(class) war by other means

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Last week's passage of Financial Regulatory Reform may not be rigorous enough to prevent the next economic crisis, but it does represent progress--that must be why Republicans voted against it. James Galbraith's Senate Judiciary testimony lamented the state of the "disgraced profession" of modern (largely free-market fundamentalist) economics, writing that "Economic theory, as widely taught since the 1980s, failed miserably to understand the forces behind the financial crisis." His closing remarks warn that the consequence of government inaction may be "a failure extending over time from the economic to the political system:"

Just as too few predicted the financial crisis, it may be that too few are today speaking frankly about where a failure to deal with the aftermath may lead.

In this situation, let me suggest, the country faces an existential threat. Either the legal system must do its work. Or the market system cannot be restored. There must be a thorough, transparent, effective, radical cleaning of the financial sector and also of those public officials who failed the public trust. The financiers must be made to feel, in their bones, the power of the law. And the public, which lives by the law, must see very clearly and unambiguously that this is the case.

Eli dismantles "The Myth of the Free Market" at FDL with this analogy: "Isn't locking up the matches more effective than telling your kid he's grounded if he gets caught burning the house down?"

"The free market will sort everything out" is a convenient fairy tale for Chamber Of Commerce apologists, a vaguely plausible-sounding but empirically discredited rationale for giving corporations license to rape and pillage to their hearts' content. But we gave the free market every chance to prove itself, and it failed. Again and again. Tragically. Please let us lock up the matches now.

Ismael Hossein-zadeh identifies the "Vicious Circle of Debt and Depression" as a "Class War" at HuffPo, noting the perverse austerity that is being forced on those who didn't cause the crisis:

After transferring trillions of dollars of bad debt or toxic assets from the books of financial speculators to those of governments, global financial moguls, their representatives in the State apparatus and corporate media are now blaming social spending (in effect, the people) as responsible for debt and deficit! [...] ...these are roundabout ways of taxing the poor to pay the rich, the creditors.

It is increasingly becoming clear that the working majority around the world face a common enemy: an unproductive financial oligarchy that, like parasites, sucks the economic blood out of the working people, simply by trading and/or betting on claims of ownership. [...] This is of course a class war. The real question is when the working people and other victims of the unjust debt burden will grasp the gravity of this challenge, and rise to the critical task of breaking free from the shackles of debt and depression.

My latest Quote of the Day comes from Barry Ritholtz at Big Picture, who challenges the free-marketeers to face the facts about their ideology's role in causing the Great Recession while seeking to place the blame elsewhere:

Its way past the time to call out their intellectual dishonesty. If you cannot show any data, if you cannot prove what you are alleging with actual facts, you need to be called out for what it is you actually are: Proponents of a failed philosophy.

Of course, conservatism can only be considered "failed" if one doesn't understand that its stated aims are mere subterfuge for its real ends: distracted, ignorant, and fearful [of terrorism, socialism, liberalism, immigrants, gays and lesbians...] masses subdued by a plutocratic oligarchy. If the criteria for success include things such as a broad prosperity, a stable financial system, and economic security for workers and their families, then of course conservatism has failed--those are liberal goals, not conservative ones.

The aristoi mentality of conservatives demands an increased concentration of wealth for the top few and a race to the bottom for the rest of us, with society (and our communities) fractured along class lines. Ron Chusid's "True War Over Economic Dogma" notes this quite succinctly:

Liberals want to see a free market system in which everyone has the opportunity to participate and profit from their work. The results of Republican economic policies have been to transfer wealth from the middle class to the upper class and bring us to the brink of depression.

The corporate (and largely conservative) media outlets will--in their reversals of reality--continue to blame the victims and claim that, because we (the bottom 99%) have dared to notice and name the class war being waged upon us, we must therefore be guilty of instigating that war against the innocent overclass.

If I may be so bold as to rework Clausewitz's famous observation, economics is the continuation of war by other means.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on May 24, 2010 6:24 PM.

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