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Economic Suicide

Posted on Jan 5, 2011

By William Pfaff

Is it a case of murder, or has the Western economy deliberately, if unwittingly, attempted suicide and nearly succeeded?

John Maynard Keynes was not just talking about defunct economists when he wrote that the world is commonly ruled by dead ideas, its leaders the slaves of the past. He said, “Indeed the world is ruled by little else.” If he were alive today, he could name management consultants and business gurus among those responsible for the economic crisis of the present day.

As 2011 begins, people still talk about the crisis of the Western economy as though we have been the victims of a blight from nowhere, like Haitians in a hurricane or blackbirds in Arkansas. No individual is held guilty for anything—certainly none of the leaders of finance or business who insisted that markets know best, or the political leaders who empowered them.

Thus my suicide argument. Once the Western nations professed belief in a stakeholder capitalism, which was supposed to benefit nations as a whole, and whose principal actors—managers, employees, labor forces, bankers and customers—were regarded as a community possessing common interests.

This was the “enlightened capitalism” of the post-Second World War years in the United States and Western Europe. It was the product of progressive businessmen in the U.S., influenced by the two Roosevelt presidencies—Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressive movement early in the 20th century, and FDR’s New Deal—enlightened unionism in the U.S., wartime Labour Party and Fabian thinking in Britain, and Social and Christian Democrats on the Continent.


Square, Site wide

It bestowed upon Americans and Western Europeans 30 postwar years that, today, are looked back upon as a kind of golden age of individual prosperity and enrichment, universal education and social achievement.

Mine obviously is the opinion of a sympathizer, but many conservatives in Western countries might in retrospect concede the economic and social accomplishments of the West during those years.

Certainly it was this democratic social order that defeated Communism. The so-called socialist system installed in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union at the same time could not withstand comparison with the system achieved in the West, and collapsed.

Many factors since then have contributed to the destruction of the Western version of capitalism, but the most important for the U.S. was the theoreticians’ rejection of manufacturing—in its fundamental meaning: the making of things. In the 1960s it became common to argue that manufacturing, with its associated physical labor and consumption of raw materials, was inappropriate to a modern society, whose distinctive and determining advantage was its possession and use of knowledge and its capacity to innovate.

The new theory held that an advanced economy should supply thought, innovation and largely intellectual services to the world economy, leaving manufacturing to more backward societies, which then would exploit the resources of primitive economies. This also eliminated the onerous demand to pay wages to American workers.

Part of the transformation of this period was the acquired conviction—influenced by the example of despotism in wartime societies—that the state should divest itself of direct economic intervention. Economies should be privatized; the alternative would be the road to serfdom. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Britain, a pioneer of privatization, is supposed to have said at the time when the English Channel tunnel was a controversial project that if business felt the need for such a tunnel, business would build it.

This was a denial of state infrastructure responsibilities, and the influence of this idea is apparent in the present day display of infrastructure dilapidation and disintegration in the U.S. as well as Britain. The unspoken (because it’s absurd) assumption has been that if business needs bridges, highways and airports to meet expanding traffic, enhanced national power systems and so forth, then business can be relied upon to build them (even when, as would seem self-evident, the amortization of national infrastructure investment vastly exceeds the time-frame in which business corporations function).

This is one element in the national suicide attempt. Another was the Virtual Corporation theory, which encouraged the improvisation of essentially ephemeral management entities to exploit specific business opportunities singly or in alliance. Despite its opportunistic advantages, this destructured the national economy.

Today the U.S., to take the obvious example, suffers from weak consumer consumption. The lack of consumption is due to the export of high-wage manufacturing employment in the U.S. and Britain that in the past drove consumption. Germany and France experimented with this but drew back. They still are real heavy-industrial economies making high-value goods sold worldwide. The U.S. makes weapons, for its own use.

It continues to innovate, but the result is exploited by foreign low-cost labor, which then buys consumer goods. This should be no surprise, yet the reality of a virtual economy, producing only low-employment (even if high individual-value added) intellectual services seem not to have been foreseen. One current result is national and state government impoverishment.

Think of offshore investment funds and kindred innovations in finance that generate great wealth for a narrow elite with practically no employment for the population. Boeing recently has nearly destroyed itself through outsourcing.

