Monthly Archives: January 2017

Neoliberalism – Wikipedia

Posted: January 31, 2017 at 10:08 am

Neoliberalism (neo-liberalism)[1] refers primarily to the 20th century resurgence of 19th century ideas associated with laissez-faire economic liberalism.[2]:7 These include extensive economic liberalization policies such as privatization, fiscal austerity, deregulation, free trade, and reductions in government spending in order to increase the role of the private sector in the economy and society.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9] These market-based ideas and the policies they inspired constitute a paradigm shift away from the post-war Keynesian consensus which lasted from 1945 to 1980.[10][11] The implementation of neoliberal policies and the acceptance of neoliberal economic theories in the 1970s are seen by some academics as the root of financialization, with the financial crisis of 200708 as one of the ultimate results.[12][13][14][15][16]

An early use of the term in English was in 1898 by the French economist Charles Gide to describe the economic beliefs of the Italian economist Maffeo Pantaleoni,[17] with the term “no-libralisme” previously existing in French,[18] and the term was later used by others including the economist Milton Friedman in a 1951 essay,[19] but became more prevalent in its current meaning in the 1970s and 1980s by scholars in a wide variety of social sciences,[20][21] as well as being used by critics.[22][23] Modern advocates of free market policies avoid the term “neoliberal”[24] and some scholars have described the term as meaning different things to different people,[25][26] as neoliberalism “mutated” into geopolitically distinct hybrids as it travelled around the world.[3] As such, neoliberalism shares many attributes with other contested concepts, including democracy.[4]

The definition and usage of the term have changed over time.[4] It was originally an economic philosophy that emerged among European liberal scholars in the 1930s in an attempt to trace a so-called ‘Third’ or ‘Middle Way’ between the conflicting philosophies of classical liberalism and socialist planning.[27]:145 The impetus for this development arose from a desire to avoid repeating the economic failures of the early 1930s, which were mostly blamed by neoliberals on the economic policy of classical liberalism. In the decades that followed, the use of the term neoliberal tended to refer to theories at variance with the more laissez-faire doctrine of classical liberalism, and promoted instead a market economy under the guidance and rules of a strong state, a model which came to be known as the social market economy.

In the 1960s, usage of the term “neoliberal” heavily declined. When the term was reintroduced in the 1980s in connection with Augusto Pinochet’s economic reforms in Chile, the usage of the term had shifted. It had not only become a term with negative connotations employed principally by critics of market reform, but it also had shifted in meaning from a moderate form of liberalism to a more radical and laissez-faire capitalist set of ideas. Scholars now tended to associate it with the theories of economists Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman,[4] along with politicians and policy-makers such as Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and Alan Greenspan.[28] Once the new meaning of neoliberalism was established as a common usage among Spanish-speaking scholars, it diffused into the English-language study of political economy.[4] By 1994, with the passage of NAFTA and the Zapatistas reaction to this development in Chiapas, the term entered global circulation.[3] Scholarship on the phenomenon of neoliberalism has been growing.[21] The impact of the global 200809 crisis has also given rise to new scholarship that critiques neoliberalism and seeks developmental alternatives.[29]

In 1938 at the Colloque Walter Lippmann, the term “neoliberalism” was proposed, among other terms, and ultimately chosen to be used to describe a certain set of economic beliefs.[27]:123[30] The colloquium defined the concept of neoliberalism as involving “the priority of the price mechanism, free enterprise, the system of competition, and a strong and impartial state”.[27]:134 To be “neoliberal” meant advocating a modern economic policy with state intervention.[27]:48 Neoliberal state interventionism brought a clash with the opposite laissez-faire camp of classical liberals, like Ludwig von Mises.[31] While present-day scholars[who?] tend to identify Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, and Ayn Rand as the most important theorists of neoliberalism, most scholars in the 1950s and 1960s understood neoliberalism as referring to the social market economy and its principal economic theorists such as Eucken, Rpke, Rstow, and Mller-Armack. Although Hayek had intellectual ties to the German neoliberals, his name was only occasionally mentioned in conjunction with neoliberalism during this period due to his more pro-free market stance.[32]

During the military rule under Augusto Pinochet (19731990) in Chile, opposition scholars took up the expression to describe the economic reforms implemented there and its proponents (the “Chicago Boys”).[4] Once this new meaning was established among Spanish-speaking scholars, it diffused into the English-language study of political economy.[4] According to one study of 148 scholarly articles, neoliberalism is almost never defined but used in several senses to describe ideology, economic theory, development theory, or economic reform policy. It has largely become a term of condemnation employed by critics, and suggests a market fundamentalism closer to the laissez-faire principles of the paleoliberals[who?] than to the ideas of those who originally attended the colloquium. This leaves some controversy as to the precise meaning of the term and its usefulness as a descriptor in the social sciences, especially as the number of different kinds of market economies have proliferated in recent years.[4]

Another center-left movement from modern American liberalism that used the term “Neoliberalism” to describe its ideology formed in the United States in the 1970s. According to David Brooks, prominent neoliberal politicians included Al Gore and Bill Clinton of the Democratic Party of the United States.[33] The neoliberals coalesced around two magazines, The New Republic and the Washington Monthly. The “godfather” of this version of neoliberalism was the journalist Charles Peters[34] who in 1983 published ” A Neoliberal’s Manifesto.”[35]

Shermer argued that the term gained popularity largely among left leaning academics in the 1970s “to describe and decry a late twentieth-century effort by policy makers, think-tank experts, and industrialists to condemn social-democratic reforms and unapologetically implement free-market policies.”[36] Neoliberal theory argues that a free market will allow efficiency, economic growth, income distribution, and technological progress to occur. Any state intervention to encourage these phenomena will worsen economic performance.[37]

At a base level we can say that when we make reference to ‘neoliberalism’, we are generally referring to the new political, economic and social arrangements within society that emphasize market relations, re-tasking the role of the state, and individual responsibility. Most scholars tend to agree that neoliberalism is broadly defined as the extension of competitive markets into all areas of life, including the economy, politics and society.

According to some scholars, neoliberalism is commonly used as a catchphrase and pejorative term, outpacing similar terms such as monetarism, neoconservatism, the Washington Consensus and “market reform” in much scholarly writing,[4] The term has been criticized,[38][39] including by those who often advocate for policies characterized as neoliberal.[16]:74 Historian Daniel Stedman Jones says the term “is too often used as a catch-all shorthand for the horrors associated with globalization and recurring financial crises”[40]:2The Handbook of Neoliberalism posits that the term has “become a means of identifying a seemingly ubiquitous set of market-oriented policies as being largely responsible for a wide range of social, political, ecological and economic problems.” Yet the handbook argues to view the term as merely a pejorative or “radical political slogan” is to “reduce its capacity as an analytic frame. If neoliberalism is to serve as a way of understanding the transformation of society over the last few decades then the concept is in need of unpacking.”[3] Currently, neoliberalism is most commonly used to refer to market-oriented reform policies such as “eliminating price controls, deregulating capital markets, lowering trade barriers”, and reducing state influence on the economy, especially through privatization and austerity.[4] Other scholars note that neoliberalism is associated with the economic policies introduced by Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom and Ronald Reagan in the United States.[5]

There are several distinct usages of the term that can be identified:

Sociologists Block and Somers claim there is a dispute over what to call the influence of free market ideas which have been used to justify the retrenchment of New Deal programs and policies over the last thirty years: neoliberalism, laissez-faire or “free market ideology.”[41] Others, such as Braedley and Luxton, assert that neoliberalism is a political philosophy which seeks to “liberate” the processes of capital accumulation.[13] In contrast, Piven sees neoliberalism as essentially hyper-capitalism.[42] However, Robert W. McChesney, while defining it as “capitalism with the gloves off,” goes on to assert that the term is largely unknown by the general public, particularly in the United States.[43]:78Lester Spence uses the term to critique trends in Black politics, defining neoliberalism as “the general idea that society works best when the people and the institutions within it work or are shaped to work according to market principles.”[44]

The worldwide Great Depression of the 1930s brought about high unemployment and widespread poverty, and was widely regarded as a failure of economic liberalism. To renew liberalism a group of 25 intellectuals organised the Walter Lippmann Colloquium at Paris in August 1938. It brought together Louis Rougier, Walter Lippmann, Friedrich von Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, Wilhelm Rpke and Alexander Rstow among others. Most agreed that the liberalism of laissez faire had failed and that a new liberalism needed to take its place with a major role for the state. Mises and Hayek refused to condemn laissez faire, but all participants were united in their call for a new project they dubbed “neoliberalism.”[46]:189 They agreed the Colloquium into a permanent think tank called Centre International dtudes pour la Rnovation du Libralisme based in Paris.

