When The Technocrats Took My Country

Wednesday, November 23, AD 2011

Ross Douthat goes through the interesting exercise of translating what just happend to Italy into American terms, and in doing so underscores just how big the Eurozone shake up is:

The murmurs about Barack Obama being forced out began in Berlin and Beijing. After his party lost the midterm vote, there were hints that a government of technocrats would be imposed on America, to save the country from a debt crisis and the world from a depression.

As the debt-ceiling negotiations stalled out over the summer, a global coalition — led by Germany, China and the International Monetary Fund — began working behind the scenes to ease Obama out of the White House. The credit downgrade was the final blow: the president had lost the confidence of the world’s shadow government, and his administration could no longer survive.

Within days, thanks to some unusual constitutional maneuvering, Obama resigned the presidency and Michael Bloomberg was invited to take the oath of office. With Beijing issuing veiled threats against our currency, Congress had no choice but to turn the country’s finances over to the Senate’s bipartisan Gang of 6, which in turn acceded to Chinese and German “supervision” of their negotiations. Meanwhile, there was a growing consensus in Europe and Asia that only a true global superstate could prevent the debt contagion from spreading …

FOR Americans, the scenario I’ve just imagined is a paranoid fantasy, the kind of New World Order nightmare that haunts the sleep of black-helicopter watchers and Trilateral Commission obsessives.

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8 Responses to When The Technocrats Took My Country

  • The whole EU experiment has been turning ghastly for all involved. I think the Brussel Bureaucrats are soon going to have to earn an honest living.

  • We saw a little of this in the US with TARP. Highly unpopular among Democrats and Republicans. But passed with bipartisan support because the technocrats said we had to. I think it’s a good thing when government puts the country before the polls and that needs to be encouraged. I’d replace the entire Senate with appointed technocrats. They’re more than halfway there anyway.

  • Smile when you say that RR! My faith in most technocrats is only exceeded by my faith in the prophetic powers of an eight ball. As Churchill noted about Democracy the best argument against it is a five minute chat with an average voter, but he also said this:

    “Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

  • I think democracy should be a release valve not a complete system of government. Most people agree to a limited extent. We prefer a republic to direct democracy.

  • All just power derives from the consent of the governed RR. The last century graphically demonstrated what happens when elites decide that they know what is best for the people they goven, democracy be hanged. I agree whole-heartedly with the sentiments expressed by Abraham Lincoln in a speech on July 10, 1858:

    “Those arguments that are made, that the inferior race are to be treated with as much allowance as they are capable of enjoying; that as much is to be done for them as their condition will allow. What are these arguments? They are the arguments that kings have made for enslaving the people in all ages of the world. You will find that all the arguments in favor of king-craft were of this class; they always bestrode the necks of the people, not that they wanted to do it, but because the people were better off for being ridden. That is their argument, and this argument of the Judge is the same old serpent that says you work and I eat, you toil and I will enjoy the fruits of it. Turn in whatever way you will—whether it come from the mouth of a King, an excuse for enslaving the people of his country, or from the mouth of men of one race as a reason for enslaving the men of another race, it is all the same old serpent, and I hold if that course of argumentation that is made for the purpose of convincing the public mind that we should not care about this, should be granted, it does not stop with the negro. I should like to know if taking this old Declaration of Independence, which declares that all men are equal upon principle and making exceptions to it where will it stop. If one man says it does not mean a negro, why not another say it does not mean some other man? If that declaration is not the truth, let us get the Statute book, in which we find it and tear it out! Who is so bold as to do it! If it is not true let us tear it out! If it is true let us stick to it then, let us stand firmly by it then.”

  • because the technocrats said we had to.

    TARP has not worked out badly. (Please note that ‘technocrats’ had a spectrum of views on the appropriate course of action at that time). IIRC, the elected officials produced no policy initiatives at that time other than a mortgage insurance scheme. Please note also that in other circumstances, the elected official most prominent in manufacturing legislation on the banking sector has been….Barney Frank. The putrefaction of our national legislature is one of the drivers of technocracy.

  • Something quite like this is already happening in Michigan, though on a smaller scale.

  • You will note in that story a problem that placing these municipalities in trusteeship was meant to address: the antecedent concession of public power to union bosses.

Pope Speaks About Economics Again, "It's the Natural Law, Stupid"

Monday, May 3, AD 2010

After calling for Catholics to be liberated from their pet ideologies, Pope Benedict is helping flesh out a moral economic vision that puts the standard Left- socialism/Right- Free Markets debate into the dust bin for faithful Catholics.  The bottom-line seems obvious to me- you can’t demonize government and you can’t demonize business- both bring difficulties into play- over-regulation can harm economic development, but lack of regulation can lead to corporate dominance which is a problem when one considers that corporations typically are upfront about being in existence to pad their investor’s bank accounts, not being much concerned with the universal common good. Our Pope clarifies the inherent morality(read Natural Law) in the economy in this article from one of my favorite web sites Zenit.org:

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8 Responses to Pope Speaks About Economics Again, "It's the Natural Law, Stupid"

  • I love the Holy Father.

  • The Austrian and Chicago school economists heads will explode.

