Think, Or Sink.



Paul Krugman, in "Paranoia Strikes Deep (New York Times, Nov. 8), feels that the Californian global failure could propagate to the rest of the USA (part of his work in reproduced in the Annex below).

California used to be America’s America. California used to be the dream, the world’s dream, it’s turning into a nightmare, the world’s nightmare, where the hyper rich builds hyper yachts, and orders the government around to pay lower taxes, while the rest of society falls into a bottomless pothole.

When California elected one more republican disaster governor, the first, and defining move of that actor was to terminally gut California’s fiscal structure by removing a crucial tax on automobiles. As it turned out, that fiscal potholes was exactly big enough to have California sink into it in 2009. But never mind: the terminator-governor owned two dozen giant trucks for his own personal entertainment. Entertaining celebrities is big business in California. meanwhile, the gov and his republican cohorts gutted the budget of the University of California (whose Berkeley campus is one of the top three in the world, according to Shanghai).

California used to have the best school system in the USA, at a time when the USA had the top school system in the world. Now California has the worst school system in the USA, and the school system of the USA is in free fall. Some polls say that most Americans think that they used to share their lives with dinosaurs, and it sure increasingly looks that way.

How did California sink? Taxes (not enough). Expenses (too much of the extravagant, useless, feel-good, long term stupid type). I claim that the common cause of this has been the failure of the thinking process. Too much new Age, not enough Think Age.

Krugman does not analyze the causality behind the Californian mental collapse. That we will presently evoke.

Too many years were spent playing up the irrational side. They have led to poor schools, and an increasing inability to think enough to keep society on an optimal trajectory. Once that will is gone, where does the republic go? What holds it up?

The noblest and more characteristic function of human beings is thinking, and this rests on the capability and inclination to make logical arguments. But guess what? "To argue" is a sin in the USA, or at least so say the usage which is commonly made these days of the American language, something used all the time by Americans. it is as if, every day, Americans said to themselves, and others, that is bad to think.

So it is time to go back to the essentials, the exact opposite of what was instilled in recent decades. Those are taught at the age of two. Lesson number one at age two ought to be: thinking is good, and it rests on the capability of making cogent arguments.

The present government of the USA, went all out to save its "friends". Semantics matter; "friends" was the term used by Obama speaking of his self described "friends" Jamie Dimon, or Warren Buffet. So the government of the USA went all out to save its friends. The government did not bother to go through "Congress", the national assembly. The government of the USA saved the banksters, by throwing to them all the capital that could be found. Thus, there was not much more capital that could be borrowed, and the "stimulus", the capital to save the economy, was the object of a lengthy national debate, and came out much smaller. This enormous capital offered to banksters, as the rest of the economy was deprived of it is now paid at the cost of considerable unemployment.

In a way, feeding the most corrupt and incompetent bankers ever seen, and, so doing, starving the general economy was a sort of insanity of the leadership. This lamentable example, from the Federal government itself, does not help. Limbaugh or Beck, two showmen of the right, are not in power. Obama and his self described "friend", Jamie Dimon (Daemon?) are. And they have sunk the economy, forgetting that is the branch they sit on. how rational is that?

When California started to go down, Californians did not think that the abysmal decisions they were taking mattered, because, and they still think this, California could not, cannot go down.

So what to do? Try to explain to Americans what is happening to their country, and their minds. it is not easy: the hubris is considerable: the latest batch of Nobel Prizes, most of them "Americans" (born overseas, attracted by money).

Meanwhile, Europe has got to lead, in the realm of deep ideas, and correct emotions. After all, with its 18 trillion (real) dollar GDP, the European Union does not have to take orders from Washington, its wasting characteristics, and its decaying economy. It is ironical that France’s and Germany’s conservative governments are pursuing genuinely social policies, much more to the left, and much more to the right (in a good way) than the policies of the USA. It is also ironical that, although the preceding leadership of the USA violated international law (by using torture by ordering it from the top, something the Nazis never dare to do), it is the French leadership which is on trial, by French justice, for reasons American justice could never see (because American politicians are given immunity by their successors, one of the rare American traditions still in force).


Patrice Ayme


Annex. KRUGMAN’S FEAR OF CALIFORNIA DISEASE: "If the G.O.P. essentially shrinks down to a rump party across America, the country could become ungovernable in the midst of a continuing economic disaster… with the rise of Ronald Reagan: Republican politicians began to win elections in part by catering to the passions of the angry right.

Until recently, however, that catering mostly took the form of empty symbolism. Once elections were won, the issues that fired up the base almost always took a back seat to the economic concerns of the elite. Thus in 2004 George W. Bush ran on antiterrorism and “values,” only to announce, as soon as the election was behind him, that his first priority was changing Social Security.

But something snapped last year. Conservatives had long believed that history was on their side[…] After the Democratic sweep, however, extremists could no longer be fobbed off with promises of future glory.

In fact, the party of Limbaugh and Beck could well make major gains in the midterm elections […] they feed the base’s frenzy instead of trying to curb or channel it[…] So all the old restraints are gone. The Obama administration’s job-creation efforts have fallen short, so that unemployment is likely to stay disastrously high through next year and beyond. The banker-friendly bailout of Wall Street has angered voters, and might even let Republicans claim the mantle of economic populism. Conservatives may not have better ideas, but voters might support them out of sheer frustration… what has already happened in California could happen at the national level. In California, the G.O.P. has essentially shrunk down to a rump party with no interest in actually governing — but that rump remains big enough to prevent anyone else from dealing with the state’s fiscal crisis. If this happens to America as a whole, as it all too easily could, the country could become effectively ungovernable in the midst of an ongoing economic disaster.

The point is that the takeover of the Republican Party by the irrational right is no laughing matter. Something unprecedented is happening here — and it’s very bad for America."


And bad for the planet, because what is bad for America, is bad for the planet.


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One Response to “Think, Or Sink.”

  1. JMG Says:


    “…The great losers of the Zero Interest Rate Policy of the USA are the American savers, and the great winners are the usual suspects, the American gentlemen robbers, and their big banks and investment dens, which can borrow at 0% and then leverage themselves….”

    Quite correct and a reference to the carry trade (formerly in Japanese Yen, now in U.S. dollars). ‘Probably responsible for a good deal of the “hot money” that occasions financial dislocations when the markets suddenly stop working according to the quants’ mathematical models. When the highly leveraged money (liquidity) is suddenly withdrawn there is a ripple effect. Witness the Russian financial crisis that triggered the meltdown of Long Term Capital Management, etc.


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