Wisdom Not An Itch, But Economy Hitching Dark Side, A Gangrene

Is Philosophy Just An Itch? Far from it. Even if it were, as Wittgenstein had it:

“Philosophy hasn’t made any progress? – If somebody scratches the spot where he has an itch, do we have to see some progress? Isn’t genuine scratching otherwise, or genuine itching? And can’t this reaction to an irritation continue in the same way for a long time before a cure for the itching is discovered?”

It is not true that philosophy asks always only the same questions, and it is not true that philosophy has not progressed in 3,000 years.

Instead the opposite is true. contemporary with Socrates was Xenophon, who named and defined “Economics”. Xenophon was student and friend to Socrates, a writer, historian, soldier, general, and retired as a horse breeder.

Krugman Is A Philosopher, He Rules World. But Who Pulls His Strings?

Krugman Is A Philosopher, He Rules World. But Who Pulls His Strings?

[Paul Krugman, appropriately surrounded by the Dark Sides.]

Paul Krugman is one of the world’s most respected – and most feared – economists of our time. Illustration by David Simmonds.” –Handelsblatt which adds: “Many think the U.S. Nobel Prize winner is the most influential economist of our time and a leading voice on the left. But many of his major ideas are controversial. And rightly so.”

Those familiar with my disagreements with Krugman know that we differ philosophically. Our differences are mostly about finance, banking… And especially believing that, if only bankers had even more money, through Quantitative Easing, the world would become richer, fairer, and more comfortable. That is anathema to me, for many reasons, including the fact I do not trust too much power in too few hands, whatever the reasons evoked, or even if one calls these people, bankers, and Obama admires them very much.

Philosophy named and defined much progress.

Behind all and any empire is an economic organization backed up by a philosophy. Darius, founder of the Achaemenid Persian empire, changed economic organizations very quickly, according to circumstances, , from military to command and control, to building the world’s first fast road system, to libertarian capitalism.

It is possible to argue that the Greco-Roman empire failed, because it failed PHILOSOPHICALLY. Namely, its philosophy failed. It failed because the (Macedonian) military leaders got imprinted on the erroneous, despicable, and lethal philosophy of their friend Aristotle, itself all too inspired by Plato, Socrates, and other golden youth, or their fellow travellers.

One can view the Middle Ages greatly as a struggle against much of Aristotelian philosophy: not just against Aristotle’s physics, which was egregiously wrong, but also against his Ethics and his, related, preferred theory of government. Aristotle embraced dictatorship, also known as monarchy, hence theocracy.

In Socrates’ times, democratic institutions were, in many ways, brutally primitive and inappropriate for sustaining the Athenian Republic. These brought not just the death of Socrates, but were decisive to bring the defeat of Athens in the Peloponnesian war (which nearly brought the annihilation of Athens, and certainly an eclipse of democracy for more than 2,000 years). The People’s Assembly had decided to massacre entire populations (Melos), and brought hatred against Athens.

Much of Socrates’ work was about improving the Athenian democracy, and many of the philosopher’s critiques were addressed during the Middle Ages, by inventing new institutions.

So there has been progress in philosophy, and also considerable social and political progress in implementing progress in wisdom.

We need more. Behind Krugman’s vision of the world, lays a benign, naive trust in human beings benevolence. At least, that’s the excuse.

Friends, Not To Say Lovers Of The Same Values. How Far Are We?

Friends, Not To Say Lovers Of The Same Values. How Far Are We?

Instead, I go further than “French Theory“. French Theory, generalizing Nietzsche’s approach, is suspicious of all and any institutions. I propose to remember what the Marquis De Sade implicitly proposed: those who take, those who are entitled, those end up being able to take decisions on behalf of the many, are, intrinsically, moved by the Darkest Side. Even if they did not start this way, the stress they are subjected to, insures that they end up that way.

Yes, Krugman is a philosopher, in the sense that his work, and advice, and popularity among, thus, power on, the mighty, depends upon his philosophical positions. Yet philosophers to the Dark Side, by their very presence where they are, embrace it.

This is not all just words. I love and respect Paul Krugman. in some ways. However, contemplate this: “Enron, a notorious corporation which conspired in organizing energy shortages in California, later to collapse in scandal and bankruptcy, employed Krugman. Paul’s fee? $37,000 for three days work. It provoked outrage. Wasn’t this excessive?. Mr. Krugman used his column to respond: not at all, he wrote. At the time his fee for a one-hour talk was $20,000. Enron got a deal.”

