Bill Moyers and James K. Galbraith Talk About the Financial Crisis and John Kenneth Galbraith

ilene's picture

I'm listening to the part 1 now. Some great quotes (paraphrased), and this is just in the first five minutes. ~ Ilene 

James: The system that we live under is unstable. It's corruptible, it's endangered, and its destiny is our responsibility. It depends on us and cannot be entrusted to some ethereal, intangible force that we might call the market... 

The two forces are politics and law. Politics, to give us a coherent government in the interest in the large republic, and law to provide a discipline on the behavior of people who wield power, particularly financial power. And that's of course if you're thinking of the crisis we've been going through, it is fundamentally a consequence of the breakdown of law. It is a crisis of our legal system as much as our economic system...

What you had here is a propagation of a massive fraud.... Confidence in the entire system breaks down. 

Bill: [The inequality gap is getting greater.] What does that say to you?

James: A central lesson of my work is that inequality is associated with instability... Inequality and instability are symptoms of the same phenomenon... 

The kinds of inequalities that we have developed in our society distort every choice that people make in their lives, particularly that young men and women make in their lives...

An extraordinary concentration of wealth is an extraordinary concentration of power. Favorite Adam Smith quote (the only short sentence): "Wealth is power, as Mr. Hobbes says." 

Bill Moyers and James K. Galbraith Talk About the Financial Crisis and John Kenneth Galbraith

Courtesy of Jesse's Cafe Americain

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otherleading's picture

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q99x2's picture

JKG agreed with me.

#1 prosecute fraud (slim chance of getting the guns for drugs smuggling Holder to do anything)

#2 work on restructuring the financial system (use an open source bitcoin style closed monetary system).

That's it.

But no. Instead they are going to kill us with drones, false flags, martial law, starvation and so on.

Glad they're using the Eurozone for a test bed.

Oh ya what's going on in Egypt. Gotta check on Egypt now.

Winston Smith 2009's picture

This interview of Stockman by Moyers is excellent:

Crony Capitalism

March 9, 2012

David Stockman explains how the cozy relationship between Washington and Wall Street has perverted capitalism and subverted democracy.

q99x2's picture

Long on the problems and short on solutions. Sort of makes you wonder if leaving the viewer feeling helpless might be inadvertently aiding the banksters agenda.

Augustus's picture

The question is Who perverted Whom?

Look at the Euro Large Bank situation.  The governments could not have continued expanding spending and benefits without those institutions buying the new debt.  If there are no Large Banks, there is no market for the crap.  The governments have to have them.

Lednbrass's picture

They are symbionts and depend on each other for survival at this point, they have become two heads of one beast.

What we get in the US now is one political faction who thinks they can kill the government head by feeding the corporate/banking one and another who thinks they can kill the corporate/banking head by feeding the government one, or at least so they say. Im personally undecided on whether they are so stupid they dont recognize reality or they do and it is done deliberately, there are cases to be made for both gross stupidity and incompetence and purposeful malign intent.

Whichever it is, in public of course both are shocked, shocked I tell you when the beast gets bigger and fatter every year and ever more entrenched.

bigwavedave's picture

America is NOT Europe.

lasvegaspersona's picture

This appears to have been recorded in 2010 so some slack must be given. His interest rate comments seem strange now, only 2 years later however, when they are not in fact the rates dictated by a free and informed market but rates dictated by one man. 

It does give a good perspective to those of us who never liked Obama some of the 'hope' they were hoping for. I never suspected he would go after the guilty but if his supporters did I'll have to forgive them a bit for supporting what I saw as a joker all along.

worbsid's picture

I wish these guys just ran out their 99 weeks of unemployment to get a taste of reality. Academics in general discuss from above the conflict and thus are absolutely clueless of life in the trenches (reality). This is not a new phenomenon but a continuation. Like McNamara saved money on the flight line by keeping the maintenance guys on regular hours … but the F-105s arrived at Hanoi the same time every day (read ‘Thud Ridge‘) and we lost. Academic view: Eight sorties of a thousand are shot down. Great stats guys! Reality. Ten pilots are sitting in the briefing room, each has to fly a hundred missions, eight will be shot down. Only 135,000 (99ers) lost their unemployment compensation last month but the unemployment rate hardly changed. Great if you are not one of the 135,000. Academia sucks and these two guys are no exceptions.

myshadow's picture

Moyers is still trying to wrap his arms around how he was so totally bamboozled by 0.  He always has people on to either tell him where he went wrong or how to fix it.  The anguish he feels is palpable and there are many on the liberal base who discovered early on we were sold a bill of goods by what turned to be a collosal con. 0 turned out to be nothing more than a corporate republican trojan horse.

