Wednesday, September 24, 2008

the point is

From the point is blog

a theme

Matt Yglesias, 9/21/08, “The Crisis”:

Simply put, if congressional Democrats manage to acquiesce in a plan that spends $700 billion on a bailout while doing nothing for average working people and giving the taxpayer virtually no upside in a way that guarantees that even electoral victory would give an Obama administration no resources with which to implement a progressive domestic agenda in 2009 then everyone’s going to have to give serious consideration to becoming a pretty hard-core libertarian.

Ken Layne, 9/23/08, “New President Can’t Afford to Do Anything”:

Tax cuts for the rich will have to be cut. Tax cuts for the other 90% of us will have to wait. There will be no big health care or education programs, no huge government push towards renewable energy. Public education will continue to be mostly lousy. Bridges will keep collapsing, trains and planes will keep crashing.

In a bankrupt America, presidential decisions will be severely limited and potentially apocalyptic.

John Robb, 9/22/08, “Onward to a Hollow State”:

The modern nation-state is in a secular decline, made inevitable by the rise of a global market system. Even developed nations, like the US, are not immune to this process. The decline is at first gradual and then accelerates until it reaches a final end-point: a hollow state. The hollow state has the trappings of a modern nation-state (“leaders”, membership in international organizations, regulations, laws, and a bureaucracy) but it lacks any of the legitimacy, services, and control of its historical counter-part. It is merely a shell that has some influence over the spoils of the economy. The real power rests in the hands of corporations and criminal/guerrilla groups that vie with each other for control of sectors of wealth production. For the individual living within this state, life goes on, but it is debased in a myriad of ways.

The shift from a marginally functional nation-state in manageable decline to a hollow state often comes suddenly, through a financial crisis. This crisis typically has the following features:

  • Corporations and connected individuals systematically loot the nation-state of financial assets and natural resources through a series of insider/no cost deals. These deals are made to “save” the nation’s economy or financial system from collapse.
  • Once the full measure of the crisis is known, the nation-state’s currency falls precipitously, it’s debt becomes expensive, and it is forced to submit to international oversight/rules.
  • The services the state provides rapidly evaporate as its bureaucracy is starved for cash/financing. This opens up a window for the corruption of government employees unused to deprivation.


  1. Bring on the Oligarchs:

    ...By this measure, the bailout as it stands today, is a form of financial looting of the US Treasury (it isn't socialism, since the government isn't nationalizing the financial system [or providing anything in return, such as a service]). Trillions of dollars in government monies ($700 billion to begin with) will be infused directly into the coffers of corporations and wealthy individuals..."

    a continuation of your link for the John Robb post

  2. In all seriousness though, this post seems unnecessarily inflammatory. Is there a massive wealth transfer being attempted right now? Yes. Is such a wealth transfer indicative or a precursor to Fall-Of-The-Iron-Curtain style mass kleptocracy? Probably not.

  3. thank you for the formatting fix, this was a great and important post, and now it looks the part


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