Saturday, February 18, 2017

Jeremy Grantham — ‘Twas Capitalism That Killed Capitalism

The critical statement polled, in my opinion, was this: “America needs a strong leader to take the country back from the rich and powerful.”... 
For an astonishing 75% of those first 9,000 polled agreed that, yes, we did indeed need to be saved from the rich and powerful. From now on, in my opinion, we live in a different world from the one we grew up in.…
By this time some readers may be asking for a profile of the 74% of the final 45,000 who voted against the rich and powerful. Who are these people? Well, they are us. All of us. I have never heard of a vote so uniform: whether Republican 72% or Democrat 77%; Male 74% or Female 75%; White 75% or Black 74%; Rich 70% or Poor 79%; Christian 74% or Muslim 72%; Graduates 68% or not 76%; they all agreed. They have all had it with the rich and powerful. And as for me, I don’t blame them. I think capitalism has lost its way. And has badly diluted the value of democracy along the way. We can only hope it is very temporary....
Naked Capitalism
Grantham: ‘Twas Capitalism That Killed Capitalism

Read with:

Steve Bannon got that.
"Like [Andrew] Jackson's populism, we're going to build an entirely new political movement," [Bannon] says. "It's everything related to jobs. The conservatives are going to go crazy. I'm the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. With negative interest rates throughout the world, it's the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything. Shipyards, ironworks, get them all jacked up. We're just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks. It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution — conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement." 
Bannon represents, he not unreasonably believes, the fall of the establishment. The self-satisfied, in-bred and homogenous views of the establishment are both what he is against and what has provided the opening for the Trump revolution. "The media bubble is the ultimate symbol of what's wrong with this country," he continues. "It's just a circle of people talking to themselves who have no f—ing idea what's going on...
"I am," he says, with relish, "Thomas Cromwell in the court of the Tudors."
Bannon has the vision and Trump is the vehicle to actualize it.

The question now is, how is that possible with Trump's billionaire cabinet, the Trump team's close ties with Heritage and Cato, and big donors like the Mercers.Trading one faction of the rich and powerful for another faction? Sure looks like it.

Steve Bannon has his work cut out for time if he is going to the contemporary Thomas Cromwell in the Trump court.

Should Bannon's realignment fail to displace the rich and powerful to the satisfaction of the electorate, there is no telling where US politics is headed. The chances of it going back to where it was before Trump and Bannon is unlikely though.

14 comments:

Dan Lynch said...

Agree with Grantham's sentiment that capitalism has "lost its way."

Bannon gets things half right but doesn't seem to have a coherent solution. A lot of the Bannon/Trump vision boils down to Ayn Randian "get government out of the way and allow private enterprise to flourish."

Thomas Frank: Bannon shouts about economic injustice, but his solution – a return to pre-1960s social mores – is bizarre

Bob said...

Bannon illustrates the process by which the elites double down on their ideology and fail to address a systemic crisis. It is tunnel vision.

Nebris said...

Tom, lay off the Flavor Aid.

John said...

What, Bannon wants to be executed for being a "traitor" like Thomas Cromwell? All Bannon has to do is find Trump, another obese orange mad leader like Henry VIII, an unsuitable wife and...hold on, Trump already has one in the First Prostitute of the United States. The numbers for Bannon's celebrity execution will be YUGE! YUUUUUUUGE!

MRW said...

What if Trump is leading all the leaders for X (his billionaire selections) to the slaughter, and then fires them? What if he is corralling the perps, or the leaders of his ultimate opposition, into his ring--for lack of a better word, so he can contend with them?

Bob said...

Firing a billionaire isn't slaughter.
Inviting them into the cabinet to control them might work if he isn't dependent on them. But he's giving them real jobs with real power.

The writing is on the wall
The soap is on the floor
Take a bow

Greg said...

Again, a lot of stuff to agree with Bannon regarding his diagnosis of the problem..... I have huge problems with many of his solutions though. Negative interest rates... across the world?!! How the hell does he think thats going to help the average guy saving for his future? ( the only place to put your savings little guys is in the stock market..... spoken like a true Goldman Sachs-er)

Matt Franko, calling Matt Franko...... that statement alone ought to give you a clue that these "acquisitors" arent the right guys for the job. Bannon is likely the thought leader of this administration. Trump has no "thoughts", he's already figured everything out he just needs to bully everyone else into acquiescing.

Penguin pop said...

"The TV show's over" to quote Paul DePage. There is no master plan and it's Orange Oompa Loompa turning out to be another establishment moron. Nothing more.

Ignacio said...

Bannon illustrates the process by which the elites double down on their ideology and fail to address a systemic crisis. It is tunnel vision.

Exactly, unfortunately this is a long process that may take centuries until the whole system collapses.

Depends upon reaching a high enough level of entropy to precipitate collapse to a new state, we may though as this kind of "doubling down" works as a positive feedback loop.

Matthew Franko said...

Greg,

I never said these people have our knowledge...

Trump will fight the Fed IF, and I repeat IF, the Fed starts to raise in earnest... Fed may not be able to do this though as they have the IOR to deal with...

I think they are going to do a Laffer-style tax cut (will work) and use the PPP format to do infrastructure (will work), and revamp the entire acquisition strategy for healthcare in the US to a more business oriented rather that the current academic oriented approach (will work)... close the borders, demand bi-lateral balanced trade....

Its going to get better...

They will blow the lid off if the Fed starts to raise in earnest even in the face of Trump's whining about it... which he may back off the Fed when he sees the continued economic growth fomented by the higher and higher rates and it will be a moonshot....

Ryan Harris said...

The important feature of a revolutionary is that they are defined by their marginalization and exclusion from society in some way.

Whether they ultimately became a billionaire or joined the "ivy league" elite is less important than how the ruling class kept them marginalized and oppressed despite their abilities. That is what creates their heightened sense of disillusionment such as we see with Trump and Bannon and their dedication to the millions of supporters who identify with their own individual struggles and they bond over their marginalization and mockery by the PTB.

It's never clear whether they will be successful like Deng, destructive like Stalin, ineffective like the vast majority.

Greg said...

Matt

From what Ive heard of Trump he wants rates to rise,( I cant be sure cuz he's not a guy to actually stick with a position very long on a lot go things) but we will see I suppose.

I dont have any criticisms of PPP style for infrastructure til I see the details, iow, til I see who's palms are getting greased. PPPs are often just a code word for selling off a public entity to a private entity over time. Not a lump sum buying but more like a lease with guaranteed payouts to the new private owner. Until you see who it is and how much they are getting its impossible to honestly pass judgement.

I do disagree that we have healthcare run by academics. At least not health science based academics. We have had, of the most part til just recently, healthcare run by business school academics people not people who actually understand what is good evidence based medicine. We are starting in some areas to look for more evidence based therapies, which is good. If Trump thinks a bunch of Wharton guys are gonna solve healthcare, he's a fool. Getting health insurance CEOs to do something else productive is job one for anyone who wants to move in the right direction for health care. Of all the players in the healthcare field the only ones who could ALL die tomorrow and not one sick person die is the health insurance CEOs and management. Finding someone else to pass the money from a patients paycheck to the doctors/hospitals bank accounts is the easiest job.

Tom Hickey said...

Trump is a materials guy (construction) and a RE guy rather than a financial type. Financial types like high rates, materials and RE types like low rates.

John said...

Greg: "I do disagree that we have healthcare run by academics. At least not health science based academics. We have had, of the most part til just recently, healthcare run by business school academics people not people who actually understand what is good evidence based medicine."

This is supported by worldwide evidence. When "economists" or "finance" or "management consultants" are involved, the outcome is terrible, which is to be expected. They're not involved to make healthcare better or patients healthy or to improve the general health of the country (and thereby its economic growth and productivity). No, they're involved to ensure private gain. That's to be expected, and you can't really blame them. It's the nature of the beast. However, when healthcare professionals run healthcare, the outcomes are on the whole superb. That's dangerous because it gives social democracy a good name. The "conservative" policy of "starving the beast" is to make people believe that individual choice gives much better outcomes than the "socialism" of policies made on and for society as a whole. The idea that social problems require a societal response, not the disaggregated individual responses, has to be made anathema. The one exception is if the money's going to the Pentagon and related industries, then socialism is just fine.