Wednesday, February 20, 2019

TRNN - Venezuela: The Epicenter of the "Pink Tide" and Now of the Right-Wing Rollback

This goes very well with the BadMouseProductions video.

The professor of sociology, William I. Robinson, explains how the Latin America Pink Tide revolution went wrong when they relied too much on their resources for income while using Western corporations for their extraction. William I. Robinson says they should have diversified and nationalised their financial and banking sectors. To be fair to the socialists, though, I think they didn't want to upset Western interests too much as this could have brought on disaster for them.

Trump says he's going to stamp out socialism in the Americas and bring in 'freedom'. But what he is really scared of is the U.S. itself becoming socialist as millions of Americans are being disenfranchised by capitalism.

The effort to rollback Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution must be seen as part of a determined effort to pry open all economies to transnational capital - it's about access, says sociologist of globalization William I. Robinson

BadMouseProductions - Debunking the Economic Freedom Map

How the advocates of capitalism twist logic. If the third world embraced more markets they would become richer, like us in the first world, they say, but the IMF and the World Bank have forced open free markets on them which has enslaved them into poverty, while also saddling them with loans they can never repay because their economies can't grow.

Many Indian farmers have committed suicide over the last few decades when India opened up its markets to Western competition after pressure from the West. Local farmers grew crops and rice on their small family farms which they sold in the local markets, which kept their local economy going, but Western companies were  able to flood their markets with cheap, mass produced crops and rice grown on massive farms using lots of technology with very few workers. Rural Indian farmers lost their livelihood and many committed suicide.

China has done the opposite of the IMF and World Bank recommended neoliberal reforms, and has protected its markets from foreign competition while the government has massively spent on building up its infrastructure, just like the U.S. did at the beginning of the last century, and Britain had done in the century before that.

For further information on this sort of thing I recommend '23 things they didn't tell you about Capitalism' and 'The Entrepreneurial State'.

Alastair Crooke — The Dire, Unintended Consequences of Trump’s MAGA War on China

De-globalization and the collapse of the Post WWII world order. Sailing into uncharted territory.

Strategic Culture Foundation
The Dire, Unintended Consequences of Trump’s MAGA War on China
Alastair Crooke | founder and director of the Conflicts Forum, and former British diplomat and senior figure in British intelligence and in European Union diplomacy

See also

Consortium News
PATRICK LAWRENCE: Pompeo, Pence & the Alienation of Europe

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Peter May — A communist manifesto for money?

I am reposting the article below by Wally Mooney (with permission) which was an indirect reply to Paul Mason’s recent article.
I thought it was a very lucid and well-argued piece on why Modern Monetary Theory (MMT)’s conclusions as to how money is created is factually correct and that is the case whether you are a Marxist or a Capitalist or somewhere in between. For me it also illuminated Marxist ideas (with which I have to imagine, Paul Mason presumably agrees).
Must-read, IMHO.

Wally Mooney has this essentially right.

Opponents rightly fear the job guarantee as a step in this direction through increasing labor bargaining power by termination the buffer stock of unemployed that the ownership and managerial class uses to "discipline" workers and the central banks employs to control inflation using NAIRU (non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment).

Aside: Peter may writes: "I was rather surprised that there was so much to agree with here – yes there are a few controversial and, for me, dubious ideas such as 'there can be no capitalist system without money' which I’d suggest should be: no proper economy without money…."

While there may not be a proper economy without money, isn't arguing that. Marx is saying that money — a monetary production economy — is the basis for capitalism since capitalists use money to produce goods for sale for more money — investment is for return, that is, profit. The profit comes from the wage being less than the market price of commodities produced by wage labor. The end-in-view is not to provide a rationale for abolishing money but rather for terminating the extraction of economic rent in the form of "surplus value," profit accruing from unpaid labor time. 
Unpaid work is a form of slavery. The argument that workers agree to it is bogus, since in a monetary economy in which goods are rationed by ability to pay for them, income from a job is necessary for those without other income or assets, which is most workers. So there is no choice but to accept a job offer in which the work is at a disadvantage.

