Posts Tagged ‘Stiglitz’

“Neoliberalism” Is Neither Liberal, Nor New. Plain Old Plutocracy.

November 12, 2019

“Neoliberalism” is neither. It is not attached to liberty, but to slavery. And it is nothing new. Plutocracy is the cancer of civilizations, and kills them readily. But this time, the entire biosphere is going down.

A better name for “Neoliberalism” would be “plutophilia”, the love of the darkest passions, the love of plutocracy, which is etymologically and in reality, the rule of evil (as this is exactly what pluto-kratia means: the rule of wealth being a particular case of Pluto’s propensities).

“Neoliberalism”, was initially called “trickle down”. One of its axioms was as professor Stiglitz says: “the credibility of neoliberalism’s faith in unfettered markets as the surest road to shared prosperity[1]. However, by “markets” one really meant “merchants”.

When only a few have all the disposable cash, they have all the power, It’s not just bad for ethics, democracy and the sense of fairness we primates all share. It’s also terrible for incentive, motivation, and the blossoming of ideas.

Indeed, what is a market? Who dominates a market? Well, those with enough capital to do so. In other words, the wealthy, or those that banks have decided to lend to… typically, again, those with collateral, namely the wealthy. So the banking system, if it looks for a profit, makes the wealthy wealthier. Hence the so-called “unfettered markets” were, in truth, the unfettered wealthiest, while the fetters were put on everybody else.  

But, unfettered, wealth grows exponentially (as the wealthiest have nearly all the money and lend it, leveraged, to the wealthiest, namely themselves). 

This is exactly what happened: the wealthy got wealthier. And what is wealth? It is power onto others. So the powers of a few grew, onto most people, helped along by a government by “representatives” which learned to act in its own best interest, serving power, that is, wealth. 

“Neoliberalism” fostered, in turn, other myths, first of which was that, unfettered globalization, worldwide, was good for the Republic. Actually, globalization was a disaster: it undermined social rights and taxation. 

The most spectacular example of the disaster engineered by unfettered globalization was the Roman Republic. The Roman REPUBLIC, which lasted 5 centuries, had an absolute wealth limit. And the Roman Republic lasted 5 centuries because it had an absolute wealth limit.

One could argue, and it was argued at the time, that the Res Publica kept on going, in many ways until the end of the “Principate” Diocletian insisted to be called “Dominus” and be considered a living god; in any case, the political regime inaugurated by Augustus should be called a “plutocratic Republic”, and there was a famous dinner, under Domitian, circa 80 CE, where the principal plutocrats of Rome, Domitian among them, argued just that!)

The Florence Republic fell to plutocrats, the Medici, a family of bankers, after exactly 417 years, precisely because it had no wealth limit. (In that case the collapse into plutocratic dictatorship was more brutal than with Rome.) 

There was an absolute wealth limit, because the wealth tax, during the Roman Republic, was 100% above a  threshold (the threshold was pretty low, at most 30 million 2019 dollars, and maybe as low as ten million). Above that threshold, 100% of the property was transferred to the Ager Publicus.

After 200 BCE, and the Second Punic war, having had to fight extremely hard, at immense cost and sacrifice, in Greece, Spain, Africa, the Roman republic became global. Yet, taxation was still local, so wealthy Romans were able to escape the wealth limit, by residing overseas, and Roman billionaires appeared.

The plutocrats immediately started to plot against the Republic. The best way to do that was to corrupt it, by buying politicians. It took many generations, but the Republic declined and collapsed, in spite of the life endangering efforts of many heroes, including the Gracchi brothers, Marius, and his nephew Caesar (Caesar passed a wealth distribution law in 59 BCE).

