Welcome login | signup
Language en es fr

Forum Post: Five Reasons Why Crisis Persists

Posted 11 years ago on Aug. 14, 2012, 5:42 p.m. EST by LeoYo (5909)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

We're Still Arming the King of Bahrain? There Oughta Be a Law!

Monday, 13 August 2012 10:45 By Robert Naiman, Truthout | Op-Ed


Don't you think it's wrong for the US government to send US weapons to King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa of Bahrain at a time when his government is attacking Bahrainis who try to peacefully demonstrate for democracy and human rights?

Rep. Raul Grijalva, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, thinks there oughta be a law against that. So far, 24 other members of the House agree.

Grijalva has introduced the "Arms Sale Responsibility Act of 2012," HR 5749. So far, 24 members of the House have agreed to co-sponsor the bill.

The Arms Sale Responsibility Act would prohibit US arms sales to a government unless the president certifies that the government is not engaging in gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, including the use of excessive force against unarmed protesters; systematic official discrimination on the basis of race, religion or ethnicity; or blocking the free functioning of human rights organizations.


Five Reasons Why Crisis Persists

Tuesday, 14 August 2012 13:43 By Richard D Wolff, Truthout | News Analysis


This crisis is not going away. Officially begun late in 2007, nearly five years later, no end is in sight. Trillions in government-funded bailouts and interventions failed to do the trick. The private sector's hyped resilience disappeared. "Recoveries" proved weak, uneven and short-lived. The president who rode the crisis into power risks being ridden out by its persistence.

It is difficult to imagine and impossible to count all the costs of this persistence. Consider, just for examples, (1) damaged physical and mental health of the unemployed, (2) rising anxiety about increasingly insecure jobs and benefits, (3) strained and destroyed relationships, (4) interrupted or aborted educations and (5) lost skills and job connections. Consider, too, the gross inefficiencies (tens of millions of unemployed alongside trillions in unused raw materials, tools, equipment, offices, factories and stores; millions of empty homes alongside millions of people rendered homeless by the crisis). Five major reasons shape this crisis's persistence.

First is the exhausted purchasing power of the US working class. Capitalist employers raised profits by replacing workers with computers since the 1970s and by relocating production jobs to lower wages abroad. Later, they likewise exported white-collar and service jobs. The previous century's history of steadily rising real wages ended and thereby threatened the rising consumption which had created ever more jobs in capitalism's virtuous cycle. Starting in the 1970s, that cycle turned and became vicious instead. Real wages stopped rising as jobs dried up. For a while, rising workers' debts papered over the vicious cycle. But eventually, the combination of rising debts and stagnating wages exhausted the working class' purchasing power. Today, workers' real wages continue to stagnate or fall and they cannot sustain more debt. Since big business, the banks, the Fed, Republicans and Democrats have done nothing to deal with the basic real wages problem in the US economy, the crisis persists.

Second, large nonfinancial corporations, in their competitive rush to low-wage investments in China and elsewhere, have created yet again excessive capacity to produce creating more pressure on already-depressed US workers' real wages. They cannot sell all their automobiles, electronics, and so on. So, they reduce hiring - which only worsens their selling problems. They accumulate hoards of cash for which they cannot find profitably productive outlets. They blame politicians - yet, make sure those politicians say and do nothing about the wage problem or the irrationality and social irresponsibility of those corporation's self-defeating capacity-building investments. So, the crisis persists.

Third, large financial corporations took bailouts and used them to become even bigger than before 2007, to water down new regulations provoked by the crisis, to lend to over-indebted governments and to find new speculations. Finance is riding a 40-year wave of growth as debts became the way workers, corporations and governments do most of their business (from buying groceries with credit cards to borrowing to pay for college to exploding national debts). Financial companies handle all this debt (they issue the credit cards, buy the government debt etc.) and profit from every step in every loan and loan-based speculation. Financial companies also collect the wealth concentrated in the top 1 percent and invest it for them. They compete for those wealthy clients by promising ever better returns that require them to take rising risks. That helped to generate the financial part of the current capitalist crisis. Nothing is being done to deal with the underlying problem of proliferating debt-dependence and its vast economic and social costs. Finance remains a major cause for crisis persistence.

Fourth, corruption and dysfunction, impossible to disentangle, afflict US politics more than ever. They preclude any serious economic intervention other than massive bailouts for the well-connected (i.e. well-paying) big business patrons of politics. Thin rationales based on "trickle-down economics" cover those bailouts.

Endless "inducements, incentives, jaw-boning," and other appeals to big business (to hire, lend, invest, or otherwise stimulate the economy) sustain the fiction of government activity while business ignores, mocks or abuses them. The obvious alternatives - President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's (FDR) creation of the Social Security, unemployment compensation and massive federal hiring systems during the last comparable capitalist crisis - are treated by political leaders as if they never happened. These leaders offer no argument for rejecting an FDR-type alternative now - nor do they admit their policies' failures to end or reverse the crisis. So, the crisis persists.

Fifth, no domestic opposition nor external alternative model is sufficiently strong to compel or frighten political and business leaders to end or at least significantly reduce the mass burdens imposed by this crisis. In the 1930s, FDR intervened in large part because of domestic pressures exerted by the intertwined forces of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, socialist and communist parties that had successfully organized millions into labor unions and many thousands into the parties' ranks. The other cause of his interventions was fear concerning the USSR, a concrete alternative that avoided the Great Depression while "taking care" of its people in ways that attracted attention and support among US workers and intellectuals. After the World War, the business community led sustained campaigns to undo exactly those causes of FDR's interventions. Big business mobilized its political allies and subordinates to encircle, intimidate and undermine the USSR militarily, to use anti-communism against the socialist and communist parties and to direct endless assaults against the legal protections and ideological supports for labor unions.

