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An apology

An Apology

I have thought more about what I wrote in The Humiliation of Greece and have come to the conclusion that I was, in part, wrong. So I would like to offer a sincere an unreserved apology to all those who read it

I would also like to offer an explanation of where I went wrong and finally an amendment to the argument.

An Explanation

The bulk of the article and its main argument, I think,  still stand. I think the argument about the Bond swap is fine. But where I went wrong was in regards of the proposed new law. In a nut shell my mistake was that I assumed  the proposed law giving up all rights to assets and immunity from prosecution, was a law which would be applied generally. I assumed the proposed law would apply to any default on any debts to any sovereign creditors. I think this is not the case.

I would like to say that one reader ballymichael did try to point this out to me but I was very slow to realize what he was saying. I picked a bad time to be obtuse and I would like to say both thank you and sorry to him in particular.

If I now understand ballymichael’s point it is that this law would apply to loans made by the Troika but not to other loans made by other nations or lenders.  Thus were Greece to default on bonds it had sold to China let’s say, then Greece would be able to default as would any other nation.

The knock on effect of this is that the final part of my article – which I did say was speculative – is wrong. Even if the private debts were counted as Sovereign as I suggested they could be, this would not trigger the proposed law. Thus this is not a way of recapitalizing private Greek banks and saving them from their debts. That will still have to be done by the means employed so far.

Embarrassed as I am that my specualtion was wrong I am also glad. The betrayal is not as foul as I had specualted it might be.

However, it is still pretty bad.

An Amendment

The new law would pertain only to those loans made by the Troika. The Troika being the European Union, through its various agencies including bail-out funds such as the EFSF and the ESM, and then the ECB and the IMF.  The problem for Greece is that the Troika is not really just one creditor among many. It is now Greece’s most powerful and main creditor. What this means is that because the central bulk of its debts cannot now be defaulted without the new law laying Greece open to being gutted like a fish, this essentially prevents Greece for defaulting on any of its debt no matter who the creditor was. Greece could default on debts owed to lets say the BoE or China but such a default would not clear enough of the nation’s debts ot make it worth while.

The more loans Greece ‘accepts’ from any Troika bail-outs the more this will be the case.  The ability to strip Greece in the event of any default confered by the proposed law makes lending to greece via the bail out funds such as the EFSF and ESM the ‘safest’ way to lend by far. If Germany wants to lend to Greece it can now chose to do so via the bail out funds rather that as nation to nation.  Other lending will still happen because it is clear the new law pins Greece down and makes any default almost unworkable.

Thus although my original argument was, as I have said, wrong, in many ways the new law still has many of the same wider effects as I had originally thought, just by a more round about way.

As for the speculation about Greece’s private banks and their private debts – as I said my speculation was wrong. Those banks and their debts will continue to be protected by the method used so far – Troika funded bail outs.

I hope you will accept my apologies.  It is a shitty way to end the year. But at least it was no one’s fault but mine.

I do realize that the currency of any blog is how trustworthy people feel it is. I hope this blunder has not shaken your confidence irrevocably.

There is always a danger – which I am very aware of – of getting out of one’s depth when trying to write about issues which depend upon technical aspects of finance and law. The worry of getting out of my depth is never far from my mind.  But the alternative is to go back to accepting the platitudes and bland assurances of those ‘smartest men in the room’, who have always claimed to know better and who would like nothing better than  for us to stop trying to understand and to stop asking questions.

I cannot bring myself to do that even when I find I have embarrassed myself so publically.

I hope 2013 brings you and yours rude good health and joy.


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269 Responses to An apology

  1. drew December 22, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

    “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters” ― Albert Einstein

    IMV — there was no need to aplogize — Merry Christmas

  2. steviefinn December 22, 2012 at 6:33 pm #

    Tut tut – You would never make the grade as a politician – thank goodness.

    “I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. I own, however, that I have humility enough to confess my errors and to retrace my steps”.
    Mahatma Gandhi

    May 2013 bring yourself & all those of good heart, more light & much less darkness.

  3. Pat Flannery December 22, 2012 at 7:37 pm #


    You may not make it as politician but you sure make it as a human being. If I apologized every time I was wrong I would have very little space for anything else.

    I didn’t even know you were wrong, if you are, I was just concerned about the constitutionality of such a law.

    Have a wonderful Christmas with your family, they are very lucky to have you.


  4. 24K December 22, 2012 at 8:16 pm #

    There’s no problem jumping the gun G. It’s like a night watchman tracking the movents of a fox.

    Wishing you a great 2013.

    Keep shining that light dude.

  5. The Dork of Cork. December 22, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

    Talking about technical aspects of finance………….

    The UK balance of payments & current & financial account is getting me into a twist.

    Do any of yee lads have a idea whats going on here.

    UK balance of payments 3rd quarter


    Its goods trade deficit is down somewhat from the record Q2
    but is still very high.

    They seemed to have dramatically revised revised their income deficit from Q2

    In the Q2 statement they declared it was a record -5.2 Billion
    In the Q3 statement they declared it was now a mere – 1 billion
    They now state their income for Q3 was +1.2 billion

    Whats a real mystery to me is their financial account.

    In particular
    “other investment”
    Q3 : largest inflow ever recorded standing at 156 billion

    2010 Q3 : 6,469m
    2010 Q4 : 64,029m
    2011Q1 : 51,462m
    2011Q2 : 48,827m
    2011Q3 : -10,485m
    2011Q4 : – 451m
    2012 Q1 : 49,709m
    2012Q2 : -17,211m
    2012Q3 : 156,673m !

    What is this stuff ?
    Reading a IMF paper on Ireland this same ” other assets” stuff has been bleeding from Ireland since the start of the crisis.

    yes in table 5 of the Irish IMF paper

    Finacial account (billion euro)
    other investment

    Y2008 : + 86.1
    Y2009 : -23.1
    y2010 : -32.2
    Y2011 : -67.6 (-42.5% of GDP)
    Y2012 : -32.4
    Y2013 : -23.7

    This is the bank bonds I guess.

    But notice the sheer scale of the UKs other assets in Q3


    Also the UK trade deficit in silver is lilkely to be £4 Billon +~ this year.
    Another record.

    Something big is going down.

    • Golem XIV December 22, 2012 at 10:23 pm #

      Yes something big is going down. But like you, DofC I cannot understand it. Let’s just keep trying.

      There is also something big and very dirty is going down in Greece. Not sure what it is yet. But the parts I know about do not look re-assuring at all.

      Thank you all for your kind comments.

      Merry Christmas.

      • The Dork of Cork. December 23, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

        When you look at those extraordinary numbers you come away with the impression of hyperinflated claims on tiny rump physical economies.

        Its a crazy system which you think can’t go on.
        But the system broke in late summer 2007 -over 5 years ago now.

        And yet it continues………….

        I guess those crazy numbers is the revenue from high $ oil prices from around the world.
        This could be a mega version of the 70s crisis

        • steviefinn December 23, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

          According to this the bond bubble is about to burst:

          “The whole game is rigged. It’s ready to go down, and Dr. Paul Craig Roberts believes it’s ‘Bonds Away’ in 2013 as the bond bubble explodes and brings about a financial disaster even worse than the Great Depression ”

          ??? I’m lost.


          • nell December 25, 2012 at 2:13 pm #

            Don’t worry. The mainstream view is that interest rates are determined by the market – hence the fear that they will go up and blow the bond bubble. But the mainstream view is mistaken. The central banks determine interest rates. The central banks will continue to keep interest rates at rock bottom until they see signs of economic recovery. What should be of major concern is whether or not economic recovery in the eyes of central bankers means the same as economic recovery in the productive economy. The majority of us rely on the productive economy for our basic needs.So far, central banks and governments have supported erosion of the productive economy (ie high unemployment and business failure) in favour of propping up the financial sector. This does not bode well.

          • steviefinn December 25, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

            Nell – I was not very worried about the above, I just thought Celente might be onto something as he was one of the few who predicted 2008, an opinion for which he was ridiculed.

            Thanks for your thoughts – Very Merry Christmas.

      • Curly8 December 24, 2012 at 7:52 am #

        Thank you for your ongoing illumination of the places that many of the powerful prefer us not to see! You made a slight error – don’t worry about it, especially since you held up your hand at the first opportunity; it doesn’t detract from a colossal body of work which continues to grow and inform those who are interested enough!

        All the best to you and your family – and please keep up the great work you are doing in 2013 and beyond!

    • Yakima Canutt December 23, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

      all I know is money is pouring into London just now, all into property; from right across Europe because of Spain, France, Italy , Greece, Portugal meltdowns, from Russia, and most def. from USA -they must have found some loopholes in the new IRS exposure rules.

    • Attitude_Check December 26, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

      Could it be massive silver/gold purchases at the LBMA? If I thought that the world monetary system was about to implode, I might be buying (of course I am but I am no whale, or even a minnow). Central Banks certainly are. Also there has been some discussion that the big silver short (JPM) is being targeted, and speculators smell blood in the water. The are buying and taking delivery of every naked short JPM sells, or so the rumors say. That might also explain the silver deficit.

  6. John G December 22, 2012 at 10:43 pm #

    To err is human etc. No need to apologise . All the best for the silly season.

  7. Richard Beard December 23, 2012 at 12:29 am #

    Happiest Holidays to you and yours. I still woinder about this as the Argentina fight has not ended. We will see. These “investors” and their friends want everything the country has – period. Thank you for such a fine blog.

  8. simoncz December 23, 2012 at 12:48 am #

    Still one of the best blogs on the internet, even if you did make a mistake.

  9. Mike Hall December 23, 2012 at 2:23 am #

    Well, what you were really writing about was that Greece’s ordinary citizens are being looted, in plain sight, by EU ‘authorities’. As are the citizens of other countries, albeit the process is not quite as advanced or as yet cruel.

    Whilst the lie is told that people are being ‘helped’.

    The thrust of the piece remains correct in my opinion. You’ve amended a minor error in the detail of the argument, that is all.

    Best wishes to all for the hols 🙂

  10. Jon Knight December 23, 2012 at 7:10 am #

    Hear, here! I will continue to do so.

    Not a bad way to end the year – with honesty and integrity. Thanks.

  11. Yakima Canutt December 23, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

    Golem, you may only have been wrong in your timing.
    Once they change those rules for one set of transactions, other parties will want the same rights ………….

  12. Roger December 23, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    Merry Christmas David to you and yours from the Viking Elf Santa Clause band, coming down a chimney near you soon!


  13. desmond December 23, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

    thanks for some great blogs Golem most of all for the truly human content. it seems to me that bankers, politicians and a lot of media people are in fact darleks. They cut the corners of the human element more and more. Amongst a sea of nonsense you are an island of sanity. The humans must win now the battle for their humanity..

  14. Michael Fish December 23, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    Admitting a mistake is the mark of the Great.
    Not that I believe that you made much of an error.
    it is obvious that the Greeks have been raped and are being raped
    over and over every day.
    You are one of too few who can take credit for trying to put a stop to this.
    Onward, Sir and Upward.
    Love and peace to you and to yours.
    And thank you.
    Michael Fish, Canada

  15. KathyP December 23, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

    I cannot think of a more honorable way to end a year than to recognize an error and offer an apology for it. Thank you for all that you do to increase our understanding of what is happening.

  16. Ben December 23, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

    Been reading your blog for months and months – keep up the good work!

  17. shaun s December 23, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

    All the best for christmas and may 2013 bring happiness and warmth for you and your family.

    What else is there to say?
    (PS. Maybe the financial whirl DID collapse on 21 dec. only we don’t know it yet. – Only joking, – I hope.)

  18. bryanw December 23, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

    I’d like to see a revised version then of the original article. It deserves to be read more widely

  19. ch-ch-changes December 23, 2012 at 10:46 pm #

    Given the precision with which you shine light into dark corners of the all powerful banking fraudsters “system”, a slight misfire every once in a while seems a pretty impressive success rate to me 🙂
    No-one mired inside that “system” will raise a finger to help the rest of us as we become increasingly dispossessed. Since they long ago bought the corporatised political class, independent thinkers and communicators now provide the only chance for society to move forwards from here rather than backwards into ever increasing imposed poverty.
    As always, great respect for your open, honest, and above all human approach – wishing you and your family a happy and peaceful christmas

  20. Phil (Mcr) December 23, 2012 at 10:49 pm #

    Happy Christmas mate! Hope to see you in the New Year.

  21. Phil (Mcr) December 23, 2012 at 10:51 pm #

    By the way, the footage from David’s talk in Manchester will hopefully be ready in early January. We’ve just had a few problems syncing sound and visuals. (and the editor has buggered off to Ireland!)

  22. Poultice December 23, 2012 at 11:12 pm #

    Long time reader with far too rudimentary a level of knowledge to comment beyond to say that my view is your swift, heart felt apology easily covers any downside from the need for a partial retraction.

    I would like to see some expansion on the issue of the massive inflow of ‘money’ as flagged up by the Dork if that could be managed, I was trying to explain the issues I have with the uber wealthy trolling over here from the Euro basket cases to my SiL, he seems to think it is investment, I feel it is simply some pretty hefty sets of lungs blowing hard into a balloon that is ripe for the bursting.

    Seasons greetings to you and all your contributors, keep it coming.

  23. Clarence December 24, 2012 at 12:22 am #

    Another long-time reader (from Australia). Love your highly entertaining and educative blog. Your correction just makes your analyses even more believable than ever. So, thank you very much and have a great new year.

  24. Phil December 24, 2012 at 2:32 am #

    With your grasp of the finer detail and larger picture, and mindful of a critical and informed audience, you might feel embarrassed.

    But the post was clearly speculative and obviously a “heads up” to possibilities and unknown consequences – to unfold in the fullness of time (minister).

    Your only mistake was assuming the dark side, for once, had a cunning plan :0)

    [From another Aussie]

  25. Johnny Appleseed December 24, 2012 at 8:30 am #

    You don’t owe us an apology. I’d like to second the motion for the amended article to be published instead.
    Thank you for all your great posts. Shèng​dàn ​kuài​lè​, as they say in China.

  26. Jason December 24, 2012 at 11:01 am #

    No need to apologise as you state the proportion of Troika funded debt is growing and will gradually subsume most of the rest as it is swapped out (and that includes the Greek banks) it may not be immediate but eventually your original position will materialise by default (and as you say once a certain percentage is reached the remainder of debt becomes almost irrelevant).

  27. Golem XIV December 24, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    What can I say people?

    Other than thank you.

    Not for reading or even for commenting. But for seeing that something really needs to be done and realizing that no one is going to do it for us.

  28. Bardo December 24, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

    Your apology amply demonstrates your willingness to dance with vulnerability – a most exquisite revealing of humanity underneath the masks we all wear. Actions such as this can shake the foundations of Mammon’s temple. Thanks for everything from another regular follower.

  29. Bearbonez December 24, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

    Still a must read blog checked daily, thanks for opening my eyes to what this slimey perfidious bunch are upto. All the best and seasons greetings to you and yours.

  30. Justin Boland December 24, 2012 at 9:24 pm #

    Copping to mistakes and being willing to correct yourself is more or less the only way to maintain trust in my book. Cheers to an exponentially worse 2013!

  31. Jim December 25, 2012 at 12:06 am #

    David – not contributed before, but just wanted to write to say this is a wonderful blog. Not just because of the way you write, but because you ask people to think. And by doing that you get intelligent feedback that will sometimes improve or refine your original arguments. To me this is a win win situation, not something to apologise for.

    Have a great Xmas and New Year and keep up the fantastic work.

  32. Buck Turgidson December 25, 2012 at 12:32 am #

    Dear Golem

    I find you a fascinating person. You write a blog for free about people that live a long way from your home because you obviously care about them. Then when you get things wrong you quickly apologize. I think you should change the name of your bog to …….Saint Golem XIV.

    Merry Christmas


  33. Mike Hall December 25, 2012 at 2:18 am #

    Not even remotely on topic….but a film recommendation for you:





    Something different….beautifully filmed & thoughtful 🙂

  34. backwardsevolution December 25, 2012 at 10:28 am #

    “The truth never arrives neatly wrapped.” Thomas Powers

    “If you shut your door to all errors, truth will be shut out.” Tagore

    What you are doing is rather like an archaeological dig, but in the dark. Pointing out the error is a sign of your good character, but there is absolutely no need to apologize. You are a beacon of light in this opaque world, and I applaud you. Thank you, David.

    Wishing you and your family (and all the great contributors here – you really are wonderful) the best of the season.

    From your Canadian friend.

  35. bill40 December 25, 2012 at 12:46 pm #


    First of all A very happy Christmas to you and your family, and of course to all your readers.

    Secondly, this is just speculation of course, I think you may end up having to apologise for your apology. Your only “mistake” in my opinion is to call the end game too soon. The new rules being drawn up for Greece will soon apply to all EZ countries as they try to reinvent the Euro as a viable currency.

    I predict many many more people will be crushed as the Euro experiment drags on. Jason above has a very good point that the Troika can swap the debt about at will.

    This is just my opinion, I think you have called it right.

  36. nell December 25, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    Merry Chistmas and a Happy New Year to all who visit Golem XIV very fine blog.
    No need to apologize for making a mistake, David – what makes this blog so fine is the exploration of ideas. We all get that wrong from time to time. That’s the price of thinking! Thanks for making a space where ideas can be discussed openly.

  37. Joe Taylor December 25, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

    I don’t honestly know where we’d be without you David.
    All the best to you and yours.

  38. Diogenis December 27, 2012 at 9:58 pm #

    Hello from greece,

    Dear David/Golem thoughts,I am reading all of your articles and posts with big interest.Thank you very much for your efforts and thougts on these very complicated issues.

    Let me tell you one thing:
    We greeks right now suffer very much.Many of my friends left the country to find a job in germany or france or even in the USA or australia.But most of us stay at home.All of us fight on a daily basis.Not only to survive these heavy attacks from our own politicians and the likes of Merkel or Draghi and their ruling class but also from the very negative pictures the neoliberal system media draws about the greek people in general.It is like they think they could destroy not only the greek people with their hate and generalisations but also the idea of greece which always was the idea and the birthplace of democracy and enlightment.And most of all a symbol of resistance.

    The good side of things is that the solidarity grows all around the world as many greeks who left tell us from germany,the USA or france that the people over there start to suffer from being jobless,having low wage jobs and growing poverty too.As Warren Buffet puts it some months ago..the ruling class declared a class warfare on all of us.Solidarity,understanding the truth and sites like these are our weapons.”We” are so many,”they” are so few.

    So,greetings from Ellas,and be sure we the greek people will continue the peacefull fight for (a more direct) democracy and justice.Hope you all join us where ever you are.

    • Mike Hall December 28, 2012 at 10:40 pm #

      Well said! Solidarity from Ireland 🙂

      • Phil (Mcr) December 28, 2012 at 10:47 pm #

        And from Manchester!

        • Joe Taylor December 29, 2012 at 2:38 pm #

          echo that one – from Wigan

          • steviefinn December 29, 2012 at 7:01 pm #

            Same again from County Tyrone & hoping that in 2013 you might witness a reversal of the turn of the screw.

    • Diogenis December 31, 2012 at 10:07 am #

      thank you all!

  39. BobRocket December 28, 2012 at 10:34 pm #

    Yes, An Apology is indeed required, don’t you understand the seriousness of the situation ?

    The slightest deviation from the Official Version of Things might bring the whole edifice crashing down.

    Golem, it is outrageous that you could suggest that the Troika has anything but the interests of the Ordinary Greek People at heart.

    Golem, it is obvious that you personally have an interest in the destruction of the Greek People, whereas we, The Troika, want to strengthen Greek Representation through the EU Parliament.

    JFC* Golem, how in Hell do you think we are going to save our own skins (obviously that last line is not for publication)

    We Must Work Together, Life Will Be Tough, Austerity Will See You Through.

    (If Your People don’t work like slaves, We will go broke. Have you any idea what this means ?, We Own You. We Will see you starve, We Will kill you)

    Everything will be Fine.

    There is nothing to be worried about

    Vote Troika

    (apology accepted)

  40. Phil (Mcr) December 28, 2012 at 10:48 pm #

    The ”bond market bubble” is a load of balls?


    • Mike Hall December 29, 2012 at 3:15 am #

      Cullen Roche is part of the group that split from MMT, the only difference in view being the inclusion of the Job Guarantee in MMT. Cullen & co refer to their view as MMR (Modern Monetary Realism)

      His piece here (back in 2010) is simply a restatement of the correct view that for sovereign currency issuers (US, UK, Japan etc.) there is no default risk to bondholders & the currency issuer always controls interest rates, not the bondholders. ie no ‘vigilantes’ that Eurozone countries are beholden to. Hence no unsustainability issue that might characterise a ‘bubble’.

  41. BobRocket December 28, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

    Somebody on a previous thread asked what we could do.

    What could we do ?

    ‘We cook your meals, we haul your trash, we connect your calls, we drive your ambulances. We guard you while you sleep. Do not… fuck with us.’

    Tweet This

  42. David P. December 29, 2012 at 12:26 am #

    Hello, just discovered your blog, bravo!

    I’m copying your “smartest men in the room” paragraph to my personal stash of inspirational quotes.

  43. Mike Hall December 29, 2012 at 3:01 am #

    Just read this very unusually revealing, if depressing, piece of Der Spiegel journalism on the machinations of this month’s EU Summit:


    What an unbelievable mess the Eurozone is, from it’s flawed inception to even deeper hole.

  44. Phil (Mcr) December 29, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    Further to an earlier blog post on Lies about Public Debts

    Tories to not only match Labour spending in 2007 but increase it in the three years after. So what changed? Bailing out the biggest Ponzi scheme in history?



  45. Phil (Mcr) December 29, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

    Sir Alan Budd and Hector Sants to be honoured. Why don’t they just spit in our faces?


    Oh, and Sir Hector will be joining Barclays soon.

  46. Phil (Mcr) December 29, 2012 at 7:38 pm #

    How the FBI coordinated the crackdown on Occupy:


    FBI Documents Reveal Secret Nationwide Occupy Monitoring – See the released documents here:


  47. Joe Taylor December 29, 2012 at 9:32 pm #

    Thanks for finding those articles Phil(Mcr) – very sobering reading.

    Allan Wort, a mate from Equality NW, dug this one out


    A bit of plain English for a change

    • Phil (Mcr) December 31, 2012 at 3:03 am #

      Yes, but Mr Lanchester ends it in a most curious manner, asking how their can be cuts and rising spending at the same time. Given that he wrote a book on the financial crisis, I am perplexed as to why he doesn’t understand the transference of private banking debts to the public books.

      From July’s Office for National Statistics’ report:

      ”the government interventions and the inclusion of banking groups, such as RBS and Lloyds, within the public sector have had a marked impact on the public sector finances…” (p. 22)

      ”The public sector net debt including the temporary effects of the financial interventions, at the end of July 2012 was £2,147.4 billion (136.6 per cent of GDP), this compares to a public sector debt excluding the temporary effects of financial interventions of £1,032.4 billion (65.7 per cent of GDP). The net debt for the measure including any temporary effects of the financial interventions is so much higher than PSND ex as it includes the net debt of the public sector banking groups. Net debt is defined as all financial liabilities minus liquid assets (see ‘Net debt’ section for more background). The public sector banking groups, like most banks, have a significantly greater amount of liabilities than they do liquid assets, and so a high net debt. The net debt for the public sector banking groups (including the debt of the Bank of England schemes, such as the asset purchase facility fund) was estimated to be £1,002 billion at the end of June 2012.” (p 23- 24)

      Needless to say, LRB are now in possession of an email with this.

  48. Mike Hall December 30, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

    An excellent speech by James Galbraith to the German IG Metal trade union, posted at Yanis Varoufakis’ blog:


  49. Diogenis December 30, 2012 at 10:11 pm #

    James Galbraith is talking as the US-gouvernment has a better way to solve any problem than the europeans.

    Then again we all know that there are 47 Million US-citizins on food stamps.And a real jobless rate of 20%.

    Comparing these crazy numbers with the european (on soup kitchens for example) things don´t seem better in the USA in any way.For example the greek aid organisations (church and others) estimate the numbers of citizins who live in greece and which are fed by the soup kitchens by 80.000 on a daily basis last year (2011) and 100.000 in 2012.

    So in the USA 15% of the population has already not enough money to feed them selves.In greece the 100.000 going regular to the soup kitchens compose 1% of the population.And this after the worst austirity program ever conducted on a eurozone country while the USA conducted one stimulus after the other on their own economy.

    • Mike Hall December 31, 2012 at 2:17 am #

      I agree Galbraith sounds too complementary of the US system, but he is really comparing the institutional foundation of the US vs the Eurozone. In that he is right to criticise the Eurozone – we don’t even have the institutional framework to solve the problems, having set up a shared currency union with no central fiscal institution & precious little understanding of what sharing a currency means.

      Whereas the Eurozone is setting one country against another with a neo liberal ‘competition’ mantra, the US makes no such comparisons between one state or another.

      No doubt real unemployment in the US is much higher than the ‘official’ 8%, but what of the Eurozone’s where the ‘official’ rate is 12% ?

      The US has only made one attempt at stimulus, about $800 billion, passed before the Democrats lost Congress. It was not enough but it did help. The various QEs are not stimulus, just add to banks’ reserves & affect nothing in the real economy.

