My blog: The War Department and Peace Heroes
See Class, Corporations, Economics, Globalization, Greed, Inequality, Information Control, Lobbying, Marx, Military Industrial Complex, Monopoly, Occupy, Regulation, Socialism, US Economic Imperialism, Working Class, and related newsletters.
Nos. 9, 10, 11 at end.
Animated Film on Nature of Capitalism
Moyers Interviews Sheila Bair and Richard Wolff March 22
Tunnel People and Economic Collapse
Dauvergne and Lister, Corporate Takeover of Sustainability
Smil, What We Have Taken from Nature
Blinder, Cause and Cure of Economic Crisis
Leopold, World of Top Hedge-Fund Managers
Garson, How the 99% Lives in the Recession
Moyers & Co.: Victims of US Capitalism in
Scheer, Predatory Takeover, The Great Stickup
Taibbi, Big Banks Price-Fixing
Dick, Warrior Capitalism
Taibbi, Everything Rigged
Leech, Capitalism Genocidal, Rev. by Sethness
Kroll, 2012 Elections and Billionaires
Gibson, Public Banking
Cox: The Market as God
Moyers: Freeland, Taibbi, Income Inequality
Birdsell: Poverty of Working Poor
Ockert: SNAP Handouts Help Short-term
Hedges: Global US Capitalism, World’s Elites vs. World’s Poor
Trainor: And Climate Change, 180 Degree Turn Needed Now
Faulkner: Over-accumulation of Capitalism:
Defenders of a Modified Capitalism
Admati and Hellwig: Changing the Banking System
Haque: Changing the Economic System
Strong and Mackey: Conscious Capitalists Can Solve World’s Problems
Welch: Positive Vision Needed
Mark Leibovich, author of This Town.
MOYERS & Co. 8-25-13
An interview of
Mark Leibovich, author of This Town. A dark view of Corruption Washington, DC: Congress/White House/the Rich: few honest or
courageous men or women there.
Why? Money funneled by the
wealthy through lobbyists. Wall Street
has tripled its lobbying money in the past few years, because it works. Supporters of the status quo of corporate
power and money are lavishly rewarded.
Yes there are differences between the two parties, and they are polarized
over legislation, but Congress is fully bipartisan by the money to be made and
the conformity to power while in office.
BP’s behavior after the spill is a typical example. See Bill Moyers.com for the program and
more. Moyers is a chief ethical opponent
‘This Town’ by Mark Leibovich
Review By Craig Fehrman
| GLOBE CORRESPONDENT
AUGUST 07, 2013
RALPH ALSWANG PHOTOGRAPHY
Mark Leibovich writes for New York Times Magazine.
Early in “This Town,” Mark Leibovich’s new book about Washington D.C., is the following description of Ken Duberstein: “[T]he standard line on Duberstein is that he spent six and a half months as Reagan’s chief of staff and twenty-four years (and counting) dining out on it.”
Leibovich, the chief national
correspondent at The New York Times Magazine, does a wonderful job writing
There’s a touch of Tom Wolfe in Leibovich’s subtitle: “Two Parties
and a Funeral — Plus Plenty of Valet Parking! — in
The funeral is Tim Russert’s, in the spring of 2008. “This Town”
starts there and continues through the reelection of Barack Obama. The closest the book comes to a narrative is in
charting the president’s administration as it
lapses into the ways of
THIS TOWN: Two Parties and a Funeral — Plus
Plenty of Valet Parking! — in
Gilded Capital 2013 America
Author: Mark Leibovich Publisher: Blue Rider
“This Town” also includes
some tawdry set pieces — D.C.’s power lunch circuit, the White House
Correspondents’ Dinner, the post-debate spin rooms. There’s rarely much action
in these scenes. What makes them work are Leibovich’s details, which are
frequently juicy enough to dine out on. At Russert’s funeral, even the male
mourners arrive wearing “Queen Elizabeth levels of Pan-Cake makeup as they are
coming straight from their TV standups.” Others keep thrusting business cards
at the hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” — “A new low, even for
Is it a new low? After all, way back in 1988, Joan Didion could savage the city’s “self-created and self-referring class.” But Leibovich argues that the pesky new media, our burgeoning celebrity culture, and above all a sharp increase in the sheer number of dollars have combined to change things. “ ‘Insider Washington’ is much larger than it used to be,” he writes, pointing to the way small PR firms and consulting groups have merged into “integrated services” behemoths.
