Sunday, August 21, 2011


Reading stuff like this:
NYU Professor Nouriel Roubini has moved beyond predicting catastrophic economic downturns. Now, he's saying that capitalism itself is threatened.

He also thinks the uprisings that have roiled countries from Asia to the Middle East to Europe will soon spread.
Roubini went on to say that capitalism is undergoing a crisis that Karl Marx predicted a century ago, driven by an ongoing transfer of wealth and power from labor to capital (in other words, from poor and middle-class people to rich people.)
Incendiary stuff, indeed. Unfortunately, this turns it into rather a kettle of cold cod:

So Karl Marx, it seems, was partly right in arguing that globalization, financial intermediation run amok, and redistribution of income and wealth from labor to capital could lead capitalism to self-destruct (though his view that socialism would be better has proven wrong). Firms are cutting jobs because there is not enough final demand. But cutting jobs reduces labor income, increases inequality and reduces final demand.

Recent popular demonstrations, from the Middle East to Israel to the UK, and rising popular anger in China – and soon enough in other advanced economies and emerging markets – are all driven by the same issues and tensions: growing inequality, poverty, unemployment, and hopelessness. Even the world’s middle classes are feeling the squeeze of falling incomes and opportunities.

To enable market-oriented economies to operate as they should and can, we need to return to the right balance between markets and provision of public goods. That means moving away from both the Anglo-Saxon model of laissez-faire and voodoo economics and the continental European model of deficit-driven welfare states. Both are broken.

The right balance today requires creating jobs partly through additional fiscal stimulus aimed at productive infrastructure investment. It also requires more progressive taxation; more short-term fiscal stimulus with medium- and long-term fiscal discipline; lender-of-last-resort support by monetary authorities to prevent ruinous runs on banks; reduction of the debt burden for insolvent households and other distressed economic agents; and stricter supervision and regulation of a financial system run amok; breaking up too-big-to-fail banks and oligopolistic trusts.
And even after the much more reasonable analysis pushes Cassandra from the stage, I'm still left thinking I'd love to change the world, but no one seems to know what to do. After all, those are hardly new solutions "Dr. Doom" proposes. So we keep doing this:

Because really, the first account doesn't represent correctly what the second said, but the second....doesn't really say anything. As they say in the military, hope is not a plan.

"Time it was and what a time it was, it was....Preserve your memories, they're all that's left you."

I dunno. Maybe we all talk too much. Maybe this internet thing is turning into too much of a good thing.

Or just too much of a thing. Period.


  1. Anonymous4:34 PM

    There seems to be a shelf life for active blogs. They seem to tend to devolve into more of the same.

    Having spent a couple of weeks arguing against a blog full of atheists that no matter how hoopy the science they propose to apply to the questions around the origin of life that without physical evidence of that life and how it actually arose that they will never know anything about it, certainly nothing confirming their materialist religion, magical thinking is hardly absent in that camp. It was truly eye-opening to be the one supporting the necessity of physical evidence in science against a bunch of credulous new atheists.

    I think they had some ideas about changing the world in ACTS. When Christianity returns to the open commensality Jesus taught it works. When the Christianity is called that or if it is entirely unaware of itself.

    Anthony McCarthy

  2. Interesting how rapidly the devolution happens, no? Could be a subject for a sociological study (and if it hasn't been done to death in those circles already, I'll be surprised).

    The open frontier of the intertubes was supposed to liberate us all to be ourselves among a community that accepted everyone for who they were, rather than what they did, who their parents were, where they lived, how much money they had, etc., etc., etc.

    But all the "communities" of the internet devolve more rapidly than social clubs and small congregations into exclusive groups that talk about the same topics over and over and over, saying the same things, and ostracize and attack and belittle and decry anyone who isn't of their club.

    Okay, I engage in hyperbole. Maybe a little. But honestly, where did the future go?

    Or was it never there? Yeah, probably never was, was it?

  3. Anonymous9:29 AM

    No, you got it just about right. It's happened at a lot of blogs that develop a list of regulars. They seem to develop an acceptable common viewpoint and people who don't share that are driven out or choose to not participate anymore. The blog we used to frequent has gone that way and the owner hardly bothers writing anything for it anymore. Which is too bad because he was the major attraction in the past.

    There are times I think The Horse was wise to pull the plug on Media Whores Online as was whoever the Episcopalian deacon who used to run a really great religious blog did. Though I didn't see the wisdom of it at the time.

    We, the seldom read, don't seem to be in any danger of that happening, however.

    Anthony McCarthy

  4. We, the seldom read, don't seem to be in any danger of that happening, however.

    No. I'm just going to repeat myself ad nauseum.

    Eh. It's a living.