Thursday, January 31, 2019

Richard Heinberg — Could a Green New Deal Save Civilization?

Mentions MMT positively as a tool.

The reality is that there is no proposal on the table articulated in the detail needed to address the issues. This requires comprehensive statement of a design problem and a design solution. The reason is that key pieces are missing so far owing to the huge scale involved and the size of the emergent challenges. Have the green new dealers faced up to this adequately? Most of what is being mentioned is the low hanging fruit, and that is not sufficient to the task.

As Richard Heinberg points out, this is not chiefly a funding issue that MMT can handle. MMT is a powerful tool, but not used alone. This is chiefly a resource issue, and there is no clear solution for avoiding some unpleasant choices involving tradeoffs. One of the necessary resources is knowledge. There is still much we don't know yet.

There is no path to maintaining the present level of civilization without a breakthrough in clean energy resources that scale. We don't yet know how to do this. So far, no one has had the temerity to lay this out for public debate. It's more "extend and pretend" aka "kicking the can down the road." 

It's going to require a Manhattan project of sorts, aimed at developing clean energy sources that scale quickly, or the world likely faces a culling. Militaries are already preparing for mass migrations as resources become scarce in some regions. This involves a resetting of objectives and priorities.

Elites don't want to deal with it, since it upsets their business model. Politicians don't want to deal with it because it is a hot potato. The public is not very interested in learning about it so far since everyone seems to have a gut feeling that it's going to be unpleasant and is avoiding it. The media doesn't want to deal with it, since it's not a story that sells. 

The result? Denial.

It looks like the crisis is going to have to get worse before denial is overcome by necessity, or else. 

A Green New Deal by all means, but let's be realistic about what is involved and what it will take. 

Post Carbon Institute
Could a Green New Deal Save Civilization?
Richard Heinberg | Senior Fellow of the Post Carbon Institute

See also

WorldWatch Institute
Swift Boating, Stealth Budgeting, & Unitary Executives
James Hansen is an adjunct professor at the Columbia Univer­sity Earth Institute and director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York

Cullen Roche — MMT–The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Cullen has said all this previously in blog posts, and he summarizes his take in this one. His views have been addressed previously at MNE.

Pragmatic Capitalism
MMT – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Cullen Roche

Harry J. Kazianis — What if Trump’s Trade War With China Goes Too Well?

“America’s strategy when it comes to China is easy to understand: crush them. Drive them into the ground. Make sure that they can’t undo American power and influence not just in Asia but around the world. That’s Trump’s goal, and he is doing one hell of a job. I couldn’t be happier.”
That’s the response I received over drinks when I asked a former senior Trump administration official—speaking on background—what Washington’s strategy was when it comes to the People’s Republic of China.…
The Chinese leadership and PLA are under no illusions about this. The same plan goes for Russia and the Russian leadership and Stavka.

"Crush" ultimately means breaking these large countries into smaller states that can be managed as vassals. What could go wrong? (Lots.)

The American Conservative
What if Trump’s Trade War With China Goes Too Well?
Harry J. Kazianis | executive editor of The National Interest and director of the Center for the National Interest’s new Korea program


If you read only one MacroTourist post all year, this is the one I want you to read. I think it’s that important....
Throwing in the towel.
I agree with Ben that MMT will change the type of inflation the economy experiences. I will leave it to much smarter people than I to decide if this is a good or bad thing.
In the meantime, in the coming months, quarters and years, watch for MMT to become a much larger source of change for your portfolio and trading. You might think it’s great and that the financial world could use a change. Or you might think it’s terrible and will be a disaster. Doesn’t matter what you or I think. MMT is coming. Ignoring it would be foolish.…
The cat is out of the bag, as we say in the US. Some see it instead as opening Pandora's box. Whatever, here we are. MMT has arrived!

Macro Tourist
Kevin Muir

Zero Hedge — Trump Won't Accept Trade Deal Unless China Opens Market To Manufacturers, Bankers And Farmers

The message to the CCP: Abandon control of the commanding heights. Will China buy it? If it does, it's the beginning of the end for China socialist experiment, as Michael Hudson warned on his recent visit there. Hudson was particularly strong on not opening up financially, which it seems, on the surface at least, that China has already committed to do.

If it does, China goes full-on capitalist. This hardly means that China becomes a permanent US vassal, however. The driving force is nationalism and not socialism, and time is on China's side, whichever alternative prevails.

Moreover, China is playing the long game and will do what it takes as long as it takes to gain superior leverage geopolitically and geostrategically. In the long run, China will not accept being a US vassal.

Zero Hedge
Trump Won't Accept Trade Deal Unless China Opens Market To Manufacturers, Bankers And Farmers
Tyler Durden

Gordon Dimmack - Rachel Maddow's dangerous Russophobia reaches new low

Gordon Dimmack says that Rachel Maddow is more dangerous than Alex Jones.

She's crazy! She must have millions stashed away, so why would she want to risk blowing the whole planet up? What goes through her mind?

Bernie Sanders, Chris Hedges, and Ed Miliband say they are not liberals, although they hold some liberal values. I used to wonder what they meant by that, but I think I now know what they mean. People like Abby Martin and Jimmy Dore have a very strong sense of right and wrong, but liberals like Rachel Maddie and Hilary Clinton are devoid of that.

Zero Hedge — Europe Launches SWIFT Alternative To Send Money To Iran

Will the US sanction its European NATO allies? Don't put anything past the US.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo previously warned of “swift punishment” for countries doing business with Iran, thus INSTEX is seen as a first small step toward greater European economic independence, and toward calming Iranian criticisms centered on seeing "dollar domination" as fueling European weakness to follow through on JCPOA stipulations....
Zero Hedge
Europe Launches SWIFT Alternative To Send Money To Iran
Tyler Durden

TASS Russia registered most powerful cyberattack from abroad on presidential election day

The cyberattack used a botnet of 30,000 computers situated in 86 various countries...

Joe Lauria — How Russia-gate Rationalized Censorship

Accidental bug or intentionally built-in feature? Regardless, that's what happened is happening. Since 9/11, constitutional rights and civil liberties have been diminished significantly.

Strategic Culture Foundation
How Russia-gate Rationalized Censorship
Joe Lauria

Andrew Koryko — A Venezuelan Coup Could Challenge OPEC+ And Build “Fortress America”

I have been saying something like this for some time. The American Empire is overextended and the strategic need is to withdraw to the core, which is the Western Hemisphere. Owing to logistics, and war is largely determined by the parties with logistical advantage, the US is disadvantaged by operating away from the Western Hemisphere, but it can easily control its own hemisphere militarily owing to logistical advantage. This is especially the case now that both Russia and China have "carrier killers."

There are two alternatives here, however, and the one that the US employs will make the difference.

The first is domination and the second is benevolent cooperation out of self-interest. The US can easily dominate its region but that would result in mere compliance. On the other hand, cooperation based on mutual advantage would benefit everyone and result in a a bigger pie. 

Could the US elite forgo their own advantage to secure a higher goal that would in the end benefit them more? Not likely.

So on toward WWIII.

