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

France’s Macron Wants a Technocratic Presidential State

Rizal Park Tricolor

So, Macron has a huge majority, won on an historically low turnout. He has spent the summer fighting France’s Labor unions, his first priority being to overhaul France’s labor laws. For example, right now, workers can’t be made to answer emails outside of work hours. Macron will end that.

Of course, the changes are far more wide-ranging than that. The long argument has been that France’s economy isn’t all that it could be because it is not flexible: It’s hard to fire people, and you can’t make them do anything you want them to when you manage them. Arguably, you can make them do very little.

Macron, who ran the vastly unpopular economic policy of the last government (something people seem to have forgotten) is a dedicated technocrat.

In his recent speech, Macron said he wanted to shrink the legislature by one third, from over 900. And he thinks that the legislature should legislate less, and just judge what the executive does. This amounts, of course, to passing only bills suggested by him. Additionally, and of course, his party controls both houses of parliament right now, but this goes beyond normal French politics, where bills are not just suggested by the President and Prime Minister.

(The President appoints the Prime Minister, and the PM is then generally seen as following the President in most things.)

So this isn’t a small thing, it’s Macron saying he wants the power of a Westminister-style Prime Minister with a solid majority. Generally and theoretically, in this type of country, parliament can not simply do what the President orders. But in these days of tight party discipline, a PM with a majority is, in practice, close to being an elected dictator.

Such strong executives have their advantages, no doubt, but Macron does want a change that gives him more power, and he’s willing to go to a plebiscite to get it.

Then he will use it to remove French workers’ rights and reduce their wages and benefits. Because that is what he wants; it is the core neoliberal project, in which Macron is a true believer.

Macron is “young” but he’s not that young; he’s of the generation in which if you wanted to be taken seriously, and have any power, you had to sign on to neoliberal verities.

The French are going to get what they voted for, good and hard.

But little to none of what Macron does cannot be undone, and his making the executive more powerful may turn out to be a mistake in five or ten years, when someone like LaPen or Melenchon becomes president and wields those powers for which Macron fought.

Simply put, neoliberal policies never actually work. They can produce brief sugar highs of frothy economies, and France may get some of that, as money boils away from the middle and up to the top and housing bubbles and others stupidity are engaged. But this is late neoliberalism, the French middle class and poor are already suffering, and I don’t think enough bribes will be given to them to keep them onboard. They gave Macron a huge majority, yes, but on low turnout. This is neoliberalism’s last big chance in France.

When it fails, and it will, the French will turn either to the right or to the left. Within a decade, most likely.

And the boy prince, riding so high now, will be left spluttering like Tony Blair, wondering why all his wonderful plans didn’t work out, and assuming that those who reject his brilliance are buffoons.

So it shall be.

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Happy Independence Day


There Is No Major “Good” Government Leader


  1. NAFTA worked for Americans and Canadians – and still does. The rest of the trade deals were awful. But it is NAFTA the people hate. Why? Just look at why there doing now – push for more coal. The people push NAFTA are also push more black energy – you should think on who you want to get into bed with.

  2. killneoliberals

    I bet Macron gives Mandos an eternal hard on.

  3. brian

    Neo-liberal policies will fail more than succeed now. They were made from the dust of WW2 and fights again bolshevism.
    I am so excited about what is coming next. It is simmering underneath.. can you feel the bubbling and pent up energy of the desire to destruct the old and build the new paradigm? It has gotten too big to be stopped.<

  4. Herman

    Neoliberal policies are supported by the top 10 or maybe 20 percent because they think they will not suffer under neoliberal policies and will even come out better off because of them. There is some truth to this. American professionals mostly maintained their incomes since the 1970s and have gotten cheaper goods and services thanks to anti-labor policies like trade agreements that were designed to lower the wages of production workers. Their relative status position is now greater than it was during the liberal heyday from 1947 to 1973.

    My father grew up in a neighborhood where doctors and factory workers lived next door to each other. Sure, the doctor drove a better car, he and his family wore better clothes and took fancier vacations, but the distance between the upper middle-class and the middle-class was not so huge back then. Now the affluent are increasingly congregating in exclusive enclaves and work hard to maintain and pass their advantages down to their children. They don’t want to return to the period from 1947-1973 where ordinary production workers had greater bargaining power and status. Hence the anger from the affluent people who dominate the MSM over Sanders, Trump and populism in both the United States and Europe.

