The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

44 Explicit Points on Creating a Better World

1) Ideology is key.  If you like (or were horrified by) my Baseline Predictions post, understand that the next two posts on ideology were about the solution.  Our decisions about what to do are virtually always ideological.  You cannot think about any complex subject without ideology, without idea structures mediating.  You cannot decide what to do without making judgments that are mediated through you world-view.

2) We know much of what must be done.  We know we need to do it.  We have not done it.  That suggests this is not a “practical” problem.

3) The structure of everyday life (job work, regimented schooling for children, passive entertainment, consumer “choice” that isn’t real choice) produces our world-view, our ideology.  We are left passive and accepting of social arrangement, unable to see that there are different ways to live.  We accept the world as it is, and accept systematic injustice, even injustice that directly and clearly injures us.

4) The problem of collective action is one part belief: people must believe they should do things differently.

5) Any social structure, including social structures which seek to change the dominant culture, if it can be bought out, will lose.

6) Any new social structure must throw off surplus that people can live on, and that surplus must not be able to be bought up by the old system, which will seek to do so.  The ban against selling out/being bought out must be irrational and ideological.  Rational people sell out.

7) The forms of the old world must be gotten rid of, and must be seen as anathema. You cannot save the world and keep American style suburbia as it is now.  You cannot change the world so people are happy and healthy and prosperous and keep wage labor as your primary method of distributing surplus value to the commons.

8) You cannot keep profit, aka. greed as the primary driver of social decision making.  Eating is for living, living is not for eating, to paraphrase Socrates.

9) Greed as primary driver leads to sociopathic behaviour being rewarded (read Barkin’s “The Corporation”).  This means you select, systematically, people who act sociopathically or pyschopathically as your leaders.  You get the behavior your reward, and right now our system rewards people for doing whatever it takes to make money, no matter what the costs to other people, to the environment or the future.

10) Most profits today are extracted value, they are not actual surplus value.  Instead they represent destruction of actual economic productivity.  Every cent the financial sector “earned” from 2000 to 2007 was destroyed, ten times over, in the crisis and the depression after the crisis.

11) Actual value is not rewarded.  A janitor or a garbageman or a teacher or a nurse or an assembly line worker or an engineer produces real value.  If the CEO does not come in tomorrow, so what?  If the janitor doesn’t, everyone is complaining immediately.  The people we call value creators today are mostly value extractors: their job is to squeeze hard, to monetize, not to create new products which are genuinely beneficial to the world, not to create workers who are well paid and thus able to provide demand, not to create better paying work, but worse paying work.

12) If you need a job to survive, you are always at the mercy of people who provide jobs.

13) The wage you are paid is based on the tightness of the labor market and how protected  you are by government. It has virtually nothing to do with your personal skillset, except to the extent that skillset is in short supply.  As programmers found out, corporations and government will do everything they can to make sure any specific labor shortage is reduced as quickly as possible.

14) You have power, as an ordinary individual, only if you act as a group and in solidarity.  If you can be bribed to betray other ordinary people, they will play you off against each other.

15) Jobs aren’t a good way to distribute surplus, but if that is how you do it, you will only get surplus in a tight labor market.  Central banks, the rich, corporations and government today all work systematically to make sure that there is no tight labor market.  If there is no tight labor market, you can and will be replaced.  If you can be easily replaced, there is no reason to give you any extra money, even if you are producing more than you did in the past. It is for this reason that for over 30 years now NONE of the productivity gains have gone to ordinary workers on aggregate.

16) The economy must be completely electrified.  Energy must be made, to the largest extent possible, a capital good, this is a specific instance of the next point:

17) Supply bottlenecks cannot be allowed.  Ever.  Whenever one starts to form, it must be broken.  Failure to do so is why the post-war liberal order failed and was replaced with neo-liberalism.

18) You cannot use up sinks (like carbon storage in the atmosphere) faster than they can be regenerated.  Period.

