The Lost Ideas Lab Journal | Issue #9

Barack H. Obama, the man on the edge of despair or awakening

| Inspired by others | By


Before starting with the main theme of this article, let's have a look at one of Barack H. Obama's presidency's most negatively and positively advertised socio-political impacts:

So I first came to Chicago when I was in my early twenties, and I was still trying to figure out who I was; still searching for a purpose to my life. And it was a neighborhood not far from here where I began working with church groups in the shadows of closed steel mills.

That a real estate mogul made a presidential bid for himself out of Obama's biographical background and due to his inexperience of dealing with media is a well-known phenomenon in February 2017, so let's have a look at how some rather ordinary member of society reflects on this aspect of Obama's presidency:

The author of this Tweet is a co-founder of a successful startup and has a Ph.D. in Linguistics and Cognitive Science from the University of Pennsylvania. Remarkable that years of study and life in an atmosphere of seemingly intellectuals hasn't had any impact on challenging the wronged foundations behind this statement. Let's reveal to you that the author of this statement is a woman, who has the role of CEO in her own company. The degree of racism and sexism when it comes to anyone else than oneself in the United States is beyond awe.

In such a society, a man result of a divorce, half from an immigrant from Kenya who married his mother also perhaps with an eye for residence permit, with dark skin color, a black wife, a middle name that is certainly not welcomed in America, and all other odds was elected as the president. It is hard to deny that such an occurrence in itself is a string of hope and inspiration for any individual who dreams to do something at odds with what the society expects one to become, cause the society has a well-known long record of being wrong about such issues.

In such aspect, Obama's motto of "hope" and "change" are not all too meaningless.

With this preface in praise of Obama's presidency, we will have a look on how eight years of presidency seems to have pushed Obama on the borders of becoming an outsider. Not Trump or Sanders like outsider but someone who happens to have grasped that all which we are told by the news, media, politicians, economists, CEO-s, businessmen, universities is wrong, as after eight years of following all the best advices he could, he senses that not only those actions hadn't brought the country to the promised conditions rather they have extended the distance.

Yet the decision is upon Barack Hussein Obama to silent his consciousness over the reality that is not consistent with what all those groups forecasted it to be, or to end up in depression and hopeless attempts to reconcile his failed attempts and the not-achieved results, or to challenge what he was thought at schools and later on by his all other subordinates on how to govern a nation. This article aims to be an invitation to the last option, while criticizing the former ones ...

Introduction: Obama's shocked

Perhaps the below piece of a satire talk show best describe what some believe to be on Barack H. Obama's mind watching the 2016 election unfolding in front of his eyes:

President Barack H. Obama, the man who chose unusual channels to reach out to the public in the United States and as well abroad, such as from appearances on satire shows to sending a new year greeting for Iranians ending with a line in Persian, "Sal-e Noe Mobarak". However Donald J. Trump seems to have outsmarted Obama's publicist's strategy, if one wants to be accurate, Obama's unusual publicity strategies provided the ground for someone like Donald J. Trump in first place, but regardless of such reading from the current events, Obama couldn't help but to write a piece for The Economist, the very weekly magazine which is written by the elites for the elites and in order to reassure them that their ill-minded greed for the livelihood of this world is not only legitimate but a noble cause.

That Barack H. Obama, the child of a Kenyan immigrant, child of a marriage that by his father's part was perhaps only for the sake of a safe visa and education and by her mother's side for the sake of political activism in wrong places, the child of divorce who grow up with a single-mother, the man who consider himself to be black in racist society against people of dark color, and Arabs and Muslims and Chines and lots of other races, ethnicities or religions, with all these backgrounds and with all the unusual publicity strategies of him, the only place he found appropriate to reflect on the current events in a more active manner was The Economist, which is absurd, considering that perhaps no single individual who's actively supporting the rise of a so-called populist on the street would read The Economist. Perhaps, a better reading of this rather absurd behavior of Obama is to consider it not a piece of activism and resistance against the rise of populism but rather an act of confabulation with his newly found friends, the elites. Yet calling the elites friend is a mistake, as you can't really be friend with someone who is often considered to be "wolf of man". Of course, Obama is not stupid enough to have forgotten that not quite a long while ago, Donald J. Trump and the Clintons were seen as friends and one backed the other, so Obama's piece of confabulation is perhaps not that much directed toward his mutual friendship with the members of the elites but the loneliness of a man who happens to be unable to make sense of what is happening around him and the fact that it is published for the elites is due to the idea that one first accuses those who mislead him of how what he discovered and what he was promised are so different from one another. It is in this light that you should read Obama's article, yet as the president of the so-seen greatest nation-state of present time, he tries to remain distant and pretend that he is rather trying to calm his reader than accusing the elites of their lies, so he starts at the same place that that satirist started:

wherever I go these days, at home or abroad, people ask me the same question: what is happening in the American political system? How has a country that has benefited — perhaps more than any other — from immigration, trade and technological innovation suddenly developed a strain of anti-immigrant, anti-innovation protectionism? Why have some on the far left and even more on the far right embraced a crude populism that promises a return to a past that is not possible to restore — and that, for most Americans, never existed at all?

