Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Alan Cole — ‘Modern Monetary Theory’: Helpful but Prone to Misuse

Not bad for a critical article. Looks like the days of just mocking MMT are about over. Now critics have to be careful of looking foolish.

National Review
‘Modern Monetary Theory’: Helpful but Prone to Misuse
Alan Cole

MARK ENGLER AND ANDREW ELROD - Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s 70% Tax Proposal Is a Great Start—But We Need to Abolish the Ultra-Rich

To combat inequality and oligarchy, we need to tax the accumulated wealth of the billionaire class, not just income.

Reintroducing high taxes on the rich seems to be popular now, even in the U.S. with 45% of Republican voters supporting the idea. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says the 70% tax will only kick in after someone has earned over $10 million. Wow, that's going to be some fight! 

Anyway, no more worry that some people raise about the oligarchs capturing all the MMT deficit spent money with those sort of taxes. Problem solved!

Taxing the rich is popular—and makes good economic sense
In the fallout from Ocasio-Cortez’s interview, economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman was quick to point out that her view of optimal tax rates was far from controversial.
A flight of prominent academics, including Nobel laureate Peter Diamond, whom Krugman describes as “arguably the world’s leading expert on public finance,” have concurred that a top tax rate of over 70 percent would be entirely reasonable. “Some put it higher,” Krugman noted. “Christina Romer, top macroeconomist and former head of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, estimates [the optimal rate for the top tax bracket] at more than 80 percent.”
America indeed long had tax rates on the rich that reached the levels Ocasio-Cortez proposed or higher, while the nation experienced massive economic expansion. In fact, she understated the rates from the past: For two decades after World War II, until 1964, the marginal tax rate on the highest bracket hovered around 91 percent.
Some progressives—notably advocates of Modern Monetary Theory, a brand popularized by the economists Stephanie Kelton and L. Randall Wray—dispute the necessity of such funding. They argue the government need not be preoccupied with raising taxes, as it can comfortably borrow to stimulate the economy and make socially productive investments. But a higher tax on top earners is not just about generating revenue. Rather, taxes on the ultra-wealthy can be seen as goods in their own right, as tools for fighting runaway income inequality.
For one, raising taxes on the rich can help to lessen their disproportionate political power. Curtailing incomes over $10 million per year will help curb the ability of the rich to buy influence through campaign contributionsdark money issue campaigns, lobbying, and nonprofits aimed at undermining unionsattacking environmental regulations, or promoting further tax cuts.
In These Times

Mark Jeftovic — The Disturbing Rise Of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT)

I attempted to link directly to the source of the post, which ZH crossposted, but got the message that the site''s bandwidth limit had been exceeded. Apparently MMT is going viral. AOC is a big deal. She has changed the national conversation.

The "criticism" is pretty standard, from the gut rather than the head. Dealing with the truth is hard.

Zero Hedge
The Disturbing Rise Of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT)
Mark Jeftovic via Guerilla-Capitalism.com

William K. Black — AOC# and MMT Spook the AEI

Strain and Veuger never try to meet the burden they set for themselves with their frenzied rhetoric. The key test of a theory’s validity is its predictive ability. A theory that is so weak that it is a “joke” made by “luna[tics]” should collapse as soon as its predictive ability is tested. What predictive failures do Strain and Veuger demonstrate MMT scholars have made? None. What predictive failures do they attempt to show MMT scholars have made? None. That failure even to attempt to show MMT scholars’ predictive errors is extraordinarily telling. First, you know they would have attacked even a minor predictive error by MMT scholars – if they could find such an example. Second, that means they could not find even a minor predictive failure by MMT scholars. Third, the AEI’s failure to find any predictive failure by MMT scholars is fatal to their assertion that the MMT – the basis for MMT scholars’ macroeconomics predictions – is such a “joke” that it invariably produces “lunacy.”...
New Economic Perspectives
AOC# and MMT Spook the AEI
William K. Black | Associate Professor of Economics and Law, UMKC

Bill Mitchell — Operationalising core MMT principles – Part 1

Things seem to come in cycles. We have been at this for some years now – trying to articulate the principles of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) in various ways in various fora. There is now a solid academic literature – peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters in collections, and monographs (books) published by the core MMT group and, more recently, by the next generation MMT academics. That literature spans around 25 years. For the last 15 odd years (give or take) there has been a growing on-line presence in the form of blog posts, Op Ed articles etc. More than enough, perhaps too much for people to wade through. 

Each period seems to raise the same questions as newcomers stumble on our work – usually via social media. The questions come in cycles but there is never anything raised in each cycle that we have neglected to consider earlier – usually much earlier. When we set out on this project we tried to be our own critics because our work (in this area) was largely ignored. So we had to contest each of the ideas – play devil’s advocate – to stress test the framework we were developing (putting together pieces of knowledge from past theorists, adding new bits or new ways of thinking about them and binding it all together with interesting and novel connections and implications). So it is continually testing one’s patience to read the same criticism over and over again. 

