Dukes Of Knowledge

 

PLUTOCRATS TEACH PLUTO, REAL MEN FIGHT PLUTO.

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Abstract: Hanging around plutocrats is not educational in the best way. Instead the president of the USA should have some of his minions suggest to raise revenues to feed the civilization he pretends to defend. 27 countries of the EU have a VAT by law for excellent reasons having to do with the philosophical nature of civilization.

Speaking of which, as Saif al Islam Al Gaddafi himself points out: "We are not a mouse". Indeed, plutocrats are no mice. Thus one should roll out the big guns, and fire them on plutocrats, in the name of education.

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IS SHE HAS WEALTH, SHE HAS GOT TO BE GOOD:

So here we have President Barack Obama frolicking with Melinda Gates. It beats sounding decisive about Libya. Now, of course, Obama has to do politics with the country he has, and not the country he wished he had. But precisely, that is why the Libya tergiversations look so bad. Americans don’t know what to do. A thing they don’t need is the father of nation who looks confused too.

Who is Melinda Gates? Well, the wife of Bill Gates, the well known computer programmer whose father was a founder of one of the USA’s top law firms. Bill and Melinda Gates founded in turn, with dozens of billions of dollars of Bill’s money, something called the Gates Foundation (where some other Gates family members are).

Foundations are a trick allowing American plutocrats to have the advantages of plutocracy without many of its inconveniences, such as paying taxes, and looking dirty. The Foundation Law was passed simultaneously with the Income Tax Law. Plutocrats hiding in foundations are called “philanthropists”, and revered by US politicians and media.

So Obama appeared at a technology-focused Boston "public academy" the Microsoft chairman and his wife helped to start and offered it as an example for the nation. At a time of scarce resources, Obama said, the U.S. should tighten its belt wherever possible but still put more money into advancing such a "21st century curriculum" across the country.

"21st century curriculum"? Does that mean Obama is going to learn calculus, so he can become "21st century"?

"There is no better economic policy than one that produces more graduates with the skills they need to succeed," Obama said, speaking at the TechBoston Academy. "That’s why reforming education is the responsibility of every single American — every parent, every teacher, every business leader, every public official and, yes, every student."

Apparently Melinda Gates had the need to succeed: she married one of the world’s richest men. Who got so rich, mostly because of Microsoft’s monopoly power, building up on software developed by uncelebrated academics (and which IBM had farmed out to Bill).

But back to the point Obama makes that: "There is no better economic policy than one that produces more graduates with the skills they need to succeed." We just saw that a most important skill was to get married to the world’s richest man: then you get to hang around with the president. That’s what Obama just taught us. OK, let’s be game and teach Obama something in turn.

In the Roman empire, (Greek) slaves and freedmen were doing most of the teaching. They had "the skills they needed to succeed". Succeed to do what? Be better slaves? Better submissives? More irrelevant?

As Barack frolicking with Melinda himself shows, the commons are irrelevant, and so they were in the Roman empire, and that is exactly why the empire went down.

Indeed how did the Greco-Roman empire succeed? Far flung legions maintained an increasingly empty shell inside. And the shell was empty for the same reason as the USA is emptying itself. Both imperial Rome and imperial USA have the same disease: PLUTOCRATIC CHOLERA. Melinda ought to be the name of a bacteria.

But here is Obama again, flaunting in a press conference (on 3/12), that he gave the “Medal Of Freedom” to Warren Buffet, the second richest individual in the USA, and that Buffet expressed audaciously his hope about the economy of the USA. A similar audacious outburst of hope in the hyper rich would be viewed with contempt in Europe.  

After a few centuries of increasing fascism and plutocracy, the Roman empire succeeded to produce theocratic terror and the DARK AGES (officially nominated that way around 380 CE by a disconsolate intellectual with top religious, non Christian, duties: I did not make the date up; one of the instrument of propaganda has been that the middle Ages created they dark Ages. no. The middle Ages were the way out of the Dark Ages.).

A serious problem in the USA is that, increasingly, people in position to teach don’t know history.

That makes the weirdest theories possible. That allows the plutocratically financed Tea Party to come out with frightening slogans such as "the government does not create anything". What about law, education, police, army, rescue services, most healthcare (even in the USA already!), and all the rules and regulations holding society together? This is not just about observing, it’s about not knowing what happened when there was no government. And even not even been capable to imagine what would happen without government. That is what a lack of knowledge about history leads to.

