Inflation and the Spectre of World Revolution

Inflation is here big time.

– Charles Holliday CEO, Du Pont. June 24, 2008

The sustained rise in the price of oil and commodities has hammered industries… and deepened fears of global inflationary spiral — which has already provoked riots across Asia — as producers pass on higher costs to manufacturers and consumers.”

Financial Times, June 25, 2008, page 1

Introduction

Inflation and all of its repercussions for wage and salaried workers, fixed income middle classes, as well as manufacturers and transport industries is splashed all over the financial pages of the major newspapers throughout the world. Inflation is the great solvent that dissolves paternalistic ties between employers and workers, landowners and peasants, clientele-patronage regimes and the urban poor and sets in motion violent protests against private property and previously popularly elected regimes. Historical religious, clan, party, ethnic, tribal, caste and other differences are temporarily suspended, as Hindus and Moslems in India, Communists and Christians in the Philippines, peasants and workers in China, industrial workers and public employees in Egypt, blacks and mulattos in Haiti…join together in sustained mass protests against inflation which profoundly and visibly erodes their living standards from week to week, in some cases from one day to another.

But the left, the Anglo-American left? Where and what do our most prominent public intellectuals, including those with booking agents charging five-digit lecture fees, have to say about this world-wide revolt? Nary a word is found in left, center-left magazines, web sites and blogs. During their lucrative lectures, they thunder against the immoralities of war and climate change. They hurl imprecations against rulers and exploiters and their immoralities, and the bellicose interests they represent (with special exemption of the ubiquitous Zionist Power configuration). Yet there is hardly a mention of the purveyors of the global cancer which is literally eating away the bread of everyday life of billions of people. They talk of a ‘peace movement’, (which has disappeared); of one or another dissident electoral candidate; and reminisce over youth revolts 50 years ago. But like the intellectuals who sipped their wine while the revolting masses headed for the Bastille, they are at best irrelevant, unblinking spectators to the greatest turmoil of the new millennium.

The targeted capitalists and their regimes and the downwardly mobile middle classes and the masses facing destitution are much more aware of the centrality of inflation to their profits, living standards and everyday life and the threats of popular upheavals. The Anglo-American left, in all of its variants, is destined once again to irrelevance in the face of world-historic challenges and opportunities. This contrasts with the intense preoccupation of the capitalist class with inflation. It is the central topic of weekly meeting of central bankers the world over. Empty resolutions are approved at the monthly conferences convoked by international financial institutions. Almost daily there are pronouncements by finance and economic ministers. Yet the complacent indifference of our intellectuals is striking.

To awaken from intellectual stupor and political irrelevance in the face of the mass revolt against inflation, it is necessary for the Anglo-American left to come to grips with the scope, depth and significance of accelerating inflation in our times. Inflation is pre-eminently a political phenomenon in every sense of the word: it is a product of public policies which deeply affect markets, supply and demand, consumers, producers and speculators. Inflation is the detonator of mass political action and offers historic opportunities for broad-based ‘regime transformation’ and even revolutions in a way similar to the way the destructive imperial wars have in the past. Like wars, inflation devastates vast sectors of society, puts them all in common deteriorating positions and projects their worst nightmare — a regression into the abyss of mass destitution.

The Centrality of Inflation

The most threatening challenge to contemporary imperial regimes and their client nations is out of control inflation and a raging rise in food prices. Writers on the Left who write of the end of empire and focus on the financial crises (in the US), or the energy crises (in Europe), or the grievance of mass peasant protests over corruption in China, have overlooked the one grievance which cuts across all regimes of the world (with greater or lesser intensity but everywhere growing more powerful) namely inflation, especially in vital necessities such as food and fuel costs.

For Marxists, their narrow focus is on the class struggle at the workplace and related issues of unemployment and deteriorating work conditions as the detonator of mass unrest and organized anti-capitalist action. For environmentalists, the point of mobilization is climate change, peak oil, environment degradation and the resultant deterioration of human existence. For anti-imperialists and related anti-war activists, it is the US, EU and Israeli wars in the Middle East which represent the great moral challenges of our times and the greatest danger to world peace.

While these progressive analyses and prognoses are righteous in intent and worthy causes to support, they overlook the fact that they are not the points of greatest conflict between imperial and client regime and the great majority of humanity today. The greatest concern and the issue, which has consistently mobilized hundreds of millions over the past year, is inflation, rising food and fuel prices, declining living standards, hunger and the everyday experience (and reality) that conditions are deteriorating with no end in sight. The point of greatest contention today is not the workplace (or point of production) but in the ‘market’, the place of consumption, where money earned from production purchases less and less of the necessities of life.

