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Origins of German Neo-Austerianism

by marco Tue May 7th, 2013 at 02:35:59 AM EST

A great piece by Mark Blyth on the roots of the "The Austerity Delusion: Why a Bad Idea Won Over the West" in general zeroes in on a question that I have been asking myself eversince this madness started in 2008:  Why the peculiarly German impetus to austerity?

Yes, I had heard the proverbial explanation based on collective memory of Weimar hyperinflation and the Nazi nightmare that ensued.

But Blyth's account post-war, practical and policy-based, and while nothing new for readers of this forum, is worth quoting for its clarity:

Given Germany's history with inflation and deflation in the 1920s and 1930s, financial stability has always been the watchword of postwar German economics. But what has really distinguished German economic thinking is its dismissal of Keynesianism -- because the theory never made much sense to German policymakers considering the way the German economy actually functions.

front-paged by afew


German economic growth has always been export-led. Berlin's priorities after World War II were thus to invest in rebuilding the country's capital stock (which meant keeping a lid on domestic consumption) and to recover export markets (which meant keeping costs, and thus wages, low). With external demand more important than internal demand, growth was determined by competitiveness and monetary stability, not domestic consumption. All government stimulus programs would do in this system is increase the costs of production and lower export demand.

This is a great economic model for a supply-side, export-led economy with a strong monetary authority and supercompetitive products. The problem is that, like the Highlander, there can be only one. Not every European country can be a Germany and run a surplus; others need to run deficits, just as for someone to save, someone else needs to spend. Unfortunately, Germany was able to design the key institutions of the EU and the eurozone in its own image, creating a strong competition authority and an extremely independent and inflation-obsessed central bank. So in the moment of the Greek crisis, Germany's particular objection to Keynesianism was translated into the prevailing policy stance for an entire regional economy, with disastrous results.

Germany could afford to cut its way to growth, since the sources of its growth lay outside its borders: it is the export champion of the world. But the whole of Europe cannot play that trick, especially as the Asian countries are also running surpluses. As the Financial Times columnist Martin Wolf asked, "Is everybody supposed to run current account surpluses? If so, with whom -- Martians?" The ideas that informed the institutional design of the postwar German economy and the EU may work well for Germany, but they work terribly for the continent as a whole, which cannot run a surplus no matter how hard it tries. Once again, composition matters.

The composition in the last sentence is one of the three conceptual problems that austerity has, described earlier in the essay:

Austerity is a seductive idea because of the simplicity of its core claim -- that you can't cure debt with more debt. This is true as far as it goes, but it does not go far enough. Three less obvious factors undermine the simple argument that countries in the red need to stop spending. The first factor is distributional, since the effects of austerity are felt differently across different levels of society. ...

The second factor is compositional; everybody cannot cut their way to growth at the same time. ...

The third factor is logical; the notion that slashing government spending boosts investor confidence does not stand up to scrutiny. ...

In a retrospective on Austerity 1.0 in the 1920s-30s, Blyth explains how the Japanese were the most austerian of all, which drove military spending so low that an ultra-nationalist coup kicked out the austerian policy-makers, got the economy back on its feet, and then put the country on firm footing for fascist-imperialist expansion:

The Japanese government applied austerity more consistently and with more vigor than it was applied anywhere else. Following a stock market bust in 1920, several rounds of spending cuts exacerbated an ongoing deflation. The largest item on Tokyo's budget was military spending, which was almost halved over the next decade. Japan continued to cut spending in order to get back on the gold standard, which it did in 1930 -- just as the U.S. and European economies went into free fall, killing Japan's exports. Japan's growth rate fell by 9.7 percent in 1930 and by 9.5 percent in 1931, while its interest rates shot up. Despite the collapse, Tokyo accelerated its spending cuts, with the military bearing the brunt. By late 1930, the military had had enough.

Following the October 1930 ratification of the London Naval Treaty, which placed limits on naval buildups, an ultranationalist group in Japan attempted to kill Prime Minister Osachi Hamaguchi (he ultimately died of his wounds). Later, in 1932, former Japanese Finance Minister Junnosuke Inoue, who had been the architect of the austerity policy throughout the 1920s, was assassinated. The finance minister of the new government, Takahashi Korekiyo, abandoned austerity, and the economy quickly began to turn around, growing at an average rate of four percent a year from 1932 to 1936. Proving that no good deed goes unpunished, however, Korekiyo was himself assassinated in 1936, along with several other civilian political figures. By 1936, the civilian government had collapsed, bringing Japan's experiments with both democracy and austerity down with it. Japan's imperial expansion was the result.

And why the USA has to lead the world out of the Austerian winter:

If the United States adopted austerity, the inability of the government to generate Keynesian waste* would undermine the country's ability to grow. Cut away the state, especially at a moment when other countries around the world are busy slashing their way to prosperity, and Americans will end up much worse off than they could ever have imagined. But don't take it on faith. Just ask the Europeans how it has been working out for them.

Unfortunately, Republicans.

Display:
... as the venture capitalist William Janeway explains in his recent book, Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy, what makes what Schumpeter termed "creative destruction" possible is what he calls "Keynesian waste." The U.S. aerospace industry could never have been born without massive government defense spending; recent innovations in biotechnology owe their existence to the National Institutes of Health; even the Internet was a byproduct of government research. The raw material for innovation and growth often comes from government, not private, spending.


