Reaching the Keynesian Long Run, and Yet Not Dead

John Maynard Keynes: From Social Fascism to Economic Fascism?

keynesLast Thursday morning, while driving my daughter to her play group, as I was listening to NPR’s usual circle of experts dissecting and interpreting Bernanke’s press conference, it all came back to me: numerous economic courses taken during my bachelors’ and graduate studies, the Bible of academics in the field of economics - Keynesian economics - the absolutism minus common sense, unquestioning conformity as a prerequisite to acceptance by one’s elite peers, and in the middle of all these convoluted ingredients the questioning  little ‘me.’ I assure you, not the kind of memories you want to come rushing back during a hectic drive. But ‘they’ started it: the Keynesians.

Please don’t be tempted to stop reading further only because you haven’t taken those mandatory courses in economics or because you don’t consider yourself an economic expert. In fact, you may have been saved and still in possession of ‘common sense’ easily erased by systematic academic indoctrination in economic fascism. The following general description of the Keynesian model, if read with sufficient common sense and a bit of critical thinking, should give anyone a pretty good idea of what I mean by economic fascism or an economic model enabling government fascism:

Keynesian economics argues that private sector decisions sometimes lead to inefficient macroeconomic outcomes and therefore advocates active policy responses by the government, such as monetary policy and fiscal policy to stabilize output over the business cycle.

Keynes solution to the Great Depression was to stimulate the economy through some combination of 2 approaches: a reduction in interest rates and increased government expenditure. The solution suggested that active government policy could be effective in managing the economy.

Rather than seeing unbalanced government budgets as wrong, Keynes advocated what has been called countercyclical fiscal policies, that is policies which acted against the tide of the business cycle: deficit spending when a nation's economy suffers from recession or when recovery is long-delayed and unemployment is high—and the suppression of inflation in boom times by either increasing taxes or cutting back on government outlays.

Military Keynesianism is a government economic policy in which the government devotes large amounts of spending to the military to increase economic growth. Increased military demand for goods and services is funded directly by government spending, and this direct spending induces a multiplier of consumer spending.

 
moneyIncreasing the Power of Centralized Government is a must. There are no such things as ‘temporary’ government programs or expansions; there never have been. When government adds and expands, the additions and expansions are here to stay. Period. Keynes either totally disregarded this never changing fact, which I seriously doubt, or, he purposely sought it via an economic model perpetuating an ever expanding centralized government and its powers. What better way of creating a beastly powerful centralized government than giving it the proposed Keynesian economic role and powers?

Disregarding the Lobby & Corruption Factors. Keynes had the highest regard for government and the entities within it; giving them the ultimate power and discretion to conduct our nation's monetary policy and regulate banking institutions. The role of powerful lobbies directly and indirectly influencing all decision making of the entities making up this large and powerful government was completely disregarded and glossed over. How could Goldman Sachs’ contributions to a president’s campaign fund have any influence over decisions and actions involving bailouts?! So what if the revolving doors between government offices and big corporate conglomerates keep revolving?!

Deficit spending is good; so are the bailouts paid out with the deficit. In the Keynesian view there is no reason to be alarmed and irked by thirteen-figure deficit numbers; after all, government can keep printing, keep spending, and everything hopefully will come together and we’ll all live happily ever after. For a while. Even if it is for a short while; make it a very short while. Why should it matter if we run trillions of dollars of deficit? What difference does it make if our currency keeps getting devalued? Who cares if we leave behind a heavily indebted nation in a disastrous economic state? Obviously Keynes didn’t. His motto was that ‘In the long run, we are all dead.’ He is dead, but we aren’t; we too will be dead, but not our children. But then again, Keynes didn’t have any children, so I guess as far as he was concerned only a very short-term period mattered, and the heck with those who came after.

Wars are very good. In other words make wars not love. Imperialists love Keynes. Governments with imperialistic policies are enamored with Keynes. What more could they ask for? An economic model advocating big centralized government with big money printing and spending powers and encouraging wars - deficit war spending.  It is appropriate to quote Ludwig von Mises on this: “War prosperity is like the prosperity that an earthquake or a plague brings."

Transparency is bad. The Federal Reserve, which conducts our nation's monetary policy, regulates banking institutions, and provides financial services to depository institutions, our government, and foreign official institutions, operates and rules in total secrecy and with zero accountability. We are talking about absolute powers vested in government unconditionally, and topping that with unlimited secrecy.

Suffice it to say, despite acing all my courses in economics, I had issues, real big issues, with John Maynard Keynes and his model, and real frustration with the system that did not tolerate any criticism of it. Then came the years of getting ‘intimately’ familiar with the working of our beastly central government, and with that came my increased disdain for anything Keynesian. And of course increased frustration with the ironies everywhere: those who oppose the beastly government’s domestic spying powers and practices, yet trust it with their healthcare; those who protest the beast’s foreign policy practices and perpetual wars, yet vest in it the power of money; those who fight the beast’s human rights abuses, on the other hand have faith in it for their sick-old days…

They say it is wrong to view things only in black or white. Sometimes, even if rarely, things are either black or white. In the case of John Maynard Keynes two major black marks earns him my usage of the word ‘fascism’ - economically & socially; intertwined, inseparable, and as far as I am concerned indistinguishable. And with that, who was John Maynard Keynes?

