Monday, September 26, 2016

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
John Helmer

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

Trump - Putin:16

I quite liked this picture of this young girl who is full of hope, and it says that there can be peace in the world. It was taken from Think Process, a Democrat site. In the comments section underneath people were saying that Trump is a traitor. What baloney! He's a tough guy, and a patriarch. And like Reagan he could cut a good deal with Russia, and then put an end to ISIS.

I can only think that Think Process is a Neocon funded site pushing 'right wing' neoliberal propaganda. There's two different right wings, the old guard conservatives, now doves, and the Neocon neoliberals, who are the liberal hawks, or Liberal Internationalists as they now call themselves.

The Liberal Interventionists are using liberal values as a cover to push their ultra right wing hawkish politics, regime change, empire, and neoliberalism on the world.  There's nothing liberal or left about them. I read the other day how the 'neo' part just refers to neo classical economics, it doesn't mean New Liberal.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

President Xi's Four Prescriptions

People's Daily

Alexander Mercouris — US rages as Russia calls its Syrian bluff

Following the collapse of the ceasefire, and with the forcible imposition of a no-fly zone for all practical purposes ruled out, the US found itself left with nothing other than Kerry’s absurd proposal that Russia and Syria impose a no-fly zone on themselves. The moment the Russians rejected this proposal – as they were bound to do – the US found itself left with literally nothing at all.

It is this impotence to effect militarily the course of the battle of Aleppo – an impotence which British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has admitted – which is behind the furious denunciations we are now hearing as the US and its allies scramble desperately to try to get the Russians to call the battle off, saving their Jihadi proteges in Aleppo from total defeat and themselves from the humiliation of the public failure of their strategy.
The Duran
US rages as Russia calls its Syrian bluff
Alexander Mercouris

Jack Lifton — China’s plan to secure critical rare earths and technology globally

An unintended though ultimately predictable consequence of globalization has been natural resource production monopolization. The massive transfer of wealth that resulted from lowering the costs of labor for and in “developed” countries has been accompanied by a political awakening in resource rich countries to the economic power of controlling natural resource production locally. What has been completely overlooked by economic theorists and neoliberalism (free and open markets) advocates is that unless everyone adheres to a theory and acts within its strictures then not free markets but oligarchic (nationally or individually) stratified markets result.…
Investor Intel
China’s plan to secure critical rare earths and technology globally
Jack Lifton
ht MRW in the comments

Sputnik — India’s Deployment of BrahMos Supersonic Stealth Missile is Making China Nervous

Another arms race ratchets up.
The Indian military deployed a fourth regiment of 100 BrahMos missiles and five autonomous missile launchers in the North-Eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh disconcertingly close to the country’s border with China amid festering tensions between New Delhi and Beijing in large part based on China’s pledge to support its long-time ally Pakistan in the event of an attack.
China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) immediately denounced the deployment calling it a threat and saying it raises the stakes over a longstanding territorial dispute between the two countries.…
That's a lot of real resources going into weaponry.

Sputnik International
India’s Deployment of BrahMos Supersonic Stealth Missile is Making China Nervous

Sputnik International — US Investors Buy Half of Russia’s New $1.25 Billion Eurobonds Issuance

How are those sanctions working again?

Sputnik International
US Investors Buy Half of Russia’s New $1.25 Billion Eurobonds Issuance

James W Carden — How Libyan ‘Regime Change’ Lies Echo in Syria

Earlier this month, a select committee of British parliamentarians released a reportwhich condemned the U.K. government under David Cameron for its role in the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya. The report makes plain that the principal basis on which the intervention was predicated – that then-Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi was on the verge of committing a wholesale slaughter of the rebel stronghold Benghazi – was a lie propagated by Western and Gulf State media outlets.
It also shows the extent to which the crisis was driven by Libyan exiles who – perhaps quite understandably – had an axe to grind with the Gaddafi regime. In this – and in other ways, as we shall see – the Libyan crisis shares a number of similarities with the Syrian crisis. Indeed, it would be fair to view the debacle in Libya as a dress rehearsal for the war outside powers have been waging against the sovereign government of Syria for the past five years.… 
Cui bono?
From the very start, the opposition to Assad included sectarian extremists who chanted: “Christians to Beirut, Alawis to the grave.”…
Russians are dumbfounded that the West is oblivious to the fact that the Sunni "opposition" is committed to eliminating Christianity in Syria.
The journalist and analyst John Rosenthal translated a Jan. 12, 2012 report from Homs by a Dutch Jesuit, Father Frans van der Lugt, who was later murdered, likely by al-Nusra militants, in April 2014.
The Jesuit missionary observed that: “Most of the citizens of Syria do not support the opposition. … you also cannot say that this is a popular uprising. The majority of people are not part of the rebellion and certainly not part of the armed rebellion. What is occurring is, above all, a struggle between the army and armed Sunni groups that aim to overturn the Alawite regime and take power.
“From the start the protest movements were not purely peaceful. From the start I saw armed demonstrators marching along in the protests, who began to shoot at the police first. Very often the violence of the security forces has been a reaction to the brutal violence of the armed rebels.”
The fact that a "Jesuit missionary" is even permitted in Syria says volumes. This is not permitted in countries under Islamic rule (sharia).
… the U.S., ever at the beck and call of the Gulf State autocracies who are our actual enemies, Assad has became the target of regime change enthusiasts in the U.S. and Europe. Their designs have wrecked large swathes of Syria, resulted in an unprecedented migrant crisis, destroyed the lives of many millions, gave rise to ISIS and strengthened the very same Islamist radicals who attacked us on 9/11 and who remain the sworn enemies of the West.
Consortium News
How Libyan ‘Regime Change’ Lies Echo in Syria
James W Carden is a contributing writer for The Nation and editor of The American Committee for East-West Accord’s He previously served as an advisor on Russia to the Special Representative for Global Inter-governmental Affairs at the US State Department.

Branko Milanovic — Reframing the world

I listened this morning to a brilliant talk by Danny Quah on what changes in the world during the past twenty years or so portend for the intellectual leadership of the world, or to be more specific, how the political and economic life should optimally be organized given the global changes in economic power that we are witnessing. In the beginning of his speech Danny defines the two tenets of the Western (or as he puts it, American) framing of an optimal society: economic freedom and democracy. This is the well-known paradigm of liberal capitalist democracy that, according to Fukuyama and later Acemoglu and Robinson, represents the end point of human evolution. Danny links it, rightly in my view, in addition to “American exceptionalism”, that is to the belief that America, by its own example, shows to the world how it should be organized, and that ultimately, the way the world will end up by being organized will be as a form of a “Greater America”.
But then Danny says, something has gone wrong with this approach….
Important to be thinking about.

Global Inequality
Reframing the world
Branko Milanovic | Visiting Presidential Professor at City University of New York Graduate Center and senior scholar at the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS), and formerly lead economist in the World Bank's research department and senior associate at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

The so-called liberal view is paradoxical in that liberalism is based on multi-polarity on one hand and on the other, opposing any view that self-styled "liberals" regard as threatening their conception of liberalism.

In the first place, there are many conceptions of liberalism based on different mixes of social, political and economic liberalism. This results in many possible organizational configurations. America is just one of these and its success historically has depended more on America's place in history and historical accident than the determinative result of an organizational idea. The same conditions do not exists elsewhere, so it is unlikely that the American organizational model can be exported successfully to any great degree.

Secondly, American "liberalism" based on "American exceptionalism" is itself a narrow form of liberalism. Based on what criteria can it claim to be"best"? American "exceptionalism" is largely imagined based on selectivity that is influenced by cognitive biases like nativism.

American liberalism is unlikely to be accepted as a paradigm in a so-called liberal world that is open to multipolarity, for the simple reason that most of the world's people are not Americans and have their own viewpoints that have been shaped over millennia by history and culture. Lockean liberalism was largely born in 18th century England and exported to colonies, where it became the organizing idea behind the founding the United States of America. But British and American liberalism are different and have developed in different ways. Liberalism was adopted in Continental Europe subsequent to WWI and WWII, and again then result was hardly homogenous.

America needs to get over itself and recognize that history is an organic process because it is an artifact of biological evolution as a complex adaptive system. Evolution is experimental and emergence is ongoing. 

Liberalism is a very recent phenomenon on the historical scene and it is far from established how viable it is as an evolutionary trait. There are pros and cons. Moreover, there are twists and turns based on the paradoxical nature of a liberalism as an organizing idea and the tradeoffs involved.

Noah Feldman — The Geopolitics of Deciding Who Is Sunni

"Bloomberg view writer defends KSA state-sponsorship of jihadi terrorism and US support of it." (snark)

Ok, a bit snarky, but that is the subtext and implication. 

