Sunday, July 21, 2019

Naked Capitalism — Modern money theory and its implementation and challenges: The case of Japan VoxEU. Thread in response by Fullwiler.

Lambert Strether posed these links at Naked Capitalism. The VoxEU article was posted here at MNE when it came out. It is cited here if you missed it. The operative post is the Twitter thread that Scott Fullwiler tweeted in response to it.

Modern money theory and its implementation and challenges: The case of Japan VoxEU. Thread in response by Fullwiler.Naked Capitalism

See also at Naked Capitalism today.

Michael Hudson exceeded himself on this one. Here is the conclusion.
The American promise is that the victory of neoliberalism is the End of History, offering prosperity to the entire world. But beneath the rhetoric of free choice and free markets is the reality of corruption, subversion, coercion, debt peonage and neofeudalism. The reality is the creation and subsidy of polarized economies bifurcated between a privileged rentierclass and its clients, eir debtors and renters. America is to be permitted to monopolize trade in oil and food grains, and high-technology rent-yielding monopolies, living off its dependent customers. Unlike medieval serfdom, people subject to this End of History scenario can choose to live wherever they want. But wherever they live, they must take on a lifetime of debt to obtain access to a home of their own, and rely on U.S.-sponsored control of their basic needs, money and credit by adhering to U.S. financial planning of their economies. This dystopian scenario confirms Rosa Luxemburg’s recognition that the ultimate choice facing nations in today’s world is between socialism and barbarism.
Michael Hudson: U.S. Economic Warfare and Likely Foreign Defenses
Michael Hudson | President of The Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends (ISLET), a Wall Street Financial Analyst, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and Guest Professor at Peking University

Walk the World - A Conversation With Steve Keen: Part One - The Debt Problem

Economists still leave out the role that money plays in the economy, says Steve Keen, in fact, they accuse him of confusing stocks with flows. They believe the economy is all based on barter, i.e, one to one, not understanding how bank credit can distort prices.

To get the Australian economy going again, the Australian government will boost the housing market, but this makes the problem worse in the long run, says Steve Keen.

In Part 2 Steve Keen says he differs from the MMTers in that he places more concern on the problem of too much private debt. In fact, Max Keiser and Naomi Prins both criticise MMT for the same reason.

Parts 3 and 4 are available too.

Part 2 - From Central Bankers to MMT

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Paul Mason and Jesse Norman on a Revolutionary Defence of Humanity

Conservatives politician, Jesse Norman, interviews Paul Mason, an economic advisor to Jeremy Corbyn. Paul Mason describes himself as a non-statist Marxist, and he seems to hold similar views to me. It's interesting what he says about identify politics.

The interview is non confrontational and it's interesting to see on what they both agree on, although they remain politically opposite. Both want to see less neoliberalism, less rent extraction, and more improved markets.

Paul Mason says he wants the state to run transport and the energy companies to improve the environment. We might even have free public transport one day, he says. I always thought this was a good idea as it would really take the vehicles off the road and reduce pollution. Right now I can walk 5 minutes to a bus stop and a bus will come within 10 minutes, so I don't even bother to check on my phone too see if one is due.

Jesse Norman says how conservatives have always had a long tradition of conservation and caring for the countryside.

Intelligence Squared - Podcast

 Paul Mason and Jesse Norman on a Revolutionary Defence of Humanity

Nobel Economist Says Inequality is Destroying Democratic Capitalism — Angus Deaton

Should be neoliberalism is destroying the illusion of liberal democracy.

Nobel Economist Says Inequality is Destroying Democratic Capitalism
Angus Deaton | Senior Scholar and the Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of Economics and International Affairs Emeritus at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Economics Department at Princeton University

Trump Is Back Under Bolton’s Thumb — Paul Craig Roberts

I don't think that this quite correct. John Bolton is the frontman in the administration for casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a rabid supporter of Zionism and a major contributor to Trump's political campaign. It is not an exaggeration to say that Trump owes his 2016 victory in large part to Adelson's legal bribery.

OK, course, Trump gave no quid pro quo for the funding, so it is not bribery in the legal sense. However, anyone who thinks that political contributions, especially large ones, don't come with strings attached is very naive about how the world works.

The dilemma that Trump has faced and still face is that Adelson's money is needed for his political campaigns and this requires that he play the role that his backer demands, which ties his own hands regarding preferred policy and strategy.  This is especially the case now that the 2020 presidential campaign is upon us.

I don't see Trump caving to Bolton. I see Sheldon Adelson with a gun to Trump's temple in the form of campaign funding.

This is a big reason that for anything like representative democracy instead of plutonomy to prevail in the US, campaign finance has to be reformed, the revolving door locked, and lobbying outlawed. This would require nullifying SCOTUS's Citizen's United decision.

Complicating the problem is that this is a bipartisan issue. Electing the opposition party will not affect it, judging from the past. The lesson is that money doesn't mix with politics in a liberal democracy, not that there are any now, or have been any historically. Bourgeois liberalism is liberalism in name only.

Paul Craig Roberts
Trump Is Back Under Bolton’s Thumb
Paul Craig Roberts | formerly Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy, associate editor of the Wall Street Journal and a columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate

China’s best friend? — Scott Sumner

Same with Russia. Moronic strategy, making declared adversaries stronger and more self-sufficient. The other good side is that empires don't last long with morons in charge.

The Money Illusion
China’s best friend?
Scott Sumner | Professor of Economics at Bentley University

"Don't do as I do, do as I say."

Anyone see a pattern here? Any wonder why there is a push for multilateralism to counter unipolarism (read world dominance).

News in Asia
Laughable: US Claims ‘Free and Open Seas,’ Tries to Push China Out of Indian, Pacific Trade
Pepe Escobar

Mike Pompeo Says Foreign Actors Must Leave Venezuela, So That US Can Rebuild It

Stephen Fry - Boris And Trump's Killer Healthcare Trick, with Stephen Fry.

Stephen Fry has made the ultimate myth-busting video about private healthcare vs the NHS

Will Boris and Trump privatise the NHS? How much would medicare for all cost in the US? Which healthcare system is most likely to save you? Killer facts are hidden by carefully constructed illusions.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Herland Report - Totalitarian Rule means end of Democracy

I've got addicted to Twitter recently, probably because it works better with my new phone. But Bill Binney won't go near twitter, or Facebook, or leave any likes anywhere, because he knows the NSA are watching everybody. And they listen to every phone call you make and read all your emails.

I read on the internet yesterday how they a are hunting everywhere for photographs of you to build up a facial recognition database. They go to Facebook, Google, Twitter, where ever.

Bill Binney says he designed Thinthread - the software he made for spying on people to counter terrorism - to be very selective leaving most people alone, but the NSA didn't want it, they wanted Big Data instead so they could spy on everyone, except it collects so much data that it misses the terrorists and their planed attacks on the public.

If you watched the movie about Bill Binney - which I have posted here in the past - you would have seen how the NSA bought software from a private company instead paying $millions for it, but it was useless compared to Bill Binney's elegant program, and so it misssed 9/11 where Bill Binney's one wouldn't have done. But everyone was making lots of money out of it - the tax payer scammed again.

This is a good interview.

System Capture 2020: The Role of the Upper-Class in Shaping Democratic Primary Politics — Anthony DiMaggio

The Democratic primary season is upon us, and the party’s candidate list is a useful starting point for assessing the impact of affluence on American politics. Classic works by sociologists of decades past, including C. Wright Mills and G. William Domhoff, posited that U.S. political institutions were captured by elite economic actors, who seek to enhance their own material positions at the expense of the many....
"Class" is a technical term in sociology. It is synonymous with "social class" and "socio-economic class, and it denotes the social stratification of a group, usually a society based on cultural and institutional arrangements that are generally a combination of formal and informal. Characteristic of each class as a set of individuals is a level of status, power and wealth.

It is useful to think of a society in terms of a system of networks and their relations. The "upper class" especially is usually identified by certain characteristics that are relevant to status, power, and wealth, such as family background, educational background and career. The top tier is a much more closely knit network that lower classes and the top tier lives in a completely different environment from the lower tiers. In some cases the structure is rigid with little social mobility, such as the aristocratic and caste system based on birth. There is much more social mobility in liberal societies than in traditional ones.

Why is network a good way to consider the concept of class? "Network" emphasizes connections and inter-communication. Class is often thought of more in terms of aggregates. While it is true that a the lower rungs of society, class does exhibit the characteristics of aggregates, where connects are few and scattered, the top tier is "well-connected," and it is these connections that giver the upper class its social, political and economic power and influence.

The common characteristic of the "upper class" is that it constitutes a ruling elite, if not directly providing the bulk of the leadership, at least choosing it and to some extent controlling it. This constitutes the political organization called "oligarchy," literally the rule of the few. In liberal societies the characteristic of oligarchies is plutonomy, literally governance based wealth.

Anthony DiMaggio asserts that this is due to state capture. I would not disagree with in my view it is not so much a matter of "capture" in a concerted and intentional sense, since it is the historical norm. New members come, old members go. The structure remains mostly the same, although it changes appearance owing to historical and geographical conditions that affect culture and institutions. If there was capture, and there seems to have been historically based on comparison with the more egalitarian social structure of so-called primitive societies, it happened ages ago through what Marx called primitive accumulation, e.g., of taking control of land. Historians, sociologists, political theorists and philosophers have investigated this and speculated about. While primitive accumulation continues to some degree, the patterns were established during the transition from hunter-gather societies to agricultural ones.

The top tier assumes and asserts that there was really no capture "back then," and there is no capture now; it is the natural state for the stronger and more  competent to rule since they can use resources more efficiently and effectively. Recall John Locke's just-so tale of private property arising from mixing land with use. So what may look like "capture" was really just a natural concentration of "human capital" based on initiative and ability. Lower tiers are either convinced by this line of reasoning — or not. At any rate, pretty much the same process repeats under different cultural garb geographically and across time, in spite of the occasional revolution, since revolutionary change is soon co-opted by a newly emergent elite.

This post is a summary of studies and polls about the contemporary US, which the author then relates to the contemporary Democratic Party. The GOP has already decided on renominating a sitting president that is a billionaire whose record is one of favoring the upper class based on "trickle down." The GOP base seems to buy this.

His conclusion:
Early polling data suggests that Democratic partisans have continued to elevate neoliberal “electable” Dems when it comes to the highest office in the land, although progressive candidates are gaining ground. Pollingfrom mid-July of this year reveals that Joe Biden leads all candidates, with 32 percent support. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are not far behind, each polling at 19 and 14 percent respectively, while Kamala Harris stands at 13 percent support. These results suggest that there is a real struggle among Democratic partisans to determine the future direction of the party, with the top four candidates as of mid-2019 split between establishment neoliberals on the one hand, and New Dealer-style liberal-progressive reformers on the other. Whoever prevails in the primaries, one thing appears clear. Should a neoliberal candidate win the 2020 nomination, there is little reason to expect a reverse in the status quo-elitism of the Democratic Party.
System Capture 2020: The Role of the Upper-Class in Shaping Democratic Primary Politics
Anthony DiMaggio | Assistant Professor of Political Science, Lehigh University, and author of The Politics of Persuasion: Economic Policy and Media Bias in the Modern Era, and Selling War, Selling Hope: Presidential Rhetoric, the News Media, and U.S. Foreign Policy After 9/11

Nothing has changed

We're in the exact same position we were in when I read this book almost 30 years ago:

Nothing has changed... no cognitive adjustment has ever been made by the Liberal Art trained morons in control... none... zero... zip... nada...

Nothing has changed

Unqualified Art Degree morons still in control; arguing with each other based on their "out of money!" cognitive error.

Nothing has changed...

The Trump administration late Thursday gave Democrats a menu of $574 billion in savings options from which to find $150 billion to offset the costs of a two-year budget cap agreement. 
The official described the White House demand as a starting point.
Roughly half of the administration proposals are cuts and the others come from reforms, two people familiar with the proposal said. One of the suggested reforms is the drug pricing plan from the White House’s 2020 budget, which would save $115 billion, one of the people said. 
There are no revenue or tax increases on the list. 
The offer also includes a proposal to extend budget caps for two extra years after they expire in 2021 in order to save $516 billion. Under current law, $126 billion in automatic cuts would take effect by the end of the calendar year if the caps are not raised.

Quint Forgey - How Elizabeth Warren would reform Wall Street

I will believe it when I see it. But it's a start.

Elizabeth Warren — whose criticisms of big banks powered her decade-long political ascent from law professor and consumer advocate to top-tier White House contender — on Thursday unveiled her plan to take on Wall Street as president.
"The truth is that Washington has it backwards. For a long time now, Wall Street’s success hasn’t helped the broader economy — it’s come at the expense of the rest of the economy. Wall Street is looting the economy and Washington is helping them do it,” Warren wrote in a blog post of her plan, which marks the latest plank in the candidate's platform of “economic patriotism.”

Thursday, July 18, 2019

MMT's Kelton Sees Central Banks Quietly Yielding to Governments — Yuko Takeo and Masahiro Hidaka

  • Their independence will shrink to policy execution, she says
  • Says Japan policy flawed by hitting gas and brakes together
Looks like the last mile has closed.


