With America’s recent and dismal unemployment report in his hand, Marshall Auerback, a heterodox economist, was prompted to exclaim:

The collective embrace of fiscal austerity has gone beyond perverse. It’s as if Josef Mengele was reborn as an economist, working on some weird new social experiment to inflict the maximum amount of damage on the maximum amount of people. It’s a sick variation on that old joke:

Patient: “Doctor, it hurts when I do this.”

Doctor: “Then keep doing it.”

Famine in Africa

Famine in Africa

I believe Auerback wrote this bit of gallows humor because the deficit hysterics, market fundamentalists and con artists now holding decisive political and economic influence and power care not one bit about the misery their preferred policies will generate when implemented. And it is easy to see why a professional economist like Auerback would feel as he does when the powerful in the world appear willing to piously affirm economic orthodoxy while the republic and its political economy burn to the ground. Indeed, our elite seem to want to intensify and expand the destruction.

I, for one, wonder whether these influential and powerful men and women are just stupid and do not know what they are doing or whether they will intentionally destroy the lives of so many people, doing so just because they who have a lot will also get much more.

If I were to place a wager on these alternatives, I would choose the second option. I would feel secure when placing my bet because neoliberalism in practice has already laid waste to much of the planet. Its prescriptions have been revealed to be worthless when formed into a developmental program or a program for economic growth. They produce individual and collective suffering around the world. Who amongst the influential and powerful could now claim to be unaware of this historical failure? Anyone? Today these prescriptions are just nostrums used by a group of class warriors. They indicate an elite preference to take more of the stuff in the world when that stuff is there to be taken. And it is unfortunate that they now inform the program President Obama and his GOP stalking horse want to impose on the United States.

I cross-posted this article to All Tied Up and Nowhere to Go