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Archive for the ‘crisis’ Category

what’s the alternative? counter-cyclical action not cuts, obviously

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From Perry Anderson’s absolutely massive – and incredibly interesting – piece in the LRB on Lula this week:

When, midway through his second term its test came, he handled it with aplomb. The crash of Wall Street in 2008 might be a tsunami in the US, he declared, but in Brazil it would be no more than a ‘ripple’ – uma marolinha. The phrase was seized on by the press as proof of reckless economic ignorance and irresponsibility.

But he was as good as his word. Counter-cyclical action was prompt and effective. Despite falling tax revenues, social transfers were increased, reserve requirements were reduced, public investment went up and private consumption was supported. In overcoming the crisis, local banking practices helped. Tight controls, holding multipliers of the monetary base well below US levels, and greater transparency had left Brazilian banks in much better shape than those in the US, protecting the country from the worst of the financial fall-out. But it was concerted, vigorous state policy that pulled the economy round. Lula’s optimism was functional: told not to be afraid, Brazilians went out and consumed, and demand held up. By the second quarter of 2009, foreign capital was flowing back into the country, and by the end of the year the crisis was over. As Lula’s second mandate came to an end, the economy was posting more than 7 per cent growth, and nature itself was smiling on his rule, with the discovery of huge deposits of offshore oil.

The point of course is to increase consumer demand by increasing, not cutting, public spending in a crisis. Demand leads to growth, growth to jobs, jobs to more demand, more growth, whatever. Not all that complicated. As long as we’re going to be playing the capitalist game with its episodic crises, there’s only one way to handle the dips and it’s this one…. that is, the one we’re not doing.

Thus we’re on the streets…

UPDATE: Would love to hear what my few but treasured Brazilian readers think about the article as a whole, if they have time enough and interest to read it. And one particular point of idiosyncratic interest… Where can I find out more about the following?

In the arts, explosive forms continue to be produced, though they are now far more liable to neutralisation or degradation into entertainment: Paulo Lins’s novel Cidade de Deus reduced to cinematic pulp by an expert in television ads…

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March 28, 2011 at 11:58 am

Posted in americas, crisis

shock doctrine, the film, in case you missed it

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Short but healthy viewing for all current occupations.

Cuaron directing based on a Klein text and with Foreign Office doing the graphic work. What could possibly be better… or more lucid… or more absolutely and prophetically correct?

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March 2, 2011 at 3:01 am

Posted in crisis

the misery index

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From Paul Krugman today:

Oh, and the UK: was it “forced to impose painful austerity”? Here’s the interest rate on 10-year UK bonds:


There was no sign of a crisis of confidence in the UK budget before the May election; the Conservative government chose to embark on austerity, it wasn’t forced into it.

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January 26, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Posted in austerity, crisis, economics

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Massive snowfalls (say, like 2 or so inches over the course of the month) destroyed the UK economy during December. Not coalition driven cuts and the incredible damage and futural pessimism that they engender.

The chancellor George Osborne, though, refused to change tack despite the evidence that Britain’s economy shrank again.

“There is no question of changing a fiscal plan that has established international credibility on the back of one very cold month,” he said.

“That would plunge Britain into a financial crisis. We will not be blown off course by bad weather,” Osborne added.

Really. I mean, you can see how incredibly snowy it is in the Guardian-stock picture above.

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January 25, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Posted in crisis


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Despite the massive increases in productivity that have come of computerization and roboticization, the massive efficiencies that come of the continuous rerevolution in transportation and thus the globalization of markets, despite the possibility of “just in time production” and its low over-heads, despite the development of the internet and vaccines that render horrific diseases a thing of the past in much of the world, despite the end of the cold war and the necessity of massive state spending on armaments, despite incredible advances in the sciences of agriculture and mineralogy, despite labor saving advances in informational technology which render the necessity of expensive bureaucracy obsolete, despite steps forward in cheap and sometimes green energy and the introduction of the ethos of recycling and a general social campaign against waste, and despite the fact that nearly all of what would have been single-earner households have now been turned into dual-earner households, somehow we’ve run out of money and all of those mid-century advances, like cheap or free education, cheap or free medical care, cheap or free mass transit, welfare benefits for those who need them, the possibility of a reasonable state or private pension, the probability of a job for life, and affordable housing must now be phased out as they are no longer affordable. Sorry. Despite the fact that the future was supposed to be better than the past, and that capitalism is most tremendous engine for economic growth and social development that the world has ever known, we’ve discovered that the standard of living we’re accustomed to as citizens of modernity has to change profoundly and the free ride is now over. We’ve apparently run out of money.

Except for things like this:

It’s a funny old world, but that’s simply the case. And everybody knows, right, that a national economy is exactly like a household wherein when things are tight, you have to cancel the satellite tv subscription, put off the renovation of the kitchen or… end the public funding of universities altogether.

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December 3, 2010 at 3:33 am

Posted in crisis, rationalization


with 14 comments

Sifting around on twitter tonight for stuff in relation to the occupations. Found this from Mark Fisher. Obviously read it bottom to front.

  1. @PennyRed @leninology and it’s not as if anyone died or got very seriously injured.7:55 PM Nov 28th via web
  2. @leninology @PennyRed I agree – and the images are something that can be used to motivate others too7:52 PM Nov 28th via web in reply to leninology
  3. @PennyRed The police charge enabled that strategic victory, it didn’t prevent it.7:50 PM Nov 28th via web in reply to PennyRed
  4. @PennyRed We should be cold and clinical right down the line. What was the protest about if not winning a strategic victory?7:50 PM Nov 28th via web in reply to PennyRed
  5. @PennyRed it’s powerful propaganda in battle for hearts and minds, plus it emphasises antagonism and ruling class phobic panic7:44 PM Nov 28th via web in reply to PennyRed
  6. @PennyRed on the contrary, cops charging kids is surely a good thing, strategically speaking.

He’s talking about this of course:

Anyone who advocates, you know, people getting run over by police horses in the service of a cause, however just, doesn’t need to be listened to. This ain’t the Terminator, version 1 2 or 3. Spend some time at an occupation, and you’ll see that  “strategic victories” are achievable without weird Accelerationist ideas. (Alternately, if you’re not sure about this – pick the situation / organization that you like the least. Dunno, the Tories, the G8, or the Catholic Church. Celebrate when they do their worst, as it is only a sign that things are moving towards the end, despite, well, the human cost…. This is what he’s talking about….)

I mean, honestly, why not suggest Mark gets run over by a fucking horse in order to enable our strategic victory. It’s happening again tomorrow – bet the horses will be out.

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November 30, 2010 at 12:42 am

Posted in crisis

oh dear…

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…my kids are doing well.

You really can’t have any idea how wonderful it’s been to be involved with this, to whatever extent I have been. Cliche, of course, but learning huge amounts from my students this week.

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November 29, 2010 at 11:53 pm

Posted in crisis