Does the Left know how to fix Capitalism?


IT IS PERFECTLY NATURAL, when people see a system failing, that they should want to fix it. By the late-1970s and early-1980s it was pretty clear to everyone that the post-war economic miracle had stalled, and that all the usual remedies had been tried and had failed. Voters were in the market for something new, something that hadn’t been tried. They were hungry for an alternative.

Young New Zealanders who have grown up in the neoliberal era of low inflation, small and weak private sector unions, and low-to-stagnant income growth will find it difficult to imagine an annual inflation rate of 14 percent with wage rises to match. Economic policies have hardly changed in 35 years, so the idea of prime ministers and finance ministers flailing about in search of a solution to rampant price and wage inflation will strike those who have never experienced the collapse of a long-standing policy consensus as bizarre.

What would also strike them as unusual is just how energetically New Zealand society examined and debated the alternatives put forward to replace the failing post-war consensus. Even though today’s 20-somethings have lived through the global financial crisis – an event which tested neoliberal ideas and practices to destruction – there has been nothing like the lengthy period of public discussion and disputation that preceded the dramatic reforms of the Fourth Labour Government.

That there was so much public discussion: so many features in the newspapers, lengthy magazine articles and prime-time documentaries (the most famous being Milton Freidman’s staunchly monetarist “Free to Choose” series) is indisputably because the most vociferous arguments in favour of change were coming from the Right.

Keynesian economic orthodoxy, which had largely dictated the policies of Western states since 1945, represented capitalism’s grudging compromise with the social-democratic aspirations of the men and women who had lived through the years of depression and war. Ordinary people were demanding a better life, and western politicians, all too aware that if they refused to meet their citizens’ demands the Soviets would be quick to tell them why, thought it best to give the voters what they wanted. The problem, especially for the capitalists of the English-speaking world, was that the post-war compromise had worked too well.

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With the power of the trade unions growing, and the rate of profit falling, capitalism was in trouble. Worse still, a “revolution of rising expectations”, beginning in the 1950s and 60s, had, by the 1970s, led to previously marginalised and/or suppressed groups – blacks, women, gays and lesbians – demanding their own fair share of space on the social, economic and political stage. Left to itself, conservative intellectuals argued, social-democracy was generating demands that capitalism could only meet by consenting to its own dissolution. The time had come to fight back.

And what a fightback it was. Crucial to the success of the Capitalist counter-revolution was the middle-class fear of being forced to surrender its economic and social privileges to groups long-considered inferior – most especially the working-class and people of colour. Trade union militancy and black assertiveness, the most radical manifestations of social-democracy’s culture of enablement and emancipation, were to become the unacknowledged drivers of middle-class support for the capitalist fightback. The price: a promise of full social, economic and political equality for middle-class women, regardless of race or sexuality; did not seem particularly high. After all, it had worked before.

Were there left-wing alternatives to the Keynesian post-war settlement? Of course there were! Did they enjoy the same encouragement and support as the alternatives put forward by conservative intellectuals and right-wing think tanks? Of course not! The “More Market” side of the debate patted the capitalist cat just the way it liked – from its head to its tail. Those foolhardy enough to try stroking it in the opposite direction ended up getting very badly scratched.

In the ten years that have elapsed since the global financial crisis, much has been written about the deficiencies and failures of neoliberalism. Alternative economic ideas have been advanced by thinkers and politicians from all around the world. Unfortunately, the critics of neoliberalism have achieved nothing like the cut-through achieved by the critics of Keynesianism in the 70s and 80s. The careful creation of an intellectual climate for change; the constant publication of detailed proposals for reform; the extraordinary preparation and seeding of the political ground that prefaced the policy revolutions unleashed by Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and Roger Douglas; none of these have been replicated by the Left.

Hardly surprising when one considers the extreme disparity in resources between the individuals and groups advocating neoliberalism, and those promoting more equitable alternatives. Having billionaires as backers really does help!

Even with the powerful incentive of the Covid-19 Pandemic, the development of a convincing alternative to the status-quo remains pitifully (and, given the rapid advance of climate change, dangerously) slow.

Ninety years ago, the father of public relations, and author of the ground-breaking book “Propaganda”, Edward Bernays, wrote:

“Only through the active energy of the intelligent few can the public at large become aware of and act upon new ideas.”

