Economics

The disbanding of troops

From Frédéric Bastiat’s classic “That Which Is Seen, and That Which Is Not Seen”, this essay was recently featured at Mises.org.

It is the same with a people as it is with a man. If it wishes to give itself some gratification, it naturally considers whether it is worth what it costs. To a nation, security is the greatest of advantages. If, in order to obtain it, it is necessary to have an army of a hundred thousand men, I have nothing to say against it. It is an enjoyment bought by a sacrifice. Let me not be misunderstood upon the extent of my position. A member of the assembly proposes to disband a hundred thousand men, for the sake of relieving the tax-payers of a hundred million.

If we confine ourselves to this answer, “The hundred thousand men, and these hundred million of money, are indispensable to the national security: it is a sacrifice; but without this sacrifice, France would be torn by factions or invaded by some foreign power” — I have nothing to object to this argument, which may be true or false in fact, but which theoretically contains nothing which militates against economics. The error begins when the sacrifice itself is said to be an advantage because it profits somebody.

Now I am very much mistaken if, the moment the author of the proposal has taken his seat, some orator will not rise and say, “Disband a hundred thousand men! Do you know what you are saying? What will become of them? Where will they get a living? Don’t you know that work is scarce everywhere? That every field is overstocked? Would you turn them out of doors to increase competition and to weigh upon the rate of wages? Just now, when it is a hard matter to live at all, it would be a pretty thing if the State must find bread for a hundred thousand individuals! Consider, besides, that the army consumes wine, arms, clothing — that it promotes the activity of manufactures in garrison towns — that it is, in short, the godsend of innumerable purveyors. Why, anyone must tremble at the bare idea of doing away with this immense industrial stimulus.”

This discourse, it is evident, concludes by voting the maintenance of a hundred thousand soldiers, for reasons drawn from the necessity of the service, and from economical considerations. It is these economical considerations only that I have to refute.

A hundred thousand men, costing the taxpayers a hundred million of money, live and bring to the purveyors as much as a hundred million can supply. This is that which is seen.

But, a hundred million taken from the pockets of the tax-payers, ceases to maintain these taxpayers and their purveyors, as far as a hundred million reaches. This is that which is not seen. Now make your calculations. Add it all up, and tell me what profit there is for the masses?

I will tell you where the loss lies; and to simplify it, instead of speaking of a hundred thousand men and a hundred million of money, it shall be of one man and a thousand francs.

We will suppose that we are in the village of A. The recruiting sergeants go their round, and take off a man. The tax-gatherers go their round, and take off a thousand francs. The man and the sum of money are taken to Metz, and the latter is destined to support the former for a year without doing anything. If you consider Metz only, you are quite right; the measure is a very advantageous one: but if you look toward the village of A, you will judge very differently; for, unless you are very blind indeed, you will see that that village has lost a worker, and the thousand francs which would remunerate his labor, as well as the activity which, by the expenditure of those thousand francs, it would spread around it.

At first sight, there would seem to be some compensation. What took place at the village, now takes place at Metz, that is all. But the loss is to be estimated in this way: At the village, a man dug and worked; he was a worker. At Metz, he turns to the right about and to the left about; he is a soldier. The money and the circulation are the same in both cases; but in the one there were three hundred days of productive labor, in the other there are three hundred days of unproductive labor, supposing, of course, that a part of the army is not indispensable to the public safety.

Now, suppose the disbanding to take place. You tell me there will be a surplus of a hundred thousand workers, that competition will be stimulated, and it will reduce the rate of wages. This is what you see.

But what you do not see is this. You do not see that to dismiss a hundred thousand soldiers is not to do away with a hundred million of money, but to return it to the tax-payers. You do not see that to throw a hundred thousand workers on the market, is to throw into it, at the same moment, the hundred million of money needed to pay for their labor: that, consequently, the same act that increases the supply of hands, increases also the demand; from which it follows, that your fear of a reduction of wages is unfounded. You do not see that, before the disbanding as well as after it, there are in the country a hundred million of money corresponding with the hundred thousand men. That the whole difference consists in this: before the disbanding, the country gave the hundred million to the hundred thousand men for doing nothing; and that after it, it pays them the same sum for working. You do not see, in short, that when a taxpayer gives his money either to a soldier in exchange for nothing, or to a worker in exchange for something, all the ultimate consequences of the circulation of this money are the same in the two cases; only, in the second case the taxpayer receives something, in the former he receives nothing. The result is — a dead loss to the nation.

