Sanders and Free Market Mythology

berniesandersby Claire Goldstene

Bernie Sanders’ candidacy has the potential to bust up common mythmaking about the free market.

Bernie Sanders’s announcement that he’s running for the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nomination is welcome news. Sanders could foster a more honest national conversation about economics, especially our national attachment to the myth of the free market. This mythology has long diverted attention from the reality of a corporate-dominated system. The too-frequent failure to describe the economy accurately limits our ability to address the problem of extreme inequality.

The myth of the free market centers on its historical connection to the capitalism of Adam Smith and the concepts of individual liberty, freedom, and democracy – concepts that helped provide a sense of national self-definition. And, this myth has crucially shaped discussions about American economic policy. These include whether or not government regulation of economic behavior constitutes an intrusion into the realm of individual rights; whether or not concentrated financial power is a social good or ill; and whether or not social and economic inequities reflect individual or systemic failings.

Candidates of both major political parties share an affinity for the rhetoric, beneficence, and presumed reality of the free market. Republican Ted Cruz proclaimed that, “the American free market system is the greatest engine for prosperity and opportunity that the world has ever seen.” Fellow Republican Marco Rubio, echoing a Tea Party slogan, declared that “the government should not be picking winners and losers when it comes to the free market.” Democrat Hillary Clinton has expounded on the global role of the United States as the exemplar of “democracy and freedom and free market economics,” and, while Republican Carly Fiorina has complained that “we don’t have a free market in this country today; we have crony capitalism,” she advocates a return to a free market that will “unleash human potential.”

What to make of all this praiseworthy rhetoric? For theorists of capitalism, such as Adam Smith, Friedrich Hayek, and Milton Friedman, the “free market” has a specific historic meaning and its appeal rests on its capacity to diffuse concentrated power and, thus, reward individual achievement. Price competition among small-scale entrepreneurs, where no single buyer or seller accrues sufficient power to control price, drives the productive innovation and efficiency that capitalism promises, as sellers seek an advantage over one another. This all results in lower prices for consumers, continual economic expansion, and greater employment. Capitalism’s free market, the thinking goes, dilutes financial and political power, which eliminates the need for public regulation of private economic behavior.

A properly functioning free market cannot tolerate either monopoly or oligopoly, both of which destroy the price competition on which the capitalist model depends. The outcome of a few firms controlling an industry, as compared to a single firm, are no different since both destroy the free market. Amid a reality of corporate enterprise, small-scale producers cannot compete, and are either absorbed into larger firms or exit the economic arena altogether. And those that remain, in order to avoid a damaging price-cutting war that can potentially subsume all the businesses in a given industry by lowering prices below cost, must collude on pricing.

Late-nineteenth century industrial leaders learned quickly that the chaos of the free market interfered with profits and, further, that productive efficiencies required planned and predicable coordination, as well as general agreements about pricing. As Andrew Carnegie explained, the imperatives of big business meant that industry needed to operate “independent[ly] of the market.” By 1900, one percent of corporations produced one-third of all goods, and 12 percent of corporations controlled 84 percent of productive wealth. These large-scale enterprises generated the productive capacity so widely celebrated in the post-Civil War years. The promise of material abundance at lower cost was realized, not through the free market but, instead, through economic concentration in the form of oligopolistic enterprise.

In response, some early and mid-twentieth century economic reformers promoted anti-trust legislation, though this only replaced monopoly with oligopoly. Others sought to further regulate corporate power in order to more broadly share the wealth it generated and to provide a social safety net rather than institute socialism or pursue a return to an idyllic free market. However, over the last thirty years both Democrats and Republicans, all in the name of the free market, rolled back earlier checks on corporate power by deregulating industry, entering into trade agreements that undermined domestic workers, and weakening social programs. Predictable inequalities of wealth resulted, as economic power accrued to a handful of corporations, further subverting any pretense of a free market.

Language matters. To successfully address the systemic social and economic inequities that now plague the United States requires that we clearly identify their source, acknowledge the realities of corporate power, and abandon rhetoric that, though rooted in a compelling mythology, fails to do so.

Here’s hoping the candidacy of Bernie Sanders can make that happen.

Claire Goldstene has taught United States history at the University of Maryland, the University of North Florida, and American University. The author of The Struggle for America’s Promise: Equal Opportunity at the Dawn of Corporate Capital (2014), she can be reached at

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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  1. Davis Progressive

    since we can actually talk about politics here – i’ll be supporting sanders for president.  i will not be supporting hillary even in the general election.

  2. Frankly

    Sanders is a whack job.  Says a few things that makes sense, but generally is just a grumpy old academic socialist who had the misfortune being born into a country that irritates his senses.

    1. Marina Kalugin

      docs please, Frankly…..I suppose you have the educational background and proper MD credentials to assess whether one is a “whack job” or not..

      and, you have seen the proper tests run on Mr. Sanders to back up our statement?

  3. Frankly

    During the late 19th and early 20th century many people immigrated to the US because of the freedoms they would enjoy and for the economic opportunites they would enjoy.  There were no safety nets other than their own self-determination.  Many realized their expectations. They were and are the producers. But a percentage did not.  Many actually returned to their country of origin because the US was not for them.  The competition, the stress, the hard work, the constant strive to earn for themselves and for their family… the contribution for the benefits of freedom they would enjoy… they could not hande it.  They  needed someone to take care of them… make them feel safe from the probable destruction from their own actions or lack of actions.  Thankfully they went home.

    But we changed this system for the worst.  FDR was the primary cause.  The US government became the giant charity to take care of the people that lacked or had under-developed self-determination skills.  And then this attracted a new type of immigrant… the moocher… the type that previously would have packed up and went back home.

    And over time some of these people became wealthy from their economic connections with the growing giant charity that FDR launched.  They are the looters, and their power in a democratic system is the large and growing population of moochers.

    These terms producers, looters and moochers where coined in the book Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.  Read Atlas Shrugged to understand that relationship of these three actors in the US economy and society.

    The book is of course fiction, but the hair stands up on the back of the neck seeing it play out today.  And in that story Sanders is a hazzard.  He plays the villian.

    1. Don Shor

      There is a long history of social democracy in the United States, going back to the 19th Century. Bernie Sanders comes from a truly American tradition, more strongly reflected in some states (Vermont, Minnesota, Oregon) than others. I won’t be supporting him for a variety of reasons, but viewing him through the simplistic lens of Ayn Rand’s warped philosophy really discredits not just him, but a whole portion of our history.
      It’s really bizarre to discuss FDR and criticize him without even a hint of the context of the Great Depression.
      Sanders won’t win. Everyone knows that. But he’ll contribute to the discussion and he reflects one part of American values. Not the values you like, but they’re American.

      1. Frankly

        Yes Sanders will contribute to the conversation.  As evident by both our posts.  From my perspective he serves as a great opportunity to illustrate the aims and motivations of anti-American forces within our midst.

        You are not unlike many people with a similar ideological tendencies to attempt to redefine what is American as something that is not American… and it is not a foundational construct of thise country for government to make everything equal for everyone that lives here.   The foundational construct is for government to stay the hell out of the way of people being able to succeed or fail on their own merit.

        1. Don Shor

          I am not redefining what an American is, Frankly. You’ve played this card before and it’s tiresome. I’m an American. You’re an American. Bernie Sanders is an American. Your definition

          The foundational construct is for government to stay the hell out of the way of people being able to succeed or fail on their own merit

          is not some universally or even broadly accepted definition of American values. It’s what libertarian conservatives might value, and libertarian conservatives are Americans. But so are social democrats — even socialists — from Vermont.
          Quit denigrating people who don’t share your values as un-American or anti-American. You and your fellow conservatives have no monopoly on American values.

          1. Don Shor

            This map from Colin Woodard’s book American Nations is a good illustration of the range of values and beliefs that Americans have. This particular article is about violence and gun control, but it serves as a useful illustration of how Americans from different regions bring different backgrounds and values to many debates.
            Bernie Sanders is a Yankee.

            Yankeedom has, since the outset, put great emphasis on perfecting earthly civilization through social engineering, denial of self for the common good, and assimilation of outsiders. It has prized education, intellectual achievement, communal empowerment, and broad citizen participation in politics and government, the latter seen as the public’s shield against the machinations of grasping aristocrats and other would-be tyrants. Since the early Puritans, it has been more comfortable with government regulation and public-sector social projects….

            Clearly you are not. But that doesn’t mean your values reflect our country any more or less than his do.

        2. Frankly

          This article is an attack on the foundational principles of our well designed governance and economic system.  It is  a system that is imperfect because of fundemental human bebavior, but it is by far better than any other.  It is not a state system as Don so sneakily attempts to deflect the debate to.  Those that attack it at it’s foundation are traitorous.  We can and should debate around the edges, but never the foundation.  The fact that there are zero alternative examples  pointed to as models for us to pursued is evidence that the people attacking the foundation are to be attacked back.

        3. Davis Progressive

          “This article is an attack on the foundational principles of our well designed governance and economic system.”

          hard to take you seriously when you talk like that

          1. Don Shor

            Most countries, including the United States, have mixed economies. We vary as to the amount of government spending as a percentage of GDP, the extent of regulation, how big or common or extensive state-owned enterprises are. But it’s a spectrum, so Frankly has posed a demand (“show me something better!”) that basically can’t be answered, and then the absence of an answer syllogistically leads him to conclude that he is correct (“there are zero alternative examples!”). And thus we are all traitors, sneaky, and need to be attacked if we don’t agree with him.
            I’d say mixed economies are probably “best” and that is probably why most countries have them.
            Yeah, hard to take him seriously sometimes.

        4. Frankly

          To write ideas to improve what is the foundation of our system, democratic free-market capitalism, you get my positive participation.  To attack in in an obvious attempt to destruct this system and transform it to something else, without one single example of what that something else is, is in fact, worthy of attack.

          I am fiercely protective of the foundation of our system being based on the principles of capitalism.  And our system is democratic capitalism, meaning that we can and should enact policies and rules to ensure our social system is as optimized as possible.  I am sick and tired of the historical reference to child labor laws and racial bias and gender bias as a the continued cheap and lazy example for why we should denegrate the system when the people doing it are sitting fat and happy in their good life made good by all those things they rail against.

          We can and should debate how we make it better, not attack it as the source of the problems.

          Attack it anf get attacked back.  Live with it.

    2. hpierce

      Funny you should cite Ayn Rand… a Russian (and Jewish) born, self avowed atheist, upset because her middle-class life was turned upside down by the Russian revolutions.

      I guess you view someone who never participated in the economy, other than writing opinions and fiction, (which contributes to society, maybe), as an icon.  OK… you’re entitled.

      Or, perhaps, she was a “moocher”.  Not quite in the same way you used the term, but…


    3. Tia Will


      Says a few things that makes sense”

      If he says some things that make sense, why not focus and elaborate on those rather than write him off as a “whack job” ?

      they could not hande it.  They  needed someone to take care of them… make them feel safe from the probable destruction from their own actions or lack of actions”

      For me, this is a fundamental flaw in your thinking on this issue. You tend to define only one group of people as being unable to “handle it” or  in “need of someone to take care of them”.

      What your argument ignores is that there is no one defined point in time for any individual in they are now completely free of their past including their genetic potential, their in utero environment, their experiences with childhood parenting. Your premise that all can succeed if they just work hard enough and make the right decisions is simply not true. It is not the case that the individual with an IQ of 70 will have the same opportunities of the individual whose IQ is 120. It is not the case that a baby born at 26 weeks gestation because his placenta stopped working and began peeling off the uterine wall because his mother was using meth will have the same chances for as the term baby born to a mother who used no drugs or alcohol through her entire pregnancy. There is no way that statistically speaking, a child raised in abject poverty will have the same intellectual development and chances for academic success as will a child of a wealthy couple.

      Now I can’t wait for all those who would say, well the parents should have made better choices, and I would completely agree. However, that is not the fault of the child, and those children should not have to suffer for the poor decision making of their parents. As a society, we would be much better off if we were to provide sufficient resources in a comprehensive rather than  disjointed, disorganized manner so that no member of our society has to live in poverty which limits both their potential for maximal contribution as well as the ability of society to benefit from their maximal contribution.

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        I agree with much of what you say here, I agree that not everyone was raised in an optimal environment. I was not raised in an optimal environment, many weren’t.

        My questions are, do we want to encourage non-productive behaviors; and do we want to import tens of millions more who use social services far greater than the average American citizen, and don’t share our traditional American characteristics and mindset?

        I am not against legal immigrants. I am for Americans, for the American poor and middle class which are fighting to keep their head above water, and for the underprivileged legal citizens getting the help that they need.

        We are dramatically altering the free market and signals sent with a variety of unproductive policies and perverse incentives for individuals, politicians, and businesses.

        1. Tia Will


          do we want to encourage non-productive behaviors”

          Of course not. But there seem to be two opposing points of view on how best to avoid this outcome. There is the point of view that holds that if someone is dependent, then they are not worth helping and they should be forced to either fend for themselves or be written off. There is the opposing view, which I hold ,that the best way to not encourage non-productive behaviors is not to punish them, but rather to reward the behaviors that we define as productive. This leads me to the conclusion that we should provide stipends for people attending school, not charge them for that privilege. We should reward those whose best contribution might be to care for our children, our elderly or clean our buildings, not make their legitimate work provided for free or some sum that leaves them dependent on government supplements to live. Instead of vilifying young people for having children outside of marriage, we should provide them with a stipend for every year in which they do not have an unplanned, unsupported child.

          Unfortunately in my view, our society has chosen to operate on a negative rather than a positive incentive system. We do not have to maintain this. It is a matter of choice.

          and don’t share our traditional American characteristics and mindset?”

          I do not believe that “our traditional American characteristics and mindset” are as uniform as you seem to see them. I do not believe in American exceptionalism. I do not self identify as a member of any of the religious groups that are considered by most to be mainstream American. I do not believe that we have a free market system whether that would be good, bad, or indifferent. I do not believe that “our culture” ( in quotes because I do not believe that there is any one defining culture) is necessarily better than that of any other people. I believe that all cultures have features that are positive and others that are negative and that our goal as people should be to steadily strive to incorporate that which strengthens us all. And, I do not believe that this makes me any less an American than anyone else who posts here.

    4. TrueBlueDevil

      I grew up in a family of Democrats where FDR was worshiped by the older generation. “FDR did a lot of things to help the common man” said one of my elders. Even though I took various history classes at UCD, I never heard or read a critical analysis of his time as president. Our family struggled.

      Years ago I read an analysis of his presidency by the UCLA Graduate School of Management. They estimated that his policies prolonged the Depression, I think their estimate was 7 years.

      Various sectors of my family struggled during the Carter years, but virtually everyone did well during the Ronald Reagan years and Bush Sr.. Several friends close to the family who are African American opened businesses – 1 blue collar, 3 white collar. In my experiences, it looked like many were helped. Our tastes, capabilities, and expectations also changed. BBQs went from hot dogs, hamburgers, and Budweiser, to chicken or steak, and Heineken.

      Can anyone here name a critical, fair economic analysis of FDR beyond the UCLA study?

  4. Frankly

    Here is a challenge for people that think the US system of democratic free market capitalism is so bad… idenitify the system that is the correct model.  What country past or present is that model we should pursue? And don’t point to Finland with the population of Vermont that are 80% enthnic Finns… a tiny country that would not exist today without the US military it from those that would have counquered it.

    The lack of any compariable existing model past or present is all the proof we need that Goldstene and Sanders are working for themselves and not for us.

    1. Don Shor

      How about if you identify which state within the United States you feel is the “correct” (love your absolutism) model? North Dakota, with all those collectives? Texas? California? I can guess. But we don’t have a single unified version of “democratic free market capitalism” in the United States, nor are the states all the same with respect to the model that has evolved. During the health care debate it was common for proponents of various iterations to put forth the health care coops that exist in some of the northern tier states — where there are also many rural electric cooperatives. In some states corporations weren’t (aren’t?) allowed to buy farmland. Some states have barely any environmental regulations. As you know, we have a mixed economy, and in the different parts of the country it reflects the traditions for or against collectivism and regulation that are regionally traditional.
      When you shay “Goldstene and Sanders are working for themselves and not for us” — who do you mean by “us”?

