By Con George-Kotzabasis May 19, 2016
The following is an unconsummated reply to professor Andrew Leigh’s lecture with the title, “Markets Monopolies and Moguls…” held at Melbourne University, on May 19, 2016. This was due to the chairman’s instruction that only a sprinkle of questions would follow the end of the presentation and there would be no debate
I’m overly distrustful of people who use scarecrows, in this case the “mogul” Richard Pratt, to make their argument. Moreover, it is a term associated with sinister practices and easily tantalizes and incites the feelings of the crowd to purge the evildoers. But more dismally it is wrong in your case, as it is an exercise in a fallacy of composition: Just because there are few rotten apples in the cart it does not mean that all apples are rotten. The unprecedented prosperity of capitalism was not engendered by rottenness but by the creative, innovative, and dynamic spirit of entrepreneurship.
The great economic historian, Fernand Braudel, depicts the shifts of capitalist centres and their entrepreneurial moguls, from Venice, Genoa, Antwerp, Amsterdam, London, to New York, spreading boundless prosperity to these metropolises and their environs by means of the ceaseless division of labour, international trade and the capitalist dynamic ethos of entrepreneurial creation. It was the sun-king of entrepreneurial capitalism that had pulled millions of people out of the sunless caves of poverty into the sunlit vistas of capitalist plenitude, heightening their standard of living, for the first time in history, on ever-higher plateaus.
(The scientific writer, Arthur Koestler, contends that the great discoveries of science were motivated by ambition, competition, and vanity, which happen also to be the inherent characteristics of capitalist moguls.)
You have mentioned a lot of negatives about “bigness” and market concentration but not the fact that they rather have a short life since there is no blockage of entry in a competitive economy to other entrepreneurs into these concentrated areas. One example, the entry of the innovative entrepreneur ALDI into the food-chain services and its reduction of the prices of its products in comparison to other chains, not only attracted many consumers to its stores but also forced the other two major super markets of COLES and WOOLWORTH to reduce their prices at the feel of the competitive pinch of the newcomer. Competition does not discriminate between big and small but it equally affects both.
But to deal with your argument that inequality should be a major consideration in competition policy, and regulating mergers and prices would be beneficial to the consumer. The competitive market in itself, without the need of regulation, spreads its cheaper products to an ever-greater number of consumers and therefore decreases inequality. The competition of Telstra and Optus is an example. The same applies to iPods. Ride a train, a bus, or a tram and you will see even the lower classes fully equipped with these cheaper gadgets of a competitive technology and once again the line of inequality is lowered down for the less wealthy consumer.
It is not the business of government to regulate mergers and pricing. This is the bailiwick of entrepreneurs who decide if such a merger will be profitable, whether it will be able to compete with an already established corporation producing the same product, and setting its price on such a level that it will attract consumers to buy its product en masse. Furthermore, as far as the regulation is close to the estimates and interests of the entrepreneurs it is superfluous; and as far as it is distanced from these estimates and interests, it is destructive. No businessman will invest his money in a venture where profit is unattainable. Hence, your regulation, that aborts the setting-up of a merger that would produce cheaper products for the consumer, by depriving the latter from having these goods, increases the inequality of the mass consumer. Not surprisingly, as often happens, good intentions lead to bad results.
Therefore, your proposal of government dirigisme as a panacea in regards to competition and regulation is inutile, fanciful, and fallacious, and more perniciously may turn out to be a destructive force.
I rest on my oars: Your turn nowNo comments
By Con George-Kotzabasis
It is most unwise to have a “big heart” for refugees indiscriminately as one might finish-up with no heart for refugees at all, as Europe has presently shown by closing its borders. This is because its foolish politicians never asked the crucial questions, i.e., what is the cultural and religious background of these refugees and whether they would be assimilable to Western culture.
Presently, the heart of Europe is mortally threatened by two great implacable foes: By the peaceful enemy of demographics and by the bellicose enemy of Islamist terror. Just two examples: In Holland, 33% of children under the age of fifteen are Muslim; in the welfare bliss of Norway, there are Muslim enclaves where indigenous Norwegians are persona non grata. And one must not delude oneself that Islamist terror is an ephemeral threat or a rivulet within the Muslim mainstream; on the contrary, it is a powerful current that determines the course of the mainstream. Thus European humanitarianism in an adolescent rush of romanticism, embraced its beloved refugees only to find out that it had embraced its own destroyer.
