Defining Prosperity Down
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Paul Robin Krugman is Professor of Economics and International
Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at
Princeton University, Centenary Professor at the London School of Economics,
and an op-ed columnist for The New York Times. In 2008, Krugman won
the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics for his contributions to New Trade Theory
and New Economic Geography. He was voted sixth in a 2005 global poll of the
world's top 100 intellectuals by Prospect.
Krugman is giving witness to the terrible dynamic of under-employment
and unemployment that the Scriptures indicate will seize control of the world
in the "Latter Days."
I'm starting to have a sick feeling about prospects for American
workers - but not, or not entirely, for the reasons you might think.
Yes, growth is slowing, and the odds are that unemployment will rise, not
fall, in the months ahead. That's bad. But what's worse is
the growing evidence that our governing elite just doesn't care
- that a once-unthinkable level of economic distress is in the
process of becoming the new normal. [Please see our article,
"A Permanent 30%
Unemployment Rate for the United States."]
And I worry that those in power, rather than taking responsibility
for job creation, will soon declare that high unemployment is "structural,"
a permanent part of the economic landscape - and that by condemning large
numbers of Americans to long-term joblessness, they'll turn that excuse into
Not long ago, anyone predicting that one in six American workers
would soon be unemployed or underemployed, and that the average unemployed
worker would have been jobless for 35 weeks, would have been dismissed as
outlandishly pessimistic - in part because if anything like that happened,
policy makers would surely be pulling out all the stops on behalf of job creation.
But now it has happened, and what do we see?
First, we see Congress sitting on its hands, with Republicans
and conservative Democrats refusing to spend anything to create jobs, and
unwilling even to mitigate the suffering of the jobless.
We're told that we can't afford to help the unemployed - that
we must get budget deficits down immediately or the "bond vigilantes" will
send U.S. borrowing costs sky-high. Some of us have tried to point out that
those bond vigilantes are, as far as anyone can tell, figments of the deficit
hawks' imagination - far from fleeing U.S. debt, investors have been buying
it eagerly, driving interest rates to historic lows. But the fear mongers
are unmoved: fighting deficits, they insist, must take priority over everything
else - everything else, that is, except tax cuts for the rich, which must
be extended, no matter how much red ink they create.
The point is that a large part of Congress - large enough to
block any action on jobs - cares a lot about taxes on the richest 1 percent
of the population, but very little about the plight of Americans who can't
In the late 1800s the shocking inequalities between
the huge fortunes of the nation's "captains of industry"
and an ever-growing population of impoverished workers
drove Americans to grapple with questions about the
rights of workers and employers. This 1883 editorial
cartoon mocked the claims that plutocrat businessmen
were the protectors of American industries by presenting
Cyrus Field, Jay Gould, Cornelius Vanderbilt, and Russell
Sage as bloated parasites sitting on bags of "millions,"
and protective bulwarks resting on the backs industrial
workers making only $6 to $11 a week.
Well, if Congress won't act, what about the Federal Reserve?
The Fed, after all, is supposed to pursue two goals: full employment and
price stability, usually defined in practice as an inflation rate of about
2 percent. Since unemployment is very high and inflation well below target,
you might expect the Fed to be taking aggressive action to boost the economy.
But it isn't.
It's true that the Fed has already pushed one pedal to the
metal: short-term interest rates, its usual policy tool, are near zero. Still,
Ben Bernanke, the Fed chairman, has assured us that he has other options,
like holding more mortgage-backed securities and promising to keep short-term
rates low. And a large body of research suggests that the Fed could boost
the economy by committing to an inflation target higher than 2 percent.
But the Fed hasn't done any of these things. Instead, some
officials are defining success down.
For example, last week Richard Fisher, president of the Federal
Reserve Bank of Dallas, argued that the Fed bears no responsibility for the
economy's weakness, which he attributed to business uncertainty about future
regulations - a view that's popular in conservative circles, but completely
at odds with all the actual evidence. In effect, he responded to the Fed's
failure to achieve one of its two main goals by taking down the goalpost.
He then moved the other goalpost, defining the Fed's aim not
as roughly 2 percent inflation, but rather as that of "keeping inflation
extremely low and stable."
Taking down the goal post for keeping unemployment
down; that's not the Fed's business anymore.
In short, it's all good. And I predict - having seen this movie
before, in Japan - that if and when prices start falling, when below-target
inflation becomes deflation, some Fed officials will explain that that's O.K.,
What lies down this path? Here's what I consider all too likely:
Two years from now unemployment will still be extremely high, quite possibly
higher than it is now. But instead of taking responsibility for fixing the
situation, politicians and Fed officials alike will declare that high unemployment
is structural, beyond their control. And as I said, over time these excuses
may turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy, as the long-term unemployed lose
their skills and their connections with the work force, and become unemployable.
I'd like to imagine that public outrage will prevent this outcome.
But while Americans are indeed angry, their anger is unfocused. And so I worry
that our governing elite, which just isn't all that into the unemployed, will
allow the jobs slump to go on and on and on.
A NOTE FROM S.R. SHEARER:
D.R. McConnell, in his book, A Different Gospel,
"It is a strange curiosity that those Christians
who are most adamant that our's is the generation that
will see the Lord's return - and the endtime deception
and apostasy associated with his return - look for signs
of this deception outside the church, in such conspiracies
as the New Age movement, and in such cults as Mormonism,
the Jehovah's Witnesses, and Christian Science.
"Admittedly, these movements pose potential threats
to the church, but perhaps we would do better to look
for the deception of the end-times where Jesus and the
New Testament predicted it would occur: within the church,
within groups that call themselves 'Christian' but which
actually preach a different gospel."
We agree. The apostasy that the Bible says will occur
in the "end of days" is not something that is
going to take place OUTSIDE the church; rather
it is something that is going to take place INSIDE
it. But how? - that's the question. To understand the
dynamic at work here we must put what is happening to
the church in a larger context. Too many people try to
understand "last things" from only the perspective
of RELIGION. But that's not possible.
There are other dynamics at work - political, economic
and military dynamics - and all of them one way or another
impinge on the church and the apostasy that is at work
within it, transforming what we know as the ORGANIZED
church into the monster the Scriptures say it will become.
And one needs to be clear here: IT WILL OCCUR -
as sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west,
and NOTHING will stop it! The Bible says:
"Let no man deceive you by any means: for THAT
DAY (i.e., the day of Christ's return, cf vs. 2)
shall not come, except there come (first) a falling
away (i.e., Gk., apostasia - or the apostasy of the
church) first, and that MAN OF SIN BE REVEALED,
the son of perdition;
"Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that
is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as
God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that
he is God." (2 Thess. 2:3-4)
OUTSIDE DYNAMICS THAT
IMPINGE ON APOSTASY
One of these dynamics is the increasing speed at which
REAL democracy is disappearing in the world today
- contrary to what one hears being trumpeted from the
mainline press. The fact is, the world is not becoming
more democratic, but less - and it is being driven forward
in this process by the ever quickening pace of globalization
and the inexorable division of the world into a small
elite of wealthy "worthies" and a huge population
of indigent "worker-serfs" - a division that
follows in the wake of the globalization process as surely
as water flows downhill.
And it is important to note here that the division of
the earth's population in this fashion is occurring not
only in the so-called "Developing World," but
in the so-called "Developed World" as well -
so that now the meaning behind that mysterious lyric in
Rev. 6:6 becomes understandable:
"A measure of wheat for a penny [literally - denarius,
a Greek coin which represented a WHOLE DAYS wages],
and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou
hurt not the oil and the wine." (Rev. 6:6)
The meaning of this lyric is that the condition of man
during this era (i.e., the "end of days") will
be reduced to such that he will have to labor a whole
day simply to buy a loaf of bread or three measures of
barley. But the second part of the lyric [i.e., "...
and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine ..."]
means that the "hard times" of this period will
not extend to the elites. This is the common interpretation
- the one subscribed to by Ryrie, Pentecost, Ironside,
OBVIOUSLY, UNDER THE IMPRESS OF THIS KIND OF MALIGNANT
DYNAMIC, DEMOCRACY IS NOT WORKABLE. Why? - because
in societies where people are ground into the dirt by
the crush of the powerful, those responsible cannot then
expect those they have beaten down to endorse what they
have done through the so-called "democratic process."
In other words, when the elites force the poor into what
are for all practical purposes "slave-labor camps"
in countries like Thailand, Indonesia, El Salvador, Haiti,
etc. - and when they lock the gates to keep the workers
in - forcing them to make Armani shirts for 80 cents a
day at the rate of more than 100 shirts an hour in twelve
hour shifts that run seven days a week, they cannot then
expect these workers to endorse this kind of brutality
through the ballot box. Democracy - REAL democracy
- is not something the elites would want to endorse in
this kind of situation.
It's tantamount to giving the whip to the slaves and
expecting the slaves to willingly give it back so that
they can be beaten all the more! At best, in such situations
democracy must be reduced to a sham - the way it was in
the South during the era of Jim Crow where blacks (and
the poor in general) were "limited" in their
access to the "democratic process."
LEGITIMIZING ELITE POWER
If the elites, then, are unable to derive their legitimacy
as a result of a REAL appeal to the "will
of the people," how then can they derive it? After
all, ALL authority must be legitimized. Ultimately,
naked force is not enough, as the recent collapse of Communism
in the old Soviet Union and Eastern Europe clearly demonstrates.