Keynes: Leader of the British Eugenics Society

eugKeynes was an avid proponent of eugenics, and proudly served as Director of the British Eugenics Society from 1937 to 1944. And here is a brief description of Eugenics:

Eugenics is the biosocial movement which advocates the use of practices aimed at improving the genetic composition of a population. It was practiced around the world and was promoted by governments, and influential individuals and institutions. Its advocates regarded it as a social philosophy for the improvement of human hereditary traits through the promotion of higher reproduction of certain people and traits, and the reduction of reproduction of other people and traits.

Today it is widely regarded as a brutal movement which inflicted massive human rights violations on millions of people. The "interventions" advocated and practiced by eugenicists involved prominently the identification and classification of individuals and their families, including the poor, mentally ill, blind, deaf, developmentally disabled, promiscuous women, homosexuals, and entire racial groups- such as Jews -- as "degenerate" or "unfit"; the segregation or institutionalization of such individuals and groups, their sterilization, euthanasia, and in the extreme case of Nazi Germany, their mass extermination.

Its most infamous proponent and practitioner was Hitler, who praised and incorporated eugenic ideas in Mein Kampf and emulated Eugenic legislation for the sterilization of "defectives" that had been pioneered in the United States.

Keynes, who served on the board of directors of the British Eugenics Society in 1945, had the following to say on eugenics and the 'perfection of the race' through selective breeding: "the most important, significant and, I would add, genuine branch of sociology which exists".

England’s Sir Francis Galton, who invented the tern eugenics, placed British society into groups. These groupings indicate the proportion of society falling into each group and their perceived genetic worth. Galton “suggested that negative eugenics (i.e. an attempt to prevent them from bearing offspring) should be applied only to those in the lowest social group (the "Undesirables"), while positive eugenics applied to the higher classes.

I am going to repeat again: Keynes was an avid advocate of eugenics, a social-fascism model in action, and proudly served as Director. How does one separate a man who was a staunch believer of a sociological model based on separation and elimination of certain classes-races-ethnicity, from a man who was the advocate of an economic model based on taking away market and individual powers and vesting those powers with the ruling class-centralized governments? I can’t. 

We have Keynes the avid eugenics advocate, the firm believer in societal class, the supporter of selective breeding, and most importantly, the proponent of ‘higher powers-governments and or institutions’ being vested with the power and authority to implement these social-fascistic principles.

We have Keynes the economist with an economic model vesting unchecked and uncontrolled economic power and authority in governments to override the market, people’s choices and actions, and all associated individual liberties.

We have the Keynesian government, economists, the entire parasitic colony that has been ripping off our nation’s wealth and the Keynesian academics to make sure this trend continues.

And unfortunately we have a broke nation with trillions in debt, increasing unemployment, fiat money, disappearing liberties, perpetual wars maintained by perpetual deficit spending, an ever growing and expanding  mammoth of a centralized government with unlimited powers, and a justifiably grim outlook for the future that has been nearing fast. Keynes’ ‘In the long run, we are all dead’ quote seems to have caught up with us, and we are not dead; only suffering.
 

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Comments

  1. Eric Saunders says:

    Sibel, as much as I appreciate your work, you should do a little more research on the field of economics. The dominant school today is neoliberalism or Milton Friedman’s monetarism. Yes, we still have deficit spending, but this is not exactly Keynesian since it is not really counter-cyclical (regardless of the economy, we don’t tax the rich at a reasonable level and we always have outrageous military spending).

    Whatever Keynes’ weird eugenics views were, it is not fair to associate his thinking with our current problems. Indeed, it was when the US shifted to the more neoliberal model (in the late 70’s up to the present) that we begin to see the death of the middle class and the rise of our current Wall Street oligarchy. Keynes supported writing down debts to the ability to pay and he supported “euthanasia of the rentier class.” This stands in stark contrast to our current situation in which

    1) the system is laden with unpayable debt on the household, state, and national level

    2) the economy is held hostage by a rentier class that makes absurd amounts of money and holds enough wealth to utterly corrupt all of our institutions (political, academic, media, and civil society).

    Remember, neoliberalism is the religion of Kissinger, Rockefellers, Rubin, and so on. The poster child for this is Chile where the CIA overthrew the democratically elected economic populist Salvador Allende to replace him with Pinochet who enacted all the neoliberal economic policies favored by the Wall Street Bankster Establishment. And yes Pinochet had to kill a lot of people to make this happen, including anyone in Chilean universities who knew anything about economics!

    Privatize, Privatize, Privatize! That is the neoliberal model that the Empire foists on the world. Countries are deliberately placed into debt peonage for the benefit of US/Western multinationals. Read John Perkins’ book Confessions of an Economic Hitman for an insider perspective on how this all works.

