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Why Nations Fail

A new argument that a country’s ultimate success, or failure, is tied to how the average person does. Doesn’t matter if it’s ancient Rome, Venice, China, or the U.S.A.

The Colosseum. (Sebastian Bergmann/Flickr)

The Colosseum. (Sebastian Bergmann/Flickr)

Why do nations rise, and why do they fall?  For centuries, explanations have rained down on us.  It’s geography.  It’s culture.  It’s climate.  Free markets.  Colonization.  Military might.

A whopping new study of the ultimate question says it comes down to this:  Whether it’s ancient Rome or Venice or China or the United States of America right now, the wealth of a nation is tied most closely to how much the average person shares in the overall growth of the economy.  That it really is about the ninety-nine percent.

This hour, On Point:  the hottest economist on the planet on why nations fail.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Daron Acemoglu, a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he’s the author of Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty. He blogs at www.whynationsfail.com

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times “Over the centuries, proposed answers have varied greatly. Smith declared that the difference between wealth and poverty resulted from the relative freedom of the markets; Thomas Malthus said poverty comes from overpopulation; and John Maynard Keynes claimed it was a byproduct of a lack of technocrats. (Of course, everyone knows that politicians love listening to wonky bureaucrats!) Jeffrey Sachs, one of the world’s most famous economists, asserts that poor soil, lack of navigable rivers and tropical diseases are, in part, to blame. ”

The Wall Street Journal “Why is Mexico poorer than the United States? In “Why Nations Fail,” Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson blame the encomienda. After the defeat of the Aztec empire in 1521, the Spanish imposed the system as a means of extracting tribute from the local population. Each encomendero would be allocated a number of Native Americans, who would then be used essentially as slave labor.”

The Boston Globe “The place was Venice, and if it is hard to imagine the charming tourist destination was once one of the richest places on the Earth, then that is precisely what MIT economist Daron Acemoglu wants me to understand. I had come to the Sloan School of Management cafeteria, its tall windows framing the Charles River, for coffee and a discussion of his favorite topic – why nations fail.”

Video: Lecture On Why Nations Fail

Here is a lecture that Acemoglu gave in November 2011 at the University of Scranton, discussing why nations fail.

Excerpt: Why Nations Fail

[Use the navigation bar at the bottom of this frame to reformat the excerpt to best suit your reading experience.]

Playlist

“Red, White & Pink Slip Blues” by Hank Williams, Jr.
Live Performance at a Tea Party Rally (2010)

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Fredlinskip

    “a country’s ultimate success, or failure, is tied to how the average person does.”
    If so, America’s in big trouble, because since late 70′s, average incomes have stagnated.

  • U.S. Vet.

    ‘From Tom’s Reading List’

    The (financially bankrupt) New York Times

    Ever since the N.Y. Times was caught fabricating facts and stories, the N.Y. Times cannot be considered a credibile or reliable source of news and information.

    • Anonymous

      In that case, the Fox News Channel, the Wall Street Journal, the Business Daily Investor and most of the conservative media are in even worse trouble. They generally do not even acknowledge their false stories.

      At least The New York Times did take steps to prevent the occurrence of such reporting.

  • http://twitter.com/TweeterSmart b smart

    can anyone name something that lasts forever?

    • Jasoturner

      Atoms

      • http://twitter.com/TweeterSmart b smart

        LHC

        • Jasoturner

          The LHC will never change the atoms comprising the quarter in my pocket.  Odds are simply too long.

    • Anonymous

      Energy

      • http://twitter.com/TweeterSmart b smart

        energy changes forms which i would say constitutes something different than its previous state

    • Anonymous

      The phenomena known as the recurrence theorem.

    • Fredlinskip

      Enormous damage done to society as whole caused by the unfortunate “theory” of “supply-side” economics

    • Fredlinskip

       GOP goofiness.

    • Robert Riversong

      “There are only two things which are infinite: the universe and man’s stupidity, but I’m not sure about the former.” – Albert Einstein

      • http://twitter.com/TweeterSmart b smart

        very well put!

  • Ed

    “Nations fail by forgetting something obvious.” GK Chesterton. For example, that children are our future, and abortion is the enemy.

    “The decline of every civilization begins with a moral decline.” GKC. Which we see clearly in the US. 

    • Fredlinskip

       Such as the commonsensical notion that society can not function well if all the benefits of nations cumulative endeavors, labor, and resources are concentrated in the hands of a few at the top of the pyramid.
      We might as well still be subjects of King of England.

      • Anonymous

        In the period BEFORE the Magna Carta.

    • Robert Riversong

      The only reason that humanity has survived for 2.4 million years is because abortion and infanticide were universal means for limiting population and preventing ecological devastation.

      We have now “evolved” past such “barbaric” practices and “advanced” into the idiocy of right-wing fundamentalism which aims to accelerate humanity’s self-destruction (along with the rest of Creation).

    • Terry Tree Tree

      By molesting and abusing children, Catholics are ABORTING our future?
          Isn’t THAT a moral decline, by HYPOCRITES?

  • Yar

    Today should be an interesting discussion.  We tend to forget on whose shoulders we stand, whose blood was shed for our prosperity, whose labor was conscripted for our freedom.  Why do so many believe we are entitled to exploit others for our wealth?  Is exploitation ‘justified’ by religious belief?  Dividing people into us and them is at the root of exploitation.   Fold in drugs, alcohol, and sexual violence, humans seem anything but humane.  We have trouble seeing that this exploitation continues today,  our food, our energy, our IPads, all provided through some level of exploitation. The world isn’t fair, most of us hearing today’s show probably wouldn’t like it if it was.  We have seen the enemy, and it is us. I am reminded of the words to Joni Mitchell’s One Tin Soldier Rides Away.
    How they stood beside the treasure On the mountain dark and red Turned the stone and looks beneath it ”Peace on earth” was all it said Go ahead and hate your neighbor Go ahead and cheat a friend Do it in the name of heaven You could justify it in the end 

    • Kookoo Cory

      A very thoughtful post, Yar.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        VERY!!

    • Patrik

      Bravo, once again.

      • Modavations

        Take your friggin underpants off your head.Go hit the books.

        • Kookoo Cory

          What?

          • kelty

            modo has decided Patrik is his newest stalking target since TTT hasn’t been on much – also looks like Vt Ray is running a close second.

          • Modavations

            TTT is with Ultrax in an asylum

          • Terry Tree Tree

            MORE lying slams? 
              I guess you have a ‘kazillion’ LIES to tell about people?
               Go peddle your pretty little rocks, as that seems to be the best thing that you do? 
               You seem to have NO redeeming social value, NOR values!

      • Modavations

        Sorry,sorry,I confuse you with Patrick

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Mercury dementia?
              ‘Chemical’-induced mental disorder?
              ‘Limp-wristed’ giddiness?

    • Modavations

      Everywhere your communism has been tried has ended in abysmal failure,with gulags and death camps.Laissez faire produces the shining cities on the hills.No one rejects the safety net.We reject the hammock.You once said the welfare state should be funded in full.It’s a pernicious system that has led to dependency and misery.There are two types in the world.Those who believe in the state and those who trust the individual

      • Kookoo Cory

        Huh?

      • Robert Riversong

        You, like all unthinking, blindly ideological libertarians, have buried the City on a Hill in the landfill.

        What was that “City on a Hill” that John Winthrop had in mind in 1630, in that famous sermon he preached on the Arabella as it was making its way from England to America? What you must be vigilant about, he told his flock, is that the “good of the public oversway all private interests”. We chose not to follow that path, and now we are paying the price.

      • Anonymous

        Pure laissez faire produces a dog-eat-dog world where the few with money/power take advantage of those without and “meritocracy” becomes an oxymoron.

        Certainly there have been attempts to provide the equal opportunity that most subscribe to as necessary to build a real meritocracy that have failed; but that does not mean that the goal should be abandoned, which is the underlying reality of the current Republican proposals on taxes, healthcare and education.

        • Modavations

          Adam Smith was not for pure Laissez faire.He made provisions against monopolies.He didn’t use that term,he called it collusion

          • Anonymous

            Absolutely true about Adam Smith; in particular, he made strong condemnations of “mercantilism.” But I made the statement because so much of the Republican mantra is against ALL regulation, unless it only affects the lower classes or social issues. Note that a lot of Republican efforts are in effect to support monopolies, as they rarely see any problem with mergers and acquisitions, and where the little opposition comes only from other firms in direct competition with the “merging” companies.

            I have not yet read it, but I saw a brief discussion with Catherine Crier on her new book, “Patriot Acts” in which she takes the current issues back to the founding of this country (note that Adam Smith published “Wealth of Nations” in 1776). A Book TV talk may be seen at:

            http://www.booktv.org/Program/12955/Patriot+Acts+What+Americans+Must+Do+to+Save+the+Republic.aspx

      • Anonymous

        Another answer to the earlier question as to what lasts forever: Modatroll inanity. Wide and shallow, but, otherwise, apparently boundless.

         

    • Ellen Dibble

      A corollary of the theme of exploitation “at home” vis-a-vis the why we might fail is the theme of exploitation on a global scale.  To me, the nation fails if we can’t figure out an international identity that is a leader but not an idiot.  We need international institutions that create global government that takes some of the onus off us, and our budget, but also creates more of a democracy of nations.  The United Nations, the IMF, etc., etc., those institutions are starting to move in this direction.  But we can’t have nationality play the same role they did 100 years ago.  A nation would be more like a state within the United States, with the United States as something like Texas, big and brash, most likely, but tough.
          But toughness on a global basis is the key.  If all that depends on toughness at the grassroots, let it begin here.  I’m all for that.

      • Robert Riversong

        WTF?

        • Anonymous

          Ms. Ellen is more or less inscrutable. This one extends the upper range.

    • Robert Riversong

      If there was any sanity left in the world, it would understand exploitation of any kind to be self-defeating, and cooperation for the common good as the only road to success.

    • Anonymous

      Just FYI, Joni was one of the many who performed the song, but it was written by Dennis Lamber and Brian Potter. 

      • Terry Tree Tree

        ‘Coven’ was one of the entities that performed it.

  • AC

    this doesn’t seem like a ‘new’ argument – it seems like logic. we have to want & strive to live in a civil society….you can’t do that if you’re living between anger/discontent & excess/tyranny

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1816544 Dan Trindade

    If the majority of a nation’s population feel that they are oppressed or left out or ignored they will inevitably rise up and do something about it, thus shattering whatever social order or government that created those conditions. How is this surprising or new? If anything times have become so uncertain and enough people upset that those who wish to ignore and obscure this obvious truth can no longer cover it up.

    • Fredlinskip

      IMO, the truth is largely obscured form the public as a whole.
      GOP and Dems have very different takes on issues.
      Both can not be right. Why don’t facts reveal the truth?
      Because Ideology trumps facts.

      • Robert Riversong

        George Wallace, Ralph Nader and Ross Perot were all right on one thing: there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the two parties.

        • Anonymous

          While I understand your frustration, Nader was certainly wrong in his statement on Gore and Bush; we would not have the Roberts Court or Citizens United with a Gore presidency. And that is just for starters: no Iraq invasion, a concentrated effort in Afghanistan that could have made a LOT more progress BEFORE the inevitable tensions between the populace and the “occupying” Nato forces, and so much more.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1816544 Dan Trindade

    Makes you stop and look at policy platforms for both parties a little closer doesn’t it?

    …Congressman Ryan’s budget, if passed in entirety, would lead to the downfall of America by gutting the welfare and livelihood of the average American in favor of the wealthy and privileged. There, I said it. It’s out.

    • Robert Riversong

      And Obama’s 12 trillion dollar sell-out to the banksters, his give-away to the health insurance industry, and his utter refusal to regulate the exploitative sectors?

      • Anonymous

        And just who in Congress would have supported more than what Obama accomplished? The President does not write, vote for and sign each law, as much as the press talks of the President “passing” legislation. The President does influence that process, but without earmarks any current president will not have the “arm-twisting” capabilities that previous presidents had.

        While it did not “look pretty,” Obama’s “leading from behind [the scenes]” was more effective in passing ANY health reform compared to previous presidential efforts. Remember that the creation of most law makes sausage making look pure and classy.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          I concur!

  • Hidan

    “Why Nations Fail”

    Something to do with over extending it’s empire often military to the point of breaking. It’s amazing we have people pushing for tax cuts while at the same time pushing for war when we have a crapload of debt.

    • Robert Riversong

      Not amazing at all. An economic system which generates wealth by the extension of debt requires the maximization of debt.

  • Anonymous

    United we stand, divided we fall.

    Why do young men go off to war to die? In the name of an ideal. A square deal… and that is not what we have today: Republicans undermine popular support of our government as they rig the game in the name of the wealthy who pull the strings in DC. These proxies of the gilded class speak of shared sacrifice while they deliver their masters lower tax rates than the middle class and absolve them or responsibility for causing harm on an industrial scale. The collapse of the economy in 2007/8 was no accident. It was the result of greed run amok. This is the foundation of social unrest – this has given birth to the 99%.

    • Robert Riversong

      It was Clinton who deregulated the banksters, and it was Obama who partnered with Goldman Sachs to rob the treasury. Elitism and exploitation is a bi-partisan affair.

      • Anonymous

        Goldman Sachs’s work to capture money from the mortgage system was put in place and mostly executed during the George W. Bush administration enabled by Greenspan’s FED and the SEC not enforcing regulation, and the Commodity Futures Modernization Act written by Sen. Phil Gramm (R-TX), which restricted regulation of CDOs and CDSs.

      • Anonymous

        Blame is shared by both parties, but Republicans lead the charge. The Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act AKA Financial Services Modernization Act bears the name of three Republicans. It was veto proof.
        Clinton should have vetoed it anyway on principle but bought into the nonsense. We hear some Dems with enough honor to stand up and speak out against this crap. Can that be said of any Republicans? Are there any calling for more conservative risk management through more regulation? The Right is anything but conservative – it’s radical idealism that history has shown cannot work – left or right. 

  • Modavations

    This is easy.Societies fail when there are more takers then earners.When there is no nuclear family and when the schools become propaganda arms instead of teaching reading,writing,rithmetic.Now’s the time to reread Fountainhead,or Atlas Shrugged.

    • Kookoo Cory

      I don’t think history supports your claim.  Here are a few examples that don’t fit your theory;  Feudal Japan, Pre Civil War American south, militaristic Junker led Germany 1870-1945, Austro-Hungarian empire, and the list goes on. 

    • ana

      Your comments are so typical of those who cling to old, uninformed opinions reeking of ignorance. “Schools teach class warfare”?  , etc.  Your  and your ilk  disparage recklessly  while the authors at least attempt to arrive at informed conclusions.  Listen up. 

      • Anonymous

        The Modatroll has a handful of ossified, uniformed, detached-from-reality “opinions” that he regurgitates at any opportunity. 

        Every so often, he says something vaguely correct, but a broken clock has a better record.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          BROKEN CLOCK HAS A MUCH BETTER RECORD!!

    • Robert Riversong

      The root of America’s collapse is the rugged individualism that Ayn Rand promulgated. No society can succeed if personal ambition supercedes the common good.

    • Anonymous

      There certainly have been BIG takers: the wealthy have been taking 93% of the increase in GDP over the last decade or so, and after a year or so hiatus following their gambling fiasco, they have RESUMED taking most of the gains. When EVERYONE does not partake in the benefits of a society, THAT is when the society falls apart.

      Is is a strawman argument to claim that the middle class are “takers.” At least to a bigger extent than the rich. But when the total tax receipts, BEFORE TAX EXPENDITURES, is considered, the RICH are shown to be huge “takers,” just bigger amounts distributed over fewer individuals. See:

      A Nation With Too Many Tax Breaks — Economic Scene – NYTimes.com

  • Ed

    It can also be said that civilizations rise and fall on the basis of how well the family does, the building block of civilization. This is similar to ‘how the average person is doing’.

    • Anonymous

      And WHAT, pray tell, does the Republican Party propose to help the two-worker family meet the reduced income of today’s employment marketplace? It would appear that they want the wife to stay home, barefoot and pregnant. That did work back when the economy was agricultural, but that lifestyle died following WWII. Even the wives of the rich are active outside the home today, most in paying jobs but some as “volunteers,” etc. But they can afford the childcare that middle class and working class cannot.

      The loss of manufacturing jobs has hurt much of the working class, particularly those, more males today than women, who do not want or prepare for college. What is the Republican Party proposing to do here, other than reduce the tuition help (Pell Grants, etc.) and public K-12 education system funding? They just don’t want to pay for it. And you really think ignoring the problem will help it go away?

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Republicans propose ways to subject MORE of the populace, while increasing the loot of the GREEDY rich!

    • Terry Tree Tree

      ADMIT IT, Catholics want MORE VICTIMS for pedophile priests?  Otherwise, they would clean up the mess they hold for a religion, BEFORE trying to DICTATE to someone else how to live?

      • Modavations

        You’re so psycho

  • Modavations

    Societies end when the schools teach class warfare.When afflluence becomes a dirty word.Societies end when  families think they live in abject poverty,after getting $40,000.00 in subsidies(you’d be considered filthy rich in most of the world).

    • Adks12020

      haha…$40K? man your comments get more and more ridiculous every day…the poverty level in this country for a family of four is around $21K..roughly 50 million people in this country live below that line…those are the people that get assistance and it surely isn’t anywhere near $40K…I’d like to see you live on $5,250/year without some help…good luck.

      • Anonymous

        If he actually READ Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Nickel and Dimed” he might get a feeling about just what that kind of life is, though he would have to live it to really know.

        • Modavations

          Pure propaganda.Rich girls trying to commune with the poor

    • Hidan

       WWR says so it must be true.

