[Marxism] Mark Blyth, who had been forecasting Trumps' election since May 2015 on 'Global Trumpism'

Ralph Johansen 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.


Global Trumpism

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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