I Spend, Therefore I Am

I Spend, Therefore I Am by Edward Skidelsky

to read Edward Skidelsky’s review of Philip Roscoe’s book published January 21, 2014 in The Guardian, click on


I Spend, Therefore I Am is a splendid denunciation of the dismal science in the grand tradition of Dickens and Carlyle. Not only does economics embody a false image of man, claims Philip Roscoe; it remakes him according to that false image. It “brings into being the agent about whom it theorises: self-interested, calculative and even dishonest”. It has recast each of us as an “entrepreneur of the self”…

Two mechanisms are central to Roscoe’s account. The first is the incentive. Economists treat all human behaviour as responsive to monetary costs and benefits. “The typical economist believes the world has not yet invented a problem that he cannot fix if given a free hand to design the proper incentive scheme,” write Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner, authors of the bestselling Freakonomics. Roscoe agrees and argues that incentives have been disastrously influential, not least in justifying bankers’ bonuses. The trouble with monetary incentives is not that they don’t work – often they do, at least in the short term – but that they “crowd out” other, nobler sources of motivation: professional pride, institutional loyalty and public spirit. They bring into being the kind of person they presuppose, shrewd and mercenary. As popular wisdom has always known, if you treat people like knaves they will behave like knaves.

The other villain of Roscoe’s story is measurement. Scoring systems now exist for everything under the sun, including quality of life, intellectual achievement, sex appeal and other such intangibles. Embedded in governmental and corporate software, these systems shape the very conduct they claim to measure.

more at www.nextnewdeal.net, www.foreffectivegov.org, www.freembtranslations.net, www.onthecommons.org, www.worklessparty.org, www.storyofstuff.com, www.progressive-economics.ca and www.therealnews.com

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The unconditional basic income – a social concept for Europe, 38pp

The time is right for alternative economics after the “money-out-of-nothing” phase. The financial markets must be shrivelled and the public sectors expanded. Profit-making is different than profit-maximizing. Economics as now taught is like brainwashing (cf. Christoph Thielemann). The neoliberal model is increasing profit, not investment (Nikolaus Krowell).

to read Christoph Keller’s 38-page Bachelor’s thesis “The Unconditional basic income – a social concept for Europe” at the University of Southern Denmark, May 23, 2011, click on



The social budgets in Western societies are exploding due to demographic changes and the interrelated pension entitlements. In addition to that, the social divide between rich and poor widens with increasing structural unemployment. The writing is on the wall, society needs nothing less than a new social contract. This paper questions whether an unconditional basic income fulfills the egalitarian aspirations of European nations and contributes to social justice and unity. On the basis of egalitarianism and social capital theory, the concept of an unconditional basic income is assessed against the backdrop of empirical European examples of the contemporary social division. It is concluded that a basic income scheme can serve as a tool, to significantly increase equality and social justice in society. The resultant detachment of income and employment certainly changes the inherited ways of reasoning. Preferably sooner than later, the ‘old’ thinking will need to be overcome, in order for societies and budgets to benefit.

more at www.nextnewdeal.net, www.foreffectivegov.org, www.onthecommons.org, www.therealnews.com, www.storyofstuff.com and www.worklessparty.org

Posted in Basic income, Reducing Inequality/ Redistribution | Leave a comment

Anti-Democratic Straitjackets by Pia Eberhardt

Anti-Democratic Straitjackets
Pia Eberhardt e-mail: marc1seed@yahoo.com


The TTIP Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (sometimes called TAFTA) is an anti-democratic corporate investment agreement that allows corporations to sue sovereign states for loss of expected profits. This free trade agreement negotiated in secret since 2013 does not allow states to sue corporations and decisions or awards are irreversible.

Fracking moratoriums, education, health care, Germany’s nuclear exit, minimum wage, chlorinated chicken, hormone-treated beef, genetic corn, the public sector in general and culture are potentially threatened by investor-state dispute settlements (ISDS) in private arbitration courts. The EU Commission and Germany in particular have suspended negotiations on investor protection and called a public consultation. Environmentalists, labor and social movements throughout Europe urge scrapping the TTIP/CETA/ TISA negotiations.

You can download a 20-page Alternative Trade Mandate (December 2013) from 50 NGOs at www.alternativetrademandate.org.

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Who Cares? A Feminist Critique of the Care Economy

to read the 28-page study “Who Cares? A Feminist Critique of the Care Economy” published in August 2014 by the Rosa Luxemburg foundation, click on


We live in an increasingly uncaring world. Patriarchal capitalism offers rich financial rewards to those who pursue their individual self-interest and penalizes those committed to the care of others. Competition is more highly valued than cooperation, and individual rights trump social obligation. Family and community life are treated as leisure activities, largely reserved for official holidays. Yet the word “care” plays an increasingly important role in our cultural vocabulary, perhaps because promises to attend to the personal needs of others have become less plentiful and therefore more precious.

more at www.nextnewdeal.net, www.foreffectivegov.org, www.steadystate.org, www.worklessparty.org, www.therealnews.com and www.storyofstuff.com

Posted in Alternative Economics, Reducing Inequality/ Redistribution | Leave a comment

TTIP: Threat to Democracy and the Constitutional State

The TTIP. the largest free trade zone comprising 800 million of the EU and the US, is being secretly negotiated. Democracy and the constitutional state are threatened by 3-person arbitration courts where corporations can sue states and decisions are irreversible. A parallel system of adjudication is created that favors foreign investors and endangers social and environmental regulations.
IG Metal, Verdi service union and C Butterwegge comment.


more at www.alternativetrademandate.org, www.citizen.org, www.therealnews.com, and www.onthecommons.org

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Self-Determination Means Market Determination

We face the continuing dissolution of traditional types, forms and rules, not a new type, a new form or a new rule… What was once called estrangement or objectification should appear as workers’ own interest. Corresponding to the market has to be our elementary need. We have to follow it like a train of capitalist lemmings. Flexibility has nothing to do with individual sovereignty. Rather it means being completely handed over to the outward demands. The flexibility of people is nothing but the dictation of the markets. The flexibilized are trained along economic needs and do not direct themselves. Submitting to the so-called practicall necessities is vital.

