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"A Conversation with Paul Craig Roberts: Transitions; Morals; Alliances and Dissolutions

By       Message Gary Corseri     Permalink
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PCR: I'm not an immoralist, I hope!

GC: I'm wondering about your background". You mention God, not thinking of ourselves, and so forth" What about your upbringing? Can you tell us how these values were inculcated?

PCR: You know", it was a different world". People had to be able to look themselves in the mirror--and that meant you had to have behaved correctly. Today, it has almost turned around! The only way you can look yourself in the mirror is if you got the better of someone else. It's like the Wall Street culture has taken over". And, if we look at American foreign policy--what it's about is prevailing! It's not about diplomacy; it's about the application of force. Our diplomacy is: If you don't do as we say, we're going to bomb you into the Stone Age. This is not the country I grew up in!

GC: What country did you grow up in? Did you go to Church every week"?

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PCR: I grew up in the United States! And the people I grew up with--their values, their way of life--were formed in earlier times; their behavior, their appearance, their way of thinking reflected the kinds of values that were the basis of the country--when such values were still effective" or somewhat effective. It was before those values had been worn out and discarded. So, in that sense, I'm a remnant of when we were finer than we are today". And the kinds of things that happen today simply couldn't have happened earlier. I think that a great deal has been lost".

GC: Staying with this theme of things lost; values worth retaining and reclaiming". You bring up Revolution in some of your recent work, and even in your book, LOST". Other writers I respect talk openly now about Revolution--Chris Hedges, for example". I wonder if it's possible to organize Global Resistance against what is, in fact, a Global Empire? Is there any chance for us to unite globally" and resist?

PCR: I have no way of knowing". I suspect it would be very difficult. There's so much disinformation, misinformation and propaganda. I suspect what will lead to change will simply be failure. The United States is probably in a failing mode; because it has probably overreached; its ambitions are unrealistic; and its economic base is being hollowed out. When you spend 20 years exporting your manufacturing and industrial jobs, and all of your tradable professional service jobs--like software engineering, for example--you deprive your own people". When jobs that American university graduates used to take are now offshored, or filled by H1-B foreign workers who are brought in at much-reduced pay, then you are decimating your own population which is losing its vitality, its ability to rise as all the ladders of mobility are dismantled and there's no growth in incomes and career prospects become dim. The country that is so foolish as to export its own economy, to give its gross domestic product to other countries--that country hasn't any prospects. And, if that country's power also rests heavily on its currency being the "reserve currency"" and the US government erodes confidence in the dollar by incessantly creating new money in order to support new debt--as the Federal Reserve has been doing since the 2007-2008 economic collapse--you undermine the confidence of the world in your currency. And, if they abandon its use as the reserve currency, then your power has gone down the drain". And we see now, that the Obama regime threatening Russia with sanctions--it shows the complete unawareness of the United States government of its precarious position" because when you threaten a major country with sanctions their alternative is to leave the dollar-paying system, as the Russians are now doing, along with China. So, if you drive them out of the payment system, what happens to your power? And others will follow". I think the prospect for change will be in some sort of American collapse. It has to be coming because every part of the foundation has been undermined.

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GC: Has that been intentional? Some people argue that the globalists actually do want to pauperize the American population, and make it docile, and increase our military strength everywhere while at the same time the people are becoming--

PCR: Gary, that doesn't make any sense to me". Because, they're American-based, and there's nothing they gain by losing the power base. If Americans are impoverished, certainly the globalists aren't in control in China. And, they're not in control of Putin. So", it can look like that, but I think it's mainly just hubris and stupidity. What was Hitler thinking when he decided to invade the Soviet Union? He wasn't!

GC: Well" I don't think he was positive that Britain would attack him when he did that--when he attacked Poland.

PCR: People make mistakes. And I would never think that, as mistake-prone as people are, that they can organize the world in conspiracies. That implies that people don't make mistakes--especially these conspiracies that people think have been going on for centuries". We see every day that people make mistake after mistake" That undermines my calculus that there can be some kind of global conspiracy. Again, what do they gain from undermining their own power-base? Their assets are here".

