Sunday, July 12, 2015

July 12 2015. Both the U.S growth rate and productivity are lousy—but is anywhere else doing any better?





And, by the way, virtually all successful nations plan their economies.

The U.S. media, generally speaking, have one very bad habit—its journalists love to cover the troubles and deficiencies of other countries while rarely covering the positive aspects. Why is this?

  • IGNORANCE. Ignorance of the reporters (not to be underestimated—especially since so many foreign bureau have been closed down).
  • LAZINESS. Laziness of the reporters (definitely a factor—a great deal of U.S. reporting is predictable and shallow)..
  • POLICIES. Policies of the media owners (the rich who largely own the media corporations seem to have a deliberate policy of keeping Americans dumbed-down, fat and happy). The tragedy here is that there is some exceedingly good journalism practiced in the U.S.—but it is, by and large, fragmented and not mass market).
  • POLITICAL STABILITY. To preserve political stability (because if Americans, as a whole, knew how much better so many counties are doing than the U.S. there would be mass protests! The fact is these days, that though the U.S. may be the richest country in the world on a capita basis, income inequality is so extreme, and the American Business Model is so rigged, both the quality of life and standard of living are not only in decline—but lower than those of many developed nations (such as those of Northern Europe).

If people are doing better than you, it makes sense to learn from them—and, over time, possibly to better them. Life is essentially—at least in terms of  knowledge and expertise—a game of leapfrog.

The U.S. seems quite happy to exploit foreign ideas—especially when they are entertainment oriented, or otherwise superficial, but extraordinarily unwilling to learn from other countries when it comes to political and commercial policies of fundamental substance. (particularly where labor relations are concerned)—even when there is proof, over years, that some particular policy or approach works better. In fact, the communications oriented U.S. works very hard to avoid discussion of such matters and keep knowledge of them out. Where certain key issues are concerned, the country has de-facto censorship (though it is never called that. This very real, and immensely destructive censorship, works through omission, distraction, confusion, the legal system, exhaustion, and fear. The totality of these forces is immensely powerful and effective.

Why is this?

  • VESTED INTERESTS prefer the status quo.

A major feature here is that vested interests have a habit of using ideology to suit their purposes. For instance they may know perfectly well that climate change is real—but if helping to avoid its excesses costs them money, they will cast doubt on the scientific evidence, and talk about government interference.

This permanent tsunami of distraction, rampant intellectual dishonesty, and outright lying, is rife  in the U.S. at present, has been going on for decades, and has led to the gridlock and breakdown of trust which is so pervasive now—but which suits the ultra rich-who control the major corporations (who control the U.S. political system). It adds up to truly massive cradle to the grave propaganda which so distracts and confuses the typical American voter that the real issues are ignored. Under its cover, the Constitution has been hijacked to serve a privileged elite. It is a truly desperate situation—yet practically unnoticed.

The following is a brief extract from an article by Chris Hedges in on the matter. It cuts to the very real neutralizing of all too many Americans in terms of making any real contribution to civic matters at virtually any level. They have opted for a world of electronic escape by the tens of millions—and that figure may be low. Democracy depends upon an informed public. America doesn’t have one. It doesn’t have democracy any more either.

A generation has fallen down the rabbit hole of electronic hallucinations—with images often dominated by violence and pornography. They have become, in the words of the philosopher Hannah Arendt, “atomized,” sucked alone into systems of information and entertainment that cater to America’s prurient fascination with the tawdry, the cruel and the deadening cult of the self. 

Let me close on the subject of planning. The classic objection to planning an economy is that the Soviet Union tried it—and it didn’t work. Well, there is a difference between micromanaging and planning. The Soviets tried a system of centralized planning based upon micromanaging which certainly didn’t work very well. However, just about every other nation which has tried planning—from China to Norway—has found it highly effective.

The model that seems to work best is a a broad plan which determines the priorities but leaves the implementation to a dynamic mix of the public and private sectors.

Look around the world. Free enterprise has considerable merit, but it certainly isn’t always the best, or most cost-effective way of getting something done.

Consider U.S. Financial Corporations and Healthcare Corporations alone. The former inflicted the greatest disaster since the Great Depression. The latter have resulted in a substandard healthcare system which costs nearly twice as much as any other developed county’s.

What counts is what works.


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