Today then, neoliberal policies are seeing positives and negatives. You might want to use an appropriate business to sell crafted items for more than half price, but the downtime system already accounts for using a building to generate money, as well as spending personal time helping run the business see Run a Business. As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments. Imagine his surprise when he finds the match box contains a brass block which fills the entire inside of the box. Try a fun exercise class like Zumba or pole fitness.
Video of the Day
They may well be, but unfortunately, reality seems different from theory. For many economists who believe in it strongly the ideology almost takes on the form of a theology. However, less discussed is the the issue of power and how that can seriously affect, influence and manipulate trade for certain interests.
One would then need to ask if free trade is really possible. From a power perspective, free trade in reality is seen by many around the world as a continuation of those old policies of plunder, whether it is intended to be or not. However, we do not usually hear such discussions in the mainstream media, even though thousands have protested around the world for decades. Today then, neoliberal policies are seeing positives and negatives. Under free enterprise, there have been many innovative products.
Growth and development for some have been immense. Global inequalities on various indicators are sharp. Joseph Stiglitz, former World Bank Chief Economist to , Nobel Laureate in Economics and now strong opponent of the ideology pushed by the IMF and of the current forms of globalization, notes that economic globalization in its current form risks exacerbating poverty and increasing violence if not checked , because it is impossible to separate economic issues from social and political issues.
One cannot separate economics, political science, and history. Politics is the control of the economy. History, when accurately and fully recorded, is that story. In most textbooks and classrooms, not only are these three fields of study separated, but they are further compartmentalized into separate subfields, obscuring the close interconnections between them.
The history of neoliberalism and how it has come about is worth looking at first, however, to get some crucial context, and to understand why so many people around the world criticize it.
The modern system of free trade, free enterprise and market-based economies, actually emerged around years ago, as one of the main engines of development for the Industrial Revolution. Adam Smith, who some regard as the father of modern free market capitalism and this very influential book, suggested that for maximum efficiency, all forms of government interventions in economic issues should be removed and that there should be no restrictions or tariffs on manufacturing and commerce within a nation for it to develop.
For this to work, social traditions had to be transformed. Free markets were not inevitable, naturally occurring processes. They had to be forced upon people. John Gray, professor of European thought at the London School of Economics, a prominent conservative political thinker and an influence on Margaret Thatcher and the New Right in Britain in the s, notes:.
Mid-nineteenth century England was the subject of a far-reaching experiment in social engineering. Its objective was to free economic life from social and political control and it did so by constructing a new institution, the free market, and by breaking up the more socially rooted markets that had existed in England for centuries. The free market created a new type of economy in which prices of all goods, including labour, changed without regard to their effects on society.
In the past economic life had been constrained by the need to maintain social cohesion. It was conducted in social markets — markets that were embedded in society and subject to many kinds of regulation and restraint.
The goal of the experiment that was attempted in mid-Victorian England was to demolish these social markets, and replace them by deregulated markets that operated independently of social needs.
A detailed insight into this process of transformation is revealed by Michael Perelman, Professor of Economics at California State University. In his book The Invention of Capitalism Duke University Press, , he details how peasants did not willingly abandon their self-sufficient lifestyle to go work in factories.
This mercantilism had its roots in the Middle and Dark Ages of Europe, many hundreds of years earlier and also parallels various methods used by empires throughout history including today to control their peripheries and appropriate wealth accordingly.
Smith argues, even though it is claimed to be Adam Smith free trade, neoliberalism was and is mercantilism dressed up with more friendly rhetoric, while the reality remains the same as the mercantilist processes over the last several hundred years: The powerful throughout the past centuries not only claimed an excessive share of the wealth of nature which was properly shared by all within the community, through the unequal trades of mercantilism they claimed an excessive share of the wealth on the periphery of their trading empires.
Adam Smith describes mercantilism for us:. It discourages the exportation of the materials of manufacture [tools and raw material], and the instruments of trade, in order to give our own workmen an advantage, and to enable them to undersell those of other nations [cities] in all foreign markets: It encourages the importation of the materials of manufacture, in order that our own people may be enabled to work them up more cheaply, and thereby prevent a greater and more valuable importation of the manufactured commodities.
William Appleman Williams describes mercantilism at its zenith: The world was defined as known and finite, a principle agreed upon by science and theology. Hence the chief way for a nation to promote or achieve its own wealth and happiness was to take them away from some other country.
