Why Mainstream Economists are Responsible for Electing Donald Trump
by David Ruccio, Nov 2016
My argument is that, when mainstream economists in the United States embraced and celebrated neoliberalism—both the conservative and “left” versions—they created the conditions for Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election. As I see it, mainstream economists adopted neoliberalism as a set of ideas (about self-governing individuals and an economic system that needs to be understood and obeyed) and a political-economic project (on behalf of corporate bosses) and ignored the enormous costs, especially those borne by the majority of workers, their families, and the communities in which they live. And it was precisely the resentments generated by neoliberalism—which were captured, however imperfectly and in a cynical manner, by Trump’s campaign (and downplayed by Hillary Clinton’s)—that many voters took to the polls one week ago.
The ABCs of Meaningless Economic Phrases
by Rudolf Hickel and Heinz J. Bontrup
The most common myths start from the tax state that burdens the economy, the housework ordered by the state (save,save,save) to the Schwabian housewife prescribing the austerity creed. Politics must tend to every need of capital as a scared doe and therefore lower taxes. The term reform has been twisted around completely and is used to reduce the social responsibility of the state.
Thanks for your passion and light! Corporate media is interested in business as usual, not in discussion or debate. We should be talking about recalibrating the state and the market after the neoliberal myths of the self-healing market and efficient financial markets have turned our system upside down.
Profit making is different than profit-maximizing. Competition and cooperation depend on one another in the business world. All personal and business achievements are based on state investments in roads, schools, health care, airwaves, community centers, food quality and water quality. What is public should remain public. How sad when universities become “profit centers” and health care is distorted into a way of private enrichment!
Words are powerful and can break the frozen soul (Kafka), Abolishing Medicare where administrative costs are 2-3% instead of 20% in the profit-maximizing world is like putting the cart before the horse, bridling the horse by the tail or mistaking the goat for the gardener. They create a desert and call it peace! As we head into the new Dark Age or Stone Age, it is vital we join forces and learn from all those who battled impostors in the past like Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Jesus, and Bonhoeffer.
The future should be open and dynamic, not closed and static, regional, democratic and interdependent. If we all end up in McDonalds uniforms, that is a dystopia full of irrationality and business-friendly myths!
Public Risks, Private Profits, and Prosperity
by the Association for Plural Economics and Sven Hergovich
All personal and corporate achievements are based on state investments in roads, schools, hospitals, community centers, airwaves, food safety, and water quality. The Apples and Googles of this world are businesses that developed the results of decades-long state-financed research into marketable products.
States are able and ready to bear risks that free enterprise businesses cannot take. This includes projects fraught with great uncertainty as to whether the funds will ever flow into marketable products.
The late Bobby Kennedy said the GDP measures everything except what makes life worth living: public spirit, cooperation, self-sacrifice and care of nature.
Sven Hergovich is an Austrian economist who urges rethinking prosperity and the relation of economics and ecology.
to read his article “Myth: The Public Service Sector is Inefficient and Much Too Expensive” published in March 2014, click on
Privatizations do not usually lead to lower prices. Privatizations often entail hidden costs. If a business saves by investing less in training, the state has to invest more. Privatizations have cost public budgets more money than they brought in. Privatizations also represent a loss of control for the state. For employees, they mostly mean staff reductions, lower wages and increasing work pressure.
Simon Johnson, a former chief economist of the IMF, is a professor at MIT Sloan, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, and co-founder of a leading economics blog, The Baseline Scenario. He is the co-author, with James Kwak, of White House Burning: The Founding Fathers, Our National Debt, and Why It Matters to You.
to read Simon Johnson’s article published on Oct 29, 2016, click on
With the United States’ presidential election on November 8, and a series of elections and other political decisions fast approaching in Europe, now is a good time to ask whether the global economy is in good enough shape to withstand another major negative shock. The answer, unfortunately, is that growth and employment around the world look fragile. A big adverse surprise – like the election of Donald Trump in the US – would likely cause the stock market to crash and plunge the world into recession…
Trump promises to boost US growth immediately to 4-5%, but this is pure fantasy. It is far more likely that his anti-trade policies would cause a sharp slowdown, much like the British are experiencing.
In fact, the impact of a Trump victory on the US could well be worse. Whereas British Prime Minister Theresa May’s government wants to close the UK’s borders to immigrants from the EU, it does want trade with the world. Trump, on the other hand, is determined to curtail imports through a variety of policies, all of which are well within the power of a president. He would not need congressional approval to slam the brakes on the US economy.