The next two paragraph are spent on explaining that these reactions are not new, till Mr. Obama allows himself to reflect on the not told part of the reason:

But some of the discontent is rooted in legitimate concerns about long-term economic forces. Decades of declining productivity growth and rising inequality have resulted in slower income growth for low- and middle-income families. Globalisation and automation have weakened the position of workers and their ability to secure a decent wage. Too many potential physicists and engineers spend their careers shifting money around in the financial sector, instead of applying their talents to innovating in the real economy. And the financial crisis of 2008 only seemed to increase the isolation of corporations and elites, who often seem to live by a different set of rules to ordinary citizens.

But Obama is not ready to back off from the idea that all the goods in past centuries are results of capitalism:

But amid this understandable frustration, much of it fanned by politicians who would actually make the problem worse rather than better, it is important to remember that capitalism has been the greatest driver of prosperity and opportunity the world has ever known.

I doubt if one would not have heard the same claims from the public relations organ of a Kingdom for all areas in the history. Obama then goes on to back such claim with irrelevant statistics and the next paragraph of his introduction is devoted to what he calls a "choice":

This is the paradox that defines our world today. The world is more prosperous than ever before and yet our societies are marked by uncertainty and unease. So we have a choice—retreat into old, closed-off economies or press forward, acknowledging the inequality that can come with globalisation while committing ourselves to making the global economy work better for all people, not just those at the top.

The reality is what is currently practiced as "capitalism", is a machine that is designed to transfer the wealth from the poor to the chieftain. Throughout Barack Obama's text you are going to realize that Obama, more than all other public advocates of capitalism have realized that somehow magically things don't go in the direction that one expects, and from time to time he realizes that this is the case, because of what is practiced as "capitalism" and not the other way around. We understand that being the figurehead of the wrongdoing with good intentions will require some journeys in the magnitude of spiritual awakening experiences, so the following is a tribute to the unknown yet present truths, which had been publicly known, had we lived a different life.

A force for good

In a move to represent "Capitalism" as "a force for good" Barack Obama starts an explanation of why it does not fulfill the duty prescribed for it:

The profit motive can be a powerful force for the common good, driving businesses to create products that consumers rave about or motivating banks to lend to growing businesses. But, by itself, this will not lead to broadly shared prosperity and growth. Economists have long recognised that markets, left to their own devices, can fail. This can happen through the tendency towards monopoly and rent-seeking that this newspaper has documented, the failure of businesses to take into account the impact of their decisions on others through pollution, the ways in which disparities of information can leave consumers vulnerable to dangerous products or overly expensive health insurance.

More fundamentally, a capitalism shaped by the few and unaccountable to the many is a threat to all. Economies are more successful when we close the gap between rich and poor and growth is broadly based. A world in which 1% of humanity controls as much wealth as the other 99% will never be stable. Gaps between rich and poor are not new but just as the child in a slum can see the skyscraper nearby, technology allows anyone with a smartphone to see how the most privileged live. Expectations rise faster than governments can deliver and a pervasive sense of injustice undermines peoples’ faith in the system. Without trust, capitalism and markets cannot continue to deliver the gains they have delivered in the past centuries.

Can you imagine the readers of The Economist being educated by the figurehead of the best of capitalism that monetary greed leads to nowhere.

Barack Obama is not an idiot, yet he is a desperate employee who tries to defend that he did his job successfully.

I call Barack Obama an "employee" even though in a true democracy the president is the leader never an employee, yet in today's United States, the president is the guy responsible for arranging the affair of not wealthy, so to stop them from interfering with the chieftain and the rich and privileged. Read carefully what he is talking about:

A world in which 1% of humanity controls as much wealth as the other 99% will never be stable.

But just as an employee never questions the reason of existence of the organization, Barack Obama only point out to why he wasn't able to fulfill his duty:

Expectations rise faster than governments can deliver and a pervasive sense of injustice undermines peoples’ faith in the system.

If Obama had ever considered himself in the role of the leader, the first responsibility of the leader is toward the culture of his organization. The first act of a leader aware of these is to set in motion a shift in culture where materialize wealth do not justify all means, nor is it blindly considered as success. But the man on the verge of awakening of our story is still at the beginning of his journey so he can't realize how much the measures he presented one chapter before on defense of "capitalism" were highly materialized measures which on their own has no meaning nor any value, just as the "profit motive" he is talking about here. Oh, the young man, you have yet a lot to learn ...

But just as any excellent employee would write a short handbook for his successor, again cautious, I talk of an employee, leaders usually write to their followers and to their possible successor all at the same time, leaders last text in office is one with a wholly different spirit than that of an employee, so Barack Obama writes a handful of nonsense on how to arrange the affair of the mass. As said, I never believe Obama is an idiot, so I call this nonsense because this is not what will bring any good.

Further progress requires recognising that America’s economy is an enormously complicated mechanism. As appealing as some more radical reforms can sound in the abstract—breaking up all the biggest banks or erecting prohibitively steep tariffs on imports—the economy is not an abstraction. It cannot simply be redesigned wholesale and put back together again without real consequences for real people.

Instead, fully restoring faith in an economy where hardworking Americans can get ahead requires addressing four major structural challenges: boosting productivity growth, combating rising inequality, ensuring that everyone who wants a job can get one and building a resilient economy that’s primed for future growth.

