Wednesday, September 30, 2020

France to ban wild animals in travelling circuses



France said on Tuesday it planned to "gradually" ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses, the farming of mink for fur and the breeding of dolphins and orcas in captivity.

Animals rights group PETA hailed the decision as "an historic victory".

France to ban wild animals in travelling circuses

Amanda D'Ambrosio: Does Virus Dose or Load Predict How Sick You Get With COVID-19?

— Initial exposure, strength of virus infection both seen as contributors to illness severity







Cruise ship passengers who embarked from the coast of Argentina in mid-March were unaware that they were living in a COVID-19 hotspot for more than a week after the ship departed.

The reason why these passengers were oblivious? Because a majority of the cruise ship's cases were asymptomatic.

Researchers are now pointing to this cruise ship outbreak, in which all passengers were provided surgical masks, as evidence that universal masking may result in a higher proportion of asymptomatic COVID-19 cases. Other outbreaks of mostly asymptomatic cases where widespread masking was implemented, in places like jails and meatpacking plants, provide epidemiological data that masks could reduce viral inoculum -- and as a result, decrease the severity of illness.

Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, Monica Gandhi, MD, and George Rutherford, MD, of the University of California in San Francisco, hypothesized that widespread population masking may act as a sort of "variolation," exposing individuals to a smaller amount of viral particles and producing an immune response.

Gandhi told MedPage Today that the viral inoculum, or the initial dose of virus that a patient takes in, is one likely determinant of ultimate illness severity. That's separate from patients' subsequent viral load, the level of replicating virus as measured by copies per mL.

The "variolation" hypothesis holds that, at some level, the inoculum overwhelms the immune system, leading to serious illness. With less than that (and the threshold may vary from one person to the next), the individual successfully fights off the infection, with mild or no clinical illness.

 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Degrowth and the ‘assistance’ of Modern Monetary Theory — Peter May

So when Jason Hickell says that “MMT provides an opportunity for us to create a post-growth, post-capitalist economy” he is saying no more than it is possible now with our current monetary system.
So money is decidedly not the problem, nor even capitalism.
Political will is the problem.
It appears to me that Peter May misses an important point about "capitalism" based on economic liberalism. Right from the start of the industrial age, the rallying cry of private enterprise was "laissez-faire," which means freeing business and commerce from government intrusion. This is based on the assumption that left to itself the "free market" is the most efficient and effective form of economic organization owing to the operation of market forces operating through the law of supply and demand.

This is still a strong argument accepted by much of the liberal world aka "capitalist" world, since "capitalism" is equated with economic liberalism and economic liberalism and political liberalism, that is, liberal democracy, are assumed to go hand in hand.

So advocates of economic liberalism would argue that imputing to them the motive of reducing the public footprint in the economy is not a matter of tilting the scales in favor of private enterprise.

The objection still has to be met that any motion in the direction of more "socialism" leads to greater inefficiency and reduced effectiveness.

Progressive Pulse
Degrowth and the ‘assistance’ of Modern Monetary Theory
Peter May

China deploys Sun Tzu to prevail in the Chip War — Pepe Escobar


Leapfrogging.

The Vineyard of the Saker
China deploys Sun Tzu to prevail in the Chip War
Pepe Escobar

See also

Strategic Culture Foundation
The United States’ Miscalculation in South Asia
Sabria Chowdhury Balland

Decoding China’s “Dual Circulation” Strategy — Yu Yongding

Since May, when China's central leadership started referring to a "new development pattern," there has been much speculation about whether the country is embracing an entirely new economic model. In fact, the government is merely describing changes that have already happened.
Yu Yongding is considered an authority on Chinese policy that is worth listening to.

Project Syndicate
Decoding China’s “Dual Circulation” Strategy
Yu Yongding, a former president of the China Society of World Economics and director of the Institute of World Economics and Politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, served on the Monetary Policy Committee of the People’s Bank of China from 2004 to 2006.

See also

SCMP
China and world at risk of financial turmoil greater than 2008 crisis, ex-finance minister warns
Orange Wang, SCMP corespondent

Charlie Chaplin and Karl Marx in Conversation: On Working and Being in Modern Times — Steven Stoll


Interesting if you remember the film, Modern Times.

Public Seminar
Charlie Chaplin and Karl Marx in Conversation: On Working and Being in Modern Times
Steven Stoll | Professor of history at Fordham University and author of Ramp Hollow: The Ordeal of Appalachia

Should bankers or Australians get RBA “monopoly money”? David Llewellyn-Smith


What the bankers and politicians are not telling people.

Same story in the US at the time of the GFC and aftermath. Grifting aka "pretend and extend."

Macrobusiness
Should bankers or Australians get RBA “monopoly money”?
David Llewellyn-Smith

See also

Stumbling and Mumbling
Savers, capitalism & self-interest
Chris Dillow | Investors Chronicle

Bill Mitchell – Tracing the roots of progressive views on the duty to work – Part 6

This is Part 6 of my on-going examination of the concept of ‘duty to work’ and how it was associated with the related idea of a ‘right to work’. Neoliberalism has broken the nexus between the ‘right to work’ responsibilities that the state assumed in the social democratic period and the ‘duty to work’ responsibilities that are imposed on workers in return for income support. That break abandons the binding reciprocity that enriched our societies and has spawned a solid argument for a basic income. But the solution to the problem is to reinstate the link between opportunity to work and the societal benefits of work, especially as it enhances the material well-being of the least advantaged. In this part, I explore that theme.

The earlier parts in this series are:
1. Tracing the roots of progressive views on the duty to work – Part 1 (August 4, 2020).
2. Tracing the roots of progressive views on the duty to work – Part 2 (August 11, 2020).
3. Tracing the roots of progressive views on the duty to work – Part 3 (August 20, 2020).
4. Tracing the roots of progressive views on the duty to work – Part 4 (September 1, 2020).
5. Tracing the roots of progressive views on the duty to work – Part 5 (September 8, 2020).
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Tracing the roots of progressive views on the duty to work – Part 6
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Weiner Brodsky Kidder, PC — 2nd Circuit Holds Loan from Federal Reserve Bank Covered by False Claims Act


Appeals Court decision on legal status of Federal Reserve with respect to government and the private sector.

Weiner Brodsky Kidder, PC
2nd Circuit Holds Loan from Federal Reserve Bank Covered by False Claims Act
h/t Rohan Grey | Assistant Professor of Law, Willamette University

Here is Rohan's comments on Twitter. Not new but I just pick it up and thought to pass it on.

