[lbo-talk] Sachs and Harvey

Chuck Grimes c123grimes at att.net
Mon Apr 11 15:05:54 PDT 2011

Today's Democracy Now had a interview with an economist Jeffery Sachs. To skip the WH and Congressional bullshit, go to 27:29mins.


What he says sounds so reasonable, that I became mildly suspicious. People who teach in the Ivy League and wear light tan suits are almost always suspect.

What I don't understand about these guys is how they can ignore the brutal facts that foreign aid means foreign investment means foreign corporate take overs that destroy a country, its people and its environment.

Reading through the wiki on Sachs, the phrase sustainable development shows up. How was the transition in Russia to a so-called free market sustainable development?

Well, I can't figure Sachs out. He comes near to trashing Obama and says a bunch of good sounding stuff, but his actual track record for his career shows a really bad series of projects. Maybe his vaguely humanitarian and liberal ideology blinds him to the real consequences of what he advocates.

Maybe he just doesn't know what he is talking about:

``Sachs suggests that with improved seeds, irrigation, and fertilizer, the crop yields in Africa and other places with subsistence farming can be increased from 1 ton/hectare to 3-5 tons/hectares. He reasons that increased harvests would significantly increase the income of subsistence farmers, thereby reducing poverty...''

See? While it sounds true that better seeds, irrigation and fertilizer would increase yields, what lies under this apparently self-evident truth is the dark underbelly of corporatizing and privatizing a local economy and getting hooked into farming methods that are monopolized by international corporate giants. It's a trap that country after country has been fighting against for decades.

They need re-distribution of land and centally coordinated development plans---that are developed and agreed to by a representative government.

This reminds me of what David Harvey was talking about in his book talks and named a co-evolutionary movement of systemic change. The ideology changes, the social life changes, the social relations change, changes in daily life the means of production change, technologies change, relations toward nature change, institutions change and the whole ensemble that composes society changes. This was what was going on in the development of capitalism from feudalism. So now we face multiple crisis in capitalism, so we need to think and act as an ensemble on all these fronts in order to change the order of things and get out of the crisis. Harvey calls these different fronts, moments.

In other words, we need to change all the things that the IMF demands are abandoned, as the very conditions of their loans. And this is only the start.

Basically, Obama and Congress, as well as state and local governments are putting us through the IMF wringer, which will only intensify the inequality process. Because, that is the point to these so-called reforms.

Harvey outlines this ensemble and its elements or moments and their potentials for creating or steering for social revolution:


I would urge the list to listen to this videos. He talks fast and to a crowd who was already familiar with his work.

However, now a year later when becomes austerity for US, and after the uprisings and potential revolutions in the Arab and Muslim countries have started, Harvey's talks of last year seem to me to taken on a whole new level of importance. He notes we are in a moment of weakness in the ruling elites, and that gives us an opportunity, not just to defend, but attack.


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