In light of some things I've posted  about focusing on "the system" instead of this or that politician, here is a contribution to that discussion.  Out of all the economic material available, Rick Wolff is offers the most concise, non dry yet through explanation and narrative of the current economic situation today.  This update also includes brief explanations of inflation, deflation and currency wars.

From the site:

These Tuesday evenings each begin with an update and analysis of major economic events of the last month and their contexts of longer-term economic trends shaping politics and society here and abroad. We focus on the evolving global capitalist economic crisis and its consequences. Topics examined include (1) the social costs and effects of unemployment, the housing crisis, deficits, exploding national debts and money creation, (2) the issue of long-term economic decline for wage and salary-earners, (3) “austerity programs” in Europe and mass resistance, and (4) crisis responses in China and other developing economies. The goal is to develop a deepening understanding of the crisis as systemic and of basic social changes as preferred responses to it.

* I cannot figure out how to embed the video, so its available after the jump.

http://rdwolff.com/content/nov...-2010-monthly-update

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"Everything is legal if the government can see you"-  KRS-ONE

Last edited by Muhammad Cipher
Original Post
Thanks for posting this.


BTW, i'm reading a book i got for 3 bucks called The Trillion Dollar Meltdown.  I should say attempting to read because it's a tad jargon-ish but in between breaks i read a bit and highlight a bit.  What has struck me so far is that banks allow millionaires to borrow money expressly for the purpose of investing or playing the market in various investment "instruments" while blacks can't get even the simplest business projects greenlighted.  


These are the people that George Dubya Bush, Hank Paulson and DEMOCRATS in congress felt should be rescued?
Last edited by NSpirit

"Power" is not democratic. In our analysis we must remember that. Things lean to the benefit of the powerful for the same reason that a seesaw tilts to the heavier end. The banking industry is a powerful entity. Big business are a powerful entity. The rich are a powerful entity. The entity that controls the money controls the nation.....and the world for that matter.  

OMG MC,


You're recommending that we consider SOCIALISM as an alternative to capitalism, the bestest system on this here earth.  {Sarcasm Off}.
One thing I find absolutely fascinating about Wolff's reading of Marx is the focus on surplus.  Power is a popular theme in assumptions concerning class, but it doesn't have to be the central focus (important though it is).

@Kweil
If people in the US didn't freak out over the word, much of the economic issue would be easier to see.  Ironically in places that have histories of war and distruction under "right wing socialism" do not exhibit the type of fear and hysteria over Marxian material.
The interesting part was where he talks about economists playing games with words to make the simple complicated and making themselves necessary.

But this is not new.  It was written about in 1938.

The Tyranny of Words by Stuart Chase
http://www.anxietyculture.com/tyranny.htm

The power game depends on people being kept ignorant.  Economics would not be so complicated to people that understood accounting.  But the same word game is played in accounting.

Xum
You know ... I never really entertained the thought of "socialism" until they started calling the President a Socialist.

But .... the more I hear about it .... the more I kinda like it!! 
This is a different lecture where he expounds on the reasoning behind questioning and having discussion around the nature of the current system more than the one posted above.  This video has much more of a comparison between the reactions here and overseas (which is all but ignored in US press and even economic forecasting).



You know, MC .... I have a question for you.

I am pretty much an economics "novice" ... but, I think I know enough to get by. 

Now .. my very crude, non-scientific, non-expert reading of the days of the economy of the Clinton Administration goes something like this:

As I understand it, when President Clinton took office, he inherited a deficit from ex-President G. H. W. Bush's Administration.  And during his presidency, he was able to pay it down/off ... and accumulate (at least on paper) a 'surplus' of federal funds.  Now ... I understand he did this while raising taxes (I believe on everybody ... rich or poor!).  But, he was also able to make the unemployment rate go down. 

Now, whether or not we as a nation were REALLY that financially solvent (I realized there are economic indicators and opinions that make that debatable) ... people at least THOUGHT we were ... and things were really going good for most of the middle-class ... consumer spending was booming, people felt more financially secure, credit was soaring (which is a bad thing, but ...), and people were seemingly happy about their financial outlook.