This is similar feudal land lords extracting economic rent from agricultural. Capitalism is a continuation of feudalism in another guise, with the factory being substituted for the manor and the capitalist standing in for the land lord.

Progressive Pulse
A communist manifesto for money?
Peter May

Renegade Inc: The Finance Curse

I read Nick Shaxson's book years ago and it was excellent. Finance is an important part of society helping businesses to grow while earning interest on people's investments, but when it gets too large it can become parasitic harming growth.

Also, the best brains are attracted to finance and so other vital sectors of the economy may suffer. The best engineers, scientists, and mathematicians will often go into finance when they could be designing state-of-the-art products to improve the standard of living in society and our world, which I'm sure most of these scientists and engineers would find more interesting and fulfilling.

Finance good, big finance better and biggest finance best. This subtle mantra has bounced around developed economies for decades and has almost entirely captured politicians, the media and the public. Countries have fallen over themselves to attract financial corporates to their shores to ‘create wealth’. But recent studies have shown that financialisation actually extracts wealth, hollows out an economy and drives inequality. Host Ross Ashcroft is joined by the author Nick Shaxson to ask if it is finally dawning on us that what has been sold to us as a blessing is actually a curse?

John Christensen - 500,000 people have watched my film exposing Britain’s tax havens. Here’s why it has struck a chord

The Spider's Web explores how London became the money-laundering capital of the world

We released The Spider’s Web: Britain’s Second Empire for free download in mid-September and close to half a million people have viewed this film since its release.  Here’s why I think it is resonating with audiences across the world.

The Spider’s Web is a documentary about how the City of London emerged from the demise of the British Empire in the 1950s and re-established itself as the leading global financial centre.  The mainstream narrative is that British bankers and lawyers are particularly adept at providing financial services to big corporations and wealthy elites across the world, British justice is trusted across the planet, and London provides a politically stable and competitive base for international finance. Much of that narrative is true.  Wealthy elites do trust the British courts to protect their assets, even when they’ve been looted from the poorest countries.  The City of London does indeed host a cluster of specialised banks and law firms which can provide sophisticated tax avoidance services to the biggest of multinational companies. But London also sits at the centre of a global web of offshore secrecy jurisdictions, which includes Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, Cayman, the Channel Islands, Gibraltar, the Turks and Caicos, Gibraltar, and others, which allow rich and powerful players to dodge taxes, to escape regulations, to money-launder, to cheat their creditors, and to engage in a host of corrupt activities with almost total impunity from investigation and prosecution. In short The Spider’s Web details how Britain, and London in particular, was covertly turned into the money-laundering centre of choice for crooks from across the planet.

Many people will have sensed that something was not right about Britain’s tax haven empire, and those who have followed the Panama Paper and Paradise Paper stories will have read about the key role played by the British Virgin Islands and Bermuda in these revelations of top-end scandals. This did not happen by accident; behind the scenes, from the 1950s onwards, key players in the City were carefully manipulating laws and regulations to their advantage, and this was made all the easier by having access to remote islands in the Caribbean and elsewhere, beyond the prying eyes of journalists and crime investigators. My own investigations began in the 1980s when I returned home to Jersey to work inside one of the world’s top accounting firms.  If you watch the film you will hear what my investigations uncovered. While working in Jersey I also witnessed corruption at the highest political level, and eventually ended up helping the Wall Street Journal to investigate a banking scandal which the Jersey authorities were desperate to bury.  I also came to know former Jersey Senator Stuart Syvret, who we interviewed for The Spider’s Web in Saint Helier.  If you watch the film you will hear from Stuart what happened when he uncovered an ugly scandal at Jersey’s main hospital and the lengths the authorities went to silence him.  I know from discussions with audiences in many countries that viewers find the sequence when the good, honest Jersey bobby tries to drown out the interview using a motorcycle siren particularly disturbing.

