Civic Duty

A colleague who recently retired was called in for jury duty in an attempted murder case. She wasn’t chosen or even questioned because the jury had gotten selected long before it was her turn.

“That’s such a shame!” she says. “I should have been on that jury. I’m completely sure the guy isn’t guilty.”

Good to Be Broke

Come to think of it, I’m glad my university is broke.

Magic and Carelessness

Here’s the problem with magical thinking: it makes you careless.


Bush’s carelessness in handling the debt implications of his homeownership initiative shared a great deal with Bremer’s carelessness in superintending the reconstruction of Iraq.

Gary Gerstle, The Rise and Fall of the Neoliberal Order

I’m seeing this with my university’s administrators, too. They make really big decisions in very sloppy ways. “Here, we are rolling out this gigantic new initiative,” they say, “and we are scrapping everything that was normally done before.” Then they send out a link, and it’s pathetic. It looks like it was slapped up by two sixth-graders overnight. It crashes, there are primitive spelling mistakes and unfinished sentences. But the old system that worked is already scrapped, so we are stuck with nothing whatsoever and no plan B.

Bush’s BLM

The Marshall Plan was a huge success, right? The rebuilding of the Spanish economy in the late 1950s – early 1960s, engineered by the US, was an astounding success, too.

But the rebuilding of Iraq in the 2000s was an abject failure. Why?

Gary Gerstle explains that while the Marshall Plan was the Old Capitalist project, the rebuilding of Iraq was done the neoliberal way. There was no planning, no oversight. Vast sums of money were thrown haphazardly at a few monopolists like Halliburton, in hopes that Halliburton’s freedom to be a market onto itself would somehow magically sort things out. According to this logic, as long as the government is removed, everything is going to be great. It’s the “defund the police” mentality that we all know so well.

So what does George W Bush have in common with the BLM? They think in the exact same way, and that’s why they end up failing so badly. Theirs is the magical thinking of pouty children who want one simple recipe that would work for every occasion.