19) You cannot allow degradation of food or environment.  These are major causes of the degenerative and chronic diseases which are epidemic in our society.

20) You cannot allow significant unproductive consumption to be a major part of your economy.  Suburbia, for example, is essentially pure consumption.  All bans on productive work, agriculture, etc… in suburbia must be removed.

21) You cannot allow public goods, like education or health care, to be rationed based on ability to pay.  Paying for schools through property taxes creates an education system which wastes the human potential of millions of people in an attempt to replicate class privilege.  Ironically, the middle class is failing anyway, as the economic value of education has been destroyed.

22) The most important rule of all is this: your elites must experience the same life as ordinary people.  They must go to the same shitty schools (no private schools, no enriched schools, no Ivy League).  They must fly on the same planes and go through the same security (they don’t), they must use the same healthcare and stew in the same wards in the same rooms as the poorest of the citizens.  They must eat the same food, rather than being able to buy high quality food the poor can’t.  If they don’t experience what you experience, they will not care what is happening to you.  And they don’t.  Why should they when they’re the richest riches the world has ever known. The world is great, to the rich and powerful.

23) You have power to the degree you have solidarity, control your own government, and have the ability to support yourself without a job.  If you cannot walk, if you have no ability to say “screw you”, then you are a slave, the only question is who you are a slave to.  The people we feel worst for today are the unemployed who can’t even find a master.

24) People who actually create value must be allowed to keep enough of it.  Right now they aren’t.  Google takes almost all the value created by the people who actually make the web, for example.  Wal-mart crushes its suppliers into the dust.  A few key  pipelines like App Stores, Amazon, and so on take almost all of the surplus value.  Anyone who thinks 30% is a reasonable charge for an app store wants to see failure (this doesn’t mean no taxation, proper taxation takes away unneeded surplus, not needed surplus.)

25) A regular rate of return of 5% is reasonable.  A world in which you have to make 15% or 30%+ to be viable is a world in which most businesses are not viable, and in which millions sit idle with nothing to do because there is nothing to do that can make those sort of returns.

26) Returns of 15% or more can only be made through fraud, exploitation or oligopolistic practices.  Bad or fraudulent profits drive out real profits and real value creation.

27) The network effect is not something which should be rewarded with a 30% commission.  Neither is the railroad effect “nice product you got there, son, but it doesn’t get to market if you don’t pay us our vig.”

28) We can all be prosperous, but we can’t all be rich.  Having hundreds of billionaires is exactly why you haven’t had a real raise in 30 years.

29) Concentrations of wealth are used to protect that wealth and buy up the system.  That is why they can’t be allowed.  The first thing someone does who wins the market, is buy the market, and that means buying the government.

30) Government is either your worst enemy, or you best friend, depending on whether it is controlled by the public, by private interests or running rogue.  But government is also the only major organization which can work for ordinary people.  Every other organization has another purpose.  As such, you must control government if you want prosperity.

31) Government, under whatever name, is needed to do things we must do together for the greater good.  When it does not exist, you get Somalia.  Great cell phone service, but your daughters get pulled out shacks at 2 am and raped, or you buy your safety by submitting to an oppressive set of relgous laws.

32) You cannot have large standing armies and keep liberty.  Period.

33) You cannot give private entities the right to print money without extremely strict limits and not expect unreasonable concentration of money, which means power, which means the government gets bought out and you lose both your liberty and your freedom.

34) Biodiversity is wealth, it is where the great biochemical advances and products of the future will come from. Every time we kill a species, we impoverish our future.

35) We are going to require a transnational body with armed forces to enforce environmental controls.

36) Fines no longer work to control economic activity, we will require outright criminal bans and tough enforcement to stop rapacious corporate behaviour.

37) If you must have the cheapest devices, you are requiring a woman in the Congo to be raped and rivers in China to be polluted.  Fixing this is not an individual action, it is a collective action problem, it can only be fixed by government and by terrible things like, oh “tariffs”.