Please do not get me wrong. When these queries are part of the learning process from a reader who is genuinely trying to work out what it is all about there is no issue. Our role as teachers is to see each generation safely through their educative phase in as interesting a manner as we can. But when characters get on the Internet, some with just a year, say of postgraduate mainstream study and start making claims about what we have ignored or left out or got wrong then it can be trying. Ignoring them is the best strategy. But then the genuine learners get confused. So this blog post is Part 1 of a two-part series seeking to help answer two major issues that we keep being asked about – (a) Does MMT only advocate tax increases to fight inflation?; and (b) How can any meaningful jobs be offered in a Job Guarantee if the workforce is ephemeral by construction? Part 2 will come tomorrow....

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Operationalising core MMT principles – Part 1
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Philip Geraldi - Curious Bedfellows: The Neocon and Progressive Alliance to Destroy Donald Trump

The neocon metamorphosis is nearly complete as many of the neocons, who started out as Democrats, have returned home, where they are being welcomed for their hardline foreign policy viewpoint.

Philip Geraldi seems to making the mistake, as some people on the right do, of equating all liberals as evil, conflating those, say, who run the porn and gambling industry with those who are evirenmentalists, the trade unionists, the LBGT community, the left, the psychological profession, etc. Anything left of them that has liberal values is seen as evil. But much of what he considers to be the left, I consider to be the right.

Peter Stringfellow, who runs a seedy nightclub in London - which has topless barmaids - is a staunch conservative who is well received within Conservative Party circles because he is successful businessman who despises the left. And I could never see the bosses who run the gambling and porn industries voting for Jeremy Corbyn, or Tulsi Gabbard, or Bennie Sanders, or joining Greenpeace, etc. Their industry may be liberal, but they are arch capitalists who belong on the right, even if they are not traditional conservatives. And there are grey areas too, like Hollywood and Silicon Valley.

Philip Geraldo has a different view of how the Neocons came about to the one I have read in the past, which was that the Neocons were originally on the left, even communists, but when they found that the left tended to be pro-Palestine and anti-Israel they swapped sides to become Republicans while keeping many of their social liberal values. But Philip Geraldi says they were communists who thought the left were taking too long to overthrow the world with their liberal values so they moved to right to use the Republican Party as a way of doing it through endless war.

Just the same, this is another excellent article by Philip Geraldi.

Ovid framed his narrative around gods, heroes and quasi-historical events but if he were around today, he would no doubt be fascinated by the many transformations of the group that has defined itself as neoconservative.The movement began in a cafeteria in City College of New York in the 1930s, where a group of radical Jewish students would meet to discuss politics and developments in Europe. Many of the founders were from the far left, communists of the Trotskyite persuasion, which meant that they believed in permanent global revolution led by a vanguard party. The transformation into conservatives of a neo-persuasion took place when they were reportedly “mugged by reality” into accepting that the standard leftist formulae were not working to transform the world rapidly enough. As liberal hawks, they then hitched their wagon to the power of the United States to bring about transformation by force if necessary and began to infiltrate institutions like the Pentagon to give themselves the tools to achieve their objectives, which included promotion of regime change wars, full spectrum global dominance and unconditional support for Israel.

When Trump was elected, it, therefore, seemed that the reign of the neocons had ended, but chameleonlike, they have changed shape and are now ensconced both in some conservative as well as in an increasing number of progressive circles in Washington and in the media. Against all odds, they have even captured key posts in the White House itself with the naming of John Bolton as National Security Adviser and Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State. Bolton’s Chief of Staff is Fred Fleitz, a leading neocon and Islamophobe while last week Trump added Iran hawkRichard Goldberg to the National Security Council as director for countering Iranian weapons of mass destruction. Goldberg is an alumnus of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which is the leading neocon think tank calling incessantly for war with Iran.

DDT is a prime example of how the neoconservatives and traditional liberal interventionists have come together as it is in part funded by Pierre Omidyar, the billionaire co-founder of eBay who has provided DDT with $600,000 in two grants through his Democracy Fund Voice, also a 501(c)4. Omidyar is a political liberal who has given millions of dollars to progressive organizations and individuals since 1999. Indeed, he is regarded as a top funder of liberal causes in the United States and even globally together with Michael Bloomberg and George Soros. His Democracy Fund awarded $9 million in grants in 2015 alone.

Omidyar is what he is – a hardcore social justice warrior who supports traditional big government and globalist liberal causes, most of which are antithetical to genuine conservatives. But what is interesting about the relationship with Kristol is that it also reveals what the neoconservatives are all about. Kristol and company have never been actual conservatives on social issues, a topic that they studiously avoid, and their foreign policy is based on two principles: creating a state of perpetual war based on fearmongering about foreign enemies while also providing unlimited support for Israel. 

Unz Review (Originally from the Off-Guardian)

Philip Geraldi - Curious Bedfellows: The Neocon and Progressive Alliance to Destroy Donald Trump

Monday, January 21, 2019

Clint Ballinger — 1000 Castaways, Chapter 2: System Two

Next installment. Clint invites comments and constructive criticism pre-publication.

