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2015 was the year when Catholic church extended its attack on neoliberalism.
See Full text of Pope Francis speech before Congress
Jul 11, 2015 | msn.com
ASUNCIÓN, Paraguay - His speeches can blend biblical fury with apocalyptic doom. Pope Francis does not just criticize the excesses of global capitalism. He compares them to the "dung of the devil." He does not simply argue that systemic "greed for money" is a bad thing. He calls it a "subtle dictatorship" that "condemns and enslaves men and women."
Having returned to his native Latin America, Francis has renewed his left-leaning critiques on the inequalities of capitalism, describing it as an underlying cause of global injustice, and a prime cause of climate change. Francis escalated that line last week when he made a historic apology for the crimes of the Roman Catholic Church during the period of Spanish colonialism - even as he called for a global movement against a "new colonialism" rooted in an inequitable economic order.
The Argentine pope seemed to be asking for a social revolution. "This is not theology as usual; this is him shouting from the mountaintop," said Stephen F. Schneck, the director of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic studies at Catholic University of America in Washington.
The last pope who so boldly placed himself at the center of the global moment was John Paul II, who during the 1980s pushed the church to confront what many saw as the challenge of that era, communism. John Paul II's anti-Communist messaging dovetailed with the agenda of political conservatives eager for a tougher line against the Soviets and, in turn, aligned part of the church hierarchy with the political right.
Francis has defined the economic challenge of this era as the failure of global capitalism to create fairness, equity and dignified livelihoods for the poor - a social and religious agenda that coincides with a resurgence of the leftist thinking marginalized in the days of John Paul II. Francis' increasingly sharp critique comes as much of humanity has never been so wealthy or well fed - yet rising inequality and repeated financial crises have unsettled voters, policy makers and economists.
Left-wing populism is surging in countries immersed in economic turmoil, such as Spain, and, most notably, Greece. But even in the United States, where the economy has rebounded, widespread concern about inequality and corporate power are propelling the rise of liberals like Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who, in turn, have pushed the Democratic Party presidential front-runner, Hillary Rodham Clinton, to the left.
Even some free-market champions are now reassessing the shortcomings of unfettered capitalism. George Soros, who made billions in the markets, and then spent a good part of it promoting the spread of free markets in Eastern Europe, now argues that the pendulum has swung too far the other way.
"I think the pope is singing to the music that's already in the air," said Robert A. Johnson, executive director of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, which was financed with $50 million from Mr. Soros. "And that's a good thing. That's what artists do, and I think the pope is sensitive to the lack of legitimacy of the system."
Many Catholic scholars would argue that Francis is merely continuing a line of Catholic social teaching that has existed for more than a century and was embraced even by his two conservative predecessors, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Pope Leo XIII first called for economic justice on behalf of workers in 1891, with his encyclical "Rerum Novarum" - or, "On Condition of Labor."
Mr. Schneck, of Catholic University, said it was as if Francis were saying, "We've been talking about these things for more than one hundred years, and nobody is listening."
Francis has such a strong sense of urgency "because he has been on the front lines with real people, not just numbers and abstract ideas," Mr. Schneck said. "That real-life experience of working with the most marginalized in Argentina has been the source of his inspiration as pontiff."
Francis made his speech on Wednesday night, in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, before nearly 2,000 social advocates, farmers, trash workers and neighborhood activists. Even as he meets regularly with heads of state, Francis has often said that change must come from the grass roots, whether from poor people or the community organizers who work with them. To Francis, the poor have earned knowledge that is useful and redeeming, even as a "throwaway culture" tosses them aside. He sees them as being at the front edge of economic and environmental crises around the world.
In Bolivia, Francis praised cooperatives and other localized organizations that he said provide productive economies for the poor. "How different this is than the situation that results when those left behind by the formal market are exploited like slaves!" he said on Wednesday night.
It is this Old Testament-like rhetoric that some finding jarring, perhaps especially so in the United States, where Francis will visit in September. His environmental encyclical, "Laudato Si'," released last month, drew loud criticism from some American conservatives and from others who found his language deeply pessimistic. His right-leaning critics also argued that he was overreaching and straying dangerously beyond religion - while condemning capitalism with too broad a brush.
"I wish Francis would focus on positives, on how a free-market economy guided by an ethical framework, and the rule of law, can be a part of the solution for the poor - rather than just jumping from the reality of people's misery to the analysis that a market economy is the problem," said the Rev. Robert A. Sirico, president of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, which advocates free-market economics.
Francis' sharpest critics have accused him of being a Marxist or a Latin American Communist, even as he opposed communism during his time in Argentina. His tour last week of Latin America began in Ecuador and Bolivia, two countries with far-left governments. President Evo Morales of Bolivia, who wore a Che Guevara patch on his jacket during Francis' speech, claimed the pope as a kindred spirit - even as Francis seemed startled and caught off guard when Mr. Morales gave him a wooden crucifix shaped like a hammer and sickle as a gift.
