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Arts and Culture

Steve Fraser on the Crisis of Capitalism

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Posted on Nov 6, 2009
AP / Mark Lennihan

A woman looks at job postings at the New York State Department of Labor. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that so-called real unemployment is up to 17 percent.

By Steve Fraser

(Page 5)

Moreover, the point of all this is not merely that we’ve now arrived at a tale-of-two-cities moment, when it’s the best of times for the bankers and the worst of times for the rest of us. It is rather that all along that faux prosperity rested on, depended on the inexorable erosion of other avenues to economic well-being. Some of us grew richer not only while but because a lot of the rest of us grew poorer.

Perhaps the greatest gulf separating the Great Depression from the Great Recession is the difference between the political economy born back then and the political economy of the last generation. The New Deal articulated the outlook of a new order based on mass consumption industrial capitalism. It was rooted in emerging sectors of mass production and distribution as well as in the insurgent labor movement and among broad circles of social welfare reformers. It helped give birth to a high-wage industrial economy buoyed by strong unions, an expanding system of social welfare, a regulatory regime to dismantle that era’s “money trust” and so open up the sluice gates of private capital and credit, and government pump-priming when called for. Some of the reform legislation of FDR’s first 100 days (the Securities Act, the Glass-Steagall Act, the TVA) and much more of the legislation to follow (the Wagner Act, Social Security, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Public Utility Holding Company Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and so on) were designed, by no means always successfully, to bring this new, consumer-oriented industrial capitalism into being.

The New Deal was no utopia. It left untouched gross racial, gender and economic inequities, still deferred to the power of an industrial-financial-military elite, and committed itself to empire-building abroad. Nonetheless, for a generation it closed the gap between the haves and have-nots and kept alive the hope that much more in the way of economic and social justice might be accomplished.

Since then—beginning with the Reagan years—finance has triumphed over the New Deal industrial order. Financialization, or what some have called financial mercantilism, triumphed by gutting the American industrial heartland. That is to say, the FIRE sector not only supplanted industry but grew at its expense and at the expense of the unions, the high wages, and the capital that used to flow into productive investment, not to mention at the cost of government social supports and government regulation that comprised the understructure of New Deal capitalism. Think back only to the days of junk bonds, leveraged buyouts and asset stripping in the 1980s. What was getting bought out and stripped so as to support the exorbitant interest rates commanded by those high-risk junk bonds was the material wherewithal of the American economy and the millions who depended on it for their lives and livelihoods. 

So today instead of unionized, high-wage industry, there is Wal-Mart. Our political economy is driven by “I banks,” hedge funds and the downward mobility and exploitation of casual labor, while industrial investment has been exported to the global south. This may account for the abject reliance of the Obama regime on the financial oligarchy and its intellectuals. It is a telling commentary on this great transformation of the past 75 years that Obama’s first 100 days did not feature at its core an industrial recovery act as FDR’s did. Instead, most attention is directed at restoring the well-being of the FIRE sector whose health is everybody else’s disease.

Will those “green shoots” of recovery flower? Perhaps. But so long as we remain in thrall to high finance, that’s a sobering thought. By extending the bailout state inaugurated by George W. Bush and Henry Paulson, the Obama administration assumes a heavy burden. One might call it the president’s own “moral hazard.” Determined at apparently any cost to keep those “too-big-to-fail” zombies alive and well, he licenses them to behave exactly as they have behaved for a quarter-century and more. Why not behave that way, if they are being reassured by Washington that at the end of the day there is no end of the day? And the latest indications are that they are doing precisely that, leveraging new, speculative paper transactions that help nobody but themselves.

More profoundly disturbing is this: Even should those “green shoots” flower, the best that can be expected is a kind of jobless “recovery” and a general lowering of the social wage. After all, recovery of the economy of high finance is not recovery we can believe in, nor is it even an economy. If this happens, then we may have to conclude that the Great Recession gave way to the Great Retrogression.

Steve Fraser is the author of several books, including “Every Man a Speculator: A History of Wall Street in American Life,” “Labor Will Rule: Sidney Hillman and the Rise of American Labor” and, most recently, “Wall Street: America’s Dream Palace,” published by Yale University Press.


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By surfboy, January 2, 2012 at 5:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When in glut.  Go outside and run around doing something constructive(Build and staff a university) and then come in and “demand” another meal.

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By Night-Gaunt, November 16, 2009 at 10:31 am Link to this comment

I was agreeing with you. I just used a different economic format, why? Sometimes by using a less familiar analogy brings out the point one is making. So why did you respond & repeat again? Unnecessary to say the least. I was not confused so don’t treat me as such.

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By ThomasG, November 15, 2009 at 5:29 pm Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt, November 15 at 6:55pm,

Night-Gaunt said: “Now would anyone confuse bartering with socialism?”

ThomasG’s answer:  Anyone that could confuse Capitalism, as an Economic System, with socialism, as a Societal System, could probably confuse bartering with socialism, because bartering is a crude Economic System, and is not a societal system, and the false analogy would be consistent. Bartering would be more analogous to Capitalism, since both are Economic Systems.

Socialism as an analogy is comparable in application in the United States as a comparison between communities, cities, counties, states and the United States as a nation, as further compared to socialism as applied in Israel, in the Former Soviet Union, USSR, and other nations where variant forms of socialism are being used as a Societal System.

Capitalism is NOT a Societal System, Capitalism is an Economic System.

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By Night-Gaunt, November 15, 2009 at 2:55 pm Link to this comment

Very good ThomasG and I would try another analogy just to help DieDaily and anyone else from confusion in this matter.

Bartering is when there is a direct means of payment by what one can do or produce. Now would anyone confuse bartering with socialism? Could there be bartering in virtually any kind of social system as in independent of? I would say yes. The same can be said for Capitalism as ThomasG has so ably put. So the end product of this little exercised is that the two are not mutually exclusive to each other. I could also go into the idea that Capitalism can come in many forms some better for all of us than others. There is no one kind of “Capitalism” in use. There needn’t be that restriction in our minds.

I agree with DieDaily about the manipulation by the PTB affecting our economy and the world’s and making a killing on them. (Both financially and with real wars etc.) That must end and sever penalties should be in place and enforced by incorruptible people. [Not an easy job, I understand.]

“Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.”-Napolean I

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By ThomasG, November 15, 2009 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment

DieDaily, November 14 at 3:12am,

You make reference to socialism as if it is an economic system when it is NOT.  The Soviet Union used a Command Economy, rather than a Capitalist Economy.  It is valid to compare a Command Economy to a Capitalist Economy, but it is not valid to compare Capitalism to socialism, because the comparison is not between LIKE TERMS.

Capitalism is the act, process, or result of operating an economy based upon the use of capital.

Socialism is the act, process, or result of operating a greater or lesser community; a group of people living together in one locality and subject to the same laws, with common benefit, ownership and participation; i.e., a community, city, county, state, or nation.

It is a false frame to compare Capitalism to socialism or socialism to Capitalism, because Capitalism is the means of operating an economy within a community, city, county, state, or nation; and socialism is the means of operating the community, city, county, state, or nation where the Capitalist economy is located.

It is a false frame when comparisons are employed that do not utilize LIKE TERMS.  Capitalism can be compared to other forms of Capitalism as a means of running an economy; and socialism can be compared to other forms of socialism as a means of running a community, city, county, state, or nation; but to compare the means of running an economy, Capitalism,  to the means of running a state or nation, socialism, is a comparison of unlike terms, and therefore a false frame.

To compare Capitalism to socialism implies that Capitalism is a means of running a community, city, county, state or nation.  And, so far as I am aware, there is NO community, city, county, state, or nation that is or can be run by the means of running an economy, Capitalism, that could exist, unless the community, city, county, state, or nation is privately owned or under fascist control.

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By DieDaily, November 13, 2009 at 11:12 pm Link to this comment

Good stuff, WriterOnTheStorm. I think we can all
agree that corporatism sucks. I think it’s a bit of
an open question: what would happen if cartels and
lobbyists were done and gone. What I argue is that
the surest way to ENSURE THAT OLIGARCHS PREVAIL MORE
THAN EVER is to socialize the system further. Some
sort of transparent, fully auditable (by the public)
system would stop them in their tracks, since they
require secrecy to enact their evil. In this, I hope
we and all good folks are in absolute agreement. My
thesis was simply that large corporations
(militaristic top-down dictatorships) foster
inefficiency. Young, strong, innovative, hungry
wolves then move in and rip away their market via
innovation and undercutting (they have lest waste).
Then these wolves in turn get fat and old and fascist
and bloated. Then the next generation of young
innovators come and rip them apart in turn. This is
why, in my opinion, corporatism falls flat on its
face in a free market. What we have right now is not
a free market…it’s an oligarch controlled,
cartel/globalist REGIME. It exists because it is not
properly regulated…and for no other reason.

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By WriterOnTheStorm, November 13, 2009 at 3:29 pm Link to this comment

DieDaily,

I must have misconstrued your post. Apparently, we are in the same camp, if not
cooking at the same fire. In fact, I was hoping for a spirited defense of libertarian,
free market economic theories, particularly those which attempt to explain
how/why finacialisation and subsequent meltdowns would not be a potential
hazard in that model.

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By DieDaily, November 12, 2009 at 5:40 pm Link to this comment

Writer on the Storm. I’m having difficulty parsing the
language in your post, so I’ll ask for a little
clarification before responding too much. Before you
re-write it in English, if you wish to, I must ask that
you review my posts. For instance I am PRO PRO PRO
regulation!!! Lol. My posts argue that Greenspan is an
idiot… and that ALL of our woes result from
insufficient and subverted regulation NOT too much of
it!!. Therefore, I argue, control by oligarchs has been
operating, NOT market forces.

