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Thank You

To all of you who have made this blog what I hoped it might be:

– a place where people think, question and converse in a community of their own making,

–  where rancour and rudeness are not accepted,

– and where people know they can ask for help and offer it in the knowledge that they will not be derided.  Thank You.

We all want and hope to make a better society than the one from which we all feel increasingly estranged . And the first proof that we have what it takes to do so, is the quality of what we have already made between us.

My heroes are the ordinary men and women of these small islands who, 400 years ago in the English Revolution, first talked of building a fairer, better world for all. The Diggers and Levellers, the Quakers and Non-Conformists, and the far greater number of those who had no group at all, but found something burning and inextinguishable had woken inside them. Something they did not have words enough to express, but which they knew could remake who they were then and who their children would aspire to be thereafter.

Those people, ordinary like us, looked around at the creaking oppression they had been born into and said, “We are better than this.” And so are we.

We are better than the vicious cowards who bully and bark at us. We are better than they tell us we can be. We can make a better world for our children and for theirs.

We are better than this.

 

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72 Responses to Thank You

  1. allcoppedout December 26, 2011 at 1:10 am #

    The blog is almost a thesis in-itself Golem. It’s set me off again after feeling all ears were deaf to this critique. Thanks to all.

    • Dave December 26, 2011 at 10:59 am #

      allcoppedout — thanks for your reference the other day to the study of the French Business Schools self-perpetuating oligarchy by Jane Marceau . Last seen nearly half a century ago when we were studying the Indian caste system, I checked, she’s still going!

      frog2

  2. Southern Cross December 26, 2011 at 5:23 am #

    You wouldn’t read about it. Just this morning I was thinking – when David starts a new thread I might just derail it slightly by offering him and all the regular contributors a heartfelt thanks.

    I am a regular reader who seldom posts. Someone else usually expresses the gist of my views before I put finger to keyboard. The excellent standard of commentary and the wealth of worthwhile links make the responses to each article mandatory reading. Special thanks to Charles Wheeler and Hawkeye, you are an education.

    Just as important as the quality is the tone. Everyone here cares about the common decencies, and wants a better, fairer world. I’d say most of us fear for the future (I’m worried witless) but there is a complete absence of the “go for gold, guns or whatever gives me an edge over the horde” mentality that makes me feel as though I’ve rolled in vomit regardless of the truth or falsity of the opinions in question. Public discourse here in Australia (like elsewhere) is simultaneously infantilising and vicious. Were it not for this weblog and the handful of sources like it, I would have simply gone barmy some time ago!

    So let me wish everyone as good a New Year as we can expect. Whatever happens let us all keep seeking out and alerting our fellows to the high shining Truth of these times, and try to refrain from *counterproductive* anger in the face of our own illnesses, unemployment, disappointments and struggles.

    Here’s a thought – how about everyone frightening the moths and giving a contribution if you can afford to do so. David – if only we could give you more hours in the day!

    Regards, SC

  3. Jonahsdad73 December 26, 2011 at 12:06 pm #

    Thanks Golem for shining a light where much of the media doesn’t seem interested. Thanks for increasing my knowledge of what is going on. Thanks for your understanding that these can often be complex issues and that it is easy for people to misunderstand, and thanks for being so graceful when they do. That gives mere mortals like myself the confidence to ask questions where need be, and to express our opinions, without fearing we will be shot down in flames. Keep up the good work, which is very much appreciated. Several of my colleagues now read your blog, so there is an appetite for what you write, and more and more people are becoming aware of what is happening. More and more people are coming around to the view that they are better than this.

    Many, many thanks.

  4. Mark Wadsworth December 26, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    “We are better than the vicious cowards who bully and bark at us”

    Well yes, but the problem is that in this country it’s the majority doing the bullying on behalf of the one per cent, because the majority are stupid enough to think that the system is working in their favour.

    The majority, for example, are rabid NIMBYs who wail on about the Hallowed Green Belt and oppose land taxes. They cheerfully admit that they are screwing over their own children and grandchildren, but claim to be acting for The Greater Good when in fact they are only thinking of themselves and are in fact allowed themselves in turn to be screwed over by the one per cent.

  5. Tina December 26, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    I have been taught so much by reading this blog and it is so reassuring to know that people are not blind to the disconnect between reality and the manipulative narrative of the mainstream media. I rarely post as most of you are far more knowledgeable than I but thanks for teaching me so much.

    Good New Year to all.

  6. Phil December 26, 2011 at 5:39 pm #

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGFToiLtXro

    Come on, we know the tune! It’s Christmas!!

    You’re blog’s just too good to be true
    Can’t take our eyes off you
    It’d be like heaven to touch
    We wanna read it so much
    At long last real news has arrived
    And we thank God we’re alive
    It’s just too good to be true
    Can’t take our eyes off you

    We love you Golem
    And if it’s quite all right
    We need you Golem
    To inform our lonely night we love you Golem
    Trust in us when we say
    Oh, clever Golem
    Don’t bring us down we pray oh, clever Golem
    Now that we found you, stay and let us read you
    Golem let us read you.

    Alright, I’ll get me coat

    • steviefinn December 26, 2011 at 11:04 pm #

      Phil,

      Very poetic for a man, if I am right, who was once a Viking.

      • Phil December 27, 2011 at 12:03 am #

        It’s Christmas!

        (you can justify a lot with that refrain : ) )

  7. Dennis December 26, 2011 at 5:55 pm #

    My first comment here, as I don’t feel I’ve got very much to add (in this esteemed comany) but it would be remiss to not acknowedge the debt and appreciation to yourself and your many contributers. So many thanks for your blog which has been a wonderful education and now, essential reading for myself. Very impressed with your original thinking, the inspiration and, as you say, the codial and respectful atmosphere cultivated. Thanks so much and I wish you and your family a very pleasant well earned rest over Christmas.

    • Golem XIV December 26, 2011 at 8:21 pm #

      Dennis,

      Please post again. The company is not so esteemed that we can’t learn from another perspective.