The Spider’s Web strikes a chord with audiences because it confronts us with a truth that many people knew all along but have chosen to ignore.  Corruption runs through banks, accounting firms and law firms, and the offshore secrecy jurisdictions that host them like the message running through a stick of rock.  For decades our politicians have promised to crack down on Britain’s secrecy jurisdictions, and for decades little or nothing has been achieved. Democracy and the rule of law in Britain have been greatly diminished as a result of this failure. Britain’s economy is heavily dependent on dirty money inflows looted from across the world, and it will take a massive and radical change of course to escape from this overdependence on tax havenry. Efforts to clean up the City will be met with bitter and protracted resistance.  Many bankers and lawyers will need to go to jail if we are to persuade these professions that the game is up on their monkey business. The Spider’s Web was launched mid-year in 2017, since when I’ve attended screenings across the world and discussed with a wide range of audiences.  Many issues are raised, but the question that comes up most frequently is straightforward and challenging: “Why has The Spider’s Web not been screened by the BBC?” Good question.

Read more at:

Yanis Varoufakis — Utopian science fictions legitimising our current dystopia – 2019 Taylor Lecture, Oxford University

Big! We really need to be talking about this and examining assumptions and presuppositions that act as hidden assumptions. Yanis is a systems thinker.
The Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages, Oxford University, kindly invited me to deliver the 2019 Taylor Lecture on 12th February 2019. I chose the topic of Realistic Utopias versus Dystopic Realities – my aim being to highlight the manner in which really-existing capitalism is marketed as a utopian science fiction that has nothing to do with… really-existing capitalism. Behind this elegant utopian mathematical the powers-that-be hide a dismal dystopia that is failing humanity in a variety of ways.…
The emperor has no clothes.

Pure capitalism and pure socialism are both based on utopian thinking. They are ideal rather than real, based on models whose stipulated assumptions are not achievable in the real world given existing conditions. It is questionable whether those conditions could ever be met. 

This doesn't imply, however, that more ideal society as a functional utopia is not achievable by getting from here to closer to there, that is, getting from where we are now to where would like like to be and doing so realistically through iteration and incrementation. This is an evolutionary process in a complex adaptive system characterized by reflexivity and emergence, hence, affected by synergy with the implication of uncertainty. Conversely, trying to impose an ideal structural system constructed from assumptions is folly.

Utopian science fictions legitimising our current dystopia – 2019 Taylor Lecture, Oxford UniversityYanis Varoufakis

David Andolfatto — Is Neo-Fisherism Nuts?

Backing into MMT.
The point of all this is, IF higher inflation is desired (and I am by no means advocating any such policy), THEN why not keep the policy rate low and use "free lunch" fiscal policies as long as inflation remains below target? Why bother experimenting with the Neo-Fisherian prescription of raising the policy rate that's somehow supposed to make people magically expect higher inflation?
The post is a just a bit wonkish (equations) but worth reading since this is coming up more.

Is Neo-Fisherism Nuts?
David Andolfatto | Vice President, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Pepe Escobar — US elites remain incapable of understanding China

A new report on US policy toward China launched by the Asia Society in New York is another example of how supposedly bipartisan US intellectual elites, instead of offering impartial advice, do little more than parrot Washington’s talking points, failing to admit they know nothing of substance about the existential “threats” posed by Russia and China.
The report ‘Course Correction: Toward an Effective and Sustainable China Policy‘ was written in collaboration with the 21st Century Chinese Center at the University of California, San Diego. Orville Schell, one of the chairs of the Task Force Report, should be seen as one of the least biased among an uneven basket of self-declared US experts on China.…
Still, he frames the report as trying to find a way between “confronting China” and “accommodating China.”...
Passing more expert brain gas.

Asia Times
US elites remain incapable of understanding China
Pepe Escobar

Bill Dudley — Budget Deficits Still Matter

Amazing. A major player at the Fed and key voice in setting monetary policy didn't know how the monetary system works based on correct operational understanding — which MMT provides and which he also proves ignorant about. And this when he was also serving on the FOMC and deeply involved in setting monetary policy for the US, which also affects the entire world, during the crisis and aftermath.

