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Sunday, January 06, 2013

In a hundred years, people will ask for explanations concerning the political and economic failure in the early 21st century. The answer will probably be that the most important reason was the lack of political will to steer a global economy without regard to blind ideology; our inability to understand complex economic relationships and our unwillingness to implement them in non-ideological politics. Nobody will believe it.



Economic crises and their political consequences
Economists have created a world that they do not understand
by Prof Dr Heiner Flassbeck *

Since we humans have climbed down from the trees, we try to understand the world that surrounds us. As for the interpretation of nature, we have come a long way. We abandoned ancient myths and acquired a scientific perspective on things which gives priority to rationality and logic instead of faith and feelings.

Making consistent use of logic

Especially the consistent use of logic has proved to be superior when it comes to understanding the world and the optimal adaptation to its ever-changing circumstances. Only he who is equipped with the means of logic can filter out those statements about the world which are significant, i.e. consistent and empirically verifiable and distinguish them from any number of meaningless or contradictory ones.
The crucial step to knowledge is actually the recognition of relations that - with a certain stability – can be observed in reality and finally reveal why they exist. That the apple regularly falls to the ground from the tree, instead of flying to the sky, is only the first small step on the road to more sustainable conclusions. Only the following steps – the discovery of the power that moves the apple, our ability to prove the existence of this power, so that other explanations can be eliminated – create real knowledge.

Need there be no logic in economy?

This is different in the so-called science of economics. Here an attempt to attain knowledge is repeatedly overlaid successfully by faith, by ideology and by pure advocacy. The phenomenon that certain interest groups and companies interested in specific outcomes “keep” scientists – who do nothing else but question the results of serious research or even thwart them through their own “research” – also exists in other, more scientifically oriented areas such as chemistry. As in other areas, however, the “anticipatory obedience” is missing, which even independently operating economists show when the topic “market vs. state” is discussed. Unfortunately, most economists are not trained as social scientists but as technicians whose only job is to understand the seemingly perfect market and defend it. It is – and I described that several years ago (Flassbeck 2004) – more of a glass-bead-game than a science. And this game is solely and exclusively about the improvement of the game itself, not about knowledge in the sense of a better interpretation of the world (cf. Kay 2011 and the replica of Davidson). Since, however, only real knowledge can be translated into successful economic acting, the politicians would still remain without serious advice with respect to almost all issues even if they understood how much they needed it.

The phantom: The market would be able to do things better ...

Thus, we have given rise to an economic world that is built on a few misconceptions such as the fact that the market can do almost everything better. Actually this world would desperately require an incredibly complex regulation to function reasonably. However, there are no efforts to achieve such a comprehensive regulation, because the prevailing opinion in economics and politics firmly holds on to the idea that the market or markets were certainly going to fix it. The consequences are dramatic. The world economy staggers from crisis to crisis, and the suggestions that were given to the politicians by the “experts” are messy; they contradict each other in almost every facet. Financial markets have indeed taken over the command, but they do not really know for what to use it; except, of course, to secure their own sinecures. That makes the next crisis inevitable.

Politicians, led by lawyers, dabbling

Since the economists are such a many-voiced chorus, politicians, led by an army of lawyers, have begun to knit their own economic world. In this world, procedures govern the matter, and the microeconomic thinking, i.e. thinking in terms of a private household, triumphs over the inclusion of macroeconomic relations. Thus, the euro crisis has been re-interpreted as a crisis in which some “sinner states” have been guilty of something (gluttony and licentiousness), and this is why they must now be judged by honest, hard-working judge states. In this way, the debtor was declared the one to blame from the outset, whereby mentioning the relevant connections did not seem necessary.
Seen from a microeconomic point of view, there is in fact some evidence that the person who is deeply in debt and is not given any more credit by the market, has acted wrongly and should be sanctioned. In macroeconomic terms, however, there is no evidence at all. There is no simple causality, because what appears to be “too much debt” is in itself the result of a highly complex process, in which many of the individual players and some sectors are cooperating. In this process, it is all about finding a sector (including foreign governments), who is willing to go into debt in order to invest and thus, justify the planned savings by private households. For example, if a country like Germany conducts an aggressive policy to improve its competitiveness, other countries are forced into debt because many individual actors in these countries buy German products on credit. In the first half of 2011, the German trade surplus with the countries of the monetary union was still at 37 billion euro, which also means new loans of this amount. France’s deficit was at 18 billion, the Italian at 6 billion and even Greece’s debt amounted to 1.8 billion.

