The poet Fernando Pessoa taught us that no stupid idea can gain general acceptance unless some intelligence is mixed in with it. So how can it be that austerity appears to have been generally accepted? Objectively it is a bankrupt policy – the data is clear on this – and yet it continues to be part and parcel of our daily lives.
The problem is that those of us who are strangled by austerity don’t like to admit it. Because that implies our only way out is a massive (non-violent) political-economic revolution – and that’s a hell-of-a-thing to imagine.
“but the ruling liberal establishment”
The powerful are not so stupid. They call neoliberals “liberals”, demonizing the word and forcing us to change it to “progressives”. What will we change that one to when they are done demonizing it?
I would suggest “democratic socialist”. And pit against vulture capitalism-heading into fascism.
Thomas Jefferson, for just one example, considered himself a liberal, in the same sense that there was once such a thing as a “liberal arts education.” By the time of William Jefferson “Billy Cigars” Clinton’s inauguration, he too was considered a “liberal,” which rendered the word meaningless except as a pejorative.
I suggest we start calling ourselves “conservatives,” because it’s currently popular, and since nobody seems to know what the hell it means either.
“The very design of neoliberal principles is a direct attack on democracy.”
Thomas Jefferson was a serial rapist and slave owner who expropriated thousands of acres of Indian lands for his personal use.
How Austerity Ripped the World Apart – Eudaimonia and Co 2
Umair Haque calls it " How the worst Idea America ever had came to rule the world"’
There are slightly less than 3,000 known billionaires in the world and probably about 4,000 hidden billionaires. They run the world. Any arguments? That .000001% can imagine a revolution. The idea that the 99% will one day awaken is what makes them hire all the brightest without souls to figure out how to keep the 99% asleep. They can make almost infinite money digitally because they own the banks but they cannot make any more land or resources especially cheap fresh water. Austerity is a tool they use to impoverish the 99% and their governments so that the 99% will not protest much when national resources and land is sold. The question is would you rather have higher taxes and less benefits or sell? Greece, Argentina and Ecuador are being IMFed as I write. The IMF and the banksters do not want to repaid they want the national telephone, water and electric companies and all the land they can get their hands on. To do this the IMF has to have the cooperation of politicians who are mostly glad to oblige with the ocasional exception like Yanis Varoufakis, who resigned.
The billionaires are pathological and have convinced themselves as royalty did before them and still does where they escaped the guillotine, that .there is the equivalent of the devine right of kings that makes them so wealthy and the rest so poor and dumb…
Austerity isn’t stupid ; It’s neutral. Their targeted austerity, which the psychos on the right deliberately wish us to confuse with ‘austerity for the whole of society’, or ‘according to a person’s means’, takes us for fools, cynically, further ‘grinding the face of the poor’.
Indeed, since the rich batten on the proceeds of the people’s austerity, the policy might more reasonably be termed, not, 'austerity, but ‘enrichment’ - an enruchment policy…
The thrust of this article seems to me to be that “austerity” was a ‘mistake’, but that the politicians who pushed such a program do not wish to admit making a huge mistake, especially if elections are around the corner.
I sense that such an explanation is only a partial truth. It’s probably true that there are a FEW politicians who now see their former position as a mistake, and don’t wish to admit it, but that does NOT seem to be the bulk of the dynamics in play. Many there are (probably) who still do NOT see their policies as mistakes (via pigheadedness, ignorance, ideology, etc.).
First of all, at least the pols in the U.S. (because of a system based on ‘needing money in order to successfully campaign for office’), are more in the thrall of money-sources (wealthy individuals and corporations), then they are independent in mind and action. (And, I suspect that something similar is true in much of the world, for various reasons.)
So, what do the ‘money-sources’ prefer as policy? Are they interested in what is ‘best for all’? I hardly think so. They tend to be sociopathic, with strains of sadism thrown in. They tend to want ‘more and more’ (status, money, power, things), at the expense of everyone else. To them, austerity was not a ‘mistake’ (as “pbecke” pointed out), but a deliberate and ongoing preferred direction – it is NOT ‘austerity for all’, but ‘austerity only for the poorer folks’.
For one thing, austerity-for-some (or AFS) is demoralizing to the bulk of the population, and ‘shows that government doesn’t work’. So ‘we’ cannot put our trust in ‘the system’, but are willing to turn to demagogues (who will actually be serving the interests of the wealthy).
Since ‘government doesn’t work’, it is then much easier to privatize many government operations, resulting in … MORE MONEY for the already wealthy.
And, as others on this forum have pointed out, this attack on ‘government’ is really an attack on ‘democracy’ – it ‘looks bad’ (because of AFS), and the larger part of the population is demoralized, indebted, and kept very busy (which means they are unlikely to be politically engaged/active). This only tends to bring more power to the already powerful.
One more factor in this is the likelihood that there are many politicians (mainly of the conservative bent) and wealthy sociopaths, who are ‘very mean-spirited’ – they wallow in the schadenfreude exhibited by the many people who are helpless and hurting – this condition makes them feel better about themselves.
“Mistake”: yes, for a small number of politicians. “Functioning policy directive that works for the benefit of the few”: mostly.
I disagree with all austerity in general. However, since these horrible austerity ideas all came from and were implemented because of a group of bigoted, wealthy, white, right wingers, who don’t want to have to pay any taxes at all despite their msssive wealth, or to be forced in any way to do anything or to have any of their money used to help anyone but themselves, and also because of their other mean spirited, bigoted allies, like the $350 billion Koch brothers and all of the members of their cruel, greedy malevolent faction, then I think that after over fifty years of having to suffer from their policies advocating for austerity for everyone else, that it is past time for them to suffer from a bit of austerity themselves so they can find out first hand that austerity isn’t such a nice thing, especially for those of us that have suffered because of lifetimes of austerity to begin with so that this additional austerity is just austerity put on top of austerity like starving those people who are already emaciated and starving, as if that could somehow help them to gain weight and return to normal health. Therefore, it is now time for the Koch brothers and their right wing faction and all of the world’s wealthy robber barons aligned with them to be required to reimburse the people that they have robbed and to have to pay back all of the ordinary working people in their countries the gigantic amounts of tax money that they have not paid their fair share of for over fifty years, and to require them to begin paying their fair share of taxes from now on in the future. We must also be allowed to implement the left wing progressive agenda by having universal, single payer, non profit health care that covers medical, mental health, substance abuse treatment and dental care and which will save lives and cost less overall than the system that we have now, to stop burning all fossil fuels and to instead use wind, solar, geothermal, and a smart grid instead, along with electric cars, and houses built that can heat, cool, and electrify themselves, as we now have the technology to do, and build very much more affordable, very well insulated buildings moving forwards, and build this housing out of nontoxic cob, straw bale and adobe whenever possible, and to build homes that recycle resources like Reynold’s earthships, and to entirely clean up our environment worldwide whenever possible, and to save and expand our forests, wild places and wildlife, eliminate the world’s nuclear arsenals, and all chemical and biological weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, make factory farming illegal and return to using small family farms more like the Amish model, drastically reform the entirety of what I call our criminal, criminal injustice system and make it truly just and into a system of rehabilitation and reintegration back into society instead of a system of separation, discrimination and unjust life sentences for every crime, and recognize that crime doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and that society itself shares some of the blame and responsibility for crime and not solely the individual, make help available to every person who needs help, such as what Employee Assistance Programs do to help everyone who asks for this assistance as a way to prevent suffering, crime, suicide, substance abuse and other social illls, recognize that drug abuse and substance abuse, physical and mental health illnesses, and poverty are not crimes and stop treating them as crimes, fix up all of our weakened and ill functioning democratic institutions, restore the Votng Rights Act and repeal Citizen’s United and make all elections free and fair and publically financed, and create a truth telling positive media that actually informs and educates the public with truth instead of lies, fix our education system, assist all people to obtain job training and find adequate employment, and to detox, de propagandize, depoliticize, and reground our Christian religious faith back into practicing the real teachings of Jesus Christ in the real Gospels and get rid of the idolatrous Prosperity Gospels of greed and the worship of Mammon in the name of God, and do other beneficent activities to restore our civilzation and to protect it from the severely negative influences that have been working overtime to destroy the health of planet earth and to destroy our society, and our democratic form of government and to take away all of our freedoms, using right wing activists and members from both within and outside of our country.