Deep disagreements in the group separated ‘true (third way) neoliberals’ around Rstow and Lippmann on the one hand and old school liberals around Mises and Hayek on the other. The first group wanted a strong state to supervise, while the second insisted that the only legitimate role for the state was to abolish barriers to market entry. Rstow wrote that Hayek and Mises were relics of the liberalism that caused the Great Depression. Mises denounced the other faction, complaining that Ordoliberalism really meant “ordo-interventionism”.[46]:1920

Neoliberalism began accelerating in importance with the founding of the Mont Pelerin Society, in 1947, by Friedrich Hayek. The Colloque Walter Lippmann was largely forgotten.[47] The new society brought together the widely scattered free market thinkers and political figures.

Hayek and others believed that classical liberalism had failed because of crippling conceptual flaws and that the only way to diagnose and rectify them was to withdraw into an intensive discussion group of similarly minded intellectuals.[27]:16

With central planning in the ascendancy worldwide and few avenues to influence policymakers, the society served to bring together isolated advocates of liberalism as a “rallying point” as Milton Friedman phrased it. Meeting annually, it would soon be a “kind of international ‘who’s who’ of the classical liberal and neo-liberal intellectuals.”[48] While the first conference in 1947 was almost half American, the Europeans concentration dominated by 1951. Europe would remain the epicenter of the community with Europeans dominating the leadership.[27]:167

In the 1960s, Latin American intellectuals began to notice the ideas of ordoliberalism; these intellectuals often used the Spanish term neoliberalismo to refer to this school of thought. They were particularly impressed by the social market economy and the Wirtschaftswunder (economic miracle) in Germany, and speculated about the possibility of accomplishing similar policies in their own countries. Neoliberalism in 1960s meant essentially a philosophy that was more moderate than classical liberalism and favored using state policy to temper social inequality and counter a tendency toward monopoly.[4]

In 1976, the military dictatorship’s economic plan, led by Martnez de Hoz, was the first attempt at a Neoliberalist plan in Argentina. They implemented a fiscal austerity plan, whose goal was to reduce money printing and thus inflation. In order to achieve this, salaries were frozen; however, they were unable to reduce inflation, which led to a drop in the real salary of the working class. Also, aiming for a free market, they decided to open the country’s borders, so that foreign goods could freely enter the country. Argentina’s industry, which had been on the rise for the last 20 years since Frondizi’s economic plan, rapidly declined, because it wasn’t able to compete with foreign goods. Finally, the deregulation of the financial sector, gave a short-term growth, but then rapidly fell apart when capital fled to US in the Reagan years.[citation needed] Following the measures, there was an increase in poverty from 9% in 1975 to 40% at the end of 1982.[49]

From 1989 to 2001, another Neoliberalist plan was attempted by Domingo Cavallo. This time, the privatization of public services was the main objective of the government; although financial deregulation and open borders to foreign goods were also re-implemented. While some privatizations were welcomed, the majority of them were criticized for not being in the people’s best interests. Along with an increased labour market flexibility, the final result of this plan was an unemployment of 25% and 60% of people living under the poverty line, alongside 33 people killed by the police in protests that ended up with the president at that time, Fernando de la Ra, resigning two years before his time as president was completed.[citation needed]

In Australia, neoliberal economic policies are embraced by governments of both the Labor Party and the Liberal Party since the 1980s. The governments of Bob Hawke and Paul Keating from 1983 to 1996 pursued economic liberalisation and a program of micro-economic reform. These governments privatized government corporations, deregulated factor markets, floated the Australian dollar, and reduced trade protection.[50]

Keating, as federal treasurer, implemented a compulsory superannuation guarantee system in 1992 to increase national savings and reduce future government liability for old age pensions.[51] The financing of universities was deregulated, requiring students to contribute to university fees through a repayable loan system known as the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) and encouraging universities to increase income by admitting full-fee-paying students, including foreign students.[52] The admitting of domestic full fee paying students to public universities was stopped in 2009 by the Rudd Labor Government.[53]

In 1955, a select group of Chilean students (later known as the Chicago Boys) were invited to the University of Chicago to pursue postgraduate studies in economics. They worked directly under Friedman and his disciple, Arnold Harberger, while also being exposed to Hayek. When they returned to Chile in the 1960s, they began a concerted effort to spread the philosophy and policy recommendations of the Chicago and Austrian schools, setting up think tanks and publishing in ideologically sympathetic media. Under the military dictatorship headed by Pinochet and severe social repression, the Chicago boys implemented radical economic reform. The latter half of the 1970s witnessed rapid and extensive privatization, deregulation, and reductions in trade barriers. In 1978 policies that would reduce the role of the state and infuse competition and individualism into areas such as labor relations, pensions, health, and education were introduced.[4] These policies resulted in widening inequality as they negatively impacted the wages, benefits and working conditions of Chile’s working class.[49][56] According to Chilean economist Alejandro Foxley, by the end of Pinochet’s reign around 44% of Chilean families were living below the poverty line.[57] According to Klien, by the late 1980s the economy had stabilized and was growing, but around 45% of the population had fallen into poverty while the wealthiest 10% saw their incomes rise by 83%.[58]

In 1990 the military dictatorship ended. Hayek argued that increased economic freedom had put pressure on the dictatorship over time and increased political freedom. Years earlier he argued that “economic control is not merely control of a sector of human life which can be separated from the rest; it is the control of the means for all our ends.”[59] The Chilean scholars Martnez and Daz rejected this argument, pointing to the long tradition of democracy in Chile. The return of democracy required the defeat of the Pinochet regime, though it had been fundamental in saving capitalism. The essential contribution came from profound mass rebellions, and finally, old party elites using old institutional mechanisms to bring back democracy.[60]

Neoliberal ideas were first implemented in West Germany. The economists around Ludwig Erhard drew on the theories they had developed in the 1930s and 1940s and contributed to West Germanys reconstruction after the Second World War.[61] Erhard was a member of the Mont Pelerin Society and in constant contact with other neoliberals. He pointed out that he is commonly classified as neoliberal and that he accepted this classification.[62]

The ordoliberal Freiburg School was more pragmatic. The German neoliberals accepted the classical liberal notion that competition drives economic prosperity, but they argued that a laissez-faire state policy stifles competition as the strong devour the weak since monopolies and cartels could pose a threat to freedom of competition. They supported the creation of a well-developed legal system and capable regulatory apparatus. While still opposed to full-scale Keynesian employment policies or an extensive welfare state, German neoliberal theory was marked by the willingness to place humanistic and social values on par with economic efficiency. Alfred Mller-Armack coined the phrase “social market economy” to emphasize the egalitarian and humanistic bent of the idea.[4] According to Boas and Gans-Morse, Walter Eucken stated that “social security and social justice are the greatest concerns of our time”.[4]

Erhard emphasized that the market was inherently social and did not need to be made so.[46] He hoped that growing prosperity would enable the population to manage much of their social security by self-reliance and end the necessity for a widespread welfare state. By the name of Volkskapitalismus there were some efforts to foster private savings. But although average contributions to the public old age insurance were quite small, it remained by far the most important old age income source for a majority of the German population. Therefore, despite liberal rhetoric, the 1950s witnessed what has been called a reluctant expansion of the welfare state. To end widespread poverty among the elderly the pension reform of 1957 brought a significant extension of the German welfare state which already had been established under Otto von Bismarck.[63] Rstow, who had coined the label “neoliberalism”, criticized that development tendency and pressed for a more limited welfare program.[46]

Hayek did not like the expression “social market economy”, but stated in 1976 that some of his friends in Germany had succeeded in implementing the sort of social order for which he was pleading while using that phrase. However, in Hayek’s view the social market economy’s aiming for both a market economy and social justice was a muddle of inconsistent aims.[64] Despite his controversies with the German neoliberals at the Mont Pelerin Society, Ludwig von Mises stated that Erhard and Mller-Armack accomplished a great act of liberalism to restore the German economy and called this “a lesson for the US”.[65] According to different research, however, Mises believed that the ordoliberals were hardly better than socialists. As an answer to Hans Hellwigs complaints about the interventionist excesses of the Erhard ministry and the ordoliberals, Mises wrote, “I have no illusions about the true character of the politics and politicians of the social market economy.” According to Mises, Erhard’s teacher, Franz Oppenheimer, “taught more or less the New Frontier line of” President Kennedy’s “Harvard consultants (Schlesinger, Galbraith, etc.)”.[66]

In Germany, neoliberalism at first was synonymous with both ordoliberalism and social market economy. But over time the original term neoliberalism gradually disappeared since social market economy was a much more positive term and fit better into the Wirtschaftswunder (economic miracle) mentality of the 1950s and 1960s.[46]

