Monday, December 05, 2016

Maybe Chris Hedges Has a Better Name for It.

Our prime minister has proclaimed Canada the "first post-national state." Economist James Galbraith prefers the term "predator state." To Chris Hedges, it's the "mafia state."

Systems of governance that are seized by a tiny cabal become mafia states. The early years—Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton in the United States—are marked by promises that the pillage will benefit everyone. The later years—George W. Bush and Barack Obama—are marked by declarations that things are getting better even though they are getting worse. The final years—Donald Trump—see the lunatic trolls, hedge fund parasites, con artists, conspiracy theorists and criminals drop all pretense and carry out an orgy of looting and corruption.
Neoliberalism is state-sponsored extortion. It is a vast, nationally orchestrated Ponzi scheme. ...This fevered speculation [globalisation/free trade] and mounting inequality, made possible by the two ruling political parties, corroded and destroyed the mechanisms and institutions that permitted democratic participation and provided some protection for workers. Politicians, from Reagan on, were handsomely rewarded by their funders for delivering their credulous supporters to the corporate guillotine. The corporate coup created a mafia capitalism. This mafia capitalism, as economists such as Karl Polanyi and Joseph Stiglitz warned, gave birth to a mafia political system. Financial and political power in the hands of institutions such as Goldman Sachs and the Clinton Foundation becomes solely about personal gain. The Obamas in a few weeks will begin to give us a transparent lesson into how service to the corporate state translates into personal enrichment.

Adam Smith wrote that profits are often highest in nations on the verge of economic collapse. These profits are obtained, he wrote, by massively indebting the economy. A rentier class, composed of managers at hedge funds, banks, financial firms and other companies, makes money not by manufacturing products but from the control of economic rents.
To James Galbraith, today's rentiers are the "looter class."

“The great Roman historians Livy and Plutarch blamed the decline of the Roman Empire on the creditor class being predatory, and the latifundia,” [economist Michael] Hudson said. “The creditors took all the money, and would just buy more and more land, displacing the other people. The result in Rome was a dark age, and that can last a very long time. The dark age is what happens when the rentiers take over.

“If you look back in the 1930s, Leon Trotsky said that fascism was the inability of the socialist parties to come forth with an alternative,” Hudson said. “If the socialist parties and media don’t come forth with an alternative to this neofeudalism, you’re going to have a rollback to feudalism. But instead of the military taking over the land, as occurred with the Norman Conquest, you take over the land financially. Finance has become the new mode of warfare.
“You can achieve the takeover of land and the takeover of companies by corporate raids,” he said. “The Wall Street vocabulary is one of conquest and wiping out. You’re having a replay in the financial sphere of what feudalism was in the military sphere.”


Lorne said...

I was reading today that the great saviour of the common man, Donald Trump, known for his tough stances during the campaign on businesses leaving the country, is really bringing the hammer down on them by planning to lower corporate tax rates and gutting regulations. That'll show 'em, eh?

Toby said...

For me, the most troubling aspect of the Trump gong show is that it has bred copycats in Canada. Witness the rants of Kellie Leitch, Ezra Levant and their sycophants like Chris Alexander and a great many Albertans. MLA Sandra Jansen and and Donna Kennedy-Glans were forced out of the Conservative race by goons who would be very comfortable in Trump land. Don't think for a moment that Canada is a better place, that it can't happen here.

The Mound of Sound said...

Yes, Lorne, the already rich are poised to get substantially richer under Trump and the three Goldman Sachs guys in his cabinet. Then he's going to pump a lot more money into the already bloated military budget and, let's not forget, build that massive wall and a government that is already burdened with massive annual deficits will Make America Great Again.

The Mound of Sound said...

Toby, Trump hasn't "bred" anything in Canada. These reprobates and degenerates have always been here. Preston Manning had a fair number of them in his early Reform caucuses. The Conservative Party now essentially condones them as Chris Alexander showed on the weekend when the crowd chanted "lock her up" in reference to Notley and he did nothing to stop them. What began as "movement conservatism" has now become a movement of societal dregs.

Toby said...

Maybe bred isn't the right word. How about legitimized? Yes, they have always been with us but now they feel comfortable out in the open.

The Mound of Sound said...

They're truly a pack of nasty little shits, Toby.

Anonymous said...

I have used terms of cabal and mafia and banksters as well.
The problem with those bastards who are masquerading themselves as liberals or living vicariously as a "democratic" political entities (vide movement fronted by Hillary) is when attacked, they divert attention from themselves by spewing fascist, bigot an Nazi epithets on their opponents.