Friday, December 25, 2009

Michael Hudson vs Paul Krugman

Michael Hudson has (briefly) broken into the public debate via a comment from Paul Krugman of the New York Times.

Here is a taste of the radical view that ever-so-momentarily hits the spotlight:

To answer this question, my book describes the "intellectual engineering" that has turned the economics discipline into a public relations exercise for the rentier classes criticized by the classical economists: landlords, bankers and monopolists. It was largely to counter criticisms of their unearned income and wealth, after all, that the post-classical reaction aimed to limit the conceptual "toolbox" of economists to become so unrealistic, narrow-minded and self-serving to the status quo. It has ended up as an intellectual ploy to distract attention away from the financial and property dynamics that are polarizing our world between debtors and creditors, property owners and renters, while steering politics from democracy to oligarchy.

In this article Hudson goes on to point out one of the oddest and most characteristic aspects of neo-classical economics, that propositions don't have to correspond to reality, they just have to be internally logically consistent.

In the past, Hudson has confidently predicted that neo-liberalism is dead as a result of the GFC, but I prefer to agree with Gaffney that it aint dying anytime soon. The corpse will be patched up and shoved out again for consumption by new generations of students.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tolkien on Power

Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy was a visually spectacular and a worthy rendition, however one of the things which irritated me about it was its mishandling (misunderstanding?) of the core concept of the Ring of Power.

It must surely strike even the casual reader that political power or the lust for power is a prime evil in Tolkien's Middle Earth (not to mention our own earth) and there are adequate quotes from the man himself to describe his main ideas:

"You can make the Ring into an allegory of our own time, if you like: and allegory of the inevitable fate that waits for all attempts to defeat evil power by power" (The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, 1995, p. 121.)

"Power is an ominous and sinister word in all these tales" (p. 152.)

"The story is cast in terms of a good side, and a bad side, beauty against ruthless ugliness, tyranny against kingship, moderated freedom with consent against compulsion that has long lost any object save mere power, and so on" (pp. 178-179.)

"In my story Sauron represents as near an approach to the wholly evil will as is possible. He had gone the way of all tyrants: beginning well, at least on the level that while desiring to order all things according to his own wisdom he still at first considered the (economic) well-being of other inhabitants of Earth. But he went further than human tyrants in pride and the lust for domination, being in origin an immortal (angelic) spirit" (p. 243.)

"Of course my story is not an allegory of Atomic power, but of Power (exerted for domination)" (p. 246.)

"My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs)" (p.63)

Can't get much plainer than that.

Now what I'd like to know is the relationship (if any) between Tolkien and his fellow philologist Nietzsche.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Blair Planned Iraq Invasion Nine Months Before War


Further evidence to the Chilcot report adds to that already existing that the decision to attack Iraq was made first and the pretext prepared afterwards.

This means that the war was a crime and the corporate media is a propaganda network. Hardly anyone would refute that these days, but it is not reported very much, not discussed, and no action is planned or taken.

Western culture has a blind spot on the reality: we have told big lies and committed major war crimes. One day civilization may advance to the point where this is no longer tolerated.