Following the death of Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping led the country through far ranging market centered reforms, with the slogan of Xiokng, that combined neoliberalism with centralized authoritarianism. These focused on agriculture, industry, education, and science/defense.[67]

During her tenure as Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher oversaw a number of neoliberal reforms including tax reduction, reforming exchange rates, deregulation and privatization.[68] These reforms were continued and supported by her successor John Major but although opposed by the Labour Party at the time, were largely left unaltered when the latter came to power in 1997. Instead the Labour government under Tony Blair finished off a variety of uncompleted privatisation and deregulation measures.[69]

David Harvey uses the term neoliberalism to describe Lewis Powell’s 1971 confidential memorandum to the US Chamber of Commerce.[67] A call to arms to the business community to counter criticism of the free enterprise system, it was a significant factor in the rise of conservative organizations and think-tanks which advocated for neoliberal policies, such as the Business Roundtable, The Heritage Foundation, The Cato Institute, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Accuracy in Academia and the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. For Powell, universities were becoming an ideological battleground and recommended the establishment of an intellectual infrastructure to serve as a counterweight to the increasingly popular ideas of Ralph Nader and other opponents of big business.[70][71][72] On the left, neoliberal ideas were developed and widely popularized by John Kenneth Galbraith, while the Chicago School ideas were advanced and repackaged into a progressive, leftist perspective in Lester Thurow’s influential 1980 book “The Zero-Sum Society”.[73]

Early roots of neoliberalism were laid in the 1970s, during the Jimmy Carter administration, with deregulation of the trucking, banking, and airline industries.[74][75][76] This trend continued into the 1980s, under the Reagan Administration, which included tax cuts, increased defense spending, financial deregulation and trade deficit expansion.[77] Likewise, concepts of supply-side economics, discussed by the Democrats in the 1970s, culminated in the 1980 Joint Economic Committee report, “Plugging in the Supply Side.” This was picked up and advanced by the Reagan administration, with Congress following Reagan’s basic proposal and cutting federal income taxes across the board by 25% in 1981.[78]

During the 1990s, the Clinton Administration also embraced neoliberalism[69] by supporting the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement, continuing the deregulation of the financial sector through passage of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act and the repeal of the GlassSteagall Act, and implementing cuts to the welfare state through passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act.[77][79][80] The neoliberalism of the Clinton Administration differs from that of Reagan as the former purged it of neoconservative positions on militarism, family values, opposition to multiculturalism and neglect of ecological issues.[68]:501[disputed discuss]

The Austrian School is a school of economic thought which bases its study of economic phenomena on the interpretation and analysis of the purposeful actions of individuals.[81][82][83][84] It derives its name from its origin in late-19th and early-20th century Vienna with the work of Carl Menger, Eugen von Bhm-Bawerk, Friedrich von Wieser, and others.[85]

Among the contributions of the Austrian School to economic theory are the subjective theory of value, marginalism in price theory, and the formulation of the economic calculation problem.[86] Many theories developed by “first wave” Austrian economists have been absorbed into most mainstream schools of economics. These include Carl Menger’s theories on marginal utility, Friedrich von Wieser’s theories on opportunity cost, and Eugen von Bhm-Bawerk’s theories on time preference, as well as Menger and Bhm-Bawerk’s criticisms of Marxian economics. The Austrian School follows an approach, termed methodological individualism, a version of which was codified by Ludwig von Mises and termed “praxeology” in his book published in English as Human Action in 1949.[87]

The former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan, speaking of the originators of the School, said in 2000, “the Austrian School have reached far into the future from when most of them practiced and have had a profound and, in my judgment, probably an irreversible effect on how most mainstream economists think in this country.”[88] In 1987, Nobel Laureate James M. Buchanan told an interviewer, “I have no objections to being called an Austrian. Hayek and Mises might consider me an Austrian but, surely some of the others would not.”[89]Republican U.S. congressman Ron Paul stated that he adheres to Austrian School economics and has authored six books which refer to the subject.[90][91] Paul’s former economic adviser, investment dealer Peter Schiff,[92] also calls himself an adherent of the Austrian School.[93]Jim Rogers, investor and financial commentator, also considers himself of the Austrian School of economics.[94] Chinese economist Zhang Weiying, who is known in China for his advocacy of free market reforms, supports some Austrian theories such as the Austrian theory of the business cycle.[95]

The Chicago school of economics describes a neoclassical school of thought within the academic community of economists, with a strong focus around the faculty of University of Chicago. Chicago macroeconomic theory rejected Keynesianism in favor of monetarism until the mid-1970s, when it turned to new classical macroeconomics heavily based on the concept of rational expectations.[96] The school is strongly associated with economists such as Milton Friedman, George Stigler, Ronald Coase and Gary Becker.[97]

The school emphasizes non-intervention from government and generally rejects regulation in markets as inefficient with the exception of central bank regulation of the money supply (i.e., monetarism). Although the school’s association with neoliberalism is sometimes resisted by its proponents,[96] its emphasis on reduced government intervention in the economy and a laissez-faire ideology have brought about an affiliation between the Chicago school and neoliberal economics.[98][99]

In The Road to Serfdom, Hayek argued that “Economic control is not merely control of a sector of human life which can be separated from the rest; it is the control of the means for all our ends.”[59]

Later, in his book Capitalism and Freedom (1962), Friedman developed the argument that economic freedom, while itself an extremely important component of total freedom, is also a necessary condition for political freedom. He commented that centralized control of economic activities was always accompanied with political repression.

In his view, the voluntary character of all transactions in an unregulated market economy and wide diversity that it permits are fundamental threats to repressive political leaders and greatly diminish power to coerce. Through elimination of centralized control of economic activities, economic power is separated from political power, and the one can serve as counterbalance to the other. Friedman feels that competitive capitalism is especially important to minority groups, since impersonal market forces protect people from discrimination in their economic activities for reasons unrelated to their productivity.[100]

Amplifying Friedman’s argument, it has often been pointed out that increasing economic freedoms tend to raise expectations on political freedoms, eventually leading to democracy. Other scholars see the existence of non-democratic yet market-liberal regimes and the undermining of democratic control by market processes as strong evidence that such a general, ahistorical nexus cannot be upheld.[101] Contemporary discussion on the relationship between neoliberalism and democracy shifted to a more historical perspective, studying extent and circumstances of how much the two are mutually dependent, contradictory or incompatible.

Stanley Fish argues that neoliberalization of academic life may promote a narrower and, in his opinion, more accurate definition of academic freedom “as the freedom to do the academic job, not the freedom to expand it to the point where its goals are infinite.” What Fish urges is “not an inability to take political stands, but a refraining from doing so in the name of academic responsibility.”[102]

Neoliberalism has received criticism both from the political left as well as the right, in addition to myriad activists and academics.[103]

David Harvey described neoliberalism as a class project, designed to impose class on society through liberalism.[104] Economists Grard Dumnil and Dominique Lvy posit that “the restoration and increase of the power, income, and wealth of the upper classes” are the primary objectives of the neoliberal agenda.[105] Economist David M. Kotz contends that neoliberalism “is based on the thorough domination of labor by capital.”[16]:43 The emergence of the ‘precariat’, a new class facing acute socio-economic insecurity and alienation, has been attributed to the globalization of neoliberalism.[106]

Sociologist Thomas Volscho has argued that the imposition of neoliberalism in the United States arose from a conscious political mobilization by capitalist elites in the 1970s who faced two crises: the legitimacy of capitalism and a falling rate of profitability in industry. Various neoliberal ideologies (such as monetarism and supply-side economics) had been long advanced by elites, translated into policies by the Reagan administration, and ultimately resulted in less governmental regulation and a shift from a tax-financed state to a debt-financed one. While the profitability of industry and the rate of economic growth never recovered to the heyday of the 1960s, the political and economic power of Wall Street and finance capital vastly increased due to the debt-financing of the state.”[107]

The invisible hand of the market and the iron fist of the state combine and complement each other to make the lower classes accept desocialized wage labor and the social instability it brings in its wake. After a long eclipse, the prison thus returns to the frontline of institutions entrusted with maintaining the social order.

