Weekend reading recommendations

Small articles with large implications.  Worth reading!

Content

  1. Fox News’ Hanity & Colmes to interview Gov Palin, Mark Halperin, The Page, blog at TIME, no date — She choose a very friendly host for her 2nd interview.
  2. Power station protesters cleared“, BBC, 10 September 2008 — “Six Greenpeace activists have been cleared of causing criminal damage during a protest over coal-fired power.”
  3. Bonded to Dysfunction – Saving intelligence“, Michael Ledeen, National Review Online, 12 September 2008 — Review of Ishmael Jones’s book The Human Factor: Inside the CIA’s Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture.
  4. We’re all capitalists now? Not any longer“, Anatole Kaletsky, The Times, 12 September 2008

Excerpts

I.  Fox News’ Hanity & Colmes to interview Gov Palin, Mark Halperin, The Page, blog at TIME, no date — She choose a very friendly host for her 2nd interview.I have not confirmed this, and do not see this on Fox’s website.

FOX News Channel (FNC) will present a special interview with Republican Vice Presidential nominee Governor Sarah Palin. The interview will be conducted by FNC’s Sean Hannity and will be presented on Hannity & Colmes in two parts on Tuesday, September 16th and Wednesday, September 17th at 9 PM ET.

II.  “Power station protesters cleared“, BBC, 10 September 2008 — “Six Greenpeace activists have been cleared of causing criminal damage during a protest over coal-fired power.” Excerpt:

The activists were charged with causing 30,000 pounds of damage after they scaled Kingsnorth power station in Hoo, Kent.  At Maidstone Crown Court Judge David Caddick said the jury had to examine whether protesters had a lawful excuse.

… After the hearing, E.ON spokeswoman Emily Highmore said the firm, which is planning to build a coal-fired unit at the plant, was “hugely disappointed”.

She said: “We respect people’s right to protest, but what Greenpeace did was hugely irresponsible. It put people’s lives at risk and that is clearly completely unacceptable.”  She added: “Our men and women who work at Kingsnorth have a right to go to work to do their lawful business and to do it safely, so we’re very concerned indeed about today’s outcome.”

Outside the court, activist Mr Stewart said the verdict was “a tipping point for the climate change movement”.   He said: “When 12 normal people say it is legitimate for a direct action group to shut down a coal-fired power station because of the harm it does to our planet then where does that leave government energy policy?”

III.  “Bonded to Dysfunction – Saving intelligence“, Michael Ledeen, National Review Online, 12 September 2008 — Review of Ishmael Jones’s book The Human Factor: Inside the CIA’s Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture.  Excerpt:

Jones is a Marine who joined the Agency’s clandestine service and became a case officer in the late ’80s, paints a devastating and alarming picture of a vast bureaucracy he calls “a corrupt, Soviet-style organization.” He warns that the CIA must “either be restructured as an American organization which encourages achievement, creativity, and accountability — or it must be dismantled.”

… Jones shows that the CIA is not doing its basic job, penetrating our enemies’ organizations and getting their people to work with us. One of The Human Factor’s most surprising revelations is that, despite all the hue and cry about the need for more and better human intelligence, despite the billions of dollars that have been poured into this project, we don’t have any more case officers today than we did back when. So where did all the money go? It went to create a domestic empire right here in the United States.

IV.  “We’re all capitalists now? Not any longer“, Anatole Kaletsky, The Times, 12 September 2008 — “An historic turning point has been reached: the West is ditching its faith in free markets and private enterprise.” Excerpt:

Whatever happened to the triumph of global capitalism? Even more than “the end of history”, the idea that “we’re all capitalists now” became an article of faith around the world from the early 1990s onwards. In the past few years even the few holdouts – countries such as Libya, Cuba and North Korea – seemed on the point of acknowledging that markets, competition and private enterprise were the only rational way of organising economic life, regardless of politics or history or religion or national cultures.

But just as the triumph appeared to be complete the innermost sanctum of the global capitalist system suddenly collapsed.

The nationalisation last weekend of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two largest financial institutions the world has ever known, signalled the complete failure of the biggest, most dynamic, most innovative and competitive markets that have existed in the history of capitalism – the Wall Street stockmarket and the market for US bonds.

Their failure has been so obvious, that even the most capitalist administration ever, in the world’s most capitalist country, had decided to wipe out the private owners of its biggest and most important financial companies and replace them with state-appointed bureaucrats.

The reasons for these failures – related, ironically, to the dogmatic belief among regulators, politicians and financiers that “the market is always right” – have been much discussed. Much less widely considered have been the consequences of this justifiable disillusionment with market forces.

… It is hard to imagine how squeezing private ownership out of the banking system could strengthen the cause of free enterprise and free markets. An early sign of which way the wind is blowing will come from a vote in Congress later this month on a request from General Motors and Ford for $25 billion in subsidised government loans to support their investment programmes through the energy and housing crunch. A few months ago such a request, which would, of course, be illegal under EU state aid rules, would have been unthinkable. Today, however, the question in Congress is not whether to grant this subsidy; it is whether to leave it at $25 billion or raise it $50 billion, as both Barack Obama and John McCain now propose.

With banking systems around the world hobbled by the lack of private capital, the motor industry will not be the only supplicants demanding state support. There will be many more demands from industries, workers and consumers, as much in Britain and Europe as in the US.

If the US loses faith with free markets, compromises the protection of property rights and hobbles its financial markets – all of which it has dramatically done in the past seven days – then Europe will surely follow suit. Emerging economies such as China and India will become even more ambivalent about market economics. Instead of We Are All Capitalists Now, There Are No Capitalists Left may become the ideology of the next decade.

Please share your comments by posting below.  Please make them brief (250 words max), civil, and relevant to this post.  Or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).

4 thoughts on “Weekend reading recommendations

  1. Re: “We’re all capitalists now.”

    So far, the Lehman Bros. debacle is testing this thesis. Stay tuned until tomorrow. One way or another, it will be interesting.
    .
    .
    Fabius Maximus replies: That was, of course, the point of his op-ed.

Leave a Reply