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

Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – September 18, 2022

by Tony Wikrent


Economics as cultural warfare

Our Ancestors Thought We’d Build an Economic Paradise. Instead We Got 2022 

Brad DeLong [Time, via Naked Capitalism 9-11-2022]

Adapted from DeLong’s new book, Slouching Towards Utopia: An Economic History of the Twentieth Century, published by Basic Books….

…the first half of the Big Story of twentieth-century economic history is a triumphant one. Friedrich von Hayek was a genius. He saw clearly that the market economy, when coupled with industrial research labs, modern corporations, and globalization, was the key to unlocking the cage keeping humanity desperately poor. He thus preached the gospel: “The market giveth, the market taketh away: blessed be the name of the market.” We should, he thought, be satisfied with the fact that there was a large-enough pie, count our blessings, and ignore the problems of slicing and tasting it properly.

[TW: DeLong’s positive mention of von Hayek is a clear warning sign. As Corey Robin explained in his May 2013 article, “Nietzsche’s Marginal Children: On Friedrich Hayek,”

But to understand that text and its influence, it’s necessary to turn away from contemporary America to fin de siècle Vienna. The seedbed of Hayek’s arguments is the half-century between the “marginal revolution,” which changed the field of economics in the late nineteenth century, and the collapse of the Habsburg monarchy in 1918. It is by now a commonplace of European cultural history that a dying Austro-Hungarian Empire gave birth to modernism, psychoanalysis and fascism. Yet from the vortex of Vienna came not only Wittgenstein, Freud and Hitler but also Hayek, who was born and educated in the city, and the Austrian school of economics….

Throughout his writing life, Nietzsche was plagued by the vision of workers massing on the public stage—whether in trade unions, socialist parties or communist leagues. Almost immediately upon his arrival in Basel, the First International descended on the city to hold its fourth congress. Nietzsche was petrified. “There is nothing more terrible,” he wrote in The Birth of Tragedy, “than a class of barbaric slaves who have learned to regard their existence as an injustice, and now prepare to avenge, not only themselves, but all generations.” Several years after the International had left Basel, Nietzsche convinced himself that it was slouching toward Bayreuth in order to ruin Wagner’s festival there. And just weeks before he went mad in 1888 and disappeared forever into his own head, he wrote, “The cause of every stupidity today…lies in the existence of a labour question at all. About certain things one does not ask questions.”

[TW continued: Robin’s article stirred up vitriolic responses from conservatives and libertarians—and they completely missed the crucial point that since he was a product of an oligarchical society, von Hayek’s economics was based on oligarchical disdain and hostility for working people and their capacity for self government. As Irish socialist James Connolly wrote in 1910:

A people poisoned by the adulation of royalty can never attain social freedom. The mind accustomed to political kings can easily be reconciled to social kings – capitalist kings of the workshop, the mill, the railway, the ships and the docks.

[TW continued: So it’s no surprise that DeLong is a self-professed “Davos Man… a card-carrying neoliberal, a believer in globalization and free trade.” In his new book, DeLong attributes humanity’s 1870s-1880s escape from the grip of Malthusian scarcity to the rise of “industrial research labs, deployed at scale by modern corporations,” while completely ignoring the dirgistic program of neo-mercantalist nation-building enabled by first Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton’s design of the USA economy (including, crucially, the Constitutional mandate that economic activity should “promote the General Welfare” and that the national government is not limited to the powers enumerated in the Constitution, but has implied powers to undertake whatever is needed to fulfill that mandate). Rather than the Marxist model of the means of production determining the political superstructure, what actually happens under Hamilton’s system is government support for new science and technology creates new means of production, forcing and fostering technological phase shifts in the economy. The machine tools and machining techniques developed at the Springfield Armory after the War of 1812, became the basis for the manufacture of interchangeable parts, laying the foundation for industrial assembly lines and mass production. It was the explorations and surveys by the Army Corps of Topographical Engineers that identified and mapped the westward routes followed by the overland pioneers and the railroads. In 1843, Congress directly funded Samuel B. Morris’s development of the telegraph. In the Civil War era, it was US Navy research that applied scientific methodology to steam engine design, creating the science of thermodynamics AND the profession of mechanical engineering. The creation of the Department of Agriculture in May 1862 formalized direct government efforts in fighting agricultural pests and animal diseases, and finding and developing new breeds and strains of plants and animals better suited for conditions of the Great Plains and other areas. The Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862 created an entire system of state colleges and universities that educated and trained the men and women, without whom DeLong’s “industrial research labs, deployed at scale by modern corporations” would have been crippled and barren.

By discussing only the von Hayek’s conservative / libertarian “free enterprise” aspect of economic development, DeLong is engaging in some very insidious and misleading propaganda to help maintain the historically inaccurate anti-statist myths of neoliberalism. ]

Governance for a Healthy Economy 

Dani Rodrik [Project Syndicate, via Naked Capitalism 9-11-2022]

There is near-universal skepticism about governments’ ability to lead and achieve positive change…. Moreover, a longer-standing concern about government is that it has neither sufficient information nor the capabilities necessary to achieve positive structural change in the economy. Give governments too much power, the argument goes, and they will direct resources toward the wrong places and become captive tools of special interests. This argument lies at the heart of neoliberalism, and it will have to be overcome for any successor paradigm – like productivism – to succeed….

Just look around, and you can find failures of public governance almost everywhere – locally, nationally, and globally. But, in fact, as Columbia Law School’s Charles Sabel and David Victor of the University of California, San Diego, show in a new book, effective governance models do exist and have already made a big difference…. Sabel and Victor build their argument on the example of the 1987 Montreal Protocol, which has succeeded in curbing ozone-depleting substances (ODS) to the point where the ozone layer is now on course to full recovery.


The American Welfare State Is Designed Horribly

Ryan Cooper, September 14, 2022 [The American Prospect]

A recent splashy New York Times piece by Jason DeParle, based on a study using data from Columbia University, contained an eye-popping conclusion: American child poverty has fallen by nearly three-fifths over the past quarter-century, from 28 percent in 1993 to 11 percent in 2019. The principal mechanism was expansions of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC), which provide money to some of the working poor. Sounds pretty good!

