Craziness on Three Continents

NEP’s William Black appears on The Real News Network discussing problems in Ecuador, Spain and the heartland of the U.S.
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4 Responses to Craziness on Three Continents

  1. So one must be a resident of a country in order to have a grasp of its history? Does that mean dumpsterizing Gibbon? Does Carl Bridenbaugh’s analysis of UK immigrants to the US lack authority because he’s an American? Intimating, no maintaining, that politicians of any stripe have an in-depth knowledge of their own history is logically ridiculous, as American pols demonstrate on a daily basis.

    The “austerity” program, which, according to MMT mavens, is the chief cause of the world-wide catastrophe now occurring, will, as usual, destroy the educational system, particularly that of the US, where the cost of education per pupil is the highest in world history yet produces graduates that can’t find Iran on a map or balance their own check book, much less frame or understand a logical argument. Perhaps if highly paid school administrators were forced by budget cuts to trim some of the accessories they might be able to concentrate on the necessities that form the core of an educated human. Instead they lobby for bonding to build more impressive schools with bigger enrollments that produce better football teams.

    • Godfree Roberts Ed.D.

      US education fares poorly relative to the rest of the developed world for several reasons, none of which are connected to its headmasters’ budgets:
      1. A national, long-standing anti-intellectual bias that has been lately amplified by the media.
      2. Local school boards contain members who have neither expertise nor experience in education, meaning that board policies must be compromises, often poor ones with long-term ill-effects that those elected officials will not be around to take responsibility for.
      3. Federal governments set priorities and help form national consensus. But governments change every few years – and so do their policies.
      4. A worthwhile educational overhaul – assuming that it is fundamentally sound and affordable – takes 25 years to complete: far beyond the horizon of most politicians and even most parents.
      In short, we’re doomed to reside at the bottom of the OECD education tables permanently. Or at least until our entire political system is changed. Don’t hold your breath.

  2. Mark Robertson

    Just to be clear, not all South American governments are leftist. The governments of Peru, Chile, Paraguay, and Colombia are firmly with the neo-liberal, pro-austerity Washington Consensus.

    As for Brazil, its economy is so huge (the world’s sixth largest) that Brazil charts its own course. As with the USA, some of Brazil’s 26 States and 5,564 Municipalities tend to lean toward the progressive side, and some lean toward the right. Brazil has magnificent prosperity in some areas, and stupendous poverty in others. The urban centers are beautiful, but the surrounding slums are bigger than most U.S. cities.

    Argentina’s government has now shifted far enough to the left that the USA appears to be setting up Argentina for another “color revolution” that will purge Argentina of PM Fernandez and her government.

    Ecuador’s Correa must walk a tightrope. If he angers the rich bankers too much, then the West will cut Ecuador off from the world, financially, as the West has done to Zimbabwe. Ecuador still has China, but China is not altruistic. When imperialists sanction a nation, and the nation must turn to China, the Chinese exploit the sanctions to get better deals from the sanctioned nation. Better deals mean lower prices, more latitude on consignment deals, and so on. India and China use the Western sanctions to force concessions from Iran for its oil.

    As for Spanish PM Rajoy telling South Americans that they don’t know their own history, this shows how much Mr. Rajoy lives in an elitist bubble.

    I’m glad that Bill Black, in using the words “Great Betrayal” does not buy the nonsense that Obama is innocent, and “just doesn’t get it.”

  3. Mark Robertson

    I forgot to mention Kansas and Missouri, whose state legislatures want to eliminate all local taxes, and compensate for the lost revenue by imposing sales taxes, plus value added taxes, and by cutting government services, especially education.

    The purpose of this austerity is the same as everywhere else: put everyone under the heel of the private 1%.

    Wall Street loves local austerity. Since the elitists can’t eliminate all public services (they need police to protect their gated communities, for example), they will force Kansas and Missouri to rely more than ever on debt (i.e. bond issuance). The debt will augment austerity, and austerity will augment the debt.

    The people of Kansas and Missouri will cheerfully put their heads on the butcher’s block, since they tend to be right-wing “cut the deficit” types. In demanding that the federal deficit be cut, they ensure that local deficits spiral out of control, causing a severe depression, which the people of Kansas and Missouri will blame on Mexicans, or on “welfare queens,” or maybe UFOs and extraterrestrials. Whatever.

    Thus there is no need for the people of Kansas and Missouri to visit Greece, Spain, or Portugal. Those countries are coming to visit Kansas and Missouri.