Softpanorama
May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)

Contents Bulletin Scripting in shell and Perl Network troubleshooting History Humor

Neoliberalism as a New, More Dangerous, Form of Corporatism

Neoliberalism = Casino Capitalism = "Transnational elites, Unite!"
(It is a neoTrotskyism with the word "proletarians" substituted by the word "elites"
 in famous "Proletarians of all countries, Unite!" slogan
and "Color revolutions" instead of Communist  "Permanent revolution"  )

Version 5.0

Skepticism and Pseudoscience  > Who Rules America > Neoliberal Brainwashing

News Who Rules America Recommended books Recommended Links Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Definition of neoliberalism Globalization of Financial Flows
Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Neoliberalism and Christianity Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Casino Capitalism Neoliberal Brainwashing Neoclassical Pseudo Theories Ayn Rand and Objectivism Cult
Key Myths of Neoliberalism Lawrence Summers Robert Rubin, the man who helped to convert the USA into banana republic Phil Gramm Ronald Reagan: modern prophet of profligacy Sandy Weill: the banker who bought Bill Clinton Milton Friedman -- the hired gun for Deification of Market
Media-Military-Industrial Complex  Globalization of Corporatism New American Militarism Neocons Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime Psychological Warfare and the New World Order: The Secret War Against the American People Gangster Capitalism
Financial Crisis of 2008 as the Crisis of Neoliberalism and shift to neo-fascism Peak Cheap Energy and Oil Price Slump Financial Sector Induced Systemic Instability of Economy Corruption of Regulators In Goldman Sachs we trust: classic example of regulatory capture by financial system hackers The Deep State Deconstructing neoliberalism's definition of 'freedom'
Elite Theory The Iron Law of Oligarchy Compradors Fifth column Color revolutions Anti-globalization movement Inverted Totalitarism
Resurgence of neofascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization Alternatives to neoliberalism If Corporations Are People, They Are Psychopaths Jeremy Grantham On The Fall Of Civilizations Super Capitalism as Imperialism Neoliberalism as a Cause of Structural Unemployment in the USA Neoliberalism and inequality
Neoliberal corruption "Fight with Corruption" as a smoke screen for neoliberal penetration into host countries IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement Blaming poor and neoliberalism laziness dogma Predator state Disaster capitalism Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners"
The Great Transformation Harvard Mafia Two Party System as polyarchy Republican Economic Policy Monetarism fiasco Small government smoke screen Over-consumption of Luxury Goods as Market Failure
Libertarian Philosophy Media domination strategy Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few In Foreign Events Coverage Guardian Presstitutes Slip Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment History of neoliberalism Humor Etc


Even though I agreed with him, I warned that whenever someone tried to raise the issue, he or she was accused of fomenting class warfare. “There’s class warfare, all right, "Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning."

- New York Times

Make no mistake, the neo-Liberal fuckers are just as bad as the Stalinists

May '68 and its Afterlives [Review]

GB: once a great cultured nation, now a poorly-educated gangster mafia state, ruled by oligarchs and inhabited by soccer hooligans

The Kremlin Stooge


Introduction


Neoliberalism is not a post-war version of capitalism. It’s a post-war version of fascism.

washunate September 10, 2015 at 2:05 pm; comment to the post

David Kotz: Understanding Contemporary Capitalism, Part I

Imagine if the people of the Soviet Union had never heard of communism. The ideology that dominates our lives has, for most of us, no name. Mention it in conversation and you'll be rewarded with a shrug. Even if your listeners have heard the term before, they will struggle to define it. Neoliberalism: do you know what it is? Its anonymity is both a symptom and cause of its power.

Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems
 by The Guardian,  April 15, 2016

 

 

Neoliberalism is a new form of corporatism based on the ideology of market fundamentalism, dominance of finance in the economy (and restoration of the political power of financial oligarchy) and cult of the rich ("greed is good") instead of ideology based on racial or national superiority typical for classic corporatism. Like many religious doctrines it belongs to the class of Theological Voluntarism (with some pseudo mathematical voodoo attached as a justification; actually even this is not new. Iranian ayatollahs in the past needed to demonstrate proficiency in mathematics) , but unlike most philosophies and religions it does not try to suppress greed. On the contrary it pronounces it to be a virtue ("Greed is good"). It simply profess that all actions of the elite  need to be covered under smokescreen of propaganda which is unprecedented in its cynicism, hypocrisy and contempt to the ordinary people.  Probably exceeding cynicism of the USSR leadership which promoted  the same redistribution of wealth up  ( in case of the USSR mainly to military industrial complex and nomenklatura )  using Big Brother style slogans like  "The Party cares for the wellbeing of the people".  This is a tailor-made ideology for financial oligarchy and  large international corporations who simply want to to carve the "economic cake"  on the whole globe. They created a political system that is the very opposite of what our leadership, the mass media, opinion leaders, think tanks etc. proclaim to be the world's foremost, exemplary democracy.

While neoliberalism (or "corporations uber alles" as we can call it) proved to be a more dynamic social system then stagnant "Brezhnev's socialism" which it successfully destroyed (with the whole "Socialist camp"), it is one step forward two steps back in comparison with New Deal type of capitalism and, especially, social democracies of Scandinavian countries.  Which neoliberalism also successfully destroying.  At the same time like communism this is another "universalist ideology" based on false hopes. Similar to communist expansion( Trotsky idea of "permanent revolution") the neoliberal world now is preoccupied with the neoliberal expansionism, with the opening of foreign markets for transnational corporations.  Like with Communism,  imperial ambitions are not only territorial; they are also ideological. This ideology, or is you wish, secular religion (there is nothing scientific in neoliberal doctrine, especially in economic part of it) can be exported to any country via so called color revolutions. Unlike classic colonialism neoliberal occupation is not dependent on direct occupation of the country by military forces.  It's more like financial occupation via debt slavery (neocolonialism) and it uses as local occupying force the part of local elite closely connected to transnational corporations and storing their financial assets in Western banks.  Neoliberalism proved that the empire could be successfully expanded not only by conquest but via co-optation of a part of the local elites (aka fifth column of globalization).

In way neoliberal is a unique social system that mobilized the power of greed (in a very destructive for the society way) while most previous social system tried to suppress it. Usury laws are an example which were revoked under neoliberalism (payday loans is plain vanilla usury; credit card debt is close). The only criteria of any activity is economic success (which closely relates neoliberalism to Marxism, which similarly viewed as economics as primary force of progress of human civilization and social "superstructure" as secondary element in human societies which automatically reflects the economic base). As an economic doctrine neoliberalism  repudiates Keynesian welfare state economics and promoted the "law of jungle" principles using bought ideologues like Milton Friedman and earlier by the dubious fighter for economic freedom  Friedrich von Hayek. In other words it favor of "dog eats dog" forms of competition which were the hallmark of early capitalism (Austrian aristocrat Friedrich von Hayek probably would have a stoke if he saw the current "dog eats dog" implementation of his ideas).

Commonly under the term "neoliberalism" we understand a set ideas such as a radically free market, maximized competition and free trade achieved through economic de-regulation, elimination of tariffs, a range of monetary and social policies favorable to business and indifferent toward poverty, adopting explicit policies redistribution of wealth up via casino properties of stock market (which is a central institution of neoliberal order), cultural decimation, acceleration of Earth resource depletion and environmental destruction due to the "race to the bottom"  in increasing profits by any means possible. But it is more then that. Like Marxism and most world religions neoliberalism provides humans with what is called " neoliberal rationality" which organizes the world view of adherents to neoliberalism. It reaches beyond the market. Neoliberal rationality defines human beings as market actors (homo economicus). All dimensions of human life are cast in terms of a market relations. Actions and policies are reduced to the bare question of profitability. For example under neoliberalism universities became service provider with the primary goal of profitability not enhancing the society knowledge and preparing educated citizens. It becomes a narrow, overspecialized preparation for entering the "job market". and explicitly design to produced narrow minded individuals, who never question the social system they live in and who view themselves as entrepreneurs (privileged set of market actors, above regular employees) and who know only Excel calculations of profitability, the rules of competition and are ready to play it hard to get themselves a space under the sun in dog eats dog game. 

In other words neoliberalism subvert university education like other institutions into instruments for developing, dissimilating and institutionalizing such a rationality. Exactly like universities in the USSR were structured to indoctrinate students in Marxism orthodoxy. Neoliberals reject the idea that the economy must be directed and protected by society laws and policy as well as by the dissemination of social norms designed to facilitate not only competition but cooperation as well. universities used to teach its students to consider the costs, benefits, and consequences of individual action in view of the "society at large".  The need to support for the vulnerable and needy. This set of ideas is completely withdrawn. Poor are guilty themselves for their miserable status. and should  better die, not to crowd the Earth surface. Everybody is on his/her own. As Thatcher quipped: “There is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families

Political citizenship is radically reduced within the neoliberal framework to unprecedented degree of passivity and political complacency. The role of citizen is downgraded to consumption: "go shopping" was the famous Bush Ii recommendation after 9/11.  elections were emasculated to the choice of two preselected representative of the ruling elite (Two Party System as Polyarchy) selection of which is fully controlled by ruling oligarchy (in the USA via monetary mechanism as candidates need a "war chest" to run in elections which typically can come only from the powers that be). 

Even nation-states must think and behave like a market actors. The languages of cost-benefit analysis and calculation sweep into governmental decision-making. In the "neoliberal rationality" the health and growth of the economy (with absolutization of GDP) is the only basis of legitimacy of the state. The slogan is  “It’s the economy, stupid.

"Economic colonization" of the life under neoliberal ideology sometimes reached grotesque forms with even dating analyzed in market terms, with marriage as the final compromise of the "deal". 

Neoliberalism like Marxism before it is truly expansionist ideology with global ambitions. Like was the case with Marxism there is no "rational" limit to the neoliberal global expansion (actually only the size of  the planet Earth is the limit). Neoliberal states and especially the USA as the center of global neoliberal empire are aggressive globalists in very precise meaning of this word (with the stress of the word "aggressive")  and wants to overthrow each and every government which is not friendly enough to "Washington consensus" (neoliberal charter for all countries outside G7).  For this purpose the mechanism of overthrowing foreign governments via close interaction of local fifth column and intelligence agencies of the USA and several other Western countries called "color revolution" was invented and polished via repeated coups in various part of the globe.

Color revolutions performed under the banner of democracy and  liberty could not easily stopped by governments of many third world and xUSSR countries as they undermine legitimacy of the government in a very vicious way: pretending that such a revolution is not a tool of neoliberal occupation of the country but genuine fight for the  "spread of democracy". Yet, the neoliberal experience on many country that experienced neoliberal revolutions directed by State Department now clearly see that spread of neoliberalism is in reality a neocolonial expansion had crippled traditional institutions as well as national social security net in the colonized countries and brutally enforced exploitative foreign ownership of country strategic resources. All that creates huge level of inequality of population and a great divergence in the standard of living between neoliberal center (G7) and neoliberal periphery. Poverty as well as arrested economic development, if not under-development and sliding into debt slavery (with gentle encouragement of IMF) are common. 

The process of transition from a neoliberal colony status to sustainable independence is currently uncharted territory. Only few countries made significant steps in this direction (Russia is one example although progress  is limited and it remains "a second rate" neoliberal country (it entered WTO under Putin) not allowed to the club of "prime" neoliberal countries; there are also some steps in Latin American countries in the same direction, but due to proximity of the USA and absence of nuclear deterrent for neoliberal aggression their position is more fragile and success can be temporary.

As of 2015 neoliberalism remains the dominant social ideology and practice in the world.  It survived and entered in "non-dead" (zombie) stage after 2008 crisis (see The Strange Non-death of Neo-liberalism by Colin Crouch). It is till expanding and trying to colonize new states into global neoliberal empire (Libya and Ukraine are two recent examples).

At the same time after approximately 35 years of being dominant in world (if we assume that 1980 was the year then neoliberalism came to power in the USA; in reality it happened earlier under Carter  and Chile coup of 1973 was the first country converted into neoliberal governance) is shows some significant cracks.  So we can think about neoliberalism coming to power in the USA in 1965 with the establishment of free trade zones and Mexican maquiladoras (factories that produce for export) under so called the Border Industrialization Program which makes it 50 years old.

In any case neoliberalism now is close to the longevity as the New Deal Capitalism (1933-1980). And unless oil price goes through the roof (undercutting globalization) neoliberalism in the USA has chances to outlive socialism in Soviet Russia which lasted 74 years (1917-1991), as there is no viable countervailing force on the horizon. Opposition to the new world order by resource nationalists (like Putin) and Catholic church does not cardinally changes this situation. After all Russia by all accounts is still "yet another neoliberal state" (the same is true for China).  It entered WTO under Putin. Russian elite, like German elite just want a better place in neoliberal world, which was denied for them by the USA and other Western European elites.

Formally we can view neoliberalism as a flavor of corporatism (in sense that corporations are dominant political actors -- as Senator Dick Durbin aptly quipped about US Congress "Banks frankly own the place").  As such it might be  more properly called neo-corporatism and it is district from classic corporatism which rely of dominant political party and suppression of dissent by force by using indirect "iron fist in soft glove" methods based on the power of finance (see  Inverted Totalitarism). While rhetoric of Lebensraum im Osten and natural selection (like in "separating incompetent or systematically unlucky people from the control of valuable resources") is not unique to neoliberalism, it is neofascist  in spirit  (see neofascism and  National Socialist Program).  While globalist in nature, it paradoxically stimulates growth of local far right or openly neofascist parties (as we see in Greece, Hungary, Israel and Ukraine).

Under neoliberalism the wealthy and their bought academic servants, see inequality as a noble outcome. University professors of economics form the most corrupt part of intellectual elite – they are nothing more than employees of the financial oligarchy paid to administer intellectual anesthetic to those among debt slaves, who still have enough time to ask what’s going on. For a relatively modest (in comparison with politicians like Hillary Clinton)  remuneration they help to enrich top 1%, shrink middle class making it less secure, and impoverish poor.  Please note that redistribution of wealth up is an officially stated goal. In 1992, when asked what Iran-Contra operation was really all about, Bush I replied that it was done for "...the continuous consolidation of money and power into higher, tighter and righter hands."

Neoliberalism enjoyed strong political ascendance since 1980th, although ideology is much older and its origins can be traced to first decade after WWII; the seeds were firmly planted in 1965 with the establishment of free trade zones and Mexican maquiladoras (factories that produce for export) under so called the Border Industrialization Program. Even at this, early stage the key feature of neoliberalism were evident -- outsourcing labor to the third word countries, as the method of undermining power of unions in the USA. Along with the elimination of unions, classic neoliberalism promotes reduced taxation of rich and corporations, reduced regulation, and minimizing redistributive function of government and favoring the rich and powerful elite and first of all financial oligarchy. This minimization of government functions is not about the reduction of military budget, but about dismantling of safety net established under New Deal, including the privatization of health and retirement benefits. In countries outside the USA neoliberalism is also a strong proponent of opening up of the economy to foreign competition. Supporters of neoliberalism created real "fifth column" out of universities economic departments with small targeted grants and various forms of corruption of large percentage of professors (speaking engagements, higher salary, exorbitant consulting fees, etc).

In its essence neoliberalism was a counterrevolution aimed at destroying established after WWII compromise between workers and capitalists based on state capitalism model, which in the US was called the New Deal.  In most simple form neoliberalism can be defined as an attempt to restore the rule of international financial oligarchy over society, as a new form of corporatism, of, if you like, neofascism (not always velvet gloves for countries outside G7; see Pinochet history of repression in Chile, for example) .  Unlike classic forms of corporatism such as German and Italian fascism here we do not see the dominant nationalistic, far right political party that suppresses all the political opponents. Instead this is an organized movement of the top echelon of corporations and, first of all, global/transnational corporations, who decided to enforce the same indirect and mostly economic form of  control over population that were polished within corporate environment and in battles with the unions. It  can be called "fascism without nationalism". Such social system also sometimes was called Inverted Totalitarism, "casino capitalism", or "fascism in velvet gloves".

As a social system neoliberalism is a derivative, a new form of classic corporatism and involves complete dominance of large corporations over government, including but not limited to conversion of goals of multinationals into state foreign policy goals (achievable by wars, if other means fail). The usurpation of large multinationals of political life of the country is achieved mainly by economic means, but assassinations of "non-conformant" political leaders are not excluded as "deep state" is a part of neoliberal power structure and has capabilities of physically eliminating opponents.  Still the main form is by buying politicians and key intellectuals as well as controlling all major political appointments (including the selection of Presidential Candidates). In a way the society became "occupied" in a very precise meaning of this word (and that's why "Occupy Wall Street" movement is misnomer; it should be called anti-occupation movement). Citizens and most countries are transformed into indented servants of large corporations and their economic and political interests.

Debt slavery is the standard, preferred tool of neoliberal control both over individuals and countries. One of the key strategy of subduing the countries by bringing to power neoliberal elite (fifth column of globalization) as well as enforcing on the country large unplayable debt. Essentially converting such a country into debt slave rules by vassal government, which oversee transfer of funds to metropolia.  Thos model replaces direct occupation model used by British and other empires. 

Greece and Ukraine are two most recent examples of this policy in action. Typically this is done with giving the country large loans for questionable projects, and large part of allocated money is promptly stolen by local neoliberal elite. Then when crisis struck and institutions that took the load can't pay, they are bailed out by  converting those loads from private to public via IMF. This is the key mechanism of redistribution of wealth -- profits are private, but losses s are public.

From the other point of view we can view neoliberalism as the next stage of corporatism, as corporatism that had outgrown national boundaries and became global. In other words in 70th of the last century, the civilization made an interesting turn, returning to the state where a supranational structures, which in the middle ages were called religious orders, returned to the prime scène in the form of transnational corporations, IMF (which represents interests of US financial oligarchy) and World Bank with budgets that exceed the GDP of most States and political influence, exceeding traditional political influence of international institutions such as UN, UNESCO, etc.   An interesting nuance is that national three letter agencies also became important players in this new global governing corporatist alliance, acquiring a political role similar to transnational corporations as the key part of National Security State and forming the core of so called "deep state":

Yes, there is another government concealed behind the one that is visible at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue, a hybrid entity of public and private institutions ruling the country according to consistent patterns in season and out, connected to, but only intermittently controlled by, the visible state whose leaders we choose. My analysis of this phenomenon is not an exposé of a secret, conspiratorial cabal; the state within a state is hiding mostly in plain sight, and its operators mainly act in the light of day. Nor can this other government be accurately termed an “establishment.” All complex societies have an establishment, a social network committed to its own enrichment and perpetuation. In terms of its scope, financial resources and sheer global reach, the American hybrid state, the Deep State, is in a class by itself. That said, it is neither omniscient nor invincible. The institution is not so much sinister (although it has highly sinister aspects) as it is relentlessly well entrenched. Far from being invincible, its failures, such as those in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, are routine enough that it is only the Deep State’s protectiveness towards its higher-ranking personnel that allows them to escape the consequences of their frequent ineptitude. [2]

... ... ...

The Deep State does not consist of the entire government. It is a hybrid of national security and law enforcement agencies: the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Justice Department. I also include the Department of the Treasury because of its jurisdiction over financial flows, its enforcement of international sanctions and its organic symbiosis with Wall Street. All these agencies are coordinated by the Executive Office of the President via the National Security Council. Certain key areas of the judiciary belong to the Deep State, such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, whose actions are mysterious even to most members of Congress. Also included are a handful of vital federal trial courts, such as the Eastern District of Virginia and the Southern District of Manhattan, where sensitive proceedings in national security cases are conducted. The final government component (and possibly last in precedence among the formal branches of government established by the Constitution) is a kind of rump Congress consisting of the congressional leadership and some (but not all) of the members of the defense and intelligence committees. The rest of Congress, normally so fractious and partisan, is mostly only intermittently aware of the Deep State and when required usually submits to a few well-chosen words from the State’s emissaries.

The American and British elite in 70th (starting with President Carter in the USA but coming into full force with President Reagan; Thatcher played similar role in GB) decided to liquidate the New Deal coalition and to cover up the upward redistribution of income with a smokescreen of neoliberal ideology. Which also served as anesthetic for lemmings which were mercilessly deprived of most safety net that they acquired due to New Deal ;-). As Lames Levy noted in his comment to Why the Claims Neoliberals Make About Markets Are Wrong naked capitalism

 Jefferson’s notion of “marketplace of ideas” doesn’t apply to the ideology of the market. Bad ideas, like bad people, often thrive. Many of us were taught that this was not the case–good triumphs over evil, virtue is its own reward, and the arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice. The older I get, the more I doubt these things, the less evidence I see for them, and the less self-correction I see in scholarship

The institutions of neoliberal capitalism, while promoting an expanded role in the economy for "market forces" (read "financial oligarchy")  simultaneously transform labor relations. The “market” under neoliberalism certainly no longer refers to competition as a form of the production and distribution goods and services. Instead, it means something more along the lines of international financial monopolies protected by collusion between captured vassal state institutions ( including neoliberal fifth column domination in the all major branches of government, especially executive and  legislative branches, educational institutions and media) and multinationals, which pay money to sustain this social order. The term “Free markets” under neoliberalism means letting rich people do what they want and neutralizing any government interference on this path, not promoting efficient allocation of resources through competition and the price mechanism. The core of the fifth column are local oligarchs and so called "Chicago boys" -- sons and daughters of local elite who are trained for and indoctrinated for this purpose in Western universities.

Under neoliberalism labor relations assumes the form of full domination of labor by capitalists under the disguise of "labor market' smokescreen which tries to atomize workers and deprive them of any solidarity actions. Unions ore officially suppressed and large part of middle class is brainwashed to hate using set of propaganda stories about unions corruption, welfare quinsy, lack of competitiveness in unionized industries (with Detroit as a prime story), etc.  In this sense crushing by Reagan of the strike of air controllers was one of the first manifestation of this dominance. Workers again are downgraded to the role of debt slaves, who should be glad to get subsistence wages. And, for example, wages in Wal-Mart are really on subsistence level, no question about it (Making Change at Walmart » Fact Sheet – Wages):

Walmart jobs are poverty-level jobs.

Walmart’s average sale Associate makes $8.81 per hour, according to IBISWorld, an independent market research group. This translates to annual pay of $15,576, based upon Walmart’s full-time status of 34 hours per week1. This is significantly below the 2010 Federal Poverty Level of $22,050 for a family of four. The Wall Street Journal reported that the average Walmart cashier makes just $8.48 an hour, far below the $11.22 national average for all cashiers.

This contrasts with the capital-labor compromise that characterized the state capitalism that existed several post-WWII decades and that was crushed by neoliberalism in 1970th. Neoliberalism also brought change in the relation between financial and non-financial capital: financial capital now again like in 1920th plays a dominant role dictating the rules of the game to manufacturing sector and controlling it via banks.

Role of deception under neoliberalism: elevating deception into a vital political tool

The key in understanding of neoliberalism is that nothing in neoliberal ideology can be taken in face value -- the cornerstone of neoliberal ideology is deception. More precisely, deception and propaganda (aka brainwashing) are two cornerstones of neoliberalism.  As such is has a lot of common with criminal societies and like them has a definite tendencies to self-destruction.  Here is one telling comment (Caelan MacIntyre, 12/05/2015 at 2:37 pm )

if we have a system that cheats, then anything is game.

Then I can cheat too. (And, along with others, I’ll likely be doing it on the ‘nitrous oxide’ of fury and resentment that some– maybe most– can feel when they wake up and realize that they’ve been cheated.)

So if sufficient numbers of (livid) people catch on, if they get out from under the cheating system’s ideological indoctrinations (that it’s not a cheat and that, say, coercive taxation, kid-killing cops and corporate parasites are all well and good and for our benefit), and find out that the game is really one big nasty rig/scam/dupe/hoodwink, what do you think will happen?

Let’s run the model/simulation and see.

Like new religion and much like the USSR in the past, neoliberalism cultivates a set of complex myths. Those myths via indoctrination  became the way of thinking of most people in neoliberal societies. That's an example of amazing power of brainwashing for preservation of particular social order; the trait the neoliberalism also shares with Marxism (implemented as Bolshevism in the USSR and other Eastern block countries).  But like was the case with the USSR, there is a danger of shocks that can kill those myths. If we agree with that hypothesis, then, simplifying, the longevity of neoliberal myths depends on the how long the role of the USA as the world hegemon will last and how long "cheap oil" regime will last.

For example the myth that neoliberalism produces poverty reduction and improve social wellbeing for all has become an alibi for the dismantling of the welfare state and along with it the dismantling of social rights of workers, on the one hand, and to the channeling of state coffers into private interests to the benefit of banks, financial institutions, and private business, on the other. This myth came under attack after 2008 crisis. Now most of the people see that neoliberal policies of wealth redistribution are shoveling most of the wealth gains into the pockets of a few rich plutocrats, As such they are incompatible with economic growth and reduction of poverty. Growing income inequality is a the main cause of excess saving and, hence, secular stagnation. But as a whole set of neoliberal myths proved to be pretty resilient; the same can be said about gradual process of eroding Marxist myths after 1945. It took almost 50 years (and rise of neoliberalism) to be be abandoned by most of the population of the USSR and Eastern Europe after which those societies became "house of cards" and were successfully toppled by bribing part of the elite by Reagan administration via color revolution mechanisms. But it was the USSR elite (and first of all the elite of KGB), that first changed sides and let it happen.

Every society has its set of myths that are directed on increase chances of the society survival. What is new is that neoliberal elite like feudal elites before it openly  despise even "lower 50%" of their own societies.  Neoliberal elite event went further. It advacates a pretty self0destuctive idea that that social safety nets created under New Deal should be completely dismantled. It looks to me like just a new form of elimination of undesirables: "While there will be political pressures to buffer folks from the consequences of economic folly or bad luck, it is socially dangerous to do so." This is reminiscent of Arbeit macht frei  slogan used in Nazi extermination camp. In other words this is equivalent to saying that we should go shoot all the monkeys because they are the wrong, inferior to humans branch of evolution (Neoliberalism is fascism ). Compare with:

"[Slavs, Latin, and Hebrew immigrants are] human weeds ... a deadweight of human waste ... [Blacks, soldiers, and Jews are a] menace to the race." "Eugenic sterilization is an urgent need ... We must prevent multiplication of this bad stock." -- Margaret Sanger, April 1933 Birth Control Review .

As such this is an elitist ideology (see The Iron Law of Oligarchy ), kind of Revolt of the Elite against common folk (aka  "shmucks", see  Randism,  an Americanized plagiarism of Nietzschean philosophy  created by a Russian emigrant).

While completely based on deception and leading to impoverishment of lower 80% of population and shrinking of middle class, neoliberalism (as of  2015)  still remains a powerful, dominant global ideology. Or more correctly  a new secular religion (there is nothing scientific in neoliberal doctrine and very little in  neoclassical economics, which like in case of Marxism serves as the cornerstone of his ideology). Since early 80th it became the  dominant ideology in the world, which defeated and displaced both communism and social-democracy models.

It is important to stress that it is probably the first worldwide ideology based on deception in a sense that it pretends to provide benefits to all nations while in reality for all nations outside "first class nations" (G7 and a few others industrialized nations)  it enforces neocolonial model of economic relations. It also operates with pseudoscientific concepts like "free market" that have tremendous propaganda value, serving as an opening door for neoliberalism into minds on many people.  To disperse  the smoke of this propaganda proved to be not that easy tasks, as it became self-sustainable providing wealth to Wall Street which trickle down small part of it to corrupt MSM.  "Free market" propaganda even managed to survive the crash of neoliberal doctrine in 2008.

The essence of  neoliberalism is redistribution of wealth up is also carefully hidden under the smoke screen. Neoliberalism in principle can't deliver prosperity for all, as the key idea is just the opposite. But revolt is suppressed by powerful propaganda machine as well as the raw military and technological power of the USA ("Lord protector" of neoliberalism) and speculation on human greed (which represents a variation of classic "divide and conquer" approach).  It is difficult to define neoliberalism precisely but the restoration of unlimited power of financial oligarchy under smoke screen of "return to prosperity via accelerated development" is definitely its one of key features. And the level of unlimited unchecked power now is very similar it enjoyed at the beginning of XX century and which was destroyed by the Great Depression.

Another interesting deception used by neoliberalism is absolutizing the value of competition in social systems. This is  used as a smoke screen via an abstract, ideologically charged construct called "free market" (free for whom? why not "fair market" ?) . Simplifying you can see it as a power grab by globalized economic (and first of all financial) elite and a race to the bottom for the rest of world population. In this sense neoliberalism is not only about the redistribution of wealth up, toward the top 0.1%.  It is also about putting the elite outside the framework of the law and  institualizing fraud and deception as a business model for elite (and only for elite). Much like in feudalism neoliberal lords stand above the law.  This ability of the elite to commit criminal acts with impunity is the key component of neoliberalism as a political system (which 2008 events aptly demonstrated to the world)

Neoliberal revolution as an internal color revolution in the USA

Color revolutions is a new method of warfare modeled after Trotsky idea of Permanent revolution. The most interesting part is that is can be used within the society as it uses existing democratic mechanisms to bring to power desired set of political actors. The key idea is undermining the society from within, by introducing a Trojan horse into it. Among mechanisms used are:

  1. Establishing a strong network of think tanks. Buying part of "intelligencia" .  Along with think tanks another target was economic departments of universities. Bribing economics proved to be extremely successful and relatively cheap (in comparison with the cost of political lobbing) operation.  See  Neoclassical Pseudo Theories and Crooked and Bought Economists as Fifth Column of Financial Oligarchy. Buying influential members within the country intellectual community was an important part of this scheme.  Milton Friedman was one of the most successful acquisitions. After spending life of relatively modest means he really enjoyed his new affluent status at the end of this life. That is what Powell memo is about.  See The Powell Memo A Call-to-Arms for Corporations BillMoyers.com
  2. Reusing set of Bolsheviks/Trotskyite ideas and political practices which were introduced to Republican Party by "turncoats" from US Trotskyite movement -- American neoconservatives, who were mostly Jewish intellectuals. Among those who changes sides were Irving Kristol  who is considered to be the father of Neoconservatism and before him James Burnham (see American Machiavelli) who did much of the transfer of political methods and approaches from Trotskyism to Republican Party  
  3. A new version of Internationalism -- "Corporate Internationalism": "Businessmen of the World, Unite!"

     The number of corporations with public affairs offices in Washington grew from 100 in 1968 to over 500 in 1978. In 1971, only 175 firms had registered lobbyists in Washington, but by 1982, nearly 2,500 did. The number of corporate PACs increased from under 300 in 1976 to over 1,200 by the middle of 1980.[5] On every dimension of corporate political activity, the numbers reveal a dramatic, rapid mobilization of business resources in the mid-1970s.

    What the numbers alone cannot show is something of potentially even greater significance: Employers learned how to work together to achieve shared political goals. As members of coalitions, firms could mobilize more proactively and on a much broader front. Corporate leaders became advocates not just for the narrow interests of their firms but also for the shared interests of business as a whole. ( The Powell Memo A Call-to-Arms for Corporations BillMoyers.com)

  4. The ethnic and religious fragmentation. The starting point of any color revolution is identification of the usable social tensions and their systematic aggravation so that that at the end they can serve as a detonator of the planned crisis. This means mutual divide constitutive of the community, with an emphasis on what sets them apart, and at the same time reducing the weight of what they have in common.  For example neoliberalism stresses creativity (in a very narrow sense of ability to amass money)  and despise poor. Wedge issues such a gay marriage were also successfully used for this purpose especially in view of alliance of neoconservatives and fundamentalist Christian sects. 
  5. Deceptive promise of higher standard of living and creation of various material temptations to support the politically desired behavior. The majority of the population responded positively to these fake prospects of improving their standard of living (at the expense of other , "inferior" members of society -- as in Latin proverb  Homo homini lupus est) and totally failed to realize gravity of the real costs of economic and social transition to neoliberalism for lower 80% of population.  And the extent of redistribution of wealth up under neoliberalism.
  6. Control of MSM for the purpose of influencing/alterting the perception and behavior of the masses. MSM promoted the almost uniform and factually incorrect narrative about the benefits that would come from a  neoliberal transformation of the society.  They also act of a powerful spoiler of any attempt to fight neoliberal transformation of the society.  The level of altering the perception of certain issues in the USA is nothing short from brainwashing. See Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few and In Foreign Events Coverage Guardian Presstitutes Slip Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment
  7. Politically marginalizing part of the population, which is resistant to neoliberal brainwashing and continues to hold its own narrative. That includes decimation of trade unions started by Reagan administration.

The typical for corporatism union of corporate power and government was in case of the USA transformed into a unique mix of corporatism and totalitarism which Sheldon Wolin called "inverted totalitarianism". Which is just another nickname for neoliberalism.  Unlike traditional corporatism of  Nazi Germany, and Italy the American neoliberal system is designed not to mobilize the populace, but to distract it, to encourage a sense of dependency. to achieve this goal a set of policies are instituted which include, but not limited to atomizing the society by cutting solidarity ties,  cultivating fear, calling everything a "war" (claiming that the country is in some permanent, unwinnable war like  "war on terror"  -- the trick borrowed directly from Orwell 1984) as well as encouraging political disengagement (as in Reagan quote: "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help."  or Bush "Go shopping" recommendation after 9/11 .

Those dirty tricks allowed corporate elite to take full political power and kill remnants of trade unions political  power while citizenry showed little interest or concern. In other words it was the powerful corporate interests which were the key promoters of neoliberalism and the key beneficiaries of its spread. They ingeniously used the Cold War as a pretext of dismantling of the New Deal  ( Pt 1-8 Hedges & Wolin Can Capitalism and Democracy Coexist - YouTube):

HEDGES: And the Cold War. So the Cold War arises. And this becomes the kind of moment by which capital, and especially corporate capital, can dismantle the New Deal and free itself from any kind of regulation and constraint to deform and destroy American democracy. Can you talk about that process, what happened during that period?

WOLIN: Well, I think the first thing to be said about it is the success with which the governing groups manage to create a Cold War that was really so total in its spread that it was hard to mount a critical opposition or to take a more detached view of our relationship to the Soviet Union and just what kind of problem it created.

And it also had the effect, of course, of skewing the way we looked at domestic discontents, domestic inequalities, and so on, because it was always easy to tar them with the brush of communism, so that the communism was just more than a regime. It was also a kind of total depiction of what was the threat to -- and complete opposite to our own form of society, our old form of economy and government.

HEDGES: And in Politics and Vision, you talk about because of that ideological clash, therefore any restriction of capitalism which was defined in opposition to communism as a kind of democratic good, if you want to use that word, was lifted in the name of the battle against communism, that it became capitalism that was juxtaposed to communism rather than democracy, and therefore this empowered capital, in a very pernicious way, to dismantle democratic institutions in the name of the war on communism.

WOLIN: Oh, I think there's no question about that, the notion that you first had to, so to speak, unleash the great potential capitalism had for improving everybody's economical lot and the kind of constraints that had been developed not only by the New Deal, but by progressive movements throughout the 19th century and early 20th century in the United States, where it had been increasingly understood that while American economic institutions were a good thing, so to speak, and needed to be nurtured and developed, they also posed a threat.

They posed a threat because they tended to result in concentrations of power, concentrations of economic power that quickly translated themselves into political influence because of the inevitably porous nature of democratic representation and elections and rule, so that the difficulty's been there for a long time, been recognized for a long time, but we go through these periods of sleepwalking where we have to relearn lessons that have been known almost since the birth of the republic, or at least since the birth of Jeffersonian democracy, that capitalism has its virtues, but it has to be carefully, carefully watched, observed, and often controlled.

Later Wendy Brown, professor in Berkley advanced Professor Wolin ideas to a new level  in her book Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism's Stealth Revolution (Zone Books, 2015). Essentially she viewed neoliberalism as an internal color revolution, kind of coup d'état by part of the elite against New Deal.  Notable quotes from her interview (What Exactly Is Neoliberalism):

"... I treat neoliberalism as a governing rationality through which everything is "economized" and in a very specific way: human beings become market actors and nothing but, every field of activity is seen as a market, and every entity (whether public or private, whether person, business, or state) is governed as a firm. Importantly, this is not simply a matter of extending commodification and monetization everywhere-that's the old Marxist depiction of capital's transformation of everyday life. Neoliberalism construes even non-wealth generating spheres-such as learning, dating, or exercising-in market terms, submits them to market metrics, and governs them with market techniques and practices. Above all, it casts people as human capital who must constantly tend to their own present and future value. ..."

"... The most common criticisms of neoliberalism, regarded solely as economic policy rather than as the broader phenomenon of a governing rationality, are that it generates and legitimates extreme inequalities of wealth and life conditions; that it leads to increasingly precarious and disposable populations; that it produces an unprecedented intimacy between capital (especially finance capital) and states, and thus permits domination of political life by capital; that it generates crass and even unethical commercialization of things rightly protected from markets, for example, babies, human organs, or endangered species or wilderness; that it privatizes public goods and thus eliminates shared and egalitarian access to them; and that it subjects states, societies, and individuals to the volatility and havoc of unregulated financial markets. ..."

"... with the neoliberal revolution that homo politicus is finally vanquished as a fundamental feature of being human and of democracy. Democracy requires that citizens be modestly oriented toward self-rule, not simply value enhancement, and that we understand our freedom as resting in such self-rule, not simply in market conduct. When this dimension of being human is extinguished, it takes with it the necessary energies, practices, and culture of democracy, as well as its very intelligibility. ..."

"... For most Marxists, neoliberalism emerges in the 1970s in response to capitalism's falling rate of profit; the shift of global economic gravity to OPEC, Asia, and other sites outside the West; and the dilution of class power generated by unions, redistributive welfare states, large and lazy corporations, and the expectations generated by educated democracies. From this perspective, neoliberalism is simply capitalism on steroids: a state and IMF-backed consolidation of class power aimed at releasing capital from regulatory and national constraints, and defanging all forms of popular solidarities, especially labor. ..."

"... The grains of truth in this analysis don't get at the fundamental transformation of social, cultural, and individual life brought about by neoliberal reason. They don't get at the ways that public institutions and services have not merely been outsourced but thoroughly recast as private goods for individual investment or consumption. And they don't get at the wholesale remaking of workplaces, schools, social life, and individuals. For that story, one has to track the dissemination of neoliberal economization through neoliberalism as a governing form of reason, not just a power grab by capital. There are many vehicles of this dissemination -- law, culture, and above all, the novel political-administrative form we have come to call governance. It is through governance practices that business models and metrics come to irrigate every crevice of society, circulating from investment banks to schools, from corporations to universities, from public agencies to the individual. It is through the replacement of democratic terms of law, participation, and justice with idioms of benchmarks, objectives, and buy-ins that governance dismantles democratic life while appearing only to instill it with "best practices." ..."

"... Progressives generally disparage Citizens United for having flooded the American electoral process with corporate money on the basis of tortured First Amendment reasoning that treats corporations as persons. However, a careful reading of the majority decision also reveals precisely the thoroughgoing economization of the terms and practices of democracy we have been talking about. In the majority opinion, electoral campaigns are cast as "political marketplaces," just as ideas are cast as freely circulating in a market where the only potential interference arises from restrictions on producers and consumers of ideas-who may speak and who may listen or judge. Thus, Justice Kennedy's insistence on the fundamental neoliberal principle that these marketplaces should be unregulated paves the way for overturning a century of campaign finance law aimed at modestly restricting the power of money in politics. Moreover, in the decision, political speech itself is rendered as a kind of capital right, functioning largely to advance the position of its bearer, whether that bearer is human capital, corporate capital, or finance capital. This understanding of political speech replaces the idea of democratic political speech as a vital (if potentially monopolizable and corruptible) medium for public deliberation and persuasion. ..."

"... My point was that democracy is really reduced to a whisper in the Euro-Atlantic nations today. Even Alan Greenspan says that elections don't much matter much because, "thanks to globalization . . . the world is governed by market forces," not elected representatives. ..."

As I mentioned above an interesting tactical step of the wizards behind the screen of the neoliberal revolution was creating and nurturing the powerful and influential intellectual "fifth column" inside the country. In case of the USA it was done mainly by lavish financial of "appropriate" think tanks as well as bribing the economic departments of the universities (this was the point when salaries of professors of economic shoot up while salaries of professors in other department stagnated).  
 

Extremism of Neoliberalism, Neoconservatives as militant faction of neoliberals


If the outcome is so different from our aims -- if, instead of freedom and prosperity, bondage and misery stares us in the face -- is it not clear that sinister forces must have foiled our intentions, that we are the victims of some evil power which must be conquered before we can resume the road to better things?

Friedrich Hayek, The Road to Serfdom

Neoliberalism is more than a set of  economic policies based on absolutization of the value of the market and attempt to view everything in market categories.  As a form of reason developed into a governing rationality, it converts every aspect of contemporary existence into a market framework.  All human conduct for neoliberalism is a economic behavior, a market conduct. In other words under neoliberal ideology market is the ultimate for of human relations and should encompass all spheres of existence. 

Like was previously the case of Communism/Bolshevism/Trotskyism  a distinguishing feature of neoliberal ideology is establishment of a new "neoliberal rationality" and religious believe in its inevitability with the clincher argument pioneered by Margaret Thatcher: there is no alternative”(TINA).  That makes neoliberal a pretty radical ideology which serves the base of radicalized movement. In some respects this movement can compete not only with the Communist Party of the soviet Union (CPSU) but also with Taliban.

As Lars Cornelissen noted "In this sense Friedrich Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom is today, above all else, a testimony to irony. The book is punctuated with frightening images of lives reduced to unfreedom, people seen the Greek god of satire and irony, himself ordained it, The Road to Serfdom has turned to be the first cobblestone in the rod to neoliberal serfdom. Everything Hayek expected socialism would bring has seemingly come true under a regime he himself helped lay the theoretical foundations for -- a fact all the more ironic because Keynesianism,  for all its flaws, never led to the totalitarian regime Hayek claimed it would."  (criticalstudies.org.uk)

Instead of Communist manifesto neoliberals use so called Washington Consensus and instead of Capital Milton's Friedman book Capitalism as Freedom. They also re-define the meaning of the word "freedom"  (Deconstructing neoliberalism's definition of 'freedom').  Instead Roosevelt classic four freedoms, they put as the cornerstone the corner cult of possessions (see also Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult). That makes neoliberalism as powerful extremist ideology as communism, or radical Islam, if you wish ;-). Because of its ideological extremism: it recognizes no competitors, and allows its adherents ignore the possibility of viable alternatives.  The extremist, jingoistic wing of neoliberals in the USA is represented by so called neoconservatives (Paul Wolfowitz, Bush Jr.’s Deputy Secretary of Defense even managed to became the President of the World Bank, confirming the idea that finance is a war by other means) . Since Clinton the position of Secretary of State is occupied by warmongering female neocons, with Hillary Clinton as the most recent example

Neoliberalism and Christianity

For thousand years various religions attempted to suppress the excessive greed in men, as this is a prerequisite for stability and  functioning of society. In this respect neoliberalism is really Devil Creed as it consider greed to be a virtue ("greed is good"). In other words from the point of view of Christian theology neoliberalism is nothing but a flavor of Satanism (Wikipedia):

Its core beliefs revolves around individualism, egotism, Epicureanism, self-deification and self-preservation, and  propagate a worldview of natural law, materialism, Social Darwinism, Lex Talionis ("eye for an eye"), and mankind as animals"

... ... ...

It is atheistic philosophy which asserts that "each individual is his or her own god and there isno room for any other God. "

Neoliberalism explicitly rejects the key ideas of Christianity -- the idea of ultimate justice for all sinners. The idea that a human being should struggle to create justice in this world while realizing that the ultimate solution is beyond his grasp.

As Reinhold Niebuhr noted a world where there is one center of power and authority (financial oligarchy under neoliberalism) "preponderant and unchallenged... its world rule almost certainly violate basic standard of justice". The same is true about globalization as

"no world government could possibly possess for generations to come, the moral and political authority to redistribute power between nations to the degree in which highly cohesive national communities have accomplished this end in recent centuries". 

He warned that

"Lacking a deep understanding of the complexities of national aspirations and cultural differences, US foreign policy often lingers between two extremes of offering economic advantage to secure cooperation or overcoming intransigence through military force".

The problem with "greed is good" slogan it cultivates cruelty toward other people, As Pope Francis noted "To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others ... a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion ..."

Here are selected quotes from Evangelii Gaudium, Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis, 2013 (see also Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism)

... Such an [neoliberal] economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.

Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a “disposable” culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the “leftovers”.

54. In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed.

Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase; and in the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.

No to the new idolatry of money

55. One cause of this situation is found in our relationship with money, since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and our societies. The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.

56. While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.

No to a financial system which rules rather than serves

57. Behind this attitude lurks a rejection of ethics and a rejection of God. Ethics has come to be viewed with a certain scornful derision. It is seen as counterproductive, too human, because it makes money and power relative. It is felt to be a threat, since it condemns the manipulation and debasement of the person. In effect, ethics leads to a God who calls for a committed response which is outside of the categories of the marketplace. When these latter are absolutized, God can only be seen as uncontrollable, unmanageable, even dangerous, since he calls human beings to their full realization and to freedom from all forms of enslavement. Ethics – a non-ideological ethics – would make it possible to bring about balance and a more humane social order. With this in mind, I encourage financial experts and political leaders to ponder the words of one of the sages of antiquity: “Not to share one’s wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs”.[55]

58. A financial reform open to such ethical considerations would require a vigorous change of approach on the part of political leaders. I urge them to face this challenge with determination and an eye to the future, while not ignoring, of course, the specifics of each case. Money must serve, not rule! The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but he is obliged in the name of Christ to remind all that the rich must help, respect and promote the poor. I exhort you to generous solidarity and a return of economics and finance to an ethical approach which favours human beings.

No to the inequality which spawns violence

59. Today in many places we hear a call for greater security. But until exclusion and inequality in society and between peoples is reversed, it will be impossible to eliminate violence. The poor and the poorer peoples are accused of violence, yet without equal opportunities the different forms of aggression and conflict will find a fertile terrain for growth and eventually explode. When a society – whether local, national or global – is willing to leave a part of itself on the fringes, no political programmes or resources spent on law enforcement or surveillance systems can indefinitely guarantee tranquility. This is not the case simply because inequality provokes a violent reaction from those excluded from the system, but because the socioeconomic system is unjust at its root. Just as goodness tends to spread, the toleration of evil, which is injustice, tends to expand its baneful influence and quietly to undermine any political and social system, no matter how solid it may appear. If every action has its consequences, an evil embedded in the structures of a society has a constant potential for disintegration and death. It is evil crystallized in unjust social structures, which cannot be the basis of hope for a better future. We are far from the so-called “end of history”, since the conditions for a sustainable and peaceful development have not yet been adequately articulated and realized.

60. Today’s economic mechanisms promote inordinate consumption, yet it is evident that unbridled consumerism combined with inequality proves doubly damaging to the social fabric. Inequality eventually engenders a violence which recourse to arms cannot and never will be able to resolve. This serves only to offer false hopes to those clamouring for heightened security, even though nowadays we know that weapons and violence, rather than providing solutions, create new and more serious conflicts. Some simply content themselves with blaming the poor and the poorer countries themselves for their troubles; indulging in unwarranted generalizations, they claim that the solution is an “education” that would tranquilize them, making them tame and harmless. All this becomes even more exasperating for the marginalized in the light of the widespread and deeply rooted corruption found in many countries – in their governments, businesses and institutions – whatever the political ideology of their leaders.

Ideology of Financial Elite: how neoliberal lie became hegemonic despite being a lie

"Poverty wants much; but greed wants everything."

Publilius Syrus

Historically neoliberalism emerged as an ideology of the financial elite, specifically as the ideology of financial revanchism.  It was custom made to serve their need and in its origin there is a certain analogy with Marxism, with Mont Pelerin Society serving as a "party" that created and advanced this ideology ( Everything You Need to Know about Laissez-Faire Economics):

DSW: Please give me a thumbnail history of the Mont Pelerin Society and the role it played in advancing economic theory and policy. So this would be Hayek, Friedman and all that.

AK: The great hero of that society was Hayek. He had a different position from Walras & company and he wasn't very consistent in his views. According to Hayek, Walras said that nobody influences prices but take prices as given, and then somebody, not specified, adjusts them until they get to equilibrium. There is some mechanism out there. That was Walras. Hayek said "Not at all!" He said -- actually he was a horrid man.

DSW: Wait a minute! Why was he a horrid man? You can't just glide over that!

AK: The reason I say that is-he had very clever ideas -- but he was extremely bigoted, he was racist. There is a wonderful interview with him that you can find on You Tube, where he says (imitating Hayek's accent) "I am not a racist! People accuse me of being a racist. Now it's true that some of the Indian students at the London School of Economics behave in a very nasty way, typical of Indian people…" and he carries on like this. So that's one reason he is horrid. A second thing is that if you don't believe he is horrid, David, I will send you his book The Road to Serfdom, which said that if there is any planning going on in the economy, it will inevitably lead you to a fascist situation. When he produced that book it had a big success, particularly in the United States, and what is more, he authorized a comic book version of it, which is absolutely dreadful. One Nobel Prize winner, [Ronald] Coase, said "you are carrying on so much against central planning, you forget that a large part of our economy is actually governed by centrally planned institutions, i.e., big firms, and these big firms are doing exactly what you say they can't do. Hayek shrugged that off, but what he did in his book was say that if any planning goes on then eventually you are all going to wind up in a fascist state where you'll be shot if you don't do what you're told to do. At the end of the book there is some poor guy who's being shot because he wants to be a carpenter or a plumber, or something like that. It's terrible! And the irony of the whole situation is that comic book was issued and financed by General Motors, and GM of course is one of those corporations that Hayek didn't see were centrally planned institutions. That's way I say that Hayek was a dreadful person.

Hayek's idea was, there is no way that people could know what was going on and could know what the prices of goods are. Everyone has a little piece of information of their own, and in acting upon it, this news gets out into the market. So, for example I buy something such as a share, and you say "Oh, Kirman bought a share, so something must be going on there, based on information that he had that I didn't have", and so forth. Hayek's idea was that this mechanism-people watching each other and getting information from their acts, would lead you to the equilibrium that would be a socially optimal state. But again, he never specified closely what the mechanism was. He has little examples, such as one about shortage of tin and how people would adjust, but never really specified the mechanism. He believed that people with little information of their own, like ants, would somehow collectively get it right. It was a very different view of the world than Walras.

DSW: So he was a pioneer in two respects. First of all, he grasped the idea of self-organizing and decentralized processes-that the intelligence is in the system, not in any individual, and secondly cultural group selection, that the reason economic systems were like this is because of some past history of better systems replacing worse systems. The wisdom of the system was the product of cultural group selection, as we would put it today, and that we shouldn't question its wisdom by tampering with it. Is that a fair thing to say?

AK: Yes, that's a fair thing to say and I think it is what Hayek believed. He didn't actually show how it would happen but you're absolutely right -- I think that's what he believed and he thought tampering with this system would make it less perfect and work less well, so just leave it alone. I don't think he had in mind, strictly speaking, group-level selection, but that's clearly his idea. A system that works well will eventually come to outstrip other systems. That's why he was advising Thatcher. Just trust the markets and let things go. Get rid of the unions, and so forth. So it's clearly he had in mind that interfering with that system would just lead you to a worse social situation. He was much less naïve than Friedman. Friedman has a primitive natural selection argument that if firms aren't doing better than other firms they'll go bust and just die. That's a summary of Friedman's evolutionary argument! But Hayek is much more sophisticated-you're absolutely right.

DSW: I think Hayek was explicit about cultural group selection, and Friedman -- I've paid quite a bit of attention to his 1953 article on positive economics, in which he makes a very naïve evolutionary argument. Friedman and Hayek didn't see eye to eye at all, as I understand it. Hayek was actually very concerned that Friedman and other mathematical economists took over the Mont Pelerin Society, if I understand it correctly, but now let's put Friedman on center stage, and also the society as a whole and the creation of all the think tanks, which caused the society to become politically influential.

AK: Yes, I think that it coincided very nicely with conservative ideology and people who had really strongly liberal -- not in the Mills sense (you have to make this distinction particularly in the United States where these words have different meanings), but really completely free market "leave-everybody-to-their-own-thing"  libertarian point of view. Those people found it a wonderful place to gather and reinforce themselves. And Hayek was a strong member of that. Another was Gary Becker, but I don't know how directly. Becker had the economics of everything-divorce, whatever. You'd have these simple arguments, but not necessarily selection arguments, often some sort of justification in terms of a superior arrangement. The marginal utility of the woman getting divorced just has to equal the marginal utility of not getting divorced and that would be the price of getting divorced, and that sort of stuff. Adam Smith would have rolled over in this grave because he believed emotions played a strong role in all of this and the emotions that you have during divorce don't tie into these strict calculations.

DSW: This is a tailor-made ideology for powerful interests, powerful people and corporations who simply do want to have their way. Is that a false statement to make?

AK: No, I think that's absolutely right. They can benefit from using that argument to advance their own ends. As someone once said, if you think of saying to firms, we're going to diminish their taxes, no firm in its right mind would argue with that. Even though they might think deep down that there are other things that could be done for society. There are some things which are part of this philosophy which is perfect for firms and powerful interest groups. You're absolutely right. And so they lobby for this all the time, pushing for these positions that are in fact in their own interest.

DSW: So, at the end of the day, "Greed is Good" sounds so simplistic, but what all of this seems to do is to provide some moral justification for individuals or corporations to pursue their own interests with a clear conscience. It's a moral justification for "Greed is Good", despite all of the complexities and all of the mathematics -- that's what it seems to come down to. Am I wrong about that?

AK: I think you're absolutely right. What's interesting is that if you look at various economic situations, like today the first thing that people tell you about the Greeks is that they are horrid ideological people. But the people on the other side have an equally strong ideology, which is being justified by the sort of economic models that we are building. Remember that even though we had this discussion about how this became a real difficulty in theoretical economics, in macroeconomics they simply carried on as if these theoretical difficulties hadn't happened. Macroeconomic models are still all about equilibria, don't worry about how we got them, and their nice efficient properties, and so forth. They are nothing to do with distribution and nothing to do with disequilibrium. Two big strands of thought-Keynes and all the people who work on disequilibrium-they're just out of it. We're still working as if underlying all of this, greed -- we don't want to call it greed, but something like greed -- is good.

DSW: Could I ask about Ayn Rand and what role she played, if any? On the one hand she was not an economist, she was just a philosopher and novelist. On the other hand, she is right up there in the pantheon of free market deities alone with Smith, Hayek and Friedman. Do you ever think about Ayn Rand. Does any economist think about Ayn Rand?

AK: That's an example of my narrowness that I never read Ayn Rand, I just read about her. I think it would be unfair now to make any comments about that because I'd be as uninformed as some people who talk about Adam Smith. What I should do at some point is read some of her work, because she is constantly being cited on both sides as a dark bad figure or as a heroine in the pantheon as you said, with Hayek and everybody else. I just admit my ignorance and I don't know if Rand had a serious position on her own or whether she is being cited as a more popular and easily accessible figure.

DSW: Fine! I'd like to wrap this up with two questions. This has been a wonderful conversation, by the way. Nowadays, you hear all the time about how neoliberal ideology and thought is invading European countries and is undoing forms of governance that are actually working quite well. I work a lot in Norway and Scandinavia and there you hear all the time that Nordic model works and at the same time it is being corrupted by the neoliberal ideology, which is being spread in some sort of cancerous fashion. Please comment on that-Current neoliberalism. What justifies it? Is it spreading? Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Anything you would like to say on that topic.

AK: I think that one obsession that economists have is with efficiency. We're always, always, worrying about efficiency. People like to say that this is efficient or not efficient. The argument is, we know that if you free up markets you get a more efficient allocation of resources. That obsession with efficiency has led us to say that we must remove some of these restraints and restrictions and this sort of social aid that is built into the Scandinavian model. I think that's without thinking carefully about the consequences. Let me tell you my favorite and probably not very funny story about how economists are obsessed with efficiency. There were three people playing golf; a priest, a psychoanalyst, and an economist. The got very upset because the guy in front was playing extremely slowly and he had a caddy to help him. So these guys get very upset and they start to shout and say "Come on, can we play through please! You can't waste all of our afternoon!" They sent the priest up to find out what was going on and he came back absolutely crestfallen and said "You know why that poor guy is laying so slowly? It's because he's blind. I'm so upset because every Sunday I'm preaching to people to be nice to others." He turns to his psychoanalyst friend and say's "Joe, what do you think?" Joe says "I have these guys on my coach every week. I'm trying to help them live with this problem and here I am screaming at this guy. It's horrible!" Then they turn to the economist and say "Fred, what do you think?" Fred says "I think that this situation is totally inefficient. This guy should play at night!" As you can see, this is a very different attitude to how the world works.

I think what has happened is, because of this mythology about totally free markets being efficient, we push for that all the time and in so doing, we started to do things like-for example, we hear all the time that we have to reform labor markets in Europe. Why do we want to reform them? Because then they'll be more competitive. You can reduce unit labor costs, which usually means reducing wages. But that has all sorts of consequences, which are not perceived. In model that is more complex, that sort of arrangement wouldn't necessarily be one that in your terms would be selected for. When you do that, you make many people temporary workers. You have complete ease in hiring and firing so that people are shifting jobs all the time. When they do that, we know that employers then invest nothing in their human capital. When you have a guy who may disappear tomorrow-and we have a lot of these temporary agencies now in Europe–which send you people when you need them and take away people when you don't. Employers don't spend anything on human capital. We're reducing the overall human capital in society by having an arrangement like that. If you're working for Toyota, Toyota knows pretty much that you'll be working all your lifetime, so they probably invest quite a lot in you. They make you work hard for that, but nevertheless it is a much more stable arrangement. Again, the idea that people who are out of work have chosen to be out of work and by giving them a social cushion you induce them to be out of work-that simply doesn't fit with the facts. I think that all the ramification of these measures-the side effects and external effects-all of that gets left out and we have this very simple framework that says "to be competitive, you just have to free everything up." That's what undermining the European system. European and Scandinavian systems work pretty well. Unemployment is not that high in the Scandinavian system. It may be a little bit less efficient but it may also be a society where people are a little bit more at ease with themselves, than they are in a society where they are constantly worrying about what will happen to them next. The last remark I would make is that to say "you've got to get rid of all those rules and regulations you have"-in general, those rules and regulations are there for a reason. Again, to use an evolutionary argument, they didn't just appear, they got selected for. We put them in place because there was some problem, so just to remove them without thinking about why they are there doesn't make a lot of sense.

DSW: Right, but at the same time, a regulation is a like a mutation: for every one that's beneficial there are a hundred that are deleterious. So…

AK: You are an American, deep at heart! You believe that all these regulations are dreadful. Think of regulations about not allowing people to work too near a chain saw that's going full blast, or not being allowed to work with asbestos and so forth. Those rules, I think, have a reason to be there.

DSW: Well of course, but just to make my position clear, the idea of no regulations is absurd. For a system that is basically well adapted to its environment, then most of its regulations are there for a reason, as you say, but one of the things that everyone needs to know about evolution is that a lot of junk accumulates. There is junk DNA and there is junk regulations. Not every regulation has a purpose just because it's there, and when it comes to adapting to the future, that's a matter of new regulations and picking the right one out of many that are wrong. The question would be, how do you create smart regulations? Knowing that you need regulations, how do you create smart ones? That's our challenge and the challenge of someone who appreciates complexity, as you do. How would you respond to that?

AK: I think you're absolutely right. It's absolutely clear that as these regulations accumulate, they weren't developed in harmony with each other, so you often get even contradictory regulations. Every now and then, simplifying them is hugely beneficial. But that doesn't mean getting rid of regulations in general. It means somehow managing to choose between them, and that's not necessarily a natural process. For example, in France when I arrived here it used to take about a day and a half to make my tax return. Now it takes around about 20 minutes, because some sensible guy realized that you could simplify this whole thing and you could put a lot of stuff already into the form which they have received. They have a lot of information from your employer and so forth. They've simplified it to a point where it takes me about 20 minutes a year to do my tax return. It used to take a huge amount of time.

DSW: Nice!

AK: What's interesting is that you have some intelligent person saying "let's look at this and see if we can't make these rules much simpler, and they did. I have conflicting views, like you. These things are usually there for a reason, so you shouldn't just throw them away, but how do you select between them. I don't think that they necessarily select themselves out.

