Saturday, April 30, 2016

Robin Scher — New Poll Shows a Majority of Young Americans Oppose Capitalism

New Poll Shows a Majority of Young Americans Oppose Capitalism
Robin Scher, AlterNet

Angry Arab — FLASH: Huffington Post removed an article after posting it because it was critical of the Qatari regime

"Our guys."

MATT DAMON on the Evil Elite

Some libertarian right winger put this video out but Matt Damon is really on the progressive left.

My girlfriend takes no interest in politics and thinks I'm a bit mad when I tell her how the world is up-side-down where good is evil and evil is often not so evil after all.  Come to think of it, my last girlfriend used to say to me when I bought the Guardian, or the Observer,  that why couldn't I buy a normal paper like everyone else (you know, like the The Sun)? I don't read those papers anymore, though, as I now know they are full of neoliberal crap and disinformation. 

Anyhow, here's Matt Damon telling an audience how wicked the people in charge of our society really are. That the good people are in prison and the bad people are going about scott free. Organised crime is heavily involved in the top echelons of our western society, I might add, and these people are very dangerous indeed.  But most ordinary people take no notice, watch celebrity culture and listen to its gossip, and think everything is fine, or good enough. My girlfriend is one of them. 

The Western elite and organised crime are taking us further along the path to a world war. 


Peter Lee — The Price of the Pivot: Scarborough Shoal

The PRC is in a pretty solid position, legality-wise in occupying Scarborough Shoal.
And that means it’s pretty much free to build on it. Even island-build it.
The United States and the Philippines know that.
Losing Scarborough Shoal was the price of the pivot.
It’s just hard to admit it.
Just like losing Crimea was the price of the coup in Ukraine.

And the rise of "radical Islam" was the price of inserting the "freedom fighters" into Afghanistan to counter Russia.

Tradeoffs. Zbig still believe that the tradeoff that created "radical Islam" was worth it.

"Geopolitical economy." I wonder if anyone has modeled it economically. The numbers are huge and growing.

The Unz Review
The Price of the Pivot: Scarborough Shoal
Peter Lee

See also at Unz Review

Trump’s America First Policy: Remarkably Sophisticated
Ilana Mercer

Trump Has A Sound Trade Policy, But Where Will He Get Sound Trade Policy Aides?
Eamonn Fingleton

Jeff Brown — Baba Beijing lowers the communist boom on foreign NGOs

Last year, I reported about the draft law proposed during the National People’s Congress (NPC), March 2015, to govern the activities of foreign NGOs (FNGOs) in China. Every law proposed in China is published for public comments, from both Chinese citizens and outsiders. This proposed FNGO law created such a hue and cry among Western governments and agencies, bordering on apoplexy, that the NPC tabled it for further review and consultation. China’s law was largely based on Russia’s FNGO law passed previously, and which was also largely adopted by India.
In the interim, China’s NPC passed a comprehensive update to its National Security Law, which has many common features with the FNGO legislation.
A year later, it’s official. On April 28th, China’s new “Management of Foreign Non-Governmental Organizations”, was signed into law by the NPC Standing Committee.…
Turning up the heat on foreign NGOs operating in the PRC in order to foil attempts at color revolution. Russia and India have taken similar steps.

China Rising
Baba Beijing lowers the communist boom on foreign NGOs-China Rising Radio Sinoland 16.4.30
Jeff Brown

See also

Legally India
China learns from India, passes law to restrict foreign NGOs
Gaurav Sharma, IANS

World Politics Review (May 18, 2015)
Foreign NGOs Hamstrung by Indian Funding Regulations

Of course, the US also has laws against subversion and requires registration for foreign agents.

There is also a push on to push out PRC-sponsored US branches of the Confucius Institute, which teach Chinese language and culture in US universities.
Lawmakers are investigating whether academic freedom is being threatened at universities building campuses in China and partnering with the Chinese on "Confucius institutes" in the U.S.
Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., chairman of a House subcommittee focusing on human rights, said at a hearing before the panel Thursday that he will seek a Governmental Accountability Office study of agreements between U.S. universities and China that allow China to promote its culture and language here through education programs it supervises and finances.
Smith said Congress could decide to withhold money for the Education Department or for State Department exchange programs if it decides the Chinese-sponsored efforts are compromising academic freedoms in the U.S.
"I think we can all agree that U.S. colleges and universities should not be outsourcing academic control, faculty and student oversight or curriculum to a foreign government — in this case a dictatorship," said Smith, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations.
USA Today (December 4, 2014)
House panel investigates 'Confucius institutes'
Nicole Gaudiano, USA TODAY

Nikhil Sonnad — The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: This Free Online Encyclopedia Has Achieved What Wikipedia Can Only Dream Of

A fundamental problem faced by the general public and the members of an academic discipline in the information age is how to find the most authoritative, comprehensive, and up-to-date information about an important topic.

That paper is so old that it mentions “CD-ROMs” in the second sentence. But for all the years that have passed, the basic problem remains unsolved.

The three requirements the authors list—”authoritative, comprehensive, and up-to-date”—are to information what the “impossible trinity” is to economics. You can only ever have one or two at once. It is like having your cake, eating it, and then bringing it to another party. 
Yet if the goal is to share with people what is true, it is extremely important for a resource to have all of these things. It must be trusted. It must not leave anything out. And it must reflect the latest state of knowledge. Unfortunately, all of the other current ways of designing an encyclopedia very badly fail to meet at least one of these requirements….
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: This Free Online Encyclopedia Has Achieved What Wikipedia Can Only Dream Of
Nikhil Sonnad
ht Miles Kimball at Confessions of a Supply Side Liberal

Friday, April 29, 2016

James Petras — President Obama: The Race for the Imperial Legacy

Harsh. Makes one cringe at the prospect of a Clinton presidency.

James Petras Website
President Obama: The Race for the Imperial Legacy
James Petras | Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York and adjunct professor at Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Gunnar Bjornson — Trump Doctrine explained, with another view by Paul Pillar

Parsing Trump's foreign policy speech.

Gunnar Bjornson: Trump Doctrine explained

See also

Consortium News
Trump’s Foreign Policy Mishmash
Paul R. Pillar

Brad DeLong — Rescue Helicopters for Stranded Economies

Brad prefers fiscal, calling it a no-brainer, but if the political will is not there, then helicopter money from the central bank is needed to prevent a further slid.

Project Syndicate
Rescue Helicopters for Stranded Economies
J. Bradford DeLong | Professor of Economics at the University of California at Berkeley, a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and formerly Deputy Assistant US Treasury Secretary during the Clinton Administration

Another warped, Goldman fuck

All you have to do is listen to the comments coming out of the mouths of Goldman Sachs’ executives to understand in an instant that this company is nothing more than a racket run by highly educated and privileged morons. Some of them even depraved.

In a recent speech given by a former Goldman Sachs’ president, some guy named John Thornton, he says that he is very concerned about “our economic future” and predicts that it will “end in tears.” 

Did Thornton have any particularly insightful reason why he would say that, like, who knows, maybe because the insane neocons in Washington (whom I am sure he supports) might decide to start World War 3 with Russia?


Instead Thornton says that the United States and other countries will see their economic situations end in tears because those benevolent central banks, you know...the ones who have collectively worked so hard to “buy time” for governments to “get their houses in order,” will realize that all their efforts have been in vain.

“After the events of 2008, really since then, the central banks either collectively or individually have tried to implement policies which would, in effect, buy time for individual governments to take the actions they should take to put their houses in order,” Thornton says.

What this imbecile is referring to is what he sees as some timebomb of massive government debt, obviously. What else would he be talking about?

The dead giveaway is the fact that this guy is now the chairman of the super right wing neoliberal think tank, the Brookings Institution. And Brookings is the gold standard of organizations that peddle the insidious and destructive doctrine of neoliberalism, i.e. privatization, austerity, debt reduction, “free trade,” regime change, war, etc.

Funny I should mention gold standard because this guy is also on the board of Barrick Gold, it appears. (Probably pushing for a Balanced Budget amendment and a return to the gold standard, of course.)
The prescriptions of these psychopaths have brought nothing but massive economic dislocation, poverty, inequality, never-ending regime change and war yet here they are still giving speeches.

What’s so amazing about the whole thing is how shamelessly brazen guys like Thornton are. They spend their careers making fortunes at institutions that openly admit to operating criminal rackets, then casually pay fines while criticizing the very governments that allow them to operate with impunity in this fashion.

These guys know nothing and subscribe only to their own, warped ideology and criminality. Yet they parade around all over selling their poisonous snake oil, all the while buying the politicians that will make sure their thievery gets officially sanctioned by the force of law.

It literally makes me want to puke.

In trading, what do you do when things don't go your way?

What do you do when things don't go our way?

Miles Kimball — Scott Adams on Donald Trump's Powers of Persuasion

Miles Kimball notices Scott Adams. IIRC, Miles Kimball was Noah Smith's dissertation adviser, so expect Noah to pick up on it, too.

Why is this important for economics? Because it shows that voting choice is not so much about policy (rational) but rather about persuasion and shaping perceptions (non-rational). The fact of the matter is that arguably most choices socially, political and economically are "managed" by preseason rather than "free" and "rational" as assumed.

Confessions of a Supply Side Liberal
Scott Adams on Donald Trump's Powers of Persuasion
Miles Kimball | Professor of Economics and Survey Research at the University of Michigan

Everett Rosenfeld — Icahn: Republicans don’t understand economics and it’s killing the country

The Republican Party that I used to be more sympathetic with — I'm right in the middle now, although as you know I'm for Trump — but what I would say is Congress is in this massive gridlock," he said, explaining that the Republican-controlled body is "obsessed with this deficit to a point that I think it's almost pathological."

The result of this gridlock and a lack of fiscal stimulus has been that the Federal Reserve has been forced to keep interest rates low, and that has created "tremendous bubbles" and "the wealth gap."

Additionally, worrying about a deficit when there is no significant inflation and the dollar remains the global reserve currency is not a smart way to govern, Icahn said, adding that "a country is not a company."…
Icahn: Republicans don’t understand economics and it’s killing the country
Everett Rosenfeld

I need to "trade out" of my long, USDJPY position

Yesterday I posted here how that early morning 300 point collapse in USDJPY was ridiculous.

It came about as a result of the BOJ standing pat on rates. "That's how people trade?" I asked.

Well apparently.

As if a greater degree of negative rates was somehow a "stimulus." The whole thing was absurdity to the extreme and completely out of paradigm with the current reality so what was I supposed to do? I simply HAD TO go long USDJPY and I did.

That trade was actually in the money for about 2-3 hours, but then it turned around and we're about 100 pips lower than where I bought in.

Then what did I do? Did I panic? Did I beat myself up? Did I frantically PAY the market to get out and take a loss?

No. That is not the proper mental game and not the proper strategy.

While I believe my reasoning for buying USDJPY was correct (although in the backdrop there is a serious, bearish dollar environment developing now), it is not working out.

What I teach in my Forex course is that we trade according to the principles of MMT. This trade was. (Japan enacting a nearly, $200 billion FISCAL stimulus for the economy and earthquake cleanup and reconstruction. That's bearish for the yen all things equal.)

However, when MMT trades do not work and we are caught with losses (it can happen because sentiment, too, drives markets and when clueless idiots believe something they can push the market like a stampeding herd) my course teaches you the SKILLS to trade out of what is not working.

The best offense is a good defense!

So, that's what I am about to out of this position that is not working. I am adding another unit of long, USDJPY at 106.89 to lower my average.

Stay tuned...

And by the way, if you haven't already, BUY MY FOREX COURSE. 25 hours of instruction for $250 bucks. ($10 an hour for those of you who are math-challenged.)

Here's what Tom Hickey, an invaluable contributor to this blog said about my course...

"Excellent presentation and so true. Your course is an incredible deal. Wish I hid this to work with back in the day."

Click the button below to purchase the course and start trading Forex now.
 Forex course

By the way, if you want to read some really cool and prescient calls, go back and read the posts on this blog from 2008

I was just looking through some of the posts put up on this blog on 2008 and, BOY, did we get things right. Amazing.

Check it out.

Fun read. Go here.

And leave you comments here.

Obama: the only president never to see a single year of 3% growth. I wonder why?

Obama...the worst.

The only president never to see a single year of 3% growth.

Well, maybe that's because he raised taxes on the middle class, bragged about deficit reduction, supported austerity, stood by as Wall Street went on an unprecedented (even for Wall Street) rampage of fraud, backed democracy-busting trade deals, handed trillions to the health insurance industry so they could pay their CEO's hundreds of millions in compensation while shoring up their profits (for stock buybacks), watched as public unions were decimated.

Maybe it had something to do with that stuff?

Maybe that's why labor's share of national income fell to the lowest level ever in history? Even as their productivity rose to the highest level in history.

Pure theft.

Obama...simply the worst. And by the way, this blog predicted it, way back in 2008 right after he was elected when I posted a picture of his economic team, which were a bunch of neoclassical economists and neoliberal zealots.

What did you expect?

The BRICS Post — US military challenged territorial claims of India, China: Pentagon

US military aircrafts and naval ships carried out these operations against China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Libya, Malaysia, the Maldives, Oman, the Philippines and Vietnam, the Pentagon report on Monday said. The purported aim of these assertive US missions are to demonstrate that Washington will not accept the claims of jurisdiction of these countries over disputed areas.…
Not just picking on China.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Glenn Greenwald — New Study Shows Mass Surveillance Breeds Meekness, Fear and Self-Censorship

"Mass surveillance breeds meekness, fear and self-censorship" Doh. That's the point. It's called intimidation, and that is also the effect of police militarization, as well as coordination of all domestic security apparatus under the cabinet level Department of Homeland Security. It's a plan. You are supposed to notice it and act accordingly.
A newly published study from Oxford’s Jon Penney provides empirical evidence for a key argument long made by privacy advocates: that the mere existence of a surveillance state breeds fear and conformity and stifles free expression. Reporting on the study, the Washington Post this morning described this phenomenon: “If we think that authorities are watching our online actions, we might stop visiting certain websites or not say certain things just to avoid seeming suspicious.”…
As the Post explains, several other studies have also demonstrated how mass surveillance crushes free expression and free thought.…
There are also numerous psychological studies demonstrating that people who believe they are being watched engage in behavior far more compliant, conformist and submissive than those who believe they are acting without monitoring.…
There is a reason governments, corporations, and multiple other entities of authority crave surveillance. It’s precisely because the possibility of being monitored radically changes individual and collective behavior. Specifically, that possibility breeds fear and fosters collective conformity. That’s always been intuitively clear. Now, there is mounting empirical evidence proving it.
Until recently, this was a major indictment of "totalitarian" states leveled by the liberal West.

But, of course, if you are not thinking any thoughts that could be construed as subversive, or saying or writing anything that could be considered subversive, or doing anything that might look subversive, what's to worry about?

The Intercept
New Study Shows Mass Surveillance Breeds Meekness, Fear and Self-Censorship
Glenn Greenwald

Financial Diversion — Gordon Long interviews Michael Hudson

On the FIRE economy.
Financial Diversion
Gordon Long interviews Michael Hudson

Jeff Desjardins — Four Maps Showing China’s Rising Dominance in Trade

We often use big, overarching ideas to help us understand the world and the opportunities contained within. These narratives, which can change over time, are used to create context. They give us a frame of reference for comprehending the news and events that affect our outlook on things.
China’s economic prowess is one of these new paradigms that has emerged, but many people still can’t really wrap their heads around the scale or scope of it.

It’s happened suddenly, and the ramifications are extremely relevant to our investments and understanding. Here’s four maps on China’s trade dominance that will help you think differently about the world:
Visual Capitalist
Four Maps Showing China’s Rising Dominance in Trade
Jeff Desjardins
The Russian Central Bank is guided (among other considerations) in its inflation expectations by statistics produced by Rosstat (Russia’s governmental statistics agency) concerning the size of Russia’s imports relative to domestic production. The bank’s inflation expectation in turn is – judging by their policy statements – the decisive factor in its interest rate policy. Unfortunately, it seems that Rosstat has in its published statistics grossly overestimated the share of imports. According to the agency, the share of all imported products of the “consumer basket” would be 38%. Our research shows that the true figure cannot be more than 24%. When approaching the question from different angles we have derived results in the range of 4.9% to 24%.
The biggest problem in Russia’s economy is not its relative dependence on oil and gas revenue, rather it is the punitively high borrowing costs that should occupy the top spot in policy concerns. The Central Bank has been keeping its key steering rate at an inordinately high level of 11% although inflation has long ago fallen well below that. By end of March, the inflation for the past 12 months was down to 7.3% and running forward at a rate of approximately 6%.…
The Russian Central Bank thus proceeds from quite erroneous premises in motivating its cutthroat interest policy by historical inflation records and “inflation risks” based on faulty statistics connected with a distorted view of the share of imports in the national economy. There is yet a third, perhaps more fundamental error, which is the neoliberal belief that inflation is strictly a monetary phenomenon. This when in fact the root cause of Russia’s inflation over the last two decades has been insufficient supply to meet the demand. Therefore, the immediate concern of the Central Bank should be to make affordable lending available for Russian producers. This should be done even at the risk of increasing the inflation in the short-term, because before the supply side is addressed it will not be possible to break the vicious cycle.…

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard — The European Union always was a CIA project, as Brexiteers discover

What was that about conspiracy theories again?
The Schuman Declaration that set the tone of Franco-German reconciliation - and would lead by stages to the European Community - was cooked up by the US Secretary of State Dean Acheson at a meeting in Foggy Bottom. "It all began in Washington," said Robert Schuman's chief of staff.…
For British eurosceptics, Jean Monnet looms large in the federalist pantheon, the emminence grise of supranational villainy. Few are aware that he spent much of his life in America, and served as war-time eyes and ears of Franklin Roosevelt.

General Charles de Gaulle thought him an American agent, as indeed he was in a loose sense. Eric Roussel's biography of Monnet reveals how he worked hand in glove with successive administrations.…
Nor are many aware of declassified documents from the State Department archives showing that US intelligence funded the European movement secretly for decades, and worked aggressively behind the scenes to push Britain into the project.…
The key CIA front was the American Committee for a United Europe (ACUE), chaired by Donovan. Another document shows that it provided 53.5 per cent of the European movement's funds in 1958. The board included Walter Bedell Smith and Allen Dulles, CIA directors in the Fifties, and a caste of ex-OSS officials who moved in and out of the CIA.…
 A memo dated June 11, 1965, instructs the vice-president of the European Community to pursue monetary union by stealth, suppressing debate until the "adoption of such proposals would become virtually inescapable". This was too clever by half, as we can see today from debt-deflation traps and mass unemployment across southern Europe. 
Who knew?

The Telegraph
The European Union always was a CIA project, as Brexiteers discover
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

Jason Smith — Celebrate this blog's birthday with a model prediction success story

How a scientist thinks about economic models. Hint: He checks the success of what the model predicted. What a novel idea.

Happy blog birthday.

Information Transfer Economics
Celebrate this blog's birthday with a model prediction success story
Jason Smith

Amazon beats

Another 1Q beat... I don't think Amazon sells gasoline...

The yen rally this morning is ridiculous

stupid traders sell usdjpy

As you know I have been bullish on the yen for a while and it has rallied for the past three months, but two weeks ago I said to sell it and we caught a nice, 400 pip profit going short.

This was all based on strategic, calm, trading and an MMT understanding of what was happening.

However, we just saw something earlier today that shows you why people lose money. The yen surged because the BOJ decided to keep monetary policy unchanged. So?

That unleashed a massive 300 point move down in USDJPY.

People trade like this?

Yup. And that's why you can make so much money, trading against emotional, clueless, fools.

The lack of action by the Bank of Japan does not change the fact that Japan is putting through a major fiscal stimulus. They "front loaded" all their public works' spending ot the first half of their 2016 fiscal year (Apr-Sep, basically). It's about a $110b equivalent of spending. And they are probably going to pass a supplemental budget to deal with the recent earthquake.

What does this mean? It probably means USDJPY goes back up again and the fools who sold this pair this morning, on nothing, will get their money taken from them. That's as it should be.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Catherine Rampell — Millennials are increasingly rejecting voodoo economics

Younger people no longer drinking the Kool-Aid?

The Washington Post
Millennials are increasingly rejecting voodoo economics
Catherine Rampell
ht Mark Thomas at Economist’s View

Alexander Douglas — Individuals don’t have preferences

This is just a vague stab at a germ of an idea. It’s what I hope to work on in the future by looking at the history and philosophy of political economy. It’s not properly formed at all; I’m just getting the idea out there to be discussed by all the smart people who read my blog and have offered so much helpful advice in the past.
The basic claim I want to make is that the theory of individual preferences that lies at the basis of economic analysis, public choice theory, and other related social sciences, is wrong. Individuals don’t have preferences.…
Origin of Specious
Individuals don’t have preferences
Alexander Douglas | Lecturer in Philosophy at Heythrop College, London

Brian Romanchuk — Primer: Core Versus Headline CPI

The distinction between headline and core inflation is commonly made in market and economic commentary. This primer briefly introduces these concepts, and why they are used.
Bond Economics
Primer: Core Versus Headline CPI
Brian Romanchuk

Losing is a choice

This is a VERY IMPORTANT video. Watch it!!!

Couple of Forex trade ideas...

Greece getting some relief in Olive Oil

Did a post a bit over a year ago on the price of Greek olive oil in USD terms here.

Price last year was $60 while today it is up to $65 so this is indicative that the Greek olive oil producers have been able to achieve a bit better real terms of trade in USD terms over the last year.  Perhaps some indirect benefit of the very significant reduction in petroleum/products since we last looked at this price.

EUR/USD was about at the same level on the two dates in question so this is a nice get for the Greek olive oil people.

Last year:

This year:

Bill Mitchell — The Left confuses globalisation with neo-liberalism and gets lost

Financial Times journalist Wolfgang Münchau’s article (April 24, 2016) – The revenge of globalisation’s losers – rehearses a common theme, and one which those on the Left have become intoxicated with (not implicating the journalist among them). The problem is that the basic tenet is incorrect and by failing to separate the process of globalisation (integrated multinational supply chains and global capital flows) from what we might call economic neo-liberalism, the Left leave themselves exposed and too ready to accept notions that the capacity of the state has become compromised and economic policy is constrained by global capital. This is a further part in my current series that will form the thrust of my next book (coming out later this year). I have broken sequence a bit with today’s blog given I have been tracing the lead up to the British decision to call in the IMF in 1976. More instalments in that sequence will come next week as I do some more thinking and research – I am trawling through hundreds of documents at present (which is fun but time consuming). But today picks up on Wolfgang Münchau’s article from the weekend and fits nicely into the overall theme of the series. It also keeps me from talking about deflation in Australia (yes, announced today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics) as the Federal government keeps raving on about cutting its fiscal deficit (statement next Tuesday). I will write about those dreaded topics in due course.…
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
The Left confuses globalisation with neo-liberalism and gets lost
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Venezuela Out of Munnie

I'm starting to think that these people may be technically incompetent and actually incapable of operating a currency system rather than simply USD zombies... consider that operating a state currency system may be simply above their head, so this second rate nation HAS TO piggy back the USD system.

There simply may not be enough systems people there who are trained and technically competent to do this kind of work.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

I don't know who Bob Bishop is, but if he's betting against Soros on China, he's sure to make a big score

Betting against Soros will pay off

Bob Bishop is a former Soros trader, it seems. Looks like he didn't take everything his boss taught him to heart, if at all. That's good.

Soros is totally confused about China. He believes China is facing a "debt crisis." This is the same, stupid thinking of morons like Kyle Bass.

I thought Soros was smarter. Apparently he made all his money by being lucky or getting inside information.

This Bob Bishop character is going to do just fine. And you should bet against Soros, too, when it comes to China.

Manuel E. Yepe — The Return of the Coup in Latin America

Global economic contraction provides the foundation for right-wing coups. More fallout from the global economic crisis that originated in Wall Street's "criminogenic environment" (Bill Black) and is reverberating around the world. Disaster capitalism at work. "Never let a good crisis go to waste."

The Return of the Coup in Latin America
Manuel E. Yepe, lawyer, economist and journalist, and a professor at the Higher Institute of International Relations in Havana

Rusvesna — Putin: Russia must not seek total Import Substitution

No autarky. 

Fort Russ
Putin: Russia must not seek total Import Substitution
Rusvesna (original in Russian)
Transcribed by J. Flores

PolitRussia — General Prosecutor: Right Sector attempts at coup d'etat in Russia thwarted; report to follow

The Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, Yuri Chaika, stated in his report to be presented to the Federation Council that supporters of Right Sector, a Ukrainian organization banned in the Russian Federation, have attempted to organize mass riots on the territory of Russia.…
This is consistent with public pronouncements of the Right Sector. I had written it off as bluster.


The US is intensifying the pressure on Cyprus to accept a secret NATO plan to keep Turkish forces on the island.

Victoria Nuland, the State Department official in charge of regime change in Russia and Ukraine, met for talks last week with the President of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, and with Turkish Cypriot figures.…
After its attack and military occupation of the north in 1974, Turkey has insisted on keeping its forces on the island as a security “guarantee”, and refuses to comply with United Nations (UN) resolutions ordering their withdrawal.
US military commanders and political leaders have never advocated Turkish withdrawal from the island, or compliance with the UN resolutions. Instead, they have recommended incorporating both parts of Cyprus into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The political and military commands in Ankara have been reluctant to accept a NATO solution for Cyprus because they object to what they regard as “dilution” of their army on the island. The Nuland plan is the latest attempt to give Ankara what it wants, and override Greek Cypriot objections.…
On April 5, just before Nuland’s arrival in Nicosia, senior Russian and Cypriot officials, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov (below, left) and the Permanent Secretary of the Cyprus Foreign Ministry, Alexandros Zenon (right), met in Moscow.
Their communique said that “during an exchange of views on the Cyprus settlement, the Russian side reiterated its commitment to the efforts made in the framework of the continuing intra-Cypriot talks under the UN aegis to promote a fair and lasting solution on the basis of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, a solution that would meet the interests of both Cypriot communities and stem from their voluntary consent.”
As for the terms to be agreed, Moscow has added: “We oppose any attempts at imposing on the participants of the intra-Cypriot negotiations any formulas of settlement, artificial negotiating schedules, and arbitration.”…
[Cyprus President] Anastasiades has been forced into publicly defending himself and his associates from widely published, widely believed allegations of corruptly protecting their wealth when, in return for the European Union’s bailout of the Cyprus banks, Anastasiades agreed to the “haircut” – the confiscation of Cypriot depositors’ bank accounts on March 25, 2013. Anastasiades has also been linked to extortion by a former deputy attorney-general now on trial for abuse of power; and to privatization scams.… 
Keeping up with the intrigue.

Jeremiah Dittmar and Ralf R Meisenzahl — Origins of growth: How state institutions forged during the Protestant Reformation drove development

Throughout history, most states have functioned as kleptocracies and not as providers of public goods. This column analyses the diffusion of legal institutions that established Europe’s first large-scale experiments in mass public education. These institutions originated in Germany during the Protestant Reformation due to popular political mobilisation, but only in around half of Protestant cities. Cities that formalised these institutions grew faster over the next 200 years, both by attracting and by producing more highly skilled residents.
Raising the general level of education raises the level of collective consciousness of a group, reducing insularity and increasing appreciation of universality. Education requires freedom of thought and expression. What is needed now is a new "protestant reformation" in economics to overthrow the "priesthood" and "priestcraft" of the currently dominant ideology that fetishizes "freedom" as independence from governmental intrusion in the economy other than to provide security and enforce law, especially property rights, assuming spontaneous natural order as a secular Deism.

