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  • The Language of Looting

    The Language of Looting

    By MICHAEL HUDSON
    "Banking shares began to plunge Friday morning after Senator Dodd, the Connecticut Democrat who is chairman of the banking committee, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television that he was concerned the government might end up nationalizing some lenders “at least for a short time.” Several other prominent policy makers – including Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina – have echoed that view recently.”
    --Eric Dash, “Growing Worry on Rescue Takes a Toll on Banks,” The New York Times, February 20, 2009
    How is it that Alan Greenspan, free-market lobbyist for Wall Street, recently announced that he favored nationalization of America’s banks – and indeed, mainly the biggest and most powerful? Has the old disciple of Ayn Rand gone Red in the night? Surely not.

    The answer is that the rhetoric of “free markets,” “nationalization” and even “socialism” (as in “socializing the losses”) has been turned into the language of deception to help the financial sector mobilize government power to support its own special privileges. Having undermined the economy at large, Wall Street’s public relations think tanks are now dismantling the language itself.

    Exactly what does “a free market” mean? Is it what the classical economists advocated – a market free from monopoly power, business fraud, political insider dealing and special privileges for vested interests – a market protected by the rise in public regulation from the Sherman Anti-Trust law of 1890 to the Glass-Steagall Act and other New Deal legislation? Or is it a market free for predators to exploit victims without public regulation or economic policemen – the kind of free-for-all market that the Federal Reserve and Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) have created over the past decade or so? It seems incredible that people should accept today’s neoliberal idea of “market freedom” in the sense of neutering government watchdogs, Alan Greenspan-style, letting Angelo Mozilo at Countrywide, Hank Greenberg at AIG, Bernie Madoff, Citibank, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers loot without hindrance or sanction, plunge the economy into crisis and then use Treasury bailout money to pay the highest salaries and bonuses in U.S. history.

    Terms that are the antithesis of “free market” also are being turned into the opposite of what they historically have meant. Take today’s discussions about nationalizing the banks. For over a century nationalization has meant public takeover of monopolies or other sectors to operate them in the public interest rather than leaving them so special interests. But when neoliberals use the word “nationalization” they mean a bailout, a government giveaway to the financial interests.

    Doublethink and doubletalk with regard to “nationalizing” or “socializing” the banks and other sectors is a travesty of political and economic discussion from the 17th through mid-20th centuries. Society’s basic grammar of thought, the vocabulary to discuss political and economic topics, is being turned inside-out in an effort to ward off discussion of the policy solutions posed by the classical economists and political philosophers that made Western civilization “Western.”

    Today’s clash of civilization is not really with the Orient; it is with our own past, with the Enlightenment itself and its evolution into classical political economy and Progressive Era social reforms aimed at freeing society from the surviving trammels of European feudalism. What we are seeing is propaganda designed to deceive, to distract attention from economic reality so as to promote the property and financial interests from whose predatory grasp classical economists set out to free the world. What is being attempted is nothing less than an attempt to destroy the intellectual and moral edifice of what took Western civilization eight centuries to develop, from the 12th century Schoolmen discussing Just Price through 19th and 20th century classical economic value theory.

    Any idea of “socialism from above,” in the sense of “socializing the risk,” is old-fashioned oligarchy – kleptocratic statism from above. Real nationalization occurs when governments act in the public interest to take over private property. The 19th-century program to nationalize the land (it was the first plank of the Communist Manifesto) did not mean anything remotely like the government taking over estates, paying off their mortgages at public expense and then giving it back to the former landlords free and clear of encumbrances and taxes. It meant taking the land and its rental income into the public domain, and leasing it out at a user fee ranging from actual operating cost to a subsidized rate or even freely as in the case of streets and roads.

    Nationalizing the banks along these lines would mean that the government would supply the nation’s credit needs. The Treasury would become the source of new money, replacing commercial bank credit. Presumably this credit would be lent out for economically and socially productive purposes, not merely to inflate asset prices while loading down households and business with debt as has occurred under today’s commercial bank lending policies.

    How neoliberals falsify the West’s political history

    The fact that today’s neoliberals claim to be the intellectual descendants of Adam Smith make it necessary to restore a more accurate historical perspective. Their concept of “free markets” is the antithesis of Smith’s. It is the opposite of that of the classical political economists down through John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx and the Progressive Era reforms that sought to create markets free of extractive rentier claims by special interests whose institutional power can be traced back to medieval Europe and its age of military conquest.

