Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Paul Craig Roberts — The Looting Machine Called Capitalism


PRC finally wakes up and smells the coffee and becomes a Marxian, even though he probably doesn't realize it yet in those terms. Maybe Michael Hudson will clue him in, since he got a lot of his new-to-him economic ideas from Hudson. Recall that PCR was one of the original Reagan supply-siders. How things change. And if someone with PCR's background can be turned around, there's hope.
I have come to the conclusion that capitalism is successful primarily because it can impose the majority of the costs associated with its economic activities on outside parties and on the environment. In other words, capitalists make profits because their costs are externalized and born by others. In the US, society and the environment have to pick up the tab produced by capitalist activity....
"Privatize profits; socialize costs."

Paul Craig Robert.org
The Looting Machine Called Capitalism
Paul Craig Roberts

27 comments:

Andrew Anderson said...

PRC finally wakes up and smells the coffee Tom Hickey

Then why not a single mention of the word "bank"? Much less their government privileges?

Dan Lynch said...

When you've lost the Reaganites ..... :-)

Bob said...

I suspect this stems more from his disgust with Washington corruption than from ideology.

Penguin pop said...

Just like with Bruce Bartlett, another Reagan guy who woke up and realized how godawful the GOP's ideas really are. Now we just gotta get that moron David Stockman to wake up and I think those are a lot of the major Reaganites right there who will have converted.

Tom Hickey said...

It's possible that PCR could get to Stockman.

Matt Franko said...

Stockman?!?!?

Tom Hickey said...

Stockman?!?!?

I said the same thing initially about Roberts.

I think that eventually these people will come around, and I think it may be the right before the left.

Auburn Parks said...

What a load of crap.

As if businesses arent smart enough to make profits without externalizing costs. Or as if that type of thing could be completely removed. People seem to get so confused about what is vs what ought to be. Yes, its in biz interests to externalize costs, but its in many other parties interests for them not to, who wins that political battle is determined by politics. just because we have set up a system of campaign finance that is essentially a corruption market for politicians and this system naturally leads to certain outcomes (like biz winning more against the public in this eternal battle of who pays for the costs) doesnt mean that the results would be the same if we changed the incentive system and the HR system of how we choose potential political candidates.

This is the type of lazy, shallow thinking that so-called socialists and other capitalism bashers engage in leiu of honest analysis.

As if the party bosses in commuinst Russia and china dont try to lay off unpleasnet biz realities and costs on 3rd parties for personal financial gain.

God damn utopia marxists are almost as obnoxious as libertarian capitalists

Bob said...

PCR is not a marxist. He continues to defend his definition of supply side economics every chance he gets. This article is just a rant.

Dan Lynch said...

@Auburn said God damn utopia marxists are almost as obnoxious as libertarian capitalists!

:-)

Not to mention the utopian JG'ers, the utopian UBI'ers, and the utopian social democrats.

Who has the most influence in a capitalist society? Needless to say it is the capitalists. Hence any proposal that assumes a capitalist society will be managed for the benefit of the workers is absurd.

It's not clear that things would be any better if we could throw a switch and become socialist overnight since our Anglo society has no tradition of true democracy or social consciousness comparable to the Nordic countries. It's my understanding that the Nordic culture of democratic economic rights dates back to feudalism and later unionism, traditions that the Anglo U.S. has never had.

What to do about it? History suggests to me -- and recently confirmed by a study -- that some cataclysmic event will be required to force meaningful change. War, natural disaster, economic collapse, plague, etc.. In the meantime we have a plutocracy with fake elections to keep the masses complacent.

Auburn Parks said...

"Who has the most influence in a capitalist society? Needless to say it is the capitalists. Hence any proposal that assumes a capitalist society will be managed for the benefit of the workers is absurd."

This is not at all a universally true statement. Voters have the most influence in many cases. As the countless examples of legislation that benefit consumers and workers and hurt capitalist interests demonstrate.

"
What to do about it? History suggests to me -- and recently confirmed by a study -- that some cataclysmic event will be required to force meaningful change. War, natural disaster, economic collapse, plague, etc.."

Yes, which is why your compalints about the unique evils of capitalism are so hollow. Aristocrats were ever bit as self interested and much more powerful than todays capitalists. Which is of course the result of the liberal revolution which continues apace throughout the world.

Almost all of society's ills are not unique to capitalism, and why would they be since capitalism is such a broad term as to be practically irrelevant in honest analysis. Self interest, social and economic paradoxes will always be present regardless of the exact type of organizing system we use. This is the difference between realists and utopians. utpoians like to believe that deep, structural paradoxes will simply go away if we just convert to their preferred machinations. The reality is quite different, no matter what system you use, there will be battling interest groups, policitical and economic decisions will hurt some people and help others, etc.

Six said...

I'm not sure I get your point, Auburn. You say the article is a load of crap, and then you seem to confirm exactly what the article states (while having a tantrum, as usual).

Dan Lynch said...

Voters have the most influence in many cases. As the countless examples of legislation that benefit consumers and workers and hurt capitalist interests demonstrate.

Hasn't happened in my adult lifetime. :-/ Voters usually can be manipulated by the media, which is controlled by .... the capitalists. In any event Americans do not get to vote on issues. Our choice is between Neoliberal Warmonger "A" and Neoliberal Warmonger "B".

your complaints about the unique evils of capitalism are so hollow. Aristocrats were ever bit as self interested and much more powerful than todays capitalists.

There were no aristocrats in Native American hunter-gatherer societies. Inequality and authoritarianism came with agriculture, then got worse with industrialization. Technology, economics, and culture have always been intertwined.

Agree that there will always be battling interest groups as long as there are different groups. Besides social and ethnic divisions, the biggest divisions are .... economic. If we had economic equality, then there would be less "battling."

Auburn Parks said...

Blaming all of society's ills on capitalism is a load of.crap and explained why this is the case. Sorry that wasn't clear to you. I disagree with your characterizations of my criticisms as a tantrum. If I could just as easily describe your drive by comment as nothing more than a tantrum from somebody who doesn't like what I'm saying. But I won't do that because it's absolutely useless to help us analyze anything

Auburn Parks said...

Sure Dan the ACA Medicaid expansion didn't help anybody but capitalistz. The increased taxes to offset that spending also didn't come from hurting rich people.

Bernie Sanders wasn't the neoliberal warmonger the people shows Hillary instead that's just how democracy works. Regular people have never had access to as much information as they do today certainly way more than back in the day with only three channels no internet and a small handful of periodicals. So once again the important thing is that capitalism isn't the root of people being ignorant about the world or for believing in things that are against their personal self-interest.

Yeah those Native Americans also couldn't develop medicine they couldn't develop metalworking materials they couldnt develop any of tue things that have brought human's to the incredible standard of living and understanding of the universe that we have today. Which is why their type of civilization has lost out in the great evolutionary game of cultural and social progress. And on a side note yes they absolutely had different class distinctions in tribal Society So that too is not something unique to capitalism

Auburn Parks said...

Oh one more thing Dan. Americans certainly arent warmongers in your words just because of capitalism. Humans are warmongers and have been so since the very beginning of our time. But seeing as how violence and War are down across the board to some of the lowest levels in history to argue that capitalism in the modern sense has directly led to more war and violence when the data and the history show exactly the opposite trends

Bob Roddis said...

It’s easy to tell that you guys KNOW you are lying because all of your arguments are based upon the distortion of simple definitions. Minksy blames economic crises upon some mysterious aspect of “capitalism” when Austrian analysis demonstrates that the crises are caused by violent interventions in the market which, by definition, are the antithesis of “capitalism”.

PCR is a very sloppy thinker when it comes to economics. As with Minsky, it is utterly fraudulent to call a system where private costs are socialized “capitalism” just as it is fraudulent to call our present fiat funny money dysptopia “capitalism”. The shifting and theft of wealth by way of the government being able to spend fiat funny money into existence is a favored process designed so that an oblivious citizenry cannot grasp that the process of surreptitious theft even exists. And that process of insidious theft has nothing to do with “capitalism” but everything to do with “modern money”.

Six said...

Auburn, tantrums are easy to recognize and often include phrases such as:

"What a load of crap."

"As if ..."

"This is the type of lazy, shallow thinking ..."

"God damn utopia ..."

Rage and rational thought have trouble coexistingg, so maybe that's why I'm having trouble following you. I usually agree with most of your posts here. Surely you realize "Capitalism" doesn't exist and we have a mixed system of capitalism and socialism, eh?

Auburn Parks said...

Well 6 seeing as I'm not angry now I wasn't angry when I rode any of that your assertion that I was raging in throwing a tantrum is just completely irrelevant. I don't Define sayings like Tantrums or rage based off of words alone. The difference between using the word fuck in one sentence and not another is not necessarily an example of rage. So your logic is completely flawed in this case.

Furthermore using words even if in the context of a raise or a tantrum does not in any way undermine the significance of the actual ideas presented. So one might infer from your inability to make a cogent argument against my comments and instead relying on nebulous things like tantrum and rage means that you're not contributing anything to the analysis or our understanding of the way the world works.

Noah Way said...

Voters have the most influence in many cases.

In a system where politicians and mass media are stooges for the capitalist state it makes no difference.

Case in point: Trump, who was elected because he was not Hillary (who is a deep state / capitalist stooge) and despite a concerted effort by the media and the political establishment to sabotage him. In three months Trump has been completely co-opted by the system. Thus what would appear to be "voter influence" is irrelevant.

Americans certainly arent warmongers in your words just because of capitalism. Humans are warmongers and have been so since the very beginning of our time.

Warring for resources (wealth). Wealth = power. Capitalism is a system of wealth (power) accumulation. Fiduciary responsibility (maximizing profit) is enshrined into law. The consequences of that are readily apparent.

Six said...

Point well taken, Auburn. I was sniping. Here's my take:

"What a load of crap.

As if businesses arent smart enough to make profits without externalizing costs."

No one is arguing businesses aren't smart enough to make profit without externalizing costs (although some aren't), the argument is that they are externalizing some of their costs.

"Or as if that type of thing could be completely removed."

Maybe not, but some people think that type of thing should be less (or increased ... health care provided to everyone so it does come out of "capitalist's" profits.)

"People seem to get so confused about what is vs what ought to be."

No they don't, otherwise they wouldn't try to change "what is".

"Yes, its in biz interests to externalize costs, but its in many other parties interests for them not to, who wins that political battle is determined by politics. just because we have set up a system of campaign finance that is essentially a corruption market for politicians and this system naturally leads to certain outcomes (like biz winning more against the public in this eternal battle of who pays for the costs) doesnt mean that the results would be the same if we changed the incentive system and the HR system of how we choose potential political candidates."

You're right, but this doesn't mean people shouldn't try to change things to something they think would work better. Of course change could be worse as it always includes risk.

"This is the type of lazy, shallow thinking that so-called socialists and other capitalism bashers engage in leiu of honest analysis."

Yes, and it's also the type of lazy, shallow thinking that so called capitalists and other socialism bashers engage in lieu of honest analysis :-)

"As if the party bosses in commuinst Russia and china dont try to lay off unpleasnet biz realities and costs on 3rd parties for personal financial gain."

I don't think anyone is endorsing communist Russia and China party bosses. I think you've gone off the rails at this point of your "analysis".

"God damn utopia marxists are almost as obnoxious as libertarian capitalists"

God damn utopian capitalists are almost as obnoxious as anarco libertarians :-)

Tom Hickey said...

In three months Trump has been completely co-opted by the system.

DJT is a fast learner. No steep learning curve for him. He got it almost immediately.

Six said...

"DJT is a fast learner. No steep learning curve for him. He got it almost immediately."

He's got the best brain :-)

intajake said...

@Auburn parks ar3 you seriously calling paul craig roberts a utopian marxist?

Anyway to me he sounds like a Nimby

Sure japan has better rights to views and sunlight embedded in their property rights.

But how does fit with Michael hudsonsvland value tax....we want to release aw muvh land as possible for its most capital efficient use.
So this type of development would stil occur I imagine.

Bob said...

Exactly, intajake. A NIMBY Marxist, focused on bringing in more property rights.

Auburn Parks said...

six-

"No one is arguing businesses aren't smart enough to make profit without externalizing costs (although some aren't), the argument is that they are externalizing some of their costs."

You're right they arent arguing that, and neither am I. I dont question whether people will try to externalize their costs, they always have and they always will, Im complaining about people who blame this on capitalism. Capitalism is not responsible for humans wanting to benefit at the expense of their neighbors. That we allow biz to do so is a result of our corrupt politics and normal human failings of short termism and selfishness. Again, capitalism isnt the enemy, its not a person, it has no agency. To blame deep seated human problems on capitalism is lazy, shallow thinking , and a load of crap. Like I said above.

"Maybe not, but some people think that type of thing should be less (or increased ... health care provided to everyone so it does come out of "capitalist's" profits.)"

Definitely not, I also think it should be less. But that has nothing to do with capitalism vs socialism.

"No they don't, otherwise they wouldn't try to change "what is"."

Uhh yeah, people are totally confused and ignorant about just about everything, myself included. But I agree this is a bad line. Not really useful to the debate. If I rewrote the comment I would definitely leave this one out.

"You're right, but this doesn't mean people shouldn't try to change things to something they think would work better. Of course change could be worse as it always includes risk"

But then I never addvocated against chnage so Im not sure how this comment relates to what Ive said. I dreject the claim of socialists like Tom and many others that capitalism is the source of most of society's problems. And specifically in this case of externalizing costs.

" Yes, and it's also the type of lazy, shallow thinking that so called capitalists and other socialism bashers engage in lieu of honest analysis :-)"

Quite right. I should have included the logical corollary like you did above. Was typing on my phone and wanted to save some space. Capitalism's cheerleaders are just as dishonest in many cases as its detractors.

"I don't think anyone is endorsing communist Russia and China party bosses. I think you've gone off the rails at this point of your "analysis"."

Of course they dont want to point out the two largest examples of what actual socialist nations (as in the Govt literally owns all the means of production), because totalitarian control of the country by a govt bureaucracy is the only way to make socialism aka everything run by the Govt work. I dint want to bash on the tiny socialist nations that we pick on because we cant hardly blame Venezuela's problems solely on their organizing system, the empire has played a huge role against them.

"God damn utopian capitalists are almost as obnoxious as anarco libertarians :-)"

Quite right again, should have included the other half in an effort to be thorough. thats my bad.

Andrew Anderson said...

The shifting and theft of wealth by way of the government being able to spend fiat funny money into existence Bob Roddis

Inexpensive fiat is the ONLY ethical money form for government use otherwise the taxation authority and power of government is abused to benefit special interests such as gold owners. Or do you believe in $700 hammers for government use too?

As for funny money, try not having enough fiat to pay your taxes at tax time and you'll learn how serious fiat is.

is a favored process designed so that an oblivious citizenry cannot grasp that the process of surreptitious theft even exists. Bob Roddis

I certainly agree that the current means of fiat creation is a means of theft, i.e. the central bank should not be allowed to create fiat, even temporarily, EXCEPT for its monetary sovereign OR via equal fiat distributions to all adult citizens to avoid violating equal protection under the law.

And that process of insidious theft has nothing to do with “capitalism” but everything to do with “modern money” Bob Roddis


Inexpensive fiat is the ONLY ethical money form for government use otherwise we shall have the government privileging (by use) one or several monies or money forms over all others. How is that a free market in money creation for the private sector? Thus, inexpensive fiat is uniquely qualiified for government use if were are to have genuine free market competition in private money creation. Besides, government has a legal monopoly on force and needs no other backing for its fiat anyway.