[Marxism] Mark Blyth, who had been forecasting Trumps' election since May 2015 on 'Global Trumpism'
mdriscollrj at charter.net
Sun Nov 13 00:48:47 MST 2016
Mark Blyth is a thick-brogued Scotsman who is presently at the Watson
Institute at Brown University in Providence, R.I. He was one of very few
who predicted Trump's election, as far back as May 2015, and he never
wavered. Today he spoke there and this is part of his interesting,
somewhat oblique take on the topic that is on top everywhere, in which
are the bones of his correct forecast.. I had a little trouble getting
what he was saying. I remembered, as i listened, long ago riding on the
top deck of an Edinburgh bus at rush hour with two working blokes with
their lunch pails going east to their homes in the poor section of town.
Provincial American that I was, I couldn't understand a word they said,
except for the occasional preposition or adjective that told me it was
English. Mark Blyth has that accent.
The implications of the US election are not just local. Brexit happened.
Greece had a Grexit but it did not come off. The shrinkage of the center
parties is occurring across the entire OECD. The collapse of left-wing
parties is general across Western Europe. Coming up next, Renzi is going
to fail in the Italian Referendum, bringing on a constitutional crisis.
Shortly after that we have the French election coming up. Here is a
statistical comparison: the lowest approval rating for G.W. Bush was
27%; the president of France's current approval rating is 4%. The
National Front have nearly 40% of the intended vote. Even with the
difficulties presented by the French constitution, where you have second
round elections, etc., the most popular political party by a factor of
two in France is the National Front. After that comes the German
election, where Merkel is also vulnerable.
How does this all connect? Here's a simple way of thinking about it.
From 1945 to 1975 we talked about a particular economic variable called
full employment. There's a thing called the Lucas critique, which says
that if you keep targeting something, people will game it. And they did.
Unions gamed it. Employers gamed it. The result was inflation, and after
awhile that inflation became painful and the people hurt by it, the
creditor class, banded together and founded a market-friendly
revolution. They liberated finance and they deregulated banks and they
integrated the economies of the West. They globalized labor so that
labor could no longer get their share of productivity. Because if you
fought for it, we'd just move your job elsewhere.. And all of those
trade agreements that were signed, globalization, is inevitable and you
can't roll it back. Those politicians like Sanders and Trump who tell
you that they can are dishonest. You know, you can go to the web and
look up WTO; it's a 700-page legal document that took five years to
thrash out among corporate interests - lawyers, lobbyists, with very
little input from civil society. The same is true of the EU agreements
on capital movements, take your pick.
And there's a moment when people just began to figure out that for the
past thirty years, from 1985 until now, huge amounts or money have been
generated in the global economy and none of us have benefited. In the
global economy, there's growing unemployment. Most of the wealth has
gone to a tiny minority.of the population. So you knew this was going to
happen. You don't have look far to see this. Get out of west Providence,
go to east Providence or northeast Providence, where I walked into a
neighborhood which has cash checking agencies, chicken joints. pawn
shops, broken down store fronts and never heard-of stores. This is the
reality of people In many countries, not just here. So there fed up with
this. And at any sign of any possible opportunity, whether it's Brexit
or the Italian constitutional referendum, they basically give their
elites notice that they've had enough of this, and that's what it is.
Now there's an underpinning to this. For 30 years, from 1945 to 1975,
they targeted employment. That brought on inflation. Then they targeted
inflation for 30 years. I don't see why the Lucas critique doesn't apply
to that as well. We've managed to create a world where you can dump
trillions of dollars worth of the global money supply, QE and other
programs, and there's no inflation anywhere. Here's the problem: they
leveled out and bailed out the banking system and they drained the
public purse to do it, and now they need to recoup that terrible debt,
when people's personal balance sheets are still full of debt that they
took on in the 2000s and there's no inflation to ease the burden of that
debt, And the creditors fight hard to get their money back, so you have
a fight between the creditor class and the debtor class, everywhere
creditor-debtor stand-offs, It takes different forms: in Spain it's
Podemos; in France it's the National Front. And for Trump, it's a weird
coalition which is of course sexist, of course it's racist, of course
it's anti-immigration; but a part of it is economic. Now, if you
recognize that simple fact, you can put Trump in there with Brexit, you
can put Trump in there with Jeremy Corbyn; you can put Trump with the
National Front and all the rest of it. And I leave you with one set of
numbers: In 2015 Wall Street bonuses, not regular compensation but
bonuses, seven years after they were bailed out with the public purse,
totaled $28.4 billion. Total compensation for every single person in
this country who earns a minimum wage was $40 billion. I'll stop there.
Later in the q and a session he had this chilling forecast:"The era of
neoliberalism is over. The era of neonationalism has begun..
is a political economist whose research focuses upon how uncertainty
and randomness impact complex systems, particularly economic systems,
and why people continue to believe stupid economic ideas despite buckets
of evidence to the contrary. He is the author of several books,
including Great Transformations: Economic Ideas and Institutional Change
in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2002,
Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea (Oxford University Press
2013, and The Future of the Euro (with Matthias Matthijs) (Oxford
University Press 2015)
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