This change is all a very tall order, but the greatest forces involved in preventing these positive reforms from happening are not the difficulty of the tasks that need to be undertaken, but the political will that is needed to begin to truly do these good things and the powerful negative force of those who oppose these good things with all of their collective might, so that it is like trying to perform difficult brain surgery while simultaneously engaged in a tug of war. It is this division of our society, that has been very carefully cultivated and nurtured over the past fifty years by America’s enemies overseas like Vladimir Putin and a right wing media deliberately financed by the Kochs and other like minded right wing, fascist, bigoted, white supremacist forces in this country that have created a false reality, and a set of false facts and false narratives to go along with it so that millions of people in America and worldwide are actually foolishly engaged in fighting against their own best interests and will have to be dragged along kicking and screaming the whole way, until they can finally be made to see the true reality of these things, and the foolishness of their opposition to these necessary and beneficial social changes. We absolutely must succeed in this mission, it’s a matter of life and death and the survival of all life on earth, especially in regards to the environment and climate change because we have only ten years with which to make a huge number of very drastic changes if we are to ever hope to avert a monstrous climate catastrophe of unprecedented magnitude. The fact that forty percent of the American population is still stubbornly clinging to this false reality, believing that climate change is a hoax and does not exist, or that climate change does not require any of the drastic actions that we must undertake and that are actually required to stop it, does not bode well for our collective future survival. Perhaps if it’s not too late by then, they will wake up after the entire state of Florida goes under the Atlantic Ocean, if that doesn’t wake them up then nothing will!
The developed world has been imposing austerity on the developing world for a couple of hundred years but only when developed world folks feel the pinch is it a bad thing. Hypocrites!
So I’ve heard. What’s your point?
It’s not stupid if you profit from it. That’s their thinking.
Conservative implies reactionary which we certainly are not - why not just call ourselves people ?
Actually sometimes the poor do take back their land water and their languages such as some tribal people here in the USA are doing. However, I do get your points. The 99% are not necessarily dumb, but that is how the banksters see us. They even want public ed so they denounce all teachers and get more money for private schools. The banksters also crashed the global economy for their own benefit and to entertain themselves . Yes, they are sick people- what made them that way? Royalty it is said was often married to their own family members so maybe that is a cause for them but the rest of the billionaires? Just because they are “bright” does not mean they have social skills . As a matter of fact some of these people might have money but they are very unhappy. There is someone in our area who got rich from the ground up, ended up founding a company, but is very generous by giving back. He is a decent man .
Yes, they are hypocrites.
My theory is that because royalty and wealth dynasties give their babies to be nursed by other than their mothers, the babies connect, as do all mammals, to the nurser. As consciousness and socializing develops they learn that those people that care for their physical and emotional needs are of low status and servants of those powerful people. They shortly learn that they are a part of the dominant class and the toddlers give orders to their nurturers. That has got to create a psychic break for most. That is how the dynasties perpetuate themselves. Genetics has a role but I think environment is the principal cause of their psychopathology.
he 99% has been propagandized all their lives as have their parents before them through the media, public education, religion. To have a critical independent mind is difficult and few succeed. It will take a crisis for the majority to awaken. The .0001% see the crisis coming. They are preparing.They created the global warming crisis and gulled the rest into it. Fossil fuels are ancient plant matter. Henry Ford, George Washington Carter and others have proven for more than 100 years that everything made from fossil fuels can be made from recent plant matter with no negative problems, if done properly. A rational civilization could be a world with abundance for all including nature.
Good grief- what have you been smoking? I never met someone who was nursed ( literally) by anyone but their own mother. You must be spending too much time at home.