to read the articles by Heidrun Bluhm and Andrej Holm translated from the German, click on
Cooperation and competition strengthen each other. Creating a non-profit or cooperative housing sector is the only remedy to gentrification and commodification as rental prices go through the roof. Social blindness and market failure are everywhere in Germany and the US. There is recognition in Germany that privatizing social housing was a terrible mistake.
Housing as a human right is frequently subverted by the right of speculation in Germany, Switzerland and the US. Housing often mutates from a human and social necessity to a speculative asset.
Anis Shivani’s article published in truth-out.org on June 10, 2016:
“Absent the neoliberal framework, we simply cannot grasp what is good or bad for citizens under Cruz versus Trump, or Clinton versus Sanders, or Clinton versus Trump, away from the distraction of personalities. To what extent does each of them agree or disagree with neoliberalism? Are there important differences? How much is Sanders a deviation? Can we still rely on conventional distinctions like liberal versus conservative, or Democrat versus Republican, to understand what is going on? How do we grasp movements like the Tea Party, Occupy, and now the Trump and Sanders insurgencies?
Neoliberalism has been more successful than most past ideologies in redefining subjectivity, in making people alter their sense of themselves, their personhood, their identities, their hopes and expectations and dreams and idealizations. Classical liberalism was successful too, for two and a half centuries, in people’s self-definition, although communism and fascism succeeded less well in realizing the “new man.”
It cannot be emphasized enough that neoliberalism is not classical liberalism, or a return to a purer version of it, as is commonly misunderstood; it is a new thing, because the market, for one thing, is not at all free and untethered and dynamic in the sense that classical liberalism idealized it. Neoliberalism presumes a strong state, working only for the benefit of the wealthy, and as such it has little pretence to neutrality and universality, unlike the classical liberal state…
What, indeed, does happen beyond Sanders, because as we have seen Hillary Clinton is one of the founders of neoliberal globalization, one of its central historical figures (having accelerated the warehousing of the poor, the attack on trade unions, and the end of welfare and of regulatory prowess), while Trump is an authoritarian figure whose conceptions of the state and of human beings within the state are inconsistent with the surface frictionlessness neoliberalism desires? To go back to Hillary Clinton’s opening campaign commercial, to what extent will Americans continue to believe that the self must be entrepreneurially leveraged toward maximum market gains, molded into mobile human capital ever ready to serve the highest bidder?
As to whether a non-neoliberal globalization is possible and what that might look like on the international stage after a quarter-century of Clinton, Bush, and Obama — which is essentially the frustration Trump is tapping into — I’ll take that up in a follow-up essay, which will further clarify the differences between Sanders versus Clinton, and Trump versus Clinton.
I would suggest that it is not that globalization causes or has caused neoliberalism, but that neoliberalism has pushed a certain form of globalization that suits its interests. This is a crucial distinction, on which everything else hinges. The neoliberal market doesn’t actually exist; at the moment it is pure abstraction; what is actually filling up economic and political space can only be discussed when we step away from this abstraction, as Sanders has so ably done, and as the Occupy and Black Lives Matter movements tentatively set in motion.”
Democracies Dissolve by Wolfgang J. Koschnick, 6/5/2016
Worldview parties mutated to popular or catchall parties and gradually lost their clear profile and their voters. The party competition depoliticized them. In the catchall parties, social life worlds no longer wrestle with different designs for a good politics and society. Now the long march into political nothingness follows.
Citizens have long known something is rotten in the state and in every state whether the US, Germany, France, Austria or Japan. Party members lack ideal motivation and abandon the unwieldy machines. Party leaders lack the standards and guiding stars for their political action. They grope disoriented and visionless through the universe of politics… The political parties are state-subsidized parasites…
Politics despised the trust of the population and then lost that trust. Weariness is not a moody aberration of people but the reaction to a contempt of their general well-being by the elected representatives and their politics.
Established political parties have failed in the US. According to the Wall Street Journal, 18 million new voters were registered in California and yet only 6 million votes were counted. The Sanders landslide was flipped into a Clinton primary victory. Provisional ballots (of NPP, Non-Party Preference voters) were not counted. Sanders votes were often counted as Clinton votes. Courage and truth is how we move forward, said Debbie of Sane Progressives
The IMF Reconsiders
by Jonathan D. Ostry, Prakash Loungani and Davide Furceri
June 2016 4pp – pdf
Instead of delivering growth, some neoliberal policies have increased inequality, in turn jeopardizing durable expansion
Milton Friedman in 1982 hailed Chile as an “economic miracle.” Nearly a decade earlier, Chile had turned to policies that have since been widely emulated across the globe. The neoliberal agenda—a label used more by critics than by the architects of the policies—rests on two main planks. The first is increased competition—achieved through deregulation and the opening up of domestic markets, including financial markets, to foreign competition. The second is a smaller role for the state, achieved through privatization and limits on the ability of governments to run fiscal deficits and accumulate debt.
Evolution Not Revolution:
Rethinking Policy at the IMF, an Interview with Chief Economist Maurice Obstfeld
There has been a strong and widespread global trend toward neoliberalism since the 1980s, according to a composite index that measures the extent to which countries introduced competition in various spheres of economic activity to foster economic growth. As shown in the left panel of Chart 1, Chile’s push started a decade or so earlier than 1982, with subsequent policy changes bringing it ever closer to the United States. Other countries have also steadily implemented neoliberal policies (see Chart 1, right panel).
Click to enlarge the chart
There is much to cheer in the neoliberal agenda. The expansion of global trade has rescued millions from abject poverty. Foreign direct investment has often been a way to transfer technology and know-how to developing economies. Privatization of state-owned enterprises has in many instances led to more efficient provision of services and lowered the fiscal burden on governments.
However, there are aspects of the neoliberal agenda that have not delivered as expected. Our assessment of the agenda is confined to the effects of two policies: removing restrictions on the movement of capital across a country’s borders (so-called capital account liberalization); and fiscal consolidation, sometimes called “austerity,” which is shorthand for policies to reduce fiscal deficits and debt levels. An assessment of these specific policies (rather than the broad neoliberal agenda) reaches three disquieting conclusions:
•The benefits in terms of increased growth seem fairly difficult to establish when looking at a broad group of countries.
•The costs in terms of increased inequality are prominent. Such costs epitomize the trade-off between the growth and equity effects of some aspects of the neoliberal agenda.
•Increased inequality in turn hurts the level and sustainability of growth. Even if growth is the sole or main purpose of the neoliberal agenda, advocates of that agenda still need to pay attention to the distributional effects.
This reading sample of “A History of the US” is translated from the German. The Works Progress Administration created 651K miles of highway, 124K bridges, 8K parks and 125K public buildings including 41K schools. In the US of Amnesia, corporate subsidies are called public necessities and public welfare unnecessary. Orwell warned us of this inversion of language. The state should represent the public interest and yet has become the errand boy of the banks (Bill Moyers).
According to the conservative ideology, corporations are the “suffering servants” and regulations are interferences. The market is sacrosanct and self-healing and market failure and state failure are repressed. Problems are psychologized – poor motivation – and system criticism and alternatives are made taboo.
“When the state trusts citizens, citizens trust the state,” said Justin Trudeau, the new Canadian Prime Minister. Vancouver BC has 26 community centers, some with swimming pools that take your breath away. Cassarole meals are $3.50. Community centers have a cushioning and multiplying effect and can be surrogate counseling and classroom opportunities.
Creating a non-profit or cooperative sector for housing is vital since the market makes housing a speculative bubble and fails to satisfy the social and human needs of low income people. Reducing working hours is vital to assure everyone of the right to work. Otherwise work becomes a paper chase on the way to resume heaven.
Socialism or barbarism is the alternative. If we cannot learn from O Canada and see our endogenous contradictions, we will forever live under an elite democracy and celebrity culture – confusing the steak with the sizzle and the image with the reality (see Plato’s Allegory of the Cave). Thanks for your passion and light! Go Bernie, the Jewish prophet is way ahead of the money collector!
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.
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
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.
to read this book review of “Imagine Economy. Neoliberal Metaphors in Political-Economic Discourse” by Sebastian Friedrich, click on
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.
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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
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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38 Arguments Against the TTIP (2015)
by Harald Klimenta, Maritta Strasser and Peter Fuchs
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.