DSW: I would amend what you said. You said that some intelligent person figured out how to make the tax system work better in France. Probably not just a single intelligent person. Probably it was an intelligent process, which included intelligent people, but I think that gets us back to the idea that we need systemic processes to evaluate and select so that we become adaptable systems. But that will be systemic thing, not a smart individual.

AK: You're absolutely right. I shouldn't have said smart individual because what surely happened was that there was a lot of pressure on the people who handle all of these things, and gradually together they realized that this situation was becoming one where their work was becoming almost impossible to achieve in the time available. So there was some collective pressure that led them to form committees and things that thought about this and got it together. So it was a natural process of a system, but it wasn't the rules themselves that selected themselves out, as it were. It was the collectivity that evolved in that way to make it simpler.

DSW: There's no invisible hand to save the day.

AK: (laughs). Joe Stiglitz used to say that we also need a visible hand. The visible hand is sometimes pretty useful. For example in the financial sector I think you really need a visible hand and not an invisible hand.

As David Harvey noted in his book A brief History of Neoliberalism:

Redistributive effects and increasing social inequality have in fact been such a persistent feature of neoliberalization as to be regarded as structural to the whole project. Gérard Duménil and Dominique Lévy, after careful reconstruction of the data, have concluded that neoliberalization was from the very beginning a project to achieve the restoration of class power. (Chapter 1)

It is an ideology completely based on deception.  The set of lies that constitute the fundament of neoliberal ideology were brought to light as a band aid during the crisis of state capitalism in 70th. It also pretended to produce "heaven on earth" (and in this case is similar to communism). the only difference is that neoliberal promise heaven only "chosen" only, and "good life" for everybody else (pretending that it will lead to lifting standard of living for everybody, while making few obscenely rich). This mode of thinking is called supply side economy or "trickle-down economy".  As John Kenneth Galbraith aptly noted  that “Trickle-down theory - the less than elegant metaphor that if one feeds the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows.”

If socialism absolulitized the power of state, neoliberalism fall into another extreme (and remember that extremes meet). It absolutize the "market" (understood as freedom of financial oligarchy to do what they want) and the law of jungle in competition (which means unconditional surrender of all power to the largest transnationals and first of all banks and rape and plunder of smaller firms and states, probably more fierce then under any form of state capitalism).  But neoliberal pretences of minimizing the state is another deception. They want to minimize only those branches of state that control behaviour of capitalists, while increasing dramatically repressive power of state to prevent any possibility of revolt. In other words neoliberalism logically lead to creation of national security state, the development which we observe in several countries, but first of all in the USA and Great Britain.  In this sense neoliberalism can be viewed as one of the modern flavors of neofascism.

It was a false, misleading and pretty seductive ideology from the very beginning created with a specific goal to deceive by people who can be called intellectual criminals. The most interesting part of neoliberalism is that the whole ideology was custom created for particular political goals of financial elite, which managed to hire stooges like Milton Friedman and others to accomplish the task.

So one of the most interesting features of neoliberalism is that it was custom tailored for restoration of power of  financial elite, or, as they are called after 2008, for banksters. But it proved to be more relevant and long lasting then band aid covering post New Deal financial revanchism of banksters, acquiring a life of its own.

Gradually it became full fledged ideology, much like Marxism before (and it did borrowed a lot from Marxism, especially from Trotskyism, and first of all the idea that politically organized minority can always dictate its will to unorganized majority as well as  "permanent revolution" memo (concertized into 'export democracy"  instead of "liberation from capitalism oppression and in a very slick way replacing uprising of "proletarian" with uprising of fifth column specifically organized and financed to accomplish a  "color revolution".  In both case criminal elements are welcomed (especially in the form of football fanatics). In both cases the preliminary phase was creation or establishing control over the sizable part of MSM (in modern days that included TV  channels, not only newspapers like in classic Marxism). Role of Communist International emissaries was adopted by staff of the US embassies. The goal is also the same in both case -- violent acquisition of power of the new elite by whatever means possible.

Like Marxist political economy, neoliberalism has certain economic postulates (see "Washington Consensus"). As a philosophy is oscillating between atheistic Satanism ("greed is good"), Randism ("cult of entrepreneurships", "Entrepreneurs aka "creative class" as Ubermench")  and post modernism ("rejection of absolute truth").

 In 80th in the USA it essentially became  a new  "secular religion" for the elite, shredding remnants of Christian morality. As foundations of neoliberalism such as neoclassical economy and Trotskyism are disconnected from the reality, both requires from the followers blind, unquestioned  obedience like in high demand cults.  But remuneration under neoliberalism to top echelon of functionaries is much better ;-) While in both case a good money are paid for the top layer of the sect, under neoliberalism the pay acquired obscene levels; that actually includes paid stooges in economic department which were bough "en mass".  Bribes in a form of fees for "lectures" reach a several hundred thousand dollars).

It is difficult to define neoliberalism more precisely but the restoration of unlimited power of financial oligarchy is definitely its one of key features. The same level of unlimited unchecked power it enjoyed at the beginning of XX century and which was destroyed by the Great Depression.

As such the neoliberal project has multiple dimensions all of which are supported by a hypertrophied, intrusive spying apparatus of neoliberal state which reminds the Third Reich with the aggressive, militarized  police. A combination which make protests or, god forbid revolt against neoliberalism much more difficult.

Three principal dimensions of neoliberalism -- political, ideological and cultural

As the latest stage of predatory capitalism, neoliberalism is part of a broader economic and political project of restoring class power and consolidating the rapid concentration of capital, particularly financial capital (Giroux 2008; 2014).  In his article   “Protesting Youth in the Age of Neoliberal Cruelty”, Professor Henry A. Giroux points out that like communism,  neoliberalism can be viewed in three principal dimensions -- political, ideological and cultural.

The real goal of neoliberalism is re-distribution of power and related redistribution of wealth up id a true feudal fashion. That's why neoliberalism also can be called neo-feudalism (which is another similarity with Bolsheviks and USSR)  The neoliberal project is really about weakening the power of middle class and impoverishing everybody other then top 20% of population in favor of maximizing the power of the tiny elite (the top 0.1%). 

As such, neoliberalism  is a broad strategy of economic (and first of all financial), political, cultural and military elites to destroy social-democratic state and to restructure power relationships, institutions, by injecting into the society, like narcotic, an artificial and a priory false ideology (civil religion), which is extremely beneficial for the promotion of interests of the top 0.1% (aka "super-elite", represented mainly by financial oligarchy both in the US and in in other countries; in the latter they represent the fifth column of neoliberal globalization).

Marx famous phase "Religion is the opium of the people" here acquires different and more modern and more menacing context as neoliberal dogma really serve the role of opium.  And the way it is distributed strongly reminds opium wars of British empire.  The full quote from Karl Marx translates as: "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people".

Like communism before, it is an ideology with its own international movement. If the slogan of Communist International (aka Comintern) was "workers of all countries unite" the slogan of neoliberal revolution are both "Elites of all countries unite" and "viva the law of jungles" or "if you see that guy who is ready to fall push him in the back". Of course with the appropriate PR smoke screen about free markets, freedomdemocracy and equal opportunity.

Like Marxism neoliberal ideology is the ideology of class hegemony (just for a different class ;-), which serves multiple roles

Some authors define neoliberalism differently. For example, Robert McChesney, defines neoliberalism as an economic paradigm that leaves a small number of private parties in control and able to maximize their profit at the expense of the other smaller players and the rest of population. It posits that business domination of society proceeds most effectively when there is a representative democracy along with a weak and ineffectual polity typified by high degrees of depoliticization, especially among the poor and working class. He notes that unlike in classic corporatism, which relies on mass mobilization, neoliberalism relies on the opposite trend (along the lines of "inverted totalitarism"): a distracted or apathetic or depoliticized public essentially "goes along" with this, using the dominance of consumerism as a Trojan horse of depolitization and the loss of community spirit("Bread and circuses"). In sum, neoliberalism is the immediate and foremost enemy of genuine participatory democracy, not just in the United States but across the planet, and will be for the foreseeable future. Globalization is the result of powerful governments, especially that of the United States, pushing trade deals and other accords down the throats of the world's people to make it easier for corporations and the wealthy to dominate the economies of nations around the world without having obligations to the peoples of those nations

This stress of depolitization is very important. It proved to be as efficient as mass mobilization of classic corporatism and achieve the same purposes with less violence. This stress of depolitization of population is commonly called Inverted Totalitarism. Indeed, promotion of envy and suppression of any honest and candid debates about neoliberalism in the United States and elsewhere is one of its most striking features suggesting communality with medieval Catholicism. Neoliberalism's loudest message is that there is no alternative to the status quo, "there is no alternative".

Perverted definition of freedom

David Harvey, the author of  A Brief History of Neoliberalism, defines neoliberalism as attempt to undermine power and sovereignty of governments by transnational corporations and establish the regime in which the power of financial oligarchy (aka power of "free market") is dominant in the society using the concept of freedom as a smokescreen.  For this purpose, neoliberal propaganda perverts the definition of 'freedom' in such a way, that it conceals redistribution of wealth up. Unlimited, unrestricted accumulation of money (aka greed") now is equated with human freedom.

Neoliberal state protects capital and at the same time tries to sheds as much social responsibility for the wellbeing of citizenry as possible. That's why neoliberal stat in 2008 bailed out corporate interests from bad decision making them whole, while destroying the safety net for "subprime" homeowners and lower part of the population. That's why neoliberal policies always result in rising inequality, slower economic growth, and drastic redistribution of income toward the upper class.

Neoliberalism has distinct tendency to convert state in national security states, in which as we noted before two distinct modes co-exists: permissive for capital and repressive for labor and social programs.  Here is one Amazon review of the book:

Malvin  on September 28, 2006 

Deconstructing neoliberalism's peculiar definition of 'freedom'

"A Brief History of Neoliberalism" by David Harvey is a concise and razor-sharp deconstruction of the neoliberal movement. Mr. Harvey convincingly demonstrates that neoliberalism is an ideology that has been wielded to enshrine elite privilege at the expense of people and the environment. Assiduously researched and cogently argued, Mr. Harvey offers a jargon-free and readable text that helps readers gain a greater understanding about the political economy of our neoliberal world and what this might hold for us in the future.

 Mr. Harvey explains that neoliberal propaganda has succeeded in fixating the public on a peculiar definition of 'freedom' that has served to conceal a project of upper class wealth accumulation. In practice, the neoliberal state assumes a protective role for capital while it sheds as much responsibility for the citizenry as possible. Mr. Harvey details how neoliberal theory is ignored whenever it comes time to bail out corporate interests from bad decision making while the safety net for the working class has been gradually eviscerated. The author effectively intersperses the text with graphs to illustrate how thirty years of neoliberalist policies has resulted in rising inequality, slower economic growth, higher incomes among the upper class, and other measures that serve to convincingly support and prove his thesis.

Mr. Harvey's history of how neoliberalism has gained ascendancy mostly treads through familiar ground but also highlights some key events that are sometimes overlooked by others. For example, Mr. Harvey relates the well-known stories of how the Chilean coup in 1973 opened the door for Augusto Pinochet to implement the first national experiment in neoliberalism, followed by Margaret Thatcher in Great Britain in 1979 and Ronald Reagan in the U.S. in 1980. However, we also gain greater appreciation about the importance of the New York City bankruptcy in the 1970s. We learn how the city's financial crisis allowed for the imposition of neoliberal reforms in a manner that would prove to be a familiar template around the world: the rollback of labor rights, the privatization of public assets, cuts in public services, and increased policing, surveillance and political repression of a markedly polarized population.

Mr. Harvey surveys neoliberalism around the world to discover connections and to analyze its effects. He finds that the U.S. economy has benefited immensely from its ability to extract tribute from other nations, including the U.S. financial community's probable engineering of crises in developing nations in order to scoop up devalued assets on the cheap. The author discusses how economic restructuring programs imposed on poor countries has benefited U.S. and other foreign investors while it has bolstered or created a small but powerful class of wealthy individuals in Mexico, South Korea, Sweden and elsewhere. In China, Mr. Harvey remarks about the ease with which neoliberalism has found a home in an authoritarian state where the political elite have amassed their fortunes by exploiting a defenseless working class. The author is particularly concerned about the symbiotic relationship that has developed between the U.S. and China and muses about the potentially catastrophic financial situation that the two countries' mounting debts might pose for each other and the world economy.

There are also other definitions. But all-in-all any viable definition need to underline the fact that neoliberalism is about the transnational economic elite taking larger share of resources, income and political power in the society away from middle class. So it always means "class war", as well as blatant enrichment of top 1% at the expense of other 99%.

Those new masters of the universe in expensive suits managed to plunder almost the same number of countries on the globe under the smokescreen of  protection of human rights, as Western powers during acquisition of colonies in XIX century. Any even after creating the most acute economic crisis in 2008 in the USA they still managed to privatize public assets and socialize all the losses. BTW the defense of human right never preclude the alliance with the most odious political regimes on the planet if such an alliance is about cheap hydrocarbons. Recently under the slogan "let us not allow bastards Russian dominate in our beloved Europe, they managed royally "f*ck EU, by cutting it from Russian hydrocarbons,  as Victoria Nuland deftly admitted in her famous remark". After that the U.S. financial oligarchs deftly dropped the Euro to the floor and knocked any attempts of economic integration of EU with Russia.

In this "enrichment of top 1%" (which means first and foremost the US oligarchs and their British counterparts) aspect neoliberalism is based on a strategies of capital accumulation based on the plunder of weaker countries by transnational capital. The integration (or re-integration as is case with the USSR) of most countries in global production and financial system was based of forming a narrow strata of comprador elite (aka fifth column). Transnational fraction of local elites in competition with nationally-oriented fractions won the state power (that's what color revolutions were about). They utilized this acquired power to restructure national economy in the interest of transnational corporation, sell assets to transnationals for pennies on a dollar, put the countries into huge debt (see Ukraine, Greece, almost all Southern Europe) and merge them into the new global manufacturing and finance system with the center at the USA in the role of powerless vassals.

This a new global, transnational corporations based social system emerged by breakdown of First World Keynesian capitalism (welfare states) and Third World "developmentalist" capitalism by abolishing two key features:

Globalization became a new efficient strategy of capital accumulation as it allowed to shake off compromises and concessions that has been imposed by middle class with upper strata or industrial workers on national governments of G7 countries in the preceding epoch, when the USSR exists as a countervailing force and by the mere fact of its existence suppresses appetite of internal financial oligarchy.  With the demolishing of gold standard in 1973 financial capital acquired unprecedented mobility and became able to operate across the borders in a new ways, which allows to eliminate the power of trade unions and state intervention, altering the balance of power in favor of international corporations. Emerging transnational elites instituted polices of deregulation, "supply-side" economics and regressive taxation creating new incentives for capital. Labor force was de-unionized and pushed into deregulated conditions with elimination of full time positions and adoption of "flexible labor" schemes. Via neoliberalism the world has became just a unified playing table for global corporations and states that support them. Material and political obstacles were removed as all states which undergone neoliberal revolutions shifted from post-WWII Keynesian social contract to serving transnational capital and transnational elites.

Neoliberalism also signifies a new historical period in the development of capitalism, the period of dominance of "monopoly-finance capital," and associated "Stagnation-Financialization trap" (SF trap) that drives processes of financial expansion in the economy from one bubble to another due to desperate attempts to stave off the tendency for stagnation of the "real economy" under the neoliberal regime.

While ideological postulates behind neoliberalism (Washington consensus) were discredited after financial crisis of 2008, it now persists in "zombie stage" as there is no viable alternatives and because the ability of transnational elite to find and fund a sufficient part of national elite (compradors) proved to be overwhelming for most states. And it is a quite powerful zombie which still is able to attack and suck blood from other countries which was recently demonstrated in Libya and Ukraine (Maidan).

Since 2007 some Latin American countries got governments that openly oppose neoliberalism. Direct military invasion against them is now more difficult as the threat of communism (which justified such invasions in the past) is off the map. But we can expect attempts to stage color revolutions or classic Coup d'état to reverse those events. One such color revolution (White revolution in Russia in 2011-2012) recently failed. Another (Maidan in Ukraine) is ongoing.

For G7 nations the neoliberalism in zombie stage might have staying power to survive until the end of the period of "abundant hydrocarbons" whether it means the next twenty or the next two hundred years. In any case they, and first of all the USA and GB, bet their prosperity on the viability of neoliberal regime and they now can't abandon it without significant losses.

Still ideological crash of neoliberalism in 2008 has its effects and the rest of the world gradually becoming less and less enthusiastic about neoliberalism, although few dare to openly argue with the USA policies. And for now the USA remains the sole superpower (new Roman Empire) and can economically squeeze or destroy dissident as we are now observing with Russia. 

But it is intellectually bankrupt doctrine, no question about it. Not long ago, the cold war ended with the restoration and triumph of capitalism in the form of neoliberalism on a global scale, and then, less than three decades later, neoliberal form of capitalism is, in turn, became as intellectually bankrupt as communism was in 1990th. By all accounts, the financial catastrophe of 2008 was not only the worst since the Great Depression economic crisis, but a political crisis that somewhat reminds the crisis of Marxist ideology in the USSR in 1960th and 1970th.

As neoliberalism no longer can be sold as the only viable ideological model for other countries, it is now force fed using the strength of American economics and American and NATO bayonets. As well as the strength of transnational elite interested in maintaining status quo (Soros, Rockefellers, Rothschilds, etc)

The vast technological and cultural superiority of the West also matters, although to a lesser extent, as China now became the key factory for the world and as such possesses most of the modern technologies on its factories (which belong to foreign corporation, but still are on China territory).

Another factor that prolongs the life of neoliberalism is that no viable alternative exists, although attempts of partial restoration of the power of national states in a form of state capitalism (Russia, China, USA) and more balanced approach between interests of national population and international corporations are attempted in various forms in various countries (Hungary, many Latin American countries).

Trotskyism for the rich;
Ideology of neoliberalism as the replacement of both Marxism and state capitalism

We can view neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich. See  Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich

From political point of view neoliberalism vision is somewhat close to Communists vision. It also relies on state repression (despite demagogy of Washington consensus about "free markets") and generally can't exist without police state (or National Security State as we now call it; Total surveillance is just icing on  the cake). Under neoliberalism the state become more repressive toward lower 80% of population and, especially, labor, but much less repressive toward various forms of capital and, especially, large capital.

In this sense the only difference is the location of the capital: while the USSR was the holy land of communist world and Moscow its global capital, now the holy land of neoliberalism is the USA and the capital is Washington. With the USA government and Washington headquarters of IMF and World Bank making close analogy to Politburo of CPSU. Due to their strong tendency for political dictate US embassies in Eastern Europe and xUSSR space are sometimes called "Washington Obcoms".  As in following post in freerepublic.com

kronos77

Funny how clueless are foreigners about Russian commies. Putin plays tough man for better bargain positions while actually he accepts orders from Washington obcom (regional committee of CPSU). Putin serves to interests of oligarchs and conducts actually liberal anti-Russian policy. He like helps oligarchic vampires to suck out money from Russian economy and invest them in US economy and Western banks what is absolutely unacceptable for Russian commies.

Like with Comminist International, other states are just vassals who implement directions from benevolent "Washington Obcom" and install the leaders recommended by it, or face ostracism (YouTube) or, worse, direct military invasion... Funny, but it was the corrupt communist elite which put the major effort in helping to implement this vision via the dissolution of the USSR.

As Pope Francis noted that like Marxism in the past neoliberalism represents a new philosophy, new kid on the block. He see  principal feature of this new philosophy in what he called the "idolatry of money" and turning inequality into moral imperative (Evangelii Gaudium, Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis, 2013):

No to the new idolatry of money

55. One cause of this situation is found in our relationship with money, since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and our societies. The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.

56. While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.

Simultaneously neoliberalism proved to be the most capable ideology to fight and displace Marxism. It actually inherited quite a bit from Trotskyism (see below), so in a way it was "evil twin" of Marxism. And it was relevant and effective not because it was a "better ideology", but because Marxism as ideology self-destructed due to several major problems caused by actual experience with state socialism as implemented in USSR and other countries of Warsaw block:

Neoliberalism as a strategy of class struggle for transnational elite


Bushonomics is the continuous consolidation of money and power into higher, tighter and righter hands

George Bush Sr, November 1992

Neoliberalism is not a collection of theories meant to improve the economy. Instead, it should be understood as a strategy of "class struggle" (in Marxist terms) designed to redistribute wealth upward toward an increasingly narrow fraction of population (top 1%). The essence of neoliberalism is well reflected in the listed above George Bush Sr. quote "...the continuous consolidation of money and power into higher, tighter and righter hands". Kind of revolt of the elite against common people, instead of revolt of proletarians against capitalists. The attempt to redistribute the wealth of nations in favor of the top 1% and especially top 0.01%.

From the very beginning neoliberalism was a project to restore of class power of US corporations owners and first of all financial oligarchy ("financial revanchism" was the major driver of neoliberalism), which was undermined by New Deal.

So it is not surprising the during neoliberal revolution (or more correctly counter-revolution) in the USA all redistributive postwar state capitalism policies that hurt financial elite came under attack. With the demise of the USSR, the necessity of such policies to ensure social peace disappeared and the elite (and first of all financial elite) got a carte blanch for decimating middle class, and redistributing the wealth up. Golden days of the US middle class not ended not exactly with the election of Reagan (remember his decimation of air traffic controller union) but with the election of Mr. Gorbachov. And they became a distant past under Clinton who sold Democratic Party to financial oligarchy and only become worse and worse under Bush II and Obama (who, social policy-wise, is just well-tanned Bush III). And on international arena brutal enforcement of Washington consensus became a norm. So Ukraine got under the same neoliberal steamroller.

Neoliberalism promises of "better future" for population outside top 1% were by and large political scam. In best case no more then top 20% of population can benefit from neoliberal policies. And that's in best case, which is applicable probably only to G7 countries. And the other bottom 80% experience a sharp decline of their standard of living. For "peripheral countries like Ukraine, Iraq, Chili, etc) instead of 80:20 the proportion in probably 90:10.

All-in-all neoliberalism as a social system always lower the average standard of life of people in countries which adopted it, never rise it. That happened even in countries which historically has very low standard of living of middle class such as former USSR republics and Eastern Europe. At the same time it tremendously improved standard of living of upper 10% (20% in case of G7 countries) of population, and, especially, the top 1% - the new aristocracy. And that top 10% has enough political power to keep and consolidate neoliberal counter-revolution and with help of G7 countries to spread it around the globe.

Transnational elite "International" proved be both more viable and durable then "proletarian International" envisioned by Marx and his followers. That does not mean that elites from other countries are treated as equal partners. No they are treated as "villagers that came to the city" but still they are given a chance to "merge" with local "aristocracy of wealth".

The USA is the center on neoliberal order, its capital. Neoliberalism is supported by projection of the USA military power and the use of US capital. It forces global economic integration on US terms at whatever costs to others. But with those reservations it is as close to "oligarchy of all countries unite" as one can get.

In a way Marx probably is turning in his grave, as his ideas were hijacked and implemented by the part of population he considered to be doomed. In other words Marxist idea of "class struggle" was turned to its head and converted into pervert "revolt of the elite" (and first of all financial oligarchy), unsatisfied with the piece of the pie it is getting from the society and stimulated by technological revolution (emergence of Internet and cheap mass produced computers). Neoliberal philosophy can be distilled into a single phrase: "Humanity begins at the rank of CEO" or as George Bush Sr, aptly said November 1992 it is "...the continuous consolidation of money and power into higher, tighter and righter hands."

Some authors like Colin Cronch in The Strange Non-death of neoliberalism consider it to be a new ruling class alliance. His basic idea is that at least in USA neoliberalism represents the shift of loyalty of the upper management class: following the Great Depression of 1930 a political alliance emerged between the upper management class and "salaried middle class" (which includes the top layer of blue and white collar workers, including quasi-management, clerical workers, and professionals, and which cannot be reduced to the traditional "working-class"). A severe profitability crisis of the 1970s with its inflationary excesses caused a fracture between upper management and "salaried middle class". From that point upper management allied with owners and financial oligarchy forming a new ruling class.

This neoliberal transformation of the society with the redistribution of wealth to the top 1% (or, more correctly, the top 0.01%) "have and have more" (as unforgettable G.W.Bush quipped) was completed in the USA in late 90th. The rest of population (aka moochers) and organization such as trade unions were undermined and decimated by financial oligarchy with near complete indifference to what happens with the most unprotected lower quintile of the population.

Like Russia in the past under Bolsheviks the USA became occupied country. And much like Bolsheviks in the past, the neoliberal reformers don't care about failures and contradictions of the economic system which drive the majority of country population into abject poverty. No they care about that their action such a blowing out financial bubble like in the USA in 2008 which definitely could move national economics toward the disaster ("off the cliff"). They have somewhat childish, simplistic "greed is good" mentality: they just want to have their (as large as possible) piece of economic pie fast and everything else be damned.

To that extent they have mentality of criminals and neoliberalism is a highly criminogenic creed, but it tried to conceal the racket and plunder it inflicts of the societies under dense smoke screen of "free market" Newspeak. That means that outside the USA and G7 countries which are the major beneficiaries of this "hyper globalization of élites" neoliberalism is an unstable social order, as plunder can't continue indefinitely. and as natural resources become more scarce, the fight for them might give advantages to "Asian" autocratic flavor of state capitalism.

Problems inherent in neoliberal model were also by-and-large masked for two decades by a huge shot in arms Neoliberalism got with the dissolution of the USSR. This particular event (which was just a decision of part on nomenklatura including KGB to join neoliberal counter-revolution) put on the dinner table of neoliberal elites half a billion people and quite a bit of resources to plunder. This gift of a century from Bolsheviks slowed down the process of plunder of G7 own population, especially in the USA. It is interesting to note that, like Bolsheviks in the past, neoliberal elite behaves more like occupiers of the country, then as a traditional, "native" aristocracy; this phenomenon was especially pronounced in Russia (privatization under Yeltsin regime) and other xUSSR countries. And in xUUSR space new neoliberal lords were almost as brutal as German occupiers during WWII.

So later neoliberalism in came under pressure even in G7 countries, including the USA, as slogan on a corner Wall Street cafe "Jump Suckers !" demonstrated so aptly in 2008 and later in Occupy Wall Street Movement (which probably should be named "get rid of Wall Street occupation of the country"). The latter was quickly undermined, dissipated by the emerging National Security State. Total surveillance makes opposition movements practically impossible.

Neoliberalism was also partially reversed in Chile (the first country on which neoliberal counter-revolution was launched), Russia, and several other countries. It was never fully adopted in northern Europe or Asian countries. The model of autocratic state capitalism used in Asian countries actually serves as the only viable and competing with the neoliberalism modern social organization. Move of manufacturing centers to China and other East Asian countries also moves political influence toward this region, away from the USA and G7. Recently China managed slightly push back western global brands in electronics (especially in Eastern European markets), producing competitive smartphones (Huawey, Fly, Lenovo), tablets (Lenovo), PCs and networking equipment such as routers and switches under this own brand names.

Neoliberalism was enforced under dense smoke screen of propaganda. One can see an example of this smoke screen in Thatcher's dictum of neoliberalism: "There is no such thing as society. There are only individuals and families." In foreign policy neoliberalism behaves like brutal imperialism (aka neocolonialism) which subdue countries instead of brute force either by debt slavery or combination of debt slavery with direct military intervention. In neoliberal view the world consist of four concentric cycles which in order of diminishing importance are

  1. Finance
  2. Economics
  3. Society
  4. Planet

In other words, finance and transnational financial institutions are considered to be the most important institutions of the civilization, the institutions which should govern all other spheres of life. It is clear that such one-dimensional view is wrong, but neoliberals like communists before them have a keen sense of mission and after they managed to accomplish its "long march through the institutions" (during which they gradually hijacked them in what is called Quiet coup) they changed the way Americans think (Using the "Four M" strategy -- money, media, marketing, and management)

A well-oiled machine of foundations, lobbies, think-tanks, economic departments of major universities, publications, political cadres, lawyers and activist organizations slowly and strategically took over nation after nation. A broad alliance of neo-liberals, neo-conservatives and the far right (including neo-fascists and religious right) successfully manufactured a new common sense, assaulted Enlightenment values and formed a new elite, the top layer of society, where this "greed is good" culture is created and legitimized.

As Crouch says in his book The Strange Non-death of neoliberalism:

a polity in which economic resources were very unequally shared would be likely to be one in which political power was also concentrated, economic resources being so easily capable of conversion into political ones. (Page 125)

... ... ...

...the state, seen for so long by the left as the source of countervailing power against markets, is today likely to be the committed ally of giant corporations, whatever the ideological origins of the parties governing the state. (Page 145)

Idolatry of money and finance; "Greed is good" as the key ethical principle of neoliberalism

Its key ethical principle of neoliberalism (only for the elite, never for prols or middle class) is "Greed is good" (as Gordon Gekko the personage of Wall Street (1987 film) quipped in the film). This strata of people (which starts on the level of CEO of major corporation) who preach those principle is assumed to be Übermensch. People below are considered to be "under humans", or "inferior humans" (Untermenschen)

According to Wikipedia, the inspiration for the "Greed is good" speech seems to have come from two sources. The first part, where Gekko complains that the company's management owns less than three percent of its stock, and that it has too many vice presidents, is taken from similar speeches and comments made by Carl Icahn about companies he was trying to take over. The defense of greed is a paraphrase of the May 18, 1986, commencement address at the UC Berkeley's School of Business Administration, delivered by arbitrageur Ivan Boesky (who himself was later convicted of insider-trading charges), in which he said, "Greed is all right, by the way. I want you to know that. I think greed is healthy. You can be greedy and still feel good about yourself".

As Pope Francis notes glorification of greed is socially destructive. While in all previous "classic" religions (including such social religion as Marxism) excessive greed was morally condemned, neoliberalism employed a slick trick of adopting "reverse", Nietzschean Ubermench morality. Here is a relevant quote from his Evangelii Gaudium, Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis, 2013

One cause of this situation is found in our relationship with money, since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and our societies. The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.

56. While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.

No to a financial system which rules rather than serves

57. Behind this attitude lurks a rejection of ethics and a rejection of God. Ethics has come to be viewed with a certain scornful derision. It is seen as counterproductive, too human, because it makes money and power relative. It is felt to be a threat, since it condemns the manipulation and debasement of the person. In effect, ethics leads to a God who calls for a committed response which is outside of the categories of the marketplace. When these latter are absolutized, God can only be seen as uncontrollable, unmanageable, even dangerous, since he calls human beings to their full realization and to freedom from all forms of enslavement. Ethics – a non-ideological ethics – would make it possible to bring about balance and a more humane social order. With this in mind, I encourage financial experts and political leaders to ponder the words of one of the sages of antiquity: “Not to share one’s wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs”.[55]

Like Bolshevism and National Socialism before neoliberalism needs a huge propaganda machine comparable with the propaganda machines of Bolsheviks and the Third Reich. Neoliberal ethics is pushed through the throat by hundreds of radio stations, cable TV channels (with Fox as the most prominent stooge of neoliberal propaganda), magazines and newspapers (Wall Street Journal, NYT, etc). This ethics is presented as a specific philosophy of Randism which is an ultimate expression of neoliberal ethics.

Here analogy with Bolshevism became even more stark. When you think about the current Republican Party, you can distinguish a small circle of ideologues consisting by-and-large of Ayn Rand followers. In a way it reminds the original Ann Rand circle called "collective", which like Bolshevik's core consisted of Jewish intellectuals, such as Greenspan. And that is not a positive characteristic. Murray Rothbard, a member of Rand's circle for several months in 1958, described the Randroids as “posturing, pretentious, humorless, robotic, nasty, simple-minded....dazzlingly ignorant people.” (Sex, Ayn Rand and the Republican Party)

Like in Marxism the view of other classes (in this case lower classes) by this new alliance is hostile. They are parasites, moochers, etc (exactly like capitalist class in Marxism), all feeding from the state, which in turn deprives "masters of the university" the spoils of their ingenious activity. Neoliberalism professes open and acute hostility to "lower classes", as if modeled on Bolsheviks hatred of "capitalists". This hate (like hate in general) paradoxically gives neoliberalism a driving force: as Irish novelist Elizabeth Bowen quipped: "Some people are molded by their admirations, others by their hostilities."

And this Ubermench feature of neoliberalism attracts young people in the same way they were attracted to national socialism with its hate of racially inferior nations. In a way neoliberalism converted the concept of "Arian race" into the concept of morally and intellectually superior transnational elite.

Neofascism and neoliberalism

One of first experiments in introduction of neoliberal ideology (Pinochet putsch in Chile) has definite neofascist colors.

The worst violence occurred in the first three months of the coup's aftermath, with the number of suspected leftists killed or "disappeared" (desaparecidos) soon reaching into the thousand.[6] In the days immediately following the coup, the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs informed Henry Kissinger, that the National Stadium was being used to hold 5,000 prisoners, and as late as 1975, the CIA was still reporting that up to 3,811 prisoners were still being held in the Stadium.[7] Amnesty International, reported that as many as 7,000 political prisoners in the National Stadium had been counted on 22 September 1973.[8] Nevertheless, it is often quoted in the press, that some 40,000 prisoners were detained in the Stadium.[9] Some of the most famous cases of "desaparecidos" are Charles Horman, a U.S. citizen who was killed during the coup itself,[10] Chilean songwriter Víctor Jara, and the October 1973 Caravan of Death (Caravana de la Muerte) where at least 70 persons were killed.[11] Other operations include Operation Colombo during which hundreds of left-wing activists were murdered and Operation Condor, carried out with the security services of other Latin American dictatorships.
Memorial to victims of the Dirty war in Chile

Following Pinochet's defeat in the 1988 plebiscite, the 1991 Rettig Commission, a multipartisan effort from the Aylwin administration to discover the truth about the human-rights violations, listed a number of torture and detention centers (such as Colonia Dignidad, the ship Esmeralda or Víctor Jara Stadium), and found that at least 3,200 people were killed or disappeared by the regime.

A later report, the Valech Report (published in November 2004), confirmed the figure of 3,200 deaths but dramatically reduced the alleged cases of disappearances. It tells of some 28,000 arrests in which the majority of those detained were incarcerated and in a great many cases tortured.[12] Some 30,000 Chileans were exiled and received abroad,[13][14][15] in particular in Argentina, as political refugees; however, they were followed in their exile by the DINA secret police, in the frame of Operation Condor which linked South-American dictatorships together against political opponents.[16] Some 20,000-40,000 Chilean exiles were holders of passports stamped with the letter "L" (which stood for lista nacional), identifyng them as persona non grata and had to seek permission before entering the country.[17] Nevertheless, Chilean Human Rights groups maintain several hundred thousand were forced into exile.[14]

According to the Latin American Institute on Mental Health and Human Rights (ILAS), "situations of extreme trauma" affected about 200,000 persons; this figure includes individuals killed, tortured (following the UN definition of torture), or exiled and their immediate relatives.[citation needed] While more radical groups such as the Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR) were staunch advocates of a Marxist revolution, it is currently accepted that the junta deliberately targeted nonviolent political opponents as well

A court in Chile sentenced, on March 19, 2008, 24 former police officers in cases of kidnapping, torture and murder that happened just after a U.S.-backed coup overthrew President Salvador Allende, a Socialist, on September 11, 1973.[18]

Neofascist putsch in Chile got stamp of approval personally from Milton Friedman, who actually was instrumental in moving Chile into neoliberal orbit (Neoliberalism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia):  

In 1955, a select group of Chilean students (later known as the Chicago Boys) were invited to the University of Chicago to pursue postgraduate studies in economics. They worked directly under Friedman and his disciple Arnold Harberger, while also being exposed to Hayek. When they returned to Chile in the 1960s, the Chicago Boys began a concerted effort to spread the philosophy and policy recommendations of the Chicago and Austrian schools, setting up think tanks and publishing in ideologically sympathetic media. Under the military dictatorship headed by Pinochet and severe social repression, the Chicago boys implemented radical economic reform. The latter half of the 1970s witnessed rapid and extensive privatization, deregulation, and reductions in trade barriers. In 1978 policies that would reduce the role of the state and infuse competition and individualism into areas such as labor relations, pensions, health, and education were introduced.[2] These policies resulted in widening inequality as they negatively impacted the wages, benefits and working conditions of Chile's working class.[49][50] According to Chilean economist Alejandro Foxley, by the end of Pinochet's reign around 44% of Chilean families were living below the poverty line.[51] In The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein argues that by the late 1980s the economy had stabilized and was growing, but around 45% of the population had fallen into poverty while the wealthiest 10% saw their incomes rise by 83%.[52]

Two decades after it was first used by pro-market intellectuals in the 1960s, the meaning of neoliberalism changed. Those who regularly used the term neoliberalism in the 1980s typically applied it in its present-day, radical sense, denoting market fundamentalism.

In 1990 the military dictatorship ended. Hayek argued that increased economic freedom had put pressure on the dictatorship over time and increased political freedom. Many years earlier, in The Road to Serfdom (1944), Hayek had argued that "economic control is not merely control of a sector of human life which can be separated from the rest; it is the control of the means for all our ends."[53] The Chilean scholars Javier Martínez and Alvaro Díaz reject that argument pointing to the long tradition of democracy in Chile. The return of democracy had required the defeat of the Pinochet regime though it had been fundamental in saving capitalism. The essential contribution came from profound mass rebellions and finally old party elites using old institutional mechanisms to bring back democracy.[54]

The essence of neoliberalism is globalization of corporatism, which previously have distinct national boundaries and some forms of which were rabidly nationalistic (for example German national socialism). Just imagine a single global state with the capital in Washington with the typical for such a superstate flow of people to capital and you essentially catch the essence of the USA elite neoliberal dream -- Pax Americana.  There are also second class cities such as London, Berlin, Tokyo, etc which while not as attractive are much better then the "deep province", such as Prague, Warsaw or Sanct-Petersburg. to say nothing about "countryside" such as Kiev, Tallin, Riga, Vilnus.

So the flow of people and commodities (and first of all oil) has distinct direction from the periphery to the center. To keep each country in the line and this flow of commodities uninterrupted, this "Capitalist International" relies on the part of national capitalist class and elite which is connected to international corporations serving the same role as Communist Parties or Communist International. Such as part is often called Compradors or Fifth Column of Globalization

And this "international elite" is even more responsive to pressure from Washington,  as its fortunes and often families reside if "first class cities" of G7. This way neoliberalism is able to suppress the other part of the elite of particular country which favors "national" development and typically resides inside the country. As a PR smokescreen neoliberalism pay lip service to national development, but in essence it is hostile to it and favor "underdevelopment" of nations outside G7. It's anti-social and has distinct schadenfreude attitude to weak nations: it derives pleasure from seeing the misfortunes of other nations and it try to exploit such moments ("disaster capitalism"). Vae victis as Romans used to say (Victor's justice).

And the winner in neoliberal revolutions is not the middle class and lower strata of population (although they might be sold on it and fight for it, being deceived by propaganda as is the case with the current generation of Americans), but international and local oligarchy represented via international corporations and banks. For bottom 90% population the hangover after the neoliberal revolution comes really quick. This affect was clearly visible after successful color revolution in Serbia, Georgia and Ukraine.

In cases of Georgia and Ukraine the neoliberal leaders lost power after their term and there were efforts to put them in jail for abuse of power and corruption, which were not successful only due to USA pressure (only former Ukrainian Prime Minister Julia Timoshenko, the Joan of Arc of Orange revolution was jailed). In any case popularity of leaders of neoliberal revolutions drops to almost unheard levels with Victor Yushchenko commanding 2% approval rating in Ukraine before the end of his term.

Neoliberalism also has common with fascism "white man burden" syndrome (I cite Neoliberalism is fascism):

One last prefatory remark: I think it is important to recognize that fascism (forms of contemporary conservatism) is a result of neoliberal thought. It is not simply a supplement that aims to save neoliberalism from itself. So, even as forms of religious fundamentalism provide supplements to the extremes of neoliberalism, neoliberalism on its own has horribly conservative effects. The passage below comes from:

TCS Daily - House of Pain: Why Failure Is Important.

Every successful society has devised ways of separating incompetent or systematically unlucky people from the control of valuable resources. (That's why civilized nations provide children and legally incompetent individuals with guardians and trustees.) This is an essential process for all but the most wealthy of nations, e.g., those cursed by great oil wealth. (This windfall wealth situation is the national analogue of individuals winning the lottery; a harbinger of bad things that follow the lack of a need to husband resources.)

A society's economic success is increased if it has sure and quick ways to accomplish this separation, however painful to those who suffer losses. While there will be political pressures to buffer folks from the consequences of economic folly or bad luck, it is socially dangerous to do so. Reality checks should have force, so that those who fail to prudently manage resources will not keep control over them.

Let's identify the problems with the passage. First, failure is a matter of incompetence or bad luck. Although bad luck is qualified with the term 'systemic,' the writer's flip attitude overlooks systemic forms of exclusion like race, sex, or citizenship. It occludes as well the impact of inherited wealth (a form of the systemic protection of the incompetent) and generational poverty. Second, incompetence and bad luck are equated with being civilized. To be unlucky, then, is to be childlike, immature, incompetence, and barbaric (attributes long associated with justifications for colonialism). I'm going to skip the section on oil wealth, although I would think that people with more knowledge of the Middle East and the ways that the Mid East figures in neoliberal rhetoric would have interesting things to add here.

Neoliberalism as an integral part of American Messianism

Neoliberalism is not merely a new pseudo-religious, cult-like version of globalized corporatism. Like national socialism before it is also simultaneously a powerful ideological export product. It is the core of Pax Americana, which the USA tries to impose of the rest of world. As Samuel P. Huntington(1927 – 2008), the author of the concept of  Cleft country expressed this view, the idea of Pax Americana means that:

"a world without US primacy will be a world with more violence and disorder and less democracy and economic growth than a world where the United States continues to have more influence than any other country in shaping global affairs. The sustained international primacy of the United States is central to the welfare and security of Americans and to the future of freedom, democracy, open economies, and international order in the world."

Similar ideas were expressed in 1998 book The Grand Chessboard American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives by  Zbigniew Brzezinski. From one of Amazon reviews:

And ponder the meaning of these statements in a post-9-11 world:

While this is typically associated with neocon thinking, it is shared belief of the majority of the US elite. In 1992, the US Defense Department, under the leadership of Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney [later to be George Bush Jr.’s VP], had the Pentagon’s Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Paul Wolfowitz [later to be George Bush Jr.’s Deputy Secretary of Defense and President of the World Bank], write up a defense document to guide American foreign policy in the post-Cold War era, commonly referred to as the “New World Order.”  The Defense Planning Guidance document was leaked in 1992, and revealed that,

“In a broad new policy statement that is in its final drafting phase, the Defense Department asserts that America’s political and military mission in the post-cold-war era will be to ensure that no rival superpower is allowed to emerge in Western Europe, Asia or the territories of the former Soviet Union,” and that, “The classified document makes the case for a world dominated by one superpower whose position can be perpetuated by constructive behavior and sufficient military might to deter any nation or group of nations from challenging American primacy.”

Further, “the new draft sketches a world in which there is one dominant military power whose leaders ‘must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role’.” 

As  the official state ideology of the USA where it became an integral part of American Messianism it was successfully exported to many countries.  And it now permeates many aspects of social cooperation and culture. Like in the USSR the whole generation of people in the USA had growth being brainwashed by this ideology. It dictates an extremely militant almost jingoistic (does not hesitate to exercise force or overthrows the governments), foreign policy (Trotskyites idea of export of revolution in full swing), it is as deceptive as bolshevism (what Washington means by the "spread of democracy" is actually spread of neoliberalism), missionary (regards itself as a monopolist of the "truth" and protector of "universal values" ) and colonizing (serving simultaneously the ideology behind Neocolonialism). Like Communism it is also messianic as in "the end justifies the means" and does not abstain from using dirty methods including black propaganda and color revolutions for achieving its goals. In the level of hypocrisy and methods used against "natives" it reminds British empire or the USSR (your choice ;-). 

It blackmails antagonists as depraved, primitive, and below par. A good sample of neoliberal blackmail can be extracted from the US press coverage of preparations to Iraq war( US press enlists for war on Iraq) and Libya coup d'état. Another good set of samples provides Guardia press coverage of Putin's Russia and Ukraine EuroMaidan events.  Funny but Russia occupies the middle ground between neoliberalism and resource nationalism, so in principle it coul be an alli of the USA and GB,  but as a large country and possible geopolitical opponent it also was in crosshairs of the US elite.  One of the reasons for Russia's defeat in Chechnya between 1994 and 1996, was an attempt by America in the 1990s, with tremendous help from the comprador part of Russian elite it managed to create, to turn Russia into a standard neoliberal vassal state, whose elites would be subservient to the US foreign policy and would exist to export raw materials to the West and to transfer money to Western bank accounts. That attempt failed with Putin coming to power. So now the level of animosity from the USA and British elites and serving them MSM now goes over the roof .

With the notable exception of the USA itself, neoliberalism is hostile to nationalism. That does not exclude flirting with neo-fascist elements in countries were neoliberalism is under attack from the left or from the resource nationalists. But those forces are viewed more like tactical allies (Ukraine is a good example) and can be thrown under the bus, when they do their dirty job. Inside the USA, the holy city of neoliberal ideology, it to a certain extent merged with American Exceptionalism; the USA is viewed as exemplarity neoliberal country, the shining city on the hill which has right to impose their views and interests on the rest of the globe with impunity, standing outside the law.

Redistribution of income and lowering the standard of living of the bottom 80% of population

While welfare state presuppose redistribution of income down, the "free market capitalism" presupposes even more powerful redistribution of income up, toward the most wealthy part of the population.

Unlike previous revolutions (with the exception of Bolsheviks revolution) the unique feature of neoliberal revolution is drastic lowering the standard of living of middle class and poor, along with dramatic enrichment of top 1% of population and international corporations. Standard of living of top 20% also grow, albeit not so dramatically. In a way it is equivalent to selling of local population into slavery to international corporations by local oligarchy. with the interesting Pareto style 80:20 split. In other words only 20% of population get something from neoliberal revolution with over 50% concentrated at, way, the top 5%, and lion share in top 1%. This "top 20%" of beneficiaries constitute "fifth column of neoliberalism" in the particular state.

Lower 80% of population standard of living typically dramatically drops after neoliberal revolution and never recover.  That does not mean that those capitalists who favor "national" development are considerably less brutal in exploiting lower 80% population, but at least the "spoils" of this exploitation are left by and large in the country and used to improve infrastructure, housing, education  and such while neoliberal model of exploitation often is sucking the vassal states dry. Former Eastern European countries such as Bulgaria, Rumania and Serbia provide especially interesting and educational example of how neoliberalism deforms the economy and impoverish population. Especially Bulgaria, this basket case of Europe.

There are some exceptions like China (which practice not pure neoliberalism bus a mixture of neoliberalism with national development, kind of "neoliberalism with Chinese face" ;-), but even in China this process of dramatic enrichment of top 1% is clearly visible although it is not accompanied with drastic lowering of standards of other 99% of population like happened in Russian, Ukraine and other post Soviet republics. Again in the level of decimation of local middle class and poor neoliberal revolutions have a lot in common with Bolshevik's revolution in Russia of 1917.

Here is a quote from insightful Amazon review by razetheladder of Chalmers Johnson book Blowback The Costs and Consequences of American Empire:

Johnson's strength is in recounting the specificities of US foreign policy; he's much weaker at an overall understanding of imperialism. He seems to think that American policymakers have naively built up the economic strength of their Japanese, Korean, and now Chinese competitors by focusing on maintaining their own military power. This is an old critique, resting on the notion that imperialism hurts the imperialists.

But Johnson is relying on the idea that "America" is a unitary entity, so that the hollowing out of industry hurts "America", not specific social groups within the country. In reality, US foreign policymakers work to advance the interests not of "America", but of those same business elites that have benefited from turning Asia into the world's sweatshop and undermining the unions that built their strength on American industry. American economic imperialism is not a failed conspiracy against the people of Asia, but an alliance between American elites and their Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, and Chinese counterparts - against the potential power of the working majority in all those countries.

But it's more complex than that, too, since the US seeks to prevent the emergence of an independent military challenge (especially China, but also Japan) to its Asia hegemony while seeking to expand the power of American commercial interests in the region, even as it tries to keep Asian elites happy enough with the status quo to prevent their rebellion against it.

Elite and the second and third world countries

Neoliberalism as an ideology can be succinctly defined as "Transnational elites Uber Alles". But it uses the concept of elite on the level of the of the countries too. Neoliberalism distinguishes between to types of countries, and. respectively, there are two forms of neoliberalism, one for G7 countries (elite) where while squeezing middle class it operates with "velvet gloves", and a more brutal practice from "prols" countries outside G7 (vassal countries with local elites as fifth column of globalization). Neoliberalism relies mainly on financial mechanisms and banks and use brute force only as a secondary weapon for subduing people and minor countries (you can get much farther with a kind neoliberal word and cruise missiles, then with just kind neoliberal word alone). In time, it generally coincides with computer and Internet revolution, which made globalization of labor via outsourcing of production and services to poor countries much more attractive.

In principle we can define two distinct types of neoliberalism: one for elite countries and the other every other country:

Actually some elements of the idea of "national superiority" were preserved by reserving for the USA special "shining beacon on the Hill" status (American Exceptionalism) and in a form superiority of "creative class" which includes capitalists, financial oligarchy, and "executives" (top layer of transactional corporate elite) plus narrow social strata of people who are serving them (and that includes most journalists, programmers and IT staff, and such).

In a way, neoliberalism considers this so called "creative class" to be a new Arian race. Everybody else are Untermensch and should be treated as disposables.  In other words it is more like a religion that claim  supremacy of particular ethnic group or a class.  See for example a Guardian reader comment made in 2011 (you need to brose the comments as direct link does not work; recently Guardian screwed its comment system completely):

ITS1789 13 Sep 2011 14:15

I'm not from the left, and I personally do really, really well out of the capitalist system, and enjoy a life of relative luxury, but then I can afford to give half my annual income away to charity and still live very well. I like capitalism, it's been very good to me, and my family for over two centuries, but the ghastly version that's swept the world over the last thirty years is something else.

I think neoliberalism is something close to a malignant cancer growing inside a healthy capitalism, and with equally disastrous consequences. So my criticism comes not from the left, but from the right, for what that's worth.

Neoliberalism is a kind of pseudo-religion, a dogma, which is passionately believed by its disciples, despite the evidence showing that it simply doesn't work in the real world, but like most religious fanatics, the real world doesn't matter much to them. Which is another reason they remind me of Stalinists in the old Soviet system.

... ... ...

For me neoliberalism is a primitive and dangerous delusion about society, economics, and human nature, comparable to extreme forms of socialism, which are equally hairbrained and destructive, and arguably just as bloody.

Thatcherism was classic, class-warfare politics, but launched from the extreme right instead of the left, and it was wildly successful, at least for those it benefitted, a narrow strata at the top of society. Now that the entire charade is collapsing, and taking the welfare state, the middle class, and probably capitalism itself, with it, it's time to pay the bill for this long, illusory, party.

Neoliberalism, cheap hydrocarbons, and economic crisis of 2008

There essence of neoliberalism is not only dominance of finance over other sectors of the economy, but also free movement of goods and people by global corporations without any respect for national borders. And that is the source of increasing efficiency and dropping prices on many categories of goods. An interesting question is how much the rise of neoliberalism was forced on humanity by the short historical period of availability of cheap hydrocarbons.

"Cheap Energy" is important driver of globalization. Even the previous stage of globalization: the creation of colonial empires by Great Britain, France, Germany and Spain was at least partially based on availability of steam power and coal.

Now it is an oil that serves the same role for the global neoliberal empire. The latter allow cheap global transportation, mass air travel and powers huge US military machine which has no equals in the globe and serves as a guarantor of security of neoliberal regimes all over the globe. Out of three major components of globalization -- the US as a sole superpower, cheap international shipping and air travel, and (to lesser extent) global telecommunication networks the first two definitely depends of cheap energy. And, BTW, Google is also not running of holy spirit; it is one of the top consumers of electrical energy in the USA.

While it is unclear to what extent neoliberalism will be affected by rising energy prices, it seems few things arouse more passions these days then "oil plato" (or how it is often, but incorrectly, called the oil peak) and how it affects the civilization and different countries. The key fact is that EROEI (energy return on energy invested) of oil extraction is rising dramatically for the last two decades and it looks like this trend will continue. The current world oil production has EROEI around 40 so you extract forty times as much of energy then you spend for extraction.

New oil discoveries have EROEI around 10 (with bitumen oil sand EROEI in single digits). And EROEI also the source of the current disconnect between the purchasing power of money and the resources available to back that up. Pessimists say that a further increase in fuel prices is inevitable, and sooner or later the world will face a kind of "offshoring apocalypse". That's unlikely as important part of neoliberal regime is the new level of global communications and this part will be by-and-large intact. But transportation costs will affect the globalization in a negative way without any dount. For example with EROEI in single digits mass air travel will come to a screeching halt.

At the same time the end of cheap hydrocarbons era might marks the start of fuel wars, which, as such, will be a drastic reversal of globalization, playing the same role as WWI. When each state will try to pull the energy blanket, globalization trends will definitely suffer.

Rise of cost of energy makes both offshoring of manufacturing and outsourcing of service jobs to other countries less viable. A growing number of American companies are moving their manufacturing back to the United States. This emerging "re-shoring movement" has to be kept in proportion. Most of the multinationals involved are bringing back only some tiny fraction of their production destined for the American market. Much of what they had moved over the past few decades remains overseas. Moreover some firms like Caterpillar decided to move research and development facilities in China as split between manufacturing and research badly affects both research and the quality of final products.

But re-shoring tendencies can't be easily dismissed. They are driven by powerful forces which might only get stronger with time. Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in April 2012, notes that 37% of those with annual sales above $1 billion are planning shifting production facilities from China to America. Of the very biggest firms, with sales above $10 billion, the number reached 48%. Among reason sites are rising Chinese labor costs and transportation costs. Many shipping companies slowed the speed of their ship (increasing the delivery time) in order to fight rising oil prices. As Economist, the flagship of neoliberal establishment thought in GB, noted (Reshoring manufacturing):

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology looked at 108 American manufacturing firms with multinational operations last summer. It found that 14% of them had firm plans to bring some manufacturing back to America and one-third were actively considering such a move. A study last year by the Hackett Group, a Florida-based firm that advises companies on offshoring and outsourcing, produced similar results. It expects the outflow of manufacturing from high- to low-cost countries to slow over the next two years and the reshoring to double over the previous two years. “The offshoring of manufacturing is now rapidly moving towards equilibrium [zero net offshoring],” says Michel Janssen, the firm’s head of research.

By contrast, pay and benefits for the average Chinese factory worker rose by 10% a year between 2000 and 2005 and speeded up to 19% a year between 2005 and 2010, according to BCG. The Chinese government has set a target for annual increases in the minimum wage of 13% until 2015. Strikes are becoming more frequent, and when they happen, says one executive, the government often tells the plant manager to meet workers’ demands immediately. Following labour unrest, wages at some factories have gone up steeply. Honda, a Japanese carmaker, gave its Chinese workers a 47% pay rise after strikes in 2010. Foxconn Technology Group, a subsidiary of Hon Hai Precision Industries, a Taiwanese firm that does a lot of manufacturing for Apple and other big technology firms, doubled pay at its factory complex in Shenzhen after a series of suicides. Its labour troubles are still continuing.

...As soon as 2015, says Hal Sirkin, a consultant at the firm, it will cost about the same to manufacture goods for the American market in certain parts of America as in China in many industries, including computers and electronics, machinery, appliances, electrical equipment and furniture. That calculation takes into account a wide variety of direct costs, including labour, property and transport, as well as indirect ones such as supply-chain risk.

...“Pay for senior management in several emerging markets, such as China, Turkey and Brazil, now either matches or exceeds pay in America and Europe”

So while production and service outsourcing overseas or offshoring can still provide substantial cost savings for many companies, the question arise whether those cost savings are sustainable (Can outsourcing overseas provide sustainable cost savings).

Crisis of 2008 undermined the legitimacy of neoliberalism much like WWII undermined the legitimacy of communism. But alternatives did not exits and instead of wreaking neoliberalism it converted it is aggressive, bloodthirsty zombie stage, which is the current stage of neoliberalism development (see below). It is interesting to note that  three competing perspectives on the crisis do not include the role cheap hydrocarbons in development of neoliberalism and the crisis of 2008 (Palley, 2012, cited via thomaspalley.com): 

US neoliberal empire and the stages of development of neoliberalism

See American Imperialism, Transnational Capitalist Class and Globalization of Capitalism

Market fundamentalism as an ideology of neoliberalism; Washington Consensus

Market fundamentalism is an ideology of neoliberalism and represents a pseudo-scientific approach to economic and social policy based on neoclassical theories of economics that absolutized the role of the private business sector in determining the political and economic priorities of the state and consider privatization as the ultimate solution of all problems in the society.

Like social theories behind Italian and German versions of corporatism ideology of neoliberalism is pretty eclectic. It is discussed at some additional length at pages related to the topic Casino Capitalism on this site.

We need to note, there the neoliberal ideology adoption and implementation patterns varies from country to country, like it was actually with the classic corporatism as well. In the USA this form of corporatism emerged in most radical form. Another center of neoliberalism was GB in which it also has had a more radical form then, say, in Spain or Italy.

And we called the US version of neoliberalism radical, it is not a metaphor: corporatism under General Franco is a pale shadow of corporatism under Bush-Obama regime.

This new stage of capitalism development is often called "corporate socialism" of "socialism for rich" or "socialism for banks". The latter name is applicable because the key component of transnational elite is financial oligarchy. All of those terms reflect the key fact that at this stage of capitalism development it is the transnational elite and first of all financial oligarchy which completely dominates power structures of the society. Due to the role of financial oligarchy in this new elite this social system was also nicknamed Casino Capitalism.

Neoliberalism should probably be viewed as a further development of a form of corporatism that emerged in the USA in late 60th. It came to power in Ronald Reagan administration which was in a way Quiet coup. And it became completely dominant after the collapse of the USSR during Clinton regime during which Democratic Party also adopted neoliberalism as an official platform.

The term itself emerged in the 1970s, when some Latin American economists began using "neoliberalism" to designate their program of market-oriented reforms. It has come into wide use starting with 1973 Chilean coup d'état. After triumph of neoliberalism in Chile under Augusto Pinochet (from 1973) neoliberalism spread to Great Britain under Margaret Thatcher (from 1979) and then to the United States under Ronald Reagan (from 1981). Broadly speaking, neoliberalism seeks to transfer control of the economy from the public to the private sector with the state providing guarantees only to corporations and not to individual citizens like under socialism. That's why is often called "corporate socialism".

After dot-com bust of 2000-2002, however, the term "neoliberalism" had become a pejorative used to denigrate prostitution of economics performed by Milton Friedman and Chicago school . This trend increases after financial crisis of 2008-2012. So it is probably fare to say that right now neoliberalism entered the stage of decline. The last important victory of neoliberalism was probably navigating Russia into joining WTO, which happened in summer of 2012.

It has neoliberal Newspeak that include such terms as "free market", efficiency, consumer choice, transactional thinking and individual autonomy. In essence this is an modernized ideology of merger of state and corporate power that was hallmark of classic corporatism, with an additional twist of emphasizing the Arian style theories of inferiority of lower classes (reflected in promoting the "class of creators", entrepreneurs( Randism), etc) and "ultimate justice" of redistributing wealth to the top 1%.

On state level it tries to abolish social programs and completely shift the risks to individuals (replacing pensions with 401K plan in the USA), while fully providing social protection to corporations, especially financial giants involved in casino style gambling. In other words it socialize private losses and privatize social program that benefits of individual citizens.

Neocolonial aspects of neoliberalism are often called "Washington Consensus", a list of policy proposals that appeared to have gained consensus approval among the Washington-based international economic organizations (like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank) and directed on making developing nations "debt slaves" of the industrialized nations. This policy got tremendous impetus with the dissolution of the USSR when the principal foe, which to certain extent limited the level of greed in such deals due to fear of "communist infiltration" if case deal is too one sided, folded.

The concept and name of the Washington Consensus were first presented in 1989 by John Williamson, an economist from the Institute for International Economics, an international economic think tank based in Washington, D.C. The list created by Williamson's included ten points:

  1. Legal security for property rights;
  2. Financialization of capital.
  3. Fiscal policy Governments should not run large deficits that have to be paid back by future citizens, and such deficits can only have a short term effect on the level of employment in the economy. Constant deficits will lead to higher inflation and lower productivity, and should be avoided. Deficits should only be used for occasional stabilization purposes.
  4. Redirection of public spending from subsidies to people to subsidies to corporations (tax breaks, preferred regime, etc). Especially hurt were classic socialist programs, which neoliberal call "indiscriminate subsidies" that neoliberal deem wasteful. They are limited to those what benefit corporations such as primary (but not university) education, primary health care and infrastructure investments. Pensions and other social problems need to be privatized.
  5. Tax reform– broadening the tax base by shifting tax burden to the poor and middle classes and adopting low taxes for corporations and top 1% with the states goal to encourage "innovation and efficiency";
  6. Interest rates that are market determined and positive (but moderate) in real terms;
  7. Floating exchange rates;
  8. Trade liberalization – liberalization of imports, with particular emphasis on elimination of quantitative restrictions (licensing, etc.); any trade protection to be provided by law and relatively uniform tariffs; thus encouraging competition and long term growth. Financial liberalization under the smoke screen of trade liberalization and complete dominance of foreign banks in local financial systems of developing countries.
  9. Liberalization of the "capital account" of the balance of payments, that is, allowing people the opportunity to invest funds overseas and allowing foreign funds to be invested in the home country
  10. Privatization of state enterprises; Promoting market provision of goods and services which the government can not provide as effectively or efficiently, such as telecommunications, where having many service providers promotes choice and competition.
  11. Deregulation – abolition of regulations that impede market entry or restrict competition, except for (G7 only) those justified on safety, environmental and consumer protection grounds, and prudent oversight of financial institutions;

A Decade Long Triumph of Neoliberalism after the Dissolution of the USSR

As we mentioned before, the greatest triumph of neoliberalism was the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. After this event, there was a period of "triumphal march of neoliberalism", which lasted probably till 2005, when each year it claimed as a victory yet another country (Yeltsin neoliberal gang rule in Russia lasted till 2000, all former socialist countries were converted to neoliberal regimes shortly after, Kosovo in 1999; Serbia in 2000; Iraq in May, 2003; Georgia in December 2003; Ukraine in 2004). It also managed to stabilize and improve the situation in the USA. Plunder of Russia and other xUSSR states along with Internet revolution were two factors that influenced relative prosperity of the USA in 1994-2000.

And like Catholicism in Europe in Middle Ages, in 90th neoliberalism looked like an incontestable ideology propagated by "sole superpower" (" anew holy Roman Empire") with the help of vassals and subservient financial institutions such as World Bank and IMF. The dominance on the USA in 1991 looked rock-solid and if somebody told me in 1999 that in less then 20 years the USA would be on ropes both politically and financially I would just laugh. Still after the dissolution of the USSR neoliberalism managed to dissipate most of the gains in approximately 20 years and in 2008 entered the phase of structural crisis. As of 2013 the idea of self-regulating market is dead and even solidarity of international elites, the hallmark of neoliberalism, is under question.

The first cracks in neoliberalism facade were caused by Clinton's attack on Yugoslavia in 1999, the first armed neoliberal crusade attempted under the smoke screen of protecting the right of Kosovo Muslims in Serbia. It failed to implement "regime change" in Serbia and despite overwhelming military superiority of NATO forces has shown that bringing neoliberal regime on the tips of bayonets is a costly and high risk exercise. It took another several years and a color revolution in Serbia to achieve those goals. It did established the second Muslim state in Europe (effectively NATO protectorate), which was a part of the plan.

Color revolution in Serbia started a series of other successful color revolutions in Serbia (Serbia's Bulldozer Revolution in 2000) ,Georgia (Saakashvili regime came to power in November 2003 as a result of "Rose revolution"), Ukraine (Viktor Yushchenko regime came to power in 2004 via Orange Revolution) and several other countries.

After those successes, there were several setback: color revolutions failed in Belorussia and Russia. Results of color revolution in Ukraine were partially reversed by government of Viktor Yanukovych who ousted Yushchenko government defeating Yulia Tymoshenko in 2010 election (with Yutchshenko personally having less the 3% support). They are close to partial reversal in Georgia where Saasaskvily regime is hanging in the air.

Fear of the population and establishment of "National Security State"
to protect the interest of transnational elite

Politically neoliberalism correlates with growth of political power of financial oligarchy and media-military-industrial complex. Growth of political power of financial oligarchy among national elite has led to the dramatic growth of inequality and created growing fear of the top 0.01% (oligarchs) over preserving their power and financial gains.

That naturally leads to the establishment of National Security State" state, militarization of police and introduction of total surveillance over the citizens under the pretext of fighting against terrorists.

In the article GCHQ taps fibre-optic cables for secret access to world's communications by Ewen MacAskill, Julian Borger, Nick Hopkins, Nick Davies and James Ball, the authors describe blanket surveillance regime (21 June 2013, The Guardian) in comparison with which KGB and even STASI looks like complete amatures:

Britain's spy agency GCHQ has secretly gained access to the network of cables which carry the world's phone calls and internet traffic and has started to process vast streams of sensitive personal information which it is sharing with its American partner, the National Security Agency (NSA).

The sheer scale of the agency's ambition is reflected in the titles of its two principal components: Mastering the Internet and Global Telecoms Exploitation, aimed at scooping up as much online and telephone traffic as possible. This is all being carried out without any form of public acknowledgement or debate.

One key innovation has been GCHQ's ability to tap into and store huge volumes of data drawn from fibre-optic cables for up to 30 days so that it can be sifted and analysed. That operation, codenamed Tempora, has been running for some 18 months.

GCHQ and the NSA are consequently able to access and process vast quantities of communications between entirely innocent people, as well as targeted suspects.

This includes recordings of phone calls, the content of email messages, entries on Facebook and the history of any internet user's access to websites – all of which is deemed legal, even though the warrant system was supposed to limit interception to a specified range of targets.

As Glenn Greenwald wrote in his article Are all telephone calls recorded and accessible to the US government? (May 4, 2013, The Guardian):

Every day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications.

It would also help explain the revelations of former NSA official William Binney, who resigned from the agency in protest over its systemic spying on the domestic communications of US citizens, that the US government has "assembled on the order of 20 trillion transactions about US citizens with other US citizens" (which counts only communications transactions and not financial and other transactions), and that "the data that's being assembled is about everybody. And from that data, then they can target anyone they want."

Despite the extreme secrecy behind which these surveillance programs operate, there have been periodic reports of serious abuse. Two Democratic Senators, Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, have been warning for years that Americans would be "stunned" to learn what the US government is doing in terms of secret surveillance. Strangely, back in 2002 - when hysteria over the 9/11 attacks (and thus acquiescence to government power) was at its peak - the Pentagon's attempt to implement what it called the "Total Information Awareness" program (TIA) sparked so much public controversy that it had to be official scrapped. But it has been incrementally re-instituted - without the creepy (though honest) name and all-seeing-eye logo - with little controversy or even notice.

In his book "Brave New World Order" (Orbis Books, 1992, paper), Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer identifies seven characteristics of a such a state:

  1. The military is the highest authority. In a National Security State the military not only guarantees the security of the state against all internal and external enemies, it has enough power to determine the overall direction of the society.
  2. Political democracy and democratic elections are viewed with suspicion, contempt, or in terms of political expediency. National Security States often maintain an appearance of democracy. However, ultimate power rests with the military or within a broader National Security Establishment.
  3. The military and related sectors wield substantial political and economic power. They do so in the context of an ideology which stresses that 'freedom" and "development" are possible only when capital is concentrated in the hands of elites.
  4. Obsession with enemies. There are enemies of the state everywhere. Defending against external and/or internal enemies becomes a leading preoccupation of the state, a distorting factor in the economy, and a major source of national identity and purpose.
  5. The working assumption is that the enemies of the state are cunning and ruthless. Therefore, any means used to destroy or control these enemies is justified.
  6. It restricts public debate and limits popular participation through secrecy or intimidation. Authentic democracy depends on participation of the people. National Security States limit such participation in a number of ways: They sow fear and thereby narrow the range of public debate; they restrict and distort information; and they define policies in secret and implement those policies through covert channels and clandestine activities. The state justifies such actions through rhetorical pleas of "higher purpose" and vague appeals to "national security."
  7. The church is expected to mobilize its financial, ideological, and theological resources in service to the National Security State.

You can probably safely replace the term "military" with the term "finance" in the above list to make it more applicable to contemporary neoliberal societies. And if you think about, it finance is a new form of warfare. In any case National Security State is now reality and by-and-large displaced the previous form, called Inverted Totalitarism which existed from late 40th to late 80th.

Criminogenic effects of neoliberalism

The fact the neoliberalism is highly criminogenic is well established. The postulate "greed is good" implicitly assumes that the legal system is perfect. In order to distinguish greed from enlightened self-interest, we will define greed is self-interest taken to an extreme or unseemly degree. A “greedy” market participant that seeks to gain at the expense of others and the society at large. So in essence this is a parasitic behavior. This might be done within the legal framework exploiting loopholes in it, but most commonly it involves a violation of the law that is difficult to enforce and are supported internally by corporate brass (A Troubling Survey on Global Corruption - NYTimes.com):

A new survey of corporate officials and employees in 36 countries — in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, as well as India — indicates that there is plenty of corruption that needs investigating.

Over all, 20 percent of the respondents said they knew of incidents at their own companies within the previous year that could be construed as cooking the books — moves to either understate expenses or overstate revenue. Among senior managers and directors, the figure was 42 percent.

It is typically difficult to determine what the optimal set of laws is; lawmakers must make their best guess, and in most cases they pass laws that are proved to be suboptimal over time. Holes in those laws can be systematically exploited. Also law always lags behind market and technological developments; it is difficult for lawmakers to know how to regulate things like new products or new investment vehicles. That creates another opportunity to engage in destructive for the society as whole behavior without fear of punishment by the law. Neoliberalism also is "sociopath friendly" regime in a sense that sociopathic qualities became a desirable for the top brass. And with sociopathic leadership in place it is difficult to imagine what the improper business is. "Creative destruction" in this case becoming something like a pack of wolves against a sheep.

Wall Street also developed two step combination: first weaken the law, and then engage in criminal behavior that is now decriminalized. In other words, if one argues that it is perfectly acceptable for people to be greedy, the problem is that there is no mechanism to constrain greedy people so that they can do no harm to others. As history demonstrates pretty convincingly (with the 2008 crisis as the most recent example), the legal system typically fails to place the appropriate constraints on such market behavior. That's why additional mechanisms are important for society survival and prosperity, and that's why most world religions consider greed to be a vice. This brings us to works of John Kenneth Galbraith and his discussion of the necessity of countervailing economic forces. Neoliberalism destroyed those countervailing forces over the last several decades.

Since the legal system can not and never in reality guarantee that markets function efficiently, there is a role for other institutions to foster a more enlightened self-interest as a social norm and thus improve efficiency. It's mostly about how self-interest is channeled that makes the difference, since eliminating self-interest seems similarly sociopathic (the USSR is a perfect example here). We would be a lot better off to channel self-interest in financial sector productively, than let it run wild foraging on speculation, arbitrage, and monopolization.

But it is those institutions that can channel self-interest in a more productive way, that neoliberalism systematically tries to weaken. In this sense neoliberalism is not only criminogenic, it is self-destructive. Moreover, unethical behavior is arguably more of the rule of corporate conduct rather than the exception. As such it represents a systemic flaw of neoliberalism as a flavor of corporatism. And the Great Recession of 2008 is a direct manifestation of this systemic flaw. In other words it was not accidental, it was not the first and it is not the last.

Example of Russia neoliberal revolution of 1989-1994 is probably one of the most terrifying examples of this trend. But the situation in the USA after 2008 is structurally even worse as it entails much more sophisticated layers of corruption and first of all almost complete corruption of the government by financial oligarchy (nobody was prosecuted for the financial crisis of 2008). It signified the creation of two separate caste of citizens with the upper caste being above the law, much like it was with Nomenklatura in the USSR.

Neoliberalism also exploits fundamental problem that in any large bureaucracy dealing with huge sums of money people have bad and/or contradictory incentives and lack of accountability creates opportunity for corruption. So in way it is using corruption for the purposes of maintaining the neoliberal regime, which is pretty unique feature. And, despite appearance, all large bureaucracies are prone to corruption.

One of the key mechanisms of corruption that is used under neoliberal regime is so called "the revolving door". It works in both direction: from top corporate seats to government and back.

Typically people who moved to government from private industry are not forgetting your former friends, especially in crisis (Paulson is a very good example here, but any Secretary of Treasury probably is not much worse example either). There are also implicit incentives to help your former employer, when there is an opportunity for a multimillion dollar deal. Also in this variant of "revolving door" regime, those who are coming to the government or to the public service have the incentive structure and morale they acquired in their prior employer -- a large corporation.

When a long time government servant is expecting to join a corporation after leaving the government there is a strong, but implicit incentive not to hurt future friends. Income inequality is probably one of the root causes for this. If incomes in public and private sector were not so much out of balance, few people would be motivated to sell themselves out so shamelessly.

But with the current level on income inequality this mechanism works wonders to emasculate regulatory agencies top brass. The mechanism that efficiently replicates this governance systems and keeps it in place one of the central part of criminality of neoliberalism: the conscious breaking down of institutional capacity of state to regulate business activity. Thus creating the situation of "mafia state", with the oligarchy instead of regular Mafiosi.

The other key mechanism is bribing the press corps to present (often close to criminal) actions favorable to oligarchy (in a words of Margaret Thatcher), as "There Is No Alternative" (TINA). BTW in Russian "tina" is the highly viscosious, amorphous substance on the bottom of the lake or swamp. In the latter case it can swallow people or animals. This effect is the same as for "Neoliberal TINA". Typically "TINA" works by remapping the debate to exclude anything not favorable to the financial elite (Journalists in the service of Pete Peterson Remapping Debate). Here is how stealing from Social Security to preserve recent gains by financial elite was presented during debates on (note the terminology) "curbing the country’s “unsustainable” debt and deficits.":

  • Maria Bartiromo, 2011 (host, CNBC’s “Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo”)
  • Tom Brokaw, 2012 (former anchor and managing editor, NBC Nightly News)
  • Erin Burnett, 2012 (host of CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront”)
  • John F. Harris, 2012 (editor-in-chief of Politico)
  • Gwen Ifill, 2011, 2010 (senior correspondent of “PBS NewsHour”)
  • Ezra Klein, 2011 (columnist, Washington Post)
  • Jon Meacham, 2010 (former editor-in-chief, Newsweek)
  • Bob Schieffer, 2010 (host, CBS “Face the Nation”)
  • Lesley Stahl, 2010 (reporter, CBS “60 Minutes”)
  • George Stephanopoulos, 2012 (host, ABC’s “This Week”)
  • David Wessel, 2012, 2011 (economics editor, Wall Street Journal)
  • George Will, 2011 (columnist, Washington Post)
  • Judy Woodruff, 2012, 2011 (host, “PBS NewsHour”)
Peterson, however, is hardly a disinterested and dispassionate observer of such discussions. In fact, he is now beginning his fourth decade of arguing that there is no alternative to enacting “entitlement reform” (read: cut Social Security and Medicare) and “tax reform” (read: raise regressive taxes and lower progressive ones) in the name of curbing the country’s “unsustainable” debt and deficits.

An essential and successful element of the Peterson strategy is to create an environment where it is widely if not universally believed that there is no alternative to his vision. The conceit is that those with “courage” will see past narrow, partisan concerns and embrace an ideal: a bipartisan consensus that has the strength to demand “shared sacrifice” from a childish and selfish populace. A review of the proceedings of the Fiscal Summits of the last three years makes agonizingly clear that most of the journalists who conducted interviews or moderated panel discussions both reflected and amplified the Peterson worldview...

So, for example, Lesley Stahl, the CBS “60 Minutes” reporter, was fully a part of the Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson deficit-cutting team during her interview with both men: “You are going to have to raise taxes and cut things, big things, put restrictions on Social Security. Everybody knows that.”

Virtually none of the reporters thought to ask about or suggest an alternative path, such as preserving Social Security benefits and bolstering the system’s reserve by raising the cap of wages subject to Social Security taxes (currently annual wages above approximately $110,000 are not subject to any Social Security tax).

And most questioning proceeded either on the false assumption that deficits were derived from excessive spending on entitlements or as though they had mysteriously, but inevitably, come to pass.

Many journalists fairly shouted their personal desire to see greater cooperation and “compromise,” with groups realizing the importance of submerging their interests to the greater good. Who should do the submerging? In 2012, Tom Brokaw had a suggestion in the form of a question to former President Bill Clinton: after Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker pushed through a bill undermining the right of union members to collectively bargain, shouldn’t those workers have just sat down and negotiated with Walker as, Brokaw said, “has been traditionally done in this country” instead of “gather[ing] outside the capitol”?

There were a couple of exceptions to the rule. In a session moderated by Ezra Klein of the Washington Post in 2011, Klein posed a number of questions that reflected an unwillingness to operate from within the Peterson framework. For example, Klein asked New York Times columnist David Brooks whether, instead of blaming Americans for simply wanting benefits without paying for them, the causes of the debt should be located in the Bush tax cuts, two unfunded wars (Iraq and Afghanistan), and the federal government’s emergency response to the financial crisis.

Judy Woodruff, of the PBS NewsHour, generally asked questions from within the Peterson frame, but, at one point in 2012, posed a question that perhaps all the journalists should have been thinking about as well. She asked Rep. Christopher Van Hollen, Jr. (D-Md.) if “Democrats like you, by participating in forums like this one that is all focused on austerity, on cutting the deficit and the debt…really become also window dressing for a conservative agenda that is anti-jobs and anti-recovery and wrongheaded economics?”

Over the course of the three years of fiscal summits that Remapping Debate examined, the other journalist interviewers and moderators hewed strictly to the conventional Peterson wisdom. What follows are annotated illustrations of this recurring problem.

Neoliberalism as a key contributor to growth of amorality and economic crimes

Although neoliberal regime is not necessarily a kleptocracy (although Yeltsin regime definitely was), the difference is only in a degree. It does use corruption and criminality to stabilize the neoliberal regime and protect it from backlash that follow economic crisis caused by excessive appetite by financial oligarchy (if I am sounding like a communist here it is not accidental; as people of former USSR observed: communism was all wrong about socialism, but it was surprisingly realistic in its views of capitalism). And as for corruption it is pretty ironic that the USA tried to position itself as a leader of anti-corruption crusade, because as Niall Ferguson noted (quoted from Zero Hedge):

“It is corruption when corporations can buy regulation. It is corruption when laws are sponsored by Wall Street.

It is a sad state when the current level of corruption of the U.S. government is what was once only associated with third world countries ruled by dictators. The problem is that corruption of major institutions and first of all regulators is predicament for any country which adopted neoliberal model, and the US in no exception. Niall Ferguson called it "suffering from a third world disease.". In his new book The Great Degeneration he states the central question of the “great degeneration” is whether our institutions, and first of all institution which should uphold the rule of law are degenerating. He thinks that there are four symptoms of degeneration:

Quite frankly, like in the case of international financial capital, the most necessary constituents that define organized crime are in place so the difference in only in degree:

Organized crime or criminal organizations are transnational, national, or local groupings of highly centralized enterprises run for the purpose of engaging in illegal activity, most commonly for monetary profit

Quoting Wikipedia:

In the United States, the Organized Crime Control Act (1970) defines organised crime as "The unlawful activities of [...] a highly organised, disciplined association [...]".[3] Criminal activity as a structured group is referred to as racketeering and such crime is commonly referred to as the work of the Mob. In the UK, police estimate organized crime involves up to 38,000 people operating in 6,000 various groups.[4] In addition, due to the escalating violence of Mexico's drug war, the Mexican drug cartels are considered the "greatest organised crime threat to the United States" according to a report issued by the United States Department of Justice.[5]

By all estimates Mexican grug cartels dwarf the size and wealth of the US financial sector.

If you think that the increasing level of penetration of Mexican mafia into the US is the result of external forces think again. In a way Reagan regime was a clear invitations for any self-respectful international crime syndicate to start operating in the US territory. And the exposition of crime that was a side effect of neoliberal counterrevolution in Russia has a distinct blowback effect in the USA. The same reasoning is applicable to various sophisticated financial crimes including computer related. What you expect unemployed or semi-employed for 300 dollars a month programmers to do to in order to provide a living for themselves and their families.

Neoliberalism and propaganda of amorality

As Will Hutton noted in The Guardian neoliberalism doctrine entail direct propaganda of amorality( Across Europe, political leaders have lost the trust of their people:

There was a time when to live a life virtuously was well understood. It embraced personal integrity, commitment to a purpose that was higher than personal gain, a degree of selflessness and even modesty. Those at the top may have got there through ruthlessness and ambition, but they understood that to lead was to set an example and that involved demonstrating better qualities than simply looking after yourself.

No more. Perhaps the greatest calamity of the conservative counter-revolution has been the energy it invested in arguing that virtue, whatever its private importance, has no public value. The paradox, the new conservatives claim, is only through the pursuit of self-interest can the economy and society work best. Responsibilities to the commonweal are to be avoided.

The retreat of virtue has become the plague of our times. Greed is legitimate; to have riches however obtained, including outrageous bonuses or avoiding tax, is the only game in town. But across the west the consequences are becoming more obvious. Politics, business and finance have become blighted to the point that they are dysfunctional, with a now huge gap in trust between the elite and the people.

In the USA it took more then three decade to eliminate morality and to establish "law of jungle" mentality in the population. In other countries such as Russia this process was much quicker and run deeper. And in no way this newly acquired level of criminally is reflected in incarceration statistics. Most of "neoliberal-style: crimes are financial crimes and as such they are difficult to direct and difficult to procedure. sometimes they are impossible to procedure either because of the political influence of the players or potential effect on the economy if particular persons and institutions are brought to justice. The latter factor was acknowledged by the US justice department.

Neoliberalism propagates criminal behavior by creating acute means-ends discrepancies and due to excessive cultural emphasis on monetary or material success goals ("greed is good" mentality) for members of society. At the same time mobility is restricted and majority of members of the society has no realistic chances to attain those goals. Still media brainwashing incites the desire more than they have. Success stories of going from rags to riches make the American Dream more believable, despite the fact that it is deeply and irrevocably fake. As this cultural meme is internalized it creates a strain, which combined with the culturally induced underemphasize on the proper methods, stimulates deviance of various types. If the deviant solution is successful (i.e., perpetrators are not caught or adequately punished), this adaptation may become normative for others in a similar social context. To the extent that this solution is available to them (demand for illicit goods or services, access to illegitimate opportunity structures), they may adopt this role model -- and may be expected by their significant others to follow this path. This process creates a vicious circle toward higher rates of deviance and widespread anomie under neoliberal regime. Anomie is a withdrawal of allegiance from conventional norms and a weakening of these norms' guiding power on behavior. This is caused by structural contradictions within the neoliberal doctrine and affects deviance in two ways. One is associated with strain, relative deprivation, frustrations, and the almost obsessive focus on goals. This makes deviance thinkable, as conventional norms are regarded as nonbinding, at least temporarily. Rationalizations enable departures from otherwise accepted/internalized social rules, as actors convince themselves that in their particular circumstances an exception is acceptable. Through interactive processes, techniques of neutralization and rationalizations contribute to a context in which newly socialized actors may adopt normative referents and deviant behavior as a matter of course. If "this is the way business is done around here," people may engage in price fixing or misleading advertising or insider trading or running a prostitution ring. While those criminogenic effects of neoliberalism became prominent in the USA as was demonstrated by 2008 financial crisis, when most of financial players involved were engaged is behavior that is deeply and irrevocably asocial and amoral. However, a very similar process is now being reproduced throughout the world. Promises are made that are not fulfilled. People's expectations are exalted at a time when economic and power asymmetries increase and become less justifiable and intolerable in the eyes of the people affected. The logic of the market permeates popular thinking and introduces rationalizations, making the adoption of a criminal or unethical solution more acceptable. This high criminogenic impact of globalization and neoliberal policies is extremely difficult and costly to reverse.

Moral relativism and concept of "Justice for some"

Moral relativism means that anything that helps to achieve the goal is moral. It was actually pioneered by Marxism in context of means to be used to achieve "proletarian revolution". It is a part of Randism as a ersatz version of Nietzschean Philosophy.

Corruption, facilitated by the credibility trap, is the biggest problem facing the West today. That is the real subsidy, the most debilitating entitlement.

It is the belief of the elite that the power of their office is an achievement that rewards them with the right to lie, cheat and steal, both for themselves and their friends.

Although it is most important to understand that they would be shocked and insulted if one uses those words, lie, cheat and steal, to describe what they are doing. They view themselves as exceptionally hard working, as obligated by their natural gifts and superiority.

Through a long indoctrination that starts sometimes in their families, but is most often affirmed in their elite schools and with their circle of privileged friends, they learn to rationalize selective moral behaviour not as immoral but as 'the entitlement of success.' And they are supported by a horde of morally ambivalent enablers who will tell them whatever they wish to hear.

There are one set of rules for themselves and their friends, and another set of rules for the rest.

Few who actually do evil consciously choose to be evil. They rationalize what they do in any number of ways, but the deceit often hinges on their own natural superiority, and the objectification and denigration of the other. We are makers, and they are takers. Although many may work hard, they see their own work as having special value and merit, while the actions of the others are inconsequential and unworthy.

Given enough time, their rationalizations become an ideology, desensitized to the meaning and significance of others outside their own select group. This supremacy of ideology empties their souls, and opens the door to mass privation and even murder, although rarely done by their own hands.

This is what Glenn Greenwald calls 'justice for some.' Or even earlier what George Orwell captured in the slogan, 'Some animals are more equal than others.'

And just to be clear on this, with regard to the Anglo-American political situation, the tragedy is not that just some are corrupted, which is always the case. The tragedy is that the Democrats and the Labor Party learned that they could become as servilely corrupted by Big Money as the Republicans and the Conservative Party, while maintaining the illusion of serving their traditional political base.

And it has rewarded them very well in terms of extraordinarily well-funded political power, and almost unbelievable personal enrichment afterwards.

In such a climate of corruption, political discourse loses the vitality of ideas and compromise for the general good, and take on the character of competing gangs and crime families, engaged in aggressive schemes and protracted turf wars, tottering from one pitched battle and crisis to another.

As Jesse put in his blog Jesse's Café Américain
"A credibility trap is a condition wherein the financial, political and informational functions of a society have been compromised by corruption and fraud, so that the leadership cannot effectively reform, or even honestly address, the problems of that system without impairing and implicating, at least incidentally, a broad swath of the power structure, including themselves.

The status quo tolerates the corruption and the fraud because they have profited at least indirectly from it, and would like to continue to do so. Even the impulse to reform within the power structure is susceptible to various forms of soft blackmail and coercion by the system that maintains and rewards.

And so a failed policy and its support system become self-sustaining, long after it is seen by objective observers to have failed. In its failure it is counterproductive, and an impediment to recovery in the real economy. Admitting failure is not an option for the thought leaders who receive their power from that system.

The continuity of the structural hierarchy must therefore be maintained at all costs, even to the point of becoming a painfully obvious, organized hypocrisy.

The Banks must be restrained, and the financial system reformed, with balance restored to the economy, before there can be any sustainable recovery.

The problem which the modern world has not yet grappled is how to react to the rise of a global elite, which considers itself to be above national restraints, and a law unto themselves.

Their success has been propelled by the dominance of Anglo-American financialization, and the rise of oligarchies in Russia, China, Latin America, and India. Countervailing power has been co-opted and in many cases eliminated. Any opposition has become marginalized and isolated.

The new oligarchs are supported by fiat currencies of respective national goverements, which together the increase of insubstantial 'cashlessness' in wealth. The latter provides much greater ability to reallocate wealth.

Legal arbitrage

Legal arbitrage is a powerful instrument for transnational corporations to press government into compliance. As soon as government tries to impose some restriction on their operations they threaten to leave.

This behavior is by-and-large conditioned by the low price of oil. With price of oil above, say $200 per barrel, transportation costs became big enough to make this behavior less likely

Globalization and deregulation supports selective justice, to the extreme detriment of local legal regimes (outside G7), and individual choice and freedom. The new global elite consider themselves to be a new Arab sheiks, a law unto themselves, above what they consider subhuman restraint. Or using Nietzschean terminology, Übermenschen.

“Our light-speed, globally connected economy has led to the rise of a new super-elite that consists, to a notable degree, of first- and second-generation wealth. Its members are hardworking, highly educated, jet-setting meritocrats who feel they are the deserving winners of a tough, worldwide economic competition—and many of them, as a result, have an ambivalent attitude toward those of us who didn't succeed so spectacularly. Perhaps most noteworthy, they are becoming a transglobal community of peers who have more in common with one another than with their countrymen back home. Whether they maintain primary residences in New York or Hong Kong, Moscow or Mumbai, today's super-rich are increasingly a nation unto themselves...

A multibillion-dollar bailout and Wall Street’s swift, subsequent reinstatement of gargantuan bonuses have inspired a narrative of parasitic bankers and other elites rigging the game for their own benefit. And this, in turn, has led to wider—and not unreasonable—fears that we are living in not merely a plutonomy, but a plutocracy, in which the rich display outsize political influence, narrowly self-interested motives, and a casual indifference to anyone outside their own rarefied economic bubble."

Chrystia Freeland, The Rise of the New Global Elite

The Consequences of Neoliberalism in Third World Countries and xUSSR space: stagnation instead of growth

Being an implementation of the "law of jungles" on international scene with the USA as a 100 pound gorilla, the neoliberal regime has distinct criminogenic character both within the USA (unpunished financial crimes made by top management of leading Wall Street banks and investment firms) and, especially, in "newly liberalized" countries of former USSR ("a New Latin America"). Which is the main "sphere of influence" of international corporations from G7 countries.

Along with internationalization of economies and integration of elites there was internalization of organized crime and growth in sophistication of criminal methods of appropriation of wealth, including those used by international corporations.

In this discussion we will follow key points of the article Global Anomie, Dysnomie, and Economic Crime Hidden Consequences of Neoliberalism and Globalization in Russia and Around the World

Introduction

TRANSNATIONAL CRIME HAS RECENTLY ACQUIRED A PROMINENT PLACE IN PUBLIC debates. It is commonly presented as the most significant Crime problem at the turn of the millennium (Myers, 1995-1996; Shelley, 1995). Many have even suggested that it represents a serious domestic and international security threat (Paine and Cillufo, 1994; Williams, 1994). The argument is also made that a wave of transnational crime undermines policies and the functioning of an increasing number of market economies around the globe (Handelman, 1995; Shelley, 1994). As a consequence, the proposed remedies are often quite drastic and involve undercover operations, privacy-piercing approaches, and the participation of intelligence services in the fight against global crime (Andreas, 1997; Naylor, 1999; Passas and Blum, 1998; Passas and Groskin, 1995).

Yet, little attention and virtually no systematic research has been devoted to understanding the causes, structure, extent, and effects of serious cross-border misconduct (Passas, 1998). The risks it poses may be grossly exaggerated (Naylor, 1995; Lee, 1999). The draconian measures being contemplated and implemented in different countries, therefore, are essentially an exercise in shooting in the dark. Chances are good that the target will be missed and substantial "collateral damage" may be caused by ill-conceived policies in this "war" on crime. This risk is particularly high in countries in transition toward a market democracy. It would be much wiser, thus, to carefully study the problem before taking ineffective and possibly damaging actions.

This article seeks to make a contribution by concentrating on the causes of transnational economic crime. The main argument is that, contrary to conventional wisdom, neoliberalism and globalization contribute to processes leading to global anomie, dysnomie, and, ultimately, economic misconduct. They do so by activating the criminogenic potential of economic, political, legal, and cultural asymmetries, as well as by creating new such asymmetries (Passas, 1999). These asymmetries cause crime by furnishing opportunities for misconduct, by generating motives for actors to take advantage of such opportunities, and by weakening social controls. More specifically, means-ends disjunctions are systematically created, as neoliberal policies foster new needs and desires that are all too often left unfulfilled. Promises of more freedom, prosperity, and happiness for a larger number of people have turned out to be chimerical. Economic and power inequalities have widened within and across countries in the last two decades . The number of poor has reached unprecedented levels, while welfare programs and safety nets are reduced or abolished. Enormous populations have become more vulnerable to exploitation, criminal victimization, and recruitment in illicit enterprises or rebel and fundamentalist groups. Normative standards and control mechanisms are weak or completely absent exactly when they are needed the most.

This article begins with some basic conceptual clarifications and outlines the theoretical framework so far applied to the analysis of U.S. organizational and individual deviance. Then, the main features of globalization and neoliberalism are presented, followed by a contrast of promises made by proponents of neoliberal policies and their actual consequences. Attention then shifts to specific criminogenic effects of these outcomes and the case of Russia, which illustrates the different stages in the processes leading up to serious misconduct and anomie. The chief policy implication of this analysis is that the recently unleashed forces of neoliberalism need to be reined in and held in check, while government policies ought to better shield the least privileged from the adverse effects of globalization.

Some Conceptual Clarifications

Although there is no universally accepted definition of transnational crime, many commentators seem to think of it as a globalized form of the stereotypical "organized crime." This, however, leaves out corporate and governmental crimes, whose effects can be far more harmful than those of "professional" criminals and ethnic groups involved in the business of illegal goods and services. We therefore need a definition that is inclusive enough without becoming too relativistic and subjective. For our purposes, transnational crime refers to cross-border misconduct that entails avoidable and unnecessary harm to society, is serious enough to warrant state intervention, and is similar to other kinds of acts criminalized in the countries concerned or by international law. Crime will be viewed as transnational when the offenders or victims are located in or operate through more than one country (Passas, 1999).

Globalization is another term that is often used without clear definition. In the simplest sense, it refers to a growing interconnectedness and multilateral linkages across national borders. According to Keohane and Nye (2000: 104), globalism is a state of the world involving networks of interdependence at multicontinental distances. The linkages occur through flows and influences of capital and goods, information and ideas, and people and forces, as well as environmentally and biologically relevant substances (such as acid rain or pathogens).

Globalism has several dimensions, such as economic, cultural, environmental, or military, not all of which take place at the same time. So, whenever globalism increases and becomes thicker or more intense, we can speak of globalization. When globalism decreases, we can speak of de-globalization.

Finally, the term "criminogenic asymmetries" refers to structural discrepancies and inequalities in the realms of the economy, law, politics, and culture. Such asymmetries are produced in the course of interactions between unequal actors (individual or organizational) or systems with distinctive features. All asymmetries contain some criminogenic potential. Durkheim argued that crime cannot be eliminated, because we are and always will be different from each other. Even in a society of saints, minor deviations would be considered serious offenses. In modern societies, crimes are those behavioral differences (asymmetries) that have been outlawed by legislative bodies. There is always the opportunity for powerful actors to victimize less privileged ones (economic, political, and power asymmetries). This potential is not always materialized. Criminal opportunities are not necessarily taken advantage of. Mostly this is because actors do not always seek or wish to make use of illegal opportunities. They may not regard such action as appropriate (due to socialization, internalization of norms) or fear adverse consequences. The criminogenic potential is most likely to be activated when opportunities, motives, and weak controls are all present.

For example, a combination of legal/regulatory asymmetries with economic and political asymmetries has given rise to a huge illicit market for toxic waste disposal. Many Third World countries either did not regulate toxic waste or did so much less rigorously than did industrialized states. This provided an opportunity for maximum-profit-seeking companies to getrid of their hazardous waste in areas where rules were lax or nonexistent (Center for Investigative Reporting and Moyers, 1990; Critharis, 1990). Power and economic asymmetries between rich and poor countries have led waste recipients to allow this to go on because of their dependence on foreign investment, the need for cash to service external debt, or the desire to create jobs (Korten, 1995). Economic and knowledge asymmetries also shaped the motivation of local participants in this questionable trade. The decision to go along reflects an incomplete understanding of the extent or nature of the hazard, their desperate need for additional income, an effort to be competitive and attractive to foreign companies (race to the bottom), or corruption.

Anomie and Deviance

Both Durkheim (1983) and Merton (1968) have stressed how high rates of deviance should be expected when social expectations are out of balance with realistic opportunities to reach the desired goals. According to Durkheim, this means-ends discrepancy is caused by society's inability to regulate people's naturally limitless desires. This problem was particularly acute in the commercial and business sector, in which anomie was chronic during the industrial revolution, opening up new horizons and undermining society's ability to contain aspirations. A similar situation can be observed in contemporary societies, where electronic, information, and biological technologies constantly redefine what is possible and break new ground.

According to Merton, unrealistic hopes and expectations are not simply natural, but socially constructed and promoted. Structural problems are at the heart of the means-ends disjunction. The U.S. culture and the ideology of the American Dream encourage lofty expectations, while society fails to provide equal access to legal opportunities. Meanwhile, there is a cultural overemphasis on success goals at the expense of normative behavior (as further elaborated by Messner and Rosenfeld, 1994). Both of these factors make for deviance and anomie.

Without ignoring the differences between the two sociologists, it has been possible to use an elaborated version of their anomie theories to explain corporate crime in the context of capitalist economies (Passas, 1990). Regardless of whether people strive for "more" due to natural drives or because of cultural encouragement, the point is that market economies cannot perform without lofty aspirations, consumerism, emphasis on material/monetary goals, and competition. All this leads to the pursuit of constantly moving targets and systematic sources of frustration. A synthesis of anomie theory with reference group analysis made clear how means-ends discrepancies are socially generated and experienced by people in all social strata. It also showed how this theoretical framework is applicable to the analysis of crime without strain or problems (i.e., anomie theory is not a strain theory) and to "organized crime" even after discrimination or blockage of legitimate opportunities no longer affects minority groups (Passas, 1997).

In brief, the dynamic social process leading to structurally induced strain, anomie, and deviance without strain is as follows. Means-ends discrepancies are caused by a strong cultural emphasis on monetary or material success goals for all members of society, while a good number of them do not have a realistic chance to attain them. Socially distant comparative referents are constantly introduced and sustained through the school, family, politics, workplace, media, advertising, and even religion (Passas, 1994). Regardless of their social background and the social capital available to them, people are urged to desire more than they have. Success stories of going from rags to riches make the American Dream even more believable. As this cultural theme is internalized, competitive forces and consumerism foster normative referents on what is "normal" and appropriate. The widely internalized egalitarian discourse clashes in practice with widespread inequality (power and economic asymmetries). Consequently, those m embers who fail to meet such comparative and normative standards are likely to experience relative deprivation and frustration. This strain, combined with the culturally induced overemphasis on goals and the concomitant under-emphasis on the proper methods, makes for deviance of various types (see Merton's typology). A good part of the deviance is an individual search for a solution to these structural problems. If the deviant solution is successful (i.e., perpetrators are not caught or adequately punished), this adaptation may become normative for others in a similar social context. To the extent that this solution is available to them (demand for illicit goods or services, access to illegitimate opportunity structures), they may adopt this role model -- and may be expected by their significant others to follow this path -- even though the original source of strain has by now been eclipsed. Unless effective control measures are taken, this process continues in a vicious circle toward higher rates of deviance and widespread anomie (for a schematic representation of this process, see Figure 1 at the end of the article).

In the literature, anomie is often conceptually confused with its causes or effects. To keep its explanatory potential, this mistake should be avoided. Anomie is a withdrawal of allegiance from conventional norms and a weakening of these norms' guiding power on behavior. This is caused by structural contradictions and affects deviance in two ways. One is associated with strain, the other is not. The former is caused by relative deprivation, frustrations, and the almost obsessive focus on goals. This makes deviance thinkable, as conventional norms are regarded as nonbinding, at least temporarily. Rationalizations enable departures from otherwise accepted/internalized social rules, as actors convince themselves that in their particular circumstances an exception is acceptable (Aubert, 1968; Sykes and Matza, 1957). Through interactive processes, techniques of neutralization and rationalizations contribute to a context in which newly socialized actors may adopt normative referents and deviant behavior as a matter of course. If "this is the way business is done around here," people may engage in price fixing or misleading advertising without experiencing any prior frustration or problem.

Globalization and Neoliberalism

These structural problems have been most prominent in the USA. However, a very similar process is now being reproduced throughout the world through globalism and neoliberalism. Promises are made that are not fulfilled. People's expectations are exalted at a time when economic and power asymmetries increase and become less justifiable and intolerable in the eyes of the people affected. The logic of the market permeates popular thinking and introduces rationalizations, making the adoption of a criminal or unethical solution more acceptable. The horizontal lines in Figure 1, rather than representing controlling influences, at the global level point to the criminogenic impact of globalization and neoliberal policies.

Nowadays, globalism and neoliberalism seem to be indistinguishable empirically or even conceptually (Cox, 1993; Stewart and Berry, 1999). Nevertheless, I think it is useful to try to separate them analytically. As noted earlier, globalism refers to the degree of interconnectedness and the increase or decrease of linkages. By contrast, neoliberalism refers to an economic and political school of thought on the relations between the state on the one hand, and citizens and the world of trade and commerce on the other. Because it espouses minimal or no state interference in the market and promotes the lifting of barriers to trade and business transactions across regional and national borders, it certainly becomes a motor of globalization.

Globalization in the last two decades shows clear signs of deeper and thicker interconnections that affect many more people than ever before. The effects are now much faster, as shown by the financial crisis in Thailand in 1997. The world has shrunk and become "one place," with global communications and media, transnational corporations, supranational institutions, and integrated markets and financial systems that trade around the clock (McGrew, 1992; Sklair, 1995). The cultural landscape has changed under the influence of mass media. Through their ads, TV programs, movies, and music, they contribute to cultural globalism, target young children, and foster consumerism (e.g., "Image Is Everything," "Just Do It," or "Coke Is It"). Information technology is making for "distant encounters and instant connections" (Yergin and Stanislaw, 1998). Fresh normative and comparative ideals are thus promoted, legitimated, and presented as attainable. Scholars attribute the momentum of this process to the forces of capitalism (Wallerstein, 1983), technology (Rosenau, 1990), the presence of a hegemon (Gilpin, 1987), or a combination of them all (Giddens, 1990).

Neoliberalism, in particular, has made a major contribution to the dynamic and contradictory processes of globalization since the elections of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Helmut Kohl. During the 1950s and 1960s, the dominant concerns revolved around distributive justice, neocolonialism, and dependency theory. These were displaced in the 1980s and into the 1990s by discourses of "free markets," individualism, and self-help (Woods, 1999). Policies of deregulation, privatization of state assets, and removal of tariffs implemented the doctrine that the state should get out of the way of free enterprise. Unemployment, inequality, and poverty were no longer explained by structural contradictions or constraints. The problems became individualized and blamed on corrupt administrations or on the poor themselves. The proposed medicine was more liberalization of the economy, free competition, privatization of inefficiently managed government agencies, abolition of capital controls, and permitting foreign capital to enter all markets.

The ideological underpinning of globalization, thus, has been the primacy of economic growth, which is thought to be benefiting the whole planet. Consistent with that prime directive, country after country has been persuaded (or forced) to promote "free trade" and consumerism, to reduce government regulation of business, and to adopt the same economic model regardless of local specificities and differences between industrialized and developing countries (Bello, 1999; Mander, 1996).

More specifically, shifts in the North, the East, and the South have been quite remarkable. In the North, the welfare state that used to care for citizens "from cradle to grave" has been replaced by a "pay as you go" social service system. Even public utilities have been privatized and have begun to charge "economic prices," as former subsidization systems were abolished. Further, "industrial interventionism and labour protection have given way to laissez-faire; and tax systems whose major purpose was to correct inequalities have been transformed into systems mainly intended to promote incentives and economic efficiency" (Stewart and Berry, 1999: 151).

In developing countries, similar shifts took place as a result of hegemonic influences from the North. Western-educated Third World "technocrats" returned to their home countries eager to introduce neoliberal policies (Burbach et al., 1997: 86; Newsweek, June 15, 1992). As the bandwagon of liberalization took off, few countries wished to be left out. As a World Bank official warned, "lagging countries risk being left farther behind....For economies that remain inward-looking, the risk of being marginalized is greater than ever" (cited in Klak, 1998: 21).

Yet, the shifts have not always been voluntary. A host of measures and conditions consistent with the neoliberal agenda were imposed on countries through international institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the OECD, the European Union, the G7, etc. Countries drowning in external debt sought additional loans to pay off their older ones -- chiefly to banks from the industrialized world. Billions of dollars were made available to them, but only if they introduced Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs). Despite important differences among the various economies, SAPs shared the same basic elements: long-term "structural" reforms to deregulate the economy, liberalization of trade, removal of restrictions on foreign investment, promotion of an export orientation of the economy, wage reductions and controls, privatization of state enterprises, and short-term stabilization measures such as cutbacks in government spending, high interest rates, and currency devaluation (Bello, 1996 ; 1999).

Changes along these lines also took place in the East, where the switch from state-managed economies toward "free market" and parliamentary democracy has been quite drastic and swift (Glinkina, 1994; Woods, 1999). The problem is that the introduction of global neoliberalism has brought about enormous economic and political asymmetries, as its promises and theoretical expectations remain unfulfilled.

The Promises of Global Neoliberalism

The supporters of global neoliberalism make a series of claims. For instance, the world is shrinking following greater connectivity (IBM claims to offer "solutions for a smaller planet"). The distinction between core and periphery states is presumed to be getting fuzzier and irrelevant, as there are only winners from now on. Investment, trade, and development opportunities are more widely distributed around the world. There is a marked convergence into one world economy, in which everyone can find a market niche. Media and cultural influences are more widespread and multilateral, as foods, music, and art are imported to the North and integrated into local cultures. Finally, people are more integrated thanks to telecommunication technologies and immigration (Klak, 1998).

To [neoliberal] economists, all these trends are positive, even if short-term hardship is deemed necessary for some parts of the population. Global welfare is expected to be enhanced, as the forces of free competition within and between countries will encourage more efficient resource allocation and bring about higher productivity (Oman, 1999). A more open, trade-creating world should, therefore, benefit everyone, if unevenly. Trickle-down effects of wealth creation would ensure that virtually everyone will participate in this welcome trend (Korten, 1996).

The objective of SAPs was to render developing economies more efficient, drive up growth rates, and provide foreign exchange that could be used to repay debt. Higher growth rates are empirically associated with comparatively more equal income distribution (Alesina and Rodrik, 1994). Hence, neoliberal policies would bring about not only more economic growth, productivity, a better division of labor (multistate production and wider participation), lower unemployment, more wealth and prosperity, but also more democracy, less poverty, and fewer inequalities. Unfortunately, in most countries, these virtuous circles did not occur.

The Consequences of Global Neoliberalism

Throughout the world, the expectations raised by neoliberal theorists have not materialized despite the extensive application of their policy recommendations. Instead, most economies "fell into a hole" of low investment, decreased social spending and consumption, low output, decline and stagnation. Both the World Bank and the IMF retreated from SAPs and acknowledged their failure (Bello, 1999; Katona, 1999; Multinational Monitor, June 2000; Watkins, 1997).

In the North, GDP growth was lower in the 1980 to 1990 period than in the 1950s and 1960s. We also witness a higher volatility in growth (e.g., booms and busts). Lost in all the talk about huge technological advances ushering in the computer and Internet era is the fact that productivity growth now is half that of levels in the 1950s and 1960s. Unemployment in OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries has risen from eight million in 1970 to 35 million in 1994. In the midst of U.S. prosperity and economic expansion, inequalities increased. The number of people living under the officially defined poverty level grew from 11.4% of the population in 1978 to 13.5% in 1990. Almost one in four new babies in the U.S. are born into poverty, while the top one percent of Americans saw their real income shoot up by 50% (Levy, 1998; Wilterdink, 1995). Also noteworthy is that U.S. and Western European international trade relative to GDP was greater a century ago than in recent years (Hirst and Thompson, 1996).

Neoliberal dreams proved to be even more chimerical in the South. Role models, like South Korea, Malaysia, and Indonesia plunged into crises in the 1990s. Mexico and Brazil, which faced their own scary periods, experienced growth of three percent in the last two decades, whereas that rate was six percent during the dirigiste period of 1950 to 1980. Wage gaps widened. Even in Costa Rica and Chile, models of success in Latin America, the results have been an unmitigated disaster for the lower social classes. The number of Costa Ricans below the poverty line rose from 18.6% in 1987 to 24.4% in 1991, while 42% of all Chileans are also living in poverty (Burbach et al., 1997: 86). Half of the investment flows to developing countries went to just three countries (China, Mexico, and Argentina). In addition, some investments had negative local effects. For instance, as diverse agriculture was converted into monocultures or to export-oriented flower plantations, self-sufficiency was undermined (Clinard, 1990; Klak, 1 998).

Moreover, the core-periphery distinction is as relevant as ever. Its real meaning relates to power, authority, and the accumulation of wealth, where the gaps (asymmetries) are increasing. Although production (of certain items) is more dispersed, the concentration of power, control, and benefits has become more pronounced. In 1991, 81% of the world stock of direct foreign investment was in the core triad of the USA, the European Union, and Japan -- up from 69% in 1967. The appearance of integrated markets also obscures the fact that 80% of all world trade is within the core triad, in which resides less than 20% of the planet's population (Hirst and Thompson, 1996; Klak, 1998).

In Latin America, debt jumped from $230 billion in 1980 to $600 billion in 1997. Capital had been fleeing those countries up to the early 1990s, when net inflows were the result of casino capital -- seeking short-term gains and likely to abandon those countries at the first hint of trouble. Consequently, new debts were created with a new round of borrowing (Robinson, 1998-1999). An important reason why developing countries cannot pay off their debt is that trade protectionism in the North has kept them from penetrating those markets. Trade liberalization has been inconsistent in that rich countries demand more open markets abroad, while continuing to subsidize their own economic sectors, such as agriculture (Andreas, 1999; UNDP, 2000; Watkins, 1997). Compounding these problems, aid to poor countries has been cut back. Whatever assistance is offered comes with strings attached, including the reduction of state intervention, which could have softened the effects for the most vulnerable (Watkins, 1997; Woods, 1 999). These policies further undercut food security, cause poverty, and increase economic and power asymmetries. For instance, the cost of living in the Caribbean and the U.S. is quite comparable. In 1997, however, per capita income in Trinidad and Tobago, the richest Caribbean state, was less than half that of Mississippi, the poorest U.S. state. The gap between skilled and unskilled workers widened even more: Haitian workers made clothing with Disney logos for less than 60 cents per hour, while Disney's CEO made $9,700 per hour (Klak, 1998).

The claim of multilateral and even cultural influences also masks tremendous asymmetries. Even though we listen to reggae in the North, 95% of TV programs in St. Lucia come from the U.S. The most widely read newspaper in the Caribbean is the Miami Herald. Consequently, U.S. affluence and opportunity, often romanticized, is especially well-known, deeply ingrained, and alluring to the Caribbean...[where] people are prone to set their living standard goals in accordance with what the U.S. media ascribe to the United States. And the imbalance in media flows is increasing with the Caribbean's economic crisis and neoliberalism, as local media have been slashed (Klak, 1998: 11).

As dreams of consumption are disseminated, 86% of total private consumption expenditures is accounted for by 20% of the world's people in industrialized countries (UNDP, 1998). For the people who live outside the consumption geographical area, big banks offer credit to only 10% of the people in developing countries, whereas ads for credit cards and consumer items are omnipresent (Barnet and Cavanagh, 1994). Well over one billion people are deprived of basic consumption needs. For hundreds of millions, basic sanitation, clean water, adequate housing, and health services are unattainable luxuries. Two billion people live on less than two dollars a day and 1.3 billion on less than one dollar a day (ICFTU, 2000). Struggling to survive, some decide to sell their body parts to make ends meet, which is the ultimate symbol of commodification (ScheperHughes, 2000).

A negative effect of the Internet is that it alters the relationship between our place of residence and our cultural preferences, experiences, and identities. A spreading global virtual reality disconnects locality from culture, weakens the bonds to particular communities, and estranges people from each other (Minda, 2000). Ladakh, a Himalayan province that prospered for a millennium despite harsh weather conditions, illustrates how (especially cultural) globalization devastated local communities (Norberg-Hodge, 1996). In 1962, isolated Ladakh was linked to the rest of India by an army-built road. The modernization that began in 1975 took about a decade to change the pride Ladakhis felt until then into a collective inferiority complex. Tourism and the media conveyed a picture of wealth, technology, power, and work that was alien and irresistible to them. Village life by comparison began to appear "primitive, silly, and inefficient" (Ibid.: 35). Ladakhis felt ashamed of their culture and strove for consumer items that symbolize modern life, such as sunglasses and Walkinans. As Western educational standards penetrated Ladakh, the intergenerational learning experience that helped them provide for themselves in their rough terrain gave way to schools that used texts imitating Indian and British models that were completely irrelevant to their lives (e.g., figuring out the angle of the Tower of Pisa and learning how to keep a London-like bedroom tidy). There used to be no such thing as a "paying job"; there was no money economy. Gradually, however, unemployment -- previously nonexistent -- became a serious problem, because naturally available resources were abandoned, cheap imports made local farming redundant, and people flocked to the cities to compete for scarce jobs. Radios and TVs chased away the traditions of singing together and group story telling. The points of reference ceased to be real people living nearby, but geographically and socially remote ideals. Consumerism bred new "needs," which could hardly be materialized. Family and other bonds disintegrated and divisions emerged between old and young, Buddhists and Muslims. The result was unprecedented violence, community breakdown, and anomie.

Criminogenic Effects: Systemic Strains and Global Anomie

What makes the ideology of the American Dream unique is a focus on money and material goods, a strong emphasis on "winning" (often, by all means), and success for everyone in a society where many opportunities for material advancement are available and plenty of "rags to riches" stories lend legitimacy and credibility to the egalitarian discourse. Legal opportunities, however, for achieving the lofty goals are inaccessible to most Americans. In such a consumption-driven culture, which highly values competition and individualism, the means-ends disjunction has entailed a significant criminogenic risk, much greater than in the rest of the world. Crime has been the flip side of economic growth, innovation, and better living standards for certain segments of the population. What sheltered other countries from this negative potential were things absent or minimized in the USA, such as rigid social stratification, low rates of social mobility, less materialism and time spent before TV boxes, safety nets for the underprivileged, more emphasis on other priorities (e.g., solidarity), etc.

This made it possible to explain the higher crime rates in the U.S. compared to other developed or developing countries. These protective factors, however, are now being gradually lost. Disjunctions between socially induced goals and legal means are few in societies that do not encourage high social mobility. In such societies, people may not feel that they are lacking anything, even when they are "objectively" deprived. Economic or other asymmetries are unknown or not experienced and perceived as intolerable. Global neoliberalism breaks down societal barriers and encourages new needs, desires, and fashions. It promotes the adoption of non-membership reference groups for comparisons that can be unfavorable and upsetting. New normative reference groups define what is "cool" to do. People's ideals in the South and the East may not be about getting from "a log cabin to the White House." However, they are being systematically driven to abandon old ways and values in order to consume. They do not necessarily think that they can be "like Mike," but they do fancy those pricey athletic shoes. So, fresh normative and comparative models create new "needs," together with the expectation that the fulfillment of such needs is vital and achievable.

Yet, as needs and normative models are "harmonized," people become conscious of economic and power asymmetries, and directly experience their impact. Globalization and neoliberalism heightened this awareness, further widened the asymmetries, and fostered the interpretation of them as unnecessary and changeable. In the end, most people realize that the attainment of their lofty goals and lifestyles is beyond reach, if they are to use legitimate means. The success in spreading neoliberalism has brought about a series of failures: more poverty, bigger economic asymmetries, ecosystem deterioration, slower and unsustainable growth patterns. At the time that societies most needed the shield of the state to cushion these effects, welfare programs, safety nets, and other assistance to the poor (individuals, companies, and states alike) forcibly declined or disappeared. Thus, global neoliberalism systematically causes relative deprivation as well as absolute immiseration of masses of people. In effect, it has generated new sources of criminogenesis and removed existing antidotes to it.

All this provides multiple motivations for criminality, as many would turn left and right for solutions and illicit opportunity structures become more international and accessible. At the same time, many weak states lose their autonomy, come to depend more on international organizations and transnational capital, and are unable to cope with emerging crime threats from criminal enterprises and powerful corporations. So, globalism and neoliberalism replace the "egalitarian discourse" of the American Dream in the scheme represented in Figure 1 in a process occurring in the industrialized world, developing countries, and those in transition from Communism to market democracies. Nowhere are these results more clearly visible than in the former USSR.

The Case of Russia

No one argues that there was no appetite for consumer goods in the years of the USSR or that such goods were widely available. Crime, corruption, illegal markets, and even underground factories could be found behind the official facade of the command system before glasnost and perestroika, although black marketers were not numerous and lived modestly. The government turned a blind eye to these activities, because they served as a safety valve in an inefficient system (Gleason, 1990; Handelman, 1995; Naylor, 1999b). Discontent, enormous structural problems, and an inability to deal with them characterized the pre-transition years. This is particularly true for the 1960s, when Khrushchev pledged that the USSR would overtake the U.S. in the production of industrial goods by the 1980s. Yet, as inefficiencies precluded such progress, demands for more consumer items "from an increasingly educated, by now self-assured, population, started to put pressure on government...as a loyal expression of the citizens' request for the gradual delivery of promised well-being" (Castells. 2000: 25).

In the 1990s, however, the rates of fraud, prostitution, drug trafficking and abuse, alcoholism, smuggling, white-collar crime, violence, and corruption skyrocketed (Castells, 2000; Handelman, 1995; Holmes, 1997; Lee, 1994; Shelley, 1994). To be sure, Russia is unique in the degree of chaos and disintegration that accompanied the transition to a market economy and the implementation of neoliberal reforms. Few countries have experienced the speed and intensity of privatization, deregulation, and the lack of political leadership and administrative skills we witness in Russia. Indeed, it is the closest we can come to a social state of anomie, without a total collapse and anarchy. This does not mean that Russia is atypical. Very similar, albeit less intense, processes have occurred throughout the world (Lee, 1999; Mander and Goldsmith, 1996; van Duyne et al., 2000). Nevertheless, precisely because it is such an extreme case, it illustrates the theoretical points made here and the process toward anomie and economc crime.

Enter Neoliberalism

In the 1985 to 1989 period, reforms took place while the Communist Party was still in control. The Law on Cooperatives (1986) and the Law on Individual Labor Activity (1987) paved the way for further reforms, such as legalization of small businesses in 1989. Between 1990 and 1991, the USSR Supreme Soviet, with Yeltsin as chairman, introduced laws that made state and private enterprises equal, allowed state companies relative independence from government managers, abolished mostrestrictions on property bought by citizens, promoted privatization, and allowed foreign companies to operate in Russia. Such reforms did not take place at the same pace throughout the USSR. This set Russia apart from the Union and Yeltsin from Gorbachev. Legal asymmetries made the task of law enforcers impossible, as they did not know which laws to prioritize and apply (Afanasyef, 1994). Up to the 1991 coup and the collapse of the USSR, reforms were cautious and gradual, and had not challenged the core of the command economy system. F ollowing the failed coup and under Yeltsin, however, this changed dramatically. Demagogy and erroneous judgments on the feasibility of a swift transition to a market democracy compounded the problem. The Russian government was warned of the dire consequences of a speedy transition to a market economy without previous establishment of the necessary institutions and legal infrastructure. The chairman of an international advisory committee, which repeatedly issued warnings in 1992, was told that "forces in the Kremlin" favored a less "regulatory approach that would provide greater freedom of manoeuvre. Gaidar, supported by the IMF, believed firmly in the intrinsic capacity of market forces to remove obstacles by themselves, and people could use their vouchers to acquire shares" (Castells, 2000:188). Prices were liberalized, imports and exports became free, domestic trade restrictions were abolished, government intervention was minimized, and public property was massively privatized. By June 1994, officials were self-congratulatory over the fact that 70% of state assets had passed into private hands (Kuznetsova, 1994).