38) Free Trade is meaningless if you don’t have full employment.  It is a rounding error at best, harmful at worst.

39) Capital flows cannot be allowed to move faster than trade flows and really shouldn’t be much faster than labor flows.

40) The functionless rich cannot be allowed to keep the money they have.  Use it for actual new production, or lose it.

41) Inflation is not a bad thing below about 10% or so.  There is no good evidence it reduces growth, and it does break up concentrations of wealth.  We are terrified of inflation because we know our wages aren’t rising faster than it is.

42) People who make a bad loan, should lose their money.  There is no such thing as free money, and bondholders need to learn that.  Concomittent, bankruptcy must be easy to get: economic cripples, unable to discharge debts are not in our economic interest.  It is especially abhorrent that bankruptcy cannot discharge student loans.

43) An economy in which people are free to do what they love, free of fear of losing everything, is far more economically productive than one in which people are forced to do things they hate to make ends meet.

44) The right thing to do, ethically, is usually the right thing to do economically. Helping the distressed is good for the economy.  Universal healthcare that doesn’t give extra money to insurance companies is good for the economy.  Believe it or not, not dumping pollution into air and not poisoning food… is good for the economy.  Feeding the poor is… good for the economy.

If you’re ever not sure what the right economic policy is ask yourself what the kind thing to do is.  You’ll be right nine times out ten, and the remaining one time you’ll still be doing something good.



How to Create a Viable Ideology


A brief note on why the progressive blog movement failed


  1. Celsius 233

    44 Explict Points on Creating a Better World

    This also is a primer on just how impotent we citizens have allowed ourselves to become.
    I would call this thread a tour de force, which leaves a massive opportunity for discussion and, more importantly, action. A very clear call to, and directions for, action.
    Kudos Ian.

  2. Celsius 233

    Oh, and, #43 & 44 are absolutely right on the mark.
    I think your best post ever!

  3. Christopher Harlos

    Quite good, brilliant even. I suspect a couple hundred thousand Americans would agree with these principles in the main.

  4. Mark

    Bravo… again.

  5. Jeff Wegerson

    + “not a “practical” problem”

    +”Jobs aren’t a good way to distribute surplus”

    +”Government is either your worst enemy, or you best friend, depending on whether it is controlled by the public,”

    +”Inflation is not a bad thing below about 10% or so”

    I especially liked your mention of these somewhat counter-intuitive realities. Is this like a trailer for one of your books?

    Whatever. I give it a thumbs up. Thanks.

  6. Don Carlos

    #31 is particularly bemusing. Foreign governments interventions, via invasions, arming warlords, disrupting community efforts, and various other destabilization policies are the reason why Somalia is a mess. Haven’t you noticed that Imperialism aims at destabilizing outlying societies to lay the groundwork for further plunder?

    #35 is alarmingly ignorant. After you call for disbanding standing armies you argue for transnational military forces(like NATO or the UN maybe–lol?). Transnational Military organizations have always been the vanguard of defending those who rape the planet(UN, NATO, ICC, etc— from Iraq, Iran, Kosovo, Sudan, The Congo, Libya to Somalia.

    Many of your suggestions are boilerplate “solutions” Fascists would happily support.

    Eradicating Labor as a social function would destroy the Infernal Machine that consumes all living things to nurture Oligarchs. Also getting rid of the privation of property(enclosure, exclusion, exploitation, and extraction), which is the principal source of every security and spoliation effort(large or small) on this planet, would help too. Perhaps those are a bit too radical for you?

    You want the “good side” of Liberalism’s coin without its “bad side”. No head can live without a tail. Your failure to acknowledge this makes you a fool believes in a good head without a messy tail. The prescriptions are merely hygienic.