Francis' primary agenda last week was to begin renewing Catholicism in Latin America and reposition it as the church of the poor. His apology for the church's complicity in the colonialist era received an immediate roar from the crowd. In various parts of Latin America, the association between the church and economic power elites remains intact. In Chile, a socially conservative country, some members of the country's corporate elite are also members of Opus Dei, the traditionalist Catholic organization founded in Spain in 1928.
Inevitably, Francis' critique can be read as a broadside against Pax Americana, the period of capitalism regulated by global institutions created largely by the United States. But even pillars of that system are shifting. The World Bank, which long promoted economic growth as an end in itself, is now increasingly focused on the distribution of gains, after the Arab Spring revolts in some countries that the bank had held up as models. The latest generation of international trade agreements includes efforts to increase protections for workers and the environment.
The French economist Thomas Piketty argued last year in a surprising best-seller, "Capital in the Twenty-First Century," that rising wealth inequality was a natural result of free-market policies, a direct challenge to the conventional view that economic inequalities shrink over time. The controversial implication drawn by Mr. Piketty is that governments should raise taxes on the wealthy.
Mr. Piketty roiled the debate among mainstream economists, yet Francis' critique is more unnerving to some because he is not reframing inequality and poverty around a new economic theory but instead defining it in moral terms. "Working for a just distribution of the fruits of the earth and human labor is not mere philanthropy," he said on Wednesday. "It is a moral obligation. For Christians, the responsibility is even greater: It is a commandment."
Nick Hanauer, a Seattle venture capitalist, said that he saw Francis as making a nuanced point about capitalism, embodied by his coinage of a "social mortgage" on accumulated wealth - a debt to the society that made its accumulation possible. Mr. Hanauer said that economic elites should embrace the need for reforms both for moral and pragmatic reasons. "I'm a believer in capitalism but it comes in as many flavors as pie, and we have a choice about the kind of capitalist system that we have," said Mr. Hanauer, now an outspoken proponent of redistributive government policies like a higher minimum wage.
Yet what remains unclear is whether Francis has a clear vision for a systemic alternative to the status quo that he and others criticize. "All these critiques point toward the incoherence of the simple idea of free market economics, but they don't prescribe a remedy," said Mr. Johnson, of the Institute for New Economic Thinking.
Francis acknowledged as much, conceding on Wednesday that he had no new "recipe" to quickly change the world. Instead, he spoke about a "process of change" undertaken at the grass-roots level.
"What can be done by those students, those young people, those activists, those missionaries who come to my neighborhood with the hearts full of hopes and dreams but without any real solution for my problems?" he asked. "A lot! They can do a lot. "You, the lowly, the exploited, the poor and underprivileged, can do, and are doing, a lot. I would even say that the future of humanity is in great measure in your own hands."
May 19, 2015 | http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2015/05/17/why-this-ukrainian-revolution-may-be-doomed-too/
At home, there is the possibility of more protests, a paralyzed government, and the rise of politicians seeking accommodation with Putin. "Slow and unsuccessful reforms are a bigger existential threat than the Russian aggression," said Oleksiy Melnyk, a security expert at Kiev's Razumkov Center. Even if Ukrainians don't return to the street, they'll get a chance to voice their discontent at the ballot box. Local elections are due in the fall - and the governing coalition between Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is so shaky that nobody can rule out an early parliamentary vote.
In its international relations, Ukraine is living on borrowed time - and money. A dispute over restructuring $23 billion in debt broke into the open last week with the Finance Ministry accusing foreign creditors of not negotiating in good faith ahead of a June deadline. An EU summit this week is likely to end in more disappointment, as Western European countries are reluctant to grant Ukrainians visa-free travel.
Kiev has become an accidental, burdensome ally to the West. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization only paid lip service to future Ukrainian membership, while the EU, which never had any intention of taking in Ukraine, pushed an association agreement out of bureaucratic habit more than strategic vision.
... ... ...
The least charitably inclined claim that Poroshenko prosecuted the war in eastern Ukraine as a way of delaying reform. What's undeniable is that the shaky ceasefire leaves the Kiev government at the mercy of Putin and his proxies. Should anything start going right for Poroshenko, the fighting could flare back up at any moment.
Ukrainian security officials say that the enemy forces gathering in the separatist regions are at their highest capability yet. The most alarming observation is that the once ragtag band of rebels - backed up by regular Russian troops in critical battles - is increasingly looking like a real army thanks to weapons and training provided by Russia.
... ... ...
Everybody in Kiev understands that there's no way of reconquering lost territory by force. Ukrainian politicians publicly pledge to win back breakaway regions through reform and economic success. What they hope for is that sanctions will cause enough problems inside Russia that the Kremlin will run out of resources to sabotage Ukraine. Wishful thinking won't replace the painful reforms ahead.
Apr 04, 2015 | Economist's View
Darryl FKA Ron -> pgl...
At the risk of oversimplifying might it not be as simple as stronger leanings towards IS-LM and kind are indicative of a bias towards full employment and stronger leanings towards DSGE, microfoundations, and kind are indicative of a bias towards low inflation?
IN general I consider over-simplification a fault, if and only if, it is a rigidly adhered to final position. This is to say that over-simplification is always a good starting point and never a good ending point. If in the end your problem was simple to begin with, then the simplified answer would not be OVER-simplified anyway. It is just as bad to over-complicate a simple problem as it is to over-simplify a complex problem. It is easier to build complexity on top of a simple foundation than it is to extract simplicity from a complex foundation.
A lot of the Chicago School initiative into microfoundations and DSGE may have been motivated by a desire to bind Keynes in a NAIRU straight-jacket. Even though economic policy making is largely done just one step at a time then that is still one step too much if it might violate rentier interests.
Darryl FKA Ron -> Barry...
There are two possible (but unlikely) schools of (generously attributed to as) thought for which internal consistency might take precedence over external consistency. One such school wants to consider what would be best in a perfect world full of perfect people and then just assume that is best for the real world just to let the chips fall where they may according to the faults and imperfections of the real world. The second such school is the one whose eyes just glaze over mesmerized by how over their heads they are and remain affraid to ask any question lest they appear stupid.
A more probable school of thought is that this game was created as a con and a cover for the status quo capitalist establishment to indulge themselves in their hard money and liquidity fetishes, consequences be damned.
Richard H. SerlinConsistency sounds so good, Oh, of course we want consistency, who wouldn't?! But consistent in what way? What exactly do you mean? Consistent with reality, or consistent with people all being superhumans? Which concept is usually more useful, or more useful for the task at hand?Richard H. Serlin -> Richard H. Serlin...
Essentially, they want models that are consistent with only certain things, and often because this makes their preferred ideology look far better. They want models, typically, that are consistent with everyone in the world having perfect expertise in every subject there is, from finance to medicine to engineering, perfect public information, and perfect self-discipline, and usually on top, frictionless and perfectly complete markets, often perfectly competitive too.
But a big thing to note is that perfectly consistent people means a level of perfection in expertise, public information, self-discipline, and "rationality", that's extremely at odds with how people actually are. And as a result, this can make the model extremely misleading if it's interpreted very literally (as so often it is, especially by freshwater economists), or taken as The Truth, as Paul Krugman puts it.
You get things like the equity premium "puzzle", which involves why people don't invest more in stocks when the risk-adjusted return appears to usually be so abnormally good, and this "puzzle" can only be answered with "consistency", that people are all perfectly expert in finance, with perfect information, so they must have some mysterious hidden good reason. It can't be at all that it's because 65% of people answered incorrectly when asked how many reindeer would remain if Santa had to lay off 25% of his eight reindeer ( http://richardhserlin.blogspot.com/2013/12/surveys-showing-massive-ignorance-and.html ).
Yes, these perfect optimizer consistency models can give useful insights, and help to see what is best, what we can do better, and they can, in some cases, be good as approximations. But to say they should be used only, and interpreted literally, is, well, inconsistent with optimal, rational behavior -- of the economist using them.Of course, unless the economist using them is doing so to mislead people into supporting his libertarian/plutocratic ideology.
As an old broken down mech engineer, I wonder why all the pissing and moaning about micro foundations vs aggregation. In strength of materials equations that aggregate properties work quite well within the boundaries of the questions to be answered. We all know that at the level of crystals, materials have much complexity. Even within crystals there is deeper complexities down to the molecular levels. However, the addition of quantum mechanics adds no usable information about what materials to build a bridge with.
But, when working at the scale of the most advanced computer chips quantum mechanics is required. WTF! I guess in economics there is no quantum mechanics theories or even reliable aggregation theories.
Poor economists, doomed to argue, forever, over how many micro foundations can dance on the head of a pin.
RGC -> dilbert dogbert...
Endless discussions about how quantum effects aggregate to produce a material suitable for bridge building crowd out discussions about where and when to build bridges. And if plutocrats fund the endless discussions, we get the prominent economists we have today.
Darryl FKA Ron -> dilbert dogbert...
"...I guess in economics there is no quantum mechanics theories or even reliable aggregation theories..."
[I guess it depends upon what your acceptable confidence interval on reliability is. Most important difference that controls all the domain differences between physical science and economics is that underlying physical sciences there is a deterministic methodology for which probable error is merely a function of the inaccuracy in input metrics WHEREAS economics models are incomplete probabilistic estimating models with no ability to provide a complete system model in a full range of circumstances.
YOu can design and build a bridge to your load and span requirements with alternative models for various designs with confidence and highly effective accuracy repeatedly. No ecomomic theory, model, or combination of models and theories was ever intended to be used as the blueprint for building an economy from the foundation up.