Bloomberg Opinion
Budget Deficits Still Matter
Bill Dudley
William C. Dudley is an American economist who served as the president of Federal Reserve Bank of New York from 2009-2018 and as vice-chairman of the Federal Open Market Committee. —Wikipedia


Jeff Spross explains why monetary policy set by the Fed is less effective than fiscal policy owing to the Fed's shotgun approach versus the tight targeting of spending that MMT and other fiscalists recommend.

But he assumes for the argument that the Fed knows what it it doing. Bill Dudley's op-ed above shows that is not the case.

This undercuts the argument for preferring monetary policy to fiscal policy since fiscal policy is in the hands of politicians with interests, whereas the Fed is politically independent and operated by knowledgable people. Turns out they are not all that knowledgable after all.

Gene Veith — “Modern Monetary Theory”: Deficits Don't Matter

More "criticism" of MMT for the record. Another rant by the clueless for the clueless. Handwringing.

Cranach at Patheos
“Modern Monetary Theory”: Deficits Don't Matter
Gene Veith

Bill Mitchell — German growth strategy falters – exposes deep flaws in the EU architecture

Last week (February 14, 2019), Eurostat released its latest national accounts estimates – GDP up by 0.2% and employment up by 0.3% in the euro area – which confirmed that EU growth rates have declined significantly over the course of 2018. Moreover, the December-quarter data confirmed Italy is in official recession and Germany recorded zero growth (thereby avoiding the ‘technical recession’ category after contracting by 0.2 per cent in the September-quarter). Export expenditure accounts for nearly 50 per cent of Germany’s GDP – a massive proportion. It has adopted a growth strategy based on impoverishing its own residents through flat wages growth and a sustained proportion of low-paid, precarious jobs and setting its sail on sucking out expenditure from other nations (in the form of their imports). This has been particularly damaging to the Eurozone partners but also exposes Germany to the fluctuations in world export markets. Those markets are softening for various reasons (economic and political) and, as a result, German growth has hit the wall. The solution is simple – stimulate domestic demand, push for higher wages for workers, outlaw Minijobs, and start fixing the massively degraded public infrastructure that the austerity bent has starved. Likelihood of the German government adopting that sort of responsible policy. Zero to very low. There is the problem of the Eurozone from another angle. The main economy cannot play the game properly....
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
German growth strategy falters – exposes deep flaws in the EU architecture
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Bill Black — Modern Monetary Theory is On the March

Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) continues to advance rapidly. We are past the first phase of reaction (first they ignore you), deeply into the second phase (then they attack you), and expanding the ranks of the third phase (then you win). We are very early in the third phase, winning with increasing numbers of people, but still a minority view.
One of the proofs of MMT’s advances is a nearly respectable treatment by the Wall Street Journal as the feature of a news article. The other major proof is the pathetic efforts of MMT critics quoted in the article to attack MMT. The article, implicitly, admits that MMT scholars have repeatedly proved correct in their predictions that the existing and projected U.S. fiscal budget deficits would not trigger damaging shortages of real resources that will cause damaging levels of inflation. The article, implicitly, admits that nations with fully sovereign currencies are vastly less vulnerable to economic injury from budget deficits.
The article implicitly admits that MMT opponents’ predictions have failed and that reality has repeatedly falsified their archaic monetary theories that described nations living under the gold standard and therefore lacked a fully sovereign currency.…
When the WSJ throws in the towel, you are winning. That means that the debate is going to shift toward the political and specifically toward fiscal policy, now that affordability is out of the way.
New Economic Perspectives
Modern Monetary Theory is On the March
William K. Black | Associate Professor of Economics and Law, UMKC

LIVE: Jeremy Corbyn makes speech following yesterday's resignations

Chunky Mark - The Funny Tinge Group. Seven Labour MP's resign to form a centrist party for more wars, more neoliberalism, more privatisation

Michael Carr — Why Modern Money Theory is Bad for the Economy

File under "behind the times."

Another nutty rant "argument" against MMT for the record.

Banyan Hill
Why Modern Money Theory is Bad for the Economy
Michael Carr, CMT, CFTe | Editor, Peak Velocity Trader

Here's a few more that don't understand the operational reality.

