Saturday, November 30, 2019

Links — 30 Nov 2019 — Part 2

Moon of Alabama
OPCW Manipulation Of Its Douma Report Requires A Fresh Look At The Skripal 'Novichok' Case

Green Party US

Global Inequality
Political Decay in Our Time. A review of Fukuyama’s vol. 2.
Branko Milanovic | Visiting Presidential Professor at City University of New York Graduate Center and senior scholar at the Stone Center on Socio-economic Inequality, senior scholar at the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS), and formerly lead economist in the World Bank's research department and senior associate at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Stock Daily Dish
Ex-Obama advisor Larry Summers rips 'dangerous' economics backed by Ocasio-Cortez and other Dems

There‘s a way to pay for everyone to have jobs, says ex-Bernie Sanders advisor

The Vineyard of the Saker
The American Posse Waging Economic Warfare On The Globe Thrives By Weaponizing Its Mawkish Culture
The Saker

Links — 30 Nov 2019 — Part 1

FastCompany [Will become?]
Antitrust warrior Matt Stoller warns that if we don’t take on Big Tech, ‘we’ll become a fascist society’
Marcus Baram

Gold Goats 'n Guns [Turning point?]
Macron Tells NATO Russia Must Come in from the Cold War
Tom Luongo

Intel Today ["Poppy" was the only CIA Director to become POTUS, Putin was just a KGB agent]
Remembering CIA Director George H. W. Bush (June 12, 1924 – November 30, 2018)
Ludwig De Braeckeleer

Middle East Eye [Corruption Watch]
Tom Westcott

‘We’re working for the dark side’: Spanish firm accused of spying on Assange by German broadcaster boasted of US intelligence ties

Strategic Culture Foundation
Patrick Armstrong

Sputnik International [More fuel for the fire]
Too Many Secrets? Hunter Biden Reportedly Files Request to Keep His Financial Records Undisclosed

Zero Hedge[What happens when you weaponize your currency for economic warfare]

Paul Craig Roberts [This is only one of many problems with Wikipedia that need to be addressed]
The Problem of Wikipedia

DownWithTyranny [Is Mayor Pete another (3rd Way) Bill Clinton and Barack Obama in thin disguise?]
AOC And Pramila Take On Mayo Pete And Status Quo Joe And Their Slick Conservative Talking Points



China and Russia not Nato’s enemies, Emmanuel Macron says, as he defends ‘brain death’ remarks

Wow, I never thought I would start to like Macron. I hope the CIA and MI6 haven't got other plans - maybe the French protestors will get a new president after all.

French president says alliance created to provide collective security against Soviet Union should shift focus to terrorism

Macron earlier alarmed European allies by declaring he wants improved relations with Vladimir Putin

French President Emmanuel Macron urged Nato leaders to review the alliance’s strategy when they meet in London next week and said it should focus on the threat from terrorism rather than Russia or China.


China and Russia not Nato’s enemies, Emmanuel Macron says, as he defends ‘brain death’ remarks

China’s Industrial Policies Work — Gabriel Wildau

Until recently, mainstream economists and policymakers largely dismissed state-led industrial policy – a form of government intervention in the free market – as wasteful and ineffective. Government bureaucrats, the argument went, lack the ability to effectively pick winners among companies or industry sectors. The task is better left to venture capitalists and stock market investors. Moreover, a politicized process of distributing public money is inherently susceptible to rent-seeking and corruption.
If this view is correct, then the US has little to fear from Chinese industrial policy. Let Beijing waste public resources and distort capital allocation, while Washington sticks to its free-market principles, confident that this approach will produce a more competitive economy in the long run.
Today, however, appraisals of China’s trade and commercial practices implicitly grant that its industrial policies are effective. And many economists now agree that this approach can succeed in promoting national leadership in strategic industries. If so, then it’s unreasonable to demand that China abandon policies to promote indigenous development – especially when the US government is actively blocking key Chinese companies like Huawei Technologies Compamy from accessing American-made technology.
The US is becoming anti-competitive.

Bill Totten's Weblog
China’s Industrial Policies Work — So Copy Them
Gabriel Wildau, Bloomberg (November 17 2019)

Charles Bremmer - Russia is no longer our enemy, Macron tells NATO before Summit

President Macron set the stage for new discord in Nato by declaring that Russia was no longer the enemy of the alliance and calling for closer ties with Moscow.
Less than a week before the difficult Nato summit in Britain, the French president stuck to his widely criticised claim that the alliance was “brain dead” and in need of a strategy to replace US leadership of the continent’s defence.

Nato is an organisation of collective defence. Against what, against who is it defending itself? Who is our common enemy?

The Times

Charles Bremmer - Russia is no longer our enemy, Macron tells

Friday, November 29, 2019

Links — 29 Nov 2019— Part 2

The Battle For Libya’s Oil Is Heating Up
Julianne Geiger

Moon of Alabama
OPCW Manufactured A Pretext For War By Suppressing Its Own Scientists' Research

The Greanville Post
After Failing to Prosecute Bankers, Obama Cashes In With Wall Street Speeches
Patrice de Bergeracpas

China's factory activity unexpectedly returns to growth in November
Yawen Chen, Se Young Lee

Sputnik International
Mercedes-Benz Owner Daimler Says It Will Cut 10,000 Jobs Worldwide

Sputnik International
Moscow Sets Course for AI Tech Development: 'We Can Offer Infrastructure, Equipment, and Materials'

Bill Totten's Weblog
How Does China Evaluate and Choose its Leaders?
Larry Romanoff, retired management consultant and businessman and formerly a visiting professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University, presenting case studies in international affairs to senior EMBA classes
Chile’s insurgency and the end of neoliberalism
Sebastian Edwards | Henry Ford II Professor of International Economics at the University of California, Los Angeles

Links — 29 Nov 2019 — Part 1

Caitlin Johnstone — Rogue Journalist
Understand The OPCW Scandal In Seven Minutes
Caitlin Johnstone

Anti Empire
This Is How Russia Keeps Venezuela Exporting Oil Despite US SanctionsMarko Marjanov

Anti Empire
China Completes an Experimental “Nuclear Fusion” Reactor 13-Times Hotter Than the Sun
Masha Borak

Bolivia: Anatomy of a Coup
Jeff Mackler and Lazaro Monteverde 

Bolivia’s Coup Government On the Hunt for Dissidents

The Torture Called Solitary
Eve Ottenberg

Return of the Mao Suit
Paul Bentley

Sic Semper Tyrannis
Yes, There Were FBI Informants, But They Were Paid by the CIA
Dilyana Gaytandzhieva

Sputnik International

Strategic Culture Foundation
Douma Looks Increasingly Like a Staged Chemical Attack by the West
Martin Jay

Power of Siberia Opens Chinese Gas Market— Alexei Grivach

In a December 2nd conference call, the leaders of Russia and China will officially launch a new era in relations between the two countries. The largest gas exporter and the fastest growing large market in the world will be connected by a pipeline system that will link the gas fields of Eastern Siberia with Shanghai; the pipeline network will extend more than 6,000 km....
Valdai Analytics
Power of Siberia Opens Chinese Gas Market
Alexei Grivach

Two Peas in a Pod

Poverty isn't a lack of character; it's a lack of cash | Rutger Bregman

Could the Basic Income pay for itself? People do more work when they have enough money, children stay on at school longer getting better grades, average IQ increases by 14%. There is less crime, better nutrition, less illness, and less alcohol and drug abuse.

Many of our greatest thinkers and artists lived in poverty, just think how much more they could have accomplished if they had enough money to live on?

The right tend to believe that poor people don't try hard enough, but when people become poor they tend to become pessimistic, don't try as much, and may consume more drugs and alcohol. A downward spiral occurs.

"Ideas can and do change the world," says historian Rutger Bregman, sharing his case for a provocative one: guaranteed basic income. Learn more about the idea's 500-year history and a forgotten modern experiment where it actually worked -- and imagine how much energy and talent we would unleash if we got rid of poverty once and for all.

Rob Evans - Thinktanks: Wealthy US donors gave millions to rightwing UK groups

Revelations raise questions about influence of foreign funding on British politics 

The money has been given to researching alternatives to the NHS for an ageing population and to fund work on inspiring young people to become supporters of free markets, according to the foundation. 

Eleven wealthy American donors who have given a total of more than $3.7m (£2.86m) to rightwing UK groups in the past five years have been identified, raising questions about the influence of foreign funding on British politics.
The donations have been given to four British thinktanks that have been vocal in the debate about Brexit and the shape of the UK’s future trade with the EU, and an organisation that claims to be an independent grassroots campaign representing ordinary British taxpayers.