      But the real point is that the Eurozone does not even have the structure to be able to vote on or provide such a stimulus.

      Galbraith also makes the point (correctly) that their recession has been limited & they are making progess toward growth (yes, too slowly), but the Eurozone is actually getting worse.

      Don’t misunderstand me. The US is an appallingly unequal society & a vicious military empire. But it has not instigated something as ruinous and blatantly neo-liberal as the Euro currency system.

      Bad as the US is, the Eurozone is heading in a far more dangerous direction with little or no means to reverse it. This was Galbraith’s point. He’s a macro economist & was speaking to that perspective, nothing more.

      • Roger G Lewis December 31, 2012 at 9:47 am #

        Hi Mike,

        If both analysis are founded upon the objective of a return to growth both are flawed in my opinion. That the US has the ability to get back to business as usual is no comfort at all.

        I was interested enough to follow these two un enthusiastic comments regarding the Bristol Pound Earlier.


        Jct: I find it sad that this inferior cash-based medium of exchange makes the news while the superior time-based LETS does not.

        At 7:33 PM, usuryfree said…
        I fully agree John! Let’s propel the usury free time currency model to the top in 2013.

        It is interesting that this article on time based currency in Wikipedia is not within the economics section?


        Words for the day.

        Exonumia, Notaphily, and Scripophily. Plastic numismatics? Discuss.

        • Mike Hall December 31, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

          I think I understand where you’re coming from Roger. Part of my response is below in reply to Diogenis – the bit about Maslow’s Hierarchy.

          Ultimately – & probably frighteningly soon, relatively – economic growth, or even economic stasis, will have to massively decouple from continued use of non-renewable resources.

          I think the real question is not so much growth in monetary terms, but do we have enough resources left to make the transition & retain our current & expected growth in population, without premature deaths (& on a large scale). That’s going to take investment, which inevitably means growth, at least in the short to medium term.

      • Diogenis December 31, 2012 at 10:06 am #

        Oops..I just noticed that I sound like I wanted to defend the european system.Sorry for this.

        What I wanted to say was more like:Anyone who knows about the issue and speaks in public and does not belong to the `neoliberal side` should talk more about the failures of the system which are right now good to see in all of the developed world,no matter if USA,europe,Japan and the wealthier parts of the developing world (china).

        The people must learn that we have a system failure.At least I think so.Talking about some (in my view) minor differences of several versions of the same false system is maybe not the right way to explain the main issue.


        Sorry for my bad english.

        • steviefinn December 31, 2012 at 11:32 am #

          No apology needed – This extract from a blog written by Joshua M Brown a New York financial adviser highlights one of the big problems with the US economy & others like it. The sheer short term stupidity & lack of common sense of the corporations :

          “The fairness aspect is irrelevant – since when in the history of human civilization did wealthy people not make the rules so that their advantages would be assured? It is only when they go to far that there is a reset, a turning point like the beheading of French monarchs and the storming of the Bastille. Episodes like those are the exception, not the rule, which is why they’re so memorable in the first place. 99% of the time, the rich get richer and there is very little turnover in their ranks. Fine.

          But the stupidity of having such an obviously unbalanced economy is the more important discussion we should be having right now. The corporations are every bit as vulnerable to the disappearance of the middle class as the middle class is itself.

          They’ve managed around this issue thus far with an increasing emphasis on exports (now responsible for half of the S&P 500’s sales and profits) as well as systemic and legally-sanctioned overseas tax evasion. Consider that Exxon Mobil made $19 billion in profits in 2009 and paid zero Federal income tax (you want to laugh, they actually got a rebate of $256 million). GE earned $14 billion in 2010 and also paid zero in Federal income tax. Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard have each set up offshore subsidiaries which they use as payment conduits so as to keep their profits shielded from the IRS.

          But offshoring of profits and the export of goods and services won’t sustain these corporations forever. At a certain point, native companies within the developing world will nudge our adventuring multinationals aside (China’s already building its own version of Wall Street). And when that happens, Corporate America is going to turn around and be horrified by the devastation in its own backyard.

          “Where did all our customers go?”

          Well, you enormous fucking idiots, you fired all your customers. You’ve spent the last decade or so suppressing wage growth in the name of “creating shareholder value” and now even your shareholder base is disappearing.

          You allowed wages to stagnate for a decade and made every decision you could in the service of nudging the quarterly profit higher, thinking less of the yearly profit and virtually nothing of the long-term viability of your business.

          One hundred years ago, Henry Ford gave his employees an unasked for wage increase and, when asked why, he replied “How else will they be able to buy my cars?”

          Can you imagine one of these pinheaded pricks in today’s corporate C-Suites ever thinking that far ahead or that broadly? Hilarious.

          Now Henry Ford was no sweetheart (when he wasn’t publicly browbeating his son, Edsel, he was busy giving handjobs to Hitler) but he also wasn’t an idiot. He knew that good living wages meant more customers for his product, and they also made for a better workforce and a stronger company.

          Take this tidbit from the Michigan State Historical Archives:

          At the time, workers could count on about $2.25 per day, for which they worked nine-hour shifts. It was pretty good money in those days, but the toll was too much for many to bear. Ford’s turnover rate was very high. In 1913, Ford hired more than 52,000 men to keep a workforce of only 14,000. New workers required a costly break-in period, making matters worse for the company. Also, some men simply walked away from the line to quit and look for a job elsewhere. Then the line stopped and production of cars halted. The increased cost and delayed production kept Ford from selling his cars at the low price he wanted. Drastic measures were necessary if he was to keep up this production. To combat the high turnover and to boost morale, Henry Ford announced the famous “$5 a day” wage…Nevertheless, Ford’s plan doubled typical wages and sent shockwaves through the other car companies. They thought Ford was crazy and would soon go out of business. Ford knew, however, that this new deal would not only lower costs due to decreased turnover, but it would create more buyers of his cars: the employees themselves!

          By improving the lives of his workers, ol’ Henry improved his own company’s competitive position and made it more profitable in the process. A century later and our supposed Captains of Industry don’t seem to understand this concept at all. For every forward-thinking employer like Starbucks, there are ten more who think nothing of shitting where they eat in the course of their ongoing negligence for the American workforce.

          Thankfully, the backlash to short-term greed, long-term nihilism is already underway. This piece from The Economist looks at the perversity of the modern-day Profits Now obsession:

          One study shows that listed companies have invested only 4% of their total assets, compared with 10% for “observably similar” privately held companies. A second shows that 80% of managers are willing to reduce spending on R&D or advertising to hit the numbers. The fashion for linking pay to share prices has spurred some bosses to manipulate those prices. For example, a manager with share options gets nothing if the share price misses its target, so he may take unwise risks to hit it. Short-termism is rife on Wall Street: the average time that people hold a stock on the New York Stock Exchange has tumbled from eight years in 1960 to four months in 2010. The emphasis on short-term results has tempted some firms to skimp on research and innovation, robbing the future to flatter this year’s profits.

          Fairness ain’t got nothing to do with it.

          Rather, it is this short-term myopia that has meant a relentless plundering of America’s middle, an industrial-strength strip mining of our once world-beating workforce. And it’s going to bite the One Percenter and his corporate enterprises back when all is said and done.

          Already the cracks are showing: consider that 88% of the S&P 500’s profit growth this year came from just ten companies and four of these companies alone accounted for half! It gets worse, half of this top ten are current or former problem-children banks who essentially live off the retiree-punishing financial repression interest rates at the Fed. If that sounds like a bullshit economy, well, it is one. And you want people to be “confident” in the presence of this experiment? You expect the downsized to cheer as the holders of financial assets suck up more and more of the remaining crumbs?

          Again, you can thank the poisonous atmosphere we currently enjoy. In 2012, the masses spend their waking hours trying to figure out which credit card loanshark to pay off first while a plutocratic handful use their control of the media and Congress to press their own interests even further. And now they’re doddering about in abject ignorance over why everyone turned on them this election cycle – they are the very smartest dumbasses you’ll ever meet.

          It’s this very stupidity that the national debate should be about, economic equality becomes a naturally occurring byproduct once we put an end to the Strong Companies, Stressed Country dichotomy.

          So don’t worry about Fair, let’s just stop the Stupid and see what happens.”

          • Mike Hall December 31, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

            I’ve pondered this one Stevie….

            It’s very similar to Marx’s basic criticism of unfettered Capitalism – when the Capital owners have acquired everything, what then? (If they can keep the lid on dissent/unrest, neo-feudalism I suppose?)

            Tho’ the rapid growth of short-termism over the last decade or two is certainly something to behold.

            A few thoughts….

            I don’t think the new top dogs of Capitalism – the masters of the ‘financialised’ economy – could give a damn what happens much beyond their next bonus.

            Nor do I think they could care less what Henry Ford did. After all, whereas Ford had cars to produce & sell, the financialised economy produces nothing whatever for the real economy & hence needs no consumers in the way Ford did.

            (Haha…bring back the old Capitalists, all is forgiven!…well, not really..)

            The Capital owners, quite happy to ‘eat’ the proles of course, are also cannibalistic toward their own class. Big ones eat little ones, all part of the pathology.

            Capital owners, at least at the top, don’t care how much wealth they have in absolute terms – don’t even spend what they have. So long as it either continues to accumulate or at least retains its relative position to that of everyone else.

            A lot of their wealth is in ownership of real assets, like land & property. If the system crashes, they tend to hang on to most of this. (Nicely diversified across numerous countries, of course.)

          • steviefinn December 31, 2012 at 4:22 pm #

            Agreed Mike – They just cannot help themselves, they will push it to the limit, & like all those who fell from grace before them, they think they are untouchable.

            There will come a time when as happened in Wenceslas square paratroopers or the equivalent will lay down their arms in the face of unarmed men women & children.

            That is my hope that I take with me into the new year.

            These guys are trying to get funding to make what looks like a very scary film about the possible consequences of the neoliberal dogma.


            Here’s wishing you & all the other Golemites close access to a safe harbour during 2013, one that will provide shelter for you & your loved ones from the unfortunately, inevitable coming storms.

            Davy Jones locker for the tyrants – financial or otherwise.

        • Mike Hall December 31, 2012 at 1:56 pm #


          Actually, I don’t think I have expressed myself too clearly. I accept your original point – I probably should have said I thought Galbraith’s speech ‘excellent’, but with the caveat of ‘within the context he was addressing with that audience’ or some such.

          I agree that that there is what you call system failure (massively). I am sure that we mean the same thing by that, but there are further details that we could add which, again, I think we (& most here) would likely also agree on.

          First. there is more than one distinct system – at least one would be the system of macro economics (comprising monetary & fiscal methods & institutional structure) & another would be, say, the system of democracy.

          I would say both of these are a failure (although, the 1% would likely see both as a success!), but for different reasons.

          In the case of democracy, I see serious structural flaws that if not addressed will never produce better outcomes (for us, the 99%, or probably, really 90% to 95%).

          For example, the inbuilt incentives for elected & non-elected public officials to either come from or have certain expectation of becoming members of the exploitive top few percent, whilst purporting to represent the majority. This can never work in my view. It’s a ‘prime face’ incentive for corruption of the desired outcome. Another aspect is the political party system – centralising power over individual conscience. Simply hoping to operate this structure differently, or electing a few ‘better’ politicians won’t change anything beyond some meagre & very short lived improvements. The ‘choice’ we get – neo-liberal, or neo-liberal ‘lite’ – is no real choice at all. Not an accident imo, but a built in feature of the structure.

          In the case of the monetary & macro economic system, the Euro system structure is deeply flawed, by design. Without major structural reform, it is always going to produce a neo-liberal outcome. In many respects it has a gold standard like structure, which together with other features, severely limits the important role of governments (& democracy, assuming we can fix that).

          However, the US, UK, Japan etc. monetary systems actually have in place adequate structural features. True fiat currencies & a proper federal system for every region that uses the currency.

          The kind of macro economic options that MMT proposes could be introduced within weeks there. The same structure, merely operated differently, with different goals – like full employment – could be used to produce radically different outcomes.

          I share (deeply) the concerns of many (most?) here with regard to humanity’s sustainability on this planet. Ultimately there may be better systems we could introduce – given time. But ‘time’ is something we don’t have much of to begin the radical changes we need to avoid catastrophe (peak oil, climate change & other resource & pollution issues).

          To me, MMT offers the greatest paradigm changing & most immediate way to begin the path to those radical changes. It does two things. It throws out, forever (once people have experience of how it works) the falsely based, constraining dogma of neo-liberal economics. It has built in mechanisms (the job guarantee) to ensure inclusivity – no-one gets left behind.

          It thus throws the important issues back to the political (democratic) sphere, which can then not argue endlessly over false ‘money’ constraints to keep the staus quo. It must then be forced to discuss the real opportunities & constraints we have – namely the real resources in labour & materials we can bring to bear & how we should apportion those for our best collective future.

          By helping to ensure everyone has a secure minimum living standard, it helps to refocus attention away from all consuming daily survival & squabbling over who gets what, to the real problems we need to solve – including the reform of democracy itself.

          A very practical view on ‘Maslow’s Hierarchy’ (of needs) from human psychology, if you will.

          I have spent years active in the Green movement & seen it getting nowhere. Economics is the key & the thing they have seriously ignored. They have failed to realise that without getting that right, there is no meaningful beginning toward sustainability.

          Anyhow, I’m probably rambling on a bit now….

          Best wishes for the New Year 🙂

  50. Golem XIV December 31, 2012 at 12:29 am #

    Sorry for the silence. One word – Norovirus.

    Reading the comments which are great as always. Back when I can.

  51. Phil (Mcr) December 31, 2012 at 3:12 am #

    Here’s something positive from the FT:

    On abundance, post-scarcity and leisure


  52. Paulie December 31, 2012 at 7:43 am #

    As they say, assumption is the mother of all f@@k ups but yours was just the logical assumption, no need for an apology to anyone here, enough said, Happy new Year, here’s hoping that you get everything you wish for, for you and your family, best of luck with everything, hopefully norovirus will leave you alone before midnight

  53. Diogenis December 31, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    One last thing on this issue..

    The greek “leftists” gave failed ugly.The communist party which is still an old school stalinist-like construction failed to explain the crisis in an understandable way,the left-centrist Syriza is more like a populist party which changes her claims and her proposals almost every day.

    In general the `tradional leftists` all around europe failed.The german left,the french,the spanish..most of all the unions.

    The like of Thatcher,Kohl,Schröder,Mitterand etc did everything to destroy the classical so called `working class`of europe in the 80s & 90s by outsourcing the whole production to china and the other low wage countries.By that they also managed to destroy the unions in all big european countries.

    This is right now a huge problem.Most of the employees do not have a honest voice to express them.The unions in france,UK,germany etc have become a corrupt joke.On the other side this is a huge chance for the younger generations every where (not only in europe) to express themselves in the `direct democracy`movements which have become very strong for example in spain and also in greece.

    This is my big hope.

    • Mike Hall December 31, 2012 at 2:26 pm #

      Can’t argue with that my friend 🙂

      I had wondered if Syriza were a little better tho’, are they really that bad?

  54. Phil (Mcr) December 31, 2012 at 7:50 pm #

    I had an exchange with a defender of the banks on the Independent’s blog yesterday. He refused to accept that austerity was linked to the bailouts. So I dug around in the Office of National Statistics reports and I found the following in July’s, which I hope might be a resource for some of you:

    ”the government interventions and the inclusion of banking groups, such as RBS and Lloyds, within the public sector have had a MARKED IMPACT on the public sector finances… The measures excluding the temporary effects of financial interventions are intended to show the underlying state of the public sector finances without temporary distortions caused by financial interventions, but INCLUDING any PERMANENT effects from these interventions….

    ”The public sector net debt and net borrowing excluding the temporary effects of financial interventions (PSND ex and PSNB ex respectively) exclude the debt and borrowing of the public sector banking groups as well as that related to schemes such as the Asset Purchase Facility, BUT INCLUDE public sector bank transactions with government and government interventions where the money spent is NOT EXPECTED to be RECOUPED”

    (continuing to page 23 / 24)

    ”The public sector net debt INCLUDING the temporary effects of the financial interventions, at the end of July 2012 was £2,147.4 billion (136.6 per cent of GDP), this compares to a public sector debt excluding the temporary effects of financial interventions of £1,032.4 billion (65.7 per cent of GDP). The net debt for the measure including any temporary effects of the financial interventions is so much higher than PSND ex as it INCLUDES the net debt of the public sector banking groups. Net debt is defined as ALL FINANCIAL LIABILITIES minus liquid assets (see ‘Net debt’ section for more background). The public sector banking groups, like most banks, have a significantly greater amount of liabilities than they do liquid assets, and so a high net debt. The net debt for the public sector banking groups (including the debt of the Bank of England schemes, such as the asset purchase facility fund) was estimated to be £1,002 billion at the end of June 2012.”

    But it’s ok, because they are ”accounted for separately”!

    Yeah, but not paid for separately, dickhead.

  55. Phil (Mcr) December 31, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

    Meanwhile, as leaders of Sheffield, Liverpool and Newcastle councils warn of civil unrest if spending cuts continue…


  56. Joe Taylor December 31, 2012 at 11:26 pm #

    Why Bankers Rule the World

    Professor Margrit Kennedy writes that a stunning 35% to 40% of everything we buy goes to interest. This interest goes to bankers, financiers, and bondholders, who take a 35% to 40% cut of our gross domestic product.

    That helps explain how wealth is systematically transferred from Main Street to Wall Street. The rich get progressively richer at the expense of the poor, not just because of “Wall Street greed” but because of the inexorable mathematics of our private banking system.

    More here – http://bit.ly/WWFn4Z

  57. Diogenis January 1, 2013 at 7:56 pm #


    Syriza has collected all the people who still believe in our completely corrupted party-system and most of all people which believe that one could change things to the better WITHIN this system.This is all they have done.No real solutions.

    Most greeks right now (according to reliable surveys some 80-85%) want a complete change of the democracy-model.Like the people in other european countries (spain) people have recognized that all parties are a corrupt construction.The “conservative”,”socialist”,”center-left/right” bla bla parties are nothing more than corrupt helpers for banksters and mobsters while the communist-party-leaders just fear for their income as politicians/parlamentarians..easy as that.

    You shoud know that something is happening (not only in greece but from what we hear also in spain,portugal etc ) what you don´t hear so often in the european system media:

    The people are taking first steps or already made the step leaving athens and thessaloniki going back to the grand-families´ villages to the country side.According to the surveys in the greek systems-media/newspapers 1,5 million greeks from the two big cities are doing this..to my knowledge this number is much higher.Most of the people I know are doing that or at least are thinking about this very seriously.And almost all of them are academics or studied people.

    Im my opinion this is a silent but huge revolution.For many reasons.

    • Debra January 2, 2013 at 10:50 pm #

      That is very, very interesting, the move to the countryside.
      I think that much of what we are griping about in the middle class (I have one friend who is trying to feed a family of three teenage/adult young men on 50€ a week… not many of us who are blogging are doing that, I think) is the tip of the iceberg.
      I think that globalization itself, over a period of several hundred years is responsible for much of our current disgruntlement. Globalization in the form of urbanization : a civilization becoming more and more sophisticated in its language, culture, and more and more divorced from the land which enables its members to be able to stick food in their mouths in order to live. The land is the place where the concept of work got started… being far from the land means being far from the original sense of what “work” meant (in part, because in French, the primary sense of the word “travail” remains the process of childbirth…). (But then, you know, the capitalist system is inextricably tied up with the concept of work, and I, for one, am not a devout believer in the sanctity of a society based on the ideal of working for a living.)
      When times get hard, one of the worst places to be is in the city, with not a tree in sight.
      Hard times seem to follow the periods where large numbers of people drift into the megapoles.
      Over Christmas, I watched the film “Manon des Sources”, taken from Pagnol. There is a great scene when a small Provence village’s natural spring mysteriously dies. An irate villager points his shotgun at the village mayor, and orders him to deliver the water that he paid for. We should think about this more often. Maybe we would realize just how crazy we have collectively become. Not just… the 1%. It’s always easier to see how the other guy is at fault than to pinpoint our own individual responsibility in what is ultimately a system failure.

  58. steviefinn January 2, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

    Spent part of yesterday mooching around the web looking at Hungary who are in the process of fighting off the EU, the IMF & the banks. The Western media is shown up as the lapdog it is, but mainly the vid shows what happens to those who try to make the banks pay tax, do not want to be asset stripped & become nothing more than a consumer colony for a European superstate.


    This Timewatch video perhaps only interesting in a historical sense as it covers the 1956 failed rebellion against the Soviets & their lackeys. What struck me was the veteran fighters who became exiles stating basically that tanks were replaced by banks, & the once communist leadership or those who kissed the Russians arses, took to Capitalism like babes to water.

    Is there really any difference between these careerists &/or psychopaths ? Isn’t it now clear the isms are just labels & those causing / who have caused the biggest problems would simply serve any God or system to further their own ends.

    Tony Blair meeting with the Hungarian faux Socialist government who sold Hungary down the drain kinda sums it up for me.


  59. John G January 2, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

    Two sayings popular in the post-Soviet states.

    “Everything they said about communism was a lie, but everything they said about capitalism was the truth.”

    And, “we thought we were getting democracy, but instead we got capitalism.”

  60. Debra January 2, 2013 at 10:32 pm #

    In 2005, the French people were consulted by referendum to vote a 500 or so page constitution to formalize the political/economic unity of the European Union.
    While the mainstream media were cocky about the outcome, two weeks before the vote, a few staunch European Union supporters started to get jitters about the political climate, and sure enough, the new constitution was rejected by a small majority of the French people. The French people are increasingly wary of the angel choir chanting that European (economic) unity is the only way to prevent us all from killing each other…
    In ? 2007 ? 2008 ?, Nicolas Sarkozy managed to circumvent the referendum, thus ensuring the constitution’s ratification (in a camouflaged new and improved form) by a minority, despite public disgruntlement. This procedure was anti democratic, and is still perceived as such, even though the current socialist government is light years away from moving to undo the damage. THAT should tell us something…
    I believe that the logic of what you call the Troïka is to develop a strong federal Europe in which the sovereignty of individual nation states will be curtailed.
    At this time, it is unclear to me to what extent a strong federal Europe will be… a satellite of the U.S., or a formidable competitor for emerging third world markets.
    The economic measures (including debt management) are designed to railroad through political unity, and a new form of centralized political control, despite the enormous historical and linguistic differences that remain between Europe’s nation states. They are accompanied by a deluge of English/American words into the languages of the Continent.
    I have said elsewhere that much current economic analysis does not take into account the complex relationship that exists between Europe/the Continent/ the U.K., and the U.S., the world’s foremost military power at this time. Who is colonizing whom ?
    On apologies… it has been said that to err is human, to forgive, divine.
    Since everybody makes mistakes.. it should be easy for us.. all ? to be gracious enough to forgive the mistakes of others…

  61. Diogenis January 2, 2013 at 10:44 pm #

    The post WW2-system is bankrupt.The party-democracy system is dead.Simply because it is a corrupt system from the bone.And the people know it.We right now witness a second restoration like the first 1815-1848 which killed all achievements of the french revolution.

    I believe that we have two choices for the future:

    1.We win.On the streets.And we,the people,install a more direct democracy.Maybe something like direct-vote system (via internet?) for local issues like infrastructure,education,environment etc. and a mix of direct-votes and elected short-term(lets say for 6-12 months) delegates which are supported by also short term “experts”(scientists,artists,economists etc) for issues like the nations law making,economy,defence,external policies etc.Short term elected delegates and technocrats with no own party do not have the chance to install their own corrupt system.

    This sounds today a little bit naive but it is not impossible.At least this would be the next logical step for our democracy.

    2.They win.Banksters and mobsters take over for good and enslave the whole world with low wage jobs & poverty.Whole layers of populations move not only within the own continent but we will see never known before migrations of hundred of millions from south to north,from west to east and visa versa.All this under a world wide single currency which allows a world wide trade with no limits.
    This sounds like a george orwell horror scenario but the like of bush,merkel and draghi already talked about this “new world order” openly.They dont even try to hide it.

    There is a movie out there “I am fishead” made by some very famous psychologists,moderated by the actor peter coyote about the guys with the ties:

    I think this is a very funny movie. 😉

    • Debra January 2, 2013 at 11:15 pm #

      But just exactly who is enslaving whom ?
      I don’t believe much of the talk about the banksters. Because it’s too easy.
      My daughter in law does her shopping at the corporate giant, Carrefour, because she believes that 1) she does not have the choice because she can’t afford to do anything else and 2) buying at Carrefour is cheaper than buying elsewhere.
      But by doing her shopping at the corporate giant, she unwittingly ? participates in driving the prices to the bottom. (Incidentally, it is not necessarily cheaper to buy at the corporate giant supermarket, but she BELIEVES it is cheaper, the way many people still believe it. And shopping at the corporate giant has become a comforting habit for her, too.)
      Because these days, it has become democratic for EVERYBODY to spend the least money possible to buy something. To get a “bargain”. Why pay.. MORE when you can pay less ? Don’t we tend to think that you gotta be crazy to pay more when you can pay less ? (I hope not all of us, but for many of us it is automatic.)
      She knows (because I tell her…) that by refusing to pay more, she is contributing to bottoming out salaries, and exacerbating globalized economic competition, but she won’t change her habits.
      (I am not an unconditional supporter of democracy either, because I see it historically as a tendancy to destroy all forms of perceived privilege, a bulldozer designed to make us all fit into small Procrustian boxes. Maybe that gets some people excited at the idea of tearing down the nobility, but when the privilege is a salaried job, well then, maybe you get the idea ? . And it is based on the psychological mecanism of envy. Envy is really not pretty at all. It is one of the least palatable human traits, in my opinion. Definitely not to be publicly encouraged.
      The serpent biting its own tail is that, when the buck stops.. it stops at the level of John Q. Public, the People, who refuse(s) to fork out a centime more than is… necessary. Perhaps if more people were willing to pay.. MORE ? then some things might change ? (That might entail some measures of austerity, but self imposed ones are much more satisfying than the constraints imposed by the powers that be.)
      Incidentally, making money the measure of all things (i.e., making the price the only criteria for buying) is called idolatry of filthy lucre.
      We are currently living in a very decadent civilization. That means a.. rich one.
      There are advantages, and disadvantages to decadence…
      It sure as hell gets many people tired and depressed, though…

      • Roger January 3, 2013 at 10:35 am #

        Hi Debra,

        I agree envy is a terrible thing like Jealousy, very destructive.
        The system sets up the Beautiful Rich people as role models and then punishes us all for falling short of the impossible standards mythologised in its own propaganda and we are then chastised for not being worthy.
        I started my day today doing some reading on the Juxtaposition of Context and Motivation. Kiplings line in If , you can walk the unforgiving minute and build it back up with broken tools springs to mind(Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;)
        The way I see it is that almost everybody is a victim here ( even to an extent the complicit and ignorant perpetrators ( forgive them father for they know not what they do.)and The corporations tell us it is all our fault because we demand the lower prices, Cornell wests quote below points to the caution required in allocating responsibility to victims?

        My aim is not to provide excuses for black behavior or to absolve blacks of personal responsibility. But when the new black conservatives accent black behavior and responsibility in such a way that the cultural realities of black people are ignored, they are playing a deceptive and dangerous intellectual game with the lives and fortunes of disadvantaged people. We indeed must criticize and condemn immoral acts of black people, but we must do so cognizant of the circumstances into which people are born and under which they live. By overlooking these circumstances, the new black conservatives fall into the trap of blaming black poor people for their predicament. It is imperative to steer a course between the Scylla of environmental determinism and the Charybdis of a blaming-the-victims perspective.
        from Race Matters. Cornell West.

        We’re all Niggars now in the brave new world of the European Super state, all hail Borrosso and the other unelected technocratic leaches.


        • Debra January 3, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

          When you say that we are all victims now, I think that you highlight where some of the more subtle problems of the system are.
          Because we are massively encouraged to believe that as individuals, we have no power to change “the system”.
          Behind this belief, there is complex interplay between the place we assign the individual in the social system, and the place assigned to institutions, and greater society as a whole.
          I thought about this yesterday morning : under the Ancien Regime in France, the individual was called “a subject of the King”. A subject is a differentiated individual.
          But under the new.. Republic, the individual subject is (unfortunately to my mind…) replaced by “We, the people”.
          Think about it a minute.. the individual, flesh and blood subject has been absorbed into that.. indiscriminate mass known as “We, the people”.
          There are no individuals in “the people”. “The people” is like… “the sugar” or “the salt”.
          I believe… that our language very much determines how we think about ourselves.
          The more we talk about ourselves along the lines of “the people”, the more we will become grains of salt and sugar.
          Personally, I am not at all keen about that.
          Too many people in the world seem to believe that the republican ideal (that of the French Revolution) is an absolute and incorruptible one.
          But the world I live in is one where every advantage has its accompanying disadvantage, and corruption is not just the effect of individual men and women who do things we like to judge “evil” or “bad”.
          Corruption is what happens to all of our once shiny, but now tarnished.. ideals.
          Everything in this mortal world is subject to corruption.
          Maybe our perception of corruption corresponds to the moment where we no longer believe wholeheartedly in our ideals ? Where WE, as a society, have lost faith ?
          When the larger society loses faith, then it becomes very hard for individual members to retain it ? To have the energy to… work ? 😉

          • Roger G Lewis January 3, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

            I have been seeing a lot of new year messages which have the message of loving ones self and accepting oneself. This is something that States and Corporations discourage homogeneity is more predictable and controllable.I am a big fan of self love and have often been so accused.Like being insulted as an Anarchist I take it as a compliment.
            I agree with you completely Deborah that our assumptions and what we take for granted are wrapped up ‘the language that we are taught.
            We are given a vocabulary of mistrust and fear and loathing of self and difference when it is differences that bring about attraction and growth.
            In a sense we are neutered so that we function merely as eunuchs in the Harem of the corporate state encouraged to look and admire but everything is all just tantalisingly beyond our reach and consummation can not in any event take place.

            On your Carrefour analogy.


      • John G January 3, 2013 at 7:46 pm #

        ” And it is based on the psychological mecanism of envy.”

        That’s quite an assertion.

        Aside from that, much of your analysis, in my view, mixes cause and effect. People with little have to pay less, from the range of goods that capital chooses to offer them.

        The scarcity of money at the lower end is a construct after all. A construct of, by and for the banking class.

        • Debra January 4, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

          Two associations from your statement :
          1) My upper middle class father, a parvenu grandson of a miner in Pennsylvania, was like a child in a candy store with all the filthy lucre that he was legitimately taking home in the 1970’s. Proud of his work and achievements, an honest, law abiding, tax paying U.S. citizen, and tithe paying church member, he nevertheless pressed his nose to the neighbors’ windows to see what they had, and spent much of his life… keeping up with the Joneses.
          2) the poor woman in the Gospels who spent her last cent ? on costly perfumed oil to pour over Jesus’s feet. She didn’t have the money to do it, and did it regardless, because the secret is that there is no one right way to spend money, and rationalizing spending money is … foolish.
          I can’t remember which Gospel has this lovely scene in it, but it is very telling that Judas, and the other MALE disciples scowl, tut tut, and scold her, saying that the perfume is costly, and it could have been sold, and the money given to the poor. (A very… rational reaction, you will admit.)
          Jesus, who was an excellent shrink before his time, recognized envy for what it was, and put them in their places..
          You missed my point. People who have little do not HAVE to pay less. Spending money has always been a question of choice, and what your priorities are. Where you personally assign value.To a much greater extent than we are willing to admit.
          That is why many ? most ? of us are pulling the wool over our own eyes. The real tragedy is that WE have turned poverty into a shameful illness that needs to be “cured” by our “good intentions”.
          You know what has been said about good intentions, I hope…

          • Roger January 4, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

            A man is poor when he desires many things. ( Leonardo Da´vincis, Note Books)

            Beggaring ones neighbor in pursuit of artificial scarcities to prop up a corrupt economic system Debra I think tends to place the responsibility of the victims well beyond their control. We see more and more of the undeserving poor propaganda good old fashioned divide and rule. What we do to each other in the west has been done in our name in the developing world since the merchant venturers went on their genocidal pillages for wealth and power in the name of God and sovereign nation Pantomimes and fairytales all of the dystopian variety sadly.

          • John G January 4, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

            I think you are missing my point. We are trapped in the capitalists’ system. We have far less free choice as individuals than we tend to think.

            The lower you go down the socioeconomic ladder, the fewer the choices.

            Capitalists require general ignorance of the system, especially within the middle classes, to avoid the guillotine. And they’re very good at achieving it.

          • Debra January 5, 2013 at 10:26 am #

            A lot of things change when perspective changes.
            The more we give lip service to being enslaved to money, the more we enslave ourselves to money.
            One of the most noxious effects of colonial Protestantism, the American variety, is to totally take the lid off of any form of silence about money, in that hopeless, and unattainable transparency… totalitarianism.
            So we end up talking dollars and cents, and haggling over them ad infinitum. Or haggling over some other.. numbers. And even managing to feel virtuous about it !!
            The more pernicious effects of the first European revolution, the Reform, are more linked to the wildfire publicity in print given to Luther’s ideas than to the content of those ideas. Those ideas were…not new, at the time when Luther nailed them to the church door. They regularly surfaced in Catholic debate, due to disillusionment over perceived Church corruption.
            While we are happily humming about how linked we are all over the planet, the resonance chamber has expanded exponentially since Luther’s time. At a certain point, the reverberation becomes deafening… and you can no longer either hear yourself/other people OR think.

            I maintain what I think about “the poor”.
            The poorest poor who I personally know are too poor to be haggling over the Internet. They have other preoccupations. Really, when you don’t have an army of conveniences to do your work for you.. you have less time to haggle… IF YOU DO YOUR (house)WORK, that is…

            So, just WHO are the people complaining over the Internet ?
            The poor who I know are daily… manhandled and oppressed by armies of people with good intentions intent on saving them. In THEIR eyes, at least. (Gotta be careful not to sanctify the poor, either.)

            We have much more individual power than we would like to think or admit. We have more power than we would like to admit, but we are consumed with a devouring ambition to “make a difference”, Napoleon style in the upper spheres, while deserting our small daily lives, and their activity. All the while, collectively and individually, lacking a great deal of courage. But then, in our defense, I can say that courage as an.. ideal has been poohpoohed and even derided for quite some time, in the great race to be civilized by channeling our agressive impulses into making money.

            Our lives are ridiculously easy, for most of us, at least, compared to the lives of even our more recent ancestors. My grandma didn’t have a flush toilet when she was a child.
            I don’t know many.. poor people in our very rich Western countries who are hauling water, and don’t have flush toilets.
            Keeping up with the Joneses consumes the energy of rich.. AND poor in our modern world, thus engendering envy and resentment, as I said above.

            Thanks for the Leonardo quote, Roger. I am going to amend it. “A man is poor when he feels intensely the lack of many things”.
            Desire, in my book, does not impoverish. On the contrary, it keeps us alive.. and kicking, and, in the best of cases, fornicating, an activity which, if one “does it right”, doesn’t have to carry a price tag ;-)…

  62. Diogenis January 3, 2013 at 1:46 am #

    Obviously there are some multi-billionaires out there who can´t get enough.And obviously the political class during the last 20-25 years did everything to re-install the same system which brought the world into the last world wide mega-crisis 1929.

    The de-installation of the glass-steagal-act which was brought down to fall by clinton,greenspan,Schröder,Blair etc in the 90s is the root of the whole mess.

    Today 95% of the people in the world do not even know what the glass-steagal-act is.
    Nobody voted for clinton,schröder or blair back then to give the banksters the means to destroy the economy and to make billions while the rest of the world should fall in poverty.

  63. Xenophile January 3, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

    I think the ONS report Phil(mcr) references is here:


    The graph of net state borrowing on P21 is interesting in the light of the incessant focus of most media discussion on the necessity to reduce state debt. Seems to give the lie to assertions of welfare profligacy and show how profligate the state was in bailing out the financial sector.

    • Phil January 4, 2013 at 1:14 am #

      I hadn’t noticed that graph, Xenophile, thanks a lot. Snipped and captured!

      My local MP has just started blogging about the impact of 2008 on the public finances… keep the pressure up!

  64. steviefinn January 3, 2013 at 2:38 pm #

    Huxley, Orwell, Bernays, & a certain type of Mum – A very scary mix which I have read & given a lot of thought. All the evidence & pieces that go together to make up this ghastly jigsaw seem to fit, but there is still a part of me feels that I am reading some kind of sci fi futuristic nightmare scenario. Wishful thinking on my part, most probably & unfortunately..


    • Roger January 3, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

      I personally didn’t find much to argue about in the whole essay I feel it is an accurate Diagnosis. What treatment is administered to the patient is a big issue will we be fooled into accepting medication of the symptoms or will we be allowed to pursue a true cure.

      • steviefinn January 3, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

        I don’t either Roger – It just feels so hard to take in, something I still feel when reading about the Holocaust, Stalin & countless other examples of man’s inhumanity to his fellow man. I read most of Orwell & Huxley 30 years ago, but I realise now that at that time I didn’t really take it seriously, I do now, but things have changed a lot since the beginning of the 80’s.

        I read a bio of Ralph Vaughan Williams recently. It was mentioned that he & his 2nd wife read ‘ Brave New World ‘ not long before he died in the 50’s. They were both horrified at that time at how much Huxley’s predictions had come to pass.

        I wonder what they would both make of today’s world nearly 60 years later.

  65. The Dork of Cork. January 3, 2013 at 10:51 pm #

    Pushed out of the Irish economy site for the second time.

    I am quite proud of myself really.

    I can be a bit trollish at times but my last comment was something on the lines of
    (taking issue with the language of a IMF paper)

    “With many economies in fiscal consolidation mode”

    Can we please use more honest language.
    Its been 5 years of this already

    “with many economies repairing the balance sheets of private banks at the expense of physical life support systems”

    I then gave a quote from the Frances Coppola blog

    “Or perhaps, more accurately, welcome to the World Central Government. For if governments are banks, and are backstopped by banks, and exist primarily to serve banks and investors, then who is it who really runs this show?”

    Asking when & how Treasuries were taken over by banking interests.

    Stating that while bankers lust for the power of the state.
    Since they can never have it.
    They must destroy it.


    • Roger G Lewis January 4, 2013 at 9:32 am #

      HI TDOC,

      Dissenting views not conforming and demuring to the prevalent ingroup biases are singled out and quashed in Cyber space as they are in the analog world.
      I am re reading Jeremy Paxmans book The English at the moment and was reading about the Book of martyrs and the Anglican church last night. Paxman is not shy about pointing out the hypocrisy and mythologising that is a peculiar habit of the established chrurch in England but woe betide anyone entertaining stepping outside the Tent and Pissing in, whilst any indiscrete defication within the hallowed tent is quite forgivable over a shared cup of tea breaking ranks is unforgivable to the believing congregation..
      Paxman has a lot to say about Ireland and the EU, its a curious mixture. I have not seen any Paxman interviews lately and wonder where he now stands on calling the shots as he sees them or if he is just another cheerleader and obviscator. As a historical document ,( pre fascist censorship of Dead tree publishing and now attempts to do the same on the WEB) its fair to say my current read is being seen by me in a quite different light in these desperate times. When I first read it I remember finding it more amusing now I am seeing the irony and humour more as of the gallows variety I think.

      • The Dork of Cork. January 4, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

        I must have a look at some of Paxmans stuff.

        The last time Ireland had a debt crisis like this was back in the early 1820s after the Napoleonic Wars.
        It especially affected the south of the country as Cork was one of the main ports to supply the 1812 war with America.
        The farmers did well until they did not.

        The church of Ireland & catholic church tried to tax money (tithes) that was not there – it created huge social friction between the classes.
        Some English commentated on the scale of the crisis – perhaps not unlike Paxman today.
        Many people became non persons with no monetary value just as they are becoming today.
        20~ years later the famine happened.
        It was not as big a financial crisis as the one 20 years before.

        But 1 million died and a million others left the building.
        Because they had little economic value they only marginally registered on the books.
        They had become non persons over those 20+ years.

        This is what debt does to a country.

        • Roger January 4, 2013 at 5:25 pm #

          The Great Hunger is very poorly represented in British School books the role of the East india Company and its lobbyists and economists in shipping Grain to the Colonies whilst people starved , the indifference of the British Government to what amounted to genocide is a stain that has been covered over with so many lies and yet the stench remains.
          I exchanged e mails with a friend from Liverpool earlier today his great grandfather was one of those who left the building.

          Roger I was born in the back room of 16b St Andrews Gardens an Irish immigrant ghetto exactly 100 years (two generations) after what the British call the “Irish Famine” and what we called the “Great Hunger”. Where I was born the people and the culture was the same as the working class housing estates of Dublin in the 60’s same alienation and great affinity with “being black” “oppressed” in the British Isles. You can see where I was brought up was not “British” culture we were always comitted “others”…..


          I can’t play guitar, but I can get the hang of it one day that feeling will come out in the playing……when life puts pain in….it often comes out as self expression. I think that is what Alan Parker captured in that movie…..

          Thanks for posting that Roger[/quote]

        • Joe Taylor January 4, 2013 at 5:29 pm #

          >This is what debt does to a country.

          According to Hellen Brown and others, a country wouldn’t have any ‘debt’ if it created the money it needs rather that let the banks create the money it needs and then borrow that money from the banks as debt.

          It seems to me that a whole lot of analysis about banking/finance starts well below that level. If the banks couldn’t create digital money, if and when it suits them, all the ensuing misuse of that privilege – collateralized mortgage obligations, credit default swaps, speculation, housing bubbles etc – couldn’t occur and debates about regulation would become academic.

          Is that being too simplistic?

    • Debra January 4, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

      When I read your comment, I like the last three sentences : “bankers lust for the power of the state”, etc.
      Several years ago, I attended the accreditation hearings (ugh, horrible vocabulary) of a local psychiatric hospital and was horrified to hear shapeless men and women hollowly spewing forth expressions worthy of “economies repairing the balance sheets… the expense of physical life support systems”.
      If you want to have some fun, look at the people (but the Internet makes this impossible because you can’t look somebody in the eyes and CALL HIS BLUFF) and calmly but firmly ask them to translate that sentence into different terms.
      Most of the time, you will hear discreet noises of throat clearing, and maybe you will see some hand wringing, and nervous glances, as the.. guilty party realizes that the words have been spewing out of him/her like a form of unmentionable body liquid out of all control.
      I like to say this because I believe it.. WHO is running the show ?
      The words are running the show, monsieur, the words are.
      And they are currently mouthing off, if not running with the bit…
      Personally, in our colourless, odorless society, I am lusting after a little bit of lust..
      If the bankers are lusting, then.. more power to them…;-)
      Apparently Marx thought that one of the only powers ? left to the proletarian was the power to fornicate and create new proletarians.
      Marx wasn’t very good at predicting that one.. how much lusty fornication is going on at this point in time ? Not sure. It certainly is not producing (love that word..) new proletarians though…
      Around Renaissance time, a certain number of people became convinced that filthy lucre could fornicate just like ewes and rams.
      And look where that idea has taken us…

  66. Diogenis January 4, 2013 at 3:36 am #

    Most people NEVER want hear the truth.Most of all guys with children and families don´t have any other choice than to believe that we are ruled by sane gouvernments and a sane,responsible finance/banking system which keeps everything afloat.

    When you ask them:”Do you really believe that greedy multi-billionaires don´t have any interest to become much more wealthy and more powerfull (and this by all available means) than they ever have been?” they will ask you “why should they?”

    In the middle ages the people believed that the crusades happened to defend the religion of peace,love and hope and not for gold,land and power.

    In the 15th century the spaniards believed that her queen qonquers latin america to save the guys souls over there from hell,to make them christians and to bring them `civilization`.Not for gold and colonialism.

    500 years later many americans believed from their heart that the Bush-clan organized the war against irak to free the people in this country and to bring them democracy.They never believed that their sons,daughters,fathers,sisters,brothers were sent to kill and to be killed for oil and the US-arms industry.

    I honestly believe that the most important thing for the future is education.To stay with Roger Waters:”Teach the folks HOW to think and not WHAT to think”.

    • Debra January 4, 2013 at 5:23 pm #

      Don’t you think that our ancestors believed that they were bringing civilization to the barbarians through colonization ?
      I think they did believe IN what they were doing.
      Ironically enough, the greater part of the damage, the pain, and the crisis we are now living comes from, not the actions of our ancestors, but our own inability to believe…
      Plus our incredible steam roller desire to make this planet into one big Disneyland where everybody will harbor smiling faces all the time.
      Help..”Brave New World” on the way for sure. But not exactly where you were looking for it…

      • Roger January 4, 2013 at 5:37 pm #

        When we hold irrational beliefs that do great harm Debra I do not see how that some how excuses people who manipulate that Naiveté.
        I don’t think it does and I think it actually places a higher degree of condemnation upon the manipulators. Disdain for the victim is not a pretty thing to behold setting our selves apart from those less fortunate than ourselves is a pre cursor to usually unsavory intentions it is very consistent with the divide and rule Binary comic book morality that sets the mob off on its scapegoating excesses, offering up yet more material to pour scorn on the manipulated victim. by the usually self anointed and oh so narcissistic ´´Elites` Montaigne knew a thing or two about how we are all really not so different.

        Montaigne heard of a man who knew how to fart at will, and on occasion arranged a sequence of farts to rhyme with poetry, but such mastery did not contravene his observation that our bodies generally have the upper hand over our minds, and that the sphincter is “most indiscreet and disorderly.” Montaigne even heard a tragic case of one behind, “so stormy and churlish that it has obliged its master to fart forth wind constantly and unremittingly for forty years and is thus bringing him to his death.”
        No wonder we may be tempted to deny our uncomfortable, insulting coexistence with these vessels. Montaigne met a woman who, acutely aware of how repulsive her digestive organs were, tried to live as though she didn’t have any.
        “[This] lady (amongst the greatest)… shares the opinion that chewing distorts the face, derogating greatly from women’s grace and beauty; so when hungry, she avoids appearing in public. And I know a man who cannot tolerate watching people eat nor others watching him do so: he shuns all company even more when he fills his belly than when he empties it.”

    • Joe R January 4, 2013 at 10:27 pm #


      The Spanish conquests in Peru and Mexico were well documented in two beautifully written books by the american writer William H. Prescott in the 1840s. He researched the invasions in Spain and worked off the original source records, letters and accounts in the royal vaults.The books are available free (legally) on the internet and I recommend them both highly to anyone who enjoys English Literature or general history alike – they are two of the best books I have ever read.

      He makes it very clear in both books that the Spanish conquers were all opportunists and that religion was not the primary reason driving the conquests.
      It was greed, plain and simple. The Pizarro brothers were illiterate social outcasts in Spain before chancing their arms, completely blindly in South America, for example. Two stunning tales of opportunism actually.

      Besides this glaring factual inaccuracy in your piece above there is not a point that you have attempted to make anywhere here on this blog that I could agree with.

      For the low down on Greece my favourite piece has to be this long but very revealing article from VF of a few years back-


      After reading it I found it hard to be sympathetic towards Greece and the Greek people in general. It is clear from the piece that you as a society are largely responsible for your own problems.

      • Roger January 4, 2013 at 11:06 pm #

        Joe R , are you still basing your view of the sovereign debt crisis on an article in Vanity Fair from 2010? All of this stems from bailing out the Banks unconditionally and the debt foisted by the banks on to the unsuspecting real economy via complicit governments who abdicated the power to create money to private interests in a bargain for political camouflage.
        Your catch all tilt at the ´´Greek People in General “is clearly an attempt at humour , I can’t believe it is a serious point?
        Greece´s experiences are not so different to Iceland’s or Irelands, Spains or Portugals. Corrupt Elites, and huge international Fraud. The fraudsters are actually serving up the supposed cure for their own mess and their corporate press is covering the tracks with smoke and mirrors.

        • Joe R January 8, 2013 at 5:47 pm #

          No Roger,

          I am basing on Greeks calling anybody who asks legitimate questions of them stereotypers and that left, right and center there are on going calls for reform of tax collecting in Greece.

          I am basing it too on the fact they have big expensive oversized teched up military that is unaffected in its operations.

  67. The Dork of Cork. January 4, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

    In 19th century and indeed later thought the state was seen as a woman.

    I was trying to convey that image.

    Although Hibernia was always a dirty aul whore willing to sleep with anyone or anything for a few shillings.
    That is I am afraid a correct portrait.

    starts at 7.00

    • Debra January 5, 2013 at 11:04 am #

      Rather elliptic, Dork of Cork, your choice of youtube interview, but I loved Oliver Reed, and his chivalrous comments about dry and dusty intellect (can be observed in both sexes, to my mind, and not very sexy in either). And Lady Barnett’s (spelling ?) comment about the consummately intelligent woman ? person ? finding armies of willing and eager people to help out (often for free..) speaks to me infinitely. (But since every advantage has its disadvantage, being too helpless can definitely get you into some very very tight places that it is hard to get out of afterwards.)
      The state as a whore ? (Why are whores usually… dirty ? I have proudly reclaimed the word “slut” to caracterize myself : I am increasingly allergic to the “cleanliness is next to Godliness” maxim, modern, scientific style, no odors allowed please, and since you couldn’t come to my place and eat an egg off my floor…)
      I think whores get a lot of bad press, particularly from the middle classes, moreover, who, these days, are suffocating from a terminal case of self righteousness.
      Ugh. While I am not a great defender of humility and modesty (definitely not my gifts…), I find self righteousness not only boring, but the root of all evil.
      While many people are focused on the… sin of paying money for sex, in some cases, at least, the company is thrown in for free, thank God. Grace.
      My above comment to you focused on language. The reference to the State escaped me, and still does. What I don’t know would fill the now extinct library of Alexandria…
      Oliver Reed… sigh, thanks for that little gem. Whatever your intentions… ;-).

      • steviefinn January 5, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

        I imagine that most people imagine a female prostitute when they come across the word whore, it’s use in popular culture would reinforce this view.

        One of many very similar definitions:

        1. A prostitute.
        2. A person considered sexually promiscuous.
        3. A person considered as having compromised principles for personal gain.

        According to the above I was once an unpaid whore & Westminster. Washington, Wall St. the City of London & all the other places where politicians, bankers & their lackeys hang out are the biggest brothels on the planet.

        Of course those at the bottom are made to feel dirty & degraded for selling their bodies, whereas those who some would say, sell their souls, are the toast of the town.

        Curiously the Oxford dictionary does not seem to believe that there is such a thing as a male prostitute.

        Wall Street’s cool dude frontman signs NDAA into law :


        • Debra January 6, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

          You know, Stevie Finn, I think that the triumph of the middle class mentality all over the planet is what is taking us down.
          The definitions that you have cited above reek of the middle class mentality, and self aggrandizement. (I am not sticking you in this category, nor condemning you in this statement. Just to point out that even the dictionary, contrary to popular belief, is not ideologically.. neutral.)
          No talk about male prostitutes… even less talk about male rape, huh ?
          But we know it goes on… and that the victims are reluctant to denounce it…
          At least a few people in this world are not queuing up for victim benefits…
          The triumph of the middle class is the triumph of the idolatry of filthy lucre, and the sticking a price tag on everything that moves, (and now, even sticking a price tag on unseen things like non polluted air..)
          The wisdom that I have painfully gleaned from many years of unemployment has taught me that the most noxious evil imaginable derives from the best of intentions.
          The world would be so much simpler if this were not the case, but… unfortunately it is the case.
          The process of consumer credit was derived from the ideal of putting the most in the hands of the largest number for the least amount of filthy lucre. That’s what the democratic ideal is about. And it is no accident that the democratic ideal is a formidable engine for the consumer society…

          • steviefinn January 7, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

            From a working class background, over many years climbed a ladder to a middle class level of earnings & things, then suddenly down a post crash snake lost all the stuff & then unemployment, which as you say is an abyss.

            Being an old dog with only one perceived trick didn’t help, but things are much better now as I still have those things that make life worth living & am learning new tricks.

            I hope your definition of the word slut is tailor made by yourself, to suit yourself & is free of anybody else’s sensibilities.

        • Debra January 8, 2013 at 8:51 am #

          Way back when, the word “slut” was associated with a woman who was dirty, basically, without sexual connotations. If I remember correctly…
          YES !!! From the OED, circa 1400, “a woman of dirty, slovenly habits or unkempt appearance…”
          That caracterizes me rather well. I alternate between slut and princess, in appearance, at least. The habits remain rather sluttish though. 😉
          Rather interesting, don’t you think, our all pervasive obsession with.. (no, not sex..) but DIRT ?? (But maybe behind the connexion with sex, there is still the idea that sex is… dirty ?)
          The dirt comes from MOTHER Earth…
          I now think that the quintessence of a fascist society is one which demonizes dirt, and sacralizes squeaky clean.

  68. Mike Hall January 4, 2013 at 6:45 pm #

    Good piece from Ann Pettifor at PRIME economics:


    “The power to create money out of thin air…”

    A review of Sociologist Geoffrey Ingham’s recent book ‘Capitalism’ with a number of comments & further explainers by herself which becomes an excellent summary of the battleground in economics & monetary system thinking from pre Keynes to the present. Always interesting to read a view on the historical framing of things.

  69. Joe Taylor January 4, 2013 at 11:05 pm #

    Thanks for the link Mike

    I read the whole piece and saved it for future reference.

    To me it seemed be saying, over and over again, using heaps of jargon, that commercial banks create just about all the money in the system out of fresh air and from there the problems start.

    As I asked a couple of posts earlier (January 4, 2013 at 5:29 pm) is that being too simplistic?

    • Mike Hall January 5, 2013 at 5:10 pm #


      Your question lies at the heart of the debate of between the competing proscriptive aspects of the economics ‘schools’ of greatest interest to most of us here. That is, those that also embrace the state’s vital role in using its own facility to spend ‘created’ money into the economy, along the lines of Abba Lerner’s ‘functional finance’ principles.

      (ie I’m excluding the Austrian gold bug, investor-only class, couldn’t-give-sh1t-about-anyone-else school. They don’t have any serious part in the debate but despite their very narrow interests occupy internet blogs like a virus.)

      What the crisis has exposed is the logical conclusion – failure & massive disruption of the real economy of the masses – of the doctrine of just let the ‘market’ run the macro economy. Which was, of course, just the PR code bullsh1t for just let the dominant few executives of finance run things in their own interests. That logical conclusion was a Pyramid scheme ultimately pumped up by the banks’ ability to create money ‘from thin air’, most especially, one should add, for the purpose of lending against major asset purchase.

      But there is a great deal more to it than just this one fact. For example, in the US, the creation en masse of fraudulent mortgages in a ‘originate to distribute’ (into fraudulent ‘securities’) business model. Then we can include proprietory trading by banks, repeal of Glass-Steagle & the move to massive market concentration, etc. etc. It was probably all of these things, added together, that was the final straw. Ann mentions a few more in her piece that I hadn’t previously been aware of – this crisis has been at least 4 decades in the making putting each incremental piece in place.

      So, yes, in my opinion, it is far too simplistic to focus on this one aspect. Ann Pettifor clearly lands on the side of MMT, former regulator/prosecutor Bill Black & others in this debate.

      Which is also where I stand too, though I’m open to being convinced that attempts to concentrate financial reform +mainly+ on this one aspect – eg positivemoney.org – are actually workable or offer greater advantage than simply going back to the kinds of regulation we had in the period 1945 tp 1970 which we will most likely need anyway in whatever proper solution.

      At present, I find it hard to see that some kind ‘full reserve’ model for banking actually removes much, if any, of the kind of regulation & vigilance that will be needed.

      A friend once said to me, ‘Mike, where do you think all those Enron guys went after their pyramid scam folded?’ (Only a very few were prosecuted.) ‘Wall Street, where else!!’…’Oh….yeah, for sure, you’re right.’

      Also, if in fact ‘full reserve’ can actually do what its supposed purpose is, which is to place some control or limit on how much ‘new’ money enters the economy (as it must to keep ‘pace’ with needed activity), then what (& where) +precisely+ is the decision-making process for this? As Ann, rightly, says in a comment, it is the ‘quality’ that really matters, not the ‘quantity’ (in the ‘micro’ situation) of new credit-money lending that matters. Steve Keen, and many others, have also made this point. Lending for productive purposes = good, lending for asset speculation = not so much.

      Anyhow, the point is that who – state, banks or both – gets the right to create ‘new’ money is a major issue in the whole debate, but very far from the only one.

      As an aside, I can’t remember where I got this recent link from: (mbe someone here or ‘GFC & MMT daily’ )


      but it raises an important issue concerning the ‘big lie’ of so-called (sovereign currency) government ‘borrowing’, which I have not seen outside the main MMT blogs thus far.

      I refer to the universally parroted notion that government bond holders are somehow doing governments a ‘favour’ by lending them money to facilitate ‘spending’.

      Whereas, as this piece, referencing a BIS paper, makes clear, the power relationship or ‘favour’ is actually the reverse –

      Govt bonds are a risk-free, interest bearing (large!) deposit facility, in effect, for the virtually sole benefit of the finance sector. (Where Govt is a sovereign issuer of fiat currency.)

      The only supposed ‘benefit’ to the Govt is the ability to set a ‘base’ interest rate ‘floor’ in the banking system. Tho’ many regard this as another monetarist/neo-liberal construct that is unnecessary in any case.

      Should be of particular interest to US readers with the ‘Fiscal cliff’ nonsense just happened – a US govt debate that should render all of Congress, Senate & White House incumbents certifiable for the most insane episode, devoid of any understanding of the US monetary system, in history.

      • Joe Taylor January 6, 2013 at 9:57 pm #

        Thanks a million Mike Hall, I really appreciate your response.

        I follow this blog religiously and read all I can find on current financial matters but I’m not knowledgeable enough yet to follow everything, by a long chalk.

        Being more of an activist than an academic, I’m always looking for the ‘what can or should we do about it’ answer – and there may not be one other that kiss your arse goodbye. I can’t accept that while there’s still breath in my body as, beyond being basically socialist, I’ve got grandchildren to think about. If I’m going to put my head above the parapet, it might as well be for something worthwhile.

        Thanks again Mike

  70. Diogenis January 5, 2013 at 12:27 am #

    @Joe R

    Hello from greece my friend.

    The article you posted is not very good.At least in my opinion.

    But before I answer you about this article you posted please let me tell you that we greeks never claimed that we are angels or even innocent.We voted for the parties and for the politicians during the last decades.We hardly can claim that we are not to blame.I guarantee that most greeks today fell very bad about the fact that we did not act earlier but instead we let the political system corrupt also a part of our society.

    But let me ask you..

    Where did the crisis started in 2008?In greece?

    I wont defend “us greeks”,I will let the facts speak right out of themselves.



    Making “debt” is not very greek my friend.We hate it.This is the reason we have the lowest private/household debt in europe.Am I even allowed to point this out with the help of the facts above?

    Add to this that 90% of greeks own some 1,7 trillion euros of immobilies.Over 80% of the greeks who live in the towns own their house,appartment,flat,buisness-rooms.On the country side htis numer must be close to 100%.

    As you can see in the tables above our overall debt is much lower than the most other european countries.

    So,your vanity fair article does not tell you that,right?

    Again.I don´t want to defend the honour of my people.First of all I don´t feel this way,I am a proud greek.Because I know how much we greeks worked to prepare for the “next crisis” during the last four decades.My famliy (we are in the tourism-buisness )works 12-14h every day,in the summer from june to september with not a single day off.

    So,I wish you only the best.Most of all I wish you that if you read something try to learn about the other side of the coin.And don´t let yourself influence to much by stereotypes.

    Greetings dear Joe R,best wishes my friend.

    • Joe R January 5, 2013 at 9:35 pm #


      Where are the stereotypes exactly? The VF article is 8 pages long with a few revealing interviews and some polemical writing but stereotypes it doesn’t have. One of the chief interviewees (the abbot) since spent 3 months under house arrest and free on bail pending a trial in a fraud case relation to the dodgy land deal mention there in that article. That is fact not aspersion.

      Plus Lewis is an expert with a strong pedigree in writing on economics and the financial collapse plus the other articles in the series were bang on the money such as this about Ireland – http://www.vanityfair.com/business/features/2011/03/michael-lewis-ireland-201103

      What is your pedigree can I ask ? What height are looking down on him on that you can tut-tut and say it’s a bad article. Back your point up please.

      So can you supported your point about me and stereotypes please, or withdraw it, as unsupported I view it as a personal smear.

      And if you are going to ask me a question please be polite and please don´t answer it yourself.

      And about Greeks and debt – The Greek PEOPLE regarding national debt vs GDP the 4th most indebted people on the planet. Greek politicians love debt and the Greek people who vote them in are on the hook for that.


      That money went into the Greek economy and you all spent it on what?

      I can tell you where a good chunk of it went. It went on tanks and high tech warplanes – you Greeks spend more per % GDP ( 4.3) on arms than America. Proportionately you spend more than twice the euro and NATO average despite having on of the lowest per capita incomes around. You spend 3.5 times what Ireland spends.

      And what do 12 million people in a peaceful part of Europe in the strongest military alliance in the world need 170 new F-16s, 40 new Mirage 2000s, and nearly 1000 Leopard 1 & 2 Main Battle Tanks and several thousand armoured personnel carriers for?

      Were you planning on starting world war III down there?

      The most expensive part of that lot were purchased in the last 15 years, when you racked up a huge public debt. And add in the cost of running that stuff?

      You know how many Main Battle Tanks Ireland ( 5 million people) has? Or Portugal (10 million people)?

      You know how many jet fighters Ireland has? Or Portugal?

      And finally Is that a productive use of borrowed money? Do Greek fighters and tanks make money for Greece?

      Did you make those fighters and tanks yourselves and develop domestic industries – like Sweden or Israel or the UK for example have generated industries – from high levels of arms demand?

      Answers please to the above – I want to hear them from the horses mouth.

      And on private vs public debt – Ireland and Spain used changed credit regulations and conditions to load up with private debt, including large property bad debts, which those states then added to their national debt. Portugal and Greece did not permit their private banks to do the same as Spain UK and Ireland but their governments went on spending sprees and added huge unproductive public debt. Italy allowed played games with eastern Europe and generated problems with debt which it now gets to add to its already precarious public debt situation. Whatever the origin it makes little difference it is all debt.

      So individual greeks hate debt – fine.However your government loves it! And lied to get more of it! Regularly too. So no one trusts you to give you more. So you get charged sustainable rates or you don´t get any more.Simple!.

      Germany and France were the origin of a good deal of that money that was swimming around. They were the bad lenders. They should pay but with politicans like yours they won´t.

      • Roger January 5, 2013 at 10:19 pm #

        Joe R, what a touching ode to democracy. The concept of Odious debt is something the Greek people would do well to examine since when did elected governments actually represent anything but the international corporate lobbies that keep them in Jollies what John Dewey called the Corporate Shadow on democracy. One Dollar one Euro One Vote theres your democracy right there with all the funny money. The connection between foreign debt and Arms contracts is a pretty direct one Wall Street is of course the fully compensated provider of credit to the Industrial Military complex, brush up on some geo politics. Non of that stuff has any reflection on the Greek people at all any more than the adventures of Bush and Blair, Obama and Cameron have anything to do with the British or American people.

        • Joe R January 6, 2013 at 12:05 am #


          I´m not quite sure if are connecting with my main points here so I will reiterate them.

          Democracies and people in general have choices. Greece has spent a huge chunk of its national budget badly year on year for many years in a paranoid arms race with Turkey. The people are not faultless.
          The government and the people made all parts of that economic choice badly. The banks have nothing to do with those idiotic or paranoid or bombastic choices. The Greek people will carry the can for it.

          Take Sweden for example, a country of 10 million people, located between NATO and Russia ( ex Soviet Union). It makes its own high tech and low tech weaponry and has done since the end of WWII and it mantains to this today a strong but defensively poised well armed military. It has a 1.5% GDP spend on military and 40% debt to GDP ratio. They achieved their aims of strong defence the smart way without crippling the country. It is simply a matter of choice.

          • Roger January 6, 2013 at 4:47 am #

            Sweden has been resisting the steady slide into the Neo Liberal artifice, since the assassination of Olaf Palme and following the more sensible terms demanded of banks following the Swedish banking crisis of 1992. Even Sweden has had to give up some of its famous neutrality with soldiers doing tours in various ´´UN peacekeeping or Policing“actions.

            I guess the next example of neo liberal democratic fortitude you offer will be Lithuania or Estonia, the miracle of Austerity. Joe R it seems fairly clear that as Diogenis has suggested you are approaching the questions posed here from a perspective that does not allow for the interpretations of others and the external policy enforcers inherent in the International Debt based money system.s

            I watched this Swedish Documentary the other day, even Swedish Neo Liberals maintain an aspect of the famous Scandinavian forthrightness.


            Greece’s biggest problem is being in The Euro it is the same for Ireland and all the other countries that have adopted it, including Germany and France. Sweden remain outside the whole unfortunate mess as does the UK.

            This whole mess stems from the Bailing out of corrupt banks and their reckless imposition of a casino Economy onto the rest of us and through bought Governments. The idea that electorates do any electing is absurd, witness the 3 referenda required to get the tick in the right box for the Euro in Ireland ( or how ever many it was)



          • Roger Lewis January 6, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

            Joe R.

            Here we are its Latvia thats trumpeted as the Success of Austerity and Neo Liberal miracle cures Chains available on easy terms apply Wall Strret City of London or Frankfurt.



          • Joe R January 6, 2013 at 2:04 pm #


            My point about Sweden go back 60 years. It is a simple point they haven´t messed up their country by having a strong military. They turned into an asset.

            Greece on the other hand have messed themselves up.

            Neo-liberalism hasn´t anything to do with with that.

      • Diogenis January 6, 2013 at 12:59 am #

        @Dear Joe R

        Oh dear.You are so full of stereotypes that I see it almost impossible to discuss with you.And obviously you have no idea what has happened in southern europe during the last decades.

        I hope you get over it.Best wishes.

        • Joe R January 6, 2013 at 1:55 pm #


          You are not arguing you are smearing.

          Answer the questions if you want to debate they are facts respond please and stop with the personal insults.

          Greece spends too much money on defence. FACT. Defend that.

          • bill40 January 6, 2013 at 2:35 pm #


            Golem wrote quite extensively on the subject of Greece and its’ defence spending. For example it was forced, yes forced, to pay for submarines it neither wanted or needed.

            Keen as the Germans are for Greece to cut its’ spending this does not include cutting German imports. Strange that.

            Writing FACT in capital letters usually means it isn’t. The original post is about an apology for getting facts wrong so not even David is immune from correction.

            I suggest you look a littlr deeper into your so called facts.

          • Joe R January 6, 2013 at 6:23 pm #


            The CIA factbook is linked above. It lists military spending worldwide is tabulated. That is called a reference so go look.

            Greece is at 4.3% of GDP no.22 in the world and ahead of the US.

            Militaristic nations, ex-colonisers with navies like the UK and France are there at 2.5/6. This is the closest to Greece in side the EU.

            Aside from that there are many open pages all over the web on the militaries and the cost of defence procurement.

            Go read them if you like too.

            BUT my FACTS are facts. I get them right.

            Greece has overspent hugely on defence. They chose that, over many years as a society. 8 or 9 billion a year year on year. And it continues. Easy to spot in budgets and statistics as being overboard.

            The Greek People need to get get up and take some responsibility for this, I feel amongst other things.

            You would do well not to be trying to make excuses for them.

        • Joe R January 6, 2013 at 2:14 pm #


          Plus what makes you an authority on Southern Europe?

          You say you speak for Greece but you also speak for Spain and Portugal and Italy too?

          On what basis?

          Is it because you live beside the med?

          Can the Moroccans and Tunisians and Egyptians claim the same?

          And where do I live please tell me?

          And what is my nationality?

          How many languages do I and did I speak?

          How many countries can I claim to know to some degree?

          And why are you seperating Europe into South and North?

          Do you enjoy making these mental divisions?

          Do you enjoy engaging in massive levels presumption as you have here with me?

          Are you capable of dealing with actual real facts and their consequence?

          Have you heard of logic as a consept?

          Do you know how to use it?

          • steviefinn January 6, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

            Joe R

            I agree with your assessment of the Greek powers that be who for the most part seem to be a collection of gangsters who divide into various groupings with attached meaningless labels, who every now & then stand on a platform, sharpen their smiles, & make bullshit promises.

            This is to them a small tedious but potentially serious interruption especially for those presently holding the honey pot. It drags them away from their main pastime of enriching themselves from things like dodgy submarine deals with Germans, but is necessary to give an appearance that they are true democrats in a healthy democracy.

            Fine – But why is it ordinary Greeks are being made to pay for the actions of the above pile of shit ? Who as long as they kiss the EU’s big fat ass, get to keep their ill gotten gains – Should the populace be all lumped together ? Those who voted, those who did not, veterans who fought against paratroopers & juntas, schoolchildren, babies, pensioners, criminals, nuns etc. are they all equally to blame ?

            Are the Irish people to blame for believing there was an alternative to austerity & paying billions to unsecured bondholders, am I to blame for the sinking of the Belgrano ?

            Leave the people out of it unless you have never been misled by politicians or believed in media bullshit. Should you in fact be held responsible for the actions of your government just because you live in that state & are allowed an often meaningless vote, should your children or grandchildren ?.

            The people are the ones who are paying for this mess, surely that’s bad enough without lumping them together blame wise with the scum who make the real decisions that actually do have an effect on how things turn out & for whom so far there has been very little change in their privileged circumstance.

          • Joe R January 6, 2013 at 6:39 pm #

            Yes Stevie,

            A population has a moment it can chose, it is called an election.

            Ireland at two critical moments in its boom choose to put FF back into power, or at least give them enough seats to be the dominant party in the formation of coalitions. The people of Ireland went along with the bullshit as long as their pockets were being greased too. And they shot FF down when they got screwed over, but in hindsight, not before.

            The Greeks have bought far more than submarines. For example They bought 170 F-16s at a unit cost of up to $45 million a pop and a running cost per flight hour of 20,000 dollars+ each. That is $8 billion on airplanes alone and $4 million a pop each a year to keep them airborne. They bought most of them since being involved in the euro.

            None of these have been sold on. They are all still there. No Germans involved or pressurizing anyone.

            They had and continue to have choices. They make bad ones and don´t admit to it as far as I can see.

          • steviefinn January 7, 2013 at 12:22 am #

            Life must be very simple for you with so few boxes or pigeon holes to push whole populations & groups into.

            According to your logic my daughter is to blame for the situation in Ireland & therefore deserves to be struggling. She should have known that that the repeal of Glass-Steagal, the rise of the Chicago school, fractional reserve banking, exotic sliced & diced securities & boom bust economics coupled with the lack of banking regulation in the Republic in the hands of the likes of the Galway tent brigade, would result in a financial brothel headed by madame Anglo-Irish.

            She should have known that despite the assurances from the government & media that the good times were in fact not here to stay, & that the whole thing was unsustainable. She should have also realised that the politicians were not really interested in their constituents but were just careerists & liars whichever label they found most convenient to advertise.

            She should have started a revolution in 2005 & become the great leader of a new political party that practised true democracy, let the banks go bust, told the Troika & the bondholders to go *^$” themselves & started to build a trading alliance with Iceland.

            No she just thought that the government basically cared, & that with more hard work & a measure of good luck her partners business would keep growing & the kids would eventually go to college etc etc. She is like millions of others elsewhere just trying her best, she is not greedy, all she wanted was a chance to make a decent life for her family.

            I actually blame you – from what you have stated you must have been well aware at the time, of all that was wrong & is listed above & yet you did not do anything to stop it, but maybe I missed that. Or perhaps you possess a hindsight crystal ball that helps you determine who should be nicely boxed and labelled as the unter – menschen.

          • Mike Hall January 7, 2013 at 2:04 am #

            Exactly stevie

            It is utterly ridiculous to suggest there were any dissenting voices in the mainstream public discourse & there was precious little on the internet either.

            I think people had a reasonable expectation that there was at least some competence, intelligence or integrity, if not among politicians (we know they lie) then among the entire body of civil servants, academic and media economists. All those ‘clever’ people, big salaries & ‘independent’ institutions.

            Yet, there we have it. None with a clue. Those $billion economics computer models, massively complicated, developed over decades with hundreds of economists and sophisticated mathematics – didn’t include money, debt or banks. Not too mention all the other flawed and false assumptions. A modern priesthood as insane, in context, as anything of the dark ages, behind a facade of supposedly modern ‘science’.

            And the general public were supposed to spot all this? And having done that, which political party – anywhere – was telling this story & proposing reform? (Or even what fecking party is offering that even now, 5 years on!!)

            Not sure what planet Joe R is on – it ain’t this one.

          • Joe R January 8, 2013 at 6:12 pm #

            Stevie Finn,

            Not that I have to justify myself to you but I did see something coming and I was doing something in 2004-5 and I am on the public register doing something.

            I did as much as I could in the corner of the world I grew up at the time. Actually I did a lot. It is on the public record too. It made some regional papers. A related and eventual part of the story made the national papers a few years later.

            So take back your comments and your presumption please.

            And do you you think your daughter is the only one affected by all this? How am I doing can you tell me?

            I will tell you one thing life has been anything but simple for me, but one does not have to seek out complexity in very corner.

            Sometimes the story is just simple, dumb and true.

            On Fianna Fail – Aherne’s pedigree and many of those close to him was clear many years before he was toppled there were dissenting public voices as far back as 2002, for those who cared to listen or search them out.

            Who did your daughter with her business vote for? Go on, tell us.

          • steviefinn January 8, 2013 at 8:57 pm #

            My last words to you are that I think you are a troll who is being as disruptive as possible or you are a fanatic, a true believer in your own vision that cannot on any account be questioned by anybody.

            You would have made a good Stalinist political commissar or failing that the Nazi equivalent, simply because of your simplistic definition of who is to blame & why they are to blame, which seems to come down to anybody who did not follow your own course of action ( proof ? ).

            Your willingness to condemn whole populations as to being at fault I find frightening, everybody it seems except yourself is to blame, we are all your potential Kulaks. I am glad your power is limited to dogmatic ravings & nothing more & long may that continue.

            You put me in mind of one of those people who consider themselves to be all knowing & very clever, but in reality are to stupid to realise that they are in fact stupid, probably why you prefer to stick to simple & dumb for justification.

            No one group is totally to blame for this mess, this includes bankers, politicians, regulators & populations, it is in fact very complicated & the closer you get the more chaotic it becomes.

            Your simplistic blame game has been practised all too often in the past & as usual it seems to be aimed at the weakest. I think you crave power.

            Neither myself or my daughter voted in Ireland pre 2008, I did not because being English I did not even know the difference between FF & FG & to be honest did not really give a damn anyway. My daughter voted in the last election which was proven to be a total waste of effort as we found out that FG is no different than FF & of course there was the usual faux socialist careerist let down. Perhaps we might have voted for the ‘ I blame all the Greeks for everything ‘ candidate, but there wasn’t one.

            I will not take anything back, I do not react well to bullying, but will no longer react to your comments. This is because I respect this place & it’s contributors & do not want to be told off for pointless arguing with someone with such a rigid mindset. I suggest you find some people dumber than yourself, choose another weak minority to pick on & you might just get lucky with 2 or 3, if you include ‘ Inverted ‘ flavours of totalitarian system to choose from.

          • Joe R January 9, 2013 at 4:28 am #

            Steve Finn,

            Bullying? Where? You are dehumanizing me here FFS!

