Sunday, March 1, 2015

John T. Harvey — Why Balancing The Budget Means Economic Catastrophe

... there are many–among both policy makers and the general public–who are convinced that one of our short-term priorities must be reducing government spending.... 
This is nothing short of insanity. There is absolutely no question that moves to try to balance the budget will meet with the same success as they did in 1937, when they served to raise unemployment from 14% to 19%. I have already written on this topic many times and so will limit myself to making only three points today:

Forbes — Pragmatic Economics
Why Balancing The Budget Means Economic Catastrophe
John T. Harvey | Professor of Economics, Texas Christian University

Josh Israel — TransCanada Is Seizing People’s Land To Build Keystone, But Conservatives Have Been Dead Silent

“If this were a wind mill project or a solar project, Republicans would have been hair-on-fire crazy supporting the property rights of farmers and ranchers,” she observed. “But because it’s an oil pipeline, it’s fine."
Property rights are sacred except when they aren't.

Think Progress
TransCanada Is Seizing People’s Land To Build Keystone, But Conservatives Have Been Dead Silent
Josh Israel

Heather Cox Richardson — It’s Worse than Scott Walker and Ted Cruz: Secrets of Conservatives’ Decades-Long War on Truth

Deep on page 546 of his 1,839-page budget, Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker tucked in a crucial idea. He proposed to strip a principle from the mission statement of the University of Wisconsin, a school that attracts students from all over the nation and from 131 foreign countries. From the core philosophy that has driven the university since the turn of the last century Walker wanted to hack out the words: “Basic to every purpose of the system is the search for truth.” Rather than serving the people of the state by developing intellectual, cultural and humane sensitivities, expertise, and “a sense of purpose,” Walker prefers that the state university simply “meet the state’s workforce needs.” In the face of scathing criticism, the governor backtracked and, despite a trail of emails that led to his office, tried to claim the new language was a “drafting error.”

But Walker’s attempt to replace the search for truth with workforce training was no error. Since the earliest days of Movement Conservatism in the 1950s, its leaders have understood that the movement’s success depends on destroying Americans’ faith in the academic search for truth. For two generations, Movement Conservatives have subverted American politics, with increasing success, by explicitly rejecting the principle of open debate based in reasoned argument. They have refused to engage with facts and instead simply demonized anyone who disagrees with their ideology. This is an astonishing position. It is an attack on the Enlightenment principles that gave rise to Western civilization.

Make no mistake: the attack is deliberate....

In 1951, a young William F. Buckley, Jr. articulated a strategy for opposing the consensus that supported New Deal policies. Buckley’s “God and Man at Yale: The Superstitions of ‘Academic Freedom’” was a sophomoric diatribe by the Catholic son of a wealthy oil magnate, published by the small right-wing Henry Regnery Press. In it, Buckley rejected the principles that had enabled social progress for centuries and laid out a mind-boggling premise: The Enlightenment, the intellectual basis of Western Civilization, was wrong.
Rational argument supported by facts did not lead to sound societal decisions, Buckley claimed; it led people astray. Christianity and an economy based on untrammeled individualism were truths that should not be questioned. Impartial debate based in empirical facts was dangerous because it led people toward secularism and collectivism—both bad by definition, according to Buckley. Instead of engaging in rational argument, Buckley insisted, thinkers must stand firm on what he called a new “value orthodoxy” that indoctrinated people to understand that Christianity and economic individualism were absolute truths. Maintaining that faith in reasoned debate was a worse “superstition” than the Enlightenment had set out to replace, Buckley launched an intellectual war to replace the principle of academic inquiry with a Christian and individualist ideology..

In 1960, a new voice added anti-intellectual populism to Buckley’s rhetoric. Political operative Phyllis Schlafly wrote “A Choice Not an Echo” to support Barry Goldwater’s quest for the presidential nomination. In her world, correct political decisions were simple: The nation was engaged in a great struggle between good and evil, and educated Eastern Elites who insisted on weighing the realities of a complicated world had enlisted on the wrong side. Elites complained that Goldwater “had one-sentence solutions” for complicated problems, she wrote, but simple solutions were the answer. Communism was bad, so anyone advocating government activism was evil. Elites arguing for government action were parasites. All they really wanted was money from government contracts, paid for by hardworking regular Americans..

