It is true that the US is extremely rightwing in economic matters, but its philosophy in this area does not differ much from most Third World Countries, most of whom actually follow some pretty rightwing economic policies.
In many parts of the Third World, governments do little or nothing to help their people, governments are essentially the limited governments that Libertarians and US rightwingers love so much, public spending is limited to minimal outside of security forces, and the state is for all intents and purposes a dictatorship of the rich, whatever the formal democratic nature of the state is. Rule by the rich is enforced by police, army, other security forces, or death squads and other hired thugs. This is such an essential feature of rightwing rule worldwide that one wonders when the US will adopt such thuggish suppression of the Left.
Some countries are simply so poor that they just don’t have the money to help their people whether they want to or not. These countries are often burdened by oppressive amounts of outside debt.
A rightwing commenter from Russia recently suggested that the fact that this country was so conservative was the reason it was so rich. He was making the standard conservative = prosperity, socialism = poverty equations that the Right loves to toss around.
Let’s see if there’s anything to it.
Theories must be tested.
Top 10 countries worldwide in per capita income 1 Luxembourg 105,918 2 Norway 78,178 3 Switzerland 63,536 4 Qatar 59,990 5 Denmark 56,263 6 Jersey 56,200 7 Ireland 49,863 8 Netherlands 48,209 9 United States 45,934 10 Austria 45,686 11 United Arab Emirates 45,615 12 Finland 44,491 13 Sweden 43,654
This is a conglomeration of 3 different top 10 lists from different sources – the CIA, the World Bank and the IMF. All of the European countries are solid social democracies as far as I can tell. I believe that Qatar and the UAE also have extensive social democracies in place for citizens, but I’m not certain.
The US is the only country on the list practicing rightwing economics and probably has by far the most impoverished social democracy of anyone on the list. If anything, it seems to be an anomaly.
The notion that social democracies or socialist systems create poverty is refuted. As is the notion that the US is wealthy because it practices rightwing economics.
As we move down the list, we see more and more countries practicing rightwing economics. If anything, rightwing economics seems to be associated with hollowed states, mass poverty, ruling oligarchies, widespread violations of the rule of law by state and oligarchic thugs and security forces, and wild gaps between rich and poor. It also seems to be associated with a militant, sometimes armed and revolutionary Left.
One more rightwing myth down the drain.
9 thoughts on “Rightwing Myth: The US is Wealthy Because It Is So Rightwing”
Alas, Robert, you knowledge of the One True Economics is sorely lacking. Your ignorance and incomprehension of Economics is so insufficient and strewn with false premises and incorrect assumptions that to even engage you in dialogue would be a painful and fruitless endeavor.
Read Human Nature and expand your mind, my friend. True Economics is never wrong; it is grounded in the Pure Logic of Human Action, and can never be touched by these so-called empirical “facts” that you speak of (facts that, to begin with, are nothing but Value Judgements in and of themselves!!!!*).
*Von Mises is pure Logic, untouched by Value Judgements, you collectivist statist socialist cretin.
*Correction: Human Action.
Fuck, I can’t even satire accurately.
Human Action is such an extreme, unrespected, and eccentric book, that selections from it (or the book itself) were never even brought up during my extremely right-winged, US based, business school university education.
Norway, Qatar, and UAE are wealthy because of a very valuable resource (oil) and a small population with a governing class that doesn’t steal from it’s citizens. Arguably Qatar and UAE are more right wing than the US. (You can be jailed in the UAE for failing to pay your debts, “immodesty” can be punished, foreigners when their job contracts are expelled rapidly, there is a clear divide between benefits for citizens and resident aliens..)
What is really funny is calling Switzerland, Jersey, and Luxembourg more right wing than the US. (I guess it depends upon how you want to conveniently define right wing..) Corporate taxes are lower in all three than the US and the laws are more Corporate friendly. Basically they are wealthy because that’s where rich Europeans (and quite a few rich people from around the globe..) hide errr… ahem stash their money. Ireland also used to have some of the lowest Corporate taxes in Europe.. I don’t think Ireland is still that wealthy.. since it is going through a housing crises implosion that is worse than the US.
Denmark ranks number one in the Globe as a place to do business by Fortune magazine.. a notorious left wing publication. “Cough”
Are those GDP figures calculated by exchange rates or by purchasing power partity? I suspect that it s the former, which makes them highly misleading. What counts is how much you can buy in a given country with a certain sum of money.
The euro went up about 20% relative to the American dollar since June, which means that, expressed in terms of American dollars, people in the eurozone got richer by 20%. That’s why you should use GDP at PPP.