  8. Froghole December 26, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

    Mr Malone: This blog has become staple reading for me. One of the main reasons for this is the great courtesy that you show to all of the contributors, even those who make astringent remarks. I note that this has created a virtuous circle, and people who dissent from the views you express are constrained to use logic and reason in order to convey their arguments. This seems to be unusual, given how many angry people there are around. I note that you have a demanding day job as a documentarist, as well as (I assume) a family, which makes the commitment that you have undertaken all the more impressive.

    The most important thing about this blog is that it is helping to record the progressive development of what J. K. Galbraith called the ‘bezzle. We are constantly informed by policy-makers that there are few alternatives to the (disastrous) policies that are now being prescribed; they believe that, if meretricious half-truths or outright falsehoods are repeated often enough, people will come to accept them as being true. This rather puts me in mind of Lewis Carroll: “Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice: / That alone should encourage the crew. / Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice: / What I tell you three times is true.” The dissent that you express, and the manner in which you express it, is therefore all the more welcome.

    What would be interesting is if contributors to this blog could provide some practical policy suggestions as to how the vast and increasing pool of debt can be unwound or repudiated before the crumbling dam behind which it has accumulated collapses – without there being a catastrophic deterioration in living standards. I note that Steve Keen has been arguing for the repudiation of the debts owed by mortgagors, but how can that actually be unwound, and what would be the consequences (especially in the UK, where he and others are indicating that aggregate indebtedness is approaching 1,000% of GDP)? What would be the mechanics for resolving and/or repudiating the debt? If H.M. Treasury has disavowed the existence of any contingency plans in the event of a collapse (or does not wish to publish them), what contingencies would this blog recommend?

    Very many thanks and best wishes for 2012.

  9. Andrea December 26, 2011 at 7:26 pm #

    Thanks from a regular reader who does not post. Happy Holidays to all.

    • Golem XIV December 26, 2011 at 8:13 pm #

      Thank you Andrea.

      And a happy and restful holiday to you and yours.

  10. scallywag December 26, 2011 at 8:18 pm #

    Wonderful blog David ~ from a regular reader {Irish} trying to understand the shite that our politicians & the financial class have visited upon us.

    I saw you on Tonight with Vincent Brown a few weeks back ~ I thought you were going to deck that eejit politician who was on the panel ~ fair play to you for keeping your cool.

    Finally many thanks for your truly insightful thinking & explanations that even someone as unversed as me in financial matters can understand.

    • Golem XIV December 26, 2011 at 8:20 pm #

      scallywags always welcome.

  11. Jim M. December 26, 2011 at 8:55 pm #

    David,

    It’s been a pleasure to watch this blog grow over the last coupla years, devevloping from a few lone voices to quite a chorus!

    Others will have their view as to how this has been achieved.
    I like to think the tone of the blog is responsible; a direct result of the patient and well-mannered treatment meted out to friend and foe alike. Early-adopters and newcomers are all afforded the same opportunity to contribute, or to just drink from the well, and imho that is greatly to your credit.
    I’d suggest you might consider adopting “A foe is a friend I haven’t yet talked with.” as a masthead, a motto and a modus operandi!

    I’ll simply add my congratulations and thanks to those above. I’m very pleased to have made your acquaintance.

    Happy New Year, friend.

  12. Labled December 26, 2011 at 11:20 pm #

    As a regular lurcher and a first time poster i would heartily like to thank you greatly David, for a wonderful book, a brilliant blog and some wonderful commentators who have enriched my knowledge of this awful situation we are in economically.

    Im positive that as long as there as people like ourselves who see through the bullshit and look for the alternatives there will be a future for our children.

    Happy holidays everyone.

  13. Joe R December 27, 2011 at 1:42 am #

    And heres me thinking Malone was an Irish name! …if you are talking up Cromwell and the roundheads – it won’t go down well in Ireland at all…your Malone ancestors might have a thing or two to say too to you, if they ever somehow get the chance…

    The blogs great – keep it up!

    The forum and community is one of the better ones out there…a place for exchanging facts and earnest informed opinion…great alround.

    • David Thompson December 27, 2011 at 10:31 am #

      Cromwell was no friend to the Levellers, Diggers or democracy in general; quite the opposite in fact!

      • havantaclu December 27, 2011 at 11:37 am #

        Indeed, he tried to start a dynasty of his own – but the British preferred the Stuarts. And then the oligarchy rid themselves of the Stuarts, with the result that we’ve got the system now in place – supposedly democraticised in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, but in truth it’s the same old oligarchs and plutocrats as before.

        We desperately need to change it, and the question is – how do we go about this? ‘Ye are many, they are few’ is okay, but the many are fast asleep, dozing in front of the latest episode of Corrie or Eastenders – or, if a little more up-market, Downton Abbey. Programmes like those produced by David are watched by so few, and they just nod over their glass of sherry and feel that they are superior just for having watched something ‘challenging.’

        How do we waken these sleepers?

      • Charles Wheeler December 27, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

        The Putney Debates still have resonance today, as the realisation dawns on Rainsborough, Sexby et al that they’d been used by Cromwell and were about to be shafted – meet the new boss, same as the old boss!

        “”We have engaged in this kingdom and ventured our lives, and it was all for this: to recover our birthrights and privileges as Englishmen – and by the arguments urged there is none. There are many thousands of us soldiers that have ventured our lives; we have had little property in this kingdom as to our estates, yet we had a birthright. But it seems now except a man hath a fixed estate in this kingdom, he hath no right in this kingdom. I wonder we were so much deceived. If we had not a right to the kingdom, we were mere mercenary soldiers. There are many in my condition, that have as good a condition, it may be little estate they have at present, and yet they have as much a right as those two (Cromwell and Ireton) who are their lawgivers, as any in this place. I shall tell you in a word my resolution. I am resolved to give my birthright to none. Whatsoever may come in the way, and be thought, I will give it to none. I think the poor and meaner of this kingdom (I speak as in that relation in which we are) have been the means of the preservation of this kingdom.”
        Edward Sexby, Putney Debates 1647

    • Golem XIV December 27, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

      Hello Joe,

      I owe you an appology. I still have the Zombie peice. I will get it done.

      As for Cromwell. It’s not him I think of. It is people like Winstanley who I look to.

      One half my family is Irish Catholic the other Scottish Protestants.

