Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Easy reference quote, James Lardner (via Yves Smith) edition

To gain their political ends, the robber barons and monopolists of the Gilded Age were content with corrupting officials and buying elections. Their modern counterparts have taken things a big step further, erecting a loose network of think tanks, corporate spokespeople, and friendly press commentators to shape the way Americans think about the economy.... the new communications apparatus wants us to believe that our economic wellbeing depends almost entirely on the so-called free market - a euphemism for letting the private sector set its own rules. The success of this great effort can be measured in the remarkable fact that, despite the corporate scandals and the social damage that these authors explore; despite three decades of deregulation and privatization and tax-and-benefit-slashing with, as the clearest single result, the relentless rise of economic inequality to levels so extreme that since 2001 "the economy" has racked up five straight years of impressive growth without producing any measurable income gains for most Americans - even now, discussions of solutions or alternatives can be stopped almost dead in their tracks by mention of the word government.

From the June 14, 2007 edition of The New York Review of Books. Paywall protected but quoted in detail by Yves Smith here and here.

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