Less than 400 words ago the guy was preaching that "monopoly and rent-seeking" practices have hammered all the nice promises of the "capitalism", yet in his handbook of what needs to be done, there is no sign that anything needs to be addressed to prevent "monopoly and rent-seeking". Mr. Barack Obama considers for himself one obligation: the hamsterized working-class population of the US running even faster and more enthusiastic on their wheel in the hope of achieving something ...

And whether Obama is an idiot or not, perhaps, can be best answered by how much awakening finally he chose for himself, being the figurehead of an ill-fated system of deception requires great deal of idiocy, not the least because this short stay is going to be followed by a day of justice and result of ending in paradise vs hell.

Restoring economic dynamism

Labour productivity

Slowly, I am going to repeat less of the nonsense of Barack Obama, so in the case of interest look for his article on The Economist.

The first concern of Obama is:

Without a faster-growing economy, we will not be able to generate the wage gains people want, regardless of how we divide up the pie.

May the God bless you, Rosa Luxemburg, that you were there at least is a hope that human being indeed exist. "Capitalism"1 takes away all that makes us human, replacing it by materialistic gains and then a president is shocked by the realization that so much materialistic gains are not feasible, not even if they invade Libya, Iraq, or perhaps all the rest of the world, as Rosa Luxemburg wrote about around a hundred years ago. In recent years all the resource of legitimacy for capitalism has been the growth, and of course, Obama can't imagine to loosing the foundation of his legitimacy, but the truth is there never existed any legitimacy for capitalism.

That's not the real joke here, the real joke is when the only solutions that Obama can come up with is that of Bernie Sander's recommendations:

A major source of the recent productivity slowdown has been a shortfall of public and private investment caused, in part, by a hangover from the financial crisis. But it has also been caused by self-imposed constraints: an anti-tax ideology that rejects virtually all sources of new public funding; a fixation on deficits at the expense of the deferred maintenance bills we are passing to our children, particularly for infrastructure; and a political system so partisan that previously bipartisan ideas like bridge and airport upgrades are nonstarters.

We could also help private investment and innovation with business-tax reform that lowers statutory rates and closes loopholes, and with public investments in basic research and development. Policies focused on education are critical both for increasing economic growth and for ensuring that it is shared broadly. These include everything from boosting funding for early childhood education to improving high schools, making college more affordable and expanding high-quality job training.

There is a lot to be said about these suggestions, again remember Barack Obama is not an idiot, if his suggestions were the same spirit of that of Bernie Sanders, he would not have supported an already dead card, Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton2.

So where lies the difference?

And the principle of really existing free market theory is: free markets are fine for you, but not for me. That’s, again, near a universal. So you — whoever you may be — you have to learn responsibility, and be subjected to market discipline, it’s good for your character, it’s tough love, and so on, and so forth. But me, I need the nanny State, to protect me from market discipline, so that I’ll be able to rant and rave about the marvels of the free market, while I’m getting properly subsidized and defended by everyone else, through the nanny State. And also, this has to be risk-free. So I’m perfectly willing to make profits, but I don’t want to take risks. If anything goes wrong, you bail me out.

So, if Third World debt gets out of control, you socialize it. It’s not the problem of the banks that made the money. When the S&Ls collapse, you know, same thing. The public bails them out. When American investment firms get into trouble because the Mexican bubble bursts, you bail out Goldman Sachs. And — the latest Mexico bail out, and on and on. I mean, there’s case after case of this.

In fact of the leading — top — hundred leading transnationals in the Fortune list of transnationals — there was a recent study of how they — how they related to the States in which they- they’re all somewhere, you know, so they’re all mostly here — in some National State, it turns out that all hundred of them had benefited from industrial policies, meaning, State intervention in their behalf. All hundred had benefited from the State in which they’re based. And twenty of the hundred had been saved from total disaster, that is, collapse, by just State bail-out. When people talk about globalization of the economy, remember that the nanny State has to be very powerful in order to bail out the rich. And nothing is changing in that regard. Twenty out of a hundred, again, were saved from collapse by this, including a number here.

Noam Chomsky, Speech Delivered at Harvard University, April 13, 1996; (transcription courtesy of William Greene);

Now, why a government that is there to subsidize the extreme wealthy promote investment in the public sector? For a simple reason:

So take, say, a drug corporation. Most of the serious research and development, the hard part of it, is funded by the public. In fact most of the economy comes out of public expenditures through the state system, which is the source of most innovation and development. I mean computers, the internet. Just go through the range, it’s all coming out of the state system primarily. There is research and development in the corporate system, some, but it’s mostly at the marketing end. And the same is true of drugs.

Once the corporations gain the benefit of the public paying the costs and taking the risks, they want to monopolize the profit. And the intellectual property rights, they’re not for small inventors. In fact the people doing the work in the corporations, they don’t get anything out of it, like a dollar if they invent something. It’s the corporate tyrannies that are making the profits, and they want to guarantee them.

The World Trade Organization proposed new, enhanced intellectual property rights, patent rights, which means monopoly pricing rights, far beyond anything that existed in the past. In fact they are not only designed to maximize monopoly pricing, and profit, but also to prevent development. That’s rather crucial. WTO rules introduced product patents. Used to be you could patent a process, but not the product. Which means if some smart guy could figure out a better way of doing it, he could do it. They want to block that. It’s important to block development and progress, in order to ensure monopoly rights. So they now have product patents.

