Skip to main content

This past Friday night, Dec 12, 2008, Air America radio host and progressive author Thom Hartmann appeared on Countdown, hosted by David Shuster, to discuss the rescue of the U.S. auto industry. Hartmann eloquently  defended American workers from the numerous anti-labor themes being spun by Republican and wrong-wing think tanks. But the most important thing Hartmann did was point Barack Obama and the American people back to the too-long forgotten roots of the U.S. economy and financial system, Alexander Hamilton.

continued downstairs


Shuster: How do we return to a country that’s based on actually making things [what I call "wealth-creating jobs"]? I mean, what does President-Elect Obama need to do when he gets in office to wean our economy off of these made up financial games and get back to real manufacturing?  

Hartmann: David, what he needs to do immediately is read Alexander Hamilton’s 1791 report to Congress on manufacturers. Hamilton laid out this six-step plan to build an industrial economy in the United States. And, we followed it. Congress actually put it into place in 1792 and it stood until Ronald Reagan came along and started deconstructing this, followed by George Herbert Walker Bush, Bill Clinton and George Bush, now, and the legislatures, mostly pushed by the Republicans, taking this thing apart. I mean, you could argue that some it started with Taft-Hartley. But, basically, the Founders laid this thing out; they had it figured out. And, it worked. We built the biggest industrial infrastructure, industrial economy in the world. We have gone—when Reagan came into office we were the largest exporter of manufacturing goods and the largest importer of raw materials on the planet. And, the largest creditor—more people owed us money than anybody else in the world. Now, just 28 years later, we’re the largest importer of finished goods, manufactured goods; the largest exporter of raw materials—which is kind of the definition of a third-world nation—and we’re the most in-debt of any country in the world. This is the absolute consequence of Reaganomics.

To truly understand the importance of what Hartmann if referring to, you have to locate the unique role of the United States in the broad sweep of human history.

(A note of warning at the outset: The U.S. does have a unique role, and it is this fact that gives rise to the problem of American exceptionalism. The perfect example is Dubya, who has no idea whatsoever of real American history, except for the one fact he does know: that the U.S. is "special." So special, in Dubya’s truncated thinking, that the U.S. is superior to all other countries, and thus can do what ever the eff it wants. Why the U.S. is special, Dubya has no real idea; all he can do is mumble platitudes about freedom and liberty.)

What the United States represents in world history is the first successful experiment in self-government. The very idea of commoners having enough wits about them to govern themselves was treated by the English ruling class as either a joke or an atrocity. They certainly treated it as treason against the crown.

As Thomas Jefferson wrote, in his very last letter, less than two weeks before his death, concerning the mere fact that the United States still existed:


May it be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. That form which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God.

Let us leave aside for now the very real and very bitter fight that occurred between Jefferson and Hamilton (which is very ably recounted by Ron Chernow in his massive biography of Hamilton). Jefferson’s statement points to the basic conflict that has existed in all of human history – there are some few who believe themselves to be better than the rest of humanity, and, moreover, that by virtue of their supposed superiority, the rest of humanity exists to serve them. (1) This is exactly the sense of entitlement that annoys us so about the bastards of Wall Street that have wrecked our economy, and the insiders in Washington who think bipartisanship is a fine idea because they share drinks with wrong-wingers at fancy think tank parties.

What America represents in the world is the first time that an entire nation rose up and told the would-be rulers that those rulers actually had no right to rule – no divine right, and certainly no right based on any supposed hereditary superiority. (Unfortunately, the point that neither was there any right based on landed entitlement was not pushed as far as it could have been, which fact, along with the obvious contradiction of slavery, would make inevitable a civil war somewhere down the road.)

OK, so you have the oligarchs, who were given the heave-ho, and you have the people. Now, what are the economic implications of the existence of these two antagonistic groups? To see that, we need only examine the means of livelihood of these two groups. The people more or less have to produce for themselves what they need. The oligarchs? Well, actual work is below them. Whence then do they draw the means to exist? Well, there’s outright looting. And then there’s usury, rent, and speculation.

(I am referring here to economic rent, which is rather unsatisfactorily explained in Wikipedia. Also note that besides usury, rent, and speculation, there is one other means, which I will discuss below.)

The genius of Hamilton is that he devised an economic and financial system that allowed free enterprise – people producing what they needed - to flourish by greatly limiting the freedom of action of usurers, rentiers, and speculators. It was not perfect, of course, but it worked better than any other economic and financial arrangements ever created. What imperfections there were arise mainly from the impossibility - and undesirability - of choking off entirely usury, rent, speculation, which has the unwelcome effect of dragging down enterprise as well.

You can go to the Federalist Papers, and find precious little there about the economic and financial arrangements planned and intended for the young republic. There is, however, one favorite quote of mine, from Number 15, where Hamilton lays it all out in one stunningly short and concise sentence:

Is private credit the friend and patron of industry?

That’s it. That’s what it all boils down to. Hamilton’s Reports to Congress – one on Credit, one on Banking, and one on Manufacturing – which form the basis of the American government and the American financial system, are only detailed elaborations of making sure that the credit system of the nation would be used to fund the development of real industry – which in those days meant solely manufacturing, lumbering, mining, and fishing. Talking of something like a "banking industry" or an "entertainment industry" would have been met with puzzlement or derision.

Which bring us back to Hartmann’s magnificant concise one-paragraph summary of American economic history.. What the Reagan Revolution did was mistakenly equate usury, rent, and speculation with enterprise. Even worse, the Reaganuts embraced what essentially amount to the imperial economic theories of the British East India Company that the American Revolution was largely fought against, and discarded what remained of the philosophical framework of political economy established by Hamilton while leaving in place the useless structural façade (the government, in the form of the agencies like (such as the SEC, the Fed, the CFTC, the Treasury Dept., etc.).

It was not so much that the Reaganuts hated industry in quite the same was as oligarchs think work is beneath them. (Although it is of more than passing interest that at least one Harvard professor has noted being contacted by a panicked former student working on Wall Street, who asked "Am I going to have do real work now?")

The problem was – and still is – that the Reaganuts failed to recognize that actual industry is morally superior to usury, rent, and speculation. And here is where I want to explain that there is a fourth way an oligarch that loathes work can make a living – management. If you think about it, many of the problems in the U.S. economy – the deterioration of quality, the lack of customer service, the 30-year decline of working class wages, the amazing and enraging unaccountability of top executives - arise from the peculiar fact that American MBA programs do not really turn out industrial managers, so much as they train plantation overseers and work gang bosses.

Go back and look at how the English oligarchy adapted to the Industrial Revolution: the ruling families that survived and prospered did so by seizing control of manufacturing companies and imposing themselves as a new management class. This long, multi-generational process of replacing industrial entrepreneurs with managers from the oligarchy had the highly visible effect of retarding British industrial development and quality, especially as compared to other countries. A similar effect has occurred in the United States since the Reagan Revolution, with the U.S. losing the technological lead in industry after industry, and often losing some industries, such as shoe making or textiles, almost entirely.

It is that national failure over the past three decades to differentiate real economic activity from usury, rent, and speculation that has led to the present crisis. It is thatfailure that has allowed American manufacturing industry, over the past three decades, to be subjected to the whims and caprices of corporate raiders, megalomaniacal empire builders, and Wall Street analysts and traders insisting that the next quarter be better than the last.

It is that failure that has led to the creation of an American ruling class that believes it is, above all, entitled to rule, just because it is.

UPDATE. Thanks for the rare trip to the rec list. I am horrified that I neglected to link to the original diary by Liberal Thinking, Hartmann Eloquently Defends American Workers, which inspired me to write a comment that is the basis for this diary. There are links to Hartmann in that diary, and down thread in this diary, and for convenience I will add them here – youtube video - as well.

For those who would like to read Hamilton’s Report on Manufactures, a word of warning. I read it over 20 years ago, and went back to it after Liberal Thinking's diary. I was shocked at how abbreviated my attention span had become. Our news blurb culture has exacted a toll, I fear. It is NOT an easy read, so be prepared to sit down and concentrate for a few hours. Hamilton will take pages recounting in excruciating detail some economic idea or theory that he is criticizing, so it's extremely easy to take entire pages of the Report out of context.

Originally posted to NBBooks on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 11:23 PM PST.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  tip jar - and more Jefferson (304+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    skybluewater, beedee, Alumbrados, Ed in Montana, Sylv, DeminNewJ, aisling, tundraman, decisivemoment, Buckeye BattleCry, grollen, pHunbalanced, ScientistMom in NY, janinsanfran, Arnie, shycat, rhubarb, eeff, jeremybloom, autoegocrat, ssgbryan, geordie, DJ Adequate, opinionated, Hose B, JSCram3254, TracieLynn, justme, howd, mmacdDE, SamSinister, understandinglife, MD patriot, Ian S, SCFrog, Jeffersonian, javelina, CodeTalker, luku, Cedwyn, dksbook, DustyMathom, dangoch, kharma, GW Chimpzilla, Bailey Savings and Loan, hoplite9, defluxion10, TX Scotia, snakelass, papercut, grrr, Timbuk3, lcrp, BWasikIUgrad, Chun Yang, dkmich, DMiller, McJulie, mungley, Deward Hastings, Thestral, Daddy Bartholomew, jainm, mm201, Gowrie Gal, Ohkwai, ironpath, tea in the harbor, weelzup, luvmovies2000, joanneleon, G2geek, chumley, spiceagony, Bluesee, radarlady, salmo, NoMoreLies, fljelad, Unit Zero, yuriwho, socks, Heiuan, newfie, PBen, sap, Superpole, Alice Venturi, Irons33, Brooke In Seattle, Dobber, eru, Stuart Heady, bleeding blue, LNK, Pam from Calif, jimstaro, jimreyn, lotlizard, techno, Splicer, sodalis, dsteffen, Pacific NW Mark, ThatBritGuy, xaxnar, begone, RJDixon74135, Mother Mags, martini, trashablanca, karac, BachFan, MissInformation, Orinoco, Do Tell, sherlyle, jkusters, BobbyK, mooshter, Prognosticator, ruleoflaw, buhdydharma, pengiep, EthrDemon, campdurning, DarkestHour, sravaka, tecampbell, The Hindsight Times, gooderservice, nilocjin, Sagebrush Bob, happy camper, CTLiberal, Preston S, Potus2020, ER Doc, doinaheckuvanutjob, Sourmash, JugOPunch, doingbusinessas, Texdude50, revgerry, davidfry, thatvisionthing, AllanTBG, markthshark, sasher, Opposite Reaction, DBunn, One Pissed Off Liberal, marykk, gardenkitty, xaxado, Ken in MN, dotsright, Duke S, scienceworm, BruceMcF, terryhallinan, threegoal, karmsy, DrWolfy, unionboy, Jimdotz, Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle, newpioneer, Canyon Lefty, Seneca Doane, rivamer, stratocasterman, letsgetreal, twistedflatcat, jnhobbs, jhop7, uciguy30, GeorgeXVIII, electric meatball, M Sullivan, Zydekos, roycej, cville townie, gizmo59, rmonroe, cynndara, Sharon from OH, rogerdaddy, aztecraingod, ShadowSD, Youffraita, indyada, bythesea, robertbe, ShastaTodd, jamess, OregonOak, Calamity Jean, Lujane, happymisanthropy, Serpents Sorrow, mofembot, a lien on everything, SpamNunn, luckylizard, BYw, junta0201, ScienceRocks, palantir, ludwig van brickoven, Leo in NJ, fayea, legendmn, Fiddlegirl, maggiejean, cameoanne, Pris from LA, 1BQ, Bule Betawi, soarbird, Jacob Bartle, MTmarilyn, rsmpdx, meatwad420, classico, Skeptical Bastard, Stanz, banjolele, DemocraticOz, Rabbithead, ColoradoWantsWolves, notrouble, FrugalGranny, mrchumchum, MingPicket, fastpathguru, Daily Activist, zbbrox, followyourbliss, bfitzinAR, pnn23, allep10, kevinpdx, Dark UltraValia, elropsych, vadasz, jfromga, ahuramazda, beeninthewoods, unfinished60sbusiness, Hunter Huxley, NCrissieB, Vermfly, Just Bob, Lazar, oohdoiloveyou, sovery, foolknot, ArtSchmart, the law of ducks, MarkMarvin, fidellio, stunzeed, on board 47, Big Danny, Obamacrat, chrome327, Ant, ATFILLINOIS, ItsSimpleSimon, SoCalHobbit, AJ in Camden, sharonsz, Earth Ling, addisnana, Johnny Q, Unenergy, WedtoReason, MsGrin, Otteray Scribe, Nada Lemming, CA Berkeley WV, Oh Mary Oh, nosleep4u, Courtneys Mom, scott on the rock, gobears2000, CornSyrupAwareness, Sklyansky, DParker, Kid G, ginfizz, buffalogal55, locavore, Fickle, Tom Borthwick, The Wizard of Hearts, elisathon, BicycleDave, eppa, merrily1000, Wicket, gilead
    Hidden by:
    SteamPunkX

    (1) Here is another quote from Jefferson:

    "Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: 1. Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. 2. Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depositary of the public interests. In every country these two parties exist, and in every one where they are free to think, speak, and write, they will declare themselves. Call them, therefore, Liberals and Serviles, Jacobins and Ultras, Whigs and Tories, Republicans and Federalists, Aristocrats and Democrats, or by whatever name you please, they are the same parties still and pursue the same object. The last one of Aristocrats and Democrats is the true one expressing the essence of all." ~ Thomas Jefferson to Henry Lee, 1824. ME 16:73

    Sorry, folks, but it's past 2 and I need to get to bed. I'll try to spend some time responding later this morning. Thanks!

    A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

    by NBBooks on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 11:25:05 PM PST

      •  hey! (0+ / 0-)

        you just wrote down what Hartmann said the other day!

        You transcribed it word for word.

        That's your source mbayrob.

        •  I was mistaken, and I apologize. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cedwyn
          •  Hartmann's words should echo every day (57+ / 0-)

            I doubt its a big deal red. Hartmann has been ON this week. First he was all over the union busting attempts.. now we've got this beautiful nugget. I would get this as a tattoo if it weren't so many words.

            when Reagan came into office we were the largest exporter of manufacturing goods and the largest importer of raw materials on the planet. And, the largest creditor—more people owed us money than anybody else in the world. Now, just 28 years later, we’re the largest importer of finished goods, manufactured goods; the largest exporter of raw materials—which is kind of the definition of a third-world nation—and we’re the most in-debt of any country in the world. This is the absolute consequence of Reaganomics.

            I don't have a tin foil hat, mine's cotton. Tin foil is overpriced due to collusion between Alcoa Corporation, Lizard People and Area 51.

            by CornSyrupAwareness on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 12:41:28 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes, but what's missing is what spurred (41+ / 0-)

              the resurrection of the plantation mentality.  Reagan didn't do it alone.  Indeed, I would argue that he was plugged into a segment of society that had been quite content to lord it over a sub-class of the population via legislated segregation and then suddenly found itself bereft of their superior status.  Hence the impetus for creating a new class of super-stars signified by the accumulation and management of money.

              In a sense, this new class could even claim to be more democratic since being fixated on money is available to everyone, regardless of race, creed, gender or any other heritable characteristic.  That what had previously been considered immoral was being turned into a virtue didn't garner much attention.  Though, there must have been some awareness to explain the "law and order" protestations.  We refer to it as transference--blaming someone else for one's own misbehaviors--but the "law and order" theme may just have been a distraction.

              Having lived in the American south for a quarter century, I was fully aware that the plantation mentality was alive and well and it didn't take much to see that the sustaining attitude was straining to subjugate more and more of the population.  What alerted me about the role of the financial institutions was when they started referring to their "instruments" and "tools" and "products," as if what I refer to as a figment of the imagination (money) actually had substance.

              How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

              by hannah on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 01:42:00 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Vietnam spurred this attitude (33+ / 0-)

                World war II was everyone's war. And those who fought were justly rewarded with the GI bill that enabled a large segment of middle-class men to attend college. And enabled the middle-class to own homes.