Rohan Grey
@rohangrey
Level 1:
1. A tweet thread on a recent court case of relevance to monetary theorists: U.S. v Wells Fargo (2d Cir. 2019) (https://jdsupra.com/legalnews/2nd-circuit-holds-loan-from-federal-93164/
) H/t @sam_a_bell
 & @PeterContiBrown
. 1/n
2nd Circuit Holds Loan from Federal Reserve Bank Covered by False Claims Act
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently ruled that, under certain circumstances, an entity which borrows money from a Federal Reserve Bank (FRB) has made a claim to the...
jdsupra.com
5:26 PM · Jan 6, 2020·Twitter Web App
·
Jan 6
Level 2:
2. US v Wells Fargo was a dispute over whether a fraudulent loan request presented to the emergency lending facilities of a Federal Reserve Bank (“FRB”) constituted a claim under the False Claims Act (“FCA”) (31 USC 3729 et seq.). 2/n
Rohan Grey
@rohangrey
·
Jan 6
Level 3:
3. The district court concluded that it didn’t, but the 2nd Circuit disagreed and vacated/remanded. Wells Fargo and the US Govt were named parties, but the Fed Board of Governors (BoG), and the FRBs of New York and Richmond also submitted amici briefs. 3/n
Rohan Grey
@rohangrey
·
Jan 6
Level 4:
3. The district court concluded that it didn’t, but the 2nd Circuit disagreed and vacated/remanded. Wells Fargo and the US Govt were named parties, but the Fed Board of Governors (BoG), and the FRBs of New York and Richmond also submitted amici briefs. 3/n
Show replies
Rohan Grey
@rohangrey
·
Jan 6
Level 5:
5. To qualify under the latter category, the money requested from a contractor/grantee/other recipient must be i) “spent or used on the Govt’s behalf or to advance a Govt program or interest; and ii) provided for or reimbursed, at least in part, by the US Govt. 5/n
Rohan Grey
@rohangrey
·
Jan 6
Level 6:
6. Additionally, the FCA clearly states that it does not matter whether the US Govt has “title” to the money it “provides” to the contractor/grantee/other recipient (this distinction will prove relevant). 6/n
Rohan Grey
@rohangrey
·
Jan 6
Level 7:
7. The decision offers many insights, but ill focus on the three core issues that the Court considered: 1) the “officer/employee” issue; 2) the “agent” issue; and 3) the “money” issue. 7/n
Rohan Grey
@rohangrey
·
Jan 6
Level 8:
8. FIRST, the 2nd Circuit held that FRB personnel were not officers or employees of the US Govt. 8/n
Rohan Grey
@rohangrey
·
Jan 6
Level 9:
9. This holding is consistent with longstanding caselaw, including a SCOTUS decision from 1928 (275 US 415) concluding that FRBs were not “departments of the Government.” 9/n
Rohan Grey
@rohangrey
·
Jan 6
Level 10:
10. It’s also consistent with the amici briefs of the FRBs of New York and Richmond, which argued that FRBs were established to ‘serve the interests of, but stand apart from, the sovereign.’ 10/n
Rohan Grey
@rohangrey
·
Jan 6
Level 11:
11. Critically, however, the Court distinguished the FRBs from the BoG, which it called “an independent agency within the executive branch” 11/n
Rohan Grey
@rohangrey
·
Jan 6
Level 12:
12. Additionally, the Court noted that since the founding of the Federal Reserve System in 1913, Congress had “transferred functional ownership and control of the FRBs to the Treasury and to the BoG.” 12/n
Rohan Grey
@rohangrey
·
Jan 6
Level 13:
13. SECOND, the Court held that although FRB personnel were not direct employees/officers of the US, FRBs were nevertheless “agents” of the US *when operating emergency lending facilities.* 13/n
Rohan Grey
@rohangrey
·
Jan 6
Level 14:
14. Notably, the Court declined to extend its finding beyond the narrow scope of the emergency lending program, leaving open the question of whether other FRB activities constitute the actions of an agent of the US Govt. 14/n
Rohan Grey
@rohangrey
·
Jan 6
Level 15:
15. This finding refuted the view expressed in the FRBs’s amici briefs, that FRBs were “federal instrumentalities,” but nevertheless were not agents of the US Govt when conducting emergency lending. 15/n
Rohan Grey
@rohangrey
·
Jan 6
Level 16:
16. In particular, the Court held that the US created the FRBs to “act on its behalf in extending emergency credit to banks,” and that FRBs did so in compliance with Congressional strictures and BoG rules. 16/n
Rohan Grey
@rohangrey
·
Jan 6
Level 17:
17. Importantly, the Court held that the FCA did not require “agents of the US” to be “agents of a US agency,” only that FRBs “act, and be empowered by law to act, on behalf of the US.” 17/n
Rohan Grey
@rohangrey
·
Jan 6
Level 18:
18. Additionally, the Court clarified that its holding that FRBs were agents of the US Govt did not imply FRBs were acting on behalf of the BoG in particular. 18/n

Rohan Grey
@rohangrey
·
Jan 6
Level 38:
38. The Court rejected the FRBs’ argument that the money lent in the emergency credit programs was not provided by the US Govt because it did not come from the US Treasury, but was instead created “ex nihilo, at a keystroke,” by FRBs 38/n
Rohan Grey
@rohangrey
·
Jan 6
Level 39:
39. Instead, the Court held that the FCA “nowhere limit[ed] liability to requests involving ‘Treasury Funds,’” and instead adopted a “deliberately broad” framework that applies “whether or not the US Govt has title to the money” in question 39/n
Rohan Grey
@rohangrey
·
Jan 6
Level 40:
40. Thus, the Court agreed with the US and BoG’s view that the word “provides” in the FCA is “properly read to reach some circumstances in which the Govt makes money available through an exercise of its legal authority outside the appropriations process” 40/n
Rohan Grey
@rohangrey
·
Jan 6
Level 41:
41. This conclusion is consistent with an earlier decision, US ex rel. Health v Wisconsin Bell, Inc., (E.D. Wis. 2015), which held that “[t]he fact that [Universal Service] Fund money does not pass through the Treasury does not make the Gvt any less its source” 41/n
Rohan Grey
@rohangrey
·
Jan 6
Level 42:
42. Additionally, the Court noted that when banks who received emergency lending “withdr[ew]” the process of those loans in the form of Federal Reserve Notes (FRNs), they “quite literally receive money ‘provided’ by the BoG,” 42/n
Show replies
Rohan Grey
@rohangrey
·
Jan 6
Level 43:
43. The Court noted that FRNs are one of two types of legal tender in the US, along with coins, and while the Treasury (Mint) determined the supply of coins (31 USC 5111(a)(1)), the BoG controlled the supply of notes (12 USC 411). 43/n
Rohan Grey
@rohangrey
·
Jan 6
Level 44:
44. This authority, the Court concluded, was a delegation of Congress’s exclusive power to create money under Art. I, S. 8 of the US Constitution, building on the Mixt Money case from 1605, and reaffirmed in Knox v. Lee, 49 US 457 (1871) 44/n
Rohan Grey
@rohangrey
·
Jan 6
Level 45:
45. The Court saw “no reason why Congress’s decision to separate the FRBs from the Board and the Board from the Treasury” should “alter [its] conclusion that the US is the source of the purchasing power” extended via emergency lending facilities 45/n
Rohan Grey
@rohangrey
·
Jan 6
Level 46:
46. Thus, the Court found that the BoG, like the Mint, was an agency of the US, and the fact that the BoG “unlike the Mint, is not also a bureau of the Treasury Department is of no legal significance here” 46/n
Rohan Grey
@rohangrey
·
Jan 6
Level 47:
47. Instead, the Court determined that Congress “empowered” the BoG and FRBs to act “in conjunction” to issue legal tender, and “[h]ad Congress not delegated this power to the Fed, the FRBs would be unable to extend the loans at issue in this case” 47/n
Rohan Grey
@rohangrey
·
Jan 6
Level 48:
48. Consequently, the Court found that in extending reserves the FRBs were acting as “issuers of base money” on behalf of the US Govt as “federal instrumentalities” 48/n
Show replies
Rohan Grey
@rohangrey
·
Jan 6
Level 49:
49. Additionally, the Court rejected as irrelevant 12 USC 244, which provides that the “funds derived” by the BoG through assessments on FRBs “shall not be construed to be govt funds or appropriated monies” 49/n
Rohan Grey
@rohangrey
·
Jan 6
Level 50:
50. In the Court’s view, the purpose of 12 USC 244 was to distinguish the money used to fund the BoG’s operating budget from Congressionally appropriated money, and had nothing to do with the creation of reserves by FRBs 50/n
Rohan Grey
@rohangrey
·
Jan 6
Level 51:
51. Overall, this case is, in my view, a validation of the merits of the ‘consolidation’ approach to Tsy-Fed analysis, as well as a direct refutation to the conspiracy theorish claims that the Fed is merely a “private entity owned by banks”. 51/n

Monday, September 28, 2020

Michael Roberts — Ending the pandemic slump – a return to Keynes?