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By Leefeller, November 12, 2009 at 11:06 am Link to this comment

She, thanks for enlightenment, me history learning is only slightly better than Bush’s, most should know what that means.

  “Protect the virtue”  pomposity seems lacking in description and not quite the correct definition? A light bulb over me head and the wheels turning takes me back to the rehashing of OM’s discussion on universal morality?

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By WriterOnTheStorm, November 12, 2009 at 10:32 am Link to this comment

DieDaily writes:

“The model has never been given the chance to iterate naturally. At every turn, the oligarchs simply
manipulate the markets in unnatural ways.”

This is the standard argument, the one Greenspan and his cohorts used to justify shutting down the
attempt to regulate OTC derivatives trading in the ‘90’s.

But I have yet to hear a convincing explanation of how this approach would prevent the kind of
collapse we’ve just experienced. If no regulation or manipulation is permitted, what’s to prevent the
over-accumulation of capital that is the root cause?

No, Greenspan’s mia culpa was only half right. It’s not that the market won’t “take care of itself”. It
may.  But those corrections, without regulation to mitigate them, will be violent, disruptive, and the
cause of untold suffering. It may be just to let those who make bad decisions fail, but what’s just about
permitting concerns like Bear Sterns, Goldman et al, to get so big that their failure can endanger the
well-being of millions?

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By Shenonymous, November 12, 2009 at 2:04 am Link to this comment

It seems that within all cultures people, in general, are submissive and
sycophantic.  Why?  Because it is easier to submit to another’s lead and being
deferential and obsequious, or ass-kissing, makes life more effortless.  It is a
seduction by the slave of the master which is a counter force to the usually
thought relationship of master to the slave.

One of those instances that I think highlights this concept, if I may dare to say,
of codependence between slave and master, Anarcissie, was when Maximilien
François Marie Isidore de Robespierre,  aka Robespierre, who was the most
able speaker of the beliefs of the left-wing bourgeoisie, preached for a “moral”
insurrection against the corruption of those in power.  And his 18th century
Reign of Terror, a truly terrifying year and two months, is conspicuous for its
mass executions, more than 1285, of who he named as enemies of the
revolution (the State), and the guillotine became not only the instrument but a
symbol of those executions that included the King and Queen of France. 
Robespierre argued that the King, had betrayed “the people” when he tried to
make a run for it out of the country, and by virtue of being a king in the
first place, presented a danger to the State and thus was a unifying force for
the enemies of the Republic.  Much could be said and much has been said
about this lawyer turned fanatical extreme leftist bloodthirsty revolutionary
who became the Public Prosecutor of Paris, but this forum is not really the place
to offer much more except to note that his Deist beliefs had the state decree
and establish a Supreme Being, who he called a radical Democrat and radically
different from the traditional Christian God.  His was a terrifying God, for
whom Robespierre reinterpreted then redefined justice as the sword to satisfy
this God for His selfish need for power.  Notions such as love, cooperation
among men, and virtue, all with their own specially perceived definitions were
used in the service of this power.  Legally charged with dictatorship and
tyranny, he finally had to defend himself against the Republic.  It was without a
doubt a political struggle for power.  It was a battle between the politicos. He
was declared an outlaw and subsequently guillotined.  It is said his main
purpose was to protect the virtue (whatever that might mean) and sovereignty
of the people.  However in all of this history, the people acquiesced to whatever
was the mood and more importantly, victory of the various politicians at the
time.  The people become merely the means.  And they received whatever
government those politicians declared was for their own good.  In the end we
have to ask to whom does power belong?  The common people did enjoy a
spectacle however and thronged to the public beheadings as modern man does
rock concerts.  Imagine being able to enjoy 1285 beheadings in 14 months!

What choices do we have?  I say it depends on who you say are the “we.”  Yes
people will “simply vote,”... simply.  It is not the people who restores order but
those in charge who restore it to their own purposes.  Idealists are often too
lost in their own idealism and do not see the real dynamics of the lethargy of
the people and then conceitedly speak on behalf of those people without
recognizing the essential reality of the moldability of that population.  It is
always a continuous competition for power and wealth, always was and most
likely always will be given the nature of the human psyche.  The people will be
led to some catastrophe or another by the fraudulent and self-serving, and
even those on the left are self-serving, only their prize is glory.  Rulers are
always ugly and stupid to someone and we the opposition will always attempt
to tie their shoelaces before they can do us in.

Gramsci also said, “The challenge of modernity is to live without illusions and
without becoming disillusioned.”

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By Anarcissie, November 11, 2009 at 12:42 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, November 11 at 4:10 am:
‘Does NABNYC’s 8-step program to a better world have any traction?  Not in reality.  To have any program like he proposes he would have to convince
enough people to make the changes.  Same thing for Anarcissie’s complete cultural change.  Do you really think, Anarcissie that the common population would stop worshipping and kowtowing to the powerful and wealthy? ...’

Not this afternoon, probably.  And it’s a very long shot at any time.  However, there have been instances of cultures where the rich and powerful were held suspect and even boycotted when necessary.  So it seems possible even in the United States, where the people seem unusually submissive and sycophantic.  And as for it being a long shot, what choices do we have?  It is clear that a top-down effort to reform the present arrangements will fail if the people prefer monarchy, fascism or plutocracy—they’ll simply vote, trade and generally behave to restore the bad old order.  But continued competition for power and wealth through the violence and fraud of state power almost certainly assures us a future of catastrophe and annihilation, and in any case our rulers and their fans and their systems are ugly and stupid and we can at least tie their shoeslaces together before they do us in.

Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will, as Antonio Gramsci said.

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By Leefeller, November 11, 2009 at 9:23 am Link to this comment

Not being savvy of economics or even wanting to be an arm chair scholar of capitalism, though knowing of corporatism and it’s manipulations, which has always seemed most unsavory to me, my limited knowledge on the subject could not help but find this article most enlightening, comprehensive and covering many bases, for I learned much! 

As usual, seems some find the coverage wholly lacking in a cynical traditional lock step contingency way,(seemingly self deluded experts)  it would not be TD for they are always to be expected, for what do I k-know?

Why do I find the following most accurate and it calls attention in me mind, of the most often touted trickle down theory, in all it’s imbecilic simplicity and glory!

The following hits home with clarity, not usually seen in the media!

“It is a telling commentary on this great transformation of the past 75 years that Obama’s first 100 days did not feature at its core an industrial recovery act as FDR’s did. Instead, most attention is directed at restoring the well-being of the FIRE sector whose health is everybody else’ s disease.”

Maybe as more people feel the discomfort caused from the opportunists and manipulators, things may change one way or the other?

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By Shenonymous, November 11, 2009 at 12:10 am Link to this comment

Does NABNYC’s 8-step program to a better world have any traction?  Not in
reality.  To have any program like he proposes he would have to convince
enough people to make the changes.  Same thing for Anarcissie’s complete
cultural change.  Do you really think, Anarcissie that the common population
would stop worshipping and kowtowing to the powerful and wealthy?  The hoi
polloi (poor and middle class) are enthralled with rock stars, and rock stars are
part of the wealthy.  What would you do with the entertainers?  What would
happen to the lotteries?  And then to the winners? 

Okay, so the government is collapsing?  I do not quite agree.  Was it on the
brink, yes.  But it hasn’t.  People are still being admitted to American colleges,
and buying up the wazoo at WalMart.  That notwithstanding capitalism implies
more than buying and selling things and who sells the most wins.  That is a
Folksytroother crock.  Capitalism means you can own a home and not be given
one according to some bullshit priority list as Steinsvold invents.  Capitalism
means you can live your life without the friggin guvamint sticking its nose into
every time you sit on the toilet!  Capitalism means you can buy what you want
with the money you earned however much or however little that is.  Capitalism
means within your means you can travel where you want when you want. 
Capitalism means you can be a unique individual and not some cookie cutter
uniformed drone.  Capitalism means you have freedom of speech just like the
speech you exercise on Truthdig.  Just try to do that in Iran!  We won’t get into
democracy just yet since this country is not a democracy.  You New World
Orderites are laughable and hypocrites who sit at your computers pontificating
about how crappy this country is and capitalism is the evil of all evils but who
uses electricity generated by a corporation to power their “computers” that was
manufactured by the very corporations you denigrate.  This goes for every
stitch of clothing you have on your back as well as your children and
wife/husband if you have them.  Do you drive a car or do you walk?  What kind
of car do you drive?  Where do you think it was made?  Japan?  Well corporate
Japanese cars are being manufactured in the USA.  Bullcrap.  You whiners about
capitalism are laughable.  Do not get me wrong.  There is a financial crisis and
there are financial robbers and financial bloodsuckers.  And there are many
intelligent posters here that have described it exactly.  The rest of you, I submit
you are wading through your own hubris.

Thrashertm’s and Hulk2008 comment ring right succinct and sweet.  Cuts to
the quick.  C.Curtis.Dillon makes better in-depth arguments.  Worth reading
more than once and DieDaily’s.  I’ve learned a great deal from these posts. 

The idea that the US will be the cops of the world is ludicrous.  In a hundred
years there will be a world police force managed by a world organization such
as the United Nations.  And there will be world courts, world jails and world
prisons.  And none of us will be here!

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By Anarcissie, November 10, 2009 at 9:45 pm Link to this comment

I think it’s fairly unusual for an important market not to be manipulated politically—if, indeed, such a thing has ever happened.  Wealth confers political power, so the wealthy who are concerned about a particular market will use their influence or direct control of governments to affect the behavior of that market to their perceived advantage.

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By DieDaily, November 10, 2009 at 6:18 pm Link to this comment

Writer, but as we can plainly see they did not
actually maximize profit (except possibly in the
short term) because now the system is collapsing. So
while you are dead-on in the short term, a long-term
profit motive is actually AGAINST what has occurred.
Now the bail-outs totally trash this principle, of
course. But what if all these institutions had
actually existed within a capitalism paradigm instead
of a corporate welfare system? Why, they’d be gone,
road kill. And the directors would be sued into
oblivion by their angry shareholders in a Chapter 11
feeding frenzy. It’s simply pointless to make
assumptions about capitalism based on what we’ve seen
since WWII. There really hasn’t been a market place
that has allowed any economic basic theory to operate
and be tested. Why has nobody figured out the
formulas that underly stock market trends? Because
there are none…since it’s 95% oligarch manipulated
(insider activity) ALL OF THE PRIMARY DRIVING
VARIABLES ARE STOCHASTIC. The drivers are NOT within
the model. The model has never been given the chance
to iterate naturally. At every turn, the oligarchs
simply manipulate the markets in unnatural ways.

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By WriterOnTheStorm, November 10, 2009 at 4:35 pm Link to this comment

In describing late-stage capitalism Fraser neglects perhaps the most salient
point: left to it’s own devices, capitalism will inevitably arrive at
financialisation. Larry Elliott, economics editor of the Guardian, put it this
way:

“It is not the financialisation of Western economies that explains the
sluggish growth of recent decades; rather, it is the sluggish growth and the
lack of investment opportunities for capital that explains financialisation.
From this perspective, the only way capitalists could increase their wealth
was through the expansion of a finance sector which, divorced from the real
economy, became ever more prone to asset bubbles. Calling time on the
casino economy does not mean balanced growth, it just means lower
growth.”

This helps explain why all the kings horses and all the kings men are
insanely trying to put this economic humpty-dumpty back together again.
Without financialisation, we slide into immediate stagnation or even
crippling stagflation.

But, as Elliot writes, “After a short period in which bankers are chastened by
their egregious folly there is a return to business as usual… As a result, we
can now start counting down the days to an even bigger financial crisis
down the road.”

But the takeaway point is that this is always and inexorably the result of too
much wealth aggregation in too few places. Financialisation happens as
capitalists (driven by the contraptions’s intrinsic imperative to maximize
profit) attempt to expand their capital more rapidly than society’s
consuming ability will allow. Now, if one cannot increase the demand for a
product, one can expand by buying out competitors and expanding market
share. This process is repeated until complete market domination is
acheived. Still, this phase results eventually in stagnation - a condition
capitalism abhors.

And so the fun begins. Multinational corporate behemoths now dominate
the economic playing field. Capital, now all dressed up but with no place to
go, turns to high finance. Essentially, they are investing in investment. A
move which strikes anyone—anyone with a modicum of horse-sense at
least—as folly. Or rather, long-term folly, because in the short term
there’s an irresistible, drunken, rip-roaring, profit-taking hoe-down spilling
out into the streets.

There’s just one little problem. Financialisation, like it’s wicked step sister,
you know, the one we like to call Ponzi, only works as long as there’s more
cash coming in than there is going out. The minute your markers are called
in, the whole she-bang takes a tumble.

Again, the point I would underscore is that this too is inevitable. This is the
natural cycle and unavoidable consequence of the Ayn Rand/Milton
Friedman/Alan Greenspan model. This manic-depressive behavior is part
and parcel to the borderline personality of unfettered capital. Talk about
moody…

This is not to say that there isn’t a compromise to make with capitalism that
will work for everyone in a more equitable, sustainable way. But this odious,
scorched-earth, balls-to-the-wall thing that’s been foisted upon us isn’t
working, and never has. Unless, of course, your name is Goldman, or Sachs.

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By stcfarms, November 10, 2009 at 7:29 am Link to this comment

That is true if you look for conventional jobs but the under ground economy
actually does better during hard times. This week I have a job lined up that will
not pay money but will ‘pay’ a truck load of tools. Some jobs pay in firewood,
some jobs pay cash. If you are flexible enough to barter you will find a huge
untapped market for your skills. When I have nothing else to do I build boat or
utility trailers that can be sold or traded later.


By DieDaily, November 10 at 5:11 am #

On word of caution though, no matter how many skills
and trades you know you likely won’t be employed for
long! Hard times are a comin’.

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By ardee, November 10, 2009 at 5:57 am Link to this comment

DieDaily, November 10 at 8:24 am

I think you fail to see clearly several facts;

China, once third world, now an industrialized monster

the factories that deserted our shores are now up and running in many third world nations.

That these factories were wooed with inducements including no environmental or saftey restriction, very low pay and no benefits is true at present, as it was during the dawn of our own industrial revolution as well. Unionism will, eventually, take care of that.

I think the trend is clear enough, you do not, so be it.

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By DieDaily, November 10, 2009 at 4:24 am Link to this comment

ardee, unfortunately there will be no lifting up of
the third-world as a counterbalance to our downfall.
That’s never been part of the globalist agenda, nor
will it start to be, however prominently it figures
into the entirely fictitious “level playing field”
propaganda. Fortunately, though, this is not the
death of capitalism, it’s going to be the birth of
it. Or one might argue the restoration of it. Even
and especially at the local community level, as
things get rough, pure capitalism will flourish. It’s
so sad the oligarch-created and utterly failed
experiment of central-government socialism has
captured your imagination. I hope think this over! If
that socialistic leaning gets too wide spread then
we’re going to be in big trouble and oligarchs who
will run it will be laughing all the way to central
bank. The ONLY way out of this situation is to
massively decentralize everything.

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By ardee, November 10, 2009 at 3:37 am Link to this comment

You might ask: Is the ‘Good Life’ as
America Knows It Over? The answer is indubitably.

What life America knew was based upon the theft from a significant portion of the world in order to support an artificially inflated standard of living here. For far too long the “west” lived on the backs of the so-called third world nations.

What we are seeing now is the inevitable adjustment to a fairer and more equitable level that allows the former third world nations to enjoy a greater degree of said “luxury” while disadvantaging the west a bit.

This will lead us all to a better place, eventually. Those who choose to see only gloom and doom are free to do so. Those who see this as the death pangs of capitalism have my attention.

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By liecatcher, November 10, 2009 at 2:48 am Link to this comment

Steve Fraser on the Crisis of Capitalism

Posted on Nov 6, 2009 By Steve Fraser

Hey Steve Fraser:

This is a powerful article & has enough meat in it to
choke even the most ravenous predator on Wall St. or
the hungriest whore in Washington as they dine at the
same table

& celebrate the enslavement of America in a debtor’s
abyss & the rapid approach of the NEW WORLD ORDER:ONE
WORLD GOVERNMENT. Instead of the “read my lips”
hubris,

they are following a “just do it” tactic with the
strategy of shock & awe which has been magnificently
described in Naomi Klein’s book: “THE SHOCK DOCTRINE,
THE RISE OF

DISASTER CAPITALISM”.

When you say: .” If the country’s financial overlords
continue to wield enormous power, their moral stature
approaches zero and their faith in the free market
now seems like a cultic delusion, damaging to their
intellectual credibility. Ideas about government
regulation and government economic stimulus, so
recently anathematized, are now mainstreamed. “,

that seems to question the reality that GOVERNMENT
SACHS owns & operates the government, has, & alway
will.

The antebellum slavery pales in comparison to what
America has been reduced to.

What we have now is fascism, plain & simple. When
Bush 3 was surrounded with banksters, the outcome
was

inevitable. You might ask: Is the ‘Good Life’ as
America Knows It Over? The answer is indubitably.
With the permanent exportation of jobs, loss of homes
& no way

to pay off the ever increasing debt, it’s over. The
sickening thing about this disaster is that the
majority of the populace has been so numbed out &
dumbed down by the main street

media that it doesn’t even realize the extent of its
enslavement & that Obamageddon is here.

One last thought, from an academic perspective, is
that when you discuss Keynesianism, it’s imperative
that you mention Milton Friedman & the

Chicago School of Economics, since the evil that men
do lives after them.

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By DieDaily, November 10, 2009 at 1:11 am Link to this comment

I can empathize with stcfarms though, too. My
education was in Physics but I’ve made my living as a
software developer and a tradesman, whichever pays
better at the moment. In both trades I found that it
was incredibly easy to hire bodies and incredibly
difficult to hire brains. Whenever I found someone
capable of independently carrying out tasks, problem
solving, etc. I hung on to them like the rare
treasure that they were.

I would say, though, that while my construction and
computing trades learning wasn’t carried out on a
university campus like my Physics learning was, it
was still rigorous and demanding, ultimately. And a
great thing about swinging a hammer is that the job
site doesn’t suffer the fingers and toes of life-is-
so-abstract pretentious idiots masquerading as useful
people to remain intact for long. Book learning is
really fantastic, but without some supplemental real-
world experience in the arts of creating things with
one’s own hands it’s a pretty pathetic stand-alone.
Experimentalists are generally great at hammer
swinging and seeing through the BS of purist
theoreticians. It brings to mind Herman Hesse’s
“Magister Ludi” (The Glass Bead Game).

On word of caution though, no matter how many skills
and trades you know you likely won’t be employed for
long! Hard times are a comin’.

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By stcfarms, November 10, 2009 at 12:45 am Link to this comment

When I lived in Arizona and Texas I loved Mexicans and Central Americans. I
paid them the going rate and they worked twice as hard as me, and I grew up
on a pre industrial dairy farm. The ‘Americanized”  Mexicans and Central
Americans up north are no better than the local indigenous people. Actually
my best worker ever was a skinny little black girl that, after 3 weeks, created
her own swap meet job, and went into direct competition with me, quit college
and now owns a house in Scottsdale.

