Economy

capitalism good business

While idiotic supporters of our two-party system wring their hands over the sensationalist nonsense reported by the mainstream media, we thought it might be worth touching on the most dangerous lie of all-time: capitalism. It’s an all-encompassing delusion, including: the myth of continual technological progress, the mendacious assumptions of endless economic growth, the lie that constant bombardments of media and consumer goods make us happy,  and the omissions of our involvement in the exploitation of the planet and the resources of distant, poorer nations, among other things.

boiling tea kettle

Charles Hugh Smith | June 19, 2017 | OfTwoMinds

Many of us have written about cycles in the past decade: Kondratieff economic cycles, business/credit cycles, the Strauss–Howe generational theory (an existential national crisis arises every four generations, as described in their book The Fourth Turning), and long-wave cycles of growth and decline, as described in seminal books such as The Great Wave: Price Revolutions and the Rhythm of History and War and Peace and War: The Rise and Fall of Empires.

There is another Rhythm of American History that few recognize: the economic, social and political crises sparked by Exploitive Elites [aka ruling class]. There are two dynamics that drive these crises:

capitalism imprisons
Shawndeez Davari Jadali |
 

Profit over people. The motto, rarely spoken, stands as the tacit baseline to modern day social interactions. How much money could I make selling this product instead of lending or donating it? Demonstrating one of the most catastrophic consequences of the neoliberal economic model, Henry Giroux writes how “the passion for public values has given way to the ruthless quest for profits and the elevation of self-interests over the common good.” Articulating the toll this hyper-capitalist economic model takes not just on our wallets, but also on our social interactions, Giroux points out the extensive reach of neoliberalism and its capacity to damage our personal relations.

Deep Green with Derrick Jensen

Deep Green video with Derrick Jensen.

Derrick discusses the question: what are the ways that capitalism values money over life? Most notable are his comments on self-sufficiency vs. slavery/wage economy beginning at the 8:00 minute mark. (15 mins)

student beggar

Michael Hudson | May 31, 2017 | PaulCraigRoberts.org

Students usually don’t think of themselves as a class. They seem “pre-class,” because they have not yet entered the labor force. They can only hope to become part of the middle class after they graduate. And that means becoming a wage earner – what impolitely is called the working class.

But as soon as they take out a student debt, they become part of the economy. They are in this sense a debtor class. But to be a debtor, one needs a means to pay – and the student’s means to pay is out of the wages and salaries they may earn after they graduate. And after all, the reason most students get an education is so that they can qualify for a middle-class job.

Editor's Note:  Cooperation and collaboration over coercion and competition.  Where could one find such advanced ideas?  Throughout the world, except the US-dominated West.

F. William Engdahl | May 23, 2017 | New Eastern Outlook

At this juncture it’s clear that the attempt of the Trump Administration and related circles in the US military industrial complex have failed in their prime objective, that of driving a permanent wedge between Russia and China, the two great Eurasian powers capable of peacefully ending the Sole Superpower hegemony of the United States. Some recent examples of seemingly small steps with enormous future economic and geopolitical potential between Russia and China underscore this fact. The Project of the Century, as we can now call the China One Belt One Road infrastructure development–the economic integration on a consensual basis by the nations of Eurasia, outside the domination of NATO countries of the USA and EU–is proceeding at an interesting pace in unexpected areas.

Let them eat cake
Charles Hugh Smith | May 26, 2017 | OfTwoMinds

If you want to understand why we're fragmenting as a society, start by looking at the asymmetric burdens imposed by inflation.

In our household, we measure real-world inflation with the Burrito Index: How much has the cost of a regular burrito at our favorite taco truck gone up?

The cost of a regular burrito from our local taco truck has gone up from $2.50 in 2001 to $5 in 2010 to $6.50 in 2016.

That’s a $160% increase since 2001: 15 years in which the official inflation rate reports that what $1 bought in 2001 can supposedly be bought with $1.35 today.

give a man a bank

Simon Black | May 12, 2017 | Sovereign Man

Sometimes I wonder why most of the giant mega-banks are based in New York.

They should be here in Las Vegas, the gambling capital of the world. Because that’s precisely what they’re doing with your money.

Actually it’s not even your money.

From a legal perspective, every single penny you deposit at the bank becomes THEIR money. You’re nothing more than an unsecured creditor of the bank.

And now that they legally own what used to be your money, the bank can gamble it away on whatever crazy investment fad best serves their interests.

Michael Hudson

A Book Review by Peter Koenig | May 12, 2017 | The Saker

The author, Michael Hudson, is President of The Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends (ISLET), a Wall Street Financial Analyst, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.

Michael’s book, Junk Economics, reads like an economic thriller. It also provides all the answers to: “What I always wanted to know about Economics, but was afraid to ask”. It is a fascinating read, written for ‘experts’ as well as for economic novices. It is a factual account of what so called ‘Propaganda Experts’ want you to believe about economics, and it dismantles the myths. It explains ‘jargons’ that are on purpose coined, so that the average reader has no clue of their real meaning, but they create an illusion that supposedly serves him. When in reality, the invented and fake expressions make the believers into serfs – serfs to the very system they adore and believe it’s freedom. Michael’s book explains, what those economic manipulator ‘experts’ do not want you to understand.