When the injustice of mercantilism was understood, it became too embarrassing and was replaced by the supposedly just Adam Smith free trade. But free trade as practiced by Adam Smith neo-mercantilists was far from fair trade. Adam Smith unequal free trade is little more than a philosophy for the continued subtle monopolization of the wealth-producing-process , largely through continued privatization of the commons of both an internal economy and the economies of weak nations on the periphery of trading empires.
So long as weak nations could be forced to accept the unequal trades of Adam Smith free trade, they would be handing their wealth to the imperial-centers-of-capital of their own free will. In short, Adam Smith free trade, as established by neo-mercantilists, was only mercantilism hiding under the cover of free trade. Free trade formed the basis of free enterprise for capitalists and up until the Great Depression of the s was the primary economic theory followed in the United States and Britain.
But from a global perspective, this free trade was accompanied by geopolitics making it look more like mercantilism. For both these nations as well as others to succeeded and remain competitive in the international arena, they had a strong foundation of imperialism, colonialism and subjugation of others in order to have access to the resources required to produce such vast wealth.
Smith notes above, this was hardly the free trade that Adam Smith suggested and it seemed like a continuation of mercantilist policies. However, even during its prevalent times before the Second World War, neoliberalism had already started to show signs of increasing disparities between rich and poor. Because of the Great Depression in the s, an economist, John Maynard Keynes, suggested that regulation and government intervention was actually needed in order to provide more equity in development.
This led to the Keynesian model of development and after World War II formed the foundation for the rebuilding of the U. S-European-centered international economic system. The Marshall Plan for Europe helped reconstruct it and the European nations saw the benefits of social provisions such as health, education and so on, as did the U. As Susan George notes , when these institutions were created at Bretton Woods in , their mandate was to help prevent future conflicts by lending for reconstruction and development and by smoothing out temporary balance of payments problems.
This is very different from what they are doing today. At least in the Western countries, at that time, everyone was a Keynesian, a social democrat or a social-Christian democrat or some shade of Marxist.
The idea that the market should be allowed to make major social and political decisions; the idea that the State should voluntarily reduce its role in the economy, or that corporations should be given total freedom, that trade unions should be curbed and citizens given much less rather than more social protection — such ideas were utterly foreign to the spirit of the time. Even if someone actually agreed with these ideas, he or she would have hesitated to take such a position in public and would have had a hard time finding an audience.
However, as elites and corporations saw their profits diminish with this equalizing effect, economic liberalism was revived, hence the term neoliberalism. Except, that this new form was not just limited to national boundaries, but instead was to apply to international economics as well.
Starting from the University of Chicago with the philosopher-economist Friedrich von Hayek and his students such as Milton Friedman, the ideology of neoliberalism was pushed very thoroughly around the world. Even before this though, there were indications that the world economic order was headed this way: The want for access to cheap resources to continue creating vast wealth and power allowed the imperial empires to justify military action, imperialism and colonialism in the name of national interests , national security , humanitarian intervention and so on.
In fact, as J. The wealth of the ancient city-states of Venice and Genoa was based on their powerful navies, and treaties with other great powers to control trade. This evolved into nations designing their trade policies to intercept the wealth of others mercantilism. Occasionally one powerful country would overwhelm another through interception of its wealth though a trade war, covert war, or hot war; but the weaker, less developed countries usually lose in these exchanges.
It is the military power of the more developed countries that permits them to dictate the terms of trade and maintain unequal relationships. As European and American economies grew, they needed to continue expansion to maintain the high standards of living that some elites were attaining in those days. This required holding on to, and expanding colonial territories in order to gain further access to the raw materials and resources, as well exploiting cheap labor.
Those who resisted were often met with brutal repression or military interventions. This is not a controversial perception. President Woodrow Wilson recognized this in the early part of the 20th century:. Since trade ignores national boundaries and the manufacturer insists on having the world as a market, the flag of his nation must follow him, and the doors of the nations which are closed against him must be battered down. Concessions obtained by financiers must be safeguarded by ministers of state, even if the sovereignty of unwilling nations be outraged in the process.
Colonies must be obtained or planted, in order that no useful corner of the world may be overlooked or left unused. Richard Robbins, Professor of Anthropology and author of Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism is also worth quoting at length:. The Great Global Depression of that lasted essentially until was the first great manifestation of the capitalist business crisis.
The depression was not the first economic crisis [as there had been many for thousands of years] but the financial collapse of revealed the degree of global economic integration, and how economic events in one part of the globe could reverberate in others. The Depression of revealed another big problem with capitalist expansion and perpetual growth: Given this situation, if you were an American or European investor in , where would you look for economic expansion?