Inflation: Detonator of the First Sustained World Revolt

In Asia, particularly Pakistan, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Philippines, Nepal, Mongolia and China, hundreds of millions of workers, peasants, artisans and low-paid self employed workers, as well as house-wives and pensioners have engaged in sustained mass protests as they experience a decline in the quality and quantity of food purchases as prices skyrocket. In Africa, hunger stalks the land and major food riots have occurred from Egypt through Sub-Saharan Africa to South Africa. In the Caribbean, Central and South America, food riots have led to the overthrow of regimes, mass protests, road blockages from Argentina, Bolivia, through Colombia, Venezuela and Haiti.

Recognizing the revolutionary potential of ‘hunger politics’ induced by inflation, even right-wing, as well as center-left regimes have attempted to limit unrest through (1) food subsidies, (2) raising interest rates and cutting public expenditures to slow down the economy and lessen inflation (Brazil), (3) lowering food exports in order to supply local consumers (Vietnam, India, Indonesia), (4) enacting special laws against hoarders and speculators (Philippines) and (5) repressing mass protest (Haiti, Egypt). None of these short-term, local ameliorative measures have worked: Controls of exports have not lessened imported inflation and wholesalers/retailers have not complied with price controls and engaged in hoarding and black market activity. While agricultural production has increased, the growth of non-food products (ethanol for bio-gas) has grown even faster. The ineffectiveness of these ‘reforms’ reflects the failure of agricultural policies over the past half-century, which have focused on financing large-scale specialty export agricultural crops and urban-service-industrial complexes, while neglecting basic food production by family farmers for local consumption. Countries, as diverse as Cuba, Egypt, China and the Philippines, have divested from agriculture to service (tourism in Cuba), recreational facilities for the wealthy (golf courses), agro-exports (Brazil), real estate (China), technology centers and commercial shopping malls (Philippines and India). In the process they have displaced food producing small farmers, depriving them of credits, price incentives and infrastructure – not to mention confiscating rich agricultural lands from indebted farmers for conversion to golf courses, exclusive subdivisions and shopping malls.

The result is the convergence of ongoing protests by dispossessed peasants and farmers, suffering from lack of access to land, irrigation and agricultural credits, and masses of poor urban consumers suffering from inflation of food prices. What is at fault is not merely the prices but the social relations of production. State priorities and the configuration of class power, which control the state and decree economic strategies, reorganized the economy at the expense of local low-cost and available food production. None of the ameliorative measures taken by contemporary regimes have even approached the structural roots of the inflation crisis and the rising cost of food.

Inflation and Structural Vulnerability

Inflation has had such a devastating effect today — even more than in the past — because of several profound shifts in the occupational and social organization of the economy. Worldwide class-based trade unions have declined in numbers and capacity to safeguard the interests of urban and rural wage labor. With this decline has come the abolition of wage indexes, sliding scales of wages, which allow workers wages to keep up with the rise of prices. Secondly, the vast growth of informal and service sector workers are not organized to raise wages in response to increases in food prices. The growth of pensioners with fixed income has increased their vulnerability to inflationary prices, leading to sharp declines in purchasing power. The growth of contract labor, precarious labor contracts has undermined all possibilities of negotiating labor contracts which allow wage and salary workers to keep up with inflation.

Thirdly, the dominant ideology, promoted by all capitalist economists and accepted by many trade union officials, claims that wage increases, and wage indexing induces inflationary pressure. This leads to collusion between ‘labor and capital’ in creating a ‘lag’ between rising prices and wage adjustments, resulting in declining living standards. Fourthly, this pernicious and erroneous doctrine deflects attention from the real causes of inflation — declining capitalist investment in the productive economy, the vast increase of capital flowing in the paper economy, the huge increases in profits and the grotesque salaries, bonuses and payoffs to senior executives, totally unrelated to ‘performance’. As a result there is a decrease in the production and circulation of goods of mass consumption. The growth of a vast parasitical ‘service sector’ with money pursuing fewer actually available goods has led to higher prices. Most of the affluent classes (the upper 20%) can afford the higher prices, in part because they can pass on the added costs to the mass of working class and urban and rural poor. In other words, in the contemporary economy, inflation benefits the wealthy because they pay their workers in deflated currency, while they can take advantage of inflation to further jack up prices and then income. In other words the upper classes have fortified their economic positions to take account of inflation through their power over prices, income and other compensations in a way that wage workers and people on fixed income and other vulnerable sectors cannot. Bankers protect their loans via adjustable interest rates. Monopoly resource owners jack up prices to retain profits. Wholesalers mark up prices to compensate for higher commodity prices. Large-scale retailers squeeze final consumers — the great majority at the bottom of the production and distribution chain.

