Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Philanthropy of Financiers: excerpt 4

rather than mine the classics, Clinton takes his theory from in-house thinkers like Bob Rubin, formerly of Goldman Sachs, and Bob Reich, formerly of Harvard - Reich believes that in a world of mobile capital, countries can prosper only by making the immobile factors of production, infrastructure and the workforce, more comely in capital's eyes - this was the thinking behind Clinton's campaign promises to invest in things and people - Reich's argument was expressed in cruder form by David Mulford, Bush's Undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs (a post now held by Larry "Africa is Vastly Underpolluted" Summers) - "the countries that do not make themselves more attractive will not get investors' attention - this is like a girl trying to get a boyfriend - she has to go out, have her hair done up, wear makeup" - tart yourself up for Mr. Capital.

but the other Bob didn't like the invest-in-people talk; Rubin and his friends prefer to invest in bonds, and bondholders love deficit reduction, a slow economy, and lowered expectations - campaign promises for increased public investment, tiny as they were, turned into real investment cuts, and export promotion became the magic bullet - Clinton has apparently decided the US economy, with all its fiscal ills, cannot power itself, and must rely on new foreign markets to do the trick - unfortunately, 120 other countries have the same idea.

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