Oriental Review
A Venezuelan Coup Could Challenge OPEC+ And Build “Fortress America”
Andrew Koryko

Andrei Martyanov — MAGA All The Way.

MAGA (Make America Great Again) was a campaign promise that sold Trump. Andrei Martyanov observes that "the real Donald J. Trump" consistently believed in MAAA (Make America Aggressive Again). Now that the campaign mask is off, his erstwhile supporters who voted for him expecting MAGA are wondering what happened to him. Nothing happened to him. He appointed the neocon cabal to power. He was always like that.

Reminiscence of the Future
MAGA All The Way.
Andrei Martyanov

See also

Moon of Alabama
Venezuela - Coup Attempt Part Of A Larger Project - Military Intervention Likely To Fail


Same in Iran. Is the US ready for Iraq and Vietnam redux on a significantly larger scale?

2,000,000 Troops Are Ready: President of Venezuela’s Constituent Assembly Sends Message To Bolton

Peter May — MMT as nonsense economics – or not

Richard Murphy has always said that MMT supporters do not properly understand tax and Jonathan Portes seems to me, on the evidence of this article, to fall into the same category.
What Jonathan Portes misses is that the ‘financial constraints’ are self-imposed. It’s bad enough – in reality – being short of teachers, nurses and doctors. But having bogus self imposed financial constraints is just – well – self imposed.
Finance is man made.
Jonathan Portes, as a former Treasury civil servant, seems, regrettably, to suggest that finance should make man....
Progressive Pulse
MMT as nonsense economics – or not
Peter May

Ben Norton — Internal US Gov’t Document Outlines Program of ‘Economic Warfare’ on Venezuela

An internal government document reveals tactics of “economic warfare” and “financial weapons” the US is using against Venezuela in the name of “furthering capitalism.”
SOP (standard operating procedure). Told ya so.

Mint Press News
Internal US Gov’t Document Outlines Program of ‘Economic Warfare’ on Venezuela
Ben Norton

See also
One after another right-wing government in the region — including Colombia, Chile, and Brazil — affirmed their support for Guaidó. The wave of support in the hours after Guaidó’s proclamation suggested the coup plot had momentum.
Then, in a break in what had appeared to be a unified front, a spokesman for the Mexican government of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said that it would not recognize Juan Guaidó and would maintain diplomatic relations with the government of Nicolas Maduro.
With Mexico’s declaration, the façade that had been sold to the public — that this was a legitimate transition and not a coup — collapsed. Numerous other countries, including Russia and China, also came out against Guaidó’s unconstitutional attempt to seize power, interrupting Washington’s plans to install a U.S.-friendly regime in Venezuela.
AMLO, as the Mexican president is known, was met with heavy criticism from the punditry, many of whom claimed that he was out of step with Mexico’s allies in the region and that his government would be treated as a pariah as a result. Lopez Obrador’s leftist administration is already somewhat isolated, with votes throughout the region in recent years resulting in the election of right-wing and U.S.-friendly governments.

AMLO’s election in 2018 bucked that trend, but Mexico is still only one of only a handful of countries in Latin America with an independent foreign policy that remains willing to go against the wishes of Washington. However, AMLO presides over Latin America’s second-largest economy and is traditionally seen as a diplomatic heavyweight, making his government’s positions difficult to ignore....
Mexico’s AMLO Rejects Venezuela Coup and Becomes a Bulwark Against US Imperialism
José Luis Granados Ceja

Bill Mitchell — The conflicting concepts of cosmopolitan within Europe – Part 2

In the blog post earlier this week – The conflicting concepts of cosmopolitan within Europe – Part 1 (January 29, 2019) – I juxtaposed two concepts of ‘cosmopolitanism’ which appeared to be part of the early moves to achieve European integration. On the one hand, there was a Kantian-style desire to create, through cooperation between previously warring states, a peaceful and prosperous future for a ‘one’ Europe. This construct would be welcoming to outsiders, progressive, and celebrate ethnic and cultural diversity. It was a rights-based conception of citizenship and democracy, which closely aligned with the growing popularity of the social democratic polity.
On the other hand, the early moves to overcome the resistance to creating a supranational entity that would increasingly compromise national sovereignty – the so-called “functionalist” approach of Jean Monnet and Robert Schuman, created a pragmatic, free market-based cosmopolitanism, which set the Member States against each other as competitors. As I demonstrated, over time, the economic cosmopolitanism channeled the burgeoning neoliberalism of the 1980s and compromised the rights-based, political cosmopolitanism, to the end that we now talk about democratic deficits as the European Commission and its unelected allies such as the IMF trample over the rights of citizens across the geographic spread of Europe.
Europhile progressives hanker for the first conception of European cosmopolitanism and proffer various reform proposals, which they claim will tame the economic dimensions and restore the ‘European Project’ as a progressive force in the world. In this second part of the series I will argue that from the outset the cosmopolitanism embedded in the ‘Project’ was deeply flawed and it is no surprise that democracy is now compromised in the European Union. I argue that reform is not possible such is the extent of the failures.
I have written previously of the paradoxes of liberalism, and Bill's observation is an example of it. Liberalism as a political theory generated by a thought-collective (German Denkkollektiv*) is idealistic in the sense of constructing a possible world based on principles as stipulated assumptions and wishing for its existence. It is a philosophical (principles-based) and ideological (normative) framework for a project that began in the West in earnest in the 18th century, although it is built on the Western intellectual tradition that begins with ancient Greek thought.

Being chiefly normative, universal and static rather than empirically derived and context-dependent, liberalism as a theory doesn't fit real conditions that are historical and dynamic very well, especially in cases of any considerable scale like states and, a fortiori, international affairs.

Thus, the paradoxes of liberalism arise as "internal contradictions." Capitalism is an economic expression of liberalism as democracy is a political expression of it. Significantly, neither has existed in "pure form" at a large scale historically. The devil is in the details — impurities or adulterations. The liberal project often involves attempts to purify the system of "imperfections," which then proves impractical in context owing to paradoxes that arise involving tradeoffs that undercut the enterprise.

The Left's version of liberalism based on rights is noble but out of touch, while the neoliberal view is the attempt to impose economic liberalism on liberalism as a whole. Neither are practical, owing to the dissonance of the model with reality. For a variety of reasons, liberty, egality and fraternity (community, solidarity) don't mesh automatically owing to natural order arising spontaneously given the "right" conditions.

In addition, liberalism is at odds with traditionalism, and traditionalism remains a powerful force to be reckoned with. Moreover, traditionalism as it manifests in a context is often based on local tribalisms.

While this certainly affects the European dynamic, it is not peculiar to Europe. In fact, the 21st century can be viewed as a dialectic between liberalism and traditionalism. Liberalism itself has elements of tribalism built into it since it is chiefly a Western construction.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
The conflicting concepts of cosmopolitan within Europe – Part 2
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

* See Ludwig Fleck.

Wilkerson: ‘Cheney was evil. We tortured, murdered and lied.’

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson never gets interviewed by the mainstream media.

The Last Vagabond - Vanessa Beeley Interview - Yellow Vests, Police Violence & The Suppression Of A Global Movement

This will be similar to the Vanessa Beeley 21st Century Wire article that Tom put out, but if you want th video version, this is excellent and I couldn't stop watching it..

Vanessa Beeley says how the French police are deliberately kettling and provoking the demonstrates to become violent so the media can display them as anarchists. A top policeman came out and said this was happening. 150 people have received serious head injuries and some people have lost hands. One young woman was standing alone doing nothing but got shot in the jaw with a rubber bullets which will have disfigured her for life.

The Western media remains quite about the police brutality, but if Manduro was doing this to his demonstrators imagine the outcry in Western media, says Vanessa.

Vanessa says the Yellow Vests realise that Macron is puppet put in place to protect the interests of the banking class and want fresh elections, but will the elite concede? Vanessa thinks they would sooner have a civil war than lose power. What if Le Pen got in and wanted to take France out of NATO and improved relations with Russia? The U.S. - the bastion of freedom and democracy - wouldn't stand for that.

Vanessa says that the Yellow Vests may have been infiltrated by the intelligence agencies with an aim to discredit them. The same thing happened with the Occupy Movement in the U.S., where it was found that one of the senior organisers was a FBI plant who was getting the movement to make serious mistakes to ruin their cause.

The Saker — The US Aggression Against Venezuela as a Diagnostic Tool

Think of what currently passes as a “policy” of the US in Venezuela as a diagnostic tool. 
Not just to diagnose the moral degeneracy and mental pathology of the leaders of the AngloZionist Empire, but also to diagnose the very real state of despair and chaos of the Empire itself. Under Obama, for all his faults and weaknesses, the US succeeded in subverting a list of crucial Latin American countries (like Brazil or Argentina) but now, with Mr MAGA, it can’t even do that. The kind of antics we see from the Pompeo, Bolton & Abrams gang is amazing in its crudeness and, frankly, makes a supposed “indispensable nation” look absolutely ridiculous. These losers already had to fold several times, in spite of equally hyperbolic threats delivered with maximal gravitas (think DPRK here), and yet they still think that crude bullying methods can yield success. They can’t. Immense firepower is not a substitute for brains.
In its short and blood-soaked history, the US has pretty much always acted like some criminal enterprise run by brutal gangsters, but in the past some of these gangsters could be extremely well educated and intelligent (think James Baker here). Today, their guns are still lying around (albeit in various states of disrepair), but they are wielded by ignorant retards. Yes, ignorant retards with guns can be very dangerous, but they can never be effective!
Right now the US, backed by its various colonies and vassal states, appears to be ready to deliver a death blow to Venezuela and, truth be told, they might be able to do just that. But, for whatever it is worth, my gut feeling is that they will fail again, even against the weakest countries of the Axis of Resistance. That is not to say that Venezuela is not in a heap of critical problems. But I believe that in spite of being in a critical condition, Venezuela will be able to bounce back, just like Syria did. After all, the Syrian example proves that it *is* possible to resist a superior invading force while at the same time successfully engaging in critically needed reforms. Yes, today’s Caracas is in very bad shape, but the city of Aleppo was in a much worse shape until it was liberated, and now quasi-normal life has returned to it (in sharp contrast to the US liberated devastated city of Raqqa which still lies in ruins). Yankees (to use the usual Latin-American expression) are just like their Israeli overlords: they are capable of devastating violence but they have no staying power: if things don’t go their way fast, really fast, they run and barricade themselves somewhere faraway from danger. In our case, they might even do what they did in Iraq and Afghanistan: build obscenely huge embassies, create a special zone around them, and sit tight while the country is engulfed in a bloody civil war. This way, they can provide CNN & Co. with footage of a “peaceful neighborhood” while still claiming that the Stars and Strips are still proudly flying high over the enemy’s capital and that “these colors don’t run”. This would be a disastrous outcome for the Venezuelan nation and this is why we all have to try to prevent this, by speaking out before the US further wrecks yet another country.
Hopefully the memory of past completely failed, humiliating and bloody invasions will convince the right people at the Pentagon to do whatever it takes to prevent the US from launching yet another stupid and immoral war of choice on behalf of the Neocons.
The Unz Review
The US Aggression Against Venezuela as a Diagnostic Tool
The Saker

See also

Zero Hedge
Armed Services Committee Chairman Warns US And China "Headed For World War III"
Tyler Durden

Detonation of a single generic nuclear bomb between 30-400 kilometers above earth will create an EMP that propagates outward towards earth with a radius of between 600 and 2,200 kilometers. The effects of an EMP would be catastrophic and could plunge a nation into indefinite darkness. There would be widespread destruction of computers, nuclear power plants, satellites, phones, refrigerators, transformers, and more.
The EMP commission estimates a full 90 percent of the American population could die within a year of an EMP attack....
The Epoch Times
China’s EMP Weapons Pose Grave Threat to America, Newly Declassified Report Shows
Daniel Ashman

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Jonathan Portes — Nonsense economics: the rise of modern monetary theory

Poorly argued. Economics professor Jonathan Portes admits that the fundamentals of MMT about operations are correct, and that MMT economists recognize that the financial constraint on fiscal deficits is inflation. Then he concludes that it is obvious that MMT cannot work since the real constraint is available resources and government spending uses resources instead of creating them. So, over time, inflation cannot be avoided other than by increasing taxes, that is, limiting the deficit by reducing or reversing its growth.

Like the MMT economists didn't realize this and have not addressed it. Public investment is a key aspect of government spending in order to increase supply in needed sectors of the economy. Moreover, rising demand draws forth private investment to increase supply when doing so is profitable. The assumptions also overlook the role of the external sector in supply. It's complicated. 

But the fundamental point remains. The argument that "we cannot afford it" financially is incorrect. Of course, there are other considerations, and the MMT economists have dealt with them in their work. Ignoring this vitiates the argument.

In addition, Jonathan Portes builds his argument on quote of Richard Murphy, who is not only not an MMT economist but also not an economist. He is a British chartered public accountant. In addition, Richard Murphy is not a good candidate to select to represent MMT since he and Bill Mitchell, one of the founding MMT economists, have recently had a very public disagreement. Jonathan Portes seems to be ignorant of this.

Building a case against MMT without reference to actual MMT economists or citations of their work  is unprofessional and Jonathan Portes should be embarrassed about it. Another fail.

Nonsense economics: the rise of modern monetary theory
Jonathan Portes | Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the School of Politics & Economics of King's College, London

See also

MMT economist Scott Fullwiler tweeted:

New Oil Sanctions on Venezuela: “Would Destroy What’s Left of its Economy” Sharmini Peries interviews Mark Weisbrot

Video and transcript
MARK WEISBROT: Well, it’s all illegal, of course. I mean, the sanctions that Trump imposed in August of 2017, or you can go back further to the Obama sanctions in March of 2015, the sanctions have always been illegal under the OAS Charter, under the UN Charter, under the treaties that the U.S. has, various international conventions that the U.S. is a party to. And also under U.S. law, because the president has to state in order to impose these sanctions in the executive orders going back to 2015, both Obama and Trump, have had to say that, under our law, that Venezuela poses an unusual and extraordinary threat. To the national security of the United States, which everyone knows is false. And so on that basis it’s really not even legal under U.S. law, because the president is stating something false in order to comply with the law....
Liberalism or fascism?