The author apparently doesn't realize that moderate Sunni rejection of Wahhabism in the face of US support of its chief advocate, KSA, implies US support of KSA state-sponsored jihadi terrorism. And suggests that Vladimir Putin is attacking the US by rejecting Sunni extremism, which threats Russia directly since the Russia Federation has population of about 15 million and Islam has been established there since the 7th century.

Oh, and the IsraelI hardline government also supports KSA and is on board with using jihadis as proxies, based on the strategic maxim, "the enemy (KSA) of our enemy (Iran) is our friend." (Disclaimer: I am neither anti-Semitic, nor anti-Israel, I am anti-Zionist and anti-apartheid.)

The idea that this is "geopolitics" is contradicted by the author's reporting.
Ahmed el-Tayeb, the state-appointed grand imam of the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, was the event’s headliner. Although it has declined in recent decades, Al-Azhar was for centuries considered the most influential Sunni scholarly institution. Its head, known as the Sheikh of Al-Azhar, is by job description alone a major figure in the Sunni world.
The world should be celebrating this amidst the calls for moderate Islam to denounce Wahhabi and Salafi takfirism and jihadism. Instead Bloomberg View bemoans that a US ally is being called out for it. Shame on them.

Brian Romanchuk — Primer: Endogenous Versus Exogenous Money

One of the long-running debates within economics is the question whether money is endogenous or exogenous. Those who follow internet economic debates can expect this argument to flare up periodically. This debate should largely be considered dead and buried; and abolishing money from economic theory would put the final nail in the coffin…
Bond Economics
Primer: Endogenous Versus Exogenous Money
Brian Romanchuk

Diane Coyle — Shadow-boxing with reality

Mulling over the debate under way about general equilibrium and macroeconomics, I picked up Paul Samuelson’s Foundations of Economic Analysis for the first time in ages. In the foreword to my 9th (1979) edition, he wrote: “In a hard, exact science a practioner does not really have to know much about methodology. … By contrast, a scholar in economics who is fundamentally confused concerning the relationship of definition, tautology, logical implication, empirical hypothesis and factual refutation may spend a lifetime shadow-boxing with reality. In a sense therefore, to earn his daily bread as a fruitful contributor to knowledge, the practitioner of an intermediately hard science like economics must come to terms with methodological problems.” Hmm. We have a lot of shadow-boxers, I fear.
The Enlightened Economist
Shadow-boxing with reality
Diane Coyle | freelance economist and a former advisor to the UK Treasury. She is a member of the UK Competition Commission and is acting Chairman of the BBC Trust, the governing body of the British Broadcasting Corporation

Rob Urie: Wells Fargo - A Scam Too Far

The Wells Fargo scandal shows how much the One Percent have captured the government and the media. Many services were privatized not to make them more efficient, but to be a revenue steam for the One Percent.

Note: Windows 10 on my PC has just upgraded itself and it has made Blogger almost impossible to use, so I can't make the link active.

Well, I managed to sort it out, but I have to use the Windows Edge browser from now on which is unsupported. Hopefully it will be okay.

 Graph: the capitalist coup that began in the 1970s was a response to a real crisis alternatively framed as a falling rate of profit and / or declining plutocratic control over Western political economy. Financialization shifted the balance of power back toward capital through the money system. Banks create money against separable liabilities. A rough analogy is the ability to take a loan against your neighbor’s house— you (connected capitalists) get the money and your neighbor’s house gets taken when you don’t repay the loan. The eventual result is that claims on economic production become increasingly concentrated as the economic system becomes unstable and destabilizing. Source: St. Louis Federal Reserve.
 The class war visible in the current political season was launched from ‘above’ in the 1970s by connected capitalists— inherited wealth with support from a committed managerial class, with the goal of regaining power and control over Western political economy. The promise, made against the actual outcomes of several centuries of Western imperial history, was of broadly shared prosperity gotten through the constrained self-realization of capitalist democracy. The actual outcome is broadly declining economic circumstance for most people, a tenuous prosperity for supporting bourgeois managers and a new Gilded-Age for the self-enriching class of corporate executives, inherited wealth and financial predators.
Graph: while the promise of shared prosperity was held-by-degree by capitalists, corporate executives and their ‘useful idiots’ in academia when the capitalist coup was launched in the 1970s, by 2008 the evidence had accumulated to the point of being irrefutable— capitalism, economic imperialism posed as ‘free choice,’ is a catastrophe-generating mode of social organization that benefits a tiny minority at the expense of most citizens of the planet. Under the terms put forward by academic explainers of capitalism (economists), the existing system is only plausible during the brief periods of respite between recurring crises. The broad trend of economic decline suggests that social turmoil will mount until resolution is found. Source: St. Louis Federal Reserve.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Almost everything you know about climate change solutions is outdated

The clean energy revolution is now unstoppable.