  2. We definitely have been shifting to a corporate state. But where some see government taking over the “free market” and corporations, others see corporations, their collective money, and their free market ideology taking over government (or buying it). Where some might see Keynes, others see Milton Friedman and the shock doctrine. Where some see socialism, others see privatization. Where some see defense and security, others see neoliberalism or neoconservatism (same thing). For example, I see no difference in the AEI and the PPI. I see no difference in the “New Democrat” movement and “moderate Republicans”.

    Anyway, interesting analysis. I did not know Keynes was linked to the eugenics movement. I did know FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform) was and also the Pioneer Fund and the whole anti-immigration movement. The former Senator Jesse Helms was linked to the Pioneer Fund.

    (note: my post secondary educational background was economics and government. What I see is a mess and a system continuing to ignore calls for a change in direction or won’t allow it. It’s been a 30+ year trek in the same direction. But that is just my opinion).

  3. Eric Saunders says:

    Neoliberal serfdom and debt peonage for the masses, socialism for the Corporate Kleptocracy

  4. @Eric: “Whatever Keynes’ weird eugenics views were…” Unless we consider it a split personality or multiple personalities case, it has a lot to do with what we are being indoctrinated with as the bible of economics. The two converge; the two complement each other perfectly. And, I have problem with both.

    As for research: graduating from related fields with top grades is not the base, and it shouldn’t.Common sense + years business-work life + critical thinking + being an avid reader, and most importantly being a responsible citizen and even more responsible parent give every citizen the right (the obligation) to question, criticize, oppose.

    Do you want to let the government, the sold-out so-called representatives, the dependent mainstream media, and the mainstream academics to decide what is good/right for you? Then go ahead, and accept what we have now; they have done a good job of getting us ‘here,’ the current hell. Be governed by agenda-driven experts.

  5. Jitter says:

    Why is it that the (really, not all that incredible) opinion of one apparently random individual can form the economic (as well as any other field) basis for entire societies?

    Is human originality that scarce?

    Our graduates tend to live hundreds of years in the past, all for a job at the mall.

    And how is it that eugenics tends to end up tied to financial wealth?

    You have stock or you have stock. Bummer.

  6. Jitter says:

    @Saunders –

    ‘Confessions’ contains a cameo quite reminiscent of a rather regular contributor here, no?

  7. Eric Saunders says:

    Sibel,

    I was not trying to suggest that you study the actual academic discipline of academics. It has been corrupted money such that only neoliberal junk economics are taught for the most part. The discipline now exists primarily to give an air of mathematical destiny to the obscene wealth held by the corporate oligarchy. Academia as a whole is similarly useless. Corporate power has corrupted the intellectual freedom of the social sciences in various ways over the decades…

    As for Keynes:

    1) His policies would have precluded the rise of our current financial overlords by taxing excessive incomes as ‘rent.’

    2) His thinking informed Roosevelt’s New Deal which was HATED by the Oligarchy of the day. In fact, they hated FDR’s policies so much, they attempted to organize a fascist coup to overthrow FDR and install a fascist government that would run the economy as per their wishes (i.e. against Keynesian principles). Thankfully General Smedley Butler blew the whistle on them. But, those interests that wanted to get rid of Roosevelt were never truly defeated and over the decades they eventually took over the American political system.

    3) The economic consensus of the day is neoliberalism. It is foisted upon the world by the World Bank, IMF, WTO, BIS, CIA, and finally the Pentagon. Countries that try to chart an independent path get “disciplined.” (Look at how we demonize nationalists like Mossedegh, Arbenz, Sukarno, Lumumba, Allende, Ortega, Saddam, Ghaddafi, Ahmedinejhad)

    This is a philosophy that insists that deregulation, free trade, and low taxes on investment and MNC penetration will create prosperity for everyone. It has failed miserably. Or more accurately, it has done what it was suppossed to do: it swept away all the Middle Class gains made during the heyday of Keynesianism and ushered in our current Gilded Age.

    The only vestige of Keynes that is left is deficit spending, but even that is done in ways that he never recommended…

  8. Eric Saunders says:

    @ Jitter: I don’t know. Who are you talking about?

  9. Like so many useful policies gone awry, the mutant ninja “military Keynesianism” has proven invaluable to politicians & the corporate sector, who can agree on This policy for very narrow self-serving reasons. For the same reasons I cannot throw out evolution because of “social Darwinism”.

    For those of us who eschew stock ownership, having some “share” in our government’s policies is (or could be) a reasonable alternative to private wealth accumulation. Of course when most of “our” representatives in Congress are dependent upon private donations of cash from the rich- or from corporations- then “our” opportunity to share in government is diminished.

    I’m still waiting to see a reasonable replacement… something that weighs in on True “sustainable” practices, and phases out imperialism, to provide more locally-centered “micro-economies” (ie Real ‘economies of scale’)… but then I’m still waiting for a WTO made up of anthropologist, an ecologist & an ethicist (instead of 3 economist/bankers). ^..^

  10. @ Eric: I agree with some of your points; especially on the academia & neoliberalism. On Keynes: two major problems I see 1- the short term-bandaid model, where the infection is hidden by some painkiller oinment-bandaid (while the infection expands and spreads); 2- transferring too much power to government (which is corruptand/expansion-power seeker in the first place)and disregard for microeconomics. And finally, I appreciate your civil counter argument, and usage of reasoning (whether we agree or not) instead of the usual empty-shallow word wars. Thank you.

