Saturday, August 31, 2013
Yale economist James Tobin explained that banks don't lend banking reserves 50 years ago.
50 years ago?
Didn't Marriner Eccles & the entire Fed staff make it all implicitly OBVIOUS ~1934?
We had to wait ~30 years for the 1st economist to alert other economists to altered operations?
Be still my beating heart!
And another 50 years for a trickle of economists and economic programs and textbooks to start to notice?
Is the hair standing up on anyone else's neck?
What the hell - INDEED! - does this say about the difference between orthodox economics and actual results? Is the difference between economic theory and operational practice always 100%, not just greater in practice than in theory? And is that by design, or insularity, or insanity ... or all 3?
In economics, progress does NOT occur one funeral at a time! Rather, economics has become immune to reality! Since the forced retirement of Marriner Eccles from the Fed, progress in political economy now requires the death of entire generations of economics textbooks, and Nobel Prize Committees too. Weren't Nobel Prizes supposed to be for practical applications?
When it comes to burning books, maybe we should make an emergency exception for all existing economics text books? Do it as a threat to National Security.
I sincerely hope that the NSA is finally recording THIS commentary!
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More about Lerner than Mosler.
Is there another way to break Lerner's argument as long as we believe in the accelerationist Phillips curve--as long as we believe that full employment also produces inflation outcomes equal to inflation expectations?Phillips curve? See Bill Mitchell, Questions and Answers 3, Question 2 for a summary of the MMT answer. Bill's definitive treatment is found in Full Employment Abandoned, Part 1.
And beowulf cites Lerner's later thinking in a comment to DeLong's post.
A Comment On A Talk By Warren Mosler...
J. Bradford DeLong | Professor of Economics, UCAL Berkeley
Friday, August 30, 2013
I am now using Friday’s blog space to provide draft versions of the Modern Monetary Theory textbook that I am writing with my colleague and friend Randy Wray. We expect to complete the text during 2013 (to be ready in draft form for second semester teaching). Comments are always welcome. Remember this is a textbook aimed at undergraduate students and so the writing will be different from my usual blog free-for-all. Note also that the text I post is just the work I am doing by way of the first draft so the material posted will not represent the complete text. Further it will change once the two of us have edited it.
Previous Parts to this Chapter:
▪ The IS-LM Framework – Part 1
▪ The IS-LM Framework – Part 2
▪ The IS-LM Framework – Part 3
▪ The IS-LM Framework – Part 4
▪ The IS-LM Framework – Part 5
Chapter 16 – The IS-LM FrameworkBill Mitchell – billy blog
16.6 Introducing the price level – the Keynes and Pigou effects
IS-LM Framework – Part 6
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at the Charles Darwin University, Northern Territory, Australia
"Over the past 20 years, Americans and Europeans have quietly gone about destroying these [economic] facts."
" In a few short decades the West undercut 150 years of legal reforms that made the global economy possible." Hernando de Soto
While de Soto may have missed the actual causality, he was accidentally right about the outcomes.
It is "sustained economic development that leads to pressure from emerging businesses and individuals for more secure [human] rights."
Milford Bateman [in a comment]
So social stability follows distributed Aggregate Demand, bottom-up? Who knew? :)
Nevertheless, the outcomes de Soto mentioned are, indeed, disturbing claims which certainly cloud our understanding of our present context. How are we to proceed, to map and master this context?
One standard rule for contingency management is to follow the 3I's,
Intercept (intermediary agents)
Impact (surviving the moment).
Impact? In the case of domestic impact of things already hitting home, we're being saved primarily by Automatic Stabilizers, mostly enacted ~80 years ago. These are now under attack, as ~40% of our own citizens are routinely brainwashed into voting for policies which are clearly self-destructive.
Intercepting the agents promoting our most self-destructive propaganda? I'm not sure we're yet close to holding our own against the Koch Bros, Robert Rubin, Hank Paulson et al.
Instigation or causality? It is in that topic that the most information is being published, but, ironically the lowest population penetration is being achieved. It's a rare Jane or Joe Sixpack indeed who knows what MMT or Control Fraud means, or even that there are other beers NOT named Budweiser! We're stockpiling situational commentary, but the bulk of the population is still being diverted and distracted from orienting to these messages, for a variety of reasons, both active and passive.
Leaving response methodology aside, briefly, let's try to assess our situation, in order to evaluate our need for light, medium or heavyweight contingency-management tools and efforts.
How dire is our circumstance? It depends on an accurate assessment of both Adaptive Demand and our ability to scale up adequate responses on-demand. Americans have always been confident of their ability to construct as well as cross a bridge once they come to a challenge. However, what happens if we can't even build a bridge in time? If we don't pay attention to our metaphorical bridge-building capabilities, that time will surely come sooner, rather than later!
How are all our metaphorical bridge-building capabilities, i.e., what is our Adaptive Rate? Can we even measure it? How would we make a formal assessment?
In every field there is a constant ebb and flow of methodological excellence, in response to crisis, and intervening lack of Adaptive Demand. That is to be expected.
However, when Adaptive Demand returns in force. What Adaptive Rate can we muster when a context strikes? Whether we can adjust and adapt to new and unpredictable demands as fast as is needed ... or whether "Rome" will again fall, is always an open question.
When the first Rome fell, Darwin's theories on evolution and Adaptive Rate had not been explicitly published - although they may have been implicitly acknowledged by many, in many disciplines.
In terms of the factors determining whether the USA will or won't fall, are we any closer because Darwin published his explicit analyses?
Or, is our group context large enough, and changing fast enough, that it doesn't matter how much an insufficient number of citizens know?