The great Islamist scholar Bernard Lewis, predicts, that if this sinister trend of demographics does not change, Europe will be Muslim in seventy years, if it is not destroyed first by suicidal fanatics.
Australia also faces the same predicament, perhaps even in a more exacerbated form. With 250 million Muslims on its north and a sizable and ever increasing Muslim Diaspora on its land, and the possibility in the near future of a military conflict with Indonesia, it would become a lethal fifth column. In such a situation, Australia will hardly be able to prevent its decapitation by the myrmidons of fanatic Islam.
A grandmother warned that one had to be very careful where one put his loyalty and his genetic organ. It is advisable that humanitarian policy-makers on open-door non-discriminatory migration take notice of this grandmotherly precept.No comments
By Con George-Kotzabasis
The following is a very brief reply to professor of economics Kostas Lapavitsas, and former member of Parliament with the Party of Syriza, to his thesis, that Greece can achieve its national sovereignty only by going back to its own currency, i.e., the drachma, delivered at the Ithacan House, Melbourne, on April 15, 2016. The three first paragraphs were omitted from my response as I assumed regrettably wrongly, that the time allotted to the questioners at the meeting would be too short and hence I did not include them.
Professor Lapavitsas, allow me to make a short comment before I come to my question, as at the start I want to point out what I believe to be the roots of your erroneous proposition.
Dialectical materialism even in its modern reincarnation of neo-Marxism, which you espouse, is a hotbed of gross errata, not to say terata (monsters), and hence a fallacious doctrine.
Yet the ghost in the machine of Marxism, despite its irreparable breakdown, continues to churn-out apparitional panaceas for the ills of global capitalism. One such quack panacea is your own proposition.
My question is: Show us one country in the world hit by absolute poverty, which, your implied return to the drachma entails, that by adopting your proposal has achieved national sovereignty and kept it; If you cannot show us such a country, then your proposal is a mirage, a will-o’-the-wisp, an occult fancy.
But what is more worrisome is that you are asking the Greek people, after the botched Tsipras-Varoufakis experiment, to be also the guineapigs to your own theoretical experiment which has hardly better odds of success than the Varoufakian one.
National sovereignty is the result of prosperity not of poverty.
In view of the murderous attack in Paris by members of the fanatical “state” of ISIS, I’m republishing the following article for the readers of this blog.
By Con George-Kotzabasis
I’m republishing this article written on July 2005 and published originally on my blog Nemesis as a result of a report of the Australian today that all five of the arrested would-be terrorists were regular prayers at the Preston Mosque in Melbourne where the Mufti of Australasia Sheikh Fehmi Naji el-Imam presides. Also as a result of the violent Islamist demonstration in Sydney on the pretext that a video made in the USA by a Coptic Christian insulted their prophet Mohammed. In this demonstration Muslim children between the ages of four and eight were carrying placards that demanded the beheading of infidels.
It’s about time that Australia lost its innocence, so it will not fall a victim to the cunning, deceitful, and sinister foe of Muslim fanatics who are in our midst. As I’ve been writing since September 11, a terrorist attack by the enemy within the metropolises of Western civilization was always on the cards, as the bombings in Madrid and London have exemplified. Insightful and responsible governments must no longer shilly-shally about what is to be done, against this imminent internal threat of holocaustian dimensions that is embedded in the West.
The Government must immediately pass emergency legislation (even retrospective legislation) that would enable it, either to deport or jail fundamentalist imams, and all their suspect fanatical recruits. One must have no illusions. All bearded Muslims are potential terrorists. It’s the “emblem” by which they proudly display and flaunt their belief in fundamentalist Islam– such as Sheik Mohammed Omran from the Brunswick mosque who propagates openly or by stealthy means the ideology of fanaticism among his ten thousands followers, and praises the acts of terror as being fully justified against the infidels of the West and their governments that are fighting terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan. Moreover, to prevent, and nip in the bud, any possible backlash that could arise among Muslim communities in support of these imams, such legislation should encompass that anyone who supports these imams, would also be liable for deportation.
Furthermore, this emergency legislation should eschew the intricacies and procrastinations that are involved in legal due process, so it could deport these imams and their recruits post haste. Additionally, the Government should immediately cease all funding to Muslim schools, unless the latter introduced in their curricula a no-leaks-assimilation to the mainstream culture of Australia, where the families of the children who attend these schools have freely chosen to settle in. Under no circumstances should these schools and mosques continue to nourish themselves on the teat of government largesse in the name of multiculturalism. The majority of Muslims do not believe in multiculturalism, as they are inveterate monoculturalists believing that their culture is superior to any other culture, and they sneeringly laugh behind the back of multiculturalism while they use the latter for their own sinister purposes. It’s timely that the Government put an end to this joke that is played upon Australians, by abandoning the disastrous policy of multiculturalism, to paraphrase John Stone. Even the most fervent supporters of multiculturalism in Europe, especially in the Netherlands after the murder of the film-maker van Gogh by a Muslim fanatic, are presently considering its abandonment.
Australia presently, is involved with its allies in a total war against global terror. Total war by definition is an unconditional, no holds barred war not only against a mortal enemy, but also against all the allies and supporters of the latter, such as the regime of Saddam Hussein was. Nations which profess to be involved in a total war, such as the U.S.A and its allies claim to be against global terror, cannot avoid from exercising the imperative and remorseless demands of such a war against their enemies. No nation can claim that it’s fighting a total war against an enemy whilst leaving a lethal fifth column among its midst. And no nation can claim that -by an even astronomical increase in the resources of security against terror – it can effectively protect its citizens from a terrorist attack, without at the same time destroying and uprooting the source of terror, the madrassas – wherever they happen to be in the East or in the West – which breed these fanatic recruits of terror.
As I’ve written in my book titled, “Unveiling the War against Terror: Fight Right War or Lose the Right to Exist”, the times are not for irresolute and Hamletinesque leaderships. Historians will aver that George Bush, Tony Blair, and John Howard, by their limpid awareness of what is at stake in this war against global terror, and by taking the firm and remorseless measures against this mortal foe, have entered the club of statesmen. In this historic clash between Western civilization and the terrorist barbarians, this triumvirate of statesmanship must now deal ruthlessly and remorselessly, by taking and exercising ‘the stern laws of necessity’, to quote the great historian Edward Gibbon, against the enemy, that lurks like a poisonous snake, within the gates of civilization.
CARPE DIEM QUAM MINIMUM CREDULA POSTERONo comments
By Con George-Kotzabasis October 14, 2015-
The Tsipras Government’s performance since its ascension to power on January 25 can be described by its three basic characteristics, infantilism, naiveté, and insouciant irresponsibility, which, as its finance minister, you embodied to the highest degree. Don’t expect to be treated kindly, at least by me, for the most unkind cut you inflicted upon the Greek people. Within the short time of six months you managed to destroy the economy by closing the banks and bringing in capital controls, and nipping in the bud the positive results of the Samaras Government that slowly but decisively were pulling the country out of the crisis. For the first time after the long economic stagnancy and recession, growth was recorded to be 0.8% and expected to be 2.5%-2.9 of GDP for the years 2014 and 2015 respectively, according to the IMF; also, unemployment was prevented from rising to 35%, as was predicted by eminent analysts, and indeed, had fallen by 2%, from 26% to 24% by the end of 2014. And all these heartening results happened within two and a half years under the prime ministership of Antonis Samaras. But you, like a revengeful immortal Olympian god full of envy of these mortal achievements of the Samaras Government, destroyed them with ambrosial delight. Your ludicrously eccentric policies and your barren and inflexible arrogant stand in your negotiations with the European Union brought the country back into recession and you capped this with a bill to Greece of an extra 90 billion to be paid to its creditors, which would come from the pockets of future Greek taxpayers. This was your enviable success story in contrast to the real success story of Samaras.