The sophism which I am here combating will not stand the test of progression, which is the touchstone of principles. If, when every compensation is made, and all interests satisfied, there is a national profit in increasing the army, why not enroll under its banners the entire male population of the country?


26 comments to The disbanding of troops

  • Jack Adams

    My thoughts on this essay focus on the idea of unhindered growth. The whole rationale of the political administrators and their economic entourage is that of growth; the mantra is “This year the economy will grow”.

    There is only one thing which grows unhindered and that is a malignant cancerous tumour. All other examples and situations in the “real world” around us “breathe”, they contract and expand as a natural process. The inability of the political Easter Island Heads to think beyond the redundancy of an “eternal growth is good” will bring about collapse with as much certainty as night follows day.

    The reason is that whilst a malignant cancerous tumour believes in eternal growth it always kills its host and thereby itself. Nature cannot be subverted and the market must be alound to breathe, to live and, most importantly, to die.

    Unless we advocate a policy of Natural Economics (and I believe that is a term I have coined but am open to substantiated correction) which engenders a language about the natural course of dynamic systems rather than a monologue about greed and growth, then our future looks exactly like what we see today. We are at the edge of the precipice with our toes curling crumbly edge.

    This essay reminds us that energy is never lost just re-arranged.

    • Captain Skin

      The problem being that the government cannot create “growth”. An economy grows from the voluntary exchange by individuals in a society. If an increasing part of this wealth generated by voluntary exchange is then stolen by the government (taxation), to be given to what it believes to be in the best interests of a society, it is infact reducing the growth it purports to create.

      Stealing an individuals wealth and giving it to say, someone out of work, is taking the wealth of a productive individual and giving to an unproductive individual. Wouldn’t it be better not to steal the wealth of the productive individual, so that he may give employment to the unproductive individual himself?

      • Jack Adams

        If an increasing part of this wealth generated by voluntary exchange is then stolen by the government (taxation), to be given to what it believes to be in the best interests of a society, it is infact reducing the growth it purports to create.

        Captain Skin, I think there is a problem here with the word “stolen”, it is pejurative and thereby, in my opinion, detracts from the very sound point your are making. We vote governments in within a democratic framework of state and those governments have taxation agendas set within tax law, therefore tax is never stolen money. Even though I agree with the sentiment because it so feels like theft.

        Overall I take your point on the productive subsidising the unproductive but the black and white of such a position perhaps is not a good basis for policy. I prefer to look at two key issues, efficiency and accountability. These two actions within government, local and national, appear to have been completely subverted by the Cult of Management.

        Our social management is more concerned with removing their fingerprints from all decisions and ensuring that any causal chain of responsibility never leads to their desk. This is how excessively large salaries are protected and, more depressingly, justified.

        I am actually in Japan at the moment, I love it here, it feels like the 21st century. Not to say that there are not problems here as there are everywhere but at least life feels civilised. Off to Beijing next week and then home. Flying into Heathrow is always depressing, who wants to be faced with the fact that you live in a third world country (well, you know what I mean). Dirty, underlying social violence, rotting infrastructure and an economy only held together by the duplicitous encouragement of professional illusionists.

        Whilst we may comment on blogs, the real question has to be what it is we can propose to change our future prospects. That means someone has to stand up and not just question the Welfare State, with its intergenerational curse from cradle to grave, but actually propose how to dismantle it. Whoever does that will meet stern resistance, not from the legions on benefit but from those on taxpayer funded excessive incomes; the civil servant middle class administrators of the benefits system. They have more to lose and the deep, deep fear that one day they may have to actually do productive work for a living.

    • Gary

      Maybe morphs , instead of growth ? Creative destruction in a free market as technology innovates, constantly morphs the society into a more convenient , comfortable position ?

      Govts conspire to destroy that.