The Guardian 

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Practitioner's Guide to MMT: Parts 1 & 2 — Kevin Muir

After thinking about the problems that the majority seem to have accepting MMT, I have concluded it best to divide MMT up into two components. One is the descriptive theory on how things are. This part deals with debt flows, banking reserves, etc… It describes the way a modern economy works. The next part is the prescriptive part of MMT. After understanding how an economy operates, many MMT advocates have policy recommendations. The important thing to understand about these choices is that they are political decisions based on economic theory. One might disagree with these courses of action, but it doesn’t change the first part - the descriptive part of MMT.
I am dividing my article into two posts. Today’s installment will focus on how to use MMT in today’s world. It will examine if the descriptive part can help us with trades in the current environment. Tomorrow’s post will delve into the ramifications for the markets if the prescriptive portion of MMT is adopted.…
I don't think it is quite correct to bifurcate MMT into descriptive and prescriptive.

MMT has three major focuses — institutional, macroeconomics, and government policy.

The first is institutional and this is largely descriptive of institutional arrangements — laws, regulations, customary practices, etc. — where economics and finance meet, that is, broadly speaking, money and banking. Economics combines tradable commodities with prices measured in a unit of account, while finance deals with the financial instruments that underlie markets. These are not separate subjects from the standpoint of MMT but rather branches of the same subject that must take each other into account.

Markets are common to both and markets are dependent on institutions in a modern economic and financial system as a subsystem the social system that structures a society. Government as the currency issuer plays a dominant role in this. Commercial banks also create "money" through credit extension. Thus MMT institutional analysis is concerned in particular with government finance and commercial money and banking.

The second is theoretical and this is chiefly macroeconomic. The macroeconomic theory builds on the institutional analysis that underlies it and which most economists either ignore or misunderstand. MMT macro theory shows how the macroeconomic ideal of reconciling the trifecta of 1) full employment, economic growth and 3) price stability is possible to achieve.

The third aspect is policy formulation based on the institutional analysis and macro theory. MMT institutional analysis and macro theory reveal a policy space within which various options are possible. Choice among these alternatives is a political matter.

MMT doesn't prescribe a particular policy position among these various alternatives, but various MMT economists have advocated for positions that they favor. That is to say, they agree on the institutional and macro analysis and the policy space these describe, but different economists may advocate policy recommendations that are not identical, while agreeing on what they consider MMT essentials.

The second part also gets some things wrong. But overall, it's a good attempt to educate and it is is MMT-friendly.

Macro Tourist
Practitioner's Guide to MMT: Part One

Practitioner's Guide to MMT: Part Two
Kevin Muir

Picked up by BoingBoing

A layperson-friendly introduction to MMT, a heterodox school of economics that could finance a Green New Deal

Links — 28 Nov 2019

Anti Media
Chinese Middle Class Could Reach 550 Million in Three Years — Every American Corporation Wants in on This Boom
Evelyn Cheng

The Vineyard of the Saker
Hong Kong ensnared in the West’s color revolution hot box – the latest news and analysis
Jeff J. Brown

Zero Hedge
Iran, China, & Russia Gear Up For Unprecedented War Games In "Message To The World"
Tyler Durden

In possible climate breakthrough, Israel scientists engineer bacteria to eat CO₂

Decade-long research at Weizmann Institute could pave way for low-emissions production of carbon for use in biofuels, food, and help remove excess global warming CO₂ from air

In a remarkable breakthrough that could pave the way toward carbon-neutral fuels, researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science have produced a genetically engineered bacteria that can live on carbon dioxide rather than sugar.
Times of Israel 

Nathan Lynch - Swerving SWIFT: the story behind Westpac’s money-laundering calamity

Australian, but believed to be a transnational problem.

Bankrolling pedophiles, facilitating massive money-laundering schemes and terrorist-financing have branded Westpac, deservingly, an instant pariah of the banking world. As regulatory intelligence expert Nathan Lynch reveals here however, Westpac is unlikely to be alone. The story behind the story is industrial scale tax avoidance, the concealing of enormous cross-border payments.

Armstrong said the AUSTRAC case was going to be a landmark prosecution.

“The $2 trillion that is laundered through the financial system every year is a major public policy issue, some of which ends up flowing into socially destructive activities like financing terrorism,” he said.

“Based on where we currently sit, we believe that bank internal systems and processes need to change. Most banks are reticent because they fear this is a complex and costly problem to solve. That isn’t necessarily the case. Technology is rapidly emerging to address many of these problems swiftly and easily.”


Nathan Lynch - Swerving SWIFT: the story behind Westpac’s money-laundering calamity

Gideon Levy - The Contract on Corbyn

Corbyn is not an anti-Semite. His real sin is to fight against injustice in the world, including the version Israel perpetrates

Corbyn is not an anti-Semite. He never was. His real sin is his staunch position against injustice in the world, including the version Israel perpetrates. Today this is anti-Semitism. The Hungarian Viktor Orban, the Austrian Freedom Party and the extreme right in Europe are not the danger to Jews. Corbyn is the enemy. The new and efficient strategy of Israel and the Zionist establishment brands every seeker of justice as an anti-Semite, and any criticism of Israel as hatred of Jews. The Jews and Israel’s true friends should hope that Corbyn is elected. He is a statesman who can change international discourse about the occupation and the struggle against it. He is a ray of hope for a different world and a different Israel – and what more could we want.Corbyn is a victim of this strategy, which threatens to paralyze and silence Europe with regard to Israel.

The Jews and Israel’s true friends should hope that Corbyn is elected. He is a statesman who can change international discourse about the occupation and the struggle against it. He is a ray of hope for a different world and a different Israel – and what more could we want.


Moon of Alabama - New Study: "Russian Trolls" Did Not "Sow Discord" - They Influenced No One

The was no Russian government campaign to influence the 2016 election. There was only a Russian commercial media enterprise that used sock-puppet accounts with quirky content to attract viewers and sold advertisement space to U.S. companies.

The IRA also bought advertisement to attract more people to its accounts. But the amount it spent was tiny. The final price tag for the 2016 election was $6.5 billion for the presidential and congressional elections combined. The IRA spend a total of $100,000 to promote its own accounts. But only some $45,000 of that was spend before the election. It was 0.000007 cent for every election dollar that was spend during that time. It is statistically impossible that the mostly apolitical IRA spending had any effect on the election.

That the IRA ran a marketing machine and not a political operation was also obvious when one analyzed the content that those sock puppet accounts posted. Most of it was apolitical. Where it was political it covered both sides. Some IRA accounts posted pro-Trump content, others posted anti-Trump stuff. Some were pro-Clinton others against her. 

U.S. intelligence services tried to explain that away by claiming that the Russians wanted to "sow discord". There is zero evidence that this was really the case. It is simply an explanation that was made up because they failed to find a better one.

Moon of Alabama - New Study: "Russian Trolls" Did Not "Sow Discord" - They Influenced No One

Simon Jack - UK 'has particularly extreme form of capitalism'

The UK has one of the most extreme forms of capitalism in the world and we urgently need to rethink the role of business in society. That's according to Prof Colin Mayer, author of a new report on the future of the corporation for the British Academy.
Prof Mayer says that global crises such as the environment and growing inequality are forcing a reassessment of what business is for.
"The corporation has failed to deliver benefit beyond shareholders, to its stakeholders and its wider community," he said.
"At the moment, how we conceptualise business is, it's there to make money. But instead, we should think about it as an incredibly powerful tool for solving our problems in the world."
He said the ownership structure of companies had made the UK one of the worst examples of responsible capitalism.
"The UK has a particularly extreme form of capitalism and ownership," he said.
"Most ownership in the UK is in the hands of a large number of institutional investors, none of which have a significant controlling shareholding in our largest companies. That is quite unlike virtually any other country in the world, including the United States."
This heavily dispersed form of ownership means none of the owners is providing a genuinely long-term perspective on how to achieve goals while also making money.


Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Global Giants: American Empire and Transnational Capital — Maximilian C. Forte

Review of Giants: The Global Power Elite by Peter Phillips (Introduction by William I. Robinson). New York: Seven Stories Press, 2018. LCCN 2018017493; ISBN 9781609808716 (pbk.); ISBN 9781609808723 (ebook); 353 pps.
Giants: The Global Power Elite, by Peter M. Phillips, Professor of Political Sociology at Sonoma State University, opens with a stated intention of following in the tradition C. Wright Mills’ The Power Elite. This book is clearly meant to be a contemporary update and expansion of Mills’ work, such that the “power elite” now becomes the global power elite (GPE) in Phillips’ volume—and central to the idea of a global power elite is the transnational capitalist class that was at the core of the theorization of Leslie Sklair. One of the most important features of this book, in my view, is that it overcomes the unproductive dichotomy that continues to silently inform many academic and political debates on this question: is the contemporary world order one dominated by US imperialism or transnational capital? Phillips’ answer is productive (even if I do not entirely agree): transnational capital has acquired US power and uses the power of the US state to further its aims, protect its interests, and enforce its agenda. Where I differ, the difference is a relatively slight matter of emphasis: Phillips’ model is largely correct, but it is also important to remember that the wealthiest, most numerous, and most powerful membership of the “transnational” capitalist class is in fact American.
This is the basis of neoliberalism, as neo-imperialism and neo-colonialism regarding the periphery and neo-feudalism in relation to the core, as a socio-political theory that is grounded in the dominance of economic liberalism understood as contemporary capitalism over social liberalism (equality before the law) and political liberalism (democracy as governance of, by and for the people.
The centrepiece of this work is its detailed exposition of the 389 individuals who constitute the core of “the policy planning nongovernmental networks that manage, facilitate, and protect the continued concentration of global capital” (p. 10).
Putting names and faces on the abstractions.

Zero Anthropology
Global Giants: American Empire and Transnational Capital
Maximilian C. Forte

Links 27 Nov 2019

Moon of Alabama
New Study: "Russian Trolls" Did Not "Sow Discord" - They Influenced No One

Naked Keynesianism — Hemlock for economics students
Venezuela and the embargo
Matias Vernengo | Associate Professor of Economics, Bucknell University

The Vineyard of the Saker
The road toward Greater Eurasia

Leaked Docs Obtained by Labour Show UK Has Been in Talks With US on NHS Sale for 2 Years

Mint Press News
The New York Times’ Long History of Endorsing US-Backed Coups
Alan Macleod

Bolivian Coup Government Names Evo Morales “Terrorist” Amid Heavy Repression Of His Supporters

Defend Democracy Press
Capitalist (human) Irrationalism: Instead of saving the Earth, they dream of leaving it!
Kiran Stacey

Chile Despertó! Chile Has Woken Up! The Rising Fight Against Neo-Liberalism in Chile

Sonia Sirletti, Sergio Di Pasquale - Ex-Deutsche Bank, Nomura Officials Get Jail Time in Monte dei Paschi Collusion Case

Italy took a hard line against bankers involved in helping Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA falsify its accounts, sentencing 13 executives and managers to jail terms and fining the banks that worked with the Italian lender.

Monte Paschi ex-Chairman Giuseppe Mussari was sentenced to 7.6 years in prison. Deutsche Bank officials Michele Faissola and Michele Foresti and Nomura’s Sadeq Sayeed, Raffaele Ricci also received jail terms. Deutsche Bank and Nomura face fines and seizures totaling about 160 million euros ($176 million) for their roles.


Sonia Sirletti, Sergio Di Pasquale - Ex-Deutsche Bank, Nomura Officials Get Jail Time in Monte dei Paschi Collusion Case

Holmes Chan - Organisation of Islamic Cooperation ‘commends’ China for its treatment of Muslims

The Council “welcomes the outcomes of the visit conducted by the General Secretariat’s delegation upon invitation from the People’s Republic of China; commends the efforts of the People’s Republic of China in providing care to its Muslim citizens; and looks forward to further cooperation between the OIC and the People’s Republic of China,” the resolution read.

The OIC has 57 member states, and aims to provide “the collective voice of the Muslim world.” Its Council of Foreign Ministers meet yearly and oversee the implementation of OIC’s general policies, with its Abu Dhabi meeting being its 46th session.

Hong Kong FP

US primes NATO to confront Russia, China — M. K. Bhadrakumar

More importantly, the trend at the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting at Brussels on November 19-20, in the run-up to the London summit, showed that despite growing differences within the alliance, member states closed ranks around three priority items in the US global agenda — escalation of the aggressive policy toward Russia, militarisation of space and countering China’s rise....
The only sure way to ensure permanent US hegemony is to break Russia and China into smaller countries that can be controlled and to prevent alliances of smaller countries that could challenge US hegemony by competing militarily or economically. US policy elites have known this for at least a century and the British policy elites knew this at least a century before that. Prepare for another Cold War and hope it never goes hot.
With NATO set up by Washington for a confrontationist posture, Russia and China won’t let their guard down. Addressing a meeting of the Russian Federation Security Council on November 22, Putin said, “There are many uncertainty factors… competition and rivalry are growing stringer and morphing into new forms… The leading countries are actively developing their offensive weapons… the so-called ‘nuclear club’ is receiving new members. We are also seriously concerned about the NATO infrastructure approaching our borders, as well as the attempts to militarise outer space.”

