Posts Tagged ‘Proceedings of the national academy of sciences’

Borrowing For Nothing. Twice.

July 31, 2011


Abstract: The government of the USA has borrowed enormously, when it was expensive to do so, to enslave its population, instead of raising taxes on the hyper rich, and tax corporations (many of the largest, instead, get more money from the government than they pay in taxes).

Obama was full leader of this apparent madness: as he was in total control of the USA, he spent his time pleading with the republicans that he was the adult in the room, and there was enough blame to go around, so he won’t play that blame game. Such circuitous logic in outer space, very cool, allowed him to do nothing, but ingratiating himself with the plutocracy, personally, while the pundits could claim it was all beyond them.  That apparent madness does make sense, underground.

Now, however, that the government of the USA can borrow for nothing, to create jobs, it refuses to do so. Both maddening ways of mishandling debt are fruits of the same logic, I claim, and it is all entirely natural, considering who truly lead the USA. Expanding massively on Krugman’s pondering, we explore that apparent contradiction psychoanalytically, and find how to make sense of it all.



When the government of the USA spends one dollar, it borrows 40 cents. We are going to think about what this means.

Professor Samuel Bowles of the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico argued in July 2010 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that farming made no sense when it arose. Or, more precisely, makes no sense within the conventional “Better Mousetrap Theory“. That says that new technologies evolve, which are more efficient, and thus they are adopted for narrow, purely economic reasons. And that adoption modifies society in turn.

Instead, Bowles found that a much bigger picture is needed. I have advocated such a bigger picture for a very long time. Most drastically, purely philosophical changes can have direct predatory effects. This is found in several guises, in the rest of this essay. why to insist on predation? Well, predation primes evolution, as the one who has been eaten cannot evolve as a free agent anymore. Plutocracy often devours the very society, country, even the civilization, which has given birth to it. Rome and the Mayas are examples.

Textbooks tell us cultivation and herding came about because they allowed humans access to more abundant food. But an analysis from Bowles shows that they were much less efficient than the hunter-gatherer lifestyle they replaced in terms of producing food. I believe that Bowles may overstate his case a bit. However, early farmers ate less well, and there were more of them, and both of these are known facts, from direct archeological evidence (see Bowles’ abstract reproduced in the note below.)

Why then did humans make the switch to agriculture? More children and more war capability is the answer arrived at by Bowles. This supports one of the great philosophical themes of this blog. Namely there is more to economy, and to civilization, than what activates conventional economists.

In particular, the switch from the Greco-Romans to the Franks was, first a philosophical switch, from the enslaving, sexist, superstitious, obscurantist to less sexist, secular, free, in other words, frank, system. It also boosted military performance, just like the switch to agriculture. As the USA deviates from the philosophical principles of the Franks, it deviates back into obscurantism and plutocracy.

When the government of the USA spends one dollar, it borrows 40 cents.

Borrow 40 cents to do what? To be the imperial power of the world, the super power, with a total military plus “black operations” budget close to a trillion dollars, bases all around the world, and countless useless military programs (new aircraft carriers, F35, all known not to work before they even sail or fly, etc.) Plus several totally useless, counterproductive wars (and I am counting Libya as a useful war, and it’s mostly fought by France, seconded by Britain, anyway).

Useless wars? The wars are against, or between variants of Islam. So they are, in first order, theological debates. The only correct position for western democracies, looking in, is secularism. Instead, Obama has posed a mullah in chief, telling us some variants of Islam were not really Islam, and that is why he fights them, etc. Ridiculous.  

One true reason for the wars has been the support, by the West, to get oil, of feudal regimes resting on obsolete, fanatical Islam. When Obama says there is nothing wrong about (THAT) Islam, he feeds the pump. And the animosity. Nothing wrong with Wahhabism? Says the legitimately furious: “Let me show you!”

Counterproductive wars? By striking unlawfully populations by missiles fired from robots often operated by non military personnel, without a UN authorization, Obama has put the USA out of the law in several ways. That Bush started it is no excuse. Bush knew it was wrong, for the reasons I cited, so did not do it much. Now, of course, idiots have said it was highly productive. The same idiots, or the same sort of idiots used to say that the relationship with Bin Laden was highly productive. Then there was 9/11, and they forgot all the idiocies they had said before, and Obama told us the USA did not start it. Start what? The relationship with bin Laden? If Obama makes war in Yemen, said war should be made legally, officially.