Hellenic Shipping News
Worry About Debt? Not So Fast, Some Economists Say

New American
“Modern Monetary Theory” Will Pay for AOC's Green New Deal
Bob Adelmann

Monday, February 18, 2019

Saudi Arabia and 4 US territories make EU’s ‘dirty money’ blacklist

But the U.S. and the U.K. aren't happy. They still support the head-choppers.

Zach Carter and Alexander C. Kaufman — The War On Climate Change Won’t Be Won Quibbling Over The Green New Deal’s Costs

The Green New Deal unveiled last week by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is a powerful and ambitious statement. It’s more than just a delineation of the enormous changes that will be required to stave off the most cataclysmic impacts of climate warming. It offers a portrait of the better world we can create by doing so.
It also has no chance of becoming law, not while Republicans control the Senate and climate change denier Donald Trump resides in the White House.
Markey and Ocasio-Cortez know this. That’s why the Green New Deal is framed as a joint resolution, not a formal law, meaning even if it passed, the measure wouldn’t bind the government to any new policies. This distinction is key to understanding what the Green New Deal is — and is not — and how to usefully talk about it now. It is a major statement of the Democratic Party’s political priorities. It is not a detailed blueprint of how to get there — or how to pay for it.
The Green New Deal’s agenda, however, is clear: Dramatic action must be taken to avert a climate disaster that will otherwise render much of the world uninhabitable. This is an emergency that deserves immediate attention. Millions of lives are quite literally at stake....
The War On Climate Change Won’t Be Won Quibbling Over The Green New Deal’s Costs: The mounting damage of global warming is a crisis far greater than the deficit.
Zach Carter and Alexander C. Kaufman

Philip Geraldi - Is Tulsi Gabbard for Real?

America Is Ready for a Genuine Peace Candidate

Philip Geraldi, a staunch conservative, is ready for Tulsi Gabbard. 
Tulsi’s own military experience notwithstanding, she gives every indication of being honestly anti-war. In the speech announcing her candidacy she pledged “focus on the issue of war and peace” to “end the regime-change wars that have taken far too many lives and undermined our security by strengthening terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda.” She referred to the danger posed by blundering into a possible nuclear war and indicated her dismay over what appears to be a re-emergence of the Cold War.

Not afraid of challenging establishment politics, she called for an end to the “illegal war to overthrow the Syrian government,” also observing that “the war to overthrow Assad is counter-productive because it actually helps ISIS and other Islamic extremists achieve their goal of overthrowing the Syrian government of Assad and taking control of all of Syria – which will simply increase human suffering in the region, exacerbate the refugee crisis, and pose a greater threat to the world.” She then backed up her words with action by secretly arranging for a personal trip to Damascus in 2017 to meet with President Bashar al-Assad, saying it was important to meet adversaries “if you are serious about pursuing peace.” She made her own assessment of the situation in Syria and now favors pulling US troops out of the country as well as ending American interventions for “regime change” in the region.
The  Unz Review

Caitlin Johnstone - Yes, Moscow Boosts Western Anti-Imperialist Voices. So What?

RT USA is one of my favorite sites, but I only go there because it publishes opinions similar to mine. It doesn't influence me in anyway, and sometimes it really disappoints me, but that will be on RT channels I never use. 
The Russians don't want to get nuked anyone than I do, so we have a shared common interest at the moment. 
If CNN would like to hire me to present facts against destructive US wars and corporate ownership of our political system, I’ll gladly accept,” Khalek told me when asked for comment. “But the corporate media doesn’t allow antiwar voices a platform. In The Now does. I’ve worked for dozens of different outlets, from Vice to Al Jazeera to RT, and my message has always been the same: leftist, antiwar and pro justice and equality. People should be asking why US mainstream media outlets that claim to be free and independent refuse to air critical and adversarial voices like mine.”
Why indeed? Actually, if CNN is so worried about Russian media influence in America, all they’d have to do is put on a few shows featuring leftist, antiwar and pro-justice voices and that would be the end of it. They could easily out-spend RT by a massive margin, buy up all the talent like Khalek, Lee Camp and Chris Hedges, put on a sleek, high-budget show and steal RT America’s audience, killing it dead and drawing all anti-establishment energy to their material.
But they don’t. They don’t, and they never will. Because Russian media influence is not their actual target. Their actual target is leftist, antiwar and anti-establishment voices. That’s what they’re really trying to eliminate.