Clint Ballinger
1000 Castaways, Chapter 2: System Two

Brad DeLong — By Popular Demand: What Is “Modern Monetary Theory”?

In most ways, Modern Monetary Theory—Functional Finance—is just macroeconomic common sense:
  • We do not like high unemployment.
  • We do not like excessive inflation.
  • Thus the government should make it its first priority to use its tools of economic management so that we do not experience either.
  • And maybe the government needs to be a little bit clever in how it uses fiscal and when and how it uses monetary policy to keep the task of financing the national debt from becoming an undue or even an unsustainable burden.
So what can go wrong with MMT?
Three things can go wrong;
  1. MMT implicitly assumes that the debt market is efficient—that if the government debt gets on an unduly burdensome and unsustainable path, we will see that immediately in high interest rates. If that is not true, the government and the economy can face one hell of a mess should a bubble in government bond prices develop and then collapse. Cf. Greece.
  2. MMT implicitly assumes that wealth-owners react rapidly when they see trouble ahead—that when investors conclude that the government cannot or will not balance its books without ultimate high inflation, inflation will jump immediately.
  3. MMT implicitly assumes that extra financial leverage generated by the high values of collateral assets does not serve as a significant source of risk—that it is only on a small scale that investors will borrow foolishly just because they can....
"Implicitly assumes"? I'll be interest to see what MMT economists think of this.

Grasping Reality
By Popular Demand: What Is “Modern Monetary Theory”?
Brad DeLong | Professor of Economics, UCAL Berkeley

Matias Vernengo — Functional Finance, MMT and Blanchard's Presidential Address

More about Blanchard than MMT but worth a read since it provides more evidence that MMT is getting noticed — and attacked by the mainstream (read Establishment). Both are positive signs. When they can no longer ignore you, they attack you..

Naked Keynesianism
Functional Finance, MMT and Blanchard's Presidential Address
Matias Vernengo | Associate Professor of Economics, Bucknell University

See also
Below the text of the first Godley-Tobin Lecture by James K. Galbraith.
A global macroeconomics – yes, macroeconomics, dammit – of inequality and income distribution

Alain De Botton - Why we think so much about our hair

We spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about, and in various ways ‘styling’ our hair. It’s not entirely silly; we’re trying to tell the world – through the language of keratin strands – about who we are.

Gordon Dimmack - The purpose of Luke Harding's lies about Assange become clear

Gordon Dimmack explains why Luke Harding of the Guardian has been writing loads of lies and falsehoods about Julian Assange. It's because when Assange has to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy the UK police will be able to hold him for enquiries, and then the next thing you will know he would have been whipped off to the U.S.

And everyone in the U.K will go about their daily affairs not knowing anything had been done wrong, trusting the authorities.

A Conservative Case For Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez | Congress 8

Everything is mixed up. I'm in the left but I wanted Trump to win and my liberal leftie friends were appalled. I went to see an anti-war play at a local Quaker Meeting House, and I told them after the play had finished that Trump was better than Hilary, but they looked at me as if I was mad.

This conservative thinks that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would be good for America.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a freshman Congresswoman from New York, is a really big deal. She has become a hate object for conservatives, which doesn't make much sense to me. You can check out a deeper dive on her signature policies in this week's blog post. #OcasioCortez #AlexandriaOcasioCortez #DonaldTrump

Bill Mitchell — Why progressive values align more closely with our basic needs

Thomas Fazi and I have been discussing the shape of our next book and I think it will be an interesting and worthwhile followup to Reclaiming the State: A Progressive Vision of Sovereignty for a Post-Neoliberal World (Pluto Books, 2017). We hope it will be published some time late in 2019. One of the angles that will be delved into is the way in which neoliberal narratives and constructs have permeated individual consciousness. Yes, sounds a bit psychological doesn’t it. But there is a strong literature going back to well before the recent period of neoliberalism that allows us to draw some fairly strong conclusions on how the process has worked. It also allows us to make some coherent statements about the dis-junctures that are going on across the world between the people and their polities, which have spawned the support for Brexit, the election of Donald Trump, the popularity of far-right movements, the electoral demolition of the traditional social democratic political parties, the election of the new Italian government, and the on-going trouble that the Gilets Jaunes are causing the mainstream political processes in France (and Brussels). The literature also provides a guide as to how the Left might break out of their current malaise based on their tepid yearning for cosmopolitanism, identity and their fear of financial markets to reestablish themselves as the progressive voice of the people. That is what I am writing about at present and here is a snippet....
Bill goes "there," where "there" is philosophy in the best sense as "the study of the wholes in terms of wholes," that is, in terms of systems and subsystems. Economics cannot be approached on than on a simplistic basis without considering its relationship to society. Society is a network of networks, and these networks are dynamic rather than static. That implies that history counts, which includes culture, traditions, and institutional arrangements that are fluid.

Without taking into consideration the considerable knowledge that has been developed in the various disciplines, the social sciences in particular, economics doesn't have much to say about society that is of any worth practically. And the world is looking for practical solutions to pressing challenges.