      • Joe R December 28, 2011 at 12:43 am #

        Dave – relax there! – you owe me nothing. Thats clearly the
        earnest Scots Protestant side of your heritage speaking out!

        There is no huge rush – those issues we spoke about aren’t going away any time soon. They are just rolling on slowly.

        I’ll drop you a mail, very soon. Cheers!

        Joe.

  14. andrew December 27, 2011 at 5:03 am #

    david

    best 2O12 to you and your family and thanks for your focus and commitment.

    cheers

    a

  15. DANIEL December 27, 2011 at 9:26 am #

    It has all been done before,check out John Law and the Mississsippi Bubble in Charles Mackay’s, Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds.

  16. Roger Glyndwr Lewis December 27, 2011 at 10:59 am #

    David it is a fantastic Blog more than that it is also a focal point for the exchange of ideas and questions a great place when one feels that perhaps madness is at hand and its somewhere to pop around for a nice cup of tea with some level headed caring folk.
    Froghole on policy and a painless way out of the mess I think the point is there will be pain and its a question of sharing the pain fairly a much repeated mantra is Privatising profits and socialising losses replace profits and losses for pleasure and pain.
    Above all it is realism and optimism I draw from Davids community here.
    In terms of Narratives and so forth on watching the excellent Holy Monty Python I decided to watch the real Interview surrounding the controversial reception of the film the Life of Brian, ` What have the Bankers ever done for us?´
    I heartily recommend watching both.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ni559bHXDg&feature=related

    Clip of the Holy Grail docudrama.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnXehnVpoGU

    Malcolm Moggeridge and the good bishop show the extent to which Narratives can blind even good and intelligent men.

  17. Charles Wheeler December 27, 2011 at 1:21 pm #

    An interesting post relating to the myths surrounding the ‘Golden Age’ of laissez-faire capitalism from James Kwak’s reading of Railroaded by Richard White:

    “This is what the golden age of unregulated capitalism looked like. It’s also the world we’re heading towards: one where inefficient corporations run by incompetent bunglers make huge piles of money for a chosen few executives and owners by buying politicians (completely legally, thanks to Citizens United), shifting losses onto outsiders and imposing costs on the rest of society. If this sounds like hyperbole, just think about the financial crisis.”
    James Kwak: http://goo.gl/qf1S2

    Dee Brown’s Hear That Lonesome Whistle Blow tells the same story of rampant crony capitalism, as the railroads made their haphazard routes over the continent with rapacious intent. Perelman’s Railroading Economics gives an economist’s eye view.

    A useful to corrective to the neoliberals’ misty-eyed narratives on the age of the Robber Barons – before those pesky regulators came in and spoiled the party.

  18. MrShigemitsu December 27, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

    Thanks, David, to you – for creating an oasis of calm, informative, intelligent analysis both above and below the line. And, as mentioned above, the tone of the comments are in stark contrast to the crazed, post-apocalyptic ravings on sites like Zerohedge. Personally, I’m mostly just a sponge here: soaking up information, but without the in-depth knowledge or experience to contribute meaningfully. But, thanks to you, I feel vaccinated against the ubiquitous, received-opinion, TINA zeitgeist that prevails in the mainstream media, and far better equipped to challenge the status quo whenever and wherever it’s presented. A happy 2012 to you and all the contributors who make this such a great place..

  19. Bardo December 27, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

    Greetings David!

    My deepest gratitude to you and the community for keeping this blog alive.

    As a married father of two young boys and another first timer who has spent countless hour following the main articles and threads I have found it eye opening and fair.

    I welcome the fact that your background is in film-making, rather than economics. Lay persons like I need translation and context, and you are playing a vital role in offering this and more.

    As a result of this blog I recently came across ‘Media Lens’:

    http://www.medialens.org/

    Recommended reading for anyone who still thinks our supposedly independent press offer fair and unbiased reporting.

  20. gorgeous cleo December 27, 2011 at 7:06 pm #

    Phil says it all. This is a brilliant blog,and I’m so glad I found you. Happy New Year David, and all my very best wishes for 2012 to you and your family. It will all be very different next year but you have given us a handle to help us cope. We really gotta change things!

    Cleo

  21. steviefinn December 27, 2011 at 9:36 pm #

    All I can do is echo the above sentiments, this blog is a special place.

    A survival guide put together by the Anonymous hackers, posted on Zerohedge. It’s well put together & well you never know, Yellowstone might go Boom. I have already started collecting fallen branches to season for next year, it will anyway help with stretched finances.

    http://www.pdf-archive.com/2011/10/26/anonymous-survival-guide-for-citizens-in-a-revolution/anonymous-survival-guide-for-citizens-in-a-revolution.pdf

    Seems as though the HMIC is helping to prepare the police for possible large outbreaks of disorder, recommending the use of water cannons, live rounds & attenuating energy projectiles,( I wonder who thought up that robocop style name for plastic bullets).

    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/dec2011/riot-d27.shtml

  22. cynicalHighlander December 27, 2011 at 9:46 pm #

    The thanks are all ours David in breaking down the convoluted economic into laymans terms and even those below that line.

    An interesting comment on the UK.
    Steve Keen

    Guest Post: A Run On The Global Banking System – How Close Are We?

    Slainte

  23. Syzygy December 28, 2011 at 12:55 am #

    I want to echo what everyone else has said.. I’ve learned so much and been directed to so many useful sources, including the generous Professor Bill Mitchell. Many thanks David Malone. Your decoding & insightful detective work, and the community that you have gathered together, are invaluable.

  24. Mark December 28, 2011 at 10:55 am #

    Many thanks from me too, a non-poster but a regular reader (and I was also in the front row at your Lancaster talk last year!). Best wishes to all for 2012.

  25. Gordon Donald December 28, 2011 at 11:16 am #

    David,

    Thank you for all the work you have put in to create this blog and its community, and for your book. Although I had always been instinctively suspicious of the ‘narrative’ spun in the eighties and nineties – that the market would provide the most efficient and effective way of ordering incentives and rewards in society, private was better than public, and that “There Is No Alternative” – it took the credit crunch of 2009 and the Great Recession it provoked to make me rethink what I knew and how I understood the world. This site has been invaluable in my (re)education.