But, my question is .... what was President Clinton's general economic strategy/agenda?  And who were the major players that put it all in place??  Would you say it was more bad policy than good - economically speaking??  And the same question, but from a political/social perspective?? 
But, my question is .... what was President Clinton's general economic strategy/agenda?  And who were the major players that put it all in place??  Would you say it was more bad policy than good - economically speaking??  And the same question, but from a political/social perspective??


I wont pretend to know all the names and positions off the Clinton era policy makers.  In truth Im not that much of a policy wonk.  That said, there is a book called "Greenspans Fraud" that goes into some of the reasoning and ideology that informed many of Clinton's policies. 

The economic policies under Clinton where bad but felt good, the way most coping mechanisms do.  The level of taxation was "higher" and economic environment here was that of good times (in most places), but the groundwork for accelerating the accumulation of wealth and resources as well as the current systemic meltdown where being laid. 

Politically and socially many have bought into the frame of "get in where you fit it" regarding the economic reality of the US.  Setting aside my position as a Muslim in the NOI (and by extension the acceptance of the eventual decline and collapse of the US economy)-the level of social and political thinking has been one that focuses on changing a system that is viewed as "malfunctioning" from within.  What many are beginning to think about is perhaps this system isn't malfunctioning at all. Perhaps its behaving exactly the way its designed to.  Meaning the outcomes (massive wealth and massive poverty) are not signs of inaction on the peoples part, but characteristics of an unjust system.
The Clinton years were also years of a republican legislature, for the most part. It kills me when people ignore congress and act as if the Presidency is a dictatorship and that anything that goes good or bad rest in the executive office.


If you listen to this professor, one thing that he said is that politicians do not control the economy. They are not the ones hiring or firing. There is a lot of truth to that. Part of the reason that there was a boom under Clinton was because of new technology. That new technology was the internet (created by Al Gore….lol). Let us also not forget that there was a massive increase in demand for IT specialist to fix the Y2K bug. The internet spurred many “dot.com” companies and massive speculation and bubbles created from the promise of the internet.


This era saw a massive increase in the amount of pseudo wealth that was to later burst in the “Dot com” crash of NASDQ. Partisans never mention that Bush Jr inherited fallout of the bursting of this bubble, the end of Y2K demand, as well as the events of 911. Bush Jr cut taxes to stimulate growth as the nation was going into a recession when he became president and this was exacerbated by the events of 911. The tax cuts were In response to a contracting economy…..then Congress and the President agreed to invade Afghanistan and then CONGRESS and the PRESIDENT gave ok to the use of force in Iraq. Hence, the phony economic growth of the 90’s created phony surpluses.


MC is correct in that focus should be placed more on the policy of the Federal Reserve than that of politicians.
Reference:
The tax cuts were In response to a contracting economy…..then Congress and the President agreed to invade Afghanistan and then CONGRESS and the PRESIDENT gave ok to the use of force in Iraq.

You should be a media political pundit ... with an ability to spin - and then try to sell - BS like that into something that's supposed to be legitimate. 

You're always a stickler for people getting every little detail right and telling the truth - the WHOLE truth, that is - so why didn't you do so in your statement here?? 

The TRUTH is ... that Congress gave the President permission to use force in Iraq, IF and WHEN it was proven that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction by UN inspectors and was deemed to be a threat to national security.