With all the formal trappings of economics the only effective usage is to decide what should be done in a given set of predetermined circumstance to reach some modest desired effect. Even that modest goal is exposed to all kinds of risks inherent in assumptions, incomplete information, externalities, and so on that can produce errors of uncertain potential bounds.
Nonetheless, well done economics can greatly reduce the risks encountered in the random walk of economics policy making. So much so is this true, that the bigger questions in macro-economics policy making is what one is willing to risk and for whom.
The arguments over internal and external consistency of models is just a convenient misdirection from what policy makers are willing to risk and whose interests they are willing to risk policy decisions for.]
Darryl FKA Ron -> Peter K....
unless you have a model which maps the real world fairly closely like quantum mechanics.
[You set a bar too high. Macro models at best will tell you what to do to move the economy in the direction that you seek to go. They do not even ocme close to the notion of a theory of everything that you have in physics, even the theory of every little thing that is provided by quantum mechanics. Physics is an empty metaphor for economics. Step one is to forgo physics envy in pursuit of understanding suitable applications and domain constraints for economics models.
THe point is to reach a decision and to understand cause and effect directions. All precision is in the past and present. The future is both imprecise and all that there is that is available to change.
For the most part an ounce of common sense and some simple narrative models are all that are essential for making those policy decisions in and of themselves. HOWEVER, nation states are not ruled by economist philosopher kings and in the process of concensus decision making by (little r)republican governments then human language is a very imprecise vehicle for communicating logic and reason with respect to the management of complex systems. OTOH, mathematics has given us a universal language for communicating logic and reason that is understood the same by everyone that really understands that language at all. Hence mathematical models were born for the economists to write down their own thinking in clear precise terms and check their own work first and then share it with others so equipped to understand the language of mathematics. Krugman has said as much many times and so has any and every economist worth their salt.]
likbez -> Syaloch...
I agree with Pgl and PeterK. Certain commenters like Darryl seem convinced that the Chicago School (if not all of econ) is driven by sinister, class-based motives to come up justifications for favoring the power elite over the masses. But based on what I've read, it seems pretty obvious that the microfoundation guys just got caught up in their fancy math and their desire to produce more elegant, internally consistent models and lost sight of the fact that their models didn't track reality.
That's completely wrong line of thinking, IMHO.
Mathematical masturbations are just a smoke screen used to conceal a simple fact that those "economists" are simply banking oligarchy stooges. Hired for the specific purpose to provide a theoretical foundation for revanschism of financial oligarchy after New Deal run into problems. Revanschism that occurred in a form of installing neoliberal ideology in the USA in exactly the same role which Marxism was installed in the USSR.
With "iron hand in velvet gloves" type of repressive apparatus to enforce it on each and every university student and thus to ensure the continues, recurrent brainwashing much like with Marxism on the USSR universities.
To ensure continuation of power of "nomenklatura" in the first case and banking oligarchy in the second. Connections with reality be damned. Money does not smell.
Economic departments fifth column of neoliberal stooges is paid very good money for their service of promoting and sustaining this edifice of neoliberal propaganda. Just look at Greg Mankiw and Rubin's boys.
But the key problem with neoliberalism is that the cure is worse then disease. And here mathematical masturbations are very handy as a smoke screen to hide this simple fact.
likbez -> likbez...
Here is how Rubin's neoliberal boy Larry explained the situation to Elizabeth Warren:
"Larry [Summers] leaned back in his chair and offered me some advice. I had a choice. I could be an insider or I could be an outsider. Outsiders can say whatever they want. But people on the inside don't listen to them. Insiders, however, get lots of access and a chance to push their ideas. People - powerful people - listen to what they have to say. But insiders also understand one unbreakable rule: they don't criticize other insiders."
Elizabeth Warren, A Fighting Chance
Syaloch -> likbez...
Yeah, case in point.
Oct 06, 2015 | Zero HedgeWe have just witnessed one of the most significant steps toward a one world economic system that we have ever seen. Negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership have been completed, and if approved it will create the largest trading bloc on the planet. But this is not just a trade agreement. In this treaty, Barack Obama has thrown in all sorts of things that he never would have been able to get through Congress otherwise. And once this treaty is approved, it will be exceedingly difficult to ever make changes to it. So essentially what is happening is that the Obama agenda is being permanently locked in for 40 percent of the global economy.
The United States, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam all intend to sign on to this insidious plan. Collectively, these nations have a total population of about 800 million people and a combined GDP of approximately 28 trillion dollars.
Of course Barack Obama is assuring all of us that this treaty is going to be wonderful for everyone…
In hailing the agreement, Obama said, "Congress and the American people will have months to read every word" before he signs the deal that he described as a win for all sides.
"If we can get this agreement to my desk, then we can help our businesses sell more Made in America goods and services around the world, and we can help more American workers compete and win," Obama said.