Even in the best of times, US policymakers often do not think enough about the impact of their actions on the rest of the world. Trump’s trade-led recession would tip Europe back into full-blown recession, which would likely precipitate a serious banking crisis. If this risk were not contained – and the probability of a European banking debacle is already disconcertingly high – there would be a further negative spiral. Either way, the effects on emerging markets and all lower-income countries would be dramatic.
Investors in the stock market currently regard a Trump presidency as a relatively low-probability development. But, while the precise consequences of bad policies are always hard to predict, if investors are wrong and Trump wins, we should expect a big markdown in expected future earnings for a wide range of stocks – and a likely crash in the broader market.
Keep hope alive, not gambling! Shriveling the financial sector and expanding the public sector are incontestible lessons from the 2008 financial meltdown. The time is right for alternative economics, reducing working hours. person-oriented work, labor-intensive investment, environmental caring, community centers, cloud workers, and generalized security.
Social security would be secure for 75 years if the $181K cap on social security taxes were removed. Hopefully, Trump will take down the whole republican party and send Paul Ryan from Majority Leader to the wilderness! Social security has saved millions from dreadful poverty and kept our economy alive amid outsourcing and corporate profit shiftings to tax havens. Maybe Obama will rehire the fired IRS auditors and the revenue streams will return!
Here is a letter I wrote to the Portland Design Commission “25 Reasons Not to Build a 15-story Hotel at 11th and Alder.” I look forward to your comments. The Vancouver-community center model is worlds away from the SF-condo model!
25 REASONS NOT TO BUILD THE 15-STORY HOTEL AT 11TH AND ALDER
by Marc Batko
1. Prior to the September 29, 2016 Portland Design Commission hearing at 1900 SW 4th Ave, the staff said design guidelines were not met regarding pedestrian experience, context and coherency, quality and permanence and integrating encroachments. The staff recommended denying the project based on areas of concern. The next hearing is November 11, 2016 at 1900 SW 4th Ave.
2. The NS and A-streetcars will be impacted by the construction with its massive noise and machinery.
3. A 6-story office building is being built at 12th and Alder and another at 12th and Morrison. Constructing buildings adjacent to each other is unusual. The noise level could exceed tolerability limits.
4. Many first-rate hotels have been built in downtown (e.g. 1st and Morrison) and on the east side near Holliday Part, Lloyd’s center, and the Max station.
5. Portland has a small city charm because we have not followed the SF-condo model.
6. Affordable housing is a pressing and neglected necessity. Housing prices have increased dramatically in Portland over the past year. The city has a responsibility to ensure the livability and friendliness of the housing market and cannot trust in a self-healing market or invisible hand making private vices into public virtues or corporate profit into the common good.
7. Reducing working hours, community centers, and cloud workers are pressing alternatives. The city may lose its character by accentuating tourism.
8. A livable, diverse community needs 3-story buildings. 15-story buildings are not synonymous with the modern age.
9. In selective perception, people often see what they want to see. Unpleasant realities like poverty and homelessness often fall by the wayside.
10. Neoliberalism blames the poor and unemployed for their misery and denies any systemic or structural failure. In truth, market failure and state failure, oligopoly and financialization, have fueled exploding inequality.
11. The state should represent the public interest although private and special interests are frequently in the driver’s seat in privatization, deregulation, and speculation.
12. Businesses must serve the public welfare and cannot only be focused on profit-maximization. All personal and corporate success is based on state investments in roads, schools, hospitals, airwaves, food safety, water quality, and community centers.
13. The SF-condo model is opposed by the Vancouver Canada-community center model. The 26-community centers in Vancouver, some with swimming pools that take your breath away, make all the difference and enable everyone to feel included and respected in the modern project. The community centers have a multiplier and cushioning effect, offer $3.50 casserole dinners, and enable working and non-working people to cope with their frustrations and disappointments.
14. In Vancouver B.C., a certain number of rundown hotels are revitalized every year. There are also many impressive subsidized senior developments; some have aviaries on the first floor.
15. SROs (single resident occupancy) are worlds better than warehouses or prisons and enable the poor and unemployed to live in a human environment, be supported by social services and be strengthened by their compatriots. Potluck in the Park has been providing free Sunday meals for 20 years and helps create public spirit and pride in Portland.
16. Waiting lists for subsidized SROs and studios extend from 1 year to 7 years. Reagan cut housing support 90% and changed subsidies to condominium assistance. In the 1960s, Michael Harrington wrote “The Other America.” The economist John Kenneth Galbraith deplored the public squalor alongside the private opulence. Trust in the government and public spirit could be restored by investing in public housing.
