Saturday, April 1, 2017

Indrajith Andrew Weeraratne — Sri Lanka can become a 1st World Nation: Using the "Modern Money Theory”

This article has two main purposes. The first purpose is to introduce a new economic framework under which Sri Lanka could break down the chains that have kept them in poverty and become one of the “First World” or “Developed” nations.
The second purpose is to model Sri Lanka after the Scandinavian nations where the very wealthy live in safety, security and peacefully alongside the rest of the population enjoying all minimum basic needs and not like in some developed nations where a sizable population lives in poverty while a few enjoy unspeakable luxury and wealth, living in guarded communities. In Scandinavian nations everyone has free healthcare, free education, a house to live and livable wages and retirement income to live comfortably when they retire. These are some of the benefits we can experience if Sri Lanka became a First World nation following the footsteps of Scandinavian nations. Compare the lives of Scandinavian citizens with the Sri Lankan citizens; currently a huge segment of Sri Lankan women work outside Sri Lanka as domestic servants, often harassed by their employers....
It is always a puzzle why a nation like Sri Lanka is poor when the people are smart, work hard and quite honest. We tried to come up with a few responses to this question but I could never really understand the real reason until I came across, as I believe, are not only extremely smart but also benevolent, group of economists, other professional and business people that go by the “Modern Money Theory” (MMT) group. Their theory is so perfect for Sri Lanka that when I first came across it, I could not believe it, but as I read books written by the members of the MMT group and began interacting with them I realised that MMT can uplift a nation such as Sri Lanka from a developing nation to a developed nation status. If Sri Lanka is willing to consider the MMT approach to economics the founders and the members of the MMT framework would be ready to help Sri Lanka understand their framework in detail and help Sri Lanka adopt it without having to worry about any ill-consequences of inflation when spending the own currency of a sovereign nation. Therefore, let me introduce the MMT framework and the people behind it to Sri Lankans....
OMG moment.

Indrajith Andrew Weeraratne

74 comments:

John said...

It only takes one and then the whole floodgates open. But given the stakes involved, the great powers may want to strangle this experiment at birth. But then again, perhaps the great powers may have brainwashed themselves so thoroughly that they may wish to see a small country experiment in this fashion, knowing that this dumb schmuck of a country will serve as a warning to others when the inevitable hyperinflation destroys it.

Neil Wilson said...

This is why we need to have a system that works with one nation regardless of what the others do - even total blockade sanctions.

A distributed Utopia with a government fully in charge working for the people relegates globalisation to servant instantly. That's a threat to power.

The bit that is missing is the operations manual that translates Modern Money Theory into Modern Money Practice.

Bob said...

This is a test of the sovereign nation assumption.

Auburn Parks said...

The only problem with a Modern Money Practice book is that "practice" in this case requires a subjective politics.

E.G. what should Sri Lanka immigration policy be?

Should Sri Lanka restrict immigration of scientists and Doctors because net importing them is "stealing resources" from another country? Or should Sri Lanka have a more open points based immigration system where they systematically try to attract scientists and Doctors from other countries for Sri Lanka's benefit and if other countries cant put a society together where the people actually want to live in then thats their country's problem? Thats politics here, and value judgements, there is no objective answer.

What % of GDP should Sri Lanka dedicate to R&D?
Infrastructure?
Defense?

I mean just the other day Tom Hickey ridiculed me because I suggested that US military spending of just 5% of GDP is not in any way excessive, and so I dont see any reason to cut it. So how could we answer the defense spending question? There is no objective answer, Tom hates the empire so he wants to cut military spending to neuter it, I appreciate the empire and think its good for the world (Hegemon stability theory after all) and 5% isnt that much so I dont want to cut military spending. So there is no answer to put into the Modern Money Practice book on this question.

Should Sri Lanka have deposit insurance cover just the first $100K or be unlimited? Or should Sri lanka not have private banks and just have Govt banks (AA just got a boner)? Again, no objective answer, because the answer involves values just as much as anything else.

Long story short, there will be no Modern Money Practice book coming any time soon.

Andrew Anderson said...

Or should Sri lanka not have private banks and just have Govt banks (AA just got a boner)? AP

Actually, I believe in totally private banks with 100% voluntary depositors. As for the monetary sovereign, it should simply provide accounts and transactions in its fiat for all citizens and not just for depository institutions. It should NOT lend to anyone.

Auburn Parks said...

AA-

How many times are you going to dishonestly ignore reality? I've repeatedly corrected your claim that citizens dont have access to accounts at the Fed, which is false. Everyone has access to savings accounts at the Fed via TSY Cds. 3-mo, 6-mo, 12mo etc, many different savings options provided by the Govt to citizens and non-citizens alike. So please stop being ignorant (if you dont know) or dishonest (if you do) about Govt banking options.

No you cant have a normal checking and payments accounts at the Fed, but thats not the complaint you always make. We do have access to "accounts and transactions" just not checking accounts.

You dont need to mislead people to make your case.

Neil Wilson said...

"Long story short, there will be no Modern Money Practice book coming any time soon."

Why not just make those political decisions?

The only game in human society is politics, so why do you want to avoid trying to play it?

There is no objectivity in economics, or most anything that humans get involved in. It's a fools game to think otherwise.

GLH said...

Does anyone really believe that the people who control the West would allow any nation to control its own agenda? This is an empire after all.
As for AA, I suggest that you read "Why We Can't Afford the Rich," by Andrew Sayer.

Andrew Anderson said...

No you cant have a normal checking and payments accounts at the Fed, but thats not the complaint you always make. AP

Well, thanks for correcting me.

But IT IS checking accounts at the central bank that all citizens should be allowed to have. I thought that was implicit in my comments. Well, now I've just made it explicit.

Neil Wilson said...

" if other countries cant put a society together where the people actually want to live in then thats their country's problem?"

Are you similarly happy stealing their food? After all if they can't create a society where people appreciate the food as much as you do then why should they have any?

