Posts Tagged ‘Karl Marx’

MARX: For Tyranny All Along. Why Fighting Plutocracy Is Better.

May 4, 2018

Abstract: Little, yet maximally pernicious philosopher Karl Marx was born two centuries ago. He has to be taken seriously, because of the gigantic, awful and awesome consequences that his musing had. Marx claimed that “Hitherto, philosophers have sought to understand the world; the point, however, is to change it“. Yet his angry philosophy changed it largely for the worst: the 40% of humanity who lived under Marxist regimes for a lot of the 20th century endured famines, gulags,  dictatorships, and even holocausts (under Marxist dictators Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot).

Marx claimed that his “dialectical” “science” predicted a rosy “communism”. Wrong, nothing of the sort happened. Instead, the sort of welfare his enemy Proudhon promoted won the Twentieth Century, while fascism, red and black, can be directly raced back to Marx’s hysteria.

Marx’s influence keeps on going. By misunderstanding capital, Marx condemned civilization itself. By wishing for “dictatorship”, under a pseudo-scientific varnish, Marx endowed the worst plutocratic horrors with respectability, including all variants of fascism.  By recommending “terror”, Marx paved the “left” tolerance for all tyrannical fun and games, including the worst Jihadism.

Arguably, civilization has been handicapped in its necessary fight against plutocracy, by the omnipresence of vengeful, tyranny and terror friendly “Marxism” and its ilk, as an object of reverence. Actually, one can argue that the collapse of the Roman Republic under the “Second Triumvirate” of Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus (Caesar Augustus), Marcus Antonius (“Mark Antony), and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, formed on 27 November 43 BCE, that this Second Triumvirate was the mother of all “Marxist” like revolutions, yes, revolutions, with the usual consequence: tyranny, increased plutocracy. A Marxist revolution more than 20 centuries ago: who would have thought (you read it here first!) The collapse of the Roman Republic inspired Marx (whether he realized it, or not) And if not Marx directly, certainly the French lawyers who engineered the “Terror” of 1793-1704 (nearly 16,000 executed)… And that sure inspired Marx in turn.

Marxism is so bad for the “left” that it is no wonder that, during World War One, the fascists and German financiers around the Kaiser, and not only around the Kaiser, got the smart idea to help Lenin, and his entourage, be all they could be, ferrying them, under German military escort, from Switzerland to Russia in a special train…. Spending even a night in Frankfurt! The top fascists in Germany knew very well they were spiritual brothers (the alliance went all the way until June 1941, when Hitler treacherously attacked his colleague Stalin… (Lenin made numerous allusions that he was funded by top “capitalists”… )

The so-called “left” will stay a toy of plutocracy, as long as it does not free itself of the poisonous ideas of plutocrat Engels, and his bushy beard employee, Karl Marx

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Garbage In, Marxist garbage out:

“Capital”, “Bourgeois”, “Class Struggle”, these are terms all know and all use, yet, those basic concepts of Marx are ill-defined, self-contradictory, outrageous, or hypocritical . Worse, in the end, those terms, because they bring in very deep contradictions weakened considerably the discourse of progress (that is rather ironical as Marx himself was keen to point out the “contradictions” of “Capitalism”).

There are many problems with Marx’s basic thesis — that capitalism is driven by a deeply divisive class struggle in which the ruling-class minority appropriates the surplus labor of the working-class majority as profit.

It is not that the Marxist thesis is completely absurd. But close to it. Marx sometimes makes any sense… but then he is not original.

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Karl Marx: “My object in life is to dethrone God and destroy capitalism.” Really? Whereas God Doesn’t exist, Capital is everywhere:

First, Marx talks of “capitalism” all the time… like I talk about “plutocracy” all the time. However, “plutocracy”, the power of evil, in my book, is a well-defined concept. Evil can be objectively defined: atom-bombing Hiroshima was evil…. Yet, if not necessary, given the initial conditions, optimal. “Evil” can be defined by acts… or neurohormones, and other brain activities. 

I use “plutocracy” in a maximally broadened sense (broadest sense often enables mathematicians to go to the essence of a logic… where the logic is the simplest!) 

Capital though, is a much broader concept than evil. Basically, all social animals have capital, namely their own society. A worker bee is not evil, yet it contributes to the capital of the hive, which is not restricted to the honey, but also includes the beehive, the honeycomb structure and even the queen bee herself! If capital happens pretty much in all societies, why should we focus on “Capitalism” alone? If “capitalism” is the ideology enabling the possession of “capital”, “capitalism” pretty much identifies with civilization: no capital, no civilization. Think of it: cities, agricultural systems, constitute capital. No capital, not even a society is to be had, because all and any society requires a territory.

The other day, I followed, for a very long time, two magnificent sea otters, payfully swimming along the Californian shore. All sorts of sea birds got very alarmed, screamed shrilly, and faked dive bombing when the otters came up on various rocks. Even crows joined in, flying over the sea, something they are not known to do, to help various sea birds try to bother the otters (who ignored superbly that impromptu air force, apparently playing dumb, in the hope of suddenly grabbing one of the insolent volatiles). So even the sea and recifes are viewed as vital territory. (I have seen many documentaries about otters; they omitted the undeniable fact those long and sinuous sea mammals  obviously raid birds’ nests…)

Land, a territory, a volume of sea, or air, constitute capital… do they make us wealthy? Or do they just enable us to survive, as thousands of invertebrate and vertebrate species more or less instinctively believe, when they defend their territory? If property theft, as Proudhon said, all social animals are thieves… And that is why tribes of social animals are so prone to fight each other to death(Proudhon later said he didn’t really mean it.)

Marx’s superficial little theory. However, the robots are coming. Thus, not only will common people be deprived of profits, capital, but even of… work. Just as happened in Rome.

Indeed what is “capital”? Property we own which makes us wealthy? Caves, houses, cities, dams, roads, sewers… Roman roads and sewers ,built more than 2,000 years ago are still, properly modernized, still in use? That’s capital! Even entire landscapes have been manufactured, and not just in the bocage of Normandy. A lot of the steppe was engineered, worldwide, for herding… thus the steppe itself is capital. Africans burn entire landscapes to cultivate on them…

Astute observers will argue that what Marx MEANT was “excess capital”. Yes, maybe Karl Marx meant that, making him as smart as that Fourth Century Italian, Saint Jerome (see notes). However, that’s not what he said. And Marx is not interpreted to be a sort of excited poet, like Sade, Nietzsche or Victor Hugo. Instead he is viewed by his admirers as a kind of dead serious “scientist” of sort, because, as Freud would later do he pretends to speak “scientifically”. The fact Marx used self-contradictory concepts

Can Marx please define wealthy? Wealthy like his friend Engels, who made Karl Marx possible? Engels, a wealthy member of the bourgeoisie, eldest son of his textile manufacturing father, provided, for nearly 40 years, the financial support that kept his collaborator Karl Marx at work on world-changing books… On the face of it, that’s rather suspicious. Engels was severely multinational, preferring “Irish stew” to all other meals. Nowadays, Engels would have been a member of the global plutocracy, jet setting in Davos.

If we restrict property to human artefacts, or the know-how to make them, and define capital that way, then, pretty much there would be no civilization without capital, and reciprocally.

Marx has a tendency to speak a lot, to say nothing intelligent. He claimed: “capitalism has an inbuilt tendency to destroy itself”. Where is an example?

In the “Communist Manifesto,” Marx and Engels wrote: “The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honored and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage laborers.”

Karl Marx and company, would you please define “Bourgeois”? The concept and word “bourgeois” arose in the Eleventh Century in the wealthiest parts of France, such as Normandy. It comes from the Frankish word “burg”, meaning a city. “Bourgeois” were free of the staus of serf (30 days did it!) The word “bourgeois” came into general usage around 1700 CE to designate the city dwelling middle class (whose descendants, typically lawyers, and doctors, engineered the Revolution of 1789).

Marx and Engels mumbo-jumbo above is erroneous: those professions above were not “converted”. How do Marx and Engels thought they earned a living earlier? Nor did they become despised. 

Proudhon was the first (and self-declared) “anarchist. Marx and Engels appropriated to themselves Proudhon’s intellectual capital, and, to make sure naive readers would not suspect their theft, insulted Proudhon in the process for good measure. However, the influence of Proudhon’s writing on events in the mid-Nineteenth Century, and its drift towards “socialism” was enormous.

The problem with inequality is not “Capital”, or “Capitalism”, per se (except for the fact capital tends to grow exponentially, as I have explained so many times, so those who have more capital grows it ever faster than those who have less). All civilizations knew this, except for the ridiculous tyranny Lenin imposed on Russia. However, that doesn’t mean the distribution of Capital shouldn’t be controlled. Quite the opposite. All societies redistributed capital, as needed; even Neolithic societies did this: when a great Plains Indian chief died, his thousands of horses would be redistributed. Vikings and Indians too did redistribution, including sending girlfriends of the chief, up in smoke.

The Roman republic, for centuries, had found an elegant way to insure capital was not just in a few hands:

https://patriceayme  .wordpress.com/2017/09/28/no-limit-on-wealth-no-democracy-roman-limit-22-million-why-rome-collapsed-part-iii/

Relative to the subtleties of authors such as Sade, Saint Ambrose, etc (see note)…  Karl Marx is just a brute. Therein his influence.

Marx, 1948, wrote in a newspaper: “there is only one way in which the murderous death agonies of the old society and the bloody birth throes of the new society can be shortened, simplified and concentrated, and that way is revolutionary TERROR.”. (Soon after, shirking destructive terror, the much more famous Proudhon was constructively elected to the National Assembly of France… Thus earning Marx’s hatred…) 

A (justly, but all too irritated) Karl Marx in the final issue of Neue Rheinische Zeitung reacting to the suppression of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung (18 May 1849)”Marx-Engels Gesamt-Ausgabe, Vol. VI, p. 503. Background: Yosemite.

Another example: …Far from opposing the so-called excesses – instances of popular vengeance against hated individuals or against public buildings with which hateful memories are associated – the workers’ party must not only tolerate these actions but must even give them direction.”

— Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, “Address of the Central Committee to the Communist League”, 1850. This sort of writing in Marx is ubiquitous:

“Long before me, bourgeois historians had described the historical development of this struggle between the classes, as had bourgeois economists their economic anatomy. My own contribution was (1) to show that the existence of classes is merely bound up with certain historical phases in the development of production; (2) that the class struggle necessarily leads to the DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT; [and] (3) that this dictatorship, itself, constitutes no more than a transition to the abolition of all classes and to a classless society.”

— Karl Marx, 1852

(At the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev declared an end to the “dictatorship of the proletariat” and the establishment of the “all people’s government“…)

[To tell the entire truth, Dr. Karl Marx’s republican writings were violently opposed by the Prussian Dictatorship (which had been in hoc with the Czarist government, and established a racist, anti-Jewish, anti-Slav government, after the defeat of France…]

Marx’s advocacy of violence, even “terror“, made him popular with tyrants like Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Ceausescu… & that’s why we are stuck with Marx: he is an echo of horror, a muddy thinking, which, by saying nothing clear, enabled everything murky… the power of the Dark Side.

Marx has polluted, not just social leaning individuals, worldwide, but the left, the “progressive” ideology. It’s not just that Marxism-Leninism brought us the USSR, and its ilk, and the thirty million dead or so, that, a drunk Stalin, chuckling, attributed to himself to a stunned Churchill. And Mao did the same.

Karl Marx taught first, in the widest, most ethereal way: ideologies promoting “terror” are good. Thus fascism, ultra-violent, terrifying fascism is good. Actually Marxism is a form of fascism in a generalization of the original, Romans, sense of the term: all We The People, united like fragile reeds in a bundle, a fasces, around the axe of justice.  

