Saturday, December 25, 2010

The 'Free Market' is a shibboleth

The "free market", "market mechanism" etc is virtually a shibboleth these days.

But the free market or cargo-cult market fundamentalism as I prefer to call it is the problem not the answer. Free markets or rather unregulated markets are what have caused the Great Recession and the climate change disaster.

"a carbon price might, in theory, make complimentary measures redundant. But, as Professor Ross Garnaut points out, it would need to be $50-$100 a tonne to make it so."

Compare this with Stiglitz who says the tax needs to be somewhere near $88/t.

Why can't we start at a low rate ($10-20/t) and move up from there over time? And return the fee as a citizen's dividend to post compensate for increased energy prices and mute criticism of the 'great big tax'.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Liberal Defence of Extraordinary Rendition

The Assange Case (Wikileaks) was the biggest story in the world for at least a week and a half.

Richard Seymour over at Lenin's Tomb didn't seem to notice it was happening.

No doubt he was busy playing 'revolutionary at the barricades' at some lefty protest or other.

He finally he jumps in with something on 21 December when it was all over (at least this initial skirmish). With an absolute tin ear for the local and international politics of the affair, his remarks involve wasting everybody's time discussing the sexual misconduct allegations. Seymour doesn't seem to realize that this doesn't matter. Maybe he's in the pay of the Empire like it was suspected Anna Ardin was.

The issue with the Assange case is simple:

Under no circumstances must Assange be extradited or rendered to the United States.

I'll repeat that. Rape be damned, Assange could be up for murder. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES MUST ASSANGE BE EXTRADITED OR RENDERED TO THE UNITED STATES.

The reason is, persons cannot be extradited to a place where they may not get a fair trial, may be detained without trial, tortured or executed. Especially persons who are critics of the Empire and who are not guilty or even charged with any crime concerning their dissenting activities.

Remember also that Assange is a White Male of Christian origin and a Citizen of an Allied Country. Who's next if he is fair game?

There needs to be an effective guarantee from the Swedish Government that he will not be so extradited. Otherwise there should be protests up to and including civil disobedience to physically prevent any such extradition to Sweden.

My suspicion is Seymour can't see this issue for the same reason he couldn't see the Global Financial Crisis, otherwise known as the Great Recession or Great Depression 2 depending on how it pans out. He's a traditional Marxian lefty and has a blind spot on the issues of civil liberties and finance capitalism.

This deficiency in politics and economics is pretty major considering the nature of the Marxist project. In fact, it is tragic. We cant put all the blame on Marx, the sad fact it the understanding was simply not there for him and for much of the 20th Century. But it is now time to do better.

Neo-liberal oligarchism has been running amuck across the whole world for the last 30 or 40 years now. Part of the problem no doubt has been the near total collapse and incoherency of the traditional left.