    Production is consumption. Moralizing over consumption and suburbia(a popular past-time of well meaning Fascists) totally forgets the elementary fact that overproduction requires over-consumption. It’s a cheap and easy way to blame oppressed classes for buying things and ending up in debt. Every Fascist since Caesar Augustus has pushed frugality and demonized thoughtless consumption, wonder why?

    Peddling homilies, sub specie saeculi, in popular list form, only serves to ease the troubled digestion of well meaning liberals.

  7. Don Carlos

    errata: “makes you a fool WHO believes” oopikins

  8. Ian Welsh

    Anyone who thinks that things like plundering the ocean are going to end because we ask nicely, without creating a force capable of enforcing the writ, has no room to be calling anyone else a fool. Also, next time make your points without ad-homs, or your comment will be deleted.

  9. Blizzard

    I think I’m excited about your book now — after these last 3 posts, I kind of see what you’re driving at. The emphasis on ideology, putting it up front where it belongs, but connecting it to specific policy-type ideas — this is great. This is the kind of policy that ordinary people (like me, or even dumber) can reason about, talk about. Or maybe even demand accountability from an elected representative, with Captain Professor Banker — him/herself claiming credibility from the particle-physicist-turned-quant — whispering in his/her ear. I also like that you’ve managed to start from a point outside of traditional left/right/libertarian/whatever frames (I guess that’s what creating a new ideology means).

    28) We can all be prosperous, but we can’t all be rich. Having hundreds of billionaires is exactly why you haven’t had a real raise in 30 years.

    How does this square with the “red queen’s race” (claiming to need our own billionaires so that Oiligarchs or other mega-rich foreigners don’t buy up our whole country)? I suppose the idea here is that you don’t sell out crucial pieces of your infrastructure, which has to be enforced ideologically and/or legally.

    35) We are going to require a transnational body with armed forces to enforce environmental controls.

    This one struck me as oddly discordant. Whereas you had noted previously that any ideology must be able to defend itself by force (this is basically the idea of “national sovereignty”?), now we need an international body, run presumably by some unelected technocrats, that must be able to enforce norms it decides on at gunpoint? This is elevating the act of emitting carbon, putting it on par with the act of aggressive war, which is currently the only legitimate reason to violate national sovereignty. (Or am I misunderstanding?)

  10. Don Carlos

    When a “hominem” disguises time tested liberal homilies as radical prescriptions(plying the faceless coin of “Paradigm Shift”, beloved in corporate boardrooms and bureaucratic circles), he begs backlash.

    Pardon if I offend your refined, yet radical, sensibility.

  11. Manus deSales

    I am curious as to what has given rise to this entry and the last two.

    When you began blogging, Ian, you were busy apologizing for the Democrats and blaming most problems on Republicans. You also over-emphasized “economics” as if you understand the subject, but your discussions of “economics” were always rather unformed and immature, as if they came straight from Naomi Klein’s apologies for capitalism (yes, she apologizes for capitalism, she merely wants a kinder gentler more progressive capitalism, and she ignores the fact that the problems she complains about are not poor capitalistic practice, but obvious and essential end points of all capitalist practice).

    The list above is not bad. However, the last two points talk about what is “economically sound” without even talking about what is “economics” in that context. Thus it appears you’re still in Kleinesque mode. “Economics” as understood by formal education and the self-described “intellectual” sliver of shadetree punditry is still flawed, because it’s still hampered by the same problems Klein won’t address, the problems of “externalities” and bottom-line-chasing. You hint at this with points 25 and 26, but other places (like 43 and 44) suggest some sort of conflicted construction of “economics” at your end of things.

    The false binary offered at 30 is rubbing elbows with absurdity. Or, perhaps, is just confirming that you’re a hyperstate fan, a fan of the behemoth central government construct. But that’s what I consider an absurd requirement, the hyperstate.

    The opening point is perhaps the most misguided. You state it like it’s a fact. Ideology is manipulation. And therefore you are saying that we must manipulate others to our way of thinking. I guess I don’t consider myself part of your “we” and “our” in that sense. But then that’s probably why I don’t like the hyperstate, and you appear to aim toward it.

