March 18, 2010

Trickle-Down and Globalization, Levels of the Lie


Trickle-down has been the ineradicable Big Lie of forty years. We’ve long known that all the claims of neoclassical economics, globalization, and financialization were lies. We should proceed immediately to liquidate all concentrated wealth. The only reason it was allowed to accumulate in the first place, the alleged value it created, was that so much of it would “trickle down” that everyone would end up better off.
But we now know what a Lie this was. We know the wealth never trickles down and was never meant to. There was never any social value in its accumulation. On the contrary, the extraction system has been purely destructive for all except the rentier parasites. It was stolen property right from the start, and it remains stolen property. Yet the lie continues, for the obvious reason that it’s the only way for the parasite class to hold on to this power and wealth, and because the brainwashing runs deep. Even after everything that’s happened, most people still believe their own well-being somehow depends upon a kind of handout from the rich. (And that they themselves are magically going to become rich someday.)
Trickle-down, AKA supply-side economics, or more accurately voodoo economics (to believe in its empirical truth in defiance of the dispositive evidence of its falsehood really does require a bizarre kind of religious faith), is also an expression of corporatist ideology. Believing in trickle-down, or at any rate supporting policy based upon it (most of the “experts” and pundits who still shill for it can’t be so dumb as to still actually believe in it), indicates one’s belief that the purpose of an economy, of the wealth the people create, and of society itself, is not to produce goods to meet needs, and it’s not the people’s well-being.
Rather, the purpose of all economic activity is to generate wealth which can then be expropriated for the benefit of a few big corporations and rich investors. The people should then be allowed to receive only what the rich see fit to let trickle down. The purpose of civilization is to provide the rentiers with a foundation and fortress for their looting.
So the people have no right to the wealth they and only they create. They should have everything they produce confiscated, and should receive back only what the feudalists calculate is in their own interest.
Who are the proponents of trickle-down today? Republicans, yes. But Democrats and “progressives” are just as ardent. Out of either criminality (as social fascists) or their cowardly escapism of the process mentality, they’re just as much a band of Reaganite warriors are the Reps are.
The health racket bill is a prime example. Any human principle, that basic health care is a human right, what decent people would provide for themselves, and part of the core competency and purpose of society as such, was purged from the “process” at the outset, replaced by the corporatist mindset.
Even sincere “reformers” still believed that the correct model is to retain the system set up for the profit of the rackets, but to try to craft a bill which would cause more benefit to trickle down to “users”, you know, patients, who also happen to be the workers whose wealth creation allows any system to exist at all, but who are considered not to be entitled to directly benefit from the wealth they themselves created.
We see the same ideological dynamic on every other front. The most ponderous example is the Bailout, which was explicitly sold according to the premise that the only way Main Street can be helped is if Wall Street is handed trillions of dollars of taxpayer money, some of which can then trickle down to Main Street.
Since every cent of these trillions is Main Street’s property in the first place, why couldn’t all of it have just remained on Main Street? If this government is an American government and not a quisling regime, why couldn’t it have organized a direct Main Street “bailout”, leaving the bank rackets completely out in the cold where, according to the capitalist textbooks, they should have been left?
There are no true answers to these questions. You’re simply not supposed to ask them. They’re not even pertinent to Republicans and Democrats, because all elites agree that Wall Street isn’t there to serve anyone but Wall Street, while the very purpose of Main Street is to be Wall Street’s cash cow. Only Wall Streeters are Americans, according to this rogue political and media class. We the serfs should simply feel honored to serve as raw material for such a majestic machine, and be grateful for whatever trickles down.