In other words the mechanistic models based on physics that assumes that human being are like atoms obeying laws of nature and that assume ergodicity are barren with respect to practical application. Reality is not like that idealized world, which is mathematically tractable but non-representational. The social world is non-ergodic; uncertainty and asymmetries are facts of life.

As managers of our lives and environment, we humans need appropriate models to approach human problems efficiently and effectively, and devise workable solutions to pressing issues of the day. The paraphrase management guru Peter F. Drucker, "Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things." Business people figured out long ago that conventional economic theory is of little usefulness in management. Go figure.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Why progressive values align more closely with our basic needs
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Brian Romanchuk — MMT In The Newsflow Again

Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) has been in the news again (and filled up my Twitter feed...). There have been a number of attempts to "explain" MMT by various American conservatives. As one might expect, those attempts have been pathetic; it is generally a good idea to have at least a reasonable grasp of a topic before attempting to explain it. Critics of MMT generally do not bother with that step. Since I am trying to work on other projects, I will only give a quick response to what I have seen, in case some of my readers are not familiar with MMT. (My working assumption is that most of my readers are, hence the brevity of this article.)...
Bond Economics
MMT In The Newsflow Again
Brian Romanchuk

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Israel Shamir - Banned by Facebook for Telling the Truth

Israel Shamir says it's difficult to get the truth out now, but the social media could have helped us, but, alas, they betrayed us too.
There is not a single newspaper in the US that supports the views of the US President. Nobody defended him when he was accused, brazenly, in-your-face, of being a Russian agent. Nobody supported him when he called to bring the troops home from Syria. Nobody came to his aid when he mulled parting with NATO. There are tens of millions of men and women who voted for him, but he has only his Twitter account at his disposal.
The media accuses Trump of paying too little attention to Israel’s needs. Israel needs US troops in Syria and in Germany, US jets in Spain and Qatar, US ships in Italy and the Gulf. Israel needs the US to lead NATO to contain Russia. If Israel needs it, the US should provide, says Daniel Shapiro, the ex-ambassador. Not a single American newspaper, not a single US statesman cared to reply that President Trump had been elected by the American people to do what is needed for them, not for Israel.
The US is not an exception. Millions of French people support the GJ, but not a single newspaper, not a single TV channel gives them a platform. They are called anti-Semites for they are revolted by Danny Cohn-Bendit and Bernard-Henri Levi, who are Jewish. They are also called homophobes because they want to ban same-sex “marriage”. They are being attacked by the bankers’ storm-troopers, the Antifa, and no media defends them.
Millions of Brits support Jeremy Corbyn, but all the mainstream media is against him, even the state-supported BBC, even the Labour Guardian. Corbyn is accused of anti-Semitism, for Corbyn speaks for the workers and against the bankers. Nobody defends him and there is no mainstream media to speak for him.
Only the minor Russian RT channel provides, up-to-a-point, some alternative views, defending the American, British and French people’s sovereignty, but they can’t do much. Paradoxically, RT does not broadcast in Russian and its English-language broadcasts can’t be seen in Russia. The rest of the Russian media doesn’t differ much from the Western variety.
The mainstream media from Tokyo to Paris to Los Angeles speaks in one voice. All other opinions had been pushed out of mainstream discussion. It is good that we have the internet and sites like Unz Review that allow us to express our views. The problem is with delivery. How can we deliver to the public? The real mainstream media has so many more views and viewers! For them, hundreds of thousands or even millions of views are not unusual. 
Unz Review

Gilad Atzmon - The Beauty and the Beast - Gilad Atzmon vs. Rachel Riley

In recent weeks Rachel Riley, a British TV celebrity, has tossed the Antisemitic slur in the direction of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, Noam Chomsky, Ken Loach, Aaron Bastani, yours truly and others. In her first extended Ch 4 interview it became clear that Riley isn’t exactly an astute political philosopher. You can watch the entire Ch 4 interview here.

The Britisher - Dear Stefan Molyneux - In Place of Thunderf00t: Statism and Libertarianism

The Britisher explains why most people don't want libertarianism. He seems to be a gentle, moderate conservative who values the state. I rather like him.

This is a rather good comment someone left under the video.

Anarchocapitalism works perfectly in the same universe that communism works perfectly...you know...the one where human nature is irrelevant.

Mark Weber - Why Conservatives Can’t Win

Mark Weber argues in the Unz Review why conservatism is finished. He says identity politics is the real deal and conservatives have nothing to counter it -  because they're not even in the same league. He says on most social issues conservatives have now become liberal, which seems to be true. Even many people on the British far-right now defend gay and women's rights against 'intolerant Islam'.

On YouTube, The Britisher gives a good account about why the British Conservative Party has embraced liberal values; but he argues that some conservatism is still required to stop identity politics from running amok.

I think all societies will adopt more liberal values in time, because it makes sense- it's about being decent to and fair to people. But there are excessives, for sure, which need to be tempered.
Today not a single prominent politician who regards himself as conservative dares call for dismantling Social Security or Medicare. To the contrary, conservative politicians assure voters that they will “protect” these programs. Conservatives likewise fought the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Although there is still some residual talk of repealing and replacing it, it appears that some form of the Act will remain in place. And just as they eventually accepted the once-despised Social Security and Medicare programs, conservatives very likely will come around to accepting some version of Obamacare.
Just what is it that conservatives want to conserve? One answer that’s often given is “freedom” – by which is usually meant “individual freedom.”
Well, if individual freedom is really important, those who call themselves conservative should be very pleased with the trajectory of the past century, because Americans today generally have more freedom and “rights” than those of earlier generations.
Consider life in 1930, for example – when nearly all Americans still regarded the US as a “great” country.
For one thing, employment and job opportunities were generally segregated and restricted by sex and race. Employment notices in newspapers appeared in separate sections, one for Men and another for Women. Women were effectively barred from a wide range of jobs.
There were no “gay rights.” Homosexual behavior was punished as a crime. Any suggestion that a woman might have the “right” to marry another woman, or a man another man, would have been regarded as offensive and absurd.
By law and custom, people of European ancestry could not marry persons of other races. In most states marriage between whites and blacks was a felony.
Abortion was not a “right”; it was a crime.
Americans could not buy groceries, tools or clothes on a Sunday. Stores across the country were closed on Sundays as an expression of respect for the Christian heritage and Christian sensibilities.
No one could legally order a glass of beer or enjoy a bottle of wine with a meal in a restaurant. The sale of alcoholic beverages was prohibited throughout the country.
How many Americans today who call themselves conservative would prefer life in the “great” America of 1930 to life in the “liberal” USA of our era? Is “freedom” really the most important thing that conservatives want to conserve?

The  Unz Review

The Britisher - How did UK politics become so 'progressive'?

Banned Adam and Eve commercial

Gordon Dimmack - PropOrNot using Integrity Initiative data to smear independent journalists

ProporNot are back, and if you use the words Neocon, neoliberal, imperialist, Zionist, warmonger, or establishment then you may a Russian propagandist, according to them.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Daniel Little — The place for thick theories of the actor in philosophy

The neoclassical foundational assumption of rational maximization and Buchanan's rational choice theory are "thin" theories of the actor. As a result the models created on the basis of such assumptions are simplifications. The questions is whether they are oversimplifications. That depends on the case. Such assumptions may apply generally in certain simple cases but not to all. Moreover, the assumption of methodological individualism on which microfoundations depends is similarly limited. These assumptions don't scale owing to social embeddedness and historical, cultural and institutional influence. Attempting to scale them beyond their limits results in the the fallacy of composition, that is, incorrectly assuming that a whole is the sum of its parts when the relationship of the parts supervenes.

Understanding Society
The place for thick theories of the actor in philosophy
Daniel Little | Chancellor of the University of Michigan-Dearborn, Professor of Philosophy at UM-Dearborn and Professor of Sociology at UM-Ann Arbor

Tom Luongo 5G, Huawei and Us — The U.S. Hates Competition

Tom Luongo explains the real reasons behind the US attack on Huawei are part of the ongoing US hybrid war against China and Russia as competitors. It's about power and money, as always.

Tom Luongo
5G, Huawei and Us — The U.S. Hates Competition

Steve Keen - KeiserReport: pt2, Prof Steve Keen on house price collapse, and QE robbery

At 8:30 Steve Keen marvels at what the Chinese have achieved in 30 years. He says their society is liberal with an authoritarian government in the background, but it is more responsive to people's' needs than our 'democratic' governments are. With its mix of private and public banks, China has achieved a lot.

Margaret Talev and Sheridan Prasso — U.S. Preparing Trump Order to Restrict Chinese Telecoms, Sources Say

This will likely meet reciprocal response and result in a two-tier IT technology, with the West vassals using the Western system and the Global South using the Chinese system. A multi-polar world will result, especially with a growing cold war between the US/Global North and China-Russia/Global South.

U.S. Preparing Trump Order to Restrict Chinese Telecoms, Sources Say
Margaret Talev and Sheridan Prasso

Tyler Durden

Chinese FDI in U.S. plunges as obstacles rise

Huawei Founder Ren Zhengfei Breaks Silence as Global Pressures Mount

[Czech President] Zeman Dubs Huawei Security Issue in Czech Republic a 'Trade War'

Chinese Firm Offers New Iranian Oilfield Deal Amid US Sanctions – Report

Open Culture
America at War: Infographic Reveals How the U.S. Military Is Operating in 40% of the World’s Nations
Josh Jones

The American Conservative
Tulsi Gabbard and the Great Foreign Policy Realignment
James Pinkerton

The Guardian
China has some of world's most advanced weapon systems, Pentagon warns

Zero Hedge
China's Undergound "Great Wall" Missile Defense System Can Block Hypersonic Attacks
Tyler Durden

Fort Russ
US MEDIA IN FEAR: Russia’s Weapon is Deadlier than Nuclear Bomb

Fort Russ
RUSSIA RISING: Russia On Course to be Top 5 Economy by 2020 DESPITE Sanctions

Mint Press News
United States Doesn’t Even Make Top 20 on Global Democracy Index
Common Dreams

Anatoly Karlin

Robert Vienneau — Elsewhere: Popular Writing On Modern Monetary Theory

Robert Vienneau links to the "popular" trolls, followed by a short summary of MMT as essentially correct as descriptive of the monetary system.

