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Guest Post: Profit Uber Alles

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Gonzalo Lira via Gonzalo Lira's blog,

Neoliberal economics has been a wonderful driving force for progress and material prosperity—but it cannot be the single ruling principle of our lives, of our government, or of our society.

If we allow the profit motive to be the only motive, then we and our society are doomed.

We are already seeing the shape of that doom, in our health care, our government, and our industry.

So this morning, I woke up to a piece by Michael “Mish” Shedlock—a piece that, being a fellow middle-aged man, scared the ever-living shit out of me.

Mish opens his piece describing how last October 2012, he took a standard prostate cancer test and came up positive. What follows is his no-nonsense journey of beating his cancer. The whole piece is a must-read; here is the link.

(Refreshingly, Mish doesn’t inflict the needless emotional bullshit on us. I’m sure he felt scared out of his wits, and I’m sure he had quite a few dark-nights-of-the-soul, especially as he had only recently lost his wife. I have nothing but compassion for him as a human being—but as a reader, I’m so glad he didn’t roll around in the emotional muck, which is such the fashion today.)

The thing that struck me about Mish’s piece was how one of his doctors, the surgeon who performed the initial biopsy, wanted to do surgery right away. Mish adopted a wait-and-see approach, coupled with a cocktail of drugs, to see if this counteracted the cancer. And rather than another biopsy, Mish wanted more and more-frequent blood tests. The surgeon, “Dr. G.”, insisted on biopsies instead of blood tests—he wanted to perform surgery so badly that he effectively gave Mish an ultimatum: My way (biopsies/surgery) or the highway.

Mish walked on Dr. G., concluding that Dr. G. was interested in the fat fees he would receive for performing biopsies and eventual surgery.

Mish was right—but then again, Dr. G. was being exceptionally rational, according to our current Neoliberal paradigm: It paid him (and rather well at that) to perform surgery, regardless of whether there were other options for his patients. And it was a drain on his resources to have a patient such as Mish on his client list: Mish was wary of losing his prostate, which well might mean losing his ability to perform sexually, as well as possible urinary incontinence. Hence Mish’s reluctance to dive right into surgery without exploring all the other options. Such a patient, for Dr. G., was a waste of time, and time is his main resource.

So his ultimatum to Mish was ruthlessly “efficient” in the paradigm of Neoliberal economics: If Mish stayed with Dr. G., then Dr. G. would make money through the surgery. If Mish walked, Dr. G. would be unburdened from having to spend time on a non-performing patient; “non-performing” in the sense of not being a billable client.

Of course, this flies in the face of what a doctor ought to be: A healer. A professional whose interest is to cure his patients of their disease, howsoever that cure may come about, be it surgery, drug cocktails, or whatever other treatment is available and scientifically reasonable.

Yet Dr. G., far from being a weird outlier of a greedy surgeon hungry for fees, was being the ultimate Neoliberal Man: Rationally prioritizing profits over care. He is in fact a common exemplar of the medical-insurance business. He’s the norm, not the exception.

Now for something completely different:

Newsweek magazine ran a piece a few days ago, where it reported a study carried out by Paul C. Light and others, which concluded that the Federal government overspends $300 billion a year on private contractors. The money-quote:

    In theory, these contractors are supposed to save taxpayer money, as efficient, bottom-line-oriented corporate behemoths. In reality, they end up costing twice as much as civil servants[.]

According to the Neoliberal paradigm, the private sector is supposed to be ruthlessly efficient—yet this “ruthless efficiency” was bilking the government—ultimately bilking us, the taxpayers—of $300 billion a year: Roughly $1,000 a year for every man, woman, and child in America.

Could you have used an extra $1,000 last year? Me, I wouldn’t have minded getting an extra grand. But I didn’t get this extra money. It went instead to an “efficient” private contractor that bilked the government.

The Neoliberal paradigm might sell the illusion that it’s all about “ruthless efficiency”—but it’s not. Neoliberal economics is in fact all about the pursuit of Return On Investment (ROI): Profits as a ratio of income to capital. That’s it. That’s all Neoliberal economics really is, at its core: Maximizing ROI, and creating the social conditions where that maximization might occur with the least amount of societal or governmental interference.

There are essentially three ways to improve ROI:

    Sell more units than previously.
    Sell each unit at a higher price (or lower cost) than previously.
    Reduce your capital while maintaining your sales.

Neoliberal economics—and its cheerleaders—claim as a matter of faith that it is “ruthlessly efficient”. But it’s not. Its efficiency comes as a very welcome byproduct of its pursuit of profits—but Neoliberalism is not inherently more efficient.

There’s nothing wrong with pursuing profits. Quite the contrary, our very modern existence is a byproduct of this relentless pursuit of ROI. Think of the computer you are using to read this very essay—infinitesimally cheap and light-years better than the computer made a mere twenty years ago, or even ten years ago. The second way of improving ROI—lowering the cost of each unit sold—is in fact the great efficiency engine of Neoliberalism from which we have all benefitted. Efficiency and progress is a byproduct of Neoliberalism’s pursuit of ROI—and a very welcome one at that.

But to apply the Neoliberalist Paradigm to all facets of our lives and our society is creating the mess we have today.

Look at how our government is being bilked—because the Neoliberalist Paradigm is not “efficient”: It’s just looking to maximize ROI, that’s all. Contractors, when selling to the government, will maximize their ROI not by being “efficient”, but by selling more to the government. And if they can’t sell more to the government, then they will sell more expensively: $250 hammers, trillion-dollar planes—whatever it takes to maximize ROI. Thus why private contractors are being rational per the Neoliberalist Paradigm—and thus why private contractors are a complete disaster when working for the government, ultimately forcing us taxpayers to foot the bill for these “efficiencies”.

Likewise with other industries, and other sectors of our society: The Neoliberal Paradigm is being implemented where it has no business being implemented. And far from improving our lives, it is making our society more inefficient.

Consider health care, and the example of Mish Shedlock: ROI is being relentlessly pursued by all the participants in the disastrous American health care system. Insurers, Big Pharma, doctors, the big health care providers: If you analyze each and every one of the participants in the health care nightmare, as I analyzed Dr. G. above, you will find that each and every one of them is rationally chasing ROI—and the result is a complete mess. For obvious political reasons—if only to prove that they are trying to help people—the government is (inefficiently, ineffectively) sticking its nose in this tussle, creating even more inefficiencies, ultimately hurting the people even more.

I wrote about the results of the health care inefficiencies brought about by the Neoliberal Economic Paradigm here. It pissed off a lot of people, but no one refuted the data. The data can’t be refuted because it’s true. The data shows how the health care nightmare actively hurts the American people.

Apart from government and health care, the Neoliberal Economic Paradigm is being aplied to all sectors of our society—and its effects have been the same: High ROI which benefits the few, while destroying industries which benefit us all.

After all, it was the Neoliberal Economic Paradigm which destroyed American industry, in the guise of “globalization”.

It sounded so wonderful—“globalization” this and “globalization” that—but what it ultimately was was closing American factories and exporting manufacturing jobs for the sake of improving ROI, and leaving the American economy a hollow shell.

The whole point of “globalization” was the improvement of ROI by way of reducing capital, and/or reducing production costs. How was capital reduced and production costs lowered? By closing factories in America, and exporting whole industries to Third World and developing countries so as to exploit the cheap labor there.

Today, there is no healthy civilian manufacturing in America. The only heavy industries that are thriving are the defense industries—which by law have to be in America. All other manufacturing jobs? Gone—globalization took ‘em all. The third driver of ROI maximization took ‘em away. The only jobs left for the American working classes are low-paying, low-skill service-related occupations—especially health care.

This shit’s still going on, by the way: It’s no accident that the last five years have experienced anemic—not to say non-existent—growth. Profits? Oh they’re up—just ask the banksters or the health care industry. They’re ROI has been outstanding, as they cut and cut and cut costs—jobs. Outstanding last five years.

But real, honest-to-goodness, meat-and-potatoes growth?


There won’t be any real growth in America—not if we continue indiscriminately applying the Neoliberal Economic Paradigm. We have to realize that Neoliberalism is a tool—just like a lever, a gun, or a power drill: A great tool, but highly specialized, useful for only certain tasks, and very dangerous if misapplied to all tasks.

Just in case it needs mentioning, economically, I’m a die-hard, hard-core conservative. Anti-bailouts, anti-progressive tax, anti-government subsidies, anti-targeted tax breaks, anti-free trade agreements—and as to the banks, fuck ‘em if they go broke: Arrest every last motherfucking one of the banksters’ sorry asses if they lose so much as a penny of depositors’ money. (As to social conservative issues, I’m cheerfully to the right of Attila the Hun: Anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, anti-affimative action. The only big social issue with which I differ from my conservative brethren is the death penalty, of which I have written about here; and I’m not opposed to the death penalty on principle, but rather in practice.)