Even if each of these purchases on credit is completely trustworthy and economically justified, the result for the indebted country itself is catastrophic. It is exposed to a gradual erosion of its economic power whose fatal consequences, as with the geological erosion, too, will only show when the big rain comes in form of a financial crisis. In such a crisis, all existing investments will be re-evaluated by investors, and risky assets will then be largely avoided from the outset.

The debtor is condemned a priori, because he is the weaker one

The a-priori condemnation of debtors has a fatal effect on the coexistence of nations. Firstly, the debtors will in future be skeptical or hostile to all forms of international cooperation, because they rightly have the impression that a diktat from outside is imposed on them which is not justified by anything but which damages their sovereignty and forces them into neoliberal programmes (this occurs mostly via the infamous “conditionality” of the IMF, which consists mainly of “flexibility” and the opening of all markets). Thus, the political systems of the debtor countries are overstrained in an intolerable and unsustainable way in the long run. The reduction of public deficits, required in all cases, takes its toll on those parts of the population that are the least able to cope with these cuts. The wages of government employees are reduced, because one has direct access on them. Sectors that are not exposed to international competition will be liberalized (the electricity and energy sectors in Argentina, for example), industries that still belong to the state, will be privatized. All this is, however, not related to the causes of the crisis and is quite understandably perceived by the affected people as completely arbitrary. In this way, in the eighties and nineties, almost all populations of Latin America became staunch opponents of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Systematically, people there elected leftist governments in order to escape this diktat.

All this is not new and has frequently been accounted for even by the IMF itself. It has, however, not prevented European politicians from pouncing on precisely these programmes with which the IMF has previously so often failed. How is it possible that the political leaders of an entire continent, actors, that have taken over responsibility year by year in the Fund, now make the same mistakes in their own region that – before the current crisis – led this organization to the brink of irrelevance? Well, something like that can only happen if either you consciously want to push even your own region into chaos in order to emerge as the final winner of the competition of nations – or else, if you do not really understand what has actually happened, and if you lack the ideological openness to understand it at all. I am inclined to accept the second explanation.

People despair of globalization, and democracy is highly at risk

With this intergovernmental failure we can immediately recognize that it is not merely the lobbyists’ direct pressure, which lets politics systematically and repeatedly take the wrong track. In these inter-state relations, there are hardly any direct financial benefits that would be promoted by the neo-liberal agenda of the creditors. Privatization is certainly one of the fields in which multinational companies have massive interests. The reduction of state services for the poor, however, up to the point at which the economy of the debtor country is forced to its knees, does indeed not benefit the companies. If finally – as in Latin America – leftist governments are elected in the wake of the excessive neoliberal agenda, lobbyists have achieved exactly the opposite of what they sought.

No, it is the lack of understanding for the global economy’s complex system which explains the permanent failure of politics even until far into the political left. We do not have the politicians who were able to pursue policies within the global economy, and we do not have the economists who would be able to create a design for global economy. That way the world economy is muddling itself through into the future, repeatedly and surprisingly struck by global and regional crises just like by heavy meteorites from outer space. Ordinary people fall by the wayside – and in the end democracy will fall by the wayside, as well.

Incredible wealth for the ones, a miserable livelihood for the others: that threatens democracy

If the global economy is only understood as a system that offers incredible wealth to a few and at best stagnation or a meager livelihood to the greater rest, democracy is in danger. In most people’s eyes democracy does not only mean they can vote every four years and in between they have to bear what the neoliberal agenda requests them to. At least since the 2008 financial crisis, many understood that the hope of an end to the euphoria in financial markets and the fact that the wealth of a few would also eventually be of their benefit was a great illusion. The second crisis, which is just beginning, will now take away their hope that the democratic state, at least, would be able to steer things in the right direction. But then what?

Making globalization more manageable via the nation state

Then the door is wide open for all kinds of pied pipers. Most importantly, however, those will be successful again who try to exploit the failure of globalization. What will come after the era of globalization? The natural response would be as it were to return to the nation state. That would not be bad if there were simple, tolerant ways to renationalize the globalized world a bit and this way to make it again politically more manageable. But such simple, permissive paths do not exist in a world in which many people left their homes and wagered their fate on the global economy. In the hope they would in the end not be denied recognition as equal citizens because of the economic success of all populations, they have emigrated from their home countries and thus threaten to become the real victims of the failure of international coordination.

