Sunday, May 27, 2012

Paul Krugman calls "Soviet"

Today, however, the big threat to our discourse is right-wing political correctness, which — unlike the liberal version — has lots of power and money behind it. And the goal is very much the kind of thing Orwell tried to convey with his notion of Newspeak: to make it impossible to talk, and possibly even think, about ideas that challenge the established order....

Actually, this reminds me of an essay I read a long time ago about Soviet science fiction. The author — if anyone remembers where this came from — noted that most science fiction is about one of two thoughts: “if only”, or “if this goes on”. Both were subversive, from the Soviet point of view: the first implied that things could be better, the second that there was something wrong with the way things are. So stories had to be written about “if only this goes on”, extolling the wonders of being wonderful Soviets.
And now that’s happening in America.
Read it at The New York Times | The Conscience of a Liberal
The New Political Correctness
by Paul Krugman, Professor of Economics and International Affairs Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University

Getting close to Godwin's Law.

Here's a relevant snippet from Joshua Holland's AlterNet interview of Roseanne Barr, who is now running for the presidential nomination of the Green Party in competition with Jill Stein.
JH: ... it strikes me that "Roseanne" was one of a very small number of shows on TV that had characters who were good people struggling to pay their bills. Maybe "Good Times" was another one. I’m hard pressed to think of any others. In a sense, you offered a class analysis that’s almost entirely absent from any TV entertainment. Why do you think that is?
RB: Well, because that’s what I wanted to do. 
JH: But why don’t we see more of that? I mean, so many families are struggling you would think that our culture would reflect that once in a while. 
JH: It’s a shame for our culture I think that we don’t see regular people dealing with the issues that regular people actually deal with.
RB: I don’t think that would be in the interest of the people who control what goes on here. It wouldn’t be in their interests. They kind of narrowed the field so they would get approval of all content that was shown over the people’s airwaves. That’s been coming since when the FCC was deregulated. That’s what happened.
JH: That’s the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
RB: Yes, that’s exactly what happened. They took control of all content, all context and all message. They think that the plight of the 99 percent of Americans isn’t worthy of being discussed in any media. 
JH: And we’re probably the only advanced country that doesn’t have really any sense of class. We’re supposed to pretend that class difference don’t exist.


Clonal said...

See also Michael Robert's article - Krugman and depression economics

In an appendix in his book, Krugman considers the evidence that government spending on armaments is the way out of depression. He notes that World War 2 military spending was actually ‘disappointing’ in boosting growth because of “rationing and restrictions on private construction” while the Korean war was also less than effective because of “sharply raised taxes”. But are wars the only way to get big government spending implemented? According to Krugman, “the answer, unfortunately, is yes. Big spending programs rarely happen except in response to war or the threat thereof.” So more government spending does not really seem to be a promising solution to the depression, after all.

Marxist economics can explain why. Capitalists only invest more if it is profitable to do so, not because it might be in the ‘national interest’. The role of profitability is totally missing in Krugman’s nicely written book. For him, profit is irrelevant: what matters is incomes, spending and saving. And yet Marx’s law of profitability best explains why there will be recurring slumps caused by the tendency for profitability to fall.

The only way to revive that profitability is through slumps that destroy the value of accumulated capital, so that profitability (relative to remaining value) will then rise and allow the process of accumulation to resume.

Also relevant Bernard Lietaer's small talk on compound interest

John Zelnicker said...

Just another kinda sad example of how the discourse is trending toward extremism. And Krugman doesn't even see how he contributes to this growing extremism.

But I think Krugman starts out with an valid observation. I have noticed that conservative elites and politicians all use the same few words such as "job creator" as if they have been all trained by Frank Luntz (I think that's his name). And probably half the MSM goes along with it.

It feels very much like 1984 (or maybe 1983 at this point). I find it very frustrating.