Sunday, June 26, 2016

Steve Randy Waldman — Attributions of causality

On Brexit, but more important for the thoughts on causes versus conditions and factors.

Attributions of causality
Steve Randy Waldman

Xinhua — Chinese growth philosophy to help navigate through new industrial revolution: Klaus Schwab

China's 13th Five-Year Plan reflects its ability to embrace the new industrial revolution and its growth philosophy will help it play a leading role in the process, World Economic Forum founder and executive chair Klaus Schwab said Saturday. [Special coverage]
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is not science fiction -- we are already in the midst of it, he told Xinhua in an exclusive interview ahead of the upcoming Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2016, also known as the Summer Davos Forum.
"It will not only change what we are doing and how we communicate, but the whole of society and our identity," he said.
More than half of the Chinese population are prepared for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the 13th Five-Year Plan reflects this ability, he added. The blueprint, released last year, outlines China's development path for the next five years, with growth driven by innovation, coordination, green development, opening up and sharing.
Schwab expects the five principles to be beneficial to China's future economic growth, and among them, innovation is the most important principle to the progress of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The new wave of technological developments will not only bring opportunities such as increased productivity, but might widen the gap between the rich and the poor due to exposure to the latest tools, he pointed out.
Therefore, sharing is important. Governments should ensure the benefits of new technology are shared domestically and globally, he said.
There might be some layoffs due to technology such as robotics. The process will be a kind of destructive creation, with old jobs reduced and new jobs created. The challenges lies in the different speeds of the two process, he said, adding that the government and business communities should ensure people are retrained and new jobs created.
Building a green economy should be the goal of all efforts, and that will take coordination and synergy between governments and the business community. More than that, there needs to be more networking, not only within a country, but also on a global scale, thus, underscoring the need to continue to open up, Schwab said.
China is one of the largest markets for robots and is supplying the world in many other technological areas, said Schwab, who was impressed with the flexibility and reliability of the latest drone product developed by the Shenzhen-based technology firm DJI, a leading manufacturer of commercial and recreational drones for aerial photography and videography.
"I think China can play a leading role in shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution," he said.
Meanwhile, as China is part of the global economy, it should facilitate global dialogue and cooperation to manage development within a fair environment, Schwab added.
Klaus Schwab is German engineer and economist, best known as the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum. His wife and former secretary, Hilde, co-founded the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. — Wikipedia
The first of the achievements is that the SCO has advocated and put into practice the pioneering Shanghai Spirit, which features mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diverse civilizations and pursuit of common development, said the Chinese president.

Now what? Brexit aftermath. What we're facing.

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard — Parliament must decide what Brexit means in the interests of the whole Kingdom

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard previously wrote a stirring essay supporting Leave for reasons of preserving national sovereignty that was linked to at MNE. AEP is well-connected and this piece sets forth the presumable maneuvers now taking place behind the scenes in London and the major EU capitals. It's going to be a negotiated settlement.

The Telegraph
Parliament must decide what Brexit means in the interests of the whole Kingdom
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

Andrew Batson — What is nationalism anyway, and why is it so powerful?

I would say that looking for a definition in terms of an essence is the wrong approach since terms that are not defined technically or operationally often have different senses dependent on their use in a context that gives them their meaning in that context.

However, Professor Gellner brings out an important meaning of "nationalism" in relation to national sovereignty, which is key in popular sovereignty as the basis of the modern concept of liberal democracy. Andrew riffs off that.

The historical development of nations from clans and tribes adds the element of kinship, which connects the concept of a nation with evolutionary theory in addition to political theory, anthropology, sociology, and history.

We are going to be hearing a lot more about this as the historical dialectic between the opposing forces of nationalism and internationalism deepens.

Andrew Batson's Blog 

Brian Romanchuk — Brexit - A Cautious Panic

Calm down, this is not happening overnight, says Brian.
For those of us outside the United Kingdom, the "Leave" victory in the referendum is not enough to cause worries about the real economy. We have entered the thin summer market period, so some form of financial turbulence is likely, but until some defaults occur it is not going to matter for non-levered investors. For the U.K., the most likely outcome is going to be an extremely long period of technical negotiations, which will eventually be pushed out of the news cycle by news about the Royal Family and football.
Bond Economics
Brexit - A Cautious Panic
Brian Romanchuk

Tom Hickey — Summary on the reaction to Brexit

1. Social

The “little people” as they are called in the US, or “lower classes,” asserted their right to rule as the majority in a democracy. This was unforeseen by pundits and the elite in general, who believed that the media could influence the public to vote as usual with the elite. The result is surprise and even shock reverberating in the bubble. The flood of punditry pouring out now is masking confusion resulting from the disruption of the social order since who the winners and losers will be is unclear. Everyone is trying to rescue what they can by getting head of the curve in shaping the narrative, which is in flux. This is not revolution yet, but it is major disruption and signals trouble ahead for elites, who depend on maintaining the social order that privileges them. Some are actually scared, as are some in the US over the rise of populism and dissatisfaction with inequality.

2. Political

The majority of the political commentary from the side of the elite, which owns the media, is critical of the referendum as an instrument of direct democracy. Pundits agree that the people (Greek demos) cannot be trusted to vote even in their own real interest, let alone of the country as whole. Therefore, the elite concludes that the use of the referendum needs to be abolished or at least hobbled, for example, by requiring a supermajority such as 60% rather than a simple majority:  This cannot be permitted to happen again and it was foolish to let it happen in the first place. The rise of the rabble is the worst fear of conservatives, who assume that the people should be ruled by "their betters."

3. Economic

Being unexpected by elites that predominantly control markets, who were taken by surprise even though polling was close, the result produced a shock that sent markets into a tailspin. Whether this will spread to the real economy is unclear, as are the intermediate and long term economic effects of the referendum. Since voting for leaving is not actually leaving, which will take years if it happens at all, powerful forces are gathering in the UK, Europe and the US to ensure it doesn’t, since taking apart existing arrangements and replacing them would be a mess that would likely be terrible for business and finance with uncertainty undermining confidence. Moreover, this is a direct blow struck at the internationalist world order that Western liberal elites have been pursuing since the end of WWII to extend transnational capitalism globally.

4. International

The vote is being denounced as a blow to the liberal world order fashioned since WWII in order to "spread freedom and democracy" and "end all wars." While this is the advertised goal of liberal internationalism as well as to neoconservatism, both are really based on spreading “freedom and democracy” as a euphemism for liberalization, privatization and deregulation as a means to reduce the size and influence of government on business and finance, and to transfer public assets to private ownership under transnational capitalism controlled by the West and the US in particular. The world order under neoliberal globalization is perceived as threatened politically by rising nationalism asserting itself a presence for  national sovereignty and democracy over internationalism and economically by a demand for distributive justice over transnational capitalism. The leave vote has ratcheted this up several notches.


Brexit is an elite nightmare all around. Expect a strong reaction to reverse course and return to the status quo, or if this not possible to salvage what can be salvaged of the internationalists' project for neoliberal globalization under Western liberal leadership and control. The immediate objective is to prevent contagion.

Michael Brune — TransCanada Files NAFTA Suit Demanding More Than $15 Billion for Keystone XL Rejection

On June 24, foreign oil company TransCanada filed a lawsuit against the U.S. under NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, arguing that the U.S. rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline violated NAFTA’s broad rights for foreign investors by thwarting the company’s “expectations.” As compensation, TransCanada is demanding more than $15 billion from U.S. taxpayers.
TransCanada’s case will be heard in a private tribunal of three lawyers who are not accountable to any domestic legal system, thanks to NAFTA’s “investor-state” system, which is also included in the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The controversial TPP would empower thousands of additional corporations, including major polluters, to follow TransCanada’s example and use this private tribunal system to challenge U.S. climate and environmental policies.…
Oh what the heck, it isn't "taxpayer money" – just government on the hook. (snark)

TransCanada Files NAFTA Suit Demanding More Than $15 Billion for Keystone XL Rejection
Michael Brune
ht Dan Crawford at Angry Bear

Consensus: Fed on Hold due to Brexit

If consensus view on rates materializes, it means continued US fiscal drag via Fed policies. Then you have to wonder if this becomes semi-permanent policy as each European nation goes thru their own Brexit-like catharsis now over a the next year.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

EU Bankster Contagion — Chris Hedges interviews Michael Hudson

Summary: Great Britain’s decision to leave the EU presages a global financial meltdown that could resemble the 1930s. Banks will demand massive bailouts. We will be forced, if the banks are bailed out again, to endure harsher austerity and a prolonged depression.
Michale Hudson
EU Bankster Contagion
Chris Hedges interviews Michael Hudson

How Western Military Interventions Shaped the Brexit Vote — Gregory Wilpert interviews Michael Hudson

Michael Hudson argues that military interventions in the Middle East created refugee streams to Europe that were in turn used by the anti-immigrant right to stir up xenophobia.
Actually, Michael Hudson sees much more than immigration at work. But immigration was probably the final straw.

Not just the UK.
Europe is sort of like the Soviet Union in the ‘30s and ‘40s. There was an argument, is it reformable or not? There is a feeling, and I think it’s correct, that the European Union, the eurozone, and the euro, is not reformable, as a result of the Lisbon treaties and the other treaties that have created the euro. Europe has to be taken apart in order to be put together not on a right-wing, neoliberal basis, but on a more social basis.
Now, ironically, the parties who call themselves socialists are now moved to the ultra-right, to the neoliberal. The French socialists, the German social democrats. But you’re having real radical parties arise in Italy, Spain, Portugal, and potentially in Greece, again, that are going to say, well, the key of any government, of any national government, has to be the ability to issue our own money, to run a deficit, spending into the economy to make the economy recover. We cannot recover under the Lisbon agreements, under the eurozone, where the central bank will only create money to give to banks, not money to spend into the economy, to actually finance new investment and new employment. And we cannot be part of a eurozone that insists that pensions have to be cut back in order to make the banks whole and save the one percent losing money.…
The Real News Network
How Western Military Interventions Shaped the Brexit Vote
Gregory Wilpert interviews Michael Hudson

John Pilger — Why the British said no to Europe

The majority vote by Britons to leave the European Union was an act of raw democracy. Millions of ordinary people refused to be bullied, intimidated and dismissed with open contempt by their presumed betters in the major parties, the leaders of the business and banking oligarchy and the media.
This was, in great part, a vote by those angered and demoralised by the sheer arrogance of the apologists for the "remain" campaign and the dismemberment of a socially just civil life in Britain.…
Why the British said no to Europe
John Pilger

The Hidden Billionaires behind Trump The Foreclosure King, The Three-Headed Dog From Hell and Goldman Sachs — Dennis J Bernstein interviews Greg Palast

Palast drags Donald Trump and John Paulson through the mud of their own creation.

Greg Palast
The Hidden Billionaires behind Trump The Foreclosure King, The Three-Headed Dog From Hell and Goldman Sachs
Dennis J Bernstein interviews Greg Palast for Nation of Change


The above link no longer works. Here a link to the podcast without transcript.

Mark Leonard — The Rise of Demotic Democracy in Europe

"Demotic democracy" is a euphemism for "rule of the rabble," demos meaning "people" in Greek.

This is the worst nightmare of the elite and the basis of conservatism as the principle that some are better than others.

Obviously, the elite will marshall all means available to counter the rise of the rabble, which threatens the end of their privilege.

Project Syndicate
The Rise of Demotic Democracy in Europe
Mark Leonard | Director of the European Council on Foreign Relations

Barkley Rosser — The Tale of the Dragon Slayer

Black humor. And it's short.

The Tale of the Dragon Slayer
J. Barkley Rosser | Professor of Economics and Business Administration James Madison University

The Minskys — The Job Guarantee: The Coolest Economic Policy You Never Heard Of

When you think of economic issues what are the first things that come to mind? Poverty, inequality, unemployment, inflation, and crisis are all common answers to the question. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a policy that could address all of those issues (and more) in a cost-effective manner? In this piece I will give a very brief introduction to Job Guarantee (JG) schemes, the proverbial economic silver bullet.…
The Minskys — an economics blog created by graduate students from the Levy Economics Institute
The Job Guarantee: The Coolest Economic Policy You Never Heard Of
Written by Carlos Maciel & Vitor Mello
Illustrations by Heske van Doornen

James K. Galbraith — The Day After

The European Union has sowed the wind. It may reap the whirlwind. Unless it moves, and quickly, not merely to assert a hollow “unity” but to deliver a democratic, accountable, and realistic New Deal – or something very much like it – for all Europeans.
James K. Galbraith | Lloyd M. Bentsen Jr. Chair in Government/Business Relations and Professor of Government at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin

Voltaire Network — The White House and NATO prepare the sabotage of Brexit

No sources cited, but it would be surprising if this were not already in gear.

Voltaire Network
The White House and NATO prepare the sabotage of Brexit

The Saker — US Options in the Ukraine: trigger a religious war?

The Saker admits this is pure speculation on his part but it is useful backgrounder for understanding the complicated situation in Eastern Europe and Turkey, home of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

Like the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) tEastern Europe and Russia, which border Turkey, have a long history and people today have been enculturated into it. Orthodoxy is central to the culture there.

The Vineyard of the Saker
US Options in the Ukraine: trigger a religious war?
The Saker

Alexander Mercouris — The US, the EU and the Spectre of Brexit

With the huge amount of ink and bytes being spilled over Brexit, one has to be selective. Alexander Mercouris is an analyst who is always worth reading.
… the EU, at least as it has become over the last decade, is best understood as a cabal of three governments, primarily those of the US and Germany, with France treated by the Germans (though not by the US) as a sort of junior partner, which make the decisions in secret that are binding on all the rest.
I appreciate that this description of the EU will meet with strong objections in some quarters, especially as by far the most powerful of these governments is that of the US which is not a member of the EU. However what I say is well known by all the relevant insiders. Indeed the facts speak for themselves and are hardly even concealed. On key issues EU policy is nowadays decided in private bilateral discussions between the US and the Germans, often involving the US President and the German Chancellor, with the Germans then telling the other Europeans what they should do.…
The puppet factory.

The Duran
The US, the EU and the Spectre of Brexit

Pat Lang — "The Greatest Battle"

The ground game in Syria is heating up since the US, Turkey and the Salafi Sunni States commit more troops, more weapons and more funding to Al Qaeda affiliates.

Hezbollah is in to counter. Is the US plan to draw Russia and Iran in, too? What could go wrong?

Sic Semper Tyrannis 
"The Greatest Battle" — Hassan Nasrallah
Col. W. Patrick Lang, US Army (ret.), former military intelligence officer at the US Defense Intelligence Agency

Vladimir Platov — Armenia is Swarmed by Western NGOs

The tactics of employing non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for the preparation of so-called “color revolutions” in North Africa, the Middle East and a number of former Soviet states has been the modus operandi of the US and its satellites, which have been thoroughly discussed in various NEO articles.
It’s curious that these NGOs who are heavily sponsored by Washington choose to act precisely in those moments when a specific state begins resisting pressure applied on it by the so-called Western World. This resistance often is manifested as a reluctance to support certain projects that were put forward by Washington.
If we are to talk about post-Soviet regions, all Western NGOs, and American ones in particular, have been particularly active in Central Asian and Caucasus states over recent years in a bid to launch “color revolutions” across the majority of them.
Western NGOs have been particularly active in Armenia recently, which remains Russia’s most faithful ally in the Caucasus region. In an effort to repeat a Ukrainian-style scenario in Armenia and to force this country away from Russia, these Western-backed organizations have been trying to use any minor concern among the civilian population to provoke demonstrations and unrest, taking advantage of the huge funds they have been receiving.…
It's called subversion and it is a hostile act. That's why it is called hybrid warfare.

