Loyalty without truth
is a trail to tyranny.
|Friday, 16 December 2011 at 15h 41m 7s|
Interest rates since 1831
hat-tip to barry ritholtz at ritholtz.com.
The chart is from Jim Bianco.
|Thursday, 15 December 2011 at 18h 29m 33s|
Reminder: the rich don't create jobs, the economic environment does
Click here for
another in a growing list of reasons about why the notion that "the rich and the entrepreneurs"
are job creators is bunk.
Okay, I'll supplement this topic.
The general availability of purchasing power makes anything beyond the subsistence needs of a
society even possible. Once people are clothed, sheltered, and fed, the surplus income purchases
the products and services of what it is that entrepreneurs provide. A middle class is necessary for
a vibrant capitalist society to functionally exist, or else it will devolve into plutocracy or
dictatorship. The last 4,000 years of human history provides many examples of societies with two
classes, or three, if you include the slaves amongst the rich and the poor.
When the middle class drifts towards impoverishment, or diminishing future returns (an economic term
used by the neo-conservatives) this will have an aggregate effect on the overall demand return
entrepreneurial potential engine. In any economic environment, there is always potential for
reward. Either by connivance or cunning, or sheer luck, there will always be those who can rise
above their original social status. However, these individual efforts do not affect the overall
of the members of the population. Hundreds of success stories do not dispel the reality that 90% of
the population earns less than $50,000 a year, and 98% earns less than $100,000.
Now consider what happens when demand evaporates underneath the malignant priorities of the profit
extraction system, and nothing changes in 4 years, 8 years, 10 years.
I'll leave it at that. Read the link above. Despite the misplaced sarcasm, there is some insight.
Blodget | businessinsider.com | 15 December 2011]
|Thursday, 15 December 2011 at 18h 0m 56s|
My rebuttal to a recent blog commentariati
I love the blithe attempt to massage Libertarianism as the new truth, now that the
Neo-conservative economic belief system has completely fallen apart. The idea that human beings can
exist as hermetically sealed economic units is ridiculous. But I've made that point many times
before, and any additional fodder I'll save for another day.
I thought it might be entertaining to share this "dialogue" (if that's what you call the comment
board of the internet).
Here is what the guy said
I’ve gotten interested in Austrian School economics. I’m reading the Ludwig Von Mises book entitled
Liberalism. He has a quite different account of what’s best for all — he claims free enterprise is
good because it allows for the maximum of exchange which allows a kind of Darwinian fittest to
emerge in terms of products and distribution. One of the problems I have with Marxism is that it
puts kindness first, when of course all of nature is about selfishness. Marxism is unnatural and
usually kills nature (though not usually with kindness). It’s interesting to hear about this author
(I generally like anarchists). There is an anarchistic side in libertarianism of the kind that Ron
Paul espouses (he is also an aficionado of Austrian School economics). I suppose if we’re going to
turn to economics as the set of paradigms that clarifies what else we’re doing in the humanities we
might as well look at all the different schools. I personally like Smith, but he wouldn’t have
accepted slavery as is here said to be the case. I’m certain that Hayek and Von Mises wouldn’t have
accepted slavery. Not so sure about Marxism systems. They seem to accept slavery and even to promote
it as they seek to deny democracy, and to impose the will of a minority on that of the majority. Do
you think that OWS is Marxist? I haven’t been able to determine what they want or what they are saying.
Here is my response :
@Darcy: Yea the elite and their wall street cronies certainly allocated the investment funds in an
efficient manner. Outsourcing all of the production potential of the nation to skim more money off
the top and pay workers less, forcing the middle class to take on more debt when government stops
funding education and starting spending more on war and military contractors. When bankers and
various members of the political elite can break the wall and walk away, where is the moral
rectitude of the economic system? Is this type of corrupt, mismanagement allowing the maximum
production based on the survival of the fittest?
No. It’s about people with power and money being greedy and doing whatever they want — and getting
away with it.
Your knowledge of the names in Economics means nothing. The substance of what they have written is
more important then quoting a few names. Especially given the many different names you don’t
include. I on the other hand, are well versed in the various historic literature — so when you say
that “Smith” is a school of thought, you reveal your ignorance.