This Is Where The Next Recession Will Start: An Epidemiological Study — Nicholas Colas

US recessions are like epidemics: they all begin somewhere, and the “tell” is state-level unemployment data. For example, the end of the 2000 dot com bubble hit Connecticut and Massachusetts first – two hubs for the financials services industry with lots of affluent investors to boot. The end of the 2000s housing boom predictably impacted Florida and Nevada before the rest of the country. This time around, the data shows the manufacturing-heavy states of Michigan, Ohio and Indiana are most at risk. No wonder “Dr. Fed” wants to inoculate the region with lower interest rates....

Rick Sanchez - US & Euro economies crumbling

Europe has had near zero interest rates for 5 years and is now considering negative interest rates to help its failing economy. But could the Federal Reserve be about to lower interest rates to near zero too?

European Central Bank is floating a ridiculous proposal to introduce “negative interest rates.” Rick Sanchez describes the economic horror that will arise. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve intends to cut interest rates yet again. Rick Sanchez breaks down what this means about the true state of the economy.

Jonathan Cook Tweet - The Guardian and Steve Bell are Heading for the Rocks

Steve Bell is the cartoonist at the Guardian. His cartoons are pretty excellent and he was always very radical and left, but I did fear he was following the Guardian line too with some of his anti Putin cartoons. But it seems he's not really in line with them after all. He's pretty angry about the Guardian’s treatment of Jeremy Corbyn

The Guardian and Steve Bell are heading for the rocks, it seems. Paradoxically it's over the Guardian banning his new cartoon strip. It shows Tom Watson as the 'antisemite-finder general'. Too close to the bone for the Guardian, which has been cheerleading the same witch-hunt

The bottom picture is the beginning of the letter.

Arvin Ash - Does Consciousness Create Reality? Double Slit Experiment may show the Answer.

It has been found human consciousness is not necessary to bring the universe into existance because the universe observes itself. But that doesn't mean it's conscious in the way we are.

Abigail Disney - 'We didn’t feel safe’: Disney heiress describes violence in childhood

Abigail Disney says Bernie is uninspiring and the young want something new,  something radical, something different - well, MMT popped into my mind. It's coming!

Abigail says she's naturally a Democrat, but really, she is probably more to the left of them - a progressive.

Disney heiress Abigail Disney joins “Through Her Eyes” to share what it was like to grow up in the Disney family. “My parents were conservative and very strict. And both alcoholics.” She claims she never really felt safe in her own home. “So there was some violence in my home. Not all over the place, not all the time. But when you do get subjected to some violence as a child, you kind of never feel safe again.” Disney also shares the difficulties of growing up in a Republican household, saying that her mother was “the love child of Rush Limbaugh and Phyllis Schlafly.

Debt Ceiling

Looks like Mnuchin knows the typical 1 Sept first of the month BIG drop in the TGA might not be possible... they have been exhausting the 'Extraordinary Measures' in an attempt to stabilize the TGA at higher levels... with limited success... once those 'measures' are exhausted it appears they think the TGA is going to quickly collapse .... creating a fast bearish increase in Reserve Assets again... which will top when they finally suspend the Debt Ceiling...

Modern money theory and its challenges Sayuri Shirai

Modern monetary theory (MMT) has recently gained prominence in light of doubts about the effectiveness of monetary policy in addressing economic shortfalls. This column assesses the implications of implementing the theory’s policy prescriptions, and the challenges it presents in the case of Japan – an economy that some have argued has already been subject to such policy. Japan’s labour shortages and low inflation mean modern monetary theory’s fiscal stimulus suggestions may be harder to implement than they initially seem....
Stephanie Kelton was recently in Japan talking up MMT. This is a response. It is a serious article on MMT that gets the outline reasonably correct and offers comments on its applicability to conditions in Japan. It's a should-read.

Modern money theory and its challenges
Sayuri Shirai | Professor, Keio University; Visiting Scholar to ADB Institute; and, former Board Member, Bank of Japan

Philly Fed

Pretty big snap back for Philly Fed in June on the $139b TGA bottom (Reserve Asset top) beginning of the month... remember Mike called June 6th...

Policymakers currently trying to stabilize TGA around the $200b level using Extraordinary Measures in advance of a deal to suspend the Debt Ceiling again... having so-so success...

Imperialism in a coffee cup — John Smith

Why is it that just 1p of a £2.50 cup of coffee goes to the farmer who cultivated and harvested the coffee beans?
Open Democracy
John Smith

The Great Paradox: Liberalism Destroys the Market Economy —Heiner Flassbeck

Another paradox of liberalism arising from equation of economic liberalism with capitalism and of economic liberalism as equatable with political liberalism as representative democracy. The rise of interest in social democracy now no accident of history but rather a logical progression of the historical dialectic?

Flassbeck Economics
The Great Paradox: Liberalism Destroys the Market Economy
Heiner Flassbeck

Will Kim Jong Un As Head Of State Move More Towards Markets? — J. Barkley Rosser


My view is that NK likely will move toward the Chinese system of market socialism with Chinese characteristics, but in NK it will be with NK characteristics. Kim Jong Un had already liberalized quite a bit, so this would not constitute an about-face but rather a speed-up of development. Kim Jong Un seems finally to want to join the world economy, which is why he is negotiating with Trump at all, in the face of resistance from the US deep state and military trying to scuttle progress. Bolton is the point man but he is not alone in this thinking.

Will Kim Jong Un As Head Of State Move More Towards Markets?
J. Barkley Rosser | Professor of Economics and Business Administration James Madison University

"Pump It!"



Black Eyed Peas:

Elizabeth Vos - Consortium News Target of a Malware Attack as Twitter Takes Down Assange Support Group’s Account

The alternativel news media is under attack again. And a pro Assange group was taken down from twitter.

The simultaneous escalation of censorship of Julian Assange’s support base, alongside the latest wave of fact-free attacks on Assange and WikiLeaks‘, raises concern about a coordinated effort to smear Assange while silencing those who counter such dubious reporting.

“Our website is completely down. Our media host said we have been attacked by malware. They actually tried to blame ‘the Russians’! Every article published since 2011 now gets a 404 Not Found. They are working on it. Problem started slowly on Friday first day of CN Live!”

Consortium News

Elizabeth Vos - Consortium News Target of a Malware Attack as Twitter Takes Down Assange Support Group’s Account Stephenie Kelton - MMT – Letters from America

Another superb interview by

Who could not want to give MMT a try after hearing this?

It was Victor Hugo who said that all the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come. In the US, inequality and collapsing capitalism means the idea of embracing a socialist politician is gathering momentum.
The cynical stock response to how socialism can deliver on its economic promises is to ask, ‘but how do you pay for it?’ Economists advocating Modern Monetary Theory say it is the way to fund vital public services.
Host Ross Ashcroft travels to New York to meet with Bernie Sanders economic adviser, Professor Stephanie Kelton, to ask what MMT can deliver and if America is ready for a new socialist American dream.