    I think the key concept now is the much misused notion of ‘sustainability’ – for production, community and environment and, crucially, how all these are interrelated. I am particularly inspired by the writings of William Morris and his passionate attacks on Victorian society, its injustice and poverty (material, intellectual and artistic).

    There are plenty of people worldwide who are now increasingly conscious of how precarious our environment and societies have become, and that it is the ‘creative destruction’ of competition acting as the motive force in this (John Bellamy Foster and The Monthly Review, in particular, have made the connections between the financialisation of monopoly capital, economic growth, and a catastrophic crash into environmental barriers). The crucial question is: what can we do to avoid the economic, democratic and environmental crash? Perhaps the only answer, as one of the direct action activists in the film Just Do It, says is “civilised disobedience”?

    Anyway, I hope you at least will keep up your good work in 2012.

  26. steviefinn December 28, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

    I don’t want to start a fight but this article explained a lot to me, regarding MMT ers & Austrians like Ron Paul.

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/45795986

  27. nell December 28, 2011 at 2:28 pm #

    Thanks David for your efforts in bringing to light the insanity of modern financial capitalism. Also a big thank you to the commentators on this site.
    There is an interesting series of articles (4 parts) on naked capitalism – cross-posted from new economic perspectives, that may be of interest.
    http://goo.gl/KUm37

  28. Joe Taylor December 28, 2011 at 3:27 pm #

    Like ‘Southern Cross’, I read Golem’s blogs and the comments to them with great interest, though rarely contribute, due to possessing insufficient economic acumen. I do everything within my capacity, as an administrator for the National Community Activists Network http://nationalcan.ning.com/ to ‘spread the word’.

    We are really looking forward to having Golem as guest speaker at our national conference in February, from which we hope to develop a strategy for future activity.

    In the near future we (NatCAN) should be able to organise a series of online seminars (webinars) regarding finance, as discussed here. We hope some of the contributors to Golem’s blog will consider giving an online presentation as how they see the current financial situation.

    Cheers Joe Taylor

    • Roger Glyndwr Lewis December 28, 2011 at 10:22 pm #

      Like the look of the site Joe just signed up on Facebook will Tweet and facebook

  29. John Souter December 28, 2011 at 8:13 pm #

    David – hope you don’t mind. The following is an extract from a 2008 article of mine under the title of ‘The People’s Sovereignty.’

    I continue to believe there is more at stake than simply financial corruption?

    I believe the democratic process of all the Western World is being systematically drawn into a position of degradation to where the institutions of governance are no more than human resource (horrible term, but indicative) controllers for the global manipulators. The US as the forge for this process has already lost any claim to being a meaningful democracy as underlined by 33% of its population being below the poverty line. The EU is a cabal of unknowns, who I suspect are placemen for the global manipulators; who have, through the connivance of creating the biggest pretendy parliament in the world, turned democracy into a farce. Meantime the UK, by trying to keep a foot in both camps while it’s in leg irons, and having sold the family jewels thirty years ago, is now selling (or at least pawning) the family as a going concern incorporating a pliant easily controlled work force as a sales pitch.

    How has this happened? Easy, our democratic representatives and administrators have taken their eyes off the democratic ball to become the stewards of a wealth based meritocracy. Either that or they’re incompetent or corrupt, or incompetently corrupt. (To save some time I would recommend Ian Bells article 21st Nov – Herald Scotland: Why don’t we tax the rich? It contains some interesting figures and comparisons, if figures of this magnitude can ever be believed.)

    Do I believe this was part of a cunning plan? Absolutely not. Even if there were only 100,000 of these super rich they wouldn’t have the brains or the cooperation between them; they just followed a trend and couldn’t believe their luck. This accelerated when the technology of IT could whizz figures round the globe and they could use their wealth and assets to create corporate Ponzi schemes that, because of the lack of responsibility and regulation ( A lack they lobbied and wheedled for and our politicians ‘bought’ in to?) , developed a mirage of reality that became the norm. Like the sub prime people who they enticed into mortgages, these sub prime prospectors and speculators believed they’d found the formula to turn literally nothing into gold. And the damnable part of all this is that the response of the politicians to the 2008 crises has proved them right.

    What started this trend? Well you would have to dig deep into the human psyche to pin point that one. You could say it was when Adam took the apple; or the first time a member of the oldest profession offered her/his services by promising a good time; or the concepts of religion; or the struggle of the alchemists to turn base metals into gold; and, while we’re at it, why gold?

    As a metal it has some industrial uses today because of its resistance to oxidisation and most chemicals; but it was totally useless then as now for spears, arrowheads, cooking pots, banding round masts, or nailing wood to form a boat. In fact it was so useless its probable somebody decided to make something pretty out of it. Then his woman wanted one; seeing this the tribal leader thought it would be a good idea to have something that would mark his position; then when Kings came on the scene he had to have more and in due time they took this malleable, not very rare commodity, and called it precious which gave it a value worth stealing and killing for.

    However you rate it today, gold is a pretty good example of the human psyche’s ability to adopt the irrational over the rational and this schism of rationality has been exploited ever since; but never to the extent that it is today.

    C’mon you say we’re educated, wise to the ways of the world: tutored in the universities of hard knocks called life.

    Are we?

    Believe it or not Americans are not fools. How do you think the relatives and loved ones of the thousands of servicemen killed or maimed in Iraq and Afghanistan are feeling, now that Wikileak has exposed their loved one died not for the protection of democracy under the euphemism of a War on Terror, but for the protection demanded by Arab Potentates? Potentates who now want the US to send more coffin fodder over to their part of the world to take a swipe at Iran.

    I’m no fan of Iran, but I’m not a fan of Potentates, Israel or any form of regime, no matter how it labels itself, that practices racial, religious, political or commercial apartheid. Such practices are just a devious form of eugenics practiced without schedules, rail cars or ovens.

