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Re: [xmca] Inside Job

The best thing we can do Carol, I think, is to work away at stitching the social fabric back together which has been so torn apart by the neo-liberal ideology coming out of the US and so enthusiastically embraced by our Great Leaders in every country in the Anglosphere, so far as I can see. Vygotsky and CHAT generally has given us a fantastic theoretical basis for understanding how that social fabric is stitched together from fibres of collaborative projects.


Carol Macdonald wrote:

Thanks for the insights.  I am horrified  to hear that the regulations were
repealed, as we (the rest of the world) thought that such a thing was not a
possibility because of the checks and stays after the Great Depression.

 Altough in South Africa we didn't have a bubble pop, we still have lots of
nepotism and the poor people are just as poor as they were pre-democracy,
and a small group of people are getting a great  deal richer. Service
delivery such as grants for pensioners, and the quality of provinicial
hospitals doesn't bear thinking about.  The govt saves billions because of
poor service delivery.
What can we (xmca) do about it?

On 30 March 2011 20:13, Jay Lemke <jaylemke@umich.edu> wrote:

I think the answer to your question, Carol, regarding how a South African
figured it out but the Chairman of the US central bank, the Secretary of the
Treasury (Finance minister), et al. did not is simply that OF COURSE they
knew EXACTLY what was happening all along.

They, and a host of other government officials and regulators, lost no
money. Some of them even made money on the crisis (see the video) both
before and after. They have been well rewarded for betraying the rest of the
nation. They are still being rewarded. Obama has appointed and re-appointed
many of the key figures. The others are paid hundreds of thousands a year
for service on the boards of Goldman Sachs and similar financial
corporations, which are making record profits again, even during the worst
global recession since the 1930s.

The US had some regulations in place for many years to prevent what
happened, but they were repealed at the initiative of the corporations,
acting in collusion with the governments of the time (including our
Democrats, the party of the people :-( ), both the administrations and the
Congress. All their supporters were well rewarded financially.

There WERE warning by a few academic economists, which were hotly and
mendaciously denied by top government officials and their colluding
economists. ALL of whom surely knew what was going on.

The common story at present is that many of these people acted out of
ideological commitment to de-regulation, free markets, etc. I do not believe
the facts support that view at all. They acted out of pure financial and
career self-interest. They are not noble men whose faith blinded them. They
are criminals who think themselves above the law, and who have nothing but
contempt for the rest of us, whom they see as inferiors, as losers in the
great game of "success" and power.


PS. This topic has a LOT to do with the core interests of xmca. It is the
tip of the iceberg of historically specific distortions of cultural
perspectives that are needed to get the colluding politicians elected, and
those deliberate distortions -- what an earlier era would have called
propaganda, or ideological hegemony -- reach into everything from the school
curriculum to social justice policies and funding decisions.

Jay Lemke
Senior Research Scientist
Laboratory for Comparative Human Cognition
University of California - San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, California 92093-0506

Professor (Adjunct status 2009-11)
School of Education
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Professor Emeritus
City University of New York

 On Mar 30, 2011, at 10:19 AM, Carol Macdonald wrote:

In this tiny corner of the universe I have been being taught business
practices by a South-African based American pastor/evangelist/prophet.
warned us 18 months ahead what was about to happen. His son had been
by a sub-prime mortgage, against his father's will from afar, and from
he exptrapolated the larger picture. We were supposed to have secured
ourselves before it happened.

Howcome -- considering that Johannesburg is not the centre of the
-- did not all the other people closer to the hub get fed the info about
upcoming catastrophe?

And our own Consumer Protection Act absolutely prevented such a thing
happening here. Here we can only get a mortgage on your disposable rather
than gross income.

But we are really concerned that there has not been a tightening of
discipline in the US.

Sorry, not the usual stuff we talk about in xmca, but deperately

On 30 March 2011 15:28, David H Kirshner <dkirsh@lsu.edu> wrote:

The whole US policy mechanism is distorted by the influence of private
funding of electoral campaigns. For instance, Clinton, at the start of
his presidency, found out the hard way that trying to enact healthcare
reform against the perceived self-interest of the healthcare industry
was an adventure that could well cost him any chance of reelection.
Obama, in trying to move along policy decisions, is simply acting within
realm of the possible.

While all of this is old had, the corruption of academia is a new and
serious twist. With everything else awry in government and corporate
cultures, the parameters for policy debate are still constrained by
academic discourse. That key economists were bought out shifted the
realm of the possible just enough to enable regulatory supervision to be
knocked out of the picture altogether, a critical underpinning of the
economic debacle. So, Jay, yes, I support your call for academics to
pressure their institutions on strengthening conflict-of-interest
policies related to research and publication. A coordinated national
push in this direction enacted through Faculty Senates could have real
effect in a relatively short time span.

What is more, whoever initiates such a campaign stands to be offered
millions in corporate co-option efforts!


-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu]
On Behalf Of Jay Lemke
Sent: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 11:40 PM
To: XMCA Forum
Subject: [xmca] Inside Job

Last night I watched a documentary film on DVD called "Inside Job". I
think that if you haven't seen it, you might well find it worthwhile to
do so, especially if you live in the US.

Basically, the film is an explanation of how the global financial
meltdown of the last 2.5 years happened, combined with an indictment of
the political and financial systems and leaders who made it happen.

On the first count, it's an impressive example of the superiority of
video over print as a medium for explaining complex phenomena. I had a
vague understanding of most of the points it makes about "derivatives"
"credit default swaps" etc., but I understood their nature and
especially their significance in relation to other larger phenomena a
LOT better after a few minutes of video than after all the reading of
print I've done over many months.

On the second count, by putting together in one narrative all the bits
and pieces of facts about this financial company and that politician
that we get in the fragmentation of most print and web-based media
(apart from books), a context was established within which to appreciate
the enormous culpability of not just the greedy traders but of
government non-regulators, policy leaders, and the highest echelons of

Of perhaps special relevant to those of us in academic institutions, it
makes a pretty good case for the corruption of many of the country's
leading academic economists, ranging from undisclosed conflicts of
interest to deliberately distorted research-for-pay.

It points out that it was the US government that was primarily at fault
in abetting the out-of-control exploitation of nearly everyone by a very
small number of profiteering firms, and that the extent of collusion
between senior government officials and those firms was staggering, over
a long period of time and administrations of both political parties, and
has not in any way ended but continues under the Obama administration

Hence, not surprisingly, there have been no major criminal
investigations of securities fraud, conflict of interest, etc. either on
the corporate side or on the government side, in the US. And the recent
financial industry reform act changed nothing basic, nor, I think one
can conclude, was its weakness just a result of Republican opposition
but must have also been a consequence of the continuing collusion of
senior Obama appointees with the financial industry.

As we all know the consequences have relevance for pretty much the whole

What are we in higher education doing to educate students about such
phenomena, which are arguably of far greater importance to their lives
and futures than our specialized subjects? Or to challenge colleagues in
economics departments and business schools on our campuses, at least to
the extent of requiring conflict of interest disclosures in their

After watching this film, I'm not feeling very happy about business as


PS. I got the DVD from Netflix. I think it's definitely worth an hour
and forty-some minutes of your time.

Jay Lemke
Senior Research Scientist
Laboratory for Comparative Human Cognition
University of California - San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, California 92093-0506

Professor (Adjunct status 2009-11)
School of Education
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Professor Emeritus
City University of New York

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