Yet I recognize that the profit motive cannot be the only motive for a thriving, healthy society. In fact, the profit motive should be a subordinate goal, both for individuals and for society as a whole.

For individuals, satisfaction and happiness in life ought to be achieved through personal relationships, leisure, and work—not merely money. Money ought to be the byproduct of work, not the end in itself.

For a society, industries should be harnessed for the common good, not let loose like wild horses, fingers crossed and hoping for the best. Wild horses cannot pull a stagecoach—they might have the energy, but they certainly do not have the organization. This isn’t to say we should have managed industries—but we most definitely should have a coherent industrial policy, whose aim is to provide us with goals that we as a society can all agree upon.

As a conservative—as someone looking to live in a stable society with a reduced government, where extreme poverty is anathema, and yet where anyone can achieve their maximum potential irrespective of their birth or station—we should be reëvaluating our common good. Reëvaluating those things which Americans all agree are important, and worth protecting: Freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from fear, freedom from want.

Unrestricted Neoliberalism is hollowing out the United States. We have a chance to turn it around—but we as a nation have to wake up to what Neoliberalism is, and is not: It’s a great tool—but it is not and cannot be an end in itself, and it cannot be applied to every situation.

If we do not put the reins on Neoliberalism—and put those reins on soon—then we as a society are doomed. And it will be reflected first in our economy—as we are seeing now.


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Thu, 12/19/2013 - 21:07 | Link to Comment MrTouchdown
MrTouchdown's picture

Single ruling principle? No, life is not so convenient. I think accompanying it with the non-aggression principle and property rights is a pretty good way to go.


Also, fuck Janet Bernanke!

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 21:16 | Link to Comment markmotive
markmotive's picture

Bankster bacteria!

Max Keiser speaks words of wisdom

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 21:25 | Link to Comment negative rates
negative rates's picture

This is why it is better to cater to your members, rather than to the stakeholders. The latter always wants more profit at the expense of the middle class.

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 22:42 | Link to Comment BigJim
BigJim's picture

Hey, Gonzalo, I just looked up 'neoliberalism' on wikipedia, and one of its fundamental tenets is:

  Interest rates that are market determined and positive (but moderate) in real terms

so seeing as interest rates are set by a bunch of central planners - and have been since 1913 - exactly how have we been living under a 'neoliberal' regime?

Greed - in the sense of wanting to improve your material circumstances - is good. Allowing people to satisfy their greed through fraud, counterfeiting or force is bad.

There, see, you didn't need to write paragraphs to explain this, did you?

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 23:47 | Link to Comment ronaldawg
ronaldawg's picture

Article is nonsense.  Author sets up his little strawmen and then knocks them down....Yawn.

Betcha author is a big Star Trek fan.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 00:01 | Link to Comment Lost My Shorts
Lost My Shorts's picture

Nah, bet he is a big Pope Francis fan.  ZH is just hanging up a bit of red meat for the Ayn Rand fans to shoot at.

Just to ruin your day a little more:

If you only read ZH it's easy to assume that every one is white, protestant, and believes that Atlas Shrugged is the literal truth of god.  But outside these pageviews, the world is different.  Doomed doomed we are all doomed.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 08:39 | Link to Comment Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

I would not advise to read only ZH. yet yes, there is a strong WASPish slant, here, including in your casual "anti-popist" remark and your "we are doomed" conclusion

signed: Ghordius, a white catholic eurozoner

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 10:18 | Link to Comment Bullionaire
Bullionaire's picture

"As to social conservative issues, I’m cheerfully to the right of Attila the Hun: Anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, anti-affimative action. The only big social issue with which I differ from my conservative brethren is the death penalty"


Um, no.  Your "conservative brethren" are also anti-gook and anti-spic, so guess who won't be allowed into the clubhouse (except as a dishwasher)?

Dumbass.  People like you should be nailed to a wall and forced to watch Liberace and Elton John videos until your eyes bleed.  Fucking haters...

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 15:22 | Link to Comment MayIMommaDogFac...
MayIMommaDogFace2theBananaPatch's picture

Fucking haters...

Are you trying to be hilarious or just a hypocrit?  Seriously -- re-read your post.

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 23:57 | Link to Comment Thomas
Thomas's picture

I concur. All the problems described find as their root cause bloated government. It is that corruption which produced the outcome. It is easy to overlook. This is not neoliberalism as I would define it.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 00:49 | Link to Comment dick cheneys ghost
dick cheneys ghost's picture

"Neo-liberalism" is a set of economic policies that have become widespread during the last 25 years or so. Although the word is rarely heard in the United States, you can clearly see the effects of neo-liberalism here as the rich grow richer and the poor grow poorer.

"Liberalism" can refer to political, economic, or even religious ideas. In the U.S. political liberalism has been a strategy to prevent social conflict. It is presented to poor and working people as progressive compared to conservative or Rightwing. Economic liberalism is different. Conservative politicians who say they hate "liberals" -- meaning the political type -- have no real problem with economic liberalism, including neoliberalism.

"Neo" means we are talking about a new kind of liberalism. So what was the old kind? The liberal school of economics became famous in Europe when Adam Smith, an Scottish economist, published a book in 1776 called THE WEALTH OF NATIONS. He and others advocated the abolition of government intervention in economic matters. No restrictions on manufacturing, no barriers to commerce, no tariffs, he said; free trade was the best way for a nation's economy to develop. Such ideas were "liberal" in the sense of no controls. This application of individualism encouraged "free" enterprise," "free" competition -- which came to mean, free for the capitalists to make huge profits as they wished.''

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 08:37 | Link to Comment Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

"no barriers to commerce" means that if we Europeans have a ban on most GMO foods "something has to be done", eh?

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 11:32 | Link to Comment rwe2late
rwe2late's picture

As long as we are appealing to "authority".

ADAM SMITH’s “INVISIBLE HAND” has been routinely and conveniently for some, misrepresented as an ECONOMIC hand.

It is also a misrepresentation to claim Smith believed business should be given a free hand because that would always (or even usually) lead to the greatest good.

Actually, it was his altogether overly optimistic “hand” of  domestic loyalty, or sentiment which Smith hoped would motivate the rich to ameliorate the  otherwise systematic ravages of  what he called “industry”.

[Adam Smith] warned that if British manufacturers, merchants, and investors turned abroad, they might profit but England would suffer. But he felt that they would be guided by a home bias, so as if by an invisible hand  England would be spared the ravages of economic rationality.
The passage is hard to miss. It is the one occurrence of the famous phrase "invisible hand" in The Wealth of Nations. The other leading founder of classical economics, David Ricardo, drew similar conclusions, hoping that home bias would lead men of property to "be satisfied with the low rate of profits in their own country, rather than seek a more advantageous employment for their wealth in foreign nations," feelings that, he added, "I should be sorry to see weakened."

“As every individual, therefore, endeavours as much as he can both to employ his capital in the support of domestic industry, and so to direct that industry that its produce may be of the greatest value; every individual necessarily labours to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can. He generally, indeed, neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it.”
Chapter II of Book IV of The Wealth of Nations

Smith says subsequently (chapter III) that "the capricious ambition of kings and ministers has not, during the present and the preceding century, been more fatal to the repose of Europe than the impertinent jealousy of merchants and manufacturers" who " neither are, nor ought to be, the rulers of mankind".

[Please note regarding the above quotation, “frequently” connotes happening less often than do the words typically or usually,
 and certainly “frequently” does not mean always.]

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 17:00 | Link to Comment ZH11
ZH11's picture


The light is there when people are reading for themselves what these smart guys actually wrote back then rather than the bullshit bite size summaries written by people who want the prestige of a respected name (because they know they'll never have one on their own merit) and then proceed to bersmirch their intellectual greatness by twisting their words and thoughts to serve their own incredible selfish ends only.

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 22:43 | Link to Comment Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

"Look at how our government is being bilked"

Look at how we are being robbed by our Lords and Masters in government. Fifty-four percent of GDP.

Government is the problem and has been since its creation. It is based on initiating aggression and is anti-freedom, anti-progress, anti-civilization and anti-peace.

The only way it can be fixed is if it disappears.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 01:30 | Link to Comment Lost My Shorts
Lost My Shorts's picture

Your view here is so naive and divorced from reality that it's more of a religion than an argument.  I am sure I coldn't change your mind, any more than I could convince a Buddhist that the Buddha was reincarnated as a tapir.  But just for anyone who actually cares about the real world ...

Most humans through most of history lived without government.  But not without authority.  These are called traditional societies.  Now that government has blanketed the globe and traditional societies are all gone, the only place you can see them is in the monographs of old-style anthropology.  In traditional society without government, cultral norms and traditional authority are very powerful, and individualism and personal freedom are non-existent.  It was nothing like Ayn Rand.

