Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Saturday, June 25, 2016


Disrupting the disruptors

by Tom Sullivan

A long piece at Washington Monthly is worth your attention. Barry C. Lynn and Phillip Longman examine ten ideas for giving power back to the people of this country and for creating an economy that serves us. A lot of us are pretty damned tired of the arrangement where we serve the economy.

"Populism With a Brain" draws on the tradition that arose in response to the First Gilded Age. The principles that drove policy then — and have been sorely eroded since the 1970s — might be re-applied to the Second Gilded Age today:

These first Populists drew upon a political philosophy with roots back to the American Revolution. Part of this tradition is familiar—a belief that government must be run by the people. Populists called for direct election of senators and led the push for referendums and initiatives to bypass corrupt legislatures. But another part is largely forgotten—that the people are sovereign over the economy and have a responsibility to structure markets to promote the common good.

This was the “democratic republicanism” of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. It holds that, just like political power, economic power must be distributed as widely as possible. Thus, the Populists focused much of their energy on combating efforts to monopolize commerce and natural resources, especially land. They also closely studied how to govern large corporations, and strongly supported unionization of workers and farmers to counter the power of concentrated capital.
Eroding the power of concentrated capital has been central to Bernie Sanders' campaign. The reach of the financial sector and its power to remake government into one of, by, and for the corporations has been evident since the 2008 financial meltdown, yet too little has been done to bring it too heel. Even Sen. Elizabeth Warren's crusade to forestall further corporate wilding has been little more than a speed bump from Wall Street's perspective. What Populists sought was to prevent the concentration of that power by disallowing monopolistic concentrations of power in the first place.

In particular, the turn away from this Populist tradition and towards a preference for efficiency, they suggest, has led us to yet another Gilded Age in which people are no longer viewed as citizens, but as consumers:
In this tradition, breaking up monopoly has little to do with promoting efficiency or better deals for consumers, and everything to do with protecting political equality, self-government, and democratic institutions. As Brandeis explained, “The doctrine of the separation of powers was adopted . . . not to promote efficiency but to preclude the exercise of arbitrary power.” The way to “save the people from autocracy,” he said, is precisely by building “friction” into the system.

Over the following decades, these principles guided how Americans distributed economic power and protected industrial liberty. Despite wave after wave of technological change, concentration declined in almost every realm of the economy.

But in the 1970s, a small group of intellectuals—some, like Alfred Kahn, with roots in mainstream liberalism; and others, like Robert Bork, with roots in conservative Chicago school economics—systematically targeted the achievements of the Populist tradition. While anti-monopoly laws remained on the books, they were reinterpreted in ways that defeated their historical purpose. No longer would the aim be to promote economic and political liberty. Instead, according to guidelines enacted in 1982 by Ronald Reagan’s Justice Department, big corporations would be allowed to get bigger so long as they did not immediately hike prices to the “consumer.”

In retrospect, the evidence is close to irrefutable that adoption of this philosophy of “efficiency” unleashed a process of concentration that over the last generation has remade almost the entire U.S. economy, and is now disrupting our democracy.
No kidding. Read Lynn's and Longman's article for the skeleton of an agenda for defanging the fat cats. If it doesn't get discussed, it won't have a prayer.