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March 17, 2008

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chakira

you come very close to viewing the entire matter narratologically, or dare i say metaphorologically. this would be even better if you dropped the socialist BS and just focused on deciphering the text at hand. the socialism will fall into place once the metaphors are decomposed.

redmatter

Well said, Jodi. And your phrasing calls to mind how the neoliberal state offers a shift in the understandings and operations of representation. When an investment company is the universal, we particulars are encouraged to expect to be represented in the market rather than at the state.

Alain

While I very much agree with you Jodi I think the key phrase is "The market needs the government; it can't do what it promises." The only thing I would add is that if the financial markets were to freeze up, it would be catastrophic for all of us - not just the plutocray. Large sections of the economy outside of finance would collapse. This is why I have I always thought that at leaset Keynesianism was more honest than neoliberalism - there was no pretense that markets could function effectively without the government.

Dale

In general keeping with all this, I would encourage people to check out Eric Janszen's article in Harper's on the sequence of bubble economies that have become the norm since the rise of neoliberalism in the 1970s.

As surely as the current bubble is accompanied by corporate bailouts, the next bubble cycle is -- somehow, somewhere -- already in place, with people beginning to speculate on green technology/the health care industry/whatever the basis for the next bubble is going to be. So we'll get the next inflated market value behind some ephemeral non-product, as physical infrastructure and worker's wages continue to deteriorate.

I would also note that this cycle under Bush has been singularly successful in *not* generating actual *jobs* as part of the cycle of growth.

vacman

Jodi,
I never post comments here as I try to keep my undergraduate comments to myself. However your posting was spot on. The outrage and collective sadness that the these current markets bring can only mask their intention for so long. In fact, is not the end game here plain to see?

nathan

not sure what to add, but nice post!

Jodi

Thanks, folks.

Alain, I would add that it is an indication of how seriously upside the current capitalist formation is that a crisis in finance capital 'would be catastrophic for all of us.' I have to say that I don't think this is true. I think that it would mean that the excesses and swindles part of the creation of new finance vehicles over the past twenty years would appear as such and that maybe they could be eliminated and outlawed and something saner offered in their stead. This is, I admit, far more optimistic than I usually am. What is most important, I think, is for there to be solid organized and creative left pressure to impact the situation of crisis and swing it in one direction rather than another. But this may be my nostalgia for the New Deal and hope for socialism.

Alain

Jodi, thank you for your response. I actually agree with most of what you are saying: the left ought to sieze the moment of crisis to advocate a different economic course. And I am not an economist but I do work in the financial service industry: I am pretty certain that if a series of large investment banks went under, it would freeze commerce in the United States and possibly the world. I agree that this is a rediculous position to be in - but I do not think it is merely the justification of welfare for the rich. Without credit, the economy cannot function. The fact that the United States allowed such a dangerous degree of leverage into the system is an indictment of not only the government, but neoliberalism in general. That said, we are at a moment in our history when these large financial institutions have a disproportionate impact on our political/economic well being.

I am perhaps naive, but I could see the next administration launch a new array of regulatory agencies and laws that would prohibit the sorts of abuses we have seen. Specifically, the use of leverage and the securitization of debt must be regulated on the front end so that we are not paying such a devastating human and economic cost on the back end.

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