#NordicModelforDummies
September 9, 2018 7:42 AM   Subscribe

Gary Shteyngart's View From Hedge Fund Land - "I grew up in a socialist country—not Danish-style socialist, but idiot-style socialist in the Soviet Union. That doesn't work. Venezuela doesn't work, either. There has to be a compromise. But it has to be capitalism with humane characteristics. And it works! Certain components of it are always there; there're always strong unions, for example. There's always a strong social sector, in terms of free education and free health care. These are not poor societies. I know the right-wing media is going bananas with it and trying to smear all of these things, but those things all work. I'm not a socialist; I think making money is fine, and there are certain incentives. But people have to recognize that, beyond a certain amount, there will be no more pleasure derived from that money, other than keeping a scorecard, the same way you keep a scorecard in a sport. But life isn't a sport; there are people whose lives are impacted by your game-playing."

Tempestuous Seasons - "Keynesians insist that we resist the blandishment of future calm to focus on the turmoil of the present. But on a rapidly warming planet, the waters are calmer now than they will be later. Just decades from now, a large part of humanity may count itself lucky if it is only in the long run that we are all dead."

The IPPR Commission's plan for a new economy - "The final report of the IPPR's Commission on Economic Justice is released today, with the full title of Prosperity and Justice: A Plan for a New Economy. I was lucky enough to get an advance copy, and it is a very impressive document: very well researched and well argued. It is nothing less than a blueprint for a new progressive government."

Mainstream Macroeconomics and Modern Monetary Theory: What Really Divides Them? - "The divide between MMT and mainstream macro isn't really over different theories of how the economy or financial system work, but different views about what policy failures are likely in practice."

Why so little has changed since the financial crash - "Martin Wolf on the power of vested interests in today's rent-extracting economy."
The financial crisis was a devastating failure of the free market that followed a period of rising inequality within many countries. Yet, contrary to what happened in the 1970s, policymakers have barely questioned the relative roles of government and markets. Conventional wisdom still considers “structural reform” largely synonymous with lower taxes and de-regulation of labour markets. Concern is expressed over inequality, but little has actually been done. Policymakers have mostly failed to notice the dangerous dependence of demand on ever-rising debt. Monopoly and “zero-sum” activities are pervasive. Few question the value of the vast quantities of financial sector activity we continue to have, or recognise the risks of further big financial crises...

Others ask why only banks have accounts at central banks. Why should every citizen not be able to do so? Some wonder why we cannot use central banks to escape dependence on debt-fuelled growth... Beyond finance, it seems ever clearer that protection of intellectual property has gone too far. Also, why not shift taxation on to land? Why are we letting the taxation of capital collapse? And why are we not trying to revitalise antitrust?

An all-embracing new ideology may be unavailable today. That is probably a good thing. But good ideas do exist. A more likely cause of inertia is the power of vested interests. Today’s rent-extracting economy, masquerading as a free market, is, after all, hugely rewarding to politically influential insiders.
Fed Nixes Narrow Bank - "That the Fed, which is a banker's bank, protects the profits of the big banks system against competition, would be the natural public-choice speculation. Perhaps also my vision of a run-proof essentially unregulated banking system isn't as attractive to the Fed as it should be. If deposits are handled by narrow banks, which don't need asset risk regulation, and risky investment is handled by equity-financed banks, which don't need asset risk regulation, a lot of regulators and 'macro-prudential' policy makers, who want to use regulatory tools to control the economy, are going to be out of work."

The Case for a US Public Banking Option - "A forgotten lesson of the New Deal era is that a public option for basic services can both ensure universal access and empower regulators to curtail abuses. In the case of consumer finance, a public bank would go a long way toward improving the economic security of all US households."

also btw... more...
-Financialization isn't a perversion of an otherwise well-functioning system. It's just capitalism's latest survival mechanism.
-The Shrinking Universe of Public Firms: Facts, Causes, and Consequences
-Six Things We Can Learn About US Plutocracy By Looking At Jeff Bezos
-Bezos Unbound: What He Plans To Conquer Next
-Humanity Is Deciding If It Will Evolve Or Die
-The Global Middle Class

oh and keep in mind :P
The economic value of the entire universe - "And to think it all cost nothing to produce...the ultimate free lunch."
posted by kliuless (73 comments total) 91 users marked this as a favorite
 
... There goes my Sunday. This is fantastic post.
posted by Auden at 8:23 AM on September 9 [1 favorite]


Link nitpick for mods: could you please link to the actual article (not the tweet) in the first/above the fold link? It's this.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 8:32 AM on September 9 [6 favorites]


"Conventional wisdom still considers “structural reform” largely synonymous with lower taxes and de-regulation of labour markets. Concern is expressed over inequality, but little has actually been done."

Au contraire; lowering taxes and deregulating labor is doing quite a lot to promote inequality. This is one of those cases where conventional wisdom turns out to be idiocy.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:48 AM on September 9 [3 favorites]


This is one of those cases where conventional wisdom turns out to be idiocy.

I suspect that this is one of those vast and complex topics where the conventional wisdom is something that your normal, typical, conventional American likely hasn't ever even caught a glimpse of ... unless they've done some pretty serious traveling, or better yet living abroad.

And great post. The lead quote alone needs to be properly comprehended by folks on all sides of our current divides. Capitalism ain't wearing an exclusively black hat. Socialism ain't wearing white. Democracy is nothing without compromise. I just endured a three hour strata meeting yesterday on how to repair a common road. Nobody got exactly what they wanted. We nevertheless walked away with a plan (and spending strategy) that received an almost hundred percent yes vote.
posted by philip-random at 9:03 AM on September 9 [2 favorites]


When I see people excoriate "centrists" as magically noncommittal people devoid of convictions who will happily choose the middle ground between Italian Fascism and Nazism when presented with them as opposing ideas because "that's what centrists do," I'm going to point them at Shteyngart's piece.

Pragmatism and centrism aren't skulking, weak worldviews without spine or convictions.

It's the understanding that capitalism is effective, and unfettered capitalism, especially the crony capitalism dominating the US and much of the west, eats itself, threatening to die of obesity and malnutrition at the same time.

It's the understanding that socialism is good for the most people, but overconstrained and overcentralized socialism and central planning of economies smothers itself, slowly asphyxiating and then collapsing all at once.