And yet blind and callous before this stupendous calamity that you delivered upon Greece, you proudly and insensitive claim to be “sitting on top of the world.” (I would add in your first word “sitting,” an h, so to make it a better fit to your ravishing pleasure: It must have been a relishing sensation to you, almost an aphrodisiacal one, defecating on “top of the world”.) You should be instead sitting in a dock charged with high treason for the great hurt and harm you afflicted, with such insouciant irresponsibility, upon the ordinary people whom with unheard hypocrisy you claim to represent. And no wonder that your European confreres were not listening to the bullshit you were emitting in your negotiations with them on the Memorandum, and their justifiable rebuke of your crank economic policies delivered to them in the form of lectures, in an aura of omniscience.
You claim to be a “liberal Marxist.” But you seem to be oblivious of the dismal fact that “Marxism” with any epithet before it, is “a skull that will never smile again,” to quote the ex-Marxist Polish philosopher, Leszek Kolakowski. You are not a denizen of the real world but a denizen of the phantasmagorical world of Marxism whose legacy left behind not the Eden of Marx’s polytropos, many-sided, man, fishing in the morning, playing the flute in the evening, and writing poetry at night, but the police state of the NKVD, Gulag Archipelagos and Killing Fields.
In a footnote of the history of the twentieth-first century you will be described as a crank economist, a cowardly chicken gamester–taking risks not with your own but with other peoples money– and intellectual highjacker, who filched the writings of Marx and Keynes for the purpose of making your hybrid mulish economic doctrine, on whose back, as finance minister, you carried Greece to perfidious treasonable economic and political destruction.No comments
America celebrates The Fourth of July as the day of independence of a great nation; Greece remembers The Fifth of July as the day of ignominy and gross stupidity of an abject nation, fallen from its former illustrious and glorious history, that voted “No” in the referendum and thus opened the door to the exit of Greece from the European Union and its entrance to the drachma.
By Con George-Kotzabasis Read moreNo comments
Trust those who seek the truth; beware of those who claim to possess it. (Paraphrasing a German dramatist)
Marxists, like God, are omniscient and possess the truth by the Mandate of Heaven, so it is useless to argue against them.
By Con George-Kotzabasis –May 28, 2015
The inevitable unravelling of the Marxist Government of Syriza will not only be an outcome of its barren stand in its negotiations with Troika and atavistic economic policies, but, also, of its weak leadership. A Marxist led government indispensably requires a centre of power dominated by a strong leader. This absolute requirement is palpably missing in the radical government of Syriza. Its Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, does not hold an indisputable unchallenging dominance in this centre of power due to his effete leadership. The seismic plates of leadership, therefore, continuously move under his feet to the different Marxist factions and personalities of the Party, of whom all in an agonistic rivalry contend for the ever-eluding purity of Marxism whose possession would place the crown of leadership on their head. But since no one in the event can possess the purity of Marxism as by its nature is a disembodied spirit, this agitation among its rivals nonetheless places the government in a chaotic situation, that in the absence of strong leadership, a Tower of Babel rises whose ministers contradict each other and even the Prime Minister. An example of this is Tsipras’s support of the privatization of a public entity and the blatant refusal of the minister in charge of this area to accept this privatization. In such a situation when the reins of a radical government are not in strong hands, its ministers tend to do their own thing as each one of them boastfully professing to have the manifest Marxist destiny to represent and lead the proletariat. (And who could challenge the sundry ministers in their claim to such destiny other than a strong leader?)
Hence, in such conditions where all the factions of Syriza chaotically compete for the mantle of pure Marxism, Lenin’s Democratic Centralism, consisting of a Central Committee and a Politburo, on whose apex sits one person invested with supreme power, is replaced by a politically cacophonous and multi-active polycentrism whose lack of control and direction, in default of strong leadership, not only makes a mockery of democratic centralism and Lenin, but also, more gravely, engenders inexorably a failed state.