Capitalism is amoral. Neither good nor bad. Economics and the hierarchical relations of the society
itself ARE THE SAME THING. All of the economists you stated agree. So please stop saying that an
economic system is “good”. The economic system does not create the social rungs by itself. That is
what community and government do. All of the economists you stated agree.
There are other choices than Marxism. So why are you so fixated with that ancient, defunct product
of an impoverished 19th century writer? What value is it to what the citizens are facing today?
People who are upset with the corruption of our government and our financial system are not
anti-capitalist at all. They do not read Marx for guidance.
This is easy to understand. However, someone like Darcy is a troll who probably works for a company
hired to spew these contrived opinions. They act like they are confused about why people are
protesting and make innuendos that they are socialists, communists, or marxists.
Get real. The OWS movement is an American movement, just like the Farmers movements of the 1880s and
the progressive movements in the early 1900s, the labor movements of the 1930s, and the civil rights
movements of the 1950s-60s.
~ ~ ~
UPDATE: Admittedly I added the labor movement of the 1930s, in the above quotation of my "original"
Ah, but there's the rub. Everything is evolutionary. Given half a chance, all of us will make some
change to what was once a misconception or oversight. Details take time. Nothing is
instantaneously achieved. Only time can percolate the best ideas and the best practices.
|Thursday, 15 December 2011 at 17h 43m 23s|
I don't know if anyone out there in the ether realizes this, but ...
The recent arrests of the occupy movement have focused on the legal and journalistic constituents of
the movement. 100% of those who are arrested are legal counsel, video streamers, known bloggers, or
avid twitters, despite their being less than 5% of protest population. The police are singling them
And as they are held for 2 or 3 days, some of them have $50,000 bails for a misdemeanor offense. Or
they are threatened to have their retina's scanned (which is what happened in New York City). Why
do they want to scan retinas? Makes you wonder if the drones used in the middle might actually be
used for some purpose in the United States?
Am I paranoid?
|Monday, 12 December 2011 at 19h 35m 50s|
The history of debt
Click here for the source blog
where this awesome summary of how Money is really government debt that is used as a medium of
exchange and facilitate the purchase of goods, payment of wages, and payment for services.
David Graeber’s Debt The First Five Thousand Years is a brilliant and powerful book; and even, I
would say, a crucial one. Graeber does several things. He shows how the notion of “debt” has been
integral to any notion of an “economy.” He traces the history of debt, both as an economic concept
and as a metaphor for other forms of social engagement, back to the Mesopotamian civilizations of
thousands of years ago. He traces the changes in how debt is conceived, and how economic exchange is
organized, in various Eurasian civilizations and societies since then. And he contrasts these
relations of economy and debt to those that existed (and still exist to some extent) in non-state
societies (the ones that anthropologists tend to study)
blog | | 19 November 2011]
|Monday, 5 December 2011 at 19h 14m 52s|
A timeline of the financial crisis
From February 2007 to April 2011
Click on the picture to go to an interactive timeline.
[SOURCE: St. Louis Fed
|Friday, 2 December 2011 at 21h 36m 11s|
The Rich Don't Create Jobs
Click here for the Wall Street Journal blog entry by Robert Frank.
“I’ve never been a ‘job creator,’ ” writes Nick Hanauer, who helped start several start-ups,
including aQuantive, which was sold to Microsoft for $6.4 billion. “I can start a business based on
a great idea and initially hire dozens or hundreds of people. But if no one can afford to buy what I
have to sell, my business will soon fail and all those jobs will evaporate.”
It’s this “feedback loop” between mass consumers and businesses that creates jobs.
“When businesspeople take credit for creating jobs, it is like squirrels taking credit for creating
evolution,” he writes. “In fact, it’s the other way around.”
The spending of the rich can’t make up the difference for a gutted middle class. Hanauer said his
biggest expense is his jet, which doesn’t support many American jobs since it was made in France and
fueled with oil from the Middle East.
The answer, he says, is to tax the rich so their money can be used to improve the purchasing power
of the middle class.
[SOURCE: Robert Frank | Wall Street
Journal | 1 December 2011]
|Thursday, 1 December 2011 at 19h 8m 23s|
Another Super committee
|Tuesday, 29 November 2011 at 18h 43m 37s|
The recent NBA events
Pierce writes his take on the recent NBA events.
