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wonderpup

The Big lie- Housing, Trump and Brexit

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I came across this passage recently and it struck me that a lot of the debates we have on here could be framed in terms of this analysis;

Quote

 The cultural belief was that everybody is created equal, that all people have a perfect and equal right to full personal empowerment, that nobody is intrinsically superior to others (beliefs that flourished with green). Yet the overwhelming reality was increasingly one of a stark and rapidly growing unequality—in terms of income and overall worth, property ownership, employment opportunity, healthcare access, life satisfaction issues. The culture was constantly telling us one thing, and the realities of society were consistently failing to deliver it—the culture was lying.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-10/how-breakdown-liberal-ideology-created-trump-part-1

What this guy is pointing out is the huge gulf between the world as it is claimed to be by the liberal elites- a world in which human rights and equality are the dominant memes- and the reality in which those rights and egalitarian values are being eroded away by an increasingly predatory and corrupt  system.

We tell our young people that if they work hard, go to universtiy, get those qualifications, that they will have a life much like that of their parents- they can buy a house, settle down and raise a family- but that is no longer really true. That middle class life is increasingly beynd the reach of all but the few.

We tell our low paid workers that globalisation is good for them, that the free movement of labour will bring them greater prosperity- but that too is not really true. The tide that was to lift all boats swept over them and left them worse off than before.

We tell ourselves that we live in a society that values human beings and their 'human rights' but god help anybody who dares to question the wisdom of uncontrolled immigration or who argues that they should be protected from cheap foreign labour- they will be demonized as subhuman thugs undeserving of any rights at all.

This dichotomy between the cultural fantasy of the liberal elites and the reality of life for millions of people is perfectly embodied in the death throes of the Labour party, torn between it's allegience to the fantasy of an egalitarian transglobal proletariat where the boundaries of race, nation and culture are overcome with ease and the reality for many of their (former) supporters whose lived experience is totally different.

There's a school of thought in Psychiatry that holds the view that some kinds of mental disturbance can be triggered by a manifest contradiction between reality as presented and reality as experianced.

So perhaps those who characterise the victory of Donad Trump and of Brexit as a kind of mental abberation are on to something- perhaps what is driving the current 'populist' politiics is an anger that has been amplifed by the cultural suppression of world views that do not accord with the current dominant meme- a meme that insists that the ongoing implosion of the middle and lower classes is not really happening, and anyone who says otherwise is a delusional fascist.

The truly vast irony of the cult of liberal identity politics is it's ruthless suppression of any identity of which it does not approve. The joke being that those whose who most vociferously  preach the virtues of tolorance  can be seen today reacting with hysterical intolorance toward those they deem not to be as tolorant as themselves.

Edited by wonderpup

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Good post.

I remember hearing a commentator (Michael Ignatieff?) making a similar point on BBC Radio 4 about 12 years ago in response to calls for positive discrimination. He said that there is a large WWC bloc for whom the rhetoric of inclusion rings very hollow because it does not include them at all.

In fact, identity politics have developed to the point that many in this bloc are now rhetorically EXcluded, with notions of white male privilege, etc. This is then mirrored in the dire state of the Labour party today.

Add stagnant wages and Trump/Brexit is not so surprising.

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When you get your ideas from Zero Cred, it's probably time for a holiday.

If only the problems of the last few decades were all down to the "liberal elites" positively discriminating a few wimmin and people of colour into jobs.

If only.

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18 minutes ago, Futuroid said:

 

When you get your ideas from Zero Cred, it's probably time for a holiday.

If only the problems of the last few decades were all down to the "liberal elites" positively discriminating a few wimmin and people of colour into jobs.

If only.

Great post. There does seem to be an agenda coming from somewhere to blame all our problems on the liberal elite. Who's pushing it I don't know, but it seems to be quite deliberate and it's seductive an idea. 

It overlooks the big global economic changes of the past few decades though, which are the main drivers for change. Trump and brexit are a reaction to that even if many think it's a reaction to feminism or something 

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I agree that dissonance between reality and aspirations contributed to the anger but I wouldn't blame the human rights and equal opportunity ideas for in the increase in inequality. They are good things and attacking them shows how confused people are.  Follow the money to see who have benefited from the current system, corporations, financial institutions, landlords, China. Liberal ideas were a kind of American dream, together with easy credit, HPI a way to pacify people. Ironically people who were selling those dreams and getting rich are now ruling the USA and the UK. They are trying to shift the blame away from themselves, direct the anger against decoys like the EU, Muslims, Mexicans, EEs etc. 

