Saturday, March 9, 2019

Steve Keen - Debt Explosion

Paul Claireaux

Where's the evidence for the debt explosion? Right here ... from @ProfSteveKeen 's excellent short book, 'Can we avoid another financial crisis?' (Deffo worth a read that one) (similar pic applies to USA)

Stacey Herbert

The top 1% have kept pace with money printing so they are doing as well as they were in 1970, it's just that everyone else has lost their purchasing power and thus the wealth and income gap has widened.

In 1970, the average annual salary in America equalled 159 ounces of gold per year. Today that average salary is 41 ounces of gold per year.


Kaivey said...

Sorry about that. I saw that it looked all wrong on my mobile phone. I had a lot of problems getting it to look right.

Bob Roddis said...

Keen sounds like Austrian-lite. His "private debt" under "capitalism: are nothing other than those illegal, unconstitutional funny money fiat fiat loans that the Austrian Business Cycle Theory has always pointed to as the cause of the boom/bust cycle. But Keen hasn't the integrity to point that out, if only to calmly and fairly refute the analysis.

Konrad said...

Michael Hudson says (and I agree) that our most urgent problem is out-of-control private debt.

Meanwhile public debt for the US and UK governments is trivial, since these governments create money out of thin air.

Neoliberals and their toadies (i.e. pundits, professors, and politicians) obsesses on the trivial public debt in order to distract public attention from catastrophic private debt, which will destroy us, as it has destroyed many empires before.

Some countries are being destroyed by a combination of public and private debt. If a country has a trade deficit, and if its currency is not negotiable outside the country’s borders, then the country must borrow foreign currency in order to buy imports. This quickly leads to extreme poverty and total collapse. Or total feudalism.

SPEAKING OF FEUDALISM, last night I watched a movie titled The Last Samurai. (2003). Where the hell did Westerners get the idea that the samurai were “noble”? The samurai were were thugs for lords in feudal Japan up to about 1912. They were muscle for the gangsters.

I’ll say it again…for most people, eighty percent of what they believe about history and the world around them consists of lies, myths, and hoaxes, which are protected by taboos, and are sustained by group-think.

None of us are totally free of this, but we should at least ask ourselves why we believe what we believe.

Konrad said...

In the chart that Kaivey provided, we see that private debt in the UK really took off when the oligarchs appointed Maggie Thatcher as PM.

The same thing happened at the same time in the USA when the oligarchs appointed Reagan as US president.

They're both dead now, and they spend all their time trying to convince Satan that "there is no alternative" to the privatization of hell.

Ryan Harris said...

I'm convinced that you could tell a starving population, there is a bountiful cherry tree on top of a hill, you can keep 20% if you'll go and get it, but you'll have to share the other 80 with all the people who can't or won't go. Of those who go to capture the cherries, 80% will refuse to look, get angry and delve into conspiracy theories, simply give up before they get to the tree or get lost or angry about paying 80% to those who can't.

Of the 20% of people who find the tree, 20% will actually build a team, share the 20% booty and work together to get there, get the cherries and plan a strategy to get back safely. Of that group, 20% will even think to plant an orchard with their booty for the future and to make the world better.

The 99.99% of others will be furious and demand an end to eating the unnatural, factory farmed, un-organic fruit from the orchard and demand everyone eat from the free-range tree and make a GND to go get cherries from the tree on the hill and send in roves of angry antifa Dems to burn the orchard.

In theory MMT could make a more fair distribution of cherries but in the hands of progressives, they want to give everyone money while destroying real production at the same time. It's idiotic. No words.

Ralph Musgrave said...

The rise in debt is easily explained by the fall in interest rates: the rate of interest paid by those with mortgages in the UK (and mortgages are the average household's biggest debt) are a third what they were in the mid 1990s. So everyone runs out and tries to buy a bigger or more expensive house. Trouble is that the stock of houses is fixed in the short term and cannot be increased all that much even in the medium term. So the price of houses rockets, and everyone is back where they started...:-)

Calgacus said...

Ryan Harris: In theory MMT could make a more fair distribution of cherries but in the hands of progressives, they want to give everyone money while destroying real production at the same time. It's idiotic. No words.

Except that this has nothing at all to do with the progressives' MMT plans. How one reads Wray, Kelton, Tcherneva, Forstater, Fullwiler etc as saying anything like this is beyond me.

Ryan Harris said...