It's the understanding that free speech is vital, and sometimes you have to punch Nazis and ban bad faith actors like Alex Jones. I deny Popper's tolerance paradox, and freely state that I tolerate widely varying viewpoints and insist all actors in the public sphere do the same. I'm intolerant only and always of intolerance. It's the understanding that the "paradox" of tolerance is just a cheap semantic trick.

It's the knowledge that free trade and healthy markets have brought billions out of poverty in the last 50 years, and horrible exploitation is still happening and desperately needs action.

It's the conviction that the notion "if a bit of X has been good and effective but there are deep problems, that means we need to do X MORE and HARDER" is madness.

So I guess I'm laying it out there, ready for the flames. I believe in the Nordic social welfare/capitalist mixed economy model. I believe that the US is doomed unless we rein in the excesses of capitalism, and acknowledge the decreasing marginal value of money to the wealthy by taxing them at much, much higher rates. I believe that markets are powerful engines for growth, and that the market should have no say in your health insurance. I believe in social justice and economic justice, and also rewarding initiative and inventiveness and drive.

This isn't milquetoast middle-of-the-roadism. This is my conviction. I'm a centrist, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.
posted by tclark at 9:03 AM on September 9 [77 favorites]


I saw GS do some early readings and Q+As of this book last spring. I find him insufferable.
The best part is that the organizers did one of those anonymous question asking apps, but audience members could see what others were asking. Lots of people pushed back on some of the racism and sexism in the book. The question moderator was a graduate student who had ties to GS and the main event moderator was a good friend of GS. As such they barely addressed it.
Also the talk was so deeply rooted in NY Jewish culture that it alienated some audience members. This would have been okay for a different audience but this was a U wide and publicly oriented event. I had taken a graduate class to the talk and even native English speakers somewhat familiar with Jewish culture were baffled. The international students had no idea.
Also the U paid GS a ridiculous amount of money to come, even by university speaker standards.

Ranting ranting ranting, but as someone that enjoyed his earlier works, I'm not looking forward to this one.
posted by k8t at 9:09 AM on September 9 [1 favorite]


All the lead quote tells me is the author doesn't know the difference between capitalism and making money. You kind of have to read it closely for the kind of rhetoric it's pushing.
posted by polymodus at 9:20 AM on September 9 [4 favorites]


Hopefully not too much of a derail (if it is, hit me up in my DMs), but I've not read any Gary Shteyngart, would anyone know if this is a good place to start? Or should I go back and find some of his earlier work? I've heard good things about his writing but never bothered to pick it up. Thank you ahead of time for your advice. :)
posted by Fizz at 9:22 AM on September 9


Also the talk was so deeply rooted in NY Jewish culture that it alienated some audience members. This would have been okay for a different audience but this was a U wide and publicly oriented event.

This complaint rubs me the wrong way. I've been to plenty of talks where the speaker refers to things I don't understand, but I generally chalk that up to my own ignorance and try to learn something, or if I just don't feel like it, I can daydream. Why shouldn't Shteyngart be himself (at a talk about his own book, of all places)?

(Having said that, I picked up Absurdistan a while ago and was completely turned off, so I am not coming at this from a place of hero worship...)
posted by aws17576 at 9:35 AM on September 9 [8 favorites]


So I guess I'm laying it out there, ready for the flames. I believe in the Nordic social welfare/capitalist mixed economy model. [ . . . ]
This isn't milquetoast middle-of-the-roadism. This is my conviction. I'm a centrist, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.


This would put you to the extreme left of mainstream US discourse. It's to the left of Elizabeth Warren. The policies needed to implement the Nordic model is to the left of anything plausible to implement here in the next decade, regardless of the press given to a dozen or sitting or future congresspeople.

I hate to mess with your self-image as a lone voice but I just think a lot of people here will agree with you.
posted by mark k at 9:36 AM on September 9 [35 favorites]


I hate to mess with your self-image as a lone voice but I just think a lot of people here will agree with you.

That may be true, but there are also threads like this, where centrism is derided as "when you judiciously decide where to divide the baby" or where "you get to pretend to have carefully considered opinions without doing any of the thinking to come to those positions."
posted by tclark at 9:56 AM on September 9 [6 favorites]


tclark, I agree with just about everything you've said, and believe that puts me on the extreme far left in the US, much closer to Occupy, antifa, and black bloc types than the Democrats. (My one little nitpick would be describing bad policy as "madness," because to me that word choice reads as low-key ableist.)

Every other self-described centrist I've encountered has been opposed to Nazi-punching, Black Lives Matter, increased socialization of healthcare, and similar leftist ideas.
posted by bagel at 10:00 AM on September 9 [7 favorites]


I guess a better way to put it is that I'm a centrist on the global spectrum, not the US spectrum. But then in the US, anything short of anarcho-capitalist/dark enlightenment/neo-feudal puts you on "the left." I refer you to Fox News calling W a "radical liberal."
posted by tclark at 10:07 AM on September 9


Love that helper fish metaphor. Great description of how a financialized society works.
posted by doctornemo at 10:34 AM on September 9


tclark, I agree with just about everything you've said, and believe that puts me on the extreme far left in the US, much closer to Occupy, antifa, and black bloc types than the Democrats.

Yes, but if you try to explain this to some “leftists” you get a sort of withering, smug contempt in response

Yes, here on metafilter

And I generally like guillotine jokes
posted by schadenfrau at 10:51 AM on September 9 [9 favorites]


The problem with "centrist" is that it stops meaning much when the concept has nothing to correspond to in lived politics, which are much more than a dry tug-of-war over economic policy. What is the "centrist" position on white supremacy, baby jail and overturning Roe? Or the basic maintenance of the rule of law?

Increasingly I go with "traditional liberal, with a realist (but not automatically hawkish) view of foreign policy." And because I think there structural limitations on how much change people more radically to the left of me can actually accomplish, I'm more than happy to help them get as far as they can go.
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:57 AM on September 9 [1 favorite]


Whenever someone opens by calling the Soviet Union socialist, I have a lot of trouble taking anything else they say seriously.
Workers were still being exploited, there was still no democracy, imperialism and invasion were still on the agenda. No part of that reads as socialist to me. The state owning capital is not socialist by itself in any sense.