            Stalin? Hitler? Well obviously I walk around in jackboots here!

            Troll as well?

            Where do I start?

            Dave Malone asked me for a piece for here maybe two years ago I sent him something but we never got to sort it out and it didn’t go up and we left it at that. So I am known to him and almost did guest post at least according to my personal email record.

            But troll? mmm…does golem invite trolls to guest post? Possibly maybe its is a big joke for him. Seems out of character though.

            I have an email here from him to my email address from late november 2011. Will I reply to that and mail him and ask?

            And on voting I think If you want to have the right to critize partipatory democracy I suggest you need to have a strong voting record first. Otherwise you are a just major hypocrite.

            But then I’m just a facist/dictator type and I wouldn’t know, would I?

  71. The Dork of Cork. January 5, 2013 at 3:01 pm #


    I think yee were selected for destruction because the Greek state was the least market like state of them all.
    Ireland however is the proud product of their Intellectual spawn.

    I am not really proud of my people.
    They are a smashed broken atomized lot with no sense of honour or depth.

  72. The Dork of Cork. January 5, 2013 at 3:16 pm #

    Yes , I agree
    Many men have far more fulfilling relationships as a regular client of a woman rather then their wife…….
    In most cases I imagine it would be far cheaper and yet far more honest.

    I think I read somewhere Lady Barnett was caught stealing a little thing in the local shop (in Scotland I think) and she could not bare the shame of it so she topped herself.
    Very sad and stupid.
    Bankers however don’t do that sort of thing much.

    Yes she is on wiki

    epileptic , Eclectic or eccentric ?

    • Debra January 8, 2013 at 9:00 am #

      Very sad about Lady Barnett, I agree.
      What I call a real.. HONOR killing.
      Not many people ready to take themselves out for honor these days, right, in a society that puts filthy lucre on the altar, and encourages us to commune with it ?
      Irremediably trapped in what we believed would set us free.
      Sigh.. That’s the way of the world.
      You are not… Scottish, are you Dork of Cork ?…
      I cost my husband a pretty penny, but I am his wife… and his mistress.
      And, under our marriage contract… his money is also mine ; indeed, it is OURS.
      Does that mean that I have to.. “earn” it ? or does he give it to me ?
      Careful what your answer is…incidentally, the obstacles involved in my considering it to be “our” money were of my own making, basically. How complicated life is…
      If more little ladies enjoyed what their husband was offering, there would be less need for prostitutes, anyway.
      AND.. if sex were not still considered dirty in our pornographic society..

  73. Diogenis January 5, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

    @The Dork of Cork
    My guess is that greece is just the guinea pig for western europe.Like chile back in 1973 for south america greece is the “role model” for europe as the ruling class wants it to be in the future.

    The chicago boys at their best.

    Btw,you should be proud of your people.After all ireland went through in its long history you still are a bunch of singing poets with a nice sense of humor.And I don´t know if you know it but you even took a greek music instrument into your own music inventory:

    Heads up my friend.Irish and greeks went through worse things in our pasts.

  74. Roger Lewis January 6, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

    When I consider why we are fighting and how we have reached this crisis, I have a strong sense that this day of your splendid assembly will be the dawn of freedom for the whole of Britannia. You have mustered to a man, and to a man you are free. There are no lands behind us, and even the sea is menaced by the Roman fleet. The clash of battle — the hero’s glory — has become the coward’s safest refuge. Earlier battles against the Romans were won or lost, but never without hope; we were always there in reserve. We, the choice flower of Britannia, have been treasured in her most secret places. Out of sight of subject shores, even our eyes are free from the defilement of tyranny. We, the last men of the earth and the last of the free, have been shielded till today by the very remoteness of our rumored land. But now the boundary of Britannia is exposed. Beyond us lies no other nation, only waves and rocks and Romans, more deadly still than they, whose arrogance no submission or moderation can elude. Brigands of the world, after exhausting the land by their wholesale plunder they now ransack the sea. The wealth of an enemy excites their greed, his poverty their lust for power. Neither East nor West has been enough to glut their maw. Only they, of all on earth, long for the poor with as keen a desire as they do for the rich. Robbery, butchery, rapine, these liars call “empire”: they create desolation and call it peace.


    The Michael Hudson peice above is worth linking again.


  75. Diogenis January 6, 2013 at 6:36 pm #

    @Joe R

    How can I defend something I hate my self?Are you serious?Do you know how the european and american gouvernments blackmailed our gouvernments to buy EVEN MORE weapon systems after we bought weapons which did not even work?First thing the german foreign minister did in 2010 in midst of our crisis was to travel to athens and to blackmail us to by eurofighters for their “solidarity”.In greece we learned about this when in 2011 german news agencies told us so..

    The question is why do you think that the greek people are happy about this?Care to answer me?Do you really think we went to vote after saying “oh,mr Simitis promised he will buy worthless german submarines for 3 billion euros instead to spend this money for education and R & D..this is a nice reason to give him my vote”?

    Please take a look into the news about how these deals were made.Not only with greece.You will find the same gangster shit news about arms deals with portugal or spain.
    HDW/Thyssenkrupp could not sale a tugboat without corruption.Same for Lockheed Martin or Dassault with their F-16 and Mirage 2000.

    The greek people did not vote for gouvernments to act like this.I can assure you this.As I am sure the US and the UK citizins did not vote for their gouvernments to repeal the glass steagal act in 1999 and to let the banksters do what they did with the result that many million americans lost their homes.

    And to be honest.I don´t understand why you believe that we would like this.Besides that I already told you that we are ofcourse to blame BECAUSE we accepted this system for much to long untill we understood what is going on.Anyway..if you like to blame us greeks as “paranoid” because we indeed worry about our defence issues while we have to live in a very dangerous region with ongoing wars,civil wars and unrests 360° around us you seem not to care about the fact that for example the gouvernments of turkey threat us with war since 1975 in the case we declare our Exclusive economic zone.This war-threat is written as casus belli in their constitution!And these guys have hundreds of F-16 and lead a war against their minorities (kurds) in south east anatolia killing children and woman day by day.This while turkey also has the worst infant mortality in the OECD only comparable with african nations.So..If we are “paranoid” what about the region we have to live in?Will you come and protect my children in lets say 10 years from threats we don´t even can estimate today?If our “allies” from the NATO and most of all EU “protect” us like they did in the case of the speculators and financial sharks we better take care for ourselves.

  76. Joe R January 6, 2013 at 8:32 pm #


    At this point you are just plain lying. You are making stuff up – that is why your commentary above is unsupported, is emotional and is completely generalised in its insinuations and broad smearing.

    All Greek F-16 warplanes work and have worked from the start. That is why Greece bought them in batches and different variants over many years after the initial ones arrived. There are no reported problems. Greece didn´t buy crap nor was it cheated.


    In fact you are pretty proud of them from what I can see.

    As for this thing about other countries pressurizing Greece to buy billions of dollars worth of military hardware – that is infantile and incredulous. Are you all children?

    As for the Turkish threat Greece is in the most POWERFUL military alliance in the world and Turkey are in the same one. It is called NATO. If either one of you attack there is going to be a consequence. So it won´t happen. Period.

    That is one of the benefits of being in an alliance. Security in numbers therefore no need to buy loads of expensive weapons out of fear. Get it?

    And where is there a war or conflict near Greece? There is nothing! It is 15 years since Kosovo.

    Turkey is a big country with other problematic borders including Iran, Iraq and Syria some ex-soviet republics has recently knocked heads with Israel and has it has an appalling record with the Kurds. Why do Greeks obsesse that the Turks are after them only? National stereotyping perhaps?

    Ireland had a constitutional land claim for a significant chunk of what is the UK – the bit called northern Ireland up from 1935-1998. There was no serious military paranoia displayed there by the two sides, despite the horrible murderous conflict inside Northern Ireland itself over 30 years.

    Greece needs to grow up, I think.

    And you didn´t answer my earlier questions about MBTs and warplanes. So I´m going to.

    Ireland. – not a member of NATO, neutral. Population 5 million-ish.

    Main battle tanks – 0 (nil). Jet fighters – 0 ( nil).

    Portugal – member of NATO. 10 million population.

    Main Battle Tanks – 137 ( old M60s and new L2s ). 500+ IFVs
    Jet Fighters 45 F-16A/B ( the oldest and most basic model ) some of which are being upgraded. They are talking to Romania to off-load some.

    Greece – Member of NATO. 12 million population.

    MBTs – 1000+ ( mainly newer L2 & L1 and 300 M60s ). 3000 IFVs.

    Jet Fighters – 170 F-16A/B/C/D. 44 Mirage 2000, 12 RF-4s, 34 F-4Es, 33 A-7s and 40 T-2s with weapons capacity. That is 315 all in. The expensive part were purchased in the last 10-12 years.

    Greek spending on defence is simply unjustifiable.

    • Roger January 6, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

      Greek spending on defence is simply unjustifiable.

      Whats that got to do with the Greek Population? the American Industrial Military complex is not too shabby either and very much at odds with American sensibilities as far as I can gather?

      Are you seriously suggesting Joe R that people are actually voting for what they get? and that public opinion actually counts for anything anymore in Greece or anywhere else for that matter.

      • Joe R January 7, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

        Yes Roger.

        I am suggesting that there is some correlation between what you vote for ( in general ) and what you get. The British people voted the conservative party into power 4 times in succesion in the 1980s and 1990s. They got the destruction of union power and the industrial base and the creation of a finanical services based economy bent on looting the poor in return. Then they got Blair and new labour who as right-wing as the tories, by design.

        Simple as that. You have whe you have in Britian as a result of those 4-6 votes by the people.

        You can’t have a situation in large nations where every one votes on everything. It is not pratical.

        You do get to make a judgement every 4/5 years on those people who took those decisions. That is how that system of accountability works. The people also get to decide on big constitutional issues in the main. That is the nature of democracy. Get real about it and accept responsibility.

        Greece dosen’t have the military profile of a western european democracy which has been at peace for it has the miltary profile of a tin-pot dictatorship as if the junta of 67-74 never left.

        • Roger January 7, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

          Joe R
          Direct democracy is practical if you think about it, more so now than ever Joe R. The idea that general elections are a judgement or review of government in the intervening period is the theory , how ever no sensible choice is or has been available for many decades. Its Neo Liberal or Neo Liberal light. Public opinion is manipulated massively by main stream media and the campaign of cognitive dissonance that has allowed the erosion of civil liberties to an alarming extent sees no sign of abating.
          The corporations and the banks are not accountable not even to their shareholders and the politicians are increasingly brazen in their contempt for ordinary people.

          That Public opinion counts for anything or that the big issues are decided by the people is a fantasy Joe R. I take my own responsibilities very seriously and fight to change the system from out side now. I could no longer hold my nose and ignore the impossible stench of corruption in the paradigm you seek to portray as reality and within the scope of stakeholder oversight, it is not it is out of control and exploited for a small minority. This is an age of Global Corporate fascism.

          • Joe R January 8, 2013 at 12:46 pm #


            I will point you to the example of Iceland.

            No bailout and those responsible are undergoing trial.

            This was a big issue and it was decided by the people there because they made themselves heard.

        • Mike Hall January 7, 2013 at 6:14 pm #

          Joe R

          You really are a clown. You have just refuted your own argument that people had a choice in what to vote for!

          “….Then they got Blair and new labour who as right-wing as the tories, by design….”

          Bye, bye Tories, welcome to…..the new……(Labour) Tories!

          Didn’t matter where you put your vote, you were getting right wing neo-liberal anyway.

          Any one who watched the last election might have thought the Lib Dems at least took a more independent or pragmatic view. Nope, not a bit of it. Once in coalition, all the usual dogma signed up to – tory as all the rest.

          So now, Joe, people in the UK who don’t want neo-liberalism, who do they vote for?

          (That is who has any chance whatever of media aknowledgement, never mind actual support, & has any chance of winning enough seats to form a government.)

          • Joe R January 8, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

            Double bind question? That is normally recognised as a controling psychological tactic. Interesting that!

            So I going to sidestep the double bind and answer the first part of the question only as the logic of the second part dosen’t stand up.

            You vote for the candidate or party WHO aren’t going to do what the others are doing. Chosing to voting for someone has nothing to do with their level of media aknowledgement. You are just playing to the system when you restrict yourself to the media’s traditional choices.

            Vote for someone else, help such a party to get going campaign ofr more democracy or stand yourself but stop abusing me, please.

            I would question the level of democracy that you have in the UK because here all parties have access to the media. Maybe you should start there.

            Personally, I don’y think having a German Queen and her family freeloading in a useless way in the background helps much.

        • 24K January 7, 2013 at 8:41 pm #

          First the mankeys voted conservative and got shafted.

          Then the mankeys voted labour and got shafted.

          So the mankeys get what they voted for.

          That is quite funny in a boot in the face kinda way.

        • Phil January 14, 2013 at 1:34 am #

          Your tone is quite pathetic, Joe. You really do bring an unnecessary amount of bile onto this forum.

          So what if Golem invited you to write a piece for the blog? I stayed at his house last weekend and he has stayed at mine when we have put on talks together but it doesn’t give me the right to rant like a lunatic about F16s and insult all and sundry on here. Grow up, man.

          The ”British people” elected Thatcher? Actually there were millions more British people who didn’t vote for her than did. Ditto Major, Blair and Cameron.

          How many people truly understand the system which the live in? I regularly hear and read comments on the TV, radio and newspapers which are not only incorrect but are palpable lies.

          • Joe R January 15, 2013 at 1:26 pm #

            There is nothing pathetic about my ‘tone’. Your comment about tone is made up and irrelevant.

            I insulted nobody I have argued clearly and backed up my points.

            If I have insulted someone point out where please.

            But there is something pathetic about me being called a troll a stereotyper a stalinist and a nazi or having a dear family member described as a thug for hire.

            You think these people have the right to smear and insult me? What does that say about you?

            What is pathetic to me is the school ground mentality of those posters on here who insult and smear in a group.

            But I will email Golem and ask him.

    • bill40 January 7, 2013 at 11:02 pm #


      I don’t dispute your facts and you don’t dispute mine. I think you’ll find the Greeks had very little choice on defence spending, the people that is, not the corrupt elites. Greece didn’t do so well with with such spending but many others did.

      Facts can be interpreted many ways so i am disputing your motivation and agenda for posting here. It seems a little one sided to me.

      • Joe R January 8, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

        Governments have choices in national spending the are called budgets. Greeks spend a ridiculous amount on arms they don’y need while the population is suffering.

        These are facts and are beyond dispute. That is what a fact is. They are not owned.

        So I understand you are calling me a troll as a result of your not liking the facts? You are questioning my integrity that is pretty noble of you. Do facts you don’t like which conflict with the victim narrative you have constructed it is a problem so you attempt to destroy the credibility of the person who gave you those facts? Big of you.

        I have a favourite quote I would like to share with you “it is never under-estimate the power of denial”.

        • bill40 January 8, 2013 at 7:31 pm #


          I merely find a common empathy with people who are not from my country. There are sinners and saints but I tend to find most people fall in between. I find the narrative of people being collectively responsible for actions outside of their control suspicious.

          I do statistics and therefore look for variations outside the norm. Most people are normal even if it’s a cold way to put it. You appear to be looking at extremes and seeing a norm.

          It’s the MSM favourite trick at the moment.

          • Joe R January 9, 2013 at 3:58 am #

            You are such a high minded person there Bill40 and I am so happy you came down from your high moral ground to tap the keyboard and attempt to subtlely belittle me ( again).

            But I notice you won’t actually answer anything that is put to you. That serial non-response is actually correctly classfied as a passive aggressive bullying response, and shows where your empathy actually is. It is in a jar back up at the higher moral ground.

            No need to lecture me on stats I passed that module in my honours degree and I know how to apply them – BECAUSE IT IS PART OF MY WORK – so take your keyboard and go back up to your higher moral ground and please shove it where the sun doesn’t shine. Ok?

            Meanwhile I’m going to go my bed ( because it is late ) to be with my wife from ANOTHER COUNTRY – with whom can I speak with in any one of three different languages – and I hope to have a pleasant nights sleep.

        • Debra January 8, 2013 at 9:58 pm #

          Joe R, as an unemployed, albeit educated person, someone who is qualified to talk about denial (hint, not a lay person…) I have thrown the word out of my vocabulary.
          Maybe twenty years ago, it meant something.
          Now… it is an accusation tendered to someone who does not share your opinion, or view of “reality”, whatever that is…particularly thorny when we’re talking about reality in the sense of social convention.
          What many of us are arguing about on this site appears to me to be the unfortunate consequences of the democratic system, as it continues to play out in time.
          I see very few people at this time willing to admit that democracy could possibly have disadvantages… but it can, it can. It does. Aristophanes was writing about it many many years ago, and what he writes would blow you away, because it sounds like it was written 5 minutes ago.
          It appears to me as though our civilization is suffering from the more noxious effects of democracy conjugated with the noxious effects of oligarchy. Hard to tell which system is more poisonous, you know, because the tyranny of the majority is still tyranny.
          If we were not so busy trying to earn our lives, we would have time to cultivate ourselves and our gardens, and we would gain the perspective necessary to allow us to abandon the dream of pie on the plate for everybody on this earth, ourselves included.
          You are right… we were warned about what is happening to us now.
          From two corners, at least. The Bible is packed chock full of warnings about idolatry of filthy lucre (even with the best intentions).
          And the ancient Greeks warned us about hubris, and the inordinate pride of the self made man.
          Woe unto us all…

          • Joe R January 9, 2013 at 3:31 am #


            If you think democracy has disadvantages then campaign for the return of empire, imperialism, absolute autocracy or dictatorship. Or whatever floats your boat. They are all a lot of fun.

            And what is this about Hubris – are you trying to point at me?

            The greeks warned of a lot of things – that screwing your mother is bad for your mental health, the vengeful wrath of a scorned woman can be as nasty as it gets…lots of stuff…other civilisations had their stories too. Your point?

            The denial is obvious on here. People are bending over backwards trying to slip the Greek situation into irrelevant constructed narratives about neo-liberal conspiracies and globalization while ignoring reality which is staring them in the face.

            The amount of seperate attacks and insults I have had on here over the last two days has astounded me. It is ironic partcularly in the context in the particular context of this blog entry ( ‘apology’,) I think.

            I have been attacked because I didn’t pay my respects to ridiculous and irrelevant neo-liberal asset grab conspiracies and I didn’t ramble on about globalization at length.

            I have butted heads a little with Golem in the past but he knows how to debate and deal in fact and accept, agree or agree to disagree, with some grace usually.

            But you, the aggressive Mike Hall, Stevie Finn, Bill40 etc are no better than a bunch of school kids engaged in a popularity contest.

          • steviefinn January 9, 2013 at 2:18 pm #


            Democracy for the most part has been bought by the oligarchs, elite or whatever one might like to call them & as you say as a system it has many faults but as Churchill I think said, it is better than the alternatives.

            Systems based on a personality cult in which the head suffers from delusions of grandeur, has to possess ultimate power, is totally intolerant of any criticism, uses scapegoats to support simplistic solutions to control the mob & in which the only form of life they value is their own, while they are quite prepared to send millions to their deaths in order to save themselves or just simply because they can.

            Fortunately the vast majority of those who fit the above profile are frustrated & do little harm, although tragically there are many totalitarian sates which consist only of families whose members have to bear the brunt of a ranting power junkie at it’s head.

  77. Diogenis January 6, 2013 at 10:54 pm #

    @Joe R

    You forget to mention that the turkish gouvernment still has the casus belli in the turkish constitution.But you accuse me of lying and making stuff up.If my neighbour who is very aggressive and who kills daily their own innocent people because these belongs to a minority and also threats an “ally” with war while it send daily warplanes loaded with missiles and bombs over greek islands..is this for you okay and no reason for us to be “worried”?

    Is this:

    ..firendly behaviour?Gavdos is according to every international law greek territory:

    few miles away from greece,hundreds miles away from turkey.What exactly is the reason turkey claims suddenly greek islands which according to every greek-turkish agreements from the past belongs to greece?Islands which have greek citizins since many centuries an no turkish citiizins?

    This is ofcourse not very friendly behaviour.It is hostile,war mongering aggression.And the fact that you obviously see it only from the turkish side of view says everything I guess.

    • Joe R January 7, 2013 at 1:57 pm #


      The last time the Greeks and Turks had a fight the GREEKS initiated the aggression.You attacked and invaded Turkey in 1919.


      From the above –

      “One of the main motivations for initiating the war was to realize the Megali (Great) Idea, a core concept of Greek nationalism. The Megali Idea was an irredentist vision of a restoration of a Greater Greece on both sides of the Aegean that would incorporate territories with Greek populations outside the borders of the Kingdom of Greece, which was initially very small.”

      You Greeks wanted to do the same as Germany in 1939 – to create a greater Greece. You failed. That was Greek aggression. Stop with the innocent victim plea!

      You did that with the aid of Britain and France, not under pressure from them.

      Likewise the coup d’etat in the early 1970s which precipitated the Turkish invasion was a US supported ( Mr Henry Kissinger ) Greek initiative which came from the the Greek junta.


      If the Turks have a memory of this of all of this I wouldn’t blame them.

      Not to mention you are both in NATO. This should be insurance enough for Greece.

      Arms races solve nothing, this is clear. Xingoistic nationalism solves nothing. Paranoia resolves nothing.

      Greece could provide adeqate resources for its defence and not cripple itself without going toe to toe with the Turks, a much bigger and growing nation.

      I dealt with the issue of constitutional claims to other peoples territories including where violence was on-going above had provided an example. I am not going to repeat myself on this. There are many in the world. Not everybody locks and loads about all of this.

      As for Turkey and its concerns – have you heard of Syria by any chance? Well there is a big civil war there at the moment and the Turks (good or evil) have their concerns. It is on their border. And they have Iraq tooanother manufactured country with made up boundardies cutting across ethnic divides. And Iran. Plus a few countries to the east of Turkey have nukes or want nukes and don’t like each other and have zealots/ strongmen/dictators at or near the top of each of their political structures. Messy!

      They have lots to think about I would say. I doubt Greece is near the top of that list.

      And Diogenis – you have lied and mislead here. Seriously back up your assertions about non functioning warplanes and pressure to spend money on useless military hardware. Please make sense of these infantile senarios that you keep talking about.

      I would be happy to apologise if I am wrong. But I am pretty sure I am not.

      • Phil (Mcr) January 14, 2013 at 1:42 am #

        ”Greek initiative which came from the the Greek junta.”

        Yeah, so not the people then.

        Seriously Joe, take your spite to the Daily Mail / Telegraph comment pages.

  78. Penny Bloater January 7, 2013 at 1:11 am #

    You guys should remember that the neoliberal asset grab taking place is a social class rather a nationalist based project. It’s so obvious that politicians, journalists, business groups, weapons dealers in Greece, Britain, the US and Germany are all part of the same class based ‘elite’ which has no national allegiance and has been allowed to pursue it’s interests since around 1973: this much should be clear by now.

    Look at the terms of debate laid out over social and economic issues in the mainstream media: Unfortunately, the ‘Washington Consensus’ (which also functions to stoke up extreme nationalisms and militarism: think Bismark’s Germany, but made exclusively for the financial elites) is still winning the battle of ideas amongst most ordinary people who, according to the Guardian, here in the UK now think that welfare payments are 70% of the average wage.

    You should both take a breather and think (or maybe even read) about ‘it’ a little more.



    Did Magna Carta die in vain?

    • Mike Hall January 7, 2013 at 1:35 am #

      Quite so Penny.

      Joe R

      You are utterly deluded if you think that any meaningful democratic choice has operated much anywhere for many decades.

      The elites of different countries can & do squabble among themselves. Don’t confuse that with with some idea that they actually represent citizens’ interests.

      • Joe R January 7, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

        Mike Hall,

        Do not insult me. You don’t have the right.

        I live in a country where the prior leader ( of the Workers Party ) had the equivalent of GCSEs and an apprentiship in terms of education. Both he and the current leader were tortured ( by the state ) for their political convictions at one point in the past.

        They were both voted in with big majorities. Everybody has to vote – it is the law and it is important. DEMOCRACY is important. It needs to be cared for.

        I reject you blanket comment. It is not a fact.

        And I dare you to name that country.

        ( A hint – Noam Chomsky is one who talks about said country as an example of a functioning democracy – quite a lot ).

        • Mike Hall January 7, 2013 at 5:56 pm #

          Then don’t insult me (or my intelligence) by trying to tell me +your+ ‘functioning democracy’ operates in the country I live in – or other countries I have lived in or have substantial knowledge of thru’ friends who have lived there.

          And not just one or two of those countries, but most or all of them!

          Lucky you, if you live in a ‘functioning democracy’.

          Don’t try and tell me it functions here in Europe.

          • Joe R January 8, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

            Mike Hall – you have not answered by question. What country is it that dosen’t fit into your universal comment. (And there are more).

            Despite your insults, I have not and I will not lower myself to your standards of ignorance and personal aggression. You have called me ‘deluded’ and a ‘clown’ so far.

            I have one word for you on EUROPEAN DEMOCRACY it is;


            ( the country not the store )

            They DEMOCRATICALLY choose to not bailout the banks, to remove the government and are putting those accused of neglience serious fraud on trial, politican or banker.

            They are European. That was DEMOCRACY in action.