It all adds up to what the locals winkingly call “This Town,” a place where fakeness is so pervasive it feels like authenticity — and from which it’s virtually impossible to be expelled.
But one more question remains: will Leibovich’s book change anything?
[WHAT’ MUST WE DO? --D]
For the most part, however, “This Town” has simply provided
GOOGLE SEARCH AUGUST 28, 2013, FOR HARVEY COX, THE MARKET AS GOD: Cox’s original essay and commentary
The Market as God
Living in the new dispensation.” Atlantic Monthly,
MARCH 1, 1999,
A few years ago a friend advised me that if I wanted to know what was going on in the real world, I should read the business pages. Although my lifelong interest has been in the study of religion, I am always willing to expand my horizons; so I took the advice, vaguely fearful that I would have to cope with a new and baffling vocabulary. Instead I was surprised to discover that most of the concepts I ran across were quite familiar.
Expecting a terra incognita, I found myself instead in the land of
déjà vu. The lexicon of The Wall Street
Journal and the business sections of Time
and Newsweek turned out to bear a
striking resemblance to Genesis, the Epistle to the Romans, and
The East Asians' troubles, votaries argue, derive from their
heretical deviation from free-market orthodoxy—they were practitioners of
"crony capitalism," of "ethnocapitalism," of "statist
capitalism," not of the one true faith. The East Asian financial panics,
the Russian debt repudiations, the Brazilian economic turmoil, and the
Soon I began to marvel at just how comprehensive the business theology is. There were even sacraments to convey salvific power to the lost, a calendar of entrepreneurial saints, and what theologians call an "eschatology"—a teaching about the "end of history." My curiosity was piqued. I began cataloguing these strangely familiar doctrines, and I saw that in fact there lies embedded in the business pages an entire theology, which is comparable in scope if not in profundity to that of Thomas Aquinas or Karl Barth. It needed only to be systematized for a whole new Summa to take shape.
At the apex of any theological system, of course, is its doctrine of God. In the new theology this celestial pinnacle is occupied by The Market, which I capitalize to signify both the mystery that enshrouds it and the reverence it inspires in business folk. Different faiths have, of course, different views of the divine attributes. In Christianity, God has sometimes been defined as omnipotent (possessing all power), omniscient (having all knowledge), and omnipresent (existing everywhere). Most Christian theologies, it is true, hedge a bit. They teach that these qualities of the divinity are indeed there, but are hidden from human eyes both by human sin and by the transcendence of the divine itself. In "light inaccessible" they are, as the old hymn puts it, "hid from our eyes." Likewise, although The Market, we are assured, possesses these divine attributes, they are not always completely evident to mortals but must be trusted and affirmed by faith. "Further along," as another old gospel song says, "we'll understand why."
As I tried to follow the arguments and explanations of the economist-theologians who justify The Market's ways to men, I spotted the same dialectics I have grown fond of in the many years I have pondered the Thomists, the Calvinists, and the various schools of modern religious thought. In particular, the econologians' rhetoric resembles what is sometimes called "process theology," a relatively contemporary trend influenced by the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. In this school although God wills to possess the classic attributes, He does not yet possess them in full, but is definitely moving in that direction. This conjecture is of immense help to theologians for obvious reasons. It answers the bothersome puzzle of theodicy: why a lot of bad things happen that an omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient God—especially a benevolent one—would not countenance. Process theology also seems to offer considerable comfort to the theologians of The Market. It helps to explain the dislocation, pain, and disorientation that are the result of transitions from economic heterodoxy to free markets.
Mar 1, 1999 - According to theologian Harvey Cox, business and theology aren't so far apart. Capitalism is becoming religion, and The Market is the deity of ...
A few years ago a friend advised me that if I wanted to know what was going on in the real world, I should read the business pages. Although my lifelong interest ...
