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The Rubble Of Neoliberalism

by afew Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 04:29:51 AM EST

At Melanchthon's instigation, I've translated a tribune by French (ex-PS went by EELV now without party label) politician and researcher Pierre Larrouturou. The piece was in Monday's Le Monde. As this is an appeal for support for the Roosevelt 2012 Collective (of which Larrouturou is a founder), I'm hoping there'll be no copyright problems - particularly as I'll offer the translation to the Collective.

"Nous ne voulons pas mourir dans les décombres du néolibéralisme !" "We do not want to die in the rubble of neoliberalism!"
Les systèmes tiennent souvent plus longtemps qu'on ne le pense, mais ils finissent par s'effondrer beaucoup plus vite qu'on ne l'imagine." En quelques mots, l'ancien chef économiste du Fonds monétaire international, Kenneth Rogoff, résume bien la situation de l'économie mondiale. Quant au gouverneur de la Banque d'Angleterre, il affirme que "la prochaine crise risque d'être plus grave que celle de 1930"...Systems often hold on longer than we might think, but they end up collapsing much faster than we imagine." In a few words, the former chief economist of the IMF, Kenneth Rogoff, gives a good summary of the situation of the global economy. As for the Governor of the Bank of England, he says "the next crisis is likely to be worse than 1930" ...
La zone euro ne va pas bien, mais les Etats-Unis et la Chine, souvent présentés comme les deux moteurs de l'économie mondiale, sont en fait deux bombes à retardement : la dette totale des Etats-Unis atteint 358 % du produit intérieur brut (PIB) ; la bulle immobilière chinoise, presque trois fois plus grosse qu'elle ne l'était aux Etats-Unis avant la crise des subprimes, commence à éclater.The euro area is in poor health, but the United States and China, often presented as the twin engines of the global economy, are actually two time bombs: the total debt of the United States has reached 358% of gross domestic product (GDP); the Chinese housing bubble, almost three times larger than it was in the U.S. before the subprime crisis, is beginning to burst.
Vu le contexte international, comment le PS et l'UMP peuvent-ils continuer de tout miser sur le retour de la croissance ? Il n'y a qu'une chance sur mille pour que ce rêve devienne réalité. "Ça va être effroyable, me confiait récemment un responsable socialiste. Il n'y aura aucune marge de manoeuvre. Dès le mois de juin, on va geler des dépenses. Dans quelques mois, le pays sera paralysé par des manifestations monstres et, en 2014, on va se prendre une raclée historique aux élections."Given the international context, how can the (French) PS and the UMP go on gambling on the return of growth? There isn't one chance in a thousand for this dream to become reality. "It will be terrible," a socialist leader confided to me recently. "There will be no leeway. As soon as June, we will freeze spending. In a few months the country will be paralyzed by mass demonstrations and, in 2014, we will take an historic beating in the elections."
L'austérité est-elle la seule solution ? La gauche au pouvoir est-elle condamnée à décevoir ? Non. L'Histoire montre qu'il est possible de s'extraire de la "spirale de la mort" dans laquelle nos pays sont en train de s'enfermer.Is austerity the only solution? Is the left in power condemned to let everyone down? No. History shows it is possible to get out of the "death spiral" which our countries are now shutting themselves into.

Read on...


En 1933, quand Roosevelt arrive au pouvoir, les Etats-Unis comptent 14 millions de chômeurs, la production industrielle a diminué de 45 % en trois ans.In 1933, when Roosevelt came to power, the United States had 14 million unemployed, industrial production had decreased by 45% in three years.
Il agit alors avec une détermination et une rapidité qui raniment la confiance : certaines lois sont présentées, discutés, votées et promulguées dans la même journée. Son objectif n'est pas du tout de "rassurer les marchés financiers", mais de les dompter.He acted with the determination and speed that re-establish confidence: in some cases, laws are proposed, discussed, passed and promulgated all in the same day. His aim is not at all to "reassure financial markets", but to subdue them.
Son but n'est pas de "donner du sens à l'austérité", mais de reconstruire la justice sociale. Les actionnaires sont furieux et s'opposent de toutes leurs forces à la loi qui sépare les banques de dépôt et les banques d'affaires, aux taxes sur les plus hauts revenus ou à la création d'un impôt fédéral sur les bénéfices.His purpose was not to "put some meaning into austerity", but to reconstruct social justice. Shareholders were furious and fought with all their might against the law separating deposit banks and investment banks, against taxes on the highest income levels, or the creation of a federal tax on profits.
Mais Roosevelt tient bon et fait voter quinze réformes fondamentales en trois mois. Les catastrophes annoncées par les financiers ne se sont pas produites. Mieux ! L'économie américaine a très bien vécu avec ces règles pendant un demi-siècle.But Roosevelt held good and had fifteen fundamental reforms passed in three months. The catastrophes predicted by financiers did not happen. Better yet, the U.S. economy went on to live perfectly well with those rules for half a century.
Ce qu'a fait Roosevelt en matière économique n'était sans doute pas suffisant (sans l'économie de guerre, les Etats-Unis allaient retomber en récession), mais les réformes qu'il a imposées en matière bancaire et fiscale ont parfaitement atteint leurs objectifs.What Roosevelt did in economic matters was probably not enough (without the war economy, the U.S. was likely to fall back into recession), but the reforms he imposed on the banking and tax systems fully achieved their objectives.
Jusqu'à l'arrivée de Ronald Reagan en 1981, l'économie américaine a fonctionné sans avoir besoin ni de dette privée ni de dette publique.Until the arrival of Ronald Reagan in 1981, the U.S. economy functioned with no need of either private or public debt.

Alors que, pendant trente ans, des règles fordistes avaient assuré un partage équitable de la valeur ajoutée entre les salariés et les actionnaires, les politiques de dérégulation ont, en trente ans, fait passer la part des salaires de 67% à 57% du PIB des pays de l'Organisation de coopération et de développement économiques (OCDE), ce qui a conduit à augmenter tant la dette publique - car les impôts sur les salaires et la consommation sont la première ressource des Etats - que la dette privée, car les salariés ont dû s'endetter pour maintenir leur niveau de vie.While, for thirty years, Fordist rules had ensured an equitable share of value added between employees and shareholders, deregulation policies have since, in thirty years, reduced the wage share from 67% to 57% of GDP in Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, which has led to an increase both in government debt - because taxes on wages and consumption are the primary resource of states - and private debt, since employees have had to borrow to maintain their standard of living.
C'est à cause du chômage et de la précarité que la part des salaires a tellement baissé dans tous nos pays : le chômage n'est pas seulement une conséquence de la crise que nous vivons depuis cinq ans, il en est une des causes fondamentales. On ne pourra pas sortir de la crise sans s'attaquer radicalement au chômage et à la précarité.It is because of unemployment and job insecurity that the wage share has fallen so much in all our countries: unemployment is not only a consequence of the crisis we have been going through for five years, it is one of the root causes. We will not be able to get out of the crisis without radically attacking unemployment and job insecurity.
N'en déplaise aux néolibéraux, nous ne sommes pas face à une crise de l'Etat-providence, mais bien face à une crise du capitalisme dont l'extrême gravité rend insuffisantes les réponses classiques de l'Etat-providence. La justice sociale n'est pas un luxe auquel il faudrait renoncer à cause de la crise ; reconstruire la justice sociale est le seul moyen de sortir de la crise !Whether the neoliberals like it or not, we are not facing a crisis of the welfare state, but definitely a crisis of capitalism of such extreme gravity that the traditional responses of the welfare state are insufficient. Social justice is not a luxury that should give up because of the crisis; rebuilding social justice is the only way out of the crisis!

Deux stratégies sont possibles pour le prochain président de la République : soit il pense que la crise est bientôt finie et qu'il suffit d'une bonne gestion des finances publiques pour passer les quelques mois difficiles qui nous séparent de l'embellie.Two strategies are possible for the next president of the Republic: either he believes that the crisis is almost over and it only calls for good management of public finances to tide over the few difficult months between now and the upturn.
Soit il pense au contraire qu'il ne reste qu'un temps limité avant un possible effondrement du système économique, et il doit "faire du Roosevelt" : organiser un nouveau Bretton Woods dès le mois de juillet 2012, mettre fin aux privilèges incroyables des banques privées dans le financement de la dette publique, lutter frontalement contre les paradis fiscaux et agir avec force contre le chômage et la précarité en lançant dès le mois de mai des états généraux de l'emploi : trois mois de travail avec l'ensemble des partenaires concernés pour construire un nouveau contrat social, comme l'ont fait en 1982 les Néerlandais avec les accords de Wassenaar.Or, to the contrary, he thinks that there is little time left before a possible collapse of the economic system, and he must "do like Roosevelt": organize a new Bretton Woods in the month of July 2012, put an end to the incredible privilege of private banks in financing the public debt, fight tax havens head-on, and act forcefully against unemployment and job insecurity by launching before May is out the States General of employment: three months of work with all partners concerned to build a new social contract, as the Dutch did in 1982 with the Wassenaar Arrangement.
Quel est le rôle historique de la gauche européenne ? Gérer l'effondrement du modèle néolibéral, quitte à mourir dans les décombres, ou accoucher d'une nouvelle société avant que la crise, comme dans les années 1930, ne débouche sur la barbarie ?What is the historical role of the European left? Deal with the collapse of the neoliberal model, even die in the rubble, or give birth to of a new society before the crisis, as in the 1930s, results in barbarism?
Pour pousser le prochain président à l'audace, nous venons de créer le collectif Roosevelt 2012 : avec Stéphane Hessel, Edgar Morin, Susan George, Michel Rocard, René Passet, Dominique Méda, Lilian Thuram, Robert Castel, Bruno Gaccio, Roland Gori, Gaël Giraud, la Fondation Abbé-Pierre, la Fondation Danielle Mitterrand, la Ligue de l'enseignement, Génération précaire et bien d'autres, notre objectif est simple : provoquer un sursaut !To push the next president to take bold steps, we have created the Roosevelt 2012 collective: with Stéphane Hessel, Edgar Morin, Susan George, Michel Rocard, René Passet, Dominique Méda, Lilian Thuram, Robert Castel, Bruno Gaccio, Roland Gori, Gaël Giraud, the Fondation Abbé Pierre, the Fondation Danielle Mitterrand, the Education League, Precarious Generation and many others, our goal is simple: to spark off a new burst of energy!
Si vous partagez cette envie, rejoignez le collectif en signant son manifeste et les quinze propositions de réformes sur www.roosevelt2012.fr.If you share this wish, join the collective by signing the manifesto and fifteen proposals for reform on www.roosevelt2012.fr.