Few would dispute that the Left, today, are few in number. Is their failure to make the public aware of and act upon the manifest failures of the present system attributable to their lack of active energy and intelligence? Or, is it simply because the Left’s ideas have become, almost entirely, those of the historically compromised middle-class?



  1. Excellent piece again Chris Trotter.

    “does the left know how to fix Capitalism” no because the left believes in ‘shared wealth’ unlike Capitalism which believes in “to each their own”.

    I like you grew up in the shadow of the second world war (I was a war baby born during the “silent generation” during the war in 1944.

    Chris you remember that we all had enough each and everyone during the post war “egalitarian era” which was a form of socialism, so we knew the real way out to fix our society then when after war hardships were everywhere so we should return to ‘egalitarianism’ now to share in our “commonwealth” so – there Chris fixed!!!

  2. No it’s because they aren’t intelligent.

    The public service and academia – the new engine rooms of the “left”- are chock full of self importance but contribute nothing.
    They have become an echo chamber of political correctness over substance.
    They have no ideas that aren’t increasingly woke intersectionism.
    It’s lazy and it’s very dumb. Critical thinking is actively purged.
    Universities are commercial entities where those who have never had an actual job in their life preach with moral certitude. Science is dying.
    What they all share is distain if working people.

    • Science isn’t dying.

      The efforts by the cabal of fuckwits and self-serving [in the short term] liars who run the system to discredit/destroy science’s role in life and dumb-down the masses have backfired enormously, and dire repercussions of ignoring science (in both theory and evidence) are manifesting in more nasty ways that the cabal of fuckwits and liars can cope with, whether it be the reality of Peak Oil, the reality of Abrupt Climate Change, the reality of the Sixth Great Extinction Event or the reality of Population Overshoot.

      By the same toke, the efforts of the cabal of fuckwits and liars to elevate the mumbo-jumbo of mainstream economics to the status of being a science have proven futile, and none of the recipes for economic success that worked when energy was abundant and cheap to extract, and when the global environment was still largely intact work any longer. Mainstream economics has been proven to be a sham, and to use the not-long departed national leader’s word, a shambles.

      That doesn’t prevent current holders of political position from continuing to promote idiotic notions, such as infinite growth on a finite planet.

      • Thanks for showing the strength of your counter argument bert
        I’d like to say you add a lot to every discussion, I really would.

        • If you had anything worthwhile to post then just the moment you add nothing.
          But just for you…

          “The public service and academia – the new engine rooms of the “left”- are chock full of self importance but contribute nothing.”
          “Science is dead”
          Any evidence that this is the case or just your opinion? In fact, nothing you mention is backed up by evidence, everything you say is an assumption and therefore cannot be counter argued. So as I stated Keepcalmcarryon, so many generalisations.
          Finally you start with “No it’s because they aren’t intelligent.” and end with “What they all share is distain if working people.
          “If working people” not really that intelligent are you Keepcalmcarryon?

          • Ok bert if that is the way to read it.
            I take the bigger picture as being more important than detail but each to his own.
            ““Science is dead” to many it is too complex and what deniers say has more meaning to many with no science background or apparent ability to examine simple evidence. They get easily confused.
            Trump for example denies climate change, many aspects of covid19 and believes the USA has a right to run Venezuela, steal its resources and appoint an American who wasn’t even a candidate, as President.
            He is not the only President not leader to deny Science or effectively bypass it. Jonkey is another one. He has publicly denied before the world that our waterways are polluted and also rubbished our highly ranked scientist Mike Joy.

    • Keepcalmcarryon – I think that maybe you may be a wee bit of an echo chamber for Amy Brooke, AKA Agnes-Mary Brooke, and of blogger Ada, but when looking at Amy’s non-indexed etc writing – I think she might have a tendency to generalise.

      There may be a contradiction in your identifying the public service and academia as engine rooms of the left, while simultaneously being commercial entities – when the latter is in fact a recorded source of concern for the former, particularly in the universities.

      I’d be surprised if any large blocks of people are dumb – one of the pleasures of day-to-day living is the popping up of original thinkers in often fairly unexpected places – but be assured that traditional university teaching is an actual job. I say traditional, because I cannot speak for modern advanced schooling courses like growing crystals out of carrot tops, or one thousand different toe nail designs, which have different skill sets.

      You state what they all, “share is distain if working people.”

      Assuming that you mean, “disdain of working people”, then that is almost certainly untrue – and more likely to be eager-beaver Young Act and Young Nat territory. Exactly what you mean by “working people” is also a bit of a mystery – and academics are more likely to share a bottle of decent plonk – if anything.