No one group - especially a small minority (i.e., the
rich) - can assert to any great degree and over any great
length of time its superiority and right to rule based
simply on brute force.
AND IT IS PRECISELY HERE THAT RELIGION PRESENTS ITSELF
AS A USEFUL TOOL IN THE HANDS OF THE RICH!! In those
societies where an appeal to the "will of the people"
is not possible on any kind of meaningful basis, religion
gives sanction to the rule of the privileged minority
over and against the oppressed majority.
And not only that, it puts at ease the sometimes tortured
souls of those who must exercise brute power in the name
of the state - in other words, those who must do the elites'
dirty work; it allows them to believe the lie that what
they are doing, they are doing in the name of God and
as His servants; that they hold their power as a result
of "divine right" - Gott mit uns ("God
is with us"), as the belt buckles on the uniforms
of the SS read.
This is what sustained the army officers in the Argentine
military who were responsible for dumping leftist political
prisoners (men, women and children - some barely into
their teens) alive over the Atlantic from the bellies
of Argentine naval planes in the late 1970s and early
'80s: Accompanying each of the death flights were Protestant
pastors and / or Catholic priests whose job it was to
"comfort" NOT the victims but the occasionally
squeamish death squad functionary with various Scriptures
from the Bible about the necessity of "separating
the wheat from the chaff" - i.e., the Junta's enemies
from the Junta's friends.
RELIGION HELPS TO LEGITIMIZE
The truth is, until the relatively recent advent of broad
based democratic institutions and their concomitant appeal
to "the people" as a basis of legitimacy, religion
formed the foundation for most social and state authority
- and this was as true for the nations of Western Civilization
as it was for the civilizations of Asia, Africa, the Near
East and Central and South America. As a result, the state
has historically been bound up with religion either explicitly
RELIGION LEGITIMIZES STATE POWER IN SOCIETIES THAT
ARE ESSENTIALLY UNDEMOCRATIC AND CANNOT, AS A RESULT,
RELY ON THE "WILL OF THE PEOPLE" AS THE SOURCE
OF THEIR LEGITIMACY. And it should be remarked here
that religion is important to the state in INVERSE
proportion to the state's brutality. The more brutal the
state, the greater the need for its rulers to undergird
it by a resort to religion.
Historically, then, religion has operated as an INSTRUMENT
OF OPPRESSION - A MEANS THROUGH WHICH THE RICH CAN OPPRESS
THE POOR. Religion, when it operates in this capacity,
has NOTHING TO DO WITH COMPASSION, TENDERNESS AND MERCY,
AND EVERYTHING TO DO WITH THE EXERCISE OF BRUTE POWER
- and this is why the poor and the dispossessed have always
hated STATE-sanctioned religion.
When Christianity operates in this capacity; when it
serves the interests of the elites of this world, when
it becomes the servant of the state; when it becomes an
instrument of the rich to oppress the poor - IT HAS
BECOME APOSTATE. That is what apostasy is all about!
- AT LEAST IN THE FIRST INSTANCE!!
That's where it begins! The false doctrine that inevitably
follows this condition of things - i.e., apostasy - is
made necessary to mold the church to its new reality as
a servant to the rich rather than to the poor; as a servant
to the elites rather than to the downtrodden; as a servant
to the state rather than to the kingdom of heaven.
After all, what do the elites want with a religion whose
"LAY NOT UP FOR YOURSELVES TREASURES UPON THE
EARTH, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where
thieves break through and steal:
" But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where
thieves do not break through nor steal:
" For where your treasure is, there will your
heart be also." (Matt. 6:19-21)
Or what good is a religion to the elites that would
tell the rich -
"... If thou wilt be perfect, GO SELL (ALL)
THAT THOU HAST, AND GIVE IT TO THE POOR, and thou
shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me."
(Matt. 19:21) ?
We need your help to spread the word concerning Antipas Ministries and the
eschatological viewpoint it represents; WE NEED YOUR
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insofar as their loyalty to the United States is concerned
- a loyalty that has made them partners in the BLOODY
trail the American military has left in its TERROR-RIDDEN
rampage throughout the world, as well as making them partners
in the abject poverty that American corporations have
imposed on the peoples and nations the American military
machine has ravaged - A BLOODY, TERROR-RIDDEN RAMPAGE
THAT HAS TO A LARGE DEGREE BEEN CARRIED OUT IN THE NAME
OF THE "PRINCE OF PEACE." [Please see our articles,
"The Third World
as a Model for the New World Order," Inside
the American New World Order System" and "The
American Empire: The Corporate / Pentagon / CIA / Missionary
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