Display:
The optimistic scenario I hoped for before the first round of the election didn't materialise because the movement was more rightwards than leftwards, reducing the pressure from the left on Hollande (with little likelihood of Martine Aubry as PM now).

But pressure from the left is more than ever necessary.

What are ET's thoughts (channeling Melanchthon here) on this tribune and on Roosevelt 2012?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed May 2nd, 2012 at 09:54:22 AM EST
Suspicions confirmed. Correct analysis. Appropriate prescription. Very glad to see something so trenchant appearing in Le Monde. It is tiring to bang the drum of "Debt-Deflation Death Spiral" in an anechoic chamber. Hopefully there will be wider reverberations from this Le Monde article. Step by step as we teeter on the edge of the abyss.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed May 2nd, 2012 at 10:16:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I will sign the manifest.

I do not know economics. Some time ago, I try to write something about the current situation. But I'm perplexed.

-I started to think about it especially since the article by Gabriel Jackson elpais of September 2, 2011 (A comparison between two depressions).
-I'm trying to understand what Dani Rodrik (The Globalization Paradox. Why Global Markets, States and Democracy Can't Coexist) said. He raises the necessity of a new Bretton Woods.
 -Etc.

by PerCLupi on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 06:25:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can not sign. The manifesto is aimed at the French.
by PerCLupi on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 07:45:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Today El País: Manifiesto para reconstruir Europa desde la base = We are Europe!
Manifesto for re-building Europe from the bottom up

http://manifest-europa.eu/category/allgemein?lang=en

by PerCLupi on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 09:37:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
effort in solidarity.

I might argue with their lack of insight into the reasons for the U.S. economic development during and after WW II - namely our physical isolation and, then, our position as the only intact manufacturing economy post-war. That is, the U.S., however much the political leaders may have consciously manipulated the situation, 'lucked out'.

Point being that we have to move beyond the hyper-exploitation model that has been employed by all concerned for most of modern history. It will be interesting to see how this group positions itself in that regard, as they clarify and focus their policies. Their initial rhetoric gives some hope in that regard.

paul spencer

by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Wed May 2nd, 2012 at 11:34:24 AM EST
There are omissions and at least one clear misrepresentation:
Until the arrival of Ronald Reagan in 1981, the U.S. economy functioned with no need of either private or public debt.

We certainly had significant public debt throughout the period, but, overall, the flaws are insignificant except as points of attack by critics.

I especially agree with this observation:
Social justice is not a luxury that should give up because of the crisis; rebuilding social justice is the only way out of the crisis!

The alternative to rebuilding social justice and the rule of law is a descent into an authoritarian, oligarchic police state, or worse, and such states are never beneficial to the majority of the public - quite the contrary.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed May 2nd, 2012 at 01:32:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is there nostalgia for the days in which, e.g. Latin America was in debt peonage to the USA?
by rootless2 on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 07:28:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not overtly. Perhaps this paragraph --
Until the arrival of Ronald Reagan in 1981, the U.S. economy functioned with no need of either private or public debt.

-- is a poorly phrased attempt to get at the already decade old fact that the USA no longer had a current account surplus, but this is aimed at a domestic French audience and for all but a tiny fraction of that electorate such a consideration would be meaningless. Many perhaps still mourn the loss of the French empire but few would care about the loss, if any, of US hegemony over Latin America.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 08:27:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ARGeezer:
Many perhaps still mourn the loss of the French empire

Certainly none of the named signatories. Edgar Morin, Stéphane Hessel, Michel Rocard, Susan George, among the better-known ones. And likewise, I'm sure all of them applaud the loss of US hegemony over Latin America.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 08:49:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course not. I was referring to 'some' of the French electorate in an attempt to connect the comment to any current reality of which I could conceive.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 01:35:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... Poor Man's Friend



"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Wed May 2nd, 2012 at 11:47:44 AM EST
"While, for thirty years, Fordist rules had ensured an equitable share of value added between employees and shareholders, deregulation policies have since, in thirty years, reduced the wage share from 67% to 57% of GDP"

In the USA in that time, the functioning of the economy depended on huge pools of grossly underpaid labor (black and female workers) plus a massive military buildup. All those Polaris submarine workers got paid very well. In addition, the economy was built on both unsustainable destruction of the environment and the grinding poverty of neo-colonial world.  The idea that "neoliberals" were able by fiat to reduce first world workers wages seems to me to relegate the economic independence struggles of China and Brazil to background - that is to be hampered by the characteristic problem of Western thought, an assumption that the experience of white males in OECD nations is what is important and all else is trivia.

by rootless2 on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 07:36:27 AM EST
Let's see if I get this:

  • the higher share of value added going to wages more than thirty years ago is entirely to be explained by good pay in the defence industry, since huge pools of black and female workers were at the same time grossly underpaid?
  • thirty or so years ago, that changed?
  • more than thirty or so years ago, "the economy was built on ... unsustainable destruction of the environment";
  • thirty or so years ago, that changed?
  • "...and the grinding poverty of neo-colonial world": if that has changed, it is through BRIC development, which explains the fall in the wage share in value added in the first world?
  • that fall only concerns "white males"?
  • the 1980s did not see the introduction, since confirmed, of policies aimed at reduction of government, liberalisation, deregulation, destruction of existing progressive tax systems, called then Reaganomics or Thatchernomics but also described (by their own theoreticians) as neoliberal?
  • wages in value added is not a measure of relative shareout of wealth created by production, between workers and employers, allowing us to see a shift over time in the relative take of the richer members of society compared to the less well-off, and so this is not the point being made by the author?  
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 09:26:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course the high demand for skilled labor in the nuclear weapons industry had an effect on wages in other industries.

And of course the rise of industry and the availability of both skilled labor and infrastructure in BRICS has had a negative effect on wages in OECD.

by rootless2 on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 12:30:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is a policy decision, not a law of nature. Cheaper finished products and dearer raw materials as a result of BRIC entry into the world market could have, and under different industrial and distributional policies would have, resulted in lower (growth of) profits as well as wages.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 01:59:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
they could have, in an alternate universe, but in our world, the rise of the BRICS means that US capital can manufacture in China, for example, at lower wages - which was not an option available in the Glorious 1950s.  The point I'm attempting to make is that the New Deal bargain was not tenable when unionized US labor could be replaced by government subsidized Chinese labor or when US manufacturers had the choice of globalizing production or being crushed.  US Labor accepted a role as junior partner to military/finance in the 1950s  and by the 1970s its bargaining position in that partnership started to collapse.
by rootless2 on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 02:15:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
when US manufacturers had the choice of globalizing production or being crushed.

Here you are buying into neoliberal historical revisionism. Permitting this offshoring was a deliberate political decision which business lobbied extensively for. Different decisions could have been made by business and regulators, under which offshoring manufacturing would not have been favoured.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 02:26:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sigh, different decisions could have been made if the US political/economic structure of 1975 was not what it was. However, it was what it was. For example,the political influence of the FIRE sector had grown steadily over 30 years of the "stable" New Deal era because of gross subsidies to real-estate development and the accumulation of private capital via military enterprise. That increased political influence plus the weakness of the labor movement (at a period of high membership), plus the goals of empire, plus the creation of a right leaning "white collar" workforce,  etc. etc. all contributed to rapid globalization. However, it was not a decision taken in isolation. The industrialization of China, following on successful industrial development programs in Japan, Korea, Taiwan,also made a huge difference to what decisions would be made in US boardrooms.

History is dynamic.

by rootless2 on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 02:45:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I should also point out that this is not the first time in history for a dominant power to make a transition based on the dominance of finance over manufacturing. If you go find your musty copies Wallerstein, you will see something very similar even happened in the Netherlands.

The debate between Harvey and Arrighi is really fascinating in that Arrighi was still attempting to use marxian global analysis and "dialectics" while Harvey has been totally absorbed in a mixture Ricardian economics and sectarian blame manufacturing.

by rootless2 on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 02:51:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By the 1970s US plant were becoming obsolete and/or reaching the end of its life.  The choice was to re-invest in high labor wage rate areas or re-build in a low labor wage rate area.  Under price competition US manufacturers chose to off-shore and were supported in that choice by US manufacturing "policy" (sic).  
Some businesses did lobby for permission, some accepted a fait accompli, some went under, some were bought-up by a conglomerate, some were bought and looted by investment companies, e.g., Bain Capital.

I submit a big direct cause and reason for the high wage rate in the US is the high Cost of Living driven, in large measure, by privileging FIRE businesses over business that create wealth.

And by a debt-based money system.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 02:46:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Certainly the FIRE sector became more powerful, and certainly US imperial interests encouraged a "free trade" regime that damaged US manufacturing, but there were also other dynamics at play. Roger Smith invested enormous sums in US factories in the 1980s! Ridiculously huge sums. They were spent on a failed effort to destroy US unions via robotics.
by rootless2 on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 02:56:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Under better management and after having learned how better to utilize robotics GM's investment in domestic manufacturing became part of what made it worth saving in 2008.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 09:59:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Smith investment, however, was just the start of GM as a debt ridden disaster. There is a really interesting book called "Forces of Production" by David Nobel about the way in which auto company management was unable to deal with robotics because they feared the creation of any more skilled workers.
by rootless2 on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 10:26:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What I find remarkable is how many false concepts of right wing economics have become accepted in "left" polemics. What the fuck does "value add" mean in a system where teachers/nurses wages are low due to gender discrimination? Did those workers not "add value" ? Is it the case that they were lazily sitting around while Madison avenue ad execs were adding value? What about low paid menials and agricultural workers? Do we accept the ancient right wing theory that income equals value? On the other hand, how much value does an engineer in a nuclear missile plant actually add? What about a worker in a GM factory who benefits from the extractive colonial economies imposed in Brazil and Argentina by US backed military governments in the 1960s?