Inflation: The Targets of Revolt

The revolts of the mass of vulnerable consumers are directed at retailers, wholesalers and the government, which are held responsible for the higher prices. Governments are charged with deregulating the economy, subsidizing the profiteers, promoting profiteering, complicity with monopolies, imposing wages and salary constraints without commensurate control over prices and basic necessities. Where some subsidies or price controls are decreed they are not consistently implemented or enforced. Worse still, widespread evasion, hoarding and black-marketeering is rife because of official complicity and corruption. According to regime bureaucrats, it is ‘easier’ to control wages than prices — hence the uneven and unjust enforcement. Moreover, capitalist producers frequently dis-invest or withhold products especially necessities from the market as an effective weapon against price controls, forcing scarcity and inducing popular discontent with the incumbent regime. Reformist policies and regimes then are forced to choose between ‘lifting controls’ to increase profits and prices or maintaining controls and facing the wrath of masses confronting empty shelves. Few if any contemporary regimes are willing to make credible threats to intervene in economic sectors or even enterprises, withholding goods or investments. Even less likely are regimes willing to actually mobilize workers, farmers and consumers to take over strategic economic sectors vital to popular consumption.

Anti-Inflationary Revolts and Extra-Parliamentary Politics

Given the total dominance of unhindered and unregulated ‘free market’ ideology among all the leading political parties and within the executive, legislative and administrative branches of government, there are no institutional political vehicles through which the consumers can act to arrest their declining living standards, their decreasing capacity to meet basic needs and in many regions avoid growing malnutrition and hunger. Because of the all-pervasive and powerful stranglehold of free market capitalism among all national and international decision makers, all the meetings convoked by international organizations to deal with the ‘food crisis’ (narrowly defined as ‘hunger’ induced by scarcity and exorbitant food prices) have repeatedly failed to come up with practical and workable solutions. At best, they simply pledge funds for temporary food aid, subsidies and proposals for technical or market assistance. No meeting challenges the power of corporate agriculture to raise prices, allocate investments to more profitable fuel use rather than food; no crisis managers suggest massive shifts of credits from agro-exporters to family farmers; no effort is made to end price gouging by wholesalers or retailers. In other words, the crisis managers are of the same class as the beneficiaries of high prices and scarce food producers — and therefore they operate within the same market rules, which perpetuate higher profits and declining living standards.

Given the failures of official policies and the lack of any institutional solutions of redress, the only outlet for downwardly mobile masses is extra-parliamentary opposition; the sacking of trains, stores and wholesale warehouses; the overthrow or voting out of office of incumbent regimes; the blocking of transport and seizure of government buildings; mass marches and demonstrations facing legislative and executive houses. Incumbent regimes everywhere fear mass repudiation in upcoming elections, even as their ‘populist’ opponents provide no systematic alternative. As yet, the mass consumer protests, even as they draw heavily upon the families of workers, have yet to enlist the organized working class at its point of production. Only on rare occasions have organized workers engaged in ‘general strikes’ against price increases of basic foodstuffs. The process of linking producter and consumer sectors is however not far on the horizon as local joint actions are occurring and calling into question the reliance on unrestricted markets. Bourgeois journalists, some financial editorial writers and a few government advisers are aware of the growing danger of inflation, rising food prices and the profit/wage gap to the capitalist system and are calling for anti-inflationary policies and public regulation. Faced with the deepening financial crisis resulting from the speculative crash and the necessity of large-scale, long-term state intervention and bail-outs, sectors of the capitalist class are also calling for greater state supervision and tighter controls over covert (off the books) institutional swindles.

Popular perception of massive state bailouts of banks and proposals for new regulations to save the financial system has reinforced the idea that the state can equally (or with greater justice) interfere to regulate food and fuel prices and to prop up declining living standards.

Inflation and the Transition from Protest to Popular Uprisings

Inflation and high levels of engagement of the state in saving capitalism has raised mass discontent from a local protest against local price gougers and profiteers to a national political protest against a class-biased state, which ignores deteriorating living standards and concerns itself only with the very rich.

Previously apolitical or even conservative workers, peasants and households who experienced incremental and cumulative gains in living standards through long hours and multiple household workers are now seeing their livelihood decline. Their earnings are devalued, their capacity to satisfy basic needs deteriorating. The sensation of ‘going backwards’ or losing control over their everyday lives and of downward mobility is fueling mass collective anger. The treadmill of added work without rewards, respect or recognition is reinforced daily by the added costs to everyday goods. Inflation destabilizes all calculations, not only for the future, but also of everyday life: What to buy or not buy. What to pay or what to pay off. Uncertainly about what is affordable today and unaffordable tomorrow. Uncertainty spreads from the poorest to the ‘stable workers’, from the ‘fixed income’ pensioners to the ‘secure public employees’. Inflation’s global spread undermines living standards in Europe and the Americas, Asia and Africa, and with it, discontent erodes party loyalties and confidence in electoral and/or regime legitimacy. Historically nothing undermines public confidence in the currency, the banks, politicians and the existing market ideology as much as daily creeping inflation. The greatest fear of all is the sense that a lifetime of effort will result in the ‘loss of everything’ — home, transport, health, and education — as prices rise faster than income. At some point, rampant inflation leads to absolute regression and with that a rupture with all previous loyalties and commitments.

Conclusion

Inflation, as it accelerates, in the past and today, is the great solvent of incremental everyday habits and politics: Today it undermines incumbent politicians; tomorrow it can call into question regimes and social orders.

In the past, inflationary disorders and desperation brought forth rightist demagogues who specialize in imposing order and stability. It ill behooves the left to once again ignore the destructive effects of inflation, the demands for order and stability and mass consumer discontent. Inflationary fears are as much entrenched as class and property issues. Combating inflation, especially basic price increases is central to any prospect for a social transformation, which claims to benefit the wage and salaried workers, urban or rural dwellers, the poor, minorities, consumers and producers.

James Petras, a former Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York, owns a 50-year membership in the class struggle, is an adviser to the landless and jobless in Brazil and Argentina, and is co-author of Globalization Unmasked (Zed Books). Petras’ most recent book is The Arab Revolt and the Imperialist Counterattack. He can be reached at: jpetras@binghamton.edu. Read other articles by James, or visit James's website.

19 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Wingnut said on July 20th, 2008 at 6:23am #

    Hi! Interesting, but, you haven’t addressed the REAL problem. Economies. As long as the masses believe “There’s nothing wrong with making a good profit”… nothing will be solved.

    Think about the inequal rationing of these wellbeing coupons (USA money) that have the pyramid scheme symbol on the back. Think about the massive and easily-seen servitude-infestation within capitalism. Think about capitalism-invented pricetags, blockading the survival supplies… making it so ONLY free marketeers can get survival supplies and luxuries/toys. Think about the parental policy reversal from share, to fight, when children turn 18 and are sharktanked into “out there”. “Out there” is where we’re (do as we’re-) told to COMPETE… but while “in here”… we shall cooperate. What IS “out there” and what IS “in here” and why does this border, or ANY border… exist?? See how out there/in here phenomenon… sets-up the US/THEM civil wars? Folks on the very same planet as each other, fighting with folks on the very same planet…. over wellbeing… and empowerments (entitles of ownership of property/money).

    Money, entitles of ownership, pricetags, all products of the felony church-o-competers… called capitalism. Where is the church of cooperators (Christianity)? Why don’t THEY have a currency that’s legal tender TOO, and handed-out lovingly like leafs falling from trees. Where are potluck dinners and barnraisings and communes? Do we all need to read the story of Stone Soup and learn its lesson again?? Do we all need to go back to view the repeated failings of childhood pyramids? Remember how, when we stacked the children in the playground into servitude-infested pyramids… how the upper 1/3 was momentarily “heads in the clouds” while the kids on the bottom got crushed by having the weight of the world’s knees in their backs??

    Its all caused by… inequality… ie. pyramid schemes… such as capitlaism is. Why isn’t EVERYONE in EVERY COUNTRY given the same wellbeing as each other. Why not equal pay and equal ownership of ALL land, supplies, and luxuries? Why do capitalists and former Christians operate in a COMPETING environment instead-of in a “we’re all on the same team” cooperating environment? Until these questions and problems are pondered and addressed, you can spew theories about inflation until you vomit, and you have solved NOTHING.

    Until one understands spirography (what goes around… comes around… once handed-on a thousand times) and until one understands the capitalism BS of “pull your weight, earn your keep, stand on your own two feet, make a living” etc etc (bandwagoning/railroadings/traditions)… you can’t address the problem. The “yay America, yay capitalism” self-BSing is too ingrained, the con/sham is too bought-into. Until one scrutinizes the immorality and illegality of servitude/inequality systems such as the felony pyramid scheme called capitalism, nothing will advance. Profiting causes inflation, its as simple as that. Every profit, leaves a hole. For every winner, there’s a loser…. in capitalism. And until the toybox tug-o-warring, cookieplate-chasing capitalists… are willing to examine the reason for the huge pile of dead bodies at the exhaust pipe of their “everyone climb aboard the bandwagon” Earth-mowing/harvesting machine… nothing will be accomplished. As long as servitude and competing is the theme of the century (forcing 18 year olds to work FOR others instead of WITH others in equality)… we’re all doomed. The ONLY way to fix the problem… is to outlaw economies (and thus outlaw pyramid schemes).

