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A Tough Time for Conventional Wisdom


#1

A Tough Time for Conventional Wisdom

David Kotz

The recent vote in favor of Brexit is only the latest case of failed conventional wisdom. The often predicted political demise of the crude and narcissistic nationalist, Donald Trump, has so far refused to happen. All the wise voices assured us that the voters would massively reject a self-described democratic socialist as a presidential contender in the US, yet 12 million Democratic primary voters enthusiastically supported Bernie Sanders anyway.


#2

From The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements by Eric Hoffer (1951) “If free enterprise becomes a proselytizing holy cause, it will be a sign that its workability and advantages have ceased to be self-evident.”


#3

Is capitalism at fault? Or is it the enormously unequal distribution of the wealth it produces?


#4

~ Yes! ~


#5

There is a "jet-lag" between self-destructive lifestyle elements like cigarette smoking, daily alcohol consumption, lots of sugar... and health breaking down.

There is sometimes a generation HOP before chemicals ingested by a parent show up as genetic defects in a child. (Think: Thalidomide)

Therefore, a sentence like this is hardly proven and in my view props up the authors of counterfeit financial doctrines:

"The financial crisis was resolved and the Great Recession ended in 2009, but the previous normal has not returned. The EU economy has wavered between recession and sluggish expansion since 2010."

If a rich kid has a problem managing money and wastes a lot on gambling, is it any solution if I give him a blank check so that he can just print money?

It's disingenuous to prop up the deception that the Q.E printings of vast sums into the multi-trillions and passed out to banks SAVED the global economy. The effects are just NOW coming into view. That's why there are crackdowns on places like Greece and Puerto Rico. It's like the MAFIA first putting the squeeze on local unarmed shopkeepers before taking aim at the larger citizenry.

Nothing was fixed apart from an organized sector of empowered players taking their personal cuts to ensure that The Global Fix was in... and insist it was all just as legal as Enhanced Interrogation or the Surveillance State that takes a dump on the Right to Privacy as enshrined into law.

But now, there is BRICS and nature's very expensive geological and climate-based anomalies added to all those wasteful wars of choice.

If what I've described above sounds like a stable economy (or one recovering from the 2008 debacle), it begs the question... what would it take for Mr. Kotz to recognize something as NOT being normal?


#6

That sentence struck me as well.

Also left out of the equation, relative to calling out the need of a movement of the Left that the author makes, is a recognition of just how deep the fix is in that can and will counter any such movement e.g., the Homeland Security, militarized police, and surveillance state Nexus that immediately countered what initially was a fast mushrooming movement, known as OWS.

But, of course I'm not telling you anything.


#7

Kotz makes a good observation, though with a good bit of whistling in the dark.

We are in a "strange attractors" sort of scenario: irregularities have gathered, so the orbit shifts: interesting times, and we have not seen the big shift yet; this is just an opening wobble.

The same factors hold although we understand them in a context now expired, and must review. Still, a leftist who is "lone" does not win an election--nor, to the point, does he mount a major challenge in the Democratic Party. We need the leftist, not the party.

Donald Trump will be idiosyncratic if by that Kotz means loudly bigoted and scary, and, when Clinton is thereby elected, Trump will get his fee from whoever purchases such services. But that means a right-wing demagogue takes power in January, not in four years or eight years. And it is just another right wing; Obama has been hauling the party and the Congress and the DNC to the right for eight years.

That will just get worse: you can bet that after Clinton and the DNC have had four years to further purge the rolls, you will see no more major challenges to Neoliberal and Neoconservative globalism from within the party.

That means that because we have failed to push or pull or hold the elected Democrats even slightly to the left or center and failed to establish any powerful populist organization at all--and this despite the astounding accomplishment of Bernie Sanders and his people--we shall have to fight this almost exclusively outside of the electoral arena. The government has been arming against us, so new methods must be found. Democracy is a fine goal, but as a mechanism, it has now stalled for want of maintenance.

We can be reasonably certain that Clinton will plunge the US further into more and more serious wars, accelerating the course of energy and ecological crises and steepening the slope between the rich and powerful and the poor and plentiful.

It remains to be seen when and how the upcoming array of crises will impact this. What can be known about all this at this point?

We know the combined ecological crises are coming, that people are not ready, and that for the most part even those people who are aware that a problem exists are failing to prepare. This will be very bad, but it is not as yet clear just how bad nor just how sudden this will be. The first major problems will probably be food and water shortages and displaced populations, hopefully without sudden holocaust in response.

There is some history of positive response, though the examples are few. The response of Cuba to the collapse of the Soviet Union is perhaps the closest. The rise of organoponic gardens across the island kept people fed under American blockade. We can or at least could do something similar in the US and Europe; the question is how long it takes to do and learn how much. As ever, whatever we fail to do will tend to undo us.

At this point we should be able to see that the energy crisis will come quickly, in that we will fail to act in time to avoid drastic problems, but that it will not come suddenly, overnight. There will be isolated sudden shortages, and individual tragedies; those are different than grand collapse. For a good while, the rich will presumably commandeer cornfields for bio-diesel to fly watermelon from Chile in January and so forth, and let the poor starve. But what we are going to see from this at first will be higher relative prices and more intensive coercion to corral resources. Once again, the upcoming energy shortage means that we shall need to get what we need very close to home.

The international and national banking and finance economy is likely to crash quickly at some point. It's all a casino with a sort of Ponzi scheme at the base, and success in investment involves pulling one's money out at the key moment and leaving one's colleagues to take the losses. For that reason, any whisper of problem may at some point lead to a sudden run on the banks. This means that investments and particularly the investments that working people make will be sacrificed, more or less like in 2008-2009, when Republicans and Democrats and the Fed all pumped money to a few financiers to allow them to take the homes and holdings and livelihoods and pensions of the general population rather than allow a more egalitarian prosperity as in Iceland.

This is likely to be the sudden failing, or at least the first sudden failing, thought it is not likely to be the deepest nor the most permanent. But again, it means that the international economy will fail to serve most individuals, and people will have to scramble for our rice and beans or whatever very close to home.

Some sort of localism seems to be the scenario in all cases. This is frustrating in some ways because it means that in many ways populism will have to define itself and to an extent will rightly define itself in terms of local | global rather than rich | poor, although this in many ways resembles the mantras of the most xenophobic red-states sorts of groups, who tend to have little or no perspective about egalitarianism, race, gender, or particularly class. We can see the problems begin to emerge as our fellow posters here consider voting for Donald Trump as a least-worst candidate, with the same sorts of rationale that would have and likely did lead them to vote for Obama over McCain in 2008.

This is not a call for everyone or anyone to go right wing, let alone vote for Donald Trump, but we sure had ought to be talking to some people of a libertarian bent. The principles of class conflict have not changed in the slightest, and we need these to feed into a new anti-globalist agenda.


#8

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#9

I could rephrase this:

Is capitalism at fault? Or is it the unequal distribution of the enormous wealth it produces?


#13

"Conventional wisdom" was always a euphemism for universal deceit. The sooner a majority of the 99% reject conventional wisdom. the better.


#14

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#15

"Ordinary people were outraged as they watched the quick bailout of the giant banks at taxpayer expense while no help was forthcoming for millions of homeowners driven into foreclosure. The free-market individualist ideology of neoliberalism lost its legitimacy. Millions of people became ready to consider radical alternatives to a status quo that is clearly not working even by the standards of a capitalist system."

TIMEOUT ! The lens employed here is useless for clear vision.

Ordinary people were outraged as they watched- "ordinary people" is one of the most insidious of framings for our current situation. It sets a conceptual framing of the people apart from an ostensible Democracy into hierarchical 'order' that explicitly countermands the structure of said democracy.

"as they watched" - reinforcing the 'ordinary' as division, this obscures the fact that the tax burden for said bailouts was not borne by the perpetrators, but shouldered by a people in a democracy - the REAL reason people are outraged, or should be.

"ideology of neoliberalism lost its legitimacy" - Neoliberalism NEVER HAD ANY LEGITIMACY!!!

"people became ready to consider radical alternatives" - wtf! Toss all legitimate societal functioning under the bus of an extractive, predatory ideology by framing participatory democracy as some sort of ersatz "radical" without reference to past successes of participatory democracy defining economic policy. The effect of this to prey on the environment created by the illegitimate practices and instill - according to the "terrorist" play book - fear of past successful practices as if they would be 'new' and jarring because they counter a predatory status quo.


#16

Thanks for mentioning the work of Henry George


#17

Most would agree that some inequality exists in many species in the natural world, including our own. That is not only acceptable, but necessary. But nature places limits to growth and money allows growth without limits.

We've tried to fix the wealth distribution problem by progressive taxation. But Our mistake it seems, is allowing the moneyed to make the tax laws through the politicians it buys instead of making the tax laws ourselves direct democratically.


#18

The indigenous however, did not have a hideable, hoardable currency, printed and controlled in a system made by, for and of greedy, irresponsible, xenophobic, polluting, crooked, impoverishing, inhumane, world destroying, war profiteering pigs


#19

A question-Why did Sanders resonate and the green party doesn't????

As Trump and Clinton take the nominations we will hear little of income inequality. Just look at the dialog with the shootings this past week---its all to keep people divided-

TPP--the frame work for global corporate control will be passed in the lame duck after the election.
Wall street is already talking about QE4 after the election.

Hillary Clinton and Paul Ryan will make a historic deal on social security----raising the retirement age to 70 and cutting benefits "because the system was going broke".

Any news of what is happening in Greece these days? No the bankers and elites got what they wanted. No need to report what's happening now--that might be depressing .

Bernie Sanders lit a candle---but real change needs to happen from the bottom up-----Are the green party and BLM working together???????