      1. Frankly

        Nice try Don.  I’m not the one on the transform American train.   I would prefer that we take it back to its Constitutional foundation because I know it is the best ever.

        So back to you.  What is that model that we should strive for since the one we have is not the one you appreciate?

        1. wdf1

          Frankly:   I would prefer that we take it back to its Constitutional foundation because I know it is the best ever.

          The one that originally institutionalized slavery and didn’t allow women the right to vote?

        2. Don Shor

          I appreciate the one we have just fine. I lean toward the states that have more environmental regulation. I’m pretty fond of Oregon compared to Texas. I’m not trying to transform America.
          Which state do you prefer?

        3. TrueBlueDevil

          Oregon, interesting choice. A small state of 4 million, 88% white, only 2% African American and 12% Latino (not accounting for possible illegal immigrant numbers).

      2. TrueBlueDevil

        How about America between 1982 – 1992? That’s a good start.

        Some years we had 7% GDP growth, and over Reagan’s term as president we added to our economy I believe the GDP of West Germany to our already robust economy, which is amazing.

        I do think we do need some regulation to prevent monopolies or to prevent illegal behavior like the age discrimination used in the H1B Visa fiasco, which hammers the middle class or upper end of the middle class.

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          Many argue we should simply re-introduce Glass-Steagall Act, which was shelved by both sides of the isle. Bill Clinton signed it into law.

        1. hpierce

          “without too much government intrusion”… yes, child labor wasn’t intruded upon, no minimum wage at all, price collusion, no worker safety standards, pollute rivers and streams to your heart’s content, etc.  Certainly we should go back to that!

    2. Tia Will


      idenitify the system that is the correct model.  What country past or present is that model we should pursue?”

      I think that you are asking the wrong question. The issue is not to identify a previous model that is ideal, but rather to ask the question ” Could we not design a model that would be better using the strongest points from all perspectives ?”

      Before the United States existed there had not been a large scale representative democracy. And yet here we are, not because our founding fathers decided that they had to have an exact model to copy, but rather because they believed in themselves and their dream that a better system could be devised. I believe that we can do better without compromising our fundamental strengths. It saddens me that someone with your intelligence and insight, does not seem to be able to aspire to anything higher than the blinded one dimensional thinking of a clearly biased novelist. And yes, I have read Atlas Shrugged twice, as well as The Fountainhead and We the Living, and I thoroughly reject her idea that each individual should act in their own perceived best interest to the degree that they have no concern for anyone other than themselves, even to the point of glorifying a rapist, murderer. This is not even a successful strategy for a wolf pack, let alone the highly social animals that are humans. Yes, it is true that we can act in only in our own personal self interest, but how much stronger are we both as individuals and as a society  if define a goal as a group and then work towards that goal collaboratively ?

        1. Tia Will


          It sounds like you are dodging Frankly’s simple question.”

          I do not believe Frankly’s question to be a simple one. I do not believe that there is a single model that I would choose for the US to emulate. I believe in a process which would consider the totality of the values that we honor, not just who is the most economically successful. Then I would look at which societies have been the most successful in promoting each value. Then I would investigate how each society has attained their achievement in the area in question and find ways to incorporate each best practice into our own system.

          You may call this a dodge, I call it the way systems are improved. The best way to improve a system in my experience is not to simply assert that my way is the best, but rather to learn from those who have developed other techniques and incorporate their most successful processes into my own. This is what I believe that we should be doing as a society.


    1. Frankly

      DP ask yourself about the myth of capitalism while you type your next not well founded reason for supporting Socialist Sanders on that marvelous machine brought to you by the very thing he claims is a myth.

      The “myth” is that those that rail against capitalism are capable of even understanding and calculating the benefits while they leverage every miniscule social challenge as justification for why it needs to be scrapped.

      Again, neither you nor Don nor Tia nor Sanders has any alternative model to point to.  Ya’ll would just destruct it to validate your worldview and enable alternatives that either don’t exist because they don’t exist or those that have already proven drastically fatal for the people captive within them.

      The only ‘myth’ is that of those that rail against capitalism have a clue and should be listened to.

      Joe McCarthy is needed at this point in time.

      1. Don Shor

        neither you nor Don nor Tia nor Sanders has any alternative model to point to. Ya’ll would just destruct it to validate your worldview and enable alternatives that …

        Just to clarify, since you don’t seem to read what I write: I won’t be voting for Bernie Sanders, I think a mixed economy is the best balance, and I don’t wish to “destruct” anything in particular. I simply wish you to stop trying to claim a monopoly on American values.

        I went back and reread the article that sparked your rage. It’s actually pretty innocuous. I think your reaction is out of proportion, to put it mildly.

        I’m glad Bernie Sanders is in the race for the same reasons that I’m glad Rand Paul is in the race. I won’t be voting for either of them, but they do expose some fault lines within their respective parties and might help broaden the conversations. I know none of the frontrunners in either party really want to get very specific, preferring instead to give us bland packaged campaigns. I’d like them pinned down on things like foreign intervention, health care, banking regulations, immigration, environmental protection, and more.

      2. Frankly

        Here is where the article devolved into drivvel.

        In response, some early and mid-twentieth century economic reformers promoted anti-trust legislation, though this only replaced monopoly with oligopoly. Others sought to further regulate corporate power in order to more broadly share the wealth it generated and to provide a social safety net rather than institute socialism or pursue a return to an idyllic free market. However, over the last thirty years both Democrats and Republicans, all in the name of the free market, rolled back earlier checks on corporate power by deregulating industry, entering into trade agreements that undermined domestic workers, and weakening social programs. Predictable inequalities of wealth resulted, as economic power accrued to a handful of corporations, further subverting any pretense of a free market.

        Deregulating industry? Weakening social programs?  oligopoly?

        What planet does one come from thinking these things?

        The problems we face today are primarily because of the explosion of social spending and hyper regulations. The lack of competition from the business bottom up is because of the cost imposed on new business starts.  In other words, the weakening of the principles of free market capitalism.  The biggest business enemy of small business is government… high taxes, high regulations, lower returns that chase away capital access.

        The myth here is that there is anything useful in what this author or Sanders has to say on this topic.

  5. tribeUSA

    Though we are nominally a democratic nation with a free-market economic system, in reality we have been transitioned, and are nearly completely transitioned, into an oligolopic system; which steers both the government and the markets. Most of the major markets–energy, banking/finance, telecommunications, media/entertainment, electronics, etc. are oligopolies–we actually allow ‘too big to fails’ to exist without a program to break them up–how do we know the degree of soft (or perhaps harder) influence they currently have on government? Furthermore, most of the oligarchs are internationalists, with no particular loyalty to the USA; USA citizens are just another potential source of labor and a potential market to them, along with people of other countries.

    I am all for a free-market system of small to medium size businesses; but this is not what constitutes the majority of the business activity in the USA anymore.

    Back between about 1950-2000 when the USA did have about the best standard of living in the world, I remember hearing sentiments aired that other countries could benefit from the good example of the USA; i.e. that imitating some of the ways of economic life of the USA should be a good idea. Now it appears that the Scandanavian countries have the best overall quality of life & standard of living (though this is degrading due to (1) getting into debt-thrall to the international banking system (2) importing too many immigrants from incompatable cultures and traditions; (1) and (2) are related, which I may explain later). Why not examine the factors of scandanavian economies that help to make for such a good quality of life (generally somewhat shorter working hours, less economic inequality, less stress, and comparable material standards of living?)

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      We seem to be hammering our workers on both ends, H1B Visa’s at $40,000 per year displacing the $100,000 per year programmer, and illegal immigrants transforming the $50-70,000  per year job into a $30,000 per year job. Not a good trajectory. Disney and Southern California Edison are among those who have laid off well-paying programmers and had them train foreign H1B Visa indentured servants as replacements.

      While I agree with some of what you say, I disagree with your some of your comments per Northern Europe. It has been known for several decades that their social programs were to “rich”, and their taxes too high, driving jobs elsewhere. A vacuum is considered a luxury item, so it qualifies for an extra whopping tax surcharge, and if you want o lay off a worker, you have to give them 6 weeks notice. These are just 2 examples. I guess when they had a highly educated, hard working populace, they could support these programs, but that has changed.