By the time of the George W. Bush administration, Movement Conservatives had constructed a post-modern political world where reality mattered far less than the popular story of Conservatives standing firm against the “Liberal agenda” of godlessness and communism. As a member of the Bush administration [Karl Rove] famously noted to journalist Ron Suskind, “the reality-based” view of the world was obsolete. It was no longer viable to believe that people could find solutions to societal problems by studying reality. “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” this senior advisor to the president told Suskind. “We are an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors… and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”.

When Governor Walker replaced “the search for truth” with “meet the state’s workforce needs” in the charge to the University of Wisconsin, he did not make an error. He was articulating the principle that has driven Movement Conservatives since their earliest days: Facts and arguments can only lead Americans toward a government that regulates business and supports working Americans, and they must be squelched. The search for truth must be replaced by an ideology that preserves Christianity and big-business individualism. Religion and freedom for mega-business, Movement Conservatives insist, is what America is all about.
AlterNet
It’s Worse than Scott Walker and Ted Cruz: Secrets of Conservatives’ Decades-Long War on Truth
Heather Cox Richardson, Salon

Strategic Culture Foundation — Russia ready to repel any nuke strike, retaliate – missile forces command chief

Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces are ready to react to any nuclear strike even if it is lightning fast, SMF Central Command chief said. A retaliatory strike would take place in all circumstances, “without hesitation,” he added. 
“If there’s a challenge to repel a lightning-fast nuclear in any given conditions – it will be done in fixed time, that’s dead true,” the Strategic Missile Forces Central Command’s chief, Major-General Andrey Burbin, told Russian News Service on Saturday. 
Russia’s strategic missile forces are positioned geographically in such a way that no global strike can knock them out completely, Burbin said. 
In case an order is given to carry out a nuclear strike, Russian nuclear weapons operators will fulfill it, he added. 
“There would be no hesitation, the task would be executed,” he said. 
The unavoidability of a retaliatory nuclear strike from Russia is also guaranteed by the fully automatic and constantly modernized ‘Perimeter’ system, also known as “Dead hand.” 
The system collects data from various sources, such as radioactivity and seismic sensors scattered throughout Russia, by scanning radio frequencies and communication activities. 
If pooled data indicates that Russia has suffered a nuclear strike, the system launches special missiles that travel through national airspace, sending launch signals to all surviving strategic nuclear missile complexes. In this case a retaliatory missile strike is launched without human input. 
Burbin also told RSN that rearmament of the Strategic Missile Forces is ongoing as planned and by 2020 up to 98 percent of Russia’s nuclear deterrent forces will be armed with brand new weapons.
Trying the heat up a notch. This should drive the neocons and wars hawks like John McCain ballistic.

Strategic Culture Foundation
Russia ready to repel any nuke strike, retaliate – missile forces command chief

Seumas Milne — Pinkoes and Traitors by Jean Seaton review – my father, the BBC and a very British coup

This was a No 10 coup by any other name – and one from which the BBC has never fully recovered. 
The Guardian
Pinkoes and Traitors by Jean Seaton review – my father, the BBC and a very British coup
Seumas (shay-mus) Milne

Also
Sir John Sawers, who recently retired after five years as chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that Russia poses a "state to state threat". 
Sir John said dealing with such threats would require more defence spending.
Anyone see a pattern here? If not, refer to above.

BBC
Sir John Sawers, ex-MI6 chief, warns of Russia 'danger'

More Than A Bit Naive To See NeoLiberal Econ As Merely An Honest Dispute Between Academics

   (Commentary posted by Roger Erickson)

How about a dishonest racket among Control Frauds, with runaway momentum?




WHERE MACROECONOMICS WENT WRONG

Their premise requires one to believe that "orthodox" economics ever had things right in the first place.



