2:00PM Water Cooler 4/10/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


Former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee (D) launches exploratory commitee [Rhode Island Public Radio]. Chafee: “unilateral military intervention has damaged American interests around the world.” My first debate topic… Plus ca change…

The S.S. Clinton

Clinton writes a pre-launch epilogue for Hard Choices, about the birth of her granddaughter [HuffPo]. Call me a sloppy sentimentalist but I hope Charlotte is covered by single payer by the time she’s ten, and we don’t go to war in Iraq again.

“When the presumed Democratic front-runner announces her 2016 bid in [on Sunday], expect a Facebook post, a video, maybe some tweets. Then it’s off on the trail to meet one-on-one and in small groups with voters in the early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada” [WaPo]. This is smart; it’s what Clinton did post-February Caucus debacle in 2008, when she won all of the big states and the popular vote, if all the votes are counted. The press didn’t notice because they were too busy burnishing their resumés for the White House press operation. (Politico does a happy dance because they called their shot on March 27. Ahem.)

“They are going to raise in one week what some Republican presidential candidates are going to raise the entire cycle,” said one Clinton aide” [Daily Beast].
The campaign is “expected to be a $2.5 billion effort, dwarfing the vast majority of her would-be rivals in both parties” [New York Times].

Democratic populism: “How do you balance reflecting some of the concerns of the base without alienating the voters that you need to win the general election?” [Wall Street Journal, “Liberal Democrats Try to Push Hillary Clinton Left”] Concrete material benefits.

Clinton is “the single point of failure” for the entire Democratic Party [The New Republic]. What could go wrong?

Republican Establishment

Jebbie delays picking foreign policy campaign advisor for fear of offending warmongering neo-con donors [Wall Street Journal, ” GOP Foreign Policy Factions Tussle for Sway in Jeb Bush Campaign Team”].

Republican Principled Insurgents

Paul: I would “never take the country to war without just cause and without constitutional approval of Congress.” USS Yorktown in the background [Herald-Leader]. Guy’s a loony!

Pastor who spoke at Paul rally: “In five years we’ll find out what [Obama’s] real religion is” [Buzzfeed]. Let the oppo begin!

Republican Clown Car

Christie and Bridgegate. I think this is a brilliant and useful diagram, worthy of careful study [New York Times]. But I’d be interested in what readers think.

“This tool allows users to visualize and explore differences in public opinion about global warming in the United States in unprecedented geographic detail” [Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies].

“Under this scenario, Democrats still start with an Electoral College lead of 191 to 164 for Republicans, but it’s not nearly as large as the traditional “blue wall” framework of 247-191.” With handy map [Cook Political Report]. “[T]here’s no such thing as a permanent Electoral College coalition.”

The Hill

Elizabeth Warren: The system works “to make sure that the tender fannies of the rich and the powerful are always carefully protected” [Vox].

“Long knives” out for Social Security as Warren and some other Democrats want to increase it [HuffPo].

Stats Watch

Import and export prices, March 2015: “there’s scant signs of any inflationary pressures” [Bloomberg]. “The strong dollar is a central factor that is pulling down, not only foreign demand for US exports, but also prices of foreign imports.”


“Scarcity is the crucible of good governance. Shedding light on what countries are actually doing to manage freshwater and wastewater is the focus of the OECD report” [OECD Insight].

Moral suasion vs. private incentives for water management [Marginal Revolution].


Sanders: “I am worried about whether any candidate who represents the working class and the middle class of this country will ever be able to beat the billionaire class” [HuffPo]. After Rahm’s squillionaires bought him all that TV time.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

A look at Privacy International, a London-based anti-surveillance advocacy group founded 25 years ago [Fusion].

“The Great Cannon, the researchers said in a report published Friday, allows China to intercept foreign web traffic as it flows to Chinese websites, inject malicious code and repurpose the traffic as Beijing sees fit” [New York Times].

“This post describes our analysis of China’s “Great Cannon,” our term for an attack tool that we identify as separate from, but co-located with, the Great Firewall of China. The first known usage of the Great Cannon is in the recent large-scale novel DDoS attack on both GitHub and servers used by GreatFire.org” [Citizen Lab]. This is the real deal; here is the New York Times coverage.