Sadly, just like with every other "free trade" agreement that the U.S. has entered into since World War II, the exact opposite is what will actually happen. Our trade deficit will get even larger, and we will see even more jobs and even more businesses go overseas.
But the mainstream media will never tell you this. Instead, they are just falling all over themselves as they heap praise on this new trade pact. Just check out a couple of the headlines that we saw on Monday…
- Time Magazine: "Pacific Trade Deal Is Good for the U.S. and Obama's Legacy"
- The Washington Post: "The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a trade deal worth celebrating"
Overseas it is a different story. Many journalists over there fully recognize that this treaty greatly benefits many of the big corporations that played a key role in drafting it. For example, the following comes from a newspaper in Thailand…
You will hear much about the importance of the TPP for "free trade".
The reality is that this is an agreement to manage its members' trade and investment relations - and to do so on behalf of each country's most powerful business lobbies.
These sentiments were echoed in a piece that Zero Hedge posted on Monday…
Packaged as a gift to the American people that will renew industry and make us more competitive, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a Trojan horse. It's a coup by multinational corporations who want global subservience to their agenda. Buyer beware. Citizens beware.
The gigantic corporations that dominate our economy don't care about the little guy. If they can save a few cents on the manufacturing of an item by moving production to Timbuktu they will do it.
Over the past couple of decades, the United States has lost tens of thousands of manufacturing facilities and millions of good paying jobs due to these "free trade agreements". As we merge our economy with the economies of nations where it is legal to pay slave labor wages, it is inevitable that corporations will shift jobs to places where labor is much cheaper. Our economic infrastructure is being absolutely eviscerated in the process, and very few of our politicians seem to care.
Once upon a time, the city of Detroit was the greatest manufacturing city on the planet and it had the highest per capita income in the entire nation. But today it is a rotting, decaying hellhole that the rest of the world laughs at. What has happened to the city of Detroit is happening to the entire nation as a whole, but our politicians just keep pushing us even farther down the road to oblivion.
Just consider what has happened since NAFTA was implemented. In the year before NAFTA was approved, the United States actually had a trade surplus with Mexico and our trade deficit with Canada was only 29.6 billion dollars. But now things are very different. In one recent year, the U.S. had a combined trade deficit with Mexico and Canada of 177 billion dollars.
And these trade deficits are not just numbers. They represent real jobs that are being lost. It has been estimated that the U.S. economy loses approximately 9,000 jobs for every 1 billion dollars of goods that are imported from overseas, and one professor has estimated that cutting our trade deficit in half would create 5 million more jobs in the United States.
Just yesterday, I wrote about how there are 102.6 million working age Americans that do not have a job right now. Once upon a time, if you were honest, dependable and hard working it was easy to get a good paying job in this country. But now things are completely different.
Back in 1950, more than 80 percent of all men in the United States had jobs. Today, only about 65 percent of all men in the United States have jobs.
Why aren't more people alarmed by numbers like this?
And of course the Trans-Pacific Partnership is not just about "free trade". In one of my previous articles, I explained that Obama is using this as an opportunity to permanently impose much of his agenda on a large portion of the globe…
It is basically a gigantic end run around Congress. Thanks to leaks, we have learned that so many of the things that Obama has deeply wanted for years are in this treaty. If adopted, this treaty will fundamentally change our laws regarding Internet freedom, healthcare, copyright and patent protection, food safety, environmental standards, civil liberties and so much more. This treaty includes many of the rules that alarmed Internet activists so much when SOPA was being debated, it would essentially ban all "Buy American" laws, it would give Wall Street banks much more freedom to trade risky derivatives and it would force even more domestic manufacturing offshore.
The Republicans in Congress foolishly gave Obama fast track negotiating authority, and so Congress will not be able to change this treaty in any way. They will only have the opportunity for an up or down vote.
I would love to see Congress reject this deal, but we all know that is extremely unlikely to happen. When big votes like this come up, immense pressure is put on key politicians. Yes, there are a few members of Congress that still have backbones, but most of them are absolutely spineless. When push comes to shove, the globalist agenda always seems to advance.
Meanwhile, the mainstream media will be telling the American people about all of the wonderful things that this new treaty will do for them. You would think that after how badly past "free trade" treaties have turned out that we would learn something, but somehow that never seems to happen.
The agenda of the globalists is moving forward, and very few Americans seem to care.HedgeAccordinglytwo hoots
CIA Insider: China is About to End the Dollar
Bill Clinton on signing NAFTA:
First of all, because NAFTA means jobs. American jobs, and good-paying American jobs. If I didn't believe that, I wouldn't support this agreement.
Many of those NeoCon Bibi lovers and Jonathan Pollard conservatives love TPP and H1B Ted Cruz. Ted is also a Goldman Sachs boy.
That giant sucking sound just got gianter.
