Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Lord Keynes — A Proposal for an Alt Left Political Program

Incorporates PKE and MMT.

Social Democracy For The 21St Century: A Post Keynesian Perspective
A Proposal for an Alt Left Political Program
Lord Keynes

David Swanson - How We Could End the Permanent War State

The Neoliberals, the Neocons, who now call themselves the Liberal Interventionalists, have behaved so badly over the years, crashing our economy, bailing themselves out, or rather, helping themselves to our money, that maybe most people are now cottoning on to the con. The populist right - as represented by people like Alex Jones, the libertarians - like Ron Paul and - as well various left and liberal groups have all had enough of it. And MMT, the Keynesians, and many other economists are all showing how standard economics doesn't work, and is probably just another con to enrich a tiny few. And now the new trade agreements along with the vulture funds have given US finance an even worse reputation than it already had. Everything stinks!

Bernie Sanders started a new movement, it's going to carry on.

Nevertheless I am here to suggest to you that, despite the fact that the war state with all its private allies appear to be riding as high as ever, the historical circumstances may now be favorable to a frontal challenge to the war state for the first time in many year.
First: the Sanders campaign has shown that a very large proportion of the millennial generations do not trust those who hold power in the society, because they have rigged the economic and social arrangements to benefit a tiny minority while screwing the vast majority – and especially the young. Obviously the permanent war state’s operations can be convincingly analyzed as fitting that model, and that opens up a new opportunity to take on the permanent war state.

Second: U.S. military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan have been such obvious disastrous failures that the present historical juncture is marked by a low-point in support for interventionism reminiscent of the late Vietnam War and post-war period (late 1960s to early 1980s). Most Americans turned against Iraq and Afghanistan about as fast as they had against the Vietnam War. And the opposition to military intervention in Syria, even in the face of overwhelming media coverage that encouraged support for such a war was overwhelming. A Gallup poll in September 2013 showed that the level of support for the proposed use of force in Syria – 36 percent – was lower than that for any of the five wars proposed since the end of the Cold War.

Third, the very obvious bankruptcy of the two parties in this election have made tens of millions in this country – especially young people, blacks and independents – open to a movement that connects the dots that need to be connected.

With those favorable strategic conditions in mind, I suggest that it is time for a newly invigorated national movement to come together around a concrete strategy for accomplishing the goal of ending the permanent war state by taking away its means of intervening in foreign conflicts

I'm still having loads of problems with the Windows 10 update, so this was the best I could get this article to look today. I shall revert back to the older build soon.

Vyacheslav Scherbakov — Alternative for Germany

Although the “return to the German mark” theme was undoubtedly essential, the program’s developers sought to defend themselves from accusations of forming a “single issue party.” Therefore, they touched on a number of problems that, in their opinion, are troubling society. They included demands for a commitment to “A Europe of sovereign states” with a common internal market, demands for EU reform, and the “liquidation of the Brussels bureaucracy,” the strengthening of the democratic freedoms of citizens, and introducing a system of popular referendums along the Swiss model. The party also spoke out in support of families and especially pensioners and children: “Family solidarity support is an investment in our common future and an important part of inter-generational consensus.” An important component of such family support was determined to be an educational system including kindergartens, schools, and universities. At the same time, parents are to be responsible for the education and upbringing of their children and should be supported by the state. The situation with integrating immigrants had led to such programs so valued by AfG to be shut down. In a rather short section, special attention is devoted to the necessity of revising immigration laws. The immigration system of Canada is presented as one to be imitated: “It is necessary to put an end to indiscriminate immigration into our social system.”[6] On the same note, it is emphasized that persons persecuted on political grounds should be given priority right to asylum in Germany.…
Fort Russ
Alternative for Germany: The Genesis of a New "People's Party"? - PART 1

Alternative for Germany: The Genesis of a New "People's Party"? - PART 2
Vyacheslav Shcherbakov for Fort Russ - translated by J. Arnoldski

Paul Robinson — Neither war nor peace

To borrow a phrase from Leon Trotsky, the situation in Ukraine is ‘neither war nor peace’. The poll suggests that this is no accident. Ukrainians have no great appetite for war, but they are unwilling to take the steps required to bring peace. If they have ended up with something in between, it is because that is what they appear to prefer. As Nezavisimaia Gazeta concludes, Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko ‘cannot not take these circumstances into consideration’. At this stage, therefore, a major change in Ukrainian policy is unlikely.
Minsk 2. 0 is dead in the water.

Neither war nor peace
Paul Robinson | Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa

James Kwak — This Inequality Chart Does Not Say What You Think It Says

Jason Furman obfuscates. James Kwak explains.
In summary, the economic factors that produce higher pre-tax income inequality—stagnant middle-class wages, high corporate profits, and booming asset markets—are alive and well, and it doesn’t seem the Obama administration has done much about them. The administration did pass the Affordable Care Act and let the Bush tax cuts expire for the rich, both of which helped mitigate the pre-tax inequality produced by contemporary American capitalism. But even if Barack Obama called inequality the “defining challenge of our time,” he has done little to tackle its fundamental causes. Let’s hope the next president does better.
Baseline Scenario
This Inequality Chart Does Not Say What You Think It Says
James Kwak
ht Mark Thoma at Economist's View


Is Inequality Rising or Falling? 

John Helmer — Flashlight From Mh-17 Investigation — Dutch, Australian And Ukrainian Police Announce End Of Tunnel; Russian Generals Announce Tunnel Vision

MH17 conclusion in, results as expected. The Rooskies did it.

Dances with Bears
Flashlight From Mh-17 Investigation — Dutch, Australian And Ukrainian Police Announce End Of Tunnel; Russian Generals Announce Tunnel Vision
John Helmer

Bill Mitchell — The planned destruction of Greece continues …

Bill is hot these days.
After all the hoopla last year with the rise and fall of Syriza one’s attention span strays from what is happening in Greece at present and how it demonstrates the continued (and permanent) failure of the Eurozone. We also become inured to badness after badness is normalised. I was reminded of the depth of the malaise in that nation last week when I was in Kansas City. I won’t disclose confidences but an influential person (in the Greek context) I spoke to now regard their previous support for remaining within the Eurozone as a mistake and they consider my assessment of the situation (which they opposed at the time) to be closer to reality. That was an interesting conversation and credit to them for being able to recognise an error of judgement. I was also reminded of the absurdity of the Eurozone when the IMF released its latest – Greece: Staff Concluding Statement of the 2016 Article IV Mission (September 23, 2016). This is normalisation of badness in bold! The current thinking is that the Greek unemployment rate will remain in double figures until at least 2050, that business investment has collapsed, real GDP is around 27 per cent below its pre-GFC level – and – more significant and accelerated austerity is required. If an organisation can exhibit psychopathy then the IMF has it!

On June 22, 2016, there was a press report – Greek Labour Minister Katrougalos says IMF wants ‘blood’….
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
The planned destruction of Greece continues …
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Switzerland Stays Most Competitive Nation as WEF Warns on Trade

More Darwin:

The World Economic Forum named Switzerland the most competitive nation for an eighth straight year...

Everybody knows its "survival of the fittest" and  looks like Switzerland gets the message; what's wrong with the ROW?

Tropical Storm forming off Leewards...

We will monitor this one over the next week to see if these scientists update their predictions over time due to changing conditions... or rather act like our economic policymakers and stand pat on their original prediction even in the face of changing conditions.

Pam and Russ Martens — The New Banking Crisis — In Two Frightening Graphs

Systemic risk associated with teetering Deutsche Bank.

Wall Street on Parade
The New Banking Crisis — In Two Frightening Graphs
Pam and Russ Martens

PolitRussia — Crimea's Poklonskaya moves on to State Duma career

Looks like Poklonskaya was handpicked to move up the political chain.

Fort Russ
Crimea's Poklonskaya moves on to State Duma career
PolitRussia - translated by J. Arnoldski -

Matthew Lynn — The Deutsche Bank crisis could take Angela Merkel down – and the Euro

Deutsche Bank is teetering. Lehman?  Creditanstalt?

The Telegraph
The Deutsche Bank crisis could take Angela Merkel down – and the Euro
Matthew Lynn

Ellis Winningham — “Affordability” for the US Government is Never a Question of “Money”

“Affordability” for national governments like the US, UK, Canada, Japan, Australia is always in terms of real resources (iron ore, agricultural capacity, water supply, labor supply, etc.) and never “money”. If you still do not understand this concept, you will soon. Forty years of neoliberalism and nonsensical mainstream economic policy errantly focused on the finances of these governments, which do not possess hard financial constraints, while ignoring their real productive capacities, leaving vast resources idle. Persistent recessions, high unemployment rates, expanding income inequality, high private debt levels and financial instability have been the end results of these policies and so, political unrest is rising as world populaces are no longer willing to tolerate these deplorable conditions. At the root of the problem is the erroneous belief that these governments can run out of “money”. That incorrect viewpoint causes you to miss the reality: US Dollars are infinite. Real resources are finite.…
Simple argument to pass along your out of paradigm family, friends and acquaintances.

Ellis Winningham — MMT and Modern Macroeconomics

Ari Andricopoulos — On Currency Devaluation (Deliberate and Otherwise)

It is an unstated central bank policy in many parts of the world to reduce the value of their currency to below its fair value. The reason for doing so is 'competitiveness'. A weaker currency means lower global prices for your goods and hence increases your exports, while at the same time reducing imports. Since a fundamental equation of economics says that GDP = C+I+G+X, or consumption plus investment plus government expenditure plus net exports; it would appear self evident that an increase in net exports would increase GDP.
This is, unfortunately, completely wrong. There are two ways that it is wrong, both pretty fundamental….
Notes on the Next Bust Ari Andricopoulos, principal at Dacharan Advisory AG, PhD. in Financial Mathematics

Bill Mitchell — Is there a case for a basic income guarantee – Part 5

This is Part 5 in the mini-series discussing the relative merits of the basic income guarantee proposal and the Job Guarantee proposal. It finishes this part of our discussion. Today, I consider how society establishes a fair transition environment to cope with climate change and the impacts of computerisation etc. I outline a coherent adjustment framework to allow these transitions to occur equitably and where they are not possible (due to limits on worker capacity) alternative visions of productive work are developed? I argue that while work, in general, is coercive under capitalism, the provision of employment guarantees is a more equitable approach than relying as the basic income advocates envision on the exploitation of some to provide the freedom for others. Further, I argue that the Job Guarantee is a better vehicle for creating new forms of productive work. Adopting a basic income guarantee in this context just amounts to surrender. Our manuscript is nearly finished and we hope to complete the hard edits in the next month or so and have the book available for sale by the end of this year. More information on that later.
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Is there a case for a basic income guarantee – Part 5
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Food Prices still falling

Oil rent removal continues apace... economorons at Fed probably think they will have to go negative.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Was Dewey a Darwinian? Yes! Yes! Yes! — David Sloan Wilson interviews Trevor Pearce

On "social Darwinism."

Evolution Institute
Was Dewey a Darwinian? Yes! Yes! Yes! An Interview with Trevor Pearce
David SloanWilson, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Biology and Anthropology at Binghamton University and Arne Næss Chair in Global Justice and the Environment at the University of Oslo interviews Trevor Pearce, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Noah Smith — Economics Has a Major Blind Spot

Noah Smith is becoming a better economist after leaving academia for the media. He is becoming an institutionalist, perhaps without realizing that this is an area that has been explored.