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Plutocracy expects We The People to believe that a few know best, and deserve all the wealth, all the powers. As a result calamitous policies are engaged into, because only a few brains, without debate, devoured by greed, don’t think too well. Moreover, plutocratic policies look accidentally bad, but they are actually so by design: the worse things get, the more the worst gets going. The more evil things get, the more at home plutocracy is, the more evil can rule… 

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A particular example of these satanic policies is the climate catastrophe, which is part of a mass extinction, the likes of which have not been seen in 70 million years. There were technologies, at the ready already in 1990, to prevent the CO2 catastrophe: in 2019, France pollutes 5 tons of CO2 per capita (the world average), California 9.2 tons, the USA 16 tons, Canada and Australia more than 16… So France knows how to do it, and the others chose not to (the UK, Spain and Italy are around 6 tons; whereas hysterically pro-coal Germany is at 10 tons…) The mood in France is more ecological, more egalitarian, more social… All this is related: respect the environment, just as, and because, you respect your neighbor. Disrespect the environment, as countries like the US, Australia and Canada do, disrespect the neighbor.    

The global plutocracy is indeed intensely related to its fossil fuel component: fossil fuel money is recycled through Wall Street. US President FD Roosevelt set-up that system, meeting with Ibn Saud on the Great Bitter lake in Egypt, shortly before his death. Similarly, when Obama became president, he presented fracking as “the bridge fuel to the future”, and Wall Street, applauding, made massive fracking investments on the lands and water Obama put at its disposal. Thus, once again, the US is the world’s greatest fossil fuel producer: alleluia, say the “America First” crowd, and one expects them to make dark secret masses to their hero Obama, who made fracking into the lifeblood of the US.

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Plutocracy rules through minds. Careful disinformation, and lack of significant information needs to be fed to the masses. Here is an example: 

The New York Times just woke up to the fact that climate scientists systematically underestimated the gravity of the climate crisis we are in. The paper couldn’t explain why this happened, but showed with great clarity how much it happened. I sent a comment basically explaining that the “Neoliberal” regime paid the salaries of those scientists, so they couldn’t be too alarmist, if they wanted to be employed. 

The New York Times apparently found my explanation alarming, a danger to the elite, and refused to publish it. Just as, over the years, much of the MainStream Media has found any discourse against the “Neoliberal” order deranged and alarming (and censored thousands of my comments). Here my comment explaining why scientists were not too alarmed by the climate catastrophe:

The problem has been that scientists are paid by governments which are manipulated by plutocrats, most of them part of the establishment… And the establishment is fossil fuel plutocracy dependent (say, Wall Street, as an example).

So scientists do not want to bite the hand that feed them. And this is still true. The real truth is that the giant masses of ice of Antarctica will melt with a warming of just a few more degrees. I have explained the exact mechanism in essays on my site, in great detail, for more than a decade. The reason is that half of Antarctica is under water… And the densest water is at 4 degrees Centigrade (roughly 40 Fahrenheit)… 

Thus a hyper catastrophic melting is entirely possible… Millennia before what the old, baseless, “scientific” analyses pretended. 

Also a serious diminution of the oxygen content of the atmosphere, ridiculed by well-fed scientists, is actually entirely possible under very plausible (yet complex) scenarios. And so on.

The plutocracy which rules over us is mostly fossil-fuel based. Any plutocracy knows that it needs to control the minds. Nowadays this means controlling the scientists. The gross attack, “climate denier” style, are there only to confuse us.

The real danger is the subtle disinformation that the situation is not dire, that we have time, it’s a question for the grandchildren. I have lived in smoke for weeks on end in the tech metropolis of the San Francisco Bay Area: the burning climate catastrophe is upon us now. One can see it very clearly when one looks outside, and all one sees is smoke.

To free ourselves from “Neoliberalism”, which is economic neofascism by another name, will require a great intellectual effort. I don’t see our schools, including universities, committed to it.

Patrice Ayme

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[1] The End of Neoliberalism and the Rebirth of History
Nov 4, 2019 JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ
For 40 years, elites in rich and poor countries alike promised that neoliberal policies would lead to faster economic growth, and that the benefits would trickle down so that everyone, including the poorest, would be better off. Now that the evidence is in, is it any wonder that trust in elites and confidence in democracy have plummeted?