Capitalism is good business

Paul Craig Roberts | April 25, 2017 | Institute for Political Economy

I have come to the conclusion that capitalism is successful primarily because it can impose the majority of the costs associated with its economic activities on outside parties and on the environment. In other words, capitalists make profits because their costs are externalized and born by others. In the US, society and the environment have to pick up the tab produced by capitalist activity.

Corporatocracy flag

Charles Hugh Smith |April 17, 2017 | Of Two Minds

The Left is morally and fiscally bankrupt, devoid of coherent solutions, and corrupted by its embrace of the Corporatocracy.

History often surprises us with unexpected ironies. For the past century, the slide to fascism could be found on the Right (conservative, populist, nationalist political parties).

What is fascism? There is no one tidy definition, but it has three essential elements:

In Debt We Trust

James Howard Kunstler | April 17, 2017 | Clusterfuck Nation

The military frolics of spring have distracted the nation’s attention from the economic and financial dynamics that pose the ultimate mortal threat to business as usual. Note the distinction between economic and financial. The first represents real activity in this Land of the Deal: people doing and making. The second, finance, used to be a minor branch — only about five percent — of all the doing in the days of America’s putative bigliest greatitude. The task of finance then was limited and straightforward: to manage the allocation of capital for more doing and making. The profit in that enabled bankers to drive Cadillacs instead of Chevrolets, but not much more.

Harvest kitchen

Editor's Note: Titanic Lifeboat Academy endorses this article and its accompanying video, both of which align with TLA's mission. Since it's impossible to fight capitalism while dependent upon it, becoming independent is the route out of the matrix.  Securing our own food and water--alone or in small groups--means we no longer need the slavery capitalism sells.  Resistance is fertile!

Charles Hugh Smith |  April 14, 2017 | Washington's Blog

While it’s certainly good sport to mock “snowflakes,” not all Millennials are snowflakes. Many are homesteading, buying affordable homes and building communities that get stuff done.

I discuss these trends with Drew Sample, who is living them in Ohio. (hear a 60-second excerpt or listen to the full podcast on Drew’s site.)

Bankster

The Next System Project’s Adam Simpson sat down with renowned economist and economic historian Michael Hudson to discuss economic deceptions old and new in the interview below. Michael Hudson is Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City and a prolific writer about the global economy and predatory financial practices. Among his latest books are Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage to Ensure the Global Economy and its follow-up J is for Junk Economics.

destroyed capital building

By F. William Engdahl | March 14, 2017 | Near Eastern Outlook

The catastrophic events around the California Oroville Dam in recent weeks underscores a far more urgent problem. The American Society of Civil Engineers has just released their quadrennial assessment of United States essential infrastructure–roads, clean water supplies, levees, ports, dams, bridges, electric grid. The report gives the nation a near-failing D+ grade. America is coming to resemble the economic infrastructure in the Soviet Union domestically at the collapse of communism during the late 1980’s. The recently-announced Donald Trump proposal to invest $1 trillion over ten years to address the problem, mainly building high-speed trains (to date the USA has not one) doesn’t even come close to the scope of the problem.

Keep Calm Russians Coming

By James Howard Kunstler  | March 6, 2017 | Clusterfuck Nation

Halloween’s coming super-early this year and it will be a shocking surprise to those currently busy looking for Russians behind every potted plant in Washington DC. First, accept the premise that your country has lost its mind.

This is what happens when societies (and individuals) can’t face the true quandaries of a particular moment in their history. All of their attention gets channeled into fantasy: spooks, sexual freakery, conspiracies, persecution narratives, savior fairy tales. It’s been quite a cavalcade of unreality for the past six months, with great entertainment value for connoisseurs of the bizarre — until you’re reminded that the fate of the nation is at stake.

Denying Inflation

By Charles Hugh-Smith | March 3. 2017 | OfTwoMinds

Strip away the centralized power that protects and funds cartels, and prices would plummet.

The mainstream narrative is "the problem is low wages." Actually, the problem is the soaring cost of living. If essentials such as healthcare, housing, higher education and government services were as cheap as they once were, a wage of $10 or $12 an hour would be more than enough to maintain a decent everyday life.

Here are some examples from the real world. In 1952, it cost $30 to have a baby in an excellent hospital. If we adjust that by official inflation as measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistic's inflation calculator to 2017, the cost would be $275. ($1 in 1952 = $9.16 in 2017).

military industrial complex

By |

Methinks the insane hysteria over Russia needs to stop. It probably will not. For reasons of domestic and imperial politics the American public is again being manipulated into a war frenzy by Washington and New York. It is stupid, without justification, and dangerous.

The silliness over Russia is, obviously, part of the Establishment’s drive to get rid of Trump. Yes, the man is erratic, contradictory, shoots before he aims, backs off much of what he has promised, and may be unqualified as President–but that is not why Washington and New York want to get rid of him. It is about money and power, as is everything in the United States. Wall Street, the Pentagon, the Neocons, and the Empire run America. Trump has threatened their rice bowls.