Practically no corporate taxes are paid to Washington, since the profits of the new American economy are banked abroad in tax havens, and used for investment or speculation abroad. Corporations now are demanding a tax rate cut to 5 percent in place of 35 percent if they repatriate profits. For practical purposes it seems they don’t want to be American. The nation and the general population are impoverished.

Visit William Pfaff’s website for more on his latest book, “The Irony of Manifest Destiny: The Tragedy of America’s Foreign Policy” (Walker & Co., $25), at

© 2011 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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By TAO Walker, January 8, 2011 at 8:31 pm Link to this comment

A ways back down this ‘thread’ “SuperMike1661” said he was about to go “underground.”  Now he sounds ready to lead, or anyhow be an enthusiastic foot-soldier in some kind of counter-move, against CONcentrated Wealth, spearheaded by some nebulous faction he calls “The American Left.” 

He goes on to poke a bit of sophomoronic ‘fun’ at “Anarcissie,” who sensibly notes the effectively impenetrable insularity of the “global” elite, secure in their airborne palaces, and urges us Groundlings instead to wake-up, get together where we live-and-breathe everyday, “....and strengthen the things that remain.”  “SuperMike1661” seems here to be a little CONfused….if not actually bi-polar.

Back in the Day when American Indian Movement members provided the nuclei of several “Survival Camps” in Lakotah and Dinay Country, it was a common tactic of “the Feds” to try to infiltrate these Camps (Tiyoshpayes), like Yellow Thunder (Wakinyan Zi) and Big Mountain, with informants/provocateurs.  A frequent characteristic of these “individuals” was how gung-ho they’d be about going after the authorities head-on….meaning, in those situations, with armed violence (which, let’s hasten to acknowledge, “SuperMike1661” hasn’t even hinted-at). 

The scheme, of course, was to lure the gullible and impatient into some compromising or (better yet) “criminal” activity that left them subject to the machinations of Babs Bush’s “just-us” system.  It was occasionally “successful,” particularly among angry Young Men….and always involved the ‘plant’ questioning suggestively both their courage and their commitment to the “cause.”

“SuperMike1661” may not be, probably isn’t here trying to lure similarly frustrated “progressives,” potential recruits for “The American Left,” into the cross-hairs of the CONcentrated Wealth (CW) “global” security apparatus.  This Old Indian, though, is inclined to caution.  Besides, even by his own alarming forecast, the CW is within ‘inches’ of CONsolidating its death-grip on the Workers-of-the-World.  How can some resistance movement that is presently nowhere in-evidence marshal sufficient resources in time to prevent that?

Not that this is impossible, necessarily, but what exactly is the plan-of-action, and what elements within the subject population are going to carry it out?  With the virtually limitless reach of such things as the “Patriot Act,” even gathering on street corners to talk about the shitty “political” weather or the manipulated “job” market can and likely will be CONstrued by the commissars of the “global” police state as “home-grown terrorism.”  Actual “organized-resistance” activity will be a “slam dunk” for them.

Anyway, “Anarcissie” has a much more accurate read on where we actually are in this terminal phase of the “civilizatuon” disease process….and his advice is sound as to what is the best Human response to that.


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By Anarcissie, January 8, 2011 at 8:23 pm Link to this comment

That’s the Holy Rat, Mike.  You diss the Holy Rat at your peril.

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By SuperMike1661, January 8, 2011 at 2:52 pm Link to this comment

To survive Anarcissie scampered into the Shadows, little mouse for the Cat’s play.  Can you hear here little claws scratch, scratch on the dirty, dry wood?  Her tiny terrorized legs shake rapidly without control… hear them? Scratch. Scratch.  Urine stains the Damp wood.

She prays for the Cat’s self-death. In her prayer, the Cat dies before it consumes her… soul first. 

Thus we learn how the “Proles” came to be. Each Prole had a Grandmother who bequeathed a place in the Underclass.  They do not remember that she hoped the Cat would die of its own hand. They only recall what the Cat allows them to see now on the Telly each night… as their little legs shake and they make Damp.

Anarcissie Mouse is the beginning of the end.  She did not surrender. She faded into the shadows… little mouse making Damp.

