Home > Plutonomy, The Economics Profession, upward income redistribution > Adam Smith, F. Zaman’s RWER paper and the 99% Movement

Adam Smith, F. Zaman’s RWER paper and the 99% Movement

Social movements unsupported by strong intellectual storylines rarely prove successful.  For example, despite the everyday obviousness of their subjection, a century of brave women struggling for liberation never got beyond step one, the vote, until Beauvoir’s The Second Sex and its subsequent popularizations made both the injustice and the possibility of victory intellectually comprehensible.

The 99% Movement has emerged out of the street-level fallout from the stark reversal of the primary societal trends that for generations characterised the US, Canada and other countries: the now rapid and accelerating movement of wealth, income, opportunity and power away from the middle classes and into the hands of the wealthiest 1%, especially the 0.1%.  It is as if when no one was looking the socio-economics hourglass has been turned upside down.  And why was no one looking?  Because there was no theory or social narrative through which to view it.  It is not just science that needs theories to be able to see empirical reality.[1]  They are just as crucial, if not more so to societies.  That is why, for example, Thomas Paine was so important to the success of the American Revolution.  If there is no story that explains what is and how it came to be and moreover one that offers a possible victorious ending (“I have a dream.”), movements die a slow death under the weight of their grievances and the cost of their tactics.

Without the Beauvoirs major social movements become marooned at the tactical level.  Festering soon follows. The 99% Movement has not yet begun to fester, but it will if it does not begin now to integrate its gritty street-level narrative with a strategic intellectual one.  Until a few weeks ago no such possibility existed.  But now it does thanks to L. Frederick Zaman’s paper in the current issue of the Real-World Economic Review.

Nash dynamics of the wealthy, powerful, and privileged:
America’s two-player, Darwin metaeconomy
http://www.paecon.net/PAEReview/issue61/LFZaman61.pdf

Zaman’s primary inspiration, contrary to what his paper’s title suggests and also to what almost anyone might guess, is Adam Smith.   The paper includes an appendix with eight passages from The Wealth of Nations. Of course they are not, with one exception, the passages favoured by the Mankiws of this world.

Zaman’s innovation is threefold.

First, he applies his deviant reading of Smith (in particular, Smith’s analysis of how capitalism works) to 20th and 21st century America.

Second, he realizes that Smith’s analysis is isomorphic to the outcomes of strategic interaction described by the two-player Nash equilibrium concept.

Third, he fits his Smithian analysis of America into a Nash equilibrium model.

The result is explosively illuminating and deeply anchored in economics’ most sacred text.

And Zaman even spells out how it pertains to the 99% Movement.   His paper

. . . provide[s] an overarching analytical framework for explaining in considerable detail the political warfare that has been ongoing behind the scenes, historically, between the Republican and Democratic parties, from the Great Depression to the present. Appendix 1 lists all strategic transitions that are in principle possible in the Nash dynamics of Figure 1 . . . [p.54]

Here are a few passages.

The ruling elite and middle class of capitalism in this essay are two macro players in a real-world ‘Nash dynamics’ in which each is working to establish and maintain an economic, political, and social order favorable to their side.   [p. 52]

The question raised here concerning the future is whether the nation will be moved by the ruling elite (Wall Street’s wealthiest 1%) backwards conspiratorially to the previous ruling elite alliance {E, E} of the wealthiest 1%; or whether today’s populist 99% movement will gain the strength needed to move the nation forward, democratically, to the progressive, egalitarian alliance {P, P} rethought for the 21st century. It may be that populist upheaval on America’s political Main Street (physically on the streets and virally on the internet) may be required (once again), to transition the real-world Nash equilibrium (elite political disconnect) {E, P} progressively forward into a new 21st century alliance {P, P} between the ruling elite and middle class – the alliance demonstrated by 20th century history to be most equitable to America’s middle class. [emphasis added] [p. 55]

[The paper’s] Fundamental Theorem . . .is that, whether in economics, politics, or socially, rather than openly declaring and promoting their true intentions and objectives in the spirit of democracy, it is virtually always more effective for society’s “ruling elite,” as suggested by Adam Smith, to engage in collusion that achieves their objectives conspiratorially behind the scenes. [p. 56]

The ‘99% movement’ . . . , if it is to be effective, requires a radical critique of the ruthless Darwin metaeconomy that elaborates in principle what this movement is up against, shows what it therefore must do to succeed, and indicates what are the movement’s long term prospects. Figure 2 give some indication of what may be required. [emphasis added] [p. 59]


Never has a theoretical paper in economics been more applicable to its time.  Will it be wasted?

And by the way: Who is F. Zaman?  Does he have an institutional affiliation?  Read his paper and find out.  Life is stranger than fiction.


Edward Fullbrook

Recent books: Sex and Philosophy, Decline of the USA and Ontology and Economics (editor)

Republish this post as you wish.


[1] “Whether you can observe a thing or not depends on the theory which you use.  It is theory which determines what can be observed.” (Albert Einstein’s comment to Heisenberg during the latter’s Berlin lecture 1926)

”People only see what they believe.”  (Robert A Johnson, 1 Nov 2012,  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QE6MkSyDny0)

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  1. robert r locke
    November 8, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    I have serious problems with articles like this, which presuppose that economic ideas are the prime movers in historical change. What Adam Smith said or did not say about how capitalism works did not “cause” the triumph of the .01% over the 99% in the US nor will Zaman’s discovery of some ideas in Smith restore the balance of wealth distribution towards the middle classes.
    Politics is the driving force behind wealth distribution and it is not driven by ideas. As Marx would say: ideas are used by the people who hold power to justify their policies, but the policies are driven by greed and the lust for dominance.
    Economists need not study Smith’s texts to understand the current mal-distribution of wealth but to study recent history instead. It was not because of a fit of absentmindedness in the ranks of economics that the mal-distribution grew. It arose when the US started to lose out in global competition in the 1980s. When large US staple industries (automobiles, rubber, electronics, machine tools, etc) began to fail in the competitive struggle, US companies had less money to distribute to their stakeholders. In their system of director primacy governance (an institutional argument) top management, in order to keep their salaries up and pay dividends, lowered the amount of the diminishing income pie they distributed to employees (by lowering wages, eliminating pensions and welfare packages, etc.), thereby increasing the gap between the .01 and the 99%. None of this was a secret at the time to intelligent observers but because of the way neoclassical economics had evolved and been institutionalized in academia it was a secret to economists. This article is an example of how economists just want to take the easy way out by finding the answer to the mal-distribution crisis in some economics text. Stop talking to each other and start talking to smart people in other fields who can enlighten you.

    • Fred Zaman
      October 21, 2013 at 1:20 am

      In macroeconomics, a Nash “minimum principle”:

      Neoclassical economics is the economics of capitalism’s “necrotically stupid”; because although Nash equilibrium theory is the Achilles of neoclassical microeconomics truly, when succinctly restated for macroeconomics, becomes the “Achilles heel” of the same. This is most clearly shown when the Nash equilibrium of the RWER (61) paper “Nash dynamics of the wealthy, powerful, and privileged…” is succinctly restated as an economic “minimum principle”:

      The overarching objective of the free market, free enterprise, and free trade under laissez-faire capitalism is a macroeconomic Nash equilibrium in which the number of players able to maximize their wealth, power, and privilege is most stable at some minimum value – the wealthiest 1% on Wall Street for example. This is a Nash “minimum principle” postulated here for macroeconomics, of which there are a number of such principles in physical science, that conceivably might turn out being analogous in some respect to some minimum principle of physics, perhaps in analytical mechanics; thereby presupposing in economics the validity of the physicists’ ergodic theorem at some level of the economy; which theorem definitely has absolutely no validity at the level of stock market pricing assumed in neoclassical economics, however. The fundamentally destructive nature of which equilibrium, for the 99% on Main Street, economists have been able to keep hidden (from the 99%) by simply calling it “market efficiency.”

      Equilibrium theory, thus reformulated as a Nash minimum principle for macroeconomics, is quite remarkably transformed into an exposé of rampant Wall Street greed, rather than a behind the scenes enabler thereof – which is something that “new-paradigm economists” certainly should take seriously; and which mathematically inclined economists need to pursue for the sake of science – the final result of which might be a natural science of greed that would be of inestimable value to society. And what this possibility then might indicate is that any supposed “Newtonian” basis for economic science, both past and present, is simply nonsense; for economists as yet have no real conception of what a Newtonian framework for economics might legitimately entail.

      This particular Nash equilibrium could be called laissez-faire capitalism’s “necroeconomic equilibrium,” or perhaps even its “free market necrosis.” It is this Nash equilibrium, qua necrosis of the capitalist economy, that is the source of the currently obscenely large and rapidly increasing gap between the incomes of Wall Street’s wealthiest 1% and the 99% on Main Street. This is the Nash equilibrium of finance capitalists clearly exhibited today in its most economically destructive form for the 99%, which Adam Smith may have intuited to some degree but understandably was unable to articulate at that time.

      And just who are the free market’s “necrotically stupid”? They obviously include Alan Greenspan, Lawrence Summers, and Milton Friedman; and indeed every economist and politico that truly believes in the crap called “supply side economics” (aka “trickledown economics”) that they continually dish out to the public; who apparently have been inoculated with the ideology of conservative libertarianism to such a degree that even now the public is generally unable to see the necrosis of the free market created by this aberrant ideology; even though it has been clearly manifested to all in the near-total economic collapse of laissez-faire capitalism called the “Great Recession” of 2008.

      • Fred Zaman
        November 4, 2013 at 8:06 pm

        Wall Street’s Secret Repudiation of Democracy:
        The “Citicorp Plutonomy Memos” Implicit Agenda

        The plutonomy concept in the “Citigroup Plutonomy Memos” (*) refers to economies whose growth is powered by and largely consumed by the wealthy few; the Roaring Twenties being a notorious example. Rich consumers are few in number in a plutonomy, but they nevertheless take a gigantic, extremely disproportionate slice of the income and consumption. The agenda of Wall Street corporatists thus being to sustain and even enlarge this inequality by repudiating democracy, secretly; meaning to allow government to be democratic in form and appearance, all the while behind the scenes forcing it to be the political arm of something radical political theorist Sheldon Wolin recognizes to be capitalism’s “inverted totalitarianism.”

        Here defined Wall Street corporatists are capitalists (and their minions in the public sector) that fraudulently or otherwise incorrectly represent themselves and their intentions in public discourse as being pro-democracy; while behind the scenes secretly engaging in entrenched warfare against government policies and programs that promote the public good; thereby in secret repudiating democracy as truly government of, by, and for the people all; the secrecy of which is a Janus-face behind which is hidden the amorality (greed) of Wall Street’s most wealthy, powerful, and privileged. The agenda of Wall Street corporatists in this regard, as indicated in the very “short list” below, includes bitter partisan political opposition to any and all government:

        —promotion and support of economic development creating jobs for the 99% – and other forms of support, a living wage for example – that will enable the 99% to prosper in a more equitable fashion relative to the wealthiest 1%.
        —assistance to the 99% in their efforts to survive the economic devastation caused when the economic “bubbles” the wealthiest 1% create finally burst; even as the prosperity of the wealthiest 1% generally increases at the expense of the 99% thereby devastated.
        —prevention of the wealthiest 1%’s world-wide reduction of the 99% to de facto “slave labor”; who move corporate offices and production facilities from locales where the middle class and labor are (or were) relatively well off, to other locales where the greatly reduced cost of labor, and correspondingly reduced cost of sustaining the middle class economy, all for the sole purpose of making the wealthiest 1% ever more wealthy at the expense of the 99%.
        —economic and political support for the 99% against democracy’s secret repudiation by capitalism’s most wealthy, powerful, and privileged; the secrecy of which makes possible capitalism’s worldwide de facto wrecking of the economy and environment of the 99%; such wrecking – of cities, geographic regions, peoples, and cultures – done solely for the profit to be made by Wall Street’s wealthiest 1%.

        And just how is it that Wall Street corporatists have been able to hide the truth about capitalism’s dark side – which is its secret agenda to repudiate democracy, everywhere? The truth of which is that Wall Street corporatists very much want democracy in the U. S. to fail. They have done it through the conservative mantra of “supply side” economics (aka trickledown theory), the (benevolent) “invisible hand” metaphor, and neoclassical economics’ “rational man.”

        *http://rwer.wordpress.com/2012/03/14/the-plutonomy-reports/#more-7938, http://rwer.wordpress.com/2010/11/11/citigroup-attempts-to-disappear-its-plutonomy-reports-no-longer-available-at-cps-news

        L. Frederick Zaman

        P. S.
        In the Wall Street plutonomy, the free market + free enterprise + free trade (de facto) = the “freedom of equity.” These three “freedom’s” of the corporate ūber-elite, secretly advocated by Citicorp – and no doubt – other financial executives, are simply different aspects of the larger, more inclusive, and more general phenomenon of Wall Street’s “freedom of equity” (FOE); which the wealthiest freely exercise, both nationally and internationally, to their advantage in the sacred name of private property, and toward whatever are the desires of the ruling capitalist class; exercised – to the extent politically possible – irrespective of negative impacts on the middle class, the working poor, the environment, societal morality, even on democracy itself.

        With the “plutonomic freedom” of Wall Street’s ūber elite thus defined, equity is the power of the wealthiest 1% to dictate – behind the scenes – that, first and foremost, democracy’s institutions of government serve the special interests of the most wealthy, powerful, and privileged. One example of this freedom institutionalized in U.S. politics is the “Citizens United” decision of the “Roberts” Supreme Court, which carte blanche inscribes into law at the highest level Sheldon Wolin’s “inverted totalitarianism.” The latest example of democracy’s “FOE” on Wall Street and world-wide being the now-in-progress, radical corporatist Transpacific and Transatlantic Partnerships.

      • Fred Zaman
        November 4, 2013 at 11:08 pm

        The previous post perhaps can be more clearly stated in the following way:

        The Wealthiest 1%’s Repudiation of the 99%:
        The “Citicorp Plutonomy Memos” Implicit Agenda

        The plutonomy concept in the “Citigroup Plutonomy Memos” (*) refers to economies whose growth is powered by and largely consumed by the wealthy few; the Roaring Twenties being a notorious example. Rich consumers are few in number in a plutonomy, but they nevertheless take a gigantic, extremely disproportionate slice of the income and consumption. The agenda of Wall Street corporatists thus being to sustain and even enlarge this inequality by repudiating the 99%, secretly; meaning to allow government to be democratic in form and appearance, all the while behind the scenes forcing it to be the political arm of something radical political theorist Sheldon Wolin recognizes to be capitalism’s “inverted totalitarianism.”

        Here defined Wall Street corporatists are capitalists (and their minions in the public sector) that fraudulently or otherwise incorrectly represent themselves and their intentions in public discourse as being for the 99%; while behind the scenes secretly engaging in entrenched warfare against government policies and programs that promote the public good; thereby in secret repudiating government of, by, and for the people all; the secrecy of which is a Janus-face behind which is hidden the amorality (greed) of Wall Street’s most wealthy, powerful, and privileged. The agenda of Wall Street corporatists in this regard, as indicated in the very “short list” below, includes bitter partisan political opposition to any and all government:

        —promotion and support of economic development creating jobs for the 99% – and other forms of support, a living wage for example – that will enable the 99% to prosper in a more equitable fashion relative to the wealthiest 1%.
        —assistance to the 99% in their efforts to survive the economic devastation caused when the economic “bubbles” the wealthiest 1% create finally burst; even as the prosperity of the wealthiest 1% generally increases at the expense of the 99% thereby devastated.
        —prevention of the wealthiest 1%’s world-wide reduction of the 99% to de facto “slave labor”; who move corporate offices and production facilities from locales where the middle class and labor are (or were) relatively well off, to other locales where the greatly reduced cost of labor, and correspondingly reduced cost of sustaining the middle class economy, all for the sole purpose of making the wealthiest 1% ever more wealthy at the expense of the 99%.
        —economic and political support for the 99%, and against their secret repudiation by capitalism’s most wealthy, powerful, and privileged; the secrecy of which makes possible capitalism’s worldwide de facto wrecking of the economy and environment of the 99%; such wrecking – of cities, geographic regions, peoples, and cultures – done solely for the profit to be made by Wall Street’s wealthiest 1%.

        And just how is it that Wall Street corporatists have been able to hide the truth about capitalism’s dark side – which is its secret agenda to repudiate the 99%, everywhere? The truth of which is that Wall Street corporatists therefore very much want democracy in the U. S. to fail. They have done it through the conservative mantra of “supply side” economics (aka trickledown theory), the (benevolent) “invisible hand” metaphor, and neoclassical economics’ “rational man.”

        *http://rwer.wordpress.com/2012/03/14/the-plutonomy-reports/#more-7938, http://rwer.wordpress.com/2010/11/11/citigroup-attempts-to-disappear-its-plutonomy-reports-no-longer-available-at-cps-news

        L. Frederick Zaman

        P. S.
        In the Wall Street plutonomy, the free market + free enterprise + free trade (de facto) = the “freedom of equity.” These three “freedom’s” of the corporate ūber-elite, secretly advocated by Citicorp – and no doubt – other financial executives, are simply different aspects of the larger, more inclusive, and more general phenomenon of Wall Street’s “freedom of equity” (FOE); which the wealthiest freely exercise, both nationally and internationally, to their advantage in the sacred name of private property, and toward whatever are the desires of the ruling capitalist class; exercised – to the extent politically possible – irrespective of negative impacts on the middle class, the working poor, the environment, societal morality, even on democracy itself.

        With the “plutonomic freedom” of Wall Street’s ūber elite thus defined, equity is the power of the wealthiest 1% to dictate – behind the scenes – that, first and foremost, democracy’s institutions of government serve the special interests of the most wealthy, powerful, and privileged. One example of this freedom institutionalized in U.S. politics is the “Citizens United” decision of the “Roberts” Supreme Court, which carte blanche inscribes into law at the highest level Sheldon Wolin’s “inverted totalitarianism.” The latest example of democracy’s “FOE” on Wall Street and world-wide being the now-in-progress, radical corporatist Transpacific and Transatlantic Partnerships.

      • Fred Zaman
        May 13, 2014 at 10:48 pm

        The Sociological Imperative: Rethinking Social Newtonianism, Holistically Rather than Atomistically

        Can Newtonianism be resurrected in social science? Not likely it would seem, not at this late date. Yet there does remain the possibility of a version of Newtonianism yet to be considered by social scientists, which is “holistic” rather than “atomistic”; which thus is non-reductionist rather than reductionist (in the conventional sense of classical physics). The “social mechanics” of which is voluntaristic— meaning that free will is not thereby violated. Individuals in this mechanics exercise their will freely and without coercion; but they do so within the context of a holistic social order that itself is deterministic. Newton’s “laws of motion” in this context then describe the evolution of society, and/or components thereof whose holism also is deterministic, as “The Sociological Imperative.” In economics there is an exemplar: “The Sociological Imperative” of capitalist laissez faire, which is what “Nash dynamics of the wealthy, powerful, and privileged…” describes non-reductively and holistically, rather than reductively in the terms of economic corpuscles (individual actors) randomly colliding IAW neoclassical economic theory.

    • Fred Zaman
      November 21, 2013 at 3:18 am

      Stealth Economics: Modus Operandi of Capitalism’s Ruling Elite?

      The 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address may be an auspicious occasion to take note of what in essence may be “World War III,” arguably being waged in America and around the world behind the scenes, by the increasingly wealthiest 1% against the increasingly disenfranchised 99% in the hallowed name of economic “freedom.” The stealth economics of the wealthiest 1%, however, may be forcing the 99% thus disenfranchised into de facto economic slavery; resulting in a de facto class war between the “haves” and “have nots” that may be placing American democracy seriously in danger of becoming a “managed democracy” of the wealthiest 1%, by the wealthiest 1%, and for the wealthiest 1%; the elitist management of which, however, is politically becoming increasingly dysfunctional:

      “Managed democracy” is the [stealth] application of managerial skills to the basic democratic political institutions of popular elections. An election, as distinguished from the simple act of voting, has been reshaped into a complex production. Like all productive operations, it is ongoing and requires continuous supervision rather than continuing popular participation. Unmanaged elections would epitomize contingency: the managerial nightmare of control freaks.“ (Wolin 2010, p. 140)

      “As America’s political dysfunction has grown worse [and the stealth economics of the wealthiest 1% grown commensurately stronger], the economic stagnation of the middle class has deepened. This is not the result of blind economic forces, Adam Smith’s invisible hand, globalization, or some other nebulous cause. Specific committees of Congress, inevitably assisted by specific K Street lobbyists, wrote legislation that achieved this result.” (Lofgren 2012, p. 1)

      These and other commentaries suggest that far more is involved in American economics today than what mainstream (“neoclassical”) economists admit, at least publicly. Falsely attempting to maintain that economics and politics are distinct disciplines, economic theories essentially sustain what in essence is the “stealth economics” of Wall Street’s corporate elite – one very important aspect of which is called “trickledown economics,” also referred to as “supply side economics.”

      The stealth economics of the wealthiest 1% “inverts,” “transforms,” or “perverts” human freedom through the economic and political forces of “Wall Street on steroids” here dubbed “E Libertas Inversum” (ELI). The forces of ELI sustain and improve upon the 1%’s economic war, waged through stealth against the 99% in economics, politics and society generally. ELI is the agent responsible for capitalism’s inversion, transformation, or perversion of “free choice” into something that may seem to be free choice; but in reality is something else quite different. One model of capitalism’s “stealth economics,” but unnamed as such, is the “Nash dynamics of the wealthy, powerful, and privileged…” (Zaman 2012); the intended “Nash equilibriums” of which are fundamentally anti-democratic in character.

      Yet another perspective of stealth economics is the “inverted totalitarianism” of Sheldon Wolin’s “Democracy Inc” (Wolin 2010), which “represents the political coming of age of corporate power and the political demobilization of the citizenry, which [however] is not expressly conceptualized as an ideology or objectified in public policy.” The “political imagination” of which, “gaining a hold on ruling groups and becoming a staple of the general culture,” is “first and foremost about…the joining of power, fantasy, and unreality” manifested principally in two forms: the power imaginary and constitutional imaginary. The second of which “prescribes the means by which power is legitimated, accountable, and constrained.” And the first of which, seeking “constantly to expand present capabilities,… is [referring to Hobbes’ Leviathan] a dynamic rooted in human nature and driven by a ‘restless’ quest for ‘power after power’ that ‘ceaseth only in death.’” The “rational men” of Democracy Inc rationalize “the quest for power…by giving it a political form” (p. 19). All of this exemplifies stealth economics, which now may be intent on reducing the 99% worldwide to a de facto economic and political slave state.

      A third example aspect of stealth economics, aka Sheldon Wolin’s managed democracy, are the “rational men” of Democracy Inc on Wall Street – here a composite of the neoclassical economists’ “rational man” working together behind the scenes as a Hobbesian Leviathan. Wall Street’s rational men “sanction” Wall Street’s wealthiest 1% in whatever they do in economics and politics; while at the same time “repudiating” (negatively sanctioning) the 99% (thereby disenfranchised) on Main Street, both economically and politically. When the “imaginaries” of Wolin’s “Democracy Inc” are spelled out in more detail, the result will be a “syndrome” of Wall Street’s “rational men.” A short list of the “inverted totalitarianisms” driving the transformational dynamics of Democracy Inc, which is “democracy” managed by Wall Street’s wealthiest 1% behind the scenes through stealth economics, includes the following:

      Inverted…………………….Power………………..Constitutional
      Totalitarianisms…………Imaginaries………..Imaginaries
      ==============================================
      *Stealth
      economics…………………TBD…………………..…TBD
      *Market
      ergodicity…….…………….TBD………..……………TBD
      *Economic
      game theory………….…..TBD……………………..TBD
      *Equity
      capitalism…………………..TBD……………………..TBD
      *Privatized
      health care………………..TBD………………………TBD
      *Anti-democratic
      “voter fraud”……………..TBD …………………….TBD
      *Others
      TBD…………………………….TBD…………………….TBD

      The above inverted totalitarianisms of capitalist “stealth economics,” the economics of Wolin’s Democracy Inc, compose in part the syndrome of Wall Street’s “rational men.” The power imaginaries of the same “sanction” the wealthiest “1%”, while the constitutional imaginaries thereof “repudiate” the (thereby disenfranchised) 99%.

      In the “transformational dynamics” here considered, whose managed democracy is dominated by the “rational men” of stealth economics headquartered on Wall Street, the above syndrome can be expanded into a more comprehensive list of Wall Street’s “inverted totalitarianisms”; the “imaginaries” of which “sanction” the increasingly wealthiest 1%, in economics and in politics, while at the same time “repudiating” (negatively sanctioning) the increasingly disenfranchised 99%. The “transformational dynamics” of Wall Street’s – i.e. the wealthiest 1%’s – stealth economics thus formulated perhaps can begin what economists increasingly think is needed: a reimagining, re-evolving, redesigning, and rebooting of economics that isn’t based on current misconceptions. In the new paradigm, economic theory must engage politics reflexively, for the one cannot be genuinely understood independent of the other.

      —Wolin, Sheldon (2010) “Democracy Inc: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism” (Princeton University Press: Princeton).
      —Lofgren, Mike (2012) “The Party is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless,

    • Fred Zaman
      November 26, 2013 at 1:49 pm

      The Plutonomy Equations:
      On Democracy’s Capitalist Equilibrium

      The plutonomy equations below, I predict with some confidence, will explain much and never be invalidated empirically by those able to understand the terms and correctly apply the logic thereof. They will be denied by those lacking the will and desire to understand. They will be ridiculed by many of the same. Indeed, they undoubtedly will be ignored by many of the highly educated. But their logic is iron clad empirically, and will never be invalidated thereby.

      1. plutonomy = capitalism – democracy
      2. plutonomy = stealth economics + corporate apartheid

      According to these equations, the institutions of democracy, in any society whose government is to be of, by, and for the people all, must nullify or at least contain capitalism’s inherent impulse to become a plutonomy as defined.

  2. poraille
    November 8, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    to robert locke above, i would suggest the purpose of the article was not as he read but rather that to galvanize enough people in the world to see something one needs a vehicle to take that message out that will be read or digested, that was the purpose as i read it and he offered one book as a possibility to accomplish this.

    as to your explanation of why the u.s. went down the tubes, i suggest you consider this in a bit wider complex. The car companies do offer an example of the decline in american goodies but it was not because of engineering progress so much as from the “good enough” ideas and the cost to the “Bottom Line” to do the changes that were necessary to compete with Japan and others. much had to do with quality and i dont mean just the final product but the process, for example, it was seen as the most economic solution to make four or more of an IC or transistor and then select out from those the ones to keep or remark as something else. We did quality selection rather then reduce the errors or methods or change processes as this would have been more expensive to the “Bottom Line” and so not a respectable choice. Japan did it right and changed the processes so they could pass almost EVERY part made.

    The Japanese lost out because they were so good at making things and had so many american dollars they needed to invest those dollars, so they did the commercial real estate bubble thing and when it popped…they sort of lost a bunch. American higher economics won in the way it has evolved and been running for some time.

    I like the statement Krugman made about Quantum Physics made by Max Planck – the theory advances one funeral at a time. We hear only what we have filters to hear, we see only what we have models in our mind to categorize the images into and we think only in the intellectual boxes our minds and our ISM’s create for us. We gather in groups and self-reinforce these boxes and figure out how to exercise the devils on contradicting ideas and data from while leaving the core ISM intact. This is often not an easy job.

    Before Smith wrote his “Wealth of Nations” he wrote on called “The Theory of Moral Sentiments” – Smiths most well know work – “Wealth” – has been taken apart and bastardized to be used to justify the workings of those doing economic rent. It works because parts and pieces can be extracted and the rest just not read or even ignored. This is very much like what those who believe in the Bible as the “Inerrant Word of God” – they can only do such by picking and choosing and if in doubt of what they are doing just read the bible starting at Genesis 1, word for word, word after word, and see how many contradictions one finds and in the stories how many times a story is actually repeated from a different author talking about the same things often in contradiction to what was written before (it really is a great exercise to see the different styles and tones of the different authors all pieced together) Much of how Smith is taken is done in exactly the same RELIGIOUS format and methods as Economics has modeled itself in such a way as to be the accepted weapon and tool of the elites to justify and explain how and why they deserve the place and status and wealth they have gathered.

    There are many clear thinking ways to visualize something, many different ways and tools to look at the parts and relationships to try and understand or conceptualize something. The trick is to look at those little things that do not fit (but can be twisted to fit an ISM) and to ask what these say about the overall accepted method of logic and reasoning the box allows one. Its is often rejected to look like this because it gets scary and fear and might get one rejected from the large accepted story, you might even get SHUNNED. God this all begins to look like religion of the more fundamentalist variety after a while.

    It took science many many centuries and millennium to figure out what a vacuum was or that space with nothing in it actually existed. We might consider plate tectonics or maybe the age of the earth or how about the sun as the center of the solar system. how about how and why a fusion bomb works? or a fission bomb? – one death at a time it takes.

    I assume robert you are in another field as i am. It would be a good idea to look at ways to combine fields and tools and find the different layers of explanation and to see how these layers connect and where they indicate we are missing something at one or all layers.

    I also suggest that there are real patterns that other critters in nature might offer us if we look. Nature, long before man arrived out of the evolutionary process, found or accepted or they just worked, patterns for living in groups and yet staying connected and ways to select out the adaptive qualities and yet hold others in reserve. In light of what I said, I suggest you go read Frans deWaal’s books some. Several are extremely good and show ways and patterns that work, nature only cares about working and little about good and evil if at all. But start with his first lay published one, one of the later additions if possible, of “Chimpanzee Politics: Power and Sex among Apes” – i quote a few lines from a review by one C. Davis in an Amazon Book review:
    “………
    Chimpanzee Politics: Power and Sex among Apes was a very disturbing book to read. Perhaps this is because of the way Franz de Waal chose to end the book. The story about how Luit finished his reign as “alpha male” was extremely upsetting.

    One of the key themes in the book is that so called political behavior is rooted at a level of development that is below cognitive and is as much instinctive as it is learned. Learning about the male chimpanzee’s quest for dominance, it makes one wonder how much our behavior is motivated by inherent drives that are not only irrelevant in modern cultures, but are unknowable by those who experience the motivation.

    This book has changed the way I look at and understand the word around me.

    I strongly recommend this book, but it is not for the faint-hearted.
    ………”

    This is another layer, the layer nature plays on, that we exist in, and we make up our stories and theories to paste over this layer, upon layer, upon layer……but they all can and need to be interconnected to se the Complex Adaptive Nature of the world we get to play in…

    • Bruce E. Woych
      December 21, 2012 at 7:32 am

      poraille:

      Your paragraph #5 concerning the dismantling of Adams being used as a”standard bearer” for class propaganda is most accurate; especially as an appeal to scripture, of sorts. I may be mistaken but I sense you are a business person and perhaps in engineering?
      While I see the point concerning deconstructing the “Adam’s Rib” narrative of the 1% as an essential criteria for disarming class legitimation, it does no good to explore the same practice in turn to proving another “consent” theory from the same garden of eden Utopia.

      Krugman’s “funeral parlor” also sounds good but is really another fallacy called Post hoc ergo propter hoc, Latin for “after this, therefore because of this” and is just simplistically clever. I liked it though, and it’s a nice catchy phrase!

      One point about the Japanese competency and successes following WWII. It is true that the Japanese are resourceful, disciplined to a fault and skilled at meticulous patient detail. However, they were given American technology and enhanced it while also being able to “retool” and refine the processing of materials (practiced as they are traditionally short on resources…); while America refused to retool and lost advantage over time. Finance in America began to exchange equity for liquidity and resorted to bust-out hostile takeovers; now called Private Equity. The Japanese refused to interact with this model at first and saw this as counterproductive and even destructive and wasteful: “the ugly American” style.
      American politics forced their hand and frankly the biggest mistake the Japanese made was to enter into global acquisitions with good money that American & European sharks wanted exposed. They began following Western finance ideas and indeed they did have a bubble and an economic collapse. But make no mistake, the recovery was lost between their own elite money class and the global carry trade that ruthlessly shorted the Yen whenever it appeared to gain strength. That is a good deal more than outgrowing a path dependency and careless speculations. The facts involve capital flight and other tactics over the lost decade of Japan, but they were not alone in the economic equity raiding that ‘neo-con free market ideologues pushed on the world. And why care? Because it is happening to us right now. So when you peel that onion and attempt to apply theoretical cocktails to understanding: be sure your present minded and historically grounded before you place your bets and quote your phrases.

      What I don’t see is why you positioned your posture against robert locke? The critical point he objected to was accepting “prime mover” descent theories (Adam’s Rib=authorization of a manipulating narrative). It completely displaces the real argument based upon real actions of real people taking things for real reasons. Add enough of these “reals” and you have real history not a fairytale excuse for injustice being “classically” acceptable.

      On the intricate convolutions of the American Economy as being in “decline” (relative to some recent golden age? When was that?) I suggest you might take a look at the article:
      http://rwer.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/in-the-usa-when-income-grows-who-gains-1976-2008-chart/…also here at “Real-World” (chart & comments) concerning income distribution since circa 1970.

      I also want to mention that I own de Waal’s book and it is based upon socio-biological biases in perspectives from behaviorism and seriously flawed determinism. The Chimpanzees are in captivity! He presumes that this gives him greater “insight” and says so right in his preface:”Like an island biogeographer, I saw more because there was less (xv)”
      This is inexcusable! I suppose that people that like to blame or attribute “instincts” to either good or bad behavior would love this “interpretative” narrative…but frankly that is about on par with “descent from the Apes” which goes back in line with Adam’s Rib stories! It is equivalent to going into a prison and assessing Human interactions. I do have to admit, though, it is very similar to some of the characters I have known from Wall Street!

      i suggest you look to Jane Goodall’s “IN THE SHADOW OF MAN” and work your way up to more complex ethology studies in the wilds that have been documented. I promise you that you will be pleasantly surprised about the differences.

      If you want to step off of the normative and look at some of the critical contexts of the past 60+ years, check out the implications of these documents:

      1

      http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAmarshallP.htm

      2

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NSC-68

      3
      Foreign Economic Aid: Means and Objectives By Milton Friedman

      http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=uTQiUNs5IzgC&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=freidman+foreign+economic+aid+means+and+objectives&ots=m6qNXAS9pz&sig=dtel4YXmEPsl002kD8NXJpW4ugM#v=

      onepage&q=&f=false=

      These 3 documents show essentially that we went from building and buying out the middle classes of the world (in defense against the Post War Russian Communist threat…), to bankrupting the middle class under a backroom declaration of ECONOMIC WARFARE and the decades that produced cold war / black market “intelligence” and instituted expansive corporatism ….globally…where politics is war by another name.
      With the Cold War came the advent of National Security and the Cult of Secrecy…

      …is it a coincidence that along with “intel” communities and secrecy we end up with
      asymmetrical information and rational choice as the foundations for economic exploit?
      I see a suspicious correlation myself, but it definitely did not come from Adam’s Rib!
      see:
      4
      Some Developments in Economic Theory Since 1940: An Eyewitness Account

      http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/full/10.1146/annurev.economics.050708.143405

  3. Podargus
    November 8, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    poraille – Thanks for that comment.

  4. December 21, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Poraille – “those who believe in the Bible as the inerrant word of God” etc. I largely agree with what you are saying, but you are misrepresenting the situation by saying it out of context.

    Prior to the Reformation, the Catholic authorities insisted on an agreed (Latin) text, the equivalent of peer reviewed comment and licenced interpreters. Printing and translating the Bible blew holes in that, and people who by and large learned their literacy by reading the Bible tended to start at the beginning with “Adam’s rib” and take the Fall of mankind and Mosaic legalism as being what it was all about, without ever getting so far as understanding (as against notionally accepting) Christian forgiveness, self-sacrifice and the significance of the Resurrection.

    In that context you then need to realise that Machiavelli published “The Prince” just four years before Luther set alight the Reformation. Luther still believed man was hopeless, though his hope lay in the Bible (evangelism, not Christ, c.f John 1) as the Word conveying to us the overpowering goodness of God. I don’t think the same can be said of Calvin, the systematic Swiss statesman, who seems to have been more legalistic than Moses and more condemnatory than the dreaded Inquisition. In any case, in Britain the Calvinists and Machiavellian statesmen set the scene for the subsequent development of Capitalism, with (from another thread) the dominance of its “dishonest” Nashian [E,E] strategy over the previous “utopian” [P,E] compromise. This is the bit of history the Calvinistic evangelicals, fed by the 1%, never get to hear, and though rejoicing in their own redemption has often made them graceful to needy individuals, it can also take their eye off Christ’s overall mission: to make all mankind (including even Israel and the 1%) “fit for purpose”.

    Let’s have a Merry Christmas, everybody, and make a New Year’s Resolution to be more hopeful, so we can get on with the job.

  5. Fred Zaman
    June 10, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    [1] America’s Axiomatic Nash Dynamics

    In the RWER 61 essay “Nash dynamics of the wealthy, powerful, and privileged,” inequality is principally the result of elitist economic and political forces working behind closed doors. The “dot” that economists therefore must connect with the “inequality dot” in this model, if they are to make sense of the causal relationship between inequality and the capitalist economy, is macropolitical as well as macroeconomic. Limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty, which are economic principles that capitalists “know in their hearts” are the bedrock of America’s greatness (indeed are self-evidently so), also are the bedrock of America’s concomitant extreme inequality as well. These conservative principles serve capitalism’s elitist macroeconomics wherein government – in particular the public infrastructure created to promote the general welfare – is always regarded as being too big, too intrusive, and too (“God damn”) expensive. Indeed, because in their hearts they know these principles are true (self-evident), the conservative champions of capitalism exercise blind faith that simply allows them to deny the truth of facts showing that these self-same principles, when used to justify the corporate elite’s pursuit of wealth, power, and privilege with little or no restraint, justify the extreme inequality of American society as well.

    Concerning the Axiomatic Nash Dynamics of these principles then, the 99% might argue that capitalism’s wealthiest 1%, collusively behind closed doors, mandate that the government, based on axiomatic conservative principles, adopt public policies regarding the marketplace that primarily are beneficial to corporate special interests. Mandated by invested interests of the private sector, through allied organizations and institutions collusively working behind the scenes, the nation’s “public policy” is often – and to these special interests quite knowingly – adverse to the general interest, i.e. to the public well being. So, isn’t it time that the “real-world economists” of the RWER journal and blog now begin entertaining political models that explain the adversity of the economic reality experienced by the 99%.

    Conservative principles of “limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty” are not only the source of the wealth, power, and privilege of the wealthiest 1%, they also are the economic principles on which the inequality of the remaining 99% in America is based. Specified in more detail regarding their profoundly elitist character, these self-evident principles (self-evident to conservatives), here dubbed “axiomatic conservative economics” (ACE), are:

     Limited government: constitutionally, there is only a limited government mandate to “promote the general Welfare.” Each individual has the personal responsibility to provide for his or her welfare, and that of the family, with minimal government (public) support.
     Economic freedom: constitutionally, first and foremost is the economic freedom of Americans to acquire as much wealth, power, and privilege as they are capable of; and to accomplish this using whatever government (public) support the private sector can muster politically.
     Individual liberty: constitutionally as well, also first and foremost is the right of every American to do whatever with whatever is theirs with minimal interference from government (public) regulation or oversight.

    Out of what metaphysics on Wall Street does this elitist interpretation of the above core economic principles by corporate America arise? The movie “The Good Shepard” provides a cinematic clue. What the wealthiest 1% (those of Edward Wilson’s class) have (i.e. own collectively), we are informed in no uncertain terms, is the United States; The United States according to Edward, speaking for the corporate elite, is theirs alone. All other Americans, those composing the lower 99%, are “just visiting.”

    This perception of the corporate elite, of who they are, becomes clear in an enlightening conversation in the movie “A Good Shepard” between Edward Wilson and a Mafia don. This conversation clearly reveals the corporate elite’s moral justification for America’s gilded society. In the course of this conversation, following the CIA’s request for Mafia assistance in eliminating communism in Cuba, the don responds to “Mister Carson’s” (Edward Wilson’s) request with “let me ask you something: we Italians, we got our family, and we got the Church; the Irish their homeland; the Jews their tradition; even the niggers got their music. What about you people? What do you have?” Wilson’s informative response is “[we the corporate elite own] the United States of America, the rest of you are just visiting.” For capitalists, novus ordo seclorum on reverse side of the Great Seal of the United States, imprinted on the reverse side of the one-dollar bill, are essentially code words for the capitalist elite’s de facto subversive moral imperative E paucibus unum (out of a [select] few, one), which is diametrically opposed to democracy’s E pluribus unum (out of many, one) imprinted deceptively on the seal’s obverse side.

    The “Occupy movement” in America generally is understood to be the 99% movement by another name. However, in politics, Wall Street clearly has its own, currently very successful, “Occupy America” movement. The 99% movement therefore must fight and successfully overcome Wall Street’s elitist Occupation of American politics through its own “Occupy America” movement on Main Street. America’s Occupy movement of the 99% thus considered necessarily must, in the 21st century, be based on an opposed liberal “macroeconomics” whose principles also are “limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty”; but which principles are viewed from a different, populist point of view. In this latter interpretation, for example, dubbed “axiomatic liberal economics” (ALE), we obtain the more liberal macroeconomic “self-evident” (to liberals) principles of:

     Limited government: constitutionally in America, there is only a limited government mandate to promote the economic special interests of corporate America. Each corporation or other economic entity has the constitutional responsibility, which the government clearly has as well, to only promote corporate welfare that is demonstrably commensurate with the public welfare, particularly with the improvement thereof.
     Economic freedom: constitutionally, first and foremost is the right of American workers and the general public to a national economy of the 99% that is neither subverted nor coerced by the wealthiest 1%.
     Individual liberty: constitutionally as well, also first and foremost is the right of American workers and the general public (the dispossessed, disenfranchised 99%), to collectively liberate themselves from economic and political bondage to the nation’s most wealthy, powerful, and privileged (the wealthiest 1%).

    If it is to succeed in America (and probably elsewhere as well), the 99% movement must now both recognize and acknowledge that the economy’s core axiomatic principles of limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty – liberally interpreted – are its own. Perhaps only when the liberal perspective of these principles are understood by the men and women on Main Street, thereby refuting conservative elite spin on America’s core principles of the economy, can the 99% movement successfully “Occupy America.” Liberals unfortunately never speak of the trio of “limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty” together as if these are important to the liberal worldview. It is as if they have ceded the economic and political significance of these principles to conservatives.

    The “Occupy America” movement of the 99% perhaps can, through the knowledge and application of America’s Axiomatic Nash Dynamics, co-opt the nation’s economic and political identity; so that the 99% are no longer “just visiting,” but rather are the collective owner of the economy of the United States of America. Perhaps through the above liberal profession of America’s core axiomatic principles of the economy can the 99% movement more effectively eliminate, both in economics and in politics, the extreme inequality of the nation’s “gilded society.” The 99% movement, through its explicit recognition and profession of the economy’s core principles understood more liberally, may be able to eliminate the seeming de facto “Occupy America” movement of the wealthiest 1% currently in progress.

    What role might “Real-World Economists” then play in the hopefully forthcoming 21st century “Occupy America” movement of the 99%? It may be through their liberal profession in economic theory and practice of the above axiomatic economic principles of limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty. Economists arguably will be able to effectively support this movement only by bringing to the surface the subversive, coercive economic forces of capitalism’s subterranean politics, manifested at both the state and federal levels of government as America’s “axiomatic conservative economics”; through which forces the wealthiest 1% have been able, since the 1980’s institutionalization of Reganomics, to systematically year after year increase the economic gap between Wall Street (the wealthiest 1%) and Main Street (the dispossessed, disenfranchised 99%).

    However, the support of the 99% movement by Real-World Economists arguably can happen only if the many economic graphs, tables, and diagrams routinely published on the RWER blog, which detail the increasing inequality in America and the world over, are supported by identifying also the underlying subversion and coercion of conservative elite politics; which conservative elites continually justify through the twisted anti-democratic, conservative elite worldview of limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty. It is the conservative twisting of these core principles of the economy that justify the extreme inequality exhibited today by America’s gilded society. What political conservatives have thus successfully accomplished, apparently, is to dupe liberals generally into falsely believing that America’s trio of axiomatic principles – limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty – are alien to liberalism. The 99% movement therefore must fundamentally change this false perception, which unfortunately – in being successfully engineered on Main Street by conservatives socially – seems to be held by most Americans and virtually all conservatives.

    Giving further consideration to the discursive utility of the acronyms ACE and ALE in explaining the Axiomatic Nash Dynamics of economics in the United States: ACE is the conservative political machine in the “Nash dynamics of the wealthy, powerful, and privileged” dedicated to stop Americans from drinking the ALE of liberalism; arguably because it knows full well that, once tasted, they will like it and want more. The ALE imbibed thus far, which Americans on Main Street love, includes: Social Security and other elements of President Roosevelt’s New Deal, additional government specification and protection of worker rights in the workplace, protection of the environment, legislation on the minimum wage and other employee benefits, the social safety net currently in place for the working poor (but now rapidly disappearing), and many others.

    The Republican “Tea Party,” however, which is ACE’s political machine today, to the extent it can, is engaged – thus far largely unsuccessfully according to many polls – in poisoning the public mind against the ALE of liberalism. The present focal point of the Tea Party is to poison the public mind against, and ultimately support repealing, Obama heath care legislation; which the public however, once it has actually experienced this latest manifestation of economic liberalism (seen how in practice it greatly benefits the health care of the 99% on Main Street), will very likely love it as well; the reality of which Tea Party conservatives doubtless are very much aware – which pretty much explains the obsessive character of their current obstruction in Washington, of any and all Congressional legislation – and President Obama’s appointments to fill government posts as well – not in conformity with the core principles of ACE.

  6. Robert Locke
    June 11, 2013 at 3:34 am

    I live in Germany and run a little hotel, where I engage carefully in dialogue with my guests (mostly not Americans), my sampling of opinion reveals that these nonAmericans have no idea about the public dialogue going on in the US and when I reveal stuff about ACE are amazed. There is no Fox news beyond the US; nobody would watch it. My point: The US debate is going on on another planet, which means that the political movement can occur best outside the US. Considering that the US system cannot succeed because of its inherent self-destructive contradictions, there is hope that a powerful ACL movement outside the US can. Don’t waste your time arguing with the idiots in the US public debate, organize the rest of the world.

  7. Fred Zaman
    June 11, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    The failure of liberalism in the New World Order is perphaps the failure to contest the conservatives’ assumed ownership of the axiomatic principles (qua socioeconomic aphorisms) of limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty. These “principles,” interpreted by capitalism’s ruling elite within a conservative framework, justify in their own mind the wholly unwarranted claim that they alone are fit to govern capitalism’s New World Order. My next post will recast the Axiomatic Conservative Economics (ACE) and Axiomatic Liberal Economics (ALE) as competing socioeconomic and political worldviews within the framework of the Axiomatic Nash Dynamics (AND) of capitalism’s New World Order.

  8. Fred Zaman
    June 17, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    The 99% Unchained: Armageddon of the Wealthiest 1%?

    “Django Unchained” the movie may be cinematic metaphor for the Armageddon to be experienced by the wealthiest 1% when the 99% democratically unchain themselves. True democracy may be the worst nightmare of the world’s ruling elite, its “power elite.”
    The conservatively framed, axiomatic principles of “limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty” below, which to conservatives are self-evident, are the bedrock of neoliberalism’s New World Order. Here dubbed “axiomatic conservative economics” (ACE), these to conservatives are self-evident principles that should (indeed must) govern economics:
     Limited government: in the economics of conservativism there is only a limited mandate that government promote the general welfare. Every individual has the personal responsibility to provide for his or her welfare, and that of the family, with minimal government (public) support.
     Economic freedom: in the economics of conservativism first and foremost is the economic freedom of individuals and corporate entities, fully supported by government, to acquire as much wealth, power, and privilege as they are capable of.
     Individual liberty: in the economics of conservativism also foremost is the right of individuals and corporate entities to do whatever with that which is theirs (including property and people) with minimal interference from (public) regulation or oversight by government.
    The “Occupy movement” generally is understood to be the 99% movement by another name. However, in the conservative elite politics of Wall Street grounded on the above principles, capitalism’s New World Order clearly has its own, currently very successful, conservative-based Occupy movement. The 99% therefore, through an opposed, liberal-based Occupy movement, must fight and overcome Wall Street’s current Occupy movement, which when explicitly referenced is called the New World Order. Thus understood to be the world’s elitist opposition to the 99% movement, the 99% necessarily must carry out an opposed liberal Occupy movement worldwide whose axiomatic principles also are “limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty”; which however are advocated from a different, liberal point of view. In a populist interpretation, concerning what the self-evident principles of “limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty are about, here dubbed “axiomatic liberal economics” (ALE), the 99% could affirm principles that (to the liberal mind) are self-evident to a just society:
     Limited government: in the economics of liberalism there is only a limited mandate that the government promote the special interests of individuals and corporate entities. Government has both the right and the responsibility to promote, in support of concerned individuals and corporate entities, the welfare of the elite (the wealthiest 1%); but only to that degree which is commensurate with – and more specifically isn’t injurious to – the general welfare (of the 99%).
     Economic freedom: in the economics of liberalism first and foremost is the right of workers and the general public to an economy in which the legitimate interests of the 99% are neither economically constricted nor politically subverted by the wealthiest 1%.
     Individual liberty: in the economics of liberalism also foremost is the right of workers and the general public (those of the 99% that are dispossessed and disenfranchised) to liberate themselves from economic and political bondage by the most wealthy, powerful, and privileged (the wealthiest 1%).
    Explaining the dynamics of the conflict ongoing between ACE and ALE necessarily must be central to theory that will enable economists to escape from the neoliberal quicksand (ACE) into which they have slipped, intentionally or not. So, unless and until this is accomplished, economists will only sink further and further into the neoclassical mire of economic theory that supports and justifies neoliberalism’s New World Order. Without an explicit theory of such fundamental conflict, the economists’ efforts to explain, honestly, how the 99% is very adversely affected thereby, are futile.
    But of course that may be the de facto, subversive objective of neoclassical theorists generally; to explain economics in terms that the 99% as a class in essence – through their systematic economic dispossession, political disenfranchisement, and social disempowerment – disappear from sight economically and politically. And, in order to accomplish this, neoclassical economists both empirically and theoretically simply treat as nonexistent the fundamental conflict in fact ongoing between the qualitatively different axiomatic (self-evident) principles of conservative and liberal economics – ACE versus ALE, continually manifested at the very highest levels of macroeconomic discourse the world over.
    The 99% movement’s overall meta-objective thus can be encapsulated, tersely, in the aphorism “the 99% unchained”; which objective, however, will be accomplished only through the economic and political demise of capitalism’s elitist ACE, through its replacement in a more just society by populism’s ALE. What do the purveyors of neoclassical economics, and its many critics as well, have to say about the fundamental conflict ongoing between the ACE and ALE paradigms worldwide? This subject, one clearly important to the economic well-being of the world’s 99%, can now (and indeed ultimately must) be addressed by neoclassical economics’ most knowledgeable critics.
    One possible commentator here could be Paul Davidson. What might he say about it, if he were inclined to do so? Or instead, along with other participants in the mainstream economist’s conspiracy of silence about the increasingly desperate plight of the 99% in the emerging New World Order, will he continue to say nothing in the hope that the issue will never gain foothold in mainstream economic thought, nor in related political discourse. I hope to be wrong, but my guess is that he and other RWER blog commentators will continue their conspiracy of silence. Nevertheless, in spite of this, against all opposition, the work must go on building slowly but inexorably toward the world’s radical, populist, aphoristic meta-achievement: The 99% Unchained.

  9. Fred Zaman
    June 17, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    My next commentary on this thread will concern the Great Seal of the United States constituting in essence the engraved politics in America of axiomatic discord: economic conservatism vs. economic liberalism.

  10. Robert Locke
    June 18, 2013 at 6:14 am

    Please, Fred, #11, don’t lecture us about discord. Almost everything is a contested historical project. Broaden your historical analysis outside the US and you’ll see what I mean.

  11. Fred Zaman
    June 18, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    Robert, Wherever discord wears the false mask of unity, as is the case of the symbolism of the Great Seal of the United States, it should be exposed. For only then will it be possible to address and possibly resolve the discord thus hidden, behind the mask of unity. Wherever such masks are found, whether in the US or elsewhere, they must be ripped off to expose the discord hidden underneath. Such efforts, rather than being an academic lecture, are fundamentally activist in character. Exposing the discord sequestered behind the mask of unity called the Great Seal of the United States is of fundamental inportance, not only to Americans but to the peoples of the world.

    • Robert Locke
      June 21, 2013 at 5:51 am

      “Robert, Wherever discord wears the false mask of unity, as is the case of the symbolism of the Great Seal of the United States, it should be exposed”

      It has been exposed.

      Go to any good history department and take courses with titles like “The End of Reconstruction,” “The Gilded Age,” “The Progressive Movement,” “The New Deal,” “American Reformers and Reform Movements,” “The Era of McCarthyism,” and you’ll see that US history is a contested historical project. We have this knowledge, the problem is that the economists are such lousy historians.

      • Fred Zaman
        July 2, 2013 at 2:08 pm

        The symbolism of the Great Seal of the United States in this regard has not been thus exposed to the public, who continue to regard it as symbolic of the unity of the United States. This needs to be exposed and recognized by the public as symbolic of a fundamental divide in the United States psyche. Perhaps the problem is that historians are such lousy communicators of historical reality, not to their own (preaching to the choir so to speak), but to the general public. The mask of unity falsely symbolized by the Great Seal has not been exposed for all to see.

  12. Fred Zaman
    June 19, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    America’s Neoclassical Conspiracy against the 99%

    The Preamble to the U.S. Constitution can be regarded as the “axiomatic framework” provided by the framers of the Constitution for its interpretation by the three branches of the US government: We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    The Great Divide in Economics–
    What “axiomatic framework” (set of self-evident principles) does the Preamble implicate with regard to the constitutional interpretation of economic issues? There are at least two possibilities, one conservative and the other liberal. One is the framework of a conservative economics, summarized below as principles of “limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty” that are greatly favored by the nation’s less democratically inclined (i.e. plutocratic), wealthiest 1%:
     Limited government: in the economics of conservatism there is only a limited mandate that government “promote the general Welfare.” Every individual most importantly has the personal responsibility to provide for his or her welfare, and that of the family, with minimal government (public) support.
     Economic freedom: in the economics of conservatism first and foremost is the economic freedom of individuals and corporate entities, fully supported by government, to acquire as much wealth, power, and privilege as they are capable of.
     Individual liberty: in the economics of conservatism also foremost is the right of individuals and corporate entities to do whatever with that which is theirs (including property and people) with minimal interference from (public) regulation or oversight by government.

    A second “axiomatic framework” perhaps implicated by the Preamble concerning economic related issues is a liberal framework in which economics is based on principles of “limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty” liberally interpreted below; which framework undoubtedly, if they were asked about it, would be greatly favored by America’s far more democratic inclined (populist) 99%:
     Limited government: in the economics of liberalism there is only a limited mandate that the government promote the special interests of individuals and corporate entities. Government has both the right and the responsibility to promote, in support of concerned individuals and corporate entities, the welfare of the elite (the wealthiest 1%); but most importantly only to that degree which is commensurate with – and more specifically isn’t injurious to – the general welfare (of the 99%).
     Economic freedom: in the economics of liberalism first and foremost is the right of workers and the general public to an economy in which the legitimate interests of the 99% are neither economically constricted nor politically subverted by the wealthiest 1%.
     Individual liberty: in the economics of liberalism also foremost is the right of workers and the general public (those of the 99% that are dispossessed and disenfranchised) to liberate themselves from economic and political bondage by the most wealthy, powerful, and privileged (the wealthiest 1%).

    It thus is apparent that any professed unity in America regarding the nation’s economic foundations in essence wears a false mask; for there are at least two very different, mutually opposed frameworks, respectively conservative and liberal, regarding what the principles of “limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty” should actually be referring to: the first framework above being an “axiomatic conservative economics (ACE) and the second an opposed “axiomatic liberal economics (ALE). Both of which, regarding the intent of the Constitution concerning economics, can be viewed as implicated by the Preamble; but neither of which are directly inferred thereby.

    And it is from this economic point of view that neoclassical economics can be seen as a conspiracy against the 99%. For in the neoclassical point of view, the Great Divide of conservatives and liberals regarding the interpretation of the economy’s axiomatic framework of “limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty” is an unmentionable. It does not exist. The liberal economic framework of ALE, in the neoclassical worldview, isn’t economics at all, but rather is political interference with the rightfully established economic order in which all evidence, theory, and modeling is framed by ACE. For the 99%, however, the restriction of economic thought to the fundamentally elitist ACE is a conspiracy of the wealthiest 1%, the ruling elite.

  13. June 20, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Robert, thanks for the reference to Planet Weird USA. Ed & Friends, Fred’s work is not the first to provide a theoretical basis for awareness & understanding, nor is my Fundamental Theory of Economics & Natural Values (still studiously ignored and/or occasionally pilfered? at mm-greenbook. blogspot. com).

    I could not have created a holotropic theory of fundamental economic principles & ecometrics without Seeing the reality. I was able to do that because of my mentor, my studies of other real world economists, scientists, the ancients, et al, and my study & practice of Buddhism, Taoism, etc. The great theorists of human history stood on the shoulders of giants and countless unsung See-ers of our long, long evolutionary past.

    This is a great thread, but until we start talking about revising the fundamentals, secondary level works – like Fred’s – however brilliant & important, will never turn the tide.

    The current socioeconomic paradigm upon which all “generally acceptable” economic discourse is based, is lacking the most basic integrity and elements required for a humane, bio-ethically valid analytic discipline. Fred’s works, and others, touch on the missing fundamentals, but fail to express them as absolutely essential to a socioeconomic paradigm that can support humane, healthy, sane culture (humane civilization).

    Until, economics has a fundamental, generally accepted & respected set of basic principles including all the essentials of biological, psychological, and cultural human activity, we will not have a healthy civilization that sustains our best case scenario. For healthy progress to a sustainable civilization worth sustaining, we need total repudiation of anti-ethical, ecocidal, inhumane economics and the ongoing use & abuse of the term (economics) for the sake of profit (at any cost) and demonic obsession (with illusions of power, security, success, status, superiority, self-importance at any cost, etc.).

  14. June 20, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    PS: Gentlemen & Ladies, Another indicator of the current limits of discourse due to a deficient paradigm, is the failure to realistically factor in the lie that resources really are too scarce for general affluence. One of the ways the elitist conspirators keep the 99% scrambling ineffectually for more “carrots & cheese” is overwhelming them with many depressing, discouraging assaults and atrocities. Possibly the worst of all human atrocities is the massive waste required for planned obsolescence & systemic obsolescence, necessary to maintain the socially/culturally disintegrative process of Randian dominance of the self-made elite.

    Other than the handful of economists who deeply understand Schumacher, among other humane practitioners, who is factoring in the reality of colossal, deliberate waste?
    Who has a graph or chart showing the true total cost of the waste of about 85% of everything modern Consumer Society does or uses?

    What is the real world cost – financially, physically, socially, and culturally – of wasted talent and virtually suppressed, unused innovation? How expensive is the waste of time & opportunity (made mandatory by the socioeconomic paradigm of Demonocracy, the ACE-ALE Plutonomy Game, i.e., crooked Casino Capitalism)?

    Do one of you know of a theory (other than mine) capable of supporting understanding and diagramming of the worst economic disaster of all time? (exponentially regressive systemic waste) Fred knows how to call a spade a spade in officially acceptable economic terms, but we clearly need a comprehensive new paradigm & theory to deal with all the factors, costs, etc., and to serve as the basis of valid practice & humane civilization.

    • Robert Locke
      June 21, 2013 at 5:32 am

      In the 1980s I studied the differences in conceptions of firms and their ownership. I noticed that in the US&UK people had a proprietary conception of the firm that had warped into one of director primacy, which gave CEOs control over decision-making. It seemed obvious to me then that the growing gap between the rich and the poor had a lot to do with how the wealth accumulated was being distributed, and the mal-distribution resulted from the constitution of the firm, director primacy. And so solutions seemed obvious as well, give employees, customers, and government a voice in the constitution of firms, in, for example, the election of supervisory boards (as in Rhineland capitalism). Economists just assume director primacy is “normal” and do not see changing the basis of decision-making in firms is a key to mal-distribution problems. It’s quite simple, don’t talk economic theory, talk power-relations in decision-making. The top 1% avoid that subject like the plague and so do economists.

  15. June 23, 2013 at 4:36 am

    Robert, thanks for bringing that part of the problem into the thread. Yet, clearly, both pro and academic economists don’t want to have to study the whole of human reality, much less get saddled with responsibility for creating a humane civilization. Anyway, your last comment resonates with synchronicity, re: the Somalis’ Xeer system of law and their stateless economy. The existence of the Somalian socioeconomic paradigm and the reality of its manifestation must be particularly galling to economists who only want easy money. Likewise the ancient Suq “system” of the town market — with no set prices for anything. And – horror of horrors – god forbid a well paid economist or professor of economics ever have to discuss Mx-Neef’s “Barefoot Economic” or “Economics Unmasked” or Schumacher’s Buddhist Economics, in which he equates economics without compassion to sex without love. However, while I consider myself a somewhat optimistic realist, I’d guess that getting most modern Westerners, especially of the Anglo-American persuasion, to get enthusiastic about creating a Nordic or Somalian style egalitarian-communitarian culture within the next 100 years about as likely as the “good Germans” stopping Hitler & the Nazis in 1933. I haven’t gotten a single RWER blogger or commenter to have a serious discussion of the meaning and real nature of value, nor the disastrous effects of general obliviousness of its abuse.
    So, how do we get “normal” economists (plutonomists) to convince “the people” they should change the rules of business and economics for the sake of their children and themselves? I have yet to find a single supposedly humane, progressive economist willing to discuss revising economics to deal with all the real fundamentals of human culture.
    I’d guess, considering Planck’s Law (of social regime change), that it may take humanity as much as another 10,000 years to develop a humane civilization. Then we might have a valid study & practice economics. As long as we have no humane ethics or bio-ethics in the basis of culture or the dominant socioeconomic paradigm, the anything goes anti-ethic will justify destructive business, corrupt government, bad education, and psychopathic normality. So, why expect an economics that’s either valid or compassionate?

  16. Robert Locke
    June 23, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    a valid & compassionate economics has, like freedom and justice, to be fought for every day. I think on this blog we are making progress, but does this blog mean anything generally? Cannot say. But as Victor Lazlo says in Casablanca, “if we stop fighting, we might as well stop breathing.”

  17. Fred Zaman
    June 24, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    The Wealthiest 1%, Especially the Wealthiest 0.1%,
    Collectively Conspire against the 99%

    Edward Fullbrook has suggested that what the 99% movement needs is a “strong intellectual storyline” that will “integrate its street-level narrative with a “strategic intellectual one.” His observation is that the 99% movement, which currently lacks a theory that provides a strong, strategic, intellectual storyline, otherwise will “become marooned at the tactical level” and begin to “fester.” So that what then will continue unchecked is the “now rapid and accelerating movement of wealth, income, opportunity and power away from the middle class [including the 99% generally] and into the hands of the wealthiest 1%, especially the 0.1%.” So the question his commentary perhaps inspires more specifically is, what is, or perhaps can or should be, the social narrative of the 99% movement that can more succinctly state in theory its view of the economy? – which theory then can intellectually ground the strategic narrative that enables the 99% to block and even reverse the current movement of wealth, income, opportunity and power accelerating upward away from the middle class. Which perhaps as well may be the more succinctly stated strategic intellectual narrative, not directly stated but definitely implicated, of the paper “Nash dynamics of the wealthy, powerful, and privileged: America’s two-player Darwin metaeconomy.

    The following might be one strategic and intellectual narrative whose storyline for the 99% movement can be more specifically and succinctly stated: It is that the wealthiest 1% (especially the wealthiest 0.1%, or perhaps even the wealthiest 0.01%) – behind closed doors and through subterfuge that is economic, political and social; and institutionally as well through the private sector directly, and also through the government indirectly – are co-conspirators collectively working against the welfare of the 99% generally. Everything they do and say seemingly to the contrary is simply to maintain “plausible deniability” concerning this fundamental truth about corporate elite subversion of the legitimate interests of democracy’s 99%.

    What is needed, however, if this simplistic storyline is to actually become “strong, strategic, and intellectual” for the 99% movement in America politically, is an “axiomatic framework,” i.e. a basic set of self-evident principles, whose politics can be traced to the U.S. Constitution. In this regard, the Preamble to the Constitution specifies what its framers seemingly considered to be self-evident principles through which the three branches of government are to interpret, implement, and enforce the provisions thereof:

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    The Great Divide in Economics–
    However, as it turns out, there are at least two subsidiary (derivative) “axiomatic frameworks” (set of self-evident principles) that the Preamble can be considered to implicate with regard to the constitutional interpretation of economic issues – one defining a conservative economic agenda, and the other defining an opposed liberal economic agenda.

    The axiomatic framework of a conservative economics implicated by the Preamble can be stated simply as the principles of “limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty”; which, as undoubtedly interpreted below by the nation’s conservatives, are greatly favored by its less democratically inclined (i.e. plutocratic), wealthiest 1%:
     Limited government: in the economics of conservatism there is only a limited mandate that government “promote the general Welfare.” Every individual most importantly has the personal responsibility to provide for his or her welfare, and that of the family, with minimal government (public) support.
     Economic freedom: in the economics of conservatism first and foremost is the economic freedom of individuals and corporate entities, fully supported by government, to acquire as much wealth, power, and privilege as they are capable of.
     Individual liberty: in the economics of conservatism also foremost is the right of individuals and corporate entities to do whatever with that which is theirs (including property and people) with minimal interference from (public) regulation or oversight by government.

    The second “axiomatic framework” below, also implicated by the Preamble concerning issues related to the economy, which also are principles of “limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty,” and which the nation’s liberals undoubtedly if asked would concur with this more liberal interpretation, will be preferred by America’s far more democratically inclined (populist) 99%:
     Limited government: in the economics of liberalism there is only a limited mandate that the government promote the special interests of individuals and corporate entities. Government has both the right and the responsibility to promote, in support of concerned individuals and corporate entities, the welfare of the elite (the wealthiest 1%); but most importantly only to that degree which is commensurate with – and more specifically isn’t injurious to – the general welfare (of the 99%).
     Economic freedom: in the economics of liberalism first and foremost is the right of workers and the general public to an economy in which the legitimate interests of the 99% are neither economically constricted nor politically subverted by the wealthiest 1%.
     Individual liberty: in the economics of liberalism also foremost is the right of workers and the general public (those of the 99% that are dispossessed and disenfranchised) to liberate themselves from economic and political bondage by the most wealthy, powerful, and privileged (the wealthiest 1%).

    It thus is apparent that any professed unity in America regarding the nation’s economic foundations in essence wears a false mask; for there are at least two very different, mutually opposed frameworks, respectively conservative and liberal, regarding what the principles of “limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty” should actually be referring to: the first framework above being an “axiomatic conservative economics (ACE) and the second an opposed “axiomatic liberal economics (ALE). Both of which, regarding the intent of the Constitution concerning economics, can be viewed as implicated by the Preamble; but neither of which are directly stated.

    And it is thus from an economic point of view that capitalism’s wealthiest 1%, especially its wealthiest 0.1%, can be seen to collectively conspire against the 99%. For mainstream economists, however, the Great Divide between conservatives and liberals – regarding the economy’s axiomatic framework of limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty” – is an unmentionable. It simply does not exist. The liberal economic framework of ALE, in the neoclassical economists’ worldview, isn’t economics at all, but rather is political interference with the rightfully established economic order in which all evidence, theory, and modeling necessarily must be framed by ACE. For the populist 99%, however, the restriction of economic thought to the fundamentally elitist worldview of ACE is a perennial conspiracy of the wealthiest 1%, and especially of the wealthiest 0.1%, against the 99%. The conspiracy of which is readily shown to be responsible for the corruption of the American “meritocracy” so powerfully exposed by Christopher Hayes in the “Twilight of the Elites: America after Meritocracy” (more on this later).

  18. June 25, 2013 at 2:10 am

    Fred, you and Ed posted some very powerful, coherent stuff above. Yet, though I agree with Ed in principle, re: a movement’s sustainability depending on strong logical integrity & coherency, it sure looks like the elitists have accomplished sufficient sociocultural devolution here (over the last 200 years or so) to maintain their program of increasingly irreversible stealth tyranny (wage slavery for some of the 99% + welfare and/or famine/poverty/disease for most of the rest). After trying unsuccessfully to start effective discussion of effective alternatives, strategies, methods, principles, ecometrics, and realities as a prime objective of the Occupy/99% movement (and of progressive cultural creatives) since 1986, it also looks like all our best theorizing and discussion of theoretical issues, is pretty useless in the face of the juggernaut of Consumerism & Corporatocracy.
    I keep getting reminded of the “Savage” in Huxley’s “Brave New World” – railing at the deltas & gammas – trying to wake them up & liberate them from their robot like existence. Robert, while I See what you mean about not giving up, a daily fight must be truly effective to win a war of attrition, ever.
    It seems to me that what we’re really facing is the “evolutionary” culmination of the process Fred describes very methodically above – which probably began about 5000 years ago or with the advent of fractional reserve banking & corrupted money systems – now a virtually unstoppable global machine.
    How many hordes of underdogs won wars against well organized armies employed by imperial tyrants — let’s say a Genghis Khan or Julius Cesar?
    Over the last 5,000 years or so, tyrannies have been more “successful” for the “great” warlords than for their victims.
    Most of us don’t even know we’re victims – thinking we’re living in a Free World, a democracy, or simply a crazy, very unfair universe.
    Besides, they’re mostly so busy chasing carrots or trying to avoid getting whacked, they’re far too busy to check out the notions, facts, and theories floating in the RWER pond – or they have no idea it even exists – and if they do most would probably be dumbfounded, bemused, disappointed, or disgusted (by the lack of a coherent discussion of a Solution).
    Trying to wake up the 1% and the 0.1% – to the ethical and biological realities of ecocide – seems a better bet than hoping to turn the deltas & gammas away from the doors of Walmart, the junk factories that supply it, paychecks, SNAP cards, the Fed’s micro-derivatives (CDO-bucks), and all the junk most folks buy to get stuffed & sick.
    Hopefully, even ultra-billionaire sociopaths/psychopaths can get sick of ecocide.
    Until I start Seeing some effective discussion of effective strategy & tactics and effective action, it looks like Huxley’s Brave New World would be a best case scenario (compared to the more likely scenario of ever more horrors & ecocidal assaults on the biosphere).
    I’m praying for Huxley’s benign global hegemony/corporatocracy and The Island (where the freaked out Alpha+ types get to go live lives of creative freedom).
    Now, viewing it in this light, it doesn’t seem so different – in principle – from the best of the Renaissance era.
    I’ll pray for you guys too – and hope I don’t see you in a Walmart parking lot, raging against the long dead light, trying to stop the stampede – or god forbid – being torn limb from limb by MSG crazed consumers of pink slime burgers, etc., on their way in for more, more, more…
    Oh, wait – sorry – I just described me trying to get economists to talk about a fundamental revision of their valueless mish-mash.
    Hmmm…

    Note: I said “valueless mish-mash” because ACE-ALE, plutonomy, NCE, conventional economics, etc., lack biocentric human values, valid bioethics, sustainable ecocentric viability, and a spiritually positive prime objective that inspires cultural and personal activity to create and sustain a humane civilization for our younger generations. For background on this assessment, see “Collapse: How societies choose to fail or succeed” by Dr. Jared Diamond.

  19. Fred Zaman
    June 25, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    Christopher Hayes in “Twilight of the Elites” I believe has correctly formulated, in terms of his remarkable “Iron Law of the Meritocracy,” what Adam Smith (re: “Nash dynamics of the wealthy, powerful, and privileged”) saw operating behind the closed doors of capitalism in the 18th century (and is operating today behind closed doors stil). A rethinking and refocusing of what I have been discussing here thus seems to now be in order, in the cogent terms formulated by Chris Hayes. Articles published in RWER might be in order as well, concerning applications of his remarkable insight into today’s economic “meritocracy of the elite” and the “Iron Law” thereof, applied to both economic analysis and economic theory.

    • June 28, 2013 at 11:28 pm

      Thanks for the update & suggestion Fred, re: Hayes’ work, etc. It highlights other issues, re: “the project” and purpose of economics.
      It seems to me that the Mission of an economics that can be regarded as a valid intellectual discipline and/or professional pursuit, must integrate the following:
      1. A comprehensive purview that encompasses all relevant human endeavor
      2. Realistic, ongoing updating of the collective “knowledge base” with adequate R&D
      3. Realistic appraisal of all natural factors that cause and/or affect events & outcomes
      4. A humanistic paradigm and ecometrics capable of supporting basics 1 through 3 above
      5. A single framework of reference adequate to effectiveness, re: R&D and assessment
      6. Psychological, holontological,* logical, and ethical integrity (i.e., validity)

      Being an amateur holontologist,* not professional nor even an academic economist, I suppose some great economist of the past may have developed such a discipline, appropriate theory, and realistic ecometrics appropriate to implementation & application. However, other than in works of Schumacher, Max-Neef, and a few others, I see no evidence of an “economics” founded on most of the 6 basic requirements.
      Can anyone refer me to the prior work I’ve missed?
      If no such work exists or if it is generally ignored (and never applied or respected), I fail to see how their can be any effective discussion of “economics” that could ever produce results beneficial to human culture, real science, good governance, etc.
      Thanks
      * Holontology: The study and/or practice of research and/or theoretical modeling of being, life, its wholeness or universal reality. Naturally, this field of endeavor must address the reality of mentality, psychophysical phenomena, cultural phenomena of living beings (relationships, etc.), i.e., natural phenomena in general.

  20. Fred Zaman
    July 1, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    No Iron Law of the Liberal Meritocracy: Conservative vs. Liberal Axioms of Wealth, Power, and Privilege

    It is through the following axioms that in America the conservative meritocracy of wealth, power, and privilege sustains in public a façade of virtue and honor; all the while acquiring – behind closed doors under the guise of free enterprise, the free market and free trade – all such things with little concern for the ethical, moral, or even legal. The self-evident principles of the conservative meritocracy stated most simply are “limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty”; which, as further interpreted by economic conservatives however, are those greatly favored by the nation’s less democratically inclined (i.e. plutocratic), wealthiest 1%:
     Limited government: in a conservative meritocracy, there is only a limited mandate that government “promote the general Welfare.” Every individual most importantly has the personal responsibility to provide for his or her welfare, and that of the family, with minimal government (public) support.
     Economic freedom: in a conservative meritocracy, first and foremost is the economic freedom of individuals and corporate entities, fully supported by government, to acquire as much wealth, power, and privilege as they are capable of.
     Individual liberty: in a conservative meritocracy, also foremost is the right of individuals and corporate entities to do whatever with that which is theirs (including property and people) with minimal interference from (public) regulation or oversight by government.
    It is the strict adherence to these conservative axioms by the wealthiest 1%, along with their ongoing public promotion to the economically lower class of the 99% as being the essence of what America is – who nevertheless receive far less benefit therefrom – as being ethical, moral, and legal, that sustains capitalism’s conservative meritocracy of wealth, power, and privilege. To conservatives, no matter how obtained behind closed doors, the wealth thus gained using these divinely-instituted principles is always a “blessing from the Lord.”

    Placing Christopher Hayes’s “Iron Law of Meritocracy” in the Twilight of the Elites (p. 57) within this framework: these principles, whose truth is self-evident only to the conservatively minded in economics, are what have created a growing inequality that subverts capitalism’s mechanisms of upward mobility. His Iron Law thus is that of the conservative meritocracy only. When the meritocracy is liberal, there is no necessary growth of inequality that subverts capitalism’s mechanisms of upward mobility. What the 99% must do then, in order to create the liberal meritocracy needed, in which “The Iron Law of Meritocracy” is of no effect, will be to adopt and forcefully pursue economic principles more self-evident to liberals, which also are of “limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty”; the axioms of which however, such as those given below, undoubtedly will be greatly preferred by America’s much less elitist and generally much more democratically inclined 99%:
     Limited government: in a liberal meritocracy, there is only a limited mandate that the government promote the special interests of individuals and corporate entities. Government has both the right and the responsibility to promote, in support of concerned individuals and corporate entities, the welfare of the elite (the wealthiest 1%); but most importantly only to that degree which is commensurate with – and more specifically isn’t injurious to – the general welfare (of the 99%).
     Economic freedom: in a liberal meritocracy, first and foremost is the right of workers and the general public to an economy in which the legitimate interests of the 99% are neither economically constricted nor politically subverted by the wealthiest 1%.
     Individual liberty: in a liberal meritocracy, also foremost is the right of workers and the general public (those of the 99% that are dispossessed and disenfranchised) to liberate themselves from economic and political bondage by the most wealthy, powerful, and privileged (the wealthiest 1%).
    What liberals must therefore do, openly in public discourse, is to affirm self-evident principles of limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty that are liberal rather than conservative; thereby denying conservatives sole ownership of these basic principles, which truly are fundamental to the capitalist economy however one views it. Conservatism’s apparently sole ownership of these principles, which today remains uncontested by liberalism in the public sphere, perhaps is a major factor in conservatism’s dominance during the last several decades, both economically and politically.

  21. Fred Zaman
    July 1, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Meritocratic Game Theory: Conservative Elitism vs. Liberal Populism

    Perhaps what Real-World Economists need to do is to develop a comprehensive “game theory” of the meritocracy — conservative elitism vs. liberal populism — that can eliminate the current hegemony of neoclassical economic theory and analysis. The only “game” in town at present, apparently, is the conservative meritocracy, the players of which are the wealthiest 1% alone. The 99% need to be represented in economic game theory, as opponents of the wealthiest 1%.

  22. Fred Zaman
    July 8, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    The RWER Post-Autistic “Meritocracy”:

    Christopher Hayes in Twilight of the Elites (p. 47), commenting that the term “meritocracy” has meaning for both liberals and conservatives, gives some indication of its significance for both. Within the framework of present discourse, however, America’s conservative meritocracy is based fundamentally on the following “self-evident” principles:
     Limited government: In a conservative meritocracy, there is no mandate that government “promote the general Welfare.” Every individual personally, not the government, has the responsibility to provide for his or her own welfare, and that of the family. A de facto corollary of this axiom, however, is that, in a conservative meritocracy, there is virtually no limit to government support of the economic and political “special interests” of privileged individuals and corporate entities. In a conservative meritocracy, government indeed has both the right and the responsibility to support, in concert with the individuals and corporate entities thus privileged, the welfare of the ruling elite (the wealthiest 1%); which “government welfare” of America’s privileged isn’t limited to that commensurate with the “general welfare” (of the 99%); nor is the government welfare of the privileged, in America’s conservative meritocracy, limited to that which “does no injury” to the public at large.
     Economic freedom: in a conservative meritocracy, first and foremost is the economic freedom of individuals and corporate entities, fully supported by government as needed, to acquire as much wealth, power, and privilege as they are capable of. A de facto corollary of this axiom is that workers and the general public have no inherent right to an economic system in which the 99% are free from either economic constriction or political subversion by the wealthiest 1%.
     Individual liberty: in a conservative meritocracy, also foremost is the right of individuals and corporate entities to do whatever with that which is theirs (including property and people) with minimal interference from (public) regulation or oversight by government. A de facto corollary of this axiom is that workers and the general public (those of the 99% that are dispossessed, disenfranchised, and disempowered) have no right to collectively liberate themselves from the economic and political bondage thereby effectively created by the nation’s most wealthy, powerful, and privileged (the wealthiest 1%), through their exercise of the above rights.

    It is these conservative axioms privately adhered to by the ruling elite (the wealthiest 1%) and their minions in lower classes, along with their patristic public promotion (to the 99% who nevertheless receive far less benefit therefrom) as being the essence of what America is, that sustains the public image of capitalism’s conservative meritocracy of wealth, power, and privilege as ethical and moral. To conservatives, apparently, no matter how obtained behind closed doors, the wealth thus gained using these (supposed) divinely-instituted principles always is a “blessing from the Lord.”

    Placing Christopher Hayes’s “Iron Law of Meritocracy” in the Twilight of the Elites (p. 57) within this framework: these principles, whose truth is self-evident only to the conservatively minded, are what have created a growing inequality that subverts capitalism’s mechanisms of upward mobility. His Iron Law thus may be primarily that of the conservative meritocracy. When the meritocracy is liberal and thus not corrupted by conservatism, there may be no necessary growth of inequality that subverts the mechanisms of upward mobility. What the 99% must do then, in order to create and maintain the liberal meritocracy needed, in which “The Iron Law of Meritocracy” is of little or no effect, will be to adopt and forcefully pursue economic and political principles more self-evident to the egalitarian minded, which also are of “limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty”; the axioms of which however, such as those given below, undoubtedly will be greatly preferred by America’s much less elitist and generally much more democratically inclined 99%:
     Limited government: in a liberal meritocracy, there is only a limited mandate that the government promote the special interests of individuals and corporate entities. Government has both the right and the responsibility to promote, in support of concerned individuals and corporate entities, the welfare of the elite (the wealthiest 1%); but most importantly only to that degree which is commensurate with – and more specifically isn’t injurious to – the general welfare (of the 99%).
     Economic freedom: in a liberal meritocracy, first and foremost is the right of workers and the general public to an economy in which the legitimate interests of the 99% are neither economically constricted nor politically subverted by the wealthiest 1%.
     Individual liberty: in a liberal meritocracy, also foremost is the right of workers and the general public (those of the 99% that are dispossessed and disenfranchised) to liberate themselves from economic and political bondage by the most wealthy, powerful, and privileged (the wealthiest 1%).

    Encompassing both American conservatism and liberalism In a more general definition, then, “meritocracy” is manifested as the self-sustaining power of governance based on principles (axioms conservative or liberal) whose “merit” (righteousness, worthiness, and excellence) is self-evident to those adhering to such, and which therefore are beyond question; and who therefore reject as bogus any empirical evidence given in apparent contradiction. What meritocracy is, in this more general concept then, is an axiomatic framework based on what appear to be self-evident principles for interpreting and responding to empirical manifestations of reality, even sometimes to the point of creating a façade behind which true reality remains unseen.

    Conservative meritocratic rule of the nation under this more general definition is a (supposedly) divinely-instituted “meritocracy,” but one more explicitly based on faith in the merits of the free market, free enterprise, and free trade; all divinely given to the nation and thus never to be constrained by mortal men through government intervention. The evidence supporting such, which if such support seems politically necessary, apparently is manufactured as required by conservative politicos and think tanks. Indeed, American history has been a perennial movement of the 99% struggling against a ruling “conservative meritocracy” of the wealthiest 1% that – in the name of God – wages class war continually against a slowly emerging “liberal meritocracy” of the 99%.

    Now, speaking of the “meritocracy” clearly evident in the numerous papers published in the RWER journal, and in most of the commentary published on its blog currently:
     Taking Paul Davidson as pre-eminent spokesperson for the RWER “meritocracy,” we find in his The Keynes Solution no mention of “movements” other than a few references to the movement of funds and prices. RWER “meritocrats,” even though they continually comment on the economic wrongs committed by the neoclassical economics of the wealthiest 1% against the 99%, apparently choose to remain strangely silent on, thereby never directly assisting, the nascent movement of the 99% in their attempt to right the wrongs committed against them by the wealthiest 1% under the guise of neoclassical economics.
     Efforts by RWER authors to assist the 99% movement apparently are limited to the “hope” (a word often used by Davidson in The Keynes Solution) that their very academic publications will inspire the shakers and movers of neoclassical economics to see the error of their ways and, spontaneously without force, change the system. Even though they clearly see, obviously much better than anyone else, the wrongs committed against the 99% by the wealthiest 1%, the “RWER meritocracy,” with few exceptions (the only one perhaps being Edward Fullbrook), nevertheless clearly are dedicated to avoiding any direct involvement in the righting of such wrongs.
     “Hope,” not committed direct action, apparently is the watchword of the authors of the RWER journal and blog: the hope being, apparently, that the movers and shakers of neoclassical economics will simply read their academic works, and thereby spontaneously out love for the truth – without the considerable forces for change that RWER authors could but (perhaps out of institutional cowardice) refuse to engage against the wealthiest 1% – seek the change needed to right the wrongs they (the wealthiest 1%) have committed against the 99%. Any such hope by RWER authors is simply fantasy, however: they need to become seriously proactive in the political dissemination and elaboration of their work, which is what I have been trying to accomplish here, so far without apparent success.

    Paul Davidson, in the final paragraph of The Keynes Solution: The Path to Global Economic Prosperity, hoped that his “book will encourage economists and political economic advisors to reexamine Keynes’s ideas: they remain the greatest hope for producing a prosperous, civilized capitalist economy.” The current situation the world over, however, is strongly suggestive that his perennial “hope,” that economists and political economic advisors working to academically reinstate the truth of Keynesian economics will be key in effecting the needed change, is simply academic fantasy. Hope in this regard far more likely lies in direct academic support of the nascent 99% movement; in both its Occupation of the streets and other public places politically, and finally in its Occupation of the ballot box. This is what ultimately must constitute the institutional objective of RWER’s “post-autistic” meritocracy, if it is to have the power to actually free people from the ideological shackles of capitalism’s neoclassical economics.

  23. Fred Zaman
    July 9, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    Rethinking Keynes Non-Euclidian Theory of the Economy:

    “In his General Theory, John Maynard Keynes stated that classical economists ‘resemble Euclidean Geometers in a non Euclidean world who, discovering that in experience straight lines apparently parallel often meet, rebuke the lines for not keeping straight—as the only remedy for the unfortunate collisions which are occurring. Yet in truth there is no remedy except to throw over the axiom of parallels and to work out a non Euclidean geometry. Something similar is required today in economics.’” (Paul Davidson, The Keynes Solution, Ch. 4)

    In this Euclidean analogy with the classical analysis of free markets, which is based on “efficient market theory,” Davidson explains that full employment is the Euclidean equivalent of parallel lines which never meet. He nonetheless notes, however, that In the real world these lines, although parallel in an Euclidean analogy with economics, nevertheless unfortunately do often meet, thereby significantly and persistently producing economic “collisions” understood as unemployment; the blame for which collisions always is placed on workers for not passively accepting lower wages, and consequently also a lower standard of living. Keynes’s solution, to explaining in theory the occurrence of unemployment in the real world, was to pursue the creation of a new, non-Euclidean theory of real world economics that discards axioms which classically have been the foundation of the economy’s supposed ideal Euclidean structure. Two axioms of classical economics that Keynes kept, however, and with which keeping Davidson concurs, are (1) people are self-interested and try to protect their income and wealth; and that (2) firms try to maximize profits ($REF).

    These two axioms keep hidden far more than they disclose, however. For people are not only individually inclined to protect (and increase) their income and wealth: (1A) they collectively also are very much inclined to protect (and increase) their income and wealth in common cause, to the extent deemed necessary even at the expense of others not of their own group. And firms also: (2A) collectively in common cause to the same extent, are similarly inclined to maximize their profits above all else, even at the expense of other groups not of their own. Understanding this truth about collective action in economics (in politics also), one can replace the word “collisions” in the above quotation of Keynes with “collusions,” for collusion (by the favored few) is generally the best means by which to accomplish axioms (1A) and (2A).

    What are we to make of these axioms in the Euclidian analogy of economics, regarding behavior collectively favoring for those of one’s own kind, and conversely detrimental to those not of one’s own kind? It is simply that the lines running parallel to each other, which in this analogy represent full employment in an efficient market, are actually not straight and do meet, simply because of collusion against workers (and the general populace) by capitalists working behind closed doors. The efficient market thus is degraded through the collusion of others (both individuals and firms) working according to the non-Euclidean axioms 1A and 2A. The free market, when it thus is not subject to government regulation and oversight that minimizes the detrimental effects (to workers and the general populace) of these non-Euclidean axioms (tends to make the economic lines more parallel), is inherently a very non-Euclidean space. Government regulation and oversight is absolutely required if the “efficient market” is to function in at least a quasi-Euclidian space whose economic lines are (somewhat) parallel and employment is nearly full – with fullness thereof at the same time not economically oppressing the workers. The non-Euclidean theory of economics thus to be developed, as perhaps foreseen but not generally understood by Keynes and Davidson, will therefore explain both the economic and political oppression of workers in capitalist society, and also the effective resistance thereto by workers thereby oppressed by society. The significance of a fully developed non-Euclidian theory of economics to the 99% movement, regarding how to make the economic (and political) lines more parallel and thus less impacted by the collusion of capitalism’s much favored few (the wealthiest 1%), thus truly will be immense.

  24. Fred Zaman
    July 12, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    I am abandoning this thread for the present, and going to “Rethinking Keynes’ non-Euclidean theory of the economy,” which reposts as a new thread the last commentary posted here. What is posted on either thread is relevant to the other, however. Both concern the same subject.

  25. Fred Zaman
    August 12, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    A Paradigm for Sheldon Wolin’s “Democracy Incorporated”: America’s Economic Inversion (AEI)

    The underlying thesis of the “Nash dynamics of the wealthy, powerful, and privileged is that democracy in America, now largely under corporate management, is currently a democracy of the corporate elite, by the corporate elite, and (solely) for the corporate elite. An explanatory paradigm thereof, dubbed America’s Economic Inversion (AEI), will more forcefully describe Wolin’s “Democracy Incorporated.” AEI argues that the public generally does not recognize the harsh reality for the middle and lower classes of this elitist inversion, because Wall Street’s “Janus-face” masks the prevailing corporate groupthink behind which this reality is hidden. In this paradigm, the corporate elites’ “economic inversion” of American democracy is achieved, behind the closed doors of Wall Street executives and more generally behind the scenes institutionally, through the economic institutions of Wall Street that de facto “oversee” and “manage” America’s democratic institutions, rather than the other way around as the U.S. Constitution clearly indicates should be the case; which Wall Street is able to do (slowly) through the continuing sabotage of the nation’s democratic institutions, which sabotage is masked by the Janus-face of Wall Street’s economic groupthink.

    AEI, a paradigm of U.S. politics in which Wall Street’s economic groupthink is de facto sabotaging American democracy, is being realized through persons, organizations, and even government agencies that – at the expense of reason, logic, and correspondence with reality – guard the institutional gateways to this groupthink; who (looking inward) guard those within against leaving, while at the same time (looking outward) inviting those outside to enter therein. The rhetorical devices routinely employed in “guarding” the gateways (institutional entrances and exits) to Wall Street’s economic groupthink are dubbed “Janisms” – a term specifically coined for AEI. In this paradigm then, Wall Street “Jani” include individuals, organizations both public and private, and government agencies that defend the gateways – the institutional points of groupthink entry and exit guarded by Janus – to Wall Street’s economic inversion of America democracy.

    Viewed within the AEI framework, the Great Seal of the United States (including its obverse and reverse sides) has two very different interpretations: in one America’s democratic institutions oversee and manage the economic institutions of Wall Street; while in the other, Wall Street’s economic institutions de facto behind the scenes “oversee” and “manage” the institutions of American democracy. One political implication of this paradigm is the possibility of an upcoming “Civil War of 2016,” in which Wall Street’s conservative elite “plutonomy” fights tooth and nail against the clear mandate of the U.S. Constitution that America’s democratic institutions oversee and manage the nation’s economic institutions. Yet another implication of enormous significance is that the recent Citizens United decision of the John Roberts Supreme Court, in which corporations now in essence “are people too” (according to past Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney), has put a false patina of legality on what is patently unconstitutional: Wall Street’s ongoing economic inversion of democracy in which de facto participation in the American political process by the economic institutions on Wall Street – the Federal Reserve Bank of New York indirectly being one such institution – enables Wall Street in essence to oversee and manage behind the scenes all three branches of the U. S. government. It thus appears that democracy as Americans have known it is in the process of being killed, slowly; similar to death of the proverbial frog in the pot of cold water slowly heated up to the boiling point.

  26. Fred Zaman
    August 13, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    “Groupthink” in the previous post is perhaps best understood as essentially being much the same as Wolin’s “imaginary” or “imaginaries,” which in the future I will use instead in discussing “America’s Economic Inversion” by “Democracy Incorporated.”

  27. Fred Zaman
    August 14, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Wolin in “Democracy Incorporated” rightly contrasts two types of the “imaginary”: one being the “constitutional imaginary,” and the other being the “power imaginary.” Both imaginaries are part of the “economic imaginary” of “democracy incorporated” in America: the first being the outward-looking (public justificatory) face of capitalism’s “Janus,” and the second being its inward-looking (secretive, covert, publically denied) face. Also, Wolin’s “inverted totalitarianism” primarily represents two closely interrelated imaginaries of democracy today: “the political coming of age of corporate power and the political demobilization of the citizenry.” The imaginary of inverted totalitarianism thus understood manifests the Janus-face of America’s economic inversion; with the “political demobilization of the citizenry” then due to the inversion’s outward-looking (public justificatory) face, and “the political coming of age of corporate power” due to the inversion’s inward-looking (secretive, covert, publically denied) face. Conclusion: capitalism’s inverted totalitarianism is the political result of America’s economic inversion by democracy’s incorporation.

    Neoclassical economics here is simply one element, a very important element indeed, of that “constitutional imaginary” of the outward-looking, public justificatory Janus-face behind which is hiding the corporate “power imaginary” of capitalism’s inward-looking Janus-face that is creating the continual increase in income inequality – that of the wealthiest 1% over the 99% – that the RWER blog (legitimately) is making so much fuss about. And thereby we obtain a paradigm in economics for Sheldon Wolin’s well-known radical politics: “America’s Economic Inversion by Democracy Incorporated.”

  28. Fred Zaman
    August 14, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    If RWER readers, some twenty thousand strong worldwide apparently, really don’t like the way things are in economics, they need to get off their intellectual duff and do something about it; aggressively through strong theoretical initiatives that can attack and destroy both neoclassical economics and its supporting neoliberal political agenda of empire.

  29. Fred Zaman
    August 14, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    From this point forward I will keep this thread current through posts on the now in-progress rewrite “The Nash dynamics of Wolin’s “inverted totalitarianism”: America’s economic inversion, by “democracy incorporated.”

  30. Fred Zaman
    August 15, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    In this rewrite, which will be an economic paradigm for Sheldon Wolin’s radical politics, the United States structurally – in the general sense I see as being understood by Sheldon Wolin – is an “inverted” democracy that de facto is ruled largely behind closed doors by the wealthiest 1%; who rule very effectively through a “neoclassical” economic system in which an essentially “totalitarian” Nash dynamics continually seeks macroeconomic and macropolitical “equilibria” in which vox populi (the economic and political voice of the 99%) is a mirage that – generally speaking, upon close examination – can be seen to be of little substance and have little effect.

  31. davetaylor1
    August 16, 2013 at 9:57 am

    To Fred. Comment guideline: “Try not to flood discussion threads with only your comments”.

    To other bloggers: If you don’t comment, how else can Fred keep his important discussion going without seeming to?

    Is Fred’s paper important? Edward Fullbrook concludes his introduction of it by saying: “Never has a theoretical paper in economics been more applicable to its time”.

    Having followed Edward’s advice and reread the paper, I agree with him, despite (as a Brit) finding Fred’s narrowly American story a distraction from its global issues. So we give what we can. I see Anglo-French historian Hilaire Belloc saying much the same thing on the strategic options in 1911 (‘The Servile State’), using the language of democracy and dictatorship where Fred refers to Populists and Elitists.

    Fred summarises the global theory in Figures 1 (on the strategic options we have) and Figure 2 (on the actual 400 year cycle through the strategic options leaving the actual strategy back where it was in the land-grabbing aftermath of the religious Reformation). His Fundamental Theorem as quoted by Edward reveals the results of Machiavelli’s advice to would-be Princes: “tell the people what they wish to hear”. (An incitement to lying published just four years before Luther began the Reformation).

    What’s the answer? What has happened in Syria and now Egypt is surely evidence enough that neither religious fundamentalism nor mass demonstrations are in themselves the answer. The political pressure has to come from everyone (including the elites) becoming able to see the whole picture, which Fred’s diagrams have certainly helped me to. My diagrams of human society and specialisation in the economy do likewise.

    Edward’s quote from Einstein couldn’t be more relevant: ““Whether you can observe a thing or not depends on the theory which you use”. Whether you can see the theory depends on whether it has been visually (as against literally) represented.

  32. Fred Zaman
    August 17, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    To Fred. Comment guideline: “Try not to flood discussion threads with only your comments”.

    To Dave Taylor. I am not flooding the numerous discussion threads on RWER Blog. Do I interject my views on the numerous threads pursued this blog. Obviously I do not. You simply do not understand the guideline that you erroneously quote. Either that or you simply are trying to interfere with and block further discussion on this very unique thread concerning theory that works toward an economic foundation for Sheldon Wolin’s “managed democracy” by capitalism’s “inverted totalitarianism.” This certainly is a legitimate objective for economic theorists; one that if successful might well lead to the overthrow of the neoclassical economics that RWER readers know to be pseudo-scientific and patently false.

    Now, returning to the subject at hand, when viewed from the perspective of economics, Wolin’s “inverted totalitarianism” suggests that currently democracy in America at best is a “managed democracy” that politically is de facto an “inverted” capitalist economy; in which the nation’s democratic institutions, behind the closed doors thereof, are largely under the political control of Wall Street: that totalizing economic regime lovingly and patriotically known as the free market, free enterprise, and free trade. From an economic perspective then, America’s “democracy,” which currently is politically “managed” to a great extent by Wall Street executives behind closed doors through the inverted totalitarianism of the Republican Party, has de facto become the political foundation for both Wall Street’s and the Republican Party’s “totalitarian inversion of democratic essentials” (TIDE). The essentials thereby “inverted” (i.e. subverted through economic forces), by in essence the totalitarian regime of Wall Street. include the American principles of democratic government generally, along with the nation’s governing institutions, humanitarian values, and egalitarian ethics. The laws, regulations, and policies of capitalism’s TIDE, which have enabled the slow rise of Wall Street’s economic and political hegemon, legitimate politically above everything else to the extent possible, the very “special interests” of that wealthiest 1% which de facto governs the free market, free enterprise, and free trade. The currently rising TIDE of capitalism’s wealthiest 1%, although it endeavors to hide from the public behind a façade of love for democracy, in reality is quite totalitarian in nature; and it is slowly inundating the lowlands of the world economy inhabited by the economically dispossessed, politically disenfranchised, and socially disempowered 99%. The “Nash dynamics of the wealthy, powerful, and privileged…” in RWER (61) exemplifies the fundamentally totalitarian character of capitalism as it is politically manifested in America over the long term.

  33. davetaylor1
    August 17, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    Fred, obviously you don’t read past the first line of what I wrote or you would have realised how strongly I was supporting you. The second line balances out the first, while the remainder shows how I agree with what you are saying. As a non-American observer of human nature, though, who has seen what’s happened in Chechnya, Syria and Egypt and doesn’t want to see that in America, I have argued for a more detached view of what can be done about it.

  34. Fred Zaman
    August 19, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    On “institutionally sanctioned, elitist duplicity” in economics:

    All of economics, including both neoclassical economics and its RWER blog critics apparently as well, in essence is an “inverted totalitarianism” that structurally is symptomatic of an underlying “institutionally sanctioned, elitist duplicity” (ISED); which – through a conspiracy of silence about the subject of “institutional duplicity” – effectively denies even the possibility of such existing. This, it appears to me is the reason for the profound silence on the RWER blog – excepting myself alone – concerning this and related matters. The “Nash dynamics of the wealthy, powerful, and privileged” (RWER 61) indeed is driven by capitalism’s ISED, which later I shall discuss in more detail.

  35. Fred Zaman
    August 20, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    The duplicity of capitalist elite in economics and politics, when properly understood as being generally sanctioned institutionally, may actually be key to developing a scientifc basis for capitalism.

  36. Fred Zaman
    August 21, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    The question thus here becomes: how to represent in economic theory the institutionalization of duplicity sanctioned by capitalism’s ruling elite – the so-called wealthiest 1%. One approach to doing this is through game theoretic analyses of Nash equilibria that are both economic and political in nature, in which the objective of such “hunger games” for the ruling elite, which are driven by an elitist hunger for wealth, power, and privilege, is to establish equilibria that always are most favorable to their cause, and thus inherently always least favorable to “the general Welfare” of the 99%; whose promotion the U.S. Constitution nevertheless clearly states is a founding principle of the U.S. government, the mythic benevolent “invisible hand” of capitalism’s private sector notwithstanding. This de facto is Wall Street’s long-standing objective, which also has always been the objective of the Republican conservatives’ Janus-faced Reaganomics initiated in the 1980’s; and has continued to this very day through the inward-looking, secret face of conservative “power imaginaries“ that are hiding behind the outward-looking, public face of conservative “constitutional imaginaries.”

  37. Fred Zaman
    August 25, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    The RWER paper “Nash dynamics of the wealthy, powerful, and privileged” is a prototype of what, as I indicate below, might turn out to be the future of what I publish, both here and elsewhere.

    Atlas Is Shrugging: A Very Serious Parody in Economic Theory of Sheldon Wolin’s “Inverted Totalitarianism”

    L. Frederick Zaman

    Ayn Rand’s vision of capitalism, in which the only “rational” basis for society is to let the “self-interest” (greed) of corporate aristocratic practitioners reign (the wealthiest 1%), has apparently come to pass or is in the process of doing so. The Sheldon Wolin “imaginaries” of capitalism’s “inverted totalitarianism,” including the “power imaginaries” and “constitutional imaginaries” thereof, can be seen to be effective agents of institutional control in an Ayn Randian parody of capitalist hegemony called “Global, Aristocratic, Laissez-faire Terrorists” (GALT); in which capitalism’s wealthiest, most powerful and privileged covertly – under the political cover of laissez-faire – work to overthrow or marginalize existing economic and/or democratic institutions; and also to block the future development of such, in particular those that aren’t overtly capitalistic. Here referring to John Galt, Ayn Rand’s ideal of the objectivist philosophy of laissez-faire, those thereby most able to systematically amass great wealth, power, and privilege, through the institutional “oppression” and “terrorism” of laissez-faire government, are collectively humanized as a dystopian (vis-à-vis utopian) “GALT.”

    “Atlas Is Shrugging” is, among others things, a quite serious intellectual parody of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”; whose continuation in later posts will address two of the most pressing questions asked in Atlas Shrugged (here paraphrased as indicated): Who is [John] GALT? And what is the [John] GALT line? The perspective from which these are asked and answered, of course, is quite different than Ayn Rand’s. GALT in “Atlas Is Shrugging” is anyone and everyone that de facto adheres to and promotes Rand’s Objectivism; which today seems to include corporate America generally (e.g. the super-rich Koch brothers) and their minions (e. g. today’s ultra-conservative Republican Party). GALT is metaphor for anyone and everyone in America today (e.g. the current Republican-controlled House of Representatives) that is engaged de facto (that is whether openly declared or not) in a politically aristocratic “strike” against the U.S. government, and who now in the name of conservative ideological purity are talking about literally shutting the government down in total. The “GALT line” then includes, in addition to justifying many other radically conservative causes, all the spurious reasoning that supposedly justifies the complete shutting down of the government, in the name of forcing on the American public the political rule of ultra-conservative ideology. The “GALT line” thus today is an ultra-conservative railroad to economic and political disaster the world over. How many Republicans have or will yet buy tickets for this quite unnecessary trip to hell is a question not yet answered. But if it does happen, those that don’t buy tickets will go along anyway, and ride to the ultra-conservative’s hell as baggage.

    In this parody of “aristocratic capitalism,” there also is a third class of “imaginaries “; which are the “populist imaginaries” of those in society oppressed – and as indicated above also “terrorized” economically and politically – under GALT’s rule. This third class of imaginaries, which inform those fighting against GALT oppression and terrorism, have in recent decades been far less powerful in their effect; but they nevertheless are much needed to promote a society that – one day hopefully – will be “fair and balanced” both economically and politically (i.e. “ecopolitically”). “On the ground” today in every local, and globally throughout the modern world of industry, business and finance, GALT is easily argued to dominate humankind today; through an ecopolitical infrastructure Sheldon Wolin would call “inverted totalitarianism”; which is manifested everywhere through the aristocratic “imaginaries” of capitalism generally (but not specifically) indicated above that today effectively govern the capitalist world order; which the parody of GALT expands to include the “imaginaries” (regarding a just society) of populist “Occupation Forces” that around the world today are fighting against GALT oppression and terrorism; aka today’s “99% movement” whose protesters on the street might one day chant something like:

    GALT MUST GO! LET IT BE!

    Wolin’s “Democracy Incorporated” (2008) rightly contrasts two types of the “imaginary”: one being the “constitutional imaginary,” and the other being the “power imaginary.” Both imaginaries are part of America’s “democracy incorporated”: the first being the outward-looking (public justificatory) face of capitalism’s two-faced “Janus,” and the second then being its inward-looking (secretive, covert, publically denied) face. Wolin’s “inverted totalitarianism” thus represents two closely interrelated imaginaries of democracy today: “the political coming of age of corporate power and the political demobilization of the citizenry.” The imaginaries of capitalism’s inverted totalitarianism manifest the Janus-face of its aristocratic duplicity; with the “political demobilization of the citizenry” due to the outward-looking (public justificatory) face of capitalist power, and “the political coming of age of corporate power” (both quotes are Wolin’s words) then due to capitalism’s inward-looking face (secretive, publically denied, covert use of its power). “Neoclassical economics” is simply one element, albeit a very important element, of the “constitutional imaginaries” of the outward-looking, public justificatory Janus-face; behind which is hiding the corporate “power imaginaries” of capitalism’s inward-looking Janus-face; which is fueling the continual increase in income inequality – that of the wealthiest 1% over the 99%. And thereby we obtain a very serious “parody” of Sheldon Wolin’s “radical politics” in economic theory, which is capitalism’s Global, Aristocratic, Laissez-faire Terrorism (GALT).

    The basic thesis of GALT is that democracy in America, because it is now largely under “corporate management,” is a democracy of corporate aristocrats by corporate aristocrats, and (primarily) for corporate aristocrats. The dystopian ecopolitical parody of GALT, in its forceful theoretical elaboration of Wolin’s “Democracy Incorporated,” argues that the public generally does not recognize the harsh reality for the middle and lower classes of Wall Street’s aristocratic inversion of democracy, because capitalism’s “Janus-face” masks the corporate “imaginary” behind which this reality is hidden. In this parody of capitalism, the “economic inversion” of American democracy is achieved behind the closed doors of Wall Street executives, and more generally institutionally in corporate America behind the scenes, through the economic institutions of Wall Street that de facto “oversee” and “manage” America’s democratic institutions, rather than the other way around as the U.S. Constitution clearly indicates should be the case; which Wall Street has been able to do (slowly over decades) through its aristocratic control of the nation’s democratic institutions, which at the same time is effectively sabotaging the same. However, this aristocratic Machiavellianism, the work of the subversive “power imaginaries” of GALT’s inward-looking, privatized (invisible to the-public) Janus-face, has been very effectively masked by the “economic imaginaries” of Wall Street’s outward-looking, publically visible Janus-face.

    GALT thus is a parody of U.S. ecopolitics in which capitalism’s touted economic imaginaries are covering up the systematic sabotage of American democracy through its publically unseen, averse power imaginaries. GALT’s ongoing sabotage of democracy is being realized slowly through persons, organizations, and even government agencies that – at the expense of reason, logic, and correspondence with reality – guard the institutional gateways to GALT; who (those looking inward) guard against those within from departing, while at the same time (those looking outward) are sirens inviting those outside to enter. The rhetorical devices routinely employed in “guarding” the gateways (institutional entrances and exits) to capitalism’s economic imaginary are “Janisms” – a term here specifically coined to describe individuals assisting the institutional GALT in its Machiavellian manipulation of the public. In this parody, capitalism’s “Jani” are individuals, organizations both public and private, and government agencies that are defenders of the gateways – the entry and exit points of capitalism’s institutional imaginaries – to the capitalists’ totalitarian inversion (and concomitant economic subversion) of democracy.

    When viewed from the perspective of economics, Wolin’s “inverted totalitarianism” suggests that democracy in America at best currently is a “managed democracy” that politically is de facto an “inverted” capitalist economy; in which the nation’s democratic institutions, behind the closed doors thereof, are largely under the political control of Wall Street – that totalizing economic regime patriotically defending worldwide the free market, free enterprise, and free trade. From an economic perspective then, American “democracy,” which currently is “managed” to a great extent by Wall Street executives behind closed doors through Republican Party politics, has become the political foundation for GALT.

    The current dumping of regulatory laws and policies into the trashcan of history by GALT has enabled the slow rise of Wall Street’s economic and political hegemon; which legitimates and defends vociferously against the 99% the very “special interests” of that wealthiest 1% who in essence collectively own the free market, free enterprise, and free trade. The currently rising tide of capitalism’s wealthiest 1%, enabled through the persuasion of GALT imaginaries that in reality are quite totalitarian in character, is slowly inundating the lowlands of the world economy inhabited by the economically dispossessed, politically disenfranchised, and socially disempowered 99%. Capitalism’s aristocrats nevertheless endeavor to hide this phenomenon from the public behind the false front of love for democracy. When corporate aristocrats must choose between money and democracy, history has shown unequivocally that they always choose money over democracy.

    Viewed within the theoretical framework of GALT, the Great Seal of the United States – its obverse and reverse sides included – has two very different interpretations: in one America’s democratic institutions oversee and manage the nation’s economic institutions for the benefit of all; while in the other, Wall Street “oversees” and “manages” the institutions of American democracy behind the scenes, solely for its own benefit. One implication of this parody is the possibility of an upcoming American “Civil War of 2016,” in which Wall Street’s conservative aristocratic “plutonomy” fights tooth and nail against the clear mandate of the U.S. Constitution that America’s democratic institutions oversee and manage the nation’s economy in order to “promote the general Welfare.” Yet another implication is that the recent Citizens United decision of the John Roberts Supreme Court, in which corporations “are people too” (according to past Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney), has put a patina of legality on what is patently unconstitutional: Wall Street’s ongoing economic inversion of democracy in which participation in the American political process by capitalists on Wall Street – the Federal Reserve Bank of New York indirectly being one example of this – enables Wall Street in essence to oversee and manage all three branches of the U. S. government behind the scenes. It thus appears that democracy as Americans have known it is in danger of being killed, slowly; similar to the death of the proverbial frog in the pot of cold water slowly heated up to the boiling point.

    The question thus here becomes how to represent in economic theory the institutionalization of corporate duplicity sanctioned by capitalism’s ruling aristocrats – the so-called wealthiest 1%. One approach to doing this is through game theoretic analyses of Nash equilibria that are both economic and political in nature, in which the objective of such “hunger games” for the aristocrats, which are driven by an aristocratic hunger for wealth, power, and privilege, is to establish equilibria that always are most favorable to their cause, and thus inherently always least favorable to “the general Welfare” of the 99%; whose promotion the U.S. Constitution nevertheless clearly states is a founding principle of the U.S. government, the mythic benevolent “invisible hand” of capitalism’s private sector notwithstanding. This de facto is Wall Street’s long-standing objective, which also has always been the objective of the Republican conservatives’ Janus-faced Reaganomics initiated in the 1980’s; and has continued to this very day through the inward-looking, secret face of conservative “power imaginaries“ that are hiding behind the outward-looking, public face of conservative “constitutional imaginaries.”

  38. Fred Zaman
    August 26, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    The acronym GALT is the name of “global, aristocratic, laissez-fair terrorism”; which also refers to “terrorists” of the same persuasion, or of a corresponding “terrorist” in the singular; The “invisible hand” of which uses fear, coercion, and intimidation to enable laissez-faire philosophy to dominate globally both in economics and in politics. The terror of GALT thus is the fearfulness, apprehension, and trepidation of the populace due to the laissez-faire attitude of government toward capitalist economics and politics. The objective of “GALT” theory is to flip the political use of the words “terrorism” and “terrorists” backward onto the institutions and policies of “free enterprise” that often have been, and continue to be, the seedbed out of which “terrorism” conventionally understood germinates. So that the terrorized, in the sense understood in the theory of GALT, become the terrorists. Hopefully this parodist perspective of terrorism will shed some light on what actually is the governing dynamics worldwide between capitalism and its opponents.

  39. Fred Zaman
    August 26, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    Atlas Shrugged depicts a dystopian United States in which the most productive citizens, refusing to be further exploited by those less productive, go on strike against increasing taxation and government regulation; the strike of which, intending to stop the motor of the world, is led by John Galt. The parallel of GALT theory to Atlas Shrugged, as applied to U. S. politics today, clearly suggests the title of the present work should be “Atlas Is Shrugging.” In U.S. politics today, GALT in this parallel is corporate America, who controls the radically conservative Republican Party that now, in the House of Representatives apparently, is trying to mimic John Galt by stopping the motor of the U. S. government. Is this mimicking a conscious effort by the Republican-controlled U. S. House of Representatives? Quite possibly so, and the public should be made explicitly aware of this possibility.

  40. Fred Zaman
    August 30, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    The acronym GALT has been changed to mean “Galt’s Aristocratic Laissez-faire Terrorism. “Galt” is here capitalism’s cohort of the wealthiest 1% whose “rational self-interest” de facto has been institutionalized as the neoclassical economics of greed, whose public cover story of beneficence for the 99% is the mythic “invisible hand” and “trickle-down economics.” GALT is the Janus-face of the wealthiest 1%, whose outward-looking face publicly promotes a “constitutional imaginary” that provides cover for the “power imaginary” of the publicly unseen inward-looking face. GALT’s inward-looking power imaginary thus operating under cover, whose invisible hand and trickle-down economics actually are not benevolent to the middle and lower classes, is basically free to do whatever it is able to without public oversight or objection. The behind-the-scenes, quiet “terrorism” of Galt’s aristocratic laissez-faire includes neoclassical economic and political warfare waged covertly against:
    –government sustainment or promotion of “the general Welfare”
    –extant institutions of democratic government that support the middle and lower classes
    –extending democracy to those inclined to not adopt capitalism as the preferred economic system

    The premier literary example of the constitutional imaginary of capitalism’s outward-looking Janus-face, clearly intended for public indoctrination, is Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged.” What appears to be happening now in the United States is an undercover operation by GALT that under Republican control is covertly mirroring the strike of the corporate elite in “Atlas Shrugged.”

  41. Fred Zaman
    August 31, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    The terror of GALT is the terror of the masses about: losing what once was their livelihood and way of living; which was and remains the terror of Detroit, for example; and of America’s “rust belt” in the Great Lakes region; and, for an example overseas, of the 40,000 Indians that committed suicide because they no longer had a way of making a living. GALT indeed has terrorized countless millions of indigenous peoples the world over; but this quiet terrorism of the masses has been “gilded,” which is to say camouflaged, disguised, and made deceptively attractive, through the gaudy display of elite wealth, power, and privilege thereby gained through economic development that is of, by, and solely for capitalists. Yet another example of the terrorism of capitalism’s aristocratic laissez-faire are the trillions of dollars now greedily squirreled away in banks overseas, which economists deceptively call “liquidity,” which capitalists do rather than investing their great wealth in projects that could improve the lives and livelihood of the world’s middle and lower classes. They do this even though their “liquidity” was preserved in the recent Great Recession of 2008 by the billions of dollars recently loaned to them out of public coffers (the U. S. government), to which public largess they have responded by refusing to reciprocate through loans to the people that would have supported the public in their time of need, and quickly cut short the recent Great Recession of 2008 which still lingers on for millions because of the quiet terrorism capitalism’s aristocratic laissez-faire. “GALT” hereafter will be the acronym for “gilded, aristocratic, laissez-faire terrorism.”

  42. Fred Zaman
    September 1, 2013 at 12:20 am

    Like Ayn Rand’s Hank Reardon, Capitalism’s GALT, having secret contempt for government and law dedicated to the public good, in secret does not consent to being governed by the same – GALT, “behind closed doors” at the executive level and “behind the scenes” institutionally, constantly works against such.

  43. Fred Zaman
    September 4, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    The “Laissez-faire Terrorism” of Capitalism:
    Atlas Shrugging off the Middle Class

    In their obviously strict avoidance of becoming actively involved in the politics of economic change, RWER bloggers to this date in essence have emasculated themselves with regard to becoming active agents of change for the better. They do coordinate and publicize much of the data and other evidence showing that change is desperately needed, but they nevertheless avoid assuming any responsibility whatever for actually becoming the much needed active agents of change – which agents necessarily must be or be willing to become political as well as economic. RWER bloggers thus far it appears are too deeply imbedded in the existing system to become true agents of economic change. Agents of change in economics, it appears, must largely come from outside the existing system; which system thus far unfortunately seems to include the RWER blog and – with a few exceptions – its bloggers.

    Nevertheless, I shall continue here with discussion of capitalism’s nefarious GALT, its “gilded, aristocratic, Laissez-faire Terror” (and the corporate elite “terrorists” thereof), in further elaboration of the economic and political “Nash dynamics of the wealthy, powerful and privileged.” GALT, the “laissez-faire terrorists” of capitalism’s “gilded aristocrats” working together as one for private sector interests, is today engaged in systemic “denial of services” attacks launched and sustained through the elimination of taxes on the nation’s wealthiest, most powerful and privileged, which attacks are against those institutions and services of the public sector (government) supporting those that are the weakest – the nation’s middle and lower classes. This is the Nash dynamics of GALT, whose political arm in America today is the libertarian Tea Party of radical, right-wing Republicanism. The real “heart of terror” in America and worldwide today is to beg delivered to economic ruin through laissez-faire government that is of, by, and for Wall Street’s gilded aristocrats. GALT wears the sign of the dollar on his forehead, proudly as his sign of nobility – the badge of honor he is willing to live for above all else, and if need be for others to die for.

    In this parody of “Atlas Shrugged,” GALT is the terror experienced by those in a capitalist society whose government broadly supports the elitist policy of laissez-faire. The invisible hand of GALT is the terror experienced by the people, those of the 99%, when they lose their homes or livelihood due to the economic and political machinations of capitalism’s gilded aristocracy on Wall Street. Putting a name to the terror thus experienced by the people is legitimate whether GALT, the gilded terror of aristocratic laissez-faire, is justified or not. Those of the wealthiest 1% that support GALT against the 99%, technically speaking from the perspective of the people here, are capitalism’s de facto “terrorists,” who quietly engage in “terrorism” behind the scenes against the 99%.

  44. Fred Zaman
    September 10, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    Economists know well that political forces determine the relative distribution of income and wealth, upward toward the wealthiest 1% and downward toward the 99%; but they nevertheless arbitrarily exclude all such forces from economic theory. JOHN GALT, an acronym for Wall Street’s aristocratic hybridization of government through laissez-faire, will – through a “Nash dynamics” thereof – expand economic theory to include the political forces in capitalist society that determine the relative distribution of income and wealth upward and downward. JOHN GALT thus is a parody of capitalist hegemony. What the charts, graphs, and commentaries on the RWER blog show is the clear success to date of the “JOHN GALT LINE” of lies and deceptions; which progressives need to expose through the 99% movement, but which will be successful only when the movement is explicitly grounded on moral-intellectual principles that are in opposition to, and more powerful and persuasive on Main Street than, those of the wealthiest 1% – i.e. those supporting capitalism’s elitist, neoclassical economics. JOHN GALT is a socioeconomic theory in which an aristocratic hybridization of the U.S. government, and thus democracy in America as well, is now being ruled in essence behind closed doors by capitalism’s wealthiest 1%.

  45. Fred Zaman
    September 12, 2013 at 2:50 am

    Capitalism’s JOHN GALT:
    Unseen Terrorist of the Laissez-faire Society

    “JOHN GALT” will theoretically dramatize the unseen but deeply felt “terror” (angst) experienced by those that, through the economic principle of laissez-faire, have lost or are now losing their livelihood or way of living. HE is the source of the terror experienced by those that, because of the economic rules governing laissez-faire society, are unable to recognize the source of their terror – capitalism’s ruthless JOHN GALT. HE is the “covert terrorist” constituted of the wealthiest 1% that, under the cover of “freedom,” de facto ruthlessly conducts economic war against the 99%. The cover of which is capitalism’s show of “freedom,” now playing at the gilded aristocracy’s theatre of laissez-faire on Wall Street.

  46. Fred Zaman
    September 18, 2013 at 4:26 am

    The Private Face of Greed, the Public Face of Deceit:
    Wall Street’s Janus Face?

    L. Frederick Zaman

    I. Introduction
    Lee Penn, in “AYN RAND: The Janus Face of Libertarianism” (SCP Journal), argues that, under the pervasive cultural influence of the political novel “Atlas Shrugged” in conservative circles, capitalism in recent decades has become “a world-centered, commercial philosophy” that has morphed politically into a Janus-faced libertarianism. Can it be true that “Janus” indeed is the libertarian face of Wall Street: one face being the private face of capitalist greed, and the other the public face of capitalist deceit? In consideration of this possibility, these two faces are here respectively caricatured in theory through the rhetoric of Ayn Rand, as “JOHN GALT” (small caps) the secretive face of corporate greed (the harm done to the public interest, intentionally for the sake of corporate profit), and “John Galt” (regular caps) the public face of corporate deceit (cover story of the good claimed by capitalists). John Galt’s face of public deceit thus provides cover against public recognition of JOHN GALT’s face of private greed. Regarded as the creative genius of all capitalist corruption, JOHN GALT (all caps), in constituting both faces of Wall Street’s Janus face, then is the modus operandi of an undeclared war de facto waged by capitalism’s wealthiest 1% on Wall Street, against the 99% on Main Street. Conservative authors writing in support of this de facto war, which include Schweikart & Allen in “A Patriot’s History of the United States,” Mark Levin in “Liberty and Tyranny” and “Ameritopia,” and W. Cleon Skousen in “The Making of America” are “John Galt” in print.

    Capitalism’s most fundamental characteristic, rather than being “competition,” is instead “deception.” The objective of the 99% movement thus must be to publicly expose both faces of JOHN GALT. The 99% movement can, and indeed must, proceed along two, coordinated fronts: one being the general populace revolting, in the streets as it becomes necessary, against capitalist greed and deception; the other a supporting vanguard in the institutions of higher learning. Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” it seems has become an “open textbook” that in recent decades has enabled the public John Galt to provide effective cover, both in economics and politics, for the corruption of JOHN GALT (REF) institutionalized on Wall Street. “JOHN GALT” also is an acronym, a political mnemonic, for the “Janus-faced, opportunistic, hegemonic narcissism” (JOHN) of capitalism’s “gilded, aristocratic, laissez-faire tyranny” (GALT). “JOHN GALT” thus answers the question of just how capitalism’s wealthiest 1% have been able to deceive the 99% regarding their intentions, collectively – Wall Street’s modus operandi.

    Numerous authors have written about what in essence are the exploits of JOHN GALT (the Janus face of the wealthiest 1% collectively), without actually naming “him” (or “it”) as such. Seven such authors are: Sheldon Wolin in “Democracy Incorporated,” Thomas Frank in “The Wrecking Crew” and “One Market Under God,” Joseph Stiglitz in “The Price of Inequality,” Naomi Klein in “The Shock Doctrine,” Bartlett and Steele in “The Betrayal of the American Dream,” Kevin Phillips in “Wealth and Democracy,” and M. Hardt & A. Negri in “Empire.”

    II. Laissez-faire Terrorism

  47. Fred Zaman
    September 22, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    The Adversity of Wall Street Greed:
    Needed, a Populist Intervention in Economics

    Borrowing from radical political theorist Sheldon Wolin, laissez-faire capitalism can be regarded as an “inverted aristocracy” (Wolin’s inverted totalitarianism) in which Wall Street, through its “democratic incorporation” of the wealthiest 1% (Wolin’s democracy incorporated), controls capitalism’s neoclassical economy. The “totalitarian inversion” of which “democracy,” by Wall Street’s ruling elite, is here a caricaturization of Ayn Rand’s “JOHN GALT” – an Anti-Randian Theory (ART) in which JOHN is mnemonic for capitalism’s “Janus-faced, opportunistic, hegemonic narcissism; and GALT is the same for capitalism’s “gilded, aristocratic, laissez-faire tyranny.” ART and its capitalist elite mnemonic JOHN GALT thus stand for the possibility of a theory of the world economy that, grounded on the thinking of Sheldon Wolen, Ayn Rand and others, may be more complex, and indeed far more radical than anything now found in economic journals and on economic websites.

    Today’s “real-world economists” have been complaining, endlessly it seems, about their inability to overturn the theory of neoclassical economics on which capitalist greed is justified in principle; but perhaps it is now time for “real-world” economists of today to stop their complaining, and begin taking seriously the need to engage in complex theory development that can replace the currently hegemonic, overly simplistic theory of neoclassical economics; which without doubt will remain in place – all complaining against it notwithstanding – until a clearly superior theory of the economy can be developed. Continued complaining simply will not do the job; economic theory needs to be developed that recognizes and makes foundational the human propensity for greed. To its credit, neoclassical economics does recognize and make foundational this “all too human” propensity. However, in striving to be “scientific,” neoclassical economics makes the fundamental mistake in failing to make moral judgment about such greed, particularly in its failure to openly admitting and working toward eliminating what today is becoming obvious: the cumulative, horrendous effect of corporate greed on society’s middle class, working poor, and the indigent.

    Greed arguably is, and always has been, the mainspring of society’s corruption; and “neoclassical economics” today is its handmaiden. “Real-world economists,” in the effort to keep their economic thinking on a scientific footing as well, are failing to highlight the reality of greed in economics and make it foundational in their critiques of neoclassical economics. But what this means is that these economists of the real world are making essentially the same mistake as the neoclassical economists they critique, only in a different way. Neoclassical economists recognize greed and accept it without moral critique as being foundational to the economy. Real-world economists in opposition indirectly critique the neoclassical economic foundation on greed, but in this critique they are failing to recognize that greed indeed is foundational in economics, and must be retained in real-world economic theory. Its retention by real-world economists, however, must be on a different basis that includes a moral judgment of greed – which real-world economists seemingly will not do, however, perhaps because they feel it imperils the future standing of economics as science.

    So what is to be the future of economics in the 21st century? Is it to continue as a supposed science that recognizes the reality of greed, but retains its standing as science only by making no moral judgment whatever about it; or will it now, through real-world economists working for change, in the 21st century accept the fundamentality of greed in economics, but make explicit moral judgment about it and thus risk the standing of the discipline of economics as science. In the intervention here proposed, the ART of economics briefly described above, which conceivably might be able to provide an objective foundation in science for economics thus reconsidered; in which the systemic corruption of society by corporate greed – here collectively personified as JOHN GALT – then becomes a subject to be investigated by science; the findings of which will permit the subversive economic philosophy implicit in the corporate world, that “greed is good,” to be empirically evaluated as to its truth, by societies the world over, in their search for social justice.

  48. Fred Zaman
    September 28, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    The Nash Dynamics of JOHN GALT:
    CEO of the Free Market Economy

    Consider what one day might happen if, due to unbridled competition, the economic power of the “free market” becomes concentrated in the hands of a select few on Wall Street. Will there then be a propensity for an “aristocratic shadow government” to emerge that secretively, subversively behind the scenes, exerts both social and political control over the economic transactions of the “free market”? Which control then would result in an ever increasing gap in the income of the wealthiest 1% versus that of the 99%. If such were to emerge, what would the aristocratic shadow government of the capitalist class do behind the scenes institutionally, and behind closed doors at the executive level; in order to insure economic control? How would it justify to itself its elitist control of the free market economy? And just how would it manifest and justify itself in public? Also, how would the public recognize such control, so that it could respond effectively?

    One can hypothesize that out of the unseen, publicly denied, malevolence of the capitalist class toward the 99% emerges a shadow government of the free market economy, composed of the wealthiest 1% whose metaphorical “CEO” is JOHN GALT. With headquarters on Wall Street, as the CEO of capitalism’s free market economy, the theory “JOHN GALT” both affirms and exposes to public view the ruthlessly aristocratic character of John Galt in Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged.” As the CEO of the free market’s aristocratic shadow government, JOHN GALT radically transforms capitalism’s narrative of the free market. JOHN GALT’s governance of the free market may often be manifested as what can be called the “JOHN GALT syndrome”: in which a declaration of the facts about some subject is not accepted as simply a true statement about the subject, but rather – even if the declared facts are true and not disputed – is taken conspiratorially; and thus responded to as evidence or proof of ill intent toward a commanding view of reality that instead is based on blind faith.

    A prime example of the JOHN GALT syndrome is the theory of neoclassical economics, through which capitalism’s wealthiest 1% justify their institutional malevolence toward the 99%; which theory is vociferously defended by laissez-faire capitalism as “freedom in America.” Another example of this syndrome is the persisting myth, often refuted by the facts, that the free market is a self-regulating economy which gives the best results for all concerned when left alone by government, and other “outside forces” working toward a more just society that best promotes the general welfare. The quite different reality often demonstrated by history is that what always assumes power institutionally through free market forces, when left alone by government, is a malevolent economy of the 1%, by the 1%, and for the 1%; whose corporate maleficence always is directed toward the economically powerless 99%. A literary exemplar of this fact in American history is John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath.” JOHN GALT, the CEO of the free market economy, is metaphor for capitalism’s core values of wealth, power, and privilege; which metaphor highlights the ruthless mindset of laissez-faire capitalism exemplified by Ayn Rand in “Atlas Shrugged.”

    As the CEO of the free market economy, JOHN GALT is charged with upholding capitalism’s core values of wealth, power, and privilege; who, for the sake of the aforementioned core values, social engineers continuing corporatist programs that include:
    –enhancing the political power of the ruling elite, while also reducing/eliminating the democratic voice of the people, thereby creating a “Democracy Incorporated” that increasingly is government of the elite, by the elite, and for the elite
    –reducing the scope of government with respect to promoting the general welfare
    –blocking whenever and wherever possible government legislated improvements in worker pay, benefits, and standard of living
    –lowering the taxes paid by the wealthiest
    –through law de facto making the corporation both private property (owned by its shareholders) and a person (with regard to its political influence).
    –increasing the income gap between the wealthiest 1% and the remaining 99%
    –giving government subsidies to businesses that effectively line the pockets of the owners
    –ruthlessly exploiting nature’s wealth, and the willingness to sacrifice the environment for private profit
    –shipping industry and jobs from regions or countries with a higher standard of living for workers to regions or countries whose workers have a lower standard of living; and where the government does little or nothing to thwart the aforementioned efforts of capitalists, perhaps often even assisting them
    –using economic crisis in a city, state, or country as a political front for advancing the anti-populist programs listed above
    –displaying in public a “Janus face” that keeps hidden from the public the anti-populist programs covertly pursued by capitalism’s wealthiest, most powerful and privileged

    JOHN GALT is metaphor for what indeed is a real social phenomenon: the societal embodiment in the free market economy of capitalism’s core values of wealth, power, and privilege. However, the ideology of JOHN GALT is whatever political philosophy best serves capitalism’s core values, both presently and in the future. Today the ideology of JOHN GALT is a “conservative-leaning libertarianism” that is evolving slowly into a “communitarian-leaning conservatism.” In the time of the founding Fathers, JOHN GALT’s ideology was a “liberal-leaning communitarianism” that, by the time of President Theodore Roosevelt, had evolved into a “libertarian-leaning liberalism.” The ideology of John Galt, and Ayn Rand, in “Atlas Shrugged” is the precursor of today’s conservative-leaning libertarianism. The historical timeline of JOHN GALT’s ideological evolution is taken from “The Nash dynamics of the wealthy, powerful and privileged” (Zaman 2012), which in present terms is the Nash dynamics of JOHN GALT.

  49. Fred Zaman
    September 29, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    Wall Street’s “Radical Aristocratic Political Economics” (RAPE) of the Free Market: JOHN GALT, Chief Executive Officer

    The Republican Party’s radical Tea Party of the 15%, the percentage of U. S. voters nationwide that in 2012 elected 40 Tea Party radicals to the House of Representatives, is simply the latest and most radical Republican effort to politically emulate “The Strike” (the name Ayn Rand initially gave to “Atlas Shrugged”), of their idol John Galt and his aristocratic cohort of industrialists, artists and others, through their projected effort – in the name of (libertarian) freedom – to shut down the U. S. Government. Tea Party politics is none other than a concerted attempt at a libertarian, ideological coup of the U. S. Government by what noted political theorist Sheldon Wolin arguably would call the “inverted totalitarianism” of America’s radicalized 15%, which covertly also is capitalism’s “inverted aristocracy” of the wealthiest 1%. JOHN GALT is today’s politically conservative-libertarian, Tea Party incarnation of Ayn Rand’s project for capitalism’s global conquest of everything not rational – as “rationality” is understood by Wall Street’s ruling elite.

    The modus operandi of JOHN GALT, the metaphorical CEO of the free market’s aristocratic shadow government, is an aristocratic Janus-face of the Sheldon Wolin “imaginaries” of Wall Street’s totalitarian, “inverted aristocracy”: One face, the secret inward-looking face of the “power imaginary” of Wall Street, is private and to the extent possible kept hidden from the public; the other face, the public, outward-looking face of Wall Street’s “constitutional imaginary.” creates and maintains the illusion of corporate benevolence behind which capitalism’s dark power imaginary hides from public view.

  50. Fred Zaman
    September 30, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    Real-world, Aristocratic, Political Economics:
    Wall Street’s RAPE of the Free Market

    Real-world economics is not just economics alone, between individuals working alone in competition against others for what the free market can provide. Real-world economics also is political, the politics of which involves the cooperation of individuals that de facto aggregate into classes, the most wealthy, powerful and privileged of which is “aristocratic” in character. Taking all of this into account, we thus know that the economics that truly is real-world is a Real-world, Aristocratic, Political Economics (RAPE), the economics of which provides the means through which capitalists on Wall Street, as the class of the most wealthy, powerful, and privileged, effectively bend the “free market” to their collective will.

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