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Since neither we nor our legislators plan to do anything about it, and since our adherence to progressive ideology apparently outweighs our willingness to exercise our power, it is time to state with determination where this is all going to hit bottom.  The ecological dilemma of a society dependent upon not-so-cheap and not-so-clean oil provides a starting-point for my argument that the capitalist system has reached a cul-de-sac.  In this respect, predominant policy initiatives anticipate a post-capitalist world in which an elite of special interests uses government as a gatekeeper for public access to limited slots in a relatively tiny consumer society.

(Conversation continued at Docudharma)

As reported in Firedoglake last week, the progressive cave-in on "health insurance reform" anticipates a whole series of further legislative "victories" in which the corporate stranglehold upon government is tightened.  The first, as Jane Hamsher admirably points out, will be "climate change legislation," or "clean coal legislation" or whatever it will be called when the majority in Congress is finished triangulating it "so as to receive 60 votes in the Senate" or whatever the excuse du jour is at legislative crunch time.  

Meanwhile, as also reported in Firedoglake, the Republican Party, the object of all that triangulation (see: "bipartisanship"), has declared its new cause: a revival of the Confederacy.  So what will they imagine next, as they attempt to pull away that 5% of Republican voters with a propensity to vote Democrat now and then?  Forget that war of position we've lost -- we have demographics to think about!

Sure, practically everyone on this site wants prosperity of some sort -- a revival of the old populist Keynesianism -- but it's not going to happen without some widespread, popular "pushback" against the existing momentum of the system.  Firstly, you have the financial elite's reluctance to disturb a system in which it is claiming an increasing share of the total economic pie.  As John Bellamy Foster points out:

The ruling class and its state -- not just in the United States but also in the entire advanced capitalist world -- have no answer to economic stagnation but renewed financialization.  So fast is finance growing at present while the "real economy" (i.e. production) is in shambles that fears are expressed in the financial press every day of the development of a gargantuan bubble that will burst sooner rather than later.

Moreover, a return to a populist Keynesian growth economy faces an additional hurdle. Ian Welsh adds:

It is not, and will not be possible for the US to have an actual good economy for any length of time, or even at all (as opposed to a mediocre economy) until the oil bottleneck is broken.

Of course, the established financial interests are going to claim their "due," as Saudi Arabia did before Copenhagen.  It's hard to see, moreover, how developing "alternative energy" (but leaving the capitalist system in place) is really going to change the equation.  As Foster and Magdoff point out, all of the "proposals for the ecological reformation of capitalism" (look halfway down the page) are corporate scams, which will lead us back again and again to a reconsideration of the central dynamic at work in the crisis: the contradiction between a growing capitalist system and the finite resource capacities of planet Earth.  

"Alternative energy" under the conditions of the current system will postpone the day of reckoning, while the intelligentsia (acting as keepers of the flame of progressive ideology) cede the field.  To quote Foster and Magdoff again:

There are some people who fully understand the ecological and social problems that capitalism brings, but think that capitalism can and should be reformed. According to Benjamin Barber: "The struggle for the soul of capitalism is...a struggle between the nation’s economic body and its civic soul: a struggle to put capitalism in its proper place, where it serves our nature and needs rather than manipulating and fabricating whims and wants. Saving capitalism means bringing it into harmony with spirit—with prudence, pluralism and those ‘things of the public’...that define our civic souls. A revolution of the spirit." William Greider has written a book titled "The Soul of Capitalism: Opening Paths to a Moral Economy." And there are books that tout the potential of "green capitalism" and the "natural capitalism" of Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, and L. Hunter Lovins. Here, we are told that we can get rich, continue growing the economy, and increase consumption without end—and save the planet, all at the same time! How good can it get? There is a slight problem—a system that has only one goal, the maximization of profits, has no soul, can never have a soul, can never be green, and, by its very nature, it must manipulate and fabricate whims and wants.