Project Syndicate
Origins of growth: How state institutions forged during the Protestant Reformation drove development
Jeremiah Dittmar, Professor of Economics, London School of Economics, and Ralf R Meisenzahl, Senior Economist, Federal Reserve Board

Timothy Taylor — Who's the Threat? Big Business, Big Labor, Big Government?

Convertible Economist
Who's the Threat? Big Business, Big Labor, Big Government?
Timothy Taylor | Managing editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, based at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota

Jared Bernstein — The new age or the stone age: we either deal with the costs of trade or they deal with us

The next trade agenda must also, I’ve argued, pursue a new kind of trade deal, one that elevates a wholly different group of stakeholders than the largely corporate interests who have come to dominate that process.
That agenda must also incorporate an evolving understanding of international macroeconomics, one that incorporates “savings gluts,” wherein large trade surplus countries export savings to and import labor demand from deficit countries, capital flows and their contribution to “secular stagnation,” and the impact of these dynamics on the dollar, interest rates, the Fed’s macro-management, and inflation.
The problem we face, of course, is that it took way too long to get to this discussion. That has allowed protectionists/demagogues to blame immigrants and trade for all that ails us, which leads to the obvious solutions: get rid of the immigrants and build barriers to trade.
But those ideas can’t work in no small part because globalization is…um…a global force with a massive, infrastructure in place and benefits that American consumers will not comfortably sacrifice, nor should we, both for our own well-being and for the ability of emerging economies to lift their living standards through trade with richer countries.
Because we ignored the brewing problems with trade for so long, wasting time with fractious arguments over trade deals instead of dealing with the real problems identified by Autor et al and EPI, we’ve not built the policy architecture to deal with the micro and macro issues raised above (sorry, but “wage insurance” doesn’t get it).… 
On the Economy
The new age or the stone age: we either deal with the costs of trade or they deal with us
Jared Bernstein

Economy Watch — Switzerland Joins Chinese Alternative to World Bank

Advantages of being an early adopter.

Economy Watch
Switzerland Joins Chinese Alternative to World Bank

Dean Baker — The Question Is Not "Free Trade" and Globalization, It Is Free Trade and Globalization Designed to Screw Workers

Will the media ever stop the ridiculous charade of pretending that the path of globalization that we are on is somehow and natural and that it is the outcome of a "free" market?
The bulk of the post is kind of weak, but the title and above quote get it right.

Beat the Press
The Question Is Not "Free Trade" and Globalization, It Is Free Trade and Globalization Designed to Screw Workers
Dean Baker | Co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C

Color Perception

Interesting article about our ability to see colors (or not) thru our vision of electromagnetic radiation.

Human vision relies on what is known as trichromacy, the method which allows the mixing of just three fixed wavelengths of light at certain intensities into the multitudes of shades that color the world we see. This is because the human retina, which transmits visual information to the brain, has only three light-absorbing pigments. 
This is one of the primate kingdom’s benefits since most other animal species are hamstrung with dichromacy, which limits their vision to the mix of just two colors.

Maybe the morons are actually a different species because there are definitely things they cannot see that is for sure...

Monday, April 25, 2016

Krugman Ignores Economic Evidence to Slight Sanders — Sharmini Peries interviews Gerald Friedman

The saga goes on.

Real News Network
Krugman Ignores Economic Evidence to Slight Sanders
Sharmini Peries interviews Gerald Friedman

Paul Goble — Russians’ Anti-Americanism Arose Before Putin and Will Outlast Him, Volkov Says

This is a doubly interesting post in that the author is a major critic of Putin. But the Levada poll speaks volumes, and Levada is not only a highly respected polling firm, its is also on the liberal side of the spectrum. Based on this, the post is probably too optimistic about Russian views of the liberal West.

More evidence of regime change leading to liberal government is wishful thinking. It is doubtful that top US strategist actually believe it either and are rather aiming for destabilization of the Russia Federation, its further dismemberment so as never again to pose a threat to liberal domination under US hegemony, and its return to being just gas station (John McCain).

Window on Eurasia -- New Series
Russians’ Anti-Americanism Arose Before Putin and Will Outlast Him, Volkov Says
Paul Goble

Russian philosopher and political theorist Alexander Dugin, who has been sanctioned by the US for his views, sums up the conservative Russian POV.

Alexander Dugin

Bill Black — Paul Krugman and Holman Jenkins Shill for the Giant Banks

Holman Jenkins, the ultra-conservative Wall Street Journal columnist who specializes in global climate change denial and elite financial fraud denial, has written recently to join Paul Krugman in defending the systemically dangerous banks. Jenkins is a member of the WSJ’s loopy editorial board. Jenkins’ title was “Big Banks Aren’t the Problem.” Jenkins’ thesis raises obvious and vital questions – he ignores each of them because answering them would falsify his thesis.
The 2008 crisis did not begin in a handful of too-big-to-fail banks, but in incentives cast far and wide among home buyers, mortgage brokers, lenders and others to underwrite tax-advantaged, one-way bets on home prices.
I wrote this during Passover, so I followed the tradition of asking four questions.

  1. When did “the 2008 crisis” “begin?”
  2. Who created the “incentives?”
  3. Why did they create the “incentives?”
  4. Who had “one-way” incentives?
New Economic Perspectives
Paul Krugman and Holman Jenkins Shill for the Giant Banks
William K. Black | Associate Professor of Economics and Law, UMKC

Michael Stevens — Dear Time Magazine Readers, the United States Is Not Insolvent

Mostly about Stephanie Kelton.

Multiplier Effect
Dear Time Magazine Readers, the United States Is Not Insolvent
Michael Stevens

Alexander Douglas — More on MMT and the mainstream

Alex gets some notice and responds.

Origin of Specious
More on MMT and the mainstream
Alexander Douglas | Lecturer in Philosophy at Heythrop College, London

Brad DeLong — A Methodological-Moral Struggle Over the Sanders Economic-Policy Proposals

Turning up the heat.

Grasping Reality
A Methodological-Moral Struggle Over the Sanders Economic-Policy ProposalsBrad DeLong | Professor of Economics, UCAL Berkeley

Mike Weisbrot — Washington’s Dog-Whistle Diplomacy Supports Attempted Coup in Brazil

The day after the impeachment vote in the lower house of Brazil’s congress, one of the leaders of the effort, Senator Aloysio Nunes, traveled to Washington, D.C. He had scheduled meetings with a number of U.S. officials, including Thomas Shannon at the State Department.
Shannon has a relatively low profile in the media, but he is the number three official in the U.S. State Department. Even more significantly in this case, he is the most influential person in the State Department on U.S. policy in Latin America. He will be the one recommending to Secretary of State John Kerry what the U.S. should do as the ongoing efforts to remove President Dilma Rousseff proceed.
Shannon’s willingness to meet with Nunes just days after the impeachment vote sends a powerful signal that Washington is on board with the opposition in this venture. How do we know this? Very simply, Shannon did not have to have this meeting. If he wanted to show that Washington was neutral in this fierce and deeply polarizing political conflict, he would not have a meeting with high-profile protagonists on either side, especially at this particular moment.
Shannon’s meeting with Nunes is an example of what could be called “dog-whistle diplomacy.” It barely shows up on the radar of the media reporting on the conflict, and therefore is unlikely to generate backlash. But all the major actors know exactly what it means. That is why Nunes’ party, the Social Democracy Party (PSDB), publicized the meeting.
Weisbrot explains political signaling with several examples.

Washington’s Dog-Whistle Diplomacy Supports Attempted Coup in Brazil
Mike Weisbrot |  co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, in Washington, D.C. and president of Just Foreign Policy

Dan Nixon — Less is more: what does mindfulness mean for economics?

The first thing that it is interesting about this post is that it is about Buddhist economics — remember E. F. Schumacher's Small Is Beautiful and A Guide for the Perplexed? Since then the interest in mindfulness, based on mediation adapted from Vipassanā (Pāli) or Vipaśyanā (Sanskrit). Scientific research is being out the advantages of this Westernized version of the practice, and it has become accepted in business circles as a management technique.

The second thing that it is interesting about this post is that appears on the blog of the Bank of England.

The third thing that is interesting is that the author goes beyond the usual emphasis that mindfulness is a personal technique that improves performance to draw implications from Buddhist teaching about desire and contrasts this to the liberal economic view of utility maximization.

While it can be criticized for only scratching the surface and missing the point of mindfulness, it is a beginning and it is interesting to see that beginning being broached a major Western institution.

Bank of England — Bank Underground
Less is more: what does mindfulness mean for economics?
Dan Nixon, Stakeholder Communications & Strategy Division, Bank of England

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 MMT Trader

Zero Hedge — Why Voters Will Stay Angry

From the supporters of Donald Trump to the street protesters of southern Europe, voters around the world are mad as hell. Inequality, immigration, and the establishment's perceived indifference are firing up electorates in a way that's rarely been seen before. As the following charts from Bloomberg show, the forces shaping the disruption of global politics have been building for years and aren't about to diminish...
Zero Hedge
Why Voters Will Stay Angry
Tyler Durden
ht Don Quijones at Raging Bull-Shit

Philip Arestis and Malcolm Sawyer — Structural Reforms Are Not the Answer: Expansionary Fiscal Policy Is

 The obvious response to an excess of savings over investment is to run a corresponding budget deficit which enables the savings to be realised and supports aggregate demand. Some, such as Germany and the Netherlands are able to combine high savings with low investment through a current account surplus, but others need a budget deficit.… 
Triple Crisis
Structural Reforms Are Not the Answer: Expansionary Fiscal Policy Is
Philip Arestis and Malcolm Sawyer
Philip Arestis is Honorary Senior Departmental Fellow, and Director of Research at the Centre for Economics & Public Policy, Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge; Professor of Economics at the Department of Applied Economics V, Universidad del País Vasco, Spain; Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Economics at the Department of Economics, University of Utah; Senior Scholar, Levy Economics Institute, New York; Visiting Professor, Leeds Business School, University of Leeds; and Professorial Research Associate, Department of Finance & Management Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.
Malcolm Sawyer is professor of economics at the university of Leeds, and a research scholar at the Levy Institute.

Ollie McAninch — Corporations will rule Governments if TTIP goes ahead

Even if TTIP goes ahead, ISDS needs serious rethinking. It will be interesting to see if the democratically elected Governments have the power or willingness to adhere to the will of the people who elected them, rather than the corporations that fund them.
The London Economic
Corporations will rule Governments if TTIP goes ahead
Ollie McAninch, economist working in journalism

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Steven Rosenfeld — No One Thought It Was Possible: 12 Ways the Sanders Revolution Has Transformed Politics

When Bernie Sanders launched his presidential campaign a year ago with a brazen call for American revolution in politics, economics and social justice, no-one—not even the candidate himself—could have imagined what the still-fighting campaign would bring.
“The media likes to portray this as a fair fight on even footing,” campaign manager Jeff Weaver said last week. “They seem to forget that when we started our campaign on April 30, we barely registered in the polls. We didn’t have a political organization. We didn’t have millionaires waiting in the wings. Quite frankly, we didn’t have a whole lot. And then millions of people came together in a political revolution.”…
No One Thought It Was Possible: 12 Ways the Sanders Revolution Has Transformed Politics
Andrew O'Hehir

Bernie Sanders and Danny Glover Exclusive on The Real News — Paul Jay interviews Bernie Sanders

JAY: So a direct federally-funded jobs program is on the table with you.
SANDERS: Absolutely.
The Real News Network
Bernie Sanders and Danny Glover Exclusive on The Real News
Paul Jay interviews Bernie Sanders

Prediction Markets update

Election Betting Odds

Odds Checker


Predict It

Iowa Electronic Markets

Brian Romanchuk — Anwar Shaikh On Micro And Macro Economics

As I noted in my discussion of Anwar Shaikh's new book Capitalism: Competition, Conflict, Crises, one of the most interesting parts of the work was his discussion of how microeconomic behaviour is reflected in aggregate performance. There are fundamental constraints upon individual behaviour that result in the same aggregate patterns at the macro level. Using the currently popular buzzword, macro behaviour is emergent, and cannot be predicted from individual behaviour with reference to the aggregate system. In my view, this is useful for macro analysts, as it means we do not waste our time obsessing about the lessons of microeconomics. For mainstream ("neoclassical") economics, this line of thinking is disastrous, as it means that entire "microfoundations project" has all the usefulness of a foundation made of sand.…
Bond Economics
Anwar Shaikh On Micro And Macro Economics
Brian Romanchuk

Karl Marx on his "guiding principle"

The general conclusion at which I arrived and which, once reached, became the guiding principle of my studies can be summarised as follows.

In the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness. At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or – this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms – with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution. The changes in the economic foundation lead sooner or later to the transformation of the whole immense superstructure.

In studying such transformations it is always necessary to distinguish between the material transformation of the economic conditions of production, which can be determined with the precision of natural science, and the legal, political, religious, artistic or philosophic – in short, ideological forms in which men become conscious of this conflict and fight it out. Just as one does not judge an individual by what he thinks about himself, so one cannot judge such a period of transformation by its consciousness, but, on the contrary, this consciousness must be explained from the contradictions of material life, from the conflict existing between the social forces of production and the relations of production. No social order is ever destroyed before all the productive forces for which it is sufficient have been developed, and new superior relations of production never replace older ones before the material conditions for their existence have matured within the framework of the old society.