New Normative and Comparative Referents

The reforms initiated by Andropov and Gorbachev (perestroika and glasnost) allowed some freedom of speech and openness that let globalization and media influences into the USSR. The post-1991 changes, however, offered new hope out of the severe problems people were facing. Russian leaders fostered heightened aspirations by declaring that the country would soon be modernized and join the "civilized world." Authorities in the former Soviet republics made the same promise, arguing that '"since we gotrid of the Russians,' all obstacles to prosperity have been removed and Western standards are within reach" (Burbach et al., 1997: 118). There were forceful and impressive presentations of consumerist lifestyles as "desirable," "modern," and feasible. Distant comparative and normative referents were thus promoted by the media and advertising. Indeed, the yearning for Western lifestyles and consumption items made the initial acceptance of neoliberalism by the population much easier (Ibid.). Neoliberalism strengthened that desire and made consumerist dreams appear realistic. Even young Russians now would like to be like Mike and wear the same type of shoes or eat the same breakfast. As Glinkina (1994: 385) put it, an important factor contributing to the criminalization of the economy has been "a drastic stratification of the population's standard of living with a simultaneous loss, in a considerable part (especially among the youth), of socially important goals --replacing them with consumption ideals...."

It must be noted that the normative shift was far more radical in the former USSR and Eastern Europe than it was in Third World countries. The transition from socialism to capitalism by overzealous authorities espousing the new dogma of neoliberalism has had its own direct anomic effects, as will be seen below.

The Consequence: Means-Ends Discrepancies

The worldwide consequences of neoliberal policies were replicated in Russia. However, the effects have been far more disastrous than elsewhere: lower productivity, high unemployment, much steeper inequalities, increased levels of absolute poverty, disappearance of familiar safety nets, and administrations paralyzed by ineptness and corruption. The ensuing means-ends discrepancies are far more than a theoretical construct. They are painfully experienced by large numbers of people who realize that they simply cannot attain their goals. Within one year, inflation wiped outmost people's life savings, while the buying power of most wages dropped to the level of the 1950s. In the winter of 1993, funds were often insufficient to heat residential buildings (Burbach et al., 1997; Handelman, 1993).

As a new bourgeoisie emerged from the ashes of the Communist regime, one-third of the population became impoverished. The gap between the rich and the poor opened up suddenly and grew out of proportion. Official data indicate that in 1994 the difference between them was elevenfold. Researchers argue that the difference between the top 10% and the bottom 10% is 28-fold (Kuznetsova, 1994). Even the chair of the Privatization Commission admitted that the process created "pauper-proprietors" who "cannot survive without state protection" (cited in Burbach et al., 1997: 120).

Relative and Absolute Deprivation

The rising expectations of the 1960s led to disenchantment with Communism and paved the way for radical social change. The abandonment of the Soviet conservative model and very rapid implementation of neoliberal policies fueled hopes that a much better future was within reach. Russians rejected rigid stratification and strove for a socially mobile ideal. As has been noted, [the middle classes] believed that capitalism could offer even more. Thus, the modernization that had been promised by the neoliberals was perceived by the majority of the population as the modernization of consumption.... The Western model of consumption has finally triumphed, at least in the main cities. But for the majority of the people, the price is that even the former Soviet way of life has become an unattainable dream (Burbach et al., 1997: 124).

The aspiring yuppies have ended up as "dumpies," while a growing polarization makes them see a few of their compatriots enjoy luxuries attained by looting the remnants of the former USSR.

Thus, the post-Soviet Russian dream turned out to be a nasty nightmare (Handelman, 1995). As happened in many other countries, austerity, belt tightening, and lower (in some cases, no) salaries were imposed as consumerism took hold. The impact of these experiences on personal feelings is much more widespread, intense, and unpleasant due to the higher expectations. Even people who are not objectively deprived now feel relatively deprived. Comparisons between their present and past situations are unfavorable: "Formerly privileged sections of the Russian population, such as teachers, doctors, miners, and workers in the oil and gas industry, went on strike, for they could no longer survive on 50 to 70 dollars per month salaries" (Burbach et al., 1997: 125-126).

East-West political and administrative asymmetries, economic asymmetries, and relative deprivation in the aftermath of the collapse of the USSR and disillusionment with Western policies and capitalism have been clearly criminogenic (Handelman, 1994; Shelley, 1994). Motives for various types of crime became abundant, illegal opportunity structures multiplied, and control systems have been seriously damaged and undermined. The Mertonian category of "conformity" has almost become a rarity, as crime rates increased sharply. Even worse is the problem of economic crime. Recorded economic crimes rose almost 23% during the first seven months of 2000, compared with the same period in 1999 (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, August 17, 2000). Strains and discontent have translated into a range of predatory misconduct, corruption, political violence, a variety of illegal markets, and expressive misconduct.

Search for Solutions and Anomie

In this context, many can be expected to "innovate," to employ illegal methods for survival or the satisfaction of their basic and newly acquired needs. Methods range from petty property crimes and prostitution to criminal enterprises and white-collar crime, depending on the social position of the offender. An electronics engineer, for example, could not live on his three dollars per month and moonlighted as a taxi driver. When his taxi broke down, he turned to selling poppy straw (OGD, 1996). Unpaid and depressed professionals with access to more valuable commodities, such as nuclear material, pose an even more serious threat (Lee, 1999). Consumerist teasing increased demand for goods made unavailable (e.g., cars or electronics) by the economic collapse, fueling smuggling operations, black market networks, and associated illegal enterprises. Shortages of other desired goods are artificially created by quickly adapting entrepreneurs.

Similar conditions outside Russia explain the illegal car trade between Eastern and Western Europe (van Duyne et al., 2000) and the illegal trade in various commodities between China and Hong Kong before unification (Vagg, 1992). In Russia, many took advantage of such supply-demand asymmetries, including the vory v zakonye (commonly described as "thieves in law"), who had been the dominant type of professional offenders in the USSR. Structural changes and globalization, however, brought about more competition from ethnic groups (Armenians, Azeris, Chechens, Georgians, etc.) in drugs and arms trafficking, as well as from loose and ad hoc associations of criminals in certain locations or industries. Unsettling reports assert a symbiotic relationship between criminal groups and active or retired intelligence officials. Deteriorating economic conditions have facilitated recruitment for employees in growing illegal markets. Criminal enterprises, for instance, have "...invested heavily in the opium business, financing much of the new cultivation by hiring peasants and even entire villages to plant and protect the poppy crops" (Lee, 1994: 401).

Another source of criminal opportunities sprang from the disintegration of institutions and the disarray in law enforcement. Legitimate businesses are exposed to blackmail and other criminal victimization, but the authorities are unable to assist them. Consequently, many domestic and foreign companies deal with criminal groups and seek their protection, rather than rely on the government (Lee, 1994). Not surprisingly, the majority of Russian experts consider the strengthening of criminal groups to be a "very significant" social consequence of the market reforms introduced in 1992 (Afanasyef, 1994).

Other illicit opportunities were furnished by the privatization process, such as selling state assets at extremely low prices or driving down the prices of privatized companies so as to cheaply purchase vouchers owned by individuals desperate to make ends meet. Privatization in countries with an existing bourgeoisie and experienced managers and entrepreneurs facilitated certain corporate crimes and abuses of power by respected professionals. In Russia, the mix of offenders was different: former company directors, the nomenklatura, professional criminals, and new entrepreneurs with a black market background (Glinkina, 1994; Kuznetsova, 1994; Shelley, 1994). The attempt of former Communist officials to dominate this field did not prove lasting. Many were not competent to run private businesses and had to sell them or lose control. The main beneficiaries seem to be former black marketers and outsiders to the old order (Naylor, 1999b). The abuse of privatization has had an anomic effect as the impunity of offenders became widely known, to the point that Russians began to refer to privatization (privatizatsiya) as prikhvatizatsiya, which means "grabbing" (Handelman, 1995: 104).

Crime and corruption in the midst of privatization fervor are not unique to Russia. (On other previously Communist states, see Popescu-Birlan, 1994; on Latin America, see Saba and Manzetti, 1996-1997.) As a former World Bank official put it, "everything we did from 1983 onward was based upon our new sense of mission to have the south privatized or die; towards this end we ignominiously created economic bedlam in Latin America and Africa" (cited in Katona, 1999). Another similarity with other parts of the world is the degree of authoritarianism that accompanied neoliberal policies. While stimulating rapid accumulation of private capital, the role of the state is reduced to implementing financial austerity. When people started to oppose such measures, "Yeltsin resorted, with Western support, to establishing a semi-authoritarian regime. Making Russian 'reformers' invincible to political and legal challenges inside the country contributed to further criminalization of the Russian State, which acquired an oligarchic character" (Beare, 2000:6). As similar processes occurred around the world, from Pinochet's Chile to Suharto's Indonesia, one wonders if such reforms would have been possible in a democracy.

Legal organizations also "innovate" by cutting corners and breaking the law due to the environment created by unsystematic legal reforms. Unable to navigate a sea of legal gaps and inconsistencies, "...most managers of private as well as state-owned enterprises cannot run their businesses without committing crimes" (Afanasyef, 1994: 437). Many companies cannot handle the competitive challenges generated by globalism and require state protection. The subsidization of privatized companies, however, introduces further regulatory and price asymmetries that foster the smuggling of goods across newly created borders within the former USSR (see below on nonferrous materials). Enterprises that do not enjoy state intervention are at a disadvantage and may be forced into bankruptcy or crime as a last resort. This is analogous to the situation in all countries that abolish trade barriers, let transnational corporations in, and eliminate preferential treatment for domestic industries.

High-level corruption and banking crimes have become quite common, as the networks of mobsters, financiers, businessmen, and high-level officials extend beyond Eurasia (Beare, 2000). The ongoing investigations into billions of dollars (possibly IMF-provided funds) laundered through the Bank of New York have expanded to include British, Swiss, and Italian entities and actors.

Moreover, pyramid schemes and other frauds have devastated gullible investors, as is the case with other post-Communist countries. Independent Oil, Lenin Trade and Financial Corporation, Aldzher (a security corporation), and other companies defrauded more than a million depositors and investors. Just as the Lincoln Savings and Loan frauds were committed in midst of obsessive deregulation in the U.S. against "the weak, the meek, and the old," Russian pensioners have been the main fraud victims (Glinkina, 1994).

Economic asymmetries among countries produce another set of criminal opportunities, as many become strongly motivated to flee the problem and search for a better future in the West, where the "goodies" are available. However, neoliberalism has promoted the free movement of everything but labor. Quotas and restrictions in promised lands generate demand for illegal services such as the smuggling of humans (Chin, 1999). This leads to opportunities for criminal exploitation, corruption, child/cheap labor, slavery, and forced prostitution.

Women, who are increasingly breadwinners but make up two-thirds of the newly unemployed in Russia, are even more vulnerable in this respect. Economic desperation drives many of them to prostitution or high risk taking. Lack of opportunity makes Russians and East Europeans softer targets for human traffickers. They are more likely to be lured to the West with promises of well-paying, respectable jobs only to end up blackmailed, beaten up, and forced into prostitution (Bruinsma, 1999; Shelley, 1994). The same problems faced by Thai, Mexican, and other women in the U.S. have led to a public hearing before the House Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights (September 14, 1999).

Relative deprivation and experience of injustice have a revolutionary potential too. International communications convey the message that injustice and inequality are avoidable. Events in one corner of the earth affect feelings and encourage people elsewhere to rebel against aggression. This may inspire change and foster rebellion. Just as the ideals of the French Revolution led to rebellions in the Balkans against the Ottoman rule (Hovannisian, 1994), the independence of the Baltic states and the U.N. response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait inspired the East Timorese to fight against the Indonesian autocratic rule (Dunn, 1994). The uprising of Zapatistas in Mexico was deliberately started on January 1, 1994, the day NAFTA went into effect, "as a highly symbolic way to protest neoliberalism and globalisation in Mexico and Latin America" (Robinson, 1998-1999: 123-124).

Repressed nationalism, globalism, and bad times have jointly contributed to several armed conflicts and rebellions in the former USSR (the Caucasus, Moldova, Crimea, Tajikistan, and Chechnya). Rebellion and illegal markets become interconnected, as armed conflicts necessitate training, weapons, intelligence, and financing. The cases of Chechnya, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Colombia show how political revolts are associated with corruption, money laundering, the traffic in arms, drugs, and even nuclear material and other crimes that go unpunished (Kuznetsova, 1994: 445; Lee, 1999; Naylor, 1999b; OGD, 1996). Chechnya, which survives thanks to donations from criminal organizations based in other parts of Russia, has become such a paradise for these activities that some depict the war there as "a crusade against a 'mafia republic,'" while others think of it as "a conflict between opposing criminal elites for the control of oil and the financial resources held by the government in Grozny" (Politi, 1998: 44).

Finally, "retreatism" is the only option left to those lacking access to illegal opportunities or who are unwilling to assume the associated risks of violence and arrest. Hence, expressive crimes could be expected. More important, the rates of alcohol and drug abuse (further facilitated by the decriminalization of drug use in Russia in 1991) increased geometrically, especially in the cities, and fueled the demand for things provided in illegal markets (Lee, 1994; OGD, 1996).

Anomie

The transition from a command to a market economy practically legalized large parts of the black market and made legal business dependent on criminals' protection. The dismantling of borders and increased contact among previously isolated ethnic groups contributed to the formation of new, wider networks of illegality (Politi, 1998). The result was that one could hardly tell criminals from businessmen, particularly when some outlaw groups act on instructions from government officials or the police (Handelman, 1993). Given official efforts to ensure that the transition to a market economy would occur before substantial opposition could build and that the changes would be irreversible, too many shady actors were allowed to take advantage of this official shield (Glinkina, 1994; Naylor, 1999b). In this light, common views on government-criminal interfaces and symbiosis are plausible, although difficult to prove. Surveys in 1994 showed that the concern of Russians over organized crime was second only to their fears of triple-digit inflation (Afanasyef, 1994). At the perceptual level, therefore, this interface is real and has real consequences: demoralization and anomie.

The corrupted process of privatization has generated widespread rationalizations, such as, "it is OK to steal from the state" or "everyone is doing the same thing." Taking an example pointing to international security risks, Lee (1999: 21) has noted that, "perhaps the most serious problem is the growth of a privatization mentality within the nuclear complex. Economic reform has meant a license to steal. This has resulted in broad systemic corruption and a variety of insider threats and conspiracies."

An additional sign of anomie is what has been described as a "culture of urgency" among young killers:

For them there is no hope in society, and everything, particularly politics and politicians, is rotten. Life itself has no meaning, and their life has no future.... So, only the moment counts, immediate consumption, good clothing, good life, on the run, together with the satisfaction of inducing fear, of feeling powerful with their guns (Castells, 2000: 210).

Only effective social controls can halt the process toward further deviance and a higher degree of anomie (deviance without strain). Unfortunately, in Russia and elsewhere, a decreased level of autonomy for certain states, the increased power of international organizations and transnational corporations, and dysnomie add to the fuel.

Dependence, Deregulation, and the Race to the Bottom

"Just between you and me, shouldn't the World Bank be encouraging more migration of the dirty industries to the LDCs (lesser developed countries)?" "I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that.... I've always thought that underpopulated countries in Africa are vastly under-polluted; their air quality is vastly inefficiently low compared to Los Angeles or Mexico City" (1991 memo attributed to World Bank official Lawrence Summers, who later became U.S. Secretary of Treasury; it is widely believed that he did not write it, even though he has accepted responsibility for it. At any rate, this illustrates the neoliberal mindset).

The loss of autonomy and reduced sovereignty of the state relative to capital referred to earlier (Korten, 1996; Watkins, 1997) is particularly acute in the former Communist countries. Speculative capital will quickly flee each country at the first sign trouble or wavering over neoliberal reforms. External debt grew in all former Communist countries, but especially in Russia, which bears the marks of Africa-like dependent capitalism and "colonial subjugation. The country exports fewer and fewer industrial products and more and more raw materials. Meanwhile, it imports low-quality mass consumption goods, obsolete and hence cheap technology, luxury items and radioactive waste" (Burbach et al., 1997: 120-121). An instance of the direct and blatant interference of foreign governments and transnational corporations in domestic matters was when Chase Manhattan urged the Mexican government to crush the Zapatista rebellion to calm down U.S. investors (Silverstein and Cockburn, 1995; see also Clinard, 1990).

Ironically, the higher degree of dependency in the South and East has lowered the accountability of politicians and corporations. They can now blame globalization for the loss of jobs and lower wages, and prescribe more "efficiency," deregulation, short-term austerity, and declining levels of public spending so as to keep capital in place or attract more. Thus, economic and political leaders appear to be protectors of the public interest and a stabilizing force, while they dismantle existing safety nets (economic neoliberalism has also undermined political liberalism; Klak, 1998).

The Russian government's aversion to regulation (Glinkina, 1994) is observable in other countries, where deregulation turned into competitive deregulation and a race to the bottom. Even in the U.S., the savings and loan disaster and the asymmetric regulation of hazardous wastes demonstrate how criminogenic this process has been. This made it possible to dump legally in Pennsylvania what was prohibited in New Jersey, in what has been termed "crimes without law violations" (Passas, 1999). Such crimes are most likely in the global context given the overwhelming influence of TNCs over national laws and macroeconomic policies. This has prompted some to speak of "rationalized corporate colonialism" (Mander, 1996). Such asymmetries of power make for legal norms that allow overseas that which is, for good reason, criminalized in the base country (e.g., toxic waste dumping, testing drugs on humans, bribery, tax evasion, as well as the patenting of life forms by biotechnology companies and other outrageous practices) (see King and Stabinsky, 1998-1999; Shiva, 1997). The legal asymmetries and uneven power of transnational corporations that create or perpetuate these and other asymmetries give rise to crimes without law violations. Thus, entire countries become vulnerable to victimization by TNCs, a significant problem that is often neglected in conventional discussions of transnational crime. The volatile combination of low wages, bad working conditions, tax breaks only for the rich/corporations, lower environmental standards, deregulation, and less corporate and political accountability with the government relegated to the protection of the international free trade system has predictably made for crises (e.g., Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Mexico, and Brazil). It also makes for dysnomie.

Dysnomie and Further (Global) Anomie

Dysnomie literally means "difficulty to govern" and obtains when the following three conditions are present: a lack of a global norm-making mechanism, inconsistent enforcement of existing international rules, and the existence of a regulatory patchwork of diverse and conflicting legal traditions and practices. Russia is in this respect a microcosm that reflects what is happening in the entire world.

Since reforms took place at an uneven pace in each Soviet Republic, an asymmetry grew wider following the collapse of the USSR. In addition, this collapse suddenly created thousands of miles of new borders that had to be policed, just as state resources were diminished. This made for porous borders that offered no resistance to smugglers. This is how Estonia became the largest exporter of nonferrous materials, even though it does not produce any (Glinkina, 1994). Extensive legal changes accelerated the transition to a market economy, but they were marked by inconsistencies and lacked the necessary legal and institutional infrastructure (Handelman, 1995). For example, the law against private entrepreneurship and commercial mediations was repealed only on December 5, 1991. The law against black market transactions, which defined them as "the buying up and reselling of goods or other items for profit-making," was first amended in February 1990 to increase penalties for certain offenses, was then officially rein terpreted to refer only to trade in commodities sold at state-fixed prices (October 1990), and was finally repealed in February 1991 (Afanasyef, 1994: 429). Lack of resources made the problem worse, as underpaid, ill-equipped, and outgunned police could not be expected to do an effective job.

Weak controls allow criminals to get away and to regard themselves as successful. Deviant "solutions" came to be seen as keys to "success." Successful deviance then becomes a normative referent, contributing to a wider normative breakdown and overemphasis on goals at the expense of normative means. In the context of massive cultural shifts -- from the criminalizing of private profit and the hiring of labor outside the household to making them central values for a new social order -- the sense of right and wrong became fuzzy. As the deputy minister of Internal Affairs admitted at a 1992 press conference, "even our specialists find it difficult to determine the legal from the illegal -- to determine, for instance, what is profiteering and what is honest trade" (cited in Handelman, 1993). Corruption grew so much that up to 30% of illegal gains are reportedly paid to government officials (Glinkina, 1994; Lee, 1999). In the end, distinctions between white-collar crime, organized crime, corruption, and legitimate business are almost impossible to make. Lawbreaking behavior and success are fused. As a businessman told Handelman (1995: 139), "the truth is, everything you see around you, all our success, is not thanks to our wonderful economic laws. It's thanks to the fact that we do not obey them."

Dysnomic conditions also bring about anomie at the global level. As argued elsewhere (Passas, 1999), international law is more essential now than ever for the maintenance of world order and security. Yet, big powers are reluctant to contribute to the required pooling of sovereignty and have been blocking the development of an international criminal code and specific legislation to restrain their corporations. Dependent on rich countries for its operations, the U.N. has not been overly aggressive in pursuing these aims or in establishing a permanent international criminal tribunal. Globalism has thus run ahead of the creation of a desperately needed normative and enforcement infrastructure.

Existing international laws are applied selectively and never against one of the permanent members of the U.N. Security Counsel. This ad hoc approach and the extraterritorial application of national laws undermine the legitimacy of current laws and procedures. We are left with a legal patchwork of inconsistent and conflicting rules. An example of the effect of such asymmetries is the secrecy and anonymity available in certain jurisdictions that hinder investigative work by covering the tracks and proceeds of global offenders, de facto shielding them against prosecution and punishment. By exploiting the cracks between diverse state rules, companies continually commit crimes without law violation. Globalism also leads to a relativization of norms and facilitates law violations with a clear conscience (rationalizations and techniques of neutralization).

Finally, the border-policing problem in the former USSR is not unique, even if the underlying causes were specific to it and other European countries (Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia). More generally, borders become porous, as technology and mobility enabled people, money, goods, and ideas to travel quickly and cheaply. Criminals can take advantage of this shrinking world, but law enforcement agencies are constrained by parochial laws and procedures. Though the reasons for the porousness may differ, the process and results are the same.

Conclusion

Tremendous structural strains have overwhelmed even the usually patient and submissive Russians. The economic situation deteriorated further, hopes were dashed, opportunities for criminal gain and for looting the USSR's assets multiplied, and the anomic societal context offered no assistance to anyone seeking to restore some law and order. In Russia and around the world, the neoliberal operation was successful, but the patients are being systematically frustrated, are starving, and subject to exploitation by corporations, criminal enterprises, and corrupt politicians. In short, globalization and neoliberalism spread analytically similar criminogenic processes that were once unique to the U.S. culture of the American Dream in a context of structural inequalities. Just as the world supposedly became freer, wealthier, more democratic, more enjoyable, and more equal, people find themselves poorer, more exploited, and facing increased hardships. Just as the need for strong normative guidance grows, norms break down or lose their legitimacy. Just as effective controls become necessary to slow down or stop the vicious cycle leading to higher rates of crime, a dysnomic regulatory patchwork remains in place largely because of nationalist insistence on sovereignty and states' unwillingness to allow the introduction of common principles and law enforcement mechanisms.

Two main points need to be reiterated here. First, it appears that global neoliberalism and serious crime go hand in hand. However, it would be erroneous to argue that stereotypical organized criminals are giving capitalism a bad name and undermining neoliberal policies. The implication is that, were we to rid ourselves of some very bad apples, everything would be fine. Rather, it appears that serious organizational misconduct is a consequence of such policies. Second, when we discuss transnational crime, we should bear in mind that it is not just the stereotyped ethnics who cause most problems. It may be that the biggest threat emanates from legitimate corporations and other organizations.

Detailed discussion of policy implications is beyond the scope of this article. The horizontal arrows in Figure 1 hint at the points of possible policy intervention. Myriad concrete ideas can be found in the literature, ranging from legal changes to informal controls, grass-roots movements, integration of economic growth with environmental and social protection, relocalization of production and consumption, etc. The most important ray of hope, however, is implicit in the foregoing analysis. Neoliberal policies and globalization are largely the fruit of (some) governments. They affect and are affected by governance. Therefore, governments have the ability to reverse some of these processes and to mitigate their adverse consequences. Otherwise, the current processes of globalization and neoliberalism will prove to be unsustainable and at a huge cost.

Neoliberal globalization as a catalyst for the rise of ultra-nationalism and neo-fascism

In 2014 a lot of people here condemned excesses of Ukraine nationalism, especially the part of Galician nationalism the has clear neo-fascist flavor and that now attempts to colonize South and Eastern Ukraine in a kind of replay of Drang nach Osten.

But rise of nationalism is a pan-European phenomenon now. And it is observable in almost any county, including but not limited to France, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Greece, and even UK.

Is not this is a (somewhat pervert) reaction to excesses of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization? In other words is not the key side effects of neoliberal globalization is the rise of ultra nationalist and neo-fascist movements all over the world?  Many researchers think that yes (Globalization, ethnic conflict and nationalism Daniele Conversi - Academia.edu):

The force of nationalism has spread well over the nineteenth century into the age of globalization. There are thus parallels between modernization and globalization as sti-mulating factors for nationalism and ethnic conflict. Although the reach of globalizationis historically unprecedented, some of its features accompanied the rise of modernity andthe advent of the modern nation state. In particular, both resulted in the demise of older boundaries and the construction of new ones. Whereas industrialization destroyed localand regional boundaries by superimposing national boundaries on them, globalizationdestroyed national boundaries by superimposing a plethora of supra-national and corpo-rate networks on them, including mafias, organized crime, and multi-national corpora-tions (MNCs), none of which are as easily identifiable on a political map as sovereign, countries still are. The adoption of planetary rules to comply with the standards set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank has unsurprisingly resulted in global disempowerment, at least according to the perception of influential NGOs activists (Korten 2001).

Has all this also led to a decline in national identities? Not at all. Partly because nationalcultures have been seriously damaged or reshaped by globalization, we have seen a global intensification of ethnic belligerence. Moreover, the formation of new elites and the spread of capitalist wealth have led to nationalist self-assertion, while cultural impoverishment spurred a generalized need for compensatory ethnic assertiveness.

... ... ...

If nationalism cannot be explained independently from the onset of modernity andmodern state-making, both are enmeshed in the expansion of warfare. Nationalism manifested itself in an era of inter-state competition, the collapse of boundaries, economic expansion, mass migration, general insecurity, political centralization, obsessivelaw-making, societal policing, and drastic militarization, finally leading to war. In them eanwhile, the Pax Britannica ensuing Waterloo provided the impetus for colonialexpansion while fomenting inter-imperial rivalries and competition (Conversi 2007).Thus, just as Europe was accumulating wealth, power, and armaments in anticipation of the unprecedented conflagration, its global economic reach affected broader and broader areas of the world. Economic competition and destructive warfare were just beingexported beyond European borders. Linda Colley notes:

the profit and the price of this hundred-year partial European peace was unprecedented Western, and especially British, freedom to concentrate on global empire. In 1800, the European powers, together with Russia and the United States, laid claim to some 35 percent of the globe’s total land area. By 1914 [their] proportion of the globe … had risen to 84 percent (Colley 2002:311).

By 1914, the West had also accumulated enough economic wealth and weapons of mass destruction to unleash the greatest manslaughter in human history. The totalitarian era following the First World War has been described as the culmination of a pattern of mass dislocation founded on modernity (Arendt 1958; Bauman 1989). As we shall see later, the emergence of totalitarianism in Europe coincided with the first wave of deep Americanization, including the triumph of Hollywood, cigarette consumption, the car culture, and other US products meant for mass distribution.

... ... ...

The expansion of nationalism throughout the globe is hence the spreading out of aWestern idea. In other words, nationalism is an essential component of Westernization.As I have argued, nationalism cannot be understood outside the devastating impact of modernity, particularly industrialization, with its demise of traditional lifestyles, skills,cultures, and communities (Gellner 2006). Such a devastation was suciently all-pervasiveto argue that the victory of nationalism represented the victory of a surrogate sense of community, which for some was a colossal
‘ fraud’ (Gellner 2006) or an invented tradition (Hobsbawm 1983). Thus, for Gellner the nationalists spoke in defence of a hypo-thetical Gemeinschaft, but actually practiced the construction of a novel Gesellschaft, the two being largely incompatible. For both Gellner and Hobsbawm nationalism was not much less than a form of cultural
brainwashing. For others, the whole process was not only counterfeit, it was based on the conspiracy of emerging rapacious economic and political elites, which used selected elements of popular tradition while invoking nationhood, just as populists often invoke the defence of the people. For instance, the role of secret societies like the Italian carbonari is a widely known and omni-present feature of nineteenth-century century mobilization. Secret paramilitary groups of patriots played a pivotal role in the spread of most nationalist movements. Karl Marx’s characterization of nationalism as a form of false consciousness manipulated by the bourgeoisie is a well-known example of this conspiracy approach. Traditionalist, anarchical, conservative, and even liberal approaches often share similar views of nationalism as a strategy of elites. The broader trend is often known as instrumentalism(Smith 1998),because it emphasizes the mere instrumentality of nationhood. Nations do no exist assuch; they are simply cultural tools in the hands of elites or proto-elites who seek to mobilize the masses on the basis of an emotional appeal to a common but fictitious nationality.

As we shall see, in its current shape cultural globalization is often understood as a one-way importation of standardized cultural items and icons from a single country, the United States of America, to the rest of the world regardless of the fact that most of theitems are actually made in China. For many, globalization is synonymous with Westernization (la Branche 2003, 2005, Latouche 1996) or, more accurately, Americanization.The international consequence of Americanization is a widespread sense of cultural insecurity vis-à-vis an unfathomable force that nobody seems capable of containing(Amin 2004). Because this perception has been so far unable to produce organized, rational and universal responses, it tends to express itself through visceral, rudimentary,and unpredictable forms of anti-Americanism (Barber 1995).

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright showed insights about the US full-spectrum dominance cultural policy when she said that Cultural factors play a pivotalrole in many of the international challenges we face
our cultural programs are central -- and I underline that —  central to the success of American foreign policy
(Albright2000). Once out of office, she adopted a more cautious position, considering the risks and damages infl
icted by extreme forms of Americanization. For Bacevich (2002), the economic openness implicit in neoliberalism produces a form of globalization that is inevitably synonymous with Americanization, since it is predicated on a national security approach founded on global dominance.

Conclusions

Situation with neoliberalism in the USA now is an almost perfect illustration of the credibility trap. One cannot allow the illusion to falter, even a little, to the bitter end. And as the fraud fades, the force intensifies, becoming almost rabid in its deflection. Because that illusion has become the center of a hollowed people's being, their raison d'être, a mythological justification for their existence. Chris Hedges made an apt analogy with The Fall of Berlin 1945

I came across a nice, compact interview with Chris Hedges which illuminates his thesis of the decline of the American Empire and the illusions and the end of rational thinking that accompanies it. Empires seem to give off quite a bit of flash in their latter stages, rather like the last gasp of a dying star.

The interviewer, Allan Gregg, does a particularly nice job of drawing Hedges out.

I would like to add an observation I came to in thinking further about the Sophie Scholl piece which I put up earlier today. Perhaps there is something about gardening that focuses the mind.

The almost frenetic preoccupation and adherence to the Nazi ideology in the latter stages of the war, when it was obvious to any rational observer that they could not win, is remarkable. I had been particularly struck in my reading some time ago with the 'wolf packs' of Nazis who had raged through Berlin, rounding up old men and even boys who had not joined the Volkssturm, and hanging them, even while the Russians were shelling the Reichstag. It never made sense to me until today.

"The radio announced that Hitler had come out of his safe bomb-proof bunker to talk with the fourteen to sixteen year old boys who had 'volunteered' for the 'honor' to be accepted into the SS and to die for their Fuhrer in the defense of Berlin. What a cruel lie! These boys did not volunteer, but had no choice, because boys who were found hiding were hanged as traitors by the SS as a warning that, 'he who was not brave enough to fight had to die.'

When trees were not available, people were strung up on lamp posts. They were hanging everywhere, military and civilian, men and women, ordinary citizens who had been executed by a small group of fanatics. It appeared that the Nazis did not want the people to survive because a lost war, by their rationale, was obviously the fault of all of us. We had not sacrificed enough and therefore, we had forfeited our right to live, as only the government was without guilt."

Dorothea von Schwanenfluegel, Eyewitness account, Fall of Berlin 1945

I was reminded of this phenomenon by the trial of Sophie Scholl, and her words to the judge Roland Freisler, as he ranted his virulent condemnations at them. 'Soon you will be in our place,' she said to him. He did escape the hangman's noose at Nuremburg, but only by virtue of an Allied bomb in 1945. When his body was brought to hospital an orderly remarked, 'It was God's verdict.' He was buried in an unmarked grave, without ceremony and unmourned. Much like his beloved Fuhrer.

This is an almost perfect illustration of the credibility trap. One cannot allow the illusion to falter, even a little, to the bitter end. And as the fraud fades, the force intensifies, becoming almost rabid in its deflection. Because that illusion has become the center of a hollowed people's being, their raison d'être, a mythological justification for their existence.

If the ideology had been a lie, then they are not heroes and gods on earth, but monsters and criminals, and their life has been self-serving and meaningless, without significance and honor. And that is the credibility trap.

And this is the US financial system today.

So the legitimacy of neoliberalism is gone since events of 2008 and consequences of this epochal event are still unclear. As chances that the USA will get rid of neoliberalism voluntarily are slim, we might be present in a crush of yet another empire. That might mirror the destiny of the USSR which fell when its ideology became delegitimized. With the key difference that the USA elite is much more aggressive and ready to use whatever means possible to preserve its status when it is under threat.


Top updates

Softpanorama Switchboard
Softpanorama Search


NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2015 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2014 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2013 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2011 Neoliberalism Bulletin 2009 Neoliberalism Bulletin 2008

[May 30, 2016] New IMF Paper Challenges Neoliberal Orthodoxy

Notable quotes:
"... The article cheekily flags the infamous case of the Chicago Boys, Milton Friedman's followers in Pinochet's Chile, as having been falsely touted as a success. If anything, the authors are too polite in describing what a train wreck resulted. A plutocratic land grab and speculation-fueled bubble led quickly to a depression, forcing Pinochet to implement Keynesian policies, as well as rolling back labor "reforms," to get the economy back on its feet. ..."
"... Overly mobile capital , meaning unrestricted cross-border money flows. The IMF paper points out that while the neoliberals claim that freely mobile money helps growth, there's not much concrete evidence to support that. By contrast, higher levels of capital flows lead to more instability and more frequent and severe financial and economic crisis. Ken Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart determined that high levels of international capital flows were strongly correlated with bigger and nastier financial crises. The BIS also made a persuasive, well-documented case that excessive "financial elasticity" which means lots of cross-border funds mobility that can quickly collapse, was the cause of the 2008 crisis. ..."
"... It's also hard to see how highly mobile money can be a plus, particularly for smaller and even not so small economies. Look at the how much the yen has moved over the past decade. How can investors in things that would actually make an economy more productive (foreign direct investment, such as factories and other operations) make any kind of accurate assessment of returns to cross border investment with so much foreign exchange volatility? And that uncertainty will lead a foreign investor to require a higher rate of return. Similarly, even if there were measurable benefits from highly mobile money movements, the costs of the busts need to be offset against that. It's pretty hard to see how you "offset" the cost of the blowup just past, whose total cost is estimated at one times global GDP. ..."
"... The publication of this IMF paper is a sign that the zeitgeist is, years after the crisis, finally shifting. It is becoming too hard to maintain the pretense that the policies that produced the global financial crisis, which are almost entirely still intact, are working. And the elites and their economic alchemists may also recognize that if they don't change course pretty soon, they risk the loss of not just legitimacy but control. With Trump and Le Pen at the barricades, the IMF wake-up call may be too late. ..."
"... Call me a cynic, but something tells me this won't change anything for the people currently suffering under the IMF yoke. IMF has put out plenty of papers that actually take a realistic look at the world, but it hasn't stopped them from pursuing policies essentially guaranteed to immiserate the majority of the population. ..."
"... you finally figured out that neo-liberalism isn't all it's cracked up to be? Well what a bunch of frickin' geniuses! ..."
"... The point of the shifting rhetoric is not to introduce policies that will better serve the poor, or the citizenry generally, it is a defensive action on the part of the elites to maintain their legitimacy and control. ..."
"... even worse, it just proves that they are able to learn to speak the right language about the economy. while we peons wait on for the inevitable co-optation and corruption of it towards elite ends once again. ..."
"... All power flows from the barrel of a gun. ..."
"... Jefferson – Nice treason going eh? Boy some overconfident are in for a shock. The French army thought they were the shit until longbowmen showed up. Enough said. As to this article. No, there is no free lunch. There could be a free snack if the money was directed at productive endeavors. But they did not and now trust and the social contract is totally broken. Even Larry Summers by 2010 was calling for a new one. That all said, the last 40 years elite did get some good advancements in science and medicine done. I'll give credit where it is due but the empire building shit isn't a plus, that is for sure. ..."
"... Something that always bears repeating is that a split in elite factions is essential to implementing real change. Access to power, money, and influence is what is needed to move society in any direction. Thru my own experience in life, I find most people are not sociopaths, they generally will direct their actions in benevolent manner if the overall social convention is to do so. This is why leadership is so important, and points to the true crisis of our time. We have a crisis of leadership. ..."
"... The split in elite thinking is showing itself because we have reached a crisis point and the elite are finally feeling the heat. While it is easy to paint these class divisions with a broad brush, there is an underlying dynamic of the classes that has been lost in recent years. The sense of duty to ones people and nation. What we have now, at least in America, is a confused mess. You cannot serve the nation by impoverishing its people. ..."
"... Like Lord Ashby's observations that it typically takes 200 years before new knowledge makes its way into policies and institutions. Reduce that time somewhat due to internet, but even so his point is well made. He argues that policies and institutions only incorporate the new knowledge once a significant percentage of the general public has already accepted it. This says to me that new thinking has to happen from the ground up, and we should not expect it to happen from the top down. ..."
"... What's the old saying – "A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it." ..."
"... "Unrestricted cross-border money flows" absolutely shouts dynamic instability from the get go and how could it be otherwise? Foreign direct investment also smells of absentee cross-border slum lord -ism; out of sight out of mind irresponsibility. Common currency (the Euro) wipes out fault tolerance and resiliency in the system and hard wires contagion. Nobody even discusses trade imbalance instability from so-called "free trade". ..."
"... Neoliberal policy is to replace men, with whatever combined circuit is most efficient. It's not rocket science. ..."
"... Yves may wish to weigh in with a more detailed explanation (here is a recent treatment of the "neoliberal thought collective" ) but "Neoliberalism Expressed as Simple Rules" for rules of thumb that will enable you to detect neoliberals in your ordinary dealings in comment sections and on the twitter. If your interlocutor, for example, has a dogmatic faith in the workings of markets, you're dealing with a neoliberal. ..."
"... I would say neoliberalism has been the dominant ideology, across the board, since the mid-70s (in other words, pre-Reagan). I'd have a hard time finding any policy that fits within the Overton Window of permitted discourse of DC, from left to right, that is not neoliberal, scholastics-level fine-grained faction-driven distinctions aside. The current stasis of the Overton Window is being challenged a bit by the Sanders campaign (from the left) and the Trump campaign (from the right), granting for a moment that politics are bipolar. Too long an answer, I know! ..."
"... Please see Recent Items. We have a post on the Mirowski's paper on the Neoliberal Though Collective prominently displayed. ..."
"... How about this; hyper aggressive top down global economic integration no matter what the fallout. ..."
"... Keep the masses ignorant, wanting and distracted. Under the current social system, you are offered a choice: Be "SMART" and join in on the looting, or be exploited as one to the sheep. It seems humanity must evolve to a third position- one of collective benefit and sustainability or end in extinction. ..."
"... Neither a swindler nor a sucker be. Neither a looter nor a victim be. ..."
"... The Central Banks produced low inflation figures in the US, while massive inflation was occurring in the costs of housing, education and healthcare causing the cost of living to sky rocket. This fictitious inflation figure targeting seems to be a rather pointless exercise. There is no point in producing low inflation figures while the cost of living is sky rocketing. A global youth now sit at home with their parents unable to afford to move out due to high mortgage payments and rent. They are not starting families and the demographic problems are going to get a whole lot worse. Why is global aggregate demand so low? Suppressed wages with sky rocketing costs of living. Neo-Liberalism really is just silly. ..."
"... A look at the UK. We have followed the US idea of paid further education. One of the first things the US banks did in 2008 was to get the Government to back student loans as they were beginning to default on a large scale. In the UK we have linked repayments to RPI and not the CPI figure the Central Bank targets. The usual silliness for masking the rising costs of living and an opportunity to rip off young people. Another idea, unregulated, trickle down capitalism, which we had in the UK in the 19th Century. In the 19th Century those at the top were very wealthy those at the bottom lived in abject poverty, no trickledown. The first regulations to deal with wealthy UK businessman seeking profit, the abolition of slavery and child labour. ..."
"... If we abolish Free Trade and restore Protectionism, the American minimum wage won't HAVE to compete with China. Free Trade is the new Slavery. Protectionism is the new Abolition. ..."
"... The IMF is trying to wash its own face now. Too late. Both the IMF and the WB must stand Trial for Crimes Against Humanity. ..."
May 27, 2016 | nakedcapitalism.com

While the IMF's research team has for many years chipped away at mainstream economic thinking, a short, accessible paper makes an even more frontal challenge. It's caused such a stir that the Financial Times featured it on its front page . We've embedded it at the end of this post and encourage you to read it and circulate it.

The article cheekily flags the infamous case of the Chicago Boys, Milton Friedman's followers in Pinochet's Chile, as having been falsely touted as a success. If anything, the authors are too polite in describing what a train wreck resulted. A plutocratic land grab and speculation-fueled bubble led quickly to a depression, forcing Pinochet to implement Keynesian policies, as well as rolling back labor "reforms," to get the economy back on its feet.

The papers describes three ways in which neoliberal reforms do more harm than good.

Overly mobile capital , meaning unrestricted cross-border money flows. The IMF paper points out that while the neoliberals claim that freely mobile money helps growth, there's not much concrete evidence to support that. By contrast, higher levels of capital flows lead to more instability and more frequent and severe financial and economic crisis. Ken Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart determined that high levels of international capital flows were strongly correlated with bigger and nastier financial crises. The BIS also made a persuasive, well-documented case that excessive "financial elasticity" which means lots of cross-border funds mobility that can quickly collapse, was the cause of the 2008 crisis.

It's also hard to see how highly mobile money can be a plus, particularly for smaller and even not so small economies. Look at the how much the yen has moved over the past decade. How can investors in things that would actually make an economy more productive (foreign direct investment, such as factories and other operations) make any kind of accurate assessment of returns to cross border investment with so much foreign exchange volatility? And that uncertainty will lead a foreign investor to require a higher rate of return. Similarly, even if there were measurable benefits from highly mobile money movements, the costs of the busts need to be offset against that. It's pretty hard to see how you "offset" the cost of the blowup just past, whose total cost is estimated at one times global GDP.

Thus the paper argues that the heretical idea of capital controls can make sense as a way to choke off a credit bubble stoked by foreign investment.

Austerity . The IMF article argues that while small countries may have no choice other than to curtail their overall level of indebtedness, this is not a one-size-fits-all prescription. For larger countries, running larger deficits, particularly after a financial crisis, is a better option than belt-tighening.

This section of the article is frustrating, since it utterly fails to distinguish fiat currency issuers from states that are not monetary sovereigns. It also blandly accepts the idea that high levels of indebtedness are bad, when government debt increases typically make up for shortfalls in private sector investment and demand. Recall that in the supposedly virtuous Clinton budget surplus years, households, which are normally net savers in aggregate, managed to make up for the Federal government fiscal drag by going on a big debt party. But it does have some zingers, at least by the standards of policy wonkery:

Austerity policies not only generate substantial welfare costs due to supply-side channels, they also hurt demand-and thus worsen employment and unemployment. The notion that fiscal consolidations can be expansionary (that is, raise output and employment), in part by raising private sector confidence and investment, has been championed by, among others, Harvard economist Alberto Alesina in the academic world and by former European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet in the policy arena. However, in practice, episodes of fiscal consolidation have been followed, on average, by drops rather than by expansions in output. On average, a consolidation of 1 percent of GDP increases the long-term unemployment rate by 0.6 percentage point and raises by 1.5 percent within five years the Gini measure of income inequality (Ball and others, 2013)

Depicting "fiscal consolidation" as snake oil is radical, at least among Serious Economists.

Increasing inequality . The paper gratifyingly says that both austerity and highly mobile capital increase inequality, and inequality is a negative for growth. And it firmly says Something Must Be Done:

The evidence of the economic damage from inequality suggests that policymakers should be more open to redistribution than they are.Of course, apart from redistribution, policies could be designed to mitigate some of the impacts in advance-for instance, through increased spending on education and training, which expands equality of opportunity (so-called predistribution policies). And fiscal consolidation strategies-when they are needed-could be designed to minimize the adverse impact on low-income groups. But in some cases, the untoward distributional consequences will have to be remedied after they occur by using taxes and government spending to redistribute income. Fortunately, the fear that such policies will themselves necessarily hurt growth is unfounded.

Mind you, this article is far from ideal. For instance, careful readers will see that it treats the debunked loanable funds theory as valid.

In some ways, the fact that this article was written at all, and that it is apparently fomenting debate in policy circles is more important than the details of its argument, since it does not break new ground. Instead, it takes some of the findings and analysis of heterodox and forward-thinking development economists and distills them nicely.

The publication of this IMF paper is a sign that the zeitgeist is, years after the crisis, finally shifting. It is becoming too hard to maintain the pretense that the policies that produced the global financial crisis, which are almost entirely still intact, are working. And the elites and their economic alchemists may also recognize that if they don't change course pretty soon, they risk the loss of not just legitimacy but control. With Trump and Le Pen at the barricades, the IMF wake-up call may be too late.

diptherio , May 27, 2016 at 10:18 am

Call me a cynic, but something tells me this won't change anything for the people currently suffering under the IMF yoke. IMF has put out plenty of papers that actually take a realistic look at the world, but it hasn't stopped them from pursuing policies essentially guaranteed to immiserate the majority of the population. Talk is cheap, in other words. The IMF has caused so much suffering and been responsible for propagandizing so much BS over the years that reports like this just don't move me at all. Oh really , I think, you finally figured out that neo-liberalism isn't all it's cracked up to be? Well what a bunch of frickin' geniuses!

Too little, too late.

diptherio , May 27, 2016 at 10:23 am

The publication of this IMF paper is a sign that the zeitgeist is, years after the crisis, finally shifting. It is becoming too hard to maintain the pretense that the policies that produced the global financial crisis, which are almost entirely still intact, are working. And the elites and their economic alchemists may also recognize that if they don't change course pretty soon, they risk the loss of not just legitimacy but control.

The point of the shifting rhetoric is not to introduce policies that will better serve the poor, or the citizenry generally, it is a defensive action on the part of the elites to maintain their legitimacy and control.

nony mouse , May 27, 2016 at 10:40 am

i concur wholeheartedly with both of your above statements.

even worse, it just proves that they are able to learn to speak the right language about the economy. while we peons wait on for the inevitable co-optation and corruption of it towards elite ends once again.

congrats on your podseries, by the way.

drb48 , May 27, 2016 at 11:09 am

The point of the shifting rhetoric is not to introduce policies that will better serve the poor, or the citizenry generally, it is a defensive action on the part of the elites to maintain their legitimacy and control.

Yep.

Indrid Cold , May 27, 2016 at 4:01 pm

All power flows from the barrel of a gun.

Quantum Future , May 27, 2016 at 5:03 pm

Jefferson – Nice treason going eh? Boy some overconfident are in for a shock. The French army thought they were the shit until longbowmen showed up. Enough said. As to this article. No, there is no free lunch. There could be a free snack if the money was directed at productive endeavors. But they did not and now trust and the social contract is totally broken. Even Larry Summers by 2010 was calling for a new one. That all said, the last 40 years elite did get some good advancements in science and medicine done. I'll give credit where it is due but the empire building shit isn't a plus, that is for sure.

TheCatSaid , May 27, 2016 at 7:24 pm

That Tampa exercise is really something. Maybe it was a practice run to take out Maduro, since they "messed it up" with Chavez. Or a warning to Others who don't play nice with the USA.

Yves Smith Post author , May 27, 2016 at 6:24 pm

The IMF research side and the IMF program side operate separately from each other. However, IMF research does influence other economists and media coverage. You are not going to see changes in policy anywhere until you see changes in orthodox thinking.

And splits within the elites are a necessary but not sufficient condition for change. We are seeing the start of a real split in the elites.

norb , May 28, 2016 at 7:37 am

Something that always bears repeating is that a split in elite factions is essential to implementing real change. Access to power, money, and influence is what is needed to move society in any direction. Thru my own experience in life, I find most people are not sociopaths, they generally will direct their actions in benevolent manner if the overall social convention is to do so. This is why leadership is so important, and points to the true crisis of our time. We have a crisis of leadership.

Two points that need to be driven home again and again. Government policy implemented in the service of the people and the notion that the middle class was created thru public policy, not some natural occurrence. It was a choice.

The split in elite thinking is showing itself because we have reached a crisis point and the elite are finally feeling the heat. While it is easy to paint these class divisions with a broad brush, there is an underlying dynamic of the classes that has been lost in recent years. The sense of duty to ones people and nation. What we have now, at least in America, is a confused mess. You cannot serve the nation by impoverishing its people.

True wealth, happiness, and stability can only be achieved through bonds of respect forged between the ruling class and citizens. Without this functioning ideal, you will have strife and hardship. The elite must make a choice. Keep doubling down on their oppression of the working class, or decide they have a duty to humanity.

In the end, responsibility for ones actions in life cannot be avoided forever. As the destruction of inequality grows ever more apparent, the elite must face their conscience or the mob, it would seem to me, any sane person would rather choose the former than the later.

Plenue , May 27, 2016 at 6:18 pm

"IMF has put out plenty of papers that actually take a realistic look at the world, but it hasn't stopped them from pursuing policies essentially guaranteed to immiserate the majority of the population."

Not directly related to this subject, but this reminds me of book reviews. I have any number of books that challenge orthodoxy of one kind or other (like, say, David Graeber's Debt: The First 5,000 Years) that feature quotes from reviews on the covers and first few pages that praise the book as 'groundbreaking', 'important' etc. But then as far as I can see the publications that issued those reviews absorb none of the new wisdom and continue parroting the status quo. Hell, sometimes these books get awards or selected as best books of the year before whatever information they contain is completely ignored.

TheCatSaid , May 27, 2016 at 7:28 pm

Like Lord Ashby's observations that it typically takes 200 years before new knowledge makes its way into policies and institutions. Reduce that time somewhat due to internet, but even so his point is well made. He argues that policies and institutions only incorporate the new knowledge once a significant percentage of the general public has already accepted it. This says to me that new thinking has to happen from the ground up, and we should not expect it to happen from the top down.

fresno dan , May 27, 2016 at 11:20 am

What's the old saying – "A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it."

And I'd say with something like economics, something much more similar to a religion than a science, its more like "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so"

Synoia , May 27, 2016 at 11:23 am

Such heresy!!!!

Options:

1. Ignore it until it goes away.
2. Publish a counter example.
3. Claim that disaster will entail, and We Are Doing The Best We Can in an uncertain world, and debt is bad because It Must Be Repaid.
4. Have an election, and Nothing Can Be Done until after the election (which is never in the US because there is always an election looming)
5. Sex scandal. (The authorities have an ample supply, due to their pervasive surveillance)
6. If all else fails, then terrorism, because existential enemies, carefully built on a continuing basis, and must have war, like Syria.
7. Refer it to a committee for further study.

Minnie Mouse , May 27, 2016 at 11:25 am

"Unrestricted cross-border money flows" absolutely shouts dynamic instability from the get go and how could it be otherwise? Foreign direct investment also smells of absentee cross-border slum lord -ism; out of sight out of mind irresponsibility. Common currency (the Euro) wipes out fault tolerance and resiliency in the system and hard wires contagion. Nobody even discusses trade imbalance instability from so-called "free trade".

Mustsign topost , May 27, 2016 at 12:29 pm

"For instance, careful readers will see that it treats the debunked loanable funds theory as valid."

They know it's wrong, page 50 of https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2016/03/pdf/fd0316.pdf

Both feel like a cry for help and a warning to outsiders that the IMF is indeed a hammer.

JerseyJeffersonian , May 27, 2016 at 12:43 pm

And we, the preterite [Def.: A person not elected to salvation by God.], are the nail for which that hammer was intended.

Synoia , May 27, 2016 at 1:21 pm

preterite: A person not elected to salvation by God? Not what my search says:

noun
1. a tense of verbs used to relate past action, formed in English by inflection of the verb, as jumped, swam
2.a verb in this tense
adjective
3. denoting this tense
Word Origin
C14: from Late Latin praeteritum (tempus) past (time, tense), from Latin praeterīre to go by, from preter- + īre to go

Tom Allen , May 27, 2016 at 1:32 pm

Add Pynchon to your search, or Calvinism. One blog post says:

Expat asks, what is Pynchon talking about when he refers to the "preterite?" Let me take a hasty stab at an answer.

As I recall, the Calvinists thought that there were three kinds of people: the elect, the preterite, and the damned. The elect are going to heaven. The damned very clearly are not. The preterite can't be sure, so they do their very best to act like elect, since if they act like the damned they won't be happy in the end.

JerseyJeffersonian , May 27, 2016 at 2:29 pm

Oxford English Dictionary, Noun, Definition #3

3. Theol. A person not elected to salvation by God. Cf. preterition n. 3. rare.
1864 Fraser's Mag. May 533/2 The reprobates who are damned because they were always meant to be damned, and the preterites who are damned because they were never meant to be saved.
2006 http://www.adequacy.org 5 Dec. (O.E.D. Archive) Weren't the Elect who interbred with Preterites committing bestiality? Are they not therefore condemned to Hell?

Admittedly rare, but as with Tom Allen nested in the comments, I came upon this meaning through reading Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow, and taking in his ruminations upon the Calvinist classes of humans, the elect, the damned, and the preterite. Fit in very nicely with the story line. Fits in all too well with the way of the world, in my opinion.

Synoia , May 29, 2016 at 2:57 am

I'd conclude the Calvinists misused a word. The Latin root seems to Indictate this.

If we are not chosen, then I'd also assery we are the dammed.

The Calvinists indeed there is some hope for salvation for their definition of preterite.

However, the Calvinists have a harsh, unforgiving creed, and consequently do not appear to me to meet our Lord's definitions, especially the "let him who is without sin cast the first stone" and certainly miss "judge not."

Synoia , May 29, 2016 at 3:01 am

I'd conclude the Calvinists misused a word. The Latin root seems to Indictate this.

If we are not chosen, then I'd also assert we are the dammed.

The Calvinists indeed there is some hope for salvation for their definition of preterite.

However, the Calvinists have a harsh, unforgiving creed, and consequently do not appear to me to meet our Lord's definitions, especially the "let him who is without sin cast the first stone" and certainly miss "judge not."

ke , May 27, 2016 at 1:22 pm

Neoliberal policy is to replace men, with whatever combined circuit is most efficient. It's not rocket science. Last time we approached -Johnson & Johnson, your bait and swap inversion specializing in the baby slave trade, Yves was talking about credit unions and I was talking about Proctor & Gamble.

I have no use for peer friends, and recognize no enemy among a herd. Labor is a tribe, with as many different spirits / passion as possible, NOT a pyramid of rotated peer pressure groups, under the all seeing eye of debt as money.

Theories are like people, NOT R&D is r&d. I have been teaching young women AI programming right in front of your eyes, essentially what I would teach my daughters, funny, just as if they were at my armchair, before dinner, after she played with mommy all day. Serious time.

Just because you are surrounded physically, doesn't mean that you are the prisoner.

TheCatSaid , May 27, 2016 at 7:35 pm

baby slave trade? I don't follow.

Help me connect the dots: theories, R&D, young women learning AI, your daughters. . .

ke , May 27, 2016 at 10:46 pm

You are moving awfully fast. I think if you print out several pieces, and recombine the sentences, you will find/ the answer.
Essentially, farming people is a tuning problem, through DNA filters. The bananas up a ladder experiment (look it up).

Feminism and chauvinism have their trade offs, more now and less later. Well it's later, and young women like my daughters, thrown in that black hole, are NOTS, who will be far better programmers than anything currently on the planet. But. Proof is in the pudding.

TheCatSaid , May 27, 2016 at 11:21 pm

Thanks, I think I can put a few pieces together.
I'm working on my NOT status. My progress feels slow, not fast.

rjs , May 27, 2016 at 1:40 pm

i just realized that i dont know what neo-liberalism is, other than a pejorative i've heard used dozens of times…i couldnt even tell you who is one, and who isnt..

uasi , May 27, 2016 at 2:17 pm

Yves may wish to weigh in with a more detailed explanation (here is a recent treatment of the "neoliberal thought collective" ) but "Neoliberalism Expressed as Simple Rules" for rules of thumb that will enable you to detect neoliberals in your ordinary dealings in comment sections and on the twitter. If your interlocutor, for example, has a dogmatic faith in the workings of markets, you're dealing with a neoliberal.

I would say neoliberalism has been the dominant ideology, across the board, since the mid-70s (in other words, pre-Reagan). I'd have a hard time finding any policy that fits within the Overton Window of permitted discourse of DC, from left to right, that is not neoliberal, scholastics-level fine-grained faction-driven distinctions aside. The current stasis of the Overton Window is being challenged a bit by the Sanders campaign (from the left) and the Trump campaign (from the right), granting for a moment that politics are bipolar. Too long an answer, I know!

Yves Smith Post author , May 27, 2016 at 2:55 pm

Please see Recent Items. We have a post on the Mirowski's paper on the Neoliberal Though Collective prominently displayed.

Quantum Future , May 27, 2016 at 5:38 pm

I understand your nuanced depth UASI but I think that commentator was asking in laymens term. Liberalism is spending other peoples money. It can be used by government for good or evil. Neo liberalism implies such term on steroids. An always fair question as a taxpayer is this.:

Does what I am being taxed for increase my security, freedom and potential upward mobility?

The last 40 years tells me no. Mixed bag sometimes, not all evil but certainly the wrong direction and alarming. Not only does the looting damage opportunity but those that got the money by stealing have the worst attitudes in the world. Anybody with one penny or position over you has a shitty attitude. By the way, I am my own boss so my observations are neutral.

Having a business model and political system that hoovers it all into the top guarantees a global slum. The 'isms' (capitalism vs socialism, fascism, communsm) and democrate vs. republican wind up being a flimsy excuse but serious distraction from looting.

This current cycle of it is double standards and law, looting. Call it whatever you want. Robbery is part of many species, but so is wising up to it and defending oneself.

The IMF knows this cycle of looting is near over so there is not cost abandoning an 'ism'. But they do want you to think free lunch can always be had. The snack can be, leave math asidethe reason why is some perception can become a reality. Debt issued for productive purpose can have a multiplyer effect. But when issued to hand out in to crony buddies or consumption of some things, the economy grinds down to near halt.

Had to explain the term while simply explaining the context. The why is as important as a term or nothing can be learned or improved.

jerry hamrick , May 28, 2016 at 8:55 am

But, because we have an unlimited supply of money then government would be spending money that belongs to no individual. There can be no deficit spending, only spending. The new economics system would be one that distributes rather than redistributes, Society would decide the rules for such distribution and individuals can still be denied their "fair share." Rules of exchange and possession of money would guide our interactions But the most important aspect of an unlimited supply of money is that as individuals small children would learn that they will have enough money to go as far as their talents and efforts can take them; they will learn that they will have equal access to resources, opportunities, rights, and protections that will enable them to build long lives worth living.

So we really don't have to worry about the supply of money, we just have to worry about a society that really does give young humans equal access to resources, opportunities, rights, and protections. The only government that has come close to reaching that goal was the democracy of ancient Athens.

Athens did not have an unlimited supply of money, but they spent their money for the common good which included giving some money to people who needed it as well as spending great sums for the common good rather than giving equal shares of those sums to its citizens.

Under our current systems of government and economics an unlimited supply of money would make the rich richer and the poor poorer.

Under a democracy that has an unlimited amount of money the GDP would become the ADI, average domestic income, and our success would be measured by the level and the growth of the ADI.

Minnie Mouse , May 27, 2016 at 2:54 pm

How about this; hyper aggressive top down global economic integration no matter what the fallout.

Benedict@Large , May 27, 2016 at 3:57 pm

Finding the balance?

I have no idea why this paper is even here on NC. Because decades later the IMF is saying, well, maybe we were a little wrong? They had to butcher people to put this crap in power and butcher people to keep this crap in power. That's not a little wrong. The economy exists for the people; not the other way around.

