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Abso-bloomin’-lutely cool video explains all

Okay. So this video below is abso-bloomin’-lutely brilliant.

It’s an economist describing various explanatory models for what happened to the economy a few years ago that devoured Cleveland (and the rest of the world).

You don’t see the economist but what you do see (I won’t tell you so you can enjoy the surprise for the first while) makes the whole thing bizarrely entertaining (at least until you tire of it, which didn’t happen to me until almost the end and even then I was embarrassed for myself).

They don’t even tell you, but the economist is a guy named David Harvey, a Brit by accent but he teaches at CUNY in New York and directs some strange entity called The Center for Place, Culture and Politics. He’s a Marxist, which he divulges fairly late in the game (but I’m spoiling that surprise so I won’t be accused of sucking you into listening to Marxist propaganda).

And if you snagged on “abso-bloomin’-lutely” it’s from “Wouldn’t It Be Loverley” which is from “My Fair Lady” (ask your parents). (And by the way, I’ve just discovered that there’s a name for a word like abso-bloomin’-lutely.” It’s called an infix. Like a suffix or a prefix but inside the word. Who knew?)

Oh, and hat tip to my friend Pasquino. Here’s the 11 minute video:

Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by Riordan Frost on 03/31/2011 - 06:13 pm.

    That is a very cool video! I really liked the animation, which made the complex economic issues in the video seem a little less intimidating. I wish there were more big-picture discussions like this in politics.

    And just for the record, I’m 22 and I have seen My Fair Lady several times, not to mention listening to the soundtrack many more times than that.

  2. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 03/31/2011 - 09:02 pm.

    I agree. Cool video. The animation is of the style I’ve come to associate with videos from the TED website – well worth looking into, readers, if you have a reasonably fast web connection.

    And, while we have ample evidence that Marx’s proposed solution(s) to various economic issues don’t work, there was nothing wrong with his descriptions of several of the many problems that true believers in capitalism tend to ignore. It’s a terrible economic system. It’s just the best we’ve been able to come up with, and so far, at least, better than any of the others we’ve tried.

  3. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/01/2011 - 11:57 am.

    I’ve been recommending this video for a couple years, I’ve actually included the link in a couple comments here on MP.

    Regarding Marx it’s important to note that his strength was always discriptive, the best critique of capitalism ever written. He himself didn’t do a lot prescripting, and the dialectic turned out to be wishful thinking rather than historical law, but still.

    The other thing that’s important to note is Harvey’s reference to “disciplined” labor. Back in the 90’s Greenspan referred to this several times, even when he was testifying to congress. Thing that Harvey is pointing out is the nature of that discipline, it’s not a reference conscientious employees who work extra hard, it’s an reference to a labor force that’s been disciplined- i.e. punished into submission. You see this crystal clear in the Republican agenda regarding state workers. The thing to remember is that this is the plan for all labor, they’re not taking these rights, pay, and benefits away from state workers so they can give to the private sector… they’re just taking them away. Even their rhetoric sounds disciplinary, as if workers have misbehaved somehow.

  4. Submitted by Brian Simon on 04/01/2011 - 01:45 pm.

    i’m more accustomed to another filler word in infixes.

  5. Submitted by David Van Riper on 04/01/2011 - 01:51 pm.

    David Harvey is actually a geographer, not an economist. He does study economic geography, but he’s not a formally trained economist. He is one of the most cited geographers in the world. Before moving to CUNY in the early 2000s, he was a geography professor at Johns Hopkins University.

  6. Submitted by Lance Groth on 04/01/2011 - 05:29 pm.

    With respect to the punishment of labor, Paul (comment #3) is absolutely right when he says:

    “…this is the plan for all labor, they’re not taking these rights, pay, and benefits away from state workers so they can give to the private sector… they’re just taking them away. ”

    You see this all the time in general comments about the current attacks on government workers. “We don’t have this in the private sector, so why should public sector workers have it?” (Usually phrased far less politely, but that’s another topic.) The emphasis is never “why don’t we have this in the private sector (let’s improve our lot)”. It’s always “we don’t have it, so take it away from everyone else (let’s tear everyone down to the same low level).”

    Clearly, labor has been so beaten down and thoroughly “owned”, that they not only accept their lot, their champion the ownership’s line. Big Business/Big Money has totally and completely won. They even own the presidency – look who the last several presidents have surrounded themselves and staffed their cabinets with – the very robber barons themselves. Obama included, sadly.

    What I don’t understand is how they’ve managed to so brainwash the punished that they now identify with the punishers – a kind of mass stockholm syndrome. Repubs are masters at it – but how the heck do they do that? How do you get people to vote against their own best interests, and do so enthusiastically?

    It’s a marvel. A dark and depressing one, to be sure, but a marvel.

  7. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/02/2011 - 09:43 am.

    //Repubs are masters at it – but how the heck do they do that? How do you get people to vote against their own best interests, and do so enthusiastically?


    Unfortunately I think the key to understanding this tilt away from self interest is recognizing the role Democrats played in it. The initial struggle against Friedman and Heyak eventually gave way in the form of neo-liberal economics. By the time Clinton took office everyone was on the free market-privatization bandwagon and there simply wasn’t any counter-narrative. The corporate media never covered labor, and the religious right dominated all cultural discourse. It’s surprising that Americans lost the ability to recognize their own economic interests given such a complete control of the cultural milieu.

    I attempt to discuss this in one of my blog posts about what I call: “The Great Stupid”

    In other words I actually blame liberals more than I blame conservatives and Republicans. Republicans were simply doing what Republicans do… Liberals were supposed provide some opposition and didn’t.

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