The U.K. has cut back expenses hugely and fired millions. It will certainly go into a major Depression. As Tony Blair said when asked why he hit his one-year-old baby: "You have to discipline them!"
Lloyd ("U.K. Cuts Back Gov't Expenses," realpsychohistory, 21 Oct. 2010)
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The U.K has unveiled a new National Security Strategy this week --- mostly about cuts in defense spending, and making sure that future efforts are tied to specific national interests and defense goals. It seems hard to argue with this. The U.S. needs to do the same thing.
-------Jim (response to post)
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You may all have read it already, but here's Paul Krugman on the cutbacks:
Both the new British budget announced on Wednesday and the rhetoric that accompanied the announcement might have come straight from the desk of Andrew Mellon, the Treasury secretary who told President Herbert Hoover to fight the Depression by liquidating the farmers, liquidating the workers, and driving down wages. Or if you prefer more British precedents, it echoes the Snowden budget of 1931, which tried to restore confidence but ended up deepening the economic crisis.
The British government’s plan is bold, say the pundits — and so it is. But it boldly goes in exactly the wrong direction. It would cut government employment by 490,000 workers — the equivalent of almost three million layoffs in the United States — at a time when the private sector is in no position to provide alternative employment. It would slash spending at a time when private demand isn’t at all ready to take up the slack.
Why is the British government doing this? The real reason has a lot to do with ideology: the Tories are using the deficit as an excuse to downsize the welfare state. But the official rationale is that there is no alternative.
Indeed, there has been a noticeable change in the rhetoric of the government of Prime Minister David Cameron over the past few weeks — a shift from hope to fear. In his speech announcing the budget plan, George Osborne, the chancellor of the Exchequer, seemed to have given up on the confidence fairy — that is, on claims that the plan would have positive effects on employment and growth.
Instead, it was all about the apocalypse looming if Britain failed to go down this route. Never mind that British debt as a percentage of national income is actually below its historical average; never mind that British interest rates stayed low even as the nation’s budget deficit soared, reflecting the belief of investors that the country can and will get its finances under control. Britain, declared Mr. Osborne, was on the “brink of bankruptcy.” ("British Fashion Victims," NYT, 22 October 2010)
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Krugman certainly gives a needed point of view, an important counterpoint to the cracker-barrel economics still taught and believed by, presumably, most people in the world (or at least America) that are paying attention at all.
However, whenever I read his work --- and I do enjoy it --- I am usually struck by the observation that he conveniently leaves off an essential part of his neo-Keynesian argument.
That point is that the reason the U.S. can get away with heavy deficits, and heavier trade deficits, is because of our military control of MidEast oil. As long as this remains in effect, the excess dollars can be exported overseas and other countries, particularly China and Japan, are obliged to accept them -- as OPEC oil is sold for dollars.
Thus those excess dollars can be buried in the desert sand, i.e., recycled by Arab elites into Dubai skyscrapers or Saudi Rolls Royces, or sent more directly back to the U.S. in purchase of low interest Government notes and bonds, and high priced U.S. stocks.
The U.S. military control of the oceans is a key part of this. If China were to get too horsey about accepting the diminishing-value US dollars, the U.S. Navy could shut off China's oil supply at will. This may sound drastic, but the step was actually carried out, very successfully against Japan (before Pearl Harbor!), and has been hinted at as recently as this year in the currency disputes between the countries.
There are a couple of problems with continuation of this neocon wet dream, of course. One is the possibility that U.S. deficits and debt hit a tipping point, where the dollar actually collapses. contemporary Kondratiev wave theory would suggest (according to some professional interpreters) that the hyperinflation danger is still at least a couple of decades away. The other challenge is the mysterious potential that MidEast Oil depletion takes effect sooner rather than later. When/if this occurs, the grand strategy of the U.S. will have the rug pulled out from under it.