If the writings on the wall in Europe and the USA are not mistaken, the new right-wing movements which mushroom everywhere will not stop to make the current form of globalization responsible for all the worries of the people. They will go one or several steps further and blame the “others”. Just as political Europe saves its day by finding the “guilty” and pillory them, they will make the “foreigners” and the foreign influences responsible, and many people will follow them, because they rightly deny why they should personally take the blame for the big failure. While the populist strategy of the right will not make the world economically more successful, because a nation state that applies an inappropriate theory, does not gain any more economic foothold than global economy. Whether democracy will survive, all this is an open question.

Democracy must have the power to control the process in the sense of the common weal

In a hundred years, people will ask for explanations concerning the political and economic failure in the early 21st century. The answer will probably be that the most important reason was the lacking political will to steer a global economy by joint forces. That it might have been our inability to understand complex economic relationships, and our unwillingness to implement them in non-ideological politics – nobody will believe it, especially in regard to the situation at the beginning of the last century. Historians will look for facts, not for lack of ideas. Yet the hope remains that there will be a new critical generation, who cannot be fobbed off with words, but will try to get to the bottom of things without compromise and endowed with reasoning skills that are part of human nature. Perhaps we have seen their beginnings in Tahrir Square in Cairo, in Zuccotti Park in New York and at the Plaza Italia in Santiago de Chile.

At this point I will not try to explain what concrete proposals follow from my own reflections. I have done so elsewhere in detail, without these suggestions having been comprehensively adopted. Today, it is more a question of stopping, removing the pressure of time and the hysteria and first of all explaining what is actually happening. It concerns first and foremost the correct diagnosis of the problems of the economic system in which we live. In a second step, we will have to realize that “economy” or “capitalism” or “the laissez-faire economics” may only be instruments used by society to meet its needs. It follows that even “capitalism” belongs to us, i.e. the society. And if we realize we cannot manage it and that in a particular way it does more harm than good, we can change it, of course, in the public interest – at least as long as democracy exists and the majority of people want it.

Not the solutions are scarce, but the readiness is scarce with too many and especially with the too powerful, to let go of their interests and their ancient knowledge and give a real chance to the discourse of an open debate in an open society.  
   
  • Prof Dr Heiner Flassbeck is an economist. Since January 2003 he has been Chief of Macroeconomics and Development at the UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) in Geneva.

Source: Final word from Heiner Flassbeck. Zehn Mythen aus der Krise (Ten myths out of the crisis). Suhrkamp Verlag, Berlin 2012

101 comments:

  1. Agree or disagree, this is a trend of thought that will increase. It is the statist solution with all the backup. It is contradictory in that its argument rests on the belief that that there is a known macro and global solution. In the public interest of course.

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    1. Sure glad you put up a nice, simple topic for a bright, and sunshiny Sunday morning.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, like starting your morning with ten laps in the sewer farm settling pond.

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    3. I do see a hint of "Devil's advocate" in this entire post on your part Deuce. Bearing that in mind, I can only state the following thoughts and opinions.

      This article is a "load of central planning crap and double speak". A bunch of, "I know more than you do, elitists telling the common man what he may have in life!". I suggest that you study the ideas of Milton Friedman and his thoughts on the "freedom to choose". In the process, you might learn something useful while attending your centrally planned institution of "so called" higher education!

      This is nothing more than the argument that existed between Stalin and Hitler. National socialism (Nazi) verses International socialism (Communist) and all the horrors both of them inflicted on mankind! It is interesting to note that National socialism (Nazi), is considered to be "right wing", while "socialism, communism, and fascism" are not considered to be "right wing". Why is that the case? Nazism, fascism, socialism, and communism all share many of the same traits. Before we delve into that discussion, we must define some of the terms that we will be using in our discussion.

      Nazi = authoritarian or dictatorial person ,somebody regarded as having right-wing political views, a member of the "fascist" German National Socialist Party.

      Fascist = dictatorial movement: any movement, ideology, or attitude that favors dictatorial government, centralized control of private enterprise.

      Socialist = communal ownership by which the means of production and distribution are controlled by the people typically advocating an end to private property rights. Also, stage between capitalism and communism: in Marxist theory, the stage after the proletarian revolution when a society is changing from capitalism to communism, marked by pay distributed according to work done rather than need.

      Communist = any system of government in which a single, usually totalitarian and dictatorial, party holds power and the state controls the economy and gives ownership and control of wealth and property to the state.

      Totalitarian = centralized and dictatorial: relating to or operating a centralized government system in which a single party without opposition rules over political, economic, social, and cultural life.

