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Crisis? What Crisis?

Written By: - Date published: 4:26 pm, August 6th, 2011 - 31 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, Economy, Politics - Tags: , , ,

If some poor bugger was found, more dead than alive and smothered in leeches, whatever the cure, it wouldn’t be to replace any satiated and detached leeches with fresh ones now, would it? Yet that seems to be the ‘cure’ for the productive economy being touted by all parliamentarians. First  financial interests sucked themselves fat on our accumulated wealth with the complicity of ‘our’ representatives and now  they’ve come back to suck us dry. And what are ‘our’ representatives telling us? That we must subject ourselves to ‘death by a thousand cuts’ in order to feed the financial system and save ourselves; that blood letting is good for us.

Which might give you cause to pause and wonder whose interests ‘our’ representatives  represent.

While your conclusion might indicate a crisis for democracy, it certainly won’t indicate a financial crisis. Things are going very nicely in the world of international finance, thankyou.  The very wealthiest are getting very much more wealthy. And unaccountable financial centers of power are getting very much more powerful.

There’s a transfer of wealth and power under way. Not a crisis. And it’s ticking along nicely..

The only remaining question is whether we will continue to limit our understanding and possible actions by deferring to the parameters conveniently provided to us by the current calls for austerity in the face of a so called debt crisis, or whether we will step beyond that framing and into a wider political debate.

31 comments on “Crisis? What Crisis?”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    Which might give you cause to pause and wonder whose interests ‘our’ representatives represent.

    Our representatives have pretty much represented the rich only for the last few centuries. It was only after the “representatives” started representing the people and began to distribute our resources equitably that poverty was curtailed and the “economy” began to work again. It never was truly balanced which is why we still had poverty. This imbalance has intensified over the last few decades in favour of the rich the same way it did prior to the stock market crash in 1929 and it has resulted in the same thing happening – the “economy” collapsing, a massive increase in poverty for the masses and a huge jump in wealth for the very richest.

  2. millsy 2

    Our living standards are about to be plunged back to 1930’s levels.

    Plain and simple.

    That’s what the austerity is all about.

  3. jackal 3

    I often wonder why people vote for candidates that don’t represent their interests in any conceivable way. Are they watching the same programs and reading the same articles that I am? I realise there’s a certain amount of bullshit being published and broadcast in New Zealand at the moment, but one feature of the human condition is to know when your being lied to. Has the public become so desensitized as to not comprehend the bullshit propaganda that invades their lives?

    While the mainstream media and right wing politicians espouse the necessity for cuts that disproportionately impact the poor, they give scant recognition that the “crises” are caused by laissez faire economics, all the while giving huge benefits to the already wealthy and bailing out companies that happen to get in trouble under a so called free market with billions of taxpayers dollars. This is an untenable and unsustainable position for the system to be in, it invites an even bigger economic crises that cannot be managed.

    I don’t think money is the root of all evil, but the misuse and disproportionate distribution to cause a huge imbalance whereby the rich become 20% richer in a year while 20% of children continue to live in poverty is. There’s enough wealth and resources to meet the needs of everybody. Currently greed defines where that wealth is placed, and so we have poverty and all the associated disorder that follows.

    Sure… rethink how welfare works, shuffle the cards and continue to implement an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff approach, but none of that is going to work unless the barriers of inequality are properly removed. Somehow I don’t think that our current “representatives” are all that interested in such measures, and therefore conclude that the capitalist leeches will be on us for some time to come.

    • Bill 3.1

      By ‘barriers of inequality are properly removed’, are you suggesting that it’s possible to have everyone stand as equals before the market? If so, a moments thought reveals the infeasibility of the proposition.

      We aren’t equal. There are some things I can do better than you and some things I can’t do as well as you. Even without impacts of all manner of social and financial capital, which the market nurtures and concentrate, we can’t all operate on the same level given any given situation.

      I really wish liberals would get to grips with that basic reality and give up on the idea of trying to make the effects of an inherently unfair system fair. Bureaucracies that intend to level out advantage are dictatorial to some degree or other, inevitably use wrecking balls to crack walnuts and create all manners of disparity and stupidity in the process.

      Differing ability isn’t the problem. The market mechanisms we utilise to make and distribute stuff and to reward ourselves is the problem. It’s got to go. It’s only the inequalities that flow from it (the market) that are problematic eg I doubt it would matter to either of us who of us was considered the better artist…until the need to gain the rewards that are determined by market dynamics enter into the picture.

      • millsy 3.1.1

        So you think its OK that we should have people sleeping in our streets then?

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.2

        Worker owned enterprises and mutual organisations. Time to build up the Solidarity Economy, both the for profit and not for profit sides of it.

        Needs about $750M to kick off properly but we could start with less.

        The corporations and the oligarchs don’t stand a chance.

        • Bill 3.1.2.1

          I’d rather a Democratic Economy that nurtured and promoted solidarity as one among a number of other desirable expressions of human nature 😉

      • jackal 3.1.3

        Bill

        By ‘barriers of inequality are properly removed’, are you suggesting that it’s possible to have everyone stand as equals before the market? If so, a moments thought reveals the infeasibility of the proposition.

        I’m not saying that people should not be properly rewarded for their efforts and fully realise that there will be barriers of inequality no matter how much policy is put in place. What I am arguing against is policy that creates barriers that can and should be removed.

        We aren’t equal. There are some things I can do better than you and some things I can’t do as well as you. Even without impacts of all manner of social and financial capital, which the market nurtures and concentrate, we can’t all operate on the same level given any given situation.

        That’s a very conclusive statement, but in context it’s incorrect. People are equal, to say they are not is getting into prejudicial territory. If you wish to define that somebody is worth more than somebody else, you are arguing for a continuance of the feudal system and hierarchy based on a belief that is often incorrect. What value you might place on the things a person can do does not detract from equality.

        I really wish liberals would get to grips with that basic reality and give up on the idea of trying to make the effects of an inherently unfair system fair.

        The only reason the system is unfair is because it has been constructed that way. It can be changed or deconstructed to be more fair. By fairness I mean that 20% of children that currently live in poverty do not have to.

        Bureaucracies that intend to level out advantage are dictatorial to some degree or other, inevitably use wrecking balls to crack walnuts and create all manners of disparity and stupidity in the process.

        You seem to be arguing for the free market that has been proven to be a complete failure. A certain amount of bureaucracy is required, the redistribution of wealth does not cause disparity if the policy is properly formulated and applied.

        I doubt it would matter to either of us who of us was considered the better artist…until the need to gain the rewards that are determined by market dynamics enter into the picture.

        That would only be the case if you had no appreciation of art other than the financial wealth you measured it by.

        • Bill 3.1.3.1

          My argument is that the market creates economic inequality. It’s inevitable because of intrinsic characteristics of the market…eg competition.

          When I say that poeple aren’t equal, that shouldn’t be taken as me implying that some people are ‘better’ than others. People simply have different strengths and weaknesses. We are different; varied. However, the market ascribes ‘worth’ based on ‘recognised’ abilities and confers economic reward or advantage accordingly. And I’d say that’s crap (undesirable).

          Attempts to ameliorate some the larger disparities that arise from market rewards (which, by the way, are not predicated on ‘effort’) through bureaucratic measures or policy prescriptions create whole sets of other problems. So while I’d agree that within a market context some bureacracy is a ‘necessary evil’. eg H&S etc, I’d further argue that if there was no market ie no compulsion to compete, then manufacturers would have no incentive to extenalise costs in the way they do or attempt to, and that bureaucratic measures of control would be unnecessary. (There are further factors involed, such as scale of enterprise and the extent of any dislocation form genuine democratic control).

          I’m certainly not arguing for a free market. I’m not even arguing for a regulated market. I’d consider myself an abolitionist. And I don’t advocate for a command economy, which is essentially a bureaucratic dictatorship.

          It seems to me that too many people are caught within an ideological dicotomy that would have us all believe that the grand total of all economic possibilities are situated somewhere between the two extremes of free market economics and command economics. And so advocates call for some form of market driven economy (command economies having been utterly discredited) as though the market can somehow be reconstructed in a way that would not yield market results. I reckon that’s insane.

          As for art. Hasn’t the market rendered down much art to be mere fashion?

  4. just saying 4

    It pisses me off that running a nation is compared to running a household, when it suits, but the glaring inconsistencies in the analogy are never pointed out by the over-fed media lackies. You know the sort of thing: “As every family knows, when times are tough it’s necessary to make the hard decisions and cut back…..”

    But healthy whanau don’t let some of the kids (and adults) go hungry so that whoever is king Shit can have more luxury toys and holdiays. They don’t cut necessary medical care, housing, heating etc. they cut back on unnecessary luxuries. What Key and Goff are really talking about when appealing to Jo Blow running a household, is actually a feudal system, where only the elite minority matter and all others are disposable serfs. But that picture is not quite so appealing, and the media never draw the analogy out to its logical conclusion.

    Not saying that running a country actually is analagous to a running a household.

    But I do reckon we need to return to taxing luxuries to subsidise necessities, and to reimpose death duties, and add a financial transaction tax to the proposed CGT etc. etc…

    And yeah that is just tinkering with a shitty system instead of replacing it, but maybe it could be a more compassionate transition before the gathering storm forces radical change. At the moment all the tinkering is tranferring wealth and power upwards, making the working class more and more depleted and powerless for when the shit hits the fan.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      When the SHTF only labour (people power) is going to matter. Not stocks and bonds. Or holiday homes and extra motor cars. Its going to be a huge leveller.

  5. Afewknowthetruth 5

    According to popular myth, a frog will leap straight out of boiling water but will sit passively in water that is slowly brought to the boil, not noticing the temperature hazard until it is too late.

  6. Afewknowthetruth 6

    ‘ deferring to the parameters conveniently provided to us by the current calls for austerity in the face of a so called debt crisis, or whether we will step beyond that framing and into a wider political debate’

    When it comes to political debate there is a long list of taboo topics which includes:

    Population overshoot.

    Peak oil, energy depletion and resource depletion.

    Money creation (out of thin air) via bond markets.

    Fractional reserve banking and leveraging.

    The fraudulent nature of GDP.

    Abrupt climate change.

    Acidification of the oceans.

    The role fossil fuels have in climate change and acidification of the oceans.

    The Sixth Great Species Extinction Event.

    The coming collapse of the food industrialised system.

    The coming collapse of industrial civilisation.

    The only kind of political debate TPTB will tolerate is that which is trivial and irrelevant to the future of the nation or the future of humanity -in other words an extremely narrow debate that is not worth having.

  7. Graham 7

    George Carlin puts it nicely:

  8. Afewknowthetruth 8

    How the money changers hijacked western society (and now control most of the world)

    http://iamthewitness.com/DarylBradfordSmith_Bankers.htm

  9. freedom 9

    Bill and others are right. I have noticed we are not equal.

    I have noticed how those with wealth are not able to express any legitimate empathy for those who are not wealthy.

    I have noticed how those with wealth are not able to share the fruits of their labour, unlike those who are not wealthy generally doing so without any consideration for how less wealthy it will make them. Many many comments have been made on how the more charitable amongst us are the poor.

    I have noticed how those with wealth are not able to create or develop ideas but are more than willing to corrupt, adapt or simply steal the ideas of those who are not wealthy.

    I could go on but you get the gist of it . . . .

    • AAMC 9.1

      “The opposite of consumption is not thrift but generosity.” – Raj Patel

      • aerobubble 9.1.1

        It took a world war to create a generation (boomers parents) who knew the consequences of shorting the self, its called fascism and revolves around being very ungenerous to others. Think tea party, arrogant, no way but there’s, their victims of big government that they don’t believe in anyway. We regardly attack the institutions, universites that used to be above and beyond politics by forcing them to make money (another way of saying conform).

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