This is an aspect of liberalization in neoliberalism as the part of the trifecta of liberalization, deregulation and privatization used to impose transnational global capitalism under the control of the American Empire. Because freedom and democracy.

Platov does have an overactive imagination through, so read with a grain of salt.


Steve LeVine — How China Is Building the Biggest Commercial-Military Empire in History

China breaks out and goes global.

Defense One
How China Is Building the Biggest Commercial-Military Empire in History
Steve LeVine | Quartz’s Washington correspondent. LeVine founded and ran The Oil and the Glory, a blog on energy and geopolitics at Foreign Policy magazine
ht Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism

Moon of Alabama — The Imminent Dodging Of Brexit - A Gift For The Fascist Right

We claimed that BREXIT - is not gonna happen and pointed to a propaganda campaign (see further examples in the comments there) launched to reverse the Brexit votes. Within that campaign two memes get pushed:…
Moon of Alabama
The Imminent Dodging Of Brexit - A Gift For The Fascist Right

Eduard Popov — Poroshenko Calls to Ignore the Outcome of the UK Referendum

Supporting the idea of a Brexit in the UK referendum became an information bomb for Petro Poroshenko, who came to power under the slogan of Ukraine joining the EU. London was seen as one the main lobbyists of Ukrainian interests in the EU. Another lobbyist, Poland, is not such a powerful foreign policy player as the UK. Another reason for the frustration is the blow struck to the attractiveness of the European Union. Until now, European countries have sought to enter the Union and not come back. Therefore, the decision of the British people expressed in the referendum is perhaps the strongest foreign policy defeat of the Poroshenko regime.

The aim of the information policy of the Ukrainian authorities is to turn defeat and failure into victory and success. In this case, representatives of the Ukrainian authorities tried to convince the citizens that nothing bad had happened. The first to speak on this subject was President Poroshenko on his Facebook page: "I believe that, despite the results of the referendum, the UK remains in the European Union and will defend common European values." Attempts to justify it were very awkward. Poroshenko, in fact, urged all to ignore the outcome of the referendum — such were the meaning of his statement. For democratic politics, especially the leader of a European country, the call to ignore the results of a referendum is just blasphemous. Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Paruby similarly, but more cautiously, expressed this. He said that the UK will remain a key partner of Ukraine, despite the results of the referendum on a withdrawal from the EU. Probably Paruby considered Poroshenko's actions to be a blunder and did not call to ignore the outcome of the referendum.…
In denial.

Fort Russ
Poroshenko Calls to Ignore the Outcome of the UK ReferendumEduard Popov
Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ

David S. Wilson — The Invisible Hand is Dead! Long Live the Invisible Hand!

You might think that the old King should be replaced by no King. After all, the metaphor of the invisible hand did not loom very large in Smith’s thought; why should it loom large in ours? It turns out, however, that a robust concept of the invisible hand does emerge from evolutionary and complexity theory, so there is a new King to coronate.
Replacing the mechanical model in econ with an organic model.

The Invisible Hand is Dead! Long Live the Invisible Hand!
David S. Wilson | SUNY Distinguished Professor of Biology and Anthropology at Binghamton University and Arne Næss Chair in Global Justice and the Environment at the University of Oslo


Secret negotiations have been under way for some time between high German and Russian officials, to which Chancellor Angela Merkel has been excluded. Warned by US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, and in a recent coded communication from outgoing President Barack Obama that she must act to save her authority, and enforce European Union sanctions against Russia, Merkel has also received an ultimatum from her cabinet and party. This was delivered in the form of a page torn out of an Old German bible in which a large black spot had been inked. Either she step aside in secret, Merkel understood the signal, or she will be forced to resign in public.

