Monday, October 14, 2019

Ed Hardy - iPhone 11 Pro Max production cost is shockingly low

The breakdown costs of the iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Apple charges $1099 for an iPhone 11 Pro Max, but the components for this high-end smartphone with assembly cost less than half the selling price.

Cult of Mac

Ed Hardy - iPhone 11 Pro Max production cost is shockingly low

The Nobel Prize in Economic Science Goes to Banerjee, Duflo, and Kremer — Alex Tabarrok

Summary of their work.

Marginal Revolution
The Nobel Prize in Economic Science Goes to Banerjee, Duflo, and Kremer
Alex Tabarrok | Bartley J. Madden Chair in Economics at the Mercatus Center and Professor of Economics at George Mason University, and a research fellow with the Mercatus Center


In Part 1 I discussed the third annual MMT conference that was recently held at Stony Brook, and you can find the program as well as videos of the conference here: ( In this Part 2 I discuss a special issue of real-world economics review devoted to MMT ( As usual, my report stretched out to become too long for just 2 blogs so there will be a Part 3, coming later this week. And who knows, maybe I’ll need a Part 4.….
New Economic Perspectives
L. Randall Wray | Professor of Economics, Bard College

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Bill Mitchell – Euro policy elites deliberately destroyed jobs and income to achieve erroneous fiscal goals

As Mario Draghi’s tenure at the helm of the ECB draws to a close, he becomes (slightly) more pointed and looser with his public statements. On Friday (October 11, 2019), he gave a speech – Policymaking, responsibility and uncertainty – at the Università Cattolica in Milan on the occasion of receiving the Laurea Honoris Causa (honorary degree). He broadened the scope of his policy ambit by saying that “I will not focus strictly on monetary policy or the business of central banking, but I would like instead to share my thoughts on the nature of policy responsibility.” In the same week, the Eurogroup (the European Finance Ministers) of the European Commission released a press release – Remarks by Mário Centeno following the Eurogroup meeting of 9 October 2019 (October 10, 2019) – which announced that they had agreed to a “a budgetary instrument for the euro area – the so-called BICC”. Don’t get too excited. The BICC will only achieve the status of an “Inter-Governmental Agreement”, meaning it will not be embodied in the Treaties. Also, the Member States will have to contribute funds in advance and must “co-finance” withdrawals. And, as usual, there was no mention of the fund size, which will be miniscule if history tells us anything. But this is all context for Mario Draghi’s Speech....
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Euro policy elites deliberately destroyed jobs and income to achieve erroneous fiscal goals
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Paul Craig Roberts - Are You Ready To Die?

The Western media is full of anti-Russian and anti-China propaganda at the moment. Apparently, Putin thinks that invading Europe is worth the risk, said a British newspaper recently. Russia is a vast country with a tiny population and Europe is greatly overcrowded and armed to the teeth, so where is Putin going to get the man power from?

Gilbert Achcar says that RT and the Greyzone are run by pro Putin 'useful idiots', but these journalists should be in our mainstream Western media criticising our ruling elite, which would be democracy at work, but they have been shut out. If anything, Gilbert Achcar is a useful idiot for the psychopathic Western ruling elite, who need to be thrown out of power before they murder millions more, or destroy the whole world. 

The Zionist Neoconservatives who run US foreign policy are now herding the US out of the remaining arms limitations agreements.  It appears that Washington intends to withdraw from the Open Skies agreement with Russia. 

In the US, this suggestion, which I believe is pro-peace, pro-avoiding a conflict destined to go nuclear, the idiot American superpatriots will denounce me as an “anti-American Russian-lover.”  The Zionist Neocons will denounce me as a “traitor to American Imperialism,” a “traitor to US world hegemony.”
But actually I am neither anti-American nor pro-Russian.  I am just for common sense and peace.  If Washington’s provocations of Russia continue and Russia continues to accept them passively, a fatal line will be crossed, and the world will be blown up, and none of us will be here.