The way-back tribes that invented government of some flavor quickly rose up and conquered all their traditional tribal neighbors, forming those things we know as "civilization" and "empire".  Babylon, Pharoah's Egypt, Greece, Rome, imperial China -- all their glories derived from their skills at government.  Of course, every governed empire eventually became too complex, over-extended, corrupt, and decadent, and the traditionalist tribes got their revenge and the empires fell.  That's the ebb and flow of human history.

Post-Rome, the situation on the ground changed somewhat due to technical progress -- improved sea-faring, those Mongol hordes and their stirrups, improved metallurgy and weapons design -- such that raid and pillage became a highly viable lifestyle.  As a result, traditional authority morphed into a basic protection racket.  Your local warrior prince took almost everything you had in return for protecting you from the Mongols and the next warrior prince down the road.  Another form of human existance minus any government, and also minus Ayn Rand.

Modern govenment had its origins in renaissance Europe, and the explosion of European cultural and technical power all flowed from the development of government.  Irony is, Ayn Rand was only possible because of a civilizaton made possible by government.  Of course, now this government is becoming too complex, over-extended, corrupt, and decadent.  But when it falls, and you are free from govenment at last, it won't feel like everything got fixed.

Maybe you don't understand the difference between government and authority.  Humans often live without the former, but life without the latter, if your religion holds it possible, is your version of skittle shitting unicorns.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 07:00 | Link to Comment daemon
daemon's picture

" Most humans through most of history lived without government.  But not without authority. "

" Maybe you don't understand the difference between government and authority. "

Interesting.  You seem to define government as a distinct, complex, "above the community" entity (and I admit it's apparently the perception that comes to the mind of most people) . I define government as the set of customs/rules/laws and the way a society structures itself around said customs/rules/laws. As such, I would tend to say that human communities have always lived with some kind of government .

And to me, an authority, whether it is a king, a president, a shaman or a group of elders, is a government (defined as a distinct entity ), or at least a part of it.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 07:06 | Link to Comment Lost My Shorts
Lost My Shorts's picture

I would define government as the rational attempt to administer society in an effort to achieve superior results vs. traditional ways of doing things.  And government almost always involves "professional" civil cervants, a class whose job it is to do government.  Government in that sense was present in all the ancient empires, but is completely absent from traditional societies (which don't even have professional "law enforcement").

To say government and culture are the same thing, or that any constraint on individual behavior is "government", seems to greatly reduce the usefullness of the words.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 07:44 | Link to Comment daemon
daemon's picture

Ok .

Thanks for answering and clarifying the way you see things.


Fri, 12/20/2013 - 08:58 | Link to Comment Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

most governments arose from needs. in a way, the company was first, in the form of bands of raiders, hordes of nomads and of course pirates

Saxons under King Alfred had Vikings raidings to watch for, for example. I bet the Viking raiders would have explained that they were good capitalist entrepreneurs (do you have an idea how much capital is accumulated in one of those longboats? not to mention food, armour, weapons, etc. etc.)

what would a good neoliberal fan of Ayn Rand do, in Alfred's England? rail against government and taxes? note that joining the Vikings was possible: as a slave

today our raiders have usually a corporate structure and their Danegeld is the lobbyism and political campaign money they can spend

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 10:32 | Link to Comment Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Nice analogy...

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 12:13 | Link to Comment Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

You omitted mentioning the weapon of the modern day raiders:

The involuntary authority used to create the economic system and society to benefit of those using that authority.

Just as it's always been.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 11:52 | Link to Comment Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Maybe you don't understand the difference between authority granted by an individual and authority taken by force.

To the primitives it was always by force, civilized man is trying to rid himself of that yoke.

Perhaps you should let your fellow man be free from your beliefs and become civilized.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 13:41 | Link to Comment Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

You are one very very naive puppy...

There have always been people that act in their own self interests regardless of the cost to others...

The state, in its many many historical forms and flavors has always been the means by which power has been projected...

Denying the emergence of the state is akin to denying the basic nature of our civilization and that of H. Sapiens....

Go back to being a hunter gatherer if you don't like it. Be sure to get on the good side of the local chieftain and shaman though (their form of state)....

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 21:16 | Link to Comment Broomer
Broomer's picture

Reëvaluate, huh. It reminds me of the joke, write a sentence using these words: coöperate, Israël, naïve.

Now seriously, the article is mostly OK, except for believing that growth is still possible.

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 21:20 | Link to Comment Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

NEO, is that you?

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 21:23 | Link to Comment buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

got news for ya pal, society is doomed no matter what we do

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 21:29 | Link to Comment negative rates
negative rates's picture

It must suck being you, there is one possible way out of the mess. But many lives will be lost to just get that one last chance.

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 22:18 | Link to Comment blindman
blindman's picture

so it sucks to be you too?

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 21:25 | Link to Comment blindman
blindman's picture

Understanding the new corporate regime through secret trade partnerships – Trans Pacific Partnership, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement

Lori Wallach is Director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch division and has promoted the public interest regarding World Trade Organization’s agenda, globalization and international commercial agreements to Congress and foreign parliaments, the courts, government agencies, and the media.
minute 33

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 21:26 | Link to Comment AUD
AUD's picture

No, the irredeemable obligations of the government & its banker buddies is what is hollowing out the US, & every other nation.

Fuck off with your harnessed for the common good.

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 21:25 | Link to Comment prmths2
prmths2's picture

When I think back to the 1980's when Brian Bosworth was bragging in Sports Illustrated about hanging hardware in the vehicles he was assembling to create rattles, it seems to me that moving jobs offshore isn't just due to the "Neoliberal Economic Paradigm."

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 21:29 | Link to Comment NoWayJose
NoWayJose's picture

China has taken our jobs and the ills associated with those jobs, including air and water pollution along with unsafe work places. Until America accepts lower wages, more risk at work, no healthcare coverage, no social security, and fewer EPA regulations - those jobs will not return. It is inevitable that the jobs will return, if not by changes in Congress, it will happen after the global economic collapse.

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 22:08 | Link to Comment Vendetta
Vendetta's picture

don't forget living in tin shacks close to the factory... so the entire housing market in its current form will have to go before those jobs come back  ... no more gasoline for the military protecting the peasants and uber wealthy from barely-existent enemies.

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 21:30 | Link to Comment munch
munch's picture

The Value the market puts on your goods/services [minus] the value the market puts on all the things you consume to produce your goods/services = profit (or creation of value, increase in societal wealth)


design and sell 10,000 pr shoes for $1mil [minus] everything you have to consume to produce those shoes including freely accepted market wages for workers, market rate rent, raw materials bought at a price anyone elese could have bought at, energy, insurance, taxes, packaging, shipping, storing, and everything else at $ 0.7mil = creation of $ 0.3 mil of value out of thin air - or more properly out of your mind, risk and effort. 

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 22:21 | Link to Comment ZH11
ZH11's picture

C' = c + v + s


1,000,000 = ? + ? + 300,000  


1,000,000 = 400,000 + 300,000 + 300,000 - this is being very generous!


  • 100% exploitation of labour
  • M-C-M' sees the 'profit' return to the originator of the circuit, society is not one iota better off at the end of the circuit. Capital remains in the hands of capitalists not 'society'.
  • Means of consumption circuit only fulfils the means to reproduce labour for the wage-labourer, again no 'societal' wealth added.
  • As the world of commerce sees a 30% profit (which is 100% but never mind) the 'margins' are crushed as more capital is designated to this field of business, this whilst the organic composition of capital is shifted and variable capital is further exploited viz, minimised to the benefit of capital but to the expense of labour. Once again 'society' is no richer and is in fact the poorer.




Thu, 12/19/2013 - 22:32 | Link to Comment Yenbot
Yenbot's picture

Kropotkin much? Ah, for the freedom to build a sheet iron shack anywhere within 100 miles of SillyCon Valley...

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 10:44 | Link to Comment Nimby
Nimby's picture

So capitalists aren't part of society?  What are they a part of?

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 11:41 | Link to Comment falak pema
falak pema's picture

the big ones are true aristos; the smaller ones are shoe polishers of the big guys.

To reason by the absurd, tongue in cheek, is a way of amusing the pathos without abandoning the logos, so here goes : 

Look whats happening in Putin Land. He let out this Oligarch Khodorkovski after 10 years in jail for being a bright but Elstine crony, who had got rich on crony phony balony, but who turned against the new boss; new Don of Russia.  

"He didn't polish my shoes so he went into the sinbin for 10 years. Now I shall be MAGNANIMOUS!"

Putin did it for Machiavellian reasons to improve public image before Sotchi. 

Now that is true neoliberal capitalism. Russia is total Czarist land; therefore totally neoliberal for the big boys. Possession 10/10 ths of the law. Like in Reaganista USA! 

Now you know what a capitalist is in a neoliberal world : Putin and Putin's shoe polisher!  The way to go! 

I remember reading somewhere a guy who said he wanted freedom such that every man's freedom ended where another's began.

Not very neoliberal as ETHOS, dat! But in economic terms it does mean "fair ethically regulated market" and not oligarchy rule; dat!

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 14:55 | Link to Comment FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

I think it was George Bernard Shaw that said, "The smoker and the non-smoker cannot be equally free on the same railway carriage."

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 14:56 | Link to Comment Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Who gets to decide whose liberty comes to prevail in such a situation?

It would seem either the state or pistols at 20 paces will prevail...

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 14:35 | Link to Comment ZH11
ZH11's picture

No read what I said.

I said society is no richer. Society is the whole, the capitalist is the individual, free of the shackles of needing mutual aid.

The constant argument of capitalism is that as owners of capital get richer everybody else also gets richer. Obviously this is complete bunkum and thus what I highlighted above; the owners of capital get richer through capitalism, the clue's in the name.

This old Friedman argument that the then beneficent capitalist invests this back into the economy so that he can 'create' even more jobs and even more goods at a cheaper price for the sole benefit of the massess is equally as disprovable and really quite offensive nowadays.

We are beyond the point in history in the west where capitalism is the best way to arrange society, it was a temporary measure to move on like feudalism and monarchy but it will end one day whether you like it or not.



Fri, 12/20/2013 - 14:50 | Link to Comment Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Well stated...

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 16:03 | Link to Comment MrTouchdown
MrTouchdown's picture

How silly.


  • Laborers exploit the employer by using the facilities and tools to produce things they could never produce any other way while being shielded from all the risk and paid for the opportunity and training.
  • The originator takes all the risk, and could lose his/her ass. Success is not guaranteed.
  • This is not a zero-sum game. New products must be worth more than their inputs and their asking price or they will not sell. If they don't sell they won't be made. Owning one of these products, by definition, means an increase in societal wealth.
  • Gibberish gibberish jibba jabba (reading the phonebook rhetorical fallacy)! Conclusion that does not follow from previous statment! Haha, you are such a retard.


Not a valid critique. Try harder.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 17:31 | Link to Comment ZH11
ZH11's picture

  • Laborers exploit the employer by using the facilities and tools to produce things they could never produce any other way while being shielded from all the risk and paid for the opportunity and training.



1 make full use of and derive benefit from (a resource): 500 companies sprang up to exploit this new technology.

2 make use of (a situation) in a way considered unfair or underhand: the company was exploiting a legal loophole.

You obviously don't understand the word exploit and you somehow think that the owner of the factory is also the guy that invented, manufacturered and set into motion the means of production in use. Again typical capitalist mentality where everything of social use originates with the owner of capital despite the thousands of years of history that proves this completely wrong.

  • The originator takes all the risk, and could lose his/her ass. Success is not guaranteed.

I never said success is guranteed, that's a problem for you capitalists to explain away - why your great system doesn't always do what you want it to do. Also, the worker himself is taking a risk. No employer I know of pays wages before the work is completed and there's always the risk that the employers might be a complete shit and have the worker dismissed and/or find a way to remove his claim to wages after the labour has been received.

  • This is not a zero-sum game. New products must be worth more than their inputs and their asking price or they will not sell. If they don't sell they won't be made. Owning one of these products, by definition, means an increase in societal wealth.

The Labour Theory of Value is quite clear that commodities can be sold below their value and the capitalist will still be showing a profit. You again are ideologically driven to see the absolute increase in magnitude as something that benefits all by belonging to all, this is patently not true. The accummulation of capitalism stratifies society upon a incresingly clear basis; owners of capital and wage-labourers. That is not a zero sum game, there's a clear winner counterpoised to a complete loser. 

  • Gibberish gibberish jibba jabba (reading the phonebook rhetorical fallacy)! Conclusion that does not follow from previous statment! Haha, you are such a retard.

Not very grown up is it? Debate is fine, name calling is below us all here.

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 15:01 | Link to Comment MrTouchdown
MrTouchdown's picture

I like that you keep trying!


  • No, I used exploit properly. No sense trying to lie about it.
  • Productive capital must exist and be owned by somebody somewhere before it can be used. The owner originates it. To say otherwise is just a case of "wishing it were so".
  • A contract to pay wages is the formation of a liability, so while the wages aren't paid prior, they are promised prior. To have a worker complete work and then not pay the worker is theft. Captialists think theft is wrong. You are engaging in making a straw man.
  • You say it's a zero sum game and then say it's not a zero sum game while spouting a bunch of gibberish. Sold below value? Impossible. It is only sold at what the consumer values. You are reading the phonebook.


You are horrible at debate, but at least you're not a quitter!

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 12:50 | Link to Comment ZH11
ZH11's picture

Did that response really take so long to think about?


  1. No you didn't, but we'll never agree, so...
  2. The credit system negates that theory and ownership is a rather dubious as a concept overall anyway.
  3. Contracts mean nothing unless they can be enforced, the average worker will seldom have the means to do so, thus, the sanctity of contract argument is again the big talk of the master that knows it ultimate emptiness. No strawman argument here, if you haven't been cheated by an employer saying one thing and then doing another you haven't been in the emloyment market long enough to pass judgement.
  4. The final sum read - +1 / -2, that is not a zero sum game, one party receives twice his outlay and one party receives half payment against their outlay (again I was being generous), which fits nicely with my comments about exploitation at the start, anyway...

Soon as you didn't really read or understand my comments you're in no position to deem me 'horrible at debate' either.

Fri, 01/17/2014 - 20:54 | Link to Comment MrTouchdown
MrTouchdown's picture

Nope! It never takes long to think of a response for you. I do have to take the time, though.


  1. Meh.
  2. No, somebody has to own the means of production. Credit is only credit till it's paid off. Without a state and central banking there would be very little credit as prices would not be so nominally high.
  3. If a worker can't walk away (thus nullifying a bunk contract), then that isn't a worker at all, but a slave. Such is not the case today. What you describe doesn't exist, but you want very much to pretend that it does so that you can pick it apart. That is what a strawman argument is after all!
  4. What sum? You just made something up! I think what you're trying to do is ignore the fact that a customer doesn't pay for something if they don't think it's worth more than what he/she is paying for it. On the other hand, a seller doesn't sell the item for less than what he/she thinks it's worth. You're trying to propose there exists some universal "price" that they should both be shooting for - but there isn't. Value, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.


I read your drivel. It makes one leap of logic to another, without an reason pointing the way.

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 21:32 | Link to Comment Whiner
Whiner's picture

The System is now in place. It must topple under the weight of its own corruption sorta like the USSR. The Chinese will come over and help us " privatize our nationalized businesses: banking, mortgages, auto mfg.,healthcare, education. Get up on your Mandarin.

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 21:35 | Link to Comment Milestones
Milestones's picture

It is naive to believe that Israel is CAPABALE of cooperation unless force is applied to do so.

Try human population.          Milestones

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 21:40 | Link to Comment ZH11
ZH11's picture

The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionising the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society. Conservation of the old modes of production in unaltered form, was, on the contrary, the first condition of existence for all earlier industrial classes. Constant revolutionising of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.


Thu, 12/19/2013 - 22:27 | Link to Comment blindman
blindman's picture

topical, pertinent and cogent
please continue.....

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 11:31 | Link to Comment Dick Buttkiss
Dick Buttkiss's picture

Heraclitus had it right, in other words, not Parmenides, as becoming takes precedence over being. Or, as Buckminster Fuller said, "God is a verb, not a noun."

Me, I think because being is a gerund — i.e., "a verb that functions as a noun" — it all comes down to whether one is acting or reacting, with the understanding that up to now, the actors have been few, forcing the the many to react, meaning suffer the consequences.

That is now changing, and exponentially so, as technology puts more and more power into the hands of the many, and the age-old repository of the few — the state — is increasingly weakened by this fact.

And yes, the state will be weakened to the vanishing point.

Until then, it can kiss my ass.


Fri, 12/20/2013 - 12:03 | Link to Comment falak pema
falak pema's picture

Bravo, sophistry at its best. Remember what Socrates said to the Sophists: the ultimate virtue in life is the truth.

Thinking that technology puts more and more in the hands of the many in the age of Google/Facebook/NSA/Droning empires ! Some relation to our reality! 

And Aristotle added : in being pragmatic we show how we apprehend truth in reality by primacy of fact over theory.... Facts, that notion of "gerund" of being?

The state is an empty shell its not the nation and when it is controlled via manipulation its speaks with the tongue of those behind the CURTAIN: Either Caeser or Republican.

So bashing the State is bashing an empty shell. You have to bash those who RUN IT. And their mindset and their objectives are what counts.

Abandoning the notion of people's rights to influence them, turning to anarchy and despondency, is exactly what a Caesar wants to then be able to order his Praetorian guard to charge : to protect law and order and unalienable rights of property (which were extracted under duress as there was no due process!) Useful idiots of libertarian bend and dangerous idiots of truth seekers and law enforcers (whistleblowers is already a good beginning); there is a big difference. 

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 13:30 | Link to Comment Dick Buttkiss
Dick Buttkiss's picture

I have repeatedly defined the state on this forum as "government and those who control it," being under no illusions as to who the (few) are, both inside and outside the official government appartus, who pull the strings. That they are all maneuvering to collect their shares of the spoils means that the state is a witches brew of competing conspiracies that will stop at nothing to get what is by definition wrongfully theirs. Trouble is, they've gotten so shitfaced from selfsame that brew that they no longer know what they're doing.

Which is to say that those in control are now so out of control that there is no getting it back.

And the exponential growth of technology (e.g., Bitcoin) assures that they won't, i.e., that governments and those who control them are soon to be history.

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 21:43 | Link to Comment Evil Bugeyes
Evil Bugeyes's picture

I don't see how Neoliberal Economics (free trade, open markets, privitazition, deregulation, etc.) is to blame for human selfishness. What makes Lira think that people suddenly become selfless benevolent saints when they work for the government? How is it that these supposedly benevolent government officials murdered millions in Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany?

At least in a semi-free market system Mish was able to switch doctors. That might not have been possible in a socialized medicine system which Lira advocates. If that doctor had been employed by the government, he probably wouldn't have had an incentive to perform useless surgeries. But on the other hand, he probably wouldn't have had any incentive to perform necessary treatment either. He might very well have let patients die because doing fewer surgeries left him more time for golf.

Allowing people to make free choices will not solve the problem of human selfishness. But it does help to suppress selfishness by allowing people to avoid dealing with people who are too selfish.

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 22:58 | Link to Comment dexter_morgan
dexter_morgan's picture


"What makes Lira think that people suddenly become selfless benevolent saints when they work for the government? How is it that these supposedly benevolent government officials murdered millions in Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany?"

Because when the only hammer you have is Marxism, then all problems become problems of individuals, individuals striving for freedom and the desire to be left alone by their governments, in essence individuals striving to be individuals, despite the history and facts that show the rise of government power  and control ALWAYS leads to a bad end - communism in some forms, facism in others , which is what our nation has morphed in to.

What many people see as a desire and right to pursue life and lifes meaning as they see fit, others see as selfishness.


Thu, 12/19/2013 - 23:13 | Link to Comment notquantumdum
notquantumdum's picture

I think it's more about cronyism and corporatism being the problem than neoliberal economics ['ever larger government control makes it worse: -- isn't more spending proportional to more power which is proportional to more corruption?].  ['Unless you mean neoliberal in the sense that Dems today are very very different from how they were back when . . . say . . . JFK was Prez.  Didn't he support cutting tax rates for everyone so that the rising tide would lift all boats?  Didn't Clinton also preside over cutting tax rates?]

[After looking at this chart again, what the hell happened in 1913!

'Just kidding, I know ZH readers likely suspect what that was.]

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 21:55 | Link to Comment Peter Pan
Peter Pan's picture

As the Abbot of St Silouan Monastery said:

"The system of consumption made man a prisoner of the logic of profit. The logic of profit transformed the earth's resources into financial calculations and financial calculations loosened the reins of the passions of the soul and body....then individual freedom and self-worship caused people's aspirations to become greater than the environment's capacity to pump vital capital into them and so heaven and earth could no longer match people's wild cravings."

I don't know if this man had a financial background but I would say his has hit the nail on the head.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 11:58 | Link to Comment oldschool
oldschool's picture

Isn't this a mere tautology?  After all the"system of consumption" is based on "people's wild cravings."  Both are ultimately just our system of narcisstic materialism.  The Abbot's point seems to be that it is a self-reinforcing feedback loop.  No real controversy there. Recognizing the energy on which the loop operates is more important.  Otherwise, any system will lead to the same result in the end.


Thu, 12/19/2013 - 21:56 | Link to Comment OwnSilverPlayMusic
OwnSilverPlayMusic's picture

Just cuz it's a great song Dead Kennedys-California Uber Alles

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 22:12 | Link to Comment Obama_4_Dictator
Obama_4_Dictator's picture

Can't belive they make fun of Moonbeam in that song, and now he's govenor again - only in Cali...pathetic

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 22:12 | Link to Comment OwnSilverPlayMusic
OwnSilverPlayMusic's picture

Ha! I know, you can't make this shit up

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 22:20 | Link to Comment notquantumdum
notquantumdum's picture

Thanks for the reminder.  I had almost forgotten about the DKs -- what a sin.

I'm not sure I've understood all -- if even many -- of the lyrics, but I love this song.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 01:01 | Link to Comment Tijuana Donkey Show
Tijuana Donkey Show's picture

Home recording is killing the music industry. We left this side blank so you can help.

-Dating myself as old


Thu, 12/19/2013 - 22:52 | Link to Comment Reckonball
Reckonball's picture

Ha!  Reminds me of getting kicked out of English class in "84" by my psycho-lib teacher,for wearing a Dead Kennedys "turd town tour" T-shirt..

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 22:03 | Link to Comment NIHILIST CIPHER

This society is doomed because the citizens have a IQ level equal to their belt size.  If Amerika had simply said NO to all our manufacturing being sent to China we would have a different scenario facing us now. Until the sheep learn who their enemies are, we are all doomed.

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 22:30 | Link to Comment Peter Pan
Peter Pan's picture

You are insulting my belt.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 00:14 | Link to Comment Nimby
Nimby's picture

Hey, the way things are going, the correlation to belt size and IQ might be a good thing.

But you are on to something.  Productivity creates surpluses, and those surpluses, over time, allow populations to grow, and grow.

The human race won't get smarter as we grow bigger; the mean aptitude will invaribly decrease as the population increases.

Welcome to the Idiocracy.  I hope you have ammo. 

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 10:34 | Link to Comment Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture


The Unions sort of tried, but they were gutted and bypassed....

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 12:22 | Link to Comment Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Unions and corporations.

Both creations of government.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 12:55 | Link to Comment Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Have you ever read any real history?

Or are you just a troll?

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 22:04 | Link to Comment spinone
spinone's picture

This article is misdirected in the focus on ROI.  There is no investment in a ZIRP environment.  It is so cheap to borrow that there is no sense investing in expensive capital improvements. 

Businesses in this environment are reducing their operating overhead - labor, capital improvements and taxes.  Labor is offshored, capital improvements are deferred and taxes are being avoided.  Borrow ZIRP money, buy back your own stock and pay yourself a big bonus - easy!

Meanwhile the real economy of making physical things from raw materials and selling them shrivels.

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 22:18 | Link to Comment Vendetta
Vendetta's picture

Some people here just don't realize that most of the politicians are laughing at us as they fuck us over with bs policies written by entities that could care less what happens to this country as long as they 'got theirs'.  I guess some people are fine with that.

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 22:24 | Link to Comment starman
starman's picture

For your info we've been dooming since the 80's.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 00:09 | Link to Comment Nimby
Nimby's picture

If by the 80's you mean the 1780's, you're absolutely right.  

"Compromising" on slavery created a contradiction in the Constitution. That contradiction lead to the Civil War, which lead to reconstruction, and ultimately the progressive era, which ushered in the income tax and the federal reserve.

We've been fucked since the beginning.  The only question is:  will we get it right this time on the other side? 

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 22:36 | Link to Comment Jack Burton
Jack Burton's picture

Mish's doctor reminds me of a doctor I had. To save the whole story, just let it be said that I was shown the door when I opted out of immideate surgery for a problem. For a doctor that does surgery as part of his practice, any patient he sees who is not a candidate for surgery is taking time away from potential surgery candidates. He said that my complaint was not his problem, "go see a different specialist." Mind you, his job is to treat people with my type of problem, only he does not want to deal with anyone with the problem that is not going to go for surgery first instead of the other forms of treatment. I , as a patient, was a burden. Oh, he made almost $100 for each short 5 minute consultation. But without a near potential for the big payoff, I was a waste of time. So I know what Mish went through.