    Macron is the favored candidate of the upper and upper-middle classes, hence all the gushing over him in the media. He will sell his reforms to France’s affluent “meritocracy” and probably get them passed unless French workers get mad enough to unite and stop him.

    As for the American response, I rarely see liberals criticize Macron’s designs for French workers. Everything was about stopping Marine Le Pen who was characterized as a fascist even though she was significantly less radical than her father and the FN had become more moderate under her. I am not saying that the FN is a force for good but Macron is probably going to be terrible for French workers and I am not sure if he was the lesser of two evils in the past election.

  5. V. Arnold

    July 6, 2017

    No Brian; what I see is what Orwell saw;

    “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.”
    George Orwell

    That’s our future; everything in the recent past points exactly to that vision of our future, IMO.
    And the present evidence, seen every day on CNN, confirms it exactly.
    An impotent underclass can change nothing.

  6. bruce wilder

    I don’t think Macron is signalling the death of neoliberalism, so much as signalling its authoritarian turn. “the beatings will continue until morale improves” is the general message.

  7. scott

    I just wonder what the average French person thinks about all this, the royalist yearnings after monarchy and the explicitly anti-democratic turn. I’m unfamiliar with the French cultural context and how they take something like this, but the arrogance on display here is breathtaking, undisguised and makes no effort at persuasion or even charm. I’m just an American, but a politician who pretty much said, I’m better than you and I’m the king France has needed but hasn’t had, would face pretty real pushback on “who the hell do you think you are?” egalitarian lines. I’m not saying our leaders are any better, just that they’d hesitate before indulging openly in this kind of arrogant presumption and effrontery of popular norms. So I am genuinely curious about how this will be taken in France and how it goes down.

  8. I bet Macron gives Mandos an eternal hard on.

    I genuinely don’t know why anyone would think that, except maybe that they’ve confused means and ends.

  9. I mean I entirely agree with Ian’s take on Macron. At the same time, I would suggest people also look to Macron’s “output” for opportunities when they arise.

  10. scott: What I have heard from the generally left-wing French people I know is that everyone pretty much agrees that the constitutional structure of the Fifth Republic is broken and that power has to be reallocated somehow. The paralysis under Hollande also created a desire for a political power that can/will take more decisive action. That does not necessarily mean that they want Macron-style policies, but there are lots of people who will take anything different at this point. Macron managed to push Le Pen, the right-wing outsider, into the position of purveyor of tired old political conflicts. (That, however, was true.)

  11. A deep underlying issue is that the French establishment views itself as the rightful underlying “owners” of the EU political project, but they let German ordoliberals handle the details, including the structure of the Eurozone, which France enthusiastically pushed on the *less* enthuasiastic Germans, and, well, as I said, let the Germans handle the dirty details. I can only ascribe *why* they did that to the French intellectual culture, where haggling over money details is kind of dirty and can always be fixed later, and all that really matters are the grandes idées. Ideally with a glass of wine and a cigarette, while the nerdy German punches out the numbers on his calculator.

  12. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Macron is imperfect, to say the least.

    However, the choice was not between Macron and some ideal social democrat.

    The choice was between Macron and a fascist loon who was backed by Tsar Vladimir.

    The French chose the imperfect centrist over the fascist loon.

    If only my fellow non-elite white Murkans (and BTW, where do I go to resign from that tribe?) had displayed equal wisdom…

  13. scott

    I think the nerdy German ordoliberals handled the boring messy details for an excellent reason, i.e., it advanced their economic interests more than anyone else’s in Europe. Germans are good at telling you that what’s good for them is not only good for you but the only thinkably good thing for you. The French may have believed that the Germans were their friends, and perhaps the Germans convinced themselves they were too, but the most tangible thing served by the EU is German self-interest, not German friendship or responsibility for anyone else.

  14. nihil obstet

    @Stirling Newberry

    NAFTA worked for Americans and Canadians – and still does.

    Which Americans? Which Canadians? The financial gains from NAFTA were not distributed equally to all Americans and all Canadians. And I have a few problems thinking that destabilizing the economy of our next door neighbor is a good thing, even if some Americans got more money in the short run.

  15. Hugh

    Meritocracy equals technocrats equals elites equals neoliberalism and kleptocracy as far as the eye can see. It keeps coming back to Emma Goldman’s statement: “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.” Elites are very good at giving us bad choices and false choices. So in the US, we had the choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. And “the people” chose Trump, except they really didn’t. It’s not just that Clinton won the popular vote, but that none of the above, those who did not vote, was by far the biggest political bloc. My take on the French election is that the situation is similar in France. Many French liked none of their choices. The only difference is that among those who voted, the French version of Hillary won. Or I suppose if you are Canadian, a righter wing version of Justin Trudeau did. In all three cases, it’s same shit, different container.

    If we take a step back, in the larger picture, or as Ian calls it late neoliberalism, Macron’s victory is irrelevant. Europe, and the US too for that matter, will continue to fall apart. In France, the problem is not French labor laws. The problem is the euro. The problem is the Establishment, the technocrats that Macron represents.

    The problem too is Germany. The idea that Angela Merkel, who destroyed Greece to bail out German banks, heads a non-nuclear power, and continues to spend so little on German armed forces will somehow become the new leader of the free world is ludicrous even with a US President whose visible mental disintegration is a topic of daily conversation.

  16. Ian Welsh

    In fact, in the first round, there was a perfectly good Left winger, Melenchon, and the French did not choose him, just as Democrats had a reasonably good left winger in Sanders and did not choose him.

    Macron will be a disaster, that LaPen would have been a disaster of a different sort does not change the fact.

    And, as usual, better options than either were available.

  17. It was partly an artifact of the French system. Only two can survive the first round. Mélenchon came close and arguably could have been first if the left wasn’t split by Hamon. Macron had 24%, Hamon and Mélenchon had 6% and 19% respectively, and Hamon’s policy positions were in Mélenchon’s ballpark. Why Hamon didn’t back Mélenchon is an interesting question that was mostly answered by accusations of egotism IIRC, but perhaps the answer is that Hamon represented the mainstream Socialist party.

  18. nihil obstet

    Hugh, quoting Emma Goldman’s statement, “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.”

    Actually, it’s kind of encouraging that they’re trying to make it illegal, what with all the voter suppression and egregious gerrymandering going on.

  19. Thanks, Ian. So true and deftly put — as ever.

    Here’s how I’ve been putting it (in a 4th of July mail, accompanied by accounts of his Versailles speech): DACRON (France’s cheesy synthetic) IS NO MORE ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT THAN HILLARY OR TRUMP.

    In tribute to the democracy we’re supposed to be celebrating today, I began by looking at reviews of Macron’s Versailles speech from all over the world, hoping not to miss any major elements of his bullshit. Many telling details were gathered, some presented here, and the overall prospect is even worse that I’d expected – much weirder, what with his megalomania about affinities with de Gaulle, Sun King Louis Whatsit and even Olympian gods. He’s crazier than Trump, maybe. (Don’t get me started on his marriage to Mum.)

    While our bobblehead corporate media praise this pretty menace, let us scoff, knowing that the Masters of the Universe cranked up the French media and money machine fast enough to mislabel him and get him elected when Melenchon (France’s Bernie/Jeremy) began to catch on, scaring them much more than Le Pen! Dacron is now in place to make all the Troika’s dreams come true with a snap of his kinglike, godlike fingers or force it via austerity like the French haven’t seen since the Nazi occupation – while mind-fucking people into sheer bewilderment along the way.

    The only silver lining obvious now (at least to me) is the referendum he threatened if MPs won’t go along with being shrunk by a third. Referenda didn’t work out for Renzi in Italy or May in the UK, did they?

  20. jackiebass

    A great article. Apparently the US isn’t the only country where voters vote against their economic interest.

  21. The Stephen Miller Band

    So in the US, we had the choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. And “the people” chose Trump, except they really didn’t. It’s not just that Clinton won the popular vote, but that none of the above, those who did not vote, was by far the biggest political bloc.

    I was one of those No Votes. Not out of apathy, but rather out of Common Sense. I don’t support, enable and cheer on Rapists. I will not legitimate the illegitimate with my vote.

    Hey Hey Hey!!!

  22. “Neoliberal” = “Stuff we hate”

    It would be double plus good if you guys knew what you were talking about – rather than spew nonsense.

  23. Yeah basically. I don’t agree with what I consider to be the key point of neoliberalism — that only market failures should be addressed by government, and those only very conservatively identified as complete and obvious failures of information flow — but it has become a term that basically means all mainstream politics whatsoever and thus loses its value.

