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60 responses to “G20 Summit: A new Bretton Woods?”

  1. paul walter

    Gee, there tasty little chunks in that.
    Firstly, Flint fighting with the other ultras. Delightful!
    But isn’t Aussie MSM on life support, when you’ve got to go to a tiny fringe outfit like Crikey to get to even the beginnings of an explication in print as to what it’s all been about?
    Trust Dubya to make Palin look intelligent- only he could have accomplished that.
    Paulson, the sleazer.
    Yes, did anyone expect any different?
    Obama- well one supposes there’s always a first time (for leadership). Or will he just be another Rudd, etc?

  2. TimT

    Between a political organization of society and an economic organization of society, which will be the dominant form?

    Hmmm, sounds like something of a false dichotomy…

  3. Jack Strocchi

    The interesting thing about recent politicsal developments is the inevitable pressure towards concerted global action to address intractable public goods problems. The UN and associated multilateral institutions (eg G20) are going have to take a front seat in the Big Picture issues such as:

    – martial security eg Middle East conflict
    – natural sustainability eg Global warming
    – financial stability eg insolvency contagion

    Invariably global multilateralism will entail forms of global statism since only states have the wherewithal and powers to make much of a difference on the global scale.

    So we are seeing a gradual evolution towards global statism. The flip-side of the global capitalism touted by Washington Consensus.

  4. Mark

    It’s a little bit of one, I agree, in the sense that each implies the other – but I think it sharpens the question regarding the underlying values of choices that are made.

    Dichotomisation has its uses sometimes! 😉

  5. Mark

    @4 was a response to TimT @ 2 – crossed with Jack.

  6. Adrian of Nowra

    Then we see the stupid continuity of the mainstream meeja apparently now becoming body language experts and writing tomes of meaning into every small gesture, eye contact, handshake, tic and expression when on Insiders this morning an ostensible very small smirk by Kevin Rudd in question time exemplified his broken friendship with Joe Hockey.

    Just what is happening with our journalists and mainstream media to have caused them to sink to this meaningless triviality and irrelevance?

  7. steve at the pub

    Hang on, is this post suggesting that the “Bush just asked ‘what is G-20?'” conversation actually HAPPENED, that it was not made up by Rudd? Bwahahahahaha…

    Storm in a teacup stuff, yes, but a blacksmith’s hammer on the waterford crystal of Rudd’s credibility.

    Rudd & discretion, as oil & water.

  8. Adrian of Nowra
  9. Polyquats

    ‘Just what is happening with our journalists and mainstream media to have caused them to sink to this meaningless triviality and irrelevance?”

    Maybe the world has suddenly got too complicated for them? They can’t report ‘news’ because they have no understanding at all of the current situation. A new application of “The Peter Principle” perhaps?

  10. Alister

    SatP, the point is that, in the face of the possible collapse of the financial system, which could have an impact on a few billion people, perhaps it’s not the most important thing in the world to focus on who did or did not leak a conversation that may or may not have happened with a lame duck president that much of the world felt was rather dim anyway. Your assessment of the damage this has done to Rudd’s credibility is overblown – only the Andrew Bolts care. Those of us who live in the real world have more important things to be concerned about, including the potential formation of Bretton Woods II. And I for one welcome our new financial overlords.

  11. Andrew Reynolds

    Alister,
    Do you honestly think that anyone (Obama or anyone else) is going to speak with Rudd if he is likely to leak anything potentially embarrasing? As a diplomat he should have known the likely impact of that. If he, or any of his staff did it, it was just about the stupidest thing he (or they) could have done. Diplomatically, it is much worse than getting caught spying. He will be cut out of future discussions on any topic. It is appalling for Australia’s diplomatic influence that it even looks like he did it.

  12. Tony of South Yarra

    As far as I can work out, if Bush is indeed upset that his ignorance of the function and nature of the G20 was revealed to the world, that just confirms what a lot of folks have always known about W – that’s he’s at best unengaged, at worst ignorant. But I suppose our fearless journos aren’t allowed to draw that conclusion lest a global diplomatic crisis add to our woes from the global financial crisis!

