Thursday, June 21, 2018

John Mikler — The Political Power of Global Corporations

We have long been told that corporations “rule the world”, their interests seemingly taking precedence over states and their citizens. Yet while states, civil society, and international organisations are well drawn in terms of their institutions, ideologies, and functions, the world’s global corporations are often more simply sketched as market actors which are mechanisms of profit maximisation. In The Political Power of Global Corporations I seek to demonstrate why they should be seen as explicitly political actors with complex identities and strategies that should be more the focus of our analysis than is often the case.
According to Peter Nolan, Dylan Sutherland and Jin Zhang by the end of the twentieth century no more than five global corporations controlled each of the world’s major industries, with around a third of these having one corporation accounting for more than 40 per cent of global sales. Colin Crouch observes that there has been a “corporate takeover of the market” by these enormous entities. As such, the free market, not just ideologically but conceptually, is defunct for understanding them. They may have been aided in their growth and expansion by free market policies and the neoliberal ideology underpinning them, but by their nature and their actions, global corporations themselves give the lie to, and as such undermine the veracity of, this vision. With the evidence that markets are neither free nor competitive but controlled by global corporations, in identifying them as political actors we should also declare them anti-market actors....
If it is high time to move on from the rather disembodied debates around free markets and neoliberalism to focus more on the embodiment of economic power in the hands of global corporations, then it is also time to focus more on the places where, and from which, they wield it because these are also the places where responsibility lies for how it is wielded.
Economic processes are increasingly produced by the economic control global corporations possess, the relationships they have, the leverage they employ, the strategic decisions they make, and the discourses they create to enhance acceptance of their interests. But we know their names, we know the states in which they are headquartered, and we know the states in which they invest and operate. We need to have a better idea of what they do, as well as how and why they do it, by more explicitly making them the subject of political analysis. In my book’s concluding chapter, I venture that there should be broad agreement on this across the political spectrum, in the following terms: 
Progress in Political Economy (PPE)
The Political Power of Global Corporations
John Mikler | Associate Professor in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney

Eric Schliesser — On Ibn Khaldun and Ronald Reagan (and a now obscure Belgian scholar)

Not particularly important unless you are interested in the history of economics, but it is interesting owing to the Reagan connection compared with post 9/11 Islamophobia.

On Ibn Khaldun and Ronald Reagan (and a now obscure Belgian scholar)
Eric Schliesser | Professor of Political Science, University of Amsterdam’s (UvA) Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

The face of Latin American migration is rapidly changing. US policy isn’t keeping up

Customs and Border Patrol data show the magnitude of the increase in Central American migrants over the past decade. In 2000, 28,598 non-Mexicans (primarily Central Americans) were apprehended at the U.S. border. By 2014, this number had increased to 252,600.

In an effort to understand what is driving this surge, my colleagues and I have carried out research on what leads a person to consider emigrating. In a broad study of more than 20 Latin American and Caribbean countries, we found that the decision to emigrate is far more nuanced and complex than often portrayed in political rhetoric and mainstream media.… 
My colleagues and I concluded that the Obama administration’s, and now the Trump administration’s, attempt to “send a message” to Central Americans through an emphasis on detention and deportation may work for those considering emigration for economic reasons. It does not, however, appear to have any impact on those individuals seeking to flee the warlike levels of violence in Honduras and El Salvador....
The developed world on both sides of the Atlantic needs to recognize that they don't have an immigration problem, they have a refugee problem. The solution to this problem is vastly stepping up the pace of development in the underdeveloped and emerging countries and for the developed countries to stop propping up tin-pot dictators as compradors.

Europe needs to recognize that Africa will be a huge benefit to Europeans as it develops, and the US also needs to recognize the same for Latin America. China certainly recognizes already that these countries will be a great benefit to China as they develop, and the Chinese leadership is making this a priority.

The Conversation
The face of Latin American migration is rapidly changing. US policy isn’t keeping up
Jonathan Hiskey | Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of Graduate Studies, Vanderbilt University

David Law — Three scenarios for the future of geopolitics

Worth a read. More or less balanced although written by a Western establishment type. Are these the major scenarios to expect?

World Economic Forum
Three scenarios for the future of geopolitics
David Law | Senior Fellow, Geneva Centre for Democratic Control of Armed Forces

Martin Ravallion et al —Alongside rising top incomes, the level of living of America’s poorest has fallen

When the poorest gain, the lower bound, or ‘floor’, of the distribution of living standards rises. Using microdata spanning the last 30 years, this column argues that the floor in the US has been sinking, alongside rising top incomes. The floor would have fallen further without public spending on food stamps, which helped protect the poorest in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.
Alongside rising top incomes, the level of living of America’s poorest has fallen
Martin Ravallion, Edmond D. Villani Chair of Economics, Georgetown University; Dean Jolliffe, Lead Economist, Development Economics Data Group, World Bank; Juan Margitic, Ph.D. candidate in Economics, Georgetown University

Michael J. Mazarr — Summary of the Building a Sustainable International Order Project

The growing threat to the rules-based postwar order has become a defining feature of current discussions about world politics. Over the last two years, a RAND project team, working with outside experts, has sought to understand the existing international order, assess current challenges to the order, and recommend future U.S. policies to advance U.S. interests in the context of a multilateral order. This summary report of that project, Building a Sustainable International Order, outlines the overall project’s basic findings and lessons.
Key Findings
Major findings of the study
  • Because of both internal stresses on leading democracies and rising pressure from such challengers as Russia and China, the order is under unprecedented strain — but retains areas of persistent strength.
  • The order has value for U.S. interests and constitutes a significant form of U.S. competitive advantage by offering a supportive, multilateral context for U.S. objectives and values.
  • The international economic order has been the engine of the wider geopolitical order.
  • Orders grow out of broader realities in world politics, such as the degree of shared interests and values among leading states — but once institutionalized, the structure and habits of an order can shape state preferences and behavior.
  • The order must become more multilateral and shared.
Is the US deep state shifting geopolicy and geostrategy away from unipolarism and unilateralism?

I only read the summary. I downloaded the report but have not read it yet, so I cannot comment on the details.

RAND Corporation
Summary of the Building a Sustainable International Order Project
Michael J. Mazarr

The following references a typically skewed article (diatribe, rant) in The Economist that aggregates very different situations in diverse countries and attempts t generalize from a superficial and biased analysis. Naturally, the decline of democracy in the Western (bourgeois) liberal "democracies" that are actually oligarchies is ignored, save for the obligatory mention of Donald Trump in the US with the added observation that he will be gone and the US will recover. But what else to expect from an organ of the British oligarchy?

Duncan Green effuses over it though.

Oxfam Blogs — From Poverty to Power
Democracy’s Retreat: a ‘how to’ guide
Duncan Green, strategic adviser for Oxfam GB

Another establishment view, this one with Donald Trump as the target.
By imposing tariffs on US allies and cozying up to brutal dictators such as North Korea's Kim Jong-un, US President Donald Trump is sowing deep mistrust within the West. But if Trump thinks a divide-and-rule strategy can "make America great again," he is in for a rude awakening.
Project Syndicate
The Western Crack-UpJavier Solana was EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, Secretary-General of NATO, and Foreign Minister of Spain. He is currently President of the ESADE Center for Global Economy and Geopolitics, Distinguished Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Europe.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Patrick Armstrong — Yes, Putin Once Dreamed the American Dream

Must-read. as govern

Take-Away: Some Russian leaders, including Vladimir Putin, want Russia to be a democracy and they do not think that America is one. They want a real democracy as governance of, by and for the people.
Patrick Armstrong

Paul Antonopoulos — China SPEAKS OUT: NATO Aggression on Syria is War against Russia

Jinri Toutiao, one of China’s largest media agencies, has unveiled an article arguing that while the conflict in Syria might seem like a civil war between government and opposition forces, it is in reality “a deadly battle between Russia and NATO countries.”... 
In other words, the Chinese media giant has a firm grasp on the geopolitics of the Syrian conflict and Russia-NATO confrontation. This is an important indication of China’s orientation. What’s more, other analysts, in addition to the Chinese agency, have added to the discussion, pointing out that although NATO leaders assure that their actions are not directed against Russia, their operations demonstrate the opposite reality.…
Fort Russ
China SPEAKS OUT: NATO Aggression on Syria is War against Russia
Paul Antonopoulos

Bill Mitchell — Real resource constraints and fiscal policy design

There is an interesting dilemma currently emerging in Australia, which provides an excellent case study on how governments can use fiscal policy effectively and the problems that are likely to arise in that application. At present, the Australian states are engaging in an infrastructure building boom with several large (mostly public sector) projects underway involving improvements to road, ports, water supply, railways, airports and more. I travel a lot and in each of the major cities you see major areas sectioned off as tunnels are being dug and buildings erected. Not all of the projects are desirable (for example, the West Connex freeway project in Sydney has trampled on peoples’ rights) and several prioritise the motor car over public transport. But many of the projects will deliver much better public transport options in the future. On a national accounts level, these projects have helped GDP growth continue as household consumption has moderated and private investment has been consistently weak to negative. But, and this is the point, there have been sporadic reports recounting how Australia is running out of cement, hard rock and concrete and other building materials, which is pushing up costs. This is the real resource constraint that Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) emphasises as the limits to government spending, rather than any concocted financial constraints. If there are indeed shortages of real resources that are essential to infrastructure development then that places a limit on how fast governments can build these public goods. The other point is that as these shortages are emerging, there is still over 15 per cent of our available labour resources that are being unused in one way or another – 714,600 are unemployed, 1,123.9 thousand are underemployed, and participation rates are down so hidden unemployment has risen. So that indicates there is a need for higher deficits while the infrastructure bottlenecks suggest spending constraints are emerging. That is the challenge. Come in policies like the Job Guarantee.

Practical MMT. MMT is made up of an operational analysis of monetary systems, macroeconomic theory, and policy guidance. They are complementary.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Real resource constraints and fiscal policy design
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Sputnik International — Tariffs? Meh: China Has Other Ways to Answer On Trump’s Trade War

The Chinese economy has plenty of ways to counter US President Donald Trump's import tariffs apart from simply imposing parallel measures, writes Politico's authors Adam Behsudi and Doug Palmer, that have been used in the past and proven to be very effective.
One misapprehension in the article, perhaps since the authors are American and influenced by American views of how China functions, is that the Chinese government can suggest a boycott of US imports that would be effective. The reality is that Chinese citizens are extremely patriotic and the government would not need to say anything for a boycott to arise spontaneously.  The US is already risking this.

Sputnik International
Tariffs? Meh: China Has Other Ways to Answer On Trump’s Trade War

See also
The American government is the initiator of evil.
Taking off the gloves, and preparing the Chinese people for the global economic chaos that may be coming.

Global Times
Trump's trade war will disrupt world economic order
Editor : Li Yan

Katrina vanden Heuvel — Americans are drowning in student-loan debt. The U.S. should forgive all of it.

I'll break a self-imposed rule and link to the WaPo for this.
The debt burdens not only the debtors but also the entire economy by dampening consumer demand. The federal government guarantees more than 90 percent of all outstanding student debt. A recent paper by Scott Fullwiler, Stephanie Kelton, Catherine Ruetschlin and Marshall Steinbaum of the Levy Economics Institute found that if the government canceled the debt it owns and bought out the remaining private creditors, it would increase gross domestic product by between $86 billion and $108 billion per year over the next decade, adding between 1.2 million and 1.5 million jobs.

More importantly, if combined with making all public universities tuition-free, this country would ensure that no young person is condemned to debt for pursuing the higher education or technical training that virtually everyone agrees is vital to this nation’s future....
The Washington Post
Americans are drowning in student-loan debt. The U.S. should forgive all of it.
Katrina vanden Heuvel | editor and publisher of The Nation

Toni Airaksine — Prof blames mathematics for 'global disparities in wealth

First, Ernest asserts that “the nature of pure of mathematics itself leads to styles of thinking that can be damaging when applied beyond mathematics to social and human issues,” since math facilitates “detached” and “calculative” reasoning....
Second, he argues that the “applications of mathematics in society can be deleterious to our humanity unless very carefully monitored and checked,” worrying particularly about how math facilitates transactions of money and finance....
Finally, Ernest worries of the personal impact math has on “less-successful students,” especially women, since math is often perceived as a “masculine” and “difficult” subject....
Of course, the problem is not math per se but rather the mindset and application involved in its teaching and application in life. With overemphasis on quantitative thinking, taking qualitative thinking can suffer. The "morality" of math and science are philosophical and psychological issues having to do with quality that need to be taken into account in teaching and applying quantitative methods.

There are many more issue around the math and science and women's issues that just teaching. Women didn't suddenly get liberate when the got the vote. Cultural attitudes change slowly.

Campus Reform
Prof blames mathematics for 'global disparities in wealth'Toni Airaksinen, New York Senior Campus Correspondent

CJ Hopkins — Confession of a Putin-Nazi Denialist

Sticking the dagger in and twisting it.

Confession of a Putin-Nazi Denialist
CJ Hopkins, author and playwright

Pam and Russ Martens — Removal of GE from the Dow Looks Suspiciously Like Citigroup’s Exit

General Electric Co. (GE) will be unceremoniously sacked from the Dow Jones Industrial Average on June 26, it was announced yesterday by the S&P Dow Jones Indices folks. GE was one of the original 12 companies in the index when it was created in 1896. The Dow now consists of 30 companies and GE has been in the index continuously since 1907.
Curiously, GE – an industrial giant that makes highly sophisticated commercial jet engines for Boeing and turbines for power plants among numerous other lines of business – will be replaced in the Dow by a retail drugstore chain, Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA)....
Wall Street On Parade
Removal of GE from the Dow Looks Suspiciously Like Citigroup’s Exit
Pam Martens and Russ Martens

Michael Emmett Brady — J M Keynes on the Enemies of Capitalism: The Internal, Endogenous Threat to the Macro Economy from Wall Street Stock Market Speculators and Rentiers

J M Keynes carefully read Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations (1776) before he was 28. Of extreme importance to Keynes was Smith’s categorization of a group of upper income class citizens, whose speculative and financial interactions with the private banking industry created a very severe danger to the society as a whole, as being projectors, imprudent risk takers, and prodigals. Keynes’s description of Smith’s projectors, imprudent risk takers, and prodigals in the General Theory, as well as Keynes’s extremely important, early 1937 papers in the Eugenics Review and Quarterly Journal of Economics, is that Smith’s projectors, imprudent risk takers, and prodigals are Keynes’s Wall Street speculators and rentiers. It is the speculators and rentiers who are mainly responsible for the problems of inflation and deflation in the macro economy. Keynes realized that this destructive, casino-gambling type behavior that is so damaging to the macro economy is facilitated and financed by the “…forces of banking and finance”.
Keynes’s Chapter Twelve analysis on pages 147-162 in the General Theory of the speculative dangers resulting from the financial behavior of Wall Street speculators and rentiers is identical to Smith’s pages 114-115, 279-341 discussions in the Wealth of Nations of the dangers from projectors, imprudent risk takers, and prodigals.
Both Smith’s and Keynes’s analysis complements each other. Both Smith and Keynes could have given the exact, same, vastly superior analysis and policy advice to government officials facing the 2007-2009 Great Recession that would have been greatly superior to the type of very poor policy analysis provided by DSGE macroeconomists in the period 2006-2010.
Both Smith and Keynes explicitly point out and analyze the malign impacts(see Kennedy, 2008) on the macro economy perpetrated by either Smithian projectors, imprudent risk takers, or prodigals or Keynesian speculators and rentiers. The role of government is to impose constraints on these categories of upper income class members so as to prevent them from harming the sober people by proactive laws, rules, and regulations.
The obvious reason that DSGE macro models failed so egregiously is that there are no variables in their models representing the impacts of these types of decision makers on the macro economy over time. The reason for this misspecification modeling error by DSGE proponents is that they accept Bentham’s critique of Smith that there are no such individuals in the economy as Smith’s projectors, imprudent risk takers, or prodigals.
J M Keynes on the Enemies of Capitalism: The Internal, Endogenous Threat to the Macro Economy from Wall Street Stock Market Speculators and Rentiers
Michael Emmett Brady, California State University, Dominguez Hills
Written: May 18, 2018

sfc models — New working paper

Modeling economic forces, power relations, and stock-flow consistency:a general constrained dynamics approach

by Oliver Richters and Erhard Gloetzl

Abstract: In monetary Stock-Flow Consistent (SFC) models, accountingidentities reduce the number of behavioral functions to avoid anoverdetermined system of equations. We relax this restriction using adifferential algebraic equation framework of constrained dynamics.Agents exert forces on the variables according to their desire, forinstance to gradually improve their utility. The parameter ‘economicpower’ corresponds to their ability to assert their interest. Inanalogy to Lagrangian mechanics, system constraints generate additionalconstraint forces that lead to unintended dynamics. We exemplify theprocedure using a simple SFC model and reveal its implicit assumptionsabout power relations and agents’ preferences.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

RT ‘Way to disaster’: Moscow warns US against deploying WMDs in space, threatens with ‘tough response’

Russia draws a red line for the new US "Space Force" that the President established to ensure US dominance of space. Escalation.

Another treaty about to bite the dust? (Outer Space Treaty of 1967.)

‘Way to disaster’: Moscow warns US against deploying WMDs in space, threatens with ‘tough response’

David William Pear — Why North Korea Can Never Trust the U.S.

It's not so much that the US is "agreement incapable" as that the US has no intention of keeping its agreements, as the historical record shows. They are just a matter of temporary convenience subject to overall national policy, strategy and tactics.

Pear relates a sad story that starts with treaties with Native Americans, leading to the expression, "White man speaks with forked tongue."

Naked Capitalism
Why North Korea Can Never Trust the U.S.
David William Pear

See also

It’s Time To Start Getting Enraged At What Western Imperialists Have Done To Syria
Caitlin Johnstone | Rogue journalist. Bogan socialist. Anarcho-psychonaut. Guerilla poet. Utopia prepper

See also
The US president's opponents in the the upper chamber aim to overturn his carefully constructed compromise with Beijing over the Chinese telecom giant ZTE
China is undoubtedly livid over this instance of the US being agreement-incapable, even before the ink was dry. Why bother negotiating?

Asia Times
A neocon Senate coup against Trump’s foreign policy?

See also

When you don't get your way. I won't be surprised if the US eventually withdraws from the UN entirely.

U.S. to pull out of U.N. human rights body: source
Lesley Wroughton, Steve Holland

John Helmer — Global News Hour Radio, Canada — Little Miss Ukraine Is Barking Up The Wrong Tree

Canada has endorsed US trade warfare against China, Russia, the European Union states, Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela, but registers its dismay when the Trump Administration refuses to give Ottawa an indemnity pass so that it can benefit from the damage inflicted on the others.
Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland has accepted a “Diplomat of the Year Award” from Foreign Policy Magazine, a subsidiary of the Washington Post and the Jeffrey Bezos media conglomerate which is sworn to topple President Donald Trump. Freeland’s supporters in the Liberal Party claim she has been exceptionally effective lobbying for Canadian interests in the US. After her lobbying has failed, Freeland claims it is unfair, absurd and illegal for the White House to threaten Canada with penalty duties on steel, aluminium, and cars.
In all common sense what can Canadians expect from the Americans if this is how Canada’s leaders behave?
What was Justin Trudeau thinking when he appointed Chrystia Freeland as foreign minister?

Dances with Bears
John Helmer

Paul Robinson — Strategy Or Improvisation? Predictability Or Unpredictability?

If I had to recommend a single article for foreign policy decision makers to read, it would be Robert Jervis’s 1968 essay ‘Hypotheses on Misperception.’ As I’ve written before, many of the tensions between states derive from misperceptions. People misperceive others; misperceive themselves; and misperceive how they are seen by others. In his article, Jervis hypothesizes 14 misperceptions which are commonly encountered in international politics. Hypothesis number 9 is the following: ‘actors tend to see the behavior of others as more centralized, disciplined, and coordinated than it is.’ Jervis adds that, ‘Further, actors see others as more internally united than they in fact are and generally overestimate the degree to which others are following a coherent policy.’ In my opinion, this is absolutely correct, and we can see a lot of this going on in contemporary analyses of Russia.…
Explaining the "Putin did it" syndrome.

While I think Paul Robinson is correct here, I also think that there is more to it than misperception. There is also the persuasion factor, a key tool in which is creating a focus by demonizing a person or an ideology.

This is much more persuasive that nuanced analysis, since emotion always trumps reason in mass persuasion. So the rhetorical targets are "Putin," "Russia," and "authoritarianism" in whipping up Russophobia.

Strategy Or Improvisation? Predictability Or Unpredictability?
Paul Robinson | Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa

Here is an example of this type of thinking applied to China to "explain" why Trump is right that the US will win a trade war with China, so it is not a big gamble.


Michael Roberts — Brazil: austerity, debt and trade

Michael Roberts reports from Brazil. The emerging economies are under the gun (of the the US).

Michael Roberts Blog
Brazil: austerity, debt and trade
Michael Roberts

Bill Black — Bitcoin Frauds Keep Growing

One of the prime myths that white-collar criminologists have to refute repeatedly is that blockchain makes fraud impossible. Blockchain, in some settings, is a costly means of making some frauds much more difficult. Blockchain is useless against the most important frauds. The primitive worship of blockchain as a supposed garlic capable of warding off evil breeds complacency, and complacency produces increased fraud and greatly extends the life of fraud.…
Sheriff Bill is on the case.

New Economic Perspectives
Bitcoin Frauds Keep Growing
William K. Black | Associate Professor of Economics and Law, UMKC

Ramanan — Pankaj Mishra – The Mask That It Wears

"It" is the so-called liberal world order that anything but.

The Case for Concerted Action
Pankaj Mishra – The Mask That It Wears
V. Ramanan

Bill Mitchell — The ‘truth sandwich’ and the impacts of neoliberalism

On June 15, 2018, the OECD released their report – A Broken Social Elevator? How to Promote Social Mobility – which provided “new evidence on social mobility in the context of increased inequalities of income and opportunities in OECD and selected emerging economies”. If you are still wondering why the mainstream progressive political parties have lost ground in recent years, or why the Italian political landscape has shifted from a struggle between ‘progressive’ and conservative to one between anti-establishment and establishment (the latter including both the traditional progressive and conservative forces which are now virtually indistinguishable) then this evidence will help. It shows categorically that neoliberalism has failed to deliver prosperity for all. While the full employment era unambiguously created a dynamic environment where upward social mobility and declining inequalities in income, wealth, opportunity were the norm, the more recent neoliberal era has deliberately stifled those processes. It is no longer true that ‘all boats rise on a high tide’. The point is that this is a situation that our governments have allowed to arise and which they can alter if they so choose. We should be forcing them to restore the processes that deliver upward mobility. And that is where the “truth sandwich” comes in. Progressive politicians that bang on about ‘taxing the rich to deliver services to the poor’ or who ask ‘where is the money going to come from’ or who claim the ‘bond markets will rebel’ and all the rest of the neoliberal lying drivel should familiarise themselves with the way the sandwich works. It is a very tasty treat if you assemble it properly.
Progressive strategy.

Satyameva Jayate meaning, "Truth alone triumphs" (Mundaka Upanishad 3.1.6). is the national motto of India. It is similar to John 8:32 (NSRV), "and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
The ‘truth sandwich’ and the impacts of neoliberalism
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Monday, June 18, 2018

Bill Mitchell – European-wide unemployment insurance proposals – more bunk!

The Europhiles have been tweeting their heads off in the last week or so thinking that the corner has been turned – by which they mean that Germany is about to get all cuddly with France and agree to fundamental shifts in thinking which will make the dysfunctional Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) finally workable, without the need for the ECB to break Treaty law by propping up the private bond markets. The most recent incarnation of the ‘saviour’ is a few words that the new German Finance Minister, Olaf ‘Wolfgang Schäuble’” Scholz said during an interview with Der Spiegel (June 8, 2018) – ‘Germany Has a Special Responsibility’ – about his support for a new unemployment insurance scheme for the Eurozone. It seems even the smallest things excite those who remain in denial about the long-term viability of the common currency. The proposal that Scholz was advancing has been out in the public debate for some years and is nothing like an effective solution to the terminal design flaws in the EMU. It is just an application of the same thinking that led to the creation of that flawed architecture in the first place and reinforces the conclusion that the main players in Eurozone policy setting have no intention of creating an effective federated monetary system. Just more of the same. Tomorrow, the tweets will be extolling the virtues of some other erroneous plan that some Europhile has come up with to save the system. And so it goes.…
The German solution? Create more debt for the South. How magnanimous. Another round of BS in the making.
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Charles Pierson — The Day the US Became an Empire