Oh yes ... I do recall that this discussion is about the U.K. But the U.K. banking system is joined at the hip with the U.S., as are its petrol industry and military affairs. Thus, it should be OK, economically, as long as the U.S. dominance holds out.
In theory, alternative or renewable energy sources could also affect the world balance of power, but none of these appears to be close to unseating petroleum at the present time.
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James, Krugman is the only advanced psychoclass (or at least very near) economist I'm aware of; as such he doesn't for me so much offer a "counterpoint" as he does the main-line argument. leave it to the regressing others to chip in / at, here and there.
Brits wouldn't continue to get away (naughty! naughty!) with heavy deficits if they could: those in charge are right now responding to the overall desire for a depression to be ensured through tight-money policies. If the Brits were in a wholly different mood, even if it wasn't through borrowing, they'd find some way to make sure they didn't waste away a whole generation in a 20-year-long chill.
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Patrick, this reasoning is totally circular. Unless you have access to information about the early childhoods of Krugman and other economists, then you are simply NOT permitted to make assumptions about psychoclass based solely upon observations of the adult.
What you have done (not the first on this list to commit this error, BTW) is to start with a theory that less coercive childrearing leads to some desirable personality outcomes for adults, and then turned its on its head by asserting that anyone you agree with must have had such a childhood. This is the logical fallacy of circular reasoning, and is actually vacuous of meaningful content.
Not to mention that my discussion was about the role of geopolitics in the world's economic reality, not about political leanings of Krugman or anyone else.
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Re: Unless you have access to information about the early childhoods of Krugman and other economists, then you are simply NOT permitted to make assumptions about psychoclass based solely upon observations of the adult.
(James, if I'm not sane, don't bother reading what I've uncovered about someone's childhood. If I'm sane, focus on what I've observed from sheer experience of the living presence of the thing. Circular, square, linear -- whatever; it's true.)
We of the advanced psychoclass recognize one another. There is warmth and sanity in Krugman, chill or at least repression in most others (i.e., "crazyness"). From the adult formation, you know the origins. I do. You can't win an argument with someone who wants to convince you that Obama, for example, is high psychoclass through their studious digging-away at his childhood, because these people are intent to make what is so readily before you for assessment ("I'm right here, guys -- on friggin' Oprah, for heaven's sakes. No historical figure, me") something to be trumped by what they feel they are in position to put a smothering control on. When Lloyd was in mood to convince us that Obama is well loved -- capital "P" progress -- you couldn't counter by showing how evidently uncomfortable he was sitting beside Hillary during the campaign (he always seemed to turn away from her, drawing back from her maternal thighs; a boy who knew what it was to cower before mama -- and often) -- that is, by pointing at the obvious -- you couldn't effectively counter at all, because he oriented on a particular uncovering of his childhood as "true proof," one he could count on (with he himself being silent on this one) being defended as unassailable not merely by the here-and-there Obama-rejoicing psychohistorians, not merely by the wall of the type of timid liberal historians he has spend a lifetime lampooning and being lampooned by, but by the Historical Enterprise itself. "What is your lone opinion, intuition, against this mass of adult, authoritative research and evidence, young man?" ("But sir, if I can't read him well now, what makes you think I'll focus well on what is offered up from his childhood past?" "Does anything you've ever written say different?") This was Lloyd of recent past, as he leveraged History in its sense as the most conservative and repressive of studies, as an abode of monastic, professional stewardship / control, as he smacked of everything he has spent a lifetime lashing out at.
On a related note. One of the great things about psychohistory is how wonderfully hippie anti-authoritarian it can be. Some Phd launches at you with tombs of research, and contends that you can't even begin until you plumbed somewhere near equal. The advanced-psychoclass lounger responds by lamenting that the Phd didn't spend all that time in nurturing therapy so s/he could have commenced the whole enterprise in a spirit closer approximating sanity ("In short, I'm not really quite sure you've even begun, sir." "That is, it's probably on the mark to say that once I begin sentence one, I'm already ahead of your library of time with the thing.").