 

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1 hour ago, Pieman Pieface said:

Great post. There does seem to be an agenda coming from somewhere to blame all our problems on the liberal elite. Who's pushing it I don't know, but it seems to be quite deliberate and it's seductive an idea. 

It overlooks the big global economic changes of the past few decades though, which are the main drivers for change. Trump and brexit are a reaction to that even if many think it's a reaction to feminism or something 

The agenda is to get us all blaming each other for everything. Create smaller and smaller groups, force people to identify with a specific group, program in the narrative through the establishment propaganda machine aka the news that group a and group b are attacking each other  because of reason x y z.

 

It started with race then religion, then politics, then sporting teams, then scientism, then conspiracy theorists and anti vaxxers and tin foil hatters and DEBTjunkies and homeowners and single mums and feminists and sjws and renter scumbags.  

 

We're all deeply programmed to look for the smallest box possible in which to brand our fellow man. Lest we take a step back and look upwards at our real enemies. Imo.

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3 hours ago, Conquistador said:

Good post.

I remember hearing a commentator (Michael Ignatieff?) making a similar point on BBC Radio 4 about 12 years ago in response to calls for positive discrimination. He said that there is a large WWC bloc for whom the rhetoric of inclusion rings very hollow because it does not include them at all.

In fact, identity politics have developed to the point that many in this bloc are now rhetorically EXcluded, with notions of white male privilege, etc. This is then mirrored in the dire state of the Labour party today.

Add stagnant wages and Trump/Brexit is not so surprising.

There is nothing wrong with positive discrimination.

For far too long White Males have been over represented in our armed conflicts.

We should make sure women and minority groups have preference next time around.

Edited by Lord D'arcy Pew

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28 minutes ago, Lord D'arcy Pew said:

For far too long White Males have been over represented in our armed conflicts.

Only on the side carrying the guns. Or initiating the wars.

On the side of the dying, I think you'll find non-white women and children are very well represented.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/5161326/Number-of-women-and-children-killed-in-Iraq-air-raids-disproportionately-high.html

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10 hours ago, wonderpup said:

This dichotomy between the cultural fantasy of the liberal elites and the reality of life for millions of people is perfectly embodied in the death throes of the Labour party, torn between it's allegience to the fantasy of an egalitarian transglobal proletariat where the boundaries of race, nation and culture are overcome with ease and the reality for many of their (former) supporters whose lived experience is totally different.

 

However the term 'liberal elites' is a cultural fantasy all of its own.  No one knows what these Liberal Elites actually are. (seem to be just as many very irrliberal elites who would rather people knew their place, as much the liberal ones)

I think there was (is?) a general desire to build a more free society where people could realise their 'american dream' and move into nice Middle Class style life styles, particularly after WW2.

However I think this came into conflict with several things over time:

  • Once people became middle class, they quite liked it and wanted to feather their nests = BTL
  • They tended to vote, and so we ended up with a class of people interested in looking after themselves and so (probably accidentally) taking the ladder away they themselves had used.
  • Giving people freedom meant the freedom to succeed - which is polarizing as the difference between success and failure becomes bigger in a winner-takes-all world and so freedom can start feeling unfair to people who don't win
  • Economics - cheap borrowing comes with all sorts of unintended consequences - it's exciting as allows people to bring their future into the present, but increasingly builds an uncertain future if the present doesn't quite work out the way you thought it would.

I don't think any of that can be put down to enforced-equailty or over discrimination. (and heck we stlil do lots of discrimination here and there!)

Identity politics is out there, and virtue signalling, and all that - but its largely irrelevant, and happens on both sides.

Heck, half of Trump is virtue signalling on a mass scale, Mexico this, Isis that, none of it stands up to much scrutiny. (if you wanted to make American safe, you would look at cars and guns as these kills huge multiples more)

Its just a safe place that people retreat to for convenient thinking.  I am as liberal as they come, and its easy to bash Trump as being racist, sexist and generally unpleasant - however does that make him a bad president?  No, he could be a brilliant president despite being racist as long as he did not start making racist policies.

Identity politics is part of who we are, as we like to define ourselves in these terms - however am not sure its the best way of selecting leaders or trying to define the rules for how the world works; but I think the blame here is across the board, and naked economics has more to do with the diminishing of the middle class than discrimination.

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It does seem that 'liberal' is a bit of a dirty word these days. 

The definition is:  Willing to respect or accept behaviour or opinions different from one's own; open to new ideas.

Sounds OK to me.

It's almost as if it's the new 'communism'. 

No doubt communism is a flawed concept in the light of actual human behaviour but your average American when asked what communism is would probably tell you it's an inherently evil idea similar to satanism.

