2019-08-12 Killer Clowns

An excellent article on the killer clowns ruling our world: not just Boris Johnson and Donald Trump but many others, too. The reason, the author argues, is that capital used to be interested in a functional state but now oligarchs are interested in chaos and distraction, which is why they finance these killer clowns, and that taxes are not only necessary to finance the state but to break the cycle of inheritance. Let’s stop the rich from passing on their wealth!

From Trump to Johnson, nationalists are on the rise – backed by billionaire oligarchs, George Monbiot, The Guardian:

The politicians who most loudly proclaim their patriotism and defence of sovereignty are always the first to sell their nations down the river. It is no coincidence that most of the newspapers promoting the nativist agenda, whipping up hatred against immigrants and thundering about sovereignty, are owned by billionaire tax exiles, living offshore.

German translation: Die Stunde der Killer-Clowns)

How will the manipulated realize their mistake? Sometimes I wonder. When Germany lost World War II, when did the gullible realize that they had made a big mistake? Did they ever?



I don’t think that people are more gullible and just manipulated by oligarchs. Why didn’t they succeed in the past? There are real issues making the electorate angry, like rising inequality and stagnating real wages. But it’s naïve from the Left to think that this is only a matter of fiscal policy (e.g. taxes) and at the same time applauding the monetary policy of central banks (e.g. lowering interest rates and propping up asset prices through direct asset purchases). I think it’s pretty obvious that monetary policy is the main driver of wealth inequality these days.

This article states the case quite well: https://www.epsilontheory.com/pecking-order/

Team Elite has failed the average voter/wage earner for decades now, so they are more and more inclined to give the Killer Clowns a chance, may they be from the Right or the Left. I think both ends of the populist spectrum will get a chance to try out their remedies. They are not that different anyway. Just look at the current primary debates among Democrats: Most of the front runners are also for the China tariffs. And I think Trump will outflank them on other promises like free medicare for all. He is a big spender.

Deglobalization has already begun. The old liberal world order and the Pax Americana are waning. Less trade means less cooperation. Coop games become competitive zero sum games. And like in the 1930s, the old adage may become true that when trade goods don’t cross borders, armies will.

– Peter 2019-08-12 19:12 UTC

Sadly, I very much agree with you on the question of deglobalization and the part about goods and armies, and I fear you might also be right with your assessment of Trump.

I think the answer to the question whether people are in fact “more gullible and just manipulated by oligarchs” or not is that I think there are more oligarchs now than before Reagan.

Admittedly, I don’t know whether the new oligarchs in the West came to be because the stopped paying progressive taxes or whether we allowed their investments to yield more and more profits, but I suspect we just need to attack all of these issues.

  • bring back inheritance tax
  • up the tax rate for higher incomes
  • up the tax rate for wealth
  • bring down the value added tax
  • curb capital flight to tax havens
  • tax all sorts of transactions
  • bring inflation back

To be honest, I don’t know much about quantitative easing and large-scale asset purchases. I just read the Wikipedia page moments ago. Thanks for the pointer. The Increased income and wealth inequality section was particularly enlightening.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-08-13 07:15 UTC

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