Putin stressed, “In these conditions, it is important to make adequate and accurate forecasts, analyse the possible changes in the global situation, and to use the forecasts and conclusions to develop our military potential.”...
India Punchline
US primes NATO to confront Russia, China
M. K. Bhadrakumar | retired diplomat with the Indian Foreign Service

See also

The majority of Americans support liberal interventionism/neoconservatism in this survey.
Similarly, when asked about the efficacy of maintaining U.S. military bases overseas compared to reducing our foreign presence, Americans opt for maintaining bases by a 65% to 28% margin. Opinions on base-maintenance varies by gender (men +44 maintain versus reduce, women +30), age (under 30 years of age +18, over 65 +44), education (non-college +28, college +43), and region (East +50, MidWest +35, South +32). Perhaps surprisingly, veteran status has almost no effect on attitudes towards maintaining foreign bases. Race and ethnic differences also fail to predict these opinions.  
This general support for engagement includes a willingness to use U.S. military forces, even when there is no direct threat to the U.S. By a 55-point margin—76% support, 22% do not support—Americans support using U.S. military forces to prevent human rights violations in other countries. By the same 55-point margin—again, 76% support, 22% do not support—they favor using U.S. military forces to defend freedom in other countries. 
If the U.S. is directly threatened, the percent supporting a possible military response goes even higher: by a 75-point margin—87% support, 11% do not support—Americans support using U.S. military forces to eliminate potential threats to the U.S. before they strike. When it comes to these particular engagement questions, there are few significant sub-group differences. For example, 74% of men support using the U.S. military to prevent human rights violations; 78% of women feel likewise. Seventy-five percent of non-college people support, 77% of college grads support. Eighty percent of people in the East support, compared to 75% of people in the West. There is a partisan difference, as 84% of Democrats support whereas only 68% of Republicans support. There is also a slight age difference: among those under 30, 77% support; among those over 65, 65% support. But these differences should not obscure the dominance of pro-engagement attitudes....
Beacon Research
Results from the 2019 Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute National Defense Survey

Don’t Buy the “Marketplace of Ideas” — Terry Hathaway

Economic imagery pervades societal discourse. Part of this imagery projects markets as existing everywhere; the common societal parlance sees talk of the car market, the grocery market, the computer market, or, simply, the market. Yet, excepting traditional marketplaces or medinas, these markets have no physical manifestation. Unlike with other major social institutions there is no where to visit; there is no headquarters.
Instead, markets are said to exist when there are competitors in the provision of services or goods and where each competitor has a fair and equal chance of succeeding. The market, then, exists in a metaphorical, rather than physical, sense – it implies that the capitalist system operates diffusely like a marketplace, rather than there being an actual marketplace in which economic transactions take place.
The further extension of economic imagery has seen the market metaphor applied to the provision of political and economic ideas, with the notion being that there exists a level-playing field on which ideas are free to compete and that this competition will weed out weaker ideas. Hence, “no platforming” of racist or homophobic speakers should be staunchly opposed as it will impede the competitive destruction of abhorrent ideas. An important ancillary notion is that any idea that has come to be orthodox received wisdom has justly achieved this status through free and fair competition in the marketplace of ideas.
The problems with this account of the ideational development of society are legion, but I’ll limit myself to explaining just three, namely 1) product heterogeneity, 2) distribution of ideas, and 3) production of ideas....
Developing Ideas
Don’t Buy the “Marketplace of Ideas”
Terry Hathaway | Lecturer at the Norwegian Study Centre at the University of York.

Introduction to Recessions: Volume I — Brian Romanchuk

This article is an edited draft of the introductory section of my book. I filled it in last, on the theory that I should only state what is in the text after the rest of it is finished. I am giving the manuscript a short look-over before passing along to editing. Realistically, the earliest publication date will be in early January. The text is longer than my previous works, at around 60,000 words. Has quite a few figures depicting historical data and simulation results (haven't counted, but I think more than previous books). Going forward, my articles will return to being more eclectic, as I will resuming looking at a variety of topics....
Bond Economics
Introduction to Recessions: Volume I
Brian Romanchuk

Trump says the U.S. will designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist groups

Teeing up some new ass to kick closer to home...  maybe Brazil can go north and we can go south... meet in the middle somewhere...

Greece up 42%

Greece up big this year... continued benefit from the fiscal transfers thru the ESCB...

DB liquidating

With ECB asset purchases resuming, DB now having to liquidate risk assets to increase non-risk to maintain regulatory compliance... not good...

