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SHAME on conservatives who ridicule supporters of Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders

Young people are drawn to socialism because they have rejected the immorality of corporatism. Conservatives should find solace in this–not ridicule it.

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For at least 20 years, the mainstream political and academic narrative in the west has been that socialism is a failure. Many site production deadlock, strikes, riots and a punitive taxation system to justify these claims.

However, the system which ended up supplanting socialism both as a governing economic force and as a viable mainstream opposition platform in the west has also failed and failed more miserably than any prior socio-economic system. Corporatism, a system that is the logical result of neo-liberal economics rejects the cottage-industry style capitalism of people like Ron Paul and the classical Austrian economists. Therefore it is unfair to call it ‘capitalism’ in a true sense.

Unlike with Austrian economics, corporatism places no value on individual liberty, nor does it decry endless rules and regulations and bureaucracy either. Corporatism is to capitalism what the Manson Family is to a Norman Rockwell family painting–it is a sick perversion.

Likewise, corporatism does not value the growth of a national economy, the steadying of national wealth or the protection of national wealth from foreign hands. In this sense, it is unlike traditional market-protectionist economics, neo-mercantile thinking and what many now call sovereigntist economics. It is in this sense different than what I call conservative socio-economics.

Corporatism is a series of inter-locking oligarchic global-corporations where production often occurs on different continents from where the profits are stored and furthermore,  products themselves are often sold in multiple third locations.

Corporatism has plenty of regulations and bureaucratic red tape but all of it works in the favour of giant multi-nationals who often end up paying less tax than struggling middle-income individuals and families who are oppressed with the high taxation of socialism while receiving none of the benefits of a real welfare state.

There is neither a moral, national or individualist component in corporatism. In this sense it rejects the morality of socialism, protectionism and classical capitalism simultaneously.

While occasionally corporatist economics can result in a trickle-down effect for some ordinary people, if this ever happens it is generally short lived. The Great Recession of corporatism in 2007/2008 was a testament to this phenomenon.

The result has been that many middle income, middle-aged people have turned to sovereigntist/protectionist conservative politicians who reject the multi-nationalism of corporatism and the collectivism of socialism equally.

People in all age groups have also begun to revisit classic capitalism as defined by the Austrian school of economics. Generally these people are drawn to the connection this school makes between individual liberty and economic liberality.

Socialism too has seen a revival and one of the biggest constituent part of this new socialist coalition has been the young, although it is a very different kind of youth than those who previously voted for classical left wing parties.

Throughout much of the 20th century, left wing voters came from the heart of suburban industry and of course the urban proletariat also. In the US this was the so-called ‘rust belt’ states and in Europe this was generally in the big industrial cities outside of the more urbane capitals (Marseilles, Calais, Birmingham, Glasgow etc).

It was only logical that working class voters would vote for parties with an emphasis on the morality of treating working class people with economic and social dignity and fairness.

However, today’s socialist core voters are very different. Although what remains of a western industrial base still often vote for politicians like Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn, an increasing amount of young people from struggling middle-income families are turning to ideas which previously had appeal among the working classes and those of other classes who for moral, intellectual or spiritual reasons turned to socialism.

These young people are not classical socialists but they are victims of corporatism. They have found that the first proper job in life hardly pays enough to make it worth considering and that the comfortable middle-income jobs of their parents’ generation have either gone oversees or become reserved exclusively for an upper-middle class of people who are highly connected, beyond simply having a decent income and ability to work hard for an honest first world pay-cheque.

They have found that the neo-liberal myth that having a university education guarantees good employment was simply a lie to force young people to take out insanely high loans to pay a university which was in actual fact, a business disguised as a place of learning.

They have also come to the realisation that many of the comforts of middle-income life were based on the fact that working class people created wealth. Now that wealth is being created in foreign factories.

All of these factors have led young people to turn to socialism for moral and personal reasons rather than more broad economic beliefs.

It is difficult for socialism to work in a non-industrial society. Socialism relies on working-class labour to create wealth in the same way that conservative economics relies on investment into national (rather than global) industry to initially create wealth. A healthy working class however is indispensable to proper, moral conservative socio-economics also. One must remember that the Irish famine of the 1840s and 1850s was not created by conservative policies but by the adoption of liberal free trade by the British state which ruled Ireland at the time.