                Vietnam was the war where only the poor working class fought. Those who evaded the war were rewarded, those who fought were "suckers". The culture of privilege that followed was partly a justification. (some butts are superior and don't deserve to be risked)

                And finally the fall of the Soviet Union made pretense about the working class living better in the United States no longer needed. Capitalism had no competition for the hearts and minds.

                fact does not require fiction for balance

                by mollyd on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 02:02:47 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  WWII: Roosevelt's son saw Kennedy's son crash (33+ / 0-)

                  I ran across that detail the other night, that FDR's son Elliott was in an observation plane following Joseph Kennedy's plane, which was on an extremely dangerous mission that he had volunteered for, when Kennedy's plane blew itself up.  And of course JFK served as well in WWII on a PT boat that got sunk.  Can you imagine a Bush child volunteering to serve, much less for hazardous duty, much less performing heroically?  

                  When JFK was running in 1960 and gave his Catholic speech, one of the things he said was this:

                  http://www.americanrhetoric.com/...

                  Finally, I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end, where all men and all churches are treated as equals, where every man has the same right to attend or not to attend the church of his choice, where there is no Catholic vote, no anti-Catholic vote, no bloc voting of any kind, and where Catholics, Protestants, and Jews, at both the lay and the pastoral levels, will refrain from those attitudes of disdain and division which have so often marred their works in the past, and promote instead the American ideal of brotherhood.

                  ...This is the kind of America I believe in -- and this is the kind of America I fought for in the South Pacific, and the kind my brother died for in Europe. No one suggested then that we might have a divided loyalty, that we did not believe in liberty, or that we belonged to a disloyal group that threatened -- I quote -- "the freedoms for which our forefathers died."

                  What a difference!

                  •  Well, to be fair (6+ / 0-)

                    George H.W. Bush, the privileged son of a senator, did do honorable service in WW II as a naval torpedo bomber. It seems like more of a generational thing, though; most of our leaders of that generation did serious work during that war:

                    Following the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Bush decided to join the US Navy, so after graduating from Phillips Academy earlier in 1942, he became a naval aviator at the age of 18.  After completing the 10-month course, he was commissioned as an ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve at Corpus Christi, Texas on June 9, 1943, just three days before his 19th birthday, which made him the youngest naval aviator to that date.

                    He was assigned to Torpedo Squadron (VT-51) as the photographic officer in September 1943. The following year, his squadron was based on the USS San Jacinto as a member of Air Group 51. During this time, the task force was victorious in one of the largest air battles of World War II: the Battle of the Philippine Sea.

                    After Bush's promotion to Lieutenant Junior Grade on August 1, the San Jacinto commenced operations against the Japanese in the Bonin Islands. Bush piloted one of four Grumman TBM Avenger aircraft from VT-51 that attacked the Japanese installations on Chichijima. His crew for the mission, which occurred on September 2, 1944, included Radioman Second Class John Delaney and Lieutenant Junior Grade William White. During their attack, the Avengers encountered intense anti-aircraft fire; Bush's aircraft was hit by flak and his engine caught on fire. Despite his plane being on fire, Bush completed his attack and released bombs over his target, scoring several damaging hits. With his engine afire, Bush flew several miles from the island, where he and one other crew member on the TBM Avenger bailed out of the aircraft; the other man's parachute did not open. It has not been determined which man bailed out with Bush as both Delaney and White were killed as a result of the battle. Bush waited for four hours in an inflated raft, while several fighters circled protectively overhead until he was rescued by the lifeguard submarine USS Finback. For the next month he remained on the Finback, and participated in the rescue of other pilots.

                    Bush subsequently returned to San Jacinto in November 1944 and participated in operations in the Philippines until his squadron was replaced and sent home to the United States. Through 1944, he flew 58 combat missions for which he received the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals, and the Presidential Unit Citation awarded to San Jacinto.

                    Because of his valuable combat experience, Bush was reassigned to Norfolk Navy Base and put in a training wing for new torpedo pilots. He was later assigned as a naval aviator in a new torpedo squadron, Vermont-153. Upon the Japanese surrender in 1945, Bush was honorably discharged in September 1945.

                    -5.12, -5.23

                    We are men of action; lies do not become us.

                    by ER Doc on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 05:08:42 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  If I were serving, (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Calamity Jean

                    There's no way I'd want my life to depend on one of Bush's selfish evil spawn doing the right thing!

                •  Amen (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  addisnana

                  What you see is what you get, but what you don't see is what ends up getting you.

                  by Existentialist on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 05:33:46 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Also the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (8+ / 0-)

                  Both Nixon and Reagan came to power by exploiting white resentments (See Pearlstein's "Nixonland") and use these issues:

                  (1) Vietnam & patriotism;
                  (2) Resentment at blacks seeking equal treatment; and
                  (3) Resentment against women seeking equal treatment

                  to consolidate power.

                  Rove tried to use abortion and gay rights in the same manner.

                  Whilst behind the curtain cronies of these "leaders" were robbing the store.

                  Health care crisis in a nutshell: Too much is expended on "managing" & too little on "caregiving"

                  by Bill White on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 06:31:04 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  the fall of the Soviet Union (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Blackmamba1973

                  and the death of Mao were both massive gifts to capitalists and would-be capitalists everywhere.  With the loss of organized opposition, there was no counterbalance to either their raw power of domination, or their control of propaganda organs.

                  I'd be among the last to wish the old Soviets on anybody, but they served a useful function.

                •  Not all soldiers benefited from the GI Bill (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  mbayrob, mollyd

                  Many African Americans were wrongfully excluded from that bill.

                  "You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra

                  by ATFILLINOIS on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 04:02:27 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Milton Friedman's economic theory. (11+ / 0-)

                I'm sure this is mentioned down the thread,
                but the Chicago school's desire to implement its theories worldwide and the influence they ultimately acquired was a huge component of this.
                It idealized the banking industry as an abstract conceptual model of other industries - which is an error of logic (as you point out)  but that's how they started using terms like "tools" and "products'

                Paranoia is knowing all the facts.

                by lh114 on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 07:00:58 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  It's easy to find a ruling class (11+ / 0-)

                But it's hard to find a lower class that is willing to support that ruling class in all its crimes in exchange for the cheap privileges of being an enforcer: the plantation foreman, the sheriff, the prison guard, the imperial soldier.  That is the problem of the South.  If you could show Southerners that they're objectively worse off as the enforcers for global corporatism than as honest union workers, then our ruling class would straighten up its act pretty fast.  Note that the Freedman's Bureau began to try that approach in the 1870s and had to be destroyed, likewise the Grange movement.

                Germany used to have loyal henchmen; once the Soviet Army slaughtered millions of them and crushed their Prussian Mecca, the German business class has been quite well-behaved.  Ditto Japan.  Really the world wars castrated the bully class all over the industrialized world, except America, where the New Dealers bought it off for a while with prosperity, and Reagan restored it to its malign fury.

                •  This cold become a good diary (11+ / 0-)

                  The point about Germany and Japan is also made by Jonathon Larson in his book, Elegant Technology:

                  By 1945, the Germans and Japanese had learned the hard lesson that industrial dominance has nothing to do with territory, militarism, or imperialism. So while they spent the 1980s investing in industrial dominance, the deindustrializing Americans reverted to real estate speculation. Japan got the commercial technologies of the twentyfirst century for her investment. America got empty office buildings for hers.

                  Germany and Japan would mostly ignore the tide of deindustrialization. Losing a war completely had purified their industrial philosophies by destroying the hunter classes. Rebuilding a destroyed industrial society would enhance the prestige of the builders. Cultural self-assurance would allow them to stand up to preindustrial English cultural imperialism.

                  As the 1980s progressed, the world’s deindustrializing economies cracked under the strains of predation. In the 1990s, culturally-dominated producer industrialism, embodied in the cultures of modern Germany and Japan, stands triumphant over Victorian English capitalism.

                  A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

                  by NBBooks on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 08:18:50 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  It assumes the rest of the World stood still (0+ / 0-)

              All this analysis misses that the simple fact that the rest of world didn't stand still. The US position in 1980 was not reflective of conditions that prevailed in 1980 but rather its position 30 years earlier. Ironically we are reaping the benefits of our victory over communism. With its failure countries adopted our "mojo" free markets, rule of law etc -and while we were resting on our laurels they just passed us.

              The one thing about a democracy is that we get the government we deserve. Reagan et al were products of culture that something could be had for nothing based on the idea of American exceptionalism rather than hard work. Liberals and conservatives each fed into this and until we accept our collective responsibility (rather than pointing the finger at somebody else) the problem will just get worse.

              •  Reagan was more complex than that (0+ / 0-)

                and many of the staunch rightwingers I have met are hard workers who believe in getting ahead by hard work, they don't like a society that rewards slacking.  In many ways I think of Reagan as a tragic president, that he meant better than he achieved, that he was too old to keep on top of things, and I also remember hearing that his ability to work changed after he was shot, very early in his first term--so that made an unexpected difference.  This is not to say I support his policies, just to say I think a lot got away from him.  I made fun of him, then I liked him, then I gave up on him, and then after a long time I mourned him.

      •  I also remeber that comment (13+ / 0-)

        At first I thought it was deja vu.  Yes, Hartman's opinions on this need to be made loud and clear.  It does deserve to be on the rec list more than once.

        We need to bring back industry into this country and not just service industry.  We need tarrifs.  We need controls on the exports of raw materials.

        One thing that is missing from this diary is Hammilton's report on manufacturing.

        If you haven't read it do so.  Also, Thom talked more about this on his show today.  I suggest podcasting today's show, Dec 15's show that is.  It was very good.  It was in the first hour I believe.

        "It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said." "The War Prayer" by Mark Twain

        by Quanta on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 01:10:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Hartmann should be a regular... (5+ / 0-)

        ... on 1600 now that Shuster is the permanent host.  He is the most intelligent advocate for progressive politics on the airwaves today and he frankly, comes across very well.  With some nurturing and market exposure I could see him hosting an hour on MSNBC himself.  I'd love to see him teamed with Cenk Uygar (wild man plus intellectual dude buddy team )at 10PM.

        •  I haven't seen the program in a while (4+ / 0-)

          If its still a shouting contest I'm not sure Hartmann would want to even be there.  The man, to his infinite credit, does everything he can to avoid those kinds of debates.

          "It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said." "The War Prayer" by Mark Twain

          by Quanta on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 08:30:20 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I notice that he is seldom on TV (0+ / 0-)
          I assumed that no one ont he right wants to talk with the guy...  He would eat their collective lunch.  As for lefties and moderate media persons... I hope to see him more.  Shuster, Olbermann, Maddow...  They should be giving Thom some air-time.

          "If Bill-O collapsed into his own sphincter, like an imploding dark star, and disappeared forever...would we care?..." - Liberal AND Proud, Crooks and Liars

          by Rich Santoro on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 11:45:30 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I remember, too (0+ / 0-)

        Thank you for this diary.

    •  Great diary, thanks, and PLEASE REC, everyone! (22+ / 0-)

      This is an analysis that we should want to see make it into the popular media.  Getting it onto the DKos front page won't take us that far, but it is a good first step.

    •  Thankyou once again for pointing out that (34+ / 0-)

      looking at the last eight years with history as a reference point, is important to understand what has been happening, not just in the US, but in many countries across the world.

      I have posted this before from Bill Moyers and will do so again, as it has helped me view the MSM with open minded skepticism, whereas before it was almost uncontrollable (disabling) outrage at the perceived media complicity in the selling out of an exceptional country. It is also why I read Kos, as right here is where in many diaries I find 'the good wolf'.

      What does it matter? Why a media anyway? I’m going to let an old Cherokee chief answer that.

      I heard this story a long time ago, growing up in Choctaw County in Oklahoma before we moved to Texas, of the tribal elder who was telling his grandson about the battle the old man was waging within himself.

      He said, "It is between two wolves, my son. One is an evil wolf: anger, envy, sorrow, greed, self-pity, guilt, resentment, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.

      The other is the good wolf: joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith." The boy took this in for a few minutes and then said to his father—to his grandfather,

      "Which wolf won?" The old Cherokee replied simply, "The one I feed."

      Democracy is that way. The wolf that wins is the one we feed. And media provides the fodder.

      Kind of what Jefferson was saying.

      "In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations." Law of the Iroquois Confederacy

      by Unenergy on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 01:55:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I love this diary (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hoplite9, salmo, Do Tell, NBBooks

      Minor quibble: the Jefferson quote in the Tip Jar, in its description of Federalists, undermines the argument that Hamilton is on the side which the diary asserts.

      Otherwise flawless.  Recommended.

      The all purpose reference for every Obama surrogate and supporter

      by ShadowSD on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 05:39:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I was always dimly aware that Jefferson and (6+ / 0-)

        Hamilton were actually political enemies, but never really understood it until I read Chernow's biography. Most of the slanders about Hamilton being desirous of a monarchy and wanting to create a financial aristocracy were stirred up by Jefferson. What I never realized is how much animus Jefferson had toward Hamilton, which was also directed toward Washington because of Washington's reliance on Hamilton during his Washington's Presidency. Chernow shows how Hamilton became almost a prime minister under Washington, with Hamilton's influence extending far beyond the Treasury Dept. In fact, Hamilton's influence with Washington became so strong that Jefferson and his faction began rumors that Washington had become senile and unable to govern on his own.

        I actually hesitate to recommend that someone read The Report on Manufactures because the first few pages are Hamilton recounting in excruciating detail the economic idea that all wealth springs from agriculture only, before tearing it apart. So it's extremely easy to take entire pages of the Report out of context. And it is not an easy read. I read it over 20 years ago, and went back to it after Liberal Thinking's diary, Hartmann Eloquently Defends American Workers, and was shocked at how abbreviated my attention span had become. It is NOT an easy read.

        A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

        by NBBooks on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 07:30:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  A brilliant man, but a bastard (0+ / 0-)

          I mean, literally a bastard (illegitimate birth), but not a nice guy.  But in a revolution largely run by the well-to-do, the ultimate self-made man.

          I'd also recommend reading McCollum's biography of John Adams, who also had his run-ins with Hamilton.  He was ruthless, dishonest and dishonorable.

          And absolutely essential to the early republic.  I'm a little more pro-Jefferson (and probably pro-Jackson) than the diarist seems to be here.  Early America was a much more egalitarian society than what it became; part of the reason that the leadership of the revolution (at least in the northern colonies) was mostly upper middle class was that there weren't that many people who were all that rich.  And on the balance, compared with later, and compared with today, there weren't that many people who were all that poor, excluding of course the slaves (Native Americans were largely outside of European dominated areas back then, so they don't enter this).  So while Hamilton's policies were also anti-egalitarian, it didn't matter so much.

          What did matter is that Hamilton really understood how an undeveloped country becomes a developed one.  It's not via "free trade".  Free trade is great for the haves.  Protected trade, though, is what works for the don't-haves-and-would-like-to-have.  That was true then.  It was true for countries like Taiwan, Singapore, and until it became an economic power, Japan.

          There are risks to protected markets -- the people who profit from them like to bribe their government to continue to protect them indefinitely -- but most countries are crazy to accept unfettered access of their markets to American corporations.  It does no damn good for the invaded country.  It doesn't help most Americans.  It only helps the corporations, and their captive politicians in the US.

          "If another country builds a better car, we buy it. If they make a better wine, we drink it. If they have better healthcare . . . what's our problem? "

          by mbayrob on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 04:27:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Great Diary! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      addisnana

      Shows what I know - I thought it might have been something about a duel, but that would have gotten HR'd very  quickly!  

      Tipped and Rec'd!

      "And God separated the light from the dark, and did two loads of laundry"

      by Fiddlegirl on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 05:47:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Who hr'd this quote? Musta been Dubya (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TracieLynn

      I'm Exxon John and I approve this message---McCain's Scumbags

      by Obamacrat on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 05:49:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Great Diary (4+ / 0-)

      I would have rec'd it solely for mentioning Thom's name in the title (everyone needs to be listening to his show), but the content is worthy of representing his audience as well. I learn so much from him and his fans.  Thanks!

      "There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who believe there are only two kinds of people, and those who know better." - Tom Robbins

      by beedee on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 06:40:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes - Thom Hartman was talking (0+ / 0-)

        about the economic crisis we find ourselves in 3 years ago.  He had guests on all the time that predicted it.

        I tried to talk my husband into liquidating our IRA's and 401Ks but he told me I didn't know what I was talking about.  I didn't - but Thom did and I was listening to him.  I just wasn't as convincing.

        1.20.09 - end of the error Can't come soon enough!

        by Cyber Kat on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 10:33:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Wow! (0+ / 0-)

      I'm subscribing.  Nice work.  Really nice!