NEW YORK – At the end of the Cold War, political scientist Francis Fukuyama wrote a celebrated essay called “The End of History?” Communism’s collapse, he argued, would clear the last obstacle separating the entire world from its destiny of liberal democracy and market economies. Many people agreed.

Following the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, open societies were triumphant and international cooperation became the dominant creed. Thirty years later, however, nationalism has turned out to be much more powerful and disruptive than internationalism.

Today, as we face a retreat from the rules-based, liberal global order, with autocratic rulers and demagogues leading countries that contain well over half the world’s population, Fukuyama’s idea seems quaint and naive. But it reinforced the neoliberal economic doctrine that has prevailed for the last 40 years.”

Fukuyama, a Fukushima of the intellect was, and is an idiot, as a would-be master thinker, but extremely intelligent in the satisfaction of his greed, and a very useful idiot for the global plutocracy. Yes, an idiot: how can one be more idiotic that claiming nothing new will happen in history ever again, because “Neoliberalism” was , and is, the best of all possible worlds? The best of all possible worlds for Fukuyama himself, yes. Of course. As for many idiots, the rule of one, the rule of the self, is the rule of all.

Fukuyama is swimming in a sea of honors (…or horrors, depending upon the perspective). I am surprised he didn’t get a Nobel yet, considering how useful he is for the establishment.

Recently Fukuyama/shima was, among other things, “Mosbacher Director of the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law” at Stanford University. A rattlesnake teaching medical care. In August 2019 he was named director of the “Ford Dorsey Master’s in International Policy” at Stanford. (That Ford plutocrat, aka “philanthropist” seems to have no relation with the original sponsor of Adolf Hitler, Henry Ford… I perfidiously checked, already chuckling…)

Before that, he served as a professor and director of the International Development program at the School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University. Yes, there are plutocratic universities (I used to teach at Stanford, by the way…)

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/tag/plutocratic-universities/

Economy: Moods Are Changing

May 2, 2016

“TROUBLE” WITH EUROPE? WHY NOT THE US?

New York Nobel economists viewed from Europe, or the US, as “liberal”, or “leftist” do not like Europe, nor do they understand that the USA’s superior economic performance is just something the Clinton crowd likes to crow about. When one looks inside, and compares, ain’t pretty. Joseph Stiglitz: The Euro is the Problem (April 14, 2016) https://youtu.be/30xfMtJZ6iY  http://bit.ly/24k2oC2  #video #lecture.

No, the Euro is not the problem. Actually, Europe just smashed growth forecasts. The problem is that Europe is managed by people from Goldman-Sachs, or who wish to be employed by Goldman-Sachs, or who have a high opinion of Goldman-Sachs, or by people who take advice from people affected by the preceding disease. (As usual, I use here “Goldman-Sachs” as a shorthand for the malevolent, parasitic “money changers”, as Roosevelt and the Bible called them, based mostly in New York and London, with state machinery at their beck and call).

European Productivity, Especially In Franco-German Euro Zone, Has Long Been Higher Than In the USA. So The Scorn Of US Economists Should Consider This Important Fact

European Productivity, Especially In Franco-German Euro Zone, Has Long Been Higher Than In the USA. So The Scorn Of US Economists Should Consider This Important Fact

Question to Stiglitz: Do you think any of the groundwork has been laid to reduce that inequality going forward?

Stiglitz: “We’re in a little bit of better place, but not a lot better. It’s obviously better to have 5 percent unemployment than 10 percent unemployment. And there’s been the beginning of a housing recovery that has helped restore some of the wealth of ordinary Americans. But the damage that has been done is very deep and has persistent effects. The labor force participation rate of people in their 40s, 50s, is still lower than it’s been in decades. People who lost their jobs in 2008, didn’t get jobs in 2009, ‘10, ‘11, maybe aren’t likely to get a job ever. If they do, it’s not going to be anywhere near as good as their old job. There are many people for whom they lost their job at 50 or 55 and are unlikely to ever work again. The scar is permanent.

Another aspect of what I would say is the imperfect recovery, is that the marginalized groups remain marginalized. And while they’ve benefitted, the levels of unemployment are still very very high.”

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/04/stiglitz-inequality/…

Entirely right, Mr. Stiglitz. So why do American economists give lessons to Europeans? The US economy is chugging along at 2% per annum, rather less than Franco-Germania at this point. And it can be argued that the inflation of the US GDP is mostly asset inflation.

When Stiglitz obsesses about unemployment, it’s obviously neither here, nor there: Unemployment is not the end-all, be-all, of the wellbeing of a socioeconomy. Slaves, in all and any economy, tend to be fully employed.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, unemployment is only 3%. However, a one bedroom rents for $3,000 a month, and that’s more than half the median family income (pre-tax). So is that good, or is that hell? I want you to contemplate a twenty lanes freeway, all gridlocked, and the eight lanes overpasses above, too, if you approve, Stiglitz style. (Jam augment GDP!)

Meanwhile, Trump is going parabolic in California, because tolerating the intolerable has become intolerable. Only when tolerating the intolerable becomes intolerable do revolutions happen. Maybe Trump should pick up Sanders as running mate, ha ha ha.

Revolutions are the engine of evolution. They re-unite Homo with the natural ethology from which plutocracy had torn him from. To evolve again, for the better.

Another editorial from Krugman along the same half-wit lines as Stiglitz: “The Diabetic Economy”. Krugman: “LISBON — Things are terrible here in Portugal, but not quite as terrible as they were a couple of years ago. The same thing can be said about the European economy as a whole. That is, I guess, the good news.

The bad news is that eight years after what was supposed to be a temporary financial crisis, economic weakness just goes on and on, with no end in sight. And that’s something that should worry everyone, in Europe and beyond.

First, the positives: the euro area — the group of 19 countries that have adopted a common currency — posted decent growth in the first quarter. In fact, for once it was better than growth in the U.S.

Europe’s economy is, finally, slightly bigger than it was before the financial crisis, and unemployment has come down from more than 12 percent in 2013 to a bit over 10 percent.

But it’s telling that this is what passes for good news. We complain, rightly, about the slow pace of U.S. recovery — but our economy is already 10 percent bigger than it was pre-crisis, while our unemployment rate is back under 5 percent.

And there is, as I said, no end in sight to Europe’s chronic underperformance. Look at what financial markets are saying.”

Children such as Stiglitz and Krugman have great oracles, called “markets”, and they “look” at what they “say”. (Beats saying what they look like, any day!)

Krugman: “Responding to critics of easy money who denounce low rates as “artificial” — because economies shouldn’t need to keep rates this low — [A Fed Reserve Bank governor] suggested that we compare low interest rates to the insulin injections that diabetics must take.

Such injections aren’t part of a normal lifestyle, and may have bad side effects, but they’re necessary to manage the symptoms of a chronic disease.

In the case of Europe, the chronic disease is persistent weakness in spending, which gives the continent’s economy a persistent deflationary bias even when, like now, it’s having a relatively good few months. The insulin of cheap money helps fight that weakness, even if it doesn’t provide a cure.

But while monetary injections have helped to contain Europe’s woes — one shudders to think of how badly things might have gone without the leadership of Mario Draghi [ex-Partner Goldman-Sachs, Patrice Ayme nota bene], president of the European Central Bank — they haven’t produced anything that looks like a cure. In particular, despite the bank’s efforts, underlying inflation in Europe seems stuck far below the official target of 2 percent.

Meanwhile, unemployment in much of Europe, very much including my current location, is still at levels that are inflicting huge human, social and political damage.