Several scholars have linked the rise of neoliberalism to unprecedented levels of mass incarceration of the poor in the United States.[2]:3, 346[109][110][111][112] Sociologist Loc Wacquant argues that neoliberal policy for dealing with social instability among economically marginalized populations following the implementation of other neoliberal policies which have allowed for the retrenchment of the social welfare state and the rise of punitive workfare, increased gentrification of urban areas, privatization of public functions, the shrinking of collective protections for the working class via economic deregulation, and the rise of underpaid, precarious wage labor is the criminalization of poverty and mass incarceration.[110]:534[113] By contrast, it is extremely lenient in dealing with those in the upper echelons of society, in particular when it comes to economic crimes of the privileged classes and corporations such as fraud, embezzlement, insider trading, credit and insurance fraud, money laundering, and violation of commerce and labor codes.[110][114] According to Wacquant, neoliberalism doesn’t shrink government but instead sets up a centaur state, with little governmental oversight for those at the top and strict control of those at the bottom.[110][115]

In expanding upon Wacquant’s thesis, sociologist and political economist John L. Campbell of Dartmouth College suggests that through privatization, the prison system exemplifies the centaur state:

On the one hand, it punishes the lower class, which populates the prisons; on the other hand, it profits the upper class, which owns the prisons, and it employs the middle class, which runs them.

In addition, he says the prison system benefits corporations through outsourcing, as the inmates are “slowly becoming a source of low-wage labor for some US corporations.” Both through privatization and outsourcing, Campbell argues, the US penal state reflects neoliberalism.[118]:61 Campbell also argues that while neoliberalism in the US established a penal state for the poor, it also put into place a debtor state for the middle class, and that “both have had perverse effects on their respective targets: increasing rates of incarceration among the lower class and increasing rates of indebtednessand recently home foreclosureamong the middle class.”[118]:68

David McNally, Professor of Political Science at York University, argues that while expenditures on social welfare programs have been cut, expenditures on prison construction have increased significantly during the neoliberal era, with California having “the largest prison-building program in the history of the world.”[119] The scholar Bernard Harcourt contends the neoliberal concept that the state is inept when it comes to economic regulation but efficient in policing and punishing “has facilitated the slide to mass incarceration.”[120] Both Wacquant and Harcourt refer to this phenomenon as “Neoliberal Penality.”[121][122]

The effect of neoliberalism on global health, particularly the aspect of international aid involves key players such as non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank. According to James Pfeiffer,[123] neoliberal emphasis has been placed on free markets and privatization which has been tied to the “new policy agenda” in which NGOs seen as being able to provide better social welfare than governments. International NGOs have been promoted to fill holes in public services created by the World Bank and IMF through their promotion of Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) which reduce government health spending, and which Pfeiffer criticized as unsustainable. The reduced health spending and the gain of the public health sector by NGOs causes the local health system to become fragmented, undermines local control of health programs and contributes to local social inequality between NGO workers and local individuals.[124]

In 2016, researchers for the IMF released a paper entitled “Neoliberalism: Oversold?,” which stated:

There is much to cheer in the neoliberal agenda. The expansion of global trade has rescued millions from abject poverty. Foreign direct investment has often been a way to transfer technology and know-how to developing economies. Privatization of state-owned enterprises has in many instances led to more efficient provision of services and lowered the fiscal burden on governments.

However, it was also critical of some neoliberal policies, such as freedom of capital and fiscal consolidation for “increasing inequality, in turn jeopardizing durable expansion.”[125] The authors also note that some neoliberal policies are to blame for financial crises around the world growing bigger and more damaging.[126] The report contends the implementation of neoliberal policies by economic and political elites has led to “three disquieting conclusions”:

The IMF has itself been criticized for its neoliberal policies.[128][129] Rajesh Makwana writes that “the World Bank and IMF, are major exponents of the neoliberal agenda.”[130] Sheldon Richman, editor of the libertarian journal The Freeman, also sees the IMF imposing “corporatist-flavored ‘neoliberalism’ on the troubled countries of the world.” The policies of spending cuts coupled with tax increases give “real market reform a bad name and set back the cause of genuine liberalism.” Paternalistic supranational bureaucrats foster “long-term dependency, perpetual indebtedness, moral hazard, and politicization, while discrediting market reform and forestalling revolutionary liberal change.”[131]

Rowden wrote that the IMFs monetarist approach towards prioritising price stability (low inflation) and fiscal restraint (low budget deficits) was unnecessarily restrictive and has prevented developing countries from scaling up long-term investment in public health infrastructure, resulting in chronically underfunded public health systems, demoralising working conditions that have fueled a “brain drain” of medical personnel, and the undermining of public health and the fight against HIV/AIDS in developing countries.[132]

Nicolas Firzli has argued that the rise of neoliberalism eroded the post-war consensus and Eisenhower-era Republican centrism that had resulted in the massive allocation of public capital to large-scale infrastructure projects throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s in both Western Europe and North America: In the pre-Reagan era, infrastructure was an apolitical, positively connoted, technocratic term shared by mainstream economists and policy makers [] including President Eisenhower, a praetorian Republican leader who had championed investment in the Interstate Highway System, Americas national road grid [] But Reagan, Thatcher, Delors and their many admirers amongst Clintonian, New Labour and EU Social-Democrat decision makers in Brussels sought to dismantle the generous state subsidies for social infrastructure and public transportation across the United States, Britain and the European Union.[133]

Following Brexit and the United States presidential election, 2016 and the progressive emergence of a new kind of self-seeking capitalism (Trumponomics) moving away to some extent from the neoliberal orthodoxies of the past, we may witness a massive increase in infrastructure investment in the United States, Britain and other advanced economies [134][135]

Mark Arthur has written that the influence of neoliberalism has given rise to an “anti-corporatist” movement in opposition to it. This “anti-corporatist” movement is articulated around the need to re-claim the power that corporations and global institutions have stripped governments of”. He says that Adam Smith’s “rules for mindful markets” served as a basis for the anti-corporate movement, “following government’s failure to restrain corporations from hurting or disturbing the happiness of the neighbor [Smith]”.[136]

Nicolas Firzli has argued that the neoliberal era was essentially defined by the economic ideas of Milton Friedman who wrote that if anything is certain to destroy our free society, to undermine its very foundation, it would be a widespread acceptance by management of social responsibilities in some sense other than to make as much money as possible. This is a fundamentally subversive doctrine [137] Firzli insists that prudent, fiduciary-driven long-term investors cannot ignore the environmental, social and corporate governance consequences of actions taken by the CEOs of the companies whose shares they hold: the long-dominant Friedman stance is becoming culturally unacceptable and nancially costly in the boardrooms of pension funds and industrial rms in Europe and North America.[137]

Counterpoints to neoliberalism:

Instead of citizens, it produces consumers. Instead of communities, it produces shopping malls. The net result is an atomized society of disengaged individuals who feel demoralized and socially powerless.

American scholar and cultural critic Henry Giroux alleges neoliberalism holds that market forces should organize every facet of society, including economic and social life, and promotes a social darwinist ethic which elevates self-interest over social needs.[148][149][150]

According to the economists Howell and Diallo, neoliberal policies have contributed to a U.S. economy in which 30% of workers earn low wages (less than two-thirds the median wage for full-time workers), and 35% of the labor force is underemployed; only 40% of the working-age population in the U.S. is adequately employed.[151]

The Center for Economic Policy Research’s (CEPR) Dean Baker (2006) argued that the driving force behind rising inequality in the U.S. has been a series of deliberate, neoliberal policy choices including anti-inflationary bias, anti-unionism, and profiteering in the health industry.[152] However, countries have applied neoliberal policies at varying levels of intensity; for example, the OECD has calculated that only 6% of Swedish workers are beset with wages it considers low, and that Swedish wages are overall lower.[153] Others argue that Sweden’s adoption of neoliberal reforms, in particular the privatization of public services and reduced state benefits, has resulted in income inequality growing faster in Sweden than any other OECD nation.[154][155] In the 2014 elections, Swedish voters rejected the neoliberal policies of the center-right government which had undermined the social safety net and put the left-leaning Social Democrats back in power.[156]

The rise of anti-austerity parties in Europe and SYRIZA’s victory in the Greek legislative elections of January 2015 have some proclaiming the end of neoliberalism.[157]

In Latin America, the “pink tide” that swept leftist governments into power at the turn of the millennium can be seen as a reaction against neoliberal hegemony and the notion that “there is no alternative” (TINA) to the Washington Consensus.[158]

Notable critics of neoliberalism in theory or practice include economists Joseph Stiglitz, Amartya Sen, Michael Hudson,[159]Robert Pollin,[160] Julie Matthaei,[161] and Richard D. Wolff;[143] linguist Noam Chomsky;[43] geographer and anthropologist David Harvey;[67] political activist and public intellectual Cornel West;[162] Marxist feminist Gail Dines;[163] author, activist, and filmmaker Naomi Klein;[164] journalist and environmental activist George Monbiot;[165] Belgian psychologist Paul Verhaeghe;[166] journalist and activist Chris Hedges;[167] and the alter-globalization movement in general, including groups such as ATTAC. Critics of neoliberalism argue that not only is neoliberalism’s critique of socialism (as unfreedom) wrong, but neoliberalism cannot deliver the liberty that is supposed to be one of its strong points.

