Today Paul Krugman has discoveredthat, gasp, technological unemployment is really real! And it’s really, finally here! And it really, really will result in a permanent transfer of wealth from labor to capital, no matter how many college degrees laborers go into debt to acquire! (and, coincidentally, of course, this also seems to imply that Marx might actually have been a bit smarter than we thought.)
I’m being unfair, or at least uncharitable, to the penitent Dr. Krugman, who’s a nice guy, and would be a nice guy even if he weren’t an economist. Still, this is an amazingly belated observation on his part. I thought that these economist guys all knew this stuff, but were afraid to mention it for fear of devaluing their Keynesian cheerleading. Horrifying to think that they didn’t actually know it at all.
on October 18, 2012, 9:48 am,
by William Timberman,
In this crazy season just prior to the U.S. elections, I’ve found myself strangely unable to pay adequate attention to my own business. There are just too many people around me who’ve given themselves over to the din and the compulsion, and want me to join them in their last ditch defense against the unthinkable. I can’t do it, not least because I’ve long been convinced that the unthinkable is already upon us. We’re going to have to live with it at one level or another for as far as most of us can see into the future. That will take some doing, at least for those who will live through more of it than I’ll have to.
Still, it may be a good idea, in my current rattled state, which seems to recur every two years at about this time, to take stock of where in the landscape of our current discontents I find what Christians call the Rock Of My Salvation. Then, with any luck, I’ll be able to get back to business again:
1. Immanence rather than transcendence
2. Heraclitus rather than Aristotle
3. The Tao rather than filial piety
4. Blake rather than Newton
5. Marx rather than Keynes
6. A decent respect to the opinions of mankind rather than full-spectrum dominance
7. Mens sana in corpore sano above all (although I freely admit that this doesn’t mean to me what it seems to mean to most of my contemporaries.)
on July 25, 2012, 9:34 am,
by William Timberman,
under Lunacy, Politics.
If the U.S. government had been built as a galley, the Democrats on the port side would now be trying to row, those on the starboard side would be leaning on their oars. The Republicans would be drilling holes in the bottom of the hull. There’d be no one at the tiller.
on July 10, 2012, 7:31 am,
by William Timberman,
Patrick Gaspard, Executive Director of the Democratic National Committee, sent me an e-mail message yesterday. In order to close the gap with the Republicans, he says, the Democratic National Committee needs to raise another 35 million dollars this month. I can help the cause at all levels across the country by donating $3.00 (or more, of course.) In order to make this more convenient for me, he provides an active link in the body of the message.
Given the economic and political horror show that we’ve been subjected to in the past four years, and the Democratic Party’s collusion in much of it, I find it hard to imagine a more concise or more contemptible example of the cynicism of our political classes than this letter. Patrick Gaspard is clearly beyond irony, beyond shame, beyond, it seems, the reach of historical process. All he appears to know is that This Is What It Takes. All I know is that he isn’t getting my three bucks.
Our fundraising numbers from June are in. Along with President Obama’s campaign, we raised $71 million, making this month our biggest yet. That’s something to be proud of.
But we still got beat. Mitt Romney and the Republican Party raised more than $106 million — making it the second month in a row that they outraised us, this time by $35 million.
That’s a big gap. And if we don’t do everything we can to close it now, we risk losing more than just a fundraising race in November
Donations from Democrats like you are directly helping us at all levels across the country.
Over the last three months, your donations have helped us:
– Continue to open field offices in all 50 states, including our 30th field office in the battleground state of Pennsylvania.
– Hold nationwide voter registration drives and register hundreds of thousands of people.
– Organize the National Youth Summit, which gave more than 1,000 young people the tools to organize in neighborhoods and on their college campuses.
– Run a four-day, six-state “Romney Economics: The Middle Class Under the Bus” tour highlighting Romney’s failed economic record and vision — which received an astounding amount of local press coverage, showing that exposing Romney’s record is working.
We’re working hard to make sure Democratic candidates win in November, but we’ve got an uphill battle if Romney and the Republicans continue to outraise us at such a pace. While Mitt Romney and the Republicans rely on mostly big donors to fund their campaigns, in June alone, more than 700,000 donors stepped up to support the DNC and Obama campaign.
We’ve got to do everything we can to put a stop to the Republican momentum — so donate $3 or whatever you can to close the gap. It can’t wait another day:
Democratic National Committee
PAID FOR BY OBAMA VICTORY FUND 2012, A JOINT FUNDRAISING COMMITTEE AUTHORIZED BY OBAMA FOR AMERICA, THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE, AND THE STATE DEMOCRATIC PARTIES IN THE FOLLOWING STATES: CO, FL, IA, NV, NH, NC, OH, PA, VA, AND WI.
Contributions or gifts to Obama Victory Fund 2012 are not tax deductible.
The first $5,000 of a contribution to OVF 2012 will be allocated to Obama for America (with the first $2,500 designated for the primary election, and the next $2,500 for the general election). The next $30,800 of a contribution will be allocated to the Democratic National Committee. Any additional amounts from a contributor will be divided among the State Democratic Party Committees as follows, up to $10,000 per committee and subject to the biennial aggregate limits: FL (17%); OH (16%); PA (13%); CO (11%); NC (11%); VA (11%); NV (6%); WI (6%); IA (5%); and NH (4%). A contributor may designate his or her contribution for a particular participant. The allocation formula above may change if following it would result in an excessive contribution. Contributions will be used in connection with a Federal election.
Democratic National Committee, 430 S. Capitol St. SE, Washington DC 20003
In a pivotal scene from a recent episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones, Lord Petyr Baelish hints at his knowledge of a secret potentially fatal to the Queen Mother, Cersei Lannister, and smugly warns her that knowledge is power. Her response is to order one of her bodyguards to cut his throat.
With his attention newly focused by the razor-sharp dagger under his chin, she reminds him that power is power, and that he’d do well to remember it.
Both are right, of course, but in politics, context is everything. That’s why I find it refreshing to watch Simon Johnson, MIT professor and former Chief Economist at the IMF, go after the academic economists who not only shill for the financial industry, but wax indignant when anyone calls attention to their shenanigans.
Back in 2006, Brad DeLong rejoiced that the Left had escaped its destructive embrace of Marxism. Reading Johnson’s appeal six years later, one wonders if someday we’ll be able to rejoice that the neoliberal academy has escaped its destructive embrace of Capitalism. That day may be nearer now than it was back in 2006, but I’m not breaking out the champagne just yet.