Monday, July 31, 2017

Pew Research Center — Public Trust in Government: 1958-2017

When the National Election Study began asking about trust in government in 1958, about three-quarters of Americans trusted the federal government to do the right thing almost always or most of the time. Trust in government began eroding during the 1960s, amid the escalation of the Vietnam War, and the decline continued in the 1970s with the Watergate scandal and worsening economic struggles. Confidence in government recovered in the mid-1980s before falling again in the mid-1990s. But as the economy grew in the late 1990s so too did confidence in government. Public trust reached a three-decade high shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but declined quickly thereafter. Since 2007, the share saying they can trust the government always or most of the time has not surpassed 30%....
Pew Research Center
Public Trust in Government: 1958-2017

Olivia Beavers — Report: Pentagon, State Dept. draft plan to send weapons to Ukraine

And so it began.

The Hill
Report: Pentagon, State Dept. draft plan to send weapons to Ukraine
Olivia Beavers

The Daily Caller
Pentagon, State Dept Want White House Approval To Arm Ukraine Against Russia-Backed Separatists
Jonah Bennett

Andrew Korybko — Trump Must Embrace His Revolutionary Self Or Politically Perish

Trump is just not that smart in this area. He is done. Toast. This is not the campaign any longer. He can't govern. His best hope is that he won't be removed from office or forced to resign. 

This doesn't mean he is totally powerless, however. He is still president. 

His problem is that he doesn't have a base of experience on which to draw, either himself, or a network of people he can trust. Probably the only people he trusts are Jared and Ivanka, and they are in over their heads as much as he is.

This doesn't mean it is over for those who supported him though. They are still a decisive force in GOP politics.

Oriental Review
Trump Must Embrace His Revolutionary Self Or Politically Perish
Andrew Korybko

See also

The Vineyard of the Saker
Sanctions, smoke and mirrors from a kindergarten on LSD
The Saker

The Neoconservatives and the “Coming World”: A response to the questions of a virtual friend
Amir Nour

Zero Hedge — Sarah Sanders Attempts To Explain What The Hell Is Going On At The White House

The military junta consolidates control. Trump a figurehead.

General John Kelly (USMC ret.) — White House Chief of Staff
Lt. General H. R. McMaster (US Army) — Director of National Security
General James Mattis (USMC ret.) — Secretary of Defense
Mike Pompeo (West Point graduate and veteran of the US Army) CIA Director

Zero Hedge
Watch Live: Sarah Sanders Attempts To Explain What The Hell Is Going On At The White House
Tyler Durden

Zero Hedge — Treasury To Issue Half A Trillion Dollars In Debt In Q4

This drawdown in cash, and jump in government outlays, was to be expected following the latest Monthly Statement from the Treasury which showed a surge in government outlays, which hit a record high $429 billion in June, for reasons discussed previously.
What austerity?

Zero Hedge
Treasury To Issue Half A Trillion Dollars In Debt In Q4
Tyler Durden

Schwab — "New Accounts Are At Levels We Have Not Seen Since The Dot Com Bubble" As Millennials Rush Into Stocks

The dumb money.

Zero Hedge
Schwab: "New Accounts Are At Levels We Have Not Seen Since The Dot Com Bubble" As Millennials Rush Into Stocks
Tyler Durden

Zero Hedge — Trump Saw A Disturbing Video, Then He Shut Down The CIA's Covert Syria Program

The real story behind the ending of the CIA covert ops program of arming Syrian "rebels" purportedly opposing Assad?

Zero Hedge
Trump Saw A Disturbing Video, Then He Shut Down The CIA's Covert Syria Program
Tyler Durden

Former RBNZ economist Michael Reddell reviews Modern Monetary Theory where fiscal policy is the key lever rather than monetary policy; He argues monetary policy is still best for cyclical stabilisation

Michael Reddell takes issue with Bill Mitchell over the efficacy of fiscal policy versus monetary policy. Disagreement and debate are welcome, and this is not a back of the hand response, as so many are. It's one of the debates we should be having.
Former RBNZ economist Michael Reddell reviews Modern Monetary Theory where fiscal policy is the key lever rather than monetary policy; He argues monetary policy is still best for cyclical stabilisation
Michael Reddell

Nick Johnson — Michael Hudson on Modern Monetary Theory

Quote from J is for Junk Economics.

The Political Economy of Development
Michael Hudson on Modern Monetary Theory
Nick Johnson

Peter Cooper — Short & Simple 12 – Government Money

We saw in part 2 that to establish a currency, government needs to do three things: 
1. Define a unit of account (e.g. dollar).
2. Impose taxes that can only be paid in that unit of account.
3. Spend or lend the currency into existence.
The most basic purpose of taxation (introduced in step 2 of the sequence) is to create a demand for the currency. Provided taxes are effectively enforced, we in the non-government will have a need to obtain the currency, because it is the only means of paying taxes.
Economists sometimes summarize this as “taxes drive money”....
Short & Simple 12 – Government Money
Peter Cooper

The dollar is toast

The United States has just imposed sanctions on Venezuela because it does not like the outcome of the Venezuelan election. 
That's sanctions on Russia (3 times), Venezuela, Iran, North Korea, Syria and who knows how many other countries. These sanctions are forms of economic warfare. 
Their goal is to lock these countries out of the dollar-based financial system of the world. How long do you think people will continue to want to "net save" in dollars when they are potentially subject to indiscriminate seizure of their assets and blockage of the ability to transact commerce? 
Not long. 
I predict an end to the dollar's role as global reserve currency very quickly. 
The world won't tolerate the risks of net saving in dollars anymore. We have signed our own death warrant here because of our incompetent and clueless moron "leaders." When I am president this will all be reversed.
What f'cking hypocrisy.

Sputnik International — The Circular Economy That Could Save Countries Thousands, Reduce Waste

Unilever, Renault, Google and Nike are some of the companies that have begun moving towards a circular business model.

It's not just businesses that are adopting these strategies, cities are also looking at how they can drastically cut waste.
London, Amsterdam and Paris are all looking at how they can shift from a circular economy, hoping to reuse products, parts and materials which produce no waste and pollution, and use fewer new resources and energy.
Sputnik International
The Circular Economy That Could Save Countries Thousands, Reduce Waste

Subprime Auto Loan Defaults on the Rise — Sharmini Peries interviews Bill Black

SHARMINI PERIES: Bill, just how serious is this problem with the subprime auto loans? Bloomberg makes it look like it could be a real problem. We're dealing with about a trillion dollars' worth here.
BILL BLACK: It's a very severe problem for consumers who are going to lose not only their cars, but their credit ratings. It's a moderate problem for some of the banks. It's not a systemic problem on the order of the Great Recession and the financial crisis that drove it. For one reason, it simply doesn't create the same kind of bubble dynamics in the housing context by allowing large numbers of people to buy homes -- that can't afford to repay the homes. Effectively, you create much more demand. All other factors held constant, that means price goes up. You don't really get the same kind of effect, except in the very modest proportions in the auto market. So A, it's a much smaller market. B, it doesn't have this bubble, so it's not going to cause a systemic crisis....
Predatory lending continues.

