July 24, 2006 § 1 Comment
Bush did not use the last six years to make a two nation settlement. Laziness? Or strategy? Bush wants to go into Iran. he wins because now it seems “plausible”. He wants a foothold in the Middle East. he “wins.” Israel wants to eliminate the Palestinians. Score one. Israel had planned this war. Washington had planned this war.
The situation now is that the US and Israel “win”, but at an impossible cost, creating a newly defined inclusive boundary that will be the aim of millions more to break apart. The cost in lives and money is far outweighed by the loss in strategic positioning to do good in the world, not by arms but by example and the slow process of making globalization work for far more people.
July 21, 2006 § Leave a comment
The issue is
Bush took 9/11 as an opportunity for defining the world in terms of war when it needed to be defined in terms of economic participation.
As a result we have a very narrow vision for this presidency and
An economy controlled by a few for a few
Covered over with military fear inducing strategy that simultaneously holds the military industrial in the club and bamboozles the people
Biz leaders are paid off in low taxes and go along with Bush because, even with their industries in trouble they are doing fine with high salaries and options.
Hence the issue is
War vs economy
And we need a different path to security.
Tensions arise because of economic marginalization. Fighting those left out creates more enemies, not fewer. The only path is a fair economy, in the US and world wide.
That requires shifting economic rewards and regulation away from old style industries with their bureaucracies and environmental damage to an economy meeting the real needs of the population – a highly environmentally friendly, innovative, entrepreneurial, tech centered approach to rebuilding infrastructure – agriculture, transportation, housing, schools, health – and this is a big market that creates local jobs and responds to local needs for rebuilding almost everything.
July 20, 2006 § Leave a comment
I consider this to be very important.
The Rise of the Super-Rich
By TERESA TRITCH
The gap between rich and poor is unfortunately an old story.
It is the stuff of parables and literature. It is a force in social history and political economy, from electoral campaigns to reform movements and revolutions.
But in the United States today, there’s a new twist to the familiar plot. Income inequality used to be about rich versus poor, but now it’s increasingly a matter of the ultra rich and everyone else. The curious effect of the new divide is an economy that appears to be charging ahead, until you realize that the most of the people in it are being left in the dust. President Bush has yet to acknowledge the true state of affairs, though it’s at the root of his failure to convince Americans that the good times are rolling.
July 20, 2006 § Leave a comment
Corporations and Capital, not markets, lead to centralized wealth.
Warren Buffet says in today’s NYT ”
“A market system has not worked in terms of poor people,”
“Markets” are what both progressives and conservatives use to describe the core of the current economic system. But it is a smoke screen. What determines the character of markets in contemporary society is the operations of capital, to hire and fire, make and sell, buy competitors, pay for supporting regulations. These are not part of free markets, but mechanisms to control markets.
The problem is, markets are free and spontaneous but corporations try to control them. A corporation is a mechanism for the of control of events – through planning and spreadsheets and complex time forward communications and coordination’s. A market is free to who ever comes, and negotiations occur on the spot. Spontaneity is key, the very thing corporations try to prevent. Markets want lots of space and a short time span. Corporations want to narrow the space to eliminate competition, and increase the time span so returns are more predictable.
There is the old consultant’s trick, asking a group of executives what describes socialism and what describes capitalism. They load up socialism with planning and control, bureaucracy and waste. They line up capitalism with risk and inventiveness, innovation and the full use of talent. The consultant asks, “Which one describes your company?”
The problem with the current market/corporation environment is that the regulatory and legal environment support large organizations in such a way that they get bigger, and ownership more narrow. This is not theoretical but simply the fact of the current long term trends Wealth is more narrowly held, poverty more widely spread, and cost of living hurting where it counts commute times, rents, food. The increasing incomes of the wealthy – from the one in ten upwards, hides these increasing costs. The artificial personhood of the of the corporation has benefits real people do nt. The result is that aligning careers and wealth with them pays off.
The owners of capital and mangers and supporting professionals of the current state of the nation want continuity and are prepared, as always, to compromise, maintaining control and the benefits of ownership. But the threat that makes for compromise is always violence.
If the rules don’t change and current trends continue the social fabric, now stretched, will rip. It is not obvious what changes are necessary but it is clear that focusing the criticism on markets – as Buffett as well as progressives do – rather than on the legal structures used by capital evades the issue. Conservatives talk about the free market systems which also keeps the focus away from capital and how it is organized. The conservative language stresses freedom rather than control and profits. In fact the only lack of freedom in markets is the result of corporate activity to control and regulate market access or offerings.
Corporations would in fact like price controls, and much corporate activity, through advertizing and quasi-monopolization – is aimed at controlling prices. Markets controls of ay kind would be administered by a government that is friendly to corporations and would probably use corporate veterans as key managers of any form of market “reform”.
But it isn’t market reform we need, but reform of corporate structuring in the economy. Corporations are given rights way beyond private property, and these woven together with mass media make life difficult for small producers, and local or regionally based companies.
One place to start is corporate charters. Corporations are not private property, but creatures of state chartering. The use of charters to impose some conditions, such as environmental damage control and lower executive salaries, would be a beginning of shifting the trends so that instead of increased productivity of society leading to concentrated wealth, it would lead to dispersement and increased overall quality of life and security for an increasing number of people.
Buffett is almost correct, but misses that the reason the market systems doesn’t work for the poor is because we have a corporate controlled market system. The problem is the corporations as currently managed and regulated that causes the trends, not the market. Farmers in poor countries are not allowed to sell produce in the united states, subsidized US farm products compete against local farm goods in other countries. Capital can organize “as a right” but labor cannot.
July 20, 2006 § Leave a comment
The Iraq ituation overlaid with, let’s call it Palestine, point to one of the three major failures of Bush.
1. The economy
2. The constitution
3. Real security
He fails to even make an attempt at identifying with the country. It is him and his friends. And the business community supports him because while business is doing poorly, execs are doing fantastically.
July 5, 2006 § Leave a comment
July 4, 2006 § Leave a comment
We have two major problems with elections.
First, the increased use of technology allows for tampering. We can get ATMs right, but not voting. Of course the company that owns the ATMs want them to be correct, but the companies that own/sold/maintain the voting machines are suspect, because their motives are different from the ATM owners.
The second problem is that polling and good guessing move candidates towards each other, and make 50-50 split elections more likely, denying the possibility of a real majority emerging.
Thus we have a crisis that will eat like acid into the realm of politics and the meaning of democracy.
Perhaps a new approach, actually based on poling (much more sophisticated?) and focus groups might deepen rather than pervert the basic meaning of democracy.
Democracy is in danger through press manipulation (the NYT and its failure to investigate the reality just before the Iraq invasion), and we are close to the reality that one dollar=one vote.