There are a number of important "out of the box" ecological and environmental thinkers and doers. They are genuinely good and well-meaning people who are concerned with the health of the planet, and most are also concerned with issues of social justice. However, there is one box from which they cannot escape—the capitalist economic system. Even the increasing numbers of individuals who criticize the system and its "market failures" frequently end up with "solutions" aimed at a tightly controlled "humane" and non-corporate capitalism, instead of actually getting outside the box of capitalism.

It is important to look at this larger quote in context.  The belief that capitalism somehow has a "soul" which has been corrupted by neoliberal hegemony over the past thirty years is probably motivated by a nostalgia for the old era of Keynesian capitalism, the '50s and '60s, when the capitalist system may have appeared to have gained a "soul" because of its support for government programs to alleviate poverty.  Meanwhile capitalism has moved on -- as I've said above, the attempt to resurrect Keynesian capitalism will confront elite indifference and resource limitations, while as Simon Johnson tells us:

And so, despite what the FBI has rightly called an "epidemic" of mortgage fraud, with 80% of the losses arising when industry insiders are involved in the losses, not a single senior officer of a major nonprime lender has been arrested (much less convicted) of mortgage fraud or securities fraud.

And as gjohnsit tells us:

JP Morgan and HSBC control between 85% and 100% of the futures market for gold and silver. That's a monopoly by any definition, and it can smash down the price whenever it wants to as long as a large percentage of the traders don't take physical delivery.

Thus at this point the capitalist system exists increasingly to facilitate Ponzi schemes, all of which will end with the domination of the perpetrators who have bought off government.  Would you like to guess where it will all end up?

Whence capitalism?

The mainstream intelligentsia, as I've pointed out above, have not envisioned post-capitalism.  Instead, they long for the good old days of the 1950s and 1960s, when capitalism appeared to have a soul.  At that time, the profit motive (acting in concert with the competition for "development" between nation-states) appeared to require an economy with a "middle class" of consumers.  Today neither the national nor the global economy really needs to produce enough to do more than preserve the positions of national elites, for said elites profit through Ponzi schemes and by using government as a "client."  So why does capitalism today need a "soul," i.e. consumers?  Answer, it doesn't.

Instead, it appears that the capitalist system will at some point, perhaps a couple of decades from now, replace itself, leaving the eco-capitalist intelligentsia behind.  What will be the form to come?  Well, neither the financial elites nor their political handmaidens will need any real economic competition, so one can expect that aspect of the economy to dwindle to nothing.  What they do need, however, is privilege -- and so we can expect a vast expansion in the market for Ponzi schemes, fraud, legal bullying, and other means by which a privileged class can extend its privileges to all of its "buddies" at the expense of the vast majority of the population.

They won't need "economic growth" -- the lessons of the Great Recession, with Goldman Sachs profits at record highs in a year in which the global economy contracted by 2%, will not be lost upon the financial elites in the second crash.  "Economic growth," moreover, would expose the oil bottleneck which Ian Welsh pointed out, as well as exacerbating abrupt climate change, the implosion of oceanic and rainforest ecosystems, and other ills of the capitalist system.  No "economic growth," moreover, will allow the elites to claim that "capitalism" is congruent with "decreases in fossil-fuel emissions," which should please the eco-capitalist intelligentsia to no end.

They also don't need education -- education served the '50s and the '60s, the heyday of capitalism, as both a buttress to the economy and as the primary advertised means of social class advancement (besides ascending the corporate ladder) in the United States.  Once upon a time, moreover, America's vast educational systems, both in terms of public school and of college and university systems, were imagined to be the bulwark of the military-industrial complex, which continues to maintain bases around the world at great cost to the taxpayers.  Today, however, in light of Federal inaction in the face of bankrupt state governments (California being the most prominent example), and in light of further Republican pushes to reduce the tax "burden" on the richest of America's citizens, one can see for oneself the truth to which Richard D. Vogel points: "Public education is now in decline in much of the world."  At some point the capitalist system will be replaced at some point by a money-based caste system, a sort of state-capitalism-in-reverse if you will, and nobody will know -- the intelligentsia having been bought off, and everyone else having lost access to education systems.

