Wednesday, December 2, 2020

My new podcast episode is out.

How COVID-19 killed Donald Trump’s Hope of Re-election – New Research



We knew this already but here are some numbers.

International Policy Digest
How COVID-19 killed Donald Trump’s Hope of Re-election – New Research
Paul Whiteley, Harold D. Clarke, Karl Ho and Marianne Stewart

China’s Path to Net Zero — Erik Berglöf

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent announcement that China aims to achieve carbon neutrality before 2060 marks one of the most important policy initiatives of the last 40 years. Reaching this goal will require extensive collaboration between government and the private sector, animated by a heightened sense of urgency....

Central planning an advantage in integrating policy and strategy? 

Project Syndicate 
China’s Path to Net Zero
Erik Berglöf | Chief Economist of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

My excellent Conversation with Zach Carter — Tyler Cowen

Keynes on eugenics. 

Keynes was concerned with Malthusian effects — population outstripping resources — in the developing world and advocated birth control.

Marginal Revolution
My excellent Conversation with Zach Carter
Tyler Cowen | Holbert C. Harris Chair of Economics at George Mason University and serves as chairman and general director of the Mercatus Center

Wages for the top 1% skyrocketed 160% since 1979 while the share of wages for the bottom 90% shrunk — Lawrence Mishel and Jori Kandra

Just deserts based on marginal contribution or institutional bias?

Economic Policy Institute
Wages for the top 1% skyrocketed 160% since 1979 while the share of wages for the bottom 90% shrunk: Time to remake wage pattern with economic policies that generate robust wage-growth for vast majority
Lawrence Mishel and Jori Kandra

Yellen And Akerlof Or Akerlof and Yellen? — J. Barkley Rosser


Janet Yellen is married to George Akerlof. The post is mostly about him.

George Akerlof's foremost contributions to economics are similar in kind (though not in content) to Hyman Minsky's in that they both brought to the fore extremely important information that was being overlooked, Akerlof in micro and Minsky in macro. 

Econospeak
Yellen And Akerlof Or Akerlof and Yellen?
J. Barkley Rosser | Professor of Economics and Business Administration James Madison University

Economic Sovereignty for Developing Countries: What Role for Modern Money Theory? — Basil Oberholzer

With modern money theory (MMT) receiving impressive attention, the implications this theory has for developing countries have also been discussed more intensely. Emphasizing both its strengths and gaps provides a great chance to further develop macroeconomic strategies for poverty reduction and environmental sustainability.
Developing Economics
Economic Sovereignty for Developing Countries: What Role for Modern Money Theory?
Basil Oberholzer

MMT: a primer — Richard Murphy


How did Richard Murphy do in summarizing MMT?

Tax Research UK
MMT: a primer
Richard Murphy | Professor of Practice in International Political Economy at City University, London; Director of Tax Research UK; non-executive director of Cambridge Econometrics, and a member of the Progressive Economy Forum

Understanding the War Industry (2020) — Jeremy Kuzmarov


Review of Christian Sorensen’s Understanding the War Industry (Clarity Press, 2020). Numbers.

Bill Totten's Weblog
Understanding the War Industry (2020)
Jeremy Kuzmarov


A credit crash ahead? — Michael Roberts

 Hypothetical, but worth considering the numbers.

The conditions are in place for a credit crunch owing to corporate debt if things don't turn around and governments don't step in. The situation is tenuous, and the US government is looking like it is turning back toward debt and deficit phobia based on Biden's economic team and the traditional GOP fiscal conservatism in Democratic administrations, which will be a factor unless Democrats take the US Senate.  

Michael Roberts Blog — blogging from a marxist economist
A credit crash ahead?
Michael Roberts

The New Era In Central Banking: Credit Policy — Brian Romanchuk

With interest rates hitting their effective lower bound, and the general skepticism towards the effects of growing central bank balance sheets via buying central government bonds, central bankers are being forced into a role they had largely avoided: directly extending credit to actors other than the central government. In some ways, this is a reversion to pre-World War II norms. From an analytical perspective, this shift largely eliminates the usefulness of most macro theory with respect to monetary policy....
Bond Economics
The New Era In Central Banking: Credit Policy
Brian Romanchuk

Trump threatens NDAA veto

 

Trump going scorched earth?   Govt shutdown looming December 11th....





UK approves Pfizer vaccine

 

Injections starting next week... US a week or two after that...

These will be REAL injections ... as opposed to the figurative “injections of money!”....  ofc Art Degree morons in charge will continue to think they are both real...



Reserves Thread

 

I guess she is saying to expect Reserve Assets to go even higher, and that Fed can still maintain interest rate policy under those conditions... which I guess is their one job...

