Sunday, March 09, 2014

The Economics Of Coercion

The British economic historian Avner Offer believes that the gap between our economic model and our economic reality is now similar to the gap between Karl Marx's Communism and Leonid Breshnev's Communism.  Chris Hedges reports:

Our current economic model, he said, will be of little use to us in an age of ecological deterioration and growing scarcities. Energy shortages, global warming, population increases and increasing scarcity of water and food create an urgent need for new models of distribution.

“The state of current political economy in the West is similar to the state of communism in the Soviet Union around 1970,” he went on. “It is studied widely in the university. Everyone knows the formula. Everyone mouths it in discourse. But no one believes it.” The gap between the model and reality is now vast. Those in power seek “to bring reality into alignment with the model, and that usually involves coercion.”
“The amount of violence that is inflicted is an indicator of how well the model is aligned with reality,” he said.

Offer points to the United States, the beacon of free market economics:

It is perhaps symptomatic that the USA, a society that elevates freedom to the highest position among its values, is also the one that has one of the very largest penal systems in the world relative to its population. It also inflicts violence all over the world. It tolerates a great deal of gun violence, and a health service that excludes large numbers of people.”

That model -- all of it -- has been imported into Canada by the Harper government. We should not be surprised that voting is suppressed, that our scientists are muzzled, and that criminals are punished rather than rehabilitated.

It's all part of the Economics of Coercion.


Anonymous said...

We are descending into an American style of utter madness where the rule of law has become synonymous with state enforced terrorism. Hence the Harper Imperium's new jails and the criminalizing of dissent or mere objection to government policy.

This is why the imperium needs to control voting and voter lists, although not made public it is criminal in the Imperium's mind to vote other than for CPC. Stephen has a petty mind and out pictures it as a petty tyrant.


Owen Gray said...

It's no accident, Mogs, that those you claim say they stand for freedom legislate repression.

Toby said...

Questions: Do you think that the decent into American madness would have happened without Harper? He certainly helped it along but was it happening anyway? Are the forces of economic madness inevitable?

Owen Gray said...

Thirty-five years ago, Toby, I sat in a Canadian History class at the University of Manitoba with Gordon Rothney, who was a superb historian.

He predicted that Quebec would eventually separate, because the North-South axis on this continent would eventually triumph over the East-West ties which held Canada together.

We used to discuss that thesis. On my pessimistic days, I think Dr. Rothney was right.

e.a.f. said...

If oil can stevie is re-elected, Quebec will certainly leave. There would be no reason to stay and Quebec would be a "freer" country. Once the break up of Canada begins, all that will be left of Canada will be Quebec.

oil can has done much to remove federalims from the mainstream. federalism doesn't play much of a role in Candian life anymore. Not that oil can started it, he just hassened it. There isn't much to hold Canada together anymore. Once oil can guts our medical system and the transfer payments, why stay in Canada, if a province thinks it can do better.

I don't know if the north south axis will have a stronger appeal, but some of the provinces can and will go it alone. Why put up with oil can's attitudes, when you can have your own country and have a more progressive country. The federal government started this when they started getting rid of Post Offices and it went down hill from there. If a federal government is not offering services, why belong to a federal organization.

Owen Gray said...

Your last sentence sums up the argument, e.a.f. John A. Macdonald sold federalism to the four original colonies on the basis that they were better off united than as separate entities.

And Harper claims to be walking in Macdonald's footsteps.