Monday, July 18, 2011

Waste of Time

It seems that this is the 20th anniversary of Tom Waits' Rain Dogs. It is one of the all time great albums. For reasons that are entirely unclear, to me in any event, someone decided to have a bunch of talentless bums important artists cover the songs.

In a related note, various and sundry people have been picking  on Matthew Yglesias for his neo-liberalism.  As is his wont, Yglesias responds by demanding concrete examples of his sins. Although, much like singing covers of Tom Waits, it's a waste of time, the problem with neoliberalism is that at its core it is dedicated to a market fundamentalism. Over to the Crooked Timber, last link, the idea is to divide neoliberalism into left and right with Yglesias being "left" and, one assumes, Thatcher and Reagan being "right." The difficulty here is that once you buy into the genius of the market and spend time mocking regulations and licensing  regimes, you, which is to say Ygelsias, provide a left-wing-I-really-care-about-the-poor-and-downtrodden gloss to a horrid  political/economic ideology, which hates people, and, what is even more important, because Yglesias and his fellow "left" neoliberals despise everyone to their left, which has the added advantage of providing a reasonable "left" neoliberal cover for the refusal of either the center or the right to listen to the actual real left.

One result of all this is that stolid centrists like, for  example, Obama tend to make the wrong policy decisions. 1848, I can't say this enough, ought to have taught the reasonable hippie punchers that the Conservatives and Reactionaries do not actually want and in fact won't give an inch.

The problem, in other words, isn't policies or end points it's the fact that Yglesias and co ally themselves with men and women who refuse to work toward the same ends via any policies. In short, "left" neoliberals are fooling themselves. And, just to be clear, if you think neoliberalism works, look out the window.

Here's a thingymabob by Bradford Delong in which he tries to make "left" neoliberalism different from right neoliberalism and, quite frankly, I think  he fails. See also.


  1. People seem to forget that corporations exist to make a profit, if they can save a few bux by not maintaining a pipeline they will, or if they can increase executive bonuses by laying a few thousand people off they will. Neoliberals and all conservatives think the corporations are their friends and they are not.

  2. I think that Neoliberals, left, right, and center, rather like Kent Brockman and our new Ant overlords, think that the rich won't eat them just those other lesser folks.