Mankind thus inevitably sets itself only such tasks as it is able to solve, since closer examination will always show that the problem itself arises only when the material conditions for its solution are already present or at least in the course of formation. In broad outline, the Asiatic, ancient, [A] feudal and modern bourgeois modes of production may be designated as epochs marking progress in the economic development of society. The bourgeois mode of production is the last antagonistic form of the social process of production – antagonistic not in the sense of individual antagonism but of an antagonism that emanates from the individuals' social conditions of existence – but the productive forces developing within bourgeois society create also the material conditions for a solution of this antagonism. The prehistory of human society accordingly closes with this social formation. — Emphasis added.

In contemporary terms, Marx is asserting that microfoundations based on individualism is ill-conceived given (assuming) the "guiding principle" at which his previous research had arrived:   "It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness."

This is a rejection of homo economicus in favor of homo socialis, as well as a rejection of methodological individualism based on ontological individualism in social, political and economic methodology. This is consistent with Aristotle's position in Politics, as Marx would have known:
From these things therefore it is clear that the city-state is a natural growth, and that man is by nature a political animal [ho anthropos physei politikon zoon], and a man that is by nature and not merely by fortune citiless is either low in the scale of humanity or above it (like the “ clanless, lawless, heartless ” man reviled by Homer,1 for one by nature unsocial is also ‘a lover of war’)inasmuch as he is solitary, like an isolated piece at draughts. — Politics, Book I, 1253a 
However, Marx also implicitly rejects Aristotle's political institutionalism based on civil law as basic in favor of a socio-economic mode of production as foundational. For Marx, social and political superstructure is based on economic infrastructure.

This dovetails with Darwin's natural selection as the driver of survival of the fittest. Since Darwin's On the Origin of Species was published in the same year (1859) as Marx's A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, Marx would not be reacting to Darwin in this work. However, Marx was well read in history and his work is historically based rather than theoretical.

For Marx, subsistence is bottom line and it necessarily precedes surplus production since subsistence living is required for survival as an individual in a group, humans not being lone hunters. Among primitive people, subsistence living as determined by a particular environment was the starting point from which human development emerged through language (communications) and tool use (technology).

Everything we call "human" — culture, institutions, etc, — is based first on surviving in a challenging environment and then prospering  by creating a surplus if possible. Then the question becomes how to divide the surplus over subsistence in a group. Historically, that has devolved to power relationships based on relations among subgroups within a group. This alignment based on economic infrastructure determines cultural and institutional superstructure.

Why did Marx pursue this approach since he was educated in classical thought and had a PhD philosophy, having written a dissertation on Greek atomism. On one had, he was interested in an evidence-based theory in the newly developing scientific age. He was a harbinger of sociology, for example, if he is not considered one of the founders of the discipline. Das Kapital is a work in political economy and economic sociology rather than theoretical economics, which had not yet appeared on the scene.

One the other hand, Marx was born into tumultuous times in Europe, after the French Revolution and its aftermath. Marx does not come out of nowhere. He was intensely involved in the issues of the day and was reacting to the many influences that were au courant.

While Marx was a man of his time and would almost certainly have adapted his thinking to new knowledge and changing circumstance given the development of his thought, his analysis still speaks powerfully today in many important respects that conventional economics and political theory have not only ignored but also suppressed in the West. His work has influenced sociology however and continues to do so through class and power.

Now it is past time to revisit Marx's ideas about the foundational nature of social modes of production as humanity stands on the cusp of a transition from the Industrial Age to the Information Age, which is proving as profound and transformative as the transition from the Agricultural Age to the Industrial age and from the Hunter-Gather the Agricultural.

While Marx could not have dreamed of the advances in communications and technology, let alone foreseen them, many of his insights are remain vibrant, such as the foundation importance of the mode of production. What will be the outcomes of the present transformation owing to the digitizing of the means of production?

Karl Marx
Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (1859) 

Don Quijones — With Impeccable Timing, ‘Economic Miracle’ in Spain Unravels

The European Union on the verge.
Wolf Street
With Impeccable Timing, ‘Economic Miracle’ in Spain Unravels
Don Quijones

Ramping up

Ramping up.


Russian Navy to have nigh-unstoppable hypersonic missiles by 2018 – report


Ash Carter: How to Scare Friends and Influence the Military Budget

Not Just North Korea! Kiev Reportedly Tests Nuclear-Capable Missile

Russia's 'Revolutionary' Hypersonic Weapons Second to None

N Korea Reportedly Fires Ballistic Missile From Submarine

On the Brink of Cyber War? Moscow, Washington Meet Quietly in Geneva

China Can Learn From USSR's Mistake of Trying to Integrate With West

Aggressive Russia, You Say? Poland Set to Double Size of Armed Forces


Russia takes measures over NATO military build-up at country’s western borders

Russia’s hypersonic Zircon missile to go into serial production in 2018 — source

The Diplomat

China Unveils New Submarine-Launched Anti-Ship Cruise Missile

China Flight Tests Multiple Warhead Missile Capable of Hitting All of US

The National Interest

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Brazil's Impeachment Vote a Political Trial to Subvert Democracy — Sharmini Peries interviews Maria Mendoza

If President Dilma Rousseff is successfully impeached it will shake confidence in the entire Brazilian democratic system, says Maria Mendonca of the University of Rio de Janeiro.
This is the real issue. Sounds banana republic but the GOP did essentially the same thing in the case of Bill Clinton who was impeached but not removed and Barack Obama, who the GOP leadership declared they intended "break."

Capitalism is antithetical to democracy.

Real News Network
Brazil's Impeachment Vote a Political Trial to Subvert Democracy
Sharmini Peries interviews Maria Mendoza | Director of Brazil's Network for Social Justice and Human Rights and she's also Professor in International Relations at the University of Rio de Janeiro

See also
Vice President Michel Temer, who would take over if Rousseff is impeached, met with close advisors in Sao Paulo to study plans for a new government that, aides said, would move quickly to restore economic confidence and growth.…
Murilo Portugal, the head of Brazil's most powerful banking industry lobby, has emerged as a strong candidate to become finance minister if Temer takes power, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
Capitalism is antithetical to democracy.

Brazil's Rousseff going to U.N. over impeachment; cabinet in crisis

OK, Venezuela is a banana republic except the bananas are now oil, but still.

nsnbc international
Venezuelan Parliament Goes on Offensive to Oust Maduro

Claire Bernish — New Report Proves Police Preparing For Rioting On A National Scale

A new report from analysts with industry research group, Sandler Research, forecasts the Global Riot Control System Market for the next four years — but beyond a burgeoning market to parallel the expanding global police state, it appears world governments are also keenly aware of civilian discontent.…

bne intellinews — Oligarchs step up consolidation of Czech media


Do you prefer rule by communist apparatchiks or oligarchs?

bne intellinews
Oligarchs step up consolidation of Czech media

See also

Consortium News
Bowing to America’s Oligarchs
Sam Husseini

Noah Smith — Policy recommendations and wishful thinking

Contra Gerald Friedman on the Sanders economic program.

Perhaps the Sanders campaign needs to address this directly instead of through a surrogate like Friedman.

Again, the progressive "left" seems to be falling flat on the economic front. "They" are winning this debate except with true believers.

Policy recommendations and wishful thinking
Noah Smith | Assistant Professor of Finance, Stony Brook University

Paul R. Pillar — Hillary ‘the Hawk’ Clinton

As the Democratic Party grimly marches toward Hillary Clinton’s nomination, little thought has been given to her extraordinary record as a war hawk and what that could mean to the world, observes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Consortium News
Hillary ‘the Hawk’ Clinton
Paul R. Pillar | visiting professor at Georgetown University for security studies and 28 year CIA veteran and a former top analyst

Daniel Little — Large structures and social change

The relationship between feudalism and the origins of capitalism was of great interest to Marx.…
The question of the transition from feudalism to capitalism remained central for subsequent Marxist thinkers.….
More recent views of the origins of capitalism have merged Marxism and some of the key ideas of post-colonialism. An interesting current example is Alexander Anievas and Kerem Nişancıoğlu's How the West Came to Rule: The Geopolitical Origins of Capitalism, a 2015 book from Pluto Press.

Anievas and Nişancıoğlu offer an account of the transition to capitalism that emphasizes the international character of the transition from the start. Their story differs in some important ways from the classic Marxian account, according to which European feudalism possessed its own dynamic of conflict between forces and relations of production, eventuating in the emergence of a new social order, capitalism. Anievas and Nişancıoğlu reject a "Eurocentric" approach to the emergence of capitalism and industrial revolution; rather, international trade, war, and colonialism were essential components of the emergence of the capitalist mode of production.…
There is an important historiographical issue here that is illustrated in these works by Dobb, Anievas and Nişancıoğlu, and Brenner: to what extent is it feasible to look for large macro-processes and transitions in history? Should we expect large social and economic factors writing out social change? Or is history more contingent and more multi-pathed than that? My own view is that the latter approach is correct (link). Neither technology (link) nor population (link) nor class conflict (link) suffices to explain large historical change. Rather, large structures and small innovations add up to contingent and variable pathways of historical development. We've gotten past the "agent-structure" debate; but perhaps we still have the "large factor, small factor" debate standing in front of us (link). And the solution may be the same: both large structures and contingent local arrangements are involved in the development of new social systems.
My view is that different accounts are useful. The simplest accounts are generally highly abstract and therefore only approximate, but they capture key features. However, they also stand in need of articulation in terms of nuance. Consequently, there might be many levels of account with different degrees of generality and nuance, or different methods of approach appropriate for the same issue.

Each of these levels can be viewed as a different type of tool, or as a microscopic with lenses of different power. There isn't one best explanation or method in an absolute sense but rather a best explanation of method for the task at hand.

For example, one method of attack or defense in debate is to request greater clarification or more granularity. There is no end to satisfying this in the case of perverse questioning.

Understanding Society
Large structures and social change
Daniel Little | Chancellor of the University of Michigan-Dearborn, Professor of Philosophy at UM-Dearborn and Professor of Sociology at UM-Ann Arbor

Ramanan — Nicholas Kaldor On The Foreign Trade Multiplier

Kaldor quote.

The Case for Concerted Action
Nicholas Kaldor On The Foreign Trade Multiplier
V. Ramanan

Manila Dinucci — Nuclear Escalation in Europe

For all you folks living in the vicinity.

Since reagan announced Star Wars and G. W. Bush unilaterally withdrew from the ABM treaty, things nuclear have been headed down the slippery slope. Now process is accelerating.

Voltaire Network
Nuclear Escalation in Europe
Manlio Dinucci

Charles Glass — Andrew Bacevich and America’s Long Misguided War to Control the Greater Middle East

I actually bought into this crazy nonsense as a newly minted naval officer in 1964 — until I figured out what was going on.

The telling aspect of this rationalizing about "doing good" is that it's more about doing good for US interests, read the interests of the US ruling elite.

It amy be cynical on the part of some, but some fall for their own rationalization and really believe that the US is destined "to lead the world" because "American exceptionalism." And, of course, they don't mind if it also benefits them and their networks specifically and even especially.

The Intercept
Andrew Bacevich and America’s Long Misguided War to Control the Greater Middle East
Charles Glass

Joel Kotkin — Where Millionaires Are Moving

You probably won't guess.

Where Millionaires Are Moving
Joel Kotkin | executive editor of He is the Roger Hobbs Distinguished Fellow in Urban Studies at Chapman University and executive director of the Houston-based Center for Opportunity Urbanism.

Diane Coyle — Power and economics

My esteemed colleague Adam Ozanne has written a very interesting, short book on the strange absence of the concept of power from mainstream modern economics. The book, Power and Neoclassical Economics, argues that the fact that economics ignores power in social relations has also affected other social sciences, especially political science, as they have adopted techniques and approaches used in economics.
What explains the lacuna? Adam dates it to, first, the marginalist turn in economics in the 1870s, which started the process of abstracting from the particulars of reality into formalism; and then to the ordinalism of the 1930s and Lionel Robbins’ insistence that ‘positive’ and ‘normative’ economics could be separated. The new welfare economics of the 1950s finished the job. Indeed, Arrow’s famous impossibility theorem seemed to conclude that we can’t say anything practical about social choice. As the book puts it: “It must seem strange to non-economists that economic and social choice theorists have dug themselves into such a deep hole (though a very tidy, immaculately constructed hole) that they cannot even distinguish between rich and poor, but that appears to be the case.”….
From class structure flows power, from power flows economic, and from economic rent flows concentrated incomes and wealth. Ignoring power is to ignore economics as a social science and get lost in empty formalism. Worse, politic economy without considering power is ideology that establishes privilege.

The Enlightened Economist
Power and economics
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

Publisher's blurb:
Mainstream economics almost completely ignores the role power plays in determining economic outcomes, which means it can only provide partial explanations of the distribution of wealth and income, and of the problems associated with inequality and poverty. For many, this is a fundamental failing that severely limits its relevance to the real world and is the source of much dissatisfaction with, and cynicism about, economics and economists. Ozanne explains how this neglect of power has come about over the past 150 years and why it is important. He reviews various definitions and theories of power from across the social sciences and proposes a new approach that could bring considerations of power back into standard economic theory and economics teaching. The approach is simple and intuitive, involving little more than re-envisioning the social welfare function as a 'political economy function'. However, if adopted in economics teaching, it could radically change the way young economists are taught to think about economic problems and lead to a 'return to political economy'.
Adam Ozanne has degrees in physics and astronomy, rural development, and agricultural economics. He also began a DPhil in nuclear astrophysics but abandoned it and went instead to teach maths and physics in Pakistan and work for a Third World development agency. He is now a Senior Lecturer teaching economics at the University of Manchester, UK.