There are no explicit expressions of either Adaptive Rate or Central Planning among known Roman-era literature. However, the many Greek and early Roman essays explicitly about Democracy versus Tyranny indicates that they were well aware of the relative strengths and weaknesses.
All this is likely to give some readers a distinctly uneasy feeling ... that few principles governing our social situation have changed in the last 2000 years. That despite all the details that have changed.
We're left with at least 3, key questions.
1) Are enough US citizens aware of our net context to adequately manage it's future course? Or are we as a nation flying blind?
2) Even if there are enough concerned citizens, are they possessing AND SHARING cultural-assessment tools adequate for guiding adaptive group actions that can address their growing concerns?
3) And even if we do have both adequate group intelligence AND adequate cultural self-assessment tools ... are we practicing enough to be able to meet looming demands when they arrive?
Our sorry history with the demise of Glass-Steagall, the subsequent MICC mis-adventures, and the ongoing TBTJ mortgage banking fraud and bailout all suggest that the opposite is occurring. As every challenge bigger than the S&L crisis has loomed, the USA has actively prepared to put it's tail between it's legs and run in a mal-adaptive direction.*
Where did most of the citizens go when Rome fell? Where should we be planning to go to? Is there anywhere to go, other than drawing a line in our own, domestic sandbox, and fighting for progress rather than accepting regression?
* The Fed honchos, of course, claim that they are baffled and befuddled by the behavior of banks and hedge funds. No wonder Jane & Joe prefer another sixpack.
With Process Issues This Gaping ... Who Knows What HASN'T Fallen Through Cracks In Our Bureaucratic TARP?
How on earth could a junior analyst, possibly improve the world .. over the decisions of those with .. authority?
This is a curiously loaded statement with multiple implications, whether intended or unintended.
Controlling fraud, at all levels? How on earth can any whistleblower EVER speak truth to power?
If a person this compromised and unprepared, no matter how intelligent, could be haphazardly saddled with so much responsibility for shepherding our own military risk exposure ... what does that say about the level of competence - and responsibility - of those in ranks above him or her?*
If we have to worry more about our own people talking to our own citizens about our own actions ... than we worry about what supposed enemies are doing ... then we're clearly doing the wrong things from the get go!
*Haven't yet heard any summary of how many heads rolled above Bradley Manning's command level, while taking responsibility for the more than one train of incompetent events that led up to the whistleblowing actions.
And neuter any opposition from "down there" too?
"Fix the Debt" CEOs Enjoy Taxpayer-Subsidized Pay
Such ludicrous behavior will keep working, right up until it doesn't.
When that is is YOUR choice.
Woo hoo! It's on. New arms race, that is. No worries about deficits being too small. Great for the export market, too. (snark)
The Raw Story
Russia to deploy ‘star wars’ defense system in 2017: report
Thursday, August 29, 2013
The Huffington Post
The Most Efficient Healthcare Systems In The World (INFOGRAPHICS)
It's remarkable how low America places in healthcare efficiency: among the 48 countries included in the Bloomberg study, the U.S. ranks 46th, outpacing just Serbia and Brazil. Once that sinks in, try this one on for size: the U.S. ranks worse than China, Algeria, and Iran.
But the sheer numbers are really what's humbling about this list: the U.S. ranks second in healthcare cost per capita ($8,608), only to be outspent by Switzerland ($9,121) -- which, for the record, boasts a top-10 healthcare system in terms of efficiency. Furthermore, the U.S. is tops in terms of healthcare cost relative to GDP, with 17.2 percent of the country's wealth spent on medical care for every American.
In other words, the world's richest country spends more of its money on healthcare while getting less than almost every other nation in return.
How important should the subject of poverty be within the discipline of economics? Some economists appear to think it is a very small issue compared to the magnificent mathematics of general equilibrium theory. Others believe that economics should fundamentally be about the sources of human well-being and misery, and that understanding poverty is absolutely fundamental for economics. How should we try to sort this out?Understanding Society — Innovative thinking about social agency and structure in a global world
Poverty and economics
Daniel Little | Chancellor, University of Michigan at Dearborn
Pavlina Tcherneva has a new paper up at the website of the Levy Institute of Bard College. In the paper, “Reorienting Fiscal Policy: A Critical Assessment of Fiscal Fine-Tuning,” Tcherneva argues for a bottom-up approach to countercyclical fiscal policy that explicitly targets the employment gap to achieve what Minsky called “tight full employment.” She opposes her approach to conventional pump-priming and newer New Consensus approaches that primarily target aggregate demand and output, and only achieve higher employment as a by-product of the growth in demand and investment. These conventional approaches are trickle down methods that exacerbate social inequalities and inequalities in labor skills, ratchet up the problem of long-term unemployment, and ultimately direct more income to capital than labor. They also fail to achieve full employment, thus perpetuating the precariousness of the labor market.
