Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Liberal Lies about America’s Historical Immigration Policy

I am getting a bit tired of American liberals or leftists making up lies about the history of their country in the comments section on American history.

These American liberals are saying that America was always open to immigrants from any background whatsoever and always a massive melting-pot that welcomed them as citizens.

Now is that true?

Why is it, then, that the first United States Naturalization Law of March 26, 1790 says this?:
“Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That any Alien being a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof on application to any common law Court of record in any one of the States wherein he shall have resided for the term of one year at least, and making proof to the satisfaction of such Court that he is a person of good character, and taking the oath or affirmation prescribed by law to support the Constitution of the United States, which Oath or Affirmation such Court shall administer, and the Clerk of such Court shall record such Application, and the proceedings thereon; and thereupon such person shall be considered as a Citizen of the United States. And the children of such person so naturalized, dwelling within the United States, being under the age of twenty one years at the time of such naturalization, shall also be considered as citizens of the United States. And the children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond Sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born Citizens: Provided, that the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States: Provided also, that no person heretofore proscribed by any States, shall be admitted a citizen as aforesaid, except by an Act of the Legislature of the State in which such person was proscribed.”
As even the basic discussion of the 1790 United States Naturalization Law here points out, this legislation excluded “American Indians, indentured servants, slaves, free blacks, and Asians” from US citizenship. The subsequent naturalisation acts of 1795 and 1798 did not change this basic framework.

Now I find it morally repugnant that the native American people and others were simply excluded from citizenship on this basis, and am perfectly comfortable with a minority of ethnic groups in my country with full citizenship rights, as I have I said here, but clearly American liberals are shamefully rewriting the history of American immigration policy.

As we can see from the history of United States immigration laws here, citizenship and immigration laws generally became more and more restrictive right up until the 1920s.

A sample:
(1) Page Act of 1875
This act excluded Asian and Chinese forced labourers, Asian woman engaging in prostitution, and all people who were convicted criminals in their own country. It was driven by working class hostility to Chinese coolie labour.

(2) the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882
This immigration act prohibited all immigration of Chinese labourers, and like the act of 1875 was driven by socialist, trade unions and working class opposition to Asian immigration. This was extended and even made more onerous by the Geary Act of 5 May, 1892.

(3) the 1885 Alien Contract Labor Law
This law was a pro-working class measure designed “to prohibit the importation and migration of foreigners and aliens under contract or agreement to perform labor in the United States.”

(4) Immigration Act of 1903 (the Anarchist Exclusion Act)
This immigration act law excluded anarchists, people with epilepsy, beggars, and importers of prostitutes.

(5) Naturalization Act of 1906
This immigration law made the US federal government the policy maker of national immigration and naturalization policy, and stated “That no alien shall hereafter be naturalized or admitted as a citizen of the United States who can not speak the English language.”

(6) Immigration Act of 1907
This immigration act excluded a vast swathe of people:
“All idiots, imbeciles, feebleminded persons, epileptics, insane persons, and persons who have been insane within five years previous; persons who have had two or more attacks of insanity at any time previously; paupers; persons likely to become a public charge; professional beggars; persons afflicted with tuberculosis or with a loathsome or dangerous contagious disease; persons not comprehended within any of the foregoing excluded classes who are found to be and are certified by the examining surgeon as being mentally or physically defective, such mental or physical defect being of a nature which may affect the ability of such alien to earn a living.”
(7) Immigration Act of 1917
This immigration act excluded a vast group of people from an “Asiatic Barred Zone” including much of Asia and the Pacific Islands.

(8) the (a) Immigration Act of 1924 and (b)
National Origins Formula
These set strict limits on immigrants to “2% of the number of people from that country who were already living in the United States” and essentially limited immigration to southern Europeans and Eastern Europeans; it excluded Africans, Arabs and Asians.

At the same time, from the date of June 30, 1927 it made “total immigration from all countries … limited to 150,000, with allocations by country based upon national origins of inhabitants according to the census of 1920.” This was designed to preserve the “ethnic distribution of the population” of the US. This was the foundation of the American system of immigration from 1924 to 1965.
So, quite clearly, American naturalisation policy was restricted to Europeans from 1790, which itself discouraged non-European immigration.

When non-European immigration became significant and was opposed particularly by broad working class movements, it was severely restricted from the 1870s, and right up until the 1920s.

America’s immigration policy was, then, highly restrictive from the 1920s until as recently as the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which abolished the National Origins Formula, but which, at the same time, “set numerical restrictions on visas at 170,000 per year, with a per-country-of-origin quota.”

It was only in the Immigration Act of 1990 that America introduced a much more liberalised immigration policy, which allowed 675,000 immigrants per year after 1994, and a “diversity” program to allow people from many different countries to immigrate to the US. The 1990 act also introduced the now notorious H-1B visas (on which, see here).

So, American liberals, are you going to admit that this is the truth about the history of immigration in your nation, instead of clinging to your liberal myths?

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Gary Johnson: The SJW Libertarian who loves Open Borders

Exhibit A:

So here Gary Johnson just repeats the lie that Trump said all Mexicans or all Mexican illegals are rapists, which even Salon admits just wasn’t true.

Exhibit B:

Oh my god, so national borders and any kind of effective immigration control are “racist”?

The very idea that people illegally in your country, who have clearly broken the law, should be deported – even that is unacceptable and “racist”? Isn’t this the same rubbish you’d expect from an SJW?

Gary Johnson’s campaign website discussing his immigration policy makes it clear that increased mass immigration is his policy, but he’s selling it – like an SJW – with a panegyric on the wonders of “diversity.”

Of course, this is combined with libertarian economic poison, such as permanently balancing the budget and “reforming entitlements” (= abolishing the welfare state), and the destruction of America by increased free trade.

However, you will get legal marijuana.

So essentially under Gary Johnson:
(1) there will be not just neoliberalism, but an extreme economic collapse under small government libertarian policies;

(2) a tidal wave of mass immigration gutting the real wages and the job prospects of Americans, but

(3) don’t worry, because – under Gary – you’ll be able to get stoned all day long on legalised weed, and so forget that more and more of your country’s economy will get flushed down the toilet, and what’s left of its jobs will be exported to the Third World.
Thank god, SJW libertarian Gary hasn’t got a hope in hell of winning.

A more interesting question is whether people on the left would be capable of seeing how destructive the mass immigration policies favoured by Gary Johnson would be as combined with his economic program.

Next, we can ask these left-wing people: wait a minute, current mass immigration policy combined with neoliberalism is also extremely harmful. Are you prepared to admit that too?

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Alt Right: A Quick Overview

Hillary Clinton’s recent speech mentioning the Alt Right has grabbed headlines, and now it seems everyone is talking about the Alt Right. It’s bloody everywhere.

The trouble with Clinton’s speech is that she seemed to identify the Alt Right with Breitbart, but Breitbart is Alt Right-lite at best, and not properly representative of the Alt Right. For example, Breitbart is pro-Israel, but the Alt Right is hostile to Israel and extremely anti-Semitic.

Moreover, Milo Yiannopoulos (until recently anyway) was not really Alt Right either, and he is more a cultural libertarian who hates political correctness and feminism, and was a mere “fellow traveller” of the Alt Right (though he now seems to be claiming the mantle). And even the quasi-libertarian Paul Joseph Watson seems to be identifying as Alt Right now.

In reality, a lot of the hardcore of the Alt Right seems to hate Milo Yiannopoulos and keep their distance from Breitbart (which they regard as being too soft), however.

If you want to understand the Alt Right, go and read their blogs and listen to their YouTube channels:
Alt Right Blogs
Alternative Right
Occidental Observer
The Right Stuff Radio
The Right Stuff Blog
Radix Journal Blog
Occident Invicta, The Unconquered West
Counter-Currents Publishing
The Alternative Hypothesis
Bay Area Guy, Occident Invicta, The Unconquered West
Social Matter. Not Your Grandfather’s Conservatism

Alt Right YouTube Channels
Millennial Woes YouTube channel
Pale Hominid
Red Ice Radio YouTube Channel
If there are core principles that seem to unite the Alt Right, they are as follows:
(1) race realism, as pointed out by Jared Taylor in the Guardian.

