Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Yanis Varoufakis — "The Nature Of The Greek Crisis"

Video interview

Social Europe
"The Nature Of The Greek Crisis"
Yanis Varoufakis

So Nice Of These "Evo-Economists" To "Allow" Evolution To Proceed

   (Commentary posted by Roger Erickson)

Everything You Need To Know About Laissez-Faire Economics. A Conversation with Alan Kirman

Huh? This SOUNDS right, but there's something subtly wrong. They're treating biology as though it's novel, and something to be fused into existing economics.

The reality is the inverse, and that Warren Mosler is right. The entire finance industry is more trouble than it's worth ... to humanity. In fact, it really is predatory, by it's very nature. So is our macro-economic policy - which should revert to simple logistics accounting, as real civic goals are set and pursued.

Otherwise, there's the danger that economists will someday also discover thermodynamics ... and even ecology? They'd try to fit those fields into "economics" too. If that happens, we're toast! Ideology would rule, and would ruin, all thinking whatsoever.

Meanwhile, don't hold your breath waiting for them to understand engineering, or culture.

Actually, this state of affairs is astounding ... since so many real science PhDs have gone into finance the last 30 years. Apparently, even most scientists aren't willing to really think, if their job depends on them thinking out of aggregate paradigm.

Pavlina R. Tcherneva — When A Rising Tide Sinks Most Boats: Trends In Us Income Inequality

In the postwar period, with every subsequent expansion, a smaller and smaller share of the gains in income growth have gone to the bottom 90 percent of families. Worse, in the latest expansion, while the economy has grown and average real income has recovered from its 2008 lows, all of the growth has gone to the wealthiest 10 percent of families, and the income of the bottom 90 percent has fallen. Most Americans have not felt that they have been part of the expansion. We have reached a situation where a rising tide sinks most boats. 
This policy note provides a broader overview of the increasingly unequal distribution of income growth during expansions, examines some of the changes that occurred from 2012 to 2013, and identifies a disturbing business cycle trend. It also suggests that policy must go beyond the tax system if we are serious about reversing the drastic worsening of income inequality.
Tricked down isn't happening. Time for some new narrative to dupe the rubes.

Levy Institute
Pavlina R. Tcherneva | Assistant Professor of Economics, Bard College Research Scholar, Levy Economics Institute

Paul Tudor Jones on inequality: He has nothing new to offer

Paul Tudor Jones' view that the private sector is what we need to rely on to solve massive income and wealth inequality is ignorant.

Efraim Zuroff — One man's journey to the heartland of fascism

Hostility to minorities and attempts to rewrite Holocaust history in Baltics - but no one cares, except Russia
i24 News (Tel Aviv) — Opinion
One man's journey to the heartland of fascism
Efraim Zuroff | chief Nazi-hunter of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and director of its Israel Office

Stratfor — The West Hems in Russia Little by Little

Not the whole story according to George Friedman, head of Stratfor. According to a talk that Friedman gave which was taped and excerpts put on YouTube, what is actually happening is that the US is creating a cordon sanitaire from the Baltics to the Black Sea, which accounts for the US led coup in Ukraine and the US running Ukraine through a puppet government. (Friedman regards this as transparent.)

Note this is the US acting alone in creating the cordon, not NATO, which would likely not approve the strategy since NATO policy requires unanimous consent of the member states and this is not in everyone's interest.

The US strategy is ostensibly to isolate and contain Russia. But the hidden agenda is to create a US military controlled corridor separating Europe from Russia in order to prevent the development of Russian-European cooperation and perhaps an eventual alliance based on economic and trade benefits — and especially to prevent a German-Russian alliance should Germany listen to Putin's overtures about the advantages of this.

According to Friedman, the worst nightmare of the Anglo-Americans beginning with German unification under Prussian leadership has been development of a German-Russian alliance, which would unite Germany's economic and technological expertise with Russian natural resources, giving this alliance effective control of strategist Halford Mackinder's heartland of Eurasia and as a consequence control of the world island. This is fundamental to the Brzezinski doctrine, too. 

A German-Russian alliance is essentially the only really viable threat to continuing US world hegemony through military control of the sea, air and space, at least for the foreseeable future.

According to Friedman, everything hangs on Germany, and Germany hasn't yet made up it mind. The US is not waiting to find out, since there is a lot of pressure by German business to dump the US in favor of a closer relationship with Russia, which would be much more in Germany's economic interest (meaning their economic interest).

Friedman admits its cynical but hey, this is hard ball.

Stratfor — Geopolitical Diary
The West Hems in Russia Little by Little

Diane Coyle — Economists? Hubris? Surely not? [Book Review]

Brief overview of Meghnad Desai’s new book, Hubris: Why Economists Failed to Predict the Crisis and How to Avoid the Next One.

The Enlightened Economist
Economists? Hubris? Surely not?
Diane Coyle | freelance economist and a former advisor to the UK Treasury. She is a member of the UK Competition Commission and is acting Chairman of the BBC Trust, the governing body of the British Broadcasting Corporation

The privatization of the Port of Piraeus, which Syriza opposed, is now going forward

Hat tip to my good friend and MNE contributor, Roger Erickson, for this.

(Reuters) - The Greek government will sell its majority stake in the port of Piraeus within weeks, the country's deputy prime minister told China's official Xinhua news agency, a flip-flop from the leftist government as it seeks funds from its creditors.
The Syriza government of Alexis Tsipras took power in January on promises to end painful austerity, saying it would halt a string of privatisations including the sale of a 67 percent stake in the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP). Read article.


Well, okay, first of all I called this from the very beginning. I called the eventual capitulation by Syriza, by Tsipras, by Varoufakis. Go back and read my blog entries starting from January 26.

But enough of patting myself on the back. If you care anything about breaking the global grip of the oligopoly, the neoliberal rape, the plutcratic plunder, then this has to make you want to puke. Another sellout by the phoney, cowardly, BallLESS, (add your own adjective), liberal, progressive, left wing.

They go down so easy, don't they? No stomach for fighting. No stomach for just about anything except getting down on their knees and giving hand jobs to the elites. So quick to cede power and control to the plutocracy...willingly...on a silver fucking platter. Each and every time.

I'm just wondering what Syriza will do next? Re-fire those rehired workers?

And by the way, we'll be getting another taste of it here in the U.S. Guess who's being anointed Senate Minority Leader? Chuck Schumer (D-NY), friend of Wall Street and war, those two great, liberal Democratic values.

Schumer had in the past “succeeded in limiting efforts to regulate credit-rating agencies, for example, sponsored legislation that cut fees paid by Wall Street firms to finance government oversight, pushed to allow banks to have lower capital reserves and called for the revision of regulations to make corporations’ balance sheets more transparent.”
His behavior has changed very little since the crisis.
When Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Ted Kaufman (D-DE) introduced an amendment to break up the largest banks, they were able to recruit the support of a handful of GOP senators, but Schumer worked alongside the Obama administration to kill it. He insists that capital gains tax rates stay lower than those of other income, a direct gift to fund managers. Read the rest of the article here.

Who needs the GOP when you have guys like Schumer?

Odd How Long It Takes For This To Sink In

   (Commentary posted by Roger Erickson)

"Among the numerous advantages promised by a well constructed Union, none deserves to be more accurately developed than its tendency to break and control the violence of faction." James Madison

And Madison took his examples from Greek & Roman writings 2000 years old!

