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mhudson0330government-240 KIM BROWN: Welcome to The Real News Network in Baltimore. I’m Kim Brown.

Donald Trump promised repeatedly to, “Drain the swamp,” during his presidential campaign, his vow to end the cycle of corruption within the Federal government. All while touting his own experience as a businessman, as reason enough for him to be Commander-in-Chief.

Yet, his Cabinet appointments and his hand-picked advisors seem to reflect the contrary to draining the swamp, with former hedge fund manager, Steve Mnuchin, as Secretary of the Treasury; former Exxon Mobil CEO, Rex Tillerson, as Secretary of State; and private equity billionaire Wilbur Ross as Commerce Secretary.

But this week Trump’s own son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner, echoed a very popular sentiment about this White House’s approach to governing — run it like a business. And looking at who so far has been tapped to staff this administration — few folks with any public service or government experience — will this be an effective approach to running the country?

Well, joining us to discuss this we have Michael Hudson. Michael is a distinguished research professor of economics at the University Missouri at Kansas City. He’s the author of many books, including: “The Bubble and Beyond” and, “Finance Capitalism and its Discontents”, also “Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy”, and most recently, “J is for Junk Economics: A Survivor’s Guide to Economic Vocabulary in the Age of Deception”.

Michael is joining us today from New York City. Welcome back to The Real News.

MICHAEL HUDSON: It’s good to be here.

KIM BROWN: So, Michael, in an interview that Jared Kushner gave the Washington Post over the weekend from his West Wing office, where Jared Kushner says that the American government needs to be run like a business — I’m paraphrasing here. This seems to be a feeling, an ethos, if you will, shared by this Trump administration.

So, is it a good idea to try to run government the way that corporations are being run?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Not only is it a bad idea, but yesterday, the Financial Times of London, the premier financial paper, had a wonderful editorial, saying why business cannot make government great. In other words, why it can’t be run like a government.

The main reason is that businesses are run to make a profit. And it’s very surprising that Trump’s supporters say, well, we need a businessman to put the government in order. Business people are their employers.

Imagine somebody working for an employer, and the last thing you want is for the employer to run his business the way he wants, without any safety conditions, without paying you overtime, without paying you a pension, without paying you medical care.

The idea of running it like a business is to screw labor. To pay labor as little as possible, and to get as much money for themselves — the businessmen — as possible. So, when Kushner says, “Let’s run government like a business,” what he really means is, let’s run government for business.

The Financial Times gave a wonderful example. They said, look at what really made Trump’s reputation in New York politically. And I remember it. I was here. It’s when the city had been trying to build the Wollman Skating Rink, they’d spent like $13 million on it. Trump said, I can do it much cheaper as a businessman. And so, the first thing he said was, well, if I’m going to do it like a businessman, you’ve got to… the rule was you’ve got to suspend the rules about fuel efficiency.

The Financial Times said the Parks Department had a double mandate, of building a rink and making it fuel-efficient. The latter requirement was dropped for Mr. Trump.

So, in other words, running the government as a business says, let’s get rid of the environmental concerns, because that’s a cost to business. Let’s not tax business, because that’s a cost. Let’s get rid of any pro-labor legislation. We have our consumer protection. Let’s get rid of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency that blocks banks from cheating their customers, because business is all about gouging as much as you can get.

So, do you really want a government that is going to be run like a business and gouge people? And then the final kicker that really makes the analogy between business — and a private balance sheet — and government different is that businesses can’t run a deficit. Just like a family household is supposed to save and run a deficit.

But governments are supposed to run a deficit, because they’re supposed to lose money in balance sheet terms. They’re supposed to spend money into the economy; that’s how the economy gets enough money to grow.

And so, the Republicans in the chaos have always said you’ve got to be fiscally responsible, don’t run a deficit. Meaning, don’t dump money into the economy; make the economy borrow from the banks. And what we want is austerity for labor.

Well, now all of a sudden since the Obamacare repudiation didn’t work, they’re not able to get the trillion dollars that they wanted to squeeze out of there. So, Trump says, well, we want to spend money into the economy by cutting taxes on the rich, and also by spending more on the Pentagon.

None of this is going to put money into the economy.

And all of a sudden the Democrats are quite correctly saying, well wait a minute, we are all for running a deficit if it’s to increase employment and raise wage levels. But we’re not for running a deficit simply by cutting money for the rich.


Because the businessmen don’t make their money by employing labor, the businessmen really make their money by increasing the price of their stocks; they make it by speculation; the stocks and bond market; real estate speculation. And they get it by avoiding taxes and avoiding environmental laws; avoiding all of the laws that governments are supposed to impose to create checks and balances, to make a government democratic, and the kind of world the people want to live in. The businessman is pro-business.

KIM BROWN: Well, Michael we have a real world example of this when we look at the State of Michigan, under the Governorship of Rick Snyder, their, “One tough nerd,” as he calls himself, on Twitter.

After his election, he vowed to make Michigan more financially solvent, and he did this by taking a number of steps, including appointing emergency managers over a handful of Michigan towns; in effect rendering the will of the people obsolete, because now instead of being governed by elected officials, they are being governed by these hand-picked emergency managers.

And obviously, the Flint water crisis is a perfect example of that; how the emergency manager in the interest of trying to save money, decided to change the water source for the Town of Flint from the Detroit River to the very polluted Flint River, and as a result, the entire town has been dealing with lead contamination of all kinds of nasty stuff in their water, for almost four years now.

So, how can we apply how Michigan has been run by Rick Snyder to what the Trump Administration intends to do?

MICHAEL HUDSON: That’s a perfect example. The Trump Administration wants to cover… cutback what they call red tape and bureaucracy.

And what they call red tape is everything that consumers and workers want to protect themselves: to protect themselves environmentally; to protect themselves from fraud, and to protect themselves from being cheated.

And one of the covert reasons for Snyder doing what he did in Michigan was to support fracking. And he had to do the diversion of water in order to let the frackers drill where they weren’t going to affect the local water supply. That’s all been coming out recently.

So, a government run like a business is run for other businesses, and it’s all to give them a free ride and to really dismantle government.

So, running a government like a business means dismantling government; dismantling democratic control; dismantling voters; and really running the economy under emergency conditions.

What you cited in Michigan happened in New York City after 1974, when the city almost went bankrupt, the Emergency Management committee.

Running it like an emergency is treating the economy like Greece is being treated, as an emergency basis, in which you suspend… you don’t pay pensions; you suspend the social laws; you suspend any pro-labor laws there are; and it’s a kind of brutal world that would be created along these lines.

KIM BROWN: So, Michael, and lastly, is there any historical precedent for trying to run the Federal government as a business? I mean, we can go back to the founding fathers who themselves were landowners, plantation owners, slave owners, who had sources of revenue based off the capitalist system. But Donald Trump is something different entirely. Have we seen this ever before in our history?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Not really. I guess maybe in the colonial history you did, when the various colonies like New York State were run like a business and it was really bribery. It was very post-Soviet in a way.

The Governors of the colonies were notoriously crooked, and they were giving land grants here and there and monopoly rights here and there; all up for sale, and the economy looked sort of like Russia did under the privatizers, under Boris Yeltsin. That’s the closest example that I can think of. So, you can think of Trump as America’s Boris Yeltsin.

KIM BROWN: All right. Well, that’s an interesting visual there in my head. We’ve been speaking with Michael Hudson. Michael is a distinguished research professor of economics at the University Missouri at Kansas City. Michael, we appreciate you joining us today. Thank you.

MICHAEL HUDSON: It’s good to be back here.

KIM BROWN: And thank you for watching The Real News Network.

(Republished from TRNN by permission of author or representative)
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  1. Oh, dear. Running government like a business is stupid rhetoric, but analyzing stupid rhetoric as if it was a serious plan is also stupid. If you confront them, they’ll probably reply that ‘running like a business’ simply means minimizing waste and optimizing resources…

    • Agree: Amanda
    • Replies: @Astuteobservor II
  2. Running Government Like a Business Is Bad for Citizens

    Especially if it’s a government subsidized extortion racket.

    “In passing by the side of Mount Thai, Confucius came upon a woman who was wailing bitterly by a grave. The Master bowed forward to the crossbar, and hastened to her; and then sent Tsze-loo to question her. ‘Your wailing,’ said he, ‘is altogether like that of one who has suffered sorrow on sorrow.’ She replied, ‘It is so. Formerly my husband’s father was killed here by a tiger.
    p. 199

    [paragraph continues]My husband was also killed by one, and now my son has died in the same way.’ The Master said, ‘Why do you not leave this place?’ The answer was, ‘There is no oppressive government here.’ The Master then said to his disciples: ‘Remember this, my little children. Oppressive government is more terrible than tigers.’”

    Confucius, Analects, (Bk. ii., sect. ii., pt. iii., 10.)

    • Replies: @Dale
  3. You can’t drain a swamp if you fall in head first while looking for the plughole!

    My mother, bless her heart, was all in favor of “running the government like a business” back in England in the 1960’s and subsequently became a big fan of Margaret Thatcher and the sale of nationalized industries like railroads or the mail service, or cooperatives like building societies to corporations, in the belief that they would be run more efficiently, trains would arrive on time, and so on.

    Of course the fact that she invested cash in a couple of dozen building societies and then cleaned up when they were sold off might have had something to do with her enthusiasm.

    But privatizing hardly ever led to better services. For example when cleaning services in National Health Service hospitals were privatized all that happened was that the same people as before were cleaning the hospitals with the same mops and buckets, only with less retirement benefits and weekends off and the standard of cleanliness was unimproved, or actually got worse.

    On the other hand, there are many quality improvement methods or techniques like root cause analysis and pareto charts originally developed in profit-making industries which can be, and actually are, used in public service to, for example, ensure that a fire appliance will always arrive at a blaze within a given territory within x minutes of a 911 call.

    So it all depends on what you mean by running government like a business.

    You probably would not want Medicare to spend 20% of funds received on marketing, administrative costs, executive bonuses and shareholder dividends so as to be more like the health insurance companies when it currently spends 97% of revenue on patient care.

    You may also wish to consider that government services, whether federal, state, or local provide a lot of stable employment to people whom businesses often would not want to hire, because, for example they have disabled children who often get sick, or have other disabilities that make them less profitable even though they may be perfectly reliable employees in most respects.

  4. Dr. Doom says:

    Oh come on. Real businessmen don’t cheat labor. Henry Ford paid his workers MORE so they could buy cars. Why? It was free advertising for his business. That’s smart business. What you have now isn’t business its Capitalism. As long as they make money the whole thing can belly up and they’re happy. They’re actually more like con men and vultures than businessmen. Businessmen don’t just want to make a profit, they have a product or service they believe in. This government is a pyramid scheme. They take peoples’ money and use other peoples’ money to do what they want. That massive debt isn’t a sign of good governance.
    The problem isn’t profits, its a lack of ethics. I don’t think anyone would mind the government making a profit. It would lower taxes and increase efficiency. Those bureaucrats buying new furniture every year from overseas does nothing but help bankrupt the treasury.

    • Agree: anarchyst
    • Replies: @Dale
  5. What you have now isn’t business its Capitalism. As long as they make money the whole thing can belly up and they’re happy. They’re actually more like con men and vultures than businessmen. Businessmen don’t just want to make a profit, they have a product or service they believe in.

    Seems that way. When I immigrated to the US having lived in two other countries before, I was amazed to find that what I assumed were respectable businesses like banks and utilities seemed to be run by gangsters who took pride in their ability to trick customers.

    • Replies: @Wally
  6. Wally says:
    @Jonathan Mason

    But you stayed in the US.

    • Replies: @Jonathan Mason
  7. Wally says:

    Marxist Hudson is using false strawman argument after false strawman argument.


    If businesses treat their labor poorly they will lose that labor to competition.

    If businesses defraud customers there will prosecutions under the law, not good for business.

    If businesses are truly polluting (no, not the fake issue of plant loving CO2) they will be sued, prosecuted under the law.

    It’s not the bloated, inefficient, wasteful Consumer Financial Protection Agency which protects consumers, it’s laws that protect consumers. We already have law enforcement for such duties.

    “Governors of colonies” are not examples of real business / capitalism, they are examples of mercantilism, government granted monopolies, government control of winners & losers

    He mentions activities in Michigan, but avoids mentioning DETROIT, Michigan whose ‘democratic’ bodies running the show had arranged policies which benefited themselves and those that they favored.
    He mentions the water disaster at Flint. But does not mention the fact that the river was polluted, unbeknownst to emergency management, due to ‘democratically elected’ government incompetence.

    He mentions Greece, but fails to mention the extravagant government policies which got Greece into the situation that it now finds itself. Those weren’t true business decisions.

    Businesses are required to tow the bottom line, or perish.
    Government services are protected by a seemingly unending pool of money provided by taxpayers.

    We’re 20 trillion dollars in debt because we didn’t run the country ‘like a business.

  8. anon • Disclaimer says:

    It’s amazing how these experts have never worked in a real business.

    And what’s more, Trump himself never worked in a modern corporation. Rather a family business.

    Trump is a celebrity, reality TV star who acted in pseudo entertainment oriented around a business plot line..

    Government should be orderly and efficient. Traits that are considered ‘business like’. But hardly limited to business. Experience in large, successful organizations is valuable and should be considered positively.

    Hudson doesn’t know anything about business and Trump has a lot of experience, mostly as a reality television celebrity.

  9. @Wally

    I’d like to agree with all of that, Wally, but it’s simply not true that employers have to worry about mistreating their employees in many types of job.

    For the lower-skilled jobs and now some of the higher-skilled jobs too (H1Bs in the IT field and others), employers have an effectively inexhaustible supply of foreigners who are delighted to work for less and put up with whatever they must.

    • Replies: @Wally
  10. @Mao Cheng Ji

    Isn’t it kinda extremely bad if you can’t tell what the president of usa means when he says words?

    chew on that for a few secs.

  11. wayfarer says:

    Silver-spoon fed wannabe geopolitical leaders occupy the White House crib, as billionaire trust-fund baby bosses take over control of America!

  12. Wally says:

    Good point.
    But that’s not a feature of free market business.

    That’s all you have to say about the points I made?

  13. Miro23 says:

    I think that Hudson is getting it wrong. It’s not that “Business in Government” wants to take away the public’s benefits and rights to make government more profitable.

    Business in Government is there get profitable legislation for their businesses – at public expense.

    The US now almost defines Special Interest government, with the public being ripped-off by a corrupt Congress in every way imaginable. Washington has a whole industry dedicated to obtaining profitable legislation from corrupt politicians who are of course happy to oblige (think HRC), not to mention AIPAC + Neo-con activism that has cost the country $ Trillions, or the permanently Jewish run FED that endlessly pumps out public debt to 1) pay for Israel’s wars 2) give Wall St interest free money to blow profitable bubbles (and rescue them when necessary) 3 ) pay for Special Interest taxpayer rip offs in hopelessly overpriced government sectors such as the MIC, education and healthcare (insurance lobby).

    Business in Government is very profitable for Trump’s friends, but what the US really needs is the classic separation of State and Commerce.

    In a real Democracy, politicians would represent the public and work with a professional administrative class with NO LINKS AT ALL TO BUSINESS (even social). In a real sense administrative Guardians would live apart as a highly trained and well paid group to defend the public against Special Interests. They would of course be America First (since it’s their job to defend the American public) but it doesn’t at all mean that they would have to be socialists. Business would benefit in the long run from a simplified, clean and predictable legal framework, simplified lower (non loop-holed) taxation and a more efficient society.

    Jane Jacobs wrote a fascinating book contrasting the Commercial and Guardian mindset, making the point that a successful society needs both of them. To use a sport metaphor, Guardians protect and enforce the rules and Commercials are the star players.

    Jane Jacobs: “Systems of Survival – A Dialogue on the Moral Foundations of Commerce and Politics”.

  14. Agent76 says:

    Mar 20, 2017 Trump Embraces the Goldman Sachs Vampire Squid

    It’s business as usual in Washington. Trump promised to drain the swamp. Instead, he is busy populating it with Goldman Sachs vampire squids. On this edition of The Geopolitical Report, we take a look at the outsized influence of the notorious global investment banking firm, its ability to navigate both Democrat and Republican administrations, and its disastrous effect on the economy as it socializes risk and pockets.

  15. @Wally

    This is a rather hermetic, academic opinion piece. By that I mean the author has no actual entrepreneur skill, or administration. A business REDUCES expenses to the minimum in order to get bang for the buck. That means not paying for something worthless or to excess. A business RATIONALIZES it labor force to earn their money, and gets rid of slackers and disruptive people. A business-a real one-strives to SERVE its customers with value, which includes cost that the customer will bear.

    Too often, today, opinion pieces are written in an “all or nothing”, digital form, i.e., a black and white choice, cherry picking negative, downside traits and omitting any balance or opposing ones.

    All the author had to do-and he should be aware-is how Singapore manages great efficiency and service to its public through its PUBLIC CORPORATIONS. These are owned by the government, but FUNCTION AS businesses. They MUST at least break even, and even profits are plowed right back in the companies. The executives adhere to the same standards as those of private corporations in one overarching regard: competency. Everything has to be transparent and justified.

    This structure is supported across the spectrums. Most executives come from the private sector, are apolitically chosen. Academic treatises, oversight commissions look over every detail. There need be no detailed and footnoted refutation of the above article. One huge, glaring exception blows it apart: Singapore. The ultimate pragmatic, “what works”, political and economic system on the Planet

    • Replies: @Miro23
  16. Wally says:


    aka: Goverment Sponsored Enterprises, (GSE), State Owned Enterprises (SOE)

    Recall the results of such in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2008. They privatized the profits & socialized the losses.

    Have a look at the BBC, hardly the voice of tolerance, diverse viewpoints, and fiscal responsibility.

    I recommend you look at Greece.

    These sorts are not bound by the bottom line.
    Are they having financial problems? No worries, the pols will give it more taxpayers money.

  17. Miro23 says:
    @Poupon Marx

    All the author had to do-and he should be aware-is how Singapore manages great efficiency and service to its public through its PUBLIC CORPORATIONS.

    Singapore is an interesting example, but Lee Kwan Yew built something approaching a one party state under his benevolent dictatorship. He happened to want an efficient and clean administration and ferociously rooted out any hint of corruption or laziness.

    The point is that most leaders are nothing like LKW, and what’s needed is some less highly tuned everyday setup that works with more regular human beings in a normal Democratic framework.

    Business people don’t have a monopoly on efficiency (e.g. government run Swiss Railways) and searching for profit doesn’t always square with national benefit – national public goods are uneconomic to provide in some remote areas but that doesn’t mean that those citizens are abandoned on economic grounds, and apart from that, there are plenty of risks with the business/deal making mindset.

    The world’s best known Imperialist, Racist and National Socialist activist paid quite a lot of attention to this issue:

    “No servant of the State must be a shareholder. No Gauleiter, no Member of the Reichstag, and , in general, no Party leader must be a member of any board of directors, regardless of whether the appointment is honorary or paid; for even if the individual were actuated by the interests of the State, end even if he possessed the integrity of Cato himself, the public would lose faith in him. In capitalist States, it is essential for a great enterprise to have in its employ men of influence – hence the large number of members of Parliament and high officials who figure on boards of directors. The amounts disbursed to these personages in director’s fees, share of profits and so on is more than recouped by one or two fat Government contracts which they are in a position to secure for their company.” … “When an official retires from State service, he should not be allowed to enter a line of business with which he previously had official dealings…”
    Hitler’s Table Talk. Conversation Nº 270, 26th July 1942

    • Replies: @Poupon Marx
  18. If you want to run a country like a business then its citizens should receive a decent salary.

    Trump is such an idiot. But so are pretty much all of the US establishment.

  19. @Miro23

    “….under his benevolent dictatorship.” A common misconception. Yew’s one party state (PAP) dominated the government. There was a minority, socialist party that was extremely marginalized, because citizens did not vote for it. Lee was an authoritarian, but cannot be termed a dictator, as described by universal leftist press and journalism. IOW, this is a lie.

    “The world’s best known Imperialist, Racist and National Socialist activist paid quite a lot of attention to this issue:” These are loaded, emotive, and generally polemic trite terms that have lost their meaning. Trite and cliched words become empty and devoid, as taught by my 9th grade English teacher.

    As an engineer, theory and abstracts are far less important to me than what works. As a Chinese friend told me, in Singapore, “Chinese people very practical”. Yes, they are and a joy to work with. They are serious, honest, hardworking and competent.

    If other societies cannot replicate Singapore’s success, then they should kill themselves, and reincarnate as a better breed.

    I’ve owned several motorcycles. I started with a low horsepower model and worked up to very powerful ones. Once you reach a certain performance level it is VERY HARD to regress to a lesser, slower, lower machine.

    I certainly agree with you that the (((Hostile Elite))) is to blame, in the main for the diseases of the West. Christianity is the wound that let in the viruses and other pathogens.

    • Replies: @Miro23
  20. The National Health Service in the UK is vastly more effective and efficient than the businesses of the US health industry. There are activities, like health and education, that publicly owned systems deliver better than private ones approximately everywhere.

    • Replies: @anarchyst
  21. Michael Hudson is your typical run of the mill leftist ivory tower academic. Full of sound and fury yet signifying nothing. Oh look, an academic big government promoting lefty economist, how rare! Keep pumping out this material Michael, maybe one day you will get a spot to pontificate these most enlightening views on the NYT opinion pages, or maybe at WAPO.

  22. Running the government like a madhouse hasn’t worked out so well either. I’m willing to let things run on a business model for a while and see if it improves.

  23. @Wally

    But you stayed in the US.

    Yes, I did, and then I left the US for a few more years, and then I came back for family reasons, and then I left for a few more years, and then I came back again, but I still don’t like the way large corporations in the US engage in silly cheating. I have not encountered the same thing in the 3 other countries I have lived in, or not to anything like the same extent.

  24. Dale says:
    @jacques sheete

    Thank you for that. I’ve always believed that Confucianism is more quickly aligned with libertarianism than traditional conservatism.

  25. Dale says:
    @Dr. Doom

    I think Crony Capitalism is the correct term. There is no unfettered free market here, just use of government to limit any competition for big corporations.

  26. Dale says:

    Excellent response. Decentralization of government, devolving all powers back to the State level, is the only solution to our current economic and military predicaments.

  27. Miro23 says:
    @Poupon Marx

    “….under his benevolent dictatorship.” A common misconception. Yew’s one party state (PAP) dominated the government. There was a minority, socialist party that was extremely marginalized, because citizens did not vote for it. Lee was an authoritarian, but cannot be termed a dictator, as described by universal leftist press and journalism. IOW, this is a lie.

    I read his “From Third World to First” and what he achieved in Singapore was remarkable but opposition politicians were leaned on hard, and he wasn’t going to let his one party state face any realistic threat.

    “The world’s best known Imperialist, Racist and National Socialist activist paid quite a lot of attention to this issue:” These are loaded, emotive, and generally polemic trite terms that have lost their meaning. Trite and clichéd words become empty and devoid, as taught by my 9th grade English teacher.

    I think that the meaning is very clear. 1) Imperialist: Hitler constantly referred to Germany’s need for Eastern Empire (his phrase) reaching to the Urals in the East and the Black Sea in the South, and he made detailed plans of how it would be organized after the conquest of Russia. 2) Racist: He firmly believed that Germans were a superior race, and as such had a natural right to take the land of supposed inferior races (mostly Slavs) with the right to dominate them according to nature. 3) National Socialist: He was very egalitarian (Germans only). Like he said, ” (60) “I never stopped telling my supporters that our victory was a mathematical certainty, for, unlike Social Democracy, we rejected nobody from the national community.” (127) “Every reasonably conducted organization is bound to favour the development of beings of worth. It has been my wish that educative organizations of the Party should enable the poorest child to lay claim to the highest functions if he has enough talent. The Party must see to it on the other hand, that society is not compartmentalized, …. It’s essential that a balance should be struck, in such a way that dyed-in-the-wool Conservatives may be abolished as well as Jewish and Bolshevik anarchists.”

    If other societies cannot replicate Singapore’s success, then they should kill themselves, and reincarnate as a better breed.

    That’s what I’m saying. Lee Kuan Yew was a very unusual person and he was in the right place at the right time to ride the outsourcing wave. No corporate outsourcing = No Singapore miracle. Maybe it would be premature for other societies to kill themselves.

    I’ve owned several motorcycles. I started with a low horsepower model and worked up to very powerful ones. Once you reach a certain performance level it is VERY HARD to regress to a lesser, slower, lower machine.

    That’s interesting. I have a small low powered 20 year old car and a completely different “other” car, with the small one winning hands down for practicality and I use it every day. That’s not to say that the other isn’t a fine piece of engineering and beautiful to drive on an open road but I’ve donated it to my wife to let her struggle with narrow streets and miniature parking spaces. Enforced regression on my part, but you get used to it.

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
  28. “Imperialist Hitler”. Fair enough. But by manner in comparison, all successful countries are imperialist, or seem to dominate others, with very few exceptions. Of course America is an example of that on steroids. Even Cuba, which lends out its “advisors” to other countries is extending its influence and dominance over other countries, e.g., Venezoouela. I don’t know the finer points of the history and chronology of Hitler and his motives. Did he seek to regain the borders of a pre-WWI Deutschland? Or was did he actually believe that he could conquer other people’s land and dominate in for a 1000 years? If so, color him stupid.

    It is commonly believed that Hilter characterized Slavs as “Untermensch”. But some scholars contest that. Germany certainly had a lot to be proud of in science, technology, and STEM disciplines in general. I’ve never been a big fan of philosophy, so I’ll ignore this. I’ve always subtracted points from the Germans for their girlish worship of this guy as if he were a rock star. Such collectivism and mass hysteria always made me feel uncomfortable. And creepy.

    Hitler was an outgrowth of German insecurity and arrogance that long preceded Hitler. For some reasons, the German “psyche” lent itself to collectivized into a human ant colony. Respect and obeisance were of course part of German culture, from the Prussian side, perhaps. On the other hand, many Germans-left alone and not had their heads played with-are docile, hard working, thoughtful, and virtuous. You could travel through pockets of German towns in the last 100 years in America and find nothing to criticize. Productive people, precise and ordered.

    Cars are different than motorcycles. A car for commuting-inexpensive to buy and operate-makes sense. But for pure driving? Effortless acceleration is a sort of grace.

  29. Ron Unz says:

    I happened to glance at this comment-thread and noticed a considerable discussion of Singapore under Lee Kuan Yew:

    That’s what I’m saying. Lee Kuan Yew was a very unusual person and he was in the right place at the right time to ride the outsourcing wave. No corporate outsourcing = No Singapore miracle. Maybe it would be premature for other societies to kill themselves.

    I might as well republish some of my own related remarks from a couple of years ago, focusing on Lee’s remarkable trans-ideological appeal:

    For Communists to admire Singapore doesn’t seem too surprising to me. Although Lee may be widely hailed as a great man by neo-reactionaries throughout the world, I’d suspect that if the leading European Socialist thinkers of 100+ years ago were brought back to life, they might grumble at some of Lee’s ideological deviations–notably his vocal embrace of Capitalism—but overall they would feel that no other world political leader of the last century had come so close to achieving the dreams and goals they’d set, and so quickly, under such difficult conditions.

    As I recall, Lee started his career as a dedicated Socialist, founder of the People’s Action Party, and was even occasionally suspected of being a Communist by his British colonial rulers. Once he came to power, his early emphasis on public housing, education, health, and government-directed economic development were certainly in broad accordance with such an ideological orientation. Put another way, what other world leader of the last century would have had policies and achievements that all those old-fashioned late 19th century Marxists would find superior? Jimmy Carter? Brezhnev? Mao? Certainly most of what constitutes the present-day “Left” would simply be shipped off en masse to mental institutions or work-farms.

    So one of the ideological oddities of our topsy-turvy modern world is that (arguably) the world’s finest exemplar of successfully implemented 19th century Leftism was today widely considered on the extreme rightwing fringe of international respectability. At least by our silly Western MSM. China probably contains more card-carrying Communists than the rest of the world combined, and the CCP greatly admired Lee, underscoring the foolishness of this ideological verdict.

    Obviously, there is a considerable trans-ideological aspect to failure. Leaders who are corrupt, drunken, and incompetent are rarely admired by either the Left or the Right. But I think it’s far more rare that Communists, Socialists, and rightwingers join together in praising a single leader’s achievements.

    I *really* wish I wasn’t stuck spending 90+% of my time these days working on software issues…

    • Replies: @Miro23
    , @FKA Max
  30. Miro23 says:
    @Ron Unz

    I’ve just read that thread and what seems to be missing is LKY’s British background as a perhaps (?) partial (?) explanation of his unusual behaviour in an Asian frame of reference.

    To my mind it’s relevant that his native language was English and he only started learning Chinese after age 30 and always had an accent.