(2) anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
You can see this from how they promote themselves:

This is often combined with an open demand for authoritarianism (or very limited democracy), Holocaust denial and admiration of Nazi Germany.

And, yes, these people really do have a bizarre and pathological obsession with Jewish people and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, e.g., their meme of the Triple parentheses.

The left should strongly oppose the Alt Right, but I fear the cultural left will do a feeble job of doing it.

Why? Because once you ditch the crazed aspects of the Alt Right, some of these people – like the populist right – are raising real issues like the failure of neoliberalism, open borders, and multiculturalism. But they are going in the wrong – and a disastrously wrong – direction.

What does the Alt Right represent?

I keep telling people: the major development here is that the American Alt Right marks the continuing collapse of the American libertarian movement. Although some, maybe quite a few, were former liberals too, nevertheless more and more libertarians are gravitating to the Alt Right.

But, at the same time, there is a strange schizophrenia to the Alt Right on economics. All of them at least recognise that open borders would be catastrophic, and so they have abandoned this.

Broadly, from what I have seen, they are divided into the following groups:
(1) a group that have retreated to something like Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s views but are statists who accept a national government with national borders for a white ethno-state.

(2) a statist group who want a white ethno-state but with pragmatic economics, even though emotionally they seem to like Ron Paul-style libertarian or Austrian economics.

(3) a statist group who want a white ethno-state but who are left-wing on economics.
In fact, one could go so far as to say that the left-wing of the Alt Right are basically National Socialists, and, most probably, they will break with the libertarian wing eventually.

Trolling the Alt Right
In light of all this, I see a serious problem with the Alt Right.

On the one hand, the Alt Right is anti-Semitic and obsessed with anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

But, on the other hand, they have a wing that still loves much of the libertarian economic theories created by (gasp!) Jewish intellectuals like Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard:

I dunno, dudes. Did you put any thought into this lame-ass movement? Was this just a minor oversight?

Or could it be that the Alt Right is really… the (((Alt Right)))?!

You tell me.

P.S. the cartoon is facetious trolling of the Alt Right, by subverting their memes, not trying to blame libertarianism on the Jewish people. Don’t make me point this out in the comments section!

Some Reading on What went Wrong with the Modern Left (Updated)

Here is an updated reading list:
Merquior, José Guilherme. 1986. Western Marxism. Paladin, London

Merquior, Jose Guilherme. 1986. From Prague to Paris: A Critique of Structuralist and Post-Structuralist Thought. Verso, London.

Merquior, José Guilherme. 1991. Foucault (2nd edn.). Fontana, London.

Jackson, Leonard. 1991. The Poverty of Structuralism: Structuralist Theory and Literature. Longman, London.

Windschuttle, Keith. 1994. The Killing of History: How a Discipline is being murdered by Literary Critics and Social Theorists. Macleay Press, Sydney.

Gross, Paul R. and Norman Levitt. 1994. Higher Superstition: The Academic Left and its Quarrels with Science. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.

Lasch, Christopher. 1995. Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy. Norton, New York and London.

Schlesinger, Arthur M. 1998. The Disuniting of America: Reflections on a Multicultural Society (rev. edn.). W.W. Norton, New York.

Sokal, Alan and Jean Bricmont. 1998. Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals’ Abuse of Science. Picador, New York.

Buchanan, Patrick J. 1998. The Great Betrayal: How American Sovereignty and Social Justice are Sacrificed to the Gods of the Global Economy. Little, Brown, Boston and London.

Frank, Thomas C. 1998. The Conquest of Cool: Business Culture, Counterculture, and the Rise of Hip Consumerism. University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.

Rowthorn, R. 2003. “Migration Limits,” Prospect Magazine (February 20).

Michaels, Walter Benn. 2006. The Trouble with Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality. Metropolitan Books, New York.

Ibn Warraq. 2007. Defending the West: A Critique of Edward Said’s Orientalism. Prometheus Books, Amherst, N.Y.

Ibn Warraq. 2011. Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate’s Defense of Liberal Democracy. Encounter Books, New York.

Michaels, Walter Benn. 2011. “Let Them Eat Diversity. On the Politics of Identity,” Jacobin Issue 1

Bawer, Bruce. 2012. The Victims’ Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind. Broadside Books, New York.

Liddle, Rod. 2015. Selfish Whining Monkeys: How We ended up Greedy, Narcissistic and Unhappy. Fourth Estate, London.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Walter Benn Michaels on “The Trouble With Diversity”

Walter Benn Michaels discusses his book The Trouble with Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality (New York, 2006).

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Moral Depravity of Rothbardianism

Described in four easy steps in Rothbard’s own words:
(1) “…the parent should have the legal right not to feed the child, i.e., to allow it to die. The law, therefore, may not properly compel the parent to feed a child or to keep it alive.” (Rothbard 1998: 100).

(2) “Now if a parent may own his child (within the framework of nonaggression and runaway-freedom), then he may also transfer that ownership to someone else. He may give the child out for adoption, or he may sell the rights to the child in a voluntary contract. In short, we must face the fact that the purely free society will have a flourishing free market in children. Superficially, this sounds monstrous and inhuman. But closer thought will reveal the superior humanism of such a market.” (Rothbard 1998: 103).

(3) “Child labor laws, by restricting the supply of labor, lower the production of the economy and hence tend to reduce the standard of living of everyone in the society. …. Child labor laws may take the form of outright prohibition or of requiring ‘working papers’ and all sorts of red tape before a youngster can be hired, thus partially achieving the same effect. The child labor laws are also bolstered by compulsory school attendance laws. Compelling a child to remain in a State or State-certified school until a certain age has the same effect of prohibiting his employment and preserving adult workers from younger competition. Compulsory attendance, however, goes even further in compelling a child to absorb a certain service—schooling—when he or his parents would prefer otherwise, thus imposing a further loss of utility upon these children.” (Rothbard 2009 [1962]: 1112).

(4) “police may use such coercive methods provided that the suspect turns out to be guilty, and provided that the police are treated as themselves criminal if the suspect is not proven guilty. For, in that case, the rule of no force against non-criminals would still apply. Suppose, for example, that police beat and torture a suspected murderer to find information (not to wring a confession, since obviously a coerced confession could never be considered valid). If the suspect turns out to be guilty, then the police should be exonerated, for then they have only ladled out to the murderer a parcel of what he deserves in return;” (Rothbard 1998: 82).
And we can add to this that Rothbardian anarcho-capitalism would demand a totally free market in weapons of mass destruction.

And these people – especially in Twitter debates – pretend that they have the moral high ground.

Rothbard, M. N. 1998. The Ethics of Liberty. New York University Press, New York, N.Y. and London.

Rothbard, M. N. 2009 [1962]. Man, Economy, and State, The Scholar’s Edition. Ludwig von Mises Institute, Auburn, Ala.

I’m on Twitter:
Lord Keynes @Lord_Keynes2

Thomas Frank on the “Conquest of Cool”

Thomas Frank talks in the video below on the origins of the youth counterculture of the 1960s, and its links to, and even outgrowth from, American business and the advertising industry and the creation of a new consumer culture for teenagers and the young by business. This was, in many ways, a kind of forerunner of the modern pro-SJW corporation, obsessed with diversity and multiculturalism.

In essence, Thomas Frank is summarising the contents of his book:
Frank, Thomas C. 1998. The Conquest of Cool: Business Culture, Counterculture, and the Rise of Hip Consumerism. University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.
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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Why are some Democrats Supporting Trump?

Serious question:

These Democrats are calling themselves Trumpocrats (see also here).

Of course, you can see the answer: Trump is calling for, broadly speaking, left-wing policies on trade and protectionism, while Clinton is in favour of toxic neoliberalism and free trade. Clinton’s politically correct SJW program is starting to put even Democrats off the party; Trump rejects this cultural leftism nonsense.