And yeah, since I don't think we can have a nice world with capitalism, if someone's position is just a welfare state variant of capitalism, then I'm going to consider them a centrist, someone who would deal with the devil and sell working people out to maintain capitalist property relations.
Doesn't mean that they might not still be worth working with towards some goals, but the whole "be pragmatic, capitalism is necessary" is a massive red flag for future betrayal as soon as the going gets tough.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 11:04 AM on September 9 [13 favorites]


That LRB article Tempestuous Seasons is one hell of a wide-ranging, grim and fascinating read. The author touches on some of the uncomfortable similarities between some 'Trumpist' and Leftist approaches to trade and economic issues (protectionism and anti-globalism).
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 11:27 AM on September 9 [1 favorite]


A wonderful, humane novelist, but a shitty political economist, I'm afraid.
posted by adamgreenfield at 11:30 AM on September 9 [1 favorite]


Tooze is new to me. Care to flesh your opinion out a bit?
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 11:44 AM on September 9


It mimicked the Breitbartian stuff people thought rose up from the grass roots but in many ways was also trickling down from the upper deck.

So he hasn’t really been paying attention....
posted by chavenet at 12:04 PM on September 9 [2 favorites]


The centrist position on genocide is that as long as you or your allies do it, it's fine. Just pretend it's not.

Do you really think that is tclark's position?
posted by This time is different. at 12:20 PM on September 9 [9 favorites]


I remember having a lot of trouble with Super Sad True Love Story because I didn't agree with his vision of the future... It didn't jive with my economic spider sense. But this book seems to be based on many actual interviews with actual hedge fund people so I might give it a try.

It is true that most NYC professionals are a service class for the ultra wealthy and I enjoyed his quip that "when (the finance and tech leaders') kids' therapists are replaced by an algorhythm, that will be the end" of the middle/professional class and observation that many hedge funds guys are looking forward to a dystopia because "they know they will be among the few people who will survive it".

I'll need some time to read the rest of the links.
posted by subdee at 12:24 PM on September 9


we need ecological philosophy

as David Suzuki once put it. Right now when we pay for something, we pay for what it cost to extract its raw ingredients from the natural environment and then everything else down the chain of manufacture, shipping, marketing, retailing. What we need to do is also factor in the cost of getting those raw ingredients safely back into the natural environment when we no longer have use for them.
posted by philip-random at 12:43 PM on September 9 [4 favorites]


[Deleted the weird "centrist" escalation. Please don't veer off into drastic accusations of bad faith and evil views here. Thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 12:52 PM on September 9 [5 favorites]


The center is not generally a political *position*, it is a time-specific political locus. So when in the 60s say "we were all Keynsians" , the center was redistributive and, well, keynsian. In the post thatcher era, when the left of the political spectrum turned Blairite, the center was neoliberal and inegalitarian.
tclark's position would currently be on the left not only in the us, but in Norway as well, pretty much everywhere, since the world has shifted so much to the right. It is not a center position among the extremes of the Overton window anywhere. I am deeply sceptical about the existence of good capitalism (which IMHO is simply temporarily constrained capitalism), but I'd have to say that if tclarck's position was at the center of the current global political spectrum, the world would be quite a better place.
posted by talos at 1:01 PM on September 9 [13 favorites]


Ahem. Keynesian
posted by talos at 1:18 PM on September 9


Part of the problem is that Capitalism must continuously expand and Capitalist must continuously acquire. It is what they do. Capitalism will always seek to undermine any constraints and corrupt any systems of control, especially since the availability of “free” resources and easily-exploitable colonial possessions is at an end, and the cost of externalities ecological costs is increasing rapidly.

I’m not sure if there can be a “constrained Capitalism” any more.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:45 PM on September 9 [8 favorites]


We've already tried this experiment and it's not some accident or coincidence that it will likely to lead to the extinction of our species. Compassionate or regulated capitalism is an oxymoron because capitalism is a system hard-wired to ultimately concentrate power in the hands of the few. Whatever gains you make in civic policy will inevitably be eroded. That's the lesson of the last 60 years and there are none so blind as those who will not see it.
posted by smithsmith at 1:47 PM on September 9 [10 favorites]


Also the talk was so deeply rooted in NY Jewish culture that it alienated some audience members

That's super sad.
posted by waving at 2:09 PM on September 9 [2 favorites]


Like- are we just supposed to pander to the anti-semites now? “Well this Academic who happens to be Jewish is just too Jewish for me so I can’t support his work?”
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 2:29 PM on September 9 [8 favorites]


We've already tried this experiment and ...

often encountered at the beginning of sentence that seeks to dismiss socialism entirely
posted by philip-random at 2:34 PM on September 9 [1 favorite]


For more Shteyngart: There's an excerpt from Lake Success in the New Yorker and an accompanying interview.

Some of the hedge funders I met were Democrats who were earnestly progressive and would often say funny things like, “You know, I actually pay my taxes,” implying that they could find ways not to do so and it was super nice of them to chip in. But it was hard not to feel that their very existence contributes to feudal levels of inequality and the rise of Trumpian politics on both sides of the Atlantic. Sometimes I want to say to my new friends, “You’ve won. Give it up. Cash it in. Give it away. Do something that makes you happy every day. Few things are sadder than being loved for your money.”

For more on that topic, I recommend Young Money, a nonfiction book that follows six or so finance workers from just after graduation to a few years into their careers. It's an incredibly fascinating look into how perfectly nice, normal people are warped into becoming the type of people who think three million a year is 'middle class'.
posted by perplexion at 3:36 PM on September 9 [2 favorites]


often encountered at the beginning of sentence that seeks to dismiss socialism entirely

That's an oh-so-clever and snarky observation but, if you're actually interested in the substance of the argument, the difference is that Soviet style socialism is not the ultimate end-state of Marxist economic theory, while neoliberal capitalism (and, when that fails, fascism) is and always will be the inevitable endstate of capitalism regardless of your Shteyngartian appeals to individual enlightenment and the better nature of capitalists.
posted by smithsmith at 4:20 PM on September 9 [3 favorites]


the difference is that Soviet style socialism is not the ultimate end-state of Marxist economic theory,

couldn't agree more

while neoliberal capitalism (and, when that fails, fascism) is and always will be the inevitable endstate of capitalism

cite, please
posted by philip-random at 4:40 PM on September 9 [1 favorite]


cite, please

You want a citation for material reality? The myth of a sustainable model of capitalism was outlined in minute detail by Marx in Das Kapital. Whatever artificial mechanisms you put in place, the paradoxical profit-driven tensions within capitalism will always ultimately lead to the complete erosion of those mechanisms, the consolidation of wealth and power, crises and collapse.