Western democracies are not, or were not, and are not supposed to be, piratical regimes operating in the dark on a massive scale. If we have grudges, they should be legitimate, so they should stand in the light, for all to see, and our cause ought to be just, for all to see, and that is why and how we stand in the light… We cannot do this, because our cause is not just. Obama loves to do everything in the dark, not to say the black (since he prefers red), and that is fundamentally antidemocratic, as his campaign argued, following closely my various sites.

So this is what Obama and its USA do with its trillion dollars on war, spent annually: make enemies who have been treated really badly, and then lose wars. Indeed the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are total losses. All what comes out of it, is thousands of enraged, fanatical, aggrieved warriors, ready to visit many 9/11s on the West.  At first sight, it makes no sense. But that is because one is looking above the ground. Underground, where Pluto dwells, it makes sense. Therein another true reason for the military madness.

One can compare with France, which was able to fight and win an Ivory Coast war, after obtaining a UN mandate. (Well, in truth, France attacked first, and, because the cause was just, got the UN in, later; the USA cannot go to the UN about Yemen, because the USA’s cause in Yemen is not just!)

France operates on a military budget which is incredibly lean relative to that of the USA. However France engaged as leading actor in the two wars of 2011, in Ivory Coast, and Libya. France had been the leading actor in the war against Serbia in the 1990s (no, it was not Clinton! France was followed by Britain, under a UN mandate, and the USA intervened decisively, but years later). And was the only actor to finish the civil war in Rwanda (the USA just gave a logistical support to France). Of course France was the leading, sacrificial, actor against Hitler, and that is no coincidence. All these wars were, ultimately, big wins, and they helped France, as a nation. Not just her military-industrial complex. It extirpated fascism incompatible with French democracy. And that is why Britain often follows. It does not have to do with materialism obsessed imperialism, but  with the imperialism democracy needs to survive (examplified by the wars the Roman republic led in its heydays).

The difference between the French and American war spending right now, is that the French military is supposed to win wars, at this point, not just being a big pork barrel (France has been there, and done that, way back in the 1930s, leading to the astounding defeat of May 1940).

The American war in Afghanistan was never fought to be won, as letting bin Laden escape at Tora Bora proved. It was just fought to justify the American military expenses. The same holds for the ambivalent conspiracies subterraneously manipulated by American services in Pakistan. One cannot escape the conclusion that, when the USA paid for Pakistani nukes, under G. W. Bush, the aim was just to create a potential justification for more military spending by the USA.

When the government of the USA spends one dollar, it borrows 40 cents.

Borrow 40 cents from whom? Most of them, from the Chinese dictatorship. Those who don’t know history, nor economics, nor common sense, argue perpetually that this is an insurance policy, as China will never attack who it is owed money by. Right. 1 + 1 = 0. Too! This is literally right, in base two (not in the conventional numbering system, which is in base ten). Nearly all statements can be viewed as right, if one tweaks their context enough.

Right, just as China will never destroy American aircraft carriers, although, in its naivety, the Chinese army believes it can do so, with new special ballistic missiles. Who is naïve there? the Chinese military, or American pundits and lobbyists? With the future F35 defending American carriers, with its puny range, half of that of the existing French Rafale, and its minuscule payload (whereas the Rafale can take off with nearly three times its empty weight!), we can be sure that the Chinese do not feel too scared.

When the government of the USA spends one dollar, it borrows 40 cents.

Why? Because it makes the American population into serfs. As simple as that. This is exactly how serfdom arose. From debt. And this is the effect that the American oligarchy is looking for. Because it is inferior, and tries to prove to itself that it is not so, by piling up material goods, with bigger planes, bigger mansions, more islands and beaches, privately owned, more servants… And by piling up power and influence, like Murderoch, to forget the ugly hearts and feeble minds they are affected with.

In the Eight Century, the empire of the Franks, the Imperium Francorum, was the richest, but less defended, part of the world. So it was invaded, from the North (Vikings), from the East (Avars, a sort of Huns or Mongols), and from the South (Arab and Berber Islamist armies, foaming at the mouth, which had created, undefeated, the world’s largest empire, by the sword, in less than a generation, extending from India and China to the Atlantic).

The Franks not only resisted, but counterpunched. They freed Northern Spain from the Islamists, conquered Hungary, pushed civilization east of Berlin, rolled back the Muslim out of Rome and Italy, “Christianized” the heathens up north, etc.