Workplace Watch

Police cams create problems of their own: how to analyze, process and store the mountains of video each camera generates [Wall Street Journal]. I don’t like the idea of cams in every workplace at all, and I think that’s what police cams lead to (and some assume that the cops can’t game the cams. Dubious). FWIW, I think the answer is to get cops out of their cars, make them walk the beat, and ideally take their guns away.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Why was Walter Scott running? [The Marshall Project]. One idea: “In South Carolina, at least one in eight people in jail are there on contempt-of-court charges related to late or unpaid child-support orders,” and he didn’t want to be among them.

Atmosphere piece on North Charleston, from a local paper [The State]. Compare: “To many black residents, the overt hatred and segregation that ruled this place during the Jim Crow era has morphed into something more insidious: the routine traffic stop” [Los Angeles Times].

Class Warfare

“There’s already almost $800 billion in student loans that’s directly on the government’s balance sheet, according to Wall Street experts who advise the U.S. Treasury on its borrowing strategy” [Bloomberg]. Ah, “Wall Street experts.”

Hold on to your wallets; former Enron trader and hedgie squillionaire John Arnold wants “pension reform” [Reuters]. Like rats in a grain warehouse. We need some cats!

“If healthier wage data keep coming, interest-rate rises from the Federal Reserve will soon follow” [The Economist].

News of the Wired

  • “Louis C.K.’s Crabby, Epic Love Letter to NYC: ‘Everyone’s Dealing with the Same S— … Elbow to Elbow'” [Hollywood Reporter].
  • “A null process—which takes its name from the concept of null pointers—is what happens when no formal process is put in place” [Kate Heddleston]. Important and interesting.
  • “You Stay Classy, Dallas: How a Texas Sports Anchor Became an Internet Sensation” [Grantland]. Dale Hansen. Liberal.
  • Former Philippines President Arroyo’s trial for plunder to proceed [Rappler]. I love “trial for plunder.” We should have a charge like that in this country.
  • “Mars also has belts of glaciers at its central latitudes in both the southern and northern hemispheres. A thick layer of dust covers the glaciers” [phys.org].
  • “Closeted Conservatives of High-Tech’s Heartland” [The Atlantic]. Like Peter Thiel? The trope of the beseiged right-winger is a hardy perennial.
  • Britain’s Labour takes as much as 6 percent point lead, less than a month before the election [Reuters]. Don’t know how that translates into governing, though.
  • “[P]eople who engaged in artistic activities, such as painting, drawing and sculpting, in both middle and old age were 73% less likely to have memory and thinking problems” [CNN] (Neurology).
  • “A growing number of airline passengers, particularly on trips between the United States and Israel, are now sharing stories of conflicts between ultra-Orthodox Jewish men trying to follow their faith and women just hoping to sit down” [New York Times]. Besides being sexist, and discourteous, “following their faith” in this instance is dumb. Let these guys display adaptability and invent an eruv (עירוב‎) that wraps around an airline seat, and everything will be jake. I’m sick of kowtowing to faith. What happens when my faith requires me to talk loudly on my cellphone in the quiet car?

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant, the fourth of “I Wish It Were Spring!” week four (JG):



Does anybody have any gardening photos yet? Too early?

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Vatch

    “I’m sick of kowtowing to faith.”

    Me too! Mark Twain said it well in Following the Equator:

    “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so”

    1. hunkerdown

      Twain was right. What’s wrong is that people consider lying to oneself so that others may exploit you a virtue.

    2. DJG

      Funny about the airlines. None of them ever ask me if the Flying Spaghetti Monster wants them to give me a free bar of dark chocolate to keep me content during the flight. And the FSM does.

  2. Carla

    Apparently Chafee hasn’t read “National Security and Double Government” or surely, he wouldn’t bother.

  3. hunkerdown

    Null process: the neoliberal word for self-organization.

    The attacks against populism are getting ever more sophisticated (in its original sense).

  4. abynormal

    boo lz-ahy anna kendrick…“We should be thanking Apple for launching the $10,000 ‘Apple Watch’ as the new gold standard for douchebag detection”

  5. Bill Smith

    “and we don’t go to war in Iraq again.”

    So bombing there every day doesn’t count at war?

    Or do you mean something else?

    1. Jim Haygood

      Lambert meant boots onna ground:

      There are about 3,000 U.S. troops currently deployed in Iraq, including about 1,300 paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team who deployed in January.

      About 500 paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division will deploy this summer to Iraq and other locations in the region to support Operation Inherent Resolve.


      Shit, they started up the war again and didn’t even invite us.

  6. Jim Haygood

    S.S. Clintitanic

    She can’t win, of course. Like ol’ Hubert ‘His Turn’ Humphrey in 1968, Hillary’s role is to give the R party ‘its turn’ in the standard 8-year rotation.

    But a second purpose of the S.S. Clintitanic is to crush any fresh faces with fresh ideas — Sanders, Chafee, Warren, et al. Status quo parties cannot tolerate giving unvetted newbies a national platform to blurt out all sorts of radical notions that would only upset folks (and sponsors).

    And so the grim Bataan death march to Philadephia (in July 2016) begins. Many casualties will occur along the way. But the national security state will do fine since, by consensus, it will not even be discussed.

      1. Ned Ludd

        Gary Hart, a Democratic senator from Colorado, was set to become president after Ronald Reagan. Then revelations surfaced about an affair with “an attractive young model named Donna Rice”.

        Hart dared the press to follow him and, consequently, became a laughingstock when it turned out that Hart and Rice had “taken an overnight cruise to Bimini on the aptly christened yacht ‘Monkey Business.’”

      2. Vince in MN

        In a democracy she is unelectable. In our single corporate party form of government it is distinctly possible that as the representative of the Other Wing (as compared to the Right Wing) of that party, she could get in. It all depends on the clownishness of the GOP candidate more than anything else. With an expected low voter turnout (a combination of voter suppression laws and general public enui due to 3rd party suppression) anything is possible. It will be mildy interesting to see which wing garners the “mandate”. Between now and Nov ’16 all the campaign rhetoric will be dog-and-pony/bread-and-circuses stuff directed at the sheeple bases, since virtually none of it will be acted upon, except the war stuff, of course.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Chaffee is a Republican thug who likes better music than the average Republican. Let’s not pretend Chaffee is a fresh face or anything. Given his public positions, I’ll vote for him over Hillary, but Chaffee could have left the GOP with Jeffords. He stayed until he lost an election.

    2. binky bear

      If you think the senator from WalMart can’t win you have another think coming. The Clintons just put rural veneer on Chilcoot Charlie’s motto: We rip off the other guy and pass the savings on to you!

  7. NOTaREALmerican

    Oh well, I’m sure it’s nothing that more government run by the nice people can’t solve.

    1. Jim Haygood

      They are, after all, here to help. Here’s how New Jersey helps financially troubled businesses:

      ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) – Atlantic City has started fining the shuttered and now powerless former Revel casino for safety violations.

      The new owner of the property was fined $10,000 on Thursday and will be fined $5,000 daily until power is restored to its fire suppression systems, said Chris Filiciello, chief of staff for Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian. The city has also revoked the building’s certificate of occupancy.


      In a similar case, a former summer camp in northwest N.J. has piled up $2 million in fire code violations since it closed in 2005 (despite no one being there to be endangered). The fines now exceed any conceivable sum that it could be sold for. But still the meter runs! Kick ’em when they’re up; kick ’em when they’re down.

  8. grayslady

    An acquaintance of mine, who runs a business in Rhode Island, was invited to join other economically significant business owners/managers on a business advisory council when Chaffee was first elected governor. According to my acquaintance, the council members came up with numerous ideas to improve the business climate in Rhode Island, but Chaffee never implemented a single recommendation. Once the business owners/managers realized that Chaffee was all hat and no cattle, the advisory council broke up.

    Chaffee has an established track record in Rhode Island. It isn’t one to brag about. I don’t know who he thinks is going to support his presidential campaign.

  9. PlutoniumKun

    Britain’s Labour takes as much as 6 percent point lead, less than a month before the election [Reuters]. Don’t know how that translates into governing, though.

    Electionforecast.co.uk is the most reliable analyser of current polls:


    The weirdness of first past the post means that overall votes are pretty much irrelevant, its all about how it plays out at constituency level (as an example, the Scottish National Party and the Green Party are both at just under 4%, but the SNP are predicted to get around 43 seats, the Greens will be lucky to hold one).

    The polling has been pretty consistent for the last few months, which usually means that bar surprises, the final figures won’t be too far away from the current estimates of around 280 seats each (give or take 30-40) for Labour and the Conservatives. A majority is 326 (although due to abstentionism by Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland probably around 320 or so might do). It looks almost certain that the next government will be a coalition, and on current figures, there isn’t even a 2 party coalition that could get to 326. Most likely I think the only possible coalition would be Labour with SNP and LibDems.

    1. James Levy

      I’ve heard that Queen Elizabeth is absolutely horrified that this late in her reign she’s going to get stuck with a Constitutional crisis where she can’t win. Overall, I prefer Parliamentary systems to the muck we have in Washington where everyone can avoid/deny responsibility for what gets/doesn’t get done, but this is a clear case of where such a system can go off the rails. My guess is she’ll have to appoint a caretaker government and call for new elections.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I think its still reasonably likely that a government will be formed. The two probably options – Con and LibDem, or Labour with SNP and maybe LibDem are a reasonable possibility. The worst case scenario for the Queen I suppose would be both parties unable to get above 270 or so seats, in which case only a minority government or a really crazy coalition (with DUP or various oddballs) would work. I doubt there would be immediate new elections, as the likelihood would be exactly the same result. Most likely a minority government would limp on for 6 months or a year before that happened. But I’d never underestimate the ability of politicians to do a deal when there is a smell of power available for them.

        1. vidimi

          why not a coalition between the tories and labour? they’re practically indistinguishable on most issues.

  10. JerryDenim

    The Hasid’s making trouble on planes story is annoying, but again that’s what they do everywhere so why should they be anymore agreeable and social when they fly. Such ashamed such a tiny subset of assholes give Jews everywhere a bad name.

    Loved the Louie CK interview. He seems like a very sensitive and thoughtful guy compared to his onstage persona. Having just spent a year living in LA after living 12 years in NYC, I would agree with his characterization to a certain extent. Its amazing to me that even middle class people of modest income here seem incapable of rolling their own trash cans to the street once a week, but central american gardeners and valets aside, the wealth in New York is on another level. People in New York who make a 100K or more a year still take the train to Rockaway’s with busboys and cleaning ladies, in LA they would be driving in a financed 60 or 80k car they couldn’t afford while the cleaning ladies and bus boys would be riding in a crappy car or maybe taking a bus. But in New York unlike LA there’s always the finance guys, the old money, and the international elite squionaires who will be flying high above everyone in a private Sikorsky to the Hamptons or to their own private landing pad atop a skyscraper with money beyond most people’s wildest dreams. Those people are not on the subway. The rich in LA live in obnoxiously bigger houses and drive disgustingly expensive cars, but their lifestyles are essentially the same. Everyone here above the poverty line lives fairly isolated lives. So I guess I agree with his characterization for the most part, with the exception of the top 5% of New Yorkers. Me personally I always felt more ashamed of my social status and relative wealth in New York than I do in LA. I think living in constant view of an overclass that had more money than I could ever imagine beat me down mentally over time. Lots of locked doors, VIP lines, tall glassy buildings, chauffeured cars and helicopters that were beyond my status. When I’m on the PCH sitting at a stoplight beside some fat old guy in a $500,000 yellow Lamborghini I feel something more like snarky derision than jealousy or inadequacy. My $30k pickup gets me and my surfboard to Malibu just fine and the weather is undeniably better.

    1. charger01

      Wow- 30k truck! Sounds like your doing well, sir.
      Thanks for your comment- remember that we Americans have incredible creature comforts compared to most of the world. Don’t ever compare yourself to the 0.1%. We’ve got it pretty good…so far.

  11. PlutoniumKun

    Britain’s Labour takes as much as 6 percent point lead, less than a month before the election [Reuters]. Don’t know how that translates into governing, though.

    Electionforecast.co.uk is the most reliable analyser of current polls:


    The weirdness of first past the post means that overall votes are pretty much irrelevant, its all about how it plays out at constituency level (as an example, the Scottish National Party and the Green Party are both at just under 4%, but the SNP are predicted to get around 43 seats, the Greens will be lucky to hold one).

    The polling has been pretty consistent for the last few months, which usually means that bar surprises, the final figures won’t be too far away from the current estimates of around 280 seats each (give or take 30-40) for Labour and the Conservatives. A majority is 326 (although due to abstentionism by Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland probably around 320 or so might do). It looks almost certain that the next government will be a coalition, and on current figures, there isn’t even a 2 party coalition that could get to 326. Most likely I think the only possible coalition would be Labour with SNP and LibDems.

  12. tomk

    I agree, the Christie Bridgegate diagram is excellent. Easier to absorb in a few minutes than a long involved article would have been, though it probably helped that I’ve read a few quite a few articles on that topic already. We should have similar treatments of financial crimes.

  13. Kim Kaufman

    I just got a “Ready for Hillary” email. I unsubscribed. When they asked me “why”? I told them.

  14. steelhead23

    Emanueldämmerung: The only chance progressives have of electing folks is to beat the bucks with charisma. It was charisma that propelled Obama past Hillary in 2008. For example, Bernie Sanders, bless his heart, has only a modicum of charisma and hasn’t a snowballs chance against the Chillary machine. However, Warren has the panache to do it, but won’t. That is the very reason we progressives are so anxious for her to run. She isn’t everything we ever hoped for – but she could WIN.

    1. different clue

      There is evidence that Hillary was powering past Barry on the eve of the 2008 nomination. The DemParty Bosses worked and plotted very hard to prevent a real delegate count at the convention and pressed Clinton very hard to surrender. A blogger named Riverdaughter at a blog called The Confluence wrote about this in some detail.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Dunno if she powered past (I was blogging heavily at that time) but she certainly had parity, but the Democratic nomenklatura had made up its collective mind, and some sort of deal was cut: Hillary not to be nominated from the floor, Bill to give the speech and future speeches, Hillary to be SoS and presumptive 2016 candidate. And all of them, being pros, stuck to the deal, Obama’s caucus fraud in Texas (for example) notwithstanding.

        1. different clue

          I wonder whether some of Riverdaughter’s legacy posts on the matter might be worth linking
          to . . . . in a “read it and weep” sort of way.

  15. words

    Re: “Closeted Conservatives of High-Tech’s Heartland” [The Atlantic],

    and this paragraph:

    They’re the tech company employees, startup founders, and CEOs who vote for and donate to Republican candidates, bucking the Bay Area’s liberal supremacy. Fearing the repercussions of associating with a much-maligned minority, they keep their political views fiercely hidden.

    Huh? The bay area’s liberal supremacy[™]???. California’s Bay Area [Silicon Valley and its perimeters] where for over at least two decades the Black; Brown; Female; middle aged and elder populations have been exponentially decreasing as the unsheltered Homeless (not counted on The Census, since they have “no address [roof]”) in the area exponentially increase?

    Not a dime’s worth of difference at the end of the day between the Republican and Democrat BizNest Thought Fluencers and Politicians in California’s Bay Area [Silicon Valley and its perimeters]; and am particularly sick of ‘highly read’ authors of publications such as the The[!] Atlantic, who don’t live anywhere close to the Bay Area [Silicon Valley and its perimeters], weighing in on the subject as if there is a dime’s worth of difference; particularly when that Bay Area [Silicon Valley and its perimeters] is, and has been, a viciously mean spirited “right winger”’s wet dream; despite being governed, for decades, entirely by “Democrats” in both, California, AND the Senate and House chambers of the “United States Congress.”

    1. hunkerdown

      1. Liberalism is anti-communist, anti-democratic, pro-business, pro-market and *right-wing*.
      2. Liberalism has nothing to do with social justice, except as a business opportunity or an advertising slogan.
      3. The Democratic Party is, indeed, liberal in ideology (FDR’s stab at ordoliberalism notwithstanding), therefore right-wing fascist.
      4. The bourgeoisie need to be told just how unwanted and unwelcome they are on a daily basis, like back in the good old days before Calvinism gave them identities made of 99.44% pure self-importance. If we don’t reject them, how will they learn how useless they are?

        1. skippy

          Did you miss my comment a wee bit back, its Hayek’s latter years mea culpa to his previous paranoid totalitarian period.

          Ordoliberalism is the German variant between social liberalism and neoliberalism that emphasizes the need for the state to ensure that the free market produces results close to its theoretical potential.

          “Everyone has heard of neoliberalism, but not many outside Germany have heard of ordoliberalism. I’m hardly an expert on it either, and in particular I know very little about the particular thinkers involved and the many varieties of each concept. However as an economist it seems to me that ordoliberalism is much closer to economics than neoliberalism.