Trump has also taken the GOP to the left of Clinton on some important economic issues.

Furthermore, Fox News hilariously misnamed the title of this video: it should read “Hillary’s Right Turn” and “Trump’s Left Turn.” For, as Walter Benn Michaels has shown, this SJW obsession with the cult of diversity, at the expense of serious economics, is very much part of the corporatist neoliberal program.

Nigel Farage speaks at a Trump Rally

I watched with fascination:

Just listen to Nigel Farage’s speech: he attacks the big banks, multinational corporations and “modern global corporatism”; he attacks the elites. In some respects, you can easily see a left-wing politician saying the same things.

What to make of this? This is clearly right-wing populism at work.

But, in reality, there is a strange schizophrenia within this movement: namely, they are weak on economics, and divided into the (1) free market populists and (2) right-wing populists who are verging to the left on economics.

I mean Farage may be a nationalist, but he is a Thatcherite and quasi-libertarian on economics. Trump is actually well to the left of Farage on economics.

I predict this is going to be a big problem for the populist right. In the end, they need to go left-wing on economics or their movement will fail badly, but I suspect it will be hard for many of them to break with free market theology.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Let Them Eat Diversity!

See this magnificent interview of Walter Benn Michaels in the socialist magazine Jacobin:
Michaels, Walter Benn. 2011. “Let Them Eat Diversity. On the Politics of Identity,” Jacobin Issue 1
Granted there is a bit of exaggeration here and there, and some vulgar Marxism, but this article is brilliant stuff.

The fundamental arguments of Walter Benn Michaels in this interview, written in 2011, are as follows:
(1) there is, in reality, a right-wing and left-wing neoliberalism.

(2) the left-wing neoliberals actually fail to understand that their beliefs reinforce and support neoliberalism, and that they are unwitting tools of neoliberalism:
“For me the distinction is that ‘left neoliberals’ are people who don’t understand themselves as neoliberals. They think that their commitments to anti-racism, to anti-sexism, to anti-homophobia constitute a critique of neoliberalism. But if you look at the history of the idea of neoliberalism you can see fairly quickly that neoliberalism arises as a kind of commitment precisely to those things. ....

... today’s orthodoxy is the idea that social justice consists above all in defense of property and the attack of discrimination. This is at the heart of neoliberalism and right-wing neoliberals understand this and left-wing neoliberals don’t.”
Michaels, Walter Benn. 2011. “Let Them Eat Diversity. On the Politics of Identity,” Jacobin Issue 1
(3) Michaels points out that early American neoliberal Gary S. Becker in his book The Economics of Discrimination (Chicago & London, 1973) argued that discrimination in capitalism on the basis of race, class or gender is inefficient and reduces incomes.

The tendency of capitalist production, in other words, is to break down such barriers in the name of economic rationality.

This is exactly the argument that Noam Chomsky has made:
See, capitalism is not fundamentally racist—it can exploit racism for its purposes, but racism isn’t built into it. Capitalism basically wants people to be interchangeable cogs, and differences among them, such as on the basis of race, usually are not functional. I mean, they may be functional for a period, like if you want a super exploited workforce or something, but those situations are kind of anomalous. Over the long term, you can expect capitalism to be anti-racist—just because it’s anti-human. And race is in fact a human characteristic—there’s no reason why it should be a negative characteristic, but it is a human characteristic. So therefore identifications based on race interfere with the basic ideal that people should be available just as consumers and producers, interchangeable cogs who will purchase all the junk that’s produced—that’s their ultimate function, and any other properties they might have are kind of irrelevant, and usually a nuisance.”
from Noam Chomsky, Understanding Power (2002)
(4) right-wing neoliberalism has actually therefore enthusiastically and logically adopted “social justice” as a strategy in the “defense of property” and capitalist enterprise.

(5) though Michaels mentions the Marxist falling rate of profit doctrine in his explanation of the development of capitalism, I have no doubt we can ditch this as Marxist dogma (see here and here).

More important is Michaels’ analysis of the connection between mass immigration and globalised neoliberalism:
“An easy way to look at this would be to say that the conditions of mobility of labor and mobility of capital have since World War II required an extraordinary upsurge in immigration. The foreign born population in the US today is something like 38 million people, which is roughly equivalent to the entire population of Poland. This is a function of matching the mobility of capital with the mobility of labor, and when you begin to produce these massive multi-racial or multi-national or as we would call them today multi-cultural workforces, you obviously need technologies to manage these work forces.

In the US this all began in a kind of powerful way with the Immigration Act of 1965, which in effect repudiated the explicit racism of the Immigration Act of the 1924 and replaced it with largely neoliberal criteria. ….

While at the same time we’ve had this increased immigration from Mexico, people from the lower-end of the economy, filling jobs that otherwise cannot be filled — or at least not filled at the price capital would prefer to pay. So there is a certain sense in which the internationalism intrinsic to the neoliberal process requires a form of anti-racism and indeed neoliberalism has made very good use of the particular form we’ve evolved, multiculturalism, in two ways.

First, there isn’t a single US corporation that doesn’t have an HR office committed to respecting the differences between cultures, to making sure that your culture is respected whether or not your standard of living is. And, second, multiculturalism and diversity more generally are even more effective as a legitimizing tool, because they suggest that the ultimate goal of social justice in a neoliberal economy is not that there should be less difference between the rich and the poor — indeed the rule in neoliberal economies is that the difference between the rich and the poor gets wider rather than shrinks — but that no culture should be treated invidiously and that it’s basically OK if economic differences widen as long as the increasingly successful elites come to look like the increasingly unsuccessful non-elites.”
Michaels, Walter Benn. 2011. “Let Them Eat Diversity. On the Politics of Identity,” Jacobin Issue 1
So the practical effect of neoliberalism is not just to use cheap labour for unskilled jobs, hold down real wages, or break down the effectiveness of trade unions through a diverse workforce, but to be concerned with getting minorities into the new neoliberal elite, so that elite is diverse, even when economic inequality soars.

(6) Michaels has a cutting analysis of Postmodernism, and floats the idea that “postmodernism” is “the official ideology of neoliberalism.”

Even more, academic education in the humanities, steeped in Postmodernism and SJW cults, has this remarkable trait:
“… elite universities more generally do a very good job of providing the upper middle class with its impressively good anti-racist, pro-gay-marriage conscience. But the more striking thing here is that when it comes to respecting difference, the academic world is hardly very different from the corporate world. The kind of distinctions and divisions that academics have learned to make in various identity categories are absolutely matched in sophistication by the ones that are made by any major US corporation. ….

... if you get to the core of it, anti-discrimination — which is after all something we are all, including the general American public, committed to — has become the almost exclusive criterion of political morality. American society today, both legally and politically, has a strong commitment to the idea that discrimination is the worst thing you can do, that paying somebody a pathetic salary isn’t too bad but paying somebody a pathetic salary because of his or her race or sex is unacceptable. That is, in some sense, built into the logic of liberal capitalism, but it has reached new heights in the last thirty or forty years. And from that standpoint the American academy is really only following along with what is been central to American society more generally.”
Michaels, Walter Benn. 2011. “Let Them Eat Diversity. On the Politics of Identity,” Jacobin Issue 1
(7) Michaels even argues that the core of the Tea Party Movement was an element of profound middle class – even upper middle class – hostility to neoliberalism on the issue of mass immigration:
“The truth is, it’s hard to find any political movement that’s really against neoliberalism today, the closest I can come is the Tea Party. The Tea Party represents in my view, not actually a serious, because it’s so inchoate and it’s so in a certain sense diluted, but nonetheless a real reaction against neoliberalism that is not simply a reaction against neoliberalism from the old racist Right. It’s a striking fact that what the American Left mainly wants to do is reduce the Tea Party to racists as quickly as humanly possible. They’re thrilled when some Nazis come out and say “Yeah, we support the Tea Party” or some member of the Tea Party says something racist, which is frequently enough. But you can’t understand the real politics of the Tea Party unless you understand how important their opposition to illegal immigration is. Because who’s for illegal immigration? As far as I know only one set of people is for illegal immigration, I mean you may be [as a Marxist], but as far as I know the only people who are openly for illegal immigration are neoliberal economists.