Subprime Auto Loan Defaults on the Rise
Sharmini Peries interviews Bill Black

Sputnik International — War is Peace: US Deploys New Form of Hybrid Aggression in Ukraine Against Russia

The expulsion of 755 US diplomatic personnel from Russia was seemingly overkill for American mischief making. But it had a much broader and deeper significance. The Russian presidential election is approaching in 2018 and the US has a history of trying to influence the outcome now only from abroad but also within Russia through its diplomatic core and embedded intelligence agents, as well as state-sponsored NGOs. Russia had already shut down NGOs that receive foreign funding, and this move against the US diplomatic core was aimed at precluding interference with the upcoming Russian election on the ground in Russia.

Obvious, the US leadership is not going to take this lightly and will bring pressure to bear on Russia in other ways. The Ukraine is an obvious lever in this power game between major nuclear powers.

David F. Ruccio — Culture beyond capitalism

There are no "natural laws" of economics that apply across geographical space and historical time owing to a supposed universality of "human nature." This is purely projection of one culture, subculture really, onto humanity as a species. 

Humans are social animals subject to geographical and historical conditions that influence cultures and institutions in which social life is embedded. Other social scientist know this and some "heterodox" economists. But most conventional economists have either not figured this out yet or else ignore deliberately for various reasons, some methodological, e.g. for convenience, and some ideological, e.g., for persuasion.

The solution? Separate economics theoretical economics as a branch of applied mathematics and practical economics direct toward informing deliberation and action based on actual data and changing conditions. 

Then theoretical economists would have make a case for the relevance of their work to making specific decisions based on prevailing conditions and in light of data if they wished to venture from their field into matters like policy discussion.

Occasional Links & Commentary
Culture beyond capitalism
David F. Ruccio | Professor of Economics, University of Notre Dame

Chris Dillow — Two posts on power and rent-seeking

When capital is favored as a factor, asymmetrical power and consequent rent extraction result. The consequence is push back from those that perceive themselves as being cheated.

Stumbling and Mumbling

Cronyism, & the Demand for Redistribution
Chris Dillow | Investors Chronicle

Micol Lucchi — This is how Switzerland’s direct democracy works

Swiss democracy by referendum is quite different from so-called liberal democracies that are democratic republics. Here is a short summary of how it works.

World Economic Forum
This is how Switzerland’s direct democracy works
Micol Lucchi | Swiss Public Affairs Specialist, World Economic Forum

Asia Unhedged — Sanctions hangover—America is not going to enjoy Berlin's response to the latest round of Russia sanctions

The sanctions were not well thought through on any level. The political consequence is creating a situation where the Social Democrats, Left (former communists), but also the Christian Democrats feel that this has a good chance of fracturing the Atlantic alliance for good. It has no impact on German elections because both sides are fully pissed off.
Long-term benefits to Russia for this are astronomical.
Fit of pique morphs into colossal strategic blunder.

Asia Times
Sanctions hangover—America is not going to enjoy Berlin's response to the latest round of Russia sanctions
Asia Unhedged

See also

Paul Pillar

Aaron Berger — We should let the robots take our jobs - and then pay us all a basic income

Thinking outside the box, the box being wage-based capitalism. Are we in the phase transition to the next system?

Instead of "basic income," I would prefer "social dividend."

Business Insider
A 32-year-old investor with ties to Elon Musk wants to upend America with his crazy, utopian plan for the future
Chris Weller

World Economic Forum | Agenda
We should let the robots take our jobs - and then pay us all a basic income
Aaron Berger

Sam Altman will spend big on a new political movement to fix US housing, health care and more
Tony Romm

Conway: Trump will decide whether to cut off insurance payments

Looks like Trump is leaning negative on continuation of these payments. I believe these payments have totaled over $35B so far this FY; there are some assertions out there that the Obama admin was using the "profits" made by the Fed and the GSEs and then transferred to the Treasury account to "pay for" these insurance industry payments.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Tim Johnson — Why mathematics has not been effective in economics

I have the opinion that almost all of the criticism of the use of mathematics in economics stems from a lack of understanding of what mathematics is, reflecting a general ignorance in economics that has led to the failure of mathematics in economics.…
The starting point of understanding the role of mathematics in finance and economics is to appreciate what mathematics is concerned with. Mathematics is concerned with identifying relations between objects: bigger smaller, to the left/right, symmetry, before/after and so forth. Top class mathematical research is concerned with discovering new ways of representing how things are related. More every-day research shows that A=B or how you go from A to B. Once the mathematicians have done their work, of "formatting the world as we experience it" by identifying how we see relations between objects, others then get on and do things.…
Mathematicians rely on other disciplines providing problems, mathematics, whatever the caricature of a mathematician dealing with abstract ideals will say. Mathematics then figures out a way of looking at the problem - the relations between its components - so that a solution can be found. The caricature of the mathematician is explained by how mathematics is presented. Rather than starting with the problem and then breaking it down into its components, mathematics is presented back to front. It starts with the components and then shows how these combine to deliver the observed phenomena.…

The effect in economics is most clearly seen in Friedman's argument, in theMethodology of Positive Economics, that the validity of an economic theorem should not rest on the realism of its assumptions. I will not dismiss Friedman as the arch-priest of neo-liberalism as I think the argument he makes has some merits (he focuses on the empirical outcome and would normally be regarded as 'anti mathematiciastion'). The attitude he shares with most economists, along with Kant, Hobbes and Spinoza, is that a 'mathematical' argument flows from assumptions to conclusions. A mathematician approach would be to try and tease out the correct assumptions from the observed behaviour. I would prefer the problem to be re-cast as "By fetishising synthetic a priori knowledge, economists turned economics into a highly paid pseudoscience".

The next question is why do economists do this. The answer is rooted in the observation that the 'mathematical' approach is powerful rhetorically: you can use it to convince everyone of almost anything, providing you can make the chain of arguments tricky enough to follow.…
Once mathematics has delivered ways of identifying relations in physics, 'invariants' can be identified, such as momentum, energy or the speed of light (Noether's Theorem is critical here). Physical theories are then tested on the basis of whether or not they adhere to a particular conservation law. Because economics is disinterested in using mathematics to identify relationships it has been unable to accomplish the next step of discovering invariants.…
Money, Maths and Magic
Why mathematics has not been effective in economics
Tim Johnson | Lecturer (associate professor) in the Department of Actuarial Mathematics and Statistics, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh

Empire Files: The Hidden Purging of Millions of Voters — Abbey Martin interviews Greg Palast

Voter rigging here in the United States of America? You betcha. Big time.

Remember this next time you read the "news" about election rigging in counties whose leadership the US elite doesn't like. Like about Sunday's election in Venezuela. Or "Putin's party" in Russia. Or Iran.

Empire Files: The Hidden Purging of Millions of Voters
Abbey Martin interviews Greg Palast

Andrew C. McCarthy — Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the Pakistani IT Scammers

The next scandal in the making?