      Now on to our discussion of how nazism, fascism, socialism, and communism all share many of the same traits to one degree or another. Private enterprise and or private property rights are either controlled or owned by the "State" in all four systems mentioned. All four systems advocate control by either a single person or a small group of people without dissent from the minority. All four systems stress the need or benefit of "central planning" in all facets of life. Under close examination nasism and fascism are the exact same thing. Fascism and communism are both described as centralized, dictatorial and controlling of property. So for all intents and purposes fascism and communism are equal to each other. That leaves us with socialism to examine. Upon examination we find that socialism is nothing more than a stepping-stone on the path to communism as stated by Karl Marx.

      What have we learned so far in this lesson? I must fall back to my default position of the truth of mathmatics. If (A=B) and (B=C) and (C=D), then (A=D). In other words: nazism, fascism, socialism, and communism are all about the same when it comes to personal liberty and freedom. If Nazism is "right wing", then all are "right wing". What the hell did I just say? I can not believe that I just had that thought! Who would have guessed that a communist was "right wing"!The truth is that all are left wing when it comes to personal liberty and fredom.




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  2. Two problems I can see:

    1) Technology - fewer workers are required for the same output (in many cases, Far fewer,) and

    2) The Plutocrats are getting the money "locked up."


    Number one will just take time, and

    Number two REQUIRES higher taxes on the highest incomes (earned, and "unearned.")


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    1. I'll leave "energy" out for the moment, although that has the potential of being a Monster Problem mos skosche.

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    2. Number two REQUIRES higher taxes on the highest incomes

      No argument possible there. Being it's a REQUIREMENT.

      I'm going back to bed to dream about throwing darts at the stock page.

      There wasn't one, not one, 'expert' who had the brights to suggest buying that pot device supplier that went up 5000% after the pot wins in Washington and Colorado.

      Throwing darts at the penny stock page might have gotten a winner.

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    3. A penny stock dealing "on the other side of the Feds" in the Drug Bidness.

      Yeah, that's gonna get a lot of my money. :)

      (if similar dumb-assed schemes hadn't already gotten most of it)

      :)

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  3. mos skosche?

    mos scosche?

    Whad dat?

    Cherokee?

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    1. Pretty Damned Quick.

      Old Marine Corps saying (Vietnam era.)

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    2. Yeah, Marines had a patent, we could never say it.
      NOT.

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    3. That's not true. We thought it was cute when our little brothers tried to mimic us. :)

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  4. I have great confidence in your combined abilities, to handle it, work around it, or completely ignore it.

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    1. Too fascinating to ignore.

      Way too complex (and, controversial) to pursue.)

      Thanks a lot.

      :)

      Delete
  5. I just read a couple of the bites from the Sunday Morning Shows, and this is going to be a miserable, long, excruciating two months for those of us that are slightly aware, and that can't help but care about what the assholes are doing.

    It's just going to be stroke-inducing, heart-rending agony.

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    1. I might start drinking less beer

      (and more Whiskey.)


      It's going to be brutal.

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    2. You voted for it.

      We'd be starting an economic turnaround if the Mormon was in the Whitehouse.

      Instead, we got the profit-hater.
      (your guy)

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    3. Just for Rufus, for those 'early morning hangover headaches' -

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2257085/The-electric-shock-cure-headache-releasing-bodys-powerful-painkillers.html

      Look at that woman (I think,woman) all dolled up in her shock gear.

      Rufus, that could be you!

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    4. Make it a link and I'll look at it.

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    5. Or, you could just place your pecker in the morning on the frayed light cord going to your lamp. Cheaper.

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    6. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2257085/The-electric-shock-cure-headache-releasing-bodys-powerful-painkillers.html

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    7. And, probably less painful than waking up to a post like this. :)

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  6. 'probly why you voted for him.
    ...good excuse to drink higher octane poison.

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  7. Dufus II:

    "That's dumb."

    ---

    That's Brilliant.

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    1. BTW, we had 3.1% Real Growth in the 3rd quarter, but it seems like when the "fiscal cliff" talk got to really going in Dec. everyone just pulled in their horns, and went home.

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  8. JennySun Jan 06, 08:46:00 AM EST

    Truth out: Ash is a Rush Listener :-)

    Why does that amuse me?


    Hey, I hang out here too and much of the writing is to the right of Rush! Actually I just now got in after spending the last 10 days doing a heck of lot of driving through a whole bunch of different states. One route down to Florida and another back plus a lot of driving while there taking the kids to the theme parks, dumping them, and then going to play golf with the wife, dropping the wife off to do shopping, getting the kids etc. Through all that time I flipped through radio stations. I got to listen to Ramsey, Beck, Hannity and Rush plus countless Classic Rock, Top 40, Country, Religious, and the odd rap station.

    DRR, I heard Ramsey talk to folk about health care and deductibles and costs. Then you tell of the administrative hassles and I shudder at the monster the health care system down there has become. It sounds positively Kafkaesque.

    Up here in Canada you have your GP has your main point of contact with the 'system'. They refer you to specialists. Never a talk of money. There are problems of course. Some complain of trouble finding a GP and there are some waits for various treatments and many drug therapies aren't covered by the provincial health care system. I live in a big city as well so there are many many health services available. Things aren't so nice in the rural areas I hear. Still, there is none of the worry about monthly payments (other than paying taxes of course) deductibles, and nightmares the system trying to 'forget' you. I'm sure there are horror stories out there though but I haven't had any problems dealing with the system for my family and extended family.

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    1. and, of course, some NPR. I only got to listen to 2 jazz tunes the whole trip though...

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    2. There are problems of course. Some complain of trouble finding a GP

      BWAHAHAHAHAHA

      This is what I love about you Ash. Completely unconsciousness of your nincompoopery.

      It is, indeed, a hardship if you want a doctor, and can't find one, particularly if you are sick.

      But, glad to have you back, every post of yours is a howler.

      :)!!!

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    3. The cool thing about Canada was when they told you there was a six month wait to get a stent or some such, you could always come to the US to have your life saved quick-like.

      After Obamacare gets rolling, that luxury will be a thing of the past.

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    4. Bob, you are a boob. If you don't have a personal "GP" there are numerous walk-in clinics which one can go to, and, gasp, emerge. What you don't have in Canada are folk wondering if they should choose treatment or not due to their deductible.

      Yes, doug, the world is your oyster if you have money. Folk go many places if they want. I've heard of Americans going to Mexico for exotic treatments. I know one Canadian who have chose to go to England for a hip replacement. I've also read you can go to India, or some eastern European countries, if you desire an organ (might not be a willing donor but who the hell cares if you've got the bucks and a need for a kidney?)

      Delete
  9. So, here's the deal:

    A nice little short video of a Completely Automated Swedish Iron Ore Mine.

    Some people sitting around in a climate-controlled room manipulating joy sticks.

    The Future

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    1. What ya wanna bet there will be quite a few Less joy stick handlers 5 years from now?

      How many will be left in 10 yrs?

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    2. Great, right?

      What if your family has been supported by working IN the mine for the last 150 yrs?

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    3. Where is our society (world?) in 50 years?

      100 yrs?

      500 yrs?

      They say we have somewhere between 50 yrs. and 100 yrs. of phosphorous (fertilizer) left. (some say 30 - what if They're right?)

      Delete
  10. From the subject article:

    Not the solutions are scarce, but the readiness is scarce with too many and especially with the too powerful, to let go of their interests and their ancient knowledge and give a real chance to the discourse of an open debate in an open society.

    From the link I posted one or two threads back: To know what to do is not enough:

    ...the real problem isn’t the technical details like eliminating bottlenecks, or redistributing income, or setting up positive feedback loops, or avoiding fraud, or stopping financialization, or any of the dozens of other subjects I either visit at chapter length or touch on briefly. The problem as with, say, stopping smoking, isn’t so much what to do, it is how it comes that we do it. When do we make the decision we’re willing to do what it takes, sufferer the negative consequences of getting to a better place, and then push ourselves through those consequences?

    Which is exactly what Jack Bogle (Vanguard) said when he was told that "we have a 'fix' for SS:" then why haven't we 'fixed' it?

    Failure of Process will keep the thinkers going for awhile. In the meantime, the money will continue to flow in Washington, to the detriment of the country, and, ultimately, a world that believes in freedom and self-determination.

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    1. The photographer committed suicide 3 months later.

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    2. Why the birth control débâcle in this country left me cold.

      Too few of these pious hypocrites have little to no knowledge of the life that awaits the souls salvaged from the clutches of "depraved indifference."

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    3. I see the baby, and I see the vulture; but, I can't seem to locate the "all-seeing, beneficent diety.

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    4. I notice also what appears to be cattle feed in the background. A miss allocation of resources may be going on here, among a lot of other things.

      Great photo though.

      I see the baby, and I see the vulture; but, I can't seem to locate the "all-seeing, beneficent diety.

      You wouldn't, because you seem to think the world should be a perfect gift with no struggle. Blake thought differently, and knows we live in a fallen world, and best do something about it.

      Blake, by the way, was for a time all excited about the French Revolution, until it ate its own.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_French_Revolution_%28poem%29

      In 'The French Revolution', the ideas expressed are in direct contrast to those who stood against the French Revolution, including Edmund Burke.

      But Blake, who died poor, and was once almost arrested for uttering 'damn the King', can 'suck off', right Rufoid?

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    5. I notice in the comments the question is asked, "Why did the photographer do nothing?"

      He could at least have carried the kid a mile to the UN camp, it is suggested.

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    6. Maybe it was when he realized, upon reflection, that he was part of the problem that he took his own life.

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    7. In this case, you could almost say "he Was the problem," right?

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    8. Before I leave for my movie, I did note the deeper message with the photograph, and maybe someday others will come to know the deeper story of DRR's family. Maybe not. But it's a bad day at Black Rock when we begin comparing our standard to the most poverty stricken countries on the planet.

      Our political leaders would love that, would they not??

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    9. .

      Why do you assume he didn't do anything after he took the picture?

      .

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    10. I believe it was said, Q, that he left immediately after taking the picture. Now, admittedly, that statement might be open to interpretation. Perhaps, he left the country immediately after taking the picture, and delivering the child to the aid station.

      Maybe

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    11. .

      I just don't get it. Maybe I am missing something here.

      Now, when confronted with hundreds of people suffering from famine or desease, I can see where a civilized person might be overwhelmed, numbed if you like, and recognize he might no be able to help.

      However, in a one on one situation, one photgrapher, one child, one vulture, I don't see where a person could just walk away when an aid station is just a clik away. Even if the child didn't live, at least you have made an attempt. And it's not like you are making a lifetime commitment, you take the child to the aid station and then you leave.

      It seems the least any human could do.

      .

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  11. Failure of Process will keep the thinkers going for awhile. In the meantime, the money will continue to flow in Washington, to the detriment of the country, and, ultimately, a world that believes in freedom and self-determination. -DRR

    You are correct.

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    1. I think the baby in that photograph could have used just a little bit less "freedom, and self-determination," and a little bit more "statism."

      But, that's just my reading of it.

      Of course, the survivor (the vulture) was, I understand, all fine with the freedom/self determination outcome.

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    2. Ambiguity is not an ally. Possibly both of you misread my point to a degree.

      Government must be salvaged to move forward.

      It just has to be done right - removed from the death grip of crony corruption.

      The debate seems to be whether that is possible.

      The crews at the conservative sites do not think/believe it can be done, certainly they don't think the effort is warranted.

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    3. What some of these countries "need" is birth control.

      PDQ

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    4. Government was working fairly well in 1999. Surely, we didn't lose the ability to "make it work" in 13 short years.

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    5. Once, at BC, I tried raising the labor issues between the Chinese companies developing resources in African countries using native labor. I was immediately and decisively shot down (by one of the women) who informed me that those countries couldn't govern themselves and wouldn't benefit from aid until they moved up the ladder some more.

      Today, the cheapness of human life coming out of Africa remains a nasty problem. The woman was largely right. The aid money goes down a black hole never to see the light of day. At this point in time, birth control is the best assistance the world can provide to nations in poverty with no ability to self-govern (in terms of education, institutional infrastructure and cultural support.)

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    6. It looks to me like this country did just that. You yourself mentioned that "just fill me but don't make me listen to it" future of the next two months. Some parts of the process do not necessarily benefit from this much sunshine. Boehner should keep his FY's to himself. TMI. Washington, the new reality show. Dallas meets The Jenner/Khardashians.

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    7. Ahh, we haven't "forgotten how." We're just in the process of a prolonged hissy fit, right now.

      It's almost always required a "crisis" to get the good ol' U.S. of A. t' movin'.

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    8. In the Sudan, about which I don't know much, part of the problem may be the pastoralist/herders refusing to give up a lifestyle that is marginal at best, and deadly a lot of the time. They may have no option, however.

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    9. And part of the problem may arise from this -

      List of Islamic Terror Attacks on Christians
      www.thereligionofpeace.com/Pages/ChristianAttacks.htm
      11/17/2012, Sudan, South Kordofan, 3, 3, Three Christian villagers are killed in .... 7/7/2012, Nigeria, Kushen, 80, 300, Muslim terrorists attack twelve Christian ...

      Muslim Extremists in Sudan Threaten to Target Christians
      www.worldwatchmonitor.org/english/.../sudan/article_120231.html
      6 days ago – Muslim Extremists in Sudan Threaten to Target Christians. ... Muslim extremists attacked the home of Anglican Church of Sudan Bishop Andudu ...

      Sudan : Christians Under Attack
      mychristianblood.blogspirit.com/sudan/
      Sep 1, 2012 – Muslim Extremists in Sudan Threaten to Target Christians. KHARTOUM, Sudan — Muslim extremists have sent text messages to at least 10 ...