What do you want to do about it?

I suppose that what you want to do about it depends upon how much of this scenario you wish to believe.  Do you really think that you can just elect "more and better Democrats" to the point where they will all suddenly renounce the "Washington Consensus" and bring back the growth economy of the 1960s?  You've already dismissed the arguments I've made (see above) against the likelihood of such an occurrence?  

A public readership which thought as I did would look to a multifaceted approach: candidates where they can recognize the situation for what it is, educational campaigns where they would be effective, direct action where useful.  The end of such activity would be a livable post-capitalism -- a world-society after capitalism in which the people-as-a-whole would have some say in the direction of the economy.

But I'm not going to put words into anyone's mouth.

Originally posted to Cassiodorus on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:02 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The "progressives'" new national anthem (17+ / 0-)

    "You must do what you feel is right, of course." -- Obi-Wan Kenobi, in Episode IV

    by Cassiodorus on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 02:52:56 PM PDT

    •  it's called neo-feudalism: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rossl, Only Needs a Beat

      What you said:  "...a money-based caste system, a sort of state-capitalism-in-reverse if you will..."

      That's neo-feudalism.

      And when it joins forces with the religious right (keeping people ignorant keeps them supine), the result is theocratic feudalism.

      And per your earlier diary, "The Capitalist Game, then, is far more efficient than the Feudalist Game, which directly appropriated peasant production in order to finance a destructive warrior class ("knights")." Substitute the financial class for the warrior class, and what you get is:

      "The neo-Feudalist Game, then, is far more efficient than the Capitalist Game, and directly appropriates peasant former middle-class production in order to finance a destructive financial class ("banksters")."

      To which the alternative is social democracy.  

  •  Relationship between inequality and growth (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassiodorus, luckylizard

    One central topic I would like to understand better is the relationship between inequality and overall growth rate. We know that growth was faster overall in the "Golden Age of Capitalism." We know that inequality was lower and the gains tended to be distributed more equally across different sectors of the population. Is there a real connection here? Can we improve the rate of growth simply by reducing inequality? What about other reasons for the slowdown in growth? What are they, and can we reverse them?

    •  Why is this important? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek

      Is anyone really in power who wants to "improve" the rate of growth?

      "You must do what you feel is right, of course." -- Obi-Wan Kenobi, in Episode IV

      by Cassiodorus on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:10:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Absurd response (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dauphin, Cassiodorus

        I am sorry but I think this response is absurd. Economic growth is very important. If you do not think so then we just have a fundamental conflict of values.

        •  I think you misunderstand my QUESTION (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          G2geek, MrJayTee, rossl

          And it was a question -- it wasn't that scene in Episode III of Star Wars where Anakin shouts "I hate you!" at Obi-Wan.

          Economic growth is very important.

          To whom?  And what sort of power do they have over the government?

          "You must do what you feel is right, of course." -- Obi-Wan Kenobi, in Episode IV

          by Cassiodorus on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:26:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Growth is basically objective (0+ / 0-)

            Is anyone really in power who wants to "improve" the rate of growth?

            This question seems to imply that you think faster growth is somehow not an objective concept or even that you think growth is not an improvement. Now certainly economists do disagree over the proper measure in some areas. Some argue, and I tend to agree, that GDP alone is not a sufficient measure of growth. But clearly good and objective measures of growth exist. Therefore the quotes should properly be unnecessary. That is why I reacted strongly.

            To whom?

            To me. As for the politicians in Washington, I don't know. When I talk about growth I am talking about the US economy. In the end we are supported by each other and the material success of most citizens depends on, or rather is, the economy.

            •  So your answer to my question: (0+ / 0-)

              Is anyone really in power who wants to "improve" the rate of growth?

              is "yes"?  "no"?  "I don't know"?