All knowledge, even science, is historical. Even science is about what happens, and that means, what happened.

Obama, as a good American, worry about "business leaders". Ah, business "leaders", what would the USA be without them? Does not the USA have by far the richest, most rewarded business leaders in the world? Did not that bring “success”? When the business leaders went bankrupt, the taxpayers were successfully ordered to replenish their coffers. Success, indeed! The skill to be learned to succeed was apparently to have the taxpayers act against their best interest. 

Foundations don’t pay tax, and their officers can frolic first class around the world, in the very best hotels, and as we just saw, with heads of state.

On top of that foundation executives get to be called "philanthropists" because they are free to corrupt whoever they want with a fraction of the money they would otherwise pay in taxes. Beatification in one’s own lifetime. (I don’t mean to imply that all foundations are bad; simply the ones which are obvious tax shelters and oligarchic influence amplifiers).

"Even as we find ways to cut spending, we cannot cut back on job-creating investments like education," Obama said. "We cannot cut back on the very investments that will help our economy grow."

Sounds good. Obama has explained that he wants the USA to "out-educate, out-compete", everybody, etc. Thus all the out-sourcing to the out-house, I guess. Out with them ideas. I have advocated the idea of having ideas a long time myself.

In the 1960s, the French government ran an advertising campaign:"En France, on a pas de petrole, mais on a des idees." ("In France we don’t have oil, but we have ideas".) Nothing new. But as long as, to get to the ideas, Obama has to go through plutocrats, such as the Gates, he will show that the elected government of the People does not even have a brain.

Another Case of the Gates of hell (yes, Steve Case is another major plutocrat advising Obama) is what happened with Qaddafi. The Libyan dictator sent a lot of money to many major Anglo-Saxon think “tanks”. Yes, it is a double entendre: I think we will use tanks to express the people, says Gaddafi, and he chuckles, as he gives money to Western pseudo-intellectuals.

“The best academics Qaddafi’s money could buy”, for example Richard Perle, or Francis Fuckuyama (PhD harvard. Of course Harvard and its professors are there (say professor Nye). The usual tricks are used: Harvard professors get blood money through “consulting firms” such as the “Monitor group” (that one has 30 offices around the world). Then they write learned articles for US mass media, reproduced world wide, on the goodness of Gaddafi, and other “guides”, and “leaders” of the uneducated masses.

Sometimes, it’s even funny; there is even plenty of evidence that Harvard wrote Saif Al Islam al Qaddafi’s thesis.

Such is the plutocratic circus. Kneel oh good people, the plutocrats are here to guide and lead you. Such are the Gates of hell.

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HOW TO IMPLEMENT MENTAL EXPANSION:

OK, so how should the mental expansion Obama claims to advocate be done?

Germany is headed by a physicist (Merkel). She knows calculus very well. Her conservative credentials are impeccable; she was right hand man and dauphin to Chancellor Helmut Kohl (who had to make himself sparse after his secret financing by his friend, the French socialist president, came to light).

Germany had a severe problem of over-production during the 2008 peak of the financial crisis (there will be other peaks, we need to label them according to the millésime). Germany’s Merkel did not frolic with the richest of the hyper rich, begging for something, and trying to look powerful. Instead the German state INTERVENED. Workers and companies were paid so that the time production workers did not spend producing was spent at school learning higher skills pertaining to their job. A conventional welder, for example, would be paid full time, but some of his time would be spent learning to weld with lasers.

OK, to set up such an emergency plan, country wide, was not as much fun as entertaining plutocrats who pay no taxes. Countries such as China need the world’s most advanced machinery, to make other products in their factories. After Germany had gone back to school, orders came flooding back, for the advanced, high value technologies Germany sells. The German economy came roaring back. Wunderbar. But not surprising.

Oh, by the way, the French government has decided to emulate the German model. In exchange, the conservative, not exuberantly European Merkel has agreed to integrate France and Germany to a level the German governments had not accepted before. British PM Cameron wishes he could jump on that technological bandwagon (he is trying, hence his love for Airbus). Germany is not the only European export power house: the Netherlands is an even more striking example.