So the Franks had huge military spending. They did not borrow from China, or other hostiles, to pay for it. Instead they nationalized hyper wealth, namely, their piggy bank, the Christian Church.

Then the Frankish military borrowed heavily from the peasants, and made them pay, in turn, for their services. A weird communist organization with lords on top came out of it all: the feudal system. It was highly effective to create military supremacy, as the Franks not only conquered England, Sicily, Cyprus, and crusading armies not only fought and conquered the Balts or reconquered Jerusalem, but the Spanish crusader army, which was supposed to finish Islam in North Africa and the Middle East, for good, got diverted, to the just discovered Americas, and conquered that. (The conquest of North America was stopped by emperor Charles V, on the ground that a holocaust had been committed.)

When the government of the USA spends one dollar, it borrows 40 cents.

Why can’t the government of the USA find the money elsewhere than China? Because American plutocracy, basically, wants to turn average Americans into serfs. That may sound counterintuitive. But it is not. (Moreover, it has a little plot plus conspiracy going with the Chinese dictators, although Immel, head of GE, right arm of his little boy Obama, has screamed stridently recently that it was not so: the louder they scream, the more obnoxious they are.)

The Very Serious People leading the USA are plutocrats and their obsequious servants (contemplate Geithner for obsequiousness). The plutocrats want to keep on flying private jets, live in mansions, etc. They want hordes of servants, and domestics. They want the ear, not to say the beck and call, of the White House.

Krugman attracts the attention (July 31, 2011) upon the fact that borrowing now comes for free, so, presumably, one could borrow massively, not to fund useless pursuits, such as the military-industrial complex all around the planet, but to give people jobs.

However the plutocratic party has insisted to cut spending, just when it should be maximized to put people to work. The true employment rate of the working age population in the USA is now less than what it is in France, the archetype welfare state vilified by Murderochs and other plutocrats. And this is a general effect relative to Europe, see the graph in Krugman’s “The End Of Eurosclerosis“. The USA looks better in employment, only when one puts the elderly and children to work in the statistics (putting children to work is against UN law, and only Iran, North Korea, and the USA think it’s a great idea).

Americans are heavily in debt: when the Greater Depression started, thehousehold debt was 100% of GDP. Now, in 2011, it’s 90%. In 1982, at the depth of the recession then, household debt was only 45%. So people need jobs to get out of this hold, and this hole. The goverment can force private industry, which sits on 2 trillion dollars of cash, to spend it, by ooffering jobs.

Example of legislation enforced economic activity: not just refurbishing schools, bridges, but, say, burying utilities by law, which would be quite useful in areas of the USA threatened by fires, quakes, tornadoes, storms and hurricanes… which is most of the USA. Let alone making housing efficient. The European Union has such laws, and they will make the Union ever richer.

So why don’t the plutocrats want Americans to work? What plutocrats don’t want is to share equally. That would defeat what they are all about, which is their personal splendor, made more prominent by comparing itself to misery. Putting everybody to work would spoil the fun, they want an unequal society. So they do what enhances their glory to themselves: deciding the fate of the world, their way. By doing their biding, Obama hopes to keep on being their aspiring boy, and share their fun, one of the dreams from his father, invited to their houses, eating their dinners, sleeping in their sheets (all of this against old Roman republican law).

Now that all the plutocrats have lined up in Washington in the last few days, reminding their domestic politicos who was the boss, no doubt things will advance their way some more.

What should American progressives do? Or, let’s say, what should those who don’t want to regress do?

Well first get rid of their Trojan Horse, and its black operators. The dark horse speaks one way, and acts the other. He bemoans the tax cuts, but he set them up. One cannot fight war in the front, when one is stabbed, in the back. Better to lose an election, and regroup. The best wars can start with the best defeats, as nothing can increase the motivation better.

So throw out Obama and his plutocratic groveling, to start afresh, with a better idea about what the correct attitude is. don’t worry, he will be alright: the masters know how to reward their operators, “pour encourager les autres“.

The correct attitude is not to grovel to the masters. The masters have proven that they were full of it, in 2008, for all to see, after a decade of decreasing real family median income (a point I have made, long ago, now captured in turn, by Krugman; I used that point to argue that we are in a GREATER DEPRESSION, and the plutocracy has caused it, with its increasing feudal, colonial regime, served by its little boy-servants).

Offering, as Obama did, apparently, to take the first bite out of Medicare and other social programs, vastly inferior, as they are, to what is found in the European Union, just so that the plutocrats can keep on flying in private jets, is within the realm of clear betrayal. How many stabs in the back do we need?

