Daily Archives: September 30, 2013

Money is not true wealth (Part III – The British Empire and its demise: 1815-1945)

By Glenn Stehle

[Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4]

Once rationalism raised the intellectual stakes, Catholics could not go on playing by older, more relaxed rules:  if formal rigor were the order of the day in physics and ethics, theology must follow suit….

In the Library of the Convent of Ste. Geneviève, near the Pantheon in Paris, is a manuscript entitled  Traité de l’autôrité et de la réception du concile de Trente en France.  It describes the struggle, after the Council of Trent, to uproot the “pernicious heresies and errors” of Protestantism, and paints a revealing picture of the intellectual position of the Catholic Church in early 18th-century France….  [I]ts final pages show how far the demand for “undeniable foundations” had made its way into Catholic theology by 1725.  Looking back, the author credits the Council with anachronistic motives, which are intelligible only if already, in the 1570s, it could invoke the principles of a philosophical rationalism that was invented in the 1630s.  The ambition of the Counter-Reformation, it tells us, was “to prove invincibly our most fundamental belief.”

–STEPHEN TOULMIN,  Cosmopolis:  The Hidden Agenda of Modernity

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ObamaCare’s Shameful and Lethal Three-year History — and Future


Joseph M. Firestone and Lambert Strether

(Cross-posted from Naked Capitalism. Our thanks To Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism for permission to Cross-post.)

Many people, and especially Obama supporters, characterize the ACA (ObamaCare) as just starting or a work in progress and then go on to urge that the program will have glitches, needs to be tweaked, isn’t yet fully implemented, and so forth. We think it’s a mistake to see the ACA as just starting. We also think it’s a mistake not to weigh the costs of ObamaCare’s stately three-year progress toward partial coverage for the the American people, and just as important to weigh the opportunity costs.

The ACA was passed in March 2010, incorporating many features designed to meet Republican objections to the Bill. Yet, in the end, Democrats never put Medicare for All on the table, abandoned the public option and many other features, and did not get a single Republican vote in either chamber. Continue reading

Why do Conservatives Oppose Prosecuting Elite Corporate Frauds?

By William K. Black
(Cross posted at Benzinga.com)

There are at least four principles that virtually all conservatives purport to support – except when the potential defendant is socially elite.  I have written previously about two of these principles on several occasions – the need for accountability and “broken windows” theory that calls for the prosecutors to make the prosecution of even minor street crimes a high priority if they have, even indirectly, a material effect on the community.

The third principle is that it is vital to punish in order to deter crime.  Gary Becker, the very conservative Nobel laureate in economics, emphasized this point (again, in the context of street crime).  Under Becker’s theory of crime our current practices of allowing elite banksters to become wealthy through leading the “sure thing” of accounting control fraud with immunity from the criminal laws will predictably lead to new, larger epidemics of fraud that will continue to cause our recurrent, intensifying financial crises.  It is rare, however, to find a prominent conservative who is demanding a priority effort to prosecute the elite bank officers who ran those frauds.  I know of no conservative member of Congress publicly making that demand today.  Senator Chuck Grassley has previously criticized the Obama administration’s failure to prosecute elite bankers.

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