the hominid mind was intrinsically disposed to the individual's 'survive and reproduce' -modern man has yet to get past this 'The earth here for me to use with least effort necessary' to what is 'the inevitability of the life-form trying to survive as long as possible':
Human Nature and Continuing Human Existence
April 15, 2008 from Morning Edition, National
'Bad Money' Criticizes Wall Street, U.S. Finances
STEVE INSKEEP, host: As nervous as you may be about the trouble in the
U.S. economy, Kevin Phillips thinks you may not be nervous enough. Phillips is
a former Republican strategist and former commentator on this program. In more
recent years, he has sounded serious warnings about his countryís politics, its
economy, and its future.
Mr. KEVIN PHILLIPS (Author, Bad Money): Youíve had a massive upheaval in
the United States in the last two decades, in which financial services - the
financial sector includes finance, insurance and real estate - has dwarfed
manufacturing, which has slipped way down, and become the leading part of the
economy in terms of share of gross domestic product. This sector ballooned. It
increased hugely in size. One of its biggest products is actually debt and
credit - credit cards and debt obligations. All right.
INSKEEP: I want to make sure I understand what youíre saying, because
youíre saying that this is
an economy where we used to make steel, we used to make cars, we used to make
television sets, any number of other things, and now youíre arguing that the
basic thing that we make the greatest share of money on is debt products and
other financial services.
Mr. PHILLIPS: Youíve got an economy that runs basically on money being
moved around, and we now have convenience fees on ATMs, all kinds of things
like this. It doesnít make much anymore in terms of products, and as a result
we have to import huge amounts of manufactured goods and oil. And it costs just
buckets and buckets of money. And we can't afford that, so weíre an
international debtor, too. It creates a special vulnerability.
INSKEEP: What is it that makes you say that this period that you see in
the United States - where financial services are becoming more and more
important as an economic engine - what is it that makes you say that that has
been, in effect, a terminal stage or the late stage of other great nations and
Mr. PHILLIPS: Well, if you look back at the leading world economic
powers, the Dutch and then the British stopped doing what they were doing so
well for so long - industry, maritime commerce - and in their last decades
theyíve become more and more dependent on finance, on providing services to the
world, banking, maritime insurance, all of these sorts of things. And they
thought that would work. That that was a new form of success. And that was the
next stage of a great economy.
INSKEEP: Well, is there a reason that you choose to include this quote
in your book, which goes even further back in history, for an analogy. If we
are Rome, Wall Streetís our Coliseum.
Mr. PHILLIPS: I thought that was a very good observation by a
commentator on Market Watch. He used that slogan. And I think itís true in the
sense that itís a global arena, Coliseum or not. But finance is where these
things are being fought out. Itís where weíre losing these battles. The dollar
is like a gladiator bleeding on the field of the Coliseum.
INSKEEP: When you try to take the longer view do you think itís already
Mr. PHILLIPS: Well, itís not too late in one very important sense. These
countries that have had these problems historically have gone through periods
of 20, 30, 40 years when adjusting to their new lesser role has caused lots of
problems. Theyíve had to make major adjustments. They couldnít live nearly so
high on the hog. The British even had food rationing for almost 10 years after
World War II.
INSKEEP: Now, wait a minute. There was what was famously called the
American century. A century dominated by the United States. Are you saying
thereís not going to be another, but we can at least hope for a pretty decent
place in the Chinese century or whatever itís going to be?
Mr. PHILLIPS: Well, I would say that this century weíre in now is not
going to be the American century. If it was going to be the American century,
we wouldnít be going hat in hand to the investment funds of Singapore, of Saudi
Arabia, of China.
INSKEEP: Kevin Phillips is a former Republican strategist, now the other
of many books, the latest of which is called Bad Money.
Thanks very much.
Mr. PHILLIPS: Thank you.
INSKEEP: Itís MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Iím Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, host: And Iím Renee Montagne.
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