So Obama wants to live off intellectual property, in the world’s smartest society. Back to the future, in other words: this is pretty much how the USA lived in the 1960s, before sinking into bottomless plutocracy. However what Obama proposes to do is not enough. As I just said, the sort of educational effort Obama proposes is all glamour, and no welding. Welding allows planes to fly, glamour does not. The effort Germany did in 2008 was educational, but it required business leaders who were really business leaders, thinking about leading their workers, and not plutocrats ruling by wealth, as the later do by definition. .

Before I get started with my usual objections, let me be even smarter than usual, and enlist Paul Krugman saying explicitly something which has long been half understood in Europe. One of his blog post (quoting various others) is reproduced after the break.

The problem of trying to out-smart ("out-educate") everybody is tied to globalization.

The initial problem with globalization was that people cannot be employed, being paid several times more (a fortiori twenty times more) than workers overseas doing the same job.

To go back to an example Socrates loved, the shoemaker in New Jersey cannot compete with the shoemaker in Pakistan. because the later can live well, with a salary a twentieth of that his unfortunate colleague in New Jersey. Fine.

A solution which presents itself is to give up the low added value jobs, and concentrate on the high added value jobs. This is the French approach (now embraced, and better implemented by Germany, as we saw above). It is no coincidence that the French invented the Added value Tax (in 1954). Added value has long been high on their mind.

So Obama wants to do the same now. First the USA is late to the party. Finland (but for some crazed Asian countries and entities) has the best educational system because the Finns, among other Europeans, are all persuaded of the importance of superlative education. Sarkozy wanted to implant the Finnish system in France, until he found out how much it would cost. France, as a great power, has expenses Finland does not have. (And the same for the USA, since the USA is still a great power.)

So Obama says; "Let’s have engineers in New Jersey. So we want kids to learn calculus. Surely the engineer in New Jersey be paid more than the engineer in India?"

Sure, Obambi. And therein the problem. The Indians are plenty smart, and after 35 centuries of erroneous apartheid philosophy, they have adopted, thanks to European (philosophical) rule, the European philosophical system of equal superiority, fraternal ambition, and free debate of ideas. So the Indians have discovered what Obambi did, a few decades ago. If you want your children to make it in India, you try to make it so that they learn calculus. Entering the engineering schools is crazily competitive. And it does not depend upon having relatives therein (as is done in the USA, and the Obamas are in good position to know).

The engineer in India will have several house helpers, a limousine with chauffeur, and a magnificent house with a pool. So young people in India are much more determined to become engineers in India rather than in New Jersey. They look forward engineering, it’s the promised land. Young people in the USA can look up at completely different role models. They don’t know Melinda Gates has a BA in computer science. All what America’s youth see is that the president of the USA goes where the money is.

If you want to make it in New Jersey, you have to become a drug dealer, a politician, or, best of all, a financier. Financiers are the richest, most powerful, and never gets prosecuted: Obama and holder will make sure of that. Only philanthropists heading foundations are higher up in the prestige standings of the USA. (OK, Madoff asked to be jailed, and there is now a major financier on trial, but he is not really a US citizen; obviously a token trial, but it has the potential to get really dangerous for serious plutocratic fish.)

In the USA, employment pays for health, and where you live pays for schools. speak about a weird place. The USA has no global, that is, federal, educational system. Truly Obama controls only a tiny piece of the educational budget. That’s his official excuse with begging for crumbs at the Gates’ table.

So let’s suppose Obama is sincere, and really wants to improve the socio-economy of the USA, with education. What can Obama do? He has no money. Well, at least he could make more prestigious the jobs needed to "out-educate" and "out-compete". The job of plutocrat is not one of them. The USA had to wait a full century for seeing its first billionaire, and then suddenly there were many. Teddy Roosevelt saw that there was a risk that they would confiscate the republic, so he cut them down with anti-monopoly laws.

Right now the so called financial industry confiscates more than 40% of the profits of corporation in the USA. It is a monopoly, the monopole of finance. It produces nothing, except the negative pressure of taxpayers bail-outs.

So one of Obama’s real challenges that he could do something about would be to make the professions envisioned as the most worthy those which are perceived by the youth as the most worthy. He could go at it in two ways:

1) not associate with plutocrats for all to see, as if there was great glory in it. That will decrease the prestige of Pluto.

