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Cause & Effect

This is a surprisingly fair-minded review for a self-proclaimed Marxist. Most Marxists don't know squat about economics, but Joe Amsden obviously knows something. I have not read Rasmus' book so I can't dispute Amsden's summary, but I have no reason not to believe him.

But Marxism inevitably shows through, with Amsden's complete reversal of cause and effect. He will have it that unemployment increased, and then the financial crash happened. But this is obviously not the case. In Summer, 2008, employment was doing just fine, thank you. It is only after the crash that large numbers of people began losing their jobs.

Amsden blames the crash on "greedy mortgage salesmen and the working poor." They may be somewhat to blame, but silly government policy is a bigger culprit. The federal subsidy of mortgages was always a very bad idea (including tax deductibility), as were laws that encouraged poor people to buy things they couldn't afford, e.g., equal lending laws. This just inflated a big bubble.

Bubbles are intrinsic in capitalism, as Marxists always remind us. But the alternative to capitalism is far worse: Cuba has avoided bubbles, but it is run as the personal playground of the Castro brothers, and is among the poorest countries in the hemisphere. And of course that socialist paradise of North Korea would be happy to see an occasional bubble - there might even be enough to eat.

Unlike most Marxists, Amsden isn't stupid. But Marxism is still a very, very bad idea.

My book - Naked in Haiti - is a Libertarian (and quite anti-Marxist) view of sex tourism. Available at


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