Unfortunately, these figures are simply inaccurate. As Matt Bruenig explains at the People’s Policy Project, the study assumes perfect uptake of these credits through a tax simulation, and we know for a fact that this isn’t true. Another study using IRS administrative data found that this assumption overstates the actual anti–child poverty effect of the EITC by 67 percent.…

The EITC in particular exemplifies all the pathologies of America’s default mode of policy. The first is the work requirement: The credit “phases in” starting at your first dollar of labor income, meaning if you don’t work that much, you get very little, and if you don’t work at all, you get nothing. That means for the very poorest people in the country—typically single mothers who only have access to jobs that don’t pay enough for child care—it is no help at all. And contrary to neoliberal notions of poor people being largely able-bodied adults who refuse to look for jobs, about 86 percent of people who don’t work are children, students, the elderly, or disabled—that is, people who either can’t work, or shouldn’t be working.

The second pathology is complexity and concomitant administrative burden. The EITC has a different phase-in schedule depending on whether you are single or married, or whether you have zero, one, two, or three or more children—eight different calculations may be required of applicants. That adds a large bureaucratic headache for both low-income tax filers (who often struggle to fill out complicated forms) and the IRS. That obstacle in turn prevents about 22 percent of eligible people from actually getting the benefit, and fuels a purely parasitic sector of tax prep firms, which about 60 percent of EITC recipients use. As Bruenig points out, the resulting fees eat up something like 13 to 22 percent of the average EITC benefit.


Neoliberal Twee 

Michael Lind [The Tablet, via Naked Capitalism 9-16-2022]

A review of Cass Sunstein’s new book.

Under today’s neoliberal system, the government allows employers to pay wages that are too low to survive on, and then the government uses taxpayer money to bail out the underpaid workers, with programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)—a subsidy to poverty-wage workers—and in-kind benefits like food stamps and housing vouchers. The Labor Center at Berkeley has calculated that welfare for low-wage American workers costs taxpayers $150 billion each year. As Teresa Ghilarducci and Aida Farmand noted in The American Prospect in 2019, “The heavy reliance on the EITC, rather than the minimum wage and the strength of trade unions, is one major reason why the U.S. leads the OECD in the share of jobs that pay poverty wages—a full 25.3 percent of jobs are poverty jobs, compared to 3 percent of jobs in Norway.”


Economics as cultural warfare: The pandemic 

[Twitter, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 9-11-2022]

The US has experienced among the highest cumulative mortality rates from Covid-19 in the Global North. This lecture will argue that the failures of the US pandemic response were mainly driven by economic elites who used their influence to undermine public health protections. The initial phase of the Covid response was collective, including a massive temporary expansion of the welfare state. but this approach threatened the power of the capitalist class. In response, there was an abandonment of economic interventions followed by a wholesale reframing of the virus as an issue of personal responsibility and individual choice. This lecture will explore how the exertion of elite influence went far beyond lobbying politicians, extending to government bureaucracies and civil society institutions such as news media and schools of public health. This process of constructing a new, deadlier normal holds lessons that can be transferred to climate change and other collective crises of the 21st century.

[Twitter, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 9-14-2022]


The Long Haul 

[Chicago Magazine, via Naked Capitalism 9-14-2022]

“Long COVID is now the country’s third leading neurological disorder, the American Academy of Neurology declared in July.”


Global power shift

‘Samarkand Spirit’ to be driven by ‘responsible powers’ Russia and China — Pepe Escobar

Pepe Escobar, September 16 2022 [The Cradle, via Mike Norman Economics 9-16-2022]

The Greater Eurasian Partnership was proposed by Putin in 2015 – and it’s getting sharper as the EAEU commission, led by Sergey Glazyev, actively designs a new financial system, based on gold and natural resources and counter-acting the Bretton Woods system. Once the new framework is ready to be tested, the key disseminator is likely to be the SCO.

So here we see in play the full cohesion of goals – and the interaction mechanisms – deployed by the Greater Eurasia Partnership, BRI, EAEU, SCO, BRICS+ and the INSTC. It’s a titanic struggle to unite all these organizations and take into account the geoeconomic priorities of each member and associate partner, but that’s exactly what’s happening, at breakneck speed….

“Dollar hegemony” under Bretton Woods, which is long in the tooth, is now a target, along with post-WWII US hegemony. What will emerge as a replacement is now being fashioned, and it looks like a system tethered to real resources is in the works.

Why Sergey Glazyev’s Memorial to the Legacy of Lyndon LaRouche Matters — Matthew Ehret

While some may wish to assert without evidence that [Sergey Glazyev] is a “follower of Modern Monetary Theory”, the facts from Glazyev’s actions, words and policy orientation attest to a very different reality.

It was for this reason that Glazyev first began meeting Lyndon LaRouche directly during the latter’s many trips to Russia in the 1990s after the young economist had demonstrated his consistent principles by resigning from his post as Minister of Foreign and Economic Relations under Boris Yeltsin in 1993 when it became clear that the intention behind the reforms he was expected to oversee were designed to destroy his nation. In his 1999 book Genocide: Russia and the New World Order, Glazyev laid out the two pathways forward for Russia in the 21st century….

Yeah, I know, “Lyndon LaRouche.” But the subject of this post is Sergei Glazyev and contemporary Russia rather than LaRouche.

Indeed, perhaps more significantly than LaRouche, Glazyev and Michael Hudson are on the same page. In the larger context, this is about global decolonization as the basis of multipolarity in contrast to unipolarity, that is, continuing Western dominance and exploitation. It boils down to socialism as state management for public purpose versus neoliberalism, the current form of capitalism, as state management for private profit that involves state capture by the ruling elite.

This is subcontext of the conflict in Ukraine, for instance, with the Russian leadership now declaring publicly that the US is pursuing world domination and seeks to colonize Russia. This casts the conflict as well as other global events, such as Taiwan and the South China Sea is an overarching geopolitical and geostrategic context, embedded in the world system that is now shifting away from Western dominance and the “the golden billion.”

This means a break with neoliberalism, which is joined at the hip with neo-imperialism and neocolonialism, and the institution of a new economic order globally. This is Glazyev’s project as it is Michael Hudson.  For this reason, both economists are popular with multipolarists.


Russian Aviation Industry Corrects Yeltsin Yaw – Boeing, Airbus Ditched 

John Helmer [Dancing with Bears, via Naked Capitalism 9-13-2022]

Since 2014, when the sanctions war began, the question of what Moscow would do when the supply of original aircraft components was first threatened, then prohibited, has been answered. The answer began at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 1947 when the first  Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) or Parts Manufacturing Approval (PMA) was issued by Washington officials for aircraft parts or components meeting the airworthiness standards but manufactured by sources which were not the original suppliers.

