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Friday, January 29, 2016

The Trouble with Capitalism

The trouble with capitalism is that it tends to lump together "capital" with rental opportunities and create an aristocracy of wealth and power that has the ability to take the first cut on production and starve labor. This can't be good for anyone. Not all capital is the same, and when capitalists are disinvesting from actual production that increases inequality and eventually collapses the economy.

  1. All Capital is not equal
  2. Much of what is labeled capital is not "actual capital" but rental wealth.
  3. Much capital results from converting public goods to club goods.
  4. Or from converting common goods to private goods.
  5. Who owns and controls capital matters.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Transformation or half loaves -- A Debate

I still wish for an in person debate between Paul Krugman and Robert Reich. In a way we have one between their newspaper columns. Krugman in the times: and Reich in his blog: I think they both are making valid points. But I disagree fundamentally with Krugman's attack on the value of “transformative rhetoric”

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Search For Justice -- Susan Matzkin

A Life in Search of Justice

Susan Matzkin

My friend Raquel Partnoy announced the death of the activist Susan Matzkin today. I noticed there wasn't much out there in English on her. So I realized I needed to pass this information along. Raquel's announcement, in my poor translation goes:

"With deep regret we hear the sad news that Susan Matzkin has passed away. She was a tireless worker for human rights in lawsuits against those guilty of crimes against humanity and in the struggle for justice in the murder of her Sister Raquel Matzkin Zulma and companions during the military dictatorship. Her example of human dignity will always be remembered and will help to continue fighting for Truth and Memory." []


Her sister, Raquel Matzkin Zulma, was one of many young people killed by the Argentine Fascists during what amounted to a holocaust for educated Jews, progressive and radical Argentines, in what is euphemistically called "el processo" or "the dirty war" in Argentina. She dedicated her life to bringing to justice the people who committed those crimes against her own people. Roberto Baschetti has a brief bio of her sister:

Raquel Matzkin Zulma
Murdered 10/5/1976
"Matzkin, Zulma Raquel.
Born June 9, 1952 in Francisco Madero, Buenos Aires. She studied economics at the Universidad Nacional del Sur (UNS). Militant Peronist University Youth (JUP), abducted on 18 July 1976 and taken to the concentration camp "school" of Bahia Blanca. She was murdered in a faked encounter with three others, actually by the repressive forces in that city, the 10/05/76."

If we keep listening to Faux news, Right Wing Radio, and folks like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, this sort of thing could happen here. Althoug with police extrajudicial murders and "accidental poisonings" like happened in Flint. I would suggest it's already happening here for some people.

Further Reading

Raquel Partnoy's "Packages"
Spanish (EspaƱol) Versions:

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Rise of the Predator/Parasite State

How con artists turned the New Deal into a Predator State Part II

In a previous post "The sabotage of the New Deal" I shared some observations, mostly gleaned from James Galbraith's book "The Predator State" talking about the resilience of New Deal Institutions and how that resilience derived from their mixed private and public character. I then segued into discussing how the cons realized they couldn't repeal the New Deal because they had no alternative that worked. The cons decided instead to corrupt them. In this post I want to share some broader concepts. But it starts with a simple fact. James Galbraith was talking about Roosevelt, but could just as easily be talking about our incipient Oligarchs when he said:

"private economic activities supported, leveraged, guaranteed, and regulated by public power," coupled with "public institutions aided, abetted and buttressed by private money."

When folks call what is going on socialism for oligarchs, they aren't kidding. To acquire fortunes in the Billionaires one has to have to factors going. One is "de-regulation" -- and the other is private control (ownership) of public resources. Socialism is supposedly public ownership of private resources. But what is private ownership of public resources? It is not just oligarchy, it is aristocracy. And when carried to it's logical extreme it is Monarchy.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Two kinds of One Percent

Piketty's book "Capital" talks about not one, but two kinds of inequality. One; wealth inequality and two; income inequality. He demonstrates through his pages that of the two wealth inequality is the more pernicious. Wealth inequality begins with income inequality, or simple colonization, but then rapidly becomes inherited wealth. Income inequality represents the power of status and position, capital and market power to favor some professions and capital control over other trades or simple labor.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Our Corrupt Supreme Court of the USA (SCOTUS) overturns a bribery conviction

Our incredibly corrupt Supreme Court (SCOTUS) announced they are going to hear the case of the even more corrupt former Governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell, and his appeal of his conviction on bribery. The courts continue to affirm that the private separate advantage (tyranny) of money and power to buy private separate access and undue influence are:

"protected free speech."

Monday, January 11, 2016

How the Democratic Party was Bamboozled

Third Way and The New Orleans Declaration from Al From

Al From Takes credit for the birth of the "Third Way", which was a movement of Democrats exemplified by Bill Clinton that aimed at stealing thunder from the Right Wing while preserving the Democrats and allowing them to make a comeback against the Reagan revolution. The Democratic party had been in a hole for years, losing elections, losing "market share", legislators and local government, and worst of all for the insiders - losing patronage from big business and wealthy donors. Third way allowed politicians to continue to claim to champion populist and new deal policies while getting access to all that money.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Neoliberalism versus Economic Policy that Really works

We are seeing that some really horrible ideas are having predictable effects on economies around the world. They are horrible, they are counter-productive and they hurt people. Yet they are Zombie economic ideas that won't die. Why?

The reason that this happens is that people who have an agenda invent narratives to support that agenda. If it is convenient enough and it's not challenged those narratives become myths, and myths can be very, very bad and very persistent. Especially when those myths justify hierarchy and bullying. See []

In Bill Moyer's Article The Libertarian Delusion he talks about these horrible consequences of neoliberalism. But first let's define what "neo-liberalism" is. A Website called "Corporate Watch" lists some 6 main points about Neoliberalism and what their core tenets are:

  1. The Rule of the Market
  2. Attacking Public Expenditure for Social Services
  3. Deregulation allowing all sorts of rent seeking and abuses
  4. Privatization shifting public capital (wealth) to private hands (privateering)
  5. And at the core of all this:

  6. Eliminating the very concept of "the public good" or "community" and replacing it with "individual responsibility." Pressuring the poorest people in a society to find solutions to their lack of health care, education and social security all by themselves -- then blaming them, if they fail, as "lazy."

Or as I've observed, these pirates eliminate the notion of "public good" or "commonwealth" and replace it with a buccaneering spirit; Pirates

For more on this read: