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Corporate reckoning

from Peter Radford

The aftermath of a coup attempt is one of those moments when a nation gets a really serious insight into its values.  Do, for instance, its politicians rally around some higher set of principles, or do they slide quickly back into the day-to-day argy-bargy of political positioning and infighting?

Ours are perilously close to the latter.  And this after their own place of work was invaded and trashed while they hid and cowered in sundry hiding places.  Profiles in courage are few and far between right now within our politics class.

The reason is obvious: one of major political parties is complicit in the ruin of democracy and in the rise of a far right version of populism based on white supremacy, nativism, and grievances of various sorts.  Perhaps this was the inevitable consequence of forty years of false doctrine and anti-social agitation during which the very word government became reviled and scorned by those swept along by that doctrine.  Perhaps it was the inevitable consequence of the highly planned and disciplined attack on democracy orchestrated by the panoply of right wing think tanks and media outlets established during the late 1970s for the specific purpose of ruining the ability of the middle class to protect itself from our oligarchs and big corporate interests.  Or, perhaps, it was simply neglect and complacency on the part of a voter population who bought into the saccharine and sanitized history fed them after World War II — a history in which Americans always wore the white hats and in which the constitution was not a piece of paper to be updated to suit each generation’s context, but which was beyond reproach and beyond amendment.  Is it a coincidence that the last amendment to the constitution came right at the rise to ascendancy of the neoliberal elite?

Our bookstore shelves groan under the weight of recently published screes describing the imminent demise of American democracy.  The topic has become an obsession in leftist circles throughout the country.  These books all purport to describe how democracy ends, and they all target the rise of far right sentiment within the Republican party.

But these books are wrong.

The end of democracy was a long time ago.  It came about when both our political parties succumbed the the false doctrines of extreme thinkers like Hayek and Friedman who both harbored deeply anti-social sentiments draped within a cloak of intellectual righteousness.  The end of democracy began with the publication and circulation of the infamous Powell Memorandum amongst the members of the US Chamber of Commerce.  That terrible, ideologically driven, document became the manifesto of the far right and of its corporate paymasters.  The alliance forged between right wing economists and the corporate sector, which remains solid until today, is a significant aspect of the quiet revolution orchestrated by our oligarchs and supported by the veneer of intellectual rigor provided by economists driven by market sycophancy.

The demise of our middle and working classes was inevitable.  The stagnation of wages was inevitable.  The corruption of our government was inevitable. And the rise of Donald Trump was inevitable.  As was the recently failed coup attempt.

That Powell memorandum set in motion a cascade of capture of the citadels of academia by the false doctrines of Hayek and Friedman.  It encouraged the work of eager academics who were trying to make reputations for themselves rather than pursuing true rigor.  The result was a steady trickle, within the business organization literature, of ideas that sought to cement the libertarian worldview and to supplant the earlier, more nuanced, post-war view.

The rise of this neoliberal order found a welcoming and well funded home in corporate America.  The destruction of the myth of opportunity for all began right there. The blindness of the academic elite that proselytized liberty whilst abetting oligarchy is an astonishing feature of the past forty years.  Still today ardent advocates of whatever it is they describe as liberty fail to see the loss of freedom that their ideas inevitably create.

So, here we are at a point of reckoning.

The decisions made over the next few days and weeks will determine whether America slides further into failed state status, or whether it pulls itself back from the abyss.  Judging by the complete surrender of a large part of the Republican party to anti-social thought, and to their embrace of extreme methods in their attempt to maintain power, the odds of a full recovery are poor.

I have seen commentators talk about the kind of agenda we need to lift ourselves back up.  First, they say, we need to occlude any chance for Trump to will political power in the future.  That is obvious.  He needs to be accused and convicted.  He needs to be banished.  Second, they say, we need to address the long term and deep malaise caused by the neoliberal ideology that has strangled our discourse.  Good.  Let’s begin with economics.  Third, they add although tentatively, we must reform our system of government to protect its values and to make real its claim to be open to all equally.  It never has been open to all: even after the passage of the civil war amendments the reality of racism was allowed to flourish throughout the nation.

I want to add a fourth: we need to revise our relationship with our large corporations.  They are the source of political corruption with their flood of money and lobbying in Washington.  They are the creators of most of our social-economic policies regarding the workplace, work/life balance, affluence, the distribution of wealth, and the pace of technological change.  They play a pivotal political role.  They are major political actors.  Any healthy democracy needs to recognize this fact and regulate accordingly.

Our economy is administered.  It is situated within, and is an artifact of, the rising complexity of life brought about by the steady accumulation of information humanity creates simply by living, interacting, and sustaining itself.  The division of labor long since rendered obsolete any theories dependent upon a simple worldview of individual transactors inhabiting a low information landscape.  Corporations are a necessary feature of the need to administer the mediation of economic activity in a landscape featuring a much more dense information concentration.  We cannot avoid the need for administration.  Business firms housed within the legal shell called a corporation are here to stay.  It is our obligation, and our right, to call them to task for their attack on democracy.

We need corporate reform just as much as we need political reform.

  1. Dominique
    January 15, 2021 at 7:26 pm

    “The end of democracy was a long time ago. It came about when both our political parties succumbed the the false doctrines of extreme thinkers like Hayek and Friedman who both harbored deeply anti-social sentiments draped within a cloak of intellectual righteousness. The end of democracy began with the publication and circulation of the infamous Powell Memorandum amongst the members of the US Chamber of Commerce. That terrible, ideologically driven, document became the manifesto of the far right and of its corporate paymasters. The alliance forged between right wing economists and the corporate sector, which remains solid until today, is a significant aspect of the quiet revolution orchestrated by our oligarchs and supported by the veneer of intellectual rigor provided by economists driven by market sycophancy” AMEN.

    Should we also include the decision of the Supreme Court that allows corporation to buy governments?

  2. Ikonoclast
    January 15, 2021 at 10:49 pm

    I agree with the overall tenor of Peter Radford’s post but not with all the details. First, I will begin by being technical but I hope not tendentious. The term “false doctrine” is a type of non sequitur in logic. It presumes that we can identify “true doctrines”. Technically, we cannot. A “doctrine” as it is commonly understood in religion, ideology and politics is a body of authoritative thought. Its authority derives from unproven assumptions, a prioris or axioms and then the doctrine is developed out from that point. The philosophical truth warrants as primary justifications for the a prioris of the doctrine are seldom uncontroversial. They are all contestable and usually contested. Thence, any doctrine or dogma proceeds on arguments from authority.

    “That truth is the correspondence of a representation to its object is, as Kant says, merely the nominal definition of it. Truth belongs exclusively to propositions. A proposition has a subject (or set of subjects) and a predicate. The subject is a sign; the predicate is a sign; and the proposition is a sign that the predicate is a sign of that which the subject is a sign. If it be so, it is true.” – Charles Sanders Peirce.

    This takes us back to the correspondence theory of truth and the fact that truth claims are particular claims and not universal statements. Truths are particular to particular statements and any assumption of universal truths or Truth with a capital “T” is a kind of fallacy of composition which essentializes or idealizes our specific searches for particular empirical truths into a Platonist claim about universal forms as universal Truths.

    The search for a “true doctrine” in politics or political economy proves to be a deontological search. It places us in the zone of deontological ethics or deontology and thus of normative ethical theory. In that case we simply pit our norms and prescriptions against those of our opponents. The pragmatic, secular antidotes to this problem we have discovered thus far are (arguably);

    (a) Empiricism;
    (b) Democracy; and
    (c) Consequentialist ethics.

    I will endeavor to get back to this list in a subsequent post.

    So while I agree with much of what Peter Radford is saying, I would add that we need to beware we do not raise our own thinking to the status of another ideology. As John Ralston Saul essentially has said (IIRC), we detect the presence of ideology when we hear words like “inevitable” and acronyms like TINA (There is no alternative.) Of course, neoliberalism has been very fond of presenting this picture of its own doctrine. Globalization is inevitable and there is no alternative to a market run society.

    On markets, J.R.S. writes:

    “Our essential difficulty is that we are seeking in a mechanism (the market), which is necessary, qualities it simply does not possess. The market does not lead, balance or encourage democracy. However, properly regulated it is the most effective way to conduct business.

    It cannot give leadership even on straight economic issues. The world-wide depletion of fish stocks is a recent example. The number of fish caught between 1950 and 1989 multiplied by five. The fishing fleet went from 585,000 boats in 1970 to 1.2 million in 1990 and on to 3.5 million today (1995). No one thought about the long- or even medium-term maintenance of stocks; not the fishermen, not the boat builders, not the fish wholesalers who found new uses for their product, including fertilizer and chicken feed; not the financiers. It wasn’t their job. Their job was to worry about their own interests.” – (IV – From Managers and Speculators to Growth) ― John Ralston Saul, The Unconscious Civilization.

    • January 17, 2021 at 8:04 am

      I support Ikonoclast.

      > Truth belongs exclusively to propositions. (C.S. Sanders)

      A doctrine can be neither true nor false. This is an important point which is often forgotten. This is not a technical problem. The perverse attitude to call true news fake and to believe only facts that conform one’s idea must be corrected from this deep level of logic.

  3. January 16, 2021 at 5:01 am

    The clearest and most penetrating analysis I have seen so far. Thank you Peter.

  4. Questa Nota
    January 16, 2021 at 1:23 pm

    How does journalism fit into the analysis? Approval ratings and perceived honesty among journalists have fallen significantly. The average person used to consume news via paper, radio or television. Now the news delivery channels include social media in various forms.

    That average person would probably say that credibility of news has suffered in many ways with the diffusion, and that the search cost for some consensus, documentation or objectivity has risen. Where is the equilibrium, or a resolution path, in that?

  5. Craig
    January 17, 2021 at 12:27 am

    Corporate power is indeed a problem, but Finance and its monopolistic paradigm is THE problem.

  6. Meta Capitalism
    January 17, 2021 at 1:06 am

    The end of democracy was a long time ago. It came about when both our political parties succumbed the the false doctrines of extreme thinkers like Hayek and Friedman who both harbored deeply anti-social sentiments draped within a cloak of intellectual righteousness. ~ Peter Radford

    .
    Peter, could you expand on this comment briefly and provide some reading material for follow up. I am interesting the substance behind this statement. Anyone who can shed light please do.

  7. Meta Capitalism
    January 17, 2021 at 3:17 am

    Following the citations used by Hayek (1962) regarding “complexity” one finds some very interesting sources. Williams (1948), Weaver (1948), and Morgan (1933), Lewis (1891), etc. Many of the themes discussed long ago are now being discussed again have once been dismissed in the age of materialistic philosophy. Truly, there is nothing new under the sun.:
    .

    We live in an age of great technological success, in an atmosphere of materialistic philosophy tempered with misgivings and regrets, in a turmoil of social change and of conflicting political ideologies. We are uneasy with forebodings, for civilization may well die in the next war if it comes. We are little consoled by the prospect of dying amid new luxuries. Brilliant progress in the technological application of science stands in sharpest contrast with the social chaos of our generation. Will the critical historian of 3000 A.D. remember us chiefly for our success in one area or for our failure in the other? Can the echelons of science be diverted in part from the sector where they have won us an overwhelming victory to that where the battle turns against us? When and how? In the present article I shall suggest for the physical sciences a diversion of much effort from gadgetry to an extensive study of man himself, and for the biological sciences a keener, more integrative appraisal of evolutionary history as the basis for extrapolating from the past the course of man’s inevitable social destiny? (Williams 1948, 116)

    .
    Williams description well fits what is happening today in the United States and around the world.
    .
    Notes:
    .
    1. Hayek, F. A. The Theory of Complex Phenomena. In Readings in the Philosophy of Social Science (eds. Michael & McIntyre, Lee). Massachusetts: MIT Press; 1994; c1962.
    .
    2. Weaver, Warren. Science and Complexity. American Scientist. 1948; 36(4):536-544.
    .
    3. Williams, Robert R. Natural Science and Social Problems. American Scientist. 1948 Jan; 36(1):116-126. SPECIAL CENTENNIAL ISSUE: SHEFFIELD SCIENTIFIC SCHOOL.
    .
    4. Hayek cites Lloyd Morgan’s conception of “emergence” derives” from G. H. Lewis (Problems of Life and Mind, 1891). See Morgan (1933, Emergence of Novelty).

  8. Yoshinori Shiozawa
    January 17, 2021 at 8:52 am

    Peter Radford

    It is not right to identify Hayek and Friedman. Although Hayek was a true anti-Socialist thinker, his thought was supported by his long debates with socialists (or collectivists as such he preferred to call them). Friedman was a thoughtless defender of market economy and made money by doing so. He was as greedy as greedy capitalism is. At the level of methodology and economics, Hayek and Friedman were extremely different.

    To dismiss Hayek as simple ideologue of neoliberalism risks to invite Trumpism of the Left as well as the Right.

  9. Ikonoclast
    January 18, 2021 at 12:45 am

    Meta Capitalism, I agree with Williams. That view equates to a call for more emphasis on impact science and less emphasis on production sciences We now know how to produce lots of stuff. We don’t yet know the full impacts that production is having on people and the environment. We also don’t know how to produce sustainably. We need more work on the impact sciences in the areas of biology, ecology and earth systems, including the climate system and many other factors.

    I don’t necessarily think there is any need to critique “materialism” as “physicalism” because the impact sciences are simply the physical complex systems sciences of biology, ecology and earth systems. But to critique “materialism” as an ethic is necessary. It is important to oppose the limited focus on economic and social “wealth” in capitalist societies to the exclusion of the view that natural “wealth” as rich natural complexity and ecological health counts in its own right as a value and not just for mankind. Conspicuous consumption leads to conspicuous ecological and earth system destruction. That is what we are discovering.

    It’s a matter of contrasting instrumental rationality and value rationality. We need to reaffirm the principle that many human values are not commensurable with the money calculus. It is a mistake to attempt to reduce them all to such a one-dimensional calculus. This is really just to say,at one level, that the world is more complex than any of our models of it. Hence,a healthy respect for its evolved comnplexity would suggest we “make a living” while disturbing the whole system, or at least large reserved parts of it, as little as possible and even permit some re-wilding as far as possible.

    To a religious person that suggests that aspects of nature must be held sacrosanct. To a non-religious but thinking person, thinking along emergent and evolutionary lines, that will suggest humility and a staying of economic and scientific hubris in the face of a complex cosmos and world. A religious person for example would accept “God knows more than me.” A non-theistic emergentist and evolutionary thinker must accept at least that “the cosmos and world are more complex than I can ever understand”. In some ways these view are not so far apart. Humility and hubris are necessary in each case. The need for taking care and moving cautiously in the face of many things we don’t know are the same in each case.

    There is a need for a corporate reckoning as the original post says. Corporate structures and laws to favor corporate structures play a large role in wealth inequalities and in environmental destruction. Corporate capitalism of the present form is clearly unjust and unsustainable.

    • Ikonoclast
      January 18, 2021 at 12:48 am

      Oops: “Humility and lack of hubris are necessary in each case.”

      • January 18, 2021 at 5:33 am

        Ikonoclast, I think we do already know a lot about “how to produce sustainably”. The outlines of regenerative agriculture and a circular economy are there, they are being done here and there but they need to be scaled up rapidly. But we are blocked by interests vested in the present extractivist regime, including by the way institutions have been set up to serve extractivism, including corporations. We also know quite enough of the impacts on people and the environment to know we must change.

        Yes, we need humility in all dealings with living systems, because they are indeed more complex than we can ever fully understand. I would say, more concisely than your distinctions, simply that we need to place the value of wellbeing and a healthy biosphere at the centre of our intentions, and so move far beyond the constricted, brute materialist criteria that our systems default to at present.

    • Meta Capitalism
      January 18, 2021 at 10:40 pm

      Meta Capitalism, I agree with Williams. That view equates to a call for more emphasis on impact science and less emphasis on production sciences We now know how to produce lots of stuff. We don’t yet know the full impacts that production is having on people and the environment. We also don’t know how to produce sustainably. We need more work on the impact sciences in the areas of biology, ecology and earth systems, including the climate system and many other factors. ~ Ikon

      .
      You might enjoy a bit more of Williams. What I find interesting is the historical context and the assumptions Williams makes.

  10. Ken Zimmerman
    January 31, 2021 at 4:50 am

    From its earliest days. Why the Constitution was needed and why it still is needed.

    The delegates to the Constitutional Convention rejected extreme approaches to the new government. The confederation of sovereign states had failed. But they did not want to concentrate all or most government power at the federal level. But clearly understood that giving more power to the central government was necessary for the nation’s survival.

    The solution adopted by the delegates was a constitution that balanced the powers of three branches — executive, legislative, and judicial. And by clearly defining the relationships among the states, it allayed the fears of those who worried that certain states might become too powerful (all of this is in tatters today).

    One person rose above and worked beyond any call of duty to have the constitution ratified. Alexander Hamilton, like most of the delegates, disagreed with many aspects of the final draft. But the existing government was on the verge of chaos. The monetary system was in collapse, and the military was dangerously weak. All but three of the delegates signed the document.

    Now it would be up to the states to ratify — or reject — the Constitution. Federalists such as Hamilton supported ratification. But Anti-Federalists, who feared that the document gave too much power to the federal government, worked to convince the states to reject it.

    For the Constitution to take effect, nine of the 13 states would have to ratify. But even if that minimum number were met without ratification by powerful states such as Pennsylvania, Virginia, and New York, the new government would not hold. In particular New York appeared problematic. Of the three delegates from that state, only Hamilton had signed the Constitution. The other two delegates had fled the convention in anger. And in New York, Anti-Federalists such as Governor George Clinton held power.

    No one was better prepared to defend the Constitution than Alexander Hamilton. In 1787-88 he worked with John Jay and James Madison to write a series of 85 essays in support of the Constitution. Known as “The Federalist,” these remarkable essays proved critical in achieving ratification of the document in New York, as well as the rest of the nation. The essays were published under the pen name Publius. Hamilton himself wrote more than two-thirds of them.

    In the first of the essays, Hamilton set the stage for those that would follow, proclaiming that “the vigor of government is essential to the security of liberty.” Today almost all the vigor of government has been siphoned away by a new wave of anti-Federalists operating under the cover of conservatism and populism. Although most are neither conservative nor populist.

    The essays were churned out at a remarkable pace, especially considering the rational, learned, and eloquent defense of the Constitution that Hamilton and co-writers developed. Among the topics covered by Hamilton were “Dangers from Dissensions Between the States,” “Defects of the Present Confederation,” and the “General Power of Taxation.”

    Today’s scholars consider “The Federalist” classics of political literature. At the time, they proved effective in gaining allies for the Constitution. But perhaps nearly as remarkable as the writing of “The Federalist” was Hamilton’s performance at the New York ratifying convention in Albany.

    By the time the convention met in June 1788, several major states, including New York and Virginia, had not yet ratified. Hamilton and 19 other Federalist delegates faced a seemingly immovable and palpably oppositional group of 47 Anti-Federalists. Hamilton was outnumbered. Without New York, the new government would inevitably split into separate confederacies.

    Over the next month, Alexander Hamilton presented the convention with his case for ratification. Day after day, hour after hour, the eloquent attorney spoke, hammering away at the Anti-Federalists’ arguments. The ratification of the Constitution by Virginia bolstered his case, but the supreme logic and persuasive abilities of Hamilton proved critical as well. Opposition evaporated, and the Constitution was approved.

    Hamilton had helped to save the Constitution. But creating a government on paper was quite separate from operating that government. Hamilton had helped to ensure the Constitution’s ratification. And now, as Treasury secretary under President George Washington, he would build the economic system that enabled the new nation to not just survive but thrive.

    Even before the Revolution began, Hamilton had recognized that the future of America lay in business and industry. And he understood that to develop into an industrial power, America would need a powerful economic system. But during the Revolution and the years that followed, the economy had become a shambles. The Continental Army had been nearly paralyzed by the Continental Congress’ inability to collect taxes. The war had been funded largely by the issue of bonds, most of which went unpaid at war’s end. And the new government lacked a revenue source to pay these debts — or to pay for funding defense or other national projects.