In protest against neoliberal globalization, South Korean farmer and former president of the Korean Advanced Farmers Federation Lee Kyung-hae committed suicide by stabbing himself in the heart during a meeting of the WTO in Cancun, Mexico in 2003. He was protesting against the decision of the South Korean government to reduce subsidies to farmers. Prior to his death he expressed his concerns in broken English:[5]:96

My warning goes out to the all citizens that human beings are in an endangered situation that uncontrolled multinational corporations and a small number of bit WTO members officials are leading an undesirable globalization of inhuman, environment-distorting, farmer-killing, and undemocratic. It should be stopped immediately otherwise the failed logic of the neo-liberalism will perish the diversities of agriculture and disastrously to all human being.[5]:96[168]

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Seasteading | Book by Joe Quirk, Patri Friedman | Official …

Posted: at 9:53 am

A bold vision of the near future: cities built on floating platforms in the ocean, where people will forge their own governments and by living sustainably will solve many of our critical environmental problems.

Our planet is suffering from serious environmental problems: coastal flooding due to severe storms caused in part by atmospheric pollution, diminishing natural resources such as clean water, and so on. But while these problems plague Planet Earth, two-thirds of our globe is Planet Ocean. The seas can be home to pioneers, seasteaders, who are willing to homestead the Blue Frontier. Oil platforms and cruise ships already inhabit the waters; now its time to take the next step to full-fledged ocean civilizations. In their fascinating examination of a practical solution to our earthly problems, Joe Quirk and Patri Friedman profile some of the visionaries who are implementing basic concepts of seasteading: farming the oceans for new sources of nutrition; using the seas as a new sustainable energy source; establishing more equitable economies; reinventing architecture to accommodate the demands of living on the ocean.

These pioneers include Ricardo Radulovich, an agricultural water scientist who has built prototypes for giant seaweed farms to create new food sources; Neil Sims, a biologist who has invented new sustainable free-floating fish farms; Lissa Morgenthaler-Jones, a biotechnology entrepreneur investing heavily in algae fuel to replace fossil fuels; Patrick Takahashi, a biochemical engineer who wants to create floating cities that draw on the oceans as an energy source, and many others. Their research efforts have been supported by organizations like the World Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Lockheed Martin.

An entrepreneurs dream, these floating cities will become laboratories for innovation and creativity. Seasteading may be visionary, but it already has begun proving the adage that yesterdays science fiction is tomorrows science fact. Welcome to seavilization.

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Seasteading | Book by Joe Quirk, Patri Friedman | Official …

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Hedonism II Community | Home

Posted: at 9:51 am

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Psoriasis Types, Images, Treatments –

Posted: at 9:43 am

What Is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a genetically programmed inflammatory disease that primarily affects the skin in about 3% of individuals in the United States. Psoriasis is characterized by skin cells that multiply up to 10 times faster than normal. When these cells reach the surface and die, raised, red plaques covered with white scales form. Psoriasis begins as a small scaling papule. When multiple papules coalesce, they form scaling plaques. These plaques tend to occur in the scalp, elbows, and knees.

Although psoriatic plaques can be limited to only a few small areas, the condition can involve widespread areas of skin anywhere on the body. Psoriasis symptoms vary depending on the type of psoriasis you have. Common psoriasis symptoms can include the following:

Plaque psoriasis is the most common type of psoriasis and it gets its name from the plaques that build up on the skin. There tend to be well-defined patches of red raised skin that can appear on any area of the skin, but the knees, elbows, scalp, trunk, and nails are the most common locations. There is also a flaky, white build up on top of the plaques, called scales. Possible plaque psoriasis symptoms include skin pain, itching, and cracking.

There are plenty of over-the-counter products that are effective in the treatment of plaque psoriasis. 1% hydrocortisone cream is a topical steroid that can suppress mild disease and preparations containing tar are effective in treating plaque psoriasis.

Scalp psoriasis is a common skin disorder that makes raised, reddish, often scaly patches. Scalp psoriasis can affect your whole scalp, or just pop up as one patch. This type of psoriasis can even spread to the forehead, the back of the neck, or behind the ears. Scalp psoriasis symptoms may include only slight, fine scaling. Moderate to severe scalp psoriasis symptoms may include dandruff-like flaking, dry scalp, and hair loss. Scalp psoriasis does not directly cause hair loss, but stress and excess scratching or picking of the scalp may result in hair loss.

Scalp psoriasis can be treated with medicated shampoos, creams, gels, oils, ointments, and soaps. Salicylic acid and coal tar are two medications in over-the-counter products that help treat scalp psoriasis. Steroid injections and phototherapy may help treat mild scalp psoriasis. Biologics are the latest class of medications that can also help treat severe scalp psoriasis.

Guttate psoriasis looks like small, pink dots or drops on the skin. The word guttate is from the Latin word gutta, meaning drop. There tends to be fine scales with guttate psoriasis that is finer than the scales in plaque psoriasis. Guttate psoriasis is typically triggered by streptococcal (strep throat) and the outbreak will usually occur two to three weeks after having strep throat.

Guttate psoriasis tends to go away after a few weeks without treatment. Moisturizers can be used to soften the skin. If there is a history of psoriasis, a doctor may take a throat culture to determine if strep throat is present. If the throat culture shows that streptococcal is present, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics.

Many patients with psoriasis have abnormal nails. Psoriatic nails often have a horizontal white or yellow margin at the tip of the nail called distal onycholysis because the nail is lifted away from the skin. There can often be small pits in the nail plate, and the nail is often yellow and crumbly.

The same treatment for skin psoriasis is beneficial for nail psoriasis. However, since nails grow slow, it may take a while for improvements to be evident. Nail psoriasis can be treated with phototherapy, systemic therapy (medications that spread throughout the body), and steroids (cream or injection). If medications do not improve the condition of nail psoriasis, a doctor may surgically remove the nail.

Psoriasis can be associated with a destructive arthritis called psoriatic arthritis. Damage can be serious enough to permanently damage the affected joints. Prevention of joint damage in such cases is very important.

Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic disease characterized by a form of inflammation of the skin and joints. About 15%-25% of patients with psoriasis also develop an inflammation of their joints. Psoriatic arthritis is a systemic rheumatic disease that can not only cause inflammation of the skin, but in the eyes, heart, kidneys, and lungs as well. Currently, the cause of psoriatic arthritis is unknown, but a combination of genetic, immune, and environmental facts is likely involved.

Typically, a patient will have psoriasis months or years before they develop psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis usually involves the knees, ankles, and joints in the feet. There may also be a loss of range of motion of the involved joints as well as joint stiffness. Psoriatic arthritis can also cause inflammation of the spine and the sacrum, which causes pain and stiffness in the low back, buttocks, neck, and upper back.

Treatment for psoriatic arthritis generally involves anti-inflammatory medications and exercise. It is important to stretch or take a hot shower before exercise in order to relax the muscles. Ice application after exercise can help minimize soreness and inflammation. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may also reduce joint inflammation, pain, and stiffness.

It is now clear that there is a genetic basis for psoriasis. This hereditary predisposition is necessary before the disease can be triggered by environmental factors. White blood cells called T-cells mediate the development of the psoriatic plaques that are present in the skin. When someone has psoriasis, their body is unable to offer protection from invaders. Instead, inflammation is promoted and skin cells are on overdrive. When cell growth is increased, old skin cells pile up instead of flaking off, causing psoriasis to occur. Currently, most experts conclude that environmental, genetic and immunologic factors interact to cause the disease.

If you have the genetic basis of psoriasis, a trigger can cause psoriasis to flare up. The following are triggers that may set off one’s psoriasis:

No, psoriasis is not contagious. People used to believe that psoriasis was the same as leprosy, but that is not the case. You cannot get psoriasis by touching, kissing, or having sex with someone who has psoriasis. People get psoriasis because of their genes, not their hygiene, diet, lifestyle, or any other habits.

Psoriasis is often diagnosed or at least suspected on the basis of its appearance and distribution. However, psoriasis may resemble eczema or other skin diseases and further tests may be required. It may be necessary to remove a small piece of skin (a biopsy) and have it examined by a pathologist to confirm the diagnosis. If there are joint symptoms, X-rays and other laboratory tests may be in order. Psoriasis cannot be cured, but like many other medical conditions, it is controllable with treatment. Your doctor may have you seen by a consultant such as a dermatologist, rheumatologist or immunologist to help diagnose and treat your form of psoriasis.

