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A view on GDP

by t-------------- Thu Jun 12th, 2008 at 07:01:11 AM EST

I am stealing this from The Oil Drum. Maybe as a remainder that "Anglo" disease is not something structurally Anglo, but just the triumph of Reagan and Thatcher.

It can happen anywhere... it can also be avoided.  


"We will find neither national purpose nor personal satisfaction in a mere continuation of economic progress, in an endless amassing of worldly goods. We cannot measure national spirit by the Dow Jones Average, nor national achievement by the Gross National Product. For the Gross National Product includes air pollution, and ambulances to clear our highways from carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and jails for the people who break them. The Gross National Product includes the destruction of the redwoods and the death of Lake Superior. It grows with the production of napalm and missles and nuclear warheads.... It includes... the broadcasting of television programs which glorify violence to sell goods to our children. "And if the Gross National Product includes all this, there is much that it does not comprehend. It does not allow for the health of our families, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It is indifferent to the decency of our factories and the safety of our streets alike. It does not include the beauty of our poetry, or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials... the Gross National Product measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile, and it can tell us everything about America -- except whether we are proud to be Americans." - Robert F. Kennedy


[editor's note, by Migeru] The Oil Drum: Robert F. Kennedy on Defining GDP and Some Other Thoughts by JoulesBurn on June 10, 2008.

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A great light went out of the world that night in 1968.  And we and the world are lesser for it.  In some sense the decline of America began that night.

We all bleed the same color.
by budr on Thu Jun 12th, 2008 at 07:45:18 AM EST
budr:
In some sense the decline of America began that night.
Why single out one political assassination among many in the 1960's?

JFK, MLK, Malcolm X, RFK, and I'm sure there are others less prominent.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 12th, 2008 at 07:49:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The assassination gave us candidate Humphrey and a traumatized party after a notoriously divided convention.  That gave us Nixon's second term.  What should have been a one term failed Republican administration became the foundation stone for almost all of the Republican tribulations visited on my country and the world, right up to today.  That alone is enough to single it out.

Beyond that, RFK was a unique and very special individual in his own right.  Read that quote again.  In that parade of special people who were taken from us that year, Bobby was the specialest, if I can coin a word.  It is endlessly fascinating and endlessly futile to play what-if with history, but I think it is a safe assumption that he would have gone on the win the nomination.  Whether he would have won the general election is less certain, perhaps, but the choice for American voters would have been as stark as black and white, and I like to think that we would have made the right choice.  And I don't think there is any doubt that an RFK presidency would have taken my country and the world in a very different, much more positive direction.

And then, one can only imagine with a certain wistfulness what Bobby and Martin might have done together had they both lived.

We all bleed the same color.

by budr on Thu Jun 12th, 2008 at 08:30:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]

The assassination gave us candidate Humphrey and a traumatized party after a notoriously divided convention.  That gave us Nixon's second term.

Well, first it gave us Nixon's first term.  RFK was a master of soaring rhetoric but he also could be ruthless.  A lot of Eugene MaCarthy supporters never forgave him for putting Gene in the shade.  He did not always have a scrupulous regard for the Bill of Rights when going after people as Attorney General.  He made enemies. A fellow leftie friend of mine heard him saying something he considered  an outrageous infringement and told me of shouting at the radio "Somebody ought to kill that son of a bitch!"  Within 24 hours someone had.  Freaked him out.

But I think he was a far stronger politician than Gene McCarthy, did have a liberal agenda, (radical by today's debased standard), and would have been ruthless enough to push his agenda as far as it could go. I also think it is much more likely that he was assassinated at the behest of those who feared that agenda than by a "lone gunman acting alone."

It seems to me that deriding people as "Conspiracy Theorists" has the secondary benefit of giving cover to academics and establishment figures who could be discomforted were they seriously expected to investigate such theories objectively.  Are we seriously required to expect that all history changing events are produced by lone individuals with difficult to explain motives?  Is it not as reasonable to assume that well organized conspiracies do not come unraveled?
Does that assumption make me a "Conspiracy Theorist?"

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Jun 13th, 2008 at 09:05:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Quite a prescient comment by RFK  on the subsequent domination of GDP on discourse within Reaganomics.  However Nixon should have destroyed the credibility of Republicans for a generation.  That he did not do so says little for the Democrats.  Reagan came in from the far right and mainstreamed it in a way that Goldwater could not do earlier.  The truth is, perhaps, that the US system favours money, power and privilege over minorities and working class Americans.  You can blame corporatism and the MSM but perhaps there is also a materialist and authoritarian streak in many American's which makes Reagan Bush so attractive to them.

RFK represented old money - the liberal Eastern WASP establishment - which made an alliance with minorities and MLK.  "Middle America" wouldn't wear it - which is why JFK/RFK/MLK had to be killed.  Has the US really changed all that much, or will Obama go the same way?

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jun 12th, 2008 at 12:21:18 PM EST


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