JCC , May 27, 2016 at 7:16 pm

For rjs: For a good start on what neoliberalism means, a base definition to start with is the exact opposite of Benedict@Large's statement above, "The economy exists for the people".

Most sane people feel that economic "science" is inherently a social, soft, science and that economics as a field of study and policy determination exists to serve the people The neoliberal contingent feels the economy is "the invisible hand", equivalent to God. We exist to serve the economy.

Robert NYC , May 27, 2016 at 8:50 pm

Didn't anyone read John Gray? He laid bare all the neo-liberal fallacies in his 1998 book: "False Dawn, The Delusions of Global Capitalism". So now the IMF comes along 18 years later and states what was explained nearly two decades ago. Gray is an intellectual giant in a land of fools so nobody paid any attention to him.

norb , May 28, 2016 at 8:00 am

Keep the masses ignorant, wanting and distracted. Under the current social system, you are offered a choice: Be "SMART" and join in on the looting, or be exploited as one to the sheep. It seems humanity must evolve to a third position- one of collective benefit and sustainability or end in extinction.

different clue , May 29, 2016 at 1:53 am

Neither a swindler nor a sucker be. Neither a looter nor a victim be.

etc.

Sound of the Suburbs , May 28, 2016 at 4:43 am

About time, the IMF and World Bank have been using these ideas for decades even before they were adopted globally under the "Neo-Liberal" ideology.

They have a track record of nearly 50 years of unmitigated disaster.

When South American and African nations were in trouble the World Bank stepped in and offered loans as long as they reformed their economies with less public spending, austerity and privatising previously public companies.

It was a disaster.

In the Asian Crisis in 1998 the IMF stepped in and offered loans as long as they reformed their economies with less public spending, austerity and privatising previously public companies.

It was a disaster.

When Greece got into trouble recently the IMF stepped in and offered loans as long as they reformed their economy with less public spending, austerity and privatising previously public companies.

It was a disaster.

Sound of the Suburbs , May 28, 2016 at 4:48 am

The US and the UK were the first to adopt these ideas with Reagan and Thatcher.

One idea was to make countries competitive in a global economy.

Let's have a look at the US.

The minimum wage must cover the cost of living in that nation, what must the minimum wage cover in the US?

1) The cost of sky high mortgage payments or rent
2) The repayments on student loans
3) The cost of all services that were once free or subsidised
4) The cost of healthcare

The minimum wage necessary to cover the cost of living in the US ensures it can never compete with China.

Central Banks were supposed to keep inflation low to ensure the cost of living does not rise too quickly ensuring wage inflation can be kept low.

The Central Banks produced low inflation figures in the US, while massive inflation was occurring in the costs of housing, education and healthcare causing the cost of living to sky rocket. This fictitious inflation figure targeting seems to be a rather pointless exercise. There is no point in producing low inflation figures while the cost of living is sky rocketing. A global youth now sit at home with their parents unable to afford to move out due to high mortgage payments and rent. They are not starting families and the demographic problems are going to get a whole lot worse. Why is global aggregate demand so low? Suppressed wages with sky rocketing costs of living. Neo-Liberalism really is just silly.

Sound of the Suburbs , May 28, 2016 at 4:50 am

A look at the UK. We have followed the US idea of paid further education. One of the first things the US banks did in 2008 was to get the Government to back student loans as they were beginning to default on a large scale. In the UK we have linked repayments to RPI and not the CPI figure the Central Bank targets. The usual silliness for masking the rising costs of living and an opportunity to rip off young people. Another idea, unregulated, trickle down capitalism, which we had in the UK in the 19th Century. In the 19th Century those at the top were very wealthy those at the bottom lived in abject poverty, no trickledown. The first regulations to deal with wealthy UK businessman seeking profit, the abolition of slavery and child labour.

Where regulation is lax today? Factories in China with suicide nets. No wonder the French are rioting and the populists are getting angry. Neo-Liberalism really is rather nasty.

Sound of the Suburbs , May 28, 2016 at 6:46 am

Michael Hudson in "Killing the Host" goes into the rather more sensible thinking of Classical Economists on how to make nations competitive. You lower the cost of living to the minimum, to ensure the basic minimum wage is low enough to compete with other countries.

Pretty much the opposite of the US today:

1) Low housing costs
2) Free or subsidised education
3) Free or subsidised services
4) Free or subsidised healthcare

You need to get the cost of living down, so the minimum wage necessary is the same as that in China.

different clue , May 29, 2016 at 1:55 am

If we abolish Free Trade and restore Protectionism, the American minimum wage won't HAVE to compete with China. Free Trade is the new Slavery. Protectionism is the new Abolition.

Guglielmo Tell , May 28, 2016 at 7:31 pm

The IMF is trying to wash its own face now. Too late. Both the IMF and the WB must stand Trial for Crimes Against Humanity.

flow5 , May 29, 2016 at 3:57 pm

There was only one explanation for the GR – Bankrupt U Bernanke was the sole cause.

Rates-of-change in money flows, M*Vt = roc's in PT (Professor Irving Fisher's "equation of exchange".

POSTED: Dec 13 2007 06:55 PM |

The Commerce Department said retail sales in Oct 2007 increased by 1.2% over Oct 2006, & up a huge 6.3% from Nov 2006.

10/1/2007,,,,,,,-0.47,,,,,,, -0.22 * temporary bottom
11/1/2007,,,,,,, 0.14,,,,,,, -0.18
12/1/2007,,,,,,, 0.44,,,,,,,-0.23
1/1/2008,,,,,,, 0.59,,,,,,, 0.06
2/1/2008,,,,,,, 0.45,,,,,,, 0.10
3/1/2008,,,,,,, 0.06,,,,,,, 0.04
4/1/2008,,,,,,, 0.04,,,,,,, 0.02
5/1/2008,,,,,,, 0.09,,,,,,, 0.04
6/1/2008,,,,,,, 0.20,,,,,,, 0.05
7/1/2008,,,,,,, 0.32,,,,,,, 0.10
8/1/2008,,,,,,, 0.15,,,,,,, 0.05
9/1/2008,,,,,,, 0.00,,,,,,, 0.13
10/1/2008,,,,,,, -0.20,,,,,,, 0.10 * possible recession
11/1/2008,,,,,,, -0.10,,,,,,, 0.00 * possible recession
12/1/2008,,,,,,, 0.10,,,,,,, -0.06 * possible recession

Trajectory as I predicted:

[May 30, 2016] Red Hot Jingoism, With a Side of Apple Pie

marknesop.wordpress.com
Peruse, if you will, this sabre-rattling pile of poop . Coming on the heels of recent articles which warn that the west sees a nuclear war as both winnable and possible , even probable, and the conviction that a new western strategy is the attempt to initiate a Kremlin palace coup by Russian nationalist hardliners fed up with Putin's squishiness because he will not respond more aggressively to NATO provocations on Russia's doorstep, it's hard not to conclude that the west has lost its mind. If the fear of a planet-devastating nuclear war – in which the two major world nuclear powers pull out all the stops in an unrestricted attempt to annihilate one another – no longer holds our behaviors in check…what's scarier than that?

We seriously need to persuade our leaders, in the strongest terms, that they cannot talk smack like that. It might seem funny to you to hear a senior government official from the country that fabricated a case for war so it could destroy its old enemy, Saddam Hussein, and lay waste to his country and people, prattling on about 'the rules-based international order', just as if the United States recognizes any limitations on its application of raw power, anywhere on the globe, in its own interests. It's quite true that whenever the USA wants to start a war with someone, it first makes out a case that this is a situation in which it must act. And even its critics would have to acknowledge that it is damned good at this sort of fakery, and has come a long way since one of its premiere PR firms – Hill & Knowlton – coached the daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador to the United States through her performance as a make-believe Kuwaiti nurse devastated by Saddam's forces' make-believe plundering of a Kuwaiti hospital, something which did not happen. It did, however, strike precisely the right responsive chord in public anger and disgust to kick off Gulf War I. Both wars against Iraq got off the ground on entirely fabricated scenarios calculated to get the rubes all in a lather to do the right thing. To hear a self-righteous assrocket like Ashton Carter maunder on about the rules-based international order, considering the United States encouraged the military campaign by the Ukrainian government to kill its own citizens in a blatant violation of the very core principles of the imaginary rules-based international order…why, it's a little like listening to Imelda Marcos teaching a seminar on how to take care of your shoes so they'll last a long time and you won't have to buy more. I have to say, it just… it makes me mad.

What has really brought us to this point in the history of the Big Blue Marble is that despite the progress we've made together since the end of the Cold War, the indispensable and exceptional nation has in recent years tried by various means to overthrow the government of Russia, without success. It has tried incentivizing and supporting opposition movements, and got most of its NGO's kicked out of the country for its pains. It has tried sexual politics, hoping to mobilize the world's homosexuals against 'Putin's draconian anti-gay laws', only to have the effort fall flat. It has tried open economic warfare, which worked just long enough for President Obama to take credit for it , then Russian counter-sanctions made European businesses wish they had never heard of President Obama . Shortly after that, Russia began to muscle in on US agricultural markets ; a startlingly lifelike performance for a dying country. It looks like everything that has been tried in the effort to send Russia down for a dirtnap has failed. What's left? They're running out of war-alternative regime-change efforts.

And what has made Washington suddenly so cocky with the nuclear stick? Could it be that its European-based missile defense system has just gone live ? After all Obama's waffling, after his backing away from the missile defense the hawks wanted, in the winding-down days of his presidency he re-committed to it, and the site in Romania has started up, with great fanfare. Washington continues to insist, tongue in cheek, that the system is not and cannot be targeted against Russia's nuclear deterrent, but for what other purpose could it be there? The rogue-missiles-from-Iran canard is pretty much played out. It seems pretty clear that Washington figures its interceptors (the Standard series SM3) give it a potential first-strike capability, which would – in theory – see Washington's unalerted launch taking out most of Russia's ICBM's in their silos, and the forward-based interceptors taking out the few missiles that avoided Washington's hammer-blow. If they don't believe that, why the sudden nuclear-weapons nose-thumbing?

If they do believe that, it's a big mistake. First of all, where the USA relies on a nuclear triad deterrent – land-based, air-deployable and seaborne nuclear missiles – Russia adds a fourth leg; mobile Transporter/Erector/Launcher (TEL) vehicles which have a demonstrated off-road capability, so that they could be most anywhere. The USA could not be sure of hitting all Russia's land-based missiles before launch. Then there is the sea-based component, in SSBN's, ballistic-missile submarines. The BOREI Class carries the Bulava missile. Each of the 20 missiles can carry up to 10 MIRV warheads of 150 kilotons yield. The USA is already worried that it is falling behind Russia and China in submarine capability. Finally, Russia has the 'dead hand' system, which is an automatic program that will launch all undestroyed fixed-site missiles even if everyone in Russia is dead.

... ... ...

This is an existential battle for Russia. No amount of conciliatory gestures will buy it peace, and the United States is determined to push it off the edge of the world. With NATO surrounding it, even if it disbanded its military and plowed all its croplands into flowerbeds, the west would still pretend to see it as a threat, and would foment internal discord until it broke apart. Russia's leaders know this. Its people know this. Strutting up and down the border and waving the NATO flag is not going to make Russia get scared about 'consequences', and kneel in the dirt. NATO's fundamental problem is that it understands neither the Russian character or the true circumstances in the country, preferring to rely on rosy estimates presented by its think tanks.

The biggest 'consequence' of this dick-waving and posturing is that we are back where we were in 1947.

Patient Observer , May 24, 2016 at 10:16 am
Mark, a very timely and well-written post! The red hot approaching white hot rhetoric is unnerving to the sane. Yet, there is virtually no chance of a successful US first strike for the reasons you mentioned. If some breakthrough in ABM technology were to occur that could be quickly retrofit to existing installations then a strategic imbalance could occur. I suppose Russia must assume that is the US thinking so such a worst-case scenarios needs to be part of their strategic planning.

We had Star Wars back in the 80's designed to render Soviet missiles useless. Yet any competent scientist or engineer could determine that it was ALL BS. A favorite story was that a scientist indicated an anti-missile laser system they were working on had achieve 10 to the 7th power output (don't remember the units) but they needed to reach 10 to the 14th power output. An eager politician reported to the administration that all they needed was TWO of the lasers to shoot down Soviet missiles.

So, my take is that the US rhetoric is based on two possibilities – one that you mentioned is that everything else has failed so why not give war a chance. The Russians, being substantially saner that the West, and knowing the horrors of war, could back down in deference to the survival of humanity. The other ploy could be to induce Russia into another arms race to bankrupt their economy. This later strategy, if it is the case, would have been formulated from the widely mistaken belief that the 80's Star Wars eventually forced the collapse of the Soviet Union. That is the danger of using sustained propaganda indiscriminately, your own side may end up believing it.

One last thought is that no one foresaw the collapse of the Soviet Union. By poking around enough, perhaps the West thinks something can trigger a similar cascade of events resulting in the collapse of Russia. Its sort of magical thinking without basis in reality but its good enough for politicians and think tanks. Just keep Gorbachev out of Russia:)

Your warning about how the West, having given up on a liberal revolution, would now like a nationalistic coup in Russia was spot on. Nothing could be worse for Russia than engaging in a tit-for-tat battle with the West. The Russian strategy seems to be working quite nicely as its economy adjusts to life without the West, it outsmarts the Empire at every turn and the Eurasian Union proceeds.

Northern Star , May 24, 2016 at 1:12 pm
Depending on how things go in November….one must remember that Santa Coup could come down the White House chimney….
et Al , May 24, 2016 at 2:08 pm
…everything else has failed so why not give war a chance
####

John Lennon would have wept. Genius PO! Genius!

It looks like we all agree that the US is at loose ends. So far all its plans have come to naught, so trying a little bit of everything in the hope that something magical will happen (as noted), is a massive indictment on US governmental institutions. Damned stubborn Russians.

[May 29, 2016] Goldman raised their price target (causing a rally in the stock) hours before underwriting a capital raise that cause a decline in Tesla's stock

peakoilbarrel.com
Brian Rose, 05/18/2016 at 6:34 pm
Toolpush,

I found it amusing that Goldman raised their price target (causing a rally in the stock) hours before underwriting a capital raise that cause a decline in Tesla's stock.

Although, to be fair there are SEC rules that are very explicit, with severe consequences, if Goldman Sachs' underwriting dept talked or leaked anything to their analysts.

Goldman Sachs does plenty of shady things to make a profit – like selling Mortgage Backed Securities as AAA investments, and simultaneously, knowing they're crap, betting on them going bad (covered in the critically acclaimed documentary "Inside Job"), or helping Greece hide their budget deficit with accounting magic… so they can sell them debt… that they know will go bad.

However, as odd as it is, none of those actions were illegal. THIS would actually be illegal, and Goldman Sachs is smarter than that. I'd guess it is a genuine coincidence.

On a separate note, I find it important to note that Tesla FIRST scouted out battery suppliers to supplement their battery supply 1 DAY before announcing the amount of their capital raise.

My hypothesis, Tesla's accelerated Model 3 ramp-up meant that they will need a large supply of additional batteries as the Gigafactory will not be able to accelerate it's schedule enough to match the accelerated vehicle production ramp.

This also tells me that Tesla is confident enough in their accelerated Model 3 production schedule that they needed to arrange a multi-million dollar contract with battery suppliers to supplement their capacity until the Gigafactory can meet demand.

likbez, 05/18/2016 at 11:00 pm
Although, to be fair there are SEC rules that are very explicit, with severe consequences, if Goldman Sachs' underwriting dept talked or leaked anything to their analysts.

This is all about corruption of regulators and impunity of TBTF financial institutions under neoliberalism - which is an immanent feature of neoliberalism aka "casino capitalism"…

Goldman's role in the growth of casino capitalism in the USA is similar to that of other players, except for one thing: Goldman didn't believe its own hype. The now famous Rolling Stone magazine article in 2009 by Matt Taibbi unforgettably referred to Goldman Sachs, the world's most powerful investment bank, as a "great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money." ( http://www.forbes.com/sites/jakezamansky/2013/08/08/the-great-vampire-squid-keeps-on-sucking/ )

https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2016/05/12/the-age-impunity/LHBxamqFENCs3W6lvWnCIJ/story.html

Impunity is epidemic in America. The rich and powerful get away with their heists in broad daylight. When a politician like Bernie Sanders calls out the corruption, the New York Times and Wall Street Journal double down with their mockery over such a foolish "dreamer." The Journal recently opposed the corruption sentence of former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell for taking large gifts and bestowing official favors - because everybody does it. And one of its columnists praised Panama for facilitating the ability of wealthy individuals to hide their income from "predatory governments" trying to collect taxes. No kidding.

Our major institutions, the ones that should know better, are often gross enablers of impunity. Consider my alma mater, Harvard University, and its recent nuptial with hedge-fund manager John Paulson. Paulson was the co-conspirator with Goldman Sachs of one of the most notorious scams of the recent financial bubble.

http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Financial_skeptic/Casino_capitalism/Systemic_instability_of_financial_sector/TBTF/Goldman_Sachs/index.shtml

Professional financial hackers have a lot of common with the organized crime. And not only in respect to common addictions to cocaine and prostitutes. But there is a subtle difference: financial hackers make it daily (and very lucrative) business to figure out ways to abide by the letter of the law while violating its spirit. Although the claim that they do not break the law has very little credibility. They do break the law, but at the same time their political influence is big enough to keep them out of jail. In 2012 Lanny Breuer, then the head of the Justice Department's criminal division openly admitted that. In a speech at the New York City Bar Association he said that he felt that it was his duty to consider the health of the company, the industry, and the markets in deciding whether or not to file charges. Which in case of Goldman represents insurmountable obstacle to criminal prosecution.
In any case GS converted itself into a special type of TBTF company, the company that specialized in hacking financial system. And in a large company internal politic can turn really destructive both to the firm and society at large. In fact, in large companies there are people with very high IQ at the top with personal traits that makes them more dangerous in comparison with bosses of Mexican gangs. It also makes internal political battles more vicious. BTW, a lot of psychopaths have above average IQ.

In a way the USA never had a subprime crisis. What we had was systemic, neoliberalism-induced crisis that involves FED, government, congress, banking, ratings, insurance, investment and financial industries (the banks were at the center of this crime syndicate and they were the largest beneficiaries of the crimes committed), one manifestation of which was 2008 subprime crisis. Large banks became huge, dominant political force and based on their political weight, they hacked the financial system in the same way computer hackers hack computers systems to suit their short term needs and first of all for enrichment of the brass (appetite for "make money fast" schemes was greatly raised during dot-com crisis).
As Simon Johnson wrote in May 2009 the USA had a The Quiet Coup with banks becoming the most favored and the most protected industry of the Congress. Financial system is essentially a system of rules. If a rich and powerful organization is directed toward hacking the rules: finding weaknesses and exploiting them it is undistinguishable from mafia in a very precise meaning of the term (organize crime syndicate with strong ethnic component), only more sophisticated. Again they are not gangsters in traditional meaning of this word, they are of a hackers, and as such they are much more difficult to prosecute. As a comment to blog post at EconomistView by "Eric" (Paul Krugman The Unwisdom of Elites) aptly stated:
Villains….who exactly? The principle reason that there have been few prosecutions of high level bankers is that not so much that got done was illegal. Reckless, maybe. But even here is it really reckless behavior if you have a belief - which turns out to be true - that public finances will bear the downside risks on your behalf?
In hindsight it feels like these things should have been illegal, but the available serious punishments, such as not bailing out AIG, not allowing various investment firms to become bank holding entites, not backstopping the GSEs (read their debt issues and you'll see that nowhere is a claim made for public backing), not taking first loss positions on Bear Stearn assets, etc., etc., were foregone by voluntary actions by public officials.
Make peace with the truth that there will be no sweeping prosecutions, least of all by the federal government of the USA.

[May 26, 2016] Neoliberalisms Press Gangs How Markets Raise Costs

Notable quotes:
"... By Clive, an investment technology professional and Japanophile ..."
"... Until the early 19th century, conditions for ships' companies were so unpleasant that few people in their right minds willingly volunteered to participate in the market for crewmen. Vessels could not get enough people to meet their complements. No-one wanted the jobs because there were marginally better, less-worse might be a more accurate description, ways to spend your time. The compensation for sailors could have been raised but that would have made operating the ships "uneconomic". This problem soon led to the introduction of the "press gang" – a group of thugs who dragooned ("impressed") the unfortunate and the unwary – and they were disproportionately drawn from the poor or destitute sections of society – to serve on the ships. ..."
"... The next occasion you find yourself forced to spend your time working your way through competing offers in a market for things you can't easily do without in order to ensure that "benefits" of "free" "markets" can be realised, you might ask are the press gangs really a thing of the past. It is even more ironic if those agencies which are supposed to be looking after our interests end up turning themselves into neoliberalism's press gangs, forcing us to participate in capitalism when even by their own admission it produces worse outcomes for us than public ownership would. ..."
May 24, 2016 | naked capitalism
By Clive, an investment technology professional and Japanophile

One of the defining characteristics of neoliberal ideology is that more, or better, markets are always and everywhere the solution. No matter what the issues are, markets will fix them.

Perhaps the most striking thing about the ideology is, even when it demonstrably fails – and the markets become the problem – our elites' response is to double-down and to add new, or different, market layers. The Affordable Care Act (even more colloquially known to its friends as "Obamacare") is one such example. Lambert has covered this at length in terms of how overlaying an additional market ( HealthCare.gov ) onto existing, dysfunctional ones (healthcare insurance, Big Pharma, Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) and so on) doesn't solve anything; it merely compounds the mess.

Rarely, though, do we get any elite acknowledgement – even from those who only carry water for them such as Paul Krugman – that markets can be problems in and of themselves.

So you can imagine my surprise when I was reading (not through choice, I am paid to do this – another example of markets imposing costs) the snappily titled Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on Interchange Fees for Card-Based Payment Transactions and came across the following hidden gem of candour (emphasis mine):

(para 10) … Competition between card schemes to convince payment service providers to issue their cards leads to higher rather than lower interchange fees on the market, in contrast with the usual price disciplining effect of competition in a market economy.

For those unfamiliar with finance industry jargon, "card schemes" are the organisation which provide different types of payment cards to the card issuers like the banks. VISA, MasterCard and American Express are perhaps the best known card schemes, but there are others. "Interchange fees" are the costs which the "card schemes" charge "merchants" (stores, supermarkets – places where you spend your money) for the privilege of using your credit or debit card to buy stuff. You end up paying for these "interchange fees" because the card schemes charge the merchants and the merchants pass the costs on to you.

But wait a minute, did that just say "competition… leads to higher rather than lower interchange fees (costs)"? How can that be? Whatever happened to the Efficient Market Hypothesis? Read on. Actually, don't you'll die of boredom if you try reading the whole draft EU Regulation, I'll spare you the pain, the money quote is in the next paragraph (emphasis mine):

(para 11) … The currently existing wide variety of interchange fees and their level prevent the emergence of 'new' pan (European) Union players on the basis of business models with lower or no interchange fees, to the detriment of potential economies of scale and scope and their resulting efficiencies. This has a negative impact on retailers and consumers and prevents innovation. As Pan-Union players would have to offer issuing banks as a minimum the highest level of interchange fee prevailing in the market they want to enter it also results in persisting market fragmentation. Existing domestic schemes with lower or no interchange fees may also be forced to exit the market because of the pressure from banks to obtain higher interchange fees revenues. As a result, consumers and merchants face restricted choice, higher prices and lower quality of payment services.

Clive again. Ah-ha! So that's the reason. The banks issue the cards. The card schemes levy interchange fees for using the cards. The card schemes cut the banks in on the rent-seeking in a revenue-sharing (I'd call it extortion-sharing) grift. The card schemes compete with each other to get you to use their cards but the only competition is which card scheme can gouge out the highest interchange fees to pay off the banks with. The banks do not want an innovative, low cost card scheme to be able to enter the market thereby cutting off their nice little earner. They want the highest cost schemes possible.

But that's only going to be a problem in Europe, then? Think again. The EU is at least trying to discipline the free market and curb the most brazen of the excesses. The situation in the U.S is even worse. For instance, brand-slap cards (where, for example, a retail outlet does a tie-in with a card issuer, usually one of the big banks and typically provides discounts or other incentives for the cardholder when they use their card) have been virtually killed off in the EU by previous EU regulations banning practices which helped to hide the true costs of these cards. Amazon UK closed its "Prime" credit card but Amazon in the U.S. continues to offer a brand-slap card product in a joint venture with Chase.

Let's take a look at this. At first glance, it seems generous enough, especially on Amazon purchases. But is it generous or not, compared to the profit Chase will make on the card? You simply cannot tell. And get a load of the totally outrageous "gotcha's" in the small print:

Please note: We make every effort to include all relevant merchant codes in our rewards categories. However, even though a merchant or some of the items that it sells may appear to fit within a rewards category, the merchant may not have a merchant code in that category. When this occurs, purchases with that merchant won't qualify for rewards offers on purchases in that category. Purchases submitted by you, an authorized user, or the merchant through third-party payment accounts, mobile or wireless card readers, online or mobile digital wallets, or similar technology will not qualify in a rewards category if the technology is not set up to process the purchase in that rewards category.

Excuse my language, but WTF? Amazon and Chase don't even guarantee that you'll get your incentives. By the way, this sort of differential pricing depending on the merchant and the EPoS (Electronic Point of Sale) terminal's level of sophistication is already banned in the UK and most of the EU through existing financial regulation. It's about time the U.S. regulators followed their lead.

And the EU did decide on a lowering of the EU cross-border interchange fee cap:

(Article 3 / Article 4) … transaction interchange fee of more than 0.2 % of the value of the transaction for any debit card transaction… credit card transaction a per transaction interchange fee of more than 0.3 % of the value of the transaction.

In the U.S. Dodd-Frank only imposed a 0.5% cap on debit card transactions. Yes, dear U.S. reader, you're paying more than double what the EU thinks is the correct level of interchange fee when you use your debit card – and the Dodd-Frank cap only applies to cards issued by the largest, Too Big to Fail, banks. And there's no regulation at all for credit card transactions' interchange fees.

Note that this could also explain the phenomena which, at first glance, appears paradoxical of the banks welcoming ApplePay into the payments industry. It is paradoxical because ApplePay would seem to be a natural competitor to the existing card schemes – once, that is, it can free itself from the dependency on the customer having an existing card scheme product as their payment instrument. But of course, nothing would delight the banks more than to see ApplePay and the existing card schemes go into a Godzilla-vs.-Mothra battle over who can bribe the banks with the most money from interchange fees.

The EU did consider banning interchange fees completely. And for very good reasons, here, again, is a rare admission that sometimes no amount of regulatory intervention can fix a broken market:

(para 18a) …a prohibition of interchange fees for debit card transactions would be beneficial for card acceptance, card usage, development of the single market (the EU) and generate more benefits to merchants and consumers than a cap set at any higher level. Moreover it would avoid negative effects on national systems with very low or zero interchange fees for debit transaction by a higher cap due to cross border expansion or new market entrants increasing fee levels to the level of the cap. A ban on interchange fees for debit card transactions also addresses the threat of exporting the interchange fee model to new, innovative payment services such as mobile and online systems.

Clive here. The wording is a little dense, but the EU has stumbled on the fact that if you impose a cap on fees, the cap becomes the market price. All market participants simply charge the "capped" price, even if their true costs are way lower and they could easily afford to cut their prices and still make a healthy profit. There's something even worse, but a bit subtler, hidden in this paragraph too. Once a regulator imposes a price cap for something, they are, de-facto, accepting that it is right to even charge for what is being sold. Just as so-called environmental levies enshrine the right of polluters to pollute – they just have to pay to clean up their messes – interchange fee caps preserve the right for card schemes to charge for something that might not actually be worth anything at all. We'll return to this problem, and how the EU proposes you solve it, in a moment.

But what about the nuance that I skipped over just now, of how – even though cross border interchange fees are to capped (thus, it is hoped by the EU, facilitating new pan-EU competitors which might want to set up shop and offer a low interchange fee across all Union member states) – card holders and merchants can ensure they are paying the lowest interchange fees possible? Won't all market participants simply charge the regulated fees?

I'll give you three guesses what the EU's idea is of how to fix this. If you're saying to yourselves "Clive, it wouldn't by any chance be more markets, would it?", you'd be right. Let's force ourselves to see it in black-and-white:

(para 30) Payees and payers should have the means to identify the different categories of cards. Therefore, the various brands and categories should be identifiable electronically and for newly issued card based payment instruments also visibly on the device. Secondly, also the payer should be informed about the acceptance of his payment instrument(s) at a given point of sale. It is necessary that any limitation on the use of a given brand be announced by the payee to the payer at the same time and under the same conditions as the information that a given brand is accepted.

(para 30a) In order to ensure that competition between brands is effective, it is important that the choice of payment application be made by users, not imposed by the upstream market, comprising payment card systems, payment service providers or processors. Such an arrangement should not prevent payers and payees from setting a default choice of application, where technically feasible, provided that that choice can be changed for each transaction.

Clive's take: So, in the future, in addition all of the other taxes on our time which neoliberalism imposes, we'll have another way to add to our time-stress.

When we want to pay with a card (or a new "payment instrument" such as our phone), we'll enter a Randian nirvana where the EPoS terminal where we're buying whatever it is we're trying to buy starts a game of "let's play markets" with us, proffering the choice – neoliberal-leaning thinkers do seem to love that word – of payment application starting with what the merchant is incentivised to select.

Then other "brands and categories" – are you losing the will to live yet? – will be suggested, while you clutch your groceries, or hope the kids aren't trashing the car while you pay for gas or (and who hasn't been in this position) keep their fingers crossed they've got enough available funds and their card won't be declined as it's maxed out.

Actually, the fun starts before you've even entered the store.

(Article 10 para 3) Merchants deciding not to accept all cards or other payment instruments of a payment card scheme shall inform consumers in a clear and unequivocal manner at the same time as they inform the consumer on the acceptance of other cards and payment instruments of the scheme. That information shall be displayed prominently at the entrance of the shop and at the till. In the case of distance sales, this information shall be displayed on the website or other applicable electronic or mobile medium. The information shall be provided to the payer in good time before he enters into a purchase agreement with the payee.

That's alright then. You've just driven to (if you live in a place like where I used to live, out in the sticks) the only supermarket in town, no food in the refrigerator, tired after a day's work and availed yourself of detailed information on the storefront about what payment instruments they accept and, presumably, only enter the merchant's premises if you're happy with the payment options available.

You, the consumer, will be supposed to decide which is the best application where your co-badged payment instrument supports more than one scheme. In order to decide which is the "best", you'll need to memorise which application has the lowest fees, the most cardholder rewards or whatever pricing signal has been wafted in your direction. Oh, and you can also try to figure out if the merchant, or you, are using "mobile or wireless card readers, online or mobile digital wallets, or similar technology" that "will not qualify in a rewards category" like we've seen in the Chase/Amazon card's Terms and Conditions small print. Good luck with all that.

Then, you can be a nice, well brought-up participant demonstrating how you hold up your end of the Theory of Rational Expectations bargain, ever-eager to adjust your response(s) accordingly.

Until the early 19th century, conditions for ships' companies were so unpleasant that few people in their right minds willingly volunteered to participate in the market for crewmen. Vessels could not get enough people to meet their complements. No-one wanted the jobs because there were marginally better, less-worse might be a more accurate description, ways to spend your time. The compensation for sailors could have been raised but that would have made operating the ships "uneconomic". This problem soon led to the introduction of the "press gang" – a group of thugs who dragooned ("impressed") the unfortunate and the unwary – and they were disproportionately drawn from the poor or destitute sections of society – to serve on the ships.

The next occasion you find yourself forced to spend your time working your way through competing offers in a market for things you can't easily do without in order to ensure that "benefits" of "free" "markets" can be realised, you might ask are the press gangs really a thing of the past. It is even more ironic if those agencies which are supposed to be looking after our interests end up turning themselves into neoliberalism's press gangs, forcing us to participate in capitalism when even by their own admission it produces worse outcomes for us than public ownership would.

And if only it was just finance. It is due to this kind of cognitive capture – this idealism – that we also can't have nice things like single-payer healthcare.

Steve H. , May 24, 2016 at 7:35 am

"I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further."

Beyond the tax on time of finding the optimal deal at that particular moment, the moment may only be of the moment. Of particular note in the ACA is the ability of the provider to drop coverage, at any time, for medicines that the particular plan had been studied to provide. The bait, the switch, and back on the hamster wheel.

It would tend to lead to a tactic of taking the option with the shortest amount of fine print. But as Godel pointed out about the Constitution, it doesn't matter how short the algo is, if it contains the ability to switch the priors, it cannot be said to be consistent.

'Ah, well, this set of shackles doesn't chafe so much…'

Clive , May 24, 2016 at 7:52 am

All too true. The financial services industry did not invent bait and switch. But they've certainly become Sith Lords in that particular dark art. "These aren't the Amazon Reward Points you're looking for…"

doug , May 24, 2016 at 8:06 am

Excellent! Thanks Clive. To 'consumer-driven health care', we can now add 'consumer driven card schemes':-)

Thure , May 24, 2016 at 8:09 am

Good writeup!

There is a lot of nonsense about frictionless markets that supposedly feature zero information costs, zero transaction costs, zero regulatory costs, etc. As if markets were some sort of natural phenomenon like gravity.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

templar555510 , May 24, 2016 at 8:20 am

Interesting piece . Here in the UK the German discounters Aldi and Lidl only accept payment by cash or debit card . I wonder why ?

Clive , May 24, 2016 at 9:13 am

Well the simple (actually, simplistic) answer is that the UK discount supermarkets run on such wafer-thin profit margins that even the fairly minor differential between credit and debit account fees (0.3% against 0.2%) is enough to make them wary of accepting credit cards.

What is actually a potentially a bigger cost, though, is that credit card transactions fall under additional consumer protection (Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act) which means that the merchant always has to accept a chargeback and refund the customer. Debit cards do not:

Remember that any (debit card) protection offered is not a legal obligation (like Section 75 for credit cards) but an in-house rule: this means that the exact rules for chargeback schemes vary by (debit) card provider, so you should make sure you are aware of your debit card's chargeback rules.

But with credit cards, the merchant then has the obligation on them to show that the chargeback is eligible for a chargeback-reversal (forcing the card holder has to pay up). The costs of the chargebacks - and the costs of investigating and trying to prove there are sufficient grounds for a chargeback-reversal are not trivial when one considers the sheer volume of supermarket transactions.

This information applies to the UK jurisdiction only. But similar can also apply elsewhere (I must confess I'm not quite so clued-up on U.S. statues and I suspect they also vary by state). So if a merchant doesn't accept credit cards but does accept debit cards, it's either down to the fees or the unwillingness to be liable for chargebacks, or a combination of both, depending on the merchant, the profit margin and the jurisdiction.

Left in Wisconsin , May 24, 2016 at 9:41 am

UK merchants are only charged 0.3% on credit card transactions? My understanding is that in the US it is 2-4%, typically closer to 4.

Clive , May 24, 2016 at 9:54 am

Yep, you are royally ripped off. It is appalling profiteering / rent extraction, pure and simple.

This is how come "reward" cards can appear to make such generous offers. They are bribing you with your own money.

justsayknow , May 24, 2016 at 11:51 am

The Aldi near me in the us just recently started accepting all the major credit cards. I expect prices will rise to offset the cost. But I was surprised as it flies in the face of their stated low cost operation.

Clive , May 24, 2016 at 12:07 pm

They were probably able to do a huge cross-border (right across the EU) deal for card processing because of their scale. Mega players like supermarkets have pretty good bargaining power. And because they only do groceries - plus a tiny amount of general merchandise and no apparel, they won't have much risk of being hit with the chargebacks problem. This is a useful bonus to their simple, limited numbers of SKUs, business model.

vlade , May 24, 2016 at 8:22 am

ah, but the solution to that is to have the app that communicates with the terminal and smartly decides which is the cheapest option for you. And promptly charges you the difference between the cheapest and most expensive one, so that's ok then

Brianm , May 24, 2016 at 9:01 am

This reminds me of a similar story from the UK. In the mid-1980s there was a big change in the selling of retail financial products (life assurance, mutual funds etc). As part of this several new regulatory bodies were created, including one known as LAUTRO (Life Assurance and Unit Trust Regulatory Organisation).

At the time financial advisors were renumerated by commission. LAUTRO introduced a cap, with formulae based on premium and term. Funnily enough everyone in the market (no exceptions that I saw) started paying the maximum commission. To be fair, I think it was lower than many were paying before the reformation.

After a couple of years it was ruled that this was anti-competitive and there should be a free market to bring these costs down. And guess what? Yes – commission rates, and hence costs, went up. Typically rates were 120-130% of what was there before. This probably lopped off about 1% or so more of premiums paid compared to before. The 'cure' of course was disclosure – make the amount of commission more explicit so people can make their own decision.

Did it work? Of course not! Eventually (20+ years later) we had regulation that sort of stopped commissions. Deja vu all over again.

PlutoniumKun , May 24, 2016 at 9:46 am

Once again, a quick lunchtime look at NC and I learn a hell of a lot of things I didn't know 15 minutes ago. Thanks Clive, very interesting stuff.

tegnost , May 24, 2016 at 11:15 am

+1

Eclair , May 24, 2016 at 10:33 am

And, in the US, there are the cards that charge a 'foreign exchange transaction fee' when used in non-US countries. And, the cards that don't. And, the credit cards that don't work at automated ticket vendors/gas pumps, etc., while traveling abroad because, even if they have an embedded chip, don't have a PIN.

Last summer, we were 'press-ganged for Capitalism' when arriving on a very late flight at Newark, NJ, we opted for a taxi (NOT Uber, because I read NC) instead of public transportation to get to Hoboken. One must now prepay for the taxi at the airport with a credit card. And … the point-of-sale machine cheerily states that it is imposing a $3 fee for giving you the privilege of using the system. Had I been wearing wooding shoes, I would have beaten the machine to a pulp.

Brooklin Bridge , May 24, 2016 at 10:48 am

Excellent excellent article. I've taken to reading some of these articles out loud after dinner with my wife and this will definitely be the next.

fresno dan , May 24, 2016 at 11:20 am

I think a simple example that everyone can understand is cable service or cell phones (I could go on and on – anyone able to shop medical services???)
These two "services" show that the vast majority of "choice" is a Mcguffin – supposed choice within plans about everything EXCEPT the price of the basic unit of what you are buying – they simply will not tell you in comprehensible terms how much a minute of airtime costs (not to mention purposeful complications like time frames, weekends, other users, number of devices, etc.) so that you cannot compare it to another carrier.

Despite the incessant bullsh*t, the fact is, we live in the LEAST transparent of times…

shinola , May 24, 2016 at 12:50 pm

If a merchant accepts credit cards AND does not offer a discount for paying cash AND my CC issuer has a x% cash "rewards" program, then is it not a rational decision to use the card?

Clive , May 24, 2016 at 2:32 pm

Depends on how much the merchant has had to increase their prices to compensate. The problem is one of obfuscation. You can't have pricing signals if the price of the service you are using is hidden from consumers.

vlade , May 25, 2016 at 2:38 am

it is rational. The problem there is that the CC company might have moved the goalpost, either for the merchant or for the customers.

If we assume that the merchant just passes the whole cost to the customer (it is not always the case, sometime they just have to grin and bear it), then merchant wins a bit (not all customers will pay with CC), and the CC company wins a bit (it gets its money from those who do pay with CC). Clients lose a bit (if they pay with CC) or a lot (if they pay with cash). And this is the point – you basically have to have the right card to NOT LOSE.

You're not taking steps to win, you have to take steps to lose less than you'd otherwise (because you lose one way or another).

That said, the problem here is non-trivial. If you apply the obvious solution (no interchange fees) the banks will go and try to make it somewhere else (think PPI insurance in the UK, account fees that people loathe etc. etc.). Ultimately, banks need to make money too. I know, heresy, but we're not talking about 20%+ RoE, but a regulated utility levels of return.

I understand Clive's point of wasting time on deciding on payments methods, but if cash is always guaranteed to be the cheapest, then there's a viable default option – at least for majority purchases where cash can actually be reasonably used.

Banks then could easily offer say debit cards with zero interchange costs but a monthly account fee – tbh, this would be fairer IMO, as the marginal costs of processing extra client transaction are trivial once the fixed costs of the system are covered. Of course, in the UK account fees are a bugbear which scares people into paying much more via other (often invisible, and often hitting the poorest most) fees.

[May 26, 2016] Out of the Cold War?

Notable quotes:
"... The basic foreign policy here is one of liberal hegemony-and it has two dimensions to it. The first is that we're bent on militarily dominating the entire globe-there's no place on the planet that doesn't matter to the indispensable nation, we care about every nook and cranny of the planet and we're interested in being militarily dominate here, there, and everywhere. That's the first dimension. The second dimension is we're deeply committed to transforming the world-we're deeply committed to making everybody look like us. ..."
"... Without a strategic rethink in U.S.-Russian relations, Mearsheimer warned that Russian paranoia and sense of vulnerability could ignite conflict. When asked about the biggest foreign policy mistake of the last 25 years, Mearsheimer first said Iraq, and then added the crisis in Ukraine and the resulting destabilization of U.S.-Russian relations: "If you take a country like Russia, that has a sense of vulnerability, and you push them towards the edge, you get in their face, you're asking for trouble." ..."
May 23, 2016 | theamericanconservative.com
"CKI Vice President William Ruger began by posing the question: "Has there been a coherent theme to U.S. foreign policy over the last 25 years?" In response, Mearsheimer dove into a description of liberal hegemony over the last two decades, which essentially amounts to the U.S. being involved everywhere to avoid a problem popping up anywhere. He argued that the U.S. undertook this commitment to direct globalization and proceeded to muck up the Middle East and Europe. To most people, this sounds a lot like a vestige of post-Cold War triumphalism:

The basic foreign policy here is one of liberal hegemony-and it has two dimensions to it. The first is that we're bent on militarily dominating the entire globe-there's no place on the planet that doesn't matter to the indispensable nation, we care about every nook and cranny of the planet and we're interested in being militarily dominate here, there, and everywhere. That's the first dimension. The second dimension is we're deeply committed to transforming the world-we're deeply committed to making everybody look like us.

... ... ...

Without a strategic rethink in U.S.-Russian relations, Mearsheimer warned that Russian paranoia and sense of vulnerability could ignite conflict. When asked about the biggest foreign policy mistake of the last 25 years, Mearsheimer first said Iraq, and then added the crisis in Ukraine and the resulting destabilization of U.S.-Russian relations: "If you take a country like Russia, that has a sense of vulnerability, and you push them towards the edge, you get in their face, you're asking for trouble."

[May 24, 2016] The CEO of Goldman Sachs accidentally explained why everyone hates Wall Street

Notable quotes:
"... want to follow the rules ..."
"... The only thing you can trust is that Goldman Sach's values don't include giving a damned about average Americans even if in Blankfein's delusional mind he is doing "Gods work. It would go a way toward restoring trust in the system if these rip off artists would consent to paying more taxes on their ill deserved gains in order to help bring down some of the nations debt and relieve the misery their unethical behavior created. But that will never happen voluntarily. Basically they are immoral creeps killing the golden goose that is our country. ..."
"... Run corruption out of DC and there will be much more trust of big business. Do not buy the garbage that politicians are critical of the Wall Street crowd. Has Hillary released her speeches yet? NO. Don't expect she ever will. (aside: I do not find this article informative, and I'm dismayed by the comments I've read here.) ..."
"... "I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. …corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed." ..."
"... The mass of Americans are too powerless to fight back against the reign of the money powers. As Lincoln predicted, our Republic is destroyed. What awaits us now is dictatorship or even worse ... theocracy. ..."
finance.yahoo.com

Brilliance is often accidental, and so it was at Goldman Sachs' annual meeting on Friday.

In an attempt to pinpoint exactly what's wrong with the global economy - why demand is weak, why growth is anemic, why jitters on one side of the planet can turn into panic all over - CEO Lloyd Blankfein happened upon why Wall Street is so hated.

It was, as I said, an accident.

Blankfein said that what the world needs now is confidence. In investment banking, when people are confident t here are "more financings, more equity raises, because people invest more money in their own businesses when they're confident," he said, according to Business Insider's Portia Crowe , who was on the scene.

This explanation sounds right. When people think they can make money they put their money to work.

The problem is that "confidence" doesn't go far enough. More than confidence, for people to invest in the world they have to trust in it - in the systems and people that make it work.

The fact that Blankfein missed that mark, though, explains exactly why people hate Wall Street.

The financial crisis, the scandals and the fraud and the dark headlines, have all helped erode that trust. And that lack of trust is what is holding the world back right now.

This is not a drill

Think of a simple trust-building exercise, the fall game. When you're the fall guy, you can be confident that everyone is going to catch you. That, after all, is how the game is completed. You have to believe that everyone understands the rules.

What's better than knowing that everyone understands the rules, though? Trusting that everyone around you is going to catch you - believing beyond a shadow of a doubt that they want to follow the rules .

That's the difference between trust and conviction. Trust is something you can rely on, beyond certainty.

Now one can operate in markets without trust, with only conviction.

Conviction doesn't demand that you, or anyone else, play by the rules, though. It just demands that you understand what's going on (and what motivates everyone around you) at all times. It's a daunting task that neither the common person nor Wall Street's all-seeing CEOs were able to accomplish before the financial crisis. It is, however, part of the latter's full-time job - mitigating risk, seeing the unforeseen.

Of course, some of that burden would be lifted if we operated on more trust and less conviction.

Your correspondent is hardly the only person thinking this way. This week, Andrew G. Haldane, chief economist of the Bank of England, gave an incredibly compelling speech on what's wrong with global economy. Unlike Blankfein, though, he got it right. The speech was called The Great Divide, and he argued that the only way to close that divide is with trust.

"Evidence has emerged, both micro and macro, to suggest trust may play a crucial role in value creation. At the micro level, there is now ample evidence the degree of trust or social capital within a company contributes positively to its value creation capacity," said Haldane.

"At the macro level, there is now a strong body of evidence, looking across a large range of countries and over long periods of time, that high levels of trust and co-operation are associated with higher economic growth. Put differently, a lack of trust jeopardizes one of finance's key societal functions - higher growth."

Watchers on the wall

Back in 2014, when the market was roaring and everyone thought we were on the road to recovery, Dylan Grice, a portfolio manager at Aeris Capital, put forth the same idea. He saw in declining relations between the US and China, between Russia and the world, and between citizens and corporations what could only be perceived as our descent into the trough of a cycle of trust.

And, as he pointed out, credit - one of the main forces for moving money from place to place - comes from the Latin word for trust.

Over at HSBC, economist Stephen King wrote a note called Unhappy Families: The Case for International Policy Coordination in which he argued that the global economy could actually be saved quite easily if we trusted each other. If the countries that could save us - the US, China, and Germany - acted unselfishly and in coordination and simply did.

But they won't, because there is no trust.

"Yet it would be easy, too easy, to point the finger at finance alone," Haldane said in his speech. "For this Great Divide exists not just between the financial elites, but between elites generally and wider society. It is not just bankers who have suffered a loss of public trust. In varying degrees, this is also true of big business, government and, yes, politicians and central banks."

Man, see this mirror

This brings us back to Goldman Sachs, which happened to have had a very embarrassing little incident last week when one of its analysts recommended buying Tesla just before the bank announced that it would be helping the automaker with an equity offering.

Business Insider's Myles Udland described why that looks shady:

The stock upgrade is a detailed argument for why you, the investors, should buy the shares. As a result, investors buy.

This report is delivered just as Goldman's sales force is about to hit the phones to push $1.4 billion of those very shares for a nice fat fee for Goldman and a dilutive hit to the shareholders.

So then there are investors who, based on Archambault's note, bought the shares in the morning only to learn by that afternoon that Goldman would have a hand in diluting their newly acquired ownership stake.

And the popular view says Goldman knew this was going to happen the whole time.

If you're thinking the worst, this snafu was a breach of Wall Street's famous Chinese Wall between research and investment banking. What's more, because of this trust deficit, most people were thinking the worst because that's what they do when they think of Goldman Sachs.

View gallery

. Goldman Vampire Squid
Lloyd on a vampire squid. Sorry bro, too easy.

And because of that some people don't trust, or put their money in, the market.

And because of that the market doesn't move.

Haldane sees this fear as a loss of social capital arising from the crisis.

"Social capital is inextricably linked to trust," he said in his speech. "And banking is quintessentially a trust business. At root, it involves swapping promises to pay. These promises rely on trust."

It's the belief that these promises will be kept that the market is lacking, not necessarily that they can be kept. This is the difference between trust and confidence. And with every scandal and fraud, every dark headline telling of financial ruin that comes from the financial sector, some of that trust is lost.

Haldane thinks that recreating the local bank, a bank with the kind of accountability that comes from knowing someone by name and looking them in the eye, is part of the solution. But banking isn't moving that way. Every day we hear about how it's becoming more automated.

He acknowledges this, recognizing that banking must "seek new ways to nurture generalized, or anonymous, trust on the part of the public. Technology may be a great enabler here."

But in the end it doesn't matter how we fix this. We just have to fix it.

"Whatever business model is adopted, success will hinge on whether the public have faith in banks pursuing a purpose aligned with their needs, that they are fulfilling their fiduciary function. There is a mountain to climb on this front, not just for banking but for business generally," he said.

"If not at an all-time low, public trust in big business is plumbing the depths. And the chorus of criticism of business is not confined to the general public. It is shared by politicians, academics, investors and indeed sometimes by companies themselves."

Everyone is holding on to their money. Everyone is trying to look someone the eye and finding their counterparties' gaze shifting to wherever self-interest guides them. The counterparties are confident they'll find money there, sure, but the trust that makes the market go around is being lost in the process.

It takes so much more to build it up than to break it down.

NOW WATCH: THE STORY OF GOLDMAN SACHS: From foot peddlers to a powerhouse

rey Q 25 minutes ago
GS, Chase ,BofA,Wells Fargo.....,and some others big banks created the crisis past 2008-09.

Any one of the executives pass a day in prison, they pay cents on the dollars and happy cumballa until the next scam. Gov it's corrupt with a "revolving door" infiltrating the key position, every official working in White House or with the executive branch did work for a big bank first or going to work after!!!

They want trust, trust they themselves self smash, hundreds of case in courts from US citizens right now vs Government Why?

Because Gov. trying to steal ,expropriating private property without compensation and ignoring constitution. The rest of the population are worring about what wearing Kardashian!!! Our next election will be a show top level globally!!! Our founding fathers will be revolting in their tombs for now

PhilOSophocle

What the world needs now --- is love, sweet love. It's the only thing that there's just too little of, or so Burt Bacharach, Hal David & Jackie DeShannon said. But seriously folks . . . people hate Wall Street because of the unbridled greed everywhere. The Great Recession wasn't caused by real estate speculation --- it was caused by easy money from Wall Street when they packaged together risky mortgages & investment bankers sold them to banks as great investments, and then betting on them to fail on the side using Credit Default Swaps. It's very similar to what Joe Kennedy and his cronies did in the 1920's using market manipulation by cornering stocks & then doing a bear raid on it, which is illegal now. What the Wall Streeters did in 2000-2007 is still not illegal.

ey02kdv98

I agree. Trust needs to be restored. This requires Wall Street firms to be honest, and to weed out the greedy, psychopathic and sociopathic brokers, bankers, CEOs and chiefs, and assorted other criminals. By running firms honestly to a fault, investors would at first shy away because they'd think it was some kind of trick. Over a short period, good experiences will increase business to the point that it would exceed current sales many times over, even beyond your wildest imagination. There is a lot of $$$$$$$$$$$$ to be made in honestly run business. It's never to late to start.

Mark14

The only thing you can trust is that Goldman Sach's values don't include giving a damned about average Americans even if in Blankfein's delusional mind he is doing "Gods work. It would go a way toward restoring trust in the system if these rip off artists would consent to paying more taxes on their ill deserved gains in order to help bring down some of the nations debt and relieve the misery their unethical behavior created. But that will never happen voluntarily. Basically they are immoral creeps killing the golden goose that is our country.

DavBG

The repeal of Glass Stegal (which Roosevelt put in place after the last great depression) which prevented banks from investing depositors money in the stock market, is the root cause here. Banks were only allowed to make loans on real property, like businesses and mortgages. This put the money in savings back to work. Money placed in the house of cards, ponzi scheme, stock market, just sits there. Like a giant sponge sucking up the spare capital so that a 1% few can reap the benefit. Then insiders can cause booms and busts which slowly siphon the life out of a country and enslave it. The mortgage rate is now the lowest it has ever been in the US. Now with everyone's money in the stock market the next crash will bankrupt us since all the banks will have is worthless paper stock certificates.

Rp

Trust is not created through slick marketing and strategic press releases about speeches made by banking insiders, to other insiders, intended to convince those outside their cozy system, that they get it now, no more underhanded dealings, really this time, partners 50-50. We promise, no fingers crossed, everything above board from now on, you can trust us, really this time. That bs is played out, to ask for trust, is to confirm the fact that they should not, can not, be trusted. Trust, if it ever returns, to any degree, in any form, will be created by the numbers. The real numbers. The ones written under our names. The ones that stick. Trust is not a marketing concept, it can't be put where it doesn't belong, it can't grow where it isn't planted, protected, and nurtured.

Pat

Wall Street manipulators could not succeed without the complicity of Government. STOP REGULATING WALL STREET AND START DEMANDING THAT POLITICIANS CANNOT BE CONTROLLED BY LOBBYISTS. There should be a law that politicians bought by lobbyists WILL be prosecuted. It is Government that is guilty of capitulation. GOVERNMENT WRITES THE LAWS AND THE TAX CODES.

Run corruption out of DC and there will be much more trust of big business. Do not buy the garbage that politicians are critical of the Wall Street crowd. Has Hillary released her speeches yet? NO. Don't expect she ever will. (aside: I do not find this article informative, and I'm dismayed by the comments I've read here.)

Freethinker

It's so simple: the bank robbers have been given (or have taken) the combination to the bank vault and looted it. Then they were given raises and bonuses for this heist.

Doubt me? That canny corporate lawyer Abraham Lincoln anticipate our modern condition as far back as 1864, when he wrote:

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. …corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed."

The mass of Americans are too powerless to fight back against the reign of the money powers. As Lincoln predicted, our Republic is destroyed. What awaits us now is dictatorship or even worse ... theocracy.


[May 24, 2016] 'I'm not with her': why women are wary of Hillary Clinton

Notable quotes:
"... the question should not be why some don't trust Clinton, but why some still do? ..."
www.theguardian.com

FDiscussion , 2016-05-23 19:20:33
how can it be 'on the whole' women support HRC when the next breath says '49%' do not? I smell bias in this article. People tend to forget that Margaret Thatcher was a woman whose vicious attacks on working people and trade unions and enthusiastic support of criminal right wing dictators inspired Reagan in their ruthlessness. And whose bellicose foreign adventures scared us all. HRC is in this class except her ideology seems to be greed rather than outright 1% class war on the poor but same difference?
Lisa Glass Calvert , 2016-05-23 19:19:18
Smear campaign? Billy boy has abused women sexually for decades and then smeared his victims. This isn't the Republicans' fault. Unless you think that James Carville (former chief of staff for Clinton) saying "drag a $20 through a trailer park & see what you'll get" is respectful to women. He basically called every one of Bill's victims trailer trash.

Nope, Bill's abuse of women and Hillary's enabling of it IS NOT the fault of Republicans. Bill & Hillary WERE the war on women!

MartiniShaken1 aguy777 , 2016-05-23 19:19:14

You know ... support your party's nominee, vote in midterms ... little things like that.

You assume incorrectly that we "lefties" have a political party. The Democratic party is currently not one that even attempts to listen to our needs. Across the political spectrum Americans seem to have at long last discovered that not only does the government not meet the minimum needs of the populace, voters have started to figure out that neither political party will send to Washington leaders who have any intention of helping anyone but high-level campaign contributors.

This is why the only voter enthusiasm is for two complete outsiders- Trump and Sanders.

We could take your advice and hold our noses and carry the garbage to the curb every 4 years in hopes that something good will happen.

But isn't there an old saw about the definition of insanity being the repetition of the same ineffectual routine while hoping for a different outcome?

Alexander Nekrasov , 2016-05-23 19:17:37
the question should not be why some don't trust Clinton, but why some still do?
BlooEyedDevil casta1139diva , 2016-05-23 19:16:58
Possession of ovaries does not equal qualified. Not saying they hurt, but if you want a woman president, why on earth would you take the first one offered simply because she is the first one offered, especially someone as venal, corrupt, morally bankrupt, uncaring, and mendacious as Hillary Clinton? It's myopic when you fail to see that if this gargoyle is elected, her record as POTUS will absolutely reflect poorly on women, giving all those who oppose women presidents plenty of ammo to suggest they were right all along. I don't mind a female POTUS, just don't make it Hillary Clinton. Nope.
aguy777 Paul Little , 2016-05-23 19:16:33
Do you mean besides securing healthcare coverage for 8 million of their children through SCHIP, advocating for women's rights & issues around the world as Secretary of State, and compiling an extraordinarily strong voting record on women's issues in the Senate that won her endorsements from NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and other women's organizations ... ?

And what has TRUMP done for women besides insult them??

FrederikII nevermind84 , 2016-05-23 19:13:41
What neither of you two geniuses seem to realize is that Hillary Clinton cannot succeed in becoming president. No matter how the coronation has been fixed and promised, she simply is unelectable, and if she is the Democratic nominee then that idiot Trump will be sitting in the Oval Office.

I used to admire the loyalty, albeit naivety, of Clinton fans, but things are getting far too serious. Do you guys really want President Trump? Because that seems to be where you are heading.

Smells TheRat , 2016-05-23 19:13:33
Her Thighness has certainly used her position as Secretary of State to enrich herself and Slick Willie...
RecantedYank , 2016-05-23 19:11:28
I am glad that Hillary is supporting abortion, even is she is beginning to quibble about terms. Of course, Bernie supports it unequivocally.

The only difference between the two on this matter essentially is that one hell of a lot more women will have to consider abortion under a Clinton administration to get out of the low wage jobs, unaffordable health care for themselves or their children death spiral for the low and low middle incomers who are going to be caught AGAIN in a hell of Hillary's making. Hillary protects the mass profit taking of insurance, pharma, and medical industry...she also stutters over even a 12$ minimum wage (and that only in SOME states), has backed trade agreements that force ever more working people into those going nowhere jobs... so yeah...there are going to be a LOT more desperate women needing those abortions. Of course, as any fool knows...abortions are not illegal in many countries in middle and northern Europe...and guess what...they don't need as many of them because they do more for workers, and have a right to health care!

Hillary for women...my aunt fanny's a**!

Obelisk1 aguy777 , 2016-05-23 19:09:17
I am not a Trump supporter. But his awfulness does not make her any better.

That Clinton was married to a president doesn't impress me in the slightest. That she became a senator was because she exploited her name-recognition after her husband's term of office. As Sec State she was not just a pathological liar, but also incompetent.

If I was religious, I would pray for her indictment. Then the dems would be compelled to pick someone else.

Paul Little somebody_stopme , 2016-05-23 19:09:22
And she runs on Bills record, not her own
FrederikII InnocenceAbroad , 2016-05-23 19:07:43
Ironic that you don't realize how sexist your comment is. But it is an attitude not untypical of Clinton supporters.

Hillary will not give us a third term of Obama, she will give us a third term for her husband. And this is all that Bill wants, to be back holding the reins of power again.

DHBarr InnocenceAbroad , 2016-05-23 19:06:14
How many "true feminists" hire private detectives to intimidate women accusing their husbands of sexual harassment or actual assault? Hillary is a hypocrite of the highest order - "All women must be believed" - except the ones accusing her husband. If Monica Lewinski hadn't had DNA evidence to back up her claims they would have had her committed to a mental institution.
FrederikII aguy777 , 2016-05-23 19:03:19
Trump and Clinton deserve each other. That's why they are running neck and neck in the unpopularity stakes. Trouble is that Trump is starting to gain on her - and she has nothing to fight back with and stop her slide.
FrederikII aguy777 , 2016-05-23 18:57:04
You really haven't a clue, have you? Obama was a pretty poor president as far as the Democratic party was concerned. He made no effort whatever to build up the party, and spent wasteful years trying to compromise with the Republicans (when it was obvious to everyone he was getting nowhere.