The problem can't be one of education alone. Rather, our sea of people is simply expanding faster than are our old methods for encouraging cultural diffusion of ideas.

If HOW we run student education & workforce training doesn't change, fast enough .... we inevitably end up with "dead zones" at the bottom of our expanding sea of (changing) citizens.

It's not just factions, it's all aspects of all Union or team or workforce interactions.

If you don't like change ... you can't love your own kids, or our changing world.

Recombination. Ya gotta love it. There's no alternative.

Ed Dolan — Deconstructing ShadowStats. Why is it so Loved by its Followers but Scorned by Economists?

It is hard to think of a website so loved by its followers and so scorned by economists as John Williams’ ShadowStats, a widely cited source of alternative economic data on inflation and other economic indicators. Any econ blogger who has ever written a line about inflation is familiar with ShadowStats. Time and again, readers cite it in comments, not infrequently paranoid in their tone and rude in their language. Brief replies that cast doubt on some of more extreme claims made by ShadowStats fans don’t seem to have much effect. After a recent round of comments, I promised the editor of one website to undertake a thorough deconstruction of ShadownStats. Here is the result....
Economonitor — Ed Dolan's Econ Blog
Deconstructing ShadowStats. Why is it so Loved by its Followers but Scorned by Economists?
Ed Dolan

Joseph Joyce — The U.S.: Inept Diplomacy, Indispensable Currency

All this demonstrates the discrepancy between the diplomatic and financial power of the U.S. On the one hand, the U.S. must deal with countries that are eager to claim their places in global governance. The dominance of the U.S. and other G7 nations in international institutions is a relic of a world that came to an end with the global financial crisis. On the other hand, the dollar is still the predominant international currency, and will hold that place for many years to come. The use of the renminbi is slowly growing but it will be a long time before it can serve as an alternative to the dollar. Consequently, the actions of the Federal Reserve may have more international repercussions than those of U.S. policymakers unable to cope with the shifting landscape of financial diplomacy.
Angry Bear
The U.S.: Inept Diplomacy, Indispensable Currency
Joseph Joyce

Daily Treasury Statement predicting HUGE jobs number on Friday

If you took my course, Understanding the Daily Treasury Statement, you would know why I am making this call, now, three days before the release of that number. I am telling you this: it will be far better than expectations.

I am not going to tell you how I know this, but I know. You will have to sign up for the next course to learn how to get this information plus lots of other, very powerful, money making tips and insights from this amazing resource. I am the only one who teaches this.

Consider this a gift--my gift to you, so don't waste it; go make yourself some (a lot) of money.

The number will blow away the 240k expected gain in nonfarm  payrolls. BLOW. IT. AWAY.

So, what  do you do?  You buy the dollar (short euro, yen, British pound, Aussie dollar, etc), sell bonds, sell gold and sell stocks. On the latter, I know it seem counterintuitive because, obviously, a strong jobs number is bullish news for the economy and therefore bullish for stocks, however, the way the market has been trading, i.e. with intense fear of an imminent rate hike, they'll probably hit the stock market in reaction to a strong number. On the other hand, longer term investors should use this as an opportunity to add to long stock positions.


-Mike Norman

Wage rises are required – real wages must grow in line with productivity

There was an interesting article in the UK Guardian last weekend (March 29, 2015) – Why falling inflation is a false pretext for keeping wages low – which examined wage trends in the UK and the validity of the argument that “Falling inflation now provides employers with a pretext for keeping wage settlements low". Employer groups never support wage increases and are continually trying to suppress real wages growth below productivity growth so that they can enjoy a greater share of national income. As part of my research to discover the nature of the ideological shift accompanying the emergence of Monetarism as the dominant policy paradigm I have been examining wage distributions. This is part of a book I will complete next year (fingers crossed) on the demise of the political left. In this blog we examine the shifting relationship between labour productivity growth and real wages growth since 1960. The results are illuminating and open up a broad research front about which I will write more as time passes.
As usual, Bill puts his finger on the fundamental issue. The chief issue in a surplus economy is distribution of the surplus. The major parties vying for a share are "capital" (owners and those who control the firm) and "labor" (workers aka "the help"). So the tussle is between capital share and labor share with respect to distributing the surplus resulting from productivity.

Owners argue that productivity increase no longer comes chiefly from laborin a highly technological economy , e.g., through growing experience and improved skill, but from technology and organizational and management capability. So capital and top management that controls and directs the firm naturally deserve the greater share based on both proportionate contribution to the resultant profit and incentive to increase profit through capital formation, which benefits the whole society by creating jobs and trickle down.

As Henry Ford realize, the problem with this approach is effective demand for consuming production potential if workers are not paid enough to afford to purchase the entire potential (and they cannot borrow to do so indefinitely). So the result is an output gap and involuntary unemployment.

Bill's analysis shows that the problem is not at root economic but political, that is, ideological. It is the result of imposing a neoliberal political theory on society based on a false economic rationale in that the basis of neoliberalism as a political theory is that a market state is superior to a welfare state in delivering a high standard of living. Politics is essentially about the distribution and use of power in a society, and the ruling elite who hold power get to impose their ideology on society. The recourse therefore is to change the ruling elite and shirt the power. That is an economic issue to the degree that wealth confers power.

Basically, the thinking behind a market state being superior is Say's law and the belief that the purpose of capitalism is increased capital formation because trickle down. The thinking behind a welfare state is that production is for consumption and shared prosperity and a high standard of living are based on broadly based distribution that encourages circular flow.

However, as Bill points out, the hidden agenda behind a "market" state is rent extraction rather than simply allocation of the surplus to the top tier through market forces. This is neoliberalism's dirty secret. Power provides the ability to design institutions for rent extraction.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Wage rises are required – real wages must grow in line with productivityBill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

J.D. Alt — Opportunities of a Millennium (Part 1)

Viewed through the ideology of money-scarcity, the major challenges facing society appear to represent “costs” that people must be penalized to pay by taking dollars out of their personal pockets. At one level, politics is the endless and bitter argument of one party proposing to do X, Y, or Z in order to accomplish some collective benefit, and the other party saying: Yes, but how are you going to pay for it?—which is the “gotcha” question because everyone certainly “knows” that in order to actually do X, Y, or Z, the federal government will have to increase taxes or borrow dollars from the Private Sector pot. Understanding modern fiat money (and how to manage it as a collective tool) creates, as we now understand, a remarkably different and more useful perspective. With this new perspective, as we’re about to see, many of the biggest challenges we face as a collective society can be viewed not as a “cost”—a penalty to be paid—but instead as an enormous opportunity to make our lives, both collectively and individually, more effective and prosperous. Confronting these challenges, in other words, will not take dollars out of our personal pockets, it will—in addition to hopefully overcoming the challenge addressed—put dollars into our pockets. This, in essence, is the uniquely empowering perspective that modern fiat money makes possible.
To see the power of this perspective in concrete terms, let’s explore four of the major dilemmas the Millennials will surely be facing as they come into power....
New Economic Perspectives
Opportunities of a Millennium (Part 1)
J.D. Alt

Cultural Development at 31st Week of Democracy

Are we past the 2nd Trisequester yet?

Or still in the fetal position?