Not that Syriza is in want of all the trappings of a Bolshevik state. It has all the corollaries of democratic centralism, such as a Central Committee and a Politburo, which it names a Political Secretariat to eschew any resonance to Stalinism, but it ludicrously lacks the sinewy ruthless leadership material at the centre of power that is the sine qua non of a Bolshevik Party. So it is not surprising that all its methods of how to handle the Memorandum, that has been imposed by the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, as a condition of Greece of being continued funded during its financial crisis, have been in shambles and lack coherence. While Tsipras, and a substantial part of the Ministers Council, show a willingness and a predisposition to make the necessary compromises in their negotiations with the Troika that will convince the latter that the Greek government will implement the austerity policies of the Memorandum and make the necessary structural reforms that will make the country competitive and lead it in the short term to solvency (As the Samaras Government was in the process of achieving), the radical Left Platform of Syriza refuses adamantly to make these compromises and constructs a “strategic breach” with the Euro zone and a return to the drachma. But even in the event that the Government clinches an agreement with the Troika early next month–there is a great doubt whether the Tsipras Government will be able to implement and materialize these structural reforms in the face of dogmatic and strong opposition by the faction of the Left Platform and its client Unions of the public sector–the Government will be just as doomed. Hence, this political and ideological chasm between the top leadership of the Party and its major faction, the Left Platform, is unbridgeable and will remain so as a result of the non-existence of strong leadership.
Tsipras is no Lenin. The latter realizing that the first socialist policies of the Bolsheviks by 1921 were failing, immediately replaced them with the New Economic Policy that was capitalist oriented giving people more freedom to produce and trade, he imposed this capitalistic policy upon the Party by dint of his strong unchallenged leadership and thus saved his government from obliteration. Tsipras on the other hand with his feeble weak leadership is unable to impose upon the recalcitrants of his Party the policy that will save both his government and the country. The Tsipras Government is a mad house whose “interns” all think they are Lenin and practise the ruthless and callous policies of the “great” man, breaking eggs to make omelettes, to paraphrase Lenin.
The cause of the ruin of the Tsipras Government is located in Alexis Tsipras himself. But the great tragedy for the Greek people, who in a lapse of prudence elected Syriza into power, will be that while Tsipras ruins his government, at the same time he will be wrecking and ravaging Greece for at least a generation.
I rest on my oars: your turn now.No comments
By Con George-Kotzabasis–January 02, 2015
Not only the ideologically antiquated and totally irresponsible and hasty announcements of the ministers of the new government, that led to the collapse of the Greek stock exchange and the stratospheric rise of interest rates, but also their body language, as shown in their performance before TV cameras, exposed with ridicule their witless incompetence. The Minister of State, Nikos Pappas, interviewed on Mega TV, was trying in despair to evade and not to answer the questions of the two interviewers and to cover the poverty of his arguments behind endless contrived smiles.
More gravely, but also more comically, the Minister of Finance Yanis Varoufakis, in the press conference held in Athens last Friday with the head of the European Union (EU) Jeroen Dijssebloem, with tongue-in-cheek and with supercilious righteousness was elaborating with complacent fabricated smiles the ‘perfectly remedial’ counter proposals of the Tsipras Government that would end the crisis to the presumably destructive austerity program of the EU that according to the government was exacerbating it. A program however that aimed, and apparently was succeeding, as indeed did in Ireland and Portugal, in pulling Greece out of the crisis, as recent economic statistics were indicating and serious international commentators were averring. Varoufakis in his last answer to the question of a journalist, in a bravura theatrical performance, described the Troika, the representatives of the EU, the IMF, and the European Central Bank, as being “rotten in its foundations” and the Greek Government would not negotiate with it but only directly with the heads of these three institutions. Dijssebloem sitting next to the Greek minister listening to the translation from Greek to English had a look on his face as if he couldn’t believe his ears. Varoufakis on the other hand had lost all his pompous confidence and showed in his movements and facial expression that he was unsure whether he had said the right thing or not. Totally riveted in his self-doubt and diffidence he seemed like a little child that had lost its way. But the crown of thorns that was placed by Dijssebloem on the head of Varoufakis came when the latter proferred his hand to the former and receiving a contemptuous cold handshake and hearing in bafflement at the same time the head of the EU whispering to him that what he said “was a big mistake.” At the end of this grandiloquent thespian performance by the minister of finance, just before the curtains fell, Varoufakis’ body language showed the depth of his confusion and perplexity and his attempt to hide them behind contrived artificial smiles.