Tcherneva describes the key features of the alternative bottom up approach this way....Rugged Egalitarianism — Renewing social hope for progress, equality, democracy & solidarity
Tcherneva on the Bottom-up Approach to Unemployment
The Politics of Envy – that old chestnut from the neo-liberals – is bandied around every time there is any insinuation that the capitalist system produces distributional outcomes that are not remotely proportional to the effort put into production. Whenever governments challenge the distributional outcomes – for example, propose increasing taxes on the higher income recipients (note I don’t use the word “earners”) there is hell to cry and the defense put up always appeals to the old tags – “socialist class warriors undermining incentive”, “envy”, etc. In the 1980s, when privatisation formed the first wave of the neo-liberal onslaught, we all apparently became “capitalists” or “shareholders”. We were told that it was dinosauric to think in terms of the old class categories – labour and capital. That was just so “yesterday” and we should just get over it and realise that we all had a stake in a system where reduced regulation and oversight would produce unimaginable wealth, even if the first manifestations of this new “incentivised” economy channelled increasing shares of real income to the highest percentiles in the distribution. No worries, “trickle-down” would spread the largesse. We know better now – and increasingly the recognition, exemplified in 2006 by Warren Buffett’s suggestion that “There’s class warfare, all right … but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning” (Source), is that class is alive and well and in prosecuting their demands for higher shares of real income, the elites have not only caused the crisis but are now, in recovery, reinstating the dynamics that will lead to the next crisis. The big changes in policy structures that have to be made to avoid another global crisis are not even remotely on the radar.Bill Mitchell – billy blog
There is a class warfare and the workers are not winning
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at the Charles Darwin University, Northern Territory, Australia
Crossing that fateful line, back to morality.
Dearius Merritt, a striking Church’s Chicken assistant manager in Memphis, Tenn., .. described fast food workers in his city as “fed up.”
“They’re tired of coming to work and having to work eight hours, nine hours, and them coming home and they can barely provide for their kids,” he said. When asked whether he was afraid of retaliation from management, he shrugged the question off, saying, “It’s bigger than me and it’s bigger than the workers that are standing up. It’s not just going to help my generation, it’s going to help the next generation that’s going to come, and the generation after that.”
[Face it, you've NEVER heard Hank Paulson utter such words. Nothing's bigger than his ego ... or his pocketbook of illicit gains.]
While the fast food movement has received some assistance from traditional union outfits - with the large Service Employees International Union acting as a particularly key supporter - it has never relied entirely on established channels for labor organizing. The very first fast food workers strike, which occurred in late November, was put together in large part by the community group New York Communities for Change. Subsequent strikes have received crucial support from grassroots progressive groups, churches, and other non-union institutions.
ps: ps: ps: Note that "people did get together"
can others besides the most oppressed also "get together" ?
Michael Ricciardi — Swedish Engineers Invent ‘Nano Gas’ That ‘Instantly Neutralizes’ Carbon Pollution (via Planetsave)
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How about matching federal funding at some percentage to cover R&D expenses? Alternative transport is a high priority, with the huge carbon footprint of air transport. Even those who hold that climate change is either not occurring or is not caused by humans, the health consequences of pollution are a significant externality that is not being figured into true carbon-based energy cost.
The Raw Story
Elon Musk’s Hyperloop high-speed transport crowdfunding site launches
Plus all reflections of it?
Here's the Upper Looting Class' take on things. Bankers Haven't Gone Rogue—Regulators Have
That's their story, and they're sticking YOU to it!
The response from what's left of the US Middle Class? WE’VE BEEN PUBLISHED…AGAIN!
Who knew that there were 2, collectively random paths in this race to the bottom? Each co-dependent upon the other, circling their respectively dimming lights as they sink into the mess.
It's a tag team fight to the finish. Involving the Physically Deprived and Deranged plus the Morally Repugnant and Deranged on one team. There is no other team! [At least no other statistically significant representation, barring a comeback by the Moderate Majority, e.g. those not currently participating in this carnival show.]
So, other than throwing the occasional drone into the international audience, the members of TEAM-USA have dutifully agreed to a brawl among themselves, until a suitable outside challenger shows up. However, the audience is getting restless, and they may not wait long before replacing the whole show with some other production.
If we want to at least preserve the stage, shouldn't TEAM-USA stick to team training, instead of putting on it's own show? Infighting is a lose-lose situation. Zero regulation of national self isn't a useful path. Everything in excess just falls off the rails faster. Or, as Bill Black puts it:
Zero Prosecutions of Elite Banksters is too many Prosecutions for the Wall Street Journal
Who's the producer of this show? MC Voter? Better do something quick, MC.
There is a class warfare and the [Middle Class] is not winning
Isn't class war analogous to Organ War, where the brain has placed a tourniquet around the neck, and the body is losing? :( [As an aside: What would a cultural face-palm signal look like? Please send your suggestions. Can we still muster the cultural bloodflow to signal one to ourselves?]
Instead of focusing on the trivial social-tourniquet question and the trivial answer, let's focus on the audience which must even ask this question of itself, and why it's stuck asking the same old, self-obvious question.
Saying is not the same as being heard. The accurate statement of the old Marketing Rule is that a message has to be RECEIVED 12 times - on average - before it registers with a resident. We have ~315 million residents in the USA alone. Be honest. What's the desired outcome that matters more than all others in this campaign - and what methods are needed to even take a step in that direction? Does 10% of the US electorate understand enough Civic Operations, Political Operations and Currency Operations to even make sense of their collective context?
Hence, don't be surprised that Bill Mitchell is fighting an uphill battle, still trying to get a 6000 year old message heard by an adequate proportion of people. Our population growth rate has ALWAYS outraced our self-knowledge propagation methods. We keep growing team-size faster than we can perfect team coordination.
Before delving into potential methods to use, don't we need to settle on the capabilities we want to achieve? Where are we, where do we want to go, and only then how to get there from here? Since those all keep changing, what should we focus on? Most critically, adaptive cultural evolution means keeping an electorate and policy apparatus that can and does ADJUST just fast enough to chase faint survival paths. The path keeps disappearing, so just keep finding the path. Maintain group agility and maneuverability. This ain't rocket science.
That should be obvious to anyone who ever stops to actually think. Unfortunately, we teach - and allow - students to do everything EXCEPT that.