    In his position on Washington’s cabinet, Hamilton worked diligently to solve these problems. Again, he would have to overcome some skepticism. Taxes had been a major reason for throwing off British rule. But Hamilton understood taxes were essential for the country’s survival. And he developed a plan that would pay off America’s debts and set the nation on course for an economically prosperous future.

    Hamilton’s course of action, delivered to the House of Representatives in his “Report on Credit” of January 14, 1790 and his “Report on the Subject of Manufactures” of December 15, 1791, was threefold. First, the government should pay off the war bonds it had issued. To fail to do so, he argued, would establish the federal government as a bad debtor. Second, the government should assume the debts of the states. Although many argued that this was another unnecessary expansion of central government, Hamilton realized that to have all states manage their debts was inefficient. Finally, he proposed that the government establish a steady revenue stream by taxation of imported goods.

    For months, Hamilton’s proposals languished in Congress. The final sticking point was the federal assumption of state debts. Some states had made good on their promise to pay off war debts, but others had not. If the debts of states that had failed to pay were shifted to the federal government, citizens in states that had paid their debts would end up paying twice.

    Alexander Hamilton had driven the Constitution through the New York convention with impeccably focused logic. But he would use a bit of old-fashioned horse trading to get his financial plan through Congress. Among the states opposed to assumption of state debts was Virginia. Virginians were also unsettled about the planned location of the federal capital in New York. Hamilton realized he could use this issue as leverage.

    Late in June, Hamilton met in private with Virginia Congressman James Madison. A deal was struck; Virginians would support assumption of state debts, and President Washington’s administration would support moving the capital to a location on the Potomac River. With the backing of Virginia, Hamilton’s proposals were approved.

    Hamilton’s economic wizardry was not yet finished. Later in 1790 he proposed the creation of a federal bank. When this, too, was approved, his vision was complete. America was on a solid footing and prepared for a prosperous future. In fact, Hamilton had probably saved the economy from ruin and the new United States with it.

    In a span of just under fourteen years, in his efforts to pass the Constitution and develop a sound monetary policy, Alexander Hamilton had provided invaluable service to his nation. But in this struggle, he had made powerful enemies. Demonized by the republicans as a would-be dictator or a promoter of monarchy, he saw political power slip from his grasp in 1800, when Thomas Jefferson became president and Aaron Burr vice president. Unable to give up his animosity toward Hamilton, Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel in February 1804. Hamilton wanted to avoid the duel, but politics left him no choice. That decision proved tragic for Hamilton.

    Now the US is filled once again with violent anti-Federalists. Some with the vilest of motives for their beliefs and actions. Unfortunately, we have no new Alexander Hamilton to present eloquent and persuasive arguments and engage in horse trading when necessary to save the Constitution and the Republic it protects. In fact, we are beset by the most ignorant and loutish of ‘sunshine patriots’ who use the Constitution merely as window dressing to launch the nation into anarchy.

    • Craig
      January 31, 2021 at 10:47 pm

      An excellent and informative post Ken. What to learn of it though is essential. The founding fathers including (or perhaps with the knowledge) of Hamilton “dropped the ball” so far as money was concerned. The war was fought over the monetary and economic tyranny of the Bank of England not some tax on tea. The superior distributive forms of the money systems of many of the colony’s were nixed by the BOE and the rest is history. That we then beget the same tyrannical and domination waiting to happen institution of a national bank to be established proves that paradigms and zeitgeists are not easily perceived or understood. But revolutions have almost always been betrayed. Makes one wonder why we don’t “go for” evolutions instead.

      The recurringly modern overlooked fact that debt as the sole form and vehicle for the creation and distribution of money/credit has always been the primary factor in the disintegration of empires. Those past empires extended their reign had recurrent debt jubilees as pointed out by David Graeber and Michael Hudson. But the private debts always came back. This tells us that we moderns are both dumber than the ancients at a time when we also need to be even smarter than they were. Smarter in that in addition to earned income we should provide continual demand and reduce costs sufficiently to proactively prevent eventual unpayable costliness with monetary policies like a universal dividend and a 50% discount/rebate policy at retail sale. In other words invert the problematic austerity of a paradigm of money as Debt Only into ongoing abundance via Gifting.

