Has Anglo-American Capitalism Run Out of Strategies?

Yves here. The Real News Network commemorates the 30th anniversary of the coal miners’ strike in the UK, which was in many ways labor’s last stand, with a broad-ranging interview with George Irvin, research professor at the University of London. He takes a broad historical perspective to show how the rise of a low-wage, debt driven economy and the pressure to reduce the role of government have painted Anglo-Saxon capitalism in a corner.

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  1. 12312399

    to be a pedantic history geek….everything Anglo-Saxon, should really be called Anglo-Norman.

    It was the Normans and their ruling class English descendents were real jerks of their time (conveniently no video is available)—the normans practiced apartheid on the conquered Anglo-Saxons, committed genocide on the Anglo-Scandinavians in northern england, invaded Wales and Ireland and then often fought each other over succession to the crown.

    Arguably the seeds of British expansionism and Anglo-Saxon capitalism all started in 1066.

      1. craazyman

        It was all presaged by a supernova in 1054 that lasted for two years.

        So say the scientists anyway, but it might have been God shining a flashlight down just to see what was brewing. Sometimes it’s hard to know just what’s what.


          1. allcoppedout

            123 has a point. The history of these revolting Norse-French-German white guys is dire. I’m a Cyrus the Great fan – a Persian emperor who did stuff like releasing slaves.
            Biologically, the genes of various British races were maintained by our brave women falling under conquerors to protect the Picto-Anglo-British (ancient) pool of reproductors. Fortunately, the Normans were working to the flawed plan of Numbers 31 in which Moses is not as good a war criminal and genocidal maniac as he believed. These days all the unsullied captured women would have to be put to the sword too.

          2. craazyman

            I get the feeling he wouldn’t have done very well in the stock market. He would have overthought every trade and paralyzed himself before losing money. Cracks me up thinking of him at a dinner party in Athens with some drunk dude making shadow pictures on the wall with his hands and babbling about the Forms and making funny faces. It’s pretty immature, I admit.

    1. efschumacher

      That would be ‘practiced genocide on the, primarily, Celts of Northern England’. My ancestors spoke some variant between Welsh and Cumbrian. All that remains of that is the names of the hills: Blencathra, Helvellyn, Glaramara, Skiddaw and the (more Welsh-like) outlier of Pen-Y-Ghent.

      They don’t call it genocide in the history text. They call it the ‘Harrying of the North’. ‘Harrying’ is a breezy word that stands for: what Sherman did in the South, but with added rape and butchery.


  2. Banger

    This is a clear exposition of what most people who comment here have understood for some time. In my case, I realized this over two decades ago when the trends we see in full flower were glaringly obvious.

    The problem is cultural. The U.S. is the land of the hustle. On the plus side this makes Americans more creative and innovative on the minus side it makes it possible for people to game the system so much as to render it virtually inoperable. And that’s where we are today. Once there was a balance in U.S. society–hustlers were balanced by progressive religious sentiments, high-brow activism (Jane Addams) and a sense of responsibility among significant numbers of the elite for the general direction of American society whether it was wrong headed or not. Also, there were organized forces, social movements that balanced the greed of the hustlers. After WWII when the U.S. found itself on top of the world things started to change. Success and prosperity brought, ultimately, the culture of narcissism. This culture features the glorification self-interest in a way Adam Smith never dreamed of, i.e., the ideal became for every person to be completely “free” of all entanglements and obligations to family or society even though most people did not live it out and maintained some degree of moral sentiment. Material wealth was the road to that free and easy lifestyle that is glorified in endless American movies. This ideal, like Pinocchio’s Pleasure Island, turns even seasoned hustlers into donkeys. And there is no real counter-force. Even those who are most vociferously “Christian” are just as bad or even slightly worse in their narcissism than the general population–they use their “faith” to justify anything they do. Those that don’t follow the Evangelicals may not know that once you are “saved” you can do whatever you want to do and you will still inherit heaven! If you need proof of narcissism there you are!

    Thus the ruling elites have lost all sense of moral restraint and the ideas behind Christopher Lasch’s book The Revolt of the Elites are even more valid today than when he wrote it almost two decades ago. We can complain all we want, wave our angry fists at the oligarchs but, for most Americans, these elites are merely living out the dreams of most of the general population even our most religious people.

    People often ask about what to do about all this. Let’s be clear then–this is more fundamental that economics or public policy. Our task is to start from scratch and realize that the ultimate task of the modernist project is to clear the decks of outwork social mores and rebuild on stronger foundations. The very illness we see is inherent and necessary but we can’t stop at the edge of the precipice we can’t throw out old ideas and customs without understanding that we must, with the detritus we see around us, build something new–and that starts with us. We need to ask why we are here? What is the point of our existence? Who are we? From that we will find, I believe, that we are deeply social animals that find true creativity through cooperation and connection with each other (rather than our current relatively alienated status) and thus we have to redefine society and grasp the necessity of moving towards each other as best we can.

        1. steviefinn

          Very well said

          As for the Normans, they formed the British aristocracy & were the descendants of Vikings ………………Nuff said.

          1. allcoppedout

            You might be Francis Bacon in 1600 here Banger. Strip out the Idols of the cave, marketplace, theatre and tribe! We are still moving in a society more backward than his modernity. He couldn’t make it work. You have to decipher meaning hidden in pages of arse-licking of kings in Bacon and he took profoundly non-modern bribes to fit in with convention.
            Completely right of course. Beyond the chains of illusion, as some have said. I guess my hero Cyrus the Great will turn out to be a standard leadership turd on further inspection, but I think we need a better understanding how good ideas and practice like not having slaves get buried in history produced by fawning intellectual eunuchs

            Cyrus was about 500 BC and his cylinder may be the first declaration of human rights. The Stoics got close to denouncing slavery but we had it for a couple more millennia. Feck, we’re slow! And even now we make films lauding the worst of the Greeks in Attic tragedy, ignore the slave economy and look suspiciously racist.

            The ideas have been around a long time. As I know you are aware the issues concern changing practice and convention. I know more about what we shouldn’t do, like arguing cases with rapbag judges like “Slimer” in one of today’s posts, and just how slow change is – than how we actually stopped some of the worst excesses.

            Feck, as I’m typing I hear the great country I live in is deporting a kid who has the wrong visa, ripping her away from the rest of her family. I have some suggestions on how we might change, but have to say it’s hard to get much attention paid.

            1. Banger

              History is a great instructor and my reading of its pronouncement is that we live at a time that has no precedent in history–this era is completely unique–history has made a quantum leap even more dramatic than any other human development. We need new rules, new conceptual frameworks and, above all, we need to explore higher levels of consciousness.

              1. DolleyMadison

                I love you Banger. In a totally non creepy way…seriously between you and Hugh I have to have tissues at the readybefore clicking on NC.

    1. oblomovIII

      Thanks Banger.
      Just wanted to say I really appreciate your comments here.
      Bang on. It’s easy to get distracted by this party vs that party, global scuffles, micro-level decisions, but we’re beyond that now. The framework of all our day-to-day actions has been deliberately broken, and we need to collectively decide what we want it to achieve and start to build it.
      Capitalism, socialism, all the -isms, CAN WORK, but they are all imperfect (as are folk). If we agree what the outcome should look like, then we can write some rules back into the system that ensure those outcomes.
      Jeez, life is starting to read more like a Kim Stanley Robinson novel by the day.

    2. EmilianoZ

      The same thing that makes you live
      Can kill you in the end

      Neil Young (“From Hank to Hendrix”)

      It’s the same thing that made America great that’s destroying it now: the will to succeed at any price.

    3. Laurens M. Dorsey

      Our task is to start from scratch and realize that the ultimate task of the modernist project is to clear the decks of outwork social mores and rebuild on stronger foundations.

      (You mean like the Khmer Rouge?)

      But seriously, Banger, imho, the most outworn convention to be disposed of is this notion that we can “start from scratch”. Been there, done that, and this is the result. (Or, it’s your experiment in self-governance, America; you don’t get do-overs.)

      And we don’t need more Platonist speculation and doctrine. We do need to start doing politics (with a will). The sort of thing John Gray is on about here: http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/07/what-machiavelli-knew.

      I do wonder whether politics is even possible. But then I think: if after the Newtown massacre, when a super-majority of the American population favored additional gun control, the head of the NRA was able to block even an anemic bit of legislation — well, as a piece of politics, it is pretty damned impressive. And QED. Politics is possible.

      1. Banger

        Point taken on “starting from scratch.” However, what I do mean by that is more conceptual than material. If we bravely take in the world as it is, understand the implications of not just history as a dynamic and living thing but also the results of social science and mix it with something like Huxley’s perennial philosophy we can re formulate a healthy conceptual framework–no sane politics is possible without it.

      2. James Levy

        Your example is a poor one. The “supermajority” you mention was ephemeral, and the politicians knew it. The NRA was clear that if they took a bold enough stance, it would rally their belligerent single-issue voters and cow men who didn’t want to get teased or threatened at the local diner, watering hole, or church dinner. Gun ownership strikes at male vanity and feelings of adequacy and independence in a way that helping the poor or saving the environment never will. And women are not socialized in this culture to stand up to that kind of belligerence (for one thing, it can get them a sock in the mouth). So equating the politics of gun legislation to any kind of social welfare legislation is, in the United States, a wholly specious comparison.

    4. Jim


      I believe Lasch also argued that “progressive” thought assumed a morality that he believed no longer existed.

      Lasch argued that the progressive/left saw morality as largely inherited from what they called a “pre-enlightened past.”

      But this actually functioning morality consisted largely of informal controls (or moral demands) which were capable of keeping a neighborhood or city or even a country within working order– but with the atrophy of such controls (which Lasch believed began to take place with the historical success of the progressive movement) there then emerged the supposed necessity and then advocacy by the progressive/left of a more top-down national bureaucratized rule.

      Lasch seemed to agree with Charles Beard’s contention that American progressivism was a “counter-revolution” or a highly successful attempt to deflect Populism and other potentially revolutionary movements–by reforming society from the top-down.

      This legacy carries on at NC with its continued outmoded and narrow debate on the necessity of Good Big State vs. Bad Big Market—with cultural issues/assumptions rarely discussed or examined.

      Eventually, I hope, some type of movement building will actually begin to take place and it will require a recruiting message that is cultural as well as economic and political.

      1. Banger

        Great comments.

        We live at a time where traditional morality really cannot work in the completely unprecedented historical moment we live in. We have to evolve, to be crude, into a higher level of morality and consciousness in order to create a relatively healthy society that probably should be based on some aspects of traditional morality–this is a big task that we all should engage in.

    5. Android 16

      Nice comment. I think one has to also consider what psychoanalysis has done to citizen/consumer. The psychological knowledge of human animal provides for imagery and language by which control and inducement is possible. Be it sanitation of a crime or logocide.

      I find words like success, business, etc. having gained curious, almost fabricated meanings.

    6. lAFAYETTE


      We need to ask why we are here? What is the point of our existence? Who are we?

      You might look to Europe for some answers. Because what they’ve been doing and what Americans have done is to conceptualize and implement two very different worlds of behaviour.

      The name of the game in Europe is Social Democracy, the cornerstone of which is Social Justice. The name of the game in the US, as described in this above comment, is What’s In It For Me? Whereas the former is collective in nature the latter is wholly individualistic.

      There you are, Collectivism Vs Individualism. Or, “What’s best for the individual is best for society” versus “What’s best for the Collective is best for society”. Which is it to be?

      In our Trickle-up Economy, thanks to Reckless Ronnie and his drastic reduction of upper-income tax-rates, the answer to the above question was starkly clear. Why has nobody notice?

      The World Top Income Database demonstrates that fact clearly. Note that 10Percenters garner 48% of total income leaving us 90Percenters to scramble over the other half. And since income becomes wealth, this info-graphic here showing Net Worth ownership will not startle you either.

      If you want to live collectively, come to Europe. If you want to kill yourself in the Rat-race to Riches – well, you get what I mean …

    7. Thor's Hammer

      Banger, its all very nice to talk about cultural values and the desirability of rebuilding them on stronger foundations. But cultural values do not develop and operate in isolation or in theory, but rather as reactions to a real physical world. The American concept of freedom as having tail fins and a big motor did not arise a vacuum, but rather upon the back of Texas oil that was almost too cheap to meter. Concepts of self-worth measured solely by the number of toys you have can only exist in a society capable of creating endless waste. And that is impossible in a finite world.

      Neither social value in my example can survive in a world where oil is no longer limitless and wealth has been monopolized by a few, leaving the vast majority to choose to view themselves either as worthless or as revolutionaries who recapture the sense of self worth through struggle.

      1. Banger

        Culture is a holistic concept and creates values and a sense of meaning. The ideal behind the mighty fins predated petroleum. The ideal was the conquest of nature and the glory of mankind apart and separate from both the natural world and God or any concept of a larger whole.

  3. James Levy

    If I am to take the total debt numbers seriously, the Anglo-American (plus German and Japanese) Establishments have already created so many paper debt obligations that the liquidation of the entire human race’s stock of capital couldn’t pay it off. So it’s all about playing pretend: do I want to believe, or have to believe, that these pieces of paper and computer memory bubbles mean what they say they mean. It’s as if the US had $100 trillion in paper currency sloshing around the economy, but we all accepted that a cup of Starbucks coffee still sold for $1.86. So long as nobody heads to the exit to cash in all this “paper” debt obligations, I guess it can keep circulating in the various markets making a fraction of a percent profit as computers and big financial institutions trade it around and around. But we have gone so far beyond fiat currency into a realm of pure make-believe that I fear global financial elites can play this out indefinitely–what’s the difference between $500 trillion in debt obligations and a quadrillion, when $500 trillion is already make-believe?

    1. Min

      “If I am to take the total debt numbers seriously, the Anglo-American (plus German and Japanese) Establishments have already created so many paper debt obligations that the liquidation of the entire human race’s stock of capital couldn’t pay it off.”

      The American, British, and Japanese gov’ts are monetarily sovereign, and as things are set up, when they run a deficit, an equal amount of money is created. So there is enough money to pay off their debts. (Not that it would be a good idea to do so. The thought of paying off the U. S. Federal debt, which was in the air around the year 2000, freaked Alan Greenspan out.) Germany is not monetarily sovereign, but don’t you think that the European Central Bank has created enough Euros to pay off its debt, too?

      1. Min

        To be clear, when I say money, I don’t just mean currency, which is only part of the total amount of money.

      2. James Levy

        I said Establishments, not governments, which becomes clear when you read the numbers I quote, which are derivatives, private debt, stocks, and all such financial instruments in the regular and shadow banking sectors. Whether or not Japan could print the yen to pay off their bond holders and everyone around the globe would take it is an open question (I think not but I might be wrong–I think MMT people are too fixated on the American case which is, for once, truly exceptional). Where all the tens of trillions (hundreds of trillions? a quadrillion? I hear many numbers) to pay off financial sector and private debt will come from if people head for the exits is completely opaque and beyond me.

        1. Calgacus

          I think MMT people are too fixated on the American case which is, for once, truly exceptional No, MMT is not fixated on the US. That the US is not exceptional in any real, qualitative way is a major point of MMT. Sure, for purposes of stability, it would be good thing for there to be a less private debt & more public debt. But everybody’s debt is somebody’s credit. If governments spent more to maintain full employment, then there should be a lot less private debt as people would want to save more since 2008.

          Whether or not Japan could print the yen to pay off their bond holders and everyone around the globe would take it is an open question. No, it isn’t. Japan could, and has been doing this for decades. And this question is framed wrongly. Yen currency & Japanese government bonds are the same thing. The Japanese government is not paying off a yen bond when it exchanges it for yen currency, but allowing the private sector to exchange one government debt for another. The only real paying off is when the Japanese government accepts either the bond or the currency in exchange for something the Japanese government owns, or what is really a special case of this – for tax payments.

          It would be neither a good or bad thing intrinsically if the Japanese or the US government (pretend) “paid off its debt” by “printing money”, lowering interest rates to zero and having only the monetary base, dollar or yen bill equivalents be the only government debts. It would probably be somewhat deflationary, as the Japanese experience shows. But it would have the great extrinsic good of showing everyone how simple and obvious the system really is, and eliminating oceans of preposterous BS about it.

          1. James Levy

            So all those trillions and trillions in derivatives are really worth trillions and trillions of dollars at 100 cents on the dollar? And the Arabs will accept my Australian dollars or Mexican pesos for their oil? And central banks will accept yen when I want my payback in dollars?

            As I pointed out above, but nobody seems to be listening, the amount of private debt dwarfs government debt, and much of it is denominated in dollars. I understand that in theory MMT might work, especially in a domestic context, but I know British history and in the 20th century when they needed dollars for international trade and settlements, they couldn’t just say to their creditors “here, have some Sterling.” And Peru and Uruguay may have sovereign currencies, but that doesn’t mean they can buy oil or guns or Toyotas with it. The situation is more complex than “I have a sovereign currency, so you all have to take whatever it is I roll off the printing press.” If that were so, Ethiopia would never know famine–all they’d have to do is print up their sovereign currency and buy all the food that they need.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              No, you can’t compare the notional amount of derivatives with their actual (cash settlement) value. An option to buy a stock at $64 when the stock is trading at $50 isn’t worth $64, for instance.

        2. Min

          Establishments. Sorry. :(

          Well, as far as bank loans are concerned, the money to pay them off is created with the loans. To pay the interest requires money to circulate.

          Other financial assets, that’s another matter.

          “Whether or not Japan could print the yen to pay off their bond holders”

          You are again confusing currency with money. The yen deposits to pay off the principal of the bonds of the Japanese gov’t has already been created. And the Japanese gov’t can create more if need be.

      3. different clue

        It only freaked Greenspan out becauxe he was counting on vast debt and deficit to fake the case for abolishing or at least attriting Social Security through claiming we “couldn’t afford it”. And having the debt “paid off” would have made it harder to fake the case.

        1. Min

          Greenspan wasn’t the only one to realize the folly of paying off the Federal debt. People in the Clinton administration did, too. Gov’t surpluses drain money from the economy. Paying off the US national debt (almost entirely) in 1835 ushered in the depression of 1837 – 1843.

          You are right about the Bush administration wanting to increase the debt. Doing so was part of the Starve the Beast strategy, which has been working well for them.

    2. Thor's Hammer

      And just who is that unpayable debt obligation owed to? Perhaps 5,000 oligarchs that the human race would be far better off rid of.

      That which cannot be paid won’t be paid, and the sooner the better.

      So which is the better policy— stripping the oligarchs of all their undeserved wealth or printing fiat currency to pay them their tribute and as a result condemning future generations to debt slavery in order to keep the oligarch’s yachts afloat?

  4. cnchal

    One quadrillion dollars or more of currency exchange per year, which dwarfs annual world GDP by a factor of roughly fifteen. That is some strategy.

    It is blatantly obvious that Capitalism has run out of strategies, when the main game now is corruption. Wage suppression by criminal conspiracies between CEO’s of so called high tech as detailed here on NC ( and pretty well no where else) is only the latest revelation. The CEO’s went through many red lights, and magically the government claims they were green or yellow.

    Wells Fargo’s manual to commit crime. Why is this not front page news? It’s a rhetorical question. I know why. Corruption. Can’t shine a light that might hold an advertiser accountable for criminal conduct.

    When the President of the United States goes on television and says, with a straight face, no joking, that there were no crimes commited during the lead up to the great financial crisis, doesn’t that set the tone for what follows?

    1. James Levy

      One of our fundamental problems, to continue Banger’s line of argument, is the idea of legality. Laws are written with a combination of haste and imprecision and back-door special pleading and exemptions so that what is or is not legal is completely up in the air. Lawyers love this, because it gives them free reign to ply their oily trade, and government loves it because it can indulge in selective prosecutions for political purposes while claiming that convictions are impossible or no real crime was committed when it is expedient to do so. So we have both more laws than ever, and more law-breaking than we’ve seen since the Gilded Age.

      When you add the army of lawyers and tax accountants corporations can muster to figure out what is technically legal and how to skirt such inhibitions, the situation is ripe for an orgy of amoral activity that can be argued away as not explicitly illegal or praised as clever practices that “I wish I had thought of” to make a killing. As Banger says, we no longer know that ethical behavior looks like, because we can’t imagine self-denial or self-sacrifice or civic virtue. And as any republican theorist of note has always argued, a republic without civic virtue will cease to be a republic.

    2. psychohistorian

      The fluidity of currency exchange is necessary for the global plutocrats/oligarchs to insure that when the little people become restless they can move their capital and control to more “friendly” countries, if necessary. Their only challenge is to insure they keep enough countries captive to their form of social organization (inheritance and accumulating ownership of private property) to provide them and their spawn a safe haven. With the MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) of nukes, they don’t need to many countries to keep the rest of us, survival oriented folks, from eliminating them.

      A sane world for our species needs a totally sovereign financial base (money and banking) and neutered inheritance rules to support public commons and a sharing form of social organization.

  5. Chauncey Gardiner

    I was struck but not surprised by George Irvin’s lack of recommendations in response to the narrator’s question about where we go from here. That is a difficult question conceptually, as well as in terms of implementing and achieving change politically. One of the reasons the Reagan-Thatcher-Neoliberal revolution was able to succeed in the eyes of its proponents was because the harsh realities of its financial, political, economic and social objectives were successfully kept hidden from the public, sugar-coated and cloaked in the propaganda of terms such as “Trickle down”, “supply-side”, “globalization”, etc. IMO that’s off the table going forward.

    There is plenty of actual work that needs to be done. Much of it is highly energy intensive, such as in the realm of infrastructure improvements. But there would be material payoffs. Clearly there are also profound needs in services: education, healthcare, and in other areas of the economy. We also need to be thinking about the current agri-business model.

    What we don’t need IMO is further increasing our global military footprint and war, which h/b the go-to. I also believe protectionist policies through an updated Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act would be counterproductive at this time. Instead, this needs to be an Age of Engagement and Diplomacy.

    James Levy’s comment above about the shackles of a debt-based monetary system and ethics also require our serious attention IMO. That attention will come. Whether it is voluntary or involuntary is another matter. Money is a human construct.

    1. Banger

      But no one really knows where to go from here. We seem stuck in looking for our missing keys under a lamppost. We need to find a light and look in the dark. There are no economic solutions because these all depend on politics and the system has locked out not just reform but reason itself. We need to develop a new conceptual framework that deals with questions to do with meaning and morality before we can proceed.

      1. allcoppedout

        The grey owl of dulldung takes flight in fog, or whatever that clever German said. Practice is often grey mate, and so is most science before we’ve worked out quite what we have seen. Virtue ethics more or less fails. I’d go for more exposure of the threats that prevent a ‘practical Plan B’ that gets rid of poverty and mis-deployment. I’d tend to use existing structures where possible and hand a new economics the role of coping with the change we want.

      2. Android 16

        There is no panacea, but I will sound cliché and say that we need to strive build local economies and alternate money supplies to buffer for future crises. That of course is becoming difficult with no frontier and living in concrete financialized congested metropolises. Start being interested in each other, honest, away with sleazy two-faced manipulative postures that are celebrated, elevated and educated these days. That would be a good start. Use words in their proper meaning. Understand life.

    2. Art Eclectic

      I think that absent a major (as in revolutionary) shakeup we are looking at the types of dystopian future so frequently depicted in young adult fiction currently. Perhaps they see it more clearly than we do.

      Anyone with any level of intelligence realizes that our political systems worldwide are fully captured by financial interests. The world is being run by and for large scale profiteers. It’s possible we might get some infrastructure projects going but the ones we need (high speed broadband to every structure and high speed rail) are unlikely to happen as they cut too deeply into revenue models of the existing power structure.

      The long term future is bleak for employment, software is indeed eating the world and the jobs that used to be performed by the less able are never coming back. We are rapidly growing our ranks of people who will never work again and it will only get worse as more tasks are automated. The social safety net is keeping people from starving in the streets but we are one GOP president away from all those people being told to suck it up and show some personal responsibility. Either we accept that we’re going to be supporting a whole lot of people until they die from here on in or they get tossed out of the net and eventually that revolution occurs.

      So, here we sit. Unable to fix our jobs problem because the Fortune 500 do not want it fixed and paying people to not work. Sound suspiciously like our farming policy?

      1. Min

        “We are rapidly growing our ranks of people who will never work again and it will only get worse as more tasks are automated.”

        Benjamin Franklin and others of that time foresaw such a future and welcomed it. OC, they did not imagine that those who did not work would be impoverished in the midst of all of those labor saving devices. The problem, which Dickens delineated, is poverty in the midst of plenty.

  6. Susan the other

    George Irwin laments that now we have asset-stripped and labor-stripped our Anglo-American economy all we have left is a quadrillion dollars of financial leverage, and growing. But we have no demand. Funny that part. He himself believes in a world organized around supply and demand because he calls for a new strategy for growth. I’m probably reacting to the word “growth” which I equate with the word “profit” but I always fear that the capitalist imperative for both growth and profit is the internal contradiction that will kill capitalism. I’d sooner lament the fact that this imperative exists in the first place and then focus my thinking on a world of nations that enjoy a high level of equality because they have redefined protit to have a social meaning and growth as derived from a healthy environment, etc. I almost think it might have been visionary that the Anglo-Americans did not modernize their automobile factories because there is probably no way to make cars environmentally safe. And etc. Anyway, Banger is right. We need to make some serious, adult decisions. Starting with the basics.

  7. kevinearick

    define labor any way you want, but work is measurable, net.

    Make-Work: Best Business Practice

    BBP says to take the system parasite, the Global City, and replicate its practices across the planet, with geo-engineering. Public Education BBP says to incorporate third world RE control mechanisms, peer pressure immobilization, to maintain power. And US Navy was spoiled rotten before Vietnam. The Big Dogs are spreading the disease of stupidity wherever they go, and History tells you that they are going to turn on each other.

    Wherever you look, humanity is falling backwards, in a hurry, which means that no work is being done. The war on poverty, the war on drugs, the war on climate, it’s all make-work. The empire depends entirely upon the top producers, to circle back and drive mobility from the bottom up, against resistance, from the ‘top’ down. University gives legacy an A, cuts the top out entirely, and grades the rest on a curve, for compliance.

    All you have to do as a producer is step out, or better yet, step forward to create a gap, and the system implodes. If you step forward, the Law of peer pressure can’t touch you, because it can’t see you. It can only see you if you fight it. You might want to employ some of that kinetic energy in the fall. The earth’s purposes are served either way.

    Somebody getting something free by law, and everyone else demanding an equal share, is not an economy, no mater how busy the participants make themselves out to be, pretending to work. RE inflation does no work; tourism does no work; public works does no work. The majority is destroying itself, with manufactured automation.

    What’s the problem?

    You don’t need no stinking badges / licenses.

    A fleeing moron from an Oregon came down to the Lost Coast and shot a deputy. I’m not going to go into the politics of why he went down that road alone, but Ricky was a human being first, playing the role of a deputy, and his family left behind can be proud of his practices. He will be sorely missed. Funny, not, how the majority always brings up the rear, with blind hindsight. Now, we hear from the elected politicians…

    Priorities. A manufactured pot cartel run by ‘peace’ officers in Homeland Security, ‘profiting’ on every angle, is not an economy, no matter how much bullsh- they advertize on Facebook. America has been hollowed out accordingly. Law Enforcement is not your dad, and Public Education is not your mommy. They are run by passive aggressive Nazis in every country, hiding behind the authority of a willfully ignorant majority, and issuing debt to pay their pensions is coming to an end.

    The value of money depends upon the issuer, which is you, if you think about it. Warren Buffet creates money at every stage, because there is no lack of critters seeking something for nothing. Look at the wage to rent ratio in the Dakota RE ponzi. It’s a good place for a young single person to pick up a transferable skill on the mobile pipeline, but it’s the last place you want to raise a family.

    The majority gets the leadership it deserves, which it votes for with every decision it makes.

    1. allcoppedout

      Brilliant Kevin – I sense a dynamic database in this poetry. Where have all the protest songs gone? Replaced to dulldung every one? – sing it.

      The dumb-bungles we end up with as leaders didn’t even have a strategy for WW1 and 2. The idea in capitalism is to prevent strategy. other than the surprise rush of well-armed Viking raiders. Capitalism is essentially Dane-geld. Ants take slaves. So do humans. Humans just think this is a clever strategy formed in our magnificent consciousness, rather than biological knee-jerkism.

      I have a great idea (not really mine, but I got copyright so you’re all screwed) to build green energy centres and carbon sinks across the globe. Fool says crapitalism. Let’s burn all the fossil fuels first because they are cheaper and we’d end up competing with evil fracking bastards and lose money if we go green. This is the old guns or butter dark argument on democracy.

      Crude maybe, yet the real strategy is always to raise such dark argument that your plan is idealistic and can’t be done in this dirty old world. The capitalist strategy is always anti-strategy in the same moment. What we might call ‘the Banger view’ is subject to the same anti-strategy dark argument-type.

      Most people get through university social science and humanities programmes with little notion of argument in generic frames of reference (paradigms). Our people are taught, like Judge Leo Stinker (Strine? I’m trying to forget), to lie with argument. “Peer review” really only means being able to demand cover-up amongst your own class.

      In my old field (coppering) one hardly gave chummy chance to visit his crime scene with a fingerprint rubber and a bleach spray. Yet this is more or less what we face trying to understand the financial system and crimes in it. One didn’t allow interrogation room excuses like ‘I was on planet Zog at the time of the murder’. Yet this is precisely what we allow the CEO who has just taken $X million for his expertise to claim. He just couldn’t see what was going on (put this in lawyerese) because he’d been abducted by aliens and rogered (i.e. had early onset Altzheimers, that strangely disappears later).

      We need some poetry and song to explain just what capitalism really means. Even the idea that an ignorant majority gets the leaders it deserves contains the deep lie that we need leaders. Anglo-Saxon capitalism (itself merely an organising concept) has not run out of strategy. It’s still running the same old one. It’s dark and light does not interact with light.

      In the ‘Banger strategy’ we’d need to sack judges like Stinker. It’s surely morally easier to dump a judge so unaware of selective referencing as him on the unemployment scrapheap than guys like welders whose skills got embodied in machines. I tend to the view that cutting one Stinker down merely allows another to grow. It’s a bit like a big operation against drug-dealers. You can only free up an area for a while, and what comes in when you can’t resource the operation tends to be worse.

      I offer no reasons not to go for radical change. Abstract argument is tortuous here and most won’t engage. It is a profoundly dumb thing to disestablish our military when Genghis is across the river. Radical non-policing also leads us to a “peace” in which a few thugs with guns become kings. I’d suggest that our military and police could, instead, be subject to a “re-establishment without disestablishment”, This might be a model we could use in the ‘Banger Plan’, across our new society. No time to explain the model, but our cops, troops and others could play a major role in international service job guarantee that both removed unemployment and democratised our services (because at any time a lot of us would be in them). I’d actually reform further and higher education into this model.

      1. allcoppedout

        Curses! Light probably does interact with light. It;s just that I read all the Stinker paper and now think black is white.

  8. Dennis Grubb

    Yves held her own at the Atlantic Conference, March 17th here in D.C. amidst all the neo-liberal musings She set the tone stating she was from NYC and coming to DC was like a visit to Versailles.

  9. WorldisMorphing

    …now little gem #82 on my YouTube playlist of enlightening little gems….
    That Lynn Fries is really good.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Yes, isn’t she a good interviewer? Nice speaking voice and crisp, direct questions.

  10. May

    Anyone who has any understanding of this subject knows the score;but maybe not all the details.

    UK, it appears, never really recovered from WW II and loss of her empire. You can also see her reliance on finance with the rise of the tax havens. Treasure Islands, the book, ties into this element.

    In the case of the US, it was the Military Industry Complex at fault. Melman’s research focused on this issue.

    Please see:
    “In fact deterioration in the production competence of U.S. industries had been well under way since 1960 and was reported in some detail by 1965.”
    http://ejournals.library. vanderbilt.edu/index.php/ ameriquests/article/view/127/ 136
    Chaper 3 – Deindustrializing the US: The War Against American Workers

    “By 1960s it had already weakened dominant US manufacturing industry:
    “We have trained a large part of our workforce —
    more than three million in military industry — to work under a regime where escalating cost is
    acceptable because there will always be a subsidy to offset the cost increase.
    Cost-maximizing has yielded consequences that you might suspect after contemplating the size
    of the resource used on behalf of the military, There has been a disappearance and a depletion of many American industries* ”
    http://globalmakeover.com/ sites/economicreconstruction. com/static/SeymourMelman/ archive/ec/America_new_ economic.pdf
    America’s New Economic Problem
    Seymour Melman at Cape Cod, July

    The Neglected Costs of the Warfare State

  11. allcoppedout

    In fact, we use even terms like the UK and USA very loosely. I was born in the empire on which the sun never set. Who in the UK was really a beneficiary of that or elsewhere? One can ask the same of the current US situation. It’s easy enough, in typical Austrian fashion to note we’d be better off with 100,000 productive workers than soldiers, until Genghis sweeps across the border. How do 100,000 soldiers become productive workers? Easy, leave it to the thrusting marketplace. In fact, we end up writing laws like the 1828 Vagrancy Act because the unemployed soldiers who used to fight Napoleon are ‘problematic’. It took 2 years to get thousands of Canadian troops back to Canada from Wales after WW1,

    Reliance on the private sector to perform miracles on employment and decent living standards should be long dead. What happened to the Canadian heroes can be found here – http://www.canadiangreatwarproject.com/writing/kinmelpark.asp
    Many English sailors and their families from the battles against the Armada died of starvation because ‘we’ didn’t pay them.

    The current problems cannot be solved by the private sector. This sector, claiming thrusting innovation and the rest, is actually so feeble it claims it can’t cope with public sector competition, which it also calls competition from the blind school. It is, in fact, scared to death of full employment.

    1. paul

      Quite, when britannia ruled the waves, life was generally pretty shit for all concerned/coralled.
      That is what we have lost, the aristocracy has lamented these past 40 (!!) years.

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