    What’s the matter Mark? Can’t bring yourself to admit Kevin made this stuff up? (He denied several times this week that Bush made any such remarks – in Parliament.) Or worse, that he made it up to big-note himself? Take off the rose-coloured glasses and you’ll see he’s really just a narcissistic little man with a huge desire to feel important.

  13. steve at the pub

    Adrian of Nowra: It seems oil & water do mix, then perhaps likewise Rudd & discretion. Just compress all the gas out of Rudd & he won’t tell any more indiscreet porkies!

  14. DeeCee

    Ah, yes; Oz’s meeja. If we want to know about the G20 summit, we turn to USA & UK quality journalism in quality papers like Guardian & Independent, WashPost (& HuffPost) and others. Just as well we can rely on the Internet because, let’s face it, our only national self-described “quality” broadsheet’s credibility has been trashed by its self-described “quality” journalists.

    As for the days (and buckets of dollars) of parliamentary & TV time and kilometres of column metres wasted on one comment in a telephone conversation … makes fiddling while Rome burned as a more constructive option.

  15. paul walter

    Amazing how the weasel worders trying to derail the thread are on about Rudd’s probable astonishment over Dubya’s ignorance, rather than concerned with the real story: the systemic failure of the US system to recruit people to hold high office in a country that, blindfolded, half-rules the world.
    Eight years in, who is it that Does Not Even Know the main component of a major economic summit, arranged to begin to repair the damage HIS government and its evil dogmas, has inflicted on the world?
    I doubt whether Obama is going to give up on someone who at least has the wit to see through this passing despicable neolib administration.

  16. steve at the pub

    Paul Walter, so why won’t Rudd, in parliament, states that he did not make up details of, nor leak a phone conversation between him & George Bush?

    Hmmmm…..

  17. joe2

    “Do you honestly think that anyone (Obama or anyone else) is going to speak with Rudd if he is likely to leak anything potentially embarrasing?”

    Yep, they will all speak with him and are already. Bush being a duffer has been out of the bag for quite some time, if that is the implication of a conversation that has been denied by all parties, anyway.

    Message to all RWDB’s : If this is the best thing you can find to nail Rudd on, you fail. Nobody apart from you cares and it will do him no harm whatsoever. Indeed, expect Turnbulls stocks to falter further and The Australian to lurch further to lower sales and irrelevance.

  18. Ken Lovell

    No no joe2, you’re spoiling the fun. This will be absolutely fatal to Rudd, Julia Gillard will be PM inside a year and it will take Australia a decade to restore our international reputation.

    BTW SATP the answer to your question may well be that government ministers are understandably disinclined to dance to the tune of the opposition. Challenging people to deny things is one of the oldest and most childish tricks in the book, a transparent ruse to turn public attention to the accusation itself.

  19. Alister

    Andrew @ 11, of course Obama will speak to Rudd. The worst that will come from it is that Obama and other world leaders may be a little more cautious, but it’s not that likely to make any difference. It’s obviously undiplomatic, but let
    s not pretend it’s unique
    . I’m clearly no Rudd supporter, but the volume of bilge this non-event has generated distracts from actual problems. It’s a little frustrating to have trees killed to promote an irrelevant non-scandal.

  20. Alister

    And one more thing. When Downer was sprung referring to “busted arse countries”, do you think everyone stopped talking to him afterwards?

  21. Adrian of Nowra

    Since this story broke on the world stage (albeit in the background noise of the world economic crisis) Rudd has had a long talk with Condaleeza Rice, and talks with Gordon Brown and Stephen Harper. Also in the same time period this became “news” in the mainstream Rudd’s popularity as PM went up, Turnbull’s down and Labor’s primary vote went up at the cost of the opposition which is now in a position as bad as it was under Nelson (who at least had the opposition improving).

    That is the importance the Australian people and world leaders put on this, zilch.

  22. Tony of South Yarra

    Challenging people to deny things is one of the oldest and most childish tricks in the book, a transparent ruse to turn public attention to the accusation itself.

    Your right about one thing Ken – it’s an old trick alright. Kevin Rudd has been using it for years:

    TONY JONES: I’m simply making the point that a non-denial doesn’t comprise evidence of anything.

