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

Go Read Stirling on Japanification

This is what you NEED to understand.  Go read it. It also underlies most of my economic thinking and writing.  If you want to understand the underpinnings of what I write, this is fundamental.


Stating the Obvious: Obama wants to gut social security


Obama Claims Right to not just assassinate American citizens without trial but to deny them the right to a lawyer


  1. Thanks for the link!

  2. Tom Hickey

    Thanks for the heads up, Ian. I’m on it.

  3. anon2525

    Read it. Not sure how to reply because it is long and makes many points. I’m not enamored with the writing, clarity-wise.

    Here is one small point:

    Zandi, former McCain advisor, co-authors a study with Alan Blinder, who is a New Deal Liberal at heart.

    Blinder is a New Deal Liberal? This claim might have been plausible a few decades ago, but we’ve passed through the Greenspan Era and I don’t know of any criticisms from Blinder about it, and he served at the Fed with Greenspan.

    Here’s some commentary from Dean Baker on the Zandi&Blinder “study”:

    The Blinder-Zandi study tells us absolutely nothing about this scenario. In other words, Blinder and Zandi have constructed an absurdly unrealistic counterfactual and told us that the TARP was much better than this absurd scenario. This is like saying that people who don’t eat chicken will starve to death. Under the counterfactual that people who don’t chicken don’t eat anything else either, they certainly will starve to death.

    People should be really angry about this and a silly study that might be used to tell them otherwise should just make them angrier.

    “absurdly unrealistic”, “silly”. I’m not sure that Baker could be more critical of B&Z’s economic “reasoning” without using profanity. My guess is that he does not consider Blinder to be a New Deal Liberal economist.

    See also,

    Perhaps at one time it could have been argued that Blinder was a New Deal Liberal, but I don’t think that the “liberalism” that Blinder has been espousing lately would be recognizable by Roosevelt or John K. Galbraith.

  4. jcapan

    Can’t argue with the economics, but two observations. The LDP’s ability to remain in power is far less remarkable than in US politics. As a Japanese politician once put it, Japan [was] the only dictatorship on earth with citizen support. When their bubble burst 20 years ago, the LDP had already been in power for nearly 35 years–psychologically, changing parties was no easy task.

    Now, the [IMO rhetorical] question is if American voting results in largely cosmetic changes, all the while the same cabal is left controlling the game.

    The other observation is that while the LDP is deeply conservative, it is no GOP. Its rule arguably resulted in a New Deal on acid. Until Koizumi’s reforms, Japan’s social safety net and generally egalitarian society put America to shame. And while American leftists dream of a renewed CCC or WPA, Japanese often refer to their gov’t as a doken kokka or “construction state.” Such pork barrel spending resulted in an all powerful industry that remains, despite the ruling party’s attempt to tame it, the main employer in much of rural Japan.

  5. Thanks for the link, Ian. It would be very kind of you to link to the 2nd part when it appears, so I don’t forget to check it out… 🙂

  6. bob mcmanus

    Read it two or three times, but thanks

  7. Krugman, today:

    Do they really think this will work? I mean, I live in fairly rarefied circles (that’s not a boast, it’s an admission of inadequacy), and even so I know a number of people whose lives have become a living hell: men in their late 50s who fear they’ll never work again, small business owners who have lost everything. Does the administration really believe that it can convince these people that it’s all on the mend?

    I just don’t get it.

    It’s the problem of class analysis: it encourages the error of ignoring individuals. There are people like Krugman, a minority to be sure, but still there, who will follow the arguments to the end and throw them out if they are wrong, regardless of loyalties. So perhaps there is more hope than Newberry sees.

    Still not a good situation, though.

  8. Dear Ian

    Someone just sent me your june article on San Remo in which you claim Jews stole Palestinian land. Actually, the area had been economically depressed for hundreds of years, with less than 250K-500K population (including wandering beduin than traveled into other parts of the Ottoman MidEast empire and 50 other ethnic groups, some of whom were actually Arabs.) It perked up when the Jews and the Brits took over. As Winston Churchill put it, 95% of the Arabs/Palestinians did not come into the area (what is now Israel and the Territories and parts of Jordan) until after 1905. I’m sure you can understand that such a small population that was riddled by disease and poor sanitation and interclan slaughter could not become a 7 million population group than now claims to be native Palestinians. They came from the rest of the Middle East for economic opportunities in what is now Israel and the Territories. The notion that there was a thriving cohesive group of Arabs pre-Israel is nonsense. The Jews took the land from the Ottomans and did something with it. The Palestinians/Arabs didn’t own the land, nor were most of them native. Ironically, they are still stealing into Israel or getting married to Israeli arabs to come live in Israel. Why doesn’t Israel advertise that at San Remo she was allocated 1 tenth of 1 % of the Ottoman Middle East, and the rest reserved for the portmanteau “Arabs”? Why doesn’t she mention that Israel including the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan is Jewish by an irrevocable trust held by the United Nations? She is desperate for peace. Please get the facts. Read Brand, Gauthier, Belman, Shifftan and especially Grief. We have published many articles citing the facts. Then write me back. I know that finding out the truth has changed many fair-minded people’s opinion. I hope it will convince you.

    Bernice Lipkin

  9. Ian Welsh

    Dear Bernice,

    please don’t put such things in unrelated threads. Israel/Palestine is something which inflames too many passions to allow it outside of properly quarantined posts.


  10. I think it’s a good way of introducing the predicament, and I’m waiting for part II.

  11. I pretty much think I understood and mostly agreed with part I, but part II didn’t go in the direction I thought it would, and I don’t think he made the connection with part I very clear. To boil it down to 1-2 sentences, as far I understood it, what he’s saying is that the neocon theories about Iraq were necessary to extend the appearance of success in the neoliberal project, despite its internal contradictions. The failure of that theory has accelerated the appearance of the contradictions.

    So the connection I’m guessing with part I was that Iraq was a play with an intended role similar to that of China as a disinflatory measure. I guess we’ll just have to wait until part III.

  12. Thanks for the link, jawbone!

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