Even on job creation, with real unemployment headed above 20% (reject the scam U3 number), for the government to directly create jobs is out of the question. No, so-called “jobs creation” has to take the form of tax breaks for employers, the benefit of which is then supposed to trickle down. Never mind that here too it’s been proven that “the market” will hire however many workers it thinks it needs to hire, no more, no less, no matter what tax breaks exist or don’t exist.  So at best this kind of indirect artificial job creation does the same thing as if the government created the jobs themselves, but adds a rent-seeking toll booth in the middle of the transaction. This is done for no reason other than corporatist voodoo ideology. It’s the same with the student loan disbursement mechanism, where a pure bloodsucking parasite is gratuitously inserted between the government (i.e. the public’s money) and the recipient (i.e. the public). Why is getting rid of such an obvious criminal scam so difficult? Because of shared conservative and liberal ideology. They believe nothing’s valid if a private toll booth isn’t involved.
Reps and Dems, leaders among conservatives and liberals – that’s really what they all believe.
Even if there was ever real innovation and top-down wealth creation (which is doubtful), we know as fact that by now there is no longer any such innovation. All sectors are mature. By now all wealth creation, 100% of it, is by the people. So by now the super-rich are and can be nothing but thieves and parasites. They create nothing. But let’s say for argument’s sake that they still create something, and that trickle-down is both true and a morally acceptable way to organize society. In that case:
1. The contract would be, for the sake of their wealth creation, we tolerate their existence, and the benefits trickle down to us.
2. But as we’ve seen with the health care debacle, with the financial collapse and the Bailout, with job destruction, wealth concentration, the gutting of the safety net, and so many other things, nothing is trickling down. On the contrary, what little we had is being stolen or trashed.
We can never emphasize it enough, to the eternal dishonor of the scum who support this insurance racket bill: Even basic, decent health care doesn’t trickle down.
3. So what good are they? Not only are they worthless, and not only are they harmful, but they broke the contract. They are dealbreakers, cheats, welshers, betrayors, traitors.
So if you ever believed in this deal we supposedly had, you should be all the more outraged. They’re not only parasites but criminals, they’re predatory and above all useless, worthless.
If anyone denies this, then what could possibly be the point of having society at all? What could be the rationale for the forbearance on the part of the non-rich, the toleration of the existence of these parasites? What reason can anyone give for why we shouldn’t get rid of them? If we get nothing out of the deal but exploitation and rage?
Why don’t we have the leisure economy by now? Why don’t we have wealth equality? These were the things the textbooks promised. This was the hype of technology. It’s because every textbook elided the lie – there is no “capitalism”. What we have is feudalism; everyone seeks monopoly or oligopoly, and having attained it the monopolist then just seeks to hoard power and wealth. So-called primitive accumulation, using one’s power position to steal, is really the most modern practice (while true capitalism, if it ever did exist, is one for the antiquarians).
Everyone in “authority” who ever says this is a capitalist system (or a democracy, as I’ve discussed elsewhere), is simply a liar.
They’ve had decades in power for their neoliberal ideology. They’ve had decades for their promised “benefits” to materialize. We know today every promise was a lie.
It’s been quite a pivotal week for neoliberalism, trickle-down, and the whole scam. In addition to the climax of the legislative debacle, we have the ongoing Lehman saga and the newest phony foreign adventure, the propaganda war over currencies heating up with China.
Lehman’s accounting fraud, and the government’s collaboration with it, are simply symptoms of the whole financialization scam. It was always based on looting, but indirect looting is getting harder because debt bubbles are harder to come by, the more the real economy is gutted. As the housing bubble blew up, and all that toxic paper became worthless, what choice did Lehman have? What choice did the Fed have? Every day the same stark choice presents itself to the criminal class: Figure out a way to prop up insolvency by figuring out new ways to lie and steal, or else admit defeat, divest yourselves, return the stolen wealth and power to the people. Since they’ll never voluntarily do the latter (reality will eventually do it for them), they can only keep lying. That’s why the trickle-down lie has been enshrined as the centerpiece of their ideology. They have no other idea.