    KEVIN RUDD: Yeah but I’m saying if you’re the Foreign Minister, your job is to be the custodian of national security documents day in, day out.

    I used to work in the Department of Foreign Affairs.

    If I roll up and ask him a question – “Can you deny whether you or your staff have tossed this stuff out into the public domain in an unauthorised fashion?” and he doesn’t deny it outright and says, “The coppers are looking at this,” well frankly I just think it’s unacceptable.

  23. Mark

    Concern trolling – is it our new national pastime?

    I honestly couldn’t give a toss about the ins and outs or rights or wrongs of Kevin’s conversation and whether or when he was lying. It’s a momentous piece of utter triviality – and it’s interesting that the “Insiders” occasionally preface discussion of this “issue” by saying, basically, no one outside parliament and the press gallery will care. So, stop talking about it! I’m much more interested in talking about the implications of the G20 summit – anyone got a view on that? 😉

  24. Ken Lovell

    Aaw come on Mark, everyone got to jump around excitedly earlier this year analysing the ramifications of Rudd saluting Bush at NATO. Now it’s time to analyse Bush’s refusal not only to hug him but even to slap him on the back. Would you deny the media’s responsibility to be balanced?

    Besides, nothing of consequence happened at the meeting, but there’ll be another one next April. Woohoo!!!

  25. Tony of South Yarra

    The G20 seems to have endorsed free-market principles as part of the solution – not the problem. According to the communique:

    12. We recognize that these reforms will only be successful if grounded in a commitment to free market principles, including the rule of law, respect for private property, open trade and investment, competitive markets, and efficient, effectively regulated financial systems. These principles are essential to economic growth and prosperity and have lifted millions out of poverty, and have significantly raised the global standard of living. Recognizing the necessity to improve financial sector regulation, we must avoid over-regulation that would hamper economic growth and exacerbate the contraction of capital flows, including to developing countries.

  26. Jack Strocchi

    Adolph Berle said:

    Between a political organization of society and an economic organization of society, which will be the dominant form?

    Obviously political orgnization (bureaucratic states) dominates economic orgamization (catallactic firms). The politicals have the guns, the professionals follow their rules. The fact that democracy is slowly increasing its range means that populist pressure for political organization will only increase.

    But the state will have to have powers concommitant with its range. THe dominant form of political organization (nation states) will have to surrender up some of their individual autonomous powers to institutional authorities higher up the scale – to a global Leviathan.

    The global form of political internationalism that is emerging will be more of a unified “mono-cultural” (“modal-cultural”?) entity than the the current hodge-podge of diversified multicultural nation states. Think International Standards Organization for ecological and plutological regulation – to prevent a “race to the bottom” of diluted standards.

    Multicultural organization may retain appeal at the personal scale, what with mixed marriages and the like. But it seems doomed in professional and political realms.

  27. Katz

    The only person who can influence the credibility of what Rudd may or may not have said about Bush’s undoubted ignorance is the journalist who wrote the story. His credibility is being thrown into question by Rudd’s denials.

    Unless the journalist has a tape of Rudd’s comments or contemporary, unredacted notes, then what Rudd may or may not have said to the journalist will remain forever the subject of idle and useless speculation.

    I wonder if the Australian people will be content to see their tax dollars spent on the Opposition indulging in idle and useless speculation.

  28. Ken Lovell

    After reading Tony’s comment I regret my earlier flippancy at #24. I see now that our World Leaders have taken incisive, concrete measures to save us from the looming threat of socialism.

    But wait … was that the hint of a smirk on the face of Hu Jintao? Is it true that President Bush pointedly refrained from offering him a second glass of Chateau Crawford after dinner?

    I’m confident the experts will explain it all to me tomorrow.

  29. Katz

    a commitment to free market principles, including the rule of law

    That’s very presumptuous.

    The rule of law was very firmly adhered to under mercantilist and fixed-price regimes. If a merchant was suspected of hoarding or price-gouging, he was clapped into the stocks, or worse, in strict accordance with the rule of law.

  30. Mark

    Well, I wasn’t expecting them to include their favourite sections from the Communist Manifesto!