Paul Robinson — Russia: both malevolent and super-efficient?

For what it’s worth, my own take on the issue is as follows. First, the idea that Russia is innately aggressive and expansionist if false. While Russia has certainly acted aggressively on occasions, its historical record in that regard isn’t obviously any worse than that of other major European states. Second, there’s no clear connection between regime type and aggression, either in Russia’s case or more generally; current East-West tensions owe much to clashing interests and the structure of the European security system, factors which won’t change no matter who rules in the Kremlin. And third, Russia shows no signs of being particularly brilliant in terms of strategic planning and integrated government; rather, it’s thrashing around in an often incoherent fashion, not in accordance to some master plan but in reaction to others and in an often improvised way. The idea of Russia as both malevolent and super-efficient may be useful as a way of scaring people, but it has very little to do with reality....
Russia: both malevolent and super-efficient
Paul Robinson | Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa

Natasha Bach — One-Third of Eligible Voters in the U.S. Will be Non-White in 2020, Research Says

The US is facing the turning point that Israel just went through with the majority of the population non-Jewish. Will the US act in the same way as Israel?
One-third of eligible voters will be non-white in 2020, according to new datafrom Pew Research Center.
Latinos will be the largest minority group in the electorate, surpassing African-Americans for the first time. Pew projects that Latinos will account for around 32 million eligible voters, or 13% of the electorate, up from 7% in the 2000 election. There will be 30 million African-American voters, meanwhile, remaining at a constant share of about 12% since 2000. Asianswill also constitute a larger share of the voting population, reaching approximately 11 million--more than double the 5 million eligible in 2000.
The increased share of minority voters is at least partially driven by immigration. One in 10 eligible voters in 2020 will have been born outside of the U.S., the highest share in at least 50 years.

The change is also hastened by Generation Z, many of whom will be voting for the first time in 2020. Generation Z, or those born after 1996, is the most ethnically diverse in American history--only 55% of the generation is white....
One-Third of Eligible Voters in the U.S. Will be Non-White in 2020, Research Says
Natasha Bach

Turkish Minute — Survey Shows 80% of Turks Perceive US as the ‘Most Dangerous’ Country

According to a recent survey conducted by Kadir Has University a whopping 81.9 percent of Turks consider the United States the most dangerous country for Turkey.

Israel follows the US with 63.3 percent, according to the survey, titled “Turkey Social and Political Trends Research,” published by Turkish media outlets on Wednesday.
The opinion poll was conducted on 1,000 people over the age of 18 in face-to-face interviews between Dec. 12 and Jan. 4 in 26 provinces. The results of the survey, which has been carried out annually since 2010, were announced at a press conference by the university on Wednesday.

The same research found that 41.9 percent of respondents want Turkey to leave NATO, while 58.7 percent are in favor of continuing the country’s membership, in effect since 1952.
Amid strained relations with the European Union, still almost half of the nation is in favor of continuing membership negotiations with the bloc (48.9 percent)....
Survey Shows 80% of Turks Perceive US as the ‘Most Dangerous’ Country
Turkish Minute

Paul Antonopoulos — China stresses its cooperation with Russia is not directed against others, Washington thinks otherwise

The Chinese government defended relations with Russia and stressed that they do not target third countries.
“[China and Russia] stick to a new kind of interstate relations… that are not directed against third countries,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Gen Shuang.
Beijing’s official statement comes a day after US intelligence director Daniel Coats claimed that China and Russia are collaborating to confront Washington’s policy....
Fort Russ News
China stresses its cooperation with Russia is not directed against others, Washington thinks otherwise
Paul Antonopoulos

Col. Patrick Lang — Trump and the Spookery

Col. Lang backs the intel chiefs rather than the neocons handling Trump.

Sic Semper Tyrannis
Trump and the Spookery
Col. W. Patrick Lang, US Army (ret.)

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

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

See also

Sputnik International
Intelligence Community 'Wrong' About Iran, 'Should Go Back to School' - Trump

Joseph Thomas — Is China Building a “Police State” or Countering Western-sponsored Terrorism?


Is China Building a “Police State” or Countering Western-sponsored Terrorism?
Joseph Thomas

Ben Wray — 5 big ‘rock the boat’ ideas the indy movement could take from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

MMT for Scotalnd. Scotland for MMT.

Common Space
5 big ‘rock the boat’ ideas the indy movement could take from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Ben Wray

Graham Phillips - BBC Descent into TOTAL ⚠ Propaganda ⚠ Donbass War

Jimmy Dore - US Sanctions Are Killing Venezuelans: UN Expert Says

An U.N. expert says that the U.S. sanctions are crippling its economy and are illegal, but the media says nothing about this. They only say that socialism doesn't work, even though over 70% of Venezuela's economy is privately owned. It's no more socialist than Norway, or the rest of Scandinavia, which the U.S. accepts.

So, we have the illegal U.S. sanctions on a country where the elections that were considered to be fair by international observers, and by Jimmy Carter, but the U.S. is considered to be the good guy.

Sanctions are designed to hurt the population and thousands of people may die due to lack of food and medicines. It is a type of warfare. To deliberately take away people's medicines is a crime against humanity, but no one in the media is calling the U.S. out. Putting sanctions on medicine and food is an evil thing to do.

'Modern day economic sanctions and blockades are comparable with medieval seiges of towns ', says the U.N. expert.

'But not just towns, but whole countries to their knees ', he adds.

Jimmy Dore cuts through the propaganda.

Yi Gang — China's monetary policy framework - supporting the real economy and striking a balance between internal and external equilibrium

My speech is composed of four parts. The first part is an introduction to China’s monetary policy framework, the second part clarifies how monetary policy supports the real economy, the third part is about how to prevent and resolve financial risks, and the last part focuses on how to strike a balance between internal and external equilibrium. As we know, the Law of the People’s Bank of China explicitly stipulates that the ultimate goal of China’s monetary policy is to maintain currency stability and thereby facilitating economic growth. To maintain currency stability has two tiers of meanings: internally it means to maintain prices stable and externally it means to keep RMB exchange rate basically stable at an adaptive and equilibrium level....
Yi Gang: China's monetary policy framework - supporting the real economy and striking a balance between internal and external equilibrium
Lecture by Mr Yi Gang, Governor of the People's Bank of China, at Chang'an Forum, held by the Chinese Economists 50 Forum, Tsinghua University, Beijing, 13 December 2018

TRNN - Many Countries at UN Oppose Trump Interference in Venezuela

Chilling stuff!

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson says he came out of a bipartisan meeting the other day and both the Democrats and the Republicans were in agreement about never ending war. This is the debt that the Empire wishes to leave upon the World, he says.