              "You must do what you feel is right, of course." -- Obi-Wan Kenobi, in Episode IV

              by Cassiodorus on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:49:32 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  We have already disconnected the material ... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Cassiodorus

              ... success of most of our citizens from the growth of the economy ... but have done so in an upside down manner. Rather than permitting most of our citizens to enjoy material success even when the economy is stable, we have relegated most of our citizenry to increasing risk of collapse of their access to material success in the face of economic growth.

              That is not a very promising foundation for weaning our national economy from its present addiction to a form of economic growth that in simple, physical, terms cannot be sustained over the coming generation.

              Start 2010 with Lesbian Creative Works, 100% Yuri from ALC Publishing

              by BruceMcF on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 06:41:32 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  methamphetamine is very important. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cassiodorus

          Look at how it increases productivity!  More and more activity, more rushing about, less idleness in the form of sleep and loafing!  

          If you believe in economic growthism, I have an exercise for you:

          1.  Take your present height in inches.  
          1.  Apply to it the percentage increase that you believe is an appropriate level of economic growth.  
          1.  Now do the arithmetic, using "compound interest" because that's how continuous growth works.  
          1.  What's it feel like to have to hunch over so you can fit into rooms with eight foot ceilings?  
        •  Why is economic growth important? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cassiodorus

          Is, in particular, an addiction to relentless, incessant economic growth more important than continued survival?

          This is, after all, the critical question that those proposing a "green capitalism" must address: any viable, sustainable economy must operate normally without severe dislocation through periods of no growth.

          Certainly economic growth can take place on the basis of a material steady state, since technological progress permits more to be accomplished with the same inputs. However, pure technological progress does not proceed on a steady, relentless pace, but rather proceeds in cycles.

          So, while one can imagine a green capitalism coping with the periods of economic growth ... how does it cope with the necessary periods of economic stability?

          Start 2010 with Lesbian Creative Works, 100% Yuri from ALC Publishing

          by BruceMcF on Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 06:38:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  growth is an illusion. (4+ / 0-)

      Indefinite growth within a finite system is impossible.

      You can't map an infinite plane onto a Euclidean solid.

      We hit the limits to growth on Earth when our collective ecological footprint crossed 1.0 in 1983.  

      The rest, as they say, is history.  

  •  Another great piece (7+ / 0-)

    If nothing else, you make me think, man.

    A question:  why would anarchism or communism or socialism or any kind of "post-capitalism" be any more environmentally friendly and socially beneficial than capitalism?  And maybe more basically - in order to understand your views - how do you define capitalism?

    •  Capitalism: (5+ / 0-)

      A system in which exploitation is derived from the appropriation of a surplus from wage labor.  I'm expecting the end to come through great acts of what Marx called "primitive accumulation."

      "You must do what you feel is right, of course." -- Obi-Wan Kenobi, in Episode IV

      by Cassiodorus on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:34:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  one way or another... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cowgirl, rossl

      ... we're going to end up with ecological sustainability.

      Either we'll have it by dealing with overpopulation and overconsumption voluntarily, or we'll have it when Ma Nature does the job for us with dispassionate ferocity including a dieoff of about 60% of the current human population.  

      The theocratic feudalists are quite content to bring about another Dark Age, where they maintain themselves in oases of privilege, while the vast mass of humanity "struggles and sinks in a morass."  (H.G. Wells)  This they can do whether sustainability comes in the form of birth control pills or pandemics of plague.  

      At some point we really must recognize that we are engaged in a struggle for our own survival, a zero-sum game in which it's either the feudal lords or us, but not both.  

    •  I'd define capitalism in terms of power ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cowgirl, rossl

      It describes a society divided into two or more classes, one of which controls access to capital and is able to use this control to dominate and exploit the rest of the society.