If there is a failure in this colloquy, it is the total omission of Gramm/Leach/Blyley and clinton's complicity in that, the rubinoids, and his continued corporate swilling to this day.

To address specifically the 135,000 you mention.  I was/am one, mine ran out a year ago, I'll be 64 in Sept and went on SS early.

What is at the root of your exasperation is not necessarily 'the academics', but the fact there is no real forseeable relief or solution.  Galbreth accurately described the canard of the simpson-bowles catfood commission, and the rapacious reduction of the force of law to skid mark.

Our choices are evils, and not compared through false equivilency. 

It is clear that no matter who is president, the people who are elected to congress are the real cancer.

Fully half of them are stupid. 

It won't really be any relief until something apocalyptic happens, and we have leaders who are intellegent enough to be visionaries and not moronic hallucinators.

narnia's picture

Moyers has convinced himself that all of this collateral-less credit would have gotten into the system without Phil Gramm. That's simply not true. The GSEs, AIG, Goldman, Lehman, Bear, Morgan, Countrywide, and on & on were NOT bank holding companies subject to these rules on this run up.

You have to dig deeper into the nature of money & credit to come to grips with this predicament. It's plausible the parts of Glass Steagall that weren't repealed were more problematic than the ones that remained.

skipjack's picture

You are forgetting the history ofShittybank and Traveller's Insurance...  "They" HAD to get rid of Glass Steagall to allow that .. it was blatantly illegal at the time...

narnia's picture

What difference did that transaction make?

No matter how you slice it, the market would have dissolved the problem firms & choke slammed the shareholders & creditors of the shadow banking system. That would have been justice.

jimmyjames's picture

No matter how you slice it, the market would have dissolved the problem firms & choke slammed the shareholders & creditors of the shadow banking system. That would have been justice.


James disagrees with you-

James: It depends on us and cannot be entrusted to some ethereal, intangible force that we might call the market..


But i agree with you-

How does he know the market wont work when we've done everything possible to stop it from working and everything we've done so far is not working--

lasvegaspersona's picture


"Fully half of them are stupid. "

I have recently been to a couple of meetings of mostly Republicans attended by several senators and congressmen. I have to say that any awareness of impending doom is COMPLETELY absent. They believe a few things need to be fixed but as a group do not see disaster looming. Even Orin Hatch who admitted to a debt of 78 trillion when SS and Medicare were considered did not speak to possible hyperinflation. It seems the coming problems are either too horrible to talk about or they simply do not follow the logic of that much debt in an environment of no real growth. Stupid? I am not sure but missing a giant problem...definitely!

myshadow's picture

well, louie gomert, virginia foxx, joe walsh, allen west, marsha blackburn, joe barton, fred upton,.....any cracker, the republican caucus of arizona, southern california, eastern washington, indiana, kansas, nebraska, oklahoma = stupid.

I agree, the rest are sailing down denial. 

In that half, are members of the Democratic caucus as well.

Offthebeach's picture

If " It, The System " is unstable, then what's the problem? Let it collapse. Or is the collapse a threat to the soft handed, flabbies like Moyers and Son of Galbraith, Duke de Camelot?

James-Morrison's picture

A rotten apple cannot repair itself. 

paint it red call it hell's picture

it is the new order that comes out of that particular chaos that is to be feared. not that it is a new order, but that it is a planned order that required collapse of the old to be palatable to anyone but those that bring it to us.

i liken it to the master of marketing coup that coca cola conjured. replace old coke (old system made with sugar) with inferior new coke (chaos) to be replaced with new old coke (the new order made with high fructose corn syrup) which was not old at all, not nearly as good, and yet the public accepted not only being deceived but also the reformulated product.

ho does that not discribe what is happening now? people generally are fools..................

Stanley Lord's picture

Moyers is a piece of shit.

Also-Never trust anyone that talks in soft, reasoned tones.

Flying Tiger Comics's picture

I agree. No one will convince me of the soundness of their argument unless they're shrieking their head off waving a gun. Or repeating "yes we can" four hundred times at a Nuremberg rally. Or banging a gong to conceal their complete inability to make a correct investment call.

paint it red call it hell's picture

i recall it reported, but not confirmed, he is a bilderberger

El Oregonian's picture

Sounds like Emperor Palpatine of Star Wars. If he had the hoodie he'd look just like him also.

A_MacLaren's picture

I do not agree with Jamie's take on interest rates, that the market doesn't foresee high rates further out in the futures.  IMO, his supposition comes from a perspective of "efficient and free" markets.  Both of which, I strongly disagree.