          The clear difference between the two ideologies involves the role of the state. Neoliberalism wants to minimise the role of government, and in particular is naturally against all forms of state interference in markets. Its attitude to markets is essentially laissez-faire: leave market participants alone. In contrast ordoliberalism sees a vital role for the state, in ensuring that markets stay close to some notion of an ideal market. In particular, ordoliberals believe that without a strong government powerful private interests would undermine competition. This view is often credited with inspiring strong competition laws in Germany, and perhaps also in the European Union (see this paper by Gerhard Schnyder and Mathias Siems). In this respect, Ed Miliband’s proposals for UK banking discussed by Chris Dillow are rather ordoliberal.

          Ordoliberalism therefore seems much closer to the attitude an economist would naturally take. There is a clear sense in which perfect competition is an ideal in certain situations, but no clear reason why this ideal should obtain naturally. There are plenty of reasons why imperfect competition may persist, and only a few may be the consequence of government ‘interference’. There is therefore an obvious role for government to counteract anti-competitive behaviour by ‘big business’.

          From this economics perspective (with apologies to John Kay), there is no reason to limit the role of the state to preventing anti-competitive behaviour. There are many other market imperfections that can be eliminated or reduced through government action. For example externalities can be tackled using particular types of taxation. The very use of the term ‘market imperfection’ seems to match the ordoliberal perspective. Whether this broader view of market failure and a role for state intervention is taken on board in ordoliberal thought is less clear. This is rather important for reasons that I’ll come to.

          Once you see the state as necessary to achieve a market ideal, you need to worry about how you get the right sort of state. Ordoliberal thought sees the same danger of vested interests subverting the ‘proper’ functioning of the state just as they see in big business subverting perfect competition. There seems to be limited faith in democracy ensuring this does not happen (perhaps for obvious historical reasons), and instead a focus on rules and independent institutions. This would include, for example, an independent central bank: again there are parallels with current economic ideas. You can perhaps also see this focus on rules in the Eurozone’s fiscal compact.

          There are of course many respects in which ordoliberal and neoliberal views are similar. One is an antagonism to Keynesian ideas, as I have noted before. Yet even here I think there is a potential difference. The neoliberal rejection of Keynesian demand management, even at the zero lower bound (or within a monetary union), is straightforward – it is a form of government intervention in the market. However it is less clear whether the rather limited Keynesian policies advocated by New Keynesians have to be incompatible with basic ordoliberal ideology. If you see the friction generated by sticky prices as something that generates externalities, then you can see a role for the state in limiting the impact of these externalities. Most of the time (or at the level of the monetary union), this intervention could be handled by monetary policy, but at the zero lower bound or within a monetary union countercyclical fiscal policy could play a role. In other words, while it is clear to me why a neoliberal would be anti-Keynesian, it is not so clear why an ordoliberal has to be.

          So to summarise, I think any economist – if they are open minded – can see the problems with neoliberalism. You might say that neoliberalism borrows from economics only in the sense that astrology borrows from astronomy. Ordoliberalism, because it admits the possibility of market imperfections and a role for the state in correcting them, seems – to adapt a phrase from Margaret Thatcher – more like an ideology that economists can do business with.” – Simon Wren-Lewis Professor of Economics at Oxford University.


          Per comments – Hayek was in this camp re the need for the law to maintain competition.

          Skippy… Sorta like de Soto acknowledging Law defines Property Rights, hence the need for strong government.

    1. charger01

      Yes. The DA might try to boost it to aggrivated homicide to “send a message”. If you make a cop run, you’ll regret it…

  16. Wayne Gersen

    I agree that cameras in cop cars will ultimately lead to universal cameras in the workplace… but note that we are already training our children for such a world by virtue of our desire to “protect” them from intruders by placing surveillance cameras in schools, on buses, and in their neighborhoods. I fear that those of us who grew up “free range” will soon be seen as dinosaurs.

  17. sleepy

    Re: problems with orthodox jewish men and airline seating

    As far as the refusal of certain groups to share public space goes, in 1978 I was traveling on a eurailpass in France which was 1st class train service. On one train I had been up for a good 36 hours and was dressed in a t shirt and blue jeans. I looked a bit ragged. The French bourgeoisie who packed the 1st class car gave me a good look over, with one woman grabbing my ticket and verifying with the conductor that I in fact had the right to be in 1st class. It got so bad that I voluntarily went to 2nd class to sit with a much nicer class of French people.

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