  11. arealjeffersonian says:

    Eric:

    Re your posts, especially your first one, don’t go too far into the weeds of economic policy obfuscation. Much as you might like to discount them, Keynesian principles have been and still are dominant.

    As to Sibel’s research, I believe she is spot on target here. And amazed that this is the first time I’ve run across Keynes Eugenics background.

    If I can restate the core of her argument it is “how can we trust the economic judgement of someone who strongly supported Eugenics.” You were quick to call his views on Eugenics “weird”, but didn’t call his views on economic policy “weird”. Why not? Both views came from the same mind. If you can accept his views on economics as valid, then by the same token you should accept his views on Eugenics as valid. Again, its the same person, the same mind. And he didn’t just dally with the idea of Eugenics, he was an active member of Eugenics organizations as early as 1911-1913 to the end of his life.

  12. someoneionceknew says:

    As much as I respect your work Sibel, this is not an honest representation of Keynes’ countercyclical theory. Nor is what we have today Keynesian in ideology or practise.

    Keynes advocated spending to achieve full employment thus stepping into the effective demand gap.

    Neoliberal government is spending on banks and corporations in opposite to Keynes prescription/s i.e. quantity of money theory.

    What we have is fascism. Not Keynesianism.

  13. Knowing that: 2nd Level CIA and NLP Mind Controlled ALL dumbing down civilians and Corrupting Corp with agendas. “1985
    MACROCOSM
    NEW WORLD
    ORDER MILLIONS Will go
    THROUGH “The PROCESS” (brainwash programming)
    …INCLUDING MOST OF AMERICA’S CORPORATE LEADERS and OFFICIALS from Navy/
    EDUCATION-“It was
    estimated that Millions of persons were (1985) put through this type of
    PROCESSING including most of AMERICAS Corp See FULL DISCLOSURE atwww.mireilletorjman.com
    http://www.israeli-occupation.org/2011-04-30/michael-sfard-the-legal-tsunami-is-on-its-way/ Can you believe this? yrs of infiltrations by CIA Sorcerer and Palestines were evicted by their own People. As if Their Countries aren’t big enough to find land for them as far away as possible. SICK!
    Michael Sfard: The legal tsunami is on its way — Israeli Occupation

  14. Eric Saunders says:

    Keynes’ ideas on eugenics were not so unusual for the time. I have yet to hear that he advocated the mass extermination of any particular group. Because of the more twisted ideas of the eugenicists (forced sterilizations, the nazis…) the term has a terrible connotation. But these ideas have evolved over time. Today, stem cell research and genetic screening for disorders such as Huntington’s disease represent the best of research into genetics. But I digress.

    The larger point is that I would not personalize his economic ideas to such a high degree. Keynes was the heir to classical economists like Ricardo and Mills. They advocated “free markets” and this gets distorted by the neoliberals. They did not mean “free” as in unfettered by taxation or regulation. There was no modern regulatory state anyway. They meant free from feudal or monopoly rents – factors in the price that were not related to production but came about purely from privilege.

    Keynes advocated gradual euthanasia (figuratively) of the rentier! The progressive tax code worked to this end by taxing high incomes at 90% !! The neoliberal “revolution” is actually a counter revolution that has brought about our current Gilded Age 2.0. We now have an economy dominated by a rentier FIRE sector that owns the political process and controls the national security state and media such that we are functionally a fascist imperial power now. This is 180 degrees away from any policies or goals that Keynes ever advocated.

    Chalmers Johnson’s book Nemesis has a very good section on military Keynesianism starting on page 271 if anyone wants a better take on military Keynesianism vs. John Maynard Keynes’ ideas.

  15. Imhotep II says:

    Sibel… I’m with Eric on this. The last 30+ years have been a decent into neoliberal economics based on Milton Friedman and The Chicago School of economics. A place where Obama taught by the way.

    Read Naomi Klein’s ‘Shock Doctrine’ to get a sense of how this economic policy basis has and continues to devastate not only the US but the world.

    The two most respected progressive economists are Paul Krugman and Joe Stiglitz, both of whom can be considered Keynesians. And yet I don’t believe that they espouse eugenics. Just because someone has one twisted idea does not mean that all ideas coming from that person are twisted.

    Eric is right when he mentions historical context. Take the extreme racism practiced by President Teddy Roosevelt. Something abhorrent today was commonplace at the beginning of the 20th century.

    You may be better served by focusing on the root cause of today’s economic problems, Friedman, than something that has mostly worked when it was implemented properly.

  16. ejungkurth says:

    I would take a step back and compare eugenics with economics itself, not just Keynesianism. They both apply brutally simple, narrow models to systems that are intricately complicated and infinitely complex.