Hence the mood of Marxism was conducive to the mood of all other fascisms…. Because he had broken the ultimate official taboo: terror, yes terror, is good, “terror is the way”. Mussolini was, first, a professional Socialist. Hitler deliberately came out with a number of tricks to attract Marxists and “Communists”, from the red in the flag he invented, to the term “Socialist” in National-Socialism, to his party’s name, the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP, to, of course, the entire basic ideology of Marx, serving the “German Workers”, including raging against… “plutocrats”. Nazism was all about “the People” (Volk; from mass paid vacations, people car (“Volkswagen”), to mass public works, to the suppression of luxury clubs, etc,)

ADOLF HITLER said: “From the camp of bourgeois tradition, [Nazism] takes national resolve, and from the materialism of the Marxist dogma, living, creative Socialism“… Including the Marxist idea of imposing terror, massively: more than 10,000 enemies of Nazism assassinated in the streets of Germany in 1932 (just before the elections the NSDAP won, enabling Hitler to become Chancellor)

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And the poverty Marxism brought was not accidental, but deliberate:

In Marx, one finds plenty of quotes such as this:

“Private property has made us so stupid and one-sided that an object is only ours when we have it, when it exists for us as capital or when we directly possess, eat, drink, wear, inhabit it, etc., in short, when we use it. Although private property conceives all these immediate realizations of possession only as means of life; and the life they serve is the life of private property, labor, and capitalization. Therefore all the physical and intellectual senses have been replaced by the simple estrangement of all these senses – the sense of having. So that it might give birth to its inner wealth, human nature had to be reduced to this absolute poverty.Yes, poverty. Stalin would implement that for dozens of millions in the USSR.

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Why We should be fighting plutocracy, not just “classes” and “means of production”, and especially not “capital”; the example of Russia, Macedonia, Athens, Rome:

To discern what to do, one should look at history. Greco-Roman antiquity originated, and collapsed, in tyranny. Marx believed, stupidly, that tyranny was the solution, whereas it was the problem. Marx wanted to cure appendicitis with tyranny.

The point is that violence has enormous inertia, including mental inertia, precisely because it is the employment of force, including not just physical, but mental force.

[Force, F = ma means acceleration a which leads to high-speed v, and energy, E = 1/2 mvv. That energy E can in turn only be brought to zero by another force f exerted on a length l; that’s pure physics, but it translates into mental force and mental inertia, because, after all, neurology is all physics.]

Thus, once violence is launched, more violence is not necessarily the solution, as Marx believed, but can make the problem worse. A perfect example was the Czar’s regime: it was bad, violent, disgusting… however, it was also getting better, more democratic, and was making the Russian empire wealthier, and more modern at an accelerating pace (urged and financed by France, and her little investors and savers). Lenin and Stalin, clearly, made an improving country into something way worse (the details are complex as World War One was a crucial factor).

Another example is the Roman Republic: in its last 120 years, it became a plutocracy. After their leader, Caesar, got killed, the gigantic, best trained army Rome ever had, turned against that plutocracy, and imposed terror under the triumvirs, Antonius, Octavius and Lepidus. The Roman soldiers, led by their centurions imposed the sort of terror Marx dreamed of. Ultimately, though, this led to the stupidity of military dictatorship, thus mental dictatorship, thus collapse of intelligence and imagination, and, in turn, the collapse of the Roman State, in the West, five centuries later, and near collapse in the East, 650 years later.

It would have been better if Caesar’s army had not turned against Roman plutocracy, unleashing further, and more extravagant evil ways… But it went “Marxist”, and exerted terror (OK, it’s the other way around: Karl Marx duplicated the mindset of Caesar’s soldiers… although he posed it as the example to follow, whereas, what happened with Caesar’s army was mostly an accident, the unforeseen consequence of Caesar’s treacherous assassination!)

Macedonia, especially the dictatorship of Antipater, launched the Hellenistic regimes, all about tyrannies and terror… All sorts of progress faltered: in the Late Empire, stupidity was exploding, intellectual imagination, collapsing. What came to be the essence of the Soviet Union. In the end, looking at Russia nowadays, we see a dearth of intellectual capability, relative what could, and should have been… just like what happened with Greco-Roman antiquity, as tyrannies progressed.

We have seen Marxism before.

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Understanding plutocracy enough to steer it:

Musk and Bezos, are both engineers and multibillonaires (Bezos’s personal wealth, 16% of Amazon, is greater than the yearly GDP of 130 countries already, and growing). They are total plutocrats according to the usual definition of the word (and I have complained about the support SpaceX got from NASA). However they both believe that the conquest of space is vital…. And they are doing an excellent job, because they had the imagination to realize that re-usability was the key to space conquest, and the knowhow to implement it. So plutocracy can be a good thing, if steered well (yes they don’t treat their employees super… but don’t insist on that too much, because robots are in the wings…)

And the fact is, under all Marxist inspired regimes much more tyrants and mini-tyrants, without checks and balances did way worse, from having way more power. At least Musk and Bezos have to abide by Labor Laws…

So if Marxism is so bad, a self-defeating, lethal distraction, advertising against civilizational progress,  what to replace it with?

The theory of plutocracy, and how to limit the latter.

The theory of limiting plutocracy is not restricted to capital and its means of production, or pre-existing social classes. It aims at limiting all abuses of power that a combination of the Dark Side and civilization can bring. Including abuses from the judicial system. 

This is not new: already, more than 25 centuries ago, the semi-informal constitutions of Rome and Athens tried to limit the powers of magistrates in crushing citizens… Roman tribunes, who were sacrosanct, sometimes interposed themselves between citizen and magistrate! However, in Marxism, the magistrate, namely Marx, is supposed to exert “dictatorship”… as Stalin demonstrated!

For a better and more advanced revolutionary spirit we should get rid of the terror and mass murdering credo found in Marxism, which keeps haunting the minds of all too many “progressives”. Second, we should get rid of the tyrannical credo (no more dictatorship of the proletariat). Third, having observed that capitalism, or, at least, capital, is unavoidable, one should focus on preventing its excesses: prevent the accumulation of wealth, when it becomes tyrannical, per se, by concentrating too much power within too few hands.

There again the Roman Res Publica had found the way!

All of this to dispel the dangerous, and, ultimately, ineffective spirit Marx wrought, and embrace a more sustainable, and fairer way.