It is by such stuff and political buffoonery that the Tsipras Government will remedy all the ills that the ‘evil’ Troika brought to Greece. This government of a medley of Marxists, socialists, and anarcho-syndicalists posit a great danger to the country as it plans to implement the by now defunct nostrums of its ideology, such as the expansion of the public sector, the nationalization of banks, airlines, ports, and electric and water services, the unbridled extension of the State, a highly regulated business sector, hence, replanting all the poisonous seeds into the soil of Greece that brought a blighted crop of economic bankruptcy.
As to Syrizas’ stand toward to the EU and the IMF, it will either stiffen it and thus lead the country to tactless insolvency and back to the drachma, or it will blink before the sharp sighted Europeans and will be forced to renege, and reverse, all the bombastic promises it made to the people before the elections. Indeed, Syriza will pour so much water in its wine and make it so tasteless that will turn all the people, who so frivolously believed its false promises and lies and voted for it, into teetotallers.
When Syrizas’ charge of the light brigade against the European Union,’ armoured’ with its chimerical infeasible proposals will be made ‘mincemeat’ by the descendants of the Knights of the North, the romantic riders of Syrizas’ leadership will be compelled to dismount their wistful ideological hobbyhorses for the sake of holding on to power. But the latter also will be an illusion. As the Tsipras Government has failed to convince the EU of the correctness and feasibility of its economic proposals, likewise it will fail to have the support of the Greek people for policies, which preordain, as the collapse of communism, the destruction of Greece.
I rest on my oars: your turn now.No comments
By Con George-Kotzabasis
November 19, 2014
The Greek Opposition and the media in general by demonizing The Memorandum with its austere measures that has been imposed upon Greece by the Troika, i.e., the European Commission, the ECB, and the IMF, as a condition for the flow of funds from the latter to the Greek Treasury for the purpose of saving the country from insolvency and gradually placing it on a trajectory of economic recovery, has made it impossible for anyone to reasonably argue, or even to imply, that this necessary austerity, after a mindless profligate spending by previous governments that sunk Greece into an unfathomable debt and debarred it from the financial markets and threw it into an unprecedented spin of economic crisis since the ending of World War II, would generate beneficent results and would pull the country eventually out of its economic crisis.
History has repeatedly shown that countries in critical situations, almost like a law of nature, give rise to extraordinary men/women of stupendous wisdom, mettle, and will power that saved their nations from destruction. Themistocles at the battle of Salamis that saved Greece from Xerxes’ despotism and his barbarian myrmidons, Lincoln in the American Civil War, and Churchill in World War II, are outstanding examples. Likewise in contemporary Greece from the ashes of its economic holocaust, a phoenix, in the figure of Antonis Samaras, had risen to salvage the country from its tragic economic mess. In the short space of two years the Samaras government accomplished an unprecedented feat, that no other government in the world was ever able to consummate, i.e., to draw the country from the edge of a precipitous calamity and place it by gradual firm steps on the solid ground of inchoate economic recovery. This was achieved by a series of structural reforms that made the country more competitive, and by painful cuts in the budget that generated for the first time a primary surplus in the current year, after many years of budget deficits that was the embedded malaise of the policies of previous governments and were the major cause that pushed Greece into bankruptcy. Also, for the first time after forgetting, but not forgiving, many years of negative growth, the country’s GDP in 2014 has increased by 0.7%, and unemployment has decreased from 28% to 25.9%, in the same year, and is estimated to decrease to 25% by the end of 2014.
It is because of these achievements of the Samaras government, that I believe that the TROIKA will be compelled to back down from its severe and apparently unyielding demands, in its impending negotiations with the Greek government in a few days, and will render a positive review of the policies implemented by the latter as stipulated in the Memorandum, which is the sine qua non of Greece’s exit from the strictures of the Memorandum by the end of 2014. It is inconceivable that the TROIKA will persevere with its hard position and put in jeopardy these successes of the Samaras government, that after all, emanated from its own austerity measures that were contained in its own directives as designated in the Memorandum. The TROIKA cannot be so foolish as to throw a spanner in its own works! Hence, the nonsensical fear, that has been so gloomily and frivolously fanned by the Greek media that the TROIKA will continue its hard-line toward the government and place in predicament, and waste, all the sacrifices Greeks had made to turn their country into a modern economy and fecund with prosperity, will dissipate with the softening and compulsion of the TROIKA to withdraw its hard stand.
I rest on my oars: your turn now.No comments