Friday, April 18, 2014

Mises on the four classes of people and the basis of the market society

"Saving—capital accumulation—is the agency that has transformed step by step the awkward search for food on the part of savage cave dwellers into the modern ways of industry. The pacemakers of this evolution were the ideas that created the institutional framework within which capital accumulation was rendered safe by the principle of private ownership of the means of production. Every step forward on the way toward prosperity is the effect of saving. The most ingenious technological inventions would be practically useless if the capital goods required for their utilization had not been accumulated by saving.

"The entrepreneurs employ the capital goods made available by the savers for the most economical satisfaction of the most urgent among the not-yet-satisfied wants of the consumers. Together with the technologists, intent upon perfecting the methods of processing, they play, next to the savers themselves, an active part in the course of events that is called economic progress. The rest of mankind profit from the activities of these three classes of pioneers. But whatever their own doings may be, they are only beneficiaries of changes to the emergence of which they did not contribute anything.

"The characteristic feature of the market economy is the fact that it allots the greater part of the improvements brought about by the endeavors of the three progressive classes—those saving, those investing the capital goods, and those elaborating new methods for the employment of capital goods—to the nonprogressive majority of people. Capital accumulation exceeding the increase in population raises, on the one hand, the marginal productivity of labor and, on the other hand, cheapens the products. The market process provides the common man with the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of other peoples's achievements. It forces the three progressive classes to serve the nonprogressive majority in the best possible way.

"Everybody is free to join the ranks of the three progressive classes of a capitalist society. These classes are not closed castes. Membership in them is not a privilege conferred on the individual by a higher authority or inherited from one's ancestors. These classes are not clubs, and the "ins" have no power to keep out any newcomer. What is needed to become a capitalist, an entrepreneur, or a deviser of new technological methods is brains and will power. The heir of a wealthy man enjoys a certain advantage as he starts under more favorable conditions than others. But his task in the rivalry of the market is not easier, but sometimes even more wearisome and less remunerative than that of a newcomer. He has to reorganize his inheritance in order to adjust it to the changes in market conditions. Thus, for instance, the problems that the heir of a railroad "empire" had to face were, in the last decades, certainly knottier than those encountered by the man who started from scratch in trucking or in air transportation.

"The popular philosophy of the common man misrepresents all these facts in the most lamentable way. As John Doe sees it, all those new industries that are supplying him with amenities unknown to his father came into being by some mythical agency called progress. Capital accumulation, entrepreneurship and technological ingenuity did not contribute anything to the spontaneous generation of prosperity. If any man has to be credited with what John Doe considers as the rise in the productivity of labor, then it is the man on the assembly line. Unfortunately, in this sinful world there is exploitation of man by man. Business skims the cream and leaves, as the Communist Manifesto points out, to the creator of all good things, to the manual worker, not more than "he requires for his maintenance and for the propagation of his race." Consequently, "the modern worker, instead of rising with the progress of industry, sinks deeper and deeper.... He becomes a pauper, and pauperism develops more rapidly than population and wealth." The authors of this description of capitalistic industry are praised at universities as the greatest philosophers and benefactors of mankind and their teachings are accepted with reverential awe by the millions whose homes, besides other gadgets, are equipped with radio and television sets."

Ludwig von Mises
Grove City, PA: Libertarian Press, originally published 1956, p. 31-33
(h/t Sandwichman at EconoSpeak)

Emily Tess Katz — Jack Abramoff: Supreme Court Justices 'Just Don't Get' How Money Influences Politics

Former lobbyist Jack Abramoff disagrees with the Supreme Court's April 2 ruling on campaign finance limits, which knocked down the overall limits on what a donor can give to all federal candidates, political parties and PACs combined.
"I don’t believe the [Supreme Court] justices understand the connection between political money and corruption," he told HuffPost Live's Josh Zepps. "It seems that none of them were politicians and none of them were elected officials, so maybe they just don’t get it. To think that the conveying of money is not going to create a corrupt relationship, I think is naive at best."