Here's my favorite snippet:
Another way you know that it wasn't really about economics is that the league's economic public case
for its position became more and more preposterous as the weeks went by, and even the public began
to notice that it was being taken for a fool. The hilarity hit high tide for me when David Stern
started going around explaining that 22 of his 30 franchises were losing money.
Tell me, do you suppose that when Stern sat down and chatted with the Nike corporation, or with the
People's Republic of China, to name only two of the wildly successful authoritarian operations with
which the league does its business, the first thing he explained while pitching the NBA to them was
that 73 percent of his league was in the red? Did you, at any time, expect to see Herb Simon, the
shopping-mall billionaire who owns the "small-market" Indiana Pacers — a team that he bought for $11
million and which is now estimated to be worth $269 million — swiping the leftover bourbon chicken
off abandoned plates in his various food courts unless the players surrendered to him a chunk of
Of course you didn't, because your mother didn't raise a fool when she raised you.
(Can the NBA produce financial documents testifying that Simon and his fellow plutocrats were
perilously close to selling apples on Fifth Avenue? Yes, because almost anyone could, if they hired
Philip K. Dick to do their accounting.)
And the third and most important reason why you know that the lockout was not really about economics
is that there was a lockout at all. Because 30 years of propaganda — thanks, Ronnie! — have
convinced most people under 50 that unions are for losers, it eluded many of the people covering
these events that lockouts are, and will always be, things willed into being exclusively by
management. They are not natural phenomena. They are never truly unavoidable. They don't "just
happen," and they certainly do not occur because "both sides" are at fault. Lockouts occur when
management believes that unions are too strong, and they occur when management believes that unions
are too weak, and they occur when management doesn't want a union to exist at all.
Lockouts are not devices of economic correction. That's just a byproduct. Lockouts are attempts by
management to exercise control over their workers. Period.
[SOURCE: Grantland.com | Charles A.
Pierce | 28 November 2011]
|Sunday, 27 November 2011 at 11h 50m 22s|
The idea of transference means "the action of transferring something or the process of being
transferred" . The branch of psychology called transference neurosis is "the redirection to a
substitute of emotions that were originally felt in childhood" . I got this idea from the
television series Law & Order that I will watch sporadically throughout the year, when I have time.
The show deals with human psychology and the devolution of unresolved social and personal issues
becoming transformed into monstrous consequences. The particular show involved an older gentleman
who transfered his traumatized notions of his mother having an affair with a jew into a hatred for
jews in general. The man thought his secretary mother was raped by the jewish owner rather than
becoming a willing accomplice, unable to admit that life is more complicated, irrational, and
hypocritical then what he might have wanted. The man devolved when his mother died and he carried
out a series of 7 deaths against hebrews -- which is a rather extreme end to this set of events, but
then what do you expect from a tv show that needs to attract eyeballs. To be fair, the show did a
good job evincing the characters involved in the script.
But it got me thinking about transference. This might be an innate human mechanism of dealing with
very painful events. We redirect the challenging emotions towards a substitute, for whatever
reason, and there are many different reasons. The mind makes its own connections and hypotheses of
events; therefore, the mind finds and accepts its own substitutes.
Emotions are like water. Some persons control their flow of water at a regular constant drip.
Others spray all over the place at different irregular intervals, or rush out, and some even turn
off the spigot for most of their entire life. But when emotions fill an underground reservoir of
pain, the deposits accumulate and grow. Soon the enormous amount of water has to go somewhere, and
where it goes may or may not be the choice of the water carrier. Drainage systems have to be
installed, and they are usually installed without any plan, on an as needed basis. So after a
while, the drainage system becomes dysfunctional and has to be rebuilt or re-routed. This involves
having to make decisions and choices that are difficult because of historical associations and
various other personal attachments. However, whatever decision that is made, dictates the drainage
construction and infrastructure (or lack thereof) that proceeds afterwards.
Ignoring the inevitable is the most frequent strategy. Lacking any absolutely necessary reason to
change or reassess, the human species will merely drift, carrying on the current traditions and
practices with which we have become imbued.
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