The problem is that house debt does only a little for economic demand immediately but has a long term drag on consumption.

Calg, I kept thinking that the GND wasn't MMT either, it was AOC/Kelton political preferences and ideology. But Mosler and Kelton said this week that a GND is essentially a pillar of MMT policy. I dislike their mandatory health care, climate policy, forgiveness for student loans, punitive rhetoric towards demonizing the rich, preferential treatment based on sex, genetics and national origin, cutt military spending and other aspects of lefty policy rolled into the sausage.

S400 said...

As usual Ryan creates an argument and ascribe it to others and then feels good about himself when he manage to argue against his own made up argument. This is the usual right wing way of doing things.

Noah Way said...

"The problem is that house debt does only a little for economic demand immediately but has a long term drag on consumption."

Ignorance knows no bounds.

Ryan Harris said...


How does household debt affect consumption?

S400 said...

”punitive rhetoric towards demonizing the rich”

Yeah those rich can’t handle being demonized. Stop that and let’s focus on doing that to the poor which has been done by the rich since day one.

Ryan Harris said...

Working to solve real and financial problems rather than attacking the people. The poor don't need a degree from snake oil universities to solve their plight nor are the rich morally deficient for their situation. Mosler or Warren Buffet used the system and made humanity better. Go ahead, change copyright or interest rates policy to prevent another Mosler or Gates but they aren't demons for being creative and getting rich doing it any more than the person relegated to a menial, pointless, wasteful existence on a JG plantation.

S400 said...

Your not working on solving anything. You whine because some MMTers happen to not be in line with your political bias. Tough luck.

And where are the menial, pointless, wasteful JG your talking about? I’ll tell you where, in your not particularly creative head.

If Mosler or Gates think they should have some more influence on how a country should be run due to their wealth compared to average Joe or Jane then they are not particularly fit for a democracy. Now I know that you Ryan doesn’t really care about things like that, that’s why you are keen on that clown in Venezuela “because he’s got an engineering degree, but others are.
I don’t know about Mosler but Gates is one of those rich people who think they should have some extra influence due to his wealth.

Noah Way said...

Vilification of the poor completely ignories vast wealth disparity and thousands of years of historical evidence that the rich have always “made” their fortunes on crime or the backs of the poor.

Economic servitude is just another form of slavery.

Noah Way said...

The credit card (collateral-less debt) was invented when prosperous society could no longer afford to buy more stuff because they were at the limit of their collateral.

This was used to fuel increased (and unnecessary) consumption, and specifically to create debt slaves who would provide interest payments that are far more profitable than the margin on goods purchased.

Any discussion of household debt and consumption starts here.

Calgacus said...

Ryan Harris: mandatory health care
Don't think it's mandatory - only when you're sick and want it. Socialized medicine delivers superior care at a lower cost. Eliminates a vast number of worthless or destructive bullshit jobs on the neoliberal plantation.
What's not to like?

climate policy
Drowning the world doesn't seem to be a great idea for us land animals. Surely there is a real risk climate scientists are right. Why not spend some chump change on it?

forgiveness for student loans,

punitive rhetoric towards demonizing the rich,
They do a fine job demonizing themselves.

preferential treatment based on sex, genetics and national origin,
I'm agin this, but I don't really see it happening or being proposed.

cut military spending
Why not? Isn't so important any more, but I fail to see the reason why we should rampage around the world randomly murdering people in more countries than anyone can remember for no reason anybody has ever understood - except that the MIC Self-licking Ice Cream Cone needs to lick itself and there needs to be some theatrics killing brown extras to justify its existence. Do you think that the above is inaccurate?

Real world JG programs have always been very popular among the workers, not meaningless work at all. We are pretty much at Peak Bullshit Job right now, under neoliberalism. A JG is necessary for the smooth operation of a monetary economy and for elementary justice; it is the opposite of a plantation. Capitalist economies without job guarantees are a rare aberration in human history.

If people say the GND is integral to MMT, that's silly. But saying the JG is integral is not, and that is what all the MMTers have said for a long time - that it is the only such "integral" thing. See Wray's 'MMT for Austrians' for instance.

I mean the way I say it is that opposition to the JG is simply insane. To oppose it is simply to not understand what one is saying. At best one is relying on others' ignorance to mask one's own psychopathy.

In any case, the MMTers are not talking about handing out free money (exc loan forgiveness) and completely opposed to destroying real production. Nothing you have mentioned supports that wild statement.