Snowden Calls BS On Putin's Answer: Says He Was Playing The Role Of Ron Wyden (via Techdirt)

Snowden Calls BS On Putin's Answer: Says He Was Playing The Role Of Ron Wyden (via Techdirt)
Yesterday we, like many, were perplexed by Ed Snowden's decision to go on a Russian television program, and to ask Vladimir Putin a question about whether or not the Russians do mass surveillance like the NSA does (which was, of course, exposed by Ed…

Travis Gettys — Study: Popular movements strangled by influence of the wealthy elite in Congress (via Raw Story )

Study: Popular movements strangled by influence of the wealthy elite in Congress (via Raw Story )
A forthcoming study found that ordinary citizens exert little influence on the political process, even when they form coalitions to compete against corporate interests. A co-author of the study, which will be published later this year, said he was particularly…

Peter Radford — Capital: Piketty and such

I will not pile on any more: the Piketty book is required reading. Enough said.
What strikes me is that his data set is so comprehensive that it ought to end many of those lingering debates within economics. I doubt it will, but it ought to.
I have a few comments I want to make because of his book and the reaction to it.
Context is everything.
First: it confirms, in my mind, my argument that economic systems cannot ever be carved out of their historical, social, and political contexts. Not, at least, if the analyst wants to be left with anything at all useful. Studying economics as some abstracted other-worldly stand alone entity is entirely pointless. Pretending that everyday people act in an economic sense without reference to a whole slew of cultural, institutional or other relationships and pressures is just nonsense. Of course they do. We all know that.
I understand that distilling some uniquely “economic” regularities is useful. I understand that establishing certain cause and effects relationships can help us understand society, but, ultimately it is society we are understanding, not just some economic agents roaming about absent any other influences. So anything understood within the domain of economics must then be converted to, or fitted within, the larger picture before it is thought of as having any relevance. Particularly policy relevance.
So it is not enough to build upon micro foundations unless those foundations extend across a diverse realm that includes all the elements at the base of the society being studied. To avoid such an extension is to display an extraordinary and willful narrow mindedness.
Revisiting the Cambridge Capital Controversy
I disagree with Piketty with respect to the outcome of the so-called Cambridge or Capital controversies of the 1950′s and 60′s. He is wrong when he says that the Samuelson/Solow side won the debate. They didn’t. Indeed they acknowledged their loss. The problem is that their loss never resulted in a suitable revision of theory. They simply ignored the consequences of the loss and plowed on as if nothing had happened. The result is that despite being an epic review of capital and the role it plays in creating massive inequalities in society, Piketty’s book glosses over any detailed look at the way in which capital becomes part of the production process. It is not his intention to delve too deeply into such matters. I concur with his omission on that score, but someone, somewhere, needs to re-visit those controversies in the light of Piketty’s revelations and produce a more modern and helpful notion of capital that can then be incorporated into contemporary theory. Until the clutter is removed from around the subject of what, exactly, capital is, talking about substitution with labor is meaningless. We don’t know what is doing the substituting. Nor can we properly compute a return to capital if it remains such a slippery almost chameleon like entity. Perhaps we are afraid we will just end up realizing that returns to capital are socially constructed as some have argued all along. Such a conclusion would unravel orthodoxy at warp speed. Deservedly so.
It's really about power.
To me, both capital and labor are references to power and social relationships not to actual production inputs.
We need to rethink the factors.
Come to think of it the classical trio of Land, Labor, and Capital all need to be put aside and replaced with a more precise set of basic inputs. Energy, Primary Knowledge, Secondary Knowledge and Physical Resource are my suggested alternative. Where Primary Knowledge is that reducible into code and thus amenable to embedding in machinery; and Secondary Knowledge is that which enables adaptive reaction to novelty, and which is thus the source of future code.
Real-World Economics Review Blog
Capital: Piketty and such
Peter Radford

Mark Buchanan — How to consistently beat the market -- follow trends


Yes, "the trend is your friend," or MOMO counts, as traders know (pace EMH).
Several people working for the hedge fund AQR Capital Management have a working paper which looks at trend following strategies over about a century. It finds they're generally very profitable, which is surprising, I guess, if you're an EMH nut and simply can't muster the imagination required to believe that markets contain identifiable momentum.
The Physics of Finance
How to consistently beat the market -- follow trends
Mark Buchanan

David Siegel — Why wouldn’t people want to reduce inequality?