The Terrorists Among US10| The IO Echo Chamber Scott Shane Joel Harding — George Eliason

Why I don't link to the NYT,

The Vineyard of the Saker
The Terrorists Among US10| The IO Echo Chamber Scott Shane Joel Harding
George Eliason

See also

Not just the Times.

Ray McGovern
Quick! Someone Tell Amy Goodman What Actually Happened – and Didn’t Happen – in Ukraine 5 Years Ago

An alternative view of HK protests — George Koo


Asia Times
An alternative view of HK protests
George Koo

A US view

The American Conservative
Mortal Kombat Against Beijing’s Agents
Rod Dreher

Which is off the wall?

Macro Dynamics with a Job Guarantee–Part 4: Dynamic Stability — Peter Cooper

The model, in its present form, is short run in nature. It concerns an economy for which total employment, within-sector productivity and productive capacity are all taken as given. Variations in total output are achieved by workers transferring between two broad sectors that have differing productivity. In considering this economy, discussion has touched on aspects of a steady state and system behavior outside the steady state. It has been supposed, in the event of exogenous shocks, that the broader economy (sector b) drives the adjustment process through its reactions to excess demand or excess supply, with the job-guarantee program (sector j) absorbing or releasing workers as appropriate to maintain total employment at its given level. A tendency for the economy to move toward the steady state has been illustrated with reference to a Keynesian cross diagram (part 2) and a description of the growth behavior of actual output and demand whenever the system is outside the steady state (part 3). Attention now turns to the conditions under which this tendency to a steady state is operative, or, in other words, to the question of dynamic stability....
Macro Dynamics with a Job Guarantee – Part 4: Dynamic Stability
Peter Cooper

RT — Xi warns any attempt to divide China will end in ‘SHATTERED BONES’

Chinese President Xi Jinping has issued a blunt and unambiguous warning to any foreign actors trying to tear Hong Kong from Beijing, stating that such plots would not end well for the perpetrators.
"Any attempt to split China in any part of the country will end in crushed bodies and shattered bones," he told Nepal's Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli in a meeting on Sunday, according to China's state broadcaster CCTV. He added that the Chinese people would consider any outside effort to divide their country as “pipe-dreaming.”

Behind Hong Kong’s Black Terror —Pepe Escobar

Backgrounder of black blocs in general and of the HK black bloc.

Global Research
Behind Hong Kong’s Black Terror
Pepe Escobar
Crossposted at Strategic Culture Foundation

Clock ticking on Hong Kong luxury store closures if protests continue – it could end up like a third-tier city in China, LVMH executive says — Vincenzo La Torre

  • Hong Kong is the most important market in Asia for luxury brands – as a stepping stone to mainland China and a magnet for shoppers from there and wider region
  • Brands are unlikely to invest more in the city now, and could start downsizing as soon as January, an adviser to the luxury retail industry says
South China Morning Post
Clock ticking on Hong Kong luxury store closures if protests continue – it could end up like a third-tier city in China, LVMH executive says
Vincenzo La Torre

See also


Global Research
The History of Hong Kong, Britain’s Colonial Legacy. Fast Forward to 2019
Larry Romanoff

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Gilbert Achcar - On Gutter Journalism and Purported “Anti-Imperialism”

This is a critique of all the journalists I like, especially those at Greyzone and the Western journalists who work for RT.

Gilbert Achcar has a point, but I have watched loads of videos by Putin and he always seems to be fairly reasonable and sensible up me, unlike our Western bellicose politicians. I think Oliver Stone captured the Putin the way he has always appeared to me, so I'm going with that for now. Although I don't get on with his conservativism or his lack of concern about climate change. 

The West is very imperialistic, says, Gilbert Achcar, but so is Russia, he warns.

The New Politics site looks interesting. 

One example of pro-Putin, pro-Assad “left-wing” propaganda combined with gutter journalism is the World Socialist Web Site (WSWS), run by a “Trotskyist” cult led by a political sicko named David North, which perpetuates a long worn-out tradition of inter-Trotskyist sectarian quarrels in fulfilling its role as apologist for Putin, Assad, and their friends. Another example is Grayzone, a website founded by a particularly versatile character named Max Blumenthal.

The Critical Bite of Cultural Relativism — Gili Kliger

Review of Gods of the Upper Air: How a Circle of Renegade Anthropologists Reinvented Race, Sex, and Gender in the Twentieth Century by Charles King.

Boston Review
The Critical Bite of Cultural Relativism
Gili Kliger

The Crisis of Rentier Capitalism in Venezuela: A Conversation with Oscar Figuera

The secretary-general of the Venezuelan Communist Party calls for “unity within diversity” in the Chavista movement.

Capitalism–not so alone — Michael Roberts

Marxian economist Michael Roberts reviews Branco Milanovic's Global Inequality. And finds it wanting. It's the assumptions, stupid.

In my view, the problem is the same as it is with almost economists with whom I am familiar. They don't read widely out of their field in relevant fields like sociology, political science, and history and anthropology. They look through an economic lens that is colored by their ill-informed assumptions regarding context. Used to mathematical modeling, they are either uncomfortable with "the messy stuff," or they have an ideological bias that influences their point of view.

I would characterize my difficulties with Milanovic's work as resulting from lack of nuance. But I think he is drastically wrong in lumping China together with Western developed countries as "capitalist." China is Exhibit A of market socialism in the while markets underpin the Chinese economy giving it the appearance of being capitalistic.

The Chinese system is essentially a command system controlled by the CCP, and the CCP controls the commanding heights of the Chinese economy and Chinese society, either directly or indirectly. This is a curious melding of the ancient Chinese imperial system based on meritocracy (Mandarinism), Confucian culture, and Western ideology (Marxism-Leninism).

The goal of US policy with respect to China to turn it into a capitalist country that international capital, centered in the US and UK, can control. The eyes of the Western elite, China is Communist in spite of its market trappings. It has now become clear that the market trappings are never going to lead China to convert to Western liberalism without being subjugated first. So now subjugation is on the table, and the object of the trade war is aimed at forcing China to submit.

In the view of many political and military leaders, geopolitics is a game of king of the mountain. There is always a jockeying for dominance, which means submission of the rest. This is about global domination with trillions upon trillions on the table. The stakes have never been higher. Go figure.

Michael Roberts Blog — blogging from a marxist economist
Capitalism – not so alone
Michael Roberts

Friday, October 11, 2019

MMT Heaven and MMT Hell for Chinese Investment and US Fiscal Spending — Michael Pettis

A reasonably accurate view of MMT applied to the Chinese economy. Michael Pettis sees little evidence that Chinese economists are aware of MMT, let alone using it to formulate policy.
As for China, money or debt can no longer be used to fund infrastructure because the resulting increases (in money or debt) will not be matched by increases in real GDP. Beijing should, however, be able to create money or debt with no ill effects if the proceeds were used to reverse income inequality by increasing the incomes of the poor and middle classes.
I rather doubt that China cannot find productive infrastructure for public investment, and I think they will continue to do so with a multiplier that is positive enough to justify the investment, especially in rural areas that lack modern infrastructure. However, the Chinese plan has been to encourage urbanization as much more efficient, and that will continue, along with mechanizing agriculture in the rural areas. The former peasants will mostly become city-dwellers, as has happened in the West. 

But the fact is that the Chinese leadership has already declared that the period of investment dominance is over. The task now is to increase the consumption/investment ratio toward levels more normal for a developed economy. This "restructuring" (they call it that) will take some time.

This will involve increasing domestic consumption (aggregate demand in GDP terms), which implies a redirection of production from the export market toward the domestic market (aggregate supply). This requires fiscal stimulus in order to augment domestic purchasing power by providing spendable funds, e.g., for welfare programs. 

China Financial Markets
MMT Heaven and MMT Hell for Chinese Investment and US Fiscal Spending
Michael Pettis | Professor of Finance at Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management

Why it is not the crisis of capitalism — Branko Milanovic

I don't think that Branco Milanovic has this quite right. First, he conflates capitalism with a market economy. Markets are ancient and can hardly be represented as evidence of capitalism. 