That sort of attitude is Imperial colonial appropriation - based upon free market idealism. The idea that you can swan around the world taking what you want. The end result will be a war, or significant curtailing of individual rights as a group protects its investments.

There are social limits to individual freedoms. Best not to poke that particular hornet's nest.

Matt Franko said...

AA is just under too much OT influence and denies the universal concept of increase via 'grace' (i.e. unmerited favor) of a higher authority which in truth characterizes the current era...

He's the epitome of current Christendumb but here in a financial form....

Andrew Anderson said...

GLH,

Whether or not we can afford the rich, there should be no government privileges for them as is now the case, e.g.
1) positive yielding sovereign debt including interest on reserves (IOR).
2) government insurance of private liabilities, including privately created liabilities ("bank loans create bank deposits")

Auburn Parks said...

Neil

Food and people are not the same. The Food doesnt care where it rests, humans do. Why should I have to make this observation?

Matt Franko said...

"Should Sri Lanka restrict immigration of scientists and Doctors"

How hard should it be to establish an institution over there to regurgitate and teach what is essentially 300 year old western scientific theory and knowledge? C'mon... it's not like any of this is classified information....

This is what makes me think there is more to it... with these people wanting to go west... they all look like zombies...

Auburn Parks said...

Why cant we just make these decisions Neil?

Simple. As I described. we disagree. So there cant be "the solution" or "the practice" for many, many issues, like you say just about everthing is political.

I disagree with your position on immigration, Tom disagrees with my position on the empire, how can we possible have "the answer"?

We cant. Like I said.

Auburn Parks said...

Franko-

Its way faster to "steal" a doctor than to train one.

Auburn Parks said...

Once again AA the deposit insurance is for the benefit of the bank customers not for the banks themselves. Which is why deposit insurance doesnt save banks from going under, it just protects bank depositors in the event a bank does become insolvent.

For like the thousandth time.

Matt Franko said...

"Why not just make those political decisions?"

Neil the people involved in economics are all in truth politicians who are straying into technical areas for which they are not qualified... so they can't separate the politics from the technical as you can here because you are qualified technically...

The whole of the academe of economics just write BS papers talking about each other instead of practicing legitimate forms of technical training... they should only be ridiculed...

Matt Franko said...

"Faster to steal one"

Well you can have a short term plan and a long term plan...

Short term : steal

Long term: seems MIA... they don't seem to have one...

Andrew Anderson said...

Once again AA the deposit insurance is for the benefit of the bank customers not for the banks themselves. AP

Yes, it is for the benefit of the banks, otherwise many, many people would not keep their deposits with the banks but try to get by with mere physical fiat and such savings accounts the monetary sovereign may provide. This would cause a severe reserve drain on the banks and raise their borrowing costs.

But citizens should not be forced to deal with private banks or else be limited to unsafe, inconvenient physical fiat, a.k.a. "cash." Hence the need for checking services for all citizens provided by the monetary sovereign.

Matt Franko said...

"For like the thousandth time."

Go try telling your garden variety evangelical straight out of Christendumb that Hel is the Norse goddess of the underworld, daughter of Loki the trickster, brother of Thor son of Odin...

Same thing... eyes glaze over...

Auburn Parks said...

AA-

None of that would raise borrowing costs for the banks as the Fed is the reserve monopolist and sets that rate at its discretion deposit insurance or no. Yes, thats obviously why they instituted deposit insurance, for the benefit of the ppl who would otherwise not have had access to banking services and for the ppl that already used banks, like I said, for the bank customers.

Im not against a public option for banking aka state banks or post office banks, Im against the removal of deposit insurance thereby forcing people to only be able to use Govt banks safely. I neither want nor think their competent enough, for the Govt to be the only provider of risk free banking services in the country. Which is why I'll never be on the side of your personal crusade and thankfully, neither will many other people.

Auburn Parks said...

Franko-

Thats awesome. I dont know why I engage, its stupid of me. I just wish he would take his crusade elsewhere like positive money or ellen brown or some other place. Anywhere but here please.

Andrew Anderson said...

None of that would raise borrowing costs for the banks as the Fed is the reserve monopolist and sets that rate at its discretion deposit insurance or no. AP

That's another problem I've mentioned - the central bank should not create fiat for the private sector but for its monetary sovereign ONLY.

I neither want nor think their competent enough, for the Govt to be the only provider of risk free banking services in the country. AP

Basic accounting and transaction services are too much for a monetarily sovereign government to handle?!

Andrew Anderson said...

Which is why I'll never be on the side of your personal crusade and thankfully, neither will many other people. AP

That's a pity since just the proper abolition of government provided deposit insurance in the US should require the equal distribution of $Trillions in fiat to all citizens to provide the reserves needed for the xfer of at least SOME currently insured deposits with the banks to inherently risk-free accounts at the Fed itself.

Auburn Parks said...

AA-

thats a bunch of nonsense. None of that is real. Removing deposit insurance is unrelated to giving people money and interest rates.

Andrew Anderson said...

Removing deposit insurance is unrelated to giving people money and interest rates. AP

Currently the banks are awash in reserves due to the Fed's bloated balance sheet but that can be reversed with proper policy (e.g. asset sales by the Fed).

Then the banks will not have the reserves needed for the xfer of at least SOME currently insured deposits with the banks to inherently risk-free accounts at the Fed itself. That's where equal fiat distributions to all US citizens come in - to provide the needed reserves at honest interest rates/yields.

Neil Wilson said...

"Simple. As I described. we disagree. "

You have to compromise and come to a consensus to form a political party. Those that can't do that are 'outgrouped' and ignored.

So I can produce a practice statement and if you disagree with it, well there are 7 billion other people to talk to.

Lots of people disagree with MMT completely. So once I've determined they cannot be persuaded I don't bother talking to them and move on.

Matt Franko said...


"Simple. As I described. we disagree."

Well at least you disagree about real shit... its not like the both of you are sitting there like these moron zombies looking at each other agreeing that "we're out of money!"...

lastgreek said...

I suggested that US military spending of just 5% of GDP is not in any way excessive, and so I dont see any reason to cut it.

AP, 5% of US GDP is 5% of $18T. That's nearly a trillion. So, in absolute terms, it's excessive.

Nearly a trillion in annual spending ... would be nice if the chunk of that spending went to the salaries of the US enlisted soldiers in rebuilding the infrastructure of countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, etc.. And I haven't left America out -- when the infrastructures of the countries your country has bombed to smithereens have been rebuild, then work can commence in rebuilding your country's infrastructure, starting with those two lousy airports JFK and LGA. Sounds excessive? Well, it's only 5% of GDP ;)

So how could we answer the defense spending question? There is no objective answer, Tom hates the empire so he wants to cut military spending to neuter it...

AP, Tom has seen the empire at work, up close and personal. What Tom wants "neutered" is US death and destruction abroad (see list above). Moreover, I am sure the countries on the receiving of US empire would share Tom's hate of empire.

Auburn Parks said...

Neil-

Ahh, a political party not MMT itself. Now I see where you're coming from. Its actually funny if you think about it. As MMT is really nothing but 3 observations about reality, the only reason why there is even MMT at all is because everyone else rejects some or all of these 3 observations.

1. Govt monopoly issuer of currency
2. Tax as enforcer not funder
3. As such, interest spending is determined by Govt discretion not markets

So why do we need this special community under the rubric of MMT when all MMT really is are these 3 observations? Sure there's been a shit ton of academic work trying to get other people to acknowledge these 3 obvious facts about reality and to figure out the implications of acknowledging these 3 obvious facts. But why on earth does there need to be a group to convince people to accept these 3 simple observations? It really is strange if you think about.

Another way to think about it. If everyone on Earth accepted these 3 observations, just like everyone accepts gravity or electromagnetism. Who would MMTers be then? A group of mostly progressive economists? But certainly not special or unique in any significant way other than maybe their focus on accounting more than most other economist groups. But their/our unique identity would be gone and we'd have no real organizing common ground between a conservative like Ralph Musgrave and a mostly progressive like myself like we do now.

Tom Hickey said...

The bit that is missing is the operations manual that translates Modern Money Theory into Modern Money Practice.

Yes, but.

As long there there is economic theory that is based on a general case approach it will be impossible to make applicable to all special cases.

Business realized this based on their own experience and military strategy, tactics and operations over millenia and concluded that contingency planning is needed based on a nation's policy, strategy and tactics. Policy changes over time, and so strategy and tactics must be adapted. Strategist also realized that tactics must be agile and for that local decisions must be made locally. This is what John Boyd's OODA loop (observe, orient, decide, act) is about as a tactical principle.

In a liberal democracy, policy is decided politically and strategy and tactics are carried out by the executive and executive branch iaw the dictates of the constitution and legislature (law).

The is already what Western countries do. China and Russia are more technocratic in approach and have greater flexibility in some ways both in spite of and because they are less "free."

So everything begins with policy, and policy makers need to be accurately informed of potential, boundary conditions, domestic and external conditions, opportunities, challenges, threats, etc.

The economics profession is not approaching this seriously, and policy makers tend to be ideologically driven and beholden to special interests as well.

So the book on Modern Monetary Practice remains a challenge to be taken up and carried off successfully in at least one country to save as a test case and example.

Which country is out in front in that now?

Tom Hickey said...

So why do we need this special community under the rubric of MMT when all MMT really is are these 3 observations?

So why do we need Marxian economists shouting incessantly that class and power matter economically, especially when a lot of sociologists, political scientists, anthropologists and evolutionary biologists agree based on scientific findings.

So why do we need the institutionalists, following Veblen's lead, shouting that institutions matter when sociologists, political scientists and legal scholars confirm it?

There is really something wrong with the conventional economics profession, or better, groupthink, which is aligned against reality and seemingly with bourgeois liberal ideology that serves capital accumulation because "growth" and "a rising tike lifts all boats."

Auburn Parks said...

Greek-

$1 trillion isnt that much relative to the task at hand. It really does cost a lot of money to have 1.5 million professional soldiers well-equipped and trained. It really does cost a lot of money to rebuild a nation as in Iraq, or to provide security guarantees to like 80 countries alll around the globe. It really is expensive to maintain a Navy large enough to police and enforce the commons everywhere. So even if you eliminated all the Defense contractor graft, all the negative spending like the lost money to corruption in Iraq or even having gone into Iraq in the first place it would still be expensive to maintain the current armed forces. So yeah you can say that the requirements are excessive, but not the amount of money.

"And I haven't left America out -- when the infrastructures of the countries your country has bombed to smithereens have been rebuild, then work can commence in rebuilding your country's infrastructure, starting with those two lousy airports JFK and LGA. Sounds excessive? Well, it's only 5% of GDP ;)""

Dont go all gold standard on me now out of convenience. Spending 5% of GDP on the military doesnt prevent us from doing any of the things domestically or internationally that you mention. It isnt an either or proposition.

"AP, Tom has seen the empire at work, up close and personal. What Tom wants "neutered" is US death and destruction abroad (see list above). Moreover, I am sure the countries on the receiving of US empire would share Tom's hate of empire."

Id like to be clear, to say that I support the empire is not the same as saying I support all of the Empire's policies. If by "work" you mean war then sure wars are unpleasant but always have been and always will be necessary. NO such thing as a libertarian Utopia, somebody has to enforce the rules after all. The point of war is to cause death and destruction to the enemy so Im not sure how that could be eliminated when you are in a war. Of course killing civilians on purpose is horrible policy which is why Im no fan of strategic bombing (at least as practiced in the dumb bomb era). Im sure South Korea really hates us, and Japan, and Germany, France really hates us, just like Belgium and the Dutch and the Italians and all the other countries we've bombed, they all hate us now. Wait what? maybe even Iraq in 30 years if they can get their shit together and we protect and help them do it.

Peaceniks ignore history and the nature of the anarachy of our international system.

lastgreek said...

Lots of people disagree with MMT completely. So once I've determined they cannot be persuaded I don't bother talking to them and move on.

I've come across people, on online American forums, who view all forms of government as interfering with their personal liberty and their property -- especially the latter as private property is sacrosanct to them. Keep government as small as possible. Moreover, to them, you reap what you sow. Period. For example, if you can't afford healthcare insurance, it's because you are either too lazy to earn a living or that you have spent your disposal income on other stuff, say an "iPhone" (no joke). So it's not so much that they can't wrap their heads around MMT (I mean, I did and I'm no smarty)... they just can't fathom the thought of government helping anyone, deserving or not -- it's un-American or un-Christian, evangelically speaking!

Auburn Parks said...

Tom-

Bingo

Those are some great points about power, class and institutions being accomplices to MMT in that respect. The stupidity and yet the power of the economics profession to disastrously warp perceived reality according to the dictates of the wealthy is truly amazing and terrifying.

lastgreek said...

Dont go all gold standard on me now out of convenience. Spending 5% of GDP on the military doesnt prevent us from doing any of the things domestically or internationally that you mention. It isnt an either or proposition.

I never said it's guns or butter, AP. You can have both -- guns and butter. I'd just like to see fewer guns ;)

Auburn Parks said...

Greek-

Sure people say that about other people, but almost nobody supports cutting funding or benefits for themselves. So if you can pass medicare for all, the small minority of people who actually believe in small govt in principle (willing to lose personal benefits even when you are not wealthy) will never get rid of the programs, so in this way govt benefits are asymmetrically more difficult to cut then to enact. We just saw this with a pretty lousy Obamacare program.

Auburn Parks said...

And Id like to see more butter instead :)

Tom Hickey said...

There is nothing wrong with a strong defense, but when you start thinking that the best defense is a dominant offense, then problems arise, especially when a key element in a strong defense is a dominant offense includes the US as not only global policeman but also imposer of "American values" since "democracies don't fight each other."

Moreover, this is not altruistic either. There is the "additional benefit" of keeping the world open to America business interests on US terms, since economic dominance is an aspect of political dominance that is as important as military dominance in imposing and maintaining liberal internationalism as corporate totalitarianism as the foundation of bourgeoise liberalism. Because, you see, "freedom" is needed for capital accumulation through capitalism to effect maximum growth possible so that a rising tide can lift all boats and everyone can live happily ever afterward, in gratitude to American exceptionalism and largesse.

This is the perverse religion called "the American Way."

Auburn Parks said...

"especially when a key element in a strong defense is a dominant offense includes the US as not only global policeman but also imposer of "American values" since "democracies don't fight each other.""

Well American values of human rights, popular sovereignty, and representative Govt are good values that I support spreading to the rest of the world as I believe (and the evidence is irrefutable) that these values provide for the best society especially in terms of material well being. And Democracies really dont seem to fight each other, this is held up remarkably well for decades so it seems sensible to try to expand this dynamic. Now how to spread these values is where the real disagreements begin.

Should we do as the great J Q Adams said not go looking for monsters to slay but to simply express our support with only words and example? Personally, I feel proud that South Korea is one of the wealthiest nations in the world solely because of the US commitment and sacrifice as they wouldnt even exist but would be under the control of that sick commie dictator in one of the worst possible places to live on Earth.

I totally agree with you about the sickness of "american exceptionalism" in the body politick. It really is quite embarrassing and makes me sick. Im not much of a jingoist myself. Managed capitalism in a mixed market\socialist system seems to have one out in the evolution of social organization so there's no principle I have to stand against its spread. But like you I detest the way The American system is run currently. And I espeecially hate our United Fruit past of undermining other countries sovereignty for the sole purpose of American corporate gain. But Corporate profits arent inherently evil as they are just neutral legal entities with no agency of their own. Its the culture of America and Biz practice and the people who run these things that are the problem, not publicly traded corporations as an idea iteslf.

Auburn Parks said...

ahh...should read in the last paragraph ...

"system seems to have WON out in the evolutionary race of social organization"

Penguin pop said...

"I've come across people, on online American forums, who view all forms of government as interfering with their personal liberty and their property -- especially the latter as private property is sacrosanct to them. Keep government as small as possible. Moreover, to them, you reap what you sow. Period. For example, if you can't afford healthcare insurance, it's because you are either too lazy to earn a living or that you have spent your disposal income on other stuff, say an "iPhone" (no joke). So it's not so much that they can't wrap their heads around MMT (I mean, I did and I'm no smarty)... they just can't fathom the thought of government helping anyone, deserving or not -- it's un-American or un-Christian, evangelically speaking!"

I've been thinking about this for a while now. Even if everyone universally accepted the ideas and principles of MMT (or really it should be called Monetary Reality and I love the idea of a Monetary Reality or Modern Money Practice manual), I could imagine these kinds of petty squabbles would still exist in some form. Maybe the Republican Party would really emphasize public-private partnerships and the Dems would be about public works projects and having the federal government cut out the middleman on these matters and there would be a new set of disagreements and fighting over these issues, with the random Dominionist coming in there and still uttering the same obsessive "small government" view.

I am not an expert either, but just found that MMT made the most sense to me the more I read about it and got into it deeper.

lastgreek said...

We're going back 10 years now ... my wife breastfed our daughter for the first 6 months, after which she was not able to produce any more milk. When we switched to cow's/goat's milk, our daughter threw it up (allergic). The pediatrician recommended a product called Neocate. "Neocate? What's that, I asked." "It's a complete amino-acid food for those allergic to milk products," he replied. "Any good," I asked. He laughs and says that it was developed by NASA scientists for the Apollo astronauts, so, yeah, it's good -- it's damn good! ... The baby formula, because we had a doctor's prescription, cost us nothing; otherwise, it would have cost us a $100 for a week's supply.... Out of curiosity, I went online to get info. on it and to see what other families had to say about it.... Let me tell you, I freaked out reading stories about American mothers who were unable to breastfeed and whose babies were allergic to milk unable to afford this product. You see, insurance companies (don't recall if it was in all states) didn't cover it. And I am reading about how these mothers, the little that they could afford to buy -- how they had no choice but to dilute the product with water. Water! And other mothers begging anyone out there with any extra of this milk if they could donate it to them or sell it cheaply.... Anyway, when our daughter turned 1, she was no longer allergic to milk products. We had a month's supply of this special milk that we no longer needed, so we donated it to an American family... you know, I never thought I'd ever be making food donations to the wealthiest country in the world.

PS: From my family, I just want to say ... thank you, NASA!

Tom Hickey said...

I've come across people, on online American forums, who view all forms of government as interfering with their personal liberty and their property -- especially the latter as private property is sacrosanct to them. Keep government as small as possible. Moreover, to them, you reap what you sow. Period.

There is nothing wrong with these as principles. I subscribe to them myself. However, principles have to be interpreted and applied, and these can be interpreted and applied differently based on both understanding and context. Principles delineate the framework and boundary conditions of an ideology as the articulation of a world view. Different ways of seeing result in different understanding. Moreover, within a world view principles have to be interpreted in terms of contest and context is historical. History involves changing circumstances, learning, and adaption, therefore emergence, which results in fresh opportunities and new challenges.

I interpret "small government" to mean no larger than needed to effect public purpose as decided democratically in a way that is effective and efficient. Small government therefore means good government rather than government as night watchman, whose only purposes are personal security and protection of private property rights of individuals.

"As ye sow, so shall ye reap," is a fundamental principle of perennial wisdom, which understands this as the law of action and consequence aka "karma." Karma is a Sanskrit term that means action — thought, word and deed. The doctrine of karma understands action in a much more comprehensive way those who interpret it in terms of economic incentive and personal responsibility for one's economic condition in a "free society."

The law of karma applies in two ways. The first way is socially. What one generation does affects succeeding generations both positively and negatively.

The second way is personally. The doctrine of karma is not limited to one earthly life. Sages have set forth the mechanics of this both symbolically and also descriptively in term of the mechanism that is operative and functions similarly to the laws of physics. Energy is conserved. Causality applies determinatively. The law of action and reaction also applies. In my view it is the "best explanation" and those who gave it — those deemed sages — are seemingly in a position to know.

Matt Franko said...

"NO such thing as a libertarian Utopia"

Well I think we are then pretty damn close the way things are today and have been for quite a while...

Tom Hickey said...

Auburn, maybe you should talk to some of the victims of this view and tale a look at the collateral damage.

This being bourgeois liberalism, you don't even have have to travel to Vietnam, the former Yugoslavia, the Middle East, North Africa, Latin America. There are plenty of domestic victims and plenty of collateral damage at home.

The US was founded as a republic rather than a democracy since it was founded on the basis of bourgeois liberalism. As John Jay is reported to have said, Those the own the country should govern it.

Well, now it is those that own the world should govern it. David Rockefeller et al believed this to be a matter of noblesse oblige — "the rich men's burden." Many in the West still view it as "the white man's privilege," having dominated the world for half a millennium.

In my view this is self-serving BS, and the direction in which is leading is dangerous and possibly disastrous. It is based not only on ignorance and self-interest, but also on hubris and bullying.

Matt Franko said...

""the rich men's burden."

Well it seems to be working out that it's the moron man's burden....

Auburn Parks said...

"Auburn, maybe you should talk to some of the victims of this view and tale a look at the collateral damage. "This being bourgeois liberalism, you don't even have have to travel to Vietnam, the former Yugoslavia, the Middle East, North Africa, Latin America. There are plenty of domestic victims and plenty of collateral damage at home.""

What exactly are you trying to say here? Im not sure what Ive said that you are referring to here. Whats the connection to bourgeois liberalism? The "human rights, popular sovereignty, and representative democracy" part of what I said is good about American values? I mean these arent bourgious liberal values or even if you made the case that they are it would be irrelevant to the goodness or badness of the values themselves. So maybe its referring to something else, let me know.

"The US was founded as a republic rather than a democracy since it was founded on the basis of bourgeois liberalism. As John Jay is reported to have said, Those the own the country should govern it."

So what if we had limited suffrage in the past, we were the first country with universal male suffrage so does that make us great or something if not having it makes us bad? Im confused what this has to do with anything. I dont agree that those who own the country should govern it.

"Well, now it is those that own the world should govern it. David Rockefeller et al believed this to be a matter of noblesse oblige — "the rich men's burden." Many in the West still view it as "the white man's privilege," having dominated the world for half a millennium."

Sure, but what does that have to do with anything. Lots of racist white people in the US too but what does that have to do with anything Ive said wrt defense policy and foreign policy?

"In my view this is self-serving BS, and the direction in which is leading is dangerous and possibly disastrous. It is based not only on ignorance and self-interest, but also on hubris and bullying."

Well I certainly agree with you on this, just not sure how its supposed to be an argument against my foreign policy comments. Though maybe its not meant to be that and so Im erroneously interpreting it that way.

Tom Hickey said...

Well it seems to be working out that it's the moron man's burden....

The assumption is that the super-rich are the smartest people in the world. They are — at building personal wealth. That says nothing about anything else.

Andrew Anderson said...

They are — at building personal wealth. Tom Hickey

He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity. Ecclesiastes 5:10

"What profited a man ..." Jesus Christ

So perhaps not so smart even there.

Auburn Parks said...

The assumption is that the super-rich are the smartest people in the world. They are — at building personal wealth. That says nothing about anything else.

Exactly. People misunderstand the nature our meritocracy. Meritocracy is like evolution, where given the specific environmental context and changes, one design is more "better" and so survives and spreads. But this says nothing about whats being selected for, what does "better" mean in this context?

