Is Public Ownership A Solution?

Real News Network presented a two part interview with Gar Alperovitz, professor of political economy at the University of Maryland, on why and where public provision of services might be preferable to private sector solutions. Alperovitz pointed out how the growth expectations for public companies are at odds with resource conservation and how their rampant short-termism stunts investment. Some economists have recently taken a systematic look at the latter problem. From a 2011 post:

Andrew Haldane and Richard Davies of the Bank of England have released a very useful new paper on short-termism in the investment arena. They contend that this problem real and getting worse. This may at first blush seem to be mere official confirmation of most people’s gut instinct. However, the authors take the critical step of developing some estimates of the severity of the phenomenon, since past efforts to do so are surprisingly scarce.

A short-term perspective is tantamount to applying an overly high discount rate to an investment project or similarly, requiring an excessively rapid payback. In corporate capital budgeting settings, the distortions are pronounced:

Most recently, in 2011 PriceWaterhouseCoopers conducted a survey of FTSE-100 and 250 executives, the majority of which chose a low return option sooner (£250,000 tomorrow) rather than a high return later (£450,000 in 3 years). This suggested annual discount rates of over 20%. Recently, Matthew Rose, CEO of Burlington Northern Santa Fe (America’s second biggest rail company), expressed frustration at the focus on quarterly earnings when locomotives lasted for 20 years and tracks for 30 to 40 years. Echoes, here, of “quarterly capitalism”.

The Real News Network discussions start from more basic premises. For a longer form treatment of major, successful long term investments by the government, see Felix Rohatyn’s Bold Endeavors.

Part 1:

More at The Real News

Part 2:

More at The Real News

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  1. psychohistorian

    IMO, this all boils down to “institutions” that do not evolve as society grows in all the ways it does.

    Let me use the US Postal System as my example. While we have come a long way from the pony express, folks still have a need for trustworthy communication and distribution. The propaganda argument that private industry can be more responsive and do everything cheaper is bunk and we just need to organize ourselves to consciously and publicly manage and evolve our public institutions and private industry regulation. It is work but society is suffering greatly because we continue to be sold the “have faith” and private over public provision of services bullshit.

    We are letting the global inherited rich control the discussion of what the public wants its government to be and what services it should provide. If it were public money instead of their accumulated and inherited private “capital”, we wouldn’t be having this discussion with the euphemistic debt gun to the head.

    1. jake chase

      The US post office of sixty years ago was a good example of the potential for public organization of essential services. Today’s privatized post office seems to be run from Minsk (in 1932). People are missing a good opportunity in not hiring themselves out to stand in line there.

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      psy, The Global Inherited Rich are an Absolute Dictatorship. History shows that there is only one “remedy” for this disease.

    3. Enraged

      It’s been too late for the US since 2007 but it was permanently sealed and consummated on june 1, 2012, when China and Japan decided to trade directly by bypassing the US dollar.

      Listen to David E. Martin’s interview to have a clearer idea of how bad it is. The greed-based system has collapsed and anything our government does (whichever one is in charge) is meaningless. In fact, it has been meaningless for years.

      The world is moving toward a production-based economy (economics 101). And since the US has made it a point for the past 30 years to ship out all production, the last thing we have to rely on is the complete disclosure of the incredible technology gathered through UFO reverse-engineering. Dr. Steven Greer has spent the last 15 years briefing everyone at the CIA, Pentagon, White House, etc. on UFO technology and the need to finally disclose it. We, in this country, have the technologiocal ability to completely clean up the environment, stop once and for all the use of fossil fuels, clean up seas and rivers, and the list goes on. The technology has been stifled for 60 years by oil, chemical, pharma and banking industries.

      People in this country have choice between discarding everything on the account of “loony conspiracy theories” or start using their brains and ask themselves why, all of a sudden (and since 2007), Russia, NZ, France, UK, Canada and, (to a very limited extent since government has been kept outside of the loop) the US have been so actively involved in cooperation and communication of results. The sad part is: we do have the ability to create a world of plenty for everyone, and to restore our economy to a level it has never seen. Yet, no one has the guts to go after the small groupe of interests who have consistently blocked access to the discoveries because it would override any need for money, non-renewable energy and pure speculation.

      The direction this country takes in the next few months will seal its fate once and for all.

  2. Conscience of a Conservative

    Because socialist economies have been so well managed? We may have problems but they are not because of capitalism, they are because of our growing kleptocracy. A socialist economy would just result in political leaders extracting wealth from companies for their benefit(much like we see in China) and worse mis-allocations of Capital than we see now. If we have problems with the banking sector it’s due to the socialization of the risks but not reweards of banking. Instead of socializing the rewards why not remove the protections from those parts of the banking system that don’t serve the greater economy. Banking worked reasonably well for 40 years after the depression and that only stopped being the case after we repealed Glass-Steagall.

    1. Foppe

      Please stop thinking in these simplistic terms. There is no single “capitalism”, so any talk of “Capitalism being the antithesis of socialism” is, I am sorry to say, at best meaningless.
      Public ownership of public services works fine; it did so for decades (if you ignore the fact that there should’ve probably been a few more operational spring cleanings every few years or so) in most of Europe, until, starting in the 1980s, Thatcher and Thatcher-like Third Way coalitions and parties started to offload lots of government functions to the private sector purely in order to create more room for private enterprise to generate profit (and/or simply extract wealth by raising the costs for users, and then using that money to pay higher wages etc. with).

      The reason you can’t simply unprotect banking is because it’s all way too interconnected; as such, any talk of simply ‘letting them fail’ without working on the underlying issue (either because that would be ‘interfering with private enterprise’ or out of a conviction that governments should only act after the fact) is madness. Many issues in the banking sector predate the repeal of G-S.

      1. Ed Seedhouse

        Foppe says:
        July 15, 2012 at 5:58 am

        Please stop thinking in these simplistic terms. There is no single “capitalism”
        This is of course trivially and observably true, but you should also mention that in the same way there is no single “socialism”. Even the Soviet Union would not, I think, have been recognized as socalism by Marx. Rather it was closer to fascism with an education system designed to propagandize it as “socialist”.

        Over the last 100 years or so the evidence seems to show to me that the most “successful” economies are mixtures of “socialism” and “capitalism”. There are area where public ownership and control seem to work best, and other areas where relatively free markets work best. The trick, it seems to me, is to find the right mixture. At the moment things to me to have swung too far in the “market” direction.

        There is, of course, always the possibility that someone will come up with a workable “third way” that is completely diffferent and works better. Until then, though, I expect that some form of mixed economy will outperform either pure captialism or pure socialism (though it could be argued, i suppose, that either in it’s pure form is unachievable in practice.

        1. Andrew

          “There are area where public ownership and control seem to work best, and other areas where relatively free markets work best. The trick, it seems to me, is to find the right mixture. At the moment things to me to have swung too far in the “market” direction.”

          100% agree. It’s so obvious we should unbiasedly observe and rationally analyse our large institutions. Then adopt the appropriate mix of public ownership, cooperative ownership and private ownership.

          It’s the political system that is stopping this happening. Trade unions pushed for public ownership where it was inefficient and innapropriate, Wall street and the City demanded private extraction of rent from efficient public institutions. There is no sentient dialogue in the political sphere, just vested interests grabbing what they can.

        2. AlwaysCensored


          People, please, this is really sad. Let me provide you with some definitions to help you in your confusion.

          Capitalism is people trading freely without having to worry about the guns of the state, i.e. a “free market”. This exists almost nowhere in the world, as we are all forced by the guns of the State to use their fiat “money” to transact, to pay taxes, penalties, fees, tariffs, etc. The extent to which these things exist is the extent to which we have “Capitalism”.

          Socialism is the opposite of that. Socialism is pointing guns at people and sticking them up for a portion of their income, or their sales, or their payroll, or their imported goods, etc. etc.

