Neoliberal News of the Day – Oct. 22nd, 2014

by Scott Creighton

- A brief note about pervasive influence peddling and the rebranding of neoliberalism -

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The term “neoliberalism” is popping up all over the place as of late. People are starting to “get it” so of course, it’s important to those committed to it’s ultimate success and acceptance, that folks who are aware of what’s going on are carefully led back to the warm embrace of fascism lite (neoliberalism) under the guise that it is somehow an alternative to the globalist neoliberal doctrine that is wrecking the entire world as we speak. We are being asked to become beggars to our own demise and some of us are being asked to help promote this ideological poison without question. That’s simply not going to happen. Not here anyway. ( this is for you John J. ;) )

“In the 1960s, usage of the term “neoliberal” heavily declined. When the term was reintroduced in the 1980s in connection with Augusto Pinochet’s economic reforms in Chile, the usage of the term had shifted. It had not only become a term with negative connotations employed principally by critics of market reform, but it also had shifted in meaning from a moderate form of liberalism to a more radical and laissez-faire capitalist set of ideas. Scholars now tended to associate it with the theories of economists Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman.”

You might remember the last comment left by the now banned John Jasper. In it he stated that he was pulling his support of this site because all I was doing was “bellyaching” and not offering up an alternative to the globalist neoliberal assault that is currently underway. He suggested I promote the “libertarian principles and the Austrian School of Economics” which, as you can see from above, are the economic principles of Friedrich Hayek (of the London School of Economics and the University of Chicago (birthplace of modern neoliberalism)), also known as “neoliberalism”

“If anyone would like to actually learn something about anarcho-capitalist/libertarian principles and the Austrian School of Economics, there’s plenty available at …” John Influence Peddler Jasper

Talk about asking us to be beggars to our own demise. Thus is the “alternative” offered up by the likes of Alex Jones, Ron Paul, Alan GreenspanMilton Friedman and Bill Clinton. Hayek went to the University of Chicago in 1950. The “Chicago Boys” project, the “Chile Project”, a group of neoliberal economists put together to design a purely neoliberal economic system, started in 1955.

“The training program was the result of a “Chile Project” organized in the 1950s by the U.S. State Department, through the Point Four program, the first US program for international economic development. It was funded by the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation aimed at influencing Chilean economic thinking”

Chicago boys generally advocated widespread deregulation, privatization, and other free market policies for closely controlled economies. They rose to fame as leaders of the early reforms initiated in Chile during the rule of General Augusto Pinochet.”

It should also be noted that Mr. Influence Peddler John Jasper was recommending we all read the Mises website, as in Ludwig von Mises. He is of the Austrian School of Economics. Wrote a book called Liberalism in 1927 during the rise of fascism.

“At one time, Mises praised the work of philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand and Rand’s view of Mises was generally favorable…”

“Von Mises’ 1927 book Liberalism has been largely ignored, except for its comments on fascism. Marxists Herbert Marcuse and Perry Anderson, as well as German writer Claus-Dieter Krohn, criticized Mises for writing approvingly of Italian fascism, especially for its suppression of leftist elements...[27] More recently economist J. Bradford DeLong[28] and sociologist Richard Seymour,[29] repeated the criticism. Mises wrote in the book:[30]

It cannot be denied that Fascism and similar movements aiming at the establishment of dictatorships are full of the best intentions and that their intervention has, for the moment, saved European civilization. The merit that Fascism has thereby won for itself will live on eternally in history. But though its policy has brought salvation for the moment, it is not of the kind which could promise continued success. Fascism was an emergency makeshift. To view it as something more would be a fatal error”

Yeah, that’s what John Jasper thought I should be promoting as an alternative to neoliberal fascist globalization… fascism lite or “Libertarianism’ for short.

For a more current example of how the Austrian School has influenced the world we live in…

“In February 1975, Margaret Thatcher was elected leader of the British Conservative Party. The Institute of Economic Affairs arranged a meeting between Hayek and Thatcher in London soon after.[48] During Thatcher’s only visit to the Conservative Research Department in the summer of 1975, a speaker had prepared a paper on why the “middle way” was the pragmatic path the Conservative Party should take, avoiding the extremes of left and right. Before he had finished, Thatcher “reached into her briefcase and took out a book. It was Hayek’s The Constitution of Liberty. Interrupting our pragmatist, she held the book up for all of us to see. ‘This’, she said sternly, ‘is what we believe’, and banged Hayek down on the table

Congrats John Jasper. You tried your best to sway the readers of this site back into the fold of neoliberal ideology, the ideology of Augusto Pinochet and Margret Thatcher… but you failed. You gave it a shot… nice try. Better luck at a lesser site…. it should also be noted that Mr. Jasper hails from… you guessed it… the UK.

