Friday, May 27, 2016

Michael Brenner — America’s Worst Laid Plans

The U.S. government seeks to impose neo-liberal economics on the world even though those “free-market” policies funnel global wealth to a tiny fraction at the top, cause widespread despair and spark political turmoil, Michael Brenner explains.
Neoliberalism: Unregulated markets and privatization of public assets are the solution to all social, political and economic problems now and forever.

What is left unsaid is that markets are naturally asymmetric because societies are hierarchical socially, politically and economically. What is also left unsaid is that this result in institutional capture that tilts the playing field so that wealth flows to the top.

The rationale of exceptionalism to justify imposing this globally as the world order:
The United States has been pursuing an audacious project to fashion a global system according to its specifications and under its tutelage since the Cold War’s end.
For a quarter of a century, the paramount goal of all its foreign relations has been the fostering of a system whose architectural design features the following:
  • a neo-liberal economic order wherein markets dictate economic outcomes and the influence of public authorities to regulate them is weakened;
  •  this entails a progressive financializing of the world economy which concentrates the levers of greatest power in a few Western institutions – private, national and supranational;
  • if inequality of wealth and power is the outcome, so be it;
  • security provided by an American-led concert that will have predominant influence in every region;
  • a readiness to use coercion to remove any regime that directly challenges this envisaged order;
  • the maintenance of a large, multi-functional American military force to ensure that the means to deal with any contingency as could arise;
  • all cemented by the unquestioned conviction that this enterprise conforms to a teleology whose truth and direction were confirmed by the West’s total victory in the Cold War.
Therefore, it is inherently a virtuous project whose realization will benefit all mankind. Virtue is understood in both tangible and ethical terms.…
The rest explains the insanity of it all and where it is leading.

America's leadership is puny and not up to the task. And there is no one of that caliber in the wings and no vision to replace the insanity.

Consortium News
America’s Worst Laid Plans
Michael Brenner | Professor of International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh


Bob said...

Trump appears committed to continuing the America-is-great myth. Hopefully his focus is more on bread and butter issues and not foreign misadventures.

Andrew Anderson said...

The lifeblood of neoliberalism is government-subsidized private credit creation. Privatization, for example, as are other hostile takeovers, is often financed with what is essentially the public's credit. Anyone see the extreme irony in that? That the public's credit is used to loot the public?

So when are neoliberalism's purported enemies going to stop supporting government-subsidized private credit creation? Never because they hope to be in charge of it one day?

Matt Franko said...

OK Tom... then tell me HOW a product this complex would EVER be going the other way:

"Siemens has placed two of the four 400 megawatt (MW) H-class gas turbines alongside six 500 kilovolt (kV) generator transformers on their foundations at the Beni Suef power plant in Egypt.

It will start supplying its first electricity to the national energy grid as early as winter 2016/2017. To achieve that, it will initially be operated in so-called simple cycle mode. By subsequently adding heat exchangers and steam turbines it will be expanded into combined cycle mode reaching a total installed capacity of 4.8 gigawatts (GW). This is enough to supply around 15 million Egyptians with electricity."

NO F-NG WAY something like this is EVER going the other way... no way EV-AH...

So if you dont advocate for trade, then you are advocating for millions of Egyptians to remain in the dark ages...

This is the same as you lefties wanting permanent ZIRP so "rich people dont get free money!" meanwhile you are f-ing over modest income savers who are getting no interest income in their savings accounts and senior poverty is increasing...

So you are advocating for MENA to remain in the stone ages as well as old people to go into poverty.... all because you think "rich people!" somehow benefit from moron policies that always end up wrecking an economy...


Bob said...

Siemens is serving its paying customers, wherever they may be. What does that have to do with trade? We install gas turbines, you give us munnie.

Tom Hickey said...

No trade is autarky. I don't know of anyone advocating for it.

The question is "free trade" where the wealthy and powerful nations rule, or fair trade along with the right of countries to manage their own interests.

From the systems POV, it's in the long term interest of the developed nations to bring the underdeveloped nations put to speed as quickly as practicable. Bigger pie and bigger shares for all.

Same with automation, robotics and AI. More leisure for all along with more abundance. Utopia in sight.

Andrew Anderson said...

Same with automation, robotics and AI. More leisure for all along with more abundance. Utopia in sight. Tom Hickey

So it seemed during the Roaring 1920's but it turns out that HOW productivity is financed is crucial else it leads to wars and more destructive ones at that due to technological advances, eg WW II.

Tom Hickey said...

Right. The current approach under capitalism will result in a hoard of surplus workers that don't have the kind of employment they used to have. This would have to be shunted into some other form of paid labor like domestic servants as under feudalism or it would lead to the formation of a large enough "reserve army of the unemployed and destitute to threaten the system without ceasing a police state to control it.

This could also lead to the development of new relations of production that bring about some type of socialism as privatizing people and the environment over property ownership and wage labor.

Tom Hickey said...

Correction: " ceasing" should be "creating."

Bob said...

If we were to dis-automate a portion of agriculture there would be jobs for all. During winter, we could clear the snow off streets by hand. Imagine all the fossil fuels that would be saved.

Or we could tinker with who owns what, and who is entitled to the profits.

Tom Hickey said...

When I was living in Washington DC in the late 50's and early 60's as an undergrad, snow was a pretty rare event and they actually had workers out shoveling the streets — Black people.

Now it's the Latin guest workers by day and illegal immigrants by night that pick the fruit and vegetables.

Andrew Anderson said...

Now it's the Latin guest workers by day and illegal immigrants by night that pick the fruit and vegetables. Tom Hickey

In ancient Israel, the agricultural land was roughly equally owned by all Hebrews except the priestly class, who had other provisions for them.

So it was normal for non-Hebrew residents of Israel and foreign workers to be hired by the Hebrews or even to be held as permanent slaves (at least until a generation or so had converted to the Hebrew religion).

So automation is not the problem and foreign workers and goods are not the problem. The problem is the grossly unequal ownership of assets by the citizens of countries.