National Review
Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the Pakistani IT Scammers
Andrew C. McCarthy

Lois Beckett — Forget Breitbart: The White House Has a New Favorite Right Wing Media Outlet

The new kid on the block. Circa. Check it out.

Forget Breitbart: The White House Has a New Favorite Right Wing Media Outlet
Lois Beckett, Economic Policy Institute

Scott Adams — The Turn to “Effective, but we don’t like it.”

Scott makes another prediction.

Scott Adams' Blog
The Turn to “Effective, but we don’t like it.”
Scott Adams

Xinhua — Xi calls for strong military to defeat invading enemies, safeguard world peace

President Xi Jinping said Sunday China needs a strong military more than ever, urging building the People's Liberation Army (PLA) into world-class armed forces with confidence and capability to "defeat all invading enemies" and "safeguard world peace."…
"The world is not all at peace, and peace must be safeguarded," said Xi. "Today, we are closer to the goal of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation than any other time in history, and we need to build a strong people's military more than any other time in history."...
Xi ordered the PLA to uphold combat effectiveness as the "sole and fundamental" standard for the military.
The PLA must focus on war preparedness and forge an elite and powerful force that is always "ready for fight, capable of combat, and sure to win," Xi said.
Xi calls for strong military to defeat invading enemies, safeguard world peace

Saturday, July 29, 2017

ZeroPointNow — Shock Claim From Inside DNC: Seth Rich Leaked Emails To Moscow Lawyer One Month Before His Murder

You can't make stuff like this up. Oh, wait.

Zero Hedge
Shock Claim From Inside DNC: Seth Rich Leaked Emails To Moscow Lawyer One Month Before His Murder

Ellis Winningham — If You Can Deliberately Restrain Federal Spending, You Can Deliberately Expand It

On a daily basis, we are unwittingly inundated with extreme nonsense; outright lies is a better way to put it, regarding federal spending. Politicians, with the help of these so-called “economists” and the media, craft tales of pure fantasy concerning federal deficit spending that are always frightening, dismal and hopeless. The tales are then bound and published in the form of annual budgets. The resulting fiscal policy stance reverberates throughout the economy and society to be permanently ensconced within the collective mind of the public, left and right and those in between, as “common knowledge”. The so-called “common knowledge” is, in fact, common anti-knowledge purposefully constructed and disseminated to restructure both the economy and society for the benefit of the few who, over the last forty years, have been the greatest beneficiaries of federal deficit spending. It’s no conspiracy. It is just business and the wealthy using their influence to make government see things their way, just like you do when you vote. Your vote is influence. The only difference here being that for business and the wealthy, their money is more influential to politicians than your vote.
Ellis Winningham — MMT and Modern Macroeconomics
If You Can Deliberately Restrain Federal Spending, You Can Deliberately Expand It
Ellis Winningham

William Hartung — The Trillion-Dollar National Security Budget

You wouldn’t know it, based on the endless cries for more money coming from the military, politicians, and the president, but these are the best of times for the Pentagon. Spending on the Department of Defense alone is already well in excess of half a trillion dollars a year and counting. Adjusted for inflation, that means it’s higher than at the height of President Ronald Reagan’s massive buildup of the 1980s and is now nearing the post-World War II funding peak. And yet that’s barely half the story. There are hundreds of billions of dollars in “defense” spending that aren’t even counted in the Pentagon budget.
Under the circumstances, laying all this out in grisly detail — and believe me, when you dive into the figures, they couldn’t be grislier — is the only way to offer a better sense of the true costs of our wars past, present, and future, and of the funding that is the lifeblood of the national security state. When you do that, you end up with no less than 10 categories of national security spending (only one of which is the Pentagon budget). So steel yourself for a tour of our nation’s trillion-dollar-plus “national security” budget. Given the Pentagon’s penchant for wasting money and our government’s record of engaging in dangerously misguided wars without end, it’s clear that a large portion of this massive investment of taxpayer dollars isn’t making anyone any safer.
The Trillion-Dollar National Security Budget
William Hartung | Director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy

Jon Schwarz — Trump Intel Chief: North Korea Learned From Libya War To “Never” Give Up Nukes

This article says a lot more about the perverse psychology of the American leadership than North Korea, but that is interesting, too. The US leadership asserts the right to deter deterrence in order to preserve and extend the American "rules-based" world order.
In fact, even Dan Coats himself has said this, in a 2008 op-ed he co-wrote. “An Islamic Republic of Iran with nuclear weapons capability would be strategically untenable,” Coats said, because it would possess a “deterrent” against U.S. attack. And to prevent Iran from acquiring the ability to deter us, he explained, we might have to attack them.
WTF? This is "liberal" order? How authoritarian can you get?

The Intercept
Jon Schwarz

Michael Muthukrishna — Bribery, Cooperation, and the Evolution of Prosocial Institutions

The marvel of human evolution was not speech or tool use, as is ordinarily believed, since other animals have developed such skills albeit at a much more limited scale.

The single most important evolutionary trait that sets humans apart from other animals is the ability to scale potential to the species level. Other animals are stuck at the level of in-group cooperation but inter-group competition. 

Conversely, humans have become aware of themselves at the societal and  species levels, which enables them to universalize thought, speech and action and to extend this capability to those outside the group.

There are tradeoffs involved, however. As Marx observed, this ability to scale up and out comes at a cost, since the intimate level of the interpersonal is lost with scale. Persons become individuals, and conventional economics treats individuals as atoms comparable to physics. When the interpersonal degrades, then anonymity becomes a value.

Where custom and personal trust are no longer effectively operative, law is required as an institution to replace their functions. This comes at the risk of alienation as class structure develops and becomes dominant. 

Moreover, humans do not fully transcend their biological heritage and in-group cooperation and out-group competition persists, leading to behavior that is anti-social in the wider sense, but perfectly rational from the point of view of evolutionary background.

This must be recognized and addressed.
When a leader gives his daughter a government contract, it’s nepotism. But it’s also cooperation at the level of the family, well explained by inclusive fitness [2], undermining cooperation at the level of the state. When a manager gives her friend a job, it’s cronyism. But it’s also cooperation at the level of friends, well explained by reciprocal altruism [3], undermining the meritocracy. Bribery is a cooperative act between two people, and so on. It’s no surprise that family-oriented cultures like India and China are also high on corruption, particularly nepotism. Even in the Western world, it’s no surprise that Australia, a country of mates, might be susceptible to cronyism. Or that breaking down kin networks predicts lower corruption and more successful democracies (Akbari, Bahrami-Rad & Kimbrough, 2017; Schulz, 2017). Part of the problem is that these smaller scales of cooperation are easier to sustain and explain than the kind of large-scale anonymous cooperation that we in the Western world have grown accustomed to...
Good read.