2 Examples:

Health Insurance CEOs. The very nature of health insurance is to maximize profits by minimizing payouts relative to premiums income. So what exactly is being selected for in the meritocracy at Blue Cross Blue Shield? Are they selecting for kindness and compassion or psychopathy? Somebody is who a bungling communicator or someone who can put the best spin on a necessarily nasty and deadly enterprise of denying care to humans who presumably need it?

Tom you mentioned John Boyd, and by reading his biography I was introduced to the Defense Reform Movement people. One of the things that was so stiking to me was the description of the military as actively against change. Whereas they literally selected for the most conventional, most complacent people at the top positions because that served the status quo. In this way its true to say that today the top military brass are indeed selected in a meritocracy its just that dynamism, tactical and strategic competence are not the things being selected for as those things arent valued more highly than loyalty and being a team player.

On a related side note, nothing was more trans formative to my perception of military procurement problems then the simple statemnt from the BOyd book that the goal of everybody in the military procurement process is to make things as expensive as possible. IOW its in every relevant player's personal interest to make things as expensive as possible. There is no incentive anywhere to keep costs down as the system has been very carefully designed to do exactly the opposite.

Great book about John Boyd, highly reccommend it to the MNE commentariat.

Tom Hickey said...

Auburn, what I am saying is what I realized as a naval officer in the Pacific fleet during the ramp-up stage of the Vietnam war (1964-1967)Wwhen I competed my active duty commitment, I went to grad school, where I was an anti-war activist and wrote a thesis on social and political philosophy in order to become better acquainted with the background that led up to this mess.

What I came to realize is that the American exceptionalism, American values and the rest of the hype is just that for the people running things. It's not that they don't believe these things but they take them in a way that forwards their class interests and accumulation of power domestically and around the world. The elite doesn't debate what but rather how. The policy is fixed by the bipartisan establishment, and the arguments are over strategy and tactics more then policy. Policy is about which factions of the elite are going to do best in the period between elections.

In this view, ordinary people are cannon fodder, and the ROW is a target from which to extract resources and increase the wealth and power of the US elite and their compradors.

This may sound cynical but I have seen it up closeand it is burned into my brain.

It's not just about expropriation, exploitation and extraction. They are terrified of Jacobinism. To avoid it at any cost they have to maintain complete dominance domestically and globally. They employ not only Machiavellian strategy and tactics to do so, but thuggery.

The end justifies the means. The "end" is purportedly "American values."

But the reality behind "American values" is bourgeois liberalism or the rule of the acquisitors backed by the intelligentsia and warrior, with the laborers providing the consumption and capital goods for a minuscule share of the surplus. The minions — the intelligentsia and warriors — get a somewhat bigger share. There is also the opportunity for a few to make it to the level of the elite, the so-called 1%, and fewer to the level of the super-rich, the .01%. Some do so based on their own creativity and others through legalized corruption.

Neoliberal globalization aka liberal internationalism is bourgeois liberalism on steroids and it is morphing into corporate totalitarianism. The elite view "populism" as a potentially a form of Jacobinism.

Andrew Anderson said...

and others through legalized corruption Tom Hickey

Such as government insurance of private liabilities, including privately created(!) liabilities ("bank loans create bank deposits") and exclusive access to fiat accounts and transaction services at the central bank when all citizens should have access to fiat accounts and transaction services.

Auburn Parks said...

well seeing what the FRench revolutionaries did to the French elite, Id be worried too :)

So I get all that and as I said I agree with you on just about all of it. However, I dont see what it has to do with my principles.

My principles are that I believe the US Navy should be large enough to enforce the openness global sea commons, because someone has to and better for it to be us than a hodgepodge of competing great powers for example. The history of the class conflict that you're talking about doesnt really have anything to do with my principle about the US Navy. Or are you suggesting that because we've slid into neo-liberalism since the 1970s this is why we shouldnt abide by my Navy principle? IOW that the Navy principle is OK and that it would be fine if we did it once neo-liberalism is gone?

So here's my problem with what you are arguing. I think the US Navy principle is important to both US and global security and progress, so just acknowledging how much more oligarchic we are now then in the 70's doesnt change my principles it makes me wish to change the oligarchy. This is what I mean when I say Im confused about the relevance of your arguments to what it is that Im saying.

Matt Franko said...

"that the goal of everybody in the military procurement process is to make things as expensive as possible. "

That's coming from the perspective of somebody (moron Boyd and his moron cronies ) that thinks "we're out of money!"... so you have to take that into account in his analysis...

I can assure you that is not the goal (used to work there...) the goal is to field the most effective systems possible for the warrior class...

To your points before above it's not inexpensive to do these things properly... it's not like we don't have the munnie and manpower available to do these things properly 5% GDP is way too low....

Tom Hickey said...

My principles are that I believe the US Navy should be large enough to enforce the openness global sea commons,

This assumes that the purpose of the US Navy is to guarantee freedom of passage through international waters globally.

That is naïve.

The purpose of the US Navy is the same as the British Navy. The US simply inherited the role intact from the Brits after WWII, when the US became the superpower in the West after the wholesale destruction of Europe. In fact, on leaving the Yalta Conference the Crimea, FDR's ship sailed to a meeting with King Saud to cement US control of Middle East oil, on which a navy runs. The US did not need the oil then since the US was self-sufficient in oil until the early '70s.

Dominance (empire) requires control of the sea and air. The US Navy, US Marines, and US Air Force exist to provide that. They are not defensive forces but offensive ones. The hype that is that the"defend freedom" globally from the bad actors. The reality is that since WWII US policy has been global dominance backed by the preeminent economy and military superiority.

In military strategy, control of the Eurasia land mass, the heartland of the world island, is needed for global dominance. This is the reason now for US involvement in that region including Russia, Iran, China, Central Asia and the Middle East.