Monday, March 30, 2015

Robert Parry — Deciphering the Mideast Chaos

Few Americans seem to comprehend what is unfolding in the Middle East – with the latest conflict involving Saudi airstrikes against the Houthi rebels who now control Yemen’s capital of Sanaa. In this swirl of regional wars, it’s often not clear where the U.S. government stands and how American interests are affected.
The reason for the confusion is simple: Many key pundits who get to explain what’s going on from the op-ed pages of the major U.S. newspapers and from the TV talk shows prefer that the American people don’t fully grasp what’s happening. Otherwise, the people might realize the dangers ahead and demand substantial changes in U.S. government policies....
... over the years, the U.S. government has exploited the general lack of knowledge among Americans about the intricacies of Middle East religions and politics by funneling the anger against one group to rationalize actions against another....
In seeking to smash this “Shiite crescent” [from Tehran through Baghdad and Damascus to Beirut], these Sunni-ruled states have been joined by Israel, which has taken the position that Iran and its Shiite allies are more dangerous than the Sunni extremists, thus transforming Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State into the “lesser evils.”
This was the subtext of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress on March 3 – that the U.S. government should shift its focus from fighting Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State to fighting Iran....
In one of the most explicit expressions of Israel’s views, its Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, then a close adviser to Netanyahu, told the Jerusalem Post in September 2013 that Israel favored the Sunni extremists over Assad.
“The greatest danger to Israel is by the strategic arc that extends from Tehran, to Damascus to Beirut. And we saw the Assad regime as the keystone in that arc,” Oren told the Jerusalem Post in an interview. “We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.” He said this was the case even if the “bad guys” were affiliated with Al-Qaeda.
 And, if you might have thought that Oren had misspoken, he reiterated his position in June 2014 at an Aspen Institute conference. Then, speaking as a former ambassador, Oren said Israel would even prefer a victory by the Islamic State, which was massacring captured Iraqi soldiers and beheading Westerners, than the continuation of the Iranian-backed Assad in Syria.
“From Israel’s perspective, if there’s got to be an evil that’s got to prevail, let the Sunni evil prevail,” Oren said....
Over the past decade, the Israelis and the Saudis have built a powerful alliance, a relationship that has operated mostly behind the curtains. They combined their assets to create what amounted to a new superpower in the Middle East, one that could project its power mostly via the manipulation of U.S. policymakers and opinion leaders – and thus deployment of the U.S. military. 
Israel possesses extraordinary political and media influence inside the United States – and Saudi Arabia wields its oil and financial resources to keep American officialdom in line. Together, the Israeli-Saudi bloc now controls virtually the entire Republican Party, which holds majorities in both chambers of Congress, and dominates most mainstream Democrats as well.
Reflecting the interests of the Israeli-Saudi bloc, American neocons have advocated U.S. bombing against both the Syrian and Iranian governments in pursuit of “regime change” in those two countries. [emphasis added],,,,,
Parry views this as an existential crisis for the United States and neither the background nor the details are being revealed to the American public — as the New York Times calls for war with Iran (see below).

Consortium News
Deciphering the Mideast Chaos
Robert Parry

Just as the New York Times promoted fake facts to rationalize invading Iraq, it has just published a deceptive op-ed to justify bombing Iran, the ranting of one of America’s most notorious warmongers, John Bolton, as Lawrence Davidson describes.
Letting A Warmonger Rant
Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania.

circuit — Ben Bernanke and the natural rate of interest

Not so fast there. circuit comes to Ben's defense, kinda.

If my understanding is correct, a point that circuit makes is that a natural rate rate of interest, like potential output, is a theoretical term that is model-determined rather than being an observable. Consequently, it may be useful for a central bank to use a model in which a natural rate of interest at full employment figures in theorizing about monetary policy. 

After all, if a central bank is going to set monetary policy through the nominal interest rate, then it has to have some rationale for doing so, and for economists, that means having a model. Since exogenous money has been discredited that leaves the central with with the interest rate as its policy tool. So the question becomes how and when to use that tool.

However, Ben doesn't seem to imply that he thinks there is actually a Wicksellian rate that leads naturally to full employment equilibrium in the long run if market forces are left to operate. What would be the point of monetary policy in that case unless to influence the short term. But that is basically to dismiss the long run as realistically significant. 

Or maybe he does "believe in" an actual Wicksellian rate that naturally leads to full employment in the long run but concludes that doing nothing and waiting for "the long run" is just not practical politically and that monetary policy can fill in.

Fictional Reserve Barking

David F. Ruccio — Catholicism beyond capitalism

Pope Francis on trickle down and cooperatives. Francis seems to be a non-Marxist socialist. 

Occasional Links & Commentary
Catholicism beyond capitalism
David F. Ruccio | Professor of Economics University of Notre Dame Notre Dame

For a Marxian view of worker cooperatives as a viable basis for socialism:

Monthly Review
Cooperatives On the Path to Socialism?
Peter Marcuse | Professor Emeritus of Urban Planning, Columbia University

Thomas Piketty, Paul Krugman And Joseph Stiglitz On The Economy And Inequality — Video

Thomas Piketty, Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman were brought together in one event organised by 92nd Street Y in New York City
Social Europe
Thomas Piketty, Paul Krugman And Joseph Stiglitz On The Economy And Inequality
ht Jan Milch

Jon Perr — American religious freedom is a shield, not a sword Jon Perr

When does "liberalism" become illiberal? When conservative masquerade as liberals and use a political majority to impose authoritarianism because freedom.

No, democracy left to itself doesn't work as advertised. That's why it is important to have a bill of rights and an impartial judicial system to protect minority rights.

Daily Kos
American religious freedom is a shield, not a sword
Jon Perr

Sarah Green — What MIT Is Learning About Online Courses and Working from Home


The development of online eduction with the rise of new technology is similar to the transition from the theater to cinema. At first, the obvious step was to film plays, but in the case of the cinema, sound only came later, so the initial step could not be that. As a result, a rich art of silent films resulted that is still relevant today.

However, when sound was put to picture, then the obvious transition was to mimic theater. But it fell rather flat. Subsequently, it was realized that theater and cinema are similar but also very different media and that each as its own proper methodology.

The same holds true for education and the Internet. At first the tendency was simple to capture "great teaching" on video and distribute it digitally at minimum cost, providing access to high quality education globally. Now that is being rethought as it becomes apparent that education digital technology requires an entirely different from the classroom model. The advantage of digital education is that it makes interaction at a distance not only possible but necessary for a variety of reasons, some pedagogical and some social.

MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) are the future and educators are starting to focus on how to optimize learning through this medium. This will have profound effects globally, and it's now starting to happen.

This is already happening in business. A friend of mine is a project manager for one of the big banks. He work out of his home rurally, and the members of a team are far flung in different locations. The interact personally thorough video conferencing although they never meet up in person.

Harvard Business Review
What MIT Is Learning About Online Courses and Working from Home
Sarah Green | senior associate editor at Harvard Business Review

Brad DeLong — Monday Worth Reading: Dan Kervick and Matt Bruenig

Brad DeLong promotes Dan Kervick and Matt Bruenig. Kudos to all.
Critics... well, probably better to call them "friends" have pointed out to me that last summer I didn't spend enough time linking to Dan Kervick's and Matt Brunig's contributions to the Piketty debate. I remember reading them at the time. And I cannot figure out why I didn't focus more on them--save probably because both seemed to me to be thinking along the lines I was thinking along, I didn't think that there was much new there. But usually I am anxious to promote people saying things that I think are smart and right, so it is a puzzle...
More generally, if you like intelligent takes on modern economics coming from the terrain of philosophy, Dan Kervick is the kind of thing you will like...
Now how about some strokes for the MMT economists. They are overdue.

Grasping Reality
Monday Worth Reading: Dan Kervick and Matt Bruenig
Brad DeLong | Professor of Economics, UCAL Berkeley

William H. David — The Internet Has Been a Colossal Economic Disappointment

This gets it backwards. The purpose of technological innovation is not to create jobs but to increase productivity, which generally means replacing jobs and making space for increased leisure. 

Technological innovation increase makes work obsolete. This has been the historical result of technological innovation. 

If there is a problem, it's with distribution of increasing surplus in order to increase shared prosperity.

Harvard Business Review — HBR Blog Network
The Internet Has Been a Colossal Economic Disappointment
William H. Davidow | Mohr Davidow Ventures

Javier Solana — China and Global Governance

US blowing it on China.

Project Syndicate
China and Global Governance
Javier Solana | former EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, Secretary-General of NATO, and Foreign Minister of Spain. He is currently President of the ESADE Center for Global Economy and Geopolitics, Distinguished Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Europe

Dirk Ehnts — Krugman on Unreal Keynesians (IS/LM again)

Dirk Ehnts offers a Godley-based "gadget" to replace ISLM as a heuristic.
My own point of view is that IS/LM is mistaken in assuming that the central bank controls the money supply and that the sectoral balances (private and public) are not made explicit. You actually can get a lot of mileage out of the good old IS/LM model if you let the central bank set the interest rate on the short-term money market (horizontal LM curve) and – because of general depression – determine some level of expenditure (or demand) that does not react to changes in the interest rate (vertical IS curve). The resulting cross is so trivial that I tend to agree with Syll: maybe it is not the best idea to use a macroeconomic model to show that: 
  • Demand is exogenous and smaller than potential output
  • The central bank creates the interest rate, but that doesn’t matter because of 1.
  • Demand is exogenous, but government spending can add to that 
Using a mathematical model with all eyes crossed and all teas dotted to then arrive at this conclusion really is a waste of time. How do we fix this? 
I have published the so-called IS/MY model to show what could be done to improve on the shortcomings of the IS/LM model (working paper version here). First of all, the main idea is that expenditure equals spending in equilibrium. Then, net deposits (money) are created through three mechanisms that rely on the same balance sheet trick. A rise in net debt leads to a rise in deposits for each of the three sectors: private, public and external. The monetary circuit works well as long as the amount of deposits is increasing (given velocity, and ignoring complications of what is money)....
The IS/LM model was not perfect, and never will be. Any alternative will face the same fate. However, it would be nice for the macroeconomist to have something small and “unbreakable” that works on the back of an envelope. The IS/MY model is based on (BoP) accounting relations and assume only that consumption and imports depend on income. Most economists should be able to live with these assumptions. What is left to the economist is to speculate about the quantity of investment, government spending and exports. These will, using the vocabulary of Wynne Godley, determine the fiscal and trade stance and allow discussions of sustainability of macroeconomic regimes.
econoblog 101
Krugman on Unreal Keynesians (IS/LM again)
Dirk Ehnts | Berlin School for Economics and Law

Brad DeLong — Why the Hegemony of the New Keynesian Model?

Brad DeLong questions the reasoning behind the choice of DSGE modeling as the policy tool for central banks. Inquiring minds would like to know.

WCEG — The Equitablog
Why the Hegemony of the New Keynesian Model?Brad DeLong | Professor Economics, UCAL Berkeley


Important economic history lesson.

Project Syndicate
The Monetarist Mistake
Brad DeLong
The result was a host of policies based not on evidence, but on inadequately examined ideas. And we are still paying the price for that intellectual failure today.
Could ideological bias have had anything to do with it?
The dominance of Friedman’s ideas at the beginning of the Great Recession has less to do with the evidence supporting them than with the fact that the science of economics is all too often tainted by politics. In this case, the contamination was so bad that policymakers were unwilling to go beyond Friedman and apply Keynesian and Minskyite policies on a large enough scale to address the problems that the Great Recession presented.
Admitting that the monetarist cure was inadequate would have required mainstream economists to swim against the neoliberal currents of our age. It would have required acknowledging that the causes of the Great Depression ran much deeper than a technocratic failure to manage the money supply properly. And doing that would have been tantamount to admitting the merits of social democracy and recognizing that the failure of markets can sometimes be a greater danger than the inefficiency of governments.
The result was a host of policies based not on evidence, but on inadequately examined ideas. And we are still paying the price for that intellectual failure today.
Philip Mirowsi has documented how neoliberalism rose to power at this time, for example, in The Road from Mont Pelerin: The Making of the Neoliberal Thought Collective (2009) and has managed to stay in power in Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown (2013).

Warren Mosler — Credit check, Fed check

What is the Fed thinking? Seems be that they've held interest rates down "too long." What's the criterion for "too long." Warren investigates some charts.

The Center of the Universe
Credit check, Fed check
Warren Mosler

Ramanan — Disappointing Start, Mr. Bernanke

Keynes v. Wicksell. Ben sides with Knut instead of Maynard.

Brief articulation of Wicksell's natural rate of interest and Keynes's realization that there is a natural rate of interest for every level of employment. There is therefore no necessity for equilibrium at full employment "in the long run" based on a Wicksellian "natural rate." 

Multiple equilibria at less than full employment are both possible theoretically and probable based on history. No liquidity traps required. Chronic unemployment is a bug in the system that can be squashed using fiscal policy.

The Case for Concerted Action
Disappointing Start, Mr. Bernanke

Bill Mitchell — ECB should start funding government infrastructure and cash handouts

I was a signatory to a letter published in the Financial Times on Thursday (March 26, 2015) – Better ways to boost eurozone economy and employment – which called for a major fiscal stimulus from the European Central Bank (given it is the only body in the Eurozone that can introduce such a stimulus). The fiscal stimulus would take the form of a cash injection using the ECB’s currency monopoly powers. A co-signatory was Robert Skidelsky, Emeritus Professor, Warwick University, renowned Keynesian historian and Keynes’ biographer. Amazingly, Skidelsky wrote an article in the UK Guardian two days before the FT Letter was published (March 24, 2015) – Fiscal virtue and fiscal vice – macroeconomics at a crossroads– which would appear to contradict the policy proposal we advocated in the FT Letter. The Guardian article is surrender-monkey territory and I disagree with most of it. It puts the progressive case on the back foot. What the hell is going on?
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Frank W. Elwell — Immanuel Wallerstein's World-Systems Theory

25 slide presentation of Immanuel Wallerstein's World-Systems Theory by Frank W. Elwell,  author of Macrosociology: Four Modern Theorists. Wallerstein was a student of C. Wright Mills, Professor of sociology at Columbia University and author of The Power Elite.

Wallerstein's World-Systems Theory is power-based. It deals with flows of people, information, resources, products, and wealth in a world-system that is social(institutional), political (power-based) and economic (distributive). It is a Marxian analysis that sees the ultimate outcome of the world game being socialism after the breakdown of capitalism owing to its internal contradictions.

If you are are not familiar with Wallerstein, this is a good introduction to his thinking.

Immanuel Wallerstein's World-Systems Theory 
Frank W. Elwell, Professor of Sociology at Murray State University,
ht Jan Milch

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Noah Smith — A misguided attack on Land Value Taxes

Noah doubles down on the LTV after his Bloomberg View post generated some critical response.