Harvey Cox, The Market as God, THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY,. Mar. 1999, at 18. 5 PAUL HAWKEN, THE ECOLOGY OF COMMERCE 3 (1993). Hawken is really ...
Apr 18, 2011 - Harvey Cox, The Market as Godhttp://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1999/03/the-market-as-god/6397/
In March 1999,
Oct 12, 2012 - One, entitled “The Market as God,” written by Harvey Cox, who at the time was
part of the
Apr 20, 2010 - Harvard theologian Harvey Cox was correct when he wrote in the
March of 1999 that in
Aug 26, 2011 - Twelve years ago Harvey Cox, professor of religion at Harvard, wrote an article titled “The Market as God” (Atlantic Monthly, March 1999, 18-23) ...
www.faithinpubliclife.org › Bold Faith Type
Oct 4, 2011 - Home > Bold Faith Type > “The Market As God” ... movement of dissatisfaction with what theologian Harvey Cox has called “the market as God.
Sep 25, 2009 - PROFESSOR HARVEY COX: He said, “
Dec 3, 2010 - In 1999, Harvey Cox of
INCOME INEQUALITY, MINIMAL REGULATION AND OVERSIGHT OF BUSINESS, ACCEPTANCE OF
PLUTOCRACY, REJECTION OF UNIONS.
BILL MOYERS INTERVIEWS CHRYSTIA FREELAND AND MATT TAIBBI: Income inequality has soared to the highest level since the Great Depression, with the top one percent taking 93 percent of the income earned in the first year after the recovery, the first full year after the recovery. Why are the two candidates not talking about inequality growing at breakneck speed?
And this guy, okay, he is now the chief economist of Citigroup. He wrote this when he was an academic economist. But so it's, he's hardly, you know, some kind of Marxist on the barricades. His argument was that part of the reason the financial crisis happened is the entire intellectual establishment, not just people inside investment banks, but regulators, academic economists, financial journalists, had all been captured by the financial sector's vision of how the economy should work. And in particular, light touch regulation.
And I think there is a broader cognitive capture of you might call it the intellectual class, the public intellectuals, around maybe the inevitability of plutocracy. You know, as Matt was saying, this notion that if you're poor, it's your own fault. You're part of this dependent 47 percent. Unions are very bad. All of that sort of stuff.
"Merging of state and private power where losers don't lose anymore.....They end up with greater market share than they did before."
Go to home page and under the video interview window is "Read the Transcript" button. Use the vertical slide bar to move up and down the article.
The Bare Minimum By Rachel Birdsell
Did you know if you’re the breadwinner in a two-person family and you’re
working full time and making minimum wage, you’re already earning $50 less
than the national poverty level for a 2-person household? If there are
three of you in the family, you’re making $4,100 less than the national
poverty level. In 1983, you could work for minimum wage and you’d be above
poverty level for a two person household, and you’d only be $1,252 under it
for a three person household. Rest is here.
SNAP Feeds Those In Need
For at least the 38th time the U.S. House of Representatives voted last week to repeal all or part of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 — an exercise in futility meant only to make a political statement over and over. [Ockert establishes need for SNAP clearly with logic and a host of facts. –Dick]
Hedges: Murdering the Wretched of the Earth
Our enemy is not radical
Islam. It is global capitalism. It is a world where the wretched of the earth
are forced to bow before the dictates of the marketplace, where children go
hungry as global corporate elites siphon away the world’s wealth and natural
resources and where our troops and U.S.-backed militaries carry out massacres
on city streets.
Murdering the Wretched of the Earth
Posted on Aug 14, 2013 [from David D Aug. 15. –Dick]
By Chris Hedges
Radical Islam is the last refuge of the Muslim poor. The mandated five prayers a day give the only real structure to the lives of impoverished believers. The careful rituals of washing before prayers in the mosque, the strict moral code, along with the understanding that life has an ultimate purpose and meaning, keep hundreds of millions of destitute Muslims from despair. The fundamentalist ideology that rises from oppression is rigid and unforgiving. It radically splits the world into black and white, good and evil, apostates and believers. It is bigoted and cruel to women, Jews, Christians and secularists, along with gays and lesbians. But at the same time it offers to those on the very bottom of society a final refuge and hope. The massacres of hundreds of believers in the streets of Cairo signal not only an assault against a religious ideology, not only a return to the brutal police state of Hosni Mubarak, but the start of a holy war that will turn Egypt and other poor regions of the globe into a caldron of blood and suffering.
The only way to break the hold of radical Islam is to give its
followers a stake in the wider economy, the possibility of a life where the
future is not dominated by grinding poverty, repression and hopelessness. If you live in the
sprawling slums of
lifeblood of radical movements is martyrdom. The Egyptian military has provided
an ample supply. The faces and the names of the sanctified dead will be used by
enraged clerics to call for holy vengeance. And as violence grows and the lists
of martyrs expand, a war will be ignited that will tear
What is happening in Egypt is a precursor to a wider global war
between the world’s elites and the world’s poor, a war caused by
diminishing resources, chronic unemployment and underemployment,
overpopulation, declining crop yields caused by climate change, and rising food
prices. Thirty-three percent of
In “Les Misérables” Victor Hugo described war with the poor as one between the “egoists” and the “outcasts.” The egoists, Hugo wrote, had “the bemusement of prosperity, which blunts the sense, the fear of suffering which in some cases goes so far as to hate all sufferers, and unshakable complacency, the ego so inflated that is stifles the soul.” The outcasts, who were ignored until their persecution and deprivation morphed into violence, had “greed and envy, resentment at the happiness of others, the turmoil of the human element in search of personal fulfillment, hearts filled with fog, misery, needs, and fatalism, and simple, impure ignorance.”
belief systems the oppressed embrace can be intolerant, but these belief
systems are a response to the injustice, state violence and cruelty inflicted
on them by the global elites. Our enemy
is not radical Islam. It is global capitalism. It is a world where the
wretched of the earth are forced to bow before the dictates of the marketplace,
where children go hungry as global
corporate elites siphon away the world’s wealth and natural resources and
where our troops and U.S.-backed militaries carry out massacres on city
TWO ITEMS ON CLIMATE CHANGE
[The link between capitalism and global warming/climate change is well-established. The same is true (wars over resources, e.g.) of the link between capitalism and wars. Nuclear war must be included in any list of chief dangers to the planet and species. See the several newsletters pertaining to them. –Dick]
Dennis Trainor, Jr., Video Feature, NationofChange, August 14, 2013: A study by the Global Carbon Project says a continued increase in carbon dioxide emissions means the planet could see up to triple the maximum 2-degree target set by the United Nations in 2010 and heat of the planet up enough to usher in a temperature rise of up to 6 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. So eat local, wear a Jimmy Carter Cardigan while driving your Prius and compost all you want, but unless the humans of the world slam on the breaks and do a 180 turn radically altering the way we produce, consume and live, Armageddon like conditions will be coming to a town near you this century
NATIONS: IDEOLOGIES OF SHORT AND
LONG-TERM GAINS: US AND
A distinct feature of
US politics is its arrogant insulation:
seldom are other countries’ systems applied to assess the way things are
done here. That application is one of
the great gifts, too little recognized, given us by Noam Chomsky. In book after
book he compares and contrasts the
In contrast is
A CASE OF OVER ACCUMULATION OF
CAPITAL AND ITS CONSEQUENCES
By Kaye Faulkner MAltha6995@aol.com, 7-8=13
The current press accounts for the failure of the economy by emphasizing the exploitative relationship to the extent that 1% of the population own 40% of property. There has been talk of two economies. Much of the so called analysis is focused to frighten rather than inform the population. I cannot imagine what is meant by the allusion to two economies unless to mark that the rich one has exploited the other one—the reason for the difference of poverty and of wealth. The recent stock market activity shows a swapping of ownership claims, the demand for which forces the prices of stocks up. It does not necessarily show that any productive activity will be forthcoming—only the hope that it will establish owner’s claims for some putative profit that will emerge because of ownership.