There are many $8 an hour tradesmen around here, but you get what you pay
for. The expensive tradesman has his own tools, does not have to be told what
to do and does it right. They can do excellent work in a wide variety of fields.
They pay their own insurance, they are reliable, and oddly enough, most of
them quit school because it was not stimulating enough. I am not paying
them, they are paying me.

Some education is tainted by the powers that be, it is just training for their
corporations. Some classes are good and my basket weaving or what ever
course got me a student ID and a pass to physics labs et cetera. No one ever
bothered me and perhaps out in the aether there exists a basket weaving PHD
with my name on it…

Where we are going only self starting, quick learners have a chance to make
it. Most people believe that there is a box outside of which thought processes
are no longer valid. Except for the laws of physics there are no boundaries.
The islands are not outside the laws of physics but, clearly, they are outside of
some self imposed box for many people. I am looking for people that cannot
see the box.

By Night-Gaunt, November 10 at 2:56 am #

Of course education goes beyond a school setting and you know it. No need to
false posture here. We understand that. It seems to me you just aren’t looking
in the right places for them. Hable espanol?

There are plenty of people trained in what you need it is just finding them and
getting them to where you are. Education is useless if the job is sent overseas
or the cheaper workers are sent here and you can’t do it to pay back what was
paid to get that education. I am surprised you are still paying so much. These
days the costs have been undercut so much in so many places. Good fortune
in finding those workers. They are indeed out there.

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By Night-Gaunt, November 9, 2009 at 10:56 pm Link to this comment

Of course education goes beyond a school setting and you know it. No need to false posture here. We understand that. It seems to me you just aren’t looking in the right places for them. Hable espanol?

There are plenty of people trained in what you need it is just finding them and getting them to where you are. Education is useless if the job is sent overseas or the cheaper workers are sent here and you can’t do it to pay back what was paid to get that education. I am surprised you are still paying so much. These days the costs have been undercut so much in so many places. Good fortune in finding those workers. They are indeed out there.

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By stcfarms, November 9, 2009 at 10:22 pm Link to this comment

Ultimately it is less about education and more about useful knowledge. My
jack of all trades friends and I have to turn down jobs because we cannot find
laborers that can swing a hammer, wire a panel or mix concrete. We have
these skills but cannot handle the sheer volume of work out there. If you have
a dozen useful skills you always have more work than you need, if you have
only one more or less useful skill you are at the mercy of employers. When I
hire someone for a carpentry job (about $25/hr.) I could care less if they ever
went to school as long as they can do the job properly.

Perhaps higher education has been over sold as all of my jack of all trades
friends and I own our homes, tools and vehicles free and clear and most of my
degreed friends are unemployed and in debt up to their eyeballs. Being
uneducated louts we cannot figure out how this could be possible, but there it
is.

By Night-Gaunt, November 9 at 6:06 pm #

Being educated and experienced makes you unemployed for a much longer
time than if you have a lower education and qualifications.

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By msgmi, November 9, 2009 at 8:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The chief executive of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd C. Blankfei, attracted widespread media attention over the size of its staff bonuses and his belief that banks serve a social purpose and are “doing God’s work.” GoldSachs speaks the same lingo as the fossil fuel industry when it speaks of itself as going green to improve the environment. Neither will admit to Larry Kudlow’s daily market kudos that it’s the profits “uber alles” and nothing else matters. The center of gravity is the Wall Street view that profits take precedence over everything; access is good and everything else is secondary. There is no economic balance just an investment balancing act. The days of liquidity have passed by and risk-taking has entered an era of casino gambling. Yes, GoldSachs works hard at what it does with Main Street’s money. GoldSachs “uber alles” even at the expense of national security.

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By DieDaily, November 9, 2009 at 4:45 pm Link to this comment

Mary Anne: Just so! And let’s not leave out Carter. But
most people miss that he’s very much a Hoover.

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By Mary Ann McNeely, November 9, 2009 at 4:06 pm Link to this comment

Barack Obama, slick as spit on a doorknob and just as unpleasant, is the symbol of the New Age we are suffering through now.  I used to think it was George Worthless Bush.  Obama, however, with his undeserved Nobel Peace Prize and the greasy rhetoric of a frontier whiskey drummer, is the new Calvin Coolidge/Herbert Hoover.  FDR?  Who was FDR?

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By Night-Gaunt, November 9, 2009 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment

Being educated and experienced makes you unemployed for a much longer time than if you have a lower education and qualifications. They will find any number of reasons to kick you out of the chance for even the most paltry and poorly paying of temporary shit jobs out there. Your best qualities can be used against you in this topsie-turvy world gone mad by the Capitalists who run it as their own private casino.

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By Hulk2008, November 9, 2009 at 1:19 pm Link to this comment

Capitalism is in NO danger.  In fact, the management class is as happy as clams about the current situation: 
    The market successfully shook out all the amateurs and will keep the Boomers from retiring too soon to be a burden; none of the real culprits have suffered anything but minor delays in income and bonuses; the biggies now have a steady stream of bailout available, “just in case”; productivity is at an all-time high because management has the remaining workers’ feet clamped to the fire - no need to hire anybody; Congress has yet to do ANY kind of regulatory reform and seems unlikely to move further since the re-election cycle is nearly upon them; and the public has been brain-washed to believe that trickle-down does work.  Reagan has been deified for having killed off unions and all pro-union sentiment.  Deficits that benefit the wealthy are basically ignored while spending on “the masses” is ridiculed as subversive - the audacity of the poor to get relief from their own government! Outrageous spending on the war machine is still not even on the radar scope, much less the people’s budget. 
    Fear is the capitalist’s favorite tool in tamping down any attempt at regulation.  As long as the downtrodden can still get their cigarettes and Red Bull, workers seem satisfied to pour out their lifeblood for the Top 1-percenters.
    Question:  Does having an education make one “an elite” in the eyes of conservatives?  Or does just being unemployed and broke qualify?

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By Night-Gaunt, November 8, 2009 at 9:11 pm Link to this comment

Well if the Dominionists get their theocracy here the other gangs will be wiped out by our own USSOCOM which has all of our own version of the specialist assassination and anti-partisan squads to wipe them out, all of them. Then the only gang to be in charge will be corporate and gov’t and holy all at the same time. No more motor cycle gangs or any other for they will be using all their techniques learned over 50 years work in dozens of countries to accomplish that. Understand how and why that will happen when the Constitution and Bill of Rights will be fully dead.

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By Anarcissie, November 8, 2009 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment

It seems to me that if we had the kind of politics and culture which would make the various law and regulation changes suggested here at all possible, we wouldn’t need them, and in any case we could go much further in changing our economy into something more useful and humane than merely reining in abusive business practices.

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By DieDaily, November 8, 2009 at 5:16 pm Link to this comment

ardee, Anarcissie good comments. I’ll try to clarify

Re: bikers vs. cops, lol. I could stop all the crime
in neighborhood in a day or two with one seasoned
squad of Vermacht SS. The streets would be very
peaceful after the bodies were removed, yes? But do
we really want this? Are you serious about the
Angels? Just wait until your spouse catches one of
their eyes. Then we’ll see how much you love them!

Chicago School: Yes, Milton Friedman (another Nobel
liarate) and his inane belief that the free market
can be deregulated for the common good. His ideas
have been used by the IMF to wreck countless
economies and now ours. See the movie/book “Shock
Doctrine”. If anyone wants I can provide links galore
on this demented school of economics which has
subverted our own. It’s pure evil, and beloved of the
oligarchs. It’s ascendancy was largely consolidated
under Reagan/Thatcher, but Bush I and Clinton hammered plenty of nails into the coffin.

Firewall/Regulations: That IS the crux of the matter.
But it is actually possible to firewall the
regulators from the regulated. It’s mostly (entirely?
) a matter of transparency. Like a child abuser
relies on the silence of the victim, all of these
elitist schemes rely upon the silence of the system.
Secrecy lies at the root of all elicit gains, which
IN TURN lies at the root of all evil, as it were. In
Canada some government departments are posting their
income and expenses in real time (at least within the
week) on the internet. The entire public can browse
them. A distributed, transparent system could
replace/augment the SEC just as the citizen
journalist is replacing/augmenting the mainstream
media. It would really take a huge essay to detail
all of this, but we’re getting somewhere. I think we
all agree that an UNREGULATED free market is
crazy…and it’s what we have. I’d like to throw out
the bath water (deregulation) and hold on to the baby
(incentive deriving from private ownership). Is this
more clear?

Folktruther, no worries, sorry for evidently being so
unclear…I just didn’t see what I could have said
that warranted the heated words. A big problem here
is that what we are discussing could take essays to
make everything clear…yet we try for a modicum of
brevity.

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By Folktruther, November 8, 2009 at 3:18 pm Link to this comment

I apparently don’t understand you very well, DieDaily, but I wasn’t attacking you personally.  I just happen to be very immuature for my age.  Like Ardee, I can’t understand exactly what you are saying.

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By Night-Gaunt, November 8, 2009 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment

http://www.evans-experientialism.freewebspace.com/steinsvold.htm
Do it right and it will self activate.

The problem is that Obama is of the same school as Reagan & Clinton concerning Wall St. and capitalism in general in letting it “fix” the market and “regulate itself” in the mean time. What he should have done was to say too big to fail is too big. Either they are bailed out and then restructured or they fall and nothing less than having their past winnings seized to pay back what they owe. I would gladly see that leech upon the Republic the speculators (gamblers) fall into the deepest hell of their own making. But no, free enterprise must exist with a socialist back up to keep them well and ready to speculate again in order to be free.

Unfortunately Obama has little interest in changing things and as the Republic is eaten away by this rampant speculation and enormous expenditures not on health care but on the empire abroad. Trillions that are rarely spoken of that dwarf the health care numbers. Let us have less gov’t in the national security arena that needs to be constantly fed and promote external and internal paranoia that attacks most of us—the elites and their guardians are exempted. We are in dire times being in the invisible Great Depression hovering near a Greater Depression that our beloved president has done nothing about. Why? Does he work with a Cabal that wants its destruction? Even if he isn’t he is acting for them none-the-less. We are in dire danger of becoming a Third world nation like Russia with a First world weaponry at its command. The oligarchs want their empire to be total and absolute both here and abroad. Democracy is too messy & inhibiting even with the one we have that is so compromised by graft and bribery and exclusion. They are tired of the “inverted totalitarianism” that Woll says we have been in for a full on totalitarianism out of the closet and proud.

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By NABNYC, November 8, 2009 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment

1.  Reinstate a progressive tax system.  The first $30,000 of an individual’s income should not be taxed since it is probably the minimum necessary for basic living expenses.  All compensation or consideration, including deferred consideration for insiders, over $250,000 should be taxed at 90%. Any amount paid by a business to any employee in excess of $250,000 in a year should not be tax deductible by the business.  Eliminate capital gains and other preferential tax laws which allow rich people to avoid paying taxes.  Tax estates at 90% of everything over $500,000.00.  Eliminate the sales tax and all other fees which are regressive and have a more severe impact on lower-income people (i.e. the soda pop tax). 

2.  Make it illegal for any politician to take anything of value, or for anyone to offer anything of value to any politician, for any purpose whatsoever.  This includes cash, contributions to campaigns, jobs for spouses and kids.  Prison time for those who ignore the law.

3.  Make all politicians comply with strict new blue sky laws.  Make it illegal for any commuications to take place between any politician or their associates and any person or entity on any subject that could, under any conceivable circumstances, come before the body of which that politician is a member.  End the private meetings like the ones Obama had with the health industry.  No more secret communications.  Everything must be public.  E-mails, phone calls, luncheons, dinners—everything must be public, recorded and posted online within 24 hours.  This is equally offensive when Obama has secret meetings and cuts deals with the health insurance industry, and when Cheney has secret meetings and cuts deals with the oil industry.  These politicians work for us, and they have no right to have any secret communications with anyone unless it involves a life or death national security issue.  Something like the identity of an undercover CIA agent.

4.  End the private charities.  They are just a tax cons.  People put money into a private account under their own name, call it a “charity,” pay out 5%/year, and avoid paying taxes on the money they put into that account.  Cap the tax deduction for charitable contributions to $1,000/person per year.

5.  Make it illegal any politician to work for, or accept anything of value from, any person or business which had any dealings with the body to which the politician belonged for a period of 5 years after the politician leaves offices.

6.  Stop expecting the Democrats to help us.  Let’s make our own platform and tell politicians that we will only support them, and vote for them, if they commit to our platform.

7.  Recommit the national government to serving the people.  Not the businesses.  Businesses are not citizens.  Politicians have no right to put the interests of businesses or foreign nations in front of those of the citizens.  Yet the opposite is our current situation.  The government proudly announces that they have saved the banks and brokerage houses, they have saved Iraq, they are sending the military to occupy Columbia, they are standing firm behind Israel.  What about the citizens of this country?  Where are our jobs?  Where is our national healthcare plan?  Where is our pension program?  We are supposed to be first, and none of those other groups should even be on the list.  We the people, just us folks.

8.  The national government must immediately create and implement a plan for our nation’s future which includes a living wage and good jobs for all citizens, a fully-funded government-provided pension, a national healthcare system (perhaps modeled on the one in Israel funded 1/3 by bubsiness, 1/3 by individuals, 1/3 by a government fund, and to include dental), and a new national housing plan which requires all communities to build apartments and affordable condominiums, because the suburban single family residence is economically and environmentally unsustainable.

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By Anarcissie, November 8, 2009 at 9:53 am Link to this comment

DieDaily—I don’t see how you’re going to construct a firewall between those regulating the capitalist economy and the regulatees.  There was a lot of effort in the 20th century to do this, but in any situation where some people acquire much more wealth than others, the wealthy are going to use some of their wealth to manipulate political conditions in their favor, and among those political conditions is regulation.  In general, the regulators and the regulatees wind up being from the same class of people, and quite often they are the same identical people.  The invention of the corporation enhances this process but isn’t necessary to it.

I don’t see much solution to this problem short of a cultural change in which people stop worshiping and kowtowing to the powerful and wealthy solely because they’re powerful and wealthy and start taking control of their own lives and work, in which case some kind of general and highly transparent agreement on regulation might be possible.

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By ardee, November 8, 2009 at 5:14 am Link to this comment

It’s like an unregulated neighborhood…within days or weeks it’s run by
bikers. I’ll take cops over bikers, thanks.

Spoken like a person who has never seen how bad things get when the police are called in. East Palo Alto was , at one time, the murder capital of the USA, riddled with crime , drug dealing and the like. Then the Daly City chapter of the Hell’s Angels built its new clubhouse there. Within a few short months there was a great reduction in street crime, the dealers disappeared from the streets and the murder rate plummeted. This is anecdotal of course, but true. I am not suggesting that the HADC are heroes only that your reasoning about police does not apply to the poor.That club had its own, rather nefarious reasons for wanted the streets free of crime, obviously to protect its own less blatant but very large criminal activities from exposure. This is also no defense of the practices of that club, as I said, anecdotal only.


on a less frivolous note;

There is no problem with capitalistic principles,unless one subscribes to some demented version such as laissez faire capitalism, such as the Chicago/Shock Doctrine/Obama style.

I noticed the first time you used this term and still puzzle at its meaning. Do you imply that the capitalism as noted by the Bush administration, complete freedom to lie cheat and steal, is somehow different from that practiced in Chicago; or perhaps you equivocate Milton Friedman’s long tenure at Chicago’s finest institution of learning with Obama’ leanings? It seems to me you simply seek to denigrate without real substance.

Elucidate please….

I would add that we are not all that far apart in our vision of unregulated capitalism, its corrupting influence upon our governance, and perhaps even in the possible solutions to this increasing problem.

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By DieDaily, November 8, 2009 at 3:21 am Link to this comment

Folktruther, aside from the immature ad hominem, I
don’t disagree with much of anything in your comment.
But you radically misinterpret what I’m saying and
mis-characterize me. An unregulated market is death
on wheels. It’s like an unregulated neighborhood…within days or weeks it’s run by
bikers. I’ll take cops over bikers, thanks. Even
children can understand that the rights of their
fists run into at least a grey area near the next
kid’s nose. So your excitement about my post is a
little misplaced. The playground can be a very free
place, as long as there are strict rules and these
are enforced with teeth (i.e. a supervisor).

Now, if one of the kids is the child of a supervisor
then that’s a huge problem. Back to the free market.
There is no problem with capitalistic principles,
unless one subscribes to some demented version such
as laissez faire capitalism, such as the
Chicago/Shock Doctrine/Obama style. This is because
the “idealistic” free market is a fantasy, just as is
the unsupervised playground. One merely needs to
ensure that none of the regulators can be influenced
by the regulatees.

I’ve read a lot of Marx, and I think his earlier
works in particular are brilliant, particularly with
respect to how capital accumulates in corrupt
enclaves governed by venal, acquisitive men who OWN
THE REGULATORS (generally THE GOVERNMENT). Unless I
misread you, you are saying we can government our way
out of this problem which is a really, really bad
idea. I can’t imagine how it could ever work. We know
from the experiment of the Soviet Union, where the 1%
of private land gardened by the commune farmers in
their yards produced in the order of 90 or 95 percent
of the produce. This incontrovertibly proves the
notion that ownership of private property is an
absolutely key and utterly indispensable prerequisite
of motivated production. Ultimately this unavoidable
point is the deepest flaw in Marx’s theories,
especially his later ones. That’s why idealists
should never be given power!

I don’t know if you just had a really bad day or
what, but a little maturity in your next comment
please. You don’t need to psychoanalyze and berate
your misperceived target in order to discuss these
points rationally. You might want to consider the
above fundamental oversight in Marx’s thinking. But
did he brilliantly diagnose the evils of UNREGULATED
(or corruptly government-regulated) capitalism? Hell
yes, he did. He identified the raging fire of
oligarchical corruption. But you seem to suggest we
should “redistribute” (i.e. government) our way out
of this fire. That suggest to me you are hosing the
problem down with gasoline, when all that is needed
is a firewall between the free market and those
regulating it. That’s called being a moderate, or a
centrist. It would work. Remember, ancient hunter-
gatherers were 100% capitalists with respect to
inter-tribal and inter-regional trade, and it
functioned very well, even with the introduction of
tokens (currency). It took the intervention of
central government to screw that up. Marx simply
missed this fact and it’s why his theories fail
dismally in practice, however beautiful they are in
the abstract.

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By Folktruther, November 8, 2009 at 12:56 am Link to this comment

DieDaily, your comment that free market capitalism is different from the giant corportations that has emerged historically presumes an assumption the governs libertarianism and much of liberal economics.
It is quite true that giant corporations restrict Free Enterprise and competition, and often do so under the rhetoric of promoting it.  But that is what capitalism really is historically, not the schoolbook Free Enterprise that you take as fact.