      Can I send this to all my dittohead family members?  

      The more you drink, the funnier I get.

      by Nada Lemming on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 08:13:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The 2 Roosevelts (0+ / 0-)

      Thank you for explaining that Republican objectivist corporatist fantacists have been engaged in far more that a campaign to overturn the structures set in place by Teddy and Franklyn to protect the free enterprise system from itself.

      It is truly astonishing that these people claim to be looking to the future with "new" ideas, when what they are really seeking in to march our country and the world back to the seventeenth century.

      Not just the 1890's.

      And the sad fact is that they have not just succeeded.  They are continuing to succeed as the conventional wisdom still gives their statements even a hint of recognition and legitimacy, without any critical thinking applied.  Without any recognition that not just their lack of attention and incompetence, but the very content of their ideas, has led us to the precipice we face today.

      Shock doctrine, indeed.

      "... there is no humane way to rule people against their will." Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine

      by Noziglia on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 11:22:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  the 17th century (3+ / 0-)

        actually had some protections that didn't exist either in the 1890's or today.  One was a very powerful institutionalized Church, which regardless of faction was a very strong professional social service bureaucracy with lifetime employment and thereby power and influence for its members.  Another was a the holdover of feudal laws making masters, while all-powerful in some senses to their tenant/peasants, also RESPONSIBLE for their survival and subject to numerous small duties that helped ameliorate squalor.  Remember that a medieval peasant COULDN'T BE FIRED.  In the seventeenth century, life could be very insecure in that dependents were utterly dependent on the lives and fortunes of their masters; on the other hand they were secure in that it was almost unheard-of to simply cut someone loose, show them the door, and set them free to freeze and/or starve unless they had committed felony-level crimes.

    •  This is one of the most important things I've (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      luvmovies2000, cameoanne

      ever read on Daily Kos. This diary should be required reading for everyone. I've always hated Reagan and his sycophants and worshippers for what they did to honest work. Your diary explains it in no uncertain terms.

      Thanks a million.

  •  Good stuff (9+ / 0-)

    Might need a bit more thought about "management" itself being the problem. Certainly a type of management is, but it's pretty hard to imagine an car being manufactured without some sort of management. Maybe the idea is that management should not be a separate class of people, but instead should emerge out of the workforce...

    •  Hartmann was "...with the flyin' elbows from... (27+ / 0-)

      ...the sky off the top rope."

      Hartmann is one of the very few progressives able to stay on point with a central message with every question, every answer or response.

      ...Republicans see the union movement as not only a natural constituency of the Democratic Party, but also as one of the major—actually, the only large major organized relatively-progressive movement in the United States. And, they need to get rid of that if they are going to get power.
      -- Hartmann

      Confront all issues in a timely manner...

      by 2questions on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 12:10:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  . (10+ / 0-)

        "It [the electorate] completely misunderstands the nature of American government - fails to see the old maxim about "the business of America is business" is absolutely true, that the federal government in this country is really just a low-rent timeshare property seasonally occupied by this or that clan of financial interests, each of which takes its four-year turn at the helm, tinkering with the tax laws and regulatory code and the rates at the Fed in the way it thinks will best keep the money train rolling."
        - Matt Taibbi

        Having credibility when making an argument is the straightest path to persuasion.

        by SpamNunn on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 05:26:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Hartmann is fantastic on economic issues. n/t (5+ / 0-)
      •  It misses a key point (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cville townie

        why is only the union movement seen as a natural constituency of the Democratic party. I believe that only 12% of the work force is unionized. What happened to the remaining 88% of the working people.

        If unions are such a great thing why have so many people decided to leave unions or not join them. Certainly, there serious impediments to unionizing and we should work hard to eliminate them. But we also have to recognize that even when things come to a vote (in secret ballots) many vote against the union.

        Depending on unions to provide social justice to workers is nothing more than liberal version of free markets. Perhaps the things unions fight for should enshrined in law and enforced. When Democrats fight for those things then perhaps the remaining 88% of the workforce will become the natural constituency of the Democratic party. I believe that is the point the Obama was trying to make in his famous clinging to guns and god comment.

        •  Um, NO (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cynndara, Calamity Jean, 2questions

          If unions are such a great thing why have so many people decided to leave unions or not join them.

          You are aware that the main reason why unions have been declining for so long have MORE to do with the outright repression/supression/oppression of union organizing efforts (the millions of dollars poured into the propaganda, the firing of workers, the threat of shutdowns) than workers simply not "choosing" to join them. Are you naive or just too young and out of touch with no sense of history?

          Unions are on the WRONG SIDE OF AN UNFAIR FIGHT.

          "...if my thought-dreams could be seen, they'd probably put my head in a guillotine...." {-8.13;-5.59}

          by lams712 on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 12:40:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Most people (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          luvmovies2000, lams712, 2questions

          never have the opportunity to vote for a union.  Unions have allowed themselves to be boxed into a situation where workers who would be deleriously happy to be part of a union, literally CAN'T join a union unless their WORKPLACE is organized ... and it's gotten to be where you have a snowball's chance in hell of that.

          OTOH, some of the few places still pretty universally unionized are government employees and schools ... and growing up in these environments, I have to point out that the majority of people working in government offices don't even KNOW that they are represented by a union and that that is why they have good benefits and working conditions and can't be fired without notice and good cause.  And my mother, a teacher and perforce a member of NEA all her life, thought of it as mainly a "professional association", not one of those Nasty Unions that she abhored ... although any time it veered towards union-like behavior, she Highly Disapproved ... still, she felt that membership was a requirement of her position, and resented being "forced" to participate.

          There is a perception problem with white-collar workers.  Unions are associated with grungy old-economy factory jobs; the children of those factory workers who Moved Up In The World don't want to be associated with the crudity and concerns of the Lower Orders ... they have prospered by identifying with their wealthy masters and drinking the Kool-Aid served at office Christmas parties.  They don't want to be poor and ignorant like those old union-members, their parents.

    •  It's the difference between organizing the (16+ / 0-)

      flow of materials and the production process and ordering people about to construct and maintain a hierarchy.

      If you take an objective look at our first experiments with industrial agriculture, you'll see that it foundered because of the same managerial deficits we see now.  The plantation owners were clueless about agriculture and kept losing their investments (in land and labor) because they extracted  too much income for their own pleasures and satisfactions (multiple residences, imported silks and jewels, vacations in the spas of Europe, etc).  The plantation economy of the South suffered from persistent and repeated bankruptcies, which resulted in the dislocation of the laboring class and one of the main objections to slavery.  

      What's different about today's free labor is that the laborers and their families are free to starve when the owners and managers don't meet their financial obligations.  There's a fundamental unfairness there and Obama was right on point when he pointed it out in relation to the workers at the window and door shop.

      How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

      by hannah on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 01:54:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  IIRC, "management" as we have it (9+ / 0-)

      was invented specifically to "manage" the workers and not so much to manage actual production.

      The idea being to keep the workers in their place. I worked in one place where the office was all reorganized, and a leaving manager left their copy of the company's manager's manual in a desk to be found by us. The whole thing was about "hot seating" (moving people around frequently so as to prevent close associations arising, to instill uncertainty in the workers, etc.), and other ways to manipulate people and set them against each other. (This c. 1990.)

      It's a truism among people who actually work that managers make actual efficient production a hard thing to do. That's because, in reality, that's a secondary consideration to keeping the people down.

      Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

      by Jim P on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 07:55:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Gods ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jim P

        That's what they've been doing in the place I'm in now ... I suspected as much from observation, but I couldn't prove anything.  And then they wonder why the workers are resentful?

        Amusing.  My supervisor keeps rating me as having good relations with my co-workers when I have, deliberately, virtually no relations at all.  I'm mildly NVLD, and far prefer listening to my Bach to trying to make conversation.  I  like the job because I don't have to play political games.  But that doesn't mean I'm blind.

        •  It's a whole science. (0+ / 0-)

          Goes back to the 1850s or even earlier, where you can read the business people of the day spelling out in plain English that the primary, if not sole, purpose of creating modern management is to keep the employees passive and powerless.

          And I'd bet where you are, you can see things every day they do that limits actual production, it's probably even routine. At least, in my experience.

          Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

          by Jim P on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 04:20:33 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  That isn't management. That's stupid management (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jim P

        I can't say that isn't the way it is in lots of places.  Hell, I've seen that plenty times myself.  But no, that isn't really it.

        There certainly is a sort of Taylorism For Idiots that thinks that squeezing productivity out of workers is what you have to do.  Can't argue with that, 'cause you're right, and I hate arguing with people that are right.  But people have looked into this a lot, and while management may not be your friend if you in manufacturing or in the kind of place where unions work, treating workers like they're enemy is a still a stupid thing to do.

        But if you want a company to work well for everybody, including the people who work there, you really don't want to treat management like the enemy either.  That can be hard when you need to bargain with them, and if they tend not to bargain in good faith.  But a lot of what we've learned about productivity and quality tells us that letting people very far down in an organization use their brains and take initiative (and management having the good sense to reward that, and not punish honest mistakes) makes for better companies, and better places to work.

        That's been a problem to put into practice in some industries, since it's unfamiliar for a lot union people, and they look at it with a lot of suspicion.  And work rules are a traditional thing that unions like to have and to negotiate over.  But that's an area where countries with less antagonistic labor histories (like Germany) have an edge on us.

        It's smart management to try to get that.  It's smart union leadership to facilitate it as well.

        "If another country builds a better car, we buy it. If they make a better wine, we drink it. If they have better healthcare . . . what's our problem? "

        by mbayrob on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 04:38:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, you're describing the smart (0+ / 0-)

          management that we've seen tried in some places. Microsoft in it's early days, for example. But keeping the rabble down has been (and remains) the main goal of "managing" for at least a couple of hundred years if not longer.

          Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

          by Jim P on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 08:07:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  What are your sources on social class in UK (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pletzs, DocGonzo, cjallen, junta0201, addisnana

    manufacturing and industry?

    It's been a long time since I've studied this (it was in a course taught by Laura Tyson at Berkeley, oddly enough), but what you're saying doesn't exactly jog with what I remember.  It having been lo these many years, I'm not necessarily going on what I remember.

    Specifically: when you say "English Oligarchy" -- what do you mean?  That doesn't necessary map to the class system in the UK in the 19th century.  Are you saying the nobility bought themselves into industry, or that the rural gentry (based more in the shires, and a different group of people) are "oligarchs".

    I do remember that at least in "trade", you're talking about a function in society that wasn't necessarily that high prestige, and didn't necessarily draw the best and the brightest.  This was a problem into the mid 20th century; the UK business class wasn't where you wanted to go if you had brains or ambition.  The Peter Sellers film "I'm Alright Jack" sort of sums up what people thought about it.  If your kid was sort of a congenital idiot, let him work for a company.

    What's your source on this?

    "If another country builds a better car, we buy it. If they make a better wine, we drink it. If they have better healthcare . . . what's our problem? "

    by mbayrob on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 11:38:09 PM PST

    •  The giveaway is the phrase (16+ / 0-)

      'East India Company.'

      There was a very clearly defined mercantile establishment which included elements from the rural gentry, industrialists, military adventurers and other people who liked to think of themselves as nobility.

      It defined a template for imperial exploitation and was in many ways a kind of shadow government in the UK, driving policy for its own ends and setting precedents for financial, technological and military innovation aimed at maximising profits for the board and shareholders.

      In India and the colonies it was a more overt and explicit government. India was formally ruled by the HEIC and not by the Crown.

      The US doesn't have a formal mercantile establishment working along identical lines. But Wall St and some elements in the CIA enforcer arm do much the same thing, with much the same kinds of supporters, but in a looser and less explicit way which camoflages the imperialism and resource pillage under layers of economic theory, spin, and military self-justification.

      "Be kind" - is that a religion?

      by ThatBritGuy on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 05:25:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  South and central American (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        melo, cville townie

        were to be where we exercised our mercantilism...

        United Fruit company, etc.

        fact does not require fiction for balance

        by mollyd on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 07:31:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The East Iraq Company (3+ / 0-)

        Halliburton made its bid to take that role, but this time the Mutiny got too big for us to prevail.

      •  In England, it wasn't about "thinking" you were (0+ / 0-)

        noble, though.  It was a status you were typically born with.  And money only got you so far, although, yeah, you could essentially buy yourself in.

        I'm still a little fuzzy as how and where a British middle class grew up out of medieval English (and Scottish) society.  There's a free population in the cities.  And there are the vilages with their gentry and other independent farmers.  My impression is that in broad outlines, these people pushed for political power and influence in a system dominated by a landed nobility, with the monarchy effectively allying itself with non-noble centers of power to keep the nobility from swallowing up the state entirely.

        What isn't clear to me is how as the Commons overthrew the old monarchy and put itself in charge is how the landed nobility adapted to this.  Enclosure of commons by the nobility goes way back, I think as far as the Tutor period.  But it isn't clear to me how much the old landed nobility and the new capitalist wealthy merged.  And it isn't that clear to me where well to do families that weren't noble built so comfortable of lives from themselves by Victorian times.

        "If another country builds a better car, we buy it. If they make a better wine, we drink it. If they have better healthcare . . . what's our problem? "

        by mbayrob on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 04:52:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'd Add (6+ / 0-)

      That the diarists statement that:

      The very idea of commoners having enough wits about them to govern themselves was treated by the English ruling class as either a joke or an atrocity.

      Is itself a joke. The founding fathers (note the gender, by the way) had no higher opinion of the "commoners" than their English contemporaries, with whom they shared a worldview and culture. The vast majority of Americans before and after 1776 played no role in their government. The vote was restricted in virtually all parts of the U.S. to wealthy landowners, a tiny fraction of the population.

      Not to mention that the industrial revolution began in Europe and Britain was the preeminent industrial power of the 19th century.

      But we wouldn't want to rain on America's specialness parade.

    •  There is no one book (4+ / 0-)

      There is no one book I can point to as a source on the English oligarchy other than Guttsman, which I actually read only a chapter or two of. All my impressions on the subject are from a number of different books and articles that detail the history of different manufacturing companies, especially the early steam engine builders and railroad companies. And almost all those books and articles have to do with American builders rather than English builders. But there were significant numbers of skilled machinists who fled England and came to the United States to work for such people as Oliver Evans, and who recounted some of the tension that arose between local and national oligarchs in England and the early industrialists such as Matthew Boulton, James Watt, Richard Trevithick, and George Stephenson.

      Particularly important is the history of how Watt and the English stuck with low pressure steam engines, while Oliver Evans and the Americans abandoned low pressure and instead developed and refined high pressure steam engines, which drove technological advances in metallurgy, iron making, machining, and other processes.

      On this last point, by far the best reference is Louis C. Hunter’s Steam Power: A History of Industrial Power in the United States, 1780-1930, Volume II. Hunter discusses how steam power, though originating in Great Britain a century earlier, was brought to a peak of sophistication by American engineers, and became the central and indispensable factor in the industrialization of what was an agricultural nation until the close of the century. Although the roots of this transformation went back much earlier, industrialization from the 1860s onward was almost entirely dependent on the driving power of steam.

      Hunter brilliantly recounts how this transformation was effected, with careful attention not only to its technological details but also its economic and social history. He shows that for all its origins in eighteenth-century Britain, the evolution of steam-power technology was mostly the product of American innovators, engine builders, and entrepreneurs. Hunter details the contributions of the early pioneers: Oliver Evans and sons, and John and Robert Stevens, and traces the development of the American high-pressure mill engine in the later work of Frederick Sickels, George H. Corliss, and Charles T. Porter, Hunter shows how the work of Erasmus Darwin Leavitt Jr., Henry R. Worthington, and Edwin Reynolds in the 1870s, and the high-speed engines of Charles Porter, brought about a general merging of technology and science in thermodynamics, marking the beginning of professional engineering as we know it today.

      Hunter also treats in detail related technological developments in machine tools, machinery building, and boilers. Hunter writes:

      The steam engine and the water mills it replaced were worlds apart. The tools, skills, and craft of a technology of wood were practiced in every rural community. Steam engines were complex assemblies of fixed and closely articulated moving parts whose fabrication was dependent upon the emerging metalworking crafts, and above all, on machinists, working with a precision previously unapproached and unheard of.  The steam engine was the great motor of the age. Its evolution introduced the factory system, modern methods of production, and radical improvement in the material condition of the people; in short, all that we recognize as modern in our age.