Point n'est besoin d'espérer pour entreprendre, ni de réussir pour persévérer. - Charles le Téméraire
by marco on Sat May 4th, 2013 at 12:59:29 AM EST
Good to see you, marco.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 4th, 2013 at 01:48:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The computer industry was funded and then initially propelled due to and from government money.  

Silicon Valley started from and then developed on a tide of government money during the Cold War:

The R&D that went on in MIT's Building 20 was only possible through government money.

(And on and on and on)

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

by ATinNM on Sat May 4th, 2013 at 12:53:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The austerian government in Japan paved the way to the military ultra-nationalist regime, Chancellor Bruning's austerity paved the way for we know who, and now we have Weimar Greece...

Defeating austerity policies is not only a matter of economic sense, it looks more and more like the very survival of what's left of democracy is at stake.

by Bernard on Sat May 4th, 2013 at 06:48:27 AM EST
I don't think that Blyth is unaware of this possibility.

His book Great Transformations gives pride of place to Polanyi.

Now those of us who take the idea of the double movement seriously often seem to be unduly optimistic about the consequences of unleashing it. To state he concept simply, from wiki:

Polanyi turns the tables on the orthodox liberal account of the rise of capitalism by arguing that "laissez-faire was planned", whereas social protectionism was a spontaneous reaction to the social dislocation imposed by an unrestrained free market. He argues that the construction of a `self-regulating' market necessitates the separation of society into economic and political realms. Polanyi does not deny that the self-regulating market has brought "unheard of material wealth", however he suggests that this is too narrow a focus. The market, once it considers land, labor and money as "fictitious commodities" (fictitious because each possesses qualities that are not expressed in the formal rationality of the market) "subordinate[s] the substance of society itself to the laws of the market."[1]

This, he argues, results in massive social dislocation, and spontaneous moves by society to protect itself. In effect, Polanyi argues that once the free market attempts to separate itself from the fabric of society, social protectionism is society's natural response; this he calls the `double movement'. Polanyi did not see economics as a subject closed off from other fields of enquiry, indeed he saw economic and social problems as inherently linked. He ended his work with a prediction of a socialist society, noting, "after a century of blind 'improvement', man is restoring his 'habitation.'"[2]

Now social self protection could take the form of something reasonable like the social democratic state that more or less achieved hegemony in the immediate post-war period.  On the other hand, the thing can turn for the darker.  Fascism is a form of social self protection, however it attacks some portion of the community as alien and seeks to expel it. The same notion of the community as organic, in the biological sense, rather than mechanical, in the physics, sense is at work here.  The organic state of the fascists, like the human immune system, tries to purge what it sees as foreign during times of illness..........

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 May 4th, 2013 at 11:45:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What the feeble minded, e.g., Neo-Classical types, overlook is businesses are, and have to be, product oriented.  Businesses demand an immediate market and a product to fit that market before they throw money at whatever.  Since businesses - and I include VCs in there - have a limited supply of funds they need to see a means to re-coup capital through an investment's near term (max 5 years, usually) ROI and IRR.

Governments, on the other hand, don't have to worry about financial ratios.  In theory governments have an unlimited supply of capital and in practice have enough to fund anything the Decision Makers decide to throw money into.  Thus, they can fund for the long term.  This is crucial for the process of taking the results of basic research through the process of applied research and then into new product development.  

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

by ATinNM on Sat May 4th, 2013 at 01:12:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
UKIP's big selling point is that they're pretending - unconvincingly, IMO - to be 'for the little guy' and 'against the markets.'

It's a nice schtick, and it's a trick Labour are missing. As someone wrote here recently, Labour have become the party of barristers and new media creatives (i.e. ad people) and are genuinely baffled when working people show no evidence of wanting to become either.

So UKIP are stealing that particular populist slot.

The problem is that UKIP really just stand for themselves, and they'll say whatever gives them enough popularity to give a few pols Westminster careers.

Considering how vile, self-serving and contemptuous the Tories are, there's every reason to believe that UKIP would be even more vile, self-serving and contemptuous of the poor.

Unfortunately as in the US, the poor don't realise how much they're being suckered by sleazy people in ill-fitting suits.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat May 4th, 2013 at 01:35:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure the UKIP is bought and payed for, that is, that they are running populist rhetoric to make the working classes vote against their own economic interests, a method which has been very successful for the Republicans in the US.

I think the UKIP might actually believe in their own populism, not use it to support some nefarious 1%-agenda.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu May 9th, 2013 at 06:38:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They can well believe a populism that contains undertones beneficial to the 1%, and act strongly on those undertones, and be backed by the 1% for that. AFAIK Farage himself has a background in the financial industry, and regarding backers:

Disillusioned Conservative donors are turning to Ukip - Telegraph

Nigel Farage, The Ukip leader, said the party is near to securing serious funding that could help it gain a lead in the European elections.

...

Mr Farage said he is targeting people in the City because they are "pretty bloody angry" that the Prime Minister has handed more power to the European Union's regulators.

...and a year later:

Tory donors switching to Ukip, says party treasurer | Politics | The Guardian

In a rare interview, Stuart Wheeler, the gambling tycoon in charge of Ukip's funds, said former Tory backers had promised big donations for next year's European elections. Some had already made smaller donations that would contribute towards the £200,000 to be spent on advertising in local elections over the next few weeks, he said.