Fairness is something all social primates understand. Marxism does not. And that makes it an ideology too primitive for primates. And an intoxication for civilization: Jihadism, without God. Fifty years ago exactly, the best thinkers of May 1968 in France understood this, that Marxism had been a delicious, yet lethal poison, for progress, fairness and civilization. But that deep mindfulness was driven underground by arrivistes and opportunists, let alone Thatcher, Reagan and their spiritual children…

Now the “market” rules, in other words, how much we can sell you, or. at least your soul, since those who have all the money & power know everything about it. The stupid crime of believing that Marxism was clever came fully around, injecting poison in the tail that wags the dog.

Marx, prodigiously financed by hereditary plutocrat Engels, did socioeconomics and politics the way Ptolemy did astronomy: a fake, stupid theory to please his simplistic and cruel masters… which sets understanding back for 14 centuries (in the case of Ptolemy)…

Patrice Aymé  

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Notes: 0) Make no mistake, I am not saying Marx is bad all over. He believed that the way people lived made up their minds. The mode of production of material life determines the social, political and intellectual life process in general. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness. [Es ist nicht das Bewußtsein der Menschen, das ihr Sein, sondern umgekehrt ihr gesellschaftliches Sein, das ihr Bewusstsein bestimmt… Physiocrats, for example Adam Smith had a more general, thus more correct, notion of “mode of production”]

1) Marx condemned inequality, rightly so, but that doesn’t exculpate him from his grotesque, criminal, deviant and hopelessly distracting excesses, those very excesses which made his fame, his uses, and, besides, hundreds of millions, including most prominently the Roman Republic, Buddha and Christ had done so before: “Accumulation of wealth at one pole is at the same time accumulation of misery at the opposite pole.

2) Marx had no deep understanding of banking (he complained just of the monopoly of “banks”). Arguably less than his contemporary, president Jackson of the USA, who did his utmost to keep European style financial plutocracy out of the US. He said it was his proudest achievement. Jackson hated Rothschild, who boasted publicly that he was the power behind the throne.

2)  In 1797 the Marquis de Sade’s in his novel L’Histoire de Juliette: “Tracing the right of property back to its source, one infallibly arrives at usurpation. However, theft is only punished because it violates the right of property; but this right is itself nothing in origin but theft”. (That was famously parroted by Proudhon:”Property is theft!”. Later Proudhon tried to explain: “I took care to speak out against any communist conclusionProperty is freedom. … In respect of property, as for all economic factors, harm and abuse cannot be dissevered from the good, any more than debit can from asset in double-entry book-keeping. The one necessarily spawns the other. To seek to do away with the abuses of property, is to destroy the thing itself….”

To appreciate Marx as one appreciates Sade, or Nietzsche, or Rabelais, or Machiavelli, is fine: but most “Marxists” appreciated Marx as if he were Muhammad, and there were Wahhabis… And that’s not OK. Actually serious Marxism proved much deadly than Jihadism, in the last few centuries (and includes the Armenian Holocaust).

Interestingly, Saint Ambrose (circa 400 CE) taught that superfluum quod tenes tu furaris (the superfluous property which you hold you have stolen).… (Yes, we see everything in these writings of mine, even Saint Ambrose, usually reviled, quoted with deep approbation! That Saint Ambrose got it right, and Karl Marx didn’t is telling…)

The point here, that inequality is the problem, not capital itself, was well-known in the Roman Republic: wealth of families was capped absolutely. Such laws were passed in the Fourth Century Before Common Era, that is 24 centuries ago. (Why can’t we do it, now?)

I have written about this many times before; the so-called Roman sumptuary laws failed because of (Roman) globalization: see the link I gave above.

Globalization? … One of the exact same problem we are afflicted with.

However we have several advantages now: first the sorry example of Rome collapsing from Republic to Tyranny (“Principate” then “Dominate”). This example has been increasingly explored by recent historians… And lessons can be drawn. Those lessons were already drawn, to some extent many times before, by the Franks, the Normands, the Middle Ages… But now we have a much more detailed and thorough picture of what it takes to collapse civilization. Not to say the risks are not higher than ever: they are, especially from nukes

Second we pretty much have a world empire now (the UN, led by the Security Council), so we don’t have to worry about the wars which distracted Rome and served as a pretext to be led by generals, thus military and political fascism, facilitating economic fascism (the 1%!), and then all sorts of fascisms all over.  

3) Thomas Jefferson, one of the founding fathers of the United States, said “I hope we shall crush […] in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country” Notice Jefferson’s precision: he is not attacking “capital” in general, but wealthy corporations. So were the early founders of the USA. Times have changed…

Real Doom

September 26, 2011

RESIST MEEK & SUPERFICIAL EXPLANATIONS:

As The Going Is Getting Tougher, The Weak Is Saying Whatever, But The Tough Will Propose Harder Things:

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 Abstract: The Central Bank of the USA, Obama, Krugman and much of the left of the USA, let alone its banksters, claim that the present Greater Depression is a combination of over-production and lack of demand. Perhaps unbeknowst to them, this is straight out of Karl Marx. Although not without some superficial merits, that explanation comes very short to explain the extent of the crisis, which has more to do with the capture of democracy by banking.

 The resulting idiocy has blinsided us about even larger problems waiting in the wings, which are making their presence felt. Thus, it’s not about demand, as Obama, Krugman, the GOP, and the Fed believe(d). And providing more money to bankers will not change a thing, if that is all what is done. 

 A real change will come by reigniting the technological drive behind a worthy project. Yes, that will require a massive effort in better public schools, all the way to the highest research level.

 I propose a new technological drive, which is both completely feasible, and will be a game changer in what economy and survival are all about: energy. And no, it’s not about charging towards wind mills. And yes I propose this, because it will be hard, precisely. (We propose it because it is hard is what president JF Kennedy said, correctly and deeply, about his moon project. What I propose will be also much more useful.) 

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 A funny development is afoot: as the severity of the crisis reveals itself, the propaganda machine, unable to deny the existence of a depression, is trying to wrestle control of the discourse by reorienting it towards safer ground… In this case… Karl Marx (as we will see).

 A well connected anointed personalities of the left, John Judis, wrote an essay “Doom!“, quoted approvingly by Krugman. As I will show below, it looks good, and many of Judis’ arguments are excellent, all the more since they are well known, and that all the way since before Karl Marx. However it is still a sly manipulation, as the Marxist conclusion (“too much over production“), while partly correct in the 1930s, eschews the real problems. Then and now. Now being way worse than then.

 Curious times when Marx’s ideas can be manipulated into serving the plutocracy. True, Marx did not have that concept. The concept of plutocracy. Marx believed in the struggle of the classes, I believe into something much more sinister.

 “Doom!”was approved by Paul Krugman as can be seen in the following post, which is revealing in other ways… Krugman’s post is remarkable by his honesty (see the parts I underlined).

 After quoting Krugman, I will explain why “Doom!” is a dangerous whitewash full of disinformation. Truthiness is at its worse when it is carefully laid down to lead us astray.

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WHEN CHAOS REIGNS, BY DEFINITION A LITTLE CAN DO A LOT:

 Here is Krugman,September 20, 2011, 4:39 pm

 Doom!

 That’s the title of a new article by John Judis about how policy around the advanced world is now aggravating the slump — and how things look likely to get even worse looking forward. It’s not very different from what I’ve been saying, but Judis offers more historical depth in the comparison with the 30s.

Actually, I’ve been thinking about that parallel — and how truly remarkable it is.

I was recently asked to give a talk on “capitalism and democracy”; that’s bigger-think than I usually do, but I gave it a try. I took as my starting point the famous Fukuyama thesis that liberal democracy — meaning basically a market economy plus democratic institutions — was an end state, a final resting point for state organization.

I always had my doubts about that, largely thanks to the 1930s: what we saw there was that a severe economic crisis could put liberal democracy very much at risk. And it was a close-run thing: slightly better strategic decisions by the bad guys could have made totalitarianism, not democracy, the end state.

It seemed to me even when Fukuyama first wrote that this could and probably would happen again, that there would be future crises that would put our system — which I agree is a very good system — at risk.

But one thing I was sure of was that the next great crisis would be different. It would be environmental, or about resource shortages, or about runaway technologies, or something; it wouldn’t be about a banking crisis and a collapse of aggregate demand, aggravated by bad monetary and fiscal policy. We’d learned too much to repeat that performance — right?

Wrong. The amazing thing now is not that we’re having a crisis, it’s the fact that we’re having the same crisis, and making the same mistakes.

A lot of the blame goes to the economists, by the way, who abandoned what they used to know — and many of whom are giving bad advice now, I firmly believe, based more on ego and political affiliation than on analysis. That is, I believe that we’re looking at a moral failure as well as an intellectual failure.

Anyway, awesome. And depressing.

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WAR BETWEEN THE MIGHTY CAN BE A MOST UNSTABLE THING:

 Bigger-think than I usually do? Bigger admission than those people with fancy credentials usually make. Honnesty in top thinkers who are after the truth allows them to perform better (but does not help their friendships, so there is a complementarity between depth of discovery and influence in one’s lifetime).

 Let’s analyze in more detail Krugman’s assertion above: “slightly better strategic decisions by the bad guys could have made totalitarianism, not democracy, the end state.”

 This has been one of my points, over the years. I will not go into much details here, just a few illustrations. At Dunquerque (“Dunkirk”), the French army made a successful defensive ring which allowed the professional British army to escape. Had that not been the case, Britain would have been defenseless… The next big Nazi mistake was not to have pushed a few more days in its attempt at destroying the Royal Air Force… Because it was succeeding. Instead the enraged Nazis switched to city bombing, which spared the RAF. And so on.

 Anxious to keep himself popular with his adoring German supporters, Hitler did not switch the German economy into a command economy until well after major disasters, in 1943. The Soviet (of course), British (unobviously), and American economies (spectacularly) had been switched to command economies years before. So Germany, after a jump start into militarization after the Nazis came to power, was slow in mobilizing all its resources.

 By the way, the necessity of this switch from market to command, shows that COMMAND ECONOMIES CAN BE VASTLY SUPERIOR to free markets. What Krugman calls “our system” was not “our system” when it really mattered, during WWII.

 Had Hitler not personally slowed down the development of the Me263 jet fighter (to make it into a bomber to bomb my dad), by more than a year, Germany would have regained air supremacy by Spring 1944, which would have changed everything (it’s not me saying it, but the U.S. Air Force).

 It is intriguing to know that the obverse is even more true: slightly better strategic decisions by the GOOD guys could have defeated totalitarianism quickly. Or just less bad luck, or fewer grave tactical errors. As when that Spitfire pilot saw Nazi armor jammed in the Ardennes’ forests. But he was not believed. Indeed stuffing all of one’s army on one road in one forest was considered an insanely demented mistake, and the Franco-British command could not possibly imagine that the Nazis were that stupid and crazy. Just what Hitler and a handful of generals hoped would happen, to the disbelief of their less mentally imbalanced colleagues. 

 Morality: never underestimate the insanity and stupidity of your lethal adversary. And the more fascist, your adversary will be, the more insane and stupid.

 BAD LUCK: the French army had fully anticipated the obvious German offensive (“Case Yellow“), down to the fact that it would have two main axes through Belgium, and exactly where those axes would be. They were ready for it, and knew they would cut off German armor from behind.  However a plane with the plans crashed in Belgium, and the Nazis switched to a wild and crazy plan concocted by Hitler and his friend the Duke of Windsor (a Nazi fanatic judiciously made inspector general of the British, hence French, defenses, and whose keenest reader was Adolf Hitler himself; Hollywood was correct to make a movie about a king’s speech impediment instead, to help cover the sordid truth).

 Now, of course, when the French high command sent its armored, mobile, seven division reserve to the Netherlands, while smartly keeping no less than half of the French air force out of France, the strategic mistakes were bewildering (there are reasons to believe it was not all accidental, just like with the duke of Windsor, the ex-king who was not tried and shot as he deserved, and it is better to make movies about his successor’s voice. Anything to avoid exploring what really happened in 1939-1940!)

 And, of course, if the USA had gone into the war by the side of France and Britain in 1939, instead of joining Hitler (under cover, but de facto), the Nazis would have been promptly defeated.

 The grand conclusion is this: World War Two was a highly unstable, chaotic adventure (in re-runs of the Battle of France in 1940 and the battle of Midway in 1942, the Nazis and the Americans lose nearly every time, so both were lucky, very lucky, and chaos going just a bit differently would have brought a different world society, now.).