The Brazilian election was considered fair, even though the chief opposition leader was languishing in prison and couldn't run, but Venezuela's election was considered not fair by the U.S., even though intentional observers, and Jimmy Carter, said it was. Half the countries at the U.N. agree with the U.S., but Col. Lawrence Wilkerson says they have to agree or they could get their economies damaged - and this is how empires rule the world, he adds.

So, there you have it: pure evil - which is totally unnecessary as the Western elite have the capital to invest in new technology and stay ahead in the game. But sadly, they don't care for markets, even though they drill the merits of the 'free market ' into us everyday.

Frank Li — What If Ayn Rand Was Wrong, Mostly?

Frank LI takes on Ayn Rand.
To understand Libertarianism and American Conservatism, one needs to study Ayn Rand, which is what this post is about.…
Ayn Rand was a successful novelist. But her works on philosophy should be irrelevant, because they are too extreme, thus more wrong than correct.
Rand constructed a fantasy world in her novelist's mind, which is what novelist's do, but then she believed in it, confusing it with the real world. So do a lot of other people that can't distinguish fantasy from reality and are prone to magical thinking.
What If Ayn Rand Was Wrong, Mostly?
Frank Li | Chinese ex-pat, Founder and President of W.E.I. (West-East International), a Chicago-based import & export company, B.E. from Zhejiang University (China) in 1982, M.E. from the University of Tokyo in 1985, and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1988, all in Electrical Engineering

See also

As a professional philosopher myself, I can report that Ayn Rand is ignored by the profession, much of which is embarrassed by her identification as a philosopher rather than a popular novelist. She was not even a good writer and is not studied in literature classes either.

The following post is long and technical — a difficult read, I would suspect, for those not familiar with the history of philosophy to the present. The interesting thing about it though is it is summarizes Robert Nozick arguments eviscerating Rand's "philosophy." Robert Nozick is the actual philosopher closest to Rand's position and sometime incorrectly associated with her, so he can hardly be accused of academic prejudice.
This near-unanimous rejection has led to some remarkably uncharitable, and bizarre, attempts to explain away the lack of academic interest: in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Rand, its authors write that “her advocacy of a minimal state with the sole function of protecting negative individual rights is contrary to the welfare statism of most academics,” claiming outright that the overwhelming majority of professional philosophers and political theorists have been simply unable to fairly evaluate her work because of the biasing factor of their prior political commitments.
Somehow the same ‘welfare statism’ of academics has not prevented the close study of Robert Nozick’s landmark Anarchy, State and Utopia, a sophisticated libertarian text that mounts an original, and far more effective, argument against redistributive policies. Apart from John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice, there is perhaps no more commonly-assigned book in undergraduate political philosophy classes.
The problem with Rand from the standpoint of professional philosophers is that she was either not acquainted with the field or incapable of understanding the argumentation that characterizes the history of Western intellectual tradition. In any case, she simply was not qualified for the task she undertook. I'll leave it to the literateurs to evaluate her work as literature.

Rotman Institute of Philosophy
The System that Wasn’t There: Ayn Rand’s Failed Philosophy (and why it matters) -Nicholas McGinnis

More MMT "criticism"

Confuses QE (monetary policy) with fiscal injection (fiscal policy). Can't get much more wrong than that. Moreover, confuses the monetary in a monetary production economy with production of goods. The author is ill-informed and not qualified to speak on this topic. Fail.

Modern Monetary Theory: A Cargo Cult
Keith Weiner, Monetary Metals

See also

Another straw man argument that makes stuff up.
Well, not so much. Furman and Summers: “Although politicians shouldn’t make the debt their top priority, they also shouldn’t act as if it doesn’t matter at all.” This means you, advocates of Modern Monetary theory, or at least MMT’s “political supporters” who have “used it as a justification for ignoring government debt entirely.”
To Whom might that refer, actually? No citation. Smear. Another fail.

ANIS SHIVANI - Time to give up on identity politics: It's dragging the progressive agenda down

Identity politics has only served to disempower the left and fuel the rise of white nationalism. Can we move on?

The Democratic Party was able to use identity politics to pretend it was still a left and radical party, when it was really a party of the right. It does not care about poor or working class people, and promotes neoliberalism and the faux meritocracy as something that's suppose to be progressive. Identity Politics has triggered an identity politics political backlash on the right, so now we have the alt. right. 

To me, it's a non issue, and I couldn't imagine George Galloway getting worked up about transgender toilets. 
I realize that everything I’m saying here has a sense of futility about it, because when an entire generation is indoctrinated in a certain way of thinking, only a catastrophe of the first order can compel people to reconsider; we are certainly not at that point yet, and we may never get there. But for what it’s worth, let me mention some key points about why I think identity politics, wherever it has manifested, has been absolutely devastating to the cause of liberty.
  1. It privileges culture, instead of politics. My first point is that when you fight for identity, you’re giving up politics in favor of culture. And that’s exactly where neoliberalism wants you, fighting for your culture (or what you imagine is your culture), rather than the arena of policies, where the real consequences occur. You may gain some recognition of your identity, but you may also have to pay the price of losing everything else that makes life worth living.
In many American cities, as in mine, the fight is on for transgender bathrooms, even as local government leaders, who often fit the bill where identity politics is concerned, have worked closely with supercapitalists to gentrify the urban centers, leading to the mass eviction of working people who created the interesting cultural realities in the first place. You can have your bathrooms, but gay people can’t live where they want to. During the Obama years, a crisis of affordable housing arose all over the country, which has gotten little attention because that is a policy discussion not suited to identity politics.
The 2016 election was the ultimate crash of identity politics, of course, played out to the maximum on both sides. The irrational "alt-right," based on white identity politics, had it out with the irrational alt-left, by which I mean not what neoliberal Democrats and Trump mean by it, but exactly the opposite: The identity politics-driven official Democratic Party messaging, which relies on magic and charisma and delusional thinking to bring about racial harmony, just as the "alt-right" does on the other side.
What could be a greater indictment of identity politics than the utter hollowing-out of the Democratic Party, its rank electoral defeat at every level of government, which began in earnest with Bill Clinton’s commitment to neoliberalism in 1991-1992, going hand in hand with identity politics of a kind that had little patience with actual poor people? That period is especially revealing, because Clinton went out of his way, as he would during his entire administration, to celebrate identity politics for the right people, namely, those who are good capitalists, doing everything he could to suggest, by way of policies, that the unreformable poor were no longer welcome in the party.
The result is the evisceration of the Democrats as a party with even a rhetorical claim to the working class, as it has become a club for egotistical, self-branding urbanites who pay lip service to identity politics while having no sympathy for real wealth redistribution. This loss of even the semblance of a liberal policy framework in the domestic and international arenas continued apace during the Obama administration. Obama was immune to liberal criticism, because he fit the identity politics matrix so perfectly. He may have ruthlessly deported millions of people, kept in place and strengthened the entire extra-constitutional surveillance apparatus, and escalated illegal drone attacks and assassinations, but the color of his skin provided immunity from real criticism.
  1. Not only politics, but economics is taken out of the equation. It’s astonishing, even after living under the principles of neoliberalism for around 40 years, how few liberals, even activists, are able to define our economic system with any sense of accuracy. They keep acting as if the fight is still on between the old New Deal liberalism (laissez-faire economics slightly moderated by some half-hearted welfare programs) and a right that wants to shred those welfare mechanisms. In fact, both parties are committed to slightly different versions of neoliberalism, and their transformation proceeded apace with the rise of identity politics. Politics was freed to take its course, because culture became the site of contestation, and this meant an unobstructed opportunity to redefine economics to the benefit of the elites.
Consider that in the last election, the contest became mostly about Hillary Clinton’s personality — she’s a woman, therefore I must be with her — versus Donald Trump’s personality — he’s a misogynist, therefore I must oppose him. Hillary Clinton’s neoliberalism, reflected in over 30 years of policy commitments, got little attention from the media, just as the economic dimensions of Trump’s proposals got barely any attention.
In the popular imagination, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and their successors continue to be judged according to personality — that is to say, by how they fit into the scale of values we know as identity politics. Bush and Trump’s personal idiocy is treated as a mental illness, because they are supposedly not capable of grasping the rules of polite (i.e., identity politics-driven) discourse. Although Bush, with his regained linguistic facility, is well on his way to rehabilitation by the identity politics crowd. The economic dimension of their policies is vastly under-analyzed and indeed of little interest to the younger generations. (Or really to anyone else.)
Liberals seem to be trying to cure racism at the metaphysical level — in people’s hearts and souls — instead of limiting politics to where it should be limited, i.e., the arena of democratic policymaking. But this can only come about when politics becomes again the explicit target of attention, so that obstacles to democracy — from gerrymandering to money in politics, from voting machine unreliability to widespread disenfranchisement — can be overcome.
What identity politics has done is to take the shine off the political process itself. This is more than a consequence of identity politics. It is because identity politics has garnered so much attention that political reform, which needs to be ongoing and consistent, has stalled for nearly 30 years. Instead of campaign finance reform of the McCain-Feingold brand, which sought to make a little advance toward taking money out of politics, we went, during the period of identity politics' ascendancy, to the total capitulation of politics to money. The same process has held true in every arena of policymaking. Even issues like climate change are framed in cultural terms — i.e., as identity politics, because today culture cannot be spoken of without being defined by identity politics — and therefore overwhelmed by paralysis.
The Salon