Karl Polanyi spoke of a dis-embedded economy… A tendency to barbarism and violence is inherent in a completely capitalized and economized world… We need an economy that orients its practice by natural realities and criteria of material needs and ecological compatibility and no longer acts according to money-categories… Imagining a world beyond commodities and money and doing our utmost practically for its realization become increasingly urgent. Intellectual courage is the prerequisite.

to read the articles by Franz Schadl and Gotz Eisenberg (“The Victory of the Economy over Life”) translated from the German, click on


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Video: “Occupy Love” (2013), 1 hr 19 min

Resistance is part of our nature as antibodies are part of our bodies.
Economics should be pluralist, not monolithic as the economy should be part of life, not a steamroller crushing self-determination and creativity.

to watch “Occupy Love” (2013), click on


See also:
www.nextnewdeal.net, www.foreffectivegov.org, www.worklessparty.org, www.storyofstuff.com and


Posted in Alternative Economics, Reducing Inequality/ Redistribution | Leave a comment

A Brief Theory of the Market by Ulrich Thielemann, 2000, 21pp

A Brief Theory of the Market – Ulrich Thielemann, 21pp, 2000

Profit making is not profit maximizing. Studying economics today is like brainwashing. The economy must be embedded in society, not society in the economy. These important insights from professor Ulrich Thielemann can be discerned in his early study “A Brief Theory of the Market.”


Carlos Slim among the richest men in an interview to a business and economics publication suggested one-day-a-week work week.

more at www.nextnewdeal.net, www.foreffectivegov.org, www.steadystate.org, www.onthecommons.org, www.storyofstuff.com, www.worklessparty.org, www.progressive-economics.ca, www.therealnews.com, www.freembtranslations.net and www.submedia.tv

Posted in Financial Market Capitalism, Neoliberalism | Leave a comment


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The Abiding Economics of John Kenneth Galbraith

The Abiding Economics of John Kenneth Galbraith by James Galbraith, June 7, 2007

to read the 10-page article by Marc Lee and James Galbraith, June 7, 2007, click on


I want however to speak about Galbraith the economist, and to go a bit beyond the comment I made at his 90th birthday almost nine years back. On that occasion I asserted — what I believe to be true – that as an economist he transcends fame. In the long run, his name will be recorded alongside those of Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Thorstein Veblen, and John Maynard Keynes, among the greatest reform economists of all time…

Like Veblen, Galbraith in my view deserves to be recorded as a transforming figure. Like Veblen, he offers an approach, a manner of thought, a structure — to an economics that manifestly still waits, and greatly needs, to be transformed…

1. From The Great Crash, we have of course the conviction that financial panics affect real activity. No one in the 19th century or with experience of agriculture ever seriously doubted that the economy runs on credit or that real activity depends on banks. Only in the higher reaches of academic life could such a thing be denied. The denial, nevertheless, took powerful hold. The Great Crash is a wonderful corrective. It has remained continuously in print for over fifty years – outselling all of Galbraith’s books into the bargain…

2. The Affluent Society is now remembered for its endearing, enduring phrases, above all the “concept of the conventional wisdom,” and for its evocative passages on private opulence and public squalor, such as the one about the “family which takes its mauve and cerise, air-conditioned, power-steered and power-braked automobile out for a tour [and] passes through cities that are badly paved, made hideous by litter, blighted buildings, and posts for wires that should long since have been put underground…” before going on to “picnic on exquisitely packaged food from a portable icebox by a polluted stream [and spending] the night at a park which is a menace to public health and morals.”…

3. Then we have the theory of economic organization in The New Industrial State. Here Galbraith built on the foundation of Berle and Means, on Joseph Schumpeter and to some extent on Max Weber, on the behavioral formalisms of Herbert A. Simon, and on his own American Capitalism of 1952 and its concept of countervailing power. I love the opening lines of American Capitalism, and used them to open my father’s memorial service a year ago:

“It is told that the such are the aerodynamics and wing-loading of the bumble-bee that, in principle, it cannot fly. It does, and the knowledge that it defies the august authority of Isaac Newton and Orville Wright must keep the bee in constant fear of a crack-up. One can assume, in addition, that it is apprehensive of the matriarchy to which it is subject, for this is known to be an oppressive form of government. The bumblebee is a successful but an insecure insect.”

more at www.freembtranslations.net, www.progressive-economics.ca, www.worklessparty.org, www.therealnews.com, www.onthecommons.org, www.steadystate.org, www.buzzflash.com, www.alternativetrademandate.org

Posted in Reducing Inequality/ Redistribution, Reducing Working Hours, Roosevelt and New Deal | Leave a comment