Tuesday, October 4, 2011

BWWAHAHA! We Wanna Clear Message from You Protestors!

You can see the caterwauling all over the corporo-media. The poor little whores for Wall Street are bawling in their cubicles and slobbering over their laptops demanding all the "Occupy Wall Street" protestors spell out exactly what they are protesting and why they are out there. Boo hoo hoo, WAAAAAA! We want answers from you deadbeats! We wanna hear specificity

Tough shit, you whiny maggots! You don't deserve them! Had you done your fuckin' work the past twenty-odd years while the country was being stolen by Wall Street hucksters from out under our feet, you wouldn't have to beg for answers now.

You assholes could have started with noting how, before the Reagan years:

Real productivity kept growing because real investment was made in hands-on materials, plant, research and labor. Most everyone benefited, including workers - via real (defined benefits) pensions (not '401ks') as well as higher wages .

Then, AFTER the Reagan years, how:

(1) The relentless deregulation mandate fueled the speculative economy based on Wall Street - which up til then had been kept in the background- began to take control of the productive economy. Wages and benefits fell, real pensions were converted to "401ks" and all risks passed off to workers, who were enticed into the risky stock market where they lost even more.

(2)The Bank Holding (De-regulation) Act of 1984, sped the way to speculative excesses resulting in travesties such as the S&L scandal in the late '80s, then paved the way for the mortgage meltdown in 2008 via creation of risk-laden "securities" known as collateralized debt obligations.

(3) By 1987 and the October Market crash, the speculative economy had sucked nearly $1 trillion from average people who had invested, and could least afford to lose money. However, they were constantly besieged with the 'buy and hold' mantra to ready them for the next plucking. This they did, losing their shirts again in 1997, 2000, 2001, and 2008.

But....all one saw was only the occasional story about any of this, and usually buried on the back pages of the business section in tiny columns.

Thus, the whining now that the corporo-media hacks don't understand what the Wall Street protests are all about smacks of a lot of crocodile tears ....but meriting only jeers.

Now, some of the complaints from assorted ninnies in various spheres:

From an AP report Oct. 2:

"Signs carried by some of the demonstrators, 'Less is More' and 'Capitalism is evil' - hardly make it clearer."

But how can they make it "clearer" when they are using signs as symbols, only representing a complex issue, not purporting to detail or embody it? In this case, the medium is the message, as Marshall McLuhan put it in his terrific book, Understanding Media.

Let's take the sign 'Less Is More'. Essentially what the demonstrators have done here is to symbolize in three words the basis of the Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare proposed by Eco-economist Herman Daly of the University of Maryland. Daly's point was that the GDP was too artificial and narrow an indicator of economic health. He argued that if one incorporated all the "externalities" usually dismissed or ignored by standard economic models, people would be more parsimonious in how they consume which would yield a better world.

GDP is supposed to measure the total production and consumption of goods and services in the United States. But the numbers that make up the Gross Domestic Product by and large only capture the monetary transactions we can put a dollar value on. Almost everything else is left out: old growth forests that maintain cooling and act as CO2 repositories, watersheds, animal habitats, e.g. the Everglades, and costs of infrastructure maintenance.

Ignoring these "externalities" leads us into a fool's paradise where we come to believe things are much better than the GDP numbers show. Similarly with energy, conveniently ignoring externalities of cost and demand leads too many to envisage a pie-eyed future of never-ending growth and ever more intense energy consumption.

All this translates inexorably into “growth” and woe betide you if you dare intimate (as Prof. Daly has done) that a zero or negative growth index may be a lot better for humans, if they hope not to outstrip their resource support base. Right now, indeed, we already know that humans are consuming the equivalent of 1.5 Earths every year. See, e.g.


This is obviously unsustainable, even as China and India increase output and consumption to become putative additional "Americas".


The LESS we consume and use, tied to the Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare, and not GDP, the better the world we will leave to our offspring. The more we consume, the less will be left for them, including life quality.

THIS is what the demonstrators are trying to convey by their signs.

Why don't they do it? Who knows? Who cares? These issues don't just slide off the tongue, for example. And again, if the corporo-media had been doing their jobs all these years they wouldn't have to ask!

Now what about the sign: 'Capitalism is evil'?

This embodies what I discussed earlier in two blogs to do with the Pareto Distribution, e.g.




Hence, in this case, the "evils of capitalism" refers to an economic system on which is superposed a corrupt statistical form that extols an increase in inequality over egalitarianism. This is embodied in Vilfredo Pareto's famous quotation (seldom cited by modern economists):

"Assume a collectivity made up of a wolf and a sheep. The happiness of the wolf consists in eating the sheep, that of the sheep in not being eaten. How is this collectivity to be made happy?"

Pareto's dubious answer was the wolf (aka the "rich") needs to eat the sheep (aka the "poor") because while the sheep has spent its life grazing on the grass, the wolf - as a carnivore- will be the one to lose and starve if he doesn't get to eat the sheep. Hence the wolf's happiness supersedes the sheep's. In the same way, the rich own dollars that are worth more (in "utils") than poor people's dollars or even middle class dollars. Hence, their benefits must supersede all others, i.e. in being given the lion's share (wolf's share?) of tax cuts, income exclusions, benefits etc.

Is it possible for the demonstrators to have articulated this? Maybe, maybe not. More likely not because getting to the bottom of the corrupt system we inhabit requires investments of time and energy they've not yet made, far less being able to adequately articulate for a hack press-media that slobbers over sound bytes. I have spent more than twenty five years doing so and there are still aspects (though many fewer now) that remain obscure, though given the time I will investigate them!

But I am not daft or so unreasonable as to expect young protestors of 20-25 to be able to elucidate what I just did! Nor should the corporo -media!

Then there was The Wall Street Journal editorial from yesterday ('Not All the Rage') noting how the protestors "have a hard time getting a media quorum". Well, maybe not now, after a number of them were brutally pepper-sprayed by fascist cops who were described by Michael Moore last night (on Keith Olbermann) as part of "white collar management" not the rank and file. Let us hope so. Because the rank and file have more in common with those protestors than not.

The WSJ piece then went on to conjecture the protestors were "raging against their own machine" because their "political favorites ran all of Washington until January" and passed or implemented a spate of laws that ought to have appeased the young folks. Hardly! In fact, the intervention of corporate-Wall Street dollars contaminated all those fine-on paper proposals, starting with Obama's Affordable Care Act (allowing too much leverage to insurance companies, not enough to oversee their excesses - such as even a public option) to the Banking regulation act proposed, which is still letting toxic derivatives to slide by....the same beasties that nearly destroyed the whole economy in 2008. So the WSJ editiorial is full of shit. But considering the source, of a Murdoch-operated editorial board, what else is new?

The biggest howler comes at the end when the moron who wrote the editorial opines:

"If the protestors want something better they might try joining the Tea Party"

Well, in this case, the WSJ brain trust might as well have proposed arguing for taking the beautiful head of a finely bred Mare and grafting it onto the grimey body of a wild boar! Why would young people of such aspirations and high ideals, as well as intellect seek to make common cause with anti-science, politically ignorant, racist pigs who yelp and demand "spending cuts" in everything which in the end will make them poorer than Haitians?

Again, consider the source.

Finally we have the Loyola University (New Orleans) blogger David Holmes:

http://media.www.loyolamaroon.com/editorial-and-opinions/column-wall-street-protestors-occupy-realm-of-fantasy-1.2641455 and senior in Economics (figures!), who blabbers:

"The protestors hate large corporations as a rule and want the top one percent to pay their "fair share." No one will ever be able to accuse these protesters of lacking imagination, but their biggest hurdle is jumping from trumpeting how the world should be, to elucidating how to get it there."

This is the typical trite blather we've come to expect from over-educated Economics majors, who alas, will merely carry on the erroneous economic thinking of their forbears - including Friederich von Hayek and related morons of the "Austrian School". (All of whom love the Pareto Distribution since they favor wolves eating the sheep like they do the rich eating the poor).

In fact, in my manifesto on the Corporatocracy (The Elements of the Corporatocracy, 1997) which may still be available on the web via Google seach, but in any case I will soon make available at lulu.com, I do elucidate the solutions, including taxing all mobile capital, and withdrawing any tax benefits for corporations that ship jobs overseas.

But again, Holmes like the AP and the WSJ demand too much in expecting these young people to elucidate the problem or the solution, say as they would someone like me with a deep politics background who's spent more than 40 years investigating not only the 1960s assassinations, but how they paved the way for a global Corporatocracy (focused more on the last 20 years).

Holmes then bellows in faux indignation:

"If a single rallying cry for the Occupy Wall Street movement had to be chosen, it would undoubtedly be, "We are the 99 percent." The conceit they show at claiming to represent not only the best interest but also the political ideals of the majority of Americans would be humorous were it not so outrageously contemptuous of the national political discussion"

Well, maybe not quite "99%" but at least 72%! That is the percentage from recent polls (e.g. WSJ-NY Times) that demand the rich have their taxes increased, and then there is the 77% that demand universal health care and not just a corporate-friendly insurance sop. Thus, the only conceit here is that of Holmes in his balmy pontificating. Contrary to being "outrageously contemptuous of the national political discussion", the protestors are fully in accord with it, but because of the contamination of the media - and even it seems university blogs like this one - the message is distorted.

Holmes then moans:

"The protestors seem to have one thing in common: namely a simplistic worldview. It is as if the lessons they learned as children sitting in front of Saturday morning cartoons have remained unchanged. To them the world is still the good versus the bad, and this recession is just the latest battle in a long righteous war by the rich against the "99 percent." They mistakenly see the rich as a united front fighting against the working man, who they also assume incorrectly to be a united front fighting for all that is right and good. They are of a generation that grew up without the specter of Soviet communism spreading across the world, and as such are caught up in the romanticism of righteous revolution."

In fact, their world view merely lacks the fleshing out and fuller comprehension that accompanies much further study, as well as maturity and deliberate reflection plus a lot of writing! At their age, my world view was also not fleshed out. I needed another forty years to achieve that and it was done by blood, sweat and a few tears in studying and reading everything I could get my hands on ...from Charles Reich's 'The Greening of America' to Karl Marx Kapital, to Morris Berman's magnificent 'Dark Ages America'.

Again, to expect these young people to have the same extensive grasp of the corrupt economic-political system that I do now at the age of 65 is both unreasonable and presumptuous.

Also, the depiction of the world as "good vs. bad" is simplistic on Holmes' part. I am sure none or few of these youngsters possess such a naive view. What they are more expressing is a concerted frustration that unchecked greed at the expense of the majority can be implemented without any cross checks in our supposedly democratic system. This is not so much a case of "evil" triumphing over "good" as a hollow pragmatism and ruthless efficiency over human dimensions for the economy. This, of course, was the basis for Charles Reich's later work: Opposing the System (1996). As he so eloquently put it (p. 103):

"When society itself comes to be modeled on economic and organizational principles, all of the forces that bind people together are torn apart in the struggle for survival. Community is destroyed because we are no longer 'in this together' because everyone is a threat to everyone else. "

The protestors are also savvy and wise enough to know the rich are not a "united front against them". Hell, it was Billionaire Warren Buffet who recently made clear that his own secretaries ought not be paying higher taxes than he is! But how was this received by what I call the Wolfi-ish rich? They lambasted him from pillar to post and opined if Buffet wants higher taxes let him pay them himself! Few wealthy people other than the odd celeb (e.g. Brad Pitt) came out to defend him! So one must assume the majority of the wealthy side with few or no taxes on themselves.

Lastly, Holmes' reference to:

"a generation that grew up without the specter of Soviet communism spreading across the world, and as such are caught up in the romanticism of righteous revolution"

Discloses that all the money he's poured into that B.A. Econ degree has clearly not delimited his ignorance or foolishness.

In fact, though Soviet Communism was a threat (and I was 16 when the pinnacle threat arrived with the Cuban Missile crisis in October, 1962 ) leaders then were able to make compromises that led to at least a kind of peaceful co-existence (e.g. when JFK agreed to remove Jupiter missiles from Turkey in exchange for the USSR removing its missiles from Cuba). They did not, like today, allow permanent hysteria with "red", "orange" and other alerts to keep citizens on edge 24/7 as if some horrific event would exterminate them.

Further, the Soviet communist system at least provided a counterpoint to unchecked global capitalism- which is now our main threat, as these young people so well perceive.

To me, it seems Mr. Holmes could cut his losses (in his economic ignorance) by not pursuing any further economics studies...at Loyola or elsewhere. Maybe he needs a nice long time out to get his brain clear of the obvious fog of propaganda that's shrouded it over!

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