  24. Willy

    The road to hell is paved with neoliberalism:

    * Corrupt banks too big to fail.
    * Vital national services under the control of a few.
    * Unchecked political-corporate corruption.
    * Business takes the profits, the state keeps the risk.
    * Exploding investment bubbles.
    * Deregulated corporations which have a proven lack of regard for citizens.
    * Creation of a political crisis where the average citizen’s ability to change things greatly diminishes.
    * Governments using neoliberal crises as both excuse and opportunity to cut even more taxes for the wealthy while ripping more holes in the social safety net. It seems the greater the failure, the more extreme the ideology becomes.

    and last but not least…

    *“And, as usual, better options than either were available.”
    IOW, the new PTB wind up owning the entire system. Concentrated power, packaged in yet another set of “good intentions”.

  25. nihil obstet

    I like Matthew Stoller’s definition of neoliberalism. It concludes, “Neoliberalism is a specific form of statecraft that uses financial markets as a veil to disguise governing policies.”

  26. Stoller’s definition is good from an “outcomes” perspective but I think it’s useful to understand how self-identified neoliberals see themselves — because there are genuine supporters of neoliberalism, it is in its own way a popular movement like it or not.

    We have one here (Stirling) but I also had a lot of experience arguing with self-identified card-carrying left-neoliberals like Brad DeLong before he more-or-less banned me from his site (for, among other things, objecting to his random emotional broadsides against Chomsky). They don’t believe that they’re “disguising government policies”, or at least, that is not their intention. It is, as far as I can tell, a genuine overreaction to the failure of Soviet central planning — which did fail, it’s bad at producing consumer goods, for one thing, and adapting to the human diversity of wants.

    Unlike libertarians, neoliberals don’t believe that market outcomes are a God/invisible-hand-sent sign of moral rectitude or that ownership/property is an inalienable characteristic of matter, but rather that consciously-made policy is not capable of producing prosperity in the way that a self-adjusting system is (this is where Stoller’s less charitable definition comes in), so self-adjusting systems should be preferred wherever possible. Where the self-adjusting system fails a test of moral outcomes, a large-scale systemic adjustment is permissible, with the caveat that moral outcomes should not be defined too specifically, such that extensive explicit planning is once again required.

    However, they greatly underestimate the extent to which the self-adjusting systems can careen into systemic crises, and they greatly underestimate the ease at which outcomes can be manipulated by a few players, in a way very analogous to the case that BitCoin can be manipulated if you own more than 50% of the processing power…

  27. Ian Welsh

    Lovely observation, Mandos.

    Yeah, there are people who genuinely believe in it. There are also people who don’t, but find it useful because it allows them personally to do well. A lot of well off and rich people fall into that camp.

    I find it as ideologically driven as communism. There’s this weird obsessiveness with a particular method, when, to me, it’s fairly obvious that central planning works for some things, not others, and that markets are useful but require government oversight otherwise they cause systemic crises and turn into oligopolies and monopolies.

    What is maddening is that even the extremely flawed discipline of economics recognizes both these things, but neoliberals, in practice, ignore them.

  28. nihil obstet

    People genuinely believe in what profits them? You don’t say!

    The intersection between people who genuinely believe in an ideology and people who find it useful because it allows them personally to do well is very large, eclipsing the pure genuine believers on one side and the pure unbelievers on the other. I have no reason to believe that Lloyd Blankfein was being hypocritical when he said that bankers do God’s work. I think he genuinely believed it. He also genuinely believed that the government was right to come up with $13 trillion to bail out those banks.

    It’s perhaps a good intellectual exercise to understand how believers see themselves, whether Communist, neoliberal, Christian, Muslim, libertarian, whatever, but it doesn’t excuse the believers who benefit from whatever damage the ideology does to others.

  29. realitychecker

    @ nihil obstet

    Everybody wants to be special. That explains a lot of what humans do, unfortunately.

  30. Herman – they are supported by everyone who shops at Walmart.

    That’s the 1%? Hardly.

  31. Mandos – this is why I keep harping about definition. By setting things up as a dilemma – nationalists versus neoliberals – it seems like it is an either or choice. One can easily prove that neoliberalism or nationalism yields counterintuitive results. For the nationalism consider that fossil fuel is their fuel of choice, which is absurd. For the neoliberal side in an either/or equation, one gets flooded with cheap goods made without worker protections.