It's no wonder we maintain an electorate that keeps their eyes on everything except our own, emerging OUTCOMES!
Have some of our policy institutions become a total joke? Witness this twitter exchange, then decide for yourself.
@wonkmonk_ @SFFedReserve vasilis @v_vasilopoulos23m
When you have clowns like Joe Kernan, Ranting Rick Santelli and Larry Kudlow as three of your top anchors, what do you expect? Even the uneducated public is smarter than these three when it comes to financial matters.
CNBC execs should wake up and smell the coffee. When it comes to economics and Wall Street, this show's content is comically out-of-paradigm and irrelevant. That's why nobody watches.
Are you listening, Mark Hoffman, Nik Deogun, Nick Dunn?
Read about their ratings plunge here.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Gavin Kennedy enters the economics and maths debate Alfred Marshall's famous quote:
“(1) Use mathematics as shorthand language, rather than as an engine of inquiry. (2) Keep to them till you have done. (3) Translate into English. (4) Then illustrate by examples that are important in real life (5) Burn the mathematics. (6) If you can’t succeed in 4, burn 3. This I do often”.Kennedy concludes his post:
I recommend David Simpson’s new book: “The Rediscovery of Classical Economics: Adaptation, Complexity and Growth.” Edward Elgar, 2013.
Simpson is an accomplished mathematician who abandoned neoclassical economics after his career in academe and applied economics consultancy. He advocates a more modern maths than that derived from 19th century physics.Adam Smith's Lost Legacy
Economics: History or Physics?
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The Huffington Post
- Taper Talk
- Emerging Market Slaughter
- Syrian Saber-Rattling
- Yet Another Dumb Debt-Ceiling Fight
David Edwards — Gohmert: ‘Scary’ that liberal elites would use vaccines for ‘culling the population’ of humans
David Edwards — Steve King: Unemployed people are like kids trying to eat without doing chores (via Raw Story
And people ridiculed William Vickrey! He was nearly the only sane one, for decades! Along with Warren Mosler, and JK Galbraith, and Lerner, and Kalecki, etc, etc - not to mention Marriner Eccles. These are all people who knew that economic policy was too important to be left to the economists - orthodox economists who flat out ignore real operations on the ground ... in their own training, education and ideological practice.
What went wrong? What are we still doing wrong?
Logic and awareness of operational reality is clearly never our main impediment. Some people in every aggregate always know what the group needs to attend to. Rather, our #1 problem seems to be stubbornness in refusing to listen to all of ourselves, refusing to acknowledge inter-dependencies outside our personal specialty, and - if we are forced to acknowledge them - calling them irrelevant "externalities" instead.
Can that hurdle be overcome? Of course it can. Homo Sapiens has been meeting and exceeding that task for ~200K years! It just takes preparation, training and constant practice - on a scale larger than anything we've done before. Yet that's what humans do. In fact, it's all we've ever done. Why stop now? We need everyone to participate in calling everyone's attention to things they actively do NOT want to know, if left in isolation. Our chief hurdle is, at heart, a social recruitment task. Learning to organize on a larger scale, every year, every generation. The only alternative is suicide, and we've supposedly made that illegal. :(
How do we recruit and convince enough of ourselves to maintain an adequate rate of re-sampling the full - and always enlarging - spectrum of changing contexts, so as to maintain awareness of emerging options?
Our issue is not just "Have Group Fiat, Won't Use It." More accurately, that flaw flows from failure to address a deeper need: "Have Growing Team, Won't Use It."
Here's an example of transitioning from initial statement to a recruiting message.
“The great increase in longevity has produced a surge in the desire to accumulate assets for retirement. It has outpaced the ability of the private sector to produce assets, so we need a larger government debt.” - William Vickrey
Unfortunately, even Vickrey neglects the simple semantics that trip up Jane and Joe Sixpack, and slow their recruitment (~150 million in the USA alone!, and another 150 million students in training - there's no time to waste). He's stuck on initial statement in non-portable jargon.
However, if you replace the above with something like the text below, you have a potentially portable message, that ~150 million adults might follow. PLEASE! Feel free to suggest 1001 different ways to get everyone from 4th graders on down to economists to understand this dynamic systems issue. Whatever rephrasing you suggest, WE'LL NEED THEM ALL! Tomorrow. No, make that TODAY!! By COB. Certainly before COE (collapse of economy).
“The great increase in average lifespan has - initially - produced a surge in the desire of distributed individuals to accumulate personal assets for personal retirement. However, distributed hoarding is not what social species excel at.
Consequently, the initial, personal desire to ramp up distributed hoarding of static assets has outpaced the ability of distributed populations to both produce and hoard enough static assets.
It is, however, quite simple - through accumulation of the dynamic asset of teamwork - for a growing population to meet and exceed all the emerging needs of a growing population of children, adults and elderly alike. It's the return on coordination that counts the most. That return is the only thing that exceeds all mounting costs, including the cost of coordination.
To grow as a nation, we therefore need steadily increasing public investment - aka, "fiat," simply DENOMINATED as fiat currency numerals - to meet the steadily increasing demand for adequate personal income throughout a growing population executing increasingly more, better, faster and leaner economic transactions.
Calling that public investment in ourselves, our children & our later descendants a purely virtual "debt" to ourselves is not just broken semantics, it is useless and counterproductive sophistry."
"Forget the math until you have got a basis in observation and experiment to direct the mathematician...." David Talbott
Interesting video from a group of inter-disciplinary academics who are also engaged in a multi-decade long scientific investigation which often conflicts with entrenched mainstream academic beliefs but in the area of astrophysics.