Capitalism is not only an economic system, it is a power system.  Those that have, use their power to get, and to prevent others from getting.  that is how capitalism-Free Enterprise-actually works out in practice historically.  Can you deny it?

but you lament, this is not Real capitalism.  Yes it is.  What is not real is the school book theory of it that you have in your head.  In the Western tradition it is presumed that the economic is separate from the political, and that the political is comprised of Free elections.  What happens historically in practice is that the owners of the means of economic production also own the means of truth production, and use it and their money to corrupt the electoral system.  Do you deny it?

there is no way to separate the economic Free Enterprise from the power inequality that it produces, and that corrupts Free Enterprise.  As marx pointed out a century and a half ago.  But they teach you a corrupt version of marx in the schools, universities and other learned bureaucracies, along with a sanitized Free Enterprise devorced from political reality.  Becuasse the capitalist power structure controls them, and restricts truth is precisely the same way they restrict economic compitition.

What is the histoircal solution?  I don’t know, which is why I make comments, to think about it.  but in China, instead of the banks controlling the governement, the banks are owned by the state and ruled by the communist party.  It is a far more effective economic system than American neoliberal capitalism, and the Chinese are developing at an historically unparralled rate. 

I assume that when this process is complete, in a few decades, this system will be increasingly ineffective and tyranical, as the US system is now, because they are both class systems.

What comes after that?  I don’t know.

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By ThomasG, November 7, 2009 at 6:08 pm Link to this comment

In America, the resources of the Native people were privatized, capitalized, and marketed to European colonists to create capital for those who privately owned and operated the means of production and distribution.

When all resources had been stripped from the native people, the resources of the Colonists, that were taken by force from the Native people, were privatized, capitalized and marketed to the Colonists by those who privately owned and operated the means of production and distribution.

Today, at the beginning of the 21st Century, the resources of American citizens continue to be privatized, capitalized and marketed to create capital for those who privately own and operate the means of production and distribution.

Anything can be privatized, capitalized, and marketed as a consumable, including YOUR OWN body parts and YOUR OWN bodily functions; the idea behind privatization is forced labor for wages, that is then used by the forced laborer as a consumer to buy back that which was forcefully privatized and taken; privatization compels the laborer to be a part of an economy’s labor force and earn money to buy back a part of what was by force privatized.

The question that arises in my mind is whether or not Capitalists in support of Capitalism that they espouse so aggressively will support Capitalism that is directly applied to THEIR OWN body parts and bodily functions? ——As a Capitalist venture on behalf of the masses of the Common Population, would Capitalists be for or against socialistic/communistic Capitalism privatizing, capitalizing and marketing Capitalists body parts and bodily functions back to Capitalists as consumers? ——a FREE MARKET to Capitalists for Capitalists in Capitalist body parts and bodily functions. This concept could be used as a counter balance to provide socialized/communized FREE MARKET Capitalism to privatize FREE MARKET Capitalism.

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By Anarcissie, November 7, 2009 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment

DieDaily, November 7 at 6:55 pm:
’... The notion that the financial sector represents real wealth let alone real productivity is patently absurd. Ardee is absolutely correct that the process of continuing to “lend” money to these financial institutions is an absolute guarantee of decline into literal third-worldhood. But then that’s the plan.  Destroy America so that a global government will be capable of policing it.’

Well, of course, money being “lent” is funny money.  I don’t know how that’s going to play out, but the stuff does not represent value or labor.  It’s just made up.  If it were passed into the real economy then wild inflation would result, but it’s just being used to push up the prices of rich people’s real estate, bonuses, and champagne at the moment.

As for a global government policing America, I think the vision of at least part of the U.S. ruling class is that the U.S. (as a state) will be the world cops.  This was the Bush vision of national imperialism.  In the Clinton vision, you might have something somewhat different, in which a world ruling class would cohere and run all the countries; but this isn’t so different from the first vision, because cops will be needed and who are the cops today?  The disagreement seems to consist of some pushing and shoving among the big cheeses but it’s not a difference of philosophy.

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By DieDaily, November 7, 2009 at 2:55 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Dillon, I respectfully disagree. I find ardee’s
statements to be merely truthful and factual. If they
are political, that’s just the corollary. What’s not
to agree with about the uselessness of feeding tens
of trillions (that’s right, tens of trillions) into
the black hole of toxic paper that now is estimated
at OVER FOUR THOUSAND TRILLION (that’s right, four
quadrillion or four million billion). The notion that
the financial sector represents real wealth let alone
real productivity is patently absurd. Ardee is
absolutely correct that the process of continuing to
“lend” money to these financial institutions is an
absolute guarantee of decline into literal third-
worldhood. But then that’s the plan. Destroy America
so that a global government will be capable of
policing it.

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By ardee, November 7, 2009 at 10:28 am Link to this comment

C.Curtis.Dillon, November 7 at 12:23 pm #

You know ardee, as is usually the case, you miss the point trying to make a political statement.

The point atop your head perhaps? I miss your opinion, or rather reject it. A trillion or more dollars thrown down the sewer seems to be your solution to salvaging this economy. A jobless recovery seems just fine to you. Insult me all you wish, you are simply wrong.

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, November 7, 2009 at 8:23 am Link to this comment

You know ardee, as is usually the case, you miss the point trying to make a political statement.  Obama has to get the economy working again ... period.  He is forced to work with what he has.  There is no manufacturing to speak of so what is left?  The financial system.  Personally I would like to see them (bankers) all in jail but that doesn’t fix the bigger issue of getting credit flowing and people back to work.  If he had done nothing, the world’s financial system would have seized up and we would have been in a bigger mess.  I am deeply disappointed that he and congress have done nothing to fix the long-term problem and that will probably come back to haunt all of us in the near future.  But getting money flowing again was priority number 1 and I agree with that choice.

As for capitalism being so bad, there is nothing inherently bad about competition.  It gave us much of the technology we use today and it is, I my humble opinion, the best system for solving problems.  Getting entrepreneurs forming companies and developing new technology is what makes the world go around.  I can assure you governments would not have done nearly as well at this.  The big issue is a lack of competition.  When a large company gains too much advantage or becomes too large, then the system of competition falls apart and we see the behavior that sent us over the edge.  The same applies when companies band together to form associations or lobbying groups which give them too much clout.  It is the concentration of money in one place that causes most of our problems.  Having competition, lots of competition, forces efficiencies and good behavior on the companies.  That is capitalism as defined by Adam Smith.

But many on this website decry any form of capitalism even though they are taking advantage of it when they comment here.  Truthdig is a small, entrepreneurial company formed to compete in the news business.  It is part of the capitalistic system you want to trash so much.  Without the ability to form this company and to attempt to make a profit, truthdig would not be here for these comments.  So, once again, capitalism is not the problem ... it is the lack of regulation and limits that allows individuals and groups the opportunity to destroy competition and the whole idea of capitalism as understood by Adam Smith.

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By John M, November 7, 2009 at 8:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

John Steinsvold’s essay on a moneyless society is intriguing <http://evans-experientialism.freewebspace.com/steinsvold.htm>. Can it really work?

It certainly would eliminate virtually all property-, money-related crime.

Can we organize the distribution of goods and services without money? Sure, we will just google our needs. The Internet will become Adam Smith’s “invisible hand.”

Will people work without the real threat of homelessness and starvation? Yes, if they don’t want to die of boredom.

Yeah, but who’s going to pick up my garbage, serve me meals at a restaurant, change my diapers when I get old?

I imagine if we had to do menial tasks ourselves, we would be far more willing to develop labor-saving technology. Certainly society would be organized differently if we didn’t have low-wage menials to do the dirty work for us.

A moneyless society. That’s food for thought.

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By Jim Yell, November 7, 2009 at 8:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A lot of words, but not much else, just like the Obama Administration is turning out to be. In the short term I was bouyed up by the vision of American People putting aside their reflexive response to one group of our people and electing a man who was dignified and intellegent and had self-control, but as the story has unfolded we find he is too wrapped up in trying to build cooperation with the worst elements in our country at the expense of doing anything to protect the interests of the vast majority of citizens.

We are now in hock for the great bonuses of the most criminal and nasty part of our society, those who design to live completely off other peoples labor without doing anything constructive in return. These ultra rich do not pay much taxes in proportion to the money they own or control. The have learned no humility or have even embarressment over the disaster their personal manipulations have brought to millions of Americans. And, yet they are the class that Obama has focused on to help over everyone else.

And, now they are surprised that nothing has changed, except an undeserved salvation for the shell game of investment and stocks and bonds.

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By ardee, November 7, 2009 at 6:35 am Link to this comment

Unfortunately, Obama has little choice but to prop up the financial sector.

This is the sort of thinking that dooms us to third world status I fear. The assumption that “too big to fail” is a reality instead of a self serving mantra enabling greed, theft and amorality to dominate our business practices seems far too enabling to me.

If one thinks that the trillions given, with no strings, to the Goldman’s and AIG’s of this world, if one believes that sweetheart deals to such as B of A enabling them to purchase, and for peanuts, lucrative entities, is good business practice then one might reread the definition of free enterprise I think. Certainly there were felonies committed, crimes that brought us to the brink of big D Depression. Yet we gave those perpetrators our childrens future with no hesitation and with no restrictions.

As for capitalism being good or bad, it is not the system but the humans who command it that create the problem.

No, its actually the system commanding the humans I fear. The very essence of capitalism is competition, the ultimate end is domination of markets and more and more profits. Perhaps one might envision a capitalist system well regulated and narrowly held to actions that benefit us all rather than its current incarnation as piracy and illegality. Perhaps one might be called utopian. Perhaps one might better envision socialism in a far better light.