  • Modavations

    Societies end when the economy becomes Solyndrified.Fascism is when the economy is in private hands,but the govt.owns the bosses.

    • Kookoo Cory

      Aah but who owns the government that owns the bosses that own the economy?!?!  ;)

      • Brett

        Careful, the man’s head might explode.

        • Anonymous

          One can only hope.

      • Modavations

        Corzine

    • Anonymous

      Since the government is largely in the hands of the titans of (the financial) industry, there is NO threat here. But for the case of Solyndra, hindsight is 20-20, but even you do not have that; because many good technologies run into difficulties getting financing through the period from initial concept implementation to a scaleable design for full manufacturing. This is the area where government CAN provide the financial help to bridge between the two and there are GOOD ARGUMENTS that the government should be doing MORE of this type of loans rather than less.

      After all, who is it that is most against this: the fossil fuel people who cling to their unneeded and unproductive tax breaks (they do not lower gas prices by even one cent!) while opposing anything that might compete with their energy product.

      Everyone knows (or should) that the initial development costs make the first generation of a product more expensive. In a normal environment where the product is not critical to the whole daily life scheme, the world could wait until the prices of current energy products rose above that of the first generation of new sources of energy. But there are at least two reasons this approach is not satisfactory with energy:

      1)  The use of energy is so critical to the daily life of Americans (the reason that rising energy prices has such an impact on people’s lives).

      2)  The impact of the side-effect of burning fossil fuels is the warming of the environment, changing the climate radically and acidifying the oceans, both effects decimating life forms critical to the food supply of many of the 7 plus billion people currently living on this earth.

      These two effects make planning and developing alternate forms of energy for a smooth transition to be critical for the maintenance of human civilization.

      To see this is true, look at the way food prices have risen throughout the Middle East, and look at just two or three places where that cost has created tensions that have been one of the major factors in the rise of the Arab Spring: Tunisia, Libya, and Syria. The MSM have done a poor job in bringing the effects of the drought currently affecting life in Syria and its raising discontent throughout that country.

  • Modavations

    Lastly,societies end when race baiters liked Hidan,Aj ,et al, control the howling mobs.The mobs who declare a man guilty without trial.The KKK lynchmmen.Guilty by innuendo,guilt by rumor.

    • Hidan

       (WWR) speaks again. World Wild Racist. Take the hood off and and go outside blacks aren’t that scary.

      • Modavations

        Four yrs in Joburg son.

        • Hidan

           Sure grand dragon.

          Why you leave Mr. apartheid?

          • Modavations

            The bombs were going off in Pretoria and my good Bro Robbie Strong got machete hacked in his garage.His wife found him with the machete still in his head.This was two blocks from my house

          • Modavations

            Miss ya Robbie

  • Modavations

    I still have faith in free men.I like to think of these days as burps in a Golden Age

    • Fredlinskip

       W was a helluva burp.

    • Robert Riversong

      The truth comes out. Modavations considers these moments of crisis as but momentary belches in an otherwise successful drinking binge.

  • Jasoturner

    Why nations fail.

    In our case, I think we can give the modern republican party some well deserved credit…

    • Modavations

      Nations fail when guys rail against elitists,but call themselves rationalists.What in the world is a friggin rationalist.Professional Gemologist Modarationalist over and out

      • Jasoturner

        Your memory seems rather poor.  Again, I suggest you Google the word.  I have already explained it once myself, and I think others have also chimed in.

        Alas, my post speaks not at all to “elitists”, so your reply is something of a non sequitur.  At least if it is a reply intended for me.

      • Brett

        I thought they fail because Atlas Shrugged gathers dust on the shelf? Which is it?

        • Edenusa

          When the indigenous population moves from production to
          consumption nations decline.  Thoughts?

          • Brett

            With the limits of natural resources thrown in to make the equation even more complicated, yes. Consumption AND production (both sides of the coin, as it were) can only take a nation/society so far, especially so if one is out of balance with the other. I’m looking for a whole new paradigm to emerge (but am becoming more pessimistic as time moves forward, though). 

          • Robert Riversong

            One can’t move from production to consumption as they are two sides of the same coin.

            Societies self-destuct when they shift from the gift economy to a market economy (whether “free” or centralized), in which nothing has value that cannot be commoditized.

            The “new” paradigm is a return to the gift economy, in which wealth is measured by how much one contributes rather than by how much one accumulates.

          • Anonymous

            As the products that are “consumed” are manufactured for recycling, etc., the type of consumption becomes important. Also, the consumption can be travel, entertainment, art, reading, and general education which can be done without creating the “externalities” that inflict costs on others.

        • Modavations

          Come on Brett.Your better then this.Cut the snark,make a point

          • Anonymous

            A wish from the “snarkless wonder”?

      • Anonymous

        There are NO elitists like the Republican elitists. They are not at all interested in helping others rise up, but to keeping their own income and position. The Democratic Party may not always get it right, but they (at least most) are interested in making life more level for those given a hurdle at the beginning of life. But even they have to raise money to get re-elected and that can lead to their supporting thing that run counter to this.

    • Robert Riversong

      Elitism and exploitation is a thoroughly bi-partisan affair.

      • Jasoturner

        Don’t disagree, but I think the modern republican party is particularly adept in dragging us down for the sake of political power.

  • Modavations

    Forgot one.We’re in trouble with the PaTRIOT ACT.wE’RE IN EVEN BIGGER TROUBLE WHEN lEFTISTS WRING THEIR HANDS OVER bUSH’S INTRUSIONS THEN TURN A BLIND EYE WHEN pRES.oBAMa PASSES pATRIOT aCTS sQUARED.eRIC hOLDER FILES BRIEFS SAYING HE CAN TRACK US ANY WAY,ANYTIME

    • Ray in VT

      So basically politics.  Like when defecits didn’t matter to Repbulicans as long as there was a Republican in the White House.

      • Modavations

        Did I say that.Republicans arn’t my team.Conservatives are my team

        • Ray in VT

          Well, then why is that you basically only attack liberals and Democrats?  Don’t like the GOP either, then how come you never stick it to them?  And I thought that you were a libertarian, not a conservative.  There’s a good streak in American conservatism that wants to run your life just as much as elements of the left.

          • Also in VT

            If you look back at Modavation’s comments on this site, you’ll find they are often irrational and incoherent. If you analyze them as a whole, you can’t help but conclude that we’re dealing here with someone that is mentally ill and whose goal is to stir up trouble more than it is to present a meaningful point of view. 

          • Ray in VT

            That’s been my general experience.  I’m guessing that he enjoys stirring up people, and that often it’s probably best just to ignore his comments.

          • Modavations

            Purely to knock some sense in your propagandized noggins

          • Ray in VT

            You should start with yourself.

          • Kagaby

            Well said. He also can’t spell.

          • Brett

            And God forbid that he should show any reverence for using a comma properly! ;-)

          • Modavations

            Come on  Brett don’t fall for the immature stuff.I’m making points,not worried about punctuation.

          • Brett

            I’m not going to have to insert “j” am I?

          • Anonymous

            Mostly irrelevant points!

          • Modavations

            Do you not understand the points.I’ll give it to you again.Choose French,Spanish,or Italian.I speak ‘em all

          • ana

            I don’t know about mentally ill, but this person’s comments are disturbing which it seems is his intent.  Around now, in what could be an enlightening discussion, I bow out due to the  irritating, irrational distraction this person presents day in and day out.

          • Ray in VT

            That’s probably part of his intent.  Don’t let the loudest drown you out.

          • kelty

            amen to that

          • Modavations

            You guys are paying way too much attention.You show your hands.You complain yet you listen.

          • Modavations

            Because you replace the family with the state and give us the ghetto,the fatherless children

          • Ray in VT

            And you would give us what?  The public and the community replaced by the market and the corporation?

          • Modavations

            I would give you Adam Smith.I’d give you laissez faire and the Invisible hand.Laissez Faire means “leave alone”

          • Ray in VT

            And what would you do when that gives us monopoly and massive environmental pollution?  Remember when laissez-faire fought acid rain?

          • Anonymous

            No one that I know wants to replace the family with the state. But the state can set the table so that the family can survive and prosper as the economic reality changes from an agricultural society to industrial to service/mixed mode economies. And short of the state doing this it will not happen. But note how the Modavations of this world have no problem with the state handing out tax expenditures which benefit them.

          • Modavations

            When Moynihan told LBJ of the unseen consequences,he was called racist.He was referring to the doubling of out of wedlock black kids,which had doubled5% to 15%.It’s now 70% in the general black pop[ulation and up to 90% in the ghetto.The white out of wedlock rate is now 40%.Of course if you come from a family of higher socio economic types,you marry,go to college and make bucks

          • Anonymous

            You seem to be making the assumption that this is all the consequence of the Welfare Laws and nothing else. That is wrong. There are a whole class of other causes; one way to see this is the way the poorest have suffered during this Lesser Depression due to the way support was cut in Clinton’s Welfare Reform; Clinton knew that it had problems as at the time and said so at the time. He just failed to “go back and fix it,” as he had promised to do.

          • Modavations

            I’m right economically and left socially.You tell me what I am

          • Robert Riversong

            Confused.

          • Anonymous

            And that Social Conservative streak is actually more intrusive on the ability to pursue happiness than the regulation of business which is necessary to avoid passing on the costs of “externalities” such as pollution to others.

        • Ray in VT

           Also, I thought that you were a classical liberal.

        • Kookoo Cory

          Well, Republicans are your party in this country then.

          • Modavations

            Nonsense.I have no master.I’ve voted once.Perot

          • kelty

            then you are part of the problem – you get the government you don’t vote for 

      • Modavations

        Listen if you want this to descend into silly tit for tat,like yesterday, saying that the Atlanta Centenial Park isn’t the same thing,I’d prefer you talk with someone else.If you want legitimate discourse fine.Calling Prof Lindzen illegitimate, even though he’s Sloan Chair at MIT is irresponsible.The problem is your a 30 year old pup and I’m a 60 year old worldly type.

        • Ray in VT

          And so who’s starting the b.s. today?  Not me.  You gave an example and I gave a counter.  You charged liberal hypocrisy, and I gave a conservative example.  And your examples yesterday were not the same.

          You want to bring up Lindzen again, then fine.  Please tell me how someone who has taken money from the energy industry and downplays the link between smoking and cancer should not be questioned.  I find it interesting that you would so defend someone who likely belongs to an evil faculty union.

          Your problem is that you claim to have traveled and seen much, but apparently comprehended very little.  If you prefer a decent discourse, then why don’t you start by engaging in it yourself?

          • Modavations

            What does “comprehend very little mean”.This is opinion,yet you treat it as fact.MIT would not permit Conflict of Interest.Many still live by reputation.I know professors at MIT, and no shenanigans are allowed.You talk like MIT is Johnson Community College.Really,Ray talk with the college kids.Our gulf is too wide.In twenty years when you’ve paid taxes and have left Vt.we’ll probably have a lot more in common.

          • Ray in VT

            When I say comprehend very little, I am referencing statements from you like “Hitler was a man of the left” and other such nonsense.

            I am skeptical of the man’s connections and some of his positions.  If you have a problem with opinion, then tough luck.

            In twenty years I still intend to be in Vermont.  My family has been here for generations, and I am sticking around.  Quality of life costs, and I am willing to pay it to live in the place that I love.

            Also, I’ve never heard of Johnson Community College.  Where is that?  Do you mean Johnson County Community College in Kansas?

          • Modavations

            National Workers Socialist Party=NAZI.What was the difference between Hitler,Stalin,Mao,Pol Pot.The flaw is in the philosphy.It mutates into Police States.I go to Berlin ofter(what up Karl)and have asked many what politics Hitler had.Everyone has said Socialist

          • Anonymous

            Fascism has been put all over the spectrum from totalitarian to authoritarian; it seems to have and use aspects of all systems to create something that can be truly hateful.

          • Ray in VT

            Well, if you choose to interact with people who know as little about history as you do, then I’m not surprised.  Nazism was a conservative, totalitarian philosophy that was deeply committed to opposing and destroying liberalism and modernism in order to restore the reich to some fictional historical golden age.

          • Anonymous

            I believe Lindzen has had most of his recent papers (over a number of years) strongly debunked, to the point of refutation. But at least so far he does not appear to have made up data; just avoided including some aspects of the climate system that would show his conclusion false. It is not clear how many papers can suffer this fate before his tenure will no longer protect him. He certainly is becoming an embarrassment to MIT.

    • RolloMartins

      Not sure what media you are grappling with: the American left are going bonkers over Obama’s continuation of Bush’s policies. 

      • Modavations

        Ya sure.Telling us what cars to drive,what light bulbs to use,what sugar is permissible,what I can put in juniors lunch pail…..

        • Anonymous

          The only requirements beyond safety on cars is in the energy efficiency they must achieve, which is in the interest of everyone as lower use will result in lower energy prices.

          The same goes for light bulbs: the new standard does not eliminate the incandescent bulb, it just requires that it be more efficient, and the bulb industry has ways to achieve this efficiency.

          Other than the import taxes on sugar, the need is for the American diet to contain much LESS sugar. See:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0z5X0i92OZQ

          • Ray in VT

            Hey, no big gov’ment bureaucrat can take away my leaded gas.  I pulled the seat belts out of my car on principle to show Washington that it couldn’t force me to be safer when I drive.

  • RolloMartins

    So who is this average Joe? Is this a simple arithmetic mean (average)? The median would be more meaningful: the country as a whole is richer for the 1/1000%…but the average Joe is getting a bad deal. So Buffett’s America is doing just fine; Joe the plumber, not so much.

    • Ray in VT

      No matter how well the best off are doing, if a great deal of society isn’t, or even thinks that it isn’t, doing well, then complacency and apathy can set in.

      • Hidan

         as well as scapegoating,division, fear mongering,talks of demographic threats which tends to lead to civil and human rights violation and War in the name of getting ones country greatness back.

    • Robert Riversong

      Joe the plumber is not a plumber – he’s a conservative activist and pundit who is running for Congress.

  • Anonymous

    How does the UK fit the orbit of a society to this notion? 

  • Patrik

    Nations fail because they do not study the histories of failed nations and sincerely make an attempt to learn from them.  For the mainstream, in this society, history is nothing more than a pleasant academic exercise to kill time and impress guests at dinner parties.

    • Robert Riversong

      All nations fail. Studying the history of nations is a study in failure that yields no wisdom. We must study civilization and its inherent flaws and then go more deeply and study natural ecology. 

      The reason that nations fail is that they fail to follow natural law. Indigenous cultures lasted for tens of thousands of years because they lived by natural law.

      The core of natural law is that each part works for the good of the whole. Individualism is contrary to natural law. Ayn Rand is the epitome of a failed paradigm.

  • Patrik

    Great topics today, can’t wait to listen.

  • Anonymous

    The Danes, Iceland Nordic governmental bodies, Swiss, common assemblies, other models; does the size of a country matter?

    • Kookoo Cory

      I think there is something to be said for parliamentary democracy.  Colations are required for action, and all positions receive political consideration.

    • Modavations

      Absolutely.Places like Sweden with 20 million caucasions can function under any ism they want.Europe has nice freebees and Europeans pay 50% tax rates

      • Kookoo Cory

        Population of Sweden in 2009 was 9.3 million.  I’d be happy to pay that tax rate for their social contract.

        • Modavations

          Nit picking.NYC has 18 million people.
          ,half from other planets.That’s my point.These small homogenous countries can follow any ism they want.Every European Country is led by a Republican except Belgium and Greece.Until 3 weeks ago Belgium had no govt at all(2 years)

      • Patrik

        My mothers native Finland seems to be doing just fine, best progressive education, healthcare in the world because the people understand that paying reasonable taxes and helping the whole of society in the end works for everoyone on every level.  Im considering moving there. 

        When a doctors only incentive to become a doctor to aid the sick is money, there is a problem.   

        • Modavations

          Finland just elected the first Republican in 50 years.I think you are mislead

          • Robert Riversong

            Can’t spell, can’t punctuate, can’t leave a space between sentences. 

            And you consider yourself a worldly man? You are the most ignorant fool to post on these boards, but you’re so full of yourself that you can’t see that there is a world beyond you.

    • Bgaidry

      I think the success of these countries has more to do with having extremely low levels of inequality.

      As Richard Wilkinson says, “If Americans want to live the American dream they should move to Denmark!”www.ted.com/talks/richard_wilkinson.html

  • Still Here

    Overextension: military, budgets, debt … both on an individual and nation basis.

  • Anonymous

    Is there an optimum ratio of workers, retirees, youth (hopefully students) to a government minimum requiring services of/for: teachers, education, libraries, fire, police, local utility administration, military, courts, prisons, federalism? A balance of all of the different ratios may have predicable outcomes. i.e.: >justified homicide in Florida following “Stand Your Ground” legislation.

  • Kookoo Cory

    The end of American society in my opinion will be a direct result of the ascent of the third world.  We will be overcome by population and resources.  No policy, tax increase or cut, hegemonistic war, or religious revival can stop it.

    Populations in Asia and Africa, long exploited and abused by the west are not going to treat us kindly as our positions reverse.

    Internally, we are not willing to work as hard as they are.  We have become unable to accept less.  I cite every politician who tells us that our best days are still ahead, or the traditional expectation that American children should do better than their parents.

    Our societal survival will be predicated on our ability to embrace the reality that we must compete on equal footing with China, India, and Africa.  I don’t think we can do it, and our end will be marked with ugly thrashing and gnashing of teeth.