It’s notable that in Spain, which these days is being touted as a success story, youth unemployment is still an incredible 45 percent…”

For once, Krugman gets it half right. Right for Germany, but not for France, which has discarded the Euro 3% deficit spending limit, and is going at an official, near-British like 4.5% (official):

“The thing is, it’s not hard to see what Europe should be doing to help cure its chronic disease. The case for more public spending, especially in Germany — but also in France, which is in much better fiscal shape than its own leaders seem to realize — is overwhelming.

There are large unmet needs for infrastructure and investors are essentially begging governments to take their money. Did I mention that the real 10-year interest rate, the rate on bonds that are protected from inflation, is minus 0.8 percent?

And there’s good reason to believe that spending more in Europe’s core would have big benefits for peripheral nations, too.

But doing the right thing seems to be politically out of the question. Far from showing any willingness to change course, German politicians are sniping constantly at the central bank, the only major European institution that seems to have a clue about what is going on.

Put it this way: Visiting Europe can make an American feel good about his own country.”

Why is Krugman feeling so good? Because the US is “producing” three times more GreenHouse Gases (GHG) as the French? Not a non-sequitur, or just a slap in the face: the US expansion, in the last six years as largely been driven by fracking for oil and gas.

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Patrice’s Grain of Salt: MOODS THEY ARE CHANGING:

The “trouble” in Europe is not just economic. A new philosophy, a new mood, is taking over. Monetary spending, what GDP looks at, is increasingly looked at as a sin. In France, exchange and repair Internet sites are booming. People increasingly repair the devices they use, and recycle and, or, exchange them for others.

Another point, well-known, is that, to re-establish the economy, banks were given money, lots of money. But the bank driven economy comes short. If anything, banks are viewed as organized crime institutions. In other words, people have had enough of the way the economy is organized.

Who needs a car, when public transportation, or the occasional rental will solve the problem? Some car companies sell electric cars, yet, when people need to go on a family trip, they can get a fossil fuel driven machine, which goes much further. The end result is to lower demand. This is also the effect of increasing efficiency. Solar cells on a roof kill a lot of the old economy, the more efficient they get.

The economy serves the society, not vice versa. Moods have to change to incorporate more of the society. A recent example: two professors working at UC BErkeley (one of them French), invented a revolutionary method to cut DNA into desired pieces. They applied for a US Patent. The US PTO sat on it: indeed, what could two women invent? Six moths laterr, a macho team of males from MIT applied for the same patent, for the same invention. Ah, males, thus pillars of society, said Conventional Wisdom. The MIT gentlemen (or is that horsemen charging, Genghis Khan style?) were immediately granted the Patent.

A lot of the economy organized according to the old mood is just organized thievery, or crime. Giving twenty trillion of dollars to the very same banks and connected financial types who organized the 2008 crisis is organized mismanagement of the economy to replenish the criminals. It would have been more just to give the money to We The People directly, instead of giving it to our oppressors. Ah, but it could not be done, because conventional economics prevent it.

Conventional economy right now is little more that the instauration of a feudal order. Malia Obama, eldest daughter of president Obama, will enter Harvard University. There the peers of Stiglitz and Krugman will teach her of the rightful place of the haves, and why it is just that they own the world. And the fault of the have nots, that they do not.

Malia’s present school is “Sidwell Friends School“, a “very exclusive” (as it self-defines) school. Her sister attends it too. Tuition is a modest $40,000 a year. So the two girls, together, cost $80,000, just to enjoy the “very exclusive” position they earned in life. That’s a third higher than US family median income, pre-tax.

It cost significantly more to attend the school where great liberal economist Stiglitz preaches from (Columbia). American economists are right to trash Europe. After all, the European model is the enemy. Should it win, American economists would earn just a fraction of what they presently get.

Patrice Ayme’  

No Taxation Without Decision

January 31, 2015

Responsibility, Greeks, Jews, Nazis, Decision Making, Trans Pacific Partnership, Big Pharmaceuticals… Or All the Evil The Lack of Direct Democracy Fostered:

Eugen Lowy”: Dear Patrice… The Greek economic problem is more a moral problem than an economic problem. The moral question is what responsibilities has an individual to take regarding the decisions of leading elites of community they belong to.”