The first two years of his presidency could have been the golden years had he lived up to the hype he projected during the nomination process. He destroyed the Democratic party with his attempts to compromise with Republican rattle snakes when no compromise was possible. And, yes, Hillary wants to carry on his good work! And she is already well in with the republican elite like the Bushes and Romney. Friend, take your head out of your ...

[May 20, 2016] Gerald Friedman: How the Dogmatic Despair of Mainstream Economists Brought You Donald Trump

Notable quotes:
"... By Gerald Friedman, Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. A version of this post first appeared at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website ..."
"... Lesser Depression ..."
"... The reason why elite economists and politicians were so angry at my analysis of Sanders' proposals was that it disrupted a consensus that nothing can be done by government to improve the performance of the economy. After all, if things are already as good as they can be, it is irresponsible pie-in-the-sky to even suggest to the general public that we can do better. Instead, the task of economists and other policy elites becomes to explain to the general public why they should accept stagnant incomes and rising inequality, and applaud the anemic growth of recent years as the best possible outcome. But the real danger of such thinking is that it leaves liberals like Hillary Clinton with few policy options to offer in response to the siren song of demagogues like Donald Trump. The self-proclaimed "responsible" elite economists see their role as to persuade the public that nothing can be done, in the hope of heading off the challenge of those who would capitalize on the electorate's appetite for change. They have to slap down critics. "Responsible" elite economists have to keep the party of "good arithmetic" from overpromising at all costs. It should not surprise us, though, that those whose living standards have suffered most from stagnant growth are more inclined to believe politicians promising change. ..."
"... John Maynard Keynes showed how active government policy can raise employment and output; his followers, including Joan Robinson and Nicholas Kaldor, showed how full employment encourages further investments and leads businesses to find ways to raise labor productivity to match increasing product demand. New Deal American economists, such as Rexford Tugwell and John Maurice Clark, showed how active government policy can raise growth rates with investments in infrastructure, in public services, in human capital development, and in research and development. By listening to these ideas, economists associated with liberal American politics helped produce 25 years of relatively rapid and egalitarian growth after World War II. Abandoning these ideas, we have suffered 30 years of relatively slow growth and rising inequality, culminating in the current Lesser Depression. ..."
"... I had dinner last night with two excellent people who happen to be doing well at this time. They could not comprehend why anyone would be voting for Trump, whom they saw as a dangerous lunatic. They have supported Sanders and voted for him in the NY primary, but are absolutely going to vote for Clinton in the Fall. What I view as the credible case against Clinton has not reached them with any strength or registered at all. I was asked (because I had said nothing while they talked–I hate this kind of confrontation) what problem people could have with Hillary? I said: Libya, Ukraine, and Nicaragua. They really didn't know what I was talking about and although I spoke up for why I thought this made her a neocon like the ones that surrounded Dubya, they simply didn't know any of the details and we left it at that. ..."
"... HRC's recap of Reaganite Latin America policy is her most vile achievement. If anything demonstrates a continuity of imperialist strategy across administrations, that's it. ..."
"... " I said: Libya, Ukraine, and Nicaragua. They really didn't know what I was talking about and although I spoke up for why I thought this made her a neocon like the ones that surrounded Dubya, they simply didn't know any of the details and we left it at that." ..."
"... I run into this all the time. Utter and complete foreign policy illiteracy, particularly from otherwise politically correct millennials who know so little that Hillary gets a complete pass. ..."
"... This is a common story and illustrates that our current detachment from the world around us and our fellow citizens is coming to an end. We are being forced out of our individual bubbles. Modern corporations have supplied the populations of the world with abundance of goods, but in order to accomplish this feat, have destroyed and are destroying the cultural glue, if you will, that holds society together. ..."
"... TINA will be maintained by propaganda and physical force. We see that the propaganda is starting to weaken because the contradictions of the message can no longer be hidden. The destruction is too widespread and the inequality can no longer be hidden. You can hollow out a social system only so much before it collapses. The collapses we are witnessing is the promise of democracy. A collapse of the ideals of moderation and compromise. ..."
"... We are entering a phase of civil war. It is still carried out in a polite manner and intellectually, the discussion is still couched in Orwellian doublespeak. However, criticisms of the ruling elite are becoming more straightforward and more people are waking up to the fact that the system is rigged against them. ..."
"... This civil war is a battle over leadership. It is a battle to demand good government instead of no government. It is a battle to demand a government for and by the people. A battle for the common good. Evaluated not in some abstract terms like "trickle down" economics, but direct support and action. The hearts and minds of the population was won over long ago to wholeheartedly support capitalism and private ownership of the world's resources. This is proving to be a disaster. ..."
"... Supporters of unfettered capitalism know only one way. Privatization of ALL the worlds resources and potential. They showed their hand in 2008 with the bailouts and implementation of austerity policies. In their minds, there is no turning back. To compromise means failure. For them, TINA is real and logical. This is the perspective of owners of capital. They gain strength and advantage from seeming to compromise, but in the end know they can always reverse course and regain private control. Subterfuge and force allows the resilience of capitalism as the reigning social order. ..."
"... Jonathan Haidt is a psychologist, sometimes featured in the New York Times, who apparently believes the capability of people to be convinced by reasoned argument is not strong. From my limited reading of his work, he suggests that humans are instinctive beings who, when they have strong beliefs, their reasoning powers are used to justify these beliefs, not to cast doubt about these beliefs. ..."
"... For example, I believe HRC is little more than a well-connected and well traveled mediocrity, with a record of few positives and many egregious negatives that justifies this assessment. I view her as potentially more damaging to the USA, as President, than Trump. ..."
"... Successful big ideas and big projects require cheap abundant energy, resources and intelligent design. It'll be mighty funny when the Keynesians finally implement their plan to overhaul the national highway infrastructure, creating tons of high paying jobs and speeding up the economy–right when our access to cheap oil collapses. That's dumb design at its finest, yet this sort of thing is almost certainly the best that the lobotomized Keynesian planners will be able to think up and do. ..."
"... A truly innovative program to get the economy moving in a positive direction would be to outlaw personal vehicles and rebuild the nation's railway network. ..."
"... I share your antipathy toward freeways. I remember the big Freeway they built in Fresno when I was a child, destroying hundreds, if not thousands of modest homes (we had to move from a grand rental to a dilapidated house that cost more – were the landlords behind getting rid of a surplus of houses????) – to save maybe – maybe at the most 3 minutes in transit time over driving an existing surface street. Jobs were part of the rationale. ..."
"... "Sorry, nothing more can be done for you." TINA. ..."
"... "How can I help you today?" ..."
May 19, 2016 | nakedcapitalism.com

By Gerald Friedman, Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. A version of this post first appeared at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website

The ferocious reaction to my assessment that Senator Bernie Sanders' economic and health care proposals could create long-term economic growth shows how mainstream economists who view themselves as politically liberal in America have abandoned progressive politics to embrace a political economy of despair. Rationalizing personal disappointment and embracing market-centric economic theories according to which government can do little more than fuss around the edges, their conclusions - and the political leadership that embraces them - have little to offer millions of angry ordinary people for whom the economy simply isn't working.

It has certainly been a rough seven years for the economists in the Obama Administration. While avoiding a Great Depression, the Administration has presided over what Paul Krugman and Brad DeLong call a " Lesser Depression ." One might almost forgive them for a certain defeatism after seven years of painfully slow economic recovery, and the dismay of seeing urgently needed programs blocked by the Republican congressional majority. After so many compromises and let-downs, perhaps it is easier to tell those who expect more that it just can't happen. There is comfort in the Thatcherite phrase, "There Is No Alternative" (TINA).

Combined with orthodox neoclassical microeconomics, however, rationalization has produced a toxic political economy that abandons progressive ideals and surrenders political space to xenophobes and the populist rightwing (see: Donald Trump). The mainstream economists who have attacked my embrace of Keynesian economics have abandoned, in practice, the notion that government can effectively intervene in the economy to raise levels of employment, and to promote economic growth and equity. Instead, they have returned to pre-Keynesian Classical thinking, where the very suggestion that government action can raise growth rates or wages is taken to be obviously wrong. Criticisms of the orthodox model and its conservative policies are deemed worthy of scorn, to be dismissed tout court because they are obviously at variance not only with textbook economics, but with what we need to believe in order to accept failure .

The mechanism of economic policy paralysis among the liberals who espouse market-centric economics works like this: If we accept the (flawed) premise that the total supply of goods and services equals total demand, then we can agree with the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that potential output is best measured by observing actual output. And, with that - presto! - unemployment magically disappears, and we no longer suffer from slow growth. Conveniently align growth projections with the otherwise-disappointing performance during the Lesser Depression, and, as the CBO has done, estimates of potential growth now equal actual growth: Instead of the 3 percent average annual growth of the 1959-2007 period, not to mention the 4 percent growth 1947-73, we are now told to accept 2 percent growth not as a disappointment, but as recognition of an unfortunate necessity. Such reevaluations say to policy elites, "Hey, we are doing as well as can be expected." To the general public, the message is: "Sorry, nothing more can be done for you." TINA.

The reason why elite economists and politicians were so angry at my analysis of Sanders' proposals was that it disrupted a consensus that nothing can be done by government to improve the performance of the economy. After all, if things are already as good as they can be, it is irresponsible pie-in-the-sky to even suggest to the general public that we can do better. Instead, the task of economists and other policy elites becomes to explain to the general public why they should accept stagnant incomes and rising inequality, and applaud the anemic growth of recent years as the best possible outcome. But the real danger of such thinking is that it leaves liberals like Hillary Clinton with few policy options to offer in response to the siren song of demagogues like Donald Trump. The self-proclaimed "responsible" elite economists see their role as to persuade the public that nothing can be done, in the hope of heading off the challenge of those who would capitalize on the electorate's appetite for change. They have to slap down critics. "Responsible" elite economists have to keep the party of "good arithmetic" from overpromising at all costs. It should not surprise us, though, that those whose living standards have suffered most from stagnant growth are more inclined to believe politicians promising change.

It was only by rejecting classical economics that Franklin Roosevelt was able to save the American economy and bring about a revolution in social policy. And only by rejecting the new classical economics and the policy of so-called responsible elite economists can Clinton meet our current economic crisis.

John Maynard Keynes showed how active government policy can raise employment and output; his followers, including Joan Robinson and Nicholas Kaldor, showed how full employment encourages further investments and leads businesses to find ways to raise labor productivity to match increasing product demand. New Deal American economists, such as Rexford Tugwell and John Maurice Clark, showed how active government policy can raise growth rates with investments in infrastructure, in public services, in human capital development, and in research and development. By listening to these ideas, economists associated with liberal American politics helped produce 25 years of relatively rapid and egalitarian growth after World War II. Abandoning these ideas, we have suffered 30 years of relatively slow growth and rising inequality, culminating in the current Lesser Depression.

The debate over my little report showed how mainstream economics has left us with a smugly certain macroeconomics lacking in imagination, and offering no effective policies to move beyond economic stagnation and escalating inequality. If these economists cannot do better, then we risk more than personal disappointment; we gamble our liberal political economy against the likes of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. Hillary Clinton can do better. And Americans deserve better.

James Levy , May 19, 2016 at 6:31 am

A very bold thing for a man like this to say. I know he will be criticized (vilified?) for his misplaced belief that Clinton can "do better", but considering who this man is and where he is coming from, condemning him at this stage of the game would be churlish. He's taken on The Bigs and the stifling orthodoxy they embody and for that we owe him.

I had dinner last night with two excellent people who happen to be doing well at this time. They could not comprehend why anyone would be voting for Trump, whom they saw as a dangerous lunatic. They have supported Sanders and voted for him in the NY primary, but are absolutely going to vote for Clinton in the Fall. What I view as the credible case against Clinton has not reached them with any strength or registered at all. I was asked (because I had said nothing while they talked–I hate this kind of confrontation) what problem people could have with Hillary? I said: Libya, Ukraine, and Nicaragua. They really didn't know what I was talking about and although I spoke up for why I thought this made her a neocon like the ones that surrounded Dubya, they simply didn't know any of the details and we left it at that.

so , May 19, 2016 at 7:10 am

Sad. There is them and there are us. Empathy. Hard to have when your busy all the time.

jsn , May 19, 2016 at 7:16 am

I've had many similar recent encounters. I find that if I ask for a positive reason to vote Clinton, the first three or four reasons they raise can be dismissed by single phrase references to past betrayals, Sister Solja, End of Welfare, Nafta etc. and the next few by scandals, Lewensky or what should be scandals as you mentioned. As a rule after four or five tries I get to watch them self censor before each subsequent try and don't have to make any negative claims myself.

I doubt I've changed minds, but they no longer doubt mine.

Torsten , May 19, 2016 at 7:54 am

I would have first pointed to Honduras. And Haiti:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2016/03/10/hillary-clinton-needs-to-answer-for-her-actions-in-honduras-and-haiti/

What did she do in Nicaragua?

hemeantwell , May 19, 2016 at 8:01 am

I think that was a slip, but an historically correct one I can completely sympathize with.

HRC's recap of Reaganite Latin America policy is her most vile achievement. If anything demonstrates a continuity of imperialist strategy across administrations, that's it.

bowserhead , May 19, 2016 at 8:46 am

" I said: Libya, Ukraine, and Nicaragua. They really didn't know what I was talking about and although I spoke up for why I thought this made her a neocon like the ones that surrounded Dubya, they simply didn't know any of the details and we left it at that."

I run into this all the time. Utter and complete foreign policy illiteracy, particularly from otherwise politically correct millennials who know so little that Hillary gets a complete pass.

Norb , May 19, 2016 at 9:01 am

This is a common story and illustrates that our current detachment from the world around us and our fellow citizens is coming to an end. We are being forced out of our individual bubbles. Modern corporations have supplied the populations of the world with abundance of goods, but in order to accomplish this feat, have destroyed and are destroying the cultural glue, if you will, that holds society together.

TINA will be maintained by propaganda and physical force. We see that the propaganda is starting to weaken because the contradictions of the message can no longer be hidden. The destruction is too widespread and the inequality can no longer be hidden. You can hollow out a social system only so much before it collapses. The collapses we are witnessing is the promise of democracy. A collapse of the ideals of moderation and compromise.

We are entering a phase of civil war. It is still carried out in a polite manner and intellectually, the discussion is still couched in Orwellian doublespeak. However, criticisms of the ruling elite are becoming more straightforward and more people are waking up to the fact that the system is rigged against them.

This civil war is a battle over leadership. It is a battle to demand good government instead of no government. It is a battle to demand a government for and by the people. A battle for the common good. Evaluated not in some abstract terms like "trickle down" economics, but direct support and action. The hearts and minds of the population was won over long ago to wholeheartedly support capitalism and private ownership of the world's resources. This is proving to be a disaster.

Supporters of unfettered capitalism know only one way. Privatization of ALL the worlds resources and potential. They showed their hand in 2008 with the bailouts and implementation of austerity policies. In their minds, there is no turning back. To compromise means failure. For them, TINA is real and logical. This is the perspective of owners of capital. They gain strength and advantage from seeming to compromise, but in the end know they can always reverse course and regain private control. Subterfuge and force allows the resilience of capitalism as the reigning social order.

I bring up the notion of a civil war because these ideas are too important to be left to chance. In America, the citizenry has been complacent with their lot in life and so have lost control over their fate. As the world changes around them, they desperately attempt to hold onto their position while not realizing they are supporting their own impoverishment. Speaking ideas of the common good -for ALL- and notions of public ownership of land, natural resources, citizens natural rights to jobs, basic income, and healthcare divide family and friends. Those who are comfortable don't want to cause trouble and those feeling the pressures brought down upon them by an unrelenting system are too weak and fearful to act.

In a sense, the revolution has already begun. It is the revolution to convince people that there is a better and different way to live our lives.

John Wright , May 19, 2016 at 10:11 am

Jonathan Haidt is a psychologist, sometimes featured in the New York Times, who apparently believes the capability of people to be convinced by reasoned argument is not strong. From my limited reading of his work, he suggests that humans are instinctive beings who, when they have strong beliefs, their reasoning powers are used to justify these beliefs, not to cast doubt about these beliefs.

This can explain why attempting to convince someone to change their political/religious beliefs is fated to be largely futile.

For example, I believe HRC is little more than a well-connected and well traveled mediocrity, with a record of few positives and many egregious negatives that justifies this assessment. I view her as potentially more damaging to the USA, as President, than Trump.

Per Haidt, maybe my beliefs are instinctive and I am willfully blind to all of Clinton's accomplishments over the last 40 years.

human , May 19, 2016 at 10:48 am

ROTFLMAO

david s , May 19, 2016 at 6:51 am

I think that if there are to be any Keynesian big ideas and projects that will help lift us out of this stagnation, they will much more likely come from a Trump Administration than a Clinton one.

jgordon , May 19, 2016 at 7:47 am

Successful big ideas and big projects require cheap abundant energy, resources and intelligent design. It'll be mighty funny when the Keynesians finally implement their plan to overhaul the national highway infrastructure, creating tons of high paying jobs and speeding up the economy–right when our access to cheap oil collapses. That's dumb design at its finest, yet this sort of thing is almost certainly the best that the lobotomized Keynesian planners will be able to think up and do.

A truly innovative program to get the economy moving in a positive direction would be to outlaw personal vehicles and rebuild the nation's railway network. But this society isn't even anywhere close to having something so useful on its agenda. So we'll do some Keynesian program, funnel the few remaining resources we have left down into some stupid dead end rathole, and then in a couple of years we'll be envious here in America of the extravagant lifestyles that the Mexicans are leading. Hell Trump's wall will be a lot more useful keeping the Mexicans in who are trying to flee. That is the end result of Keynesian programs in a delusional society with bass-ackward priorities. Way more harm than good.

fresno dan , May 19, 2016 at 10:11 am

I share your antipathy toward freeways. I remember the big Freeway they built in Fresno when I was a child, destroying hundreds, if not thousands of modest homes (we had to move from a grand rental to a dilapidated house that cost more – were the landlords behind getting rid of a surplus of houses????) – to save maybe – maybe at the most 3 minutes in transit time over driving an existing surface street. Jobs were part of the rationale.

I have been gone 20 years, and they had gone on a real freeway building tear while I was gone. The whole city crisscrossed with freeways laid out as if someone had thrown a bowl of spaghetti on a map – apparently so every neighborhood can enjoy the sound of traffic.

Really, Fresno is just not that physically big to justify all these freeways. And with its high unemployment and no real "center" there aren't any places with traffic congestion anyway – but you get these dubious justifications that millions of dollars are wasted because an implausible auto trip is 4 minutes longer without the freeway….

david s , May 19, 2016 at 6:55 am

There seems to be a developing narrative that the Obama Administration has just been brimming with big ideas that have been thwarted by evil Republicans.

I don't remember it this way. I do remember an Obama Administration that turned to austerity shortly after the 2009 stimulus, and one that has been patting itself on the back all along about what a great job it has done.

"All across America, families are tightening their belts and making hard choices. Now, Washington must show that same sense of responsibility."
President Obama, April 2009(!)

Akronite , May 19, 2016 at 7:56 am

Now that the pictures we snapped of Obama are finally beginning to develop, where we thought we had photographed his lush jungle, we're now seeing just a single thin sapling planted for "the future." And Clinton will soon have a picture of her snapped at this sad tree, with her big lying smile.

hemeantwell , May 19, 2016 at 8:09 am

I don't think Friedman is saying this, unless Rex Tugwell has been secretly disinterred and is serving under Obama. The capitalist ideological counteroffensive that got going in the 70s has been hegemonically successful. Friedman doesn't acknowledge that enough, he instead focuses on what sounds more like disciplinary politics.

flora , May 19, 2016 at 8:22 am

Great post. Thanks.

JLCG , May 19, 2016 at 8:26 am

This type of article or perhaps, all articles about the Economy, deal with the Economy as a substance to which people are appended as accidents. The economy is the sum total of the effort of the people and if the people think that enjoying this very present is preferable to an effort to build a future nothing can be done about it. It is the mind of the people that has to be changed. Wars are very good mechanisms for that.

Carla , May 19, 2016 at 9:14 am

I can't remember if I got this link from an NC comment, or elsewhere. In any case, it's a scary read: "The 14 Defining Characteristics of Facism," augmented by a selection from "They Thought They Were Free." http://rense.com/general37/fascism.htm

Brings Obama and HRC to mind just as much as Trump, if not more.

sinbad66 , May 19, 2016 at 10:05 am

Read "Democracy, Incorporated" by Sheldon Wolin: http://www.amazon.com/Democracy-Incorporated-Managed-Inverted-Totalitarianism/dp/069114589X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1463666525&sr=8-1&keywords=democracy+incorporated

Explains it all….

fresno dan , May 19, 2016 at 9:57 am

"The ferocious reaction to my assessment that Senator Bernie Sanders' economic and health care proposals could create long-term economic growth shows how mainstream economists who view themselves as politically liberal in America have abandoned progressive politics to embrace a political economy of despair."
==========================

Here is the problem: "a political economy of despair" – accepting that economists are a real objective academic discipline is a BIG mistake – the idea that these technocrats, who never seem to recognize how much fraud, rent seeking, and capture of the political system
((because the people paying them don't WANT THEM TO)),
decides things like how much inequality there is, which than decides how much demand there is, and NOT knowing, and apparently NOT WANTING TO KNOW, that it is a POLITICAL economy, and politics decides how resources are often allocated.
We can have single payer heath care if we choose it and free college education (it wasn't all that long ago that I went to a CA college essentially for free). HOW is it college used to be free when GDP was less than 1/6 of what it is now??????
It just doesn't make sense that we used to be able to afford free college and we can't now. It is a POLITICAL decision – when Krugman says Sanders plan is "too expensive" Krugman is making a political decision – not some objective scientific assessment. And if he is not even smart enough to ponder why it used to be free and it is not free now – well, theres your problem right there!

Punxsutawney , May 19, 2016 at 10:22 am

Nice to see this article. When I talk about economics, most people who know anything, only know what someone on TV tells them, so they often question, well who agrees with you? Nice to have another name to list.

And then…

"Sorry, nothing more can be done for you." TINA.

Of course for those at the tippy-top, "How can I help you today?"

[May 20, 2016] Goldman Responds To Goldman's Stock Offering of A Goldman-Upgraded Tesla Zero Hedge

www.zerohedge.com

Goldman Responds To Goldman's Stock Offering of A Goldman-Upgraded Tesla

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/19/2016 09:59 -0400

  • Chinese Wall
  • Investor Sentiment
  • Restricted Stock
  • Twitter
  • Twitter
  • In what many considered to be a flagrantly criminal abuse of investment bank "restricted lists", yesterday Goldman underwrote a $2 billion equity offering for Tesla (to find its amusing expansion strategy) just hours after Goldman upgraded the stock to a Buy.

    We have done our best to alert the regulators...

    Hey @SEC_News here it is in terms even you can understand pic.twitter.com/Yprw3GZDMm

    - zerohedge (@zerohedge) May 18, 2016

    Hey @GoldmanSachs do you use restricted lists and was Tesla on it?

    - zerohedge (@zerohedge) May 18, 2016

    ... however we are confident the regulators are paid far better to remain unalerted.

    So for those curious what Goldman's research analyst who upgraded Tesla, Patrick Archambault, had to say about this "odd, very odd coincidence", here it is straight from the mouth of the horse which obviously remains stabled safely on the other side of the Chinese wall located at 200 West.

    Commentary: Tesla announces equity offering and provides further details on Model 3 reservations

    News

    After the close on May 18, Tesla announced a 6.8mn primary share offering. The offering includes a greenshoe option which, if exercised, would increase the number of shares sold to approximately 8.2mn. Based on the May 18 closing price of $211.17, this would result in a total value of $1.4bn for the offering, or $1.7bn if the greenshoe option is exercised. In addition, Elon Musk, CEO, will sell 2.8mn shares to satisfy tax implications from exercising 5.5mn in stock options that expire at year-end. The company noted that Mr. Musk also plans to donate 1.2mn shares to charity and that the net result of these actions will be to increase his holdings to 31.1mn shares from 29.6mn. All said, based on the latest closing share price and including the primary offering, greenshoe, and Mr. Musk's sale, the total size of the transactions would be $2.3bn.

    In the preliminary prospectus, the company also provided an update on Model 3 reservations and announced that it had 373k deposits as of May 15, 2016. This is net of 8k (approx. 2% of total) in customer cancelations and 4.2k (approx. 1% of total) reservations deemed to be duplicates.

    Implications

    Adjusting for the announced transaction and the supplemental stock options outstanding, and for restricted stock units (RSU) information, our EPS estimates would be unchanged for 2016-2017. Including the greenshoe, our 2016-2017 EPS estimates would decline by less than 1% on average.

    Our take

    We maintain our Buy rating and EPS estimates following the announcement . Additionally, our 6-month price target of $250 remains unchanged, derived from five probability-weighted automotive scenarios plus stationary storage optionality , all of which embed a 20% cost of capital. While the announced capital raise of $1.4bn (or $1.7bn with the greenshoe) is ultimately higher than our $1bn estimate, after factoring in the updated supplemental RSU and option information, dilution to our estimates would be immaterial. Consistent with our previously published research (see Putting in our reservation for the Model 3; upgrading TSLA to Buy, May 18) we believe the funding level is adequate for the Tesla Model 3 roll-out. The reservations of 373k are in line with the company's recent comments of "approaching 400k", though they imply slowing growth (even adding back the cancellation and duplicates) as reservations had already hit 325k one week after the Model 3 unveil.

    Risks: Decline in overall investor sentiment impacting the appetite for concept stocks, further delays in the Model X production ramp which could force a guidance reduction as well as exacerbate FCF burn, and higher-than-forecast operating expenses and/or capex investments.

    Actually the biggest risk factor, and what is most hilarious about this whole incident is that in the Goldman upgrade, which was clearly rushed, and in which Goldman itself admitted there is a two-thirds likelihood the stock will plunge to $125 or lower and the only upside is due to a "key man provision" and a ridiculous thesis that Musk alone is worth tens of billions in market cap (somehow excluding tens of billions in taxpayer grants)...

    ... is that all those who bought TSLA on the Goldman report (and/or Goldman stock offering) will actually read it.

    A Pimp's love i...

    God's Work

    greenskeeper carl , Thu, 05/19/2016 - 10:04

    Would it really be that surprising if it did hit 250? I wouldn't be the least bit surprised. It makes no sense where it is now, another 20% up would be par for the course for this "market". It's probably just more muppet slaying by Goldman, but I could see them releasing those cars that will of course get stellar reviews and have a full retard price spike. Dumber shit has happened.

    ParkAveFlasher , Thu, 05/19/2016 - 10:04

    "It feels good, doesn't it Muppet? You want more, don't you?!"

    Stackers , Thu, 05/19/2016 - 10:11

    ZH is dead on. This is CFA Level 1 stuff.

    http://www.investopedia.com/exam-guide/cfa-level-1/ethics-standards/stan...

    How to Comply
    The Standards of Practice Handbook provides a number of operational suggestions that one should recommend for adoption by the compliance department.

    Establish a restricted list - This is to limit research on those firms that have a business relationship with that company. If an adverse opinion would hurt this business relationship, the company stock should be restricted from the research universe, and only factual information on the company should be disseminated.

    TradingIsLifeBrah , Thu, 05/19/2016 - 10:14

    I bet Goldman believes its valuation is "factual" lol

    OrangeJews , Thu, 05/19/2016 - 11:22

    The worst part in my opinion is that by keeping Musk going makes him look like a God to all of the sheeple when in reality he's just using other people's money and other people's ideas to become famous. Basically the definition of the current United States.

    JamaicaJim , Thu, 05/19/2016 - 10:23

    Ah yes...Pacino.....in one of his finest works....plus excellent writing....

    His God speech;

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGR4SFOimlk

    asteroids , Thu, 05/19/2016 - 10:23

    Obviously something is broken. It's up to the SEC to act. If it doesn't then the SEC is broken. If the SEC is broken then it's up to .....

    ShorTed , Thu, 05/19/2016 - 10:24

    Yes something is broken... must be the porn filters at the SEC again. Don't expect people who's future (once they pass thru the revolving door) depends on them not finding any malfeasance, to do the right thing.

    JamaicaJim , Thu, 05/19/2016 - 10:10

    Goldman Sucks Ass should be Lehman-nized

    Shut Down

    Arrests made

    Convictions

    Lengthy prison senten.....

    ...wha.....huh.....I was having a dream?

    FUCK!

    quadraspleen , Thu, 05/19/2016 - 11:09

    Yeah. Dreaming. I actually spat water at "arrests made"

    Dream on

    nibiru , Thu, 05/19/2016 - 10:10

    Everything i in order guys, don't worry it's temporary technical glitches... carry on, nothing to see here. Oh and sell gold! Listen to Gartman!

    TradingIsLifeBrah , Thu, 05/19/2016 - 10:11

    They should have added in a 1% chance that TSLA goes to $1,000,000,000 per share to pull the target price up a little higher.

    Farmer Joe in B... , Thu, 05/19/2016 - 10:24

    Having worked in a mid-sized IB, I can tell you there is no such thing as a fucking Chinese wall. Cheesecloth at best.

    This cocksucker absolutely knew that a deal was cooking...

    ptoemmes , Thu, 05/19/2016 - 10:24

    Who are these "many" you speak of? Clearly does not include the financial and regualtory elite.

    Similar to politicians and one D Trump claiming they could shoot someone on the Senate floor - or Times Square - and not get arrested I think that CNBC should have a reality hour where finanial elites and regulators carry out obvious fraud on live TV. You know, just to see what happens...

    The Daily Fraud

    Fraudish

    Spungo , Thu, 05/19/2016 - 10:25

    Should I even care about this? The people who own Tesla shares are functionally retarded. If it wasn't Tesla stealing their money for the sake raising capital, some other questionablle enterprise would get their money just as quickly. I'm thinking horse racing and lottery tickets.

    bamawatson , Thu, 05/19/2016 - 11:03

    oh man, please don't equate seasoned pari-mutual investors with the "functionally retarded" tesla shareholders

    Dadburnitpa , Thu, 05/19/2016 - 10:28

    Anyone can be "brilliant" if they're festooned with enough free government money. But once the tit dries up, you're no better than the rest.

    rosiescenario , Thu, 05/19/2016 - 10:33

    While Tesla's cars may be a rare sight for others in the U.S. if you drive around the SF Bay Area they are as common as anyother make of car. While the stock is at a nutty value, I'd bet you'd find that 80% of individual owners of it reside around Silicon Valley and are convinced this is the next Apple.

    Personally I see no appeal to a car which has such a limited driving range....you really cannot take a trip with it.

    [May 20, 2016] Economic Models Must Account for Power Relationships

    economistsview.typepad.com
    I have a new column:
    Economic Models Must Account for Who Has the Power'' : Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz recently highlighted two schools of thought on how income is distributed to different groups of people in the economy. Which school is correct has important implications for our understanding of the forces that have caused the rise in inequality, and for the policies needed to reverse this trend. It also relates to another controversy that has flamed up recently, how economics should be taught in principles of economics courses. ...

    Posted by Mark Thoma on Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 06:09 AM in Economics , Market Failure | Permalink Comments (22)

    !-- View blog reactions

    --> !-- -->

    Comments

    Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post. anne : , Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 06:27 AM
    Excellent approach, incisive writing.
    kthomas -> anne... , Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 10:55 AM
    Im suprised you are so enamoured of Stiglitz. He does not put up with BS.

    Still, you are right. As usual.

    DrDick : , Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 06:50 AM
    Awesome. Thanks for this.
    Adamski : , Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 07:22 AM
    Good one from the Stig, also.

    And according to Sraffa's side in the Cambridge capital controversy labour and capital do not receive their marginal products, which leaves the distribution of income to some extent socially or politically determined.

    Now please make a donation to Project Syndicate, and check out Robert Skidelsky at the same site.

    New Deal democrat : , Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 08:21 AM
    Excellent. It will be taught in graduate school, long after the little ones have been indoctrinated in reactionary thought be Econ 101.

    P.S. The school of thought that accepts inequality as a Teh Awesome result of merit cannot explain why inherited wealth should be allowed to accumulate - another aspect of how power writes the economic rules.

    pgl -> New Deal democrat... , Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 09:33 AM
    "It will be taught in graduate school, long after the little ones have been indoctrinated in reactionary thought be Econ 101."

    Joan Robinson's writing on market power was required reading when I was in graduate school. My undergrad profs touched on this issue but not as much. I wonder if Greg Mankiw teaches market imperfections to his undergrad students at Harvard.

    two beers -> pgl... , Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 09:42 AM
    "I wonder if Greg Mankiw teaches market imperfections to his "undergrad students at Harvard."

    According to theoclassical doctrine, all market imperfections are the result of gummint innerference. Left to themselves, markets hum with music of the perfect spheres.

    pgl -> two beers... , Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 11:52 AM
    "theoclassical doctrine". My new favorite term. Excellent and thanks.
    RC AKA Darryl, Ron : , Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 08:25 AM
    We are way past just one or the other of those explanations being true. Opportunities come in many forms, but just not for many people. Competition becomes limited in the womb and then they go from there. Better schools across all zip codes and public day care with universal pre-K would be a start. Even that is doomed to the catch-22 of making a better informed public requires a better informed public to demand being better informed. Down east they say "You can't get thar from here."

    I was fortunate enough to grow up in Prince William County VA in the late sixties just as it was beginning to boom from growth proximate to the DC Beltway. We had a new and progressive school system even relative to NoVA. Still by the 7th grade it was evident to me that the pedagogy related to reality in dogmatic POVs that were only relevant to the next generation of yuppie kids that had gotten a half step advantage in some various way from their parents.

    My half step came from an unusual source though. My dad was illiterate and my mom only finished the 8th grade, but they were stoics with exceedingly powerful work ethics transferred more by their example of excellence in every menial thing that they did rather than by belittling and cajoling me. My dad was the best hunter, the most successful fisherman, grew the most beautiful and bountiful garden, and was self-sufficient in caring for his car and home. His position with the state highway department was limited by his illiteracy to maintenance superintendent, but due to his ability he still got to supervise the construction of roads and bridges without the benefit of commensurate pay.

    My mom was the best cook, kept the cleanest house, and as at home day care for a few friends was the best a dealing with troubled children from potty training to outbursts of anger. It was a tough act to follow. Furthermore it did not fit the status quo mold that public schools were designed to reinforce. My half step freed me to reject the intellectual authority of my instructors even though their administrative authority was still sacrosanct in my home. I did well in school and even better on tests eking by to enter the Honor Society and passing the SAT test well enough to qualify for Mensa, but I dropped out of college first semester mostly just to relocate away from home to find a job in the city. So, I got drafted and went to Viet Name, but was lucky enough to survive and develop a successful career in IT systems management large systems capacity planning and performance management. The best break that I got was being laid off in June 2015 with a severance package good enough to afford me a retirement income equal after the change in expenses from leaving the professional world behind to what I had been making while working.

    The moral to my story is that one can despise our education system and still do very well by themselves with it. One can reject our higher education and still do very well by themselves without it. One can despise our corporate "meritocracy" system and still have a successful career and maybe even a comfortable retirement, but the ladder has been raised for the latter. How anyone can be successful in school and/or in career without recognizing their own half step advantage or recognizing the intellectually and morally vacant institutions that they traversed in their journey is deeply puzzling to me.

    RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 08:35 AM
    P.S. I had the good fortune to relocate from Prince William County to Orange County VA in summer 1966 before my senior year in high school when my dad cashed out his state retirement fund saving to start an electric motor/ john boat livery and concession stand at Lake Orange, a VA Game and Fisheries Commission state fishing lake.
    The high school teachers were probably just as intelligent as in Manassas Park, but far more socially challenged at least in the academic curriculum. Still, the kids with that half step from their successful parents did well enough to attend decent colleges, but academic performance overall was much lower than it had been in Manassas Park back in Prince William County. The kids in Orange with really successful parents all attended private prep schools.
    RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 08:47 AM
    P.P.S. Relative to the thread topic then we have a fairly rigid establishment that favors the haves and keeps the have-nots at bay. Monopoly rents are just one of the luxurious rent extracting tools of an aristocracy of social exclusion. Bankers, proto-industrialists, and slave owners established the meme of republicanism as the conservative power that protects us all from tyranny of the majority, but perhaps a little too well. More importantly they established the US Constitution as a nearly inviolable foundation for preserving their world view of well-deserved elite privilege. And they did it all in the name of democracy while showing Thomas Paine the door.
    anne -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 08:54 AM
    Interesting and really nicely described.
    RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> anne... , Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 10:06 AM
    It's a cool rainy day in central VA. Being retired and primarily a person of outdoor interests then today I have an abundance of time to waste. And commenting on the EV blog sure beats a colonoscopy, which is what I will be getting this time next week :<)

    TMI? Yeah, tell me about it.

    BigBozat -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 12:00 PM
    "Down east they say "You can't get thar from here."

    Actually, they say "Ya cain't get thay-uh frum he-yah." And they usually pre-pend a big, fullsome "Ayuh".

    RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> BigBozat... , Thursday, May 19, 2016 at 05:09 AM
    THANKS! In any case, they are often correct :<)
    Dan Kervick : , Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 08:50 AM
    Jonathan Nitzan and Shimshon Bichler have developed an account of capitalism over sever years summarized by the slogan "Capital as Power."

    http://www.capitalaspower.com/

    two beers : , Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 09:58 AM
    There is no Nobel Prize in economics.
    JohnH : , Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 10:16 AM
    John Kenneth Galbraith used to write about countervailing power. Unfortunately Galbraith has been pretty much consigned to the dustbin. Even when he was writing, economics courses did not talk about his ideas much...I guess he did not use enough math symbols.

    Business has long understood the concept of what I'll call leverage points...critical intellectual property, experience, and know how. Control of these critical factors is a key to pricing power and profitability. As one example, Symbol Technologies dominated the handheld bar code scanner market for years, not because they had superior technology or marketing, but because they held the patent on the trigger, which was critical to activating the scanner for reading. Their market power affected not only competitors but suppliers and customers as well.

    Leverage points like this are commonplace in business today. Yet I'm not aware that economics, with its orientation towards competitive markets, has ever tried to model this common behavior or even dealt with it.

    Likewise, businesses have also understood the importance of market and marketing channel domination to their long term survival and profitability. Firms who fail to dominate must specialize. These concepts are considered elementary in business schools. Yet I don't know that economists have ever managed (or even tried) to incorporate them into their models.

    It might help if more economists took business courses to understand how the game is played...

    Denis Drew : , Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 11:16 AM
    Re-organize labor -- make union busting a MARKET WARPING (not job firing) felony ...

    ... re-make America into one big Costco.

    Longtooth : , Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 12:36 PM
    I still say that until economists can reach consensus on the objective of an economy, they remain divided on the objective. Simply defining it as "for the general good" is a cop-out --- and economists and everybody else know this full well. Define what "general good means"....then see if consensus can be reached. I seriously conclude this cannot be done, since only by compromises can they reach consensus, and this means defining the objective in subjective, vague terms... just like "the general good" is vague and subjective.

    The cop-out used by economists is at the heart of what Thomas' blog subject is about: Policy makers .. i.e. gov't decides the objectives of an economy, which is to say that economic power defines it. And of course economic power will define it to maintain and extend their economic power.... and at the very least to minimize any erosion thereof.

    So one must wonder how, if gov't is controlled by economic power, that gov't will NOT insure the maintenance and extension of that economic power? Is it possible in a democracy defined by the U.S. constitution to significantly reduce the economic power of those who have it? The constitution in fact makes it impossible.

    Even when congress occasionally finds a large enough majority to make law to erode or reduce economic power in gov't, the constitution enables 5 people in robes to deem it unconstitutional OR the next congress, or the next will make law that erode or reduce the effect of prior congress's law(s) that reduced or eroded economic power.

    If this were not the case we'd long since have had universal single payer health care, strong labor unions, tax policies that don't give unearned income a huge break, and don't give offshore income an out by not taxing it until its "repatriated", welfare systems that don't keep people in poverty, and an educational system that provide free & equal education to all (not one that gives communities, county's, and States with the highest incomes & property values the best education and everybody else with a lesser one.

    Nor, will I add would it be possible to rape the nation's environment by contaminating the nation's rivers, soils, and the air with green-house gases .. not just "paying" fines after the fact for doing so or putting low cost "caps" on green-house gas emissions.

    So what does "the general good" actually mean? Economists can't agree on it, nor the means of achieving it of course nor can policy makers.... and this is the fundamental problem not being addressed.

    Denis Drew : , Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 02:32 PM
    Make America one big Costco -- re-unionize.
    Chris G : , -1
    Nice column.

    One comment: You wrote "...individuals are rewarded according to their contributions to the economic well being of society. Those who contribute the most to the production of the goods and services we all enjoy receive the highest rewards and climb to the top of the income distribution." I would add that having power includes being able to dictate that rewards are allotted according to economic contributions as opposed to other contributions. Cue my go-to Chris Lasch quote: "... individuals cannot learn to speak for themselves at all, much less come to an intelligent understanding of their happiness and well-being, in a world in which there are no values except those of the market.... the market tends to universalize itself. It does not easily coexist with institutions that operate according to principles that are antithetical to itself: schools and universities, newspapers and magazines, charities, families. Sooner or later the market tends to absorb them all. It puts an almost irresistible pressure on every activity to justify itself in the only terms it recognizes: to become a business proposition, to pay its own way, to show black ink on the bottom line. It turns news into entertainment, scholarship into professional careerism, social work into the scientific management of poverty. Inexorably it remodels every institution in its own image."

    [May 18, 2016] Two-thirds of the directors at the New York Fed are hand-picked by the same bankers that the Fed is in charge of regulating

    jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com
    "Two-thirds of the directors at the New York Fed are hand-picked by the same bankers that the Fed is in charge of regulating.

    Today, the United States is No. 1 in corporate profits, No. 1 in CEO salaries, No. 1 in childhood poverty, and No. 1 in income and wealth inequality in the industrialized world.

    Today, the top one-tenth of 1% owns nearly as much wealth as the bottom 90%. The economic game is rigged, and this level of inequality is unsustainable. We need an economy that works for all, not just the powerful.

    I think what the American people are saying is enough is enough. This country, this great country, belongs to all of us. It cannot continue to be controlled by a handful of billionaires who apparently want it all."

    Bernie Sanders

    The Banks must be restrained, and the financial system reformed, with balance restored to the economy, before there can be any sustainable recovery.

    [May 11, 2016] Every defeat is just getting that bit more embarrassing for Clinton now

    Notable quotes:
    "... Everything is just getting that bit more embarrassing for Clinton now, as if it wasn't for her early jump on Sanders before people got to know who he was, she could well be behind. ..."
    "... Vote for Bernie is more like a protest vote: people just show their disgust with neocon Killary posing as a Democrat. That's why if Dems nominate Killary, many Bernie supporters won't vote at all, and some would even vote Trump. Trump and Bernie are opposites in many things, but they have one thing in common: Republicratic establishment is afraid of both. ..."
    www.theguardian.com

    yinyanggrl Jason Ma 10 May 2016 22:26

    Trump will be 70 in less than a month, Sanders is 74. Not a huge difference. The main difference is hair dye and injections.

    ucic , 2016-05-11 03:32:02

    Maybe the 'mis-spoke' argument for Clinton's crushing in WV today (a state she won in 2008) is not the only a influence on today's vote? Perhaps the people of WV have also been reading or hearing about Clinton's appalling polling in a showdown with Trump compared to Sanders? Meanwhile, if the state does goes Repub in the general, it will just be like all those other southern states that Hillary won! !--
    Eugene Harvey johnjohn12 , 2016-05-11 03:28:39
    I do believe it may be yourself and your beloved Hillary that are hitting the bottle. The more Sanders wins the more he may be able to swing the Super Delegates who are free to pledge for who they want. Everything is just getting that bit more embarrassing for Clinton now, as if it wasn't for her early jump on Sanders before people got to know who he was, she could well be behind.
    It is something the Democrats can't ignore, just as they can't ignore Clintons popularity ratings along side Trump.
    Why pull out when you're winning? Sounds like something a loser would do.


    !--
    Eugene Harvey , 2016-05-11 03:16:38
    Got to love the Guardian, first they get a bit over excited and announce Clinton and Trump win after almost no votes counted, with their ridiculous little Clinton/Trump graphics waving their arms, then have to wakeup from their warm fuzzy dream and face reality, Sanders and done it again.

    The Fat Lady is starting to get nervous as the Orchestra start to leave the pit. !--

    RobertAussie danielnc , 2016-05-11 03:03:09
    Whereas cocaine capitalists are so good at maths that they sold sub-prime mortgage packages, created the GFC and destroyed the world economy... and then got bailed out by the people... (that is, they suddenly and briefly embraced socialism in their time of need, in case that's lost on you.) !--
    Informed17 danielnc , 2016-05-11 03:01:42
    Vote for Bernie is more like a protest vote: people just show their disgust with neocon Killary posing as a Democrat. That's why if Dems nominate Killary, many Bernie supporters won't vote at all, and some would even vote Trump. Trump and Bernie are opposites in many things, but they have one thing in common: Republicratic establishment is afraid of both.

    !--

    Siamesemama1 , 2016-05-11 02:50:15
    Guardian: I'm getting tired of waiting for a fair headline from you, for example, "Bernie Takes West Virginia in May 10th state primary" instead of "Trump this, Trump that/Hillary blah, blah, blah". It's as simple as Who, What, When, Where & Why-accurately reported. As taught in 9th grade journalism classes.
    Im waiting for an article without the negatives such as West Virginians only voted for Sanders because they are waiting to vote for Trump.
    It's bad enough to have Hillary, Bill, the Koch bros., the banksters, the Supreme Court et al subverting our democracy, must you join in as well?
    Bernie's formidable & we, his supporters are tenacious!
    GO BERNIE!!!! !--
    WarlockScott JimmySands , 2016-05-11 02:40:41
    Sociopath taps into public discontent amongst smaller demographic group by giving them someone to blame and displaying authoritarian strength in the face of hated establishment (who lets be honest with maybe one exception were hopeless candidates). Tbf I'd be less concerned with what Republicans think and more concerned with the Independent voting block who have massive concerns about Hillary for mostly different reasons !--
    relgin Severus1 , 2016-05-11 02:40:12
    Clinton's campaign has soaked up a goodly portion of this allegedly donated money. She believes that *she* is the Democratic Party heir. Clinton is for Clinton and will do anything to get what she wants. !--
    BaldwinP whyohwhy1 , 2016-05-11 02:31:59
    The point is that while Sanders gets support from people to the left of Clinton, he also gets a lot of support from people to the right of Clinton and who are backing him as an anti-establishment guy, not a left-wing guy. !--
    exdiplomat ArchieWahWah , 2016-05-11 02:27:04
    Why would Sanders, who has made his entire campaign about the corrupting influence of Wall Street and corporate interests in government, and has self funded his campaign as a result, team up with a person who is the living embodiment of all he disdains? Hillary Clinton's campaign is the nexus of Wall Street and corruption, with an FBI investigation thrown in for good measure.

    Do not trust her. Do not want her. !--

    PrinceVlad ryanpatrick9192 , 2016-05-11 02:26:56
    He says it was a disaster, is against regime change, questions our relationship with the Saudis, wants to be neutral with regard to Israel and Palestine, and questions why we need NATO decades after the Soviet Union collapsed. All sound positions in my book. !--
    PlayaGiron , 2016-05-11 02:24:43
    How is Sanders campaign "quixotic"?

    Just report the fucking news without the insults!! !--

    exdiplomat USfan , 2016-05-11 02:17:56
    Not me. I'm voting Sanders. And if its not Sanders, then I'm voting Trump.

    The problem is corruption in government, and how the government and economy are rigged.

    Only Sanders and Trump talk about this. Clinton... with her speech money and tens of millions from Wall Street donors and Pentagon supplier donors... she is part of the problem, and certainly not the solution.

    !--
    krnewman , 2016-05-11 02:11:34
    Once again we have uniformly lousy, almost criminally responsibly terrible political reporting from the Guardian concerning the Democratic Party's race. I come expecting you to be awful and you never disappoint. You know nothing, you understand nothing. !--
    WarlockScott Arsenaltribe , 2016-05-11 02:09:19
    Well Hillary's fucked in that case but I disagree that Americans only care about tax cuts especially when you consider certain studies...

    TPC found that the average tax burden would increase by about $9,000 in 2017 but the average amount of benefits would increase by more than $13,000. As a result, households would on average receive a net income gain of almost $4,300 under Sanders's proposals, TPC said.

    Households in the bottom fifth of income would on average receive a net gain of more than $10,000, and those in the middle fifth of income would have an average gain of about $8,500. Those in the top 5 percent of income would see a net loss of about $111,000, TPC said.

    Bernie has a very strong case to not only be the most progressive candidate but also the one lightest on the average American's pocket !--

    erik_ny Arsenaltribe , 2016-05-11 01:54:00
    She's a greedy warmongering horror with nothing to offer anyone. Sanders supports will simply not vote. At all. For anyone. A handful might vote for Trump but not in significant numbers.

    I would refrain from too many predictions six months out. (a) USA is a moody country with (b) a love of novelty and (c) there's no frame of reference for what's going to come next. Except that we're in for a wild ride.

    to the extent Trump generates buzz, clicks, excitement & controversy -- the press must secretly praying for him to win !--

    furrypuppet , 2016-05-11 01:45:10
    Welcome to our live wire coverage with our rock star interns. After another terrible night for Sanders, who was expected to gain 99.9% of the vote, this latest win in West Virginia is another devastating blow to the Sanders campaign, coming after a series of 17 incredibly lucky shock results by landslide margins which of course don't mean anything.

    Because of the large number of comments which disagree with the Guardian editorial line we will be closing this blog shortly. !--

    Sam3456 justdoug , 2016-05-11 01:42:48
    You can make the case that Hillary's 30,000 deleted personal emails are = to Nixons 18 minutes of missing tape. Also her use of "enemies list" and her use of the Super Pac "Correct the Record" cyber war against anyone who speaks out about her in a negative manner, as well as her hawkish foreign policy and her close relationship with Kissenger to me be very similar to Nixon.

    Except for your already disproved slander that Sanders is a "socialist" there is not much else he has in common with Lenin. !--

    Sam3456 USfan , 2016-05-11 01:37:33
    http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-clinton-digital-trolling-20160506-snap-htmlstory.html


    !--
    495620 MtnClimber , 2016-05-11 01:33:56
    Well, the moderator is making it easier for Clinton's super Pac to work these comments now. You can't debate these people rationally, they are paid to distort and reflect back to you the opposite of everything. !--
    RonaldMcDonald666 Eugene Harvey , 2016-05-11 01:30:23
    Body language works on a different level. You can't fake it easily. It's almost impossible to fake micro expressions. And we all pick them up. This is probably the main reason why Clinton is deemed untrustworthy. It's because her body's expressions can't hide her lies !--
    whyohwhy1 , 2016-05-11 01:25:38
    Bernie Sanders got 72% in West Virginia among those who want more liberal policies than the Obama Administration. Or in a nutshell according to the Guardian, "Trump voters".

    !--

    SeenItAlready CurtBrown , 2016-05-11 01:19:19
    My view is that Hillary is bought and sold by a small group of ultra-wealthy 0.001%ers who have some form of personality disorder which means that they are only interested in unending self-enrichment beyond any from of rational limit, all at the expense of *everybody else* on the planet

    The article rather backs this up, and furthermore points out that at least some of these same people were also backing the frightful Cruz until he dropped out of the race

    Are you happy to be shilling for Hillary now you have this information? !--

    dutchcookie , 2016-05-11 01:13:16
    Guardian office alert !!! Guardian office alert !!!
    There are elections in the USA at the moment in some of the states and the Guardian editor in charge is worried. Why ?
    There are not enough anti Trump articles yet written for today and one (?new) staffer had the audacity to write an article on Hillary that had one line in it that was seen as a bit 'negative' for our former first lady.
    The editor in charge may have to write a negative article on Trump him/herself.... so what to do now.........the news staffer is walking down the road already

    If you need some help Guardian staff..ask me.. I have read so many of your anti Trump articles that I can memorize most of the lines..................... !--

    Vermouth Brilliantine suddenoakdeath , 2016-05-11 01:12:46
    True colours, alright. Bernie voters have principles- they're not willing to toss those aside in order to support NAFTA-loving, email-losing, regime-change-addict Clinton, the woman whose campaign platform changes entirely depending on which way the wind is blowing. It beats me why anyone voting for Bernie would want to vote for Clinton- expect more outsourcing, more 'free trade', more TPIP, and more Middle East interventions if she snakes her way into the Oval office. !--
    Sam3456 dopamineboy , 2016-05-11 01:07:11
    Clinton = Moderate Republican

    !--

    Sam3456 dopamineboy , 2016-05-11 01:07:11
    Clinton = Moderate Republican

    !--

    Psyren Michronics42 , 2016-05-11 01:03:50
    Yes Clinton is cleverly using a LEGAL way to bypass campaign financing laws thanks to her joint account with the DNC.
    Although, to be fair, she is not the first candidate to do that.
    The legality is not for debate here but I won't say that much about the morality...

    !--

    Sam3456 Michronics42 , 2016-05-11 00:59:16
    She consistently has shown that money and power is all she is interested in. She does not care where that money or power comes from as long as she gets it.

    That's why she took "the evil ones" campaign contribution.

    The lesser of two evils is still evil. !--

    Markmarkmark56 , 2016-05-11 00:51:55
    "But I believe that it is not enough to just reject Trump – this is an opportunity to define a progressive vision for America."

    Exactly! The Clinton campaign is basically stating "Vote Hillary, she's less worse than Trump!", there's nothing progressive or innovative about it, just plain sailing everything thing is fine stop thinking now and get back to work stuff. Shame really, the woulda shoulda coulda that's coming to the US in a few months after Trump wins...because he's going to, dour predictions by the media aside (they didn't see any of this coming) he's just the kind of guy Americans will vote for, I mean, we elected Bush II twice! Well...once, really.

    !--
    SeenItAlready suddenoakdeath , 2016-05-11 00:48:40
    Where did I say that? Bit of an 'Ad Hominem' from you there I'm afraid

    Here's another link showing where some of that money is going:
    Pro-Hillary PAC Spending $1 Million to Hire Online Trolls

    Are you benefiting directly from it or are you just doing this out of the goodness of your heart? !--

    SeenItAlready , 2016-05-11 00:37:10
    Today's article in The Guardian: Top 25 hedge fund managers earned $13bn in 2015 – more than some nations

    Quote:

    Simons, a string theory expert and former cold war codebreaker, has made an estimated $15.5bn from Renaissance Technologies the mathematics-driven "quant" hedge fund he set up 34 years ago.

    The fund, which is run from the tiny Long Island village of Setauket where Simons owns a huge beachfront compound, has donated $13m to Cruz's failed campaign. With Cruz out of the race, Renaissance has switched donations to Hillary Clinton, with more than $2m donated so far. Euclidean Capital, Simon's family office, has donated more than $7m to Clinton.

    Just saying... !--

    westoeden ucic , 2016-05-11 00:34:16
    The media and the parties conveniently forget that more than 40% of Americans are Independents and they can swing this election. Most of them would vote for Sanders in the general election in Nov., but they won't vote for Clinton. The DNC should be assessing who could best win the White House and back that candidate. I am at a lose as to why they aren't doing that. !--
    MOZGODRK , 2016-05-11 00:30:30
    Hillary, let's face it: you and the working class just don't go together. It is a very awkward , tense and schizo combination. You should be campaigning on Broadway, Sunset Strip or Rodeo Drive. West Virginia just isn't your natural habitat: It is like putting an anaerobic bacterium into an oxygen tank.

    Stick to the 1% quarters, and you'll do just fine (plus, they give good speech fees). And you don't even have to watch those unwashed coalminers' faces and pretend that you are one of them. !--

    Huples , 2016-05-11 00:17:58
    Hey Guardian fascinating to know what the Clinton Camp (Machine) thinks about tonight but what does Senator Sanders campaign think? Just curious you know. Helps to have reporting from both sides to help unbiased voters make up their minds.

    Don't get me wrong I think it was nice you mentioned Bernie's landslide in Nebraska but what is he saying? Sure he's holding 25,000 rallies but could you cover his actual words and policies with an equal amount of reporting as you are covering Clinton?

    Of note I read elsewhere he is 281 delegates behind and expected to win 8 out of 9 remaining states. Does that mean Clinton has no chance of becoming the presumptive nominee until the Convention? Also have you investigated her Goldman Sachs speeches? She said she'd release them when others have and I do not think Sanders or Trump are withholding their speeches. !--

    RonaldMcDonald666 ImaHack , 2016-05-11 00:10:02
    Because the mainstream media is just a propaganda machine for big money interests makes them a horrid place to look for facts
    Bonita Goodrich , 2016-05-11 00:09:49
    Key word.... Integrity. It's not about Bernie,it's about us. No more taxation without representation. Corporations aren't people.. I should know as I work for one and own one. Capitalism without regulation self cannibalises as it is left with no consumers. That's what the new deal was really about... Saving capitalism and I'm all for that. !--
    nomdinterweb judyblue , 2016-05-10 23:51:44
    My Graun headline predictions, if Sanders wins by any margin large or small today:

    "Clinton Narrowly Defeated in West Virginia But Wins Several Delegates"

    "Is This the Last Stop on the Road for the Sanders Campaign?"

    "Trump [insert any random story here]"

    Anyone else? Virtual Snickers as prize for the closest prediction... !--

    TEESMEE , 2016-05-10 23:31:50
    This liveblog is illustrative of the inane soma that the media, unfortunately this appears to include the guardian, will feed to its readers over the general election. Again you have forgotten that smart young people, who make up a large proportion of your readership, are extremely put off by the extent of Trump's coverage. I know he's the presumptive nominee, but that puts the onus on discussing his policies more, contrasting them with hillary's etc, but you do nothing of the sort. I know it's a liveblog and you're scraping through the day for tidbits but i really think more analysis instead of random useless coverage of events is in order. Oh Trump's a buffoon that says stupid things? Thanks, I needed more evidence of that. Oh he polls worse than Nickelback? Hilarious. No, no, no. Give us some real information and not this public interest nonsense - that's what social media is for. !--
    marshwren Pleasetickother3 , 2016-05-10 22:50:21
    Delegate math in the primaries is one thing; electoral college math in the general election is quite another. Clinton's margin in popular votes derives from red (mostly southern) state primaries that, with few exceptions (like NC), neither will win in the general. As others have noted, in swing states Sanders lost, he's polling better against Trump than Clinton does (FL, OH, PA). There's even an interesting poll from NH that has Sanders ahead of Trump by 21 points (the same as his primary win margin), but Clinton is only up +5--the difference between Clinton keeping Sen. Ayotte (R) in the Senate for another term, and Sanders dragging the Hill-shill Gov. Hassen (D) into the Senate.
    Given Clinton's poor showing against Trump, both nationally and state-by-state, i'm beginning to suspect that difference isn't Trump gaining supporters against Clinton, but Clinton losing supporters to those not voting, voting third party (mostly Green), or writing Sanders' in--aka, the Bernie or Bust movement.
    It's still very possible Clinton goes to the Convention well short of the 2,383 pledged delegates she needs to win the nomination without the help of super delegates. And if her polls keep tanking (and taking any chance of winning back the Senate, the House, governors and statehouses) with it, the SD's will have a very hard time justifying awarding her the nomination simply out of personal loyalty, and still face the prospect of losing the presidency anyway. !--
    rumirules , 2016-05-10 22:47:54
    Two things happened in New York in July 2015.

    1) The New York Board of Elections received whopping pay raises, for unexplained reasons.