Profit is why we go into business. I do not believe money profits is the emain reason we live in a society. I believe there is more than one form of Profit. Medical Care Delivery and Insurance based only on dollar profit for provider and insurer as the only driver of a health care system is insane. But if we follow market principles, we must keep the current system. Like the USSR, they had a dogma, and the dogma must be followed. It is not about results, it is about being on the right side of the dogma. See Ms. Rand for a complete bible on how to run a society. Her profit is the only reason for her life, others are insects that get in her way. It is simple to live that way. I wish everyone good luck with the Rand lifestyle. On your deathbed, you can always look back on your life according to Rand and laugh at those who put social life above the dollar profit of each day's life.

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 22:57 | Link to Comment TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

We don't have a market based health care system, not before Obamacare nor after. It is highly regulated and distorted by government at all levels

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 10:38 | Link to Comment Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Too funny....

So you really believe the nonsense you just wrote?

If anything it is the Health Insurance co. that is in control...

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 12:26 | Link to Comment Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

And the part you are seemingly incapable of understanding -

Health Insurance co. is in control because of government.

Wouldn't be happening in a free-market.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 13:48 | Link to Comment Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

You live in a make belief world....

I have dealt with 4 different health care systems in 4 different countries... I know what works and doesn't and have pretty good idea why...

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 04:47 | Link to Comment starfcker
starfcker's picture

great article gonzalo, and nice comment JB. imagine that, rip the veneer off the dogma and all that's left is gibberish spouting nitwits. if it's going to happen, might as well happen here. imagine if gonzalo's piece could be picked up by a couple hundred news outlets and aggregator sites (WTF RCP) it's going to happen. snowden started it. klayman is going to put john roberts in an amazingly tight spot. i can hear him now, "i don't always suck banksta cock, but when i do, i prefer kosher." truth will set us free. it's no longer a matter of if. snowden forced the issue. 

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 22:38 | Link to Comment intotheblack
intotheblack's picture

I absolutely must produce more than I consume--or earn more than I spend--or pass into bankruptcy eventually. This post is undergraduate level ridiculous. No clear dinstinctions between means, ends, or among heirarchies of values..

Might as well rail aginst "greed' or "error."

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 23:24 | Link to Comment Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

He is railing against those who don't believe what he believes.

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 22:41 | Link to Comment Cabreado
Cabreado's picture

"If we do not put the reins on Neoliberalism—and put those reins on soon—then we as a society are doomed."

We are doomed first because even at the eleventh hour, we apply labels such as "neoliberalism" to store variety criminals in high places, and the narcissistic forces that enable them.

Said another way, we're doomed because We really don't have the wherewithal to fix things, let alone have the wherewithal to know what's really wrong in the first place.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 12:27 | Link to Comment Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

"We really don't have the wherewithal to fix things,"

Makes sense, seeing as though the fixers are also the breakers.

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 22:41 | Link to Comment intotheblack
intotheblack's picture

...then individual freedom and self-worship caused people's aspirations

Yes, because a reasoned position against profit necessarily entails an hostility to "indivdual freedom," property rights, or rights of any kind, in support of an abstract notion of solidarity the interests of which are always identical to those of the state.  

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 22:44 | Link to Comment dexter_morgan
dexter_morgan's picture


Thu, 12/19/2013 - 22:44 | Link to Comment besnook
besnook's picture

more utopian blather. the greediest money changers win the most money, just like the best tennis players win at tennis. since money changing is the root of a modern economy the money changers win everything, so do the people on the coattails of the money changers. in the end they self destruct with a lot of unfortunate collateral damage but a core of them have always survived to repeat the cycle.

even revolution is a hiccup in the process. this is your fate. accept it. it will be better for you, peasant.

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 22:55 | Link to Comment Nimby
Nimby's picture

"But to apply the Neoliberalist Paradigm to all facets of our lives and our society is creating the mess we have today.

Look at how our government is being bilked—because the Neoliberalist Paradigm is not “efficient”: It’s just looking to maximize ROI, that’s all. Contractors, when selling to the government, will maximize their ROI not by being “efficient”, but by selling more to the government. And if they can’t sell more to the government, then they will sell more expensively: $250 hammers, trillion-dollar planes—whatever it takes to maximize ROI. Thus why private contractors are being rational per the Neoliberalist Paradigm—and thus why private contractors are a complete disaster when working for the government, ultimately forcing us taxpayers to foot the bill for these “efficiencies”."

This author is an idiot and doesn't understand how government purchasing works.  

Here's the deal; that $250 hammer either:

1.  Is a $250 hammer made out of some stupid rare alloy that can operate in every extreme enviroment imaginable,
2.  Is  a $25 hammer, and is being marked-up to pay back a political donor or family member,
3.  Is a $25 hammer, and the other $225 is being used for black sites in Yemen.


Fri, 12/20/2013 - 01:10 | Link to Comment Tijuana Donkey Show
Tijuana Donkey Show's picture

What if I don't need all the layers of GOVT? I don't need hammers when I don't have nails.

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 22:59 | Link to Comment Yes_Questions
Yes_Questions's picture



Sad one feels the need to proclaim a left-right station.


good post otherwise.





Thu, 12/19/2013 - 23:10 | Link to Comment AurorusBorealus
AurorusBorealus's picture

I agree with the author completely and am a political conservative as well.  These are the points at which libertarianism falls apart.  Heathcare really does not work as a for-profit free-enterprise industry (it really doesn´t work as a fascist state-dictated insurance ponzi scheme for the benefit of large health-care companies)... and libertarians really have no solution to many of the problems that face the modern world (as neo-liberalism, as the author calls it is their answer for everything, which does nothing to prevent capital from exploiting labor and manipulating the labor market, nothing to prevent the destruction of the family-as libertarian though encourages divorce in the name of liberty for anyone who does not like living with their spouse, the rise of the single-motherhood, and the problems of the welfare state that this destruction entails).

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 23:44 | Link to Comment The Final Straw
The Final Straw's picture

One simple rule fixes it all. The Golden one.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 04:26 | Link to Comment Czar of Defenes...
Czar of Defenestration's picture

Dear Gonzalo, Take your totalitarian "we must rein in capitalism" crap and stick it where the sun don't shine.

The problem is NOT a lack of "put[ing] the reins on Neoliberalism" but of not applying the morals and ethics which are inherently necessary to its proper functioning.

Without those, *any* system becomes corrupted.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 06:23 | Link to Comment falak pema
falak pema's picture

By sticking a label, "totalitarian", on it doesn't make it true. Neoliberalism as PRACTICED before our eyes corresponds more to Orwellian totalitarianism than anything else seen on Planet Earth.

Gonzalo is also pleading for ethos and logos and less pathos and breast beating. The type of breast beating like you do about capitalism's wayward route when it could be John Gaultian paradise; not realising that "short term greed is good" mantra, Ayn Rand's self fulfilling fountainhead rage, has basic BUILT IN philosophical and moral limitations.

The type of breast beating that the fundamentalist Talibans do in name of religious purity and "God wills it" dogma, inspite of the bloody, sodden, mind destroying trace of ideological madness left on humanity by its recurrent practice. Reality is a bitch for dogmatic idealists.

Ever see the school of Athens masterpiece of Raphael in the Vatican? 

A monumental fresque says it all ; about ethos and logos. An image for the ages, for people like you to contemplate while you chew on pasta!

If your practical knowledge of life does not allow you to SEE that in real concrete factuality then change your glasses or your telescope; 'cos its right before you in flesh and blood of innocents, these proxy wars for rape of people in name of capitalist profit optimisation according to Saint Ricardo.

So what's the difference in MINDSET (or ethos) between your binary logic and that of a Taliban or his Bible carrying opposite spewing divine justice?

Alike the Bolshies who spewed "dictatorship of the proletariat" until it bit them deep up the ass ! 

We need a more balanced approach to the socio economic compact, a new paradigm.

In any case at the rate the planet's eco systems are deteriorating under human consumerista impetus all based on moar, moar, moar, Mother Nature will solve humanity's problems in the course of this century.

And we will all be Greeks singing : Oh Nemesis!  



Fri, 12/20/2013 - 08:18 | Link to Comment Czar of Defenes...
Czar of Defenestration's picture

Dear flaccid penas,

I'm glad *you* have such a far superior insight and humility to see all that is true... a masterfully *balanced* mind! (/s...and BARF!)...

LOOK, CHUMP: if YOU want to label me Taliban, GO AHEAD...and FUCK YOU.

If YOU want to "balance" the reason of capitalism with totalitarianism,

all you are saying is that you would be happy to eat an ice cream cone

of half vanilla ice cream mixed with half a portion of dog poop.


Or maybe you'd also call for "balance" in the world by giving everyone "just a little bit of H.I.V.".

UP YOUR "logic" [sic]...and fuck your rationalization of totalitarianism.


p.s.  Based on your insufferable SMUGNESS...are you perchance #PajamaBoy?

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 08:35 | Link to Comment falak pema
falak pema's picture

 I'm gad to see your boomerang hitting you in the nuts... goes around and comes around! 