  • I’m glad you posted this, Eric! Er… Tim. 🙂

    Sorry, this morning I saw Eric’s comment, and mistakenly typed his name, Tim. 🙂

  • I don’t think so, Jim. Both Austrian and Chicago school economists understand the limits of markets self-regulating. In particular they admit that the capacity for perfect self-regulation is inevitably inhibited by (i) imperfect information and (ii) imperfect rational behavior. As such the risk of errors and even so-called “bubbles” caused by deceit and simple mistakes is very real and in requires some government regulation. How much is a prudential question given that government regulation is also inherently very imperfect and one must recognize the reality that such regulation often makes things worse either by exacerbating a problem or creating new ones.
    The heads that would explode would be the Ayn Randians who view market theory as a dogma for how to live one’s life rather than simply a useful explanation of how resources are efficiently allocated. To be sure Randians are often greatly influenced by classical economic theories, but overall they represent a small subset of economists and thinkers who generally regard themselves as so-called Chicagoans or Austrians.

  • Here is Shaw’s ‘theology’ of the money: “You can’t take it with you. It will burn.”

    As St. Augistine wrote in The City of God: ” . . . the possession of those temporal goods which virtuous and blameless men may lawfully enjoy; still, there is more self-seeking here than becomes men who are mere sojourners in this world and who profess hope of a home in heaven.”

  • Tim posted this Chris. I’d be wrong to take credit.

  • I’m not sure why someone edited the title from It’s the Natural Law, – Stupid- to -Gomer- I was playing off the famous expression It’s the Economy, Stupid- I wasn’t calling folks out as being stupid if they didn’t agree with the Pope’s commentary- anyone know about this editing?

  • Should there be negative consequences for stupid decisions? Or should the market be regulated to make sure no one can make a stupid decision?

    I can’t tell from this teaching. What is the governments legitimate power, specifically? Isn’t that detail kind of important?

Lessons of the Financial Crisis

Wednesday, February 25, AD 2009

While I’m on the topic of narratives, Matthew Boudway at dotCommonweal has a post up entitled “They Cannot Fathom Their Failure”.* The post is based on a George Packer column, which basically makes the argument that conservatives “cannot fathom the failure of their philosophy” after the recent financial crisis, and that to deny they have been discredited is a form of self-delusion. This is a charge, I suppose, to be approached with trepidation; false consciousness is notoriously difficult to disprove. That said, it may be worthwhile to offer some thoughts in response. Here is an excerpt from the post:

…“[T]hey cannot fathom the failure of their philosophy.” Not “they will not fathom” it. They cannot. Sure, the response of many conservatives to the bailout and the stimulus package has been opportunistic and cynical. Many of them, though, simply cannot imagine what it would mean — what it now does mean — for the premises of their policy agenda, and indeed of their entire political philosophy, to have failed.  Not even the most spectacular failure can force anyone to learn a lesson he desperately wishes not to learn. Historical events are always complicated and contingent enough to admit of more than one interpretation, and the most plausible interpretation is often not the most attractive.

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7 Responses to Lessons of the Financial Crisis

  • 100% spot on, John Henry. Well said.

  • I have a feeling I will be repeating that Megal McArdle line until everyone is very tired of it, but it’s something always worth keeping in mind.

  • If the financial crisis somehow disproved conservative economic policies, then how does one explain the fact that the crisis is even worse in Europe and Japan than it is here?

  • Ah, but that’s only because the evil American conservatives victimized all the foreigners, right?

    😉

  • Well, one could reply that the financial crisis spread from the U.S., but as the links BA provided show, the leading economic indicators in other countries fell off prior to the U.S. crisis. And proponents of regulation and intervention in my view need to offer a compelling reason to believe that the political process is more effective at regulation than the financial markets. Granted, the track record of the latter has been less than stellar recently, but countries with higher levels of regulation generally have much lower economic growth and slower recoveries from economic downturns.

    At a minimum, if one is going to make the strong claim that a political or economic philosophy has been completely discredited, then one should provide evidence for the position.

  • Sarbanes-Oxley has had a chilling effect on risk-taking and investment, resulted in less firms going public

    Having done contract work for the past three years and doing work for the same company from time to time, I have seen two companies revert back to a private firm and a new one never going public. Sarbanes-Oxley was a major variable in their decisions to revert or remain private.

  • Pingback: Free Markets Have Been Discredited… « The American Catholic

True Bread

Friday, January 9, AD 2009
ecce-agnus-dei
We all know that there is a global economic crisis and no one can predict how it will play out. Will it be short or will the world seek deeper and deeper into a global economic depression? These questions cannot be answered by any man or woman on earth. Many have lost all hope? We should remember that all economic systems are man made and thus imperfect. During the dot com boom of the late 90’s economists were stating that we had conquered the economic cycle and entered an age of unstoppable economic growth. When that flopped, they looked to housing and real estate. It never goes down, right? Any person who had studied property prices knew that to be incorrect, nevertheless, many fell for the lie. But how many people believe the words of Christ? Seems to me that these economic times call for heeding the words of Christ in Matthew 6: 25-33:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat (or drink), or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.”
 
 

Of course, there is some good news that has come out of the financial turmoil and scandal:

“Madoff fallout drains funding of abortion advocacy groups”

 

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