the new normal by Mohamed A El-Erian

Is Capitalism Doomed? by Nouriel Roubini

After his death of capitalism rhetorical flourish Roubini provides us with a damn good overview of the world situation, the predictable “Marx was right” aside, followed by his own dubious plan to save capitalism

On the other hand, Mohamed A. El-Erian, CEO of PIMCO, a global investment management firm and one of the world’s largest bond investors provides this more measured evaluation:

PIMCO frames its discussions of the post-2008 outlook using four potential scenarios. We rate the current environment a “C-minus.”

■ Scenario A: A rapid V-shaped recovery
■ Scenario B: A slower bounce back
■ Scenario C: The New Normal of low growth, persistent high unemployment and recurring balance sheet issues in developed markets, and higher growth in emerging markets
■ Scenario D: Deflation and double-dip recession

As long as the global economy remains in the New Normal scenario C, the systemically important emerging markets will likely be able to manage their success, given their balance sheet cushions. The rest of the world should be able to accommodate that success because it’s happening gradually over a secular time frame.

However, if the global economy slips closer to the D scenario of a high chance of recession, then the outlook varies among emerging markets, depending on the strength of balance sheets and the ability for EM domestic consumption to increase to counter more limited global demand

10 Responses to “the new normal by Mohamed A El-Erian”

  1. 1 Steve Owens

    Patrick on another thread you asked me about my faith in Capitalism being a management problem rather than a system problem.
    Well I agree with almost everyone on the left that Capitalism has some systemic problems but I think that these problems are not terminal but can be managed.
    To prove this let as look at the example of the worst problem that Capitalism has ever faced the Great Depression. Lets look at the major features of that depression and categorize the possible responses as a: good management b: poor management or c: it doesn’t matter Capitalism can’t be managed
    1929 saw a recession start is the USA in August and it October the stock market crashed now putting aside any action pre 1929 that may have forestalled the recession and market crash we find ourselves awoken in the middle of this crisis.
    June 1930 The President signs the Smoot-Hawley tariff Now is the erection of a tariff good management bad management or irrelevant?
    By 1932 10,000 US Banks had failed. There was an opportunity for the government to nationalize the banks and keep the banking sector afloat but the US government just let them Lehman style go under. Is That A B or C?
    1933 Saw the New Deal a massive public works programme good ? bad? or irrelevant?
    FDR against the advice he received from Keynes always tried to balance the budget again A,B or C
    1934 saw the return of growth in the economy and significant falls in unemployment
    1934 saw Sweden be the first country to emerge from the depression after having followed the deficit spending advice they received from John Maynard
    1937 and FDR cuts spending which is followed by a downturn in the economy
    1939 Massive armaments spending see the US emerge from the depression.
    Clearly C is wrong, actions taken during a depression can make things worse just as actions can make things better.
    Raising tariffs and letting banks fail make the situation worse
    Government spending and deficit spending clearly make things better What clearer examples do you need Sweden adopts deficit spending and is the first country to emerge
    The US was emerging but then cut spending and went backwards.
    Massive military spending resolved the problem but it didn’t need to be spending on guns it could just as easily been spending on roads and hospitals and research and any amount of socially useful stuff.

  2. 2 patrickm

    Your ‘management’ assertion that Capitalism can really spend its way out of virtually any economic problem is noted. Actually it’s worse for you in that ultimately – no matter what got society to the point where your policies are applied – you could apply YOUR spend our way forward policies and all will be well. Your global solution of steering right through capitalist ownership issues, into further glorious peaceful development through government’s spending when markets get into problems is wonderful news. All we will have to do is adopt your policies of government spending on good things (we better name the political party with these proposals) then something something something and ensure that governments continue and talk to themselves about spending this thing called money on lots of good things and then society will march peacefully forward. How easy is that! I’ll vote for you!

    I suppose capitalism works best if people who don’t own capital defend those that do. They must know what they are doing because they own stuff. So you postulate that we awake after the crisis has hit despite people that know what they are doing running things, oh well. Democracy might have got in the way and bad politicians got in the way I suppose. Anyway you accept for argument’s sake that the market might crash but if it did then government policy can get the right settings to restore stability and steady development.

