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

The Roots of American Misery — James K. Galbraith

Among recent inquiries into the sources of American discontent, one finds many simplistic diagnoses based on dubious cliches, but also deep insights that look beyond headline economic indicators and conventional wisdom. And yet analyses that address root causes and offer meaningful solutions remain few and far between.
Project Syndicate (subscription required)
The Roots of American Misery
James K. Galbraith | Lloyd M. Bentsen Jr. Chair in Government/Business Relations and Professor of Government at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin


Towards an Ideal Form of Government (Version 4) — Frank Li


Ideal government is a synonymous with utopia, meaning "nowhere." "Utopia" is close to "eutopia" meaning "good place." Sir Thomas More coined it and apparently intended it as a pun to suggest the paradox (or contradiction) of the ideal and real. Is an ideal state even possible to realize?

If "ideal state" is understood as realizable as an end-state, it is likely impossible, history so far being cyclical. But as horizon to be pursued, it is a worthy goal, to be realized by reducing systemic dysfunctionality and increasing systemic functionality. A principal challenge is reconciling individuals and the collective.

Frank Li, being a native-born Chinese and naturalized American and longtime resident of the US, present in interesting comparison of the Chinese and American systems of government and points out the superiority of the Chinese system from a systemic vantage.

But he admits that neither system meets the ideal, even if the Chinese system is more effective based on measures of systemic functionality. Of course, some would question that it is. Moreover, as China becomes more capitalistic, its issue also increase. America's problem is that it is both hyper-capitalistic and "bourgeois liberal," which highly politicizes the selection process and also introduces corruption based on the influence of wealth as an avenue to power.

He does bring out a key point in political theory and organization–selection of leadership. China's system is much closer to the corporate hierarchical meritocratic system that was developed from the military model that Rome exploited to conquer much of the known world at the time.

econintesect.com
Towards an Ideal Form of Government (Version 4)
Frank Li | Chinese ex-pat, Founder and President of W.E.I. (West-East International), a Chicago-based import & export company, B.E. from Zhejiang University (China) in 1982, M.E. from the University of Tokyo in 1985, and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1988, all in Electrical Engineering

See also
Dalio: I wouldn’t say [capitalism is] broken as much as I’d say it has problems that have to be fixed. As I said, I’m not ideological, I’m mechanical. I look at everything operationally like a machine and what has been shown is that capitalism is a fabulous way of creating incentives and innovation and of allocating resources to create productivity. All successful countries have uses for it. For example, communist China has chosen capitalism, which has been essential to its growth.
But capitalism also produces large wealth gaps that produce opportunity gaps, which threaten the system in the ways we are seeing now. Wealth gaps give unfair advantages to the children of rich people because they get a better education, which undermines the equal opportunity notion. As the number of people who get equal opportunity diminishes, this reduces the possibility of finding talented people in that population, which isn’t fair and undermines productivity. Then the have-nots want to tear down the capitalist system at a time of bad economic conditions. That dynamic has always existed in history and it’s happening now.

The capitalist system is based on profit-seeking being the resource allocation system, which generally works well but doesn’t always. So, capitalism and capitalists are good at increasing and producing productivity to increase the size of the economic pie, but they’re not good at dividing the economic opportunity pie. Socialists are generally not good at increasing productivity and the size of the economic opportunity pie, but they are better at dividing the pie....
We have to be in this together. The system needs to be reengineered to do this....
One of the greatest problems is that everybody’s fighting for their cause. When the causes people are fighting for are more important to them than the system that binds them together, the system is in jeopardy. This seems to now be happening. Everybody has their cause and they’re almost losing sight of the overall picture. Democracy depends on compromise. It’s the notion of compromise and working together and being able to have a negotiation to get what the most people want rather than have one side beat the other. 
Caution: Ray Dalio apparently doesn't understand the contribution of MMT. In looking at the role of government debt historically, he draws no distinction among monetary systems. However, this could be fixed by changing is concern over inability to pay to inflationary bias that affects expectations and influences the exchange rate. Furthermore, RayDalio doesn't mention the effect of ZIRP on asset bubbles that further increase inequality and unequal opportunity, thereby exacerbating social unrest.

In short, Ray Dalio diagnoses the problem but doesn't understand the system mechanics and dynamics well enough to propose a good path toward a solution from the MMT perspective. He is caught in the dilemma of "sound finance" and "capitalism" versus the need for redistibution to address systemic dysfunction in a liberal system.

Jonathan Burton

See also

Gridlock.