Noam Chomsky, the Q&A period of a speech by Noam Chomsky at Washington State University on April 22, 2005;

Selling off our collective liberty in return for Chocolate Candies

Those who has long invested their trust in a figurehead usually assume that it's the fault of the advisors, on the other hand the dissidents often accuse the figurehead of cruelty and deceit, however if you could realize that Barack Obama is nothing more than an employee for the corporate interest, you would understand that perhaps the biggest crime of all by Barack Obama is to present himself as a president and not protesting against the wrong vision of the population of him around being an independent human running after his ideologies …

The boldest example and the worst of betrayal by him on not only the United States but perhaps a good portion of the population on Earth is:

Lifting productivity and wages also depends on creating a global race to the top in rules for trade. While some communities have suffered from foreign competition, trade has helped our economy much more than it has hurt. Exports helped lead us out of the recession. American firms that export pay their workers up to 18% more on average than companies that do not, according to a report by my Council of Economic Advisers. So, I will keep pushing for Congress to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership and to conclude a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the EU. These agreements, and stepped-up trade enforcement, will level the playing field for workers and businesses alike.

Just as we don't live totally on our own as human beings, exchange of goods and services across social boundaries are part of a healthy society, however, in a world where limited liability corporations are treated as a human being by the law, trade is not the same measure. The trade agreements that Barack Obama is talking about here are the next existential steps for limited liability corporations. Presenting only one single side-effect of export as the why the president is support these agreements is upfront wrong. It is almost as if telling: "oh, people who have babies, have more cute photos on their Instagram feed, so let's go and get ourselves babies …" That Barack Obama is in such deep level of desperation for finding claims to back secret trade deals is perhaps a sign that there are other reasons for signing such agreements than the ones publicly offered.

But before getting into what is really wrong with these trade agreements, let's give a chance to Barack Obama to earn some credit for the efforts he has put in to support his wrongdoings:

So, he writes: "Exports helped lead us out of the recession. American firms that export pay their workers up to 18% more on average than companies that do not, according to a report by my Council of Economic Advisers."

So, let's have a look at where does this claim come from:

Studies of U.S. manufacturing industries document that, on average, export-intensive industries pay workers up to 18 percent more than non-export-intensive industries.

The Economic Benefits of U.S. Trade, May 2015; Obama Whitehouse Archieve;

The key words here are that "studies document ...". This sentence is picked up from the executive summary, the 18 percent number appears few times inside the report and all the times it comes from a study by David Riker, Office of Competition and Economic Analysis in 2010, and there comes the striking facts. Here is the paragraph from the executive summary that claim such documentation:

Exporting has a significant positive impact on earnings. We estimate that exports contribute an additional 18% to workers’ earnings on average in the U.S. manufacturing sector. This export earnings premium is an employment-weighted average across the industries and occupation categories analyzed in this study.

As you see there is no document available, instead David Riker is only estimating that impact. He is basically using a mathematical model to measure which portion of wage is attributable to exports, and don't let the term "math" make you shy and mix the reality with myth. Math is something that most people believe to always be true, but a model has nothing to do with math. To measure the amount attributable to trade, you can make as many models as possible and calculate them mathematically which could very likely result in different numbers. This doesn't mean that math is like the girl you met at the bar who you can't tell if she is interested in you or not, it simply means every model is designed to give a certain number. Unlike physics where models are tested by empirical experiments and in case they deviate from those empirical measurements they are regarded as wrong, in the study of David Riker there is no testing against empirical experiments to know whether his model has anything to do with the reality or not. The problem is that someone builds up a model in his mind and puts some number inside it and that model gives you some other numbers, this doesn't mean any of those resulting numbers has any relevance to the reality.

You can argue maybe the estimate of David Riker is true, and because we don't have a parallel reality where we could close up the doors of the trade in and out the US and then see how wages change, it is hard to be sure what the impact really is, at least not with our current knowledge of economics, and certainly not with the model that David Riker has used but the things get even worse, if you just happen to think about it a little bit. Trade agreements and not these agreements that Obama is pushing for here, which are investor rights agreements, means one thing: exchange of goods and services. There would be no export without import. You can't just pile up foreign currency in your bank account, if you export something and you get foreign currency in return at one point in time you have to spend that foreign currency in that foreign market, which means importing something which is produced by a foreign company. So, you can't just say "Oh, people who happen to work at exporting industries are benefiting from trade", because of course those on the importing section would suffer compared to a situation where you couldn't buy a foreign good that they happen to produce. Here is not the right place to go in detail of economic models on cost and benefits of exports, but at least let's have a look at a study that takes both of these into account in measuring their estimates:

We link industry-level data on trade and offshoring with individual-level worker data from the Current Population Surveys from 1984 to 2002. We find that occupational exposure to globalization is associated with significant wage effects, while industry exposure has no significant impact. We present evidence that globalization has put downward pressure on worker wages through the reallocation of workers away from higher wage manufacturing jobs into other sectors and other occupations. Using a panel of workers, we find that occupation switching due to trade led to real wage losses of 12 to 17 percentage points.

Avraham Ebenstein & Ann Harrison & Margaret McMillan & Shannon Phillips, 2014. "Estimating the Impact of Trade and Offshoring on American Workers using the Current Population Surveys," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(3), pages 581-595, October.

I am not arguing this cost on workers should be used as an argue to prohibit trades, every actions we take, even our inaction has some costs to it, these series of providing evidence was only to suggest you how off the reality President Obama's reasoning about economy and the side-effects of his actions on the lives of people are. I won't say it requires a processes of awakening, I guess if Barack Obama only asked an economic professor to explain him possible effects of trade, it was obvious from far away that the argument he is trying to present is irrelevant, unless there are tons of other factors that work out in extremely specific manner, in favor of the result he is trying to achieve. It is like telling: "oh, every married couple I met in my life told me what a beautiful honeymoon they had, so I am going to marry the girl who is sitting on that table over there ..." In order that a stranger girl be your dream wife, there are tons of factor playing a role, and that most people try to remember only the good things about their honeymoon is not a reason whether to marry a particular woman or not ...

So far on Barack Obama's argument on why we need trade agreements, but let's have a look at why we don't need the agreements that Barack Obama see himself called upon to see succeed:

Growing inequality

That inequality has grown so severe that even The Economist whose readership is empty of those directly suffering from the growing inequality, has a place for it, could have been quite impossible to imagine 40 years ago, let's say ...

Yet the legitimacy of the system are the unwritten red-lines for Barack Obama:

We don’t begrudge success, we aspire to it and admire those who achieve it. In fact, we’ve often accepted more inequality than many other nations because we are convinced that with hard work, we can improve our own station and watch our children do even better.

You can hear the same justification from any hamster wheel in a lab. You just need one or two stories of extraordinarily gifted individual who against all odds make it to the top, you hide the fact that they are gifted and that no other human could have achieved the same, no matter how hard the worked, and you tell people "hey, look, if you work hard not only you but even your children will be free from the misery", and to be honest, with the way that our family lives are growing to be shaped in the near future, nobody can or would even be able to examine if the children are indeed better off, most families won't even going to gather for Christmas, never mind knowing of each other's well-being ...

But I believe that changes in culture and values have also played a major role. In the past, differences in pay between corporate executives and their workers were constrained by a greater degree of social interaction between employees at all levels—at church, at their children’s schools, in civic organisations. That’s why CEOs took home about 20- to 30-times as much as their average worker. The reduction or elimination of this constraining factor is one reason why today’s CEO is now paid over 250-times more.


Today that promise looks empty and that cooperation seems like a thing of the past. But we owe it to the American people to finish the job we are starting today. And we owe it to all those immigrants who have come to this country with nothing more than a willingness to work and a hope for a better life. Like so many of our own parents and grandparents, they have shown the courage to leave their homes and seek out a new destiny of their own making. The least we can do is show the courage to help them make that destiny a reality in a way that is safe, legal, and achievable. So when we actually start debating this bill, I hope the majority leader will permit consideration of a wide range of amendments.

It is nice to see that Barack Obama is not empty of human sentiment, just there is few points he is forgetting, like the fact that most of the working-class of the America are in other nations, being it Mexico, Bangladesh, China, Vietnam and etc and not only the CEOs don't ever have the fortune of experiencing the misery they are forcing upon unknown people, Barack Obama himself supported the idea of never having any chance of encountering those individuals in person:

Mr. President, I rise to speak about the Secure Fence Act. The bill before us will certainly do some good. It will authorize some badly needed funding for better fences and better security along our borders, and that should help stem some of the tide of illegal immigration in this country.

Barack Obama, U.S. Senator, [D] Illinois; Debate on "Secure Fence Act" (September 21, 2006)

So, it is nice that after 8 years of holding the office, Barack Obama realizes that the only mean to a successful economy is one with reasonable inequality:

Economies are more successful when we close the gap between rich and poor and growth is broadly based.

and it is nice that Barack Obama realizes:

If you are in the best room of the building and the boss during the day, at night you and your family have to sit on the same table with all of your workers and their families ...

This is my way of putting it into words, maybe a bit different than how he meant it as quoted few paragraphs earlier ...

Unfortunate that the young man has a long path to realize who is the boss and who is the worker and that in contrast to his nonsense claims about his administration's achievements in this respect, his administration and all these treaties and those senate activities of him in the past, all were legally prohibiting the poor working people from sitting with their own CEO on the same table.

To this moment, Mayans are fleeing from the consequences of the virtual genocide of the 1980s, primarily at the hands of José Efraín Ríos Montt, whom the historian Stephen Rabe describes accurately as “the Guatemalan butcher who supervised the eradication of 100,000 mainly Mayan people”—or, if we prefer, a man “of great personal integrity” who was getting a “bum rap” from human rights groups, according to the boss in Washington, whose spirit now hovers over us like “a warm and friendly ghost” in the Kim Il-sung–style renditions of Hoover Institution scholars. The flight of Mexicans was anticipated: Clinton initiated the militarization of the border when NAFTA was passed. It was quite predictable that NAFTA would destroy much of the campesino class, unable to compete with highly subsidized US agribusiness, along with other effects by now well-documented. Immigration follows as night follows day. Much the same is true throughout the region. The consequences of these policies engender conflicts within the United States. Super-cheap and highly vulnerable labor is a boon to business. But it is perceived by the white working class as a threat to its subsistence and cultural values, which are already felt to be under threat for many reasons, even more so as whites will become a minority in the not too distant future. These tendencies are being exploited in ugly ways by political leaders who are dedicated to service to the “1 percent” but need a voting constituency. That’s been the natural decision of strategists for the Republicans, who put aside any pretense of being a traditional parliamentary party long ago, also shedding their moderates. Now centrist Democrats are following not too far behind.