China has been quicker to implement this practice; Chinese state and commercial enterprises have been producing PMA components for Boeing and Airbus aircraft in the Chinese airline fleets for many years.  The Russian Transport Ministry has followed suit; in its certification process and airworthiness regulations it has used the abbreviation RMA, Cyrillic for PMA. This process has been accelerating as the sanctions war has escalated.

So has the Russian process of replacing foreign imports entirely.


What Does the Weaponization of Global Finance Mean For U.S. Dollar Dominance? 

[War on the Rocks, via Naked Capitalism 9-14-2022]


China is the world’s largest economy: Get over it

Dean Baker [Real-World Economics Review Blog, via Mike Norman Economics 9-16-2022]

There is little reason for this sort of speculation. China is already the world’s largest economy, its economy is more than 20 percent larger than the US economy, according to the IMF. Furthermore, it is growing considerably more rapidly (assuming they don’t continue their zero COVID-19 policy forever), so it is projected to be more than a third larger than the US economy by the end of the decade.…

Of course, the story is different in terms of per capita wealth and income. The Chinese economy is larger than the US economy largely for the reason that China has been playing catch-up and its population is several times as large the US population so even with modest output the economy is greater. China’s aim now is to equal and eventually surpass the West in distributed prosperity through a socio-economic system that China regards as superior to the West’s.


The carnage of mainstream neoliberal economics

28 Freight Rail Workers Tell Us What They Want You to Know About Their Lives

[Vice, via Naked Capitalism 9-16-2022]


Railroad Companies Almost Inflicted an Economic Disaster on the U.S.

[Slate, via Naked Capitalism 9-16-2022]


Railroad executives holding economy hostage 

Ryan Grim, via Naked Capitalism 9-15-2022]

The railroads are also shutting down services while workers are still on the job, so though nobody uses the word “lockout,” that’s what we’re seeing.


Railroad CEOs Were Paid Over $200 Million As Workers Suffered

Matthew Cunningham-Cook, September 16, 2022 [The Lever]

As a major rail strike looms, rail executives have been reluctant to meet workers’ demands for better pay, benefits, and time off. At the same time, the CEOs of five of the largest railroad conglomerates have been paid more than $200 million in the last three years, and company shareholders have been boosted by nearly $200 billion in stock buybacks and dividends over the last dozen years.

A sixth railroad giant is controlled by billionaire Warren Buffett, whose net worth jumped 50 percent during the pandemic to $100.1 billion. Buffett earlier this year bragged to shareholders about huge earnings even after accounting for worker pay….

The rail industry has defended the gap between worker pay, executive payouts by arguing that workers haven’t contributed to their skyrocketing profits. “The (companies) maintain that capital investment and risk are the reasons for their profits, not any contributions by labor,” a recent federal report noted.

Abraham Lincoln’s First Annual Message, December 3, 1861,

In which Lincoln deplored

the effort to place capital on an equal footing with, if not above, labor in the structure of government. It is assumed that labor is available only in connection with capital; that nobody labors unless somebody else, owning capital, somehow by the use of it induces him to labor. This assumed, it is next considered whether it is best that capital shall hire laborers, and thus induce them to work by their own consent, or buy them and drive them to it without their consent. Having proceeded so far, it is naturally concluded that all laborers are either hired laborers or what we call slaves. And further, it is assumed that whoever is once a hired laborer is fixed in that condition for life. Now there is no such relation between capital and labor as assumed, nor is there any such thing as a free man being fixed for life in the condition of a hired laborer. Both these assumptions are false, and all inferences from them are groundless…

Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.


Connecting The Dots Between Rail Workers And Nurses’ Unrest

Ricardo Gomez, September 18, 2022 [The Lever]

As working conditions deteriorated at the nation’s hospitals and rail lines, executives and shareholders paid themselves millions.


The Millionaire CEOs Trying To Crush Nurses

Matthew Cunningham-Cook, September 12, 2022 [The Lever]

“In what is likely the largest nurses strike in American history, 15,000 Minnesota nurses today went on strike for better pay and benefits after working short-staffed through the pandemic. Hospital CEOs insist they can’t afford the increases.”


Another Private Equity–Style Hospital Raid Kills a Busy Urban Hospital 

Mo Tkacik, The American Prospect.


Buy Now, Pay Later Overextends and Spies on Consumers

Jarod Facundo, September 16, 2022 [The American Prospect]

A new report released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau uncovers some concerning practices from buy now, pay later companies….

the CFPB report highlights that the rate of late fees has increased alongside the rate of loan approvals, meaning more people are accessing credit they cannot afford. For example, the report points to consumers using credit cards for their BNPL purchases—potentially accruing interest through the former if they don’t pay off their credit card balance—on a supposedly interest-free BNPL loan, nullifying the pitch BNPL companies offer to consumers. It’s “paying for credit with credit,” the report notes. While not a huge piece of the BNPL business model, the report also states that revenue from late fees rose from 4.8 percent in 2020 to 6.9 percent in 2021.


Meal Ticket No More: The ‘Gold Standard’ Private Pensions Exposed Now as High-Wire Busts 

[RealClearInvestigations, via Naked Capitalism 9-15-2022]


Rifles, Tasers and Jails: How Cities and States Spent Billions of COVID-19 Relief 

[The Marshall Project, via Naked Capitalism 9-14-2022]

After signing the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) last spring, President Joe Biden touted what the economic stimulus bill would deliver: food assistance to millions of people in need, lower healthcare premiums for millions of Americans, and $350 billion for state and local governments to spend on COVID-19 recovery. Economists say it was the largest infusion of federal funding in local governments in almost 40 years….

“We should all agree the answer is not to defund the police,” he continued. “It’s to fund the police. Fund them. Fund them. Fund them with the resources and training — resources and training they need to protect our communities.”

That’s indeed what thousands of state and local governments did with the federal COVID-19 relief funds they received. While the Treasury Department’s lax reporting requirements make it difficult to track exactly how much was spent on law enforcement, corrections and courts, a Marshall Project review of the latest data shows that billions of dollars flowed to the criminal justice system by the first quarter of 2022, from covering payroll to purchasing new equipment. So far, governments have allocated $101 billion of the total $350 billion….