    What if Bush Jnr was in office now, along with the same bunch of puppeteers; would the PR machines and the Media factories not be in the process of building a full head of steam demonizing Iran, in preparation for an invasion during his second term? He’s not, so the question is rhetorical; at least until the next puppet come along. But the question that isn’t rhetorical, is why the use of war, with all its de-structive qualities and the carnage of human life, is the western worlds favoured practice when it has patently failed in every theatre where its been applied; either overtly such as in Vietnam or Iraq or covertly – though the two are often intermingled – by the supply of arms and logistics as in Indonesia and South America? Calling violence peace, and those that practice it peacekeepers, is giving form, meaning and twisted legitimacy to a nonsense; what could possibly be more irrational than that.

    Knowing the costs that will be involved isn’t it conceivable that some “smart”, compassion, empathy and, above all, example, would achieve better results with fewer casualties and less destruction than the gung-ho crap of “smart” bombs? Now we know generals like to fight wars – what else are they going to talk about in their dotage – but surely that can not be enough of a reason, nor can it be the results they achieve, or the political gains that accrue; so is it possible this is the favoured method because the profit made on weapons and warfare are greater than those of compassion and ploughshares? If that’s the rational, then you have to ask, who is calling the tune, and who is paying?

    I suspect we all know the answer to the purse the price is being prised out of but, before we name it, let’s take a look at who profits. The Lockhead Corp, who incidentally, are a major shareholder in the UK Atomic Research facility; Halliburton Corp, also involved in the UK defence programme; with and ex CEO the VP in the Bush administration. The Carlyle Corp, heavily involved with Bush Snr, and ex PM Major on the board of subsidiaries on a reputed £500,000 per year. On the home front we have our ‘own’ BAE systems, who get paid billions to rehash a commercial airliner that was superseded in the 70s ? And, just to add to the diversity and comprehensiveness of the mix, throw in IBM and any or all of the other 99% not listed. What do they all have in common?

    They all claim to be commercial operations and go to a great deal of trouble to substantiate that claim – quoted in stock markets, declaring dividends etc – but if any were to rely on the normal cut and thrust of commercial markets, few would have reached the prominence they enjoy today. When was the last time you flew in a Lockheed airliner, have an IBN pc or bought a BAE product? They all rely on the defence budgets allocated to the Pentagon, or in the UK case the M0D, whereby the costs of research and production are met by ever increasing budgets from the public purse, while the profit margins and innovations gained are left to the corporation to exploit and benefit from.

    Add into that mix the privatisation of a (any) Nations resources whether they’re natural or innovative and you have bankrupted the nation to benefit the few – and the maxim of socialising the costs and privatising the profits, becomes, potentially, apocalyptic for the ‘us’ who have to meet the costs. Think about it, it doesn’t take much commercial acumen to run a business that doesn’t have to meet the costs of the product it sells. And, just to add insult to injury, is able to market these products through a heavily supported media – staffed by many, but controlled by few – whose sole purpose is to manufacture consent by the suppression of truth through the drip of lies forming into opiates of suppression.

    That said, this is not intended as a polemic against capitalism. Capitalism has its place, just as entrepreneurship, innovation and commitment have the right to be recognised and rewarded. But capitalism without responsibility and commitment to the moral and social wellbeing of the culture the community and the natural elements it relies on for its existence, is a cancer hell bent on its own destruction and stupidly oblivious to the fact it will bring the body with it.

    Now where’s the rational for the ‘body’, whether as molecules or miracles, of nations or specie, to allow that state of affairs or affairs of State to continue?
    This, in my opinion, is the world we live in; a fact that’s underlined by the various international polls that question the quality of life in different countries. What these tend to show is that it’s the smaller countries who adopt a more egalitarian and domestic approach to their citizenries’ wellbeing and who don’t get into power games with their neighbours, who occupy the top rungs of the contentment ladder.

  30. Charles Wheeler December 28, 2011 at 10:15 pm #

    Landslide Hits The City Upon A Hill?

    “The Street and its ministries of propaganda have fallen back on a Big Lie as old as capitalism itself: that all that has gone wrong has been government’s fault.

    It’s funny; the Big Lie has a long pedigree. A year or so ago, I was leafing through Ron Chernow’s indispensable history of the Morgan financial interests, and found this interesting exchange between FDR and Russell Leffingwell, a Morgan partner and Washington fixer, a sort of Robert Strauss of his day. It dates from the summer of 1932, with FDR not yet in office:

    “You and I know,” wrote Leffingwell, “that we cannot cure the present deflation and depression by punishing the villains, real or imaginary, of the first post war decade, and that when it comes down to the day of reckoning nobody gets very far with all this prohibition and regulation stuff.” To which FDR replied: “I wish we could get from the bankers themselves an admission that in the 1927 to 1929 period there were grave abuses and that the bankers themselves now support wholeheartedly methods to prevent recurrence thereof. Can’t bankers see their own advantage in such a course?” And then Leffingwell again: “The bankers were not in fact responsible for 1927–29 and the politicians were. Why then should the bankers make a false confession?”

    This time, I fear, the public anger will not be deflected. Confessions, not false, will be exacted. Occupy Wall Street has set the snowball rolling; you may not think much of OWS—I have my own reservations, although none are philosophical or moral—but it has made America aware of a sinister, usurious process by which wealth has systematically been funneled into fewer and fewer hands. A process in which Washington played a useful supporting role, but no more than that.

    Over the next year, I expect the “what” will give way to the “how” in the broad electorate’s comprehension of the financial situation. The 99 percent must learn to differentiate the bloodsuckers and rent-extractors from those in the 1 percent who make the world a better, more just place to live. Once people realize how Wall Street made its pile, understand how financiers get rich, what it is that they actually do, the time will become ripe for someone to gather the spreading ripples of anger and perplexity into a focused tsunami of retribution. To make the bastards pay, properly, for the grief and woe they have caused. Perhaps not to the extent proposed by H. L. Mencken, who wrote that when a bank fails, the first order of business should be to hang its board of directors, but in a manner in which the pain is proportionate to the collateral damage. Possibly an excess-profits tax retroactive to 2007, or some form of “Tobin tax” on transactions, or a wealth tax. The era of money for nothing will be over.