      As for environmental implications, I think this create a situation where:

      1. The capitalist class is relatively well-insulated from the effects of environmental disaster, while the other classes are pushed into even more precarious positions.
      1. The capitalist class is able to organize itself on a large scale, but, if it survives as an institution, that implies the other classes are unable to organize themselves on the same scale, e.g. due to restrictions on labor organizing, due to borders, due to assassinations, etc.
      1. At present, capitalism is moving from physical property to intellectual property; it retains its other focus on political power. It's clear that IP stifles innovation and makes it harder to implement new technologies to reduce pollution. Subsidies, e.g. to highway-building or oil extraction also reinforce polluting technologies.
      1. Overproduction.
      1. Advertising.

      Remember Duanna Johnson. Tortured by the Memphis PD for being black and trans. Killed by the Memphis PD for speaking up.

      by Marja E on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 04:10:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And so how do you see capitalism -- (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rossl

        as different from feudalism?

        "You must do what you feel is right, of course." -- Obi-Wan Kenobi, in Episode IV

        by Cassiodorus on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 04:13:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not very ... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cassiodorus, rossl

          In some ways, it is the direct continuation of feudalism, the enclosure movement, and mercantilism. However, feudalism was characterized by the division between the landlords and the merchants; in addition, feudalism could include serfdom, and late feudalism/early capitalism in Britain included the laws of settlement.

          Remember Duanna Johnson. Tortured by the Memphis PD for being black and trans. Killed by the Memphis PD for speaking up.

          by Marja E on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 04:26:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  What do I want to do? (4+ / 0-)

    Fight the power.

    I can think of several things, but even the mass protests wouldn't be legal.  Effective protests never are.

    Words will always retain their power -V

    by studentofhistory on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:22:39 PM PDT

  •  The problem has its roots in "Wealth Creation" (7+ / 0-)

    as explained by
    David Korten: "Agenda for a New Economy:
    From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth"

    DAVID KORTEN: Yeah. This is part of understanding the current Wall Street system, which is built around an illusion, the illusion that money is wealth, which then translates into the idea that people who are creating--or who are making money are in fact creating wealth. And what Wall Street has become extremely expert at is creating money out of nothing through financial bubbles, through pyramiding lending to create fictitious assets that become collateral for more bank lending, and then combining that with the predatory aspects of usurious lending and deceptive lending and the use of credit cards as a substitute for a living wage--all the games that Wall Street is playing.

    And it’s actually based on a philosophy that says we don’t need to produce anything as a country, if we can—you know, if we can do all this financial innovation that allows us to create financial assets without producing anything of real value. I mean, it’s absolutely insane. And yet, it is the--it’s been the foundation of our economic policy in this country for decades now.

    Democracy Now! Transcript and Video

    for more

    "From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth" starts with Framing Our Values
    by jamess -- Feb 20, 2009

    The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

    by jamess on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:28:16 PM PDT

  •  The illusion of two partes (5+ / 0-)

    The two parties are captured by the same establishment and the same lexicon.  Both parties try to present proposals for "economic growth."  Exactly why do we want the economy to continue to grow?  I know it is an unpopular opinion, but I don't see what was wrong with the recession.  It was needed to burst a bubble manufactured by the Fed.  Neither party has the guts to say that though.  

  •  Pessimist are seriously out in force today. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lockewasright

    It seems odd that just when Democrats have achieved their greatest successes in decades that all of these diaries appear, especially today, saying that the sky is falling.

    We're moving in the right direction.  We're not where we want to be, but we won't get there by attacking those who have started to turn things around and talking about success as failure.

    OK, we can get back to work, but once in a while it's fine to feel good about the way things are turning around.

    "Trust only those who doubt" Lu Xun

    by LookingUp on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:35:56 PM PDT

    •  Uh-huh. (6+ / 0-)

      We're moving in the right direction.

      What sort of evidence do you have for this assertion?  "Job growth?"  It was a drop in the bucket compared to what's been lost, and about a third of it was Census hiring.

      "You must do what you feel is right, of course." -- Obi-Wan Kenobi, in Episode IV

      by Cassiodorus on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:39:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  and how did it compare to what preceded it? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cassiodorus, LookingUp

        Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free. It's dizzy with possibility.

        by lockewasright on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:43:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh I'm sure it was good enough -- (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          G2geek, MrJayTee, rossl

          to allow the Democratic Party to promote "lesser of two evils voting" -- the problem with such voting strategies, however, is that they do not allow voters to make real demands upon the political class.  Thirty years of "lesser of two evils" voting has put us in the situation I've described in this diary, here.

          "You must do what you feel is right, of course." -- Obi-Wan Kenobi, in Episode IV

          by Cassiodorus on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:47:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It was movement in the right direction is (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            LookingUp

            what it was.  It was smaller than we'd like, but as an arithmetic and quantifiable fact it was movement and it was in the direction we'd like.

            Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free. It's dizzy with possibility.

            by lockewasright on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:50:00 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You must have missed my diary. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rossl

              It's that big mess of words up there.  Check it out!

              "You must do what you feel is right, of course." -- Obi-Wan Kenobi, in Episode IV

              by Cassiodorus on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:54:23 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You must have missed reality. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                LookingUp

                You asked for what evidence there was that things were moving in the right direction in a clear attempt to never acknowledge anything good that stands in the way of your insistence that all is horrible.

                I pointed to the evidence.

                You switched to snark.

                Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free. It's dizzy with possibility.

                by lockewasright on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:59:28 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I looked carefully -- (0+ / 0-)

                  would you be willing to provide a link to that comment of yours where you:

                  I pointed to the evidence.

                  ?

                  "You must do what you feel is right, of course." -- Obi-Wan Kenobi, in Episode IV

                  by Cassiodorus on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 04:01:22 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Ok, let's revue. How did last months job (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Dauphin, LookingUp

                    numbers compare to the ones that preceded them?

                    Here's the part were essentially say: Doesn't count because it didn't instantaneously end all unemployment in this hemisphere.

                    Then I point out that it is an arithmetic fact that things did move and in the right direction.

                    Remember that part?  It was like 2 inches above the last reply you made to me.

                    Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free. It's dizzy with possibility.

                    by lockewasright on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 04:04:46 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I think you two might have different (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      lockewasright

                      ideas of the right direction.

                      •  I am of the belief that creating rather than (0+ / 0-)

                        losing jobs is the right direction.  Sure there is a magnitude problem to address, but +163,000 beats -any quantity.

                        Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free. It's dizzy with possibility.

                        by lockewasright on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 04:08:42 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I don't know if Cassiodorus, and of course (0+ / 0-)

                          I don't want to speak for him, but this is how I understand it, is taking that short term of a view.  Creating jobs may be good for the people that get those jobs, but it's not necessarily moving society in a direction that is good.

                          •  That wouldn't be my response. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            rossl

                            Rossl, please do look at my post below titled "link."  I am being asked to cheer a statistic of job "growth" which doesn't keep pace with the numbers of people who are entering the job market.

                            "You must do what you feel is right, of course." -- Obi-Wan Kenobi, in Episode IV

                            by Cassiodorus on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 04:58:36 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I phrased that badly (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Cassiodorus

                            I shouldn't have mentioned your name.

                            The jobs are good for the people who get them.  However, not only is it completely insufficient (as you seem to be saying), but it's not really a sign that society as a whole is moving in a positive direction.  It's just a sign that a few less people are suffering as much as they were.

                          •  Yes! (nmi) (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            rossl

                            "You must do what you feel is right, of course." -- Obi-Wan Kenobi, in Episode IV

                            by Cassiodorus on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 06:04:20 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                    •  If you can't debate (0+ / 0-)

                      Doesn't count because it didn't instantaneously end all unemployment in this hemisphere.

                      without misrepresenting what I said, then there really isn't much of a point in my continued participation, is there?

                      What did I actually say?  I might add that the fundamentals of the economy are still bad, and that the growth in jobs failed to outstrip population growth.