Formation of collective consciousness through resonance and ripples.

The Washington Post — The Monkey Cage
Why wouldn’t people want to reduce inequality?
David A. Siegel | Associate Professor of Political Science, Duke University
(h/t Mark Thoma at Economist's View)

Lars P. Syll — Thomas Piketty and fierce critiques of brilliantly silly economic models


Quotes Emily Eakin/The Chronicle Review
The French economist Thomas Piketty arrived in Washington, D.C., on Sunday for a week of talks at some of the nation’s leading policy-research centers but which might as well have been billed as a victory lap up the East Coast. The English translation of Piketty’s new book, Capital in the Twenty-first Century, a formidably rigorous, 700-page history of wealth, out barely five weeks, had just made The New York Times’s best-seller list. But even before it appeared, on the strength of a handful of advance reviews and a surge of Internet buzz, Piketty’s transformation was complete: from respected researcher on income distribution to ranking heavyweight, a scholar who, armed with reams of data and charts—and, unusual for an economist, a gilded tongue—proposed to upend decades of mainstream wisdom on inequality though an unprecedented analysis of the past.
This is a sea change in political economy.
“For far too long,” he writes, “economists have sought to define themselves in terms of their supposedly scientific methods. In fact, those methods rely on an immoderate use of mathematical models, which are frequently no more than an excuse for occupying the terrain and masking the vacuity of the content. Too much energy has been and still is being wasted on pure theoretical speculation without a clear specification of the economic facts one is trying to explain or the social and political problems one is trying to resolve.”
Translation: The emperor is naked.
Capital in the Twenty-first Century, Piketty makes clear, is his notion of what economics scholarship should look like: combining analyses of macro (growth) and micro (income distribution) issues; grounded in abundant empirical data; larded with references to sociology, history, and literature; and sparing on the math. In its scale and scope, the book evokes the foundational works of classical economics by Ricardo, Malthus, and Marx—to whose treatise on capitalism Piketty’s title alludes.
Back to the high ground.
Less likely to endure is Piketty’s remedy for inequality: a progressive global wealth tax on fortunes over 1-million euros.
In Washington, a policy town, remedies were what many of Piketty’s commentators wanted to talk about, and they tended to dismiss his proposal, while taking the opportunity to promote their own ideas instead.
The Overton window is shifting to the left after being pushed rightward for decades under neoliberalism.
Thomas Piketty and fierce critiques of brilliantly silly economic models
Lars P. Syll | Professor, Malmo University

Randy Wray — The Reality of the Present and the Challenge of the Future: Fagg Foster for the 21st Century

Here is a presentation that I’ll give today at the University of Denver at the annual J. Fagg Foster honors ceremony. Most of you will not know of Foster, but you should. While he did not publish much, he was the professor of a number of prominent institutionalists who attended DU in the early postwar period. I was lucky to have studied with his student, Marc Tool, and was introduced to Foster’s work at the very beginning of my studies of economics. My presentation below is based on two of Foster’s articles: J. Fagg Foster (1981) “Understandings and Misunderstandings of Keynesian Economics”, JEI, vol XV, No 4, p. 949-957.; and (1981) “The Reality of the Present and the Challenge of the Future”, JEI vol XV, No 4, p. 963-968. Both are from 1966, republished in a special issue of the Journal of Economic Issues, 1981. You should read them.
Economonitor — Great Leap Forward
The Reality of the Present and the Challenge of the Future: Fagg Foster for the 21st Century
L. Randall Wray | Professor of Economics, University of Missouri at Kansas City