Axios
Schumer: "Nothing is off the table next year" if Senate GOP moves to fill Ginsburg's seat

also

Truthout
With the Passing of Justice Ginsburg, Democracy Just Got Harder, Again
William Rivers Pit

also

AlterNet
Will Republicans stand by their own statements, or join McConnell in the most profound hypocrisy?
Mark Sumner

This is actually a reflection of the position of the founding fathers, who narrowly circumscribed the franchise to white men of property, a group that was the time predominantly Protestant Christian. In this sense, the US was established on the basis of European bourgeois liberalism and it has remained so. Now as the demographics shift that condition is being challenged and naturally this gives rise to opposition. So expect more conflict, division, and ensuing social dysfunction.

GOP’s Strategy for 2020 Election Looks Like an All-Out Assault on Voting Rights

28Articles – Truthoutby Alex Kotch

Yanis Varoufakis — Why we need a Progressive International that must plan for today and for beyond capitalism

Our era will be remembered for the triumphant march of a Twin Authoritarianism in whose wake the vast majority of humanity experience unnecessary hardship and the planet’s ecosystem suffers avoidable climate destruction.

I am not asserting that the president is a fascist, but I do think that neo-fascism is on the rise under the rubric of nationalism and populism. This how Mussolini and Hitler's rise to power began and it should be a wakeup alarm that all is not well in the world.

I don't lay blame on either US political party for this since it began some time ago, and its roots can be traced to the Truman Administration and the establishment of the CIA under Avery Dulles. After leaving office, Truman admitted it was the worst mistake he made.

This has progress to vast inequality in wealth and concentration of power at the top, which factions of the elite are now fighting among themselves over. To protect this distortion of liberal democracy, a totalitarian surveillance state with global reach has been established through "five eyes" (the combined intelligence services of the US, UK, Canada, Australia and NZ under US leadership.

The US domestic security force has been militarized and coordinated under a "department of the interior" called DHS. The US never had a department of the interior similar to other repressive states previously. The dysfunctionality is revealed by the incarceration rate, the conviction rate, extra-judicial "justice," and the privatization of prisons, turning justice into a for-profit institution. Add a double-stand of justice to this, and you get the picture. It's not pretty.

Perhaps most seriously from the political vantage is the suspension of constitutional rights and civil liberties since 9//11 in a supposedly ongoing emergency. That is almost twenty years ago. Add that to endless undeclared war by war power granted to the president and the US is most of the way there in the slippery slide to neo-fascist dictatorship.

Fascism was defined by Mussolini as corporate statism. With corporate control of the government through state capture by legalized bribery, along with the growing power of the military-industrial complex about which Ike warned, the US has reached this mark as well.

Moreover, this is a bipartisan syndrome that affects both the Republican and Democratic Parties. Therefore, there exists no viable alternative at the voting booth that would challenge the status quo, and there is no coalition on the horizon with the popular support to do so either.

In addition, the existence of a strong administrative state coupled with the "deep state, which are committed to preserving current policy, makes any significant change difficult to impossible under present conditions.

This is a disturbing trend that has lead to the potential for an authoritarian regime to take power in the US and in effect terminate the republic, as happened in Rome. "

It can't happen here," should now be changed to, "don't let it happen here."

Econospeak
The Danger Of Fascism With The Death Of RBG
J. Barkley Rosser | Professor of Economics and Business Administration James Madison University

also

The latest in "crowd control." Chemical is apparently either insufficient or outré. Tear gas is illegal for military use based on the Geneva Protocol of 1925 that the US signed on to in 1975, but with qualifications. One of the exceptions is for domestic crowd control. Talk about twisted logic.

Zero Hedge
Military Confirms It Mulled Deploying Experimental 'Heat Ray' To Protect White House
Tyler Durden


Friday, September 18, 2020

Sputnik — Google Removes India's E-Commerce Payment Paytm App After Policy Violation

Paytm is India’s most valuable startup and claims to have more than 50 million monthly active users. The app is one of the most used in the country for e-transactions...

Sputnik International
Google Removes India's E-Commerce Payment Paytm App After Policy Violation

Julian Assange trial: the mask of Empire has fallen — Pepe Escobar

Here, Murray reports the exact moment when the mask of Empire fell, not with a bang, but a whimper:
“The gloves were off on Tuesday as the US Government explicitly argued that all journalists are liable to prosecution under the Espionage Act (1917) for publishing classified information.” (italics mine).
“All journalists” means every legitimate journalist, from every nationality, operating in any jurisdiction....
The Vineyard of the Saker
Julian Assange trial: the mask of Empire has fallen
Pepe Escobar

See also

Recall that the US urged the "protestors" on in HonKong when they were conducting a violent civil uprising against the Hong Kong government (not the Chinese government).

Compare this present situation to the treatment of Occupy tasked to the Department of Homeland Security to coordinate and militarized police to prosecute. Also Ferguson. The list goes on.