The methods of challenge within the academe that they seem to face in their mission of true science seem hauntingly familiar...
The recent advancement in information technology is enabling observation and documentation of information never before available to humans both terrestrial and celestial.
ALL truly intelligent humans can review this observed information and determine if the previous held beliefs or theories of so-called "settled science" (oxymoron???) is congruent with the newly happened upon observed information.
To proceed in any other fashion is truly NOT intelligent behavior. "Stupid and blind!" - Mat 23:17
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
I hope Paul Krugman will move on to a 21st century understanding of banking.Economonitor — Great Leap Forward
Krugman Rediscovers the Wheel: Commercial Banks As Creators of Money
L. Randall Wray | Professor of Economics, UMKC
The Huffington Post
Hank Paulson: 'Flawed Government Policies' Cause 'Every Financial Crisis'
Bill Mitchell provides analysis of the "public debt problem" in the US to show that there isn't any. So much for "Fixing The Debt," and "who will buy the bonds?"
As a proponent of MMT, I do not consider there to be a public debt problem in the US so the analysis presented here is out of interest rather than establishing anything substantive.
However, what it shows is that even within the voluntarily-constrained system that regulates the relationship between the US treasury and the central bank, the latter can still effectively buy as much US government debt as it likes.Bill Mitchell – billy blog
The US government can buy as much of its own debt as it chooses
Evidence that long term health care cost curve is bending downward.
One More Reason to Stop Panicking About the Long-term Deficit
Bonehead energizes the troops:
House Speaker John Boehner said Monday that getting the GOP-controlled House to agree to raising the U.S. debt ceiling will only come with a bipartisan deal to make cost-saving changes to Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, farm programs and government pensions....
“I made up my mind that we weren’t going to kick the can down the road any more,” Boehner, R-Ohio, told a Boise lunch crowd at a fundraiser for Idaho’s 2nd District Congressman Mike Simpson. “We’re not going to inflict all of this pain and suffering on our kids and our grandkids.”
In Idaho, Boehner vows to succeed with entitlement reform this fall
Dan Popkey | Idaho Statesman
Mathias Drehmann and Mikael Juselius — Evaluating early warning indicators of banking crises: Satisfying policy requirements
The Great financial Crisis came, for a lot of economists, out of the blue. The BIS (Bank for International Settlements) has investigated a whole lot of ‘early warning indicators’. And it seems that financial crises are predictable after all. And guess what – ‘debt’ is not neutral. And neither is money (to be more precise: the shares of different kinds of money:”cross-border liabilities plus M3 minus M2 (proxy for non-core liabilities) divided by M2 (proxy for core liabilities“). Might it have been the case that some people who did predict the crisis did look at such variables?Real-World Economics Review Blog
How to predict a financial crisis, BIS-edition
BIS Working Papers No 421
Evaluating early warning indicators of banking crises: Satisfying policy requirements
Mathias Drehmann and Mikael Juselius
Even if you don't follow housing closely, this is something to be aware of. Charts illustrate if you just want a quick overview. Housing seems to have bottomed and recovery is in progress. As Bill notes, the figures are through June and don't take into consideration the recent rise in mortgage rates. Latest reports are indicating that this is having an adverse effect on the recovery, along with stagnant incomes in a weak economic recovery and credit still relatively tight.
Comment on House Prices: Real Prices, Price-to-Rent Ratio, Cities
How MMT won WWII.
New Economic Perspectives
Mobilization and Money
J. D. Alt
UPDATE: Warren Mosler comments at The Center of the Universe:
The way I say it is the funds to pay taxes and buy tsy secs come from govt spending/lending. That is, govt is best thought of as spending first, then ‘collecting’ taxes and ‘borrowing.’
And, as a minor correction, govt doesn’t ‘issue money, then spending it’ but in general just instructs the Fed to credit a member bank account.
The U.S. government took the latest step toward regulating virtual currencies on Monday as representatives from the Bitcoin Foundation met behind closed doors with federal officials in Washington. Attendees say the meeting was cordial, with regulators listening carefully as Bitcoin advocates warned that excessive regulation could drive innovation in virtual currencies overseas.The Washington Post — The Switch
Inside the Bitcoin advocates’ closed-door meeting with federal regulators
(H/t Rohan Grey via FB)
Victoria Chick (Emeritus Professor of Economics, University College, London) gives a nice talk here about the nature of money, given at the Positive Money Conference (January, 2013).
The New York Fed has long collected market information from its primary dealer trading counterparts and released these data in aggregated form to the public. Until recently, such data have only been available for broad categories of securities (for example, Treasury bills as a group) and not for specific securities. In April 2013, the Fed began releasing data on some specific Treasury issues, allowing for a more refined understanding of market conditions and dealer behavior.FRBNY — Liberty Street
Information on Dealer Activity in Specific Treasury Issues Now Available
US faces mid-October deadline to raise debt limit
I sincerely wish it would end. It's getting as bad as radio or tv commercials.
Isn't this the 12th time we've heard this message, in recent memory? Who's paying the advertising bill for this campaign?
Let me get this straight, the issuer of a fiat currency is in "danger" of not being able to issue fiat? ... Uh, .... how is one supposed to respond ... to something that disorienting? Do you just back away slowly? Or relieve the derelict of their duty, on the spot?
I'm losing track, what's the difference between:
fiat debt limit ... & ... FUD bet Luddite?
Seriously, you have to wonder how long Socrates listened to Sophists say that HIS dog, which was a mother, was therefore HIS mother ... before 'ol Soc got tired of the inane BS, kicked 'em in the arse, and threw 'em bodily out of the lecture hall!
Seriously folks, we got a country to run here. And, a half-starved Middle Class to resuscitate. We ain't got time for this.
There are limits to listening to nonsense from Sophist Luddites. Surely 12x is an acceptable limit ... in one month? Even in 3 generations!
Monday, August 26, 2013
The power of the banking lobby (and the financial industry more generally) is immense, from campaign contributions to regulatory capture of various kinds. It would be nice to imagine that the UK was less vulnerable than the US in this respect, but there are good reasons to think otherwise. As a result, the power and influence of banks and bankers within government has hardly suffered as a result of the Great Recession that they played a large part in creating.Mainly Macro
So to return to my original question, would it really have made much difference if more mainstream economists had been fretting about the position of the financial sector before the crisis? I think they would have been ignored then even more than they are being ignored now. The single most effective way of avoiding another financial crisis is to reduce the political influence of the banking sector.
Banks, economists and politicians: just follow the money
Simon Wren-Lewis | Professor of Economics, Oxford University
Reuters — Edward Snowden, Wanted Whistleblower, Got Stuck In Russia After Cuba Blocked Entry: Newspaper
Former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden got stuck in the transit zone of a Moscow airport because Havana said it would not let him fly from Russia to Cuba, a Russian newspaper reported on Monday....
Citing several sources, including one close to the U.S. State Department, Kommersant newspaper said the reason was that at the last minute Cuba told officials to stop Snowden from boarding the Aeroflot flight.
It said Cuba had changed its mind after pressure by the United States, which wants to try Snowden on espionage charges.The Huffington Post
Edward Snowden, Wanted Whistleblower, Got Stuck In Russia After Cuba Blocked Entry: Newspaper
The biggest fiscal challenge facing the U.S. is the size of projected deficits in the 2020s and 2030s, according to a survey of business economists.
The National Association for Business Economics surveyed 220 of its members in July and August. The survey found that members were more concerned about the size of deficits in the next two decades than current deficits or deficits over the next 10 years: 43 percent of the economists named budget gaps in the 2020s and 2030s as the top fiscal challenge, compared with 37 percent who chose projected deficits over the next 10 years.
The policy survey found that no consensus on the best way to address those deficits.
The NABE said 39 percent of those surveyed felt the best way to address the deficit-to-gross domestic product ratio in the next few decades is a mix of spending restraint and increased revenue. It said 32 percent believe the best single tool would be greater spending restraint, and 20 percent said enacting policies designed to encourage economic growth would be the best tactic.
Ballooning costs for Social Security and Medicare as the U.S. population ages are expected to result in growing long-term budget deficits.The Huffington Post
Top U.S. Fiscal Problem Is Future Deficits, Economists Say
I wanted to take the time to thank you and tell you that your techniques freed me from fear. I am no longer afraid to take the trade. I know I can fix whatever comes at me or at least break even. This has been my biggest issue in trading. Since your class I have been trading fear free and enjoying it. -Chuck
I came into the boot camp not knowing anything about forex or forex trading. Prior to the class I did logon to the Oanda system to learn the basics of the software and forex nomenclature, I would very much recommend anyone not familiar with forex to take the time to do this first. In the three day course Mike was able to convey a clear step by step methodology and demonstrate trading techniques that not only anyone can understand but are actually practical to use. Mike describes how to understand what makes the Forex markets move, how to position yourself for success, and if need how to work out of a negative position. Mike was very engaging, entertaining, and keep a fast pace for the entire class. I had high expectations for the class and I can say that not only were my expectations met but in many way they were exceeded. I now have the knowledge and confidence to begin forex trading. How successful I will be is still an unknown but I do know that Mike has committed to all his students that he can be contacted for questions and advice. I highly recommend the boot camp and I am sure if you take the class you will feel the same. -Dan
First let me say that you have revolutionized my trading...most importantly me. The lecture for me was like getting a shot of steroids! I have increased in confidence just from your seminar you've taught. I was very timid of losses and making mistakes, but your talks, strategy and kick in the butt has transformed me. Thank you!
I wanted to personally thank you for the Forex course you gave. I have already made 80 pips today directly as a result of your methods. I have NEVER made 80 pips in one day. I was becoming so frustrated and negative, having been new to trading since this past October. Many many many many thanks!!! -David
I LOVED having you as an instructor and I absolutely love your trading style and have been using it as well. Blessings, Mike. -Jay
That's the same as forgoing public initiative, in order to get some? [See excerpt below, from Warren Mosler's 1993 essay.]
How was such a preposterous proposition EVER taken seriously? Only because people will do anything in their power to avoid thinking?
The lunacy of applying gold-std thinking to a fiat currency regime was pretty much implied - and even explicitly explained AND DEMONSTRATED - by Marriner Eccles post 1933. Not to mention Beardsley Ruml in 1946, and Abba Lerner and Michael Kalecki - 1940-1950. Actually, even by John Law, ~1700 and Benjamin Franklin, 1723!
What does the Middle Class have to do? Storm the Bastille-Ivory-Towers? Must ideology be guillotined, to draw even semi-equal attention to operational reality?
All credit to Warren Mosler for many further clarifications about fiat currency operations (see below), but he just wasn't born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Nor has he (like Greenspan, Geithner, Larry Summers & Obama) sold his soul to Charles Keating & Robert Rubin et al, and his country down the river.
Investment today: largely means investment of fiat currency.
From: Warren Mosler
Taken from 'Soft Currency Economics', Originally Published 1993.
