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The state should represent the public interest

The risk managers turned out to be the risk creators! The goat pretended to be the gardener! Corporatists turn private risks into public risks and put the cart in front of the horse and wonder at the destruction!

Bernie could set us free from the horse-sparrow theory (John Kenneth Galbraith) where the horse must be fed so the sparrow can live.

The state should represent the “public interest” but private interests are increasingly in the drivers seat – through privatization, tax subsidies, revolving doors, tax competition etc. The Miami Marlins are building a new $2-billion baseball stadium with public money. Wal-Mart hides $76 billion in profits in the Cayman Islands tax haven and Apple shifts tens of billions of profits to dummy Irish shell companies like AOS – Apple Overseas Services. Amazon, Google, GE, Citigroup, Boeing and most large corporations shift billions to tax havens so state, local and federal budgets are strapped. In the 1960s, corporations covered 40% of federal revenue and now they cover 8% or 9%. Housing should be a human right but is subverted by the right of speculation. The keys to affordable housing are low-interest long-term loans and the creation of a cooperative or non-profit sector.

Trillions were given to Wall Street banks when they cried “Too big to fail.” Private risks were made into public risks. A transactions tax could raise billions for revenue-strapped state, local and federal budgets. The financial sector must be re-coupled to the real economy. Taxes on capital gains should not be taxed lower than work incomes. Tax havens like the Cayman Islands, Switzerland and Delaware hide $21-$32 trillion in corporate profits. Bernie Sanders as president would be like everyone enjoying an extra week of vacation since the economy would run for the 99%. We could make the transition from exploding inequality and corporate feudalism to a social contract with shared responsibilities.

Posted in Financial Market Capitalism, trickle-down economics | Leave a comment

Who Owns the Sky? The Climate in the Globalization Trap

Who Owns the Sky? The Climate in the Globalization Trap
by C. Methmann, A. Haack and J. Eisgruber, Attac Basis Text, 2007, reading sample, vsa-verlag.de

http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2016/05/432369.shtml

The bad news is that there are more inconvenient truths. Climate change is present, not future. Globalization and protection of the atmosphere do not go together. Climate policy has a past. Economic profit dominance always has priority over climate protection.

The logic of the financial markets to which climate protection often falls victim must be broken. A whole bundle of measures is necessary. Climate protection must go hand in hand with fighting poverty. Every person has a right to a dignified survival worldwide, whether with or without work. Climate protection needs common property.

Posted in Environmental Economics | Leave a comment

The Language of Neoliberalism

to read this book review of “Imagine Economy. Neoliberal Metaphors in Political-Economic Discourse” by Sebastian Friedrich, click on

http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2016/05/432329.shtml

Knowledge enables people to interpret reality. Metaphors and pictures give things a new meaning and can change reality when people act accordingly. Capital appears as a poor creature needing protection in the picture of capital as a frightened deer. Capital isn’t so frightened and isn’t the same as a deer. Different forms of capital must be distinguished.

The financial crisis is compared to a thunderstorm that is not man-made. The term sleek state is physical or bodily. Distribution questions are faded out by the metaphor. Costs for the population rise parallel to the trimming of the state… The powerful metaphor of “export world champion” serves to make policy in the interest of a minority appear as oriented in the public interest.

Posted in Political Theory, trickle-down economics | Leave a comment

Jon Stewart Resurfaces and Breaks Down the 2016 Election

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Jon Stewart Resurfaces and Breaks Down the 2016 Election: The “Man Baby” v. the “Inauthentic”

in Current Affairs, Politics | May 11th, 2016

https://youtu.be/Da5VYSPsoE0?t=881

It’s a farce of an election, and the only thing that could make it bearable is The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. (Sorry Trevor Noah.) But, alas, Stewart retired from the show earlier this year, leaving us starving for some incisive comic relief.

But here’s a momentary respite.

Two days ago, Stewart appeared on “The Axe Files,” a podcast hosted by David Axelrod, once the Chief Strategist for Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns, and now the Director of the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago. The podcast features intelligent conversations with key figures in the political world. And they often put a human face on political figures you might otherwise disdain. If you want to feel a little better about American politics, you can listen to archived episodes here.

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Posted in Cartoons, Political Theory | Leave a comment

38 Arguments Against TTIP

38 Arguments Against the TTIP (2015)
by Harald Klimenta, Maritta Strasser and Peter Fuchs

http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2016/05/432226.shtml
TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement) continues an old thinking instead of everyone sharing in the profits of a few. The ISDS (Investor-State-Dispute Settlement) private arbitration courts enable corporations to sue states and could have a chilling effect on labor and environmental protection. The German Judges Union called the agreement unnecessary and the additional protection of foreign investors “nonsense.”

The Alternative Trade Mandate worked out by 50 European NGOs would lead to a future-friendly and environmentally sensitive trade system.

