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View Diary: Why Don't You Go Out and Play In the Nice Economy? (128 comments)

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  •  A pretty metaphor and I wish it were close to (8+ / 0-)

    reality, but this book dealer's personal interest is American political economy, and on that count, Obama and his team are a disaster.

    Really, look at that chart and tell me Obama's economic policies have not been a disaster. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. That's how nations are destroyed from within.

    I agree with you, though, that Obama and his team are "focused on political power." But that seems to be about all they're focused on. And they're not even very good at that: the 2010 midterm elections were a disaster that allowed the Republicans to take control of the House and many states, with dreadful long-term consequences of gerrymandering and attacks on voter rights.

    A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

    by NBBooks on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 06:10:45 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Obamas economic policies have not been a disaster (0+ / 0-)

      The only real disasters on the horizon are associated with climate change, melting polar ice caps, rising sea levels, having to relocate 100 US east coast cities with populations over 100,000 back to the Appalachians so they don't go the way of Atlantis.

      The reason the rich are getting richer is that we are still allowing the voodoo economic trickle down Reagan and Bush tax cuts to steal away the investment we should be making in infrastructure, roads and bridges, water and sewer, mass transit and alternative energy.

      The reason the poor are getting poorer is that we are not properly investing in education, in mass transit so people can get out of the food deserts they live in and enjoy all the resources like libraries, hospitals, and CHC's that improve peoples chances of being able bodied and skilled so they can take some of the jobs  the rest of us take for granted.

      We can deal with climate change at a cost of about $375 Trillion while at the same time we also deal with peak oil, overpopulation, pollution, dying oceans, burning rain forests, and species extinctions including the species that make oxygen.

      As the Republicans continue to self destruct and eventually as their obstruction ceases to be effective, Obama's policies will begin to be put into play. In 2014 affordable healthcare will start and the troops will come home from Afghanistan. With an end to our foreign wars there will be a peace dividend, and the investment in infrastructure made under the ARRA will begin to affect the ecconomy jobs and business.

      The 2014 midterm elections will be just like the 2010 elections except that this time it will be the Republicans getting sent packing.

      Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

      by rktect on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 11:02:06 AM PDT

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      •  From your perspective, what you list are (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        certainly impending disasters compared to which economic policies are of nowhere near the same weight and consequence.

        But your view is typical of the economic beliefs of almost everyone alive now, most especially the elites. Try to follow me here, because I am going to try to explain why economic policies are the root of all the  impending disasters you list, and only radical changes in economic policies can address and avert those disasters.

        I view economics from the standpoint of the nineteenth century conception of political economy, in which the most important consideration is the role of statecraft in advancing science and technology to build a nation. Think of it this way: If your ultimate objective is not to build the nation, than what could your objective possibly be, and how could it possibly be of benefit to your fellow citizens?

        Contrast that to the prevailing view of economics, which is simply to allow as much freedom as possible to the workings of markets. There are a number of problems with this prevailing view of economics, but the one I want to focus on here is the problem what economists call externalities. All the problems you list - each and every single one of them - essentially result from markets being unable to correctly include the price of externalities such as pollution and resource depletion. Moreover, think of markets as being unwilling  to include the price of externalities, and this brings us back to my preferred conception of political economy, because now you have to examine the political power of the rich and the way in which that power is used to shift the cost of externalities from the market to the commons.

        So, I hope you will understand when I try to warn you that the misconceptions about economics under which you labor doom you to failure before you even begin to try to address the looming disasters before us. Economics, ore more accurately, political economy, is the most important issue we face. On that issue, all else hinges.

        Let me repeat that: On economics, all else hinges. To see the truth of my assertion, reject the standard definition of economics, and consider my own: an economy is how a society organizes itself to procure, process, develop, and distribute the material, spiritual, and cultural goods and services need to sustain and reproduce the human population at ever higher levels of material, spiritual, and cultural well being.

        A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

        by NBBooks on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 04:32:21 PM PDT

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        •  you pose a question (0+ / 0-)
          If your ultimate objective is not to build the nation, than what could your objective possibly be
          I would answer that "Not to build the nation" ie; to drown government in a bathtub, to be more loosely organized as gene, oinkos and phratre; (kin, tribe and brotherhood) not to have a consensus to be law abiding, maybe to have gangs or unions or crews run things on a smaller scale, maybe to have what the Italians have developed as Mankura or coops.

          If markets cant deal with externalities then maybe markets aren't what we should be looking at to guide our economy. Maybe we should be more self actualizing.

          Suppose we allow that machines should work people should think instead of the other way around as it is now. Instead of guaranteed employment maybe we should have guaranteed income and instead of working for a living  maybe we should be working for survival by tackling climate change before its too late.

          You can't really buy an off the grid mindset but when at some point there is no longer the full faith and credit of the US around to back money because the US is no longer around, who or what is going to regulate the market?

          Suppose I posit that the rich and what they do are irrelevant to my off the grid solar self sufficient lifestyle and whats more suppose that sort of thinking becomes the norm and more and more people prepare themselves to do whatever it takes to survive whatever comes.

          Who is going to do things for rich people if their money isn't viewed as either as coercive or seductive as just plain preparing for survival by becoming self sufficient.

          Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

          by rktect on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 05:32:04 PM PDT

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          •  Yours seems to me a rather inchoate (0+ / 0-)

            rebellion against our present political and economic systems. Rebellion is quite understandable, in fact, desirable, given that those systems are presently dominated by the most selfish oligarchs who are quite willing to kill off anyone who gets in the way of their own survival: their own declaration of "just plain preparing for survival by becoming self sufficient."

            Self sufficiency as a social movement is understandable and even acceptable as a revolt against oligarchically dominated political and economic hierarchies. But, please, stop and realize this simple truth: self sufficiency as a practical matter of every day survival is entirely chimerical. It is a fantasy. Can you really tell me that you will be able to produce your own multi-gigabyte processor for your next "self sufficient" PC?

            Human life is incapable of pure self-sufficiency except at the most brutal, barbaric Hobbesian levels of existence. Have you ever spent an entire night in the woods wet and cold and without shelter? Have you? What do you think your life expectancy would be if you spent every single night at that level of existence? Human life requires some level of economic interaction and industrial organization in order to achieve a modicum of satisfactory existence.

            You'll have to scratch out an integrated circuit on a silicon wafer using only a basic knife to prove me wrong.

            May I suggest you devote yourself to a study of Thorstein Veblen? At least, read his Theory of the Leisure Class, copies of which are available free online.

            A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

            by NBBooks on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 07:44:28 PM PDT

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            •  Inchoate -Thats a good choice of words (0+ / 0-)

              Inchoate in the sense of partially formed, incomplete, imperfectly formed or developed. In other words  kind of sketchy.

              Most of us have been waiting all our lives for our government to get around to dealing with climate change, taking it seriously, admitting that its caused by humans and if we just do nothing the problem will take care of itself. To call their proposed solutions kind of sketchy or inchoate would be gracious.

              Likewise Peak oil and alternative energy. Just the synergy from combining climate change with peak oil makes cities and nations obsolete; incapable of responding.

              We might try banning the use of  all fossil fuels by 2020 and hope that even if that destroys modern western civilization somewhere in the third world people living at a subsistence level might have the necessary skills to survive, but unfortunately global warming will make everything from the equator to the tropics uninhabitable.

              We could try limiting population on a planetary basis to require a percentage decrease equal to the amount of warming but when it comes to enforcing such a ruling weapons of mass destruction pale in comparison to what famine and disease will do.

              Even as we reach the point where our ability to cure cancer and heart disease and to make people healthier and our ability to avoid wars and disasters can prolong life we come to where thats counter productive.

              As for your next to final comment about scratching out an integrated circuit on a silicone wafer, have you ever read "A Canticle for Leibowitz"? Its an old fifties SF story  in which the survivors of such a holocaust as I imagine work their way back up to about the level of the medieval monestary copying blueprints found in the wreckage of the destroyed civilization as illuminated manuscripts.

              The simplest form of photovoltaic cell is formed in clouds by photons of sunlight passing through the potential difference between all the different electrolytes that come into a cloud because of pollution. This gets stored as static electricity and discharged as lightning in about the same way as a Van de Graf generator.

              Beamed Solar may arrive about the time our oceans die.

              Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

              by rktect on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 04:06:15 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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