    I appreciate that you’re considering these things, but I’d like to hear what has motivated the shift from partisan Democrat apology and Republican blaming, to this.

  12. Ian Welsh

    There are other solutions to the Red Queen’s Race, but it starts with getting off oil.

    We must stop the rape of the Oceans and no one has the sovereignty to do so. We will need an organization to do so. Think of it as law enforcement for the Oceans.

    As for carbon, we are going to use violence to enforce it one way or the other, because it is violence to continue spilling it into the air. That could be done by a coalition of nations who force their will on other nations, but it will not be done without coercion because there are a lot of people who get short term gains by spilling carbon into the atmosphere, and they will not give it up. And those short term gains mean they will outcompete those who don’t spill carbon into the air, at least during the transition period, which will last at least a generation.

    I am not a fan of the idea of world government, in the least, but we are going to need some sort of transnational body with teeth to enforce environmental controls.

    Transnational bodies are not currently working, they are excuses to loot and kill and exploit. But none of our major institutions are working properly in any major developed country. If we don’t do things because we can’t make institutions work, we’re sunk. We MUST figure out how to make institutions work again, both national and international.

    Bear in mind, the big loser from carbon controls is the first world.

  13. Ian Welsh

    I have discussed externalities extensively in other posts. Sorry I can’t cover everything in one post. As for the rest, there seemed at one point to be a chance for actual fixes of the old system through the Democratic party. We lost that fight, so be it. And during the Bush reign the Republicans were clearly the bigger problem. Anyone who has paid attention to my writing knows that I have been merciless to Obama during his reign.

    Number 30 is simply an extreme rhetorical statement of the fact that government can work for the common weal, or against it. Take a look at Scandinavian Social Democracy to see governments that have, mostly and with some issues, worked for it. Or, if you wish, FDR style liberalism.

    I am not interested in whether I have radical cred. Read and learn, or don’t. Every point here could have a full essay written about it, most could have books. This sort of post does not answer every possible criticism of each point, nor is it intended to.

  14. Ian Welsh

    If ending wage labor as the primary means of distributing goods isn’t radical, then yeah, I’m not radical. Fortunately, whether a solution is radical or not has little to with whether it would work.

  15. Don Carlos

    Ending all Labor. Slavery is one system of labor as a primary means of distributing goods without wages. Technocrats could easily dispose of Wages and keep Labor. In fact, eroding wages for labor is inherent in Capitalism.

    Another point, making Ideology primary is foolish. Tantamount to focusing on Pope Urban III preaching Crusades while ignoring wealthy nobles actively mobilizing to dominate trade on the Mediterranean by conquering territory to secure ports in the Levant.

  16. Peter Cowan


    Speaking of getting off the Red Queen’s Race, Stirling mentioned, just before his stroke, that the political economy of the Red Queen’s Race was ending. Is this something you guys had discussed? My interpretation of his statement is that we’re no longer running faster to stay in place, we’re now running at the same speed, or slower, and going backwards, to continue the analogy.

  17. Leo

    Excellent and thought provoking post.

  18. Texas Nate

    Really pleased to see this line of work from you Ian. My other favorite writers John Michael Greer and Jack Whelan have been talking around these same issues. Absolutely agree that a new ideology has to be the beginning point of any effort to save ourselves.

  19. So, we need a Basic Income, and you’d advocate for that if it wasn’t for your yeoman manufacturer fetish?

  20. Ian Welsh

    Who says I don’t advocate for a basic income? I have elsewhere and I still do but it’s not the best solution by itself.

    Do you know what’s required to make a basic income work? Give me your list. Step up.

  21. Tinky

    Excellent post, on balance. One quibble:

    “We are terrified of inflation because we know our wages aren’t rising faster than it is.”