17. Nonprofit or cooperative housing should be a new foundation for housing. Private developers cannot or will not create affordable housing.
18. Low-interest long-term loans are available and are a necessary part of a housing solution. The federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit program has built 2-3 million units nationwide.
19. Shriveling the financial sector and expanding the public sector are uncontestable lessons from the 2008 financial meltdown. Ignoring this is to encourage cynicism and nihilism. Albert Einstein said: “The one thing we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history.”
20. The financial sector expanded and made itself independent since Reagan’s deregulation and corporate tax favors in the 1980s. Banks control the government; the government doesn’t control the banks.
21. Only the well-to-do can afford a poor state. The majority and especially weaker citizens depend on state services. The impoverishment of the state is a consequence of manipulated public opinion and brainwashing.
22. Reuse cannot become a nonsense word. The United Way structure is an architecturally well-designed 3-story building that could be put to good use.
23. “Throw-away society” describes a society that hallucinates resources are unlimited. If life is “peaches and cream,” we are living an illusion.
24. Native Americans warn that lakes are more than antifreeze and mountains are more than landfill. Refusing to recognize limits and glorifying developers and high-rise projects are signs of megalomania or narcissism.
25. Justin Trudeau, the new Prime Minister of Canada, said: “When the state trusts citizens, citizens trust the state.” The future should be regional and decentralized, open and dynamic and not closed and static. When the US federal government is polarized and paralyzed and becomes “an errand boy for the banks” (Bill Moyers), local communities must be zealous in prioritizing affordable housing and the public welfare. Everyone should share in the prosperity of Portland.
Manipulation of Public Opinion, 2009
by Albrecht Mueller
Timocracy-rule of the propertied-threatens to replace democracy. The large majority is blocked from political participation and from forming their social future-unlike what was intended in the model of the majority principle in democracy.
This study from Germany explains how spending on education in 2006 was proportionately less than in the 1990s. The impoverishment of the state is a consequence of manipulated public opinion and a form of brainwashing that has encouraged privatization, deregulation, speculation and expansion of the financial sector in the US. The state has become an “errand boy for the banks” (Bill Moyers). Laws are written by lobbyists and politicians are busy raising money for the next election.
The bridge catastrophe in Minneapolis is writing on the wall. The state should represent the public interest and develop countermeasures to exploding inequality, precarious work, pay-to-play government and corporate feudalism. The 26 community centers in Vancouver B.C. create public spirit and enable everyone to feel included in the modern project.
Tom Hayden, the passionate rebel against the Vietnam war, died at 76. Rest in peace, Tom, and thanks for all you did in your lifelong work to make America just and future-friendly. Hayden was a warrior for peace and against war, bigotry and inequality.
to hear his 1 hr address in March 2015 at the Commonwealth Club in SF, click on
Reader comment – Paul van Winkle in 2010
By 1967, all major military targets in Vietnam had been destroyed. There were 500,000 troops stationed in Vietnam, and we were spending 2 billion dollars a month — yet there was no evidence the North Vietnamese were weakening. In fact, the bombings, and the destruction of fields and crops, only increased support for the Viet Cong.
The US government consistently lied to the public about casualty rates, both US and Vietnamese casualties, and about the North Vietnamese ability to fight – constantly claiming that there was “light at the end of the tunnel.”
We can assume history’s repeating itself. Without collective public outcry, and a moral authority, how will does any war and the associated costs cease?
“Trump’s Only Way Forward” was Tom Hayden’s last article on his website The Democracy Journal.
Video: Noam Chomsky: The Alien Perspective on Humanity, 51 min
Albert Einstein said we must have world government or we’re finished. The UN was undermined by the US and nationalism. We had half of the world’s wealth; manufacturing quadrupled after WW2. Decolonialization led to more diversification. US power began to decline.
The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists says we are three minutes before midnight. Governments have failed to deal with environmental catastrophes. Nearly 300 million in India hardly have access to water. People can act together as in Germany. Ignorance isn’t bliss for the one person per second fleeing ruin and seeking survival.
to watch the 51-minute interview with Noam Chomsky published on October 23, 2016, click on
Ethics and the Profit System: Global Change of Values Necessary
by Conrad Schuhler, Sept 25, 2016
Profit-making is not profit-maximizing. From the magic word profit-mongering is derived the absurd unequal distribution of wealth, the cheating of consumers, the exploitation of workers, and ultimately the abolition of democracy that has to be a market-conforming democracy.
An invisible hand ensures that the personal success of the businessman becomes the best for everyone, the common good, as Adam Smith formulated.