...Wheeler, who himself gave more than £5.5m to the Conservatives before being expelled from the party three years ago, said Ukip was taking the local elections seriously while aiming for a bigger push in the 2014 European elections.

"Some of [our new donors] were Conservatives but many are unwilling to go public. Any donation of more than £7,500 has to go on the electoral commission website. Quite a few give us exactly £7,500 because they don't want [their identities] to be known," he said.

"There is one potential donor who said he will give us £1m provided one or two other people do as well for the 2014 elections. The person concerned has been a big Conservative donor. People don't always do what they say they are going to do but we think he will."



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu May 9th, 2013 at 07:27:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Note that the party treasurer has every reson to push a narrative here. Is there any transparency in donations to UK parties?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Thu May 9th, 2013 at 07:31:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But even if he were to make stuff up, Wheeler himself is a substantial backer from the 1%.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu May 9th, 2013 at 07:38:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Also, even if it's just narrative-pushing, what's noteworthy is that the UKIP narrative is friendly to the 1%.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu May 9th, 2013 at 07:45:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, it supports your point. It was just his wage formulations that set off my narrative-detector.

And the question for the knowledgeable still stands, even if it is just curiosity: is party donations in the UK disclosed?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu May 9th, 2013 at 07:50:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
wage formulations

vague?

party donations in the UK disclosed?

In the part I quoted, it says that party donations above Ł7,500 have to be disclosed, those below don't have to.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu May 9th, 2013 at 09:09:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, vague.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Thu May 9th, 2013 at 01:16:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From the UKIP itself (my emphasis):

What We Stand For

A gulf has opened between the ruling elite and the public. Each of the establishment main parties are now Social Democrats and offer voters no real choice.

UKIP alone holds that the rescue of the British people depends on withdrawal from the EU to regain our self-governing democracy so allowing the relief of business from crushing regulation and the less well off from the burden of taxes, shutting off the flood of immigrants and freeing enterprise.

...

* Take 4.5 million of low incomes out of tax altogether with a simple, flat rate income tax. With a threshold set at minimum wage.

* Financial services yield £61bn in tax revenues or 12% of the UK total. Exclude the City from EU controls.

Note the packaging of help-the-poorest social populism with policies relieving the rich. As for the budget:

* UK national debt will exceed £1.4 trillion by the end of this Parliament by which time Osborne's cuts will not even equal our EU contributions. Public spending is increasing and the Coalition's cuts do not scratch the surface of Labour's deficit. We must cut down Government if we are to return to a sound economy.

Most of the rest is a stomach-churning mix of lies, half-truths and vileness, too.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu May 9th, 2013 at 09:08:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All right, they certainly push 1%-policies. I wonder if they do believe in the populism stuff, or if it's just a front? You can say a lot of things abou Farage, but he certainly seems to believe in his own rhetoric.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu May 9th, 2013 at 02:01:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, I'm generally of the opinion that populists often believe a lot of their own stuff, even if they are serial liars or crooks. There are lots of ways to achieve that: constructing elaborate hypotheses upon dogmas with paranoid logic, being incoherent in thought, believing what's convenient, instant rationalisation of one's own misdemeanours (including lies & spin), believing that the lies or spin they tell only help to highlight a deeper truth, the latter especially if there is an enthusiastic response from lots of followers ("hey, I must have stumbled upon something real!").

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu May 9th, 2013 at 02:47:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If European populists and US populists are anything alike, their movements are a collection of 1) angry mobs holding received, largely inconsistent and even incoherent, quasi-religious beliefs, and 2) operatives sent out to manipulate those mobs.  For example, US astroturf outfits like the Tea Party.
by rifek on Fri May 10th, 2013 at 10:58:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If they were running in Texas, Oklahoma, Utah, and other such right-wing states here, they'd win every time.
by rifek on Fri May 10th, 2013 at 10:35:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
TBG:
Unfortunately as in the US, the poor don't realise how much they're being suckered by sleazy people in ill-fitting suits.

Even worse, most of the upper middle class don't realize the extent to which they are being suckered by people in very well fitting suits, the ones who fund the guys in ill fitting suits to rile up the populace. Doctors are among the supporters of libertarian politics all the while complaining how difficult their jobs have become - largely due to the effects of policies that were advocated by Tea Party Republicans and were accepted by Obama, another guy in a well fitting suit. My primary care physician is concerned about the possibility of socialism and about 'the 47% who are takers'. I asked him what he thinks people like the Koch brothers think of him. After a pause I answered - a worthwhile target for looting. Upward identification.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 10th, 2013 at 10:17:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Polanyi provided the best analysis on offer for the process and practical effects whereby traditional societies came to be transformed into market based societies and how (disastrously) this affected the social cohesion of affected societies back in 1944 - a truly stunning work and quite readable. I have long been dismayed by the lack of even attribution and acknowledgement of Polanyi in academia and the broader society. It has seemed to be a classic story of a brilliant work that told a story uncongenial to TPTB. So I am very glad to see the reference to Great Transformations by Blythe, which I have just ordered. Thanks for this.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 4th, 2013 at 02:02:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And now, in Japan, we have Keynesianism on steroids!

Point n'est besoin d'espérer pour entreprendre, ni de réussir pour persévérer. - Charles le Téméraire
by marco on Sat May 11th, 2013 at 11:21:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I do think that the underlying narrative going on here is quite wrong, on several accounts.

  1. Firstly Germany is not "austerian": In the last decade Germany was quite happy to violate the Maastricht treaty limits - Cost of reunification. At that time the countries that violated that limit were treated very kindly (the fines on the treaty were waved).

  2. A few weeks ago, Paul Krugman had a post about the popular support for "reducing deficits" in the 30s in the US. The usual "fiscal conservatism" crap was the result. The US were lucky that FDR had balls. But as you see in the ongoing debates everywhere there is strong austerity support (lots support in many countries for austerity parties - "lots" like in "winning elections").

  3. I agree though that "export economies" are more economically attuned with "austerity". But that is not my point here.

Therefore, I believe:

  1. Germany is mostly "pragmatic": it defends whatever is more convenient at the time. Much more pragmatic than Southern European countries, by the way.

  2. When money is discussed there is a tendency from the general public to look at money as a store of wealth (not as a medium of exchange). The general public will attune (even before propaganda) to "fiscal conservatism". Keynesianism might be correct, but it is also counter-intuitive and intellectually hard.

The problem with Germany it is more its tendency to moralize things and see itself as a "morally superior", "economically efficient", "better society". It is not a coincidence that the brand of fascism that triumphed in Germany had these traits.

My real point is that the biggest problem is the way that the general public looks at money (mostly as a store of wealth) is highly problematic when money enters the political arena explicitly. One of the things that I am planning to do (for years) is a post on how my views on money were so completely wrong (views that I believe were deeply grounded on the view shared by most people).

If money is the political issue, faced with a choice, most people will chose ZeroHedge's views over Eurotrib's. The (catastrophically) wrong choice, but the "intuitive" choice.

by cagatacos on Sun May 5th, 2013 at 03:54:50 AM EST
What we need to ask ourselves is why in 2009 Germany decided to add a balanced budget amendment to their constitution. Here's a contemporary blog post from Bill Mitchell which is quite good: Fiscal rules going mad ... (June 24, 2009)
Several readers have asked me about fiscal rules and I have been promising to write about them for some time now. I was finally goaded into action by the current German rush to madness which will see them constitutionally outlaw deficits. When I saw the news that the German government was pushing constitutional change along these lines I thought good - the Eurozone will be dead soon enough and perhaps a better aligned fiscal and monetary system will emerge. Fiscal rules can take lots of different shapes all of which entrench chronic unemployment and poverty. The only fiscal approach that is applicable to a sovereign government operating within a fiat monetary system is one that ensures full employment is achieved and sustained. Anyway, here is an introduction to the mean-spirited and wrong-headed world of fiscal rules.

...

Perhaps there will be a silver lining in this madness. It might be the last straw for the Eurozone which would force the countries to rethink the system and preferably provide some coherent currency sovereignty in line with the monetary arrangements - so kill the zone altogether or create a single fiscal unit.

Anyway, one more day mixing with senior UNDP officials who manage a range of social programs and are trying to get their heads around employment guarantees as a way to redress poverty in less developed countries. My favourite topic but unfortunately the alleged fiscal constraints keep coming up. While these policy makers clearly see the need for higher employment rates in the LDCs most are still operating under the spell of neo-liberal macroeconomics. This is sad for the millions in their countries that would love to work and find a self-determined way out of poverty.



The Euro will outlivebury us all --- Jean-Claude Juncker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 5th, 2013 at 05:07:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...employment guarantees as a way to redress poverty in less developed countries. My favourite topic but unfortunately the alleged fiscal constraints keep coming up. While these policy makers clearly see the need for higher employment rates in the LDCs most are still operating under the spell of neo-liberal macroeconomics.

The difficulty here is that the truth is not an easy sell. Telling those 'under the spell of neo-liberal macroeconomics' that the whole structure stands not on empirical or intellectual robustness but rather on the class preferences of those who financed and still support leading universities is too often (rightly) taken as an insult. That the application of neo-liberal economics is crushing all but the rentier class is, apparently, much easier to rationalize. It takes more tact than I can manage to make this point without displaying contempt for the contemptible.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun May 5th, 2013 at 02:13:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, the difficulty is that for the colonies it isn't really true.

They are missing so many links in the value chain between raw material extraction and consumption that attempting to increase their domestic consumption without an active import substitution program will unacceptably impair their foreign balance. And attempting an active import substitution program will unacceptably impair their relationship with the colonial powers. It's a double-bind, and the colonies are the ones being tied up in it and raped. Often literally.

Mitchell, like a whole lot of the MMT'ers, really hasn't taken any coherent notion of geopolitics on board in his theory. Which is a major weakness for a theory which (correctly) identifies money as principally an expression of political power.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun May 5th, 2013 at 02:51:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IOW a small country can have its own currency but if it does not exercise strict control over capital flow and abnegates its supervision over banking and the business sector in general it can still be raped by much larger players via unfavorable terms of trade imposed on it  through the intellectual hegemony of neo-liberal macroeconomics in the 'global' economy. And if they successfully isolate themselves from those consequences they become 'pariah states' vulnerable to covert intervention and destabilization. Three sector national accounting can show how countries can be sucked dry by balance of trade problems.

MMT is coherent but it does not insure good outcomes regardless of geopolitics. And neo-liberal macroeconomics is bullshit but economic incumbency and institutional capture insure its continued dominance. But the problems are only magnified when most continue to labor under the illusion that present policies work for any but a tiny few. Best to grow powerful by feeding on the helpless in foreign countries before turning your system relentlessly on the citizens of the countries out of which you operate.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun May 5th, 2013 at 03:24:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A small country full of brown people who speak funny can have its own currency all it wants. But as long as it's a small country full of brown people who speak funny, the Empire is still going to anchor a couple of carrier groups offshore of it and bomb it back to the stone age if it starts getting uppity.

The accounting details of how precisely the plunder takes place are trivial and pointless for policy purposes, however interesting they are in the abstract.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun May 5th, 2013 at 03:29:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Carrier groups are more the exception. The IMF is more the rule. In between the two but usually intermingled are covert operations conducted by a mix of players. "The Drug War" is a convenient cover for the presence of a large number of paramilitaries among whom economic and political hit men can easily operate.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun May 5th, 2013 at 05:51:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As I see it, the escalation goes like this:
  • Bribes and/or threats to political elite
  • Supporting the opposition with money and western media
  • Arming the opposition and supporting coup attempts
  • Bombing
  • Send in the marines

Malaysia appears to just have reached level 2 - recent election was reported as flawed, with "independent" polls showing the opposition in the lead. Syria just reached level 4 with the Israeli bombings. If Libya was escalated to level 4 or 5 is debatable.

The US empire, like the Aztec, appears to be driven to constant war, even against already defeated foes. So not all states that are attacked actually did something to step out of line.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon May 6th, 2013 at 04:32:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All empires are driven to constant war to maintain their empire. If the colonies decide to step out of line at the same time, the imperial center can't stop them all, or even any solid plurality of them.

Therefore, the imperial center has to throw a current, former or prospective vassal up against the wall every once in a while, pour encourager les autres.

And if, inconveniently, no current, former or future vassal is both (a) out of line, and (b) inside your sphere of influence when you need to have your regular fix of violence, then you just redraw either The Line or your sphere of influence such that someone is.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon May 6th, 2013 at 02:27:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They all rely on violence, but some empires are more driven to establishing a firm hold on their colonies (which means trouble-makers can be shot before they get to the stage where they manage to revolt). An orderly empire allows for well organised resource extraction, a big colonial civil service and saving precious military resources for wars agaisnt oterh empires.

Others have a strong internal need for new wars. Be it new contracts for a MIC, new medals for the officers or fresh slaves.

This is not an either/or thing, more a scale. But contrast the US empire with the Soviet empire. Post-WWII what has Soviet got in way of throwing colonies against the wall? Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan.

The US empires need for wars is not as extreme as the Spartans with their seasonal wars on their own slaves, but still on the same end of the scale.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon May 6th, 2013 at 03:20:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You can add Chechnya and Tannu Tuva, and I'm sure they did stuff in the Central Asian provinces that we would know about if they had been doing it to white people who speak English. That's somewhere between one per decade - better than the US' biannual event, but not by that much.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon May 6th, 2013 at 03:31:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Askod talked about post-WWII Soviet Union, which excludes both Chechnya and Tannu Tuva (which AFAIK was annexed without bloodshed) but includes East Germany 1953 and Poland 1956. However, "post-WWII" might be an arbitrary and imprecise cut-off, excluding Stalin's worst imperial aggression and putting the post-WWII ethnic cleansings and guerilla wars on the new Western border of the Soviet Union and the active Soviet and Red Army role in the post-WWII communist takeovers into a grey zone. Another issue is covert participation in proxy wars (above all in Korea), which parallels US practice.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon May 6th, 2013 at 04:25:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An orderly empire allows for well organised resource extraction [...]

Others have a strong internal need for new wars [...]

... contrast the US empire with the Soviet empire...

John Michael Greer has an almost thermodynamic view of an empire:

An empire is an arrangement among nations, backed and usually imposed by military force, that extracts wealth from a periphery of subject nations and concentrates it in the imperial core. Put more simply, an empire is a wealth pump, a device to enrich one nation at the expense of others. The mechanism of the pump varies from empire to empire and from age to age; the straightforward exaction of tribute that did the job for ancient Egypt, and had another vogue in the time of imperial Spain, has been replaced in most of the more recent empires by somewhat less blatant though equally effective systems of unbalanced exchange. While the mechanism varies, though, the underlying principle does not.
Or other iteration:
an empire is a wealth pump, an arrangement backed by military force that extracts wealth from a periphery of subject nations and concentrates it in the imperial core
I find this view generally right, with the implied addition that an empire is able to lure subjects by fractions of wealth flows in its growth phase. When the expansion hits diminishing or negative returns, civilization joys for periphery become more of propaganda. The Roman empire was quite a hurricane of wealth circulation that had to abate nevertheless.

The Soviet empire is quite an exeption though, despite Greer talking about "looting of eastern Europe for Russian benefit". Economically and materially, the Soviets were actually supporting the periphery (particularly Central Asia, vassals like Cuba, North Korea) with cheap oil, gas, fertilizers, while "looting" is not the right word for what they were imposing. Looking form this angle, the strange collapse of USSR is less mysterious.

by das monde on Wed May 8th, 2013 at 09:57:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"...collapse of USSR... "

I am so tired of this propaganda cliché... "Collapse" imply sudden, spontaneous, and more or less disorderly fall/ slump. In contrast the USSR, and most of the Eastern Block was dismantled voluntarily, peacefully, in a planned orderly fashion from the top down; and this is well documented. In fact, to the best of my knowledge it is the only socio-economic system in history that ceased to exist in such a manner.