    To my mind, eugenics (a fancy term for inbreeding) is an attempt to shift the blame for millennia of dogmatic adherence to ignorant philosophies and failed policies, from the policymakers to their victims. Since Keynes was an proponent of eugenics, I would examine his economic prescriptions with a jaundiced eye.

    In any event, I think we’d be better off shifting our political emphasis away from the current (recurring?) theories of economics to accountancy. The former shrouds the incompetent and criminal behind a veil of vague prognostication, whereas the latter presents a stark picture of where we are, how we got there, and who was responsible.

  17. Eric Saunders says:

    But Sibel, I do agree with you about the dangers of centralization. However, let me describe a few events to make a slightly different case about our centralization:

    1) Before we had a more centralized economy and any sorts of regulation, we had the Gilded Age which was dominated by the Robber Barons – enormous monopoly capitalists. They represented an enormous concentration and centralization of economic and political power. This arose as the Industrial economy advanced without any sort of regulation or structure to prevent the monopolies from arising. The horrible inequality of this era eventually brought about the Progressive Era reforms.

    2) There was a huge recession during the Presidency of Teddy Roosevelt. TR actually believed that the recession was created intentionally by the Morgan and Rockefeller interests because they were trying to get TR to allow the creation of a privately controlled American Central Bank! (Of course Wilson would eventually give in).

    The point I am trying to illustrate is that pre-Keynesian America had centralized and overbearing power as well; the power was held by the corporations (sort of like today).

    3) After World War 2 many in the US wanted to see a large scale military demobilization. The 1947 National Security Act basically killed this possibility. The worst aspect of this (which Truman never intended) was the creation of the CIA which was done at the behest and to the specifications of a cabal of Wall Street bankers. Clark Clifford even phrased one passage in the act to give the CIA not just the intelligence gathering responsibilities, but the ability to do whatever the NSC said it could do.

    This gave rise to all the overthrows, assassinations, drug running, mind control experiments, and so on. And the CIA would be responsible for describing the Soviet Threat and providing the justification for America’s insane War Economy. This kind of centralization of the Wall Street designed Total War state, complete with a Gestapo secret police organization, is the root of our current woes. The Power Elite and their command of the military, economy, and political system created the American Empire and they are the ones that benefit from it even as the world and most of America suffers.

  18. I didn’t know Keynes was a eugenicist.

    To the other commenters, you’re forgetting that Keynesian economics lets the sociopaths in power to spend for wars, spend for the MIC, spend for bailouts to their buddies “too big to fail”, etc. and who pays for it?
    Our children and grandchildren, though I’m too young for that right now but you get the point.

    We are now paying the bills for the past spending sprees. What will the bill look like for the “Fed fueled money printing” of recent years?

    For those commenting that it’s been much worse for the past 30 years, did you consider that when Nixon took the US off the gold standard, it took the limits off the Fed and gov’t and the standard of living really started to decline faster.
    (That’s what the gold standard does. They can’t create gold out of thin air.)

  19. someoneionceknew says:

    The notion that government spending today is a debt for future generations to pay is just not right. Government pays its bills in its own fiat currency. The questions are how the spending (money creation) is directed and how the taxation (money destruction) system works.

    The gold standard won’t stop distortions in the international trading system and it certainly won’t stop imperial wars that arise from the unbridled thirst for resource domination.

    It didn’t stop the world wars or the Great Depression.

  20. @ someoneionceknew

    You sound like an MMT advocate. You really think the gov’t can pay it’s bills in it’s own fiat currency and there will be no consequences? We’re talking about $14 trillion and once the entitlements start to drain the rest of the budget (which is not a problem yet) that’s another $100 trillion ($100 trillion present value)and that’s not even considering the inevitable events which will force interest rates up no matter how low the Fed wants to keep them.

    I don’t think you’re looking at the real economy. When the gov’t spends money it creates out of thin air, it drains resources from the free market/free society and when banks create money/credit from debt (money multiplier effect) they also drain resources from the free market.

    Did you know about the austerity people lived in during those wars? You really think the gov’t can just tell people on a gold standard that restrains the spending that we want to fight 3 wars in the Middle East so we want to impose austerity measures on all of you? How will that play out?

  21. Eric Saunders says:

    What real economy? Almost the entire American economy is weapons, speculation, and subsidized corporate farming. It has been maintained by an imperial currency system that essentially taxes other nations to pay for our global military domination machine. We need to end the Fed for sure. We should adopt the Libya model, you know, the one that we are trying to destroy since it threatens the imperial petrodollar system…

  22. dutchbradt says:

    I’m a physicist not an economist. I have a hard time taking any of the social sciences very seriously – economics especially. Economists seem to be very good at explaining why things had to happen the way they did, but pretty bad at predicting what will happen in the future. If economics were a predictive science, all economists would be rich.

    I don’t believe that the centripetal forces drawing more and more power into the central government have anything to do with the particular economic theory favored by the ruling elite. It would have happened whether the prevailing theory were Keynesian, neoliberal or merchantilist. The increasing interdependence of all segments of society and the increasing speed with which information, materials and energy flow throughout require a more engaged and intrusive central government to regulate it.

    I especially believe that the rise of the corporations, controlling unimaginable wealth and wielding enormous power over individuals requires a powerful central government to provide a counterbalance. Even though the government is in many ways captive to the corporate interests, without it our situation (we the people that is) would be far more precarious.

    What difference does it make that Keynes was a eugenicist? Lyndon Johnson gave us the Viet Nam War and the Voting Rights Act. One person can have both good and bad ideas.

  23. @dutchbradt: “What difference does it make that Keynes was a eugenicist?” because both, econ-soc- are based on his core principles when it comes to social models. Not possible to separate. It would be like separating Hitler’s views on econ from his views on genetic superiority; his view on nationalism from his view on government bureaucracy…

  24. arealjeffersonian says:

    dutchbradt:

    Perhaps the difference it makes is that for Keynes it was really only one idea – an all powerful central government. His ideas, whether Eugenic or economic, rested on the premise that government can and should exercise complete control, whether of reproduction or of income/wealth/expenditures.

    As to government being a counterbalance to powerful corporations, even if it were true, which is certainly suspect, a powerful government is much more dangerous to our liberties than a powerful corporation.

  25. Eric Saunders says:

    Capitalism leads to monopolies and cartels. Look at the biggest rackets right now: Oil and finance. There are essentially four US corporations in each sector. There is no libertarian or neoliberal solution to curb the power of Big Oil. A government powerful enough to bust up or preferable nationalize these sectors would be desirable. Of course that is unacceptable to libertarians because it goes against their religion: market fundamentalism.

    The neoliberal imperialists are only a couple degrees away from the libertarians. The chief difference is that the imperialists are smart enough to recognize that it takes a powerful coercive imperial apparatus to subject the rest of the world to corporate exploitation. That’s why Mossadegh in Iran gets ousted by the CIA on behalf of BP. Allende gets tossed on behalf of ITT. Saddam gets invaded on behalf of Western oil majors (and finance and the Israel Lobby). And Chavez is some kind of enemy to the US though the reason why is never explained coherently to the public. He’s an evil dictator while the Saudis are our friends!

    We have an advanced economy (unless imperial over-extension makes it crumble). It is silly to promote some kind of pre-industrial vision of self-sufficiency when technology has solved so many problems and limitations of production. If eventually robots make everything, will the libertarians still demand that every person’s consumption be determined by the credit they receive from this or that employer? Is the modern economy really like some kind of Pioneer Theme Park where the farmer trades some barley to ye olde blacksmith to put some shoes on his plow-pulling draft horse? I don’t want to build my home out of Lincoln Logs and drink milk straight from the teet.

    Keynes, with the idea of government intervention in the economy, sought to decouple consumption from the boom and bust business cycles of the era in which he lived. This was an efort to save capitalism and to help the great mass of the most vulnerable people in the economy. He really has no connection to the sinister forces that rule us today, except that he did help to save capitalism which now doesn’t seem like such a great thing to have done. Keynes came from a line of economists and there have been economists after him who have done good work, even if they get ignored by the ruling kleptocracy. John Galbraith, Michael Hudson, Ha Joon Chang, joe Stiglitz… NOT Milton Friedman who deserves to have his grave pissed on by Pinochet torture victims!

  26. I, for one, think the countervailing arguments between the Keynesistas and Friedmanites obscures the central paradigm shift the globe faces. That paradigm shift is from the Economics of Abundance to the Economics of Scarcity. We are currently heading for the triple-whammy brick wall of resource depletion, environmental degradation and global overpopulation. As the Economics of Scarcity take hold, it now and increasingly will require ever greater expenditures of Wealth merely to maintain the current standard of living most now enjoy. One must look at BOTH the failure of Keynesian economics and the rise of the monetarists through that lens. It explains the increasing wealth inequality between the wealthy and the rest of us, the increasing push for privatization of public resources and the way the wealthy are using that wealth to take control of ever greater percentages of the shrinking resource pie. The PURPOSE of all these actions is to secure the Survival of those Elites at the expense and expendability of the rest of us.

  27. To everyone,

    Whatever you’ve been led to believe, the left, progressives, and libertarians have more in common than you’ve been led to believe.

    This talk by Richard Long may help http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4hjO1ak4_M

  28. sorry the speaker is Roderick Long

  29. jackCondor says:

    @Eric Saunders
    “The PURPOSE of all these actions is to secure the Survival of those Elites at the expense and expendability of the rest of us.”
    +++

    @konst
    The most important commonality is that those that hold to one or the other of the ideologies you mentioned are the ‘true believers’ that Strauss has characterized as those who are necessary for carrying out the directives of the elites. The elites are ‘history’s actors’ they act and the reality community divided into competing camps reacts, and the rest the herd stands mesmerized. To these Elite players ideologies only matter as a means to cause an effect.

    And it is ‘effect’ not the ideologies themselves that is the goal of the modern propagandist. (According to Jacques Ellul) And the main effect of it all is a divisive and distracting debate about which neutered ideology would be best to adopt.