2) Make sure that plutocracy would be despised by prosecuting some of the plutocratic thieves. A plutocrat or two in jail would certainly curb the prestige of plutocracy. And the prestige of the law.

Matt Damon, the actor, an enthusiastic early supporter of the president during his campaign, candidly expressed his disappointment with Obama:

"A friend of mine said to me the other day, I thought it was a great line, ‘I no longer hope for audacity,’" Damon said, explaining that he believes the president has "misinterpreted his mandate" and has "doubled down on a lot of things."

Well, sure. Sometimes it seems that Obama interprets his mandate as making peace with republicans. some of his supporters claim his mandate should just be to play "black" president with ‘black’ family, etc., and that is good enough. Well, not so.

Matt Damon slammed the education policy that ties teacher salaries to students’ test scores. "That kind of mechanized thinking has nothing to do with higher-order thinking. We’re training them, not teaching them," he said. Damon is right. Finland, which has the best results of the West in high school in reading comprehension, science, mathematics, works the other way around: no tests, only helping those who have difficulties.

And Damon to pound the nail: "I think he’s rolled over to Wall Street completely. The economy has huge problems. We still have all these banks that are too big to fail. They’re bigger and making more money than ever," Damon said in an interview with the U.K.’s Independent.

In Rome, under the Antonine emperors, intellectuals were amazingly successful, in the sense that they became very rich and influential. However, they did not change anything to the mental course of the Greco-Roman empire, which was certainly the largest failure there ever was so far, in the history of the Mid Terra civilization.

in the century preceding, many Roman intellectuals had tried to oppose pacifically the tyrants of Rome. However, they got savagely killed, often with their entire families. Pacific, intellectual, non violent resistance works only with those who have roughly being already won over.

When civilization is confronted to crazed fascism, only a greater force works. That why Obama’s Mickey mouse approach to education in the USa will not work. It is also why the non violent approach will not work with the Qaddafi clan.

As PhD Saif Al Islam, the most verbal of the Kadhafis said: "We are not a piece of cake, we are not a little mouse." No, indeed, you are not, none of the big problems ever were. they need a lot of energy, hence force, to be moved.

And the same holds with most problems facing civilization today. Civilization presents the individuals composing it with many motivations. Only one of them is the financial profit motivation. For the rest, for the other motivations, there are taxes, a conduit from financial profit to those other motivations.

So, of course the USA needs a VAT, a Value Added Tax. The USA does not need Melinda Gates. Gates is part of the problem, not much of the solution.

No modern country can escape a VAT. A VAT taxes consumption, what the USA has too much of. There is no virtue in consumption, there is virtue in savings.

A VAT encourages a country to employ its own citizens, rather than distant aliens. A VAT forces to save, and the Mafia has to pay it too (otherwise it would pay even higher taxes). A minimum 15% VAT is the law in the European Union. It is a better French invention than cheese.

A VAT allows a country to have more motivation than financial profit. A VAT gives a chance to other motives, such as empathy, solidarity, civilization, progress, financing education, free health care, etc. As long as Obama is not talking VAT, he is shooting the breeze. And he is not serious about education.

It is necessary to learn to be tough, in the name of civilization, and Libya is the place to start, in the name of civilization, and the back bone it can do without.

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Patrice Ayme.

(After the break, graphic analysis that highly educated jobs are becoming less rewarding financially.)

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As Matt Damon says, here is a need to teach higher and higher intelligence jobs. That means teaching a lot of history. History is full of crazy examples of whatever was not supposed to happen. There is no better teacher for the imagination. Also basic, overall scientific teaching ought to be mandatory for all, as is the multiplication table.

 

The reason for these needs, is that, as computers increase in power, and most basic mental tasks get automatized, free people will need to dominate their subjects. Contributing to society will require high added intellectual value.

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Here is Krugman (March 6, 2011):

A further note on brains and jobs: the story I told in my whimsical magazine piece bears a clear family resemblance to the influential analysis of Autor, Levy, and Murnane a few years later, which argued that the crucial difference in terms of possible replacement of humans by machines was one of routine versus non-routine, rather than white-collar versus blue-collar, and that computerization was if anything likely to increase demand for some “low-skill” occupations and reduce demand for some traditionally well-paying white-collar jobs:

clip_image001

I’d not, by the way, that it increasingly looks as if “medical diagnosis” should be moved from the right column to the left.