Bribery, Cooperation, and the Evolution of Prosocial Institutions
Michael Muthukrishna | Assistant Professor of Economic Psychology at the London School of Economics. Research Associate of the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, Affiliate of the Yale Applied Cooperation Team, Affiliate of the Developmental Economics Group at STICERD, and Technical Director of The Database of Religious History

See also

How the Postal System and the Printing Press Transformed European Markets
Prateek Raj is a PhD Candidate in Strategy and Entrepreneurship at University College London and a Research Associate at the Stigler Center for the Study of the Economy and the State at University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Gareth Porter — How CIA and Allies Trapped Obama in the Syrian Arms Debacle

The title is a bit misleading. The buck stops at the Oval Office, and then President was too weak to be able to resist pressure and act in the best interests of the United States, not to mention in accordance with international law. The devil made me do it excuse don't pass the smell test. The blame rests on the president, and he should be tarred with it.

However, this backgrounder does illustrate the power of the US deep state in running US foreign and military policy, regardless of the president's lead. This reads like court intrigue in the age of monarchies.

The American Conservative
How CIA and Allies Trapped Obama in the Syrian Arms Debacle

Adam Garrie — President Xi rejects western political models in speech praising Chinese traditions

Forewarned is forearmed. Xi is determined not to fall into the same trap as Gorbachev.

Expect to see more push back against rules dictated by the West and especially the US.

Chinese people in general have a strong preference for stability and harmony. Individualism, which is the foundation of Western liberalism, is foreign to them.

The Duran
President Xi rejects western political models in speech praising Chinese traditions
Adam Garrie

Presidential Budget

Summary of Trump's FY18 budget proposals.  I believe topping $4T for the first time; at least going in the right direction.

One still has to watch what they actually end up doing though...

Who won? 
No doubt about it—the Trump Administration is putting its focus (and dollars) on defense spending. Overall, the $4.1 trillion budget request would slash spending for non-defense domestic programs by $54 billion and raise defense discretionary accounts by $489 billion. The budget also emphasizes the need to avoid cuts to Social Security and Medicare programs. Other priorities include $1 trillion for public infrastructure and $2.6 billion for border security. 
Who lost? 
By far the biggest loser in this proposed budget is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); these cuts could seriously impact the agency’s enforcement and legal initiatives. Under this budget plan, EPA’s current budget would be slashed by about one-third, or from $8 billion in the current fiscal year to $5.7 billion next year.

Pepe Escobar — Imperial Folly Brings Russia and Germany Together

Add China to that toxic mix for US hegemony and global "leadership."

This is strategic folly beyond estimation.
Trump will be required to justify to Congress, in writing, any initiative to ease sanctions on Russia. And Congress is entitled to launch an automatic review of any such initiative.
Translation; the death knell of any possibility for the White House to reset relations with Russia. Congress in fact is just ratifying the ongoing Russia demonization campaign orchestrated by the neocon and neoliberalcon deep state/War Party establishment.
Economic war has been declared against Russia for at least three years now. The difference is this latest package also declares economic war against Europe, especially Germany.…
Make no mistake; the EU leadership will counterpunch. Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission (EC), put it mildly when he said, "America first cannot mean that Europe's interests come last."
Pepe Escobar spells out the hidden agenda. As always, follow the money.

Escobar is always a good read. This one is exceptional. Zbig must rolling over in his grave as his worst nightmares begin to unfold.

Best line among many good ones:
According to the business/political source, "… No one trusts this US Congress; it is considered a lunatic asylum." … 
The source adds, half in zest, "we think that Brzezinski died under the pressure of the realization that this was coming and that all his hatred of Russia and his life work to destroy them was becoming utterly undone."
Pepe Escobar

US Sanctions Push Russia Closer to Abandoning the Dollar — Deputy FM Sergei Ryabkov

It will be interesting to see what comes of this. Many are predicting a return to gold, but I am betting on digital.

Whatever the result, there is little doubt he is right about this:
Ryabkov: I think we can, and I think also every single step that people—on the Hill [US Congress] in particular—take to make our lives more difficult brings us closer to the moment when we will develop all sorts of alternatives to the US financial system, to the dollar reserve currency system, the dollar-based reserve currency system, to all sorts of areas where the whole world and not just Russia is dependent on very frivolous actions on the part of the US.
And I should say: You undermine confidence in your system altogether.
It's a big mistake politicizing the economic and financial system to exert pressure on other nations. They will eventually react, and it is already happening.

Russia Insider Daily Headlines
US Sanctions Push Russia Closer to Abandoning the Dollar — Deputy FM Sergei Ryabkov
RI Staff
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Saturday that the US sanctions bill "represents the strong will" of the Americans to see Russia take steps to improve Moscow-Washington ties.
Washington double-speak.

Russia's response: Throw the bums out.
A statement posted on the ministry’s website said the number of diplomatic and technical personnel across US diplomatic missions in Russia should not exceed 455.
The foreign ministry said it would also close down the embassy dacha (summer residence) on the outskirts of Moscow and rescind access to warehouse space. The restrictions on the properties come into force on 1 August, while the reduction in diplomatic presence is to take place by 1 September, the Russians said.

The ministry said the figure of 455 was equivalent to the number of Russian diplomatic staff accredited for work in the US. The figure refers to all embassy staff, including both US diplomats and local hires.
Reuters quoted an embassy source stating that there are about 300 US diplomats based in Moscow, with about 1,100 staff altogether between the Moscow embassy and three consulates across the country. If this figure is accurate, the Russian move would mean more than 600 employees would have to leave.
What are all those people doing there anyway?

The Guardian
Russia cuts US diplomatic presence in retaliation for sanctions
Shaun Walker

As the US Senate approved the introduction of new sanctions against Russia, EU countries have repeatedly criticized the move as contradicting their interests. According to German economist Rudolf Hickel, the sanctions are driving a wedge between Washington and Brussels.
That is putting it mildly. 

France's foreign ministry on Wednesday said new U.S. sanctions against Iran, Russia and North Korea appeared at odds with international law due to their extra-territorial reach.

Martin Armstrong — Russian Sanctions – The Start of World War III?

While a agree with the substance of the post, I am linking to it for a different reason. Martin Armstrong is a strongly laissez-faire economic liberal that views government as the problem. But here he is attributing a failed business model as a potential cause of war. The current business model in the US media is the Murdoch model that pushed Fox to the top of the ratings and raked in advertisers dollars. It is also called the tabloid model, since it's basis is sensationalism.

The major US "news" organizations have discovered that money flows to clickbait and media profit is based on the number of eyeballs that its content and presentation can attract. So the media sells what people want to buy, which is a combination of celebrity titillation and fear mongering.

Armstrong concludes that to avoid the rush to WWIII, the fairness doctrine needs to be renewed since the media is not policing itself and only government can force a rebalancing.
CNN, New York Times, and the Washington Post will be responsible for creating World War III just as Pulitzer and Hearst were responsible for creating the Spanish-American war over fake news. The Fairness Doctrine needs to be restored ASAP and applied to newspapers as well as radio and TV.
One problem with this analysis is that very often it is the US deep state that is running the narrative and providing the sources. Who is going to police the deep state?

Trump was elected to "drain the swamp" but the swamp is draining him and doing its best to drown him.