The latest Trade and Development report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the economic research agency to help ‘developing countries’, is a must read. Not only is it packed with data and statistics about trends and developments in global production, trade and investment, but this 2020 issue takes a very radical position on how to get the world economy out of what the IMF calls the ‘lockdown’ slump.
From the Marxian perspective, the problem is falling profit rate. Michael Roberts observes that Keynes called this "the marginal efficiency of capital."
Indeed, on occasion even Keynes recognised that profitability (which he called the ‘marginal efficiency of capital’) was an important factor in causing slumps. As he said: “Unemployment, I must repeat, exists because employers have been deprived of profit. The loss of profit may be due to all sorts of causes. But, short of going over to Communism, there is no possible means of curing unemployment except by restoring to employers a proper margin of profit.” If the marginal efficiency of capital fell below the interest cost of borrowing capital, then capitalists would have a loss of ‘animal spirits’ and stop investing and instead hoard money. But this aspect of Keynesian theory is ignored by modern Keynesians (as it was by Keynes himself).
The problem is the structure of capitalism based on the relationship of profit and firm investment and and the profit rate depends on the capital/labor share. This and the following posts explore this relationship.

Michael Roberts Blog
Ending the pandemic slump – a return to Keynes?

Marxian economics for the 21st century? — David F. Ruccio

In this post, I continue the draft of sections of my forthcoming book, “Marxian Economics: An Introduction.” This, like the previous four posts (here, here, here, and here), is written to serve as the basis for chapter 1, Marxian Economics Today. The text of this post should pretty much finish up the draft of the first chapter....
Occasional Links & Commentary
Marxian economics for the 21st century?
David F. Ruccio | Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Notre Dame.

Adopting a clean gold standard — JP Koning


Not a monetary gold standard, but green way of treating gold.

Russia and China would never go for it, since they are principal gold miners and gold reserves are way to avoid being the victim of Western economic warfare led by the US.

Moneyness
Adopting a clean gold standard
JP Koning

The 'bazooka': Modern Monetary Theory in action — Peter Bofinger


Not exactly in paradigm with MMT, but positive nevertheless.

Social Europe
The 'bazooka': Modern Monetary Theory in action
Peter Bofinger

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Bill Mitchell – The inner Groupthink camp is breaking up – paradigm shift continues

Last week, there were some rather significant shifts in the public discourse surrounding macroeconomic policy and challenges made to the orthodox economics taboos that have been used to prevent governments from acting in the best interest of the citizens. First, the Australian treasurer broke away from the government’s previous obsession with fiscal surplus pursuit to announce that for the foreseeable future it was only going to concentrate on jobs and growth. In his statement, he basically refuted all the mainstream macroeconomic claims about fiscal deficits – higher interest rates, lower private investment, lower growth, lower private sector confidence etc. There is really nothing left of the mainstream position now and any politician or economist that tries to resurrect the ‘debt and deficit’ narratives of the past will find it hard gaining the same politician traction that they were able to garner some years ago at the height of the neoliberal period. And, if that was not enough, a former Federal treasurer attacked the ‘high priests’ of the central bank, demanding they buy up government bonds and help the government run “Mountainous” deficits to achieve full employment. The flood gates opened just a bit more after those interventions along the way to jettisoning all the mainstream nonsense that should have been abandoned decades ago....
Traction.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
The inner Groupthink camp is breaking up – paradigm shift continues
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

China needs new long tech march after US attack on SMIC — Global Times editorial


Editorial calling for a Chinese "Manhattan Project" to compete technologically with the US.

Note that Global Times is published by the People's Daily, official press organ of the CCP, but Global Time is not considered an official source.

Revenge of the Money Launderers — Matt Taibbi

The "FinCen Files" story reveals: getting caught not only doesn’t stop the world's biggest banks from moving dirty money, it may encourage them
Substack (subscription may be required)
Revenge of the Money Launderers
Matt Taibbi

Links — 28 Sep 2020

Quillette (tribalism culturally and perspectivalism epistemologically)
The Bias that Divides Us
Keith E. Stanovich

CaitlinJohnstone.com (Liberals are GOP lite — Rockefeller Republicans, but Progressives are center-left in comparison with the Left globally. The US no longer has a real left.)
Why Liberals Hate Leftists
Caitlin Johnstone

The Intercept (Democrats not immune either. Neofascism is on the rise.)
Democrats Need to Wake Up: The Trump Movement Is Shot Through With Fascism
Rich Benjamin

Strategic Culture Foundation (confirmation bias is one the strongest and most prevalent cognitive-affective biases.)
Gallup: Americans Tend to Trust Only News That Confirms Their Beliefs; Highly Educated Americans Are by Far the Most Closed-Minded Group

The Grayzone (longish and detailed)
Leaked docs expose massive Syria propaganda operation waged by Western govt contractors and media
Ben Norton

Contere (tip of the iceberg?)
How the CIA Helped Create the First Mexican Cartel: On Amazon's "The Last Narc"

Sputnik International (desperation)
'Anti-Capitalist' Material Banned From English Schools as Neo-McCarthyism Grips the West

BRICS
Trial of a Chinese COVID-19 Vaccine in Russia: 'No Side Effects'

Russia and Huawei to Create Game-Changing New Android Alternative


Gower — Time to worry less (or better not at all) about the national debt and challenge the government’s economic record instead.

Whilst those of us with a better understanding of how money works shout at the TV with incredulity that the same falsities are being repeated endlessly, many of those same journalists and presenters fail to make the very real connections between government spending, the state of the economy and the lives of its citizens.

Whilst the implication of unaffordability and a future tax burden prevails as a reason to curtail spending eventually, the real price has been and remains a human one; economic instability and uncertainty for people and the prospect of more damage to the environment. We can’t afford to improve people’s lives or even save the planet! Apparently.…
Ignorance and disinformation involve real costs imposed on people and society, including loss of opportunity.

The Gower Initiative for Modern Money Studies

Zero Hedge — "Anything Tesla Can Do, We Can Do": Huawei Set To Become Major Competition In Electric Vehicles

Xu Zhijun, a rotating chairman of Huawei is on record in 2019 as saying: "If you look at the stock price of Tesla, you will know where the future of automobiles lies."

His comment was foreshadowing as to where Huawei's future business efforts may be directed, according to Nikkei. In April 2019, the company set up a "smart car solutions" segment of its auto business. Their auto business currently has 5 segments: smart driving, smart cockpit platform, intelligent network, smart electric and cloud services....

Huawei reportedly wants to become a "one-stop supplier of all software and hardware for smart cars and seeks a dominant say in the industry," Nikkei says. There will only be two or three such major players globally, the report predicts.