    Prepare for the collapse of a pyramid! Its a GOOD thing. It giving loving Christian socialism supply/survival systems… another chance to happen. Look to the USA military supply system, as well as the USA public library system… for proper monetary-discriminationless wisdom and morals. And while we’re at it, we need to quit doing the unlevel architecture in USA courtrooms. They are currently church simulators and fear chambers… and look NOTHING like a level military tribunal. Sick. Fix inequality on ALL fronts, and clean-up the statistics page at the World Health Organization. Do that, and we’re on our way. Right now, capitalism has caused a massive forsaking and negligent homicide festival… via NOT paying attention to the far-reaching ramifications of pyramid schemes-o-servitude. There’s more criteria than just monetary worth… to measure the value of things-with. There’s nobody to lynch for the FreeMason/Illuminati pyramid scheme… they’ve all died of old age. We just need to escape the thing now…. by outlawing and abolishing economies.

    Take care, everyone!
    Larry “Wingnut” Wendlandt
    MaStars – Mothers Against Stuff That Ain’t Right
    (anti-capitalism-ists)
    Bessemer MI USA

  2. Clifford J. Wirth said on July 20th, 2008 at 10:09am #

    Global inflation will increase rapidly, but the result will be mass fatalities, more than revolution, though that too will happen:

    According to energy investment banker Matthew Simmons, global oil production is now declining, from 85 million barrels per day to 60 million barrels per day by 2015. During the same time demand will increase 14%.

    This is like a 45% drop in 7 years. No one can reverse this trend, nor can we conserve our way out of this catastrophe. Because the demand for oil is so high, it will always be higher than production; thus the depletion rate will continue until all recoverable oil is extracted.

    Alternatives will not even begin to fill the gap. And most alternatives yield electric power, but we need liquid fuels for tractors/combines, 18 wheel trucks, trains, ships, and mining equipment.

    We are facing the collapse of the highways that depend on diesel trucks for maintenance of bridges, cleaning culverts to avoid road washouts, snow plowing, roadbed and surface repair. When the highways fail, so will the power grid, as highways carry the parts, transformers, steel for pylons, and high tension cables, all from far away. With the highways out, there will be no food coming in from “outside,” and without the power grid virtually nothing works, including home heating, pumping of gasoline and diesel, airports, communications, and automated systems.

    This is documented in a free 48 page report that can be downloaded, website posted, distributed, and emailed: http://www.peakoilassociates.com/POAnalysis.html

    I used to live in NH, but moved to a safer place. Anyone interested in relocating to a nice, pretty, sustainable area, good climate with much rain and good soil?

  3. Michael Kenny said on July 20th, 2008 at 10:27am #

    I don’t see where Professor Petras gets the idea that Europe is concerned about an “energy crisis” rather than inflation. The energy crisis IS inflation!!! For the rest, I can see little resemblance to Europe.

    An amusing aside: why are only Anglos allowed to be part of the American “left”? What about Americans of other origins? The Irish, Italians, Jews, Germans, Scandinavians, Blacks, Chinese and all the rest? Are they only allowed to be on the right, the centre or the greens? Come to think of it, “Petras” doesn’t sound very Anglo!

  4. Eric Patton said on July 20th, 2008 at 12:25pm #

    Wingnut writes:
    > We just need to escape the thing now…. by outlawing and
    > abolishing economies.

    This is ridiculous. Every society has economic functions. Such functions can no more be “abolished” than could breathing.

    The issue is how such functions are accomplished. If one is interested in how a society might accomplish economic functions in accord with progressive values, I recommend investigating participatory economics (parecon).

  5. Lynn said on July 20th, 2008 at 12:39pm #

    Clifford
    Currently looking for a place to relocate to, basically with the attributes you describe with the addition of being around like minded people.

  6. dan e said on July 20th, 2008 at 2:10pm #

    And again, here we have the same weirdos posting their wingnut crackpot pseudo-”ideas”, pre-empting any possibility of intelligent discussion of this seminal article.

    Easy to see what the deal is: why do people like “evie”, “michael kenny”, this latest Wingnut — why do these professional Trolls haunt this webpage when everything posted here & the whole editorial concept, the whole DV “vision”, is 180 degrees opposed to all they claim to “believe in”? Why don’t they do what most people do, which is find a site which features ideas as close as they can find to their own?