Michael Stephens — Minsky and Financial Reform’s “Never Ending” Struggle

In a new policy brief, Jan Kregel looks at a lesser-known, early period of Minsky’s work on financial reform. In the ’60s, Minsky was a consultant to a number of government agencies, including the Federal Reserve, on issues related to financial regulation. In this context, he came up with a new approach to bank examination, which he called “cash-flow based.” The new approach evaluated bank liquidity, not as an innate feature of a particular class of assets, but as a function of the balance sheet of the institutions under examination, the markets for those assets, the state of the macroeconomy and the financial system as a whole, and much else. In fact, as Kregel explains, what Minsky was after here was related to an early form of what we now call “macroprudential regulation.”
Multiplier Effect
Minsky and Financial Reform’s “Never Ending” Struggle
Michael Stephens

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Charles Alexander Eastman (Ohiyesa) — From The Soul of the Indian

"The native American has been generally despised by his white conquerors for his poverty and simplicity. They forget, perhaps, that his religion forbade the accumulation of wealth and the enjoyment of luxury. To him, as to other single-minded men in every age and race, from Diogenes to the brothers of Saint Francis, from the Montanists to the Shakers, the love of possessions has appeared a snare, and the burdens of a complex society a source of needless peril and temptation. Furthermore, it was the rule of his life to share the fruits of his skill and success with his less fortunate brothers. Thus he kept his spirit free from the clog of pride, cupidity, or envy, and carried out, as he believed, the divine decree—a matter profoundly important to him….

"It was our belief that the love of possessions is a weakness to be overcome. Its appeal is to the material part, and if allowed its way it will in time disturb the spiritual balance of the man. Therefore the child must early learn the beauty of generosity. He is taught to give what he prizes most, and that he may taste the happiness of giving, he is made at an early age the family almoner. If a child is inclined to be grasping, or to cling to any of his little possessions, legends are related to him, telling of the contempt and disgrace falling upon the ungenerous and mean man.

"Public giving is a part of every important ceremony. It properly belongs to the celebration of birth, marriage, and death, and is observed whenever it is desired to do special honor to any person or event. Upon such occasions it is common to give to the point of utter impoverishment. The Indian in his simplicity literally gives away all that he has, to relatives, to guests of another tribe or clan, but above all to the poor and the aged, from whom he can hope for no return. Finally, the gift to the 'Great Mystery,' the religious offering, may be of little value in itself, but to the giver's own thought it should carry the meaning and reward of true sacrifice….

"The true Indian sets no price upon either his property or his labor. His generosity is only limited by his strength and ability. He regards it as an honor to be selected for a difficult or dangerous service, and would think it shame to ask for any reward, saying rather: 'Let him whom I serve express his thanks according to his own bringing up and his sense of honor!'

"Nevertheless, he recognizes rights in property. To steal from one of his own tribe would be indeed disgrace, and if discovered, the name of 'Wamanon,' or Thief, is fixed upon him forever as an unalterable stigma. The only exception to the rule is in the case of food, which is always free to the hungry if there is none by to offer it. Other protection than the moral law there could not be in an Indian community, where there were neither locks nor doors, and everything was open and easy of access to all comers...."

THE SOUL OF THE INDIAN 
An Interpretation
By Charles Alexander Eastman (Ohiyesa)
(excerpted from section IV)
Project Gutenberg


Jared Bernstein — Rents, Rents, Everywhere Rents!


Cue "economic rent." Until a few days ago it was politically incorrect for economists to mention rents and rent-seeking, and it would get you associated with heterodoxy if not Marxism. One of the few talking about it was Michael Hudson.

On the Economy

Michael Hudson — Obama channeling Cheney?


Michael Hudson interviewed about the Ukraine.

Michael Hudson
Obama channeling Cheney?
Interview by Jessica Desvarieux of the Real News Network

My journey to trading success and why the mental game is everything. And introducing, "Norman's Law."

I have been trading for 35 years. I've been a member of four exchanges, a floor trader, prop trader for a major international bank, commodity trading advisor, trader for a major hedge fund and all around money manager.

With all this experience I can tell you positively, unequivocally, that the secret to successful trading is mental. One hundred percent mental. No systems, no charts, no quants, no algorithms...just mental. Once you understand that; once you can master the YOU in trading, you can trade pretty much continuously with uninterrupted profitability.

So why don't people do it?