    Also, after he completed his Cambridge law degree he described himself as an “Anglicised Chinaman ” and came from a family that regarded everything to do with the British Imperial Administration of Singapore as superior. Apparently he only dropped his first name “Harry” when he decided that it gave the wrong idea for nationalist leader.

    It’s interesting that the British foreign secretary George Brown called him the “Best bloody Englishman East of the Suez” and it seems likely that he was influence by the high ethical standards of that same British Imperial Administration that so surprised local Indian leaders. They could never understand how Imperial administrators who had so much local power and so little supervision would not do the usual corrupt deals.

    It’s not at all fashionable to say this now in England (or in India) but British (often Scots) administrators were required to show an exceptionally high ethical standard in their work.

  31. anarchyst says:
    @Philip Owen

    Not entirely true. For cuts and bruises, the NHS works OK, but for any involved procedure, the wait can be interminable. Yes, there are “death panels” in the NHS, one with the acronym of “NICE” (National Institute for health Care Excellence) which routinely denies life saving procedures and drugs that are deemed “too expensive”.
    Closer to home, even the Canadian system has its faults. Despite a much lower population figure, Canada also “rations” health care, not necessarily by denying procedures, but putting patients on “waiting lists” as well. Canada has a first-rate medical staff that is hamstrung by the limitations of their National Health Care system.
    American medical facilities get a certain amount of traffic from Canadian border cities, because health care treatments are delivered on a more timely basis. In fact, there are agreements between OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Program) and American hospitals to provide more timely treatment.
    Yes, American health care has its faults, but if you need treatment, you will get it almost immediately.
    As an aside, private health insurance is available in both Great Britain and Canada for those who can afford it.

  32. FKA Max says:
    @Ron Unz

    I *really* wish I wasn’t stuck spending 90+% of my time these days working on software issues…

    Mr. Unz,

    found another tiny glitch that might be of interest to you… I don’t know myself how I always find this kind of stuff…

    When I search my comments archive in the “Authors” section I am not able to search and find the comments I left on John Derbyshire’s articles. Instead it takes me to an old article by Mr. Sailer about Mr. Derbyshire, see here: This error/glitch does not seem to affect the other Unz Review authors on whose articles I left comments.

    [Fixed. But I probably won’t be putting the new code on the server for another day or so.]

    There is also this problem. I don’t know if it can be fixed or not?, see here:

    I don’t have much input on Lee Kuan Yew, other than, that one of my good friends, who is a Han Chinese Singaporean shared with me, that Lee Kuan Yew was covertly/secretly extremely prejudiced against people from Malaysia and specifically Muslims from Malaysia, and that one of his main goals and policies was to keep Islam out of Singapore. I think commenter Miro23‘s comment touches upon an important aspect of Lee Kuan Yew’s success and worldview:

    South Korea is very unique in Asia, though, as are Hong Kong and Singapore
    Quite a few Protestants in Singapore as well

    This is one of my favorite videos on Singapore 😉 see also here for the connection between low-activity MAOA and problem gambling: and This might be the root cause of problem gambling in Singapore and in Asia in general:

    Singapore’s Gambling Problem: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

    I hope you will soon be able to spend more time on non-software related subjects…

    As always, thank you very much for providing this outstanding website to all of us. We highly appreciate it and you!

  33. FKA Max says:

    This article might be interesting to this discussion:

    I worked for Jared Kushner. He’s the wrong businessman to reinvent government.

    How the New York Observer could predict the fate of the Office of American Innovation.

    He viewed investments in terms of opportunity costs. “Why should I put more money into the Observer when I could invest in a software company?” he would say. This is a legitimate question for any returns-driven investor. But news media doesn’t scale like software. You need people to produce content, at least until artificial intelligence becomes more sophisticated and sensitive sources are willing to trust a bot.

    Why would you buy a newspaper if you expect it to scale the way software does? Why assume that media and software have the same risk profile and dynamics? Kushner would frequently point to a media company with a 60-person editorial staff and ask why our two-person desk wasn’t producing as many stories or as much traffic. Or he’d argue, bizarrely and incorrectly, that because Gawker started with one person, that meant you didn’t need head count to scale a media company. The Internet makes media more scalable, of course — distribution is unlimited and gained at little marginal cost. But that doesn’t mean a media company is just like Uber.

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