      A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

      by NBBooks on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 08:00:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Jefferson must be wrong (22+ / 0-)

    the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God.

    How often have we been told right here at dailykos that the most of us are not worthy to be saddled and ridden by the enlightened (booted and spurred!) cognoscenti in high office, in DC, the media, and the party?  Surely Jefferson would recant his extreme lib purist pseudo-populism when confronted with such "reality-based" arguments.

    This sig line is in foreclosure. For details on acquiring a credit default swap on this sig line, contact H. Paulson, Dept of the Treasury, c/o Goldman, Sachs

    by ActivistGuy on Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 11:53:52 PM PST

  •  I'm hoping Thom Hartmann spoon feeds me (4+ / 0-)

    because it's going to take a lot to get me to understand Alexander Hamilton and American Economic History.......

    I've been sour on Alexander Hamilton ever since I saw what a fetish certain rabid Conservatives make of him.

    http://www.alexanderhamiltonexhibiti...

    Unhealthy love of wealth......

    And the sponsors wildly overpaid their Conservative curator.....etc. etc. [read this review and you'll see why Hamilton's name makes me break out in hives]:

    http://hnn.us/...

    Media Reform Action Link http://stopbigmedia.com/

    by LNK on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 12:00:18 AM PST

  •  Thanks for this diary and thread, BTW (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cameoanne

    I'm proud to be an America here with you because, unlike in the oligarchs' world:

    Aristocracy

    There is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents.

        Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, 28 Oct. 1813, to former president John Adams.

    The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations is licensed from Columbia University Press. Copyright © 1993, 1995 by Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

    Media Reform Action Link http://stopbigmedia.com/

    by LNK on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 12:03:12 AM PST

  •  Just FYI, a recommended diary (5+ / 0-)

    "Go well through life"-Me (As far as I know)

    by MTmofo on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 12:10:56 AM PST

  •  Wealth, Corruption, What to do? (10+ / 0-)

    If I recall correctly, Hamilton and Jefferson were of opposite opinions regarding wealth.  Hamilton was in favor of the creation of a national bank, whereas Jefferson was so fearful of tyranny that he was opposed.  Hamilton favored the notion that a central government could aggregate wealth to a degree that individual entrepreneurs could never achieve, so that it was imperative that that wealth be concentrated and empowered to make a young America strong in the international scene, but Jefferson, so fearful of the tyranny that such a consolidation would engender, was strongly against that argument.

    Now today we are face with a muted argument:  the Federal Government is so strong that Hamiltonian and Jeffersonian nuances are swept aside.  One might as well accept that Hamiltonian arguments held sway:  we are in a de facto state of US Federal Government control of wealth.  But paradoxically, perhaps due to corruption brought about by lobbyists, we are also in the thrall today of commercial policy:  e.g., Monsanto writes the laws on farming, and Cheney writes all energy policy.  So in that sense it is folly to conjure the spirit of Hamilton; that ghost has left the port!

    My point is that when Government is owned by the corporations you can argue all the fiscal philosophy you want, but the net result is looting on a grand scale, and no theory will prevent it.

    This, then, is the legacy of Reagan, and I might add, Nixon, who introduced the theory of victimization to the upper class and the capitalists.

    •  Unequal Protection (23+ / 0-)

      It goes back way farther than Nixon and Reagan -- it goes back to 1886 when corporations got legal Constitutional "personhood" erroneously when the clerk wrote it in the headnotes of a case though the court had never decided that.  This is one of Hartmann's themes -- he wrote the book Unequal Protection on it.

      http://www.thomhartmann.com/...

      In 1886 the court reporter of the U.S. Supreme Court claimed that the court had ruled that "corporations are persons" in the Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad case. If you read the case itself, you find that in fact the court ruled no such thing. But the reporter wrote it up in the headnotes of the case - not a legal document, but only a commentary on the case - and subsequent generations of corporate attorneys claimed it was so. Over time, it became so.

      The consequences of this were tremendous.

      Corporations are legal fictions created with the sole purpose of being a vehicle for the aggregation of wealth. They can live forever. They can change identity in a day. They can cut off parts of themselves and from them grow new selves. They can own others of their own kind. They don't need fresh air or clean water and don't fear illness or death.

      Yet now, because of this misinterpretation of an 1886 Supreme Court case, corporations have the rights of "persons."

       

      credit Thom Hartmann

      I'm disappointed Hartmann hasn't tied ending corporate personhood front and center to the bailouts -- it cries out for a big fix too.  And I wish he'd have "Fisherma'am" on as a guest -- she's an Exxon Valdez victim who's trying to get the ball rolling on a 28th Amendment to separate corporation and state.  Bam, right down his alley!  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

      •  which is why (0+ / 0-)

        we need to rid of corporate taxation, convert them all into partnerships (LLC if necessary) and clearly establish that they are not constitutionally protected "persons".

      •  We stress corporate personhood too much (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bluesee

        It's a symptom, not a cause.

        A good book to read to develop a deeper understanding of the problem:  [ Gangs Of America].  Other things that you need to consider as well:

        1. The role of corporate charters, which used to be limited in scope and and in time.  It used to be a lot easier to revoke a charter, which is the Corporate Death Penalty.  Perhaps it needs to be again.
        1. Extension of the concept of "business speech" and the idea of "money as speech".  This has given a great advantage to people with money dominating the system.  Short of amending the US constitutions, there's too deep a thicket of pro-business precedent now to get rid of this.  So amend the constitution we must.
        1. Limiting the ability of the very wealthy to buy politicians without limit.  Again, we need to amend the constitution here.  The problem isn't money in politics -- small donations don't threaten the system -- but the ability of very small numbers of people to dominate the system with money.
        1. Remembering that corporations are really just a front for a small class of very wealthy families. In the feudal system, the nobility as an institution were just the political and military front end of the class of people who held the most important kind of wealth you could have in an agricultural society -- land.  While lots of people own relatively small amounts of common stock, actual control of most corporations is in the hands of a very small group of majority owners.  They are a nobility in fact if not yet in name.  To go at corporations as an institution, you need to go at the owners themselves, their preferential tax treatment (inheritance taxes, anybody?), and their protected legal status.  Class matters.

        "If another country builds a better car, we buy it. If they make a better wine, we drink it. If they have better healthcare . . . what's our problem? "

        by mbayrob on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 05:21:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Hamilton thought he could coopt the wealthy (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bluesee, NBBooks, cameoanne

      You have one thread of Hamilton's disagreement with Jefferson.  But it was also an urban vs. rural disagreement. Jefferson was not against wealth.  And economically, he was not terribly egalitarian either, even if we don't talk about slavery.  He, and his peers, were the American equivalent of at least landed gentry, remember.  Bordering on traditional nobility, even.  Even if someone had coined the term "socialist" back (they hadn't), he would not have been one.  He opposed "the money power".  But the idea that people without money might run the world probably isn't something that occurred to him.

      American society in the northern colonies was pretty egalitarian by our standards.  Even someone as wealthy as John Hancock, whose support was essential for the revolution in Massachusetts, was not all that rich by later standards.  So Hamilton had the idea of tying the interests of the wealthy to the interests of the central government.  The modern corporation had not yet been invented yet, and what corporations existed in the early republic were heavily regulated at the state level -- they were chartered for very specific and limited purposes, and for limited periods of time.  So they were very much under the thumb of government.

      It therefore probably didn't occur to Hamilton that rich people could somehow organize themselves so that they could take over the state entirely.  Sure, corruption he knew from, since people had been renting politicians in Parliament as long as Parliament could influence what the Crown did, which was a very long time even back in 1800.  But the idea that the wealthy could create institutions that could rival a government in size, wealth and power was probably something outside of his experience.

      That kind of corporation didn't exist until after the US Civil War.  And our constitution and legal system is not designed in an efficient way to keep that new institution in check, and to limit the danger it poses to the liberty of ordinary people.

      You can't really blame Hamilton for that, even if it is Hamilton's followers who founded and are running the GOP, and to be honest, a good chunk of the Democrats as well.

      "If another country builds a better car, we buy it. If they make a better wine, we drink it. If they have better healthcare . . . what's our problem? "

      by mbayrob on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 05:09:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm glad to see Hamilton get his due, but... (5+ / 0-)

    I'm not sure what you mean by "actual industry is morally superior to usury, rent, and speculation." That sounds suspiciously Jeffersonian, comrade! Hamilton didn't see what the "stockjobber" did as being in any way less noble than what Jefferson did (in fact, being an anti-slavery man, he surely felt himself and his Wall Street friends superior to the slavocrats like Jefferson).

  •  This diary makes me ashamed of mine (23+ / 0-)

    Great stuff. The Hartmann part was just awesome. I want every single Democratic pundit to take that paragraph and engrave it in their brain.

    when Reagan came into office we were the largest exporter of manufacturing goods and the largest importer of raw materials on the planet. And, the largest creditor—more people owed us money than anybody else in the world. Now, just 28 years later, we’re the largest importer of finished goods, manufactured goods; the largest exporter of raw materials—which is kind of the definition of a third-world nation—and we’re the most in-debt of any country in the world. This is the absolute consequence of Reaganomics.

    If that wasn't so long I'd make it my sig line.

    I don't have a tin foil hat, mine's cotton. Tin foil is overpriced due to collusion between Alcoa Corporation, Lizard People and Area 51.

    by CornSyrupAwareness on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 12:25:07 AM PST

  •  His performance (8+ / 0-)

    was after 8 straight hours of radio. He covered the story again Monday. He included the information about the Republican Senators opposing have car industries in their States in the south and again that ideologically based Union busting is more important to Republicans than the economy.

    Avoiding Theocracy at Home and Neo Cons Abroad

    by UniC on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 12:30:58 AM PST

  •  Are we able to do this now ... (6+ / 0-)

    ... with the thousands of lobbyists representing the American Ruling Class buying off our elected officials? Have we gone too far in this direction to ever go back to the way we were? How much can Obama do?

    I'm a bear of very little brain. (With apologies to A. A. Milne)

    by Arnie on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 01:08:02 AM PST

  •  That's where Ayn Rand got it so wrong (29+ / 0-)

    She was so worried about the "socialist" lefties that she thought were going to loot the work of the productive classes...

    She totally missed who the actual looters of society were.

    •  She Nailed Looter Industrialists, Too (6+ / 0-)

      Actually, Rand had it in for monopolists in industry (and finance, and the media), too. She wasn't singlemindedly obsessed with socialists the way that so many of her readers are.

      She was the converse: singlemindedly obsessed with the mythical American self-made man, the ruggedly independent individualist who never got any help, who never needed anyone else. She was the original "greed is good" evangelist, and wrote fictional stories as if they were new bibles of self sufficiency.

      She never worked a day in her life at an honest job. She was a refugee from the Soviet revolution who cheated on her husband with Franklin Lloyd Wright, part of the cult of personality that deified that brilliant artist (but mediocre architect). In 1930s NYC, her adopted home, she sought the highest class available to her, and shunned the people swarming outside the Depression era Waldorf as deserving their fate, as she deserved hers. But she did caricature the bankers, dynasticly feckless industrialists and monopolists who succeeded through momentum rather than personal achievement.

      Her stories are great comic books. Terrible economics and sociology, and a mockery as "philosophy".

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 07:22:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Rand was a one trick pony (5+ / 0-)

      beloved of bright Junior high boys.

      and Bubbles Greenspan

      fact does not require fiction for balance

      by mollyd on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 07:32:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Rand had a fetish for the innovators (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      luvmovies2000, lams712

      not the workers. Her thing was all about the poor put upon Edisons of the world, maybe 1 out of every million, who had to put up with both the clueless rich and the rutting poor. She saw life as a struggle between this extremely small minority who actually did everything that advanced humanity, and the rest of humanity who, if left to their own devices, would revert to the state of primitive cavemen.

      I will say this however, I'd take a Randian over a Straussian any day. While they both look down on the mass of humanity as scum, at least the Randians are honest about it while the Straussians believe they are actually trying to help us.

  •  Thanks for Writing Up Your Comments (13+ / 0-)

    Thanks, NBBooks, for writing up your comments. I think this was very worthy of its own diary.

  •  Hamiltonian?! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deward Hastings, Fickle

    sorry, the physics people already adiabaticly absorbed him.

    A lovely little thinker, But a bugger when he's pissed

    by yuriwho on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 01:26:53 AM PST

  •  Remember too that it was Hamilton himself who (18+ / 0-)

    wrote Article V into the Constitution.

    Article V was placed in the Constitution by Hamilton because the framers recognized that the day would come when the elected representatives of this new Democracy would find a way to thwart the will of the people and rule them in the same self serving way that King George had done.

    Article V was written so that when that day did come, as indeed it has come, that the people would be able to demand that the Congress call a new Constitutional Convention so that the people once again could propose changes to their governing document that would restore the government to the people without the use of force.

    In a very real sense Article V was how Hamilton permanently wrote the Declaration of Independence into the Constitution.

    The only problem with Article V is that Congress has repeatedly for more than a hundred years refused to do as this Article demands that they do and convene a new Convention.

    Go here and learn more about the only peaceful way that the people of the United States can regain control of their Government.

    http://www.foavc.org/

    Never in the past 100 years has the nation been more likely than now to force this issue.

    If this convention were convened and proposed just one simple amendment the control of the government would be taken away from the monied interests which control it now and returned to the people.

    That amendment need only to make it possible for the electorate to recall any of their elected representatives ( including the President )  at any time they chose to do so simply by having a recall referendum.

    Once the Representatives understand that they really are supposed to work for the People and that the People can literally "fire" them at will at any time,  they will no longer be the servants of K Street but will once again truly become what they claim to be  - Public Servants - doing the will of the People.

    •  Not Enough (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alumbrados, Zydekos, Pris from LA

      We already have recall referendums, but they aren't used very much. Except when the political class gins them up, like when Republicans (like Darryl Issa) and Enron replaced Gray Davis with Schwarzenegger.

      The Constitution does have impeachment for all officers, including those not eligible for recall referendums. But we practically never use that, either. Hell, even Blagojevich is being targeted with some contrived administrative removal, rather than the impeachment that is perfectly clearly perfectly designed for a high criminal like him.

      I'm all for recall elections. In fact, I'd institutionalize a "midterm confidence" election every year for Representatives and every two years for president, VP and senators. Failing to win more than 1/3 the votes in that confidence election means removal, and a replacement election scheduled for not more than 3 months later. But not just at any time, and not just because an angry mob turns out while an apathetic electorate stays home, to fight an official who might just be taking a risk by leading a wayward people.

      I trust the people to govern ourselves, but I trust the Constitution's brakes on rash and too rapid change. We certainly need to practice recall and impeachment a lot more than the nearly 0% that we do, but we cannot just throw ourselves against the opposite extreme, especially at a time when everything is to stake, and we could lose everything. Because that's when Californians elect a Scwarzenegger, and we can't afford a national "mistake" like that.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 07:32:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'd way prefer parliamentary government (0+ / 0-)

        Part of the reason that republican government is a good thing is that it deals better with complex issues than anything you can do in a popular election.  Even if your electorate is serious and committed, you can only focus on so much in an election campaign.  And the modern, TV-driven electorate is neither of those things.

        The way that the California recall was used in 2003 is as good an example of that as anything else I could think up.  It's using democratic forms to serve non-democratic ends.

        Remember: in 1933, Hitler took over Germany using the forms of democratic government.  Democracy is the foundation of the system, but you need to build in enough limits so that the system stays a democratic system.

        "If another country builds a better car, we buy it. If they make a better wine, we drink it. If they have better healthcare . . . what's our problem? "

        by mbayrob on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 06:06:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  If Article V was not a very good thing for the (0+ / 0-)

        People, the Kongress would not have ignored it so diligently for the past 100 plus years.

        The mere threat of a recall referendum is all that is required to make Politicians work for the people again instead of for K Street.

  •  Thanks - you nailed it! (0+ / 0-)

    A return to real economic activity is the obvious way-ahead.

  •  I particularly liked the part (0+ / 0-)

    in Hamilton's speech about the wonders of child labor. Ah, liberals!

    Founder and CFO, The Giddiyap Society.

    by Trotsky the Horse on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 03:14:17 AM PST

    •  You say that like it's a bad thing... (0+ / 0-)

      Children worked on farms, worked in artisan workshops as apprentices, worked in homes doing chores and small handcraft work. It's not as if children were not going to work if Hamilton had not mentioned it.