For all that we can see from the latest data, there is one very large, and largely opaque category: The majority of all current ARPA obligations, $52.6 billion, were categorized as “Revenue Replacement.” …. Nearly half of this $52.6 billion went to projects that mentioned police, law enforcement, courts, jails and prisons, The Marshall Project found. We searched criminal justice-related terms in the project descriptions that local governments submitted to the Treasury.


This is plutocracy, not capitalism

[Twitter, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 9-16-2022]

11. Big tech are not like other businesses. They rival sovereign nations. It’s why Zuckerberg tried to start a currency – stopped by Congress – and a Supreme Court for content moderation. It’s why they are right now trying to defund the antitrust police.

12. We must break their power. We must shrink them down so they can be contained within a democracy. And we can. Ultimately, our national governments are immensely strong, tied down only by our lack of imagination and confidence. It’s time to learn how to be a free people again.


“Congress Stock-Trade Tracking Funds NANC and KRUZ Are On Way”

[Bloomberg, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 9-16-2022]

“A pair of exchange-traded funds that would mirror the personal portfolios of members of Congress may be coming soon. The Unusual Whales Subversive Democratic Trading ETF (ticker NANC) and the Unusual Whales Subversive Republican Trading ETF (KRUZ) would analyze the financial disclosure of lawmakers from both parties and their spouses and dependent children to construct a portfolio of between 500 and 600 holdings, according to a regulatory filing Thursday. When a position is reported as sold, the ETFs will offload the security as well. …. While it’s unclear if packaging lawmakers’ portfolios into an ETF will generate returns, it will almost certainly produce buzz, said Bloomberg Intelligence ETF analyst James Seyffart.”


“Who held defense stocks while making national security policy?”

[Responsible Statecraft, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 9-16-2022]

“The New York Times reported this week that 97 members of Congress “bought or sold stocks, bonds, or other financial assets that intersected with their congressional work or reported similar transactions by their spouse or a dependent child” between 2019 and 2021. With more than 3,700 such trades in those three years alone, the investigation reveals potential conflicts of interest in nearly every area of policymaking. Defense policy is no different. At least 25 members sat on committees that shape national security policy while simultaneously trading financial assets in companies that could create competing interests with their work, such as defense stock. With a near-even party split, Democrats and Republicans may have found a rare instance of common ground.”


The power of folk ideas in economic policy and the central bank–commercial bank analogy 

[New Political Economy, via Naked Capitalism 9-11-2022]

“My findings suggest that although Europe’s central bankers are cognisant of the irrelevance of balance sheet capital in theory, they nevertheless attach weight to it in practice, in order not to contradict the public’s assumed common sense that persistent losses and negative capital are undesirable.”


“Exclusive: Leaked Memo Reveals Kroger Executives Knew for Years That Most Workers Live in Poverty”

[More Perfect Union, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 9-12-2022]

“An explosive new document obtained by More Perfect Union reveals that supermarket giant Kroger has long been aware that its workers can’t afford basic necessities and struggle to survive. The internal presentation, titled ‘State of the Associate‘ and marked ‘confidential,’ warned Kroger executives in 2018 that hundreds of thousands of employees live in poverty and rely on food stamps and other public aid as a result of the company’s low pay. ‘Most employees are considered to be living in poverty and need State Aid as in food stamps, free school lunch, etc. just to get by,’ one slide warned. The presentation is peppered with quotes from unnamed employees that foretell the internal labor uprising that would come a few years later.”


Lucrative IRS program targeting wealthy tax cheats is withering from lack of funds

[The Hill, via Naked Capitalism 9-15-2022]

[Twitter, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 9-12-2022]


California Sues Amazon, Alleging Antitrust Violations Inflated Prices and Stifled Competition 

[Wall Street Journal, via Naked Capitalism 9-15-2022]

California sued Inc. AMZN -2.72%▼ on Wednesday, the state attorney general said, alleging the online retail giant’s contracts with third-party sellers and wholesalers inflate prices, stifle competition and violate the state’s antitrust and unfair competition laws.


Information age dystopia

20 Years After 9/11, Surveillance Has Become a Way of Life 

[Wired, via Naked Capitalism 9-12-2022]


9/11 Made It Easier For The Government To Target Black Activists 

[Essence, via Naked Capitalism 9-12-2022]



World’s first living robots can now reproduce, scientists say 

[CNN, via Naked Capitalism 9-15-2022]


Collapse of independent news media

U.S. media overkill on Queen Elizabeth II should make us mourn, fear rising autocracy 

Will Bunch [Philadelphia Inquirer, via Naked Capitalism 9-16-2022]

When King Charles III addressed his new subjects for the first time, ABC, NBC, and CBS cut into normal programing to carry it live for Americans — just days after those networks refused to do the same for President Biden’s speech warning about the threats to our democracy which, it must be noted again, was created to undo the intolerable nature of absolutism.


Patrick Lawrence: Unmaking History 

[Scheerpost, via Naked Capitalism 9-13-2022]

Beginning August 16 and running through August 24, The Washington Post published six stories, four of them at generous length, under the opening day’s headline, “The Post examined the lead-up to the Ukraine war. Here’s what we learned.” Washington’s local paper is playing the biggest first-draft-of-history card in its hand with this series.

There are a number of things to say about this opener. As sheer presentation, the intent is to convey authoritative authenticity by way of all the useless detail, a we-were-there aspect that is key to the entire series. The reporters were not there, of course. The armchairs, the fireplace, the sofas, who sat where: This is what they were told. Straight off the top, the Post is trafficking in the illusion of bearing witness.

Apart from the seating arrangement and of much greater importance, there is the “highly classified intelligence analysis.” The Post’s reporters did not see this analysis or verify the business about the satellite images and human sources—or verify, indeed, even the existence of the intelligence. They were told, once again, about the intelligence and how it was gathered and what was in it—notably the Russian president’s “war plan.”

Reminder: This is what went on daily during the Russiagate fiasco, reporters taking the word of officials and pretending these officials had no agenda.


Climate and environmental crises

How to stop cities and companies causing planetary harm 

[Nature, via Naked Capitalism 9-14-2022]

Next year, this global team of natural and social scientists (including many of us) will issue its first report outlining these ‘Earth system boundaries’ (ESBs). Addressing regional as well as global scales, these limits are based on the latest science, modelling and literature assessments. Accounting for impacts on communities means that the boundaries will be tighter. For example, climate change is already harming the health, property and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people each year, and that is before the world reaches the Paris agreement cap of 1.5–2 °C of global warming.

