Bad Stimulus: Government Payments to Individuals Are a Terrible Way to Solve America’s Structural Economic Problems

Yves here. Most commentary on the Biden stimulus plan has focused on some of the programs or the overall level of spending, and not the structure and philosophy. This article describes why continuing a classic neoliberal approach is at best a band-aid.

By Albena Azmanova, an associate professor of politics at the University of Kent’s Brussels School of International Studies and author of Capitalism on Edge: How Fighting Precarity Can Achieve Radical Change Without Crisis or Utopia(2020), and Marshall Auerback, a researcher at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College, a fellow of Economists for Peace and Security, and a regular contributor to Economy for All, a project of the Independent Media Institute. Produced by Economy for All, a project of the Independent Media Institute

The new Democratic administration is poised to make its first proud step in delivering on its electoral promise to build back (America) better: the successful adoption of a $1.9 trillion stimulus package, the main components of which are a third round of stimulus checks, a renewal of federal unemployment benefits, and a boost to the child tax credit, as well as funding for school reopenings and vaccinations. It will probably not include a federal minimum wage hike.

Biden’s stimulus is not the stuff of economic revolution—it’s a mix of common sense and keeping the lights on. And the fundamental thinking behind the stimulus approach reflects a continuation of neoliberal policies of the past 40 years; instead of advancing broader social programs that could uplift the population, the solutions are predicated on improving individual purchasing power and family circumstances. Such a vision of society as a collection of enterprising individuals is a hallmark of the neoliberal policy formula—which, as the stimulus bill is about to make clear, is still prevalent within the Democratic and the Republican parties. This attention to individual purchasing power promises to be the basis for bipartisan agreement over the next four years.

The reality is that social programs on health care and education, and a new era of labor and banking regulation, would put the wider society on sounder feet than a check for $1,400.

There are very few federally elected officials who behave as though they understand that economic insecurity can breed political instability and governing paralysis. Globalization, deindustrialization, the contraction of the public sector, and the rise of contract labor via the gig economy have made individuals feel insecure in their private circumstances. This has contributed to the appeal of populist politicians, whose tenures generally are corrosive to liberal democracies. Moreover, these tendencies have together undermined our social contract as a whole, depriving governments of the means and resources to tend to the public interest.

Missing from the frame of thinking that dominates the stimulus debate, therefore, is something essential—the commons, a robust public sector of goods (e.g., energy) and services (e.g., health care) that makes societies resilient to crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and weather-incurred power shortages. Ironically, it is this very deficiency—achieved through decades of cuts to public spending and privatization of public assets—that transformed the COVID-19 epidemic into a public health care disaster (and likewise turned Texas into the equivalent of a broken-down banana republic during the worst of its power grid shutdowns, brought about by decades of adherence to market fundamentalism in regard to public infrastructure goals).

These have been occurring against the backdrop of economic lockdowns that were implemented to prevent the spread of a pandemic and an even greater public health disaster. A veritable Sophie’s choice was imposed because of insufficient hospital capacity and a chronic deficiency of basic protective gear for medical personnel and medical equipment to care for the gravely ill—in other words, more market fundamentalism that eviscerated a robust public health infrastructure. Increasing the number of hospital beds is a worthy objective, but in many instances, this will simply restore cuts to previous programs that were attacked by a private health insurance/pharmaceutical industry complex that prioritized profits and returns on equity over public health considerations.

It is no replacement for the bold social experimentation that would truly address the flaw in capitalist democracies that have dominated the 21st century. If the Biden administration is serious in its ambition to build back better, it must adopt a broader proactive policy approach on these issues, rather than keeping American society on life support through a trickle of stimulus packages that tackle the symptoms, as opposed to the underlying disease.

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  1. vlade

    “The reality is that social programs on health care and education, and a new era of labor and banking regulation, would put the wider society on sounder feet than a check for $1,400.”

    Yes, and no.

    The author ignores the fact that even if Biden had such programmes semi-ready, getting them implemented is not something that happens overnight, at best of times.

    In the meanwhile, the people on the ground need something more than just a promise of a programme that may help them in a year or five. They need help now.

    This is like saying to people who were flooded that the government will build flood defenses. Great, but ain’t gonna do much for property already lost.

    The approach in situations like now has to look at all time horizons, the long, but the short one as well. So getting money out there now IS important (despite the fact that there will be people who don’t need it). But the author is correct that long term it won’t make a difference unless the other, long-term steps are taken too. And there, Biden is AWOL.

    1. jackiebass

      I believe you are absolutely correct. The problem I see in the US is we tend to be reactive rather than proactive. What that means is we deal with things on a short term bases and tend to ignore comprehensive long term planning. Under out present political system this tends to reward select businesses and individuals rather than the common good. There will be no major changes under our two party political system.When in power both parties operate in similar ways. Perhaps if we had more political parties it might dampen the power of the ruling party and promote compromise for the good of all. Unfortunately money rules ,so I don’t have much hope for structural change. We lack universal health care like most other wealthy nations. We let our roads and bridges go to pot but seem to always find money to fund our bloated military budget. The money interest seem to get the cream and the rest of us get a pittance. People believe they elect our government officials. We actually only get to choose what the political parties offer us. The only hope we have of real reform lies with our young people. I do see signs for hope but these reformers are fighting a tough battle. The powerful do everything possible to stamp them out.

      1. Michael B Cooper

        Where we are today as a nation is exactly the result of long-term planning, just by people who don’t have the common good as their goal.

        1. Ian Ollmann

          In part this is because the American people are not clear headed about what policies would get them to what they need. The American people writ large don’t have the common good as their goal. A big segment doesn’t care what damage is done to them as long as it is done worse to minorities. Another big segment have written off deplorables as a segment who doesn’t deserve help. We spend all our time crushing the other guy because we are too afraid of helping the “wrong people” all in the name of a failed zero sum theory that “nobody” talks about but seems to be part of the unspoken agreed upon set of basic facts in our culture. The net result is we are our own worst enemy.

          So, no, while there are exceptions, I don’t think we in quotes is really necessary here.

          1. Rudolf

            Increasingly crapified education programs starting in the late 60s. Americans have always been more interested in addressing symptoms while ignoring causes. This is also caused in part by the crapification of education and almost any other public good, including health care. Extreme wealth for the power and money addicts, a few peanuts for everyone else. As Biden said, “nothing fundamental will change.” It might be time for Americans to learn Chinese or maybe German.

        2. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

          Right? It’s like Bill and Melinda, Bono, Lynn, and Klaus making detailed plans for all the NPCs.

  2. MDA

    I really dislike the headline but I generally agree with everything the author’s saying. I do think Universal Basic Income, i.e. government payments to individuals, would be a critical element of structural reform. For the sake of the planet if nothing else, we absolutely need to sever the connection between minimum income and employment. It’s not necessary for everyone to work in a paid job in order for the country to produce everything people need to live. If essential needs were freely provided to everyone through universal government programs, paid jobs could be limited to the subset of people who want to work while everyone else could stay home and leave a smaller carbon footprint. It doesn’t make sense to demand of employers that they provide minimum wage (plus social security & unemployment tax) and healthcare when those things could rightly be considered public goods. All the current system does is make employers resent the government and endeavor endlessly to undermine and co-opt it. I’ve really come to believe in UBI government payments to individuals is an essential element of structural reform.

    1. tegnost

      For the sake of the planet if nothing else

      Wouldn’t a UBI ensure consumption? It’s a crutch for a crippled system.

      1. Ian Ollmann

        The goal here would be to ensure basic needs are met. So, yes, giving money to poor people helps them make sure their needs are met. If we just starve the poor, then a capitalist economy won’t serve them, because they have no money and by definition there is no profit in it. Giving money to the poor turns the wealthy to productive use, coming up with new, innovative and profitable ways to ensure the needs of the poor are serviced. If we just give the money to the wealthy, then they can just collect the money without doing anything to help their fellow man. A starve the poor system is a corrupt system.

        It would be nice if capitalism self organized into an egalitarian system wherein workers were paid a generous share of the profit, they spent more, energizing the economy leading to prosperity for all. Unfortunately, because it is more efficient from the perspective of the capitalist to not pay their workers and keep the money for themselves, capitalism doesn’t inherently have egalitarianism as its end goal, or at the very least, the captains of industry, the capitalists, generally don’t share that goal.

        Consequently, we have to look at various forms of “flawed capitalism” that realistically can exist as an alternative. A capitalism with various regulatory controls to curb risk shifting behavior, and one that taxes the wealthy to return capital to productive use by everyone, is one solution to a “crippled” system. I personally find it disingenuous to call the current system “crippled” when the “healthy” archetype can’t exist (for long).

        At the end of the day, individuals must have tenure on the planet, whereas synthetic constructs like a corporation don’t. We go wrong when we start to believe that perhaps individuals are disposable too. Consider just what will happen in the not too distant future when AI will have progressed far enough that most work can be done by robots — capital — and the worker is mostly obsolete in the way that horses are today. On that day, will you want a rich and glorious history of precedent for treating the individual as disposable?

        Soylent green is a retirement option. Whether or not it is your retirement option will be the decision of your friendly neighborhood capitalist if you let him.

        1. tegnost

          if it can’t support itself without extraordinary measures crippled is actually the right term. UBI is an attempt to make right what is wrong with the system with a kludge. Luckily or not for us, we’re not capitalists we’re americans, and our political system can through regulation promote more equitable outcomes. At the moment there is no will among the “we” who have hands on the steering wheel and feet on the accelerator and brakes. That would be the corporate persons acting in concert against the best interests of the citizens…oops I should say consumers in the current world…

      2. Jeff in NY

        I like to imagine that UBI serves the purpose of facilitating democratic capitalism rather than plutocratic capitalism. The latter defines our current malaise. The former suggests that power be given to the people to create their own society, culture and government. Power in capitalist systems is money. Where money flows, investments to capture that flow will follow.

        People with UBI will spend on food, shelter, education and the commons. We would all benefit, even the erstwhile plutocrats.

        1. tegnost

          I think the simplest way to put it is a job guarantee costs billionaires money, and a UBI gives them money. Another way to get money to people is to pay them adequately for working rather than building self crashing planes, sweatshops, starting wars to drive migration, H1-B’s, , prop 22 and etcetera etctera etcetera. Asset prices need to come down too and a UBI is more like subsidy for landlords and will prevent that.

    2. Rod

      we need something other than what we have however,

      If essential needs were freely provided to everyone through universal government programs, paid jobs could be limited to the subset of people who want to work while everyone else could stay home and leave a smaller carbon footprint. (my bold)

      In the context of Human nature, I think this concept would divide more than unify because there is no Common embodied in it–just more individualism.

      1. MDA

        I might see human nature a little differently. I think it’s generally in our nature to be productive. Anyone who goes out and works will get compensation over and above UBI. Of course giving people money doesn’t help if there’s nothing for people to buy. The motivation to capture a share of consumer spending and boost their personal income will bring lots of entrepreneurs and and workers into the marketplace. With UBI everyone wouldn’t always face the same pressure to be employed and I think we’d see a lot fewer “BS jobs”. And, unemployment wouldn’t force people to navigate labyrinthine public assistance bureaucracies. Maybe if money entered the economy through consumers rather than through profit seeking banks, we’d have an economy more focused on meeting consumer needs and less on extraction and planet destroying development.

        1. deplorado

          There is a IIRC Russian-born economist but can’t recall her name now — who proposed that instead of UBI it is better to have UBA – universal basic assets. Like, if you dont work, you will have basic healthcare, basic food, basic infrastructure (home, public parks) secured – but if you want a Netflix subscription or a Robinhood account, or you buy a bag of weed every friday, you need to earn your own money.

          I find that idea a lot more attractive than UBI. There are are million things that can go (and will!) go wrong with UBI – but if society can produce a minimum of support for an indivirual’s life and health, without assuring support for their often dubious consumer choices, I that will go a long way towards humanizing this social order we have.

          1. JBird4049

            Tie this UBA with a job guarantee and we might have the beginnings of what is needed for our survival.

            Most people want to contribute. They certainly don’t want to rot or work themselves into an early grave. There are people who are alive right now who have the talent, training, and skills we need to survive.

            However, nothing in the previous three sentences are profitable and therefore it’s “go die.” There is profit in financial legerdemain and that is what gets all the money.

        2. Jason

          People want to do things. Those things needn’t be “productive” for the society as a whole in order for people to feel good or useful, or even to feel a part of something larger than themselves. All of those very human needs can be fulfilled rather simply. This is why mass education, fully integrated with state and corporate propaganda, is necessary in our modern, complex n̶i̶g̶h̶t̶m̶a̶r̶e̶s̶ societies.

    3. jonboinAR

      That “subset that wants to work”? Methinks you’d find it awfully tiny. I, for one, would probably not be in it.

      1. BlakeFelix

        Er, and wants to work for money, it’s easy to say that you would retire on a minimum income but I bet not that many would. How many people who get a good wage work until they make 12k and then just sit around the rest of the year being poor?

      2. Ron Rutter

        I disagree. I believe most people want to work & want to be productive. One disincentive is the repetitive nature of many jobs.

  3. arkansasangie

    The reason there is no real policy change is because the democrats don’t want it. That’s a feature. Mean ole republicans.

    Your earnings potential is on the auction block as we speak. Slice? Dice? Tranche?

  4. Rod

    Globalization, deindustrialization, the contraction of the public sector, and the rise of contract labor via the gig economy have made individuals feel insecure in their private circumstances. This has contributed… Moreover, these tendencies have together undermined our social contract as a whole, depriving governments of the means and resources to tend to the public interest. bold mine

    and insecure–Very Scared–insecure individuals can be manipulated more than a group of people holding common cause.
    I am thinking more and more these dribbling payouts are meant as payments to keep us apart and insecure.


    Bumper Sticker on car in Food Lion parking lot = Scared People do Crazy Sh*t

  5. chuck roast

    Let me see if I can fix this post…

    This has contributed to the appeal of corporatist politicians, whose tenures generally are corrosive to liberal democracies. Moreover, these tendencies have together undermined our social contract as a whole, depriving governments of the means and resources to tend to the public interest.

    OK fine.

  6. Susan the other

    My comment got lost to the ether. Was just pointing out that Auerback and Azmanova are too polite. They have said it all, very nicely, in 5 paragraphs. My concern is who is listening? Clearly not our government officials. They have been scrambling to secure their own positions and those of their donors. They are merely making it look like emergency assistance for the people. It is emergency assistance for the system which has collapsed and hasn’t got any good ideas left. When the Biden administration pulls back the troops and capitulates on M4A, I’ll begin to think there is hope for America again.

  7. GF

    Why can’t we do both stimulus checks to “keep the lights on” and “the commons, a robust public sector of goods (e.g., energy) and services (e.g., health care) that makes societies resilient to crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and weather-incurred power shortages.”??

    1. Anonapet

      Because the banks (and their toadies such as the MMT School) don’t like deposit creation unless it’s done by their “lending.”

      1. cnchal

        MMT is an acronym for describing the monetary system as it is. Toadies has nothing to do with it.

        In answer to GF’s question, “Why can’t we do both . . . ”

        Both can be done. The choice by the elite is infrastructure they don’t care about isn’t done because they fly and they don’t care if potholes rip the suspension out of your car or a bridge collapses.

        Letting an airport runway that the elite use deteriorate into a downhill mogul run would cause the elite to have a coniption fit. Fix it ASAP or else.

        1. Anonapet

          MMT is an acronym for describing the monetary system as it is. cnchal

          Yes but that’s not all it is since Bill Mitchell, a co-founder, is adamant about a Job Guarantee and Warren Mosler, another co-founder and a banker, would increase government privileges for private banks.

          But I’ll admit that I should not have mentioned the MMT School since they WOULD increase deposit creation via deficit spending. But I’ll also say that being pro-bank is to be anti-deficit spending for the general welfare since both banks and the government compete for the same real resources.

          1. cnchal

            > . . . since both banks and the government compete for the same real resources.

            I can’t exactly tell you why, but this makes no sense to me. The competion between banks and government is how much can the banks get away with versus can the government fight them off and regulate them.

            $1.9 trillion, $1400 to all, eventually, then what? Definitely moar crapola from China. Definitely no new infrastructure. Remember shovel ready, eons ago? Some will go to feed the financial system when late rent and mortgage payments stave off collapse for another month or so, then after that, well we don’t know but eviction hell is going to happen sooner or later.

            1. Anonapet

              I can’t exactly tell you why, but this makes no sense to me.

              I should have said that deficit spending and privately created bank deposits (“Bank loans create bank deposits”) compete for the same real resources.

              And it’s really this simple: Except for their OWN (usually minimal except during bank crisis) fiat needs, the banks want ALL money creation to be done by them.

              Our money system is an unethical mess and it shows.

              But yes, let’s have BOTH short term and longer term needs of the ENTIRE population addressed effectively.


    The false implication is that the government can’t do both.

    The federal government is Monetarily Sovereign. It never can run short of dollars. It can afford anything, and it can do anything without even collecting any taxes at all.

    The single biggest economics-related problem in America is lack of understanding of Monetary Sovereignty. So we limit the federal government the same way we limit monetarily non-sovereign cities, counties, and states.

    Those least knowledgeable about economics whine every day about federal “debt” (It isn’t debt), federal “borrowing” (The federal government does not borrow), and federal “deficits (which benefit the economy by financially supporting the private sector).

    This ignorance gives us FICA (a wholly unnecessary, regressive tax), Federal “trusts” (They aren’t real trusts), and votes to give tax breaks to the rich, while cutting middle-class benefits.

    And it’s all based on ignorance of Monetary Sovereignty.

    Ignorance has its penalties.

  9. RMO

    In the long term, sure. Programs as advocated in the article are needed to address the causes of the problems. Proper eating, weight management, exercise are all good things to address heart problems too but when someone is on the ground having a coronary what they need right then is emergency treatment and defibrillator paddles.

  10. GlassHammer

    Can an Empire (like the U.S.) have a society or does the cost of maintaining it always result in a contraction of the society and the emergence of something like neoliberalism?

    I think that is the fundamental question of the past 4-5 decades.

    I suspect that the answer could only ever be “yes an Empire can have a society” if … new frontiers were being opened. I also suspect that the new frontiers we tried to open through trade (NAFTA), finance (de-regulation), industry (de-industrialization and the rise of the service economy), technology (the market disrupting kind of technology) and war (Iraq/Afghanistan) not only failed to open new territories but actually shrank the Empire. And I think that because so many of our frontier expanding strategies failed so consecutively and so drastically we aren’t able adapt/improve.

  11. Sound of the Suburbs

    What has happened to inequality?
    Pretty much what you would expect really.

    Mariner Eccles, FED chair 1934 – 48, observed what the capital accumulation of neoclassical economics did to the US economy in the 1920s.
    “a giant suction pump had by 1929 to 1930 drawn into a few hands an increasing proportion of currently produced wealth. This served then as capital accumulations. But by taking purchasing power out of the hands of mass consumers, the savers denied themselves the kind of effective demand for their products which would justify reinvestment of the capital accumulation in new plants. In consequence as in a poker game where the chips were concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, the other fellows could stay in the game only by borrowing. When the credit ran out, the game stopped”

    With the capital accumulation of neoclassical economics wealth concentrates at the top.
    A few people have all the money and everyone else gets by on debt.

    Keynes added some redistribution to stop all the wealth concentrating at the top, and developed nations formed a strong healthy middle class.

    The neoliberals removed the redistribution.
    With the capital accumulation of neoclassical economics wealth concentrates at the top.
    A few people have all the money and everyone else gets by on debt.

  12. Palaver

    I have been listening to the David McWilliams podcast thanks to appearances by Angrynomics author Mark Blyth. McWilliams has a fascinating take subject: the Feds inflationary policies are to blame.

    The Fed tackled hyper inflation in 1970s with draconian interest rate hikes and in the process killed wage inflation, which translated into zero wage growth among the working class for decades to come.

    The cost of healthcare, education, and housing outpaced wage growth and became important source of rents for the financial upper class whose pockets were also stuffed with free money and asset bubbles.

    Government sponsored social programs won’t reverse trends when the greater financial system is clearly pushing towards greater inequality. What progress democracy makes in improving the lives of the common people, our private financial system will snatch back. One step forward, two steps back.

    We should stop talking about money as a fixed allowance and more as the privilege of a few. It’s not a resource management game, it’s a power game. Professional education biases us to play the former over later and see meritocracy where there is only class, elitism, and cruel ambition.

    1. Nanning Andy

      I am not convinced that a two year program by the fed in the 80’s to normalize rates would have such deleterious effects 4 decades later.

  13. Nanning Andy

    UBI/ MMT proponents conflate money with wealth. As dependent as the US is on imports, it seems ridiculous to suggest that the economy already produces everything we need. The crucial component is foreigners willingness to accept dollars (claims on future goods and services) in exchange for current goods and services. Once a UBI program is adopted, its not hard to see a dramatic decline in the value of the dollar and a steady increase in inflation. Who could reasonably expect future repayment from a country who has made a commitment to free beer and chicken?

    1. Anonapet

      Once a UBI program is adopted, its not hard to see a dramatic decline in the value of the dollar and a steady increase in inflation. Nanning Andy

      The value of the US dollar depends on BOTH the SUPPLY and the DEMAND for it. Then please note that, except for coins and paper FRN’s, only “the banks” may even use the US dollar.

      So one potential way to increase demand for the US dollar, especially if MMT’s permanent zero interest rate policy (PZIRP) is implemented, is to allow EVERYONE to use the US dollar in all its forms, including inherently risk-free account form at the Central Bank or Treasury.

      But that’s a slippery slope to removing ALL privileges for private banks!

      Yep, and high time too.

      Btw, the MMT School opposes this too …

    2. LilD

      Exactly wrong
      The main point of MMT as a theory is that “money” in a monetarily sovereign state is just … “money”, and the real economy is the set of resources, goods and services

      Wealth, of course, is just the ability to get other people to do things for you

  14. nothing but the truth

    we don’t need more money in the system. We need less money.

    Too much money is chasing too little assets, and converting every little useful thing in life into a rental stream.

    1. Anonapet

      Actually, the problem is not too much fiat (or do you prefer bank credit instead?) but that money (fiat or bank credit) can buy things that are indecent such as more land than is one’s fair share of a limited necessity of life. Perhaps when people are selling a kidney or one of their children out of desperation, this long lost message from the Old Testament will be rediscovered.

  15. Sound of the Suburbs

    Why have we never been able to tell the truth about capitalism?
    It has good points and bad points.

    My friend runs a small firm and I can see capitalism has a very acceptable face.
    He wants a well oiled machine that runs well.
    There may be big cogs and small cogs, but this machine needs all those cogs turning together.
    He doesn’t want good people to leave, as he knows getting a good replacement is easier said than done. He will pay a good rate for good people to keep them.
    He tries to keep them happy and organises occasional social events for the staff so they feel valued. The last thing he wants is for his staff to think he is just using them, or that he is taking advantage of them.
    This is his money machine and he wants it to run in the best way it possibly can.
    Everyone does well out of this arrangement and he makes lots of money.

    Many people work for small firms and this gives capitalism its widespread support.

    When does it turn ugly?
    The Classical Economists were a lot more honest with their observations of small state, unregulated capitalism.

    Adam Smith
    “All for ourselves, and nothing for other people seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.”
    “The labour and time of the poor is in civilised countries sacrificed to the maintaining of the rich in ease and luxury. The Landlord is maintained in idleness and luxury by the labour of his tenants. The moneyed man is supported by his extractions from the industrious merchant and the needy who are obliged to support him in ease by a return for the use of his money.”

    In Ricardo’s world there were three classes.
    He was in the capitalist class.
    The more he paid in labour costs (wages) the lower his profits would be.
    He was paying the cost of living for his workers through wages, and the higher that was, the higher labour costs would be.
    There was no benefits system in those days and those at the bottom needed to earn money to cover the cost of living otherwise they would die. They had to earn their money through wages.
    The more he paid in rents to the old landowning class, the less there would be for him to keep for himself.

    From Ricardo:
    The labourers had before 25
    The landlords 25
    And the capitalists 50
    ……….. 100

    He looked at how the pie got divided between the three groups.

    The capitalist system actually contains a welfare state to maintain an old money, idle rich in luxury and leisure. In the UK we still have an aristocracy, so it is hard to forget.
    There were three groups in the capitalist system in Ricardo’s world (and there still are).
    Workers / Employees
    Capitalists / Employers
    Rentiers / Landowners / Landlords / other skimmers, who are just skimming out of the system, not contributing to its success
    The unproductive group exists at the top of society, not the bottom.
    Later on we did bolt on a benefit system to help others that were struggling lower down the scale.

    Ever since the Classical Economists we have been pretending there is not an unproductive group that exists at the top of society. In the UK, we still have the aristocracy that highlights this, but we do very well in maintaining this pretence.
    This is why we haven’t been able to tell the truth about capitalism.

    My friends company just serves the two productive groups; he doesn’t have to pass profit out to anyone else, or repay investors.
    Neoliberalism / Thatcherism turns everything on its head and it’s all about passing money out to the unproductive group, and cutting workers to the bone.

    In the 19th century, when they still had some grip on the reality of the situation, they looked to use the money creation of banks to provide investment capital for business and industry. The old money, idle rich could be excised from the system.
    Capitalism would serve the productive and not the unproductive.

  16. Richard Grande

    As long as our political system remains a duopoly controlled by corporate and private money then we will continue to see the present trend of the last 40 years where the Constitutional balance of government power erodes into a winner take all system where the concentration of power economically and politically go to those who have the most wealth.
    The future appears to have moved beyond the past needs of an educated well trained society that would work in harmony with management toward a common goal. A goal that benefited everyone. Today, as we look to the future where robotics, AI, and automation play an increasing roll in all phases of economic growth, management will rely less and less on people, and more and more on machines.
    As we see now the system will phase out institutions, and those parts of society that are not needed, and do not contribute to this end. The concentration of wealth, political and economic power, and ownership of all key assets become insulated from outside interference of those that remain locked out of the system.
    In other words people become less and less relevant in a system increasingly run by machines. It probably will only take couple of generations to let this segment of non-productive people to die off.
    The fact of the matter is the government has already been privatized and runs by the fusion of corporate and state power. Private corporate contractors control every agency of government now. No where do you see this more than in the military and intelligence departments. Every sector of the economy is controlled by just a handful of corporate monopolies. 90% of the media is dominated by just 6 mega corps.
    Sheldon Wolen termed it, “Inverted Totalitarianism.”

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