The obvious answer was to expand European and American power overseas, particularly into areas that remained relatively untouched by capitalist expansion — Africa, Asia, and the Pacific.
Colonialism had become, in fact, a recognized solution to the need to expand markets, increase opportunities for investors, and ensure the supply of raw material.
In Rhodes said:. I was in the East End of London yesterday and attended a meeting of the unemployed. I listened to the wild speeches, which were just a cry for bread , bread, and on my way home I pondered over the scene and I became more than ever convinced of the importance of imperialism. The Empire, as I have always said, is a bread and butter question. If you want to avoid civil war, you must become imperialist. As a result of this cry for imperialist expansion, people all over the world were converted into producers of export crops as millions of subsistence farmers were forced to become wage laborers producing for the market and required to purchase from European and American merchants and industrialists, rather than supply for themselves, their basic needs.
World War I was, in effect, a resource war as Imperial centers battled over themselves for control of the rest of the world. World War II was another such battle, perhaps the ultimate one. However, the former imperial nations realized that to fight like this is not the way, and became more cooperative instead.
The Soviet attempt of an independent path to development flawed that it was, because of its centralized, paranoid and totalitarian perspectives , was a threat to these centers of capital because their own colonies might get the wrong idea and also try for an independent path to their development. Because World War II left the empires weak, the colonized countries started to break free. In some places, where countries had the potential to bring more democratic processes into place and maybe even provide an example for their neighbors to follow it threatened multinational corporations and their imperial or former imperial states for example, by reducing access to cheap resources.
As a result, their influence, power and control was also threatened. Often then, military actions were sanctioned. To the home populations, the fear of communism was touted, even if it was not the case, in order to gain support. The net effect was that everyone fell into line, as if it were, allowing a form of globalization that suited the big businesses and elite classes mainly of the former imperial powers.
Hence, there is no surprise that some of the main World War II rivals, USA, Germany and Japan as well as other European nations are so prosperous, while the former colonial countries are still so poor; the economic booms of those wealthy nations have been at the expense of most people around the world.
Thus, to ensure this unequal success, power, and advantage globalization was backed up with military might and still is. Hence, even with what seemed like the end of imperialism and colonialism at the end of World War II, and the promotion of Adam Smith free trade and free markets, mercantilist policies still continued. Adam Smith exposed the previous system as mercantilist and unjust. He then proposed free market capitalism as the alternative.
More about this in the next section on this site. And so, a belief system had to accompany the political objectives:.
When the blatant injustices of mercantilist imperialism became too embarrassing, a belief system was imposed that mercantilism had been abandoned and true free trade was in place. In reality the same wealth confiscation went on, deeply buried within complex systems of monopolies and unequal trade hiding under the cover of free trade.
Many explanations were given for wars between the imperial nations when there was really one common thread: Who will control resources and trade and the wealth produced through inequalities in trade? The Reagan and Thatcher era in particular, saw neoliberalism pushed to most parts of the globe, almost demonizing anything that was publicly owned, encouraging the privatization of anything it could, using military interventions if needed. Structural Adjustment policies were used to open up economies of poorer countries so that big businesses from the rich countries could own or access many resources cheaply.
So, from a small, unpopular sect with virtually no influence, neo-liberalism has become the major world religion with its dogmatic doctrine, its priesthood, its law-giving institutions and perhaps most important of all, its hell for heathen and sinners who dare to contest the revealed truth. Oskar Lafontaine, the ex-German Finance Minister who the Financial Times called an unreconstructed Keynesian has just been consigned to that hell because he dared to propose higher taxes on corporations and tax cuts for ordinary and less well-off families.
The Iron Lady was herself a disciple of Friedrich von Hayek, she was a social Darwinist and had no qualms about expressing her convictions. Competition is central because it separates the sheep from the goats, the men from the boys, the fit from the unfit. It is supposed to allocate all resources, whether physical, natural, human or financial with the greatest possible efficiency.
Above all, do not compete. The only actors in the neo-liberal world who seem to have taken his advice are the largest actors of all, the Transnational Corporations. The principle of competition scarcely applies to them; they prefer to practice what we could call Alliance Capitalism. As former World Bank Chief Economist Josepth Stiglitz notes, it is a simplistic ideology which most developed nations have resisted themselves:.
Because in this model there is no need for government — that is, free, unfettered, liberal markets work perfectly — the Washington Consensus policies are sometimes referred to as neo-liberal, based on market fundamentalism, a resuscitation of the laissez-faire policies that were popular in some circles in the nineteenth century.
