The great progressive Harvard economist and prolific best-selling author, John Kenneth Galbraith, wrote that “Ideas may be superior to vested interest. They are also very often the children of vested interest.” I wished he had written that assertion before I took Economic 101 at Princeton. One of the vested ideas taught as dogma then was the comparative advantage theory developed by the early 19th-century British economist, David Ricardo. He gave the example of trading Portuguese wine for British textiles with both countries coming out winners due to their superior efficiencies in producing their native products.
Consumerism, and the capitalist mentality more broadly, are equivalent to nihilism. They strip the human experience of meaning beyond what serves the market. When a culture revolves around this monetary and commercialist view of the world, it ceases to bring true fulfillment.
This last week, U.S. intelligence officials and their allies in the corporate media spread the evidence-free claim that Russia has put bounties on American troops in Afghanistan. This propaganda campaign was both an attempt to reinforce anti-Russian sentiment, and a subtle way to manufacture consent for the ongoing Afghanistan war. Which prompts one to ask: why is the empire so committed to perpetuating war? Why haven’t any of the wars it’s started since 9/11 been ended, and why does it evidently have every intention of making sure they don’t end?
Updated: July 12, 2020
Matt Taibbi concluded that the 2008 Wall Street bailout had “built a banking system that discriminates against community banks, makes Too Big to Fail banks even Too Bigger to Failier, increases risk, discourages sound business lending and punishes savings by making it even easier and more profitable to chase high-yield investments than to compete for small depositors.” In this post-crash environment, the largest financial institutions gained more of a hegemonic grip than ever, with the five biggest banks having come to own almost half the industry by 2015.
Underneath the bluster of a Trump administration that still acts like the United States is the world hegemon, the ruling class is working to pragmatically respond to the loss of America’s status as a dominant power. In 2017 the Pentagon put out a report that admitted American global influence is rapidly declining, and now that the U.S. is sure to soon lose its superpower status, the corporatocracy has to address this issue.
“And they launch military spending programs that have transformed the United States into a permanent war economy. Rather than a laissez-faire government that does little, we have a corporate state that plays an increasingly active role in sustaining the process of capital accumulation for big corporations.” — Michael Parenti
The political hypocrisy of crony capitalism – touting market capitalism while making taxpayers fund corporate welfare – is a rare and unfortunate case of bipartisan consensus. Republicans openly embrace it, but many Democrats also fall prey to government-guaranteed corporate capitalism when they believe it to be politically expedient.
In 2006 a book was published called Losing Our Democracy by civic leader, Mark Green. His 21st book, it was the usual Mark Green brand of meticulous research with memorable examples. One would have thought such an important subject would have received wide coverage and circulation. In fact, it was almost completely ignored by reviewers and the media interviewers. In 2017, the danger of having the door shut on the practice of democracy by its citizens is more important than at any other time in recent history.
The following is the second of a three-part series exclusive for Occupy.com.
How have your personal finances been since the global economic crisis began in 2008? Are you in debt? Unemployed? Struggling? Are you below the poverty line? Has your standard of living stagnated – or declined? Turns out, it doesn’t matter how the population is doing, because, we are told, we are in an “economic recovery,” or haven’t you heard?
The following is the first of a three-part series exclusive for Occupy.com.
Part 1: Meet the Global Corporate “Supra-Government”
We live in a corporate culture, where most of us have worked or currently work for corporations, we spend our money at corporate venues, on corporate products, watch corporately-owned television shows and movies, listen to corporate-sponsored music; our modes of transportation, communication and recreation are corporately influenced or produced; Continue reading
In the late Douglas Adams’ masterpiece of wit, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything is…42.
Philosophers whose ancestors built the gargantuan computer Deep Thought to calculate an answer to that Ultimate Question were mortified upon learning that their computer spent 7.5 million years to come up with, 42. Deep Thought’s response was along the lines of: How do you expect to understand the answer, when you don’t understand the question?
In Get Up, Stand Up—Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, And Battling The Corporate Elite, (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2011) Bruce E. Levine, a PhD clinical psychologist, doesn’t come anywhere near to living up to the over-blown, and pompous title of his well written and readable book. To Levine’s credit he gives an accurate assessment of Barack Obama before he was elected and his record which doesn’t allow for the alleged ‘Progressives’ to bemoan the fact they were lied to by now President in Corporate America, Obama.
“WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- World Bank President Robert Zoellick Thursday said he hopes the institution will have a role rebuilding Libya as it emerges from current unrest.
Zoellick at a panel discussion noted the bank’s early role in the reconstruction of France, Japan and other nations after World War II.
“Reconstruction now means (Ivory Coast), it means southern Sudan, it means Liberia, it means Sri Lanka, I hope it will mean Libya,” Zoellick said.