Zero Hedge (old news, but it's an indication of where the Chinese are setting up to compete.)
"Anything Tesla Can Do, We Can Do": Huawei Set To Become Major Competition In Electric Vehicles
Tyler Durden

TASS — Domestic demand to become main source of GDP growth in Russia in 2021-2023, says ministry


Russia is joining China in developing the domestic economy as the driver of GDP.

Russia and China are also increasing trade, reducing dependence on the others.

Both countries are restructuring their economies owing to sanctions and increasing their strategic alliance economically as well as militarily.

TASS
Domestic demand to become main source of GDP growth in Russia in 2021-2023, says ministry

see also

Finances improving as Russia de-dollarizes. But revenue from oil exports is also important, and GS sees the oil price rising over the next couple of years.

Sputnik International
Russian Ruble is One of Top Emerging Market Currency Picks by Goldman Sachs After Pandemic

Understanding The Non-Existence Of Financial Constraints — Brian Romanchuk

In summary, if we accept the premise that the government can wait for after a recession to worry about its finances, then we can say that it does not face a financial constraint. Given that the former appears to be a consensus view, the non-existence of financial constraints is not particularly radical.
Bond Economics
Understanding The Non-Existence Of Financial Constraints
Brian Romanchuk

Saturday, September 26, 2020

The problems of economics as an academic pursuit have a sociological origin — Gerald Holtham

The solution to a problem that is sociological and political does not lie in abstract discussions of methodology or trying to identify philosophical mistakes. It lies in being open-minded to insights from outside economics , in constructing theories that use appropriate formal methods not theories that are constructed to show off command of formal methods whether appropriate or not. It means defining the domain of theoretical propositions and accepting the verdict of empirical data relevant to that domain. In other words the answer to people doing it wrong is not to despair and retreat into philosophy; the answer is to do it right. No-one should claim that is easy.
The problem with conventional economics is assuming that economics is naturalistic like natural science rather than historical, in that participants are socially embedded in contexts that are dynamic.  The degree of complexity increases from physical systems, to biological systems, to social systems. Hence, different methodology — developing suitable methods for inquiry — is called for.

Real-World Economics Review Blog
The problems of economics as an academic pursuit have a sociological origin
Gerald Holtham

See also

Lars P. Syll’s Blog
What’s the use of economic models?
Lars P. Syll | Professor, Malmo University

Keynes and Henderson Create A Qualitative Multiplier — Robert Vienneau


Some history of economics relevant to MMT and the MMT JG.

Thoughts On Economics
Keynes and Henderson Create A Qualitative Multiplier
Robert Vienneau

Friday, September 25, 2020

Zero Hedge — Chinese Container Factories Are Now Sold Out Until February


Anticipated strength in Chinese exports.

Not all China though. Shipping companies are stocking up.
A handful of producers in China build almost all of the world’s containers.
Interesting article about the shipping industry.

Zero Hedge
Chinese Container Factories Are Now Sold Out Until February
Greg Miller, senior editor at American Shipper

Freddie Mac: Mortgage Serious Delinquency Rate increased in August, Highest Since January 2013 — Bill McBride



Calculated Risk
Freddie Mac: Mortgage Serious Delinquency Rate increased in August, Highest Since January 2013
Bill McBride

Carlos García, José Luis de la Fuente – Is it Time for a Job Guarantee Programme in Spain?

All this makes us think that in an advanced society such as ours it is no longer an illusion to defend the veracity of this statement: the only way to achieve permanent full employment is to prohibit involuntary unemployment, and therefore it is necessary to implement a program that guarantees that everyone who wants and can work has access to a decent job....
Such measures would not be impossible within the European Union and the euro if the European Union were to change its treaties. Above all, it would be necessary for the 3% public deficit limit set by the Stability and Growth Pact to be removed. If this were to happen and the European Union were to recognise that the correct level of public deficit is that which guarantees full employment without inflation thanks to job guarantees based on employment buffer stocks, the problem of mass unemployment in Spain could be solved within the European Union. However, there is no indication that the European Union will reform its treaties in this direction. Consequently, within the European Union and the single currency zone there will be no end to mass unemployment.
Brave New Europe
Carlos García, José Luis de la Fuente – Is it Time for a Job Guarantee Programme in Spain?
Carlos García Hernández, managing director of the publishing house Lola Books, and  José Luis de la Fuente O’Connor, Professor at the Polytechnical University of Madrid

In ANT We Trust: Alibaba's Ant Group Launches Major Cross-Border Blockchain Platform Amid Record IPO Demond Cureton

Hangzhou-based Ant Group will list the dual IPO amid early investor interest and is will be based on a valuation of roughly $250bn, according to Reuters....
Sputnik International
In ANT We Trust: Alibaba's Ant Group Launches Major Cross-Border Blockchain Platform Amid Record IPO
Demond Cureton

Russia Remains China’s Top Oil Supplier —Tom Kool


Russia has taken over from Saudi Arabia. For one thing, pipelines across land are more efficient than shipping by tankers. Secondly, Saudi Arabia is in the pocket of the US, which views China as an adversary in addition to a competitor.

Russia and China also settle in their own currencies in their own payments system.

This implies that Russia is far less dependent on the European market for its exports than it was previously.

Oilprice
Russia Remains China’s Top Oil Supplier
Tom Kool

Americans Who Support Status Quo Politics Are American Supremacists — Caitlin Johnstone


I would not dignify them with the title American Supremacists when it appears that they are just plain old Neofascists beating the drum of exceptionalism.

Supremacism is based on the assumption of national exceptionalism, which is similar to racial and ethnic exceptionalism and some national exceptionalists are also either racial exceptionalists or ethnic exceptionalists, or both. National exceptionalism manifesting as supremacism are categorically different from pride in one's country and patriotism, although national exceptionalism masquerades a both. This syndrome is beyond party and is characteristic of much of the establishments of both US political parties.

Nor is this syndrome limited to the US, or even to the West. There is also cultural exceptionalism and many traditional cultures are victims of it.

Caitlin Johnstone — Rogue Journalist
Americans Who Support Status Quo Politics Are American Supremacists
Caitlin Johnstone

See also

Counterpunch (non-white non-Western people)
The U.S. ‘War on Terror’ Has Displaced 37 Million People
David Vine

also

Counterpunch (aggressive behavior to provoke the adversary)
Provocation on the High Seas: U.S. Naval Adventures Near the Shores of Russia, China and Iran
Eve Ottenberg

Also

Counterpunch
Time to Put an End to the Nuclear Age (Brinksmanship)
Olivia Alperstein

Lawler: Serious Delinquency Rate on FHA-Insured SF Loans Up Again in August — Bill McBride


The US economy is beginning to recover in some respects. But is the recovery being threatened by the overhang of private debt?

A fast recovery would take care of this issue on its own, but a gradual recovery or a setback would exacerbate it. 

To some degree this is a policy choice, but it also depends on the direction of the pandemic. The past is not always predictive of the future, but judging on the basis of previous pandemics, it takes about two year to work its way through a society enough to produce herd immunity, after many deaths. 

This obviously influences the willingness of the public to carry on normal business owing to the risk of exposure. However, what's new is the Internet and online transactions, with a delivery system in place.

So it appears that politicians and policy makers really need to be looking closely at the issue of ability to service private debt in the absence of a policy remedy unless there would be significant voluntary restructuring. 

The problem is, however, that it is a systemic issue. Ad hoc patches are are not well thought out are not likely to do the job.