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By Anarcissie, January 8, 2011 at 12:21 pm Link to this comment

<b>gerard, January 7 at 1:38 am:

‘Suicidal impulses—whether personal or social—seem to occur when human beings feel trapped with no escape possible.  Seymour Hersh recognized it in the policies of Israel vis a vis the Palestinians, and the Arab world in general. Suicidal signs are certainly visible in the current over-the-top-capitalism now raging through the world with disastrou destruction.
  Could it be that one possible answer, or treatment, is to work together, in every way possible, to promote possible alternative futures (and that, as free from ideological prejudices as possible)? ...’

Thinking that alternative futures are desirable is a strongly ideologized view, so I don’t see how you’re going to think that and then suddenly drop the ideology.

I think ‘suicide’ may be the wrong term here.  Most ordinary people are not suicidal.  However, Mr. Pfaff isn’t talking about ordinary people but the behavior of the ruling class.  That behavior appears to be suicidal, but only in the aggregate; each individual or grouplet is operating to further its own power, wealth, social status and other interests, but because the framework of cooperation and responsibility among them has broken down—the honor among thieves—the sum of their actions is negative, self-destructive; they are breaking their own system down.

There is little or nothing non-elites can do to set such people right because they have no interest in the thoughts or words of people they regard as inconsequential losers.  Therefore, we (the ‘losers’) should focus on creating and cultivating institutions which serve our interests against the day when the elites finally drive their system off the cliff.

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By SuperMike1661, January 8, 2011 at 5:46 am Link to this comment

theprogressiveanalyst. good stuff!

Yet, what Phillips does not note is that this new GLOBEL elite is completely Stateless, and this has terrific import.  The same communication and transportation technology that facilitates Globalization also facilitates their constant wandering in their Private Jets but ALWAYS in control via Satcom. (Now comes a huge, Satellite connected Airbus 380 for the disgusting little Saudi Princling, Alwaleed bin Talalnow). 

History does not always repeat itself, and Mr. Phillips overlooks this. The terminus of the Globalization Process is a ONE TIME event. At the coming of this event, all of the chips will be in a huge pile at one end of the table and an enormous stack of our children’s rigorized bodies will be at the other end.

THIS IS HOW WE KNOW IT IS MURDER! Not suicide.  If this huge Concentrated Wealth, CW, had allegiances to Home States, we could count on their protecting those States.  But since most of them live aboard private jets that are bigger than many American mansions… THEY HAVE NO ALLEGIANCES.  Ergo, any State or Culture that they slaughter in their ghoulish pursuit of personal Wealth is simply roadkill.  Example, NATO Soldiers die by the score each Quarter while equally young men at Goldmen Sachs build their endless, stupefying hoard.

I can tell you with certainty that the first thing that Goldman employees, at 30 years of age often, who achieve Net Worth north of 50 Million USD acquire: A secret 10 room bungalow in Monaco.. or similar Security State Retreat.  When the riots start, they know where they want to be.

NO! Not suicide! Murder!  They commit this endless Secret Murder on us, and they ACTIVELY cover it up with Monetized American Free Speech paid for by Goldman-like entities that DO NOT FAIL TO TURN A PROFIT… EVER.

There is almost no time left to regain the political initiative.  The American Left is the only place on this planet that has the vision and know-how to lead the long march back up the hill.  We must start soon.


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By theprogressiveanalyst, January 8, 2011 at 2:57 am Link to this comment

An instructive book is Wealth and Democracy by Kevin Phillips, a Republican no less. He takes an historical look at the economic declines of recent past economic powers. In each case he examines, they are done in by a change in emphasis from production to finance and financial speculation. The percentage of the US economy that is financial business (Goldman Sachs, for example) has gone from something like 11% to 23% and the percentage of profits by finance compared to other business has gone from the low 20% to the low 40% of total profits. With outsourcing, destruction of unions, obscene pay to executives, we also see the greatest inequality of all industrialized nations and the worst inequality in the US since the imposition of the income tax. We are indeed committing suicide because the elites who have brought this about have controlled the media and so brainwashed the populace. They have also been clever in using social issues (racism, tough on crime rhetoric, for example) in order to get masses of the populace to vote against their own interests. I think I first read a book by Pfaff in the late 60’s warning about globalization. What he warned us about has come true.

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By SuperMike1661, January 7, 2011 at 7:39 pm Link to this comment

ok.. I am asked to clarify at the detail level about Walmart, Walton Family and the PRC.

The Walton Family may be the biggest single foriegn owned commercial vehicle in the PRC.