Bloomberg View
Economics Has a Major Blind Spot
Noah Smith

Steven Hayes: Happiness Is an Empty Promise: Buddhism - Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Too many people are striving for a quick and dirty way to feel hedonistic bliss without accepting the negative feelings they have, says Steven Hayes.
This was originally tagged onto my last post which spoke about Bhutan Buddhism, but I decided to make it into a separate post. I'm not sure if it is the right thing for this site, but I think Mike Norman wanted a wider range of topics so I thought I throw this in and see. I think it is relevant because in my opinion Western society is not very well.

I'm beginning to think that our society can bring unhappiness because the never ending pursuit of status and material things can bring about not only boredom, but also distress. I used to have an A type personality always at work, and I searched for pleasure by acquiring more and more things.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) was developed by scientists and psychologists whose research showed that it is very difficult for many people to feel happy, at least for significant amounts of time. It is a mindfulness based behavior therapy, which is distinctively different to Cognitive Behavior therapy, (CBT), or even mindfulness based CBT. It is an active, get out and about and do things therapy, but this is done very gently because distressed people are often very easily overwhelmed.

For many people happiness tends to be fleeting, where we all desire more things and it never feels like we have got enough. We always want a better job, a bigger house, better car, more money, more promotion, more romance, etc. So we work harder and harder and strive for more and more until in the end some people's only momentary pleasure comes only from a bit of wine in the evenings, or a few beers at the weekend. And now one in ten people are on antidepressant medications.

As the scientists developed ACT they realized how close their therapy was to Buddhist teaching. Their research showed that one of the reasons humans have conquered the world is because we always want more and are never really fully satisfied, and so this led to striving, but this can also lead to unhappiness and discontentment. The Buddhists discovered this centuries ago.

ACT also showed that the way we deal with outer reality does not work with inner reality. We tend to be very practical creatures and if we are not happy about something we will go and alter it, like cut down a tree if it is blocking all the sunlight from entering our house. But if we have unwanted thoughts and feelings we don't like we can't just make them go away by forcing them out of the mind, which actually makes them come back more. Try your best to not think of water melons for the next five minutes. Make sure no thoughts of water melons ever enter your mind.

The ACT practitioners found that through acceptance of negative, unpleasant feelings and thoughts we can reduce fear so that then some peace, contentment, and happiness are more likely to develop. This can bring about healing. But accepting things to try to make the pain go away doesn't work because that is not true acceptance. Buddhism is all about 'radical acceptance' and non-striving - although you still work hard (if you want to), go to college and get good grades, excel at sports, etc, it's just done with a different attitude with far less perfectionism.

ACT can also help people cope with chronic, physical pain and it has been shown that mindfulness and acceptance actually changes how are our brains are wired which reduces the sensation pain.

Steven Hayes is the founder of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

Tshering Tobgay: This country isn't just carbon neutral -- it's carbon negative.

Deep in the Himalayas, on the border between China and India, lies the Kingdom of Bhutan, which has pledged to remain carbon neutral for all time. In this illuminating talk, Bhutan's Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay shares his country's mission to put happiness before economic growth and set a world standard for environmental preservation. 

Bhutan is a Buddhist country that brings healing to its people and to our world.  The West needs to find a new way to happiness. At the moment it is run by psychopaths.

TASS — Crimea’s prosecutor steps down — source

As I had predicted some time ago. This lady has a political future and it lies in Moscow rather than Crimea. 

The crooks had better watch out if she stays true to form. She could become the tip of the spear in an anti-corruption drive. She has the moxie and the cred. She is likely to be something like the Elizabeth Warren of Russian politics as she assumes her seat in the Duma.

Crimea’s prosecutor steps down — source

Patrick Armstrong — Bellingcat proves the Russians didn't do it.

The Bellingcat site has a piece entitled "Confirmed : Russian Bomb Remains Recovered from Syrian Red Crescent Aid Convoy Attack" which includes this picture as well as several others. You may look at the others, but this one picture is apodictic proof 1) that the Russians (or Syrians) didn't do it and 2) that Bellingcat is a loyal servant of the Borg.
More disinformation.  Read the comments, too.