    2) The NY BOE's own internal minutes of July 7, 2015 (available to the public) show that the full board were completely aware of purging ~160,000 NY voters, treated that as a routine vote, and moved onto other apparently more pressing business

    http://m.nydailynews.com/news/politics/board-elections-managers-huge-pay-raises-article-1.2270469
    http://www.kingscountypolitics.com/doe-chief-ryan-commissioners-knew-mass-purging-voters-records-show / !--

    DogsLivesMatter AppalledAmerican , 2016-05-10 22:15:23
    Nobody in Congress works anymore. They spend the majority of their time looking for donations. This was from 60 minutes a few weeks back: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-are-members-of-congress-becoming-telemarketers /

    [May 09, 2016] Whats a Neoconservative

    Notable quotes:
    "... Your piece leaves out three important threads in understanding neoconservatives. First, the movement was started by and is largely populated by Jews. The so-called "father of the neoconservative movement" was Irving Kristol, the father of William Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard. Another prominent founder was Norman Podhoretz, who succeeded the elder Kristol as editor of Commentary. Many of the most prominent neoconservatives are Jewish: Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, John Bolton, etc., etc. ..."
    "... " For the neoconservatives, religion is an instrument of promoting morality. Religion becomes what Plato called a noble lie. It is a myth which is told to the majority of the society by the philosophical elite in order to ensure social order… In being a kind of secretive elitist approach, Straussianism does resemble Marxism. These ex-Marxists, or in some cases ex-liberal Straussians, could see themselves as a kind of Leninist group, you know, who have this covert vision which they want to use to effect change in history, while concealing parts of it from people incapable of understanding it." ..."
    "... Neocons are mostly Zionist who put Israel interest above that of their country the USA. The majority are chicken hawks who never served a day in the military and have no problem sending other people kids to fight their wars. ..."
    "... Exceptional is something I would hope other countries would say about us without having to remind them or ourselves. It's a form of group narcissism to keep bringing it up to convince ourselves our actions are just. ..."
    "... What a fascinating article. The last paragraph was particularly smack on. When I spoke to a conservative friend recently, I was inflamed about our hyper-sized military and our overseas adventures as an example of very big government. ..."
    "... Wish neoconservatism was a philosophy, but its not, only a bait-and-switch sales pitch for the military industrial complex. Since Scoop Jackson, the senator from Boeing, America's political-police-the-world crowd has been the complex's marketing firm. ..."
    "... Re "American exceptionalism:" I am sixty-seven years old. When I was a child, my Dad (A Mustang officer), told me that the United States was exceptional for reason that the privileges of aristocracy in Europe were the ordinary civil rights of common equals here. ..."
    "... I had forgotten that I saved a copy of a book review by David Gordon that appeared in TAC this past October, entitled "Neoconservatism Defined." Actually, it is a combined review of two books, and it is a pretty good introduction to neoconservatism. http://www.amconmag.com/blog/anatomy-of-neoconservatism/ ..."
    "... "Most, though certainly not all, of the leading neocons are Jewish and the defense of Israel is central to their political concerns." ..."
    www.theamericanconservative.com

    This is a jingoistic political ideology of the Us elite preached by Killary and characterized by an emphasis on free-market capitalism and an interventionist foreign policy.

    The American Conservative

    The "neocons" believe American greatness is measured by our willingness to be a great power-through vast and virtually unlimited global military involvement. Other nations' problems invariably become our own because history and fate have designated America the world's top authority.

    Critics say the US cannot afford to be the world's policeman. Neoconservatives not only say that we can but we must-and that we will cease to be America if we don't. Writes Boston Globe neoconservative columnist Jeff Jacoby: "Our world needs a policeman. And whether most Americans like it or not, only their indispensable nation is fit for the job." Neocon intellectual Max Boot says explicitly that the US should be the world's policeman because we are the best policeman.

    Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) heartily champions the neoconservative view.

    ...neoconservatism has always been sold through the narrative of America's "greatness" or "exceptionalism." This is essentially the Republican Party's version of the old liberal notion promoted by President Woodrow Wilson that it is America's mission to "make the world safe for democracy." (meaning for international corporations). Douthat describes Rubio as the "great neoconservative hope" because the freshman senator is seen by the neocon intelligentsia as one of the few reliable Tea Party-oriented spokesman willing to still promote this ideology to the GOP base. I say "still" because many Republicans have begun to question the old neocon foreign policy consensus that dominated Bush's GOP. Douthat puts the neoconservatives' worries and the Republicans' shift into context...

    ...But this has always been the neocon ruse-if neoconservatives can convince others that fighting some war, somewhere is for America's actual defense, they will always make this argument and stretch any logic necessary to do so. Whether or not it is true is less important than its effectiveness. But their arguments are only a means to an end. Neoconservatives rarely show any reflection-much less regret-for foreign policy mistakes because for them there are no foreign policy mistakes. America's wars are valid by their own volition. America's "mission" is its missions. Writes Max Boot: "Why should America take on the thankless task of policing the globe… As long as evil exists, someone will have to protect peaceful people from predators."

    bc3b , June 23, 2011 at 8:51 am
    Easy Jack.

    Neoconservatives are primarily socially liberal hawks. Almost to a man they have done everything possible to avoid serving in the military as have their children. Next to liberals they are the greatest danger to our country.

    squib , June 23, 2011 at 10:09 am
    Re "American exceptionalism". I thought America was exceptional until it started acting like any old cynical, corrupt, doomed empire. It's silly to go about boasting of your exceptionalism even as you repeat every hackneyed error of your predecessors, and trade your true character for a handful of dust.

    The problem with the neoconservatives isn't that they flog American exceptionalism, it's that they aren't really Americans.

    Steve , June 23, 2011 at 11:10 am
    Oh, come on guys.

    In 2011, a neoconservative is the person who always answers yes to the question "Are Israel's objectives always more important than the objectives of the USA?"

    Folks will say this is unfair and a gross distortion of reality, if not in fact a bigoted assertion, but can you name any current neoconservative who is oppossed to US support for Israel? Or even just wants tosee it reduced a bit. I suspect not.

    On domestic issues, there's a greater range of variation across the neocon spectrum, but, unlike the case back in the middle 70s when we first began to hear of this troubling new breed of political apostates in the making, it's clear that foreign policy is of much greater importance to the neocons than is domestic policy.

    By the middle eastern sympathiesyou shall know them.

    tbraton , June 23, 2011 at 11:13 am
    "My father suggested to me recently that it might be helpful to better explain what the term "neoconservative" means. "A lot of people don't know," he said. As usual, Dad was right."

    One of those people who didn't know what a "neoconservative" was is our former President, George W. Bush. I remember reading somewhere that, when he was running for President in the late 90's, George W. asked his father what a neoconservative was, and George H. W. replied that he had only to remember one word to understand what a neoconservative was: Israel.

    Your piece leaves out three important threads in understanding neoconservatives. First, the movement was started by and is largely populated by Jews. The so-called "father of the neoconservative movement" was Irving Kristol, the father of William Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard. Another prominent founder was Norman Podhoretz, who succeeded the elder Kristol as editor of Commentary. Many of the most prominent neoconservatives are Jewish: Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, John Bolton, etc., etc.

    Secondly, the roots of neoconservatism traces back to very liberal political leanings, bordering on socialism and even communism. The elder Kristol was a Trotskyite into his 20's. That would explain their tendency to favor a strong central government, which, of course, allows them to exert their influence more effectively despite their small numbers. It is also consistent with the views of Leo Strauss, one of the great intellectual shapers of neoconservatism. According to an account by a former neoconservative:

    " For the neoconservatives, religion is an instrument of promoting morality. Religion becomes what Plato called a noble lie. It is a myth which is told to the majority of the society by the philosophical elite in order to ensure social order… In being a kind of secretive elitist approach, Straussianism does resemble Marxism. These ex-Marxists, or in some cases ex-liberal Straussians, could see themselves as a kind of Leninist group, you know, who have this covert vision which they want to use to effect change in history, while concealing parts of it from people incapable of understanding it."

    Thirdly, as evidenced by the George H.W. Bush comment above, a strong underlying belief that seems to unite the neoconservatives is in the perceived need, above all, to make the world safe for Israel.

    Philip Giraldi, June 23, 2011 at 11:22 am
    Great piece Jack! Neoconservatives started out as Scoop Jackson Democratic Hawks. The several that I know well enough to know their non-war views are pretty much conventional Democrats in that they are pro-abortion, pro-gay, pro-immigration, pro-big government. Their shift to the Republicans was tactical when they, led by Richard Perle, got their foot in the door of the Pentagon under Reagan. Under Bush 2, they completed the process and more-or-less took over the DoD. I expect they are now triangulating frantically to determine if it in their best interests to remain nominally Republicans or to slowly drift back to their natural habitat in the Democratic Party.
    ED. K., June 23, 2011 at 12:28 pm
    Neocons are mostly Zionist who put Israel interest above that of their country the USA. The majority are chicken hawks who never served a day in the military and have no problem sending other people kids to fight their wars.
    eeyore , June 23, 2011 at 2:23 pm
    let us not forget the distinction of constitutional authority for past interventions and the "now in violation of the war powers act" Lybian effort. Those who call themselves conservatives, neo-con or otherwise would do well to refer to their pocket constitution they claim to follow and carry. Criticism of fellow party members who constitutionally oppose these interventions employ the same hate-mongering tactics of the left. Silence the opposition at any cost and never stop feeding the federal leviathan. Thanks to Church and Wilkow for the education.
    Jane Marple , June 23, 2011 at 3:10 pm
    What's a neoconservative? An unrepentant Trotskyite, who recognized that Marxism wasn't the viable way to take over the world and so now proudly (and openly) pledges allegiance to America but always keeps Israel first in his heart.
    Ben, Okla. City , June 23, 2011 at 4:30 pm
    Exceptional is something I would hope other countries would say about us without having to remind them or ourselves. It's a form of group narcissism to keep bringing it up to convince ourselves our actions are just.

    How about some American humility? More Gary Cooper and less Richard Simmons.

    Jack , June 23, 2011 at 5:34 pm
    What a fascinating article. The last paragraph was particularly smack on. When I spoke to a conservative friend recently, I was inflamed about our hyper-sized military and our overseas adventures as an example of very big government.

    The kind that he, as a conservative, should oppose. His retort, of course, was that national security is one of the constitutional purposes of our government. There it is. This friend really thinks that Iraq, Libya, our 1000's of bases all over the world, is what national defense is all about. With his argument, there is literally no limit to the size of the military or the scope of its mission. The neocons have defined it that way. The only thing I said in response was that he should take his 18 year old son by the arm and require him to sign up for the military to fight the battles he thinks we should be fighting. His response: "but he would rather go to college". I then reminded him that no American soldier has died for my freedom in my lifetime (I am 49 years old). That seemed to rankle him because the neocon argument concerning national defense requires that you buy into the propaganda that these soldiers are fighting for our freedom as a nation.

    DirtyHarriet , June 23, 2011 at 7:44 pm
    Patrick J. gave a great definition in his Whose War article:

    http://www.amconmag.com/article/2003/mar/24/00007/

    It's one of the best articles ever. TAC should re-run it from time to time, lest we all forget what it's all about.

    Buzz Baldrin , June 24, 2011 at 5:08 am
    Wish neoconservatism was a philosophy, but its not, only a bait-and-switch sales pitch for the military industrial complex. Since Scoop Jackson, the senator from Boeing, America's political-police-the-world crowd has been the complex's marketing firm.

    All work to keep the US government spending billions of dollars on mostly irrelevant military items. None seriously care about national defense: that's why no heads rolled when our billion-dollar air defense was helpless to protect the Pentagon against a small group of Moslem fanatics with box cutters.

    Worse, the military industrial complex will be entrenched until serious elected officials, in the tradition of Dwight Eisenhower, create a peacetime economy to replace our warfare state.

    Until then, too much money, too many jobs in America depend on the complex.

    Nel , June 24, 2011 at 5:10 am
    A Neocon is a con artist.
    Robert Pinkerton , June 24, 2011 at 5:17 am
    Re "American exceptionalism:" I am sixty-seven years old. When I was a child, my Dad (A Mustang officer), told me that the United States was exceptional for reason that the privileges of aristocracy in Europe were the ordinary civil rights of common equals here.

    If I believe in "national greatness," by that I mean a nation of great- soul people, the kind Aristotle calls megalopsychic .

    Nebulosis , June 24, 2011 at 5:49 am
    "On domestic issues, there's a greater range of variation across the neocon spectrum,"

    True, but then domestic issues cause a dull glaze to form over neoconservative eyes. They stand ready to compromise or to countenance disagreement on almost any strictly parochial American social or economic concern, so long as their foreign policy and other "high political" objectives are met.

    samwitwicky , June 24, 2011 at 6:23 am
    Revolutions are internal matters of a country … the revolution in Gypto was successful internally … people were not killed, cities were not bombed, war was not raged, outside countries didn't send their forces … whatever was done … it was within the country and by the people … without outside support … that's a revolution.

    Look at the massacre they are carrying out in Tibby … you call that a revolution man … you call that an operation for the people?

    Read more:

    http://godinthejungle.com/index.php/story-notes/390-saturday-june-18-2011.html

    Bill R. , June 24, 2011 at 11:44 am
    Strictly speaking, a neoconservative, is a member of the traditional FDR coalition (unions, minorities – including Catholics, Jews and African Americans, even Southern whites) who flipped to the Republican party and some element of conservative ideology back in the 1970s. As a former FDR Democrat, Ronald Reagan had elements of neoconservatism in his past.

    And social liberalism is far from neocon orthodoxy. People like Gertrude Himmelfarb and John Neuhaus were at the forefront of neoconservatism. Jeane Kirpatrick, by no means a wobbly or wimpy neoconservative, had roots in socialist activism together with Irving Kristol and the like. Indeed, losing its conservative moral sensibilities helped drive the Democratic Party mad.

    It is only relatively recently that a few – but hardly all – Boom generation neocons such as David Frum and David Brooks also contracted the same form of mental illness. Otherwise, this group has become largely indistinguishable from the Republican mainstream, which draws its roots from Roosevelt, Lincoln, Henry Clay and Alexander Hamilton.

    Of course, with the onset of southern neocons with states rights and libertarian ideology, the demographic advances of the GOP in the late 20th century imported Civil War divisions into the party, a theme that Kevin Phillips has – sadistically – played upon. Still, one might well say that there is nothing wrong with neoconservatism except for its detractors. Down with the Traitor. Up with the Star.

    James deLaurier , June 24, 2011 at 1:50 pm
    Jack Hunter: 6/24/2011
    A "great" power can be and is often less than a "good" power. So, the Neoconservatives manifesto mandates foreign policy from the top – down! Who then, is there that stands – up for and represents,"We the People"?
    Thank you – # 16
    tbraton , June 24, 2011 at 3:45 pm
    I had forgotten that I saved a copy of a book review by David Gordon that appeared in TAC this past October, entitled "Neoconservatism Defined." Actually, it is a combined review of two books, and it is a pretty good introduction to neoconservatism. http://www.amconmag.com/blog/anatomy-of-neoconservatism/ In the course of the review, Gordon makes the following observation:

    "Most, though certainly not all, of the leading neocons are Jewish and the defense of Israel is central to their political concerns."

    One of the books concentrates on the intellectual founder of neoconservatism, Leo Strauss, and the review makes some consise observations about him.

    tbraton , June 24, 2011 at 3:54 pm
    David Gordon's book review also contains the following observations:

    "No one who absorbs Vaïsse's discussion of this second age can harbor any illusions about whether the neocons count as genuine conservatives. [Senator Henry] Jackson made no secret of his statist views of domestic policy, but this did not in the least impede his neocons allies from enlisting in his behalf. Vaïsse by the way understates Jackson's commitment to socialism, which dated from his youth. Contrary to what our author suggests, the League for Industrial Democracy, which Jackson joined while in college, was not "a moderate organization that backed unions and democratic principles." It was a socialist youth movement that aimed to propagate socialism to the public.

    It was not Jackson's domestic policy, though, that principally drew the necons to him. They had an elective affinity for the pursuit of the Cold War. Vaïsse stresses in particular that they collaborated with Paul Nitze and other Cold War hawks. In a notorious incident, "Team B," under the control of the hawks, claimed that CIA estimates of Russian armaments were radically understated. It transpired that the alarms of Team B were baseless; they nevertheless served their purpose in promoting a bellicose foreign policy.

    The neocons of the second age did not quit the Democratic Party until, after prolonged struggle, they had failed to take it over. They then discovered in the rising popularity of Ronald Reagan a new strategy to advance their goals; but even when Reagan and his aides received them warmly, many found it distinctly against the grain to vote for a Republican. Once they had overcome this aversion, the neocons proved able markedly to expand their political power and influence. Nevertheless, some neocons found Reagan insufficiently militant. For Norman Podhoretz, a literary critic who imagined himself a foreign policy expert, Reagan became an appeaser reminiscent of Neville Chamberlain. "In 1984-85, however, Podhoretz finally lost hope in his champion; he … lamented the president's desire to do whatever it took to present himself to Europeans and above all to American voters as a 'man of peace,' ready to negotiate with the Soviets."

    The "national greatness" neocons of our day continue the pattern of their second age predecessors in their constant warnings of peril and calls for a militant response. They do not apply the law of unintended consequences to foreign policy: skepticism about the efficacy of government action ends at the doors to the Pentagon."

    Masood , June 24, 2011 at 4:44 pm
    Should "the American Policeman" police the rogue state of Israel? I wonder how many neocons will fo for it.
    DirtyHarriet , June 24, 2011 at 9:17 pm
    Masood, your post reminds me of an article that was published in the New York Times on September 10, 2001, of all dates.

    http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-78029147.html

    "U.S. troops would enforce peace under Army study"

    Excerpt:

    The exercise was done by 60 officers dubbed "Jedi Knights," as all second-year SAMS students are nicknamed.

    The SAMS paper attempts to predict events in the first year of a peace-enforcement operation, and sees possible dangers for U.S. troops from both sides.

    It calls Israel's armed forces a "500-pound gorilla in Israel. Well armed and trained. Operates in both Gaza and the West Bank. Known to disregard international law to accomplish mission. Very unlikely to fire on American forces. Fratricide a concern especially in air space management."

    Of the MOSSAD, the Israeli intelligence service, the SAMS officers say: "Wildcard. Ruthless and cunning. Has capability to target U.S. forces and make it look like a Palestinian/Arab act."

    Henry Drummond , June 25, 2011 at 5:59 am
    This would have had some point 200 years ago. Unfortunately,cannon now shoot more than three miles, the 3 mile limit on national soverignty is obsolete. You cannot distinguish between an offensive and defensive opponent.
    tbraton , June 25, 2011 at 9:48 am
    "You cannot distinguish between an offensive and defensive opponent."

    If military hostilities were actually going on in Libya, it certainly would be easy to distinguish between the offensive opponent (all the foreign countries operating under the NATO umbrella and firing all the missiles into Libya and dropping all the bombs on Libyan forces loyal to Qaddafi) and the defensive opponent (the Libyan forces loyal to Qaddafi, the nominal leader of Libya).

    Gil , June 26, 2011 at 7:46 pm
    Nice article! I believe that what constitutes a neoconservative has changed over the years. Sure, in an academic sense, a "neoconservative" is someone who might have supported Scoop Jackson in Washington or Strauss at U of Chicago in the 70's- in essence, someone with democratic roots who became more hawkish on foreign policy. However, most conservative pundits- Rush, Hannity, Beck, etc, support projecting US power in order to achieve Democracy overseas. As do Bachmann, Palin, Romney, Gingrich, Boener, Perry and most other establishment Republicans. They all supported war in Afghanistan and Iraq, all support Saudi Arabia, Israel, Kuwait, Bahrain, and big oil, and all fundamentally decry any attempt to cut the US military budget. What troubles me is that "Neoconservatism" has become mainstream Republicanism. In fact Ronald Reagan was perhaps the first Neocon president. And it looks as if the Tea Party has been hijacked by Palin, Bachmann and Rubio et al . Trying to change the Republican party from within simply will not work- for Neocons don't just control the Republican party, they ARE the Republican party. We need a third party that overtly champions fiscal and social conservatism and international isolationism as its three main pillars!
    Steve in Ohio , June 27, 2011 at 11:04 am
    Gil, the GOP leadership may be neocon, but the grassroots are more or less non-interventionist. We see the same split on immigration. I think its too early to give up on the party.

    By the way, I don't consider RR a neocon President. Along with Eisenhower, he was the most non interventionist prez in recent history.

    Allen , June 28, 2011 at 5:32 am
    WE HAVE A WINNER!;
    'Steve, on June 23rd, 2011 at 11:10 am Said:
    Oh, come on guys.
    In 2011, a neoconservative is the person who always answers yes to the question "Are Israel's objectives always more important than the objectives of the USA?"
    Gil , June 28, 2011 at 11:42 am
    Steve-

    Sure, much of the grassroots is non-interventionist, although many, many Evangelicals support the Likud party in Israel for biblical reasons, and those Republicans who listen regularly to Neocons like Hannity and Limbaugh and Dennis Miller, or watch Krauthammer, Kristol and O'Reilly are influenced to support an interventionist foreign policy. Here is the problem! How can you change the Republican party from within when the Tea Party Caucus is headed by an interventionist Neocon like Michelle Bachmann?

    Ronald Reagan was a semi-isolationist. Except, of course, for bombing Libya, stationing troops in Lebanon, and docking the 6th fleet in Israel. Sorry, I know many people consider him a saint, and on both fiscal and social issues he was wonderful. But let's face it- Reagan was a former democratic Union head who became a conservative later on in life and projected US power overseas when it wasn't necessary. A Neocon? At least 75%

    Wesley Mcgranor , June 29, 2011 at 11:54 am
    A neoconservative as an actual social phenomenon–free from intellectual definition–is from the social upheavel of the 'spirit of the 60's'. With all their socialism and revolution against white-western-protestant civilization.
    Gil , June 29, 2011 at 2:01 pm
    Wesley,

    You are fundamentally correct with respect to the origins of most Neoconservative "intellectuals." However, definitions morph and change over time until their origins become so cloudy as to be practically irrelevant. Let's get real- how many young people know that Bill Kristol's dad used to be a Socialist? How many people even know who Bill Kristol is or Scoop Jackson was?

    Ultimately one can only judge people by their actions. And, in my definition, anyone who ACTS like a Neoconservative- or puts others in harm's way in order to further their expansionist aims- IS a Neoconservative. And we will never win our battle against the Neoconservatives unless we call things as they are, without getting bogged down in biographical details about people and philosophers who nobody ever hears about. So, while David Frum, Bill Kristol, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Lindsay Graham Michelle Bachmann and just about every modern republican congressman or senator or conservative think tank member inside the Washington Beltway may never have been hippies in the 60's, and almost all can claim to have been lifelong conservatives, 99% are Neoconservatives because their ACTIONS define who they are. They all believe in projecting US military might in order to foster democracy overseas. They ultimately seem to care more about the welfare of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq and, Afghanistan than the United States.

    Patrick , July 6, 2011 at 6:26 am
    What bothers me is what we consider "mainstream" conservatism today in the form of talk radio, Rush, and others is basically a neconservative movement. What I would consider true conservatism you find here in TAC and also in the Libertarian publications like Reason and Liberty but the reach of talk radio and the neocon blogs seems to be far greater than that of real conservatives and the neocons appear to be setting the agenda these days. It is nothing short of appalling isn't it to see "conservatives" defending torture and the secret prisons run under the Bush administration, all in the name of "defending" the country. It never ceases to amazes me why any true conservative would go any where near a member of the Bush administration and yet Sean has Rove and others on his show routinely when a case can be made that they should stand trial for being responsible for the abuse of those detainees. I have been student of the Holocaust my entire life and to see some of the circumstances of pre war Germany unfold in front of me, the "we have to take these steps in the name of defending the country" the dehumanizing of the muslims which made it easy to justify torturing them, it is all so very scary.

    [May 07, 2016] apolitical_paddy

    profile.theguardian.com
    apolitical_paddy 4 May 2016 16:26 1 2 I decided to look up an answer to my question and found this http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2012-03-18/princeton-reaps-tax-breaks-as-state-colleges-beg which suggests an effective subsidy of " $54,000 per student " at Princeton.

    The author goes on to write which I find a bit odd " To me, income inequality is an overrated problem in American life, and has even propelled the American entrepreneurial spirit. "

    He then seems to imply that maybe there is an emergent, de facto bad outcome: Yet it remains true that, considering all federal government policies, including tax exemptions, the rich schools have benefited more than the poor ones -- a regressive social policy that many would argue is inconsistent with using higher education as a tool in promoting the American Dream.

    Anyway, direct funding of third-level education by federal and state subsidies seems like a great idea and something that I would be very happy for my tax dollars to be used towards and -- moreover -- I would be happy paying more taxes if they were put to such purposes. !-- Kevin P Brown , 2016-05-04 21:19:27

    Ammunition : considerations that can be used to support one's case in debate

    There is a constant whining from the Clinton side about Fox news smears etc. One would believe that with all her supposed experience, she lacked the imagination to see the consequences of her actions with the email. Myself, this is just one indicator among many that she has learned nothing, her experience is flawed as her judgement is time and time again flawed.

    She has handed the FBI and Trump AMMUNITION. Not me, not you. She created this mess. Her supporters have 100% certainty that this particular issue is not an issue. They hand wave away the FBI. They shut down any discussion as just another smear manufactured out of thin air.

    Probity : the quality of having strong moral principles; honesty and decency

    We all get to decide each candidates probity. That I find her lacking is based on her actions alone, not on some lens provided by Fox news. If she were honest, she would admit that there is a risk. She states there is no risk. If her chickens come home to roost, we get Trump. Can I get odds from a bookie on the outcome of the FBI investigation? A genuine question as so many here revel in quoting the odds quoted by bookies.

    So lets gamble. Let's get to the race track and study form and history and see if the bookies have fully transparent info on all the factors leading to a win or loss. How have we come to be here? That we are is a sign of the dysfunction we live in politically. Clinton is now immune to all present and future critical thinking because ...... because she was smeared in the pass. Free pass. Sometimes ..... sometimes the King is actually naked and no one cares to call attention to that reality. !--

    TeeJayzed Addy Kevin P Brown , 2016-05-04 21:16:18
    It was not simply an "entanglement". The Kochs helped finance the Democratic Leadership Committee with Bill, Hill, McAuliffe, Tony Coelho (remember him?) and the rest of the "Third Way" Democrats who whored themselves to the first wave of christian-jihadist-wacko GOP congressmen swept into power in 1994, and it was all downhill from there, with the Republicans writing draconian legislation, the Dems rolling over, and Dirty Little Billy claiming it as a Great Leap Forward. !--
    list12345 , 2016-05-04 21:14:04
    "Shock victory" is another example of lazy, factually incorrect mass media journalism. Bernie ran an on the ground campaign in Indiana for 2 moths prior to yesterday's primary win. I should know, as our family did volunteer door-to-door canvasing for the first time over a couple weekends. We also attended the rally on Monday and it was great!

    Don't give up Bernie supporters, as we have momentum! Bernie's an honest man with fair and just principles. Our country needs such a leader and not another paid-off crony or deranged man-child.

    !--
    Kevin P Brown hillbillyzombie , 2016-05-04 21:01:18
    "Haven't you pissed off minority voters enough?"

    Again as always a deflection from the real point, documented over and over as to the long tanking DLC led strategy of leading with Southern States. Nothing to do with blacks, everything to do with Southern Conservatives. But yes, as always intellectually "honest". Innuendo. You choose to ignore the systems and structures put in place for reasons. I choose to see them. People like you choose to ignore the DLC history and the entanglement with the Koch Brothers who were so so happy Bill Clinton pushed the DNC into Republican territory, while we are all supposed to pretend that because the GOP is so bad bad bad, it gives a free pass to the DNC for the right wards ever rightwards shifting and the bandying of progressiveness on social issues that cost nothing, and the true position of the modern DLC as a money machine, with a purpose of existing to garner power.

    All you "progressives" love to talk about angry white man yet have zero answer to :

    ""In 2010, the median wealth, or net worth, for black families was $4,900, compared to median wealth for whites of $97,000. Blacks are nearly twice as likely as whites to have zero or negative net worth-33.9 percent compared to 18.6 percent."

    The fact that the above enrages me matters not to you, as you have your BernieBro Angry White man meme to deflect from real discussion about solutions. The real solution starts with getting the politicians beholden to the voters alone, not to corporate interests. That is Job One. Once that blockade is removed, then we can move on to poverty and violence as immutable links and solving them. 85% ...... 85% of the American people agree with this action. is it difficult? Yes. Wont happen however if we demand on smug entitled people throwing deflections and memes all over the place. "I am all right Jack, fuck you" should be the bumper-sticker of the Clinton supporters. !--

    Eugene Harvey Palomina , 2016-05-04 20:54:08
    Much as I despise Drumpf it worked for him, he openly railed against the GOP establishment which fort him to the bitter end with their last champions pulling out of the race. The people had spoken (most of it crazy talk), but the Democrats can't ignore the anti-Clinton sentiment. Bernie was a nobody at the beginning because all the focus was on Clinton, but more coverage was given to Bernie and people got to know what he stood for things have changed.
    The question for the Democrats is who is more likely to win the General against Drumpf? Who is more likely to win over the swing votes of those not affiliated to a party?
    The message is load and clear there is a lot of anti-establishment sentiment out there and Clinton is firmly seen as part of it.
    Drumpf having won his first leg of the race will no doubt moderate his rhetoric to appeal to a broader audience and look to grab a larger portion of the swing votes.
    In the bigger picture, Sanders is more likely to succeed against Drumof than the institutional Clinton. !--
    Janet Conard bashh1 , 2016-05-04 20:31:47
    53 year old Bernie Supporter and if Bernie doesn't win the nomination. Jesse Ventura has vowed to run as an independant and continue our grass roots movement. Jesse shares many of Sanders policies but he has an advantage over all the candidates when it comes to military experience. Navy Seal is pretty impressive. !--
    nnedjo , 2016-05-04 20:28:06
    If you ask, what is the purpose of the election, the answer is, elections should be used for two things:
    First, that some politicians will be rewarded by the voters, who will entrust the government to them.
    And second, but no less important, that some politicians will be punished by the voters for their past mistakes, in a way that will refuse to give them their votes. So, this second function of the elections is perhaps even more important because it ensures that politicians are held accountable for their previous actions.

    Now, if you look at these elections, you will notice that this is totally turned upside down in the case of Hillary Clinton.
    Her husband has created mass incarceration, and she, as the first lady, was the main promoter of it. And now she says, "Oops, that was an 'unintended consequence'! That is to say, over two million people in prison, many of which serve a sentence for minor offenses is an 'unintended consequence'''
    OK, fine, but what about the fact that she has got the money from the prison lobby?
    If the first was an 'unintended consequence', the latter is certainly not. So these are the things for which in every country on earth some politician would lose any chance to enter the next government. Provided that the politicians are held accountable for their previous actions, which is obviously not the case in the US.

    And, this is just one of the things for which Clinton can be held accountable.
    For example, what about the deregulation of Wall Street by President Clinton and the economic crisis eight years later, that after the next eight years Hillary Clinton took over half a million dollars from Goldman Sachs for three speeches? - Unintended consequence!

    What about voting for the Iraq war at a time when Hillary Clinton was the leader of the Democrats in the US Congress and the loss of people and money that followed after that, not to mention the rise of terrorism as a consequence? - Unintended consequences, too!

    What about turning Libya into a failed state, and exclamation, "We came, we saw, he [Gaddafi] died!", after which four US embassy staff, including Ambassador Stevens died, and after which Clinton lied to the American public about events that led to their deaths? - Unintended consequences!

    And, last but not least, what about NAFTA and other international trade agreements, all of them supported by Clinton to this day, although deprived and still depriving millions of American workers from their jobs? - Unintended consequence!

    So, as you can see, this is quite a long list, but probably there's more of it that is not listed here, yet. And it will be even more of such "unintended consequences" if Hillary Clinton will be elected for the US president. !--

    Sandypaws RobInTN , 2016-05-04 20:27:29
    Hence why I said 'some form of revolt' instead of 'burn the party down rawr'. The party establishment firmly put themselves behind Clinton early on. This is indisputable. 40+ percent of primary voters went against this in some form. Some will still welcome Clinton, some will tolerate her, some will walk, but the act of voting against establishment preference is already some form of revolt. !--
    Kevin P Brown hillbillyzombie , 2016-05-04 20:05:19
    You: "self-righteous crap"

    You:"his acolytes will just come up with another dumb ass reason "
    You: "Why didn't you just give it directly to Trump? "
    You: "Bernie, when all's said and done, is a fraud."
    You: "I never did trust politicians who hold mass rallies." ( Nice Nazi smear)
    You: " are already starting to misquote Bernie, and talk about how it's all the fault of "Jewish bankers" Smearing Sanders for your relatives jewish Smears
    You: "She doesn't pretend she's a damn rock star" Smear
    You: " I take it you are a Trump supporter now" Personal smear to me.
    You: "nihilistic" over and over again
    You: deleted reference ot Pope as child molester
    You: "His trip to kiss the Pope's ass was disgusting pandering" So their shared stance on global warming is irrelevant?
    You: "the ass of the world's most powerful homophobe"
    You: "But Bernie has always been a fraud" ( multiple repetitions of this)


    On and on....How self righteous are you?

    "personal insults from you"

    Really? What insults? Intellectually lazy? That is my assessment of you. Not intended as an insult but an assessment of who you are and how you think. Based on reading all of your posts. I pay attention. I find it interesting to figure out motivations.

    " I've got a right to my views"

    Indeed you do. Never ever asked you to to post. !--

    DebraBrown Bronxite , 2016-05-04 19:59:33
    I agree, Hillary is worse, and scarier than Trump. Hillary will justify her interventionist wars and terrible trade deals with slick, plastic, professional language which will fool some people into thinking she knows what she is doing.

    Hillary would be 8 more years of the Corporate Oligarchy cementing its hold on our process. Trump might last 4 years... then we can elect a real progressive. !--

    Sandypaws newageblues , 2016-05-04 19:51:46
    SoS is more extrapolation, based off the weakness of her credentials heading into the position. It should be remembered that her lack of experience in foreign policy was one of Obama's attack points in 2008, so to have him suddenly turn around and name her SoS is a bit odd. Specifically:
    The choice of Mrs. Clinton pleased many in the Democratic establishment who admire her strength and skills, and they praised Mr. Obama for putting the rancor of the campaign behind him. "Senator Clinton is a naturally gifted diplomat and would be an inspired choice if she is chosen by President-elect Obama as secretary of state," said Warren Christopher, who held that job under her husband.

    But it could also disappoint many of Mr. Obama's supporters, who worked hard to have him elected instead of Mrs. Clinton and saw him as a vehicle for changing Washington. Mr. Obama argued during the primaries that it was time to move beyond the Clinton era and in particular belittled her claims to foreign policy experience as a first lady who circled the globe."

    Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/22/us/politics/22obama.html?_r=0

    So read into that what you will.

    What -is- clear is that she got $17.5 million in personal cash out of the deal (Obama agreed to cover campaign debts, she lent her campaign 17.5 million).

    Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/06/02/clinton-in-negotiations-f_n_104823.html !--

    Bob Zavoda , 2016-05-04 19:32:29
    Don't be lulled into a false "horse race" depiction of an especially HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT, planetary-civilization-survival moment. A predominantly, establishment, bankster-owned media, are pushing this epic election of "Main Street vrs wall street", as just another election. Wrong! A fictiion! Lies!

    Over 60% of us didn't vote last election, BECAUSE, only liars and apologists for "empire" oligarchs were running. Today, we see Bernie and perhaps Dr. Stein of the Greens. Only "The Bern" gets media minimal coverage, because he is running as an "Democrat". Indiana and other "open" primaries show, time and time again, the rigged nature of a duopoly electoral fraud. The establishment, wall street banksters and their allies DO NOT, WILL NOT let Bernie win. Do the math and ONLY BERNIE CAN BEAT TRUMP! SO QUIT THE HORSE RACE BS and see the BERN! And jut maybe we will have an inhabitable planet for our grandchildren that is fun to live upon. !--

    DebraBrown Kevin P Brown , 2016-05-04 19:31:40
    Putting it another way... Bernie has made them all look like chumps. They say they cannot get elected without big corporate dollars. Bernie did not sell out, and he raised money easily. He makes the rest of the lousy corrupt bunch look like fools.

    !--

    DebraBrown macktan894 , 2016-05-04 19:28:51
    Hillary did not concede in 2008 until after ALL the states had voted. Even then, she waited 4 days. What happened between the last primary and 4 days later, when she finally conceded? NEGOTIATIONS. She laid down the terms under which she would support Obama -- all goodies for Hillary, because Hillary Is For Hillary, period.

    Bernie will use the clout we give him to negotiate on behalf of THE PEOPLE at the Democratic Convention. That's the difference between him and self-serving Hillary.

    Looking forward to voting for Bernie in California on June 7. Meanwhile, praying for the FBI to indict Hillary. !--

    Kevin P Brown hillbillyzombie , 2016-05-04 19:27:01
    Yet for all her long name recognition, her second national presidential campaign, the superdelegates lined up before Sanders announced, with the cunning long term strategy of the DNC "southern firewall" designed to favour conservative candidates, despite all the power players endorsements, despite all the Superpac's, she still is not going to arrive at the convention with the required delegate count for victory. What does that tell us? I know what it tells me. It tells me that there are a lot of people who want more of a continuation of Obama Change. They want real change.

    So sure, she is "winning" a battle in a longer running war of ideas. Let's see how this plays out over the next 8 years.

    Kicking his ass by the way would have been if she reached the required pledged delegates months ago. She could not. Complacency is not a great stance in these times. !--

    Kevin P Brown hillbillyzombie , 2016-05-04 19:18:45
    "he'd spend it helping progressive candidates"

    Like Hillary has done since 2008? Helping the same old hack politicians, using her cash and her name and yet the people refused to come out and reverse the largest loss of Democratic seats in modern history? Yeah, blame the voters, you have them all pegged. it's never the fault of the politicians is it, it is the lazy voters. Well there is another theory that explains Trump and Sanders: They are sick of the same bullshit put out by the DNC and the GOP. Taking Ted Kennedys seat as an example the safest DNC seat in the nation, decades it sat with the DNC and as soon as he dies, the DNC selects one of your hack ersatz progressives, throws Bill Clinton and Hillary and bags of cash and STILL loses the seat. Was there a message there worth listening to? Not to you, you blame the voters. No no no never blame the DNC. Blame the voters.

    The voters perhaps is tired of what is presented to them as a voting solution. So in the end, your way of doing things has led to voter frustration and here we have Trump. There is a lesson there. Listen or dot listen, but the people are venting there frustration. Trump is a populist disaster, but he is a symptom of a dysfunctional system that needs revision and revision now. But nah! Lets just throw cash into a cesspit of dysfunction.

    Also you sit smugly ignoring the FACTS of Clinton laundering State contributions back into her campaign, leaving little or nothing for State DNC budgets. Ah, you say, this is a smear from Fox news. Um. No. Do you think we are idiots? You must. I assure you we are not idiots. Good luck in November. You will need it. !--

    Kiara Kiki Jenkins hillbillyzombie , 2016-05-04 19:16:30
    Bernie hasn't attacked Hillary directly since New York, and he had every right to go after her then, because she was on full offense against Bernie at that time, too, so enough with the innocent victim garbage. !--
    HJWatermelon , 2016-05-04 19:13:12
    Bernie always does better in open primaries because of the Independent voters. They are more likely to vote Trump in the general election in my opinion. He is going to start hammering Clinton now he is the nominee.
    Bernie should stay in right 'til the end in case anything ever happens with one of the two Clinton investigations. I don't see anything happening now though as the private server investigation appears to have stalled.
    Regarding the second (the Clinton Foundation) the Supreme Court is about to legalise political corruption with the McDonnell case. If that happens democracy is effectively suspended anyway and this is a pointless reality show farce. Policies will be decided by the highest bidder. How can she have broken any laws if there aren't any?

    Good news for women's rights under Clinton though - whilst her Syria no-fly-zone might start WW3, women will probably get to be drafted as well as men... !--

    RobInTN Martin Thompson , 2016-05-04 19:10:49
    Couple of things about this statement

    'Lawyer Hillary who is trained in well being a lawyer she even was a defense lawyer helping someone she believed was guilty of rapeing a 13 year old girl who has said Hillary "put her thru hell"."

    "someone she believed was guilty of rapeing a 13 year old girl"

    Interesting. Clinton discussed what she was thinking at the time with you?

    Or are you suggesting that some accused people should not get legal representation?

    I'm intrigued by the "put her through hell" portion of it. Especially as the case was plea bargained out and never went to trial.

    !--
    Freedom54 , 2016-05-04 19:06:41
    It is effortless to identify the ardent obtuse "Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Supporters". Their verbiage and responses are always predicated on emotion and fiction versus an intellectual discourse based on factual information – Quite Like the Superficial Candidates that they blindly support. The 1% Billionaire Oligarchy Ruling Classes Owned Mass Media Outlets is intentionally protecting the Outed Racists Donald Trump and his female Clone Hillary Clinton from Public Scrutiny. They are salivating Like Pavlov's Dog for their "Ultimate Political Reality Show – The Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Presidential Race" waiting to cash-in and profit as they stage and promote their "False Democracy".
    Knowledge = Power = Real Freedom..!
    1. This is why "Anonymous" Noble, Righteous, True American Heroes and Freedom Fighters are stepping in to fill the Fourth Estate void abdicated by America's Billionaire Owned Media to provide the 99% the Truth.
    Anonymous – Message to Hillary Clinton:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTMaIX_JPE4
    Anonymous – Message to Donald Trump:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ciavyc6bE7A
    2. CBS CEO and Chief Leslie Moonves: Comments he made at an investor conference last month when he said, "The money is rolling in, and this is fun." Added Moonves: "They're not even talking about issues; they're throwing bombs at each other, and I think the advertising (revenue $) reflects that. This is going to be a very good year for us (CBS). Sorry, it's a terrible thing to say, but bring it on, Donald."
    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/daily-show-host-trevor-noah-877273
    3. Why isn't the Media asking Hillary Clinton about the Podesta group in the Panama papers working with the corrupt, Kremlin-run Sberbank, and the two shell companies setup by Bill Clinton (WJC, LLC) and Hillary Clinton (ZFS Holdings, LLC) at a Delaware address (1209 North Orange Street Wilmington, Delaware) that are the same address as 285,000 other companies, many of which were in the Panama papers and linked to laundering and tax avoidance schemes?.
    http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/apr/25/delaware-tax-loophole-1209-north-orange-trump-clinton?CMP=share_btn_fb
    4. Why isn't the Media asking Hillary Clinton to Release the Transcripts from her numerous $275,000.00 Speeches to Goldman Sachs and the Other Wall Street Banks?
    https://youtu.be/3UkfsEeHUcg
    5. Why don't they ask Hillary Clinton if she would Prosecute her and her husband Bill Clinton's former "Trusted Deputy" Rahm Emanuel the current Mayor of Chicago for establishing a "Gulag" on American soil which allowed the Chicago police to covertly detain and torture more than 7000 people at the Secret Interrogation Center that completely ignored the American "Constitution" and the Bill of Rights at Homan Square?
    http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2015/02/behind-the-disappeared-of-chicagos-homan-square/385964 /
    6. Hillary Clinton lying for 13 minutes straight- Hillary, the inevitable liar:
    https://youtu.be/-dY77j6uBHI
    7. Hillary Clinton: A Career Criminal:
    https://youtu.be/kypl1MYuKDY
    8. Secretary Clinton Comments on the Passing of Robert Byrd her friend and mentor who is a documented Racist and KKK member:
    https://youtu.be/ryweuBVJMEA
    9. Bill Clinton ATTEMPTS to Justify Robert Byrd's KKK Membership:
    https://youtu.be/8Fg3XNTMzNo
    10. Hillary Clinton & NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio Make Awkward RACIST Joke About CP TIME Colored People Time
    https://youtu.be/pP3syBu4ZDM
    11. Black Lives Matter protesters repeatedly interrupt Bill Clinton in Philadelphia: https://youtu.be/xRrVI5gHVyo
    Can You Say Hypocrisy?
    The only Authentic and Honest Candidate is Bernie Sanders who wants to return America back into a Transparent Citizen Accountable Democracy for the 100%. This is why the Bernie Sanders Army of Noble and Righteous Citizens-the 99% will never Vote or Support either of the Illegitimate 1% Billionaire Anointed Candidates Like Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, Who Represent the Retention of a False Oligarchy Democracy and Everything That the Decent Noble and Righteous Citizens Despise, Compulsive Pathological Lying, Narcissism, and Insatiable Greed. !--
    Kevin P Brown hillbillyzombie , 2016-05-04 19:03:07
    "So your plan is for Bernie's opponent to get arrested? "

    Not my plan. Each citizen in this country has a set of was that rule what they can and cannot do. Even Clinton. I have spent a long time explaining my logic of why I believe she has broken various laws. I as a citizen appreciate the FOIA. If you cannot handle the facts of her actions, then what can I say? To me it does not bode well how Clinton comports herself. To you it is not an issue. You choose to ignore the reality of a real and extended FBI investigation. Obama rules the DoJ and the FBI. If it were indeed only a political smear, then he has the power to force Comey to resign. It is not a function of me, it is a function of laws. The investigation not some fevered Fox News plot as much as you with it to be. I understand completely what she has done. I understand why she did what she did.

    Regarding the bolstering the party, it seems it does not bother you the games her suprpac has done with bending the rules just up to the breaking point.

    Frankly, sanders on the back of this, and his supporters need to build an organisation that can put up true progressives. Your opinion is team based, you accept year after year the shift of the DNC orphaning in to centrist republicans. Your choice. I choose not to support this. So that he refused to fund more the same old hack politicians is fine by me. He has over his career supported the DNC with vote after vote after vote. He had the courage to offer "democrats" a real choice in the primaries.

    You again ignore with your blather about mid term motivations the fact that the people would not support the DNC in 2010, 2012, and 2014. People are not stupid, and they see that the change Obama promised is never coming. We can distill into a simple slogan then rich are getting richer even as the American worker gets more and more productive, yet their share of the capitalist pie shrinks and shrinks. The common man sees that Obama care still is not the solution for him and his family when the average deductions are over 5000 a year on top of his premiums and the average coverage is 60% of costs when he gets sat the deductible. He is told about Gold Standard trade agreement negotiated in absolute secrecy, and that cause him discomfort. Some black families see : ""In 2010, the median wealth, or net worth, for black families was $4,900, compared to median wealth for whites of $97,000. Blacks are nearly twice as likely as whites to have zero or negative net worth-33.9 percent compared to 18.6 percent."" and understand for all of Clinton's triangulation there is nothing palpable to change that. He sees she is great at trotting up mothers of dead people and Black people as props to gain votes, and he see that perhaps Sanders Class based solutions will help him more, as maybe he is tired of racial divides and knows intuitively Clinton has no real solution to gun crime, spurred on by poverty, nor solutions to poverty itself.

    So get all huffy about the FBI investigation. I lived though the turmoil of Nixon and before his reelection I predicted that he would suffer, as my gut feeling led me to believe he was involved, that he had dirty hands. Continue to believe that genuine logical conclusions and issues are only a rehash of Fix news when they are not. Cheap and nasty way to deflect any and all valid criticism. Is Sanders perfect? far from it, but I believe I know what he stands for and how he thinks.

    "Bernie, when all's said and done, is a fraud."

    Funny but I have concluded that Clinton is a fraud. But you are welcome to vote as you wish. In the end, your fear of Trump? The risk is real and palpable that she will cause disarray to the party if the FBI fins what I believe is obvious, and the risk is her handing the election to Trump. To you? You don't care. You cannot and will not see the risk, preferring to hide like a gormless child behind tortured smear theories rather than standing up as an adult and properly assessing the real risks to the Democratic.

    All the pieces of what she did are there if you care to look. But nah! You are lazy intellectually and it is easier to blame Fox news than to actually look and ponder and conclude the evidence. As are most of the vociferous Clinton fans here. Intellectually lazy. !--

    DebraBrown , 2016-05-04 18:28:32
    Hillary wins closed primaries, where only the tribalized party faithful participate (and voter suppression and other shenanigans run rampant). Bernie wins open primaries and brings in millions of new voters. Democrats like me, Independents, even Republicans vote for Bernie.

    Newsflash: November will not be a closed primary. !--

    shepdavis PATROKLUS00 , 2016-05-04 18:21:37
    Got that right...

    She loses on the Big 3 Issues, war, Trade & "corruption" to Trumps words and Bernie's life walk. Dems are falling into dreamlala math- Hillary will get women (50%), Blacks (10%) & Hispanics "another 10%). How can she lose.

    Start with GOP women at the end will not vote her way. That BLack and Hispanic percentages are already baked in, and Trump will cater to men, not just white, on the basis avg men have been getting shafted for 40 years now.

    If there is a terror attack, Trump wins big. If the economy goes down he wins too.

    The tea leaves and tarot readers have been all wrong this election.

    & Hill is likely to lose most of the last primaries. Embarassing

    "Hillary Clinton will say anything to get elected, and nothing will change." Barack Obama, 2008

    !--
    Bronxite ID7731327 , 2016-05-04 18:14:50
    Is that HRC new slogan, "Hillary is shit, but at least she's not as shitty as Trump"
    Actually I think she's worse. The DNC turns a blind eye every time she breaks the law, and tries to change the rules for her, but both the RNC and DNC will keep Trump on a short lease. !--
    scrjim , 2016-05-04 18:14:20
    The Guardian's anti-Bernie agenda is really quite off-putting. Even the article summary is patronising :

    "Despite trailing behind Hillary Clinton in polls, Sanders once again proved his appeal to disaffected midwest voters by pulling off his 18th victory of 2016"

    The translation is that the Bernie Sanders constituency is backwards and centred around white males who have lost blue collar jobs to globalisation; in other words he appeals to people who want to turn back time. The inference is that Clinton's group is far broader, more cultured and more progressive. This is patently false. Sanders is popular with young people and with people who are passionate about politics. Clinton's constituency tends to be older and more conservative. Clinton is the establishment candidate Sanders is the beacon of hope. !--

    talenttruth RobertHickson2014 , 2016-05-04 18:11:03
    No surprise there. As is it no surprise that ABC is a "subsidiary" of The Walt Disney Company, which has been to the right of Attila-the-Hun since "sweet grandfatherly Walt" himself, who was practically a neo-Nazi politically. Need proof? Walt's cheerful cooperation with McCarthy's House Un American Activities persecution of anyone not sharing Adolph Hitler's political persuasion).

    Disney's movies have always exhibited that nauseating, fake, treacle "sweetness" which all fascists use as "cover" for their actual addiction to fear, hatred, tribalism and Orwellian manipulation.

    So we can hardly be "shocked, shocked, shocked" by ABC's gross "news" bias.

    How about NBC? It's been a corporate "investment football," recently boosted by Comcast from former owner General Electric. You KNOW they're both dedicated to impartial news reporting, right? HA HA HA

    How about CBS? Oh it's owned by Viacom, an "entertainment conglomerate," of course dedicated never to sensationalism or deliberate distraction of the public, but rather, to honest news reporting. Right.

    MSNBC? GE + Microsoft. That of course equals total devotion to unbiased and complete news reporting, even if the news WERE "bad for the Shareholders." Uh huh. (See the pigs flying by).

    CNN? Oh its "daddy" is Time Warner, another paragon of public-spirited democracy.

    Even PBS has fallen. Think that's a "radical statement?" The super right did a twofer on PBS: (1) cut its government funding so as to make it terrified and desperate and then (2) gradually brainwashed PBS into actually being another Corporate PR outlet.

    Non-commercial? PBS? IT LIVES ON CORPORATE ADS. And under those deliberately created survival pressures, even PBS news has collapsed into reporting all news like it's a trivial sports event - Never Delving Deeper, because its Corporate Overlords wouldn't like that.

    So, welcome to the reality of well-entrenched corporate fascism. For that, in part, we can thank Ronnie Puppet Reagan's reversal of a former 50-year policy which did not allow non-media corporations to "buy" the news. May that SOB continue to roast, whereever.

    Bernie Sanders would be all of these Corporate Overlord's worst nightmare. They would have to work "even harder" (yawn, pass the caviar), to blacklist, cover up, lie about the truth he would tell through his bully pulpit. Thus all of THEIR media outlets have worked like little beavers to Cancel the Cancer of Bernie, before he could cause real damage to The Entitled Domain. Ugh. !--

    PATROKLUS00 , 2016-05-04 18:10:21
    The Democrats, just as blind and foolish in their own way as the GOP, will make a tremendous mistake in nominating HRC. Anyone with an ounce of political insight can see the coming election is going to be about the revolt of the middle class against the Establishment and megacorporations that have been exploiting that class for at least two score years. The politically dimwitted and somnolent American middle class has finally come to realize how they have been used and abused and they aren't taking it anymore. They don't give a damn about foreign policy, single payer or anything else. They are furious at having been used and hoodwinked and they are in full revolt. The stupidity of the Democrats, in not seeing this and running an Avatar of the Establishment, HRC, will make the election very close with a good chance she will lose. Sanders can out Trump Trump on the anti-Establishment issue as polls clearly show, but the Dems are going to shoot themselves in the foot by coronating HRC. With Sanders they could probably sweep Congress also, but with HRC they will at best keep the White House and possibly a very narrow majority in the Senate. HRC is a poor campaigner with an unlikable personality, unlike Elizabeth Warren, and Trump will really mangle Hillary. With Sanders he will not be able to do that because Sanders easily can out anti-establishment Trump for, obviously, Trump too is of the 1% like HRC. There is the slim hope, forlorn as it may be, that the Democrat super-delegates, most of whom are political pros and thus focused on winning, will see the light and nominate Sanders. But the Democrats are usually reliably stupid so look forward to a cliff-hanger in November and very possibly a President Trump.
    DebraBrown , 2016-05-04 18:10:20
    Hillary did not concede in 2008 until after the last state finished voting. The counting was done, and Obama had more delegates. Even then, she waited 4 days before conceding. What went on during those 4 days? Negotiations. No way a super-predator politician like Hillary Clinton was just going to give in, without getting something for herself.

    Here's what Hillary got out of the deal: a cabinet post, Obama's promise of support for her next bid in 2016, and Obama's help paying off her 2008 campaign debt.

    The difference with Bernie is that he is not in this for himself. Bernie stepped up to the plate because America deserves better than another Corporate Tool Politician. When Bernie goes to the convention, he will not be negotiating for himself. He will be fighting for ALL OF US. Bernie fights for The People.

    This is why we need to give him as many delegates as possible. I look forward to voting for Bernie in California on June 7. Furthermore, speaking as a middle aged feminist who has been a registered Dem for 35 years -- I will NEVER vote for Hillary. !--

    sbabcock LanaCvi , 2016-05-04 18:04:13
    A Shillary in denial... Do you need the NYT or Guardian to report it to make it true? Many of the biggest companies in the US-the biggest polluters, the biggest pharmaceutical companies, the biggest insurance companies, the biggest financial companies-gave to the Clinton foundation while she was Secretary of State and then they lobbied Secretary Clinton and the state department for "favors." Even foreign governments have given to the foundation, including that stalwart of democratic principles Saudi Arabia, who gave at least $10 million… Then magically they had a $26 billion plane deal with Boeing.

    Is that what you're voting for? Does that sound like someone with integrity? hate to break it to you that this information isn't found only on right wing websites. Inform yourself. Can't you see why she'd play games with email? It's all right there, in your face. !--

    WhiteMale cliffstep , 2016-05-04 17:48:28
    Alleged pragmatist, but more likely Hillary will actually be a pushover on social and economic issues and a hawk on foreign policy. She is more of a Republican than Trump. !--
    WhiteMale cliffstep , 2016-05-04 17:48:28
    Alleged pragmatist, but more likely Hillary will actually be a pushover on social and economic issues and a hawk on foreign policy. She is more of a Republican than Trump. !--
    Manami , 2016-05-04 17:33:14
    Shock?!!!! How could the American Queen lose right?!!!

    The main point is, Hillary has no chance of winning against Trump. She is already trying to get a cadre of neocon Republicans to support her, thinking she could get swing a portion of Republicans to support her, forgetting why she is so despised by a large segment of Democrats and majority of independents. It is her default cling to neocon interventionist, and corporate base of support that causes it. She is tone deaf, ignorant and arrogant. Unless, we Democrats stop her now Trump will beat her handily. I have no doubt about it. !--

    Manami , 2016-05-04 17:33:14
    Shock?!!!! How could the American Queen lose right?!!!

    The main point is, Hillary has no chance of winning against Trump. She is already trying to get a cadre of neocon Republicans to support her, thinking she could get swing a portion of Republicans to support her, forgetting why she is so despised by a large segment of Democrats and majority of independents. It is her default cling to neocon interventionist, and corporate base of support that causes it. She is tone deaf, ignorant and arrogant. Unless, we Democrats stop her now Trump will beat her handily. I have no doubt about it.

    [May 07, 2016] The smug Clinton acolytes blame the voters, always deflect blame

    Notable quotes:
    "... Wasserman is a great replacement for him as a stunningly inept strategist. "In the summer of 1994, Coelho was the principal Democratic political strategist during the run-up to the mid-term Congressional elections. Officially, he was Senior Advisor to the Democratic National Committee. The Republican Party won a landslide victory in the fall congressional elections, capturing both the House and Senate by commanding margins." ..."
    discussion.theguardian.com
    Kevin P Brown -> TeeJayzed Addy 4 May 2016 17:17

    Bill and Obama seem to follow the strategy to lose the house and senate. But the smug Clinton acolytes blame the voters. Always deflect blame eh?

    Wasserman is a great replacement for him as a stunningly inept strategist. "In the summer of 1994, Coelho was the principal Democratic political strategist during the run-up to the mid-term Congressional elections. Officially, he was Senior Advisor to the Democratic National Committee. The Republican Party won a landslide victory in the fall congressional elections, capturing both the House and Senate by commanding margins."

    Kevin P Brown TeeJayzed Addy , 2016-05-04 22:13:28

    I was trying to be "polite" to temper the rage I feel at these dishonest people who pretend they even comprehend the word progressive and neatly sidestep the role the Koch Brothers played.

    Now we get more of the same. I am part of the 1% financially but I was raised to understand it was all going to get better for the poor. But yeah must have been Fox news who MADE Bill get into bed with these creeps. I can't sit back smugly and proclaim I am alright jack I have 4 kids and I am horrified the world they will inherit.