I have thought of this problem deeply and forever, in light of the Nazi problem. When I was around the age of 6 (!), a cousin told me that Nazism was not the fault of the Germans, but of the crooks who had led the Germans. I did not believe it at the time, and I spent a lot of time demonstrating to my satisfaction that this was not true.

I do believe in collective responsibility. We are collectively culprit to let ourselves being abused by plutocrats and their giant corporations:

Banks: Mandated to Create  Money. Money Farmers. Pharmaceuticals: Mandated to Create Health. Health Farmers. Media: Mandated to Create Minds. Mind Farmers.

Banks: Mandated to Create Money. Money Farmers. Pharmaceuticals: Mandated to Create Health. Health Farmers. Media: Mandated to Create Minds. Mind Farmers.

The State and the Government is not just who We the People elect to be represented by. De facto.

I believe in the collective responsibility of those who accept wholeheartedly criminal systems of thoughts and moods.

To say: ”My leader was a liar and a crook, I disavow him (her)” is acceptable, and honorable. However, it loses all credibility if one still espouses the moods and ideas that made the leader what he (she) became.

There is plenty of evidence that, after the Nazis had been militarily extinguished, Nazi moods and thoughts survived in Germany for decades. In particular, Germans who had resisted, or fought the Nazis were viewed, then, as traitors. It took decades to honor those who had attempted to kill Hitler.

Young officers of the best lineage (Prussian aristocrats) who planned to kill Hitler, and survived the post-coup bloodbath of Hitler against his own officer corps (around 5,000 assassinated), were then blocked by top Nazis such as the famous Von Manstein, to have any influence on the Bundeswehr.

This only happened because tens of millions of Germans were still Nazis, for want of a better word. When the Nazi ringleaders (for example Von Manstein) died, moods and ideas changed: today’s Germany is much closer, in moods and ideas, to present day France than to the Germany of 1945.

Today Richard Von Weisacker died. He had been German president. His father, one of the top Nazis, got seven years imprisonment at Nuremberg. The president himself had served in Hitler’s army. Such people recognized their crimes, all the way to Jerusalem. However, only their deaths turn the page.

Here is another example: I was in the USA during the ramp-up and unleashing of the Iraq war. I saw “friends” and “family” lay on sofas, watching hours of American “Football” and basketball. They could not care less. They had no inclination to find what was going-on. It was all the way like that, throughout the media. The slightest murmur or comment against plutocrat Bush was viewed as an unpatriotic act.

That made them all, as individuals, accomplices of the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis.

As far as the Greeks are concerned, it is obvious that the average Greek did not partake in the erroneous and criminal decisions taken by the Greek and European elites.

Eugen: “So the moral question is, who has to take responsibilities for promiscuous behavior? Should it be the Greek leading elites? The Greek people? Maybe the German and French banksters and their servants? Or maybe the moral responsibility lays on the shoulders of the descendants of the German Nazis? And then if the one responsible to be blamed will be finally found, what will be the right punishment for them?”

To determine responsibilities, one has FIRST to determine causalities. Most people do not have the faintest idea about how money is created. Bankers create money (through credit). Thus bankers have extraordinary, unworldly, undemocratic powers.

This fact, in turn, is carefully hidden by systems of moods and thoughts whose main role is to hide what bankers really do.

Eugen: “Then the other moral-political question is, what responsibilities shout carry the leading elites, who implemented, short sighted policy of greed, personal enrichment and deception and if they are punishable for their crimes.”

Before they can be punished, the crimes they committed have to be understood, and viewed as crimes.

An example is the Jewish problem.

Eugen: “For 2000 years the Jews were an easy target for persecution. They were pushed to the edge of the societies, dehumanized, marginalized, humiliated, closed to their ghettoes. Too many times the Catholic Church initiated their annihilation.”