    Sure each ideology has something appealing typically stressing one of the archetypal ideas of society – Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.

    But as it is, each theme is distorted and bent by the Elites to justify contradiction when need be. Whether it’s the neo-conservatives breaking the budget and the Bill of Rights or the neo-liberals advocating illegal wars and domestic repression.

    What’s hard, and one has to give the Elites credit for doing it, is that they do the difficult intellectual work, they study history to know what works and doesn’t. They have learned history in order to erase and subvert history as is most clearly the case when it comes to the history of economic thought. But most of all they have learned how to cause an effect. They are technicians – even when they seem to the ‘reality community’ to ‘act’ like idiots.

  30. Sibel’s right in saying that you can’t seperate Keynes’ eugenics views from his economic views. Also, in the dangers of blindly accepting what the Powers that Be tell you.

    Walk down the street and ask the first ten people you meet these questions:

    Who was John Keynes?
    What’s the difference between inflation and deflation?
    What does GNP stand for?

    Odds are at least half won’t be able to answer all three. Now, ask them who’s Simon Cowell? All ten will instantly know.

    The point is that not all but many can’t be bothered to sit down and do actual research. Who’s got time? I have the family, a job, looking for a better job, a sick relative and other stuff. All valid and tough things to manage.

    Then again, others have the same things and they somehow manage to find time to not blindly accept what they’re told.

    I really think that part of it is for some is not taking responsibility. Do you really think that just listening to Stephanie Miller, Thom Hartmann, Mike Malloy or Ed Schultz will solve all of your problems? No, it won’t. These people are recycling the same information and then presenting it in the same way. Another point. If so many people think that these hosts are so smart, who does every single one always start off an economic interview with something like, “for the benefit of our listeners who might not know, what exactly is the Fed?”

    Why are they still doing this how many years now into the global depression? Is it because of laziness? Lousy researchers? You can look up basic stock market terms on Wikipedia and learn them in 3 minutes. If I can do this, why can’t others do it as well?

    Yeah, it sucks having to be online reading about boring economics on a nice sunny day. Then again, if you don’t do it, who will?

  31. @jackCondor
    Nice little rant but…

    You give too much credit to these so called elites whoever they may be. Maybe you can elaborate who they are and what the “reality community” is. You sound like that Bush aide in the interview where he proclaimed that the U.S. empire, history’s actors in his words, as creating realities.
    Truth is they don’t really know what they’re doing.

    As far as ideologies, who said anything about ideologies? I simply used the labels people use to refer to themselves in order to show they’re really united despite what they’re led to believe.

  32. someoneionceknew says:

    konst Says:

    @ someoneionceknew

    [b]You sound like an MMT advocate.[/b]

    Monetary mechanics is about facts. They don’t require advocacy.

    The stuff about “entitlements” is scare tactics and distraction.
    Government borowing in $US is private savings.

    Once people understand these basic facts, the whole argument changes. Until then, it’s all a political charade being played on you by the very rich, whose goal is to dismantle the welfare state and sieze middle class wealth.

  33. someoneionceknew says:

    Eric Saunders Says:

    Capitalism leads to monopolies and cartels. Look at the biggest rackets right now: Oil and finance. There are essentially four US corporations in each sector. There is no libertarian or neoliberal solution to curb the power of Big Oil. A government powerful enough to bust up or preferable nationalize these sectors would be desirable. Of course that is unacceptable to libertarians because it goes against their religion: market fundamentalism.

    The neoliberal imperialists are only a couple degrees away from the libertarians. The chief difference is that the imperialists are smart enough to recognize that it takes a powerful coercive imperial apparatus to subject the rest of the world to corporate exploitation.

    ____________

    Exactly. Well said.

  34. jackCondor says:

    @konst
    Occasionally one must give in to a little ranting…

    Your right, I stole that history actors line from Ron Suskind’s talk with a senior Bush advisor.
    “We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

    Read it like everyone else did, but it sort of bugged me though, as I thought it was a glimpse of something important. (Just like I think Sibel’s testimony about the counter-intelligence reality we the public seldom get a glimpse of is something important.) Then I remembered…

    A speaker gave an industry conference I was attending in the 80s some similar insight describing the two different forms of reality – virtual reality and transparent reality. He said the first is something that with little to no effort everyone sees but it’s not really there at all, the second is a reality that is there but it takes a great deal of effort to see it. He went on to say that our job as technologists, consultants, marketers and architects was, through our professional work efforts to create the first by knowing and hiding the second.

    Regarding your assertion: “Truth is they don’t really know what they’re doing.”

    Knowing what one is doing is based on calculating a plan to reach an objective. Without knowing the objective for an action, it’s not easy to empirically judge if someone is successful (knows what they are doing) in what they have set out to do. This especially so when there are hidden agendas that are counter to the stated objectives. But it is comforting to think someone else, no matter how much wealth and power they have accumulated is an idiot. Again especially if they act like one on T.V.

    But your right, you didn’t mention ideology I did.

    Lastly I agree you, were all in this reality thing together, even history’s actors – whether they want to admit it or not.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  35. dutchbradt says:

    Sibel says: “because both, econ-soc- are based on his core principles when it comes to social models. Not possible to separate. It would be like separating Hitler’s views on econ from his views on genetic superiority; his view on nationalism from his view on government bureaucracy…” I agree, it would be like that, and it is just as possible to distinguish Hitler’s different views from each other as to do so for Keynes. Sibel, I can agree with somethings you say while disagreeing with others without necessarily contradicting myself. Not all of one person’s thoughts are of a piece.

    You say Keynes’ economics and eugenics not only derive from the same core beliefs, but also that to deny one is to deny the other. This may be so, if they are so logically interdependent that the one set implies the other. I don’t know enough about either his economics or his eugenics to judge whether or not this is so, but neither you have not established this fact.

    This is not worth either of us pursuing further. I’m certainly not going to delve into Keynes’ writings and you don’t need to waste your time educating me on his thought. You may be right about the interconnection of his economics and eugenics, but you haven’t provided a basis for anyone else coming to that conclusion.

  36. Eric Saunders says:

    Hitler liked Weinerschnitzel, proving that anyone who likes Weinerschnitzel is into genocide.

  37. ZicaTanka says:

    Only if the weinerschnitzel is made of…

  38. joelpettit says:

    @Eric Saunders “Capitalism leads to monopolies and cartels.”

    This is absolutely ridiculous.

    Imagine an actual free market did exist (which is not currently the case–the corporate sectors to which you referred receive plenty of government largesse and legal support) how would you be able to even tell what a monopoly was? Say one firm did such a good job providing consumers with goods that no other firm was able to compete–no one was able to lower prices for comparable goods. Firm one then became the only business selling product “y.” The concept of monopoly that you learned (in grade school?) states that this firm, beating out all the competition is now free to charge whatever exorbitant prices they feel like: “monopoly prices.” But tell me, how do you know that the prices are “monopoly prices” and not “market prices?” If there exists no other firm to compare price to, then how in the world can you tell if the price is not just the going market price?

    Anyway, all of this is clearly explained (as well as a competent dismissal of your grade-school history book “robber barons” fallacy) in a couple of books by Dominick Armentano. I suggest you look him up, and read a little…besides repeating whatever your drone/sheep economics professor drilled into your head.

    http://www.amazon.com/Antitrust-Monopoly-Anatomy-Independent-Political/dp/0945999623/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpi_1

  39. joelpettit says:

    Oh, and great post Sibel. You continue to impress me with your acumen.

  40. someoneionceknew says:

    Dominick Armentano is an Austrian School flak. These people don’t do economics, they do political shillery for the very rich.

    In your example above you’ve described a firm monopolising a market in certain goods and then claimed that it may not be a monopoly operator.

    Then you’ve launched abuse. Hmmmm.

  41. “They do political shillery for the very rich”. Really!! So I guess all those Austrain economists, or rich people shills, are all gainfully employed by the likes of Warren Buffet, and Bill Gates, and they are on the President’s Council for Economic Advisors, and are running up and down the halls of Congress lobbying for the rich buddies interests.
    Oh, and the Ludwig Von Mises Institute has a larger budget than the budgets of the Heritage Foundation, and the Cato Institute combined?
    What rubbish. Ludwig Von Mises was a Visiting Professor at New York University, and never rec’d a full tenured position. Murray Rothbard taught at the widely acclamied insitute of higher learning called UNLV. (The Running Rebs)
    It’s the Austrian school that has predicted the Great Depression, the demise of Bretton Woods, the real estate bubble, the dot com bubble, that the Soviet Union would fail(Mises predicted this back in 1915) etc. And you don’t think that it would be worth while to give them a listen to? Why not take a look at Henry Hazlitt’s shill for the rich called, “Economics in One Lesson”. He sure made millions of dollars peddling it them rich folks!!!

  42. joelpettit says:

    @someoneionceknew:

    Here, I’ll try and explain this as simply as I can since you don’t seem to understand.

    In order to tell if the price of a good is expensive or cheap, there must be other comparable goods to compare the prices to.

    For instance if I invented some device and sold it at $7 a unit and no one else is selling a similar device, how would you know if $7/unit was a “monopoly” price–that I was selling at much more than people were willing to pay–and yet they were thrust into a situation where they simply had to purchase it anyway? You couldn’t.

    Look, even if I’m the only one selling something, if some consumers are purchasing what I’m selling–at the price at which I’m willing to sell it, that’s simply the market price–not some sort of dubious, infamous “monopoly price.”

    So, even if a firm were selling a good, and no one else could compete with their efficacy so that they were the only firm selling said good,even if the price of the good rose, it would be the product of supply and demand forces. Not Skeletor or Dr. Doom sitting in throne duping the world.

    The current mode of thinking about monopolies is simply juvenile.

  43. ZicaTanka says:

    @joelpettit: What if I buy all the oil and then sell it for a million dollars per gallon? Who are my competitors? Where’s the comparison? How about the networks and airwaves? Not much competition there. Shall we put sun up for grabs? There’s more to life than a market worldview, you know.

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