Probably, but here's a thought:
It might be a blowing sound of all things USA deflating down (in USD terms) to what they are actually worth when compared to the rest of the world. For example, a GM assembly line worker will make what an assembly line worker in Vietnam makes.
This will, of course, panic Old Yellen, who will promptly fill her diaper and begin subsidizing wages with Quantitative Pleasing (QP1).
If this gets through congress, the Republican Party better not bother asking for my vote ever again.
Vote? You seem to think "voting" will actually influence actions / Globalists plans which have been decades in the making amoungst thse Criminal Pure Evil Lucerferian Psychopaths hell bent on Total Complete Full Spectrum World Domination.
Yea, keep voting. I'll be out hunting down these Evil doers like the dogs that they are.
I have no illusions regarding the efficacy of voting. It is indeed a waste of time.
What I said was, they better not dare even ASK for my vote.
Doesn't matter. Diebold is so good at counting that you don't even need to show up at the polls anymore. It's like a miracle of modern technology.
Did the article say 40%?
I imagine they meant 40% of whatever is left after we all go to hell in a hand basket.
Great day for the multinationals and in particular the pharmaceutical companies.
Dec 30, 2015 | Economist's ViewSandwichman, December 30, 2015 at 10:06 AM"Graduate students of economics learn, early in their careers, that markets allocations are Pareto Optimal."
What they don't learn is that
1. the ideal markets that would produce Pareto Optimal allocations don't actually exist and
2. moving from actually existing non-ideal markets to ideal markets WOULD NOT BE Pareto Optimal even if it was possible to do so, which it isn't.
In short, Pareto Optimality is a just so story that has absolutely no bearing on the real world other than as an ideological justification for tons of bullshit.
The next step in graduate students' indoctrination is to teach them that although Pareto Optimal reallocations are implausible, you can get around that with a "principle of compensation." The principle, too is based on a same yardstick fallacy. But never mind the Pareto Optimality smokescreen and the compensation smokescreen have constrained economists to think in terms of doing what is best for the wealthiest. Funny how that happens.
anne said in reply to SandwichmanPareto Optimality is a just so story that has absolutely no bearing on the real world other than as an ideological justification for tons of bull----.
[ Agreed completely and I think this an important conclusion. ]
Paine said in reply to anneYes
Sandy gets the guts of it
The compensation principle is precisely what Pareto rule is all about
Yes we can scramble the goods all we want so long as in the end everyone is at least as well off as before the scramble
In a pure exchange model this is less exciting then in a one period production model
Going on to an inter temporal model with an infinite horizon gets into real juicy Wonderlands
The academy makes it's living as much by distracting fine minds as training them
anne said in reply to SandwichmanThe next step in graduate students' indoctrination is to teach them that although Pareto Optimal reallocations are implausible, you can get around that with a "principle of compensation." The principle, too is based on a same yardstick fallacy. But never mind the Pareto Optimality smokescreen and the compensation smokescreen have constrained economists to think in terms of doing what is best for the wealthiest....anne said in reply to Sandwichman...
December 29, 2015
Richest in U.S. Shape Private Tax System to Save Billions
By NOAM SCHEIBER and PATRICIA COHEN
The very wealthiest families are able to quietly shape tax policy that will allow them to shield millions, if not billions, of their income using maneuvers available only to several thousand Americans.
Supposing I understand the essay, Roger Farmer is just writing the logical justification to Herbert Spencer's (never Charles Darwin's) "survival of the fittest" rationale that Spencer made wildly popular after Darwin published "On the Origin of Species."
Spencer was the successful ultimate justifier of British "sun-never-setting-on-the-Empire" capitalism. Spencer sold a biological justification, Farmer is selling a logical justification of Empire.
Sandwichman said in reply to anneNo, I think Farmer is dissing Pareto Optimality and using "sunspots" as sarcasm. He seems to do it in a way that opens up space for countless side arguments that leave Pareto Optimality unscathed.
The bottom line is that NO ONE would have ever paid any attention to the not just "weak" but nonsensical concept if it didn't serve the function of justifying and ultimately glorifying great inequalities of wealth and income.
anne said in reply to SandwichmanI understand the argument and I am entirely right:
Roger Farmer is just writing the logical justification to Herbert Spencer's (never Charles Darwin's) "survival of the fittest" rationale that Spencer made wildly popular after Darwin published "On the Origin of Species."
Spencer was the successful ultimate justifier of British "sun-never-setting-on-the-Empire" capitalism. Spencer sold a biological justification, Farmer is selling a logical justification of Empire capitalism.
anne said in reply to SandwichmanI needed to be sure the argument was as empty morally as I supposed initially, but I supposed correctly. The Roger Farmer essay is an amoral logical justification of imperial capitalism. Plato's "Republic" conceived amorally. ;
anne said in reply to SandwichmanA mean little essay, carefully subtle and mean.