    There might be a small problem. Actually I think if you go directly to Unemployment and Revolution you will see that your one question presented as several questions is addressed directly.

    start here…

    Fine Tuning

    When people say that government policy is responsible for unemployment being more than it should be, they usually argue that there should be a certain increase or decrease in interest rates, the exchange rate, taxes, deficits or what have you.

    Perhaps there should be. Who knows and who cares? The argument always revolve around the fact that any effect in one direction is counteracted by other effects in the opposite direction.

    Quite clearly there is some underlying movement in the economy itself that makes the adjustments in government policy necessary. People argue about whether interest rates should be marginally increased or decreased, but they have gone up from 2.1% on two year government securities in 1950 to 10.8% in 1974 on their own volition and for objective reasons. Nobody seriously suggests that any government policy could successfully halve today’s interest rates, let alone restore them to their 1950 levels.

    Adroit handling or misguided policies could make a good situation better, or a bad situation worse, or vice versa. But in a market economy it is the market, not government policy, that determines the overall situation. And we are talking about a world market, completely outside the control of any group of governments, let alone the Australian Government.

    A government that raises interest rates when it should be lowering them, or vice versa, can certainly make things worse. The same goes for other economic variables that government policy can influence.

    But the best a government can do is get its economic policy absolutely right, all the time. In that case they will avoid precipitating any crisis before it is unavoidable, which is not quite the same thing as having “control”. No amount of “fine tuning” can determine the overall direction that the world economy is moving. Nor can it change the fact that interest rates and other variables must be adjusted in accordance with that movement and not against it.

    “Fine tuning” has been likened to trying to straighten a piece of string by pushing it. The sort of “controls” available to governments are just not capable of determining economic developments.

    If you want to straighten a string you need to be able to pull both ends, not just push.

    If you want to control unemployment, you have to have complete central planning of investment and employment and indeed, production and consumption generally.

    The economy needs a new engine and new steering, not just “fine tuning”.

    There is a branch of mathematics called “control theory” which investigates what observations one needs to be able to make, and what variables one needs to have control of, to determine the future path of a complex dynamic system.

    Economists have a “simpler” procedure which consists of counting the number of “variables” and “policy instruments” and hoping they are equal. To predict the future course of the economy they do a lot of plotting straight lines through two points.

    The fact is that even very simple dynamic systems are extremely difficult to observe and predict, let alone “control”. It is sheer stupidity to imagine that anything so complex as a modern market economy can be effectively controlled by anything so simple as government monetary and financial policies superimposed on market price movements.

    A system like this is bound to have oscillatory movements and catastrophes. It is like trying to damp out ripples in a pond by making counter ripples. You will get pretty interference patterns, but nothing very stable.

    Before you can control any dynamic system you have to at least be able to predict what the effect of any changes you make will be. If anyone knew how to predict that, for the world market, they would not be wasting their time giving economic advice to governments. Literally billions of dollars could be made by speculation on the commodity and financial futures markets if anyone knew how to predict what the world market would do next, let alone control it. The funds you could accumulate from speculation would give you far more control over subsequent market movements than any amount of government policy.

    There seems to be no obvious reason why anybody on the left should want to enter into the argument about whose policies for fine tuning the economy would work better. But if we are to do so, there seems no compelling reason to enter on the Labor Party side of that debate.

    There is good evidence that the conservative parties are better at that kind of thing than the Labor Party is, because they have more idea of what it is all about. At least they understand that the name of the game is “profits” and are therefore trying to make the capitalist economy work the only way it can. Labor Governments do end up adapting themselves to economic reality, and working as hard as they can to boost business profits. But it does not seem to come naturally, and we have to put up with an awful lot of hypocritical mumbo-jumbo about the workers’ interests, before they get on with it.

    Labor Party supporters make persistent efforts to prove that the other party’s economic policies are stupidly wrong. This proves only one thing. It proves that these people, even if allegedly “Marxist”, have a very deep faith that capitalism can be made to work much better, and that their party is the one to do it.

    Political Facts

    Most voters understand how capitalism works, better than the Labor Party does, and they are aware that conservative parties know more about economic management than reformist parties do. That is one major reason so many workers vote for the party that frankly upholds the interests of their bosses. If people did not accept the basic idea of having bosses, they would be working for a revolution, not voting Labor.


    As you see you are not addressing the material that is there to answer.

    Your faith in this system when unemployment is driving massive refugee flows is beyond strange.