JAYATI GHOSH - The Exploitation Time Bomb

China zooms ahead knowing you can't have a good economy and a high standard of living without industry and technology, but in the West the One Percent make more money through rent extraction, and so feel no need to invest and innovate.

Sadly, lots of other peoole, including small businessmen, support the present system thinking it is true capitalism, but there would be more rich people and more entrepreneurs if we moved towards a social democracy with a robust welfare state.

The West is being destroyed and hollowed out by this neoliberal system, while the East zooms a ahead.

Worsening economic inequality in recent years is largely the result of policy choices that reflect the political influence and lobbying power of the rich. There is now a self-reinforcing pattern of high profits, low investment, and rising inequality – posing a threat not only to economic growth, but also to democracy.

Project Syndicate 

JAYATI GHOSH - The Exploitation Time Bomb

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Western intellectuals freak over ‘Frankenstein’ China — Pepe Escobar

BRI and the New Silk Roads (land and maritime).

The Vineyard of the Saker
Western intellectuals freak over ‘Frankenstein’ China
Pepe Escobar

The External Sector And Financial Crises — Brian Romanchuk

If we look at the full history of financial crises around the world, one could argue that crises related to external debt and/or fixed exchange rates are dominant. Such crises could represent an entire chapter of this book. However, I will only offer a brief overview of the subject. From the perspective of recession forecasting, the addition of a fixed exchange rate regime adds a new wrinkle to analysis: at what point will the peg fail, causing a crisis? As I will discuss below, this is quite different than an analysis of the domestic economy, which one might hope is amenable to something resembling econometric analysis....
Bond Economics
The External Sector And Financial Crises
Brian Romanchuk

Russia and the EU Are Ready to Switch to Settlements in Euros — Anatoly Bazhan

If the plan to adopt national currency settlements between Russia and the EU succeeds, the dollar space in global trade will undoubtedly be curtailed even more. The question is how strong the impact will be. We believe the reduction is going to be noticeable, although not considerable. Currently, the Russian-EU trade accounts for about 2 percent of global trade. Given that the US dollar is used in about half of transactions, removing it from the Russian-EU relations would diminish the importance of the US dollar by not more than 1 percent. However, since the dollar just cannot be ousted completely, its practical decrease in our estimate will most probably make up about 0.7 percent. The dollar component in the international currency reserves will correspondingly become slightly lower.

The United States will certainly take a negative stance on such developments and not only because they are to weaken the effect of possible accounts freezing but also because they will lead to the further slide of the dollar to the category of ordinary currencies and to the future loss of advantages that secure the US dollar dominance in the world economy.
Valdai Analytics
Russia and the EU Are Ready to Switch to Settlements in Euros
Anatoly Bazhan

Nippon— No Problem with Japan's Huge Debts: MMT Advocate Kelton

Stephanie Kelton is in Japan talking up MMT. This is a basic post with no negatives. More progress. (Japan)
No Problem with Japan's Huge Debts: MMT Advocate Kelton

This Economic Theory Could Be Used To Pay For The Green New Deal — Scott Horsely

"Balanced" article on MMT (as one would expect from NPR), but not the usual rant, either. So, progress.

NPR (National Public Radio)
This Economic Theory Could Be Used To Pay For The Green New Deal
Scott Horsely

Tweet by Tory Fibs - Corbyn’s request for the resettlement of persecuted Yemeni Jews

The British MSM won't ever print this.

In early 2010 Jews were being badly persecuted in Yemen. Jeremy Corbyn & Diane Abbott begged the then Labour Government to grant persecuted Jews refugee status in London. The Labour run Home Office refused to grant Jeremy & Diane’s wishes  


Planet Money - Episode 866: Modern Monetary Theory

This is really nice, it's a podcast where a lovely young English girl asks about MMT and Stephanie Kelton and the Planet Money team answer her question. It's for beginners, but what lovely way to chill for half an hour. It was delightful!

They described Stephenie Kelton as left-wing economist. She's lovely too!

Episode 866: Modern Monetary Theory

Some ideas seem too good to be true. Like this one. It comes from a 13-year-old listener named Amy. She says she knows the government has trouble finding enough money to pay for stuff like schools and hospitals. And she wondered if it has considered just printing more money. She asked us: Can the government do that? Just make more money to pay for stuff?

Fiscal hawks say, 'no way!' We'd have crazy inflation! But there's a group of economists that says, 'yes, we can create way more money, without disaster. And pay for lots of stuff we want.' They are the proponents of what's called Modern Monetary Theory, or MMT. Their ideas are getting out there, they have the memes to prove it.
Today, we try to understand a school of thought that is flipping economic theory on its head. If you buy it, the whole idea of government spending, taxes, the nature of money changes, and, according to the theory, all we have to do is just open our eyes. It's a bit like staring at those optical illusions: First you see the faces, then, suddenly it's the goblet.

Labor Power as the ‘Money Commodity’ — Peter Cooper

For Marx and many Marxists, money is based in a commodity; in Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), it is not, being based instead in a social relationship that holds more generally than just to commodity production and exchange. Even so, to the extent that commodity production and exchange are given sway within ‘modern money’ economies, operation of the Marxian ‘law of value’ appears to be compatible with MMT. It is just that, from an MMT perspective, private for-profit market-based activity will be embedded within, and delimited by, a broader social and legal framework that is – or at least can be – decisively shaped by currency-issuing government. Therefore, even though in MMT money is not regarded as a commodity, it seems that a commodity theory of money can be reconciled with MMT provided, first of all, that the connection between a money commodity and currency is understood to apply only to the sphere of commodities and, secondly, that it is legitimate to regard labor power as the ‘money commodity’. An earlier post gave some consideration to the social embeddedness of commodity production and exchange. The present focus is on the notion of labor power as money commodity. On this point, MMT can be understood as directly linking currency to labor power, which, as Marx demonstrated, is a commodity under capitalism. This raises the question of whether labor power can serve the role of money commodity in Marx’s theory.For Marx and many Marxists, money is based in a commodity; in Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), it is not, being based instead in a social relationship that holds more generally than just to commodity production and exchange. Even so, to the extent that commodity production and exchange are given sway within ‘modern money’ economies, operation of the Marxian ‘law of value’ appears to be compatible with MMT. It is just that, from an MMT perspective, private for-profit market-based activity will be embedded within, and delimited by, a broader social and legal framework that is – or at least can be – decisively shaped by currency-issuing government. Therefore, even though in MMT money is not regarded as a commodity, it seems that a commodity theory of money can be reconciled with MMT provided, first of all, that the connection between a money commodity and currency is understood to apply only to the sphere of commodities and, secondly, that it is legitimate to regard labor power as the ‘money commodity’. An earlier post gave some consideration to the social embeddedness of commodity production and exchange. The present focus is on the notion of labor power as money commodity. On this point, MMT can be understood as directly linking currency to labor power, which, as Marx demonstrated, is a commodity under capitalism. This raises the question of whether labor power can serve the role of money commodity in Marx’s theory....
Interesting post. It brings to mind the notion that if labor power is the "money commodity," then "money," which in modern time is government currency, has "commodity power." In mercantilist times, the basic "money commodity" was gold or gold and silver, or silver, depending the historical period. However, Marx's analysis of the extraction of surplus value by the ownership (rentier) class from the working class — farmers in a (feudal) agricultural society and factory workers in a (capitalist) industrial society shows that labor (time and power) are fundamental. The factory workers that dominate the "working class" in numbers are subject to expropriation of property similar to that of serfs and peasants under feudalism. Under capitalism the managerial class has greater bargaining power than the working class since their quality of labor power is scarcer, being more highly skill and specialized. So the rate of expropriation may be less and at the upper levels top management has managed to "split the profits" with the owners.