Control Frauds in the Mist? Brought to you by Gresham Dynamics, Inc. (unlisted)


Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten — Confirmed by Kiev: Ukrainian Land Being Transferred to Oligarchs and Seed Companies


Just like Michael Hudson has been saying from the get-go.

This was the plan all along and when the previous government got in the way of it, it was replaced by coup. Perhaps worst was the willingness to use neo-Nazi nationalists to conduct the coup and to cut them in on the deal.

Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten via Russia Insider

Uh ... Isn't Demand Destruction Inseparable From Policy?

  (Commentary posted by Roger Erickson)




Oil price crash is driven by Demand Destruction, not politics


?? Same thing? Or do they think the only demand that can be destroyed is demand for oil? They can't see the Aggregate Demand for THEIR demands?

How are Demand Destruction & policy separable?

Yuriko Koike — Thomas Piketty’s Japanese Tour

Six months after Thomas Piketty's book Capital in the Twenty-First Century generated so much buzz in the United States and Europe, it has become a bestseller in Japan. But vast differences between Japan and its developed counterparts in the West, mean that, like so many other Western exports, Piketty's argument has taken on unique characteristics. 
Piketty's main assertion is that the leading driver of increased inequality in the developed world is the accumulation of wealth by those who are already wealthy, driven by a rate of return on capital that consistently exceeds the rate of GDP growth. Japan, however, has lower levels of inequality than almost every other developed country. 
Indeed, though it has long been an industrial powerhouse, Japan is frequently called the world's most successful communist country.

Japan has a high income-tax rate for the rich (45%), and the inheritance tax rate recently was raised to 55%. This makes it difficult to accumulate capital over generations – a trend that Piketty cites as a significant driver of inequality....
So what's the problem?
In fact, there is a sense that Abe's policies are contributing to rising inequality. That is why Piketty's book appeals to so many Japanese. 
For example, though the recent reduction in the corporate-tax rate was necessary to encourage economic growth and attract investment, it seems to many Japanese to be a questionable move at a time when the consumption-tax rate has been increased and measures to address deflation are pushing up prices. To address this problem, the companies that enjoy tax cuts should increase their employees' wages to keep pace with rising prices, instead of waiting for market forces to drive them up. 
Herein lies the unique twist that Piketty's theory takes on in Japan: the disparity is not so much between the super-rich and everyone else, but between large corporations, which can retain earnings and accumulate capital, and the individuals who are being squeezed in the process.
Project Syndicate
Thomas Piketty’s Japanese Tour
Yuriko Koike, Japan's former defense minister and national security adviser, was Chairwoman of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party's General Council and currently is a member of the National Diet.

Also

Across the Curve
Making Piketty’s Case
John Jansen

United States Remains a British Colony, Looted Surreptitiously, Through Banking Practices?

   (Commentary posted by Roger Erickson)

British bankers as a monkey still on our back?  Or worse?



The United States Remains a British Colony?

And Alexander Hamilton & Aaron Burr should have both gone down with Benedict Arnold?

And even George Washington was confused on this point!

Parts of this essay are very confused (see the section on our "National Debt" - not to mention Royal Opium fields), but the historical anecdotes, including comments by Bismarck, are fascinatingly revealing.

All military plans are meaningless (& any "local" plan whatsoever), without perception of FULL context?

I wonder if even Smedley Butler fully caught on. Certainly your average PhD hasn't (since I've talked to quite a few of my colleagues here, around the NIH, FDA, USDA etc). :(


So much sturm & drang, and all of it merely over misguided attempts by social parasites to keep aggregate populations constrained. This is so pathetic that it's painful to observe.

Bankers. Never have so few, slowed evolution by so much, for so long. Who's work are they doing?

And WHY?

"While boasting of our noble deeds we're careful to conceal the ugly fact that by an iniquitous money system we have nationalized a system of oppression which, though more refined, is not less cruel than the old system of chattel slavery." - Horace Greeley (1860s - note the timing)

I'm reminded once again of Plato's quote, from circa 380BC:

"One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." - Plato(~350BC)

That's no way to drive our own social evolution, nor to co-chaperone evolution of anyone or anything else.