    Economic writers from the 16th through 20th centuries recognized that free markets required government oversight to prevent monopoly pricing and other charges levied by special privilege. By contrast, today’s neoliberal ideologues are public relations advocates for vested interests to depict a “free market” is one free of government regulation, “free” of anti-trust protection, and even of protection against fraud, as evidenced by the SEC’s refusal to move against Madoff, Enron, Citibank et al.). The neoliberal ideal of free markets is thus basically that of a bank robber or embezzler, wishing for a world without police so as to be sufficiently free to siphon off other peoples’ money without constraint.

    The Chicago Boys in Chile realized that markets free for predatory finance and insider privatization could only be imposed at gunpoint. These free-marketers closed down every economics department in Chile, every social science department outside of the Catholic University where the Chicago Boys held sway. Operation Condor arrested, exiled or murdered tens of thousands of academics, intellectuals, labor leaders and artists. Only by totalitarian control over the academic curriculum and public media backed by an active secret police and army could “free markets” neoliberal style be imposed. The resulting privatization at gunpoint became an exercise in what Marx called “primitive accumulation” – seizure of the public domain by political elites backed by force. It is a free market William-the-Conqueror or Yeltsin-kleptocrat style, with property parceled out to the companions of the political or military leader.

    All this was just the opposite of the kind of free markets that Adam Smith had in mind when he warned that businessmen rarely get together but to plot ways to fix markets to their advantage. This is not a problem that troubled Mr. Greenspan or the editorial writers of the New York Times and Washington Post. There really is no kinship between their neoliberal ideals and those of the Enlightenment political philosophers. For them to promote an idea of free markets as ones “free” for political insiders to pry away the public domain for themselves is to lower an intellectual Iron Curtain on the history of economic thought.

    The classical economists and American Progressives envisioned markets free of economic rent and interest – free of rentier overhead charges and monopoly price gouging, free of land-rent, interest paid to bankers and wealthy financial institutions, and free of taxes to support an oligarchy. Governments were to base their tax systems on collecting the “free lunch” of economic rent, headed by that of favorable locations supplied by nature and given market value by public investment in transportation and other infrastructure, not by the efforts of landlords themselves.

    The argument between Progressive Era reformers, socialists, anarchists and individualists thus turned on the political strategy of how best to free markets from debt and rent. Where they differed was on the best political means to achieve it, above all the role of the state. There was broad agreement that the state was controlled by vested interests inherited from feudal Europe’s military conquests and the world that was colonized by European military force. The political question at the turn of the 20th century was whether peaceful democratic reform could overcome the political and even military resistance wielded by the Old Regime using violence to retain its “rights.” The ensuing political revolutions were grounded in the Enlightenment, in the legal philosophy of men such as John Locke, political economists such as Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill and Marx. Power was to be used to free markets from the predatory property and financial systems inherited from feudalism. Markets were to be free of privilege and free lunches, so that people would obtain income and wealth only by their own labor and enterprise. This was the essence of the labor theory of value and its complement, the concept of economic rent as the excess of market price over socially necessary cost-value.

    Although we now know that markets and prices, rent and interest, contractual formalities and nearly all the elements of economic enterprise originated in the “mixed economies” of Mesopotamia in the fourth millennium BC and continued throughout the mixed public/private economies of classical antiquity, the discussion was so politically polarized that the idea of a mixed economy with checks and balances received scant attention a century ago.

    Individualists believed that all that shrinking central governments would shrink the control mechanism by which the vested interests extracted wealth without work or enterprise of their own. Socialists saw that a strong government was needed to protect society from the attempts of property and finance to use their gains to monopolize economic and political power. Both ends of the political spectrum aimed at the same objective – to bring prices down to actual costs of production. The common aim was to maximize economic efficiency so as to pass on the fruits of the Industrial and Agricultural Revolutions to the population at large. This required blocking the rentier class of interlopers from grabbing the public domain and controlling the allocation of resources. Socialists did not believe this could be done without taking the state’s political and legal power into their own hands. Marxists believed that a revolution was necessary to reclaim property rent for the public domain, and to enable governments to create their own credit rather than borrow at interest from commercial bankers and wealthy bondholders. The aim was not to create a bureaucracy but to free society from the surviving absentee ownership power of the vested property and financial interests.

    All this history of economic thought has been as thoroughly expunged from today’s academic curriculum as it has from popular discussion. Few people remember the great debate at the turn of the 20th century: Would the world progress fairly quickly from Progressive Era reforms to outright socialism – public ownership of basic economic infrastructure, natural monopolies (including the banking system) and the land itself (and to Marxists, of industrial capital as well)? Or, could the liberal reformers of the day – individualists, land taxers, classical economists in the tradition of Mill, and American institutionalists such as Simon Patten – retain capitalism’s basic structure and private property ownership? If they could do so, they recognized that it would have to be in the context of regulating markets and introducing progressive taxation of wealth and income. This was the alternative to outright “state” ownership. Today’s extreme “free market” idea is a dumbed-down caricature of this position.

    All sides viewed the government as society’s “brain,” its forward planning organ. Given the complexity of modern technology, humanity would shape its own evolution. Instead of evolution occurring by “primitive accumulation,” it could be planned deliberately. Individualists countered that no human planner was sufficiently imaginative to manage the complexity of markets, but endorsed the need to strip away all forms of unearned income – economic rent and the rise in land prices that Mill called the “unearned increment.” This involved government regulation to shape markets. A “free market” was an active political creation and required regulatory vigilance.

    As public relations advocates for the vested interests and special rentier privilege, today’s “neoliberal” advocates of “free” markets seek to maximize economic rent – the free lunch of price in excess of cost-value, not to free markets from rentier charges. So misleading a pedigree only could be achieved by outright suppression of knowledge of what Locke, Smith and Mill really wrote. Attempts to regulate “free markets” and limit monopoly pricing and privilege are conflated with “socialism,” even with Soviet-style bureaucracy. The aim is to deter the analysis of what a “free market” really is: a market free of unnecessary costs: monopoly rents, property rents and financial charges for credit that governments can create freely.

    Political reform to bring market prices in line with socially necessary cost-value was the great economic issue of the 19th century. The labor theory of intrinsic cost-value found its counterpart in the theory of economic rent: land rent, monopoly price gouging, interest and other returns to special privilege that increased market prices purely by institutional property claims. The discussion goes all the way back to the medieval churchmen defining Just Price. The doctrine originally was applied to the proper fees that bankers could charge, and later was extended to land rent, then to the monopolies that governments created and sold off to creditors in an attempt to extricate themselves from debt.

    Reformists and more radical socialists alike sought to free capitalism of its egregious inequities, above all its legacy from Europe’s Dark Age of military conquest when invading warlords seized lands and imposed an absentee landlord class to receive the rental income, which was used to finance wars of further land acquisition. As matters turned out, hopes that industrial capitalism could reform itself along progressive lines to purge itself of its legacy from feudalism have come crashing down. World War I hit the global economy like a comet, pushing it into a new trajectory and catalyzing its evolution into an unanticipated form of finance capitalism.

    It was unanticipated largely because most reformers spent so much effort advocating progressive policies that they neglected what Thorstein Veblen called the vested interests. Their Counter-Enlightenment is creating a world that would have been deemed a dystopia a century ago – something so pessimistic that no futurist dared depict a world run by venal and corrupt bankers, protecting as their prime customers the monopolies, real estate speculators and hedge funds whose economic rent, financial gambling and asset-price inflation is turned into a flow of interest in today’s rentier economy. Instead of industrial capitalism increasing capital formation we are seeing finance capitalism strip capital, and instead of the promised world of leisure we are being drawn into one of debt peonage.

    The financial travesty of democracy

    The financial sector has redefined democracy by making claims that the Federal Reserve must be “independent” from democratically elected representatives, in order to act as the bank lobbyist in Washington. This makes the financial sector exempt from the democratic political process, despite the fact that today’s economic planning is now centralized in the banking system. The result is a regime of insider dealings and oligarchy – rule by the wealthy few.

    The economic fallacy at work is that bank credit is a veritable factor of production, an almost Physiocratic source of fertility without which growth could not occur. The reality is that the monopoly right to create interest-bearing bank credit is a free transfer from society to a privileged elite. The moral is that when we see a “factor of production” that has no actual labor-cost of production, it is simply an institutional privilege.

