Archive for the ‘Political economy’ Category

Quote note (#334)

The Anglosphere re-emerges:

From U.S. President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” to Brexiteers’ “Global Britain” and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “Great rejuvenation of the Chinese people,” nostalgic nationalism has become a major force in politics around the world. Appeals to past national glories animate far-right populist movements in Europe, fueling Russian President Vladimir Putin’s expansionism in his neighborhood, and animating Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman ambitions. Such a world is prone to conflict. Yet nostalgia can still be consistent with some form of international cooperation, especially where culture, history, and values overlap. And in that context, the re-emergence of an Anglosphere — a long-held dream for many proud Britons — is no longer so far-fetched. …

Even the Brexit-phobic Economist is catching the Anglosphere flu.

Think Anglosphere, and the impending death of NATO (or “the West”) has an entirely different valency.

February 23, 2017admin 44 Comments »
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Slippage

Watch the whole of modern political confusion expose itself in a micro-tremor:

Locke’s commitment both to voluntary religion and voluntary, contractual government are mutually reinforcing. Just as people join and remain in religious communities by their consent, so they enter and sustain political communities. “Men being, as has been said, by Nature all free, equal, and independent,” Locke writes in the Second Treatise, “no one can be put out of this estate and subjected to the political power of another without his own consent.” If the members of a faith community believe their church is failing to uphold its spiritual responsibilities, they have a right to leave — without fear of reprisal. Likewise for a political society: If its members believe the political authority is failing to safeguard their natural rights — their “lives, liberty, and estates” — it forfeits the right to govern.

(XS emphasis.)

“Likewise”? Yet one leaves a church, but replaces a government. The fall from liberty into democracy takes only a single false step. With a little more consistency, the case for Exit-based control of government would have been solidly made centuries ago (intrinsically secure against all Rousseauistic perversion). Still, it’s not too late to do that now.

February 16, 2017admin 36 Comments »
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Post-Democratic Politics

Apparently we’re already in the next phase:

To call Trumpism fascist is to suggest that it demands from us a unique response. We can deploy the “fascism” moniker to Trump’s ascendance by recognizing features like selective populism, nationalism, racism, traditionalism, the deployment of Newspeak and disregard for reasoned debate. The reason we should use the term is because, taken together, these aspects of Trumpism are not well combated or contained by standard liberal appeals to reason. It is constitutive of its fascism that it demands a different sort of opposition.

I doubt whether they’ve thought this through, but don’t let that get in the way of progress.

January 22, 2017admin 38 Comments »
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Days of Rage

An instant Twitter-format classic, by David Hines, on the Leftist political violence to come. Storified here.

Among the critical points:

Righties tell themselves that *of course* they’d win a war against Lefties. Tactical Deathbeast vs. Pajama Boy? No contest. … Why, Righties have thought about what an effective domestic insurrection would look like. Righties have written books and manifestos! … It’s horseshit. … The truth: Left is a lot more organized & prepared for violence than Right is, and has the advantage of a mainstream more supportive of it.

ADDED: Spandrell’s take.

January 16, 2017admin 50 Comments »
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Sentences (#85)

Thiel:

If we want to increase freedom, we want to increase the number of countries.

That’s as basic as political economy gets.

January 4, 2017admin 49 Comments »
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Quote note (#318)

If this is a realistic left re-emerging, bring it on (it’s a feast of insight and sharp sentences). The conclusion in particular, if a little repetitive, is radically sound:

Under such [impending] conditions, the future of progressive and future-oriented mass politics of the left is very uncertain. […] In a world set on objectifying everybody and every living thing in the name of profit, the erasure of the political by capital is the real threat. The transformation of the political into business raises the risk of the elimination of the very possibility of politics. […] Whether civilisation can give rise at all to any form of political life is the problem of the 21st century.

Depoliticization is the only thing the right should be serious about doing.

December 29, 2016admin 37 Comments »
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Sentences (#84)

Anomaly:

The reason neocameralism makes sense is that joint-stock companies basically work.

(Read the whole thing — of course.)

December 12, 2016admin 13 Comments »
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Quote note (#314)

Political economy as it ought to be done:

When business in the United States underwent a mild contraction in 1927, the Federal Reserve created more paper reserves in the hope of forestalling any possible bank reserve shortage. More disastrous, however, was the Federal Reserve’s attempt to assist Great Britain who had been losing gold to us because the Bank of England refused to allow interest rates to rise when market forces dictated (it was politically unpalatable). The reasoning of the authorities involved was as follows: if the Federal Reserve pumped excessive paper reserves into American banks, interest rates in the United States would fall to a level comparable with those in Great Britain; this would act to stop Britain’s gold loss and avoid the political embarrassment of having to raise interest rates. The “Fed” succeeded; it stopped the gold loss, but it nearly destroyed the economies of the world, in the process. The excess credit which the Fed pumped into the economy spilled over into the stock market, triggering a fantastic speculative boom. Belatedly, Federal Reserve officials attempted to sop up the excess reserves and finally succeeded in braking the boom. But it was too late: by 1929 the speculative imbalances had become so overwhelming that the attempt precipitated a sharp retrenching and a consequent demoralizing of business confidence. As a result, the American economy collapsed. Great Britain fared even worse, and rather than absorb the full consequences of her previous folly, she abandoned the gold standard completely in 1931, tearing asunder what remained of the fabric of confidence and inducing a world-wide series of bank failures. The world economies plunged into the Great Depression of the 1930’s.

With a logic reminiscent of a generation earlier, statists argued that the gold standard was largely to blame for the credit debacle which led to the Great Depression. If the gold standard had not existed, they argued, Britain’s abandonment of gold payments in 1931 would not have caused the failure of banks all over the world. (The irony was that since 1913, we had been, not on a gold standard, but on what may be termed “a mixed gold standard”; yet it is gold that took the blame.) But the opposition to the gold standard in any form — from a growing number of welfare-state advocates — was prompted by a much subtler insight: the realization that the gold standard is incompatible with chronic deficit spending (the hallmark of the welfare state). Stripped of its academic jargon, the welfare state is nothing more than a mechanism by which governments confiscate the wealth of the productive members of a society to support a wide variety of welfare schemes. A substantial part of the confiscation is effected by taxation. But the welfare statists were quick to recognize that if they wished to retain political power, the amount of taxation had to be limited and they had to resort to programs of massive deficit spending, i.e., they had to borrow money, by issuing government bonds, to finance welfare expenditures on a large scale.

The Great Depression myth is among the most disastrous ideological catastrophes in history.

The article (all good) is by a young Alan Greenspan, which is a cautionary lesson in personal degeneration.

December 8, 2016admin 39 Comments »
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Quote note (#309)

Woah:

On Monday, Trump will meet with John Allison, the former CEO of the bank BB&T and of the libertarian think tank the Cato Institute. […] There have been reports that Allison is being considered for Treasury secretary. […] Trump’s has on the campaign trail questioned the future of the Federal Reserve’s political independence, but Allison takes that rhetoric a step further. While running the the Cato Institute, Allison wrote a paper in support of abolishing the Fed. […] “I would get rid of the Federal Reserve because the volatility in the economy is primarily caused by the Fed,” Allison wrote in 2014 for the Cato Journal, a publication of the institute. […] Allison said that simply allowing the market to regulate itself would be preferable to the Fed harming the stability of the financial system. […] “When the Fed is radically changing the money supply, distorting interest rates, and over-regulating the financial sector, it makes rational economic calculation difficult,” Allison wrote. “Markets do form bubbles, but the Fed makes them worse.”

November 29, 2016admin 15 Comments »
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Wagner’s Law

Wagner’s Law is a critical concept for political-philosophy. In the words of Adolph Wagner (1835–1917, as cited by Wikipedia): “The advent of modern industrial society will result in increasing political pressure for social progress and increased allowance for social consideration by industry.” It thus explains why the right has to be radical, if it isn’t to be a sad joke, because snowballing socialism is the ‘natural’ trend.

Here‘s Will Wilkinson abasing himself before it abjectly, and Arnold Kling showing considerably more spine. Also, commentary from Scott Sumner.

Nothing that falls short of a serious assault upon the real process formalized by Wagner’s Law merits the label ‘right-wing’. Conservatism, for instance, is merely decelerated leftism. Wilkinson is positively enthused by that. The Outer Right is everything that definitely isn’t.

What, then, is required to practically defy Wagner’s Law? NRx abstractly designates the project. Neocameralism goes into the details.

If XS expected the Alt-Right to break from the modern demotic meta-regime whose signature is Wagner’s Law, it would celebrate the fact. It doesn’t, sadly, expect anything of the kind. That’s why the Alt-Right isn’t ‘us’ or even — strictly speaking — a right-wing political phenomenon at all.

November 14, 2016admin 38 Comments »
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