Marx 160 years ago made the point that
capitalism is the monopoly ownership of the means of production by one class
while the under-class has nothing to sell but its labor. (Capital is a social
relationship, not only a factor.) This was the point that Mitt Romney was
making, whether he knew it or not, in his speech of the 47% to his rich backers
and the consequences for the working poor, which characterizes most of the rest
of us. He should not be so barefaced about his views; while offensive they are
true and costly for him to articulate. He was paraphrasing Marx whether he
liked it, realized it or not. Raymond Postgate’s quote fits as well: “Some men
are born booted and spurred and others with saddles on their backs to be
ridden.” This has characterized American capitalism and the American economy
from the start. Should we agree with Postgate’s point: what can we do about
it—rebel? Charles and Mary Beard in An
Economic Interpretation of the U.S. Constitution talked of the property class and their
importance in forming the much touted American Constitution. Colonial business
wanted to do their own thing without the interference of the British. After a
while deprivation gets under the skin leading to spontaneous outbursts of
contempt and anger—which in all probability explains some portion of the Muslim
attitude to the
Part of the dynamics of capitalism is the need to reduce costs (to increase profits) whenever and wherever possible. Machine production enables the capitalist to substitute capital for labor, thereby reducing the capitalist’s wages bill. The ideal factory would be where you have no workers but one to turn the machinery on and never off. The other side of the production equation is the importance to control the market—which is the reason that the Republicans demand for “free” markets for their subalterns to accommodate their masters of exploitation. Competition while much touted is to be avoided by capitalists whenever the possibility exists. The advantages of either monopoly (one seller) or oligopoly (few showing interdependence) if you are forced to share a market with another capitalist are readily apparent in the profits the business can make. That is, there are usually higher profits where the competition is eliminated or constrained in some way or other.
This dynamism plays out further in what Schumpeter called creative destruction in Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. That is where extant capital is replaced with new, more productive units that out-perform the old capital whatever the age of the old capital worn or not. Capitalists are like lions: their predation is inherent. It is not that the capitalist dislikes people nor the lion does dislike his prey, there is no moral imperative of any sort—it is the achievement of profit or the use value of a meal that is of singular importance.
That this capitalist process has so
enamored the public for the last 100 or so years may not come as a surprise
since the exploitation of the resources leading to some output available to
capitalists has been shared i.e. distributed among some of the working
population. This is either because of government action or that of union
organization—or some political need or fear of retribution viz. food stamps or
managed unemployment payments. Malthus (an economist of the early 19thCentury)
early on argued his criticism of the possibility of capitalists prevailing
warned of the consequences of the downside effects of crises in capitalist’s
failure to perform: unemployment, crime and revolution. Capitalists are aware of the need to
feed the cow if it is to be milked and they do look upon the working classes of
needing some attention from time to time. The source of much of the
exploitation of the underclass has come from what has been called imperialism
or colonialism including much that has characterized the
Another of the down side consequences
of corporate power is that with thrusts of the interest of the capitalist in
reducing costs is the reduction of the number of workers needed for productive
requirements. This results in unemployment which serves the interest of the
capitalists as well. With firing, the laying off, making workers redundant
through the processes of substituting capital for labor arises when all of the
unemployed workers who are now forced to compete with one another for the fewer
remaining jobs thereby reduce further the wage rate offered—Marx called this
pool of unemployed the Industrial Reserve Army or the Army of the Unemployed.
This pool is further enhanced by the loosely guarded borders which facilitate
the increasing numbers of workers from
No one likes the conclusion but it seems likely the only way the society can be run is by changing the organization of production for the benefit of the percent who currently do not own and who wish to work. The Republican response is to free the markets—really. What that means is that they wish to give to these same capitalists through the market structure the opportunity to claim by market power whatever is left of any income available to the workers and the public generally—there are no illusions about the efficacy of Christianity with all of the notions of care or charity and consideration with whatever illusions.
J. Kaye Faulkner
3006 Barkley Grove
The Bankers' New Clothes:
(Anat Admati & Martin
What is wrong with today's banking system? The past few years have shown that risks in banking can impose significant costs on the economy. Many claim, however, that a safer banking system would require sacrificing lending and economic growth. The Bankers' New Clothes examines this claim and the narratives used by bankers, politicians, and regulators to rationalize the lack of reform, exposing them as invalid.