Making a Mark - Google's NEW Blogger interface does not work properly! The tech people at Google

 The tech people at Google may be regretting the notion of revamping Blogger.  Below I'm itemising the problems I've encountered. There may be more!


If you are an ordinary reader please excuse the VITRIOL - which is included in the hope that somebody from Google Blogger might read it!!

Below are two main faults 

  • poorly managed change process
  • very poor communication and very poor design
plus a section why the new interface is dysfunctional - which contains 
  • 10 points explaining what is wrong with the NEW BLOGGER interface

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Mark Cuban, Pavlina Tcherneva, Charles Hayden on MMT and the JG


Mark Cuban, Pavlina Tcherneva, Charles Hayden on MMT and the JG

Iran Opens Navy Base At World’s Most Crucial Oil Chokepoint — Charles Kennedy


Sending a message?

Oilprice
Iran Opens Navy Base At World’s Most Crucial Oil Chokepoint
Charles Kennedy

Sabine Hossenfelder - Follow the Science? Nonsense, I say.

The climate change deniers on twitter told me that the sea isn't rising, the land is sinking.


YouTube - Sabine Hossenfelder - Follow the Science? Nonsense, I say.


Today I want to tell you why I had to stop reading news about climate science. Because it pisses me off. Every. Single. Time.

There’s all these left-wing do-gooders who think their readers are too fucking dumb to draw their own conclusions so it’s not enough to tell me what’s the correlation between hurricane intensity and air moisture, no, they also have to tell me that, therefore, I should donate to save the polar bears. There’s this implied link: Science says this, therefore you should do that. Follow the science, stop flying. Follow the science, go vegan. Follow the science and glue yourself to a bus, because certainly that’s the logical conclusion to draw from the observed weakening of the atlantic meridional circulation.

When I was your age, we learned science does not say anything about what we should do. What we should do is a matter of opinion, science is matter of fact.

Science tells us what situation we are in and what consequences our actions are likely to have, but it does not tell us what to do. Science does not say you shouldn’t pee on high voltage lines, it says urine is an excellent conductor. Science does not say you should stop smoking, science says nicotine narrows arteries, so if you smoke you’ll probably die young lacking a few toes. Science does not say we should cut carbondioxide emissions. It says if we don’t, then by the end of the century estimated damages will exceed some Trillion US $. Is that what we should go for? Well, that’s a matter of opinion.

Follow the Science is a complete rubbish idea, because science does not know the direction. We have to decide what way to go.

You’d think it’s bad enough that politicians conflate scientific fact with opinion, but the media actually make it worse. They make it worse by giving their audience the impression that it matters what someone whose job it is to execute the will of the electorate believes about scientific facts. But I couldn’t care less if Donald Trump “believes” in climate change. Look, this is a man who can’t tell herd immunity from herd mentality, he probably thinks winter’s the same as an ice age. It’s not his job to offer opinions about science he clearly doesn’t understand, so why do you keep asking him. His job is to say if the situation is this, we will do that. At least in principle, that’s what he should be doing. Then you look up what science says which situation we are in and act accordingly.

The problem, the problem, you see, is that by conflating the two things – the facts with the opinions – the media give people an excuse to hide opinions behind scientific beliefs. If you don’t give a shit that today’s teenagers will struggle their whole life cleaning up the mess that your generation left behind fine, that’s a totally valid opinion. But please just say it out loud, so we can all hear it. Don’t cover it up by telling us a story about how you weren’t able to reproduce a figure in the IPCC report even though you tried really hard for almost ten seconds, because no one gives a shit whether you have your own “theory.”

If you are more bothered by the prospect of rising gasoline prices than by rising sea levels because you don’t know anyone who lives by the sea anyway, then just say so. If you worry more about the pension for your friend the coal miner than about drought and famine in the developing world because after all there’s only poor people in the developing world, then just say so. If you don’t give a shit about a global recession caused by natural catastrophes that eat up billion after billion because you’re a rich white guy with a big house and think you’re immune to trouble, then just say so. Say it loud, so we can all hear it.

And all the rest of you stop chanting we need to “follow the science”. People who oppose action on climate change are not anti-science, they simply worry more that a wind farm might ruin the view from their summer vacation house, than they worry wild fires will burn down the house. That’s not anti-scientific, that’s just dumb. But then that’s only my opinion.

Blog

https://backreaction.blogspot.com/2020/09/follow-science-nonsense-i-say.html


Sweden shifts on no-lockdown strategy

Dr Anders Tegnell has now said that Sweden may implement localised lockdowns, but only for a maximum of two or three weeks


At least the Swedes are flexible and not dogmatic.

Sweden's state epidemiologist has said that he is now willing to recommend lockdown measures such as school closures, and strict limits to the size of gatherings - so long as they are only imposed locally and for three weeks at a time....

FT

Sweden shifts on no-lockdown strategy

  

Sweden vs the best




Vladimir Putin's Address delivered at the 75th session of the UN General Assembly


Full speech and official translation.

President of Russia
Vladimir Putin's Address delivered at the 75th session of the UN General Assembly

Statement by H.E. Xi Jinping President of the People’s Republic of China At the General Debate of the 75th Session of The United Nations General Assembly


Full speech and official translation.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the People’s Republic of China
Statement by H.E. Xi Jinping President of the People’s Republic of China At the General Debate of the 75th Session of The United Nations General Assembly

Moon of Alabama — Lying With Headlines


Washington Post vying with the NYT for the CIA best propaganda award?

Moon of Alabama

Merics — PBOC says world’s first state-back digital currency ready for launch

China could become the world’s first country to introduce a state-backed digital currency. The People’s Bank of China on September 19 announced its digital currency was ready for launch, although the central bank did not say when the virtual money would become available. The DECP (Digital Currency Electronic Payment) will be exchangeable for one renminbi (RMB) and be distributed by state-owned banks and possibly digital payments firms like Alipay and WeChat. Users will buy DCEP, store them in a digital wallet and trade them instantly for goods and services....
Merics
PBOC says world’s first state-back digital currency ready for launch

Martin Jacques - From Follower To Leader: The Story Of China’s Rise

Was covid-19 a test of governments, if so, China passed with flying colours while the West failed.

Within 40 years China has gone from an economy like rural India to one of the most advanced countries in the world. At this rate it will soon surpass all other countries. 

Martin Jacques discusses China’s raise in today’s drastically changing international environment. He navigates China’s position under the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the China-US Cold War. 

Martin Jacques - From Follower To Leader: The Story Of China’s Rise






This is how 5G is being applied in China. Yangshan Port, built in 2018, is a 24-hour unmanned intelligent automated port for loading and unloading, without workers and drivers, including trucks. Throughput of 700 million tons a year. 

This film has been speeded up. 


Watch a bridge erection machine build a viaduct in a valley in China. The self-developed machine can lift, transport, and install girders



Refurbishing a railway 


Chongqing, China.




Bill Mitchell – Latest employment data in Australia continues sorry tale and what I would do about it

On Tuesday (September 22, 2020), the ABS released the latest data for – Weekly Payroll Jobs and Wages in Australia, Week ending 5 September 2020 – which gives us the most up-to-date picture of how the labour market is coping with the on-going restrictions. This data provides more accurate estimates of the impact of the harsh Stage 4 restrictions that have been imposed in Victoria to address the Second Wave of the coronavirus. Overall, payroll employment has fallen by 0.9 points since July 25, 2020, when the lockdowns began in earnest. Unsurprisingly, payroll employment fell in the six-week period ending September 5, 2020 in Victoria by 2.8 points. Employment has also fallen in NSW by 0.5 points in the last 6 weeks. The Victorian case is about lockdown. NSW is in decline because of failed macroeconomic policy, which goes to the performance of the federal government. The fact that the first recovery period failed to regain the jobs lost was an indicator that the policy intervention was insufficient. The second-wave job losses tell us clearly that more needs to be done by the Federal government. I provide some clues as to where an extra $100 billion might be spent below....
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Latest employment data in Australia continues sorry tale and what I would do about it
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Lars P. Syll — MMT and the need for tax reforms


Questioning the policy of taxing income from work more than from economic rent. Using taxation to discourage socially detrimental behavior should be no brainer.

Lars P. Syll’s Blog
MMT and the need for tax reforms
Lars P. Syll | Professor, Malmo University

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

My new podcast episode is out

Sinophobia, Lies and Hybrid War — Pepe Escobar

As he stressed the importance of the UN, Xi could not be more explicit that no nation has the right to control the destiny of others: “Even less should one be allowed to do whatever it likes and be the hegemon, bully, or boss of the world .”
The US ruling class obviously won’t take this act of defiance lying down. The full spectrum of Hybrid War techniques will continue to be relentlessly turbo-charged against China, coupled with rampant Sinophobia, even as it dawns on many Dr. Strangelove quarters that the only way to really “deter” China would be Hot War.
Alas, the Pentagon is overstretched – Syria, Iran, Venezuela, South China Sea. And every analyst knows about China’s cyber warfare capabilities, integrated aerial defense systems, and carrier-killer Dongfeng missiles....
The US continues to up the pressure on Russia and China to the degree that now the Russian and Chinese militaries are on hair-trigger. This is intentional since the strategy is to get Russia and China to shoot first so as to be able to blame the ensuing conflict on them. What could go wrong? You know, like nuclear war. This is not only moronic, it is evil in my estimation (but what do I know?).

The Vineyard of the Saker
Sinophobia, Lies and Hybrid War
Pepe Escobar

Degrowth and MMT: A thought experiment — Jason Hickel


Environmental sustainability, a green new deal and MMT. MMT opens up policy space to accomplish green objectives.

Good read. Pass it along to your progressive friends that are still drinking the neoliberal kool-aid.

Jason Hickel's Blog
Degrowth and MMT: A thought experiment
Jason Hickel

Fiscal Sustainability And The Fiscal Folk Theorem — Brian Romanchuk

Fiscal sustainability is often invoked in mainstream discussion of fiscal policy. However, "sustainability" is rarely defined in editorial pieces. The reason for this reticence is straightforward: there is no agreed-upon definition. Unfortunately for the concept, there is no clear way of testing whether real-world fiscal policies are sustainable, nor what are the side effects of being unsustainable.

This is related to what I refer to as the Fiscal Folk Theorem. If the technical definition of sustainability is not specified, nor the alleged problems created by unsustainability is specified, the discussion is inherently non-quantifiable -- no matter how many numbers are mentioned. The resulting discussion collapses to the Fiscal Folk Theorem. The theorem suggests that bad things can happen due to a high level of debt. However, this does not mean that something bad will happen -- as the Widowmaker Trade demonstrated....
Bond Economics
Fiscal Sustainability And The Fiscal Folk Theorem
Brian Romanchuk

See also

New Economic Perspectives
CBO—Still Out of Paradigm after All These Years (July 20, 2014) 
Scott T. Fullwiler | Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Missouri - Kansas City

Godfrey Roberts - Poverty and Inequality in China

In 1850, when Western nations were the richest on earth, capitalists created the first market economy. By privatizing credit, land, and labor, they allowed human society to be regulated by the market. In 1950, when China was the poorest nation on earth, communists created an organic economy by subordinating credit, land, and labor to the service of society and trusting the government to regulate it. In 2020, after growing twice as fast, China’s economy is overtaking market economies in two important aspects: eliminating poverty and inequality.

The UNZ Review 

Godfrey Roberts - Poverty and Inequality in China


Viral load and outcome in SARS infection: The role of personal protective equipment in the emergency department

 A 2006 study for SARS. 

Although most of the PPE do not confer absolute protection against SARS, it seems that they may lower exposure to the virus, leading to a lower risk of secondary transmission, and be associated with relatively mild disease and a better early outcome

Viral load and outcome in SARS infection: The role of personal protective equipment in the emergency department

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Links — 22 Sep 2020

Moon of Alabama (read the M. K. Bhadrakumar links too)
The End Of The 'Rules Based International Order'

Russia Observer (satire)
WHATEVER…
Patrick Armstrong
The Vineyard of the Saker (Putin's UN speech)
75th session of the UN General Assembly : President of Russia Vladimir Putin

TASS
UN Charter remains main source of international law, says Putin

UN Security Council permanent member must retain veto power, says Putin

Oriental Review (bringing brinksmanship back?)
The US’ Nuclear START Ultimatum To Russia Risks Provoking The Unthinkable
Andrew Korybko

Sic Semper Tyrannis (Doh. Revenge is a matter of honor and a moral obligation in traditional societies. It also serves as deterrence.)
Blowback From The Lt. Gen. Soleimani Assassination. Iran Eying Revenge Assassinations Of U.S. Leadership. by J.

Zero Hedge (light at the end of the tunnel or an oncoming freight train?)
The Jump In New US Covid Cases Is "Completely Explained" By A Surge In Testing: BofA
Tyler Durden

Sputnik International
‘Serious Security Threat’: Beijing Claims US Spy Planes Posed as Airliners Over 100 Times in 2020















Modern Monetary Theory — Asad Zaman

This continues from the previous post on Post-Keynesian Response. A large number of contributions from different areas need to be integrated to build an economics for the 21st Century. For an acknowledgement of the failure of 20th Century Macro from one of its architects, see Romer’s Trouble With Macro. This post explains Modern Monetary Theory briefly.
WEA Pedagogy Blog
Modern Monetary Theory
Asad Zaman | Vice Chancellor, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics and former Director General, International Institute of Islamic Economics, International Islamic University Islamabad


ZH — Time To Go All-In The "Big Short 3.0"? Two-Thirds Of US Hotels Say They Won't Last Six More Month At Current Occupancy Levels


Sign of the times.

TASS — Putin calls to clear global trade from illegitimate sanctions


Remember how well Smoot-Hawley worked.

What are illegitimate sanctions? Those imposed without a UN mandate.