      • Jack Adams

        Interesting point Gary. Two things I would comment on.

        “Govts conspire to destroy that.”

        I am not so sure about the word conspire any more than I was about Capt. Skin’s use of “stolen”. In the case of “conspire”,I have the feeling it gifts the institution of government with more intelligence and co-ordination than it merits.

        I am more inclined to believe that the destruction of economies by governments is more related to arrogance and incompetance than conspiracy. I may be wrong, what say you?

        With your suggestion of the morphing relationship to creative destruction, I am not sure I fully understand what you are saying and so would like any further explanation you may offer as it sounds interesting.

        • Gary

          I think the output measures to gauge growth are wrong. Because in a free market business go bust and new ones with better innovation arise out of the ashes, so to speak. So, while the entire economy is innovatively progressing or changing(morphing), it is not necessarily growing output. ie. It is not necessary to grow output to enjoy a more comfortable life over time.

  • Captain Skin

    Just read it over the Christmas Holidays. As relevant today as it was a hundred and sixty years ago. A great economist…

  • Captain Skin

    A few more quotes by the Great Man:

    “Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.”

    “People are beginning to realize that the apparatus of government is costly. But what they do not know is that the burden falls inevitably on them.”

    “Law cannot organize labor and industry without organizing injustice.”

    “The plans differ; the planners are all alike…”

    “Now, legal plunder can be committed in an infinite number of ways. Thus we have an infinite number of plans for organizing it: tariffs, protection, benefits, subsidies, encouragements, progressive taxation, public schools, guaranteed jobs, guaranteed profits, minimum wages, a right to relief, a right to the tools of labor, free credit, and so on, and so on. All these plans as a whole—with their common aim of legal plunder—constitute socialism.”

    “But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.”

    “It is easy to understand why the law is used by the legislator to destroy in varying degrees among the rest of the people their personal independence by slavery, their liberty by oppression, and their property by plunder. This is done for the benefit of the person who makes the law, and in proportion to the power that he holds.”

    “Here I encounter the most popular fallacy of our times. It is not considered sufficient that the law should be just; it must be philanthropic. Nor is it sufficient that the law should guarantee to every citizen the free and inoffensive use of his faculties for physical, intellectual, and moral self-improvement. Instead, it is demanded that the law should directly extend welfare, education, and morality throughout the nation.”

    “It is easier to show the disorder that must accompany reform than the order that should follow it.”

    “The sort of dependence that results from exchange, i.e., from commercial transactions, is a reciprocal dependence. We cannot be dependent upon a foreigner without his being dependent on us. Now, this is what constitutes the very essence of society. To sever natural interrelations is not to make oneself independent, but to isolate oneself completely.”

    “But we assure the socialists that we repudiate only forced organization, not natural organization. We repudiate the forms of association that are forced upon us, not free association. We repudiate forced fraternity, not true fraternity. We repudiate the artificial unity that does nothing more than deprive persons of individual responsibility. We do not repudiate the natural unity of mankind under Providence.”

    “Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.”

    “Since law necessarily requires the support of force, its lawful domain is only in the areas where the use of force is necessary. This is justice. Every individual has the right to use force for lawful self-defense. It is for this reason that the collective force—which is only the organized combination of the individual forces—may lawfully be used for the same purpose; and it cannot be used legitimately for any other purpose.
    Law is solely the organization of the individual right of self-defense which existed before law was formalized. Law is justice.”

    “The law is justice—simple and clear, precise and bounded. Every eye can see it, and every mind can grasp it; for justice is measurable, immutable, and unchangeable. Justice is neither more than this nor less than this. If you exceed this proper limit—if you attempt to make the law religious, fraternal, equalizing, philanthropic, industrial, literary, or artistic—you will then be lost in an uncharted territory, in vagueness and uncertainty, in a forced utopia or, even worse, in a multitude of utopias, each striving to seize the law and impose it upon you. This is true because fraternity and philanthropy, unlike justice, do not have precise limits. Once started, where will you stop? And where will the law stop itself?”