    Refugees flee Syria because there is war there. But they are fleeing Turkey because there is opportunity in Sweden!

    Millions of Syrians are in Turkey and now the flow of a family originally from Kobane on a little boat to Greece shocks the world. The family wanted to go further through peaceful but poor Greece to a place called prosperity and this clumsy attempt to travel has brought death to the trusting children who had been safe in Turkey.

    Your system is failing. Prosperity is not to be found by everybody moving to Sweden as the correct policies of ‘spend’ get implemented. People sloshing about is no answer to fascists generating refugees nor is counter cyclical spending the answer to Capitalist crisis of overproduction.

  3. 3 Steve Owens

    Ok, system is not my system. Question is can economy be controlled or is it beyond human intervention.
    My position is that the economy is nothing more that human activity and as such is very malleable.
    The possibility of directing the economy is always there. In the late 1930s many governments directed their economies it was just a matter of political will.
    The system deserves to be replaced by a democratic system where full utilization of resources is used for the benefit of all members of that society but that aint happening anytime soon.
    All I am arguing is that the Capitalist system is capable of self correction and is able to reproduce itself without becoming unworkable.
    I don’t expect any 1930s style depression, it is possible but not probable.

  4. 4 patrickm

    ‘All I am arguing is that the Capitalist system is capable of self correction and is able to reproduce itself without becoming unworkable.’ and so you ‘don’t expect any 1930s style depression, it is possible but not probable.’

    In that case I’m operating on a form of the Pottery Barn approach so it is your system as it is you that is defending it with your ‘political will’ – while wanting it reformed or tweeked – against a communist revolution that I want to see abolish it. That communist revolution is not currently on any agenda but in my view your thatcherite view is very tired.

    I raise the property issue as the fundamental blockage and you do not. For you there is no alternative, just some tweeking.

    I just think that western capitalism’s current version is much better than the western world’s past especially pre the liberation of the Iraqi peoples when Halabja was a realist thatcherite shrug. Current western bourgeois democracy is FAR better than other people’s on this little planets current present but is nothing to boast about in the 21st C. I think Australia Holland Denmark New Zealand Canada Sweden Iceland and so forth – as the best that there is – are only reformable until that situation changes. So I welcome your reformist agenda delivering more progress. But our societies look to my mind very shabby when compared to what human productive power let loose will (I believe) unleash in the future.

    I think that policies of imperialism look particularly shabby and were on display the other day with Putin as guest of honor and the Chinese leader what’s his name dressing in a Mao suit for dramatic effect. This while three Chinese ships go for a sail up to the Bering strait while ditherer is clowning around in Alaska over Global fucking warming. All this crap for the buildup to his vaudeville appearance at Paris!

    The media has reports of Putin sending troops to Syria and the do nothing POTUS is flogging green medicine up in the apparently not so frozen north. Australia’s well to do pensioners go touring Alaska using -what was that product fueling the ships and planes they go there in?- and their leader is busy preaching carbon tax to stop this being such an accessible tourist destination.

    Oh yes the revolting ‘leaders’. Al Gore did this junk better than the current crop of capitalism’s finest and Neverlands dopy-est.

    But we have people pretending to talk about issues and all they are actually doing is taking up time while the questions go entirely unanswered and this they call politics. They are -left and right reformers- all forms of a tweedledee/dum thatcherite world view that if it talks at all about capitalism does so as if the alternative is some sort of east european revisionist police state. Not only were the masses only too happy to sweep away police states when they got the chance – to the enthusiastic cheering from western ML theorists that support cultural revolution, but here is your next retreat self evidently laid out by your own logic.


    The zombies of western leftism and all the trot groups that took to the streets to defend Saddam from attack are still ropeable about the Maoist betrayal of ‘their’ attempts at a portuguese ‘revolution’. They wanted to avoid democracy and institute some form of stultifying east european style disaster when the masse only wanted to have a west european level of personal freedom and opportunity. Things like voting in free and fair elections. When fascist rule was unraveling in the iberian peninsula what to do next got thrown on the table and neverland was exposed. Regional collapse of what had been running not just those two backwaters but their colonial possessions brought on a developed capitalism and right realists followed murderous policies that cost hundreds of thousands their life in East Timor as but one example.