A monetary system that is based on precious metals or other objects of barter conceals that labor power is foundational. A state money system makes it clear that the "money commodity" is actually labor power. This somewhat obscured in a fixed rate convertible monetary system in which "money" is anchored to a commodity other than labor power, especially when the "money thing" is a natural commodity like stamped coins minted from precious metals. But the reality is that all monetary exchange is based on labor power as the "money commodity" since it is not "money" that creates commodities but rather labor power.

I am not sure to what degree labor power is correctly categorized as a commodity, however. At the very least, labor power is not a naturally existing commodity since labor power other than unskilled labor is a function of time and ability and specialized ability has to be acquired. Nothing similar to this pertains to commodities defined as goods produced for exchange rather than use, which equates to good produced for sale in a monetary production economy.

As a philosopher, I am skeptical about "commoditizing" humans, which, of course, is what the institution of slavery does. The deep ethical question is whether there is a progression from slavery to serfdom to work for hire in which workers are income dependent. Some serious thinker posit that there is such a connection.

This seems to me to be fundamental to the thinking of Marx. Labor is not a natural commodity for Marx, but only becomes a commodity in a monetary production economy. His analysis of capitalist production shows how work for hire is another from of expropriation of real value from workers through the equation of value with price in a market-based capitalist society whose foundation is a monetary production economy. His solution is to change that foundation for one that supports real freedom rather than the illusion of freedom characteristic of 18th century bourgeois liberalism, a foundation that persists today.

As a philosopher, it strikes me that the fundamental issue in economics is value theory. The equation of value with price is based on either assumption or handwaving. Marx got this. He realized that there is much more to economic value than can be captured by price in markets, and also that that markets are not necessarily reflective of true cost where cost includes real resources.

A good example of this is the present existential crisis presented by climate change, which can be trace in part at least to negative externality, where gain is capitalized while part of the cost is socialized through the false assumption that the "the solution to pollution is dilution." Similarly, for Marx, extraction of surplus value is also a negative externality that workers "pay for" through labor that is not justly compensated for it full contribution. This is concealed by the conventional economic theory of reward being determined on the basis of marginal product.

Forced unpaid work is a form of slavery. In a monetary production economy where income from work is a vital necessity, the extraction of surplus value from workers that have insufficient bargaining power to exact just compensation for the contribution of their labor time and power is forced unpaid work.

The MMT job guarantee (JG or ELR) is a step toward connecting "the commodity power of money" directly with labor power through a living wage. However, this just returns workers under capitalism to the position of serfs and peasants that were self-sufficient in terms of their own production and limited needs in agricultural societies. With the advent of the industrial age and the mass moving, often forced, of former agricultural workers to factories that all changed as urban workers became income-dependent, forced to "work for a living" by bidding their labor power in markets at the going offers.

Labor Power as the ‘Money Commodity’
Peter Cooper


Katartismos: "exact adjustment which describes how (enables) the individual parts to work together in correct order"

This is what you never see the morons do... they never make an adjustment...

Morons will either just keep doing the same thing (while expecting a different result) or they will eventually synthesize with another moron... creating a sort of moron cocktail..

Could be the human characteristic which inspires all the zombie lore being created by artists today?  Maybe... you certainly never see zombies making an adjustment...

Snip below of reference to Strong's on this noun katartismos which Paul used.... stands in contrast with stasis and synthesis...

"Injection!" Infection

ChiComm USD zombie hackers back at it after a 3-week hiatus...

Stand by for the Trump covetous tweet in... 3...2...1...

Get up! Australia - The way politicians talk about economics is wrong – and dangerous

When I first wrote on MNE's, I put out a glowing article on MMT, but I added some Jungian psychology, Buddhisn, and new age mysticism - all leading to a brave new world! I was full of enthusiasm, but I got called a windbag. Well, I did get carried away a bit as I was new to MMT and I simply adored it, because all of a sudden I saw we could afford to have a social democracy after all.

But just listen to this guy, he is as enthusiastic as me - but without the Jungian psychology.

The government is very excited about “returning to budget surplus”. But what does it actually mean? Because so far, chasing surpluses has gutted our schools and hospitals. It's stopped us from acting on climate catastrophe. It's condemned folks doing it tough to starve. Why? Because the government's surplus is our deficit. Our obsession with balancing a budget is killing us. And it's all totally, tragically unnecessary. Here's why.

Muhammad Shehada - We Palestinians Condemned A Leader’s Anti-Semitism. Will It Matter?

There's me trying to do my best to defend the Palestinian cause online and on YouTube, and then Hamas leader, Fathi Hammad, comes out with his vile statements. Is he a Mossad asset, I wondered? He might as well be, but he's probably just incredibly stupid. 

Controversy and exaggeration are nothing new for Hammad. It’s earned him a poor reputation and he’s hated across the Gaza Strip and even inside Hamas itself.
But if his statements are not supported by average Gazans, they are always well received in another arena: anti-Palestinian propagandists. For example, when Hammad implored Arab neighbors to support Hamas, claiming that “half of Gaza is Egyptian and the other half is Saudi Arabian,” groups like the Middle East Media Research Institute translated and published his words, circulating them to delegitimize the national Palestinian struggle for statehood.
And though I haven’t seen a single Palestinian promoting or defending Hammad’s latest hateful statement, his poisonous performance was applauded on the other side of the fence. No less a persona than Netanyahu’s spokesman literally thanked Hammad for providing very valuable quotations that Netanyahu would use to “reveal Hamas’s true face.”

Cory Doctorow - A thorough defense of Modern Monetary Theory

We have the ability to produce goods and services on a level never before seen by human society. There is no logical reason anyone (e.g., the unemployed) should have to go without. It is immoral. 
John T Harvey of Forbes
"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win" -- Gandhi's aphorism neatly describes the trajectory to date of Modern Monetary Theory, the latest incarnation of "chartalism," which holds that money comes into existence through government spending, and is taken out of circulation when the government taxes it back -- which means that without government deficit spending, there is no money, and which also means that the government doesn't have to fund its operations through taxes, but rather, it can issue as much currency as it needs to operate, within limits.