    I myself happen to think Kim Peterson is a v. bright individual with a lot of common sense and an excellent background of knowledge which enables him to do a really excellent job of determining what needs to be focussed on & what we can safely ignore. So I monitor DV on a daily basis.
    There are other online sites & services I read regularly, some of them offering the chance to “Comment”, others not. Most “Comment” links aren’t worth opening, in the same class with those CSpan “call-in” shows offering idiots from Boca Raton to Everett the chance to display their detailed knowledge of the writings of Henry George, Wm Jennings Bryan, Ouspensky, Mother Teresa, whoever, i.e., the Crackpot of Your Choice. But these are the kind of “call-in” questions/comments I think one wd expect, given that these shows are based on an interview with the Talking Head of the Day, normally one collossal bore or another.

    But the DV case is different, and even more so with reference to writing by James Petras.

    Now there are persons with real credentials who differ with Petras, with Kim P’s writings, with the basic thrust of DV. I can think of Max Elbaum, Chomsky, M. Yates, a few others. But none of them essay to directly confront JP or his ideas here on DV. As a matter of fact, it’s rare that any of them, or anybody you might consider on a similar level, will openly challenge a proposition or a conclusion voiced by Jas Petras.

    You will see Public Intellectuals challenge Walt & Mearsheimer’s work, but those with any reputation prefer to deal with Petras’ work by “rising above it”, dismissing it on one pretext or another before even mentioning it, pretending he and his work don’t exist.

    That’s in the US; in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Dr Petras is regarded as among the most important intellectuals active today. One prominent European establishment media outlet held a poll to determine who its readers regarded as the “most important” figures in the world today; Petras was in the top fifty, followed by Chomsky a little lower down.

    So it’s amusing to observe these trolls with their intellectual popguns, or would be if their real purpose was to challenge Petras’ thinking. But having observed the game for a while, I finally realized what they are up to. They don’t expect to convince anybody of anything, just to confront the serious reader with such a pile of nonsense that said reader will forget all about trying to dig deeper into Petras’ reasoning, at least on DV, and go away with a sense of annoyance fresher in mind than what Petras had to say.

    I remember how at one point several months ago, I was struck by the high level of some of the discussions appended to articles here on DV. I think it was about the time of Kim and his associate’s 12 Part article on Zionism etc, that the Zionist trolls made their appearance? “Jaime”, “Neal”, who am I forgetting? Guess that pair finally gave up; now we have the current crew of pretend “anti-Imperialists” spewing their cliches picked up from network TV talking heads & NYTimes columnists.
    Which at first glance seems so stupid you’d think they’d die of embarrassment — but once you realize they aren’t serious about their arguments, that their main purpose is to waste reader’s time & prevent rational discussion, it all makes sense. Rulingclass sense.

    So don’t be took in:) All part a the Okie-Doke:)

  7. Mark Wilson/Philadelphia said on July 20th, 2008 at 6:42pm #

    Usually I choose to read as opposed to responding to the legends in their own minds that post here. What everybody here is missing is that the master plan has been scripted as long as we follow and play our part we “the sub-species” will be fine. Gas prices are abviously going to come down once the oil man is of of office. Peak-Oil is bullshit there are proven reserves in the Rocky Mountains as well as all over Alaska and on our shorelines. Not to mention Africa and S. America. Wake up ppl, we are simply getting all we can out of the islamo world before we simply tap other resources. It is in the best interests of the monied classes that inflation not spiral out of control lest the instability makes THEIR monies pretty worthless-right? This current spiral is no different than what happened in the 80′s with the S n L crises. As far as wingnut goes inflation is a pretty simple problem to solve-ever read about the dramatic increase in interest rates at the end of the Carter yrs and beginning of Reagans term? This is the grand ole U.S. of A and I for one hope that all of you wingnuts are proven wrong!!!

  8. Jeremy Wells said on July 20th, 2008 at 9:39pm #

    “Yet there is hardly a mention of the purveyors of the global cancer which is literally eating away the bread of everyday life of billions of people.”

    Not from the “progressive left” which is linked forever to the Democratic Party through Obama and Kucinich. The “progressive” left of Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!, KPFK Pacifica are basically anti-socialist and anti-Marxist. Forever discussing “crises” as single unrelated events, blame Bush and Cheney, want to end the war in Iraq but not all imperialist wars, forever trying to reform the Democratic Party, etc.