Rohan Grey On Digital Currency, Privacy, And Modern Monetary Theory — David Beckworth interviews Rohan Grey

Rohan Grey is a legal scholar and the research director of the Digital Fiat Currency Institute. He joins the show today to make the case for digital legal tender. David and Rohan also discuss privacy issues related to digital currency, getting the public onboard with a digital currency proposal, modern monetary theory, and how it is different than mainstream economics....
Audio and transcript.

Seeking Alpha
Macro Musings Podcast: Rohan Grey On Digital Currency, Privacy, And Modern Monetary Theory
David Beckworth interviews Rohan Grey

Alexander Rubinstein and Max Blumenthal - How One of America’s Premier Data Monarchs is Funding a Global Information War and Shaping the Media Landscape

Through his purchase of influence over the daily flow of information to American media consumers, a dizzying array of connections to the national security state, and a media empire that shields him from critical scrutiny, Pierre Omidyar has become one of the world’s most politically sophisticated data monarchs.

His boss is Pierre Omidyar, the ebay founder best known for his sponsorship of The Intercept, a flashy progressive publication that possesses the classified documents exfiltrated by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. 

Omidyar’s support for the same neocon guru who oversaw the publication of an article branding NSA spying whistleblower Edward Snowden as a “traitor” should place the ebay founder’s acquisition of the Snowden files in a disturbing light. By establishing The Intercept and recruiting the journalists who possessed Snowden’s leaks, the billionaire effectively privatized the files. Not only did this delay their release, it denied the public access to the information in order to supply his stable of hired reporters with exclusive scoops that continue to appear years after they were leaked. To this day, only a minuscule percentage of the Snowden files have been made public and, for whatever reason, none of those that have been released relate to ebay or its assorted business interests.
Behind the image he has cultivated of himself as a “progressive philanthropreneur,” Omidyar has wielded his media empire to advance the Washington consensus in strategic hotspots around the globe. His fortune helped found an outlet to propel a destabilizing coup in Ukraine; he’s helped establish a network of oppositional youth activists and bloggers in Zimbabwe; and in the Philippines he has invested in an oppositional news site that is honing corporate surveillance techniques like a “mood meter…to capture non-rational reactions.” Meanwhile, he has partnered closely with the leading arms of U.S. soft power, from the U.S. Agency for International Aid and Development (USAID) to the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) — acting as a conduit for information warfare-style projects in countries around the world.
Mint Press

David F. Ruccio — Poverty and inequality—on a global scale

More numbers sleight of hand.
It should perhaps come as no surprise that, as capitalism has been called into question and socialism generated increasing interest during the past decade, capitalism’s defenders have resorted to a long historical view. Look, they say, how capitalist growth has decreased poverty and led to improvements in people’s lives around the globe. Just stick with it and all will eventually be well.
That’s why, as Jason Hickel points out, the above infographic, based on sketchiest of data going back to 1820, is one of Bill Gates’s favorites. Or why Deirdre McCloskey never tires in scolding the critics of capitalism that “the Great Fact of modern life, the most surprising secular news since the domestication of plants and animals, is the rise of real income per head.”...
The masses people who were bulldozed into the capitalist labor system now produce and consume the immense accumulation of commodities that represents the growing wealth of nations around the world.
But even as the percentage of workers living in extreme poverty has declined, especially in recent decades, they’re falling further and further behind the tiny group at the top. That’s because the incomes generated by economic growth on a global scale have been unevenly distributed....
In other words, extreme poverty may have fallen but relative immiseration has proceeded apace—the result of a growing gap between those who have a lot and those who now have a little....
Occasional Links & Commentary

Kim Iversen - Rep Ilhan Omar tells the truth about pro-Israel AIPAC and gets smeared.