I don't need to go at length into the inter-relations of the Fed plus the Primary Dealers acting in concert to hold rates down, when the PDs will not hold those bonds to maturity.  Nor is it necesary, except in passing, to point capital flows into the US markets from Europe and other points globally, where risk of default is perceived to be much higher. 

I will point to other aspects that generate demand for "fixed income" products and point to concerns and continuing fear of equity market capital losses, high leverage driven volatility of gambling chips in the cash settlement commodities markets, the continuing deflation in real estate as the primary drivers for those low interest rates.  IMO, of course.

So the choice is accept piddling amounts for so-called risk-free investments or get comfortable with much richer perceived risk associated with alternative investment vehicles.  Thus far, the picture seems to be, take my money please, and give it back to me later.  Participants are more interested in the return OF capital, than the return ON capital.

myshadow's picture

The last 30 seconds of the last segment said it all.  We need a strong and effective Department of Justice.

The second segment was a blockbuster.


We are doomed. 

I voted for this president expecting him to do the right thing with an effective Department of Justice.

He clearly opted to become an accessory to the fraud and the continuing criminality that Galbraith was addressing.

Pathetically mittens is even more craven than the president.

Flying Tiger Comics's picture

America is so totally different from all other western countries. In other western countries, the left hand wears the red glove puppet and the right hand wears the blue glove puppet.


However, due to American exceptionalism, in the USA the RIGHT hand wears the red glove puppet, and of course, the LEFT hand wears the blue glove puppet.


Red pill, blue pill, how about NO pill, morons? Elections since the secret team killed JFK are nothing more than an empty choice between competing crime families.

paint it red call it hell's picture

that brings us to the lesser of two evils. but there is only one evil that has backed two candidates sucessfully.

James-Morrison's picture

It's the Cat in the Hat.

Thing1 and Thing2 are running roughshod over the house.

The solution is so easy that even the child in the book gets it:  THROW THEM BOTH OUT!

Everybodys All American's picture

What can be more pathetic than the liberal media doing everything they can to keep Department of Justice's attorney general Eric Holder from being exposed as crooked?

James-Morrison's picture

There are many good ideas out there.

A few make it to the Democratic Party.

A few end up in the Republican Party.

Unfortunately most of the ideas we need are in neither party.


Bagbalm's picture

These sort of people speak of choices young people make. But they can not imagine a world in which any rich man who wanders out of sight of his thugs and security cameras will imediately be targets by the 'poor' as an enemy. When they can not go out of their gated community and venture about in a parking deck or go in a restroom in a mall or restaurant they will see it as a breakdown in society and not retribution for being a thief and fraudster. The innocent will be targeted with the guilty based on appearances - both ways.

Flying Tiger Comics's picture

The "Palace of Versailles Syndrome".

tony bonn's picture

"...It is a crisis of our legal system as much as our economic system..."

true enough but it is also a breakdown of moral law, the greatest immorality being the fraudulent criminal currency we have - a money system based upon debt is the greatest evil of all....

Gringo Viejo's picture

The fortunate exhibiting empathy for the unfortunate. lnsiders bemoaning the fate of those left behind. lmao

falak pema's picture

the markets...its greed disguised as Oligarchy. If only it were the contrary! But its not. Its like the Church of old : politically oriented dogma disguised as God's word. We've lived through that experience. We'll learn to live through the new church, that of free markets like God's illuminary light; as decreed by His intermediaries, and decried by its adversaries, tarred with the brush of heretics. There are, will always be, when unquestionable DOGMA is the issue, intermediaries, clerics and bankers...that's reality of the power construct; not the construct of law and order, as dreamt of by the founding fathers, sons of democratic and republican enlightenment. Human nature never changes, only honest men and rules can ensure a MINIMAL construct to ensure that "might is right" does not kill "rule of law". Its not easy as human nature, when it gets complacent and hubristic, is its own worst enemy.

Milestones's picture

Two well written and posted opinions in a row. Bravo sir--well done. You are obviously well read.                Milestones

falak pema's picture

you are a milestone of a mystery. You complement others but scarcely put your own ideas into words. Its as if your wisdom constraints your tongue to utter the temerarious opinions that fools like me rush in to proclaim; Aristotle always said : Prudence is man's greatest virtue! 

Republi-Ken's picture


who are physically and psychologically ADDICTED to money as the only thing in Life ....

Chuck Walla's picture



who are physically and psychologically ADDICTED to money as the only thing in Life ....

Well, this goes a long ways to explain the success of Obama's $5 trillion in new spending, Solyndra, Fiskar, and all the other crony project money laundering schemes.   The Democrats give away paltry dollars as welfare to people too stupid to see the game as long as the crack is available. Meanwhile, all the cronies steal millions donating a taste back to the politicians who claim it as theirs by paying simple income tax. Or even better, the Tax Free Foundation scam, like CLinton's.  Yep, Republicans are the only  ones addicted to other people's money.