    Law is justice. In this proposition a simple and enduring government can be conceived. And I defy anyone to say how even the thought of revolution, of insurrection, of the slightest uprising could arise against a government whose organized force was confined only to suppressing injustice…
    As proof of this statement, consider this question: Have the people ever been known to rise against the Court of Appeals, or mob a Justice of the Peace, in order to get higher wages, free credit, tools of production, favorable tariffs, or government-created jobs? Everyone knows perfectly well that such matters are not within the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals or a Justice of the Peace. And if government were limited to its proper functions, everyone would soon learn that these matters are not within the jurisdiction of the law itself.”

    “If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of these organizers are always good? Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also belong to the human race? Or do they believe that they themselves are made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind?”

    “It seems to me that this is theoretically right, for whatever the question under discussion—whether religious, philosophical, political, or economic; whether it concerns prosperity, morality, equality, right, justice, progress, responsibility, cooperation, property, labor, trade, capital, wages, taxes, population, finance, or government—at whatever point on the scientific horizon I begin my researches, I invariably reach this one conclusion: The solution to the problems of human relationships is to be found in liberty.”

  • Paul Marks Paul Marks

    There is a practical and present application of this essay.

    In March automatic defence cuts are supposed to hit in the United States.

    Both Democrats and Republicans are denouncing these cuts as “bad for the economy”.

    Now the defence cuts may be a very bad thing (for all sorts of reasons), but “bad for the economy” they are NOT.

    The American economy is going to fall off a cliff this year – and, no doubt, defence cuts (and so on) will be blamed for this. But it is not true that they are to blame.

    Indeed without those defence cuts the terrible slump will be even worse.

    “But Paul – would you not prefer cuts to the Welfare State”.

    Of course I would – but they are not on the table (Comrade Barack Obama would veto them).

    • Jack Adams

      Why the “Comrade Barak Obama”? Devalues your comment which was pertinent and well made. Obama is an academic, he is not a Soviet or follower of Lenin.

      If you do not know your enemy you will never defeat him.

      Allowing yourself to append inaccurate titles, even for a joke, undermines the importance of what you say. Keep with your argument and don’t go for pop shots.

  • Mr Ed

    This is the broken window fallacy in a different pane. He also points out the reductio ad absurdam of the argument that government creates growth.

    Jack Adams appears to be viewing the economy as a zero sum game in the first paragraph, a waterbed popping up elsewhere when pressed down, but economic growth is not like that, it could be the same plant producing more by better application of the factors of production to the same or fewer inputs, like the history of aluminium production from the mid-19th century to the present day.

    A cancer can only grow so long as its host (its fellow cells) provides it with the means to do so. Cancers destroy themselves with their host if they prevail. A government’s share of the economy can grow in a manner analogous to a cancer, suffocating the host in its triumph, like the USSR, but the population may survive and shrug it off, when the ideological hold of the State slips far enough.

    • Jack Adams

      Well Mr Ed, this is all about belief, as you have said. That is what makes economics so fascinating, it is essentially a belief system.

      I am not sure that the USSR was actually suffocated. Fukuyama’s presumption that history would end as that beast appeared to choke doesn’t explain Putin, a man it is possible that Stalin would recognise.

      The point of my first paragraph:

      My thoughts on this essay focus on the idea of unhindered growth. The whole rationale of the political administrators and their economic entourage is that of growth; the mantra is “This year the economy will grow”.

      …was about the rationale of the political class and the monocultural view they express.

      Otherwise I absolutely agree with you that the economy is not like a waterbed, it is not a finite mass contained within a finite space.

      Take your point on aluminium but would ask if the experience of one sector can be employed to redefine other sectors? Yes efficiency is the way forward but I would still maintain that the economy is a belief system and as such rests mostly on the metaphors of the day, it breathes in and out. It always has done and it might be holding its breath right now but it will exhale, it has to, it is the natural process.

      Zero sum games, a very Greek idea.

      • Mr Ed

        I do not see the economy as a natural process, it is artificial in that it is artifice, made by effort and until scarcity is abolished, there will always need to be effort to survive. Humans cannot photosynthesise, and barring some miracles of genetic engineering changing that, need to use resources to address their current and future needs. An economy is the aggregate of productive human effort, less the destructive effort and decay.