One could argue that the US has always been an empire. Thomas Jefferson called the US an empire, but an “empire of liberty” dedicated to spreading freedom around the globe. Tell that to the Native Americans killed and dispossessed by White Settlers. Tell that to the Mexicans. The US seized a third of their country through war. Still, it wasn’t until 1898 that the US acquired its first overseas colony.
Hawaii had been an independent nation. In 1887, American planters in the islands had forced a change to the Hawaiian constitution which largely disenfranchised ethnic Hawaiians to the benefit of wealthy Whites. By 1893, with US support, American and European businessmen on the islands had staged a coup d’êtat, overthrowing the monarchy,[1] and establishing a Republic of Hawai’i; from there, they maneuvered for Hawaii’s annexation in 1898. That same year, Cuba, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Guam would be gathered into the fledgling American Empire, fruits of the US victory in the Spanish-American War....
"Thomas Jefferson called the US an empire, but an 'empire of liberty' dedicated to spreading freedom around the globe." This is the basis of liberal internationalism, liberal interventionism, and neoliberal globalization under American "leadership."

The Day the US Became an Empire
Charles Pierson

Michael Snyder - The Real Economic Numbers: 21.5 Percent Unemployment, 10 Percent Inflation and Negative Economic Growth

Maybe socialism in the 1970's wasn't so bad after all. KV 

In the USA, "the percentage of the population that is employed has barely budged since the depths of the last recession."
"According to John Williams, if honest numbers were being used the unemployment rate would actually be 21.5 percent today.

"The government has simply been moving people from the 'officially unemployed' category to the 'not in the labor force' category for many, many years.

"If we use the government's own numbers, there are nearly 102 million working age Americans that do not have a job right now.

"That is higher than it was at any point during the last recession."

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Caitlin Johnstone — Mattis: Putin Is Trying To “Undermine America’s Moral Authority”

Hear, hear!

America needs no help in destroying its soft power and moral standing in the world. It's doing that just great all on its own.

Caitlin Johnstone — Rogue Journalist
Mattis: Putin Is Trying To “Undermine America’s Moral Authority”
Caitlin Johnstone

Publius Tacitus — DOJ IG, Horowitz, Fails to Admit What He Proves

IG Horowitz is adopting a very narrow legal interpretation while opting to give DOJ and FBI officials the benefit of the doubt. In other words, unless he was presented with "documents" or "testimony" that political bias was influencing decisions, Horowitz decided to assume that everyone was acting in good faith. I suspect this was introduced into his draft by DOJ and FBI reviewers who were alarmed at the obvious conclusion an objective reader would reach if they only read the facts-the DOJ and FBI were crooked…
When I worked with the CIA we used to call this No Shit Analysis. Thank you Captain Obvious. Why in the world would you assign the same people who were working on the Hillary Clinton investigation on the Trump/Russia Collusion investigation when both cases were still active? This is more than a problem of appearance. This is circumstantial evidence of an attempted political coup. I give Horowitz credit for at least putting this fact on the record. But his refusal to call this out for what it is can be attributed to his caution of not appearing to be partisan....
Sic Semper Tyrannis
DOJ IG, Horowitz, Fails to Admit What He Proves
Publius Tacitus

Anthony Patt — How Changing My Economic Model Made Me a Climate Change Optimist

Neo-classical economics doesn’t offer useful insights for disruption.
How Changing My Economic Model Made Me a Climate Change Optimist
Anthony Patt | Professor of Climate Policy at ETH Zurich, the author of Transforming Energy: Solving Climate Change with Technology Policy (Cambridge Univ. Press 2015), and a Coordinating Lead Author for Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.