    • Modavations

      We die when Robespierre’s howling mobs run the show.When the court is invalidated,when the lynchman rules the day

      • Kookoo Cory

        Your comments today resemble a trembling drunk firing a machine gun.  A rain of comments from many directions, some simply absurd, with no unifying theory.  Robespierre and the reign of terror were part of the process that led to the French Republic and ended hundreds of years of brutal monarchy. 

        • Modavations

          And the mob showed Robespierre the guillotine.Too funny

        • Anonymous

          If you count the restoration of the monarchy after Napoleon, then the French Monarchy did not “fail,” though it certainly was diminished. But the French Revolution came to be because the government royalty were NOT responsive to the people, just as the Republicans are not being responsive on economics (jobs) to the people now.

  • Modavations

    Society ends when people are too afraid to read Ayn Rand,because it’s not P.C..When the Farenheit 451 crowd rules the roost

    • Kookoo Cory

      Huh?

      • Ray in VT

        I think he’s saying that the Roman Empire ended because they refused to read Atlas Shrugged.

        • Kookoo Cory

          Oh!

        • Bgaidry

          Maybe Roman Exceptionalism prevented them from considering a book, I mean tablet, with a Greek Titan’s name in the title.

          • Brett

            Cory, buy this person a beer!

          • Kookoo Cory

            A beautiful comment.  Take five bucks from petty cash and buy youself some suds and a dawg!

        • Brett

          Silly, Ray: the Roman Empire ended unfortunately because Atlas Shrugged hadn’t been written yet. 

      • Brett

        Society ends when people are too afraid to read Ayn Rand? What the…? MO-D, now I know you can do better than that. That’s about as inane as Ed saying civilizations fall because of abortions. Besides, Rand was a literary hack; no one who is a serious writer has ever taken her writing seriously. She was someone high schoolers read in the late sixties and early seventies and thought was brilliant. She really was a stiff and self-conscious writer. Did you ever read her attempt at writing a classic Russian novel?…Dostoevsky she ain’t, that’s for sure; the novel reads like a parody of a classic Russian novel; it was derivative, even banal. As sophomoric as her writing was, her stab at being a philosopher was just plain embarrassing, and the melding of the two certainly weakened her stature as a fully developed artist (very similarly to Spike Lee in that he also blew whatever potential he had to be a great artist because he couldn’t resist making sure he shoved his point down your throat before the movie ended so you could “get him.”).

        I don’t respect intellectual bullies, I can forgive those who actually have something to say, though. She did not. What about those wacky, sycophantic devotees? Just the fact that she lapped that stuff up like a cat to milk puts her in Freud’s flawed realm: the limelight won over true intellectualism in both cases. Go to the OED and look up pseudo-intellectual, and right there beside the definition is a picture of Ayn Rand, dude I swear (it is said paper mites won’t even chew on the page).      

        • Modavations

          This is a poke in the eye of the youngster Raymond who says he wouldn’t read her because it’s not P.C..That’s like my refusing to view the MONA LIsa because a lefty painted her.I don’t read anything over a paragraph,but I do read you.PS,who hasn’t read Ayn Rand.She is the Right…..Atlas  was on the syllabus of Newton North High School(1969).I also read Lord of the Rings three times.

        • Robert Riversong

          Ayn Rand was also a deeply disturbed individual, and the acolytes who worship her are similarly incompetent.

          In the National Review, conservative author Whittaker Chambers called Atlas Shrugged “sophomoric” and “remarkably silly”. He described the tone of the book as “shrillness without reprieve” and accused Rand of supporting a Godless system (which he related to that of the Soviets). Other reviewers called it “execrable claptrap” and that it was “written out of hate” and showed “remorseless hectoring and prolixity.” Author Flannery O’Connor wrote in a letter to a friend that “The fiction of Ayn Rand is as low as you can get re fiction. I hope you picked it up off the floor of the subway and threw it in the nearest garbage pail”.

        • Anonymous

          But ALAN GREENSPAN learned much in her company, was a devoted hanger-on at her sessions with young pseudo-intellectual men.

          In a sense she had a presence in the creation of the housing bubble, because Mr. Greenspan, in thrall to her libertarian philosophy, refused requests to enforce regulations on the big investment banks which were buying up worthless mortgages, bundling them together and then slicing them into “tranches” to sell to investors looking for high profit instruments.

    • Anonymous

      Let’s try to penetrate the republican ideological bubble – you can’t argue with 9000 years of sociology. This is how humans behave. When you try to go to extremes – when you go to pure socialism – you get a demotivated, unproductive society.  When you go to Communism – you get a demotivated, unproductive society and promote corruption. When you go to pure capitalism you get, call it Randomics… a demotivated, unproductive society, and promote corruption and exploitation in the form of feudalism. This is how it always has been and always will be.

      Ideology will not change this, no matter how much you may want to believe otherwise.

      Can anyone argue that the wild west was better than
      today’s society with laws and regulations. Do away with all regulations and those who are driven to seek power and wealth will not be compelled to do the
      right thing. Case in point was the loan origination frenzy characterized by corruption all the way to the top.  I have read Ayn Rand. Snap out of it; she was a naive hack. The Bush economy which was based upon Randian Laissez-faire policies. Greenspan admitted failure! His visa vis her premises were flawed. The entire world economy nearly collapsed and is still struggling 4 years later. To believe that less regulation will produce a better result than Dubya’s lack of management is the epitome of psychological blindness. Snap out of it dude!

      • Modavations

        I don’t read anything over a paragraph

        • Ray in VT

          Don’t or can’t?

        • Robert Riversong

          That couldn’t be more obvious.

        • Anonymous

          So then… you read the Fox News summary of Ayn Rands works: Government evil: Capitalists good.

  • Anonymous

    The % of wealth as derived from government spending. Presently, I live in a prison town and we have among the highest government spending per person in our local government economy. It’s not even thought of that starkly. I’ve lived near military bases and national forests—rural counties that depended upon government jobs to oversee and tend to the federal lands.

    I believe in paying for competent government management.
    wink, wink, nudge, nudge—maybe that’s a problem?
    Tough. Wars cost money folks, the dream is over. Isn’t it?

    Competent government are rules about dangerous materials and hazard management. Rules of underground sprinkler-systems that can back-flow and poison a water system. Neighborly things to avoid. Killing them.

  • Michiganjf

    “the wealth of a nation is tied most closely to how much the average person shares in the overall growth of the economy.”

    Tell that to Republicans, who believe the our country’s well being is dependent ONLY on the well-being of the wealthiest in America… those who can amass millions or billions.

    The News Hour aired a good segment last night showing another republican “theorist” arguing that the “Great Virtue” of the wealthy are the only thing that will save America!

    Yeah, the wondeful virtues of greed, self-servitude, and blindness to greater good.

    Today Morning Edition aired Romney saying that “big government” is why America is bleeding… well, according to the Romney types, big government has been the problem for 200 years.
    Yet, all the while the American Government has SUPPOSEDLY been to “big,” America has steadily progressed in wealth and power until it became the greatest nation  the world has ever seen!
    Only recently, since Republicans have undertaken a war to bring government to its knees in every way possible, undermining “big government” at every conceivable turn, has America finally begun to decline.

    Given the choice, I’ll take the America that existed for two centuries when those who thought it was too “big” were too marginal to do anything about it… that was when America did well!
    America ONLY moves backward when government begins to favor the wealthy, and THAT”S been a fact since America’s founding! 

    • Michiganjf

      Sorry for the rushed typing and the resultant typos.

      • Robert Riversong

        There is an edit function. Don’t apologize – correct.

  • Kookoo Cory

    On Point Producers,

    I’ve asked before, and I ask again.  Can you please do SOMETHING about the poster “Modavations”?  He seems to have become unhinged.  Perhaps give him his own show at 3am.  He is spitting absurd posts everywhere today, and I’m tired of this post section being his personal litter box.

    • Still Here

      Yes please Producers, filter all messages of those who don’t agree with us!  The harmony of the echo chamber is at risk!  Is there some way we could take away his/her ability to vote as well?

      • Ray in VT

         I just wish that there could be a discussion without bombast, hyperbole and over the top rhetoric.

        • Modavations

          This from a guy who posts my supposed picture from a website of felons.He finds someone with my name and says it’s me.No trial,no jury of peers,just the KKK’s Lynchman

          • Ray in VT

            I never said that it was you.  By the way, did you ever deny that it was?  How’s that calling my boss to get me fired on trumped up charges going?

          • Modavations

            When you shoot at me you better kill me.Now go over the time line.No man worth his salt would take that lying down.My point was ,what I could do if I wanted to retaliate and I could have done it with one phone call.I never would have, because I’m an honest man

          • Ray in VT

            Screw you too.  Honest is one word that I wouldn’t use to describe you. 

            Go ahead.  Give him a call at Spatula City or wherever it is that you think that I work.  My boss knows me better than to trust the word of some random caller against mine.

            Steal anything interesting from old Vermont mines lately?

          • Modavations

            Feeble temper tantrums from a wanna be totalitarian.Onlya snitch would post someones picture on an internet and claim he’s a felon.Your Pop would have taken you to the barn if he’d known what you’d stoop to

          • Ray in VT

            As a farmer my dad knows that if you want to deal with manure then you have to be willing to get dirty.

            How does your old man feel about sullying the name of a great man by having given it to you, a liar and admitted thief.  Steal from any good mines lately?

          • Modavations

            When I went nuts and who wouldn’t,he said I was thinned skinned.As for my guilt,screw you!!!!

          • Robert Riversong

            Ray, please share that link. I’d like to know who this idiot is.

          • Modavations

            Frederick Douglas Manning.Yeah,that Frederick Douglas

      • Kookoo Cory

        Really?  You can’t discern between an arument and nonsense?  I’ve never made such a request regarding your posts (which I tend to disagree with).  Have you read the stuff Modavations is posting today?

        • Brett

          “You can’t discern between an argument and nonsense?” Cory, if Madame Still Here were truthful, she’d answer that question in the negative. She builds quite the wobbly straw man, no?

        • Modavations

          Weren’t you just complaining about my spelling.I don’t,I won’t.Just nit picking

          • Kookoo Cory

            I’m no spelling cop.  Must be thinking of someone else.

        • Robert Riversong

          Everyone has a right to share their idiocy. Censorship should never be tolerated.

      • kelty

        he already said he has only voted once and he is 60 – pretty pathetic for a person who professes to hate government but takes no interest in voting for that goverment and is surprised when things don’t go their way   

        • Robert Riversong

          Actually, that’s the one thing I can’t hold against Modavations (aka Fred Manning). If there’s no one worth voting for, it’s a futile gesture to vote, and it only perpetuates the illusion of choice.

          • Anonymous

            If the ballot allows write-ins, put some name in there, or maybe just “none of the above.” If enough people did that, someone might figure out that they could win an election and there might be new blood in the races. But when the turnout is suppressed (which candidates do if those likely to not vote would otherwise vote against them) it just encourages the same lack of choice.

            But don’t use cynicism to require the elected office holder to hold some rigid views or tow some hard line. The voter does have the responsibility to reexamine their own biases and fit the action of the office holder to the circumstances of that decision.

          • Anonymous

            If the ballot allows write-ins, put some name in there, or maybe just “none of the above.” If enough people did that, someone might figure out that they could win an election and there might be new blood in the races. But when the turnout is suppressed (which candidates do if those likely to not vote would otherwise vote against them) it just encourages the same lack of choice.

            But don’t use cynicism to require the elected office holder to hold some rigid views or tow some hard line. The voter does have the responsibility to reexamine their own biases and fit the action of the office holder to the circumstances of that decision.

    • Anonymous

      Why doesn’t everyone totally ignore him?  I know he’s an accomplished trigger tripper, just like a toddler throwing a tantrum, and it’s hard to resist replying to his inanities.  I find my only rational reply to him to be making fun or insulting.  Trying to engage in discourse is futile.  For 1 day, why don’t all who are aware of his pattern simply refrain from any response whatsoever to his comments?

      • Modavations

        True,but let me intercede.You make fun of and insult anyone and everyone ,that has a difference of opinion.

      • Kookoo Cory

        You are wise and righteous.  I’m considering taking a vacation from the post section.  Modavations keeps blocking the intellectual sunlight.

    • Modavations

      I’ll translate.I don’t like how this guy thinks.Let’s ban him.While were at it, lets go to the library and burn all the books that arn’t fit

      • Robert Riversong

        Except, of course, Atlas Shrugged – the bible of all small-minded self-centered fools.

  • Brettearle

    Why our nation will continue to decline:

    (1) We don’t learn from History.  We don’t study, enough, how 
         and why other civilizations fall.

    (2) We cannot accept changes in the fundamental aspects of
         our lives:

         Recall that Vice-President Cheney claimed, `the  
         living standard of the United States is non-negotiable.’

    (3) We did not have to be blind-sided by 9/11.

         Pride goeth before the Fall: 

         WE LET OUR GUARD DOWN BECAUSE WE WON THE COLD
         WAR  

    (4) People in the United States are too pampered and spoiled to
         accept change.

         Rather than to change we will continue to scapegoat The
         Other, instead:

         People who have different skin color
          
         People who are poor
         
         Immigrants
         
         People who come from different socio-economic strata than
         we do

         Etc., etc.  

  • Scotch-Irish American

    The U.S. is collapsing because we are stuck with two corrupt parties who have betrayed the American people and have sold their allegiance to Wall Street banks, defense contractors, oil companies and big pharmaceutical companies.

    • Robert Riversong

      We get exactly the government we deserve. Anyone who lives for personal aggrandizement or material affluence has participated in manifesting the system we have. It’s far too facile to blame the “other”. It takes courage and vision that few have to see the enemy within.

    • Anonymous

      There are a few that are not so corrupted and I believe those exist solely within the Democratic Party. But the cause is the way campaigns are funded and the way the voters let patent untruths sway their votes. In other words, campaign lies work. The most likely approach to changing this system is the one advocated by Lawrence Lessig where he uses a Constitutional Convention to get public funding as competition to the big money. See:

      http://blip.tv/lessig/republic-lost-my-favorite-version-5697728

  • Anonymous

    There is now a FEE for having a jury-trial in my State if the Defendant loses.

    The Penal system has become a business of fees. That is not what the system is for.

    The system is not to allow people with battery convictions to carry guns.

    I’ve some idea how repugnant this notion would have been to those colonists who signed the Flushing Remonstrance & Remonstrance of Lord Cornbury. (and no, Lord Cornbury didn’t, that story is malicious gossip of Mr. Lewis Morris)
     

  • Anonymous

    These colonial magistrates would not object to a restriction of Civil Rights.
    They would also restore it, often with conditions.

  • AC

    i have to say, i’m really confused by a lot of the comments thus far. This show seems like a combined variation off the shows on whether this is the ‘end of america’ & ‘can innovation save us’…& anyway, i’ll try to avoid the negative comments, they are based on emotional responses and are extremely opinionated, not fact & not reason based at all…

    • Ray in VT

      I heard about this book back in February, and I’m pretty interested to hear what they have to say.  I am wondering if they will discuss or critique works like Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond or something like Adrian Goldsworthy’s How Rome Fell.

      • Brett

        That Jared Diamond book is well worth the time. 

        • Drew You Too

          Haven’t read Guns, Gems, and Steel but would really like to. Hegemony or Survival and Failed States by Noam Chomsky are also well worth a read. I don’t think that you have to be a genius to understand why Nations fail. The centuries old situation remains unchanged: Greed, Indifference, and Intolerance always get the job done.

          • Ray in VT

            Amy Chua, late of Tiger Mom fame, wrote an interesting book called Day of Empire, which argued that successful empires took in talent regardless of faith or race, looking only at talents and skills, and she linked religious, cultural or ethnic intolerance to decline.

          • Brett

            Interesting…which seems to point toward diversification, again. 

          • Modavations

            The concept came from Alexander.He left guys all over the empire,told them to marry the locals and develope blood allegience

          • Brett

            Actually, Alexander’s preferred concept was to invade and kill everyone. His thinking was that if no one were left, no one would hold a grudge, and no one would desire to avenge his father’s/her husband’s, etc., death. 

          • Modavations

            I loved Alexander.An adventurer,a true bon vivant.Some of the first Gold coins have his bust

          • Modavations

            Noam Chomsky thought Stalin was peachy

      • Robert Riversong

        Also Why America
        Failed by Morris Berman, in which he examines the development of American culture from the earliest
        colonies to the present, shows that the seeds of the nation’s
        “hustler” culture were sown from the very beginning, and reveals how
        the very tools that enabled the country’s expansion have become the instruments
        of its demise.

         

        At the center of Berman’s argument is his
        assertion that hustling, materialism, and the pursuit of personal gain without regard
        for its effects on others have been powerful forces in American culture since
        the Pilgrims landed. He shows that even before the American Revolution, naked
        self-interest had replaced the common good as the primary social value in the
        colonies and that the creative power and destructive force of this idea gained
        irresistible momentum in the decades following the ratification of the
        Constitution. 

  • Anonymous

    Boy! The many times I’ve been banned from here under various e-mails and monikers, on various computers.
    This must be nepotism (Tom’s brother-in-law), either that or Ashbrook is in the “gemology” business with a lawbreaking libertarian who’s gone off his meds.

    Cory for CoCoPuffs’ sake, and Yarray in Vermont, do not answer these squalls Ayn Rand herself would blush at. Let the match extinguish itself and quit trying to fan the fire.

    Corruption from the top destroys integrity in the USA.
    Everything is done for money and nothing for the common good. (I was not payed to say this.)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    The “health” of an economy is quantity and velocity of money moving through it. When money settles with the 1%, the 1% gets richer, but the economy in the 99% stagnates and dies. Look at any 3rd world country for reference, they are all set up this way.

    This is why America’s heyday was during times of high taxes on the rich, big unions, generous pensions and entitlements. As these have been drying up, so has our economy.

    • Ellen Dibble

      They say that the 1% actually increases the velocity of money moving — but methinks that money is doing its moving through the microcomputerized trading on Wall Street where algorithms create wealth by the millisecond.  That’s velocity all right.  But it’s not greasing our wheels.
         But yes, those who don’t have enough money for themselves and their children and grandchildren and great grandchildren, those are the ones with huge motivation to innovate:  those still scrambling to find a place in the economy, those are motivated to move money around with velocity (before my kids hit college, etc.).

      • Bgaidry

         The 1% is like a brain with a cerebral aneurysm. They can tell the heart it is jealous and just needs to work harder, but unless that burst blood vessel get’s fixed FAST, the whole body is going to die.

        • Robert Riversong

          Great analogies. What economists (and economic man) cannot grok is that every cell of a body lives only by contributing to the health of the whole. One cell, or one organ doesn’t strive to achieve personal success at the expense of the others, but rather to serve a higher integrative purpose.

    • Bgaidry

       That’s why they call it CURRENCY. Just like with an electrical circuit, or the flow of blood in our own circulatory system. If it don’t flow, it don’t go.

    • Robert Riversong

      “This is why America’s heyday was during times of high taxes on the rich, big unions, generous pensions and entitlements.”

      Yes, but don’t succumb to the Reaganite myth of a return to some mythical golden past. America’s engine was roaring along then only because its inherent contradictions hadn’t yet caught up with its velocity.

      What this economist (and precious few Americans) can’t seem to understand is that we have hit the proverbial wall – we are at the end of “progress”, innovation, expansion and growth – and that was an economic paradigm which was destined to fail.

      The only way out of this madhouse of illusion is to relinquish our idolatry of material affluence and personal ambition. Unless we are all willing to serve the common good, there is no common good – only pockets of extreme gain and extreme loss.

  • Me

    This should be a wakeup call to all the folks who want to wipe out the poor & middle class in this country!!

  • Susan M

    Ron Paul is the only presidential candidate who has a hope of setting our nation back to rights and it has to do with obeying/enforcing our founding law/system.  What goes up must come down.  Founders set out to ensure it would never go up (centralization).  Local and state control of decisions must be recovered and constitutional, lawful money restored. 

    • Matt

       The problem with that argument lies in the substantial change in interstate commerce since the founding.  Local/state decisions have a far greater impact across state lines than they did back in the late 18th century.  Moreover, the more local the control, the greater risk of local discrimination against the population.  We learned this lesson the hard way in the 50s and 60s.  States should indeed be laboratories, but not at the expense of individual rights or adverse interstate effects.

      • Susan M

        “Local/state decisions have a far greater impact across state lines than they did back in the late 18th century.”  But isn’t that what the interstate commerce clause is for?  The states agreed to it when they ratified the US Constitution so they knew they would be surrendering a certain amount of sovereignty when the signed on to the Union.  How has interstate commerce changed to make the original clause no longer workable? 

    • Robert Riversong

      You’ve drunk the koolaid. Ron Paul is a tempting Pied Piper peddling basic principles. But the libertarian paradigm is precisely what’s wrong with America. We turned virtue on its head quite early in the colonies, from personal fulfillment through civic contribution to personal fulfillment through the pursuit of material affluence.

      Libertarianism is the extreme version of living for oneself rather than for the common good. It is the epitome of the fatal disease of American culture.

      • Susan M

        “Ron Paul is a tempting Pied Piper peddling basic principles.”  So basic principles don’t matter? Without them we wouldn’t have been able to establish governments under the Law of Liberty as we did and THAT is what Ron Paul is about, not the thing you are calling Libertarianism.  If Libertarianism is what you say it is, I, too, have a problem with it.  No, we aren’t meant to pursue our own selfish ends without regard to others.   In fact my legislature (Massachusetts) has been given full power and authority to make, ordain, and establish, all
        manner of wholesome and reasonable orders, laws, statutes, and
        ordinances, directions and instructions as long as they are not repugnant or contrary to the
        constitution, as they shall judge to be for the good and welfare of the
        commonwealth.  The problem comes in when said Legislature enacts statutes that are repugnant to the document.  Basic principles DO matter if you want to maintain government of the people, by the people, for the people. 

  • Anonymous

    It was four generations ago and earlier that most of my ancestors shared a common field, for protection of weather and war. Eight generations past it was Flushing Fields and King Phillip’s War.
    Was this their commonwealth?

    • Susan M

      If you are referring to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, read Art V of the Declaration of Rights…the premise of which was just mentioned on the program. 

      • Anonymous

        Thank you.

      • Anonymous

        All, or most, I think. They quickly left Massachusetts for Connecticut, then New Amsterdam 1644. New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina to Alabama. It was early mercantilism.

  • Anonymous

    By the way: All y’all have to watch Frank Herbert’s “Dune” (David Lynch 1984 with Toto music)or you’re going to Hell.
    For I truly am the ”Kwisatz Haderach” !!

  • Bgaidry

    The disappearance of the Mayan empire remains a mystery to the “American Civilization”, but not the indigenous people of the Americas.

    Americans can imagine everything from motherships to meteors, but we just can’t imagine people saying “we’re not giving the 1% any more of our corn so they can build pyramids” and abandoning the empire and return to their tribal societies.

  • Ellen Dibble

    It is not a mystery that where the regime is working FOR the people, rather than AGAINST them (exploiting them), the nation does better.  DOH!

  • Anonymous

    The English living under the Dutch of New Amsterdam, came to regret the English conquest. They missed the Dutch Constitutional Civil Rights. A few were fined for speaking it aloud.

    I write of old models but want to know/anticipate better models. Where are we going?

  • Anonymous

    Does it require defenestration?

    • Anonymous

      The two had different interests–it didn’t work out.

  • Michiganjf

    Is America “at risk because of the extractive elites???!!!!”

    Tom,

       I’d say we’re a bit beyond your question!!

    They’ve already taken a toll which may never fully heal, and thanks to sycophantic Republicans and trickle down, the wealthy elite managed the ruination of America in just a couple of decades.

    • Susan M

      I agree…we are quite a bit beyond.  See my comment below re Ron Paul. 

    • Psaka

      While I agree with your point, I do want to bring to light that not all “extractors” are mean. There are so many, like Sir Richard Branson, whose mission isn’t only making money. The problem comes in because each side looks at the extreme on the other side and hence, can never agree to anything.

    • Robert Riversong

      You’re not “beyond” if you perpetuate the false political divide by blaming one party over another. Our politics are but servants to our economic paradigm, in which we have all acquiesced to varying degrees and perceive as both necessary and good.

      As long as the poor want what the rich seem to have, then we are stuck on an insane (not so) merry-go-round.

  • Billbodge

    Financial planners say to diversify your portfolio.  The same holds true for wealth in society.  Diversification of wealth increases stability and creates a higher probability of people with great ideas to be able to bring them forth.

    • Brett

      Yes, diversification is what works on so many levels. Communities with many diverse businesses, stay strong economically. Communities which promote a diverse population of people with diverse backgrounds stay strong socially…on and on…You are on to something. 

    • Tony, Washington, DC

      How would you specifically implement a diversification plan? 

    • Robert Riversong

      You can “correct” an inherently exploitative system by redistribution and regulation to minimize the worst effects, but let’s not pretend that is the same as reforming a fundamentally flawed system – as any system must be that is based on exploitation (of both the earth and people).

      The solution is not a better sharing of wealth, but a complete redefinition of wealth away from material affluence and toward community contribution.

  • Wes

    I’d like to know which nation(s), in Mr. Acemoglu’s view, are “getting it right” these days? Who should the U.S. look to for a model forward?

    • Robert Riversong

      We must stop looking forward and start looking backward.

      “Organized political
      socialism never had a chance in the United States, where the lower classes
      could always be bought off by Horatio Alger stories and the myth of the self-made man. Thus, despite the fact that America does  not really provide its
      citizens with the basic needs for a happy, fulfilling life, in the United States
      the rich can sleep easily in their beds. It can also be argued that in terms of
      a substantive critique of the dominant culture, socialism falls quite short.
      For socialism is inherently progressive in its outlook; it was never opposed to wealth, or modernization, or technological innovation – it just wanted the
      benefits of the system to be distributed more evenly. Nor did it make any real
      distinction between moral and material progress.”

       

      “This is why the most
      powerful critics of capitalism have often looked backward rather than forward
      and why conservatism – in the sense of preserving things such as family, craft
      and community – is the real radicalism, the real alternative to what we have.
      But it must also include a deep moral or spiritual opposition to the pursuit of
      wealth.” 

      - from Why America Failed, by Morris Berman

  • Anonymous

    Carthage fell to Rome, hundreds of Indian kingdoms and ‘nations’ all over Eurasia fell to Ghenghis Khan’s juggernaut.  what about the empires of South America which were destroyed by the Europeans?  What about the indigenous societies of the Caribbean?  Are you going to tell me that the average citizen of imperial Europe had a higher percentage of contribution to his society than the average native whose society was destroyed?

    I find the author’s work intriguing, but measured against the history and pre-history of man, I don’t know if can statistcally hold up.

    • Robert Riversong

      His perspective doesn’t factually hold up.

      “Anyonewho believes that exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.” – Kenneth Boulding, economist

  • Michiganjf

    The real tragedy is that the wealthy are too greedy and short-sighted to realize their avarice has “killed the goose that laid the golden egg…”

    … so in doggedly pursuing ONLY their own short-term interests, they have robbed their own elite class of future opportunity for even more wealth.

    In short, they’ve screwed us all, even themselves!

    • Robert Riversong

      The real tragedy is that WE’RE ALL too greedy and short-sighted and avaricious – it is the economic paradigm we’ve all bought into. Material affluence is a short-lived goose that leads to nothing but foie gras – on overstuffed liver and a dead goose.

  • Susanna

    What do you think of the austerity program in Europe? Is it reminiscent of the payments exacted on Germany by the triumphant Allies after WWI? This apparently lead to the rise of National Socialism/Facism. And neoNazism is on the rise today. All sorts of civilizations will fall if this occurs. Thoughts?

    • Robert Riversong

      Of course. When you deprive people of basic human subsistence needs, they will coalesce toward extreme ideological mass movements as a way to fight for survival.

      What is needed in tough times is more generosity, not more austerity.

  • Pcalley
  • Dennis_in_Omaha

    So, how does Japan -  even in constant recession, without natural resources – remain such a desirable place to live and work?   How does Russia, full or resources, stay so miserable even when they are not in a recession?

    Russia and China have their economies centralized around slave labor and fossil fuels.  To the degree we cooperate with them, we will suffer like they do.

     

  • Susan M

    Unsound money is highly extractive!  As it depreciates it extracts our very lives.  We give of our lives to earn money that doesn’t hold its value which is why the founders included the gold and silver coin clause in the US Constitution. 

  • Anonymous

    It’s abhorrent that the political spin, by a person running for President, should frame the issue of basic health support for our citizens in terms of “who wants free.”  That completely misrepresents the issue.  Health care, at least at it’s basic core, is a right under the “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” clause in the Constitutiion.  It’s not a matter of degrading the issue to mean those who support that are greedy and takers!

  • Psaka

    As a supporter of OWS, I just like to clear up some points made against OWS.

    We do not want free stuff, we want free opportunities.

    It is not economic inequality, we do not want money or jobs or handouts; we want to be a part of the discussion process. Just because we can’t wag a load of money doesn’t mean we can’t be involved. We want the same opportunities to contribute to the society and not be held back because we are not as interested in making money as we are in seeking a better environment.

    PS: I HAVE a job that pays be $150,000 per year. And my wife too does. We have are highly educated with three masters degrees between us, including Tech and Business.

  • Brettearle

    So typical of the Right to misunderstand OWS, i.e. the last caller.

    The Right slams OWS–as if it wants something for nothing; as if OWS participants should go find jobs, when, indeed, THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE WAS SO HIGH, BEFORE OWS EVER BECAME A MOVEMENT.

    OWS emerged precisely for the reasons that are being discussed on air right now:  Plutocracy, etc…..

  • Tony, Washington, DC

    We have rising inequality because some of us are planners, savers and investors first (the putatively 1%), and some of us are spenders, and hyper consumers first (the putatively 99%).  How do you think the Apples of the world accumulate their wealth?  From the spenders and hyper consumers….

    • Modavations

      We have inequality because the schools are deplorable.The students can’t land a gig at McDonalds.

    • ana

      Were it only so simplistic.  

  • Modavations

    Thank God this Professor is from MIT,so qwe can dismiss him out of hand.Afterall what do they know at MT.To you young guys,remember this old chestnut.If you’re twenty and not a socialist you’ve got no soul.If you’re thirty and still a Socialist,you’ve got no brains..Yhis guy is a socialist.

    • Robert Riversong

      Right. Like Obama is a socialist or FDR was a socialist. All of them are the apologists for, and servants of, pure market capitalism. They all believe the myth of progress and growth, leveled a bit through rules and regulations.

    • ana

      ‘When I give food to the poor, the call me a saint.  When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me  a communist.”        Dom Helder Camara

  • Anonymous

    Part of this is
    about sharing success from personal contributions: team players, promoting team
    work, rewarding sacrifice. C-levels don’t contribute 400 times more than the
    bottom level and certainly don’t feel their sacrifices 400 times more. How is it that executives repeatedly get bonuses for
    failure?

     

    The OWS are about this and the total lack
    of accountability for the criminal failure, lack of prosicution.

     

    WHy don’t Republicans share this sentiment?
     

  • Ellen Dibble

    How does  Acemoglu see Romney?  Romney-Care notwithstanding (which was not at all good unless you could manage to earn just under $40,000), it seems to me his skill is in making the extractive economy work.  He seems to be boasting of that.  It feels to me like he’s promoting for a used car dealership, a used-economy dealership, and not realistic.  But I could be so wrong.

  • Modavations

    I go to Italy every September to visit my clan and buy glass in Venice.To this day Venice,Florence,Bologna,Verona are absolute gems.To equate todays splendid Italy to Cairo, is silly.

    • John in Amherst

      quick, Sherman!  To the Wayback machine!  our salvation lies in renaissance Italy!

      • Brett

        Man, I used to love Mr. Peabody! 

        • Modavations

          What’s up Brett???Why the hate

          • Brett

            Okay, I still love Mr. Peabody.

      • Modavations

        I’m talking about Italy today ,at this very moment.In Cairo they drive Donkeys.

      • Modavations

        Fan Mail from some Flounder!!!!Loved that show.Actually learned some history 

  • Modavations

    The Left wants the dependent class.I’ll give you the check and you give me your vote.The laissez faire crew buys votes by letting us keep more of our own money.We want everyone to be affluent,so you buy our goods.We see only one color….The green of moolah.

    • Robert Riversong

      Except for your absurd political stereotypes, this is the first intelligent thing I’ve seen you contribute.

      The problem universal to all political economies is the unitary focus on affluence, rather than on public service for the common good.

      Classical republicanism (and conservatism) is based on subordinating private interest to the common weal. That was the “city on a hill” we came here to create, but instead created a marketplace for self-aggrandizement with the inevitable winners and losers.

      This was, in fact, the creation of liberalism in America – the freeing of the individual to pursue personal ambition. And that is why we now call “neo-liberalism” the expansion of this selfish paradigm to the whole world.

      • Modavations

        Chirp,chirp.You’re wasting your time.In don’t read you.We lost 5 million to fake DDT science,but you saved the birdies.Take the hint.Talk to someone else.This is the third time

  • Joe in Upstate NY?

    I’m a relatively recent college graduate with a bachelor of science and as I learn more about economics, the more it seems that the “laws” of economics closely resemble patterns and theories in the natural sciences. I can’t help but view the corporations and their lobbyist as invasive species that out compete smaller mom and pop businesses. Of course there may be exceptions to that statement, but it seems smaller businesses and individuals have a diminishing voice in government decisions. 

    The big disconnect in economics and natural sciences is that economic’s foundations are based on unlimited resources. I’m obviously not an expert, but shouldn’t our understanding of economics be revamped to account of sustainable business?

    • Susan M

      Have you studied Austrian Economics? 

    • Robert Riversong

      You’ve hit the nail on the head. Evolution has been fueled by competition for a niche but sustained by cooperation within ecosystems and a minimizing of consumption at a mature state.

      Economics is a self-serving and ultimately self-defeating human artifice, not a set of natural laws. 

  • Drew You Too

    If political inequality is at the root of the problem why don’t we solve it? Instead of being a Republic that pretends to be a Democracy why don’t we actually give REAL Democracy a try? One Citizen, One Vote.

    • Robert Riversong

      Political inequality is not the root of the problem – it is but one of many symptoms. The root is our economic paradigm of personal fulfillment through the pursuit of material wealth by means of endless innovation, growth and competition.

      Any society based on personal ambition rather than on service to the common good is destined toward corruption and inequality in every realm.

      We don’t need a different politics – we need a different mindset.

      • Drew You Too

        I agree completely. As I stated in another comment: Greed, Indifference, and Intolerance always get the job done (the self destruction of a Nation). I suppose it’s only wishful thinking that at some point we’ll evolve beyond our petty motivations for personal gain. I still hope for a broad realization that what is most beneficial to all is also what is most beneficial to one. I always appreciate being shown that I’m not the only one paying attention, thanks for the reply.

      • John in Amherst

        Bravo.  How about holding the idea that “we are here to help one another” as society’s core value instead of glorifying vain displays of wealth? 

  • Bijom

    Daron,

    What about all the bad trade deals that are eliminating jobs and concentrating wealth?