Cory Doctorow - A thorough defense of Modern Monetary Theory

J. T. Harvey: The Cowboy Economist - How the American People (could not possibly have) Financed World War Two!

If you have rattlesnake on each arm and you shake one off, then things are a whole lot better, right?

War bonds didn't fund the US effort during WW2, but they did stop inflation.

We hear about the glorious job the American people did in financing World War Two. Only thing is, that story isn't quite right. They did something that was glorious, all right, but it was not financing the war--it was holding inflation in check.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Alex Acosta let the cat out of the bag: the Justice Department knew all about the Jeffrey Epstein Florida plea deal — Robert Willman

Jeffrey Epstein was being protected. The process and communications that accomplished it, and who did it, are not yet known.
The media has reported none of this, although the court documents are available and Robert Willman provides references to them.

Another case of a double standard of justice. Now the question is how far will it go, or will it be buried with the rest of the bodies.

Sic Semper Tyrannis
Alex Acosta let the cat out of the bag: the Justice Department knew all about the Jeffrey Epstein Florida plea deal
Robert Willman

Nothing has changed...

Joke interview; same as 10 years ago:

Inequivalent Language

Tom posted these two today below we can read Bill describe things:

...the government tells the central bank to pay some bills to, say, road building companies etc and offers them a bit of paper in return bearing no interest. 
The central bank credits the bank accounts of the infrastructure providers... So what fiscal deficits do in this case is expand excess reserves – after all the transactions are exhausted – the liquidity injection from the net public spending shows up as excess bank reserves – these are held in accounts the commercial banks have to hold with the central bank...

Then below Warren describes things:

“Imagine Congress appropriates $1BN to refurbish Air Force One,” said Warren Mosler, pioneer of Modern Monetary Theory. .... “The Department of Defense hires General Dynamics to upgrade the airplane. 
The US Treasury instructs the Fed to credit General Dynamic’s account at JP Morgan with +$1bln. The Fed simultaneously debits the US Treasury account with -$1bln and the books are balanced.”

Inequivalent language... A ≠ B...

An MMTer Explains MMT In 320 Words — Eric Peters

The MMTer is Warren Mosler in conversation with Eric Peters who reports it.

I perused the comments. Out of dozens, only one person gets it. The rest are moronic.

Zero Hedge
An MMTer Explains MMT In 320 Words
Eric Peters, CIO of One River Asset Management

Moon of Alabama — How The News About Italian Far-Right Fighters In Ukraine Got Confused

Informative post on what really went down in the BBC reporting "incident," along with speculation on why it happened. He is willing to cut some space. Worth a read.

Moon of Alabama
How The News About Italian Far-Right Fighters In Ukraine Got Confused

Elinor Ostrom and common pool resources — John Tomer

It's becoming clear that Earth, its atmosphere and surrounding space constitute a delicately balanced ecosystem that requires being viewed and treated as a common pool resource.
Elinor Ostrom’s (1990; 2009) research focuses on common pool resources (CPR) and the dilemmas they have posed for their users and society. A CPR is a resource such as a fishing ground, an irrigation system, ground water, pasture land for grazing animals, etc. that jointly benefits a group of people (the users) but which provides diminished benefits to the users involved if each individual pursues his or her narrow self-interest without considering other users. The CPR has a definite capacity. The problem is that each individual user has an incentive to overuse the resource. As authors such as Garret Harden (1968) have pointed out, when each user single-mindedly and independently follows the incentives, that will cause depletion of the CPR’s capacity, possibly creating a tragic overuse of the resource.
In the view of conventional economic theory, there are only two ways to deal with this overuse problem. The first is to have government impose rules and/or taxes forcing the self-interested individuals to refrain from the destructive overuse of the CPR. The second is to privatize the CPR, making it a private, marketable, excludable good (Ostrom 2009, p. 409). Ostrom and her colleagues recognize that this standard dichotomous way of understanding the options for dealing with CPRs is not adequate. They studied many CPRs around the world (see Ostrom 1990). They learned that the overharvesting can be eliminated or reduced by, for example, encouraging communication among the people in the user group, developing trust among them, thereby fostering cooperation among the group’s members (Ostrom, 2009, p. 409). They further learned how CPR users can develop credible commitments among themselves in effect creating valuable social capital. What the researches came to appreciate was that the individuals and groups involved with a CPR are not hopelessly trapped; they can make fruitful efforts to organize and solve their social dilemmas (p. 416). It turns out that there are typically many elements of any CPR situation that can be modified. Ideas for such changes can come from individuals within the CPR who rely on self-reflection and creativity to develop novel patterns of interaction that restructure the interactions among the CPR’s users (p. 417). Further, Ostrom’s research found that groups that attempt to organize and effectively manage their CPR are most likely to succeed if they follow eight core design principles....
This implies a third alternative in addition to the dichotmous solutions that Hardin proposed, government regulation or privatization. Murray Rothbard explored the privatization route and environmentalists have focused on the avenue of regulation and taxation. Ostrom's third alternative involves cooperative voluntary policing.

In my view, what is wrong with the present system can be traced to the assumptions that underlie a particularly Western view of the world that replaced the view of most indigenous peoples and is still a feature of the Eastern world view. This is reflected in "ecological civilization" as a state goal of the Chinese Communist Party.

The rise of China reveals the conundrum that this engenders between ecology and economic growth. The indigenous peoples were not concerned with this, and so it is utopian to think that their view of the world can be replicated now. But China retains enough connection with its ancient culture along with respect for it to make this one of the ideals for Chinese development, even though there is a considerable way to go to get anywhere close to that goal at the pace China is developing.

In addition, Ostrom's solution for groups self-policing cooperatively and voluntarily is quite limited in scope. And while government regulation could make a difference, concerted action is difficult to achieve, especially when free riding has a big payback and there is no mechanism to prevent or punish it. I regard Rothbard's solution as impractical even if it would work, but the tendency of capitalism to privatize the gains and socialize the liabilities doesn't give encouragement.

Presently, a worldwide paradigm shift is required and perhaps the faster than expected increase in the rate of climate change may induce it as a necessity, in the sense of an "or-else" situation called for adaptation to changing circumstances. Ecological economics is one response that has emerged. What MMT adds is an account of how the constraint is available real resources and not funding at the macro level at which currency-issuing governments operate.

Real-World Economics Review Blog
Elinor Ostrom and common pool resources
Matthew Ehret

Mark Curtis - Uganda Declassified

I've been debating with some Tommy Robinson supporters on YouTube recently, but they have gone quite now. If they come back I will put this out.

DECLASSIFIED. The files on Uganda show total UK support for the Idi Amin coup in 1971 and consolidation of the regime as it began repression and murder. UK armed/trained the regime and welcomed Amin to London to meet Queen. He went on to kill up to 500k.

Ben Chapman - Government criticised for giving banks key oversight role over fraud and money laundering policy

'Corporate capture': HSBC, RBS, Barclays, Morgan Stanley and banking lobby group UK Finance have been given places on board which sets priorities for combating economic crime

The foxes guarding the hens.

Government plans to combat money laundering, fraud and other economic crimes have come under fire for allowing banks that have previously been implicated in wrongdoing to play a key role in writing the new rules.
The National Crime Agency estimates that hundreds of billions of pounds of dirty money flow through the City each year despite obligations on banks to prevent such flows.

Ben Chapman - Government criticised for giving banks key oversight role over fraud and money laundering policy

Modern Monetary Theory's promise — Dirk Ehnts

If the model of the market-compliant democracy has outlived its usefulness, it is time to look for an alternative political vision. It must convince people that politicians can solve the problems of the 21st century. This kind of alternative blueprint for society needs a theoretical basis. Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) can make an important contribution. Understanding MMT enables us to envisage progressive politics without getting tangled up in misguided debates about whether we can ‘afford’ things or not: a new political realism. The first major thing to note here is that ‘modern money’ is always government money. The state is the originator of currency as it puts money into circulation through its spending. If we have to pay our taxes in euros, the state has to spend a sufficient amount beforehand. That is the only chance we have of getting the right amount of money.

It is also crucial to understand here that modern money can be regarded as tax credit. Specifically, this means our money – the euro – is purely and simply a promise by the state to accept it in future for payments to the state. As taxes account for most of these payments, modern money can essentially be described as tax credit. Money is therefore a creature of law as the state defines the currency in which it accepts payments via its monetary system. In return, we accept the money because we need it for tax payments. Or because we know other people who need it for tax payments and would hand over goods and services or assets such as property or shares to us in exchange. So modern money is not a scarce resource. Under the gold standard, things were rather different. The fact that many of our economic-policy assumptions are still based on this old model of the gold standard is a self-imposed restriction that keeps us as a society from using all the economic-policy options at our disposal.

This means that the state, as the creator of money, puts the money into circulation in its own currency first in the form of tax credits before we use it to pay our taxes later. Although this understanding is fundamental, it supersedes the widespread view that tax payments fund state spending. In a modern monetary system, taxes are not needed to fund state spending. The state first spends money that it practically forces acceptance of through taxes. State spending is not technically limited here. In other words, the state can print as much money as it deems sensible. As it creates the money, it doesn’t rely on an income before it spends anything....
International Politics and Society
Modern Monetary Theory's promise
Dirk Ehnts | Lecturer at Bard College Berlin, research assistant at the Technical University of Chemnitz, and spokesperson of the board of Pufendorf-Gesellschaft eV in Berlin

China’s Digital Payment Revolution: Lessons for Libra — Dongyao Nie

China is already there. Why. Government permissiveness that has not been forthcoming in the West since it would greatly reduce banks' revenue from retail transactions. But in China the banking system is largely government owned, so it is not the same issue.

The Diplomat
China’s Digital Payment Revolution: Lessons for Libra
Dongyao Nie, news researcher at Al Jazeera English based in Washington DC

John C Williams — 901 days

SOFR versus LIBOR. (Remember the scandal about manipulating LIBOR? SOFR addresses this.)

John C Williams: 901 days
John C Williams, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, at the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), New York City, 15 July 2019.

Richard H Clarida — The Federal Reserve's review of its monetary policy strategy, tools, and communication practices

I am delighted to be in Helsinki at this important conference on monetary policy and the future of Europe's monetary union. Today I would like to discuss the broad review of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy framework that my fellow policymakers and I are undertaking this year. We are examining the policy strategy, tools, and communication practices that we use to pursue our dual-mandate goals of maximum employment and price stability. In my remarks, I will describe the motivation for and scope of this review and discuss some of the events that are taking place. In our review, we are being transparent and open minded, and we are seeking perspectives from a broad range of interested individuals and groups, including academics, other specialists, and the public at large.
The fact that the Federal Reserve is conducting this review does not suggest that we are dissatisfied with the existing policy framework. Indeed, we believe our existing framework has served us well, helping us effectively achieve our statutorily assigned dual-mandate goals. Nonetheless, in light of the unprecedented events of the past decade, we believe it is a good time to step back and assess whether, and in what possible ways, we can refine our strategy, tools, and communication practices to achieve and maintain these goals as consistently and robustly as possible. I note that central banks in other countries have conducted periodic reviews of their monetary policy frameworks, and their experience has informed the approach we are pursuing.
Richard H Clarida: The Federal Reserve's review of its monetary policy strategy, tools, and communication practices
Richard H Clarida, Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, at "The Bank of Finland Conference on Monetary Policy and Future of EMU (Economic and Monetary Union)", Helsinki, 1 July 2019

Bill Mitchell — Paying interest on excess reserves is not constrained by scarcity

This morning, a former deputy governor of Australia’s central bank (RBA) published a short Op Ed in the Australian Financial Review (July 16, 2019) – Why there are no free lunches from the RBA – which served as a veiled critique of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). The problem is that the substantive analysis supported the core of the MMT literature that we have developed over 25 years, refuted the standard macroeconomics textbook treatment of the link between the government and non-government sectors, and, incorrectly depicted what MMT is about – all in one short article. Not a bad effort I thought. But disappointing that a person with such experience and knowledge resorts to perpetuating such crude representations of ‘cost’ and myths about government finances....
Bill hits another one out of the park. This post is a concise summary of key MMT principles.

Bill doesn't mention two important factors relating to interest rate setting (policy rate) and excess reserves. 

The first point is that the government paying more interest  to the private sector leads to an increase in the spendable money supply as the rate increase is reflected along the yield curve. This is an expansionary influence which offsets the increase in the cost of borrowing as interest rates in general rise to reflect the increase in the policy rate.

The second point is that reserves are affect banks' leverage ratio, so that a consequence of an increase in reserves is decreased lending to stay within the bounds of the ratio, as Mike Norman and Matt Franko have observed. In fact, Mike uses the affect of changes in the level of reserves leverage ratio heavily in the analysis in his newsletter. This effect is opposite to that most people in finance and economics assume. The futility of Japan's increasing payment system balances in stimulating the economy shows this. It has the opposite effect.

Perhaps this level of detail exceeds the scope of the Bill's post, but both are important from an MMT perspective.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Paying interest on excess reserves is not constrained by scarcity
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Polly Boiko - UK gov’t ‘too slow to respond’ to attacks on LGBT lessons - Official

This one is a bit complicated and twists me in knots. I guess I'm a liberal of sorts, but many of the liberals are all for total multiculturalism, and some even advocate open borders, but it seems that many of the new immigrants don't like multiculturalism all that much, or our liberal society.