Having said all of that I think the thing that winds me up the most about current politics is that you have to nail your flag to one mast or the other, To me this is just a way to serve elites.

I don't agree with any one hard and fast ideology as different questions have different answers.

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4 hours ago, thewig said:

The agenda is to get us all blaming each other for everything. Create smaller and smaller groups, force people to identify with a specific group, program in the narrative through the establishment propaganda machine aka the news that group a and group b are attacking each other  because of reason x y z.

 

It started with race then religion, then politics, then sporting teams, then scientism, then conspiracy theorists and anti vaxxers and tin foil hatters and DEBTjunkies and homeowners and single mums and feminists and sjws and renter scumbags.  

 

We're all deeply programmed to look for the smallest box possible in which to brand our fellow man. Lest we take a step back and look upwards at our real enemies. Imo.

Classic divide and rule

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Quote

I agree that dissonance between reality and aspirations contributed to the anger but I wouldn't blame the human rights and equal opportunity ideas for in the increase in inequality.

The problem occurs when the ideology of equality is deployed to suppress the views of those who might be losing out in a globalised system.

Take the following proposition;

It's wrong and prejudiced thinking for the white working class to complain about the negative impacts of globalisation and/or EU immigration on their incomes, communites and living standards because these policies have lifted millions of people out of poverty. Therefore anyone who takes a negative view of globalisation or EU immigration is by definition a bigot or a narrow minded nationalist whose views and concerns can and indeed should be ignored and suppressed.

This is more or less the viewpoint of the Labour party under Tony Balir and indeed Gorden Brown himself famously labeled a woman a 'bigot' when she tried to express her concerns regarding the impact of mass immigration on her community.

So the problem is not liberal thinking in itself- I have argued often on this forum in favour of many liberal ideas- but  when these liberal values are used as a weapon to suppress the genuine concerns of those groups who might be less articulate or seen as less deserving of having a voice then something has gone wrong.

More importantly perhaps is the fact that while focusing their attention on ever more finely granular degrees of discrimination when it comes to race or gender the liberal elite have been curiously indifferent to the ongoing demonisation of the indiginous working class, perhaps because they find these people less attractive as putuative 'victims'.

So what we see is a strange alignment between the globalist asipirations of the fianancial elites and the global aspirations of the liberal elite- both sides agree that those who raise objections to the globalist project are to be dismissed as ignorant and unworthy. In effect the Liberal agenda of global justice and equality has served the interests of the very capitalism that many of those same Liberals would criticise because that agenda prohibits any dissent from the view that globalisation is always and everywere a good thing.

 

 

Edited by wonderpup

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5 minutes ago, wonderpup said:

The problem occurs when the ideology of equality is deployed to suppress the views of those who might be losing out in a globalised system.

Take the following proposition;

It's wrong and prejucided thinking for the white working class to complain about the negative impacts of globalisation and/or EU immigration on their incomes, communites and living standards because these policies have lifted millions of people out of poverty. Therefore anyone who takes a negative view of globalisation or EU immigration is by definition a bigot or a narrow minded nationalist whose views and concerns can and indeed should be ignored and suppressed.

This is more or less the viewpoint of the Labour party under Tony Balir and indeed Gorden Brown himself famously labeled a woman a 'bigot' when she tried to express her concerns regarding the impact of mass immigration on her community.

So the problem is not liberal thinking in itself- I have argued often on this forum in favour of many liberal ideas- but  when these liberal values are used as a weapon to suppress the genuine concerns of those groups who might be less articulate or seen as less deserving of having a voice then something has gone wrong.

More importantly perhaps is the fact that while focusing their attention on ever more finely granular degrees of discrimination when it comes to race or gender the liberal elite have been curiously indifferent to the ongoing demonisation of the indiginous working class, perhaps because they find these people less attractive as putuative 'victims'.

So what we see is a strange alignment between the globalist asipirations of the fianancial elites and the global aspirations of the liberal elite- both sides agree that those who raise objections to the globalist project are to be dismissed as ignorant and unworthy. In effect the Liberal agenda of global justice and equality has served the interests of the very capitalism that many of those same Liberals would criticise because that agenda prohibits any dissent from the view that globalisation is always and everywere a good thing.

 

 

Good points. The attack or in your words, indifference to the ongoing demonisation of the indiginous working class is central to what is going on.  After ww1 the promises made of homes fit for heroes (most of the population were living in hovels) was renamed on.  After ww2, tptb needed to offer the working classes who had seen many of their friends, family and community members lost, something.  It was not altruism that drove this but the rise of communism which frankly frightened the pants off the elite of the time.  