For more details of the meaning of the Black Spot, read this.
Hilarious. This is based on leaks, but Helmer is well-positioned in this regard. If true, the house of cards is collapsing unless the US tightens down the screws. But the outcome of US screw tightening would be uncertain, it seems.

The rumblings out of Deutschland recently give credence to this. German business has not been aboard with US sanctions for some time, and now the German foreign policy establishment is also balking at ratcheting up hostilities with Russia.

First Cameron, now Merkel? Her political popularity, hence political capital, has been sinking and even her own party is concerned with the direction she has been setting.

Dances with Bears
John Helmer

See also


Ramanan — Wynne Godley On The EU

Wynne Godley anticipated Brexit.

The Case for Concerted Action
Wynne Godley On The EU
V. Ramanan

See also

UK Poorer?

Friday, June 24, 2016

David Orrell and Roman Chlupatý — What Role Should Money and Markets Play in a Good Society?

How can we redesign money— and our mind-set—for a mature economy or an ecological civilization?…
Perhaps the defining issue of our age is that the human economy has grown to a scale where it impacts the environment at every level: on land, in the oceans, and in the air. As Kenneth Boulding put it, we are transitioning from a cowboy economy, where the world is an open frontier, to a spaceman economy, where we are restrained by natural limits.
This transition, ecologist Eugene Odum argued, resembles that followed by ecosystems as they become established. At the early stages of an ecosystem’s development, available energy (whose ultimate source is the sun) is rapidly exploited by a few species in a sudden bloom of growth. As the ecosystem matures, the food chain switches from a linear chain—carnivores eating herbivores eating plants—to a more web-like, decentralized structure in which multiple species interact in increasingly complex ways. The waste of one organism is recycled as food for another, and resources such as nutrients and minerals are conserved. An example of a mature ecosystem is a tropical rain forest, where most of the nutrients are not in the ground but in the trees and the species that live in them. The land itself has little agricultural productivity, as farmers discover if they cut down the trees and try to grow soy or provide pasture for cattle.
Economies also develop in a similar manner. In a society of pioneers, wrote Odum, “high birth rates, rapid growth, high economic profits, and exploitation of accessible and unused resources are advantageous.” As the economy matures, the emphasis switches to “considerations of symbiosis (i.e., civil rights, law and order, education, and culture)” and the recycling of resources. However this transition is a work in progress: “Until recently mankind has more or less taken for granted the gas-exchange, water-purification, nutrient-cycling, and other protective functions of self-maintaining ecosystems, chiefly because neither his number nor his environmental manipulations have been great enough to affect regional and global balances. Now, of course, it is painfully evident that such balances are being affected, often detrimentally.” And matters have not improved in the ensuing half-century, as carbon dioxide emissions have climbed and the lifesupport abilities of the planet have continued to degrade. We have grown richer in monetary terms but the hidden charges are mounting up.…
Very much worth the read.
As the Harvard political philosopher Michael J. Sandel explains, “We have drifted from having market economies to becoming market societies. The difference is this: A market economy is a tool—a valuable and effective tool—for organizing productive activity. A market society, by contrast, is a place where almost everything is up for sale.” In this case: “What role should money and markets play in a good society?
Lots of info that raises more questions than the authors are able to answer, which they recognize, but these are the kinds of questions that we need to answer in a complex adaptive system subject to emergence.

What Role Should Money and Markets Play in a Good Society?
David Orrell and Roman Chlupatý

Left Divided on Brexit

What the hell does it take to get you lefties to celebrate a victory?  c'mon man!!!  Time for a victory celebration of some sorts what the hell do you people want?  Now they are giving Bill shit after Brexit...