Tuesday, March 2, 2021

China Never Sleeps - The Rise of Megacities


Sputnik — Huawei's AppGallery Rivals Google, Apple With 530m Users, Major Growth in 2020 Despite US Trade Bans

"Outcompeting China."

Sputnik International
Huawei's AppGallery Rivals Google, Apple With 530m Users, Major Growth in 2020 Despite US Trade Bans

Biden's Trade Agenda Reflects More Hardline Stance Against China in Rules, Experts Say

China Aims for Tech Independence Amid Looming Cut-Throat Race With US

Zero Hedge
Futures Spooked After China Says "Very Worried" About Bubbles In US, European Markets
Tyler Durden

Aperture - The Real Meaning of Life

 One day our Sun will burn out and  expand to devour the Earth.

Then our galaxy will burn out too, and all the other galaxies, after which the universe will die.

All the stars will become black holes and evaporate to nothing.

Everything gone.

It's sad! 

Noam Chomsky - Privatisation

 In China the state industries performed so well during Covid that the CPC decided to increase their influence.

“That’s the standard technique of privatization: defund, make sure things don’t work, people get angry, you hand it over to private capital.”

— Noam Chomsky

Monday, March 1, 2021

Bill Mitchell — Were are undermining our futures by deliberately wasting our youth

What simple measures might we use to see whether a system is working or not? Well that depends on the objective of the system. For me, one of the worst things that can happen in a social context is a capitalist system is involuntary unemployment because work is intrinsic to our beings. From the time we crawled out of the slime we have had to transform nature in order to survive. That reality goes to the heart of human existence and gives us purpose and builds our sense of network and cooperation and giving. I know all the arguments – this is a filthy capitalist system and why would we want people to be wage slaves – I am older now. I have been a left-winger all my life. I heard these arguments decades ago. And until those revolutionary armies that are apparently hiding out in the suburbs arms themselves and appear in the streets, I am thinking of the actual societies we live in and have to make the best of. We would spend our whole life times talking about revolution while workers around the world are being made to bear the costs of the failing neoliberal system....
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Were are undermining our futures by deliberately wasting our youth
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

See also

There’s Only One News Story, Repeating Over And Over Again
Caitlin Johnstone

Lars P. Syll — Keynes on models and economics

Keeper quote. The implication is that organic modeling is more applicable to economics and other social sciences than mechanistic modeling owing to the nature of the subject matter.

Lars P. Syll’s Blog
Keynes on models and economics
Lars P. Syll | Professor, Malmo University

Sunday, February 28, 2021

The Universe Is Just Trying To See Itself — Caitlin Johnstone


The Universe Is Just Trying To See Itself
Caitlin Johnstone

Only Fools and Horses - Del Shows Off His Shooting Skills

They are wheelers and dealers who live on a council estate. Rodney, the younger brother, has met a nice girl and has been invited to her father's dinner party. Del Boy, the older one, sees an opportunity to meet some of the top brass and make contacts. 

Why You Should Stop Using Your Android Messages App

 I'm quite into Delta Chat now, although it's basic, like you can only send one picture at a time, but it's still in development, so hopefully it will improve.

There’s a serious issue that impacts hundreds of millions of Android users worldwide—one that should have been flagged by the huge backlash that suddenly hit WhatsApp in January. But it wasn’t, it gets surprisingly little attention, even though it puts you and your private information at risk. Here’s what you need to know.


Why You Should Stop Using Your Android Messages 

Why UK Pensions are Worst in the Developed World

 As a percentage of average earnings, the UK government pays out 29 per cent, putting it at the bottom of a table which is led by the Netherlands, which pays 100.6 per cent, Portugal, which offers 94 per cent, and Italy, which gives 93.2 per cent.

The UK is joined at the bottom of the list by Japan, Poland and Mexico, but all these countries still pay better state pensions, the report by the group of developed nations showed.


Why UK Pensions are Worst in the Developed World

Saudi Arabia is medieval, cruel and an absolute tyranny — Pat Lang

"Our guys."

Sic Semper Tyrannis
Saudi Arabia is medieval, cruel and an absolute tyranny.
Col. W. Patrick Lang, US Army (ret.)

At the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lang was the Defense Intelligence Officer (DIO) for the Middle East, South Asia and counter-terrorism, and later, the first Director of the Defense Humint Service. At the DIA, he was a member of the Defense Senior Executive Service. He participated in the drafting of National Intelligence Estimates. From 1992 to 1994, all the U.S. military attachés worldwide reported to him. During that period, he also briefed President George H. W. Bush at the White House, as he had during Operation Desert Storm.