And those voices in your head, from the monkey on your back? Turns out they've been teaching "economics" ... all along!


Who knew that "balanced fiat" were code words for "gimme banana!" That would actually explain a lot.

Like Abe Lincoln (& Horace Greeley) advised, we should have none of this BS. We've got countless bigger & better options to explore, & more of them every single day. The era of the banker parasites has come to an end, though it may not occur by any path that current agitators could foresee.

Now that GoogleWallet is taking off even more (thanks to Apple! :) ).  Maybe the entire merchant world will turn on banks, and break their monopoly.

This indirect route might change things faster than all the people trying to use sledgehammers on a mountain.

No wonder so many banks & billionaires are investing in Apple.

Apple vs Google may become a proxy fight between banksters/aristocracy and the rest of the F500+SMEs+consumers combined.

Here are some further hints that Apple (& their billionaire investors) could be buying into, counting on, or at least clueless about class warfare.
"Google Wallet never got off the ground because Android is for poor people who lack the discretionary income to justify stores buying the NFC readers. This is still true with Softcard, which won't get off the ground for the very same reason. Now, Samsung has its own wallet for its wealthy customers that it'll favor over Google Wallet, but it's a moot point as Samsung's wealthy Galaxy customers are switching to iPhones because it's increasing clear now that Apple is pulling away from Samsung on all fronts such as Apple Pay uses tokenization for greater security but Samsung's new wallet doesn't. Apple increasingly owns the top 20% consumer segment who have the greatest spending power and want the highest mobile wallet security, so both Google and Samsung are left with their less-securewallets for their shared low-income customer base."
http://seekingalpha.com/article/2944036-why-google-is-winning-the-wallet-wars?ifp=0&v=1424954700
Yes, this is a complete mess, and FUBAR. However if anyone has practice at succeeding with accelerating chaos, it's Americans. We can do this, if we try.

What's that say re UK commoners? Not to mention all people in the "Commonwealth".

Oh, those clever British Bankster bastards. Only they could devise a scheme re-labeling capitulation to economic slavery as helping "Common Wealth."

The bigger the lie, the easier it is to believe?


Dirk Ehnts — Reading Mensik’s “The Origins of the Income Theory of Money”


Important. Putting money flow back in economics. Again, resurrecting what had been forgotten.
Josef Mensik: "Instead of imagining a gross exchange of the whole bundles of goods supplied and demanded by the market participants under current prices, the picture is rather that of a flow of monetary streams passing through various markets in the opposite direction to the flows of goods. While the ultimate result of the exchange might be the same, the income theory of money is always interested in how it was achieved monetarily, what the actual monetary flows that facilitated the trade were...."
econoblog 101
Reading Mensik’s “The Origins of the Income Theory of Money”
Dirk Ehnts | Berlin School for Economics and 101

Mary S. Morgan — Modeling as a Method of Enquiry

Should read if you are into economics, philosophy of economics, methodology, philosophy of science, critical thinking, logic,  or epistemology.

h/t Brad DeLong
MODELLING AS A METHOD OF ENQUIRY
Mary S. Morgan
London School of Economics and University of Amsterdam
Forthcoming as Chapter 1 in

The World in the Model by Mary S. Morgan (Cambridge University Press)

Contents:

Part I: Changing the Practice of Economic Science 
1. From Laws to models, from words to object

2. The Naturalization of Modelling in Economics

3. Practical Reasoning Styles 
3.i Modelling as a Style of Reasoning 
3.ii Modelling as a Reasoning Style in Economics 
Part II: Making Models, Using Models
4. Making Models to Reason With: Forms, Rules and Resources 
4.i Giving Form 
4.ii Becoming Formal 
4.iii Resources for Reasoning With 
5. Modelling as a Method of Enquiry: The World in the Model, Models of the World 
6. Conclusion
also

Diane Coyle comments in Models, methods and madness at The Enlightened Economist




Saturday, February 28, 2015

200 Years Ago, We Didn't Have To Explain "Where Money Comes From" To All Citizens. More Knew Then Than Do Now!

   (Commentary posted by Roger Erickson)



Battle Over Banking: A Public Bank for the Republic of Vermont (1803)

The first part is is a fascinating historical story, for multiple reasons. 

First, for the mere fact that a savvy set of state legislators had it right from the beginning, like multiple American Colonies had done, previously

(Just like John Law had pointed out. Maybe he could read some Greek?)

Second, for the chilling story of how widespread bank monopolies conspired to do away with the Public Bank of Vermont.

Nothing much changes? The bank lobby is still winning, so far. Keeping us from further coordinating our own returns.

James Mackenzie — Pope Francis attacks ‘throw-away’ economic globalization

Pope Francis launched a fresh attack on economic injustice on Saturday, condemning the “throw-away culture” of globalization and calling for new ways of thinking about poverty, welfare, employment and society. 
In a speech to the association of Italian cooperative movements, he pointed to the “dizzying rise in unemployment” and the problems that existing welfare systems had in meeting healthcare needs. 
For those living “at the existential margins” the current social and political system “seems fatally destined to suffocate hope and increase risks and threats,” he said.
The Argentinian-born pope, who has often criticized orthodox market economics for fostering unfairness and inequality, said people were forced to work long hours, sometimes in the black economy, for a few hundred euros a month because they were seen as easily replaceable.
 
“‘You don’t like it? Go home then’. What can you do in a world that works like this? Because there’s a queue of people looking for work. If you don’t like it, someone else will,” he said in an unscripted change from the text of his speech. 
“It’s hunger, hunger that makes us accept what they give us,” he said..
“When money becomes an idol, it commands the choices of man. And thus it ruins man and condemns him. It makes him a slave,” he said. 
“Money at the service of life can be managed in the right way by cooperatives, on condition that it is a real cooperative where capital does not have command over men but men over capital,” he said [addressing the cooperative movement].
One America News Network
Pope Francis attacks ‘throw-away’ economic globalization
James Mackenzie

Al Jazeera — India promises economy to 'take off' with new budget


One picture is worth a thousand words.

Al Jazeera
India promises economy to 'take off' with new budget
AP

Also
Revenue expenditure includes items that do not create any assets including salaries, interest payments, and subsidies. Capital expenditure includes items that create assets such as schools, roads and other infrastructure or repayment of loans. It is the capital expenditure where this budget has clearly stepped up.... 
In summary, the government is stepping on the gas on capital expenditure and on capital receipts. The plan is to build India’s future assets by monetising [privatizing] existing ones. Onward to execution now.
Quartz
The two numbers that really matter in Narendra Modi’s first full budget
Pranav Kumar

Quartz
Here’s what India Inc. has to gain from Narendra Modi’s budget
Nand Kishore

Tomas Hirst — The Greek government is calling for a radical new 'basic income' welfare policy


Well, not a universal BIG.
In the case of Greece it looks like such a scheme would initially be targeted at those nearing pension age in order to prevent them from taking early retirement — providing them with an income that they would otherwise draw from the state pension fund.
What Greece obviously needs with its depression level unemployment and forced austerity is a job guarantee and safety net for those unable to work.

Business Insider
The Greek government is calling for a radical new 'basic income' welfare policy
Tomas Hirst

Mark Ames — Meet Pierre Omidyar! A handy primer for new First Look hires


Mark Ames investigates Pierre Omidyar and the investigative reporters he hired. Ouch. Serious smackdown.

Pando Daily

Sandwichman — Labour Defended Against the Claims of "Human Capital"


Thomas Hodgskin and Karl Marx versus Gary Becker on "human capital."