    Having said that, that passage seems to me to be meaningless ideological verbiage.

  31. Tony of South Yarra

    Sounds like the sort of passage GWB would want to include. But as a lame duck president at his last G20 meeting, would he have had enough pull? Strangely, Kevin’s section on executive salaries doesn’t seem to have made the cut.

  32. joe2

    “Strangely, Kevin’s section on executive salaries doesn’t seem to have made the cut.”

    Oh no Tony. On the contrary. He was on the news talking about it and from his body language,at this stage, I would still give it a positive.

  33. Alister

    12. We recognize that these reforms will only be successful if grounded in a commitment to free market principles, including the rule of law, respect for private property, open trade and investment, competitive markets, and efficient, effectively regulated financial systems. These principles are essential to economic growth and prosperity and have lifted millions out of poverty, and have significantly raised the global standard of living. Recognizing the necessity to improve financial sector regulation, we must avoid over-regulation that would hamper economic growth and exacerbate the contraction of capital flows, including to developing countries.

    None of this makes any sense. Much of it is historically inaccurate or contradictory, when it’s not both. I’ve read more daft comments, but nothing more daft today. It’s hard to know where to start.

    If that’s what came out of the day, then the G20 participants could have saved everyone the time and effort and stayed home. Regulation is what’s lifted people out of poverty. It’s not as if minimum wages and progressive taxation happened all by themselves.

    The implications of this meeting are that the regulation required to ensure this sort of thing doesn’t happen again – say, in the next two to five years – won’t be forthcoming. We’re slow learners. The ratings agencies shouldn’t be subject to more oversight – that’s utterly pointless. Oversight by who? Under what authority? They should be (inter)nationalised. A reputable organisation (if we could find one) needs to work out standards by which risk gets rated, and that organisation should be subject to audit, should be open, and should not have incentives to misrepresent reality. Seriously, does anyone think S&P is reputable any more? For the ardent defenders of capitalism, you’ll remember back to your basic economics lessons (if you took them) that both sides of a transaction need perfect information for free markets to actually work. Given that this is not possible, surely the least we can do is try for the best available information, provided by a dispassionate source.

    We do not currently have this.

    Unfortunately, Bush’s advisers won’t let him anywhere near such a plan. If the invisible fist of the market™ doesn’t provide it, it’s not worth providing.

  34. Mark

    Bush is irrelevant except insofar as he’s still there, and thus a block to immediate action. But as the President of the US, he has to be taken into account nevertheless. It’s necessary to read the rest of the document to see where things are likely to go.

  35. j_p_z

    Alister: “…a reputable organisation (if we could find one)…”

    Heh heh. Yes indeed… if we could find one. Well that’s always the nub, now, isn’t it? 🙂

    An all-wise, all-virtuous god-king (if we could find one). Well, perhaps His Obamaness won’t disappoint.

    Mark and Alister seem to agree that the G20 summit declaration fails to impress, to put it minimally. But not only is this unsurprising, it’s sort of pretty comme il faut for these sorts of things. I mean, the G-*20*?? That’s an awful lot of G’s. You try getting 20 magazine editors to agree on something sweeping, let alone the 20 richest national finance ministers plus one pan-Euro megabehemoth.

    Which is why I’m gonna stick my neck out here and defend Bush, mostly for amusement value. So he didn’t know what the G-20 was? Well why would he? The president tends to operate further on up the food chain, what with the G7 and the G8 and NATO and goodness knows what else. Besides, the G-20 was I believe only founded in ’99, so it’s only roughly coterminous with Bush’s presidency, and the man’s been busy. It’d be nice to know every single giant international commingling of the same key players you see at every other megasummit (plus a dozen extras who matter less at the photo op stage), but a leader has got to prioritize. Let the finance ministers chat among themselves; the big decisions will be made later on in private anyway — witness your own critiques of this economic motherhood statement.

    Well that was fun; whether it’s persuasive though is anyone’s guess.

  36. Lefty E

    Jeez, whats the point of a 3-month handover? Get it over with. There’s one clear advantage of the Westminster system – you don’t have round up a separate executive, so you can blow the greasy dive of a dead government – asap!

  37. Mark

    Yes, I imagine he’s got to think about cutting logs on the ranch or something, j_p_z, rather than all these acronyms! W seems to have gone from menacing to risible figure of fun rather quickly over the course of his second term, and now he’s in the unenviable position of irrelevance that must nevertheless be accommodated!

    However, I don’t think all the verbiage is unimportant, as opposed to the free market ideology by committee section of the declaration – The Economist has a good summation of what was actually at stake:

    http://www.economist.com/finance/displaystory.cfm?story_id=12597176

    With its own inimitable ideological spin, of course. But The Economist makes for some symptomatic reading because these days the guff stands out so much you get a better idea of what teh world leaders are actually up to!

  38. paul walter

    Wherever Bush is log-chopping, someone let me know so I can get out the way. I value my limbs and the bloke doesn’t seem to know his butt from his laughing gear, so heaven knows what he’d see as a piece of timber.

  39. Thomas Paine

    “a blacksmith’s hammer on the waterford crystal of Rudd’s credibility.
    Rudd & discretion, as oil & water.”

    Unfortunately some peoples extreme hopes don’t always come true. The Australian people turned out to be a great deal more intelligent than some bloggers.

    Seems the people know trash story when they see it and have a much better perspective on international relations than many a blogger, they still see Rudd as highly credible.

    [Mr Rudd’s personal approval rating is at 70% — down just 1 percentage point since mid-October, though his disapproval is up 2 points to 22%. Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull has not fared so well. His approval rating dropped 4 points to 51%, while disapproval with the way he is handling his job is up 5 points to 35%.

    “Mr Rudd continues to thrash Mr Turnbull as preferred prime minister, by 65 per cent to 27 per cent. The 38 percentage-point lead, the highest Mr Rudd has held over his opponent, is unchanged from a month ago.”]

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/optimistic-australians-defy-global-gloom/2008/11/16/1226770256739.html

  40. steve at the pub

    Snarky “Bush-must-be-dumb-as-dog-doo-doo-coz-he-is-from-a-party-I-don’t-support” stuff aside, I’ll warrant Bush is one helluva lot better at log chopping than either his predecessor or particularly his replacement.

    You want to see something really funny, hand Mr. Obama an axe & watch him try to use it. Not that Bush, a “suit” all his life, would be much chop at manual labour, but a narcissistic mirror gazer like Obama? I’ll warrant he has softer hands than Mal Fraser.

    Upon brief reflection I’ll take that back, it is not possible to have softer hands than Malcolm Fraser.

  41. j_p_z

    Lefty E, I reckon the 3-month delay is a vestige of the history/technology gap: back in 1787 everyone was still sitting around waiting for the Wright Brothers to be born. And with a country which even back then was the size of Western Europe, you didn’t have (as under the Westminster system) all the players milling around in, well, Westminster.

    Nowadays the delay is still practical since, sadly, as the size of the government has grown, so has the size of the great big pile of spoils and loot which must be disbursed to one’s army of cronies and hatchet-men. Which is yet another reason Obama has got me really worried; the line of creeps, crackpots and half-wits to whom Obamius Maximus owes favors will be as long or longer than the one belonging to that other latter-day champion crooked keeper of the keys to the cookie jar… George W. Bush.

    I think I’m gonna go read my copies of “William Wilson” and “The Secret Sharer.” That great Pete Townshend line is evergreen, but it’s just used way too much.

  42. steve at the pub

    Thomas Paine, Rudd has just done in his chances of a post-Oz senior job with the UN. By keeping his nose clean for the remainder of his term, he may score a window seat (unless Gilliard/Tanner roll him within this term), but a serious role? Kevin just blew that.

  43. jack strocchi

    42 steve at the pubNov 17th, 2008 at 1:17 am

    Rudd has just done in his chances of a post-Oz senior job with the UN.

    Politicians and Pundits like to fantasize that Australia makes a difference on the world stage. But thats mainly to inflate their own sense of self-importance. (And to justify the expensive junkets that the general public is rightly suspicious of.)