Secondly, he notes, correctly, that capitalism as vastly extended marketization by commodifying as much as it can, thereby capitalizing it. But this is not necessarily the expansion of capitalism. It is more properly viewed as the expansion of privatization, which he notes. 

Recalling the enclosure of formerly pubic lands considered to be the common, much of what is happening now involves developing new avenue of enclosures, most of which are dependent on government policy, and all on some from of asymmetric power. This has this has produced new forms of rent extraction and extension of old ones, which Milanovic passes over.

"Capitalism" is a weasel word unless defined precisely. When it is so defined, the modeling assumes perfect markets that preclude rent extraction through operation of the price and mechanism under perfect competition. This is an ideal system, existing only in terms of model of a possible world. It never fit the real world and it never will since it is unrealistic in a variety of ways, socially, politically and economically.

It is rent extraction that leads to inequality of wealth and income. Rent extraction depends on asymmetric power. Distribution of power is a consequence of many factors that cannot be reasonably be eliminated in practice, or even diminished significantly without restructuring the system to include more socialism. 

The problem is that the playing field is not level, and the tilt is toward the top. As the system becomes more weighted toward the top, the rate of flow increases in that direction. 

There are a number of ways that this could be addressed, and they all assume addressing economic rent. Now a major problem is the proliferation of markets into areas where rationing scarce goods by price is counterproductive socially, with political consequences that challenge the status quo. The natives are restless. Maybe this is not a "crisis of capitalism." But it is a crisis that is reaching critical mass, to which widespread social unrest testifies.

Global Inequality
Why it is not the crisis of capitalism
Branko Milanovic | Visiting Presidential Professor at City University of New York Graduate Center and senior scholar at the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS), and formerly lead economist in the World Bank's research department and senior associate at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

The Energy Revolution Is Here — Jules Kortenhorst

Not too long ago, ushering in a societal shift toward clean, renewable energy seemed impossible, given the costs and level of government intervention required. But that has all changed: far from being boondoggles, green-energy options are beating out the fossil-fuel competition where it counts: the bottom line...
Project Syndicate
The Energy Revolution Is Here
Jules Kortenhorst | CEO of Rocky Mountain Institute

The Kurds

Kurds (Kurdish: کورد‎, Kurd) are an Iranian ethnic group native to a mountainous region of Western Asia known as Kurdistan, which spans southeastern Turkey, northwestern Iran, northern Iraq, and northern Syria.[27][28] There are also exclaves of Kurds in central Anatolia and Khorasan. Additionally, there are significant Kurdish diaspora communities in the cities of western Turkey, in particular Istanbul, while a Kurdish diaspora has developed in Western Europe, primarily in Germany. Numerically, the Kurds are estimated to number between 30 and 45 million.[2][29]

Kurds speak the Kurdish languages and the Zaza–Gorani languages, which belong to the Western Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family.[30][31][32] A majority of Kurds belong to the Shafi‘i school of Sunni Islam, but significant numbers practise Shia Islam and Alevism, while some are adherents of Yarsanism, Yazidism, Zoroastrianism and Christianity.

After World War One and the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, the victorious Western allies made provision for a Kurdish state in the 1920 Treaty of Sevres. However, that promise was nullified three years later, when the Treaty of Lausanne set the boundaries of modern Turkey and made no such provision, leaving Kurds with minority status in their respective countries.[33] This fact has led to numerous genocides and rebellions, along with the current ongoing armed guerrilla conflicts in Turkey, Iran, and Syria / Rojava. Kurds have an autonomous region in Iraq named Kurdistan Region, while Kurdish nationalist movements continue to pursue greater cultural rights, autonomy, and independence throughout Greater Kurdistan. 

The Kurdish people are genetically Iranian rather than Arab. They are stateless. The area that they occupy is non-contigous, being scattered in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Promised a state long ago, they have never given up on that ideal. The difficulty with this now is that it would have to be carved out of existing states, which are not wont to agree to this re-partitioning. The result has been political agitation and even guerrilla war that those on the receiving characterize as "terrorism."

Turkey has been at target of the Kurdish patriots – "freedom fighters" in Western parlance – for some time as they press for a state being carved out that would include present Turkish lands. This has involved what the Turks regard as terrorism, for good reason. As a result, Turkey has been fighting the Kurdish activists in Turkey and cross-border.

There is no simple solution to this situation created generations ago when states were formed and boundaries drawn at the time of the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. The result has been tribal rivalry that often degenerates into conflict.

This is similar to the Palestinian issue with Israel, but it is different since it is longer standing. The Palestinian issue was only created with the establishment of the state of Israel post-WWII as a Jewish homeland. But the issues are similar in that boundaries were drawn that ignored existing tribal cultures. A similar situation exists in Afghanistan and this spills over into Pakistan.

The Western countries, chiefly Britain and France, colonized the Middle East after the fall of the Ottomans. US has been in the Middle East since the end of WWII as a matter of national security, petroleum being a vital military and domestic resource. Needless to say, this greatly complicates the situation.

The US is also the sponsor of Israel. The US preference would be for Israel to control the Middle East, which is otherwise backward with respect to Western standards. The US invests billons in Israel every year. Israel is a key ally of the US, and it also wields great political influence in the US. Israel backs the Kurds if only in the principle, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend."

While the Kurds have been American allies, they have little to contribute to the relationship. The US has no national security or geopolitical interest in a Kurdistan, and the only value of the Kurds to the US is providing bases on lands they control when it is convenient, as it is in Syria.

Now that the situation in Syria is approaching a settlement that will likely be brokered by Russia, Turkey has drawn the line against allowing the Kurds to develop bases from which they can threaten Turkey their quest for autonomy. Turkey appears willing to go head to head with the US on this. While Turkey regards this as a matter of national security, the US does not. The question is whether there are other objectives that the elite regard as vital enough to risk a conflict with Turkey over, or even a serious falling out.

Turkey is a NATO member and it has the largest military next to the US. Having been stiffed for EU membership, Turkey is at odds with many Western powers including the US. Turkey is already close to leaving NATO and allying with the Eurasian bloc that includes Russia, China and Iran., which would completely rearrange the geopolitics of the region.

This presents a highly complex situation that is being dealt with simplistically and propagandistically in the US mainstream media, which is pushing the neoconservative agenda that the establishments of the GOP and Democratic Party have bought into. President Trump is resisting this — so far. Polls show that the American people are tired of endless war and they have no appetite for another military adventure in the Middle East when the US government has allegedly "run out of money" and needs to pare back domestic programs.

One can choose one's side but one should be informed in doing so. This is not about "betraying the Kurds" but rather pushing a not-so-hidden agenda that is highly questionable in it assumptions and unclear goals.

Under capitalism, even water is a tool of oppression — Meg Hill

With the onset of climate change, water (hence food also) will become the new oil as the most vital resource, control of which will be hotly contested, just as oil is presently.

Red Flag
Under capitalism, even water is a tool of oppression
Meg Hill

Mainstream economists are getting radical — Dion Rabouin

No mention of MMT though, and a reliance on central banks to combine fiscal policy with monetary policy under the rubric of "helicopter money," a term that Milton Friedman coined. They still can't pry loose from his influence, apparently. 

Democracy? Meh. Go with technocracy that the elite control.

Mainstream economists are getting radical
Dion Rabouin

A technical view of helicopter money and the monetisation of debt — Hans-Jörg Naumer

Makes the same point as the MMT economists do. The way the government chooses to book its accounts is irrelevant to its financial position as the currency issuer instead of being a currency user. The reality remains the same even though the institutional arrangements may look different.

The Corner
A technical view of helicopter money and the monetisation of debt
Hans-Jörg Naumer | Allianz

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Links — 11 Oct 2019

Moon of Alabama
"Top Secret" Russian Unit That "Destabilizes Europe" Is A Well Known Small Arms Training Base

Defying Sanctions, India Will Resume Oil Imports From Venezuela
Julianne Geiger

People's Dispatch
Why are millions of Indian workers preparing for a national strike on January 8?

Ray McGovern
Barr & Durham travel to Rome, as walls close in on [Russia-gate’s] mysterious Professor Mifsud (Video)

Bank of Russia plans to soften monetary policy quicker than anticipated earlier

Stalker Zone
Anatomy of the 2019 Protests: Details of the USA’s Interference in Russian Elections

The Vineyard of the Saker
Important message from Tulsi Gabbard
The Saker

Alternative paths to modern money theory — L. Randall Wray

Article in current issue of RWER.

Real World Economic Review
Alternative paths to modern money theory
L. Randall Wray | Professor of Economics, Bard College

Our Shrinking Economic Toolkits — Jayati Ghosh

For the last four decades, mainstream economists and policymakers have been wedded to fixed dogmas. Their blind belief in fiscal discipline and consolidation, and resulting refusal to consider more public spending even in an obvious downturn, now threatens the very stability of societies....
Project Syndicate
Our Shrinking Economic Toolkits
Jayati Ghosh | Professor of Economics at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, School of Social Sciences, at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, in New Delhi

See also at Project Syndicate
With the German economy close to recession, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi has rightly urged eurozone governments to provide more fiscal stimulus. And acknowledging the interaction between fiscal and monetary policy would leave critics much less room for ECB-bashing.
Germany Versus the ECB
Hans-Helmut Kotz, a former member of the executive board of Deutsche Bundesbank, is Program Director of the SAFE Policy Center at Goethe University in Frankfurt and a resident fellow at the Center for European Studies at Harvard University
At a time of slowing global growth and ultra-low interest rates, major central banks continue to “push on the string” of further monetary easing. But what if the same old rules – or even the same old economic theories – no longer apply?
In this Big Picture, Harvard’s Lawrence H. Summers and Anna Stansburyargue that central banks have exhausted their ability to control inflation and unemployment levels through traditional channels, and should admit as much. Roger E.A. Farmer of the University of Warwick agrees, and suggests that it is not just the traditional tools that are broken; it’s the entire underlying theory. Making matters worse, economists Ernest Liu, Atif Mian, and Amir Sufi show that today’s loose monetary policies are not just ineffective, but possibly even contractionary, and thus entirely counter-productive.
 No Game in Town?

Cleveland Fed: Key Measures Show Inflation Above 2% YoY in September, Core PCE below 2% — Bill McBride

Finally getting some inflation?

Calculated Risk
Cleveland Fed: Key Measures Show Inflation Above 2% YoY in September, Core PCE below 2%
Bill McBride

Correa says Ecuadorian government package is part of neoliberal plan for Latin America — Paul Antonopoulos

Former anti-neoliberal president of Brazil is now in jail for corruption while in office. Rafael Correa, former anti-neoliberal president of Ecuador is under indictment for corruption while in office. Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro is under attack for imposing socialist dictatorship and corruption. Same with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei, and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega. Anti-globalist president of the United States Donald Trump is facing impeachment. (Did I miss anyone?) These are the bad guys that "must go." Go figure.

Neoliberalism is joined at the hip with neo-imperialism and neocolonialism.

Fort Russ News
Correa says Ecuadorian government package is part of neoliberal plan for Latin America
Paul Antonopoulos

With Category Theory, Mathematics Escapes From Equality — Kenneth Hartnett

For the nerds. Not wonkish (no actual math).

With Category Theory, Mathematics Escapes From Equality
Kenneth Hartnett

Episode 23: The Media’s Grim Addiction to Perseverance Porn

Perseverance Porn is a term invented by the people in this podcast to describe the idea of 'rugged individualism', which was invented in the 1980's and came from the American Dream myth.

This 'perseverance' narrative has been used by the right to counter all collectivism or socialist thought; the idea being that no one needs to be poor because all they have to do is work very hard and then they can make it, which throws all the failure to succeed back on the individual. In this way, the right believe that nothing should be done to help the poor because it's their fault. But the US has some of the worst social mobility statistics and socialist Europe has some of the best.

There are always going to be individuals that go from the very bottom to the very top, and some of this may be due to hard work, but luck and the law of averages also plays a major part. When a few individuals make it to the top it is then paraded as an example to the rest of us.

Episode 23: The Media’s Grim Addiction to Perseverance Porn