      While I have never been to Sweden, I was warned not to go to Malmo, Sweden, 15 years ago, and only through the advent of the Internet do I now know why. While it seems like some of the mainstream press try to avoid the topic, there are thousands of links that come back with Malmo being having a “rape epidemic”, various articles about Muslim gangs, and claims that 5% of the population account for 75% of their social ills / crime / child rapes.  The new conservative PM of Norway has deported over 6,000 radical Muslims, and violent crime has dropped 31% in the same period.

      I’ve heard great things about Australia, the Czech Republic, Singapore, and Chile.

      1. tribeUSA

        Yes, I agree that some of the scandanavian social programs were clearly unsustainable (mainly pensions–retirement age not raised to adapt to reality of greatly increased lifespan), and an argument could be made that this has been the root of their recent decline (debt-thrall to the international bankers; who in turn via the EU have pressured social policies that include high levels of immigration, including massive immigration from incompatable cultures of the middle east and africa, the attendant social discord and social services, law enforcement, etc. expense has put them further in debt to the banks, thus further in thrall to the diktats of the banks/EU).

        Good to hear the new conservative PM has a backbone, and has started to export the particular immigrants many of whom are literally raping the country–hopefully immigration is being much more tightly restricted (I haven’t kept up with this; I suspect the insidious destructive influence/power of the EU may not allow them to stringently reform their immigration policies). It is mainly the USA and Europe who have in recent decades begun to suffer from the deleterious effects of mass immigration–it is not that immigration in itself is a bad thing, but the rate of flow of immigrants has been much too high and needs to be scaled way back.

        I visited Prague for about 10 days (5 days geology conference and 5 days holiday afterwards) in 2000, was a beautiful city then, was interesting to see how superbly designed and constructed most of the older (pre-soviet) buildings were, with exquisite craftsmanship. Both in Prague and in the countryside the contrast betweem soviet-era houses and buildings and other buildings (particularly pre-soviet) was stark–most of the soviet era houses and buildings were stark and ugly beyond what I had ever imagined possible, as if the designers had deliberately sought to build the most repulsive structures possible; in contrast to the elegance and craftsmanship of pre-soviet buildings and houses (the post-soviet houses were neither as repulsive as the soviet era structures nor as elegant and finely built as the pre-soviet buildings–I fear the tradition of fine craftsmanship/carpentry did not survive the soviet era, much as it has been mainly lost in the USA, except for the very high end homes, with decline dating back to shift to tract mass-produced unit housing).

        1. Marina Kalugin

          tribeUSA….and what do we have in the US< compared to Prague, etc…?

          strip malls that look the same everywhere you go….where the masses go to spend and spend…..  and complain that THEY have nothing…and someone else has more and other such true garbage nonsense and values…

      2. Marina Kalugin

        new US overtime rules are boosting the lowest salary for an exempt position at UC to $47,476+

        the reason we hire international at our department is that they as a general rule, internationally educated persons are way better educated,  much more dedicated, work harder and so forth… and there are not enough in the US who want to work in our labs nor who are willing to compete and could compete with the other international stars we recruit….

        Even the T32 Cancer Center Training Grant, which my department staff administer, which recruits postdocs who want more experience in the cancer research field….and we are supposed to focus on US underrepresented….and we have a difficult time filling the slots…

        the US now has Common Core to stifle even the brightest minds….

      3. Marina Kalugin

        PS>   My many Australian friends are  now  starting to complain that OZ is becoming too much like the US….  in the gov, the main cities et al…..still lots of outback left though

  6. Marina Kalugin

    I truly LOVE Bernie….no chance he will make it to the finals…. I just hope he watches his back.

    Yamada and Sanders campaigns are very friendly and Yamada is still actually in the lead in the Yamada/ Dodd race.

    Vote Bernie – vote Yamada.

    today is an important fundraising deadline….if you have any funds to spare, donate today..

    Donate Sanders and Yamada……  Yamada will still win….if enough read, listen and vote with their ballots….and money helps also..

  7. Marina Kalugin

    Two of my close friends live in Sweden..  The husband and wife just had a son…due to the real life social programs they have a life and they can enjoy time with their baby.

    A few days ago on Swedish independence Day, the 3 of them got dressed up and took a lovely walk taking photos of the 3 of them at lovely landmarks,  beautiful architecture, gorgeous parks…the weather appeared kinda chilly.

    That is life that we no longer have in this country and it has little to do with high taxes…

    quality of life and etc is worth way more than consumerism…..and many of their family and friends live in tiny places at high cost…they spend their days outside enjoying with family and friends…

  8. Marina Kalugin

    the most evil and out of control country on the planet right now is the USA>…

    if we were not butting into the business of others for reasons that may be claimed to be altruistic, but always were for what the US and allies could grab up, there would NOT be all these refugees.

    Killary, and her family,  had a lot to do with that…that Clinton family, which owns and runs the vast majority of “for-profit prisons and halfway houses”   had a lot to do with many things in the USA and worldwide.

    For those who think they have a clue and ask me for docs, well do I have time to educate the idiots on this board….Nahhhhhhhh


  9. Marina Kalugin

    in the 50s my highly educated parents and grandparents and I were fleeing another third world communist country and had to wait 5 years for our immigration visa….although my grandma’s brother had escaped to the US back when he was a very young teen…..

    those who were born and raised in the USA< never traveled much or whatever, truly have no clue what abuse is, poverty is, etc……

  10. Marina Kalugin

    Shop now for the limited edition
    poster collection at the Bernie Store:

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  11. Jerry Waszczuk

    Overall nobody  found yet better system than capitalism  and is no better country on the Planet Earth to live than America regardless of the problems created by globalization and liberalism.

    We just need  the our jobs back which were exported  to  China and to  others countries and  to employ these who are collecting welfare and food stamps in huge 50, 000,000  number.  When we see again more labels on the products “Made in America ”  than it will make us  all proud of the United State of America as it was before.

    1. Frankly

      Agree Jerry.

      But there is something else related.

      Jobs are created if capital is motivated to invest in business that creates products and the jobs that produce them.

      The problem is that a number of things have degraded that motivation.

      On the private side there is globalization and automation.

      On the public side there is regulatory and tax policy.

      The first we cannot do much about, but the establishment Democrats push a campaign of blaming business for it.

      The ONLY thing we can do is:

      1. Reform regulatory and tax policy to increase the incentives for capital to invest in manufacturing and job production in this country.

      2. Wait until the rest of the word catches up in wages.

      1. Jerry Waszczuk

        I simplified everything . I know that it is not such simple  but overall is not so bad .  When people are on welfare and driving cars and have food on the tables than we no need to deal with  red Khmers or other like them blood thirsty regimes .

  12. Marina Kalugin

    PS>  I don’t think the US model is bad, it is the implementation is not what was laid out nor promised and the constitution is hardly followed either…

    I kinda like that tiny country in the highlands near China….where the GNP is gross national happiness….what is the name of that place again?

    even under the worst of the soviet days – the thick of the Cold War and all…the russian people had little but each had a job and someplace to live…

    somehow when an international visitor showed up (very rare in 69, 72 and 79) – like me…and not so rare afterwards, they would manage to have a feast fit for royalty.

    many people (a whole family and sometimes more) sharing one room…no privacy whatsoever…

    and, it was still a “them and us” society…but now it was those communist elite who became the them and everyone else (save artists, dancers, movie stars and other celebrities of all kinds) was a peon

    in many ways worse than the earlier ruler the tsar and peasants….. at least that was what my family who still lived there were telling me when I was fortunate to visit.

    1. Jerry Waszczuk

      even under the worst of the soviet days – the thick of the Cold War and all…the russian people had little but each had a job and someplace to live…

      This was  a system where whole nation worked to get welfare check $30/month  . Here people no need to work to get welfare  check.  Any worker in good corporation had more than high ranks communists in communist countries could dream of. It is a naked true . I was there , I lived there and hell with red painted paradise called socialism and communism .  No one country is even close to America . America is  NUMERO UNO  regardless of  the problems .

  13. Tia Will

    For those who think they have a clue and ask me for docs, well do I have time to educate the idiots on this board….Nahhhhhhhh”

    And of course, calling people who do not see the world as you do “idiots” is a great way to convince them of your point of view.

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