    You say; ’The system deserves to be replaced by a democratic system where full utilization of resources is used for the benefit of all members of that society.‘ and so you see yourself as a realistic reformer of the current ‘flawed’ system that in your view is so malleable that what is only required is your good spending policies. Chile was similarly reformed from the left after a shorter spell under direct control of Thatcher’s favorite fascist.

    All systems are human creations (‘human activity’) and given the vast differences in how humans have associated since we have stepped from the trees we are extremely malleable creatures. But I am not just a materialist I am an historical materialist that sees class society as one stream of development broken by the method of production. Slave society lasted for thousands of years so many who were in the business of ridding the world of it faced many generations of reactionaries proclaiming their ‘truth’ is [the desired change]….’that aint happening anytime soon’. It sure didn’t and dust never vanishes of it’s own accord.

  5. 5 Steve Owens

    Hi Pat I know next to nothing about Portugal and would be happy to have you suggest some relevant reading.
    As to me holding a Thatcherite view I cant think of anything where myself and that person would be in agreement, except maybe that we both support free trade over protectionism but then so did Marx.
    Oh yes I supported Solidarity the Polish trade union and I think that she did as well. Apart from that nothing else comes to mind.

  6. 6 patrickm

    The little issue of your agreement with her that ‘there is no alternative’ is what I am alluding to.

    I note that you would like to think yourself more liberal, or perhaps less conservative than such an open conservative but it’s hard to know what that really means with nothing to do for you but follow the Tweedle’s and mutter about the requirement for better management. Your style or type of cruise missile warrior and political party remains unspecified.

    Far be it for me to point out how rank opportunists carry on; we see that right across the old Neverland gang with the Obama supporting and now the refugee fudging. Just watch them tell lies about what is even at issue. Liars like the old Neverland groups and other realist types are fully exposed by reality. But serious people make an effort to understand Thatcher/Fukuyama end of history assertions that there is no alternative.

    I accept that when the various governing elites muck things up with bad policies -that makes something EVEN WORSE your -proposed- party is ever ready to assert that the particular crisis was never something to fix up but rather manage as ‘a stitch in time that would have saved nine’ proposition; that is if only your party had been brought to the levers of power sooner this would not be happening. Actually you and I both know that there is nothing here to get one’s hand on prior to the ‘should have done’ period. Like a refugee flood no one could apparently see coming! No one has been asked to seriously address these looming economic issues for years. What do we have on the mass media and wall to wall in the ABC? Intellectual bankrupts who even at that stand a head and shoulder above the cowards who won’t face up to work on economic theory while pretending that dumping all the old realist policies of preserving tyranny is THE great disaster!

    Nevermind the propertyless classes; they can apparently all be usefully ‘put to work’ and higher wages paid either directly or as some social wage because something something something across the globe. If the music stops and leaves some of the beloved propertied classes without a chair your proposed party can blame the policy settings of the at fault political management.

    Too hot or too cold your Goldilocks party will find a just right policy AFTER the tasting. Rear view policy party. You can tell the masses that if only the owning classes had listened to your party all would have been well and thus it’s time to put your lot in to manage. Politics for driving forwards using the rear view mirror. A Furedi franchise perhaps? A manifesto written in Icelandic Greek to be read by no one really. Syriza and Podemos opportunism adopted instead and with the all important Obama look into the distance and vaudeville. NO one can even buy this drivel because you won’t put a ‘price’ on your pig in a poke politics.

    Your economics will follow your military stands. For example you changed your mind on Iraqi fascists being allowed to terrorise the Kurds of Iraq at will and instead you NOW support the policy of killing any Iraqi troops that Saddam sent to menace the Kurds with your full if late support for the rear view mirror NFZ war that was imposed on that fascist force. You also (curiously) support those that just have a ‘look out for number one ‘realist’’ world view.

    But you will nod that people have rights as well as responsibilities as other note that they have responsibilities just as they have rights. Thatcher could tell you a thing or two about both sides to that coin. What would Thatcher make of the refugee shemozzle? Who will now be forced to face responsibilities as well as proclaim they have our western rights? Is this your policy of rescue war unfolding? In your world view of this war what territory do the fascists get to keep and what trade are they to be permitted? Just who’s mothers sons are to do the liberating in the war that you are proposing to lead via looking in the rear view mirror? What of all these young strong Syrians that were safe in Turkey? Is this capitalism run well? Is this how we can spend on lots of good things?