The terrifying problem we now face as a species is that when capitalism shit the bed in the 1920s (exactly as Marx predicted) there still remained some force of class consciousness and solidarity within the United States with which to demand some modest systematic adjustments. Those forces have now been completely dismantled.
posted by smithsmith at 6:34 PM on September 9 [3 favorites]


I am not sure how Marx serves as a citation for a question that requires some sort of actual scientific approach beyond a guy saying stuff.

there still remained some force of race-dependent class consciousness and solidarity within the United States with which to demand some modest systematic adjustments

ftfy
posted by schroedinger at 8:46 PM on September 9 [1 favorite]


To clarify my earlier comment... He gave a series of lectures on different topics, broadly connected to the book. None of the lectures were remotely close to the topics as presented.
I had gone to great lengths to bring my grad class to specific lectures and designed materials and assignments around them. The students cancelled work, got sitters, etc. And then it was just him talking about nothing in particular.
The English language learners were especially confused. And some were upset at the racism.

Nearly every course evaluation complained about this unit. So not only was it a series of bad off topic racist lectures, but it ate up 1/7th of my class, the students were mad, and my evals took a hit. This is why I'm extra grumpy about it.
posted by k8t at 10:41 PM on September 9 [3 favorites]


I am not sure how Marx serves as a citation for a question that requires some sort of actual scientific approach beyond a guy saying stuff.

Oh, come on.

ftfy

Oh, come the absolute f--- on. Are you really so oblivious as to use the racial prejudice of early 20th century labour movements as a defence of capitalism, an ideology which has spent centuries utterly destroying black and brown people through slavery, exploitation and imperialism?
posted by smithsmith at 11:18 PM on September 9 [3 favorites]


You want a citation for material reality? The myth of a sustainable model of capitalism was outlined in minute detail by Marx in Das Kapital. Whatever artificial mechanisms you put in place, the paradoxical profit-driven tensions within capitalism will always ultimately lead to the complete erosion of those mechanisms, the consolidation of wealth and power, crises and collapse.

I think this harks back to where polymodus points out that there's a difference between capitalism and "making money".

The concentration of capital (and the power that goes with it) seems to be very hard to stop. It feels like only large social catastrophes like major wars and total financial crashes have a redistributive effect, and then you're just going from "we just had a disaster, some redistributive policies will be in place and there's also pent up demand, so things seem better" to "now wealth is concentrating again, things are getting worse" to "wealth is getting super concentrated and inequality is back where we started" and then you're just waiting for another crisis to make things, hopefully, possible again.

The problems with socialism seem to me to be externalized costs (the Nordic model, which works as long as you have strong borders and a global lumpenrproletariat) and concentration of power even if wealth is relatively fairly distributed (which I think is was the underlying problem with the USSR, right from the very beginning).

What I fear is that concentration of something, externalization of costs and enclosure are endemic to complex societies and that unless we solve those kinds of problems we actually can't solve any mere economic ones in any durable way.
posted by Frowner at 11:19 PM on September 9 [13 favorites]


What I fear is that concentration of something, externalization of costs and enclosure are endemic to complex societies and that unless we solve those kinds of problems we actually can't solve any mere economic ones in any durable way.

I think you're looking at it in reverse - there is nothing "mere" about how we structure the fundamentals of our economic system or the problems that arise as a result. What materialists like Marx say is that all relations - social, political, environmental, interpersonal etc. - are largely a function of the economic system in which we operate. The nuclear family, for example, didn't just happen by some strange accident or because quintessential human nature dictates that we prefer to live in self-contained silos of four to five people - it serves a very specific and important purpose within the capitalist economy.

Similarly, it seems obvious to me why political power was concentrated in the USSR - in order to move from a quasi-feudal state where citizens had an average life expectancy in their early 30s to an advanced, industrialised socialist economy in the space of a single generation required incredibly high levels of central planning and therefore political power was centralised accordingly.

Putting aside the debate over the merits of the aforementioned process, it was the foundation of the economic system that informed the architecture of the political system, not the other way around.
posted by smithsmith at 11:56 PM on September 9 [2 favorites]


You want a citation for material reality? The myth of a sustainable model of capitalism was outlined in minute detail by Marx in Das Kapital. Whatever artificial mechanisms you put in place, the paradoxical profit-driven tensions within capitalism will always ultimately lead to the complete erosion of those mechanisms, the consolidation of wealth and power, crises and collapse.

That's fine, but if we're going to be empiricists and be guided by material reality then we need to do that consistently. Empirically, explicitly Marxist countries spent much of the 20th century as impoverished totalitarian states.

Marxism as a successful system is as evidence supported as the most ravingly fresh-water-school neo-liberal economics, if that.
posted by atrazine at 3:59 AM on September 10 [2 favorites]


Empirically, explicitly Marxist countries spent much of the 20th century as impoverished totalitarian states.

Well, that's just straight up false propoganda. Two of those Marxist countries, the USSR and China, became a world economic superpowers starting from a vastly lower development and resource baselines than the USA. History rarely offers double blind experiments with which to compare economic systems but I'd happily compare the social and economic outcomes of Cuba with regional outcomes in Haiti or impoverished, totalitarian capitalist states in Central and Latin America.
posted by smithsmith at 5:33 AM on September 10 [2 favorites]


Two of those Marxist countries, the USSR and China, became a world economic superpowers

So the totalitarianism is fine then?
posted by schadenfrau at 5:53 AM on September 10 [3 favorites]


I'd happily compare the social and economic outcomes of Cuba with regional outcomes in Haiti or impoverished, totalitarian capitalist states in Central and Latin America

Taiwan and South Korea vs. North Korea and Laos. Both of the former started out as center-right dictatorships who evolved into modern democratic nations with a deep and strong social safety net and a wide degree of individual liberty. The latter... eh.

China, Vietnam and Cambodia are now center-right dictatorships who only give mouth-music to Marxism in its myriad varieties (and the term itself and its association with enthno-centric authoritarian cults of personality and the attendant legalism is a slander upon the man's name)... give them a few decades to evolve their middle class into a body that can competently govern themselves and out-think and out-organize the established oligarchy, and most of East Asia will be like Europe in terms of community prosperity and individual freedom, only with better urban high-rise infrastructure.

India is going America's route - fractious and fractured regional and cultural groups all going at it hammer and tongs. To be honest, tho, their Trump sucks less than ours. By a little bit.

On the gripping hand, maybe the US should knock off the Banana Wars shit? Let them have whatever economic system they like, it will never be any skin off our nose as history shows. So long as they don't invade their neighbors or mass-slaughter their own civilians, it should be our nevermind. We don't need bases near nations that don't have (or have had in living memory) conquest-minded militaries. Intervening to preserve capitalism has blown up in our faces more often than not.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:27 AM on September 10 [2 favorites]


There are a lot of takes on the USSR question, many of which are very critical, and interrogate to what extent they even were "Marxist" at varying points.

Nonetheless, all the good ones recognise that to posit the USSR as a total economic failure in comparison to similar situations is absurd. There was poverty, but I'm yet to see a system completely free of it and capitalist systems depend on it to function.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 6:30 AM on September 10 [1 favorite]


Oh, come the absolute f--- on. Are you really so oblivious as to use the racial prejudice of early 20th century labour movements as a defence of capitalism, an ideology which has spent centuries utterly destroying black and brown people through slavery, exploitation and imperialism?

Exactly how is what I said a defense of capitalism? You were touting forces of class consciousness and solidarity in the USA--my point was that they never truly existed because those goals were explicitly intended for privileged identities. You can't use Marxism as a cure for economic inequality when Marxism completely fails to address the intersectional structural inequalities baked into societies as a result of natural human tendencies towards the formation of divisive in-groups.

Two of those Marxist countries, the USSR and China, became a world economic superpowers starting from a vastly lower development and resource baselines than the USA.

Now it's my turn to say "oh, come on." Are you genuinely looking at the USSR and China as examples of successful socialist policies? You realize that China's rise only came after they started adopting capitalist policies, right? And both are excellent examples of how the forcible implementation of socialism facilitated totalitarianism and corruption. Socialism without the moderation of respect for individual freedoms comes to the same end as unfettered capitalism: allowing the worst human impulses to flourish in the name of sustaining what's supposedly good for all.
posted by schroedinger at 6:31 AM on September 10 [3 favorites]


Well, that's just straight up false propoganda. Two of those Marxist countries, the USSR and China, became a world economic superpowers starting from a vastly lower development and resource baselines than the USA.

A doddering petro-state that came down like a pack of cards as soon as the oil price went down and a country that saw its greatest economic gains after substantially abandoning what little orthodox Marxism it had left.

You're quite right that they started from vastly lower development baselines, the effect was much worse in those parts of central Europe that were not as backwards. So what is the lesson from history here? Soviet style socialism might do well in industrialising pre-industrial states?

History rarely offers double blind experiments with which to compare economic systems but I'd happily compare the social and economic outcomes of Cuba with regional outcomes in Haiti or impoverished, totalitarian capitalist states in Central and Latin America.

Sure, you could pick literally any country in the Western hemisphere and compare it to Haiti to prove any point.

Anyway, you claimed that

...neoliberal capitalism (and, when that fails, fascism) is and always will be the inevitable endstate of capitalism

and when you were asked for a citation on that inevitability, claimed that:
a) this was material reality [and therefore hardly needed a citation]
b) was outlined in minute detail in Capital

First, if you're claiming that there is an empirical tendency of capitalist states to turn into neoliberal capitalist or fascist states, you should not be surprised when people bring up the empirical tendency of socialist states to be both totalitarian and materially poorer than capitalist ones.

Second, I'm not clear what that claim even means. What we have seen in Europe and the US is old industrial capitalist states which Marx was familiar with turning into social democratic states of various sorts and them some of those become less social democratic / in the last 30 or so years. That latter trend is basically neo-liberalism.

If social democratic states can come into being from paleo-liberal states, surely that punches a hole in the theory that paleo-liberal states end up staying the same or becoming fascist?
posted by atrazine at 6:33 AM on September 10 [4 favorites]


As a Marxist, I don't believe in natural human tendencies towards the formation of divisive in-groups.

Those tendencies aren't natural, they're created by economic structures at the base and a superstructure which reinforces them.

Yeah class consciousness and solidarity were and still are weakened by many of those divisions. The idea that Marxism completely fails to address the intersectional structural inequalities baked into societies is absolutely absurd though, because as far as I can tell, most theorists now spend an awful lot of time examining those inequalities, particularly because of the role they've played in preventing change.

The working class isn't even majority white. It's made up of myriad identities. The reason they get a lot of the focus is not because no-one's moved on from the white male worker (and the idea that is how workers have always been viewed is false going at least back to Lenin), but because that's where the power lies.

We're class conscious because it permeates the experience of everyone, and theory that sidelines that as irrelevant cannot produce praxis that can challenge capitalist power structures, only reinforce them.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 6:45 AM on September 10 [2 favorites]


There are a lot of takes on the USSR question, many of which are very critical, and interrogate to what extent they even were "Marxist" at varying points.

If we are going to criticize the reality of the implementation of Marxist policies as insufficiently Marxist, then why can't we argue that current implementations of capitalism are insufficiently capitalist? Adam Smith himself acknowledged his system wouldn't deter natural tendencies towards cronyism and corruption--and argued that these tendencies were actually anti-capitalist because they ultimately restricted freedoms and the ability of markets to truly thrive. So if someone is allowed to say the USSR wasn't truly Marxist, why aren't we also allowed to argue that current implementations aren't truly capitalist because the structural inequalities baked into the system disallow the system's success?

Now, his solutions were limited government and simply educating the populace on the evils of corruption, which have been proven failures to say the least. But the solutions to the problems of human nature in Marxism parallel these--implement total government control and educate the populace on the virtues of abandoning in-group behavior in the name of the common good.

I think true freedom comes when everyone has an equal shot at pursuing success. And I think that doesn't come without programs that ensure that's possible, and we sure as hell can't depend on the goodness of rich people to fund those. So government implementation is absolutely necessary. But I also don't operate under the illusion that just because somebody works in the government they automatically have everyone's best interest in mind when designing the economy, and I think the perpetuation of racism/sexism/etc within socialist/leftist/populist groups is a good indication that we can't depend on worker's collectives to magically work towards everyone's benefit, either. There has to be something in the middle. Which is where I'm with tclark on the mixed economy model.