  3. Mateeez, no one has ever said that I lack energy or intelligence. Give it your best team. Change the rules of the game simply because we the left can win it this time.

  4. “Were there left-wing alternatives to the Keynesian post-war settlement? Of course there were!” And zero alternatives that have ever worked. The fundamental flaw in the radical left’s thinking that they can never overcome (so always choose to ignore) is that all of society’s public institutional structures, wage/salary systems & welfare charity benefits are funded by taxes on privately created profits. So, without capitalism there is nothing available for redistribution. Someone has to create the pie before it can be divided.

    • Bernie Sanders showed us the way with relatively small donations of $1 but consistently. If all the regulars sponsor The Daily Blog at $1 a week that should be enough to mount a decent defence of our ideas over time. It will be an interesting experiment.

    • Profits are not the only thing being taxed. Wages and incomes other than profits can also be a source of redistributable income.

        • The physical and intellectual labour of the world’s workers applied to the worlds resources is what creates wealth.

          The largest capitalist parasites just appropriate and hog it!

          • Well in a free and open society, individuals can take their labour and ideas, and either work for the highest bidder or take their labour to the market and demand a price for it.

            If individuals do not like their outcome no one is holding a gun to their heads (btw that only happens in leftest totalitarian regimes) and put their money with their mouth is and start their own business.

            • Well, I for one totally adhere to the idea that human rights like the freedom of movement are fundamental to the smooth running of any economy.

            • BG
              “If individuals do not like their outcome no one is holding a gun to their heads (btw that only happens in leftest totalitarian regimes) and put their money with their mouth is and start their own business.”
              I think you need wider horizons.
              And what do unemployed do in a capitalist regime .

        • & what do you think creates the wages & salaries

          Usually Investments need to be made before wages can be earned, and private shareholders probably won’t invest unless there is profit to be made. However private shareholders are not the only source of finance. Governments and worker owned co-operatives are also possible.

          • Urgh, y’know, guys, please, you guys have (especially RobbieWgtn) have over complicated what is a fun, fulfilling and rewarding experience to start a business and employ people directly or indirectly. All anyone needs to start a proprietary business is the ability to attain “public liability insurance” and MSD will literally throw money, education and mentorship programmes at you via MSD websites.

            Please guys, if you want to be knowledgable in a particular subject then just try it out for yourself and if you don’t go bankrupt in the first 90 days then you will have a story to tell about carving niches out of the markets. Because as a wise man once said, the trained eye can spot BS from a mile away, okay lads?

          • most of the commentators on this blog dispise the fact that a firm needs to make a profit before they can pay wages and horror of horrors makes some money for the owner

            • Simply that hate the successful. As the great socialist Orwell said “most hate the rich more than loving the poor “

              • That love-hate relationship from 40 years ago is entirely centred within your own head. Not even Orwell had the physical capabilities to predict the corona pandemic. What you accuse us lefties of is in actual fact a strong desire to maintain universal health care.

            • We don’t despise anything. We are just pointing out that profit is unearned income. And, if an owner pays himself a normal wage from the firm’s revenue, why does he need a profit.I

              In may small businesses profit is simply a wage in disguise.

        • Labour is the source of wealth. Read Adam Smith. Henry George, Carl Marx and many others.
          Profit is not a productive source of wealth for a society. It adds nothing.

    • Privately created profits, really.

      Profits – large ones – made at the expense of workers. If the workers walked away there would be no profit!

      Look at those filthy ‘rest home’ outfits they pay their nurses less and the nurses are now saying the government needs to pay more to the rest homes. Rot, the rest homes make very handsome profits in the main, they have large advertisements or inserts in the Press all the time.

      • The way the world is run at the moment profits are made by speculating on property and stocks and shares. Very little is being made by employing people.
        And if the employers walked away there would be no wages.
        D JS

        • There are no profits, other than rent, from properties, only capital gain. Apart from dividends, most gains on share prices come from retained earnings re-invested.

    • Most taxes come from wage earners and many of those wages are generated from taxes. rates. levies and sales of environmental resources often not paid for.
      In most Socialist states there are still taxes and wages.

      All wealth is the result of labour.

  5. But Chris, is what you call the left actually the left today rather than liberal technocrats? In my view they are political centrists at best.