You can reformulate that list and keep the Social Democracies that don’t rely heavily on international finance (Denmark, Finland, and The Netherlands…)
But Qatar and the UAE… social Democracies..? Dude…
“Qatar is a destination country for men and women from South and Southeast Asia who migrate willingly, but are subsequently trafficked into involuntary servitude as domestic workers and laborers, and, to a lesser extent, commercial sexual exploitation; the most common offence was forcing workers to accept worse contract terms than those under which they were recruited; other conditions include bonded labor, withholding of pay, restrictions on movement, arbitrary detention, and physical, mental, and sexual abuse.
According to the Trafficking in Persons Report by the US State Department, men and women who are lured into Qatar by promises of high wages are often forced into underpaid labor. Many of these people are commonly known as peasants. The report states that Qatari laws against forced labour are rarely enforced and that labour laws often result in the detention of victims in deportation centres, pending the completion of legal proceedings. The report places Qatar at tier 3, as one of the countries that neither satisfies the minimum standards nor demonstrates significant efforts to come into compliance.”
Qatar as a Democracy:
“Politics of Qatar takes place in a framework of an absolute monarchy whereby the Emir of Qatar is not only head of state, but also the head of government.”
“In February 1972, the Deputy Ruler and Prime Minister, Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad, deposed his cousin, Emir Ahmad, and assumed power. This move was supported by the key members of Al Thani and took place without violence or signs of political unrest.
On June 27, 1995, the Deputy Ruler, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa, deposed his father Emir Khalifa in a bloodless coup. Emir Hamad and his father reconciled in 1996. Increased freedom of the press followed, and the Qatar-based Al Jazeera television channel (founded late 1996) is widely regarded as an example of free and uncensored source of news in Arab countries.”
Political parties and elections
Qatar is developing into a constitutional monarchy, but it doesn’t allow political parties nor hold elections on a national level yet. Suffrage is currently limited to municipal elections (for both males and females aged 18 years or more). Expatriate residents are excluded. The elected Municipal Council has no executive powers but may offer advice to the Minister.
Qatar has a discretionary system of law controlled by the emir….
“Politics of the United Arab Emirates takes place in a framework of a federal, presidential, elected monarchy. The UAE is a federation of seven absolute monarchies: the Emirates of Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Qaiwain. The ruler of Abu Dhabi is President of the United Arab Emirates, the head of state, and the ruler of Dubai is the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, the head of government.”
The Federal National Council (al-Majlis al-Watani al-Ittihadi) is the UAE’s parliamentary body and consists of 40 members, representing the Emirates, half appointed by the rulers of the constituent states and the other half elected to serve two-year terms, with only advisory tasks. Members are required to be citizens of the emirate they represent, a minimum twenty-one years of age, and literate.”
“Migrant and labor rights
Construction workers at the Burj Dubai
Migrants, particularly migrant workers, make up a majority (approximately 80%) of the resident population of the UAE, and account for 90% of its workforce. They lack rights associated with citizenship and face a variety of restrictions on their rights as workers.
It is common practice, although illegal, for employers in the UAE to retain employees’ passports for the duration of the employment contract to prevent expatriate employees from changing jobs. On termination of an employment contract, certain categories of expatriates are banned from obtaining a work permit in the country for six months.
Migrants, mostly of South Asian origin, constitute for 42.5% of the UAE’s workforce and are subject to a range of human rights abuses. Workers typically arrive in debt to recruitment agents from home countries and upon arrival are often made to sign a new contract in English or Arabic which pays them less than had originally been agreed. Visa and travel costs are typically added on to the original debt, and thus within hours of their arrival, workers often find that their debt-repayment time has increased significantly, possibly by years.
In September 2003 the government was criticised by Human Rights Watch for its inaction in addressing the discrimination against Asian workers in the emirate.
In 2004 the United States Department of State has cited widespread instances of blue collar labour abuse in the general context of the United Arab Emirates.
The BBC reported in September 2004 that “local newspapers often carry stories of construction workers allegedly not being paid for months on end. They are not allowed to move jobs and if they leave the country to go home they will almost certainly lose the money they say they are owed. The names of the construction companies concerned are not published in the newspapers for fear of offending the often powerful individuals who own them.”.
In December 2005 the Indian consulate in Dubai submitted a report to the Government of India detailing labour problems faced by Indian expatriates in the emirate. The report highlighted delayed payment of wages, substitution of employment contracts, premature termination of services and excessive working hours as being some of the challenges faced by Indian workers in the city. The consulate also reported that 109 Indian blue collar workers committed suicide in the UAE in 2006.
