You may remember that Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was originally one of the architects and promoters of the so-called Reagan Revolution.
He's apologized repeatedly for being a part of those modern-day Vandals by charging that the radicals in the administration (called NeoLibs since then - but the only thing "liberal" about this group was its tendency to implement policies that benefitted only them as being what's best for everyone) drove the nonsense Supply Siderism so furiously that it went off the tracks (enriching themselves and their benefactors munificently as it impoverished the country). He's been making a clarion call for reform ever since.
In his private circle of acquaintances, he admits that no one among them wants to be "unplugged" from their current assumptions (matrix) no matter how selfish and self defeating they will turn out to be. As I see this daily in retirement "mavens" who refuse to believe that their retirements are in as much danger as those younger than themselves, I attribute it to those at a certain age and wealth level who've had it so well for so long that they are absolutely able to minimize the widely available news that they should be aghast at every day. Deep denialism.
I don't think Reagan himself ever had a clue about much of what really went on in the country outside of his orbit (just like the Villagers in D.C. today), and he didn't care (unless he could milk a personal story where he appeared as an empathic good guy). After all, he had his nice California estate and addled retirement to look to, lacking for nothing thanks to the "friends" who got him elected for a deep, dark purpose that he (considering his obtuseness) may not have even been sure about. The same deep denialism has essentially been going on at the top income levels of the U.S. population for over 30 years, and shows no signs of abating (at least not until the seas are lapping at their back doors anyway).
Dr. Roberts tries to stir up the troops for economic justice for direct action in the essay below, and gives us a few facts to mull over when comparing China's present-day economic situation to ours as we head for the cliff.
By the way, if you're planning a Spanish vacation, you might want to reconsider as it has the same level of unemployment there as the U.S. had in the Great Depression, and, yes, they do still have the (rapidly dwindling) government safety nets, helping to keep millions from starving, but the beaches may not be quite as pleasant this time as you remember. And don't even mention the cities.
Global Research, April 19, 2012
Americans, the British, and Western Europeans are accustomed to thinking of themselves as the representatives of freedom, democracy, and morality in the world. The West passes judgment on the rest of the world as if the West is God and the rest of the world are barbarians in need of chastisement, invasion, and occupation.
As readers know, from time to time I raise questions about the validity of the West’s extreme hubris. (See for example, the following articles: Washington’s Insouciance Has No Rival and Is Western Democracy Real or a Facade?).
China is often a country about which Washington’s moralists get on their high horse. However, China’s “authoritarian” government is actually more responsive to its people than America’s “elected democratic” government. Moreover, however incomplete on paper the civil liberties of China’s people, the Chinese government has not declared that it can violate with impunity whatever rights Chinese citizens have. And it is not China that is running torture prisons all over the globe.
For some time I have had in mind a realistic comparison of the two countries instead of the standard propagandistic comparison, but Ron Unz has beat me to the task (see, China’s Rise, America’s Fall and Chinese Melamine and American Vioxx: A Comparison ). Unz provides a chance for an education. Don’t miss it.
Unz has done an excellent job. Moreover, he cleverly understates the case for China and overstates the case for America so as not to unduly arouse the flag-wavers. Nevertheless, the conclusion is clear: The Chinese are less threatened by their “extractive elites” than Americans are by their counterparts. Moreover, it is America’s, not China’s, extractive elites who are bombing, occupying, and droning other countries. As the bumper sticker says, “Be nice to America or we will bring democracy to your country.”
As for economic management, there is no comparison. Unz reports that during the past three decades, China has achieved the most rapid rate of economic development in human history. Moreover, most of the new income has flowed into the pockets of Chinese workers, not to the one percent. While American real median incomes have been stagnant for decades, incomes for Chinese workers have doubled every decade for three decades. A recent World Bank report attributes more than 100 percent of the drop in global poverty rates to China’s rise.
In the last decade China’s industrial output quadrupled. China now produces more automobiles than America and Japan combined and accounted for 85 percent of the increase in the world’s production of cars in the past decade.
In 1978 the American economy was 15 times larger than China’s. In the next few years China’s GDP is expected to exceed that of the US.
This is heady stuff providing astonishing details of how poorly Americans are served by their elites. America has failed, because political elites represent only the powerful special interests that write the country’s laws in exchange for funding the political campaigns of “lawmakers.” To divert attention from their failures, American elites point fingers at external scapegoats. China, for example, is accused of manipulating its currency. As Unz says, the scapegoating is political theater designed for the ignorant and gullible.
America’s economists, or most of them, have so prostituted themselves that propaganda has become wisdom. Most Americans believe that if China would simply let the value of its currency rise more rapidly relative to the dollar, America’s economic woes would be at an end. It is beyond belief that any economist could think that Americans with stagnant and declining incomes would be made better off by a sharp rise in the prices of goods manufactured in China on which Americans are dependent, or that the US dollar’s role as reserve currency, the main source of American power, could survive such a manifestation of Chinese economic superiority.
Americans associate lawlessness with unaccountable governments and view China’s government as unaccountable. However, Unz points out that it is the Bush/Obama Regime that has declared itself to be unaccountable to both US and international law.
The demise of the War Powers Act and the Geneva Conventions, and the asserted power of the executive to imprison without trial or charges or to assassinate any American whom the executive thinks might be a “national-security threat” are indicative of a total police state masquerading as an accountable democracy. In America six-year old little girls who misbehave in school are handcuffed, jailed, and charged with felonies. (see, 10 Disgusting Examples of Very Young School Children Being Arrested, Handcuffed and Brutalized By Police).
Not even Hitler and Stalin went this far.
Americans have lost control of the government, and governments that are not controlled by the people are not democracies. In America today, Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, and the entire social safety net are threatened by the vociferous desire for war profits by armament plutocrats and by financial institutions determined that ordinary citizens bear the cost of the banksters incompetence and fraud.
Unz’s comparison of how the Chinese media and government handled the melamine or infant formula scandal and how the American media and government handled Merck’s Vioxx scandal is especially damning. It was China’s controlled media and unaccountable government that punished the infant formula wrongdoers, while America’s free press and accountable government allowed Merck to walk.
Unz’s conclusion is that it is in America, not China, where life is regarded as cheap.
Ron Unz is an American hero, and a very courageous one. As George Orwell said, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
It is an even more courageous act when no one wants to hear the truth. As Frantz Fanon said, “Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief.”
Or as it is explained to Neo in the film, “The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system, and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.”
Most of the people I know personally are not willing to be unplugged. I assume my readers are, so seize the opportunity to be further unplugged and read Ron Unz’s comparison of America and China. Then do what you can to unplug others.
Paul Krugman used to have hope for Europe, but now believes that if they don't get off the austerity wagon, their inhabitants' suicides will pale into insignificance against the countries' ultimate suicide.
April 15, 2012
By Paul Krugman
On Saturday The Times reported on an apparently growing phenomenon in Europe: “suicide by economic crisis,” people taking their own lives in despair over unemployment and business failure. It was a heartbreaking story. But I’m sure I wasn’t the only reader, especially among economists, wondering if the larger story isn’t so much about individuals as about the apparent determination of European leaders to commit economic suicide for the Continent as a whole.
Just a few months ago I was feeling some hope about Europe. You may recall that late last fall Europe appeared to be on the verge of financial meltdown; but the European Central Bank, Europe’s counterpart to the Fed, came to the Continent’s rescue. It offered Europe’s banks open-ended credit lines as long as they put up the bonds of European governments as collateral; this directly supported the banks and indirectly supported the governments, and put an end to the panic.
The question then was whether this brave and effective action would be the start of a broader rethink, whether European leaders would use the breathing space the bank had created to reconsider the policies that brought matters to a head in the first place.
But they didn’t. Instead, they doubled down on their failed policies and ideas. And it’s getting harder and harder to believe that anything will get them to change course.
Consider the state of affairs in Spain, which is now the epicenter of the crisis. Never mind talk of recession; Spain is in full-on depression, with the overall unemployment rate at 23.6 percent, comparable to America at the depths of the Great Depression, and the youth unemployment rate over 50 percent. This can’t go on — and the realization that it can’t go on is what is sending Spanish borrowing costs ever higher.
In a way, it doesn’t really matter how Spain got to this point — but for what it’s worth, the Spanish story bears no resemblance to the morality tales so popular among European officials, especially in Germany. Spain wasn’t fiscally profligate — on the eve of the crisis it had low debt and a budget surplus. Unfortunately, it also had an enormous housing bubble, a bubble made possible in large part by huge loans from German banks to their Spanish counterparts. When the bubble burst, the Spanish economy was left high and dry; Spain’s fiscal problems are a consequence of its depression, not its cause.
Nonetheless, the prescription coming from Berlin and Frankfurt is, you guessed it, even more fiscal austerity.
This is, not to mince words, just insane. Europe has had several years of experience with harsh austerity programs, and the results are exactly what students of history told you would happen: such programs push depressed economies even deeper into depression. And because investors look at the state of a nation’s economy when assessing its ability to repay debt, austerity programs haven’t even worked as a way to reduce borrowing costs.
What is the alternative? Well, in the 1930s — an era that modern Europe is starting to replicate in ever more faithful detail — the essential condition for recovery was exit from the gold standard. The equivalent move now would be exit from the euro, and restoration of national currencies. You may say that this is inconceivable, and it would indeed be a hugely disruptive event both economically and politically. But continuing on the present course, imposing ever-harsher austerity on countries that are already suffering Depression-era unemployment, is what’s truly inconceivable.
So if European leaders really wanted to save the euro they would be looking for an alternative course. And the shape of such an alternative is actually fairly clear. The Continent needs more expansionary monetary policies, in the form of a willingness — an announced willingness — on the part of the European Central Bank to accept somewhat higher inflation; it needs more expansionary fiscal policies, in the form of budgets in Germany that offset austerity in Spain and other troubled nations around the Continent’s periphery, rather than reinforcing it. Even with such policies, the peripheral nations would face years of hard times. But at least there would be some hope of recovery.
What we’re actually seeing, however, is complete inflexibility. In March, European leaders signed a fiscal pact that in effect locks in fiscal austerity as the response to any and all problems. Meanwhile, key officials at the central bank are making a point of emphasizing the bank’s willingness to raise rates at the slightest hint of higher inflation.
So it’s hard to avoid a sense of despair. Rather than admit that they’ve been wrong, European leaders seem determined to drive their economy — and their society — off a cliff. And the whole world will pay the price.
S T O P the madness!
O R G A N I Z E!!!!!
And liven up with a little Dead!