The US controls the sea and air, and is attempting to control space and cyberspace, but the US doesn't control the land mass — yet. The collapse of the USSR presented the opportunity to secure control of the land mass and that is being contested now.

This has been set forth in international relations, foreign policy, and military studies since the late 19th century, with the rise of modern navies and then air forces. This is what people who study these fields and occupy positions in government and military do day to day. It's engrained in the way they think about the world and their job. "Freedom," "American values," etc. is just the rationale for explaining it to the people. But in addition, there is always the fear factor that is added. We have to protect ourselves and our allies against the bad guys and also go to the rescue of the people that are being oppressed (R2P).

An additional benefit is the funding of the military-intelligence-industrial-govermental complex aka military Keynesianism.
is no longer the case is that other countries are acquiring advanced technology and China is poised to surpass the US economically in size and impact.

This means that it is becoming increasingly dangerous for the US to attempt to maintain global dominance and military superiority as national policy. It's creating a new arms race, even more destructive technology is being developed, and space is being weaponized. This is not making the world either safer or freer, as advertised.

BTW here is a link to an article about the victims.

US Has Killed More Than 20 Million In 37 Nations Since WWII

Tom Hickey said...

That's coming from the perspective of somebody (moron Boyd and his moron cronies ) that thinks "we're out of money!"... so you have to take that into account in his analysis...

"His cronies," like Pat Lang, Chuck Spinney, Pierre Sprey (co-designer of the F-16), etc.

It has nothing to do with we're out of money. It's feeding the beast rather than doing the necessary.

One of the problems is the quest for the kill shot as a magic bullet. Just another instance of "size matters."

John said...

Auburn,

I suppose it doesn't really matter what the numbers are if you are a supporter of the empire, in the false belief that it brings "stability". Indeed, given how important "stability" is, even 100% of the federal budget would not only be acceptable but also a moral necessity: it's either the US Empire keeping the peace or nuclear proliferation and eventual annihilation. That's another matter, but the numbers are not as low as you think.

There's a lot of creative accounting going on, and it's all done in plain sight. The nuclear weapons budget is under the department of energy, not the Pentagon. A great deal of Nasa is military in nature, but transferring that part of the budget away from the Pentagon serves the purpose of fudging the figures. Similarly the science and technology budget, the CDC, veterans affairs, etc. The list of creative accounting for "defence" is very long. All this while ignoring the CIA, NSA and other quasi-military institutions.

If you were to add it all up, it'd be a great deal more than 5%. Once you start totting up the real figures, the US spends approximately the same as the rest of the world combined, not the next eight countries that is usually advertised. It may be a good idea or it may be a bad idea, but the figures should be transparent, not moved around to hide the reality. The reason there is a determined effort to disguise the figures is almost certainly due to the fact that it would be impossible to defend.

John said...

As for Sri Lanka, I know there's been a lot of work by MMTers on applying MMT to developing countries, and it pretty much coms down to how the natural resources available to said country. North America and almost all European countries can probably be self-sufficient and be able to put up a concerted defence against the rest of the world's neoliberal imperialists. Sri Lanka's energy dependency would be the deciding factor. I wish them all the best, especially given how the rest of the world robs them of their health, educational and technology professionals each and every year, leaving the country at near Groundhog Day development.

Auburn Parks said...

Tom-

"This assumes that the purpose of the US Navy is to guarantee freedom of passage through international waters globally.

That is naïve."

Its true. So what if its not 100% altruistic, almost nothing is. Even though we do it for our own citizens and our own power, the result is still the same. Its not like we are saying only we get to sail the routes like the British largely did, after all there was a reason the UK had like 90% of the global shipping business at the height of its empire.

I know all about the saudi meeting, and all the other history you write about. Im not some ignorant bumpkin that only knows the official party line. Ive read many "subversive" history books that you can find all this real history in. I think that is probably why our conversations could possibly be difficult for you. My guess is that whenever you interact with other empire supporters you wow and amaze them with your knowledge of history and US Geostrategies and politics. You catch them up on their obvious hypocrisies and their historical ignorance about what we've done and why. But you cant do that to me because I already know all that stuff and I still support the empire. Because I support what the empire can do on many different levels of abstraction. And that we can always make things better because we the people are in charge.

On one level you have the blood and guts on another the economics, on another the politics, on another the long sweep of history or Deep background as it were on a subject, on another you have the level of deterrence and what ifs. IOW there is a 1 nanometer view, the 1 meter view, the 1 kilometer view, the 100 kilometer view, etc etc. Things look different from all levels of abstraction.

So on one level its bad for a German soldier to be killed by a US bomb in 1945, but on another level it was much better for West Germans to be conquered by the allies then communists. At an even higher level we can possibly even thank the nazis and Japanese because WWII did more for the prosperity of America over the next 50 years then any other event possibly could have. So the same thing can be going on and yet the perspectives of good and bad from that single event are different depending on the level of abstraction in the analysis.

So its too simplistic to say that "US greedy therefore Empire bad" or "US Kills people therefore empire bad" just like its stupid to say "US defeats Nazi therefore empire good".

Just a bit of background context for my POV.

Auburn Parks said...

2 more things Tom-

Personally I dont trust totalitarian Dictator states like China so I agree with the conventional wisdom that we should contain them (hopefully the result is like the cold war with the USSR, we win and we dont fight). Lots of dangerous Chinese exceptionalism over there too, not really that unique to the US to be fair. Unlike you, I dont have a wonderful view of China because you've read some eastern philosophy. That shit doesnt matter in real-politick, no matter what their propaganda would have the world believe.

Ive seen that link at the bottom before about the millions dead. And its largely trash, the methodology is so biased and the author so hateful of the America that its surprising you take it seriously enough to publicize.