          The reason you think that capitalism is not possible is because it is not possible CURRENTLY – put away the guns and we might see some Capitalism again.

          Just because you cannot imagine a world in which people are not constantly pointing guns at each other doesn’t mean that such a world is impossible.

          It saddens me that your support for violence is so absolute. Yves is leading the way in that respect.

          1. Heretic


            Your entire post hinges on the following assumption; that without some third party oversight, most persons and institution would engage each other without resorting to some sort of deception or violence (in the arenas verbal, social, economic or physical) to maximize their own gains. This is the libertarian fantasy, and it is patently false assumption about the general human population. The fact that bullying and hierarchies can exist on the playground among grade school children despite teacher oversight, the fact that in any nation of weak laws and government (such as Parts of Africa or Afghanistan), the law of the Gun is the ultimate arbitrator of disputes , is strong evidence that suggests that the libertarian ideals are false.

            An accountable government with guns is bad, conversely a land without a government will eventually devolve into a land governed by the guns of different social groups, which will be just as banif not worse. Where as a democratic and accountable and strong government, with healthy transparency and oversight, and ideally an enlightened vision, can be very good.

    2. skippy

      Worked reasonably well for whom. Capitalism works well for people with with enough capital, not so much, anybody else. Hence all those icky people with their hands out all the time.

      Skippy… BTW on this blog, back in the day, the hole -ism thing was gone over ad nauseam. There is and have been components of all present, at the same time, to various degrees across the states. Its only a matter of whom is the recipient and why.

    3. Conscience of a Realist

      You say “because socialist economies have been so well managed” sarcastically, however the truth is, some have. Look at Norway, Sweden etc. They have the highest standard of living in the WORLD, and very little debt (Norway I think has none, but don’t quote me on that). The word “socialist” is misused and stigmatized, yet it can be interpreted so broadly that simply applying it to a certain case (like China, as you did) and then connecting it to something so very different (like public sector solutions to banking problems) is completely illogical.

      I agree that we certainly don’t want anything resembling China’s government, so fortunately we have something China doesn’t have–ELECTIONS! Any corrupt lawmakers can be VOTED OUT! Do you really think that a society in which markets control everything will be free of corruption? If so, you must be living in a different universe. Corruption is not determined by level of government involvement, but by lack of both transparency and democracy.

      The assertion that we must let markets (in other words, the super wealthy) control everything–or else we’ll end up living in Soviet Russia–is a lie that has been peddled to us for far too long. We need government to play a role in managing our economy, because it’s the only place we have a vote! We don’t get to vote in the corporate world (unless we’re super rich). The notion that all public sector solutions lead to corruption is false. The (actually corrupt) current system leaves a tiny group absurdly wealthy and the rest of us struggling.

      I’m okay with some people being richer than others. But does the gap have to be this wide?

      1. digi_owl

        Sadly the Scandinavian social-democracies (note the last bit, both socialism and capitalism can exist side by side with democracy, despotism, or similar) seems to be privatizing their utilities under a continual import of Reagan-/Thatcher-ism.

          1. Foppe

            How much more growth do they need, and why is “more growth” an argument for neoliberalization?

          2. Conscience of a Conservative

            Because it’s a growing economy that provides the necessary wealth to fund societies objectives.

          3. abprosper

            Sweden’s population is sub-replacment and with immigration control they don’t need growth to keep up with trends.

            Anyway continuous growth is not plausible in a world of limited resources.

          4. James Sterling

            1) Immigration is needed to provide that vital Growth
            2) Growth is vital to meet the needs of an increasing population
            3) The population is increasing because of immigration
            4) Return to 1)

            Who wants all this growth really? The minority who own all the assets, who can employ more labor and collect more rent, the more people there are.

      2. digi_owl

        Btw, if one go back to Marx one see that Russian style communism was not what he envisioned. Instead he considered a nation like Germany but where the workers ran the workplace. That each factory and such would be handled by the very people that work there rather than some suit with no understanding of the daily processes going on. There would still be a management. But it would be elected amongst the workers in a democratic fashion on a regular interval (and with the option for extraordinary elections of the current management was no longer trusted, or wanted to step down).

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          What we have as institutional government is a PATHOCRACY. Explained in a piece written by Siliva Cattori for in 2008: “The Trick of the Psychopath’s Trade: Make Us Believe that Evil Comes from Others” —

          This Pathocracy, thanks to “American” foreign policy has gone global, and it’s a System for .01% DNA Private Profiteering, Private Lebensraum and Private Resource Monopoly world-wide–brought through its .99% Agency du jour working “The Shock Doctrine” based on “The Opium Wars” of the British East India Company and the “forever” City of London Corporation in collusion with its Courtiers in Finance, Religion, and the Military-Industrial/Chem/Pharma Complex. This System is protected and promulgated by the Armed Forces of the System: Today’s “NATO” driven by the CIA, IMF, WB, DOD, Unitary Executive Power from the Puppet President’s throne in USA!USA!–according to the City’s diktat.

          1. Waking Up

            From the link you provided:

            “Political Ponerology presents the subject in a radically different way from other texts about psychopathy, suggesting that the influence of psychopaths and other deviants isn’t just one of many influences working on society, but, under the appropriate circumstances, can be the primary influence that shapes the way we live, what we think, and how we judge what is going on around us. When you understand the true nature of that influence, that it is conscienceless, emotionless, selfish, cold and calculating, and devoid of any moral or ethical standards, you are horrified, but at the same time everything suddenly begins to makes sense. Our society is ever more soulless because the people who lead it and who set the example are soulless – they literally have no conscience. When you come to understand that the reins of political and economic power are in the hands of people who have no conscience, who have no capacity for empathy, it opens up a completely new way of looking at what we call “evil”.”

      3. econ

        Norway a socialist state?? Despite its small population there is much economic evidence of support to the total country that embraces a healthy economy and social benefits. An example of their far reaching vision, the oil revenues are invested in their sovereign investment pool (approx $700B)
        and earn a return. On the other hand, the Conservative provincial Alberta government (for last 40 plus years) has taken the royalties and rents on oil/gas and has approx $12B in a heritage fund. The Conservative governments have used by a huge factor over the years the “oil surplus” for provincial government spending enabling them to be profligate and have in some years a deficit in boom times. Apparently the “oil surplus” for 2011 was $9B.
        Former premier Lougheed was unable to establish a heritage fund that would keep the greedy spending from the next premiers. He also wanted a slower development rate esp the oil sands in order to not make Canada a petrol dollar and have the government remain in control (not the oil oligarchs). The petrol $ has devastated manufacturing in Ontario since 2002. There has never been a fiscally prudent government in North America!!

    4. Austin F

      America is already a ‘socialist’ economy, but just for the rich: Bail-outs, the Pentagon system for industrial development, police state measures to control political opposition, the Fed#’s plunge protection team to rig markets, etc.

      It’s no longer a question of socialism vs capitalism. It’s now a question of developing a humane socialism for the rest of the population.

      1. Me

        Public ownership is most definately one solution to our economic problems. However, only under conditions in which the people collectively have more direct power. The institutions would have to be transparent and those in power would have to have far less power over the general population.

        I also think that a distinction should be made between the government owning and controlling production with monopoly power vs. one in which they are one of many other producers. If the government is involved in production it can lower the costs to consumers in ways the free market is claimed to have only in theory.

        John Bates Clark claimed that “no profit” prices were normal prices. If take a typical undergraduate class, they generally assume “perfect competition”, which means competition so fierce that prices are driven down to the point where profits are possible (or are at the very least very small, which they would call a “producer surplus”. Post-Keynesians might call it a mark up price). This doesn’t exist, nor will it ever. A public institution would not have to pay massive executive salaries, would not have profits (only the costs of capital investment typical of the industry), would typically have lower administrative costs, would be based locally, wouldn’t have to pay dividends. It COULD be run more efficiently, under certain conditions.

        Having said that, lots of changes would have to happen at the grass roots level to even out political power (and with it wealth and income inequality) for this to work as well as it should. I think it should be viewed as a part of a larger overall project.

        1. rob

          the grass roots level has to be in grade school.The depth of the problem is inherent in our culture at this point.even personalities.When we get right down to the problems…they are problems to some..others don’t see it that way.I’m an extremist,always have been.I see the problems in simple points of view.taken to their logical conclusion.Those on the inside..don’t see it that way.

          1. psychohistorian

            That grade school solution is to not graduate any to a higher level that have not become one with the concept of sharing.

  3. Joshua Ellinger

    Should “growth expectations for public companies” be read as “growth expectations for PRIVATE companies” in the first paragraph?

  4. LeeAnne

    We watched; indeed, the whole world watched as three New York City skyscrapers were chemically pulverized on September 11, 2001. ‘We’ have never demanded an investigation. ‘We’ have never looked for the real perpetrators. ‘We’ treat the event as if it were merely a nightmare rather than the crime against humanity that it is.

    This ‘financial weaponization’ (and I might add, also weather weaponization) is being solved/non solved in the same way: pretending the perpetrators are not not in full view, in charge, audacious and volnerable.

  5. rob

    I am a big fan of dennis kucinich’s “NEED” act.HR2990;in the last congress.This would transfer the function of the fed into the treasury.To remove the private creators of money and replace them with a transparent accountable version that acts for the benefit of the people.This harkens back to the “chicago plan” from the late 1930’s.So many issues could be resolved.A lot of people in the financial services industry would need to learn a trade… but so what?Yes,this would be fiat money… but so what? That is what we have now.And instead of leaving vast amounts of profit for bankers to gamble with and pervert our society, it would go to paying for real needs… I suggest everyone take a look at a real plan….a possibility…as opposed to just moving deck chairs around.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      rob, did you hear how they gerrymandered Kucinich’s district?

      Gerrymandering used to be illegal. When did the law change? Or did it?

      1. rob

        I have been aware kucinich is out of a job next congress.And I don’t think anyone is left to take the reins on such a noble undertaking.Look what it got him,ridiculed,laughed at,and dismissed out of hand by the “ORTHODOXY”.As far as the process,I suppose it is just following the rules after the census,as they are interpreted now more than ever.Most states seem to be doing the same thing as a rule now. State wing of a national party hits the majority vote level,and first thing they do is re-arrange the districts around established demographic,voting data so that they can’t lose,at some point in the future. and the cycle goes on.Thats my understanding.My state being North carolina,does the same thing. lawsuits are filed,time goes by… the damage is done.

    2. Carla

      I agree, rob, that at least the Kucinich bill addresses some of the fundamental issues, and nothing will change until we do that. It is tragic that although we in the US have a sovreign currency, it is under the control of the intl private banking cartel and so not being issued into circulation for the benefit of the whole country. Rather, it is being constantly manipulated for the nefarious purposes of a tiny few.

    3. JTFaraday

      “I am a big fan of dennis kucinich’s “NEED” act.HR2990;in the last congress. This would transfer the function of the fed into the treasury. To remove the private creators of money and replace them with a transparent accountable version that acts for the benefit of the people.”

      Well, I guess that’s why the Supreme Court ensured the private creators of money could buy and own the representative government and why the Treasury is already stocked with teh Boyz from Golden Sacks.

    4. Walter Wit Man

      I agree this is a good idea. Transferring fed functions back to the government is so basic it’s unbelievable this is a “fringe” movement.

      It’s good right and left agree to this. It’s good Kucinich is at least probably keying in some lefties to this needed policy change.

      But fuck Dennis Kucinich the weasel. He’s working for the same people Obama and the other corporate Dems are. He too is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s just his clothing is much more convincing than Obama’s.

      Kucinich simply places the left gate where the TPTB have determined they need to place place it to corral as many lefties as possible.

      So thanks Dennis for the proposed legislation. Now get out of the way you weasel.

      1. rob

        Why do you call kucinich a weasel?
        I dislike the democrats as we all should. Personally,I think the republicans are more vile and lower on the scum chain….but kucinich?he is ridiculed by the democrats. The only history of his that I know is his actually fighting for good causes.Like the deal he wouldn’t sign with the local utility as mayor of cleveland?He was pilloried for it. lost the election. had all the corporate money against him… years go by and those people are not stuck with a bad deal,as they would have been if not for him.He has been outspoken in some very good ways.trying to impeach bush..but, I don’t know too much about him.SO.Why the venom?

          1. different clue

            He was abandoned by every one of the near-100 so-called “progressive” Reps in the House who affected an initial support for free-choice Medicare buy-in as a weak substitute for Canada-style single payer. Did he “betray” or was he pressured and extorted to drop his opposition? I wonder what Obama said to him on that plane-ride: “nice wife and daughters you got there, Denny. Too bad if something was to happen to them” maybe?

            One wonders also if the several self-styled feminist Reps in the House who failed to vote down BO Romneycare over the Stupak Ammendment failed because of “betrayal” on their part or because of being subject to some kind of extreme extortion.

          2. Walter Wit Man

            Well then, his duty is to report the crimes. Hold a press conference and demand the AG prosecute. Or he needs to come clean as to what inducement he was given.

            If he is worried about his personal safety the least he could do is resign after passing Obamacare and thereafter make vague references “that he can’t be in politics anymore after seeing too many bad things.”

            But, if he’s not courageous enough to stand up, then like I wrote, he needs to stand aside and let someone in that will stand up for the people.

            He becomes a fucking weasel when he pretends like he’s going to stand up. He had his chance. His moment in the sun. And he threw it to the bad guys.

            Plus, he’s a Democrat. He’s hopeless. I write off ALL Democrats now. There is no good Democrat. There is no justification to make this political deal with the devil on any level.

  6. digi_owl

    I find some of the language confusing, as it references both publicly traded (but in essence private) companies and government/community ownership as “public”.

  7. LeeAnne


    We watched; indeed, the whole world watched as three New York City skyscrapers were chemically pulverized on September 11, 2001. ‘We’ have never demanded an investigation. ‘We’ have never looked for the real perpetrators. ‘We’ treat the event as if it were merely a nightmare rather than the crime against humanity that it is.

    The same is true for the current ‘financial weaponization’ wreaking total destruction on the people of the world (along with, I might add, weather weaponization) that is being solved/non solved in the same way: pretending the perpetrators are not in full view, in charge, audacious and volnerable.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      LeeAnne, yes, Bushie was the choice for Hitler, but he didn’t pull it off completely, although his “trial” of Martial Law did occur in New Orleans after Katrina and The Great Man-Made Flood of 2005.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        And the Bush Dynasty’s WPM effected “Kristallnacht” with the planned destruction of the WTC (His brother was with the WTC “Security” firm BEFORE “the Event” of Shock and Awe in the Homeland. Bushie’s Enron co-conspirator, Tom Ridge of PA, was made the first Director of Homeland Security.

        So many tells. So much cover-up. Bushie the Decider brought the Fourth Reich (official name: Holy Roman Reich IV) onto our soil, into our reality (“We make our own reality.”) on 9/11, there can be no doubt. He is worse than Aaron Burr.

    2. rob

      9/11 a little off subject ranting…but I AGREE!How the hell could an incident that everyone admits transformed the meaning of who we are;be so easily brushed aside….?oh yeah…”you’re just a conspiracy kook”….blah blah blah.. now everyone has the implied permission to dismiss eveything you say…..doesn’t that just beat all?Talk about magic.How the powers that be used “the big lie” tactic as illustrated by hitler in his mein well.I feel I must relate an incredibly interesting tidbit from 9-11.Just one of so many pieces left out.
      the chicago fbi office:agents robert wright and vincent have a case open on two of the future 9/11 hijackers from 1998-2000,as well as their money man,a saudi businessman named yasin al-qadi who owned P-TECH software company.They were ready to close the case and arrest these people,when the fbi office “radical fundementalist unit “desk .head (dave frasca?sp)comes in and shuts the investigation down,saying let sleeping dogs lie”.At the same time,the then illinois atty gen.Patrick fitzgerald,also has a case against these soon to be 9-11 hijackers ready to wrap up… when the federal atty gen /justice dept…closes that investigation.These hijackers are effectively protected by the clinton administration.A real interesting side note on yasin al-qadi and his company P-TECH is that at the same time,this company which has super top secret clearance from the US gov’t was in the process of computer system overhauls for such agencies as :FBI,CIA,SECRET SERVICE,NSA and several others…..”ain’t that a bitch?”
      so many unresolved issues for something we all saw.

  8. joebhed

    Public ownership of what?

    How about the national money system?

    The reason for the excessive concentration of wealth at the top is really very simple.
    The banks own this country.
    And their vehicle for ownership is the money system.
    They issue all of the nation’s money – as a debt.
    And they issue it on that short-term, and short-sighted, perspective.
    It is called ROI.
    Investment decisions for ALL of the nation’s money by the nation’s bankers, those that control the money system, are based on the quickest and highest “RETURN” to the investor.
    How short-sighted can we get?

    Only the reforms proposed by Congressmnan Kucinich in his H.R. 2990 Bill are capable of reversing this wealth-concentration paradigm.

    It’s a pity that the BoE economists are missing the foundation issue of money-creation.

    For the Money System Common

    1. Professor Galt

      Before advocating the idea of giving the federal government direct responsibility for printing the currency it uses to run deficits, I suggest you more thoroughly investigate how Zimbabwe handled its 2007 problems.

      1. rob

        What does the example of zimbabwe have to do with anything?Are you saying that the bill proposed by kucinich will leave a person in charge to do anything that person wants,and have no others to modify their actions?Seriously?Are you saying that the US will find itself isolated by the world at large, with nothing to offer but printing worthless paper?

      2. Walter Wit Man

        I suggest before you make such silly doomsday predictions about the people controlling the people’s money supply you look at:

        The private bankster ALREADY printed money for themselves–something like 100-300% of GDP!

        We could have “printed” the same amount but for the people. We could have easily shored up Social Security, for instance. Or paid off all underwater mortgages. $1 Trillion a year could have gone to a jobs program.

        Instead, we just printed that money for private bankers.

        Your Zimbabwe comparison is so silly it’s not even intended as serious commentary–just an online jab you learned to parrot from the corporate hand you have up your ass.

      3. joebhed

        Silly, prof.

        Compare the Congress Assembled approving a budget that includes new-money creation annually to a Dictator printing A BILLION TIMES the amount of national currency in circulation – IN ONE YEAR.

        Why not say what is wrong with Congress actually having the power GRANTED by the Constitution, and WON in the War for Independence.

        The Kucinich Bill is modeled on the 1939 Program for Monetary Reform, jointly authored by among the most prominent academic economists in the country(Yale, Princeton, Chicago) and PUBLICLY SUPPORTED by over 400 economists at the time.

        And you are a prof. of ??????

        For the Money System Common

    2. rob

      Thanks for the link to the proposed bill.joebhed.This thing is so big and meaningful, we ought to be talking about it more. This is something!

      1. be'emet

        Well Hooray for Joebhed and Rob! Ownership of industry, public/private, a secondary issue. First off for everybody is for the public to gain control of the money system, so to create (by regulated fiat) debt free money, as required. Then, anything is possible, up to the limit of human and material resources (and without inducing inflation). Kucinich’ bill is even now actually before the Congress (mirabile dictu!) and has everything needed to set the example for the world’s nations.

        Once revenue will be no longer required for public expenditures, it will even become possible to look toward an MMT dream, to eliminate taxes on income and transactions, and tax accumulated wealth and property instead.

        All the blather about bailouts from debt will be unmasked. Break the Banksters.

  9. Mickey Marzick in Akron, Ohio

    So long as the assumption that the private sector – private ownership – is more efficient than the public it’s not likely that nationalization/utilitization will come to pass soon.

    The underlying assumption of private ownership is that one will take care of his/her property because he/she has skin in the game. Just ask Jamie Dimon… Yet as “short termism” and “quarterly capitalism” suggest this isn’t always the case. Indeed, many a slumlord is only interested in extracting maximum rent with minimal, if any, maintenance costs expended for the existing structure. And mounting evidence suggests that much of corporate America operates more like a slumlord than it does with longterm capital management in mind – no pun intended.

    The modern corporation with individual shareholders shatters this underlying assumption of private ownership because “ownership” is so effectively diluted that it makes it well nigh impossible for an individual shareholder to affect the decision making of management on a daily basis. Moreover, to the extent that a shareholder is only concerned with his/her quarterly dividend the problem is exacerbated in a self-reinforcing feedback loop.

    Ultimately, instant gratification – a CULTURAL trait – lies at the root of short termism and quarterly capitalism. How did we get to this point? Certainly the reliance on credit has something to do with it. The swipe of the card obliterates the connection between PRODUCTION and CONSUMPTION. There is simply no need to concern oneself with the former as it increasingly comes to be taken for granted. When’s the last time the shelves or car lots were empty?

    While I have wondered what would happen if Exxon-Mobil, for example, were to be “nationalized” tomorrow what would change? Would salaries be pared back? Would the day-to-day functioning of this company change? How would it affect the production and consumption of petroleum products? Would public ownership mitigate short termism or make it worse? DRILL, BABY DRILL? Would public ownership change the “externalization of costs” for which capitalism is so rightly indicted? The environmental record of many government-owned enterprises both here and abroad suggests that it isn’t necessarily a function of ownership. One does not have to nationalize a coal company to stop mountain-top coal mining.

    Public ownership is not the panacea it may be made to sound like if the culture within which it is imbedded cannot get beyond the here and now. Witness the Interior Departement and its various agencies responsible for the oversight of natural resource extraction. Talk about a fire sale – LOOTING – of the family silver! There’s nothing to stop US from setting up a sovereign wealth fund based on natural resources’ extraction like the Norwegians have and then use the profits accrued to invest elsewhere slowly acquiring “ownership” of publicly-traded companies or use the monies to provide health care for all Americans. But the belief that markets are inherently more efficient and government inefficient, that private ownership is sacred and public anything profane, and that tomorrow must be sacrificed to the exigencies of today make it very unlikely.

    Longterm capital management requires longterm societal thinking, something for which the contemporary market is poorly equipped.

    1. rob

      With the founding of this country,there was a chance of an idea to come to pass.Some enlightened thinkers saw that instead of ownership of everything being an inherited right, the ownership of that which is for the common good is owned by everyone…(I know this is a thought/ideal, more than a written gaurentee/practice)this imperfect union they created has had some movement in this direction at times.Loosely enumerated in protecting national parks and sea treaties…..This idea.. should be championed. The reality is that it has been sold out.The national lands are given to private companies to drill/mine natural resources. The contract writers convieniently “forget”to include duties owed to the people.WHY?Because, the “GOVERNMENT”is made up of people who are either looking to move to the private sector or have come from the private sector.The gov’t is rife with oppurtunists….I can’t think of anything important that hasn’t been subverted by people who engineer trainwrecks,to prove this myth that private is better than public.IN THIS COUNTRY.There are examples here and there around the world.Obviously, this inherent weakness must be overcome.In the aim to a more perfect union.

    2. seabos84

      I think one of THE PROBLEMS is that we do NOT recognize costs –

      Remember when McCain & 2 Senators went to a Baghdad market to buy … a bok choy? … and had 100 combat troops with 5 attack helicopters and who knows how many Humvees with 30 and 50 caliber machine guns?? HOW much would it cost to have your own little private army to buy a bok choy ???

      When our banking system is corrupt, when there isn’t enough money to keep the parks and the libraries and the health care and the re-employment trianing and the roads and the buses and the bok choy farmers all moving – it is ultimately going to cost us a private army per person to go food shopping. Hello stupid.

      What does education cost in teh US? 600 billion +/- a year? It costs me about a buck an hour for my 40*52 hours a year. What would it cost to have those 50 million+ K-12 kids running wild in the streets? A hell of lot more than a buck an hour.

      Lets start recognizing costs, AND, charging those costs to the f’king criminals dumping the costs on the community – and lots of those costs would be bye-bye.


      1. Walter Wit Man

        Yeah, just think how much more we pay for privately financing our education individually rather than society financing education. That $100,000 college degree can be something like $300,000 over 20 or 30 years (just to throw numbers out there that sound right).

        We were going down a good road on public education . . . up until a few decades ago when this whole neoliberal propaganda started in earnest.

        Now we are turning people into debt slaves and only the rich will be able to get the new basic degree for ‘professional’ work (a college degree). Public high schools will probably also be further ghettoized and stripped so only the rich will get a decent education.

    3. Nomode

      I don’t think you understand one bit of how the economy. Sorry.

      Nationalizing a company is a loss for society, not a gain. First off, the reasons for this are misdirected. The point is to secure jobs and salary. If this is the case, than there is no insentive to produce, as there is no reward for doing such. This has a negative feedback loop as most will end up not producing. This is not my opinion, its fact. Look at Cuba.

      In the end everyone ends up with little to eat, cars from 1960s, no clothing, no technology, etc. The most important thing is that freedom is lost, you would not dare speak bad of Fidel as he is the almighty god of the land. He, not the people, know what’s best for Cubans. You, the few in this blog, know more than the people what’s good for us.

      1. Me

        “In the end everyone ends up with little to eat, cars from 1960s, no clothing, no technology, etc. The most important thing is that freedom is lost,”

        I hate it when people like yourself post as if you are an expert, when you clearly filter everything through an ideological lense and don’t know anything beyond reality less Austrian school nonsense.

        State owned enterprises have been key to countless countries’ development. Japan, Taiwan, China (China has 69 companies listed in the Forbes 500, all but 2 are state owned), India, France, amongst many others.

        Hell, Japan bailed out, owned and supported Toyota for decades. If they didn’t, Toyota wouldn’t be in the position to make the damn Lexus. Did Japan make a mistake? Should it have let the wonderful “free market” destroy the company?

        Here’s Ha Joon Chang on Toyota. I wonder if the Japanese people have read Hayek and lament their loss of “freedom”.

        Let me start my talk with a little story. In 1958, Japan tried to export this first passenger car to the US market. The company was Toyota, the car was called Toyopet. And, as you can guess from the name, it was a very cheap, small subcompact car, more of a four-wheels-and-an-ashtray kind of thing, which Toyota hoped rich American consumers could pick up as an afterthought, after finishing their grocery shopping with the changes left. Unfortunately, it was a total flop, so much so that Toyota actually had to withdraw the product. In the realm of failures, this is, like, the biggest thing. It’s not just not selling well — it had to be withdrawn from the market.

        This provoked a very heated debate in Japan. The free trade economists centered around the Bank of Japan, the central bank, said, “Look, this is what happens when you go against the theory of comparative advantage. In a country like Japan, which in relative terms has lots of labor and little capital, we shouldn’t be producing things like motor cars, which are very capital-intensive in production.” Of course, at that time, Japan’s biggest export item was silk. So, case proven, already. And they said, “Don’t tell us that you couldn’t succeed because you didn’t have help. You had 25 years of very high tariff protection. We kicked out all the foreign car makers 20 years ago and didn’t let any of them in since then. And back in 1949 this central bank even injected public money into Toyota to save it from bankruptcy. So, please don’t tell us that you couldn’t succeed because you didn’t have help, because you had all the help you can ask for.”

        You know, today, it sounds strange that the Japanese were debating whether to keep producing motor cars. It’s a little like the French having national debate on whether to discontinue wine production or the Scotts deciding whether to do away with the smoked salmon industry. But if you went back in time and thought about this from the vantage point of view of 1958, actually I think the free trade economists made more sense. What was Japan? I mean, Japan’s income was basically at the same level as that of South Africa and Argentina. In 1961, as late as 1961, Japan’s per capita income was $402 in current terms, and Chile’s income was $378. It was a very poor country, whose main export item was silk. Well, luckily for Japan, and I’d say for the rest of the world, which subsequently benefited from efficient Japanese cars, the protectionists won the day, and the Japanese government continued with the support for the industry, and, as you know, the rest is history. So, when you meet a free trade economist next time, ask him what car he drives. If he drives a Toyota or for that matter any other Japanese car, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, OK?

        Here’s Ha Joon Chang on Toyota.

        1. J Sterling

          When countries try to make their own goods instead of importing, free-trade economists call it “autarky”, and mock it as a fortress mentality that makes everyone poor. They invoke the idea of comparative advantage to say that everyone should stick to what they’re good at. Nobody knew the Japanese were going to be good at making cars until they tried.

          But Japan was never going to be an autarkic fortress. What it did with the money it didn’t spend importing cars, and the money it made exporting cars, was import new and cooler stuff. See the work of Jane Jacobs for how import replacement doesn’t mean less international trade. It means more.

      2. Walter Wit Man

        Ha! What crap! Do you have any actual data or facts to back up your fantasy (albeit a commonly peddled fantasy)?

        Nationalization is the best solution for core functions like health care, power generation, communication, and some transportation.

        Take health care. The socialist method to health care is far superior. The profit motive and capitalist collusion have given health care terrorists the ability to make our health care system the most expensive in the world for much worse results than socialist countries like Cuba and even social democracies as in Northern Europe.

        How much is sucked out in insurance company profits alone? The profit motive means insurance companies, for instance, only care about increasing profits–not providing good medical care. They want to increase what you pay and provide as little health care as possible.

        The whole insurance industry is unneeded! It’s nothing but a parasite on the body of the American public. Sucking profits out as people die.

        Cuba doesn’t allow bloodsucking middle men to kill its citizens. Many societies have figured out insurance parasites offer no added value. I would actually prefer Cuba’s health care model to our own.

        Why do you prefer the fascist American system? Do you figure you will end up in the top 20% or so and figure you will do okay? I guess your religion is the ‘free market’, eh? You believe in that whopper?

        1. Andrew

          “The whole insurance industry is unneeded! It’s nothing but a parasite on the body of the American public. Sucking profits out as people die.”

          You’ve hit the nail bang on the head. Here’s just a few things public banks (or non profit banks) could do so much more efficiently and cheaper than the for profit private sector.

          Life insurance, health insurance, car insurance, unemployment insurance, funeral insurance, pensions, home mortgages etc etc

      3. rob

        I don’t think any discussion of nationalizing anything should include cuba as a case history.regardless of the pro’s and con’s of fidels leadership… the tiny island off the coast of america is effectively isolated.It cannot be used as an example of anything,except the effects of pissing off the american establishment.

  10. Benedict@Large

    Let’s see. …

    An entity can’t make payroll, and is finding it impossible to pay off its creditors and service its debt. I’ve heard of that before. It’s called liquidation, or more formally, bankruptcy.

    Is the forced privatization of public assets really bankruptcy by another name?

  11. LeeAnne

    Assuming we still have a legal system, corporate short termism can be reformed simply by changing the law governing corporate charters -a snipet from history

    ‘The joint-stock structure was merely a device for the public to be served … because corporate behavior was regulated “primarily from the char­ter of the corporation itself,” a corpora­tion’s mandate came from the chartering entity: the state.’

  12. seabos84

    1 of 2: OPEN PROCESSES

    Bureaucratic processes need to be flow charted.

    Each task / step should have the median time it takes to accomplish that step / task by the worker assigned that task / step, and by all workers who do that task or step. Citizens should be able to quickly see where their stuff is in the process, and ballpark the time for their stuff to get through the process.

    all organizations should publish a pay to people graph – the x axis should be by $5000 increments, the y axis is bodies per pay increment. ‘pay’ definitions must be simplified to prevent thieving management from getting ‘paid’ 2 grand a year and the organization pays for a private jet and full time suites at the Four Seasons in London, New York and San Francisco.

    people with ideas to make the processes more efficient should be rewarded with a % of the saving (5? 10?) banked as time off. Figure out how to save the 200+ school districts of Washington State 600 FTE of non at school administrators, you get 30 years of your time in the bank to retire early! The 600 get 2 years of retraining at salary, then bon voyage. (pst – we all need single payer health CARE, access NOT dependent on you kissing the a-hole of your a-hole employer)

  13. seabos84


    How many ways can I make money?

    1. I can do a job for you and you pay me – cook you slop, serve you caviar, keep your database running, teach your kids math …

    2. I can loan you money for your go to alaska and get rich scheme and you pay be back a certain amount for a certain amount of time with a certain interest rate.

    3. I can loan you money for shares in your get rich scheme and someday you pay DIVIDENDS and I can sell the shares / collect dividends.

    4. You and I gamble – on the size of farmer jone’s soy crop per acre, on the New England Patriots, on a throw of the dice, at 5 card draw, at cutting the cards …

    5. I sell you stuff that I have that you want.

    There are more ways, but, they’re just more complex gyrations of the first 5. (I think of actually thought of 7 ways … ugh.)

    Here’s a rule: the MORE complex any set of rules or processes, the faster the individual gets screwed by the big organization, the faster the smaller organization gets screwed by the big organization, the faster the community gets screwed.

    TTFN, I’m done saving the world and am going to the Seafood fest to eat some smoked salmon.


    1. seabos84

      opps! ( learning to type on manual typewriters AND needing bi-tri-quad focals )

      I think I thought of 7 ways to make money –

      I thought of #6…

      6. I TAKE your money! (see Wall Street, Congress and all us plebs!)

  14. Capo Regime

    Wow. I wonder if people actually believe any of this. Instead of having poeple of the sort who work at Golman Sachs running the joint we will have the sort of people who work at HUD and Home Land Security running the place. Nice. Whatever you call the institutional arrangements if the elite are psychopaths it will end up like what we have today or like the Pol Pot or titos yugoslavia. Its about people not institutions…..Meet the new boss same as the old boss. Bet ya can fool a bunch of folks into this and then 5 years out they will be sorely disapointed. Democratic party would love this the opportunities for graft, installing affirmative action people in high posts, contracting set asides. Gee maybe the good professor is on to something….whatever…

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Are you kidding me? Jon Corzine and John Meriwether (LTCM) showed how good Wall Street people are at running things. How about John Thain, ex president of Goldman? Or Stan O’Neil of Merrill? Chuck Prince? Dick Fuld? Ken Lewis? James Cayne? And now it turns out (post coming) that supposed MOTU Jamie Dimon is running an organization with admitted material control deficiencies. That level of screw up got Hank Greenberg thrown out of AIG.

      And there are some very well run government agencies. The New York insurance bureau is terrific, they called me 3x within 24 hours of my reporting a problem to them. I don’t get anywhere near that level of service from my lawyers and accountants!

      1. Capo Regime

        Indeed, sarcastic tone does not convey well in comments! Indeed the wallstreet gang is awful–we know that.

        The government gang is not much better–barney Frank, Janet Neapolitano, gang at SEC viewing porn, Justice Department Laweyrs, department of child protective services (insert state here) DMV (insert state here) are horribly corrput and inept. yes, some government agencies are well run–as are many private firms. But do exceptions prove the rule?

        My local bank and credit union works a treat as does my drycleaner and local supermarket. So?

        My point which I failed to convey–all insituions in U.S are corrputed to one extent or another. Even if you change the insitutional arrangements barring major changes in values or adherence to reality nothig wll change as the leadership will be cut of the same bolt….Of coruse if you want the DMV or CPS crew running things I grant you it will be quite amusing….

    2. Nomode

      Nobody believes in this. Somebody is getting paid to push an agenda that suits the needs of the gov. Naked capitalism is it.

      We don’t need more pieces of paper nor a modern jubeelee, we need more producers. We need more food, more clothing.

      If there 10 people in the world, would they not benefit more if each produced something?

      Unless you feel that a piece of paper is more useful than food and clothing…

        1. Nomode

          And you are not joking.

          Suppressing the voice of the people is what you communist/socialists do. You are not for the people, you are for the government.

          I rather have a million ExxonMobils than a fascist/communist/socialist gov that you are pushing for.

          I just hope the masses wake up before you give them “what’s good for them” = the slaughter.

          You can fool some people most of the time, but you cannot full everyone all the time.

          1. Me

            “Suppressing the voice of the people is what you communist/socialists do.”

            Yeah, he suppressed your voice, he called you a troll. Just one step closer to Stalinism. LOL! Grow up. Sorry to say, if anything undermines your ability to convince others, its your simplistic, cartoonish logic and reliance on buzz words. You should assume, when talking with others, that they all don’t already agree with you and that they all don’t respond like Pavlov’s dogs to words like “socialist”. Some people need logical arguments and aren’t trained like mindless little monkeys.

            “You are not for the people, you are for the government.”

            I realize that the government is increasingly made up of pepole disconnected from the general public. However, could that have anything to do with people voting fools into office who have an ideological objection to the institution they work for? Does it have anything to do with people in positions of power having a strong, fundamentalist disregard for the collective good? If I were 100% ideologically opposed to corporations themselves, if I loathed the institutions and for some reason I was given control of a corporation and had the power to see my ideological biases through, I would undermine them, underfund them, farm out as much of the services as I could to non-corporate entities. Would that corporation work as well as it should? Would it be as efficient as it should be? Would anyone put someone like that in charge of the corporation? If so, would those people be able to blame the corporate form itself (at least in this instance)? Or would it be more logical to point out that a person ideologically opposed to corporations was put in charge of one?

            What people like yourself have is a self fulfilling prophecy. In decades past, it was assumed that people in government had to have SOME concern for the general good. I don’t mean to romantisize the past, but none the less it was assumed that they cared about the country at large at least a little. It was assumed that they had to have SOME concern for working people, since working people are the majority of the population at all times. Now, we have a bunch of corrupt, sociopathic, anti-social right wingers in government. They hate working people, claim the collective doesn’t exist, are ideologically opposed to the institution they work for and they rip off the tax payer and working people left and right. People like yourself put them in power then use their horrible actions as a justification to put more horrible people in power.

            “I rather have a million ExxonMobils than a fascist/communist/socialist gov that you are pushing for.”

            My god. Of all corporate examples you could use, you pick Exxon. So fascism, communism and socialism are the same thing?


          2. Walter Wit Man

            I suggest you look at the history 100 years ago. The ‘Whatever it is I’m Against It’ blog reads the New York Times and this is the era when socialist papers were dominant in America.

            It was an interesting time when capitalists were under siege so they conspired and cheated and kneecapped socialists and have been able to control the major economies since. Mot importantly, they have figured out how to maximize the propaganda.

            This blog does a really good job of showing how Britain (with the U.S. following) used propaganda to support WWI:

            And then Wilson lied to America and entered the war and then with the Espionage Act and the Immigration Act and enforcement of the Sedition Act and the attacks on lefties the capitalists were able to ‘win’ by brute force.

    3. Foppe

      Has it occurred to you that (especially the GOP, but also the democratic party, though to a slightly lesser degree) are deliberately assigning incompetent people to head government agencies, in order to create the appearance that “big government is incompetent”?

      1. Capo Regime

        Not really. Lately government work is as deamining and horrible as work in some corporate cube farm. Go walk around the halls of a government building (I do it from time to time actually) that is not part of defense or homeland security and its a depressing and ghastly state of affairs. HUD had a leaky roof for a year and tarps everywhere, systems run on COBOL, 7 of 10 people around are contractors and may are set aside and so the tyranny of low expectations.Dpartment of ED is one of Dantes outer rings. At AG I knew a brillaint unviersity of Wisconisn PhD who worekd for two decades producing the bean report. Its bad everywhere–the government and private distinction is overdone….tyrancinal oligarchs are tyranical oligarchs no matter what you call it…..

        1. LeonovaBalletRusse

          CR, Bushie stacked the deck with “Liberty University” shills, grotesquely incompetent as civil servants, but quit effective slaves for .01% Reich agenda.

          He purposely had all competent civil servants gotten rid of. See FEMA before and after Bushie. The Ultraconservative Destruction of Effective Government was fully intentional, and Bushie led the destruction with a vengeance.

      2. JTFaraday

        Or maybe, like the SEC and the DOE, they hired people who think they are part of the industry and that’s why they’re incompetent.

  15. LeeAnne

    Not only were three (3) New York City skyscrapers pulverized by weaponized chemicals on September 11th, 2001 along with thousands of people that day by criminals while the most powerful military force on earth in history stood by, they have been enhancing their personal and institutional power against the American people ever since. The perpetrators of that abomination, that horrendous crime against humanity who have gone uninvestigated, unidentified, and unpunished, are the same criminals who engineered the final coup of the US Treasury in 2008 (see Hank and Nancy), are currently abolishing the civil rights of American citizens in preparation for war against them within their own country militarily to enhance the paper and propaganda war against them, they are also hiring and running goon squads unaccountable to any rule of law currently highly visible and active the airports, soon to come to a neighborhood near you, authorizing insider trading by the same people who write the corporate laws, and financing Ponzi schemes that are, as we speak, impoverishing and dominating the world’s populations with counterfeit digits created at will into inifinity (if seven hundred trillion isn’t infinity, pray tell, what is?), while we continue to discuss things as if all of this is normal.

    my my, talk about short termism. Avoiding the conversation may be short term good for your health, long term it is a miserable death.

    1. LeeAnne

      not only pulverized, but the remaining evidence shipped out of town with undue haste. Surely, that crime can be traced.

    2. LeonovaBalletRusse

      The U.S. “refusal” to join nations abiding by the law of the International Criminal Court–even though it is based on principles established at the Nuremberg Trials, for which the U.S. led the prosecution–is a TELL of the U.S. 1% INTENT to engage in War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity, which our “Unitary Executive” Despots have done with gusto, especially from Nixon-Kissinger unto Obama-Kissinger.

      1. LeeAnne

        World government is no solution. The American Consitution and Bill of Rights with checks and balances has been the envy of people all over the world.

        Suggesting it be buried just because its been bloodied, spit upon, and torn to smithereens by criminals is criminal in my now so humble opinioin.

        I wonder just whose side you are on since you have deviated from your usual opinions to attack someone on this blog earlier today for commenting that the American elections have become a sham and should be avoided. I think you said he must be ‘brain washed.’

        You need some brainwashing.

        1. LeeAnne

          the gulf between your articulation when you’re tutoring on the blog and providing book lists and the banality of those you use to attack and push your political agenda is a ‘tell.’

        2. LeonovaBalletRusse

          But “Justice” has been neutered and criminalized, as has Congress. Why no impeachment? Why no indictment for treason? Why no RICO? We cannot help ourselves any more than Germany could, after the Third Reich was installed. Our Constitution and Bill of Rights have been trashed, just as the Weimar Constitution was trashed.

          1. LeeAnne

            Leona, Naziism couldn’t have succeeded with its atrocities without the assistance of American banking and corporations. that’s well know. I’m surprised you don’t know that.

        3. hermanas

          Yes, will “national security” morph to “inter-national security”, meaning elitist security?

          1. LeeAnne

            a peaceful revolution is possible if we rely on the US Constitution -get rid of SCOTUS. They’re the dons in this situation.

            Notice in Egypt how the US/Hillary intervened with a call for ‘elections.’ You see how that turned out without a constitution. Notice how US ‘reforms’ in the Middle East are going. Notice how the worst, the Taliban, et al get the upper hand -scuse, how they’ve been armed for the upper hand.

  16. LeeAnne

    didn’t see your comment up there Yves. Good work as usual, but with a genuis and more patience and talent for detail than I would have believed possible for any one human being if I hadn’t had the pleasure not only of following your work over the years, but been given the privilege of participating occasionally.

  17. LeeAnne

    Just one more thing. I’d like you all to think about the purposes to which all this wealth disparity is being put to use. One example: Sandy Weill’s big fat ass with his friends and relatives sitting on his private jet seats covered with silk by Hermes.

    And his recent sale of an apartment at 15 CPW for $70ml to a Russian criminal oligarch for use, he said, by his NYU student daughter turned that turned out in the tabloids to be another scam to cheat his ex wife of that 70 mill -blah blah blah

    Trash for trash.

  18. Nomode

    Sorry state of Naked Capitalism. Are you for the people Yves?

    Than why do you ban them for voicing their believes? If banning is not enough, you send in the hacker crew. I’m sure you depend on some public re-enforcements from papa Obama.

    Dangerous waters here folks, dangerous waters.

        1. Nomode

          Just like you are also medicating the masses ahhh?

          And no denial anymore… my guess is we are close to total gov takeover…

          God help us…

    1. Me

      Yeah, very dangerous waters here. If you anonymously post some illogical, simplistic comment, people might call you out. What a world.

  19. jsmith

    These types of discussion are good for no other reason than shining a light on all the seemingly clever/intelligent people who have been so completely brainwashed by the neoliberal inverted totalitarian propaganda that they can’t get outside of thinking of The Market as some sort of god that just MUST be included in any system.

    Peruse some of the comments here, go to the NYT times, the Economist, anywhere, and you’ll find well-written responses that all have the inherent taints of well-ensconced propaganda: some version of the neoliberal market economy must survive in any given solution.

    The main propagandistic aim of inverted totalitarianism is that the economic system – at present, neoliberalism – is paramount to the political system so that no matter the political belief, the economic system lives on.

    Thus, rather than having one Aquinas who will in a single work prove that God does indeed exist and that all of our actions roll up into his existence, we have instead a seemingly “free” society with millions of mini-Aquinases all dutifully copying out their own personal Theologicas in which no matter what the proposed solution to our present ills, everything still must roll up into The Market.

    It can never be enough to just say, “Stop this f*cking fascist madness as it is going to destroy humanity and the planet!”

    Instead, one must have a thorough and complete substitute – a counter-Theologica, if you will – all ready to go before the acolytes will even begin tearing it apart with a battery of well-worn propa-mantras – socialism, Marxism, Stalin, Fidel, etc etc.

    The first goal of everyone should be to stop what is going on right now and worry about what changes those will bring later.

    The further privatization of resources is complete and utter madness and which will inevitably lead to increased suffering and most likely its end.

    All the “intelligent” people are so seemingly worried about the potential and future “horrors” of a post-neoliberal world that they can’t even concentrate and focus on ending the very real horrors we are witnessing right now day after day.

    Better to worry about troubles we don’t even have, than to address the ones we suffer under now.

    1. jsmith


      The further privatization of resources is complete and utter madness and which will inevitably lead to increased suffering for humanity and most likely its end.

  20. F. Beard

    Before we go from fascism to socialism, how about we give “ethical capitalism” a chance? Who knows? We might like it!

    1. Nomode

      Should be “we”. You are so smart here that only you know what’s good for us?

      How about letting people pick?

      How about that?

      1. F. Beard

        How about letting people pick? Nomode

        But of course!

        However, our current system is banker fascism which gives ordinary people only two choices – borrow or be left behind.

        1. Nomode

          Than how about asking for fair game instead?

          If the rich and banks are incompetent, don’t you think it won’t be long before people catch up?

          The gov has looked and continues to look the other way while they stolen, let’s not be naive here.

          1. F. Beard

            If the rich and banks are incompetent, don’t you think it won’t be long before people catch up? Nomode

            The system co-opts many of the most competent people which is why it continues. Look at Herman Cain. He be a black central banker!

            The money system it immoral but it is legal. That’s all that matters to most people.

          2. F. Beard

            The bailouts should have gone to the victims of the banks, the general population.

            See Steve Keen’s “A Modern Debt Jubilee” for more details.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      The Victorian Imperial Stormtroopers speak with such contempt of the Other.

  21. jacksmith

    “Give me Liberty, or Give me Death!” – Patrick Henry

    What a brilliant ruling by the United States Supreme Court on the affordable health care act (Obamacare). Stunningly brilliant in my humble opinion. I could not have ask for a better ruling on a potentially catastrophic healthcare act than We The People Of The United States received from our Supreme Court.

    If the court had upheld the constitutionality of the individual mandate under the commerce clause it would have meant the catastrophic loss of the most precious thing we own. Our individual liberty. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Supreme Court.

    There is no mandate to buy private for-profit health insurance. There is only a nominal tax on income eligible individuals who don’t have health insurance. This is a HUGE! difference. And I suspect that tax may be subject to constitutional challenge as it ripens.

    This is a critically important distinction. Because under the commerce clause individuals would have been compelled to support the most costly, dangerous, unethical, morally repugnant, and defective type of health insurance you can have. For-profit health insurance, and the for-profit proxies called private non-profits and co-ops.

    Equally impressive in the courts ruling was the majorities willingness to throw out the whole law if the court could not find a way to sever the individual mandate under the commerce clause from the rest of the act. Bravo! Supreme Court.

    Thanks to the Supreme Court we now have an opportunity to fix our healthcare crisis the right way. Without the obscene delusion that Washington can get away with forcing Americans to buy a costly, dangerous and highly defective private product (for-profit health insurance).

    During the passage of ACA/Obamacare some politicians said that the ACA was better than nothing. But the truth was that until the Supreme Court fixed it the ACA/Obamacare was worse than nothing at all. It would have meant the catastrophic loss of your precious liberty for the false promise and illusion of healthcare security under the deadly and costly for-profit healthcare system that dominates American healthcare.

    As everyone knows now. The fix for our healthcare crisis is a single payer system (Medicare for all) like the rest of the developed world has. Or a robust Public Option choice available to everyone on day one that can quickly lead to a single payer system.

    We still have a healthcare crisis in America. With hundreds of thousands dieing needlessly every year in America. And a for-profit medical industrial complex that threatens the security and health of the entire world. The ACA/Obamacare will not fix that.

    The for-profit medical industrial complex has already attacked the world with H1N1 killing thousands, and injuring millions. And more attacks are planned for profit, and to feed their greed.

    To all of you who have fought so hard to do the kind and right thing for your fellow human beings at a time of our greatest needs I applaud you. Be proud of your-self.

    God Bless You my fellow human beings. I’m proud to be one of you. You did good.

    See you on the battle field.


    jacksmith – WorkingClass :-)

  22. LeeAnne

    There is no mandate to buy private for-profit health insurance. There is only a nominal tax on income eligible individuals who don’t have health insurance. This is a HUGE! difference. And I suspect that tax may be subject to constitutional challenge as it ripens.

    Problem is IRS with interest and penalties which can become life threatening anxiety.

    Your point of view is fascinating. Please elaborate or privide a link for more information. I’ve been unable to think about this beyond the damned if you do or don’t ObamaCare -without eliminating private health brokerages (there’s no insurance here) by simply expanding Medicare with billions more for eliminating fraud in the system -there was too much date with too little information out there for me to handle.

    Your point of view is encouraging.

    1. Walter Wit Man

      I think this is parody.

      The part you quote accurately parodies the Supreme Court’s reasoning. Read the decision if you want to subject yourself to more of this reasoning.

      The parody neglect to mention the kick to the nuts to people that wanted the Medicaid expansion. That was probably point # 1 in the “goodies” that Obamacare promised to deliver.

      So after the Progressive Caucus whittled the “robust public option” down to a shit burger, the Supreme Court pissed on it and we all get to eat this thing in a little over a year.

      Mandate . . . approved.

      Medicaid expansion . . . at the mercy of the states (and even the *good* states are cutting Medicaid generally).

      Now just wait until they make health care debt nondischargeable in bankruptcy so to as increase the number of debt slaves that get their Social Security checks garnished (what’s left of it).

    2. hermanas

      We’re paying taxes now, budget priorities should be examined. Health, safety and welfare are not being treated equally.
      Thank Yves for a free press.

  23. Hugh

    In a kleptocracy, both private and public options are non-starters since both can be and are used as vehicles for looting.

    The real question is what kind of structures, if and when kleptocracy is overthrown, best serve to keep it from recurring. At heart, this is not a public/private issue. It is learning to live without elites. Our society needs expert knowledge to function. It does not need the hereditary system of wealth and privilege of elites.

    Because finance has proved to be the engine of kleptocracy, its power to do harm to us and our society should be minimized. There is no reason not to turn retail/plain vanilla banking into a public utility and to incorporate the Fed into the Department of the Treasury. However, with regard to retail banking, such a public utility function could be handled either by a new public entity, the Post Office, or tightly regulated private banks like credit unions.

    Re this last possibility, there is nothing to say there can’t be mixed solutions. The two best healthcare systems in the world are the French and Australian ones. As with our own Medicare, the payer, the entity that distributes payments, is public, but the system of caregiving is private, with incentives and regulation to see that caregiving is accessible to all. (If skippy is around, he can correct me or add on if he likes.) The advantage of these models is that they provide universal coverage, better outcomes, choice, flexibility, and do so at about half the cost per capita of what we have in this country now and under Obamacare.

    But again all this is moot as long as the kleptocrats and their enabling elites remain in power.

  24. Susan the other

    I thought we would see the big DOW corporations tank before now. Their earnings are getting shaky. When the rout comes where is all the money that escapes going to go? Treasuries for some negative returns? The system is totally topped out. It is time for a new productivity; one based on conservation of the environment and the social commons. My favorite new description of what we need is “a lot of low productivity jobs with high social value.” Nice. It’s an idea whose time has come.

    I’m curious to see how big capitalism adjusts. How big pharma morphs; how big agriculture and monsantoculture will survive in a world rapidly becoming pure food conscious. Will local economies revive? Along with the reality of the exhausted business model of big corporations extracting short term gains from their own future, and big banks run amok, comes the willingness to find ways that work. I’m hoping single-payer comes sooner than later. The savings of at least one trillion a year will almost pay for itself. I’d like to see more public transportation – I think it would pay for itself by reducing our oil imports and pollution expenses. Education could be free. There is no reason why not. It would pay for itself a million times over. There are some things the “market” just can’t do no matter how they try to fake it. The market will never be interested in environmental cleanup; there is no cash profit in it (unless of course there is fraud and graft at the public expense… one of capitalism’s favorite business models – like dumping a load of toxic trash in the ocean – you know) – this is part of Alperovitz’ point. We’re all pretty sick of the same old way of doing things, or more correctly not doing things.

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