And the worst? Paul Krugman is very small fry, in the plutocratic world, as far as income is concerned. Donald Trump recently pointed out he “knew hedge fund managers. They pay no tax.” And some of those earn billions. General Electric got (60) billion dollars from the Obama administration, paid no tax for years, and then proceed to buy its French competitor, Alstom. Even the European Commission found that not kosher (although the plausibly secretly compensated by huff and fluff ,French government had approved).

Krugman at some point proclaimed himself the “lonely voice of truth in a sea of corruption”. The worst? It’s true. Because Krugman had dared to say the Obama administration was soft on punishing Wall Street after the 2008 corruption affair (the so-called “crash”), he was not invited to participate in said administration of the useless and redundant (as plutocrats connected to the so-called “Deep State” take all the decisions).

Handelsblatt: “Somehow Mr. Krugman’s fury keeps on growing. The source of this anger may be the man’s greatest enigma, since in fact worldwide there has never been as much Keynesian intervention as there is today…”

The answer to this, Handelsblatt, is simple: the crisis is getting ever worse. To the point the spectrum of war is rising. Even the Pope, noticed this.

Handelsblatt: “Since the crisis began, the largest central banks have flooded the world economy with liquidity, and brought their base rates close to zero. The governments of the industrialized world, with the exception of Germany, are still running huge budget deficits. They have put together enormous rescue packages, partly to rescue the banks, partly to bail out bankrupt states, partly to invest in infrastructure.”

Well, and this is my main difference with Krugman, rescue packages were all about the (“PRIVATE”) banks, and they bankrupt(ed) the states. To correct this, the entire banking system needs to be completely overhauled. In first approximation, the spirit of the reforms of president Roosevelt, ought to be re-introduced.

In Great Britain Jeremy Corbin, an anti-dictatorial (anti-monarchist) was elected to head Labor. Tony Blair, one of the world’s most corrupt politicians, ever (Bliar gets money from various dictator, including that of Kazakhstan) suggested that: “those who say their hearts are with leftwinger Jeremy Corbyn should ‘get a transplant’.

Darius, like the Incas, like Diocletian’s Rome, or the Tang in China, or the empire of the Franks (which mutated into the “West”), or Themistocles Athens, let alone Stalin’s USSR, or today’s China, let alone the mercantilist USA, show that the primary actor, and author, of the economy is not the little capitalist, but the massive state. Handelsblatt claims not to understand this, and calls Krugman a fool.

However, the USA’s government institution revealingly known as the “Fed”, created more than 13 trillions (yes, that’s a t: trillion) dollars of money to inject in the economy, and the European Union, less than two trillion. And yes, that’s a problem: too much money chasing too few investment possibilities. So what ought government to do? Create more investment possibilities. Titanic investment program. As Darius did with his Royal road network. Now the Royal Road ought to lead to Mars. And the Quantum Computer. And Thermonuclear Fusion. And the Space Elevator. And a research program to fight aging (a major economic, not just military problem). Those who don’t want progress get regress, not to say egress.

Imagination, ladies and gentlemen, is more important than austerity, and not just in economics.

Patrice Ayme’

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11 Responses to “Wisdom Not An Itch, But Economy Hitching Dark Side, A Gangrene”

  1. gmax Says:

    That Mr. Smiley, Paul, the friend of Bush, launched by Ronald Reagan, would be viewed as a far left economist is telling. I mean it is a case of somebody who is objectively way right (Krugman) being called outrageously left. That Handelblatt article is really telling.

    The Plutocrats hold the media so much that now Bush and Reagan are denounced as leftists. Hey, did not Reagan and Papa Bush nationalize 2000 banks? How many banks Obama nationalized? Zero? He just gave them trillions. No strings attached. All this noise hides this, and Krugman knows he is part of the cover-up, that makes him angry and angrier.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Probably true. Krugman is ferocious in the small arena he is allowed to pace. This lack of freedom infuriates him. He would like to tell the whole truth… But does not want to lose his influence, and access.

  2. brodix Says:

    Patrice,

    I think there is a basic contradiction built into our view of money.

    The reality is that capital functions as a glorified voucher system, but we think of it as a commodity.

    The conflict is that nothing is more detrimental to a voucher system than lots of excess vouchers, but because we experience it as a store of value, we think of it as a form of commodity to be collected and saved.

    If there is sufficient investment potential to provide capacity for savings, the system works, but when we try to store/create more than the system can hold, it results in inflation, either of the general economy, or asset values.

    Presumably Volcker cured inflation by raising interest rates and thus reducing the flow of extra capital into the economy, but that also further slowed the natural growth and so there was still excess.

    It wasn’t until ’82 that this process seemed to start working, but by that time Reaganomics had ballooned the deficit to 200 billion and that was real money in those days. The concern voiced publicly by economists at the time was this would crowd out private sector borrowing and further slow the economy. Yet only Fed interest rates set the availability of capital and the government was borrowing at high rates. Which served various purposes. It served to soak up excess capital. It created significant returns for investors and the money was then spent on “Keynsian pump priming,” which helped to get the economy going again, even if much of it was useless over the long term.

    The lesson apparently learned from this was not to let excess capital back into the larger economy. For one, this required breaking up the labor movement and finding ways to store the surplus within the investment community. Thus the explosion of the power and influence of the financial community, as they were tasked with holding onto an ever growing percentage of the notational wealth of the economy. Along with driving up asset prices and therefore the power of those holding them. The momentum of this naturally knew no bounds and consequently the powers that be have run amuck.

    The lesson to learn from this is that wealth has to be stored in something other than notational instruments and excess capital should be taxed back out of the economy, not borrowed back out. This would definitely encourage people to develop all number of mediums of exchange and not rely on banks to store their wealth.

    For most people money is saved for very predictable reasons. Raising children, healthcare, housing, retirement, vacations, entertainment, would be some of the most prominent reasons. So rather than storing money in the banking system, communities could build up the infrastructure to support these needs and consequently redevelop a public space. Which would amount to storing wealth in a stronger community and a healthier environment.

    Banks should be considered a public utility. Private government was monarchies and when those running them lost sight of their larger function and cost much more than they were worth, government became a public utility. Now the banks are doing the same thing.

    Money is very much like blood in the body. It cannot be stored in excess. The brain might need more than the feet, but it doesn’t do any good to let the feet rot from lack of circulation. The financial system works best by transporting this medium, not storing it. Which would be equivalent to clogged arteries, poor circulation and high blood pressure to compensate. Aka; trickle down economics and quantitive easing.

    Now this seems very unlikely in the current situation, but the very fact that the debt based bubble of excess wealth has grown so large will fuel a fire hot enough to burn up many of our assumptions, if not large parts of the civilization. Then those left will hopefully apply some of the lessons to be learned.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Instead of concentrating on debt (much of it to be expressed in the future), I prefer to concentrate on PROJECTS. Projects are what extinguishes debt best. I claim. I tried to convey this in the essay. I know the notion is foreign to today’s economic debate.

      “Banks should be considered a public utility.” Good we agree on this. That was the essence of FDR’s effort on banking.

      Let me repeat:
      Why concentrate on debt (much of it to appear in the future)? Rather concentrate on PROJECTS. Huge projects extinguish debt best.

  3. Alexi Helligar Says:

    I would like to see better titles for some of your articles, Patrice.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Hmmm… Someone laughed at my latest title earlier today, and said it was real good. But he is an economist. The question is how descriptive a title ought to be. Like the preceding essay on reality had to convey the FTL aspect, and the fact “measurement” creates it, reality. If I looked for popularity, I would concentrate on Kim Kardashian’s rump, and the like. My admiration for kittens and how wise they are. My love for love and those who love love…

  4. Benign Says:

    Krugman has sold out to the banks. My understanding is that he does not think doing away with Glass-Seagall was such a bad idea.
    cheers,
    benign

  5. Benign Says:

    Krugman has sold out to the banks. My understanding is that he does not think doing away with Glass-Steagall was such a bad idea, and he doesn’t think that TBTF is “at the heart of our problems.” No, of course not, when they own the Fed and know they can get bailed out! He is in the New York area, under the spell of the Big Money.
    cheers,
    benign

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Glad, I am extremely glad to see you write this, John!
      I am extremely worried that most of the left see this hero of the banks, being viewed as hero of the left. Indeed. The fact Krugamn was in Reagan’s government at the age of 29 is always glossed over. However, Reagan’s government was the most reactionary since, since… Even NIXON was not as reactionary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      New York: big money, big corruption, world plutocratization…. And criminalization. Even the Times ran a series on this. The towers going up in NYC, however beautiful, are growing from the Darkest Side.

      Cheers to you too.
      PA

  6. Ishmael Says:

    Divine peace be upon the truthseekers. I reached here through Wuhaib bin Ward>Mortification>Necrosis/Gangrene. We believe that a political manifestation of a true philosophy depends upon the sincerity and consistency of acting upon the praxis (orthopraxy in case of a sacred philosophy) of adherents of that philosophy. And, when people are hypocritical in their actions, then according to Quran 6:129 they are ruled by another set of hypocrites and oppressors.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Ishmael: Welcome. The funny thing about the Qur’an and Muhammad, the real Muhammad, is that he may well, should he be brought back, agree with much of this site. The reason being that, according to Aischa (among others), the Qur’an we have differ widely and wildly from what Muhammad taught, in many places. No hypocrisy is indeed central to higher morality.

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