Henry George rules. Take that John Bates Clark.
John Bates Clark (January 26, 1847 – March 21, 1938) was an American neoclassical economist. He was one of the pioneers of the marginalist revolution and opponent to the Institutionalist school of economics....
In 1888 Clark wrote Capital and Its Earnings. Frank A. Fetter later reflected on Bates' motivation for writing this work:
"The probable source from which immediate stimulation came to Clark was the contemporary single tax discussion. ... Events were just at that time crowding each other fast in the single tax propaganda. [ Henry George's ] Progress and Poverty... had a larger sale than any other book ever written by an American. ... No other economic subject at the time was comparable in importance in the public eye with the doctrine of Progress and Poverty. Capital and its Earnings "... wears the mien of pure theory .... But ... one can hardly fail to see on almost every page the reflections of the contemporary single-tax discussion. In the brief preface is expressed the hope that 'it may be found that these principles settle questions of agrarian socialism.' Repeatedly the discussion turns to 'the capital that vests itself in land,'...[6]"
Tax away the land rent.

A misguided attack on Land Value Taxes
Noah Smith | Assistant Professor of Finance, Stony Brook University

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya — The Geopolitics behind the War in Yemen (I)

The strategic equation in the Middle East began to shift as it became clear that Iran was becoming central to its security architecture and stability. The House of Saud and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began to whimper and complain that Iran was in control of four regional capitals—Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad, and Sana — and that something had to be done to stop Iranian expansion. As a result of the new strategic equation, the Israelis and the House of Saud became perfectly strategically aligned with the objective of neutralizing Iran and its regional allies....
While the House of Saud has long considered Yemen a subordinate province of some sorts and as a part of Riyadh’s sphere of influence, the US wants to make sure that it could control the Bab Al-Mandeb, the Gulf of Aden, and the Socotra Islands. The Bab Al-Mandeb it is an important strategic chokepoint for international maritime trade and energy shipments that connects the Persian Gulf via the Indian Ocean with the Mediterranean Sea via the Red Sea. It is just as important as the Suez Canal for the maritime shipping lanes and trade between Africa, Asia, and Europe.
Israel was also concerned, because control of Yemen could cut off Israel’s access to the Indian Ocean via the Red Sea and prevent its submarines from easily deploying to the Persian Gulf to threaten Iran. This is why control of Yemen was actually one of Netanyahu’s talking points on Capitol Hill when he spoke to the US Congress about Iran on March 3 in what the New York Times of all publications billed as «Mr. Netanyahu’s Unconvincing Speech to Congress» on March 4.
Saudi Arabia was visibly afraid that Yemen could become formally aligned to Iran and that the events there could result in new rebellions in the Arabian Peninsula against the House of Saud. The US was just as much concerned about this too, but was also thinking in terms of global rivalries. Preventing Iran, Russia, or China from having a strategic foothold in Yemen, as a means of preventing other powers from overlooking the Gulf of Aden and positioning themselves at the Bab Al-Mandeb, was a major US concern.
Added to the geopolitical importance of Yemen in overseeing strategic maritime corridors is its military’s missile arsenal. Yemen’s missiles could hit any ships in the Gulf of Aden or Bab Al-Mandeb. In this regard, the Saudi attack on Yemen’s strategic missile depots serves both US and Israeli interests. The aim is not only to prevent them from being used to retaliate against exertions of Saudi military force, but to also prevent them from being available to a Yemeni government aligned to either Iran, Russia, or China....
Turkey would announce its support for the war in Yemen too. On the day the war was launched, Turkey’s Erdogan claimed that Iran was trying to dominate the region and that Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the GCC were getting annoyed.
During these events, Egypt’s Sisi stated that the security of Cairo and the security of Saudi Arabia and the Arab petro-sheikhdoms are one. In fact, Egypt said that it would not get involved in a war in Yemen on March 25, but the next day Cairo joined Saudi Arabia in Riyadh’s attack on Yemen by sending its jets and ships to Yemen.
In the same vein, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif released a statement on March 26 that any threat to Saudi Arabia would «evoke a strong response» from Pakistan. The message was tacitly directed towards Iran....
The US is also involved and leading from behind or a distance. While it works to strike a deal with Iran, it also wants to maintain an alliance against Tehran using the Saudis. The Pentagon would provide what it called «intelligence and logistical support» to House of Saud. Make no mistakes about it: the war on Yemen is also Washington’s war. The GCC has been on unleashed on Yemen by the US...
Strategic Culture Foundation Online Journal
The Geopolitics behind the War in Yemen (I)
Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Bill Curry — What would Paul Krugman do: Imagining the plan which defeats the ultra-rich

America now chooses between two radically opposed paths. One leads to a final consolidation of wealth and power by the oligarchs of global capital; the other to a just distribution of prosperity and opportunity. One leads to the ultimate corruption of our democracy; the other to civic revitalization. One direction heads toward the absolute depletion of natural resources, ceaseless global conflicts and a likely environmental catastrophe; the other to economic and environmental sustainability and the possibility of peace.
What is extraordinary about this choice is its starkness, of course, but also that in a democratic society we are making it without benefit of an informed, full-throated debate. This is a debate Occupy was unwilling — and perhaps unable — to bring and that Democrats seem unable to grasp, at least not fully. The choice it frames is not as simple as that between Democrats and Republicans, or even progressives and reactionaries. It’s a choice between a status quo we know all too well and a future we’ve only begun to imagine; between an all devouring yet lifeless leviathan bent on a single goal and its opposite; a political economy that prizes pluralism and human scaled enterprise; that upholds a higher ethics and seeks our moral as well as material wellbeing.
Progressives must do what Occupy and the Democrats did not: conceive a new political agenda for a new political economy.....
Amen, but here on it's downhill. Curry doesn't confront the fundamental issue. The founding fathers established a bourgeois liberal government designed to be governed by the ownership class. There is no fix within those rules and the institutions that have developed from their application, since any viable alternative to the status quo and its logical extension is ruled out. And this is even before the more pragmatic issues of entrenched wealth and power. Moreover, the prevailing economic paradigm supports this.

What would Paul Krugman do: Imagining the plan which defeats the ultra-rich
Bill Curry, White House counselor to President Clinton

No, Elizabeth Warren is not going to replace Harry Reid as Senate minority leader, and neither is Bernie Sanders or any other progressive.

Chuck Schumer—Friend Of Wall Street and War—Ready to Be Anointed Head of the Senate Democrats
Zaid Jilani / AlterNet

Thalif Deen — Nuclear Threat Escalating Beyond Political Rhetoric

Just a reminder.

Nuclear Threat Escalating Beyond Political Rhetoric
Thalif Deen

Amitai Etzioni — Mearsheimer’s War With China

Amitai Etzioni on John J. Mearsheimer on the US, China, geopolitics and geostrategy. Important owing to the stature of Mearsheimer and Etzioni, who represent opposing views.

The Diplomat
Mearsheimer’s War With China
Amitai Etzioni | Professor of International Relations and a University Professor at The George Washington University

Steve M. — America's Oligarchs Want It All, And They Want It Now

Oligarchic "democracy" and the 2016 presidential. Picking the "right" candidate (pun intended). Plutocracy going for full plutonomy.

Crooks and Liars
America's Oligarchs Want It All, And They Want It Now
Steve M.

Read with the above for the associated relevance of the clandestine services and the deep state in influencing democracy.

Skip down to Valentine's interview of Kiriakou.

A Conversation With CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou
Douglas Valentine

Significantly, the authors of both articles don't see democracy in the US anytime soon. Vested interests are too powerful and the deep state is too entrenched.

Sandwichman — Is the Economic System Self-Adjusting?

Keynes contra Krugman. (Nice Keynes quote you may want to file.)

Is the Economic System Self-Adjusting?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Xinhua — Urgent: Australia has decided to join Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank: PM

Australia has decided to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which would allow Australia to become a founding member of the bank, said a statement released by Prime Minister Tony Abbott Sunday morning.
In the carefully worded statement, Abbott said the signing of the MOU will enable Australia "to participate as a prospective founding member in the negotiation of setting up the bank."
"The Government has discussed the AIIB extensively with China and other key partners inside and outside the region," the statement said.
Urgent: Australia has decided to join Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank: PM

Et tu, Tony?

Zero Hedge
US Attacks "Closest Ally" UK For "Constant Accommodation" With China (3/13/15)

Szu Ping Chan — Eurozone can't survive in current form, says PIMCO

The political direction shows that the EZ can't just hang out where it is forever. The anti-euro parties are growing in strength and will be increasingly disruptive, threatening the existence of the currency union.

Eurozone can't survive in current form, says PIMCO
Szu Ping Chan

Robin Hahnel and Erik Olin Wright — Alternatives To Capitalism: Proposals For A Democratic Economy

New Left Project’s new e-book, Alternatives to Capitalism: Proposals for a Democratic Economy, is now available for download. 
In it the leading radical thinkers Robin Hahnel and Erik Olin Wright take on the crucial but all-too neglected question: what kind of society should we be fighting for instead of capitalism?
Hahnel favours ‘participatory economics’. Wright advocates ‘real utopian socialism’. 
Alternatives to Capitalism puts these practical proposals through their paces in an in-depth, frank and extremely instructive debate about the central question of our time.
Download the book for kindle, free.
Buy the book on Amazon.
More at the link.
"Poverty, exploitation, instability, hierarchy, subordination, environmental exhaustion, radical inequalities of wealth and power — it is not difficult to list capitalism's myriad injustices. But is there a preferable and workable alternative? What would a viable free and democratic free society look like? Alternatives to Capitalism: Proposals for a Democratic Economy presents a debate between two such possibilities: Robin Hahnel's "participatory economics" and Erik Olin Wright's "real utopian " socialism. It is a detailed and at times technical discussion that rewards careful engagement. Those who put the effort in will, we hope, find that it illuminates a range of issues and dilemmas of crucial importance to any serious effort to build a better world...." — Ed Lewis, Introduction
New Left Project
Alternatives To Capitalism: Proposals For A Democratic Economy
Robin Hahnel, Professor of Economics (Emeritus), American University, and Erik Olin Wright, Vilas Distinguished Professor of Sociology, University of Wisconsin

Chuck Spinney — The Folly of Machine Warfare

Military analysts Chuck Spinney reviews Andrew Cockburn's Kill Chain. Technological warfare is not all that it's cracked up to be.

The Folly of Machine Warfare
Franklin C. Spinney, former Pentagon military analyst

Ben Norton — Koch-Funded Economist Wants “Less Democracy”

Dr. Garett Jones is wary of democracy. He is Associate Professor of Economics and BB&T Professor for the Study of Capitalism at the Mercatus Center, “the world’s premier university source for market-oriented ideas,” at George Mason University, you see. He wants “less democracy.” He, like so many of his academic colleagues, writes scholarly articles in prestigious economics journals, extolling the virtues of moralless, unmitigated greed and absolute plutocratic tyranny. And it just so happens that that inconvenient “democracy” thing is an “inefficient” burden on the path toward a society based on these principles.
In “10% Less Democracy: How Less Voting Could Mean Better Governance,” a 24 February 2015 presentation at George Mason University’s Center for Study of Public Choice, Jones bemoans the “anti-market bias” inherent in democracy. He laments that protectionism is “encouraged by voters,” and that, “around the world, looming elections mean less labor market liberalization.” Jones also is distraught that elected electricity commissioners “shift costs to the … industrial sector.” The burden should always be on the worker, naturally.
A good macroeconomist maintains “skepticism toward maximum democracy,” the professor says, as “less democratic monetary policy” leads to “lower, more stable inflation, with no apparent change in the unemployment rate or real GDP growth.” He cites Alan Blinder, a former Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve and Princeton professor of economics who served on President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers, who candidly admits that “events since 1997 have pushed me more and more toward the conclusion that society would indeed be better off if politicians confined themselves to broad decisions about tax policy and left the details to a group of technocrats analogous to the Fed’s Board of Governors.” This is the kind of thing economists say to each other behind closed doors: Democracy is bad, and society would be much better if ruled under the silicon fist of a technocratic oligarchy.....

TASS — Russia begins recovering from the 'Dutch disease' — Finance Minister Siluanov

Russia's economy is not as heavily dependent on energy exports as is widely believed, and sanctions have resulted in a speedup in restructuring. This is a step that Russia needed to take, just as China needs to develop its domestic economy and is now doing. But Russia is a resource-rich country, and it will provide resources to both Europe and China for a long time to come, especially with the development of high-speed rail across Eurasia ("heartland" of "the world island: Makinder), linking the Atlantic and Pacific.
"The investments that previously went to the oil industry, are now beginning to decline. And the capital will be directed to other, non-oil industries," Siluanov said. According to him, agriculture is currently receiving significant investments, as well as import substitution industry. "And it is a right thing. This is the main motive of all the changes that are taking place, and we support it as a part of anti-crisis plan," the Minister said.
Russia begins recovering from the 'Dutch disease' — Finance Minister Siluanov

Sputnik — Russia's National Payment System to Mass-Produce Cards in December

Russia continues to minimize financial dependence on the West while also retaining integration.

Russia's National Payment System to Mass-Produce Cards in December

Sputnik International — Estonian Sports Hero Condemning Fascism Told to Go Read Works of Hitler

The Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE), embroiled in a scandal earlier this month involving a recently elected parliamentarian's comments about the "many positive nuances" of fascism, was hit again on Saturday in an op-ed by a famous party member and national sports champion who said that he had once been told that he was just another "illiterate athlete who must first go to the nearest library and read the works of Hitler."
Earlier this month, the EKRE was hit by scandal following local media's discovery of an old blog post by recently elected MP Jaak Madison, who noted in 2012 that he saw "fascism as an ideology that consists of many positive nuances necessary for preserving the nation-state." The young politician also noted that while "it's true that there were concentration camps, forced labor camps, and a fondness for the use of gas chambers, at the same time, [the Nazis'] 'iron-fisted' rule did bring Germany out of deep trouble as the development initially based on military industry growth made the country one of the most powerful in Europe in just a few years."....
What with the rising popularity of Stalin in Russia and Hitlers in Europe? The answer is pretty simple, although obviously different parties have divergent views that complicated a full answer. The quick takeaway, however, is that in parlous times many people look to a strong leader and more authoritarian state to assuage rising fear. While this phenomenon is usually explained by rising nationalism and based on exceptionalism, which is true to a degree, the overwhelming factor seems to me to be a reaction to events called forth by a broad perception of threat. While Stalin and Hitler are generally thought of in terms of their authoritarian excesses, they are also remembered by some for their leadership qualities based on projection of power.