Some more good news: Ultra cheap energy is around the corner - and it's green. This is an energy miracle - where even cars will cost next to nothing to run. And this is just the beginning. Within ten years diesel buses will be gone too. Go to Walmart, and just plug your car into an electric socket for free. That's how cheap.

                    Europe’s biggest floating solar panel array at a UK reservoir.

Richard Vague — How to Suffocate Your Economy: Drown it in Massive Private Debt.

One of the key and largely overlooked reasons for this disappointing growth is hiding in plain sight: the increasing global burden of private debt—the combination of business debt and household debt. Even though government debt grabs all the headlines, private debt is larger than government debt and has more impact on economic outcomes. In the United States, total nonfinancial private debt is $27 trillion and public debt is $19 trillion. More telling, since 1950, U.S. private debt has almost tripled from 55 percent of GDP to 150 percent of GDP, and most other major economies have shown a similar trend. [See Chart 2.] Since GDP is largely the sum of all the spending, and thus income, of households and businesses in an economy, if aggregate private debt to GDP has tripled, that means that average businesses and households have three times more debt in relation to their income. Both private debt and government debt matter, and both will be discussed here, but of these two, it is private debt that has the larger and more direct impact on economic outcomes, and addressing the issues associated with private debt is the more productive path to economic revival.…
How to Suffocate Your Economy: Drown it in Massive Private Debt.
Richard Vague, currently managing partner of Gabriel Investments and the chairman of The Governor’s Woods Foundation, a non-profit philanthropic organization. Previously, he was co-founder, Chairman and CEO of Energy Plus, and also co-founder and CEO of two consumer banks, First USA and Juniper Financial.

Stephen Cohen — US-Russian Deal: 'DoD Openly Saying It May or May Not Obey Obama'

Given the fact that US warplanes knew the Deir ez-Zor region very well and that the US Department of Defense (DOD) had openly expressed its skepticism regarding the US-Russian plan on Syria, it is "a little hard to believe" that the attack on the Syrian Arab Army was an "accident," Professor Cohen suggested.
He quoted the New York Times editorial, which read that "at the Pentagon, officials would not even agree that if a cessation of violence in Syria held for seven days — the initial part of the deal — the Defense Department would put in place its part of the agreement on the eighth day." The editorial also referred to Carter, "who has deep reservations about the plan for American and Russian forces to jointly target terrorist groups." "In other words," Cohen noted, "Pentagon officials refused to say whether they would obey President Obama." 
The US academic stressed that in a Constitutional democracy where the military is clearly subordinated to the civilian leadership that is extraordinary. "We've come to a point in this craziness, in this New Cold War with Russia where DOD is openly saying it may or may not obey President Obama. If DOD will say that publicly you can imagine the opposition in Washington against the Syrian deal, [US Secretary of State John] Kerry brokered with Russian Foreign Minister [Sergei] Lavrov," Professor Cohen highlighted. The professor remarked that the opposition comprises very influential figures from the Pentagon, the US State Department, both Democratic and Republican parties and the US' mainstream media.
If true, this is not only insubordination but subordination of the president of the United States to policy dictated by the deep state. Americans and the rest of the world should be concerned that the US has apparently gone rogue.

This also accounts for the about face of candidate Obama on becoming President Obama and switching from someone that received the Nobel Peace Prize — prematurely to be sure — to an ally of the neocons and liberal interventionists, only attempting to restrain extreme policy rather than to reverse it.

Sputnik International
US-Russian Deal: 'DoD Openly Saying It May or May Not Obey Obama'

Ramanan — James Tobin On Real Business Cycle Theory

Nice Tobin quote.

The Case for Concerted Action
James Tobin On Real Business Cycle Theory
V. Ramanan


Marc Lavoie On The DSGE Emperor

Russian Intel General: the CIA May Be Planning to Assassinate Putin — Andrey Afanasyev interviews Leonid Reshetnikov

We should have no illusions. Today’s United States of America is interested only in one thing – destroying Russia as a civilizational, geopolitical, military and political rival — as well as an economic rival, with its treasure trove of resources.
Russia Insider
Russian Intel General: the CIA May Be Planning to Assassinate Putin
Andrey Afanasyev interviews Leonid Reshetnikov, Director of an influential think tank, the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISS), and a retired lieutenant general of Russia's foreign intelligence service