There’s a New Blog Called Big Business Out of Government!

029There’s a New Blog Called Big Business Out of Government!

The blog’s first post is dated April 27th of this year. I like what they have said so far and have my own reservations about corporate control of government. I’ve noticed that they tend to be “outspoken.” Some would use the term, shrill. But I’ve been called shrill myself and sometimes it is very difficult not to be outraged by the things going on in this country.

Please go have a look at this new blog and see what you think. As an example I’ve reprinted their first posting below.

James Pilant

The US government isn’t here for you anymore Princeton study finds.

Our blog should start with a bang, and what bigger bang is there than a peer reviewed paper that outlines how the US is now an oligarchy?

To put simply, an oligarchy is a government that is ran by a handful of people. In the case of the US, the government is ran by the 1%. Those “Americans” who can open their pocket books, resources, and offer 6 to 7 figures positions to legislators, judges, cabinet members, and so on, in exchange for massive deregulation, bailouts, and even wars in order to feed their insatiable appetite for profit and power. These “Americans” pull the strings in the US and they don’t give a shit about you.

From around the web.

From the web site, A Philosopher’s Blog.

One of my lasting lessons from political science is that every major society has a pyramid structure in regards to wealth and power. The United States is no exception to this distribution pattern. However, the United States is also supposed to be a democratic society—which seems rather inconsistent with the pyramid.

While the United States does have the mechanisms of democracy, such as voting, it might be wondered whether the United States is democratic or oligarchic (or plutocratic) in nature. While people might turn to how they feel about this matter, such feelings and related anecdotes do not provide proof. So, for example, a leftist who thinks the rich rule the country and who feels oppressed by the plutocracy does not prove her belief by appealing to her feelings or anecdotes about the rich. Likewise, a conservative who thinks that America is a great democracy and feels good about the rich does not prove her belief by appealing to her feelings or anecdotes about the rich.

What is needed is a proper study to determine how the system works. One rather obvious way to determine the degree of democracy is to compare the expressed preferences of citizens with the political results. If the political results generally correspond to the preferences of the majority, then this is a reasonable (but not infallible) indicator that the system is democratic. If the political results generally favor the minority that is rich and powerful while going against the preferences of the less wealthy majority, then this would be a reasonable (but not infallible) indicator that the system is oligarchic (or plutocratic). After all, to the degree that a system is democratic, the majority should have their preferences enacted into law and policy—even when this goes against the wishes of the rich. To the degree that the system is oligarchic, then the minority of elites should get their way—even when this goes against the preferences of the majority.

Progressives Need to Politicize Money (via Gerry Canavan)

Exactly. jp

From a series of legal codes favoring creditors, a two-tier justice system that ignore abuses in foreclosures and property law, a system of surveillance dedicated to maximum observation on spending, behavior and ultimate collection of those with debt and beyond, there’s been a wide refocusing of the mechanisms of our society towards the crucial obsession of oligarchs: wealth and income defense. Control over money itself is the last component of o … Read More

via Gerry Canavan

Koch Foundation Hires and Fires Economists at Public University (via Wake-up Call)

It is questionable morally to use money and influence to diminish or destroy the rights of Americans. It is questionable morality to subvert or buy the media to prevent unfavorable stories or to spread lies and misinformation. And it is questionable morality to buy influence at American universities so that your perverted economic doctrines can become mainstream, to use public institutions as private breeding grounds for followers, to pollute the social science with the continuous contributions of bought academics, not searching for the truth, but in opposition to it.

Shall large Christian denominations dispose of evolutionary biology using the same methods? Shall opponents of gay marriage dispose of social scientists using the same methods? Shall we give up the field of criminology, after high dollar contributors insist that crime is produced by demonic possession?

Think of the possibilities! These independent researchers, these tenured beasts, all brought to heel. Is global warming a problem? Buy enough academics and it disappears. Some damn nosy professor says dumping radioactive material can damage our genetic heritage, that can be fixed. We can buy as many professors as we want. History can become what we want. The very definition of reality can be changed, literature and painting cleansed of subversive influences.

Are public universities in need of money? Let them get money the old-fashioned way. Haven’t people justified their immoral actions by saying they did it because it was part of the job and they had to feed their families? Haven’t people said they had to do it, it was part of the job? Let’s put academics in that same boat. They shall have their jobs only if they give the proper respect to the contributors, only if their search for truth is predetermined, I promise you that every university in this nation will be rolling in money the moment they realize just like Florida State University that selling the “right” kind of education is more profitable than the pursuit of knowledge. Educating the young has never been very profitable.

We can double, triple administrative salaries. We can build new buildings and a first class physical plant. There will be stadiums and first class football teams at the smallest of institutions. No more begging to the state legislatures, the money will never stop. Donors will compete against each other for professors. If one gets five, then the other must have six.

