situation:

Perceived Threat to One's Physical/Psychological Survival

The perception of threat can be formed by direct, indirect, or witnessed methods. Criminal or antisocial partners can directly threaten your life or the life of friends and family. Their history of violence leads us to believe that the captor/controller will carry out the threat in a direct manner if we fail to comply with their demands. The abuser assures us that only our cooperation keeps our loved ones safe.

Indirectly, the abuser/controller offers subtle threats that you will never leave them or have another partner, reminding you that people in the past have paid dearly for not following their wishes. Hints are often offered such as "I know people who can make others disappear". Indirect threats also come from the stories told by the abuser or controller - how they obtained revenge on those who have crossed them in the past. These stories of revenge are told to remind the victim that revenge is possible if they leave.

Witnessing violence or aggression is also a perceived threat. Witnessing a violent temper directed at a television set, others on the highway, or a third party clearly sends us the message that we could be the next target for violence. Witnessing the thoughts and attitudes of the abuser/controller is threatening and intimidating, knowing that we will be the target of those thoughts in the future.

The "Small Kindness" Perception

In threatening and survival situations, we look for evidence of hope - a small sign that the situation may improve. When an abuser/controller shows the victim some small kindness, even though it is to the abuser's benefit as well, the victim interprets that small kindness as a positive trait of the captor. In criminal/war hostage situations, letting the victim live is often enough. Small behaviors, such as allowing a bathroom visit or providing food/water, are enough to strengthen the Stockholm Syndrome in criminal hostage events.

In relationships with abusers, a birthday card, a gift (usually provided after a period of abuse), or a special treat are interpreted as not only positive, but evidence that the abuser is not "all bad" and may at some time correct his/her behavior. Abusers and controllers are often given positive credit for not abusing their partner, when the partner would have normally been subjected to verbal or physical abuse in a certain situation. An aggressive and jealous partner may normally become intimidating or abusive in certain social situations, as when an opposite-sex coworker waves in a crowd. After seeing the wave, the victim expects to be verbally battered and when it doesn't happen, that "small kindness" is interpreted as a positive sign.

Similar to the small kindness perception is the perception of a "soft side". During the relationship, the abuser/controller may share information about their past - how they were mistreated, abused, neglected, or wronged. The victim begins to feel the abuser/controller may be capable of fixing their behavior or worse yet, that they (abuser) may also be a "victim". Sympathy may develop toward the abuser and we often hear the victim of Stockholm Syndrome defending their abuser with "I know he fractured my jaw and ribs…but he's troubled. He had a rough childhood!"

Losers and abusers may admit they need psychiatric help or acknowledge they are mentally disturbed; however, it's almost always after they have already abused or intimidated the victim. The admission is a way of denying responsibility for the abuse. In truth, personality disorders and criminals have learned over the years that personal responsibility for their violent/abusive behaviors can be minimized and even denied by blaming their bad upbringing, abuse as a child, and now even video games. One murderer blamed his crime on eating too much junk food - now known as the "Twinkie Defense". While it may be true that the abuser/controller had a difficult upbringing, showing sympathy for his/her history produces no change in their behavior and in fact, prolongs the length of time you will be abused. While "sad stories" are always included in their apologies - after the abusive/controlling event - their behavior never changes! Keep in mind: once you become hardened to the "sad stories", they will simply try another approach. I know of no victim of abuse or crime who has heard their abuser say "I'm beating (robbing, mugging, etc.) you because my Mom hated me!"

Isolation from Perspectives Other than those of the Captor

In abusive and controlling relationships, the victim has the sense they are always "walking on eggshells" - fearful of saying or doing anything that might prompt a violent/intimidating outburst. For their survival, they begin to see the world through the abuser's perspective. They begin to fix things that might prompt an outburst, act in ways they know makes the abuser happy, or avoid aspects of their own life that may prompt a problem. If we only have a dollar in our pocket, then most of our decisions become financial decisions. If our partner is an abuser or controller, then the majority of our decisions are based on our perception of the abuser's potential reaction. We become preoccupied with the needs, desires, and habits of the abuser/controller.

Taking the abuser's perspective as a survival technique can become so intense that the victim actually develops anger toward those trying to help them. The abuser is already angry and resentful toward anyone who would provide the victim support, typically using multiple methods and manipulations to isolate the victim from others. Any contact the victim has with supportive people in the community is met with accusations, threats, and/or violent outbursts. Victims then turn on their family - fearing family contact will cause additional violence and abuse in the home. At this point, victims curse their parents and friends, tell them not to call and to stop interfering, and break off communication with others. Agreeing with the abuser/controller, supportive others are now viewed as "causing trouble" and must be avoided. Many victims threaten their family and friends with restraining orders if they continue to "interfere" or try to help the victim in their situation. On the surface it would appear that they have sided with the abuser/controller. In truth, they are trying to minimize contact with situations that might make them a target of additional verbal abuse or intimidation. If a casual phone call from Mom prompts a two-hour temper outburst with threats and accusations - the victim quickly realizes it's safer if Mom stops calling. If simply telling Mom to stop calling doesn't work, for his or her own safety the victim may accuse Mom of attempting to ruin the relationship and demand that she stop calling.

In severe cases of Stockholm Syndrome in relationships, the victim may have difficulty leaving the abuser and may actually feel the abusive situation is their fault. In law enforcement situations, the victim may actually feel the arrest of their partner for physical abuse or battering is their fault. Some women will allow their children to be removed by child protective agencies rather than give up the relationship with their abuser. As they take the perspective of the abuser, the children are at fault - they complained about the situation, they brought the attention of authorities to the home, and they put the adult relationship at risk. Sadly, the children have now become a danger to the victim's safety. For those with Stockholm Syndrome, allowing the children to be removed from the home decreases their victim stress while providing an emotionally and physically safer environment for the children.

Perceived Inability to Escape

As a hostage in a bank robbery, threatened by criminals with guns, it's easy to understand the perceived inability to escape. In romantic relationships, the belief that one can't escape is also very common. Many abusive/controlling relationships feel like till-death-do-us-part relationships - locked together by mutual financial issues/assets, mutual intimate knowledge, or legal situations. Here are some common situations:

In unhealthy relationships and definitely in Stockholm Syndrome there is a daily preoccupation with "trouble". Trouble is any individual, group, situation, comment, casual glance, or cold meal that may produce a temper tantrum or verbal abuse from the controller or abuser. To survive, "trouble" is to be avoided at all costs. The victim must control situations that produce trouble. That may include avoiding family, friends, co-workers, and anyone who may create "trouble" in the abusive relationship. The victim does not hate family and friends; they are only avoiding "trouble"! The victim also cleans the house, calms the children, scans the mail, avoids certain topics, and anticipates every issue of the controller or abuse in an effort to avoid "trouble". In this situation, children who are noisy become "trouble". Loved ones and friends are sources of "trouble" for the victim who is attempting to avoid verbal or physical aggression.

Stockholm Syndrome in relationships is not uncommon. Law enforcement professionals are painfully aware of the situation - making a domestic dispute one of the high-risk calls during work hours. Called by neighbors during a spousal abuse incident, the abuser is passive upon arrival of the police, only to find the abused spouse upset and threatening the officers if their abusive partner is arrested for domestic violence. In truth, the victim knows the abuser/controller will retaliate against him/her if 1) they encourage an arrest, 2) they offer statements about the abuse/fight that are deemed disloyal by the abuser, 3) they don't bail them out of jail as quickly as possible, and 4) they don't personally apologize for the situation - as though it was their fault.

Stockholm Syndrome produces an unhealthy bond with the controller and abuser. It is the reason many victims continue to support an abuser after the relationship is over. It's also the reason they continue to see "the good side" of an abusive individual and appear sympathetic to someone who has mentally and sometimes physically abused them.

Is There Something Else Involved?

In a short response - Yes! Throughout history, people have found themselves supporting and participating in life situations that range from abusive to bizarre. In talking to these active and willing participants in bad and bizarre situations, it is clear they have developed feelings and attitudes that support their participation. One way these feelings and thoughts are developed is known as "cognitive dissonance". As you can tell, psychologists have large words and phrases for just about everything.

"Cognitive Dissonance" explains how and why people change their ideas and opinions to support situations that do not appear to be healthy, positive, or normal. In the theory, an individual seeks to reduce information or opinions that make him or her uncomfortable. When we have two sets of cognitions (knowledge, opinion, feelings, input from others, etc.) that are the opposite, the situation becomes emotionally uncomfortable. Even though we might find ourselves in a foolish or difficult situation - few want to admit that fact. Instead, we attempt to reduce the dissonance - the fact that our cognitions don't match, agree, or make sense when combined. "Cognitive Dissonance" can be reduced by adding new cognitions - adding new thoughts and attitudes. Some examples:

Leon Festinger first coined the term "Cognitive Dissonance". He had observed a cult (1956) in which members gave up their homes, incomes, and jobs to work for the cult. This cult believed in messages from outer space that predicted the day the world would end by a flood. As cult members and firm believers, they believed they would be saved by flying saucers at the appointed time. As they gathered and waited to be taken by flying saucers at the specified time, the end-of-the-world came and went. No flood and no flying saucer! Rather than believing they were foolish after all that personal and emotional investment - they decided their beliefs had actually saved the world from the flood and they became firmer in their beliefs after the failure of the prophecy. The moral: the more you invest (income, job, home, time, effort, etc.) the stronger your need to justify your position. If we invest $5.00 in a raffle ticket, we justify losing with "I'll get them next time". If you invest everything you have, it requires an almost unreasoning belief and unusual attitude to support and justify that investment.