    While that is true as far as it goes, the real terror lies in the fact that the U.S. (among other countries) is bankrupt, with crushing debts (not to mention unfunded liabilities) that neither can, nor will ever be repaid/serviced.

    TPTB are desperately attempting to keep the system afloat for as along as possible, but as soon as inflation spikes much above the current, artificially low level, the jig will be up. There will simply be no way to service the debt at anything close to “normal” interest rates, let alone 8-10%.

  22. Roger Erickson

    couldn’t agree more

    others are thinking similar thoughts;

    coordination would help, so we can accelerate achieving adequate population penetration of what are, of course, ancient thoughts


    Surviving Looming Challenges

    Everyone’s “Looking for a Better Way” – How Do We As A People Actually Achieve It?

  23. S Brennan

    To Tinky’s

    “the real terror lies in the fact that the U.S. (among other countries) is bankrupt, with crushing debts (not to mention unfunded liabilities) that neither can, nor will ever be repaid/serviced.”

    Our currency is not gold based, print the bills, hand the paper to the holders of T-Bills, problem solved…terror over…you can stop cowering now…there are no monsters beneath your bed…and none in the closet either. There must be 50 ways to leave debt, not one of which..requires ordinary people’s sweat.

    …or you could tax managers pulling 6-7 figures more than 14% of their income [after deductions]. Why should a carpenter’s pay be taxed at 35% with no deductions, when a guy pulling in 200 times more pays less than 1/2 the rate? See? No Monsters. There must be 50 ways to leave debt, not one of which..requires ordinary people’s sweat.

    …or you could make software companies [America’s biggest moochers] pay the same taxes as people who make “things” do…how novel huh? There must be 50 ways to leave debt, not one of which..requires ordinary people’s sweat.

    Ian’s column is about real problems, not the phantoms of our rulers imaginations.

  24. Tinky

    S Brennan –

    I suggest that you do some reading on both rudimentary mathematics and economics.

    The national debt is currently above $17 trillion, and increasing by a trillion a year. When unfunded liabilities are factored in, we’re talking about something well north of $100 trillion. It is ludicrous to suggest that any changes in tax codes will make even a meaningful dent in such figures.

    If printing fiat currency were the answer to prosperity, Zimbabwe would be thriving.

    There are only three possible ways that the U.S. can resolve its debt crisis.

    1) default (not politically tenable, so this route will never be chosen)

    2) paying down debt through economic growth (no chance of that happening now)

    3) reducing the debt burden through inflation/devaluations (the path that we are on)

  25. ECHOecho

    So, you would like to create some sort of banner under which a popular movement can march which has various specific aims? (Let’s see; I did notice the mention of securing the common of the seas as one of those specifics.) You need some slogans, man. Let’s get the PR thing going. How about “commons sense”? There’s a bit of free copy for you off the top of my head. Needs more, I know, but a nice little soundbite, eh? “Workers?” Nah, too dated. “Green”? Nah, another has-been. Still evokes the sullen figure of Nader in the popular consciousness. We’ve got some linguistic weeds to whack through before finding the perfect little spot, don’t we! Okay, so it has to communicate somewhat clearly the notion of collectivism, but since the term itself is kind of a turn-off to the wormed-up crowds, we ought to connect the concept in a somewhat less menacing form to something with more conservative connotations — you know, something that will fly in the red lipstick for pigs aisles in WalMarts across America. How about “Common Values”? I am trying to find something to splash up on your flag, y’know? Lord knows, you gotta sell it. Otherwise, this all so much good feelings echoing harmlessly into an empty and ethereal cyberia, which will will all be so easily be obliterated if we do not forestall the all-too-real worst case scenarios of our lucky century. Yours and mine pretty words shall go to naught!

    So, while, we’re on the topic, would you like to see this as a democratically elevated platform — or are you suggesting other means? Know any nice benevolent overlords that help make this happen?