    “Worthwhile initiative from Australia” is an even lamer headline than the original attributed to Canada. This goes for both our individual weight and our institutional punch.

    I wish we had stronger international institutions. Afraid the current ones just act to provide sinecures for superannuated national politicians.

  44. Katz

    Which is why I’m gonna stick my neck out here and defend Bush, mostly for amusement value. So he didn’t know what the G-20 was? Well why would he? The president tends to operate further on up the food chain, what with the G7 and the G8 and NATO and goodness knows what else.

    Shorter Japerz, “It’s true. Bush can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.”

    I’ll warrant he has softer hands than Mal Fraser.

    SATP, I’ve shaken hands several times with Malcolm Fraser. I can testify that his hands are as rough as a pair of bullocky’s gloves.

  45. Spiros

    Speaking of trivia, did anyone see how Joe Hockey said on Friday how Rudd shouldn’t have gone to the summit?

    Unfortunately Jule Bishop didn’t get the memo, because on Sunday she said that Rudd was right to go.

    Paragraph 12 of the communique, which TOSY makes a big deal of, is meaningless, as would be expected when you’ve got to get 20 people to agree to drafting.

    Take this excerpt:

    “we must avoid over-regulation that would hamper economic growth”

    Well, yes, we don’t want to hamper economic growth. But what is “over-regulation” and how much of it “would hamper economic growth”? The communique doesn’t say.

  46. Paul Burns

    First, Rudd and the revelation that GWB didn’t know what the G20 was; THE WHOLE WORLD HAS KNOWN FOR YEARS THAT GWB WAS A MORON, INCLUDING HIS OWN STAFF. IT WAS NO STATE SECRET! So why all the fuss? It doesn’t matter.

    Second, it appears GWB had to be sort of convinced by people if he didn’t co-operate in this G20 meeting and do something to help solve the WFC, he might be blamed for causing a Depression worse than the Great Depression. So, very briefly, he muted, stress, only muted, his call for untrammelled free market dog eat dog Darwinian capitalism that got us into this mess in the first place.

    GWB IS STILL A MORON.
    QED.

  47. steve at the pub

    Katz, perhaps this is a reflection of whom you usually shake hands with.
    I can only speak in my experience, Malcolm Fraser (when he was PM) has the softest hand I have ever shaken, like a pincusion.

    How could be it by anything else? Pushing a pen is as tough as it gets for some of these fellers.

  48. Katz

    Perhaps, SATP.

    Then again perhaps your distant memories have been clouded by your prejudices, or by some other cause.

    I’m prepared to agree to disagree.

  49. steve at the pub

    It was a diary entry at the time Katz. Soft as a pincushion, the hand one one whose contact with manual labour is no closer than reading about it.

    Indisputable.

  50. Katz

    Oh, your diary…

    …then your mistake must have been a result of “some other cause”.

    Any other extracts you care to divulge that may tend to dispell suspicions of a failure of accurate perception?

    (And this sensational news of the existence SATP’s diary may provoke speculation about some representative contents of this particular human document.)

  51. steve at the pub

    I’d say believe Mal Fraser’s hand to be as “rough as a pair of bullocky’s gloves” is more a reflection of how distant is your contact with “workers” Katz.

    Plenty of fellers who shine chairs with their bum have fleshy hands. Mal Fraser’s were such that they were remarkable among even those. For softness, as opposed to pudginess.

  52. Adrien

    You damn commies. I can’t believe this. This is such a blow to Australia’s standing in the global village. No hugs for Kevvie! Kevvie got NO HUGS from Dubya. Johnnie got hugs. Johnnie and Dubya hugged and rubb’d a dub dubb’d.
    .
    And John helped Dubya git his dang oil back topple The Evilest Man evah. He committed 0.7% of the total invasion force. Wow! That’s impressive.
    .
    And now Kevvie’s deliberately hangin’ shit on ol’ Dubya. What is he thinking?
    .
    I mean first of all Dubya’s the Czar of a Bankrupt Empire President of the United States and Kevvie’s damaged Australia’s relationship with the US Administration for a whole two months!
    .
    And given the high esteem and respect that Dubya commands amongst the American people and the world in general this will reflect very badly on us. 🙂 .
    .
    Did Kevvie make up Dubya’s G20 riff or not?