Thoughts On Economics
Elsewhere: Popular Writing On Modern Monetary Theory
Robert Vienneau

Robert Hockett - The Green New Deal: How We Will Pay For It Isn't 'A Thing' - And Inflation Isn't Either

If the government issues interest-bearing bonds to wealthy institutions to take money out of circulation to control inflation, then why not allow the general public to deposit their savings at the central bank in interest-bearing accounts as another way to control inflation? This would compete with the private banks, but would this be a bad thing?

The rest of the article is very MMT in all but name, and describes how the New Green Deal can be paid for while keeping inflation in check.

A final way we might combat inflation, should it ever emerge, is by use of a new infrastructure that I’ve proposed elsewhere. Suppose, for a moment, that the Fed offered what I call interest-bearing ‘Citizen Accounts’ for all citizens, instead of just offering ‘reserve accounts’ to privileged banks as it does now. Were it to do so, we’d not only eliminate our nation’s ‘financial inclusion’ problem in one swoop, we’d also gain a most powerful money modulation tool.
During deflations like that after 2008, for example, the Fed could drop debt-free ‘helicopter money’ directly into Citizen Accounts rather than giving it to banks in the hope that they’ll lend (which they didn’t – hence the notorious ‘pushing on a string’ problem of the post-2008 period). And were inflation ever to emerge, the Fed could likewise simply raise interest rates on Citizen Accounts, thereby inducing more saving and less spending.
I believe that the ‘fintech’ revolution renders something like what I’m proposing here all but inevitable. The point for present purposes, though, is simply that once this thing happens we’ll have yet another quite powerful anti-inflationary and anti-deflationary policy tool – and therefore yet more reason not to be timid about moving ahead energetically with the Green New Deal.
Have I succeeded, then? Have I convinced you both that there isn’t a ‘pay for’ challenge and that there isn’t, thanks to a multitude of theoretical, empirical, and policy lever reasons, an ‘inflation’ challenge either? If you are bold, know finance, and care about our future, you probably didn’t need much convincing. If instead you are frightened, financially untutored, or cavalier about our economy or our planet, please buck up, wise up, and suit up. It is time to say game on for the Green New Deal.

Richard Wolff - The National Debt Explained by Richard D Wolff

Richard Wolff explains why we have austerity. 6:11 minutes. This video was made before he became an advocate for MMT.

The Lobbyist, Patrick Moore, Claims Monsanto's Roundup Is Safe To Drink, Freaks Out When Offered A Glass

Dr Patrick Moore, the climate change denier and corporate stooge, said Monsanto's Round Up was safe to drink, but the interviewer had some Round Up and offered him a glass, but he refused to drink any. He then walks out calling the interviewer a complete jerk.

In the video below, Potholer54 completely demolishes Patrick Moore's arguments. You have to wonder why did Patrick Moore, who is a scientist, had to omit so many facts to make his ideas seem plausible?

Also, Patrick Moore says the Sun is causing some of the global warming, but then he completely omits the role of the Sun when he talks about a previous ice age where Co2 was also very high. Coming from an astronomer, this seems rather odd, so is he stupid, or is he deliberately hiding something? Hmm, but he did say Round-Up was safe to drink, didn't he?

Response to Patrick Moore's "What They Haven't Told You about Climate Change”

Friday, January 18, 2019

Ben Hunt — Modern Monetary Theory (Or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying & Love The National Debt)

"Be afraid, very afraid."

This might be the nuttiest yet.

Zero Hedge
Modern Monetary Theory (Or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying & Love The National Debt)
Ben Hunt via EpsilonTheory.com,

Clint Ballinger — 1000 Castaways, Chapter 1: System One

"A FLEET OF A THOUSAND COLONISTS are blown off course for weeks by a series of violent cyclones, eventually crashing onto the reefs of a large uncharted island. All of their ships and provisions are lost to sea. They wash ashore, all surviving the stormy night. As morning breaks they begin their search for water and possible food sources.

"The survivors struggle in this foreign land at first. They collect crabs at the rocky tideline, forage along the dense forest-edge, and weave simple palm leaf baskets to collect the many unidentifiable fruits they find in the forest. Eventually they begin to be more successful at fishing and manage to get some shoots of wild yam-like tubers to sprout in small raised-mound gardens. Eventually they begin to have enough food and to build stronger, larger, and more permanent shelters. In time they have enough goods to live in relative comfort..."
1000 Castaways, Chapter 1: System One
Clint Ballinger

Jonathan Pie Back to the Studio - Straight White Male Privilege

This seems fitting at the moment, especially as identity politics is being so hotly debated right now.

I had to check to see if Jonathon Pie had not moved to the right, but he's still a Jeremy Corbyn supporter, and this is what makes this video unique, because he's on the left.

The BBC removed this segment from their broadcasts.  It's a shame, though, that he has fallen for the Putin - Russia-gate myth, so I might have to post him some videos. I will have to see if he has an email address.