It's interesting how the Conservatives are pushing this liberalism, although Labour would be no different.

Rick Sanchez - Trump Threatenes UK: Quite Huawei Or Else!

Trump administration has banned Huawei saying the company could spy on Americans. The CEO of Huawei has offered to sign a no spy agreement with the UK, but Google and Apple refuse to sign such an agreement. Rick Sanchez says the US is just trying to destroy competition.

As I mentioned here before, because of the lack of US regulations setting standards in the telecom industry its tech industries have been scared to invest too much. China and Europe have led the way because they have a government fixed standard which means their companies feel it's safer to invest in the new 5G technology.

Mark Curtis - Declassified - Top Secret

I don't think I have already put this Mark Curtis articke out yet

I'm arguing with the Tommy Robinson supporters on YouTube at the moment. They blame the left and the liberals for the mass immigration, but I'm showing them something different, that it is the British ruling establishment, the Conservatives they adore, and their policies, that is causing all the problems.

Some Tommy Robinson supporters came back and called me a traitor, but I told them that it is the British ruling establishment that should be put on trail for treason.

If you looked at the video I put out here recently about how the CIA infiltrated women's and race relations movements to drive them to extremes to discredited liberalism, then you can see, along with imperialism and its neoliberalism, nearly all the faults of the modern world can be traced to the right-wing ruling establishment (which has now become predominantly neoliberal).

Tom Hickey has put out articles here about how the CIA pumped drugs and guns into black communities, not only to raise money for the Contra Rebels, but to stop young black people from getting better educated or starting up their own businesses, driving them into crime and violence instead, to scare white people into voting Republican.

This is an expanding collection of declassified government documents on UK foreign policy. It includes: original government documents and transcripts, mainly from the National Archives in London; articles by Mark that analyse these declassified files; and online articles that cover such files.

What do these files and articles reveal?

These files highlight a range of British foreign policies since 1945, notably the UK involvement in coups, wars, covert operations, human rights abuses, arms exports, propaganda operations, and support for repressive regimes. They highlight much of the true nature of the UK’s role in the world, and especially reveal the actual interests and priorities of UK policy-makers – Prime Ministers, Ministers, ambassadors and civil servants. Click on the countries and themes below to view the files and articles.

Mark Curtis - Declassified - Top Secret

Economist Yanis Varoufakis in Paris airport row

ATHENS: Maverick Greek economist and former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis on Saturday accused French police of “violent” behavior over a passport check at Paris’ main airport.

Varoufakis said he had just landed at Charles de Gaulle airport on a flight from Athens when a police officer standing near the plane ramp asked to see his passport.
Varoufakis said he complied, but claims the officer then stuck his elbows out as he tried to pass.

“The moment our elbows touched, he reacted violently,” the economist said.
“(He) manhandled me, using physical violence,” Varoufakis said, adding that the officer pushed him, grabbed his passport and told him to stand against the wall.

In a video of the scene, apparently taken by a passenger, Varoufakis tells the officer: “You are a disgrace to the French nation... you blocked my way and then pushed me.”
“I am not following you... I do not trust you. You are violent, and you are rude. I want to speak to a superior officer,” he says, irately pacing up and down the corridor.

“You are a problematic member of the police force. A disgrace to your nation. So, bring somebody else here,” he says.
Two additional superior officers had to be summoned before Varoufakis’ passport was eventually returned.

“I am formally requesting a formal apology from the French police,” he said.
One of the officers said he also plans to lodge a complaint against Varoufakis.
Airport officials could not immediately be reached for comment Sunday.

A former finance minister under leftist prime minister Alexis Tsipras in 2015, Varoufakis last week became a member of Greece’s parliament, one of nine lawmakers elected by his anti-austerity MeRA25 party in general elections.

Arab News

Economist Yanis Varoufakis in Paris airport row

Monday, July 15, 2019

Fact checking — Paul Robinson

The big news from Italy this week is the seizure by Turin police of a massive arsenal of weapons held by a neo-Nazi group. Among the weapons was a stonking-big air-to-air missile. Reporting the story, the BBC links the neo-Nazis to ‘Russian-backed separatist forces’ in Ukraine….

Naughty separatists. Despite all that talk of fighting ‘fascism’, it appears that they’re in bed with neo-Nazis. But then again, maybe not. For as Mark Ames points out on Twitter, there’s a problem with the BBC report. The official police statement says something very different. In fact, it says the following:…
Which for those of you who don’t speak Italian, translates as:

The investigations had begun about a year ago when the police headquarters in Turin, coordinated by the Central Directorate of Prevention Police, monitored some people linked to political movements of the ultra-right who had fought in the Ukrainian region of Donbass against the separatists.
So it turns out that they fought not ‘for the separatists’ but ‘against the separatists’....

But here’s the thing. It’s not just the BBC which makes that claim. CNN, for instance, reports that:

The stockpile was discovered by police who were investigating Italians ‘with extremist ideology’ who had fought alongside Russian-backed separatist forces in Donbass, eastern Ukraine, last July, according to the police statement.Similarly The Guardian writes that:
Police said that the discoveries stemmed from a previous investigation into Italians who took part in the Russian-backed insurgency in eastern Ukraine.
This is word for word what the Associated Press (AP) writes. And that perhaps explain why so many media outlets are repeating the same story. They’ve just copied it from AP without verifying it.

There is one exception, however. One media organization seems to have actually checked what the police statement said, telling us that:

The police say the groups had fought “against the separatists” in the Donbass region of Ukraine – the forces of the self-proclaimed People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in the east of the country.
Who’s this? The answer – RT....
Fact checking
Paul Robinson | Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa

See also


Media link Italy neo-Nazi missile to ‘pro-Russian separatists’ despite police saying the OPPOSITE

Italian police seize MISSILE, guns and neo-Nazi material in raid on far-right militants

BRICS Now a Larger Share of World Economy Than G7 — Constantin Gurdgiev

Checkpoint Asia
BRICS Now a Larger Share of World Economy Than G7
Constantin Gurdgiev

The Penninsula (Qatar) — Fiscal policy to the rescue in the Eurozone

Over the past few years, the economic literature and prominent scholars have paved the way for expansionist fiscal policy. In the US, Modern Monetary Theory proposes to finance a Green New Deal and full employment by increasing the deficit and using the central bank to pay off debt by printing more money. MMT is attracting more and more attention in Europe, including among populist parties, but also beyond, and will certainly be part of the conversation in upcoming elections.
Investment to finance clean energy transition is gaining strong support among European citizens, as shown by the victory of Green parties in the latest EU parliamentary elections....
The Penninsula (Qatar)
Fiscal policy to the rescue in the Eurozone