    • Well Labour is definitely centrist, and we don’t really have a part on the left, the nearest to it is the Greens who haven’t done much until they pulled out their ‘social’ policy a couple of months ago which was very good.

  6. After the right finished dining out on the lefts intelligentsia. The left dined out on themselves too! What’s left is, what’s left for the intellectual left to make some room for their ideas to be heard and then adopted then actioned.

    • The left have come up with many great ideas, I heard many of them at the Alternative Aotearoa seminar in Wellington 2 weeks ago. Politicians do not have the will to make the changes we need. Imagine if Ardern said on re-election in two weeks, everyone on a benefit will receive an additional $100 a week from now on (of course it would need to be refined a bit more) and everyone must receive the ‘living wage’ who is working, of course this would be good for the economy because all of it would be spent. But they phaf around giving little bits here and there and announcing dumb things that they will implement in a years time and all that sort of tosh.

      People – especially the middle class would be up in arms – BUT in 3 years time we would really see the impact that this would make, less domestic violence, fewer children going hungry, lower prison rates, better school outcomes etc.

      • Agree. A driving govt that leads at the lectern as well. Or the soap box, to put it in … a language gone. Or, neither of those terms.

  7. ” Few would dispute that the Left, today, are few in number.”
    Well, one of those few is me matey.
    Firstly, how would we know how many Left are left?
    AO/NZ’s entire political systems and the msm, what ever that is, are aching from right wing over use syndrome?
    You would have seen and read what was once our ‘main stream’ media? It’s unapologetic shit.
    RNZ’s fucking awful too. The Listener only listened to the rustle of money in its last days and prior to that was infested with logical fallacies placed their to only appeal to the righties while convincing the Left that they no longer existed, so keep quiet and you’ll soon learn to enjoy being exploited. Our newspapers are equally the colour of a righties bedroom wall paper while our TV is either gone and dead somewhere or is so far right that even roger douglas has to use binoculars to see it in the distance. TV, to any intelligent life form is unwatchable. Imagine being a parrot in a cage and being forced to watch day time television?
    It’s taken more than 36 years to send you and me and other good people into a virtual oblivion. We’re there, alright, it’s just that the righties won’t let us see each other.
    And that’s why I think MMP was a strategic battle plan to make sure a status quo would thrive. It’s been natzo/ nz first for years. Fucking winnie doing high tea with fucking low life don brash.
    Ross Meurant explained why mandatory voting might not work given the tangled cluster fuck MMP is.
    ( Sorry Ross, but I just don’t trust you son.)
    Strategic voting my hairy arse. What a load of bollocks.
    We only need to vote ‘strategically’ if we hope and pray that when our politicians please themselves while they get fat like brownlee on lobbying piss ups that a few crumbs trickle down to us poor helpless bastards.
    Hello? It’s meant to be the other way around, people?
    We pay them, therefore they do WHAT WE INSTRUCT THEM TO DO !
    NOT the other way around as is currently the fashion.
    If you want to see the seemingly mythical Left, go back to First Past The Post elections and mandatory voting.
    I’m confident to argue that, that would lead to civil war within three months, so great is the dissatisfaction and frustration with the last 36 years.
    “The New Zealand electoral system has been mixed-member proportional (MMP) since 1996. MMP was introduced after a referendum in 1993. MMP replaced the first-past-the-post (FPP) system New Zealand had previously used for most of its history.”
    MMP was as a result of a referendum held under neoliberal influence after three electoral cycles finally ending up under jimbo bolger’s natzo gubbimint.
    There you go, see? Not much stinks more than that.
    MMP’s enabled neoliberalism to flourish and fester for generations and now that the crooks have done us over for everything we had, they’re outa here while cleverly reanimating Labour to go Left to cover the crooks tracks.
    Fiendishly brilliant, don’t you think?

    • Interesting point you make about MMP CB. It is an attempt at better representation but it has the flaws you identify. When it was adopted I thought at the time it was a reaction to the treachery of the ’84 labour government being able to implement radical destructive changes that none of the general voters in the electorate had any inkling they were intending to introduce. MMP was voted in in the hope that it would be much harder for a government to pull such a deception on the country ever again: But of course what effect that has had is to make it almost impossible for that transformation to be reversed.
      D J S

      • Ruth Richardson followed douglarse but the both were members of the ultra right Mont Perelin Society. The neoliberal incubator.
        Our MPs seldom reveal their thinking before elections and after deals are done behind closed doors.

  8. It wasn’t that keynesianism was invalid; it was just that it was inapplicable to the full employment conditions that we enjoyed in the immediate post war period. That period, however, was marked by the so called wage-price spiral but, providing the resulting inflation was not too severe, we generally managed. It was probably the oil price rises in the seventies, Britain’s entry into the EEC, and the Bretton Woods collapse, that brought about the subsequent stagflation that killed, for NZ, the “goose that laid the golden eggs.”

    They problem for the left is that they seem to have lost sight of the fact that socialism is all about who gets the surlpus income – profits, rent and interest – from production. In an ideal world, of course, the surplus ,being unearned, would accrue to the state, who could use it for the benefit of society as a whole.

    • “…the surplus being unearned…” well, Marx would say that, wouldn’t he. Another academic who never created or managed any real profitable enterprise himself

    • The oil price rises in the 70’s is the one. The world economy was and is completely run and facilitated by energy. Overwhelmingly oil. The countries supplying it woke up to the fact that they had something the world actually needed and that they could be getting a far greater share. Market forces eh! So they doubled or tripled the price overnight. The whole world’s economy was turned upside down and inflation got out of control everywhere as every section of the economy had to increase prices to cover the extra cost of fuel and transport setting up an upward cascade of prices as each sector’s price increases had to be covered by the next sector in line.
      Now the significance of that pricing chaos is glossed over or forgotten in order to denigrate the competence of unpopular politicians who happened to be at the helm of their country at the time. And like to rewrite history to revile a hated adversary. At the same time it provided the neoliberal advocates around the world to rubbish the ideology of Keynes as if it was his system of economics that caused the oil shock and so propagandise the public with the wonderful market forces doctrine . At the same time in new Zealand one of our most competent finance ministers ever, who really knew what he was about, and had the nation’s interests clearly in his sights, unfortunately had a flair for rubbishing and humiliating some very popular opposition politicians. He also ripped into the author of a revealing report on the Erebus disaster with no justification which alienated a whole lot more people he did not have to make enemy’s of. So for posterity the country now views his financial ability as crap. Not because it was but because they didn’t like him.
      In a parallel right now the left are rubbishing the validity of the only clear opponent to the neoliberal settlement in NZ politics today. Winston Peters is being held responsible for preventing the labour led government from the transformative changes they would like have made. On investigation these transformations are principally the introduction of a capital gains tax (which they have all acknowledged one way or another was a dead duck), The Auckland light rail, and some lessor details of policy that NZF disagreed with for various arguable reasons.
      All the serious contributors here know and understand full well that no significant transformation can take place in this country while the neoliberal settlement remains in place. This being because under the neoliberal settlement the country’s finances and enterprise is in the hands of private enterprise not the government. Which is to say international corporations and banks.
      Winston Peters is te only NZ politician now that Rob Donald has gone that clearly sees and articulates this. Yet it is he who nearly all the writers here want to see the back of. He is your only hope for transformative change. Why do you think the right wing MSM is enthusiastically joining in the chorus of ridicule.
      Chris had him right coming up the last election here…
      D J S

  9. … how ‘fair’ is the game?

    One of the central myths of a (capitalistic) parliamentarian mode of representation is the postulation of equity and equality in the election process.

    In the real world this equality remains purely theoretical, as most inputs and resources, be it economic, social, or funding, are usually heavily concentrated at the side of the capital fractions.

    In contemporary neoliberal society the complete election process is designed, engineered, modified and practically applied in a way that makes ‘winning the spectacle’ the default function for capital forces.

    Occasional hick-ups in the system are contained by a wide set of accommodating, oppressive and manipulative tools (‘carrots and sticks’) instrumental in the interest of the ruling classes.

    Under such structurally deformed circumstances the Left is hardly having a fair chance of gaining meaningful governance by the habitual ballot.

    Civil disobedience against further ecological and social destruction, local emancipatory organization and international co-action are showing the exit route out of the capitalist thought-cage that has been pulled over our lives.

    The real question since start of industrialization never was “can the Left …?” but rather “what is the Left allowed…?”.

    As we are coming to closure of the carbon-based industrialization cycle, this question remains highly relevant.

    System Change. Now.
    Mass extinctions and the future of life on Earth

  10. Is their failure to make the public aware of and act upon the manifest failures of the present system attributable to their lack of active energy and intelligence? Or, is it simply because the Left’s ideas have become, almost entirely, those of the historically compromised middle-class?