  26. roger erickson


    seems like a good match, to collaborate with people already entrenched in the OpenSource world

  27. Andrew Willis

    The introduction of electronics into production(robots, computer assisted etc.) has a profound effect on social production and consequentially on social relations. It is probably at least as game changing as the introduction of the steam engine on manufacturing in the 19th century. It is not just a quantitative change, however. The qualitative leap has occurred. This is absolute labor replacing technology and is displacing or making billions of human beings superfluous to production under capitalism. Distribution based on wages cannot go on. What lays ahead is heaven or hell. It is an ideological choice, but a rational philosophy should guide our decisions. If we are in transition from the age of capitalism to something else, what should it be? Since a sustainable abundance is “doable” society can be built around the hyper care and distribution of our finite resources. Again not compatible with “maximum profit” the current guiding principle. To be in line with historical choice before us we need to consider that rational forms of organization are possible. That every thing does not necessarily become an Orwellian nightmare. That paranoid state allows for nothing but nihilism and then the begrudging acceptance of fascism. The educated community seems to be most susceptible to this malady – rarely coming up with something to inspire or motivate. Everyone should commit to building organization capable of 1. Suppressing and ultimately removing the current ruling class from power. And 2. Reorganizing society on a cooperative, equitable, sustainable basis via use of advanced technology. The fact that life itself depends on completing these two tasks should excite many to action but does not imply others won’t slink off into what misery of privilege capitalism still allows them. Adios.

  28. S Brennan

    Tinky, you sure sound a lot like Lord Thomas…but I digress, to your point:

    “I suggest that you do some reading on both rudimentary mathematics and economics.”

    Economics is a disgraceful ideology, used to justify the systemic rape of nations, individuals and the enviroment. Anybody who holds ANY respect for the Economics profession [rudimentary or otherwise] is a tool. Every year the economics profession engages in worldwide fraud for all to see…THERE IS NO NOBEL PRIZE IN ECONOMICS…never has been, that’s because the economics profession has yet to show any meaningful contribution to humanity…nothing

    Such things as “market”, “supply & demand” “Keynesian principles*” all preceded the [more often than not, misquoted] Moral Philosophy professor’s work on “The Theory of Moral Sentiments”. Of the all the professions known to man, economists have contributed nothing…nothing..and were that the end of it, economists would be as useful/harmless as fortune tellers. However, sadly, people have lent credence to this religion of fools, frauds and flatterers of the wealthy and they have repeatedly led nations to disaster.

    Only a fool would seek creditability from such a group of charlatans. This sounds like your earlier comment “experts all agree, things that have already happened…are now deemed impossible”.

    Mathematics? Your the one who seems baffled by big numbers, $100.00 was a lot of money when you were five years old. What changed? Your ratio of income to expenses, now $100 is not a weeks worth of rent, nice, but no big deal. Ratios are what’s important, not big, scary numbers.

    Here’s a graph of public debt as a % of GDP from 1940 to now.

    Look at it and tell me…war, tax cuts and recessions are not the drivers, spending increases/cuts don’t even register, except by creating conditions for recession. No magic monsters, just the demonstration of policies that produced the greatest wealth the world has ever seen…and it all started with BIG SPENDING for the general welfare.

    Look at the graph, what’s it doing before the Clinton Recession/Bush tax cuts?

    Look at the graph, what’s it doing after the worst post WWII recession/depression starts?

    Recall the TARP give-away, opposed by more than 98% of Americans, ~800 Billion, instead of bondholders taking the losses, financial firms losses were placed on the governments ledger. Recall the “stimulus bill” opposed by more than 70% of Americans, which in terms of dollars spent is ~70% tax cuts..another 0.8 trillion in 2008 alone. QE 1-2-3-4… That’s where we are spending money, welfare for .01%, but nobody is talking about cutting that spending…surely you are not.

    Still, people such as yourself contend that spending for the general welfare a problem? My ass, in inflation adjusted 2008 dollars the entire Mercury through Apollo 17 program was 124 Billion and that public spending has created the vast majority of this nation’s post WW II’s wealth. Spending on infrastructure grows the economy in useful ways. Growing the economy, shrinks the ratio of debt to GDP. Because of how the wealthy use money, welfare for wealthy shrinks the economy. The choice is investment in the US, or funneling ever more to the greediest generation of elite the world has ever seen.

    The worst thing we could do right now is listen to “scary debt” fools and cut spending for the general welfare to ensure the continuance of tax cuts that should be rescinded retroactively. Tax cuts for select individuals is indeed wasteful spending, but you ignore that, or more disingenuously, your crowd says “we’ll look at that”…as we seize the pensions of those who paid payroll tax all their lives, another in a long line of thefts to provide welfare for the wealthy.

    Stop with the “terrifying debt” bullshit…there are no monsters beneath your bed…and none in the closet either. Tax cuts lead to Depressions and major recessions, because all welfare to the wealthy, leads to concentrated wealth. Concentrated wealth, is the devils workshop

    Ian had it right, we let the genie out of the bottle in the 1970’s when we began abandoning FDR policies. Restore them, build on them, but they provides a knowable target. Were FDR’s policies perfect? No, FDR, knew he would make many mistakes and said as much, saying he would keep trying to refine them…which he did.

    Unless the left can coalesce around a known set of ideals, we as a civilization are doomed to fade into a has been empire…dragging much of the Anglican world with us. We know what works…and because we listened to the fools, frauds and flatterers of the wealthy, those ever wrong economists, we have been reminded of what does not work.

    REF: “I suggest that you do some reading on both rudimentary mathematics and economics.” – Tinky, AKA Lord Thomas.

    *see Old Testament, Joseph Interprets Pharaoh’s Dreams

  29. Tinky

    S Brennan,

    It is nearly impossible to argue with someone who is as confused as you apparently are. For example:

    This sounds like your earlier comment “experts all agree, things that have already happened…are now deemed impossible”.

    The problem is that I did NOT make that comment, nor anything remotely resembling it.

    Your rambling about economics is absurd, as I’ve never implied anything to suggest that I have respect for it as it is currently practiced. I am talking about mathematics, a subject in which you seem not to be well versed.

    The fact that you are using charts based on projections from the CBO further underscores the shallowness of your understanding of the debt crisis.

  30. S Brennan

    I agree the chart’s projections are idiocy, but the chart is 90% history, which is useful. Since my argument didn’t refer to any of that portion of the projection, your sole emphasis points to a reading comprehension problem.

    My point stands, historically we are above norms, but it is not an extensional issue, which is the subject of Ian’s post, it’s a political one with simple answers that have worked before in far worse circumstances.


    Stop with the “terrifying debt” bullshit…there are no monsters beneath your bed…and none in the closet either. The worst thing we could do right now is listen to “scary debt” fools.

  31. D.O. Lipensky

    Re: I never thought there were real people like Welsh. Wow there are people that think like that. One worlders. I’m speechless. I would not know where to start to challenge some one like that.


  32. One idea you have touched on in the past, but is not in this post, is fairness before the law. You have suggested banning private criminal lawyers- I have to agree that this commercial structure is very deleterious.It would not be an easy thing to replace: for example, the legal foundations for handling the tension between “what should be criminal” and “what should be civil” would require a lot of rethought.

    As to the US national debt: we print our own money. The only reason (in orthodox economics) for borrowing is to provide a safe haven for unadventurous money; this money has voted itself rich by having the US manage its budget with borrowing.

    As to a basic income: the US has a similar construct, the minimum wage. A legal structure with one tuning knob is too vulnerable to pressure on that knob. A basic wage would drift downward in relative terms just as the US minimum wage has. I think it is better to have a crazy patchwork of programs all with their defenders.

  33. David Kowalski

    What happened to November postings?

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