01.16.17

Davos Man: Party like it’s the new Berghof

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 2:05 pm by George Smith

The heroism of the 1%: The NY Times reports that “one of the most popular events” at Davos is “a simulation of a refugee’s experience, where Davos attendees crawl on their hands and knees and pretend to flee from advancing armies.” — Barbara Ehrenreich, today


Berghof Davos Men are a bit down this year

From the NYT’s secretary/groupie to Davos Men, Andrew Ross Sorkin:

It is this group of so-called plutocrats that largely failed to anticipate — and may have even unconsciously generated — the seeping anti-establishment movement across the globe …

“Success,” [Naomi Klein] wrote, continuing to describe the middle class, “is a party to which they were not invited, and they know in their hearts that this rising wealth and power is somehow directly connected to their growing debts and powerlessness.”

The United States ranked 23rd out of 30 advanced economies. In terms of wage and nonwage compensation, it ranked last; in social protection, it came in 25th. It also came in 25th on “intermediation of business investment” — in other words, the amount of money that goes into productive investments, such as research and development and infrastructure as opposed to share buybacks. (Norway ranked No. 1. Living standards there rose by 10.6 percent from 2008 to 2013 while the economy grew only 0.5 percent.)

A Davos forum executive, Adrian Monck, trots out the favorite globalist’s tale: Their work has lifted “billions” out of poverty:

“The benefits of globalization are there to see, in jobs in China, India and many emerging markets” …

Dean Baker, economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, as well as Bernie Sanders, have taken aim at this glib dismissal of the cost to Americans over the past 40 years.

Most powerfully, Baker kicks off his new book, Rigged: How Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy Were Structured to Make the Rich Richer, with a succinct takedown of the meme:

Their argument was that Sanders, by pushing trade policies to help U.S. workers, specifically manufacturing workers, risked undermining the well-being of the world’s poor because exporting manufactured goods to the United States and other wealthy countries is their path out of poverty. The role model was China, which by exporting has largely eliminated extreme poverty and drastically reduced poverty among its population. Sanders and his supporters would block the rest of the developing world from following the same course …

The story made a nice contribution to preserving the status quo, but it was less valuable if you respect honesty in public debate.

The problem in the logic of this argument should be apparent to anyone who has taken an introductory economics course. It assumes that the basic problem of manufacturing workers in the developing world is the need for someone who will buy their stuff. If people in the United States don’t buy it, then the workers will be out on the street and growth in the developing world will grind to a halt …

Baker continues, arguing that what the globalists contend is good for everyone constitutes abnormal economics:

[The] United States, Japan, and the European Union should be running large trade surpluses, which is what an outflow of capital means. Rich countries like ours should be lending money to developing countries, providing them with the means to build up their capital stock and infrastructure while they use their own resources to meet their people’s basic needs.

This wasn’t just theory. That story accurately described much of the developing world, especially Asia, through the 1990s …

Instead, we have the reverse in which the United States runs a huge trade deficit and millions of jobs have been sacrificed to Asia.

“In short, there is no truth to the story that the job loss and wage stagnation faced by manufacturing workers in the United States and other wealthy countries was a necessary price for reducing poverty in the developing world,” writes Baker. “This is a fiction that is used to justify the upward redistribution of income in rich countries.”

I can’t give it the justice it deserves. Best to read the book. Rigged will make you a believer.

It’s worth adding Americans were never asked whether they wanted to be a party to the process which started with the Clinton administration and continues to this day. They were just told to eat it, that there would be benefits, always vague, like better lives due to ubiquitous computing and always, cheaper stuff. You could go back to school or retrain and retrain again as you tumbled down your own personalized slope to total ruin.

But yes, indeed there is cheaper stuff, as a trip to a year or two shopping exclusively at any dollar store will show you. There has to be. Because the better jobs never arrived and dollar processed foodstuffs, candy, sundries, bathroom cleaners that don’t clean, plastic socks, tights and cowboy hats are all one can afford.

However, a referendum on the process, a rejection of the globalists’ Trade Treaty of US Versailles has come in. It’s the election of Donald Trump and the rejection of Clintonism. Whether this means anything other than a continued hardening of root hog or die as the prevailing system of all systems remains to be seen.

At Davos, they’re worried enough to come up witha new phrase — inclusive globalism. Like last year’s inclusive capitalism [1], it’s just pap.


[1]. 02/09/15 Which brings us to inclusive capitalism, a cloud of foul air described as new economic perfume, emanating from the camp of Hillary Clinton and her coterie of millionaire groupie economic advisers …

With advice from more than 200 policy experts, Hillary Rodham Clinton is trying to answer what has emerged as a central question of her early presidential campaign strategy: how to address the anger about income inequality without overly vilifying the wealthy [who are her major benefactors] …

Behind many of these proposals is a philosophy, endorsed by Mrs. Clinton’s closest economic advisers and often referred to as inclusive capitalism, that contends that a majority of Americans do not want to punish the rich; they just want to feel that they, too, have a chance to succeed.

Selah!

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