      Church Faces Increasing Hostility in Sudan - The Christian Post
      www.christianpost.com/.../church-faces-increasing-hostility-in-sudan-...
      Oct 24, 2011 – Emboldened by government calls for a Sudan based on Islamic law since ... long opposed to a church near Khartoum have attacked Christians trying to ... Muslims in the north, where an estimated 1 million Christians still live ...

      Sudan: Two Christian priests arrested after Muslim converts to ...
      www.jihadwatch.org/.../sudan-two-christian-priests-arrested-after-mu...
      Dec 19, 2012 – Sudan: Two Christian priests arrested after Muslim converts to ... in Egypt, where sectarian attacks surged after an uprising overthrew president ...

      Sudan « Christian & Church Persecution
      www.persecution.org/category/countries/africa/sudan/
      Six months after being attacked, a Bible school in Sudan remains vacant and may be turned over to a local mosque that has claimed ownership of the Christians' ...

      Articles: Silent Scream: The Sudan Ethnically Cleanses Its Christians
      www.americanthinker.com/.../silent_scream_the_sudan_ethnically_cl...
      Apr 4, 2012 – The government of the predominantly Muslim nation of Sudan has .... zone to protect black Christians under air attack in South Sudan by the ...





      Delete
    10. So one might wonder, where is the mighty Barky you voted for Rufus? Why isn't he stopping this, why is he not there?

      What has happened to R to P?

      Delete
  12. That should read: just kill me... obviously.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "fill me with moonshine" worked for me. :)

      Delete
    2. Easier to drink moonshine, and blame God, than get off your ass and help the children in Sudan?

      Delete
    3. I don't "blame God." I don' even know the man

      . . . or woman, . . . . .

      or, whatever.

      Delete
    4. Bob, you're unusually dense for one with a supposedly "literary bent."

      The photo was intended as a metaphor.

      Our Future.

      (or, at least, the future of the vast majority of Earth's inhabitants)

      inexorably depleting resources, remember?

      Delete
  13. I tend to agree, though, aid to Africa is mostly wasted. Lutheran World Relief, and Catholic Charities does some good.

    More good than our atheist in Mississippi drinking his 'shine', I am certain of that.

    By the way, there was no starvation in Rhodesia before the white farmers were kicked out. In fact they exported food. Now that the 'state' is in control, after one man, one vote, one time, the dead from starvation are beyond counting.

    'Socialism' at work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, "Malignant Dictatorial rule in a backward country" at work.

      Delete
    2. No, Rhodesia wasn't a backward country, at least by African standards, before the socialists took over. It was the 'breadbasket of Africa' and Mugabe spouted the usual line all the way through. Same as Castro, Chavez, all the others. It's coming to South Africa too. Any white that can get out is getting out, and it is going downhill.

      "Malignant Dictatorial rule in a backward country" at work is the definition of socialism.

      Delete
    3. You could just as easily say "Germany, Sweden, and Norway are the definitions of Socialism," couldn't you?

      Delete
  14. .

    Birth control seems like a fine idea.

    However, in many of those countries where rape, murder, and mutilation are a political tactic, I find it hard to believe one of the participants is going to say, "Stay right there while I put on this Trojan".

    .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's why it has to be made available TO THE WOMEN, Q.


      "should be," anyway. It, obviously, doesn't "have to be."

      Delete
    2. I feels "our" pain

      was in response to the "what do you mean, we, kemosabee?" comment.

      Delete
    3. .

      Sounds like a plan Rufus but there are cultural, traditional, and political reasons why it doesn't happen. In Kenya, for instance, I saw a survey that said the average women in the eighteen to thirty age range (range is approximate) hopes to have six or more kids on average.

      Many of the people there refuse to eat donated American yellow corn because they feel it might be a plot and the corn could contain contraceptives.

      Traditionally, fertility was considered a blessing because of high infant mortality. Women can be divorced (or whatever the equivalent is for divorce there) if they don't produce offspring.

      Tribal leaders want a lot of kids so that they aren't outnumbered by rivals.

      Education is probably as important as access right now.


      .

      Delete
    4. Yeah, Q, it becomes "circular" real quick.

      Delete
  15. Maybe the photographer started to kick himself for not taking the kid to the UN aid station a mile away, and shot himself.

    Maybe he did take the kid to the UN aid station a mile away and the kid made it, and he shot himself because his lover ran out on him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe he shot himself after reading the illiterate scribblings of some old, long-daid asshole named Blake.

      Delete
    2. You have now outdone yourself today, Rufus. Congratulations.