Paine said in reply to anneBut Anne as sandy points out Roger blows up the use of Pareto by his future generations argument
Those unable to establish their preferences are unaccounted for in the scrum
He uses this to draw a bold distinction between securities markets and fish catch of the day markets
Paine said in reply to PaineIt's not the way I'd make his point
But his distinction is important
Some are impacted that are not participating
Third party effects that can not be resolved even with repeated " games "
Because the players are not yet present
anne said in reply to SandwichmanFarmer is dissing Pareto Optimality and using "sunspots" as sarcasm. He seems to do it in a way that opens up space for countless side arguments that leave Pareto Optimality unscathed.
The bottom line is that NO ONE would have ever paid any attention to the not just "weak" but nonsensical concept if it didn't serve the function of justifying and ultimately glorifying great inequalities of wealth and income.
[ Agreed completely, but this argument runs with mine. ]
anne said in reply to SandwichmanFarmer is dissing Pareto Optimality and using "sunspots" as sarcasm. He seems to do it in a way that opens up space for countless side arguments that leave Pareto Optimality unscathed....
[ The issue is that Roger Farmer leaves Pareto Optimality unscathed, and this is an essential point. The essay is beyond the morality of now, but there is no beyond. ]
Dec 29, 2015 | Economist's View
'The Fed and Financial Reform – Reflections on Sen. Sanders op-Ed'This is the beginning of a long response from Larry Summers to an op-ed by Bernie Sanders:JohnH said...The Fed and Financial Reform – Reflections on Sen. Sanders op-Ed : Bernie Sanders had an op Ed in the New York Times on Fed reform last week that provides an opportunity to reflect on the Fed and financial reform more generally. I think that Sanders is right in his central point that financial policy is overly influenced by financial interests to its detriment and that it is essential that this be repaired.
At the same time, reform requires careful reflection if it is not to be counterproductive. And it is important in approaching issues of reform not to give ammunition to right wing critics of the Fed who would deny it the capacity to engage in the kind of crisis responses that have judged in their totality been successful in responding to the financial crisis.
The most important policy priority with respect to the Fed is protecting it from stone age monetary ideas like a return to the gold standard, or turning policymaking over to a formula, or removing the dual mandate commanding the Fed to worry about unemployment as well as inflation. ...Disagree!!! There is more to this than just interest rates. There is the matter of how the policy gets implemented--who gets low rates. Currently the low rates serve mostly the 1%, who profit enormously from them. Case in point: Mort Zuckerberg's 1% mortgage!JohnH said in reply to JohnH...
"The obvious candidate for this dark force [correlation between (rising) inequality and (low) growth] is crony capitalism. When a country succumbs to cronyism, friends of the rulers are able to appropriate large amounts of wealth for themselves -- for example, by being awarded government-protected monopolies over certain markets, as in Russia after the fall of communism. That will obviously lead to inequality of income and wealth. It will also make the economy inefficient, since money is flowing to unproductive cronies. Cronyism may also reduce growth by allowing the wealthy to exert greater influence on political policy, creating inefficient subsidies for themselves and unfair penalties for their rivals."
As we know (although most here steadfastly ignore it) the Fed is rife with crony capitalism. As Bernie pointed out, 4 of the regional governors are from Goldman Sachs. Other examples are abundant. Quite simply, the system is rigged to benefit the few, minimizing any potential trickle down.
If a broad economic recovery is the goal, ending cronyism at the Fed is likely to be far more effective that low interest rates channeled only to the 1%.Stiglitz:Peter K. said in reply to JohnH...
The real problem is that money does not go to where it should go, as we see for example in the United States. The money does not flow into the real economy, because the transmission mechanism is broken. That is why we have a bubble in the financial system. The answer is not to tighten monetary policy, but to reform monetary policy so as to ensure that the money gets to the right place...
Small and medium enterprises cannot borrow money at zero interest rates - not even a private person, I wish I could do that (laughs). I'm more worried about the loan interest rates, which are still too high. Access for small and medium enterprises to credit is too expensive. That's why it is so important that the transmission mechanism work..."
And let's not forget consumer credit rates, which barely dropped during the Great Recession and are still well above 10%. Even mortgage lending, which primarily benefits the affluent, have been stagnant for years despite historically low rates.
As Stiglitz notes, the transmission mechanisms are broken. Economists' trickle down monetary policy might work in theory, but not in practice, as we have seen for the last seven years, when low rates don't trickle down and were wasted instead on asset speculation by the 1%.
Reform of the Fed, and the end of cronyism are essential to making sure that the stimulus of low rates gets to Main Street, to ordinary people, and not primarily to asset speculators.EMichael said in reply to Peter K....
"The recent decision by the Fed to raise interest rates is the latest example of the rigged economic system. Big bankers and their supporters in Congress have been telling us for years that runaway inflation is just around the corner. They have been dead wrong each time. Raising interest rates now is a disaster for small business owners who need loans to hire more workers and Americans who need more jobs and higher wages. As a rule, the Fed should not raise interest rates until unemployment is lower than 4 percent. Raising rates must be done only as a last resort - not to fight phantom inflation. "
It is hilarious.