        • Phil (Mcr) January 14, 2013 at 1:52 am #

          ”Do not insult me. You don’t have the right.”

          But you do with the pathetic way you address people?

          Brazil. Nice one. You live in Brazil. So what? I lived and volunteered in a favela in Rio two years ago.

          Can you explain to me what is so democratic and wonderful about a country in which tens of millions live in dire poverty, where the police are little more than hired thugs?

          So what if Chomsky likes it. He’s not God.

          • Joe R January 14, 2013 at 5:33 pm #

            Então, você estava morando por um tempinho no Rio, ne?

            E aí, Madre Teresa, o que foi que você fez exatamente no Rio? Diga-me, por favor! Você é engenheiro e você montasse um projeto de saneamento básico ou ajudasse com a segurança de uma forma oi outra no local? Você era um gerente de um ONG que organizasse umas operações críticas lá? Talvez um advogado que prestasse serviços grátis para lutar por eles que não têm ajuda nenhuma ( e sob a lei Brasileira e em português também, eu imagino).

            Um herói verdade da comunidade. Eh?

            Qual língua você falava lá? Você fala português bem? Fluentemente? Ou o todo mundo lá na comunidade fala inglês? É importante, não é? Quer dizer, para avaliar o qualidade de trabalho que você fizesse lá.

            Parece para mim da forma agressivo e mal educado do seu comentário que você é só uma pessoa ignorante e simples, Madre Teresa. Por exemplo você não escrevou communidade, você escrevou ‘favela’ aqui. O que isso? E todo policial no Brasil é um ladrão? Que ignorância é isso? É claro que você não é um gerente, um engenheiro ou uma pessoa responsável de qualquer jeito.

            Então, eu acho que você seja uma pessoa inelegante e baixo qualificado que viajou para Rio cheio de preconceitos e habilidades inúteis e você descobriu apenas sua própria falta de importância lá.

            De qualquer forma você tem muita raiva, e eu não mereço esse tratamento de você. Certo?.

          • Joe R January 14, 2013 at 8:45 pm #

            Do you understand the word pathetic ( here are some definitions )?

            1. Arousing or capable of arousing sympathetic sadness and compassion: “The old, rather shabby room struck her as extraordinarily pathetic” (John Galsworthy).
            2. Arousing or capable of arousing scornful pity.

            Are you an arts student or something?

            Are you trying to sound smart?

            I don’t see what arouses pity in my statments here but I have on here in this column alone been called a troll, a nazi, a stalinist, deluded and a clown and a few more things. So I have been personally demeaned by people who don’t know me and according to the blog owners previously expressed wish he wants to keep things civil around here. Demeaning people is not civil.

          • Joe R January 14, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

            I did not say Chomsky is God but he is a world renowned expert. He has an amazing mind with an amazing memory and analyalitical capacity, he has published many highly referenced and very well researched works in a few different fields and has had an amazing career. All of this is recognised all over the world.

            And who are you exactly?

            You back up your broad smears and insinuations with what?

            This is by Noam Chomsky on Brazil vs the US, from 2004 –

            “Brazil is a remarkable and illuminating case. It is instructive to compare the two largest and most important countries of the hemisphere.

            In the forthcoming presidential elections in the US, there is a choice: between two candidates who were born to wealth and political power, attended the same elite university, joined the same secret society that instructs members in the style and manners of the rulers, and are able to run because they are funded by largely the same corporate powers. The Public Relations industry, which basically runs the campaigns, makes sure that they keep away from “issues” (except in vague and obscure terms) and focus on “qualities” — “leadership,” “personality,” etc. The public is not unaware of its purposeful marginalization.”

            And –

            “In Brazil, in dramatic contrast, there was an authentic democratic election. The organized public were able to elect their own candidate, a person from their own ranks, despite barriers far higher than in the US: a very repressive state, tremendous inequality and concentration of wealth and media power, extreme hostility of international capital and its institutions. They were able to do so because of decades of serious organizing and activism by very significant popular organizations: the Landless Workers Movement, the Workers Party, unions, and others. These are all lacking in “failed states” with democratic forms that have little in the way of substance, in which we have elections of the kind taking place in November 2004.”

            From the “The Savage Extreme of a Narrow Policy Spectrum” by

          • Joe R January 14, 2013 at 8:58 pm #

            More to come…when I have a chance!

          • Joe R January 15, 2013 at 6:37 pm #

            “Can you explain to me what is so democratic and wonderful about a country in which tens of millions live in dire poverty, where the police are little more than hired thugs?”

            Okay so you smear all Brazilian Police men as thugs.

            Let’s talk about a place closer little closer to the origin of this blog and a lot richer per capita. Lets talk about Britain.

            In London a few years back you had the brutal unlawful execution of Jean Charles de Menezes by the police at Stockwell Station. There were many lies and some smearing of the completely innocent Jean Charles. A shameful episode with nobody convicted of his death.

            There was that Tomlinson guy too who died for no good reason at those protests.Then there are the constant allegations of institutional racism that surround the met when dealing with young black men in the past and to the present.

            So lets go to South Yorkshire were the deaths of 96 football supporters at Hillsborough was incorrectly blamed on other supporters for 20 years. A whitewash and a smearing for the scousers.

            Now lets mention the Birmingham and Guilford bombings in the 1970s and the false convictions of 17 people in relation to this. A double injustice, as those convictions let the real bombers go free.

            Now lets mention Bloody Sunday in Derry 1972 were 14 unarmed protesters were shot in the back by the British Army and 14 more were injured. There was a whitewash in the aftermath and it took forty years and the passage of a lot of lies for the Government to admit their own citizens had been murdered unjustifiably by their own national army.

            And there is so much shit in Northern Ireland to do with the RUC, I wouldn’t now where to begin.

            That is a nationwide litany of failure, over many years in many places.

            Does that give me the right to smear each and every serving British Police Officer as some amalgam of all of the worst qualities displayed in the above cases?

            No, it doesn’t and I wouldn’t do it.

            There are 500,000 police in Brazil, organised by each state with a federal police force too. Pay and conditions vary from state to state. Police in Rio are some of the worst paid and live in an relatively expensive place. This results in some corruption. It does not attract talent. Plus the fact that life can be taken cheaply by gangs in Rio through gun violence means policing there is very problematic, at best. Who would want to do it.

            Rio de Janeiro state has oil revenues and lots of tourism and is relatively well off but it pays its police very badly.

            It pays for big public spectacles with international bands playing for free during festivities such as Carnaval.

            This is all well known and the rest of Brazil does not understand this. In São Paulo the police are paid three times the Rio rate and the results are easy to see.

          • Phil (Mcr) January 15, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

            Do I know what pathetic means? Yes, I’ve just read the most laughable posturing comment on a blog for some time.

            I’ll reply in English for the benefit of other readers.

            ”você estava morando por um tempinho no Rio, ne?”

            I worked and lived in the favela of Ladeira dos Tabajaras for as long as my tourist visa allowed me.

            ”E aí, Madre Teresa, o que foi que você fez exatamente no Rio? Diga-me, por favor! Você é engenheiro e você montasse um projeto de saneamento básico ou ajudasse com a segurança de uma forma oi outra no local? Você era um gerente de um ONG que organizasse umas operações críticas lá?”

            I did the work that I could a) find and b) do the best. I teach English as a job so I volunteered with this organisation:


            We did after-school clubs with kids, took them on trips and did classes for adults who wanted to learn or improve their English.

            ”Um herói verdade da comunidade”

            No, that’s your psychological projection. You are ill, you do realise that don’t you?

            ”Qual língua você falava lá? Você fala português bem? Fluentemente? Ou o todo mundo lá na comunidade fala inglês? É importante, não é?”

            I learned Brazilian Portuguese as best I could in the time I was there. I speak Spanish quite well so it wasn’t too difficult. Certainly not too difficult to read it.

            ”Parece para mim da forma agressivo e mal educado do seu comentário que você é só uma pessoa ignorante e simples, Madre Teresa.”

            No flower, it is you who posts rude, aggressive comments. We’ve not had the like of you on here for sometime. I doubt given my ability to understand all of your pretentious message and the fact that I lived and worked there that I’m ”ignorant”, either of Brazilian Portuguese or the socio-economic situation in Brazil.

            ”Por exemplo você não escrevou communidade, você escrevou ‘favela’ aqui. O que isso?”

            Would anyone else on this blog understand that I had worked in a favela had I said ‘communidade’? Everyone in Trabajaras called it the ”morro” by the way. That’s ”the hill” for any readers watching this tedious, pretentious exchange.

            ”E todo policial no Brasil é um ladrão? Que ignorância é isso?”

            Haha! The straw man argument. I can’t generalise so the fact that the Brazilian police are known to be one of the most corrupt in the world cannot be said in this conversation? I saw with my own fucking eyes Brazilian police beating people up in the street, I saw them stick their guns in the faces of young women in my favela. I attended a meeting of social activists which relayed the news that a woman had been gang-raped in a police cell in Amazonas. Where did I say the British police were not corrupt. You don’t make up for the manifest failings of the Brazilian police by listing the many crimes of ours. The Chomsky article reads well doesn’t it? All those wonderful social movements and where has it got them? Millions living in shacks on hillsides, extremely concentrated landownership, extreme wealth and income inequality, massive political corruption and endemic violence. Truly a shining beacon. Nao e?


            ”Então, eu acho que você seja uma pessoa inelegante e baixo qualificado que viajou para Rio cheio de preconceitos e habilidades inúteis e você descobriu apenas sua própria falta de importância lá.”

            I don’t full understand this part – must be because of my low qualifications.

            ”De qualquer forma você tem muita raiva, e eu não mereço esse tratamento de você. Certo?”

            Of course, you deserve to be called out on your obnoxious attitude. People disagree on this blog all the time but they find more appropriate ways of getting their point across instead of accusing people of lying, acting as if they are fountain of all knowledge and adopting a tone which gets people’s backs up.

            ”Arousing or capable of arousing scornful pity”

            Yes, that it is what you aroused in me, my little plant pot.

            ”Demeaning people is not civil.”

            Then why not take the moral high ground and desist from calling people liars or ignorant or low qualified etc?

          • Phil (Mcr) January 15, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

            Sorry, just a couple more questions Rapax…

            Do you know how smug I feel now?


            Why did YOU go to Brazil? Couldn’t find a woman here?

    • Joe R January 7, 2013 at 2:34 pm #


      What is your point?

      Neo-liberalism asset grabs have nothing to do with what I spoke about. There are no assets being grabbed in what I spoke about.

      Are your neo-liberial bashing sensibilites somehow offended by Greeks spending too much on arms and making themselves poor?

    • Phil (Mcr) January 14, 2013 at 1:46 am #

      Good point, Penny. I’m just reading Jeff Faux’s ”The Class War”. It’s all about globalisation and who benefits.


  79. Diogenis January 7, 2013 at 1:36 am #


    Ofcourse you are right.Nationalsm is the worst friend.Even more in times like these.We all know what 80 years ago when the same people which use nationalism today to divide & rule did back then.

    I guess there is no nation (I mean the majority of the average people,not the gouvernments and the ruling class) which likes to spend billions on weapons and defence to make the riches richer.

    It is very sad that the security-situation on the balkans and middle east/north africa is not on central/middle/north europe or north american standards.

    • Joe R January 7, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

      The security situation is what you make it.

      Mantain an aggressive stance you will get it right back.

  80. Joe Taylor January 7, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

    Hi JoeR

    I think the eyes of the world were on the participatory democracy experiment your government attempted (I know mine were) and in may ways it has succeeded.

    As you and Diogenis continue to insult each other, please remember the work of your great countryman, Paulo Freire, surely one of the sanest, most compassionate human beings the world had ever produced.

    • Joe R January 8, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

      I have not insulted anyone, and I take great care not to.

      Insults are personally aimed smears. I don’t do that.

      Diogenis lied about billions of dollars of warplanes that he said didn’t work that do and always have done. Greece went on to buy 4 batches of these planes which are the probably the most widely used and generally successful fighters of the last 30 years. His versions generally of what has happened to Greece over the past 20 years is not backed up by the record or fact. He suggested that I was stereotyping as was a leading authority on the finanical colapse, Mr Michael Lewis. I ahve never done that nor has the renowned Lewis. I asked him to withdraw his made up counter arguments or back them up. He choose to spin more tales. He is a liar, there fore by his repeated choice. This a fact, it is not an insult.

      I also reject your infactual comment on that subject that I am or have insulted him and I ask you, politely but firmly here, to back it up or withdraw it.

  81. Joe Taylor January 7, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

    Might was well have a Paulo Freire quote:

    “Globalisation theory, which speaks of ethics, hides the fact that its ethics are those of the marketplace and not the universal ethics of the human person. It is for these matters that we ought to struggle courageously if we have, in truth, made a choice for a humanised world. A world of real people. Globalisation theory cleverly hides, or seeks to cloud over, an intensified new edition of that fearful evil that is historical capitalism, even if the new edition is somewhat modified in relation to past versions. Its fundamental ideology seeks to mask that what is really up for discussion is the increasing wealth of the few and the rapid increase of poverty and misery for the vast majority of humanity.”

    • Joe R January 8, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

      Freire is no countryman of mine.

      Since globalization has nothing to do with what I said nor is of relevance I would like to ask you why are you quoting this at me?

  82. Diogenis January 8, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

    @Joe R

    I talked about not working submarines and corruption issues between the greek gouvernment and HDW/ThyssenKrupp.Not only in greece but also in portugal.I don´t know about warplanes and I don´t care.

    Let us stop this.If you as turk want to discuss about aggressive,evil greeks who threat the world with F-17 and about who is better,braver or what ever you should visit blogs where nationalists do these stuff.

    This is maybe not the right place for such things.

    Greetings from Hellas.

    • Joe R January 8, 2013 at 7:22 pm #

      So I’m Turkish now? For pointing out that Greece nationalism has or had an expanionist streak and wanted to invade and reclaim Ionia less than 100 years ago?

      Oh and you tried! 3 years of war as a result. Greek aggression.

      Can you give up on the German submarines. I didn’t mention them. I spoke about the most expensive part of the purchases, the planes and tanks, not just to buy but to run as well. The subs were only contraversial because it was the Germans which meant WW2 got dragged in. The company were fined 140 million euro. The head guy was forced to resign. Situation dealt with.

      Britain can’t build submarines without glitches. Worse still they are nuclear subs with glitches. That doesn’t mean they won’t work. You sort out the glitches and they work.

      Greece spent 85.5 billion dollars on defence between 2002 and 2011. Nobody forced it too. The biggest seller was the US. No evil euro-loan repayment conspiracy there.

      From the Guardian and linked –

      “Thanos Dokos, a leading Greek defence expert, says rational debate on such military extravagance has been made impossible by the supposed Turkish threat and a fear among politicians of being labelled unpatriotic.

      “One could argue that with 1,300 tanks, more than twice the number in the UK, Greece has many more than it needs. But no one forced it to spend so much. It happened because of the threat perception from Turkey and the need to balance Turkey militarily,” he said.”


  83. The Dork of Cork. January 8, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

    On a day when our smurf like leader is in the Wolfs lair itself talking about 6th century Irish / Germanic Monks and other Blarney this paper from a outsider looking into this slurry pit is instructive.

    You can see in this Y2003 document that the Punt post 1979 was never really a national currency.

    It was a mere bridge towards EMU & the Euro.

    See page 13
    We were bought and not only that …..we were cheap
    See page 13 & 14

    The Irish requested 650 million pounds of grants from zee Germans & French
    We got a low interest loan of 225 million
    By 1980 the country began to enter into a wage deflation phase…with Industrial Cork effectivally going bust with only Apple computers (the new economy) keeping a nice shine on things – the price for mammon…….

    Our “leaders” are rotten to the core.

    As I said above
    Hibernia is a dirty Aul whore.

    • gatopeich January 8, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

      Really interesting document, marking a direct and concrete connection between money and (Irish) politics.

      Specially loved the following paragraph, perhaps because I can see the same mechanism in place in my own country and many others:

      “In sum, strong prime ministerial power underpinned by the norm of single party cabinet and strict party discipline was a crucial underlying factor that enabled political leaders to advance their neoliberal economic programs.”


  84. gatopeich January 8, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

    You didn’t need to apologize but the clarification is enlightening.
    This is still a place of reference for me.
    Thanks, and best wishes for 2013!

  85. nigel January 9, 2013 at 7:59 pm #

    Joe R what do you make of this?

    • Joe R January 10, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

      Hi Nigel

      I just took a quick look.

      Its looks like an I’m not sure what the guy is trying to clarify because he seems to be addressing internet confusion/myths/misunderstanding with yet more internet confusion. It looks inaccurate and undefined.

      Can I give you an example – there is segment on bank nationalisation.

      “4. Iceland nationalised the banks.

      This much is true. Iceland then privatised them again in record time. Two out of the three collapsed major banks in Iceland are now owned by the creditors. (“But I thought Iceland shafted the creditors?” Hah! Yeah, funny that.)”

      This is a confusing answer to a an initial simplification. This is a normal debt for equity swap. The creditiors did get shafted. They paid over real money, have lost it ( it is a bad debt ) but instead of trying to sue the bank they come to an agreement they get a paper chunk of the reformed bank ( shares) which is now worth a fraction of what they paid. They are not creditors anymore they are shareholders. At this point the blogger is not accurate. This is the normal solution in capitalism if you want to keep a company afloat and turn it around. Nothing weird.

      Frankly to catch him you have to pin down his definitions. He is deliberately imprecise misleading and playing to myths in order to entertain, I find.

      I will look it again later. if you have any particular points I can try to respond as best I can.

      It is what should have been applied in Ireland but wasn’t.

      • Joe R January 10, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

        Oh and another point from this quote above – Iceland did not nationalise its banks, it took control stood firm and organised debt repudiation.

        Seriously every point in the piece is all over the place, Nigel.

  86. The Dork of Cork. January 9, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

    The Irish “government” is beginning to sell its bank investments…………..

    This is the signal that the government is about to print domestic currency (but not greenbacks) in my opinion.
    This printing (redenomination & devaluation) will favour bank assets as Riche B recently said – they are only concerned with farming the cash flow or fiat / not the assets themselves which can remain a fiction as they are not a pawnbroking business.

    The new flow can then be subsequently privatized.

    Also the NTMA guy expressing frustration with the Bond markets on state television is nicely choreographed……
    Its difficult not to be too cynical when dealing with these guys.

    They are some piece of work.

    The really sad thing about it all is that they will get away with it.

    OMF – a blogger asks
    “If BoI is completely privatised, I expect that it will be let go to the wall when the next crash comes. Well, that is, I would hope so. I actually expect the bank will be bailed out again. In either event, I don’t think the State should sell”

    He does not seem to get the only long term reason for buying BoI is the return of that Punt thingy.
    That is how this banks mortgage assets will be functional again.

    Buying BoI stuff long term is a pure Punt on the punt.

  87. Mike Hall January 10, 2013 at 1:51 am #

    Great piece from Philip Pilkington at Naked Capitalism :


    Two more parts to follow I believe.

  88. Debra January 10, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

    A question…
    For many years now, our financial advisor (we are middle class folks, not filthy rich, but not poor either) has been proposing.. “deals” that allow us to pay less tax to the government ? get out of paying tax to the government ? (If you fix it right, you can legally and legitimately get out of paying tax, as an individual, in France).
    Last time somebody called me up on the phone asking if I was interested in paying less tax, I answered “but if I don’t pay tax to the government, how is it going to get funded ?”
    This response probably sounds very naïve to many of you, but I think it is not.
    What we call “neoliberalism” is intricately linked to the ideological question of paying taxes.
    Many individual people (not talking about corporations here) take it for granted that paying taxes is 1) a bad thing or 2) an injustice. Those attitudes ultimately contribute to bottoming out the legitimacy of the State itself. Particularly… a democratic, or SO CALLED democratic state.
    What can be said about taxes can also be said about the military.
    It is in the logic of a DEMOCRATIC system to democratize military service, and to not resort to mercenaries (a paid army). Mercenaries are incompatible with the democratic ethos. If government is by the people, and for the people, the community needs to be defended.. by the people. Logical, logical.
    I occasionally wave my hand here, and point out that in the 1960’s Galbraith was mystified at popular… BELIEF that we were living under democracy when it was evident (to him at least) that we were already living in a planned economy.
    So much technology, and belief in it, can only prosper in a planned economy, because democracy itself is an impermanent form of government, and short term elections are incompatible with the.. planning involved in building mega infrastructure like what we have now.
    While we are haggling about the bad guys, the big “socialist” enterprise of domesticating us to death continues its steamroller course.
    Where I live, the tech industry is experimenting with implanting micro chips to control our aggressive impulses, so pretty soon we won’t have to worry about.. trolling ? on the blogs any more. We will be weeded out in kindergarten, put under surveillance, and treated (for our own good, of course…) so as not to bring harm to ourselves and/or others.
    Are you getting nervous yet ? A little paranoid, perhaps ? We are hard at work on the technology to do it, and the permanent surveillance is not my.. imagination at all. It is all around you. And getting more sophisticated all the time.
    In such a context, haggling about who’s to blame about our financial mess looks pretty insignificant from my perspective.
    On my last trip to the U.K., I noticed that you could be prosecuted for being verbally abusive to someone in a service position.
    When I think that my mama used to say “sticks and bones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”, it gives you a great idea of how far we’ve gone.. down the civilization road.
    Brr.. it makes me shiver…
    Another point : if you had the choice between working as a trader, or as a miner in one of those operations that take the top off of mountains, what would you… “choose” ?
    Or would you say… “I don’t have the choice” ?
    Putting it another way, if you had the choice between working for industry, or something else, what would you do ?
    Considering what the industrial revolution did to your beautiful countryside in England, and what it is now doing to my countryside in France, what would you.. do ?
    Maybe for those of us who are not working for money, there is some comfort to be taken from the fact that we are not contributing to the senseless ruin and despoilment of our planet ?
    (For Joe R, the word “fact” comes from the Old French, and initially refers to the verb “faire”, to do. The opposition is between.. “deeds” and “words”, as Shakespeare was exploring already in the 16th centure in “Hamlet”. Initially, facts could not be words.)
    Yes, I suppose this is all off topic, but this thread has been going a while, and I don’t like making ? earning ? points. 😉

    • Joe Taylor January 10, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

      Debra – I just love your logic. Are there any other online discussions that you apply it to? I wish you lived a bit closer to Wigan so a bit of it might rub off. Keep it up please.

    • Joe R January 10, 2013 at 8:24 pm #

      Fact comes from Latin, Debra.

      I have you ever heard the term ‘de facto’


      …and it exists in similar recognisable forms in a few romance languages such as in Portuguese ( o fato ) and Italian ( il fatto ) where both languages owe no origin ( unlike English ) to French.

      • Debra January 11, 2013 at 8:58 am #

        You are right, Joe. I slipped up on the ORIGIN of the word, from Latin.
        If you do a comparative etymology, French/English, you will notice that the word seems to appear almost magically… in the 16th century, in both languages.
        To me, that is very important.
        Because the 16th century inaugurates the rise of modern science, and the Renaissance mentality that goes along with it. An ideology and cosmogony that compete with the ideas and cosmogony of the Catholic Church, while leaning against it, nevertheless. (Probably all of us (I hope…) are aware by now that our school textbooks were actively demonizing the Church, and in many cases, misrepresenting its positions because we now live more and more in the world that modern science has progressively constructed for us. I believe that all ideologies are constantly and actively defending their.. domination ? and that our dominant ideology is no different from… the medieval Church in this respect.)
        There are some interesting parallels to be made between the European revolution in the 16th century, (the Reformation) and what we are living right now : the printing press/Internet, for example. Passionate demands to circumvent middlemen in favor of direct, personal experience. Chafing against authority in any perceived form. Haggling over filthy lucre, and what can/should be bought, and what should not be for sale, also. Luther’s preoccupation about indulgences : putting salvation up for sale in bonds (but you can argue about putting salvation up for sale as.. acts (and not “facts”, but, hell, why not toss “facts” in there…it seems rather appropriate for our time and age), concerns primarily WHAT should have a price tag on it. Because… WHAT has a price tag on it only means something for us through opposition to what.. does NOT have a price tag on it. After pondering this problem for quite a while, I think that it is what our religious forebearers recognized as the “idolatry” problem… When everything is in everything, well, the bottom falls out, and we get lost and confused.
        My logic, incidentally, I think.. goes right back to medieval forms of logic which are more loose than traditional Aristotelian logic (but I’m no expert on this matter). It works more by association… The modern scientific.. ideology has tried to squelch this kind of logic in us, but it is still there. Thank… God. 😉

        • Joe R January 11, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

          All that proves is that your etymological search wasn’t worth the effort as it didn’t come up with the correct answer.

          The word was clearly there along. It is 2500 years old not 400. The basis of English law has its origins from the Norman invasion in the 11th century and that word was clearly about, used and understood.

          Perhaps you looked in the wrong places?
          For example does your etymological search cover the spoken language? It is not easy to cover the spoken language when you aren’t there to hear it and have no recordings is it?

          Plus the 16th century would roughly correspond with the advent of the of the printing press. Maybe a lot of words turned up with the increase in book numbers and texts in general that would have occured in this period?

          Are these possibilities?