With few countries in the west having any national wealth and millionaires conveniently and legally offshoring their money, it is difficult to see how socialism can achieve anything in the 21st century west unless it takes the crucial step to use the resources of the state to build new factories and pass protectionist laws to keep the wealth they generated flowing on the home front.

These longer term economic issues however, are of little consequences to many young, enthusiastic supporters of people like Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn, who unlike Sanders, will almost certainly attain the highest political office in his country.

These voters are drawn to the moral message of socialism and this should not be condemned callously, even by conservative, protectionists like myself. It should instead be praised.

The only way society can ever retain its traditional values is by embracing anyone who rejects the immoral ideologies of globalism, liberalism and corporatism. While I personally prefer a mixed system, what Deng Xiaoping called “market socialism”, I am nevertheless sympathetic to those who have turned to classical socialism, even though I fully reject the dogma of radical wealth distribution and the rejection of traditional conservative values that many socialists preach.

However, in this case, socialism is a healthy first step towards rejecting neo-liberalism and allowing a path back to conservatism to form.

In many ways it is the opposite of the Marxist historical world view wherein we have to go back from corporatism to socialism to them step back to conservatism, in each case along the way one must realise our return to past values while combining such thought with contemporary realities. In this sense one can be both a reactionary and a pragmatic modernist simultaneously. This is the essence of any mixed socio-economic system which rejects the dogmas of progressive thinking for the sake of modernity alone.

This obviously assumes that it is not full communism but full corporatism which is the final ‘end of economics’. Here, Marx got it wrong while Oswald Spengler (a conservative) got it right.

This has been proved not by a theory but by history. After Russia attempted communism between 1917 and 1991, Russia then turned to corporatism for the remainder of the 1990s.

Today, Russia is taking certain socialist elements of the past such as higher pensions and better funding for public services vis-a-vis the 1990s, while ultimately returning to a modern version of patriotic conservative socio-economics.

If the west is to attempt to save itself, it must follow the same path. While my view is that the October Revolution was a crime against humanity, I nevertheless wept in the 1990s at photos of old women, too thin for their age, who were carrying photos of Stalin while protesting the piratical liberal economics of Yegor Gaidar and Anatoly Chubais. Indeed, if Russia was ever to return to a fraction of its pre-1917 conservatism, the liberal corporatists of the 1990s would have to be opposed by both conservatives and those holding placards of Stalin while protesting the Yeltsin regime.

This is why conservatives who ridicule supporters of Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn ought to really step back from their position of arrogance.

The young people voting for Sanders and Corbyn may often be odd in their appearance and the idea that they would want to radically redistribute wealth might be horrifying. Their lack of God is also deeply sad for conservative believers. However, in finding Corbyn, these young people are rejecting the same immoral Godlessness inherent in neo-liberalism that true conservatives reject. They are looking for morality, they are looking for ethics, they are looking for community, they are looking for family. The authentic conservative solution is the best way to find each, but if they support socialism which for all of its faults is still endlessly more moral than liberalism/corporatism, then we should wish them well while respectfully offering them a respectable conservative alternative.

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EU and Japan ink free trade deal representing over 30% of global GDP

The free trade agreement represents a victory for free trade in the face of growing protectionism

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In a bid to preserve free trade and strengthen their trade partnership, the European Union and Japan have finished a free trade zone agreement that has been sitting in the pipeline for years.

The present global economic outlook provided the needed spur to action to get the ball rolling again and now it has finally reached the end zone and scored another point for free and open trade against the growing influence of protectionism, which has been creeping up with alarming rapidity and far reaching consequences in recent months.

Under the deal, Japan will scrap tariffs on some 94% of goods imported from Europe and the EU in turn is canning 99% of tariffs on Japanese goods.

Between the European Union and Japan, the trade deal impacts about 37% of the world’s GDP, making it one of the largest and impactful of such agreements.

The Japan Times reports:

Top European Union leaders and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe signed an economic partnership agreement Tuesday in Tokyo, a pact that will create a massive free trade zone accounting for 37 percent of the world’s trade by value.