Sic Semper Tyrannis
Bellingcat proves the Russians didn't do it.Patrick Armstrong

Alastair Crooke — New Cold War Spins Out of Control

U.S. enthusiasts for the New Cold War with Russia appear to be ignoring less-belligerent orders from President Obama and pushing for a dangerous escalation of tensions, reports ex-British diplomat Alastair Crooke.
Going rogue.
What is so surprising here is the non-surprise evinced by the editorial writers of the New York Times. The Board blandly states that the Defense Secretary and the Pentagon might not comply. Not a hint of surprise is evident at the constitutional implications of this open defiance of Presidential authority.
No, rather the Board seems to view it as quite natural and commendable that Carter should refuse to comply with this “unusual and risky” proposition. But this was not some “proposition for collaboration.” This was an agreed formal accord between the United States and another state – reached after lengthy negotiations, and done with Presidential mandate.
In brief, President Obama’s authority is no more – if it runs against the settled opinion of the Pentagon, the CIA, the New York Times, the Washington Post and of the Democratic Party’s Presidential candidate. It is not unreasonable therefore to assume that Obama’s grudging détente with a Russian President that he personally, viscerally dislikes, is now no more than diplomatic chatter.
President Obama should take a cue from Harry Truman's firing of wildly popular war hero 5-star General Douglas MacArthur for insubordination in questioning the presidents orders as commander-in-chief.

Consortium News
New Cold War Spins Out of Control
Alastair Crooke

Brian Romanchuk — Macro Wars: Lavoie Article

Marc Lavoie has an excellent contribution to the recent reappearance of the "macro wars": "Rethinking Macroeconomic Theory Before the Next Crisis." I just want to note that he is possibly too academically reserved with regards to some of the claims justifying DSGE macro.…
Bond Economics
Macro Wars: Lavoie Article
Brian Romanchuk

RT — What you did in Iraq & Libya is the real barbarism – Russian FM spox rebukes US envoy to UN

Cat fight.

What you did in Iraq & Libya is the real barbarism – Russian FM spox rebukes US envoy to UN

Marc Lavoie — Rethinking Macroeconomic Theory Before the Next Crisis

In this essay I discuss how the end of the Great Moderation – this 15-year period of low inflation and low variance in real growth rates in the Western world — has been interpreted by the advocates of mainstream economics and what changes the subprime financial crisis has or may have entailed with respect to macroeconomic theory. I review of a number of key issues in macroeconomic theory, examining what seems to have been changed or been questioned as a consequence of what has happened during and after the financial crisis. The third section is devoted to the concept of hysteresis, which seems to have been resurrected by mainstream economists. The fourth section deals with a number of miscellaneous issues, in particular the shape of the aggregate demand curve and the lack of a relationship between interest rates and public debt or deficit ratios. I conclude with broad brushes about what ought to disappear and what might disappear from macroeconomic theory. Many others, such as Stiglitz (2014) and Mendoza (2013) have done an excellent job in pursuing this kind of exercise. Here I offer my idiosyncratic thoughts, starting with the reaction of economists to the crisis.…
Rethinking Macroeconomic Theory Before the Next Crisis
Marc Lavoie | Professor of Economics, University of Ottawa

Moon of Alabama — Todenhöfer: Interview With Al-Nusra Commander "The Americans stand on our side"

This interview by Jürgen Todenhöfer was first published in German on September 26 2016 by the Kölner Stadtanzeiger, the major newspaper in the Cologne region. (The interview was copied and translated to English by Bernhard for educational and academic purposes.)... 
Moon of AlabamaTodenhöfer: Interview With Al-Nusra Commander "The Americans stand on our side"


Damascus has a recording of conversations between the American military and Islamic State terrorists ahead of the US-led coalition airstrike that hit Syrian troops near Deir ez-Zor on September 17, the speaker of the People's Council of Syria said.
Damascus has proof US talked to ISIS militants ahead of airstrike on Syrian forces – lawmaker

And this.