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, November 7, 2009 at 6:11 am Link to this comment

Unfortunately, Obama has little choice but to prop up the financial sector.  Due to years of neglect, only the financial sector is still alive in America.  Much of the manufacturing sector has disappeared into the insatiable abyss that is the Far East.  Our service sector has also been destroyed with only low wage/no benefit jobs at McDonalds and WalMart remaining.  Only the financial industry is still viable.

As for capitalism being good or bad, it is not the system but the humans who command it that create the problem.  But I’m curious about what anyone suggests to replace it.  Communism?  The planned state economy was an inherent disaster with snafus like 8 million pairs of men’s shoes ... all one size.  A central planning system is inherently stupid and will never work.  Socialism?  The European brand has some attractive features but it is no panacea either.  Germany is going more towards a capitalist model with the SPD/FDP coalition.  And much of Europe is really capitalist with greater government oversight.  Business leaders here would like more freedom and less government interference in their operations ... the old free trade model we just watched go down in flames.

I think some of you need to understand that “Wall Street” is a global brand.  The financial sector in Britain is almost as big as the US version while Germany is close behind.  And we need to remember that the “bad bankers” began with the Rothschild group which was, if I’m not mistaken, French.  Greed in universal, not an American invention.  Our bankers work with their colleagues worldwide to perpetuate these schemes.  Blaming just Wall Street fails to understand how wide spread the behavior really is.

To underscore this last point ... one of the biggest players in the sub-prime mortgage disaster was Deutche Bank ... of Germany!

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By melpol, November 7, 2009 at 6:04 am Link to this comment

There is a lot of work available for those with menial skills. A clean up program
must be put into place. Trillions of cigarette butts are littering the streets and
parks of the nation. They must be harvested. 3 million of the unemployed can
immediately be hired. Another 3 million can start trimming trees.

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By DaveZx3, November 7, 2009 at 6:04 am Link to this comment

DieDaily, November 7 at 8:51 am

“Large corporations are inefficient an non-innovative inherently. IN THE ABSENCE of a subverted regulatory structure (i.e. government) they INVARIABLY fall to the newer, hungrier, young wolves. That’s just a fact”. 

I might add that even small corporations and familly owned businesses become inefficient and non-innovative over a couple of generations.  It seems the hunger and innovation lives in just one or two young wolves, and as soon as they retire or die, the caretakers move in, living off of the fruits of the founders until they completely squander it or find a cash cow somewhere else, ie: government. 

Like promotions, there needs to be a constant retirement (cleaning out) at the top to allow the new young energy to move up.  Not by force, but by normal attrition.

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By DieDaily, November 7, 2009 at 4:51 am Link to this comment

Folktruther, that’s actually patently false. Large
corporations are inefficient an non-innovative inherently. IN THE ABSENCE of a subverted regulatory
structure (i.e. government) they INVARIABLY fall to
the newer, hungrier, young wolves. That’s just a
fact. It is SOLELY through the phenomenon of coopting
governments (regulators) and colluding AGAINST free
market forces that corporatism can flourish and
centralize as it has. In no way does this constitute
a flaw in the ideas of free-market capitalism. Sure,
everything you say is true of MONOPOLIES and CARTELS
but these are anything but features of capitalism. On
the contrary, they are subversions of it and nothing
more.

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By Folktruther, November 7, 2009 at 3:49 am Link to this comment

““Most people don’t even know what
capitalism is anymore. They see it as corporatism,
when really it’s not the same thing at all”.

  Yes it is.  As Marx wrote a century and a half ago, capitalism ineivitably increases the size, and power, of big corporations.  Whoses owners and controllers control the state.  The brain dead math encrusted neoliberal economic models ignores that capitalism is, in addition to being an economic system, is a political system, and this plutocracy rules under the guise of Free Elections.  Which the owners of the corporations control through their money, media and organization.

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By ilikeoatmeal, November 7, 2009 at 12:59 am Link to this comment

Why do we accept this state of affairs? All I hear is incessant bitching and declarations of “outrage” but nothing ever changes. We just continue to take it. It seems like a decrease in net income year over year has been accepted as “normal”. The mentality is “I’m just thankful to still be employed”. People will stand around talking about how they are getting screwed but nobody ever does anything about it (including me).  What is wrong with us? Why can’t we accomplish anything anymore?

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By DaveZx3, November 7, 2009 at 12:51 am Link to this comment

DieDaily, November 7 at 2:45 am

“Most people don’t even know what
capitalism is anymore. They see it as corporatism,
when really it’s not the same thing at all”.

Thrashertm, November 7 at 3:11 am

Capitalism is a scapegoat when in fact the real problems stem from Corporatism, and it’s our damn fault that we allow our government to steal from us and give to the corporations

Great and true statements posted above. 

I would like to add that blaming any system for the failures of men is not productive.  Reasonable, honest and honorable men and women could do very, very well under any of the world’s various economic systems.  The systems are not inherently evil.

It is the greed, lies and self-serving that runs rampant in the minds of men that corrupt virtually any system he participates in. 

Quit treating the symptoms and start treating the disease at its source, your hateful, divisive, self-righteous, know-it-all, elitist attitutdes.

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By Thrashertm, November 6, 2009 at 11:11 pm Link to this comment

This long and rambling garbage article never bothers to define capitalism, and thus like Michael Moore’s movie, is critically flawed. Capitalism is a scapegoat when in fact the real problems stem from Corporatism, and it’s our damn fault that we allow our government to steal from us and give to the corporations.

As voters, we need to elect reps like Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich, that look out for the people instead of corporate contributors. We need to get rid of whores like John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi.

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DieDaily's avatar

By DieDaily, November 6, 2009 at 10:45 pm Link to this comment

I think that before we take a negative view toward
capitalism we should consider giving it a try first.
The left and right are utterly united in the view
that corporatism has proven to be a disaster. That’s
point of Moore’s film and the crux of the problems
we’re facing. It’s very easy to confuse this with
capitalism which, as I’ve said, is not something
we’ve really tried since the old days. The non-stop encroachment upon the decentralized free market model
by central banks and criminal corporatocracies they
spawn and then practice incest with has really
clouded the issues. Most people don’t even know what
capitalism is anymore. They see it as corporatism,
when really it’s not the same thing at all.

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By LostHills, November 6, 2009 at 10:20 pm Link to this comment

Capitalism doesn’t work. It’s a system of slavery that when, left to it’s own devices,
inevitably kills all the slaves.

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By Folktruther, November 6, 2009 at 8:28 pm Link to this comment

“At least the right-wingers have correctly gone into incoherent panic mode.”

  I agree, anacisisie, and another truther who would agree is the Appeals courty Judge Posner who wrote a book on what he calls the current depression, A FAILURE OF CAPITALISM. He has the medevial values of the Grand Inquisitor but the book on economics has the virtue of not being written by an economist.  He thinks we are not out of the depression and the consequences will be long lasting, like the last one.

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By ChaoticGood, November 6, 2009 at 3:17 pm Link to this comment

Capitalism is suffering from Corporatism.

Corporations are inhuman and immortal.  They need to become extinct.  Simple change is all it takes.  Just turn all “C” type corporations into “S” type corporations.  Make the majority owners responsible again and everything will change for the better.

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By berniem, November 6, 2009 at 2:33 pm Link to this comment

In our global petrie dish where we are steadily consuming and overpopulating ourselves to death we continue to cling to econmic philosophies based on exploitation and aquisition while mindlessly adhering to superstition-based religious dogmas which admonish us to be fruitful and multiply and take dominion over the earth and all living things.  Well gang, the planetary agar is rapidly getting used up; but we are still confronted by a goodly number of dolts who’s “enlightened self-interest” preclude their ability to see beyond their most recent financial statements. The powers that be are those that are killing us.

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By phreedom, November 6, 2009 at 2:01 pm Link to this comment

Part 1

Thank you Steve Fraser,

I was nearly brought to tears while reading this article. If I was a religious man, I would say it described a complete breakdown & the failure of a religion. Only imagining the complete and utter failure, of what might be considered a “world religion”, could one put the information in this piece into the proper perspective.

One would need to be able to see that the spiritual was akin to leverage, and that faith was akin to risk. All that had been invested was gone, and then some, for two or three generations to come. Yet, imagine too, that the authors, promoters and leaders of such a completely failed religion continued to prosper and whose powers somehow become enhanced,, in that failed religion’s name.

That the “institutions” created, by the now failed religion, were bailed out, and no matter how superficial and wrong minded these institutions had proved to be, they are too big to be disposed of, too pervasive to be untangled from reality, and sadly the real & material knowledge of this overlying religious failure begins morphing into a grand excuse, that it has all been but a test, to make us stronger and that it will certainly turn out better next time, since we are more the wise?

Rather than a rational resolve, equal to the irrational destruction that has been caused, a massive capitulation to blind sorrow emerges instead, a call & vision to this failed religion’s victims to implement a deeper and greater faith in the exact cause of their disappointment, heartbreak and material troubles.

This should have been an existential catastrophe on the scale which should have easily promoted the real & material social and political resolve to push us into a new type of American domestic compassion. The political imagination that should should have arose could have drove a social and economic political response in this country way past systems that game their citizenry, but alas, no cigar.

One can only imagine, with grave trepidation, what it will take next time to get us to the edge, again, of a true age of modernization and enlightenment. Since for now, even at what appeared to be the threshold of overwhelming allure for such possibility & promise, we have instead been thrown back into the darkness of the same failed systemics, their institutions rewarded, instead of paying the penalty for the disaster they created, and we instead will pay heavily for having doubted them. Payback for being right will be a bitch.