      Seems to me Hamilton's point was, in a country with an abundance of raw material, and an undersupply of labor to process that raw material into finished goods, that putting women and children to work with the help of machines would allow higher productivity than those same women and children working with hand tools.

      At the time, I don't think it was a question of whether children would work, but how much more productive they would be tending a spinning jenny vs. spinning on a spindle or spinning wheel.

      •  The difference being (0+ / 0-)

        that a spinning jenney was one of hundreds owned by Somebody Else and tended continuously in a manner and for a time specified by that Somebody Else, the man with the Capital to invest in buying a hundred high-tech new-fangled devices and the resources to power them.  A drop spindle and a spinning wheel were both simple, low-cost devices that any woman could afford to purchase and use at her own convenience, working when she chose to work, getting up to make dinner, and organizing her work-schedule in the manner most appropriate to fulfill all of her needs as opposed to the overriding need to made money for Somebody Else.  While no doubt she produced more thread working twelve hours a day in a factory, one has to wonder what else she did NOT get done because she was co-opted into that oh-so-efficient production.  Not to mention how long she was able to work before she succumbed to any of the hundred occupational illnesses that suddenly became endemic due to long hours, limited ventilation, maximum exposure to other undernourished young women in virtual cattle-pens of factories, and of course, repetitive-motion stress and the dangers of working with powered equipment and few safety devices.

        "Productivity" should always be considered in context, rather than in the grand isolation typical of modern economics.  If it costs you ten dollars more of feed to produce five dollars more of meat, you've lost money, not gained it.  If it costs you thousands of wasted human lives so that everybody can buy a New Fashion every Season, you really haven't gained anything, either.

      •  That's right, (0+ / 0-)

        I say children dying in factories, with 16-hour workdays is a bad thing. As I said, typical liberal.

        Founder and CFO, The Giddiyap Society.

        by Trotsky the Horse on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 02:43:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The effect of Reaganomics on the next generation. (19+ / 0-)

    I'm a recent college grad from Stanford, and I remember just three years ago when I was a senior, financial jobs were the hot thing to do.  I saw some of the most talented people I've ever met, who could have invented the next energy source or cured the next disease, decide to work for hedge funds or investment banks or consulting firms instead.  I guess most people, when given the choice, want to be oligarchs, and why not? It pays well, 6-figures straight out of college, and it's pretty easy once you get past the first couple years.  But I always thought this was a red flag of sorts for our country, because making money by moving around money never seemed particularly sustainable.  And given the events of the last few months, I think it's clear to everyone that it's not.

    •  Social pressure and lack of imagination ain't new (0+ / 0-)

      It's been that way for a long time.  I'd guess I finished college before you were born.  Same then.

      The biggest problem is that it's expensive to go to college, more so now than it was back in my day.  So people have loans to pay off, and you don't do that teaching school in some poor town in Alabama or Mississippi.  Or by being a community organizer like Obama chose to be.  And families push their kids to choose careers where they will be "successful", meaning, usually, you make a lot of money.

      But yeah, big red flag for the country.  And you're right, it wasn't sustainable.  Not even for your classmates, it turns out.

      "If another country builds a better car, we buy it. If they make a better wine, we drink it. If they have better healthcare . . . what's our problem? "

      by mbayrob on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 06:11:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  agreed, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    opinionated, NBBooks, xaxado, etbnc

    'plantation mentality' combined with 'mob rule'... thinking of another currently rec'd story on monsanto. food mobsters! (not much of a coincidence that 'mobster' is only an 'n' away from 'monster'...)

    but mainly, it's all about ensuring ourselves protection from 'functional' psychopaths choosing a career path to mob-style industry and wealth. any way we can extend 'votes of no confidence' to the heads and corp. managers of our industries and remove them from power? (without setting off 'communist' bells in our own heads, let alone anyone else's?)

    •  You mean (0+ / 0-)

      other than heads on pikes?

      We need to encourage investment in production rather than investment in usury, speculation, rents or management.  I don't see any simple mechanism to accomplish that, no invisible hand or magic bullet, just regulation, verified and enforced, and confiscatory taxation for anyone who would play the Ponzi game with other people's money.

  •  If You Missed CBS "Sunday Morning" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TracieLynn, Pris from LA, addisnana

    They had a great report on this past Sunday morning:

    FDR's New Deal Blueprint For Obama

    How The Revolutionary WPA Jobs Program Helped Move A Nation Mired In Depression And Redefined The American Worker

    (CBS) The economic crisis of late has some people looking back to a set of old initials ... WPA. And they're thinking perhaps that New Deal program will serve as a model for our times. Our Cover Story is reported by Chip Reid:

    Anxiety and fear surround workers this holiday season. Last month, half a million people lost their jobs ... more than 2 million have since last December.

    "We need action, and action now," said President-elect Barack Obama. "That is why I have asked my economic team to develop an economic recovery plan for both Wall Street and Main Street that will help save or create two million jobs."

    In 1933, another new president faced a collapsing economy, and rallied the nation with similar words:

    "This nation is asking for action, and action now," said Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his first inaugural address.

    Short Photo Presentation

    I was hoping they would put up the Video, but once again they've passed by their lead story Video by not posting it. They do this all the time and I can't figure out why, they'll post up other important video's, which I think give more impact than just reading, but Sunday Morning posts the ones that really shouldn't and leave the others off.

    "How anyone can say that torture keeps Americans safe is beyond me -- unless you don't count American soldiers as Americans."

    by jimstaro on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 04:13:26 AM PST

  •  re: Hamilton's report to Congress (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    addisnana

    ...the one that contained his six-step plan? Could you please post a link to it? Thanks.

    I found a terrific marketing idea in a free e-book - no email address required. Check it out: http://www.supertips.com/ultimate/x/?id=1265

    by arubyan on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 04:15:49 AM PST

  •  that's some real food for thought, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    addisnana

    thank you NBBooks.  I feel like making up a stack of flyers and plastering them everywhere I can think of.

  •  'Hamiltonian' Has Come to Mean (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alumbrados, NBBooks, xaxado, 1BQ

    Permissive financialization of the economy -- the idea that the financial sector should be larger than the manufacturing sector.  See Robert Rubin's "Hamilton Project" for more.

    You can call me "Lord Bink Forester de Rothschild."

    by bink on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 04:42:41 AM PST

  •  I saw that show on Countdown and made a (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NBBooks

    comment about it in another diary.  I have been reading up a little on Hamilton.  

    May want to read this:

    http://www.sparknotes.com/...

  •  By the way Thank you for this diary you should (5+ / 0-)

    forward it to Change.org

  •  Exercise of reason! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    luvmovies2000

    Something that George Bush and the GOP right wing nuts not only don't understand but actually mock!

    Still waiting for real change

    by noofsh on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 04:50:40 AM PST

  •  I really liked this diary (7+ / 0-)

    Not the least because of this sentence: "What the United States represents in world history is the first successful experiment in self-government."

    Visit the Constitution Center in Philly, or the Statue of Liberty, or Fort McHenry in Baltimore (where the bombardment that led to the Star Spangled Banner occurred) and you start to get a feel for how special this new country was, at the time.

    At the end of the opening show at the Constitution Center I've been near tears, knowing how we've spit on a document that's been defended with the very lives of men and women for generations.

    Now, we're told to believe that a vote of 50% + 1 is enough to overturn it; by religious fanatics who want to make it subservient to their holy book, by bigots who want to hold onto their perceived power, and by greedy capitalists who want to deny that there should be any limit to their inherited wealth and power.

    Obama's got his work cut out for him in so many areas; the economy, restoring good relations with the rest of the world, ending the unjust and illegal war in Iraq. Let's hope he's also up to the task of restoring the rule of law.

    "Doing My Part to Piss Off the Religious Right" - A sign held by a 10-year old boy on 9-24-05

    by Timbuk3 on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 04:50:58 AM PST

  •  American MBA programs ... ugghhh (10+ / 0-)

    Think about it.  Many of the people that devise the schemes we are victims of, such as mortgage backed securities, come out of these MBA programs.  Bush himself claims to be a MBA.  What we need is business people who can make money the "old fashioned way" as the saying goes - they earned it. Not people that devise clever financial paper devices that turn out to be not so clever.

    Still waiting for real change

    by noofsh on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 04:56:43 AM PST

  •  This may be the best diary I have ever read! (9+ / 0-)

    This diary really puts it all together. The goods we need in our daily lives are supplied through extraction, agriculture and manufacturing; these are the real economic activities. Any economic sector not based on those activities is secondary and ultimately dependent on those activities succeeding. We have developed an economy which generates wealth and at the same time negatively impacts fundamental industry. It's now extremely difficult to make money running the fundamental industries and extremely easy to make money from usury, rent, and speculation. We are upside down and the cost of righting ourselves is going to be huge, but we have to do it.

  •  here's the problem (7+ / 0-)

    global wage arbitrage. Unless Americans themselves are willing to take significant price increases on the stuff they buy, we will never recover our manufacturing base in this country. When labor is 30-50 times more expensive in America compared to China or Vietnam, they will obviously go there to make the stuff not here.

    I don't know how to fix this in the short term, but that is simply the issue here: globalization. In a world without globalization is was obviously far easier to just make the stuff here, but today it's different.

    "People place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution. They don't put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible." --J.R.

    by michael1104 on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 04:59:52 AM PST

    •  Get rid of the unnaturally strong dollar n/t (0+ / 0-)
    •  More to it than that... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brooke In Seattle, Pris from LA

      The issue is not just labor/wage arbitrage. American companies always had the option of upgrading and investing in more and more advanced production machinery to offset labor costs and increase productivity at the same time. In most cases they simply choose to ship the same old production machinery to thrid world labor countries to continue to use the same labor numbers in countries who's labor is much cheaper than the US.

      However, a lot of this is because we have not updated our tax laws to accomidate capital investments in advanced production machinery so that investments of that nature are not taxed and depreciated in the manner they are now...

      We can resolve a lot of these issues through modernization of our tax laws as they apply to businesses...

      What we do for ourselves dies with us, what we do for others and the world remains and is immortal. (Albert Pine)

      by laughingriver on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 08:26:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Boston Tea Party protested a tax CUT (12+ / 0-)

    for the East India Company - the King favored a large corporation over the local merchants.  Many mistakenly think that the King was raising taxes.

    Wal-Mart is today's East India Company.

  •  Debt (0+ / 0-)

    "and we’re the most in-debt of any country in the world."

    On a per capital basis we are not the most in debt and I'm not talking about just 3rd world countries. Lots of Western Europeans countries have more national debt per capital than us. Not that it is a good thing we have so much debt, I'm just sayin.

  •  My very smart father-in-law always says that (6+ / 0-)

    the worst enemy of the true working man, who sweats and toils and creates "hard goods" is "Mr. In Da Middle" - the guy with no skin in the game who collects "the vig".   He's right.

    Having credibility when making an argument is the straightest path to persuasion.

    by SpamNunn on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 05:25:08 AM PST

  •  Good for Hartmann for taking on Reagan. (13+ / 0-)

    The Gipper is treated like way too much of a sacred cow even by most Democrats, just because the guy was a movie star who played his part well, and stayed popular for it.

    We need to break the news to those Americans who don't know, and remind those who suspected it:

    Ronald Reagan screwed you over, America.  

  •  I don't believe this (5+ / 0-)

    ... that the Reaganuts failed to recognize that actual industry is morally superior to usury, rent, and speculation

    Sacrificing morality for profit is the definition of modern conservative 'work'.

    Moving on, finally.

    by fisheye on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 06:01:42 AM PST

  •  GMAC finance and insurance sales divisions (4+ / 0-)

    remained profitable long after the auto manufacturing divisions stopped making money.

    Actually, I now recall seeing that factoid several years ago and thinking "Uh, oh - GM is going to fail someday."

    Health care crisis in a nutshell: Too much is expended on "managing" & too little on "caregiving"

    by Bill White on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 06:25:50 AM PST

  •  An real progressive economic agenda (14+ / 0-)

    must ressurect the idea of economic rent.  What an unfortunate uninviting name for so important an idea.  To whit: we must shift taxes from production onto rent in all it's forms.

    Where is this rent, you might ask?  The broadcast spectrum, mineral rights, pollution rights, monopoly rights-of-way (utilities, telcos), fishing rights, timber rights.  Wherever naturaly resources have a sellable value we should collect an annual charge equal to the rentable value (econommic rent).  And we must stop taxing labor and the products of labor as we do with payroll taxes, sales taxes building taxes, income taxes (on the low end).  

    Taxes on economic rent stimulate the economy.  Failure to tax economic rent retards the economy and drives wages lower by concentrating wealth into the hands of the few rent collectors.  

    It is crucial to the right wing agenda that all taxes be hated and they have been wildly successful at popularizing that idea by always pushing taxes that fall on labor.  When will progressives make the crucial distinctions with regard to taxation?

    The Long War is not on Iraq, Afghanistan, or Iran. It is on the American people.

    by Geonomist on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 06:28:12 AM PST

    •  Just be aware that that "the Right" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TracieLynn, karmsy, Pris from LA

      asserts that funding for social programs is economic rent "extorted by the Left leaning political classes.

      They have been claiming the rent territory for a long time.

      Health care crisis in a nutshell: Too much is expended on "managing" & too little on "caregiving"

      by Bill White on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 06:33:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  On the issue of rent (4+ / 0-)

      Stirling Newberry really showed me the way. But Stirling's writing can be a bit obtuse in some parts. You have done an admirable job of summarizing a point Stirling often makes also.

      A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

      by NBBooks on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 07:02:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Help! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pris from LA, 1BQ, mrchumchum

      I clicked on the Wikipedia entry, but the diarist's comment that economic rent was "unsatisfactorily explained" was a marvelous bit of reverse hyperbole.  Could someone please explain "economic rent" in ordinary English?

      •  Rent Redux (4+ / 0-)

        There are three factors for all wealth production: 1) Labor, 2) Natural Resources, and 3) Capital (itself a product and not necessary for primitive production).

        Picture the earth at a distance.  There is a small group of people on one side who "own" the earth and rent it to the other people.  The production they can extract (extract=medieval French for rent) from labor and capital is economic rent.

        All three factors "compete" with each other for their fraction of the wealth produced.  Also, within each factor different kinds of labor, natural resources, and capital compete with each other.  The within group competition is the one that the neo-cons want everyone to focus on and includes things like the different incomes due to better education.  The between group competition is where the really large differences occur and the neo-cons desperately want you to not understand those differences.  Or put another way, the average income for each group is determined by economic rent, while the variation withing each group is determined by a whole host of other factors.

        Taxes affect each factor differently.  Taxes on labor and capital diminish their return and cause less of the things being taxed.  Zoom back out to your picture of the earth and all it's resources.  Taxing those resources will not diminish the availablie quantity of those resources but will actually force the "owners" to either use them or turn them loose.  Taxes on natural resources (and monopolies generally) are not shiftable onto others.  

        Neoliberal economics was invented in the early 20th century by Rockefellers and others for the express purpose of obliterating the idea of economic rent.  They did this by conflating natural resources with capital and by deliberatly confusing the idea of economic rent. When idiots like George Will spout about "economic rent" in confusing terms they are just doing their jobs.  

        The Long War is not on Iraq, Afghanistan, or Iran. It is on the American people.

        by Geonomist on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 08:43:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I found that Stirling Newberry explains it best (7+ / 0-)

        by providing an example. A good one is the use of copy-right: someone creates something, then copyright allows the creator to charge rent for the use of what was created.

        Rent becomes a big problem when economic powers find ways to "rope of the commons" and charge rent for it. An example Newberry once used were credit cards: certain banks have exclusive access to Federal Reserve money at very low rates, then turn around and relend that money at 18% or 22% or whatever. That is essentially "rent" on that money.

        To really see the perniciousness of it, realize that the Fed could just as easily lend that low interest money to a manufacturing company to use. Such as, for example, General Motors. But the banks get the low interest money and are allowed to extract rent from it, while manufacturing companies are allowed to collapse.