That was 20 years ago and the same error persists!!! :(
How the Government Spends and Borrows as Much as it Does Without Causing Hyperinflation
Plus, also see Freedom from National Debt, recommended by Warren Mosler
I am pleased to announce that Scott Baker will be contributing posts to Mike Norman Economics. Scott is a widely followed blogger over at OpEdNews, where he writes with a strong progressive voice. I'm sure you will appreciate Scott's contributions here, so please join me in welcoming him on board.
We are witnessing transitions from social-welfare states to social-control states around the world.Contemporary capitalism and its characteristics:
Among the qualitative shifts that have taken place in the capitalist system in the face of globalization in recent decades, there are four I want to underscore.
The response to the global financial crisis: the players:
- First is the rise of truly transnational capital and the integration of every country into a new globalized production and financial system.
- Second is the appearance of a new transnational capitalist class (TCC). This is a class group grounded in new global circuits of accumulation rather than the older national circuits.
- Third is the rise of what I term transnational state apparatuses.
- And fourth is the appearance of novel relations of inequality and domination in global society, including an increasing importance of transnational social and class inequalities relative to North-South inequalities....
One is what we could call "reformism from above." This reformism is aimed at stabilizing the system, at saving the system from itself and from more radical responses from below....
A second response is popular, grass-roots and leftist resistance from below. As social and political conflict escalates around the world, there appears to be a mounting global revolt....
Yet another response is what I term 21st century fascism. The ultra-right is an insurgent force in many countries. In broad strokes, this project seeks to fuse reactionary political power with transnational capital and to organize a mass base among historically privileged sectors of the global working class.... It involves militarism, extreme masculinization, homophobia, racism and a racist mobilization against scapegoats, which includes the search for scapegoats (such as immigrant workers and, in the West, Muslims).Contemporary neo-fascism exhibits familiar characteristic of previous fascistic episodes.
Twenty-first century fascism evokes mystifying ideologies, often involving race/culture supremacy and xenophobia, embracing an idealized and mythical past. Neo-fascist culture normalizes and glamorizes warfare and social violence, indeed, generates a fascination with domination that is even portrayed as heroic.The Issue:
It is important to stress that the need for dominant groups around the world to secure widespread, organized mass social control of the world's surplus population and rebellious forces from below gives a powerful impulse to projects of 21st century fascism.... With this in mind, let us conclude with five points for ongoing debate with regard to policing global capitalism.The New Road to Serfdom:
From social consent to social control to social coercion by a police state in service of global capitalism made necessary by the contradictions inherent in global capitalism resulting from privilege and inequality.
Truthout | News
Crisis of Humanity: Global Capitalism Breeds 21st Century Fascism
The term and meaning of a Resource Based Economy was originated by Jacque Fresco. It is a holistic socio-economic system in which all goods and services are available without the use of money, credits, barter or any other system of debt or servitude. All resources become the common heritage of all of the inhabitants, not just a select few. The premise upon which this system is based is that the Earth is abundant with plentiful resource; our practice of rationing resources through monetary methods is irrelevant and counter productive to our survival.
Modern society has access to highly advanced technology and can make available food, clothing, housing and medical care; update our educational system; and develop a limitless supply of renewable, non-contaminating energy. By supplying an efficiently designed economy, everyone can enjoy a very high standard of living with all of the amenities of a high technological society.
A resource-based economy would utilize existing resources from the land and sea, physical equipment, industrial plants, etc. to enhance the lives of the total population. In an economy based on resources rather than money, we could easily produce all of the necessities of life and provide a high standard of living for all.R. Buckminster Fuller was saying this over a half century ago, post WWII, when he analyzed resource availability and use. He observed that the issue was two-fold, the first being national boundaries as imaginary lines drawn on maps. The second follows from that. Ninety percent of resources use at the time of his study was military-related.
Consider the following examples: At the beginning of World War II the US had a mere 600 or so first-class fighting aircraft. We rapidly overcame this short supply by turning out more than 90,000 planes a year. The question at the start of World War II was: Do we have enough funds to produce the required implements of war? The answer was no, we did not have enough money, nor did we have enough gold; but we did have more than enough resources. It was the available resources that enabled the US to achieve the high production and efficiency required to win the war. Unfortunately this is only considered in times of war.Affordability is never the issue. As Bucky Fuller emphasized, the only actual issue is the availability of real resources that can be provided by applying human ingenuity to material resource to do more with less by constant innovation.
In a resource-based economy all of the world's resources are held as the common heritage of all of Earth's people, thus eventually outgrowing the need for the artificial boundaries that separate people. This is the unifying imperative.This stands in contrast to the present plan for globalization by the ruling elite, as recorded by one of the great historians of the 20th century, Carroll Quigley, Professor of History at Georgetown University and member of the Council on Foreign Relations, in Tragedy and Hope, 1966., ch. 20:
"The powers of financial capitalism had (a) far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank... sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."The Venus Project specifically dissociated itself from this project.
We must emphasize that this approach to global governance has nothing whatever in common with the present aims of an elite to form a world government with themselves and large corporations at the helm, and the vast majority of the world's population subservient to them. Our vision of globalization empowers each and every person on the planet to be the best they can be, not to live in abject subjugation to a corporate governing body.
Our proposals would not only add to the well being of people, but they would also provide the necessary information that would enable them to participate in any area of their competence. The measure of success would be based on the fulfillment of one's individual pursuits rather than the acquisition of wealth, property and power.Money? No problem.