Rhuen Phreed
11 Marlborough Street, #22
Boston, MA 02116


(part 2 on the way)

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By phreedom, November 6, 2009 at 2:00 pm Link to this comment

Part 2

I believed a great opportunity has been squandered, though if things get bad as they truly should be, maybe there is a roundabout way to get us back at the non-negotiable need for change edge again:

1. default on all our debt to foreign countries and/or all foreign private and public entities
2. re-negotiate all foreign debt at 10 cents on the dollar, over 100 years
3. impose a 100 year restriction on debt issued to non-citizens, multi-national aspects of corporate and institutions and/or any non-US entity
4. transplant and re-issue the 90% savings on re-negotiated foreign debt into the form of American-citizen-only-owned domestic savings bonds to fund the following, a 100 year plan;
a. massive national infrastructure rebuild & upgrade(massive job creation plan, as well as energy independence included)
b.  forgive all student loan debt held by American citizens(all education free, yesterday & today)
c. eliminate all forms of insurance companies, and create in their stead a national insurance tax(to reasonably back reasonable certain material risks, and to fund a single payer national health system)
d. creation a “homeland cost of living control department”

Too bad “wishful thinking” still needs to replace real opportunity for enlightened & progressive change.

Since part of the beauty of systems that repeated fail, is they do not give their victims time to understand them, read about them, read about and educate on alternatives, well, since we all have so little time in figuring out who the culprit was before the culprit is re-empowered, everyone should keep this piece by Steve Fraser at their bedside, so this knowledge will be at arms length and available when it will be surely needed “next time”.  A systemic failure cannot be remedied without fundamental change and certainly not in the blink of an eye, or even in one year. Change must be implemented immediately and without mercy to the doom & suffering bringers, lets all be ready, next time. (keep a copy of this piece around, it will mean the same in twenty years)

Rhuen Phreed
11 Marlborough Street, #22
Boston, MA 02116

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By Anarcissie, November 6, 2009 at 1:55 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther:
‘The ‘exhastion of the poltical immagination’ decried by Fraser is exhibited in the article that he wrote. ...’

Well put, Folktruther.  I waded through the article and found little more than yet another rehash of the life and times of the (highly mythologized) New Deal.  This seems to have been the dominant theme in prog venues since the housing bubble collapsed, although the conditions surrounding the Great Depression have very little to do with our present predicament.

At least the right-wingers have correctly gone into incoherent panic mode.

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By Folktruther, November 6, 2009 at 1:54 pm Link to this comment

“There’s nothing wrong with capitalism. Capitalism is just people buying and
selling things.”

  No Orley, it’s peple COMPETING to buy and sell things, and those that win the compitition are the most powerful,  And buy the government.

  Good analysis, Nabnyc.

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By prole, November 6, 2009 at 1:21 pm Link to this comment

“After all, recovery of the economy of high finance is not recovery we can believe in, nor is it even an economy. If this happens, then we may have to conclude that the Great Recession gave way to the Great Retrogression”….gave way to the Great Revolution?

These are all valid points but despite the elegance of the analysis, it leaves us no further ahead and no clue how to get there. As the suddenly fashionable-once-again Marx famously observed, “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.”

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By Orley Allen, November 6, 2009 at 11:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There’s nothing wrong with capitalism. Capitalism is just people buying and
selling things. The problem is corporations and that corporate political behavior is
inimical to democratic governance. As they’ve done in the third world, the
corporate buzz machine has reduced democracy to mean the mere presence of an
electoral process. If we can cast a ballot in a corporate-controlled election for a
corporate-sponsored candidate, that’s freedom. Everything else in the Bill of
Rights, we’re going to have to pay through the nose to get and the more money a
person has, the more freedom they’ll enjoy. If we are to have a democracy as
envisioned by the Founding Fathers, we will need to eliminate corporations.

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By NABNYC, November 6, 2009 at 11:39 am Link to this comment

The ruling classes, those who “win” the wars, dictate what is written as the official story.  Then generations are brainwashed into believing it is so. 

The wealthy fund the universities, the chairs, the scholarships, they invite certain people to speak and proclaim to the world that “this” scholar or “that” academic has revealed the truth.  But the truth is usually hidden. 

All of our country’s history should be considered one big cover-up.  How else can people get teary-eyed when politicians speak of us as being the most generous nation in the world when the fact is that we steal from every other nation, all the time.

Look at the Depression of 1929.  A few people on Wall Street ran a criminal enterprise, a con, and defrauded the world, leading to the collapse of the entire world’s economy beginning in the end of 1929 and lasting for over a decade.  What were the consequences of allowing Wall Street, a criminal cartel, to control the nation’s finances?  If you listen to the Official Story, the only consequences were that some banks failed, there were breadlines, we all “pulled together” to recover, and life went on.

But that’s just one version.  A very limited one. One that hides the truth and protects the American upper classes.

For example, what really led to the rise of fascism?  The Official Story is that fascism and World War II were caused by certain conditions imposed on Germany at the end of World War I.  But isn’t the truth that fascism arose because the criminal cartel on Wall Street stole everyone’s money and crashed the world’s economy, people were desperately poor and hopeless, angry (properly so), and were willing to die in order to re-claim for themselves and their nation some basic sustenance, like food and land? 

Not to justify in any way the horrible Nazi regimes, but isn’t it true that they arose because of the American criminals on Wall Street who were allowed to steal all the money, and walked away with no consequences whatsoever? 

100 million people died in WWII.  The rich people in the U.S. supported an Official Story which was that the war was caused by “conditions” created in the early 1920s, at the end of WWI. 

If history truthfully reported that WWII was caused by American rich men running a criminal enterprise called Wall Street, wouldn’t we have thrown every broker into prison, seized their assets, prevented any similar system from ever existing again?  At a minimum, wouldn’t these people be prohibited from amassing such wealth and power that they could again crash the world’s economy?

2% of the people own 50% of the world’s wealth.  100 Billion people are starving.  This is mostly the result of American financial criminals who run Wall Street, and the U.S. politicians who take bribes in exchange for doing nothing to stop these criminals.

Will another 100 million people have to die before the truth is reported?  Indict, prosecute, seize assets, pass laws, enact real taxes to stop people from accumulating such levels of wealth, and make it illegal for our politicians to continue taking bribes and betraying the public.

It’s not accurate to say Obama has done nothing.  During the past two years he has solicited and accepted hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes from corporate America, as have all the Democrats in national government.  They’ve enriched themselves by selling their office.  They’ve just done nothing at all to help the people.

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By GW=MCHammered, November 6, 2009 at 10:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Capitalism has turned Capitalizing. It doesn’t benefit
innovation and efficiency; it rewards manipulation and
extortion.

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By dgswilson, November 6, 2009 at 9:31 am Link to this comment

Really well written. But mostly, what Folktruther said. As people we will be moving out of all present systems, political and monetary.

I would say that the two comparable events share a commonality in that the people behind both financial fiasco’s achieved their goals through the administrative branch. None of this is unplanned. Obama is doing what he’s being payed to do. He took all the people the bankers sent him and now they run the country from inside the administration. Great plan, great planning - if your a oligarch.

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By Folktruther, November 6, 2009 at 8:41 am Link to this comment

The ‘exhastion of the poltical immagination’ decried by Fraser is exhibited in the article that he wrote. A piece restricted to American mainstream economics rather than capitalism as a historical world phenomena.  these pieces restrict the American theoretical imagination to the American historical tradition, and do not look at what is happening, not only economically, but politically,cultuallym morally and sipiritually in the rest of the world.  A typical form of American Education, assuming that the US is the center of the world when it is becoming increasingly marginal. 

Three forths of the world’s people live in Asia and Africa. And are devising new forms of economic and political institutions and new ways of looking at the world.  Obama’s delusive rhetoric is only effectie if one restricts ones eyes to the American power system, currently hijacked by financial gangsters.  They have dispowered the American population and part of this depowering is by neutralizing Progressives with restrictiive presuppositions of the kind that limit this article.

The Progressive-Conservative truth consensus which restricts thought, truth and theory to the past two hundrred years of the American experience is an act of ideological repression.  It constrains the American imagination in its searbh for historical solutions, which of course is its point.

The American learned and mass media serve the interests of American power, notably the financial power that funds them, and this is the furthest it allows Prog truthers to go in analysis that tries to provoke new policies, a tired form of liberalism.  Pieces like this do more to restrict the American mind and spirit than the wild raving and irrationality of the Conservatives, because Progs identify with it as being the way forward.  No.  The way forward requires we look at the way backward with a cold eye, the history of ALL earthpeoples, and not restrict ourselves to the capitalism of the American ruling class.

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By John Steinsvold, November 6, 2009 at 8:03 am Link to this comment

An Alternative to Capitalism

The following link, takes you to a “utopian” article, entitled “Home of the Brave?” which I wrote and appeared in the Athenaeum Library of Philosophy:

http://evans-experientialism.freewebspace.com/steinsvold.htm

John Steinsvold

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By Trailing Begonia, November 6, 2009 at 6:10 am Link to this comment

The marked difference between the [first] Great Depression and this one is that the culprits rightfully jumped to their deaths.  This time around, they shamelessly have us jumping to our death.

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By ardee, November 6, 2009 at 4:41 am Link to this comment

An article requiring, I think, much thought and rereading as well. My initial comments are in support this authors position but I intend to do more thinking on this article as time permits.

I have posited , and for a long time, that this nation is on one long downhill slide to third world status. Fewer and fewer seem to ridicule this position lately, not that ridicule ever dissuaded me from a position I have arrived at through research and careful thought.

Everyone, I assume, is familiar with the Jefferson statement,“I hold that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.”

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