                      "You must do what you feel is right, of course." -- Obi-Wan Kenobi, in Episode IV

                      by Cassiodorus on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 04:08:35 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

  •  Technological singularity (0+ / 0-)

    By the way, I wonder how some of you people who are unclear about supporting economic growth feel about the concept of technological singularity. Of course if you have not heard of this concept it might take some reading to make sense of.

  •  And tell us how to achieve all these goals (0+ / 0-)

    before November with the Congress we have now.  Or with a possible Republican majority after November.  We'd all love to know.  

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 04:21:50 PM PDT

    •  You, like the corporations -- (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MrJayTee, rossl, Othniel Kenaz

      appear to be concerned mainly with the next term report.

      Since 30 years of "lesser of two evils" voting strategies give us the the government we have today, it is unrealistic to expect things to turn around immediately.  Rather, both broader strategy and immediate tactics must focus upon the long run.

      "You must do what you feel is right, of course." -- Obi-Wan Kenobi, in Episode IV

      by Cassiodorus on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 04:29:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm merely looking for the HOW (0+ / 0-)

        It's pointless to make arguments without knowing how to affect what you want.  You have this Congress.  535 individual people each with a different viewpoint and attitude.  We know generally their motivations and how they vote on certain issues.  so again, HOW is this effected?

        "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

        by zenbassoon on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 04:35:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Howard Zinn: (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cassiodorus, MrJayTee

          You can never predict how something will take place... There's no way of predicting how a movement develops.  All you can do, really, you do your part, you do whatever you can, you organize with other people, you... You try to get some, some kind of change, and if enough people do enough things, even if they're little things, they will add up.  Because that's what happens in movements...just millions of people doing small things which they cannot predict...its results.

          My two cents.  FWIW, I mostly agree with Cassiodorus.

          http://www.dailykos.com/...

      •  And does this long view include periods (0+ / 0-)

        of Republican domination which will destroy even the little we have done so far?  The "elect the other guy to punish bad Democrats" argument holds NO water with me.

        "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

        by zenbassoon on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 04:36:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting and scary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassiodorus, rossl, Only Needs a Beat

    If I understand this, in the end the money elites are just as screwed as the rest of us.  In a shrinking economy they can't long extend the benefits of limited access to their buddies because that access becomes increasing limited and they devolve into cannibalizing each other in order to sustain increasingly unsustainable lifestyles.

    At some point the system simply breaks and anything other than portable wealth and barter simply evaporates in the "poof!" of a final bubble collapsing.  Minus their gated communities and power purchased through wealth, they get to face us one-on-one without anything to protect them.  That will be an ugly scene.

    What happens if we do break the oil bottleneck?  Do we have another run of relative prosperity until we hit the fusion bottleneck or the wind bottleneck or the solar bottleneck?  Or do we find ourselves bottlenecked instead by water, or copper, or iron, or food?

    At some point we have to realize that having as many kids as we'd like is not a sustainable practice.  How do we ration a commodity such as the privilege of passing on our genes?  Is it dog-eat-dog, meritocracy, lottery, economic access, or some other scheme by which those in power try and dole out favor and punish opponents?

    You have my attention.  However, the scope of the problem is enough to terrify a simple person into inaction.  Where is the roadmap?

    •  Here I don't expect readers to agree. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DaveinBremerton, rossl

      But I certainly do appreciate the fact that you agreed with much of what I was saying!

      Here's a further conundrum: why would you want to have kids at all if you knew you were going to have to spend the rest of your waking life apologizing to them for the crappy world you birthed them into?

      Now I'm not trying to prejudge, or anything -- we all have our own reasons -- but it seems like a bad deal to me.

      "You must do what you feel is right, of course." -- Obi-Wan Kenobi, in Episode IV

      by Cassiodorus on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 04:34:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've been following this since about 2000 (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cassiodorus

        When I retired from the military I sailed right into a cushy federal job in Arkansas, and my wife had a really good job at a local factory.  However, I did not want to see my kids stuck in the Deep South if shit really hit the fan in the manner that economics suggests it might.