    Or is it because the Left don’t have billionaire backers or own and direct large swathes of the MSM?

    I doubt if we’ll ever see this information in the MSM:

    Nitzan shows that the neoclassical theory of prices fails in six ways:

    Neoclassical theory hinges on utility that cannot be measured
    It relies on demand and supply curves that cannot be observed
    It depends on equilibrium whose existence it cannot confirm
    It requires but cannot show that demand and supply are mutually independent
    It requires but cannot demonstrate that the market demand curve slopes downward
    And it must but cannot measure capital and therefore cannot draw the supply curve, even on paper

    • Economics is everything but I don’t understand much of a singe of it. The Old Left couldn’t pipe up without that knowledge. Tho’ I’m good at evolutionary biology which describes our species.

  11. “End of capitalism tale”
    Last week some corporate leaders begged Government to tax them more, as my guess is that they know the old capitalist system doesn’t work any more when the balance has tipped to far right until the distribution of wealth has moved into the banks of the 1% and the 99% are now living on less and less income and are are losing their purchasing power -until the 99% cannot afford to purchase ant more trinkets from the rulers any more so capitalism then dies.
    There has been an age old term for this end of times for capitalism; it is said “that you cant get blood out of a stone” and that pretty well sums up how the end of capitalism will happen when ‘the money go round ends’.

    Dream on capitalists.

  12. The ‘Left’ has many weapons to demonstrate that ‘capitalism’ isn’t capitalism at all because there is no capital, other than natural capital which has been looted and polluted to the point of collapse. ‘Capital is simply created into existence; one famous anecdote concerns the founding of the Bank of England in [I believe] 1696. One of the shareholders deposited tally sticks -pieces of wood with notches issued as currency by a king (Henry) several centuries before. Capitalism went through a long phase of growth predicated on the issuing of promissory notes for tangible assets that didn’t exist, and is now predicated on manufacture of fake bonds and derivatives via the generation of computer digits that don’t actually exist.

    The Left has many weapons to demonstrate that capitalism is fatally flawed insofar as it consumes and degrades the very things it needs to survive, and in the process is rendering the Earth increasingly uninhabitable.

    However, most on ‘the Left’ concern themselves with redistribution of short-term benefits of looting and polluting, and do not use the weapons available to them bring capitalism to an end.

    They might as well be singing, “Long live the fraud.”

    • Yeah, that’s about it.

      Does the Left know how to fix capitalism?

      No, because capitalism can’t be fixed.

      It’s a fatally flawed system that will bring about the destruction of whichever civilisation it arises in. History has shown us this with the collapse of all the ancient civilisations all of which were capitalist.

      • I think we lucky few reaped the cream of 10,000 years of organised human life. As the descendant of borderers who existed in a permanent grey morality I takes what I can get. And all my ancestors who got worse are in my mind urging me to enjoy for them.

        As history and biology-minded, 10,000 years is not much and the boom of the industrial revolution is a blip. Very few of my peers have this correct perspective, hence our soon end. We couldn’t outrun our basic biology. I can’t remember which of the modern popular evolutionary biologists coined it but the ‘designoid’ outruns our design.

  13. Chris
    Looking at your headline question:
    1. Is capitalism good, but merely broken, thus it needs to be fixed?
    2. Or is it an underhand question suggesting that capitalism needs to go?
    Either way, we’ll leave it to you and your keyboard scribes (the type who would never risk a dime or even their livelyhoods to start a business, but are quick to criticise anyone successful…you know, them) to generate the money required to finance your utopia.
    Capitalism is here to stay. It’s the heart of any economy anywhere around the world.
    Otherwise…hey..start your own laptop factory or start weaving cotton to make that affordable t-shirt.

    • The western world is full of deluded fools who have no idea how the system works and think the current system [of looting and polluting and generating computer digits via fraud] has a future.

      It doesn’t.

      Nor will life on Earth have much of a future if capitalism is not halted very soon.

      The good news is that capitalism has already run its course and is in the process of annihilating itself.

  14. RobbieWgtn You seem only to know how to thump the right wing drum which is what you accuse lefties are doing in the other direction. But hey you may know something. You implied that Keynesianism didn’t allow or wok alongside capitalism. Is that right? Explain.

  15. The American version of capitalism, which decoupled from gold as an anchor of the financial system in 1971, has now almost reached the meltdown stage, as a consequence of the various frauds that have characterised financial markets since Bill Clinton (a white collar criminal) deregulated them.