Nothing about their figure of speech “inflation!”...





COVID-19 was silently infecting Americans before first cases emerged in Wuhan: CDC study

 Coronavirus was present in the U.S. weeks earlier than scientists and public health officials previously thought, raising questions about the pandemic origin


National Post

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

TASS — Russia favors developing independent payment mechanisms — Lavrov

Russia advocated developing its own settlement systems that will not depend on Western payment mechanisms, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a press conference following an online meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the countries participating in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).

When asked what steps Russia and Belarus will take if they are disconnected from the SWIFT system he said: "The conclusion is very simple. We need to develop our own mechanisms that will not preserve the dependence of our countries on the West, especially since the West has repeatedly proved its unreliability as a partner."

"Of course, relying on multilateral instruments that are entirely in the hands of the West, under the control of Western entities, is no longer quite reliable," the minister stressed.

"I would like to note that discussions about the transition to our own settlement systems have been going on not only in theory, but also in the practical terms both in the Russian Federation, and within the Eurasian Economic Union, within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a meeting of the Prime Ministers took place just a few days ago. The topic is quite relevant, and we will definitely strive for its implementation, regardless of how the SWIFT issue is resolved and what next steps our Western colleagues will take, if I may say so, "Lavrov added...
TASS
Russia favors developing independent payment mechanisms — Lavrov

How the Supreme Court Could Paralyze Biden’s Administration With One Decision — Hannah Mullen and Sejal Singh


The headline is a bit sensational (clickbait?) The article about determining limits on the legislative branch delegating powers to the executive branch. 

Conservative justices do not favor broad delegation. It is about increasing specificity. 

Not as dramatic as the headline makes out but it would have an effect on the power of the executive, which is a good thing from the point of view of democracy if not efficiency.

Now if they would just apply this to foreign policy, military in particular, to limit the president's war powers.

Slate
How the Supreme Court Could Paralyze Biden’s Administration With One Decision
Hannah Mullen and Sejal Singh

May Bulman - Poorest dying nearly 10 years younger than rich in 'deeply worrying' trend, study shows

' Falling life expectancy in the poorest communities is a deeply worrying indicator of the state of our nation’s health, and shows that we are leaving the most vulnerable out of the collective gain’


The Independent 

Does Economic Growth Justify the System - Noam Chomsky

I've been saying this for years, but Noam Chomsky manages it in two sentences. 


All public resources go to the rich. The poor, if they can survive in the labor market, fine. Otherwise, they die. That's economics in a nutshell.

Noam Chomsky

 



Chinese embassy accuses Australia of stoking nationalism, fake outrage

The Chinese embassy has issued a blistering response to the “rage and roar” of Australian politicians accusing Prime Minister Scott Morrison of “overreacting” to a tweet depicting an Australian soldier killing a child.



Just over 24 hours after the shocking fake image of a grinning soldier appearing to slit the throat of an Afghan child was posted on Twitter, the Chinese Embassy has responded to the PM’s demands for an apology.

Monday, November 30, 2020

Killing The Future: COVID Madness Will Lead To Half A Million Fewer US Births In 2021 — Steve Watson

CDC research notes that the birth rate in the US has been below replacement level since 1971. It is now a problem across all major racial groups including Hispanics, non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks, and non-Hispanic Asians. All have below replacement birth levels.…

You can ignore the conspiracy theory stuff at the end of the article. Interesting numbers otherwise.

Zero Hedge
Killing The Future: COVID Madness Will Lead To Half A Million Fewer US Births In 2021
Steve Watson via Summit News

Bill Mitchell — Those in glass houses …

I saw a letter published by IPPR – who call themselves “The Progressive Policy Think Tank” – urging the BBC to change the way it conducts economic commentary. The letter – Economists urge BBC to rethink ‘inappropriate’ reporting of UK economy – was sent to the Director-General of the BBC following some “BBC reporting of the spending review” which they say “misrepresented the financial constraints facing the UK government and economy.” The H.M. Treasury – Spending Review 2020 – was published on November 25, 2020. I decided not to comment on it publicly given that my time is poor at the moment with lots of writing deadlines and travel now resuming with pent-up demand for my services (in person). It was what you would expect from the British Treasury. But some of the signatories to this latest letter criticising the BBC coverage of the Spending Review should look in the mirror. They seem to have short memories or perhaps they are learning the error of their ways. We can only hope....
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Those in glass houses …
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Mike Ingram - Microsoft’s new “Productivity Score” helps employers spy on workers

 It can even tell bosses how well-connected you are to other employees, which will indicate to them how successful you are likely to be in driving the company forward. 