        So I took the first decent job in Washington State that allowed me to get my family the Hell out of what I perceived as harm's way.  My wife thought I was a loony...and then the teabagger crap started.  It isn't the sort of vindication I wanted, but I'm glad I moved.

        I don't totally agree with you.  I agree that your scenario is one possible--even likely--outcome.  However, I also believe the world is a self-regulating system.  Whether it be war, disease, or enlightenment, humans will find a way to regulate our numbers.  The root of the problem is too many of us, not enough resources.  Once we regulate our population, the system recovers.

        As for Ponzi Scheme economies, I think there still has to be some basis in real goods produced by real labor or there is simply no wool to be fleeced.  As for the sheep, they become increasingly wary of the shearer and it becomes just too damned hard to make a dishonest buck.  The eventual downfall of the elites is a world of increasingly small business ventures, increasingly slim thieving opportunities, and increasingly canny sheep.

        If I simply decide not to own anything I don't need, if I refuse to engage in credit spending, I do the one thing the system of the elites cannot survive.  I can hunker down like that for one Hell of a long time.  I bet I can sustain that a lot longer than the guy who thinks he needs a 200 ft. yacht can sustain his lifestyle.

      •  In regards to kids... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cassiodorus

        ...go someplace where the economy persistently sucks and you still see families trying their best to eke out an existence.  If they are fortunate enough to live somewhere free of the lunacies of religious or ethnic strife, they usually do okay.  It isn't a lifestyle that meets our impossible standard of 1960's America, but they do okay.

        I fear for the world my kids will have to navigate as adults, but I spend a lot of time talking to them about this crap because I want them going out into the world armed with knowledge.  All I can do right now is hope that Dad's incessant harping about the evils of credit spending will instill frugality, which I think is a key to surviving economic upheaval.  I'm prepared for them to live with me for a very long time into their adulthood if that is what it takes for them to gain a permanent footing in the world.  It's about all I can do for them.

  •  "our adherence to progressive ideology " (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Othniel Kenaz

    Speak for yourself.

  •  Here's what I want from my party (0+ / 0-)
    1. Roll back the Bush tax Cuts
    1.  Regulate Wall Street
    1. Public Option
    1. Re-invest in and reinvigorate public education
    1. An industrial policy
    1. Marriage Equality
    1.   Promote new energy policy

    I think that covers the major domestic political concerns I have.  If Obama were to make significant progress on these 5 in the next two years, I would be a very happy camper.

  •  I don't see how its proven that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassiodorus

    It is not, and will not be possible for the US to have an actual good economy for any length of time, or even at all (as opposed to a mediocre economy) until the oil bottleneck is broken.

    In fact, I think it quite possible to have a good economy despite that and while transition even if slowly.

    Secondly,

    The mainstream intelligentsia, as I've pointed out above, have not envisioned post-capitalism.  Instead, they long for the good old days of the 1950s and 1960s, when capitalism appeared to have a soul.

    I don't think the mainstream intelligentsia as we know it today cares about capitalism having a soul, they like to pretend it does, but they don't long for the good old days rather they're quite content with things as they are, as long as they're the winners and everyone else, too bad for them, are the losers.

    Other than that, you make many fine points, and even where I don't fully agree, you have a good presentation and analysis of the problems and potential solutions.

    The Great Recession is a happy happy joy joy time to drop your obsolete skills and train for new ones.

    by doinaheckuvanutjob on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 05:04:36 PM PDT

    •  Thanks -- (0+ / 0-)

      What I meant, in quoting Welsh, is that there won't be a good economy ceteris paribus ("all things remaining the same") unless the oil bottleneck is broken.

      "You must do what you feel is right, of course." -- Obi-Wan Kenobi, in Episode IV

      by Cassiodorus on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 06:15:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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