        I don’t think that Stalin would recognise Putin, Russia is not the USSR, it resembles perhaps Peron’s Argentina more closely than the USSR.

        I would not be content to think in terms of ‘sectors’ in the economy. Aluminium foil, a consumer good. Aluminium/magnesium alloy might be used in aerospace to make an aircraft, a capital good, and many things in-between. Sectors are arbitrary.

        I was not suggesting that you thought in zero-sum, but your first post, final paragraph “This essay reminds us that energy is never lost just re-arranged” might be read to make a reasonable inference that you were comparing energy to economic activity. The mystery of the economy arises from the subjective theory of value. If we work harder, and produce more, but in so doing produce less of what people value, we reduce prosperity.

        • Jack Adams

          Clearly we are not going to agree on quite a few points but there is some common ground. I will think about what you are saying here and incorporate it as argument against.

  • Paul Marks Paul Marks

    Jack – Barack Obama comes from a socialist family (both sides).

    His childhood mentor was Frank Marshall Davis – Chicago C.P. (sent to 50).

    He was an open Marxist at both Occidental and Columbia – going to the Marxist conferences of the time.

    He spent DECADES working with the Comrades in Chicago.

    And he is NOT a Comrade?

    If Barack Obama is not a Marxist – a typical Frankfurt School “critical theory” academic. Then I am six feet tall and have a full head of hair.

    Sorry but the guy that Charlie Rose (and the rest of media) talks about (the President whose only fault is that he does not “explain things enough” being too busy doing good) does not exist.

    “Obama is an academic”.

    And who the bleep do you think dominates the universities?

    And the teachers unions?

    They march down the street in Chicago under Communist banners (they do not even hide it any more).

    But the media do not show it.

    But that would lead us on to the “Schools of Journalism”.

    Still O.K. I will use the term “Progressive”.

    As if there was a vital difference between Plato (the founder of the academy), Francis Bacon (of “The New Atlantis”) and Karl Marx.

    After all “Looking Backward” (1887) and “Philip Dru Administrator” (and other classics of the Progressive movement) give a far clearer idea of what Barack wants than anything Karl Marx wrote. And YES they were written by nonMarxists.

    Largely because Karl hardly wrote anything about what a collectivist society would actually be like.

    He called such efforts “unscientific utopeanism”.

    Like Nancy Pelosi – we were supposed to “pass the Bill to find out what is in it”.

    Establish collectivism – then we find out what it is like.

    Saul Alinsky will be clapping (in whatever part of Hell he is currently in – after all he dedicate “Rules for Radicals” to Satan). Never tell the saps what you have in mind for them – just “organise the community” (ever wonder who invented the concept of the professional “community organiser” and what for?).

    As will Cloward and Piven – both personal mentors of Barack.

    But it he is not a Comrade – certainly not.

    • Jack Adams

      Paul,

      I take your point about Obama’s history but my own view is that what you are today can be different to what you were yesterday (especially in a politician). People surely do not need to be enslaved by the circumstances of their past.

      I was taught history by Raphael Samuel, a Marxist historian, but that doesn’t make me a Marxist. Equally I don’t see Obama today as a Marxist and therefore cannot see him as Comrade Obama.

      I can accept your view though, I can see a pejorative use of the term rather than a factual one in the present tense. This is easy for me to accept because my use of the term academic was equally meant to be pejorative.

      Ultimately I see Obama as the type of academic who is to be found where the most peers congregate. I don’t see him as an original thinker or a pathfinder (despite the role his ethinicity in the assessment of his presidency), I think he is, and always was, a man who manipulates situations and people to attain his own personal ambitions. More depth than that I cannot attribute to him.

      I can’t comment on who marches down mainstreet as I do not live in America but I can comment on the “community organiser” concept as I have had dealings with that chimera in the UK. If you look at that operation as imported into Britain from the States and you do not have deep suspicions then you’re looking in the wrong direction in my opinion. Insidious is the word I would use to describe this phenomenon but, in the UK certainly, not Marxist.

  • Paul Marks Paul Marks

    Jack Adams – I fully accept that a man may be a Marxist and then change.