***

ATHENS HAD DIRECT DEMOCRACY, WE PREFER REPRESENTATIVE FASCISM:

 Another statement of Krugman is worth pondering:“I took as my starting point the famous Fukuyama thesis that liberal democracy — meaning basically a market economy plus democratic institutions — was an end state, a final resting point for state organization.”

 This Fuk. thesis is of course the grave mistake, self serving to the oligarchies, that civilization is making: instead of having a real democracy, Athenian style, namely direct democracy, as in the paleolithic cave, for the last four million years, we have a system now closer to elected fascism. A few elected people, in connivance with at most a few thousands, completely unelected conspirators, worldwide, decide for everybody, in connivance with a much larger body of plutocrats, who would be convicts, should justice be applied to them.

 OK, it’s not anywhere as obvious as in Russia, where Putin will be dictator president until 2024 (he just announced boldly; OK, at least in the USSR, I mean the Russian Federation, one knows who is the boss, whereas in the West one knows who the puppets are).

 The result of the representative fascism we have is an increasingly deeper lack of intelligence, as the handling of the crisis demonstrate.

 There is not much serious debate of the whole population in the system we have, in contrast of what happened in ancient Athens. Only polls are consulted, but polls are the fruit of public opinion, itself heavily manipulated by plutocratically controlled media. “Greek” crisis: in truth, it’s mostly a foolish lending crisis. “Subprime crisis”: in truth it was first of all a derivative crisis. Still is. “Euro” crisis: mostly the dismantlement of a system devised by private banks for private banks, were dangerous investments were disguised as AAA+, in the guise of Euro unification.

 And so on. Palestine not a state: no problem, let’s make Palestine the object of a final peace process, that’s the final solution, for however long it takes, American style (hint about what that means: look for the Cherokees!)

  So all depends upon Obama, thinking in his king size cherry bed (which is particularly comfortable, “The Economist” told us.)

***

NO CONTEMPT IS HIGH ENOUGH:

 The thesis of Judis of the New republic is repeated by Krugman faithfully:

 “The amazing thing now is not that we’re having a crisis, it’s the fact that we’re having the same crisis [as in the 1930s], and making the same mistakes.” But Judis, and apparently Krugman, make the mistake of believing that the crisis is only about that, being an exact copy of the crisis of the 1930s.

 Let me quote Judis extensively (as the article is only for subscribers):

 “TODAY’S RECESSION does not merely resemble the Great Depression; it is, to a real extent, a recurrence of it. It has the same unique causes and the same initial trajectory. Both downturns were triggered by a financial crisis coming on top of, and then deepening, a slowdown in industrial production and employment that had begun earlier and that was caused in part by rapid technological innovation. The 1920s saw the spread of electrification in industry; the 1990s saw the triumph of computerization in manufacturing and services. The recessions in 1926 and 2001 were both followed by “jobless recoveries.”

In each case, the financial crisis generated an overhang of consumer and business debt that —along with growing unemployment and underemployment, and the failure of real wages to rise— reduced effective demand to the point where the economy, without extensive government intervention, spun into a downward spiral of joblessness. The accumulation of debt also undermined the use of monetary policy to revive the economy. Even zero-percent interest rates could not induce private investment.

Finally, in contrast to the usual post-World War II recession, our current downturn, like the Great Depression, is global in character.”

  Well, yes and no. Yes, all the preceding is true. But, THIS TIME, it’s only a small part of the story, and not the worst.

  However, this simplistic a minima analysis is what has led the Obama administration, and others, to believe that demand is the only problem, just as in the 1930s: augment demand, and the crisis goes away. so Judis’ interpretation is not different from Bushama, or Krugman, or many others: just the depth of the crisis changes.

  Lowering interest rates thus was viewed as essential. But it’s not. Jobs are essential. There is no need for interest rates to be manipulated to get jobs. Command economies have demonstrated this before, ever since (Consul, general and imperator) Marius’ legions dug a canal from Arles to the Mediterranean sea (102 BCE). Or, before that the Chinese, the Mesopotamians and the Egyptians built massive canals, in what were, obviously, huge government programs.

 The first Egyptian canal is 6,000 year old. Egypt built another large canal in 1,700 BCE. The Shatt-el-hai Canal was built, linking the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, in 2,200 BCE. Command economies work, and they work more.

 My interpretation is not that interest rates are too high. Anyway, interest rates  are basically zero, and so they have been, basically zero in Japan for 21 years, and the crisis is still there, there.

 My interpretation, instead, is that we suffer from a misallocation of capital, not so much quantitatively, than qualitatively. Krugman, instead, like Obabla, believe that if we send just so much more money to their banksters friends, a miracle will happen, and the bansters will walk on the water, make bread, distribute fishes, and offer the wine.

 But the bread is laden with pesticides, the fishes soaked in mercury, the wine is just a rising acid sea, and banksters make only gifts to Obabla, and the other friends they have.  

***

DIFFERENCES WITH THE 1930S:

 Judis forgets a number of details, each planetary sized. There was no worldwide energy crisis in the 1930s, nor CO2 poisoning, nor a demographic crisis. Weapons of Mass destruction did not exist, and the biosphere had not started to die. Neither the Nazis nor the Soviets ever advocated extra judicial treatments and torture (as the super bully did recently, and practices worldwide for all to see, and learn). OK, Nazis and Soviets were not tender footed. But they did not dare being that devolved for all to see.

 Conveniently, Judis forgets also other ecological dimensions, completely. Among them:

 The USA decided to make food into fuel, so food prices jumped, worldwide, and have reached a permanent higher slope. Which has already led to the starvation of many, and dozens of millions, very soon, according to the specialists. But never mind: the USA has lowered the percentage of its oil exports from around 60% to 47% (with lots of “fracking”: finding oil and gas for an inefficient economy is well worth fracturing the entire USA!) And then, of course there is the cost of fossil fuels, which has thrown economies in recession, more than once.