This is case where the crimes committed have not been understood. Not only that, but the very semantics used is criminal. Anti-Judaism is described as “anti-Semitism”. That confusion, per se, is a crime. A crime against reason.

Judaism is the mother religion of Christianism, and, thus Islam (although there is also a direct filiation, dues to the Yattrib/Medina stay of Muhammad). Judaism became, at some point, more than 2,000 years ago, a religion, not just an ethnic group (one can argue this happened more than 25 centuries ago, because of the Babylonian captivity of some Israelis). Thus “anti-Semitism” is not an appropriate term.

After the demented theocracy that smothered the Roman empire, Franks re-established Pagans, Atheists and Jews to their rights. Charlemagne took himself for Israel’s King David (somebody famous for disobeying god’s criminally insane orders).

Christianism (= Catholicism for 15 centuries) eradicated, or try to eradicate, using methods that made the Nazis look like choir boys, all religions for 15 centuries. Then those rabid dogs had a go at each other, logically enough.

In particular, in the case of France, seven religious wars occurred, in short order at the end of the Sixteenth Century (meanwhile the Church was busy burning alive philosophers). Then, in the following century the Sun-Tyrant, Louis XIV, threw the Protestants out of France (as a result France started to lose wars and territory, surprise, surprise).

Jews had been living in France for 16 centuries, and Protestantism was around five centuries old (I consider the Cathars to be the most radical Protestants, ever).

Eugen: “In your essay you attack the multinational corporations and their unscrupulous tendency not to pay taxes. The problem of paying or not paying taxes is not a question of morality… but a question, who is better to allocate resources to create maximal well-being for the people of the states. I personally have difficulty to believe, that the government is the best tool to do it. I rather believe, that decentralization of resource allocation decision process, could be more effective than its monopolization in hands of the government. “No taxation without representation”, is a very relevant slogan in these days, when the political elites can do any kind of unscrupulous decisions without a need to pay for its to many times disastrous consequences. ( viz Greece above ).”

Part of this argument has been made by Bill Gates. And it’s as old as plutocracy.

No taxation without representation” is itself a slogan that creates its own poisonous context. The context being “representation”. In the USA, as it is, around 600,000 people are “represented” by one person. The Greeks would have called that tyranny.

I propose instead: “No personal taxation without personal decision”.

In the 1790s, De Sade, eminent deputy of the far-left at the Constitutional Assembly, proposed not just that women vote, but that direct democracy be established. That was very sadistic of him.

Our leaders are ignorant little twerps. What they know best, is how to lie. Beyond that, they are at a loss. This is not surprising: the People is ignorant, ill-informed, and infantilized. An elite, mostly made of people with the worst motivations, takes all the decisions, and claims to have all the knowledge, and the wisdom.

In truth, they know naught.

The way to expose that is to establish a debate, that is, direct democracy. Out of the debate will come the intelligence.

Imagine the Nazis debating in public, with input from everybody, their “Final Solution” for the “Jewish Problem”. Imagine Putin having to explain in detail, in a debate, how the “volunteers” who stream into Ukraine are paid and equipped. Imagine having General Powel having to explain what exactly he meant with, and how he obtained, his little drawings of trucks converted into biological weapons labs. Powell, representing the USA, used these lies at the UN, but nobody was empowered to contradict him.

Entire nations ought not to be represented by real, or even potential, liars. It is high time for people to be fully informed, and fully enabled to take the fundamental decisions.

Are we getting more direct democratic? The decision of displacing a TGV (High Speed Train) in Eastern France’s Loraine is submitted to direct vote: very good. Meanwhile the TPP, the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations are pursued secretly among plutocrats.

Don’t Trade Away Our Health” whines the New York Times (where were you during the negotiations of “Obamacare”?)

Actually, I should not make fun of the author, Joseph Stiglitz, a good guy:

“A secretive group met behind closed doors in New York this week. What they decided may lead to higher drug prices for you and hundreds of millions around the world.