Econsopeak
Labour Defended Against the Claims of "Human Capital"Sandwichman

Jan Kregel — Europe At The Crossroads – Financial Fragility And The Survival Of The Single Currency

To outside observers, Germany's insistence that the new Greek government continue to impose austerity policies in the presence of rising unemployment and mounting debt levels appears to defy economic logic. However, an acquaintance with the historical evolution of the path to the creation of the common currency in the European Union (EU) sheds some light on the logic of the German government's strategy in dealing with the eurozone sovereign debt crisis and its negative response to Greece's request for an alternative economic policy.

Given the continuing divergence between progress in the monetary field and political integration in the euro area, the German interest in imposing austerity may be seen as representing an attempt to achieve, de facto, accelerated progress toward political union; progress that has long been regarded by Germany as a precondition for the success of monetary unification in the form of the common currency.
 
Yet no matter how necessary these austerity policies may appear in the context of the slow and incomplete political integration in Europe, these policies are ultimately unsustainable.

The survival and stability of the euro, in the absence of further progress in political unification, paradoxically require either sustained economic stagnation or the maintenance of what Hyman Minsky would have recognized as a Ponzi scheme. Neither of these alternatives is economically or politically sustainable.
Levy Economics Institute of Bard College
Europe At The Crossroads – Financial Fragility And The Survival Of The Single Currency
Jan Kregel | Senior Scholar

Note: Paragraphing changed for ease of reading online.

Branko Milanovic — What remains of Pareto?

My class on personal income distribution theories (within-nations) begins with Pareto. Pareto will indeed be for ever part of such classes because he was the first economist to have been seriously interested in empirical analysis of inter-personal inequality. Before him, economics was about functional income distribution which, of course, makes sense if you assume that all workers are at subsistence, all capitalists rich, and all landlords even richer. Then, you do not need to bother with inter-personal inequality. It is just a transformation of factoral income distribution. (This is, I think, most obvious in Ricardo who cannot even conceive of a possibility of wages ever going above subsistence—except temporarily to precipitate the Malthusian movement. The advantage for modeling—since Ricardo’s “Principles” are in reality an exercise in verbal modelling—is that you have one fixed quantity and you can then let others vary).

It is just a minor simplification to say that Pareto thought that there was an iron law of income distribution, namely that inequality did not change whatever social system was in power. It gave consistency to his theory of the circulation of the elites, because whatever elite be in power (land-owning, capitalist or bureaucratic), income distribution would be the same although the people who would be rich or poor would be different. It was a serious critique of the idea that Marxist socialism would reduce income inequalities.
 
What remains of Pareto’s claim? Several things are clear now--more than a century after Pareto defined his power low and showed that the number of recipients of a given income decreases in proportion as that income threshold is raised. Pareto law does not apply to any entire distribution.
Global Inequality
What remains of Pareto?
Branko Milanovic | Visiting Presidential Professor at City University of New York Graduate Center and senior scholar at the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS), and formerly lead economist in the World Bank's research department and senior associate at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Kenneth Thomas — EU goes to WTO over Boeing subsidies

Just as I predicted, the European Union has filed a World Trade Organization complaint against Boeing's new round of subsidies from Washington state totaling $8.7 billion from 2025 to 2040 (h/t @ThomasCafcas). I'll go out on a limb and predict that the EU will win this case. 
Okay, that's not really out on a limb: The WTO found that Boeing's last round of state and local subsidies violates its Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, and the facts are exactly the same -- except for the fact that the subsidies have grown from $160 million a year to $543 million a year, more than three times as much. This case is a slam-dunk
Of course, after it loses, it's not like Washington state will comply with the ruling. It's not complying with the last ruling. But it gives us an opportunity to remember that Boeing embodies everything that's wrong with corporate America....
Middle Class Political Economist
EU goes to WTO over Boeing subsidies
Kenneth Thomas | Professor and Research Fellow, Center for International Studies, University of Missouri at St. Louis

The Saker — Good news out of Russia – even the “non-system” opposition refuses to blame the Kremlin