Since psoriasis mainly affects the skin, topical treatments are very useful because they are relatively safe, fairly effective, and can be applied directly to the affected skin. They take the form of lotions, foams, creams, ointments, gels, and shampoos. They include topical steroids, tar preparations, and calcium- modulating drugs. The precise drug used and the form in which it is delivered depends on the areas involved. In widespread disease in patients with more than 10% of the body surface involved, it may not be practical to use topical medication alone.

For more extensive psoriasis, a useful option is ultraviolet (UV) light exposure. UV light can treat large areas of skin with few side effects, if performed in the physician’s office. It should be kept in mind that all UV light causes mutational events, which can lead to skin cancer. At this time, the most popular type of UV light for psoriasis is called narrow-band UVB. Only a small portion of the UV light spectrum is used, which seems to be particularly beneficial for psoriasis and may be less carcinogenic. This UVB is quite different from the UVA, the wavelength available in tanning salons, which is not effective in psoriasis. Phototherapy can be used alone or with medications when treating psoriasis.

Excimer lasers or pulsed dye lasers are used in laser therapy. A pulsed dye laser will create a concentrated beam of yellow light. When this light hits the skin, it converts to heat. The heat then destroys the extra blood vessels in the skin that contribute to psoriasis. Excimer lasers will deliver ultraviolet light to localized areas of the skin that help treat psoriasis. These lasers produce UV light in wavelengths similar to narrow-band UVB. Laser therapy uses intense doses of laser light to help control areas of mild to moderate psoriasis without damaging surrounding healthy skin. These can be quite effective for small plaques of psoriasis, but since only small areas of skin can be treated at once, they are not practical for extensive disease.

There are a variety of drugs administered systemically that are useful in controlling psoriasis. As a generalization, most oral medications act by targeting portions of the immune system. The only exception currently is a drug called acitretin (Soriatane), which is structurally similar to vitamin A. Since the immune system is necessary in order to survive, systemic treatments do have a downside. Drugs like methotrexate and cyclosporine are administered orally and can affect the liver, kidney, and bone marrow. A new oral medication recently approved for treatment of psoriasis is called Otezla (apremilast). Otezla selectively targets molecules inside immune cells and adjusts (reduces) the processes of inflammation within the cell, which in turn helps treat psoriasis. This drug appears to be considerably safer that most of its predecessors but is also quite expensive.

A new class of drugs has recently been developed called biologics; they’re called biologics because living cells synthesize them. Since these drugs are proteins, they cannot be administered orally and must be given by injection through the skin or by an intravenous infusion. This treatment is recommended in patients with moderate to severe psoriasis. These drugs target the immune response that leads to the rapid skin cell growth of psoriasis. This seems to have increased their safety profile as well as their effectiveness when compared to older drugs. On the other hand, they are quite expensive costing up to $30,000 a year.

There are many home remedies that can be used in the treatment of psoriasis. It is very important to keep the skin moist to avoid dryness. Petroleum jelly, shortening, or olive oil can be used as a moisturizer. Take fewer showers and baths to avoid stripping the skin of its natural oils. Adding salts, oil, or finely ground oatmeal to the bath can soothe the skin. Heliotherapy (medicinal sunbathing) can be effective in controlling psoriasis. There is also evidence that increased body mass is associated with psoriasis and that heavier individuals are more difficult to treat.

At the edge of Israel’s Dead Sea, there are a group of resorts that cater to psoriasis patients by offering a combination of graded solar exposure and the application of crude coal tar along with a spa-like experience. The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth, more than 400 meters below sea level. Once the sun’s rays pass through the haze, the harmful ultraviolet rays are filtered out and the remaining rays are highly effective in treating psoriasis. For those with the time and the money, this is a reasonable alternative to standard medical treatment.

Although there is no doubt that psoriasis is a potent inducer of stress, the evidence that stress causes psoriasis is sparse. However, stress can make psoriasis worse, and psoriasis can make one stressed. Dealing with stress with or without psoriasis is a challenge for most people living in the 21st century. The following are tips to reduce stress:

Not only are the physical effects of psoriasis frustrating, but the emotional effects of psoriasis can be much worse. Psoriasis may cause your relationships to change and people may treat you differently. Unfortunately, this may lead to stress, which then leads to worsening psoriasis. A doctor may prescribe antidepressant medications if psoriasis is diminishing your quality of life. Support groups can also help you cope with psoriasis by talking to other people who are suffering from the same disease.

Fall and winter may bring shorter days, colder temperatures, and dry air. These can all lead to worsening psoriasis symptoms. The sun’s ultraviolet light hinders the rapid growth of skin cells that is characteristic of psoriasis. Therefore, spending less time in the sun may cause psoriasis symptoms to flare. The dry weather may remove moisture in your skin so it is important to use moisturizer and/or a humidifier at home.

There are many different remedies that may ease psoriasis symptoms. The following is a partial list of alternative medicine to help treat psoriasis:

Consult your doctor before trying new medications.

There is plenty of evidence that extensive psoriasis can have a very significant negative effect on a patient’s self-image and emotions. This is especially true in social situations, although all aspects of life can be disturbed. Inverse psoriasis, which affects the genital skin, and scalp psoriasis can be particularly troubling. Psoriasis affecting the hands may make it impossible to interact normally with others. It is important to remember that there are ways to manage and treat psoriasis flares. It may seem as if one’s quality of life has diminished, but there are many organizations that offer support to psoriasis patients. The National Psoriasis Foundation is an excellent source of accurate information as well as emotional support for afflicted patients.



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Voting as a Moral Wrong |

Posted: at 9:41 am

Election day sees a great many Americans behaving immorally, and Im not talking about the ones who refuse to vote. Its a day when millions head to the polls to flip a switch for a vanishingly small chance to force their preferences, via violence, upon everyone else.

Maybe you think thats okay. Maybe you believe youre morally justified in exercising the awesome might of government to make neighbors and strangers teach their children in ways you prefer or eat foods you happen to like or do business only with people you approve of. Maybe, in the end, youre right. But on election day especially, we should take a moment to consider the moral questions raised by exercising that right to vote.

Start by noting that the right to vote really means two things. Only one of them can legitimately be labeled a right. First, theres the right to participate in decisions about what the state will do to you. This stems from our basic dignity and from the autonomy that dignity demands. You have a right to control your own life and make your own decisions, provided those decisions dont entail violating the rights of other people. When you vote, youre articulating, to however small a degree, this personal autonomy. If youre going to be ruled, you at the very least have a right to some say in how youre ruled.

But theres another side to voting, one thats considerably less virtuous. When we vote, we arent just deciding for ourselves. Were attempting to decide for others, too. Were not just expressing a preference (I prefer traditional taxis to ride sharing services.), but also expressing a desire to see that preference made, through the application of violence or the threat of violence, the law of the land. Were saying our opinions are so informed, correct, and important that were willing to have men with guns make our fellow Americans obey them, even if our fellow Americans also believe their own opinions are informed, correct, and important.

Imagine you and some friends corner an old man on the street with the intent to take his money. Youve got an opinion about whats best for that money, and it isnt staying in that guys wallet. But beyond that shared interest in taking his cash, you cant settle on what youll use it for. So you put it to a vote. To be nice, you let him participate. You can vote what well use the money for, you tell him, and if you want to, you can even vote to keep it. Still, there are ten of you and one of him, and you all want to take the money.

In this case, clearly we wouldnt applaud your participation in the vote, because no matter what you and your friends decide to do with the mans money, youll commit a moral wrong. Whatever your opinion of its best use, its not your money to begin with. Nor would we view the harm as ameliorated by the victims participation in the vote. What choice did he have? At best, hell find enough allies that he gets to keep the contents of his wallet, which is exactly where hed be if you and your friends had exercised even the most minimal virtue.

The obvious objection here is to say, But the states not like that! Its authority is legitimate, and the will of the majority, exercised through the institutions of the state, creates its own moral justification.

Anarchists, of course, reject this argument, because they reject the state entirely. Typically, they offer two reasons. First, theres a utilitarian belief that a society without a state would be betterhappier, freer, wealthier, more equalthan one where some rule and others are ruled. Second, theres a moral claim that the necessary condition for a state to exist, namely that certain people get to tell other people what to do and get to enforce their commands via violence, is a moral wrong without justification.

The first we can set aside because the simple fact is no one knows. There are no existing anarchist societies, history records only a few, and the world and its technology are sufficiently different from the past that we cant be certain how well historical examples apply today or in the future. But the second, moral objection to the states legitimacy is a good deal stronger than most give it credit for. Ive written about this problem of political obligation at length. I wont repeat the arguments here. Its a rich literature, and one well worth exploring. The upshot, though, is that among scholarsoverwhelmingly non-libertarianswho have given the matter a great deal of thought, the majority see every existing state, and likely every possible state, as morally unjustifed. There may be reasons to go ahead with creating or maintaining a state in the face of that, but at best the state will be a helpful moral wrong.