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By SuperMike1661, January 7, 2011 at 7:08 pm Link to this comment

I have emails asking me, “what is the connection between the Tea Party and the PRC”?

OK:  The Tea Party is funded by big corporate, Koch family, money BUT it is Human Resourced by destroyed “shop keepers” of the old American Middle Class.  These ex-Shop Keepers used to DISTRIBUTE the goods that Walmart now sells, and this Class REMNANT needs to be awakened to the fact that their corporate “friends” have destroyed them… beginning with the Walton family, the richest family in the world (after the Saudi Royal family). This awakening, or Education Project, can be accomplished by having the Tea Party defend its corporate allies, BUT such defense is NOT sustainable, i.e. forcing the Tea Party to defend its corporate ally/enemy will surface the contradiction of alliance so that it becomes politically useful.

We can potently attack the Tea Party by forcing it to defend its ally, the corporate state, that hates the Tea Party. If this is unclear, please push back.

We on the Left need to get active and GET EVEN.

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By SuperMike1661, January 7, 2011 at 6:24 pm Link to this comment

to GW=MCHammer

Your post is good. However I recommend a boycott of Chinese Slave-Made goods that are slowly strangling the last of the few good jobs of Western workers. Such a boycott is politically more attractive. Such a boycott, building throughout the decade, does two things:

1) It FORCES corporate bloodsuckers, and all of their LACKEYS, out of their hidden position as investors and supporters of their PRC slave-holding partners. Once we force them onto the playing field, then…

2) A PRC goods boycott is a politically potent MESSAGE to the working class that we, on the Left, are in solidarity with them.  This message NEEDS to be sent over and over, if we are to rebuild our traditional constituency.  There are many in the Tea Party who have been severely damaged by PRC Slave-state enterprises.

We need to get our act together.

An ancillary program will seek to have the US Congress to pass a new trade law to force all PRC goods to have an “S"for Slaverer stamp. the only way that free Western workers can compete with Slaves is to FREE THEM!

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By LT, January 7, 2011 at 5:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Western countries have never atoned for crimes against humanity. The populations in those places, for the most part, stayed in denial about them.
What goes around comes around.

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By godistwaddle, January 7, 2011 at 3:44 pm Link to this comment

I believe Matt Taibbi’s “Griftopia” explains the murder
and who’s doing it.

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By GW=MCHammered, January 7, 2011 at 11:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The answer begins with DO NOTHING.

The productive economic system of Capitalism began in 16th century Europe. Destructive, egocentric Capitalizing began the first time two mindless microscopic cells crossed paths. And here we are today.

Corporations choke jobs. Banks imprison capital/credit. Wall Street holds the other crank, Washington’s Achilles Crotch. Why? All to steal workers’ coffers. Divorce K-Street and Capital Hill. Justice Department, where are you?

We need real pay for real work. No more Wall Street bundling, corporate thieving, pump-n-dump economics. The Greed Gene dies here.

So long as the American Worker plays the victim, they will be abused. Take a week off folks. DO NOTHING. Take a week off from work, buying, selling, etc. NATIONAL STRIKE WEEK would show all that the buck starts and can stop right here.

Then dissolve our bipolar political parties in 2012 if they can’t get constitutional democracy right for the American people starting today. American citizens and their posterity deserve better.

Our new slogan:
“Do Not Tread On Me. You Do Not Walk On Water.”

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By morristhewise, January 7, 2011 at 11:42 am Link to this comment

In a world where 95% are followers, team leaders are in short supply. Major corporations no longer search for employees that follow orders.  Now recruiters are sent into prisons where former drug dealers are given the opportunity to become team leaders upon release. Recruiters are also sent into Atheist meetings and gay bars knowing that outsiders can lead their corporations to sky high profits. Followers shriek the loudest but so do sheep before they are slaughtered.

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By bogi666, January 7, 2011 at 5:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Since the INTERNATIONAL CORPORATOCRACY PREDATORY CAPITALIST WELFARE KINGS don’t want to pay taxes the USG/MIC, Mafia Industrial Complex, must stop protecting their worldwide assets which is what the Pentagon is being used for. The Pentagon protection racket, fashioned after the Mafia scheme, give me ‘forced contributions’,taxes, for protection or you will be hurt and your property destroyed.