Honestly, I never thought the day would come where I would have anything good to say about the Russian “liberal” or “democratic” “non-system” opposition but apparently this day has come today. To my surprise, all the leaders of this opposition have so far made very moderate and reasonable statement and all those which I have heard have apparently dismissed the notion that the Kremlin was behind the murder [of Boris Nemstsov]. Now this might be self-evident for most of us, but for the Russian “liberal” or “democratic” “non-system” opposition this is quite a change of tone.  Many have even said that this murder was a “provocation” (which in this context means “false flag”!) to destabilize Russia and create a crisis.  Even Irina Khakamada, normally a real crackpot, has said that this was either a “provocation” or the action of a small group of extremists....
The Vineyard of the Saker
Good news out of Russia – even the “non-system” opposition refuses to blame the Kremlin
The Saker

Steve Keen — What Is Money And How Is It Created?

 Augusto Graziani, an Italian Professor of Economics, who died early last year ... understood what money is because he posed and correctly answered a simple question: how does a monetary economy differ from one in which trade occurs by barter?
Forbes
What Is Money And How Is It Created?
Steve Keen

Robert Paul Wolff — Human Capital

Enter Gary Becker, who resurrected the concept of "human capital" to take account not of the worker's body or her food and clothing but rather to incorporate into Economic Theory the important fact that in a modern capitalist economy, some categories of workers regularly earn wages significantly higher than the standard pay for semi-skilled machine operatives, as a consequence of their educational credentials and the skills supposedly thereby represented. These workers, it is suggested, have invested in themselves by holding themselves off the labor market while they acquire further education, often at considerable expense, thereby accumulating "human capital." . They are thus like business owners who use a portion of their profits [or take loans] to purchase more sophisticated machinery, the cost of which, amortized over the life of the machines, is a good deal less than the market value of the additional product churned out by the improved capital goods. 
This modern version of the old notion of human capital allows economists to blame the low wages of unskilled workers on their own improvident failure to invest rather than consume, an interpretation of poverty that is quite comforting to those sitting atop piles of accumulated capital. 
But the analytical concept of human capital has other interesting uses in our attempts to understand modern capitalism, which exhibits a segmented and highly pyramidal wage structure. It can, for example, be deployed to make sense of the notion of relative exploitation. High wage workers can be understood as both exploited by their employers and exploiting lower wage workers, a construal that seems to comport with our intuitive sense that corporate executives, lawyers, professors, and such like high wage employees occupy a social position more akin to the owners of capital than to hourly wage earners at the bottom of the income pyramid.
The Philosopher's Stone
Robert Paul Wolff | American political philosopher[ and professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Amherst

Michał Kacewicz — A Final Interview With Boris Nemtsov


Thought experiment" As you are reading this, replace "Russia" with the United States, "Putin" with the sitting US president as unitary executive, "inferiority complex" with "superiority complex." Is what Boris Nemtsov alleged is happening in Russia bear any relation to the US war hawks, neocons, military-industrial-congressional complex, and deep state.

Does this bear any resemblance to Saddam and the the lead up to the Iraq war?

Collision course developing.

Newsweek
A Final Interview With Boris Nemtsov
Michał Kacewicz

Crude Storage


And these are the just the amounts that we have extracted and stored above ground...



Meanwhile reports are surfacing that storage may soon reach limits of capacity.

Current U.S. refinery input is running at just above 15 Mbpd,





Russia no longer requires $100 oil to balance its Fiat? - For Pete's Sake!

   (Commentary posted by Roger Erickson)

They don't sleep. They never sleep!



Do you ever feel like you're surrounded by the propaganda?

You might be reading a news story about a completely obvious reality, when right in the middle of it, TINA'S LINE comes crawling out, to kill any relevance to the real world.

"Russia no longer requires $100 oil to balance its budget"

What? Balance fiat? WTF? Again?

Where did that come from? Is there any way to stop it? Are we fatally infected?

There's got to be some way to stop this auto-loop from endlessly scrolling across our Kabuki screens. Otherwise, the implication is that we'll all die, with a horrific look of fiat frozen on our aggregate faces.

What's the solution? Turn off the set? Cancel the subscriptions? Talk to real people, about real stuff?

I know, that's crazy talk. Right?