    So this brings us to the most recent debate about “nationalizing” or “socializing” the banks. The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) so far has been used for the following uses that I think can be truly deemed anti-social, not “socialist” in any form.

    By the end of last year, $20 billion was used to pay bonuses and salaries to financial mismanagers, despite the plunge of their banks into negative equity. And to protect their interests, these banks continued to pay lobbying fees to persuade legislators to give them yet more special privileges.

    While Citibank and other major institutions threatened to bring the financial system crashing down by being “too big to fail,” over $100 billion of TARP funds was used to make them even bigger. Already teetering banks bought affiliates that had grown by making irresponsible and outright fraudulent loans. Bank of America bought Angelo Mozilo’s Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch, while JP Morgan Chase bought Bear Stearns and other big banks bought WaMu and Wachovia.

    Today’s policy is to “rescue” these giant bank conglomerates by enabling them to “earn” their way out of debt – by selling yet more debt to an already over-indebted U.S. economy. The hope is to re-inflate real estate and other asset prices. But do we really want to let banks “pay back taxpayers” by engaging in yet more predatory financial practices vis-à-vis the economy at large? It threatens to maximize the margin of market price over direct costs of production, by building in higher financial charges. This is just the opposite policy from trying to bring prices for housing and infrastructure in line with technologically necessary costs. It certainly is not a policy to make the U.S. economy more globally competitive.

    The Treasury’s plan to “socialize” the banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions is simply to step in and take bad loans off their books, shifting the loss onto the public sector. This is the antithesis of true nationalization or “socialization” of the financial system. The banks and insurance companies quickly got over their initial knee-jerk fear that a government bailout would occur on terms that would wipe out their bad management, along with the stockholders and bondholders who backed this bad management. The Treasury has assured these mismanagers that “socialism” for them is a free gift. The primacy of finance over the rest of the economy will be affirmed, leaving management in place and giving stockholders a chance to recover by earning more from the economy at large, with yet more tax favoritism. (This means yet heavier taxes shifted onto consumers, raising their living costs accordingly.)

    The bulk of wealth under capitalism – as under feudalism –always has come primarily from the public domain, headed by the land and formerly public utilities, capped most recently by the Treasury’s debt-creating power. In effect, the Treasury creates a new asset ($11 trillion of new Treasury bonds and guarantees, e.g. the $5.2 trillion to Fannie and Freddie). Interest on these bonds is to be paid by new levies on labor, not on property. This is what is supposed to re-inflate housing, stock and bond prices – the money freed from property and corporate taxes will be available to be capitalized into yet new loans.

    So the revenue hitherto paid as business taxes will still be paid – in the form of interest – while the former taxes will still be collected, but from labor. The fiscal-financial burden thus will be doubled. This is not a program to make the economy more competitive or raise living standards for most people. It is a program to polarize the U.S. economy even further between finance, insurance and real estate (FIRE) at the top and labor at the bottom.

    Neoliberal denunciations of public regulation and taxation as “socialism” is really an attack on classical political economy – the “original” liberalism whose ideal was to free society from the parasitic legacy of feudalism. A truly socialized Treasury policy would be for banks to lend for productive purposes that contribute to real economic growth, not merely to increase overhead and inflate asset prices by enough to extract interest charges. Fiscal policy would aim to minimize rather than maximizing the price of home ownership and doing business, by basing the tax system on collecting the rent that is now being paid out as interest. Shifting the tax burden off wages and profits onto rent and interest was the core of classical political economy in the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as the Progressive Era and Social Democratic reform movements in the United States and Europe prior to World War I. But this doctrine and its reform program has been buried by the rhetorical smokescreen organized by financial lobbyists seeking to muddy the ideological waters sufficiently to mute popular opposition to today’s power grab by finance capital and monopoly capital. Their alternative to true nationalization and socialization of finance is debt peonage, oligarchy and neo-feudalism. They have called this program “free markets.”

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    Last edited by FRED; 02-23-09, 12:54 PM.
    Ed.

  • #2
    Re: The Language of Looting

    Control the language and you hold the high ground. Your opponent is diminished by half....