What emerged from this was a rise in power, unlike anything witnessed before, of the power of ordinary people.  Tptb have, with quite some success, been working to put that particular geni back in the bottle.  

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The definition is:  Willing to respect or accept behaviour or opinions different from one's own; open to new ideas.

The demonisation of those who voted Brexit or Trump as racists and fascists suggests that this definition is at best incomplete. As I pointed out- those who most vociferously advocate the virtues of tolorance display a remarkable degree of intolorance toward people who they feel are less tolorant than themselves. ( Hillaries 'basket of deplorables' being an excellent example.)

All ideologies require an 'in' group and an 'out' group- that is nature of identity, we define ourselves in terms of who we are not as well as who we are. So how does a group devoted to the idea of inclusion construct an 'out' group? It does what all groups do and demonises those who it claims do not share it's values.

So you end up with the perverse irony of an ideology of inclusion that excludes on the basis that those it excludes are not as inclusive as they should be.

But the more subtle consequnce of an ideology of transnational inclusion is that it suppressess any recogntion of the downside of this ideology. So if I am someone whose life has been impacted negatively by such things as inward migration or the globalisation of industry I have no voice- because the moment I express any objection I am a 'racist' or a 'nationalist' or even a 'fascist'.

So the ideology of inclusion now has the perverse effect of generating the very protectionist mind set it opposes by forcing those who have been denied a voice to seek that voice in other places. Trump and Brexit are products of the suppression of those voices.

This is the ultimate irony here- by suppressing any voice that dared to question the absolute goodness of the ideology of globalised inclusion that ideology has created a blowback in the form of Brexit and Trump- the same liberal elite that now wails it's distress at these events was in part responsible for them because it unwittingly colluded with the Banksters and free market ideologues who argued that Globalisation was beyond challenge and must not be constrained.

The one thing that both the bankers and the people who are ' Willing to respect or accept behaviour or opinions different from one's own; open to new ideas.' agree on is that some ideas are beyond the pale- in particular any idea that suggests that a globalised transnational world might be harmful in any way.

 

Edited by wonderpup

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See above. In the British context, it is easy to forget just how taboo political debate on immigration was during the Blair years. To query the numbers was to invite accusations of racism. The turnaround in tone now that May appears to be making this issue the focus of Brexit is remarkable and in many ways unfortunate.

As others have said, there are bigger forces at play, forces that have received little attention. Yet it remains that the deprivileging of communities for whom immigration concerns were foremost, and their perceived (and actual) loss of representative voice in political discourse, has contributed to the two fingered salute to the status quo that was the Brexit vote.

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Neoliberal globalisation has benefited the very poorest in the World. But it has been detrimental to the Western Working- and Middle Classes.

 

It is the guys and girls from the Western Working- and Middle Classes that have the democratic vote. The Chinese, Indian and African poor , who have benefited, live in undemocratic or corrupt regimes, and cannot express their gratitude for the Neoliberal World Order. So it's left to Westerners, who are understandably riled to see their lives undermined. And then they vote Brexit and Trump.

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On 11/02/2017 at 20:18, One-percent said:

Good points. The attack or in your words, indifference to the ongoing demonisation of the indiginous working class is central to what is going on.  After ww1 the promises made of homes fit for heroes (most of the population were living in hovels) was renamed on.  After ww2, tptb needed to offer the working classes who had seen many of their friends, family and community members lost, something.  It was not altruism that drove this but the rise of communism which frankly frightened the pants off the elite of the time.  

What emerged from this was a rise in power, unlike anything witnessed before, of the power of ordinary people.  Tptb have, with quite some success, been working to put that particular geni back in the bottle.  

Its does look like that from down here.  There seems to be little desire or real action from our leaders to improve the general conditions of the average citizen in the UK.

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On 11/02/2017 at 01:11, wonderpup said:

I came across this passage recently and it struck me that a lot of the debates we have on here could be framed in terms of this analysis; 

Quote

 The cultural belief was that everybody is created equal, that all people have a perfect and equal right to full personal empowerment, that nobody is intrinsically superior to others (beliefs that flourished with green). Yet the overwhelming reality was increasingly one of a stark and rapidly growing unequality—in terms of income and overall worth, property ownership, employment opportunity, healthcare access, life satisfaction issues. The culture was constantly telling us one thing, and the realities of society were consistently failing to deliver it—the culture was lying.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-10/how-breakdown-liberal-ideology-created-trump-part-1

Very interesting thread - particularly the creation of "differences and divisions" to keep the population busy arguing amongst themselves about whether or not there should be an argument - whilst capitalism can get on with what it does best.