Just saying that AIPAC has too much influence in Washington is considered anti-Semitic, apparently. AIPAC will now sponsor politicians to run against Ilhan Omar to get her removed as they do to any politician that doesn't do as they say. And with enough money they are often successful.

Ilhan Omar had the 'audacity' stand up to a very wealthy aristocrat, which is considered to be an outrage by many on the right.

Here's the documentary series you MUST WATCH:

Sriram Balasubramanian — Wellbeing measurements, Easterlin’s paradox and new growth models: A perspective through gross national happiness

 A good article.

Based on my observation as a traveler years ago, many people in so-called "poor countries" as "happier" than most people in developed countries, but this is true most of those people that were rural and their lifestyle was close to the historically indigenous culture. They were "happier" in the sense that they had few wants and those wants were mostly needs that were met through "tribal" culture and simple technology.

"Happiness" is in the mind, and it is grounded in the level of consciousness of individuals and their collective consciousness as communities and societies. So-called primitive societies have developed social systems and personal development that generally serves well in its environment. External conditions are not sufficient in approaching happiness as a subjective factor. In fact, some of the unhappiest people I have known were extremely wealthy. They dealt with their issues through substance abuse or abnormal behavior.

Traditionalisms have been saying that real happiness is within and that status, power and wealth can at best provide a palliative. They can only serve as a façade.

The problems, challenges really, arise when these traditional systems come into contact with developed systems and new conditions begin to predominate. The problem is one of scale. Scaling up "underdeveloped" systems to meet the criteria of the West presents the challenge of also bringing along the positive aspects of so-called primitive cultures. That generally doesn't happens, it seems from experience, especially when traditional peoples are forced to adopt new ways and fit themselves into an alien mold, either owing to changing conditions, or by force.

This also brings in the current conflict between traditionalism and liberalism, especially when liberalism is viewed as neoliberalism. This is also connected with the West perceiving its shouldering "the white man's burden" by bringing the 18th century Enlightenment to the rest of the world and forcing it on traditional peoples in the name of progress.

It not going to be possible to develop a very useful Gross Happiness Index under those conditions, since it won't fit the realities of the dialectic that the world is now in the midst of going through. The good news is that the "holy grail" of unlimited growth that underlies neoliberalism is being challenged by changing circumstances and neo-imperialism and neocolonialism are being challenged by emergent powers.

Wellbeing measurements, Easterlin’s paradox and new growth models: A perspective through gross national happiness
Sriram Balasubramanian | Consultant Economist, International Finance Corporation

Dirk Ehnts — The Economist misrepresents MMT

I have read the articles that The Economist published on Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) in the current edition of the liberal-leaning magazine (hereand there). I am not happy with the reporting, which includes false statements in general and also misrepresentations of what MMT is....
The Economist just put the UK debate on progressive economic policy on a slippery slope, claiming that a particular school of economics science constitutes “doctrine” and then misrepresenting that school’s views. They should know better than this...
Dirk Ehnts points out that the problem lies with the framing The Economist uses. The frame is based on assumptions that MMT argues are wrong based on the evidence. It is therefore a bogus argument against a straw man set up by the frame. 

This is at heart a political (ideological) issue being framed as an economic one, from a bias that doesn't hold up to scrutiny when compared with reality. The Economist tries to frame MMT as lef-wing ideology and conventional economics as science. NOT!

Neoclassical economics ignores the accounting and the institutions that lie at the foundation of the issues and determine the correct frame. MMT explains this, both explicating the correct frame and showing why the neoclassical framing is wrong because it either ignores it or makes mistakes about it.

econoblog 101
The Economist misrepresents MMT
Dirk Ehnts | Lecturer at Bard College Berlin

Chunky Mark - ‪Capital Flight?!? Unf*^knbelievable!!!Billionaires, Corporations, Companies FLEEING!!! Theresa May

Britain is being looted!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Michael Klare — A Long War of Attrition

Washington’s fears of a rising China were on full display in January with the release of the 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community, a synthesis of the views of the Central Intelligence Agency and other members of that “community.” Its conclusion: “We assess that China’s leaders will try to extend the country’s global economic, political, and military reach while using China’s military capabilities and overseas infrastructure and energy investments under the Belt and Road Initiative to diminish U.S. influence.”
To counter such efforts, every branch of government is now expected to mobilize its capabilities to bolster American -- and diminish Chinese -- power. In Pentagon documents, this stance is summed up by the term “overmatch,” which translates as the eternal preservation of American global superiority vis-à-vis China (and all other potential rivals). “The United States must retain overmatch,” the administration’s National Security Strategyinsists, and preserve a “combination of capabilities in sufficient scale to prevent enemy success,” while continuing to “shape the international environment to protect our interests.”
In other words, there can never be parity between the two countries. The only acceptable status for China is as a distinctly lesser power. To ensure such an outcome, administration officials insist, the U.S. must take action on a daily basis to contain or impede its rise....
When it comes to the economy, the language betrays the reality all too clearly. The Trump administration’s economic struggle with China is regularly described, openly and without qualification, as a “war.” And there’s no doubt that senior White House officials, beginning with the president and his chief trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, see it just that way: as a means of pulverizing the Chinese economy and so curtailing that country’s ability to compete with the United States in all other measures of power....
In fact, this should be considered a straightforward declaration of economic war. Acquiescing to such demands would mean accepting a permanent subordinate status vis-à-vis the United States in hopes of continuing a profitable trade relationship with this country....
Completing the picture of America’s ongoing war with China are the fierce pressures being exerted on the diplomatic and military fronts to frustrate Beijing’s geopolitical ambitions....
That puts the US and China on a collision course.

Tom Dispatch
Tomgram: Michael Klare, A Long War of Attrition

Zero Hedge — In "Serious Blow" To US, Britain Concludes Huawei Is "Manageable Risk" To 5G Rollout

Following intense pressure from the US on its European allies to boycott the use of Huawei products in the rollout of next-generation 5G products and shut out the Chinese telecom giant from local markets, Germany was the first nation to rebuke Washington, with Handeslblatt reporting last week that the German government wanted to avoid excluding products offered by Huawei.
Now it's the UK's turn.
In the latest "serious blow" to US efforts to persuade allies to ban the Chinese supplier from high-speed telecommunications systems, the FT reported that the British government has concluded that it can "mitigate the risk from using Huawei equipment in 5G networks."…
Not onboard with the de facto US embargo.

Zero Hedge
In "Serious Blow" To US, Britain Concludes Huawei Is "Manageable Risk" To 5G Rollout
Tyler Durden

Zero Hedge — New Study Exposes How 21st Century Capitalists Game The US Tax System

Researchers explained the evolution of the top .01%: Reagan-era tax reforms increased tax liabilities for businesses and reduced them for individuals. While this has been great for small firms over the last three decades, it made the concept of the pass-through business more appealing for large business owners to game the system....
Pass-through enables rent extraction by the "working rich."
Zidar also said these findings exemplify what is often overlooked in discussions of income inequality. There is an entire class of wealthy Americans who are gaming the tax system, by the way money flows through in human capital income.
These finds are a wake-up call for the need to reform the business tax system, the urgent need for more skilled workers and the need for better educational opportunities to empower the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs,
“We show that if you look and decompose this income, a lot of it comes from these pass-through businesses, and that activity more closely resembles labor than the idle rich,” concludes Zidar. “Our results suggest that educating the country’s next generation of innovators may be more important than tax incentives.”
You now know how the top .01% game the tax system.
Zero Hedge
New Study Exposes How 21st Century Capitalists Game The US Tax System
Tyler Durden

Ulson Gunnar — Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis “Suddenly” a Problem as Power Grows

US caught supporting not only terrorist proxies in the Middle East proxied but also neo-Nazis in Ukraine? Oh my!

Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis “Suddenly” a Problem as Power Grows
Ulson Gunnar