About the author

Joseph Natoli

Joseph Natoli

Joseph P Natoli is a retired college professor and author of numerous books on culture and politics. He is a member of the editorial collective of BAD SUBJECTS, the oldest political online magazine on the web. He writes regularly for a number of political and pop culture online magazines, including SENSES OF CINEMA, BRIGHT LIGHTS FILM JOURNAL, POPMATTERS, AMERICANA, DANDELION SALAD, GODOT, TRUTHOUT

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6 Comments

  1. 1

    Anthony Bernardo

    Very interesting and controversial. I’ve become somewhat of a student of economics and political thought in my retirement and find that a lot of this thesis can be attributed to a lack of insight or curmudgery, if I may, of our people in the social media world in which we live: we believe everything we hear or read without fact checking. After years of this, one can be convinced to believe anything that fits their world view. Hyperdemocracy could be called anarchy, no, and the Tea Party folks seem to want just that. The 80/20terization of the society is not only the results of media brain washing of the most affected part of the 80, but also gives rise to a Bernie or a dark Bernie, Trump. It leads us further from the middle, and closer to a serious conflict between a police state and democracy, if what we have could have ever been really called a democracy. I think, barring a major October surprise, this election is already over, and Trump will prevail because no one really understands why they’re pissed off,beyond what they’ve been told by FOX or Drudge or Breitbart, or even MSNBC. It’s becaue free trade capitalism no longer works, maybe never did, in an unequal global economy where making profit trumps domestic economic support.

  2. 2

    Anthony Bernardo

    Tell that to Scandinavia, and Finland which are far more socialistic than we. My comment on free market capitalism doesn’t mean socialism. Even the administration admits that some trade deals result in more, but lower paying, jobs. It helps the economy, but not the workers displaced. In my view, pure FMC must eventually fail in the long run. It can only grow to the extent investment and consumption allow, which on the local level depends solely on ROI and wages. It helps the undeveloped global economy, but not the developed country.

  3. 3

    Anthony Bernardo

    You seem to juxtapose socialism with dictatorship regimes freely. The last time I checked, the US ranked poorly vs so called socialist countries in education, health care and a number of other social measures. However it did rank first in defense, spending more than the next nine countries combined, consuming almost 25% of our tax receipts, about 800 billion. Nobody is questioning freedom under capitalism or socialism if in democratic and inclusive political systems. Freedom and capitalism are not synonymous. You site dictatorships and then call that socialism. Regarding economic freedom, economic mobility has been stagnant in the US for years, so while you may perceive that we’re more economically free than a more socialistic society, the advantage doesn’t seem to buy us anything. Regarding my comment on FMC, markets cannot grow without investment and investment will not be made without an appropriate ROI, which is dependent on demand. Demand is dependent on wages and growth is dependent on wage growth. Without wage growth, there won’t be investment because the returns on that investment won’t reach a hurdle. There will be creative destruction, no doubt, but that doesn’t automatically result in growth or economic “freedom ” It might cause the opposite. Believe me, I executed enough of these projects in my career to know that investment is only made if there is a return, not because it’s a nice thing to do for the country. There may be a claim that companies are always investing to improve their bottom line, but where are those investments made; In mature markets like the US or Europe, or in growth markets like China or Asia in general? Here they will tend to be cost reduction investments in technology while there they will tend to be new product investment or cost reduction investments for products sold here. None of these cases creates economic freedoms for the workers displaced here or forced to take jobs at a lower wage in service industries. Like it or not, free market capitalism, without some degree of social safety net will (which is increasing by necessity of demographics and technology in general ) ultimately leave too many behind to be inclusive enough to support the freedoms you exalt for capitalism.

  4. 4

    Anthony Bernardo

    Thanks for the English lesson. You continue to juxtapose socialism and dictatorship and capitalism/freedom. A country does not, absolutely not, require dictatorship for socialism and many capitalistic systems are quite the dictatorship. Need I remind you that fascism is basically corporate dictatorship with a front man, unless it morphs into Nazism which is worse. I have nothing but the utmost respect for Europe. They outlive us, they are better educated, they have better health care for all, and they manage to implement fairly capitalistic economies with these strong socialistic safety nets. Your example of wage growth is naïve at best. You tell me how stagnant wages that can afford “X” commodities will be able to afford more than those “X” commodities if wages don’t increase, especially in an inflationary environment. If you think that’s possible, go check the credit growth to afford more goods, because cash isn’t available. And read your Keynes or Schumpeter before you try to lecture me on their economic principles. You might also read Wealth of Nations, boring as it is, to see the warnings Smith mad about pure capitalism. But you desire the good old days of Rockefeller and monopolists, while lecturing me on how innovative those days were. Are you mad? Do you think innovation is not alive and well right now? You’re either blind or simply self interested, and it clearly is the latter with your last section on taxes. Yes, it always comes down to the zero sum game and why should I pay for your misfortune. I don’t know your age, but if you’ve ever been seriously ill and required major attention, and are fortunate enough to have good insurance, who do you think paid for that care- you? Dream on, it was the premiums of others that paid for your health, and if you’re on Medicare, do you think you receive less welfare than the poor guy on unemployment insurance because his/her job went away? You get more, my friend, with any heart surgery, cancer, or other major disorder, much more. So it comes down to the old standard, you pay too much in taxes and it’s unfair, so unfair. You pay nothing compared to what the unfortunate pay in grief and despair and lack of future prospects. But enough of this. We clearly disagree. Over and out.

  5. 5

    Anthony Bernardo

    And I am not an advocate of pure socialism. I advocate for a blend of regulated capitalism with social priorities. Suggest you read The Zero Sum Economy, Lester Thurow. or Zero SumFuture, Gideon Rachman, to name just two books on the subject of zero sums. Thanks for reminding me that money is just a means of exchange? What’s your point? But most important you continue to associate dictatorship with socialism and freedom with capitalism. Dictatorship is dictatorship and can occur in any system. Freedom is freedom and can also occur in any system. I suggest you read Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy by Schumpeter. The Constitution says very little about taxes other than excise and duties and leaves it to the equal branches of government to decide, but I’ll refresh my understanding. I believe it’s Federalist 12 or 13 or both that discusses the necessity to raise revenue. I don’t believe welfare is ever mentioned. But enough of this. I’ve enjoyed the discussion and believe we have reached some agreement, although we differ on many beliefs. C’est la vie.

  6. 6

    Anthony Bernardo

    Actually, The Constitution grants the Congress the Power to lay and collect, Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense, and GENERAL WELFARE, of the United States. Under Hamilton’s argument, in the Federalist Papers, he included agriculture or education as part of the general welfare provided the spending is general in nature and doesn’t favor any specific section of the country over another. It makes no reference to special interest groups per se and if education or agriculture are so interpreted, then he actually endorsed taxes for special interest groups if equally required by all sections of the country. But enough. Have a good day.

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