Researchers must develop methods to identify what cities and companies must do for the world to stay within the ESBs. The approaches will help them to assess their share of the responsibility for staying within global budgets of carbon, water, nutrients, land and other natural resources, and set targets to protect them. This will be difficult. For example, how much of the world’s phosphorus fertilizer should well-off London or struggling Dhaka rightfully access to produce food for their residents3? How should responsibility for protecting the Amazon rainforest be apportioned among hundreds of distant cities and companies that source supplies from the region or benefit from its ecosystem services4?

….Scientists have three key roles — to develop methods, to make the processes and assumptions involved transparent, and to explore ways to hasten the adoption of science-based target setting. Ultimately, it will fall to national governments and international bodies such as the United Nations to implement legislation and mechanisms for cities, companies and others to adopt these targets.


Fodder dries up for Pakistan’s cattle as floodwaters stay high 

[Reuters, via Naked Capitalism 9-14-2022]


Mapped: Countries With the Highest Flood Risk 

[Visual Capitalist, via Naked Capitalism 9-15-2022]


The watery secret of ancient North America 

[BBC, via Naked Capitalism 9-15-2022]

Crisscrossing Phoenix, Arizona, are 180 miles of canals – more than twice as many as Venice and Amsterdam combined…. In 1867, the city’s founding father, Jack Swilling – a prospector who had fought on both sides of the Civil War – stood above the Salt River Valley and saw the remnants of irrigation channels squiggling across the landscape like stretchmarks. He realised that, centuries before, some society had farmed this desert. Soon after, Swilling began scouring out the debris-clogged ditches to bring agriculture back to the region.

That great society was the Hohokam. Between 100 and 1450 CE, they constructed 1,000 miles of canals – the largest system of waterways in the Americas north of Peru. This sophisticated irrigation system harnessed river water and a meagre seven inches of annual rainfall and funnelled it to more than 100,000 acres of farmland. And they dug it all by hand with stones and sticks….

“It requires cooperation, because all the users of the water from that canal have to agree not only to construct it, but also to maintain it,” Henderson said. “An alliance of users would have to agree to certain conditions to keep the entire system going.”


Lure of Cheap China Hydropower Backfiring Due to Climate Change

[Bloomberg, via Naked Capitalism 9-15-2022]


NASA Breakthrough as Rover Finds Strong Signal of Organic Matter on Mars 

[Science Alert, via Naked Capitalism 9-16-2022]


Democrats’ political suicide

DNC changes bylaws so it can overrule convention 

[Intercept, via Naked Capitalism 9-17-2022]

The national committee approved language requiring that it must ratify any bylaw amendments that the convention, a broader body, wants to adopt. “No such Bylaw or amendment shall be effective unless and until it is subsequently ratified by a vote of the majority of the entire membership of the Democratic National Committee,” the amended measure from the Rules and Bylaws Committee states.

“These decisions are made to move ultimate power from the members of the convention into the hands of the committee, and that can become a dangerous precedent,” Nevada Democratic Party Chair Judith Whitmer told The Intercept. “These seem to us as increasingly anti-democratic decisions. And it brought a lot of outrage from progressives and moderates alike.”

…. Democratic National Committee Member Jessica Chambers of Wyoming … called the DNC “the least democratic organization that I’m involved with,” in part because paid staff whip votes against members. The recent attempt to suppress dissent is an example of how committee staff undermine elected members “for someone else’s agenda,” she added. “And I don’t know whose agenda it really is.” ….

“The DNC members are at a very clear disadvantage to the staff and the interests of the establishment,” Chambers said. “I hate that word, but I don’t know how to describe it. There are people who are running the DNC that are not the DNC members.”


Democratic Party spent $44 million to promote pro-Trump fascists in Republican primaries

[WSWS, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 9-12-2022]

“According to the campaign finance tracker Open Secrets, Democratic Party-aligned political action committees (PACs), political groups and nonprofits have spent at least $44 million on political ads designed to boost Trump-endorsed promoters of the ex-president’s ‘stolen election’ lie and fascist politics in primary contests across the country for the US House and Senate, as well as for top positions in state governments. In a number of cases, the Democratic Party has spent significantly more on ads for these candidates than the candidates themselves. Typically, the ads present the candidates as ‘too close to Trump,’ an ostensible criticism that is actually intended to make them more attractive to Republican primary voters. The cynical calculation behind this strategy is that in the targeted states, Trump clones will be easier to beat in the November general election than less extreme Republican primary contestants. Much of the money has come from PACs like the House Majority PAC, which has close ties to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Its distribution for Republican primary Congressional races has been sanctioned and coordinated by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Many of the Republican candidates aided by the Democratic ads have long histories of extreme far-right views, while their more traditional Republican rivals have included the few incumbents who either voted to impeach Trump or supported investigations into the January 6, 2021 insurrection. Among the Republicans boosted by the Democratic ads are known coup plotters, including a number of candidates who were present at the January 6 coup attempt.”


“Along the Texas-Mexico border, GOP enthusiasm mounts as Democrats defect over immigration concerns”

[Texas Tribune, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 9-14-2022]

“Democrats nationally weren’t talking about the border issues her community was experiencing firsthand. They were critical of efforts led by Republicans like Gov. Greg Abbott to build a border wall and increase the presence of law enforcement. Democrats, Carruthers said, weren’t listening. So she switched parties. And so did many others. The county’s clerk and treasurer also became Republicans, as have most of the elected officials in county government. ‘Seeing the lack of support from the federal government has really impacted the community and they’re looking and leaning towards the Republican Party,’ Carruthers said. In 2014, the percentage of registered voters casting ballots in the Republican primary in Terrell County was 12%. By 2022, that percentage had more than doubled — with 31% of the county’s registered voters casting ballots in the GOP primary compared to 10% in the Democratic primary. It was the first time in at least eight years that Republicans voting in the Terrell County primary outnumbered Democrats.” • Sanders won these counties in 2020, IIRC. So it didn’t have to be this way.


GLORIA ROMERO: I’m a Latina Democrat – if libs think I’m appalled by DeSantis, they’re dead wrong! 