      Rufus, you are not only a moron, you are a piece of shit.

      A true piece of shit.

      Some of the time.

      Delete
    3. Time to go watch Fox News.

      see ya

      Delete
    4. :) Lord help me; it's so much fun I just can't stop myself. :)

      Delete
  16. "Government was working fairly well in 1999. Surely, we didn't lose the ability to "make it work" in 13 short years."

    ---

    Indeed: If we went back to 1999 levels of spending and regulation, it would work fine again.

    Just give the laid off govt workers the 30k per year we spend for everyone on the welfare rolls, and let them make their way through life like the rest of us.

    ...just giving the 30 k to everyone on welfare would be an improvement also, instead of paying the majority of it to various "providers" and programs like giving food to schoolkids that gets thrown in the trash.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I notice you skipped over the part about Revenue.

      Also, it was at the end of 1999 that the genii decided to do away with Glass-Stegall, I believe. Right?

      Delete
    2. And, the grand-boy just came in the door, so I gotta go, but I doubt that Welfare to GDP is much higher than it was in '99. I will check, later. Caio.

      Delete
  17. Could we have a link to your Phosphorous crisis article, Please, Rufus?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gotta go, Doug; but, your 'puter has google, right?

      Delete
    2. .

      Forget the phosphorous.

      We soon won't have any helium left for birthday balloons.

      .

      Delete
    3. We can get helium from the moon. Right now NASA is busy reaching out to Muslims to make them feel all better about themselves, but maybe this will change.

      http://ares.jsc.nasa.gov/humanexplore/exploration/exlibrary/docs/isru/06energy.htm

      I suggest sending Rufus there to get it, he is 'the energy guy'.

      Anybody notice that Curiosity may have found a flower blooming on Mars? There is some dispute as yet, but if it's a daisy, we can send Rufus there to pick daisies too. Round trip, earth, moon, Mars and back.

      This should keep him out of our circulation for a couple of decades.

      Maybe he would have an 'epiphany' like some of our astronauts.

      Delete
  18. Union Shit birds

    Police say union workers "almost certainly" torched an under-construction Quaker meetinghouse in northwest Philadelphia four days before Christmas. The Chestnut Hill Friends had hired non-union labor for the project, which discommoded several construction unions.

    I admit that my experience with labor unions has been less than pleasant.

    I bought a company once that was composed of two unions the Teamsters and the Carpenters Union. I fought the National Labor Relations board trying to fire (I won) a drunk truck driver. It was a coin flip which union was worse.

    I also worked in a Philco Ford plant and had the pleasure of being met at the time clock on my second shift job by three union goons that did not like the fact that I was doing 300% more work than they were on the first shift repairing car radios.

    The single worse legislation ever was the Davis-Bacon Act. Republicans own that. It is used by the unions to add at least 25% to any construction project. In New York probably 35%. Philadelphia 30%.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hollywood Movie Unions likely outdo those construction unions of New York.

      Union guys used to shoot out the windows of the houses we were building in Northstar, north of Lake Tahoe.

      Their activities were constrained somewhat by the fact that there was only ONE long means of ingress and egress to Northstar, so they couldn't spend a lot of time destroying property w/o risking being cut off at the pass on their way out.

      Delete
  19. Curiosity Find Flower On Mars -

    http://now.msn.com/curiosity-rover-finds-flower-on-mars

    ReplyDelete
  20. Isn't this interesting? :)

    From 2011 to 2012, while inflation was about 2% (and, healthcare inflation was much higher,) HHS Spending FELL by 3.9%

    Welfare Spending on the Wane

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Things ain't always as Rushbo says they is, is they rightroots?

      Delete
    2. BTW, that's a decrease of $37.6 Billion.

      Delete
    3. OWWwww, Guess What? Health and Human Services Spending Increased by 90.3% Under "Guess Who?"


      Does the term "Shrub" mean anything to you?

      90%??

      oh, inflation increased 13% during that time. :)

      Houston, I think we found our Culprit. :)

      Delete
    4. You can get All Kinds of information if you just turn off the Limboughcano, and Go to the Source.

      BTW, always click on Sept. to get the Fiscal Year numbers.

      No Rushnumbers

      Delete
    5. Excellent site for spending and revenue charts.

      Delete
    6. Healthcare Premiums are now $15,022.00, annually, per family.

      The Median Family makes a little over $49,000.00/yr.

      This is nuts.

      Wonkblog

      Delete
  21. Don't introduce the little boy to liquor.

    Lots of billies do that, and it's always a mistake.

    ReplyDelete