John is an example of what some would call “cognitive infiltration”. That’s when someone comes on sites like this one to gently steer dissidents back to the fold, in this case, the acceptance of “libertarianism” as an alternative to neoliberalism. They are effectively the same thing.

- Now, on to the Neoliberal News of the Day -

Henry Giroux on the Rise of Neoliberalism – “We’re talking about an ideology marked by the selling off of public goods to private interests; the attack on social provisions; the rise of the corporate state organized around privatization, free trade, and deregulation; the celebration of self interests over social needs; the celebration of profit-making as the essence of democracy coupled with the utterly reductionist notion that consumption is the only applicable form of citizenship. But even more than that, it upholds the notion that the market serves as a model for structuring all social relations: not just the economy, but the governing of all of social life.”

Neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us – “An economic system that rewards psychopathic personality traits has changed our ethics and our personalities”

Hong Kong’s Fight Against Neoliberalism – “But regardless of what the BBC wants the world to believe, Occupy Central isn’t so much a fight for democracy as a fight for social justice.”

 Lad culture thrives in our neoliberal universities – “Laddism is at home in the callous environment of market-driven higher education, argues, Alison Phipps, who offers advice to universities on how to root it out”

The poverty of neoliberal economics - “Paul Verhaeghe, senior professor of clinical psychology and psychoanalysis at Ghent University in Belgium, has argued in a recently published essay that neoliberal economics brings out the worst in human beings. He finds that thirty years of neoliberalism, and the privatisation and free-market misery that comes with it, have taken their toll on people’s values and even their personalities.”

There Are 870,000 Slaves in Modern-Day America – “If this sounds like some hellish turn-of-the-century sweatshop, it is close. But this is today’s reality for hundreds of thousands of American prisoners, who work backbreaking full-time jobs for shockingly low pay. Half of the 1.6 million Americans currently serving time do this kind of “institutional maintenance,” and the median wage they receive is between 20 and 31 cents an hour. Some states, like Texas and Georgia, offer no compensation at all.”

Obama’s Latest Speech About The Economic “Recovery” Results In Mass Audience Exodus – “Yesterday, Obama made a rare campaign trail appearance in Maryland where he spoke in support of Democratic candidate for governor, Anthony Brown, proceeded with his usual bulletin of reading fabricated economic data off the teleprompter in which he highlighted improvements in US unemployment (if not the 46.5 million people on foodstamps or the 93 million Americans out of the labor force), a rebounding housing market (just as the bouncing dead cat is once again dead), the benefits of health insurance (if no mention of the disaster for small businesses that Obamacare now definitively is) a resurgent manufacturing sector (just don’t look at this chart) even if he did point out the unfairness of families having “two folks working”, and… a mass audience exodus followed.

The Shell Game of Contingent Employment – “The rise to power of Ronald Reagan in the United States and Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom ushered in a new era of economic policy. Minimal corporate taxation, privatization of public goods, and the deregulation of businesses became the dominant policies promoted for economic growth. The attacks against organized labor, progressive organizations, and community groups that opposed the new regime were brutal. The percentage of workers in unions plummeted.”

Census report: Half of Americans poor or near poor – “Forty-seven percent of Americans have incomes under twice the official poverty rate, making half of the country either poor or near-poor, according to figures released last week by the Census Bureau.”

Shocking New Report: Superrich Have Grabbed Half the World’s Assets – “There have been moments in history when things were not so lopsided. During the post-war period, inequality was contained because governments made sure their rich didn’t accumulate at such alarming rates by doing things like taxing their estates at a high rate. At the same time, they created policies to lift the incomes of the less well-off and allow them to have some basic security. But that’s an exception in history. Most of the time, this kind of intervention did not happen, and so the rich kept gobbling more and accumulating more power to keep it that way until one of two things happened — a revolution or some kind of catastrophe or disruptive event, like a war, shook things up.”