In the aftermath of the Great Depression and the recognition of other failings of the market system, from massive inequality to unlivable cities marred by pollution and decay, these free market policies have been widely rejected in the more advanced industrial countries, though within these countries there remains an active debate about the appropriate balance between government and markets.
Economists Sanford Grossman and Joseph Stiglitz demonstrated this in , and hundreds of subsequent studies have pointed out quite how unrealistic the hypothesis is, some of the most influential of which were written by Eugene Fama himself [who first formulated the idea as a a Ph. Markets can behave irrationally—investors can herd behind a stock, pushing its value up in ways entirely unrelated to the stock being traded. Despite ample economic evidence to suggest it was false, the idea of efficient markets ran riot through governments.
Maybe it isn't the current president who has promised Manafort a pardon. Maybe it's the man who believes he is the future president — the current vice-president who was hand-picked by Paul Manafort. Spread over wide swath of south Lawrence and northern part of NorthAndover with several others across Merrimack River in north Lawrence.
Part 1 ; Part 2 ; Part 3. It arrived as a Category 1 storm, bringing winds of mph, "making it the second strongest wind ever measured there.
And it's only 9: About people have already been rescued, and more are still awaiting rescue. Naturally, the shaming of people who didn't evacuate has already begun. I have a few thoughts about that. Instead of shaming people who didn't evacuate, consider the reasons why some people might not have evacuated despite urgent warnings. Incarcerated people are, in some cases, disallowed from evacuating.
Working class folks may have feared losing their jobs: The evacuation itself, including gas, lodging and meals out of town, also would be expensive. It's not as straightforward as: Anyone who stayed behind is a dummy who didn't heed warnings and now doesn't deserve rescue.
When we treat evacuations as "every person for themselves," we can't be surprised that not every person is able to evacuate. Anyone who lived through, or can read an account of, what happened in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina should understand the foolishness and cruelty of shaming people who are unable to evacuate. Frequently the people who can't are the most vulnerable. Hosted by a pink sofa. Have a seat and chat. Suggested by Shaker BlueJean: If I have questions for anyone I know personally, I just ask them.
If I have questions for anyone I don't know personally, it's typically someone in power and there's no guarantee they'll answer, or answer honestly, so I wouldn't bother asking. I guess I'd probably ask Kate McKinnon if I could buy her a drink, and hope she had nothing better to do for the next hour.
Mighty wee Lissa, pushing her grandparents on a bench swing, And please note that they don't have to be pictures from childhood, especially since childhood pix might be difficult for people who come from abusive backgrounds or have transitioned or lots of other reasons. It can be a picture from last week, if that's what works for you. And of course no one should feel obliged to share a picture at all!
Only if it's fun! Jeff Bezos is really starting to get on my last good nerve: The Bezos Day One Fund will award grants to organizations and civic groups engaged in "compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter and hunger support" to young families, as well as fund a network of "Montessori-inspired preschools in underserved communities," Bezos said in a statement posted on Twitter. Most important among those will be genuine, intense customer obsession," Bezos wrote.
But I do know the "principles that have driven Amazon" include abusing employees and exploiting corporate deregulation to build a monopoly that will gut entire communities and create devastating access deserts , so. Naturally, I am all for building more schools and giving hungry people all the food they want and need, but I am deeply suspicious of this proposal, which is a weird and unsettling hybrid of charitable giving and corporate marketing-speak.
I've seen that before. It never turns out well. He's going to hasten the privatization of public education in the United States in the process. And the vulnerable kids he's claiming he wants to help are going to get hurt the most. This is your semi-regular thread in which fat women can share pix, make recommendations for clothes they love, ask questions of other fat women about where to locate certain plus-size items, share info about sales, talk about what jeans cut at what retailer best fits their body shapes, discuss how to accessorize neutral colored suits, share stories of going bare-armed for the first time, brag about a cool fashion moment, whatever.
I just had to update my prescription and get a new pair of glasses from the eye doctor, because my eyes are getting precipitously worse as I age and they weren't great to start! It is still such a luxury, for which I am immensely grateful, to have a spare pair of specs, after spending my childhood and most of my adult life constantly worried about breaking my glasses.
I am entirely unable to function without them, so having a backup pair relieves me of so much anxiety. I get my fairly boring, functional pair at the doc's office, and then go for something fun with the other pair. And, as I have mentioned before , accessories were the first place that I learned to have style as a fat woman, and I still love to rock a fabulous accessory.