        A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

        by NBBooks on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 08:55:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  OK... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pris from LA, 1BQ, mrchumchum

          Let me create a (highly simplified) example of my own, and see if I'm in the ballpark.  Think about a basic extraction industry, mining.  Labor is obviously the miners themselves, who go down into the tunnels and bring back the mineral wealth (of whatever kind).  Capital provides the "start-up" costs -- machinery, explosives, wages to miners -- that occur before any of the minerals are paid for by the ultimate user.  The owner of the "mineral rights" for the area (assuming someone other than Capital), receives Economic Rent for allowing the others access to do what they do to create new wealth.

          How'd I do?

          •  You passed the exam smartly! (6+ / 0-)

            I will add a few comments to your answers.  The mine operators are often labor too, although for the really large corporations the "management" is generally on the side of rent collection.  

            Also, the capital costs are on-going, not just start up.  Capital and labor are really natural partners, for the most part.  (This point becomes confused in present circumstances where the rent collectors and the capital owners are often the same people.)

            Note also that collecting rent will require accounting skills and rent models that are not well-developed today.  Some mines on rich seams will pay a higher rent than mines on poor seams.  And land located in center city is worth many times what a residential lot is worth.  

            We desparately need good rent models and if any progressive funders really want to help out in this area it would pay huge dividends toward creating a real progressive economic agenda.

            The Long War is not on Iraq, Afghanistan, or Iran. It is on the American people.

            by Geonomist on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 09:32:11 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I hope you can find the time (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              1BQ

              to develop these ideas more fully.

              Jonathon Larson has pointed out that Thorstein Veblen, who wrote the Theory of the Leisure Class, has some worthwhile thoughts along these lines, and once commented some thing like "All city politics is about real estate development."

              A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

              by NBBooks on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 09:56:21 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Capital and Labor are Natural Partners? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cynndara, mrchumchum

              I find it amazing that such a thing could be said on a progressive blog.  Have you read any actual history of the labor movement, in this country or in others? If capital and labor are natural partners, then why does capital so consistently oppose labor unions with violence and intimidation?  

              In fact, capital comes precisely from the exploitation of labor, which, rather than receiving the full value that it produces, is given only a fraction thereof.  The struggle between the two, in which labor unions play such a pivotal role, is over the surplus created by labor and then taken by capital.  Natural partners indeed!

              "When Adam delved and Eve span, Who then was a gentleman?" Fr. John Ball (1381)

              by Le Gauchiste on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 10:08:48 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I am fairly familiar with the history of (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                cynndara, mrchumchum

                the Labor movement in this country, although not chapter and verse.

                Speaking of history, downthread Deward Hastings mentions Henry George, who wrote on this topic extensively more than 100 years ago....just as relevant today.  Did you know that his book "Progress and Poverty" was the number one best-seller in the English language (excepting the bible)for more than 50 years?  And I bet you never even heard of it, and that is no mistake.

                The Labor Unions drafted George to run for mayor of NY in 1876 and even the winners agreed that they stole the election.  The early labor movement strongly supported the tax shift onto monopoly resources.  Samuel Gompers what a huge fan of the "single tax".  

                The capital vs. labor mindset is exactly what the very rich (rent collectors) want the public to believe.  It's three-card monte and they have your eyes where they want them.  In the early 20th century the progressive movemnet had two models to choose from.  George and rent collection or progressive income tax and unions.  They made a tragic mistake.  Perhaps in the present crisis new-old ideas can get a new hearing.

                The Long War is not on Iraq, Afghanistan, or Iran. It is on the American people.

                by Geonomist on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 11:35:05 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Georgeism (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  cynndara, mrchumchum

                  Of course I've heard of Henry George, I've even read his book.  I am writing a dissertation in history that focuses on NYC labor issues in the Gilded Age.

                  You might want to get your history straight, however, for George ran for NYC mayor in 1886, not 1876.  The difference is important, moreover, because the key to his support was the amazing growth of the Knights of Labor, the largest labor union the US had ever seen up to that time.  1886 was the year the Knights burst upon the scene, and is known as the Great Upheaval, because of the many labor boycotts and strikes that occurred that year.  George's popularity was based much less on the specifics of his theories than on his celebrity as a best selling author who truly cared about the struggles of working people.  

                  The fatal flaw in George's economic theory is easy to locate: most capitalists don't pay rent to anyone, they own the land upon which their factory sits, yet exploitation continues just the same.  It is not surprising that George focused on the land, of course, since 19th Century America had all that free land (really owned by Native Americans of course) seemingly for the taking.  Once the frontier dried up around the turn of the century, George's exclusive focus on ground rent (which is the more precise term) came to be seen as increasingly anachronistic.  

                  After all, it is simply beyond belief to think that George's single tax would end all exploitation of labor.  The focus must be at the point where wealth is produced, that is on the production process itself, not on ancillary issues like land ownership and ground rent.

                  But don't get me wrong, George was a brilliant man and a good progressive (though his arguments for the restriction of Chinese immigration give one pause), and the idea of high taxes on unimproved land is a very good one; it's just not the panacea for all social problems that George thought it was.  Ultimately, if you want to know why we have rich and poor and what to do about it, you've got to confront the system that creates the wealth and distributes it inequitably.

                  "When Adam delved and Eve span, Who then was a gentleman?" Fr. John Ball (1381)

                  by Le Gauchiste on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 12:04:27 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I recc'd the whole thread because this is all (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    thatvisionthing

                    news to me and because I'm learning so much and I don't know enough to have an opinion (what a great thread!).  I just find myself struck that now that our natural resources are running out and global warming is an urgent crisis, just how relevant a mindset that focuses on renting natural resources is.  A total shift away from neo-liberalism seems a long way off, but clearly part of the solution to global warming is taxing those who are using up non-renewable natural resources.  It puts the incentives right where they should be and the ownership of those resources in the hands of the people.

              •  I think the idea is that (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                locavore

                it's not Capital, per se, but Rentiers who are the natural exploiter of Labor.

                A simplified example:
                Joe works for company XXX. His work is sold by company XXX for $100,000 per year. Some of that money, say, $10,000, is the cost of capital needed to outfit Joe with whatever tools and working space he needs to do his job. The remaining $90,000 should go to Joe, except: Joe doesn't own the tools and working space. He 'rents' it from company XXX.

                If company XXX charges Joe $60,000 in 'rent' per year for stuff that costs them $10,000 per year in capital (ie: pays him an annual salery of $30,000) one could say that Joe is being exploited by Company XXX. But the exploitation is done by the excessive rent charged by his employers, not by the capital employed along side him to buy the tools and equipment and workspace.

                Anyway, that's my take on it.

            •  Henry George (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cynndara

              was on to something.

              Didn't get it all right, but pointed in the right direction . . .

            •  Thank you! (0+ / 0-)

              I had originally put in a clause about ongoing capital expenses, but the sentence was getting really convoluted, at which point I went back and added "(highly simplified)" to my first sentence.  And your point about the fluidity of just where capital aligns is well taken.

          •  I agree with Geonomist ! Well done ! n/t (0+ / 0-)

            A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

            by NBBooks on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 11:30:14 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I disagree. (0+ / 0-)

            The resource of the "mineral rights" isn't infinite, which this model assumes.  The owner doesn't merely allow access; he allows DEPLETION.  This is very much equivalent to capital.  It exists in a finite source and can be spent out or used up, at which time there isn't any more.  Likewise, the miners aren't "creating" wealth via use of capital and labor.  They are EXTRACTING existing wealth, which is like spending down a bank account.  The earth and society have both fixed (depletable) assets and realistically infinite assets (use of a certain radio frequency, for instance, is never depleted; five hundred million people can read Shakespeare without incrementally absorbing or damaging the text.)

            There need to be different taxation and rent regimes for depletable and non-depletable resources. This is one of the major drawbacks of current economic management.

    •  CARBON RENT!!!! most of all n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pris from LA
  •  Thank you (4+ / 0-)

    Excellent, excellent write-up.

    The W ... it stands for Wrong.

    by nosleep4u on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 06:28:58 AM PST

  •  I Think It's Much Simpler (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TracieLynn, Pris from LA

    I see the economy as having completely outgrown the framers' system and its need for the American people.

    All the cheap labor is offshore, and 95% of the world market is offshore. It wasn't about finance being morally equal or superior to other industry. It's just that they had a whole planet to do that other stuff.

    And by deporting all that other stuff, the stuff that sustains the people and lets them rise, they were disposing of an activist electorate, well informed and insisting on government serving them and protecting them from the hazards of the economy.

    Hamilton was the only framer with a clue, but even he died before industrialization had gotten very far along at all.

    The only way to make this system work democratically is to use it in aggressively activist ways on the economy and on the information and communication spheres that are well beyond any present conversations.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 06:35:22 AM PST

  •  It will take me a while to absorb this (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bustacap, rlharry, xaxado, Pris from LA

    But I think you've laid out the groundwork for the next revolution in America - back to our roots!

    I'm so glad Hartmann, and you, see clearly through the facade the oligarchs have so carefully constructed yet carried out so carelessly that they've almost killed the economy in their short-sighted greed and self-delusion.

    Forget Shakespeare's "kill all the lawyers" - let's kill the oligarchy first.

    "The first duty of government is to protect the powerless against the powerful."
    Code of Hammurabi, 1700 B.C.
    www.caringbridge.org/visit/brittany

    by CodeTalker on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 06:41:29 AM PST

  •  usery? (6+ / 0-)

    I generally agree with the points in this diary, but don't know that we need to import the fiery rhetoric of 19c European socialism to make them.  The idea, for example, that people in finance or other professions 'loathe work' or that history is a struggle between 'usurers' and 'laborers' is misleading. Or rather: it's just ideology, not reality.

    So, in addition to Hartmann and Hamilton, I suggest re-reading John Stuart Mill's Chapters On Socialism to help keep us all focused.  Mill's utilitarian view of economics is a close approximation of the approach the Obama administration is taking, and for good reason.  Mill's key point is that 'fiery rhetoric' is always inaccurate in its description of what has actually happened to bring an economy to a crisis, and what must happen for positive, long term change to occur.  Mill advises it is best for the greatest number of people to take a 'try many things' pragmatic approach in the short term than to leap blindly too conclusions based on false, but compelling ideological dichotomies.  And Mill didn't make any friends by saying so.

    So, yes...absolutely.  Let's rebuild U.S. manufacturing, let's follow a Hamiltonian strategy, let's listen to Hartmann.  But let's  not get drawn down into fiery ideological rhetoric along the way--which isn't easy, particularly as things get tougher and tougher...

     

    ---
    Tired of violent language from right-wing pundits? Buy my book: Outright Barbarous

    by Jeffrey Feldman on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 06:49:24 AM PST

    •  (*pff*) 'usury' (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      espresso, Pris from LA

      ---
      Tired of violent language from right-wing pundits? Buy my book: Outright Barbarous

      by Jeffrey Feldman on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 06:50:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, the rich really do despise the working class (4+ / 0-)

        Put on the clothes of a tired blue-collar worker and talk a walk around a ritzy shopping area. See what looks you get. I've done this. It's obvious how many of the rich think.

        That said, "let's  not get drawn down into fiery ideological rhetoric along the way" - I agree. The 19th-century 'fiery rhetoric' was effective for whipping things up when the situation was so dire only violent acts were going to achieve change. But we're not that low ... yet. Let's hope we never get there.

        The W ... it stands for Wrong.

        by nosleep4u on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 07:17:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  people hate their victims (4+ / 0-)

          always

          fact does not require fiction for balance

          by mollyd on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 07:38:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Try dressing up in expensive clothes (0+ / 0-)

          And go to a poor working class area. The reality is that human beings like people that are like themselves and dislike or are suspcious of those who are different.

          Dont tell me you arent suspicious or have dislike of the very rich? (but they deserve it right?)

          •  Yes, they do . . . (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cynndara

            The oppressed hate the oppressor, for obvious reasons, and

            the oppressor hates the oppressed, so he doesn't have to feel guilty about abusing them.

            •  Less hatred, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Deward Hastings

              more accurately contempt.  The rich have to see the poor as stupid, ignorant, lazy, and incorrigible.  If they were Real People, then the rich would have to feel guilty about how they treat them, and that would be uncomfortable.

              I recall one time my lady lawyer whining that she just couldn't get by on a hundred grand a year.  I looked her right in the eye and told her, "seeing as you fixed my salary, you know that I do perfectly well on a third of that.  I don't see what your problem is."  Her response?  "You don't UNDERSTAND!  I have EXPENSES.  The clothes I have to wear alone cost me a fortune!"  At which I slightly raised my eyebrows, because in my opinion, her so-expensive clothes were a tad too dramatic and proclaimed her tastelessness more than her professionalism.  Which of COURSE, being a mere lower-caste peon, I would never be so mannerless as to say out loud.

  •  Alexander Hamilton (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NBBooks, 1BQ, CA Berkeley WV

    This is excellent as far as it goes, however:  

    the military-industrial complex did not arise immediately after World War II; there was a huge decrease in military spending after that war, and after the Korean War as well.  The rise was much more jagged and uneven, and it took a while for it to get off the ground.

    white resentment has been greatly overrated as a cause of conservative success.  Even more of a cause was the increasing centrism of liberals, which led to the abandoment of economic issues as too radical, and the pursuit of anti-discrimation causes as a substitute for doing anything else.

    Robert Rubin is not a Hamiltonian.  Hamilton believed in protectionism, Rubin in free trade; that alone separates them.  As well, Hamilton believed in using government and public power to promote prosperity and the general welfare--the Federalist-Whig-Republican axis--while Rubin upholds a rigid "economic liberalism" founded upon laissez faire, balanced budgets, and small government, which he used, with the help of Bill Clinton, to such effectiveness (snark) in the 90's.

    •  Smedley Butler decried it (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pris from LA, Don Enrique

      He was recruited to be part of the plot to assisinated FDR. He talks about the Spanish-America n War.

      War is a Racket, 1935

      Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living~~Mother Jones

      by CA Berkeley WV on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 06:59:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Onf of the things I've always suspected (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pris from LA, 1BQ

      but never got around to actually investigating is that the military-industrial complex arose because of the fear, after World War Two, of a return of massive unemployment. This goes back to the whole question of what really ended the Depression. Most economic statistics show a recovery in 1933 or so, then a recession in 1937. Unemployment eased down from 25% to around 10% but remained rather high until the U.S, began preparing to enter the war.

      I's sure that there were discussions held and plans made on how to handle demobilization and especially the return of millions of servicemen and women to the civilian labor force after the war. I'll bet there is some discussion of it in whatever hearings there were on the G.I. Bill. But what I'm really wondering is if there was ever a conscious decision made to maintain large military forces overseas partly as a way of not overwhelming the economy with the sudden return of so many servicemen and women.

      But most of these considerations probably became secondary as the confrontation with communist Russia solidified into the Cold War, and Americans came to accept the need for large U.S. forces abroad as a result.

      A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

      by NBBooks on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 07:16:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  oiligarchy (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NBBooks, cynndara, Pris from LA

        The Prize by Daniel Yergin devotes several chapters to the deep interrelationship of oil and WWII.  The war was won by American oil, in conjunction with control over supply lines.  We have been ruled by an oiligarchy ever since.  The postwar proliferation of military bases reflected those dual energy agendas -- extraction and distribution.

        Humans are now enslaved by addiction to corporate output -- energy, pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, artificial 'food'.  All of these are manufactured products, yet as a group they are unsustainable.  Emblematic of our failure path is the overarching addiction to credit, especially that used to support 'lifestyle'.  

        Will Americans voluntarily go cold turkey?  Will they even admit to being junkies?  The Left is trying to perform a much needed intervention that is totally unwelcome.  

        Corporations need manufacturing more than humans do, just as they need the world of finance.  In truth the needs of corporations and humans are antithetical -- therein lies the problem.  Thom Hartmann covers that ground with breathtaking insight in Unequal Protection.

        The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein -- best book ever, I nominate for a Nobel Prize!

        by xaxado on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 09:24:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Building a global economy where (0+ / 0-)

    a lot of manufacturing is done in places that were merely suppliers of raw materials is on balance a good thing. It has just gone too far in many cases to the point where we expend energy to import items people here could grow in their backyards, produce in their basements or easily manufacture locally for about the same amount of money once transportation costs are removed. It has come to the point where we hardly manufacture anything and that is a recipe for a socially backward society and one that is highly vulnerable to external domination (forcing that nation to defend itself by military rather than economic and diplomatic means).

    We have only just begun and none too soon.

    by global citizen on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 07:00:49 AM PST

  •  I Distrust Hamilton (5+ / 0-)

    Hamilton created the US economy defined by debt.