  7. 7 Steve Owens

    I also remember that I quite liked Karl Poppers book “Enemies of Democracy” I think it was called. Margaret Thatcher nominated Popper as her favorite philosopher.
    Just on the NO Fly Zone over northern Iraq it did serve a decent purpose when initally installed in that period where the US had defeated Saddam but then flipped to helping him regain control over the rebellious north and south and then decided that he should have control but not air control.
    It had clearly come to it’s use by date when the sanctions pushed the Kurdish factions into open warfare and the faction lead by Barzani invited Saddam to send ground forces into Irbil which lead to a massacre of Kurds from the faction lead by Talibani.
    So I dont think that you are correct to say that I fully support the no fly zone I am prepared to say that it was a good initial thing and I really cant remember if I had a position on such a small aspect of the whole struggle I honestly didnt follow the wars aftermath that closely. After the US sided with Saddam to defeat the anti Saddam uprisings I didnt pay close attention.

  8. 8 patrickm

    Australian bombers will now fly above Syria with your support as they contribute to the U.S. effort alongside others like the British. Whatever Kurds were doing among themselves on the ground many years back no NFZ war against fascists ever had a ‘use by date’ for progressives. Progressives fight fascists as opportunity presents. This thought of yours only highlights the irrelevance of the Kurds having to be the ones to call in the now Australian bombers and direct your cruise missiles at this time, as for all you know they might call them in on each other. That absence of a use by date is what protracted war is all about. Death to Fascism starts with insisting that they don’t fly above any of ‘us’ that are fighting them and it requires killing those that do. That is why we look to offence and do not stand on the defence. We look to advance on them and confine their ships to port and destroy their armed forces and liberate the people who they prevent from having a say let alone a vote over their own lives. After Syria you are starting to understand just how deadly they are as an enemy and how vital it is to get a big war against them fought on the revolutionaries terms.

    The subsequent destruction of the Iraqi Baathists ground forces, ALL their tanks and artillery all their heavy weapons systems all their bases all their undisturbed command and control systems, WAS the liberation of the Iraqi people (armed with their small arms) and was on reflection – a no-brainer for democratic minded people and all democratic revolutionaries, because fascists block democracy and will do so till they are defeated. The Iraqi people wanted democratic revolution.

    Because ‘the people want revolution’ as the 3rd great movement of this century the COW were always on the side of the angels and not only that, were going to win the first great fight of this protracted war that you have NOW joined in supporting. This was previous fighting so that the masses even stood a chance in this present fight that you and all the others like GR support. Cast aside all your illusions because that is what and who you are fighting now. This is what now faces us but without an air force and without a navy in Iraq. We face a more rag tag fascist force still with substantially the same officer cast and play book but without all the old assets.

    Abbott has just announced that we will attack Daesh in Syria as well but he pointed out that though the Assad regime is evil they would not be our target. I say they eventually will have to be because they are the root cause of this war. There will have to be some boots on the ground and the sooner the better but I fear that the world will have to wait till Obama is out of the way before what has to be done is done. The Syrian masses suffer from this lack of action.

    ‘From little things big things grow’- and all while most people aren’t paying close attention. (just like the old Steve when still in Neverland) That saying ought to be just a truism and very well known to anyone involved in the struggle for democracy, or at anyrate with an interest in that struggle always based on reform of what is currently before the people. After all ‘the times they are a changin’ was penned with a purpose more than ½ a century ago and despite all the doom and gloom, progress is bloody well evident even over short-ish lifetimes that have come and gone since then. Reform has been viable all that time in any parts of the world that have been democratic and that reform has stamped a new reality on the western world of the 21st Century.

    As all those even short lives came and went some very few become iconic of the human condition and the other day a photo of a drowned little boy stopped the chattering classes in their tracks. He was drowned while emigrating with his family from Turkey to what is known to be the prosperous West, and whatever else was involved in his sad death – ignorance surely killed him; the drowned boy didn’t even have a life jacket to give him half a chance in a capsize and the little boat capsized.

