In other words, the Beckert recipe is: start with Marx and “primitive accumulation“, both domestic and international. Marx had gleefully welcomed the imperialists’ destruction of the “semi-barbarian, semi-civilized communities [of Bengal], by blowing up their economical basis, and thus produced the…
“@ViscidKonrad Man, if this doesn’t impress you, you’re *choosing* not to be impressed.” From: Noah Smith on Twitter: “@ViscidKonrad Man, if this doesn’t impress you, you’re *choosing* not to be impressed. https://t.co/RHqXRjU4WI”
Though Robin sometimes seems to intend to incriminate Hayek and others by association, as with the likes of Pinochet, perhaps as a way to emphasize his continued membership in good standing on the political Left, there is nothing in the core of his argument, as opposed to its trivial polemical decorations, that a Hayekian ought to find embarrassing. To the contrary, Robin attributes “profundity and daring” to Hayek and his marginal siblings. Thought through, Robin’s arguments may present at least as many difficulties to a leftist, including one operating from Robin’s own presumptions, as to a conservative or to a libertarian.
The two main alternatives that are put forward and passionately defended by partisans are utopian, not because they are particularly imaginative, but merely because they cannot be implemented. They cannot be implemented, or no one can quite be bothered to implement them, in part because we seem to be heading to where they lead, or to where they fail to lead, to nowhere, anyway.
“A Clash of Models” by James K – latest posting in the League of Ordinary Gentlemen’s virtual symposium under the question “What, if anything, is wrong with inequality?” – resembles previous submissions in that it seems to assume that something called “productivity” is virtually synonymous with “the good,” and furthermore is susceptible to simple quantitative amplification or augmentation – i.e., the more of it the better.
The argument wins out, on the basis of something like the Rawlsean compromise, but remains sustainable only within artificially defined borders without which its appeal to the pure selfishness of an utterly empty self would be exposed not just in its self-insignificance, but in relation to what must be destroyed to keep it materially if not morally alive – at least until the day that the absurdity by whatever unthinkable and therefore totally unexpected way impinges on it as though from the outside, the externality revealing itself as always having been internal after all.
I’d meant to cut this one down, and save it for future reference and re-editing, but instead accidentally published the whole thing at Jonathan Bernstein’s (great) “plain blog about politics.” It’s kind of embarrassing to be caught depositing long, pretentious…
Owen Gray at Northern Reflections and The Moderate Voice takes a cue from Paul Krugman, whom, Gray concludes, “has a right to be pessimistic.” The powerful elites on both sides of the Atlantic suffer from group think. And, instead of…
Am about to disappear into Lakerdom – either a further descent into tedious misery, a temporary revival on the way to even deeper misery, or the Turning Point we’ve been waiting for and falsely identifying this whole desperately non-compelling season…
With less and less semblance of temperamental conservatism, ever more self-destructively, nominally conservative Americans have sought in vain to immanentize as eschaton the non-immanentization of eschaton.
The comforting exaggerations and ideological short-cuts, historical curse words, the imputation of the the worst imaginable intentions to all political adversaries, reflect an unreformed, self-defeating desperation. Maybe, as Goldberg writes in the last paragraph of Liberal Fascism, when protesting the other side's insulting tactics, it's past time to cry, "Enough!"
As for our Achilles-Nemesis, what reason is there to believe, along with apparently the professor, that it is our decision alone, or within anyone’s ability, to define the fight in some essentially different way, and still to fight at all?
TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.
For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.
The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.
Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.
[E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill. The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory.On some level, it’s a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course. Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we’ll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn’t know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven’t elected presidents like that — for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons — and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there.