 Judis also forgets the military element: in the 1930s, the USA was at peace. Right now, the USA is at war, all over, and in a very expensive way. Aside from the official soldiery, the Pentagon employs no less than 291,000 private mercenaries. With the intelligence agencies, one gets to about all the budget American taxes pay for, one trillion dollars. Making war against the world is expensive, as Hitler found out. Of course, as he was the first to point out, he did not have the means of the USA. Thus what we have now, mad bull losing its way, in more ways than one, is the real thing.

 In the 1930s, Americans could afford health care. Right now, thanks to (industry) gold plated Obamacare, health spending relative to GDP is climbing vertically: I saw a graph where, in the latest year, health care spending went from 16% of GDP to 18%. At this rate, before the end of Perry’s first presidency, only Congress, the White House, and plutocrats will be able to afford health care.

 Judis also forgets the democratic deficit: Obama, in his star struck simplicity, goes around, quoting the richest men in the world, calling them “my friends“. We are all supposed to be on our knees, swooning with love, as most of disposable GDP is sent towards the superrich, and we are told to follow spiritually the superrich, and tax them more, just as they said.  if Buffet says so, teaches Obama, so it ought to go, because who knows better. If Obama knew a bit of history he would not have waited Buffet and gates to teach him that taxation has to be progressive, just to stay in place. This has been known, and practiced, for 10,000 years. Except in plutocracy. Thus plutocracy was the apparent state of Obama’s nominal reign, so far, since the plutocrats themselves had to tell Obama that it looked bad.

 Next: wolves to come to the sheep pen, and Obama informs us that those quadrupedic wells of wisdom are coming to be shorn. And he shall recommend to do as they said.

 Judis claims the entire problem is over production. As in the 1930s, he says. But that is a complete misinterpretation of the crisis of the 1930s, first of all. That was more caused by the wrong decisions, coming from hubris, rather than by anything else. Now this master cause we have come to enjoy again. Stupid hubris to the point of dementia.

 The interpretation a minima of the crisis by Judis, claiming meekly that it is just as in 1930s, is very convenient to the plutocracy.

 It stands Marx on its head: you see, according to Judis and al., the problem is that workers worked too much! I hope Judis gets invited to a lot of parties in Manhattan, and the Hamptons, by the superrich and influential: he has done well for the malefactors of great wealth.

 Let’s fire more workers, indeed, Mr. Judis. Before they get angry and set fire to that “democratic” ultimate state Fukuyama was paid to be so proud of. 

 In truth preisdent FDR refused an over-production interpretation of the 1930s crisis. According to FDR, the real crisis emanated from the “money changers“. In other words:

***

THE REAL CRISIS. ROGUE MONEY CREATION:

 The more they lend money they do not have, with the benediction of their conspirators in government, the richer the bankers get. It’s as simple as that.

 Krugman seems to have been converted to this view two days ago, as in a rare seizure of truth about Europe, he reveals the “Origins Of The Euro Crisis“. …”it is very difficult in real time to convince people that capital inflows pose a threat, no matter how obvious the numbers seem.”

 In other words, money created in arbitrarily large quantities causes large tsunamis, tearing all societies in their way. We are far from Karl Marx’s critiques. But Krugman fails to see the connection with the fact that Judis is wrong, and that it is also wrong to use the Fed to send arbitrarily large flows of money to giant private banks, which are themselves permitted to use as much leverage as they want, directing those tsunamis each time they see a new landscape primed for devastation.

 This is why Japanese banks lent to real estate speculators and “zai tech” artists before 1990, and frantically all over South East Asia in the 1990s. Big banks all over EU and the USA duplicated the method in the late 1990s and 2000s, with the complicity of central banks and governments. A flood of money was for all actors to have. That is the influential actors, those who can invite the president of the USA for a sleep over.

 Then the president will invest half a billion in your society (say a solar company financed from those friends who had him at dinner, and made him feel important). Don’t worry: now that these solar companies are bankrupt, the venture capitalists will be the ones to see their money come back (contrarily to usual usage of venture financing where early investors lose all). Thus, they will be able to get their “democratic” president re-elected. No the taxpayers will not see their money come back, it’s lost for good, and this is only justice, they are only suckers, what are they going to do? Vote for Perry? Really? 

 The money rushed particularly towards untapped markets: derivatives, subprime, and European periphery. There was no cause of worry: in 1996 various indicators were as bad as in 1929. What did the head of the Fed do? Greenspan provided more money so that the party could keep on burning the house. He used as pretexts, a whole succession of crises: South East Asia collapse, Russian collapse, and LTCM. Long Term capital Management was a hedge fund full of friends and Very Honorable People.

 Then there was the year 2000 crisis (no kidding), and the Internet Bubble. Greenspan kept on forking the money. Naive creatures such as Nobel Paul Krugman have asked for more of the same, and I am all for it.

 However the way the American Central Bank has been sending the money is through the private banks. Or more exactly the same small conspiracy of bankers, a gang of banksters. Look at Rubin and Summers to see what I mean: already ultra powerful under Hollywood actor Ronald Reagan, those financial manipulators reached even higher even before the ignorant, but surprised Bill Clinton was elected. Then they took control of their Obamabot, a tele prompted device: a more advanced technology than Clinton. If one is to believed recent revelations, Rubin, Summers and their Geithner device, outright ignored the Obamabot, as happens in star Wars with idiosyncratic robots, when they scoffed at his erratic orders.

 What happened since 1996 (which was in many ways like 1929, as far as the indicators were concerned, as I said) is that at each episode, at each crisis of liquidity, the banksters were encouraged by the governments to throw more money, more investment. The correct course would have been, instead to regulate tightly the money flows according to higher principles. That is what the PRC, the People Republic of China, does.

 But how do banks create all that money? Through leverage. So the leverage got globally ever worse, at each further step of curing over lending by more money creation. Derivatives have reached more than ten times world GDP. The superrich and their servants in government loved it, as they became ever richer (since they serve themselves as the giant cash flows pass below their noses). This points immediately to the most obvious aspect of major problem: the super giant leverage is private. That, in turn, points at the solution, as I point out in conclusion.

 As the conditions become adverse, the latest leverages, most giant, most adventurous, more leveraged than ever, have to be inverted. As Kash Mansori (approved by Krugman) points out, in the case of the European debt crisis.