AP — Harry Reid Calls Backers Of Nevada Ranchers 'Domestic Terrorists'

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is calling armed backers of a Nevada rancher "domestic terrorists" for using guns in a grazing rights battle with the federal Bureau of Land Management....
Reid says a federal task force is being formed to resolve the dispute.
The Huffington Post
Associated Press

Steve Roth — The Global “Capital” Glut


What Bain capital has to say about the global capital glut.
So what about Bain Capital, Romney’s shop? Here from their December 10, 2012 report (PDF; hat tip to the always-remarkable Izabella Kaminska, and to Climateer Investing).

World awash in nearly one quadrillion of cheap capital by end of decade, according to new Bain & Company report
Their takeaways include:

The capital glut will be accompanied by persistently low real interest rates, high volatility and thin real rates of return. 
Sound like secular stagnation to you?
 Also:
The ever-present danger of asset inflation will contribute to an overall steepening of the investment risk curve… companies will need to strengthen their bubble-detection capabilities
In short, there’s a huge amount of money floating around out there relative to income and production. (In Steve World, all financial assets embody money, and the money stock is the total value of financial assets — including dollar bills, deeds, or other formal financial claims — regardless of how currency-like those things are. Equating currency and currency-like things with money is conceptually incoherent.)
This is an excerpt. If this is your interest, read the whole thing and follow the link at the end.
Hint: it’s about what the herd does with all that money.
Asymptosis
The Global “Capital” Glut
Steve Roth

Amy Goodman — A Hot War With Russia Is Conceivable: Top Scholar Stephen Cohen on Russia-Ukraine Crisis

STEPHEN COHEN: We are not at the beginning of the Cold War, a new one; we are well into it—which alerts us to the fact, just watching what you showed up there, that hot war is imaginable now, for the first time in my lifetime, my adult lifetime, since the Cuban missile crisis, hot war with Russia. It’s unlikely, but it’s conceivable. And if it’s conceivable, something has to be done about it.
Alternet
A Hot War With Russia Is Conceivable: Top Scholar Stephen Cohen on Russia-Ukraine Crisis
Amy Goodman

Sandwichman — J. M. Keynes Disappears into the Swamp


Keynes on capital and LTV.

EconoSpeak
J. M. Keynes Disappears into the Swamp
Sandwichman

Mark Engler and Paul Engle — Would Saul Alinsky Break His Own 'Rules' For Social Change Today?

Modern activists believe that Alinsky focused on building organizations and not social movements. But the author's own political work shows a more flexible approach.
AlterNet
Would Saul Alinsky Break His Own 'Rules' For Social Change Today?
Mark Engler and Paul Engler, Waging Nonviolence

J. Barkley Rosser — Who Owns Unowned Land?


Why Cliven Bundy doesn't have a legal leg to stand on. Also a interesting look at property rights.

Econospeak
Who Owns Unowned Land?
J. Barkley Rosser | Professor of Economics at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia

Benign Brodwicz — How stupid is our CIA-appointed president?


Geopolitical and geostrategic analysis that cuts through the fog of propaganda.

Animal Spirits Page

Due to the overwhelming response to my HALF PRICE Forex course offer I am closing enrollment at the end of today!

Attention!

Due to the overwhelming response I have gotten to my HALF PRICE offer for the April 21 - 25 Forex class I am going to close enrollment at the end of today. I am doing this because I want to keep the class at a manageable size for maximum learning benefit.

If you still want to sign up please do it today.



Joseph Joyce — Capital Liberalization and Inequality

Inequality, which has drawn a great deal of comment and analysis following the publication of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, has sometimes been seen as a byproduct to increased international trade. But now other international economic linkages are being investigated. The International Monetary Fund’s Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, has acknowledged the need to take distributional consequences into considerationwhen designing IMF policy programs. Moreover, Fund economists have contributed to the research on the linkages between financial globalization and inequality.
Davide Furceri and Prakash Loungani of the IMF have investigated the effect of capital account liberalization on inequality. They looked at 58 episodes of capital account reform in 17 advanced economies, and found that the Gini coefficient (a measure of inequality) increased by about 1% a year after liberalization and by 2% after five years....
Angry Bear
Capital Liberalization and Inequality
Joseph Joyce | Professor of Economics at Wellesley College and the Faculty Director of the Madeleine Korbel Albright Institute for Global Affairs

Sandwichman — Ants at the Piketty Picnic: What's Wrong with "Inequality"?


Sandwichman follows up on Peter Radford.
Why do people want to get rich? Sure, they want nice stuff, but more fundamentally they want to be freed from the coercive everyday insecurity of being poor. How do the wealthy stay rich and get even richer? They use the political power that their wealth accords to keep the game rigged in their favor....
Inequality is a positive fact; coercion is a normative claim. So let's all talk about inequality as if it has nothing to do with coercion. Let's not talk about the elephant in the room. What elephant?
So what's wrong with "inequality"? Framing the debate to be about "inequality" misses the point that the real problem is coercion.
Democracy gives the less well off the power to coerce the wealthy into sharing the wealth  — if they use it. The rich use their social, political and economic power to prevent this, in effect coercing the less well off to remain so.

One of the key arguments is that a rising tide lifts all boats. Another is meritocracy and just deserts. Both are based on unreasonable assumptions as heterodox economic analysis shows as well as analysis of social and political thinkers and social scientists.

Capitalism results in accumulation of capital at the top unless policy is brought to bear to prevent this.

Econospeak
Ants at the Piketty Picnic: What's Wrong with "Inequality"?
Sandwichman


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Peter Radford — Class Based Economics


Peter Radford nails it.
Buried somewhere in the pile of stuff I have accumulated as I think about inequality are these statistics:
Of all the income generated between 2009 and 2011 in the US 121% went to the top 1% of income earners
The top 1% owns just over half of all investment assets including 64.4% of all bonds
And, the bottom 90% incurs 72.5% of all debt
Think through the consequences of these numbers.
Basically we have an economy where the top 1% reaps all the rewards; where less well off people constantly fall further behind; and where the top folk lend to the bottom folk so that the less well off can keep on consuming and thus boosting the profits of the businesses the top folk own. This is a nice game for the rich as long as it lasts. Here in the US that would be the past forty years or so.
This is really simple.
It explains why our economic policies focus on preserving creditors, bailing out lenders, and keeping the inflation alarms ringing even when there is no inflation. Those policies benefit the top 1%. Those policies are advocated for and set by the people who will benefit from them. That a healthy does of inflation would alleviate the debt burden on those down the income ladder is scoffed at by those in power. Inflation, not unemployment, is the true bogey man of central banks everywhere because it is the bogey man of the wealthy.
This is simple class economics....
Capitalism naturally begets inequality and thus needs to be repressed whenever inequality reaches an unacceptable level. The repressive force is known to us all as democracy, within which the much feared mob asserts itself and forces the redistribution of the gains made by capitalists. In the US this is known as “we the people” refusing to play along with the rigged games played by businesses everywhere and at every time.
Except, of course, we have been duped into just that. Playing along. Thus assuring the destruction of the once much admired American middle class....
Enter Thomas Piketty.
It turns out that the aforementioned middle class was the creation, not of American “exceptionalism”, superior management, access to resources, basic freedoms, superior opportunity, or any other thing, but of a freaky coincidence: the raw power of the super-rich was undermined for a while by the epic struggles and costs associated with fighting lots of global wars. Once the wartime social improvements introduced to mollify returning veterans and to produce sufficient war material were eliminated by the resurgent wealthy, they could revert to the long term onward accumulation of wealth and power by the few. Those golden post-war decades were an aberration needing to be swept away so that the top folk could entrench themselves once more.
Real-World Economics Review Blog
Class Based Economics
Peter Radford, The Radford Free Press

Kick-ass post. Worth reading the whole thing.

Best line.
The awesome ignorance of the sweep of history and the equally stunning preference for isolation from power realities within much of modern economics is a disaster for all those who suffer the consequences of policy advice given out by professors of that economics.