Even among those philosophers who deny this philosophical anarchist conclusion, the dominant conclusion is that the states legitimate authority is, at most, extremely limited. If the anarchists are wrong about the moral impermissibility of any state, theyre right about the moral impermissibility of very nearly everything done by, for example, the government we have today in the United States.

Which brings us back to election day. Almost every politician with his or her name on the ballotand certainly every politician with much of a chance of winning office at the state or national levelwill use that power to engage in political acts via the state that clearly lack moral legitimacy. Thats because he or she will use government to enforce preferences instead of limiting the state to that narrow role theres even a chance of justifying morally. What about voting defensively, like the old man hoping to keep his money? Except for those who genuinely embrace the radically limited government that has a prayer of passing moral muster, every politician represents a bundle of policies. Some are the political equivelant of Lets not take his money, but most arent. Most are rights-violating and immoral. Even by voting defensively, you endorse innumerable wicked aggressions against your fellow men.

If you cast a vote today, theres a pretty high chance that in morally significant ways youre acting just like those friends mugging the old man. You may think there are good reasons for doing this, that a world where you vote for violations of basic human dignity and autonomy will be more livablehappier, freer, wealthier, more equalthan one where you dont. But youre still party to countless immoralities. Youre still expressing approval as politicians fail to live up to basic moral standardsand as they do so in your name.

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Lingzhi Mushroom of Immortality –

Posted: at 9:41 am

Three Brightly Colored Lingzhi aka Reishi Mushrooms

Lingzhi mushrooms enjoy a worldwide reputation, as the ultimate herbal substance. In Chinese, lingzhi means herb of spiritual potency.

Lingzhi mushroom has successfully been used as an herbal medicine for thousands of years and is known as the Mushroom of Immortality.

Lingzhi mushrooms are one of the oldest and most effective mushrooms used in traditional Chinese medicine.

They have been effectively used as anti-inflammatories, antivirals, anti-parasitics, anti-fungals, anti-diabetics and anti-hypotensives.They have also been shown to effectively lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.

Numerous studies of Lingzhi mushrooms have established their effectiveness in the treatment of a wide range of diseases and symptoms. The reason I have written about them here (and take them myself), is because of their ability to strengthen the respiratory system and their healing effect on the lungs. It has been shown that Lingzhi mushrooms are particularly beneficial for individuals with asthma, cough and other respiratory complaints.

In an article entitled, Medicinal Mushrooms, published in the January/February 1997 Issue of Herbs for Health, written by Christopher Hobbs, a population study conducted in the 1970s is offered as validation confirming this claim.

The article describes a population study conducted on more than 2000 Chinese with chronic bronchitis. They were instructed to consume Lingzhi mushroom syrup over a period of two weeks. Approximately 90% of this population reported significantly improved breathing as well as improved appetite.

Lingzhi mushrooms have also been successfully used in cardiovascular treatment, in bronchitis prevention, in the treatment of high blood pressure, hepatitis, HIV support, fatigue, allergies, chemotherapy support, altitude sickness, and high triglycerides. Due to the presence of triterpenes, lingzhi mushrooms are understood as an adaptogenic, anti-allergenic and anti-hypertensive.

Lingzhi mushrooms are soft, corky, and flat polypores. They have a kidney shaped, red varnished cap. Lingzhi mushrooms lack gills on their underside, and instead depending on their age, have white to dull brown fine pores, which they use to release their spores, the very reason their morphological classification is polypores.

Lingzhi mushrooms are classified into six categories, according to The Chinese Herbal Materia Medica, depending on their respective shape and color. Each of the six categories is said to nourish a different part of the body:

Lingzhi mushrooms can be consumed in high doses with other medications due to their generally slight side effects. Lingzhi has been shown to enhance the immune system and lessen nervous tension, which may help normalize and balance the body.

Lingzhi mushroom formulations are easily prepared. Simmering thinly sliced or pulverized Lingzhi mushrooms in a pot of boiling water for two hours is the traditional method. The resulting liquid is normally bitter in taste, with the less active black Lingzhi mushroom tasting less bitter than the more active red Lingzhi mushroom. The liquid can also be used to make an extract in liquid, capsule, or powder form, and be added to a formula decoction.

Some studies have shown that long-term use of Lingzhi mushrooms (approximately 4 months) can result in very mild side effects. These have included stomach upset, nosebleed, and dryness of the nasal passages, mouth and throat. These side effects were completely avoided by discontinuing the use of Lingzhi mushrooms for approximately 1 month after taking them for four months, then taking them again for four months.

Lingzhi mushrooms are available for sale all over the world. Both polysaccharides, and triterpenoids are available as a hot water extract and an alcohol extract. Lingzhi mushroom extracts may also be called reishi, reishi mushroom, ganoderma, ling zhi, and ling-zhi.

[UPDATE]: Ive written an article about an herbal asthma treatment called ASHMI Clear Breathing With Chinese Herbs which describes how Dr. Xiu-Min Li of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York combines Lingzhi Mushroom with three other herbs to produce a natural and effective asthma treatment. Its a good read.

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Lingzhi Mushroom of Immortality –

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The Big List of Nootropics | Braintropic

Posted: January 30, 2017 at 8:02 pm

The nootropics list below is grouped into the various benefits that nootropics offer. Please note that this is a work in progress so expect the list to be updated periodically.

Most people are initially drawn to nootropics for their memory boosting effects. Nootropics have been studied extensively over the years with some of them demonstrating cognitive enhancing properties in cognitiviely impaired individuals and oftentimes in healthy adults as well. The nootropics in the racetam family are the most well-known for their memory enhancing effects but there are many others that are powerful as well.

Recommended Nootropics for Memory Enhancement:

Recommended Stacks:

Nootropics are great at increasing ones level of attention and focus. Generally, someone with a low attention span can be incredibly smart, however if their level of attention and focus is low, they will not be able to reach the max potential their cognition might allow. This is another problem I struggled with personally; I procrastinated greatly until I discovered nootropics. Then, with the help of a good nootropic stack, I suddenly was able to focus on the task at hand. Suddenly, my level of intelligence grew enormously because I was actually using my abilities. Instead of messing around with 10 lesser, unimportant or useless activities, I was able to focus on a handful at a time, one by one. Being able to focus is enormously important to being intelligent and using the most of your cognitive potential.

Recommended Nootropics for Attention and Focus:

Stack Recommendations:

Being in a poor mood or depressed state has an extremely negative effect on ones cognition. Simply put, just like anxiety or a lack of attention can cause someone to squander their minds potential, so can a lack of drive or motivation. Keeping a good mood is important, and often is not simply a matter of mindset or willpower. While someone with serious depression needs to turn to medical attention, if you have a lack of happy moods or somewhat slight depression, these nootropic supplements can greatly aid you. They have worked wonders in increasing my ability to have a positive outlook on life. Having a positive outlook will help give you the drive you need to dig into what needs to be, and use your brain to its max potential!

Recommended Nootropics for Mood and Depression:

Recommended Stacks:

Ah, longevity. These are nootropics that increase your general level of health and well-being. They promote maximum levels of efficiency in your body. These nootropics are even thought by some to extend ones lifespan and cognitive potential before a decline can set in. Enormously important, these nootropics should be in everyones stack. At the very minimum, multivitamins and fish oil should be included daily.

Recommended Nootropics for Longevity and Anti-Aging:

Anxiety can be an extremely disruptive part of ones cognition. Despite how intelligent an individual might be, anxiety can overcome and dumbfound ones level of thinking in the worst possible times. Intelligence is not limited to mere studying and learning in a private area by oneself. Instead, some of the most important knowledge must be gained by utilizing our most important learning tool and that is, our peers and people around us. Anxiety can dampen this by preventing us from utilizing such tools. As such, as I have anxiety, I usually recommend supplementing and offsetting this disadvantage with nootropic supplements. Below are some great examples and all work very well for anxiety with low side effects as well as general cognition increases.

Recommended Nootropics for Anxiety:

Stack Recommendation: I designed the Best Nootropic Stack around the above ideas of how to push myself to the limit of my cognition and enabled myself to be the most productive I could be academically, and business-wise. Indeed, this is one of my favorite stacks.

Sleep is another crucial part of enhancing your cognition to the max! In my opinion, this is the area where most people lack the most. Luckily, there are many nootropic supplements that are great to take at night to enhance your sleep and recovery as well as increase your cognition. Sleep is important because that is when most of your neurogenesis occurs, i.e., brain growth and recovery. Your connections are solidified and strengthen while your body repairs itself. Therefore, sleep is vital.

