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The author of American Dynasty and American Theocracy has just added another readable little sketch, subtitled "Reckless finance, failed politics, and the global crisis of American capitalism".
The most interesting feature for me is his chapter on "finance", which captures the now commonly accepted explanation of just how the sub-prime fiasco came about.
It matches the explanation by Eric Janszen in the February issue of Harper's, "The Next Bubble: Priming the markets for tomorrow's big crash", also providing a graph for the busy reader to see just when "financial services" passed "manufacturing" (in the 90s) in importance as a share of U.S. GDP.
It may be made mandatory reading for the incoming executives at CIBC, a bank that, fortunately, was not allowed to grow even more like Topsy.
And Ontario's machinists and assemblers should be made aware of this additional explanation for their unemployment, and new pressures on their pensions.
Unfortunately, I was able to renew this first-time offering from the library because there is absolutely no demand for it out there in unreadsville.
The Globe and Mail's op-ed lead piece today," 'Hollowing out?' The answer is more foreign investment, not less", shows how Steve's Competition Policy Review Panel is skirting the 2007 challenge to the sellout of corporate Canada. L.R.(Red) Wilson, the panel chair and author of the piece, says we'll just have to learn to compete, and one can predict the panel's report, expected today, is going to say just that.
Thomas S.Caldwell, chairman of Caldwell Securities said in a one page ad in the national newspapers, last July 27, that the sellout major Canadian corporations came as a result of the "power shift from owners to managers", and that "To hear managers described as risk-takers is a joke."
In his Globe column Wednesday, Andrew Willis says the oil sands could go the way of mining assets, and that "What's emerging is a heartfelt desire for national champions, industry leaders that the mining sector sadly lacked."Some were looking for "something special" from the review panel.
I believe that Phillips "Bad Money" shows us a corporation that is vulnerable not just to Caldwell's fat-cat managers and laid-back directors, but to a market where loyalty to industry is hopeless in the face of greater earnings out there among new market "vehicles" for unregulated theft.
But shouldn't Canadians interested in bringing the tar sands debacle under control, have some understanding of a market that is taking the possibility of control farther away from us with each decision of our elected comprador?(The review panel did recommend making it easier for foreign investment capital to enter Canada).
June 28 Globe and Mail Report on Business:
Two columnists are adding to the heightened concern about the future of the Canadian market and now our old standby, commodities. Increasing world scarcity, says Eric Reguly, may result in "What can't be bouight might simply be taken by force."
Doug Steiner's concern is for the movement of trading on the TSX to New York, leaving us "looking to beaver pelts, maple syrup and other uniquely Canadian novelties to sell from our quaint northern trading outpost."
And when our crumbling infrastructure (pipes, bridges, etc.) deteriorate to the point that tax increases will not longer replace them (and the investment community is salivating at the prospect) it would be nice to have a guaranteed return on ma and pa investments in homegrown bonds.
But while it certainly will be important for our pension funds to be able to function on a Canadian market, Reguly's concerns for Chinese consumption in the future, is of more immediate importance.
"Granny Grinch" now has difficulty finding the money to heat and eat (forget her maintaining an automobile, already).
With future offshore natural gas suplies being bought up now, and no new supplies getting past the tar sands of Alberta, the old girl will lead the way in meeting the fate that Ralph (let the eastern bastards freeze in the dark) Klein alloted us.
(Approaching Canada Day,a nationalist's concern in Canuckistan for carbon sources to run alongside the hotly debated one about carbon emissions)...which could be overcome by showing at least Mexico's guardedness for the future of its energy sources.
[ 29 June 2008: Message edited by: George Victor ]
N.Beltov's concerns (May 21) in the "Democracy Incorporated" thread, about the need to maintain morale as well as fighting from a moral position,are (as always) well placed:
Class society, whatever ilk and whoever the ruling class is, provides a justification for itself that is virtually total. There is no room in the capitalist universe for a socialist, or any other, rival. The elaboration of what we are up against, therefore, must take a back seat to that which mobilizes people to fight back. That's basic social psychology, methinks; or, perhaps, it's simply the difference between the author of a book and, say, a political organization with radical social aims like overturning the capitalist applecart.(end of quote)
In previous centuries, there were not the particular time constraints that we now recognize, around the need to get it right (see the history of social movements in Edmud Wilson's To the Finland Station - still in print from New York Review Books).
Perhaps the commitment of the great unread to some kind of life in the "golden years", as well as the grandkis, requires (for moral and strategic reasons) even greater flexibility in the old (branded) concepts?
[ 29 June 2008: Message edited by: George Victor ]
quoting N.Beltov (above)
The "elaboration of what we are up against" seems to me to avoid our own commitment to investments in the market. Isn't the "capitalist universe" sort of muddied, NB? The weapons for fighting it sort of blunted?
As this book makes clear, reforms (regulation) are required, and should be called for by people who hold their nose at talk of markets while reading the market reports.
I've been trying to develop ongoing conversation with an Ontario guy who, like most of us, has become sort of dependent and disillusioned about depending on returns from investments for the golden years.
Theory of revolution aside, how does one come to grips with the need to come to grips with this taboo subject?
I think the fate of democratic socialism depends on an answer.
I think my point was about the difference between theory and debate that helps to organize and mobilize people, and theory and debate that demobilizes and disorganizes people away from a fightback. Postmodernism, for example, has brought the useful benefit of a more detailed look at non-class groupings in society (gender, race, sexual orientation, etc.) ... but textual analysis isn't revolutionary activity no matter how you dress it up.
Kevin Phillips, whose books you mention, is a former Republican insider writing an expose or two. You might want to look at some other analysis as well. Try Doug Henwood at [url=http://www.leftbusinessobserver.com/]Left Business Observer, [/url] whose book [i]Wall Street[/i] is available for a free download, or try reading the free online lead editorials at [url=http://www.monthlyreview.org/]Monthly Review, [/url]called [i]Notes from the Editors[/i], or even a recent article there by Karl Beitel called [url=http://www.monthlyreview.org/080512beitel.php]The Subprime Debacle. [/url] The footnotes of Beitel's article is a gold mine for further reading, some of which is from the same MR website.
Doug Henwood, BTW, has a recent critical review of Naomi Klein's [i]The Shock Doctrine: the Rise of Disaster Capitalism[/i] that is very interesting at [url=http://www.leftbusinessobserver.com/Shock.html]Awe, shocks![/url] - whose title looks to be a play on the official "title" of the invasion and bombing of Iraq. Henwood calls Klein's work "History, but not exactly a secret." A good short read.
I don't see that there is anything taboo about discussing a retiree's source of income. But if you want to claim that this is an important subject for socialists, of whatever stripe, you need to make a stronger case.
[ 18 July 2008: Message edited by: N.Beltov ]
See followup discussion in discussing social change for a change (Canadian politics)