July 21, 2013
Crisis: Reich, Corporations, Failure of Austerity, personal (Hazlitt)
  "Those who sacrifice liberty for
   security deserve neither."
   -- Benjamin Franklin

Prev- crisis -Next

1. Robert Reich on Detroit
2. Open Corporates
How Austerity has Failed
4. Personal (mostly Hazlitt)
About ME/CFS


It still is the case that sleeping remains quite difficult for me. This also makes my life rather difficult, at the moment.

Anyway - and no, sleeping did not much improve, so far.

And presently it is 25 degrees Celsius where I am, in my house in Amsterdam, which is too hot. I see what I can do, but it will not be very much. Also, it will be economical, all of the three non-personal items, but that seems just in a

The last part is personal and mostly about Hazlitt.

1. Robert Reich on Detroit

The news that Detroit is broke also reached Holland, though I have not heard or read much that was serious about it. Robert Reich latest column is about it and it is serious, also in the title:
And that, indeed, is it: There is no need, but the few rich seem to have decided to let the many poor die, while the many poor do nothing, in the hope they will be spared.

Reich's piece ends like this:
It’s roughly analogous to a Wall Street bank drawing a boundary around its bad assets, selling them off at a fire-sale price, and writing off the loss.  Only here we’re dealing with human beings rather than financial capital. And the upcoming fire sale will likely result in even worse municipal services, lousier schools, and more crime for those left behind in the city of Detroit. In an era of widening inequality, this is how wealthier Americans are quietly writing off the poor.
Yes indeed.

2. Open Corporates

"Corporations" - often temporary piracies designed to enrich the individual pirates, while denying any and all personal responsibility for anything they do - the either scarcely sane or thoroughly corrupt U.S. Supreme Court decided, in majority - "are people", and thus "they" now also may corrupt and pay politicians.

It was and is a major mistake, and was totally unlogical - see Hazlitt's "On corporate bodies" [1] - and now there is also some much more recent evidence, brought forward by Open Corporates, about how extremely complicated the ownership relations are that support the big corporations.

I found this on Common Dreams, and it reminds me of the time I was 17 and worked as a documentalist for a Dutch bank (see, if you read Dutch
1967-1968, opgroeien in Amsterdam), for it seems the same, except that it is now much more complicated and entwined, what with modern computers.

It goes by this title, and if it interests you, you are supposed to search:
I agree it is interesting, but it is not something one can do much about (though one has - perhaps - better guesses on what corporations may and may not do).

3. How Austerity has Failed

This is - surprise! - an economical analysis by an economist, Martin Wolf, that was also published by the New York Review of boooks:
It starts as follows

Austerity has failed. It turned a nascent recovery into stagnation. That imposes huge and unnecessary costs, not just in the short run, but also in the long term: the costs of investments unmade, of businesses not started, of skills atrophied, and of hopes destroyed.

What is being done here in the UK and also in much of the eurozone is worse than a crime, it is a blunder. If policymakers listened to the arguments put forward by our opponents, the picture, already dark, would become still darker.

The rest is not rosier, but Martin Wolfe does argue his case, and believes the many mistakes - the blunders - can be undone.

Personally, I tend not to believe so - or at least: Not by the present governments in Europe, which indeed may do it all on purpose, instead of by "blundering", or may only care for their own skins.

Whatever the real explanation, the fact seems to be that the rulers of Europe have succeeded in killing off the mild improvements that had been made in 2009 and 2010, and this article gives reasons and backgrounds.

4. Personal (mostly Hazlitt)

It is over 25 degrees Celsius in my living room, and that is too hot for me. Also, the news promises this may last till Wednesday or later, and it might even get to get 30 degrees or more.

Well... the result will be that I can do very little.

Then again, I am a fan of Hazlitt, of over thirty years standing at the moment, and I have just downloaded the 12 volumes that together form his Collected Works, at least as edited in by Waller and Glover, from 1902 till 1904.

In fact, here is part 1, in case you care:
(But you have to download it yourself, from that link.)

It also turned out this is a fine edition, and I can even read it without inverse coloring, with the present state of my eyes, and the quality of paper they used. It's known not to be complete, and there are two later editions, but I have no money for them, and I am quite pleased this edition is available to me.

Indeed, I want to read it all, or at least read all that I have not read, which is considerably less. This is not a plan I would recommend to others, but I am a real fan, since over thirty years also, and my main reason for being so is that William Hazlitt was an extremely bright and courageous man, who wrote extremely well on many subjects that interest me.

I know it is odd, these days - and also in earlier days, in fact - to be seriously interested in such writers, I mean the extremely bright extremely well writing ones, but then I must be odd, and I really like him and always did.

Also, I should say to whom I owe the great pleasure of Hazlitt's Collected Works: To the University of Toronto, that owes the books, and to the, that copied them.

Thank you very much!
[1] This starts as follows:

On Corporate Bodies

Corporate bodies have no soul.

Corporate bodies are more corrupt and profligate than individuals, because they have more power to do mischief, and are less amenable to disgrace or punishment. They feel neither shame, remorse, gratitude, nor goodwill. The principle of private or natural conscience is extinguished in each individual (we have no moral sense in the breasts of others), and nothing is considered but how the united efforts of the whole (released from idle scruples) may be best directed to the obtaining of political advantages and privileges to be shared as common spoil. Each member reaps the benefit, and lays the blame, if there is any, upon the rest. The esprit de corps becomes the ruling passion of every corporate body, compared with which the motives of delicacy or decorum towards others are looked upon as being both impertinent and improper.
This - and the rest - was published in 1822.

About ME/CFS (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:
1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

3. Hillary Johnson

The Why  (currently not available)

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2003)
5. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2011)
6. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

7. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)

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