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Patrick said "We of the advanced psychoclass recognize one another. There is warmth and sanity in Krugman, chill or at least repression in most others (i.e., "crazyness"). "
Problem is, every one knows that they're right. Good luck finding some one who really believes that they are crazy, wrong and out of touch. These crazy, chilling, repressed folks you mention know, like you, that they are correct. Why, they can just *feel it*.
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With my sense of (at least current times) America, Rachel, I'd have been more convinced if you'd argued that most everyone deep-down thinks they're shit, that they probably don't deserve to be happy (they've got their maternal alters to thank for that), only that hippie-types who hope they might be / deserve otherwise, and the poor and vulnerable who publicly demonstrate their very own shameworthy neediness and dependency, are so much more rotten than they are. Once on crusade against them, in service of the Maternal rather than to themselves ... yeah, they might own up to feeling pretty righteous, I'll grant you that. But in reality these monsters are FEEDING, not feeling -- that's what their would-be food, us hippie-type, emotionally-healthy, advanced-class hipsters do. You know it.
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Patrick said, "I'd have been more convinced if you'd argued that most everyone deep-down thinks they're shit, that they probably don't deserve to be happy"
Well, yes. But now you seem to be suggesting that low self regard can't exist with an inflated self image in the same person, or that this has something to do with being convinced of a certain worldview - any world view. The point stands: everybody thinks they're right. The person with low or no self regard has still convinved themselves. Otherwise, they wouldn't have the beliefs or think the thoughts that they do.
This is veering into philosophy 101. Sturges, I think, was pointing out, not so gently, that you were skipping the most important steps and assuming too much. That somehow, a group called They has this problem called not being self aware enough, but you don't need to be. Because you're right. No big deal as this is a mistake we all make, maybe the easiest one to make - and I would guess, the main reason this particular online group exists.
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re: Problem is, every one knows that they're right. Good luck
finding some one who really believes that they are crazy, wrong and out of touch.
These crazy, chilling, repressed folks you mention know, like you, that they
are correct. Why, they can just *feel it*.
It is possible to read this, Rachel, and actually think you're talking most here about how right they feel ABOUT THEMSELVES -- not their opinions, their take on the world -- about how they deep-down, ESSENTIALLY, think about themselves as human beings -- are they crazy? wrong? out of touch? So I don't think they do, in this sense, know themselves to be "correct," or "right," in the sense that "chill" people like me do. If you feel yourself to be right as a human being, to deserve to live an uninhibited, happy life, I don't think you're likely to be one of the crazy, repressed folks I mentioned. This is mostly why I answered you the way I did.
James was saying that I was skipping the most important part. I know that (he thought that), and it's probably why in the next post I jumped right to it: with psychohistory, it's not about the argument anymore; it's about your state of well being. James's point that with psychohistory you can't infer backwards (which is dubious, or at least very, very complicated, to me) is not something I got into, because to mind instantly I knew that this whole thing isn't so much about knowing more, but about caring / feeling more. The more advanced psychoclass is able to, and cares now to, see the abundant cruelty, insanities, that previous generations, more regressed people, could not see, despite it being everywhere before them. Members of such a psychoclass can't be convinced that to convince what they need is more information, or different sources, not just because they just know they've already got plenty before them of a kind that "proves the point" (If Jimmie Carter listens well, respecting you, respecting your point, but never deferingly / self-diminishingly; if Paul Krugman talks with charm and style but also with deep concern and serious intent; if Jim Henson reaches out in ways that make it no surprise that beyond a generation have through their encounter with him felt more worthy of being loved; and you see / sense all this, you just want to laugh when someone feels this isn't what you should be pointing at to prove how a person is constituted [i.e., their psychoclass]), but because they know the problem before them isn't really evidence -- it's the inability, disinclination, of the person you are talking to see the obvious. I know I'm not going to convince by digging at childhoods "here" (which to me was foremost here who Obama is now as a person, not how you just know he must have "gotten on" with his mother), so I don't get into it. What I do is try to prompt out people to act in ways which show them aspects of themselves which I suspect may be used to suggest to them that the problem isn't really my inability to argue properly -- however well I am in fact arguing -- or to look at what I should have drawn upon, but in factors working against their ability to cooperate in well attending to what I have to say. How does Lloyd convince (and the point can be made that even amongst psychohistorians, he HASN'T, mostly -- how often do you encounter psychohistorians talk about how their mothers have determined the course of their lives: point number one of DeMausian psychohistory?)? By argument? By historical evidence? Or is it by perhaps by playing to a part of ourselves that is still yet not defeated in its struggle to not betray itself, to not defer to how it senses it is being instructed to see and exist in the world before it, to see what the better off of us at some level ALREADY KNOW TO BE TRUE, and just need support, demonstrated proof that you can fight back without being destroyed, to help us acknowledge it? If this here is philosophy 101, then even if no job there is I think still something valuable to be had via an undergrad education. (A PhD could only make you godly.)
