Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Was The Reproletarianisation Of The 1990's The Start Of The Serfdom Of The New Dark Ages?

The news that Ben Bernanke is reported to be 'demanding' that Congress ratify The Great American Coup of Black September 2008 should come as no surprise.
Although John McCain has 'suspended campaigning', it's a surefire bet that, should he win the race for the White House, Sieg Hank Paulson will be re-appointed as Secretary of the Treasury. Should the Obamessiah win, it's a strong bet that his likely choice of Treasury Secretary would be return contender Robert Rubin, Wall Street Guy and High Priest of the Skills Canard.
What is painfully clear is that, should the bailout-cum-coup-cum management buyout of the USA's financial and political systems be successful, the fact that a particular individual will be elected President is going to make absolutely no difference to how the country is going to be run - does anyone seriously think that, when the chips are down, Obama would ever stamp on Wall Street?
Not likely.
I've seen some comment to the effect that it is possible that the egregious Article 8 of the draft Bill before Congress, the one that would grant Sieg Hank powers which would not be subject to review, might be considered unconstitutional - to which one can only reply, who's going to challenge it? Jesse Jackson? The ACLU? The Southern Poverty Law Centre? To its framers, this might be considered part of the beauty of the coup - to do something you know may be illegal while at the same time knowing absolutely nobody will come forth and challenge you.
And if somebody actually does, you know that they'll have to plead their case in front of the Roberts court. Good luck with that one.
Fears of the return of serfdom as a consequence of the financial metacrisis might be overheated - however, I can't remember whether it was John Gray or Richard Sennett who coined the term 'reproletarianisation' to describe how the IT-driven productivity boom of the 1990's had not resulted in an increase in the real wages of the lower and middle classes, but in the erosion of their place in society instead. If further proof is required that the process of the reduction of the people to serfdom has already been happening, take the 'skills canard' beloved by Bob Rubin and Niall Ferguson, the line of guff that states that, in a hypercompetitive 'global economy', the workers of the West have nothing to fear if they keep re-skilling themselves.
Never mind that, in a global labour arbitrage, no matter how many times you skill yourself you'll still always lose out to cheaper labour with the same skills elsewhere. What is telling about the people who peddle this rubbish is that they do not seem to believe that it is not conducive to a person's economic good to spend their entire working lives always starting over on the ground floor, in jobs which get cut from under them every few years. People can't plan for the future; what Steve Sailer calls 'affordable family formation' becomes difficult or impossible; pension contributions and future financial planning becomes severely curtailed - perhaps another reason why folks have been buying and selling houses as if they weren't building them anymore.
Maybe the metacrisis is the culmination of a policy, not a process, which has been in operation for many years - we shall see how it pans out.


Blogger DiverCity said...

Constitutional challenges are very hard to win. Moreover, what would be the theory? If the theory is that the marginalization of the third branch -- the judiciary -- is somehow unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has already held that it is in other contexts. And the Constitution dictates that Congress can define the contours of the what the courts get to hear anyway, as long as the Constitution does not expressly define them (for example, disputes between states over riperian rights or borders). I don't think the bail-out plan is specifically enumerated in the Constitution as one of the questions regarding which the courts have express authority.

Again, then, what is the constitutional theory that could be argued? Equal protection, due process, right to trial by jury? Such so-called fundamental rights have been tested, in the context of business, commercial and economic matters, under the rational basis standard as opposed to a strict scrutiny test. Therefore, if the government can merely articulate a rational basis for its action, the courts will not likely disturb Congress's "judgment."

It seems to me, though, that much of the criticism leveled at Treasury's plan centers on the non-judicial review provision. So when something is passed, I don't see that provision being included. However, given other precedented government power grabs (like the Patriot Act), who knows?

25 September, 2008 01:35  
Blogger neil craig said...

The reason people "biy & sell houses like they aren't making them anymore" is because they pretty much aren't. Hiusebuilding is usually well under 1% of the stock which, inless the average house lasts a lot longer athn 100 years, isn't even replacement rate. In a country of millions of divorcees & immigrants. because of this houses have gone up 4 times faster than the RPI. If government would get out of the business of preventing builders build or mandating Victorian techniques people would not have to spend their lives paying 4 times the real cost for them. This would be tough on the bankers, to whom they go in hock & those rich enough to afford country houses without the plebs as neighbours which would be not much of a shame.

27 September, 2008 16:01  

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