    At the end of the day, the convulsion to come won’t really be about Wall Street’s derivatives malefactions, or its subprime fun and games, or rogue trading, or the folly of banks. It will be about this society’s final opportunity to rip away the paralyzing shackles of corruption or else dwell forever in a neofeudal social order. You might say that 1384 has replaced 1984 as our worst-case scenario. I have lived what now, at 75, is starting to feel like a long life. If anyone asks me what has been the great American story of my lifetime, I have a ready answer. It is the corruption, money-based, that has settled like some all-enveloping excremental mist on the landscape of our hopes, that has permeated every nook of any institution or being that has real influence on the way we live now. Sixty years ago, if you had asked me, on the basis of all that I had been taught, whether I thought this condition of general rot was possible in this country, I would have told you that you were nuts. And I would have been very wrong. What has happened in this country has made a lie of my boyhood.

    Time, I think, to take the country back.”
    Michael Thomas: http://goo.gl/EN7HR

  31. Charles Wheeler December 28, 2011 at 10:29 pm #

    Darkness At Noon?

    “Not only have political forms changed during a normal lifetime, systems of law and banking have come and gone along with national currencies. The entire framework in which life was lived has changed not once, but several times. In any longer historical perspective discontinuities of these kinds are normal.

    It is periods of stability, such as the one that existed in at least the western half of Europe from the end of WWII up to the present, that are exceptional.

    The response to the current crisis in Europe shows the continuing hold of this myth. History, many seem to think, is something that happens only to previous generations. We, the product of centuries of progress, could not conceivably be repeating the follies and delusions that led to disaster so often in the past.

    Yet if you step back a little and look at the situation from a more detached perspective, it seems clear that no solution to Europe’s problems can be found within existing institutions.

    Our leaders insist there is no alternative to propping up these deeply eroded constructions since their collapse would cause a financial and economic earthquake. This may well be right, but shoring up a structure that is inherently unsound only ensures a larger collapse some time later.

    Eventually every utopian project comes to grief. And while it started as a benign creation, the European project has long since acquired an unmistakably utopian quality. The efforts that are being made to renew the project are only accelerating its demise.

    Cutting back public services, savaging pension entitlements and imposing a regime of near zero interest rates that guarantees negative returns for ordinary savers does not have the same devastating impact as hyperinflation or full scale deflation.

    But the disappearance of any kind of security for the majority, and vanishing opportunities for young people are not fundamentally dissimilar to what was happening in Europe 70 years ago. Our rulers, it seems, have decided to save the banking system at the cost of sacrificing the living standards of the majority. It remains to be seen whether one can survive without the other.

    We seem to be approaching one of those periods of discontinuity that have happened so often in the past. It may seem unthinkable that the European banking system could implode, or that a global currency like the euro could dissolve into nothing.

    For believers in progress it must be a dispiriting prospect. But if you can shake off this secular myth you will see there is no need to despair. The breakdown of a particular set of human arrangements is not after all the end of the world.

    Surely we would be better off if we put an end to our obsession with endings. Humans are sturdy creatures built to withstand regular disruption. Conflict never ceases, but neither does human resourcefulness, adaptability or courage.

    But living in fear of the end is as stultifying as living in hope of it. Either way our lives are spent in the shadow of a future that’s bound to be largely imaginary.

    Without the faith that the future can be better than the past, many people say they could not go on. But when we look to the future to give meaning to our lives, we lose the meaning we can make for ourselves here and now.

    The task that faces us is no different from the one that has always faced human beings – renewing our lives in the face of recurring evils. Happily, the end never comes. Looking to an end-time is a way of failing to cherish the present – the only time that is truly our own.”
    John Gray: http://goo.gl/Mu58y

  32. Ian G December 28, 2011 at 10:41 pm #

    What can I add that has not already been said? Like a few others, I am a lurker, quietly digesting the excellent commentary and responses. This site is a safe haven from the madhouse of the MSM of which there is no longer any trustworthy sources. The BBC are for example in breach of their charter regarding objective, factual and evenhanded reporting. It is worthwhile viewing the comments on the main sites like the Telegraph to get an inkling of the public opinions. Sometimes it is hearteningly fair and sees through the blatant scaremongering of sensationalist headlines, at other times it is a pit of despair.

    Best wishes to all for the new year and let’s hope we can make a difference.

    Ian

  33. richard in norway December 29, 2011 at 2:51 am #

    Golem

    Thank you for a wonderful site, its been my launching pad for a while now. But why haven’t you linked to your fax sites, the automatic earth site is great!! Sorry but someone had to have a moan or all the adulation(which you richly deserve) would go to your head 🙂

  34. Syzygy December 29, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

    I can’t remember who linked to this series of lectures about the history of the US financial system but they are really useful in understanding what has happened. Thank you who ever it was.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l37RhdFGVsM
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGTBkNJ8ZWI

  35. Charles Wheeler December 29, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

    “In an unregulated world, the least-principled people rise to the top.” http://goo.gl/5vPA7

    Or: ‘What is permitted becomes necessary’

    The Prisoner’s Dilemma – shaft or be shafted!

  36. nell December 29, 2011 at 2:01 pm #

    I was puzzling last night over the actions of Cameron/Osborne’s refusal to stump up 30 bn or so for the IMF fund ‘to save the Euro’. Surely its in the interests of The City, that more money is made available to European banks? Isn’t looking after The City’s interests the top priority of our government?
    Possible reasons
    1. Its a manipulation of public opinion – our government is just waiting for the right excuse, and then they will jump in with the cry ‘we have no choice’.
    2. Its not a lie – they don’t think 200bn is enough and The City wants pressure put on G20s to cough up more.
    3. The City wants to pressure the ECB to start printing, which means changing the law. If this can be done as an emergency measure, there will be no hiding the fact that democracy is dead in Europe. (Although this does not make much sense financially, as the accelerated rise in ECB reserves suggest that ECB is using loopholes to provide liquidity, similar to quantitative easing pursued by BOE).

    • steviefinn December 29, 2011 at 4:07 pm #

      Nell
      47% want to leave the EU in the UK, & there is probably a higher percentage within Tory voters, so probably not a good idea to go chucking 30 billion into Johnny foreigner’s big black hole. If it proves to be a total waste & Europe collapses anyway, which seems likely unless they print, imagine the reaction if the coalition then had to re-start bailing out RBS etc, because of their exposure to European banks. Much gnashing of teeth in the Shires, I would imagine.