And you can actually see this happening in the data. From the recent Autor-Acemoglu paper:

clip_image002

In the 80s, the higher the skill required for an occupation, the bigger the employment gains. In the 90s, there was “hollowing out”, with the middle-skill occupations losing relative to both ends. And most recently, the hollowing seems to have spread further up the scale.

This is real, and it calls some of our favorite platitudes into question.

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14 Responses to “Dukes Of Knowledge”

  1. multumnonmulta Says:

    Very good connection between VAT and a national educational system! Will either of these come to pass? I highly doubt it, for there are too many who have been mesmerized by the example of the dropout who’s spending hundreds of millions to learn how not to spend, well, hundreds of millions, on education; Gates could have learned what works and what doesn’t by asking a medium-level French/Finnish/[…] bureaucrat in the Ministry of Education.

    Again, I’m not surprised to see our common views on the above. What surprises me is to see that the American actor can think with his own mind, and speaks publicly about it, albeit to foreign press. It’s as if we have freedom of speech only to allow dumb, or worse, speech, while preventing somehow truthful speech from ever coming out.

    ___________
    BTW, there is a point where our views diverge, and that’s alright with me. I think we give different readings to the events in Maghreb/Arab world. You talk about democracy, I talk about the west extending its overt sphere of influence. Nothing wrong with either one, when you come to think about it, and they may even connect at some point. For the time being, the west should not appear as being behind, and the elites in those countries can still steer the process toward Erdogan’s Türkiye.

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    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Multumnonmulta: Matt Damon is obviously very clever. I guess really good actors have got to be; they are empathy experts. Yes the fact he is so loquacious overseas is typical of smart American actors (then the French give them medals!) Talk loud, but in a distant forest…

      The truth about Gates is that he was the typical silver spoon child from his rich and influential father: Harvard, of course, and then dropping out in hotels, tweaking a software invented by academics, and then outsmarting IBM (with which he had an arrangement).

      On Africa, the situation is not that complex. I think the “West” had a clamp down on their oil/phosphate procurement system. So they obviously lost (some) control. I have no doubts that the likes of Gates (the other Gates of hell) want to crush the rebels in Libya (Obama probably does not know what to think besides that it would be a bad idea not to follow the establisment).

      I am actually an African (!) philosopher, and my perspective on the whole continent is totally transverse to and piercing through conventional wisdom. In particular, I don’t buy the (colonialism = bad) notion. But I am flexible, though, and, at this point, I have been hyper impressed by that mighty plutocrat, the king of Morocco. He seems to be walking the talk of reform.

      The European Union has also to do its part. Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia are closer to Paris and London than they are to Ankara…

      Unfortunately, and predictably, Eastern Europe, which has now a huge voice in the EU, is anti-African. No doubt that is paralyzing Sarkozy and Cameron on Libya. Also the fact their invention and tool, the UN, has to be played by the rule of law, and the USSR Russian Federation and China want to be able to destroy and annihilate violently and cruelly their own dissidents….
      PA

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      • multumnonmulta Says:

        Cher Patrice, the clever Damon, just like Woody Allen and so many others before, play their puny games, how else?

        Meanwhile, Michael Moore joins the crowd in Wisconsin:

        http://multumnonmulta.blogspot.com/2011/03/today-just-400-americans-have-same.html

        But he’s so lonely…

        What puzzles me is what had all the people been doing during the long 8 years under Bush? We might have been more corrupted than we like to admit. We might have made a quick and easy dollar, while the plutocrats bet on the house and lost.

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        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          Dear Multumnonmulta: yes, people have been corrupted by Bush, and the bubbles (internet bubble, and then housing bubble). Of course not the most common of the commons, but the upper middle class, or the thinking class (teachers, professionals with advanced degrees). Those who could have influenced society the right way. They did not, because they had it good. They were bought off. Actually the whole easy life of the USA has long been corrupting. Waking up will be hard.

          This phenomenon of corruption by the easy life, including the avoidance of (social, civil or intellectual) conflicts is often a factor of the submission of the people to their leaders (instead of the other way around).