AUD pumping coming up

Australia not wanting to be left out of the "pumping!" party... Not good:

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Bill Mitchell — The historical beginning of the MMT team – from the archive

It is Wednesday, so only some snippets, although as it turns out the blog post is quite long. I am also travelling a lot today. I have recently come across the complete archive of the PKT Discussion List, which was an E-mail listserv in the early 1990s that brought Warren Mosler, Randy Wray and myself together. In this blog post, I provide some of the interchanges that formed the basis of our subsequent partnership in developing MMT to where it is today. The discussion below is incomplete because I have not yet pieced all the archive together in a coherent way (it is quite fragmented in the form I currently have it in). But I think it might be interesting for you to see what was being said back in the 1990s. There will be more on this another day….
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
The historical beginning of the MMT team – from the archive
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Links — 26 Nov 2019

The Vineyard of the Saker
Iran’s ‘only crime is we decided not to fold’

The road toward Greater Eurasia
Pepe Escobar

Zero Hedge
China Slams Ted Cruz's "Bare Provocation" In Taiwan Act, Threatens Disastrous War
Tyler Durden

Moon of Alabama
The House Will Not Vote On Impeachment. It Will Censure Trump.

Activist Post
Independent Study Confirms: Americans Are Paying For The Trade War, NOT The Chinese
Mac Slavo

Who Rules the World? A Portrait of the Global Leadership Class — John Gerring, Erzen Oncel, Kevin Morrison, and Daniel Pemstein

Empirical study of global elites.

Download PDF at link.

Notice that the title assumes a social structure based on class and class differences. This is SOP in sociology; yet, the significance of class is denied in conventional economics, if not also the existence of class structure and even society as a meaningful concept.

Cambridge University
Who Rules the World? A Portrait of the Global Leadership Class
John Gerring, Erzen Oncel, Kevin Morrison, and Daniel Pemstein

The Case of Sergei Magnitsky: Questions Cloud Story Behind U.S. Sanctions Benjamin Bidder

Article linked to in German yesterday. Here is the English translation.

Spiegel Online English
The Case of Sergei Magnitsky: Questions Cloud Story Behind U.S. Sanctions
Benjamin Bidder

A few Comments on October New Home Sales — Bill McBride

Another way to look at this is a ratio of existing to new home sales.
This ratio was fairly stable from 1994 through 2006, and then the flood of distressed sales kept the number of existing home sales elevated and depressed new home sales. (Note: This ratio was fairly stable back to the early '70s, but I only have annual data for the earlier years).
In general the ratio has been trending down since the housing bust - and is getting close to the historical ratio - and I expect this ratio will trend down a little more.

Approaching normal after the crisis of a decade ago.

Calculated Risk
A few Comments on October New Home Sales
Bill McBride

Can Hong Kong Avoid Tragedy? Andrew Sheng and Xiao Geng

To protect their own futures, the people of Hong Kong must reflect carefully on the need to end violent protests and work together to address genuine grievances. The alternative is not some fantasy of an independent and thriving Hong Kong. It is a devastated economy, a divided society, and a lost generation.
Project Syndicate
Can Hong Kong Avoid Tragedy?
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, and former chairman of the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission; and Xiao Geng, President of the Hong Kong Institution for International Finance, and professor and Director of the Research Institute of Maritime Silk-Road at Peking University HSBC Business School

Bill Mitchell — Data suggests a unilateral Greek exit would have been much better than their colonial future under the Troika

Yesterday (November 26, 2019), the news came out from the Hellenic Minister of Finance that Greece had completed its latest repayment of 2.7 billion euros to the IMF early (Source). They owed around 9 billion euros to the IMF. Greece had to go ‘cap-in-hand’ to its “European creditors” to gain permission to make the payment early, which they claim saves them crippling interest rate payments. The loans were locked in at 4.9 per cent per annum – usury rates by any definition. Celebration seems to be the message from the neoliberals. But, from my reckoning, the disaster for Greece continues. On September 30, 2019, the IMF European Director Poul Thomsem gave an extraordinary (for its shameless arrogance) speech on Greece at the London School of Economics. Entitled – The IMF and the Greek Crisis: Myths and Realities– Thomson admitted that the IMF had revised its date at which they think Greece will finally get back (in GDP per capita terms) to the pre-crisis level. When they devised these usury loan packages, they claimed that “it would take Greece 8 years to return to pre-crisis level”. Now, they have revised that projection to 2034 – yes, you read that correctly – a generation of waste and foregone opportunities. When you look at their own scenarios for a unilateral exit in 2012, it becomes obvious (and I have said this all along) that exit could not have been worse than what the Greek people are enduring and will endure for an entire generation.
By way of background, recall that Thomsen was the IMF’s architect of Greece’s original bailout....
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Data suggests a unilateral Greek exit would have been much better than their colonial future under the Troika
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Umar Hague - (How) Our Economy Made it Impossible For the Average Person to Live a Decent Life

The Game Really is Rigged — in a Casino Economy, Only the House Wins

I try to put out what I think are really good articles, but every now and again one really sticks out, this is one of them.