This is also playing out in a similar fashion post 9/11, where the US has adopted a form of politics that has become increasingly illiberal and authoritarian, suspending constitutional liberties indefinitely based on an endless "war on terror," as well as adopting a "unitary executive" doctrine, which is a euphemism for dictatorship. The increasing militarization of domestic security and increasing heavy-handed ness on its part are also symptomatic. The overwhelming domestic and international strategy of the US now is projection of power. And its bipartisan although the GOP is more hard line and vociferous about it. The irony of this on the part of the US is that it is purportedly in defense of liberalism.

The worrisome thing is that a resurgence of authoritarianism can be a harbinger of impending war.

Sputnik International
Estonian Sports Hero Condemning Fascism Told to Go Read Works of Hitler

This study reported in the following article supports the view that Putin's recent rise in popularity is due to his exhibiting strong leadership in strengthening Russia. He is faulted, apparently since the question was not put directly, for not reining the oligarchs that arose in the Yeltsin liberal period enough. Russians perceive the liberal period as a disaster for Russia and for most of them, and there is little possibility of Russia returning to that type of regime any time soon. My sense is that US strategists realize this and have concluded that the next best tactic is to destabilize the Russian Federation and its near abroad and tie it down with border issues.

Russians' Attitudes Toward Putin Are Changing, And Not How You Might Think

Don Quijones — Marriage Made in Corporatist Heaven Slams into Resistance [TTIP]

Status update on TTIP.

Wolf Street
Marriage Made in Corporatist Heaven Slams into Resistance
Don Quijones

James provided the link below in a comment on another post.

The Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: European Disintegration, Unemployment and Instability
Jeronim Capaldo
October 2014

Noah Smith — Piketty's Three Big Mistakes

Noah Smith is a Georgist! Who knew?

Bloomberg View
Piketty's Three Big Mistakes
Noah Smith | Assistant Professor of Finance, Stony Brook University

Brad DeLong — People Claiming That Even John Maynard Keynes Is No True Keynesian!

Brad DeLong takes on JW Mason and Lars Syll.
Oh, this is going to be fun!
Grasping Reality
People Claiming That Even John Maynard Keynes Is No True Keynesian!
Brad DeLong | Professor of Economics, UCAL Berkeley

Trond Andresen and Robert W. Parenteau — A detailed program proposal for creating a parallel currency in Greece

Alternative proposal from an MMT POV, based on Tax Anticipation Notes (TAN).

Real-World Economics Review Blog
A detailed program proposal for creating a parallel currency in Greece
Trond Andresen, The Norwegian University of Science and Technology Department of Engineering Cybernetics, Trondheim, Norway, and Robert W. Parenteau, MacroStrategy Edge California

Friday, March 27, 2015

Weekend Reading

Covers a lot of historical ground.

Consortium News
Neocons: the Echo of German Fascism
Todd E. Pierce

What Berdyaev, Solovyev, and Ilyin actually said.

Distorting Putin’s Favorite Philosophers
Paul R. Grenier

YoY DTS Top level Comparison thru 19 March...

YoY top-level comparison chart below... ahead of last March by about $21B at this point.

Very supportive on a YoY month basis.  Not quite as bullish a picture on a full YoY basis.

Flows remain robust this month even though  we are operating at the "debt ceiling" and our morons are using their "extraordinary measures" of "borrowing" from the Federal Employees Retirement System (to the satisfaction of their own deranged minds) in order to maintain spending flows.

John T. Harvey — Why We Cannot Afford The Republican Budget

Early this morning, the Senate approved a Republican-authored budget that features deep cuts in spending, no new taxes, and hopes of a balanced budget within the next decade. However, not only could their plan never achieve what they hope, it would be an absolute economic catastrophe. Let’s hope it never sees the light of day. 
The level of ignorance regarding federal government budgeting is horrifying. I don’t just mean among lay people or the general public, but right up the both houses of Congress and the White House-–you know, the people who actually make the decisions. Nor is it limited to one party. While the Republicans have been far more rabid about it, the 
Democrats, too, are anxious to see the day when the budget deficit is not only smaller, but eliminated entirely. Best of all, they say, we might even reach the point of having surpluses that can cut into our massive national debt. While they may prioritize these goals differently, it appears that just about every single politician in Washington shares these sentiments. 
God help us.....
Taking the moron fest to task.

Forbes — Pragmatic Economics
Why We Cannot Afford The Republican Budget
John T. Harvey | Professor of Economics, Texas Christian University

Mark Adomanis — Russian Support For Democracy Just Hit The Lowest Level In More Than 20 Years

The invaluable Levada Center, Russia’s only genuinely independent polling agency, regularly conducts a survey about Russians’ attitudes towards the government, the economy, and the proper relationship between the state and its citizens. The 2015 results were just released, and it makes for rather depressing reading [to Western liberals].
Basically, right across the board, Russians have become substantially more statist and nationalist in their views.....
It should seem obvious, but you need to pay attention to what the Russian public thinks. It might be nice to assume that it wants exactly the same things that we do, but all of the evidence suggests that this isn’t true.
Turns out that most Russians are very conservative rather than liberal. The odds of a liberal regime coming to power are very low.

Russian Support For Democracy Just Hit The Lowest Level In More Than 20 Years
Mark Adomanis, Contributor

Understanding the Daily Treasury Statement course is tomorrow. You can still sign up!

If you haven't already signed up for this course you should. Having a grasp of this data is invaluable if you are a trader, investor, business owner, forecaster or just someone wanting to know the truth about our national finances. (Or make money in the markets.)

Very few people know of this information and even fewer know how to use it to make money.

The course is tomorrow. 10am - 4pm ET. It's online using Cisco's Webex. No special software needed. Just an internet connection. You will also get a recording of the coures. The fee is $225.

Enroll here:

 Understanding the Daily Treasury Statement

Nicolai N. Petro — Russia's Orthodox Soft Power

For many analysts the term Russky mir, or Russian World, epitomizes an expansionist and messianic Russian foreign policy, the perverse intersection of the interests of the Russian state and the Russian Orthodox Church.
Little noted is that the term actually means something quite different for each party. For the state it is a tool for expanding Russia's cultural and political influence, while for the Russian Orthodox Church it is a spiritual concept, a reminder that through the baptism of Rus, God consecrated these people to the task of building a Holy Rus.
The close symphonic relationship between the Orthodox Church and state in Russia thus provides Russian foreign policy with a definable moral framework, one that, given its popularity, is likely to continue to shape the country's policies well into the future.....
It's not possible to understand current events involving Russia, Russians, and Russophones in other countries without understanding the significant of the concept of Russky mir. Otherwise it is just projection. Religious people of the West were praying for the conversion of Russia. Well, they got it and now will have to deal with it.

Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs
Russia's Orthodox Soft Power
Nicolai N. Petro | Professor of Political Science at the University of Rhode Island

Matias Vernengo — On being a 'real Keynesian'

Has "Keynesian" become a relatively meaningless cliche? Yes.

When even Keynes was not a "Keynesian," it's time to move on.


Naked Keynesianism
On being a 'real Keynesian'
Matias Vernengo | Associate Professor of Economics, Bucknell University

JP Hochbaum — T Accounts of monetary operations

Put together by Nathan Cedric Tankus

Heretical Druthers
T Accounts of monetary operations
JP Hochbaum

Ramanan — Respect For Identities

Stock flow consistency versus econometrics.