  • John in Amherst

    “free market capitalism” does not have to mean free-for-all capitalism.  Sports competitions have rules to permit fair competition while minimizing the chances of players getting hurt.  Why can’t economic systems be structured similarly?  We already expect truth in advertizing (except in politics), safety regulations for food, pharmaceuticals and a host of manufactured products, etc.  Do such laws limit fair trade, or just try to prevent buyers and consumers from being ripped off or injured.  Some of the OWS people may want to “extract free stuff” from productive society.  Most just want a system that is more fair.  Once power and wealth concentrates into too few hands, political and economic competition is stymied, too few people have a chance to advance through hard work and study, and the whole system stagnates.  Limiting the amount of compensation for the elite, breaking up monopolies and getting a handle on money in politics may not be easy tasks, but if they can’t be accomplished, our country is on a track to the failure of our economic and political institutions.     

    • Robert Riversong

      It’s ironic that you would use professional sports as the model. That’s nothing more than an opportunity to make owners very rich at the expense of the health of players (with minimum rules so as not to kill off too many), with the difference that it also rewards players exorbitantly for a short time, while exploiting a captive audience of passive cheerleaders and reaping huge advertising revenues from other corporate gangsters.

      Market capitalism (free or centralized) is a self-destructive enterprise which inevitably leads to corruption and extremes. Regulations are merely the rules which allow the game to continue.

      FDR, for instance, didn’t reform capitalism – he merely made some rules to make the game more acceptable to a broader audience.

      As long as we continue to think like this economist – that innovation and growth will be our salvation, and we can make it fair by pushing back for more equal pieces of the cake every time it gets out of balance, then we will continue our mad rush toward self-annihilation.

      • Matt

         Economic growth is not salvation, but it is *one* critical component in a society that depends on productivity for survival.  Stagnation removes incentive to produce.  Without incentive, all productivity becomes forced labor. 

      • John in Amherst

        Actually, sports have rules – professional, collegiate, highschool, T-ball – they all have rules.  NOT rewarding personal initiative invites sloth in a society.  Elevating it above all else results in ruthlessness and social disintegration.  The trick is to find a system that allows for the dynamic balance between personal achievement, compassion and social responsibility.  And I’d stress the balance is dynamic – it will never cease needing reworking  

    • William

      A economic based on “being fair” for outcome or opportunity?

  • Jaki Reis

    Let’s not forget or ignore the reason why wealth is so concentrated:  All of the workers are getting lower wages and the extra $4-5 an hour that would make their wages livable is concentrated into profits. If you have even 50 workers and multiply that $5 by 35 hours, what would be a mere $175 a week for each worker becomes $8750 extra a week for the owner.  The fact that the owners are successfully ignoring is that the mere $175 means the difference between having enough to pay the rent with enough left over for food and comfort.  At the same time the “American” dream of being able to make enough to own the big houses and beautiful clothes and bling is successfully keeping the workers quiet about their ignorance.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    All roads lead to oligarchy – except for revolution and collapse. End of story.

    • Bgaidry

      How about the road that leads out of the Empire? For those that have already taken it, the revolution has already been won. For those who cling to Empire, collapse is guaranteed.

    • John in Amherst

      Jefferson may have had it right about the need for periodic revolution….

      • Modavations

        You know what befell Robespierre don’t you

    • Robert Riversong

      The story is still being created, and for 99% of humanity’s time on earth there were no oligarchies because we were not on a “road” (an uphill climb toward “progress”), but sitting pretty right where we were.

      We need to find that place again.

  • miro

    No mention thus far of the brothers Koch, who are this era’s archetypal “extractive elites”. They are trying to tilt the rules of American politics (who can vote, who is allowed to unionize, who is allowed to wield influence over political speech) in their own economic interests. 

    The Koch brothers own Koch Industries, the second largest private company in the US with revenues on the order of a $100 billion/year. They funnel billions of dollars into right wing political machines, and their influence is a substantial cause of why our politics is so skewed to the right when compared with other industrialized societies.

    We still have a nominal democracy, but when large parts of the electorate get their information from Fox News and other  right wing disinformation mills (look at the percentages of Fox viewers who think that Obama is Muslim and/or that the theory of evolution is untrue), those who pull the financial strings on the right are the ones who will dominate our politics.

    It certainly feels like this situation is deteriorating rapidly.

    • William

      What is the difference between the Koch brothers and George Sores? Warren Buffett?

      • Modavations

        The Koch brother subsidize NPR.

    • Modavations

      Quit propagandizing for MSNBC and get back to painting

  • Anonymous

    Different standards of law is the point being spoken of neo-fuedalism.
    Debt is slavery by another name.
    IT WAS LEGAL COURTS of power

    • Matt

       But the majority of debt is voluntarily entered.  Excluding people undergoing economic hardship, it really is possible to live debt free.  Debt is mainly the consequence of our need for immediacy of possession.  It’s difficult for me to equate debt to slavery in our current economic society.

  • Modavations

    OWS is Lenin’s useful idiot.The AFL-CIO and SEIU meet regularly in the White House.They are planning a Putsch for the summer.Niave students led by Union Brown Shirts,.Burning ghettos and martial law.They will shut off the internet.This is my opinion and pure speculation.

    • Robert Riversong

      Modavations is always the useless idiot in these discussions.

      • Brooklyn native

        Closely followed by you.

        • Modavations

          That made me laugh.

    • John in Amherst

      your opinion is worth what we paid for it

  • Tina

    QUESTION FOR ON AIR:  CAN YOUR GUEST EXPLAIN THE SUCCESS OF DENMARK?  It is innovative AND socially equitable.

    The people do not seem to resent high taxes because each individual taxpayer benefits from the tax structure. 

    Thank you! 

  • Ellen Dibble

    The caller is talking about neofeudalism (Phil), and serfdom being an agreement in exchange for protection. I see the fiefdoms as the corporations, and  a lot of people have come to expect to have a right to a job (the security of a steady job), but in America today, the “job” is becoming less the standard.  More and more people have to start their own way of earning money.  Young people find the societal needs (their niche), learn the skills, scrape together the resources to get under way, and hopefully do that in time to marry and have a family before they are old and gray.

  • Greyman

    Giambattista Vico, anyone?

  • Anonymous

    Employees lose bargaining rights. Reportage from the insides the public doesn’t see is criminalized.
    Was Directorate of Home Security. How much doe’s that cost? Is it more important than a Postal System? 

  • Steve

    We have the kings/rulers we have asked for

  • Matt

    The guest is dead on, but I have a different take on this.  The economic engine, to continue running, requires that the profits taken as part of the engine eventually return to keep the engine running.  To me extractivism is the withholding of substantially large chunks of the engine’s money fuel, eventually crippling the engine.

  • Hobbsjr02871

    Here’s simpler math yet nastier consequences to consider, when >15MM workers (>9%) are unemployed (more than that underemployed, more wages stagnated) then a nation has not fully tapped its economic potential and will continue to drag along. And when many of those 15MM workers, who have already paid into benefits systems (Soc. Sec. / Unemployment / Medicare) from which they will never reap enough benefits to survive (so they enter bankruptcy from which Bailed-Out Banks will profit), then you’ll get dangerous economic inequalities that tend to oligarchy at the expense of democracy

  • Anonymous

    Teddie busted the Trusts.
    or tried.

  • Michaels Ernest842

    I thought the problem was some of the innovation in the financial industry like credit default swaps, at least, according to Paul Volcker.

    • Modavations

      In my humble opinion,Volcker knows his stuff

  • Erik

    The control of the media is a special case of the elite controlling politics by getting others to vote for them.

  • Cooljaz68

    Let’s not forget how most of these powers rose to prosperity (US included) through enslaving a work force. The Romans enslaved the Jews and other ethinic minorities from it’s empire; Russia and China forced it’s farmers into the factories and major construction efforts like dams; The US prospered from African slave labor and then from sweat shops full of immigrants (including children).

  • Robert Riversong

    Daron Acemoglu is completely enmeshed in the myth of progress and can’t understand that an innovating economy can be reformed only as long as economic growth can still be extracted from the world. He is unable to see that we are at the natural limits to growth and the economic paradigm is obsolete.

    You don’t ask an economist to write a history of the world. Ask a historian, such as Morris Berman, author of Why America Failed. It failed because, from its start, it was a nation of hustlers (his word) who turned the classical republican sense of virtue on its head. 

    Virtue in both republican and traditional societies was to find human fulfillment in service to the common good. Beginning even in Puritan times, Americans turned to economic individualism and the pursuit of affluence, coupled to the myth of the “invisible hand” that would magically turn private goals into the public good.

    Acemoglu still fully believes in magic.

    • Robert Riversong

      That Acemoglu cannot see beyond his economic blinders is indicated in his definition of labor as property which one has a right to sell to the highest bidder (as if labor ever was on an equal footing with capital).

      But a person’s labor – his/hre ability to use his/her body and skills to perform and create – is the essence of personhood, not a piece of property for sale on the marketplace. In traditional societies, a person’s labor was his/her gift to the community – not a commodity.

      Never ask an economist to interpret history.

    • Matt

      Economic growth cannot be extracted from a system where the bulk of the fuel that keeps the engine running has been withheld from commerce.  Extractivism seems to identify this as a key component of economic failure.

  • Modavations

    How can Tom call this Professor world class.He’s at MIT.Everyone knows the Profs. at MIT know nothing

    • Matt

       Perhaps you should go teach there to correct their ignorant ways.

      • Modavations

        Make a point

    • John in Amherst

      a bunch of real dolts compared to a keen and insightful mind like yours, huh?  How silly of the rest of the world to think of MIT as one of the globe’s most prestigious academic institutions.  Please, sir, where do you hold court?  We should avail ourselves to your enlightened wisdom….

      • Modavations

        Silly boy.I’m poking Ray from Vt., in the eye.He goes on and on about Prof.Lindzen not knowing anything.I keep telling him the guy is at the top of the food chain,holds the Sloan Chair at the most prestigious technical institute in the cosmos.Pay attention

        • Ray in VT

          Silly old man, you can’t seem to comprehend why one would question the judgement and motives of a man with some of his positions.

          Your characterizations of the positions of those to whom you are opposed are so distorted that it speaks to a basic level of intellectual dishonesty.  Pathetic.

          • Modavations

            Young man.He’s at MIT.Repeat MIT,not Johnson Community College.MIT would not stand for malfeasance by their Profs.You don’t understand the concept of the “Good Name”.If you had the highest grades in the world,if your daddy was rich as Croesus,if your mother gave B.J.s to the entire faculty,you’d still be hard pressed to get into MIT.The greatest technical school in the cosmos.Yet Ray invalidates Prof.Lindzen,purely because he’s not PC.Ray went so far as to say he’s invalid because he smoked.This kid thinks it’s cute to go to felon websites,then attempt character assassination.Pure McCarthyism

        • John in Amherst

           oh, apologies for not following your every word, and failing to discern your sarcasm.    As I suggested previously, sticking closer to the day’s topic, being less obviously infatuated with your own clever turns of phrase and less personal in your invective might enhance your arguments.  As it is, your salient points are lost in what sounds more like a frat boy holding court at a kegger….

          • Modavations

            I’m a frat boy at heart

    • Brett

      At least I knew you were being sarcastic! ;-)

      • Modavations

        Come on Brett.We’re the last two on the planet who know Owsley,who’ve even heard of Mr.Natural.Don’t stoop to name calling like the youngsters.I speak all the languages.Do you really hold spelling and punctuations against me.It’s just sloth,nothing more.I’ve got slug tendencies

        • Brett

          I don’t hold spelling and punctuation against you, Mo-D. My reply had nothing to do with punctuation or spelling. Where was the name calling? I’ve told you before the areas where I respect you, e.g., collecting antiques, showing skill in evaluating gems, being a bon vivant of sorts, and so on. 

          Maybe it’s in your writing that there could be misunderstanding? Your tone might be interpreted as flippant at times. My observations are that you express yourself on this forum by throwing out a lot of images that can readily be taken as a collection of talking points, or could be construed as a junkyard amalgam of disparate philosophies that seem incompatible with reason. I doubt that is really the way you wish to be perceived. Your point can be obscured by making flippant statements and offending people. That is more of a recipe for either humor or disdain than a lubricant for a free exchange of ideas…As far as snark goes, we’re all guilty of that in some form or other sometimes. 

          • Modavations

            I pay attention to few,but will take your advice and try.

  • Modavations

    The Founding Fathers sort of got it right…..Egypt is a paradise.Good god

  • John in Amherst

    As long as the courts equate corporations with people in terms of “free speech”,
    and political campaigns revolve around money instead of ideas, the rich
    and the corporations own the political process.  If the electoral
    process can not be restructured, we should at least be honest with
    ourselves and the world and stop calling the US a democracy.  It is an
    oligarchy or plutocracy.

    Ways to limit the influence of money in politics: 1.)  Establish a short strict political season e.g.: all state primaries should happen on or around the same date, and that date should precede the general election by no more than 3 months.  2.)  Provide for several candidate debates that are real debates of ideas, not the sound-bite posing and photo-op fluff that now passes for “debates”, simulcast on any network that wants to carry them.  Even without revoking corporate “personhood” and limiting campaign financing, these two steps would greatly reduce the ability of campaigns to spend money, and would focus public attention on the ideas put forth by candidates, instead of the “horse race” we now largely focus upon.

    • Modavations

      What’s the difference between unions and corporations.Unions who gave 400 million to the Dems. in the last cycle even though 40ish% of membership is republican.Super pacs….Unions are super,super ,super pacs

      • Ray in VT

        Why would unions cut their own throats by giving to the GOP?  If you’re a conservative union member and want to weaken your bargaining rights, then by all means, support the Republicans.  They’ll assist you in your search for the right to work for less.

        • Modavations

          So let me get this straight.40%ish of the union is Republican,but we’ll go 100% Democrat

          • Ray in VT

             If the union wants to support candidates that will support more robust worker rights, then yeah.  Again, why would they cut their own throats by giving to candidates who will undermine the bargaining power of their workers.  It’s basic self interest.  You’re all about that, right?  Why should they be different?

          • Modavations

            Spoken like a true totalitarian.Even though 40% of you guys are Reps.,we’ll donate to Dems.We know best.Now get on your knees and kiss my Pinky Ring

          • Ray in VT

            Spoken like a true simple-minded reactionary.  If the union’s agenda is to support the conditions of all of it’s workers, then why would it back anti-union candidates?  That, like you, doesn’t make any sense.

    • maryanne

      The money from unions have a far greater influence to only one party.

      • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

        What nonsense. Can you say: Citizens United??

  • Modavations

    Pres.Obama is begging the Saudis to pump more oil.When the King said you’ve got tons,why don’t you drill your own,the Pres.replied….”What and disturb the migratory routes  of the yellow spotted mosquitos…..”

    • Terry Tree Tree

      The goat posted better comments for guppy?

  • Brett

    There have been a few comments regarding the concept of diversification…I am reminded of the potato famine in Ireland or the Anasazi tribe using up all of their trees for energy and shelter (which led to their downfall), or what about the bottom falling out of the tulip futures market in Holland?…Everything basically works the same, but we are doomed to repeat history because we don’t recognize its recurring patterns. The specific  circumstances are different which obscures our ability to see similarities…

  • Ricky J

    Professor Acemoglu has hit the nail on the head. But I suggest that there is one additional force that destroys nations and that is apathy. It is my observation that less than 10% of the U.S. voting poplulation is politically active. The other 90% don’t write their representatives in Congress and spend most of their free time complaining. No wonder why Senators and Representatives get overwhelmed by lobbyists: there is no counterforce to balance the equation.

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

      You are correct, and I would add that not only is the electoate apathetic, but it is terminally DUMB. No knowledge of history, how the government works, basic economics.

    • Susan M

      There’s a saying…”Ron Paul cured my Apathy” that was coined during the 2008 presidential season.  And it’s true…what he has brought to the nation’s attention is giving people pause and sparking interest in actually fixing what’s broke. 