Of course one might argue that the USSR lost the Cold War and the armaments race, and that was what tore the system down, but this will be digging more into the reasons of why the lights were turned off. By the end of the 1980s the USSR still had enough retaliatory military power to continue to dwindle for decades ahead.

by Ivo on Thu May 9th, 2013 at 05:20:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed, the USSR is not an example of a system that tried to stay alive and kicking for as long a possible.
by das monde on Thu May 9th, 2013 at 05:24:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
dismantled voluntarily, peacefully, in a planned orderly fashion from the top down

Hm, in the case of the Soviet Union, a failed coup followed by independence declarations of the republics, ending with a semi-coup of the leaders of three republics against Gorbachev (the Belavezha Accords) is not exactly planned or orderly, even if the final act was another accord that also regulated legal inheritance.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu May 9th, 2013 at 07:37:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The gradual dismantling process was set in motion in the mid 1980s; doubtless there must had been some preceding work behind the scenes at the very top; and the whole colossal transformation relied entirely on the state's administrative apparatus for the execution. If that is not "planned" and "orderly" I don't know what is it.
by Ivo on Thu May 9th, 2013 at 09:09:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The gradual dismantling process was not set in motion with a plan of dismantlement. That was an unplanned outcome. I'm not sure what you mean by "relied entirely on the state's administrative apparatus for the execution". Inaction or insufficient action in the face of separatism is mostly down to the top, rather than the apparatus (although, again, there was a coup attempt); and at least a significant part of the apparatus going along with the formation of new separate state administrations is nothing strange, either (what else would they have done?). At this point, my question is: what is your minimum standard for the collapse of an empire, then? (As in, example of the least dramatic dissolution you still count as a collapse.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu May 9th, 2013 at 09:16:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My impression was that Gorbachev, Shevardnadze and others had come to the conclusion that the command control centralized state had become massively sub-optimal and undertook a process of restructuring and openness in an attempt to transform the nature of the Soviet Union into one that would provide a better version of socialism. But the process got out of their control. Given the centralized nature of the state it was an orderly process until they had dismantled enough of the state that opponents could challenge them. Gorbachev and Shevardnadze underestimated the malignancy of the worms in the cans they opened and over estimated their ability to continue to control events. But had they not started glasnost and perestroika and tried to create a less oppressive state the dissolution of the Soviet Union might not have even happened yet.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 10th, 2013 at 10:31:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
until they had dismantled enough of the state that opponents could challenge them
Which opponents and challenges do you have in mind? When were they visible?
by das monde on Sat May 11th, 2013 at 03:14:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Operating from memory based largely on LA Times coverage at the time - up to a quarter century ago - there was no shortage of hard line elites who liked things the way they were and they had the support of lots of Soviet citizens who became increasingly nostalgic for Stalin, the old Russian preference for order above all else. The ones who were problematic for Gorbachev were those in authority - mayors of large cities and leaders of states and regions, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, Belorussia, Ukraine, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tadzhikistan, etc. along with some military leaders and internal security officials. Wiki reminds me of the collapse of world oil prices which left the Soviets short of foreign currency and led to shortages. Then there was the ongoing problem in Poland which led to the election in August of '89, almost coincident with the putsch in Moscow.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 11th, 2013 at 11:53:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No shortage of hard line elites?! Their attention was highly dysfunctional then. Nostalgia for Stalin and order? Without Gorbachev bringing that up, who would have bothered highly?

Gorbachev was very active in replacing top functionaries, also in the republics. Funny, but his policies exactly provoked national tensions that were dormant for decades. No one else but himself installed those few "problematic" city majors, region leaders - and then gave all initiative to them in the last year, while showing no adequate concern for the fate of the USSR. In the East Europe, stubbornness of DDR and Romania leaders bothered him more than Poland.

The August putsch was in 1991. The Soviets needed quick foreign currency only for Chernobyl.

by das monde on Sat May 11th, 2013 at 12:57:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No one else but himself installed those few "problematic" city majors, region leaders - and then gave all initiative to them in the last year, while showing no adequate concern for the fate of the USSR.

A pretty good description of a top down reform that got out of hand due to serious miscalculations by Gorbachev. You seem to have lived through it first hand. What is your take on what Gorbachev intended and why his choice of new 'reformers' was so disastrous for the USSR? And, what different path might have made the transition and left the bulk of the USSR intact?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 11th, 2013 at 05:14:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By now my view is very simple. No one saw it coming, yet plausible explanations were settled very quickly. The suspected crushing forces are not convincing though, while failure of the support systems is obvious. Like in Chile, the whole plan was well prepared (including Chicago Brick economic receipes), and executed to expectations.
by das monde on Sun May 12th, 2013 at 02:40:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i don't believe IMF involvement came until Yeltsin gained power, though under Gorbachev privately owned cooperatives were legalized for what we would call medium and small businesses and state enterprises, such as Aeroflot were encouraged to spin off subsidiaries who were encouraged to seek foreign investors.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon May 13th, 2013 at 11:41:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's incorrect. The IMF had been active for decades as a creditor to various Warsaw Pact countries.

When energy prices crashed in the 1980s, as a consequence of the development of the North Sea oil and gas deposits, they became unable to finance the imports of higher quality Western consumer goods to which the population had become accustomed during the period of high energy prices in the '70s. It went predictably downhill from there.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon May 13th, 2013 at 02:28:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
'The IMF had been active for decades' on account of western banks lending into the Warsaw Pact countries, a substantial part of which was vendor finance. But it was not until October 5, 1991, when President Mikhail Gorbachev and Managing Director Michel Camdessus entered into an agreement: Special Association Between the U.S.S.R. and the Fund - Terms and Conditions. But this agreement became null and void upon Gorbachev's resignation and the dissolution of the USSR. Seeing his plans for a federation of socialist states fail Gorbachev resigned on December 25, 1991. Yeltsin had already announced in October that Russia would proceed along the lines recommended by the IMF.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon May 13th, 2013 at 04:56:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The USSR putsch in Moscow was in August of 1991, two years after the Central Europe events in 1989:

by Bernard on Sat May 11th, 2013 at 01:58:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Before all these events in 1989 the USSR elite had given clear signals not only that they will not interfere, but in fact they actively encouraged satellites' independent policy. I remember some of the reported friction between Gorbatchev on the one hand, and the most rigid leaders on the other, specifically with Honeker and Zhivkov. All the work Gorbatchev and his circle had done made the subsequent changes in 1989 possible.

Btw, as a matter of fact Chaushescu was not exactly "overthrown", but after a mock court murdered by his own security services live on TV; not as savage as the execution of Ghadaffi, but still pretty shocking back then to happen in an European country.

by Ivo on Sat May 11th, 2013 at 05:49:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, the Ceauşescu execution wasn't live (in fact, the shooting itself wasn't filmed, leading to some conspiracy theories), and it was done by soldiers not Securitate members, but sure it was a show trial. What do you mean not overthrown? Whoever does the execution, he lost power by force.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat May 11th, 2013 at 07:03:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frankly, I do not take that coup attempt seriously. It fits quite well into staged collapse suspicions. KGB just did a few "desperate" motions, and then embraced the new wild Russian capitalism.
by das monde on Thu May 9th, 2013 at 09:37:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But without a collapse scenario, The Blessed St. Ronnie and US brinksmanship policies don't get enough credit for making it all happen.
by rifek on Fri May 10th, 2013 at 11:14:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
an empire is a wealth pump

This strikes me as very consistent with Varoufakis' Global Minotaur thesis, with only a change of emphasis. John Michael Greer emphasizes the wealth accumulation by individuals and corporations in the core of the empire while Varoufakis emphasizes the recycling mechanism. The recycling of money keeps the system going while the wealth accumulation by a tiny elite puts increasing strains on the system.

To the elites it is the personal wealth accumulation that matters, not the fates of nation states. To that end they have systematically undermined the economic sovereignty of individual nations, starting at the core. No restrictions on our capital movement gentlemen, that will not be tolerated. That makes it easier for them to extract profits from shifting the manufacturing to China and other low wage locations while US citizens go into debt to finance consumption. The fact that the recycling mechanism has broken down indicates that either a new system will have to emerge and/or we will witness the collapse of the current system. But doing anything that interferes with the accumulation to prevent collapse, economic and/or environmental, is just not a serious proposal.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun May 12th, 2013 at 01:52:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They are missing so many links in the value chain between raw material extraction and consumption that attempting to increase their domestic consumption without an active import substitution program will unacceptably impair their foreign balance. And attempting an active import substitution program will unacceptably impair their relationship with the colonial powers. It's a double-bind, and the colonies are the ones being tied up in it and raped. Often literally.
Brazil managed it, somehow. Must be the size.

The Euro will outlivebury us all --- Jean-Claude Juncker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 5th, 2013 at 03:44:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sort of. I mean, it's not as though Brazil's post-hyperinflation history is precisely a model of rising social equality and political emancipation.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun May 5th, 2013 at 03:46:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brazil did not provide a job guarantee, but it did embark on an ambitious import substitution program regarding oil. The environmental impact of the drive to develop ethanol as fuel (deforestation of the Amazon basin for sugar cane cultivation) is another story...

The Euro will outlivebury us all --- Jean-Claude Juncker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 5th, 2013 at 04:32:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, the Basin is the story.  Its ruthless exploitation is what got Brazil off the ground, and as Brazil has not really put anything in place to replace, the limits of that resource put Brazil on a collision course with itself.
by rifek on Fri May 10th, 2013 at 11:19:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Who are those that rule effectively Brazil? What are their ties with the ruling classes abroad?

res humà m'és aliè
by Antoni Jaume on Sun May 5th, 2013 at 04:08:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is Brazil ruled by a comprador class?

The Euro will outlivebury us all --- Jean-Claude Juncker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 5th, 2013 at 04:42:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I do not have adequate data to say anything about a comprador class, but high bourgeoisie tends to be more global than the common people, so it may end in the same results.

res humà m'és aliè
by Antoni Jaume on Sun May 5th, 2013 at 06:07:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And just now has a President who has roots in 'Marxist urban guerrilla groups'. Sounds like a tough lady. From Wiki:
She became a socialist during her youth, and following the 1964 coup d'état joined various left-wing and Marxist urban guerrilla groups that fought against the military dictatorship. Rousseff was eventually captured and jailed between 1970 and 1972, where she was reportedly tortured.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun May 5th, 2013 at 06:09:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, which may lead to progress for the majority of the people, but inequality is still very high, the Gini coefficient seems to be over 50, higher than Mexico or the USA.

res humà m'és aliè
by Antoni Jaume on Sun May 5th, 2013 at 06:17:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds like the President of Uruguay, too...

In the long run, we're all misquoted — not Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 5th, 2013 at 06:21:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But of course we know that violence never accomplishes anything, except when it does.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon May 6th, 2013 at 02:45:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
1. Germany has an old population. Germany recently added a system of subsidized retirement savings. German savings are traditionally biased towards bonds, not shares.

And you wonder why Germany would have a problem with inflation or long term zero interest rates?

2. German wages are not on average low, just growth has slowed. Germany has just decided that wages need to be less equal than in the 70ies.

by oliver on Tue May 7th, 2013 at 05:34:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
German savings are traditionally biased towards bonds, not shares.

So I think that is a proof that private pension systems are not a rational solution.

Germany has just decided that wages need to be less equal than in the 70ies.

Of course Germany has decided... or rather those who do not depend of salaries or have the highest salaries...

res humà m'és aliè

by Antoni Jaume on Tue May 7th, 2013 at 03:48:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. The little rentier may be less morally odious than the big rentier, but economically he is only proportionately less damaging. Economics is not a morality play, and by privatizing the pension system, Germany has made the objectively wrong decision.

  2. That decision is incompatible with continued industrial civilization.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue May 7th, 2013 at 06:13:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is not a question of morality. A government that ruins too many pension plans would be removed from power. That is a question of political power, not morality.

Industrial civilization in Germany is well. The decision may be incompatible with a common currency in the EU, but that is a different thing.

by oliver on Wed May 8th, 2013 at 08:15:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A government that ruins too many pension plans would be removed from power.

If only there is an alternative. And the "alternative" will not perform the same during its pendelum cycle.

by das monde on Wed May 8th, 2013 at 08:43:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Destroying private pension plans is not impossible if the pension plans in question are replaced by sufficiently good public pensions. Just as destroying the public pension plans was not impossible because they were replaced by (the mirage of) sufficiently good private pension plans.

Lack of a common currency is incompatible with the current German industrial system, because lack of a common currency means that Germany cannot get anybody else to pay the cost of maintaining Germany's dead-end economic policies.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed May 8th, 2013 at 01:56:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One word: Bürgerversicherung. Don't act as if the idea is alien to German politics.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed May 8th, 2013 at 05:45:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany was forgiving so long as Southern deficits were serving the purpose Germany had for the EU in the first place: providing for internal exports to keep Germany's books in order.  Once that dried up, Germany reverted to its standard, financial protectionist mode.
by rifek on Fri May 10th, 2013 at 11:31:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Anybody read Blyth's book yet?  Sounds like it'd be pretty good.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue May 7th, 2013 at 07:45:45 AM EST
I am awaiting its arrival.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue May 7th, 2013 at 11:45:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
along with

Neil Irwin's The Alchemists: Three Central Bankers and a World on Fire

and David Stockman's The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America

"How the Case for Austerity Has Crumbled" | The New York Review of Books

Point n'est besoin d'espérer pour entreprendre, ni de réussir pour persévérer. - Charles le Téméraire

by marco on Tue May 14th, 2013 at 07:18:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But what has really distinguished German economic thinking is its dismissal of Keynesianism -- because the theory never made much sense to German policymakers considering the way the German economy actually functions.

Uh... heard about German economic policy in the 30's? Militarized Keynesianism, pronounced as "very successful"?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu May 9th, 2013 at 06:46:05 AM EST
Uh... heard about German economic policy in the 30's? Militarized Keynesianism, pronounced as "very successful"?

Great catch, Starvid.  Actually, even before the "militarized Keynesianism" kicked in fully in 1936, Hjalmar Schacht's application of relatively "civilian Keynesianism" was already helping the German economy recover, and quickly:

At first, Schacht continued the economic policies introduced by the government of Kurt von Schleicher in 1932 to combat the effects of the Great Depression. These policies were mostly Keynesian, relying on large public works programs supported by deficit spending - such as the construction of the Autobahn network - to stimulate the economy and reduce unemployment. There was major reduction in unemployment over the following years, while price controls prevented the recurrence of inflation. The economic policies of the Third Reich were in the beginning the brainchildren of Schacht, who assumed office as president of the central bank under Hitler in 1933, and became finance minister in the following year. Schacht was one of the few finance ministers to take advantage of the freedom provided by the end of the gold standard to keep interest rates low and government budget deficits high, with massive public works funded by large budget deficits.[16] The consequence was an extremely rapid decline in unemployment - the most rapid decline in unemployment in any country during the Great Depression.[16] Eventually this Keynesian economic policy was supplemented by the boost to demand provided by rearmament and swelling military spending.

Economy of Nazi Germany - Wikipedia



Point n'est besoin d'espérer pour entreprendre, ni de réussir pour persévérer. - Charles le Téméraire
by marco on Sat May 11th, 2013 at 11:08:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's funny how they missed it. Maybe because of the German angst over the Nazi period, where it might be totally taboo to mention even the few good policies, out of some confused idea that it might lessen the horror of all the awful policies.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun May 12th, 2013 at 08:47:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reminds me of a documentary where they claimed that all Nazi policies were evil and ineffective. And if that wasn't enough, since some policies changed over time they argued that those policies were evil, ineffective and inconsequent.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Sun May 12th, 2013 at 01:35:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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