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: The Language of Looting

      Originally posted by FRED View Post
      The Language of Looting

      By MICHAEL HUDSON
      Amazingly well written...

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: The Language of Looting

        Mr Hudson is off. He is committing the very error he complains about. He redefines terms and then says its 'all ok'.

        Ayn Rand would roll over in her grave trying to read all the way through Hudsons waffling.

        A free market is just that. The only restriction would be those required of a government meant to protect individual rights: protection from force or fraud. What we have now is the criminals in charge of the government and stealing under the guise of protecting us. No one would invest in these schemes if there were no government agency claiming they were protecting us. Reputation in all ways guides a cautious man. Name one person who personally checked out Maddof?
        Last edited by Mayberry; 02-23-09, 03:07 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: The Language of Looting

          The truth of the matter here is that the fault is as much ours as it is the banks.

          We too abused the credit bubble and bought our unnecessarily large houses, plasma TVs, and Chinese C#@p. We said nothing and voted nobody out of office when Glass-Steagell was repealed despite clear warnings
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2nZb...s_steagall_act and the Financial Modernization Act of 1999 was passed allowing 30:1 leverage or more. The stockholders of the banks didn't vote the executives or BODs out when they compensated themselves for short-term revenue with no claw-backs for long term (or even year 2!) risk surprises. We allowed the deficit spending of our government to go on, without consequence. We added to that insult by buying into an unnecesary war in Iraq that is further bankrupting us. We got 2nds and Home Equity lines that we knew we couldn't pay if we lost our job for 6 months. We knew our deficit to China and other countries was huge.

          Yet we bought into it right along with the bankers, the politicians, the insurance executives, the Fed, the Treasury, and the rest of the world.

          Most still are...
          Last edited by MarkL; 02-23-09, 02:52 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: The Language of Looting

            Originally posted by Mayberry View Post
            Mr Hudson is off. He is committing the very error he complains about. He redefines terms and then says its 'all ok'.

            Ayn Rand would roll over in her grave trying to read all the way through Hudsons waffling.

            A free market is just that. The only restriction would be those required of a government meant to protect individual rights: protection from force or fraud. What we have now is the criminals in charge of the government and stealing under the guise of protecting us. No one would invest in these schemes if there were no government agency claiming they were protecting us. Reputation in all ways guides a cautious man. Name one person who personally checked out Maddof?
            No, he is spot-on and precise to a "T" It is the precision in which he reclaims the language that make his arguements so forceful, and by my reading of Rand and specifically "Atlas Shrugged", the distopia presented in that work is the precise form of distopia we are experincing today. I think if Rand were alive today, she would be in perfect agreement with Dr. Hudson. It is my experience that people mis-quote, or incompletly quote Rand in the same way that a religious fundamentalist does the Bible,the Koran, or the Torah. The fallacy they create is then presented in a way that allows them to claim the "Moral High Ground" in the persuit of their agenda .

            I agree that Ayn Rand would be rolling in her grave right now, but it has nothing to do with the reasons you mention here, and everything to do with what Hudson comments on.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: The Language of Looting

              Great article that poses a very important quetion. From a phylosophical perspective how far are the other G20 nations willing to take a similar stand in support of such changes whithin their own systems?

              Have the Newly Emerging nations forgotten how much they had to endure in order to maintain this ponzy scheme? You have the Asian Crisis, the Latin American Crisis, the Russian Crisis, these nations were made to endure much pain to clean up their mess, but now that the shoe is on the other foot these nations have to continue to hurt their economies in order to keep the Titanic from sinking. I wonder how long before they stop agreeing with the political and economic reality that this is heading.

              Maybe Hillary can maintain the Asian status quo going for a while longer, but for how long?

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: The Language of Looting

                No one in their right mind will contemplate founding a new business within this mess and that means all the new businesses will be discovered in nations that eschew the New, second generation FIRE economy. Perhaps we should title this new economy as the Enhanced Finance Insurance and Real Estate, (EFIRE economy?) No, eFIRE economy.

                None of us have to use any part of the present banking and finance system, we can walk away.

                Walk away!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: The Language of Looting

                  Which I could trying to figure out a strategy

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: The Language of Looting

                    Originally posted by Chris Coles View Post
                    No one in their right mind will contemplate founding a new business within this mess and that means all the new businesses will be discovered in nations that eschew the New, second generation FIRE economy. Perhaps we should title this new economy as the Enhanced Finance Insurance and Real Estate, (EFIRE economy?) No, eFIRE economy.

                    None of us have to use any part of the present banking and finance system, we can walk away.

                    Walk away!
                    Care to give a chap a mortgage denominated in dollars? Let me know.

                    (seriously, there is a house I want to buy in my home town. I have some retained earnings that I have saved in the form the fourth and fifth currency.)

                    Maybe there is a deal we could work?

                    P.M. me if you have any ideas. (yes, I am being serious)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: The Language of Looting

                      Pure oratory Fred. But lets raise the debauchery of what the Fed/Govt is doing to the power of two - not only is it additional indebtedness of the American people that the bailout is creating - it is creating the obligation to a very "feudal" foreign power - China!

                      Do our bonehead leaders not recognize that China is going to ask to be paid in equity rights when our debt obligations to them become worthless? Do we really think we can fool them with currency depreciation? China is one of the oldest commercial cultures in the world - they will seek to recover the full value of the loans they made to us.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: The Language of Looting

                        Originally posted by Mayberry View Post
                        Mr Hudson is off. He is committing the very error he complains about. He redefines terms and then says its 'all ok'.

                        Ayn Rand would roll over in her grave trying to read all the way through Hudsons waffling.

                        A free market is just that. The only restriction would be those required of a government meant to protect individual rights: protection from force or fraud. What we have now is the criminals in charge of the government and stealing under the guise of protecting us. No one would invest in these schemes if there were no government agency claiming they were protecting us. Reputation in all ways guides a cautious man. Name one person who personally checked out Maddof?
                        Education:

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: The Language of Looting

                          Originally posted by CharlesTMungerFan View Post
                          Education:
                          God save us from this education. There was plenty of it where I came from. This guy sounds very much like my teachers of Communist Politeconomy back in Russia.

                          Indeed, now we do use old words with new meanings, but he absolutely perverts the use of the word 'libertarian' in the US. American libertarians with all their problems and misconceptions (only liberals don't have them , right?) are supporters of the old American principle of the limited government. That's it. I am not sure, they have an obligation to comply with the teachings of Adam Smith. Adam Smith described the free markets in the political environment of a monarchy. I am not sure, US tried to recreate that system.

                          If we want to talk about perverted words, we should look at the 'liberals'. Many of them remind me of the people, that back in the early 20th century were called 'communists' (some of them were my relatives, may their souls RIP). They were very enlightened and passionate, just like Mr. Хомский, and, just like him, they were big fans of Marx and Lenin. Eventually, those that did not end up dead learned they were dead wrong.
                          медведь

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: The Language of Looting

                            Originally posted by medved View Post
                            God save us from this education. There was plenty of it where I came from. This guy sounds very much like my teachers of Communist Politeconomy back in Russia.

                            Indeed, now we do use old words with new meanings, but he absolutely perverts the use of the word 'libertarian' in the US. American libertarians with all their problems and misconceptions (only liberals don't have them , right?) are supporters of the old American principle of the limited government. That's it. I am not sure, they have an obligation to comply with the teachings of Adam Smith. Adam Smith described the free markets in the political environment of a monarchy. I am not sure, US tried to recreate that system.

                            If we want to talk about perverted words, we should look at the 'liberals'. Many of them remind me of the people, that back in the early 20th century were called 'communists' (some of them were my relatives, may their souls RIP). They were very enlightened and passionate, just like Mr. Хомский, and, just like him, they were big fans of Marx and Lenin. Eventually, those that did not end up dead learned they were dead wrong.
                            While not wishing to depreciate the very valid points you make, in a very real sense, you have come upon the most crucial part of this debate from an entirely opposite direction to Noam Chomsky, and thus from your viewpoint, yes, indeed, everyone should fear the return of the ideas and concepts that underpinned the Russian version of "Liberal". But you also have to learn that what has occurred in the United States almost exactly parallels what happened in Russia, but, has been hidden from view.

                            Feudalism has an insidious aspect, the power of unseen, unaccountable management.

                            As I see it, (and I agree this will sound very far fetched, but please bear with me while I explain), the collapse of the entire financial system as we can see it today stems from the original thinking of a very small group of individuals in the US during the McCarthyism era that formed what became known as the Central Intelligence Agency, the CIA.