The left needs to reclaim this back from the right, and have more debate about mass immigration. We all know what causes mass immigration: liberalism, neocolonialism, and imperialism.

Warning: Explicit language.

Identity Politics - Adam and Eve banned commercial.

Trolling MMT

The trolls are at it.

Continental Telegraph
Zimbabwe’s Real Riots Problem – Modern Monetary Theory Strikes Again
Tim Worstall

Ep. 124: What is Modern Monetary Theory? — Political Economy with James Pethokoukis

The Week
Why Modern Monetary Theory is an unserious idea for an unserious time
James Pethokoukis

Richard Murphy — Why Bill Mitchell is simply wrong on modern monetary theory and imports and exports

The simple fact is that imports are real benefits, meaning real goods, for the importer and exports are real costs for the exporter, who exchanges real goods for financial goods ("money").

That is to say, one party to the exchange obtains real resources in exchange for monetary payment. This implies that the party accepting the payment desires to save, however, temporarily in the currency in which the real goods are priced.

Nothing else is claimed in saying that imports are real benefits and exports are real costs. One party, the importer, is preferring real resources and the other party, the exporter, is preferring financial resources.

This entails many other conditions as Richard Murphy states. However, those conditions don't alter the truth of the simple statement that imports confer real benefits on the importer at the real cost of sacrificing the use other those real goods by the exporter. MMT economists have discussed this, and the job guarantee, for example, is partially addressed toward it. MMT economists have also pointed out that a currency sovereign has the fiscal space to create new opportunities for work though public investment.

The other conditions involved are contingent on a variety of factors and a simple statement regarding this is difficult to impossible to make in a general way.

For example, it may seem that the statement that imports are real benefits (only) at full employment is  categorically true, but it is contingent. For example, the importation of real goods produced by low skilled labor may result in eventual substitution of capital for labor, which is now actually happening through automation and robotics.

The low skill labor formerly involved in tedious and repetitive factory work is in the process of transitioning to more suitable employment for the times. A well-designed job guarantee (guaranteed work opportunity at a living wage) would cushion this transition and facilitate it.

Some of the exported manufacture is beginning to "come home," but not the former factory jobs that are now obsolete. The new jobs are higher skill jobs involving "knowledge," this is, more labor power per unit of labor time, resulting in higher productivity through a combination of knowledge and "high" technology. Of course, this is not one for one, since capital in the form of technology is being substituted for labor, and labor requires more skills.

The labor that was idled by the initial job losses eventually transitions to new jobs in other areas. Think the transition from horses and oxen to automobiles, trucks, and tractors. A job guarantee would ease the transition, and public investment in R&D, education, and training would replace low skill with higher skills, or at least more suitable skills.

The hilarious thing about Richard Murphy's criticism of Bill Mitchell is that he criticizes Bill for not understanding economics.
Bill has said here is fundamentally economically mistaken. Why do I say that? I have, as usual, good reason.
First of all, this is an absurd abstraction from reality, which is about as bad as the worst of neoclassical economics. What Bill is doing is to assume that we barter. Quite extraordinarily, it would appear that he thinks that we trade without requirement for payment to be made in settlement. For someone promoting monetary theory, this is staggering.
Richard Murphy is a public accountant and not an economist. He appears to be minimally acquainted with work of Bill Mitchell and the MMT economists, which renders his criticism nonsensically uninformed. But he apparently thinks he has the ability to understand economics better than a full professor of economics. ROFLMAO.

Tax Research UK
Why Bill Mitchell is simply wrong on modern monetary theory and imports and exports
Richard Murphy

Potholer54 - Response to "The Global Warming Hoax Lord Monckton & Stefan Molyneux"

Potholer54 takes on the idiots, Lord Monckton and Stefan Molyneux. See how Lord Monckton knowingly chooses faulty facts from a climate change research facility which later on corrected their data when they found the error in their calculations. But Lord Monckton chooses to ignore this.

Potholer54 - Are humans contributing only 3% of CO2 in the atmosphere?

In the video below you will see how climate change deniers twist and change the facts. One person, who may not be a scientist, will read part of a research paper on climate change and misinterpret, maybe on purpose, the facts, which he then puts out on his blog which hundreds of other climate change deniers then reblog, until you get an echo chamber of misinformation.

Climate change deniers say is that mankind is only contributing 3% of the carbon each year into the atmosphere. Now, Potholer54, who is a conservative and a scientist, describes in the video below how climate change deniers twist the facts to suite their agenda. But they are not able counter the climate change science with any real scientific facts or research of their own.

Mankind emits 3% of carbon into to atmosphere each year, but nature only removes 1.5% of it. Most of the carbon in the atmosphere comes from the activities of plants and animals which our planet completely absorbs, but it doesn't absorb that last 1.5% that man produces per year, which goes on to build up in the atmosphere. As the years go by, this Co2 builds up to dangerous levels which now means that the atmosphere has 45% more Co2 than it did before the industrial revolution. It's pretty simple maths, but the climate change deniers prefer not to understand it.