          And the plutocrats did not lose. They doubled up. For example the three top guys at Lehman Brothers kept 5 billion dollars for themselves. When the bank holding corporations threatened to go broke, their officers had sheltered their own personal money. Then, as everyone knows, they paid themselves giant bonuses. BTW, Great Britain has a financial transaction tax, and has been doing fine with it.

          But normal people did lose, and are still losing.

          But I have no doubt that most of the multi-millionaires who lead politically in the USA, mostly aspire to become billionaires. At least at the emotional level. They meet all the time with the truly rich. Obama cannot resist to frolic with, or quote his hyper rich “friends” (Buffet, Case, Gates, Immel, etc.). It does not come to his mind that, doing so, he reinforces his mental corruption.

          Or he does not care, and, like the follower of a satanic cult, at the altar, he is obsessed with evoking satan and his helpers… In any case, it’s illuminative to compare the French/European deciding structures and the American ones. The later are stuffed with the super hyper rich. Europeans react strongly when hyper money mixes with politics (although, of course, there is the problem of Berlusconi in Italy; but the war is engaged there! And Sarkozy, or DSK in France are… well married). Scandinavian politicians have to justify of all their spending.

          So you are right: what have they been doing? But you see their leaders, the dukes of knowledge, are corrupted and corrupting (paid by the Hitler of the desert for example).

          And to get out of it? Well why are the protesters not suggesting to bring taxes up, in exchanges for some cuts? Bring taxes up on the hyper rich, on energy, and on consumption (AVT). That would be better than to have vital services going down the drain.
          PA

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  2. peromaneste Says:

    I’ve figure by now that your origins are common to Camus or Derrida. The value of citizenship comes through your writing, and that’s obviously an imprint of the socio-political practices from the North of where you wee born.

    I applaud your disambiguation about Matt Damon! We should call it as it is.

    You have an interesting take on the East-European views about Africa–I happen to know nothing in particular, other than the German opposition to a Franco-British call for enforcing a no-fly zone. Obviously, you don’t consider the Germans as being East Europeans, but the latter have a record of speaking to the interests of some powerful. Do you have any specific info in this case?
    Mnm

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    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Peromaneste: I have a strong black twinge neither Camus nor Derrida had. Although I (partially) come whence they came (because of my familial origins) I mostly grew up in Black Africa. Black Africa is more different from the rest of the world, than North Africa is from Europe. (And “Black Africa” is also extremely diverse; in truth I am from Western Africa, which had contacts with the Mediterranean for more than 26 centuries.)

      Black Africa has a somewhat jaundiced view of the (mostly) white Arab speaking enslavers to the north, and 1,000+ years of raids…

      There is a notion such as “Greater Germany” (Netherlands-Denmark-Austria are in it). Greater Germany has its own colony, Mexico, backyard, development arena: Eastern Europe. Eastern Europe (the Baltics, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, and old pieces of the Frankish/ Holy Roman empire), 100 million strong is getting huge European development funds (most from private industry). Those funds used to go to PIGS (Portugal-Ireland-Greece-Spain), which are now supposed to fly on their own. with their own little wings.

      Eastern Europe does not want funds to go south. Nor does Greater Germany want that either. So now Britain and France, whose economic, and strategic interest is to reconstitute the Greater Frankish-Greco-Roman empire, are left scratching their twin heads.

      It is of the utmost European interest to recover control of Africa, before it comes down to a show down with interlopers (such as China). It is also in the interest of Africans. North Africa is the immediate neighbourhood of Europe, and was, for very long, a common entity. It is invasions (first by the well named Vandals!) which separated Europe from Africa. Well, time to back invade.

      That reasoning which is not new, as French generals talked in just those words to African leaders, two centuries ago… explaining to them they were reconstituting the Roman empire, the empire of their common forefathers… It is also valid, especially in the time of WMDs (it’s not because the plutocratic GW Bush highjacked part of that reasoning for evil purpose that it is not valid in its full glory).
      PA

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  3. peromaneste Says:

    Patrice, disregard please the previous comment submitted from the ‘wrong’ machine!