Representatives from the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim countries convened to decide the future of their trade relations in the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership (T.P.P.). Powerful companies appear to have been given influence over the proceedings, even as full access is withheld from many government officials from the partnership countries.”

Compare with the Wansee conference, where the Final Solution for the Jews was elaborated: ”a secretive group…” Abomination and infamy always entail secretive groups, as De Sade pointed out.

Stiglitz points out that the bad guy there is the USA Trade Representative, who wants to increase Big Pharma’s” profits.

If Big Pharma spent its money on research, that would be OK, but it’s not the case, most of the money goes to corruption: advertising, so-called marketing, and extravagant salaries for the Plutos and CEO class at the top.

The USA Trade Representative will soon be rewarded, as a good pet, with extraordinary salary and compensation (as Obama comes and goes). Stiglitz:

“Historically, though, the trade representative’s office has aligned itself with corporate interests. If big pharmaceutical companies hold sway — as the leaked documents indicate they do — the T.P.P. could block cheaper generic drugs from the market. Big Pharma’s profits would rise, at the expense of the health of patients and the budgets of consumers and governments… If the United States Trade Representative gets its way, the T.P.P. will limit the ability of partner countries to restrict prices. And the pharmaceutical companies surely hope the “standard” they help set in this agreement will become global — for example, by becoming the starting point for United States negotiations with the European Union over the same issues. ”

Let me have Stiglitz say what I did for years. But it’s good to have a Nobel in Economics saying it:

“Of course, pharmaceutical companies claim they need to charge high prices to fund their research and development. This just isn’t so. For one thing, drug companies spend more on marketing and advertising than on new ideas. Overly restrictive intellectual property rights actually slow new discoveries, by making it more difficult for scientists to build on the research of others and by choking off the exchange of ideas that is critical to innovation. As it is, most of the important innovations come out of our universities and research centers, like the National Institutes of Health, funded by government and foundations.

The efforts to raise drug prices in the T.P.P. take us in the wrong direction. The whole world may come to pay a price in the form of worse health and unnecessary deaths.”

In 2013, 100 leading oncologists from around the world wrote an open letter in the journal Blood calling for a reduction in the price of cancer drugs.

Dr. Brian Druker, director of the Knight Cancer Institute, one of the signatories, asked: “If you are making $3billion a year on [cancer drug] Gleevec, could you get by with $2billion? When do you cross the line from essential profits to profiteering?”

None of this would happen without secrecy, and the very respect which is extended to the creeps who lord over us. Time for some audacity from those who ought to govern, us: We The People, not them the bosses.

All this evil is made possible by the concentration of decision making in a few hands. That is intrinsically plutocratic.

Absolute power corrupts and pollutes absolutely: when watching our dear leaders, remember, you are watching people who are absolutely corrupt. If they were not so before they got power, they sure are it, now. The very notion that a few are only habilitated to know all, and decide all, is sick.

No taxation without decision.

Patrice Ayme’

World’s largest pharmaceutical firms
Company Total revenue ($bn) R&D spend ($bn) Sales and marketing spend ($bn) Profit ($bn) Profit margin (%)
Johnson & Johnson (US) 71.3 8.2 17.5 13.8 19
Novartis (Swiss) 58.8 9.9 14.6 9.2 16
Pfizer (US) 51.6 6.6 11.4 22.0 43
Hoffmann-La Roche (Swiss) 50.3 9.3 9.0 12.0 24
Sanofi (France) 44.4 6.3 9.1 8.5 11
Merck (US) 44.0 7.5 9.5 4.4 10
GSK (UK) 41.4 5.3 9.9 8.5 21
Astra Zeneca (UK) 25.7 4.3 7.3 2.6 10
Eli Lilly (US) 23.1 5.5 5.7 4.7 20
AbbVie (US) 18.8 2.9 4.3 4.1 22
Source: GlobalData

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