And according to the CDIAC, half of the extra CO2 has been added since the mid 1980s (http://cdiac.ornl.gov/CO2_Emission/ti...), so that means 25,000 Mt. St. Helen-sized eruptions.

It's absurd how climate change deniers can be so stupid!  

Now, the risk of your house burning down is negligible, but we insure against it anyway because it would be devastating if  it did, so I don't understand why climate change deniers would not prefer to take precautions, especially as climate change could end most human life on earth, as well as destroy much of the wealth that people have.

Potholer54 says how there are many opportunities for capitalists to make serious money out of green technology, and this energy  would be much cheaper too, therefore lowering our fuel bills, increasing our standard of living, and making us wealthier. But the grey haired old men who run the fossil feel industry have managed to convince many people on the right that their expensive, dirty fuel is best for them. They're been had - with millions of them conned, and they are poorer too.

3:15 http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/gre... (Mar 2 2007) 4:20 -- 68.52 ppm is 18.6% of 368,400, the total content of CO2 in the atmosphere at the time Heib wrote his blog. 18% of 3 trillion tons (total atmospheric CO2) is 558 billion tons. So if an extra 558 billion tons of CO2 has accumulated in the atmosphere from natural sources, that’s equivalent to over 50,000 Mt. St. Helen-sized eruptions (Mt St Helens emitted around 10 million tons of CO2 according to the US Geological Survey -- https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/vhp/gas_cl...). An according to the CDIAC, half of the extra CO2 has been added since the mid 1980s (http://cdiac.ornl.gov/CO2_Emission/ti...), so that means 25,000 Mt. St. Helen-sized eruptions.

One climate change scientist takes on a roomful of sceptics.

According to a recent scientific report, it's to late to stop runaway climate change through the positive feedback effect.

Perhaps greening the deserts could save us? A scientist who has greened some parts of the desert, says we can carry on using fossil fuels if we do, but governments around the world have even failed to do this. But perhaps we in the West should be chipping in for some of this?

In this video an American scientist debates with a hall full of Australian climate change deniers, and it's shocking to see how much they hate him, even though they understand no science themselves. This scientist addresses every question they throw at him, but they just get even more angry.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Gennaro Zezza and Francesco Zezza — On the Design of Empirical Stock-Flow-Consistent Models

While the literature on theoretical macroeconomic models adopting the stock-flow-consistent (SFC) approach is flourishing, few contributions cover the methodology for building a SFC empirical model for a whole country. Most contributions simply try to feed national accounting data into a theoretical model inspired by Wynne Godley and Marc Lavoie (2007), albeit with different degrees of complexity.
In this paper we argue instead that the structure of an empirical SFC model should start from a careful analysis of the specificities of a country’s sectoral balance sheets and flow of funds data, given the relevant research question to be addressed. We illustrate our arguments with examples for Greece, Italy, and Ecuador.
We also provide some suggestions on how to consistently use the financial and nonfinancial accounts of institutional sectors, showing the link between SFC accounting structures and national accounting rules.
Levy Economics Institute
On the Design of Empirical Stock-Flow-Consistent Models
Gennaro Zezza and Francesco Zezza

Michael R. Strain — ‘Modern Monetary Theory’ Is a Joke That’s Not Funny

Scraping the bottom of the barrel. Mocked on Twitter.

Michael Strain is straining. The Establishment is grabbing at straws as their world begins to collapse. Of course, the "joke" is not funny when the joke is on you. Actually, his attempted screed is pretty funny. He is forced to admit that MMT has it right and then look for reasons like political irresponsibility that admitting it will blow up the world.

Bloomberg Opinion
‘Modern Monetary Theory’ Is a Joke That’s Not Funny
Michael R. Strain | director of economic policy studies and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute

Links — 17 Jan 2019

Asia Times
Talk of Western intervention in the Black Sea is pure fantasy
Pepe Escobar

The Hill
DOJ Official Warned Steele Dossier Biased, Connected To Clinton

Fort Russ News
RUSSIA RISING: Russia On Course to be Top 5 Economy by 2020 DESPITE Sanctions
Paul Antonopoulos

Middle East Monitor
US to purchase 2 Israel Iron Dome systems

Geopolitics Alert
Washington Moves Towards ‘Regime Change’ in Venezuela
Jorge Martin

Venezuela: Trump Considers ‘Recognizing’ Opposition Leader as President, Government Denounces ‘Coup Attempt’

US will 'quit all treaties' & 'make militarization of space inevitable' with new Trump doctrine

‘Political censorship’: Sputnik slams Facebook as it removes 350+ pages for ‘inauthentic behavior’

Frenchman jailed for 6 months for attempting organize Yellow Vest protest

Simonyan Urges Facebook to Explain Crusade Against Sputnik on Social Media

US Bill Criminalizes Trade with China’s ‘World Leader’ in 5G, Huawei

Trump 'Inclined' to Slap EU With Fresh Tariffs to Get Brussels to Talk – Senator

Nuns return to ancient Orthodox monastery in Syria’s Maaloula