[Daily Mail, via Naked Capitalism 9-17-2022]


Disrupting mainstream politics

“Socialist Kristen Gonzalez: We Defeated the Democratic Machine”

[Jacobin, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 9-12-2022]

“In an election year that has been a mixed bag for democratic socialists in the city and the state, Kristen Gonzalez defeated Queens Democratic Party–backed Elizabeth Crowley by more than twenty-five percentage points in the race for New York State Senate District 59. Gonzalez’s win, despite being outspent four to one by her opponent, with real estate special interests pouring additional millions into negative ad campaigns, testifies to Democratic Socialist of America (DSA)’s formidable presence in the Queens neighborhood of Astoria as well as in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Greenpoint and Williamsburg. Gonzalez’s victory also attests to the importance of rent control and climate infrastructure development as she joins State Senators Julia Salazar and Jabari Brisport in their efforts to pass pending legislations such as Good Cause Eviction and Build Public Renewables in Albany.”


Conservative / Libertarian Drive to Civil War

Texas delays publication of maternal death data until after midterms, legislative session

[Houston Chronicle, via Heather Cox Richardson, September 13 21, 2022, Letters from an American]

Texas health officials have missed a key window to complete the state’s first major updated count of pregnancy related deaths in nearly a decade, saying the findings will now be released next summer, most likely after the Legislature’s biennial session.


Heather Cox Richardson, September 13 21, 2022 [Letters from an American]

When the court ended the recognition of the constitutional right to reproductive rights in June, Republicans tried to manage the backlash by saying that the decision would simply return to the states the right to decide the status of abortion within their boundaries. The idea was actually that of enslavers in the 1830s: that true democracy operated at the state level because lawmakers there were closer to their constituents and would represent them better than those at the national level, thus enabling them to dismiss national pressure against enslavement as interference in state rights….

But the Republicans can read the polls as well as anyone and are facing the reality that their base might well not turn out without Trump on the ballot, while opponents of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision overturning Roe v. Wade are showing up in big numbers to vote against Republicans. Graham’s offer to impose a national ban on abortion seeks to bring the Republican base to the polls. “If we take back the House and the Senate, I can assure you we’ll have a vote on our bill,” he said today. “If the Democrats are in charge, I don’t know if we’ll ever have a vote on our bill.”….

The proposal is neither moderate nor in line with European countries. But it is also a giant red flag for our democracy, showing that the argument that the federal government should turn issues back to the states was the lie opponents said it was.


A constitutional challenge to the F.T.C.’s very existence 

[New York Times, via Naked Capitalism 9-12-2022]

Stoller comments [Twitter, via Naked Capitalism 9-12-2022]


[Twitter, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 9-12-2022]

John Guandolo is the Founder of, an organization dedicated to providing strategic and operational threat-focused consultation, education, and training for federal, state and local leadership and agencies, and designing strategies at all levels of the community in order to defeat the jihadi threat.

Mr. Guandolo is a 1989 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who took a commission as an Officer in the United States Marine Corps. He served with 2d Battalion 2d Marines as an Infantry Platoon Commander in combat Operations Desert Shield/Storm….

In 1996, Mr. Guandolo resigned his commission in the Marine Corps and joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), serving at the Washington Field Office. From 1996-2000, he primarily conducted narcotics investigations domestically and overseas. In 2001, he served for one year as the FBI Liaison to the U.S. Capitol Police investigating threats on high-level government officials. Shortly after 9/11, Mr. Guandolo began an assignment to the Counterterrorism Division of the FBI’s Washington Field Office developing an expertise in the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic Doctrine, the global Islamic Movement, and terrorist organizations including Hamas, Al Qaeda, and others.

In 2006, Mr. Guandolo was designated a “Subject Matter Expert” by FBI Headquarters and created and implemented the FBI’s first Counterterrorism Training Program focused on the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic Doctrine, and the global Islamic Movement…


How Wall Street Is Funding The Culture War

Matthew Cunningham-Cook, September 13, 2022 [The Lever]

Chris Rufo, the pugilistic pundit leading the right’s charge against how public schools teach race and sexuality, is backed by billionaires who profited handsomely from the 2008 financial crisis that threw 8.6 million people out of work, 7.8 million people out of their home, and drove thousands of excess suicides.

Rufo is a senior fellow and prominent spokesperson at the Manhattan Institute, a right-wing think tank that has fueled recent hysteria over critical race theory (CRT) and LGBTQ curricula in schools. While the Manhattan Institute doesn’t disclose its donors, the organization’s board is helmed by executives who are deeply invested in preserving the country’s entrenched economic inequality — and who come from a financial industry that has plundered massive wealth from communities of color….

The current chairman of Manhattan Institute’s board is hedge fund manager Paul Singer. The Toronto Financial Post reported that his firm was “profiting handsomely” during the 2008 financial crisis “from credit default swaps that bet leveraged companies would run aground.” Singer’s family foundation donated $1.1 million to the think tank in 2020, out of $17.9 million in total contributions the organization received that year. Singer is also known for buying sovereign debt of countries like Argentina, Peru, and the Republic of the Congo for pennies on the dollar, then using strong-arm tactics like seizing ships and planes to win full payment.

Hank Greenberg, the longtime former head of insurance giant AIG, as well as hedge fund manager John Paulson, are also on the Manhattan Institute’s board. Paulson’s family foundation donated $50,000 in 2019, the most recent year for which records are available, as well as a “truly transformative gift” to the institute in May 2022….

Other notable Wall Street board members of the Manhattan Institute include: ….


“Video emerges showing Georgia Republican Party officials giving Trump-operatives access to voting machines”

[WSWS, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 9-12-2022]

“Notably, a week before Latham allowed the Trump-campaign hired operatives into the building, Latham testified before the Georgia Senate alongside Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani. In her testimony, she claimed that ‘QR codes’ had been manipulated in order to alter vote totals and state Republican officials, including Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, were not doing enough to address ‘inadequacies’ in the vote.”


“Lee County GOP to consider branding WHO as terrorists and barring IRS and FBI agents”

[Florida Politics, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 9-14-2022]

“Lee County Republicans this week will consider resolutions demanding Florida outlaw electronic voting machines and federal agents. They will also consider whether to declare the World Health Organization (WHO) and World Economic Forum (WEF) as terrorist organizations.”


“Posse Comitatus, Made Respectable”

John Ganz, September 15, 2022

I’ve come to two strong, but I feel unavoidable, conclusions about the Claremont Institute, the California-based right-wing think tank that supplies Trumpism with its intellectual cadre: One, that they are attempting the creation of a distinctly American form of fascism that studiously avoids references to European forebears, and two, they have become essentially a seditious conspiracy against the American people.

