THE USA CONFUSES PLUTONOMY AND ECONOMY AND ENDS WITH PLUTOCRACY. WHY THE CLINTON LEGACY IS PART OF THE PLUTOCRATIC PROBLEM, HAVING BEEN ALL ABOUT THE STEALTHY GROWTH OF GREED, AND WAR, INSTEAD OF BEING ABOUT THE ECONOMY, JUSTICE, AND POSITIVE CHANGE.
Abstract: The USA used to have an economy (say in 1940). Now it has a plutonomy led by a plutocracy, and it has not been good for the majority of people on the planet, including average US citizens, who are hurt and mystified. In particular the plutonomy created HMOs, making money from people's lives. The most extraordinary con job may have been the Clintons' presidency, supposedly a democratic twin headed monster president, who prepared, helped and instigated many of the errancies the G. W. Bush presidency would soon more thoroughly implement. To bring positive change to the USA means to get back to a real economy, and industry, away from just restricting the concept of economy to a strict plutonomy, a transfer of wealth from the poor to the likes of the Clintons and their friends.
Economy means house-management (oikos-nomos). The meaning was distinguished by philosophers, 24 centuries ago: a country is viewed as a house, and it has to be managed. In a house, there are many things to do, and the power of the purse is just one of them. Thus economy does not mean, and should never have been made to mean, just money-management. That later concept translates as pluto-nomos (in English, plutonomy).
The US obsession with GDP, and spending money, and stimulating the population by throwing money, games and war at it, are manifestations of a confusion between economy and plutonomy (which was voluntary imposed by the Rich and some greedy little helpers in academia). If one confuses plutonomy and economy one ends quickly with plutocracy (money-power, the rule of the Rich), because if one reduces the economy to money management, who else but those who have the money to manage the house?
One can argue that the USA has been officially a plutonomy ever since HMOs, the "Health Maintenance Organizations", were created in 1973 by president Richard "I-am-not-a-crook" Nixon (as he prepared to flee the White House). It was an extraordinarily bold idea: HOW TO MAKE (a lot of) MONEY FROM THE SICK AND DYING. The HMO Act provided "Federal financial assistance" in setting up HMOs. It's insulting to the most elementary decency that the neocons scream when they hear of Federal help in setting a national health care system. Well, true, they already have one, and it's perfect for them, and they don't want one which would serve the majority of people. Simply, the existing national health care system set up by Nixon is a PLUTONOMIC HEALTH CARE, to make the Rich richer. Neocons are paid, very well, to scream inanities. So scream they do, at their masters' command.
The US plutonomic health care achieves great profits, by costing MORE THAN TWICE per person, in percentage of GDP, of what the French health care system costs. The difference in percentage is mostly money going to the Rich, an official proof that health care has been corrupted by the profit motive in the USA to the point it's more than half of it (it's more than half, because the French system also makes money, but tightly reined in). Since the US system looks for profits, not health care, far from being the best in the world (as French health care is, followed by the Italian one), it is number 37, and sinking, well below all of Western Europe, Oman, Singapore, Chile, the UAE, Columbia, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Dominica, Costa Rica, etc.
The US plutonomic health care puts the average US citizen or company at a great disadvantage, while transferring wealth to the Rich, ever more. Its only reason for being is that transfer of wealth, and it symbolizes the fact that the USA is transforming its economy into a plutocracy, rather than into anything else. The Rich have found a trick to enrich themselves more, called the US heath care system, so, since they apparently have all the political levers of power in their hands, they activate them, and impose it on the carefully baffled population.
During their eight years in power, the "democratic" Clintons did not change the economy in any fundamental way (in particular, they did not undo the HMO system Nixon had built). If anything, the average citizen saw conditions get worse (the few economic averages looking better did so only because the Rich (in particular, the bond traders dear to Clinton) was getting richer). The only thing they did was talk, big time. They talked ecology, and did strictly NOTHING (putting ultimately the entire US industry, economy and society at a disadvantage, while wrecking the planet). Of course, some of the talking was first class: Clinton, a huge white guy, with a white wife and a white daughter, even succeeded to persuade people he was the "first black US president". With persuasion like that, Clinton was able to go to war with Iraq, and make everybody believe G.W. Bush started it.
As a relaxing aside, let's notice in passing that Citigroup, the largest US bank, most struck by the credit crisis, used to wax, lyrical, on the concept of "plutonomy". In 2006, Citigroup insisted that average citizens did not matter at all: like ants, although massive and numerous, they could be neglected.
Big on the board of Citigroup is that Pluto expert, Bob Rubin, ex-Clinton Treasury Chief, great benefactor of bond traders, and big Hillary Clinton adviser. Small world, that plutonomy, and that is the entire problem of the USA. Mr. Rubin is apparently one of these characters symbolic of what Hillary Clinton calls her "35 years of experience". "35 years of experience" at what? This sort of financial engineering? "35 years of experience" spreading a spider web in the center of the Plutonomy? Thirty-five years of experience at becoming super rich quick by peddling influences? This sort of experience, US soldiers have been dying for. The war against Iraq was extended under Bush, but it started, and went on for years, under Clinton (with a blockade and air war). The Clintons have been neocons in disguise. Strident neocons claim to hate Clintons, because they do not want to reveal their secret friendship, they are all more powerful that way.
The sub prime crisis is basically a con job (it makes sense that neocons will be cons). So, facing the destruction of his Citigroup, a few weeks ago, what did Rubin do? Well, he nominated a new CEO, and stayed in command. Maybe he will be soon back at the helm of the US economy, telling H. Clinton what to do, as he did with her husband. When B. Clinton learned from the plutocrats what he would be doing as president, back in 1992, he said to Rubin, then the head of Goldman Sachs (a huge investment house for the hyper rich): "What you are telling me is that I will be doing what fu...ing bond traders tell me to do?". Well, he did, making him still one more genius of the plutonomy. The plutonomy loves election where both candidates are on its side.
In countries were there is a real economy, not a plutonomy, the house has NOT been reduced to money. In Europe, politicians are struggling to manage the house in a way the restive population will tolerate, and the population attaches more value to values rather than just money.
Hence Europe conducts much more of an industrial policy than the US. The idea is to preserve high added value jobs inside Europe. This is fully compatible with the world's open market: the European Union is arguably more open to the world economy than the USA (look at Foreign Direct Investment, or the Open Sky Treaty).
The US plutonomy does not care that much about jobs inside, only the money it makes. That is best made outside. The US plutonomy has installed the factories overseas, and needs the US customer just to pump the system. No more US customer, no more pump. From the plutonomic point of view, as Citigroup explained, the US citizen is just a device to pump the pump.
In the USA, the population is not restive, thus the plutonomy can reign, unhindered. The US population used to be different: May Day, Labor Day in the rest of the planet, celebrates grave labor struggles which occurred in the USA in the 19C. Manipulations by the plutonomy have turned that struggling spirit around: massive immigration, tough legal enforcement, media, historical, religious stupidities have all conspired to make US citizens docile... Ex-foreigners, like the billionaire Murdoch (Fox News, Wall Street Journal, etc...), an Australian heir who became a billionaire in the United Kingdom, by not paying much taxes, while helping Ms. Thatcher's own plutonomic revolution by media manipulations, helped to throw the US army straight into Iraq.
So where does the idea of invading Iraq sits in this overall scheme? To understand the motivation of US leaders, maybe we should backtrack a bit, and wonder why, as Athens was engaged in war against Sparta, she decided to attack Syracuse. The answer, of course is hubris: overbearing arrogance, exaggerated, maddening, demented pride or presumption, leading to ill advised acts, like the war of choice of Athens against Syracuse. We are all familiar with the reasoning: there was a bloody sadistic tyrant, the great democracy needed to rescue the oppressed, etc... Athens did not thoroughly compute, anymore than the USA, what could happen if she lost the war. Well, the Athenian army got broken, and Athens ruined. Next, Athens was not fighting by choice, but for survival.
If a democracy such as Athens can be rendered mad with hubris, a fortiori so for a plutonomy. Hubris starts when what is outrageous comes to be considered normal, and even a moral right. While the United States represents less than 5% of the world's population, over 25% of the prisoners around the world are housed in the US prison system, the largest number of any country. What does the US plutonomic propaganda says about this? "The USA is the country of freedom." With mental processes like this, why not being addicted to oil, consumerism, credit and war?
US neocons wear their name proudly (con means "swindle, fraud, dupe"). They boast the USA will be like Rome, imposing its might on the world. But two remarks: first Rome decayed quickly into mental fascism, and had no competitors as she did (whereas the EU is now more powerful than the US in all ways, but the sword). Secondly, Rome was very careful, and tried to engage only in wars which were justified, profitable, necessary, and winnable (it was reproached to Iulius Caesar to have breached these principles of precaution, and to have committed war crimes throughout his campaigns in Gaul, leading the Roman Senate to illegally withdraw his command, which precipitated Caesar's crossing of the Rubicon).
It's high time for the US population to look outside of the hypnotizing show the plutonomy has been offering to them. That way, Obama's candidacy is encouraging, because Obama has a much greater experience around the world, outside of the plutonomy, rather than how to make huge money from relationships by peddling influence (the way Hillary Clinton's big picture makes manifest). Among the other top candidates, the Clinton and Mc Cain have crucially collaborated with G. W. Bush, in some of his worst acts (in particular, instigating and supporting the Iraq war).
The Clintons now run as friends of the people. But in truth they are friends of the plutonomy and the plutocracy. They did not engineer any significant changes during their eight year rule, in striking contrast with very active republican presidents such as "I-am-not-a-crook" Nixon or Reagan, who were very busy organizing their counter revolutions with drastic measures (for example, to save on the cost of mental hospitals, Reagan freed the mentally insane). Whereas the Clintons could do nothing drastic and positive, Nixon and Reagan never ran out of drastic negatives to implement.
The Clintons thus reinforced the plutonomy: GDP, and its "productivity" augmented, which means, considering the absence of any drastic change in which the economy was organized, that the WASTE did go up (that's a flaw of the concept of GDP). Interest rates went down, true, and that kept the bond traders happy, as Clinton had been ordered to do if he wanted to be reelected. So the Rich could leverage more, get richer, and the internet bubble was engineered. The Clintons were well rewarded financially, and that made them happy too. The Clintons were, and are, all about money: they did not build a bridge, or a hospital, or a high speed train line, they did not help the ecology, or US industry. Money got bigger, and the poor smaller. Then, of course, G. W. Bush came, and it got to be more of the same, just worse...
Spending is all what a plutonomy knows. Spending alone does not make an intelligent economy. Verily, spending alone does not an economy make. Spending alone does not make a war just. If the USA wants a beautiful economy, and a war it can win, and worth winning, it's time to gather big brains, not just big bucks.