Category: Economics/Class Relations

The progressive case against Obama

By Matt Stoller President Barack Obama (Credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas) A few days ago, I participated in a debate with the legendary antiwar dissident Daniel Ellsberg on Huffington Post live on the merits of the Obama administration, and what progressives should do on Election Day. Ellsberg had written a […]

Peak Oil and the Challenging Years Ahead

Without substitutes at a price that the economy can afford, economies will adapt to lower amounts of oil they can afford by worsening recession, debt defaults, and reduced international trade. There may be tendency for international alliances (such as the Euro) to fall apart, for countries to break into smaller units (Catalonia secede from Spain, or countries break up the way the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia did).

“Kick-a-Nigger” Politics

Welfare is back as the handiest weapon in the racist rhetorical arsenal. It’s back in the speeches of Republican candidates and surrogates, on right wing radio, and even in the language of those young “individualists” who see themselves as politically hip because of their perceived proximity to anarchist types. They believe the poor are poor because they want to be poor. Or are failed individuals. Or have grown so used to poverty that they are satisfied waiting for a check, that they like making the often humiliating trek to the local Department of Social Services office. ‘Welfare’ is back, which is to say ‘kick-a-nigger’ politics is in full swing.

Decisive Ecological Warfare

At first the collapse will resemble a traditional recession or depression, with the poor being hit especially hard by the increasing costs of basic goods, particularly of electricity and heating in cold areas. After a few years, the financial limits will become physical ones; large-scale energy-intensive manufacturing will become not only uneconomical, but impossible.

A direct result of this will be the collapse of industrial agriculture. Dependent on vast amounts of energy for tractor fuel, synthesized pesticides and fertilizers, irrigation, greenhouse heating, packaging, and transportation, global industrial agriculture will run up against hard limits to production (driven at first by intense competition for energy from other sectors). This will be worsened by the depletion of groundwater and aquifers, a long history of soil erosion, and the early stages of climate change. At first this will cause a food and economic crisis mostly felt by the poor. Over time, the situation will worsen and industrial food production will fall below that required to sustain the population.

Forty Acres and a Mule

This Carson piece makes for an interesting comparison/contrast with this article from Walter Williams. By Kevin Carson When it comes to the “outrageous” remarks of the week, it usually takes me a while to get a handle on what all the fuss is about. (Update–the best commentary I’ve […]

Enter At Your Own Risk: Police Union Says ‘War-Like’ Detroit Is Unsafe For Visitors

“These are the men and women who we look to protect us… and police officers can’t protect you if they’re not there. Officers are leaving simply because they can’t afford to stay in Detroit and work 12 hour shifts for what they are getting paid… These police officers are beyond demoralized, these officers are leaving hand over fist because they can no longer afford to stay on the department and protect the public,” he said.

And that’s why Iorio cautions those who enter the city to be wary.

“The explosion in violent crime, the incredible spike in the number of homicides and for officers trying to work 12 hours in such deplorable, dangerous and war like conditions is simple untenable,” he said.

America R.I.P.

By Paul Craig Roberts During the second half of the 20th century the United States was an opportunity society. The ladders of upward mobility were plentiful, and the middle class expanded. Incomes rose, and ordinary people were able to achieve old-age security. In the 21st century the opportunity […]

The Ghost of Bertolt Brecht and the Balkanization of America

Bertolt Brecht’s name is now largely lost to history, but the idea expressed in the succinct question above remains as potent today as when he uttered it. Brecht, a self-made Marxist who was once investigated by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) during the “Red Scare” era of the late 1940s and early 1950s, probably did not know a then-young Edward Kennedy or the other politicians who later devised the 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act, and he did not live to see the eventual mass migration of immigrants, legal and illegal alike, into the U.S. after his death. We can only speculate on how Brecht would have viewed the rapidly-Balkanizing United States of the early 21st century, but it seems safe to conclude that the old Marxist would be astounded at its scope, scale and rapidity.

Welfare Rights for Libertarians

By Kevin Vallier Libertarians have often opposed what philosophers sometimes call welfare rights, or rights to various goods and serves that promote or safeguard human well-being. These include rights to healthcare and education. Libertarians don’t like welfare rights because they appear to give some the moral permission to […]

Pol Pot Revisited

By Israel Shamir Now, in the monsoon season, Cambodia is verdant, cool and relaxed. The rice paddies on the low hill slopes are flooded, forests that hide old temples are almost impassable, rough seas deter swimmers. It’s a pleasant time to re-visit this modest country: Cambodia is not […]

QE3: The Beginning Of The End

By Russell D. Longcore Dump DC The Federal Reserve flushed the toilet Thursday…and by extension Washington and the US economy are beginning to pick up speed as they circle the drain. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke announced Thursday September 13th that the Fed would be buying $40 Billion […]

‘This American Life’ Completes Documentation Of Liberal, Upper-Middle-Class Existence

This is funny. — theonion.com CHICAGO—Producers of the long-running Chicago Public Radio program This American Life announced Monday that they have completed their comprehensive 12-year survey of life as a modern upper-middle-class American. In what cultural anthropologists are calling a “colossal achievement” in the study of white-collar professionals, […]

Mauritius: A Glimmer of African Freedom

From Mises.org. Whilst “diversity” in itself is not a “strength”, it certainly needn’t be a weakness. According to Wikipedia: Mauritius has a heterogeneous cultural mix. The island has received over the years a very eclectic immigration from Indian, African, European and Chinese incomers. This had produced a syncretism […]

Where have our warriors gone?

From AI/AN ATS by Vince Rinehart William Lind, in his article Gangs of Aleppo shares with us some insights into the conflict in Syria and what is fueling the violence. One of the characteristics shared by most disintegrating states is a vast surplus of young men who have […]