Posted in TTIP - Free Trade agreement | Leave a comment

TTIP and CETA Must Be Prevented

Under TTIP, TPP and TiSA, corporations can sue states for lost profits. The German Judges Union calls additional protection of foreign investors “nonsense” that undermines democracy and the constitutional state and could lead to an avalanche of lawsuits and the chilling of labor and environmental protection. Jonas Sjostedt is the chairperson of the Swedish Left Party. Vattenfall is a Swedish energy conglomerate that is suing Germany for 4.7 billion euros for closing two nuclear power plants,

to read Conrad Schuhler’s article “TTIP and CETA Must Be Prevented,” published on April 17, 2016, click on
http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2016/05/432177.shtml

Posted in 2011 | Leave a comment

From the Constitutional State to the Security State

From the Constitutional State to the Security State
by Giorgio Agamben, April 2016 in Luxemburg 1/2016

http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2016/04/432130.shtml

The state of emergency is that arrangement by which totalitarian powers were established in Europe. Hitler’s first official act after his nomination (to Reich chancellor) was the proclamation of the state of emergency that was never retracted (during the NS rule). If one is amazed at the crimes committed with impunity in Germany by the Nazis, one forgets that these actions were absolutely “legal” because the land was subjected to a state of emergency and basic rights and freedom rights were suspended.

The security state is neither part of the constitutional state nor what Michel Foucault called the disciplinary society.. The security state is permanently grounded on fear and must keep fear alive at any cost because it has its essential function and legitimacy from it…

The three characteristics of the security state-maintaining a generalized state of anxiety, de-politization of citizens and renunciation on any legal certainty-should make us think. The security state to which we are moving does the opposite of what it promises. While security means the absence of worry (Latin sine cura – without worry – as the root for the French word securite), the security state foments permanent fear and terror. The security state is a police state that increases the police’s freedom of decision by suspending the power of the judiciary. The state of emergency that becomes daily routine and acts as the sovereign more and more becomes the normal case.

The security state breaks out of familiar politics to move to an indeterminate zone where public and private whose borders are hard to define become ever more blurred – through the increasing de-politization of citizens.

Posted in Human Rights, Political Theory | Leave a comment

The Financial Market Crisis in the Light of the Social Market Economy

to read Jorg Althammer’s article, click on

http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2016/04/432012.shtml

In 2007 and 2008 the US housing market almost completely collapsed. The crisis was brought about by a combination of state- and market-failures that intensified each other. The failure of the capital markets was a result of extensive deregulation. The principle of liability was violated. Failure risks were passed on without making transparent the actual risk of a security for the buyer. The rating agencies did not assume any liability for faulty assessments.

The dramatic crisis on the international financial markets fundamentally upended trust in the market economy. Critics of free enterprise systems use the financial crisis and the continuing growth weaknesses of developed market economies as reasons for questioning the free enterprise system altogether.

All highly-developed free enterprise economies are showing a clearly slackening economic growth. This slowing down of the growth process is an economic necessity. No one can expect national economies with a high per-capita income to grow at the same rate as threshold countries or the Federal Republic of Germany in the phase of reconstruction. That this growth process occurs in cycles is a system-conditioned necessity. Knowing that these cycles are primarily exogenous, avoiding these cycles cannot be the goal of state economic policy. Rather the challenge of state economic- and social policy is to keep these fluctuations as low as possible and cushion the social consequences of the recession. This should happen through the automatic stabilizers of the system of social security. Massive crises like the present crisis on the financial markets are results of misguided political-economic framing conditions. Thinking back to the foundations of the social market economy, particularly to the principle of private liability, can help prevent dislocations of this magnitude in the future.

RELATED LINKS:

Marc Batko, “Alternative Economics: Reversing Stagnation,” 159 pages, Smashwords, April 2016, https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/627516

Bill Black on the Corrupt Culture of Wall Street, April 2016

Bill Black: The Myth that Obama’s Taking Huge Contributions from Wall Street Was Fine

Posted in Alternative Economics, Financial Market Capitalism | Leave a comment

Tax Havens: Threat for Public Budgets by Sven Giegold

http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2016/04/431999.shtml

The common good is abused. The struggle against tax havens is a struggle for the rule of law and democracy. Apple, Google, Amazon, Boeing, GE and scores of other corporations shift tens of billions of taxable profits to tax havens in the Cayman Islands, Switzerland and Lichtenstein. According to a 2013 article, one building in Wilmington, Delaware has 285,000 mailbox firms.

Public budgets suffer because of the missing revenue. Corporations seem to have rights without responsibilities. Trust and public spirit fall by the wayside when corporations pretend to be non-profits and obey another law and another logic.

Posted in 2011 | Leave a comment

Capitalism as a Religion by Franz Segbers

Capitalism as a Religion by Franz Segbers

http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2016/03/431895.shtml
“Capital is the only god that the whole world knows, sees, touches, smells, tastes and excites all our senses. it is the only god that doesn’t encounter any atheists” (Paul Lafargue’s little known genial satire “Religion of Capital” from 1887).

Trust in the “invisible hand” is a trust in a religion that has a money god. Capital and its multiplication claim an all-determining authority. Only an enlightenment about the economy with the means of religion helps against a capitalism as religion.

Posted in Bob Dylan, Political Theory | Leave a comment