      Hard to guess on their reasons, short term self interest & self preservation probably the motive for whatever they end up doing.

      • John Souter December 29, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

        Stevie – I doubt if politics plays any part in the £30bn.

        I suspect the bond markets, especially those of the Anglo/American cartel and who, for the moment, seem to be doing quite well on the interest level front, want to see their position exposed directly or indirectly through the IMF to the Euro bail out.

        Fundamentally I believe this was the thinking behind Cameron’s position and the rhetoric of protecting Britain’s interests.

        That said, if the Americans decide to invest Cameron’s £30bn cheque will follow in the next post.

        We are approaching the end game and concern for the shires is way down the agenda.

        • steviefinn December 29, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

          John
          Why would they want their position exposed ? sorry if I am missing something.

          • John Souter December 29, 2011 at 9:39 pm #

            Stevie -it’s my belief the Anglo/American cartel are the major players/drivers in this financial idiocy and its debt lottery.

            How else do we square the circle of the worlds two largest debtor nations, who both rely heavily on the finance industry, being able to sell their bonds at rates lower than those applicable to more solvent nations?

            America and the UK are already controlled by the financial oligarchs, now they are squeezing the EU in order to gain the same supremacy.

            I think Germany knows this, but this time its fighting a war on 26 fronts and it hasn’t got central control.

            But hey, as always that’s only my opinion; maybe the £30bn has already been earmarked to bail out the Osborne wall paper business?

            I see the games starting again tonight euro down against the dollar – no mention of the pound! Parity for the new world order?

          • steviefinn December 29, 2011 at 10:38 pm #

            John
            As my Mother always said, ” It will all come out with the wash.”

  37. neilcaff December 29, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    Long time reader and lurker. I’ve always found your blog very useful to develop my own thoughts on what’s going on and also as a great source of raw data.

    Thanks a million and keep up the great work to all at the blog but part particularly to Golem XIV.

  38. Jamie Griffiths December 29, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

    MMT and Bill Mitchell
    Max Keiser
    Karl Polanyi
    Reinhart and Rogoff
    David Harvey
    The Documentaries of Adam Curtis
    Naked Capitalism
    Positive Money
    Nick Shaxson and the Tax Justice Network
    The novels of Neal Stephenson
    Yevgeni Zamyatin
    Michael Hudson
    and of course Stanislaw Lem

    Just a selection of wonderful work of which I might never have known had I not been a follower of this wonderful blog and those who regularly contribute here.

    Here’s hoping that it continues to go from strength to strength in 2012 and that the message ‘We are better than this’ continues to find a broader audience.

    Merry Christmas to all.

    • Charles Wheeler December 29, 2011 at 6:22 pm #

      Would add an honourable mention for L.T. Hobhouse (brother of the amazing Emily), whose critique of laissez-faire provided a blueprint for social democracy. His writing is still relevant because we’re HAVING THE SAME ARGUMENTS ALL OVER AGAIN!

      + Robert Sherrill on the S&L fiasco

      + Brooksley Born – for a valiant attempt to rein in the idealogues

      + Richard ‘The Courageous State’ Murphy

  39. Dunners December 29, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

    I’m another long time follower who hasn’t really posted much. I first came across Golem on the CiF site during the 2008 crisis. His posts over there suddenly made clear what was happening. It explained everything in a simple and easy to follow style. And that is the key.

    Our political leaders hide behind a curtain of complexity that, on closer inpsection, turns out to be quite easy to grasp. And once you do, you are then exposed to the truth. The hard cold truth. It may not be comforting, but I’d rather know what is really going on than blindly follow a false narrative that is dished out by the ‘free’ media.

    So thank you, Golem. Thanks to what you have taught me, and how you have taught me, I’m now able to pass the message on to others. And that is what we all need to do. Pass the message on, so that people will begin to uinderstand. And with that, hopefully, their confidence will increase too.

  40. Phil December 29, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

    ”Having seen how well interest-rate swaps worked for Jefferson County, Alabama, Chase “helped” countries like Greece and Italy mask their debt problems for years by selling a similar series of swaps to those governments. The bank then turned around and worked with banks like Goldman, Sachs (who were also major purveyors of those swap deals) to create a thing called the iTraxx SovX Western Europe index, which allowed investors to bet against Greek debt.

    In other words, banks like Chase and Goldman knowingly larded up the nation of Greece with a crippling future debt burden, then turned around and helped the world bet against Greek debt.”

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/a-christmas-message-from-americas-rich-20111222#ixzz1hwPKPPwx

    Sorry, I still don’t understand the mechanism by which banks bet against a nation’s debt. Can someone explain please?

    • Phil December 29, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

      It’s ok! I’ve got my head round it at last!

      http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/25/business/global/25swaps.html

      ”As banks and others rush into these (Credit Default) swaps, the cost of insuring Greece’s debt rises. Alarmed by that bearish signal, bond investors then shun Greek bonds, making it harder for the country to borrow. That, in turn, adds to the anxiety — and the whole thing starts over again. ”

  41. Oireachtas Retort December 29, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

    All the best David and everyone in the new year.

  42. Phil December 29, 2011 at 5:50 pm #

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/comment/brian-basham-beware-corporate-psychopaths–they-are-still-occupying-positions-of-power-6282502.html

    ”Over the years I’ve met my fair share of monsters – rogue individuals, for the most part. But as regulation in the UK and the US has loosened its restraints, the monsters have proliferated.

    In a paper recently published in the Journal of Business Ethics entitled “The Corporate Psychopaths: Theory of the Global Financial Crisis”, Clive R Boddy identifies these people as psychopaths.

    “They are,” he says, “simply the 1 per cent of people who have no conscience or empathy.” And he argues: “Psychopaths, rising to key senior positions within modern financial corporations, where they are able to influence the moral climate of the whole organisation and yield considerable power, have largely caused the [banking] crisis’.

    And Mr Boddy is not alone. In Jon Ronson’s widely acclaimed book The Psychopath Test, Professor Robert Hare told the author: “I should have spent some time inside the Stock Exchange as well. Serial killer psychopaths ruin families. Corporate and political and religious psychopaths ruin economies. They ruin societies.”