None of that happened ... and it all turned out to be a LIE.  But the ex-President abused his authorization and ordered military action ANYWAY!!!  And the rest, as they say, is history.
Well, the bottom line is that Bush could not have done what he did without the authorization of Congress, which included the support of most Democrats. Now if you are going to plead ignorance on the behalf of the Democratic congress, then you have to give Bush the benefit of ignorance as well. You see, Bush was beholden to intelligence reports. Bush was not the originator of intelligence on WMD. He received briefings and it was even lamented by several high profile Democrats that Saddam indeed possessed weapons of mass destruction, including Clinton (prior to Bush taking office). Thus, if one is going to argue that the Democrats were mislead by Bush then one can make the argument that Bush was mislead by the intelligence. That having been said, the democrats continued to fully fund the war despite the opposition to it. Like Dennis Kucinich noted, those in true opposition to the war in his party had the power to not vote to fund it. The Democrats only became vocal opposition when things went bad and the public turned against it. Before they were either on board or too much the cowards to not oppose it while public sentiment was still very vindictive after 911 and believed that Saddam was linked to it. In light of this public sentiment, democrats folded in support, which was the last straw for my shaky moral support of that party. They were just as complicit as Bush…..if for no other reason than cowardice, if not believing equally that there were WMD’s in Iraq. Hell…..everyone knows that Republicans are the party of war. Hence, to give a Republican president a blank check to cash for war, if he so chooses, was irresponsible, if not complicity.
"If you listen to this professor, one thing that he said is that politicians do not control the economy."


But the good doctor also said that politicians' policies affect the economy and that is what you seem to want to ignore/fail to acknowledge.


"It kills me when people ignore congress and act as if the Presidency is a dictatorship and that anything that goes good or bad rest in the executive office."


Yet in your criticisms of PRESIDENT Obama, you don't seem to give him that same benefit of the doubt.  



" That new technology was the internet (created by Al Gore….lol)."


Rightwing Talking Point Alert ... Gore never said that he created or invented the internet.
"What many are beginning to think about is perhaps this system isn't malfunctioning at all. Perhaps its behaving exactly the way its designed to.  Meaning the outcomes (massive wealth and massive poverty) are not signs of inaction on the peoples part, but characteristics of an unjust system.


Well I've come to believe capitalism is an unjust, unsustainable system for awhile now ... I've also wonder 1) To what end?  It would seem that, if the end-game is the acquisition and maintenance of power, the Powers That Are would recognize that the system would eventually come down to self-canibalization and, at some point, act on the fact that it is/was a short-term strategy from the start. 


2) What is the alternative?  I know there are theoretical  alternatives to capitalism; but what system, in practice, promotes even the illusion of social mobility and/or economic justice.  I think that many support this system because the devil you know is better than the one unknown.
Reference:
"What many are beginning to think about is perhaps this system isn't malfunctioning at all. Perhaps its behaving exactly the way its designed to. Meaning the outcomes (massive wealth and massive poverty) are not signs of inaction on the peoples part, but characteristics of an unjust system.

Yep!!  I would definitely be standing in line to join this club, myself!!

Republicans/capitalists/Conservatives have calculatingly and systematically taken every political and legislative opportunity to advance a corrupt, unethical, imbalanced system of disparity and class-warfare.  And have been highly successful at it, judging by the almost daily reports of continued growth in corporate America and Wall Street and the steady decline of the middle-class and ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor in this country.

Also .. the system isn't really designed for a "fair fight" by 'the people' considering that corporations and the rich are paying millions - if not billions - of dollars annually to politicians and for legislative policy that protects their (financial, economic and political) interests to continue to widen that ever-widening gap. 
kweli,

I posted no critisim of Obama. A prerequite of critism would be expectations that he would and could do this or that. I was the one suggesting that a black President, whether Obama or whomever, would NOT be able to do much and that expectation of what he could or would achieve was much to high. So how could critism exist where expectations does not?


Sure policy can affect the economy.....but the question is to what degree and from what dimension. Its interesting that you rarely here Democrats talking about NAFTA and its impact on the economy. If they mention it, its never used against the Democrats. My contention is that policy, as long as it remains capitalistic, marginally impacts the economy in the long run. Even witout NAFTA our country would be suffering to the same degree. Even without the Tax cuts our country would be suffering. Even without the deregulation our country would still be suffering. Why? The primary reason is that the wolrd outside the US has radically changed which is impacting our domestic economy. Its really the fall of marxism and the rise of capitalism in places like China that is changing the fortunes of America.

I have certainly never been an advocate of Capitalism....that is not to say that I have ever been an advocate of marxism or any other form of economics either. However, I wonder if Ebony Rose believes that Democrats are capitalist or not? If the system of capitalism is inherently unjust and produces poverty and inequality in the energy exhange to produce wealth, then the Democrats are just as complicit because nearly all of them support the theory and practice of capitalism.


One aways has to give up something to get something. That is the physics of a closed system. Capitalism is the most exploitive system....but it is also the most productive system. Hence, to reduce one is to reduce the other. Egalitarian and benovolent cultures and kingdoms are not known for their wealth and power. Unfortunately we live in a world were nice guys finish last, as the dominant rule. The wealthiest and most advanced civilizaations have always been exploitive and war like. So it should be understood that you cannot have your cake and eat it too. In other words, when you give up exploitation and warring....you give up a lot of your ability to create wealth and to advance society. Sure...you have some small socialist countries, like Norway, that have high standards of living but that is usually due to some abundant natural resourse that gets exported and brings in income from other nations which is converted to wealth.

2) What is the alternative?  I know there are theoretical  alternatives to capitalism; but what system, in practice, promotes even the illusion of social mobility and/or economic justice.  I think that many support this system because the devil you know is better than the one unknown.

Careful, there is a tendency (after a bit of encouragement from the culture) to treat the capitalist system as if its a naturally occurring system and/or the best (read only) system that can work as an economy.  Other systems that have taken on various names, mostly for marketing reasons such as "democracy in the workplace" etc.  but they are out there are do work.  However, don't expect to read about it in the domestic press. 

I don't nessassarly edourse Mondragon, but its a good example of a working alternative that isn't barely getting by.  Worker owned co-ops are another form of business arrangements that incorporate the social condition/community concern into the business decisions. 

This post is on the fly so it lacks some details I can give or link to later.
{{{  "If you listen to this professor, one thing that he said is that politicians do not control the economy."

But the good doctor also said that politicians' policies affect the economy and that is what you seem to want to ignore/fail to acknowledge.   }}}

Now that is funny as hell.

Affect and control are not quite the same thing.

When you are driving your car on dry pavement you are in control.  You can make the car do exactly what you want.  But what about when the car is doing 40 mph on perfectly smooth ice?  Turning the wheel or hitting the brakes may have some effect but will it do exactly what you want?  Like stop?

The government has an effect but the politicians are either delusional or liars about how much control they have.  And the increase in stupidity since Jimmy Carter has only reduced the control.  My personal suspicion is that The SHRUB totally broke the system.  Obama is just trying to not fall on the ice.

We aren't supposed to know that it is ice.

Find an economist and kick his ass.  Then buy a $2000 computer for the good of the economy and pretend it won't depreciate to $500 in 3 years.  That is what the economist have been doing with all of the durable consumer goods in the world for the last FIFTY YEARS.

Xum
I was looking to post this just as ER posted her update on the jobless claims.  I didn't want to high jack that thread or start a brand new one and thought that it could just as well fit here.  This is an update (as of Jan 15), some info covered in the previous ones as well as some updates including Pres Obama's tax defeat and the increased conservative and even Black pundits attacks on public employee unions.

Econ stats given in a vacuum are very poor (and not suitable) for telling the whole story. 

http://rdwolff.com/content/jan...ly-update-capitalism
"Power" is not democratic.

Power is as democratic as knowledge.  One would think that with the Internet the world could become more democratic.  But look at the reaction to Wikileaks.

Suppose Malcolm X and Martin Luther King had been talking about mandatory accounting for Black kids in the early 60s.  What would the economic state for Black Americans be?

Don't you find it curious that NO ECONOMIST suggests such a thing?

It is all people at the TOP are supposed to manage things and some people point out how they get it wrong.  But if EVERYBODY knew accounting and made decisions based on that knowledge would there be ignorant people for those at the top to manipulate?

Xum
Last edited by Xumbrarchist

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