The success of those campaigns yields the current situation. No opposition yet exists (the Occupy movement is a first step) comparable to what was achieved in the 1930s and early 1940s. Having first destroyed its working class' defensive organizations, US capitalism now can and does impose on that class the immense social costs of its latest extreme periodic convulsion. Hence, the crisis persists and becomes a central economic and political issue of our time.



Read the Rules
[-] 2 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 11 years ago

You forgot reasons 6-10...

  • 6 Apathy
  • 7 Apathy
  • 8 Apathy
  • 9 Apathy *10 Apathy
[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 11 years ago

“In all revolutions, those who ardently pursue the fight to the death are in the minority and there are usually at least as many who are ardently anti-revolutionary, plus an actual majority that is apathetic and will go where they are led (in either direction), if necessary, but who best prefer to be left alone.”

-Isaac Asimov


[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 11 years ago

What apathy?

Do you know what it is?

It's a lack of passion. I meet lots of passionate people.

The descriptor is off.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 11 years ago

Apathy is a lack of caring, not of passion.

Many racists are passionate in their causes in which they are apathetic towards the plight of those they hate.

Many religious people are passionate for their beliefs yet have apathy towards any who give up such beliefs.

Those with a sporting passion for hunting or fishing have apathy towards their animal victims.

In general,

"all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed".

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 11 years ago

Apathy=the opposite of love/passion.

Most of those I talk to that don't vote exhibit antipathy and /or confusion.

Most of those are victims of propaganda.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 11 years ago

Apathy is the opposite of empathy, which is to empathize or consider the experience of others by considering one's own feelings in another's situation.

Whereas apathy is simply not caring for something, antipathy is actually being against something.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 11 years ago

Whatever, at least you and I don't lack in the positive definitions......:)

I just think it's over used and often misused term.

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 11 years ago

Your idea of passionate and mine are probably quite different.

Occupy and Tea rallies were two of the biggest political movvements of recent memory. Each appealing to each side of this political monster. They managed to attract less than 1% of the population.

Many have agreed with me that shattering the apathy of the 99% should be priority number one.

[-] 3 points by gnomunny (6819) from St Louis, MO 11 years ago

It'll have to be. Otherwise they won't pay attention to the message. And OWS will never build up any real numbers if they don't.

[-] 1 points by Krypton (73) 11 years ago

Get Romney elected.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 11 years ago

U R kidding right?

[-] 1 points by Krypton (73) 11 years ago

Kinda. But it would make things so bad everyone would have to wake up. Might not have a choice in the matter, from the looks of things. I predict a Romney-requested recount.

[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 11 years ago

Things are bad right now and are getting worse with each passing day.

People are beginning to wake up. Educating without the support of Main Stream Media is making the process slow - but it is happening.

[-] 1 points by Krypton (73) 11 years ago

Have you seen an increase in this forum's users? Every reliable site on the web is full of aware people. Always with a handful of willfully ignorant "sleepers", of course, but I hope you're right. I wish there could be a secret time, like 8-9am EST, on September 1st, where all "awake" people would honk their car horns, or something. Some kind of weird mass show of solidarity.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 11 years ago

Toss the TV out the window and shout - I AM MAD AS HELL AND I AM NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANY MORE.

[-] 1 points by Krypton (73) 11 years ago

People might think I'm just talking about Glee.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 11 years ago

You have a good idea - like a nation wide organized flash mob - and the noon hour strikes - and it is pandemonium as people all across the country just start honking their horns.

News report : earlier today people across the country were astounded when other people started honking their car horns and began to yell .... .. Wake The F**k-Up....this was repeated over and over....this reporter thinks it may have something to do with the sedatives that have become prevalent in today's society........

[-] 1 points by Krypton (73) 11 years ago

"Wake the f**k up! OCCUPY!"

[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 11 years ago

You should put your idea into an open letter and tweet it - as well as forwarding your idea to this forum's admin for review and sharing. Maybe get gatherings equipped with those Air powered boat horns - but it would be real good to have informational fliers to hand out explaining what was going on.

[-] 1 points by Krypton (73) 11 years ago

I'll work on it. I've been meaning to check out Twitter, anyway. I'll try and take it to OccupyPhilly, face to face, and see what they say. Could be a boon.

[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 11 years ago

Always nice to have new approaches to offer something different in a protest.

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 11 years ago

Passion is not a matter of opinion.

Now I know how truly confused you are. You are misusing the term for it's propaganda benefits?

Plus teagagge(R)s are not a "natural" movement.

The comparison was always a false one.

[-] 3 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 11 years ago

Of course what is determined passionate is an opinion. Its a fuckin adverb for crying out loud.

I suppose you think the term ugly is static as well?

Great job cementing the Shooz legacy as usual.

[-] 2 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 11 years ago

You beat me to posting that Wolff peice.

Do you know about his new website?


Or his old one?


[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5909) 11 years ago

No, I didn't. Thanks for sharing it with me.

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (23771) 11 years ago

Thanks, Leo, for posting stuff that matters. Great article!

[-] -3 points by GovTheives (-30) 11 years ago

Five reason why the crisis persist!!!! Obummer Obummer Obummer Obummer Obummer

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 11 years ago

Teabagge(R), teabagge(R), teabagge(R)....Koch!!

They stared it and damn it, they're gonna keep it going!!