    Try reading WSWS World Socialist Web Site for last week or so for a socialist and Marxist view of the economy and the current crises:

    “Measure of America” report documents social decay of the United States
    US ranks 42nd in life expectancy
    By Patrick Martin
    19 July 2008

    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2008/jul2008/usde-j19.shtml
    —————————————————————————————————–
    “Equality is not good”
    Barney Frank and the putrefaction of American liberalism
    By Bill Van Auken
    18 July 2008
    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2008/jul2008/fran-j18.shtml
    ==========================================================
    US: Amid surging prices, Fed raises specter of renewed class struggle
    By Andre Damon
    17 July 2008
    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2008/jul2008/econ-j17.shtml
    ===========================================================
    US bailout of mortgage giants: The politics of plutocracy
    By Barry Grey
    15 July 2008
    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2008/jul2008/bail-j15.shtml
    =========================================================
    Submit your email address on the home page to subscribe free to their daily
    news analysis.

  9. Jeremy Wells said on July 20th, 2008 at 9:59pm #

    “But that’s just my way of doing things. Perhaps others here such as yourself and dan e., who are above attacking others, would offer your serious wisdom as to how to rationally solve the problems of the world.”

    There is no “reform” of the existing economic system of gangster capitalism that has seized control of the U.S. federal governement. War will never end unless the profit is taken out of war. No war for oil and power. Global warming was never tackled under Bush/Cheney because the profits of polluters may be diminished. Public education, public health is under continual privatizationattack. U.S. and global capitalism must become regulated, taxed, nationalized and ultimately ended if there is any hope for the survival of humanity.

    The economy must serve the needs of the majority of people (socialism) and not just to profit a tiny minority of millionaires and billionaires. (capitalism).
    The best source of information and perspective on current affairs from a socialist perspective: World Socialist Web Site http://www.wsws.org

    You may not think socialism in any form is a “solution”…. perhaps you have been equating socialism with “stalinism”, fascism, tyranny, etc. but perhaps you have been brain-washed your entire life by corporatist education and capitalist media?
    The most revolutionary act today ———–unplug your television, gather information, think critically, communicate with your neighbors and family and find out what is really happening!

  10. Andres Kargar said on July 21st, 2008 at 12:21am #

    In contrast to the fragmented left, representatives of the owning classes clearly realize the danger the uncontrolled rise in food prices poses for the haves of the world. That’s why World Bank President Robert Zoellick urgently calls for world governments to provide aid to the U.N. World Food Program. Hunger is clearly endangering the well-being of the world’s rulers.

    Having said that, I should also reiterate my belief that successful revolutions require organization and leadership on the part of the intellectuals. Under revolutionary conditions, however, such leadership could at times crystallize almost overnight.

    The world capitalist order is in dire trouble, but this time, issues such as global warming, increased demand for fossil fuels, … will be exacerbating the crisis ten-fold. America’s internment camps are precisely in anticipation of such conditions and not the advertised apprehension of so-called “illegal aliens”.

    Such a welcome sight: the demise of repressive governments like Egypt, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, and the one responsible for the genocide of America’s indigenous and the African slaves.

  11. Hue Longer said on July 21st, 2008 at 12:34am #

    Well said Jeremy,

    I’d like to add to the “think critically” sugegstion…Most folks have a misunderstanding of what that means because they have not taught themselves to do it ( “I’m smart, this is my opinion and I’m not prone to anger all the time…I’m a critical thinker”).

    The only logic I had in high school was for debate training–what an ironic introduction that is–And from this semi curious group, comes sophist law students selling subjective reality and journalism majors looking to get the big checks in PR.

    I’d say educate yourselves on understanding fallacies beyond the most simplistic often misunderstood form of ad hominem. In a perfect world, we’d demand this in our schools and teach logic just like arithmetic. Could you imagine how unnecessary and criminal TV would become?

  12. Deadbeat said on July 21st, 2008 at 10:44am #

    dan e writes…

    Guess that pair finally gave up; now we have the current crew of pretend “anti-Imperialists” spewing their cliches picked up from network TV talking heads & NYTimes columnists.

    I wholeheartedly agree with you dan. Thanks for posting the poll regarding Dr. Petras ranking among the world’s intellectuals. He is one of the outspoken and courageous intellectuals today.

  13. Deadbeat said on July 21st, 2008 at 10:56am #

    evie writes…

    Regressive tax system. The system that pays thousands in EIC to workers who pay in very little?

    The above remark shows how little the writer knows about the income tax system. The EIC is a ruse. MOST workers do not get the EIC and those who are eligible do not receive a DIME. The EIC was put into place by Richard Nixon at the time in order to avoid raising the minimum wage.