Gordon Duff is not a reliable source in the opinion of many, so I usually do not post what he writes.

The following post is inflammatory, but it has an element of truth to it. In fact, Scott Adams suggested that this element was the basis of jihad recruiting and the issue is really based on Islamic sexual repression.

Anyway, make of it what you want.

The CIA Sex Mercenary Army
Gordon Duff

Now, reports are emerging that Israeli Mossad agents and other foreign military officers were killed in Aleppo on Tuesday in a Russian missile strike fired by Russian warships. On September 22, 2016, Russian and Iranian state media both claimed some “30 Israeli and Western officers” died when they were hit by three Kalibr cruise missiles fired by Russian warships in a “foreign officers’ coordination operations room” in western Aleppo, near Mount Simeon.
According to the Arabic version of Russia’s Sputnik news, military officials from the United States, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and Turkey were also killed in the strike. These countries are staunch members of the anti-Assad alliance, and as a result, it isn’t surprising to learn their agents might have been on the ground in Syria. 
As reported by the Times of Israel, at the time of this article’s publication, the Israeli government is yet to confirm or deny these reports. Thus far, only Russian and Iranian media have advanced the claim.
Russian Media Claims “30 Israeli and Western Officers” Killed in Syria

John Helmer — How The West Helped Invent Russia’s Election Fraud: Osce Whistleblower Exposes 1996 Whitewash

More disinformation from the West about Russia in the ongoing information war.

It get even worse.
The OSCE hasn’t just destroyed its credibility with its strange criteria for judging some Russian elections fair and others not. As the world considers Moscow’s charge of undue American influence on the organization, it’s worth pulling an OSCE “greatest hit” out of the memory hole. In the run up to the Kosovo war, the organization was used a front for the CIA to deliver communications equipment to the Kosovo Liberation Army, and to gather targeting information for an expected upcoming NATO bombing campaign.…
Dances with Bears
How The West Helped Invent Russia’s Election Fraud: Osce Whistleblower Exposes 1996 Whitewash
Mark Ames

Bill Mitchell — Is there a case for a basic income guarantee – Part 4 – robot edition

This is Part 4 in the mini-series discussing the relative merits of the basic income guarantee proposal and the Job Guarantee proposal. It is the ‘robot edition’. The march of the robots is the latest pretext that basic income proponents (including the IMF now) use to justify their policy advocacy. There is some truth in the claims that the so-called ‘second machine age’, marked by the arrival of robots, is not only gathering speed, but is different from the first period of machine development with respect to its capacity to wipe out human involvement in production. But the claims are somewhat over the top. Further the claims that these trends are inevitable are in denial of the basic capacities of the state to legislate in the common interest. While the innovations in technology will free labour from repetitive and boring work and improve productivity in those tasks, there is no inevitability that robots will develop outside the legislative framework administered by the state and overrun humanity (even if the predictions of robot autonomy are at all realistic). We will surely need to develop a coherent adjustment framework to allow these transitions to occur equitably and where they are not possible (due to limits on worker capacity) alternative visions of productive work are developed?
Further, the Job Guarantee is a better vehicle for handling these type of transitions and creating new forms of productive work. Adopting a basic income guarantee in this context just amounts to surrender.…
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Is there a case for a basic income guarantee – Part 4 – robot edition
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Jack LIfton on recycling rare earths

In this interview, Jack explains that it is very important to recycle electric vehicle battery materials as we do not produce enough lithium, cobalt and spherical graphite to make even a fraction of the vehicles that Elon Musk’s Tesla plans to manufacture in the year 2018 alone.
Investor Intel
Lifton prepares for the Mines and Money Show in Toronto
ht MRW in the comments