Tuesday, May 26, 2009

US and UK 'proceeding downward'

Recession 'shape'
points down
W. Joseph Stroupe, Asia Times: The shape of this crisis, then, is a series of steps proceeding downward into the gloom for the US and Britain. The two powers are guilty of massive over-reach, and now they are suffering the terrible consequences. Sooner or later, these ongoing events that were inevitable, and that should have been foreseen before the new asset-based model was so enthusiastically and wholly adopted, will force the two powers to make the gut-wrenching, long reversion back to a more traditional economic model.

The longer their leaders resist this, the more profoundly painful and destructive the adjustment will become. Obviously, this situation provides a tremendous opportunity for the rest of the world, but especially for the increasingly wealthy and powerful states in the East, to capitalize in various ways. The ongoing crash of the US and UK liberal capitalistic incarnations of the asset-based economic/financial model also, therefore signifies the collective rise of the Eastern managed-capitalistic (authoritarian) incarnations of the traditional income-based model.

Leo Panitch, Foreign Policy: Penning his most famous works in an era when the French and American revolutions were less than a hundred years old, Marx... was singularly cognizant of what he called the 'most revolutionary part' played in human history by the bourgeoisie -- those forerunners of today's Wall Street bankers and corporate executives... He understood that 'the need for a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the whole surface of the globe.'... Marx identified how disastrous speculation could trigger and exacerbate crises in the whole economy.

Marx would have no illusions that economic catastrophe would itself bring about change. He knew very well that capitalism, by its nature, breeds and fosters social isolation. Such a system, he wrote, 'leaves no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, then callous cash payment.' Indeed, capitalism leaves societies mired 'in the icy water of egotistical calculation.'... We now can see where ignoring Marx while trusting in Adam Smith's 'invisible hand' gets you.

As Columbian President Alvaro Uribe, a close US ally, put it: '[The] whole world has financed the United States, and I believe that they have a reciprocal debt with the planet.'

There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often endangers a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.
Image source here.