That’s been the Gordian knot throughout. The knot they refuse to untie, which they can only desperately try to keep from unravelling, or the rope from breaking. They’re all Lehmans now. The two intractable knots, the toxic assets and the rogue political system, need a new Alexander to cut them. Nothing else can suffice.
The same scam is playing out on the globalization front. Debtor and creditor countries are squabbling over currency pegs and manipulation, and everyone has the same solution: I’m OK, you’re screwed up, so you change. The whole thing’s a joke, since Chimerica is a fused organism, and a stateless globalism elite divided against itself cannot stand.
The problem this spat is meant to provide escapism from is that the American consumer peasantry is depleted, while China will never be able to replace it out of its own peasantry. So among the elites, nobody knows who’s supposed to buy all the crap, even if they can figure out a way to keep providing debt to keep the factories humming. Globalization has accomplished on the grand scale what Walmart accomplishes in town after town. When you destroy all the real jobs, then no matter how low your prices are, and no matter how much consumer debt you can prestidigitate into being, eventually the consumer well is spent.
So just as Walmartization gutted the local economies of America, so globalism’s fractal Walmartization has gutted America as a whole. Now the parasites of America and China are struggling to find a wormhole out of this trap, but all they can do is point fingers among themselves. At least they can hope to buy some political time by providing their respective peasantries with a foreign scapegoat upon whom to blame their economic woes. It’s the same old xenophobia scam.
Just like with the zombie banks with their toxic “assets”, so here too there is no solution which would preserve the wealth and power of these persons. The existential insanity of the finance sector is an iteration of the same insanity of globalization itself.
Here again, it’s not “the US” vs “China”, but the American people vs. the parasite which has hijacked America, which is the same as the parasite which has hijacked China. The globalization elite is rootless and psychopathic, the same as the domestic elite, simply at different levels of iteration. And they all tell the same trickle-down lie.
Trickle-down, as the unifying idea of the Washington system, shared alike by Republicans and Democrats, is the antithesis of the freedom ideal, of self-reliance, self-sufficiency, the pioneer spirit. Nothing good in this world ever came from the top down. All productive labor comes from the bottom up, and all worthwhile action as well.
Most of all: No “management” is ever necessary. In principle socialism was supposed to mean not just nominal worker ownership. The core is active worker self-management. That’s the essence of positive freedom in the economic sphere. That’s the core revolutionary ideal, and it suffuses every prism, every perspective. Relocalization of the economy, of politics, of culture, of energy production and distribution, of food production and distribution. The real solutions everywhere to our political and resource challenges boil down to the people managing themselves.
Meanwhile the core of reaction, of stagnation, of the feudal mindset, is managerial elitism. Conservatives and liberals alike agree that only formally educated (and preferably monied) “elites” like themselves have the capacity to be managers. It’s the same autocratic ideology which claims that intelligence and wisdom mystically inhere in power and money. Today this elitism is the mysticism of Wall Street and the Fed, the Washington political and media elites, ramifying on out through all other sectors. Scientism and technocracy also play into it. Centralized, hi-tech, complex systems, of course pilotable only by management and engineering elites, themselves supervised by “executives”, are the only way anything can be done, according to the Big Lie.
This tyranny is unsustainable. Economics and resource limitations doom it. But until then, if we meekly acquiesce in our lot, we shall become ever more enslaved. Before then we must reassert ourselves as human beings. Freedom must speak. As much as it is within our hands, we must revolt to break out of our doglike position waiting for the stale crumbs and poisoned water droplets to “trickle down.”


  1. Another excellent post. There is no one on the planet who describes the disease as well as you do.

    As for the cure, I’m a bit uneasy.

    Most of all: No “management” is ever necessary. In principle socialism was supposed to mean not just nominal worker ownership. The core is active worker self-management. That’s the essence of positive freedom in the economic sphere. That’s the core revolutionary ideal, and it suffuses every prism, every perspective. Relocalization of the economy, of politics, of culture, of energy production and distribution, of food production and distribution. The real solutions everywhere to our political and resource challenges boil down to the people managing themselves.

    The problem is that there are a great many people out there who don’t want to think too hard about what they are doing and why. They just want to step in, give the company eight and a half hours, and step out.

    Put another way, if the choice is between a no-responsibility, no-thought McJob in figurative chains or taking responsibility and thinking about the context of our work in the world we live in… well, I think the majority would take the chains.

    We don’t want to think, and we don’t want to manage.

    Comment by jimmy james — March 18, 2010 @ 1:19 pm

  2. Thanks, Jimmy. I fear you’re right about the inertial mass, but I hope there’s still people out there who want to build and produce for themselves and their own.

    And the thing about inertia is, once a tipping point is reached….

    Comment by Russ — March 18, 2010 @ 4:22 pm

  3. Several decades ago, Nixon’s Attorney General, John Mitchell, a man who knew quite a bit about crooked behavior, made the following comment in an interview during The Reagan years, “How do you like being “trickled down on?” The scatological allusion was intended, unmistakable, and most importantly, as you have made clear in your post, spot &^%!! on.

    I have heard more than a few smart stupid men- a locution once used to describe Johnson’s Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, try to justify such rubbish as trickle down economics with dopey homilies like “A rising tide lifts all boats.” Of course the truth is that, more often than not, the tide sinks the small boats, and strands or damages the medium sized ones which can’t handle the distorted and uneven ebbs and flows that are inevitably created by “trickle down eCONomics.”

    In the meantime, the nation’s top Keynesian miscreant and court jester economist to the PTB has been identified as the justifiable target of a Louisville slugger. Enjoy.


    Comment by Edwardo — March 19, 2010 @ 12:40 am

  4. LOL, yes. I clicked on Thugman’s column today and stopped reading after the first paragraph. His incessant cultist chanting that this is “reform” and it is “reform” and “reform” and how this will be “reform” (oh, and did I mention “reform”) is absolutely disgusting to me. As I said in one of my several previous posts where I clobbered this jerk, his lies have descended to the gutter Republican level.

    I’d sure like to take a bat to him if that would stop this vile reactionary bill. Now that would be real reform.

    As for his asshattery on the China scapegoating (a textbook exercise in misdirection-by-foreign-adventure, the kind of thing he claimed to oppose in Iraq), I’ll indulge myself by reposting my own naked Capitalism comment from a few days back:


    I think the only way to “take on China” is to take on Krugman and the rest of the “free”-traders.

    The road to recovering true American prosperity is clear. Autarchy and relocalization are different ways of envisioning it. Here again, like with almost every other problem, the problem and the solution are the same. We’re saddled with this Wall St/Washington/MSM parasite, and we need to purge it.

    In reading the other post on China and the comment thread, the thought I kept having is that it’s of course not “the US” vs. “China”, but the American people vs. the parasite which has hijacked America, and which is inseparable from the parasite which has hijacked China. That’s what rootless, psychopathic globalism is all about. A cadre like Krugman’s simply trying to help fire up the smoke machine. This smoke machine wants to cloud the people’s eyes with good old xenophobia. Let’s scapegoat “China” for not playing fair by the “rules” of “free” trade. Never mind that America plays by exactly the same “rules” when it, for example, engages in agricultural dumping in Africa.

    What a scam.

    The fight isn’t with “China”, it’s here.

    Comment by Russ — March 19, 2010 @ 7:41 am

  5. Amen brother, Amen. You might consider going over to the suddendebt blog and posting your comments, because the otherwise good host has Krugman’s smoke in his eyes.


    Comment by Edwardo — March 19, 2010 @ 9:01 am

  6. Good post. But this part…

    “Scientism and technocracy also play into it. Centralized, hi-tech, complex systems, of course pilotable only by management and engineering elites, themselves supervised by “executives”, are the only way anything can be done, according to the Big Lie.”

    Would you please elaborate on the “scientism” part?

    Comment by DED — March 19, 2010 @ 12:04 pm

  7. Basically, scientism is the ideology that the methods of scientific inquiry are sufficient to explain everything, and that the mindset and prerogatives of engineers or “scientists” (meaning, in practice, their corporate masters) should dictate policy.

    In this case, I mentioned how the scientism/technocracy ideology is a tool of corporatism in its imperative to disparage and suppress self-management on the part of the workers and true creators by fraudulently claiming that only designated “experts” can manage everything.

    In reality science cannot explain anything but only describe it more or less well. It’s then the true prerogative of common sense, wisdom, and principle to use science as one among many tools to set policy.

    Comment by Russ — March 19, 2010 @ 3:45 pm

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