When fiat balances.  Is that like when time stands still?


Vermont Radio Live Interview With Sibel Edmonds, Similarities of Black-Ops & Orthodox MacroEconomics

(Commentary posted by Roger Erickson)


It's about money, lots of money, and who gets to touch it (not us).


Every flavor of orthodoxy is just another tool in the great game?

For those of you worried about the utility of our policy landscape, and trying to tell the difference between Clapper and Putin, or black-ops versus orthodox macroeconomics, you might want to hear this interview Monday, March 2, on Vermont Public Radio, by host Jim Hogue, who has interviewed both Bill Black of UMKC and Birgitta Jonsdottir, a prosecutor of Iceland's banksters.

Sibel Edmonds on her expose "Classified Woman" and subsequent novel "The Lone Gladio"
Another interesting review of Gladio is found here.

Upcoming Sibel Edmonds interview: Monday, March 2nd, at 1:00 PM, LiveStream

www.wgdr.org


For more background, here's text of a prior interview with Edmonds, 11 years back.

Transcript of 2004 Interview with Sibel Edmonds

Friday, February 27, 2015

John Pilger — Why the rise of fascism is again the issue


No, it's not about the rise of far right groups and parties.

The new fascism is Anglo-American neoliberalism.
Since 1945, more than a third of the membership of the United Nations - 69 countries - have suffered some or all of the following at the hands of America's modern fascism. They have been invaded, their governments overthrown, their popular movements suppressed, their elections subverted, their people bombed and their economies stripped of all protection, their societies subjected to a crippling siege known as "sanctions". The British historian Mark Curtis estimates the death toll in the millions. In every case, a big lie was deployed....
Uniting fascism old and new is the cult of superiority. "I believe in American exceptionalism with every fibre of my being," said Obama, evoking declarations of national fetishism from the 1930s. As the historian Alfred W. McCoy has pointed out, it was the Hitler devotee, Carl Schmitt, who said, "The sovereign is he who decides the exception." This sums up Americanism, the world's dominant ideology. That it remains unrecognised as a predatory ideology is the achievement of an equally unrecognised brainwashing. Insidious, undeclared, presented wittily as enlightenment on the march, its conceit insinuates western culture.
"American exceptionalism" was initially a phrase to describe America's different history and meteoric rise owing to the frontier that allowed it to expand hugely and quickly in while most of the rest of the world land was already distributed. Of course, this overlooks the fact that much of the territory was already in use by indigenous tribes and nations.

However, "American exceptionalism" later came to mean that God had especially favored America as his "chosen people" giving it a very different sense, not all that different from the semi-religous Nazi teaching of "Aryan superiority."

John Pilger
Why the rise of fascism is again the issue

See also

Truthdig
The Real American Exceptionalism
Alfred W. McCoy, TomDispatch

Cooperation with China on joint assessment of the impermissibility of meddling in other countries’ affairs is a major stabilizing factor in the current international situation
TASS
Russia and China advance new global order — Russian foreign minister

Ian Welsh — The Problem with Basic Income

So basic income, at any level that would be equivalent to a living wage (aka. letting people live a decent life, not just barely scrape by), can be expected to spike inflation in various commodities, including oil. This is a problem, but it’s not a huge problem, because we finally have the technology which allows us to move off oil (not completely, but enough to mitigate the effect of demand increases), and because, hey, we’re flirting with deflation anyway. 
The real problem with basic income has to do with who controls our economy—with the fact that we are sold what we need, by and large, by oligopolies.... 
What this means is that increases in income, especially at the lower end, tend to be simply taken away by those who have what you must have. Everyone will know what the basic income is, and they will know who is surviving on just that, or just that plus a low-wage job. And they will raise prices so that money goes to them.... 
So if you want basic income to work, you must also make capitalism work. You must create actual competitive markets, you must-trust bust, you must regulate and you must move, as government, to ensure that the important things people will spend that basic income on are not scarce—either naturally or artificially.This extends far beyond basic income. 
Good post. Read the whole thing if you are into basic income.