Obama and his predecessor and apparent mentor, G. W. Bush, borrowed for nothing. OK, I am unfair to Bush: he borrowed for covering drugs to seniors. It is Obama who has really nothing to show for it. Even Hoover started a whole bunch of massive employment projects, including several huge dams which have paid handsomely since. Obama, in a much graver economic situation than the Great Depression, has understood nothing. Why? Maybe he is too stupid and full of himself. But he also has no interest to understand anything deep, as it would compromise his literal sleeping with the hyper rich in the Silicon Valley for example (I was there, I saw it). To argue that Obama had a recession, so he could not put people to work is dysfunctionally stupid: so did Hoover, and Franklin Roosevelt. Those tow disagreed on the extent of public spending. Obama and his Tea Party believes cuts is what is needed. It is not because Obama claims that he is not in the Tea party that he is not it’s, de facto, leader. He is. Don’t read his lips, read his record.

Then what? Differently from Rome, which stood alone, the USA has plenty of competition. So some shrinkage of this whole circus is in the offing (not all nations have been captured by plutocracy, gagged and bound, hand and foot).

As agriculture and herding rose, another activity did, too: civilization, the art of living in cities (the first cities, found in present day Turkey, depended partly upon foraging). So did the plutocratic effect, because capital renders it possible (roll over, Marx, and don’t bother me).

I have argued that the plutocratic effect is a great danger to civilization. Nevertheless, it is not all that simple: indeed war societies do best when led by a well fed warrior class (well fed means taller, bigger, fiercer, better neurology). In other words, a plutocracy.

Highly successful long lived societies in Europe, India, Japan were led by ferocious plutocracies which towered, tall and fair, above the dark, small peasants, while protecting them, as shepherds protect the sheep they eat and fleece. The implicit argument the reigning American extreme right is making is, implicitly, that one. But it is wrong, in the present circumstances.

It is not just that more intelligent societies will, probably, predate on the more stupid ones. And that too much plutocracy promotes and is only compatible with the stupidity of the masses. It is also that the world environment is collapsing, and that making the American population more stupid, a crucial ingredient in the rise of the plutocracy, has contributed considerably to this collapse.

Many governments around the world are increasing spending on real investments, or have created conditions for such by private industry (a consortium of French private companies and banks announced July 30 the construction of a very high speed, 250 mph, train line towards Brittany, to cost 5 billion dollars). The American government is nearly the only one to act against the most basic logic, and to confuse the cancerous growth of Wall Street and its banks with something good. Hopefully, those dangerous delusions will be restrained to its little courtyard, looking forward.


Patrice Ayme


Note 1: The picture of being “stabbed in the back”, was suggested ironically by a British general to general Ludendorff, effective commander of the Prussian army in 1918. Ludendorff, a Nazi before Hitler himself, found that name, jumped on the concept, and the Nazis ran away with it, claiming  that the Versailles Treaty (not signed when the Brit made fun of Ludendorff) had stabbed them in the back.  This being said, as the tale of the Trojan Horse has it, it is entirely possible for a nation to be stabbed in the back. This is what Napoleon did to France, as he turned from defender to exploiter. Actually the declaration of war of a few Prussian generals, to the world, in 1914, stabbed Germany in the back (as it was highly unlikely that Germany could defeat France, Britain, and Russia).


Note 2: Bowles speaking, 2010: Did foragers become farmers because cultivation of crops was simply a better way to make a living? If so, what is arguably the greatest ever revolution in human livelihoods is readily explained. To answer the question, I estimate the caloric returns per hour of labor devoted to foraging wild species and cultivating the cereals exploited by the first farmers, using data on foragers and land-abundant hand-tool farmers in the ethnographic and historical record, as well as archaeological evidence. A convincing answer must account not only for the work of foraging and cultivation but also for storage, processing, and other indirect labor, and for the costs associated with the delayed nature of agricultural production and the greater exposure to risk of those whose livelihoods depended on a few cultivars rather than a larger number of wild species. Notwithstanding the considerable uncertainty to which these estimates inevitably are subject, the evidence is inconsistent with the hypothesis that the productivity of the first farmers exceeded that of early Holocene foragers. Social and demographic aspects of farming, rather than its productivity, may have been essential to its emergence and spread. Prominent among these aspects may have been the contribution of farming to population growth and to military prowess, both promoting the spread of farming as a livelihood.