David F. Ruccio — Capital in the 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries


Reading list.
Once again, this coming fall, I’ll be teaching Karl Polanyi’s The Great Transformation in my Topics in Political Economy course.
It’s a course based entirely on books (plus a few political economy films, starting with Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times). I teach four classic texts of political economy, starting with Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations and then moving on to different responses to Smith’s theory of capitalism: by Karl Marx (volume 1 of Capital), Thorstein Veblen (The Theory of the Leisure Class), and finally Polanyi.
I match each classic text with a contemporary one: for example, Deirdre McCloskey’s Bourgeois Virtues with Smith, Stephen Resnick and Richard Wolff’s Knowledge and Class with Marx, and Joseph Stiglitz’s The Price of Inequality with Veblen. Next time, I’m planning to teach Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century as the follow-up to Polanyi.
Occasional Links & Commentary
Capital in the 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries
David F. Ruccio | Professor of Economics University of Notre Dame Notre Dame

J.K. Trotter — Income Inequality Institute Will Pay Paul Krugman $25,000 Per Month


Celebrity rent. 

On the other hand, Krugman's celebrity will be directed at what is quickly coming to the fore as the principal issue of our times.

Gawker (via HuffPo)
Income Inequality Institute Will Pay Paul Krugman $25,000 Per Month
J.K. Trotter

See also, Koch Brothers Net Worth Soars Past $100 Billion by Ashley Alman at The Huffington Post

Matt Taibbi: America Has A 'Profound Hatred Of The Weak And The Poor' by Emily Tess Katz at The Huffington Post

Ibrahim Balkhy — Economist Thomas Piketty Explains Why Income Inequality Is Just Getting Started


Piketty is hitting the media

The Huffington Post
Economist Thomas Piketty Explains Why Income Inequality Is Just Getting Started
Ibrahim Balkhy

Michael McAuliff — Republican Outrage At IRS Is All About Protecting Karl Rove, Dark Money, Dems Say


The GOP hidden agenda is beginning to surface about the IRS scandal. Again, follow the money. It leads to Karl Rove and Crossroads GPS.

The Huffington Post
Republican Outrage At IRS Is All About Protecting Karl Rove, Dark Money, Dems Say
Michael McAuliff

1959 US Fed Review Of 1957 UK Radcliff Committee Report On Monetarism vs Fiat Currency Operations. Fascinating reading.

   (Commentary posted by Roger Erickson)




Interesting parts commence half way down page 2, with curiously emphasized statements about what "the American, for example, KNOWS ... ."

There is far too much to comment on, so feel free to discuss. To me, the overall point seems to be that the presumptive rule of monetarism - and importance of bankers & plutocrats of the day - was abjectly disproved by experiences during the WWII years, then began to mount a furious backlash ... and is now once again seemingly dead & relegated to the second-level bleachers, even if it's defendants refuse to recognize that it no longer commands or deserves a 1st-class ticket at the policy-development forum. In fact, the banking & economic professions need to get the heck out of the way.

Closest parallel I can immediately think of in biology is oxygen tension across the capillary/tissue gradient in all parts of the body. Yes, oxygen tension affects oxygen diffusion & utilization, but appropriate countermeasures (capillary size, permeability, various "globin" molecules as transport & storage carriers [even fetal/adult subtypes of hemoglobin], and various tissue-specific catalyst factors that affect oxygen release from carrier molecules) .... all serve to allow oxygen demand (credit?) to smooth out & buffer the absolute magnitude of the "price" of delivering oxygen to different tissues.

In any system, if a given process is necessary, even if not sufficient, for aggregate system function & evolution .....then marginal return on process execution is a secondary - NOT a primary - factor for system operation. A way will be found, regardless of price.

Nevertheless, it's as if we have a irrelevant argument between bankers (the lungs) & other citizens (the other tissue types) over who "runs" the circulatory system, and entire physiology.  I've got news for the "banker-lungs" ..... there's this overwhelming concept, labelled "necessary but not sufficient" ..... . 

So the bankers claim of taking on godlike importance is grossly oversold. Careful, or we'll just replace you with a mobile phone app. The other humans are getting impatient. Banking functions may be necessary, but bankers as is sure as hell aren't sufficient anymore.