“Faith in natural order and market efficiency forecloses a full normative assessment of market outcomes. ... It effectively depoliticizes the market itself and its outcomes. It is only when the illusion of natural order is lifted that a real problem arises: that of the justice of the organizational rules and their distributional consequences.” - Bernard Harcourt
One of the reasons that a strong social security system was established in Europe (and the USA) in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War is a combination of the threat of communism on one hand, as well as the vivid memory that a decade of Depression induced by an unregulated financial sector produced the seeds of fascism.
Since the 1970’s, a relentless battle by corporations and free market advocates has steadily rolled back the extraordinary social progress of the post war decades. It is arguable that these systems needed reform as the economic conditions changed (stagflation), but the result of the extensive deregulation of some sectors (especially the financial one) is that it lowers growth instead of boosting it. Still, the argument is that we need more of the same.
In the absence of a powerful alternative such as communism, the governments continue to push failed liberal policies that are undermining growth, destroying their own constituencies (the middle class) and creating poverty. It should be obvious that poor population consume less goods and services and that unsecure workers save more. This creates powerful drags on economic growth, missed profit opportunities for companies and most importantly social misery. Not to mention the looming environmental catastrophe we are rushing ourselves into.
Yet this is the only way that is offered to us. The simplicity of the fallacious free market argument can easily convert those that are not exposed to its brutal reality, especially the higher classes. They are the one that support these enormities, while decrying nationalist and socialist voters as ‘extreme’ or not rational. But these people turn to the only political parties that offer an alternative path. They are not the diseases, they’re the symptoms of an out of control economic and political system that engineers inequalities on a massive scale.
As a result, we must look for bold answers, which is what ‘new left’ leaders such as Corbyn or Mélenchon offered. There isn’t too much time to avoid the massive catastrophes that our civilization faces. A radical re-thinking of how we work and cooperate in our societies is needed.
The scientists persuading terrorists to spill their secrets – Interrogating a suspect using threats, violence or any forceful mean results in either defeat or false statements. All criminals have a story to tell, and using sincere empathy yields the best results.
The thawing Arctic threatens an environmental catastrophe – The Arctic is warming fast and threatens to accelerate global warming globally. “International efforts to limit global warming will at best slow the changes, perhaps making the consequences merely terrible rather than catastrophic.”
A new front opens in Asia’s water wars – China has the high ground and controls key waterways that go through neighboring countries, but takes a very selfish approach to water management by building dams that leave these countries at the mercy of China. This year, China used its power and withheld precious meteorological data from India, despite an agreement to share information that could have avoided thousands of deaths from flooding.
Russia turns to new friends from China and the Middle East – For oil & gas projects. Interesting, but we have to remember that the ‘Russian pivot’ to the East is physically and politically as complicated as its existing relationships with the West. The biggest mistake here is from the West (especially Europe): instead of pushing Russia, it should have engaged and create a better relationship that would have secured its energy needs.
The Chinese World Order – China’s rise didn’t lead to democratic opening as some wishful thinkers believed and the country is now trying to break the encirclement led by the USA. Interesting read, though the author doesn’t appear familiar with the underlying factors driving China’s rise -and its future rapid slow down, probably before it gets rich enough or overcomes the USA.
Chinese power is approaching its zenith – Important. On China’s long term economic and political trajectory. President Xi Jinping will potentially stay for 3 terms but the country will run its the logical end of debt driven economic growth, with a potential ‘Japanese’ solution (small reforms, nationalization of debt, anemic growth).
“Russia Interfered!” – By Purchasing Anti-Trump Ads? – We’ll stop commenting on the obviously idiotic claim that ‘Russia hacked the election’ because we’re appalled by this whole scam, which says a lot of the state of the USA in general.
The Mathematics of Inequality – A mathematical representation of the free market environment where transactions between parties have random outcomes shows that this economic model eventually leads to massive inequalities. Such outcome is so obvious it’s a shame it took so long to figure it out.
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About Carlito Riego
"Great perfection may appear imperfect, but its usefulness is inexhaustible. Great abundance may appear empty, but its usefulness cannot be exhausted. Great correctness may appear twisted, great skills appear crude, great eloquence appear awkward. Activity conquers cold; inactivity conquers heat. Clear serenity governs the world." - Lao Zi