    My own father was a Marxist – and changed.

    But my half brother was a Marxist – and did not change.

    When was Barack Obama’s “long night of the soul”? When was the AGONY that a Marxist goes through when they give up their faith? And it is very much like a religious faith.

    We get none of that in his backstory. Indeed as late 2008 he was still going to a Libertation Theology “Church” (under the control of J. “collective salvation” Wright). Indeed the name of his book “The Audacity of Hope” is from his “spiritual guide” the Marxist J. Wright.

    Barack’s dedication to the Cloward and Piven princple (speed “capitalism” to destruction) is alos a constant in his life.

    “But he just can not be ……”

    I remind you that exactly the same things were said about Kim Philby (and others).

    “Yes his father was a Red and he did some odd things in University – but he is such a charming man and……”

    We both know that Barack Obama would not pass the security checks to be a cleaner in the Whitehouse (not with his background).

    There has been no repentence – no “long dark night of the soul”, nothing to suggest that he no longer is what he always was.

    A Red.

    If this is not the case – give me the DATE that he stopped being a Marxist.

    He was one as a child.

    He was one at Occidental.

    He was one at Columbia.

    He was one working for DECADES with Bill Ayers and the others in Chicago.

    When did he STOP being a Marxist?

    Was it January 20th 2009?

    • Jack Adams

      Paul,

      Let me respond to you again with a little context first.

      I am very pleased to receive your replies as they are all good points well made. Equally it is good to be on a thread where it is not populated by Californian Bull Sealions bashing each other bloody whilst trampling over facts, history as they strive for primacy. I appreciate your sincerity and commitment.

      I am not an American and consequently am not immersed in American politics. I am not a believer in politicians anymore than I think the world sits on the back of a turtle.

      These contexts being now stated I would still like to contest what you say, not for the hell of it but because I genuinely do not see things the way you do.

      We can both accept that it is possible for a man to change views. We can equally accept that some men don’t.

      “When was Barack Obama’s “long night of the soul”? When was the AGONY that a Marxist goes through when they give up their faith? And it is very much like a religious faith.”

      I would disagree with the idea that it is like a religious faith, I believe both religion and politics to be belief systems and adherence to dogma in either case is the same process. I don’t think Obama’s ever had a long night of the soul because, as I said before, I don’t think he’s deep enough for such an experience.

      I believe him to be an opportunist and as such never deeply attached to anything except the search for power. All his history of relationship to Marxism should, in my opinion, be viewed in that light. I believe that if Mickey Mouse were proclaimed to be god tomorrow, and enough voters and power brokers thought so as well, you would hear Obama swearing he’d always believed that to be the case.

      You see ultimately I am as cynical, if not more so, of Obama than you but from a different stance. So whatever past claims or adherences, whatever history, it is not that they did not exist or I am denying them, it is how you read it that separates us.

      Speeding capitalism to its own destruction is, for me, a complete red herring. Capitalism has done just fine in the last 15 years undermining itself for perfectly understandable reasons. But that is another thread perhaps.

      There is an issue with the way Americans view left politics and Europeans view it. Red, socialist, communist, Marxist and sometimes even liberal can at times all be clumped together by the American Right. Not so in Europe where we see distinctions in each. We have to accept this as a cultural difference I think.

      The most intersting point you last made, in my opinion, is this:

      “We both know that Barack Obama would not pass the security checks to be a cleaner in the Whitehouse (not with his background).”

      So what is being suggested is that we currently have a black Marxist U.S. President. This is a character that would normally be associated with a landscape populated by unicorns and mermaids. If you had said that would happen 10 years ago you would probably have ended up in a straight jacket.

      For there to be a black Marxist US President (I am maintaining the word black because race remains an issue in US voting) the whole of the American electorial system must have been fatally undermined.

      We would have to allow that a powerful Democratic power base such as the Clintons failed to take out a marxist candidate within the fairground of primaries.

      We would have to accept that the media and machinery of presidential elections failed to take out a marxist candidate in a Presidential election process.

      We would have to accept that all the power brokers behind the scenes in US politics accepted the candidacy of a marxist.

