Sunday, August 7, 2011

A UK Conservative's Lament

It has taken me more than 30 years as a journalist to ask myself this question, but this week I find that I must: is the Left right after all? You see, one of the great arguments of the Left is that what the Right calls “the free market” is actually a set-up.

The rich run a global system that allows them to accumulate capital and pay the lowest possible price for labour. The freedom that results applies only to them. The many simply have to work harder, in conditions that grow ever more insecure, to enrich the few. Democratic politics, which purports to enrich the many, is actually in the pocket of those bankers, media barons and other moguls who run and own everything....
Read it the rest by Charles Moore at the Telegraph: I'm starting to think that the Left might actually be right

(h/t Stephan Ewald)


Mario said...

yes. and really it's not so much a left versus right thing either since socialism/communism is just as likely to end in this way. Business is good. Government is good. The people in them must be good too or everything goes bad.

It's all in the balance and the integrity and the accountability.

Justitiae soror fides

Faith is the sister of justice.

Matt Franko said...


This was Paul to the church in Corinth:

"4 If indeed, then, you should have tribunals for life's affairs, the contemptible in the ecclesia, these you are seating?
5 To abash you am I saying this."
1 Cor 6:4-5

Paul perhaps is telling the ecclesia (church) to be very careful wrt who they choose to put in civil authority...


Mario said...

exactly. And that was what voting was supposed to do in our system...until the choices of who to vote for all became the same...and that happened b/c of business and money seeping into the "process." Good old "free markets" f&*&*%$ it all up again! LOL

MMT also provides a much better way to "fund" possible candidates for office as well...a proposal I don't think I've heard discussed by Warren or anyone else really. Have you?

Mario said...

I just heard this about the Mitt Romney campaign from a buddy of mine (who I think is warming up to MMT too):

"Restore Our Future recently announced that it raised $12 million from only 89 contributors and almost all donations were at least $5,000."

The "people" sure don't seem to be too involved in this election process. We need campaign finance reform probably more desperately than anything else in this country.

h/t Kent Skates

Matt Franko said...

I'm a GOPer and down for Romney at this point... That data indicates that some big money is going to him early. That is not necessarily good imo.

He worked at Bain Capital as I understand it so he is familiar with capital markets.

he has made some statements out of MMT paradigm but not that many.... similar to Cheney. Perhaps very cautious wrt out of paradigm comments.

Palin is off the hook wrt out of MMT paradigm comments (borrowing from the future etc..) so is Bachmann (borrowing from Chinese) so Mitt may be the least out of MMT paradigm on the GOP side.

Hope he can avoid getting sucked in to the pure neoliberal dogma. We'll see how this develops...


Mario said...

I'm a nobody-er anymore and after Obama's campaign I am totally convinced that it doesn't matter who gets elected or how they start out...they all end up caving in the end. They may start out great, and I do sincerely believe that Obama didn't "plan on or intend" to become the man he is sell out, etc. But it just happens and cannot be avoided. Kind of like some weird hazing ritual that must happen to all presidents. Campaign finance reform is needed. No one gets out of a presidential election alive or fully in tact anymore as far as I can tell.

You may like Mitt now and he may "speak to you" in some ways over others, but I can assure you that before his term is up you won't recognize him anymore. He'll be gone to grazing with the rest of the sheep out there. It doesn't matter who is elected president...they can work them however they wish in time. If it mattered who got elected, then they'd have worked that too. S&P's downgrade is simply another continuation of the debt ceiling debate in order to get the real cuts they wanted to get...they won't stop until the cuts are made, or they are incapacitated whichever comes first. I honestly think in that regard it's up for grabs 50-50. We shall see. As far as I'm concerned voting is a joke and I am more than ever highly considering NOT voting at all as my means of truly expressing my voice as a citizen of the USA.

Tom Hickey said...

" As far as I'm concerned voting is a joke and I am more than ever highly considering NOT voting at all as my means of truly expressing my voice as a citizen of the USA."

That's exactly what "they" want you to do.

Mario said...

tom do you actually think it matters who gets elected anymore?

if we need to really change the system why participate in the game that they actually WANT us to play? Why keep letting them call the shots and run the show? Why not start playing by our own rules? I am assuming they want us to vote and to believe we actually have a choice and that our voices can be heard and that we can make a difference through voting. It's all nonsense based on the empirical data of politicians' behaviors compared to their rhetoric.

Yes we can make a difference...I just question whether voting does it. Look at the youth that came out and voted for the big O...and look at how he's only looking out for big money. Sure he posts vids on youtube and holds virtual town hall meetings and does great social extra-curricular activities...honestly I don't a crap about that stuff. It's all a song and dance in my eyes. How do you see it?

And I am someone who has never missed a vote in all my life except for one maybe two local things that slipped by me unawares. I always used to believe what you are saying...not after 2008-2012 though. How do you see it?

Tom Hickey said...

Of course, democracy matters, even when it is corrupt. We have to keep it going as best we can, in the belief that it is possible to reform it. When this will happen, we don't know, but if we give up and just let "them" win by default, it will be never.

Everything goes in cycles. It seems darkest before the dawn.

In my view, this is the swan song of neoliberalism. It has overreached and will implode of its own weight, or as Hegelians and Marxians would say, of its own internal contradictions. When a system become thoroughly corrupt, it is on its last legs.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

There will have to be an alternative to the status quo parties if we hope to follow the democratic method of political change.

Then again, the Nazis were an alternative for German voters way back when.

Mario said...

"There will have to be an alternative to the status quo parties if we hope to follow the democratic method of political change."

I agree completely with this.

I guess in defense of voting there is the possibility that things could have been worse. I mean all of this and even so much more would have likely happened if McCain got elected in '08. So I guess that's something worth being thankful for!

But the fact still remains that without campaign finance and party platform reforming, we will always be comparing which is the path of more preferable destruction. Not my sense of what a "democracy" is all about.

It does feel better to me to not vote this time coming however. My choice to not vote would not be a "default" choice though. It would be a thought-out act of non-violent resistance. A conscious decision to refuse to play the game on their terms for my own reasons and justifications. It seems more appropriate for me at this time, and I'll keep considering things.

Mario said...

maybe my conscious decision to not vote is simply evidence of such Hegelian/Marxist internal contradictions. It sure feels that way on this end! LOL

Tom Hickey said...

If McCain had been elected the US would already be at war with Iran. 'Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

I live in Canada, sometimes I vote sometimes I don't, I don't feel it has made a difference.
Our current Prime Minister won a majority in Parliament with a minority of the vote.

Tom Hickey said...

Mario, take a look at the Green Party platform. It's not MMT but it has some good features.

Compare with a Tea Party platform. (There are several different TP factions with different platforms.) Pretty much the antithesis of MMT.

beowulf said...

On the plus side, Romney has signed up Greg Mankiw as an economic adviser.

Mankiw is a New Keynesian true but any sort of Keynesian-- especially one who's a fan of payroll tax holidays and is willing to at least listen to Post Keynesians-- is an improvement over what we have now.

Tom Hickey said...

Makiw is worse than Summers. He is a dodo.

Mario said...

green party is a sidelines joke imho. We need to get away from the two party system imho.

Beowulf, if you recall Goolsbee was asking for extending the payroll tax holiday as well...but he ended up leaving right before Obama gave up SS, probably b/c Goolsbee couldn't stomach it all and refused to be in office when that was thrown under the bus.

From what I can tell at least from my eyes, it doesn't matter who is who or what is what until the big rocks change...the big rocks being "follow the money trail." That's where the problems lie and until those are fixed, I wouldn't except too much to change.

In defense of a Romney payroll tax, I'm sure republicans will be more open to slashing payroll taxes with a white republican president instead of the status quo. Kind of a positive point that really is a negative point, but still a payroll tax will be more likely in that situation...I just wonder what else will come with it that we really can't afford whatsoever...

Tom Hickey said...

Just sayin'. If you want to cast a protest vote, those are options. Unfortunately, there is no MMT option with Warren out.

Shaun Hingston said...

The whole idea that you have one vote every 4 years is absurd. Democracy is about feedback. How can society honestly expect to get sufficient feedback based on one binary vote held every 4 years, I'm sorry but that is stupid.

For democracy to work it must incorporate more feedback pathways. For example the deficit/surplus rate should be a popular average. The central bank interest rate should be a popular average. Etc, etc. An elected body representing each distinct set of values.

In fact any significant body should be subject to popular vote. Why is the Fed not subject to popular vote???? Because we need 'professionals' to choose who should run our economy for us, sounds authoritarian to me.

Then they perpetuate this belief that anyone elected by popular vote would not be a true reflection of the type of person needed. Somehow the masses are to stupid to make up their own mind about their own future. This is bulls!&+ . The people don't need some elite group to make decisions for them. They need to learn to make decisions for themselves. Give them more choice and they will take more responsibility. This will drive people's desire to understand their society.

I can understand why the 'elite' wouldn't want more feedback. The more feedback there is, the more socialist/communist the society will become. If you extend the amount of feedback given by citizens under a democratic system, then the logical endpoint is something like communism.

This pees me off. Simple solutions to complex problems.

Mario said...

agreed completely on most fronts and definitely on the general tone.

There may be instances where popular averages just become too monotonous, cumbersome, and also manipulated. Remember we do still need checks and balances against the people too. Everyone needs to "stay hungry" or handicapped in some way for the thing to really work as I see it.

I don't think it's necessarily true that it would become communist or socialist either. It would be more participative that's for sure, but those aren't the same things...especially not in a democracy. There is an economic element to socialism and communism with electorate participation does not have inherently within it.

None-the-less I agree completely and think the feedback system is a GREAT POINT that needs to be implemented IMMEDIATELY though how I am not more often? Contacting reps is a joke really. I like the idea of reps working from their local offices so the people can swarm them and they are held more accountable and lobbyists will have to spend tons more money to get to everyone.

Quite literally we need ideas and thinkers the likes of the founding fathers to revamp and update our political system to today's world and times. The only problem is the "institution" isn't letting anyone in that is out of paradigm and so the disease continues to fester.

Shaun Hingston said...

To me there is nothing great about it, its obvious and simple. The lack of implementing more democratic feedback reflects negatively upon our current society.

I liken this absurdity to building cars that travel faster than the speed limit. Any kid will eventually ask: 'mom/dad why do we build cars that travel faster than the speed limit? '

Society then perpetuates convoluted reasoning to justify such absurdity.

I don't understand why everyone needs to remain 'handicapped'?

Why do we need checks and balances against people ? We only need a system to manage common resources.

Mario said...

power seeks it's own level. checks and balances...well...check and balance that level so that no one "entity" of the society can overpower another. They are all balanced and "incomplete" in a sense. Legislature can do THIS but the Executive can do THAT while the Judicial can only do SUCH AND SUCH and the people have THIS power, etc. It's all a big circle where everyone is holding hands such that one hand is free and usable in certain unique areas while the other is tied up and in "check" by another. It's a rather complex matrix to create, but in this way nobody can take both hands and strangle anyone else to gain more or total power.

Until we as individuals and as society as a whole overcome our individual desire for corruption, control, greed, and power we will need these checks in place for ourselves. Theoretically if people didn't do those nasty things the checks wouldn't be necessary...but at that point everyone would be "checking" themselves out of their own volition and ability already, so the checks are just a natural part of harmonious living. Free market people hate to hear that they cannot go running around doing whatever they want, whenever they want, with whomever they want. That's called the jungle and is not what defines a real "civilization."

common resources don't necessarily need to be managed as this is where the free market people have somethings right. A more open market helps to handle all of that rather well. It all comes back to balance and checks where extremes of anything are handicapped and incomplete if you will. It actually keeps things humming along since nobody ever really gets their full gratification/satisfaction/gluttony fulfilled. Humans are an interesting species to say the least. We sort of have to be "nudged" into our better selves and to live by our own higher laws.

Mario said...

well Matt I think the fat lady has sung on romney's economic team. I just pulled this off of a comment over at Warren's blog. Looks like he has taken the kool aid. Sorry man. Quote below and link here:

Here is Mitt Romney at the Iowas State Fair, telling the crowd that Medicare and S.Security have to be slashed in order to ever have a balanced budge. Tom Hickey should have been there.