TASS
Putin calls to clear global trade from illegitimate sanctions

What Do Economists Mean When They Talk About “Capital Accumulation”? — Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan

In every other science, this inability to measure the key category of the theory would be devastating. But not in the science of economics.
Maybe because economics is not a science but rather pseudoscience? I have long argued that economics is philosophy dressed up with some numbers. Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan flesh the argument out. And this is just one area. A lot of this confusion results from lack of clarity about value.
The basic dualities of subject and object, idea and thing, nomos and physis have preoccupied philosophers since antiquity. They have also provided an ideal leverage for organized religions and other dogmas specializing in salvation from alienation. And more recently, they have come to form the basic foundation of modern economics....
This paper is a bit longish but here is the conclusion if you don't plan to read it (although I regard it as a must-read).
The modern disciplines of economics and finance overflow with highly complex models, complete with the most up-to-date statistical methods, computer software and loads of data – yet their ability to explain, let alone justify, the world of capital is now limited at best. Their basic categories are often logically unsound and empirically unworkable, and even after being massively patched up with ad hoc assumptions and circular inversions, they still manage to generate huge “residuals” and unobservable “measures of ignorance”.
In this sense, humanity today finds itself in a situation not unlike the one prevailing in sixteenth-century Europe, when feudalism was finally giving way to capitalism and the closed, geocentric world of the Church was just about to succumb to the secular, open-ended universe of science. The contemporary doctrine of capitalism, increasingly out of tune with reality, is now risking a fate similar to that of its feudal-Christian predecessor.
Mounting global challenges – from overpopulation and environmental destruction, through climate change and peak energy, to the loss of autonomy and the risk of social disintegration – cannot be handled by a pseudo-science that cannot define its main categories and whose principal explanatory tool is “distortions”. You cannot build an entire social cosmology on the assumptions of individual rationality, equilibrium and perfect markets – and then blame the failures of this cosmology on irrationality, disequilibrium and imperfections. In science, these excuses and blame-shifting are tantamount to self-refutation.
What we need now are not better tools, more accurate modelling and improved data, but a different way of thinking altogether, a totally new cosmology for the post-capitalist age.
Evonomics

Beijing Says "No!" To Washington's Attempted "Robbery" Of TikTok — Tyler Durden


Deal, no deal. Now it is, "no deal."

Zero Hedge
Beijing Says "No!" To Washington's Attempted "Robbery" Of TikTok
Tyler Durden

US journalist found dead in Istanbul under 'suspicious' circumstances

 Andre Vltchek, a Russian-born American journalist, was found dead in his car in Istanbul on Tuesday. Police are treating the circumstances around his death as “suspicious.”


US journalist found dead in Istanbul under 'suspicious' circumstances

Xi: No nation should act like boss of the world — An Baijie

China firmly supports the United Nations' central role in global affairs and opposes any country acting like boss of the world, President Xi Jinping said on Monday.

Xi made the remark in a video speech delivered at a high-level meeting in honor of the UN's 75th anniversary.…
"The understanding that we are all in the same boat is now the popular consensus in the global community," he said.
China Daily
Xi: No nation should act like boss of the world
An Baijie

Also

Zero Hedge
Trump Denounces China's COVID-19 'Lies' In Fiery UN Address After Xi Swiped At US "Bully Of The World"
Tyler Durden

Why Marxian economics? David F. Ruccio

In this post, I continue the draft of sections of my forthcoming book, “Marxian Economics: An Introduction.” This, like the previous three posts (here, here, and here), is written to serve as the basis for chapter 1, Marxian Economics Today....
Occasional Links & Commentary
Why Marxian economics?
David F. Ruccio | Professor of Economics, University of Notre Dame.

Recoding capital: how transforming the law is vital for a green recovery — Mathew Lawrence


Mathew Lawrence makes the point that "capitalism" means institutionally favoring or capital over other factors of production — labor (people) and land (environment). This is a policy choice. It can be changed to create a more integrated system that functions more effectively and efficiently for society as a whole.

Goldsmith's – University of London

Bill Mitchell — Ex German Finance minister deliberately misses the point about the ECB

The German daily business newspaper Handelsblatt published an interesting article last week (September 17, 2020) –Schäuble fordert Debatte über lockere Geldpolitik der EZB – which said that the former German Finance Minister and now President of the Bundestag was calling for a debate on the ECBs ‘loose’ monetary policy. He has circulated a letter and a discussion paper among the new discussion group within the Bundestag, created after the German Constitutional Court had ruled adversely in relation to the ECBs public asset purchase programs. The letter criticises the low interest rate policy of the ECB and the various asset purchase programs conducted by the ECB. It appears to be in denial with the state of affairs across Europe, which are heading catastrophic territory with the second wave of the virus gathering pace and authorities having to face the need for a second lockdown....
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Ex German Finance minister deliberately misses the point about the ECB
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Post-Keynesian theory and reality — Dirk Ehnts

I have read a book review by Steven Pressman in the Journal of Post Keynesian Economics (JPKE). The book he reviewed is “Rethinking the theory of money, credit, and macroeconomics: A new statement for the twenty-first century” by John Smithin. I am sure the book is just as interesting as the book review, but I would like to focus on a single paragraph that shows a certain disconnect between Post-Keynesian theory and reality. 
Hypothesis testing.

econoblog 101
Post-Keynesian theory and reality
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

Stephen Cohen on Russia and Putin

 

Monday, September 21, 2020

Zero Hedge — "Paper Gold No Longer As Important" - BofA Finds Physical Demand Now Key To Gold Prices


Going to gold.

Zero Hedge
"Paper Gold No Longer As Important" - BofA Finds Physical Demand Now Key To Gold Prices
Tyler Durden

Links — 21 Sep 2020

Caitlin Johnstone — Rogue Journalist
‘Confirmed’ Has Become A Meaningless Word In Mainstream News Reporting
Caitlin Johnston

Sputnik International (not so hybrid warfare)
Pompeo Announces US Sanctions on Venezuela's Maduro, Iran's Ministry of Defence

Sputnik International (Civil war watch)
US DoJ Brands New York, Portland, and Seattle as Cities That Permit 'Anarchy'

Sputnik International (START and stop)
Russian Deputy FM Says It's Unlikely That New START Treaty Will be Prolonged

Sputnik International (playing defense versus offense, but MAD requires real deterrence)
Russia Will Find Efficient Ways to Defend Itself if New START Not Extended, Envoy to UN Says

TASS
Russia has no fear of potential US sanctions over arms deals with Iran — senior diplomat

Sputnik — Trump: Oracle, Walmart Will Have Total Control of TikTok or US Won't Approve Deal


Deal on. Deal off. Trump hardens the US position.

China won't approve of any deal that cedes the tech or mugs ByteDance anyway (See below). The Chinese are supersensitive to what they perceive as humiliation.

So the US coalition would have to buy just the shell to get control. That would mean immediately replacing the software.

Let's see who blinks. I don't think it will be the Chinese government ("CCP"), which would be OK with TikTok being shut down in the US.

Sputnik International
Trump: Oracle, Walmart Will Have Total Control of TikTok or US Won't Approve Deal

also

Zero Hedge
Beijing Reportedly Plans To Kill Oracle-TikTok Deal
Tyler rdenDu

Inequality in the United States—pandemic edition David F. Ruccio


Pretty shocking numbers if wealth being hoovered up.

Note that the UBI is supposed to address the effects of inequality — but won't. The obvious way to do this is to preempt economic rent extraction and mop up the residual by taxing it away. But that would require a shift in political power relations.

Occasional Links & Commentary
Inequality in the United States—pandemic edition
David F. Ruccio | Professor of Economics, University of Notre Dame

See also

Counterpunch
Trump’s Destruction of America Started With Reagan
Thom Hartmann

Bill Mitchell — There is no inevitable trade-off between saving the lives of the aged and economic prosperity

Many issues that become ‘hot topics’ in public debates are really non-questions despite the heat they raise. All sorts of experts advance views, television current affairs programs trawl over them with various of these experts making careers for themselves, politicians take up hours of their time and our time discussing them, yet, when you really break the issue down – there is nothing much to see. The seemingly very erudite debates, discussions, opinions are all based on false starting premises, which are assumed and rarely discussed. This sort of charade is all the legacy of living in the fictional world created by my profession, which has distorted public discourse so badly that we now have people saying old people should be allowed to die terrible deaths from COVID so the young people can have jobs. These are old people who worked all their lives to help build our nations, who fought in World Wars to defend our freedom from daunting enemies, old people who cared for us personally, and old people who mostly, probably, have the joy of life before them each day they open their eyes, just like any of us. The problem is that the whole construction is based on a false premise: being that there has to be widespread economic damage if we choose to protect the health of our peoples. That premise is based on the failure to understand that the currency-issuing government can attenuate any economic losses if it chooses to adopt appropriate economic policy interventions. The fact that real GDP and employment has fallen significantly this year is testament to a failure to use fiscal capacity. We should be better informed before we get into elaborate but flawed debates that essentially come down to turning one population cohort against another.
Good on Bill. 