Recommended Nootropics forSleep, Recovery, and Dream Enhancement:

Recommended Stack:

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The Big List of Nootropics | Braintropic

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Carlo Gavazzi Automation Components

Posted: at 7:52 pm

Lainate, December 2016 – Carlo Gavazzi Automation, the international electronics group with activities in the design, manufacture and marketing of electronic equipment, presents the energy analyser EM210 MV, now compatible with our new range of Rogowski coils, the ROG4K.

Thanks to the EM210 MV built-in signal integrator, the ROG4K coils can be directly connected and an external integrator device (and relevant additional power supply) is not required, allowing fast and cost effective installation even in critical applications.

The ROG4K can cover a wide range of primary currents, from 20 to 4000 A guaranteeing class 1 accuracy. The EM210 MV is the ideal solution for panel builders, system integrators and ESCOs as its features help any retrofit operation, even in complex situations. A wide range of possible applications can be satisfied thanks to the possibility of managing both standard 333 mV current sensors – such as the CTV series – and ROG4K coils by simple programming says Andrea Bernardi, International Product Manager. This launch confirms the EM200 series as the range of products which simplify the work of the installers in terms of installation time, space saving and reducing errors.

The EM210 MV and the ROG4K series have been designed by our Competence Centre in Italy in order to meet retrofit requirements in the Conventional energy market and energy efficiency requirements in the Building automation and light/medium industry markets.

Main technical features EM210MV Equivalent to Class 1 (kWh) of EN62053-21 (EM210 w/o current sensors) Equivalent to Class 2 (kvarh) of EN62053-23 (EM210 w/o current sensors) Compatible with CTVs and any other 0.333mV current sensor Compatible with ROG4K Rogowski sensors Accuracy 0.5 RDG (current/voltage) Instantaneous variables readout: 3 DGT Energy readout: 7 DGT System variables: W, var, PF, Hz, Phase-sequence. Single phase variables: VLL, VLN, A, PF, THD (A,V, up to the 15th harmonic) Energy measurements: total kWh (imported and exported); kvarh TRMS measurements of distorted sine waves (voltages/currents) Multi-use housing: for both DIN-rail and panel mounting applications Detachable display

ROG4K Flexible current sensor (Rogowski Coil) for EM210DMV current measurement Primary current from 20 to 4000 A Extended accuracy range +/-1% Hole diameter from 115 mm to 275 mm Direct connection to EM210 MV energy analyser No power supply or external integrator required Coloured label on the cable for error-free connection check

ABOUT CARLO GAVAZZI AUTOMATION Carlo Gavazzi Automation is an international electronics group with activities in the design, manufacture and marketing of electronic equipment targeted at the global markets of industrial and building automation. Carlo Gavazzi Automation provides customers with technologically innovative, high quality and competitive solutions, in compliance with their requirements and expectations through its 22 National Sales Companies in Europe, the Americas and Asia & Pacific, operating with its production sites in Denmark, Italy, Malta, Lithuania and China.

For further information: Carlo Gavazzi Automation SpA – Via Milano 13 20020 Lainate (MI) – Italy Strategy & Communication – info@gavazziautomation.com

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Carlo Gavazzi Automation Components

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Xenopus tropicalis v4.1 – JGI Genome Portal – Home

Posted: at 7:43 pm

Xenopus tropicalis is a unique resource for two critical areas in vertebrate biology: early embryonic development and cell biology. In the former, Xenopus laevis has led the way in identifying the mechanisms of early fate decisions, patterning of the basic vertebrate body plan, and early organogenesis. Contributions in cell biology and biochemistry include seminal work on chromosome replication, chromatin and nuclear assembly, control of the cell cycle components, in vitro reconstruction of cytoskeletal element dynamics, and signaling pathways. In fact, Xenopus has become a major vertebrate model for the cellular and developmental biology research that is supported by most of the Institutes of the NIH.

In March of 2002 the Joint Genome Institute convened a meeting at the Production Genomics Facility in Walnut Creek, California. Leading researchers in the Xenopus research community were invited to discuss the overall planning and strategies for sequencing the Xenopus tropicalis genome.

BAC Sequencing for the X. tropicalis Community

The JGI has now closed the nominations for additional BAC sequencing. Please check the BAC sequencing status link for current sequence information.

Individual BACs may be obtained from the BAC/PAC Resource Center at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute

A Xenopus tropicalis genome project advisory board was set up to insure an accurate and timely exchange of information between the JGI and the research community.

Genome Project Notes

X. tropicalis genome assembly 4.1 is the fourth in a series of preliminary assembly releases that are planned as part of the ongoing X. tropicalis genome project. To date, approximately 22.5 million paired end sequencing reads have been produced from libraries containing a range of insert sizes.

Our goal is to make the genome sequence of Xenopus widely and rapidly available to the scientific community. We endorse the principles for the distribution and use of large scale sequencing data adopted by the larger genome sequencing community and urge users of this data to follow them. It is our intention to publish the work of this project in a timely fashion and we welcome collaborative interaction on the project and analyses.

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Xenopus tropicalis v4.1 – JGI Genome Portal – Home

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Libertarian Candidates Expose Themselves as Anti-Trump …

Posted: January 29, 2017 at 11:06 pm


Weld defended Hillary Clinton on her private email scandal and playedattack dog on Donald Trump.


Johnson seemed sleepy, but he answered a question at length about THC amounts in marijuana and another from a young man asking about legalized prostitution. Johnson onlylightly and perfunctorily criticized Clinton, instead focusing most of his low-energy attacks on Trump. He also revealed a personal gluten allergy and said that he himself would not patronize the services of prostitutes.

These two marginal politicians are clearly enjoying the spotlight that the pro-Clinton media arefinally giving them in their effort to stop Trump. (Something tells me the folks at CNN have not secretly been reading Reason magazine all these years.)

The Johnson-Weld team seems to think that libertarianism is mostly about admitting as many immigrants to the United States as possible. This is a far cry from Ron Pauls pro-borders libertarian movement of a few years ago. The libertarian movement has shifted to the progressive globalist Left.

Bill Weld has called Clinton by and large a good secretary of state, and Johnson has called her a wonderful public servant.

When Johnson criticizes Clinton, he often goes after her for big government spending in a bald-faced attempt to sound conservative and to peel off Trumps support with the #NeverTrump crowd.

A top Clinton-supporting official at the libertarian Niskanen Center think tank (which advocates for more Syrian refugee settlement in America) spelled out the strategy in no uncertain terms: the Libertarians need to adopt a Right-sounding platform so they can take some of Trumps support and prop up Clinton.

Did you notice that the mainstream networks began touting a Clinton lead in a new 3-Way Poll.

But what about Jill Stein? Will CNN give Green Party candidate Jill Stein the same primetime platform?

Libertarian insiders, by their own admission, went into their convention in Orlando with one modest goal: to nominate Gary Johnson against various insurgent challengers, including Gonzo software recluse John McAfee, and then to get fivepercent of the popular vote in November to get the party on future state ballots. This could be the year, the insiders said. The fivepercent year!

Everyone who gets paid by the Kochs says so, longtime Libertarian insider Tim Cavanaugh quipped when the Johnson-Weld ticket was taking shape.

See, Gary Johnson does not just have a weed habit. He also has a Koch problem. As Breitbart News first reported, the Kochs secret Beltway bank pulled out of the race as soon as it became clear Trump was going to be the nominee, but they left the door open to supporting Clinton.

Indeed, a source within the Johnson campaign wanted people to think that Johnsonhad a Koch connection, leaking to the Daily Caller that tens of millions were heading Johnsonsway. They were not hiding it. The Libertarian party chairman begged like a dog for Koch money in a press conference in Orlando.

The Libertarians are finally showing their hand: theyre globalist Clintonites.

This is what happens when Koch-funded activists straight out of liberal arts college join Koch-funded Washington advocacy groups that throw happy hours aimed at Conservatariansbecause Libertarian Koch-funded people are totally friendly to the tea party!

The Kochs run the tea party, dont they? Thats certainly how the Kochs made it seem in the mainstream media after they started funding, funding, funding things attached to what was once a leaderless tea party revolution in this country that aimed to disrupt the power of the elites.

And then when the chips are down and Hillary Clinton goes for the White House, the Kochs roll over. And William Weld defends Clintonon the emails.

Congratulations, Libertarian movement. You guys finally went Left enough on immigration to make it onto CNN in primetime!

Maybe Don Lemon will come to the next happy hour. Just tell him not to bring gluten.

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Libertarian Candidates Expose Themselves as Anti-Trump …

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