    But Keynes was a neoliberal, FDR was, so was WSC. But the limited the amount at any given time of goods which should be neoliberalized. This is because neoliberalism is a limit, you can neoliberalize only so much as you can guarantee full employment. Which is why, therefore, one must differentiate between neoliberalism and ultra-neoliberalism. Right now in economics altar of neoliberalism predominates, with the result that more people are thrown out of work then the economy can produce new jobs. But this does not mean that neoliberalization is wrong, it’s writing people out of work – and it is hardly the only root cause to that. Saying that neoliberalization is good so long as it does not throw out of work more people than can be reabsorbed, is not the same thing as saying neoliberalism is good, full stop.

    It is a matter of priorities, neoliberalism is not the first thing that you should aim for – but it is a useful tool when you have low-quality labor in a high-quality environment that should be shipped or automated. the problem here is that it nationalists want destructive things for the environment, and I am more than happy to point these out. Trump is right now your main fighter for nationalism – you are supporting the wrong thing. Liberalism embraces nuance, and I suggest that you look at what it is you are promoting.

    I said this before, trade is not the main issue – climate change is. And it will take neoliberalization of the economy to fix it.

  32. Hugh

    Re neoliberalism, as I have said many times here, liberalism is not New Dealism. To understand it, you need to go back to Wilson. When you do, you see that neoliberalism is a return of liberalism back to its Wilsonian roots. Wilsonian liberalism was elitist, paternalistic, rabidly as in Red Scare anti-populist, pro-corporate, and pro-interventionist internationally.

    As others have noted, neoliberalism also believes in the “magic” of markets. This emphasis, more of an extension of classical liberalism, is perhaps the one innovative aspect of it. It is a useful cover for kleptocracy and the unrestrained upward transfer of wealth we have seen over the last 35 to 50 years, depending on what metric you are using.

    Re Macron and Trump, both profited from large parts of the Establishment lining up behind them. This was because, atmospherics aside, both were insiders. Both Sanders and Mélenchon did not have the same organizational backing of the Establishment, although again it could be argued that these two were still within the Establishment fold. They still did relatively well but both needed more time to build organizational structures big enough to compete with those available to Trump and Macron. And at least with Sanders, there was always the issue of how serious or unserious his candidature was. I think Corbyn has done better and shown more staying power precisely because he had the organizational structure of Labor to work from and to which he added a late populist appeal.

  33. Ian Welsh

    Any ideology that is succesful must create its own supporters and keep them as supporters.

    Strangely, that sometimes comes about thru immiserating them and putting them into what amount to company store systems.

  34. BlizzardOfOz

    Speaking of alternatives to neoliberalism, here’s a good article that someone posted on Twitter, about Japan’s economic system:

    What I find especially interesting is that Japan achieved the kind of central planning that the “First New Deal” (as Arthur Schlesinger called it) tried to, but failed. The original “brain trust” around FDR wanted rational planning in partnership with industry, but their plans ran aground on the sheer complexity of the task, as well as hostility from business. It was only then that FDR pivoted to the more populist “Second New Deal”.

  35. BlizzardOfOz


    Re Macron and Trump, both profited from large parts of the Establishment lining up behind them. This was because, atmospherics aside, both were insiders.

    Delete your account.

  36. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Delete your account.

    If all of us lived ten thousand years, Blizzy would never acquire enough power to compel Hugh, or anyone else, even to delete an account.

    This is why he identifies with an artificial construct called “race” (which has as little to do with the realities of human DNA as astrology has to do with the realities of the stars and planets) which allows him to feel powerful, and why he spouts half-witted macho gestures which masquerade as a coherent philosophy. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if he turned out to be an MRA/MGTOW type in the bargain.

    Watching a bully-wannabe suffer the denial of the social dominance he craves is one of the most exquisitely tasty forms of schadenfreude available. 😈

  37. BlizzardOfOz

    Obviously just joking – Hugh is a beloved commenter here. He’s just got a bad case of the Trump Derangement, like every other leftie.

  38. The Stephen Miller Band

    Strangely, that sometimes comes about thru immiserating them and putting them into what amount to company store systems.

    The vast majority of The Little People suffer from Stockholm Syndrome inculcated by Social Engineering (an Education System that malforms them and Media/Entertainment Complex that misinforms them) intended to Manufacture Consent for their enslavement.

