1. "The truth about the economy"
2. "A turning point?
If so which way?"
I am still not sleeping enough, so yet
again a brief Nederlog with
links that I found interesting, this time with materials about the US
economy that may help to try to make sense of that.
"The truth about the economy"
I mentioned Robert Reich
several times before in Nederlog, who has the distinction of having
been a secretary of labor in Clinton's first government, and also has
the merits of being a sensible and intelligent men, and of being a good
As I also mentioned before,
I suppose I know more about economy than most people who did not study
it (at least I have read Keynes,
and Marx, and Sraffa, and Smith, and Mandeville,
and others), but I have no illusions about understanding it, at least
in a socio-political context, and indeed I also do not follow economy
or its theorists on any regular basis.
Most degreed economists
don't seem to understand more of it than I do - and again I am not
speaking of economics in the abstract, or in a mathematical model, but
of real economic developments in real societies - which
I don't blame them for, since it is a really complicated subject, in
which many factors are active. 
Then again, some degreed
economists make sense, and one of these is Robert Reich. Here is a
brief explanation of his of what is the problem with the economy"
He explains it,
adorned with his own drawings, in "less than 2 minute 15 seconds", as
he says. He connects a number of dots I will copy - and note that his
subject is the US economy - the problems in Europe and elsewhere are
related but not quite the same:
"The only way we can
have a strong economy is with a strong middle class", as Reich ends his
talk and the reason should be obvious: only that comes with an
effective demand that is strong enough to fire up a strong economy and
to keep it going.
- Since 1980 the US
economy doubled in size, but the wages (corrected for inflation)
remained the same.
- Almost all the
gains made in the US economy went to the super rich: The top 1% used to
take home 10% of total incomes; now 20%, while the super rich also owe
40% of the nation's wealth.
- The increase in
income has given the super rich a lot more power, and enabled them
among other things to lower their own tax rates.
- The result - no
higher wages for the middle class, less tax from the rich - were and
are huge budget deficits: Less state income than in the last 60 years,
so less public spending.
- The middle class
does not stand united against the rich, but stands divided.
- Because the middle
class has little money to spend, there is at best an anemic recovery of
2. "A turning point? If so which way?"
The above video
is about 2 1/2 minutes in all, and should not tax your patience or take
too much of your time. If you think he makes sense, here is
This is a public
lecture, of about half an hour, with a brief introduction by Henry
Brady, who is the dean of the Goldman School of Public Policy, at the
UC Berkeley, where Reich also teaches, followed by Reich's speech,
which is well done: he is a good public speaker; followed by questions
by Brady, which is a sensible choice, because he poses good questions.
It is from the end of February 2012, which has the twin advantages that
it is fairly recent, and that you can find out whether Reich's
predictions were right.
The lecture is more on the themes sketched in section 1
and also some others, notably on the risk of the politics resentment
and blame and the rise of political demagoguery, as happened in the
1930ies in Germany. (At 23 min 40 sec and following.)
I leave it to your interest and time, and only will say this, since
Henry Brady praises Reich's teaching skills:
I have had much to suffer from very bad public lectures
by many professors in the University of Amsterdam 
(one had to visit to finish or follow the course), and Reich is clearly
a much better lecturer than any I heard or saw in my alma mater meretrix.
 Having mentioned my communist
background repeatedly, here are some of my first disagreements with communism and
I did not like Stalin's
cult of personality, also not when I was a young child, when 7; I did
not believe a state like the German Democratic Republic, that I was
almost kicked out of as "an undesirable alien" when 14, nor the
Soviet-Union, were "socialist countries" (in a sense Marx and Engels would have
approved); I did not believe Marx was right in his thesis that
everything in society depends on economics, when 15; I did not believe
dialectical logic, when 17; I did not believe in Marx's labor value
theory as an explanation for profit, when 18; I did not believe in
centralism , when 18 - and I mention these things, and could mention some more, among other
reasons because at the time I did not know anybody else in the leftist
circles I lived in who thought likewise, and indeed very few who
thought about these at all, except when parrotting the pronouncements
of leaders of the Dutch CP. Another thing no one saw in the circles I
moved in was the problem that struck me when I was 14: Why do the
capitalists follow Keynes
rather than Marx?
The most striking thing I found then, and also later, in the University
of Amsterdam, where very many of the students and staff pretended to be
and indeed some may have believed their own pretensions, was that
nobody really cared or was interested in these questions in any
intellectual sense, that is, when one seriously asks and inquires into
what is the real truth.
The only real interest people took in these and similar issues
What is The Politically
Correct party line? (This was e.g. reflected in positions about
Sartre: While I was appalled with Sartre's
statement that "there are no concentration camps in the Soviet Union
because socialism is a humanism", which was a dishonest rhetorical fallacy in my
eyes, everybody else in the communist youth I figured in thought him
praiseworthy for saying so, but "after all, still a bourgeois, of
course" for refusing to be a member of the French CP.)
 With ehh uh a very uh few ehh uh
except uh ah ions ehh ahh uhm of whom ehh ah I ehh am umh one, uh
ehh the umh ehh Dutch uh are ehh very uhm uh ehh bad umh uhh speakers,
uh. (This is not so in England, the US, Germany and France: The Dutch
excel at atrocious public speaking and extremely lousy "conversation",
and also seem to have done so for
centuries. I do not know why, except that speaking well is
considered to be showing off, that in Holland is permissible to
(that I prefer
to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which
is a disease I have since 1.1.1979: