Let’s talk about what the EU’s “austerity” for Greece has really meant.
There have been a series of loans from international and national institutions to cover liabilities of those who would be hurt by a default on Greek bonds. It hasn’t reduced Greece’s debt or improved its balance of payments. Coupled with the imposed cuts in benefits and increase in taxes in Greece, rather than encouraging growth, the German Empire, oh excuse me, rather, EU, has forced the collapse of the Greek economy as a way of imposing collective punishment on the people of Greece, while shifting the burden of a Greek default from private investors to EU taxpayers.
Copyright © 2015 Henry Edward Hardy
I don’t see the problem with a Greek default, return to the drachma, devaluation, and reconstruction. The default means some big hedge fund folks will lose billions. Cry me a river. C’est la guerre.
Russia defaulted in 1998, and it is getting near default conditions now due to western sanctions.
Argentina defaulted in 2002, but now has brought 93 percent of the defaulted bonds out of default in the 2010 debt restructuring.
Cyprus defaulted on sovereign bonds in 2013.
A small country like Greece defaulting shouldn’t be a problem for the world community. It will be painful enough for Greece without deliberately trying to undermine the left-wing and technocratic and intellectually competent government or to punish the people as a whole for their democratic vote.
As a younger nation, the USA suffered repeated economic collapses and national bank failures. The Panic of 1819. The Panic of 1837 and the collapse of the Second Bank of the United States. The Panic of 1873. The Panic of 1907. The collapse of the Bank of the United States (a private bank) in 1931 which started the Great Depression. Please some lessons learned people. This isn’t something which never happened before and means the Greeks have to be ostracized. The market will punish them for a default. Unless and until they redeem the defaulted bonds, Greece will pay a premium on any future debt it issues.
If the capitalist leaders actually understood and believed in liberal capitalism they would let things take their course and let those who made bad investments eat the losses. And if they were wise social democrats the would make a safety net to bring Greece back to full employment and a favorable balance of trade and payments. What we are seeing from the EU and the international bodies is more akin to mercantilism.
Trying to force a Greek collapse to punish them for defaulting on some bonds is quite stupid and petty. And did the walruses of the right really see off Yanis Varoufakis because he was way cooler then them, actually understood economics, and said snarky meanspirited things about them? Boo hoo.
Copyright © 2015 Henry Edward Hardy
Big Brother in the form of an increasingly powerful government and in an increasingly powerful private sector will pile the records high with reasons why privacy should give way to national security, to law and order […] and the like.
Each person knows something they don’t want other people to know about. That they will give almost anything to conceal.
Be they a saint, be they a libertine or someone who lives a very public life, still there will be something.
It might not be a secret sin. It might be a memory of a lost love. Or knowledge of a crime for which the wrong person went to jail. Or a family issue of incest or abuse. Or any of a long litany of small horribles.
This is the danger represented by the US Other Government Agencies (and there are a lot, not just the familiar three letter ones). By compiling transactional and source data a profile can be built for a person by which their secrets can be revealed. Even the fear that this *might* happen will be a a strong motivator for most.
The data being gathered by these agencies and their civilian counterparts like Choicepoint, Palantir, Berico, ManTech, Stratfor, Booz Allen, Equifax, and Lockheed Martin when made available through a single conspectus view, means that essentially there are no secrets. At least no assurance of secrecy.
A democracy, or any political system but a tyranny, cannot survive the existence of an elite which arrogates to itself the power to know everything about everyone all the time, and the means to keep that knowledge secret from everyone else.
Copyright © 2013 Henry Edward Hardy
The United States wasn’t defeated by communism. The United States has been defeated by capitalism.
I count the American Dark Ages as starting December 7, 1972 with the last moon landing.
I have been looking at old ads and propaganda films and I am struck by the ringing tone of confidence that Americans effused back then. There was nothing that Americans couldn’t do. And corporations competed to see who could provide a higher standard of living to the working class.
But now, it wasn’t a communist invasion which ruined and depopulated New Orleans. It isn’t a Russian occupation ruling Detroit and keeping the people in penury. Though it might as well be.
At some point, the predatory element of American capitalism overcame the good sense of the ruling class and the United States started consuming itself. We neo-colonialized our own people. The US now is a hollowed-out caricature of what it once was. In reaction to the introduction of basic environmental and labor protection laws US corporations began to move production, and the jobs and income associated with them, overseas.
The productive effort and scientific and technological genius of the US was squandered on ten million million dollars of military spending. Not a typo, ten trillion dollars.
How can the US afford to bail out AIG for 182 billion but not Detroit for 18 billion? And since AIG was a giant re-insurance firm, why did banks insured by AIG still get bailed out too? And if banks got bailed out, how did AIG lose 182 billion overnight?
Instead of the patriarchal way of the Rockefellers and Carnagies and Mellons, who sought to improve the society through industrialization and philanthropy, albeit for uncertain motives, we now have the Kochs and Scaifes who appear to seek actively to destroy the Republic from within. And a Republican Party that would actually contemplate bankrupting the US in order to try to deny people the chance to *pay for* reasonably fair healthcare.
I am quite sorry to see that dystopian writers like Zamiatin, Huxley, Orwell, John Shirley, Phillip K Dick, Norman Spinrad, John Brunner, William Gibson, and Rudy Rucker, have been largely proven right. Though I am deeply impressed by their insights.
American Dark Ages, year 41. What fun.
Copyright © 2013 Henry Edward Hardy
Response to “Occupy Wall Street: How Should it be Covered Now“.
To: Arthur S. Brisbane
Public Editor of the New York Times
I find it amazing that these pundits, looking at a crowd of people carrying signs, come away scratching their heads asking, “what specifically do OWS demonstrators want?”
The conspiratorial questions about “who is the leader, who is really behind it” also show how far out of touch, and indeed, clueless, these members of the chattering classes truly are.
Let me tackle the first part of Tim Kelly’s list:
Who are the protesters?
A few groups are here.
1. Old New Leftists, now part of the establishment, going once more unto the breach.
2. First-time protesters, most idealistic young people.
3. Ideological extremists (a small, but visible minority).
4. War veterans, now home and un- or under-employed.
Who are the leaders?
The internet is the leader. There is no person who can be described as leading the movement. Intellectually, the movement is led by Noam Chomsky, probably more than any one other living figure.
Who’s really behind all this?
Adbusters started it. I think it amazed them and has long since left their control.
Who’s going to pay for the cleanup?
Presumably this will fall primarily to municipalities.
What do they hope to accomplish?
Reducing wealth and income inequality.
Enhancing civil rights.
Holding the richest and most powerful to account.
What can citizens do to take part in the protests, or avoid them?
Really? A former newspaper editor has no idea how to Google about “occupy wall street” plus (name of town) and either go there or not go there?
What is happening inside the camps?
I have been to the Boston settlement twice and I have found it peaceful, clean and orderly, with many thought-provoking discussions, books, tracts, and signs.
This degree of confusion and inability to observe the plainly obvious makes me think that, as in the story, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, that these wealthy pundits and apologists for the plutocratic class quoted above, see only that which they wish to see and nothing more.
Copyright © 2011 Henry Edward Hardy