Studies tell us we are more loyal and committed to something that is difficult, uncomfortable, and even humiliating. The initiation rituals of college fraternities, Marine boot camp, and graduate school all produce loyal and committed individuals. Almost any ordeal creates a bonding experience. Every couple, no matter how mismatched, falls in love in the movies after going through a terrorist takeover, being stalked by a killer, being stranded on an island, or being involved in an alien abduction. Investment and an ordeal are ingredients for a strong bonding - even if the bonding is unhealthy. No one bonds or falls in love by being a member of the Automobile Club or a music CD club. Struggling to survive on a deserted island - you bet!

Abusive relationships produce a great amount on unhealthy investment in both parties. In many cases we tend to remain and support the abusive relationship due to our investment in the relationship. Try telling a new Marine that since he or she has survived boot camp, they should now enroll in the National Guard! Several types of investments keep us in the bad relationship:

Emotional Investment
We've invested so many emotions, cried so much, and worried so much that we feel we must see the relationship through to the finish.
Social Investment
We've got our pride! To avoid social embarrassment and uncomfortable social situations, we remain in the relationship.
Family Investments
If children are present in the relationship, decisions regarding the relationship are clouded by the status and needs of the children.
Financial Investment
In many cases, the controlling and abusive partner has created a complex financial situation. Many victims remain in a bad relationship, waiting for a better financial situation to develop that would make their departure and detachment easier.
Lifestyle Investment
Many controlling/abusive partners use money or a lifestyle as an investment. Victims in this situation may not want to lose their current lifestyle.
Intimacy Investment
We often invest emotional and sexual intimacy. Some victims have experienced a destruction of their emotional and/or sexual self-esteem in the unhealthy relationship. The abusing partner may threaten to spread rumors or tell intimate details or secrets. A type of blackmail using intimacy is often found in these situations.

In many cases, it's not simply our feelings for an individual that keep us in an unhealthy relationship - it's often the amount of investment. Relationships are complex and we often only see the tip of the iceberg in public. For this reason, the most common phrase offered by the victim in defense of their unhealthy relationship is "You just don't understand!"

Combining Two Unhealthy Conditions

The combination of "Stockholm Syndrome" and "cognitive dissonance" produces a victim who firmly believes the relationship is not only acceptable, but also desperately needed for their survival. The victim feels they would mentally collapse if the relationship ended. In long-term relationships, the victims have invested everything and placed "all their eggs in one basket". The relationship now decides their level of self-esteem, self-worth, and emotional health.

For reasons described above, the victim feels family and friends are a threat to the relationship and eventually to their personal health and existence. The more family/friends protest the controlling and abusive nature of the relationship, the more the victim develops cognitive dissonance and becomes defensive. At this point, family and friends become victims of the abusive and controlling individual.

Importantly, both Stockholm Syndrome and cognitive dissonance develop on an involuntary basis. The victim does not purposely invent this attitude. Both develop as an attempt to exist and survive in a threatening and controlling environment and relationship. Despite what we might think, our loved one is not in the unhealthy relationship to irritate us, embarrass us, or drive us to drink. What might have begun as a normal relationship has turned into a controlling and abusive situation. They are trying to survive. Their personality is developing the feelings and thoughts needed to survive the situation and lower their emotional and physical risks. All of us have developed attitudes and feelings that help us accept and survive situations. We have these attitudes/feelings about our jobs, our community, and other aspects of our life. As we have found throughout history, the more dysfunctional the situation, the more dysfunctional our adaptation and thoughts to survive. The victim is engaged in an attempt to survive and make a relationship work. Once they decide it doesn't work and can't be fixed, they will need our support as we patiently await their decision to return to a healthy and positive lifestyle.

Family and Friends of the Victim

When a family is confronted with a loved one involved with a 'Loser' or controlling/abusive individual, the situation becomes emotionally painful and socially difficult for the family. (See " Are You Dating a Loser? Identifying Losers, Controllers and Abusers ".) While each situation is different, some general guidelines to consider are: