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Danger of Global Recession After 30 Years of Neoliberal Counterrevolution

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Heiner Flassbeck is one of the few economists to get into positions of influence despite being firmly opposed to the prevailing doctrine of neoliberalism. He’s also direct and articulate. Among other things. Fleassbeck has been a professor of economics at the University of Hamburg, a Vice Minister at the German Ministry of Finance, and a director at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Developmentt. In this Real News Network interview, he discusses why the danger of a global recession is acute and what remedies would be viable.


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88 comments

  1. psychohistorian

    So the Real News Network is using the F word…..fascism to describe where we are…..interesting.

    While I agree that fiscal policy (spending by governments) could address support for the massive numbers of unemployed, it still does not create a society that can increase consumption because wages are so low. And it creates more public debt which is totally misunderstood by most and is the battle cry of the plutocrats and their hired puppets to reduce at all costs…….including a sort of sanctioned genocide for those at the bottom of the economic ladder, if pursued further.

    I am troubled by the comment that public reaction to this crisis will be to move more to the right. I don’t know that gets us anywhere except more nationalism, trade barriers and beggar thy neighbor policies if not outright trade wars……all of which plays more into the hands of the existing plutocrats. More movement to the right would also threaten any attempt by more enlightened folk to push for higher taxes on individual and corporate income and wealth which, IMO, are the real solutions to the juggernaut we are faced with to help fund the fiscal policy programs that would address high unemployment and other aspects of social inequality.

    All in all not a pretty picture and it is sad to see such a narrow minded view of possible solutions to the global fascism we face.

    1. fairleft

      Flassbeck’s emphasizes in the interview the importance of empowering labor or direct govt intervention in support of distribution to labor:

      The labor market is not functioning at all. We have–as I said, we have high pressure on wages that are low. Formerly, you had a situation where you had high pressure on wages that were high. And now, 30 years after the neoliberal counterrevolution, it is the other way around, that this is destabilizing the whole economy, that that is why you need intervention. You need re-unionization. You need more power on the labor side. Or you need direct intervention of the government.

      Moderate nationalism (i.e., national sovereignty), trade barriers, and capital controls are part of the solution imho. (Flassbeck strongly backs capital controls in either this video or part two of his current Real News series.) They have a proven track record post World War II; against that economic history is theory, the disastrous mainstream economic theory. As for ‘nationalism’, it of course has many mostly negative meanings and connotations, but the notion that popular sovereignty based on national borders is a bad thing is part of the global elite’s game plan.

      1. Working Class Nero

        To take your point a little further, moderate nationalism is indeed the antidote to neoliberal globalization. For the root of the problem in the wealthy countries is the division of production from consumption; the off-shoring of well-paid manufacturing jobs to poor countries and the in-shoring of cheap third world labor to drive down the wages of jobs that cannot be moved.

        The worst impacts of neoliberal globalization have been attenuated by credit, both private and government debt. But those days are coming to a close and the inevitable decline in Western standards of living that is hardwired into the DNA of neoliberal globalization is starting to show. So sure minimum wages and unionization are great; but illegal immigrants have been working well below the current minimum wages for years and which union is going to succeed when the reality is they are competing against third world wages?

        So the only cure will be when moderate nationalists find a way into political power. The only political grouping currently fitting this bill in my opinion is the National Front in France.

        But they are WAY-SISS says the enlightened ones on the left.

        The whole idea of identity politics and the obsession with racism is to turn the left away from the concept of class. Since more and more the elite are identified with the left (and the native working classes are the true enemy) the more it will be the non-corporately owned right (and yes this is a small minority of the right) that will have the solutions.

        For example even the weak attempt at class consciousness by the Occupy movement is now being labeled as “anti-Semitic” in the Wall Street Journal. Tom Perkins started this ball rolling by associating the 1% with Jews in Germany (it was so obvious to me what he was really doing but I wanted to wait until someone actually made the true point of the comparison). Now some American Jews are claiming the war on the 1% (the rich) is actually a war on the 2% (American Jews) due to their over-representation in the wealthy elite. They also link this Occupy movement to the “anti-Semitic” attacks on Israel coming from the left.

        http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303942404579360632011640384

        Most people associated on the left will wither in shame at being called racists or anti-Semites and will take the hint and only comment on the typical Gays, Guns, and Gods type issues that a polite leftist limits herself to. Only people on the right, who have been called racists and anti-Semites for years, will continue the fight in the face of these types of tactics.

        So the real problem is trying to develop a non-corporately owned moderate nationalist movement.

        1. TimR

          Wow, lots of great insights, thanks. I esp. like this-

          “The whole idea of identity politics and the obsession with racism is to turn the left away from the concept of class. Since more and more the elite are identified with the left (and the native working classes are the true enemy) the more it will be the non-corporately owned right (and yes this is a small minority of the right) that will have the solutions.”

          I don’t know if you will find this relevant, but I listen to Rush Limbaugh sometimes and, while I find plenty to disagree with, I also find that there are nuances in his allegiances/positions that you will not get if you just accept the media caricature of him. Specifically, he often does take a stand against the corporate/establishment wing of his party, and side with the small-business “Everyman” type Republicans. While I find these Tea Party/ flyover-state conservatives very dogmatic and limited, they at least have a commitment (one might say a rabid commitment) to some of this country’s vaunted (and not half-bad all things considered) ideals; to some of the Constitution’s better sentiments for example. Whereas the ruling class corporatists are just pragmatists, who will take or leave any greater ideals depending on whether it serves their class (or personal) interests.

          1. James Levy

            If women, blacks, and gays were treated equally this argument would make a lot of sense, but they demonstrably are not. As a white guy, it’s easy for me to say “give up your foolish identity politics and join the wage laborers against the plutocrats”, but women, blacks, and gays have a long memory of the attitudes and actions of those white wage laborers and they are not yet convinced that they are truly their comrades in arms. In fact, much of the white wage laboring class only wants one thing: to go back to the “golden age” when they were indisputably on top and all those pesky minorities were silent and/or subordinate. So attacking the identity of women, blacks, and gays as trivial and demanding that they get in line behind the white guys to fight the plutocrats is an arrogant and counterproductive exercise.

            1. Working Class Nero

              Yes I see that Susan Sontag’s “The white race is the cancer of human history” has been updated so that now it is the white working class that is carcinogenic.

              Luckily we are blessed with so many oligarchs who have unleashed an economic plague against the wicked white working class, destroying the companies these haughty sinners worked at, off shoring their jobs, and in-shoring new people who can blame all their future shortcomings on white working class oppression. Now sure these oligarchs are becoming extremely rich in the process of wreaking vengeance on the abomination that is the white working class. But after all, we have to remember, these oligarchs are doing God’s work; the poor blacks, gays, and women would all the at the tender mercies of white working class oppression if we didn’t have Wall Street oligarchs backed by their supplicants in the media leading this battle of annihilation.

              But when will the wrath of the oligarchs be quenched? When will they have humbled the white working class enough that they can start sharing their immense fortunes with all those oppressed gays, blacks, and women? I don’t know, with the white working class armed to the teeth and hardly repentant at all, surely now is not yet the time to end this war.

              If only the white working class would just give up their guns and accept whatever retribution the oligarchs have in store for them we could get all this unpleasantness over with and the oligarchs could declare victory and start sharing their accumulated war chests with all those oppressed woman, gays, and blacks. They would of course, right?

                1. jonboinAR

                  In other words, a “cracker”. But you and the fellow above WCN aren’t racist at all as long as it’s the white male working class fellow you rail against, especially if, as you say, he’s southern. Yep. If you’re an aristocrat, divide and conquer. It’s been working quite nicely for quite a few years.

                2. jonboinAR

                  Note: I don’t think YOU’RE probably an aristocrat, but that you’re blowing it with your scapegoating, as the left has done for many years, thus playing into the hands of the .1%. By continuing to emphasize identity politics, and marginalize, in the movement, one particular group, the left effectively deemphasizes class unity. The .1% has enjoyed nothing more than the left thus hamstringing itself.

                  1. NotoriousJ

                    It is quite possible that the remaining areas of disagreement between democrats and republicans are pandering, disingenuous and manufactured. I suspect that the truly affluent educated conservatives which fund and control the party don’t care if a gay bi-racial couple moves in next door any more than I do. But it is useful to keep Silicon Valley surfs and de-unionized crackers fighting in the belief that they have no common interests or enemies.

              1. Jim

                The history of so-called progressive Left in the US, ( roughly1965 to the Financial/economic crisis of 2008) was one of largely accepting the assumption of the structural soundness and perfectability of our modern structure of public and private power.
                It had dropped altogether any critical analysis of the State or, at the time, then triumphant capitalism.

                This acceptance then allowed many on the progressive Left to join the professional/academic/bureaucratic apparatus which redefined social justice largely in terms of integrating allegedly excluded groups.

                Over the past 30 to 40 years the progressive left then embraced women demanding universal equality, civil rights demonstrators seeking to abolish segregation, black nationalists advocating separatism, black professionals defending affirmative action, gays, and later illegal immigrants, farm workers and the homeless.

                The main goal of the progressive left became “inclusion” in a system of power no longer in need of radical change with the State(unchanged) as the only agency to deal with and correct the irrationalities of capitalism.

                1. James Levy

                  You blew your cover with “allegedly excluded.” This shows you are full of shit and a bigot who wants the niggers and the dykes to shut the fuck up and help them get their power back from the oligarchs so they can put those “allegedly excluded” people back in their place. You are excrement.

                  1. JTFaraday

                    No, he blew his cover when he said “the progressive left… embraced women demanding universal equality…”

                    Definitely not standard locution.

            2. TimR

              Fair enough up to a point, but you’re really building up quite a strawman of critics of identity politics, saying they “demand” minorities “get in line behind the white guys” etc. In the big picture of our society much of identity politics is petty, academic, and an effete bourgeouis indulgence of the many women, blacks and gays in the upper middle classes. Sure they fought and fight real struggles, but now they seem to be fighting for their slice of the plutocrat pie, and the chance to occupy the higher rungs of servitude to those who Own Everything, rather than improve the lot of society as a whole.

              1. Synopticist

                I think the full-scale adoption by the US “left” of identity politics has been it’s undoing, even in terms of a loss of power for the global left. In the UK ( hardly a leftwing stronghold) we have a more effective leftist politics preciselly because there’s often been a deliberate attempt to avoid the type of identity politics which be-devils the US.

                Getting upper-middle class women into boardrooms and and winning the battle to accept gays is one thing, but it’s no substitute for attempting to make the country more economically fair.

          2. psychohistorian

            Please consider thinking a bit more globally. We are facing a class system that is world wide and controlled by plutocrats that are world wide and continue to exercise in that context. They would like nothing more than to stir up hate and distrust among all the countries they own through finance to further their race to the bottom of labor costs.

            As I have said elsewhere, focus on the people that OWN the banks and OWN the corporations and neuter their ability to pass that control of capital down to their spawn through inheritance and then we will be getting somewhere….and make it happen globally so they have no where to run to maintain their ill gotten gains over the rest of us.

            1. Jim

              Psychohistorian:

              Who owns the NSA?
              Who owns the approximately 46 federal departments and agencies engaged in classified national security work who work hand-in-glove with over 2,000 private companies at over 10,000 locations in the US?

              1. psychohistorian

                The plutocrats, of course!

                Were you trying to posit that We the people….own and control our current government? What the heck are you doing at this web site if you still believe that? Are we not talking about fascism here? Jamie Dimon and his cronies know about the world spinning, via the NSA and such, long before Obama does….presidents come and go but control of capital and power has been fixed for centuries…..ever hear of inheritance?

                1. Synopticist

                  You can’t sit around and wait for the entire globe to take on the oligarchy. Or just locally. It ain’t going to happen.
                  It has to be done at the nation-state level.

                  Those opposed to the way things are now have no influence whatsoever on the places where these global decisions are made. How can we lobby Brussels, let alone the frickin Bilderburg conference.

                2. Jim

                  Psychohistorian:

                  Could you tell me exactly how the plutocrats control the NSA?

                  What I am suggesting is not that “we the people control our current government” but that your own theoretical framework needs to incorporate a more critical attitude toward the modern State.

                  Historically, the Left was not always an apologist for the State. There has long been a tension: (Karl Marx and his collectivism, Jean-Pierre Proudhon’s federalism, Lenin’s bureaucratic centralism, Gustav Landauer’s communitarianism and the utopian thinking of the New Left of the 1960s).

                  I’m sorry if I don’t fit into your oh so politically correct definition of the Left.

          3. neo-realist

            Limbaugh, I suspect, takes on the identification with the small business republican because much of the audience relates to that, plus he still pushes the white working class/middle class supremacy/Democratic women are nazi baby killing feminists/dark skinned people are thieves/crack users/welfare cheats lines that his audience also eats up.

            When it comes down to the brass tacks of voting, he and his minions still back the pols of the republican corporate establishment.

            1. TimR

              Yes to the first part, although it’s hard to say precisely how much is pandering to his audience and how much his authentic views. On women/minorities, I don’t hear much picking on those groups, at least not in those terms; maybe somebody could make a case for “dog whistles” and innuendo, but if so it’s subtle and infrequent.

              He and his minions do still back the Republicans, but there’s trouble in Paradise. The minions especially are very uncomfortable with the establishment wing (hence the Tea Party) and Limbaugh himself challenges and exposes the establishment wing when they cross some ideological lines. I think he has a large and very engaged audience, so when he targets the establishment/corporate wing of the Republicans, it puts real pressure on those who stray; he can “discipline” them to some extent.

              1. LucyLulu

                Sandra Fluke. It wasn’t subtle, nor was it innuendo. Women who use birth control are sluts. If they want it covered by insurance, they’re prostitutes, and obliged to perform for voyeurs. If they contribute towards BCP’s, men can own women. He repeated his deeply misogynist attacks on several occasions. Whether his true beliefs or done in search of ratings, it was offensive all the same. Eventually he felt obliged to come up with an (insincere) apology.

                “What does it say about the college co-ed Susan Fluke [sic], who goes before a congressional committee and says that she must be paid to have sex. What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception.”

                “Did you notice in that sound bite Sheila Jackson Lee or Maria Cantwell or one of them talked about the strength that Sandra Fluke had to go before Congress, which is amazing. She’s having so much sex it’s amazing she can still walk, but she made it up there.”

                “So, if we’re gonna sit here, and if we’re gonna have a part in this, then we want something in return, Ms. Fluke: And that would be the videos of all this sex posted online so we can see what we are getting for our money.”

                1. TimR

                  Is he attacking women per se there, or women who don’t share his socially conservative views? Also his argument seems to be that the policy she advocates would impose her liberal social views on his pocketbook (or the pocketbooks of social conservatives.) So there’s some sort of legitimate premise/argument to be made, underlying the inflammatory rhetoric.

                  Personally I’m not going to oppose someone making their points as strongly as they want, whether that includes sarcasm or even nastiness or whatever — you see it from all sides of the spectrum, and it would be a grayer world without it. It does raise my defenses, whether it’s coming from Limbaugh or Philip Pilkington or whomever, when they dismiss others on an ad hominem basis, you have to parse out their underlying argument. If it’s not overdone though, it can add spice or “entertainment value” to an essay or commentary. Like in that “Power of Narrative” blog sometimes linked from NC, which can be entertainingly nasty.

                  Sandra Fluke is a good example of the sort of thing talked about in this sub-thread — an academically accomplished, well credentialed young woman, who’s devoting all her energies to issues that seem marginal to our real problems, as if the system is running smoothly, just a few rough spots around the edges to work out. And she’s lauded and given accolades by many in the media for her great heroism attacking these few corners of the empire where remnants of old traditional ways still cling on barely.

                  1. James Levy

                    Birth control and access to abortion are marginal issues to 51% of the population? Man, are you psychotically dug in on this one (of course, I noticed that you state that you have no problem with ad hominem attacks, but got awfully nasty and sarcastic when one was directed at you–hypocrite).

                    1. TimR

                      I’m not dug in on one side or another of that argument, so much as the bigger picture of where to direct our political energies.

                      I didn’t mean to sound nasty and sarcastic in my reply, I was just trying to say you mischaracterized your opponents’ position IMO. I enjoy reading your posts even when I disagree and did not mean any offense. Hope to see and/or comment on your posts in future threads with no ill will between us.

                    2. LucyLulu

                      Yes. Being a single with a child imposes serious burdens on women’s economic futures. Seventy-five percent will live in poverty, several multiples of the national poverty rate. It’s hard enough to support oneself. Being subject to the unpredictable and non-negotiable time needs of a young child will kill the career of even the brightest and most talented (albeit less so if one of very few who can afford nannies).

                      Furthermore, all classes are participating in this same sex that requires birth control/abortion or results in unwanted children, including men, even Limbaugh. But those too poor to prevent or deal with the consequences, coincidentally all female, are told they are immoral. It’s hypocritical and I found Limbaugh’s attitude surprisingly chauvinistic, reminiscent of the 70′s. I thought, “Geesh…. wasn’t this already settled?”

                      Is it only those with money can have sex, the poor must refrain? If it is, how realistic is this? In my prior life as a fiscal conservative, I came face to face with the reality that unwanted pregnancies borne to term rarely equal the white, healthy adoptable infant couples want. Nobody wants some of these children. The last thing I wanted was to have to increase spending on children’s support programs.

                      I get the underlying message about not paying for something that benefits others. I understand the conservative mindset well, having been one most of my life, albeit a different brand than today’s. There are many ways to deliver the message. Why spout such misogynistic crap that makes outrageous comparisons of women using BCP to women being property subject to a sale that gives men superior rights? If my taxes help pay for Limbaugh’s prostrate meds, can I watch his sex life online (ewww!)? And if this rhetoric is popular with his listeners (I think it is, unfortunately), Lord help the women who must live with them.

                      *Lulu* – Champion of rights of women everywhere to have so much sex they can barely walk

      2. psychohistorian

        Your position about moderate nationalism would hold some water if there was enough jobs in such conditions for all that wanted them but that will never be so going forward.

        Add to that the ability of the GLOBAL plutocrats that control the global financial system and move capital between countries at will and you are improving their ability to play countries off against each other for labor and resources……in your situation what happens to all the existing global indebtedness?…..owed to the global plutocrats.

        And why do we want to make trade or other types of war against our fellow proletariat humans when the real problem is the global class structure with the global plutocrats at the top?

        1. fairleft

          There are enough jobs, but only if we legislate a shorter working week. The ability to freely move capital across borders is a neoliberal innovation. As I and Flassbeck said, we need it regulated and restricted as it was during the post-WWII boom. Debt is paid that can be paid, and what cannot be paid will not be paid. Honesty leads to default, which leads to a clean slate. The key to controlled borders regarding products and people is moderation. Again, the post-WWII tariff regimes were successful, both in the developed and ‘third’ worlds. We know how to do this …

          Sorry for the delayed reply.

      3. Jess

        “the notion that popular sovereignty based on national borders is a bad thing is part of the global elite’s game plan.”

        Absolutely.

        1. Synopticist

          Yes, and that idea has a lot of traction with liberal, upper (ish)-middle class metropolitan types, who vote democrat in the US and labour/libdem in the UK.

          1. NotoriousJ

            I’m not so sure. For several years, I have been arguing the “Pluto-Fascism” view of western geopolitics to educated “progressives” , along with the view that the unfettered movement of capital and resources was not an inevitability (as we tend to speak of it), but rather something which “we” facilitated via a series of policy choices which can to some extent be undone. I’m rather surprised to find these views are utterly unwelcome in polite affluent “progressive” society.