We can price them. The more influential the professor, the more money they will be worth. It’s easy to measure, who’s on television more often. Who testifies before Congress the most. Whether or not they teach or get published is insignificant. Who wants to buy that?

We have sold so much in this country. Let’s follow free market economics to their logical conclusion.

The brave new world of green is out there waiting for us. Let us walk forward bravely, open palm extended, to sell our last possession, our integrity.

James Pilant

Koch Foundation Hires and Fires Economists at Public University by Rebekah Wilce on May 12, 2011     PR Watch     According to news reports, the Charles G. Koch Foundation has bought “the right to interfere in faculty hiring at a publicly funded university.” Kris Hundley of the St. Petersburg Times reports that the elder Koch brother’s foundation “pledged $1.5 million for positions in Florida State University’s economics department. In return, his representatives get to screen and sign off on any hires for a … Read More

via Wake-up Call

Did The International Monetary Fund Push Tunisia Into Revolution? Yes.

The IMF played  an important role in the Tunisian Revolution

This is from the International Monetary Funds Survey Magazine, an article entitled –

Tunisia Weathers Crisis Well, But Unemployment Persists.

(September 10th, 2010)

Maintaining a stable macroeconomic environment that promotes employment and growth also requires determined expenditure control, the IMF assessment said. Key for success in this area is the reform of the social security system. To this end, the authorities are in discussion with social partners on pension reforms to buttress the pension system’s financial sustainability. The government should also explore ways to contain subsidies of food and fuel products, the report noted.

The authorities are also undertaking reforms to make the tax regime more business friendly. International comparisons with other emerging market economies show that the tax burden on businesses is relatively high in Tunisia and that there is scope to increase the yield from consumption taxes. To promote private investment and employment, the authorities intend to reduce tax rates on businesses and to offset those reductions by increasing the standard VAT rate and expanding the tax base through the elimination of exemptions, the report noted.

Tunisia’s growth-enhancing strategy also includes a package of measures to strengthen the financial sector through consolidating the financial strength of banks, enhancing the role of banks in the economy, restructuring the public banking system, and bolstering the presence of Tunisian banks abroad. The aim, ultimately, is to transform Tunisia into a banking services hub and a regional financial market.

To strengthen the country’s ability to adapt to changes in the global economic environment, the authorities also intend to modernize the monetary policy framework by introducing inflation targeting and to implement convertibility of the dinar and capital account liberalization by 2014. The IMF assessment said that this strategy would require significant preparatory work, particularly further strengthening of the banking system and deepening of the foreign exchange, money, and capital markets. The report also noted that the authorities would need to take additional steps to ensure increased reliance on interest rates as the operational target of monetary policy.

The IMF had been recommending an austerity regime for Tunisia for many years. Being an exceptionally corrupt and kleptocratically ruled nation, the pain of these kinds of “austerity” measures fell on the poor. In Tunisia, the poor is virtually everybody.

The IMF was pushing for a decline in government spending particularly in the areas of food and fuel in a poor population that could rarely afford either. Per capita income is a little over $6,000 but the population is divided into a very small oligarchy of immense wealth and a very large population of the poor. So, I would suspect that income among the average Tunisian was probably far less than half. So, they were recommending cuts in food and fuel in a population just hanging on to the edge, hardly able to make it from day to day.

It could be said that the IMF at all times stands for cuts in social welfare spending, business tax cuts, consumption tax increases (a form of sales tax),  bank consolidation, and declines in government spending. But there is no issue upon which the IMF is more devoted than inflation control. It crops up again and again in report after report. Inflation damages capital because it makes debts less valuable to creditors. Since while inflation can exist by itself, it is also a characteristic of growing and prosperous economies, that kind of economic growth must be avoided. What is wanted instead is stable economic growth with little or no wage pressure. This removes inflationary pressure and assures those loaning money of a full return on their investment.

There is another thread you pick up when you read IMF reports, a fascination with data. They always want more data. Better reporting they call it.

The numbers are everything. People are not.

James Pilant

Popular Revolt in the Arab World (via Grand Strategy: The View from Oregon)

These events are hardcore business ethics matters. It is the economic theories of the Chicago School of Economics that propels the austerity measures all over the world. It is the intense privatization movements again pushed by American philosophies and business interests that is a factor in these conflicts. I will cover the IMF and its part in these uprisings in more detail in my next posting.

There are few commentators I trust as much as J. N. Nielsen. Certainly very few are as well read.

I strongly recommend his writings.

James Pilant

Popular Revolt in the Arab World Thursday Tunisia’s authoritarian government of several decades duration has fallen to a popular uprising. This was not a perfectly bloodless revolution, but bloodshed was definitely kept to a minimum, largely because security forces took the side of protest … Read More

via Grand Strategy: The View from Oregon