  • Woulfefm

    How does our huge prison population play into the point that your guest said that we have no population who’s wages are set etc. We have 2 million prisoners, most are first time non-violent offenders, yes they made a mistake but should they be locked up and forced to endure solitary confinement and abuse. 4 mil more are on probation. So the actual numbers that our prison policy affects  is 100 million people or more;-
    each prison has a mother and father thats 4 mill
    each has a brother/sister or more 4 mil- 8 mil more
    a child or 2 or 4, 4-8 mil
    an aunt/uncle or 4, 4-10 mil more
     a cousin or 2 or 10, thats 60 million at least
    a neighbour or 2, 4 mil more
    a friend or 2 or 4, thats 10 mil
    We have huge numbers of people being affected DIRECTLY by our insane unjust ‘justice’ system. People react to such harsh treatment for small crimes (I am not talking about murderers…that is an entirely separate matter, many of these men are first time non-violent offenders).
    Too many people are experiencing the harsh hand of the law and it is time to stop it. We need fairer sentencing, we need to make it known that private companies trade on the backs of prisoners, prisons are big business for private corporations and they are insisting on 90% occupancy and lengthier sentencing?? is this not insane and where will it end?
    Just as the Civil Rights movement put an end to an unjust system and slavery was ended because a population / segment of our society was being unfairly and unjustly ill treated, abused. SO too must we stop the notion that these young men can be thrown in prison and forgotten, not given any program, no access to drugs programs, education.
    The programs are not there for these young men and unless you have first hand knowledge of the whole process you cannot possibly know what actually happens on the ground.
    In Allenwood PA for example the first class that the men get to take, is… Crochet,
    I kid you not. Is this a disgrace, an abomination or what?. These are first time nonviolent offenders who want to take a class, young men, they want to get back in society and they are forced to take crochet?!! They take the class because it is all that is on offer and they need the class to get good time etc.
    It is barbaric, inhumane and serves no one, least of all the society in which we all live and to which these men will return to someday.
    Many of these men are thrown in solitary for indefinite periods (again this is FIRST TIME NON_VIOLENT OFFENDERS) 260 days for an alleged row/argument. Is this insane? is this inhumane or what? young men being subjected to this in Allenwood, PA.
    Anyone who has a heart that beats in their chest and who believes in the humanity of all men and who has heard of the “Give me a break” mantra, must not call for what they could not endure. Do not call for war unless you want to go and stand on the frontline and see your child blown to pieces and likewise do not call for harsh sentences for young men to be thrown in prison because those young men 18-27 or whatever age, again are first time nonviolent offenders, these are caught up in the wild hysteria and madness that we call just-ice.
    Enough. Where is our collective humanity? in the name of all that is good and holy and in the name of humanity we cannot coldly, heartlessly call for young men to be locked up without full knowledge of what that ACTUALLY involves. (again yes murderers need to be imprisoned etc.) but there is a huge percentage of our prison population that are first time non-violent offenders. Enough. It serves no one. Not society, not the men. They need education, programs, help, work. ENough with the cold hearted, venomous judgments and attacks on young people who make a mistake (or on any age for that matter). Where is our humanity?
    How this while point ties into this show is that if 100 million people, are directly affected by an unjust system you have a growing disgruntled population who will someday rise up and explode and say enough is enough. we have endured more than we ever should have to, the laws are unfair and harsh and we have the largest prison population and growing. Is this something to be proud of? We can do better and these men can do better given half a chance. I say lets give them a chance, lets give them a break.
    (I don’t want to hear the brainless.heartless arguments (spare me and yourself, “oh…the murderers….I am NOT talking about murderers, I am talking about FIRST TIME NONVIoLENT Offenders…caught up in the dragnet of our so called ‘just’ system. There is nothing just about locking young men away and holding them in solitary and forcing them to take Crochet classes.

    • William

      Crime is down with more people, especially repeat criminals, in jail.

      • John in Amherst

         with drug arrests for simple possession comprising the largest category of incarcerated individuals, and the cost of incarceration running $30-40K/prisoner/year, we would all be better off with some sentencing reforms and alternatives to incarceration for non-violent crime.

        • Modavations

          It takes thirty arrests before they throw you in the clink in Boston.

        • William

          It would be best then to charge the offending person(s) the “true cost” of their crimes.

    • Modavations

      One out of every three black men are in prison,parole or probation.There’s your Welfare State.

      • John in Amherst

         Given that many states deny voting rights to convicted felons for life, incarceration takes on a political slant. 
        With released prisoners virtually unemployable, and only the skills acquired in prisons that have given up on the notion of reform, our prison system amounts to a self-perpetuating social cancer, not a solution to a problem. 
        The prison industry and its lobbying efforts for mandatory minimum sentences and lenghty sentences deserves harsh scrutiny, not applause.

        • Modavations

          They go to prison because they come from fatherless families and go to the worst schools on the planet.Social pathology is rampant.Give them vouchers.

      • CambridgeMAC

         No more Mr. Nice Guy!  The darkies don’t appreciate all we’ve done for them!  Harrumphh!

  • Fredlinskip

    Why our nation will continue to decline?
    Because Reaganomics continues to prevail and devastate our nation- and people don’t get it.

    Last 30 years, over 7M manufacturing jobs lost

    • Worried for the country(MA)

       Don’t light a match in a field of straw men.

      You will get burned.

      • Modavations

        I try to avoid the guy.Bush Derangement Syndrome

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Now, you say you have Bush Derangement Syndrome, in addition to ALL your other admitted maladies?? 
             I saw that you were really messed-up, BEFORE!

          • Modavations

            You’re too stupid for words.Read the post before you arbol.Set any fires lately?

    • AJ

      Who pushed NAFTA  through?

      Bill Clinton, a democrat. 

      Who pushed through a free trade agreement last year with South Korea and Colombia?

      Barack Obama, a democrat.

      It looks like the democratic presidents are really doing a fine job of screwing America’s middle class.

      • Modavations

        Free trade is a blessing.We produce 25% of everything made on the planet.We flip back and forth with the Swiss as the most efficient of economiies.We own Mexico.Canada and Mexiico are our largest trading partners.There’s a Mcdonalds on every Mex. corner,Office Depot,Walmart,etc,. are everywhere.UPS carries Mexicos freight

      • Shooting Star

        I think that you may be confused about what transpired with the free trade agreement with South Korea and Colombia.  It was actually Mitch McConnell and the Republicans who were complaining that President Obama and the Democrats were holding up the agreement.  They were throwing fits and were threatening to hold up more budget deals, expensions of unemployment, etc. unless Pres. Obama made it happen.

  • Worried for the country(MA)

    Perhaps we should revert to a bare bones federal government – mostly defense.

      Remove the money from lobbyists, elites and crony capitalists and that will allow the republic to thrive.

    • Kookoo Cory

      Should we eliminate the social safety net, specifically social security, medicaid, medicare, food stamps etc?

      • Worried for the country(MA)

         Of course not, but it needs major reform.  The waste, fraud and abuse needs to be rooted out.

        • Modavations

          Dr.Berman on NPR ,said Medicare malfeasance could be as much as 130bill.per annum

      • Modavations

        Just the social hammock.By the way you pay for Medicare and Social Security

        • Worried for the country(MA)

           Maybe a trampoline instead of a net.

    • Anonymous

      Your belief that what we call “defense” is uniquely devoid of  “lobbyists, elites and crony capitalists”, instead of wholly run by and for their profit and benefit, makes your position nonsensical.

      • Kookoo Cory

        Ooh, I like it!

      • Modavations

        The only thing Govt.should do is keep the Barbarians from the gates and act as referees.The Churches should ministrate to the poor.

  • Modavations

    Hey guys,when I say the Prof.is from MIT and need not be taken seriously,I’m poking Ray from Vt.in the eye.He tells me Prof.Lindzen knows squat.I tell him he’s top of the food chain,at MIT, the greatest technical school in the cosmos.He says,but he smoked cigarettes…..MIT #1,Stanford #2,Harvard # 3.Of course,Lindzen trained at Harvard before moving up.

    • Ray in VT

      Anyone who pays any attention here knows your M.O. is to spin and distort the comments of others.  To quote my father you’re so crooked that you probably can’t lie straight in bed.  Your dishonesty and ignorance never ceases to amaze me.

      • Modavations

        What’s your point.Or would you prefer to look me up on a whack job,felon website.Find someone with the same name,then claim it’s me.Sort of like yesterdays conversation about Lynchings without proof,lynching by innuendo and whisper.

  • Modavations

    Ayn Rand….When you make it too unpleasant for the producers they stop producing…..Laffer Curve…When you tax too much,people develop the dodge.

    • Ray in VT

      The Laffer Curve?  Have any more discredited theories that you want to promote?

      http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/the-gop-heads-straight-for-the-laffer-curve-07212011.html

      I hear that the Flat Earth Society still exists.  Maybe they have a space at the table for you.

      • Worried for the country(MA)

         You’ll have to do better than that article to defeat the laffer curvel.  Bruce Bartlett?  Really?  Bartlett refuses to debate economists on the issue and goes on left leaning media to promote his book.

        • Ray in VT

           I think that reality and experience have done a good job of that.  The right loved Bartlett until he started pointing out how woefully misguided their tax cut and spend policies are.

          • Modavations

            Why would we love someone who joins the Left.

          • Modavations

            Revenues arn’t the problem.As Carville would say,it’s the spending stupid

    • Ndorf66

       You know Ayn Rand screamed and yelled about Social programs, yet was extremely happy to collect social security and medicare. 

      • Modavations

        Ayn Rand paid for her Social Security and her medicare.Ayn Rand and Modavations don’t get talking points from Daily Kos

  • Modavations

    If Edison were inventing today,Pres.Obama would have banned the bulb.If Ike tried to build the hiway system,Sierra Club would have found a wayward bug.If the Wright Bros.tried to build airplanes,they AFL-CIO would call a strike.And this is why nations die.

    • Ndorf66

       Your grammar is why the English language is dying. 

      • Modavations

        Peut-etre je parlerai en francais,o yo puedo hablar en espagnol.Io sono Italiano e io parlo Italiano.

        I can mangle in all languages

        • Terry Tree Tree

          ALL 260 of them?  You are a legend in your own mind?
             English is obviously NOT your first, second, or third language, then?

  • Lxx

    Totally personal on my part. Not making a suggestion to anyone. If I see the tag “Modavations” I skip the comment AND all the people he has sucked into his megalomaniacal ego trip. They too are lost souls. 

  • Modavations

    Stony Brook Univ in N.Y.has now banned all Christian and Jewish holidays.There will stiill be Christmas Vacation.Why you ask.Because there is a Union Contract.The main man has Graduate degrees in Social Justice.And this is why Nations fail

    • ms. big L

       Baloney and you can put that on white bread with a sour pickle.

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

      Dude, you are surley in another world.

  • Ray in VT

    Fewer people control the levers of power, and people see greed and the accumulation of wealth, at whatever costs to others and the nation, as an ultimate good.  Arrogance and intolerance towards other views, people and ideas, especially when it manifests itself in pushing religious and cultural purity.  This is why nations fail.

  • CK

    THANK YOU so much for posting that lecture; which I listened to while waiting for the audio/podcast of the show to become available. That will undoubtedly be the intellectual highlight of my week. Thrilled to have had access to it.

  • Anonymous

    America has two options, meritocracy or utter failure. If it chooses failure, it won’t be the fault of Republicans or Democrats, rich or poor, taxes, values, or corruption. It will be the fault of the American people themselves. In all of American history the populace has never been more willfully uninformed than it is today. A nation that once valued intellectual achievement and rigor now refers to people who posses those qualities as “Nerds,” “Geeks,” and “Whimps.” The ability to put a ball in the right place at the right time, or to run fast, jump high, or hit hard is revered as “inspirational” and “heroic,” while the ability to write a book or conduct scientific research that results in significant benefit to mankind goes almost unnoticed. In a nation that adores vapidity like “The Bachelor,” “Wipeout,” “Entertainment Tonight,” and  scores of other equally stupid examples of T.V. programing, it’s no wonder that engaging in any kind of intellectually stimulating activity is considered BORING. There’s a reason why something as stupid and disingenuous as political advertising can make or break a candidate. The reason is American’s buy this crap, hook, line, and sinker. Otherwise, one might have to read a newspaper, or go to a news site. You know, think!!!                                                      

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

      So in other words….we have the type of government we deserve?  Well said, and I could not agree with you more.

  • Aimee Solway

    This is a general comment.  I love your show and enjoy the variety of the content.  I do notice, however, that when topics relate to a specific ethnic community, they tend to relate either to the white or black community.  I notice this on Fresh Air as well.  I would like to see more content specific to the Latino and Asian American communities.  Although a recent show was about Latino voting in the upcoming election, it talked predominantly about immigration.  Many Latinos (and Asian Americans) have roots in the US dating farther back than many White Americans.  Also, there are many music and cultural traditions in these communities that deserve just as much recognition as James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Soul Train. Please consider expanding the content of your wonderful show in these directions.

  • Clare Tobin

    This book should be required reading in every school and dinner table in the US!  I just love how it seems to connect the dots for people.   For example, we are dealing with the foreclosure tsunami where the banks got bailed out, negotiated settlements with Justice Dept. and paid small fines(proportionately) for their illegal robo-signing, not registering document titles with counties across America and now are getting handed those same homes in foreclosure courts across America, without anyone looking at those documents to ensure that they are legal.  Judges are just continuing the bank heist – and even more outrageously, the banks are cashing in on FHA insured mortgages and being made whole again by the government( i.e.taxpayers).  This system is way out of whack!  WE MUST HAVE A MORATORIUM ON FORECLOSURES UNTIL POOR PEOPLE HAVE ACCESS TO AN ATTORNEY TO LOOK AT THOSE DOCUMENTS!

    Please shed light on this issue!

    Thanks.
    Clare Tobin
    (312) 388.7946

  • Modavations

    The Sacketts bought 63 acres on Priest Lake in Idaho.They started building a small house in 2007.The EPA came up,told them to cease and desist,Wet Lands.The Sacketts wanted to challenge.EPA said no way and we’ll fine you 30,000 a day.They went to the Supreme Ct,which sided  9 to 0 with the Sacketts. They could indeed mount a   challenge.Run Amok agencies, staffed by faceless bureaucrats, will destroy nations.

  • Still Here

    I think nations die when their leader doesn’t care about the people anymore.  That’s where we are today in America.  Obama doesn’t care about the way high gas prices are killing American’s confidence.  He’s all about flying around on some gigantic plane, burning fuel up like crazy.  Why doesn’t he care, America is dying.

  • Anonymous

    6 Reasons why today’s Gilded Era may not be followed by a new Progressive One (Part 3 of 3)

    5. The threat of Violent Revolt v. Extreme Asymmetry of Martial Force

    Though it is rarely discussed today, throughout the 19th century and prior to World War 1, there was much fear among elites of armed mobs and the inability to suppress them were they to grow into an organized constituency.
    Many of the popular revolutions and reform movements of the last century in the developing world involved grassroots, popular militancy as a component – usually, but not always, organized around Leftist ideologies – and some have argued that Roosevelt pushed in the New Deal reforms in part because a populist compromise was needed to stave off revolt in the middle of a depression characterized by nation-wide civic defaults in a time lacking a basic social safety net.  Some historians have estimated the Great Depression cost as many as 7 millions deaths in the United States due to starvation or starvation-related illnesses.  What would the French Revolution have been without popular uprising? The English aristocracy was terrified of the Chartist movement because they knew that its size and structure, while peaceful, could be adapted to force.  It is impossible to argue that the progressive reforms of the Liberal party in the 19th Century were not influenced by the example and force of Chartism, and that the organs of the Chartist movements were not the legacy instruments responsible for the formation of the Labour Party. What of the July Revolution of 1830, the Revolutions of 1848 and the famed Paris Commune uprising of 1870? While the first and the last of these were not successful, they certainly had a great deal of influence in shaping the framework of the political debate and moving it towards inclusive economic reform: and they were all examples of armed popular uprising. The fact that Josef Proudhon was an influential member of the French Parliament is a testament to the political legacy of this threat to privilege.   What of the Mexican revolution of 1910-29? Without the reforms passed during the left-leaning governments of the PRI up through 1970, Mexico would be as poor as Nicaragua, Guatemala & Honduras today. In Latin America, many otherwise unfeasible reforms throughout the 20th century owe their existence to the threat of violent revolt.

    But today, the threat of armed revolt is effectively non-existent in the developed world. The breadth of technology and firepower available to professional armies of highly industrialized countries is so advanced it is hard to fathom: from white phosphorus and agent orange, to nuclear bombs, to remote control, targeted air strikes, to heat-seeking misiles, to radiological silencing bombs, to chemical, biological & electronic warfare warfare, the capacities of organized militaries to suppress any degree of popular uprising, no matter how pervasive, is effectively sealed. This means, therefore, that popular civic organization, non-violent civil disobedience, political participation and Mutualist and cooperative sharing efforts are the only possible vehicles for economic enfranchisement.  I am an advocate of non-violence out of principle, but also for practical reasons: violent popular resistance against centralized powers in the current era is completely futile. We can only hope that these peaceful means can prove effective enough to force the hand of the ruling class to compromise on the political scene.

    6. Participatory Culture, Social & Civil Society Organizations v. Individualism, Consumerism and Isolation

    Alongside political reform movements sponsored by labor unions and other activist organizations, YMCA, YWCA, the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Boys & Girls Clubs, Red Cross, Key Club, and similar participatory empowerment organizations gradually turned the Gilded Age of robber barons into the Progressive era of large-scale upward mobility.  It was this veritable swarm of voluntary organizations, clubs and movements that collectively defined Western European & American social development during the 20th Century and transformed what would otherwise have been a wave of world-wide Fascism following the 1st World War, into an era of Social Democracy in the developed, non-Communist nations. Fascism wasn’t just a European or Latin American phenomenon. We too easily forget that, in these decades, alongside the League of Women Voters & the ACLU, the American Legion and the KKK were running strong, and that FDR was almost ousted by a bankers’ coup in 1933.  This is not to say that the Progressive movement was not co-opted by some of the nefarious forces intent on continuing Imperialism and Fascism (like Woodrow Wilson (who imprisoned Eugene Debs for opposing WW1), Herbert Hoover & even Hitler with the Int’l Red Cross), but it is undeniable that these forces were greatly tempered by Progressive impulses.

    While a modest middle class was coming into being (it didn’t really take off until after the 2nd World War), this was mostly a time when widespread poverty & great inequality spread alongside rapid industrial development & prosperity for a few industrialists & their professional lackeys. Before the 1930s, there were little to no legal protections for workers or tenants or public assistance programs to enhance upward mobility. Educational opportunities for the poor were limited at best. In this context, the great voluntary armies of the Progressive era spread like wildfire.

