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For the record (bail-out)

by on February 6, 2014

Click here to enter this talk from February 2009 at the point where Professor Chomsky is discussing Obama’s first moves as President. Insightful and fun to listen to. (Unless you’re an established blogger for the financial community, in which case it’s “torture”.Take only 3 Minutes of your day to learn what happened to the bail-out, and how reporters were treated who had the audacity to ask where the money went.

Chomsky is arguably one of the top ten intellectuals of all time.

Excerpt from the Q & A: “The norm among [Fortune 500 companies] is regular bailouts by the government. (…) And that’s only the beginning of what the state does for them. It also is pretty much in charge of research and development, procurement – all sorts of other devices to keep the private economy going. [Despite the public intervention,] there’s no indication that it’s moving towards popular control of these institutions. Even shares! (…) Like, in Europe, there have been voting shares. (…)
[It looks like we’ll be going] back to the point (…) where the private tyrannies can run the economy again without interference, just with the public subsidizing them. The basic principle of our economy is that the public pays the costs and takes the risks, and profit is privatized. (…)
If you use a computer, for instance: they were developed in the public sector (…) for about 30 years before they were profitable. You take an airplane – it’s a modified bomber! In fact, the things that go on in the economy are just comical. I don’t know how economists can look and not crack up and laugh. (…) It isn’t even close to a market economy.


From → In a nutshell

One Comment
  1. Ferdinand permalink

    (by the same author as this article, too lazy to log in)
    The Economist “World in 2014”, p. 30
    “[The upper echelons at Google, Facebook, etc.] have proven a banker-like enthusiasm for hoovering up public subsidies and then avoiding taxes. The American government laid the foundations by investing heavily [i.e. the People paid for…] the creation of everything from the internet [Arpanet] to [smartphones and all that.] But tech giants have structured their businesses so that they give as little back as possible.” The Economist goes on to describe the armies of lobbyists these companies employ, and of course mentions their collusion with NSA.
    Note that if they would NOT be doing this, google etc. would attract close to ZERO shareholders. That’s how the present system works. It’d be interesting to read what The Economist would write if google (WordPress?) suddenly stopped “tax optimising”. It’s totally nuts to expect that any company, no matter how green or occupy-stic they start out, will not turn into this. Even Weleda (maker of anthroposophical medicine and cosmetics) employs lobbyists in Brussels.
    The Economist concludes its article with a quote from Google’s Eric Schmidt (“we live in a bubble”) and something about popular anger moving on from Wall Street to Silicon Valley. Personally, I don’t believe anger can help solve things. Not this mess, not any mess. Anger is a starting point at best. It’s an emotion and hard to combine with a rational view for the big picture (see also “Beeline” post.)
    In 2014, 15 and all the years after that, we need to work for a system that allows people to develop their dreams and talents, sell them at a price, but pay their equal share of the costs – including ‘externalities’ such as clean-up. It must even allow for egoism, greed and all that. And if this system is to work, it must be crafted coolly and calmly. Nor should the motivation be indignation or lack of love or generosity (which effective counter-propaganda often suggests). We’ll do it simply because it’s THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

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