Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Capitalistic Country

I notice snow falling. First there is a small covering but now it is really coming down. We are getting more. And a few months ago there was quite a bit of snow. It's cold in Madison.
We're having another storm. Fuck it. Nobody's going out. Nobody gives a rat's ass. We have to shovel our walks in Madison. That's not our choice but it happens due to a law.
Madison is a super-liberal, enlightened place that turns out to be just the same as every other place in the country that all of you call America but that I call US/America. But you know the one. U. S. A -- rah, rah rah: the country that uses its cowboy heritage to advertise cigarettes.
The country that has been experiencing an enormous increase in per capita wealth, since 1800. Some areas of the globe lag, reports this learned economics text that I took out from the library the other day. All the major economists' names are right there in the front pages of the book. The mystery seems to be that these other areas of the globe are not developing as quickly.

It's called studying the "underdeveloped" ones. Maybe the third-World people are just another species. Maybe we are just asking when they will become like us. Maybe they won't become like us. The problem that the globalization experts in my book have is that the third-World people are not becoming like the people of the developed capitalist world fast enough. Maybe that is because we are not letting them. The developed world is not letting the underdeveloped world develop --- and its scholarly experts in "economics" are looking at these non-developers and they are puzzled and they are trying to figure out why these others are not developing, while being simultaneously unaware that the others are not developing because the developed world is not letting them.

Oh: that's why these areas are not developing. It's called oppression, dumbasses.

I notice that the snow is falling. It is coming down in a regular, steady way. We aren't going to go out today. But I am sure some persons will. I am sure some economists will go to their jobs, because they are regular and steady in their own way too.

"Challenges of Globalization: imbalances and growth" Peterson Institute, D. C. See chapter 7, first two sentences, for reference.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Humor in Capitalistic Economics


Don Arturo says:
There was a man
who sold puppets and whistles
for a living
He also played guitar
He used to go
to the shopping areas
and draw huge crowds
They bought his whistles
and puppets
They threw money into
his guitar
This was against the law
So he was arrested at
least three times a week
When his turn came up
in the courtroom
He took a puppet out
and put a show on
All the detectives
and court clerks
rolled on the floor
When he was finished
they all bought puppets
and whistles from him
The judge got angry
and yelled:
What kind of business
is this
And the man said
I am the monkey man
and the
Monkey man sells
Monkey business.

-Victor Hernandez Cruz

In the US -- in North America -- business is monkey business. There is no other kind. That is the character of things. There's always a catch; there's always a sense of humor, or at any rate there should be. There may be some sense to keeping free trade free from government intervention, but no one will ever keep free trade free from monkey business; it is endemic.
There is a difference between Latin American, where this poem refers itself to, and North America, and this is that while monkey business is but an aspect of the scenario in the South, in the North this humorous monkey business aspect of things is universalized: it is a broad, endemic and universalized aspect of the culture. Everything is a joke; or everything is a fraud; or --- everything is a profit margin obtained with a wink and a nod. Grow up and admit it.

This book I have (Greenwillow imprint), from 1976, says Cruz "has published two
collections of poems"; "Snaps" and "Mainland." (latter: Random House, 1973)

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Liars Get Caught

"$275 billion plan seeks to address crisis in housing" buy Sheryl Stolberg & El L. Andrews"

Congrats, to the N.Y.T. for trying to explain things. At least they are trying, just a little bit. By implication what they are saying is this. In order to pay all that dought back that is being loaned or borrowed the "taxpayers" (the newspapers' fav. word nowadays) will have to do two things. First, make lots and lots of money - this is usually no problem here in America, right? - and then secondly, they will have to not really spend it after they make it, because they are going to be using all of it to pay back the loans. Nor can they invest it, or loan it out to others, etc. No. They have to use all that money they will be making to pay back the loan: to pay back the trillions now being pumped in.

Now, how will that happen? In Elton John's terms: "it's impossible."

They say they want to put the economy back - back on track. They want to stimulate, or re-stimulate, the economy. Soze it can be just like the good old days. They want to restart the basic process itself. In our experience, this is to start another round of investing and making money. But how do you make money, in our accustomed experience of things? Ah. Well, first you borrow. But, you see, we are planning to stop all that. This is all pretty simple reasoning.

Even if you accept all the premises up until repayment, that means that when the "taxpayers" (I just love that word) will start making oodles of money again (a premise we have to accept here, to reason this forward), they will be using that money to - what else? - finally pay back that two trillion dollars they are forwarding into the system these days as their only inspiration on how to solve this credit problem or credit crunch. But then these economic actors (oh yeah: taxpayers) will have that much less to invest in "el futuro." The future.

By implication as I said the N. Y. T. is saying that in the future, we intend to stop borrowing.

It's impossible.

Figure it out for yourself. You know, I guess it is usually better that way anyways.

Now one last question: Why can they not admit this?

I - no trained academic - can figure this out. Maybe, with my explaation here, you can too.

Why, then, are the professional economists not telling?

p.s. there is no easy answer to that one. I guess maybe its cultural.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Freeland's comments

Chrystia Freeland (FT):

" More importantly, this particular economic crisis has already overturned the economic orthodoxy which helped ensure Republican political dominance over the past three decades. That philosophy, neatly summarised by Ronald Reagan in his inaugural address – “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem” – was demolished last Monday, when Mr Paulson effectively coerced the country’s biggest banks into selling significant stakes to the state. "

Government, which represents the people, took over part of the banking system.

It was inevitable because this is in the nature of the situation itself. Capitalism spreads money - we can say money or we can say wealth or value or whatever - out to the public. They end up eventually more or less owning capitalism. To save the system, the government -their representative -had to step in. The government essentially proved this point, which I have understood for some time. The idea, an obvious one to me, that "the people" own the economic system is of course difficult to absorb, when the prevailing orthodoxy is all set up contrariwise.

She also said, at the U of Wisconsin, that "we are living through a moment of systemic change" (UW newspaper, Feb 11)

Well, yeah, that is the idea, but I do not think of it is as easy, or as a given. I think it is a necessity, and I think there is a big question about whether we will be able to make the radical changes that are needed. "Systemic change" is, however, what we need in order to survive. So I am certainly for "systemic change."