As a Marxist, I don't believe in natural human tendencies towards the formation of divisive in-groups.

Then you're ignoring all scientific research on the subject.
posted by schroedinger at 6:58 AM on September 10 [4 favorites]



Similarly, it seems obvious to me why political power was concentrated in the USSR - in order to move from a quasi-feudal state where citizens had an average life expectancy in their early 30s to an advanced, industrialised socialist economy in the space of a single generation required incredibly high levels of central planning and therefore political power was centralised accordingly.


So that isn't very helpful - radically transforming society requires authoritarianism, which then concentrates to the point where you have a population deeply skeptical of and embittered by socialism? I mean, the USSR would still exist if it had made more efforts to meet the actual needs and wishes of the people instead of trying to brute force everything. (What was even the point of, eg, Kronstadt?) The events of the nineties really did hinge on popular dissatisfaction - absent the ambivalence of the army, absent the enthusiasm of a lot of people for change, it would have been a simple matter to rebuff, like, perestroika.

I guess where I differ from marxists is that I think authoritarianism is bad - not just in a "but that would be wrong" way but because authoritarianism is self limiting. At best, all it does is implement the will of the authoritarians, and that will never - no matter how benevolent and kind they are - sufficiently match the will and needs of the commons. And because authoritarian marxism holds itself up as embodying the will of the people or the force of history, everyone whose needs aren't being met or who is being treated unfairly is pushed to act against the state and usually against marxism.

On another note: I spent a couple of years in China in the late nineties (so long ago now, because I am old). As they suggested when I was hired, I brought a bunch of photos with me to show Chinese friends. One of the sets I brought, because I am a good little anarchist, was photos from the Haymarket memorial and the graves of various radicals - Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, for instance. And of course, all that stuff is full of inscriptions about heroic labor organizers and the people and the working class and so on.

Getting my friends to understand that these people were actual heroes was one of the weirdest little conversations I had in China, because their understanding was that a heroic sculpture and a lot of sounding words about the working class was a sure sign that the person either never existed or was some kind of powerful authoritarian figure. I mean, they got it - it wasn't like they had no notion of heroes or dissidents - but the language of leftism had been hollowed out for them, and the idea of actual labor organizers rather than phony propaganda ones was pretty remote.
posted by Frowner at 7:38 AM on September 10 [5 favorites]


Those tendencies aren't natural, they're created by economic structures at the base and a superstructure which reinforces them.

At this point "natural" becomes a shibboleth. What kind of economic behavior is "natural" for humans, versus "artificial?"

Are tribes, clans, moieties, etc in ancient societies just another example of "base and superstructure?" That's pretty far into what my anthro profs would have called "vulgar marxism."
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:54 AM on September 10 [2 favorites]


Is there evidence across all human cultures and possible economic systems? Or perhaps mostly research that took place in class societies?
I understand it as paying attention to the anthropological research indicating there is very little that is "natural" in human behaviour. There are infinite ways of being, but many ways in which our self is shaped by the world we inhabit.

"But the solutions to the problems of human nature in Marxism parallel these--implement total government control and educate the populace on the virtues of abandoning in-group behavior in the name of the common good."
"Total government control" is linked to the idea that the state is separate from the people, rather than composed of and directed by them. Which is certainly true of capitalist states. Also, does everyone ignore the bit about how the state eventually dissolves? I always say, we agree with most anarchists about the end goals, it's the process we differ on.

Furthermore, the idea that you educate these things out of the populace is idealist, not materialist. Most importantly, you remove the economic and political benefits and costs of in-group behaviour, education may play a role but it does nothing by itself. You remove the cultural structures which function to replicate these behaviours.
We don't run awareness campaigns, actual struggle builds awareness by itself, while actually making a concrete difference.
Less white ribbon days, more ensuring that people aren't trapped in abusive relationships by economic circumstance is a simple way of thinking about it.

Finally, I've said it before, I'll say it again, I believe the USSR was and China is state capitalist. Any argument that hinges on them being bad, I'm usually like "Yup, capitalism sucks. Agree with you there, so let's try socialism".
posted by AnhydrousLove at 7:57 AM on September 10 [2 favorites]


Is there evidence across all human cultures and possible economic systems? Or perhaps mostly research that took place in class societies?

The two are hardly mutually exclusive, in many cases the same very real phenomena recorded and/or observed in actual cultures and societies have been revisited from explicitly Marixst and post-colonial vantage points and this is all well-trod ground within and around anthropology.

Marx's own research took place in the British Library, a "place in class society" if there ever was one.

The point is not there is any universality to these phenomena, rather the opposite. If anything it's doctrinaire Marxism that presupposes its utopian post-Captialistic worker's utopia is a cultural universal suited to and worthy of imposing on all humanity. In that, it's as artificial as any world-system promulgated by a social theorist.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:16 AM on September 10 [2 favorites]


The overall point being that it's unpersuasive to me to present a socialist government and economic system as inherently more "natural" than a market-based one, or that heavily limited conceptions of property and ownership are inherently more natural than more expansive coceptions, with the social structures they give rise to-- to avoid using proper nouns.

That doesn't mean that the socialist option can't be better (in any number of ways). And I'm even reasonably accepting of the idea that the best versions of socialism haven't been given a real shot yet. But it's "more natural" is basically econo-philosophical woo that ignores a lot of what we know about actual cultures and societies (however flawed those ways of knowing may be).
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:27 AM on September 10 [1 favorite]


Is there evidence across all human cultures and possible economic systems?

For real, the tendency to make sweeping absolutist claims on the basis of “Marx said” and then turn around and demand that any counter claims be supported by empirical evidence across all human cultures and possible economic systems is one of the many reasons I stop listening when people cite Marx as though he could possibly be a practical authority on anything going on today.

Dude was an interesting thinker with interesting ideas. That’s it. He wasn’t a god. And an obsession with theory seems to correlate very highly, IME, with a distaste for the actual realities of people’s lives. If you’re choosing Marx over people, or Marxist theory over empirical research, you are wrong.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:30 AM on September 10 [4 favorites]


"At this point "natural" becomes a shibboleth."
Damn right. It becomes a shibboleth showing those who believe capitalism and class society are just a manifestation human "natural" behaviour.
Maybe artificial behaviour might be when people are alienated from the product of their labour, commodities become fetishised, social relations between people are reified into impersonal "natural laws" and the material instruments of life are personified into the directing forces of human destiny.
I'll admit, I'm not super familiar with Marxist anthropology examining non-capitalist socieites, but as I understand it there would be a base and superstructure, I don't know if they'd look like the base and superstructure in a capitalist society, but to equate relations between clans, moieties, tribes and other groupings to the specific ways in which racism, sexism, ableism etc function today in a highly industrialised market economy is... weird.
We're definitely not unaware that the work Marxists do takes place in class society. If we weren't in one, we wouldn't be doing it.
You're the only one who has suggested that worker's states are "cultural universals", but if it came down to a choice of imposing them or capitalist states on everyone, which is very much what is happening now, yeah, I'll take the option that has the space to let people live their lives in a variety of different ways, unconstrained by the violent depredations of capital.
Your contention that class societies and all human cultures and possible economic systems are congruent, if I'm understanding that correctly, disinclines me to continue further debate. If you truly believe class society is inescapable, then I don't know that we've got common ground to debate on.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 8:32 AM on September 10 [1 favorite]


There was poverty, but

excuse me for getting emotional, but you don't get to just shrug off 6-7 million people starving to death with a "but" ... and then have me move casually along to your next point.
posted by philip-random at 8:36 AM on September 10 [3 favorites]


Far be it from be to lecture a Marxist on what Marxism should mean. I just wanted to point specifically at the uses and abuses of 'naturalism' in promoting one obviously synthetic, totalizing world-system over another.

Marxist anthro is good-to-think and worth reading but of course there are only so many books anyone can find time for.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:38 AM on September 10 [1 favorite]


... and moving way back to my cite comment, I suppose my underlying point was that I am deeply suspicious of political arguments that start to carry the same weight as scientific facts (ie: statements of certainty "is and always will be"). I realize that there's a faculty that calls itself Political Science, but I'm not fooled. Politics is an art, as is Economics. As soon as either starts to become thought of in scientific terms, truly horrible things start happening to whoever and whatever gets in the way.
posted by philip-random at 8:43 AM on September 10 [4 favorites]


I seem to recall that Soviet advisers told the early Communists in China that revolution was not possible, because most of the Chinese population was still feudal peasants and revolution can only be achieved when China was industrialized and with a proletariat. So, Marxists criticizing each other for not being Marxist enough has always been a thing.

Oh, and after being told that, Mao basically said "Hold my tea," and won the Chinese Civil War.
posted by FJT at 8:46 AM on September 10 [2 favorites]


Seriously, the Holodomor debate again? It happened, it was terrible. At least 15 million or so in China as well, I don't know if there's an accurate count for NK but it's probably also pretty bad. Yeah, capitalism really does suck.
It also sucks in its other forms, a million dead from famine in Ireland and 5+ million dead in India. Probably dozens of other examples too.
I don't have to performatively weep tears over the victims of Stalinism every time I mention the USSR, especially when those victims are being used to elide the deaths under other forms of capitalism.

I really am confused a lot on MetaFilter, outside of newspaper selling jokes, are people pointedly ignoring Trotsykists or genuinely unaware of us? People talk a lot about Marxist theory as if there's only one, and at best they seem to imagine Marxian demsocs and hardcore tankies as the only two sides of Marxist theory. Trots, anarchists, syndicalists, and whole swathes of academia all seem to be ignored.
When people talk about "the Marxist perspective/analysis/critique" I'm often bewildered, because they rarely acknowledge that very little is settled across the board and I don't know which of a dozen different Marxist views they're trying to engage with.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 8:58 AM on September 10 [1 favorite]


If the USSR was insufficiently Marxist, then it's time to just acknowledge that Marxism isn't workable and put it to bed. If a bunch of self-described and extremely dedicated Marxists couldn't implement Marxism given complete, authoritarian control over a major world power, unfettered life-and-death power over a large chunk of the world's population, and the willingness to casually murder millions of their own people to further the political project, well, probably it's just not a very good political system. It starts to smell rather strongly like a No True Scotsman when every single time a major polity goes down that road and falls on its face, usually in a manner that involves people dying in large numbers in execution chambers or killing fields, the problem inevitably identified by the armchair dictators is that they just didn't try hard enough or do [your preferred flavor of Socialism here] properly or something.

The world has had enough of it; the left desperately needs new ideas that don't look quite so much like a raging fire outside the capitalist frying pan. As frustration with regulatory capture and other examples of engineered market failure mount, pretty much the only thing that I can imagine will keep the population chained to the oars is the threat that if they stop rowing, the Tankies will catch up and pretty soon we'll be getting bullets to the neck. Because that's really just about the only thing worse than where we are, and where any reasonable person can see we're going.

This is what is interesting about the IPPR (OP's second link) and the latest generation of progressives in general, (particularly in Britain); you can argue that the ideas aren't really new, and probably that argument has some merit—but they seem to have finally gotten away from the toxic historical baggage, and in doing so produced something that I could mention with a straight face over Thanksgiving dinner, without having a bunch of people suddenly have flashbacks of fleeing Poland. And—as several of the later links in the post allude to—there's also a growing understanding that "just do what Sweden does" isn't necessarily a complete prescription, either, because there you also had a different failure mode of theory outrunning practice (re immigration, mostly), and that needs to be taken into account if you want to avoid falling into that trap.

There are a lot of specific details in the IPPR report that I have some sideeye for, but really they're small potatoes; if people are discussing the nuts and bolts of actual, implementable policy proposals and not fantasizing about what life will be after the revolution, maaaan [bong gurgles noisily] — well, we're that much closer to actually doing something productive.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:31 AM on September 10 [11 favorites]


Seriously, the Holodomor debate again? It happened, it was terrible.

Thank you. I've encountered a chilling amount of Holodomor denial of late.

And yes, I'm aware of of "Trots, anarchists, syndicalists, and whole swathes of academia". My first three years of academia (starting in 1977) happened in a rather active and passionate so-called leftist environment. I learned a lot.

I am also aware that untold millions (perhaps billions) have died horrible deaths precisely because of capitalism and its practices, perhaps way more blood than Marxism etc has on its hands, so I'm not eliding anything. As I said, the "cite" was with regard to wording (not yours) that presented Marxist theory as defacto objective truth. If this were a different discussion and folks were presenting Capitalist theory as defacto objective truth, I'd be taking issue with that as well.

If humanity indeed has a future, I'll be very surprised if certain aspects of Marxist theory are key to what makes it somehow work. But just as Capitalism must reconcile the various horrors and holocausts unleashed in its name, so must Marxism.
posted by philip-random at 9:35 AM on September 10 [4 favorites]


Sorry if I was a little dismissive then. I've not met any Holodomor denialists IRL - although the tankies appear to be huge on Twitter. I'm used to it being brought up mainly by trolling libertarians who refuse to ascribe a single death to capitalism. Then again, tankies don't usually come by to chat, so I guess I'm sort of shielded from them sometimes.

Also, as far as the "Trots, anarchists, syndicalists, and whole swathes of academia" thing, that wasn't necessarily aimed at you, it's more of a general thing that seems to overlay an awful lot of different discussions of socialism on the blue. Sometimes there's the "preferred flavour" angle but that is usually intentionally conflating theoretical variations as insignificant.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 9:53 AM on September 10 [1 favorite]


Until the democratic state has a successful anti-capital immune system (no dark money, no corporate donors, no incentives for wealthy to gain political office, no gerrymandering, no lobbyists, no revolving doors between big business and elected offices, no separately financed electoral campaigns, serious prosecution of white-collar crimes), progressive restraints on capital are just as much a distant utopia as Fully Automated Luxury Gay Space Communism.

In America, we stand on the brink of a multi-generational project that will likely dismantle the few tatters of the New Deal that remain. No matter how strong and robust the State is, Capital will chip away at any and every law intended to constrain it. Roosevelt's plan was intended to let the Capitalists keep their heads when a huge tide of their externalized costs washed up on their doorsteps. New Deal redistribution was the alternative to socialism that was supposed to make the Capitalists and the Proles skip off into the sunset hand-in-hand. But we've seen what happens when the profit motive is allowed to slip its handcuffs. So saying socialism has failed etcetera when we're living in the failures of progressivism to mitigate the worst excesses of Capitalism is pretty interesting. What system IS going to make Capitalism finally behave if (arguably) a relatively affluent and educated democracy couldn't do it? And can we raise a structure that powerful before Capitalism destroys our environment?
posted by Kitty Stardust at 2:38 PM on September 10 [3 favorites]


Came for the discussion of scandinavian social welfare capitalism, got a bunch of Marxism is/isn't did/didn't. Glad to see we've made no progress past Rocky IV

Are the Scandinavian states economically stable? do they have growing long term problems different from less social states? Are the more or less democratic? Do these states have a tendency toward facism or communism as a result of their welfare states.

Or we could just duke it out over Putin vs Kruschev vs Czar Nicholas and grain yeild as a function of latitude.... or Mao as Marxist vs Communism as the mascot of chinese dictatorship.

Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the scandinavian states are not laisse fairies nor stalinist all property is state property... and they seem like they are not teetering on the brink of such.... maybe there are more than two stable states for political economies. Gasp
posted by Anchorite_of_Palgrave at 11:49 PM on September 10 [5 favorites]


There has been discussion of the way that Scandinavian states are still dependent on the rest of the capitalist economy, including exploitation and resource extraction outside of their borders.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 12:34 AM on September 11 [1 favorite]


not about nordic social democracies (per se!) but fwiw: worth revisiting, too, is cosma shalizi's review of francis spuford's red plenty :P
In Soviet Union, Optimization Problem Solves You: "Over 7800 words about optimal planning for a socialist economy and its intersection with computational complexity theory. This is about as relevant to the world around us as debating whether a devotee of the Olympian gods should approve of transgenic organisms. (Or: centaurs, yes or no?) Contains mathematical symbols (uglified and rendered slightly inexact by HTML) but no actual math, and uses Red Plenty mostly as a launching point for a tangent."
posted by kliuless at 6:49 AM on September 11


There has been discussion of the way that Scandinavian states are still dependent on the rest of the capitalist economy, including exploitation and resource extraction outside of their borders.

It wasn’t so much a discussion as a rhetorical point used to sweepingly dismiss the Nordic model before launching into a rant about Marx.

You know what, it might be true that the Nordic model “depends” on inequality outside its borders, although that is, of course, completely unverifiable, since the Nordic countries can’t do much on their own about how the world is organized.

I suppose we could wait until there is a One World Government to start fixing all the things at once, but that seems...crushingly stupid, and also like a good way to avoid having to do anything, ever, while lots of people who wouldn’t otherwise have to suffer and die.

So here in the realm of actual present reality, the Nordic model might actually be worthy of discussion, rather than a blanket armchair dismissal. But we didn’t get that.
posted by schadenfrau at 6:58 AM on September 11 [6 favorites]


[One deleted; please just act like you want to be talking to the people here, and just make the useful points you want to make, without couching it as a criticism of someone else for not making those points.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:37 AM on September 11


Yes, it could happen again. The flaws of American capitalism invite cycles of booms and busts - Steven Pearlstein in the Washington Post

"the financial system and American economy remain uniquely vulnerable to booms and busts because Americans have chosen a kind of capitalism that invites them, based largely on a set of flawed ideas..."

1) the idea that “greed is good” - "these norms of business behavior ... have resulted in a financial sector that has become too big, too rich and too powerful.... Wall Street has become the tail that wags the economic dog."

2) "Congress and regulators have allowed the growth of an unregulated “shadow” banking system [that has] undermined the effectiveness of bank regulation, eroded lending standards, increased leverage in the economy and turbocharged market volatility."

3) "The third flawed idea is that a high level of inequality of wealth and income is necessary for economic growth and prosperity. ...if some inequality is necessary, more is not always better. There is a point at which the distribution of rewards becomes so unequal that it discourages individual hard work and innovation and undermines ... trust and cooperation..."
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 10:35 AM on September 11 [2 favorites]


In re the new Shteyngart book, I’m reading it and am irked by the fact that he writes “rollerboard” to describe what the main character is carrying his watches around in, when I think it should be “Rollaboard”.
posted by chavenet at 3:38 PM on September 13


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