Rodger Mitchell

See also

Extra-legal global enforcement of US diktat.

Reuter's
U.S. plans to enforce U.N. sanctions on Iran with its own action
Arshad Mohammed, Michelle Nichols

also

NEO
NATO’s Slow-Motion Blitzkrieg Eastward
Ulson Gunnar


China And Russia to Join Forces in Space, Set up a New Satellite Internet Network — Drago Bosnic

China and Russia have started the realization of a joint space program aiming to set up a network of low-orbit satellites for the purpose of making high-speed Internet available to as many users as possible, Maksim Akimov, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, said in a statement.…
Akimov also stated that the cooperation between Russia and China in the matter of space projects will also be broadened and that it would include cooperation on navigation systems in the near future. He added that the two countries will also sign an agreement on the joint deployment of stations for Russia’s GLONASS and China’s BeiDou space-based navigation systems.
Fort Russ News
China And Russia to Join Forces in Space, Set up a New Satellite Internet Network
Drago Bosnic

Cliodynamics is Not “Cyclical History” — Peter Turchin

What my colleagues and I do is Cliodynamics, which is very different from typical cyclical views of history. “Cyclical history” suffers from two problems. First, mechanisms producing cycles are either entirely missing, or inadequately specified. There is almost never an explicit mathematical model that would clarify these mechanisms. Second, cyclical theories in history are not subjected to empirical tests with independently gathered data. It’s all retrospective eyeballing together with “Procrustean” forcing of the historical record to fit the postulated cycle by stretching in some places and cutting off a bit here and there. For a specific critique, looking at the Strauss-Howe cyclical theory, see my post The Prophecy of the Fourth Turning.
Cliodynamica — A Blog about the Evolution of Civilizations
Peter Turchin | professor at the University of Connecticut in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, the Department of Anthropology and the Department of Mathematics, and the vice president of the Evolution Institute.

See also

Beyond the mainstream — David F. Ruccio

In this post, I continue the draft of sections of my forthcoming book, “Marxian Economics: An Introduction.” This, like the previous two posts, is for chapter 1, Marxian Economics Today.
This post is on the history of economics.

Occasional Links & Commentary
Beyond the mainstream
David F. Ruccio | Professor of Economics, University of Notre Dame.

Review: 'The Deficit Myth' – two wrongs don't make a right — Adam Booth

It should be stated from the outset that Kelton (like Keynes) is not a socialist, but a liberal. There is not one mention of socialism throughout the entirety of The Deficit Myth. Similarly, at no point does the author suggest that capitalism should be replaced or overthrown.
Indeed, the title of Kelton’s book gives the game away. Her aim is to argue against austerity, not to fight for socialism. Her target audience is not a radical one, but a liberal one. Like Keynes, she is looking to convince the elites, policymakers, and intellectuals, not workers and youth.
Usually I don't link to criticism of MMT that doesn't advance the debate, but in this case other relevant issues are also involved, namely reaching an audience that so far has resisted MMT when adapting the MMT viewpoint would, or could at least advance, their goals. Many don't yet seem to grasp this, so further education is needed.

Ultimately, the question of reform turns on how to get from here to the "there." "There" needs to be defined and a plausible path to in proposed as an action plan.

MMT never promised to create a socialist economy, so the critique that Stephanie Kelton doesn't deal with this is moot. This is beyond the scope of MMT.

A socialist system that uses "money" has to deal with it, too. MMT actually provides the analytic and theoretical basis for that in viewing currency as a public utility and subject to public policy.

There are various types of both capitalism and socialism as economic systems, and feudalism as well. To the extent that currency plays a role in them, MMT provides the basis for dealing with this issue in any type of monetary production economy.

The review completely misses the implications for a JG in transforming a capitalism based on "sound finance" and favoring capital as a factor of production over labor and the environment. MMT provides the basis now for transforming neoliberalism into social democracy as a step toward democratic socialism.

This trajectory means moving from favoring capital as the necessary condition for growth to integrating all factors of production, recognizing that the economy is a subsystem of the larger system, society, and prioritizing people's welfare over private profit.

The post may make some Marxists happy but it offers little toward advancing the debate. "Revolution" is a tactic that leaves many questions open. It is not an action plan.

Still this point of view is increasingly shared by some, and to gain political traction with progressives,  especially "workers and youth," MMT strategy is going to have to take these constituencies into account, which to a degree is already happening.

See, for example, the following bog posts by Bill Mitchell:

In Defense of Marxism
Review: 'The Deficit Myth' – two wrongs don't make a right
Adam Booth

"Communist" China is no exception after opening up and liberalizing, which some view as overly capitalistic in its effects.

SCMP
China’s university students escape online to rail against the nation’s growing inequality
Sidney Leng