In March 2006 NPR reported that workers “typically live eight to a room, sending home a portion of their salary to their families, whom they don’t see for years at a time.” Others report that their salary has been withheld to pay back loans, making them little more than indentured servants.
In 2007 the falling dollar meant workers were unable to service debts and the incidence of suicides among Indian workers had reportedly been on the increase.
Construction workers from Asia on top floor of the Angsana Tower
Achieving redress with the authorities, namely the Ministry of Labor, is hard for many workers as the majority hails from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, and cannot speak either Arabic and English. Also, claims can drag on in the labor courts for months by which time the unpaid laborers have little option other than acceptance of whatever settlement is given.
2006 Workers’ riots
On 21 March 2006, tensions boiled over at the construction site of the Burj Khalifa as workers upset over low wages and poor working conditions rioted, damaging cars, offices, computers, and construction tools. A Dubai Interior Ministry official said the rioters caused approximately US$1 million in damage. On 22 March most workers returned to the construction site but refused to work. Workers building a new terminal at Dubai International Airport went on strike in sympathy. Another strike took place in October 2007. Over 4,000 strikers were arrested. Most of them were released some days later and were then to be expelled and deported from Dubai.”
Switzerland… most assuredly a Democracy…. (albeit very late to Women’s suffrage…) but they are very corporate and high income friendly:
“UK rates of corporation tax are 28% versus Swiss rates of tax of around 9% at worst
UK rates of income tax of 50% versus Swiss rates of around 20%.”
Swiss Ratchet Up Tax Breaks as Europe Fights Deficits (EG your country wants to tax your company more.. relocate to our country and save money…)
“Schaffhausen, the size of the New York City borough of Queens, is one of 26 Swiss cantons offering tax deals to attract hedge funds, biotechnology firms and Internet entrepreneurs, and companies fleeing tax havens such as the Cayman Islands that are encountering international pressure. The practice threatens to undermine efforts by countries seeking to tame budget deficits that ballooned in the wake of the global financial crisis.
“Low corporate taxes will help Switzerland attract business, but it’s also creating tension as European governments seek revenue to plug their fiscal deficits.” said Alan McQuaid, chief economist at Bloxham Stockbrokers in Dublin.
Switzerland reported a fiscal surplus last year, and cantons from Zurich to Schwyz are lowering taxes.
“There is still a clear downward trend in taxation,” said Martin Eichler, head of research at BakBasel, an economic consulting firm in Basel, Switzerland. “There is pressure to be attractive to companies and the cantons are saying that if we have to save somewhere, then it won’t be on tax.”
Tyco Electronics, which has had operations and manufacturing sites in Switzerland for about 25 years, also has more than 1,000 employees in four other cantons including Zurich and Ticino.
Swiss corporate tax rates, including a federal rate of 8.5 percent, range from 11.8 percent in the town of Pfaeffikon in Schwyz to 24.2 percent in Geneva, according to tax consultant Mattig-Suter & Partner. That compares with a corporate tax rate of 28 percent in the U.K. and 35 percent in the U.S.”
“Tax holidays, an exemption on paying cantonal taxes, are only offered to companies that bring new industries to the canton, something that doesn’t apply to hedge funds, he said.
Tax increases in the U.K. played a “key role” in persuading firms such as BlueCrest Capital Management and Brevan Howard Asset Management LLP to shift part of their London-based operations to Geneva, said Loeffler.
Smaller cantons want to emulate Zug, which used a tax rate of 15.8 percent to more than double its number of registered companies to 29,134 since 1990. The canton is home to miner Xstrata Plc and Transocean Ltd., the world’s largest offshore oil and gas driller.
“We made the move to maintain a competitive corporate tax rate,” said Guy Cantwell, a spokesman for Transocean, which moved to Zug from the Cayman Islands in December 2008. “Switzerland has one of the best tax treaties and tax set-ups in the world.”
The owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico listed on the Swiss stock exchange in April and expects its tax rate to be between 15 percent and 17 percent this year, after taking into account the estimated $200 million cost increase projected for the incident.
That compares with an average of about 20 percent between 2005 and 2007, according to Bjorn Thoresen, an Oslo-based analyst with First Securities. For such a big company, that difference is “not negligible,” he said”
America IS so wealthy because its right wing. Gets all its money from exploiting the crap outa other countries. All those other countries on the list are still Capitalist – so far removed from true socialism.
To be honest if those countries were really socialist, I wouldn’t blame the somewhat terrifying %age of Americans that hate Socialism for doing so (Seriously – whats with you yanks)