    That process involves usurping, and in many cases neutering, the incredible potential of The Little People. I know I often say that The Little People need to collectively & concomitantly open their eyes to see what’s really going on, but what I fail to realize or acknowledge but I do and am now, because heretofore it’s been too terrible to acknowledge, is that the majority of The Little People don’t have eyes in which to see — the malforming & misinforming Social Engineering apparatus meant to Manufacture Consent for the Cold Slavery that immiserates The Little People metaphorically removes their eyes. Trying to put eyes back after they’ve been plucked is nearly impossible if not completely impossible. It’s Sysyphean.

  39. V. Arnold

    The Stephen Miller Band
    July 8, 2017

    Your word salad is…
    Just more jibberish totally missing anything meaningful; but do carry on, as is your wont…

  40. EmmaGoldman

    I think all of the above (arguments) are completely moot. Capitalism, whether well-regulated or not, is destroying the planet, so it must die for our species to live. Radical recentralization is the ONLY answer, whether we like it or not. This does not mean we need to live like cavemen. It does mean that we will need to share resources, or we will be die off.

    The anarchists are correct in their assessment of the problem. Hierarchical (vertical) authoritarianism = capitalist state. This wittingly creates a chaotic, pathological society/culture, with unhappy, drugged up, narcissistic consumers. Look around you. Americans are sick and dying under capitalism and the State.

  41. Peter


    It’s good to see you come out of the closet and proclaim your allegiance to the Big Green Neoliberals and their globalist plans. NWO globalist depend on the support of people who have been conditioned for decades with alarmist Warmer rhetoric producing a very useful extremist belief system.

    While fake news is exposed almost daily many people still cling to their Warmer catastrophe fake news with Al Gore as their iconic Moses figure. This is another ‘the ends justify the means’ surrender by the sheep, to the wolves in the Warmer cult.

    The liberal left seems to welcome the One World Government idea so long as it appears to further their agenda and forces majorities who resist them to submit. Trump may not contest all the goals of neoliberalism but he is the only leader challenging and rolling back some of the extremes of neoliberal globalism.

  42. nihil obstet: I find the whole cui bono sort of analysis kind of limiting. At least some of the moderate “supporter-winners” under neoliberalism would also do well under other systems and even be entrusted with managing what needs to be managed (and it will — need management, I mean), they are not all Lloyd Blankfein. Neoliberalism has a logic and an intellectual content and emerged as a response to certain things, both as something that people genuinely thought would solve the problem and also because some people thought it benefited them personally and were right about that. It’s both/and, as usual. Using the cui bono objection to defer a good-faith ideological analysis is IMO intellectually crippling and has prevented left-wing progressives from seeing all opportunities.

    BOO: Present-day Germany also uses a model, not quite as radical as Japan’s, whereby a number of private entities are actually owned by a chain of entities that eventually ends at the Bellevue Palace if you keep digging (or in one very famous case at Frankfurt city hall!), but Germany piously declaims ordoliberalism in which such a thing should not really happen and the government should never be in charge of industrial production, no never. Some other European countries (Scandinavian countries for example) follow a similar model but are more open about it.

  43. > Any ideology that is succesful must create its own supporters and keep them as supporters.

    Good and hard.

    > It’s good to see you come out of the closet and proclaim your allegiance to the Big Green Neoliberals

    The problem is you are not thinking clearly – your side is going to rape and pillage, and you will say it wasn’t your fault. The ultra-neoliberals have been dethroned – don’t think there is only one default. Nationalism is not the answer, any more than ultra-neoliberalism was.

    > Capitalism, whether well-regulated or not,

    Capitalism is dead. First, you need to find out what is in charge.

  44. bob mcmanus

    Capitalism is dead. First, you need to find out what is in charge.

    Yeah, exactly. I was just reading something on Marxism + feminism that compared capitalist feminism to national chauvinism, and that reminded me of the parallels with the last Imperialist Era around 1900. I’m getting there, just with Macron wanting to rule by decree and comparing himself to DeGaulle and Napoleon…and the rise of globalism and ease of communication and the general disruption in people’s lives…

    …it is an opportune time for the rise of an aggressive regional or global political movement(s) with a charismatic leader at the top. Maybe several. Just need some people smart enough. Al Qaeda/ISIS/MB is one, and we need to examine it carefully.

    No Macron won’t be marching an army into Savoy soon. Not are Trump and Bannon gonna rule the world. We won’t know it’s nature until it gets here anymore than we predicted fascism or state/welfare capitalism. We won’t know what it looks like til it rules us. But it is being born, and slouching toward Bethlehem.

    (If it is possible, or if it doesn’t emerge as farce, or look like chaos with emergence)

    And Neoliberalism isn’t dead, anymore than Imperialism was dead in 1900. Neoliberalism will go away about as easily and painlessly as the last liberalism, meaning it will take most of us with it when it goes.

  45. Cagliostrowned

    Capitalism is dead. First, you need to find out what is in charge.

    This sort of cryptic bullshit doesn’t make you appear sage, just as though you have no idea what you’re talking about, you know.

  46. bob mcmanus

    If I wasn’t clear, and I admit it is a bit mystical or geisty, but Mussolini and Mao and FDR and Hitler and Franco and Stalin and Huey Long and the cast of thousands in the 1st half of the twentieth saw and felt something that encouraged their ambitions. I will be looking for others who look globally ambitious, tho they will fail, they will be precursors.

    Could there be a neoliberal (cosmopolitan diverse technocratic etc) coercive domination? No just hegemony, but intersectionality at gunpoint? It will look so different. Yes there can be a liberal fascism, Antonio Negri the communist attempted to see what it looked like. Brave New World, maybe.

  47. >This sort of cryptic bullshit doesn’t make you appear sage, just as though you have no idea what you’re talking about, you know.

    I can post more. 2007-08 were the death capitalism.

  48. Hugh

    Capitalism is dead. Was it ever alive? As in a functioning economic system? What we have now is kleptocracy. Capitalism is more of an ideology than a description of anything. Free markets don’t exist, have never existed. The only question has ever been who controls a market and for whose benefit. Neoliberalism drapes itself in capitalist and liberal jargon but it is really only there to give cover to the looting of the rich and elites, which makes Stirling’s comment ironic. The raping and pillaging is already going on, and has been going on for 35-50 years. What may replace it may also be rape and pillaging, but it is not the case that anything that comes will replace a non-rape, non-pillaging system. I also agree with EmmaGoldman that we are on a strict deadline to get our individual and collective acts together or face a major die off of our species.

  49. BlizzardOfOz

    Sterling, what would you say is in charge now?

    Moldbug said that what we have now is communism — just replace “workers and peasants” with “blacks and Hispanics”.

    When would you say that “capitalism died”? Would you say FDR killed it? From his second nomination speech (a line that shocked some of the people closest to him):

    I should like to have it said of my first Administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match. I should like to have it said of my second Administration that in it these forces met their master.

    If FDR killed capitalism, then is whatever replaced it in charge today, or was that in turn killed by something else?

  50. BlizzardOfOz

    Hugh, you’re basically a Marxist, right? Wasn’t it Marx’s view that capitalism = kleptocracy? Marx made the same argument about “capitalism” that you make about “neoliberalism”, viz that its advocates talk about free markets while studiously ignoring political control of markets. So is neoliberalism just a return to capitalism?

  51. nihil obstet

    Cui bono is the basic analytic foundation of neoliberalism. Mihi bono is the intellectual basis of all forms of capitalism.

  52. And the basis of crime… just sayin’.

  53. realitychecker

    Seems kind of ridiculous to me to speak of analyzing a socio-economic system without reference to who benefits.

    But that is what I see a lot of these days–a desire to simplify that requires ignoring some of the data.

    That is bad analysis in my book.

    Data is my friend, even when it requires a bit of work to understand the complexities. Even if the data does not perfectly fit anybody’s ideology or principles.

    Data is reality.

  54. someofparts

    NAFTA destroyed my brother’s business. If that is what we call “help” these days then, yeah, I would appreciate less “help”.

  55. > Seems kind of ridiculous to me to speak of analyzing a socio-economic system without reference to who benefits.

    Agreed – but most particularly benefits without contributing effort. We are at the end of the conservative system, where the rich do not really want to contribute to the economy, and don’t wish to pay any taxes. which means that the spoils go upwards. as we will see in the Trump administration – this does not depend on whether the economy is nationalist or neoliberal. Trump is a nationalist, and the money will still go to the top. Arguing over points that do not mean anything is a waste of time.

  56. > NAFTA destroyed my brother’s business. If that is what we call “help” these days then, yeah, I would appreciate less “help”.

    No political system guarantees results for individual people. Economics is a statistical science, and that means what benefits all of the people – you can be opposed to NAFTA, that’s your call, but overall it does Americans and Canadians a great deal of good. Pretending otherwise is dishonest.

    Mexico is another story. The rich are another as well. ( I use”the rich” for a select percentage of the population, it is really wealth that distinguishes them)

  57. Sorry – it is not wealth that distinguishes them.

  58. I didn’t say that you shouldn’t understand who benefits, merely that it shouldn’t short-circuit all discussion about the interior contents of the ideology. Which it often does.

  59. realitychecker

    What I find us doing all too often is considering only the poles of a discussion, without giving due consideration and deference to all the middle parts.

    That makes for more message clarity, perhaps, but less actual understanding, IMO. Real understanding only comes from appropriately weighing and considering all the subtleties, nuances, and true substance of a situation. Becoming a lost art in our lifetimes, apparently.

  60. Cagliostrowned

    I can post more.

    Apparently I need to be less cryptic as well. It was really the, “First, you need to find out what is in charge” bit that sounded intentionally Arch and knowing. Apologies if this was not so. If it was, perhaps you would like to share your insights.

    Moldbug said that what we have now is communism — just replace “workers and peasants” with “blacks and Hispanics”.

    Moldbug is brain damaged.

  61. bob mcmanus

    I have to resist the use of “kleptocracy,” not comprehensive enough, the Kochs don’t need that much money, money is a means to what’s really valuable and fun…power. By privatizing railroads and schools, they are stealing power from the lower classes. Money buys politicians, of course, but I also like to move down to the everyday sites and ordinary people, where I can also explore race and gender.

    One thing we can say about Trump is that he is very very used to service. Servants. Corey Robin’s analysis of the right’s will to hierarchy only misses for me because the center i e Democrats also seek hierarchy. The pleasures and seductiveness of servants, lots of servants even slaves can’t be underestimated. I don’t eat at restaurants, because the experience of being waited on is corrupting. Think about it: is the person in the factory making your cellphone your partner or your servant?

    They want to rule. I am out of Kant thru Nietzsche: humans are social machines born to make their personal preferences into universal legal and natural laws. Too difficult to change that; Marxism is designed to take away the tools and means of domination.

  62. DMC

    The distinction I find useful is “Classic Capitalism” exchange actual goods and services for currency, with just enough financial sector to facilitate such exchange; and “Finance Capitalism” where the roles are reversed and all the money is to be made in Finance and actual goods and services become secondary. The growth of the financial sector in the US economy was such that it eventually crowded out the actual goods and services sector and here we are today. “Welcome to Starbucks!”

  63. Hugh

    “Economics is a statistical science, and that means what benefits all of the people”

    Statistics aren’t people.

    It’s like saying that when Bill Gates walks into a bar with 6 people in it, they all benefit because their average wealth just went into the multi-billions. This in turn reminds me of the old line: “There are lies, damn lies, and then there are statistics.”

  64. Win

    France has the same problem UK had-dependence on colonies that made UK private sector noncompetitive-so Germany kicked its ass time and again! Hobsbawm discusses the decline at length. In French case it is dependence n its CFA Franc countries (which include atleast 2 oil producers)
    Hail Emmanuel Caesar! The Bankster Macron and Pax Francais in Africa
    Interview: How France lives off francophone Africa via the CFA franc

  65. Win

    Note British never tried to get off the weakness Hobsbawm discussed.
    For related info please see these links: technology/ir/ir7.html
    The Industrial Revolution and the Failure of Great Britain
    The Commonwealth and Britain: the trouble with ‘Empire 2.0’
    For Britain to solve its economic problems, it needs to stop lying to itself about its past

    From Concorde to Hinkley: The EU and Britain’s trade and investment policy neweconomics/we-need-to- rebalance-the-british-economy/
    We need to rebalance the British economy ance/comment/edmundconway/6505 670/North-Sea-oil-is-dragging- us-into-the-red.html
    North Sea oil is dragging us into the red
    Oil wealth was the secret saviour of the economy, but no longer, says Edmund Conway ews/politics/britain-gained-30 0billion-tax-north-6390332
    Britain gained £300billion in tax on North Sea oil – and blew it like a reckless lottery winner says expert
    Leading in underdevelopment
    How has Britain succeeded – if that is the word – in falling so relatively low in the UN’s Human Development measurements?
    The North-South divide. We Never Even Tried
    Why did people vote for Brexit? Deep-seated grievances lie behind this vote

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