***

SOLUTIONS LOOKING FORWARD:

 As usual when there are crises, opportunists move for easy pickings, and the kill. American plutocrats and their supporters see an occasion to “explode” the European Union, for example.

 So what to do with all this insanity? There is a number of simple measures which are in the air in France and Germany, or even the UK and the USA:

 a) Getting rid of those who say we don’t need a Financial Transaction Tax, like Geithner. A FTT will discourage banks from engaging in fake trades with each other, and from extracting all profits or capital from legitimate investments in the real economy. It has to be implemented right away, as Merkozy says.

It’s a torpedo to fire at plutocracy that even European conservatives agree should be fired. European conservatives like money, they don’t like to hang from lamposts.

The Eurogroup should not hesitate to use the threat of force (by forcing a lot of financial euro business to be conducted in the Eurozone, and also by threatening to facilitate a lessening of euro valuation, as I said in the preceding essay).

 b) Getting rid of those who, like the German Vice chancellor, Rösler, ironically head of the “Free Democratic party”, want to abrogate the rights of completely innocent people and nations’ rights. OK, like Hitler, Kaiser Wilhelm, Stalin, Sarkozy or Obama, there are some doubts about his true origins, at least in his mind, so he is anxious to show he belongs, because he is more patriotic, and no patriotic act is high, or hard enough, for him to commit in front of the admiring crowd.

 Krugman is now mellowing a bit about the euro, saying that the “the euro is going to have a chance of working only if the ECB delivers much more expansionary and, yes, inflationary policies than the market now expects. If you don’t think that’s a possibility, say goodbye to the euro project.”

 “Euro project“? What about the “dollar project”? How is that doing? That would also be helped by small inflation, too, as long as capital is well allocated. But, to do this, gross misallocation of capital by itself, for itself, should be stopped, and that means a FTT. and also, for the USA, a Value Added Tax, to foster savings (total USA debt, including “Government Sponsored Enterprises” is well above 400% of GDP, arguably only less than the total debt of the UK and Japan).  

 c) Push fundamental research and development, give society a project, indeed, and a dream that will bear fruit.

 Improbably president Kennedy ordered the USA to land on the moon, with exalted firecracker technology. It worked. It was sort of useful , be it only by broadening humankind’s vision.

If Obama were really smart, he would have proposed a similar project. He should. The prime candidate is laser triggered thermonuclear fusion. It’s not plausible that it will not work on an efficient industrial level. (The USA, UK, and French programs are already talking to each other; one should make it into the next moon like project, an occasion to teach Krugman the difference between “project” and “currency”.)

 Some of the naive will say: thermonuclear, what for?

 Well, don’t believe the propaganda that there is plenty of oil and gas. We are past peak cheap oil. Now, indeed, we can have centuries of unbearably expensive (financially, socially, ecologically) oil, and gas and coal. But unbearable is the word. Starting in 2016, the prices will augment vertiginuously.

 Meanwhile demand is exploding: cars are supposed to quickly double to two billions, as emerging countries get to drive. China and India build four coal plants, a WEEK. Soon there will so much mercury vapor deposited from burning all that coal, that fish will be inedible, anywhere.

 The 30% more acidic oceans are now rising 5mm a year. Yes, the rise of the waters has accelerated.

 We need a new massive energy source, and it’s going to be nuclear, one way, or another. No more of that Roman energy stuff. We can do better than Inuits 1,000 years ago, who already burned oil. Because the superior Viking did not copy Inuit technology, they disappeared from Greenland. Our case is worse: we have nobody to copy. OK, maybe the Inuits, if it comes down to that. But don’t forget that mercury fish. Well, when one’s brain is full of mercury, one has forgotten what forgetting means, good point. Long live coal, down with nuclear, as completely idiotic pseudo ecologists say.

 And don’t tire me with the obsolete 50 year old plant at Fukushima hit by the giant wave after the giant quake, and without having done any of the mandated work on emergency generators: pictures show that the raccoon dog, the Tanuki, is back, frolicking among the reactors… Same in Chernobyl. Maybe we could explode a few thousand nuclear reactors, so wildlife would thrive? just wondering. Won’t happen with mercury, though, indeed… Actually a low level of radiation is well known to improve health, through the triggering of subtle repair mechanisms…

 Thus the number one strategy ought to be to declare a state of socio-technological emergency, and push for more brains in science, and shower the whole area with all this money the Financial Transaction Tax will send in the direction of common sense. With a clear target: tame thermonuclear fusion in 10 years, for power generation. It can be done (it’s just a question of augmenting a firing rate, and receiving the neutron efficiently).

 Late Imperial Rome died, in part, from its devastation of the ecology having caught up with its mostly stagnant technology: the “malefactors of great wealth” (as president Theodore Roosevelt called them) hate thinking (and rightly so, from their point of view of greedy crocodiles!) Rome was mastered by, submitted to, malefactors of extreme wealth. Some Roman bishops had 400 slaves. Malefactors of great wealth hypnotizing the People into superstition, away from reason, knowledge and wisdom.

 The Franks and other Germans developed more appropriate renewable technologies than the Romans had (wooden constructions and water wheels everywhere), and soon completely new technologies the Romans never even dreamed of (deep ploughs, massive labor horses, beans, etc.)

 A massive technological project to pull us up is bigger-think than Krugman, or Obama, and a fortiori the rest of the government of the USA usually do, but that is (part of) what is needed.

 Ah, and what of the super giant private leverage now incapable of supporting its own weight? Well default it, thanks to public funds which will acquire title and control (what Obabla did not do… yet). Once the European public fund for stability (etc.) is deployed and massively leveraged into many trillion dollars, one will have such a (trans)national public bank, which, under the People’s control, will be able to return banking to the real economy, and maybe even sanity. As it will crush all the hedge funds in the way, especially after a Financial Transaction Tax has been instituted.

***

Patrice Ayme

***

To answer a reader, just now: There are about 100 potential nuclear fission technologies all much safer than the present ones. China has a national Liquid Thorium Reactor project (project: learn, Krugman, learn…). France also finances a bit such research. The advantages of LTR reactors are enormous (they were studied initially as engines for planes). But of course nothing would be fusion (besides ITER, and the laser approach, there are other realizable fusion technologies within profitable energy production grasp.)