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By CaptRon, January 7, 2011 at 3:47 am Link to this comment

I must start by saying that this is just my opinion so as not to be deleted. This is not mismanagement, to the contrary, it is what is supposed to happen. The power goes to those who can make money on people making money for them. That money is power to change and control and in the structure the way it is “entitlement”. Yet the word is turned to represent the poor who are in need of that which they invested, called “entitlements” and implied as a drain on the economy. Only because the “contollers” have used the American workers and bled them dry. The Asian market is a new gold mine for cheap labor and profits which is the true “entitlements” of those with the power. They use the political system without loyalty so as to gain the power of “change”, and our Congress believes it is their destiny. Truth is they were used and left for blame. as the new horizons are chased. Wealth is God in the controllers world, and the rest are to be cast aside. No time or money to maintain a losing proposition. People are put in place for their benefit over a long process of segregation and entitlement within their families (i.e. George Bush, both H.W and W.). The power to control is embedded in family histories. So when I hear the word “entitlement” being thrown about like dirty laundry, I know that it comes from one with a long entitled family history, so they continue to provide for their families. Almost sounds “mob-like”. Actually, I respect the mobs more since most come from poor families.

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By samosamo, January 7, 2011 at 3:00 am Link to this comment


A suggested reading. Howard Zinn’s ‘The People’s History of the
United States’. From the time columbus stepped ashore, not
much has changed in the ‘ruling elite’s’ agendas and ambitions.
For a while it got less severe but that is over and whatever the
motive now, it most likely isn’t good for the country most of the
people. But it also could be understood, through the
manipulations of the ‘ministry of truth’, we the people have
made it easier for them to do what they want and to whom they

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By TAO Walker, January 7, 2011 at 1:33 am Link to this comment

This is sure not about this Old Indian, and it’s not about “gerard,” either….though she does seem singularly unable to grasp, so far, that it IS all-about getting free of the “self” instead of getting ever more deeply invested in the ego-value of “my comments.”



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By gerard, January 7, 2011 at 12:48 am Link to this comment

TaoWalker:  By your persistent denigration of my comments you suggest that there really is something of value in them which threatens your single-minded point of view.

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By TAO Walker, January 6, 2011 at 11:44 pm Link to this comment

The “disease” that “gerard” mentions (metaphorically?) below is just plain old “self”-ishness.  It is spread by CONtact, through the overarching “civilization” process, but has no actual physical existence at-all here….except in the fevered captive imaginations of the infected.  It’s “global” agent, though, is an actual disembodied “self”-CONscious “energy” form, a sort of cosmic retro-virus, a once Living Being now reduced-down to nothing but its monstrous ego….the “self” as Humans know it blown-up by several hundred orders-of-magnitude.

“The repeated suggestions of TAO Walker here….,” mentioned also by “gerard,” are simply a diagnosis and its specific remedial prescription.  There’s nothing even remotely “creative” about them.

This thing will run its course.  Human Beings can significantly affect both the direction and dimensions of what remains of its process, as-well-as determining at-least some of its ultimate overall effects on our Living Arrangement, including on us, of course….but not by political or religious or institutional or scientific or technological methods of any kind, no matter how sincerely motivated or conscientiously learned and applied.  We can, however, by following our Ancestors’ tried-and-true techniques for detaching from the “self,” recover that natural socio-biological Form of our Kind, Organic Communities of Natural Persons, and with it our natural organic integrity, which will enable us all together, as Humanity, to respond therapeutically to this disease condition.

“Mass movements” of “individual”-ized Humans can only emulate those of similarly distressed and disoriented Lemmings.  Still, it’s one “option” (DEAD END, of course) among at-least fifty other ways to leave your Mother, for those not content to get together with family, friends, and neighbors right where they’re living and breathing today, to help-out each other and our Mother Earth and All Our Relations, as the vital components in Her immune system that we are, to resist and recover-from this still possibly fatal attack of the incredible shrinking “self.”

It isn’t “gerard”‘s relentless sloganeering that’s any “threat,” and not to this Old Indian, in any case.  Sweet Little Old Lady that she is, with nothing but the best intentions in the world, the “threat” she poses is in pushing yet another of the multiplicity of typically feckless and futile stratagems devised even by ought-to-be qualified crones and others who are nevertheless still in-thrall to this meta-ego entity.

These habit-driven distractions only aid-and-abet its own vain cheap-tricks pulled to sustain the disintegrating “self” delusion among its hapless Human ‘carriers,’ at-least until they can ‘engineer’ for it an escape mechanism….away from this Living World where it is otherwise doomed, in its present un-dead CONfiguration, anyhow.  Right now it looks like the thing’s “money” is on Lyndon LaRouche and his band of merry ego-maniacs.

Like it or not, Sisters and Brothers, ditching your “self” and escaping ALL together to Indian Country, which Lives (like someplace else you may’ve heard-of) altogether WITHIN you, is really your only viable alterNative.


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By igloo, January 6, 2011 at 9:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The 20th century and globalization have left us with the widest gulf between rich and poor in history and destroyed manufacturing in the USA. The gurus of free range capitalism, “invisible hand” deregulation are all responsible for this biggest crisis in western civilization! Yet we continue to elect them, we continue to follow the bankrupt two-party system instead of seeking alternatives. Granted you cannot expect much from a brainwashed society which is still clinging to the American Dream rather facing the nightmare it actually has become.

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By gerard, January 6, 2011 at 8:38 pm Link to this comment

Suicidal impulses—whether personal or social—seem to occur when human beings feel trapped with no escape possible.  Seymour Hersh recognized it in the policies of Israel vis a vis the Palestinians, and the Arab world in general. Suicidal signs are certainly visible in the current over-the-top-capitalism now raging through the world with disastrou destruction.
  Could it be that one possible answer, or treatment, is to work together, in every way possible, to promote possible alternative futures (and that, as free from ideological prejudices as possible)?
  One thing that seems missing in the present picture is the utter lack of ability to self-correct, to think of anything else but “busines as usual”, which at this point means jumping over the world econmic and environmental cliff.  It is this maniacal single-mindedness that IMO is the gravest of dangers (judging at least from the evidence on Truthdig.)  It is a contagious disease.
  The repeated suggestions of TaoWalker here are valuable as creative, innovative, hopeful alternatives.  There must be others from other points of view.  For example?

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By gerard, January 6, 2011 at 7:55 pm Link to this comment

TaoWalker, sir:  That slogan (and I’m not yelling at anybody) I propose as a handy cliche (political truism) that has some “patriotic” appeal for those who need that before they can think.  It has some small historic appeal that might cause some right wingers to see a certain validity they are missing and cause them to find some small space to unify with so-called Progressives and Liberals.  Why unite?
To form a larger number of citizens who might try to protest the punishing unfairness of corporate greed.
It might be a fertile focus for action.
  It dropped out of the sky when I was thinking about how the misunderstandings of the Tea Party-like people who fear “socialism” might be reconciled with the facts and help them see what we all have as a common enemy—that being unregulated corporate greed. 
  It’s somewhat less hopeless as a political slogan than other ideas voiced here—and less defeatist than many.  You don’t like it?  That’s underandable. Think up a better one.  Feel free.  Don’t let me hold you back. 
  I can see how it might be somewhat useful.  Perhaps others might—out there somewhere, sometime, some-how.  A leaf floating on the surface of the stream.  A seed blown on the wind.  A frail hope in a time of need.  It’s scarcely worth the effort used to undermine it.
  I don’t know why it seems to threaten you—or anyone, for that matter. It’s totally insignificant until some people somewhere give it significance.

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By Mike789, January 6, 2011 at 4:45 pm Link to this comment

sp. Hannah Arendt. sorry

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By TAO Walker, January 6, 2011 at 4:45 pm Link to this comment

Does “SuperMike1661” mean, by “underground,” he will be hiding-in-plain-sight with the rest of us surviving free wild Natural Persons and Peoples here in Indian Country?  ‘Cause he’s sure welcome.

“Representation without Taxation is Tyranny!” “gerard” keeps yelling at us.  Well of course it is….and the reigning tyrants couldn’t care less who knows it.  So….so-what?



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By Mike789, January 6, 2011 at 4:43 pm Link to this comment

wulewuu comments:
[I still today ask myself, how the generation of my grandfather could have faith in
the national socialist party of Mr. Hitler, who openly declared his will to build the
future on war and the rule of criminals.]

As Hannah Aremdt makes makes plain in her analysis of the ascent of 20th Century totalitarianism; five years of unemployment enticedd the average family man to look the other way for the assurance of job security.

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By SuperMike1661, January 6, 2011 at 4:16 pm Link to this comment

By suggesting that we in the West are committing economic suicide, Pfaff does the dirty PR work for the microscopic ruling elite that we now have.  Let Pfaff come here and defend himself! Why does he not recognize that his friends on Wall Street are ripping the guts out of Western economies while their Net Worth accelerates northward? Why does he not pinpoint the new and deeply disturbing IPO market for Chinese corporate financing via Wall Street at the NYSE? 

I am preparing to go underground as of now.  Let them find me first before they try to rip my heart from my body.

tiny corporate Owners work for them.

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By gerard, January 6, 2011 at 3:47 pm Link to this comment

“Representation without Taxation is Tyranny!”

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By SuperMike1661, January 6, 2011 at 3:31 pm Link to this comment

This is not suicide.  It is MURDER.

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By SuperMike1661, January 6, 2011 at 3:30 pm Link to this comment

Bill Pfaff’s ideas founder immediately when he claims that an entity called Stake Holder Capitalism is real.  It is not.  Today, we see newly consolidated, and virtually unbeatable, investment direction made by a few thousand Owner Capitalists in the Middle East and Wall Street/City of London.

This is not “history repeating itself”.  The world has NEVER seen such huge dollar flows into, for example the PRC, based on the irrevocable decisions the Owner Capitalists.  They are stateless. They are all-powerful.  In the United States they are presently not defeatable in ordinary political combat because their huge dollar reserves give them unlimited “Free Speech” based on newly found American “Constitutional” definitions. 

As long as the Left remains outside the bunkers, it is not fit for this level of combat.

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By felicity, January 6, 2011 at 2:53 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Pfaff - Pick up a copy of Barbara Tuchman’s book,
“The March of Folly.”  Referring to government and
applicable to economists, management consultants,
business gurus…she says, “Wooden-headedness, the
source of self-deception, is a factor that plays a
remarkably large role in government.  It consists in
assessing a situation in terms of preconceived fixed
notions while ignoring or rejecting any contrary.  It
is acting according to wish while not allowing oneself
to be deflected by the facts.”

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By Anarcissie, January 6, 2011 at 2:00 pm Link to this comment

My view of it is that the American or maybe the whole Western ruling class lost its collective mind back around 1960-1965, not suddenly but in a sort of incremental way.  Possibly it was the Civil Rights movement that did it; once the image of The Noble White Man at the center of Western civilization began to crumble there was nothing to rally around, to adhere to.  Now, it seems, there is just a lot of ruinous plunder and fraud being perpetrated by the ruling class upon the very people they are dependent on for their existence, power and wealth.  ‘There is a lot of ruin in a country’, but these people are really getting down to the bottom of the barrel, I think.

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, January 6, 2011 at 12:13 pm Link to this comment

“The so-called socialist system installed in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union”. So-called? SO-CALLED!!

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wulewuu's avatar

By wulewuu, January 6, 2011 at 7:56 am Link to this comment

Indeed, the USA are commiting suicide. I just read another article on truthdig,
about the yearly expenses for military, wars, other costs directly related to war of
more than 1 trillion dollars, or about 3340 Dollar per capita and per year.

How comes, that the majority of the American people seems to be not inerested
in these figures?

I still today ask myself, how the generation of my grandfather could have faith in
the national socialist party of Mr. Hitler, who openly declared his will to build the
future on war and the rule of criminals. I have no explanation for what is
happening in the US. You still have the right to vote, haven’t you? Maybe I am

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By RayLan, January 6, 2011 at 7:34 am Link to this comment

Another simplistic kluge is between the ‘freedom’ implied by democracy and freedom implied by capitalism (free enterprise).
Socialism is NOT Communism (which is a form of government)
Socialism is quite compatibile with democracy and in fact requires it to preserves the ‘equality’ side of ‘freedom and equality’ that democracy demands.
Capitalism destroys equality by its very dynamic - a zero sum game - where profit is gained literally at the expense of those who lose.
I am tired of hearing how its government spending that caused the economy to dive. That’s a capitalist red herring to divert attention away from the real cause - Wall Street malfeasance. With the exception of increased defense spending, government spending was no higher during the Clinton administration and there was no deficit and unemployment was low.

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By alturn, January 6, 2011 at 2:16 am Link to this comment

Another vantage is that we are at an end of an age.  The forces behind materialism know this and have consistently done everything to retain their grip on the world illusion.  As things crumble, they have acted like a cancer devouring more and more resources from every possible source, both from individuals and from the commons.  At some point, just like a cancer, there will be no more life to consume.  It is time to recognize the cancer for what it is and take the needed measures to remove it.

“This creed of commercialization is driving our society in suicidal directions.”
- World Teacher Maitreya through an associate as reported by Share International

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mrfreeze's avatar

By mrfreeze, January 6, 2011 at 1:25 am Link to this comment

What a wonderfully refreshing, no-bullshit piece! Also, chillingly accurate.

I’ve grown tired of the ubiquitous narrative that underlies EVERYTHING that Americans talk or think about these days: CAPITALISM. It’s a word used like an incantation as if repeating it over and over again solves all problems and heals all wounds. It’s almost impossible to have a conversation with anyone nowadays without sliding into an “us (capitalists) versus them” (socialists/communists/whatever)debate…....even though the U.S. is burning like Rome in a nice, clean, 21st Century way. I see mountains of workers thrown onto mountain-sized bonfires, doused with gasoline and set afire. After all, who needs them? Right?

Remember, those in power write history. Future generations will read all about the “golden age” of the early 21st Century and what a grand time it was for “the people” (read that as the uber-preternaturally wealthy elite). Never mind that the country they all seemed to care about so much was crumbling outside their gated communities. 

My dear friends, I hold out NO hope that the U.S. will develop a “game changing” technology or system that will re-energize and revitalize our economy and put us back on-course. Furthermore, I believe the moneyed class and special interests have no desire to solve our large problems because, their problem IS us. They wake up in the morning and wonder how it is they can eliminate US from the profit formula.

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LostHills's avatar

By LostHills, January 6, 2011 at 12:49 am Link to this comment

Capitalism is a criminal enterprise, a farce, and a cliff upon which lemmings
sacrifice themselves with religious fervor…..

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G.Anderson's avatar

By G.Anderson, January 6, 2011 at 12:01 am Link to this comment

Yes, we’re all waiting for the other shoe to drop, it won’t be long now..

and when it hits, we know who is responsible…

the Dumbocrats, the Rethuglicans, and their owners, corporate America…

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By Inherit The Wind, January 5, 2011 at 11:56 pm Link to this comment

I’m not sure it’s murder or suicide…more like blood poisoning acquired after shooting oneself in the foot!

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By aacme88, January 5, 2011 at 10:31 pm Link to this comment

My first reaction on hearing of the fall of Communism twenty-some years ago, despite the universal cries of the Triumph of Capitalism, was that capitalism was right behind.
The corporations long ago decided they didn’t need Americans, and the feeling spread to the rest of the English speaking world soon after.
I agree with much of what you say, except your contention that, in America at least, it was error, rather than felony, at play.
The cynical proposition, thoroughly discredited but still the backbone, no, rather the sum total, of Conservative economics, that cutting taxes on the rich stimulates job growth, completely belies the notion that it’s all been a big mistake.
It is however, as you say, suicidal. Corporations are looking to Asia for new markets, because Asians have jobs and Americans don’t. But Asian jobs by definition pay less, or they wouldn’t have been shipped there in the first place. And, living in Asia I can assure you, piracy in Asia is the norm rather than the exception. What the corporations can depend on is quick replication of their consumer goods, and identical items, fully branded, competing directly at one-third the price. It sounds like a great idea to be able to make goods offshore for a third the cost and sell them at the same old price,  but it won’t last and those days are already fading.
As Mr. Pfaff has point out, the MBA’s contribution to the Western World has not been innovation, but suicide.

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By TAO Walker, January 5, 2011 at 9:07 pm Link to this comment

Not bad for a sort-of pre-postmortem….and from an “individual”-ized cellular CONstituent of the soon-to-be corpse, at-that.  Maybe the mixed “verdict” of either foul-play, and/or possible suicide-by-institutionalized-idiocy, seems more-or-less justified, too….from there inside the virtual world-o’-hurt where whatever it was is suppose to’ve occurred.

From here in Indian Country, though, it’s clearly a “case” of Natural (and inevitable) causes.


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