If the thought of eliminating money troubles you, consider this: If a group of people with gold, diamonds and money were stranded on an island that had no resources such as food, clean air and water, their wealth would be irrelevant to their survival. It is only when resources are scarce that money can be used to control their distribution. One could not, for example, sell the air we breathe or water abundantly flowing down from a mountain stream. Although air and water are valuable, in abundance they cannot be sold.Money is only needed as a medium of exchange where there is scarcity and distribution needs to be rationed, and as store of value where there is insecurity. In the new system the unit of account will be purely digital and goods "bar coded" so that the global AI overseer knows what's needed where and on what schedule. Then humanity can turn its attention to civilization instead of some toiling for others.
Money is only important in a society when certain resources for survival must be rationed and the people accept money as an exchange medium for the scarce resources. Money is a social convention, an agreement if you will. It is neither a natural resource nor does it represent one. It is not necessary for survival unless we have been conditioned to accept it as such.The obstacle is consciousness. We to evolve to that point as a species and I am confident that it is coming in one form or another. As humanity grows up socially, it will politically and economically, too.
In A Theory of Economic History (1973), John Hicks observes that the socio-economics system of primitive peoples was (is) communal. This was succeed in at the time of surplus production by command system under the temple or palace. This was succeeded at the twilight of the Agricultural Age and the beginning of the Industrial Age by the market system. The social bond in the communal system is kinship. The social bond in the command system is fealty. The social bond in the market system is money.
It is important to realize that from the institutional perspective one system did not replace the other. Rather, new ways of systematically acting in concert are layered over previous systems. The present system is a combination of communal, command, and market, with an integration of cooperation and teamwork, government control, and market distribution based on monetary exchange.
While some have argued that the market system is the end of history, there is no way to predict what will emerge subsequently in a complex adaptable system. What we do know is that increasing complexity generate not only larger challenges but challenges of a different type that call forth different solutions that change fundamental relationships of a group.
So we can be reasonably sure that while previous institutions won't entirely disappear they will adapt and new solutions will emerge that eclipse them, too, but not entirely, just as communal and command-based systems are integrated with the dominant market-based system in modern representative democracies.
The Venus Project aims to be part of the solution.
The Venus Project offers a comprehensive plan for social reclamation in which human beings, technology and nature will be able to coexist in a long term, sustainable state of dynamic equilibriumThe Venus Project — Beyond Politics, Poverty and War
(h/t Neil Wilson via email)
"Just Grow Stories" - or - Continuous Development Of Our Own Further Development
This may range to far outside their arthropomorphic limits to be of interest to orthodox (or worse) economists, so it's published at OpenOperations Forum.
Politics. Another Industry That Is More Trouble Than It Is Worth?
Eighty years ago, Marriner Eccles explained that issuing fiat is even more important than simply personally using it. Going further, Warren Mosler has for years repeated the message that big finance - the glorification of using vs generating public initiative - is an industry that is more trouble than it is worth.
Take this example. Please!
From the FRONT PAGE of the Sunday, Aug 2, 2013 print edition of the Washington Post comes this article, by reporter David Fahrenthold. "Budget battles win little [fiat] savings"*
The gist of the article is that a growing nation, despite all efforts at self-assisted suicide, is .... get this ... refusing to die! And, it might actually eke out a bit of growth! Let's hope that the orthodox economists don't notice the faint beeps still wafting from the Middle Class heart monitor. They might pull the remaining Middle Class Life Support ... to save ... WHAT?
Well, seems they're intent upon saving fiat. Yes, it's that same old story. By self-strangulation, holding the country's economic breath 'til the nation turns blue, shooting various social feet, and having our culture sit on it's arse in the evolutionary road ... some morons expect that we will save up enough unused public initiative to buy ourselves a breather.
You could not make this up.
If we don't just die, we may die laughing at the oafs promoting themselves as leaders! It's as though a political artery has burst and Congress has been deprived of a critical flow of common sense. Thereby leaving half the street paralyzed and Wall-ed off, while the Main side of the street attempts to drag the dead weight around as a senseless burden.
And what is the response in the cognitively deprived zone? From there, there are new calls to make the self-assisted social suicide "Bi-Partisan." That's right. Their call is for all sides to jump in and help shoot more economic feet, faster. Citizens, hear - or throw - them out! Their message is that if you see some traitor expressing personal initiative ... execute a citizens arrest and STOP THEM, before it's too late! They might use up all our public initiative?
Ok, for the sake of humor, let's assume reality is insanity, and insanity reality. So what is their beef in this Washington Post article? They're asking why this problem not going away? Why won't our economy die? Comically - and consistent with their theme so far - they supply a common sense answer to an insane question. "Most of the people who came in saying, ‘We’re going to change Washington,’ simply didn't understand Washington,” said Steve Bell, a longtime Republican staffer who now works at the Bipartisan Policy Center."
Is that a fact! Who says there aren't drolls in DC?
"But even now, the government still spends a vast amount of [fiat currency]."
Ok, I'll beat my head against their brick wall. And why is it- genius - that our nation is still expending public initiative, i.e., fiat? Why is our public spending commensurate with the size of a nation struggling to grow? "It is still so big primarily because Congress and Obama have largely failed to deal with programs such as Medicare, Social Security and food stamps."
That's right. You knew it was coming.
"It’s that old problem of concentrated benefits with diffuse costs." What? They're letting their own looting strategy be used as a defense for self-assisted suicide of anyone left un-looted? Let's get this straight. We shouldn't let any concentrated benefit to the Middle Class cause any diffuse detriment to the 1%? Are they mocking us, along with themselves? Or just being such a black hole of density that no logic can escape the null of their irrationality field?
And, as a sign of the End Times, the Washington Post author trots out a chilling statistic. The sum of all accumulating Federal Regulations is longer than the King James Bible!!! I'm just going to let that one lie in whatever field the King decreed it be found.