Admati and Hellwig argue we can have a safer and healthier banking system without sacrificing any of the benefits of the system, and at essentially no cost to society. They show that banks are as fragile as they are not because they must be, but because they want to be--and they get away with it. Whereas this situation benefits bankers, it distorts the economy and exposes the public to unnecessary risks. Weak regulation and ineffective enforcement allowed the buildup of risks that ushered in the financial crisis of 2007-2009. Much can be done to create a better system and prevent crises. Yet the lessons from the crisis have not been learned.
Admati and Hellwig seek to engage the broader public in the debate by cutting through the jargon of banking, clearing the fog of confusion, and presenting the issues in simple and accessible terms. The Bankers' New Clothes calls for ambitious reform and outlines specific and highly beneficial steps that can be taken immediately.
Anat Admati is the George G. C. Parker Professor of Finance and Economics at Stanford's Graduate School of Business. She serves on the FDIC Systemic Resolution Advisory Committee and has contributed to theFinancial Times, Bloomberg News, and the New York Times. Martin Hellwig is director at the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods. He was the first chair of the Advisory Scientific Committee of the European Systemic Risk Board and the cowinner of the 2012 Max Planck Research Award for his work on financial regulation.
"Insightful . . ."--Floyd Norris, New York Times
"[I]mportant . . ."--John Cassidy, NewYorker.com
"Crucial . . ."--Jim Surowiecki, NewYorker.com
"Ms. Admati and Mr. Hellwig, top-notch academic financial economists, do understand the complexities of banking, and they helpfully slice through the bankers' self-serving nonsense. Demolishing these fallacies is the central point of The Bankers' New Clothes."--John Cochrane, Wall Street Journal
"Professor and journalist Admati and economic researcher Hellwig argue that it is possible to have a well-balanced banking system without any cost to society; weak regulations and lax enforcement is what caused the buildup of risk unleashed in the crisis. Here, they aim to demystify banking and expand the range of voices in the debate; encouraging people to form opinions and express doubts will ensure a healthier financial system as people understand the issues and influence policy. . . . The authors push for aggressive reform by outlining specific steps that can be taken to change our banking system for the better."--Publishers Weekly
"An important book for readers interested in what has been done, and what remains to be done, when it comes to safeguarding financial institutions."--Kirkus Reviews
"This book's aim, decisively achieved, is to de-mystify the public conversation about banking so we can all understand how threadbare the industry is."--Diane Coyle, Enlightened Economist blog
"This title is a must read for management and human resource professionals within the banking industry as well as government policymakers. With its clear explanations, many examples, and analogies, the book is accessible to readers who do not have business backgrounds and who want to better understand banking."--Library Journal
Rev. Public Citizen News (May/June 2013): “offers a simple and accessible explanation of the risks that banking poses and the costs that it extracts from our economy”; explains “how to make the financial system safer and less distorted”; “a must-read.” --Dick
Welcome to the worst decade since the Great
Depression. Trillions of dollars of financial assets and shareholder value
destroyed; worldwide GDP stalled; new jobs vanishingly scarce. But this isn’t
just a severe recession. It’s evidence that our economic institutions are
obsolete—a set of ideas inherited from the industrial age that no longer work
for business, people, society, or the future.
In The New Capitalist Manifesto, economic strategist Umair Haque argues that business as usual has outgrown the old paradigm of short-term growth, competition at all costs, adversarial strategy, and pushing costs onto future generations. These outworn assumptions are good for creating only “thin” value—gains that are largely illusory and produce diminishing returns every year.
For “thick” value—enduring, meaningful, sustainable advantage that deeply benefits the larger society—Haque details five new cornerstones of prosperity in the twenty-first century:
•Loss advantage: From value chains to value cycles
•Responsiveness: From value propositions to value conversations
•Resilience: From strategy to philosophy
•Creativity: From protecting a marketplace to completing a marketplace
•Difference: From goods to betters
The New Capitalist Manifesto makes a passionate, razor-sharp economic case that these methods will produce a more enduring prosperity for business as well as society.