I don’t use this rhetoric lightly; I realize it can sound a bit extreme, even fevered and crankish, but everything else reads like hedging or euphemism. Claremont has played an instigating and integral part in all of the most authoritarian and menacing elements of the Trump era: from the wild proposals to end birthright citizenship and abrogate the 14th Amendment, to the creation and dissemination of “Stop the Steal Propaganda,” to persistent outreach and legitimation of the extreme-right fringe, and then to providing the spurious legal architecture of the January 6 putsch attempt. But one of the Institute’s most concerning initiatives yet is their “Sheriff’s Fellowship,” a direct effort to bind law enforcement to their ideological program. Founded in 2021, the Sheriff’s Fellowship purpose is described in quite partisan but still mostly benign-sounding language on the Institute’s website as a high-minded course in political theory and history for the local police….

But in a fundraising document recently surfaced by Sherilynn Ifill, the true intentions of the Fellowship are made clearer….

The program is an unabashed effort to create a network of “uncorrupted” ideologically-reliable police outside the normal channels of the justice system. Of particularly note is the mention of the “electoral disaster of 2020.” Clearly, this organization is envisioned as a preventative measure for the repeat of “a stolen election.”

If you’re at all familiar with the history of the American far right, this rhetorical elevation of the stature of the county sheriff will ring a bell. It’s an old stratagem developed by the Christian Identity preacher William Potter Gale, who founded the “Posse Comitatus” movement in the 1970s….


“Partisanship Over Policy at the Heritage Foundation”

[The Dispatch, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 9-16-2022]

“Interviews with more than a dozen current and former employees reveal how the think tank sidelines its scholars to score political points.”


The (Anti)Federalist Society Infestation of the Courts

“The radical legal theory that could upend the 2024 election”

[Popular Information, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 9-14-2022]

“[Leonard] Leo has stepped down from his day-to-day responsibilities at the Federalist Society to pursue an even more audacious agenda. According to reports by ProPublica and the New York Times, Leo recently raised $1.6 billion for a new political advocacy group, Marble Freedom Trust. That money came from a single donor, ‘ultra-secretive Republican businessman’ Barre Seid. These funds will be available for Leo to pursue his latest initiative: an effort to give state legislatures unfettered authority over federal elections. It is a fringe legal argument advanced by Donald Trump’s lawyers in their effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election. If adopted by the federal courts, it could throw 2024 and future elections into chaos. But it is being taken very seriously by Leo and several of his allies on the Supreme Court.


The Rise of Right-Wing Hacks in Federal Courts

Jason Linkins, September 12, 2022 [The New Republic]

Judge Aileen Cannon, of the now-infamous special master ruling, is the latest star of a conservative legal movement that gleefully engages in sloppy jurisprudence—with profound consequences for us all.


Johnson & Johnson And A New War On Consumer Protection

[The New Yorker, via The Lever 9-18-2022]

“Deploying a legal maneuver first used by Koch Industries, Johnson & Johnson, a company valued at nearly half a trillion dollars, with a credit rating higher than that of the United States government, declared bankruptcy. Because of that move, the fate of forty thousand current lawsuits and the possibility of future claims by cancer victims or their survivors now rests with a single bankruptcy judge in the company’s home state, New Jersey.”


Reviving republicanism

“The Political Tradition of Republicanism Should Be a Touchstone for Democratic Socialists”

[Jacobin, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 9-14-2022]

“What is freedom? How does it relate to equality?… The third approach is the one closest to republicans’ hearts. It stresses that freedom is not just individual but social and irrevocably political. To be free is to have a meaningful say in determining the structures and laws that govern us. It is to live without being subject to the whims of arbitrary power, whether public (a despotic state) or private (an autocratic workplace or household). Like the substantive approach, contemporary republicans engage directly with questions of equality and power, since they shape how much social freedom people actually have. Take the United States: if research by scholars like Martin Gilens is correct, the average citizen possesses almost no meaningful social freedom at the national level, while the very rich enjoy a great deal. The concept of social freedom has deep historical roots. Ancient Greek societies saw freedom as inextricably linked to citizenship and political participation: citizenship gave people a strong voice in the governance of the city, which both prevented the appearance of a tyrannical ruling class and instilled in citizens the civic virtue needed to ward off domination by imperial powers. To possess civic virtue was to be politically minded, public-spirited, and to regard one’s individual freedom as bound up with the freedom of other citizens. This Grecian view of social freedom as the linchpin of liberty was a key feature of ancient Roman republicanism, too. The Latin res publica, or public space, is the root of the modern term “republic.’”


Decolonizing the Mind 

Margaret Kimberley [Black Agenda Report, via Naked Capitalism 9-15-2022]

It is vital to free ourselves from belief in the systems of white supremacy and imperialism that are inculcated in the educational system and are affirmed and amplified by the media and establishment opinion. The recent death of Queen Elizabeth II puts the need for political and psychological liberation in high relief. We are encouraged to admire an anachronistic monarchy, and are exhorted to join in mourning an individual and a system that have caused great harm to Black and other oppressed people around the world.

“A people poisoned by the adulation of royalty”​​​​​​​: The Visit of King George V 

James Connolly, 1910 [, 1997]

A people poisoned by the adulation of royalty can never attain social freedom. The mind accustomed to political kings can easily be reconciled to social kings – capitalist kings of the workshop, the mill, the railway, the ships and the docks.

[Twitter, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 9-16-2022]


Talking With Machiavelli 

Win McCormack, September 15, 2022 [The New Republic]

“What I sought from Livy,” Niccolò responded, “and what I indeed found, was the answer to the query, ‘What was it that enabled Rome to attain the heights of power and greatness that it attained?’ And what I learned was….”

“Ruthlessness and cunning, again?”

“No,” Niccolò rejoined. “What I learned was the importance of liberty. It was the amount of liberty vouchsafed the citizens of Rome that enabled them to scale the heights of grandeur as they did. And that is what would be so tragic about the demise of freedom in America. America has likewise scaled the heights of liberty to an extent unknown before. And it has had some terrible challenges to meet to accomplish that, to the degree it has. And by the way, when Rome finally fell, it was because there were barbarians at the gate. In America now, the barbarians are inside the gate.