    Cut to a pleasantly warm evening in Bahrain. My companion, a senior UK investment banker and I, are discussing the most successful banking types we know and what makes them tick. I argue that they often conform to the characteristics displayed by social psychopaths. To my surprise, my friend agrees.

    He then makes an astonishing confession: “At one major investment bank for which I worked, we used psychometric testing to recruit social psychopaths because their characteristics exactly suited them to senior corporate finance roles.”

    Here was one of the biggest investment banks in the world seeking psychopaths as recruits.

    Mr Ronson spoke to scores of psychologists about their understanding of the damage that psychopaths could do to society. None of those psychologists could have imagined, I’m sure, the existence of a bank that used the science of spotting them as a recruiting mechanism.

    I’ve never met Dick Fuld, the former CEO of Lehman Brothers and the architect of its downfall, but I’ve seen him on video and it’s terrifying. He snarled to Lehman staff that he wanted to “rip out their [his competitors] hearts and eat them before they died”. So how did someone like Mr Fuld get to the top of Lehman? You don’t need to see the video to conclude he was weird; you could take a little more time and read a 2,200-page report by Anton Valukas, the Chicago-based lawyer hired by a US court to investigate Lehman’s failure. Mr Valukas revealed systemic chicanery within the bank; he described management failures and a destructive, internal culture of reckless risk-taking worthy of any psychopath.

    So why wasn’t Mr Fuld spotted and stopped? I’ve concluded it’s the good old question of nature and nurture but with a new interpretation. As I see it, in its search for never-ending growth, the financial services sector has actively sought out monsters with natures like Mr Fuld and nurtured them with bonuses and praise.

    We all understand that sometimes businesses have to be cut back to ensure their survival, and where those cuts should fall is as relevant to a company as it is, today, to the UK economy; should it bear down upon the rich or the poor?

    Making those cuts doesn’t make psychopaths of the cutters, but the financial sector’s lack of remorse for the pain it encourages people to inflict is purely psychopathic. Surely the action of cutting should be a matter for sorrow and regret? People’s lives are damaged, even destroyed. However, that’s not how the financial sector sees it.

    Take Sir Fred Goodwin of RBS, for example. Before he racked up a corporate loss of £24.1bn, the highest in UK history, he was idolised by the City. In recognition of his work in ruthlessly cutting costs at Clydesdale Bank he got the nickname “Fred the Shred”, and he played that for all it was worth. He was later described as “a corporate Attila”, a title of which any psychopath would be proud.

    Mr Ronson reports: “Justice departments and parole boards all over the world have accepted Hare’s contention that psychopaths are quite simply incurable and everyone should concentrate their energies instead on learning how to root them out.”

    But, far from being rooted out, they are still in place and often in positions of even greater power.

    As Mr Boddy warns: “The very same corporate psychopaths, who probably caused the crisis by their self-seeking greed and avarice, are now advising governments on how to get out of the crisis. Further, if the corporate psychopaths theory of the global financial crisis is correct, then we are now far from the end of the crisis. Indeed, it is only the end of the beginning.”

    I became familiar with psychopaths early in life. They were the hard men who terrorised south-east London when I was growing up. People like “Mad” Frankie Fraser and the Richardson brothers. They were what we used to call “red haze” men, and they were frightening because they attacked with neither fear, mercy nor remorse.

    Regarding Messrs Hare, Ronson, Boddy and others, I’ve realised that some psychopaths “forge careers in corporations. The group is called Corporate Psychopaths”. They are polished and plausible, but that doesn’t make them any less dangerous.

    In attempting to understand the complexities of what went wrong in the years leading to 2008, I’ve developed a rule: “In an unregulated world, the least-principled people rise to the top.” And there are none who are less principled than corporate psychopaths. ”

    • Jim M. December 29, 2011 at 7:04 pm #

      Phil,

      I grew up in Bethnal Green,where such luminaries as The Kray twins were to be found as opposed (literally) to FF and the Richardsons.

      It has often occured to me that the problem with the Dick Fulds and Jamie Dimons of this world is that they have been too sheltered from the real psychopaths. I suggest we stick ’em in the Downham Tavern for an evening to see how their ego copes with the close attention I’m sure they would attract!

      Ah well… a man can dream, can’t he?

  43. steviefinn December 29, 2011 at 6:51 pm #

    Speaking of which :-

    One afternoon a 1%er was riding in his limousine when he saw two men along the roadside eating grass.

    Disturbed, he ordered his driver to stop and got out to investigate.

    He asked one man, “Why are you eating grass?”

    “We don’t have any money for food,” the poor man replied. “We have to eat grass.”

    “Well, then, you can come with me to my house, and I’ll feed you,” the 1%er said.

    “But sir, I have a wife and two children with me. They are over there under that tree.”

    “Bring them along,” the 1%er replied.

    Turning to the other poor man he stated, “You may come with us also.”

    The second man, in a pitiful voice, then said, “But sir, I also have a wife and SIX children with me!”

    “Bring them all as well,” the 1%er answered.

    They all entered the car, which was no easy task, even for a car as large as the limousine was.

    Once under way, one of the poor fellows turned to the 1%er and said, “Sir, you are too kind. Thank you for taking all of us with you.”

    The 1%er replied, “Glad to do it.
    You’ll really love my place. The grass is almost a foot high.”

    • Charles Wheeler December 29, 2011 at 7:52 pm #

      Not to forget the classic: http://youtu.be/YUhb0XII93I

    • Roger Lewis December 29, 2011 at 11:00 pm #

      Very Funny. Thanks and then some Python marvellous stuff. It counts as an evening out in my quiet corner up in the hills of southern Sweden.

  44. glen valentine December 31, 2011 at 10:13 am #

    Thankyou David I have been reading your site for a couple of weeks and i am very impressed with your insights as well as the contibutions from other readers. Looking forward to more of the same in 2012

  45. Eachran December 31, 2011 at 7:35 pm #

    Golem, good luck for 2012.

    My feelings are that this will be an interesting year and much more so than any since 2007.

  46. Chris L January 2, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

    The finest blog on the web in my opinion. Keep up the excellent work in 2012 David – I fear your perspective and clear thinking will be needed now more than ever.

  47. Declan January 20, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

    Keep up the great work, David.

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