oligarchy

The mainstream German Magazine Spiegel asks, has the US mixed Economy turned into an Oligarchy?

  • Posted on: 9 May 2012
  • By: Democrats Ramshield

Written by an American expat living in the E.U. (who holds a M.B.A. degree). This diary is a review of the Spiegel article entitled "Has America Become an Oligarchy?" from the perspective of a business librarian.
My email is: democratsramshield@yahoo.com

Spiegel quote: 2002 and 2007, 65 percent of the income gains went to the top 1%

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Monetary Policy and the Problem of Oligarchy

  • Posted on: 17 July 2011
  • By: Tony Wikrent

Cross-posted from Real Economics.

During negotiations over the federal government's debt limit this past week, President Obama appears to have achieved a major tactical victory over the Republican ideologues. I use the term "tactical" because in my view, the fundamental economic problem confronting the country remains not only unsolved, but entirely unheeded: after a half century of "neo-liberal" economic reforms, a.k.a., conservative economic deregulation, the economy is now structurally skewed to benefit a new financial and corporatist oligarchy, at the expense of everyone else. What I have striven to do, in posts such asWealth and Income Inequalities are Markers of Oligarchy, is to force the concept of oligarchy back into the national discourse. I cannot claim this as my idea: Simon Johnson's May 2009 article The Quiet Coup was a notable effort at forcing us to face up to the unpleasant fact of a new American oligarchy, and Michael Hudson has been ferocious in a number of recent posts: How Financial Oligarchy Replaces Democracy. So it was gratifying to read Mike Konczal's A Response to Corey Robin on The Political Idea of Monetary Policy:

Corey Robin has a negative response to Matt Yglesias’ argument that setting an inflation target is one of the most important goals progressives and liberals should push for, which lead to an email exchange and a second response.

The economics of monetary policy are one topic. In a balance sheet recession, with a zero-lower bound, a broken financial system and the various commitment problems the Fed faces in these moments, monetary policy is not easy. We discuss many of these economic issues here in an interview with Joe Gagnon, and that’s a debate that has been going on for a while.

Robin notes that fiscal policy is important: “The government hiring people, in other words, is a lot cheaper—and more economically beneficial—than tax cuts or employer tax credits or the stimulus bill.” I agree completely, but let’s say we get a dream infrastructure deal through Congress. If that helps the economy, and the economy starts to pick up, Bernanke and a conservative Fed could use that as an excuse to raise interest rates sooner, which would immediately cancel out that stimulus. Regardless of fiscal policy, monetary policy is never neutral in a moving economy, and thus progressives need an answer.

But Robin, a political theorist (whose book on political fear is fantastic and one of the better arguments for strong unionization that I’ve seen), is more interested in the political theory and ideas surrounding the issue, which I agree needs to be discussed more. Robin:

What both of these reasons [for monetary policy] have in common is that instead of putting money into the hands of people who not only need it but would spend it, thereby stimulating demand and more jobs, they keep (or put more) money into the hands of people who already have it and don’t need to spend it in economically beneficial ways. Presumably because they are, in Yglesias’ eyes, the real movers and shakers of the economy, as opposed to the vast majority of middle- and working-class people or the government that represents them…Share and spread the wealth, in other words, among the wealthy….

If you wanted a purer distillation of the Reaganite temper of our times, you’d be hard pressed to find it in any other notion than this: get more money into the hands of people with money, for they are the truly productive agents in our society, rather than into the hands of the people who might actually spend more money if they had more money to spend….

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Michael Collins: The Wisdom of the People - the Populist Rationale

  • Posted on: 5 July 2011
  • By: MichaelCollins

Originally posted 2011-07-04 23:17:58 -0400; bumped across the midnight meridian by GH.

The citizens of the United States have excellent judgment. They have shown it consistently over time. When that judgment shifts briefly allowing a failed policy, it is a result of the vilest forms of propaganda by a small clique of liars. (Image: PS-OV-ART)

The people were right about the invasion of Iraq

We know that the plan to invade Iraq began just days after Inauguration Day, 2001. The opportunity to launch the most disastrous and costly military effort in our history came on 9/11. The destruction of the World Trade Center towers and attack on the Pentagon became the pretext for war. The manipulators launched their fraudulent storyline in earnest with confidence that they would get their war.

But in December of 2002, the public wasn't buying it. The people didn't have access to all of the information. They knew one thing for sure -- the invasion was a very bad idea unless Iraq posed an imminent threat to the country with weapons of mass destruction. An in depth Los Angeles Times public opinion poll asked this question:

 

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Wealth and Income Inequalities are Markers of Oligarchy

  • Posted on: 6 June 2011
  • By: Tony Wikrent

Cross-posted from Real Economics. Posted on ePluribus Media at 2011-06-05 22:33:23 -0400. Bumped and promoted. - GH

At the beginning of the American experiment in self-government, concentrations of wealth and large inequalities in income and wealth were viewed suspiciously as dangerously subversive vestiges of the royalty and oligarchies of Europe. But today, conservatives would have us believe, concentrations of wealth and inequalities in income and wealth should be viewed as the natural result of a social Darwinian struggle between those who work hard, and those who do not. Thus are Americans slowly but steadily being led to acceptance of the rise of a new oligarchy,

wages vs productivity
CEO pay vs others

In one of the most famous of the Federalist Papers, No. 10, James Madison discussed the problem of factions, and noted that they most often arise based on economic interests. In preparation for the Constitutional Convention, Madison made notes of the defects of the Articles of Confederation. Vices of the Political System of the United States These short notes amplify and clarify Madison’s thinking on the formation of a new government. Here is a section dealing with the problem of emerging oligarchies:

 

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Abe Lincoln: when "Corporations have been enthroned" a chilling prediction coming true

  • Posted on: 31 May 2010
  • By: MinistryOfTruth
I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war. God grant that my suspicions may prove groundless."

-- U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864
(letter to Col. William F. Elkins)
Ref: The Lincoln Encyclopedia, Archer H. Shaw (Macmillan, 1950, NY)

ratical.org

Bold text added by the diarist


(Note: The authenticity of this quote has been disputed, but I believe it is worthwhile to discuss nonetheless. The link I have provided is my proof of the validity of this quote, but I leave it to you, the reader, to decide.)

Almost 150 years later . . .

More below the fold

Itchin' for a fight, cruisin' for a bruisin', or sour grapes of a current owner caught in the act?

  • Posted on: 1 May 2010
  • By: deltadoc

Originally posted 2010-05-01 00:10:33 -0400. Bumped and promoted. -- GH

I don't have any independent assessment of the conditions from which this email was supposed to have been taken.

But it's a repost of the complete email reportedly picked up by The Reformed Broker, Joshua Brown. It does sound like a "hideous little piece of class warfare," or what many pissed-off Americans would like to think they'd hear coming from a 'vulture capitalist'.

Did it really, I don't know?!

A Disgusting Little Email Making the Rounds on Wall Street