    Hamilton ran the Federalist Party, filled with Tories (loyalists to the British King, and today called the "Conservative Party" in Britain).

    Hamilton's famous duel to his death was practically guaranteed to kill either the US Treasury Secretary (himself) or its Vice President (Aaron Burr), and make the survivor the murderer of the other officer. Which of course was bad for the United States, and the rule of law.

    I distrust Hamilton. Evidently he created a plan for industrializing the US, which brought with its great success quite a lot of America's most serious problems. Even only 70 years after his early death, the North and South fought the Civil War largely over conflicts between their economies, which were largely defined by industrialization (including slavery). The problem the US now has which is the greatest in its history is our vast debt, which is a major feature of Hamilton's system.

    The industrialization and financing of the US certainly helped give the US global power, which remade the world in a way that is very sympathetic to US interests. But the way Hamilton's plan was executed over the last couple centuries brought with it our hardest, perhaps insolvable, problems. And perhaps those problems were inevitably seeded by Hamilton's designs, and his own ways of executing them committing us to this course. We should be at least as suspicious of Hamilton and his origination of our economy as we are of Reagan and his "transformations" of it. I was around before 1981 (and the "shock doctrine" 1982 recession), and I know that our economic problems were already well established by then, even if Reagan and the Bush dynasty took them to grotesque extremes.

    Let's be more careful than simply wishing for a return to some kind of Hambletonian Eden. The truth is much more complicated, and we can never "go back", anyhow.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 07:06:52 AM PST

    •  On the duel (0+ / 0-)

      Hamilton was no longer Treasury Secretary in 1804.  And it was Hamilton that wrote extensively in this newspapers for the House of Representative Federalists to vote for Jefferson in the 1801 contingent election over Burr.  (Jefferson and Burr tied and the Federalist states withheld Jefferson the 9 state votes necessary for 35 ballots - the nation nearly had no President in 1801)

      Hamilton rightly labeled Burr as an ambitious man without morals or a philosophy for the good of the Nation, whereas Jefferson may have been his ideological counter, but his support of the Nation was unquestionable.  He went on to defame Burr in the New York papers during his run for Governor in 1804 after Jefferson gave him the boot.

      I think Hamilton has gotten a bad wrap - often because his positions have been mischaracterized in the context of modern ideological and political divisions.  I think Hamilton would be loath of both major parties today and their economic policy failures.

      •  So It Was OK to Kill the VP? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cynndara

        True, Hamilton wasn't Treasury Secretary by the time of the duel. Thanks for the correction.

        Hamilton hated Burr, thought he was unfit for the VP office. So his support for the nation allowed him to shoot its duly elected vice president, emptying the office and showing other private citizens that elections aren't the only way to "settle" political conflicts?

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 08:12:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Burr turned out to be a traitor (0+ / 0-)

          While yes, it was wrong and illegal for them to duel it isn't like he was attempting to assassinate Burr.

          Besides, Burr turned out to be a traitor.  Its a shame Hamilton died and not Burr.

          "It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said." "The War Prayer" by Mark Twain

          by Quanta on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 08:21:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Duel could have been more productive (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cynndara

            Hamilton was indeed an elitist f-wad. He instigated the duel by slanderous accusations of incest against Burr.  Too bad they both did not get killed at once.  
            There is some information indicating that Hamilton did not actually delope (aim away) but got burned by the hair trigger he had rigged his pistol with. They both definitely loathed each other though and had ceased to provide any vision.

          •  Burr was never proven (0+ / 0-)

            to be a traitor.  He was found not guilty when tried, and hounded to his death by Hamilton's friends.

            When I looked the duel up for background information on another project, I found that while Burr had previously been involved in two duels, Hamilton had been involved in TWENTY-SIX.  Yes, TWENTY-SIX duels.  That alone suggests that the man had a tendency to play hardball and was difficult to get along with.  In addition, it seems just a mite convenient that he left a letter saying that he intended to "waste" his shot, i.e., fire wide to avoid injuring Burr.  This was a widely-practiced recourse to end an argument that had gone too far.  But it was so widely-recognized, that there were very obvious, deliberate ways to do it -- firing in the air, swinging your arm obviously and widely to the side -- to make it clear that you were giving up your shot.  That Hamilton did NOT do this, is indicated by the record, which tells of friends informing Burr that the letter was found in Hamilton's papers, upon which Burr's response, if I recall correctly, was on the order of, "The bastard".  Meaning that Hamilton did NOT fire wide, allowing Burr to do likewise without fear of injury or disgrace.  He merely left a fake letter, so that if he got killed, Burr would be blamed for shooting a disarmed man.

            All in all, I have to agree with Burr.  Hamilton was a bastard -- the illegitimate son of a younger nobleman who wanted nothing so much as to be recognized himself as a member of the aristocracy, even if he had to create that aristocracy from scratch.  Well, he got his wish posthumously.

        •  Burr was not on the 1804 ballot (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Quanta, Mr SeeMore

          for VP.  Jefferson refused to run with him - and the Democratic-Republican party did not endorse him for VP, instead choosing Madison.

          Burr was running for Governor of New York, Hamilton's home state.  Hamilton ran most of the papers and further argued against Burr holding office.

          It was Burr that challenged Hamilton - Hamilton accepted nd chose the location and details.

          Hamilton wrote the night before that he intended to "throw away" his first fire.  Which he did - he shot and hit a tree well over Burr's right sholder.

          Burr had every intention to kill Hamilton and shot him in the abdomen.  The next day he blamed fog saying "I would have shot him in the heart."

          Hamilton was also believed to be mentally unstable at that point, having lost his son to a duel earlier in the year.

          Obviously dueling was/is barbaric.  Just providing the historical context.  It was also common for duels to be set up but for principles to throw away their shots and then shake and resolve that character was respected.  This appeared to be Hamiltons belief.

          This was each man showed both his courage and his compassion as gentlemen.

          Burr had no such intention - and further went on to be involved with a double-agent (Wilkenson) in trying to secede Louisiana and Texas territories into a Western USA.  So hind-sight is 20-20.

          •  Hamilton's Recklessness (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cynndara

            If Burr had hit Hamilton in an extremity, there's no reason to believe Hamilton's second shot wouldn't have killed the vice president of the United States. Besides, you are ascribing certainty to recounts of Hamilton's first shot that are disputed equally on the side of each version. It's fairly settled that Hamilton's first shot didn't follow the standard procedure for throwing away a shot to encourage the opponent to do the same, courage having been proved by both opponents standing ready to fire.

            One detail you're not mentioning is that among Hamilton's complaints about Burr was that Burr was the lawyer who conducted Maria Reynolds' divorce. Reynolds' husband had blackmailed Hamilton for years over the affair between his wife and Hamilton (which continued after the divorce), blackmail which eventually forced the affair into the open and forced Hamilton to resign from the Treasury Secretary office he'd created.

            Hamilton was brilliant. But his execution of his inspired plans was repeatedly reckless, repeatedly put his personal desires ahead of his obligations to his family, his country, and ultimately his own safety. I distrust him. If he had distrusted himself for the same reasons evident to both of us, he might have survived the duel, and even have remained Treasury Secretary longer.

            "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

            by DocGonzo on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 08:58:18 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Hartmann's comments on Hamilton (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bink, rlharry, BWasikIUgrad, NBBooks, 1BQ

      He isn't a huge fan of Hamilton either.  On most things he is definitely a Jeffersonian.  That said, what Hartmann was proposing is a revival of the policies proposed by Hamilton to encourage the growth of industry.  Not adopting all of Hamilton's ideology.

      For example the first point of Hamilton's proposal

      1. Protecting duties -- or duties on those foreign articles which are the rivals of the domestic ones intended to be encouraged.

      You don't have to agree with Hamilton on many things but can still agree we need protective tarrifs.

      Or his thrid point

      1. Prohibitions of the exportation of the Materials of Manufactures.

      While outright prohibition is to much, taxing the export of raw materials to make more insentive for the materials to be sold and used domestically is a reasonable policy.

      It isn't dreaming of some Hamiltonian Eden but rather utilizing the tools the built our original industrial infrastructure to rebuild ours today.

      "It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said." "The War Prayer" by Mark Twain

      by Quanta on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 08:17:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Essential Industries (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cynndara, 1BQ

        The issue of trade protection is very complex. In Hamilton's time, some of the extra complexity actually made some of the decisions simpler in favor of protectionism. Since global trade was not at all as open, fast and cheap as it is now, the choice of whether to protect a domestic producer from foreign imports or to protect some other domestic consumer's access to cheaper foreign imports was not so hard. America was more self sufficient partly of necessity, because there were fewer foreign suppliers cheaper and more timely than domestic, for both raw materials and for finished goods, especially finished machinery imported by manufacturers. A couple centuries ago, we could start with closed, tariffed borders, and selectively open trade wherever more economical imports didn't threaten a strategic domestic industry. But we had to protect domestic industries, because losing one to foreign competition wasn't as easily recovered by reinvesting in a different, more competitive one.

        Today, capital is much more fluid and fungible. America's economy is much more adaptive, though not nearly 100% (the fantasy of the pure "liberalism" that means "unregulated trade"). We can start with a small core of essential industries that factors other than pure economics tell us we must protect. Much as Japan protects their domestic rice industry to ensure adequate self sufficiency, despite the higher cost, to protect their political system that in turn protects the economy, America has essential industries, too. However, America's trade is diversified enough through global competitors that we some of our essential consumption is not "blackmailable" by foreign suppliers, even without artificial protections, or even without significant domestic production. However, those essential commodities still need strategic protection in our foreign policy, and rapid redevelopment infrastructure if foreign competition fails to protect us as much as protected domestic production would.

        Those basics are still fairly complex, but there are extra layers of complexity. Economics demonstrably leads to bad choices in quality: we're still importing lots of poisonous lead-painted toys and melamine-pumped food from China, to name just two obvious examples. And a general case for protecting America's domestic labor market from foreign competition that's subsidized by destroying "foreign" environment which eventually damages American health and environment is also becoming clear. Eventually the analogous threats presented by foreign industries subsidized by lesser labor protections that similarly hurt America's domestic labor protections - with unacceptable consequences, despite an economics rationale - will become as clear to the general public as have the environmental. And since the environmental and labor problems with unregulated trade have only recently become indisputable (to those with enough information, and not overwhelmed by propaganda), I expect there are other factors we'll learn about soon enough of equal import (pun intended :).

        So again, I distrust Hamilton. Like I said, not necessarily because his plans were wrong for the 1790s (and perhaps for a century or more after). But because we can't go back to those conditions. We wouldn't want to, because global exporters have quite a lot for American consumers and producers alike to use better than pure self-sufficiency (or approximately pure, as in Hamilton's time). What's clearly instructed from Hamilton's industrialization is that America benefits hugely from a government mediated industrial policy completely integrated with trade policy. The hard part is balancing the protection of domestic industries with the advantages of foreign suppliers. It's hard to identify exactly what to protect, and exactly how, but it's pretty clear that the minimum protection (not zero) is the best. Or at least better for today than what we've done since Hamilton penned his designs (with a quill).

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 08:44:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree on this point: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          1BQ

          What's clearly instructed from Hamilton's industrialization is that America benefits hugely from a government mediated industrial policy completely integrated with trade policy.

          I think there is a great danger of a sort of protectionism that is largely driven by the xenophobic elements usually found in the Rethuglican base. That won't accomplish much without a clear industrial policy based on greening the economy and moving the economy off its addiction to fossil fuels.

          As for trade policy, Stirling Newberry had an excellent diary about two years ago in which he noted the crucial difference between economic development based on production and trade of consumer goods, which really does not help a country as much as economic development based on real national development including infrastructure development. Not sure if Newberrry's post was on DailyKos or The Agonist.

          A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

          by NBBooks on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 11:23:45 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yet (0+ / 0-)

            an intelligent trade policy that promotes good jobs for the working class could indeed garner support from some of the most rabid of the Republican base, whose anger is fueled largely by their economic impotence and oppression, channeled into unproductive directions by capitalist propaganda.  Good jobs with security, decent pay, and dignity would go a LONG way towards reducing the level of Rush Limbaugh-ism in Red Country.

    •  It's extremely easy to come up with a (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      1BQ

      case against Hamilton, as I noted in another comment up thread. All I can reply with is that Chernow does a very good job of going through the criticisms, and debunking them.

      A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

      by NBBooks on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 08:58:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Chernow Seems Too Tolerant of Tories (0+ / 0-)

        Possibly the most fundamental political question about Hamilton was his alliance with Tories, incorporation of them into the leadership of the new nation. Tories were loyal to the British during the Revolution. In Britain, they were loyal to the monarchy when Parliament challenged them. Tories became the Federalists, who became the Republicans (in the US; in the UK they became the Conservatives), and whose ideologies are completely consistent with the Unitary Executive, deregulation, and the rightwing corporate anarchy promoted by the Federalist Society.

        New York was a Tory stronghold. New York's delegation to the Continental Congress refused to vote for the Declaration of Independence, instead abstaining. Washington lost the early Battle of New York (right in my front yard, here in downtown Brooklyn), and the British held NYC for the entire war. Hamilton might have had compelling reasons to embrace Tories (his wife's sister, with whom he probably had one of his affairs, was married to a British MP). And New York's Tories were the continuity of trade that grew NYC into the global prominence we still enjoy.

        But the costs of that kind of cozying up to, and dependence on, America's violently "settled" enemies, are clear (to me, and others who know this history), especially from our historical vantage point. If Chernow successfully "debunks" that criticism, I'm interested. Otherwise, it's a glaring, and possibly telling, omission.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 09:24:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  This is an important contribution (5+ / 0-)

    to the contemporary discussion about class in America. It's a discussion we have to have, to get anywhere in rebuilding the country.

    While reading, I thought of a college boyfriend of mine back in the 80s. He was from a reasonably well-to-do family that acted like it was filthy stinkin' rich--in the Reaganite mold, though not overtly political. In hindsight, J. was notable for his certainty that people who actually worked for a living, were somehow or other beneath him. Oh, he had things to say about labor unions and "blue-collar" employment (shudder, shudder, cringe, cringe). But J. had earned nothing on his own merits, and neither had his parents, really. The professional accomplishments that had put the family in the wealthy class (or the very top of the middle class :) were already generations ago.

    Personally, J. was "nothing special," on any indicator. He lacked curiosity. He wasn't funny. He wasn't smart enough to stand out in any way. But he felt soooo entitled.  

    This is exactly the attitude that has to be questioned, or thrown into relief, to bring society back into some kind of balance.  

  •  Isn't it ironic (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cynndara

    The definition of conservative is supposed to be one who wishes to keep the status quo. But in fact, to follow our Founders is always to be liberal (or progressive), for they were the ones who most clearly saw the true reality of class in the world (even if they didn't fully understand what they saw themselves).

    •  Well the founders were revolutionaries (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cynndara

      The thoughts and ideals of revolutionaries are pretty much bound to be liberal.  At least when they are doing so radical as creating a republic in a world that hasn't seen a republic since the Roman republic fell.

      "It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said." "The War Prayer" by Mark Twain

      by Quanta on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 08:24:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wish I could recc this a 100 times n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  I listened too (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NBBooks, Pris from LA, mkor7

    And went right online to read what Hamilton wrote. Hartmann is right on track with everything. I actually got excited about how it connected to our founding fathers, then realized that we still have a Congress that is being controlled by the very people Hamilton and Jefferson both wanted controlled - those rich, southern, narrow-minded souls who live by Reagan's legacy. Until Americans wake up and get rid of this kind of "leader", we're not going to progress out of this hole they've dug us into.

    I grew up in CA back in the olden days when education was paramount and good. Then Reagan was elected by the idiots of the century and the state went right down the toilet in every way. Now look at it. And now look at what 8 years of Reagan, 4 years of GHWB, and 8 years of GWB have done this country. I don't understand how no one can see the mess in using these morons ideas have made. Ok, rant over. I needed to read this diary. It made my day.

  •  Found the Report (0+ / 0-)

    Here's the link to a PDF version of the report.

    http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/...

  •  No one else has brought it up (5+ / 0-)

    So I just wanted to remind everyone: the 21st century industrial economy cannot be like the 20th century heavy industrial economy. The planet can't take it.

    Also, a lot of that stuff runs on cheap oil, which -- even if we haven't passed peak oil already -- it's going to happen, so we can't build a future ignoring it.