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    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Oooops, saw that too late…”Wrong” machine? I don’t see what was wrong with that comment anyway… Sounded very good to me… Maybe I am a “wrong” machine too…
      PA

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  4. peromaneste Says:

    There is no money in Romania, the westerners closed all factories, bought all the natural resources on the cheap and now are reselling them at high margins. People are committing suicide as if year 1000 was approaching. In all eastern countries of Europe, the great majority of people (>75%) say that it used to be better under socialism.

    Our government speak usually as told by the big countries, in other words, we don’t own a foreign policy.

    So framing it in terms of Africa versus East Europe must be a distraction employed by the true masters to negotiate down the ask price. With some, it may work.

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    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Peromaneste: It is true that Romania (and Bulgaria) are not favored at this point. Poland, the Baltics, and the ex-Chekoslovakia are plenty enough to develop. Greater Germany has interest to develop it, and I think in these places, things are looking up. One problem is that there are only so many funds, and so much effort to be deployed.

      Ideally, more European development ought to reward budding democracy in Tunisia… and Morocco (I’ m backtracking quickly on Mohammed VI: even major plutocrats can earn good points in my book). Morocco got European Union’s financial support as part of neighborhood assistance, receiving about 205 million euro in 2009, to celebrate its “advanced status“.

      After all, Egypt used to be part of the European Union in some sense when the Athenian army and navy went down there to free it from the big bad Persians… We have got a precedent!

      Generally what is said is that Romania does not have its act together, especially about corruption (=plutocracy in the small).

      What I said above, is that all cannot be developped at the same time. As chip plants go to Tunisia instead of Turkey, even the Turks will discover this. But you seem to have a very different perspective… Which natural resources did the masters buy on the cheap?
      PA

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  5. peromaneste Says:

    Natural gas, oil, wood, mineral waters, all the banks and insurance, marble etc.

    Take a look at the post-industrial disaster here http://www.flickr.com/photos/12043470@N03/

    Factories demolished and in some instance replaced by real estate developers.

    We should not fall prey to the Trotskyst idea of East Europe versus Africa.

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    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Peromaneste: The problem is globalization, a global problem indeed. Economies such as Romania, actually all non emerging countries industrial plants were protected. It was irresistible for investors, corporations, capital to engage in reverse colonialism. The question is: how to engage the resistance? What is the war to be fought?
      Contrarily to what “The Economist” believes (see its idiotic last issue about a two speed Europe), successful resistance will involve dirigisme of some sort. Otherwise the free market dooms the most developed part of the world.

      Trotskyst idea? Forgive my ignorance, I am not familiar. If Trotsky had an important idea, he would have executed Stalin when he headed the Red Army.

      I am just saying that Greater Germany prefers to develop its backyard rather than the Mediterranean.
      PA

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      • peromaneste Says:

        There is no resistance. Our intellectuals left the country for 20 years, our leaders take orders. When communism fell the baby went with the dirty water and jungle capitalism took over. Germany does all the R&D and we have to align our salaries with China, but my petrol is more expensive than most EU countries. The backyard of Germany is very narrow and stops at the borders of the Czech republic. They must build tall buildings like in America with such a small backyard.

        For a view about Trotsky and Africa, start to read from here http://www.amazon.com/Imperialism-Global-Political-Economy-Callinicos/dp/074564046X/

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        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          Dear Peromaneste: Throwing the baby with the dirty water is a global tendency. The way Eastern Europe (including Russia) was converted into a jungle gym for plutocrats was more than repugnant: a price would have to be paid, and is being paid in the West itself. The present day rolling depression under the boot of the financial masters of the universe is a direct consequence.

          I do believe that the anti-colonialist struggle indulged in that regretable tendency too, throwing baby and bath, and did not go to the bottom of the problem… But that we are confronted to said problem now, a problem “jungle capitalism” exploits. That problem is the resolution of worldwide imbalances. So, in a way, the noxiousness is closely related to the way ‘colonialism’, ‘imperialism’ were replaced… by jungle, American style exploitation.

          A good example is what is going with Kaddafi right now: the American plutocrats support him (as discreetly as possible), and the tyrant uses mercenaries massively. The idea is to maximize the service the exploitation system provide to the “masters”. Any other considerations, rational and emotional, be damned under a flood of towering platitudes and astronomical hypocrisy.
          PA

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