Shocking! Netanyahu Breaks His Silence Over Venezuela - Hugo Chavez was RIGHT - CONFIRMED!!!!

Good vs evil!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Reuters — Venezuela studying partial force majeure after US sanctions: oil minister

Let's be up front about it. The American Empire and its vassals are now openly at war with the Global East and South. Some of this is hybrid warfare, such as economic warfare and information warfare, and some is kinetic warfare including proxy warfare, e.g., arming and funding terrorists.

Regardless of tactics, it's all part of the same policy and grand strategy to cement world domination under US rule in place. Operationally, it is war.

Russia, China, and Iran know it, as well as Venezuela. They should just say it and act accordingly.

Venezuela studying partial force majeure after US sanctions: oil minister

See also

Fort Russ News
Texas: Venezuela Powder Keg & World War III !
Russell "Texas" Bentley

Vanessa Beeley — GILETS JAUNES: Civilians in Police Crosshairs as Macron Adopts Totalitarian State-Practices to Suppress Dissent

"Look over there — Venezuela, Syria."

21st Century Wire
GILETS JAUNES: Civilians in Police Crosshairs as Macron Adopts Totalitarian State-Practices to Suppress Dissent
Vanessa Beeley

Bloomberg — U.S. Drops Six Places in Worldwide Corruption Index

The U.S. has the 22nd most corrupt government in the world according to a new study. Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index shows the U.S. dropping six places under President Trump....

Paul Bedard — Poll: Trump voters will mutiny if the wall isn't built, faces 43 percent drop in support

Think there will be another shutdown? Who blinks? Hint: Pelosi is holding the cards.

Washington Examiner
Poll: Trump voters will mutiny if the wall isn't built, faces 43 percent drop in support
Paul Bedard

See also

The wall may not make that much difference anyway.
Fifty-six per cent of respondents in the Washington Post/ABC News survey said they would “definitely not vote for” Mr Trump if he secures the Republican nomination – double the number (28 per cent) who say they definitely would vote for him.
Among women, almost a third (64 per cent) said they will not countenance support for Mr Trump, compared to just under half (48 per cent) of men.
The Independent (UK)
Most Americans will 'definitely not' vote for Trump in 2020, new poll indicates
Tom Embury-Dennis
Justin Wise

Natasha Bach — Millions of Americans Are One Missed Paycheck Away From Poverty, Report Says

The U.S. economy is booming and unemployment is at a low, but that doesn't paint the whole picture of the financial reality of the average American.
According to a new report from Prosperity Now, millions of Americans are one missed paycheck away from poverty.

The report found that 40% of American households are "liquid asset poor," meaning that they don't have enough money put away to make ends meet at the poverty level should their income be suddenly interrupted. That figure jumps to 57% for households of color.
"It was the best of worlds. It was the worst of worlds."  — Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities.

And the trend is accelerating.

Millions of Americans Are One Missed Paycheck Away From Poverty, Report Says
Natasha Bach

Frances Langum — Davos Panel Goes Rogue On Economic Inequality: Tax The Rich!

A panel on economic inequality went off script this weekend, as the participants told the gathered billionaires that their philanthropy and pet projects for the poor were not the answer to economic world justice.

This wasn't what Davos had in mind....
Back to the Eisenhower level and eliminate tax avoidance. Oh, my!

Crooks and Liars
Davos Panel Goes Rogue On Economic Inequality: Tax The Rich!
Frances Langum

Godfree Roberts — Huawei, 5G and the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Game over? Go East, young man.
President Trump has attacked the Made In China 2025 policy because the US, stuck in neoclassical macroeconomics, is committed to a system which not only does not produce the goods but also can’t afford the essential infrastructure required for the next major advance in the ongoing industrial revolution. The decision will put the Five Eyes countries ten years behind China in 5G and its associated technologies [that are at the cutting edge of the 4th Industrial Revolution]. The Germans correctly describe their version of China2025, Industrie04 as “the fourth industrial revolution.” The 5G stakes are so big that, if Germany rejects Huawei it risks committing economic suicide.
Interesting article.

Frank Li has been warning of this kind of thing for some time. It's not just Huawei and 5G. The Chinese system of market socialism is more efficient and more effective than the Western pseudo-capitalist system of monopoly capital, which is sclerotic.

The Unz Review
Huawei, 5G and the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Valdai — A Change of Gestalt for the Russian Economy: How to See Trees Behind the Forest, and Regions Behind the Centre

“Russia is not a country. It is a federation that consists of more than 80 regions. We cannot consider it kind of unity, since these regions are very different ” – this provocative point marked the Valdai Club discussion on January 28, dedicated to regional imbalances in the Russian economy. Apurva Sanghi, the leading economist of the World Bank in Russia, who put forward this idea, spoke about the uneven development of various Russian regions. These include rich and poor ones, poorly and densely populated. At the same time, he said that conclusions about the potential of a particular region are often incorrect. Why?
The same is true for most federations and provincial states, including the US. We tend to think of these economies as relatively homogenous, as suggested by the name, but this is seldom the case in countries of any size and with any historical complexity.

A Change of Gestalt for the Russian Economy: How to See Trees Behind the Forest, and Regions Behind the Centre

Lazar Jeifets — The Venezuela Crisis: Mistakes and Misunderstandings

  • Cause No. 1: Traditions
  • Cause No. 2: Economics
  • Cause No. 3: Mistakes on all sides
The Venezuela Crisis: Mistakes and MisunderstandingsLazar Jeifets | Professor at the Department for American Studies of St. Petersburg State University

Andrew Sheng and Xiao Geng — When Will China Achieve Quality Growth?

"When will China achieve quality growth?" Loaded question. China has already achieved quality growth in comparison with pre-revolutionary days before Mao and in particular since the reforms of Deng. The question is really how quickly will China accelerate the rate of quality growth. There are tradeoffs to consider.

The challenge the Chinese leadership faces is improving both the economy and increasing the quality of life in China, while also maintaining government control of the commanding heights of the economy, which is necessary for socialism. 

Distribution and quality of life are central goals for socialism, while they are irrelevant for capitalism. Under capitalist regimes distribution has become seriously unequal and quality of life is declining owing to socialization of negative externality. 

The Chinese economy already suffers from both since liberalizing. Further liberalization is not necessarily the road to socialist success. The Chinese government must also maintain control of the commanding heights, although government control doesn't necessarily imply state ownership.

The author fall into the trap of saving causing investment, and if the Chinese leadership makes this mistake and buys into it, it's all over for Chinese socialism. In fact, one wonders if the saving causes investment fallacy is a capitalist ploy to ensure that the ownership class maintains control.

Project Syndicate
When Will China Achieve Quality Growth?
Andrew Sheng, Distinguished Fellow of the Asia Global Institute at the University of Hong Kong and a member of the UNEP Advisory Council on Sustainable Finance, former chairman of the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, and currently an adjunct professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing. 

Xiao Geng, President of the Hong Kong Institution for International Finance, professor at Peking University HSBC Business School and at the University of Hong Kong's Faculty of Business and Economics

Duncan Green — Please help me answer some scary smart student questions on Power and Systems

Uncertainty and emergence in huge complex adaptive systems.

To what extent can reflexivity anticipate emergence anticipated and reduce uncertainty by applying creative and critical thinking?

Oxfam Blogs — From Poverty to Power
Please help me answer some scary smart student questions on Power and Systems
Duncan Green, strategic adviser for Oxfam GB

Dean Baker — Trump Is Confused Again, Thinks His Trade War Is Responsible for China's Economic Problems

Not just Trump but also the US media and pundits. Dean Baker points out that it is false.

Moreover, so far China "problem" is that the economy has slowed by a tenth of a percentage point per year, from an estimated 6.5% to 6.4%. China growth is projected to slow to 6.2% in 2019. The horror of it!

More wishful thinking aka magical thinking.

The factor that is most significant is the deceleration rather than the growth rate. It is true that the declaration is happening faster than expected and this can result in some issues for the Chinese leadership.

The question is how successfully they can address emergent challenges in their project to transform the Chinese economy to a domestic consumption-led growth plan from an export investment-led growth strategy.

Beat the Press
Trump Is Confused Again, Thinks His Trade War Is Responsible for China's Economic Problems
Dean Baker | Co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C

See also
China’s GDP growth in 2018 was 6.6%, its lowest annual growth rate in more than two decades, and the rate is expected to slow further this year. What is driving the slow-down in Chinese growth and what are the implications for Chinese policymakers and the global economy? This post reviews the blogosphere’s take.
The only one of interest is Yu Yongding's.

Western commentators are clueless.
But as Krugman writes, “the other day I issued a warning about the Chinese economy… unfortunately, the other day was six years ago”.
Chinese growth: A balancing act
Konstantinos Efstathiou

Bill Mitchell — The conflicting concepts of cosmopolitan within Europe – Part 1

In the past week, the UK Guardian readers were confronted with the on-going scandal of wealthy British politicians and ‘peers’ receiving massive European Union subsidies under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The article (January 27, 2019) – Peers and MPs receiving millions in EU farm subsidies – recounted the familiar tale –“Dozens of MPs and peers, including some with vast inherited wealth, own or manage farms that collectively have received millions of pounds in European Union subsidies”.
The story is not new and this scandal is just a reflection of the way in which the development of the European Union has contradicted the idealism that the Europhile Left associate with ‘Europe’.
As an aside, it would be telling, one imagines to map the EU payments (and well-paid job holdings) with Brexit support – one would conjecture a strong negative correlation.
This is a two-or-three part mini-series on the evolution of concepts of ‘cosmopolitanism’ in the European context. It is part of work I am doing for the next book Thomas Fazi and I hope to publish by the end of the year.
In this blog post, I introduce the conflict that is inherent in the European Union, and the way the Europhile Left has been seduced by a concept of cosmopolitanism that bears not relevance in the reality of modern Europe....
Bill branches out widely from MMT to encompass political economy, economic sociology, , economic geography, political theory, the EU and EU politics, the Left (such as it is) and more, exhibiting an awesome command of the material.

I have added some paragraphing.

Bill Mitchell – billy blog
The conflicting concepts of cosmopolitan within Europe – Part 1
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

John T. Harvey — Does Modern Monetary Theory Have Any Scholarly Validity?

What I would really love to do right now is give you a complete and comprehensive explanation of what MMT is–of course, that’s impossible for all the reasons suggested above (heck, I’m already at almost 400 words)! So, while I will offer some helpful links later, let me just focus here on a few of the ideas attracting the most attention. In fact, let’s make a game of it!...
This is the correct approach — cite documentation.

It is fairly simple to "write" a complete online book on a single page by organizing links to material that is already available if one knows the literature and the material is generally available rather than being paywalled. Unfortunately, a lot of articles are behind paywalls. Fortunately, however, the MMT economists have made a lot of their work accessible by providing working papers that are free. The literature is available. It just needs to be organized and presented. This is now especially necessary for two reasons, the first being exploding interest in MMT, and the second being the profusion of MMT literature over the past several decades. In other words, make it easy.

BTW, it is actually the approach that got me into MMT. I was interested in learning why economists ha missed the GFC when it was obvious to me as a bystander what what going on in the real estate market. So I started exploring. Serendipitously, I ran into a comment that Ramanan had posted somewhere — I no longer remember the circumstances. It was a fairly long and detailed comment about MMT but it was so out of the mainstream I blew it off, since there's no time to follow up on everything. But then I had the gut feeling, no, Ramanan was clearly a very sharp guy and he had also provided references. I did follow up by reading the references. The rest is history.

What is also needed now is a popular book on MMT that is accessible to everyone with a basic education, e.g., no equations and no technical jargon, with lots of visuals like the "Kelton seesaw"  and the sectoral balances chart. Based on what she has said recently in Twitter, I believe that Stephanie Kelton has such a book almost ready right now.