Noam Chomsky, Interview by Greg Grandin; Interview With Noam Chomsky on the Crisis in Central America and Mexico; The Nation (October 31, 2014);

On the other hand, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean basin, by and large, drew the investment seeking to improve efficiency in the industrial sector (including lines such as automobile, textile and clothing and electronics) and motivated by the low labor costs (ECLAC, 2000). These investments are mainly established at labor-intensive stages in the TNCs’ production networks and, as said before, they usually function similarly to «enclaves», with low integration levels into the domestic economies.51

One way of evaluating the different degrees of GVCs integration into the various regions in the continent – in this case, including only the intracompany or upgrading – is by examining the intracompany trade data. With information on US TNCs (produced by the Bureau of Economic Analysis) we find that, in fact, the highest intracompany trade coefficients are concentrated in Central America and the Caribbean basin, while the South Cone is below the regional average.

In a context where the proportion of intracompany trade of US TNCs’ affiliates in the region has been increasing (from 53 to 74% between 1983 and 2003), Honduras, Barbados, Colombia, Mexico and Costa Rica, in that order, are the countries with the highest percentages of intracompany exports – with figures in the region of 90% in 2003-. In turn, in Chile, Brazil and Argentina, intracompany trade accounts for 47%, 65% y 69% of total exports. Significantly, such differences are not only in goods trade, but also in services: while intracompany exports reach 87% of the whole exports in Mexico, the figures are 47% and 74% en Argentina y Brazil, respectively.

GVC = Global Value Chain; TNC = the major transnational companie

Kosacoff, Bernardo and Andrés López and Mara Pedrazzoli; "Trade, investment and fragmentation of the global market: Is Latin America lagging behind?"; ECLAC Office in Buenos Aires Buenos Aires, January 2008;

Labor force participation

The funniest part about this section of Obama's text is the degree in which he appears to be blind about the graph that accompanies his article on The Economist, here is a better presentation of the same data:

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate: Women [LNS11300002], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis;, April 9, 2017.

And Barack Obama is once again a human who understands the effects of unemployment:

Involuntary joblessness takes a toll on life satisfaction, self-esteem, physical health and mortality. It is related to a devastating rise of opioid abuse and an associated increase in overdose deaths and suicides among non-college-educated Americans—the group where labour-force participation has fallen most precipitously.

But let me tell the anecdote that people like Barack Obama are not allowed to talk about: a female friend of mine with a master degree was wishing that the janitor of the building of the German course we were visiting to ask her out ... No offense, he was handsome, attractive with visible muscles but also humble in his movement, so I understand all the points of attraction and I would have enjoyed if it resulted in me being invited to a wedding, but I guess it didn't also because of social pressure we put on ourselves. It simply doesn't come across so well, if someone holding a master degree marrying someone who earns wage by hands, okay, if it is a rich guy and a too young attractive woman, people would raise an eyebrow, but if the one having the master degree is a woman, then there is no welcoming response about the news.

Obama's gesture of understanding for the negative side-effects of unemployment are followed by a paragraph of irrelevant suggestions, however, the relevant suggestions are indeed never discussed. Here is the point: humans are more than their work time, and it's not the employment opportunities that has to dictate the arrangements in our lives rather it is our existential traits which have to dictate both of these factors.

That more and more female graduates while less and less male, over the decades has resulted that the janitor-tale being a common issue by the educated section of women in the society, one of its side results being women and men being desperate for being and not being in a relationship with the same person at the same time, let's have a look at this song to see what I mean:

I'm out every night

I'm lonely as the fuck

I make my own rules

My own plans

I have no room

for no man

That's my way

That's my way

It's Strange by Louis The Child Featuring K.Flay

Of course the solution to the janitor problem is not to have women staying at home and leave the enrollment to higher education only open to male, the solution is also not to have men and women not being judged based on their occupation, and even less so the solution is a sexual liberation where it is all fine to have a sexual relationship with a male janitor even though he was unwilling to approach you, because you are way much higher than him on the social class level, and your background education makes the relationship instead of being sort of self-development, one only for sexual purposes. While some of these measures in some occasions might not be upright wrong ideas, however, they are not the way to approach the janitor problem, nor to solve it in our time, where the janitor problem is a side result of the currently practiced model of "capitalism". Just let me discuss some other relevant issues around the nature of employment in our times, and introduce you to what the solution is, in light of all those aspects a bit down the road ...

Remember Obama started his text with the suggestion to his successor to "ensuring that everyone who wants a job can get one" and you have to remember for employers the gender of the employees is irrelevant unless it can be profited from. So the existence of the janitor problem has barely anything to do with technological advances since the enlightenment of European and later on the European colonies ... The disparity between the effects of employment on us as humans in other aspects of our lives vs what we as humans really need and wish for in other areas of our lives roots in the disparity of who perform the work and who gains the benefits and who bears the loss. Of course, as long as the CEOs and super-rich do not feel the pain of shifts in society they don't feel any urge to change their practices, and as Obama rightly noted this lack of notice is amplified by the growing inequality and lack of interactions between different ranks of a company.

Before moving forward let's only have a look at one set of date at one more piece of data3, which I guess the president should have pointed to but he rather chose the trendy gender difference analyses, just as every young woman wears Prada:

As the above graphs demonstrate, the share of small and medium-sized enterprises in employment have shrank over the years in the US, meaning a bigger chunk of the population is working for the big enterprises where the boss probably never learn the name of all his or her employees, not to think of being able to show human sentiments for those employees if they are not other motivation at place, which again as the size of the enterprise grows the expectations of the top management shifts towards more bottom-line oriented ones, meaning, you don't need to care for anything other than the profit your company generates, the rest will be taken care of by the "invisible hand"4.

And the last aspect of employment which is highly relevant to be talked about here, is the reality that employment is only a light-form of slavery, the greatest difference being that as an employee you have some say on the choice of your master, while as a slave that say is close to zero. Hence, It's actually not far away nor too hard from a reasonable man's judgement that if we lived in a democracy where self-determination is a foundational ground to its existence, those at the highest ranks of the democratic system should have been the extreme denier of all kinds and sorts of employments, that the exact opposite is true, perhaps is the boldest sign that maybe the exact opposite of our assumption is the reality of the societies in which we happen to live ....

Unlike Barack Obama's nonsense suggestions on how to heal the society from this miserable conditions, which in one word means more of big-enterprise style employment, the solution is in the exact opposite direction of Obama's suggestions; There is clearly no need to that, even worse we are so technologically advanced that we simply could arrange nearly all our production affairs by small-middle size companies. It is not going to be impossible to have hundreds of thousands of independent car manufacturers in the US. You may need some hundred thousands of engineers but just as you have hundred thousands of web developers, instead of having one big web agency that caters 90% of the market. Robots can take on the task that will require years of practice for humans to be perfect in it, after that it will be very easy to produce cars by choosing an open source car framework, and open source engine framework and so on and produce your own different car based on top of those frameworks. Even software business you have Microsoft the monopoly of operating systems for PCs, yet on the web, Microsoft operating system and tools trouble. The argument that concentration of production is necessary in order to meet the market demand most effectively and efficiently is absolute nonsense and even more nonsense in our advances in technology.

Now that we are here, let's have a short talk on how does this solution solves the janitor problem. If you look at the employment data based on gender, it seems like more women in workplace correlate with fewer men in the workplace, and it is reasonable that our society works this way without anyone planning for it. You have to be an idiot not to understand that if human off-springs are designed to need parental care till a couple of years, far more than other animals, it also means that human collective life will provide enough for parents to have abundant time to spend on childcare. I mean, the God is not stupid, everything is designed to function perfectly in accordance with His plan for human life in this world. So, if instead of light-slavery we had family owned and run small and medium-size businesses, probably you would have never encountered janitor problem as a relevant large scale dating issue of the population.

I started this article with the guess that Barack Obama is a man standing on the verge of awakening, and to be precise human beings are far more complex, so that another man being able to describe a picture of their state of psyche in one sentence in our present languages, so let's give a correction to that beginning statement in respect of these thoughts by Barack Obama: it is a true pity that a man of Obama's caliber [and his wife] do indeed have some true understanding of the underlying foundations which could bring about the real solutions to issues we are facing now, yet his conclusions are only an echo to ill-minded deceitful solutions pursuit by the deniers of those foundational understandings ...

Building a sturdier foundation

Again, eight years of presidency proves, Barack Obama has realized the unpleasant realities which the money interests try to hide from anyone else, and sometimes even themselves:

Financial system

Finally, the financial crisis painfully underscored the need for a more resilient economy, one that grows sustainably without plundering the future at the service of the present. There should no longer be any doubt that a free market only thrives when there are rules to guard against systemic failure and ensure fair competition.

Yet again, Barack Obama offers only a moderated version of the nonsense suggestions which can never solve the problem and aren't meant for such task in the first place either.

A finance system that allows for "interest" is by definition "plundering" and regardless of rules and regulations, the illegality of such transactions should never be covered by the law.

Climate change

Finally, sustainable economic growth requires addressing climate change.

Climate change is too big of a phenomena to talk about it only in respect of its direct impact on economic growth, however, Barack Obama is writing for The Economist and I'm writing on the president, so let's say a word about economic growth and climate change:

Mr. Obama, it's good to remember, Elon Musk saw himself forced to break a new level of technology in private transportation only to be able to claim his company a share of the market. Free-market? Competition? Capitalism?

Just look at the list of subsidiaries by the different parts of government rewarding climate unfriendly companies in the US.

They are nice jokes you are telling there about what the "America" has accomplished in order to curb the energy-sector emissions, however, you are forgetting to tell the 1001 tales of how the "America" has punished every environmental friendly economic or even social movement.

Appreciate your talents in satire though!