He was also the head of intelligence analysis for the Middle East for seven or eight years at that institution. He was the head of all the Middle East and South Asia analysis in DIA for counter-terrorism for seven years. For his service in the DIA, Lang received the Presidential Rank Award of Distinguished Executive. — Wikipedia

See also

The Hill
See also

Another wrist-slap.

Zero Hedge
Biden Admits He Won't Sanction MbS Simply Because Saudis Remain "Our Allies"
Tyler Durden

Bitcoin cannot replace the banks

 Cryptocurrency hopes are based on a misunderstanding of how money is created

The bitcoiners think that the government creates all the money, but it is the regulated commercial banks which make most of our money.

Holding any asset in the hope that it becomes money is, to be sure, a long-term investment strategy. But it also shows a flawed understanding of how dollars work, and who creates them now. Most of what currently functions as money in the US and any developed economy does not come from the government. It comes from commercial banks. Banks do not just hold money, or transfer it. They create it.

Bitcoin is turning out to be a good way to reinforce the system we already have. There’s a lot about this system that functions poorly. The supply of credit money can be unstable, as banks stop making loans in a downturn, right when people need them the most. There is little incentive to extend cheap credit to people who need small loans. But there isn’t much, so far, that Bitcoin seems to have done to fix these things, and it’s not at all clear how it will.


Saturday, February 27, 2021

Putin, crusaders and barbarians — Pepe Escobar


The Vineyard of the Saker
Putin, crusaders and barbarians
Pepe Escobar

See also

In my view, Amnesty rightly denied to recognize Navalny as a "prisoner of conscience" since his past behavior and previous statements reveal that the man has no conscience. He is an opportunist rather than a defender of rights.

But more significantly from the political standpoint, polling backed by a record of  poor performance in elections in which he participated show that he has very little support in Russia, while Putin has approval numbers that Western leaders can only dream about. The West is betting on the wrong horse.

Amnesty, and the Failure of the Navalny Revolution
Paul Robinson | Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa


Biden’s First Foreign Policy Speech Vows Forever Wars
Brian Berletic

Disclosure: "My name is Brian Berletic and for several years I have run the alternative news blog, "Land Destroyer" under the pen name 'Tony Cartalucci.'" 

Berletic is an anti-imperialist.



Art Degree Summers digging in.... as he should....

Treasury plan


This is what they last said they are going to do:

Next quarter they are estimating $393B of additional USD savings but are only planning on providing an additional $95b of UST securities accounts ..... and zombie morons are currently thinking “hey! what if China doesn’t lend us the money!?!?”..... FTR.

How does one learn from people one disagrees with?


LOL how about you don’t use the dialogic method in the first place that’s how.... you use the scientific method...  

Friday, February 26, 2021

Biden To Let Trump-Era Rule Severely Regulating China Tech "Threats" Take Effect — Tyler Durden

Addressing the feared deep and lasting negative impact on the US economy itself, WSJ explains:
The rule could affect millions of American businesses, according to a Commerce Department estimate, potentially requiring them to get government clearance for purchases and deals involving sophisticated technology with what the regulation calls a "foreign adversary," or face potential unwinding of the deals or other enforcement.
Everything from sophisticated electronics, most especially computer components and iPhones, to camera equipment to vehicles, could potentially be impacted by a web of confusing regulations that could ensue.

Leading the charge against implementing the rule includes IBM, which was quoted in Bloomberg as saying, "By the Commerce Department’s own estimate, this rule would impose many billions of dollars in new compliance costs on millions of U.S. firms, including countless small businesses."...

Outcompeting China? 

Why Joe Biden will continue the US war on Nord Stream 2 till the bitter end — Johanna Ross

As Johanna Ross observes, this is geopolitics and geo-strategy in the style of the grand chessboard on which great powers contend for control of territory. 

What she doesn't point out is the that real objective of the US/UK is first forcing Russia to submit to US/UK imperial rule so that it can use this leverage on China's Western border, along with the Seventh Fleet and bases surrounding China to the east to force China into submission, thereby cement permanent US/UK hegemony as the first truly global empire. 

Why US/UK ? The US is the next iteration of the British Empire, which initiated this global strategy long ago and has been pursuing it since, now as a shadow of the US as a result of the power shift post-WWII.

This grand strategy, of which Russia and China are well aware, is leading inexorably to a new arms race, another cold war, and a high likelihood of WWIII.

In this, the US is taking the lead and bears most of the responsibility. Actions since WWII reveal that the US has little to no sense of responsibility. (Putin: "Do you realize what you have done?")