Forbes — Pragmatic Economics
Does Modern Monetary Theory Have Any Scholarly Validity?
John T. Harvey | Professor of Economics, Texas Christian University

‘State of Empire’ & Perpetual War will Bankrupt Us – Col. Wilkerson

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson talks about the perpetual money making war machine racket in the U.S. which the corporate media backs.

Rick Sanchez explains why we ought to be skeptical about recent reports of US and Taliban achieving “a framework to a plan that would allow principals toward peace.” The same people who orchestrated failed US efforts in both Iraq and Afghanistan are now seemingly in control of the White House, Congress and the US Media. We’ll also hear from Rick’s exclusive interview with retired US Army Colonel and former State Dept. official Lawrence Wilkerson, who saw such machinations first-hand and is convinced that US elites accept perpetual war as a condition of US world hegemony and that endless wars of empire has become “our reason to exist.”

Stefan Thyron - Things I Noticed About The US After Living In Sweden

Socialism destroys innovation and incentive some people say, but does it matter if it makes you happier and less stressed? There's plenty of time to sit and socialise with people in a coffee shop in Sweden as the pace of life is much more relaxed.

Stefan Thyron, who is American, can't wait to get back to Sweden.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Jimmy Dore - "U.S. Plot In Venezuela FAILING" Says Caracas Reporter

Russia was said to have spent $4,700 on adds on Google to get people to vote for Trump,  so why didn't the U.S. do something like that in Venezuela instead of all this hassle, pantomime, and baloney?

81% of Venezuelans have never heard of Juan Guaido, so it's a weird sort of democracy. This makes the Russians look professional, especially if they can do it do it for under $5,000 and with no one being able to find any evidence of it. Cool! 

Yesterday Venezuelans went about their business - like
shopping - as usual, without any fuss. 

Venezuela Propaganda Debunked - People Are Against Coup

Pepe Escobar — How Astana is leading the way in Central Asia

Backgrounder on newly emergent Central Asia aka "the stans." The area is important for understanding geopolitics, geostrategy, and the future development of the global economy.

Central Asia is the "sleeper" in the unfolding history of the 21st century. But it's not yet even a blip on the screen for most in the West, other than the elites, multinational corporations, and the militaries, which regard it as a prize to be captured, and certainly not lost to adversaries. It is a key piece in neoliberalism, neo-imperialism, and neocolonialism.

While not mentioned in this post, it is also relevant to US interest in Afghanistan and Iraq-Syria, as well adversarial toward Russia, China and Iran, which surround Central Asia. It also explains why the US would be greatly hampered by "losing" Turkey, which is also adjacent to the region, where many Turkic people also live. India is also a factor in the mix.

Obviously, the US and West are disadvantaged if only by distance. Moreover, the West is viewed in the region as historically imperialistic and liberalism is not in favor in countries where Islam (real traditionalism) is dominant.

Asia Times
How Astana is leading the way in Central Asia
Pepe Escobar

Isabella Weber — What drives specialisation? A century of global export patterns

Globalisation has coincided with specialisation and wealth accumulation on unprecedented scales. By bringing together distant markets, globalisation has created an economy that resembles one big multi-division and multi-national company. This is just like Adam Smith’s concept of specialisation where the division of labour is at once the cause and the extent of the size of the market.
Patterns of production are therefore distributed unequally across countries and regions of the world. Some are predominantly the innovators and managers, some are the workshop of the world, and others simply provide the needed raw materials. This positioning in the global division of labour influences the extent to which countries participate in the creation of wealth from globalisation.
Our new research project funded by Rebuilding Macroeconomics looks at the question of what drives specialisation. Rather than rely on circular arguments around revealed comparative advantage, we reconceptualise export specialisation as a historical process drawing on commodity histories and histories of colonial economic governance. We revisit revealed comparative advantage as a descriptive measure to analyse the evolution of export patterns over time....
Sounds like mercantilism and hysteresis? Is the liberal world order a Trojan horse for neo-imperialism?

Political Economy Research Center
What drives specialisation? A century of global export patterns
Isabella Weber

Piketty, Saez & Zucman — Simplified Distributional National Accounts

This paper develops a simplified methodology that starts from the fiscal income top income share series and makes very basic assumptions on how each income component from national income that is not included in fiscal income is distributed. This simplified methodology has two main goals.

First and most important, it can be used to create distributional national income statistics in countries where fiscal income inequality statistics are available but where there is limited information to impute other income at the individual level. Alvaredo et al. (2016) distributional national accounts guidelines proposed a simplified methodology for countries with less data (Section 7). The methodology proposed here can be seen as an even simpler method that can be applied to countries for which fiscal income top income share statistics exist1 and for which national accounts and fiscal income aggregates are sufficiently detailed.

Second, this simplified methodology can also be used to assess the plausibility of the Piketty, Saez, and Zucman (2018) assumptions. In particular, we will show that the simplified methodology can be used to show that the alternative assumptions proposed by Auten and Splinter (2018) imply a drastic equalization of income components not in fiscal income which does not seem realistic.
Simplified Distributional National Accounts
Thomas Piketty, Paris School of Economics;
Emmanuel Saez, University of California, Berkeley; Gabriel Zucman, University of California, Berkeley

Michael Roberts — Modern monetary theory – part 1: Chartalism and Marx

Modern monetary theory (MMT) has become flavour of the time among many leftist economic views in recent years. The new left-wing Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is apparently a supporter; and a leading MMT exponent recently discussed the theory and its policy implications with UK Labour’s left-wing economics and finance leader, John McDonnell.
MMT has some traction in the left as it appears to offer theoretical support for policies of fiscal spending funded by central bank money and running up budget deficits and public debt without fear of crises – and thus backing policies of government spending on infrastructure projects, job creation and industry in direct contrast to neoliberal mainstream policies of austerity and minimal government intervention.
So, in this post and in other posts to follow, I shall offer my view on the worth of MMT and its policy implications for the labour movement. First, I’ll try and give broad outline to bring out the similarities and difference with Marx’s monetary theory....
Can the Chartalist/Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) and Marxist theory of money be made compatible or complementary or is one of them wrong? My short answers would be: 1) money predates capitalism but not because of the state; 2) yes, the state can create money but it does not control its price. So confidence in its money can disappear; and 3) a strict Chartalist position is not compatible with Marxist money theory, but MMT has complementary features.
Let me now try to expand those arguments....
If you are already interested in MMT and Marx, this is obviously a should read. But if you are just getting interested, I can recommend London based Marxist economist Michael Roberts as a good entry point. He works in finance, so "money" is his thing. However, one also needs to be aware that there are different interpretations of what Marx actually said and that no one speaks for Marx. Be aware that Michael Roberts is not an expert in MMT. For an economist that is deeply familiar with both MMT and Marx, and sympathetic to both, see the work of Peter Cooper at If you are seriously interested in MMT and Marx, Peter is the go-to guy in my view.

Michael Roberts Blog
Modern monetary theory – part 1: Chartalism and Marx
Michael Roberts