The Criminality of the Elites

The Criminality of the Elites
by Fabio De Masi and Laura Wiesboeck, September 2018

The offenses of the upper classes are hardly publicized. The little are hung while the big can run. People wait in vain for strong interventions in the economic realm while police measures are enforced on the street in no time. Financial criminality harms the state, the community and economic growth (e.g. high-frequency trading, shadow banks, financial products).
Who Really Creates Value in an Economy?
Sep 11, 2018 Mariana Mazzucato

Ten years after the global economic crisis, profits have recovered, but investment remains weak. Ultimately, the reason is that economic policy continues to be informed by neoliberal ideology and its academic cousin, “public choice” theory, rather than by historical experience.

LONDON – After the 2008 global financial crisis, a consensus emerged that the public sector had a responsibility to intervene to bail out systemically important banks and stimulate economic growth. But that consensus proved short-lived, and soon the public sector’s economic interventions came to be viewed as the main cause of the crisis, and thus needed to be reversed. This turned out to be a grave mistake.

In Europe, in particular, governments were lambasted for their high debts, even though private debt, not public borrowing, caused the collapse. Many were instructed to introduce austerity, rather than to stimulate growth with counter-cyclical policies. Meanwhile, the state was expected to pursue financial-sector reforms, which, together with a revival of investment and industry, were supposed to restore competitiveness.

But too little financial reform actually took place, and in many countries, industry still has not gotten back on its feet. While profits have bounced back in many sectors, investment remains weak, owing to a combination of cash hoarding and increasing financialization, with share buybacks – to boost stock prices and hence stock options – also at record highs.

The reason is simple: the much-maligned state was permitted to pursue only timid policy responses. This failure reflects the extent to which policy continues to be informed by ideology – specifically, neoliberalism, which advocates a minimal role for the state in the economy, and its academic cousin, “public choice” theory, which emphasizes governments’ shortcomings – rather than historical experience.

Growth requires a well-functioning financial sector, in which long-term investments are rewarded over short-term plays.

Adam Smith’s Destructive Hand
by Frances Coppola, March 3, 2017

Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” is perhaps one of the most misunderstood concepts in economics. It is usually interpreted to mean that when individuals all operate according to their own self-interest, their actions somehow combine to create a well-ordered, well-functioning society “as if guided by an invisible hand”.

To be fair, this statement about the “invisible hand” (from the Theory of Moral Sentiments) does seem to mean exactly that:

[The rich] consume little more than the poor, and in spite of their natural selfishness and rapacity…they divide with the poor the produce of all their improvements. They are led by an invisible hand to make nearly the same distribution of the necessaries of life, which would have been made, had the earth been divided into equal portions among all its inhabitants, and thus without intending it, without knowing it, advance the interest of the society, and afford means to the multiplication of the species.

This should have been challenged long ago on the lack of counterfactual evidence. It is an assertion, not a fact. Nonetheless, despite the glaring inequalities in our world today, it could be true…

from Marc on Oct 6

Upside down day with the 50-48 vote! Dostoevsky warned that western people could surrender freedom to the Grand Inquisitor for his promise of happiness (or a deal!). The Twitterer isn’t a “self-made millionaire” or a “successful businessman.” He and Ryan should gain a new perspective and see the last two decades as a lucky throw of the dice!
Trump is living out the “Uncle Sucker myth” where the US was carelessly exploited by everyone! (cf. Michael Hudson)
Trump knows how to wield victimhood (cf. Trevor Noah). Civil society is horrified by demonization of victims. Public spirit returns when the public is included and trillions are not stolen in tax bills without hearings!
The light shines in the darkness – in the Senate – and not only above the darkness!
Time to reconcile with Russia and abandon Russophobia, the “Russia in your cornflakes myth”!


National Council of Churches: Kavanaugh must resign immediately! – Oct 4


Marc on Oct 12

The Party of Trump may be expunged on Nov 6 in a landslide or blue wave. He has turned the stomachs of the nation through lies and vulgarity and gave $8 trillion to households with over a million dollars. Like inequality, tax heists hurt and make the future very blurry!

Trump always makes himself the victim of the media and culture wars. Like Hitler, Trump scapegoats minorities and the weak nonstop and says terrible things about all countries and leaders except Kim Jong. As Hitler created a threat out of thin air (“International Jewry was exterminating Germany”), Trump lambasts the media, the Democrats, Obama, Hilary, Medicare for All and the human rights of immigrants (cf. Trevor Noah on Trump’s “victimhood”) and is a chronic liar.

Marc on Oct 13

Eight Questions in Resisting Authoritarian Trumpism

1) How preposterous for the ABA, 2,400 law professors, the ACLU to be brushed off in the Kavanaugh nomination?
2) Were there ever tax bills (e.g. GOP/Paul Ryan tax heists of $8 trillion) without hearings?
3) Is the security state characterized by generalization of fear, scapegoating, fear-mongering, the cult of the strong man and depolitization?
4) Did the liar-in-chief say on 10/12 he has lost billions while president?
5) Do we live under Hocus Pocus or Humpty Dumpty, words mean what I say they mean?
6) How can we see the speck in the South African’s eye and not the militarism log in our own eye?
7) Are we cleaning the outside of the cup and leaving the inside filthy?
8) Is Trump cutting everything but the military and fighting the poor, seniors, students, and children, checks and balances, democracy and language?

Marc on Oct 17

In 1930, the great British economist John Maynard Keynes thought his grandchildren would only need to work a 15-hour week thanks to the technological revolution. An anthropology problem arose when the desire for wealth surpassed the desire for freedom.

De-acceleration, slowing down and enjoying reduced working hours with better long-term health and more time sovereignty should be part of the hyperlink world where the two-inch world is eclipsed.


Audio: Neil Young – Let’s Impeach the President
for lying and leading our country into war
using all the power we gave him
shipping all our money out the door
whose the man who hired all the criminals
who hide behind closed doors

Posted in Financial Market Capitalism, Political Theory | 1 Comment

Affordable Rents? A State of Emergency Intensifies

Affordable Rents? A State of Emergency Intensifies
by Werner Rugemer and others, 2018

Rents explode in cities after massive sales of public housing to brutal investors. Affordable housing is in short supply. Something must change fast. In 1987, there were 5.5 million social apartments in Germany. Today, there are only 1.5 million in all Germany. Since 2014, the number of homeless in Germany has doubled to 800,000. Investors go unpunished. The Great Coalition government under Helmut Kohl abolished nonprofit housing cooperatives in 1988.

Land speculation is prevented in Vienna. The Vienna Housing Fund buys up possible development land. The constitutional state must be helped to its feet. In impoverished Germany after WW1, local communities built hundreds of thousands of nonprofit apartments. The pressure from below made all the difference.

From Craigslist Eugene – Rants and Raves – Oct 1

RE: Trump is here to stay

No he’s not.

Lots of “Trump is here to stay” nonsense flying around and lots of red-baiting, throwing the Socialist and Communist words around while you fail to mention how Trump is sucking up to the former head of the KGB. What up with that? I guess Putin’s a good Communist but Bernie’s a bad Socialist ?(he’s actually a Democratic Socialist, big difference.) You can’t answer that can you?

Dems will take the House in 2 months. Then it’s over for Trump. He won’t be impeached or removed with the TFA (both would take 3/4ths of the Congress to do) but at that point he’s essentially a lame duck. With Dems controlling the House, (hopefully without Pelosi) Trump will not have the rubber stamp he has enjoyed for the past two years. Then we ride out the next two years. The last thing we want is that bible thumper Pense as President.

When it’s over, here’s how I think the TRUMP RIECH will have scored. No wall. No nuke treaty with NK. Totally destroyed any respect we had in the World, just like Bush. Failure to end the ACA. Tax breaks rolled back. Regulations reinstated. All the damage he has wreaked will be reversed and we will finally get Medicare for all. Trump will go down in history as the most hated and worst one term President ever. Then he will be indicted and convicted.

If Kavanaugh can be stopped from being confirmed, Trump will have failed to pack the Supreme Court. Even if it can’t be stopped, there are other ways to deal with it. Since his hearing last week, Kavanaugh is a flawed nomination because he lied under oath. He can be impeached. If The Republicans don’t have the Congress and the Supreme Court, they won’t be able to protect Kavanaugh or Trump.

This is why this election is so important. Look for it to go the same as when Obama was elected. Blue Wave. It’s Hillary’s fault that Trump got elected. If ANYONE else had the been nominated, Trump would not have won. I blame the DNC for TRUMP. Them and their superdelegates!

From Marc on October 2

Be nonconformists, October is not only “stamp collecting month”!

In late-stage capitalism, we fight against a bullying culture and an insult society. The Repugnacrats have done nothing against education loans, the affordable housing crisis, the health care crisis. the job creation crisis and the global warming crisis. Their strategy is to scapegoat the weakest, minorities, migrants, women, students, children, seniors and the poor, to fear monger and create threats out of thin air.

Trump has terrible things to say about all countries particularly Canada, Germany and China and always calls himself the victim of the media and culture wars. Hitler and Goebbels mesmerized the German people by saying “International Jewry was exterminating Germany” and Germany was forced to “total war.”

Resist the beginnings of fascism! Reclaim democracy and the social contract! Truth must well up within people and cannot be forced or commanded. Indirect criticism, thoughts that wound from behind, can bring enlightenment, Soren Kierkegaard said. We are born in an egg and our life-project is to break the shell, said Gunter Grass. The bull-headed can be quarantined and defanged by social movements of the uncoupled and outraged. Resignados become indignados! They have the money but we have the numbers.

Posted in Human Rights, Reducing Inequality/ Redistribution | Leave a comment

BookTV: Justice John Paul Stevens, 56 min

BookTV: CSpan May 9, 2014
After Words with Justice John Paul Stevens, 56 min

Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens talked about his book, Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution, in which he recommends six ways he believes the U.S. Constitution should be amended. He spoke about reforms to campaign finance, the death penalty, gerrymandering, and the Second Amendment. He was interviewed by Jeffrey Rosen, president of the National Constitution Center.

Posted in Medicare for All, Political Theory | Leave a comment

Against the Rent Madness and For a Nonprofit Orientation!

Against the Rent Madness and For a Nonprofit Orientation!

by Andre Holm, Tony Krebs, and Leo Mayer, September 21, 2018

The Alternative Housing Summit on Sept 21 inBerlin discussed alternatives to the market-based housing policy. Exploding rents and lack of affordable housing are the most burning social questions and drive people to the streets.

Most private market actors stay away from affordable housing because of the growing profit expectations of investors rather than the high construction costs. The extensive privatizations of the last 15 years contributed to a market radicalization. Privatization was the door-opener for the growing financial market logics in the housing supply.

The development of a nonprofit sector offers a necessary and possible alternative since the market fails and the state cannot extensively socialize the housing supply. This requires nothing less than the breach with the profit logic in the area of housing supply!

More market is not the solution! Housing for People, not for Profits!

Posted in Human Rights, Reducing Inequality/ Redistribution | Leave a comment

Finance Capitalism and the Digital Economy

Finance Capitalism and the Digital Economy
by Philipp Staab, WiSO 15/2018

The financialization of the economy and the rise of the commercial Internet are directly connected… At the beginning of the digital economy, as Marianna Mazzucato and others showed, was an investing state that took over the installment financing for the large majority of base innovations of digitalization as an initial risk capitalist. Financialization describes the change of the capital accumulation model.

Philipp Staab is a sociologist and teaches macro-sociology at the University of Kassel.


The Global Trade System Could Break Down
by Anne Krueger, Sept 24, 2018

Posted in Financial Market Capitalism, Political Theory | Leave a comment

The Dictatorship of Corporations by Thilo Bode

The Dictatorship of Corporations
by Thilo Bode, 2018, a reading summary of his new book

Why do the majority of politicians so often make decisions against the public interest and in favor of industry? A new quality of lobbyism arose on account of the dramatically stronger market- and financial power of companies.

I sound the alarm. The power relations in our society are shifting endangering democracy, the market economy, our self-determination, and our freedom. “A great setback…
Wall Street won; normal persons are losers” admitted the head of the CFBB.

Translator’s Note:

The world isn’t running after CocaCola, rock-n-roll and financial products as in the pre-2008 days. The unipolar days have given way to the multi-polar days. Where is the discussion of Plan B? Are we headed back to the 11th century and to corporate feudalism?

Myriad full-time and part-time jobs are possible with digital or Internat capitalism. Civil society must be enlivened to reverse the trend to plutocracy and disempowerment.

Reduced working hours lead to better long-term health and more time sovereignty. Shriveling the financial sector and expanding the public sector should be lessons from the 2008 meltdown. Redistribution and regulation are vital in a world where infinite growth is impossible and the state must represent the public interest!

$18 trillion was infused in “too-big-to-fail” banks in the 2008 financial meltdown. In the first eight months of 2018, corporations spent more than $460 billion buying back their own stock (cf. The Real World Economic Review). The lack of affordable housing represents a market failure. A non-profit housing sector would be an alternative to market failure and state complicity. Owners of capital are not the only ones with enforceable rights.

more at,,,, and

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New eBooks “Alternative Economics: Reversing Stagnation” edited by Marc Batko, Poverty Returns with Misguided Policy” by Franz Segbers and “Philosophical Reflections on the Economic Crisis: From Obscuristan to Absurdistan” by Marc Batko


Available from Barnes & Noble

Available from Scribd

Available from Apple

Mainstream market-radical economic theory has led to exploding inequality, cynicism and resignation and has no answers to mass unemployment, growing precarity, global warming and the rights of nature. The time is right for alternative economics, for economics that is part of life, not a steamroller crushing creativity and self-determination.

The market is not self-healing or a panacea but a necessary and helpful instrument after political questions are answered: what kind of society do we want? How can public necessities remain public? How can people be active participative citizens and not mere cogs in the machine? How can nature be protected and nurtured and not trivialized as a free good, external or sink?

Alternative economics is a vital corrective to market radicalism and neoliberalism with unfettered deregulation, privatization and liberalization of markets. While neoliberal mythology insists higher profits bring more jobs and greater investments, profits soar and investments fall by the wayside.


Available now at your favorite digital store!

Poverty Returns with Misguided Policy by Franz Segbers

“Poverty Returns with Misguided Policy” by the professor and social theologian Franz Segbers is a 77-page plea for rethinking and re-prioritizing people over profit in economic policy. For 45 years, neoliberalism has used deregulation, privatization and liberalized markets or speculation to enrich the owners of capital and reduce the tax obligations of corporations. To avert the collapse of the financial sector in the 2008 financial crisis, $18 trillion was pumped into “too-big-to-fail” banks. In the first eight months of 2018, the bailed out banks have invested over $460 billion in buying back their own stock. Profits have soared while investments have stagnated. Redistribution from top to bottom and alternative economics including reducing working hours are imperative to reverse the exploding inequality and precarious work. The financial markets should be shriveled and the public sector expanded.

“Poverty is returning. That must be our first discovery when we speak about poverty in Germany. Once it was fought and became a marginal problem. Why is it returning? For a long while, there was the firm belief that life goes forward and we live in an elevator society. Our children will be better off. That was the motto when I was growing up. This picture of the elevator society where everyone would be prosperous is not reality any more. Everyone is not on an upward course any more. The picture has turned upside down. While some are going upward, others are going downward. A Lord’s Prayer society has replaced the elevator society. The formerly secure middle class at its outskirts has long been eroding. Children with good education can not find good jobs and work their way from one trainee-ship to the next and one temporary job to the next.”

Franz Segbers, born August 8, 1949 in Gelsenkirchen, is a German theologian. He studied catholic theology, pedagogy and the social sciences at the University of Munster. He was a social or industrial pastor in Frankfurt up to 1985. Out of protest against the repression of liberation theology, he withdrew from the Roman Catholic Church in 1986. He was a professor of social ethics at the Philipps-University in Marburg from 2004. He has urged a just distribution of paid work and is a shining example of social enlightenment and progressive theology. His website offers scores of essays, lectures and books.

Segbers is engaged in the struggle against neoliberal globalization and works with Marxist categories in a theological criticism of capitalism as a religion. The future of work and globalization on the background of Christian social ethics are two of his research interests.


Poverty Returns with Misguided Policy

Work and Human Rights

Forgive us our Debts

Democracy and the Social State

Capitalism as a Religion

Capitalism in the Faith Crisis

The Great Ecumene against Capitalism

Social Justice and the Sacred Nature of the Person

Prof. Segbers will be ecstatic to have English readers!


“Education is the great transformer, said the renowned economist John Kenneth Galbraith. The truth will set us free but the truth is a process, not a cudgel. Truth must well up within us and cannot be imposed or decreed from the outside. The event of understanding is a fusion of horizons, said Hans Georg Gadamer, where prejudice and misunderstanding give way to enlightenment and new life.

I wrote these essays to share the philosophical and theological wonderment which is part of our common collective legacy. Franz Kafka said words could be an ax to crack the frozen soul. Plato warned that people in the allegory “The Cave” could mistake image and reality and then chase critics or the enlightened out of town. Dostoevsky said people would surrender their freedom to the Grand Inquisitor for his promise of happiness. Rousseau said people were born free and are everywhere in chains. In “Escape from Freedom,” the social psychoanalyst Erich Fromm said people were susceptible to the authoritarian temptation because of the natural fear of the new and the fear of the unknown. He focused on the social and economic entrapments that allow neoliberal totalitarianism to be “without an alternative.”

Philosophy’s challenge is to provoke conventional wisdom, myths and fairy-tales that lead individually and collectively into a two-inch world with false securities and generalized self-righteousness, drunken coachmen and a system that is allegedly not responsible. In his poem “The Egg,” Gunter Grass said we were born in an egg and our life project is to break the shell. As antibodies are part of our bodies, resistance is part of our nature. “It is not he or she or them or it that you belong to,” said Bob Dylan.”

Here is a little gift from Real World Economics Review:
Utopia and the Exhaustion of the Center
by David Riccio, Aug 31, 2018 rwer
Habermas’s view is that society has been reoriented away from the concept of labor toward that of communication, which requires a different way of “linking up with the utopian tradition.” The alternative approach would be to rethink the concept of labor in terms of class and analyze the ways in which the forces of capital that were supposed to be regulated and contained by the social welfare state were left with both the interest and means to undo those regulations. And it’s the center that put itself in the position of responding to and representing the progressive dismantling of the economic side of the social welfare state—in deregulating finance, pursuing globalization, and helping to unleash new digital technologies. The result was, not surprisingly, the growth of obscene levels of inequality, increasing precariousness for large parts of the working-class, and finally the crisis that broke out in 2008, which has led not only to economic but also political breakdown.

However, as Shenker correctly observes, “the breakdown of any political order can be both emancipatory and revanchist.” And it now falls to the Left to reharness and reinvigorate the utopian impulses and energies that the center has squandered in order to chart a path forward.

*The English-language translation of Habermas’s article, “The New Obscurity: The Crisis of the Welfare State and the Exhaustion of Utopian Energies,” was first published in Philosophy & Social Criticism. T

Tom Tomorrow – Confirmation hearing highlights – Sept 10- kos

Posted in Alternative Economics, Essays, Financial Market Capitalism, Liberation theology, Reducing Inequality/ Redistribution | Leave a comment

Is the Financial Crash 2.0 Coming?

Is the Financial Crash 2.0 Coming?
by Isabelle Bourboulon, 2018,

Market ideology has been on the advance since the 1980s. Only a few voices warned of the risks and instability of the liberalized financial markets. The European states mobilized 4.5 trillion euros to prevent their banking system from collapsing. After they profited from the generous bailout packages, the banks began to speculate against the most indebted countries.

Translator’s comments and links:

Happy September, post-materialists!

The US faces a nationwide power failure, the bitter fruit of the Twitterer’s lies, vulgarities and scapegoating.
Narcissism, illiteracy and apolitical indifference are homemade curses. The social state is the human future and should not be slandered as “Bolshevism.”
The economy for the few is an economy based on myths, fairy-tales and lies. Owners of capital should not be the only ones with enforceable rights. Building 2440 F-35 fighter jets for $291 billion is a blindness in a world where weapons don’t work, enemies don’t exist and money is regularly squandered.

Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS)
by Olesya Kazantseva, 2015
Closing tax havens, ending tax competition, and prohibiting profit-shifting are necessary for a fair tax system. The richest 1% in Pennsylvania could receive another $3 billion from Trump’s tax scam! Democracy is different than plutocracy. Problems do not disappear when they are ignored or repressed as fake populists and lies must be overcome with truth-tellers and sharing wealth.

Only radical change can avert egoism replacing solidarity. The state should serve the public interest and yet private or special interests are often in the driver’s seat.

Utopia and the exhaustion of the center
September 1, 2018 real world economic review
from David Ruccio

We’re ten years on from the events the triggered the worst crisis of capitalism since the first Great Depression (although read my caveat here) and centrists—on both sides of the Atlantic—continue to peddle an ahistorical nostalgia.

Fortunately, people aren’t buying it.

As Jack Shenker has explained in the case of Britain,

one of the most darkly humorous features of contemporary British politics (a competitive field) is the ubiquity of parliamentarians, pundits and business titans who wail and gnash at our ceaseless political tumult but appear utterly incurious about the conditions that produced it. . .

Such stalwart defenders of a certain brand of “common sense” capitalism have watched in horror as ill-mannered upstarts — on both the right and the left — build power at the fringes. But these freshly emboldened centrists pretend that the rupture has no connection to their own dogma and seem to envision the whole sorry mess as some sort of administrative error that will be swiftly tidied away once the right person, with the right branding, is restored to authority.

Much the same is true in the United States, where centrists in the Democratic Party watch in horror as the Republican Party falls in lockstep with Donald Trump and the only energy within their own party comes from the Left. All the while, they ignore their own role in creating the conditions for the crash and the fact that their technocratic promises to American young people—university or community-college education leading to a stable and prosperous worklife, the dream of a thriving middle-class democracy, the claim for capitalism’s economic and ethical superiority—lie in tatters.

As it turns out, Jürgen Habermas sounded the warning of just this eventuality back in the mid-1980s.* His argument, in a nutshell, is that western cultures had used up their utopian energies—and for good reason, because

the very forces for increasing power, from which modernity once derived its self-confidence and its utopian expectation, in actuality turn autonomy into dependence, emancipation into oppression, and reality into the irrational.

Crisis Regulation in Global Capitalism
by Samuel Decker and Thomas Sablowski, May 2017

The globalization euphoria waned with the 1997 Asian crisis. The policy of the IMF and the World Bank met with massive criticism and public protests in the global South in the 1980s. Hundreds of billions were needed to bailout bankrupt banks. Capital suffocates in its excess.

The US with its high solvent demand stabilized the world economy for a long time, consumed more than it produced and played the role of “consumer of last resort.” The US could become indebted in its own currency

more at, and

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Promote Public Housing! Arguments for a Housing Policy Alternative

Promote Public Housing! Arguments for a Housing Policy Alternative
by Sebastian Gerhardt, July 6, 2018

A basic principle of the market economy is that the market only reacts to solvent demand, not to needs. If a need is not reflected in a solvent demand, the market simply does not react. Expanding the supply of affordable housing is key, not subject promotion. The funds expended in subject-promotion land directly in the pockets of real estate owners.

Renouncing on any political intervention would be a market-radical and nihilist answer to the housing crisis.

Rejoice, Post-materialists!

On BookTV, Jean Twenge, author of “The Narcissism Epidemic,” warns that the cult of specialness was thought to be the ladder to corporate success and turned out to be anti-social.

Possessions can possess us more than we possess them. The car is not only a metal box but a way of looking at the world and an encouragement to narcissism. Football and politicians push cars nonstop while cities become gridlock. We become examples of disconnection when we deride community and sociality and degrade nature into a free good, external or sink.

The future should be anticipated and protected in the present, not extrapolated from the present. Hope distinguishes us from the rest of creation. We can go beyond everything past and present in the power of the coming, the power of the promise. (Jurgen Moltmann)

Dostoevsky, a great admonisher of the West, warned we would surrender our freedom to the Grand Inquisitor for his promise of happiness. The ego must die for the self to be born. The state must represent the public interest and not be a bonus pot for special interests and self-enrichment. Maybe the Good News is that Trump could be impeached within a year so his damage would be contained. How are democracy and language possible when the leader is a cross between Al Capone and King Midas?

Don’t let fear-mongers destroy the “unaffordable” social state while building 2440 F-35 fighter jets for $291 billion! Don’t let fear-mongers like Paul Ryan force us into a spiritless 2-inch world where only the rich enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness!

Thanks, Dr. Martin Luther King for your unending inspiration and encouragement! Time for the human race to gain priority over the arms race! Time for a people-society to replace the things-society and the people-logic to replace the things-logic!

Eliminating the $118K cap on social security taxes would make the system solvent for 75 years. Access could replace excess; enough could replace more; exchanging roles and digital cloud workers could make sorrow more distant than a star!

In the hope of forming a consensus on a future-friendly economy, I offer these propositions:
1) The state revenue crisis is caused by tax avoidance and tax havens.
2) The bank crisis became a state crisis when private risks mutated into public risks. $18 trillion was infused in “too-big-to-fail” banks in the US and 4.5 trillion euros in the European Union.
3) Corporations in the US spent $460 billion in 2018 buying back their own stock. Corporate success is often artificial. Not everything that glitters is gold! Even a broken clock is right twice a day!!
4) The state was a major risk-taker in the creation of the Internet and touch-screen technology while Apple and the rest pretend to be the only innovators.
5) The state should represent the public interest though special interests or private interests are in the driver’s seat with deregulation, privatization and liberalization of markets (speculation).
6) The future is the social state although the social state is wrongly slandered or demonized as “Bolshevism.”
7) All personal and corporate success is based on state investment in roads, schools, hospitals, libraries, airwaves, food safety and water quality.
8) Social security created in FDR’s “New Deal” 1935 saved millions from poverty and early death. In the era of outsourcing and robotization, social security keeps the economy alive by stabilizing demand.

Happy Labor Day, post-materialists!
more at,,, and

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Carl Schmitt and the New Right

Carl Schmitt and the New Right
by Bernd Reismann, 2005

The intellectual New Right may be more a loose network of persons, political projects, publications and publishers than an organization or party. Carl Schmitt redefined democracy as the “identity of ruler and ruled.” He started from the unity and homogeneity of the people’s will with the will of the government and the state. State and people merge in the rule of the people.

The plebiscite is used to overcome and delegitimate pluralism and parliamentary democracy. The goal is creating an identity democracy based on ethnic and political homogeneity.


From the Constitutional State to the Security State
by Giorgio Agamben, April 2016 and translated from the German in Luxemburg 1/2016:
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.


Right Wing Populism and the Social Question
by Nikolaus Kowall and Fabian Lindner, April 17, 2017…/

Fascism also promised an alternative to unfettered markets

The scary thing is that this modern right-wing strategy is not modern at all, but the very principle of 20th century fascism: it and national socialism already offered “herrenmensch social democracy” in the 1920s and 1930s. Widely overlooked today, this aspect explains much of its appeal at the time – when there was almost no welfare state in Europe and the economy was devastated by war, inflation and financial crises.

Fascists identified real economic and social problems of the time, using them to build nationalistic mass political movements while many socialists were still fighting each other over the right interpretation of Karl Marx. In her book “The primacy of politics”, Sheri Berman argues that modern right-wing extremism and social democracy even share the same ideological roots in the late 19th century debate among socialists over “revisionism”. Revisionists argued that socialists should not cling to the Marxist idea that only proletarian revolution could improve workers’ lives. Socialists should and could improve the social and economic situation of the masses by good policies in the here and now. And this required allies in agriculture and the enlightened bourgeoisie.

The revisionist reasoning led to two kinds of solutions: modern social democracy on the one hand and fascism on the other. Both shared the idea that not all of capitalism was bad. They liked its dynamism and the ensuing economic growth which led to real wage gains for many workers – quite contrary to what Marx had predicted. They thought that good politics could harness capitalism’s dynamism and get rid of its bad side-effects like the unequal distribution of income and the chaotic up and downs of the business cycle. Both modern social democrats and fascists believed in the primacy of politics over markets, but not in the total abandonment of the market economy.

The fundamental difference between both movements was, of course, the ways they chose to achieve the primacy of politics: Social democrats believed in parliamentary democracy and human rights; fascists despised human rights and believed in a single omnipotent leader.

As Berman shows, Benito ‘Il Duce’ Mussolini was an important direct link between revisionist socialism and fascism: starting out as a fierce revisionist socialist, he actively participated in socialist debates about the way forward for the labour movement. Later on he would indeed fulfil many of the revisionist demands in fascist Italy: Berman writes that Italy’s welfare state was much more expansive than what Swedish social democrats achieved when they played by the democratic rulebook.

She argues that Hitler’s “national socialism” indeed incorporated many elements of revisionist socialism: The Nazis expanded the rudimentary German welfare state and achieved full employment. This is what gained them legitimacy among Germans who did not then see what price they had to pay later.

Trump is the Laughingstock of the World by Scott Ritter, Sept 26

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