      Perhaps Hamilton could be excused for not knowing this in the 19th century, but Hamilton like almost everyone else may have let his self interest and knowledge of the power of the monetary and financial systems be his persuasive political tool and his eventual object.

      • Ken Zimmerman
        February 1, 2021 at 4:27 am

        Hamilton was not a ‘reformer without a cause.’ He knew, for example that unless the US paid its foreign debt for the revolutionary war that the nation would not survive long enough to work on reforms of debt policy. Sometimes you have to accept received reality until you can make or take advantage of an opportunity to change that reality. Overall, however Hamilton’s actions helped create an American economy focused on production and export of ‘real’ products, to create an American manufacturing and skilled economy. He also did his best to remove speculative finance from that economy while ensuring that American businesses had all the capital they needed to operate from domestic sources. His arrangements were attacked and, in some ways, reversed first by Andrew Jackson’s presidential administration. And later by industrial monopolists and big finance (especially big banks and stock trading companies). By the turn of the 19th century there was little left of the economic arrangements Hamilton put in place. They made a comeback after WWII. But that ended with Reagan. Today may be another opportunity to reform economic arrangements. See: Hamilton Versus Wall Street: The Core Principles of the American System of Economics, Nancy Spannaus; The Founders and Finance, How Hamilton, Gallatin, and Other immigrants Forged a New Economy, Thomas K. McCraw.

      • Craig
        February 1, 2021 at 6:18 am

        Yes sometimes one has to repair before they can truly progress. I was not actually disputing the genuinely pragmatic and helpful things Hamilton did. And there’s no necessary conflict between self interest and The Good although it takes a high regard for honesty to navigate that route. One way to make that process a lot easier is to understand that every historical paradigm change has utilized and expressed an aspect or aspects of the natural philosophical concept of grace which is also the most unitary and integrative of opposites concept known to man. Discover the paradigm, study the aspects of grace, align with it and let it roll.

        Hopefully we don’t have to go through a devastating war that back tracks us like the founding fathers had to endure. Humanity may not survive the next palliative monetary reform. So lets have the evolution known as a paradigm change.

  11. February 1, 2021 at 11:01 am

    Peter Radford: “The end of democracy was a long time ago. It came about when both our political parties succumbed the the false doctrines of extreme thinkers like Hayek and Friedman who both harbored deeply anti-social sentiments draped within a cloak of intellectual righteousness”.

    Note how the very long contributions of Ikonoclast and Ken both change the subject to what to do about it: the one focussing on sustainability and the other on Hamilton’s constitutional role. As I see it, Geoff, Meta and Craig are much nearer the mark when they argue that the environmental and constitutional problems are due to financial (banking and corporate) hegemony let loose in particular by the lies (i.e. misleadingly deceptive half-truths) of Hayek and Friedman, who disappointingly Yoshinora defends.

    Meta asks “Peter, could you expand on this comment briefly and provide some reading material for follow up. I am interesting the substance behind this statement. Anyone who can shed light please do”.

    Peter sadly hasn’t. Here then is my suggestion of follow-up reading material. Compare Hayek’s “The Road to Serfdom” with the original it took its title from, which Hayek referred to only in a footnote on p.10 in my copy. I mean Hilaire Belloc’s “The Servile State” of 1912 (Foulis: London and Edinburgh). In light of reaction, the Foreword to the 1913 edition of this says “It is at the very heart of my thesis that we are not, as a fact, approaching Socialism at all, but a very different state of society; to wit, a society in which the Capitalist class shall be even more powerful and far more secure than it is at present: a society in which the proletarian mass shall not suffer from particular regulations, oppressive or beneficent, but shall change their status, lose their present legal freedom, and be subject to compulsory labour” … [a tendency] due to the very fact that the new conditions may be found more tolerable than those obtaining under Capitalism”.

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