    Today we are facing a very similar situation: massive economic contraction & erosion of social & legal protections for poor & middle class people. Inequality in the US has reached equal levels and risen across Europe, Canada & Australia since the 1960s. In many parts of the developing world, inequality is worse today than it was at 1900. In the “rich world,” creeping poverty is met by crumbling infrastructure – including water & sanitation systems – due in part to a tax system too reliant upon wage incomes & not enough on capital gains & corporate profits. Yet all this is occurring alongside a period of marked technological innovation. In short, the Gilded Era has returned. Like it’s predecessor, today’s Gilded Era must coincide with & be succeeded by a new Progressive Era. Like then, however, the call cannot be met only with political & macroeconomic reforms. Voluntary associations – sponsored in part by philanthropists – need to assist with class mobilization & fill in the training & motivation gap left by closing schools & overworked parents. So far – much because of the individualist cultural revolutions that characterized post-war 20th C consumer society as well as the decline of the extended family & clan-based structures that always accompanies advanced industrialization – philanthropists, disadvantaged persons and concerned middle class persons alike have failed to grasp the importance of facilitating voluntary, collaborative empowerment organizations analogous to those that dominated the Progressive Era.

    Yet, given today’s hyper-individualist & consumerist cultural climate in developed world, is this likely to occur?

  • Anonymous

    6 Reasons why today’s Gilded Era may not be followed by a new Progressive One (Part 2 of 3)

    3. National Might v. Global Governance

    To secure the New Protectionism, to privatize the vital resources of every nation, and to establish a system of Global Wage Arbitrage, where – in absence of any substantial regulations against exploitation or environmental destruction & pollution – each nation’s pool of workers must compete in a Race To The Bottom for the investment dollars of the ruling transnational capitalists & their private central banks, the vanguard of this class has erected a not-so-shadowy system of “Global Governance” via a lattice of trade & finance organizations operating above the sovereignty of the nations implicated by their decisions. Examples: Trade: WTO, G6, G7, G8, G20, WEF. Finance: World Bank, IMF, Bank of International Settlements, Inter-American Development Bank, African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank.  Interfacing and adapting the paradigms articulated by these Global Governance trade & policy groups to regional contexts are a series of regional trade & policy blocs oriented toward preserving Neoliberal, “Investment friendly” transnational rule of corporations. Examples: the European Union, the Organization of American States, the African Union, the Arab League, the ASEAN, CAFTA-DR, the FTAA, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This is mirrored by a corresponding network of “international security partnerships” that enforce the policies articulated by the global governance organs.  Examples: NATO, the regional outpost of the US global imperialist army (NORTHCOM, CENTROCOM, SOUTHCOM, AFRICOM), and CSCAP, GUAM, SCO, SAARC, UNASUR. The trade and security forums are informed by policies crafted by the dominant financial interests through various domestic think tanks like the CFR, Brookings Institution, Trilateral Commission, Hoover Institute, RAND, Heritage Found, Urban & Manhattan Institutes, Cato, AEF, Chatham House, etc. Aside from these formal organs, there are the secretive, private business-government networking and “discussion” groups where deals are worked out behind closed doors under the guise of “informal, off the table collaboration sessions”: e.g. Bilderberg and its roundtable chapters.

    All, or the great majority of this transnational framework enshrining the protocols and interests of the global financial elite did not exist 110 years ago, and their interlocking hegemony constitutes a formidable challenge to the popular constituencies of any given nation in pursuing significant reforms to lessen inequality and eradicate poverty through workers’ enfranchisement.  Today’s financial elite are light years ahead of yesterday’s at making sure the tables turn their way.

    4. The Power of Privacy in facilitating effective Political Resistance v. Complete Surveillance & Total Informational Awareness of the Elites

    One of the principal reasons why today’s Bandit Capitalism is less likely to be reformed by a new Progressive Era than was the Gilded Era of yesteryear, is the asymmetric control of information possessed by the transnational capitalist class and the state organs that increasingly serve as their proxy.  The protests, riots, catcall strikes and general strikes of the 1910s and 20s and all the whisperings and hidden warehouse meetings that organized them could never have taken place today, as the affiliations, activities, whereabouts, preferences, histories, political involvements, leanings, etc. of every person and every worker can be known before, during and after his or her employment at a given company.  Where were the background checks, CORI reports, Credit & Consumer behavior reports, facial-recognition-capable surveillance cameras, signal interceptions, cell phone tapping, GPS monitors, triangulating satellites with street-level viewing power, ultra-compact hidden recorders, Facebooks, Googles, Linked-Ins, Inteliuses, Biometric ID cards, TSA & DHS watch lists, Infrared Body Scanners, CIA drones and Predictive Analytics programs (e.g. Recorded Future and IBM’s “Predictive Crimes Unit”) in 1900?  Plants, informants, trench coat spies, telegrams and agent provocateurs could only do so much at preventing the formation and efficacy of workers rights and civil rights organizations during that time, and information moved far more slowly. In 1905, How would Pullman know not to hire a worker at his Chicago franchise who had been a labor organizer years before at a New York competitor?  Likely, it would have been extremely difficult and more expensive to know. Today the picture is unimaginably different as all the old tools remain, yet are combined with infinitely more powerful ones. It is not only the elite’s ability to gather & monitor the information about those who might challenge their interests through legal, nonviolent means that has grown, but also the elite’s ability to predict and engineer the outcomes of grassroots organization as it spreads through workplaces, neighborhoods and the alternative media has grown considerably.  A new and far more sophisticated form of Redlining and Blacklisting has already begun to emerge with what is known as Social Graph Recruitment (where organizations only hire those socially connected to them in particular ways, and with certain characteristics & opinions), and Social Network-derived Credit Scores, where the creditworthiness of your friends and family is used to infer likelihoods about you and communicated to interested corporate parties & employers for a small fee. It doesn’t matter if you select “keep private” or don’t post anything personal on your profile. The list social connections is all that matters. If people don’t think this is being used to blacklist or gradually eliminate people who support labor unions, populist or Progressive politics on the Right or the Left from the workplace, they can think again, and I have many current examples to back up that claim. The examples I listed do not even begin to scratch the surface of the informational and analytical asymmetry the elite possesses today in relationship to the masses to safeguard its interests against progressive reforms.

    The temptation to use this information power to prevent reforms that undermine the fat cats’ bottom line has already proven too strong. COINTELPRO, Operation Gardenplot and the CIA Special Activities Division were just the beginning. Who knows how many Operation Metalgears and Offices of Strategic Influnce are currently active?

    • Wautelet

      You have nailed it . And unless we  citizens get off our axxx we are doomed I am a old guy but if some one had a reasonable explanation for insurrection Political or other means I Have had military training. Too many noble men have come before us to let their beliefs die w/o my making the effort and just stand by to watch for It to happen

  • Anonymous

    6 Reasons why today’s Gilded Era may not be followed by a new Progressive One (Part 1 of 3)

    The massive political & economic reforms in the United States during the 1880s-1930s that ran alongside the Gilded Era and eventually displaced it with the Progressive Era were successful for many reasons. Daron Acemoglu briefly referenced these movements as a reason why he believes that similar reforms will eventually be able to rectify the ravages that Monopoly Finance Capitalism has wreaked on us since then. There are many differences between that time and our own, however, that lead me to believe otherwise. I have identified 6 major differences and there are several more which I didn’t have the time to detail. In particular, I’d have liked to talk about the consolidation, ubiquity and sophistication of the Media in the hands of 6 major companies today versus the more diverse and less culturally penetrative press in existence at the turn of the 20th century.

    1. Industrial v. Financial Composition of Elite Wealth & its effects on class-wide Collective Bargaining Power

    The ruling robber barons at the turn of the last century – the Vanderbilts, Goulds, Rockefellers, Carnegies, Astors & Gettys – derived the lion’s share of their fortunes from domestic industry & made sure that laws were in place to protect it from international competition. As J.D. Rockefeller once famously quipped: “Competition is a sin.”  Furthermore, though developing markets were indeed being built at that time across the world – in the most heinous and rapacious manner, as they are today- they were almost exclusively commodity extraction zones rather than manufacturing outposts. Despite automation, the booming industries of that day – coal, rail, steel, steel & metal products, oil, ready made garments, cheap furniture, construction, household goods – were more labor intensive than those of present. Thus the monopoly capitalists had a fatal flaw: they were dependent upon domestic manufacturing workers and domestic commodity workers for their fortunes and had a vested interest in maintaining tariff barriers to exclude overseas competitors.  This left the door wide open for trade unions and the progressive national economic reforms in favor of economic enfranchisement they would pass into law.

    This reliance upon domestic labor paved the way for the desperately impoverished and barefoot breaker boys at Rockefeller’s Pennsylvania coal mines to eventually wield power in the labor movement. That the labor movement – which saw 44% of the private sector workforce unionized by 1953 (it is now only 7%) – was the single largest force in transforming the United States political economy from a slash and burn land of bandit capitalists & subsisting hoards into a more equitable force for general prosperity is an indisputable fact. The minimum wage (for all but agricultural & domestic workers, a fatal flaw that persists to this day), limits on work hours (first the 12, then the 10 then the 8 hour movement, resulting at last in “the weekend”), the abolition of child labor for most occupations, the increase in educational spending & compliance, the public university system (now mostly titular), public transit and utility companies, the legal right to join a union & the legal enforcement of collective bargaining agreements, workplace health & safety measures, unemployment & disability insurance, the highly progressive income tax, Social Security and eventually – under the New Deal Coalition’s last hurrah in LBJ’s term – Food Stamps, Medicare & Medicaid were all the direct result of – the now vanished – union clout in Washington. Without these reforms, the US would look much like Central America does today.  As these reforms are slowly dismantled – the US (especially in the central & southern states) has already begun to resemble Central America and will eventually be indistinguishable from it.

    However, after the passage of the first of many globalist trade agreements in the 1990s, the financial elite of the nation no longer relies on any given national constituency of labor – let alone that of the US. Now that Elite wealth has shifted into Finance & Investment versus manufacturing & primary commodity production, and broadened the instruments of their protection from national legislative organs onto international governance organs, the poor and exploited of every nation have immeasurably less implicit bargaining power than they did at the turn of the 20th century.

    2. The Old Protectionism v. The New Protectionism.

    As stated, at the turn of the last century, the majority of the ruling Capitalists in the US, Britain, Germany, France and elsewhere had, for the most part, more to gain from protective barriers against imports than they had to loose. Hence, this was the ruling orthodoxy until the end of the 2nd World War.  This dependency on domestic labor was one of the preconditions of the society-wide collective bargaining that occurred in the developed world through the influence of the “Old Left” on national politics. After the 1930s, workers protections, public services, social insurance and (in Europe, not the US) nationalization, infrastructure extravaganzas, were the name of the game, and this has an unprecedented, massive effect at reducing poverty & creating the famed, now vanishing, “middle class” or “professional class.”

    Yet that has all changed–for the worse. In no small way shaped by the geopolitical maneuverings of the Cold War, and via the ubiquitous use of illegal invasions, military juntas & coup d’etats by the US in the developing world from 1900 through present, the political economy of industrial titans has moved to the “2nd World” nations, typified by BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China), while the “developed” or “1st world” nations have shifted into a phase where the majority of elite wealth is derived from finance, banking & investment – reliant on ‘developing markets’ – and where the majority of the “1st world” citizenry is employed in service occupations, many of which are highly dependent on disposable income. The industrial expansion phase usually witnesses the highest GDP growth, and that is why BRIC-style economies are growing at more than 2x the rate of the “developed” nations. It is also the reason that the USSR and Eastern-bloc nations grew at almost 2x the rate of Western Europe, following WW2: they were Pareto improving and going through their agricultural to industrial shift. Today, this global structural shift, however, has greatly weakened the implicit collective bargaining power of the masses against the elites in the developed world and – because of the now international, versus national politics of trade & monetary policy – the ability of workers in the world’s manufacturing hotspots to bargain upward has been significantly eroded in comparison to 100 years ago. Corresponding to this national focus of elite economic wealth in yesteryear, were foreign policy regimes oriented around national expansionism, which – via Right Wing parties – relied on Nationalist ideology to gain popular support/consent. Despite the internationalist emphasis of Leninism, the Left-wing correlate of this in most of the world during the post-war Era was towards Autarky and Import Substitution Industiralization, rather than international solidarity movements.

    Despite the flickers of reactionary tendencies across the world during the current global depression, however, a radical tectonic shift has occurred since the first part of the 20th century. Aided by the information & telecom revolutions, today’s financial elite today is truly global in its practical and political outlook. The OLD PROTECTIONISM of import tariffs is now contrary to its purposes, and thus the transnational elite has used its leverage – overt, covert, formal and informal – to dismantle these type of policies across the world, in favor of rigged “free trade agreements” privileging their own international organs of commerce over local, small time competitors, and – especially and particularly – over the nationally based workers and citizens’ constituencies that they employ (see next section, “Global Governance”). That is why there is such a laughably hypocritical emphasis in conservative politics today on the free-flow of (certain types of) capital across national borders but not the correspondingly free flow of labor. Instead, today’s elites have opted for a NEW PROTECTIONISM of property law harmonization favoring tax breaks, exemptions, subsidies and giveaways across the world. Most importantly, they have sought to dramatically over-protect so-called intellectual property in ways previously unimaginable: ACTA (and its corresponding SOPA & PIPA), FTAA, the TPP and the outrageous Sony Bono Copyright Extension Act of 1998, are great examples of this. Most people are unaware that in 2011, the United States flushed 100+ years of patent law down the drain by switching from an “inventors first” system to “filers first” system, greatly enhancing the advantage of large corporate powers over those of individual inventors and small tech outfits. Multimillion dollar, international websites like Megaupload have been shut down by the Feds without a trial or hearing. Copyright violators in the UK – a kid in his early 20s operating from his living room sharing music files on the net – have been extradited to the United States for trial. We can expect these draconian tendencies to steadily extend into the ominous world of what RFID pioneer, Kevin Ashton, once called “The Internet of Things.”  Such is the New Protectionism.

  • Modavations

    Today is “National Water Day”.This is why nations die

  • Oldirish

    Listened to part of the show today while traveling through Buffalo.  I think Tom’s perception of income equality may be a little skewed.  At cia.gov there is a measure of family income equality of 140 countries.  The U.S. ranks around 100th just behind Cameroon and Iran.
    If you look at pure statistics of wealth and income it is clear there has been a massive redistribution of wealth to the very top over the last 30 years.  Wealth redistribution has been going on for 30 years, yet when it flows up (not “trickle down”) nobody, including the media calls it redistribution of wealth.
    One can only wonder why.

    • Modavations

      Very simply,as the quality of the public school declined,income disparity increased.When you graduate from a public school and can barely handle a job at McDonalds….well you get it.Who ever heard of remedial courses in college!!!

      • Melvina2

        And why is that? Could it be because funding for public education has been diminishing for decades, while politicians keep pushing for provitization?

        The only ones who will benefit from privatizing education, Social Security, Medicare, and other government programs are the people who own these businesses. With their quest for bigger and bigger profits, quality of products and services go down along with wages and benefits. That has already been going on for 30 years, and look where it has gotten us.

        • Still Here

          have you seen the per student education funding charts; the output is diminishing, the input has experienced off the charts growth

        • Modavations

          No,I saw Christie on C-Span three weeks ago.They spend 17,000.00 per student,per annum,in N.J.Why are you afraid the experiment with vouchers?

  • uncle davey

    Can you have non-extractive institutions with capitalism?  (No really, in the real world.)

  • Goldstein

    Mr. Acemoglu may be an economist but he apparently has no knowledge of Spanish history and the conquest of the New World. Calling the Spanish role in the discovery of the New World as “only extractive” is highly biased on his part.The Spaniards brought Christianity and civilization to the Americas (it wasn’t all about the gold as the Hispanophobes claim). It’s a fact that the English nearly exterminated the Native Americans of the United States and Canada; moreover, the English and Dutch were highly racist and did not allow the mixing of races. If the Spaniards wiped out every single native group in Mexico, Central, and South America as so many ill-educated pundits in the United States claim; then why is there such a huge indigenous and Mestizo population (the vast majority) in Spanish speaking countries compared to the United States and Canada? Can anyone answer this? What about the fact that sadistic Protestant England attempted to exterminate the Catholic Irish and other Celtic people? How the English persecuted Catholics? How the English profiteered at the expense of African slaves? The persecution of Aborigines in Australia? New Zealand? The current situation in the Middle East created by English colonial involvement? Apartheid in South Africa created by Anglo-Dutch racist policies? Should we talk about the exploitation of India and China as well? I think these points clearly indicate that Englans is the most “extractive” nation in Europe.

    • Ray in VT

      You make some very real and important points regarding the terrible actions of the English in both the Old World and the New, however, I think that your comments relating to the actions of the Spanish in the New World betray some bias as well.

      There already was civilization in the New World by any standard of measure.  Ancient Mesoamerica boasted some of the largest cities in the world at the time of first contact with the Spanish, and Incan civilization also existed at a highly developed level in South America.  They may not have had Western civilization, but they had civilization.  Being one who is not religious, I won’t argue here whether or not to argue that their having brought Christianity to the Americas should count for or against them.

      The Spanish also brought diseases to the New World, like Smallpox, that killed millions, although it wasn’t intentional, and it looks like they may have taken syphilis back.  To the island of Hispaniola they also brought death and destruction, nearly wiping out the entire native population within a couple of generations.  They may not have favored expulsion or annihilation, as many settlers in Anglo-America often did, but their legacy is nothing to be glorified.

      • Goldstein

        Disease and war did cause many deaths (along with Spanish casualties); however, 90% is inflated and easily debunked. In 1550, the Valladolid Board (Junta de Valladolid in Spanish) met to discuss the treatment of natives of the New World. Nowhere was there such piety of official intervention, such lengthy and learned deliberation on how the natives’ salvation might be best achieved; nor, in the last analysis, was any nation so successful in grafting its culture and religion onto an alien culture.