    [May 07, 2016] The Guardian

    Notable quotes:
    "... At the end, the brainwashing media convince the people to vote for the "bad choice" instead of the worst (which is Trump in this case). You don't need to have any plans or anything, just repeat "Trump bad, Trump bad, Trump bad, Me good" and the sheeple will follow! This strategy has been so successful that almost everywhere around the world are using it to win all types of elections! xD ..."
    "... Maybe Trump becoming president is necessary for the people to realize once and for all that this cycle of mistakes and corruption needs to stop and fundamental changes need to happen! ..."
    "... She should be a felon by now, and only her name protects her from jail. ..."
    "... "David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy won the authorisation to use "all necessary means" from the UN security council in March on the basis that Gaddafi's forces were about to commit a Srebrenica-style massacre in Benghazi. Naturally we can never know what would have happened without Nato's intervention. But there is in fact no evidence – including from other rebel-held towns Gaddafi re-captured – to suggest he had either the capability or even the intention to carry out such an atrocity against an armed city of 700,000 . ..."
    "... "Explanations of what one thought was happening in these countries were often misinterpreted as justification for odious and discredited regimes. In Libya, where the uprising started on 15 February 2011, I wrote about how the opposition was wholly dependent on Nato military support and would have been rapidly defeated by pro-Gaddafi forces without it. It followed from this that the opposition would not have the strength to fill the inevitable political vacuum if Gaddafi was to fall. I noted gloomily that Arab states, such as Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies, who were pressing for foreign intervention against Gaddafi, themselves held power by methods no less repressive than the Libyan leader. It was his radicalism – muted though this was in his later years – not his authoritarianism that made the kings and emirs hate him. ..."
    "... Given our support of Saudi and knowing their interventions, as well as Pakistan, we were stupid to intervene. ..."
    "... If Bernie does not get the nomination it will be the wilderness for the Democrats - no young voters no independents - unless they can conjure a principled candidate somehow from somewhere. ..."
    "... What planet African Americans are doing "better off" on is unknown. What is known is that President Obama is about to leave office with African Americans in their worst economic situation since Ronald Reagan . A look at every key stat as President Obama starts his sixth year in office illustrates that. ..."
    "... the world is divided in two, half who are nauseated by the above and the other half who purr in admiration at the clever way Clinton has fucked the public once again. As Mencken said democracy is that system of government in which it is assumed that the common man knows what he wants and deserves to get it good and hard. ..."
    "... It would be perhaps remotely Marxist if he said comrades. But even that was used by democrats, socialists and even fascists and nazists so I would say that no, there is nothing Marxist about it. One of his central messages is that we need to come together and improve our society, that we are all the same, without race or religion, with the same needs and fears as humans. ..."
    "... I even disagree with people saying that he promotes class struggle, he is talking about fair share and he is an ardent supporter of following the laws even when they are against his ideology, which is something that radicals do not tend to do. Radicals do not give a damn about laws and neither do Marxists or far-right wingers, fascists etc. ..."
    "... Hilary Clinton has various comments that reveals somebody who certainly fits the psychopath spectrum. Among the lowest of the low was "We came, we saw, he died!" Accompanied by a cackle of laughter. This was announced in full view of the media and public when Gadhaffi was overthrown by US assistance. ..."
    "... Hillary will not see that one criminal in the financial world of the USA will face justice for their mafia-like actions and destruction of billions of dollars and assets while stealing the savings of Americans and non Americans. President Obama hasn't done it and he is not the buddy Hilary is to these people. ..."
    "... Please. She lost that race in South Carolina when her husband, along with Geraldine Ferraro, called Obama being president a fairy tale and an affirmative action candidate, respectively. You can't win with only minority support, but you can't win without any of it if you are a Dem. Up until SC, the Clintons had minority support in the bag--most black people had never heard of Obama. Things changed real fast. ..."
    "... But to pick out my favorite Hillary statement of the week, in honor of her close associate and fellow gonif, Hillary superdelegate, Sheldon Silver, who recently got 12 years in the slammer: https://www.americarisingpac.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/clinton-sheldon-silver-meme1.jpg ..."
    "... In 2000, Silver was integral in Clinton's Senate campaign. According to The New York Times, Silver helped Hillary lobby members of the state assembly for their support ..."
    "... If Clinton is the Dem nominee it does more than give me shivers. Heck, I view Hillary as demonstrably more dangerous with foreign policy. Both use identity politics as a decisive issue- which only is a distraction from their lack of policy. Both their economic/domestic policies do little or worse for the current situation. Both are untrustworthy and any rhetoric on policy is highly questionable (although Clinton is certainly the worst in this regard). About the only good thing between either is that Trump is willing to question our empire abroad, which is well overdue (meanwhile Clinton seems to want to expand it). ..."
    "... If it's between those two I vote Green and take the 'Jesse Ventura' option: vote anyone not Dem or Rep. Both parties are two corrupt subsidiaries of their corporate masters. ..."
    "... She voted for the Iraq war, being investigated by the FBI for her emails, there was Benghazi, turning Libya into a ISIS hotbed, allowed a military junta to assassinate a democratically elected president in Honduras and said nothing, takes $675k from Goldman for 3 speeches and refuses to disclose the transcripts because she KNOWS it'll hurt her, voted for trade deals that's gutted manufacturing in the USA....should I go on? ..."
    "... Uh huh and your supporting a person: That voted for the Iraq War, destabilized Libya, Benghazi, gave tacit approval to a military junta in Honduras as Secretary of State, called black youth super predators, supports trade agreements that destroy our own manufacturing jobs, takes more money from special interests than her constituency, has made millions in speeches from the bank lobby and won't disclose the transcripts......yeah she's real HONEST......riiigggghhhhttttt.... ..."
    www.theguardian.com

    thevorlon -> newyorkred , 2016-05-06 17:59:00

    Most politicians these days don't care about the people and this ridiculous cycle is repeating every 4 years! Candidates who actually want to make progress get dumped by the corrupt system and the parties that are being controlled by their corporate masters and their money to do as they want to return the more money to them later when they have the office!

    At the end, the brainwashing media convince the people to vote for the "bad choice" instead of the worst (which is Trump in this case). You don't need to have any plans or anything, just repeat "Trump bad, Trump bad, Trump bad, Me good" and the sheeple will follow! This strategy has been so successful that almost everywhere around the world are using it to win all types of elections! xD

    Maybe Trump becoming president is necessary for the people to realize once and for all that this cycle of mistakes and corruption needs to stop and fundamental changes need to happen! Starts with the USA and the world will follow over time. I personally am done with following these corrupt political systems and their media and do as they tell me to (same goes for the financial system but there's no escaping this one in the near future with corps and banks being in total control of the society).

    John Kennedy -> Allan Burns , 2016-05-06 17:35:46
    She should be a felon by now, and only her name protects her from jail.
    Ilupi Ilupi -> EagleOMC , 2016-05-06 17:05:43
    Establishment baby.
    Kevin P Brown -> MeereeneseLiberation , 2016-05-06 09:53:20
    http://foreignpolicy.com/2011/04/07/was-there-going-to-be-a-benghazi-massacre /

    "As Alan Kuperman of the University of Texas and Stephen Chapman of the Chicago Tribune have now shown, the claim that the United States had to act to prevent Libyan tyrant Muammar al-Qaddafi from slaughtering tens of thousands of innocent civilians in Benghazi does not stand up to even casual scrutiny. Although everyone recognizes that Qaddafi is a brutal ruler, his forces did not conduct deliberate, large-scale massacres in any of the cities he has recaptured, and his violent threats to wreak vengeance on Benghazi were directed at those who continued to resist his rule, not at innocent bystanders. There is no question that Qaddafi is a tyrant with few (if any) redemptive qualities, but the threat of a bloodbath that would "stain the conscience of the world" (as Obama put it) was slight. "

    "If humanitarian intervention is to remain a live possibility, there must be much more public scrutiny, debate and discussion of what triggers that intervention and what level of evidence we can reasonably require. Did administration officials have communications intercepts suggesting plans for large-scale killings of civilians? How exactly did they reach their conclusion that these reprisals were likely? It should be no more acceptable to simply accept government claims on this score than it was for previous administrations.

    As I've argued previously, the term "humanitarian crisis" is desperately imprecise and the informed public's ability to distinguish between civil strife (which is always bloody) and outright massacres and extermination campaigns is weak. Walt's certainty notwithstanding, the debate about the humanitarian rationale in this case has not been settled. In fact, it's barely begun."

    Kevin P Brown -> MeereeneseLiberation , 2016-05-06 09:50:28
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/oct/26/libya-war-saving-lives-catastrophic-failure

    So no, we should have not intervened.

    "David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy won the authorisation to use "all necessary means" from the UN security council in March on the basis that Gaddafi's forces were about to commit a Srebrenica-style massacre in Benghazi. Naturally we can never know what would have happened without Nato's intervention. But there is in fact no evidence – including from other rebel-held towns Gaddafi re-captured – to suggest he had either the capability or even the intention to carry out such an atrocity against an armed city of 700,000 .

    What is now known, however, is that while the death toll in Libya when Nato intervened was perhaps around 1,000-2,000 (judging by UN estimates), eight months later it is probably more than ten times that figure. Estimates of the numbers of dead over the last eight months – as Nato leaders vetoed ceasefires and negotiations – range from 10,000 up to 50,000. The National Transitional Council puts the losses at 30,000 dead and 50,000 wounded.

    Of those, uncounted thousands will be civilians, including those killed by Nato bombing and Nato-backed forces on the ground. These figures dwarf the death tolls in this year's other most bloody Arab uprisings, in Syria and Yemen. Nato has not protected civilians in Libya – it has multiplied the number of their deaths, while losing not a single soldier of its own.

    For the western powers, of course, the Libyan war has allowed them to regain ground lost in Tunisia and Egypt, put themselves at the heart of the upheaval sweeping the most strategically sensitive region in the world, and secure valuable new commercial advantages in an oil-rich state whose previous leadership was at best unreliable. No wonder the new British defence secretary is telling businessmen to "pack their bags" for Libya, and the US ambassador in Tripoli insists American companies are needed on a "big scale".

    But for Libyans, it has meant a loss of ownership of their own future and the effective imposition of a western-picked administration of Gaddafi defectors and US and British intelligence assets. Probably the greatest challenge to that takeover will now come from Islamist military leaders on the ground, such as the Tripoli commander Abdel Hakim Belhaj – kidnapped by MI6 to be tortured in Libya in 2004 – who have already made clear they will not be taking orders from the NTC.

    Kevin P Brown -> MeereeneseLiberation , 2016-05-06 09:40:10
    Libya:

    An interesting article. Note I trust Cockburn as a journalist.
    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/the-arab-spring-reported-and-misreported-foreign-intervention-in-libya-and-the-last-days-of-colonel-a6992726.html

    "Explanations of what one thought was happening in these countries were often misinterpreted as justification for odious and discredited regimes. In Libya, where the uprising started on 15 February 2011, I wrote about how the opposition was wholly dependent on Nato military support and would have been rapidly defeated by pro-Gaddafi forces without it. It followed from this that the opposition would not have the strength to fill the inevitable political vacuum if Gaddafi was to fall. I noted gloomily that Arab states, such as Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies, who were pressing for foreign intervention against Gaddafi, themselves held power by methods no less repressive than the Libyan leader. It was his radicalism – muted though this was in his later years – not his authoritarianism that made the kings and emirs hate him.

    This was an unpopular stance to take on Libya during the high tide of the Arab Spring, when foreign governments and media alike were uncritically lauding the opposition. The two sides in what was a genuine civil war were portrayed as white hats and black hats; rebel claims about government atrocities were credulously broadcast, though they frequently turned out to be concocted, while government denials were contemptuously dismissed. Human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch were much more thorough than the media in checking these stories, although their detailed reports appeared long after the news agenda had moved on."

    Kevin P Brown -> MeereeneseLiberation , 2016-05-06 09:34:01
    And then in another note, why do people like you condemn the Taliban but give a free pass to the Saudi's who have a lot to do with the state of fundamentalism in Afghanistan, and essentially operate the same as the Taliban? Why are we not intervening in Saudi Arabia to free the people? Nah. Do people die from either side in Afghanistan? Yes. Excusively the Taliban? no. The western press prefers the narrative of Taliban extremism. The western press ignores and fails to report killings by US troops, one incident I know of personally in Kabul. Never reported in the press.

    So I suggest you educate yourself on the complexities of Afghanistan before you sound off with smugness. It is obvious you have no idea of what really goes on there.

    Have you ever visited Saudi Arabia? Want a litany of the horrors there? No, you don't. You have a narrative which I suspect is ill informed.

    the Taliban were winning against the Northern Alliance for various reasons, one was that a lot of people supported them. We turned a blind eye to the destabilising effects of Saudi and Pakistan support of the Taliban as well. We set this up for failure a long time ago. Riding in like the calvary and handing out billions to the Northern Alliance was not very helpful for stability.

    Kevin P Brown -> MeereeneseLiberation , 2016-05-06 09:33:31
    "was if ending Taliban rule had made things better"

    You try to simplify a very complex situation. In fact there was never absolute rule by the Taliban. You seem to forget there was a civil war in the country before 9/11. There was the Taliban and the Northern Alliance. There was Pakistan and the ISI ( Pakistan of course if often supported by the US, then we had Saudi Arabia, again supported by us). Before 9/11 The northern alliance was about to be defeated. On both sides was indiscriminate killings. You also had a complex mix if Pashtun Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazaras. You had multiple political alliances which I will not bother to list. Kabul was destroyed by the fighting. Atrocities on both sides. You had Dostum with the Northern Alliance and Massod as well. Massod was reasonable, Dostum was an animal worse than the Taliban.

    What people related to me was this: The Taliban were more predictable. Dostum was not predictable. Both were bad, but as Clinton fans love to highlight, the lessor of two evils must be selected. The Taliban also represented the Pashtun who were the largest ethnic bloc in Afghanistan. So in essence the people mostly supported the Taliban. The Northern Alliance had the support of Russia, and you might recall the Afghans did not have fond memories of them.

    So, you want to simplify the Taliban atrocities and ignore the rest. Afghans did not have the luxury of this. They had to choose the lesser evil. Had Massood not been entangled with Dostum, perhaps things would have been different.

    We came in and supported the Northern Alliance, which did NOT sit well with a lot of people. The majority? I don't have statistics exactly pointing this out. The Pashtun felt pushed out of affairs by the minority remnants of the Northern Alliance. Every ..... and I mean every government office had photos of Massood on the wall. Not Karzai. Karzai was seen as irrelevant by all sides, he was seen as the American imposed choice. ( I will not even discuss the "election" but I was on the ground dealing with Identity cards before the UN arrived, had meetings with the UN team about approaches to getting ID cards out to all voters, and there is a stink over aspects of the participation in the elections).

    "And seeing a self-described leftist explaining that life under the Taliban wasn't all that bad if you just grew a beard [!] and fell in line is really sort of pathetic."

    Your smug simplistic statement indicates you have no idea of the horrors enacted on both sides. I was told this time and time again as how people decided to survive by picking a side where there were rules and they could survive the rules.

    But lets put aside my anecdotal evidence and look at the people of Afghanistan:

    http://www.d3systems.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/AAPOR-2012-Taliban-Reconciliation-John-Richardson.pdf

    "Looking at Afghans' views on reconciling with the Taliban does not appear to bear out the concerns over ethnic divisions shared by Jones and Kilcullen. When asked whether the Afghan central government should negotiate a settlement with the Taliban or continue fighting the Taliban and not negotiate, a recent national survey of Afghanistan found that roughly three- quarters (74%) of Afghans favor negotiating with the Taliban .74 This is in line with previous studies, such as a series of polls sponsored by ABC News which found that the number of Afghans favoring reconciliation had risen from 60% in 2007 to 73% in 2009."

    ""Do you think the government in Kabul should negotiate a settlement with Afghan Taliban in which they are allowed to hold political offices if they stop fighting, or do you think the government in Kabul should continue to fight the Taliban and not negotiate a settlement?""

    77% of men and 70% of women agree with this.

    Here is the ultimate point. We intervened and we had no fucking idea what we were doing. The Afghans saw the money flowing to Beltway Bandits rather than flowing to real aid and needs. They saw this! They were not stupid. They saw that the Pashtuns were pushed out of Government, ( hence the Massod images in ALL government offices [My project of reform dealt with EVERY government offices and I visited a fair few personally and finally had to ask abut why each office had Masood an not Karzai)

    My opinion? I see indications that the Taliban would have handed over Bin Laden. We refused. Is this disputed? Yes. Were we right to favour the Northern Alliance? No. They were as bad as the Taliban, but more ..... unpredictable.

    Given our support of Saudi and knowing their interventions, as well as Pakistan, we were stupid to intervene.

    Kevin P Brown -> Carly435 , 2016-05-05 19:28:39
    Robin is relentless is arguing AGAINST, but he is quite light on arguing for anything. It is an interesting question as to what he stands for.

    His main argument is that zero information from "right wing" press is true. He seems unaware that at times, actual facts are presented or not presented or suppressed by either media outlet, depending on their corporate ownership and management slant of what should be reported. Me? I read everything and decide if something is a fact. It is strange that factual reporting about the actual many many FOIA lawsuits only gets printed in right wing press. They of course have an agenda, but does not negate the facts they report. Like Clinton being allowed to be deposed in a civil FOIA suit. That is a fact, with quotes from the Judge. CNN? I guess they couldn't afford to report this factual development.

    When you only read the press looking for a partisan set of narratives, you end up being partisan and ill informed. When you read all the flavours of press in an desire to inform yourself, when your goal is not a narrative but factual accounts of the truth, then you can be better informed. So we have partisans, who only view Fox and we also have partisans who only view CNN. Both are as bad as each other. One must be capable of decreeing the motives of each, and discarding the nonfactual narratives, and then one can be fully informed.

    Robin makes the assumption that facts only occur in his selected set of informational partisan sources. Why? Because he is partisan. This then enables him to argue against a narrative, rather than support his own narrative. He plays the neat trick of simply discarding any factual reporting from places like Breibart. One can see interesting lacks of coverage on google search.

    Kevin P Brown -> RobInTN , 2016-05-05 19:19:20
    "Libel is a method of defamation expressed by print, writing, pictures, signs, effigies, or any communication embodied in physical form that is injurious to a person's reputation, exposes a person to public hatred, contempt or ridicule, or injures a person in his/her business or profession."

    So surely in America, Clinton with her wealth would take some legal action? I would if I had her money, and wealth. Interesting that she has not? Perhaps you could write to her and suggest she defend herself in a real and palpable way?

    dutchview -> lsbg_t , 2016-05-05 18:17:57
    Yes and a lot of the press are trying to bury the news about another Sanders success. When you look at how many voting districts he comes out top in, in is a large percentage. Clinton tends to get closer or take the district if their is a higher population density.

    The influence of the super delegates is a scandal in a "democratic process".

    Vladimir Makarenko -> digit , 2016-05-05 17:00:45
    First I would be very careful taking what G gives, it is nowadays "fixing" news like Fox. Most reliable, if speaking about polls the word can be used, is results of metastudies:
    http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/pollster/2016-general-election-trump-vs-clinton
    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/us/general_election_trump_vs_clinton-5491.html
    Both give today's Clinton of 6% when Sanders is whopping 13+%
    So when Hillary's shills preaching how easily she "beats" Trump, they lie. Only Bernie can do this or or see Oval Office moved to Atlantic City.
    luminog -> simpledino , 2016-05-05 12:48:54
    If Bernie does not get the nomination it will be the wilderness for the Democrats - no young voters no independents - unless they can conjure a principled candidate somehow from somewhere.

    Clinton won't cut it and she won't beat Trump. Trump will out her on every crooked deal she has been involved in.

    Kevin P Brown -> hillbillyzombie , 2016-05-05 12:23:14
    You'll then cycle back to the lesser of two evils, that Democrats like Obama and Clinton are needed to help the poor blacks and minorities. To me this is a myth. The poor get fucked no matter what party is in office.

    Is this is a Fox News plant article? yeah yeah, let's vote Clinton who promises a continuation of Obama's policies. Will Trump make this much worse? Maybe. Trump or Clinton will in my opinion do little to improve these issues quoted below. You have a different opinion. Great.

    " http://www.blackpressusa.com/is-black-america-better-off-under-obama /

    "Like the rest of America, Black America, in the aggregate, is better off now than it was when I came into office," said President Obama on December 19, in response to a question by Urban Radio Networks White House Correspondent April Ryan.

    What planet African Americans are doing "better off" on is unknown. What is known is that President Obama is about to leave office with African Americans in their worst economic situation since Ronald Reagan . A look at every key stat as President Obama starts his sixth year in office illustrates that.

    Kevin P Brown -> Kevin P Brown , 2016-05-05 12:16:44
    "All the equations showed strikingly uni- form statistical results: racism as we have measured it was a significantly disequalizing force on the white income distribution, even when other factors were held constant. A 1 percent increase in the ratio of black to white median incomes (that is, a 1 percent decrease in racism) was associated with a .2 percent decrease in white inequality, as measured by the Gini coefficient. The corresponding effect on top 1 percent share of white income was two and a half times as large, indicating that most of the inequality among whites generated by racism was associated with increased income for the richest 1 percent of white families. Further statistical investigation reveals that increases in the racism variable had an insignifi- cant effect on the. share received by the poorest whites and resulted in a decrease in the income share of the whites in the middle income brackets."
    Kevin P Brown -> hillbillyzombie , 2016-05-05 12:16:13
    "What I said, and still maintain, is that the struggle against racism is as important as the struggle against other forms of oppression, including those with economic and financial causes."

    We can agree on this statement. However, do we need to recognise that legislation alone will not solve racism. A percentage of poor people turn against the "other" and apportion blame for their issues.

    http://tomweston.net/ReichRacism.pdf

    Try reading this.

    " that campaign finance and banking reform will fix everything"

    Of course not. But when you have an issue you can continually put bandaids on the symptoms or you can perform a root cause analysis and then proceed to fix these root causes. The fact is that politicians are disinclined to put the needs of voters first, they tend to pay lip service to the needs of voters, while spending 60% of their time interacting with rich donors, who are very good are articulating their needs, as they hand over large sums of money. This system creates a log jam to reform. If we can return the immutable link to the voters interests, and congress them reform of economic distortions that support racism become far far easier. Motive of change and motives of votes become transparent.

    "The various forms of discrimination are not separable in real life. Employers' hiring and promotion practices; resource allocation in city schools; the structure of transportation sys- tems; residential segregation and housing quality; availability of decent health care; be- havior of policemen and judges; foremen's prejudices; images of blacks presented in the media and the schools; price gouging in ghetto stores-these and the other forms of social and economic discrimination interact strongly with each other in determining the occupational status and annual income, and welfare, of black people. The processes are not simply additive but are mutually reinforcing. Often, a decrease in one narrow form of discrimination is accompanied by an increase in another form. Since all aspects of racism interact, an analysis of racism should incorporate all its as- pects in a unified manner."

    My thesis is this: build economic equality and the the pressing toxins of racism diminish. But yeah dismiss Sanders as a one issue candidate. he is a politician, which I acknowledge. He has a different approach to clinton who will micro triangulate constantly depending on who she in front of. I find his approach ore honest. Your mileage may vary.

    " money spent on campaigns does not correlate very highly to winning"

    No but overall money gets to decide on a narrow set of compliance in the candidates. But it still correlates to winning. Look at the Greens with no cash. Without the cash, they will never win. Sanders has proved that 1. We do not need to depend on the rich power brokers to select narrowly who will be presented as a candidate. 2. He has proved that a voter can donate and compete with corporate donations. I would rather scads of voter cash financing rather than corporate cash buying influence. ABSCAM was a brief flash, never repeated to show us what really happens in back rooms when a wad of cash arrives with a politician. That we cannot PROVE what happens off the grid, we can and should rely on common sense about the influence of money. 85% of the American people believe cash buys influence. The only influence on a politician should be the will of the people. Sure, corporates can speak. Speech is free. Corporate cash as speech is a different matter. It is a moral corruption.

    "most contributions come after electoral success"

    Yes part of the implied contract of corporates and people like the Koch Brothers: Look after us and we will look after you. We will keep you in power, as long as you slant the legislation to favour us over the voters.

    You do realise the Clinton Foundation bought the assets of the DLC, a defunct organisation. Part of the assets are the documents and records that contain the information about the Koch Brothers donations and their executives joining the "management" of the DLC. Why would a Charity be interested in the DLC documents? Ah it is a Clinton Foundation. Yeah yeah, there is no proof of anything is there. No law was broken. Do I smell something ? Does human nature guide my interpretation absent a clear statement from the Foundation of this "investment"?? Yes.

    We have to start SOMEWHERE. Root causes are the best place to start.

    Democrat or Republican, Blacks and Whites at the bottom are thrown in a race for the bottom and this helps fuel the impoverishment of both. It is fuel to feed racism. My genuine belief.

    digit -> Vladimir Makarenko , 2016-05-05 12:07:33
    Sorry, I mean, here .
    buttonbasher81 -> o_lobo_solitario , 2016-05-05 12:06:44
    Why is it wrong for democrats to pick their own party leader? Also Obama beat Hilary last time so what's Bernies problem now? Also why moan about a system that's been in place for decades now, surely the onus was on Sanders to attract more middle of the road dem voters? Finally I'm sure republicans would also love to vote in Sanders, easy to demolish with attack ads before the election (you'll note they've studiously ignored him so far).
    Longasyourarm -> Genpet , 2016-05-05 11:47:49
    the world is divided in two, half who are nauseated by the above and the other half who purr in admiration at the clever way Clinton has fucked the public once again. As Mencken said democracy is that system of government in which it is assumed that the common man knows what he wants and deserves to get it good and hard.
    Longasyourarm -> nemesis7 , 2016-05-05 11:44:57
    explain to me why the blacks and Hispanics vote for her because it is a mystery to me. She stands for everything they have had to fight against. So you have a 1%er-Wall St.-invade Iraq-subprime-cheat the EU-Goldman Sachs-arms dealing-despot cuddling-fuck the environment coalition. And blacks and Hispanics too? Are they out of their minds?
    Eric L. Wattree , 2016-05-05 09:19:27
    BERNIE SANDERS - OR ZIG AGAINST ZAG
    .
    If the American people don't come to their senses and give Bernie Sanders the Democratic nomination, we're going to end up with a choice between Zig and Zag. Zig is Donald Trump, and Zag is Hillary Clinton. To paraphrase Mort Sahl back in the sixties, the only difference between the two is if Donald 'Zig' Trump sees a Black child lying in the street, he'd simply order his chauffeur to run over him. If Hillary 'Zag' Clinton saw the kid, she'd also order her chauffeur to run over him, but she'd weep, and go apologize to the NAACP, after she felt the bump.
    .
    WAKE UP, BLACK PEOPLE!!!
    IF YOU DON'T, YOU'LL BE SORRY - AGAIN.
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1057244620990215&set=a.136305753084111.28278.100001140610873&type=3&theater
    Kevin P Brown -> hillbillyzombie , 2016-05-05 08:20:53
    Giving aid to the Republicans? If you honestly believe that any criticisms I have is worse than what I discuss, you need to give up politics and get a hobby. Trump will for example use her FOIA/email issues like a stick to beat her with. This is not Soviet Russia where we all adopt the party line. I'm not not ever have been a member of the Democratic Party. I COULD have been this year. Now? Never. The solution to the nations problems will come from outside this party.

    I prefer neither. You love fearmongering about how worse it will be under trump. Hmmm. I don't buy that tale. Take Black family incomes. In the toilet. Under either party it goes south. Abortion? Like slavery nothing ...... Nothing is going to change. It's too late to change that one. But it's a useful tool to make us believe ONLY Clinton can protect us. Economically the Democrats are essentially the same as the Republicans, more of the same corporate welfare. Would Clinton cut Social Security? Maybe. I don't believe her core statements. Sorry but as a person I just can't buy into the package. Both republicans and democrats on a vague macro level will try to lower unemployment but neither will talk about falling participation. Clinton had already proved she's probably as likely as Trump to get bullets flying. It's her judgement. She's part of the same old we need to intervene yet never understanding the real issues. I despise her unflinching support of Saudi Arabia. That policy is insane!!! Etc etc etc.

    You believe a black family gays and women will sing Kumbaya under Clinton and all will be well.

    I believe both parties represent essentially the same with small regional differences .

    SavvasKara -> irishgaf , 2016-05-05 05:32:13
    It would be perhaps remotely Marxist if he said comrades. But even that was used by democrats, socialists and even fascists and nazists so I would say that no, there is nothing Marxist about it. One of his central messages is that we need to come together and improve our society, that we are all the same, without race or religion, with the same needs and fears as humans.

    I even disagree with people saying that he promotes class struggle, he is talking about fair share and he is an ardent supporter of following the laws even when they are against his ideology, which is something that radicals do not tend to do. Radicals do not give a damn about laws and neither do Marxists or far-right wingers, fascists etc. Those groups believe in changing the society through struggle into a model that fits their idea of the world whatever that may be. He simply states his beliefs and suggests laws to adjust the society to human needs, to eat, to live, to prosper in an equal footing.

    Carly435 -> RobertHickson2014 , 2016-05-05 05:28:00

    It is a rather sad commentary on how the bar of integrity and honesty has been so lowered that it doesn't even faze them

    One wonders what makes them call themselves Democrats? Their stance on gun and abortion issues? Certainly not economic and political justice, peace, democracy, or integrity in governance.

    Yes, it's been the single most shocking revelation of the entire election year for me as well. Not just the cynicism of the rank-and-file, but the arrogance and isolation of our corrupt Democratic party elite, many of whom still don't seem to grasp that a revolt by progressive Democrats and Independents is already under way. This is one of the forms it may take.

    Carly435 -> RobertHickson2014 , 2016-05-05 05:06:51
    Recharging is always a good idea ... and never more so than in an election year as turbulent, crazy, uplifting, disillusioning, energizing, maddening and fascinating as this one. I'll also be away (for weeks) toward the end of this month.

    Before you go, here's Carl Bernstein's interview with Don Lemon, in case you missed it:

    http://www.breitbart.com/video/2016/05/03/bernstein-there-will-be-very-damaging-leaks-from-hillary-email-investigation-her-actions-reckless-and-entitled /

    nemesis7 , 2016-05-05 03:24:50
    Hilary Clinton has various comments that reveals somebody who certainly fits the psychopath spectrum. Among the lowest of the low was "We came, we saw, he died!" Accompanied by a cackle of laughter. This was announced in full view of the media and public when Gadhaffi was overthrown by US assistance.

    Are some Democrats so brainwashed that they think a woman president is the answer regardless of what kind of person that woman is? Since when do decent people in politics exult in death like this? Libya's murdered leader was no angel but Hitler he was not and as older people have told me, the deaths of Hitler and Stalin and the like were greeted publicly with muted and dignified relief by western representatives.

    Add to that the continual lies that are being aired in public and this is why the USA has lost its way.

    Hillary will not see that one criminal in the financial world of the USA will face justice for their mafia-like actions and destruction of billions of dollars and assets while stealing the savings of Americans and non Americans. President Obama hasn't done it and he is not the buddy Hilary is to these people.

    And since when does the USA have the ethical superiority to attack countries like Russia for cronyism etc? This is unbelievable - a presidential nominee candidate is being investigated by the FBI and she doesn't stand down?

    Wake up Democrats. At least read a book called The Unravelling by an American journalist whose name I forget. This heartbreaking book says it all about the realities for the non privileged and non powerful in todays' America.

    I recall David Bowie's beautiful song This Is Not America. The Bernie supporters understand that, all power to him, those who think like him, and his supporters.

    macktan894 -> RobInTN , 2016-05-05 02:29:31
    Please. She lost that race in South Carolina when her husband, along with Geraldine Ferraro, called Obama being president a fairy tale and an affirmative action candidate, respectively. You can't win with only minority support, but you can't win without any of it if you are a Dem. Up until SC, the Clintons had minority support in the bag--most black people had never heard of Obama. Things changed real fast.
    Allan Barr , 2016-05-05 02:21:15
    Like its not obvious? There is now no paper trail to enable ensuring computer votes are true. A man on the moon can now ensure who is going to be President, that was said by a premier computer security expert.

    Along with extensive disenfranchisement, numerous ways its pretty clear these outcomes are preordained. Guess I am not going to be voting for either of the two appointed runners, its pointless. I will vote for Bernie when its time in California.

    Carly435 -> RobertHickson2014 , 2016-05-05 02:05:34
    And to branch out a bit, there are so many empty stock phrases to choose from in her 2016 campaign alone, including "I'm with her" and "Breaking down barriers" courtesy of her 2008 campaign manager, Mark Penn. Speaking of Penn, there's a hilarious little passage in "Clinton, Inc" (p. 65) which describes Penn running through possible campaign slogans for 2008. "Penn began to walk through all the iterations of Hillary slogans: Solutions for America, Ready for a change, Ready to lead, Big challenges, Real Solutions; Time to pick a President... but then he seem to get a little lost...Working for change, Working for you. There was silence, then snickers as Penn tried to remember all the bumper stickers which run together sounded absurd and indistinguishable. The Hillary I know."....

    Oy. ^__^

    But to pick out my favorite Hillary statement of the week, in honor of her close associate and fellow gonif, Hillary superdelegate, Sheldon Silver, who recently got 12 years in the slammer: https://www.americarisingpac.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/clinton-sheldon-silver-meme1.jpg

    Some background:

    https://www.americarisingpac.org/sheldon-silver-critical-to-hillary-clinton-political-machine /

    In 2000, Silver was integral in Clinton's Senate campaign. According to The New York Times, Silver helped Hillary lobby members of the state assembly for their support

    So I guess the former speaker of the NY assembly is just gonna have to vote for Hillary from behind bars, instead of at the DNC? How "super-inconvenient."

    John W , 2016-05-05 01:42:54
    Sanders is also leading in the West Virginia polls, which is the next primary. He just might be able to squeak out a victory.
    Robin Crawford -> Rouffian , 2016-05-05 01:07:15
    If Clinton is the Dem nominee it does more than give me shivers. Heck, I view Hillary as demonstrably more dangerous with foreign policy. Both use identity politics as a decisive issue- which only is a distraction from their lack of policy. Both their economic/domestic policies do little or worse for the current situation. Both are untrustworthy and any rhetoric on policy is highly questionable (although Clinton is certainly the worst in this regard). About the only good thing between either is that Trump is willing to question our empire abroad, which is well overdue (meanwhile Clinton seems to want to expand it).

    If it's between those two I vote Green and take the 'Jesse Ventura' option: vote anyone not Dem or Rep. Both parties are two corrupt subsidiaries of their corporate masters.

    nomorebanksters -> Jonah92 , 2016-05-04 23:43:43
    You are obviously misinformed about Bernie Sanders:
    https://votesmart.org/candidate/key-votes/27110/bernie-sanders#.VypxWXopDqA
    Most effective senator for the last 35 years and as Mayor or Burlington stopped corporate real estate developers from turning Burlington into Aspen east coast version.

    She voted for the Iraq war, being investigated by the FBI for her emails, there was Benghazi, turning Libya into a ISIS hotbed, allowed a military junta to assassinate a democratically elected president in Honduras and said nothing, takes $675k from Goldman for 3 speeches and refuses to disclose the transcripts because she KNOWS it'll hurt her, voted for trade deals that's gutted manufacturing in the USA....should I go on?

    Kevin P Brown -> hillbillyzombie , 2016-05-04 23:10:01
    So please please explain how Hillary Rodham Clinton is going to wave a wand and fix racism? I already know she will not fix poverty, she will slap a few ersatz bandaids onto bills that won't pass and like the spoiled child will seek praise every time mommy gets him to shit on the potty. You might recall a guy called Martin Luther King. he had some words about economic fairness and poverty.

    "" In the treatment of poverty nationally, one fact stands out: there are twice as many white poor as Negro poor in the United States. Therefore I will not dwell on the experiences of poverty that derive from racial discrimination, but will discuss the poverty that affects white and Negro alike . "

    nihilism: the rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless. The belief that nothing in the world has a real existence.

    You love that word but rejection of the dysfunctional state of DNC politics is NOT nihilism. Moral corruption around campaign finance is real. Moral corruption around money and lobbyists is real. The desire to fix this, this is real. Seeking real change is not nihilism. But yes, if it pleases you to continue in every other post with this word, do so. It's misuse says more about you than Sanders.

    nomorebanksters -> TehachapiCalifornia , 2016-05-04 23:04:08
    Please tell me exactly how much HRC has done for the U.S.? I'm from NYC and when she brought her carpet bagging ass here and as a 2 term senator she pushed 3 pieces of legislation thru. If you look at Bernie Sanders voting record:
    https://votesmart.org/candidate/key-votes/27110/bernie-sanders#.VypxWXopDqA

    He's been one of the most effective senators in Congress and has been able to get things done with cooperation from both sides of the aisle.
    So tell me again, what's she done that's so notable?

    nomorebanksters -> nolashea , 2016-05-04 22:57:13
    Uh huh and your supporting a person: That voted for the Iraq War, destabilized Libya, Benghazi, gave tacit approval to a military junta in Honduras as Secretary of State, called black youth super predators, supports trade agreements that destroy our own manufacturing jobs, takes more money from special interests than her constituency, has made millions in speeches from the bank lobby and won't disclose the transcripts......yeah she's real HONEST......riiigggghhhhttttt....
    Kevin P Brown -> hillbillyzombie , 2016-05-04 22:31:08
    "Are you really sure that money buys votes"

    Money buys the influence to be selected as a candidate. Normally. 99% of the time. Sometimes a Huey Long populist breaks through the process and scares the fuck out of the power structures. But you know how candidates are selected. Poor smart people never get to run for president unless they build a populist power base. The existing political parties defer to donors. Donors like the Koch Brothers, who happily funded Bill clinton and the DLC made their preferences clear. They didn't invest in a fit of altruistic progressivism. They wanted the DNC to swing right. And voila it did and Bill was anointed as the "one" to run. Don't be so naive.

    [May 07, 2016] So fed up is the American nation of plasticity, artificiality, botoxicity, hollow buffoonery and wizard-of-oz fakery of lobby-made candidates like Clinton that I comfortably predict that, if she ends up confronting Donald Trump in a general election, she will be mauled to threads and fronds

    Notable quotes:
    "... Simply put, the nation is sick to death of lies, deceptions and swindles - media and otherwise - which Hillary Clinton so capably embodies, personifies and endorses. In fact, one of the reasons why Donald Trump is the presumptive republican nominee is that, with all his extremism, vitriol and xenophobia, he still comes across as more genuine - even if genuinely nasty ..."
    "... So fed up is the American nation of plasticity, artificiality, botoxicity, hollow buffoonery and wizard-of-oz fakery of lobby-made candidates like Clinton that I comfortably predict that, if she ends up confronting Donald Trump in a general election, she will be mauled to threads and fronds, and I will get a kick of a lifetime. Donald Trump will eat her for mid-morning snack and she will have deserved every bit of drubbing she gets to receive. It will be more fun than the 6:00 AM sex. ..."
    "... Shock?!!!! How could the American Queen lose right?!!! ..."
    "... The main point is, Hillary has no chance of winning against Trump. She is already trying to get a cadre of neocon Republicans to support her, thinking she could get swing a portion of Republicans to support her, forgetting why she is so despised by a large segment of Democrats and majority of independents. It is her default cling to neocon interventionist, and corporate base of support that causes it. She is tone deaf, ignorant and arrogant. Unless, we Democrats stop her now Trump will beat her handily. I have no doubt about it. ..."
    "... In all of Hillary's 'closed' primary wins, they have been plagued with voter suppression tactics, voter purges, lack of voting machines and ballots, people (Sanders) having their party affiliation changed so they couldn't vote and 'Oh Yes' - Bill Clinton clearly violating election laws by 'wandering into a polling station in Boston. ..."
    "... Popular vote? When closed primaries arn't enough good old fashioned fraud will do. ..."
    "... Sanders has been consistently winning smaller states and may well have won New York too if not for the shenanigans going on there. ..."
    "... it will be a little awkward for Hillary wrenching the nomination from him after another series of massive wins. ..."
    "... Her 'sharing' means raising money for the states but giving them 1% of amount raised while diverting the funds back to the DNC who will be funding her campaigns. Smart technique, but deceptive, like much of her political life. ..."
    "... The fact is, a substantial section of the politically active electorate are sick and tired of the rotten do-nothing political system, and are doing whatever they can to deliberately disrupt business as usual. Don't be "shocked". ..."
    "... The "free press" continues to show that it is TOTALLY out of touch with the "we've had enough and we're not going to take it any more" quality of voters across the political spectrum. The U.S. "media" (i.e. corporate PR Sock Puppet), called Bernie's demise inevitable from the start (that is, when it wasn't blacklisting any coverage of him at all), and when there WAS coverage, it always had Kleverly manipulated headlines (Bernie shocks with a victory, yada yada yada). ..."
    "... The press has become so owned, so corrupt and also (in the case of the Guardian coverage of sanders) so Parrot- Lazy , I could just puke. A pox on all your pathetic "media" houses. ..."
    "... This rag like others do not get it. Sanders wins open primaries. The closed primaries with all the problems reported are why Clinton is in front. Democracy is not for the democrats. ..."
    "... Not only doesn't Killary know that 'this thing is not over", but the media doesn't know what's going on with the Empire of the entrenched Democratic party, nor the media Empire, nor the militarist Empire abroad, nor the financial Empire, nor the corporate Empire, nor any of the sectors of this Disguised Global Capitalist Empire, which is nominally HQed in. ..."
    "... This damn Disguised Global Capitalist EMPIRE that has by "singing so softly" imposed itself and its boot upon us, and which is a highly-integrated (but well hidden, like a cancer) six-sectored; corporate, financial, military, media/propaganda, extra-legal, and most dangerously dual-party Vichy-political facade of both the rougher neocon 'R' Vichy party and smoother lying neoliberal-con 'D' Vichy parties of the EMPIRE is "goin' down" ..."
    "... Using a dysfunctional system to change that very system is not hypocritical. ..."
    "... Sanders victory is not a "shock" to those of us who don't believe the media propaganda. Clinton and the DNC elite are the ones who will be shocked after the Oregon and California primaries as Sanders pulls neck and neck with her. ..."
    "... wrong, dems have been split down the middle since april 7. The DNC chose their candidate a year ago, that is not democracy. ..."
    "... Bow out gracefully, what a joke. Obama only got her support after she extorted the price of Secretary of State from him. ..."
    "... NYT is touted as being leftist by all the FOX readers and listeners, especially. They have an incredible bias for right wing Likud Party and Bibi Netanhayu and Hillary fits into that analysis as a veteran AIPAC speaker. ..."
    "... Christian Zionist, John Hagee, is also a favored speaker and colleague of Hillary's. She is a committed Neo-con and puppet of the New World Order Chicago School of Economics (Friedman). ..."
    "... The candidate who most appeals to women for support in this campaign is the same one who as US Senator and as US Sec. of State, has violated Moslem and Christian women's and children's fundamental human rights in Gaza, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Cuba. She has supported notorious violators of women rights, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel. ..."
    "... Wish to better understand Hillary Clinton? Review her relationship with Victoria Nuland the Neo-con who worked for Hillary in US Dept. of State as Undersecretary. Nation destabilizer Nuland is the wife of Robert Kagan, co-founder with William Kristol of PNAC. She worked for Dick Cheney as senior foreign policy advisor, now working for Sec. Kerry!! <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Nuland> Then the original Neo-con agenda here: https://en.wikipedia.org/.../Project_for_the_New_American ... ..."
    "... Now PNAC and Nuland's husband, Robert Kagan have updated to this anti-American New World Order; the same agenda that is wolly embraced by Hillary Clinton and Sec. of State Kerry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_Policy_Initiative ..."
    "... Sanders supporters are not merely disgusted by what they have seen in all the other candidates including Clinton, they know a good thing when they see it and are willing to support what they believe in fully. No more settling for " the lesser evil " which is evil . ..."
    "... Indiana is further proof that people have reached the limit of their tolerance. Democracy is not possible without choices. Bernie Sanders is the closest thing to a choice that was offered The rest of the characters running for President were...well, just that, characters--cartoon characters. ..."
    "... Bernie's policies are far better for the middle and working classes than Hillary's, and she is a warhawk to boot. Sometimes you have to vote your conscience instead of your team. Sander's actions are not assisting the GOP, it is the stubborn insistence of the DNC that we continue with the life-destroying policy of neoliberalism that is driving the Trump campaign. ..."
    "... On the idea of compromising to "get things done," I see an analogy to the Hippocratic oath. ..."
    discussion.theguardian.com
    MOZGODRK , 2016-05-04 17:34:33
    There is nothing "shocking" about Bernie Sanders' victory in Indiana. Simply put, the nation is sick to death of lies, deceptions and swindles - media and otherwise - which Hillary Clinton so capably embodies, personifies and endorses. In fact, one of the reasons why Donald Trump is the presumptive republican nominee is that, with all his extremism, vitriol and xenophobia, he still comes across as more genuine - even if genuinely nasty - than the rest of the man-made, prefabricated plastic stuff that Republican party has to offer. There is a perfectly good and legitimate reason why Jebb Bush and Carly Fiorina could not crawl out of their lower single-digit poll ratings: the general public found them insincere, dishonest and carrying hidden agendas -- and this was NOT merely a misperception on part of the paranoid nation: you CAN'T con 330 million people into perpetual dumbness simultaneously. It just isn't done.

    So fed up is the American nation of plasticity, artificiality, botoxicity, hollow buffoonery and wizard-of-oz fakery of lobby-made candidates like Clinton that I comfortably predict that, if she ends up confronting Donald Trump in a general election, she will be mauled to threads and fronds, and I will get a kick of a lifetime. Donald Trump will eat her for mid-morning snack and she will have deserved every bit of drubbing she gets to receive. It will be more fun than the 6:00 AM sex.

    Bernie Sanders is America's last best hope and change , and the very first real one. Come November, America has only one choice: to vote for one of the neoliberal corporate pieces of toxic human waste , or to vote for a decent human being. Alternatives do not exist. This is it.

    Timothy Everton -> MAINEindependent , 2016-05-04 17:33:50
    I don't see how the DNC can support a candidate who is under F.B.I. investigation. It doesn't matter if she is indicted?
    I'm so glad Bernie is going the distance.
    Manami , 2016-05-04 17:33:14
    Shock?!!!! How could the American Queen lose right?!!!

    The main point is, Hillary has no chance of winning against Trump. She is already trying to get a cadre of neocon Republicans to support her, thinking she could get swing a portion of Republicans to support her, forgetting why she is so despised by a large segment of Democrats and majority of independents. It is her default cling to neocon interventionist, and corporate base of support that causes it. She is tone deaf, ignorant and arrogant. Unless, we Democrats stop her now Trump will beat her handily. I have no doubt about it.

    RobertHickson2014 -> Margaret Telford , 2016-05-04 17:33:13
    In all of Hillary's 'closed' primary wins, they have been plagued with voter suppression tactics, voter purges, lack of voting machines and ballots, people (Sanders) having their party affiliation changed so they couldn't vote and 'Oh Yes' - Bill Clinton clearly violating election laws by 'wandering into a polling station in Boston.

    Hillary can't win in a fair fight, so she resorts to dirty tricks that would shame Richard Nixon.

    UNOINO -> ryanpatrick9192 , 2016-05-04 17:31:26
    Popular vote? When closed primaries arn't enough good old fashioned fraud will do.

    Election Fraud Special Report!

    kalpa108 -> OpineOpiner , 2016-05-04 17:30:36
    You beat me too it! Guardian-why is it a shock victory? Just report the news in an impartial manner, please.

    Sanders has been consistently winning smaller states and may well have won New York too if not for the shenanigans going on there.

    Its no shock at all.

    4hundred -> Genevieve K. Doyle , 2016-05-04 17:30:33
    I don't think anyone, anyone who has followed the primaries thus far. I thought it was 'likely' myself, only doubt that lingered was the supposed 'lost momentum' theories after Philly. Sanders is solid, I think most people now see through the mainstream bias against him. He'll fight till the convention, and it will be a little awkward for Hillary wrenching the nomination from him after another series of massive wins.
    MOPtimusP -> nevermind84 , 2016-05-04 17:29:48
    That's actually not strictly true.... Many states have laws that criminalize pledged delegates breaking their pledge... They can go to jail
    RobertHickson2014 -> talenttruth , 2016-05-04 17:28:39
    In all of 2015, Bernie received a total of 10 minutes of coverage from ABC network.
    lostinbago -> Julie Doering-Christiany , 2016-05-04 17:27:50
    Her 'sharing' means raising money for the states but giving them 1% of amount raised while diverting the funds back to the DNC who will be funding her campaigns. Smart technique, but deceptive, like much of her political life.
    Carmel Day -> ClareLondon , 2016-05-04 17:26:08
    The world gave up on the US years ago!!
    lostinbago -> Tamás Stiller , 2016-05-04 17:24:56
    I keep seeing that argument that Sander's supporters will vote for Trump. People aroused by his message of anti war; opposing the growing disparity of wealth; increasing the taxes for the rich to match the benefits they have been privileged to have such a greater share of the wealth; and other reforms: in what world would they easily switch to voting for an egomaniac, elitist, narcissist, misogynist, racist, xenophobe? I for one could consider skipping a vote, but NEVER could I see going from a Sanders to a Fascist.
    Matt062 , 2016-05-04 17:23:57
    Hear we go again with the gratuitous elitist spin. First it was how Trump was going to be stopped short of cinching the nomination "this time" - just you wait! Now the Guardian journalists have been instructed to feign "shock" that Sanders has once again shown what pull he has in this primary season.

    The fact is, a substantial section of the politically active electorate are sick and tired of the rotten do-nothing political system, and are doing whatever they can to deliberately disrupt business as usual. Don't be "shocked".

    talenttruth , 2016-05-04 17:23:06
    The "free press" continues to show that it is TOTALLY out of touch with the "we've had enough and we're not going to take it any more" quality of voters across the political spectrum. The U.S. "media" (i.e. corporate PR Sock Puppet), called Bernie's demise inevitable from the start (that is, when it wasn't blacklisting any coverage of him at all), and when there WAS coverage, it always had Kleverly manipulated headlines (Bernie shocks with a victory, yada yada yada).

    The press has become so owned, so corrupt and also (in the case of the Guardian coverage of sanders) so Parrot- Lazy , I could just puke. A pox on all your pathetic "media" houses.

    Margaret Telford , 2016-05-04 17:22:03
    This rag like others do not get it. Sanders wins open primaries. The closed primaries with all the problems reported are why Clinton is in front. Democracy is not for the democrats.
    4hundred -> ryanpatrick9192 , 2016-05-04 17:18:46
    well we should just ditch the super delegates outright
    lostinbago -> Merle Le Blanc , 2016-05-04 17:14:44
    That shifting of funds from the National committees to the states and then back to the national to avoid scrutiny of funds is the similar trick that tom DeLay used in texas that he was charged with evading election laws. Clinton does the same and there is no coverage?
    RobertHickson2014 , 2016-05-04 16:54:51
    When you think about it rationally, which Clintonistas are incapable of, how weak a candidate Hillary is that a little known Senator from a small North Eastern state can carry forth a campaign into May.

    After all she has repared her run for four years, placed her flunky Debbie Wassermann Schultz as head of the DNC, built a war chest from Corporate money, lined up commitments from over 400 Super Delegates before the primaries even began and yet, Bernie's still hanging in there.

    "In Friday, while Hillary Clinton was addressing the Democratic National Committee in Minneapolis, Minnesota, senior campaign officials announced that Clinton had already received pledges of support from at least 440 of the party's estimated 713 super delegates. That total includes 130 superdelegates who have publicly endorsed Clinton, as well as an additional 310 who have made private commitments to support Hillary."

    http://www.politicususa.com/2015/08/29/hillary-clinton-moves-lock-nomination-voting-starts-super-delegate-pledges.html

    Bernie had no name recognition, campaign staff and very little money to begin with, but his message of hope resonated enough to attract millions of supporters who were tired of the status quo. and they have raised over $200,000,000 in small donations without any SuperPacs.

    Keep going Bernie, you are a true Progressive and American Hero.

    Ladyhawke1 , 2016-05-04 16:52:18
    There is a God! You go Bernie. I am waiting for you here in California.

    When Bernie was speaking about healthcare for all ….I started wondering how many people died at home….because there they are with a pain in their chests and then they grab their healthcare booklets and they start adding it all up and what it takes just to get them to the hospital and the hospital stay.

    There is the ….. "Ambulance co-pay" …..$225.00 one way. ( God forbid you decide to go for a joy-ride.) Oh…wait…..you have to add the "Emergency Room co-pay $75.00, then if you get admitted….it is a co-pay of $250.00 per day (PER DAY) for six days. If you stay longer…whoopee it's for free. ( I could be staying at Four Seasons for that.)

    Who is fucking kidding who? What in the hell am I paying health insurance for and I am retired I have Medicare too? Who is making money on my and other people's misfortunes? We are all victims who have been convinced that ALL OF THIS shite is our own faults and individually we are on our own.

    Little do we realize that if we stand shoulder to shoulder and we get together and protest this travesty called healthcare, that we could get all of this changed to our benefit.

    It is time for Medicare for all. My taxes are to be used for the Common Good of everyone in this country. I do not want my taxes to go to war, war and more war.

    Bernie also addresses our shameful infrastructure in this country. The rich corporations and individuals take all of these illicit profits; my money, and yours and they just sit on it and do nothing to help this country or its people. When do we start getting smarter?

    amacd2 , 2016-05-04 16:38:59
    Not only doesn't Killary know that 'this thing is not over", but the media doesn't know what's going on with the Empire of the entrenched Democratic party, nor the media Empire, nor the militarist Empire abroad, nor the financial Empire, nor the corporate Empire, nor any of the sectors of this Disguised Global Capitalist Empire, which is nominally HQed in.

    metropoled, and merely 'posing' as our former country ---- and which Bernie's only partially revealed and vague, "Political Revolution" is going to be expanding into his, and OUR, fully defined sentence (with an 'object') and is growing into a loud, courageous, but peaceful, "Political Revolution against EMPIRE" as the Second American Revolution against EMPIRE again before this the 240th year's anniversary of our First (and only successful) American Revolution against EMPIRE.

    Everyone, and every sector, of this EMPIRE is deaf, dumb, and blind about this Revolution against Empire:

    "There's something happening here
    But what it is ain't exactly clear ...

    Stop, children, what's that sound?
    Everybody look what's going down"

    This damn Disguised Global Capitalist EMPIRE that has by "singing so softly" imposed itself and its boot upon us, and which is a highly-integrated (but well hidden, like a cancer) six-sectored; corporate, financial, military, media/propaganda, extra-legal, and most dangerously dual-party Vichy-political facade of both the rougher neocon 'R' Vichy party and smoother lying neoliberal-con 'D' Vichy parties of the EMPIRE is "goin' down"

    Kevin P Brown -> nevermind84 , 2016-05-04 16:38:50
    Using a dysfunctional system to change that very system is not hypocritical.
    MAINEindependent , 2016-05-04 16:25:19
    Sanders victory is not a "shock" to those of us who don't believe the media propaganda. Clinton and the DNC elite are the ones who will be shocked after the Oregon and California primaries as Sanders pulls neck and neck with her.

    For the good of the country, the Democrat Party should consider having Clinton pull out, because Trump will beat her, but Sanders would be him. But they won't and she won't, because they serve their owners, and their arrogance, hubris and sense of entitlement is supreme to their concerns for the rest of the 99%. Hopefully this election year ill see the destruction of both corrupt major corporate parties, and a rebirth of actual democracy in the USA. One person, one vote, not bought and unsuppressed.

    Merle Le Blanc -> HammyFooter , 2016-05-04 16:24:30
    wrong, dems have been split down the middle since april 7. The DNC chose their candidate a year ago, that is not democracy.
    California is an open primary, means that the 40 independents can vote.
    Merle Le Blanc , 2016-05-04 16:18:52
    Here's what the Guardian refuses to report, the obvious reason for the private server, and the destruction of evidence, watergate-style.
    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/most-firms-that-gave-to-clinton-foundation-also-lobbied-state-department/article/2564553
    RobertHickson2014 -> Julie Doering-Christiany , 2016-05-04 16:18:10
    Bow out gracefully, what a joke. Obama only got her support after she extorted the price of Secretary of State from him.
    jgwilson55 , 2016-05-04 16:16:25
    Hmmm, looking at the math today things have gotten very interesting. Clinton has 1701 pledged delegates, Bernie has 1417. To win outright before the convention you need 2382 pledged delegates. That would mean 1) Bernie cannot do it. 2) Hillary would have to win 681 out of the final 933 delegates up for grabs. That's 73% she needs to win.

    That ain't going to happen so it pretty much a fact now that the super delegates will pick this years Democratic nominee.

    Let's start putting the pressure on them NOW to make the right choice. Call them, write to them.....

    Source for delegate counts: http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/election-2016/delegate-targets/democrats /

    Ussurisk -> Riverdale , 2016-05-04 16:10:32
    NYT is touted as being leftist by all the FOX readers and listeners, especially. They have an incredible bias for right wing Likud Party and Bibi Netanhayu and Hillary fits into that analysis as a veteran AIPAC speaker.

    Christian Zionist, John Hagee, is also a favored speaker and colleague of Hillary's. She is a committed Neo-con and puppet of the New World Order Chicago School of Economics (Friedman).

    ID0248595 , 2016-05-04 16:08:04
    If Bernie, a socialist can win in a conservative Nazi state like Indiana, he can win any where.
    He even won in Indiana"s third largest city (Evansville) the most conservative large city in Indiana.
    Kevin P Brown -> AuntieMame , 2016-05-04 16:06:50
    Yeah cause Clinton has detailed policies on fixing this? Or does she play identity politics and hand wave?

    "In 2010, the median wealth, or net worth, for black families was $4,900, compared to median wealth for whites of $97,000. Blacks are nearly twice as likely as whites to have zero or negative net worth-33.9 percent compared to 18.6 percent."

    Ussurisk -> Tamás Stiller , 2016-05-04 16:03:52
    At this point, the only hope for world peace is Sanders. I'll write in Sanders before I would vote for Hillary "Failed State" Clinton. Hillary carries too high a load of baggage to prevail, even with historical trivia like Trevor 0691 above.

    Trump is safer bet because he will not be able to get Congressional support, the same problem Jimmy Carter, the Washington outsider had. Hillary's commitment to war, with her experience on Capital Hill is a most depressing specter.

    Martin Thompson -> andthensome , 2016-05-04 15:57:22
    Haha a sheep cheering for the farmer as he is dragged away for slaughter. Smacks of Stockholm syndrome.
    skells , 2016-05-04 15:56:11
    No comments allowed on the 'what is sander's route to the Democratic nomination' article but it is exceptionally poor journalism

    I quote: No numbers are available for the primaries that will be held in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Oregon and Kentucky, partly because pollsters know the voters there won't change the political calculus much – they're not "wasting" their time in places with few delegates available.

    This is factually incorrect as a 30 second look on wikipedia shows:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statewide_opinion_polling_for_the_Democratic_Party_presidential_primaries,_2016#Oregon

    Polls are available for Oregon, Kentucky, West Virginia.
    The most recent Oregon poll shows Sanders 1 point behind. The West Virginia poll shows him 5 points ahead, the most recent Kentucky poll (taken at start of March) has him 5 points behind.

    The latest New Jersey poll shows a 9 point deficit for him (compared with a 23 point deficit less than 2 months earlier).

    It's fair enough that journalists have their opinions in opinion pieces, but when factual inaccuracies are mixed up in such pieces, or so-called analytical pieces, it's just really shoddy, unprofessional journalism...

    Ussurisk , 2016-05-04 15:54:25
    The candidate who most appeals to women for support in this campaign is the same one who as US Senator and as US Sec. of State, has violated Moslem and Christian women's and children's fundamental human rights in Gaza, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Cuba. She has supported notorious violators of women rights, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel.
    How then are we to think that she will not import this treatment to the women of America?
    She supports human rights criminal Bibi Netanyahu and AIPAC with undying expressions of apology for extreme Zionism and Orthodox suppression of women. She opposes Jewish Voice for Peace and the indigenous Israel peace movement.

    Remember Dixie Lee Ray who was elected disastrous Governor of WA State when ERA movement shooed her in? Women voters beware.

    Wish to better understand Hillary Clinton? Review her relationship with Victoria Nuland the Neo-con who worked for Hillary in US Dept. of State as Undersecretary. Nation destabilizer Nuland is the wife of Robert Kagan, co-founder with William Kristol of PNAC. She worked for Dick Cheney as senior foreign policy advisor, now working for Sec. Kerry!! <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Nuland> Then the original Neo-con agenda here: https://en.wikipedia.org/.../Project_for_the_New_American ...

    Now PNAC and Nuland's husband, Robert Kagan have updated to this anti-American New World Order; the same agenda that is wolly embraced by Hillary Clinton and Sec. of State Kerry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_Policy_Initiative

    jgwilson55 , 2016-05-04 15:52:39
    Dan & Ben,

    Can you guys please make sure the Guardian reports on the Hillary Victory Fund hoarding 99% of the money it raises "for State races". It is of critical importance that voters be made aware of how the Clinton campaign is behaving (or mis-behaving).

    http://usuncut.com/politics/hillary-clinton-bilking-state-democrats

    Jay Bennett , 2016-05-04 15:39:39
    Sorry media controlling elites, Bernie has not lost yet. After her canary died in Indiana... Hillary has 1700 or 71% of the 2383 pledged delegates needed. So HRC will need 60% of the remaining 1114 pledged delegates to clinch. Bernie is favored in most of the remaining states. Contested convention!!! And what a rowdy party in the streets it will be. Bernie will likely go in into Philly just slightly behind in pledged delegates but with majority of states - and many of these states the ones Dems most count on to win in the general. Considering Bernie's popularity with Independents(had they been allowed to vote in the primary he would have won big) he would be the best choice against Trump. But as we all know from exit poll discrepancies - this election is rigged. Pointing to evidence of the corrupted process he will announce his run as the Green Party candidate.
    Merle Le Blanc -> Jackblob , 2016-05-04 15:35:30
    actually, it was only during this campaign that I bothered to check out why HRC had a private server, and it's not pretty. Washington Examiner did an excellent researched piece, laying out how the Clintons amassed $3b through their private foundation and big speaking feeds, and that's where the private server was needed, to organize the millions in state department contracts in line with donations. Prime time, mainstream media including the Guardian has simply refused to check out the work that has been done in the emails released last year. This is no GOP conspiracy. In fact, the Examiner lays out how Bush family used similar methods to amass their $3b fortune. That is the amassing of private wealth through the use of public office that is endemic to Washington - pretty close to Oligarchy at the scale of operations by former presidents, and heads of state. It's a level of corruption that has reached proportions that led to the $700billion bailout and $6 trillion loan bailout - the Clintons use neo-liberal 'charity' to mask t