European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker hastily arranged their visit to Tokyo after Abe was forced to abruptly cancel plans to attend a July 11 signing ceremony in Brussels in the aftermath of flooding and mudslides in western Japan.

Japanese officials said the signing is particularly important to counter intensifying protectionism worldwide triggered by U.S. President Donald Trump.

Negotiations on the pact between Japan and the EU, which started in 2013, had stagnated for a time but regained momentum after Trump took office in January 2017.

“We are sending a clear message that we stand together against protectionism,” Tusk said at a joint news conference with Abe after they signed the agreement.

“The relationship between the EU and Japan has never been stronger. Geographically we are far apart, but politically and economically we could be hardly any closer,” Tusk said. “I’m proud today we are taking our strategic partnership to a new level.”

Tusk stressed that the EU and Japan are partners sharing the same basic values, such as liberal democracy, human rights and rule-based order.

Abe also emphasized the importance of free and fair trade.

“Right now, concerns are rising over protectionism all around the world. We are sending out a message emphasizing the importance of a trade system based on free and fair rules,” he said.

The pact will create a free trade bloc accounting for roughly 30 percent of the world’s gross domestic product. Japan and the EU hope to have the agreement, which still needs to be ratified by both parties, come into force by March.

Under the EPA, tariffs on about 99 percent of Japan’s exported goods to the EU will eventually be eliminated, while duties on 94 percent of EU’s exported items to Japan will be abolished, according to the Foreign Ministry.

The EPA will eliminate duties of 10 percent on Japan’s auto exports to the EU seven years after the pact takes effect. The current 15 percent duties on wine imports from the EU will be eliminated immediately, while those on cheese, pork and beef will be sharply cut.

In total, the EPA will push up domestic GDP by 1 percent, or ¥5 trillion a year, and create 290,000 new jobs nationwide, according to the government.

“The world is now facing raging waves of protectionism. So the signing ceremony at this time is particularly meaningful,” a senior Foreign Ministry official said earlier this month on condition of anonymity.

“The impact for Japan is big,” the official said.

Fukunari Kimura, an economics professor at Keio University, said the EU is now trying to accelerate the ratification process.

“This is a repercussion of President Trump’s policies. They will try to ratify it before Brexit in March of next year,” he said in an interview with The Japan Times last week.

But the deal has raised concerns among some domestic farmers, in particular those from Hokkaido, the country’s major dairy producer.

According to an estimate by the Hokkaido Prefectural Government, the EPA will cut national production in the agriculture, fishery and forestry industries by up to ¥114.3 billion a year, with Hokkaido accounting for 34 percent of the predicted losses.

“The sustainable development of the prefecture’s agriculture, forestry and fisheries industries is our top priority. We need to make efforts to raise our international competitiveness,” Hokkaido Gov. Harumi Takahashi said during a news conference July 10.

Japan and the EU had reached a basic agreement on the EPA in December.

Tokyo also led negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact after Trump withdrew the U.S. from the deal in January 2017.

In March, 11 countries including Japan signed the so-called TPP11, or a revised TPP pact that does not include the U.S.

“The Japan-EU EPA is another important step for Japan to strengthen its trade relationship with key trading partners, and demonstrate that trade liberalization is alive and well, even if the United States is taking a different stance,” wrote Wendy Cutler, a former acting deputy U.S. Trade Representative, in an email sent to The Japan Times last week.

“The EU deal also reduces Japanese dependence on the U.S. market and thus increases its leverage to resist unreasonable trade demands by the United States,” she wrote.

According to the Foreign Ministry, the EU, which accounts for 22 percent of the world’s GDP, was the destination for 11.4 percent of Japanese exports in 2016. In the same year, the figure for the U.S. was 20.2 percent and 17.7 percent for China.

In 2016, Japan’s exports to the EU totaled ¥8 trillion, while reciprocal trade was ¥8.2 trillion.

The deal provides tariff relief for both parties and can improve the quantity of trade between them, expand the economy and create many jobs. It also helps to further diversify their trade portfolios in order to mitigate the prospect of a single global trade partner wielding too much influence, which in turn provides a certain amount of cover from any adverse actions or demands from a single actor. In this way, current trade dependencies can be reduced and free and diversified trade is further bolstered.