The OECD share models are utter fraud. What US white workers were sharing was the fruits of a world wide empire. The "value" added by a US auto worker should be factored into the value extracted by the US installed colonial governments in Iran, for example.

The "neoliberal" theory of people like David Harvey is built on the intellectual victory of Ricardian economics and denial of any agency to people outside the ruling class of the Western nations.  No wonder it has enshrined Trumanism as a kind of golden age of the working class.

by rootless2 on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 01:45:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A completely beside the point rant.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 01:55:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not when analyzing the US economy circa 1940 to 2004, say.  During those years the US was on a rather nasty "Keynesian-Stimulus-by-Warfare" cycle.  

rootless has, in my opinion, come-up with a rather good political-economics essay question:

What, exactly, IS the "wealth" produced by a nuclear missile factory?  Explicate.  Note: negative number(s) may be necessary for a complete answer.

:-)

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 02:55:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If rootless wants a political-economics essay question, he can write one as a diary. :-)

The tribune above indulges in no nostalgia. It simply points out that Roosevelt had the courage to regulate finance and to transform the tax system in a progressive sense, and that the American economy didn't shrivel up and die as a result. That deregulation over the past thirty or so years has resulted in a considerable increase in the wealth of the richer as compared to the poorer parts of the population (whether one validates the "wage share in value added" metric or not is beside the point, over a time series it can serve). And that Europe, in current circumstances, would be well advised to follow Roosevelt's example.

There's nothing more to it than that.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 03:26:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, I see, history comes down to the courage or lack of courage of Presidents and Kings and so on. Thanks for enlightening me.

See, I had thought that the social changes of the Roosevelt period resulted from the combination of a number of factors including the labor insurrection of the early 1930s. I had, I guess foolishly, thought that such things as the West Coast general strike and the rise of the mine workers union and so on had forced capital to adapt. But now I am enlightened and see it was only due to the courage of Mr. Roosevelt.

by rootless2 on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 03:47:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
just to point out - the consequence of my previous idea of how things happened was that I thought positive change required organization/mobilization/convincing of the working class. But under my new understanding, thanks to your enlightenment, I realize that the most important political action will be to lament the lack of courage of today's political leaders since that lamentation will, no doubt, produce a moral reformation.
by rootless2 on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 03:50:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh my. You're now a flaming red organiser of the working class? Who knew?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 03:53:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Whatever I am, the nostalgia for "courageous" Roosevelt seems to, unaccountably, forget Harry Bridges and John L.Lewis and the millions of people who risked and lost lives in the labor struggles of the 1930s.  Why is that?
by rootless2 on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 04:00:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, for goodness sake. The text up there is a brief tribune, not a fucking thesis. Try using something called good faith instead of scraping around to find any angle, however convoluted, to attack the people you call "the left".
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 04:04:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I believe that nostalgia for an imagined golden age in which Heroic Roosevelts bestrode the world is a poor basis for a political program that will do something more positive than obtain some publications and TV appearances for the authors.
by rootless2 on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 04:30:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is your argument that pamphlets should not use a common understanding of history of another continent - which will not live up to "the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth" - when making rethorical points?

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 07:08:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the rhetorical point made is both a bad one and one founded on a false understanding of history.
by rootless2 on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 08:02:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem in France is the same as that in the USA: a very large portion of the general population supports the right and the far right. Roosevelt benefited from not only huge popular support but a massive insurrection to his left which made his bargaining position stronger. Consider Hollande, who will come to office, i hope, with a split electorate, a large number of whom support the far right.

Look at Roosevelt's electoral map in 1932
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election,_1932

by rootless2 on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 08:08:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So nations get the leaders they deserve, that right?

The French do not deserve to be saved, for they are sinners.

I guess we'll just have to dissolve the people and elect a new one.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 08:37:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What does that have to do with anything? The world has an objective reality that has nothing to do with "deserve"
by rootless2 on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 09:11:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
consider the same Pres. Hollande in two situations
  1. as France exists
  2. in a situation where new militant labor union with massive support is taking over factories and installing worker management

Hollande 1, I assure you, will be "less courageous" than Hollande 2.
by rootless2 on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 09:20:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think this is a relevant point both in itself and in the way you put it. But the people who are behind Roosevelt2012 are precisely attempting to raise the pressure from the left on Hollande, and in two ways, as I see it. One is by giving as high a public profile as possible to alternative policy proposals so they cannot be ignored either by the government or public discourse; the other is to provide discouraged civil society, social and workers' movements with reasons to think that it's worth fighting. Unionists now (and I can think of two I've spoken with recently, from different towns and unions) say that it's hard to mobilise when most workers are pretty depressed by the thought that the bad stuff is going to happen anyway -- it's the triumph of TINA. What they need is some TARA -- there are real alternatives. The growth of a big social movement calls for not just a perceived threat, but also a vision of possible victory.

The founding signatories of the 15 policy points in the manifesto are not fake lefties waiting for their chance to get on TV, as you suggest elsewhere. People like Stéphane Hessel who wrote the essay Indignez vous!, or Susan George of ATTAC, or the sociologist Edgar Morin, are not unaware of the need for a major social movement, it's much more on that side that they have always expended their energy than in party politics.

The split electorate problem bedevils us, but it's to a considerable extent due to the death of the perspectives people might feel the left held out in the pre-Soviet decline 20th century. Large movements of opinion that could change that split need to know that history has not ended leaving only the free-market economy standing.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 09:27:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ok
by rootless2 on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 09:44:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I generally agree, but I do not think this much needed new vision that can animate a revived popular movement can come from looking backward.
by rootless2 on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 09:48:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At least the past history obviates the need to prove the existence theorem for such possibilities. Instead, what is needed is to translate what once worked in a different context into a context appropriate to here and now.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 12:42:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't like the term "neoliberal", the right wingers who dominate EU politics and are so strong in the US are not new in any way - the bitching of feudal lords about peasant uprisings was not all that different from what you can read in the Economist today. The right has used some new marketing methods and takes advantage of changes in social structure since the 1930s - that vast left wing unionized industrial workforce is just a memory and the masses of right leaning white collar workers did not exist back then. If one wants to oppose these people, however, pretending that it is possible for a courageous politician to (a) take power and (b) implement proposals to radically turn the state away from right wing policies by sheer force of character seems to me to be utterly pointless. And it's pointless to pretend 'we are the 99%' when the population is essentially split in half - half on the right and half of those on the far right, half social democrat and half of those conservative social democrats. That's the reality and no amount of wishful thinking will turn it into some cleaned up Hollywood version of Roosevelt Saves the Fucking Day.
by rootless2 on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 02:10:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This group of left-wing intellectuals chose Roosevelt as a symbol of a democratically elected leader standing up to economic interests and changing the rules for the better. There are plenty of courageous people in Europe fighting for change, but there can be little progress if political leaders lack the convictions and the courage to change the rules. This is what this appeal is about. Perhaps you might have something interesting to say about it. Perhaps not.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 04:29:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But it is remarkable that they chose the guy who centralized US finance in Wall Street instead of, say Harry Bridges or Jaures or even Ramsey McDonald. Not remarkable - illustrative.
by rootless2 on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 04:34:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
is Harry Bridges? (Rhetorical question). Jean Jaurès is an inspirational figure, he was not a transformational politician like FDR.

Either you have completely (deliberately?) misunderstood what this manifesto is about, or you are opposed to the idea of economic and social change through representative democracy. I guess the latter.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 02:32:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They should have called their initiative RamseyMcDonald2012.

Ramsay MacDonald - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Labour returned to power - this time as the largest party - in 1929 but was soon overwhelmed by the crisis of the Great Depression, in which the Labour government was split by demands for public spending cuts to preserve the Gold Standard. In 1931, he formed a National Government in which only two of his Labour colleagues agreed to serve and the majority of whose MPs were from the Conservatives. As a result, MacDonald was expelled from the Labour Party, which accused him of "betrayal". The Gold Standard soon had to be abandoned after the Invergordon Mutiny and MacDonald's National Government won a huge "doctor's mandate" at the 1931 General Election, at which the Labour Party was reduced to a rump of around 50 seats in the House of Commons.

Better than Roosevelt, evidently.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 02:46:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm referring to his first fall from power - caused by opposing WWI.
by rootless2 on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 09:12:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I understand that, but it's not widespread common knowledge (and definitely unknown in France).
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 09:28:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He should have got himself shot, then he would have been remembered as a hero like Jaurès, rather than as a sellout.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 11:25:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a New York State Senator from 1910 until April, 1913, when he resigned his seat to take a position as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, where he served until 1920.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 02:00:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Far from opposing entry into WW I, FDR sought but was refused permission to expand and upgrade the navy prior to US entry into the war and helped negotiate the first 'lend lease' agreement with Great Britain providing a means of getting US goods into British hands despite legislation forbidding sale of US goods to belligerents. It was on this trip that he first met Churchill.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 02:06:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For 'sale of goods' read 'sale of arms'.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 02:08:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I know what this manifesto is about: it is about the usual feckless elite politics of the professional class of "left" journalists and academics who see their role to be the treasured advisers of some courageous and appreciative politician.
by rootless2 on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 09:14:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This remark is beneath contempt, and will remain unanswered.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 11:28:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Puh-lease.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 03:55:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's very peculiar that the dominant "left" in the US and Europe thinks "courage" of political leaders is something independent of social struggle. The people have no agency, they must rely on the "courage" or be betrayed by the lack of courage of office holders. How odd.
by rootless2 on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 04:04:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's probably a form of learned helplessness.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 04:10:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One might remark that it is equally remarkable to ascribe a lack of agency to political leaders.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 04:48:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oddly, I do not think elected leaders of 20th century or even 21st century OECD states are able to make significant changes that are opposed by the corporate elite in the absence of public pressure.
by rootless2 on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 05:44:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That might take a courageous leader, even in the presence of public pressure.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 05:46:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
not too much public pressure in evidence.
by rootless2 on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 05:56:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At the very least we should give rootless2 a star for his very long ride on a favorite Marxist hobby horse.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 12:50:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.
by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 12:52:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and i'm not even a marxist!
by rootless2 on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 02:26:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 04:39:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by rootless2 on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 03:36:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, I see, history comes down to the courage or lack of courage of Presidents and Kings...

Neither the authors of the article or any of the commenters other than yourself have said that what Roosevelt did just came down to personal courage. But, had he not had both the openmindedness to see that finance needed to be regulated and the courage to try it would not have happened. He also understood the value of being seen as being forced to do what you want to do anyway.

There is no doubt that the challenges facing Hollande or any other leader wishing to reform the financial system are significantly more challenging today for lack of such forces pressuring a reformer to do what they would themselves like to do, but the point afew made about the necessity for engendering hope and offering vision remain. Yours seems a counsel of despair and that is unhelpful. Perhaps this situation is like the one Lenin described as "The worse the better." One thing we should know and others need to know is that, failing a successful push-back, millions of people will be ground to dust and then the system will implode anyway.  

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 04:45:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And, of course, you have certainly not said that what Roosevelt accomplished all came down to personal courage, so we are unanimous on that beleaguered point.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 04:47:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"It simply points out that Roosevelt had the courage to regulate finance and to transform the tax system in a progressive sense, and that the American economy didn't shrivel up and die as a result."
by rootless2 on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 09:21:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And had he not displayed that courage and accomplished what he did the succeeding forty years would certainly have been the poorer. (Not to diminish the significance of the strength of the labor movement in his time compared to our time.) And he certainly helped his cause by his highly effective use of media - especially radio. That is clearly another difference between the presidential response to depression in the '30s and to the current so called 'Great Recession' - actually another depression.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 10:16:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Huey Long said
"Now in the third year of his [Roosevelt's] administration, we find more of our people unemployed than at any other time. We find our houses empty and our people hungry, many of them half-clothed and many of them not clothed at all. "

He also said that the problem with FDR was that he agreed with whoever spoke to him last.

by rootless2 on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 10:56:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Zinn:

Where organized labor was strong, Roosevelt moved to make some concessions to working people. But: "Where organized labor was weak, Roosevelt was unprepared to withstand the pressures of industrial spokesmen to control the . . . NRA codes." Barton Bernstein (Towards a New Past) confirms this: "Despite the annoyance of some big businessmen with Section 7a, the NRA reaffirmed and consolidated their power. . . ." Bellush sums up his view of the NRA:

   The White House permitted the National Association of Manufacturers, the Chamber of Commerce, and allied business and trade associations to assume overriding authority... . Indeed, private administration became public administration, and private government became public government, insuring the marriage of capitalism with statism.

by rootless2 on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 10:57:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FDR was no socialist, but, with the appointment of Marriner Eccles to the Fed, passage of Glass-Steagall, the creation of the SEC etc. he did put in place a system that worked until it was dismantled.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 01:28:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It was a self-dismantling system. By the time the Kennedy administration banned racial discrimination in federal housing programs, hundreds of billions had been spent of which 2% went to non-whites. And that was the tip of the iceberg. And those New Deal created white suburbanites then became the base of the modern right wing Republican Party. At the same time, the massive concentration of finance on Wall St, partly due directly to New Deal regulations and partly due to the enormous accumulations of wealth from military industries, oil,real-estate, and even direct New Deal contracts ( H Ross Perot became a billionaire by ripping off Social Security and Medicare) increased the power of the FIRE sector. Ta da! It's also worth noting that the proximate cause of the 2007/8 collapse had nothing to do with behavior prohibited under Glass-Steagal.
by rootless2 on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 03:26:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
True, that was behaviour prohibited under the anti-bucket shop laws.

I think that was a Roosevelt too, albeit a different one.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 04:54:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The decision of the regulators to ignore AIG sales of CDS - essentially to operate a bucket shop - is one that shows the danger of GOP governance.  Laws on the books don't matter when not enforced.
by rootless2 on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 06:59:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It wasn't on the books when AIG started bucketeering. The Commodities Futures Modernization Act exempted swaps from bucketeering rules.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 07:11:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104979546


The regulator "did not sufficiently assess the susceptibility of highly illiquid, complex instruments," to ratings downgrades, Scott Polakoff told the banking committee in prepared testimony today. "In hindsight, OTS should have directed the company to stop originating credit-default swap products before December 2005."

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aDm4OdFvcWUw&refer=home
by rootless2 on Sat May 5th, 2012 at 07:26:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Quote mining and Gish Gallop. Tiresome.

Are you seriously going to argue in a sober voice that the Commodities Futures Modernization Act did not matter to AIG's failure?

Would you also have argued that if it had passed in 2001 instead of 2000?

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 03:38:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The law did matter, but the OTC and other regulators still could have taken action.
by rootless2 on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 08:46:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
With Timmy and Rubin running around in the administration?

Keep on dreaming.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 09:27:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
2005 was during the Bush administration.
by rootless2 on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 10:20:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When the Commodities Future Trading Commission tried to kill exotic derivatives in the latter half of the '90s, Rubin, Summers, Greenspan and Geithner told it to shit down and shut up while they legalised bucketeering.

Are you claiming the OTS would have had better luck under a Gore presidency than the CFTC had under the Clinton presidency? If so, on what grounds?

