Adam Smith's Lost Legacy
SMITH WAS A RHETORICIAN LONG BEFORE HE WAS A POLITICAL ECONOMIST
Gavin Kennedy | Professor Emeritus, Heriot Watt University
As promised, here are some brief reflections on the situation in Argentina….
The dictionary says Post Truth is the “fact or state of being post-truth; a time period or situation in which facts have become less important than emotional persuasion”. But I prefer to be direct – not to mince words – Post Truth is lying, plain and simple. It is making stuff up that is untrue, in denial of the facts, and, in cases where volition drives the lying, using strategic and well-thought out tools of psychological persuasion, fear, threats etc to make it look as though the statements are factual rather than lies. The interesting thing for me at the moment in this respect is that we are increasingly being told we are now in this Post Truth era. That social media has created this Post Truth era and that something should be done about it. Oxford English Dictionary announced recently that the Word of the Year 2016 is…, you got it, “post-truth” which they claim is a “concept … [which] … has been in existence for the past decade”. Its use has apparently “spiked in frequency this year” as a result of the Brexit referendum and the US election. Two things then are worth noting. First, there is nothing new about the idea of lying to influence public opinion. Indeed, as I will explain (briefly) the whole edifice of mainstream economics, including New Keynesian economics has been ‘post-truth’ since its inception. Second, the fact that it is getting attention now is because the establishment are starting to feel the pinch – their usual media power is losing traction with the democratising influences of the Internet – and their cosy worlds of influence are under threat from a rabble. And this applies to so-called progressive Left (the socialist politicians in Europe, the Labour politicians in Australia, Britain and elsewhere) who have so bought into the neo-liberal myth machine that they cannot understand why they are now losing support from their traditional sources (working class people). The ‘post-truth’ era is apparently upon us. But the reality is that there is nothing new about lying in mainstream economics. It is built upon a lie. It is just that the lying that is spreading on the Internet (‘fake news sites’) are damaging the establishment. That is why they are now complaining. They have never complained about the incessant lying from the economics profession....Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Laffer, a former member of Reagan's Economic Policy Advisory Board, told the Financial Times that Trump should not worry about America's growing trade deficit,
The course adopts a decision-maker perspective of accounting by emphasizing the relation between accounting data and the underlying economic events that generated them.They don't have the cognitive ability to look at an economic event and THEN accurately create the ex post accounting records that document those economic events. They have never been trained in doing this activity so they remain ignorant in this area. They just can't do it.
Criticism culminated this week when the "Naked capitalism" blog threatened to sue the Washington Post, demanding a retraction.Zero Hedge
Now, at least, the "national newspaper" has taken some responsibility, however the key question remains: by admitting it never vetted its primary source, whose biased and conflicted "work" smeared hundreds of websites, this one included, just how is the Washington Post any different from the "fake news" it has been deriding on a daily basis ever since its endorsed presidential candidate lost the elections?
The following is a multi-part symposium commissioned by theNational Interest and Carnegie Corporation of New York. Check daily (Monday-Friday) for new entries. Below you will find a brief introduction to the series by Jacob Heilbrunn, editor of the National Interest.Surprise. No one thinks that war is a good idea.
- Monday, November 28: Graham Allison, Steven Pifer, Paul Saunders, Ian Bremmer, Joseph Nye, Angela Stent
- Tuesday, November 29: Barry Posen, Jack Matlock Jr.
- Wednesday, November 30: Michael Kofman, Matthew Rojansky
- Thursday, December 1: Timothy J. Colton, Nikolas K. Gvosdev
- Friday, December 2: Andrew Kuchins, J. Andrew Spindler
- Monday, December 5: Paul Pillar, Thomas F. Remington
- Tuesday, December 6: Kevin Ryan, Daniel Treisman
"For months now, SOFREP has been writing a series of articles about how badly things are going for the Special Forces soldiers assigned to covert and clandestine programs in Syria, Turkey, and Jordan." "However, the Green Berets assigned to this mission are outraged for another reason: many of the “moderate” rebels they are charged with training are actually ISIS and al-Nusra collaborators." "However, the article also glosses over the complaints that Green Berets have made about the Timber Sycamore program in which “moderate” rebels actually turn out to be Jihadists." When confronted with this story, Liz Sly of the Washington Post commented: but those are liberal and secular Jihadis, no?Liz Sly doesn't realize that "liberal and secular Jihadis" is an oxymoron. She and the Washington Post show the depths of ignorance in which the US mainstream is mired. It would be laughable if it were not so serious.
If you believe in the concept, make a tax deductible charity contribution, pay people and you’re there.Modern Money Matters
Latest figures confirm inflation in Russia fell to an annualised rate of 5.8% at the end of November, with prices growing in that month by 0.4%.
As is now becoming tediously regular, this fall in inflation is reported to have “exceeded forecasters’ expectations”.The Duran
Although US President-elect Donald Trump has signaled willingness to establish a stable basis for US-Russian bilateral relations, the US establishment and NATO are likely to throw a wrench in the works, James W. Carden, former advisor to the US-Russia Presidential Commission at the US State Department, believes.
While observers are weighing up the possibilities of the US-Russian rapprochement under Donald Trump, James W. Carden, the executive editor for the American Committee for East-West Accord, believes that NATO is likely to come between Moscow and Washington....These people are not going to pay any attention to Donald Trump's orders and he is going to have fire some people to take charge. Even so, it is questionable as to how successful he can be. There's a lot of people on the other side — deep staters, neocons, war hawks, liberal interventionists, etc. Even if he does get the upper hand, they will be a fifth column waiting to return at the first opportunity, e.g., should Trump be a one-term president.
President-elect Donald Trump will nominate Iowa Governor Terry Branstad as the next U.S. ambassador to China, choosing a longstanding friend of Beijing after rattling the world's second largest economy with tough talk on trade and a telephone call with the leader of Taiwan.
The appointment may help to ease trade tensions between the two countries, the world's two biggest agricultural producers, diplomats and trade experts said. It also suggests that Trump may be ready to take a less combative stance towards China than many expected, they said.Trump adopts a soft line here that is pro-business. Branstad is a shoe-in for confirmation. Good choice.
One of most pernicious means underway to crush independent news sites is the release of software tools that brand them as unreliable. This means that hidden developers and the parties that fed them information are beyond any accountability, yet would serve as censors....The plot thickens. And under capitalism, the push will be on to monetize this.
The “fake news” hysteria has become the cover for the U.S. government and mainstream media to crack down on fact-based journalism that challenges Official Washington’s “group thinks,” writes Robert Parry....
A key reason why American foreign debacles have been particularly destructive mostly to the countries attacked but also to the United States is that these interventions are always accompanied by major U.S. government investments in propaganda. So, even when officials recognize a misjudgment has been made, the propaganda machinery continues to grind on to prevent a timely reversal.
In effect, Official Washington gets trapped by its own propaganda, which restricts the government’s ability to change direction even when the need for a shift becomes obvious.
After all, once a foreign leader is demonized, it’s hard for a U.S. official to explain that the leader may not be all that bad or is at least better than the likely alternative. So, it’s not just that officials start believing their own propaganda, it’s that the propaganda takes on a life of its own and keeps the failed policy churning forward....
Even if a President Trump decides that these tensions with Russia are absurd and that the two countries can work together in the fight against terrorism and other international concerns, the financing of the New Cold War propaganda will continue.
The well-funded drumbeat of anti-Russian propaganda will seek to limit Trump’s decision-making. After all, this latest New Cold War cash cow can be milked for years to come and nothing – not even the survival of the human species – is more important than that.Consortium News
- GILBERT DOCTOROW Gilbert Doctorow is a professional Russia watcher going back to 1965. He is a board member and European Coordinator of the American Committee for East-West Accord.
- UTE FINCKH-KRÄMER Ute Finckh-Krämer, Member of the German Bundestag, SPD, is Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Deputy Chairperson of the Subcommittee on Arms Control and Disarmament in the German Bundestag.
- LUDGER VOLMER Ludger Volmer was a member of the German Bundestag from 1985 to 1990 and 1994 to 2002. He was undersecretary of state from 1998 to 2002.
- ROLF EKÉUS Rolf Ekéus of Sweden was executive chairman of the UN Special Commission on Disarming Iraq from 1991 to 1997. He chaired the drafting of the principles of the Charter of Paris in 1990, a founding document of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
- NOAM CHOMSKY Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor emeritus at MIT, has written many books and articles on international affairs, in particular on Israel and Palestine. His latest book is Who Rules the World?
2017 conforming loan limits for mortgages acquired by FNMA increased to $424,100 on 1-unit properties up to $636,150 in high-cost areas!!— Julia Huntsman (@juliahuntsman) November 28, 2016
My point is simple: fake news is nothing new. We have long lived in a post-truth society, with political propaganda dominating the “mainstream” news media, and contributing to disinformation campaigns aimed at manipulating public opinion. Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky documented the propagandistic elements of the news media in detail in their seminal Manufacturing Consent (MC) nearly three decades ago. Other works preceding MC – such as Herbert Schiller’s The Mind Managers – also emphasized the efforts of political, economic, and media elites to manipulate public preferences via propaganda.
I’ve devoted my academic career to spotlighting propaganda, writing numerous books on the subject. So it’s more than a little disturbing when I see references to “propaganda” in the corporate press that completely obscure the broader role that manipulation plays in reinforcing domestic political-economic elites’ agendas and in padding the pocketbooks of corporate media conglomerates. Empirical media studies have documented since the 1970s the overwhelming government dominance of the news. Government control of the news is uncontroversially labeled propaganda in dictatorships like North Korea and the old Soviet Union, but when journalists working for private media corporations willingly roll over for government interests, allowing them to monopolize newspapers and the airwaves in favor of their own agendas, we call it “objectivity.” So it is in an effort to add some sanity to our modern discussion of propaganda that I draw CounterPunch readers’ attention to the longstanding existence of fake news propaganda in U.S. media....Move along. Nothing to see here.
The University of Western Australia has published a new study offering evidence that plants are conscious entities who can make links between events to learn about their environment. It was previously thought that only organisms with brains (i.e. most animals) were capable of doing this....Depends on the definition of "conscious" and "consciousness."
Neoliberals have yet to find an answer to this worldwide sea change. As long as leftists dismiss the phenomenon as nothing more than sheer racism and stupidity, they will continue to evade potential answers. Working class people from Pennsylvania to Paris are hurting due to unprecedented upward wealth redistribution, shrinking jobs in both skilled and unskilled labor, soaring costs of living, college tuition, kabuki bureaucracy and collective trauma from the Wars on Drugs and Terror. Voters aren’t stupid; they’re getting tired of the platitudes, plundering and plutocracy of the Global Gilded Age. If the status quo doesn’t come up with any solutions, the populace will seek them elsewhere…