Maybe if I felt that the person I was talking to could be swayed with a different kind of proof, with references to childhood behavior, I might have ventured there, despite me thinking it not necessary. If I doubt it, I go a more appropriate route -- if I sense the point can somehow still be made (otherwise I wish them well, and go bye-bye). With James, always ... despite his Libertarian leanings and Republican daughters.
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"...I don't think you're likely to be one of the crazy, repressed folks I mentioned."
Doesn't change things if I am. The comments from me have just been impersonal, basic log-in-your-eye stuff. Yes, most / many / maybe all people rely on a gut feeling, or what have you, based upon communication cues and a "feeling" when projecting on, er, judging a person- you kind of have to - and you also have to shed this strong tendency when effectively talking about the subject matter here and move forward.
This has careened off topic, which was U.K. cuts back gov't expenses, so I think this is the last I'll say about it.
re: Problem is, every one knows that they're right. Good luck
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Very good point, Rachel.
There are some on this list who persist in thinking that Group Fantasy motivation is only the province of people they disagree with -- not seeming to understand the core PH principle that fantasy underlies all human thought/behavior and Group Fantasy underlies all group behavior.
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By "you" here I didn't mean you yourself, Rachel.
By all means, Rachel, lead the way. If impersonal, tight-to-the-chest reasoned discussion is not an enemy of naked, vulnerable full disclosure -- what I clearly think psychohistory needs more of, and why it must wait for the next hippie-revolution to once again grow wings -- if it can take us further, I'm for it. I knew James would call my argument circular; I knew it (my argument) was absolutely vulnerable to being accused of being circular when I felt it's intrinsic truth and insisted on saying it bare and plain (rather than with some kind of accompaniment to lure truth to some place I knew it didn't belong, would sully it). This, I think, should interest / intrigue you (and James); should count against what identifying an argument as "circular" is supposed to do to facilitate understanding. Rather than extend yourself, you use the strict and available and do an immediate superego close-down on an interesting possibility. We won't come up with anything unless we're prepared to appear embarrassing, reckless. Read how historians greeted Lloyd's first works. To them, he never did anything a serious academic must do to demonstrate himself worth attendance: he was more curl up under covers into a fetal position to access a medieval's childhood origins, but he might also have put forward the circular argument or two. His subsequent works are better warded against attack, but perhaps -- despite even the massive brilliance of Emotional Life of nations -- not to the better legacy of psychohistory.
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OK, Patrick. If you intended to disarm me with this, you have succeeded. Anyone that would actually say they are waiting for a revival of the 60's-early 70's hippie-revolution movement is worthy in my book of a second, a third, a fourth etc. look. I am truly impressed by this thought. It is so off-the-wall ... and yet deep down I admit that I wish for it myself.
Just in case Santa Claus is reading this ... if a new hippie-revolution movement is too much to ask for, then how about a redo of the 90's? I'm sure I could time the bubble right this time.