First of all, neoliberal economists are completely for open borders, in so far as that’s possible. Friedman said years ago that, ‘You can’t have a welfare state and open borders,’ but of course the point of that was ‘open the borders, because that’ll kill the welfare state.’ ….

“… one of the primary sort of marks of the triumph of neoliberalism in the US is a very high tolerance of illegal immigration, and that illegal immigration is the kind of ne plus ultra of the labor mobility that neoliberalism requires.
I mean that’s why for years — even though it’s a kind of contradiction in terms — as a policy it’s worked well. The Bush administration did everything it could to talk against illegal immigration but leave it alone and I’m sure the Obama administration would do the same thing except its hand’s being forced by the Tea Party. So you get these people who are saying illegal immigration sucks, and even Glenn Beck will say ‘immigration good, illegal immigration bad’ and, what he’s reacting against is not, as he thinks, socialism but currently existing capitalism, but he has no clue.”
Michaels, Walter Benn. 2011. “Let Them Eat Diversity. On the Politics of Identity,” Jacobin Issue 1
Events have moved on since Michaels said this, and the Trump movement – in important ways – is, I would argue, a right-wing populist movement against neoliberalism.

(8) American liberals have become infested with the idea that the major problem of modern society is racism, and anti-racism a panacea for all ills, when of course the major problem is the destructive effects of neoliberal capitalism.

(9) Michaels points out that most of the poor people in America – given the fact that most people are white – are of course white working class people, but American liberals are often not just indifferent to the poor white working class, but actively hostile to them with a vicious SJW mentality that sees such people as the worst type of racist, sexist, homophobic evil oppressors.

In fact, “anti-racism” is now the official religion of both the mainstream left and right:
“… there is an important sense in which anti-racism is absolutely the official ideology because no one can imagine themselves to be committed to racism. It’s become a kind of moral imperative rather than a political position, deployed by the Right as well as the Left.”
Michaels, Walter Benn. 2011. “Let Them Eat Diversity. On the Politics of Identity,” Jacobin Issue 1
But of course identity politics based on this obsession with witch hunts against racism and discrimination cannot provide the real economic solutions to the disaster of neoliberalism.
That is a lot to digest here, but it seems to me there are excellent insights that are absolutely correct.

Moreover, Michaels has an interesting book on this subject here:
Michaels, Walter Benn. 2006. The Trouble with Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality. Metropolitan Books, New York.
Becker, Gary S. 1973. The Economics of Discrimination. University of Chicago Press, Chicago & London.

Michaels, Walter Benn. 2006. The Trouble with Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality. Metropolitan Books, New York.

Michaels, Walter Benn. 2011. “Let Them Eat Diversity. On the Politics of Identity,” Jacobin Issue 1

I’m on Twitter:
Lord Keynes @Lord_Keynes2

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Some Reading on What went Wrong with the Modern Left

Here is a brief reading list, which provides food for thought:
Schlesinger, Arthur M. 1998. The Disuniting of America: Reflections on a Multicultural Society (rev. edn.). W.W. Norton, New York.

Buchanan, Patrick J. 1998. The Great Betrayal: How American Sovereignty and Social Justice are Sacrificed to the Gods of the Global Economy. Little, Brown, Boston and London.

Bawer, Bruce. 2012. The Victims’ Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind. Broadside Books, New York.

Liddle, Rod. 2015. Selfish Whining Monkeys: How We ended up Greedy, Narcissistic and Unhappy. Fourth Estate, London.
Note carefully: the ideological outlook of these authors is different: Arthur Schlesinger was an American Old Liberal. Pat Buchanan is an American Paleoconservative.

Rod Liddle is a British ex-Labour party supporter who now appears to be a conservative who identifies with the working class. Bruce Bawer seems to be an old-fashioned American liberal, but progressive on many issues.

Yet all of them, broadly speaking, seem to be able to identify serious problems with the development of the modern left, cultural leftism and identity politics.

Of all these books, Rod Liddle’s is the least serious.

Arthur Schlesinger rightly warned of the dangers of Postmodernist multiculturalism, which he correctly saw as very different to the old-fashioned, melting-pot liberal nationalism of America. In his own way, Buchanan warned of the same problem, but with additional emphasis on the destructive aspects of free trade.

Bruce Bawer’s The Victims’ Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind (2012) is an excellent work examining the rise of Postmodernism in the academy and its development into the Social Justice Warrior (or SJW) catastrophe we see today, developments which can be traced to French Poststructuralism and Postmodernism, and their devastating ruination of left-wing intellectual life.

The Illusionist suggests another book:
Lasch, Christopher. 1995. Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy. Norton, New York and London.
Christopher Lasch was a neo-Marxist but turned culturally conservative with a quasi-Marxist economic critique of capitalism, but combined with some unfortunate Freudian psychoanalytic charlatanry and Frankfurt School Marxist nonsense to boot.

Admittedly, I have not read Christopher Lasch’s book in full, but summaries and critical reviews of it (e.g., Rankin 1996), and Lasch’s 1994 article here from Harper’s, suggest that it, too, to a great extent puts its finger on what went wrong with the left.

As Lasch points out:
“In our time … the chief threat seems to come not from the masses but from those at the top of the social hierarchy, the elites who control the international flow of money and information, preside over philanthropic foundations and institutions of higher learning, manage the instruments of cultural production, and thus set the terms of public debate. Members of the elite have lost faith in the values, or what remains of them, of the West. For many people, the very term ‘Western civilization’ now calls to mind an organized system of domination designed to enforce conformity to bourgeois values and to keep the victims of patriarchal oppression—women, children, homosexuals, people of color—in a permanent state of subjection. ….

The industrial working class, once the mainstay of the socialist movement, has become a pitiful remnant of itself. The hope that ‘new social movements’ would take its place in the struggle against capitalism, which briefly sustained the left in the late Seventies and early Eighties, has come to nothing. Not only do the new social movements—feminism, gay rights, welfare rights, agitation against racial discrimination—have nothing in common; their only coherent demand aims at inclusion in the dominant structures rather than at a revolutionary transformation of social relations. ….

The upper middle class, the heart of the new professional and managerial elites, is defined, apart from its rapidly rising income, not so much by its ideology as by a way of life that distinguishes it, more and more unmistakably, from the rest of the population. This way of life is glamorous, gaudy, sometimes indecently lavish. ….

To an alarming extent, the privileged classes—by an expansive definition, the top 20 percent—have made themselves independent not only of crumbling industrial cities but of public services in general. They send their children to private schools, insure themselves against medical emergencies by enrolling in company-supported plans, and hire private security guards to protect themselves against the mounting violence. It is not just that they see no point in paying for public services they no longer use; many of them have ceased to think of themselves as Americans in any important sense, implicated in America's destiny for better or worse. Their ties to an international culture of work and leisure—of business, entertainment, information, and ‘information retrieval’—make many members of the elite deeply indifferent to the prospect of national decline.

The market in which the new elites operate is now international in scope. Their fortunes are tied to enterprises that operate across national boundaries. They are more concerned with the smooth functioning of the system as a whole than with any of its parts. Their loyalties—if the term is not itself anachronistic in this context—are international rather than regional, national, or local. They have more in common with their counterparts in Brussels or Hong Kong than with the masses of Americans not yet plugged in to the network of global communications. ....

The changing class structure of the United States mirrors changes that are taking place all over the industrial world. In Europe, referenda on unification have revealed a deep and widening gap between the political classes and the more humble members of society, who fear that the European Economic Community will be dominated by bureaucrats and technicians devoid of any feelings of national identity or allegiance.”
For something written in 1994, this is quite prescient.

We can add to this the generation of Millennials, indoctrinated in cultural leftist nonsense and various SJW cults, who are pathetically and dangerously ignorant of Old Left economic and cultural thought, and whose agenda is – paradoxically – aiding and abetting the catastrophic effects of transnational and globalised neoliberal capitalism.

Even worse, Millennials are so out of touch that many of them are obsessed by the cult of open borders, a policy which would be a wet dream for First World capitalists. Even the Marxists amongst the Millennials seem to be infected and infested with all the insanity of cultural leftism. E.g., your foolish Marxist Millennial who holds a sign with the words “Borders are Racist!” is essentially a tool of neoliberal capitalism.

This is why, if things are to be reversed, the nation-state will come back in a big way soon. National borders, regulated national capitalism, and cultural and civic nationalism – they will need to make a big comeback. To tame the destructive and harmful nature of transnational neoliberal capitalism, you need a powerful national government to make it work for the citizens of each nation. Both transnational corporations and the elites need, for want of a better word, to be made “patriotic” again.

I add an interesting video with Rod Liddle relevant to this post:

Lasch, Christopher. 1994. The Revolt of the Elites: Have they Canceled their Allegiance to America?,” Harper’s Magazine (November) 289.1734: 39–49.

Rankin, Aidan. 1996. “Christopher Lasch and the Moral Agony of the Left,” New Left Review 0.215 (January 1): 149–155.

I’m on Twitter:
Lord Keynes @Lord_Keynes2

Monday, August 22, 2016

Links for News Sites and Economic Blogs (Updated)

For keeping track of the news and analysis, whether on politics and economics, and now with more links to YouTube channels and blogs of interest too:
(1) General News
BBC News
Google News
Bloomberg News
American ABC
Vice News
Der Spiegel Online International
Le Monde diplomatique
The Economist
Times of Israel
Jerusalem Post
China Daily
Antiwar News Sources (a great, long list of news websites)

(2) British Newspapers and Journals
The Times
The Guardian
New Statesman
London Review of Books
The Telegraph
Sky News

(3) American Media
Neoconservative or Mainstream Conservative
Weekly Standard
National Review
Wall Street Journal
New Republic
American Spectator
New York Post
Washington Times
Frontpage Mag

(4) Paleoconservative
American Conservative
Patrick J. Buchanan – Official Website

(5) Liberal and Left-Wing
New York Times
New York Review of Books
The Nation
Huffington Post
American Prospect
Public Citizen
Mother Jones
Democracy Now (non-profit left-wing American news organization)
The Real News Network
Beat the Press. Dean Baker

(6) Libertarian
Mises Institute (a great source for news on foreign policy of the US and its wars, although its opinion pieces have a strong libertarian bias)
Free Advice (Robert Murphy)
Stefan Molyneux
The Alex Jones Channel (if you want a good laugh at conspiracy theories!) (again, libertarian news with conspiracy theories)
Paul Joseph Watson
Rebel Media (Canadian)
TheRealNews YouTube Channel

(7) Financial and Economic News
The Economist
Financial Times
Wall Street Journal
Challenge: the Magazine of Economic Affairs
Dollars & Sense: Real World Economics
Left Business Observer

(8) Marxist or Socialist
International Socialist Review
Monthly Review
New Left Review
World Socialist Website

(9) Alternative Left
I’m skeptical of the Alt Left, but if you want to read their stuff:
Beyond Highbrow – Robert Lindsay
The Stark Truth with Robert Stark
Alternative Left

(10) Anti-SJW Old Liberals
Sargon of Akkad
Gad Saad
The Rubin Report
Kraut and Tea

(11) Foreign Policy and International Affairs
New Internationalist
Mondoweiss: The War of Ideas in the Middle East
Michael Scheuer’s

(12) Declassified Documents
National Security Archive, The George Washington University (a great site that is independent and non-governmental and publishes declassified US government documents)

(13) Science and Technology News
Scientific American
New Scientist
MIT Technology Review

(14) Post Keynesian, MMT and Left Heterodox Blogs
Debt Deflation, Steve Keen
Post Keynesian Economics Study Group
Real-World Economics Review Blog
Naked Keynesianism
Lars P. Syll’s Blog
Philip Pilkington
Thoughts on Economics, Robert Vienneau
Unlearningeconomics Blog
Ramanan, The Case For Concerted Action
Thomas Palley
Debtonation: The Global Financial Crisis. Ann Pettifor
Billy Blog, Bill Mitchell
New Economic Perspectives
Mike Norman Economics Blog
Warren Mosler, The Center of the Universe
Michael Hudson
Econospeak Blog
Robert Skidelsky’s Official Website

(15) Libertarian and Austrian Blogs
And, of course, your day wouldn’t be complete without a good laugh:
Free Advice, Robert P. Murphy
Ludwig von Mises Institute
Mises Economic Blog
The Free Man Online
The Independent Institute
Free Association, Sheldon Richman
The Cobden Centre

Old Left and Proud of It

And to the neoliberal vandals, neoclassical chalatans, Marxist fanatics, delusional SJW zealots, libertarian and Austrian nutjobs, open borders cultists, and regressive leftists – I’m laughing at you all.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Bob Murphy’s Solution to a Free Market in WMD

From Robert P. Murphy’s Chaos Theory: Two Essays on Market Anarchy:
“The insurance company makes its money by charging appropriate premiums, tailored to the individual client.

If Joe smith has been deemed guilty in the past of violent behavior, his insurance premiums will be accordingly higher. But there are other factors that an insurance company would take into account when setting premiums, besides past behavior. And one of these factors would undoubtedly be: what sort of weapons does this client keep around the house? After all, if the insurance company is going to agree to pay, say, $10 million to the estate of anyone Joe smith kills, the company will be very interested to know whether smith keeps sawed off shotguns—let alone atomic weapons—in his basement. Someone who keeps such weapons is much more likely to harm others, as far as the insurance company is concerned, and so his premiums will be that much higher. In fact, the risk of a client who kept nuclear (or chemical, biological, etc.) weapons would be so great that probably no policy would be offered.

This approach is superior to the governmental one. This approach is superior to the governmental one. Truly dangerous weapons would be restricted to individuals willing to pay the high premiums associated with their ownership; kids couldn’t buy bazookas at the local K-Mart.” (Murphy 2010: 36).
Well, that’s a relief.

I mean, I thought there might be a serious problem here, but Bob has clearly thought through the issues exhaustively….

But, to return to the real world, we are not talking about somebody with WMB in their basement. The issue with WMD in anarcho-capitalism is this: we are talking about the free production and sale of WMB by capitalists under anarcho-capitalism, where capitalists are free to produce and sell anything they want in free and voluntary exchanges.

Wouldn’t this lead to massive proliferation of these weapons?

What happens if your domestic capitalists are freely selling WMB to foreigners? Why would they or insurance companies care about what happens, say, in some far distant war in the Third World, which then goes nuclear?

And what if a high insurance premium or no insurance fails to stop capitalists from producing and selling WMD for huge profits? What if the companies are so rich and powerful they own their own insurance companies? What if they buy up insurance companies?

Or, alternatively, what if domestic capitalists are happily selling the various parts and materials to build WMD to foreigners or domestic citizens?

This latter point is just as important. Under anarcho-capitalism, there would be complete freedom to sell the parts and materials to make all kinds of WMD as well: so why would an insurance company care if a company is only making a product that might be used for other purposes, like nuclear power, but sells it to lunatics intent on making WMD?

It follows, as is intuitively obvious, that an anarcho-capitalist society would result in the massive proliferation of WMD.

Well, it turns out Bob has a solution:
“The case for private defense must deal with the possibility of nuclear blackmail. In modern warfare, it would seem that only a nation that can credibly threaten to obliterate its opponents is safe from a first strike.

The anarchist society would probably not develop or even own nuclear weapons. In the first place, the term defense has been adopted consciously in this essay, and is not the euphemism as used in government propaganda. Because they would gain nothing from foreign conquest—since this would constitute theft and would be fully prosecuted within the anarchist courts—the owners of defense agencies would have no reason to spend money on weapons that were ill-suited to tactical defense. Precision of weaponry would be of paramount importance, since battles would be fought near or amidst a defense agency’s customers.

Another, perhaps more significant, consideration is that defense agencies would most likely be legally prohibited from owning ‘weapons of mass destruction.’ The anarchist legal system would operate on the same principles of voluntary contract that underlay the defense industry. Insurance companies would vouch for individuals and pledge to compensate anyone victimized by their clients. In an effort to limit their liability, insurers would require certain concessions from their customers. It is hard to imagine that an insurance agency would pledge, say, $1 million for any (innocent) person killed by Defense Firm X, when Firm X held a stockpile of hydrogen bombs.

Despite its probable lack of nuclear weapons, the anarchist society remains a viable option.” (Murphy 2010: 59–60).
But how is a mere demand by an insurance company that their client not own WMD going to stop someone who is strongly intent on owning WMD? Why would such a person care?

Also, I fail to see how a mere private insurance contract demand for no WMD is in any sense a legal prohibition from owning them. It is no such thing.

It is also very strange that Bob Murphy states that the “case for private defense must deal with the possibility of nuclear blackmail,” but at the same time the “anarchist society would probably not develop or even own nuclear weapons.”

So what if, as could easily happen under anarcho-capitalism, China buys up vast territories in the United States, but suddenly becomes very aggressive against gated communities of Americans. Private defence contractors try and fight off these attacks, but the Chinese government threatens to use WMD – weapons the anarchist society is forbidden from having. So America gets conquered by China?

I also love this piece of fantasy-world optimism:
“These considerations also show why an anarchist society need not fear a foreign government using their own (advanced) weaponry against them. Private defense firms would likely sell their wares to foreign buyers (depending on the legal status of governments in the anarchist courts), but these would be designed for defensive use. There would likely be no aircraft carriers, long-range bombers or subs capable of transoceanic voyages.” (Murphy 2010: 59, n. 59).
What use is that when foreigners are perfectly capable of producing aircraft carriers, long-range bombers or submarines given the necessary money and technology? Did you think of that, Bob?

There is also this bizarre idea that no private companies would be interested in manufacturing and selling offensive weapons. Imagine if the America economy was totally privatised by libertarian government, which then abolished itself. Why would America’s arms manufacturers suddenly stop selling advanced offensive weapons, given the demand for them in the world today?

Murphy, Robert P. 2010. Chaos Theory: Two Essays on Market Anarchy (2nd edn.). Ludwig von Mises Institute, Auburn, Ala.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Single Best Argument against Anarcho-Capitalism

The anarcho-capitalism system proposed by Murray Rothbard requires the abolition of government and the privatisation of all property and every service in society.

For example, the anarcho-capitalism system abolishes the state and all state-based criminal law, and there would no longer be any criminal laws at all (see here and here).

Under anarcho-capitalism, property rights become almost absolute, except for when someone may sue in private civil litigation under a system of private torts.

Apart from that limitation, there is complete freedom of capital to produce, manufacture and sell anything to anybody, under free and voluntary contracts.

So what is the single best argument against such a system?

It seems fairly straightforward: with no government regulations whatsoever on the production and sale of not only guns, but also advanced military weapons, chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, it follows that anybody at all wealthy enough, any lunatic or religious fanatic with enough money, can freely go and freely buy weapons of mass destruction, without anyone stopping them, in a Rothbardian anarcho-capitalist world.

In other words, capitalists are free to sell weapons which could then be used to pretty much destroy the earth and human civilisation.

Just look at the Middle East today, and imagine how it would work in the modern world.

Anarcho-capitalism = sheer f*cking insanity.

But, then, when you are an anarcho-capitalism lunatic, I expect global nuclear holocaust is a lesser evil than violation of private property rights.

Nice one, Murray.

Kalecki’s “Political Aspects of Full Employment”

Michał Kalecki’s paper “Political Aspects of Full Employment” (1943) is an interesting paper.

Kalecki first notes that most economists had by 1943 come to accept that governments can crate full employment by aggregate demand management and by central bank control of the interest rate (Kalecki 1943: 322–323).

But then Kalecki notes that the political opposition to full employment policies had been quite severe in the 1930s, and makes this rather remarkable statement:
“There are, however, even more direct indications that a first class political issue is at stake here. In the great depression in the thirties, big business opposed consistently experiments for increasing employment by Government spending in all countries, except Nazi Germany. This was to be clearly seen in the U.S.A. (opposition to the New Deal), in France (Blum experiment) and also in Germany before Hitler. The attitude is not easy to explain. Clearly higher output and employment benefits not only workers, but entrepreneur as well, because their profits rise. And the policy of full employment outlined above does not encroach upon profits because it does not involve any additional taxation. The entrepreneurs in the slump are longing for a boom; why do not they accept gladly the ‘synthetic’ boom which the Government is able to offer them? It is this difficult and fascinating question with which we intend to deal in this article.” (Kalecki 1943: 324).
Big business “opposed consistently experiments for increasing employment by Government spending in all countries”?

Really? I am afraid Kalecki has it wrong here.

Take the United States as an example. Yes, there was vehement and hostile business opposition to the New Deal, but was it consistent?

In reality, American big business was divided in its view of Roosevelt’s New Deal.

Some businesses opposed him and some supported him. Intense business opposition was restricted to certain sectors:
“While encouraging the growth of big labor and ministering to the needs of the elderly and the poor, the New Deal also provided substantial benefits to American capitalists. Business opposition to Roosevelt was intense, but it was narrowly based in labor-intensive corporations in textiles, automobiles, and steel, which had the most to lose from collective bargaining. The New Deal found many business allies among firms in the growing service industries of banking, insurance, and stock brokerage where government regulations promised to reduce cutthroat competition and to weed out marginal operators. Because of its aggressive policies to expand American exports and investment opportunities abroad, the New Deal also drew support from high-technology firms and from the large oil companies who were eager to penetrate the British monopoly in the Middle East. Sophisticated businessmen discovered that they could live comfortably in a world of government regulation. The ‘socialistic’ Tennessee Valley Authority lowered the profits of a few utility companies, but cheap electric power for the rural South translated into larger consumer markets for the manufacturers of generators, refrigerators, and other appliances.” (Levy et al. 1986: 447–448).
So one must be careful not to make such a sweeping statement as Kalecki does. Big business learned to live with, and even appreciate, full employment aggregate demand management.

But with the central assumption of Kalecki’s paper in question, the rest of the paper’s arguments start to look a bit questionable too.

At any rate, Kalecki gives the following reasons for big business opposition to full employment:
(1) dislike of government intervention in solving the problem of unemployment
This, in Kalecki’s view, is part of a general laissez faire hostility to government intervention, and the power that businesses have in a free market economy to influence government and make it reject anything that might shake or impair their confidence or expectations (Kalecki 1943: 325).

(2) dislike of the form of government spending
Businesses fear that public investment by government might be a first step towards nationalising industry or directly taking away profits and investment opportunities in some areas from business (Kalecki 1943: 325).

(3) dislike of the social and political changes resulting from the maintenance of full employment
It is here that Kalecki sees a great fear of business people, as follows:
“… under a regime of permanent full employment, ‘the sack’ would cease to play its role as a disciplinary measure. The social position of the boss would be undermined and the self assurance and class consciousness of the working class would grow. Strikes for wage increases and improvements in conditions of work would create political tension. It is true that profits would be higher under a regime of full employment than they are on the average under laisser faire; and even the rise in wage rates resulting from the stronger bargaining power of the workers is less likely to reduce profits than to increase prices, and thus affects adversely only the rentier interests. But ‘discipline in the factories’ and ‘political stability’ are more appreciated by the business leaders than profits. Their class instinct tells them that lasting full employment is unsound from their point of view and that unemployment is an integral part of the ‘normal’ capitalist system.” (Kalecki 1943: 326).
I suspect there was a great deal of truth to (3).

Kalecki goes on to argue that mere interest rate cuts and encouraging private investment in the slump (either by income tax cuts or subsidies) will most likely not be an effective cure for involuntary unemployment, and that government investment will be required (Kalecki 1943: 328–329).

Kalecki concluded that capitalist countries, under attempts to create full employment through public investment, would descend into a “political business cycle,” in which at full employment a lobby of business leaders and rentiers would oppose this condition:
“But if attempts are made to apply this method in order to maintain the high level of employment reached in the subsequent boom a strong opposition of ‘business leaders’ is likely to be encountered. As has already been argued, lasting full employment is not at all to their liking. The workers would ‘get out of hand’ and the ‘captains of industry’ would be anxious to ‘teach them a lesson.’ Moreover, the price increase in the up-swing is to the disadvantage of small and big rentiers and makes them ‘boom tired.’

In this situation a powerful block is likely to be formed between big business and the rentier interests, and they would probably find more than one economist to declare that the situation was manifestly unsound. The pressure of all these forces, and in particular of big business-as a rule influential in Government departments-would most probably induce the Government to return to the orthodox policy of cutting down the budget deficit. A slump would follow in which Government spending policy would come again into its own.

This pattern of a ‘political business cycle’ is not entirely conjectural ; ....

The regime of the ‘political business cycle’ would be an artificial restoration of the position as it existed in nineteenth century capitalism. Full employment would be reached only at the top of the boom, but slumps would be relatively mild and short lived.” (Kalecki 1943: 329–330).
In one respect, Kalecki seems ignorant that the 19th century business cycle was much worse than what he envisaged as a post-1945 “political business cycle,” and certainly the actual experience of post-1945 cycles. In another respect, Kalecki was too optimistic.

When full employment Keynesian policies encountered serious problems in the 1970s, partly because of wage–price inflation and partly because of external shocks in the form of the oil crisis, full employment was abandoned in neoliberalism, and in its place was put the preference for mass unemployment instead.

Even worse, I don’t think Kalecki envisaged the other neoliberal weapon of class war: mass immigration to keep wages down and to create intense competition for scarce job opportunities in the First World.

Kalecki, M. 1943. “Political Aspects of Full Employment,” Political Quarterly 14.4: 322–331.

Levy, L. W. et al. (eds). Encyclopedia of the American Constitution (vol. 1). Macmillan, New York.

Friday, August 19, 2016

BBC HardTalk Interview with Steve Keen

An interview conducted this month, in August 2016:

Tibet versus Sweden: A Simple Test

Here is a simple thought experiment by which we can discover how reasonable a person is.

Case 1: Tibet
Imagine the native people of Tibet whose ancestors have lived in Tibet for hundreds, if not thousands of years. We can take a poll of all people in Tibet and discover the following:
(1) the majority of the people of Tibet regard Tibet as the homeland of the Tibetan people, but

(2) at the same time they are perfectly willing to accept a reasonable number of migrants and refugees and even ethnic minorities as equal citizens with full rights, provided that these are, and continue to remain, a small minority of the total population (say, < 10%), and anybody who wishes to live permanently in Tibet must integrate and assimilate into Tibetan culture and adopt Tibetan values, and

(3) the majority of the Tibetan people also strongly believe that Tibet must remain a nation where the Tibetan culture is preserved as the national culture and the Tibetan people remain the majority of the population.
Does this seem reasonable to you?

Do you support the democratic right of the Tibetan people to hold these beliefs and implement policies to maintain their country in this way?

The Tibetans would have strong reasons to hold these views, since the Chinese government is subjecting Tibet to Han Chinese mass immigration on a large scale that might eventually make them a minority in their own country.

Case 2: Sweden
Imagine the native people of Sweden (including the Sami people) whose ancestors have lived in Sweden for hundreds, if not thousands of years. We can take a poll of all people in Sweden and discover the following:
(1) the majority of the people of Sweden regard Sweden as the homeland of the Swedish people, but

(2) at the same time they are perfectly willing to accept a reasonable number of migrants and refugees and even ethnic minorities as equal citizens with full rights, provided that these are, and continue to remain, a small minority of the total population (say, < 10%), and anybody who wishes to live permanently in Sweden must integrate and assimilate into Swedish culture and adopt Swedish values, and

(3) the majority of the Swedish people also strongly believe that Sweden must remain a nation where the Swedish culture is preserved as the national culture and the Swedish people remain the majority of the population.
Would this be unreasonable?

Do you support the democratic right of the Swedish people to hold these beliefs and implement policies to maintain their country in this way?

If you said “yes” for Case 1, but “no” for Case 2, why exactly would you hold such contradictory views?

If Case 1 is a normal, natural and even healthy wish that a nation of people would have, why isn’t this true of Case 2?

And, come to think of it, we could have written the name of many other nations in Case 2, e.g., Nepal, East Timor, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Cameroon, Finland, Austria, Denmark, etc.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Bob Rowthorn on National Identity and Neoliberal Capitalism

Bob Rowthorn, a former Marxist and left heterodox economist, puts his finger on one of the most important issues in the world today, even though he wrote this in 2003:
“In both scale and speed, the transformation [sc. by mass immigration into Europe] that is now underway is without precedent. Britain is not alone in this respect. Many countries in Western Europe are undergoing a similar change in their ethnic and cultural composition through immigration and differential fertility, and in many of them the subject is forcing itself up the political agenda.

There are various reactions to these developments. At one end of the spectrum are the extreme cosmopolitans, who view nation states and national identities as a dangerous anachronism. At the other end are the ethnic nationalists who wish to defend the purity of their own nation against all comers. My own position lies between these extremes. Immigration on a modest scale brings benefits in the form of diversity and new ideas, but the pace of the present transformation in Europe worries me. I believe it is a recipe for conflict. I also believe that nations are historical communities that have the right to shape their own collective future as they see fit, and to resist developments that undermine their identity and sense of continuity. I do not believe that national identity can, or should, be refashioned at will by a cosmopolitan elite to accord with its own vision of how the world should be. Many nations, especially in Europe, have deep roots and their existence promotes the global diversity that cosmopolitans claim to value. Many cosmopolitans accept the right of ‘oppressed peoples,’ such as the Palestinians, to a homeland and identity, but they regard such aspirations as illegitimate when expressed by the historic majorities of western Europe. ....

Most European countries lie between the two extremes. They are not as homogeneous as Iceland, but they are also not countries of recent settlement. Although some have significant immigrant groups, they still have long-standing ethnic majorities that form the core of the nation. It is unrealistic to expect that the population of European countries will knowingly accept immigration on a scale that would transform them out of recognition. Yet this is what will happen if their governments continue to be persuaded by the claim that continued economic prosperity requires mass immigration.”
Rowthorn, R. 2003. “Migration Limits,” Prospect Magazine (February 20).
This is profoundly correct, and, given that it was written over 10 years ago, very prescient indeed.

Most leftists would have no difficulty in being sympathetic to the Tibetan people, who are being subject to a flood of economically, culturally and demographically destructive Chinese mass immigration into their country.

But, for some bizarre reason, the expression even of tame, mild and reasonable cultural nationalism in a European country by native people who would like to maintain their nation as a majority homeland for their own culture and people provokes screams of “racism” and “fascism.”

At the same time, the notion that nations or nation-states are somehow doomed in the face of transnational neoliberal capitalism is a ridiculous myth, being shattered on a daily basis, as we see rising economic nationalist populism, hostility to globalisation and neoliberalism, and the emergence of nationalism in many Western countries.

In particular, the cosmopolitan neoliberal elites, many of whom are managers and owners of multinational corporations, hate the nation state and have become – for want of a better word – unpatriotic people happy to see their nations destroyed in a free trade race to the bottom and deindustrialisation, and then transformed by radical demographic and cultural change owing to open borders.

This will not work, and if not stopped soon will provoke a horrendous backlash and political disaster towards the middle of this century. Western Europe is already showing how much of a catastrophe it is.

As I have pointed out here, mass immigration is the last fraud of neoliberalism, and very much part of the neoliberal program that has been savagely forced on the West since the 1970s.

The difference now is that large parts of the Left, because of the cultural leftist obsession with multiculturalism and refugee rights, are almost fully on-board with this catastrophic aspect of neoliberalism.

But those people on the left not indoctrinated by cultural leftism and more sympathetic, broadly speaking, to an Old Left vision of social democracy should totally reject this neoliberal and open borders transformation of the world.

By contrast, the Old Left vision is based on the powerful national government taming capitalism and a liberal cultural and civic nationalism, not destructive transnational capitalism and utopian and disastrous multiculturalism.

Truth Relativism is a Disease of the Mind

… and it infects many people on the Left, often via the intellectual poison of Postmodernism.

There is a simple antidote to this nonsense: if you do not believe objective empirical truth exists, then how can you ever say or imply that neoclassical or Austrian economic theories are objectively false?

Or if that does not get through, try this: is it not an objective historical truth that the Holocaust happened?

And if you still deny it is an objective empirical truth, then why do you think it happened? Doesn’t the belief that it did happen commit you to accepting an objective reality in the past, and the view we can objectively describe that real event in a true sentence? (in other words, an objective truth?).

The reality is, quite simply, that the pursuit of objective empirical truths about the world is the foundation of all human sciences and knowledge, and if you are not engaged in the search for truth but claim to be engaged in some kind of science (whether in the natural or social sciences), you are an intellectual charlatan, a fool and a fraud.

Further reading here:
“The Consequences of Postmodernist Truth Relativism,” October 25, 2015.

“Foucault’s Truth Relativism,” March 25, 2015.

“A Challenge to Truth Relativists,” March 20, 2015.

“Foucault’s View of Truth,” February 18, 2015.

“John Searle’s Argument for Objective Truth,” February 14, 2015.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Old Left and Mass Immigration

The Old Left – before the 1960s New Left and post-1980s Postmodernist Left – was, generally speaking, strongly opposed to mass immigration, and for good reasons. The modern Left has forgotten this, and it is a terrible shame that many modern Leftists cannot take lessons from the past.

But some good work is available. See Ha-Joon Chang in his book 23 Things they Don’t Tell you about Capitalism (Bloomsbury Press, London, 2011), and Dean Baker’s The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer (Washington, DC., 2006), pp. 23–25.

Or take Bob Rowthorn, a left heterodox economist and former Marxist, whose work on mass immigration continues, broadly speaking, the Old Left critique of open borders and mass immigration.

There is a good summary of his views here.

Or see his comments at the end of this video:

Detailed and very good work by Bob Rowthorn on this issue is here:
Rowthorn, R. 2003. “Migration Limits,” Prospect Magazine (February 20).

Rowthorn, R. 2006. “Cherry-Picking: A Dubious Practice,” Around the Globe 3.2: 17–23. Institute for the Study of Global Movements, University of Monash.;dn=310269958414577;res=IELHSS

Rowthorn, R. E. 2008. “The Fiscal Impact of Immigration on the Advanced Economies,” Oxford Review of Economic Policy 24.3: 560–580.

Rowthorn, Robert. 2014. “Large-Scale Immigration: Its Economic and Demographic Consequences,” CIVITAS: Institute for the Study of Civil Society, London, August.

Rowthorn, Robert. 2015. “The Costs and Benefits of Large-Scale Immigration: Exploring the Economic and Demographic Consequences for the UK,” Civitas, December
I think Bob Rowthorn’s criticisms of mass immigration from a left-wing perspective would have been understood immediately and clearly by somebody from the Old Left, which also opposed this on economic, social and cultural grounds.

Take the American socialist Left of the early 20th century.

At the famous Socialist Congress in Chicago of 1910, American socialists adopted the following resolution:
“The Socialist party of the United States favors all legislative measures tending to prevent the immigration of strike breakers and contract laborers, and the mass importation of workers from foreign countries, brought about by the employing classes for the purpose of weakening the organization of American labor and of lowering the standard of life of the American workers.” (Carlton 1911: 352).
Earlier in 19th century America, US capitalists imposed a brutal system of near slave labour by importing Chinese immigrants (or “Coolies”) to exploit them for low wages under viciously exploitative conditions (see here and here).

Such indentured workers and their near slave-labour drove down wages for domestic American workers and caused competition for scarce jobs. This provoked an angry working class political movement, including, for example, the activism of the US labour leader Denis Kearney who organised the Workingmen’s Party of California in 1877, whose program included opposition to mass immigration (see also Fine and Tichenor 2009).

Similar socialist and left-wing hostility to mass immigration occurred in Canada (see here), Australia (Quinlan and Lever-Tracy 1990) and New Zealand too.

But today the cultural left is pathetically unaware that mass immigration has been one of the most vicious weapons of class war used by big business and big capital against the wages, working conditions, job prospects and social cohesion of the working class and society at large.

Baker, Dean. 2006. The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer. Center for Economic and Policy Research, Washington, DC.

Carlton, Frank Tracy. 1911. The History and Problems of Organized Labor. D.C. Heath, Boston.

Chang, Ha-Joon. 2011. 23 Things they Don’t Tell you about Capitalism. Bloomsbury Press, London.

Fine, Janice and Daniel Tichenor. 2009. “A Movement Wrestling: American Labor’s Enduring Struggle with Immigration, 1866–2007,” Studies in American Political Development 23.1: 84–113.

Quinlan, Michael and Constance Lever-Tracy. 1990. “From Labour Market Exclusion to Industrial Solidarity: Australian Trade Union Responses to Asian Workers, 1830–1988,” Cambridge Journal of Economics 14.2: 159–181.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

When Multiculturalism means Undermining Democracy Itself

That is the state of affairs in Britain today, as it made clear by a UK government report headed by Sir Eric Pickles, as reported here, here, and here, reporting on the widespread voting fraud and corruption within certain immigrant ethnic communities in Britain.

The original report is here.

Of the worst abuses is the systematic misuse of postal voting:
“70. Postal voting on demand attracted the greatest degree of comment from respondents. It was considered by some to be the UK’s main electoral vulnerability and to provide the ‘best’ opportunity for electoral fraud.

71. Abuses of postal voting on demand were noted too often be carried out in communities where an individual’s right to vote in secret and exercise free choice may not be fully valued. Evidence was presented of pressure being put on vulnerable members of some ethnic minority communities, particularly women and young people, to vote according to the will of the elders, especially in communities of Pakistani and Bangladeshi background. There were concerns that influence and intimidation within households may not be reported, and that state institutions had turned a blind eye to such behaviour because of ‘politically correct’ over-sensitivities about ethnicity and religion.

72. Richard Mawrey QC noted that postal votes were the most significant problem and that, whilst the introduction of ‘postal vote identifiers’ (signature and date of birth) in 2007 had been a step in the right direction, the possibilities of undue influence, theft of postal votes and tampering with them after completion were all still risks. In summary, he saw the system as effectively just being policed by political parties watching each other with not enough rigour in the systems themselves.”
“Securing the Ballot: Report of Sir Eric Pickles’ Review into Electoral Fraud,” August 2016, p. 22.
The situation is so severe that the very “integrity”of voting and democracy itself in Britain is being put into question.

From the conclusion:
“My fear now is that such a trust-based system is becoming no longer tenable. To retain the integrity of our democracy, we need to introduce more rigour into the processes we use, to see more clarity and proactivity from institutions such as the police in upholding the system. We need to act now to avoid further major instances of fraud taking place.

Further steps are necessary to stamp out electoral corruption – across voter registration fraud and error, postal voting fraud, impersonation, bribery, treating, undue influence and intimidation.

There are sometimes challenging issues over divisive community politics and ethnic-religious polarisation, but this is no excuse for failing to enforce British law and protect the integrity of our democratic process. The law must be applied equally and fairly to everyone. Integration and good community relations are undermined by the failure to uphold the rule of law and ensure fair play.

Our nation has a proud heritage as the ‘mother of Parliaments’, yet the worrying and covert spread of electoral fraud and state of denial by some bodies threatens that good reputation. It is time to take action to take on the electoral crooks and defend Britain’s free and fair elections.”
“Securing the Ballot: Report of Sir Eric Pickles’ Review into Electoral Fraud,” August 2016, p. 55.
So we have yet another incredible failure of multiculturalism in Europe.