What a fucking tool, things slow over at Obama for America? The lack of donations must give ya'll plenty of free time as yer boy  streaks outta the clouds in a fireball.  And yet you pray to the great Zebra God for a few bucks of somebody else's paycheck while your "benefactors" actually get rich. Then you die the shit you are.

falak pema's picture

you are right, Agamemnon and Menelaus liked women who sucked the virile knob of male dominance, without having the right of exercising their own discernment or their own free will. Its the original sin of patriachal society, and it has very intelligently reversed in its written dogma, of the three religions, as caused by woman's downfall; Eve and Helen. Clever oligarchs. The women were the sheeple in those tales, like those who fell like flies in front of Troy's walls. Expendable sheeple. Today it is the citizens of Athens. Tomorrow...lets hope history repeats! As then, men rose up to defy the traditional wisdom of Oligarchy rule : Diogenes, Socrates and all those who fell for freedom of man, not rule of Oligarchs; like Archimedes and Cicero, Spartacus. I love one king who having been schooled from young age to be the incarnation of religion and emperor, revolted against this dogma: Frederick II of Sicily. He even wrote a satricial diatribe in 1230 against the imposture of the three patriarchal religions : De tribus Imposteribus. It created a scandal as he put his ideas into practice and negotiated a peace treaty, (sixth Crusade),  with the Moslems whereby they gave back Jerusalem to the christians for eight years in a peace treaty; he achieved more from diplomacy than a hundred years of sterile crusades! His rival Pope who never forgave his insolent, mordant caricature of christian dogma, Innocent IV, decreed him a heretic, and in the ensuing civil war he lost his hold on Italy. A man before his times, an illuminary who would have pissed down GWB's nostrils for having done the opposite to his profound convictions eight centuries after. Thus history repeats and the lessons of the past are forgotten. 

Ain't that a pretty tale of past wisdom forgotten. He even invented sicilian poetry learned from the Occitan troubadours, killed off by that french fundamentalist Saint Louis, and thus fostered the pre-renaissance of Italian poetry, that inspired Dante and Petrarch and subsequently 'o solé mio!'. Some men are eternal. 

Flying Tiger Comics's picture

It is a singular mistake to conflate history with truth.


"Comparisons are always odious" - Seneca

falak pema's picture

Truth is a mirage, as it is rarely universal; at least history teaches us, if the "reality" or perception of all parties is clearly related; aka it is not just written for and by the victors; about ourselves and how we ACT and think in the heat of the moment...;  (this latter is more difficult to ascertain post-event unless those thoughts are written into words by the protagonist himself).

So there is debate on this issue. Comparison is not REason...I prefer this qualification rather than "always odious"...Besides, all we do in life is compare our performance with our forebears, its called measuring  generational "progress" or its opposite; we are in the opposite trend today. ZH is all about editing comparison of words to deeds based on past factual experience, just like all OTHER analytical media. The very notion of ANALYSIS invented by Aristotle is based on comparison of intent with result. Our philosophy, our mindset, are conditioned accordingly. So you cannot junk comparison; its all we know. The present ALWAYS looks back to understand whats up ahead.  

Concerning the notion of universal truth I would advise you to see the movie Rashomon, where this conundrum is portrayed beautifully, in all its vitality and drama. 

Rashomon (film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kimo's picture

"National debt is just an accounting artifact"?

"lower the retirement age to improve unemployment"?

Just another central planner that believes he's smarter than the markets.

CompassionateFascist's picture

Let's hope there isn't a...Paul Krugman, Jr. Only via System Collapse and Civil War will we escape these Reds.

Benjamin Glutton's picture

nearly every dollar of new debt added after Reagan's election should be categorized as odius debt. toss in all Nam war debt as well. the MIC and their bankster "market" enablers should be identified and stipped of every murderous suffocating dime.



Augustus's picture

Moyers got LBJ elected.

Moyers concocted the add with the nuclear mushroom cloud as a definition of Goldwater that would scare voters.  Moyers is the father of the TV disinformation campaigns that are the heart of today's election propaganda.  He has little or no regard for the truth, remaining a godfather for all Democrat campaigns.  The result is that he has that nice full time porpaganda position with NPR.

Benjamin Glutton's picture

toss in all Nam war debt as well----------->LBJ.


It is the unnecessary war debt(several) and subsequent turn to fascism under Reagan coupled with dubious military spending which I believe was undertaken in an unlawful manner.


It continues to this day.