    The IRS is basically set up to go after not wealthy taxpayers but POOR tax payers and the IRS find various ways to avoid granting the EIC to workers. One such manner is if you are a single father with child custody you are ineligible for the EIC.

    This notion that the income tax system is not regressive due to the EIC is factually incorrect. Also the Social Security tax which is highly regressive has been used to fund the government spending. Social Security is NOT government receipts although people have been condition to believe that as well.

    I find it ironic that evie ridiculed me for citing the former CIA agents — Bill and Kathleen Christensen — who have also exposed the power of the Israel lobby — as listening to such government insiders. Yet evie, herself now sites the false propaganda coming from the government for years that implies how workers are receiving great tax “benefits”.

    It should be incumbent upon evie that she get her facts straight before asserting ridiculous falsehoods.

  14. MrSynec3 said on July 21st, 2008 at 1:10pm #

    evie,

    I asked specific questions and I was expecting specific answers. Insead,
    you invent imaginary situaions and ask questions about them.
    How many US workers shouted “workers of the world unite” while their
    jobs being shipped overseas??!! You gota be kidding! Did your imagination run wild??!
    Comparing the needed and justified tens of millions $$ of EIC to the unneeded and unjustfied hundreds of billions $$ in tax cuts , rebates and special allowences to the super-rich, who is winning and far ahead?.
    You give lip service to the corrupt ruling class but all you anger and vindictiveness is directed at the poor and the middle class.
    I can see that your basic philosophy is to let the powerful super-rich
    run amock and get more powerful and richer without any restraint and the hell with every body else. Oh ya, the only salvation of the workign
    class is self-help. No government regulations are needed for safe food, safe drugs, safe working conditions and honest banking system etc etc…
    Again, you gotta be kidding

  15. MrSynec3 said on July 22nd, 2008 at 2:02am #

    To all,

    Please listen to dan_ e advice and ignore evie completely. It is obvious
    that her main objective is to irritate you and waste your time and energy and not to engage in any serious discussion.

  16. siamdave said on July 22nd, 2008 at 5:34am #

    The article is only semi-useful, but can be seen as counter-productive also in that it encourages people to think about various things of secondary importance whilst ignoring the big and ugly, and getting bigger and uglier, elephant in the living room that is doing the real squeezing of everything and everyone. Inflation is a problem, certainly, leading to bigger profits and takings for banks and capitalists who hold true wealth whilst everyone else falls further and further behind as littleguy incomes do not keep up with it – but the central question that needs to be asked is why is this inflation always happening? It’s not oil prices behind it, they’re just a bit of gas that causes a small spurt on a never-ending fire.
    What everyone needs to understand is one thing – economies and inflation are about money, obviously – and where does that money come from in the first place? To ignore this question is like trying to fight infections by dealing with symptoms rather than the bugs that cause them. Almost all of our money supply is created by private interests for private profits – and that leads to every other economic problem we have (and a whole lot of social problems that are related to money, or more accurately lack of it). If you want to get a better understanding of it all, start here – Banketeering – how the banks have been stealing trillions from you, and the tap is still running http://www.rudemacedon.ca/dlp/box/box01-money.html . It’s red pill stuff, but knowledge is always better than ignorance.

  17. riathareja said on July 23rd, 2008 at 3:09am #

    Rising interest rates and a falling demand may dent the realty market in India. However, the long-term prospects for the sector continue to be good, feels the industry. There are around 21 India-dedicated real estate funds that are raising money in the international market. In the next nine months, nearly $7 billion will be entering the country through various India-dedicated funds. While long-term players are looking at India, short-term players based in the US and Europe, such as the hedge funds and private equity players, are more interested in their local markets.For more view- realtydigest.blogspot.com

  18. Max Shields said on July 23rd, 2008 at 6:40am #

    siamdave,

    Do you really want to know what the problem is – ALL OF US!!

    The are sound answers which require people to focus on them and do some work to make them happen. NOT just talk.

    Take money. Start a local currency. Is it easy? NO. But it’s the solution to your monetary issue. And it is absolutely essential.

    People on DV talk about boycotting Israel and then, where are they? No where, but on their PC poking at keys.

    We can’t kill this monster by looking elsewhere – WE ARE THE ENEMY UNTIL WE ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING.

    So far that’s been off the table.

  19. Dissident Voice : Inflation and the New World Order said on August 6th, 2008 at 5:01am #

    [...] Economic Report,” July 2008. [↩]Fortune, June 26, 2008. [↩]James Petras, “Inflation and the Specter of World Inflation,” Dissident Voice, July 20, 2008) [↩]Human Quest, May/June 2001. [↩]Washington Post, [...]