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Greider: prevent institutionalization of the corporate state

by whataboutbob Sat Mar 28th, 2009 at 06:49:16 AM EST

H/T to Marco from last night's Salon...

From interview of William Greider on Friday's Bill Moyers Journal (video of the interview also available on this page):

Greider: prevent "institutionalization" of the "corporate state"

BILL MOYERS: A corporate state?

WILLIAM GREIDER: A corporate state. And by that I mean a rather small but very powerful circle of financial institutions the old Wall Street banks, famous names. But also some industrial corporations that bought banks. Or General Electric, which is already half of big financial capital, GE Capital. And that circle will be our new Wall Street club. Too big to fail. Yes, watched closely by the Federal Reserve and others in government, but also protected by them. And that's a really insidious departure. To admit that and put it into law. And then think of all those thousands of smaller banks. How are they going to perform against these behemoths that have an inside track to the government spigot? And for just ordinary enterprise in general? Before you even get to the citizens. How are citizens supposed to feel about that? And I-- my point is, in this situation, with if the leading banks and corporations are sort of at the trough, ahead of everybody else in Washington, they will have the means to monopolize democracy. And I mean that literally. Some of my friends would say, hey, that already happened.

BILL MOYERS: Yeah, the corporate state is here.

WILLIAM GREIDER: The corporate state is here. And I'd say, let's not argue over that. The fact is, if the Congress goes down the road I see them going down, they will institutionalize the corporate state in a way that will be severely damaging to any possibility of restoring democracy. And I want people to grab their pitch forks, yes, and be unruly. Get in the streets. Be as noisy and as nonviolently provocative as you can be. And stop the politicians from going down that road. And let me add a lot of politicians need that to be able to stand up. Our President needs that to be able to stand up.

This is just a shock for me to read this...it scares the shit out of me, actually


Display:
sorry, another America-centric article...but hard to separate stuff sometimes...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sat Mar 28th, 2009 at 07:28:08 AM EST
Well, it ties in nicely with Jerome's current Diary re Finance.

My optimistic view is that the financial dinosaurs are about to become extinct.  Not everyone in the Diary is as optimistic as me... :-)

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat Mar 28th, 2009 at 07:43:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
crush the rest of us as they go down?

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Sat Mar 28th, 2009 at 08:06:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Us furry little mammals are pretty agile I think, but the ones who don't see the dinosaurs falling might have a problem....

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat Mar 28th, 2009 at 08:13:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
to apply for furry mammal membership?  Do you have a training manual for the qualification exam?

(This is just half tongue-in-cheek: As more and more dinosaurs start to fall, and panic starts to sweep the underbrush, I am pretty sure that you will have lots of wannabe-furry mammals pounding on your door.)

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Sat Mar 28th, 2009 at 08:26:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've a feeling that ET might be a furry mammal incubator ;-)

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat Mar 28th, 2009 at 10:00:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And I want people to grab their pitch forks, yes, and be unruly. Get in the streets. Be as noisy and as nonviolently provocative as you can be.

What does Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) say to Danny Glover's character when they were waiting for the ransom phone call for Glover's daughter (couldn't find a youtube clip),

"We're going to get bloody on this one".  

It's the elephant in the room that no-one wants to acknowledge.  We let it go on too long and the bad guys won't let it slip away without major carnage.  The Grover Norquists have just begun.  Suck it up.

I've a feeling that ET might be a furry mammal incubator ;-)

I'm prepping myself in northern CA.  As time progresses we should ... "coordinate".

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Mar 29th, 2009 at 02:21:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that the only answer now is full nationalization of the banking sector.

Anything that's too big to fail is collected into a new Bank of the United States, which is safeguarded until it is out of the danger zone.

And even once the bank is strong enough to stand on its own, things like credit futures, and control of the electronic credit system (debit cars, etc.) should  be permanent.  If the government is expected to pick up the bill when things fall down, why shouldn't it just operate all the time, and covert any profits into government revenue. Not to mention that control over electronic transfers would give tax authories a wealth of information that could be used to prosecute tax cheats.

As for the local branches, why not mutualize them, and limit their scope to a single state?

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sat Mar 28th, 2009 at 11:05:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's a variation on the nationalisation theme.

Open Treasury Branches all over the place and have them issue credits interest-free.

This issue would be managed by service-providers-formerly-known-as-Banks within parameters set by local communities, within area and regional policy frameworks.

Then collect from sellers and buyers generally (who rely on this credit for their working capital) a "guarantee charge" which is pooled, and from which the service provider is paid. Some of this could go into area and regional pools by way of reinsurance.

Long term credit in relation to completed productive assets is another story.....that's where service providers bring together investors with unitised investments.

Interesting historical touch in Alberta.....

ATB Financial - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

ATB was created by the first Social Credit ministry under William Aberhart in 1938, after earlier attempts to place Alberta's banks under the provincial government's control were thwarted by the federal government. The first Alberta Treasury Branch was opened in Rocky Mountain House on September 29 of that year. ATB is the most significant surviving remnant of social credit economic policies in Alberta.


"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat Mar 28th, 2009 at 01:03:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the thing that concerns me is that there are a lot of good ideas being discussed here and elsewhere. Yet, because they do not include survival of the status quo, they simply do not feature in the discussions of Serious People. Obama himself has said he has no time (read contempt) for solutions emerging on blogs (ie Krugman et al), which seems to me that his thinking is being heavily guided by the Establishment voices he carefully selected to surround him.

