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Happy Canada Day! 50% off in July

Happy Canada Day! Imagine a country without Wall Street and the Pentagon!

50% off in July on the new 159-page ebook anthology “Alternative Economics: Reversing Stagnation” from Smashwords.com.

Mainstream trickle-down economics is helpless in reversing exploding inequality and precarious jobs. Austrian, Swiss, Polish and German economists could show us the way to future-friendly economics respectful of human dignity and the rights of nature. Access, not excess and enough not more!
Unlike a chair, an idea can be shared by a whole people!


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“We can change the status quo”

“We can change the status quo if we have a vision and think big,” said Senator Sanders. A political revolution is necessary, changing priorities, policies and assumptions to avert exploding inequality, a corporate plutocracy and an all-pervasive mistrust in pay-to-play government. The Walton family has more wealth than 40% of America. The richest 1% have more wealth than 99% thanks to tax havens, corporate tax subsidies and tax evasion.

All personal and corporate achievement is and was based on state investment in roads, schools, hospitals, water quality, food safety, airwaves and community centers. Unless we accept the combination of cooperation and competition, we set the cart before the horse and mistake the goat for the gardener and the arsonist for the fire-fighter! The state should represent the public interest – in a world where private opulence allows public squalor (John Kenneth Galbraith).

The state has become the “errand boy” for the banks (Bill Moyers). Pay-to-play (cf. Tom DeLay) was normalized along with revolving doors as checks and balances and regulations fell as profit barriers. Deregulation, privatization and liberalization of markets (The Washington Consensus) are increasingly seen as the causes of stagnation and the end to an open dynamic future. Bernie keeps us from confusing public interest and private interests, peace-making and warmongering.

60 minutes with Bob Dylan


Hear Young Bob Dylan, Before Releasing His First Album, Tell Amazing Tales About Growing Up in a Carnival
in Music | June 28th, 2016

Back in 2012, we featured a young Bob Dylan talking and playing on The Studs Terkel radio show in 1963. Open Culture’s Mike Springer prefaced the interview with these words, “Dylan had just finished recording the songs for his second album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, when he traveled from New York to Chicago to play a gig at a little place partly owned by his manager, Albert Grossman, called The Bear Club. The next day he went to the WFMT studios for the hour-long appearance on The Studs Terkel Program. Most sources give the date of the interview as April 26, 1963, though Dylan scholar Michael Krogsgaard has given it as May 3.” In talking with Studs, Dylan told some tall tales (scholars say) about his youth, ones that would have made Huckleberry Finn proud. And that tendency to create an alternative biography is on display again in an even earlier interview, dating back to March 11, 1962.

Animated by Blank on Blank above, the (excerpted) interview lets us hear Dylan, only 20 years old, before the release of his eponymous debut album, and before achieving any kind of fame. Young Dylan tells Cynthia Gooding, host of the “Folksinger’s Choice” radio program in NYC, about the six years he spent with the carnival.

I was with the carnival off and on for about six years… I was clean-up boy, I used to be on the main line, on the ferris wheel, uh, do just run rides. I used to do all kinds of stuff like that… And I didn’t go to school a bunch of years and I skipped this and I skipped that.

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Social Inequality in the Descent Society


Social Inequality in the Descent Society
by Oliver Nachtwey and Gerrit Bartels, June 2016

The elevator effect is not true any more. This changed from the 1990s. People no longer move up together. A society of descent, precariousness and polarization has come out of the society of ascent. The metaphor of the escalator describes this process. Ascents and descents have a collective and an individual dimension.

The gainful life has lost its former structure; careers and vocational paths have become intermittent.

Normative insecurities grow in a society that still sees itself as an ascent society where life in “reality” is no longer looking up. Many probably know the experience from their childhood of running up a down escalator. That seldom worked. In the descent society, many people constantly see themselves on a down escalator. They have to run up to keep their position.

Posted in Neoliberalism, Political Theory, Reducing Inequality/ Redistribution | Leave a comment

30 minutes with Matthew Fox


Paul O’Brien interviews Matthew Fox on his Pathways program broadcast on KBOO.fm.

Matthew Fox is the author of the new book, A Way to God: Thomas Merton’s Creation Spirituality Journey. Thomas Merton was an American Catholic writer and mystic, a poet, social activist, student of comparative religion, and a proponent of interfaith understanding. Merton’s marriage of mysticism and prophecy, contemplation and action closely paralleled that of Meister Eckhart, the thirteenth-century mystic. Fox creates a methodology for understanding the vast and deep contributions that Merton made to the history of spirituality. He is an internationally acclaimed theologian and spiritual maverick who has spent the past forty years revolutionizing Christian theology, taking on patriarchal religion, and advocating for a creation-centered spirituality of compassion, justice, and resacralizing of the earth.

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Non-Profits versus Profit Maximization: For a New Social Housing Policy

Non-Profits versus Profit Maximization: For a New Social Housing Policy

In the US, creating a non-profit or cooperative housing sector and long-term low interest loans are crucial remedies to gentrification and exploding rents. Unfortunately these remedies are not discussed and market failure and state failure are repressed or made taboo. Where neoliberal myths (market as sacrosanct, wages are only cost factor, regulations decrease profits, government as the problem) prevail, problems are individualized into psychological and motivational problems and systemic or structural failure are impossible. Many in Germany regret the privatization of social housing.

Housing as a human and social necessity is eclipsed by housing as a speculative asset. Housing as a human right is subverted by the right of speculation. Here are links to important articles that help in reconceptualizing:


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Non-Profits versus Profit Maximization: For a New Social Housing Policy

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.

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Our Neoliberal Nightmare: Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Why the Wealthy Win Every Time


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.”

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Democracies Dissolve by Wolfgang J. Koschnick

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

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Neoliberalism: Oversold?

Neoliberalism: Oversold?
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.­
Related Article
Evolution Not Revolution:
Rethinking Policy at the IMF, an Interview with Chief Economist Maurice Obstfeld
Read Article

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.­

Posted in Financial Market Capitalism, Neoliberalism | Leave a comment

FDR’s First 100 Days by Horst Dippel

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!

Posted in Political Theory, Reducing Inequality/ Redistribution, Roosevelt and New Deal | Leave a comment