Security-demand Overload

This 2006 American Prospect piece by Garance Franke-Ruta proposes that some people who are activated by “traditional values” politics are receptive to such politics because those traditional values are unobtained aspirations for them (not because they’re defending their lifestyle).

I missed this when it came out a few years ago. It’s framed as a strategy consideration for Democrats. I don’t know what they did with it, if anything. Obviously nothing creative (OK they got into the Presidency. Good for you, Rahm Emanuel).

History of families researcher Stephanie Koontz’s sociological (as opposed to F-R’s Dem strategy) take on Aspirational Traditional Values is that where people (eg. Anglo-American societies) have a culture that does not legitimize obligation and security in the labour market, people tend to rely on and demand excessive obligation and security from the institution of individual nuclear families.

According to Koontz, this creates the American family “churn” effect–instability in family relationships rooted in security-demand overload. (In this blog, I’ve previously suggested such a demand-overload churn plagues the institution of American education.) See here for the 2010 Henwood radio interview in which Koontz discusses this issue and debunks myths about contemporary families. (The interview with Koontz is a little more than halfway through the on-line radio show, after the interview with labour historian Dan La Botz.)

For more families research, see the Council on Contemporary Families’ website.

The American marriage churn is discussed by Andrew Cherlin in his 2009 book “The Marriage Go Round.” There he shows that Americans hold contradictory values with regard to marriage sanctity on one hand and extreme individualism on the other. He argues that these very contradictory values result in irrational and harmful family practices–result in imploding relationships, the marriage churn. Capitalism downloads contradiction and conflict into the little institution of the nuclear family, the very institution that is supposed to be sanctified.

Cancer & environment: Government acknowledges

Cancer is produced by commercial toxins introduced into the environment, according to a 2010 government cancer panel.

The very interesting tidbit in this short article is the public role the American Cancer Society takes on: In response to the government panel’s recommendation, the American Cancer Society’s director steps up to the microphone to maintain that cancer is only caused by individual sinful lifestyle choices, the sun, and hormones; he insists the government should stay out of supporting research into pollution’s effects on human health. Now we know the American Cancer Society is a psuedo-altruistic, distractionary front for polluter industries. Don’t support it. Don’t credit it.

capitalism is counterproductive, part XM

Gretchen Morgenson reports on Goldman Sachs’ and John Paulson’s creation & sale of a toxic mortgage investment portfolio.

“The problem is, I think, Terry, that much of Wall Street has become so riddled with conflicts of interest that there are tremendous opportunities for mischief and worse if you are a very well connected, politically connected, and powerful investment bank,” sums Morgenson.

“I think that the most distressing aspect of these (reform) bills (in Congress) is that they don’t really do anything about the element of too big- and too politically interconnected-to-fail companies, and that is the heart of this matter.

I think it’s important that we understand, you know, sort of how far afield from the idea of raising capital for companies to create jobs -which is Wall Street’s, you know, supposed reason for being – how far afield from that we have come…But I think that it (financial capital dysfunction) is not simply limited to Goldman Sachs. Other firms did these kinds of things, and I think that the degree to which it brings scrutiny to these practices so that we can have a real airing and a real discussion about what is – What are their purposes? What were they designed for? Is it good for America?”

The Goldman Sachs political class:

Dianna Farrell:

Obama Administration: Deputy Director, National Economic Council
Former Goldman Sachs Title: Financial Analyst

Stephen Friedman:

Obama Administration: Chairman, President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board
Former Goldman Sachs Title: Board Member (Chairman, 1990-94; Director, 2005-)

Gary Gensler:

Obama Administration: Commissioner, Commodity Futures Trading Commission
Former Goldman Sachs Title: Partner and Co-head of Finance

Robert Hormats:

Obama Administration: Undersecretary for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs, State Department
Former Goldman Sachs Title: Vice Chairman, Goldman Sachs Group

Philip Murphy:

Obama Administration: Ambassador to Germany
Former Goldman Sachs Title: Head of Goldman Sachs, Frankfurt

Mark Patterson:

Obama Administration: Chief of Staff to Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geitner
Former Goldman Sachs Title: Lobbyist 2005-2008; Vice President for Government Relations

John Thain:

Obama Administration: Advisor to Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geitner
Former Goldman Sachs Title: President and Chief Operating Officer (1999-2003)

Former associates and employees of Goldman Sachs that worked in the Bush administration:

Henry Paulson:

Bush II Administration: Secretary, Treasury 2006 – 2009
Former Goldman Sachs Title: Chairman and CEO (1998-2006)

Neel Kashkari:

Bush II Administration: Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability, Treasury (2008 – 2009)
Former Goldman Sachs Title: Vice President, San Francisco; led Information Technology Security Investment Banking Practice

Reuben Jeffery III:

Bush II Administration: Undersecretary for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs, State Department (2007 –2009)
Former Goldman Sachs Title: Managing Partner Paris until 2002 Security Investment Banking Practice

Robert Steel:

Bush II Administration: Under Secretary for Domestic Finance, Treasury, (2006 – 2008)
Former Goldman Sachs Title: Vice Chairman – 2004

Steve Shafran:

Bush II Administration: Advisor on setting up TARP to Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson 2008
Former Goldman Sachs Title: Private equity business in Asia until 2000

Edward C. Forst:

Bush II Administration: Advisor on setting up TARP to Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson 2008
Former Goldman Sachs Title: Co-head of Goldman’s investment management business

Dan Jester:

Bush II Administration: Advisor on setting up TARP to Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson 2008
Former Goldman Sachs Title: Deputy CFO

Kendrick R. Wilson III:

Bush II Administration: Advisor on setting up TARP to Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson 2008
Former Goldman Sachs Title: Chairman of Goldman’s financial institutions groups

Joshua Bolten:

Bush II Administration: White House Chief of Staff (2006 – 2009)
Former Goldman Sachs Title: Executive Director, Legal & Government Affairs (1994-99)

Gary Gensler:

Bush II Administration: Undersecretary, Treasury (1999-2001) and Assistant Secretary, Treasury (1997-1999)
Former Goldman Sachs Title: Partner and Co-head of Finance

Robert Rubin:

Bush II Administration: Secretary, Treasury 1995-1999
Former Goldman Sachs Title: Vice Chairman (1987-90)

Robert Zoellick:

Bush II Administration: United States Trade Representative (2001-2005), Deputy Secretary of State (2005-2006), World Bank President (2007 -)
Former Goldman Sachs Title: Vice Chairman, International (2006-07)