This is somewhat similar to the faux concern over "exporting jobs" to less developed countries when the real terms of trade are in favor of the nations importing goods and exporting the job that uses to make them domestically. This is actually beneficial for both countries, since the country exporting goods gets investment for development and the country net importing gets real stuff. But it only works if the country exporting jobs replaces them with job of at least comparable quality by intelligently targeted fiscal policy.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
There is no inevitable trade-off between saving the lives of the aged and economic prosperity
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Moon of Alabama — NYT First Reinforces, Then Silently Debunks Its False Claims About Russia's Covid-19 Vaccine


America's "paper of record."

Moon of Alabama
NYT First Reinforces, Then Silently Debunks Its False Claims About Russia's Covid-19 Vaccine

See also

Pew Research (17 Sep 2020)
Alec Tyson, Courtney Johnson and Cary Funk

TikTok, Sing a Song of Sixpence, A pocket Full of Rye, Four and Twenty Blackbirds Baked in an American Pie — M. K. Bhadrakumar


Third-party analysis of the deal, which looks now like it is going to happen with a compromise. Actually, it looks like a win-win even if ByteDance did get mugged, which also hurt America's reputation as open for business. But in the end, the pie will most likely grow much bigger with US backing and global expansion guaranteed.

Conversely, in US politics neither side is willing to compromise, so the system seems to be headed for gridlock, showing again that politics is not like business.

India Punchline
TikTok, Sing a Song of Sixpence, A pocket Full of Rye, Four and Twenty Blackbirds Baked in an American Pie
M. K. Bhadrakumar | retired diplomat with the Indian Foreign Service

also

Zero Hedge
Trump 'Blesses' Deal Valuing TikTok At $60 Billion As ByteDance Keeps 'Secret Sauce'
Tyler Durden

also

The Money Illusion
A $5 billion campaign donation to Trump
Scott Sumner | Ralph G. Hawtrey Chair of Monetary Policy at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University

The Fiscal Folk Theorem — Brian Romanchuk

In between editing my MMT primer, I read a burst of articles (20+) discussing government debt management in the current situation from non-MMT sources (have to see what the other side thinks). Mainly market commentary, but also op-eds from ivy league professors or other highly credentialed people, think tanks, maybe a rating agency, etc. -- but no journal articles (if one is sensitive to that sort of thing). As one would expect, the articles covered a wide range of political views and economic theory affiliations. What I realised (after the fact) was that the operational content of every single one of those articles collapsed to what I call the Fiscal Folk Theorem. It might surprise people to read this, but the folk theorem is correct. The issue is that the predictive content of the theorem is limited, and if mis-applied, it leads to The Widowmaker Fallacy.
Bond Economics
The Fiscal Folk Theorem
Brian Romanchuk

Video: Alexei Navalny Compares Muslims to Cockroaches, Supports Gun Rights in Russia

The "pro democracy liberal" Putin critic the West champions. 


Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny advocates for gun rights in Russia, while comparing immigrants and Muslims from Russia's southern regions to cockroaches and suggests they need to be exterminated.


Video: Alexei Navalny Compares Muslims to Cockroaches, Supports Gun Rights in Russia







Saturday, September 19, 2020

Zero Hedge — Nuclear Scenario For Markets Emerges In 'Jaw-Dropping' SCOTUS/Election Plot-Twist


Deadlock is a real possibility. Will markets discount it, and if so, at what point will it be visible in price changes. These are pending questions. There is going to be intense political maneuvering.

Zero Hedge
Nuclear Scenario For Markets Emerges In 'Jaw-Dropping' SCOTUS/Election Plot-Twist
Tyler Durden

The China Climate Challenge — Scott Moore


"What are the prospects for renewed U.S.-China cooperation on climate issues?" the author asks. Low. China is not going to give up growth any more than the US is.

No matter. The US and China are decoupling. So it is a moot point.

The world will have to live with the result, which are not limited to climate change.

The US and China, along with Russia and Iran, are preparing for kinetic war (they are already engaged in hybrid warfare— while engaged in a pandemic.

The Diplomat
The China Climate Challenge
Scott Moore

See also

America’s worsening climate change problem is as polarized as its politics.
AP
Underwater and on fire: US climate change magnifies extremes
Associated Press

Hospitals Serving the Poor Close as Investors and Electeds Refuse to Rescue Them — Jordan Rau

Founded 168 years ago as the city’s first hospital, Mercy survived the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 but is succumbing to modern economics, which have underfinanced the hospitals serving the poor.
This is not only an inner city issue, but also a rural issue.

Truthout
Hospitals Serving the Poor Close as Investors and Electeds Refuse to Rescue Them
Jordan Rau

Pompeo threatens to light the fuse in Persian Gulf — M. K. Bhadrakumar

Historically, this is a situation analogous to the infamous 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident in the Vietnam war, which was a fake event that the US used to commit the first ground combat units in Indo-China and initiate a massive bombing campaign....
Wag the dog's tail?

India Punchline
Pompeo threatens to light the fuse in Persian Gulf
M. K. Bhadrakumar | retired diplomat with the Indian Foreign Service.

also

Sputnik International
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Chief Vows to 'Hit' Those Responsible For Soleimani’s Death

also
On September 15, 1970, during a twenty-minute meeting in the Oval Office between 3:25 pm and 3:45 pm, President Richard Nixon ordered the CIA to foment a military coup in Chile. According to handwritten notes taken by CIA Director Richard Helms, Nixon issued explicit instructions to prevent the newly elected president of Chile, Salvador Allende, from being inaugurated in November—or to create conditions to overthrow him if he did assume the presidency.
Newly declassified docs.

PopularResistance.Org
‘Extreme Option: Overthrow Allende’


Stephen Cohen Has Died. Remember His Urgent Warnings Against The New Cold War. — Caitlin Johnstone


RIP Stephen F. Cohen, Professor Emeritus of Russian Studies, History, and Politics at New York University and Princeton University

 Stephen F. Cohen was fierce opponent of a new cold war with Russia.

Caitlin Johnstone — Rogue Journalist
Stephen Cohen Has Died. Remember His Urgent Warnings Against The New Cold War.
Caitlin Johnstone

The Vineyard of the Saker
We have lost a real giant (Stephen F. Cohen has died)!
The Saker

See also
The Russian leader recalled that the US withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002 forced Russia to start developing hypersonic weapons
TASS
Work on Avangard complex comparable to USSR nuclear project - Putin

Also at TASS
Trump claims Russia created hypersonic missile after receiving info about it from US

also
After the long stand-off against communism, victory seemed as total as it was sudden. But the west has since fractured and is now losing prestige and influence—does the reversal expose a moral defeat?
The US has traded soft power for hard power. It's a bad bargain.

This is a good read.

CCI
HOW THE WEST LOST…Prestige and InfluenceAnatol Lieven