Microsoft has expanded the analytics provided with its Office 365 suite of productivity applications into a “full-fledged workplace surveillance tool” according to privacy advocates.

The tool, called Productivity Score, allows employers to know the number of days a person was active on Microsoft Word, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint, Skype and Teams over the previous four weeks and on what type of device.

J.S. Nelson is an associate professor of law at Villanova University who studies workplace surveillance. She told Forbes the software is “horrendous.” “Why are they monitoring people this way and what is that telling people about the relationship they should have with their employers in the workplace? What message are you sending?” she asked. 

WSWS

Mike Ingram - Microsoft’s new “Productivity Score” helps employers spy on workers

Winklevoss twins say bitcoin will soar to $500,000 and surpass gold as a store of value — Emily Graffeo

 Let's see how this prediction turns out. (They are talking their book.)

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss told CNBC that bitcoin will skyrocket to $500,000 within the next decade as it surpasses gold as a store of value.
Business Insider
Winklevoss twins say bitcoin will soar to $500,000 and surpass gold as a store of value
Emily Graffeo

See also

New Economic Perspectives
The Fair Price of Bitcoin is Zero (December 2, 2013)
Eric Tymoigne

The World’s Largest Trade Pact Could Crush U.S. Gas Exports — Tsvetana Paraskova

The world’s newest trade pact could bolster commodity trade among its members, thanks to reduced or eliminated tariffs on oil, gas, and coal among those members. Analysts believe that membership in the trade bloc could help to defuse the current strained relations between Australia and China, a major exporter and a top importer of fossil fuels in the region, respectively.

Yet, the pact could further sideline U.S. exporters of energy to the world’s most resource-thirsty region, especially if the upcoming Biden Administration makes good on its promise to ban new drilling on federal lands and waters, Ariel Cohen, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council and Founding Principal of Washington D.C.-based risk advisory International Market Analysis, wrote in an article in Forbes....
Oilprice
The World’s Largest Trade Pact Could Crush U.S. Gas Exports
Tsvetana Paraskova

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Bill Mitchell — ECB operations are like the wild west and beyond democratic legitimacy

I read a very interesting study by two Dutch academics last week – The ECB, the courts and the issue of democratic legitimacy after Weiss – which will be published in the Common Market Law Review (Vol 57, No 6, 2020). It examines the way in which the ECB operations and policy interventions have gone way beyond their original conception in the Maastricht Treaty and now conflict with democratic accountability. While the authors propose ways to address the democratic deficit, I am sceptical. Essentially, there needs to be a fundamental change in the Treaty and the establishment of a federal fiscal capacity embedded into a genuine European government. But then pigs might fly!
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
ECB operations are like the wild west and beyond democratic legitimacy
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Andrew Batson — Will China target inequality next?

Right on schedule, Chinese officials have declared they have officially met the target of eliminating extreme poverty by 2020. The anti-poverty campaign was one of Xi Jinping’s signature initiatives over the past three years. With its focus on the rural poor and neglected regions, the initiative had a more “socialist” flavor compared to Xi’s two other major political campaigns, for environmental cleanup and financial rectitude, which focused on issues of more concern to urban elites.

Now all three of those campaigns are wrapping up, and the bureaucracy is starting to plan a whole new cycle of initiatives for the beginning of the next five-year plan in 2021. So what’s next? What kind of goal or program could meet some of the same political and ideological goals as the anti-poverty campaign? Various official comments and policy documents suggest that China’s government is preparing for a stronger focus on redistribution and reducing inequality, using more specific and quantitative targets than before....
Andrew Batson's Blog
Will China target inequality next?
Andrew Batson

Why Money Doesn't Matter That Much — Brian Romanchuk

 

Brian kindly takes the time to reply to Scott Sumner.

Bond Economics
Why Money Doesn't Matter That Much
Brian Romanchuk

TGA

 

ZH/Morgan Stanley projecting about $200B/mo reduction in TGA starting in January.... that’s a lot of “money pumping!”...




Saturday, November 28, 2020

Why money matters — Scott Sumner

Some commenters who are sympathetic to MMT seem unfamiliar with the standard view of why money matters. They argue that swapping base money for an equal dollar value of bonds doesn’t matter, because the recipient of the new money is no better off than before. It’s true they are (approximately) no better off, but that’s NOT why economists think money matters. It would be nice if commenters showed they understood the traditional view, and then explained why it’s wrong and MMT is right....

More questions. Still stuck in the old paradigm that base money matters.

The Money Illusion
Why money matters
Scott Sumner | Ralph G. Hawtrey Chair of Monetary Policy at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University