    Ruling class ideas naturally dominate any society; so ‘there is no alternative’ Popper enthusiasts dominate advanced capitalist societies and have both a liberal and conservative wing to their vast numbers. That’s the key to the Tweedle dum and dee show with Tweedle contention the flapping about that makes it all appear to balance up and fly. But for millions of non owners around the globe this capitalist system that you enthuse over, is just a better system than anything of the past, but is not a long term part of any future that non owners aspire to as the 99%. The MSM and political elites may have this acceptable triumphalist formation as the two party dictatorships of the Anglo world but it is wearing very thin for millions in all manner of countries. I won’t argue that there are not plenty of backward countries that could stand a vast leap forward into Western bourgeois democracy and a burst of Capitalism, because I think it self evident that there are such places, just as Lenin turned to it in the period of NEP. But such a leap is not available to advanced capitalist countries and so it’s no more than the usual and predictable owning class assertions uttered at a period of boom that has grabbed your attention after the old worldview went sour for you.

    But by definition all progressives are interested in that very long struggle for levels of democracy that can produce such a marked difference to people’s lives that they would take such stupid risks to get their children there. And curiously IMV the most exciting developments in the struggle for democracy that have occurred in the course of the 21st C are in Nepal of all places.

    There is a lot of rubble in Nepal but the planet provided that rubble without a barrel bomb from Putin. They are poor and they are divided with a powerful deep state that will not just vanish. Real politics at every level of struggle is underway in Nepal and Communists are leading this struggle for democracy just to establish the further credibility of ‘my’ general political outlook.

    Where do you think the exciting developments have occurred in this 21stC? What do you think is going on with human progress? Now be careful where those simple questions lead you. Blank staring may be best when you know you are all alone and can’t even bother pretending that there is a political party that has got its shit together to the point of getting a Western democrat like you involved. Remember the mirror looks backwards and I’ll just say that we progressives have an interest in tying any backwards glance to forward movement. We have to have a program, not a should of done criticism of the past actions of those that own the world.

    Spain, Greece and Iceland all have openly self declared left political formations proposing forward movement. The Syrians seek out the cold of Iceland not the idyllic Greek islands. Your plan for the Swedish and presumably Icelandic government to spend their way forward into prosperity is now resplendent with opportunities for unlimited good spending to get on with and just as evidently daft. Profit has something to do with the capitalist system and when it jams up our market economy will unravel.

    We are only 4 years down the track of our discussion over Syria and the great leadership over refugees is coming from who exactly? Not the Greens in Australia and the ALP – well nuff said about those Tweedles that you always insist people line up and actually vote for. Tweedledee Abbott takes longer than you to say nothing and one can see the sort of public support that his methods inspire. His smug conservative world view is detested by many Australians as the polling indicates. The responsible ABC types are blathering as shifty Shorten slithers towards the lodge. Nothing much to wake up for in Australia yet. But what of the revolutionary transformation of the Middle East, Africa and the rest of the planet?

    Fifteen years down this ongoing track and there has been more than a few issues that have stood out but many more that have come up and are ticking along either positively or negatively. Democrats have much to think through including on the economic front. But where is your grand examples of politics to emulate? Where is the economic dynamo for your ongoing and desperately required democratic revolution? Iceland? Sweden? Are you sure they are!

    I think there is a trend towards democratic progress despite the costly counter trend that Putin can be said to now lead. Now there is an international embarrassment to humanity that can make even Abbott look good. Netanyahu; Abdel Fattah el-Sisi; al Assad; what’s his name in China; and a dozen other countries are resistance to and blockages to that trend but really of ‘small’ historical moment at that, when set against the trend itself. But they will not vanish without huge effort from the democratically minded masses. The political leadership in Nepal are no such blockage. The do nothing ditherer looks saint like by comparison to the rogues gallery that to me look a wee bit Nicolae Ceaucescu-esk in their current unstable grandeur. But who is to say such fascists won’t cling on like Assad is and generate another world wide war rather than fall over from domestic pressure. Obama in the context of the tasks set before the Western world has been an utter disaster and it will probably now get even worse. To think oneself progressive and yet blame Bush for the current ‘disaster’ when Syrian neglect is so apparent is just stupid. But that is what is still happening with the MSM and refugees from Neverland. That is the consensus default that makes this period rediculous.