The Recent History of “at will” MASS DELUSION events 

[Commentary posted by Roger Erickson on Mike Norman Economics 9-17-2022]

However, the remarkable 20th Century resurgence of the use of Mass Delusion events as tools of Politics and Empire, can be significantly attributed to 3 little books that launched an industry dependent upon unprecedented breadth and speed of feedback methods, all of which, unfortunately, produced conditions where accelerating communication methods could initially be misused as often or more often than they were adaptively used.
Walter Lippman’s 1921 book, Public Opinion (pdf)
Edward Bernays 1923 book, Crystallizing Public Opinion (pdf)
Edward Bernays 1927/1928 book, Propaganda (pdf)
Propaganda, of course, started with the first human tribal grouping.
Propaganda and “civilization” (organized mass society) go hand in glove, as Lippman pointed out. Recruitment to at least some like-minded narratives is necessary for organization.  Like anything, consensus is only as valuable as we make it.



Open Thread


Machiavelli On Putin


  1. Trinity

    On Big Tech trying to keep their power by using threats:

    “12. We must break their power. We must shrink them down so they can be contained within a democracy. And we can. Ultimately, our national governments are immensely strong, tied down only by our lack of imagination and confidence. It’s time to learn how to be a free people again.”

    Not shrink, but rather break them up, smash them up into teeny, tiny pieces. And many of those tiny pieces should be publicly owned non-profits, unable to lobby for reintegration.

    Has anyone “spoken” to Bruce lately? I’m concerned because I haven’t seen a post of his in awhile.

  2. multitude of poors

    [TW continued: So it’s no surprise that DeLong is a self-professed “Davos Man… a card-carrying neoliberal, a believer in globalization and free trade.” …]

    Agree wholeheartedly, Tony.

    If I recollect correctly, my first experience reading a Brad DeLong post was from a link provided where he sickeningly did not take decades long California US Senator, Dianne Feinstein (still, criminally, in office), and her vile husband, Richard [Dick] Blum, to task for that no bid contract to Blum’s Company to auction off United States Post Offices, which was done with a fervor. Never checked on DeLongs blog since then, I’m repulsed that some are still pawning him off as some sort of wise man.

    It’s not at all shocking that Bradford DeLong presides at University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) as a tenured economics professor (since 1997); wouldn’t be at all surprised if he frequently lunches quite amicably with infamous John Yoo—DOJ legal attorney, torture promoter, bar none but his ilk, for Bush Jr./Cheney—who is still a tenured law professor at UC Berkeley (since 1993).

  3. multitude of poors

    Tricia, re:

    Has anyone “spoken” to Bruce lately? I’m concerned because I haven’t seen a post of his in awhile.

    Looks like Bruce (Wilder) last posted on the Solutions: Cash, The Unbanked, and Cashless Stores post, on September 13th. I hope he’s well.

  4. rkka

    Delong, and Keynes, missed basic Adam Smith level understanding of human nature. “All for ourselves and nothing for other people has in every age of the world been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.”

    They saw the triumph of the New Deal, but missed the determination of our plutocracy to destroy it. Keynes has an excuse, for he died long before Nixon, the Powell Memorandum, & Reagan/Thatcher.

    Delong is clueless about who & how the New Deal was destroyed, and in such a way as to ensure another global economic collapse would not produce the overwhelming popular demand for investigation, accountability, & reform that FDR exploited.

    Barack Obama was totally determined to to dissipate any such popular demand, for which I will despise him forever.

  5. VietnamVet

    The neo-liberal-cons’ plans to continue to keep them in the power and money are shown by their seizure of the global response to the coronavirus pandemic and, also, their provoking of an unwinnable proxy world war in Ukraine But the basic problem is their belief that their wealth shows their worth. The poor are unworthy and of no matter. The rich are incapable of thinking beyond themselves.

    Coronavirus has made the workforce ill. A freeze like Texas last year, except much longer, is likely for Europe this winter. Governments have been intentional dismantled. They are now (except for China) basically incapable of fighting wars, ending pandemics, or preventing famines. The failure of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine can only be explained by the Russian oligarchy’s enrichment from the dismantling of the Red Army. It is so bad that Russian prisoners are being recruited to be mercenaries on the front lines.

    The coronavirus death toll of hundreds of Americans every day is documentation that coronavirus is endemic in North America. The USA is one new variant away from overflowing the already stressed, understaffed private US healthcare system.

    Since the ruling ideology prohibits it, the missing workers and the energy/commodity/goods shortages are never identified as the actual cause of inflation in the USA. Instead austerity is being imposed, once again.

    These are just some of the multitude of harbingers, laid out here in the Week-end Wrap, that warn of the collapse of the global plutocratic empire.

  6. bruce wilder

    Corey Robin metaphysical cultural spin on Hayek — that Nietzsche had something to with it because . . . Vienna? — is bizarre.

    The path from Hayek to DeLong is much more straightforward and runs thru The Uses of Knowledge in Society, Hayek’s most seminal essay. It was that serious examination of the coordination possibilities of market prices as a substitute for “planning” that became central to the worldview of neoliberalism, which touts markets in everything. Philip Mirowski has identified its foundational centrality to neoliberalism as a system of thought.

    In the actual essay, Hayek the careful theorist, notes that there is not enough variation in actually observed prices — not enough information in other words — for “market” prices to coordinate economic activity. Neoliberalism is a riff on ignoring empirical observation entirely and building economic rhetoric on a “market” economy that does not exist.

    We have a money economy and money prices, of course, but most such prices are administered by bureaucracies. Brad DeLong has a Ph.D in ignoring that reality. We listen to his unrealistic imaginings at our peril.

  7. Feral Finster

    Lest anyone think that Brad DeLong and other on Team D are really on their side, remember that DeLong’s own words about how Sanders voted were to be used, then not only cast aside, but “gleefully and comprehensively trashed”.

    “ah. After yesterday the word–and the obvious thing–is to stand down.

    Mind you: The day will come when it will be time to gleefully and comprehensively trash people to be named later for Guevarista fantasies about what their policies are likely to do. The day will come when it will be time to gleefully and comprehensively trash people to be named later for advocating Comintern-scale lying to voters about what our policies are like to do. And it will be important to do so then–because overpromising leads to bad policy decisions, and overpromising is bad long-run politics as well.

    But that day is not now. That day will be mid-November.”

    Nasty little shit, he is.

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