Why Joe Biden will continue the US war on Nord Stream 2 till the bitter end
Johanna Ross, journalist based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

See also

Backgrounder on geo-strategy.

See also

Consortium News (August 29, 2018)
Back in the (Great) Game: The Revenge of Eurasian Land Powers
Pepe Escobar

Bond Market Panic — Brian Romanchuk

Zombie attack.

Bond Economics
Bond Market Panic
Brian Romanchuk

The EU will choke off Europe's recovery — Thomas Fazi

Popular explanation of currency sovereignty and its implications for the EZ. Plus a Wynne Godley quote.

Thomas Fazi and Bill Mitchell wrote Reclaiming the State together. Fazi is an Italian journalist.

The EU will choke off Europe's recovery
Thomas Fazi



Just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean you’re not being watched..... 

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Andrew Batson — The definitive book on China’s industrial policy is also free

Once an obscure topic, China’s industrial policy now gets attention from heads of state. The entire US-China trade war waged by the Trump administration was, in formal legal terms any way, justified as a response to distorting industrial policy. Understanding industrial policy seems to be a requirement for participating in current intellectual debates about China.

Thankfully, Barry Naughton has written a short and highly readable book, The Rise of China’s Industrial Policy, 1978 to 2020, that explains its history and functioning. Even better, it is available as a free PDF download from the Centro de Estudios China-México at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Based on a series of lectures, the book has a conversational tone and jargon-free style that is rare for this subject matter, a topic both highly technical and highly politicized....
Andrew Batson's Blog

The Revival Of Russia And The Way Forward — Zamir Awan

Mostly focused on Russian relations with the Muslim world. Russia has good relations with both the Muslim world and Israel even though it is backing Syria and, more modestly, Iran. This is a difficult balancing act that he credits Putin with managing well. It also helps that the Russian Federation is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural state with good domestic relations and respect for different peoples and traditions.

Under President Putin’s outstanding leadership, Russia has successfully reached out the Muslim World to restore its international influence. The mutual exchange visits by leaders of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, Egypt and exponentially growing economic and defense collaboration have the potential to shape a new regional and global order.

The Muslim World is enormous, with an estimated population of around two billion; almost every fourth person is a Muslim. There are 57 Muslim countries as sovereign members of the United Nations. They possess a large vote bank and political weightage. The Muslim World is rich in natural resources, with vast reserves of oil, gas, and minerals.

Although possessing colossal potential, but politically divided and yet poor and weak, often coerced by Western World and victimized frequently. It is an excellent opportunity for Russia to avail anti-America sentiments in the Muslim World in the best interest and build deep friendships with the Muslim World....

Wired — China Hijacked an NSA Hacking Tool in 2014—and Used It for Years

Reading the article, it is not known that "China hijacked an NSA hacking tool." While it seems to be the case that a China-based group obtained the tool, it is not known conclusively who originated it or how it was obtained, eg., directly or through another source.

The author of the article is not necessarily responsible for the title. That is an editorial choice. But this seems to be a piece in the pattern of attributing loss of information to Russian and Chinese government hackers based on inconclusive evidence.

How many people either just read the headlines and title, or else buy into sloppy reasoning based on cognitive-affective bias, one wonders.

China Hijacked an NSA Hacking Tool in 2014—and Used It for Years
Andy Greenberg, senior writer for WIRED, covering security, privacy, and information freedom

Economic Civil War — Joel Kotkin

Our national divide is usually cast in terms of ideology, race, climate, and gender. But it might be more accurate to see our national conflict as regional and riven by economic function. The schism is between two ways of making a living, one based in the incorporeal world of media and digital transactions, the other in the tangible world of making, growing, and using real things.
Birth pangs of the transition from the chiefly industrial age, when even agriculture was industrialized, to the digital age, where as many functions as possible are being digitized. In the transition from the agricultural age to the industrial age, agricultural workers were marginalized and replaced by machines. In the digital age, industrial workers are being marginalized and displaced.

This dynamic has become focused on energy and climate change in US policy and politics.

The American Mind
Economic Civil War
Joel Kotkin | Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and Executive Director for Urban Reform Institute

Why the US Should Pursue Cooperation with China Jeffrey D. Sachs

Cooperation is not cowardice, as American conservatives repeatedly claim. Both the US and China have much to gain from it: peace, expanded markets, accelerated technological progress, the avoidance of a new arms race, progress against COVID-19, a robust global jobs recovery, and a shared effort against climate change.
Like no-brainer. Except the US would have to forego "full-spectrum dominance," which is a step too far, it seems.

And Jeffrey Sachs appears to be under some illusions about President Biden in this regard. It seems to me that he is looking too much at what is said and ignoring what is being done.

Project Syndicate
Why the US Should Pursue Cooperation with China
Jeffrey D. Sachs | Professor of Sustainable Development and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University, Director of Columbia’s Center for Sustainable Development, and Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network

When throwing evidence and facts is not enough. How Change Happens in the Humanitarian System — Duncan Green

Got an evidence-based argument? Maybe forget about it. Decision making is rational but there are more factors than evidence-based argument. This is an issue in the dialectic between liberalism and traditionalism. The liberal view of economics is that rationality trumps and rationality is based on economic maximization. Traditionalists may see it otherwise — which is a reason that many votes against their economic interests in favor of other factors they value more.
The panels supported research by ALNAP and others, which has strongly suggested that the use of evidence in humanitarian decision-making is limited, either because consideration of evidence is not an explicit part of the decision-making process, or because decisions are affected by a number of other considerations: politics, resource availability, or security. And, if we think back to the models of change presented in this paper, we should not be surprised if decision-makers are not entirely rational, or if decisions are strongly influenced by politics.

This is not to say that evidence is never used to support change. The meeting also considered a number of examples where the provision of evidence was an important part of the change process and some participants went as far as to suggest that evidence is a necessary, if not a sufficient, condition of change....
Oxfam Blogs — From Poverty to Power
When throwing evidence and facts is not enough. How Change Happens in the Humanitarian System
Duncan Green, strategic adviser for Oxfam GB

This Obscure Energy Treaty Is the Greatest Threat to the Planet You’ve Never Heard Of — Fabian Flues et al

The road to corporate totalitarianism.

Naked Capitalism
This Obscure Energy Treaty Is the Greatest Threat to the Planet You’ve Never Heard Of
Fabian Flues, an adviser on trade and investment policy at Berlin-based PowerShift, Cecilia Olivet, project coordinator with the Economic Justice Programme at the Transnational Institute, and Pia Eberhardt, a researcher and campaigner with the Brussels-based campaign group Corporate Europe Observatory. 
Originally published at openDemocracy

Human nature is no barrier to socialism — Louise O'Shea

Advocates of capitalism would argue that this analysis overlooks the role of individual incentive in socio-economic motivation, productivity, innovation, and risk-taking. On the other hand, there are also good arguments for creating socio-economic systems that integrate individual and social, and competition and cooperation. In addition, "human nature" tends to ignore or deny diversity, among individuals, groups, and societies and their cultures.

The former communist countries are now forced to grapple with these issues in arriving at a new development model that integrates seeming opposites. The present capitalist models are unattractive as exemplars owing to the socio-economic dysfunctionality that is associated with them, e.g., inequality, oligarchy, plutonomy, imperialism, and other asymmetries, as well as socializing negative externality.

That said, the post does raise some important questions and makes some good points.

What is the most successful model presently and what are its pros and cons and how could it be improved. The Scandinavian model was held up in this regard but there has been some retrenchment toward the failed neoliberal model.

Red Flag — a publication of Socialist Alternative
Human nature is no barrier to socialism
Louise O'Shea

Bill Mitchell — Some historical thinking about the Job Guarantee

I noted yesterday that I was appearing at a Seminar via Zoom with my MMT colleague, Pavlina Tcherneva, where we will discuss the concept of a social contract and where Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) fits into that, especially in the context of our idea of employment guarantees. The seminar – MMT and the new social contract: Lessons from Covid-19 – will be held on Saturday, February 27, 2021, from 10:00 Australian Eastern Daylight time and you can find details of how you can participate – HERE. I was thinking about what I would contribute to this workshop and rather than just rehearse the standard discussion about the Job Guarantee I have thought going back to square one would be a good place to start. This is especially a good thing to do, given that I increasingly see progressive people embrace the concept but try to do ‘too much’ with it. That is, place too much emphasis on it, especially in the context of Green Transitions. Pouring all our activist and political energy into getting a Job Guarantee up is not a sensible strategy for reasons I will explain. Second, a lot of critics, especially those who talk big on Twitter about ‘Bill Mitchell wanting people to starve’, clearly haven’t gone back to understand the roots of the concept and where it fits in. So today, I want to further clarify some significant issues that arise when both sides – pro and con – come in contact with the concept of employment buffer stocks for the first time and think they know all about.

As a matter of fact, I always applaud initiatives that propose to introduce a buffer stock of jobs and use it to replace the current unemployment buffer stock approach that devastates the lives of people and wastes human potential.

But I caution against making these initiatives out to be ‘game changers’....
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Some historical thinking about the Job Guarantee
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia