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James Meade Redux

from Peter Radford

Well, that was fun. A rebellion has swept away the establishment. I never thought I would say that the rebellion would be manifested within the GOP and that the establishment would be within the Democrats, but that’s what we just witnessed. We on the left must accept that whatever we were saying just didn’t resonate with enough people. The Democrat’s obsession with identity politics that allowed it to ignore the consequences of its embrace of neoliberal economics has led to its separation from its foundational support. The GOP is not the party of the working class, far from it, but its dysfunction and rupture in recent years has allowed it to be co-opted by a demagogue who saw a route to power by using its base to vault himself to the top. Both parties bear equal blame for the morass and malaise. Both parties need reconstructing. Else the rebellion will continue.

For those of you of a left-of-center bent let me quote from James Meade’s wonderful little book “The Intelligent Radical’s Guide to Economic Policy”. It dates from 1975, but still has relevance as we think about how to ditch neoliberalism:

“The intelligent radical is at heart an incurable egalitarian and is appalled by the gross inequalities she observes in modern society. But she desires to cope with them by methods which are compatible with maintenance of a free and efficient system.”

That was written, of course, before inequality really exploded as neoliberalism took hold.  

Some of you will object to the inclusion of the idea of a free and efficient system in any radical economic design, but I don’t. I might wonder whether the use of the word “efficient” is appropriate given the incurable uncertainty that prevents finding any pure solution to efficiency, but I think we ought use the word more loosely as a kind of placeholder for a general ability to adapt freely to circumstances.

More importantly, I think any true radical will allow plenty of space for the people who comprise the economy to pursue their own individual goals freely. This suggests an economy not socialized but socially responsive. There’s a big difference between those two concepts. A socialized economy remains the pipe dream of the old guard on the left. It has been rejected by its own failures. It is not radical. It is repressive. Socially responsive is, however, a sound basis on which to construct an active role for society in any future economic system.

Let me go back to Meade, later in his book he says this:

“We have now discussed the general principles on which governmental policies might be devised for three basic purposes: the control of inflation, the promotion of a a competitive market mechanism to combine economics freedom with economic efficiency, and the redistribution of income and property.”

We could modernize the wording of that trilogy of purposes to make it more relevant to our current problems, but even Meade’s wording sets out our goal. The purpose of economic policy is to maintain stable money so that transacting can continue securely; and then it is to balance the tension between capitalism and democracy such that we benefit from enterprise, yet mitigate its obvious anti-social by-product of inequality and unequal political power.

Yes: any radical economic policy has a redistributive political goal. It is unavoidable. It is what distinguishes it from neoliberalism. Redistribution is a core principle of democracy. It is a tenet of all democrats that we seek equal citizenship and equal rights within society. Since capitalism naturally, and within its own logic, seeks to unbalance equality and exploit such inequality as it can create for profit, all democrats are committed to a constant re-balancing. A re-balancing, crucially, that does not destroy enterprise, but encourages it within strictly enforced guidelines.

I think this is what Meade is telling us, and I agree. It is both intelligent and radical to see policy through Meade’s lens.

His three purposes ought be elevated into our own three principles to govern our way forward.

Perhaps I would go further: in this highly changeable and uncertain economy, where technological change clearly benefits some but hurts others there might be a fourth principle beyond redistribution. This would be protection or the mitigation of risk.

We already have government supplied safety nets and pension programs. They are both risk mitigation systems. But we need a more updated version: it isn’t just retirement that is tenuous in a rapidly changing environment, it is within-working-life risks that need better attention too. The so-called gig economy has fractured the old association of employment with reliable benefits. Here in America heath care is an obvious example of the risk increasingly exclusively shouldered by the employee. Unemployment, under-employment, and periodic employment all add to the separation of risk protection from the old employment ‘contract’ [such as it existed].

What this implies, to me, is that as we see the private sector getting more fragmented, less reliable, and thus more risky for the individual, it is only natural that the public sector balances that rise in risk through the provision of more flexible services.

We need to re-fit the public sector to the newly developing private sector instead of complaining about that private sector. Government’s role is increasing, not decreasing, as individuals are presumed to manage their lives more directly instead of relying on the paternalism of their old employer. In other words: as capitalism evolves to be a more cost conscious and less socially aware system, we need to re-up our commitment to the democratic ideals that undergird a strong role for government. As business gets more “at will” so government gets more robust to compensate.

This is the mirror image of the heyday economic years of the 1950’s and 1960’s when business was more benign, more restrained by union pressures, and less vicious than its is now. In those paternalistic years government could be less involved because the risks were more managed in the private sector. There was a balance. Nowadays to get back to that balance we need to offset vicious capitalism with more robust democracy.

In any case: Meade is worth reading, if only to remind us of what we all lost when both our political parties went rogue and became mouthpieces for neoliberalism.

  1. November 12, 2016 at 2:09 am

    Integration of truths is wisdom, as is the deletion of untruths, and the depth of wisdom also recognizes that solutions are better than palliatives. It is way past time that we combined theories in these ways: 1) honest assessment of truthfulness, 2) honest deletion of palliatives and unworkabilities and 3) the intention of greater freedom and re-balancing of dominant powers that impede that intention.

  2. patrick newman
    November 12, 2016 at 9:15 am

    So is this a case for social democracy +++?

  3. November 12, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    “What this implies, to me, is that as we see the private sector getting more fragmented, less reliable, and thus more risky for the individual, it is only natural that the public sector balances that rise in risk through the provision of more flexible services”.

    Yes, but there is more than one way of skinning a cat, and the elephant in the room is the old “Love of money is the root of all evil” story in which the evil is governments allowing banks to produce flexible services by printing and lending out their own “lovable” money.

    “Banking was conceived in iniquity and was born in sin. The bankers own the earth. Take it away from them, but leave them the power to create money, and with the flick of the pen they will create enough deposits to buy it back again. However, take away from them the power to create money and all the great fortunes like mine will disappear, and they ought to disappear, for this would be a happier and better world to live in. But, if you wish to remain the slaves of bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, let them continue to create money.” [Josiah Stamp, 1922].

    Printing money is indeed the way to flexibility, but there are two alternatives to the banks printing it: one is that governments print it (but bankers can get into government and take over again), and the other is that we print our own money as and when we need it, which is what happens with credit cards. The issue then is what happens to money when we’ve used it?

    Bank loans disappear when we’ve paid them off, but not any interest we’ve paid on them, which is how the rich enabled themselves to get richer and in love with money. This money, like electricity, appears to circulate, but at the subatomic level electrons from the negative terminal of a battery go only to the positive side of the battery, where they circulate round positive ions which have migrated internally like goods going from seller to buyer. The net result is that the battery eventually goes flat and needs recharging (and that better by the sun rather than steam engines powering the generator, but we need at least to build and maintain the generator).

    That’s what happens in credit card accounts until we’ve recharged them by paying off our debt. Not so with bank loans. Profit but not value piles up, and will continue to do so until constitutions are amended to include the convention that money has negative value, along the lines of your driving on the left side of the road. One can use either convention. Curiously electrons, like money, were initially thought of as “things” and assumed to have positive value, but the convention was reversed when it turned out electrons were only trivially things, so the atomic ions [the “goods”] were assigned their positive value.

    I do wish Peter and the other leader-writers on this blog would get their heads round what I keep telling them about the information theory of C E Shannon and the indexed logic of Algol68. Efficiency in information theory is about encoding meaning in a minimal number of bits of information, but in practice we have far more bits available than this, and Shannon showed how the redundant bits could be used to detect and (by use of feedback) correct random errors. (Interestingly, the closed combinations of bits representing, say, a random message in a closed alphabet or tv picture frame is ergodic, but that in the noise doesn’t have to be: all that matters is that you can detect errors due to it and correct them efficiently). Efficiency in such information processing is about minimising processing, e.g. by ordering a list of people rather than the people in the list. This is much like buying and selling entitlements or marketing goods via a catalogue without transporting goods to market. At least this is not an empty concept like marketing in current economic theory, nor is it based on the 19th century physical concept of market forces. However, economic freedom will come with economic efficiency only when we start to think in terms of giving away information rather than creating unnecessary physical surpluses and transporting them around the world in pursuit of IOU’s, mistakenly supposing the latter convey rights rather than recording some unknown person’s indebtedness.

  4. November 12, 2016 at 11:05 pm

    DaveTaylor1, your credit card system is great..but , Oh yes, this is a ” but”…it addresses and cures the symptoms of the “Fatal Flaw”, “Systemic Failure”, and possible “Monetary Collapse”; in no way does it cure the disease.
    Please challenge what IMHO is an interpretation of SODDYISM.
    The Fatal Flaw is that we do not recognize that MONEY AS WEALTH must be in existence before it can be created (issued). We are flawed in calling…bank issuance MONEY when that issuance is made “out of thin air.” BTW, that has been empirically proven as being ‘credit money’. The same “word”-“money” is used with two opposite meaning. One as a receipt or a value of wealth that is to be redeemed at a future time for wealth. The other use is a copy of a receipt (made out of thin air,’Fairy Dust”), a copy of wealth already owned by someone else.
    ALL wealth has already been created, the entire expanding universe.
    A Monetary Sovereignty can not create wealth. A MS can be law ‘coin or print’ transferable receipts of wealth in a transferable measured form for its sovereignty.
    A Monetary Sovereignty should be allowed to “borrow” from the wealth of the entirety
    at zero cost, use that ‘borrowed’ money to help fund “a more perfect union.
    Remembering that it must put that money back into its secure holdings so the lawful owners may redeem their individual value upon demand. A Monetary Sovereignty should use for the betterment of all the members of the community. OMG-What better, just method to produce a revenue stream then to charge interest to fund the sovereignty!
    We must go back to “IN GOD WE TRUST”.
    We have dominion over this universe, all its wealth. As mankind exponentially grows so does the universe; a perfect system. Only we can screw it up! Justaluckyfool.
    (Google: “Where We When Wrong” by Justaluckyfool)
    I am A fool that wishes only for any profound reply and a challenge of the work of Frederick Soddy. I am but a messenger now, but always a fool.

  5. November 14, 2016 at 12:49 am

    J., as it happens I don’t accept that money is wealth any more than a name of a person is the person named. It is the name of a concept which can be represented numerically, but there are different types of number and it is used by the innocent as a measure of values which cannot be measured, by clever clogs to put in order valuations which change with circumstances, by the vain as a sign of how clever they are, and by those with a budget or credit limit, as a heuristic or guide to help them make responsible decisions about purchases and repayments. As I remember, Soddy used it in the last of these ways, as an accounting device. It follows that I don’t accept your version of the ‘Fatal Flaw’ as it stands. A name like ‘Justaluckyfool’ can exist whether or not that is the proper name of a real person; a fiction like Utopia can exist before and independently of whether we make reality like it in future; an IOU can be offered merely imagining another person has something to sell.

    So let’s look at my version of your ‘Fatal Flaw’. The first point is that you are seeing examples of money as used in transactions, I’m seeing a theoretical concept wide enough to make sense of all examples and uses of money.

    The second point is that you are seeing monetary transactions at points in time, and not accounting for directions in which both symbols and the things valued are flowing relative to each other in time. This is the difference between micro and macro economics; in another thread I’ve recently explained it by analogy to the one-off motion of a single electron and the seemingly continuous motion of an electric current – until the battery runs out …

    And the third point is that you are seeing the meaning of the word ‘money’ being used like Humpty Dumpty used words, with each person saying it means what he intends it to mean; whereas (having worked with a scientific language which required its users to define their words unambiguously), I say the ‘Fatal Flaw’ is not agreeing on a definition of it which eliminates ambiguity, i.e. a convention at the same logical level as a nation deciding which
    side of the road its cars should drive on, and deciding on safe speed limits. The existing legal conventions imply money is equivalent to wealth and well-being, so has the same positive value people love so much they will compete, cheat, steal and even kill to acquire it. They require unpopular taxation, insurances and anti-social repressive government to manage it; whereas explicitly adopting the negative convention would imply that money is not wealth, and that it something one should only use insofar as one needs to. Neither bankers nor the government officials would want to indebt themselves by “printing money”; which leaves us relying on our credit cards (with higher credit limits for big projects).

    “In God we must trust “, you say; but remember, God has no hands but ours. After your elections, I found myself dwelling on a song by Joanne Boyce this morning:

    I prayed for hope,
    I prayed we’d all keep trying.
    I prayed for time to save our world from dying.
    I prayed for peace.
    I prayed a million times over.
    I prayed for a miracle.

    With apologies to Patrick Newman, if he feels poetry inappropriate here too …

    • November 14, 2016 at 1:15 am

      Apologies for a lot of this repeating what I’d written earlier here: I had thought that was in a different discussion. I am not sure how far J. was supporting me, but as she has not followed up my points perhaps they bear repeating. What I don’t support is her idea of an institution called a Monetary Sovereign printing or even borrowing money; I’m arguing bottom up. It is those actually doing jobs who need credit for the resources necessary for their job.

    • November 15, 2016 at 12:43 am

      “J., as it happens I don’t accept that money is wealth any more than a name of a person is the person named. It is the name of a concept …”,Dave taylor1
      It is the name of a concept… but it is used as the singular name for TWO opposite creations.
      Let me repeat and rephrase…”The Fatal Flaw is that we do not recognize that MONEY AS WEALTH…money as wealth a/k/a Genuine Money ” is now used as the singular word for
      TWO forms of “Money”. 1. Genuine, when the concept’s physical form is representative of SOMETHING GIVEN UP in order to exchange for ANYTHING. 2. Fictitious, when the concept’s physical form is representative of “thin air”, “Fairy Dust.”
      We now no longer believe “In God We Trust” as having created all wealth that is needed by mankind.
      Yes, we have loss our TRUST In God; now We Trust In Man to create “wealth” from nothing.
      ” All smoke and mirrors.” All designed with ONE intention: ‘ To Hide The Issuers Alchemy ‘. It does not matter how the ‘money’ is coined, printed, or digitized – It is not wealth. When one understands this basic universal law, they will know of this deceit.”
      Wealth is SOMETHING of value.
      ALL Wealth on earth and in the universe exists and is expanding.

      Money now is the NOTHING you get for SOMETHING (a created value)
      before you can get ANYTHING (a created value).
      Money is a receipt for SOMETHING (a value given up).
      Money can not create ANYTHING (an exchangeable value).
      “The Role Of Money”
      Frederick Soddy,
      “The Monetary System Impedes the Flow.
      Since, in all monetary civilizations, it is money that alone
      can effect the exchange of wealth and the continuous flow of goods and services
      throughout the nation, money has become the life-blood of
      the community, and for each individual a veritable licence to live at all.
      The monetary system is the
      distributory mechanism, and this reading of
      history therefore supports up to the hilt the con-
      clusions of those who have made a special study
      of what our monetary system has become. It is
      the primary and infinitely most important source
      of all our present social and international unrest
      and for the failure, hitherto, of democracy.”

      “A very slight knowledge of our actual existing
      monetary system makes it abundantly clear that,
      without democracy knowing or allowing it, and
      without the matter ever being before the electorate
      even as a secondary or minor political issue, the
      power of uttering money has been taken out of
      national hands and usurped as a perquisite by
      the moneylender. Practically every genuine
      monetary reformer is unanimous that the only
      hope of safety and peace lies in the nation
      instantly resuming its prerogative over the issue
      of all forms of money, which, legally, it has never
      surrendered at all.”( SODDY)

      So how is this, to most people not understood, that money is wealth while at the same time
      money can not increase wealth, but merely store or exchange what has already been
      given up. What is the “basic flaw” ?
      Why is that flaw not understood ?
      Soddy answered these questions, ““So elaborately has the real nature of this ridiculous proceeding been surrounded with confusion by some of the cleverest and most skillful advocates the world has ever known, that it still is something of a mystery to ordinary people, who hold their heads and confess they are ” unable to understand finance “. It is not intended that they should.”
      As Frederick Soddy has stated as an axiom:

      “WHAT is Money ? Let us commence our
      study of the role of money by a compre-
      hensive definition of what modern money is.

      Money now is the NOTHING you get for SOMETHING
      before you can get ANYTHING.

      Our task is to understand all that this implies.
      The definition is, of course, an economic one
      referring to ordinary transactions such as earning,
      buying, and selling among ordinary folk generous
      uncles and other voluntary benefactors not being
      under contemplation and the nothing, something,
      and anything of the definition refer to things of
      real value in themselves, usually termed goods and
      services, or simply wealth, unless hair-splitting
      or purely technical distinctions turning on the
      precise definition of wealth are involved. More-
      over, it refers to ordinary people,
      in the sense of those who neither have the opportunity nor the
      power of uttering money themselves. ”

      Nowhere is there a mandate to create wealth (money),
      the “giving up of SOMETHING before you can get ANYTHING (money).”

      The Fatal Flaw is that we do not recognize that MONEY AS WEALTH must be in existence before it can be created (issued). We are flawed in calling…bank issuance MONEY when that issuance is made “out of thin air.” BTW, that has been empirically proven as being ‘credit money’. The same “word”-“money” is used with two opposite meaning. One as a receipt or a value of wealth that is to be redeemed at a future time for wealth. The other use is a copy of a receipt (made out of thin air,’Fairy Dust”), a copy of wealth already owned by someone else.

      We must go back to “IN GOD WE TRUST”.
      We have dominion over this universe, all its wealth. As mankind exponentially grows so does the universe; a perfect system. Only we can screw it up!
      Our forefathers understood what “In God We Trust” meant
      An HONEST CENTRAL BANK can not, or shall not create wealth.
      An honest Central Bank is the guardian of the wealth given up,
      …the sole and only entity that may issue receipts on the community wealth,
      …must operate with transparency,
      …be held accountable.

      “THEY” have used the same words to create different meanings!

      “MONEY”as a receipt of wealth; “MONEY” as a creation of wealth “out of thin air”.

      Nowhere is there a mandate to create wealth (money), the “giving up of SOMETHING
      before you can get ANYTHING (money).” The Constitution allows Congress
      …TO BORROW
      …TO ‘Coin’
      …TO punish counterfeiting.
      This is clear in that borrowing,coining,or printing
      is authorized of that which is already “wealth given up” and this is also clear
      “other then that is ‘counterfeit.”

      *** U.S. Constitution.
      ARTICLE . 1. ..SECTION. 8.

      “The Congress shall have Power …
      To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

      To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign
      Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

      The Congress shall have Power …
      To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;…”
      What the Constitution declares:
      ****(A) “TO BORROW”. It may not ‘create’ Genuine money; that is SOMETHING already owned by individuals and the community.N.B.,There is no reason (or request) to pay interest when borrowing from your own sovereign wealth.
      **** (B) “TO COIN MONEY, REGULATE.It may either by printing, making stamped tokens, digital dots maintain and control that standard of Weights and
      Measures,i.e., the physical representative form of Genuine Money.
      **** (C)”To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting…”
      No entity may “create out of thin air” and turn it into SOMETHING that is guaranteed to be redeemable as Genuine money.

      SODDY, “Let us right from the start get the signs right.
      The owner of money is the creditor and the issuer of it is the debtor, for the owner of money gives
      up goods and services to the issuer. In an honest
      money system the issuer of money who gets
      for nothing goods and services would do so on
      trust for the benefit of the community. In
      a fraudulent money system he does so for the
      benefit of himself. It makes no difference whether
      he passes off the money and puts it into circulation
      himself or lends it at interest for others to pass off
      for him. In every case what he so gets to spend or
      lend is given up by someone else. Ex nihilo nihil
      fit. Nothing comes from nothing..”

      “Capitalism is the “best” system to date devised by mankind. As it is administrated, perhaps, is where the “flaw” is manifested. If capitalism used its Central Bank properly,that is for the betterment of the common good, with equality and justice for all, capitalism could be the greatest achievement of mankind.” Justaluckyfool.

      SODDY, ” … every monetary system must at long last conform, if it is to fulfil its proper role
      as the distributive mechanism of society. To allow it to become a source of revenue to private issuers is to create, first, a secret and illicit arm of the government and, last, a rival power strong enough ultimately to overthrow all other forms of government.”

      Forgive me, as a fool.
      Help me as a messenger.
      Hear this ‘lost voice’ crying in the wilderness’.
      Challenge and then endorse.
      Frederick Soddy writings, namely “The Role Of Money”
      (Entire book as a free download… http://archive.org/details/roleofmoney032861mbp )
      “There is a growing exasperation that an age so splendid and full of the noblest promise
      of generous life should be in such ill-informed and incompetent hands.
      Everywhere now there is the dawning consciousness among thoughtful minds that this age contains elements not understood or contained within the working rules of the older systems of government, economics, sociology, or even religion, and that it is due to new principles that have to be introduced into the base and can in no wise be met by a change in the superstructure of society. Even more remarkable, almost incredibly so to those who have been hitherto lost voices crying in the wilderness, is the swiftly growing volume of agreement that it is the obsolete and dangerous monetary system that, primarily, is at fault.”

      • November 15, 2016 at 9:14 am

        J. You’ve said all this before, interesting through Soddy is. Learn from Paul Davidson, who though he often repeats his message, does so in about three lines.

        Earlier, you said “I am a fool that wishes only for any profound reply and a challenge of the work of Frederick Soddy”. I’ve tried to oblige with a profound reply, but I really don’t understand why you want us to challenge rather than learn from the insight of Frederick Soddy.

      • November 15, 2016 at 12:32 pm

        Because I have no value as an economist but that of a single fool’s “crying out from the wilderness”.
        ” Did Soddy get it right ?”
        “Give Soddy his just due.”
        AND THANK YOU, Davetaylor…”Money is a concept” when ‘coined’,’printed’,or digital form (an entry on a balance sheet) it is a physical representation.As Soddy stated,
        “Money now is the NOTHING you get for SOMETHING before you can get ANYTHING” , Frederick Soddy (The Role Of Money”.
        And THANK YOU for your guidance. The “Fatal Flaw” is the ability of mankind to exponentially create more “Fictitious” money then “Genuine ” money;when unrestrained
        you have-inflation-systemic failure, or monetary collapse.

      • November 16, 2016 at 4:17 am

        Justaluckyfool and Dave, I think you both miss what money is. Money is an expression of obligation. That obligation is shared with us in songs, literature, government, economics, and in physical artifacts. It’s an obligation to give value to someone by taking it from another or others. When a government prints a bill, or a bank issues a loan, or a vendor accepts payment they agree on an exchange of obligations. But cultural artifacts like money can be powerful, can direct and redirect the lives of persons and institutions. So, it’s important that the control of the artifact be clearly defined in the culture where it exists. That is my concern. The control of the money artifact, in concepts, in physical makeup, in commerce is not clearly controlled any longer in societies dominated by neoliberal economics. In these societies, the struggle for profit and wealth is extended to the basic cultural definition of money. Each societal actor with sufficient power (defined later) can attempt to define the money artifact. This can’t continue for long before the interactions in that society based on and in money become dysfunctional and break down. That’s what’s we’re beginning to see right now. The survival of the society is then at issue.

      • November 16, 2016 at 4:34 am

        ” Money is an expression of obligation.” No. I’m sure ‘my expression’ of a million dollar obligation wouldn’t get me a cup of coffee. Money is a debt: it represents SOMETHING that is given up for exchange for ANYTHING. Now there are two kinds of “Physical Money Representation; Genuine & Fictitious “Verified by Empirical Evidence”
        ****Can banks individually create money out of nothing? “thin air” – The theories and the empirical evidence ☆***by Richard A. Werner

      • November 16, 2016 at 6:57 am

        Not really. The modern financial system began with the Bank of England, the world’s first national bank. The earliest banking involved money-changing between coin and bullion and between different currencies, issuing bills of exchange (in the form of a letter asking one person to pay a sum of money to another on behalf of the person who wrote the letter) and accepting deposit of valuables or money which earned interest. The “bills of exchange” evolved into bank notes at the end of the 17th century. In 1855 the banknotes were formalized by printing and included the signature of the chief cashier. With these words printed on the banknotes, “I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of ….” This is an obligation as I see it. US currency includes this obligation “THIS NOTE IS LEGAL TENDER FOR ALL DEBTS, PUBLIC AND PRIVATE.” Another obligation. As to who or what can create such notes that’s the result, as in most other major cultural artifacts of “negotiations.” Including war, robbery, and murder.

      • November 16, 2016 at 12:37 pm

        Your response states,”The modern financial system” Out of thin air” would date back to the first counter “tally board”or ‘Modern would be the first bank loan that was not actually taken from a deposit. Read more: https://bestsolutionsfl.wordpress.com/2016/11/12/where-we-went-wrong-in-god-we-trust-by-justaluckyfool/ . Even more important—-A FREE DOWNLOAD-
        The entire book-https://archive.org/stream/roleofmoney032861mbp/roleofmoney032861mbp_djvu.txt

      • November 16, 2016 at 2:19 pm

        Correction: …first counterfeit ‘tally stick’

      • November 17, 2016 at 4:35 am

        You seem focused on the sources of money. I assume you’re not talking about just the accounting protocols that govern counting and distributing money. Your concern it seems is the creation of money “from nothing.” My questions are fairly simple, I think. If money is not from nowhere, where is it from? In other words, what’s its sources and which are legitimate, in your view? Is this more important than the political and economic control that is often associated with control of the money supply? Who, that is which institutions, persons, or other groups ought to be in charge of creating money, and providing it to members of society? Finally, since money is obligation – to receive/give as payment, to give value to something – how can this obligation function with multiple sources of “legitimate” money, especially in counteracting “illegitimate” sources of money?

    • November 16, 2016 at 12:44 pm

      This becoming an interesting discussion: a pity it isn’t in a more prominent thread. J., I agree that money “represents”, but what does buy you a cup of coffee? Arguably, that you agree to the seller’s giving you the coffee appearing in your account as a measure of your debt to society, and in his account to his social credit. Either way it is the COFFEE which is society’s debt to Nature, which needs to be repaid by our helping Nature grow some more.

      Ken, I agree with you insofar as you say money is an “expression” of something; but is the ‘something’ an “obligation”? I found myself comparing this with the “duties” (that which is due) which we used to have in the Youth Hostels Association, i.e. little jobs clearing up which helped to keep its accomodation costs affordable. (Sadly, since Thatcher the wardens have been expected to do them all).

      In my dictionary I then found “Oblige: v.t. to bind morally or legally; to bind by some favour rendered, hence to do a favour to. Obligate: (U.S. and archaic) to bind by contract or duty; (archaic or provincial) to bind by gratitude. [Hence the word ‘religion’, literally re-binding].

      What I get from this is that Ken’s U.S. legal obligations are specific but “archaic” ones not, so J.’s Soddy argument is most likely talking algebra to people familiar only with arithmetic.

      • November 17, 2016 at 4:57 am

        I don’t think you’ll understand obligation until you consider how it’s actually created. Dictionaries and even Wikipedia are of limited use. The obligations about money, in the US, are in the process of transitioning from what I call a “credit union” or “savings bank” arrangement to full involvement in multi-layered and “financial” sets of arrangements. Beginning in the 1970s (mostly with the Mafia and other organized crime groups) a shift began to a form of “money life” that focused on devices to remake (launder) money, remotely control money, and facilitate betting arrangements allowing delivery of “money rights” (but not physical currency). This was done in accord with the new “national” banks and “finance” experts. By the 1980s we have the leveraged “buy-out” in which the purchaser of a company faced almost no obligation to supply money for the purchase, and the unfettered right to gamble on a stock or other investment by simply adding numbers to an accounting sheet. Wealth and income are now merely statistics, with little relationship to money in the traditional (Bank of England) sense. If one knows and can work this set of arrangements, it’s easy to become rich quickly. If one is on the outside such a feat is almost impossible. Warren Buffett is one of the last “traditionalists” left. And he won’t be around much longer.

  6. November 14, 2016 at 6:09 am

    “… any true radical will allow plenty of space for the people who comprise the economy to pursue their own individual goals freely. Sounds good. But not always good in practice. In some instances and with some people the freedom to pursue one’s own economic goals often translates to denying or robbing others of economic or political freedom, or both. Adam Smith makes clear in the “Theory of Moral Sentiments” that economic actions/decisions must be controlled by moral rules and obligations. In other words, the economy is too powerful, too dangerous to be left on its own. Two questions. First, can “economic policy” based on democratic decision making provide such moral controls for over profit, over use, and over egos? Second, does the mixed economy Meade describes actually enhance human adaptability? I don’t see how that’s possible. There needs to be a code of morality from which rules and duties can be developed which define not only freedom, but also obligations and permissible actions, economic and otherwise. And physical arrangements to teach, oversee, and enforce the code must be designed, funded, and enforced. Otherwise, those who can take advantage will do so without sanctions and everyone else will as a result suffer, some a great deal. Call such codes feedback mechanisms if you wish. But understand what that is. That certain actions and decisions are to be made more or less likely based on their consequences. This requires quite precise descriptions of both the actions/decisions and the consequences that make the feedback work.

    • November 14, 2016 at 11:05 am

      Ken, congratulations on getting us back to Peter’s citation of James Meade and Patrick Newman’s question. Indeed, “sounds good”, but it seems to me the fundamental reason it is not good in practice is that we all have to grow up, and only a few of us have the temperament and wide enough experience to grow up into true radicals. Adam Smith, following Hume, went back to the Old Testament version of morality, which didn’t work, whereas I can say from personal experience that Jesus’s non-specific alternative – an ethic? – does: if people are good to you, you can learn how to love and be good to others beside yourself, making grateful giving a chain reaction. But conversely, ingratitude can be a chain reaction, as Thomas More pointed out in Utopia. Even before the Reformation in England people who had done the work of the landed gentry were being turned out of their homes and kitchen gardens to make way for sheep, having to steal to feed their children, and the authorities had forgotten their Christianity and were hanging them in their thousands for doing what in circumstances created by the money-living of the authorities had become necessary. For me the moral of this (the more or normal behaviour which has to be learned) is the responsibility of parents and other authorities to teach our children how to love by example (“a picture is worth a thousand words”), not to deprive them of what they need and threaten them with further deprivation.

      But it is a never-ending problem: every generation has to grow up, and a lot of them will never have chance to, and in particular some will fall in love with love of their own feelings of excitement, from immature experience of gambling, or winning, or (or dare I say it?) Eureka moments. Little things can lead to a lot. Possibly Popes raising money by selling indulgences to pay for the magnificent edifice of st Peter’s cathedral in Rome was a major reason for the reformation. (Dorothy L Sayers wrote a brilliant play on this theme called “The Zeal of Thy House”. As the proverb puts it, pride comes before the fall).

      • November 14, 2016 at 11:59 am

        I look at it the other way round. Smith says, “As to love our neighbor as we love ourselves is the great law of Christianity, so it is the great precept of nature to love ourselves only as we love our neighbor, or what comes to the same thing, as our neighbor is capable of loving us.” I look at this kind of relationship as the historical most common for homo sapiens. What we’re dealing with is its corruption. The question is how did that corruption occur; what’s its history?

      • November 14, 2016 at 8:03 pm

        Yes, I know you look at it the other way round. History is not about what is most common, it is about which came first. Adam Smith, like most scholars in those days, was not married, so didn’t observe children growing up, from being instinctively preoccupied with their own needs to being parents themselves, instinctively preoccupied with their children’s needs and aware (sometimes for the first time) just how much they owe their own parents. We are not dealing with a corrupt state so much as a failure to grow up: i.e. corruption of the growing up process by the likes of vicious or unchallenging parents, peers, overseers and competition, or evil commerce exploiting immaturity with the the proverbial wine, women, gambling and drugs. [With apologies: I’m spelling the issues out to myself].

        Apologies too for the “corruption” of my letter below (at 11.56 a.m.) by unseen line-endings. As a lawyer that paper might interest you, Ken. It is certainly helping me get my head round the legal problems of transition from one form of economy to another].

    • November 14, 2016 at 11:56 am

      The ending of this (up for discussion in a Tony Lawson workshop) sounds interestingly relevant here:

      Abstract. We review the role of economic theory in shaping the process of legal
      change in Russia during the two transitions it experienced during the course of the
      twentieth century: the transition to a socialist economy organised along the lines of
      state ownership of the means of production in the 1920s, and the transition to a
      market economy which occurred after the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1990s.
      Despite differences in methodology and in policy implications, Marxist theory,
      dominant in the 1920s, and neoclassical economics, dominant in the 1990s, offered
      a similarly reductive account of law as subservient to wider economic forces. In
      both cases, the subordinate place accorded to law undermined the transition process.
      Although path dependence and history are frequently invoked to explain the limited
      development of the rule of law in Russia during the 1990s, policy choices driven by
      a deterministic conception of law and economics also played a role.

      John Hamilton and Simon Deakin: “Russia’s Legal Transitions: Marxist Theory,
      Neoclassical Economics and the Rule of Law”, Published online: 10 September 2015
      c. T.M.C. Asser Press.

      • November 15, 2016 at 6:56 am

        Some notes on your comments. First, the two transitions you mention were not clear and clean cut as you describe them. The transitions in the 1920s stopped being about Marxism after Lenin’s death. Stalin was no Marxist. The transition was socialist. In the form of native Russian socialism. Russia under the Czars was a feudal socialist society. Organized around estates of the Boyars and serfs who were bound by tradition to the land and their Boyar master; all overseen by the father (the Czar). Once Boyars were removed the serfs attempted to continue their lives as before under various forms of self-government. Until after the White Russian rebellion was crushed in 1922. At which time native socialism was welded to the new Czar, Stalin. After Stalin’s death Russia (USSR) gradually evolved into an Aparichit (bureaucratic) arrangement which ossified over time. An old comment among Russian scholars explains I think the relationship between the USSR and Marxism. “Das Capital” like the Bible in the US is on many bookshelves in homes and government. And like the Bible is hardly ever taken down and read. As for neoliberal theory and the 1990s in Russia whatever effect the economists who carried this theory had on Russia was short-lived and very limited. From 1991 to 2000 these economists’ changes to Russian society produced a large uptick in criminal organizations in Russia (the Russian “Mafia”), made fuel and food shortages worse, and increased inflation. Vladimir Putin and his associates kicked out these economists and established a more culturally connected economy. Although many of the oligarchs who got rich on looting fuels and food supplies remain in place. The Constitution of the Russian Federation was approved by a national election in 1993. In form and content, it creates the Russian Federation as a democratic nation remarkably analogous to the US.

        As to history and the corruption of cooperation and common feeling, my view of history is much broader. Every encounter between homo sapiens and the other human species 70,000 years ago lead to the extinction of the other human species. Although the other species in most instances had larger brains, homo sapiens’ winning advantages were greater social cohesion (a greater feeling of kinship), superior communications abilities, and greater social skills allowing for real-time and more accurate and fluid social coordination. Anthropologists surmise this based on the changes in brain design and chemistry that occurred in homo sapiens (but not the other human species) 70,000 years ago. My question is this. What happened to extinguish these facilities of homo sapiens to the extent we seen them in the last 5,000-10,000 years? I don’t know the answer. I ask the question.

      • November 15, 2016 at 9:04 am

        Ken, comments on your comments on “my” comments, where those you have addressed are Deakin’s, not mine; and those are an abstract, so very reasonably clear-cut, as the point of the paper was to explore the reasons why the reality was not.

        My own comment pointed to the end of Deakin’s abstract, which says in its own way what I am saying when I point to the difference between the Roman and Anglo-Saxon concept of law: the one willing to consider mitigating circumstances but the other focussed narrowly on observed behaviour:

        ” policy choices driven by a deterministic conception of law and economics also played a role”.

      • November 15, 2016 at 9:51 am

        I read the paper. I disagree with its very premise, “In this article we focus on a relatively neglected aspect of this debate, namely the way in which understandings of the
        law-economy relation in Russia have been shaped, at critical junctures, by theories and policies premised on the subservience of the legal system to economic forces, and we explore the implications of this for contemporary Russia. As I attempted to indicate in my comments the two theories mentioned (socialism and neoliberlaism) have had minimal impact on contemporary or historical Russia. This article is my view is just another a-historical and a-cultural analysis of Russia. Lot of this going round since the collapse of the USSR.

        Considering your other comment the case of Russia probably splits the baby. Russian culture is both fatalistic and deterministic, based in the Russian Orthodox Church, the history of Russia’s relations with other nations and peoples, and centralized governance. Following that path Russian law takes a separate path as well. Law historically supported the Czar, the Church, and the defense of mother Russia. In this it was deterministic. And remains so today, thought with some flexibility based on uncertainties (some wrought by democratic changes) about faith, governance, and the defense of Russia (or the Russian Empire, or the whole of the Russian sphere of influence).

      • November 17, 2016 at 5:38 pm

        Ken, there was a very interesting programme on TV last night exploring MRI scans and educational differences in relation to differences between the way men and women’s minds work. The differences were startling. The MRI’s show that women (who multitask better) communicated heavily between the linguistic and visual sides of their brain, but the men were dominantly between the front and back, on both sides of their brain (so they were either cogitating or reactively doing). Experiments with children’s toys showed how baby humans and even baby monkeys had the boys picking up cars with wheels and the girls going for the dolls. As it happens I seem to be one of the relatively few men who use both sides of my brain; your reply here suggests that you are not one of them: that words having put a bee in your bonnet, you don’t check to see what they are actually saying. This not to criticise (we are who we are) but perhaps to learn from?

        The paper I commended to you was not about the state of Russian law in the past or present, it was about what was going on in two periods of ultimately abortive transition, when the issue was what interested me, the change from one economic system to another. I wasn’t expecting the paper to be telling me what I ought or ought not to do; it was giving me food for thought on issues I would need to deal with.

      • November 18, 2016 at 4:29 am

        The paper gave me little food for thought. I’ve seen it all before. But I agree both economic transitions mentioned failed.

  7. November 17, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    Ken, ” What we’re dealing with is its corruption. The question is how did that corruption occur; what’s its history?” Quote Michael Hudson ,” A syndicate of less than one hundred American capitalists, if allowed to collect interest on their capital at a low rate and re-invest for 150 years or less, would at the end of that time own the earth and all real and personal property thereon. This is a simple mathematical proposition, capable of exact demonstration, and any one who doubts the truth of this statement may set all doubts at rest by computing compound interest on one and one-half billions of dollars for one hundred and fifty years, at five per cent per annum. …Flürscheim elaborated that “All exertions, all improvements in the methods and tools of labor, the strictest economy, the severest self-denial, are powerless to compete with the rapidity of self-increase possessed by capital placed at compound interest, and they cannot keep up with its demands.”
    The 1% are using “the most powerful force in the universe” to gain ALL the wealth of the universe, their weapon is compounding.”
    When the Imp ( Compound Interest defeated the Angel of Innovation) IF he had said,
    “I will seek a new master, one of good and betterment.”
    HOW would that system have done?
    PERHAPS, MAYBE; Fuel “for the people”…a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,…”
    “Democratic Republic Capitalism”
    Capitalism is the “best” system to date devised by mankind. When capitalism uses its administration properly,that is for the betterment of the common good, with equality and justice for all, capitalism would be one of the “greatest” achievement of mankind.
    An Honest Central Bank !

    • November 17, 2016 at 6:23 pm

      J., for the sake of argument, I will say Capitalism may have been the best system devised up to 1935, but Keynes profoundly modified it, and developments in communication, data recording and computation since 1948 mean that direct rather than monetary recording of resource consumption and regeneration is now open to us if we are prepared to use it: this eliminating control of real capital by holders of monetary capital, encompassing all real capital rather than just that which is being paid for, and (by using a credit card system) restricting the use of money to personal or project budgeting.


      • November 17, 2016 at 9:38 pm

        That it was ‘best’ up to 1935, thank you. It may also mean “properly managed” after 1935 could continue to make it the best. And that is the point. Capitalism, pure and simple is the whole system. Part of the system has an inequality built in (profit distribution) which demands gaps. “Republic Democratic Capitalism” would have the governing body control, through taxation, the size and shape of the gaps; perhaps changing ‘best’ to greatest.
        An example I hope “TRUMPERS” adopt:
        Taxation is a ways and means by which a governing body recaptures currency already in circulation.
        Currency that it can redistribute without changing the quality or quantity of the entire currency.
        Capitalism demands inequality.
        Capitalism demands proportional rewards.
        The size of the ‘Gaps’ are a demand of the administration of the quality and quantity of these ‘gaps’.
        It is the size of the gaps where the administration of inequality becomes distorted.
        American Capitalism (Republican Democratic Capitalism) allows everyone to achieve
        ‘The American Dream’ and to retain that “Fair Share”.
        But that dream should not impede the poor and elderly from achieving their FAIR SHARE. Nor should it impede risk and reward which will ultimately lead to a betterment for all.
        A federal taxation of personal income must recognize the sanctity of “The fruits of mankind’s labor”
        A federal taxation of personal income should be used to control the distribution of income to obtain a fair and just sharing of the American Dream.
        A federal taxation of personal income, a just and fair sharing of the worlds riches while maintaining the greatest standard of living.
        A federal taxation of personal income is not a required source for government spending. Taxation for spending can be acquired (As this system already knows) by “other means” than personal income taxation.There are many better ways to INCREASE REVENUE for government spending.
        You will hear that this plan will increase the standard of living, will increase jobs, and still there is many ways to tax.
        The BEST Plan to raise revenue is to create millions of new American Jobs.
        “Money now is a license to live.” (Frederick Soddy 1932) and we must preserve that American Dream that allows
        for the basic dignity of mankind; a good standard of living, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

        “THE NEW ONE PAGE:Federal Personal Income Tax: 2016″

        Brackets & Rates for Married-Joint filers:

        Less than $100,000: 12%
        More than $100,000 but less than $225,000: 25%
        More than $225,000: 33%
        *Brackets for single filers are ½ of these amounts
        ALL income is taxable and must be reported
        Tax Group One (12%)
        Income up to $50,000 will be taxed at a rate of…..12%
        JOINT Income up to $100,000 taxed at a rate of…12%
        Tax Group Two (25%)
        Income from $50,001 to $150,000 will be taxed at a rate of …..25%
        JOINT Income up to $100,001 to $150,000 will be taxed at a rate of …..25%
        Tax Group Three (33%)
        Income from $150,001 to$500,000 will be taxed at a rate of ..33%
        NO exemptions. NO loopholes.Period.
        The Trump Plan will increase the standard deduction for joint filers to $50,000, from $12,600, and the standard deduction for single filers will be $25,000.
        Tax must be paid, any claim of injustice may be filed for a proportional refund which would become a tax credit if approved.

        ***The Tax Group One (12%) will receive a 6% distribution to replace their loss caused by sales taxes which are a detriment to their ‘standard of living’. This 6% will also replace any Social Security loss.The rebate will help grow our economy as well as allow wage earners to keep their share of the American Dream and raise the standard of living.
        ***The Tax Group One (12%) , and Tax Group Two (25%) will receive a 15% ‘take home’ pay increase.
        This is at ZERO cost to production (The minimum wage concept would cost jobs as well as increase production cost). There will be no FICA payment taken out of their pay.
        This merely places what was earned in their paycheck; it is the 15% F.I.C.A. that was withheld from them; now going directly into their take home pay.
        ***The Tax Group One (12%) , and Tax Group Two (25%) will receive a direct tax credit as provided for ‘Child and Home Care’. Tax credits that become ‘overages’ will become an immediate cash refund.
        ***The Tax Group One (12%) , and Tax Group Two (25%) will receive a direct tax credit of $2,000 for each child under the age of 18 for HEALTH AND EDUCATIONAL MAINTENANCE.
        This is an increase in wages, an increase in Social Security, a direct increase in income to more than 60% “of the people.” and it will be done “with a reduction in National Debt”.

        (https://bestsolutionsfl.wordpress.com/2016/11/17/trumps-proposals-4-all-americans-2-receive-their-fair-share-of-the-american-dream-2/) This is a tsunami, you need to take it one wave at a time.
        BTW, Davetaylor1, with your CENTRAL BANK CREDIT CARD (CBCD) all taxes need to run and fuel the economy could be ‘paid’ for using a simple interest on the cards. Conditioned upon
        (1) ONLY ONE ISSUER.
        (2) 51 Public banks are the Board of the Federal Reserve (50 states plus 1 for DC and territories,plus)
        (3) Banks are separated from government and must be a direct borrower for capital requirements.
        “IN GOD WE TRUST”

      • November 18, 2016 at 7:55 am

        J., this was a great deal more interesting than it appeared at first glance, but on your first line I didn’t say Capitalism WAS the best, I said it MAY have been; and since I’m arguing that Keynes and an up-to-date understanding of control theory are better, surely that suggests that the previous ‘best’ wasn’t ‘good enough’. It wasn’t, and isn’t. Where it was or now is in its infancy it causes terrible suffering to the victims of its crime of dispossession, and now in its maturity it is not only going full circle victimising those it has dispossessed of jobs but is also increasingly successfully dispossessing our Earth of its ability to support life. Instrumentally, by corrupting its governors it has also dispossessed government of its ability to govern fairly and even intelligently, or in any case of its ability to continue to do so. It is now calling a pox on its own taxing responsibilities, for which the only solution is to find a more reliable and less taxing method of being responsible, so as to ensure fair (NOT equal) shares for all, and the renewal of the face of the earth. At your conclusion, there being one credit card system does NOT mean there is one issuer of money (any more than one road would mean one user of it), or any need to bank money as against to stay aware of the activities decreasing and increasing the living capital of our one earth. Apologies for my making bit of a joke of this, but that is almost my only way of not becoming angry when the issues are so serious and real alternatives are not explored seriously.

      • David Chester
        November 18, 2016 at 10:39 am

        Capitalism is not a designed system. It is the result of a situation which began when people began to exchange their produce by barter. With the use of gold money and subsequently fiat notes, our system developed and became capitalistic. It was not born, it accumulated!

    • November 18, 2016 at 5:26 am

      Corruption of what? Or do you mean that capitalism is a corruption. And speaking in terms of human welfare (including the welfare of the planet) capitalism is not the best system ever invented. That honor goes to “hunter-gather” society. In the modern world, I believe the mixed economic arrangements that grew out of the Great Depression and after World War II, and remained in place until the 1970s were a successful combination of capitalism, government planning, and socialist common wealth. The US could no longer function as a “catch-as catch-can” nation. It was too large, too complex, and had too many problems to address. But certain groups in America preferred a laissez-faire internationalism that saw people and nations as just tools for the use of capitalists to support wealth and control. For these folks, the middle-class in America, the UK, France, etc. were the enemy, along with minimum wage and fair labor laws, and government assistance to the vulnerable and needy. They began destroying the mixed economy of 1940-1975 in the 1980s. After that GDP went up, wages declined, and economic inequality skyrocketed. We already (even those who oppose the fixes) know how to fix our economic and many of our current environmental problems. What’s holding up the work??

      • November 18, 2016 at 2:27 pm

        IMHO, you nailed it with…” a successful combination of capitalism, government planning, and socialist common wealth.” REPUBLIC DEMOCRATIC CAPITALISM (RDC) A capitalistic system, governed with a social agenda.

      • robert locke
        November 18, 2016 at 2:52 pm

        ” We already (even those who oppose the fixes) know how to fix our economic and many of our current environmental problems. What’s holding up the work??”

        Where does Trump stand on know how to fix? He is front New York, the home of the New Deal fixers. Tea Party ideologies don’t seem to fit his pragmatism.

  8. November 18, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    Where does Trump stand ? The massive misdirection of the campaign has totally wiped out any knowledge of his stand. We do know that he has said,
    “Increase……. Wages, Jobs, the Standard of Living
    Decrease…… Federal Debt, Poverty, Inequality Gaps,
    CURE ……. the “TBTF” or “TBTG”, ………………..As TRUMP asked, “was it a bad business decision or a fiduciary violation ?”
    Only seconds of coverage on issues……HOURS of B.S.
    Trump has asked for guidance, he gets “Stalin”, “Hitler” accusations.
    Where is your “WE” guidance?
    One individual has written in detail…

    (Dave, Ken, don’t worry, I won’t click and copy here.)
    Also: https://justaluckyfool.wordpress.com/2016/03/26/where-we-went-wrong-in-god-we-trust/

    Perhaps,maybe as Dave suggested: “November 16, 2016 at 12:44 pm Reply
    This becoming an interesting discussion: a pity it isn’t in a more prominent thread.”
    A rwer paper “Our guidance to the 45th President to help “Make America Great Again”

    • November 19, 2016 at 10:04 am

      As I’ve asserted elsewhere (for which Trump will probably threaten to sue me) Donald Trump is neither a businessman, a pragmatist, nor a democrat. He is a huckster and a sociopath who’s spent his life finding ways to live in luxury with other people’s money. The huckster or “flim flam” artist has a long history in America. In fact the US is quite famous for the hucksters born and bred here. Add to this that Trump is an intuitive demagogue who knows how to rouse a crowd by giving them identified groups of people to hate and to blame for their own troubled lives. He has created an army of angry and violent people. It is precisely these things that make Trump an ineffective and directionless policy and administrative leader. Even if by some miracle he wanted to be such a thing. It is also these things that make it nearly impossible for Trump to feel actual empathy for people he views as below his station, inferior, or in any way sub par. It is also these things that make Trump angry and abusive to those outside his sphere of control and normalcy. In total these things and their results make Trump not just a poor fit for a job like the Presidency of the US but an actual danger to both that job and those who depend on, sometimes whose whole existence depends on the performances of the person in that job. It’s estimated that about 4% of the population are sociopaths. Most are not dangerous as in physically harming others. Although all are dysfunctional in terms of interpersonal relationships. I’ve already violated the APA’s position announcement published just prior to the election to not diagnosis Trump or other politicians from afar, so going a little further won’t hurt, I guess. Most politicians share some common psychological features. Most are sociopaths to some extent. Most are narcissists. And most suffer with some version of OCD. In the right combination this makes them both effective politicians and effective leaders/administrators. In the wrong combination and there is Donald Trump, Richard Nixon, and George W. Bush.

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