                            One of the most significant things they did, that I have only in the last week discovered, during the 1930's they overthrew the Prime Minister of IRAN. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00hq1w7

                            Feudalism creates government sponsored groups that have an absolutism that cannot be adjusted and trammelled by debate. They are not accountable to anyone. The general public have no idea who runs them or what they do. Yes, we get a little smidgen of doctored news from time to time to cover any visible "blow back" but under normal conditions, as with Iran, it might be more than half a Century before we actually find out what happened.

                            So what happened in Russia with the likes of the KGB was in many ways more than matched by the CIA but in the case of the CIA, they, as an acquaintance who works inside once told me, do things to people... (he had joined but told them from the outset, he did not want to be any part of what he already knew was their modus operandi, "doing things to people"). But with the likes of the CIA they had surrounding them a visible nation that was nothing like Russia at all. So they could do as they wished; unaccountable to anyone under a blanket of a nation that espoused totally opposite views to theirs. Of freedom, free markets, free expression.......

                            But what happens with a feudal nation is that the disease spreads.

                            Once you allow any part of your nation to become indifferent to the rule of the law or of a free society as a truly liberal society, as laid down by the Thomas Jefferson's or Adam Smiths, then others follow. the idea spreads about that if one section can effectively two finger the rules, others quite naturally follow.

                            So where in Russia it was very visible and as you point out, you got topped for having the temerity to express a different point of view, in the US it was in other nations that the CIA remit held sway. The same rules, but expressed outside of the home nation.

                            The CIA did not like the way you run things, you get thrown out and in extreme cases, topped. Well known, no argument about that.

                            But then others start to see, probably started by the needs of the likes of the CIA to divert monies to their shadow operations, that they can bend the rules too ........

                            What we have now is that a very large stratum of the financial leaders of the Anglo-Saxon economies can now be seen as having the same attitudes to their responsibilities. They answer to no one. Expect every attention to their needs regardless of the long term costs. Disregard anyone that has refused to accept their protestations that "it is nothing to do with me gov"....

                            Feudalism instills a complete indifference to what are ordinary rules of engagement for the majority. Gives the instigators total control over the idea that they are always acting in YOUR best interests.

                            So in a real way Medved, you are totally correct to be critical. Your experience has been from the outside of the US, as against where those inside have grown up with a quite different viewpoint; believing that they live in a libertarian nation with strong values for freedom.

                            As we can now see very very clearly, that is complete bullshit. Under the thin veneer of libertarianism, the United States is as feudal as Russia ever was, except that with the US, the general population never knew.
                            Last edited by Chris Coles; 02-24-09, 07:33 AM. Reason: Spelling

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                            • #15
                              Re: The Language of Looting

                              Originally posted by jtabeb View Post
                              Care to give a chap a mortgage denominated in dollars? Let me know.

                              (seriously, there is a house I want to buy in my home town. I have some retained earnings that I have saved in the form the fourth and fifth currency.)

                              Maybe there is a deal we could work?

                              P.M. me if you have any ideas. (yes, I am being serious)
                              The first thing to remember is that the price will continue dropping for at least another couple of years. That house, or one very much like it is going to likely drop in price back to levels you will not believe.

                              Read The Downwave by Robert Beckman.
                              http://www.amazon.co.uk/Downwave-Sur.../dp/0903852381

                              So the very first thing is to wait. That house will cost what it originally cost say, twenty five years ago....

                              Banking. Read the detailed terms and conditions for Bullion Vault. http://www.bullionvault.com/help/brochure/page1.html

                              http://www.bullionvault.com/help/ind...AQs_whyBV.html

                              http://www.bullionvault.com/help/ind...Qs_safety.html

                              You can use that system for all your deposits. Treat it like a bank account. So now you do not use a bank for any deposit and all your money is backed up with solid gold. Period.

                              Banking. Here in the UK we have had a large increase of credit unions. And they have all the best aspects of a bank but none of the drawbacks.

                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Credit_Union

                              http://www.ncua.gov/

                              http://www.creditunion.coop/

                              Say after me; "We do not need banks" We do not need banks..........

                              If you go out and look around you, you will find everything you need.

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