I mean this is just ridiculous as if the US is responsible for deaths just by selling weapons. I mean this is some crank history stuff right here:

"To the families and friends of these victims it makes little difference whether the causes were U.S. military action, proxy military forces, the provision of U.S. military supplies or advisors, or other ways, such as economic pressures applied by our nation. They had to make decisions about other things such as finding lost loved ones, whether to become refugees, and how to survive."

I mean who is responsible for deaths from the Iraq embargo that supposedly killed 500K iraqis? The govt with the dictator that prevented supplies from getting to its citizens? or the countries doing the embagoing in response to your dictator invading another country and directly killing many thousands of his own subjects?

"The U.S. is responsible for between 1 and 1.8 million deaths during the war between the Soviet Union and Afghanistan, by luring the Soviet Union into invading that nation. (1,2,3,4)"

Man those innocent Soviets were tricked into invading afghanistan by the evil Americans. I mean have you even read this Garbage Tom? For someone of your intellectual capabilities its amazing that you were put stock in such trashy source material.

Tom Hickey said...

And that we can always make things better because we the people are in charge.

And that is exactly what I am arguing has not been the case. Could've been. But was not. And is not.

Tom Hickey said...

To put in another way it is weren't for the hype, what would it be?

Why is it hype?

The same reason that what could've been wasn't.

The elite know it is hype and is being used to cover the hidden agenda of their own interests.

This is what class and power is about. You either have to have a narrative to dupe the rubes or else use the threat of violence control them.

Liberal elites would rather dupe the rubes if they can, or co-opt them with bread and circuses, but they also keep the stick in the background.

Tom Hickey said...

Auburn, we don't even agree about facts, let alone the causation, the responsibility, and the morality. We view the world entirely differently. So I'll leave it there.

MMT works either way.

Auburn Parks said...

"And that is exactly what I am arguing has not been the case. Could've been. But was not. And is not."

That is the case. You mistake people who disagree with you with the people not having control.The people could have voted for Bernie over HRC but they didnt in enough numbers. Sure the DNC cheated on the margins and that didnt help, but the reality is that too many democrats are fiscally conservative and too corporate friendly and the people who arent dont vote in large enough numbers.

So I can either say that the people have no control because my preferred candidate\politics didnt win (like you are doing) or I can acknowledge that among voters I have the minority position.

The 30 years of progress post WWII shows proves that you are wrong. It was difficult for the elites to take back control after the Great Depression and WWII, it took decades. This proves that its not a foregone conclusion, that the people actually do have the power. They've just been convinced that they dont need to change directions up until recently. I expect things to swing back the other way against oligarchy and corporate power moving forward. If that does happen its further proof that you're wrong.

Auburn Parks said...

Tom-

No doubt about any of that, we largely have all the same historical knowledge and information and still view the same events in completely opposite ways, pretty amazing actually. Further proof that there can be no Modern Money Practice manual. Good talk. Have a good rest of the day.

John said...

Auburn: "I mean this is just ridiculous as if the US is responsible for deaths just by selling weapons."

By that rationale, nobody else would be "responsible" for the deaths of innocent Americans on the streets of mainland USA by arming groups whose express aim is to wreak that very havoc, for instance ISIS and Al Qaeda? If you do mind seeing these nutters armed with sophisticated weapons and their covert training, and every reasonable person does, then why is it fine for the US to turn Nicaragua into a disaster zone by arming the Contra terrorists? Or ISIS in Syria (undeniable given that the DIA and General Flynn admitted to it)? Or a hundred other places?

Sales of weapons are not all that different to sales of toilet brushes. The sellers and the buyers alike are aware that the goods are not for storage; they're for use. While it is in the infinitesimally narrow sense true that the merchants of death can't be blamed for the resulting deaths (although the deaths wouldn't be nearly as high if these weapons were not available), I look forward to hearing Americans defend this position if and when the state terrorism the US has exported all over the world ever again returns to haunt another major US city, but this time with a recognisable country as source of origin training and arming the terrorists, not a stateless band of religious freaks.

Matt Franko said...

No "one" designed the F-16 Tom that is absurd...

All those guys are the DoD equivalent of the Peterson morons....

If they understood things why would anybody like them be complaining about the cost of things in USD terms?

They wouldn't... they would only complain about technical process deficiencies etc...

Just because you hate the warrior class doesn't give you license to claim these guys aren't morons like the rest of them all in some sort of 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' type thing...

Stupid is stupid plain and simple...

John said...

Auburn: "Further proof that there can be no Modern Money Practice manual."

I can't see why not. There could be the "conservative" maniac chapter on how to use MMT to loot the 99%, and there could be a liberal maniac chapter on how to use MMT to loot the 99%, and there can also be a leftwing Wray-style chapter on how to use MMT to help everyone except the rich. I like Wray's articulation of taxing the rich: they have too much money. After explaining that, yes, taxes don't fund a thing, he says it straight out "rich people have too much money" and that excess money should be taxed away. You can't argue with that. When people start voting for that, that'll be progress. All that's required is a political party to articulate that position. That may prove to be a long time coming...

John said...

Matt: "No "one" designed the F-16 Tom that is absurd... "

Huh? Are you simply arguing that more than one homo sapien was involved in the design of the F-16? Or that the F-16 designed itself?

lastgreek said...

MMT works either way.

There is a website run by retired US military officers that is very MMT friendly. If I am not mistaken, either you or Matt has posted a link to it here. For the life of me, I can't recall the name of it :(

I guess it would be best to keep it hush-hush lest you know what... ;)

Tom Hickey said...

No "one" designed the F-16 Tom that is absurd...

II said "co-designer." You dispute there was a design team?

Just because you hate the warrior class doesn't give you license to claim these guys aren't morons like the rest of them all in some sort of 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' type thing...

I don't "hate the warrior class." Actually I like and respect real warriors as people of honor, discipline, and heart, and real leaders are also smart and resourceful.

Then there are the big egos that are into the power and glory, and the ass-kissers who will do anything to do promoted.

Serving in the military ones sees them all.

Bob said...

Or that the F-16 designed itself?

Now there's an idea ;)