Tedious optimism

what_planetOptimism is tedious when it is based on delusions.

An example is economist Joseph Stiglitz (seen at right) who claims that “neoliberalism is dead.”

From the Business Insider blog…

Since the late 1980s, neoliberalism has dominated the thinking of the world’s biggest economies and international organizations like the IMF and the World Bank.

Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist and former adviser to US President Bill Clinton, says the consensus surrounding neoliberal economic thought has come to an end.

Nonsense. The neoliberal plague shows no sign of remission. It will soon include the ratification of the TPP, TTIP, and TiSA.

What is neoliberalism anyway? Let’s review the basics…

[1] Free trade is when governments make laws to protect monopolies, while blocking smaller competitors. Trade is “free” when the giants control it. Trade is “liberated” when nothing can stop big corporations (or well-connected corporations) from crushing whatever is in their path.

[2] Open market: is a market that is closed to all but the big or well-connected corporations. The result is monopolies, which charge ever-higher prices for ever-lower-quality goods and services.

[3] Privatization: is the campaign to have a handful of people own everything, with everyone else as their slaves and their property. This is called “efficiency.”

[4] Deregulation: is when there are no limits placed on the greed and destructiveness of big corporations. The more the giants are deregulated, the more regulation is imposed on average people by a police / surveillance state, plus mass incarceration, along with a parasitical “justice” system.

[5] Reductions in federal government spending: also known as gratuitous austerity, is designed to reduce the masses to being helplessly dependent on rich people and big corporations for their income and livelihoods.

Do you see any of these evils abating? No?

This is what I call tedious optimism. Or perhaps the correct word is bullshit.

Lagarde

Speaking with Business Insider after the launch of his latest book, The Euro: How A Common Currency Threatens the Future of Europe, Stiglitz argued that neoliberalism is on its last legs.

Last legs? Any examples? I’ll wait.

timeline

The policies of Ronald Reagan and Clinton in the US, and Margaret Thatcher in the UK, are often held up as the gold standard of neoliberalism at work, while in recent years in Britain George Osborne and David Cameron’s economic policies continued the neoliberal tradition.

Since the 2008 financial crisis, however, there has been a groundswell of opinion in both economic and political circles to suggest that the neoliberal consensus may not be the right way forward for the world. In the past few years, with growth low and inequality rampant, that groundswell has gained traction.

Nonsense. Professors, politicians, and media pundits are paid to promote neoliberalism. This has not changed.

And what’s with this wimpy assertion that “the neoliberal consensus may not be the right way forward for the world”? For the rich, neoliberalism is definitely the right way forward.

Stiglitz, who won a Nobel Memorial Prize in economics in 2001, has been one of neoliberalism’s biggest critics in recent years. He says the “neoliberal euphoria” that has gripped the world since the 1980s is now gone.

Nonsense. The corporate media outlets still praise austerity, privatization, and “free trade.”

Business Insider asked Stiglitz whether he thought the economic consensus surrounding neoliberalism was coming to an end. “In academia, I think it has pretty well become rejected,” he responded.

More nonsense. The more prestigious the university, the more its professors’ jobs depend on them lying. For example, you don’t become a Harvard professor of economics by telling the truth.

“Young students are not interested in establishing that neoliberalism works,” Stiglitz says. “They’re trying to understand where markets fail and what to do about it, with an understanding that the failures are pervasive. That’s true of both micro and macroeconomics. I wouldn’t say it’s everywhere, but I’d say that it’s dominant.”

Still more nonsense. It economics classes, grades depend on students mimicking their professors’ lies.

final grade 2

“Even many of the people on the right would say markets don’t work very well, but their problem is governments are unable to correct it.”

Huh? What are governments unable to correct?

Stiglitz says that one of the central tenets of the neoliberal ideology — the idea that markets function best when left alone and that an unregulated market is the best way to increase economic growth — has now been pretty much disproved.

The truth is that there can be no game without rules. There can be no market, or society, or universe without regulation. Laws are what keep systems from collapsing, flying apart, or melting down.

Anyway if deregulation is so great, then why don’t we eliminate all police forces? Why don’t we remove all laws regarding airline safety or food safety? Why not remove all regulations everywhere?

What neoliberals mean by “deregulation” is zero regulation for themselves, and total regulation for their “inferiors.”

“We’ve gone from a neoliberal euphoria that ‘markets work well almost all the time’ and all we need to do is keep governments on course, to ‘markets don’t work’ and the debate is now about how we get governments to function in ways that can alleviate this,” he said.

In other words, Stiglitz says: “Neoliberalism is dead in both developing and developed countries.”

Really? You could have fooled me.

Stiglitz is not alone in his belief that neoliberalism has problems, though his argument that the consensus is “dead” is somewhat more forthright than those of many others. In a blog post in May, three economists from the IMF — long one of the greatest champions of the neoliberal consensus — questioned the efficacy of some aspects of it, particularly when it comes to the creation of inequality.

Efficacy? The purpose of neoliberalism is to widen the gap between the rich and the rest. In this it has great efficacy.

“The increase in inequality engendered by financial openness and austerity might itself undercut growth, the very thing that the neoliberal agenda is intent on boosting,” Jonathan Ostry, Prakash Loungani, and Davide Furceri argued. “There is now strong evidence that inequality can significantly lower both the level and the durability of growth.”

This is like those childish claims that neoliberalism has “failed,” or is “misguided.” Neoliberalism has succeeded in its purpose, which is to widen the gap between the rich and the rest.

And yes, inequality cripples growth in the real economy. However it enhances the wealth and power of the 1%.

“There are a lot of people thinking the same thing at this point, that basically some aspects of the neoliberal agenda probably need a rethink,” Ostry told the Financial Times on the day the blog was published, adding: “The crisis said: ‘The way we’ve been thinking can’t be right.'”

“Some aspects probably need a rethink”? This is timid drivel. Everyone knows that the entire neoliberal project is based on lies and theft.

The (fictitious ~ E.H.) decline of neoliberalism is also evident in the UK, where austerity has reigned since the accession of the Conservative Party to government in 2010. Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne presided over a period of record fiscal-deficit reduction created through a six-year program of austerity.

But since Cameron resigned following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, fiscal stimulus in the UK has started to gain traction once again as a viable means of stimulating growth. (Examples?) It is widely expected (by who?) that Philip Hammond, the new chancellor under newly installed Prime Minister Theresa May, will announce some form of fiscal easing at the Autumn Statement — which will come at some point before the end of the year (last year’s was in late November). As Business Insider’s Oscar Williams-Grut argued in mid-July, “Britain’s age of austerity could be over.”

Dream on, fools. Ours is a world of increasing poverty, inequality, violence and despair. The desperate and starving masses will eventually rebel, at which point their owners will declare a world war. The masses will obediently die for their owners, because, “Go team!”

Across the Atlantic, both US presidential nominees, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, both favoring expanded government borrowing to fund infrastructure projects.

Lies. The US government does not borrow its spending money from anyone. Instead, the US government creates its spending money out of thin air, by crediting bank accounts.

“We are all Keynesians now, President Richard Nixon famously declared after his New Economic Plan was unveiled in 1971. The notion seems to be echoing now, with the two major parties’ presidential candidates calling for increased government spending, notably for infrastructure projects.”

Can you give any examples?

Neoliberalism may not be completely dead, as Stiglitz argues, but it is certainly being challenged from many angles.

Not from any quarter that matters.

sure is

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