    We cannot be building more cars at home, when we need to build fewer cars period. We cannot be making useless junk at home instead of in China when we need less useless junk.  

    But that's a good thing. We can reclaim our industrial lead by manufacturing products in entirely new technologies. Products of reclamation and efficiency and energy sources other than oil.

    •  Industry built on new technology (7+ / 0-)

      is still industry.  If organic farming, reclaiming materials from garbage and industrial waste, and solar and wind energy became the heavy industries of the 21st century, we would have a prosperous and equitable economy.

    •  I was thinking this thought as I browsed through (0+ / 0-)

      the comments.  I kept thinking how can going back to the past when the industrial revolution was in its infancy help us moving into the future when prosperity will depend on re-allocation of ever dwindling resources in a totally global economic environment.

      It all makes fascinating reading but basically it is still a diatribe on class warfare and who reaps the benefit of labour, the labourers or the manager and owners.

      What is the solution? participation in profits?  is that not taking us perilously close to the idealism of shared wealth that failed miserably in the Soviet experiment?.

      It is all fascinating but as a blueprint for the future i am not at all sure how it would all work out.

      Interesting.  And certainly deserves far more attention than a cursory day's reading on a blog.  Any indication's that Obama's economic team are thinking along these lines?

      •  The Soviets (0+ / 0-)

        didn't really fail.  They started in the 14th century (pre-Renaissance, for all practical purposes)and got themselves to the 20th in about 75 years.  Overall, that wasn't all that bad a run, considering that they also had to contend with continuous efforts by the entire developed world to undercut their progress for the entire period excepting only the five years that they were in the middle of the world's worst war ever with Germany.

        Sure, they made a lot of mistakes, especially with trying to impose democracy from the top down, which really doesn't work too well.  But again, starting with medieval serfs in iron collars and ending up with the only working space booster in the world, well, they didn't do too bad.

  •  progressives in some ways (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925

    take a destructive counterpoint, claiming corporations are the root of all evil.

    It is the corporations that allow real industry as well as the insidious financial parasites.  The management of the corporations fall into the same pattern of thinking, short term results are the only ones that matter, that Americans generally fall into.  Corporations are a tool, whether we use them well or badly is pretty much up to us.  Unlike guns, their utility is not an inherent ability to destroy life.

    The whole post industrial economic theory is useless.   You can't thrive trading paper amongst the richest 1% and exacting slave labor out of everyone else.  Its a system so unbalanced it will inevitably fail.

    For each individual who doesn't think they can have an effect, we have a window of opportunity.  We need to understand our individual choices shape the economy.  We have Obama asking for input.  We need to be a nation of producers again.  There is no excuse not to demand that of ourselves and our government.

  •  American School of Economics FTW! (0+ / 0-)

    Good diary

  •  Serendipity (7+ / 0-)

    I was just having a conversation a few days back about the rise of the MBA class in this country. I went to college in 1983 and I can remember the explosion of MBAs. It was the second largest degree program AT AN ENGINEERING SCHOOL for god's sake!

    I remember talking with these future masters of the universe. One in particular struck me as typical: he talked on and on about how he had his whole life planned out. He would graduate from college, start a business, build it up until he could go public, make millions, and then retire some time around 35 and live the rest of his life as a venture capitalist.

    I asked him what his business would make. He dismissed the question as unimportant.

    And that was the problem right there. From the 80s onward we have raised an entire generation of managers who don't give one fig about what it is they make, just so long as they make money. We no longer have managers who actually understand the industries they manage. They only know balance sheets and the prospectus. Workers are just one more thing to be manipulated into that magic formula that will MAKE MONEY FAST!

    When Bush was "elected" in 2000 I can remember people talking about him being the first MBA president. I never understood why this was considered a good thing.

    •  In my school (0+ / 0-)

      in 1977, the Business students?  They were the guys on sports scholarships who needed an easy courseload.  There was nothing being taught in that department that used or required intelligence, and nobody attracted to Business that had any.  It's what keeps me scratching my head when these trust-funded MBAs are presented as the "best and the brightest".  When I was in school, those were the ones getting degrees in rocket science?

  •  12/13/08 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925

    Countdown: Thom Hartmann on the GOP Busting Unions

    http://www.youtube.com/...

    Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official... ~Theodore Roosevelt

    by Pam from Calif on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 09:22:18 AM PST

  •  Excellent diary... tipped and recced -eom (0+ / 0-)

    Free University and Health Care for all, now. -8.88, -7.13

    by SoCalHobbit on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 09:46:50 AM PST

  •  Hamilton was Economist Lawyer (3+ / 0-)

     at a time when those two professions were closer to being synonyms that distinct views.  Like the vast majority of the Founders - understanding that only the courthouse - and the quick, efficient and full rememdy for wrongs done - could insure value in market transactions - was part and parcel of the Revolution.  

     The great theoretical, practical and now demonstrated flaw in Republican so called thinking is that it undermines a fundamental linchpin of the American revolution - and in so doing destroy value.  

     One of the things happening now in the economy is that the true value of goods and services is going down - because there is no remedy to effectively allow the good businessperson to succeed against the depradations of the bad.

  •  There may be some (less here than elsewhere) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cynndara

    Who will decry a return to an economy which actually has making things at it's center, instead of, say, merely trading debt, or becoming a service or "knowledge-based" economy. Such decrials may arise from a philosophical bent, they also derive from a fear that we are now, as a nation, outclassed or outgunned in industry by other Nations.

    On the latter fear that we are behind the eight-ball if we attempt to re-emphasize real industry and actual manufacturing consider this: the young nation that was the newly independent United States was in even worse shape, yet overcame much higher odds to succeed.

    On the former philosophical bent against manufacturing, while I would applaud some modern manufacturing that is not factory intensive (software being a recent example) it remains true that actually making tangible articles must be a critical and central component of a country's attributes. It is precisely our de-emphasizing of the manfacturing of tangible goods that leaves us in our current perilous condition. Moreover, it also, in the end, leaves us unable to adequately defend ourselves should real, rather than figurative wolves come knocking at our door.

  •  Finally the trad media is listening to Hartmann! (0+ / 0-)
  •  This grounds the right decision in our traditions (0+ / 0-)

    And that's why it's so important.  There is nothing stronger than this kind of traditional appeal.  For this country simply to survive we meed to tear down Reaganomics with a vengeance.

  •  Right on (0+ / 0-)

    We went from the industrial or commercial economy to the modern "service economy"

    I've said before and I'll continue to say that a "service economy" is a "service charge economy."   When you're not creating goods and creating wealth, then you're simply stirring the pot of what existed when the "service economy" emerged.

    It's similar to how I jumped on a reaganomics nut on an automotive forum when he started blathering about how we just have to cut taxes and shrink spending..blah blah blah... My response to him was to point out that the only reason he can tell himself that Reaganomics "worked" was because of the aggregate saved wealth of the middle and working classes.  Even though personal wealth began shrinking and savings dropped off, it APPEARED (for people who equate economy and DJIA) that the economy was strong.  What was REALLY happening was the slow siphoning of all that distributed wealth upwards.  

    Like an economic mushroom cloud, as it were.

    Service CHARGE Economy...seriously.  When our economy is based on creating goods, the service sector does fine because the gainfully employed citizens are out spending.  When the manufacturing jobs go away, you're left with temp, "service," etc.

    A left-of-center blow-harded member of the goose-stepping blog-stapo since 2004.

    by floundericiousMI on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 11:35:51 AM PST

  •  amen, hartmann...Reagan and co. have ruined us (0+ / 0-)

    change the airport name to Hartmann

  •  This haunts me: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brooke In Seattle, cynndara, locavore

    Jefferson:

    I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.

    Which is why we MUST re-examine the Federal Reserve (which was foisted rather stealthily upon the People of the US), and the "banking/financial industry", especially since this "industry" has just been handed such staggering sums!

    •  A new model for banks... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Prognosticator

      Here.  And a good diary by StrandedWind on the subject here. NBBooks diary really gets to the heart of what's wrong with the economy but there is a way forward that doesn't rely on federal legislation but on local progressive activism, putting our money where our mouth is.

          Establishing Community Capital is vital to creating a financially and environmentally  sustainable economy. Conventional mortgages, in which the interest paid is twice(at least) the principal, and investor expectations of high yields, which the diarist aptly defines as usury, rent, and speculation, drive the constant growth which devours and pollutes the resources of the earth and capital accumulation in the hands of the wealthy.
        It is one of the hidden secrets of democratic capitalism that we have the right to freely associate our goods,resources and capital for the benefit of the greater good.  There is absolutely no reason, beside simple human greed, we couldn't have local banks everywhere whose mission is local community investment and not the profits of Wall Street stockholders and executives.
        If you own stocks, through ira's, 401k's or other pension investments, you are complicit in the economic injustices perpetrated in the current financial system and by the corporations whose stock you hold.  Money is power and we willingly give it to those bastards for the sake of our personal economic security.  There is another way.

      "Tell me... do you like music Mr. Finch?" Evey Hammond, V for Vendetta

      by locavore on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 01:54:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

skybluewater, beedee, Leslie in CA, Alumbrados, Ed in Montana, zzyzx, buffalo soldier, Sylv, boydog, DeminNewJ, chrississippi, Chris Andersen, aisling, Upper West, Beth, hannah, tundraman, eugene, grollen, ogre, eastbound, Brent, GOTV, Better Days, Liberal Thinking, jneufnyc, Phoenix Rising, Geenius at Wrok, Raybin, TrueBlueMajority, Tuffy, Unstable Isotope, whataboutbob, ScientistMom in NY, TocqueDeville, TechBob, Emerson, dengre, lobbygow, tommurphy, Arnie, Pescadero Bill, Lipstick Liberal, tacet, histopresto, rhubarb, eeff, chicagochristianleft, HootieMcBoob, autoegocrat, lepermessiah, marjo, joeKelley, mataliandy, TexasDemocrat, humbucker, Polarmaker, eyeswideopen, jackspace, opinionated, Hose B, JSCram3254, TracieLynn, powerplay40, justme, wonkydonkey, mbayrob, understandinglife, Jeffrey Feldman, SoCalJayhawk, ScrewySquirrel, ehavenot, Ian S, boadicea, Geonomist, Jeffersonian, roses, michelle, javelina, itsmitch, Jeanni, CodeTalker, jbeach, luku, sngmama, maven98, Boxers, fumie, UniC, dksbook, Melanchthon, DustyMathom, dangoch, kharma, writingdiva, psnyder, danthrax, bogdanmi, Tracker, sooner, 49blue, GW Chimpzilla, LordMike, Hiro, laughingriver, Black Maned Pensator, hoplite9, attydave, defluxion10, TX Scotia, snakelass, papercut, puffin6092, rlharry, grrr, Timbuk3, lcrp, Democratic Hawk, BWasikIUgrad, dkmich, DMiller, horatio in il, zett, WV Democrat, mungley, smartgo, Deward Hastings, Mosquito Pilot, poemworld, BigDuck, valadon, Daddy Bartholomew, jainm, snowbird42, Josiah Bartlett, dakrle, Wojo, Gowrie Gal, tea in the harbor, luvmovies2000, tardcat, Skennet Boch, joanneleon, G2geek, Massman, chumley, Saz, spiceagony, mediaprisoner, Bluesee, radarlady, 3goldens, NoMoreLies, freakofsociety, Captain Slack, jarneys dad, baccaruda, LisaZ, socks, Heiuan, relentless, stlawrence, InExile, Halcyon, PBen, sap, Superpole, electricgrendel, Alice Venturi, frandor55, kaye, juliesie, Brooke In Seattle, volballplr, Dobber, trinityfly, Bouwerie Boy, FutureNow, eru, Jules Beaujolais, Mz Kleen, LNK, indiemcemopants, majcmb1, Pam from Calif, Sun Tzu, jimstaro, Existentialist, jimreyn, elbamash, lotlizard, gerardbellavita, CompaniaHill, docstymie, wgard, libbie, Cyber Kat, techno, sodalis, dsteffen, bunsk, AngieV, Lindy, proudprogressiveCA, empathy, timba, Snud, xaxnar, Jim P, Mother Mags, martini, BachFan, danmac, MissInformation, BalanceSeeker, Orinoco, blizek, Do Tell, golem, Mahnkenstein, sherlyle, tung sol, BobbyK, BlueInARedState, andydoubtless, profundo, Kimball Cross, liberalconservative, seefleur, mooshter, Prognosticator, Samwoman, buhdydharma, The Wizard, Magnifico, sullynyc, campdurning, DarkestHour, sravaka, tecampbell, shrike, global citizen, jasonbl, gooderservice, gatorcog, nilocjin, WILRO09, happy camper, armadillo, CTLiberal, Preston S, el cid, boatsie, ER Doc, Pilgrim X, Sourmash, JugOPunch, doingbusinessas, toys, Texdude50, BoojumSte, revgerry, shaharazade, davidfry, bstotts, thatvisionthing, Land of Lincoln Dem, AllanTBG, markthshark, sasher, Opposite Reaction, One Pissed Off Liberal, BoyBlue, catadromous, ailanthus, nathguy, ibonewits, xaxado, dotsright, SparkleMotion, C Barr, Duke S, BobSchacht, bldr, Loudoun County Dem, tgypsy, Deadicated Marxist, hormiguero, scienceworm, Searching for Truth, BruceMcF, terryhallinan, threegoal, yoduuuh do or do not, DrWolfy, Allogenes, noofsh, Jimdotz, BehereBenow, Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle, londubh, newpioneer, Strabo, Canyon Lefty, Seneca Doane, stratocasterman, vbdietz, letsgetreal, twistedflatcat, netguyct, jnhobbs, jhop7, uciguy30, electric meatball, M Sullivan, JML9999, Korkenzieher, Tahlula, Quanta, sable, Hens Teeth, roycej, cville townie, gizmo59, rmonroe, Zacapoet, cynndara, rogerdaddy, chapter1, aztecraingod, Mr SeeMore, ShadowSD, cottondon, edison, christiana, BlueTape, Youffraita, Steve PB, bogmanoc, tm in nj, Archangel, jamess, Yohannon, Calamity Jean, Lujane, royce, boatjones, bluesheep, Serpents Sorrow, a lien on everything, Bigyaknut, Pogyak, pragprogress, luckylizard, blotto, Uncle Bob, BYw, red 83, ScienceRocks, BlueGenes, dont think, palantir, Acugal, ludwig van brickoven, Rich Santoro, Reframing the Debate, Leo in NJ, fayea, legendmn, Fiddlegirl, maggiejean, cameoanne, 1BQ, Bule Betawi, rsmpdx, George Hier, emboyo, meatwad420, DynamicUno, Skeptical Bastard, thomasjefferson33, banjolele, eltee, DemocraticOz, Rabbithead, davisnn, ColoradoWantsWolves, Partisan Progressive, FrugalGranny, FilipinoMonkey, mrchumchum, Patch Adam, fastpathguru, Daily Activist, dtjen, zbbrox, followyourbliss, TheOpinionGuy, bfitzinAR, kw7777777, Leslie in KY, billssha, kevinpdx, Keith Pickering, Dark UltraValia, galaxie5000, IreGyre, elropsych, vadasz, MrDeadeye2U, jfromga, FundaMental Transformation, josephcast, beeninthewoods, gaspi, Larsstephens, lh114, NCrissieB, Just Bob, bohemian darling, Lazar, bradreiman, oohdoiloveyou, RevolutionRock, sovery, hippiechick13, ArtSchmart, the law of ducks, robertacker13, blueingreen, MarkMarvin, fidellio, TheWesternSun, on board 47, Obamacrat, chrome327, randomcharacters123, legalchic, 2questions, ATFILLINOIS, Dexter, thededhed65, RJP9999, Ohio Max, cordgrass, ctlrick, ItsSimpleSimon, SoCalHobbit, AJ in Camden, Earth Ling, Unenergy, MsGrin, czardingus, CA Berkeley WV, Oh Mary Oh, ElwoodPDowd, nosleep4u, splittingred, slice, gobears2000, CornSyrupAwareness, ginfizz, WineRev, KikiK, sparkycom, atheistben, nicethugbert, buffalogal55, locavore, commongood, Fickle, speet, sallym, Tom Borthwick, elisathon, BicycleDave, MKHector, rubyfruitjungle7, unfairly balanced

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site