Armstrong Economics 

Friday, July 28, 2017

Anna Lutskova — Russian airline cuts trade operations from 14 days to 23 seconds

Blockchain is here.
“Implementation of the blockchain platform ethereum opens the door for optimization of business processes for both the carrier and its partners. Speed of computation has revved up from 14 days to 23 seconds. Thus, the airlines don’t delay payment to an agent which receives the money shortly after the ticket is processed.”
Agents do not have to deal anymore with the termination payment security (TPS) typically used to eliminate the risk of non-payment. Automation of the procedures speeds things up and reduces the paperwork for the airline and the agent. Before drawing a payment, the new system makes sure there is a balance in an account. 
Moreover, blockchain eliminates the human factor and boosts system reliability and transparency of trade operations....

TASS — Russia's central bank keeps key rate at 9%

The Russian Central Bank points to the recovery of economic activity
Russia's central bank keeps key rate at 9%

James George Jatras — Bipartisanship! The Evil Party and Stupid Party Team Up to Cripple Trump, Subvert the Rule of Law, and Put the US on a Road to War

I couldn't resist posting this.
The overwhelming approval by both chambers of the US Congress of a bill imposing new, permanent sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea puts President Donald Trump in an impossible position. He can either sign the bill or allow it to become law without his signature, in which case he has acquiesced in the Legislative Branch’s usurpation of what is supposed to be among the Executive’s primary constitutional responsibilities, the conduct of relations with foreign states.
Or he can veto it, but with a total of only five votes against it in both the Senate and the House together, an override is almost certain. Trump would still find his authority curtailed, on top of crippling his clout during the infancy of his term.
Keep in mind that this is being inflicted on Trump mainly by members of his own party. The Republican Congressional leadership can’t manage to repeal Obamacare, reform taxes, stop voter fraud, keep dangerous people out of our country, build the Mexican Wall, or renew our national infrastructure. But they find plenty of time to hold hands with the Democrats, who are trying to unseat the constitutionally elected president in a «soft coup» over phony «Russiagate», to enact a misguided piece of legislation that is expressly intended to guarantee that Trump can’t, under any foreseeable circumstances, improve ties with the one country in the world with which we absolutely must get along, at least on some minimal level: «It’s the Russia, Stupid!»
This is bipartisanship at its worst. In case we need to be reminded, America does not have a multiplicity of parties like most other countries. Instead, we have just two: an «Evil Party» and a «Stupid Party» – and when something is really evil and stupid, we call that «bipartisan»....
Donald Trump is already a lame duck president. He apparently realizes this and decided to cut any ties with the GOP Establishment that may have existed by firing Reince Priebus unceremoniously.

The rest of the post is disturbing, or at any rate should disturb anyone that still has a soul. It's looking more and more like a lot of souls have been put up for sale and the devil has obliged.

Strategic Culture Foundation
Bipartisanship! The Evil Party and Stupid Party Team Up to Cripple Trump, Subvert the Rule of Law, and Put the US on a Road to War
James George Jatras | Deputy Director of the American Institute in Ukraine, a privately funded American NGO, and former U.S. diplomat and foreign policy adviser to the Senate GOP leadership


Pat Buchanan
"Is Trump Entering A Kill Box?"

Color revolution in Venezuela and Nicaragua

We can conclude that the upcoming violence in Venezuela is not a spontaneous action of the opposition but the implementation of a plan that has been around since at least May 2016. It is likely to follow the color revolution by force script the U.S. developed and implemented in several countries over the last decade. Weapon supply and mercenary support for the opposition will come in from and through the neighboring countries the CIA head visited.…
To overthrow the Venezuelan government has been tried since the first election of a somewhat socialist government in 1999. The U.S. instigated coup in 2002 failed when the people and the military stood up against the blatant interference. The "regime change" methods have since changed with the added support of a militant "democratic opposition" fed from the outside. The use of that tool had negative outcomes in Libya and Ukraine and it failed in Syria. I am confident that the government of Venezuela has analyzed those cases and prepared its own plans to counter a similar attempt. 
The U.S. just ordered the relatives of its embassy employees out of the country. Such is only done when imminent action is expected.
Moon of Alabama
Countdown To War On Venezuela

Ortega's government in Nicaragua on the list, too? China is building a competitor canal through Nicaragua to evade US control of the Panama Canal.

Astute News
The US’ Anti-Nicaragua Sanctions are Supposed to Spark a Hybrid War Against China
Asif Aziz

New York Post — The White House has become the craziest reality show on TV

Someone had to say it.

New York Post
The White House has become the craziest reality show on TV
Bob Fredericks

Heaven forbid!

The Times Literary Supplement
Why the Trump dynasty will last sixteen years
Edward Luttwak

Tom O'Connor — Did Russia Kill A U.S. President? New Cia Documents Reveal Spy’s Theory About JFK's Death

Bringing up the big guns.

Even if "Russia" were involved, it would have been the USSR and not the Russian Federation. The West seems to have overlooked the fact that the USSR collapsed and is no more.

This obsession with Russophobia is a huge strategic blunder, driving Russia and China together in the only alliance that can threaten the Triad (US, NATO, and Japan) existentially, as Henry Kissinger has been explaining to Donald Trump.

This is beginning to resemble a Greek tragedy where the protagonist cannot help himself against fate.

Incidentally, the headline is clickbait, with no substantiation in the article, only beliefs.

Tom O'Connor

See also
The French foreign ministry said: the sanctions “contradict international law” due to their “extraterritorial reach.”

Europe views the sanctions as a tool of US industrial policy that elevates US business interests over Europe’s business interests.

Let’s hope that Washington’s arrogance will not permit Washington to back down and that Europe will give Washington the finger and disengage from the American Empire. Without Europe to host its military bases and to parrot its propaganda, Washington’s ability to threaten Russia would significantly decline. Indeed, a continuation of the hostile threatening attitude toward Russia would leave Washington isolated in the world. No country wants the risk of experiencing nuclear war merely for the sake of Washington’s unilateralism.
Some Europeans are getting fed up with this nonsense.