  53. FDB

    What is this, MoisturiserGate?

  54. Paul Burns

    Oh, perhaps a discussion in code about what its really like to shake GWB’s hand.
    But no-one can really talk about it because its such a nasty experience they’ve made it a state secret.

  55. Adrien

    But no-one can really talk about it because its such a nasty experience they’ve made it a state secret.
    .
    Yeah it’s down in the vault next to the Clinton/Fellatio file. Well it was but they had to chuck it. The Clinton file – that’s a big file.

  56. Adrien

    Between a political organization of society and an economic organization of society, which will be the dominant form?
    .
    Perhaps neither?
    .
    Politics and economics are dominant modes of thinking about the good life. The argument above is essentially the one that carried the 20th century. I tend to think the other branch of practical philosophy – ethics – could do with an airing.
    .
    But in any case maybe it’s time we should consider whether this opposition between politics and economics is still desirable. Doubtless there’s conflicts. What’s good economically can be bad politically and vice versa. But still…
    .
    We may be learning the faults of the monetarist/neoliberal schools of economics but that doesn’t mean they weren’t right about the New Deal et al. A lot of the criticisms that were made were apt.
    .
    It’s time for a new school of economics. One that will save us (until it inevitably fucks up that is).

  57. j_p_z

    Well since we now appear to be in the midst of a bona-fide Seldon Crisis, how fortunate that The Mule will shortly take the reins of the Empire.

    And I do expect all you “America-is-an-empire” Obamaclowns to refer to your shiny new god-king as an Emperor. It doesn’t go back to being a virtuous republic just because this time your clown won.

    “Madam, a People’s Republic — if you can keep it.”
    — Benjamin Franklin Raines

    Katz: “proof that Bush can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.”

    Well, “It may be, it may be,” as the Back-ache said to Saint John. It is possible. We will see whether Obamugabe’s parlor trick of blowing smoke out of both his mouth and his ass whilst chewing gum simultaneously, is a substantive improvement.
    Then again, according to the Word of His Serene Obamitude, simply running a presidential campaign more than qualifies one to be the President. So it seems that, by Chicago Rules, Bush has been doubly qualified. Guess we’re about to find out all about the wisdom (or not) of playing by Chicago Rules.

  58. Adrien

    We will see whether Obamugabe’s parlor trick of blowing smoke out of both his mouth and his ass whilst chewing gum simultaneously, is a substantive improvement.
    .
    Well might you remark on Obama’s talents is the ability to control both ends of his digestive system simultaneous. But at least he can do that.
    .
    Dubya can’t control either of them. He frequently mistakes one for the other. 🙂 .
    .
    American imperialism is a well-established phenomenon and the object of serious scholarly inquiry spanning back at least a century. The myth of the reluctant superpower has been a convenience. The Bush administration did away with it at possibly at the high water mark of its progress.
    .
    Of course that’s been said before.

  59. Katz

    At the very least we can expect Obama to match his ambitions more closely than Bush to his means.

    Obama may well be quite malign, but the sheer incompetence of the Bush regime, while setting itself transcendant and even apocalyptic goals, has left the world in a sorry, sorry state.

    I don’t expect Obama to be noticeabley more transcendant in his ambitions than the general run of US presidents. I expect Obama to be much less apocalyptic than his lamentable predecessor.

  60. Paul Burns

    Anybody -well almost anybody – would be better than GWB as US President. He was uniquely bad,so much so he made earlier bad presidents, of which I readily admit there aren’t too many, look good. Right now, he seems terrified of coming out of the Presidency looking worse than Hoover (not realising he already is). in terms of his presidency being corrupt, he’s at least as bad as Grant.(And Grant, at lesast was able to write a masterpiece of American literature in his Memoirs, (I think that’s the title) which Bush is certainly incapable of.) And there are one or two other presidents historians generally agree to be “bad” I’d have to look up, that Bush is probably worse than.
    Even if Obama looked like he was going to be utterly hopeless, which he doesn’t, he’d be better than GWB.