    Assad is now just tyrant of the Alawite enclave called non rubble-town and that proto country is nestled in the region of ruins and rubble that his and Putin’s barrels are generating and this seems to be the general direction of the refugee making policy that we are living through. Assad is working to a plan. Putin is calling everyone’s bluff, and Turkey that has carried the lion’s share of the refugee millions is being demonised for fuck sake by the opportunist Neverland zombies.

    Just think about this; after four years the pseudoleft want what policies exactly? I think ‘hands off the Middle East: take all refugees’; seems to be a fair summation of what spotty is supposed to be chanting about now. Best I can make out is that they want the fascists left to dominate any territory that they can grab for now and then later they will want the next bit of planet earth conceded. The job seems to be to take refugees from the fascists and generally grumble about Western leaderships being some sort of nasty rightists.

    One can’t deny that whatever the raw materials to hand across this little planet there has been an escalation in that very ancient struggle for democracy and our pro-democratic side has suffered both expensive progress and even some setbacks. But as in the past it would appear that progress is both expensive and glacial and there are always the sell outs and give ups. No one ought to think otherwise when we have been repeatedly told to cast aside all illusions and prepare for struggle. We progressives from the non owning classes should simply assume that ‘there is no alternative’ other than to struggle.

    So our economic policies are that we are genuinely concerned with the well being of the masses. Owning classes and those that parrot them give us economic ‘medicine’ for our own good (to be sure) but that is not the Communists way. We look to class interests and stand with the Proletarian masses as the democratic means to progress. We say if the owning class can’t make it work then workers will. As you see we in our own style also believe ‘there is no alternative’.

    Economics and the property question is – despite western fantasies from supporters of the current system – still dramatically front and centre issues across much of the planet. So Marxists simply bet the issues of ownership of the means of production will continue to unfold in industrialised countries just as it unfolds in places that are more backwards in their ownership methods. That says very little about policy on any given day. Communists say that democracy is in the interests of the 99%.

    I think the ‘enemies of democracy’ can be reasonably clearly seen in Nepal just as the true enemy of democracy was Pinochet in Chile despite the rhetoric etc.. Small wonder Mao recognised the armed authority as the government. That is what they were.

    What lesson ought we genuine progressives draw from people who are abstract democrats but absolute defenders of property rights? That 99% has objective interests that do not just fix themselves. You ought not avoid the concrete revolution for democracy led by the Nepal Maoists. Why was your (theoretical) party not able to form up and lead the revolution for democracy in Nepal? Can you tell me where your trend is doing the business of transforming the world? No trend can lead revolutions while making rear view mirror policy.

    The western world’s leadership is feeble minded when disasters like Syria can be seen by someone like me years out from when it floods the MSM. Oh, and one can always ask – how goes the war for Greater Israel? Look at what ‘there is no alternative’ capitalism has been unable to deal with there!

    The Nepalese comrades addressed specific injustices; they united the many to defeat the few; they focused the attack and broadened the unity. They grew strong in struggle while they wept for the comrades they lost in that struggle. They fought back. The other side started the killing as is always the way and as has been the case with al Assad. The Nepali comrades fought tyranny and so you ignore the current lesson that they provide at your intelectual peril. That is how a certain type make policy. They will-like in the debate over Afghanistan that I drew to your attention- always lose debates with this method. That was a crushing loss.

    After a short time people refugeeing from Neverland can only hold on to positions and so forth by bureaucratic manipulations -ie. standing against democracy. That is why you do not grasp the notion that one ought to unite and don’t split. This is evident from your practice of refusing to work in good faith. This is what your type did in Egypt. Your method dooms your politics.

    Not a lot to complain about with their struggle for ‘life liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ in Nepal. Look there for the evidence of who will not carry through with undertakings and it isn’t the Maoist party. The deep state continue to threaten war against the democrats led by these Communists. The deep state did so in Egypt and they do it in Turkey and Iran. Here in the reality of these very important examples is evidence of the limit of old style realist policy options. When people unite as they have in Nepal to fight back against their oppressors and fought them to a standstill they still could talk their way forward for the sake of peace for the masses. They did a deal to contest elections. They won those elections yet struggle goes on. There is a skilled and credible political force of the left in Nepal at any rate even if they didn’t have much of a clue over the liberation of Iraq. No investigation no right to speak I suppose. But there is still not much to admire and emulate in any western country and that includes mighty Iceland. I must admit that when the economic shit does hit that proverbial fan Iceland will most probably be a good place for the masses to reorganise along the new lines.

    It appears like realists in the U.S. scared a lot of leftist minded people for life. Their ‘realist’ betrayal is something we Communists here at Strange Times have emphasised. We considered it as a plausible outcome at the time of the buildup to the war to liberate the Iraqi masses. But thinking about what was involved to end the tyranny we rejected that prospect as unrealistic after 9/11. We Communists at this site concluded that this liberation was going to happen and was thus obviously in the interests of the masses as well as in the interests of the U.S. ruling classes and ALL progressives across the world. We concluded that they would NEVER be able to put Humpty back together and we were of course right as your stand attests. The 1st country that you support Australian military forces sent to has elections and is called Iraq. The 2nd was announced today and is called Syria. Better late than never.

    Now refugees from Neverland emulate old realists with attempts at betrayal ASAP from the current war. For some the only issue is when is it possible to cut and run. So when a new policy arose that replaced realist policy neverland refugees would not side with the new policy because the old policy had scared them into not believing in the new policy. People didn’t ‘pay close attention’. So they didn’t see the change in policy and found themselves standing with neverland zombies. Thus they had to slowly back away as it all unraveled.

    No more Trot madness for you. No more peace marching for you a humble refugee from Neverland. No falling for the green poison on refugees from war when you know better. But what of your war making credentials? Abbott announced a Syrian deployment (small and thus not a game changer so that goes without saying) but is it part of what the solution must involve?

  9. 9 Steve Owens

    Just want to clarify something. I believe that Capitalism can be controlled this does not mean I have given up on the ownership of property problem but that is a different problem. Marx was identified with the idea that Capitalism would collapse. If you go back and read the Bernstein Luxembourg debate you will clearly see Luxemburg upholding collapse as Marxist orthodoxy while Bernstein argues that the collapse theory is wrong.
    Since Bernstein’s critique of Marx we have seen the rise of the Keynsians. Now a lot of rubbish is talked about to discredit the Keynsians luckily Paul Krugman elequently dismisses the straw men that besiege him, his argument I present here
    “Attacks on Keynesians in general, and on me in particular, rely heavily on an army of straw men — on knocking down claims about what people like me have predicted or asserted that have nothing to do with what we’ve actually said. But maybe we (or at least I) have been remiss, failing to offer a simple explanation of what it’s all about. I don’t mean the models; I mean the policy implications.
    So here’s an attempt at a quick summary, followed by a sampling of typical bogus claims.
    I would summarize the Keynesian view in terms of four points:
    1. Economies sometimes produce much less than they could, and employ many fewer workers than they should, because there just isn’t enough spending. Such episodes can happen for a variety of reasons; the question is how to respond.
    2. There are normally forces that tend to push the economy back toward full employment. But they work slowly; a hands-off policy toward depressed economies means accepting a long, unnecessary period of pain.
    3. It is often possible to drastically shorten this period of pain and greatly reduce the human and financial losses by “printing money”, using the central bank’s power of currency creation to push interest rates down.
    4. Sometimes, however, monetary policy loses its effectiveness, especially when rates are close to zero. In that case temporary deficit spending can provide a useful boost. And conversely, fiscal austerity in a depressed economy imposes large economic losses.
    Is this a complicated, convoluted doctrine? It doesn’t sound that way to me, and the implications for the world we’ve been living in since 2008 seem very clear: aggressive monetary expansion, plus fiscal stimulus as long as the zero lower bound constrains monetary policy.
    But strange things happen in the minds of critics. Again and again we see the following bogus claims about what Keynesians believe:
    B1: Any economic recovery, no matter how slow and how delayed, proves Keynesian economics wrong. See [2] above for why that’s illiterate.
    B2: Keynesians believe that printing money solves all problems. See [3]: printing money can solve one specific problem, an economy operating far below capacity. Nobody said that it can conjure up higher productivity, or cure the common cold.
    B3: Keynesians always favor deficit spending, under all conditions. See [4]: The case for fiscal stimulus is quite restrictive, requiring both a depressed economy and severe limits to monetary policy. That just happens to be the world we’ve been living in lately.
    I have no illusions that saying this obvious stuff will stop the usual suspects from engaging in the usual bogosity. But maybe this will help others respond when they do.

  10. 10 Steve Owens

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