ECONOMIC developments
Consequences of Lying Economic Stats
A lesson on Banking & housing prices
McCain/Republican planned tax cut plus Housing Market Crunch
Sub-prime Bailout--banks, not homeowners
Neoliberalism, their global agenda--jk
Neoliberalism, Robber Barons, an historical view--jk
Neocon Economics Data--Reagan to Bush
US DEBT--explained
What 2008 has in store
The Great Debt Crisis Begins-08
Debt to Grow, Whomever is Elected
Trickle-down shit
Analysis of effects of tax cuts--exposes the neocon lie
Municipal Bonds are impacted by home loan defaults--dominoes
Let Them Die, the position of big PHARMA and WTO trade treaties
Financialization, the major new economic trend
China, poverty and manufacturing
Globalization and the Super Rich

Neoliberalism, Robber Barons, an historical view--jk


Neoliberalism and neoliberals have various other labels:  globalization, corporatism, flat worlders, neocons, neoconservatives and the one I prefer, the new Robber Barons.  They stand for a form of laissez-faire capitalism,* which only they, like members of a church, tout as the way and path—reason and evidence are damned.  The phrase, robber baron, was used to describe the situation that existed in many parts of the world.  Common to many regions consisting of small fifes, the local young men under the head of a chief would exact from a group of travels a fee for passing through their territory.  Robber baron in this country was first applied to railroad magnates.  It appears in an 1880 anti-monopoly pamphlet for farmers in the Kansas region.  It soon was extended to the powerful U.S. capitalists of the late 19th century who in the pursuit of wealth exploited labor, formed alliances with legislators and judges, manipulated financial and trade markets, polluted the environment, and eliminated competition.  Their goal was to maximize profits.  This label for leading capitalists continued in common usage until the 1950s. 


Much like the written history of a war devoting considerable space to the generals, similarly is the history of U.S. industrialization following the Civil War about the Robber Barons.  The ruthless tactics of these barons of trade were described by the economist and sociologist Thorstein Veblen in The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899).   Veblen compared the powerful industrialists  and bankers to the barbaric barons, for they lived off the spoils of conquest.  Their care of and for their workers he compared to that of farmers to their farm animals.  He also devoted considerable space to the conspicuous consumption of the leisure class.   Wit and insight made his book a best seller; and it became required reading for several generations of college students. 


American journalist Matthew Josephson in 1934 wrote the Robber Barons, another bestseller (still in print) that exposed their world.   He stressed their business practices and in the last chapters their conspicuous consumption.  I borrowed this book from my elementary school library, and 30 years later from a local library. 


Things haven’t changed that much, except the consciousness of the masses, for now we don’t call the CEO’s of major corporations robber barons.  The robber-baron era is a history that our corporate press has rewritten.  The continuing abuses chronic to capitalism are barely covered in their press.  There has been a de-evolution of mass consciousness:  conspicuous consumption and robber barons ought to still be in common usage.  That which is against the common weal ought to be a pressing concern of the common people. 



*Adam Smith was not one of them, and the usage they  make of him is totally unjustified. 

As given in lecture by noted British Economics Professor Lionel Robins: 

Popular writing in this connection is far below the zero of knowledge or common decency.  On this plain not only is any real knowledge of the classical writers nonexistent, but their place has been taken by a set of mythological figures passing by the same names, but not infrequently invested with attitudes almost the exact reverse which the originals adopted.  These dummies are very malignant creatures indeed.  They are the tools or lackeys of the capitalist exploiters.  I think that has the authentic stylistic flavor.  They are extremely indifferent to the well being of the working classes.  Hence when a writer today wishes to present his own point of view in a special favorable setting, he has only to point to these constructs with the attitude of these reprehensible people and the desired effect is produced.  You’d be surprised how many well-known authors who have resorted to this device.—Lionel Robins—1939, Lectures for the London School of Economics.  Found in Books on Tape Disc II, track 1, 1:30 ff., The English Classical Economists. 



The English classical economists included the 2 great Scottish philosophers David Hume and Adam Smiths, and their followers.  Among their followers are Thomas Malthus, David Ricardo, and John Stuart Mill.   Smith was a champion of the masses.  He observed that whenever government interfered with free trade it was at the behest of a special interest group, and the burden of such legislation fell heavily upon the laboring poor through higher prices.  He was deeply moved by their plight.  If government followed Jeremy Bentham’s standard of utilitarianism and thus promoted the common weal as their primary duty, Smith would have written much differently,


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Must watch:

Parts of Europe (such ask Netherlands and Denmark) use small local electricity generation plants, which permits the use of the byproduct heat for heating.  In one example they use all he CO2 generated to supply 4,000 hectares of green houses.   The combined heating and energy production (CHP) is a proven technology that lowers the energy consumption for electricty and heating by over 50%.   British (BBC) documentary on this


Teddy Roosevelt's advice that, "We must drive the special interests out of politics. The citizens of the United States must effectively control the mighty commercial forces which they have themselves called into being. There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains."


For the best account of the Federal Reserve  (  One cannot understand U.S. politics, U.S. foreign policy, or the world-wide economic crisis unless one understands the role of the Federal Reserve Bank and its role in the financialization phenomena.  The same sort of national-banking relationships as in our country also exists in Japan and most of Europe.