David Glasner doesn't seem to accept that accounting identities are tautologies that determine what is logically necessary in that system of expression. They are true by definition (rule). That which contradicts a tautology by violating a definition (rule) is logically impossible. 

Tautology and contradiction are formal boundary conditions of expression — unless one is writing nonsense like Lewis Carroll, who happened to be a logician and mathematician in addition to being a very clever writer. He is best known for writing nonsense verse — Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, which continue to delight children and adults alike.

Mathematics is the language of science, and accounting is the language of business. In so far as economic is a study of production, distribution and consumption, in a modern economy this involves business and is conducted in terms of business rules, institutional arrangements in which double entry bookkeeping and accounting procedure (rules) are foundational.

Does anyone actually question this? How could accounting identities that follow from the institutional arrangements (rules) not be foundational as constraints (boundary conditions)? Otherwise, it's possible to just make stuff up.

Let's be clear. In a modern monetary economy, accounting identities are the starting point of doing economics. Period. Anyone who doesn't get this and hew to it is not playing by the rules, which amounts to talking nonsense.

The Case for Concerted Action
Respect For Identities

A Fatal Malady For Democracy

(Commentary posted by Roger Erickson)

Here, below, is just another in an endless series of examples ... it's a pity that this - and many other books - aren't Open Sourced.

Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins

It comes down to a direct friction between AdaptiveRight vs CopyRight, and the resulting lag in adaptive rate from such friction.

Whether you're for against remote assassinations - or the expanding pace of other, worldwide MICC (or other business-lobby) operations which you don't even know about ... wouldn't it be better if our electorate was adequately informed BEFORE the next election?
Our biggest hurdle seems to be the slow population-penetration of mission-critical information.
That's a fatal malady for democracy.

If it weren't for Central Planning, by oligarchs ... we wouldn't have no planning at all?

Even an informed electorate isn't adequate, if the information consistently comes too late to drive aggregate adaptive rate. Or, if they don't get enough practice to effectively USE information in time to matter.

Is this all connected to economics? Yup. Always is. We've trained citizens to hopelessly conflate personal vs aggregate entrepreneurialism, and personal capitalism vs aggregate capitalism. Citizens are so confused that they no longer even know what aggregate capital is, or what it's for.

Just pay people enough so that they can consume all they can produce?

Even Marriner Eccles & CH Douglas agreed upon that. It's called optimal social asset allocation, or "putting your money to work." Even the bible includes a semblance of that logic, for better or for worse.

Inequality and the "Church"...

Article at WaPo here.

Makes a correlation between dysfunctional degrading economic outcomes and "church" attendance decline.....

Why so many empty church pews? 
 The 1970s saw declines in employment for less-educated men, divergent incomes for college-educated and less-educated men, and a “breathtaking increase in inequality” — all of which left college-educated families and their communities with more financial resources, and poor and working-class communities with fewer resources.

Many in the "church" see the "church" itself to blame for a lot of this decline.

While perhaps the problem is not with the "church" but rather perhaps secular dysfunctional economic outcomes as the cause and what we may see as a "church" in decline as an effect.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

TASS — China may replace US Caterpillar as partner of Russian locomotive manufacturer

The Russian state corporation Uralvagonzavod (UVZ) may start cooperation with China on its project of development and production of locomotives, CEO Oleg Sienko said in an interview to TASS.
Earlier the corporation planned to implement the project jointly with the US-based Caterpillar, however, the cooperation was frozen due to sanctions introduced by the US against UVZ.

"The Chinese [companies] may come instead of Caterpillar, we’re studying this issue. We even have joint framework agreements singed," Sienko said....
China may replace US Caterpillar as partner of Russian locomotive manufacturer

TASS launches news service on Russian economy in English

James Petras — Latin America and the Anglo-American Booby-Left

James Petras goes after Noam Chomsky and the "Anglo-American Booby-Left" for misreading trends in Latin America, which he sees slipping back into neoliberalism.

The Official James Petras website
Latin America and the Anglo-American Booby-Left
James Petras | Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York and adjunct professor at Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Glenn Greenwald — Court Accepts DOJ’s ‘State Secrets’ Claim to Protect Shadowy Neocons: a New Low

Because national security.

The Intercept
Glenn Greenwald

Tony Cartalucci — US-Saudi Blitz in Yemen: Naked Aggression, Absolute Desperation

Proxy war with Iran in Yemen.

"You can't tell the players without a scorecard." It's getting more and more complicated.

New Eastern Outlook
US-Saudi Blitz in Yemen: Naked Aggression, Absolute Desperation
Tony Cartalucci

The Moscow Times — Ruble Panic Recedes as Russians Start Selling Dollars

Russians sold more foreign currency than they bought in January for the first time in two years, the Central Bank said Wednesday, in a sign that last year's panic over the ruble has subsided.
The Russian currency went into meltdown in December as a months-long devaluation prompted by Western sanctions and oil price falls turned into a rout. Massive demand for dollars and euros among Russians exacerbated the ruble's plunge, which peaked on Dec. 17, when the ruble fell 20 percent against the U.S. dollar within a few hours of trading.

But the rout appears to have run its course for now, with demand for foreign cash falling sharply in January, according to data published by the Central Bank.
The Moscow Times
Ruble Panic Recedes as Russians Start Selling Dollars

Ruble strengthening in excess of that assumed in the 2015 budget would lead to both lower revenue and lower spending, meaning that the net impact on the budget will be neutral, First Deputy Finance Minister Tatyana Nesterenko said.

“The ruble exchange rate and the price of oil [assumed in the budget] are forecasts calculated as the annual average. Right now we are very close to those average annual figures. To speak of the possibility of a shift in the trends assumed in the forecast, then it is important to say that the ruble exchange rate affects revenue and spending,” Nesterenko told journalists on Wednesday when asked about the apparent stabilization of the ruble at a stronger level than that assumed in the budget (61.5 rubles/$1).

Very much budget spending depends on the ruble exchange rate, including external debt servicing and international obligations, she said.

“This could be a balanced effect for revenue and spending. We have fairly large foreign currency liabilities. Accordingly, they will also be recalculated,” Nesterenko said.

“If the trends change, if forecast estimates change, the first thing that will be done is to go to parliament and introduce amendments,” she said.

Johnson's Russia List
Effect of ruble strengthening nearly neutral for Russian budget – Nesterenko

This is pretty inconclusive but the current data is not too bad.
Johnson's Russia List
Russia’s economy in 2015 – more resilient than expected
Mark Adomanis in Philadelphia | Business New Europe

The best recent economic analysis remains Jon Hellevig — Russia Economic New Brief

Podcast: I fixed the broken link with Ellen Brown interview. Works now.

I had a broken link in the Ellen Brown interview podcast that I posted earlier.

You can go to that post and listen now.

Podcast: Interview with Ellen Brown.

Interfax — Moscow: NATO plans deployment of aircraft carrying nuclear weapons near Russian borders

More bad news. Cold War 2 hotting up.
"The strategy emphasizes the U.S. ambition to begin forming a new global economic order. A special role in this order should be played by the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership, which will help the U.S. get central positions in free trade zones encompassing two-thirds of the world's economy," the document says.
The armed forces are regarded as the foundation of U.S. national security and "military superiority is considered the main factor in U.S. world leadership," the Russian Security Council said.
The document retains the determination "to use military force unilaterally at any spot in the world and preserve military presence abroad," it said.
Russia to take into account threats resulting from new U.S. security strategy

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