          • Debra January 13, 2013 at 9:23 pm #

            Yes, Joe, it is indeed possible that since the dictionary is constructed upon written sources, the word appeared earlier. Spoken sources are inaccessible to us…But there were people writing all the way through the middle ages, even without the printing presses, and there are words in the dictionary that go back in print much farther than the 16th century. The Norman conquest, as you say, was way before the 16th century, and lots of old French words entered English at that time. Not “fact” it would appear. The Normans were speaking Old French, and the Old French word that derives from the Latin “facere” is the word “fait”, hence the verb “faire”, not fact. And “fait” does not appear in English.
            My source is the 1971 edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, in the two volume form, and I definitely prefer the O.E.D. to any Wikipedia article.
            I accept the OED’s 1971 authority, at a time when, perhaps, a certain scholarship discipline corresponds more to my idea of legitimate authority.
            And the O.E.D. dates the word “fact” in all acceptions from the 16th century. It has an extensive list of different occurrences of the word running from the 16th century, through the 17th and 18th, etc.
            To the extent that the 16th century heralds a massive turning back in the direction of classical Antiquity in the search for new models to imitate, “fact” entered the English language in that context, and not earlier.
            What word are you talking about, Joe ?
            The Latin word “facto”, from the expression “de facto”, may look like the English “fact”, but they are not equivalent, and they don’t mean the same thing. How could they ?
            No more than the modern French “fait” is the equivalent of the modern English “fact”, even if the words initially stemmed from the Latin “facto” (I hasten to add that I never studied the Latin language ; I am an ignorant new worlder.).
            To make things even worse, the meaning of the 11th century word “science” in English is light years away from the meaning of the 21st century word “science” in English..
            And 11th century and 21st century “science” in French ?…

          • Joe R January 14, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

            The word ‘factum’ is the basis for the word ‘fact’. Latin words have been kept alive in the English speaking populace by the courts church and scholars alike. I doubt ‘faire’ interfered. Even languages with germanic origins use factum as a basis for their word for fact. The origin of that basis for this word in so many languages probably lies with the spread and use of roman law beyond the boundaries of the Roman Empire.
            The church used latin, too long after the Romans were gone.

            The latin verb facere ( to make/do ) is the basis for many romance language forms of ‘to make/do’ – fazer in Portuguese, hacer in Spanish and faire in French are three examples of these.

            (For spanish http://lema.rae.es/drae/?val=hacer
            and for Portuguese, I use the Dicionario Mini-Aurelio from my bookshelf )

            ‘Fato’ and ‘fatual’ in Portugese mean the exact same thing as ‘fact’ and ‘factual’ in English and are used the same way. Portuguese is the least evolved of any romance language from its Latin origins.

            ( Source – Aurelio.)

            I did a personality test in Portuguese (a HR thing) the other day with about 100 distinct Portuguese adjectives describing aspects of personality some only subtlely different form each other- over 90 of these words exist in a similar easily recognisable form in English.

            The parent language is Latin. French is but an interloper.

          • Debra January 15, 2013 at 9:37 am #

            The parent language was certainly Latin, Joe R, but Latin is not English, and Latin never was English.
            The O.E.D. traces the appearance of the word into the English vernacular during the Renaissance, a period when the vernacular got a serious boost as part of the democratization of the Reformation.
            The people who were haggling about the things we are haggling about now, Joe, were the elite (at least in our prejudiced eyes…), the lettered monks and more in the monasteries. I doubt that they were keeping the word alive in the population, though ; they were keeping it alive amongst themselves, and among the people who were capable of speaking Church Latin at that time. Not… the people, in any case.
            The elite(s) have always been with us, haven’t they ?
            They will never go away…
            I certainly agree with you that Roman commercial law spread Latin over the Roman… colonies, of which England was one.
            Roman (property) law has some serious disadvantages for our thinking. (Think… the overriding importance of commerce in the empire.)
            So.. you are a bilingual are you ?
            I never intended to suggest that the word “fact” came from the French “fait”, and indeed remarked that it did not above.
            But I will stick to my guns with the assertion that the Latin “factum” does not mean the same thing as 16th,17th,18th, etc century “fact” in English.
            Don’t you find it ironic that “we” have reconstituted the structure of the scholastic world, in a different ideology, Joe ?
            i do…
            I remember reading that in certain Eskimo languages, there are over thirty words to qualify what we call “snow”.
            I would have a hard time determining the difference between all those different qualities, particularly as English doesn’t have much to say on this subject.
            Perhaps I may delicately suggest that there are more differences between the Portugese and the English words than you think ?
            Even in French… take the word “interested”, for example.
            If you say in French that someone is “intéressée”, you are suggesting that he COULD want to make a buck, be looking for his own profit. And the word is not as gung ho enthusiastically positive as it is ? has been, in English…
            It sure looks a lot like the English word, and shares a lot of its meanings, but not all of them. And it has some that you can’t find in English.
            Why should words be any different than.. us, Joe ?
            THEY have their histories too. Linked to time and place.
            If I saw somebody who looked like you in France, even to a tee, and said, “hey, that’s Joe”, you would find that strange, albeit impossible, wouldn’t you ?

          • Joe R January 15, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

            Roman law spread beyond its colonies and well after the existed 1000 years after the Romans. It was in use for example in some areas of Ireland when Brehon and old Norman law and newer English law all co-existed side by side in Ireland up to the 16/17th century. Roman law is codified law not common law. Brehon law was Celtic tribal law owed nothing to either system.

            As for the church – I called it the church not the catholic church delberiately I’m going to play into the debate on primacy. But they used and thought pure latin extensively well after the romans were gone and yes the catholic church still uses for internal important communication.

            There are two meanings for interesting in French the financial one you mentioned, and one which is exactly like English –

            B. − Qui mérite, suscite l’intérêt, l’attention.
            1. Qui éveille la curiosité, l’attention de l’esprit


            The verbs meanings are the same as English.


            And the forms and meanings are the same in Spanish and Portuguese too interes(s)ar / interesante.

            My dictionaries are clear on the word fact its meaning and its origin. I don’t know what is going on with the oxford dictionary.

            As for these ‘common’ words having different meanings, no – 90 percent don’t, I find.

            ‘Pretender’ in Portuguese means to intend and to pretend is ‘fingir’ (more or less). That is one I can think off of the top of my head. It is an exception. There can be cultural values attached to comments styles of speech or writing or obcelesence of words but the very vast majority are the same, I find.

    • steviefinn January 10, 2013 at 10:57 pm #

      Big brother meets Brave New World -I would suggest that the same people are responsible for the efforts to control both us & their loot, maybe they should just put prozac in the water & there will be even more people who don’t give a damn who can then be propped up in front of the TV. The old Etonians prefer more traditional methods, they have the paras ready to unleash on rebellious plebs.

      I would imagine being a trader would be a popular career choice for obvious reasons, status, rewards etc, whereas being an Appalachian coal miner might well be out of necessity, due to living in a very depressed area. In both cases these people are only tools used to extract rather than create by the Corporations who employ them. Trader, no way, as for the miner, personally – I would prefer to be holed up somewhere dealing in certain exotic local produces.

      No passion, no point.

      • Debra January 11, 2013 at 9:15 am #

        An answer to you, Stevie Finn on this one, in the form of a story :

        Five years ago I was back in the U.S. of A. for what was perhaps my last foot setting on mother soil, and already suffering from a form of nausea that I now conclude is a symptom of decadence, (not mine, the civilization’s). I took a trip to the Smithsonian Zoo, in Washington D.C.
        In front of the lion’s enclosure there was this sign :

        You may think that our lions are unhappy here (in a space 20 times larger than what the average death row prisoner disposes of for a period attaining 50 years, perhaps, with life in prison without possibility of parole, me speaking here…) but where would you rather be : in a nice, safe enclosure, with din din waiting for you every night, the veto to take care of you in case you might hurt yourself, a nice.. ball to play with to keep you occupied, OR.. out there in the wild, where you never know if you’re going to find your next meal, where, if you get hurt, you can even die… ?

        Mea culpa, this is not a verbatim quote, but the gist of it is there.
        Do you really think, Stevie Finn, that our so called slave masters were at work behind this sign ?
        Not me. Not at all.
        The sign is an excellent example of an advanced case of.. voluntary servitude.
        For info, when I came back to France and described this sign to several colleagues, nobody even blinked an eye. My American brother didn’t blink an eye either.
        Advanced voluntary servitude.
        Even my Grandma would have blinked her eye at this one…
        I happen to believe that “one” confiscates from you what you have already given up. In most cases.
        The problem is that we have been collectively so busy making money, and trying to translate all human activity into money making enterprises, under the mistaken idea that we would make ourselves “free”, our OWN masters this way (work=money is a 16th century.. utopia) that we have sold ourselves down the river…
        Back to the drawing board, as I say.

        • steviefinn January 11, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

          I suppose one problem with looking back at previous centuries would be that for the most part being poor then would have been horrendous, probably Mumbai level today or worse. 19th century London would have been pure hell to live in for those at the bottom, I recently watched a programme which was a forensic study of a 4′ 7″ tall woman who died at around about aged 20, from pneumonia. She suffered from tertiary syphilis & very probably was a prostitute & could have been infected at approx. aged 10.

          She lived around the time Henry Mayhew wrote his articles featuring statements made by the London poor & judging by these she would have been illiterate & had very little understanding of the world. I am sure she & millions like her would consider our lives to be heavenly & would gladly throw away the key.

          Perhaps it’s all about the size of the cage & what is inside it, because after all, are we not all in fact stuck in our own cages ? & that freedom is largely an illusion anyway, & money & power are just tools to improve our surroundings, but ironically the more powerful these tools, the more of a slave one becomes. Those at the top seem to me to be those that are most enslaved in their palatial spaces & therefore have the most at stake in keeping the status quo intact.

          I think I would opt for the Serengeti rather than a life of boredom, servility & sameness, but I am not a lion & have had to consider the welfare of dependants, else I would probably have spent most of my time covered in clay, marching around & spending a lot of time in a tent. These things need to be undertaken by young lions who have no prides that depend on them, I unfortunately can only waffle at this present point in time,

          I do not know what the answer is, I just do not want my descendants or anyone else for that matter to be forced into living like Elizabeth Mitchell had to.

          • Debra January 13, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

            I like your answer, Stevie Finn.
            It would be wise of us, perhaps, to consider all that we have… lost in the course of civilization.
            While I was at the zoo, I watched the… animals on both sides of the cages.
            From an ethological perspective, it was as fascinating watching the ever nibbling bipeds, popping up in front of the cages to zap a photo, then running off to the next cage, as it was to watch the sometimes more.. dignified quadrupeds chewing their cud ?
            These days, I feel the bars of the cage coming closer and closer.
            Not… good.
            Certainly, the cage has always been there in one form or another, but… the vital question is which form it takes, and whether you can stomach it or not without losing the desire to live.

  89. Roger January 10, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

    Hi Debra,
    The connection between taxation and Government spending may seem intuitive sadly though it is like the intuitive impression most have about banks lending out deposits from customers it is actually a false assumption. If the assumptions were in fact correct then actually Governments and Banks would be more accountable, they are not and this suits both just fine I think.
    The ideas we have about work in a post industrial society require a radical overhaul the much vaunted Leisure Society I was told at school in the 70’s I could look forward too seems to have been forgotten, maybe less stressed creative people think too much and ask too many questions causing discomfort for those who wish to govern.(Hence the newly invented Yoke of debt for the 21st Century)
    I have been watching a 2 hour discussion this morning from MIT on artificial intelligence. Noam Chomsky offers some great insights into the difficulty in emulating the thought processes in Language with artificial intelligence it seems that Language may primarily be designed ( evolved ) as a tool for thought and not external communication. ( well worth a couple of hours.)


    Speaking of Ghosts in the Machine, I keep returning to Ken Mc Cullens Ghost Dance.


    The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday–but never jam to-day.’
    ‘It MUST come sometimes to “jam to-day,”‘ Alice objected.
    ‘No, it can’t,’ said the Queen. ‘It’s jam every OTHER day: to-day isn’t any OTHER day, you know.’
    ‘I don’t understand you,’ said Alice. ‘It’s dreadfully confusing!’
    ‘That’s the effect of living backwards,’ the Queen said kindly: ‘it always makes one a little giddy at first–‘
    ‘Living backwards!’ Alice repeated in great astonishment. ‘I never heard of such a thing!’
    ‘–but there’s one great advantage in it, that one’s memory works both ways.’
    ‘I’m sure MINE only works one way,’ Alice remarked. ‘I can’t remember things before they happen.’
    ‘It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,’ the Queen remarked.

    (Alice in Pragmaticland )
    It is this function of the words today, yesterday and tomorrow that the Queen seems to be ignoring in her exchange with Alice. This point is also made by many owners of shops, bars and restaurants, who have notes put up in their establishments saying that credit is always granted yesterday and tomorrow, but never today.

    An old friend used to quipp to me that a Bank will only lend you an umberella when its not raining welcome to the new Biblical deluge.

    In answer to your question would I rather work as a Miner in Industry or as something else my choice would be the one I could undertake as a free man how ever hard the work I would take that over slavery any day.

    • Debra January 13, 2013 at 9:39 pm #

      We have brainwashed ourselves over the slavery issue, Roger.
      There is an…. art to feeling ? being ? free.
      If, as a civilization we had not dumbly imagined that we could trade off wisdom for knowledge, and come out ahead, more of us would know this.

      • Roger January 14, 2013 at 4:35 am #

        Hi Debra,

        We? The we here is ambiguous are you referring to you and I, a wider group or everybody without exception. Have we or they done it ( the brainwashing)all by our or their selves?

        What is the ´´Slavery Issue´´Freedom for me simply means the ability to make informed choices and for the choices to be openly available to all. How as humans we filter and rationalise things is a fact of our humanness as machine. What I object to is having the filtering and rationalising manipulated so as to cause the potential for false conclusions against my real best interests.

        I was reading some I and Thou stuff the other day, I have been doing some reading on Artificial Intelligence. Hegel’s master Slave Dialectic is of course interesting here too. We can allow ourselves to be enslaved by our use of language. Rather than Wisdom being abandoned in the pursuit of brute knowledge. I rather think that tools have been made our masters and Tails have started wagging dogs, its all a little topsy turvy for my own sensibiliities,

        Is wisdom the application of Knowledge in context with virtuous motivation?Thats what I would say it is

  90. JayD January 10, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

    Debra, surely the willingness/happiness to pay taxes would depend on the vision of those spending them. The lack of belonging/connectedness to the whole felt by individuals is in my opinion central to all our current ills.

    • Phil January 11, 2013 at 12:43 am #

      I’ve always found that the ‘taxes are wasted’ argument to be one which is used by people are simply selfish and wish to have all the advantages of living in a modern nation without paying for them. I invite them to live for a year in South America, Africa or South Asia and then get back to me.

      • JayD January 11, 2013 at 10:49 am #

        Well in this instance you would find that you were wrong!

        • Phil (Mcr) January 14, 2013 at 2:01 am #

          Would you care to explain why that is the case?

          • JayD January 15, 2013 at 12:05 am #

            No, not really I just know myself quite well…….as a general point though might I suggest that it is the very same status quo supporting structures to which it seems you would recommend paying ones taxes to that have also seen to the wholesale theft/relocation of wealth/resources from the countries/continents that you suggest living in!

            ‘I’m a British subject and proud of it,while I carry the burden of shame’ (UB40)

          • Phil (Mcr) January 15, 2013 at 6:39 pm #

            ”No, not really I just know myself quite well”

            In other words, ”I’m right and you’re wrong.”

            So, as I explained further down the comments page, your guilt- ridden starve-the-beast argument seems to rest on the notion that withdrawing your taxes will bring the whole imperial edifice down. Really? And there was me thinking it would simply denude the State of all its useful functions and leave in place the coercive ones which will NEVER be removed unless there is a revolution (don’t hold your breath).

            This is the Hard Right wet dream. No public services, no social security, only the protection of private property through the courts, police and military.

            I’ve heard some drivel over the last four years but this one is up there with the most memorable. A ”left winger”, an Anarchist once advocated the same thing to me once, about how he avoided all the taxes he could etc. because, ”you know, they only spend it on wars”.

            This was as he left the GP surgery with an NHS prescription on his way to pick his kids up from school.

            I despise him.

  91. Diogenis January 11, 2013 at 12:27 pm #


    So if you know that your gouvernment takes your money to give it to the most wealthy part of your society while the rest 99% of the society gets less everyday/nothing back you still think paying taxes is a good idea?

    Not paying taxes to criminals and corrupt,insane idiots IS an act of resistance.Because IF you put all your money to protect your family (building your own house,buying land to grow your own food,installing solar systems to become more energy-independent) you really build up a more justice society because most people are free of fear.

    Now you will say that my words are “insane” and only proove why for example the PIIGS and specially greece are in deep shit.But I will answer you that the PIIGS are on the streets.And they are on the streets because they don´t feel fear.They don´t feel fear because they know that even in the worst case they will not sleep on the streets and they don´t feel hungry because they can depend on their own,their family,relatives and their friends.I honestly believe that this is the main reason for the hate in the media against us.
    Living in your own house,growing your own food,solidarity of family and friends..well this sound like we are the nightmare of every neoliberal arsehole..what do you say?

    So..paying taxes under all circumstances,knowing that you will feed a corrupt,insane and unjustice system which makes the wealthiest richer and the poor ones poorer is the worst idea.Right now,after two decades of an insane neoliberalism also in the developed world the 1% has everything and the 99% almost nothing but a last piece of bread.And the 1% is now even behind this last piece of bread.They want to make you feel bad because you don´t want to give them this last piece of bread and because you are not happy to die a “shamefull death” of the lazy,ungracefull poor who is poor because he is not clever/fit for survival like the 1% This is what the media every where tells us.Day by day.In TV,world wide web and magazins.The 1% deserves what they have and everyone should strive to become part of the 1% If you can´t you are worth shit and only deserve to live a live in poverty and shame.

    Maybe you should understand that our political and economic leaderships are nothing more than psychopatic loonies.With every single day that passes and we don´t put them into jail the more havoc they will cause.

    • Joe R January 11, 2013 at 8:16 pm #

      ah…my earlier argument Q.E.D. ‘d I think.

      ( Q.E.D. is Latin isn’t it? quod erat demonstrandum – and in Greek it is hóper édei deîxai or ὅπερ ἔδει δεῖξαι apparently )

      I can retire a happy man!

    • Phil (Mcr) January 14, 2013 at 2:11 am #

      ”Not paying taxes to criminals and corrupt,insane idiots IS an act of resistance.”

      No, I would say you are doing their dirty work for them. As the tax base shrinks so public services are cut, like my Grandmother’s day care centre. Like 200 libraries being closed in 2012 alone. Like ‘rationalisation’ of the NHS becoming privatisation of the NHS. Like tuition fees being put up to 9k a year.

      What does the 2020 Conservative policy agenda look like? FLAT RATE taxes – designed in other words to make public services unsustainable.

      Who do you think is going to pay the pensions and unemployment benefit? And what do you think such a collapse would do to demand in local economies if such social security became impossible? The death spiral would continue.

      David, do we have a new strain of Libertarianism on this blog? One which seeks to ‘starve the beast’ by some other, nefarious notion of ‘survivalism / resistance’?

      • JayD January 15, 2013 at 12:19 am #

        Left?, Right?……. or maybe some new model! (Maybe the beast could be starved by some nefarious notion of co-operativism)

      • JayD January 15, 2013 at 11:36 pm #

        Phil in response to your reply on 15th, in that exchange could you point out where it was that I suggested not paying my taxes and how it is that you, rather than I, would know how selfish I am? My comment on the 10th was simply meant to allude to the alienation that I feel many individuals now feel from the whole (society).Furthermore I would hazard a guess that the creation of the original Welfare state, NHS was possible because this same sense of alienation did not exist,to such an extent, and that individuals had a much greater sense of ownership and belonging to the whole……Society of the Spectacle!!

  92. Roger January 13, 2013 at 7:35 pm #

    Very Nice Blog here, with a very funny piece linked to in the Mike Norman Blog which I found today too,

    Strangely I found it whilst doing a bit of Climate Change reading http://joannenova.com.au/2010/06/two-dismal-sciences/
    The Skeptics Handbook to Climate Change was written by Jo Nova and Bob Carter , who I have a lot of time for mentioned here in a radio Interview I listened to with him so I thought I’d have a little read.
    Anyway back to my guitar I think.

    • Mike Hall January 14, 2013 at 4:12 pm #

      Peter Cooper aka ‘heteconomist’ has quite an interesting blog (uses an MMT perspective).

      Jo Nova is pure cr@p. To somehow equate the economics mess with climate science is laughable. For a start, the direction of corruption power is completely +opposite+.

      • Roger January 14, 2013 at 4:47 pm #

        Yes Mike I wasn’t taken with Jo Nova at all, the overlap between the Gold Bug and MMT crowd is in evidence around the place two nations seperated by a common language ( almost). I often find the analysis identical the solutions proposed of course, as you know, couldn’t be much more different, even with considerable effort( when ever I read Mish Shedlock I always feel the same way.

        Actually it was Bob Carter who mentioned Jo Nova and I do have a lot of time for him ( he did advise caution regarding her motivation and funding but said her booklet was quite good ( I don’t know I haven’t looked at it, the money stuff I felt offered a very interesting perspective on the ultra Right libertarian perspective which I fear as much as the current crowd in all honesty).
        I am what might be called something of a tree hugger myself and I must say there are rather a lot of environmental issues that get me rather more worked up than CO2. I think the political interest in it is actually financial and not environmental and from the perspective of comodifying it. I linked a piece on the economista blog some time ago on the theory that this was the reason the politicos and MSM were so keen on focusing AGW.


        I watched an interview earlier George Monbiot and Pilmer


        Strangely my interest in Climate, money( economic) and Sound( Guitars and amplifiers) modeling/forecasting led me to my interest in probabilistic forecasting and various abuses of and claims about the uses for ,usefulness of and danger of selection bias in, predictive modeling of non linear phenomena.( Taleb and Chomsky are both very good on this subject, without some philosophy of mind the tools become way over rated in the wrong hands I’m afraid.)

        My assesment of the Pilmer Monbiot debate, Monbiot comes off as something of and Alex Jones only a slight stylistic difference to the recent Piers Morgen witch hunt, did you see the Dershowitz follow up, both displays and all parties actually made me want to puke.

        I liked Peter Coopers stuff very much I hope he gets some wider exposure he seems very on top of his thinking and his blog is very clear too.

        • Roger January 14, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

          Just as an addendum, the Carbon currency article is from a pretty alarming source in lots of respects from my own perspective that said I think it s a perfectly plausible perspective on the issue of the usefulness of Carbon trading to those who wish to perpetuate the money from thin air status quo without explaining it to the masses. You sure do have to kiss a lot of frogs these days to find the princes.

        • Mike Hall January 14, 2013 at 8:05 pm #

          Well, I think the Austrians & MMT are much further apart than you suggest & I’ve never found an Austrian ‘solution’ that is remotely coherent. Even worse is that Austrians couldn’t give a sh1t about unemployment, or much else really beside themselves.

          Austrians do seem to have something in common tho’ with climate change deniers. That is their strategy in public fora or media to rehash the totality of the argument from ‘micro’ foundations, trying to pretend they have some understanding or qualification in the subject they clearly don’t.

          But I think there’s a deliberate strategy – precisely the one adopted by Big Tobacco executives 50 years ago – ‘…just sow the seeds of doubt…’.

          History has proved just how effective this is.

          I find it really interesting that right from the publishing of ‘Roads to Serfdom’ in 1944, Hayek had a very clear marketing or ‘PR’ strategy to promote his ideas – think tanks, thousands of them. Kind of like a viral marketing campaign aimed at influential business & corporate interests.

          Have to wonder if he he knew Bernays personally as a fellow Autsrian? Bet he knew Bernays’ books & certainly there was a lot of overlapping interests from the business elites.

          Anyhow, whilst I (& many of us) can follow the logic of macro economics, I’m not a climate scientist. I don’t see the money pathways from business to the science, nor the organisational structure to keep all the scientists in agreement & on-message in some ‘conspiracy’ to defraud. (Laughably, merely to keep their jobs going – as if people at that level couldn’t get well paid work otherwise!). I think this has to be the real tinfoil hat brigade that go for this nonsense.

          So, I accept the IPCC science & conclusions – and the weather trends seems to be obliging by making their climate predictions even appear conservative (which is both what the scientists say & what I’d expect of them).

          I think when one takes the view that wealthy elite interests dominate by far most governments, ‘reality’ – including such fraudulent scams as emissions trading (ETS) etc. – becomes quite logical & understandable. (Naturally, not much like the MSM would have us believe.)

          • Roger January 14, 2013 at 9:49 pm #

            I am actually a big fan of Austrian Analysis of the system as it is and their criticisms of it I just don’t go for their solutions and the whole gold thing and their Real Free Market mythologies.

            On Climate all the things you ascribe to the ´´Deniers´as you call them can equally be leveled at the Evangelists or inquisitors.

            Economics models without Money and Climate models without the Sun ? I do agree with the Dismal science moniker.

            Langauge like Deniers and Flat earthers is what set me off on actually reading quite deeply into the subject Mike. That sort of rhetoric doesn’t belong in a serious academic debate and smacks of elitism and intellectual snobbery and all that is bad with the trust me I’m an expert brigade.

            Whilst we undoubtedly have a problem with unsustainability, waste and indeed vulnerability to Climate Change I can’t but help but think we are like so many King Kanutes and grasping at straws to satisfy out own mythology regarding mastery of Nature as opposed to really getting polluters to pay and desist. CO2 is certainly not the only Externality we should be considering and there are indeed more urgent ones like Shale sands exploitation and further dispossession of indigenous people in Canada again to go and wreak the environmental damage on top of the destruction of communities?
            Dismissing critique of the theories and models in Climate science as Conspiracy theory and tin foil hatism is right out of the central casting big brother play book. A look at some of the articles on Wikipedia in the talk pages will show you how far from a sensible scientific enquiry the whole field has got too and the IPCC are not without some responsibility for allowing that climate to evolve.

          • Mike Hall January 15, 2013 at 7:48 pm #


            “…A look at some of the articles on Wikipedia in the talk pages will show you how far from a sensible scientific enquiry the whole field has got to…”

            Come on now, you are not seriously suggesting there’s real climate science investigation there are you?

            Economics is demonstrably not ‘science’ in the same way as climate is.

            To make the denial claims, you have to make the assertion that the whole peer review system for climate science is seriously corrupted. As it also straddles quite a few disciplines, you also have to make similar claims to their peer review processes there too. Then you have to come up with a decent motive. (‘Money’ is laughable.)

            I spent some time (years) reading the articles and comments (extending to hundreds) at realclimate.org (Michael Mann etc).

            To the limit of my knowledge (I have a BSc in Biomedical Electronics) I didn’t see any challengers even get close to challenging the experts – and plenty tried.

            Sorry Roger, but if you don’t have some post grad in a relevant science field, then your ‘reading around’ on climate science offers zero credibility to me.

            The deniers have been backed by some very substantial sums of money over the years, with a very clear strategy aimed not at science but public opinion.

            I suppose you do realise what the stakes are if humanity continues on the present path – doing nothing – if you and others are wrong in dismissing an entire field of science as suffering mass delusion or corruption or both?

            That’s some gamble, perhaps some arrogance too, especially as there’s other compelling reasons to take action too – as in fossil fuel resources and environmental damage of ever more difficult extraction.

          • Roger January 17, 2013 at 9:12 pm #

            Hi Mike,

            There has over the past few weeks been quite a lot of revised alarmism on the Climate thing.
            This blog is I think a balanced assessment of what is and isn’t happening or possibly going to happen.


            I have been reading this site for the past few days as well and recommend it quite highly


            I do think there are a whole ton of environmental problems and they are tied up intimately with the same Economic and inequality issues that people distort what the best current set of answers
            would be is in little doubt take this guy for instance.


            FROM that law of nature by which we are obliged to transfer to another such rights as, being retained, hinder the peace of mankind, there followeth a third; which is this: that men perform their covenants made; without which covenants are in vain, and but empty words; and the right of all men to all things remaining, we are still in the condition of war. And in this law of nature consisteth the fountain and original of justice. For where no covenant hath preceded, there hath no right been transferred, and every man has right to everything and consequently, no action can be unjust. But when a covenant is made, then to break it is unjust and the definition of injustice is no other than the not performance of covenant. And whatsoever is not unjust is just Leviathan, chapter XV

            The debate I think is masking the real problem and will be used to usher in a financial system that leaves us all frying in the final analysis one way or another but it will not be the CO2 that did it.

  93. Debra January 13, 2013 at 9:51 pm #

    As an answer to somebody earlier who asked me where I hung out (I used to blog write, but right now, after the considerable time I have spent carefully picking my words, and even researching my answers (no, no links…) I understand why I desperately try to limit my blog activity, and have given up writing (besides occasionally getting kicked off for having some very unpopular opinions, and playing the indispensable part of devil’s advocate), I hang out occasionally at Unqualified Reservations, in keeping with my.. conviction that most of our problems are the result of the tyranny of the majority, and not a shadowy elite that wants to subdue us, and turn us all into slaves/poor people. And I hang out with Toby, on “Econosophy and other Musings” (which links here) where way back when, I wrote some individual pieces that attempted to see our globalized problems/ideology from the bottom up, and not the top down. And celebrated the joy of living a reclusive (and unemployed…) life. That’s all folks, for now.

    • Mike Hall January 14, 2013 at 4:23 pm #


      “…..in keeping with my.. conviction that most of our problems are the result of the tyranny of the majority, and not a shadowy elite that wants to subdue us, and turn us all into slaves/poor people….”

      Thanks for your frankness there (albeit after reams of other guff).

      Do please develop this thesis for us. What’s the +precise+ mechanism of this ‘tyranny’ whereby the ‘majority’ have given us these ‘problems’?

      Do also tell us how this ‘tyranny’ may stopped?

  94. Debra January 14, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

    Well, Mike Hall, I had a little spiritual experience about three or four years ago.
    One day I woke up in a state of shock, and realized that I was flushing away my shit in drinking quality water, and suddenly it hit me that that act was… blasphemous.
    It hit me that OUR civilization (that is the big “we”, there, the most inclusive we, for the members of Western civilization, and when you see flush toilets all over the planet, you have to start asking yourself some questions. Flush toilets in depressingly uniform airports…), us, in other words, we are intent on fouling our nests. We really don’t give a shit…
    We are the majority. As individual little atoms, we are the majority. And now, the mass…
    And every time we flush the toilet, we are participating in this nasty business that would have mystified our ancestors (I hope so, at least.).
    So, I started hauling used water from my shower to flush my toilet.
    And I started doing other things, as an individual, to allow me to feel powerful in my daily life.
    And magically, I started feeling much freer, by the way.
    I believe that this tyranny will stop when we start noticing how much power we really have, individually, and stop whining so much. Nothing like whining to make you feel like a victim, and to reinforce feeling like a victim, too.
    The tyranny of the majority has taken on exponential proportions through the numerous institutions that are constantly taking our temperature : the polls (sondage in French), the customer satisfaction sheets. “Voting” for anything and everything, and not just in the voting booths. The mega billion dollar publicity industry. All amplified by the possibilities of modern technology.
    The media has its nose to the ground to sniff out what we want to hear, Mike Hall.
    And you will grant me that we definitely want to hear about security. To make us feel safer. We are cringeing in our nighties. Domesticated to death, I say sometimes.
    You wouldn’t happen to be one of those people who dances in order to reach the other side of the room and steps on his partner’s feet in the rush to get there, would you ?
    I hope not…

    • Joe R January 14, 2013 at 9:14 pm #


      • Joe R January 15, 2013 at 2:08 pm #

        Can I recommend a book for you Debra based on your ‘road to damacus’ toilet moment –

        ‘Easy Eco Auditing’ by Donnachadh McCarthy.

        Its very practical and very informative. Not 100% correct but a really good book.

    • JayD January 15, 2013 at 12:29 am #

      Debra,( and I say this as somebody who has dug a lot of holes in a lot of woods, because you really wouldn’t crap in a stream!) were you equally sure that you were right about things in your previous life,before that is, you found you were wrong?

      • Debra January 15, 2013 at 10:23 am #

        Lol, Jay D.
        I DID say that with time, I know I have become an irritating person. As part of growing older. But I do not think that I have all the answers… just the ones that, at this time, allow me to get through the day while the city is swallowing up my little suburban town/garden, without taking a long, long swim in our local polluted river.
        Besides, the point is not knowing the answers, I believe. It is doing what I feel comfortable with doing, and knowing that.. I do not, and will not have the answers, or “know the truth” (which I don’t believe in, at least not in the singular).
        I spent mucho tiempo, and mucho dinero in the past, whining on a psychoanalyst’s couch.. After all, why not whine… but with class ? style ? gusto ? Spend some time looking up the luscious verbs, particularly, that will make it sound good ? And I believe that whining makes us feel even more impotent. We don’t just whine because we feel impotent, we magnify our impotence through whining. Paradoxal. And.. the “poor”, the ones who are really down and out, Roger, are NOT whining. The middle class(es) are whining. They have been whining… since before the French Revolution. Revolting.
        I think I said on another blog that the bourgeoisie is not a class, it is an ideology. The people who we call “elites” are not aristocrats. To see what remains of the aristocratic way of being in the world, Roger, check out Stephen Frear’s film “The Queen”, and look hard at the British royal family, one of the last vestiges of the aristocracy (in the film, at least). The 1% are middle class bourgeois mascarading as aristocrats, (like my Daddy ?). They don’t have a clue.
        But we brought this state of affairs upon ourselves, Roger (and the fathers have eaten sour grapes, and their sons’ teeth are rotten..), with our own best intentions. For our own.. good.
        Who’s to blame if ALL feel entitled to a piece of the pie right now, and each and every.. one is fidgeting to get in line to get the biggest one, moreover ? Not one person, or group, I believe… not… 1% either.
        On toilets, and grey water, etc, because this answer is for several people, I actually enjoy being the person to do my work, and not.. outsourcing it to somebody who will do it for me, through.. the system. Or to a machine, intended to make my life easier. And the wiki article really did mention that greywater could be treated in order to make it clean enough to flush our toilets with… really, really, read closely enough, and that appears. (Would a 1970’s written on paper encyclopedia have let slip this little gem ? I doubt it.)
        i don’t think I know everything in this world, but… WE definitely believe that we do/will know everything. It is an intimate, unacknowledged conviction of the dominant, PROGRESSive ideology. Collective hubris.. ugh.
        After having been raised with a silver spoon in my mouth, it is fun to apply my neurons to figuring out the material problems of my daily life. It is… work. Not work for money, but work, nonetheless.

        • Mike Hall January 15, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

          Well, it’s as I suspected, not much of a thesis there.

          Sorry Debra, but just because you are ignorant of who the decision makers are & what they do doesn’t mean they don’t exist or are incompetent.

          It is absolutely not a requirement for the top few percent of ‘useful idiots’, gatekeepers etc. to be any less ignorant than you (or your father?). In fact among most politicians & media presenters such ignorance of the true reality is an advantage. So long as this group are sufficiently well insulated, by remuneration etc. & display no worrying curiosity, all is well for their real masters (who are probably much less than 0.001%).

          I strongly suggest you download & watch Adam Curtis’ four part BBC documentary on Edward Bernays – ‘Century of the Self’ from archive.org (or other sites).

          I think you’ll find it very interesting on a personal level too.

          I don’t mean to beat up on you Debra, but I really do wonder what you are doing here, making the kind of statements you make dismissive of much of the content of the articles here as regards causality & responsibility for the financial crisis & recessions.

          Seems to me like you’re looking for something, floundering about. Nothing ‘wrong’ with that – spent a lot years in the wilderness myself. But I suspect you aren’t helping yourself much just now. I hope you can find some better direction.

          • JayD January 15, 2013 at 11:17 pm #

            Mike, has Debra claimed that these people don’t exist? My reading of her take on things was simply that ‘we’ ( a dangerous word in this context) need to accept degrees of responsibility/ownership of our current predicament. Whether it’s buying your council house, shares in British Gas etc, I.S.A. anybody? there are the policy makers and there are the policy takers (us…again dangerous). The ‘Loads’a money’ generation (Thatcher’s children ) particularly should examine there consciences here!

        • Roger January 15, 2013 at 6:51 pm #

          Debra, I am a recovering Plutocrat myself, no need to introduce the bourgeoisie to me. I know that from my own experience of the gilded cage one always convinces oneself that ones income is only middling and others are always much better off. Romneys stab at what average incomes in America was a recent case in point I think he guessed around 200k and its something less than 40k ( Ball Park) can’t be bothered to look up exact figures.
          My point, we naturally put ourself in the centre of our own experience thats where it comes from. Cornel Wests observation that its Bob Marley and the Wailers and not the whiners is a good one I think. And I suspect there are lots of people in Mali less troubled by islamists than they are by exploitative corporations Msr Hollande should be up in front of the Hague like the rest of them.
          I am actually quite a big fan of the Queens and Prince Charles as it happens, I have much less truck with the Aristocracy than I do with the City of London.I do not like Prince Philip but its not that he is Greek that I dislike its his side in the Great Game ( alluded to by Prince Andrew) who shares his fathers views. Charles is an altogether sounder type. Hunting Shooting and Fishing does teach one something about life Debra that townies with all their Sophistication just don’t get.

        • StevieFinn January 15, 2013 at 8:18 pm #


          Personally I am glad you are here, your commentary on your troubles & how you see the world is thought provoking. You seem to be trying to find your place in the world, to live an examined life in a time that seems to be the twilight of a period that will see the end of probably the biggest get rich scheme ever devised. A kind of pyramid scheme in which those at the top screw the suckers harder the lower they are down the scale.

          I think you have a point in regards to the nouveau riche wannabies, I have seen enough of people during the boom to know that greed is not the sole preservation of those sitting at the top table. I think the problem is not so much who is to blame, but the fact that their behaviour is looked on as being somehow luadable within a materialistic philosophy & those who have committed the biggest frauds & financial crimes are being allowed to get off scot free. This has removed the moral hazard in pretty much the same way as it was removed when the banks were bailed out with public money, meaning those at the top can rob, commit fraud & go bust at no risk to themselves.

          They have no incentive to act in a manner that is sustainable for us or the planet & due to their sheer monumental hubris & the fact that the system has not been changed, they will eventually push us over the edge. The greedy clowns I knew personally & I would imagine many others like them have lost everything in their bid to become high rollers. The only difference it seems to me between the latter & the former is one of them cannot afford to buy governments & the media.

          The people who will or could destroy us as a failed evolutionary experiment are those who think they are untouchable, think they always know best, think they are never wrong, have no empathy, consider themselves superior to other lesser mortals or races, can never get enough, thrive on power, & believe in simplistic solutions & bad science.

          These creatures are everywhere, it’s just that the really dangerous, clever ones are those at the top, & it is they that have the power to destroy us. We need a reset & a change in philosophy that could well start from toilet water. If you havn’t seen it, watch Mike’s suggestion it explains a lot in terms of how we have got to this point. Some of it echoes points made by David in an earlier documentary of his.

          Good luck.


          • Roger January 16, 2013 at 7:14 am #

            Here here Stevie, And also looking forward to Davids next piece.
            I whizz over to Tobyś Bog Econosophy where Debra and Toby have some amazing discussions which have enriched my understanding of philosophy , philosophy of mind and other ways of doing things (Guaranteed income for instance).
            I really enjoy Debras insights here too I always celebrate straight talking and calling it as you see it, I do not know of any other way to bring out all view points and aspects of any subject that does not get enriched by that approach.

        • JayD January 15, 2013 at 10:50 pm #

          In relation to the part responding to my comment…….fair enough Debra,thanks!

    • Roger January 15, 2013 at 8:04 am #

      Just on whining Debra. I don’t see it as a ´Man Flu´ issue . I listened to a Cornel West interview a month or two back and he mentioned the Whining accusation against various critics of the American system and the condition of Balck and other poor groups there ( these groups are growing there and here in Europe and of course the developing ( hate that term) is a disgracefull indictment of the extractive pilfering ways of the western money system. Cornell reminded his interviewer that there is a difference between wailing and whining, its Bob Marley and the wailers not Bob Marley and the whiners.



      BASHIR: Do you heed what he said? Stop complaining?

      WEST: Well, let me put it this way. There is a genius named Bob Marley who named his group the Wailers. There’s a qualitative difference between wailing and whining. Wailing is a cry for help against a backdrop of catastrophe. That’s what Wall Street had. They cried for help, they got $700 billion dollars. Working people cry for help, poor people cry for help, they get very little. Whining is a cry of self-pity associated with a sentimental disposition. Wall Street whines when it’s doing very well but they want more from the President. You see what I mean? The well-to-do groups whine when they have wealth privilege but want more from the President. Can you imagine Brother Barack Obama going to the Business Roundtable and saying stop grumbling, stop complaining, stop whining, stop crying? Never. What did he say to them? He said, I’m going to deliver for you. He said I’m sorry, I should of brought you a cake.

      We have got 42% of our black children living in poverty. 22% we talked about before living in poverty. They have a right to cry. They have a right to have a legitimate grievance, so I think the President ought to apologize, I think he ought to ask for our forgiveness.

  95. Patricia January 15, 2013 at 11:09 pm #

    Please Golem write another article.

    • 24K January 16, 2013 at 12:17 am #

      Pretty please G write another article.

  96. John Souter January 16, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

    Stop the pressure – David is a thinker not a columnist writing for a daily rag in order to fill requirements for daily inches of fee earning propaganda.

    To Debra – keep writing. Your thoughts are as relevant in their obsevation and interpretation of the cause and effect of the present crises as any other sentient commentator; and yes we do live in a world where many servants ride thoroughbreds (both equine and human) while prince’s wade through a toxic quagmire.

    To paraphrase the song (Brothers in Arms) – There are many different worlds: but (for most of us) we live in only one. That ‘One’ is our individual objective view of the world experience. The many different worlds are the ones we apply a subjective interpretation on, based often on shoddy or misrepresented reportage or plain misunderstanding then filed away dependent on the category and grade of interest they spark in the individual.

    Sadly the subjective has adopted the superior role in society. This is dangerous for a number of reasons, but the main one is its ability to be distorted to the point of corruption in order to feed all the negative human traits. Unfortunately, these corrupting traits have been captured, magnified then developed and monopolised by the few, then accelerated beyond the pace of evolution into a frenetic flume of avarice.

    This is not sustainable. Not for the few. Nor for the mesmerised many. On the plain and simple premise of evolution being a process not a bottom line target where the dictators of privilege can subsume the evolution of the many.

    The only power in this world holding this capability in its armoury is nature with its irrevocable landlordship over the Earth, and that’s is ultimately the Only One World where we are capable of being tenants; and where our security of tenure hangs on the thread of good behaviour, because the Earth couldn’t give a damn whether we survive as a species or not.

    That’s the ‘End Game’ and again it’s based on a simple premise of – By all means use but, not abuse.

    • Patricia January 17, 2013 at 12:02 am #

      Well, that puts us in our place 24K

      • 24K January 17, 2013 at 1:11 am #

        *Busts a chuckle*

        Sold the American dream. To ninjas and feinds.
        To big to fail, with stories of hell if you don’t let me feed.

        I’m a lord of misdirection. Gotta hide my infection.
        Dug up out the ground, shuffling around each and every nation.

        So please understand. You gotta give me a hand ’cause I’m a broken bank.

        People living on the street. Don’t save them save me.
        ’cause I couldn’t stand no bonus in hand.

        No options.

        No juicy fees.

        And I like my lifestyle. Plan on living it a while.
        Now my heart don’t beat, I got maggoty feet and my mouth is….

        Oh so vile.

        So you please understand. You gotta give me a hand ’cause….?
        That’s right. I’m a broken bank.

        In a mile of this nation. Zombie Corporation.
        Now I feel at ease with my disease, and my contamination.

        And I like my bluff style. Plan on living it a while.
        And if you make a fuss. Those boots will come crush your tent domicille.

        So please understand.

        You’re gonna give me a hand.


        ’cause I’m a broken bank.


        I’m a broken bank.

        Honey, I’m a broken bank.

        So tell me now why don’t you know that I’m a broke ass skank?

        Can we get back to banker bashing please? 😛


  97. Jesse January 16, 2013 at 4:36 pm #

    Time to get back in the saddle.

    Injustice and ignorance are abroad in the land.

  98. Debra January 16, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

    Thanks for the many nice comments that I have received on this blog about my observations. I appreciate them.
    Many people seem to feel that I am lost… while, to my mind, I am really as close to living in paradise as anybody can be, and I daily wake up thankful.. No… work. A life of leisure, of working within my home, with nobody telling me what to do, when to do it. No employer…and somebody else making the money. Whew. As close to the Garden as it gets.
    I don’t think that I am any more lost, basically than all of us naturally are, or… should feel ? if we were truly living our lives without some form of warm, fuzzy lifejacket twenty four hours a day.
    My mistake for many years lay in believing that the lifejacket/support system was really “normal” because we are trained to believe that the lifejacket is normal.
    In France, after WW2, one of the major axes of the welfare state was aptly named “social security”. Social SECURITY and not social solidarity, for example. That is pretty telling.

    Next to my home, we are revving up for a battle about one of the largest parks in the area, which is due to have some construction built on it.
    Think for a moment about something… way back there during that period that we have been indoctrinated to believe was evil, evil, evil, those long middle ages, there were large estates, owned by a very privileged few, and other estates where the monasteries were implanted. Elitism everywhere.
    Since the egalitarian steamroller has got under way, what has happened to those large estates ? They have been progressively chopped up into little and littler pieces to gratify the middle classes’ desire to be landowners.
    Why not, you say…
    The problem is, take a look at the countryside. How much of it is eaten up with suburbs, with each individual family on its little square of land, in his house, with his two cars, two children, etc (a caricature, certainly…)
    What happens to the animals in suburbia ? Yes, I know that urban foxes exist, but the idea that they are surviving on the remains of our fast food makes me want to gag.

    But crowding us all into the city is not an alternative either, I know…

    On “the bad guys”.
    Nobody here has yet commented on my references to J.K. Galbraith’s book “The New Industrial State”. Galbraith was an excellent, very cultivated political and economic scientist. He saw, in the 1960’s what many people on the blogs are just discovering. The Renaissance marks the rise of the modern industrial nation state.
    More technology means more.. money, which means more technology, etc. A never ending, growing, spiral.
    The industrial state has been around for a while, now, and is the symptom of a planned economy on a large scale. (Planned economies in a democracy ? I have heard that there were regular elections in the Roman empire.. what system did the Romans believe they were living under ?)
    In the industrial state, responsibility and power are diluted to the system, and flesh and blood people have much less power than we actually.. WANT to believe, because.. we want to believe that the bad guys are flesh and blood, and they have power. It makes us, in turn, feel human, and flesh and blood. Not dry and dusty abstractions like “liberty” “justice”, etc. And since, in our minds, there are flesh and blood bad guys, the terrifying anthill recedes. (Just as a test… if you had your pitchfork ready to go get that bad guy, where would you go ? Remember that lots of people got guillotined during the French Revolution, and there is really no way of knowing if “we” got the bad guys, and just the bad guys. Logic, indeed, induces me to say that the entire enterprise was a little arbitrary.)

    On the Internet… wouldn’t it be ironic if the day that we all got linked up all over the planet, in one vast humming anthill… the lights went out, because there would be no energy to keep the whole.. Babel ? towering ?
    It looks like that’s the way we’re going…

  99. Jamie_Griff January 16, 2013 at 8:02 pm #

    Bloody hell – it all kicked off round here over Christmas didn’t it?

    Watched my favourite film again over the holidays and was reminded of another set of gangsters on the make in Greece – see if you can guess who they are:

    “Now the guy’s got Paulie as a partner. Any problems, he goes to Paulie. Trouble with a bill, he can go to Paulie. Trouble with the cops, deliveries, Tommy, he can call Paulie. But now the guy’s got to come up with Paulie’s money every week. No matter what. Business bad? Fuck you, pay me. Oh, you had a fire? Fuck you, pay me. The place got hit by lightning, huh? Fuck you, pay me. Also, Paulie could do anything. Especially run up bills on the joint’s credit. And why not? Nobody’s gonna pay for it anyway. And as soon as the deliveries are made in the front door, you move the stuff out the back and sell it at a discount. You take a two hundred dollar case of booze and you sell it for a hundred. It doesn’t matter. It’s all profit. And then finally, when there’s nothing left, when you can’t borrow another buck from the bank or buy another case of booze, you bust the joint out. You light a match.”

    Keep on keepin’ on Golem.

  100. Roger January 17, 2013 at 7:52 am #

    A household budget photo posted to facebook led me to seek one small clarification.

    Why Governments should take their( our) Wallet Back from the Banks.

    The emo spoilt brat, trustafarian Bankers have stolen the Family wallet and Dad is in the Pawn shop pawning mums wedding ring to get some groceries for the weekend. The brat is off Skiing for the weekend on the largesse of Dads wallet of course.
    Solution, Take the wallet back tell the brat that they should earn their own money and save up for a skiing trip from their own money earned from their Saturday Job.


  101. Ann Lewis January 22, 2013 at 1:37 am #

    Wonderful to see such humility here David. No need to apologise but what would serve me well to do more often is to admit where I have been mistaken and openly rectify that. That’s enough, it’s honest, it’s brave and it’s the measure of a person. Well done and thank you. May you thrive in 2013.

  102. ballymichael February 13, 2013 at 2:45 pm #

    It’s pleasant to be mentioned above the line. I don’t actually think any apology is necessary. The original column outlined an alarming clause in a law, which does in fact do what it says it does. Reduce the Republic of Greece’s sovereignty, by waiving sovereign immunity with respect to loans from the EFSF. And the same would apply to ESM loans.

    I don’t actually think that these types of clauses are new. I greatly doubt that the IMF could claw back all its loans, over the decades, without such waivers of sovereign immunity.

    What is new, is that people talk about them. And it’s extremely good that they talk about them. Sometimes in a well-informed manner (and this blog is well-informed) . Sometimes less so.

    The bailout in Greece (like in other program countries) does impinge on the countries sovereignty. Any conceivable government in Greece is going to get pushed around by its creditors. But it’s better, I think, to intervene in a multilateral, treaty-bound manner.

    Because treaties are binding on all participants. That waiver of sovereign immunity applies to all parties to the EFSF

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