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The Collapse of Globalization

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Posted on Mar 28, 2011
AP / Jacques Brinon

Demonstrators carry an effigy of Ronald McDonald.

By Chris Hedges

The uprisings in the Middle East, the unrest that is tearing apart nations such as the Ivory Coast, the bubbling discontent in Greece, Ireland and Britain and the labor disputes in states such as Wisconsin and Ohio presage the collapse of globalization. They presage a world where vital resources, including food and water, jobs and security, are becoming scarcer and harder to obtain. They presage growing misery for hundreds of millions of people who find themselves trapped in failed states, suffering escalating violence and crippling poverty. They presage increasingly draconian controls and force—take a look at what is being done to Pfc. Bradley Manning—used to protect the corporate elite who are orchestrating our demise.

We must embrace, and embrace rapidly, a radical new ethic of simplicity and rigorous protection of our ecosystem—especially the climate—or we will all be holding on to life by our fingertips. We must rebuild radical socialist movements that demand that the resources of the state and the nation provide for the welfare of all citizens and the heavy hand of state power be employed to prohibit the plunder by the corporate power elite. We must view the corporate capitalists who have seized control of our money, our food, our energy, our education, our press, our health care system and our governance as mortal enemies to be vanquished.

Adequate food, clean water and basic security are already beyond the reach of perhaps half the world’s population. Food prices have risen 61 percent globally since December 2008, according to the International Monetary Fund. The price of wheat has exploded, more than doubling in the last eight months to $8.56 a bushel. When half of your income is spent on food, as it is in countries such as Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia and the Ivory Coast, price increases of this magnitude bring with them malnutrition and starvation. Food prices in the United States have risen over the past three months at an annualized rate of 5 percent. There are some 40 million poor in the United States who devote 35 percent of their after-tax incomes to pay for food. As the cost of fossil fuel climbs, as climate change continues to disrupt agricultural production and as populations and unemployment swell, we will find ourselves convulsed in more global and domestic unrest. Food riots and political protests will be inevitable. But it will not necessarily mean more democracy.

The refusal by all of our liberal institutions, including the press, universities, labor and the Democratic Party, to challenge the utopian assumptions that the marketplace should determine human behavior permits corporations and investment firms to continue their assault, including speculating on commodities to drive up food prices. It permits coal, oil and natural gas corporations to stymie alternative energy and emit deadly levels of greenhouse gases. It permits agribusinesses to divert corn and soybeans to ethanol production and crush systems of local, sustainable agriculture. It permits the war industry to drain half of all state expenditures, generate trillions in deficits, and profit from conflicts in the Middle East we have no chance of winning. It permits corporations to evade the most basic controls and regulations to cement into place a global neo-feudalism. The last people who should be in charge of our food supply or our social and political life, not to mention the welfare of sick children, are corporate capitalists and Wall Street speculators. But none of this is going to change until we turn our backs on the Democratic Party, denounce the orthodoxies peddled in our universities and in the press by corporate apologists and construct our opposition to the corporate state from the ground up. It will not be easy. It will take time. And it will require us to accept the status of social and political pariahs, especially as the lunatic fringe of our political establishment steadily gains power. The corporate state has nothing to offer the left or the right but fear. It uses fear—fear of secular humanism or fear of Christian fascists—to turn the population into passive accomplices. As long as we remain afraid nothing will change.

Friedrich von Hayek and Milton Friedman, two of the major architects for unregulated capitalism, should never have been taken seriously. But the wonders of corporate propaganda and corporate funding turned these fringe figures into revered prophets in our universities, think tanks, the press, legislative bodies, courts and corporate boardrooms. We still endure the cant of their discredited economic theories even as Wall Street sucks the U.S. Treasury dry and engages once again in the speculation that has to date evaporated some $40 trillion in global wealth. We are taught by all systems of information to chant the mantra that the market knows best.

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It does not matter, as writers such as John Ralston Saul have pointed out, that every one of globalism’s  promises has turned out to be a lie. It does not matter that economic inequality has gotten worse and that most of the world’s wealth has became concentrated in a few hands. It does not matter that the middle class—the beating heart of any democracy—is disappearing and that the rights and wages of the working class have fallen into precipitous decline as labor regulations, protection of our manufacturing base and labor unions have been demolished. It does not matter that corporations have used the destruction of trade barriers as a mechanism for massive tax evasion, a technique that allows conglomerates such as General Electric to avoid paying any taxes. It does not matter that corporations are exploiting and killing the ecosystem on which the human species depends for life. The steady barrage of illusions disseminated by corporate systems of propaganda, in which words are often replaced with music and images, are impervious to truth. Faith in the marketplace replaces for many faith in an omnipresent God. And those who dissent—from Ralph Nader to Noam Chomsky—are banished as heretics.


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Arraya's avatar

By Arraya, March 30, 2011 at 9:41 am Link to this comment

Global civilization collapse will all happen because humankind is
in overshoot
of the earth’s carrying capacity.  Because we are past (or near) peak oil, soil,
water, and many other supporting resources we are (or will soon be)  in
overshoot by a factor of 100. The earth’s sustainable peaceful population
(where all kids get to go to college)  is less than 100 million
people.

As far as consumption goes;

A dramatic depiction of the issue:

The richest 10% account for 60% of all private consumption

The richest 20% account for 79% of all private consumption

The richest 30% account for 87% of all private consumption.
And the remaining 70%—ALL the people on the planet who are
either poor or of modest means—consume only 13%. And we’re
telling them that the problem is that they are having too many
kids, which is causing resource and environmental problems?!

I believe that this re-defines the word “GALL”.

Well-off first worlders use up to 70-100 times the resources of poor people in
the third world.

Carrying capacity analysis(which can be done a thousand ways, but, seriously
100X over?) is usually neglecting massive “structural necessitating” waste and
inefficiencies in the system. Economic efficiency has ZERO to do with materials
efficiency.

It would almost seem we have two separate species.  So who is in overshoot? 

Indeed, we have no logic or management with resource distribution.  It’s
complete chaos(generated and manipulated with corporate marketing) with
zero view of the natural world. 

This comes from a fundamentally inverted worldview: the economist sees the
environment as a subsystem of the economy, rather than the other way around.
In other words, economists are trained to believe that natural resources come
from “markets” rather than the “environment”. The corollary is that “man-made
capital” can substitute for “natural capital”. But the First Law of thermodynamics
tells us there is no “creation”—there is no such thing as “man-made capital”.
Thus, ALL capital is “natural capital”, and the economy is 100% dependent on
the “environment” for everything.

Currently we are running about 30% over on renewable resources.  Meaning we
use them 30% faster than they can be regenerated.  That does not indicate 100x
over. 

Of course, we have a resource and environmental clusterfuck because of the
very nature of neoclassical economics

This suicidal logic is driven by the all consuming quest for profit and the
massive scope limitations of the “price point” which has zero understanding of
natural world and thus no rational way to value it.  As well as the market-
systems refusal and inability to price externialities because it is outside of the
market mechanism.

Second, it does not matter if you have 100,000 or 10 billion people within the
capitalism construct you will get similar disparities and wealth concentrations
like a pyramid along with systemic materials inefficiencies and waste.  Along
with it’s self-annihilating “monetary” logic.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, March 30, 2011 at 8:00 am Link to this comment

HORSE RACES

GM: As far as I can tell, Freedom of Speech does indeed includes the right to speak nonsense.

Yes, of course you are right. One is free to write/speak anything they wish. And others have the right to argue how inane it was … or at least try to do so.

That is what good debate is all about. (Mark Twain: It is difference of opinion that makes horse races.)

GM: While you appear very well versed in the official clinical descriptions of these things, I think you miss entirely the actual day to day activities of the people claiming the titles.

I live in France and, unlike the US, it suffered greatly from fascism. Three hundred French civilians died in WW2, as a consequence of fascism. European Jews have lost entire parts of their families. The word thus has a specifically cruel denotation and not only in Europe.

To think that plutocrats are fascists in America is quite wrong. (It is bad enough that they should be plutocrats.) To do so, I feel, demeans what is a Great Democracy. One that could be even better were it to turn away from the idiotic notion that the be all and end all of an existence was to generate profits for a select minor percentage of the whole population.

Profits this and profits that … what a mono-chromatically dull existence. To live one’s life in the pursuit of money. There are so many better ways to benefit from the richness that this earth has to offer us.

Matthew 16:26: For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?

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RayLan's avatar

By RayLan, March 30, 2011 at 8:00 am Link to this comment

When discussions like this end up arguing about what are the basic facts, it has no hope of reaching any kind of resolution. Freedom of speech for instance, is exactly that -

The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law “respecting an establishment of religion”, impeding the free exercise of religion, infringing on the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.

The only limitations that have been acknoweldged since that time, is not to engage in inciteful speech that would cause a violent situation - like yelling fire when there isn’t.

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Gary Mont's avatar

By Gary Mont, March 30, 2011 at 5:21 am Link to this comment

Lafayette: THE LIBERTY TO SPEAK NONSENSE

GM: As fascism seems to be primarily concerned with making its members wealthy by running government as if it was a business

Lafayette: “Fascism =  an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government.
Ours is certainly a Right-wing government if compared with others further to the Left. Regardless, it is NOT authoritarian.”

=========

While you appear very well versed in the official clinical descriptions of these things, I think you miss entirely the actual day to day activities of the people claiming the titles.

========

Lafayette: “Freedom of speech does not necessarily entail the liberty to speak nonsense”

As far as I can tell, Freedom of Speech does indeed includes the right to speak nonsense.

One man’s nonsense is quite often another man’s gospel.

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Gary Mont's avatar

By Gary Mont, March 30, 2011 at 5:07 am Link to this comment

DigThis: “How can we bridge the gap between important movements such as the environment, women’s rights, gay rights, and the daily struggles for survival and a decent living for most of our population?

—-

I don’t think its possible to bridge the disparate concerns such as those you mention above. Each special interest group tends to desire top billing in the hopes of being better heard than the others.

Other interest groups are seen as stealing the stage.

The same applies to a single special interest when there are numerous groups following seperate paths to the goal.

A good example might be the 9/11 truth movement. If all the groups involved in this investigation were to pool their resources and combine forces, they might be successful in ascertaining the exact sequence of events and the precise cast of characters responsible, but instead, they compete for supremacy in an effort to have only one group become the accepted “authority”.

I cannot even imagine what might cause such a variety of unconnected special interests to work together, or perceive of any method of bridging their various concerns in a positive manner.

Its probably a lack of resource thing.

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By Joe Schmoe, March 30, 2011 at 4:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The key to changing things for the better is campaign finance reform.  John McCain was once on the proper side of this righteous cause (along with Russ Feingold), which gained a brief bit of traction but has now slipped into irrelevance.  If you take the money out of politics, for the most part anyway, then you go a long way to curing the ills of any country.  Publicly financed elections is the key.  With such a system we stand a fighting chance of actually having righteous politicians in office who have little to gain from embracing the corporate machine and will thus possibly have the means and wherewithal to fight it.  As it stands now, no politician of any relevance and power can survive without wasting most of their time on raising funds for their re-election.  Get this fixed and many dominoes will fall in the wake.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, March 30, 2011 at 4:16 am Link to this comment

STARKLY DIFFERENT CONTEXTS

CCD: Just an off-hand observation: Chinese state capitalism model is the future most countries aspire to (at least the economic and political elite do).

The above comment is dubious.

Although it is not always evident, Communism is still the main ideology of the Chinese government. They have simply changed horses to work with capitalism.

I doubt seriously if the Chinese population will be willing to put up with as many years of Income Unfairness as the US. (The Chinese Gini Coefficient of Income Fairness is the same as the US, meaning it is highly unfair).

US

In the US, we have developed a middle-class that is physically fat, measurably dumb and psychically happy - so they accept living with the crumbs off the economic table.

We feed them mass media trash to enhance their lives and they adore the Celebrity Sheen of a world that they inhabit vicariously.

All in all, they are We, the Sheeple. Always ready for a shearing.

THEM

The Chinese context is starkly different. What the Gini Coefficient does not show is the abject poverty of the rural classes that number in the hundreds of millions. So, no, I doubt that “State Capitalism” is proper for a World Role Model. It may be right for the Chinese mainland at the moment but only for the moment.

Many Chinese are prepared to die rather than see others become enormously rich. For the moment, that societal time-bomb in China is just ticking. One day, however, it could explode.

One day soon, even.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, March 30, 2011 at 3:44 am Link to this comment

THE LIBERTY TO SPEAK NONSENSE

GM: As fascism seems to be primarily concerned with making its members wealthy by running government as if it was a business

Fascism =  an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government.

Ours is certainly a Right-wing government if compared with others further to the Left. Regardless, it is NOT authoritarian.

In fact, our government, in terms of policy, swings from right- to left-wing with some regularity. And, it is mostly independent voters who change opinion that effect that swing - since well-established “political camps” exist on both sides of the political divide and tend to sustain a base electoral voting pattern.

Our system of governance is one that balances power between the Executive, Congressional and Judicial branches—which was conceived at its inception. Thankfully, two of those three are elected by common plebiscite.

You have never lived under Fascism and therefore are bantering the word about without the slightest understanding or comprehension of what it entails.

Besides, we have one of the most advanced democratic systems on earth. So trashing it with words,  which, if one knew the meaning of them they would not employ, belittles that democracy.

Freedom of speech does not necessarily entail the liberty to speak nonsense.

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, March 30, 2011 at 3:38 am Link to this comment

Just an off-hand observation: Chinese state capitalism model is the future most countries aspire to (at least the economic and political elite do). The Chinese are all business and, except for those situations where they think a little compassion for the average citizen will keep the lid on the simmering discontent, they are the heavy-handed enforcer for the corporate world. The business world likes this model as it removes much of the ‘human resource’ requirements they’ve had to struggle with in the West.

Don’t think, even for a minute, that other political elites haven’t noticed what’s happening in China and elsewhere. Look around the world and you can see the governments all running, as fast as they can, toward the Chinese model. The strange emergence of single party countries (Russia, Belarus, soon to be in Ukraine and elsewhere) and efforts to destroy all but one party (this is happening in US of A for sure) are moves to create the political environment that matches that found in China. Once you have a single party you have the environment that removes all popular voices from the discussion. You think politicians ignore you now ... just wait until there is no competition. They had elections in the Soviet Union all the time ... 99.9% approval of the chosen candidate ... vote or get a visit from the local KGB ... but that was their system and it was ‘democratic’. And so cheap ... no need to run those expensive and deceptive TV ads.

As for Hedges not proposing solutions ... I’ve addresses this before. He’s the oracle, the bearer of bad news. His job is to point out the problem. He makes no case for being the solution guy. That he leaves to us. We’re smart enough to figure this out.

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By truedigger3, March 30, 2011 at 3:28 am Link to this comment

Re:By Lafayette, March 30 at 6:14 am Link to this comment

Lafayette wrote:

“POLEMICAL JOURNALISM

CH: It does not matter, as writers such as John Ralston Saul have pointed out, that every one of globalism’s promises has turned out to be a lie.

Go tell that preposterous comment to the workers at Boeing or Pratt&Whitney; that sell commercial airliners to the world. Or the myriad other companies (Apple, MicroSoft, Caterpillar, American Express) that are heavily involved in global business.
Free Trade, so hardly fought and finally won in post-WW2 economic development, was a boon to the US and still represents around 10% of GDP.”

—————————————————————————-
Lafayette,
This is complete and utter OBVIOUS bullshitting.
You write as there was no international trade before globalism!. Of course, there was international trade before globalism and there will be international trade after the demise of globalism!!
You claim that 10% of GDP is due to gloabalism, which might be true, however how much GDP and millions of jobs were lost when the manufacturing plants of this country were dismantled and shipped to China, Mexico , Vietnam etc etc due to globalism????!!!!
Enough bullshitting and obfuscating!!

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Gary Mont's avatar

By Gary Mont, March 30, 2011 at 3:20 am Link to this comment

To WriterOnTheStorm,

Thank you. I damn near understood that.
It actually sounded somewhat like libertarianism.

I’m afraid these forms of population exploitation are all far too similar for me to really comprehend any differences between them.

As fascism seems to be primarily concerned with making its members wealthy by running government as if it was a business immune to normal business practice rules, it appears to me it could be considered more of an economic term than a political term.

This is where my confusion originated I think.

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Napolean DoneHisPart's avatar

By Napolean DoneHisPart, March 30, 2011 at 2:23 am Link to this comment

The military dictatorship instilled since WWII circumventing Congressional declarations of war is still alive and well:

http://fora.tv/2010/02/10/Garry_Wills_Bomb_Power

Kennedy opposed this power behind the front of the executive office:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFGMyyRURFM&feature=related

Any questions?

Perhaps we can get back on topic of denouncing and bringing down the Amerikan Empire and stop the banter over arguable and debatable malarkey.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, March 30, 2011 at 2:14 am Link to this comment

POLEMICAL JOURNALISM

CH: It does not matter, as writers such as John Ralston Saul have pointed out, that every one of globalism’s promises has turned out to be a lie.

Go tell that preposterous comment to the workers at Boeing or Pratt&Whitney; that sell commercial airliners to the world. Or the myriad other companies (Apple, MicroSoft, Caterpillar, American Express) that are heavily involved in global business.

Free Trade, so hardly fought and finally won in post-WW2 economic development, was a boon to the US and still represents around 10% of GDP.

For an understanding of how important international trade and commerce is to the jobs market across the US the map on this site here, belonging to the International Trade Administration of the Department of Commerce will enlighten you.

Exercise the map to find, for instance, that more than 730,000 jobs in California alone depend upon international trade and commerce.

This polemical tirade is cheap journalism at its worst. CH has not done his investigatory work properly before writing the article.

And yet, the facts are there for all to behold.

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, March 29, 2011 at 11:57 pm Link to this comment

Gary Mont and his “Christian fascist” question did not get answered the way he wanted, and so Gary goes for the Inquisition/Salem Witch trial/McCarthy hearings approach: “However, because of your rather obfuscating response, I will simply assume that you are exactly that and treat you accordingly from this point forward.

Thats right, the accused must answer the question just so… or else. The accused must grovel… or else. The accused must offer some evidence… or else.

But i didnt and i wont.

Truthdig requires new blood, new Leftist readers with perpetual credulity combined with flaming passion. Gary is our new brave knight with a white hot heart. Welcome to Truthdig, you belong here! In fact, I nominate Gary for “Truthdigger of the Week”.

Gary Mont admitted: “I also asked because you’d be the first person I’ve ever encountered who (apparently) proudly admitted they were a fascist.

and I didnt answer because I suspected you were just another prejudiced Leftist. I have encountered throngs of those and i can spot one a mile away.

More from Gary Mont: “(My apologies to all for this longish off-topic response. I will pursue this no further. Moderator, please delete this post if you think it is out of order.)

Let me translate: “Moderator! oh, Censor of the Internet! Please delete our comments, please ensure that our speech is pure! Please break our crayons if we color outside the lines of the assigned Topic!

Wait I can do better, let me take that down a notch and translate Gary Mont again:

Moderator! Oh Solomon of Truthdig! Please delete this post! Well, delete mine if that is the price I must pay for you to also delete his! Because yipes there is a fascist here… Help help! Delete posts to protect free speech!

Oh dear. too much irony. but it is true. Leftists today love censorship, dont they? Not like the 60s at all, is it? What has happened to you people? Never never ask for anyone to be censored unless their speech directly threatens/endangers someone.

And asking for yourself to be censored… that is original. I like originality.

I also like sincerity. So Gary be honest, did you go all the way? Did you press the ‘report this’ button on your own post? This would be a first i think. No one else has ever done that before. Your integrity, your word, your sincerity… would be proven 100% if you actually reported yourself to the Moderator. 

Oh my, we really must nominate Gary for “Truthdigger of the Week”. Everyone please help out.

Gary, listen to me. Stop appealing to Moderators. It makes you sound like the 3rd grader who cant find his lunch box because he forgot that he left it at home. If you think i took it, well, i wont offer any proof otherwise. Now what are you going to do? 

Come on Gary, scrape up some courage. You made a good start. You suspected fascism, you wanted a fascist, you cant be bothered to understand the concept of irony, or read a book or even look at a web link. And behold, now you have a fascist in front of you. Thats how it works.

This is your second chance to say something important to me, a Christian fascist. In front of everyone.

This was how you fumbled your first try against me: “I will pursue this no further”.

No No No. You should vow to chase me ‘round perdition’s flame’. That would impress everyone with your strength and sincerity against fascism. But “I will pursue this no further”?  Oh Gary, thats terrible.

This is Truthdig. We always pursue things further (although we never get anywhere). We do the same thing over and over, and we experience the same outcome every time.

Nothing changes except the date of the articles, and the new Leftists, who get spun around in the turbulence because they dont know what is going on.

I ask that everyone nominate little Gary Mont for “Truthdigger of the Week” anyway.

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By DigThis, March 29, 2011 at 11:18 pm Link to this comment

Gary Mont:

I confused my own point… which was intended to be very basic and pragmatic question:

“How can we bridge the gap between important movements such as the environment, women’s rights, gay rights, and the daily struggles for survival and a decent living for most of our population?”

This was actually mentioned by Chomsky last week in response to a question posited by Ken Loach during the Q&A session linked below (at 22:06).  Interestingly, Chris Hedges also asked a question during this session.  Check it out:
http://vimeo.com/21277024

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By WriterOnTheStorm, March 29, 2011 at 10:40 pm Link to this comment

Gary Mont:

How is Neoliberalism different than Fascism? First of all, Fascism is a political
term proper, while Neoliberalism is an economic term. But as has been pointed
out in Arraya’s excellent posts, economic theory often masks a political agenda,
so it can get a little muddled.

Friedman would no doubt argue that Neoliberalism is antithetical to Fascism
since it seeks to give each citizen “freedom” in the form of consumer choice.
But in theory, Neoliberal economic policy can be implemented in both liberal
(politically liberal) and authoritarian states. In fact, one of Neoliberalism’s early
successes was in Chile, where Pinochet’s proto-fascist government privatized
much of the state owned companies. (Hayek, who fled German Fascism, tried to
justify his association with Pinochet by calling him a “liberal dicatator”, but
liberal authoritarianism is still authoritarianism.) Neoliberalism was
subsequently adopted in many relatively liberal (politically) western countries,
famously by Reagan and Thatcher, as a way of ending stagflation. Reagan’s
“morning in America” amounted to little more than rolling out a Neoliberal
premium package including the big four: privatization, deregulation,
globalization, and union busting.

Today, some would argue that Neoliberalism provides a scholarly facade for
anti-statists, and for free market proponents who are generally conservative
politically. In some interviews, Hayek says things that could have come out of
the mouth of Ayn Rand. Regardless of where one cares to pin it on the political
map, Neoliberalism is finished, and so is globalization. Those who have
benefitted most will continue to whip their precious golden goose, and for a
time, they may even continue to thrive. But their brand of scorched-earth
capitalism leaves too many casualties lying around to go on much longer.

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By prosefights, March 29, 2011 at 10:05 pm Link to this comment

Us liberal arts educated may have defeated an incompetent engineer?

To attempt to address your heat rate questions, the term “heat rate” from an energy production perspective refers to the amount of energy a plant produces for every unit of fuel that gets put in. Specifically, it’s the number of BTU’s needed to produce one kilowatt-hour of energy. So strictly speaking, I would say that heat rate has no real meaning for solar PV or wind, since nothing’s being burned. The efficiency of these technologies matters, of course, in that one wants to get as much energy output per unit input as possible. It’s most important implication is how quickly we burn non-renewable resources to generate electricty. So heat rate is really an expression of (thermal) generator efficiency that doesn’t have an immediate analog in renewable techonologies since we don’t consume non-renewable resources in the latter.

Frank Currie, PE
Project Engineer
Commonwealth Associates, Inc.
1599 S. St. Francis Dr.
Suite C
Santa Fe, NM 87505
505-982-4012
http://www.cai-engr.com

http://www.prosefights.org/eprishumard/currie/currie.htm#currie1

Hahaha.

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By mark mulligan, March 29, 2011 at 8:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Globalization will not collapse until it is replaced, from the grass-roots up, by a coherent One World peace/progressive movement.

That movement will not cohere until it shares a fundamentally radical manifesto of transformation.  I have tried to write it as LEARNERS: On the Move from WeaponWorld to PeaceWorld, in English and in French with a dozen Keywords pages in as many other languages.

In the meantime, fragmentary and atomistic progressive dissent will shatter against Globalism’s world resources and monolithic world elite.

National Communism defeated National Socialism, and National Capitalism survived them both.  Learners will topple National Capitalism, as planned.

It may be too late to remedy all the damage already done; but that is our best (only) chance, as far as I can tell (and I have been looking for decades).

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Psychobabbler's avatar

By Psychobabbler, March 29, 2011 at 8:34 pm Link to this comment

The Christian right deserves criticism for using Christ to promote inequitable
economic policies and violent foreign and domestic security policies.

I think it is worth mentioning that he also wrote a book criticizing atheism which is a belief system that I associate myself with.

I have never read either of them, but I expect that they would point to human
nature aside from religion (or lack of religion) as a source of human failure, so don’t be such a Nancy Michael.

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Gary Mont's avatar

By Gary Mont, March 29, 2011 at 8:31 pm Link to this comment

DigThis: “Thanks for your comment.  I understand the nature of the gap.  I meant what can we actually do today to begin bridging it. Ideas?

—-

Sadly, no ideas. If I had any ideas as to how to fix the system, I would be posting them everywhere, electronically in places like this and physically on poles, walls and fences.

I am of the opinion that the whole system must first collapse, removing the power of capital from those who use it to control the world for personal gain, simply because once a society reaches this state, everyone who has the capacity to initiate the necessary changes is busy causing the problems and everyone capable of realizing solutions to the problems is employed by the former group, inventing ways and means to make the task of contol for profit easier and more widespread.

Since I think that the root cause of social inequality and eventual disollution is capital, and I know that people refuse utterly to consider a social construct that does not include the possibility of becoming a member of the wealthy class, I also realize that no change is possible once capital has become the social goal. The poor will never put limits on the rich because they hope to someday become the rich and enjoy those limitless privileges.

My only hope in this matter is that enough people can be made aware of the situation prior to collapse, so that there is a slight possibility of the next social order being based on something other than capital.

I do not give this possibility a large probability however and assume that this social construct will fall exactly the same way that all those before it fell, and that the phoenix that rises from the ashes of this failed social construct will also be one dedicated to Mammom, if there is indeed enough of us left to actually start anew.

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By Gary Mont, March 29, 2011 at 7:45 pm Link to this comment

To OzarkMichael: Re “Christain Fascists”

Slay dragons??

You really oughta get over yourself sir/madam.

—-

(My apologies to all for this longish off-topic response. I will pursue this no further. Moderator, please delete this post if you think it is out of order.)

—-

Simple curiosity actually.
I had thought the question was simple enough.

Are you claiming to be a Christian Fascist?

If you wish to not answer the question, that is fine.

However, because of your rather obfuscating response, I will simply assume that you are exactly that and treat you accordingly from this point forward.

At first I had assumed it was a simple mis-speak on your part actually, and you meant to say something else entirely, but this now seems to not be the case.

I also asked because you’d be the first person I’ve ever encountered who (apparently) proudly admitted they were a fascist.

Even the Nazis and White Supremacists I’ve encountered don’t claim to be fascist. Then again, I’m sure most of them didn’t actually know what the word meant, since most of them had considered the Bush meme of “Islamo-fascist”, to be the coolest phrase since “Bring it on”.

That you also consider yourself a Capital C Christian is not suprising at all.

As to wanting to make you a martyr in your own eyes, or, how do you Christians put it…. “persecute” you publicly - after reading your response, I am absolutely certain that you are far better equipped at slaying yourself, dragon-wise, than I could ever hope to be and in all honesty, I really have neither the time nor the inclination to joust with anyone claiming to be a Christo-fascist.

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By prosefights, March 29, 2011 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Japans-Electricity-Shortage-nytimes-3849699743.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=6&asset;=&ccode;
The USA may have this problem in a few years and it will last for years. The reason? Power use
keeps increasing but no new power plants are being built because Obama’s EPA has declared
carbon dioxide a pollutant creating uncertainty about the viability of coal or natural gas power
plants even though they are by far the most efficient and least expensive options available
today.’

Burning natural gas to generate electricity, then powering natural gas compressor stations with electric motors may deserve rethinking?

http://home.comcast.net/~bpayne37/nmgco/nmgco.htm

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, March 29, 2011 at 7:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

George Carlin on why we like war.  This is from 1991 but still very timely.  He even mentions Lybia.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UaS2bRGS86c

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By DigThis, March 29, 2011 at 7:19 pm Link to this comment

Gary Mont: “Honesty as an absolute political policy.
Any politics absent honesty is a criminal enterprise.
All of the current corruption in the establishment is due to deception, misinformation and officially institutionalized ignorance.
The single missing factor in all of modern society is honesty. It has been rooted out and exterminated by every means available by those currently occupying the positions of power today. It is the one thing they fear worse than personal poverty.
An informed population is a bitch to fool, rob or mislead, and thus, utterly undesirable to those who profit through deception and subterfuge.
Without it, no change is possible.”


Thanks for your comment.  I understand the nature of the gap.  I meant what can we actually do today to begin bridging it. Ideas?  smile

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By OzarkMichael, March 29, 2011 at 6:27 pm Link to this comment

Gary Mont,

Thank you for taking the time to read other people’s posts here, including mine. You picked up on my self-identification with what is called “Christian fascists”. You question whether my statement is true. Perhaps you suspect it is mere irony.

My answer to your question is suspended at this time by something else, namely my curiousity about you and your question.

Your question might be a disclosure on your part, whereby you expose your hope to find a really awful foe to do battle with, a desire to slay a real dragon as it were. Does your question mean that you hope to meet and challenge a real ‘Christian fascist’ to a verbal duel? here in front of everyone?

how exciting. how daring.

If so, you should study your fearsome foe before engaging in combat. I suggest this daring book by the great authority on dragons, where he teaches you to fear the dragon, and identify them:

http://www.amazon.com/American-Fascists-Christian-Right-America/dp/B0012F9WEW

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By ohiolibgal, March 29, 2011 at 6:26 pm Link to this comment

A brilliant and dead on take. I remain stunned that more everyday people can’t or won’t connect the simple dots. Stunned that they let themselves be manipulated to help people who don’t give a hoot about them.

I wish more Obama apologists would watch “Inside Job” and the PBS show “The Warning” and then look with different eyes at Obama’s hand picked financial team. Obama is no dummy, so in hiring these people he thumbed his nose at the masses.

There does seem to be a growing public unrest, some of it on target, some of it largely off kilter and misdirected like the Tea Party. I hope enough awaken and correctly read the te leaves; and do it quickly enough.

Power to the people, it’s time to push back and push back hard, the hour is late.

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By Gary Mont, March 29, 2011 at 4:52 pm Link to this comment

DigThis: “How can we bridge the gap between important movements such as the environment, women’s rights, gay rights, and the daily struggles for survival and a decent living for most of our population?

—-

Honesty as an absolute political policy.
Any politics absent honesty is a criminal enterprise.

All of the current corruption in the establishment is due to deception, misinformation and officially institutionalized ignorance.

The single missing factor in all of modern society is honesty. It has been rooted out and exterminated by every means available by those currently occupying the positions of power today. It is the one thing they fear worse than personal poverty.

An informed population is a bitch to fool, rob or mislead, and thus, utterly undesirable to those who profit through deception and subterfuge.

Without it, no change is possible.

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By DigThis, March 29, 2011 at 4:35 pm Link to this comment

How can we bridge the gap between important movements such as the environment, women’s rights, gay rights, and the daily struggles for survival and a decent living for most of our population?

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, March 29, 2011 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment

Steve Newcomb, March 29 at 7:32 pm posted:  “Hayek’s faith in the free market was predicated on the idea that all relevant information would be available to all participants in every economic transaction.”  Yes, the very foundations of this new ‘free market religion’ are flawed.  I seem to recall the necessity that new competition have low barriers to entry as well.  I recall the free market hypothesis (I won’t give it the respect of calling it a ‘theory’.) goes that if sellers raise prices to juicy profit levels, new sellers (who are willing to produce the good for less) will enter the market.  Could Smith and Hayek have predicted the environment of mergers and acquisitions we have seen for a few good decades now?  Another conveniently forgotten trait of an ideal market is that sellers are not only well informed, but that they act rationally, in their own best interest.  Commercial driven media has had our common mind so wired up for so long that we are incapable of rational thought, let alone rational action in the market.

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, March 29, 2011 at 4:33 pm Link to this comment

What are we really arguing about now, fellas?

Who’s the shill and who’s the truth teller?

When one is found right, he can quickly be proven wrong by someone else, by some other overlooked fact.

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By RayLan, March 29, 2011 at 4:30 pm Link to this comment

@Lafayette
‘Otherwise it is merely infantile ad hominem.”

Nonsense. It is an attack on your ideas (ad rem) not you.
You need to support your sweeping mindless and groundless dismissal of Hedges thought (which by your definition is also ‘ad hominem’).

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By RayLan, March 29, 2011 at 4:27 pm Link to this comment

@Lafayette
“What makes CH think these two have been taken seriously?”

In a compelling book, entitled The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein charts how the neoliberal right follows the double-barreled strategy introduced years ago by its patron-saint, Milton Friedman.  Right wing think-tanks first prepare a set of market deregulations, anti labor actions, and tax cutting policies, waiting for an acceptable time to enact them. Then a rightist administration deploys any new shock that comes along to push them through. Friedman himself tested this strategy in Chile, after Allende, with probable American help, was killed in a coup and General Pinochet took over. It has since been deployed often. An economic crisis in Argentina? Use the IMF to impose neoliberal policies and deregulation. A recession in the United States in the late 1970’s?  Give large tax breaks to the rich and decrease regulation when Reagan gains office. An economic meltdown in 2009 created by deregulation, bank adventurism and high frequency trading?  More bailouts, joined to militant resistance to reorganize the neoliberal policies that created the disaster.
http://contemporarycondition.blogspot.com/2010/04/shock-doctrine-and-neoliberal-imaginary.html

Please educate yourself.

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By RayLan, March 29, 2011 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment

@entropy2
You read contradictions into your own misreading of Hedges. It seems deliberate and biased.
Chris is cleary distinguishing between the state collaboration with corporate power as it is now and the state’s unyielding control of corporate power as it ought to be in his proposed solution. Yes he does have a solution.
There is no jot of contradiction in this mapping out of revolutionary strategy. You just have to be able to distinguish between the ‘is’ and the ‘ought’, that is if you are so inclined to be rational and objective.

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By Lafayette, March 29, 2011 at 4:17 pm Link to this comment

RL: Mindless totally biased and groundless dismissal.

OK, justify that accusation with a cogent rebuttal.

Otherwise it is merely infantile ad hominem.

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By Lafayette, March 29, 2011 at 4:12 pm Link to this comment

MARKET ECONOMY ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES

CH: Friedrich von Hayek and Milton Friedman, two of the major architects for unregulated capitalism, should never have been taken seriously.

What makes CH think these two have been taken seriously?

They are on the far-outer periphery of present economic thought in the matter of market economies. And it is doubtful that a corporate chieftain could even recognize their names.

CH is amalgamating once again to arrive at some general conspiracy perpetrated upon us by the present American plutocracy. There is none. They are all individual profiteers obtaining the benefits of a market economy for which we consumers are its lifeblood.

What is happening is simply the consequence of a sharp reduction in both income and capital gains taxation that prompts entrepreneurs to take enormous risks because the rewards are so lucrative. Those risks often pay out richly, thus a selective group think that the rewards are self-justifying.

UNFAIRNESS

There enters into the consideration no element of fairness in terms of the market players - that is, Supply and Demand. The agents of Supply (workers) and Demand (Consumers but because they are income-earning workers) are just cogs in the wheel of a market economy.

There is no consideration of fairness - not to Consumers in terms of their ability to acquire products at a fair price in an competitively open market. Not to those who labor (Workers) to assure that products and services are made available to Consumers by means of decent conditions of work (wages, work-hours and workplaces).

WHAT MATTERS

All that matters is who profits from the market economy, that is, those who benefit most from the profits generated and kept as personal income or gain. They are generally those who are either rentiers (those living off of income rents from invested capital). Or TopManagement who share Net-of-Tax Corporate Income in the form of bonuses and then again in the form of dividends from stock ownership.

It is these latter who walk away with the largest part of the economic pie generated. (See pie-charts here.)

MY POINT

Callous exploitation is demonstrated by means of market accounting (as above) and not sophisticated economic theory.

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By RayLan, March 29, 2011 at 4:07 pm Link to this comment

@Lafayette
“CH has missed yet again a good opportunity to write about something meaningful instead of this somnolent nonsense. “
Mindless totally biased and groundless dismissal.

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By Jack Alpert, March 29, 2011 at 3:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris,  you are correct.  The present and future is very dark.  A majority of the
global population in the next 20-30 years will die due to starvation, anarchy,
or genocide.  The scarcity you correctly describe will collapse civilization. 
Survivors will be reduced to subsistence. And if lots of money or power can
create a North American middle class lifestyle it will be behind distant high
walls.

Global civilization collapse will all happen because humankind is in overshoot
of the earth’s carrying capacity.  Because we are past (or near) peak oil, soil,
water, and many other supporting resources we are (or will soon be)  in
overshoot by a factor of 100. The earth’s sustainable peaceful population
(where all kids get to go to college)  is less than 100 million people.
see video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTWduFB_RX0

By what logic do you see a redistribution of resources and a different
management institution, overcoming an overshoot of 100 times too many
people?
What we need to address the problem you correctly outlined is nothing less
than a rapidly decreasing population.

Jack Alpert .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)    http://www.skil.org

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By Gary Mont, March 29, 2011 at 3:34 pm Link to this comment

OzarkMichael: re: ‘fear of Christian fascists’ books by Chris Hedges.

You wrote: “Me being the target of such book, i would like to know why suddenly Chris Hedges demonizes his old livelihood.”

—-

Are you actually claiming to be a Christian Fascist in the quoted statement above?

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By Steve Newcomb, March 29, 2011 at 3:32 pm Link to this comment

I love Hedges’s thinking, but I think he confuses Milton Friedman’s
selective acknowledgement of Hayek’s thinking with Hayek’s actual
thinking.  In fact, Hayek’s faith in the free market was predicated on the
idea that all relevant information would be available to all participants in
every economic transaction.  The error that causes our miseries is not
globalization, per se, but our *failure to globalize useful access to all
relevant information*.  Instead, we have allowed moneyed interests in
media, telecom, and information technology to create artificial scarcities of
information (and/or scarcities of the rights to use known information) in a
technological context of natural abundance.  Creating scarcity from
abundance is a behavior commonplace among tyrants.  Ghaddafi did
exactly that with commodities in Libya.  In information-land, Time-Warner
is doing that in North Carolina’s legislature, preventing communities from
being their own ISPs.  Microsoft and Apple are doing that with DRM
technologies that put *your* computers under *their* control (read their
end-user licenses, if you don’t believe me).  Disney etc. have bought
legislation to keep almost the entire 20th century’s intellectual output out
of the public domain.  The examples extremely numerous.  The world
economy suffers immeasurably, as does the quality of human life.

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By Gary Mont, March 29, 2011 at 3:01 pm Link to this comment

Gary Mont wrote: “While I agree that modern times are magnitudes of order better in every way than the past (in the industrialized nations)

DavidByron replied: “Then you agree with me and disagree with Chris hedges.  And what’s that weasel word about saying only the industrialised countries have advanced?  In fact the others have likely advanced more.  South Korea used to be a third world country you know.”

—-

If you had not edited the quote, you (and those you hoped to deceive) would know I did not agree with either your apparent perception that Chris was demanding a return to the past, or your apparent solution - waiting quietly for technological salvation.

The whole quote before editing reads:
While I agree that modern times are magnitudes of order better in every way than the past (in the industrialized nations), I cannot agree that passive acceptance of the current situation, and prayers to the technogods is any better solution than collecting 4 leaf clovers and praying to one or more of the current faith deities.

Removing the part that states I do not agree, so you can claim I do agree is rather pathetic in my opinion.

If you need to use such deception in your communications, your position must appear as obviously untennable to you as it does to me.

My “weasel words” about industrialized nations refers to the fact that some primitive societies may have presented a far better way-of-life for humans than any of the mechanized and civilized societies to date. I have lived in and am familair with only civilized existence, so I added the “weasel words” to show that my statement referred only to those forms of society.

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By OzarkMichael, March 29, 2011 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges said: “The corporate state has nothing to offer the left or the right but fear. It uses fear—fear of secular humanism or fear of Christian fascists—to turn the population into passive accomplices.

Oh Chris, you have forgotten yourself again. The corporate state never offered ‘fear of Christian fascists’ to control people, they didnt even know what it meant. But Chris Hedges knew.

This ‘fear of Christian fascists’ was your little private corporate gig, Mr Hedges. Isnt that true?Quite profitable for you, i imagine.

Ah yes, Chris Hedges once was a “passive accomplice” in this “fear industry” which he now dispises. His life as well as his writing is full of contradictions.

How many books did he sell by turning that neat little phrase- “Christian fascists”? Wasnt it his best-seller? How many editorials did he sell to newspapers and here online? i know of at least twenty.

How many doors did ‘fear of Christian Fascists’ open for you, Mr Hedges? Please disclose how much of that evil dirty corporate collected for inventing and pushing your ‘fear of Christian fascists’ book.

Me being the target of such book, i would like to know why suddenly Chris Hedges demonizes his old livelihood. Perhaps the corporate state made him write those books and take that money so long ago. Maybe Hedges regrets it now, sees it for what it is, a fear industry.

Or maybe not, maybe his reasoning is more financial. Perhaps now there isnt much money in it, and so it is better move for Hedges to despise the fear industry which he helped create.

On to the next gig for you, Chris Hedges. On the next book.

Most of all… On to the next sack-ful of cash!

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By Anarcissie, March 29, 2011 at 2:14 pm Link to this comment

Arraya—The state is of course absolutely critical to markets as we know them because a market requires a property system—no one can trade anything until it is agreed who owns what and what they are allowed to do with it.  As a good example of the state moving forcibly onto a resource, propertizing it, and turning it into a market, we have the appropriation of the EMF frequencies in their capacity as a communications medium during the 20th century.  Over a longer term, we can observe the same thing with copyright and other forms of ‘intellectual property’.  What once was culture (Topolino) is now corporation’s cash cow (Mickey Mouse).

Any consideration of markets should not fall into the error of supposing that there are actually free markets.  Outside of flea markets and Craigslist, most markets are manipulated by state entities.  As you note, the state-market antithesis is decidedly a convenient fiction.

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By ardee, March 29, 2011 at 2:08 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie, March 29 at 3:58 pm Link to this comment


I don’t think Hedges can be accused of consistency.  He also seems to disdain analysis, and seldom recommends any sort of action.  But he is mighty popular around here; every Hedges post summons a great flock of replies.  And he has a faithful amen corner among people who, I guess, don’t have much use for consistency, analysis, or activism either.

As a fan of most of Hedges articles I think his own activism negates one of your accusations (if indeed that is what they are) at least. He was, I remind you, recently arrested in a demonstration not all that long ago thus practicing what he preaches.

I think that his appeal is based, in my opinion, upon two factors; the emotional nature of his subject matter and the desperation of so many of us to find alliances and agreement in a society that isolates and saps the energy out of the opposition.

He seems consistent enough in his preaching for justice , fairness and an end to war and torture, as well as his critique of capitalism gone wrong.

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By Psychobabbler, March 29, 2011 at 12:39 pm Link to this comment

Couldn’t it be perceived as coercive to persuade people to follow the philosophy of
any particular group or agenda. There is nothing confusing to me about admiring
aspects of Anarchism and promoting government over site in the markets, so
don’t be such a Nancy.

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By DavidByron, March 29, 2011 at 12:02 pm Link to this comment

Gary Mont:
“While I agree that modern times are magnitudes of order better in every way than the past (in the industrialized nations)”

Then you agree with me and disagree with Chris hedges.  And what’s that weasel word about saying only the industrialised countries have advanced?  In fact the others have likely advanced more.  South Korea used to be a third world country you know.

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By Anarcissie, March 29, 2011 at 11:58 am Link to this comment

I don’t think Hedges can be accused of consistency.  He also seems to disdain analysis, and seldom recommends any sort of action.  But he is mighty popular around here; every Hedges post summons a great flock of replies.  And he has a faithful amen corner among people who, I guess, don’t have much use for consistency, analysis, or activism either.

By the way, socialism and communism are two very different things.  Communism is the absence of property relations; socialism is the ownership or control of the means of production by the workers, usually in a context of industrialism.  Primitive Christians may have been communists, but to be socialists they would have to have waited around for several centuries.  But there I go again.  Picky, picky.

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By Arraya, March 29, 2011 at 11:57 am Link to this comment

False dichotomies.  The biggest false dichotomy today is the idea that the
market and state are separate entities.  The state, as it is conceived, is set up to
be the enforcer, propagator and referee of the market system.  This leads to the
inevitable argument to whether more or less refereeing is needed.  On the one
side, you have people that want to restrict “the markets” maximum capital
accumulation ability, due to some detrimental social cost.  On the other side,
you have people that want to maximize the capital accumulation process and
claim it is an infringement on freedom(and divine right of capital) to do
otherwise.  Needless to say, you will have economists, of all stripes, showing
evidence of how either configuration will lead to bad things.  And both will have
an element of truthiness to their data.  The fact of the matter is, modern
economics is just politics masquerading as a science, regardless of the political
leanings.  All modern economists can’t conceive of not operating within a
market system - because to them it is a representation of “natural” law.

It’s a fake debate.  The debate should be whether the market system, with it’s
enforcer and referee the state,  should be a means of human regulation and
motivation.  Without the market system, there is no need for the state, as it is
conceived today.  This is not to say there is no need for “social organization”,
which of course would be absurd, in a highly complex technological creation
called “civilization. 

This, 18th century, state-enforced market system is way beyond it’s shelf-life
and is starting to stink. 

We must do away with the absolutely specious notion that
everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us
can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The
youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a
living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to
be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian-
Darwinian theory, he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of
inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors.
The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about
whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told
them they had to earn a living.

R. Buckminster Fuller

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, March 29, 2011 at 11:10 am Link to this comment

Great perspective Ray Joseph Cormier, and thanks for reminding us who get so hot under the collar we say things we ought not to.

Grace, Peace and Love to You!!!

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By entropy2, March 29, 2011 at 10:57 am Link to this comment

@OzarkMichael -  I, too, scratched my head when I read Hedges, at one point, lauding anarchists and wringing his hands over Chomsky’s exile from the left, then invoking “the heavy hand of state power” to save us all from the…heavy hand of the corporations. (btw - I didn’t see that the “self-described anarchist” you referred to supported all of Hedges’s solutions.)

In any case, in your colorful way, you do well point up the contradictions inherent in the Hedges’s writing. On one hand, he fears and hates the evil that a powerful state does, but cannot imagine anything but the powerful state as the cure to our ills. No wonder he’s despondent.

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By QuantumBubbler, March 29, 2011 at 10:41 am Link to this comment

Here’s a for instance of how one effects the evolvement of power to the individual instead of the group. BTW I prefer to limit the name-calling to either ‘individual’ or ‘group’.

The ‘group’ controls making money, so how do we evolve the power of monetization to the ‘individual’? Simple, individuals carry on them pocket digital scales. Like you said before, advanced technology can help the ‘individual’ or the ‘group’. I propose we ‘individuals’ begin a new life-style which empowers our selves in all matters.

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By balkas, March 29, 2011 at 10:09 am Link to this comment

since i cannot read people’s minds, i am not sure that people do not
reefy “socialism” or look at it as representing a fledgling existence of
it anywhere yet.

or do people think of “socialism” as an ideology and blueprint for
what we have to do to establish an ideally idyllic society?

note please, that ideally idyllic society does not mean ideally utopian
or absolutely egalitarian and in all interpersonal affairs.

socialism to me is about us becoming over centuries or even millennia
more sharing, caring, less angry; more and more secure; less and less
unemployment; more and more educated; better medicly cared for;
more civilized, etc.

in short, it is a process that may never end or end when 99% or
possibly 99.999% of people say: ok, that’s enough of that; we don’t
need to chase after perfection.

even in cuba, building equality in some aspects of daily life is difficult
because there are so many cubans who are willing to kill other cubans
in order to stop and reverse that process! [u can’t have socialism w.o.
socialists nor fascism w.o fascists].

building or maintaining fascism, say, in india, u.s. is a piece of cake
with their respective pops much or near totally fascist [inegalitarian,
supremacistic on personal, cultural, linguistic, national, and cultic
levels.

in short, socialism is a mere ideology; just very recently applied. and
wherever it had been or is applied [tried], is surrounded by
supremacist army, navy, airforce, wmd; continuously threatened,
demonized, etc.

it goes w.o. saying that personal supremacists [me-better-worthier-
smarter-than-u] being ferociously addicted to this extreme reality,
cannot or will not give up their addiction if we just complain, nag,
plead with them.

what we need is a governmental party which wld stand antipodally to
the party representing these addicts. and give them our toughest love
we cld muster.
and congress is the place to do it!

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By Arraya, March 29, 2011 at 10:08 am Link to this comment

<blockquote>Am I the only one who sees that as Hedges writes from one
sentence to the next he engages in glaring contradictions? He praises with one
sentence the very thing that he despises in the next. He encourages with one
hand the very qualities that he discourages with the other hand.

He praises radicalism and then he mocks it, He hates the state but he wants to
use its heavy power. Where will this happy sudden embrace take the beloved,
the knights with the white hot hearts? < /blockquote>

Assessing the status-quo automatically sets you up for contradictions.  The
state, per the enlightenment conceivers, was set up to protect the wealthy and
institutionalize and propagate the money-market system.  The “all-
encompassing market”, ironically, could not survive without the state.  Indeed,
state power is needed to maintain and propagate it.  With out the heavy hand
of the state it would collapse overnight.

Anybody, criticizing the self-annihilating forces of the market system
automatically take their complaints to the state - the very same institution
designed to foment it.  An automatic contradiction. 

The argument should not be between more or less regulation i.e. more state
refereeing….  The argument should be whether or not we should use a market
system for human control and motivation and the state as its referee and
enforcer.  Without a market system there is no need for “the state” as it is
conceived.

Enough of the false dichotomy between the state and the market because they
are one in the same.  Economics is just politics masquerading as a science and
is the intellectual “Trojan Horse” of our time.

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By Ray Joseph Cormier, March 29, 2011 at 9:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is no denying a new Spirit is sweeping the world challenging long established systems, bringing with it a yearning for Freedom, Justice, Equality and Dignity.

It is now 115 years since William Jennings Bryan on July 9, 1896, gave his famous Gross of Gold speech.

“you shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns. You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.”

He was decrying “trickle down economics” then, and the debate is not resolved yet.

“There are two ideas of government. There are those who believe that if you just legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous, that their prosperity will leak through on those below. The Democratic idea has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous their prosperity will find its way up and through every class that rests upon it.”

You will never hear a Bible Fundamentalist TV Preacher discuss this in the Bible. If they saw it, it would cause them to call for systematic or regime change instead of focusing on gays and gay marriage and other emotionally charged sins.

Go to now, you rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.
Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth eaten.
Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. You have heaped treasure together for the last days.
Behold, the HIRE OF THE LABOURERS who have reaped down your fields, which is of you KEPT BACK BY FRAUD, cries: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.
You have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; you have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.
You have condemned and killed the just; and he does not resist you.
Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waits for the precious fruit of the earth, and has long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
Be patient; establish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draws nigh.
Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest you be condemned: behold, the judge stands before the door.
Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.
Behold, we count them happy which endure. You have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest you fall into condemnation.
James 5

The people, without the Christian TV leaders, are beginning to see the Spirit of the letter shaping perceptions in this world. This is an irreversible process.

http://ray032.wordpress.com/2011/02/23/from-the-revolutionary-spirit-of-76-to-the-revolutionary-spirit-of-11/

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By ososotired, March 29, 2011 at 9:15 am Link to this comment

Two things which stand out as I watch my situation spiral down along with the rest of America are - 1) The supreme Court of Corporate Interests is about to really show its mettle with two cases - Walmart and the final nail in campaign finance regulation. With these two decisions it will be possible for corporations to evade ANY responsibility for anything they do. If every criminal act done by a corporation must be considered as separate and not able to be considered a class, joined with others, it means no more worry, no more pages of disclaimers and cautions on Drugs, no more worries about any safety concerns (the CPSC will have no clout at all) and no more worries about contracts having to be binding - especially in the Credit Industry.
The second thing which I am amazed even the corporate press hasn’t picked up on is that Nuclear Power has NEVER been able to produce electricity at a saving - neither to the pocketbook nor to the economy. The Union of Concerned Scientists has been tracking costs and subsidies of up-and-running plants and finds that they require subsidies (read cash from taxpayers) to operate and to maintain and to store spent fuel. The result is that the electricity produced would be cheaper if instead, the government just bought power from the grid and gave it away.
A little more research would have shown that - even excluding the catastrophic costs of a major disaster like 3 mile Island or the Japan Debacle, the cost of electricity and material resources (cement, steel, copper, wood, plastics etc) needed to build a plant and the environmental destruction caused in construction are NEVER recouped! The money in Nuclear is in construction and not operation. This fact was presented in the early 70’s by a British Economist and Sociologist. He pointed out that at the point where a plant could claim it had replaced the power it used for construction, it then would require more construction to store the backlog of spent fuel. This researcher was a very hands on, logical guy who showed that economies of scale were false because they depended on at least one component of the business remaining static as far as cost or availability. He showed that British Brick Production, then in decline, could be saved if the closed small factories were given an amount of cash to reopen which would be less than half the tax breaks for the large companies (pro-rated for size). The cost of fuel for delivery of bricks had risen so high that shipping the finished goods to the corners of Britain was pushing prices higher. He got a grant to test the theory and the little company prospered by limiting its delivery area, using local raw material, and by using PEOPLE instead of very expensive automation. Also the quantities his small company would ship were smaller so the large number of small builders saw savings of up to 25¢ a brick!
Naturally this guy was summarily drummed out of his job in University, dropped from several British Societies of academics and I have found it nearly impossible to find him on the net. His efforts were detailed on a TV series “Connections” But beyond that I haven’t found him. Maybe your research could.
Love your columns.

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By Arraya, March 29, 2011 at 8:56 am Link to this comment

The world is governed by a philosophy that selling more and more materials i.e.
turning things into money increases social well being and health.  Around this
philosophy we have created a man made ‘science’, which really is not a science
at all, because it uses “The economic method” which is “correlation” (this
happened before that happened, and thus assume, that it must have caused it).
Correlation is also called “magical thinking” for the obvious reasons.  What this
does is set up economists as professional excuse makers and manipulators as
well as taking undo credit for success that has nothing to do with economic
theories but a highly complex set of circumstances.  In other words, it’s all
bullshit. 

Lets back up a bit:

Philosophical underpinnings

Liberalism:

Explaining liberalism to North Americans is a thankless and possibly futile task,
but it is one that must be attempted for clarity’s sake.

Liberalism is a theory of political economy that arose in Great Britain in the
17th and 18th centuries. Its principal inspirations were Thomas Hobbes (1588-
1679) and John Locke (1632-1704). It emphasizes individualism, human
avarice, the “virtue” of competition and the “justice” of the marketplace. It
opposed feudalism and mercantilism. It sought to replace the traditional
landowners with the rising commercial and manufacturing classes.

It sought to liberate capital, not people (and especially not women, slaves and
propertyless males).

The institutionalization of the market system:

The French physician François Quesnay (1694-1774) was the leader of a sect of
Enlightenment thinkers known as the Physiocrats (or économistes) who
founded Libertarian economics. The term “Physiocracy” means rule of nature
and was coined in 1767 by Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours to describe the
doctrine of the first modern school of economics. Quesnay transformed
economics into its modern role as the science of wealth. In so doing he
disengaged economic process from its role as servant of the sociopolitical
order, and established its claim to be the direct manifestation of the natural
order. In other words, he argued that economic process itself embodied natural
law and should thus dictate the sociopolitical order.

It just so happens at the time Europe was plagued with increasing peasant
revolts and the educated class thought if they get them to act “economic” it
would quell their “irrational passions”.

Libertarian economics were imported to America by Pierre Samuel DuPont,
Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and James Madison thereby establishing
America as the first Libertarian state.

The principal functions of America’s new Libertarian government were two:

#1. To protect private property.

#2. To force men to act economically(which is supposed to be rational).

Here’s what classical liberal economist Adam Smith (1723-1790) said:

Quote

“Whenever there is great property, there is great inequality. For
one very rich man, there must be at least five hundred poor, and the affluence
of the rich supposes the indigence of the many, who are often driven by want,
and prompted by envy, to invade his possessions. ... Civil government, so far as
it is instituted for the security of property is in reality instituted for the defence
of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those
who have none at all.”

This means that, in liberal societies, the rich are pitted against the poor,
gaining their wealth by appropriating the work of others; and it means that
government is in “business” to protect the ruling class.  And market dynamics
are the manifestation of “natural law”(maybe somebody should let physicists
know)

Over the past century the US has sought to spread the “good news” of capital
accumulation, privatization and consumerism around the world and have
succeeded fantastically.

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By Arraya, March 29, 2011 at 8:48 am Link to this comment

A feature length documentary work which presents a case for a needed transition
out of the current socioeconomic monetary paradigm which governs the entire
world society. This subject matter will transcend the issues of cultural relativism
and traditional ideology and move to relate the core, empirical “life ground”
attributes of human and social survival, extrapolating those immutable natural
laws into a new sustainable social paradigm called a “Resource-Based Economy”.

Interviewees: Dr. Robert Sapolsky, Dr. Gábor Máté, Richard Wilkinson, Dr. James
Gilligan, Dr. John McMurtry, Max Keiser, Dr. Behrokh Khoshnevis, Dr. Adrian
Bowyer, Dr. Colin J. Campbell and Jeremy J. Gilbert.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z9WVZddH9w

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By OzarkMichael, March 29, 2011 at 8:43 am Link to this comment

Chris Hedges said: “We must embrace, and embrace rapidly

In other words: “Hasten ye rightious ones with the white hot hearts! Do not consider any other alternatives, or pause to consider the bad outcome of a hasty embrace!”

Chris Hedges said: “We… demand that… the heavy hand of state power be employed…

In other words: “Let the power of the state be increased. Let the heavy hand of the state become stronger, and may it be ever be so heavy, for the state and its ever more heavy grasp is the salvation of man! Let all radicals with white heart hearts join in this happy crusade!”

A “self professed anarchist” supported what Hedges says: “let us all collaborate and come together with real solutions, answers and coordinated movements so that one day the article you have written will not be simply done in vain.”

Oh dear. An anarchist who prays for the coming new heavy handed state. With poetry and a bouquet, no less!

Am I the only one who sees that as Hedges writes from one sentence to the next he engages in glaring contradictions? He praises with one sentence the very thing that he despises in the next. He encourages with one hand the very qualities that he discourages with the other hand.

He praises radicalism and then he mocks it, He hates the state but he wants to use its heavy power. Where will this happy sudden embrace take the beloved, the knights with the white hot hearts? 

Where will the heavy grasp of the state be directed after it is done suppressing the “fascists”?

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By ardee, March 29, 2011 at 7:29 am Link to this comment

For ITW who apparently has the intellectual ability of a moss covered rock, an insult to moss covered rocks everywhere.

These “socialist movements” destroyed the economies of the nations they ran far faster than capitalism has, but they never admit it was due to their own failed philosophy. No, instead it was ‘sabotaged’ by corporations.

Your own F@#$ing words jackwagon, which now come back to show plainly that you have the attention span of a brick, and the personality of a swamp as well.

If you arent going to remember what you yourself posted then perhaps, prior to demonstrating how childishly ignorant you are, you might review your own words before responding to an accurate description of them from another.

Sorry to have disturbed you, undoubtedly masturbating to a picture of the DNC, back to it moron.

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By JLawrence, March 29, 2011 at 7:26 am Link to this comment

As usual, Chris outlines the problem clearly, which of course, centers on greed—-the most destructive force in our world. I also think that some of the comments in response are full of obfuscation, showboating, narcissism, and style over substance…in short, bad writing. As far as those who say that folks like Chris or Ralph Nader are doomsayers who will never be satisfied, well, that’s just subversive nonsense. I agree with Chris and voted for Nader (much to the consternation of my liberal Dem friends), and I would be quite happy with socialized healthcare, a good pension,adequate employment for all, highly regulated capitalism that includes the progressive tax rates we had in the 1970s…that includes a rational distribution of wealth to sustain a democracy but doesn’t do away with all ‘wealth’ per se. Basically, I’d be happy with what we’ve already had with the addition of socialized healthcare and stronger Social Security. None of this is far-fetched. Also, for those who don’t understand, ‘socialism’ does not mean communism—-the corporate masters have done a fine job confusing Americans on that one.

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By PatrickHenry, March 29, 2011 at 6:43 am Link to this comment

The picture accompanying this article is troubling, whats next? burning Ronald McDonald in effigy.

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By kerryrose, March 29, 2011 at 5:54 am Link to this comment

WarrenMetzler

Although there will always be those among us that have more and are willing to let accumulation of money guide their lives—

It is when those people inflict suffering on millions of others that it becomes ‘not a lifestyle choice’ anymore.  People have lost their savings, their homes, and now their jobs because those ‘who have more’ now want those ‘who are content with less’ to have nothing.

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By Emma, March 29, 2011 at 5:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nobody could be more anti globalist than myself however I would like to make this unpopular point.
Half the world is hungry etc etc.
Perhaps there is another factor here.
Unrestrained population growth.
Globalists do nothing to restrict this growth because people are economic units to be used, abused or abandoned.
Any that are not ultimately of use will die but they have the crop to pick the best.
Just think of the profits to big pharma of all those shots these third world folk are given.
Good money there for little or no investment.
The arms trade is a real success as hungry desperate people vie for survival.
We have as good as doubled the population in my lifetime.
The planet has finite resources. Many are born to no food, no real homes, no jobs.
Wouldn’t it be sensible to start real programmes of voluntary population control.
The fact that the globalists don’t do this must make someone start to think -surely.
Increasing hunger can be fought and the best way is birth control. I cannot understand the liberal and widespread view that a child born to die in the most horrible circumstances is desirable when that child need never be conceived to suffer.

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By tedmurphy41, March 29, 2011 at 4:50 am Link to this comment

The problem is the system which you operate under.
If it is failing to address your problems, then do something about changing it, and you must first start with the candidates who stand for election.
If you have no quality or competence there, you cannot progress to changing the system and so it will continue to stagnate and be the self-serving charade that is now presented as a healthy democracy .
The amount of money used to promote the “virtues” of specific candidates may not be available to others, who may well be the better prospects to represent your interests yet their points of view are not promoted into the public arena due to a lack of necessary finances.
A level playing field should be the priority for every candidate and equal finances made available to all.
This is one area that should be addressed and you may then be able to get representatives elected who will really uphold your values and interests within Government.

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By Manchego, March 29, 2011 at 4:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Abolish money.

 


Sorry to be so obvious, but until you appreciate that finance is a fiction and has no real value, and that by flaunting this fiction to bedazzle enough of the rest of you, you are not even going to start remedying the ills brought about by the Flaunting Few.

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By Bruce, March 29, 2011 at 3:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“When the corporation becomes enthroned, an era of corruption in high places will follow. And the money power will endeavor to prolong its reign by working on the prejudices of the people until wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the republic is destroyed.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

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By Psychobabbler, March 29, 2011 at 2:01 am Link to this comment

Any person who supports a system that aims to profit from the suffering of their countries citizens here or elsewhere is a monster.

No need to over-complicate your allegiances.

Let’s just take this whole morality as a marketing tool B.S. and shove it where it belongs. IN YOUR FACE.

people are not meant to be leveraged and played with like a Sea World Shamu show commercial, and to think that it will fly without more damage than good is obviously coming from a place of ultimately ignorant privilege (take notes Psychiatry!)

The drunken man I recently witnessed in my ally probably does not deserve what he is experiencing, but his society is distracted with trying to rule the world. aka leadership - ENJOY!

This country thrives on narcissism. It prostitutes confidence and “beauty”

The same people who fight wars against drugs say “give them what they want”. They fuck with my (our) heads.

The information that we are being fed is pure propaganda without any concern for informing us.

The people are severed and fractured.

Angry and in need of the representation that was promised to them.

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By Blast Dorrough, March 29, 2011 at 1:45 am Link to this comment

Lafayette:  Paine was writing in another time within another historical purview.
Contrary to your view in 1802 Paine indeed gave the omen of the still active evil of Corporatecraft that has consumed us today when recognizing that “...a faction [of Corporatecrafters and Christiancrafers],acting in disguise, was rising in America; they had lost sight of first principles.  They were beginning to contemplate government as a profitable monopoly, and the people as hereditary property.  It is, therefore, no wonder that the ‘Rights of Man’ was attacked by that faction, and its author continually abused.” Letter I of Paine’s “Eight Letters to the Citizens of the United States and Particularly to the Leaders of the Federal Faction” written in 1802-1803 during the second and third year of the presidency of Thomas Jefferson. Our great president3 campaigned on the principles outlined in Paine’s Rights of Man and on the slogan: “A New Revolution on Principle.”  Paine made reference to the kingly presidency of John Adams known as “The Reign of Terror” limited to four years by the election TJ in 1800.  The Federal Faction of Corporatecrafters and Christiancrafters are the political and religious charlatans of the GOP and aided and abetted by most of the Democratic Party. 
In 1816, Jefferson wrote that virtue and interest are inseparable.  It ends, as might have been expected, in the ruin of its people, but this ruin will fall heaviest, as it ought to fall, on that hereditary aristocracy which has for generations been preparing for the catastrophe.  I hope we shall take warning from the example and crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.— Jefferson Letter of November 12, 1816 to George Logan.
Just before his death ironically on July 4, 1826 Jefferson wrote this omen:  “They are historical facts which belong to the present, as well as future times. I doubt whether a single fact, known to the world, will carry as clear conviction to it, of the correctness of our knowledge of the treasonable views of the federal party of that day [consisting of Corporatecrafters and Christiancrafters originally led by Alexander Hamilton], as that disclosed by this, the most nefarious and daring attempt to dissever the Union, of which the Hartford convention was a subsequent chapter, and both of those having failed, consolidation becomes the fourth chapter of the next book of their [on-going treasonous] history.  But this opens with a vast accession of strength from their younger recruits, who, having nothing in them of the feelings or principles of ‘76, now look to a single and splendid government of an aristocracy, founded on banking institutions, and moneyed incorporations under the guise and cloak of their favored branches of manufactures, commerce and navigation, riding and ruling over the plundered ploughman and beggared yeomanry [the working class and small business owners].  This will be to them a next best blessing to the monarch of their first aim, and perhaps the surest stepping stone to it. -  Jefferson Letter of December 26, 1825 to William Branch Giles.

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By Ray Joseph Cormier, March 29, 2011 at 1:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In a similar vein to this article, I wrote to the Canadian Party Leaders in Parliament last September with this message.

From:  Ray Cormier (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address))
Sent:  September 15, 2010 2:10:18 PM
To:    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address); .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address); .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address); .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Prime Minister,

Watching the hearings on the purchase of the F-35, the most expensive, advanced jet fighter the world has produced, real weapons of mass destruction, the whole questioning process is focused on the traditional, mundane, earth bound issues of dollars and jobs. Benefits and Liabilities. What is being offered as a future for our children and Citizens is endless war and increased terrorism.

Looking at the current realities of this world, a rapidly growing world population, mostly poor, without money or resources, education, opportunities for advancement, on the verge of starvation, the nominally Christian West is still focused on self-indulgence.

“These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from mine,” Christ says. This is addressed to those who say they believe in him, not those who don’t.

This is the choice confronting the peoples of the world at this juncture in world evolution. It is the Will of God the Nations should beat their swords into plough shares and their spears into pruning hooks, and the Nations no longer learn war any more. In other words, switch from planning war and war production, to food production. It is good, practicable, simple, common sense advice for our times.

What Nation among them all is uniquely placed to show the leadership to the world in altering the destructive path it is on? With the bitter hatred they have for each other, it is not only the Jews and the Arabs that have an inheritance and Destiny on the Plains of Abraham.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 28, 2011 at 11:41 pm Link to this comment

Do you actually THINK before you post???
I mean, think RATIONALLY?

“How foolish to pursue the “hobgoblin” of socialism as a causative agent in our current dilemmas.”

When have I EVER said Socialism was the cause of our dilemmas, current or otherwise?

Never! As in NOT EVER! 

See what I mean about not thinking before you post?

What I have said is that it’s not the cure.  And what I say now is that what works in Sweden isn’t Socialism (except to a Teabagger).

However, I’m not sure a nation of less than 10,000,000, that’s highly homogeneous is a very good model for a far more heterogeneous nation of 308 million.  Size matters.

I’m not out to persecute and demonize Socialists.  It’s more appropriate to drag out and demonize Teabaggers—they are the dangerous ones out to end our last vestiges of freedom to create an American Taliban.  Socialists aren’t out to do any such thing, not even Hedges.

No, I just think they are fools, clinging to a failed 19th century concept in the 21st century.

But trust Artie to bring out the old ad hominem attacks.  You got class, Artie, all of it low.

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By Mr.GaleanoRousseauNietche the 3rd, March 28, 2011 at 10:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In 98’ I read this EXACT essay.  It was written by an 11th grader. However, the names and places were changed to protect the innocent.

Sorry folks its much too late to fret. Do you think after all the work they did getting you by the balls that they are just going to give liberty back?  Hahahahahaha.. Oops I peed a little.  You just take your meds.  Eat your Windy’s. Drive your big ol’ trucks. Let your little ones watch dirty Disney.  And continue to read your truthdig. 

And always remember:  The fascists are our friends!  If you think otherwise you can get on the train to the camp with all the other hippies.  And I KNOW you don’t want that!  Best that you break out the ol’ sowing machine from the attic and work on your stitching.  The new and improved super sexy sleek swastika patch will be out next spring!

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By Lafayette, March 28, 2011 at 10:42 pm Link to this comment

AN AWAKENING

BD: Paine’s thoughts on a true constitutional Republic bringing prosperity to all communities of the world will do just that if free of corruptible forces.

Paine was writing in another time within another historical purview.

Under monarchy, there was no parliamentary democracy - which remained pie-in-the-sky not only for Paine but other founding-fathers of this nation.

Fast-forward to today: We have a parliamentary democracy and look what we’ve done to it out of sheer stupidity of the masses. We elect dunderheads within an electoral process that needs Mountains of Money to convince us airheads by use of the media to vote for people who do, indeed, sell themselves out to vested interests (in order to get elected).

But, this has nothing to do with CH’s references to globalization and plutocrats - an amalgam by the journalist that is blindingly inept.

The fault, dear friends is not in the stars but in ourselves. (Or, rather, as WS first put it:
“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”)

So, if we are frustrated and downtrodden by this calamity of a political process that surrounds us, let us look at our plight straight in the face. We, the Sheeple, are at fault.

And only We, the Sheeple, can correct the fault by voting into power a political class that is willing to put a stop to the wanton use of Megabucks to sway the ignorant masses. How’s that?

By putting up as candidates people who can explain in simple terms this extraordinarily complex world that surrounds us, both within and outside of own precious little town, city, state, country. Who will vote for measures that reduce the exaggerated and alarming Income Unfairness of this nation.

Iow, who will tax the piss outta the plutocrats and thus place democratic power where it truly belongs within the body-politic. To do so, however, this nations needs an awakening it has never heretofore ever seen.

BigBusiness needs a comeuppance to be shown its proper place - not as masters or our Economic Universe but as just another neutral element in a market economy. It should serve that economy and not the particular interests of wealth accumulation purely for the sake of wealth accumulation.

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By Lafayette, March 28, 2011 at 10:10 pm Link to this comment

BUNKUM

CH: They presage increasingly draconian controls and force—take a look at what is being done to Pfc. Bradley Manning—used to protect the corporate elite who are orchestrating our demise. 

Piffle. Extraordinary journalistic license and rumor-mongering.

He blithely jumps from all the world’s ills to our own demise at the hands of American plutocrats. Bunk, bunk, bunk.

CH has missed yet again a good opportunity to write about something meaningful instead of this somnolent nonsense.

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By mrfreeze, March 28, 2011 at 8:21 pm Link to this comment

WarrenMetzler - Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

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By Textynn, March 28, 2011 at 8:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why hasn’t the Green Party put up their candidate?  The time is now.  We need to get started singing the praises of an actual breathing person that could be elected.  The other party’s candidates are chosen for the most part.  We have nothing , not even a link.

We can’t even irritate the other candidates or stand on a soap box and say…“Now that’s what people should be saying, etc. etc. etc. ” 

Whatever happens, Im not voting for a Dem or the greater of all evils, the Repubs.  If nothing else, I will write in Alan Grayson since Dennis Kucinich doens’t want be Prez. Ron Paul is too much of an anti community guy.  Maybe Nadar will actually run. I could vote for him.

Democracy Advocates we need to get started now.

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By Saul, March 28, 2011 at 8:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Do you believe in equality or not? To an egalitarian, a ‘good capitalist’ is an oxymoron. Capitalism does not equalize; it polarizes. In the land of the rich and the poor, what does equality mean?

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By TequilaKid, March 28, 2011 at 8:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Reply to WriterOnTheStorm

The “epiphany” you attribute to Hayek – i.e. likening the market to an electoral process—was actually stated by Milton Friedman. Hayek never used the term “democracy” in connection with the market. 

You do an injustice to Hayek, portraying him as an arch-capitalist ogre. Actually Hayek never proposed abolishing the welfare state – he was in favor of unemployment benefits, Social Security,  the works, although he never went into details.

Hayek was perfectly right to denounce (in The Road to Serfdom, 1944) and oppose the overwhelming wave of statism that had gripped the world by the 1940s, egged on by ideological currents like Marxism and Fascism and enabled by the immense centralization of government power in the belligerent countries during the second World War.

I admit that Hayek’s reasoning is fairly ludicrous. Almost every statement of fact contained in The Road to Serfdom is inaccurate. However, although his arguments suck, his message is valid: there should be restrictions on state power in the economy, and elsewhere. Above all, Hayek’s doctrine of unshackling the market from bureaucratic and arbitrary restrictions is as valid today as it was then.

However, please note that my endorsement of Hayek’s views is hedged in with conditions: economic science has long recognized that countless circumstances can conspire to trigger market failure, which is when the market fails to offer proper incentives for private firms to turn in a good performance. And in cases of market failure, government intervention is usually necessary.

The markets that offer the best prospect of satisfying human wants are competitive ones. Only when there is competition, easy access to information about the goods on the market, etc.,  does the market trick work.

This caveat is systematically ignored by Repugnicans and other moral degenerates. If a market is dominated by a monopoly,  it’s usually best for the government to nationalize it. If government bureaucracy is honest and efficient and loyal – as it is in most advanced countries— it does an excellent job of running companies. For example, Margaret Thatcher’s privatization in the 1980s of British utilities like gas and water – which by their nature are monopolistic – did nothing to improve efficiency and instead fostered a culture of greed and selfishness, while increasing the inequality of income distribution. 

I think it is extremely important to stress the difference between just plain “market”, which offers no guarantee of anything, and “competitive market”, which in principle can create the conditions for improvement in a nation’s wealth as well as equality.

The sleazy corporate crowd, of course, does its best to confuse the issue. In any case the market should never encompass more than half of a country’s economy – for the simple reason that countless goods and services are not amenable to market rules and must perforce be provided by non-profits, NGOs and government.

I

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By Napolean DoneHisPart, March 28, 2011 at 7:54 pm Link to this comment

You’re welcome samosamo.

I thought it was a spoof news story, but it seems to be true… for the story ran in other venues as well… breaks my heart, man.  I mean really.  And upsets me deeply too.

Please God have mercy on us.

If I was in a seat of power… well, I’d be shot on arrival for what I would do to change things.

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By jerry lagadec, March 28, 2011 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

...“and old black Joe’s still pickin’ cotton for your ribbons and bows…” Leonard Cohen

I have to admit that I’m not near as smart as some of the negative commentators on this site, but Chris speaks to me. He has a kind of “Rhapsodic Intellect” that cuts to the heart of our current chaos. I really don’t feel he is being self- indulgently negative or a “dooms-day” advocate and as a cancer survivor myself, I know that you have to learn to face the facts and move on the best way you know how. I think that’s his message in the end. I’ll leave the intricacies of political and economic theories to those more schooled than I but I do know- just by looking and listening-the current situation can not last much longer. I hope I’m wrong…I hope he’s wrong…but I don’t think so! I feel that many of the commentators on this site are far too interested in demonstrating how smart they are rather than really dealing with the essential problems Hedges refers to. I admit I’m no genius, so I could be wrong here also. It’s an observation from the gut!

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By JoeT, March 28, 2011 at 7:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I like Hedges a lot, but when he juxtoaposes secular humanist with fundamenalist christians, as an Atheist, I take offense. We deserve more respect.

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By TAO Walker, March 28, 2011 at 7:16 pm Link to this comment

Funny how regularly these Hedges pieces elicit a comment thread that week-after-week resembles a sort of photo-album filled with the same stock images clipped reflexively from popular magazines and other similarly CONtrived CONventional ‘sources’....week-after-week.  Well….maybe it’s not so odd, really.  Hedges himself is only playing his own grim rendition of “Chopsticks” over-and-over-again, too.

A Person might almost get the impression that everybody here is (in the Louie L’Amour stock phrase) “fighting shy,” of a genuine remedy for what ails them, because they didn’t come-up with it theirownself, and because it comes instead from a ‘place’ they’ve been programmed to dismiss as totally irrelevant to their own oh-so-sophisticated half-lives.  Meantime, of course, the “civilization” disease afflicting them and our Mother Earth and us surviving Free Wild Peoples and All Our Relations is deep into its own terminal phase, and in-effect hell-bent on taking us ALL into the Black Hole of oblivion its obsessively “self”-interested motives and methods (with which it is infecting that subspecies of Humanity that is homo domesticus) have brought its own “self” right to the gone-for-good event horizon-of.

Maybe its only a coincidence that The Medicine needed to cure our tame Human Relations of their sickness, and to heal us All of the effects of their arrogance and folly, can be found only in us Free Wild Peoples (Human and ‘other’) who’ve survived the tormentors’ attempt, at the hands (literally) of their Two-legged livestock, to rub us all out.  From where we Live, though, it is plain to see it was always coming to exactly this pass….and nothing and nowhere ‘else.’ 

Now it remains only to be seen how many, if any, of the captives can get-over their “self” to take the leap from the dead-certain soon to be DEAD END “devil” they know onto the (to them) right-now only dimly-remembered Living Ground of The Tiyoshpaye Way.

HokaHey!

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By OzarkMichael, March 28, 2011 at 7:09 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges said: “We must rebuild radical socialist movements that demand that the resources of the state and the nation provide for the welfare of all citizens and the heavy hand of state power be employed to prohibit the plunder by the corporate power elite.

Honesty is always a good policy, especially if your goal is “radicalism”. Thanks for the warning. i am not buying.

Chris Hedges said: “And it will require us to accept the status of social and political pariahs, especially as the lunatic fringe of our political establishment steadily gains power. The corporate state has nothing to offer the left or the right but fear. It uses fear—fear of secular humanism or fear of Christian fascists—to turn the population into passive accomplices. As long as we remain afraid nothing will change.

It wasnt that long ago that Hedges himself was ginning up the “fear of Christian fascists” so he could “turn the population” into his own “accomplices” for the radical causes he promotes.

Are you guys supposed to be afraid of “Christian fascists” or not?

Hedges in spinning so fast i cant keep track of it any more. Can anyone explain what he means?

i have other questions but i will save them for later.

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By Ed Oppenheimer, March 28, 2011 at 7:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

People made governments as a tool to prevent chaos; human society evolved for survival from the harsh reality of nature. Government was formed haphazardly, a tribe member saying the fire pit should be located in a specific place, or that the hunt should start at dawn. Since then people used government to accomplish goals sometimes shared with the governed, but mostly not so shared. We do not see design for a government implemented until the US Constitution was written although we see Government power regulated far earlier. There have been no designs for government implemented since the 18th century. In most places talking about government design will break the law. There has been a great deal of criticism of government and how it accomplishes goals and what those goals are, but alas, few meaningful designs.

The design implemented by the US Constitution carefully tried to prevent one source of power dictating the controls and movement of a particular policy. The implementation completed failed at the dawn of the Civil War and has been crippled since then, although it has been hardy enough to survive, and give us universal suffrage, civil rights, and social security, but it also gave us prohibition, McCarthyism, and the Vietnam War. The design failed because its approach was to divide power into three autonomous sectors, instead of carefully designing the functions of government and limiting its powers to just those functions. Of course, if it would not have been possible to do so at the time the Constitution was written, because of the malignant presence of legal slavery, but the compromise we received is still a remarkable first step at the implementation of government design.

The government should provide its populace the following services:

•  Housing
•  Food
•  Medical Services
•  Education
•  Law enforcement and judicial infrastructure
•  Transportation infrastructure
•  Diplomatic and military response mechanisms

Criminal laws can only be enacted to remedy assaults and thefts. Government funds will come only from sales taxes.  No one would be required to accept government services if they do not want them. All the functions need to be carefully defined to prevent misuse.

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By Marc Schlee, March 28, 2011 at 6:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Long live the International Socialist Revolution.

FREE AMERICA

REVOLUTIONARY (DIRECT) DEMOCRACY

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By RayLan, March 28, 2011 at 6:25 pm Link to this comment

@WritersOnTheStorm
In his brilliant treatment of the global economy, “Jihad and McWorld”, Benjamin Barber definitely associates Milton Friedman with globalization. Milton Friedman is also one of Chris’ references.
So there is no semantic confusion here between globalization and neo-liberalism.

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By Animal, March 28, 2011 at 6:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Listen to Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, Michael Savage, Bill O’ Reilly, Sean Hannity, and all the other right-wing bloviators. They absolutely deny that anything is seriously wrong with globalization or free trade, that those are absolutely good for us, and refer to anyone who disagrees as morons, idiots, retards, buffons, Chicken Littles, etc. These people have millions of fawning, admiring, and believing listerners, viewers, and readers who blindly believe every word they say without question like it’s Holy Gospel. If America is going to avert catastrophe and collapse, it can only happen if there is unity of purpose. Sadly, we are nowhere near that. Half the population can’t even be bothered to vote in a Presidential election, and of those who do bother to vote, no less than half(allegedly) voted no less than twice to install and maintain the greediest and most power hungry pack of thugs, thieves, crooks, con artists, sycophants, shysters, and whores in history into the halls of power. Reversing that kind of firmly entrenched, bone deep stupidity would be difficult in the best of circumstances. With the likes of Limbaugh, Beck, and their ilk reinforcing it on a daily basis, it’s pretty much impossible.

Oh well, America had a great run. The good news is, the system the globalists, corporatists, fascists, robber barons, and Dominionists are creating will eventually collapse. It may take decades, it may take centuries, but collapse it will. Maybe then our descendents can regain some of the freedom and prosperity that we’ve lost.

In closing I’d like to give a BIG FAT “THANK YOU” to everyone who thought that keeping gays from marrying or serving in the military was more important than keeping our economy strong, vital, and healthy, and also eevryone who thought those poor stem cells needed protection more than Americans jobs. Great job! The corporatists, fascists, robber barons, and Dominionists couldn’t have done it without you. Very well done!

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By samosamo, March 28, 2011 at 6:08 pm Link to this comment

****************


By Napolean DoneHisPart, March 28 at 5:28 pm

Thanks for that link as it surprised me that any M$M venue would
report this. It sounds so unlike what M$M would report against
their corporate cronies being almost like real investigative
reporting. And for the clip, I can easily believe what the ‘reporter’
said.

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By Shannon, March 28, 2011 at 6:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Opinions are useless.  Why doesn’t somebody come up with an organized way to use our dollars to quit buying products from the real offenders?

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By MB, March 28, 2011 at 6:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear Chris Hedges,

I recommend Terry Eagleton, who you probably already know but who I never read. He has a new book coming out in April called “Why Marx Was Right”(http://yalepress.yale.edu/book.asp?isbn=9780300169430). Coincidentally here is a short review just posted on a blog: http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/blog/?p=12690 (was a first hit when I ggl’d for a reference to post here).

Today I happened to read “The Rise of English” in Eagleton’s classic book: http://www.amazon.com/Literary-Theory-Introduction-Terry-Eagleton/dp/0816654476/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_1. This will be old news to many, but for a new reader it is filled with “aha’s” that explain everything. And since that will take too many characters for me to try to explain here, I encourage people to take a click around the sample pages posted there on Amazon. Yes, literature and all of its ideologies are completely relevant to where we are today. Did I mention he explains everything?

There’s kind of a story about why I’m reading him now. But it was unanticipated, through a sequence of clicks from the NYT’s that got me to a brief mention about him in an essay written by David O’Brien, a smart man from the University of Dayton: http://www.udayton.edu/artssciences/about/university_professor_of_faith_and_culture.php; essay here, http://www.udayton.edu/artssciences/about/documents/David_OBrien_Installation.pdf

Just felt like I wanted to mention all that to you. Also feel like I want to explain more about that, but it will take too long so I’ll just leave it there. Best wishes.

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By entropy2, March 28, 2011 at 5:42 pm Link to this comment

@QuantumBubbler -

The real solution would have been the ‘hippy’ approach of dropping out and making what you need in your homestead. Corporate products are easily considerably less favorable than their homemade counter products. For instance, my wife can make a superior soup to Campbell’s! Dah!

I can get more tomatoes from a barrel of chicken shit than you can get with a barrel of oil!

Soon we will have very affordable 3-D printing, I don’t think the powers that be will get that stopped. That’ll be enough to get Life back to Home Base!

Good points. And such an approach is infinitely more feasible, now, than in the ‘60-‘70s. We have the most powerful tools in the history of the world for communication, cooperative planning and effort, creative design and product manufacturing sitting in front of us on our desks.

Instead of complaining about powers that be or fighting the elite head-to-head, let’s cooperate to make them irrelevant!

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By WarrenMetzler, March 28, 2011 at 5:31 pm Link to this comment

I feel sorry for Chris Hedges, as well as other professional doomsayers, of which
Ralph Nader is the world champion. Primarily because all such people are never
happy.

Never before in history has a society had to give up the items it discovered that
enhance the quality of people’s lives.

A few people have always controlled most of the wealth. But so what? Wealth is
not essential for a quality life. I have a life filled with quality, and none of it was
prevented because a few people control most of the wealth. And there is a
degree of trickle down economics, because any country that you now visit, in
which you can meet an informed long term resident, will tell you that the
majority of residents of that country are far better off now than 50 years ago.
That is certainly true of Jamaica in the West Indies, where I grew up.

A few people own most of the wealth in all societies, because to be quite
wealthy you have to be consumed with wealth accumulation; which always
produces a predominate internally miserable, never ever satisfied person. And
most people are unwilling to deprive themselves of most of life’s valuable
pleasures to be overwhelming concerned with making another million next
week.

It is obvious that our current economic structure, that depends so heavily on
non-renewable resources, will come to an end at some time in the near future.
But I insist that before then, one or more humans will invent renewable sources
of energy and product ingredients, that will enable all of us to continue to live
great lives. Let us apply our energies to find and develop those sources, instead
of spending our energies sitting at desks writing about how horrible things are
now.

To be incorporated, you have to become very greedy and have an major
aversion to being responsible. Which is why all jobs in corporations are
unfulfilling. At some point the in the future corporations will disappear.

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By Blast Dorrough, March 28, 2011 at 5:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris Hedges is on target and obviously is a spiritual clone of Thomas Paine.  The American and French Revolutions inspired by Thomas Paine were fought to be free of evil Kingcraft, evil Corporatecraft and evil Christiancraft. Paine always spoke for humankind and influenced revolutionary-minded from all walks of life.  Paine’s thoughts on a true constitutional Republic bringing prosperity to all communities of the world will do just that if free of corruptible forces.  Consequently, all true patriots—- American New Guards rising today—-  must take advantage of the spirit of the moment fermenting not only in our country but all over the world.  See “new Guards” under Declaration of Independence. The time is right to unite under a political banner [ANG or The People Party] that would lead to the working class and small business owners finally voting in their collective interests to be free of the Corporatecrafter monopolistic empire of fixed enterprise.  The Corporatecrafters and their hireling/lacky politicians, all of imagined nobility, have corrupted our constitutional government to the egalitarian and economic injury of The People in mockery of our Constitution.  Thus, “We The People, of the United States,[as the natural majority and voting class must unite as such] in Order to form a more perfect Union,establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,” must restore our Constitution as our Moral Compass and Authority under our constitutional Republic and completely dismantle the usurped Corporate monopoly/cartel of organized crime sponsored on Taxpayer funds. The greedy wealthy of imagined nobility must be excluded from holding position of power via elections.  All positions of power must be filled via elections and trusted to the best and talented of The People.  Although proven to be afflicted with the delusion of imagined nobility Alexander Hamilton supported this position in Federalist Paper 84:  “Nothing need be said to illustrate he importance of the prohibition of titles of nobility [including the imagined nobility afflicted with the delusion of entitlement to plunder our Treasury and resources].  This may truly be denominated the corner stone of republican government; for so long as they are excluded, there can never be serious danger that the government will be any other than that of the people.”

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By Gary Mont, March 28, 2011 at 4:45 pm Link to this comment

WriterOnTheStorm: re Neoliberalism…

How is this any different than fascism.

What specifically, is the meaning of the word “liberal”, when used in this fashion.

Freedom from regulation????

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By QuantumBubbler, March 28, 2011 at 4:41 pm Link to this comment

“...as mortal enemies to be vanquished.”

Gees, that’s a bit much work. Somebody might die doing it also! You going to join them to beat them? I thought the saying was ‘If you can’t beat them, join them.’ The problem is in ‘organizing’ in the first place. Groups deteriorate Man.

The real solution would have been the ‘hippy’ approach of dropping out and making what you need in your homestead. Corporate products are easily considerably less favorable than their homemade counter products. For instance, my wife can make a superior soup to Campbell’s! Dah!

I can get more tomatoes from a barrel of chicken shit than you can get with a barrel of oil!

Soon we will have very affordable 3-D printing, I don’t think the powers that be will get that stopped. That’ll be enough to get Life back to Home Base!

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By WriterOnTheStorm, March 28, 2011 at 4:27 pm Link to this comment

If you’re trying to foment a revolution against something, you should first call it
by its proper name. In this case it’s not globalization, but Neoliberalism.
Globalization—the elimination of international trade barriers to allow
corporations to manufacture in the cheapest economies and sell in the most
expensive ones—is only one element of neoliberalism. And it may be one of
the least offensive aspects of neoliberalism since one can make effective
arguments that it brings economic opportunity to those in the cheaper
economies, as it is doing in China, India and South Korea. Other, more sinister
features of neoliberalism include market deregulation (the ‘liberal’ part of
neoliberalism refers to the market), disempowering labor (that’s right, union
busting), and monetarist policy (a central bank controlling inflation), but the
defining feature of neoliberalism, the mark of the beast, is the notion that the
market knows best.

Hayek’s “epiphany” was the idea that the market is the most direct expression
of democracy, giving the citizen cum consumer the ability to vote every day
with their pocketbook. The market, in turn, can be far more responsive to the
citizen/consumer’s needs than government ever could be, since government is
bogged down by the pesky problems of corruption, inefficiency, ineptitude, and
that niggling annoyance of having to serve some “abstract” concept of the long
term public interest.

Both Hayek and Friedman advanced the theory that there literally is no such
thing as the public interest. Society is simply too disparate. It was a seductive
idea, not just because knowing what is truly in the public interest requires
more wisdom than most politicos can muster, but also because abdicating
responsibility for the public interest to the market makes government’s job a
whole lot easier. If there is no public interest to serve, the theory goes, then
government should simply step aside and let individual expression shape
society—and America is nothing if not the world’s champion of maverick
individualism, right?

The resulting symbiosis of neoliberalism and American Exceptionalism has
meant that every president since Reagan, including Obama, became an
unquestioning acolyte of neoliberal gospel. Clinton mistakenly ascribed the
boom years of the ‘90’s to neoliberal economic policy, when in truth it was the
result of the dot.com bubble. Obama appears to be drawing the same wrong
conclusions. Neoliberalism is dead, long live neoliberalism…

If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. What could be more egalitarian? Right? Except
that, just like with our politics, we are given only false choices. The market, just
like our politics, has been rigged. You are told what to want. Status anxiety is
universal and permanent, like the bile necessary for consumption. Advertising
is the business of manufacturing that anxiety. That nagging sense of discontent
many of us feel is no accident. Soon enough, an iPhone 5 is going to make
your iPhone 4 seem inadequate, and that iPhone 3 is strictly loserville.

The way you set yourself apart in a consumer society is with your consumer
choices. Individuality has been focus-grouped to an inch of its life. Turns out
we are not so different after all, and the market is able to satisfy our
“individuality” with just a few limited choices. Your swooshtika is red, everyone
else’s is blue. Your car is prohibitively expensive to 99% of the population,
therefor it is more individualistic. Its all relative. Its all traffic. What
neoliberalism has exposed is that individuality is an even more abstract concept
than the public good.

Tune in, turn on, and drop out, was the battle cry of the last great social
revolution. These days you don’t have to go to all that trouble. Just keep using
your iPhone 3. That, and taking your picket sign from Wisconsin to Wall Street
couldn’t hurt. All together now…

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By brkily, March 28, 2011 at 4:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“to challenge the utopian assumptions that the marketplace should determine human behavior”

I just read a couple of things in the direction of the above thought which were intrigueing—-
Didn’t the concept of “the marketplace” used to be much broader, and now has been co-opted and narrowed to mean a very specific thing which is not very human being friendly anymore, just bottom-line, investor, corporate business friendly?

Jonathan Rowe, who just sadly died and I discovered this week:
“Community is not hydroponic, It does not grow in the gaseous air of political speechifying about values.  Nor does it arise from enterprise and ownership alone. Community requires particular kinds of enterprises; it requires neighborhoods that have a real function and don’t just serve as loci for consumption.”  http://www.bollier.org/my-friend-jonathan-rowe-1946-2011-appreciation
http://prospect.org/cs/articles?article=rebuilding_the_nonmarket_economy

and especially this from Nicholas Carr-
http://www.roughtype.com/archives/2006/08/the_great_unrea.php

“…I’ve been reading a short book - an essay, really - by John Kenneth Galbraith called The Economics of Innocent Fraud. It’s his last work, written while he was in his nineties, not long before he died. In it, he explains how we, as a society, have come to use the term “market economy” in place of the term “capitalism.” The new term is a kinder and gentler one, with its implication that economic power lies with consumers rather than with the owners of capital or with the managers who have taken over the work of the owners. It’s a fine example, says Galbraith, of innocent fraud.
An innocent fraud is a lie, but it’s a lie that’s more white than black. It’s a lie that makes most everyone happy. It suits the purposes of the powerful because it masks the full extent of their power, and it suits the purposes of the powerless because it masks the full extent of their powerlessness….”

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By barbatus, March 28, 2011 at 4:09 pm Link to this comment

To TDoff:

Indeedy!

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By Gary Mont, March 28, 2011 at 4:07 pm Link to this comment

By zonth_zonth:
“well said Gary, As N. Postman conjectured, WE MUST ask a few questions regarding each potential technological advancement 1. What is the problem that a new technology is directed at solving? 2. Will the new technology create more problems?  3. Who stands to benefic from the new technology and who stands to lose? Such simple questions.”

—-

Sadly, that is not even a possibility today.

Technology is doled out to the public according to only two criteria: Can it increase corporate profits and does it in any way enable the public.

The first criteria must be positive and the second negative.

If either criteria fails, the technology will be shelved, buried, or sold for military/mercenary, or corporate/government security use only.

The public is no longer in the loop as far as technology and science is concerned - it was deemed decades ago by the fascists that such knowledge in public hands was dangerous and undesirable and was thus confined to commercial and miltary possession only.

Any technology produced outside of commercial and government control, that enables the public in such a way that threatens the control the powers that be wield over the public, will be found “dangerous, faulty, or fake.” by official authourity and banned.

A nice example is the computerized technique developed by the military to determine truth or deceipt by reading body language so accurately that it could be used on videos with extremely high accuracy. Once it was leaked, it was officially labelled useless and “lost”, lest the public use it to ascertain the veracity of their politicians’ televised statements in real time.

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By Robert Roth, March 28, 2011 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree that working through the Democratic Party, as such, is at this point futile.  But I want to suggest that a broader range of techniques than you seem to advocate may yet prove useful, and by mentioning some of the organizations engaged in them. For one, Progressive Democrats of America, a small but feisty organization, is working both in and outside the Democratic Party to achieve precisely the sort of changes we need, primarily by informational campaigns and organizing. You might check out their website before dismissing that thought.  They have posted a number of your pieces.

As I think Wendell Berry said recently, and as you outline in considerable details, everything of value is threatened, and it seems unlikely the lives we now lead can be sustained in any easily recognizable form. There appears to be, as you’ve said before, just a thin line of defense between civil society and its disintegration. But as Noam Chomsky frequently points out, we do still have enormous freedom to agitate, organize, protest and struggle for change. The ballot box isn’t useless, it just isn’t being used nearly enough. But we still have it. And for its use to be more effective, we need a great many more people who recognize our real problems and demand that our political structures and players address them. It is not yet demonstrably too late to organize a sufficient and sustained opposition to the evils of our time, and a multitude of forces for the common good.

That is, by the way, what is so evil about the current attacks on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the safety net generally, such as it still is: The real animus behind these attacks is hostility to the idea of the common good, the notion that we should care about and for one another, the very idea that we have interests in common that we can and should address collectively, through government as well as other forms of social organization.

What I think we need is organizing: the development of common understandings and relationships of trust that will enable enough of us to act collectively, constructively, in coordination, to redeem the commons and serve the common good. Given that the airwaves are saturated with lies, the truth needs to be shared through other means: mind-to-mind, hand-to-hand, person-to-person, sometimes but not necessarily face-to-face and one-on-one. That’s what organizing ultimately is, and it can be accomplished in a variety of ways, including by the written as well as the spoken word. Whether this can save the situation in time remains to be seen.  But in my view, even the sort of actions you advocate are useful primarily as means of reaching more people and helping to alert, inform, and organize them.
In short, I don’t think it’s hopeless – it may be, but that’s just a hypothesis, like its opposite, at this point in our time – and there are things we can do to affect the outcome. Some of them may consist of protests like the one you, Dan Ellsberg and others recently conducted, and the War Resisters League and the Catholic Workers, to mention just two of my favorites, have routinely engaged in over the years. But others include conversation, speech-making, publication – writing such as yours – and even use of the ballot, once organizing has produced a critical mass sufficient to put good people into office. Iraq Veterans Against the War is organizing by a variety of means, and as I wrote to them recently, theirs is some of the best organizing and most important work I’m aware of. Progressive Democrats of America and others are organizing to make more effective use of the ballot box. Even in Congress, there are some very good people: most members of the Progressive Caucus were reelected earlier this month, and Rep. Jan Schakowsky somehow got onto the Deficit Commission and has offered a compassionate and practical alternative to the deficit hawks’ attack on the safety net and the common good.

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By ardee, March 28, 2011 at 3:54 pm Link to this comment

These “socialist movements” destroyed the economies of the nations they ran far faster than capitalism has, but they never admit it was due to their own failed philosophy. No, instead it was ‘sabotaged’ by corporations.

Damn right!  And if the radical socialist movements had been any damn good, all the attempts at ‘sabotage’ would have been like a little bird on a hippo’s back. 

So even the complaint of sabotage reveals the fundamental weakness of socialism.

How foolish to pursue the “hobgoblin” of socialism as a causative agent in our current dilemmas. The fact that no pure socialist government has ever existed, nor a communist one as well should enter into this posters thinking, yet doesnt. It is even more silly considering that he is a staunch supporter of the Democratic Party, another institution corrupted thus proven, by his own standards, to be “fundamentally weak”....

Instead of becoming another junior league Joseph McCarthy perhaps ITW should turn to the Scandinavian model of incorporating both socialism where applicable and regulated capitalism as well. A system that appears to be working rather well to date.

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By prosefights, March 28, 2011 at 3:41 pm Link to this comment

Frank M Currie, project engineer, Commonwealth Associates, Inc. is asked some questions by liberal arts educated william h payne [google admiral william h payne]

Friday March 25, 2011 08:42

Hello Mr Currie,

Role of heat input for production of electricity appears to be down-played, if not ignored, by most of the liberal arts educated, we have observed.

Under-emphasis of required heat input may be especially serious when it comes to altenergy production of electricity.

Reason is that these technologies may be frauds where the laws of thermodynamics are violated.

In other words, more energy is advertised to come out than goes in.

Large-scale solar generation deserves particular scrutiny for the reason New Mexico wants to become a center for this technology.  ...

http://www.prosefights.org/eprishumard/currie/currie.htm#currie1

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