    Sure, Covid-19 has been the breeze that has pushed over several of the ‘keystone’ cards of the house-of-cards, bring forward the collapse a little.

    Charles Hugh Smith summarises it all very neatly, as always, and answers the big question: how did we get into this mess? He also makes clear what I have been saying for quite a while, that the system cannot be fixed because of the inherent flaws and contradictions of the system.

    ‘Ask yourself these questions: What kind of system will we get if the vast majority of the trillions created out of thin air by central banks goes to financiers and corporations?

    What kind of system will we get if these financiers and corporations use some of this free money to buy political influence?

    What kind of system will we get if the really big money is skimmed by financial games that generate no goods or services, no jobs, and no productivity — in essence, they are completely worthless to the real economy and society?

    What kind of system will we get if the stock market bubble is touted as “proof” the system is working splendidly and wealth is bubbling up without any limit thanks to the Fed’s magic money machine?

    The answer is a system that’s crazy-making and doomed by its internal contradictions.

    The Fed can create dollars out of thin air and sluice it to the super-wealthy to feed their skims and scams, but it can’t create jobs, oil, tools, collateral or productivity out of thin air.

    The abyss between the Fed’s illusion of phantom wealth for Wall Street and the collapse of Main Street is bottomless, and our descent into the abyss is accelerating.’

    If further proof were needed that the system is about to go kaput (okay, it might last another year but I personally doubt it) consider the fact that interest rates and yields have never been this low.

    ‘With no imminent end to collapsing real yields – which just hit a new record low -1.10%, the side effects of financial repression warn of stagflation, asset bubbles and policy impotence. Fresh lows for U.S. 10-year real yields this week show a trap door opened by growing economic angst, climbing inflation expectations and an indefinite pause in monetary policy.’

    Just add to the toxic mix of fraud and speculation the surge in Covid-19 that is affecting nations that thought they had it under control and we see a recipe for collapse before the end of this year.

    Interestingly, the biggest manmade non-military explosion in world history has recently wiped out any prospect of Lebanon ever recovering from the woes that troubled it prior to the explosion, AND has exposed a saga of incompetence and corruption within government circles, with a plethora of warnings about the extreme danger of storing such a large quantity of fertiliser/explosives ingredient so unsafely going unheeded for years.

    ’20 May 2016 to 27 October 2017
    Lebanese customs officials send three more letters to the judiciary. The latest, sent 27 October 2017, urges the judge to make a quick decision in light of “the danger … of leaving these goods in the place they are, and to those working there”.

    They claim the letters are ignored and nothing is done.

    December 2019
    A state security report is submitted to the judiciary, the presidency and the intelligence and customs directorates warning of “the real danger arising from these materials”, according to the Lebanese news outlet Al-Akhbar. It makes several recommendations including that a hole in warehouse 12, where the highly explosive material is being kept, be sealed to prevent theft.

    Early 2020
    An anonymous source close to a port employee told Reuters a team had inspected the ammonium nitrate six months before the explosion and warned that if it was not moved it would “blow up all of Beirut”.

    Sound familiar?

  16. And again, this misses the point. The right only managed to do this by shifting the costs of their reforms onto portions of the population that were electorally marginal: poor people and people born after 1970. The latter have been paying for this their whole lives, being forced to take on debt in an attempt to compete for the small number of (by old standards) middle class jobs left. The political divide in countries like us is more about age than class. Nothing will change until the oldsters get got.

  17. Bally (as my great aunt used to euphemize, between her cigarettes and sherry — as befits a rationalist) good.

  18. Akela, I will try to address the main issue. And I urge all of us to do the same. Lest schism be our epitaph. Solidarity was and is (?) the people’s main card. Not encouraging in this supreme age of corn and circuses, or blessed individualism if you like.

    Most of us are concerned about possible losses despite our species’ unprecedented wealth and because being lead by the wealthiest. We all hold on to the schist and kick at the grips of those behind us.

    Your lived knowledge is so valuable, Chris. Lived is always better than book-learned, from my bookish experience.

    Such a magnificent age prior to ( in my lifetime!) rapid pain: vast reduction in material comfort, mass deaths, descent to hunter-gathering and probable extinction. Yet we put our faith in our stomachs rather than our brains. I think that describes 100 % of us in the First World, even Chomsky. ‘It won’t happen, by right of our stomachs’. Our epitaph.

    A rise to a cliff — it happens.

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