GC: I do have a question related to this. I've been preparing for this, so let me go through it. You can berate me, but l'll ask it anyway. If you were one of the super-elite and had the power they have, is it not likely that you would conspire with your peers to maintain your power against the masses who opposed you? Like the Titans who would rather eat their children than surrender power to the upstart gods".

PCR: Well, logically, it seems that you would do that. But, what we do know is that most people are so competitive with each other that they can't get along. I mean, even families can't hold together! So, when these guys are out competing about who has the biggest yacht" or one's mad because he's only got 3 Penthouse playmates, and the other guy's got half a dozen" and one guy's mad because he's only got 10 billion dollars but the other guy's got 15 billion" and his jet plane is bigger than my jet plane! When you see all this endless competition between individuals among the elite--the notion that they're somehow going to sit down and agree on how they're going to do anything". I mean, nobody can hold together! The Beatles couldn't hold together! Who had a better thing going than the Beatles? I mean, it's "first me!" First guy comes along and he says, Okay, I'm going to be the leader of this". He steps in and soon everybody else is trying to get him out because they want to be the leader! And the policy goes to hell! I mean, in the Reagan Administration--it was all we could do to get the President's economic program out of his own Administration: it was a drag-out fight! If Treasury had not been willing to take that burden, it wouldn't have happened. We had to make endless enemies within our own government to do what the President wanted. And there aren't many people in government who will do that! It just so happened that that particular Treasury had some feisty, fighting people, and they were backed up by the Secretary" That's rare. Usually, nobody can agree! Or, everybody thinks what he wants was the agreement! And each proceeds on the basis of his own agenda. So, I think that the elites--not all of them" there are some very nice ones--but the politically active ones are mainly concerned with maintaining their wealth and power. As to whether they can form up to something tight that holds a line" like an old-time Mafia group". See, today the Mafia can't even hold together! If the Mafia can't hold together, how can these competitive, rich, educated guys who are jealous of each other?

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GC: I'm trying to make a point that" if they can't hold together against each other" but, against the masses, don't they hold a solid line?

PCR: I don't think there's a "solid line" because I think there are disagreements among elites. Some of them are really nasty, and some of them have a social conscience. I knew Sir James Goldsmith--he was a billionaire; he spent the last years of his life fighting for the people against the E.U.! I knew Roger Milliken. He was a textile magnate, a billionaire. He spent his entire life" not on yachts with Playboy bunnies, but fighting for American jobs--in the Congress! He was totally opposed to all this offshoring of jobs! That doesn't mean there's not a whole bunch of bad ones; they do conspire--but they're conspiring for themselves. Plus, you know, if a group like that was seen as a threat to some particular country--like the United States--the CIA would assassinate them! If the CIA wants to kill every billionaire, they can do it tomorrow. So, it's really not so much about individuals as it is about corporate interests, or sector interests--agribusiness, Wall Street--those guys seem to fix it somehow so that all of them can gain from it, even though they try to cut each other's throats! That's a different kind of maneuvering--and that's the kind we have to be worried about at this time.

GC: You make some solid, perhaps indisputable points, that there isn't one unified "elite." That some of the worst aspects of human nature--our selfishness, greed, hubris, even stupidity--militate against such unity. Still, having no desire to join that group" I wonder about the possibility of alliances among us children of a lesser God? Ralph Nader has a new book, UNSTOPPABLE. He proposes an alliance of Left and Right. I've been wondering for a long time: Is there any way we can work together and transcend these political divisions, these ideological divisions, and find common ground?

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Gary Corseri has published & posted his work at hundreds of venues worldwide, including Op Ed News, The New York Times, CounterPunch, CommonDreams, DissidentVoice, L.A. (and Hollywood--) Progressive. He has been a professor in the US & Japan, has (more...)

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