    2. damian

      “…….including a sort of sanctioned genocide for those at the bottom”

      not “sort of” but an explicit policy of Murder by Neglect that is the focus of the Right (and the democrats looking the other way) for the elimination of jobs at wage levels that can sustain a family, Medicaid, SNAP, extended UI, and the slow elimination of SS and Medicare – they want ALL these people to go away and their DNA over the next 80 years – 160 million people they don’t need – their objective is 150 million population in the USA and 1.6 Billion in the world by the end of the century.

      a long cold winter lasting decades is at hand

      1. Expat

        “Too few debtors…the opposite of what you would expect from a market economy”

        Keen insights. Under neoliberalism, the company sector, as Flassbeck puts it, was given everything its lobbyists asked for. If companies (i.e., corporate executives and businessmen) had used their privileges according to theory, they would be borrowing, investing and hiring like mad to stay competitive. But by giving these ill-chosen knaves tax breaks, subsidies and the right to destroy the environment for personal profit, our politicians gave them the power to kill our form of government, wipe out the dreams and aspirations of the majority, and prevent the positive evolution of the economy to a more equitable, more sustainable form.

        In other words, our politicians, some no doubt intentionally, committed the greatest act of treason in history. It’s as though they put the boll weevils in charge of pesticide development. Lots of weevils everywhere, but where’s the cotton?

        Policy could fix this — high taxes on the rich and everything they do and touch — but change won’t come until the criminals and their crimes are named and punished.

        The crimes, specifically the tax giveaways, the subsidies for layoffs and closing down productive operations, and the destruction of the environment, to name just a few, can be laid at the feet of the majority party, the Democrats. These knaves and fools — Bill & Hillary, I’m talking about you — forced their voters to give up good government and used their taxes to fund the creation of a small bunch of world class criminals hellbent on destroying the planet and wiping out all but a nub of the human population.

        The billionaires haven’t started their project of mass starvation and disease yet, but you can be sure that emiserated deprivation is our fate unless we wrest the power from those 85 rich people identified by Oxfam and start making decisions based on democratic principles of majority rule.

        Out with the kleptocrats, in with the small “d” democrats.

        The astonishing thing is that it took less than a generation to create this hell on Earth, but, since no one under 40 has any idea that the world could be a better place and would be a better place if we got our businessmen and rich back into the harness, there is mass helplessness.

        May Obama be the last Democrat ever!

        1. psychohistorian

          AND this needs to happen globally or the existing plutocrats will just move their base of operations to other less enlightened countries and continue global control of finance…..take away the centuries old accumulation of capital through forever inheritance and we will start changing the incentives we are all forced to live by.

          1. Synopticist

            You can’t take away the process of inheriting wealth by global action.
            WHATS THE MECHANISM?

            The only way to do that would be a wealth tax and higher inheritance taxes (or rather closing inheritance tax loopholes) which can only be done nationally. There’s no alternative to nation state level actions.

            1. psychohistorian

              I am sorry that I seem to be misunderstood as something other than the raging “evolutionary” person I am.
              The point I am trying to make is that if we neuter the plutocrats here and it is not in concert with the rest of the nations controlled by the GLOBAL plutocrats, who can move their money and control around the world at the touch of a few keystrokes, we are going to lose what we are trying to win. They will move their power and control to Europe, Asia or the mid-east (anywhere with enough nukes for deterrent) and continue to exert global dominion from there.

          2. impermanence

            Even better, how about each individual only receiving that amount of compensation equal to the economic value s/he creates.

            This would eliminate 99.9% of the problems.

        2. gepay

          I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, when the race between robots and androids is won (the robots seem to be pulling ahead right now) the elites-1%-plutocrats will just kill us or make sausage. Their idea of sustainable economics is to have much less than a billion people so everyone could live like multimillionaires and still have an ecology.
          When they don’t need doctors or lawyers or school teachers or firefighters or…”Who ya gonna get to do the dirty work when all the slaves are free?” will no longer be operable.

          1. ron taylor

            The plutocrats have a dangerously myopic view of life .
            The atomic bombings of Japan , which vaporized an unknown number of humans , prove that the sun – helios – will someday burnout and leave this planet and every living thing on it Stone Cold Dead . Therefore , the main or central focus of all of mankind’s activities should be the never ending development of extraplanetary capabilities for material ( ie. nonspiritual ) life since that ( material life ) is the only for sure manifestation of ” everlasting life ” – the greatest goal of all .

            The plutocrats , nor any others , simply do not know how many humans will be needed to solve all the technological problems for the greatest venture of all time – before it is too late . The plutocrats are wasting valuable human resources trying to figure out how to eliminate human populations , that may be needed and certainly could be used given appropriate circumstances that are entirely humanly possible , instead of figuring out how mankind can assimilate as many humans as possible for attaining extraplanetary living capabilites that must necessarily entail ever increasing standards of living for ever more people ( do you really think that extraterrestial living technologies can be developed by people living in grass huts ?). Overpopulation problems are nothing more than exceeding current technological sustenance capabilities ; and money is a technology .

      2. Fiver

        The rise of the techno-fascist neocon/neoliberal world view that now dominates in Washington and other key centres of power in the US is all too capable of ushering in the long, cold nightmare you suggest – but it is not yet inevitable, and this one is too big to fail.

    3. Calgacus

      I don’t know that gets us anywhere except more nationalism, trade barriers and beggar thy neighbor policies if not outright trade wars……all of which plays more into the hands of the existing plutocrats. How? It doesn’t. Not really, not usually. Why else would plutocrats be pushing free trade, their version of free trade, incessantly. And yes, free trade, is a jolly good thing – when there is full employment at good wages – the easiest thing in the world to attain.

      But nationalism, trade barriers, beggar-thy-neighbor policies, trade wars etc are not necessarily Bad Things in all contexts. Sometimes they are good. For example, Keynes called FDR’s torpedoing of the 1933 London Conference “magnificently right”. Back then, that would have re-erected the bad sort of international cooperation – a war of banksters against all – which is the type we see now and the type we are likely to see in the future – and which is much worse than trade “wars” etc. The idea that all those not necessarily Bad Things are plutocratic dreams, utterly Bad Things – is something that plutocrats want people to think.

      1. psychohistorian

        Let me try to explain what I think you are missing.

        “free trade” is not free. It is a way for the global plutocrats to leverage nations off against each other for resources and labor.

        Full employment at good wages is now a pipe dream. I have studied and watched labor economics for over 40 years and I have said here and elsewhere (Hugh, I think will back me up) that there are not now and even increasing less in the future will be enough “jobs” at any wage for all that want them…..we need to redefine social responsibility, contribution and support fundamentally, IMO to overcome this reality.

        We live on one planet, indivisible. As I said above about trade wars and nationalism:
        The point I am trying to make is that if we neuter the plutocrats here and it is not in concert with the rest of the nations controlled by the GLOBAL plutocrats, who can move their money and control around the world at the touch of a few keystrokes, we are going to lose what we are trying to win. They will move their power and control to Europe, Asia or the mid-east (anywhere with enough nukes for deterrent) and continue to exert global dominion from there.

        Let me quote Einstein poorly…..We cannot fix the problems we have by looking at them with the same view as they were created by.
        I am someone who helped set up and run Public Service Employment of CETA fame back in the early 70′s We need that sort of public policy and programs of such now more than ever as we wrestle with the disintegration of the “old” social order we suffer under.

        I hope that helps others understand my position better. I am a “big” thinker, futurist and studied macro econ (60-70′s) to understand how the world work but refused to become one. I am an evolutionary and proud of it.

        1. Fiver

          If it’s not a win inside the US it’s going to end up being the US against the world. It’s possible all the way up until it isn’t. We could use a break, and that’s the truth.

        2. Calgacus

          Psychohistorian: “free trade” is not free. It is a way for the global plutocrats to leverage nations off against each other for resources and labor. Only if each nation individually decides to be subservient to the global plutocrats. Tiny, less developed nations may have little choice. But for a country as large, and well-integrated as France, say – let alone the USA, the global hegemon? Risible.

          The point I am trying to make is that if we neuter the plutocrats here and it is not in concert with the rest of the nations controlled by the GLOBAL plutocrats, who can move their money and control around the world at the touch of a few keystrokes, we are going to lose what we are trying to win. With great respect – this point is what I am fighting against. It is utter, utter nonsense. GLOBAL plutocrats don’t have magical powers.

          We cannot fix the problems we have by looking at them with the same view as they were created by. Yes, but I would say it applies more to your position than mine. The view that has created these problems is largely “sentimental internationalism” (Lerner) – which in practice becomes – welfare for banksters and oppression of their victims on a colossal scale. NOT self-respecting peaceful, tend-your-own-garden nationalism, trade wars etc – which are not really bad things – for by and large they play into the hands of ordinary people, not plutocrats! It’s solving things locally – and a victory in the USA would mean a victory everywhere – that is important.

          Saying it’s got to be global or nothing is a counsel of despair – and is not true.

          They will move their power and control to Europe, Asia or the mid-east (anywhere with enough nukes for deterrent) and continue to exert global dominion from there. Them and what army? You can’t move “power and control” over the USA to Europe, etc. It is logically impossible. That’s what bad economics, bad accounting, bad philosophy does – it gets intelligent people to believe logical impossibilities, absurd lies so big they cannot believe that the huge “intellectual” structure founded on them is just nonsense.

          Full employment at good wages is now a pipe dream.
          It’s a pipe dream only if the people of the USA delude themselves, decide it is a pipe dream. Only if they accept absurd “economics” instead of common sense = MMT = Keynes = what everybody understood 50 years ago – in their bones, but tragically, not 100%, not intellectually – and so not enough. The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.

          I am someone who helped set up and run Public Service Employment of CETA fame back in the early 70′s . Great! A thousand times! You had and have the solution! The point is that that is all that is needed. Their is no global power – and the banksters know this.

          As I’ve recommended to others – look at Keynes’s “National Self-sufficiency” & Lerner’s Economics of Employment. Quoting Lerner from memory – “the theory that has been developed up to now does not need any essential change for open economies [can't remember how he put that]“. The open economy is a special case of the closed economy. NOT just vice versa. The global is a special case of the local. That is one of Lerner’s deepest, most philosophical insights, and after resisting a bit – Keynes accepted it as irrefutable.

  2. BigRed

    I am troubled by the comment that public reaction to this crisis will be to move more to the right.

    Reality-based thinker that Flassbeck is, this is just a statement of fact given the European political landscapes. As he keeps pointing out in his articles on flassbeck-economics.de (mostly in German), since the “center-left” “social” democrats have jettisoned the “left” part, there is not much play for leftist ideas in the MSM. Far right parties like the Front National in France, the NDP in Germany, Golden Dawn in Greece pick up the banner of changing economic policies and wed it to xenophobia. In some cases there is not much work to be done – given the “lazy Greeks” narrative emanating from the German CDU (and similar narratives in Greece as Varoufakis points out, or more generally in the entire EU, given the immigration policies), xenophobia is pretty mainstream already.
    This has the disgusting result that I actually agree more with those far right parties (at least according to their party and election programs) than I agree with the conservatives, “social” democrats, liberals, and neo-liberal greens (such as the German ones).
    Of course I agree even more with actual left-wing parties like Syriza, Front de Gauche or Die Linke, who offer the same changing economic policies without the xenophobia. Since the scape goating gets more play in the MSM, however, their pulling people to the left happens slower than the right-wingers pull to the right.
    And then the mainstream parties follow the pull…

    1. Massinissa

      Hahaha, Syriza left wing, funny.

      Theyre austerity peddlers that label themselves socialists, much like Frances Hollande.

      1. Synopticist

        I almost feel Greece should be left out of any discussion like this, it’s such a hopeless basket case (sorry Charis if you’re reading this).

        The only thing they could have done was repudiate their debts when they were based on bonds written in Greek rather than English law, and leave the Euro. That boat departed some time ago.

      2. BigRed

        Ah, sorry, I might not be up to date. Can you give me a quick link (or a few) to where Syriza endorses austerity politics so I can recalibrate, please?

        Thank in advance.

  3. A Real Black Person

    This reminds me of a spin done on a Simpsons meme(dental plan/lisa needs braces) from one of the episodes that aired in the 1990s.

    BAIL OUT PLAN

    The global economy needs braces.

    BAIL OUT PLAN

    The global economy needs braces.

    BAIL OUT PLAN

    The global economy needs braces.

    Nothing can growth forever in a closed system. The closed system that all life that we know of, is Earth. On Earth, nothing can grow forever which means a lot of future growth and possibly a large degree of current growth is cannibalistic and is therefore unsustainable without checks and balances present in Nature. Presently, it can be argued that people become wealthy when many people move down the socioeconomic ladder. When it seems like large numbers of people move up the socioeconomic ladder, entire ecosystems, which people need, are being consumed.

    In terms of the U.S. economy.
    There are two methods being implemented to keep capital flowing. The liberal method is, if one looks at the role liberals played in deregulating the housing market, and higher education to “improve access” is deficit spending… The capitalist/ conservative method of driving demand is to aggregate the political and economic power of the capitalist class by making all economic activity dependent on spending by the wealthy. The problems with deficits spending are clear and while capitalists had a large role to play in creating large public sector and personal debt, the liberals/ ‘socialists’ went along with it. In countries where everyone is paid pennies a day, that full employment is still a challenge because of their large populations. Empirically, it seems like the capitalist/conservative solution is slightly more sustainable than lending money to people who may have trouble paying it back or don’t have the knowledge to know how to put the money to productive use.

    Investment in STEM could be helpful, if the benefits were localized and the output was sustainable but it’s not. Most technology is unsustainable because they depend on fossil fuels, very finite resources and are catered towards the global elite of consumers.

  4. armchair

    If you believe that robots are going to take over half the jobs, then aren’t about half of us completely overpaid? Talk about wage pressure. Whether the robot takeover is real, imagined or somewhere in between, it serves as a way to keep us grinding away at low wages. If this were 1985, I might ask for a raise or participate in organizing a union, but the future is here, so I must discard every idea from the 19th and 20th centuries. The robot takeover is the perfect recipe for keeping us from getting any silly anitquated ideas like Flassbeck’s discussion of raising wages, deficit spending, infrastructure spending or any of that 20th Century Keynesian dope.

    Flassbeck talks about ideological barriers, and this is the key to everything. Much of what he says is fundamental economics that has a proven track record in certain scenarios, but has become the policy equivalent of the Molotov Cocktail. It is worth pointing out, for the historical record, that the U.S. is afflicted with ideologies that prevent policy makers from taking needed actions. Now, many will argue that the past is irrelevant and that robots are taking your job anyway, which might counter some of Flassbeck’s classical policy recommendations, but if we face ideological barriers to practicing sane economic policy, imagine the ideological barriers we face to dealing with a future that is dealing billions of people out of the game. Our current ideologies do not permit constructive, imaginative policies. We can’t all be fusion chefs and oral surgeons to the 1 percent, but we’ll all be told to pull on our bootstraps nevertheless.

    1. James Levy

      I’ve held and stated the unpalatable position that the current condition of much of Black America is a direct result of White America desperately needing their labor for its development and profitability, until mechanization of agriculture made blacks redundant. Every problem and “pathology” blacks experience today is a direct result of their having their (albeit shitty) function as our agricultural labor pool usurped by machines and Mexican migrants. In short, white America hasn’t got a clue what to do with blacks, so they are warehoused and left to rot in abandoned cities or backwater rural areas nobody visits or cares about.

      My question is: are the elite prepared to consign the white working class, and parts of the middle class, to this same limbo via robotization? Can they replace their purchasing power anywhere in the global economy? And can they police such a huge overhang of déclassé whites who are armed and still have the vote? I don’t know.

      1. armchair

        Hard work is underway to accomplish the goal of placing White Trash in their place. See the new book, “When Did White Trash Become the New Normal.” http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/watercooler/2013/nov/8/conservative-asks-when-did-white-trash-become-new-/

        Apparently, the book spends a lot of time staring down a conservative nose, at poor white culture. Of course, losing racism as a basis for self-validation might have helped out poor white culture and generated stronger allies on the bottom rungs.

        1. JTFaraday

          “Ms. Hays points out that Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “It is the manners and spirit of a people which preserve a republic in vigour.” Centuries later, it was reality TV tot Honey Boo Boo who declared, “I wish I had an extra finger. Then I could grab more cheese balls.””

          LOL! Yeah, me too.

      2. Massinissa

        Who are armed, have votes, and are VERY pissed off.

        Hopefully the plutocrats will fail to redirect white former-working-class male anger to blacks again. Not that I would get my hopes up

        1. psychohistorian

          And this is the argument I make above, that it is the intention of the resurgent nationalist meme to get the gun toters to make those of other countries their enemies while behind the scenes (Like the Bush family supporting Hitler) they will make more money and power by playing countries off against each other.

          The global war we need to fight is between the global plutocrats, their attendant class cronies and puppets against the rest of us trying to think globally citizens.

          1. James Levy

            As you can see from the comments above, turning your rage against blacks and women is hardly an exclusively right-wing phenomenon.

            1. psychohistorian

              I will assume that the “your” in your comment was not aimed at me. If it was, I encourage you to do a search for psychohistorian in the NC archives and find an example of my hatred of women and blacks….there will be none.

              In peace and progress toward evolution

              Onward

              1. James Levy

                Not at all aimed at you, but those up the line who threw a hissy fit when I pointed out that blacks, women, and gays might not want to automatically fall in line behind white guys in “their” fight against the oligarchs.

      3. Calgacus

        Of course it was an important cause, but not a very direct one. The timing isn’t really right. Black people were among the poorest and most vulnerable, therefore the elite decision for stagnation, unemployment, and for the poorest, homelessness, over “Keynesian” prosperity in the 70s hit them especially hard. But they had somewhat shared the general prosperity of the war and the postwar era, which was when the move from agriculture occurred. The white working class followed them in line, and now the white (and small black) middle class is next. So I think that your criticism of the white working class is rather exaggerated. The main thing – and I think the working (and non-working) class, black and white understands this – is to understand that the enemy is the elite, the top, the banksters etc. Lagging in racial and economic attitudes seem to me to be more the white (formerly) middle class.

        1. JTFaraday

          I don’t think the idea that economy went south in the 70s quite accounts for the creation of the largest penal system on the face of the planet.

          Not everything is adequately explained by recourse to mindless technocratic drivel.

          1. Calgacus

            I don’t think the idea that economy went south in the 70s quite accounts for the creation of the largest penal system on the face of the planet.

            Well, it doesn’t account for it on the “demand” side – the prisons wanting prisoners. But it helps account for it on the “supply” side. Unemployment leads to “crime”. Aside – the must read on these issues is Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow

            BTW – “crime” because an unemployed person has every moral right to “steal” from the government that unemploys him – but this elementary and hoary economic and moral observation is not sufficiently understood.

            The economy didn’t just “go south” – it was driven south. The oil crises etc were real, but with sane economic management would have been a minor hiccup – not an occasion welcomed by the “elite” for global imposition of decades of stagnation.

    2. Calgacus

      Armchair:Whether the robot takeover is real, imagined or somewhere in between, it serves as a way to keep us grinding away at low wages. If this were 1985, I might ask for a raise or participate in organizing a union, but the future is here, so I must discard every idea from the 19th and 20th centuries. The robot takeover is the perfect recipe for keeping us from getting any silly antiquated ideas like Flassbeck’s discussion of raising wages, deficit spending, infrastructure spending or any of that 20th Century Keynesian dope.

      Excellent observations. BS about robots and the like is really, really ancient. If not for the abandonment of superior social technology – “20th century Keynesian dope” – and the consequent deceleration of the progress of material technology, we would be a lot nearer that robot utopia already.

  5. A Real Black Person

    ” the ideological barriers we face to dealing with a future that is dealing billions of people out of the game”
    Well, that’s the whole point. Capitalism is a game. There are winners and losers in games. Capitalism is not about social inclusion it’s, fundamentally, about competition. I truly hope that you’re not gullible/ trusting enough to think that anything close to the majority of politicians operate outside the influence of capitalism/commerce and its tendencies towards Social Darwinism.

  6. Ishmael

    they want ALL these people to go away and their DNA over the next 80 years – 160 million people they don’t need – their objective is 150 million population in the USA and 1.6 Billion in the world by the end of the century.
    ——————————————————————-
    It will happen one way or another. The oceans have been practically wished out, water is becoming a scarce commodity (look at California as well as much of the Southwest) and cattle herds are the lowest the have been in 60 years, hydrocarbon energy will be greatly depleted in 100 years and I am sure many other natural resources will reach their limit. The current population of the earth of 7 billion shooting towards 9 and doubling in something like 50 years is unsustainable. Sad but true. Now what would you propose as a solution to this problem!

    1. psychohistorian

      Yes, humanity may not be able to save itself from the excesses ordained by the plutocrats that gave us consumerism of throw away waste stuff and environmental catastrophes like Fukushima nuke design and placement around the globe but I refuse to give up.

      The first step is to neuter the global plutocratic control of finance, accumulated capital and governments by ending ongoing inheritance that created and maintains the same anti-humanists of the past and current centuries. Then the rest of us can exercise our will and creativity to try and save our species from the looming specter of extinction.

  7. ThroxxOfVron

    1. There is NO need for deficit spending. More .GOV debt is NOT the answer.
    IF the system requires priming from .GOV then the funds should be emitted and not borrowed from under-taxed and/or bailed-out Oligarchs or Privately held for profit rentier Banks or Corporations. Government should spend the money into existence and to hell with the rentier classes.
    2. Labor Unions are NOT needed either. Unions, as with piling on .GOV debt; merely embeds rentiers into the system. IS it good for Labor to give up Individual bargaining rights and accept perpetual skimming of their compensation by self-interested, parasitic, corrupt, captured Union bureaucracies? -answer: IT IS NOT. Finally erecting barriers to illegal immigration and outsourcing would be much more constructive in protecting domestic labor constituencies; but, the laws and the power of the rentier bureaucracies profiting from the expansion and maintenance of the welfare state would never conceive of divesting themselves of their fiefdoms.

    1. psychohistorian

      My only addition to your perspective is to make it global instead of US centric because those in power that you write of are global and if you push them too hard here without cutting off their ability to just move their accumulated capital and power elsewhere, we will be no better off, and arguably even worse for the effort.

    2. Ishmael

      Well, I certainly agree with the decrease and in my mind out right elimination of immigration both legal and illegal. This eliminates the steady increase in all levels of labor which is decreasing wages. As I have mentioned before, the Libertards start going crazy when you mention this because they are liberal when ideas are totally opposite of one another.

      If the United States had not opened the doors to immigration (Ed Kennedy in 1963 and Ronald Reagan in 1983) the US would still have a population of 200 million.

      In addition allowing all this immigration into the United States takes pressure off of the other countries to reform.

    3. James Levy

      Expansion and maintenance of the welfare state? Where? Certainly not here. I think you’ve been wanking to Ayn Rand too long.

    4. BigRed

      1) Deficit spending is not the same as debt issuance.

      2) Because individual bargaining rights work so well when the employer can just starve you out. An individual “war chest” cannot compete with a corporate one.

      But at least you give a nice example of why the far right is winning: scape goat immigrants and organized labor for capitalist acts and they can reel in votes.

  8. steelhead23

    It would be very difficult for me to today support an increase in the federal budget to fight the recession. Oh, I understand the theory, but this nation spends $700 B annually on its defense, which most nations on this planet view as rather offensive. Since the day in April 1971, when a certain Lt. Kerry, representing the Viet Nam Vets Against the War, presented the Winter Warrior Report regarding U.S. atrocities in Viet Nam to the U.S. Congress – pointedly asking “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake”, this nation has invaded at least 4 countries and has murdered millions. I would rather see this country disintegrate into chaos than provide any more support to this carnage.

    I know that from a purely economic perspective, it matters very little whether the government deficit spends to build up its military and expand its adventures, or deficit spends to send our kids to college, but it makes all the difference in the world to me. I know how budget bills work and given the current construct of our Congress, it would be simply impossible to increase the deficit without feeding the dragon.

    1. Ishmael

      Current defense spending is $200 billion inflation adjusted dollar above the peak of the cold war. The first place the big cut should be given.

      We are such an insane country. In all of the history of the pass, empires kept large militaries to bring back tribute but our military brings back nil! We are a country of idiots and no I am not saying we should extract tribute, I am saying what a negative cost benefit our military and home land security expenditures are.

      1. MikeNY

        Re: defense spending.

        First, we don’t have jobs for the permanent underclass, so their options are either 1) prison, or 2) putting on a uniform to fight in wars of adventure. We can’t have lots of angry, able-bodied and unemployed young men on the streets.

        Second, as any third-world dictator or divine right monarch knows, the plutocrats might need the military some day to protect them from the pitchforks. That is why, no matter how tough times are, the military gets paid.

        “Support the troops!”

  9. John Yard

    Identity politics – the belief that race and gender are the issues of the day, and that class antagonisms have been solved – has itself become obsolete. No one will claim that the solutions to 2001 and 2008 lie in race and gender relations. They are increasing seen as peripheral, except to those who wish to claim special status under this banner.

    1. Chris Maukonen

      But all it takes is one good repeatable catchphrase to be uttered over and over to put people at each other’s throats. Hitler proved that very nicely.

    2. neo-realist

      re Identity Politics—At this time, they’re doing jury selection in the Michael Dunn case–the fellow who shot an unarmed black teenager in a car full of black teenagers for the phony excuse of seeing a gun (which wasn’t there); in reality he did it because they played loud rap music and talked back to him–white exceptionalism rearing its head? Dunn is using the shoot your brown law aka stand your ground law to defend his actions. When approximately 29.3 percent of white on black shootings are justifiable vs. only 2.9 percent of black on white shootings, you’ve still got one of the many issues that makes race/identity politics very much an issue of the day regardless of the insatiable need of many whites to bury their heads in the sand when it comes up.

      1. James Levy

        You are right. I don’t see the people up at the top of this discussion saying they’d step out of the way so that women, blacks and gays (who collectively are the solid majority of the population) can lead the revolution. No, they want them to stop “bitching” about their identities, get to the back of the bus, and let the white guys drive the crusade against the 1%.

  10. Abe, NYC

    I’m curious about France. Unlike the US, it has excellent infrastructure, strong welfare, high taxes. You also have high unemployment and an economy that has at best been stagnating in recent years.

    So, what should the government do? As far as I see, it can

    1. Abandon austerity, lower taxes and increase deficits.
    2. Exit the Euro and devalue its currency.
    3. Increase government spending on MMT-advocated measures such as guaranteed employment.

    Any of these measures spell the death of the Eurozone and likely the European Union. One can sympathize with Hollande, I believe there is practically nothing he can achieve unilaterally.

    1. BigRed

      Why exactly would 1) or 3) spell the end of the Eurozone? They would require a rule change, sure enough, but apart from that…
      This rule change in turn would have required standing up to German elites, and that’s where Hollande backed away.

  11. TomDority

    In spite of the ingenious methods devised by statesmen and financiers to get more revenue from large fortunes, and regardless of whether the maximum sur tax remains at 25% or is raised or lowered, it is still true that it would be better to stop the speculative incomes at the source, rather than attempt to recover them after they have passed into the hands of profiteers.
    If a man earns his income by producing wealth nothing should be done to hamper him. For has he not given employment to labor, and has he not produced goods for our consumption? To cripple or burden such a man means that he is necessarily forced to employ fewer men, and to make less goods, which tends to decrease wages, unemployment, and increased cost of living.
    If, however, a man’s income is not made in producing wealth and employing labor, but is due to speculation, the case is altogether different. The speculator as a speculator, whether his holdings be mineral lands, forests, power sites, agricultural lands, or city lots, employs no labor and produces no wealth. He adds nothing to the riches of the country, but merely takes toll from those who do employ labor and produce wealth.
    If part of the speculator’s income – no matter how large a part – be taken in taxation, it will not decrease employment or lessen the production of wealth. Whereas, if the producer’s income be taxed it will tend to limit employment and stop the production of wealth.
    Our lawmakers will do well, therefore, to pay less attention to the rate on incomes, and more to the source from whence they are drawn.
    Written around 1925

    Raising minimum wages would only allow the notational amount of money to increase….this would be absorbed by the tax favored economic rent seeking sector of the economy…… rental and housing costs would increase (debt servicing would increase) to the net effect that standards of living would not change…..demand for goods and services can not increase under our current neo-classical economic system. Net zero result….the economic distributions would net zero and enrich those who practice economic rental activities – the flow would not change from our current flow situation. Taxes are the only way to change the flow pattern.

    The following requires a clear understanding that: Money does NOT equal wealth. Neo-economic teaching over the past hundred years has erased the distinction between wealth and money – it has been ingrained for so long that, the distinction has been erased globally and the result is TINA. TINA is a perpetuation of defeatism.

    “Laborers knowing that science and invention have increased enormously the power of labor, cannot understand why they do not receive more of the increased product, and accuse capital of withholding it. The employer, finding it increasingly difficult to make both ends meet, accuses labor of shirking. Thus suspicion is aroused, distrust follows, and soon both are angry and struggling for mastery.
    It is not the man who gives employment to labor that does harm. The mischief comes from the man who does not give employment. Every factory, every store, every building, every bit of wealth in any shape requires labor in its creation. The more wealth created the more labor employed, the higher wages and lower prices.
    But while some men employ labor and produce wealth, others speculate in lands and resources required for production, and without employing labor or producing wealth they secure a large part of the wealth others produce. What they get without producing, labor and capital produce without getting. That is why labor and capital quarrel. But the quarrel should not be between labor and capital, but between the non-producing speculator on the one hand and labor and capital on the other.
    Co-operation between employer and employee will lead to more friendly relations and a better understanding, and will hasten the day when they will see that their interests are mutual. As long as they stand apart and permit the non-producing, non-employing exploiter to make each think the other is his enemy, the speculator will prey upon both.
    Co-operating friends, when they fully realize the source of their troubles will find at hand a simple and effective cure: The removal of taxes from industry, and the taxing of privilege and monopoly. Remove the heavy burdens of government from those who employ labor and produce wealth, and lay them upon those who enrich themselves without employing labor or producing wealth.” – Also written in the 1920′s

    “Legal Gambling
    The gloom is fading from the real estate situation. More nibbles during the last few weeks than the last three years. If January brings us good rains, this next year will open the door to the sunshine – a case of rain bringing the sun.
    It is to be hoped, however, that there will never be another boom. The crash of the boom of 1923 was due to the same causes that wrecked the wall street stock market. People sold what they did not own. They made a payment down in the hope of getting the property off their hands before it began to burn. Real estate fell into the hands of sharp-shooting gamblers who had no interest in land. To them it was just a pile of blue chips on a roulette wheel.” -1920′s
    A fair warning that we now have ample evidence of ignoring – we continue to ignore.

    Depressing sidenote:

    The Belo Monte dam will be the world’s third-largest
    hydroelectric dam (after China’s Three Gorges dam, itself
    with numerous problems, and the Brazilian-Paraguayan
    Itaipu dam). It will flood 400,000 hectares of the world’s
    largest rainforest, displacing 20,000 to 40,000 people –
    including the Kayapó. The ecological impact of the project
    is massive: the Xingu River basin has four times more
    biodiversity than all of Europe. Flooding of the rainforest
    will liberate massive amounts of methane, a greenhouse
    gas far more damaging than carbon dioxide. But the
    impact on Chief Raoni’s people, on an entire society, is
    unimaginable.

    Developing countries could abandon attempts to protect
    their forests if Western nations do not provide promised
    conservation funding, Guyana’s president told a summit on
    tropical forests recently. “We say we’re going to lock away
    large tracts of forest and preserve them, but these are
    forests that could be used for other purposes,” President
    Bharrat Jagdeo told leaders and delegates from 35
    countries straddling the Amazon and the Congo and
    Borneo-Mekong basins, the world’s three largest stretches
    of forest.

    On the lighter side:

    However, the evolutionary process by which monkeys made men of themselves was considerably slower than the reverse process.

    There is a bright side, after watching great minds combat the recession you should be rid of your inferiority complex.

    Money is a commodity, invented to help people by facilitating transactions. It is not wealth in itself. Wealth is natural resources, water, food, land, education, skill, spirit, ingenuity, art.

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