      We would also have to accept that the security agencies of the US allowed a marxist not only to walk into the White House but stay there and be re-elected.

      Any one of these challenges is all but insurmountable, all of them together are almost irresolvable. The rationale I am proposing is that these groups and agencies all knew the man for what he truly is, an opportunist; no more attached to what he said yesterday than he is committed to what he says today.

      My objection to the label “Comrade” is that it undermines the argument against Obama as it smacks of sour grapes on the part of the right. I am all for pinning the tail on the donkey but when the blindfold comes off if it is the wrong tail on the wrong donkey then it just looks farcical.

      For the world, the idea of a black Marxist US President is farcical and lacks credibility. I am not doubting your sincerity, I can see the logic of your reading of his history, I just can’t agree with how you are reading the man in the light of his history.

  • Paul Marks Paul Marks

    That should be “spend” not “speed” capitalism to destruction.

    Cloward and Piven (or Mr and Mrs Cloward) were not “Keynesians”.

    They did not believe that higher government spending “stimulated the economy”.

    On the contrary – their position was to get as many people dependent on the state as possible, in order to undermine and destroy “capitalism”.

    At no point in his life has Barack Obama been known for rushing off to see Keynesian economists lecuture.

    Not at Occidental, not in Columbia, not in Harvard, and not at the University of Chicago.

    He was not known for hanging round economists (Keynesian or other).

    His academic friends were rather different.

    They were Cloward and Piven types.

    Indeed they included Cloward and Piven PERSONALLY.

    The Keynesians are simply “useful idiots” as far as this sort of person is concerned.

  • Paul Marks Paul Marks

    Well Jack one of my e.mails is still “awaiting moderation” (it was one detailing the position that Barack Obama is NOT personally a Keynesian – he just uses them as “useful idiots”, and repeating his long relationship with Cloward and Piven types).

    However, I am of the opinion that no amount of evidence or argument will convince you.

    “I do not doubt your sincerity” means you think I am a whackjob.

    Fine – I have been in this position before (or other matters).

    One can bring a horse to water – but one can not make the horse drink.

    I am not paid to do this, it is not my responsibility.

    If you want to think I am a “Californian Bullsealion” (or whatever) that is up to you.

    I am not going to bother telling someone something they could find out for themselves (if they were prepared to do a bit of research) and DO NOT WANT TO KNOW anyway.

    You will not believe me – no matter what evidence or arguments I produce.

    Because you do not want to believe the.

    Fair enough – as I said, this is not my job.

    Nothing that is going to happen is my fault – it is not my responsibility.

    People (such as yourself) have been warned – you have chosen to ignore the warnings.

    Finis.

    • Jack Adams

      “I do not doubt your sincerity” means you think I am a whackjob.”

      No, actually, I meant what I said and was being genuine.

    • Jack Adams

      Paul, you really were not reading what I was saying. What I said was:

      “Equally it is good to be on a thread where it is not populated by Californian Bull Sealions bashing each other bloody whilst trampling over facts, history as they strive for primacy. I appreciate your sincerity and commitment.”

      If you look at this again I am sure you will see that I actually was not comparing you to a Californian Bull Sealion, I was making a statement about the quality of the thread.

      I fully understand that if you read this quote as a personal slight or insult, which it was not, then it would be right for you to be offended.

      Perhaps you are used to people just contesting what you say without thinking about what you say and that is irritating, however, that is not what I am doing.

      I too, am not paid to contest your argument, you would probably argue that it would be very difficult for me to find payment for such a task!

      I am not saying your position is wrong, I am just saying it is not how I read the situation. I disagree. I have tried to disagree calmly and with respect but for some reason it appears my words don’t read to you like that. I truly wish that were different.

  • Paul Marks Paul Marks

    My apologies Mr Adams.

    As a parting point I would give the example of P. Straffa.

    Would you agree that this man (in spite of his Keynesian langugage) was a Marxist?

    No need to reply – just think about the question and then think about the academic in the Whitehouse.

    • Jack Adams

      Paul, no need for apologies, you can always loose the human in these damn computers! Will consider what you say. Thanks for your patience.

      Best

      Jack.