Mexico’s disappeared students – “It is nearly four weeks since police in the town of Iguala in Mexico’s impoverished southern state of Guerrero violently attacked a group of some 80 young student teachers leaving at least six dead, 17 wounded and 43 “disappeared.”… Mexico is the most unequal of the 34 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), with the richest 10 percent of the population having an average income almost 30 times as high as the bottom 10 percent… Notably silent on the Iguala massacre is the Obama administration in Washington. US imperialism has major interests in Mexico, which is the United States’ third-largest trading partner… The massacre has also underscored the rising inequality and savage violence that have gone hand in hand with Mexico’s free market “reforms.

H/T Tom K. – Freedom Rider: Privatized Ebola – an example of how privatization does not in any way serve the interests of the general public – “The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation may appear to be a savior when it provides $300 million to the WHO budget, but those dollars come with strings attached. WHO director general Dr. Margaret Chan admitted as much when she said, “My budget [is] highly earmarked, so it is driven by what I call donor interests.” Instead of being on the front line when a communicable disease crisis appears, it spends its time administering what Gates and his team have determined is best.”

- more to follow later this morning -

BRICS Against Washington Consensus

by Pepe Escobar, from Asia Times

The headline news is that this Tuesday in Fortaleza, northeast Brazil, the BRICS group of emerging powers (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) fights the (Neoliberal) World (Dis)Order via a new development bank and a reserve fund set up to offset financial crises.

The devil, of course, is in the details of how they’ll do it.

It’s been a long and winding road since Yekaterinburg in 2009, at their first summit, up to the BRICS’s long-awaited counterpunch against the Bretton Woods consensus – the IMF and the World Bank – as well as the Japan-dominated (but largely responding to US priorities) Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The BRICS Development Bank – with an initial US$50 billion in capital – will be not only BRICS-oriented, but invest in infrastructure projects and sustainable development on a global scale. The model is the Brazilian BNDES, which supports Brazilian companies investing across Latin America. In a few years, it will reach a financing capacity of up to $350 billion. With extra funding especially from Beijing and Moscow, the new institution could leave the World Bank in the dust. Compare access to real capital savings to US government’s printed green paper with no collateral.

Continue reading

Who In Ukraine Will Benefit From An IMF Bailout?

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from Naked Capitalism

HUDSON: The objective of IMF loans is to deindustrialize the economy. It is to force the economy–meaning the government when you say the economy–the government has to pay the IMF loan by privatizing whatever remains in the public domain. The Westerners want to buy the Ukrainian farmland. They want to buy the public utilities. They want to buy the roads. They want to buy the ports. And all of this is going to be sold at a very low price to the Westerners, and the price that the Westerners pay will be turned over to the Ukrainian government, that then will turn it back to the Ukraine. So whatever the West gives Ukraine will immediately be taken back.

Sommers: The problem with this idea that somehow by joining the E.U. everything is going to be good for the people of Ukraine is that what the Ukrainians are essentially seeing are the echoes of a social democratic past which is being euthanized in the European Union… structurally, it’s being destroyed… there are offshore gas fields just off offshore of Crimea. Exxon put in a rather substantial bid in for those. They are going to lose that.

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The US Housing Market is Still “Flat on its Back”

from Mike Whitney, CounterPunch

Get a load of this chart from DataQuick’s National Home Sales Snapshot. It’ll tell you everything need to know about housing.

As you can see, prices are flatlining or drifting lower while sales are sinking like a stone. That’s the whole ball of wax, isn’t it?

Sure, sales will increase in the spring (as they always do), but judging by the sharp dropoff in last year’s hottest markets, this could be the crappiest spring selling season since the crash.

Why?

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(Note: MSA=metropolitan statistical area)

Because prices are too high, rates are too high, “organic” demand is too weak, credit is too tight, and the pool of potential buyers has shrunk to the size of a walnut, that’s why.The banks have reduced the percentage of distressed homes (foreclosures and short sales) on the market to roughly 11 percent from 59 percent in 2009. Fewer distressed homes mean higher prices, but higher prices mean fewer sales. It’s a trade-off. The banks get their money, but the market goes to hell. That’s how it works. According to most estimates, there are roughly 4.5 million homes in some stage of foreclosure. That means that –at the present pace–we should get through this Housing Depression a few weeks before Judgment Day. But don’t hold me to that.

Did you catch this gem on Bloomberg last week? It’s about the big private equity guys exiting the market. Take a look:

“Blackstone Group LP is slowing its purchases of houses to rent amid soaring prices after a buying binge made it the biggest U.S. single-family home landlord. Blackstone’s acquisition pace has declined 70 percent from its peak last year, when the private equity firm was spending more than $100 million a week on properties, said Jonathan Gray, global head of real estate for the New York-based firm…” (Blackstone’s Home Buying Binge Ends as Prices Surge, Bloomberg)

Okay, so the speculators are getting out of housing. How’s that going to effect the market?

No one really knows yet, but it can’t be good, after all, all-cash deals amounted to nearly 50 percent of all homes sales in many of the hotter markets last year. That’s why prices went up even though the economy was still in the shitter, because the fatcats were loading up on cheap real estate. Now it looks like they’re headed for the hills. That’s NOT going to be good for sales.

Did you know that existing home sales have dropped for six months straight, dipping below trend to the same level they were at in 1998?

But how can that be, you ask, when everyone’s blabbing about the recovery? How can that be when the Fed has purchased more than $1.4 trillion in mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and rates are a measly 4.5%? How can that be prices have been climbing higher for more than a year?

[read the rest, here]

Five years of Obama’s “recovery”

by Patrick Martin, WSWS

This week marks five years since the New York Stock Exchange hit its low point at the bottom of the financial crash that erupted with the collapse of Lehman Brothers investment bank. On March 6, 2009, Dow Jones Industrial Average hit its post-collapse low of 6,443. Three days later, on March 9, 2009, the S&P 500 hit its post-collapse low of 676.

Yesterday, at the close of stock trading for the week, the Dow Jones average closed at 16,452, up a colossal 10,000 points over five years, or 154 percent. The S&P 500 stood at 1,878, rising even faster than the Dow, gaining 170 percent over five years.

These are only the most striking of a barrage of numbers reported in recent weeks, demonstrating that for the US financial aristocracy, the Crash of 2008 has been used to engineer a historic redistribution of wealth.

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Soros Praises “Ukrainian renaissance” – He’s An Apologist for Neo-Nazi Violence and Brutal Repression

by Scott Creighton

[see updates at the end of this article]

“[N]obody who has read a business magazine in the last few years can be unaware that these days there really are investors who not only move money in anticipation of a currency crisis, but actually do their best to trigger that crisis for fun and profit. These new actors on the scene do not yet have a standard name; my proposed term is ‘Soroi’.” Paul Krugman 1999

You can’t make this stuff up. You just can’t.

Billionaire speculator and vulture capitalist George Soros (family changed their name from Schwartz in 1936) has penned an Op Ed praising the outcome of the recent IMF serving color revolution in the Ukraine. For a man who famously hates anti-Semitism, it seems rather odd that he would be aligning himself with the rise of the neo-Nazi nationalist parties in the Ukraine. But then again, Soros (Schwartz) has always been more about the money than he was about his religious identity.

That’s probably because money is his religion.

Not only is Mr. Soros (chosen name means “designated successor” or “next in line” in Hungarian) busily rewriting the history of this bloody conflict in his new Op Ed, he’s actually serving as an apologist for the neo-Nazi’s brutal violence which ultimately brought down the elected government of the country and now is positioning itself to wipe out what they consider to be enemies of the true Ukrainian state; Jews and other leftists.

Continue reading

Ukraine’s Brown Revolution: Brought to you by your friends at the IMF

by Scott Creighton

Just a couple of quotes from recent articles to put all of this Ukrainian “democracy” into perspective for you.

  • Among the reasons Mr. Yanukovych turned away from signing political and trade accords with Europe in November was his unwillingness to carry out austerity measures and other reforms that the International Monetary Fund had demanded in exchange for a large assistance packageNew York Times
  • A $15 billion bailout package secured by Mr. Yanukovych from Russia in December has been suspended, and Ukraine is now hurtling toward default. New York Times
  • Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk, the leader in Parliament of the Fatherland Party and a leading contender to serve as acting prime minister, pleaded with colleagues to swiftly reach an agreement on the designation of an interim government, which is needed to formally request emergency economic assistance from the International Monetary Fund. New York Times
  • The International Monetary Fund has made clear that it will demand austerity measures and other long-stalled economic changes in exchange for any assistance package. New York Times

As I have written in the past, the color revolution currently unfolding in Thailand was also brought to you by your friends at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as was the illegal Washington backed coup in Egypt.

 

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