A hope for the future

"A hope of the future" is the last chapter of Barack Obama's writing published on The Economist, yet not having learned one's lesson's from the past suggests rather the anticipation for bitter futures, more so when one happens to be in denial of how we got where we are today and rather retell a hopeless lies of "the source of more than two centuries of economic and social progress", the realities I'm talking about are that of "slavery being the driving force of American independence from the Britain, and all the advancements which followed", "imperialism being the driving force of later years growth which continues up to present day" and finally "state capitalism being the underlying polito-economic framework of the US since its foundation to which one has to attribute all the uneven share of gains from plundering everyone else as much as the US could", last but not least, "the US is built on top of the ashes of the remainder of a native population suffered from the genocide and theft of their land" ...

First in the light of understanding the truth, one have to talk about hope or despair respecting the future, then maybe one come to realize, instead of the rosa illusion of Barack Obama's ending line:

For all the work that remains, a new foundation is laid. A new future is ours to write. It must be one of economic growth that’s not only sustainable but shared. To achieve it America must stay committed to working with all nations to build stronger and more prosperous economies for all our citizens for generations to come.

Maybe if the US doesn't fuck the oil nations and stop the rest of the world from keeping up with the US and if they don't fuck Asia and Africa with extremely low payments, and don't treat Latin America as Slavery Brothel with No-Representation, so perhaps then the generations to come will be better off, as their parents did exercise their self-determination with understanding …

The economists and the future ...

I do not believe the cure of the issues is in the economy nor that economic issues could be healed without the help of other seemingly irrelevant aspect of human's lives on individual, group and social level ...

However, as Obama saw himself and evaluated his greatest achievement in respect of economy which is also expected from a post-economic-crises president, let's take a brief look at few interesting examples that I happen to have heard of during the years:

Financial innovation

Robert J. Shiller's view of financial instrument as innovations by human is an extremely interesting one, moreover that unlike many others in the finance world his concern are bond with the understanding of the role of finance as the economic mean in the society, in contrast to the practice in the West where banks consider themselves the gods of the world.

3. Technology and Invention in Finance

Regenerative Capitalism

John Fullerton a former Managing Director of JPMorgan, perhaps one of the very few financiers who has realized that the planet is finite and that realization leading to transformation from being a financier to going against the capitalism, or said moderately directly the world financiers to a regenerative one:

A democratic Europe

Yanis Varoufakis, former finance minister of Greece, goes as far as telling he wasted his life learning mathematical models on economy which had no implication in life, rather than being an instrument for backing off politicians' agendas. Regardless of your views on Greece and how Germany legally took over the Greece's parliament because of Greece's debt problems, the fate of Greece might not be an unfamiliar one to others on the planet, if we continue the current path:

Yanis Varoufakis - Noam Chomsky Interview Theory NYPL 26 April 2016 - Noam Chomsky: US Terrorism

Our opinion

An introduction

Finance and economy should be after growing the society for every single individual member and non-member, while providing every single individual member with the best condition and atmosphere possible to grow individual according to their noble cause ...

Hopefully in the future we will publish more on the subject ...

Endnotes and Acknowledgements


A version of this article was delivered as a short talk on the International Economic course of Dr. Daniel Jacquerioz, I owe a thank to him for triggering the idea of this article ...

Note: we simply lack the resources to contact both agencies and figure out what actually went wrong or what caused the disparity, a probable cause might be differences in definitions or etc, so if you wish, you could eventually support us, so we might have access to more resources and be able to deliver better quality material and check more details in our articles ...

  1. whenever there is a talk of "capitalism" thought this article, I only refer to what is right now practiced as such, otherwise there are much dispute on what capitalism really is, and if one goes back to where supposedly the beginning of this idea should be, what we practice and what that is, have barely anything in common but the notion of "capital". 

  2. and remember the Rodham in her name stand as a public statement that his marriage with Bill Clinton was not the step of building her family from the very beginning ... 

  3. The data presented here are calculated from the data provided by the studies of The U.S. Small Business Administration from their website, ( » Office of Advocacy » Research and Statistics » Firm Size Data » Firm Size Data)[], and apparently they use the same data as the U.S. Census Bureau, however The American Fact Finder service provided by the the U.S. Census Bureau, has totally different calculation respecting the number of employees based on the size of enterprises. For example, (Geography Area Series: County Business Patterns by Employment Size Class more information 2014 Business Patterns)[] suggests that employment by enterprises with more than 500 employees was: 23,266,150 while The U.S. Small Business Administration tables for 2014 calculates: 63,175,352 which is a wholly different amount. However, the pattern we are studying in this article is alike in based on both tables, meaning from 2009 to 2014, the period of Obama's presidency for which we have the data, the employment by big enterprises have risen and the small and medium-sized enterprises share of employment has shrunk. 

  4. as explained in more detail elsewhere, the notion of Invisible Hand by Adam Smith and this reading of how it functions has nothing to do with one another. At best you can say the present-day advocates of Adam Smith theory only stole few of his words from his book and faked an economic theory which has fundamental problems ... 


The Lost Ideas Lab Journal

October 2016, Barack Obama reflects on his 8 years of presidency in a piece on The Economist, the economist calls it "four crucial areas of unfinished business in economic policy that his successor will have to tackle" however the truth is anything but that ...