Back to the status quo ante plus a smidgeon of regulation to gloss over the colossal implosion seems to be the preferred solution. All of the arguments are about how little new regulation they can get away with and still pretend they've innoculated the system against stupidity. There are no new ideas, casino capitalism did not fail, nothing to see here folks, move on, move on.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 10:04:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They do this at their peril. The harder they'll fall...

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 10:18:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
like it or not, american politics have so much effect on us here in yurp, i welcome news from there.

when it comes to journalists on Greider's level, bring 'em on!

i remember discovering him in rolling stone back in the seventies, where his work stuck out like a sore thumb, amid the rocktalk.

brilliant man, brilliant writer, right up there with the best, thanks bob.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Mar 28th, 2009 at 08:04:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - Comments - Greider: prevent institutionalization of the corporate state
And I want people to grab their pitch forks, yes, and be unruly. Get in the streets. Be as noisy and as nonviolently provocative as you can be. And stop the politicians from going down that road.

I am glad that Greider is still optimistic about traditional peaceful forms of protest and manifestation.  I pray he is right.  But since reading this morning's Salon, I am starting to worry he may not be.  Especially when I remember how absolutely irrelevant the huge anti-war demonstrations were right before the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Sat Mar 28th, 2009 at 08:11:38 AM EST
Correctamundo, my dear marco.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Mar 29th, 2009 at 02:57:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
was listening to this exchange:

BILL MOYERS: In this essay last week in "The Washington Post," you describe President Obama as quote "trapped between the governing elites who decide things and the people who are governed." When does he finally have to choose sides?

WILLIAM GREIDER: I think he has to choose as this story keeps unfolding, because I don't think it's going to change dramatically with these new plans announced. In fact, the anger will be stoked.

William Greider - Bill Moyers Journal - PBS

I may be a little hysterical these days, but when I heard that, the paranoid thought that had disappeared since December or so reared its nasty head again in my mind:

If Obama chooses the right side, and tries to truly do right by the "governed", then the "government elites" simply will not let him do it.  They will put him down.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Sat Mar 28th, 2009 at 08:22:03 AM EST
If Obama chooses the right side, and tries to truly do right by the "governed", then the "government elites" simply will not let him do it.  They will put him down.

What's that old saying, "It's a good day to die".

These are absolutely OUTSTANDING TIMES to be alive.  What is there to be paranoid about?  We are in the middle of HISTORY.  What more could you ask for?  Did you sign up for that "long life, grandchildren at your feet, nursing home" gig and found yourself in the middle of ... THIS?  I for one could not have planned a better itinerary on old planet Earth.  On the brink of biosphere collapse, not to mention the potential demise of the dominant species.  Plus, I get to be on the side of the Good Guys!  It's like I signed up for some virtual reality, Total Recall, vacation.  It's got it all.  This is soooo cool!

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Mar 29th, 2009 at 02:40:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good related article by Simon Johnson in the Atlantic:

Simon Johnson, The Quiet Coup

Looking just at the financial crisis (and leaving aside some problems of the larger economy), we face at least two major, interrelated problems. The first is a desperately ill banking sector that threatens to choke off any incipient recovery that the fiscal stimulus might generate. The second is a political balance of power that gives the financial sector a veto over public policy, even as that sector loses popular support.

Big banks, it seems, have only gained political strength since the crisis began. . . .

. . . the power of the oligarchy is just as important as the immediate crisis of lending. And the advice from the IMF on this front would again be simple: break the oligarchy.

by TGeraghty on Sat Mar 28th, 2009 at 11:56:59 PM EST
Hey TGeraghty - good to see you around! (Though it has been me not around...). Hope to see some more of your great posts - you have always provided important perspectives (like this one). I have been hearing a lot about this Simon Johnson - will have to read of his stuff. Thanks!

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sun Mar 29th, 2009 at 05:07:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's been some discussion of Johnson's article here and here.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 29th, 2009 at 05:19:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Simple axiom:  if it's "too big to fail" then it is, de facto, a State enterprise and should be run as such.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...
by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Sun Mar 29th, 2009 at 12:30:31 AM EST
And hello DeAnander too!!

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sun Mar 29th, 2009 at 05:08:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BILL MOYERS: Yeah, the corporate state is here.

WILLIAM GREIDER: The corporate state is here. And I'd say, let's not argue over that.

Well, duh. The Corporate State has been here long enough that the elder Galbraith could write about it in 1967.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 29th, 2009 at 05:10:55 AM EST
Wasn't Fascism all about Corporate States?

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Mar 29th, 2009 at 06:24:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Corporatism" as understood by the fascists was about crony capitalism.

The "Industrial State" of Galbraith is an organizational requirement of industrial production.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 29th, 2009 at 06:26:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
....and which of the two best applies to what is going on right now?

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Mar 29th, 2009 at 06:39:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Still the "Industrial State". Note the emphasis of Geithner's plan on "systemically important" companies.

Actually, the Fascist corporatism has little in common with what's going on in the US now, because the latter is still ideologically married to individualism

Corporatism (Italian: corporativismo) is a political culture in which adherents believe that the basic unit of the society is some corporate group, rather than the individual. Political cultures which hold the individual as the basic unit are called individualistic cultures. The basic unit of the society is what people in the culture consider to be the proper concern of the government.


Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 29th, 2009 at 06:44:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Idly wondered, off and on, if the acceptance of Fascism didn't spring from the experience of World War I along the lines of:

If the power of the state and corporations could be harnessed to do a swell job of blowing shit up what would happen if that power was directed towards building shit up?  And then proceeded to try.

BTW,Racism is not wedded to Fascism.  In France, for example, there were people who were ardent Fascists and actively subverted the Nazi racial actions.  


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Mar 29th, 2009 at 02:51:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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