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 10:37:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Absolutely - because those guys were capable of changing their minds when data forced them to.
by rootless2 on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 10:52:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Russian experience with Messrs Summer, Rubin and Geithner argues otherwise. (Leaving Greenspan to one side, as you surely did not mean to include that Randian hack in your statement in the first place.)

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 10:59:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks - I did not mean to include Greenspan.

Even Clinton says derivatives dereg was a mistake.
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2010/04/clinton-rubin-and-summers-gave-me-wrong-advice-on-deriv atives-and-i-was-wrong-to-take-it/

Even Rubin admits he was wrong although in his typically self-serving way
http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2009/12/28/getting-the-economy-back-on-track.html

While some people saw one or more of these factors, virtually no one involved in the financial system--whether institutions, investors, regulators, analysts, or commentators--recognized the breadth of forces at work or the possibility of a megacrisis, and this included the most experienced among us. More personally, I regret that I, too, didn't see the potential for such extreme conditions despite my many years involved in financial matters and my concern for market excesses.
by rootless2 on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 11:30:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps I misremember the American constitution, but I was of the impression that Al Gore would no longer have been president by the time Mr. Rubin allowed data to change his mind...

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 11:36:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
second term would have ended Jan 2009.
by rootless2 on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 11:55:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
correct me if i am wrong, but two issues stand out to differentiate the two eras, roosevelt's and ours.

first is that there wasn't really much middle class back then as there became later, peaking in the 60's.

the very rich had hornswoggled the economy, then as now, and something had to give, roosevelt saw the gap mass state-supported employment could fill, and filled it.

the second is that finance, although relatively opaque even then, has become orders of magnitude opaquer, so the common man is clueless as to the myriad layers of obfuscation hiding the naked facts, to understand their complex causes as the wrecking ball of austerity smashes into his house equity (illusionary, yes, but he counted on it), savings, bond and stock yields, and pension funds.

another difference i believe significant is public federal pension schemes didn't exist back then, the welfare state was still a dream, so the huge social security funds weren't swelling the brokers' accounts to the degree they do today.

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon May 7th, 2012 at 03:53:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But also, and Al Giordano makes this case, the plight of the majority was far starker.
by rootless2 on Tue May 8th, 2012 at 12:29:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yes, and america's riches still mostly untapped, environment as yet largely undegraded, except the dust bowl, and population much smaller. then to work one's way out remained possible, now all that's left is to  sell your way out.

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu May 10th, 2012 at 09:20:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A 2008 diary by NBBooks clearly showed that many times viable, profitable companies were dismembered and offshored because of the short term profit available to financial sector players. This seems more the rule than the exception. Both Democrats and Republicans are complicit. The electorate was sold out after having been lulled to sleep by corporate think tank babble paid for by very conservative corporate interests and disseminated over the mainstream media which was largely owned by those who agreed with those policies. Occasional excellent work got out, as with the series "What Went Wrong" by the Philadelphia Inquirer which NBBooks cites.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 05:06:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There was a very important observation by JK Galbraith about how the success of the New Deal created a large class of "conservative" suburbanites who then moved to dismantle it.
by rootless2 on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 05:47:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Almost all of them suffered the delusion that they, or their children could become multi-millionaires. The reality was that only low single digit numbers have done so. In essence our chance for a descent society was sold for a life-path lottery which probably paid off less well than most state lotteries. Fucking yuppie conservatives mostly deserve any ills that befall them. But those who supported a more just society certainly have not usually received their just desserts.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 07:16:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
'descent society', hmmm.

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 08:40:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When spellcheck fails you...

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 4th, 2012 at 12:47:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Greece at the global forefront - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

We are witnessing a dramatic articulation of the essential contradiction between democracy and capitalism. More than ever, this is the essential political problem of our times. While the nation-state still remains the requisite form of society's self-determination, the pillar of integrity of the nation-form since the advent of modernity - namely, national economy - is now thoroughly dismantled by the dynamics of a globalised economy that could care less about national boundaries, cultural particularities, social histories, or even more, societies themselves as self-recognised collectives of real men and women whose very conditions of life are at stake.

This is not meant to be taken metaphorically. The lives of Greeks are literally perishing in order to satisfy ruthless profit margins of global capital. Suicide rates have tripled in the last year, in a country that statistically held the lowest suicide rate in the world. Suicides have now become a daily occurrence, a bona fide social phenomenon in a society that may be characterised in all kinds of ways, but it could never be known for either its violence or its depressive behaviour. Many more than those who choose to take their lives so as not to saddle their families with insurmountable debt are living in borderline hunger conditions, a level of poverty not seen since the Second World War and its aftermath.

Moreover, these conditions have been created with unprecedented speed - a kind of flash impoverishment on a mass scale, which can only happen when all terms of national economy are annihilated and external financial forces wield direct political power over a national terrain. This is why, though Greece still exists on the map of nations under a sovereign flag, it is effectively a country on hold - or under hold, a country whose sovereignty has been mortgaged.

I would love to hear talos' take on this article.

Now where are we going and what's with the handbasket?

by budr on Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 12:52:56 PM EST


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