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The man behind Ukraine coup is now turning Greece against Russia (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 57.

Alex Christoforou

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On July 11, Greece said it would expel two Russian diplomats and barred the entry of two others.

The Duran reported that the formal reason is alleged meddling in an attempt to foment opposition to the “historic” name deal between Athens and Skopje paving the way for Macedonia’s NATO membership. Moscow said it would respond in kind.

Nothing like this ever happened before. The relations between the two countries have traditionally been warm. This year Moscow and Athens mark the 190th anniversary of diplomatic relations and the 25th anniversary of the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation between the Russian Federation and the Hellenic Republic. They have signed over 50 treaties and agreements.

Greek news daily, Kathimerini says the relationship started to gradually worsen behind the scenes about a couple of years ago. What happened back then? Geoffrey Pyatt assumed office as US Ambassador to Greece. Before the assignment he had served as ambassador to Ukraine in 2013-2016 at the time of Euromaidan – the events the US took active part in. He almost openly contributed into the Russia-Ukraine rift. Now it’s the turn of Greece. The ambassador has already warned Athens about the “malign influence of Russia”. He remains true to himself.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris connect the dots between the Ukraine coup and Greece’s recent row with Russia, and the man who is in the middle of it all, US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt.

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Via Sputnik News

Actions similar to the expulsion of Russian diplomats from Greece do not remain without consequences, said spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova.

“We have an understanding that the people of Greece should communicate with their Russian partners, and not suffer from dirty provocations, into which, unfortunately, Athens was dragged,” Zakharova said at a briefing.

“Unfortunately, of course, we are talking about politics. Such things do not remain without consequences, do not disappear without a trace. Of course, unfortunately, all this darkens bilateral relations, without introducing any constructive principle,” she added.

On July 11, the Greek Kathimerini newspaper reported that Athens had decided to expel two Russian diplomats and ban two more from entering the country over illegal actions that threatened the country’s national security. The publication claimed that the diplomats attempted to intervene in a domestic issue, namely the changing of the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to the Republic of North Macedonia, the agreement for which was brokered by Skopje and Athens last month.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has vowed to give a mirror response to Greece’s move.

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Russia just DUMPED $80 billion in US debt

The US Treasury published a report naming those countries that are the largest holders of US bonds. The list includes 33 countries, and for the first time Russia is no longer in it.

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Russia has stopped “inching towards de-dollarization” as I wrote about on July 3rd, and has now energetically walked out of the list of largest holders of US government bonds, hence this update. For the two months ending in May 2018, Moscow has offloaded more than $80 billion in US Government debt obligations.

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The $30 billion “minimum” listing Rubicon has been crossed by Russia.

As of the end of May, Russia had bonds worth only $ 14.9 billion. For comparison: in April, Russia was on the Treasury list with bonds totaling $48.7 billion. Even then it was offloading US$ debt securities as Russia owned in March over $96 billion. At the end of 2017, Russia had US treasury securities worth $102.2 billion. It is anyones guess what Russia will own when the June and July figures are released in August and September – probably less than today.

This simply serves as a confirmation that Russia is steadfastly following a conservative policy of risk diversification in several areas such as financial, economic, and geopolitical. The US public debt and spend is increasingly viewed as a heightened risk area, deserving sober assessment.

So where have all the dollars gone? The total reserves of the Russian Central Bank have not changed and remain at approximately the equivalent of $ 457 billion, so what we are seeing is a shift of assets to other central banks, other asset classes, just not US$ government bonds.

During the same time (April-May) as this US$ shift happened, the Russian Central Bank bought more than 1 million troy ounces of gold in 60 days, and continues.

For comparison sake, the maximum Russia investment in US public debt was in October 2010 totaling $176.3 billion. Today it is $14.9 billion.

The largest holders of US government bonds as of May are China ($ 1,183.1 billion), Japan ($ 1048.8 billion), Ireland ($ 301 billion), Brazil ($ 299.2 billion), Great Britain ($ 265 billion).

Using the similar conservative metrics that the Russian Central Bank has been rather successfully applying through this geopolitically and economically challenging period with the US and the US Dollar, it may not stretch the imagination too much that other countries such as China may eventually follow suit. Who will finance the debt/spend then?

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