A Ray of Hope — Paul Craig Roberts

Much depends, according to both Pillar and Mohseni, on how the Europeans in the P5+1 respond to any US violation or provocation. If their reaction to Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate accord is any indication, Pillar said, the Europeans may very well stick to the JCPOA and leave Washington Isolated.
Significant hostility toward Washington was made evident by some other findings in the latest poll. Asked, for example, who they thought was behind the June 7 terror attacks, 52% named the Islamic State (ISIS or IS), which took credit for the attacks, but nearly one in five respondents (19%) named the United States. Another 17% named Saudi Arabia. Sixty-one percent of respondents said it was “very likely” that the U.S. “provided guidance or support for the perpetrators”—just behind Saudi Arabia (67%) and Israel (65%).
In the wake of the terror attacks, two thirds of respondents (68%) said that Iran should increase its support of groups fighting IS—that was up from 56% last December. But 55% said that they would disapprove of “collaborating with” the US to help the government of Iraq fight IS. In CISSM’s August 2015 poll, 59% said that Tehran should collaborate with Washington if fighting IS in Iraq.
Asked their views about each of the P5+1 countries, 60% of respondents said that they held “very unfavorable views” of the United States, the worst ratings of all six countries. Of the six, China, Russia, and Germany were seen most favorably in that order.
Iranian Public May Be Turning More Skeptical, Hostile Toward US
Derek Davison and Jim Lobe

Peter Cooper — Self-Imposed Constraints as an Obfuscating Factor

From inception of a monetary economy with a government-issued currency, it is clear that government spending must come before tax payments or purchases of government debt. The order of requirements is basically: (i) government defines its monetary unit of account; (ii) government imposes taxes and other obligations that can only finally be settled in that currency; (iii) government spends (or lends) its currency into existence; (iv) non-government can now obtain the currency and, among other things, pay its taxes and purchase government debt. It is clear that government spending must logically come before tax payments or purchases of government debt because non-government must be able to get hold of the currency before it can do these things….
"Tax and spend is really "spend and tax" at the operationally level. The "tax and spend" illusion arises from optics that are created by failure of operational understanding.

It's the same with credit creation through bank lending. Loans create deposits. Deposits don't create loans and are not necessary for lending.

The government and banks create the unit of account simply be crediting accounts. But only the government can create entries in the payments system that is used for final settlement and settlement of obligations to the government, which are only redeemable using liabilities issued by government.

Robert Parry — The Dawn of an Orwellian Future

In early May 2017, the Times chimed in with a laudatory article about how sophisticated algorithms could purge the Internet of alleged “fake news” or what the mainstream media deems to be “misinformation.”

As I wrote at the time, “you don’t need a huge amount of imagination to see how this combination of mainstream groupthink and artificial intelligence could create an Orwellian future in which only one side of a story gets told and the other side simply disappears from view.”…

That has been a core principle since the days of the Enlightenment, that truth best emerges from withstanding challenges in the marketplace of ideas. Overturning that age-old truth – by today unleashing algorithms to enforce the Official Narrative – is a much greater threat to an informed electorate and to the health of democracy than the relatively few times when some kid makes up a bogus story to increase his Web traffic.
Employing the manufactured fake news meme to suppress dissent and manufacture consent in creating a consensual reality based on the official narrative.

Those that have eye to see are witnessing is a soft coup being conducted in a soft fascist state.

Consortium News
The Dawn of an Orwellian Future
Robert Parry

Peter Cooper — Excellent Video Explaining MMT Basics

I don't recall his link being posted here at MNE before.

Excellent Video Explaining MMT Basics
Peter Cooper

Alastair Crooke — How the ‘Center’ Is Spinning Apart

The "center" is the Establishment and its narrative. History is going fully dialectical as opposing positions clash.

Consortium News
How the ‘Center’ Is Spinning Apart
Alastair Crooke | founder and director of the Conflicts Forum, and former British diplomat and senior figure in British intelligence and in European Union diplomacy

Asia Hedged — Macron nationalizes shipyard to avert Italian takeover

So much for economic liberalism
Does this signal the beginning of the endgame?
The Financial Times played up the move as a rebuke of economic liberalism quoting the Le Maire as saying the decision had a “single objective” to “defend France’s strategic interests in shipbuilding” and guarantee jobs remain in the country.
Le Maire emphasized that the move is temporary, saying “the Saint-Nazaire shipyards are not destined to remain under state control… the pre-emption decision is temporary and should give us the time to negotiate in the best conditions.”
An editorial in Il Sole 24 Ore, however, offered a warning: “The more weeks go by, the more Macronism is showing an old face, it’s the usual France with its protectionist, sovereignist, statist, dirigiste instinct.”
Emmanuel de Gaulle?

It had already begun with Macron positioning himself as mediator between Russia and the West, that is, the Eurasianists and the Atlanticists.

Asia Times
Macron nationalizes shipyard to avert Italian takeover
Asia Hedged

Stephanie Landsman — The market risk that makes Nobel laureate Robert Shiller ‘lie awake worrying'

Combination of low volatility (VIX) indicating complacency and historically high PE ratio, indicating apex of trend.
"We could see a major correction," he said. "This is not a forecast. It's a worry."
Yahoo Finance
The market risk that makes Nobel laureate Robert Shiller ‘lie awake worrying'
Stephanie Landsman

Gavin Kennedy — More Evidence Of The Tide Turning?

Oscar Valdes Viera posts (1 July) a most interesting Working Paper ( NO. 893) HERE
[Levy Institute] Working Paper No. 893
 The Neoclassicals’ Conundrum: If Adam Smith is the Father of Economics, It Is a Bastard Child
Neoclassical economists of the current era frequently pay lip service to Adam Smith’s theories to certify the validity of natural-laws-based, laissez-faire policies. However, neoclassical theories are fundamentally disconnected from Adam Smith’s notion of value, his understanding of the economic individual and their interactions in society, his methodology, and the field of study he afforded to political economy. Instead, early neoclassical economists parted ways with the theories of Adam Smith in an effort to construct economic laws that would validate the existing capitalist order as universal, natural, and harmonious.
 Adam Smith specialist Gavin Kennedy comments:
This by far is the most focussed contribution to the missing debate over where and why did economic theory and science go astray from the 19th century though to the 21st century.
I recommend readers to take the trouble to follow the links and read the whole paper and make their own minds up about the degree of the validity of the Author's arguments.
Adam Smith's Lost Legacy
Gavin Kennedy | Professor Emeritus, Heriot Watt University

The tide is turning indeed, and Levy Institute is leading the way!

Two reviews of Steve Keen's Can we avoid another financial crisis?

I just read the new book by Steve Keen, which is … a little red book. It is very readable and brings the reader up to the economic theory and reality of 2017. The focus is on private debt, and that is very important....
Dirk says to read it.

econoblog 101
[book review] Steve Keen – Can we avoid another financial crisis?
Dirk Ehnts | Lecturer at Bard College Berlin

See also

Surprisingly good review from Reuters.

I would beg to disagree with Keen's analysis of private debt in China as comparable with private debt in a Western capitalist system. The systems are different, first owing to different and economic infrastructure, and secondly owing to economic conditions in China, where private sector incomes are increasing correspondingly, for example, and the household saving rate is high. We'll see.

Review: Can we avoid another financial crisis?
Edward Chancellor

New anti-Russia sanctions is economic suicide for America’ – Max Keiser

Additional sanctions on Russia may make the American economy suffer greatly, says Max Keiser, host of RT's Keiser Report. Germany is not going to go along with the sanctions; they are just pushing Germany into the arms of Russia, he adds. 

The EU has voiced alarm over the latest anti-Russia sanctions bill, passed by the US House of Representatives on Tuesday. The President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker warned the new measures could harm energy security on the continent. 

The trade restrictions against Russia were included in a bill, which also counters so-called aggression from Iran and North Korea. 

If President Donald Trump approves the US sanctions, they will punish companies with ties to Russia's energy sector. 

For example, they would disrupt the major Nord Stream-2 pipeline project. The list of companies that could be hit by the sanctions includes some of the biggest players in the energy sector. Among them, Anglo-Dutch Shell, France's ENGIE, the UK's BP, and Germany's Wintershall. 

Max Keiser, compared this US sanctions policy to Brexit. 

"These types of sanctions in position is economic suicide for America. They are pushing Germany into the arms of Russia. Germany is the center piece of NATO, and NATO will disintegrate, and America's hope to control Ukraine with genetically modified seeds, which of course Russia is against, is going to go up in smoke," he said. 
"This is stupid. It's is the policy of morons. Why? Because the deep state in America wants to keep feathering their nests by warring all over the world, killing innocent civilians. Donald Trump hopefully will stand up to this, veto this ridiculous initiative and we can talk about something a little bit more constructive. This is the last gasp of the neocons in America. Hopefully they will be squashed; otherwise, I really feel that the American economy will suffer greatly."

 in Keiser's view, America cannot impose sanctions on other countries outside the framework of the UN. 

"The post-WWII order of the US dollar hegemony run out of Washington DC, the so-called Washington consensus - is disintegrating, it is falling apart. The US doesn't seem to want to take on reality - they want to live in the past, and they want to believe they are the policeman of the world, and they are going to impose sanctions," he said. 
"Germany is not going to go along with American sanctions quite obviously. They are just pushing Germany into the arms of Russia. Then you've got an enormous axis of power to Germany, Russia, and China, and they are going to get out of the US dollar. So then gasoline in America suddenly goes to $10, 11, 12 a gallon. How is that going to help the American economy if the US dollar loses its position as a reserve currency?"

Europe's banks are getting killed

QE.  They probably have half of their regulatory capital being held against negative yielding deposits at their central banks of course it is going to look like this.

Look at this and then listen to the idiot left say something like:  "the last 8 years has witnessed the greatest upward wealth transfer in the history of the blah... blah... blah...".

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Yu Yongding — Moody misunderstands Chinese economy

Moody's recent downgrade of China's sovereign credit rating has thrown the spotlight on the country's debt issue, but is the rating fair?
Yu Yongding is a person to listen to as someone that does understand the Chinese economy.
Moody misunderstands Chinese economy
Yu Yongding | economist of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences; formerly president of the China Society of World Economics, and a member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the People's Bank of China

Xinhua — No middle-income trap for China as restructuring moves forward

Making headway in restructuring, China is seen to have the will and the way to avoid the middle-income trap.…
Rather than adopting large-scale stimulus, China has been pushing forward mass entrepreneurship and innovation to fuel the real economy, and prompting steady growth by restructuring, said Cong Liang, an official with the National Development and Reform Commission.…

In the first half of 2017, newly registered businesses surged to 2.91 million nationwide, up 11.1 percent year-on-year, with 16,000 registered every day on average, according to Xing Zhihong, spokesperson for the National Bureau of Statistics.
"The Chinese economy enjoys bright prospects and will not fall into the middle-income trap", Yang said.
The middle income trap occurs when a country's growth plateaus and eventually stagnates after reaching middle income levels. China became a middle-income country in 2012 after its per capita GDP exceeded 5,000 U.S. dollars, according to the National Bureau of Statistics….

Scott Ferguson — money’s laws of motion

In this essay for Arcade, I reframe and revise my recent thoughts on MMT, Marxism, and David Harvey.
the unheard of center — critique after modern monetary theory
money’s laws of motion
Scott Ferguson | Assistant Professor of Film & Media Studies, Department of Humanities & Cultural Studies at the University of South Florida, and a Research Scholar at the Binzagr Institute for Sustainable Prosperity

Jason Smith — Adding race and gender to macroeconomics

Even if you are not following Jason Smith, this is important. It's short and not wonkish.

Information Transfer Economics
Adding race and gender to macroeconomics
Jason Smith

Todd E. Pierce — The U.S. Hypocrisy of ‘Human Rights’

Failing to prosecute war crimes is in itself a war crime under international law, and, to use the words of the “Office of Global Criminal Justice,” the opposite of its mission to “expose the truth,” and “judge those responsible.” But taking matters a step further, the U.S. government has designed a legal procedure to deny protection and assistance to victims. This is exactly what leaders of countries that are in line for U.S.-sponsored regime change are routinely accused of doing by the Office of Global Criminal Justice.… 
That was what German military and Gestapo officers said of the prisons they worked in when they went on trial for war crimes at Nuremberg. Most common as their legal defense against war crime charges was that the defendants were only following “superior orders,” in German, “Befehl ist Befehl” (“orders are orders”) — a tactic now known as the Nuremberg defense. In other words, the earlier generation of war criminals effectively claimed their actions were “within their scope of employment.” That defense didn’t work at Nuremberg for Germans, but it works now for U.S. officials in U.S. courts.
The closing the Office of Global Criminal Justice just makes official what has been U.S. policy since 9/11. If it is true that hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue, then the U.S. government has showered tribute upon vice with the hypocrisy of the Office of Global Criminal Justice. If it closes, it means we won’t even pay tribute anymore to virtue, preferring to fully embrace vice in a display of our “authenticity.” And that may be the one example where the “Office of Global Criminal Justice” fulfills its mission to “expose the truth.”
Takes people with no honor and no shame. In other words, low life. And fish rot from the head.

Consortium News
The U.S. Hypocrisy of ‘Human Rights’
(Ret.) Maj. Todd E. Pierce, former Army judge advocate general defense attorney at Guantanamo Bay detention center, Cuba

This article originally appeared at The American Conservative at

See also

PBS’ Anti-Russia Propaganda Series
Rick Sterling

Peter J. Wallison — Why are we still separating banking and commerce?

What could go wrong with allowing big business to generate the unit off account "out of nothing" in addition to banks?

The push is on to erase the line between banking and fintech.

The American Banker
Why are we still separating banking and commerce?
Peter J. Wallison, senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and former general counsel of Treasury between 1981 and 1985

Biagio Bossone — John Maynard Keynes and Effective Macroeconomic Policy

Summary of Keynes on liquidity preference and his liquidity preference theory (LPT).

John Maynard Keynes and Effective Macroeconomic Policy
Biagio Bossone | founder and chairman of "The Group of Lecce" on global financial governance, and member of the Surveillance committee of the Centre d'Études pour le Financement du Développement Local
He has served as Head of the Evaluation Unit of Public Investments at Italy's Presidency of the Council of Ministers. He has been President of the Central Bank of the Republic of San Marino. He has been Executive Director of the World Bank Group, member of the IMF Executive Board, and advisor to the Executive Board of the Asian Development Bank. He has advised the Independent Evaluation Office of the IMF, the World Bank Group, and the African Development Bank, and has been a member of the group of experts assisting the High Commission on World Bank Reform chaired by former President of Mexico, The Hon. Ernesto Zedillo. He has been a consultant to national governments and private corporations on financial sector development projects and project financing operations.
As an economist and former official of the Banca d’Italia, he headed the international payment system division and has been involved in international financial analysis and relations issues. He has been a member of various EU and G10 central banking groups and task forces. He has been Professor of international financial markets at Universita' degli Studi di Palermo and Universita' del Salento, Italy. He has (co-)authored various academic and policy studies in the areas of money and banking, payment systems, international and development finance, and international financial relations. — World Bank

Alan Tuckett — Lifelong learning helps people, governments and business. Why don't we do more of it?

This is one of the most important questions that can be asked socially, political, and economically because lifelong learning is a significant factor in raising the level of collective consciousness that shapes individual decision making, social behavior, cultural development, and institutional arrangements worldwide.

The single most productive investment is in education in the broadest sense. But it must be quality education rather than education for education's sake, credentials, or job training. Genuine education is unfolding full potential for living a full life rather than teaching toward the test.

This rest on the question, what is living the good life in a good society? This has been an enduring question in the Western intellectual tradition, as well as other traditions.

World Economic Forum | Agenda
Lifelong learning helps people, governments and business. Why don't we do more of it?
Alan Tuckett | Professor of Education, University of Wolverhampton

J. W. Mason — The Big Question for Macroeconomic Policy: Is This Really Full Employment?

The question behind the question is how this question is answered optimally. It is methodologically loaded.

J. W. Mason's Blog
The Big Question for Macroeconomic Policy: Is This Really Full Employment?
JW Mason | Assistant Professor of Economics, John Jay College, City University of New York

Peter Söderbaum — Redefining economics in terms of multidimensional analysis and democracy

A proposed new theoretical perspective starts with a partly different definition of economics:
“Economics is multidimensional management of (limited) resources in a democratic society”
Why “multidimensional” management? Multidimensional goes against the one-dimensional analysis of neoclassical theory and method. “Monetary reductionism” is no longer accepted. The idea that we should put a monetary price on all impacts, ecosystem services included, to make them commensurable and tradeable, is abandoned. Instead impacts of different kinds are kept separate throughout analysis. And non-monetary impacts are viewed as being as “economic” as monetary ones. This may make analysis more complex but also more relevant.…
Bringing trans-disciplinarity, social value, and quality of life into economic thinking at the foundational level.
Why reference to a democratic society? When reading neoclassical introductory textbooks in economics it becomes clear that “democracy” is not a theme taken seriously. These texts rather reflect an emphasis on economists as experts, i.e. a kind of technocracy....
Real-World Economics Review Blog
Redefining economics in terms of multidimensional analysis and democracy
Peter Söderbaum | Professor Emeritus In Ecological Economics,
Mälardalen University, Sweden

Peter Cooper — Short & Simple 11 – Money as an IOU

Gresham's law states that the bad drives out the good. This was true of coinage, when the metal value of coins was diluted or pared.

However, the opposite occurs in the case of money as an IOU. The higher the trustworthiness of the debtor, greater the demand of creditors for the debt. The greater the demand, the lower the interest rate needed to induce saving. 

This is demonstrated by the position of the US dollar as the global currency, that is, the preferred currency in which to save. This also spills over into US government debt denominated in the US dollar as the nation's unit of the account.

Short & Simple 11 – Money as an IOU
Peter Cooper

Mauro F. Guillén — Why scale might be the most important factor in the development of new technology

Capitalism tends toward natural monopoly, monopsony and oligarchy owing to economies of scale. 

Tradeoffs are involved as this influence bleeds to the social and political in addition to the economic.

World Economic Forum
Why scale might be the most important factor in the development of new technology
Mauro F. Guillén | Director, Joseph H. Lauder Institute

Rick Hellman — Telling languages apart may begin in the womb

This relates to the debate over what is innate (natural) and what is acquired (learned). 

While language is mostly acquired, the ability to learn a language is innate, research shows.

Decades old research has shown that infants can distinguish language from random noise, that is, they can sense a signal and discriminate between signal from noise. Now it appears that this is also true of fetuses.

World Economic Forum
Telling languages apart may begin in the womb
Rick Hellman | Writer for Futurity

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Sputnik International — Hypersonic Weapons Should Be Under Int'l Rules - UK Nuclear Operations Head

UK's Head of Nuclear Operations for the Director General Nuclear, Commodore Paul Burke claims that hypersonic weapons should be under international norms and rules....
Paul Burke also noted that London is following Russia developing hypersonic aviation means of destruction yet is not capable of developing their own system.
"We watch what Russia is doing, absolutely. We’ll keep an eye on what we’re doing and trying to respond accordingly usually through diplomatic, international norms and treaty obligations," Burke said. "The UK wouldn’t be able to do anything like that. So, we wouldn't be able to develop that sort of system ourselves."
Shoe on other foot? Maybe Russia isn't just a gas station?

Russia warned it would respond asymmetrically. So will China.

Sweeta Singh — U.S. defense companies lift forecasts amid growing security concerns

Top U.S. weapons makers reported better-than-expected quarterly results and raised their full-year forecasts, buoyed by higher demand for fighter jets and tanks amid heightened security concerns around the world....
Mission accomplished.

U.S. defense companies lift forecasts amid growing security concerns
Sweeta Singh

Pepe Escobar — China and India torn between silk roads and cocked guns

Old rivalries (nationalism) confront new opportunities (money). Bet on the money.

Asia Times
China and India torn between silk roads and cocked guns
Pepe Escobar

Reid Wilson — Trump to nominate Brownback for religious ambassador post

The White House said late Wednesday President Trump will nominate Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) to serve as an ambassador at large for international religious freedom. Brownback, a devout Catholic, would be the fifth person to run the State Department's Office of International Religious Freedom -- an office first created by legislation Brownback sponsored when he was a member of the Senate back in 1998....
I guess he can't cause too much damage in this role.

The Hill
Trump to nominate Brownback for religious ambassador post
Reid Wilson

Zero Hedge — Who Is Michael Vickers? The CIA's Afghan Jihad Architect Declares War On Trump

Meeting the US deep state close up. It isn't pretty. In fact, it is pretty ugly. These are the folks bringing you endless war. Because it is cool?

Who knew that the US is behind state-sponsored terrorism?

The question now is whether the US deep state will pay attention to the president or continue to go rogue.

Zero Hedge
Who Is Michael Vickers? The CIA's Afghan Jihad Architect Declares War On Trump
Tyler Durden

Julia Conley — ACLU Sounds Alarm After DC Cops Tell Journalists to Delete Protest Photos

Controlling the narrative with censorship.

The Anti-Media
ACLU Sounds Alarm After DC Cops Tell Journalists to Delete Protest Photos
Julia Conley

Ted Rall — The Democrats Are A Lost Cause

Still losers.

The Democrats Are A Lost Cause
Ted Rall

See also

Fox News
Hillary Writing Book About How Russia, Comey Cost Her the Election ...
Cortney O'Brien

Zero Hedge
Hillary Clinton Book, Set To Drop In September, Can Be Summarized In Two Words: 'Russia' & 'Comey'
Tyler Durden