        Moreover, to call the indigenous tribes of the United States and Canada as having “nomadic lifestyle unable to support heavily populated areas” is ridiculous. The Navajo, Cherokee, Sioux, and other tribes cannot be dismissed as small populations. The  indigenous tribes of the United States and Canada may not have been as advanced as the Incas, Mayans, and Aztecs but they did have large developed populated areas as well. Your asinine claim that “10% of the tens of millions is still a big number, especially in those days, allowing faster recovery over 400 years” is an example of when one treats complex matters with such simplicity (a very common American symptom), one can only draw a biased caricature. Even if your hypothesis is correct, why is there still a Caucasian (Spanish and Portuguese) minority in Latin America and the Spanish Caribbean? According to your logic, the Indians were able to recover from the remaining 10% however would there not still be an even larger Caucasian majority?? Are you saying the Spanish and Portuguese stop reproducing for the last 400 years?? Your argument does not hold-up to the obvious visible fact that most people from former Spanish and Portuguese colonies are Indians and mestizos with a Caucasian minority. In contrast, the United States and Canada have an insignificant minority of Indians with a vast majority of “whites” (English and other Northern Europeans). Moreover, how so you explain the vast majority of “whites” in Australia and New Zealand? Mr. Acemoglu are you going to use the “nomadic lifestyle unable to support heavily populated areas” hypothesis again?

        • Ray in VT

          Are you sure that you replied to the correct post?  I didn’t use some of the numbers and quotes that you reference.

          • Modavations

            Ray you speak on everything and consistently know nothing

          • Ray in VT

            Well, only in my wildest dreams could I aspire to be as consistently ignorant and simplistic as you, so I yield to you on that front. 

          • Modavations

            You wouldn’t have the slightest idea where Valladollid is.Given enough time you’d turn this into a booster sessions for Unions,or green energy

          • Ray in VT

            Spain, but also apparently also in the Yucatan.  Given enough time you’d turn the destruction of Central and Southern American indigenous cultures into something that the Democratic party is responsible for.

      • Goldstein

        Disease and war did cause many deaths (along with Spanish casualties); however, 90% is inflated and easily debunked. In 1550, the Valladolid Board (Junta de Valladolid in Spanish) met to discuss the treatment of natives of the New World. Nowhere was there such piety of official intervention, such lengthy and learned deliberation on how the natives’ salvation might be best achieved; nor, in the last analysis, was any nation so successful in grafting its culture and religion onto an alien culture.

        Moreover, to call the indigenous tribes of the United States and Canada as having “nomadic lifestyle unable to support heavily populated areas” is ridiculous. The Navajo, Cherokee, Sioux, and other tribes cannot be dismissed as small populations. The  indigenous tribes of the United States and Canada may not have been as advanced as the Incas, Mayans, and Aztecs but they did have large developed populated areas as well. Your asinine claim that “10% of the tens of millions is still a big number, especially in those days, allowing faster recovery over 400 years” is an example of when one treats complex matters with such simplicity (a very common American symptom), one can only draw a biased caricature. Even if your hypothesis is correct, why is there still a Caucasian (Spanish and Portuguese) minority in Latin America and the Spanish Caribbean? According to your logic, the Indians were able to recover from the remaining 10% however would there not still be an even larger Caucasian majority?? Are you saying the Spanish and Portuguese stop reproducing for the last 400 years?? Your argument does not hold-up to the obvious visible fact that most people from former Spanish and Portuguese colonies are Indians and mestizos with a Caucasian minority. In contrast, the United States and Canada have an insignificant minority of Indians with a vast majority of “whites” (English and other Northern Europeans). Moreover, how so you explain the vast majority of “whites” in Australia and New Zealand? Mr. Acemoglu are you going to use the “nomadic lifestyle unable to support heavily populated areas” hypothesis again?

    • Tom Langley

       The Spaniards, English, et al did not bring the teachings of Jesus to anyone, anywhere but a corrupted perspective of a misinterpretation of his teachings that they called “Christianity” and still do to this day. The Native Americans already lived and breathed the One Truth that Jesus called “The Way”, had been living IT for thousands of years, and were exponentially closer to our/theirs/everyone’s/everything’s Creator than any European then, now, and any neo-American is to this day. As far as civilization is concerned, there were cities in the Americas far larger, more advanced, and more sophisticated than any city in Europe.

      As for the rest of your discussion concerning worldwide colonialism for profit which is the cause of most of the world’s problems today, we are in complete agreement.

      • id

        Uh … so the various Native American tribes warring on one another, torturing one another, enslaving one another, burning and looting one another’s villages, etc. were “The Way”?  You’re speaking fairy tales.  This revisionist glorification of Native Americans as harmless, peace loving people in harmony with nature and one another like some Pocahantas-like Disney rendition is fable.  They were no better or no worse than anyone else, Europeans included.   They burned areas to flush out game, ran herds of buffaloes off cliffs, etc.  They routinely slaughtered, maimed, and raped one another.  They occasionally practiced cannibalism and performed human sacrifices as well.  The only reason they didn’t destroy the environment more is because they didn’t have the technology to do so.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Spanish Conquistador ‘Christianity’ was so good?
         Roman Catholics have been exposed for raping children for decades, and they HIDE and PROTECT the criminals?

      • Modavations

        As the man from NAMBLA you would know.Hide your kids here comes Terry.This kid knows four things.
        The Pervert Priests did it
        Bush did it
        The Greedy Greedies did it
        I’m a volunteer fire fighter and the junkies stole our hoses

    • Modavations

      Nice stuff,worlds above the college boy crapola.I have much experience with Mex.They love Spain.Cortez is a hero of mine.They don’t get more bad ass.Problem is half your info is hearsay.You see war and malice,where I see, Boys Being Boys,The natural scheme of things.You seem to have a Spanish Complex.”Good Stuff though”

  • A Follower of Such Things

    This is not new stuff.  It is written much the same way and about the same stuff in Democracy in America by Alexis De Tocqueville.  Same stuff in the French revolution.  I hope that, since someone has summarized this all and provided new analysis that someone important will finally read it and do something about it.  Perhaps that is you, dear reader…

    • Anonymous

       If the future welfare of this country hinges on people actually reading books, we’re doomed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ellery-Tuck/100000121509965 Ellery Tuck

    Too bad the Mr. Ryan, Mit Romney, and those in control of the GOP can’t be bothered to read the book, and try and understand the very adverse effects that trickle down economic theory, has had upon our nation, and its people.  Today, the rich get richer, thanks to tax cuts to create jobs, which only creates more wealth in the top 2%. Their solution for our stalling economy, more tax cuts for the job creators, and more deregulation. We need to go back to a realistic progressive tax structure. 

    Ever since Ronald Reagan, the GOP has had its own wealth redistribution package, which has wounded this nation and increased the wealth of the top 2% by 32% since 1969. 

    As pointed out in the program,  We can recover, but realistic changes need to be made, Perhaps this is a beginning, if our Conservative politicians will actually take the time to understand what really needs to changed within our tax structure to reverse the continued migration of wealth to the top 2%.

  • Goldstein

    We must acknowledge history to understand the present. The English (Anglo-Saxons) have always been driven by materialism, over the top greed, and obsessive commerce. The English modus operandi has been one of insatiable hunger for buying and selling with no noble or spiritual quality. The English colonial system has been one of exclusion and extermination of the indigenous population (Thanksgiving is a fable) and to establish White Anglo-Saxon Protestant colonies only. Do you see a large population of indigenous people in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, or Australia? Only in small minorities on impoverished reservations that are on useless land; mass genocide of indigenous people at the hands of the English. Moreover, in 1767 during the French and Indian War, the English gave blankets laced with smallpox to Native Americans loyal to the French. The Irish who fought for their country and against Anglo-Saxon tyranny is another over-looked subject in our educational system. The Celtic Irish (the original inhabitants of Britannia, before the Anglo-Saxon squatters invaded from Germany) originally spoke Gaelic, and now are forced to speak English, and were forced out over 150 years ago due to the Potato Famine brought on by the English landlords who stole all their food and left the Irish with rotting potatoes. It was mass genocide of large proportions at the hands of the English Crown. The English killed well over 1 million Irish, but does anyone in the “scholarly world” ever stand up and take notice of this? The English and Anglo-Americans will make ridiculous excuses in an effort to conceal the attempted extermination of the Irish. Northern Ireland is a testament to this holocaust engineered by the English. The persecution and smearing of Catholics by the English Protestants continues to this day in many subtle ways.
     
    Moreover, what about China? How the English forced the Chinese to become addicted to opium for profit (The East India Company)? Apparently, the English Crown found drug peddling (in addition to slavery and piracy) as another way of enriching itself. Prime example of an Englishman’s practicality and ingenuity: Exterminate the Chinese with Opium addiction, and make a profit!  How about the legacy of slavery and the exploitation of Africa and Negro slaves at the hands of the English? English and American historians accuse the Portuguese and Spanish of slave trading when in fact impoverished 16th Century England pioneered Negro slave trading because it did not have any possessions in the New World until the 17th Century (the English found a new industry in addition to piracy). The English pirate “Sir” John Hawkins profiteered off slave trading in the name of Queen and Country. Another English hero, “Sir” Francis Drake in the 16th and 17th Centuries terrorized, plundered, looted, raped, burned churches, and killed innocent victims. The fact that the vast majority of inhabitants in the former English colonies in the Caribbean are decedents of African slaves is living proof of how much the English were engaged in the slave trade. Racial segregation and racist policies in South Africa is another legacy of Anglo-Dutch Miscegenation laws prohibiting interracial marriage, unlike the Portuguese and Spanish colonial laws that encouraged racial mixture (just look at how racially mixed Latin America is, with a Caucasian minority). Such racist laws were first introduced by the English in North America from the late seventeenth century onwards by several of the Thirteen Colonies, and subsequently by many U.S. states and U.S. territories and remained in force in many U.S. states until 1967 (no wonder racism is as American as apple pie)!
     
    Moreover, what about the exploitation and plunder of India, and the attempted extermination of its people by famine (same was done in Ireland)? Research the famine in India (over 10 million dead) under the command of Edward Robert Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton. Genocide caused by England, and conveniently swept under the rug by scholars and historians in the English-speaking world. The current situation in the Middle East is the legacy of English colonialism; the debacle they have created in the Middle East has been inherited by the United States. 

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

      Some of what you say is true…some simple BS.

      • Goldstein

        Unfortunately, most English-speaking scholars, teachers, pundits, and diplomats speak with a highly venomous tongue against Spain and other Roman Catholic nations. The long litany of sheer calumnies (e.g. “the Spaniards are diseased people with Syphilis”) that the English (and Dutch) have fabricated throughout the centuries is shocking and despicable. The English and Dutch are definitely the creators of modern European political propaganda; however, the Black Legend was not just an attack based on politics and religious conflict, but an all out bigoted assault on the character of the Spanish people. The “Tree of Hate” is an excellent book based on historical facts from a variety of sources. I highly recommend this book as a first step in becoming aware of the Black Legend and its impact on contemporary society and media. Mr. Powell begins with the definition of the Black Legend and the early origins of Hispanophobia in England, and eventually the United States.

        • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

          Copy and paste is such a handy tool, isn’t it?

    • Modavations

      This is propaganda.aLL SPECULATION,NO FACT.There were no indigenous peoples.The  Americas are populated by Mpngolian tourists.There’s no proof of laced blankets.Every since Eve said to Adam if you want sex,I want diAMONDS,HAS THERE BEEN WAR.iT’S BOYS BEING BOYS.wHERE DIID YOU GO TO SCHOOL….”hATE wHITEY  uNIVERSITY”

      • Ray in VT

        So now you’ve taken to denying the destruction, and at times purposeful expulsion and extermination, of Native American populations?  Congratulations on reaching another new low.

        • Modavations

          Ray,please were done and don’t start chasing me ,nipping my ankles.Please

    • dghealy

      Please enlighten us with the motivations of other cultures. Murdering war lords in Africa, subjugation of women in Middle East, cultures of bribe economics in South and Central America, Please shed a light for us oh wise one.

  • Shannon Spence

    I tried to call but couldn’t get through.  My question is: does this idea extend to why it is important to have diversity (i.e. women and people of color) in business and places that they are not represented like politics and technology fields? In other words that there is a strong economic insentive for diversity? 

  • Ldiwas77

    What the professor neglected to mention is that slavery still exists in the United States.  It was only “abolished” in the sense that it was made illegal.  It was never actually eradicated.  Slaves exist in the same industries that they have typically been in – agriculture (migrant workers, both American citizens and not), hospitality (hotels, restaurants, etc), construction, domestic service (maids, etc), and prostitution.  Here is a link to the Florida Coalition Against Human
    Trafficking’s website that talks about these issues :
    http://www.stophumantrafficking.org . Often people who are employed are not paid what they are owed by their employers, and cannot afford a lawyer to sue to recover wages.  Miami-Dade County, Florida passed a wage theft law to combat this rampant problem, and then lobbyists and corporations fought at the state level to get the law repealed and to forbid any other municipality in Florida from establishing a similar law and to exempt employers from paying any penalties or damages for wage theft, but only have to pay the wages owed.    If you’re wages are low enough, you don’t have time to participate in the political process because you are too busy just trying to survive.  There has been a systematically dismantling of public education in this country for years.  They have made teaching in the public schools so miserable that teaching in the public schools has become one of the least desirable occupations in the nation, and most of the best and brightest go into other fields.   This is spearheaded by the elite so that most people, who cannot afford private schools, will not be educated enough to wrest power from the 1%.  This also greatly increases the cost of living, so that more people are working more hours with less time to participate in the political process.  The forces to counteract the consolidation of money and power simply do not currently exist in the U.S. to the levels they need to be to be effective.  If people do not start mobilizing now, this situation may be irretrievable. 

    • dghealy

      clients don’t  pay  lawyers for Workers Compensation Claims or for representation in cases involving violations of   the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”)

  • abrengle

    Bank of America is a great example of the new kind of extractive elite sucking the life blood out of America.  Some of the more pedantic here will poo poo the source, but Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi puts it in very plain terms http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/bank-of-america-too-crooked-to-fail-20120314 … and yes for all the Tea-baggers out there, government played a very enabling hand in it all.

  • Anonymous

    How about this for the height of hypocrisy (or maybe just good ol’ mendacity) 
    “I was doing God’s work.”
    Lloyd  Blankfein. 

    In fact, Blankfein and his ilk are engaged in extractive behaviors, aren’t they? See how quickly this would change if some of them, such as Blankfein and/or Fuld went to the slammer.

  • GMG

    Excellent, excellent show.  Both shows today were amazing.  Thank you On Point!    

  • Andrew Teichner

    At last we are getting to the root of the problem.  I now know I am not alone.  1 plus 1 equals one, inall-ways.

  • Modavations

    Next Fri.the President will sign off on XL.Why are nations lost….Linguini

    • Still Here

      Just the southern portion which doesn’t need his “sign-off.”
      Pure smoke ‘n mirrors politics.

      • Modavations

        He’ll go the whole thing next Fri.I should have clarified.Lo siento

  • http://twitter.com/aloysiusokon Aloysius Okon

    My answer: All of the above.

  • Zero

    My favorite insight of the show was about Feudalism: because populations decreased, bargaining power shifted from Lord to Surf. 

  • Teach Business

    Is there any were I can buy a copy of the “I need a bailout” song that was played on this show?

  • Tim E

    Excellent program, with a guest whose perspective is spot on.   This is a breath of fresh air, compared to the unproductive partisan rhetoric of the right and left.  I fear to read the ranting comments, but to know that people are at least within earshot of a man like Acemoglu is heartening.  Thank you, On Point!

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    I am listening to this show again (for a third time) and the thought occurs to me that not only does the democratic government need to resist the power of money and prevent it from taking over the power — but we also need to enforce the extractive institutions to pay the actual and full costs of their extraction.

    In other words, the most profitable companies in the world (ever) are the oil companies; and they need to pay for the pollution and the greenhouse gases that burning oil cause.  Why should they be allowed to make this insanely large profits, while they cause the potential destruction of the climate?

    The chemical balance of the climate is literally the most important thing that all of life depends on.  We are currently on track to completely mess up the lives of every human and all other forms of life on the planet.  Why are we allowing this to happen?

    There is no Planet B.    Please see 350.org

    Neil

  • Pingback: Why Nations Fail | Sarvodaya

  • Pingback: Why Nations Fail | Sarvodaya

  • Seylulleyl

     One might say that America since the Civil War has existed as THE SECOND REPUBLIC.

    THE FIRST REPUBLIC reached deadlock and ended in the Civil War.

    Will it continue to work itself out as the Second Republic?

    Will it become a THIRD REPUBLIC?

    Or will it become an EMPIRE?

    The
    internal politics and the history of the total social development in
    any country go a long way in explaining its foreign policy.  With an
    adequate understanding of these factors, we can visualize in what form
    that country will survive over the next two or three generations.

    In the latest post to my blog I summarize what some analysts have
    presented concerning the development of the United States.  I try to
    look at that history while keeping in mind the idea that there is a
    definite direction produced by the interaction of

     socioeconomic and political forces.  That direction gives us an idea about the future. 

    For those interested:

    The post is titled REPUBLIC OR EMPIRE

    The blog is Greenspan Worried

    http://theoriginalamed.blogspot.com/2012/04/republic-or-empire.html

  • Pingback: mo social security disability lawyer

ONPOINT
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Apr 17, 2014
Students cheer and wave as President Barack Obama, not pictured, exits the podium after speaking at the University at Buffalo, in Buffalo, N.Y., Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, beginning his two day bus tour speaking about college financial aid.  (AP)

The inside dope on college financial aid. The way it really works, who gets what, and how.

Apr 17, 2014
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In the week of Passover and anti-Semitic gunfire, we look at the history of the Jews with acclaimed historian Simon Schama. Plus, Pope Francis and the Catholic Church today.

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