"He's right! But his policies are wrong!"
You couldn't make this up......The financial system reform legislation in 2017 will also need to include these matters:BillB said...
1. Licensure fees and higher and more differential income taxation rates based on the type of financial trading ratios the entities have (in order to direct more emphasis to real-economy lending and away from speculative and leveraged positions used in the financial asset trading marketplaces, so hedge funds probably would face the highest rates in income taxation). For a certain period after enactment these added taxes would be payable by the banks using their excess reserves, which will simply be eliminated until the reserve accounts return to the historically normal period when excess reserves were very small (there would no longer be a need for IOER, as the excess would be eliminated by operation of the taxation statutes). Attaching added ways & means statutes to all the financial service entities also serves to 'cover' some more of huge financial risk held by society and produced by them while the success of this huge sector actually contributes to the financing of self-government - which is also an indirect way to attach high Net Worth being used).
2. New statutory provisions need to reach any and all entities in the financial community regardless of definitions based on the functions they serve or provide (or the way they are named - so yes, the prior separation for deposit-management banking from investing activities can still happen, but this only helps to define which of the differential provisions apply, not help the entity escape them). Perhaps as a result Bank Holding Companies and other large entities won't use a complex network of hundreds of subsidiaries as these would not then serve as a way to avoid taxation, regulatory standards on what are prudent expectations, or supervision; or be used simply to obfuscate -- so investors and regulators can't see the truth of matters.
3. The newly named central bank needs to hold the discretion to buy Treasury bonds directly from the Treasury. This would discipline these fundamental asset-trading marketplaces and the huge primary dealer group of entities, and weaken the fox-and-hen-house influence on public finance.
4. New accounting approaches for the central bank would clarify what happens should the Congress direct redemption amounts or asset sales for the public's purposes. A good portion of the current FRB's book of owned assets can be redeemed or sold without affecting the 'power' of the central bank, and the proceeds used then, for example, to lower payroll taxes via a direct transfer to the social security trust fund's set of accounts).
Senator Sanders, good stuff. Bring out the vote, let us get others in Congress with whom you can work.Summers: "The most important policy priority with respect to the Fed is protecting it from stone age monetary ideas like a return to the gold standard, or turning policymaking over to a formula, or removing the dual mandate commanding the Fed to worry about unemployment as well as inflation."pgl said in reply to pgl...
And in one sentence Summers illustrates exactly why we dodged a bullet in not appointing Summers to be Fed Chair. Preserving the power of the Fed is not the most important policy. Changing the Fed composition so that it is more consumer friendly and not dominated by Wall Street interests is the most important policy change needed.
Summers argument is the same we always hear from so-called "centrists." "You hippies should shut up because you are helping the opposition."
You hear the same sort of argument with respect to Black Lives Matter.
On financial regulation - Summers is spot on here:
"the Balkanized character of US banking regulation is indefensible and would be ended. The worst regulatory idea of the 20th century-the dual banking system-persists into the 21st. The idea is that we have two systems one regulated by the States and the Fed and the other regulated by the OCC so banks have choice. With ambitious regulators eager to expand their reach, the inevitable result is a race to the bottom."
It is called regulatory capture.
Summers is also calling for higher capital requirements. Excellent stuff!
Dec 27, 2015 | naked capitalism
An excellent column by Martin Wolf in the Financial Times, where he is the lead economics editor. Starting with principles put forward by Ben Bernanke in his recent speech on income inequality, Wolf concludes that America cannot do without some form of a welfare state, specifically improved training, education, and universal health care.
James Levy, December 26, 2015 at 4:32 pm
I have no idea if Marx was right, in the long run, or wrong–the verdict is still out on the long-term viability of industrial capitalism, which is less than 250 years old and creaking mightily as I write this. It may be that when Rosa Luxemburg said that the choice was between Socialism and Barbarism, she underestimated how likely barbarism was. What I do know is that capitalism today isn't just too ugly to tolerate, it is downright murderous. Its imperatives are driving the despoliation of the planet. It's love of profit over all else is cutting corners and creating externalities that are lethal. But it has made a few percent of the global population comfortable and powerful, and they are holding onto that comfort and that power come hell or high water (and, ironically, if things continue apace both are on the menu).
Our problem is that we are asking for concessions that are beyond the acceptable limit for elites in any historical epoch. We're asking the powerful and the rich to give up their money and power for the greater good of all mankind. This is not likely to happen unless a powerful enough segment of the elite comes to the inescapable conclusion that they're literally dead meat if they don't and therefore opts for survival over position. I am not enthusiastic that this will happen before it is way too late to save more than a fraction of the current world population, and send those people back to the lifestyles and thought patterns of 30 Year's War Europe.