Which I feel like my glasses are, even as they are also a necessary medical device. As always, all subjects related to fat fashion are on topic, but if you want a topic for discussion: What are some of your favorite accessories? Have at it in comments! And please make sure if you're soliciting advice, you make it clear you're seeking suggestions—and please be considerate not to offer unsolicited advice.
Sometimes people just need to complain and want solidarity, not solutions. I am not receiving anything in return for my recommendations here, nor am I affiliated in any way with any of the companies mentioned herein. Any endorsements made are on products I purchased myself, just because I like them! As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.
Here are some more things in the news today Democrats fail in bid for U. Supreme Court nominee documents https: Pussy Riot member Pyotr Verzilov in critical condition in Moscow toxicology unit suffering from suspected poisoning. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico.
If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list. I love Puerto Rico! All day every day I am incandescently angry that this man is president. Occasionally he says or does or tweets something so obscene that I briefly fear my anger will go supernova and tear a hole in the universe. Susan Sarandon was a complete asshole during the election — one of Bernie Sanders' most obnoxious surrogates, who splained at Dolores Huerta, asserted that Hillary Clinton was "more dangerous" than Donald Trump, said that a Trump presidency was "more likely" to usher in positive change than a Clinton presidency, and then voted for Jill Stein.
She has continued to disgorge stupid trash along the same vein post-election, in some contemptible bid to justify the stupid trash she said two years ago. We would be at war [if she was president]. Part 1 ; Part 2. If you are in the areas for which evacuations have been ordered, and are a non-incarcerated person who is allowed to evacuate , please heed the evacuation orders for your own safety. It's chilling, even from space. Do not focus on the wind speed category of Hurricane Florence!
Life-threatening storm surge flooding, catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged significant river flooding are still expected.
Hosted by a yellow sofa. Suggested by Shaker catvoncat: In every possible iteration. Although, as y'all have surely noticed, I like swearing generally and tend to be pretty diverse and creative about it! Cute , The Dud Abides. Manafort , Robert Mueller , Russia , Trump. Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon said there were so many fires "you can't even see the sky. At least one person died and thousand of residents in three Merrimack Valley communities were urged to evacuate from their homes after a series of gas explosions ignited fires in the area.
The affected communities are Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover. Leonel Rondon, 18, of Lawrence, died after a chimney from a house explosion fell on the car he was in on Chickering Road, the Essex County district attorney's office said in a statement late Thursday. About 20 other people, including at least one firefighter, were injured and being treated at local hospitals as a result of the explosions or fires.
As of late Thursday, it remained unclear what exactly caused the blasts. The state fire marshal's office had said the fires followed a high pressure gas main explosion. State emergency management officials said that "possible gas line over-pressurization" could be the source of the explosions. However, state police officials said in a tweet Thursday evening that it is "far too early to speculate on [a] cause.
I fear that it was the first significant cyberattack on our utility grid. We know that Russia has been planning an attack on U. And we know that Russian diplomats, presumed to be Russian intelligence agents, have been "waging a quiet effort to map the United States' telecommunications infrastructure, perhaps preparing for an opportunity to disrupt it. NATO is concerned enough to be closely monitoring the drills, which involve ", troops, over 1, military aircraft, and two naval fleets," and during which Vladimir Putin delivered a speech to soldiers, vowing "to strengthen the Russian army and supply it with new generation weapons and equipment.
And we also know, coincidentally, that Special Counsel Bob Mueller struck a plea deal with Paul Manafort late yesterday , and it is still unclear as of this writing whether he was given the deal without any promise of cooperation with the Russia probe.
Hsu and Devlin Barrett at the Washington Post note: I also fear that, even if that is indeed the case, we may never get confirmation of it from officials, who feel obliged to conceal it out of some misplaced belief in maintaining public safety by lying to us. It's frankly very concerning to me, as well, how little national coverage this story has gotten, even despite coverage of the hurricane. My condolences to the family and friends of Leonel Rondon. I'm so sorry for your loss.
My thoughts remain with the people who were injured; I hope they have access to the resources they need to recover. I also hope that people whose homes were damaged or destroyed will be treated well by their insurance companies, and get back to something resembling regular life with as few barriers as possible. We are not being governed by compassionate or decent people; we need more than ever to be compassionate and decent to each other in times of crisis.
So far, there are no reports of serious injuries or death. I desperately hope that will remain the case throughout the day, even as I know how unlikely that is. Hurricane Florence , hurricanes.