'Cos it brings out your knee jerk pathos more than your logos.

I ain't smug in my book but I ain't a mug either. I put my values on the line based on historic example. What about you? There is no substance in your rant. 

As for feeling the whiff of Taliban totalitarian "sheet"  in your nose  it certainly adds flavour to your prose! 

I wouldn't call it poetry but prose it is and smells of you know what. So take a look at your own Pyjamas.

You might find some "souvenirs" or trophies  in there! 

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 08:55 | Link to Comment Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

When one finds themselves in the trenches, pathos many times seems much more valid than logos.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 04:55 | Link to Comment dunce
dunce's picture

The article starts off by actually presenting an example of how Shedlock got the best care by taking his business to a provider that gave him a choice. obama care would not let him go to a doctor out side of the group on his insurance plan. there has always been bad doctors and government control will make sure they keep practicing and killing people.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 05:58 | Link to Comment falak pema
falak pema's picture

Well said Gonzalo; a word of sanity in an age of greed and hubris...the time line of corrupted Pax Americana.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 12:56 | Link to Comment Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Ever get the feeling that very few people here really understood what happened? It is like having the cart pushing the horse...

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 06:17 | Link to Comment Peterus
Peterus's picture

What a courageous charge that completely and utterly demolished a strawman.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 07:35 | Link to Comment The Abstraction...
The Abstraction of Justice's picture

The issues have been resolved in ages past. The solution is called nationalism.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 10:38 | Link to Comment Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Yep, now that was a winning play...

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 07:41 | Link to Comment jballz
jballz's picture

Too long didn't read. Profit is what matters, fuck you communist retards and your constant whining that is what keeps you all poor.

That and you buy gold with all your investment capital. No profit there for goddam sure.

Don't worry I'm sure my tax bill will cover a few of your commie welfare checks.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 11:47 | Link to Comment Gonzalo Lira
Gonzalo Lira's picture

jballz wrote: “Too long didn't read. Profit is what matters, fuck you communist retards and your constant whining that is what keeps you all poor.


You’re a fucking idiot. 


Fri, 12/20/2013 - 12:21 | Link to Comment falak pema
falak pema's picture

lol, the original poster has a sense of pathos! 

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 07:50 | Link to Comment esum
esum's picture

neo lib "economics" is pure horseshit... libs are nazis plain and simple..

economics goes out the window superceeded by political factors... seizing total power and maintaining any cost.crony "capitalism" how many hundreds of millions were murdered by nazis / commies .. have we forgotten.. 

far as govt contractors costing 2x-3x .. really ... you dont factor in retirement and health benes...  like all else in life you have to be specific... booz allen, yes a total kickback/crony scam - sorry you ex cia / pres / gens / politicians and other bureaucratic douchebags at carlyle... and thank you soooooo much for snowden... yeah i understand only carlyle and goldman and the likes of pelosi are supposed to have a monopoly on insider info and deals... how much do they cost ECONOMICALLY? 


Fri, 12/20/2013 - 08:48 | Link to Comment Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

Labels mean less and less to me as I see all issues ultimately about choices or lack there of. All human systems seem to be centered about limiting other people's choices in an effort to control them, either for hopes of profit or for our supposed betterment. This is about control, period, and this control is the root of corruption, be it through manipulation or direct force. Free markets and free societies, while far from perfect, give the greatest protection from centralized power and its nearly manditory corruption. Even through hugely destruction world wars much of the battle was not so much about ideology as resistance to domination. We know domination eliminates valid choices as any form of slavery would show. A growing government, regardless of stated ideology, will only produce fewer, poorer choices. Freedom is dirty and many times tragic, but will always prove superior in the long run to any form of tyranny, regardless of which label it wears.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 12:47 | Link to Comment Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Well said, +1 QE.

Control exists for the benefit of the controllers.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 08:53 | Link to Comment viator
viator's picture

Ah, the case from the fascist central planners. Mike Shedlock had choice in his medical care, very soon he won't even have that.

The reason profits are up is most generally corporatism, large corporations working hand in hand with government to establish cartels and shield themselves from  "neo-liberalism."

The small businesses I know are definitely not taking part in this fake government controlled economy. Just the opposite, they are faltering and failing because of government  and special interests working hand in hand.

The invisible hand of neo-liberalism was chopped off by government many, many years ago.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 08:56 | Link to Comment peaceful
peaceful's picture

My mom had stage 4 endomitrial cancer and her doctor ( from Harvard) got her to be cancer free and she's in her fourth year. The money he made off of Medicare and co payments was relative peanuts (under 15k). However my father in law went to some Greek clown doctor in Queens his condition continues to deteriorate without a valid diagnosis for over a year now, yet this clown doc made a fortune from this patient, running unneeded tests and biopsies. Moral of the story: The good get punished; the bad rewarded--Only way to flip this around is to wake people up but that won't happen

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 10:35 | Link to Comment Mojeaux18
Mojeaux18's picture

Wrong. Dr g did not weigh the risk of being an arrogant prick and being demanding of a customer properly. Good business models don't force customers knowing they might vote with their feet. Not only did dr g lose out on the fees by not doing it his way but also future business in his surviving patient and referrals. Any time FORCE is applied, it's usually not neoliberal.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 20:34 | Link to Comment RMolineaux
RMolineaux's picture

From one "eaux" to another, I suggest that your post indicates that neoliberalism, while an interesting intellectual exercise, can never describe human realities.  It is at the very heart of modern capitalism to use economic power ruthlessly to crush rivals.   Dr. G's behavior is very typical of most medical practitioners.   Very few patients have the knowledge or resources to challenge "their" doctor's decisions.  Mish was obviously exceptional in this instance.  High costs and countless errors or deceptions are the outcome of our current health system.  It is not impossible to call up human compassion and dedication to levitate the quality of health care.  Other societies have a much stronger dose of these qualities than ours, and achieve it at less cost.   Unleashed greed, as glorified by neo-liberalism leads us only down the road to violence and isolation.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 10:49 | Link to Comment Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

The comments here are pretty funny and completely misguided for the most part...

It is also clear that the majority of the posters have zero experience with a single payer system...

Americans are getting fleeced on health care costs, especially given outcomes...


Fri, 12/20/2013 - 12:42 | Link to Comment Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Americans are getting fleeced by government and are getting shit in return.

Cost of government = 54% of GDP.

As for your snide remarks, support panarchism and you can prove to the world that your beliefs are best and the others are wrong. Otherwise, your beliefs are yours and you can keep them.

P.S. Your forager belief system developed in a totally different environment - they're not functional now.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 12:57 | Link to Comment Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Do you always make up numbers? Sounds like you pulled the 54% out of Michelle Bachmann's nether regions....

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 11:05 | Link to Comment rwe2late
rwe2late's picture

The “capitalist” socio-economic model is based on individual greed being the primary human motive, looking out for #1, and expecting all the resulting conflict/competition to work out for the greatest good by virtue of the "hidden hand".

It is crassly based on the socio-economic theories of
Thomas Hobbes
and Adam Smith.

[Adam Smith allegedly propounding that  the economy would work out for the best (guided by a “hidden hand”) if everyone were allowed to seek their individual economic interest.
Thomas Hobbes contending that the most perfect natural state would arrive if everyone were allowed to do the closest what each individual pleased. That it is human nature to be individualistic. They concurred on minimal limited government, with Adam Smith emphasizing the economic aspects.]

The extent to which the present government is laissez-faire is beside the point.

Philosophically, culturally, the widely accepted conventional wisdom is that the primary motivation for human conduct is economic self-interest, greed.
The political debate operates within that parameter. One side arguing that (business) greed, left alone, will self-regulate, the other side arguing that the pursuit of materialism/greed must be channeled and contained. Both allegedly want material profit and individual self-interest preserved as the driving motivation for the economy to function.

It is a sacrosanct cultural tenet that  individualism and economic self-interest are the primary motivations for human conduct. Therefore any proposal based on the common good invariably is met with cynicism as to motive, and pessimism with regard to probable outcome.

The paradigm shift would be to knowingly have human conduct motivated by other than individualistic materialism, and for the society/economy to be correspondingly so organized.

Some are in denial about the philosophical underpinning for the individualistic, self-centered, materially acquisitive economic beliefs in the USA  and elsewhere.

Defenders of those beliefs may not like the way it has worked out. But the elite few are operating under the principle of self-serving greed (as the defenders declare ought be the operating principle because it is "human nature").
The elite only forego "laissez-faire" when it is to their advantage.

The oft-proposed solution to return to a "true" laissez-faire enforced only by the "hidden hand" is to go back to Smith and Hobbes -
and myopically leaves aside questions about the validity of the “capitalist” depiction of the essential social/individual condition of humankind,

whether beliefs and institutions founded on such precepts engender societal fragmentation, cynicism, and selfishness,

and whether those beliefs and institutions foster habituation and addiction to a destructive and acquisitive materialism.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 13:51 | Link to Comment tip e. canoe
tip e. canoe's picture

i have read the theories of Rifkin & Benkler on this issue and while my "higher self" wants to agree with them, i have been around enough organizations with those whose "higher selves" also supposedly agree to be intensely skeptical that collective empathy absent self-interest can be realized.    the fact is that those acting in their self-interest always have a tactical advantage over those who don't in any organizational system (not just so-called capitalism), especially if they are twisted enough to make a critical mass believe they are as empathetic as the rest.

however, does it have to always devolve down to a choice between self-interest & the common good?  do these necessarily need be mutually exclusive?   in what ways can a society be ordered that sidesteps that zero-sum game?

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 13:59 | Link to Comment Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

That my friend is the problem in a nutshell...

Now that there are 7 billion people on this planet, the old adage "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" has never been more true...

I have a possible solution but no one here would like it...

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 14:55 | Link to Comment tip e. canoe
tip e. canoe's picture

always a pleasure to consider your contributions flak, regardless of what anyone else thinks.

we should perhaps recognize that the 7 billion # is most likely beyond the carrying capacity of the planet's resources, at least as those resources are currently engaged & utilized.   but then again, that sticks us back into zero-sum game playing mode.

another thought that came into my head is that who gets to decide what the needs of the many are and how they are distributed?   i personally cringe to think that the structure of the "who" is anything like the current organizational systems that are prevelant at present.

case in point:  have you read the EPA's rules on wetlands?   now i could not agree more with the spirit of why those rules exist as i intimately understand the importance of wetlands on ecosystems.    nonetheless, reading that thing gave me the shivers when i considered the power that a bureaucrat with a napeleon complex could have on another person's life, whether or not that person has or has any intention or will to do any harm to the environment for their own personal gain.   it literally throws the 4th amendment right out the window.

there has to be a balance somewhere, but damned if i know where it lies.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 15:05 | Link to Comment Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

No one ever said it would be easy as there are very few pat answers to complex issues... I will say that the form that bureacracy has taken in the U.S. is perhaps the worst because qualified technocrats are a small part of the regulation process...

BTW, the 4th is already dead for all intents and purposes...

PS \hattip

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 15:31 | Link to Comment tip e. canoe
tip e. canoe's picture

yeah, if i had cash to burn, i'd buy a plot of wetland and challenge the fuckers on the science.   but adding up the legal hours required for the battle, the costs are way way beyond my league.

quite a conundrum humanity has created: people with the inclination to leave the world in a little better place than they found it are constantly hamstrung by the thoughtless overzealotry of the reaction against those who seek to do harm, while those who do harm continually find a way to squirm through loopholes to get what they want, everyone else be damned.

not a good recipe for the conditions in which we find ourselves at this time, that's for sure.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 17:42 | Link to Comment Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture


Fri, 12/20/2013 - 14:32 | Link to Comment rwe2late
rwe2late's picture

The so-called capitalist economy is centered around profits.
At its core, all “capitalist” profit is based on one form or another of limited access, whether to markets, resources, or labor.
It is the ability to turn a good or service into cash flow. And this, in turn depends upon the power to exclude - the power to deny customers a  product , keep rivals from a market.
Without property “rights”, patents, licenses, captive markets, or captive labor, profits diminish. There is a built-in bias toward monopolization of resources and production, labor arbitrage - and the symbioses with government, … all done to establish and protect privileged access.

“Capitalism is not about free competitive choices among people who are reasonably equal in their buying and selling of economic power, it is about concentrating capital, concentrating economic power in very few hands using that power to trash everyone who gets in their way.”
-David Korten

Consider the idea of ‘profit’.
Profit is a man-made concept. It is a limited concept. Profit does not and cannot measure the worth of every and all things and be the ultimate guide to human conduct. The concept nonetheless underpins the whole notion that the pursuit of micro self interests will result in the best of all possible worlds. And it is that mistaken notion which is often used to justify the worst of all outcomes, and pronounce that the solution to our miseries is to increase business profits.
Never mind the profits made by ruining forests, rivers, and oceans. Never mind the profits from destroying the fisheries and polluting the air. Never mind financial parasitism. Never mind sweatshops, child labor, and poisoned foods. Micro profit, it seems, does not measure the environmental losses to society, nor the debilitation and destruction of human beings. But yet, it is to be the ultimate arbiter of human conduct. Or so we are told.
A system based on maximizing work, maximizing production, maximizing consumption ultimately values neither leisure nor the quality of life, human or other.
The corporation is the apex profit-driven organization of a misnamed and mythological “free market” capitalism. It is autocratic and elitist, operates with a narrow single-minded goal, denigrating all that stands in its way.
Government, like corporations, has evolved around the pursuit of profit. Government has become to be like corporations, autocratic, secretive, and obsessively entangled in the furthering of corporate profit-making, to the detriment of all else.

The development of (monopoly) finance capitalism proceeds naturally. Fractional banking and co-dependent government, create “money”, the means in a capitalist economy by which “profit”, “demand”, “production” and “value“ are measured. Any GDP calculation, rooted in “profitable” production is flawed, among other reasons, because the depleting of natural resources is counted as “production” with no deductions of natural “inventory”. In fact, the most profitable production typically results (at least in the short run) by employing the (least money cost) most environmentally destructive and wasteful methods, whether fisheries, fauna, forests, or mineral deposits. Same is true for the human costs, from the historical profits of slavery to wage arbitrage, from lax mine safety to deleterious foods. Spending for battleships and a domestic police state counts the same GDP as for hospitals and clean energy. Those with the “money” assign the “value”, mold government, and in a plutocracy … well you figure it out.

Privatizing profits and socializing costs are not done just within a nation. The global costs of global empire will be passed to whoever can be made to pay. The residents of no “nation” are exempt. As the costs of militarization, client oligarchies, plutocratic rewards, environmental destruction, and mal-directed resources in general pile up globally.
The distinction between “public” government and “private” business is an inexact mental construct . Even the non-anarchist libertarian assumes there are public (i.e. government) protections for property, liabilities, patents, business incorporation, bankruptcy etc. despite at the same time wanting to leave such as worker safety, pollution, food security, water supply, health provision, transportation, energy etc. to the mercies of the “property owners”.
But “property" rights are not innate or sacrosanct. Property, private land, private resources, contracts, liability, etc. are all legal constructs of the state, and do not exist apart from it.
The promotion of the generalized "property" concept as a value is shallow.
It makes no allowance for how the property has been acquired, how lands, water etc. once "public" have become "private", nor how the state has constructed a legal edifice of "ownership".

A capitalist "free market" with capitalist property rights is a self-contradiction, an illusion.
Unless you abolish all property "rights", there is no "free market". That includes everything from ownership of natural resources to patents. Unless you abolish all laws regulating production, work, and property, there is no "free market". That includes everything from regulating pollution, to workplace safety, to civil lawsuits.
Any philosophy which holds property rights in such high esteem is reactionary at its core, since it promotes retaining the presently acquired property and "rights" of the wealthy and powerful.
The inequitable distribution of wealth and power cannot be corrected without changing the distribution of wealth and power. And that cannot be done while denying the possibility for a democratic government to amend the so-called "rights" of wealth, power, and property.
There are no god-given "rights" to privatize water, land, patents, capital, or for forming corporations, or for protections against extortion and fraud. It is governments, preferably democratic ones, that establish the rules of trade and commerce.
Only the banksters and their acolytes profess that the only legitimate function of government must be to protect the supposedly sacrosanct private wealth and property rights currently concentrated in the hands of an elite few.

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 19:09 | Link to Comment dadichris
dadichris's picture

hmmm, there's so much truth in this article that you must be a freedom-hating commie.

oh, and and the US is still the king of manufacturing one important thing (cntrl+p, cntrl+p, cntrl+p, cntrl+p)

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 19:37 | Link to Comment RMolineaux
RMolineaux's picture

This is an excellent piece of work by Lira.  My compliments.   He says it exactly like it is.  In a large sector of the US population, and in a smaller sector of other countries, the neo-liberal culture has taken such a strong hold that traditional ethics are being forgotten and the entire society, including the practitioners, is making itself miserable while imposing lots of misery on others.  I recommend to my fellow Americans that they set aside a substantial amount of time (several months at least) to living in and observing the attitudes of societies that have retained their traditional values of physical work, family solidarity and civic responsibility for the welfare of all. 

Sun, 12/22/2013 - 11:55 | Link to Comment New American Re...
New American Revolution's picture

Right on Gonzo, you hit the nail on the head.  Cheers Bro'.

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