In today's Guardian Aditya Chakrebortty takes some of the issues raised in this thread into the mainstream and one paragraph took my eye:

"Asked before the 2008 US elections whether he was fonder of John McCain or Barack Obama, Greenspan replied: “Thanks to globalisation, policy decisions in the US have been largely replaced by global market forces … it hardly makes any difference who will be the next president.” Voters moaned about politicians looking and sounding the same, but for the former head of the US central bank and his friends on Wall Street, it was a huge plus. And this trend was international. "

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/05/ten-years-financial-crash-lehmans-austerity-debt

Was Greenspan accurate when he said that it didn't matter who the next president was?

Does it matter  which political party or person is in charge (Trump, Erdoğan, May, Merkel etc) because whoever is in power is going to go along with what the banks say they need otherwise the monetary system implodes and there's nothing left to be in charge over?

Has anyone written (sensibly, in a pragmatic way without resorting to guns) about the post-banking/post monetary implosion era? I can start to imagine such a place and it's very different from what we have. In fact it requires a lot of imagination to create some sustainable and fairer future that is what it is, rather than a poorer or better version of what we have now.

 

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On ‎05‎/‎09‎/‎2018 at 14:37, Fretful Mother said:

In today's Guardian Aditya Chakrebortty takes some of the issues raised in this thread into the mainstream and one paragraph took my eye:

"Asked before the 2008 US elections whether he was fonder of John McCain or Barack Obama, Greenspan replied: “Thanks to globalisation, policy decisions in the US have been largely replaced by global market forces … it hardly makes any difference who will be the next president.” Voters moaned about politicians looking and sounding the same, but for the former head of the US central bank and his friends on Wall Street, it was a huge plus. And this trend was international. "

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/05/ten-years-financial-crash-lehmans-austerity-debt

Was Greenspan accurate when he said that it didn't matter who the next president was?

Does it matter  which political party or person is in charge (Trump, Erdoğan, May, Merkel etc) because whoever is in power is going to go along with what the banks say they need otherwise the monetary system implodes and there's nothing left to be in charge over?

These aren't the same thing. Global market forces doesn't mean doing what the banks want.

Greenspan may have been right as long as there weren't meaningful differences between the politicians. Trump is different.

On ‎05‎/‎09‎/‎2018 at 14:37, Fretful Mother said:

Has anyone written (sensibly, in a pragmatic way without resorting to guns) about the post-banking/post monetary implosion era? I can start to imagine such a place and it's very different from what we have. In fact it requires a lot of imagination to create some sustainable and fairer future that is what it is, rather than a poorer or better version of what we have now.

What do you mean by post-banking?

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Thanks Kosmin, I do feel a little bit like I've had my homework marked! However there are few places for an amateur economist/fretful mother to have a go at understanding aspects of globalisation and I do appreciate your time.

Lehman Bros was allowed to collapse. RBS was not and I understand (from listening to Alistair Darling on the radio this morning) that the prospect of no cash in the cashpoints, no way to buy food in the supermarkets etc. would have led to civil unrest so RBS was assisted. Darling did not talk about the moral hazard of bank bailouts. Surely any bank can copy and paste the claims that Darling responded to and be bailed out. Hence the banks are in charge.

Greenspan might have been lulled into a sense of security after the moderate Obama. Trump is different (ugh) and is unbelievably popular. He's an arch capitalist, pro-business and blissfully ignorant of anything else. Apparently there are people in the White House moderating his nonsense. I'm not sure that Trump is different really. Without the tweets/retractions we wouldn't know much about him.

Post banking? Surely we're at peak banking now? The relationship between money and work is broken -not for Joes in the street on wages - but for banks. What would cake the world a bit "post-bank"? Not a lot.  In theory, maybe to demand a higher rate of interest, people could collectively extract their money from one bank on a particular day. House prices could drop 50%... I'm not aware enough to offer a long list of bank-related precariousness but I do see my local bank (supposedly very profitable) closing branches and making workers redundant. I get that the high street is the "bogs and boilers" of the bank world - not as sexy as financial services and charging money to move other people's money about. But banks look like they're in distress!

Potatoes. We should all grow potatoes. I've already started. Maris Pipers as the new currency?

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Just in case ending on a reference to potatoes is thought of as a bit nuts, suggested further reading:

Steady State Economics https://steadystate.org/

and

Bioeconomics, or studying anthropology of economics as a way forward. I think that's what the original post from Wonderpup might be alluding to. I do worry that doing economics "harder" doesn't seem to be progressing things very well.

I don't have access to this, but how interesting! https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10818-018-9269-z

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