The Stark Truth. Listen here.
By JP Cortez
The Great Recession, coupled with the “Ron Paul Revolution,” prompted a renaissance of the sound money movement in the United States.
As Germany, Russia, and China — to name a few — continue to increase their gold holdings, the hegemonic power of Federal Reserve Notes (referred to today as the dollar) is slowly slipping away.
Simultaneously, whispers—once relegated to fringe corners—of restoring sound money have become passionate, concerned, and loud.
The destruction of sound money over the past century stems from actions at the federal level, but there are steps which states can take —and even have already taken —to move toward real, sound, constitutional money.
As state legislatures reconvene in the next few weeks, let’s take a look at the current state of play…
One of the few countries in the world that is neither a tyranny nor a nanny state. As is often said in other contexts, size matters. Those who are the most capable of solving problems are those who are closest to them.
Thomas Sowell is much, much further to the Right on most issues than I am, e.g. endorsing neocon foreign policy views, uncritical of the police state, practically ignoring “crony capitalism,” etc. But he’s pretty good at debunking reductionist theories coming from the Left on the causes of a range of disparities, which is his area of specialization.
An interesting M-L-M critique of the critical theory oriented “Left.” I don’t agree with his general ideology but I agree with his assessment of “identity politics” as having no real value other than to create divisiveness that will have the effect of undermining the system (“destabilizing the imperialist core”), thereby making anti-imperialist victory more likely. That’s why I have spent so much time promoting all kinds of fringe, freakazoid movements and ideologies, and favor the most extreme, ridiculous or insane political candidates. Weaken the system at its core. Another thing I like about Jason is that he recognizes that the “revolutionary potential” of the First World is minimal to non-existent. I agree with his assessment of the Third World at the focus of anti-imperialist revolution, even if I don’t share his Marxism.
By Stefan Gleason, Money Metals Exchange
U.S. government agencies could run out of operating funds starting on midnight this Friday, December 7th. At issue: President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall. He wants Congress to commit $5 billion for construction of a wall along portions of the U.S.-Mexico border. The migrant caravan that recently attempted to crash the border near Tijuana has helped rally Republicans to support his request. It may be now or never for Trump’s wall. In the next Congress, presumptive House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be able to kill any of Trump’s legislative priorities. At present, Trump faces obstacles in the Senate, where Democrats seem intent on blocking wall funding. If both sides can’t agree to a spending bill by Friday, then a partial government shutdown could ensue.
Life expectancy is one of the leading indicators of the quality of life that is experienced by any society. This is the effect of reproletarianization taking place.
By Lenny Bernstein
Life expectancy in the United States declined again in 2017, the government said Thursday in a bleak series of reports that showed a nation still in the grip of escalating drug and suicide crises.
The data continued the longest sustained decline in expected life span at birth in a century, an appalling performance not seen in the United States since 1915 through 1918. That four-year period included World War I and a flu pandemic that killed 675,000 people in the United States and perhaps 50 million worldwide.
Public health and demographic experts reacted with alarm to the release of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual statistics, which are considered a reliable barometer of a society’s health. In most developed nations, life expectancy has marched steadily upward for decades.
A Communist debates a Romanian conservative who actually lived under Romanian Communism. On a general level, I agree with the Communist guy’s criticisms of imperialism and the First World Left, and the Romanian guy’s criticisms of Communism.
A leftist writer discusses the history of leftist opposition to open borders.
By Angela Nagle
American Affairs Journal
efore “Build the wall!” there was “Tear down this wall!” In his famous 1987 speech, Ronald Reagan demanded that the “scar” of the Berlin Wall be removed and insisted that the offending restriction of movement it represented amounted to nothing less than a “question of freedom for all mankind.” He went on to say that those who “refuse to join the community of freedom” would “become obsolete” as a result of the irresistible force of the global market. And so they did. In celebration, Leonard Bernstein directed a performance of “Ode to Joy” and Roger Waters performed “The Wall.” Barriers to labor and capital came down all over the world; the end of history was declared; and decades of U.S.-dominated globalization followed.
In its twenty-nine-year existence, around 140 people died attempting to cross the Berlin Wall. In the promised world of global economic freedom and prosperity, 412 people died crossing the U.S.-Mexican border last year alone, and more than three thousand died the previous year in the Mediterranean. The pop songs and Hollywood movies about freedom are nowhere to be found. What went wrong?
Of course, the Reaganite project did not end with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Reagan—and his successors from both parties—used the same triumphalist rhetoric to sell the hollowing out of trade unions, the deregulation of banks, the expansion of outsourcing, and the globalization of markets away from the deadweight of national economic interests. Central to this project was a neoliberal attack on national barriers to the flow of labor and capital. At home, Reagan also oversaw one of the most significant pro-migration reforms in American history, the 1986 “Reagan Amnesty” that expanded the labor market by allowing millions of illegal migrants to gain legal status.
Popular movements against different elements of this post–Cold War vision came initially from the Left in the form of the anti-globalization movements and later Occupy Wall Street. But, lacking the bargaining power to challenge international capital, protest movements went nowhere. The globalized and financialized economic system held firm despite all the devastation it wreaked, even through the 2008 financial crisis.
This article by Nathan Smith is the best analysis of the immigration issue that I have seen to date in terms of nuance, honesty, and depth. He argues that there would be both tremendous benefits and tremendous costs if the borders of the United States were to be opened completely (where moving to the USA from another country would be no different than moving from California to Texas or from Virginia to Maryland). Smith summarizes his analysis as follows:
In short, I think the most wild-eyed predictions of the open borders optimists will come true, and to spare, but I think a lot of the forebodings of the grimmest open border pessimists will also prove more than justified.
He ultimately comes down on the side of open borders, primarily on the grounds that the Global South would be the net winners on the economic level. See a critique of Smith’s position by Robert Montenegro here.
By Nathan Smith
A couple of years ago, I wrote a post called “The American Polity Can Endure and Flourish Under Open Borders.” I would not write that post today. The American polity might endure and flourish under open borders, but I wouldn’t claim that confidently. What changed my mind? A greater familiarity with the theoretical models that are the basis for “double world GDP” as a claim about the global economic impact of open borders, especially my own. It turns out that these estimates depend on billions of people migrating internationally under open borders. Previously, my vague and tentative expectations about how much migration would occur under open borders were akin to Gallup poll estimates suggesting that 150 million or so would like to migrate to the USA. Others may disagree, but I was fairly confident at the time that the US polity was robust enough to absorb 150-200 million immigrants (over, say, a couple of decades) and retain its basic political character and structure. I do not think the US polity is robust enough to absorb 1 billion immigrants (even, say, over the course of fifty years) and retain its basic political character and structure.
Kyle Kulinsky defends social democracy against the far left. Not really my perspective, but he articulates his point well.
It’s too bad there is not more intellectual discourse of this kind.
Excerpt from a 1980 interview with Professor Antony C. Sutton, highlighting the capitalist-communist connection.
A writer named Don Hamerquist, who appears to be a Marxist-Leninist with left-communist or autonomous Marxist leanings, has a new three part essay on the “antifascist” blog Three Way Fight that is considerably more insightful that what I usually find coming from that milieu. The essay is available here, here, and here.
The essay makes the following arguments.
1) The difficulties that global capitalism has experienced over the past decade have generated a backlash against neoliberalism in the forms of populist movements from both the left and right.
2) The “capitalist class” in the Western nations has attempted to co-opt left-wing populism by pitting it against right-wing populism in a supposed battle for “democracy” and “liberalism” against “authoritarianism” or “fascism.” Hamerquist also recognizes that Russia is a player within the framework of global capitalism, not a genuine opposition nation, but one that is being used as a scapegoat or whipping boy by Western liberals.
I invite any system-lovers who may be reading to explain exactly how it is that we don’t live in a police state.
By Josh Barnabel
A team of New York City law-enforcement officers swarmed a Manhattan condominium last month, issuing 27 notices of violations for illegal hotel use in one of the largest crackdowns on short-term rentals such as those listed on Airbnb.
The raid at the Atelier, a 46-story Midtown luxury tower, may be a sign of what’s to come. New York and other cities are seeking to limit short-term rentals that can run afoul of local laws designed to limit hotel-style stays in residential buildings.
By Ava Caradonna and Yves Smith
Yves here. Further confirmation that the gig economy is not what it is cracked up to be. Sex workers in the UK have less privacy, lower returns, and much less safety in the days of online platforms than they did when brothels dominated the profession.
By Clint Siegner, Money Metals Exchange
Americans will be headed to the polls to cast ballots in the midterm elections. Polling suggests that Democrats will return to power in the House of Representatives. Republicans are favored to hold on to the Senate.
However, political polls have proven less than reliable. There are plenty of people expecting a surprise once the votes are counted.
But there are many policies that won’t change regardless of who holds Congressional power come Wednesday.
For starters, we can count on the continuation of huge deficits. The Treasury Department’s most recent estimate is that government borrowing will double in 2018 versus last year. The bureaucracy is going to blow through $1.34 trillion more than this year’s record tax revenue.
That deficit will be the highest since 2010, back when the U.S. economy was mired in deep recession. Today, the IRS stands in high cotton. Imagine what deficit would look like if tax receipts were at recessionary levels and/or Congress was launching a major stimulus program.
Far too many people on the center left and center right have bought into the idea that nations such as Russia or China are genuine enemies of the global system, and far too many people on the far left and far right have bought into the idea that these nations represent credible alternatives to the global system. While it is certainly true that the Washington-London-Brussels-Berlin-Tel Aviv-Riyadh axis is the real international ruling class, the Asian powers are merely backwater provinces in the global system that are occasionally unruly.
A leading Marxist philosopher says what I have been saying for (at least) 20 years. Interesting.
By Stephen Johnson
Attacking the state means attacking its economic tentacles.
This week, Gary Chartier joins us to discuss the libertarian corporation problem. Listen here.