Friday, March 4, 2011

Losing the future

(The article below is by Kevin Fathi, a contributor to this blog.)

How depressing.

I read this article on the Technology Review web site. The story touts that ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy) has actually had its funding increased. By how much? A tenth of the amount that the President had requested. Talk about defining success downward! This is an example of how much damage austerity can do. In order to stave off an imaginary "debt crisis", both political parties are actually increasing the odds that the U.S. will suffer a real energy crisis.

There are many other examples of sacrificing the future to placate those who have the austerity delusion.

States are cutting education spending at every level (see here for an example). How can the country have a productive future if the students of the present are neglected. The problems of these states could be alleviated with bold ideas like federal revenue sharing. Sadly the politicians and mainstream media have smoked the austerity crack rock and insist that we cannot afford such ideas.

The American Society of Civil Engineers has determined that the status of U.S. infrastructure has an overall categorical grade of D. Take a look for yourself at the grades for individual categories here. It appears that the 2007 bridge collapse in Minnesota was a taste of things to come. It will be interesting to how the politicians who insisted on "living within our means" will feel when more people die from infrastructure neglect.

Why can't politicians see austerity for what it truly is: destroying the future.

8 comments:

Globalist said...

Being a private equity investor in the energy sector in China, I can tell you from the front lines with 100% conviction that the US has already ceded leadership in this area to China.

China already has Ultra High Voltage networks up and running (which is prerequisite for migration to a full Smart Grid), and is investing heavily (as part of the new 12/5 plan) to develop (local) peripheral industries to support this concept. It is also investing heavily in alternative energy research.

If the US doesn't invest heavily in research and also to upgrade its old (and fairly inefficient) infrastructure, it will be playing serious catch up in the foreseeable future.

googleheim said...

The grandchildren of the 80's have had their past future ( which is today ) mortgaged and that mortgage was fluffed up by Reagan voodoonomics and de-mortgaged underwater.

Forget the future's grandchildren, we already have an example in the present how deficit terrorists treat children by cutting out education in the guise and rouse of smoke screens of supply siding, disenfranchising, and budget cutting.

Just go to your local PTO and see what kind of bake sales they are going to have to deal with schools, even in rich neigborhoods where the school budgets from the states and ISD's are being ripped down by 50 to 60%.

I think the spread of MMT with Mosler and Norman is that it is not grassroots.

You cannot educate anyone from the top and work it down.

the bottoms the way up.

wilwon32 said...

googleheim said
'I think the spread of MMT with Mosler and Norman is that it is not grassroots.'
What does this mean?

My view is that the blogs which focus on MMT tend to attract enthusiasts and to ignore the great masses who cannot/do not wish to get further confused by discussions of a technical/ theoretical nature. MMT advocates would do well to attempt to provide more basic information in a palatable form; my suggestion is to figure out a way to explain to the great 'un-enlightened' why they should learn the difference between conventional/neo-liberal economics which dominates MSM discussions and MMT which provides a relatively simple and rational explanation of how the economy might be managed to benefit the average American citizen rather than the kleptocratic socialist elite [who not only run crooked casino games and, thus, are consistent in their lack of either morals or ethics]. If that were accomplished the stupid mistakes currently being made might be avoided/rectified in the future.

Specific suggestions involve development of combined audio/visual techniques (videos) which utilize animation, cartoons, comic characters, etc. in order to get the correct MMT messages acrosss. An example which demonstrates the principle, but employes a non-economist's interpretation of K Marx's Kapital has been developed by Brendan McCooney (Kapitalism101.com). I left Brendan a message to which there has been no reply:
https://kapitalism101.wordpress.com/2010/05/13/law-of-value-3-das-mudpie/#comments

Mike Norman said...

Wilwon:

I totally agree with you. The MMT movement has been totally ineffective at crafting its message and ideas. It hasn't come upo with the "language" that people can easily understand. I'm as guilty of this as anyone, although I've been trying hard; in my appearances on Fox and other networks as well as in my writings. But the rest of the MMT community needs to get out of its cozy academic shell and get its hands dirty. It's war and more effective tactics have to be employed. I totally agree.

Matt Franko said...

William,

I very much agree that it is a problem with most people's ability to perceive and truly understand systems that are defined quantitatively (stocks & flows).

This issue is probably bigger than MMT. It is a general education problem in mathematics. Many (probably all) of our adversaries in this do not possess Mathematical Maturity. Look at Mike's latest video with Stuart Varney he re-posted a few weeks back: Varney is just not getting it, and you can see he becomes frustrated and more emphatic with Mike, then in a sort of temper tantrum he snorts: "'ya print money, 'yer Wiemar Germany!" This is all he can come up with. Varney has no Mathematical Maturity, so he goes back to "the rules" he once learned.

(Mike, he just can't understand or "see" what you are trying to explain to him. He does not possess the cognitive skills. He is a textbook case of someone lacking Mathematical Maturity as defined in my link above.)

I think an computer animated video could be designed and made that would help those who cannot "see" these processes reach understanding, then as Tom has pointed out, it still would be up to them to change their political beliefs, but that transition may be easier for them with the correct mathematical understanding.

Something like a Pixar film that Disney has been producing. depicting a somewhat stripped down Monetary/Banking/Treasury system. with running dual entry ledgers, etc... I have some ideas...

But look at the expense: "Toy Story" is reported to have cost $30M to produce, "Bugs Life" $60M.... perhaps costs have come down some since then (better IT nowadays) but it would be a major effort to do this in any case... it will take millions of dollars in funding for sure, but it CAN be done.

googleheim said...

Wilwon32 :

You pretend not to understand if not berate my statement.

Then you go about explicating a plan of action for grassroots actions.

Like I said - MMT efforts are not grassroots based, linking cause and effect to everyday people in real circumstances.

MMT efforts are a lateral sidewinding force that needs to wrap itself around more of a task list and fasten the people and screw down the top republican destructive brass out of the way.

Kevin Fathi said...

@Matt,Mike: What do you think about using the following format to convey MMT to the general public?

http://comment.rsablogs.org.uk/videos/

Matt Franko said...

Kevin,

#1 Hello sir!

That's an interesting format. I found an animation there on the GFC and the remedies, quo vadis, etc..

I'm going to post it up.

Thanks, Matt