There’s a strange and terrible thing that’s happened to our societies. You already know it, because you might well be living it. And yet it goes largely unremarked upon. It’s become more or less impossible to live a decent life by doing an honest day’s or even career’s work anymore — let alone a good one. You can’t live a decent life anymore just by being an average, regular, normal person, with an average, regular, normal career, job, income, at all — not even close — the way that past generations could.

Umar Hague - (How) Our Economy Made it Impossible For the Average Person to Live a Decent Life

Labour Against the Finance Lobby, By Keval Bharadia

Former Head of Derivatives Product Development at the London Stock Exchange backs Labour to stand up to the UK finance lobby (unlike all previous governments since Thatcher). Josh-Ryan Collins

The finance lobby, arguably the UK’s most aggressive, has turned London into the world’s leading centre for international banking and finance by rigging politics to ensure it pockets the fortunes. I should know, I was former Head of Derivatives Product Development at the London Stock Exchange.

Elsewhere in London and around the UK, we see the impact of austerity since the 2008 financial crash. Homelessness, 14 million living in poverty, 1.5 million destitute, food banks and 120,000 dead and counting from austerity policies. The UN reprimanded the Tories for austerity, saying it has inflicted great misery and is driven by a political desire for social re-engineering not economic necessity in the fifth richest country in the world. Academics have called austerity a deadly class war.

The Pinstripe Mafia, more apt than ever given the number of banking scandals and market manipulation crimes outstanding, are responsible for 50% of the Tory Party’s budget. The finance lobby has donated more than £50 million since 2010 to the Tories, and just five wealthy hedge fund backers have collectively given more than £18 million


Michael Hudson: Resisting Empire

Reknowned economist Dr. Michael Hudson spoke at the 14th Forum of the World Association for Political Economy, held in Winnipeg in July 19-21, 2019. The conference was entitled Class, State and Nation in the 21st Century.

The BBC - Cryptoqueen: How this woman scammed the world, then vanished

Ruja Ignatova called herself the Cryptoqueen. She told people she had invented a cryptocurrency to rival Bitcoin, and persuaded them to invest billions. Then, two years ago, she disappeared. Jamie Bartlett spent months investigating how she did it for the Missing Cryptoqueen podcast , and trying to figure out where she's hiding.

I can't believe the shear audacity of this sting operation.


The BBC - Cryptoqueen: How this woman scammed the world, then vanished

Monday, November 25, 2019

Links — 25 Nov 2019

Caitlin Johnstone — Rogue Journalist
Surprise! MSM Spins OPCW Leak As Russian Disinfo
Caitlin Johnstone

Sanctimonious US Senators Condemn Hong Kong Police Ignoring Far More Brutal US Cops
David Lindorf

Craig Murray Blog
Interfering with Laura Kuenssberg
Craig Murray, formerly British ambassador to Uzbekistan and Rector of the University of Dundee

‘HK part of China & no one can mess it up’, Chinese FM says amid opposition gains at community-level election

US to launch new media network to provide Chinese diaspora with ‘alternative’ news – report

Watchdog Media [Doesn't even mention the Nazies]

Fort Russ News
Unfair competition: US resorts to dirty tricks because of its fear of Russian weapons
Paul Antonopoulos

Sic Semper Tyrannis
Who "debunked" the Biden conspiracy theories?

Punch foresaw The Borg
Thom Hartmann

Zero Hedge
Chris Matthews Asks Gabbard: Why Are So Many Democrats War Hawks?
Tyler Durden

Zero Hedge
Are Democrats Now The Party Of War?
Andrew Moran, LibertyNation

Zero Hedge
State Department Releases Detailed Accounts Of Biden-Ukraine Corruption
Tyler Durden

RT — Anti-Russian sanctions based on fraudster’s tales? Spiegel finds Magnitsky narrative fed to West by Browder is riddled with lies

British*investor Bill Browder has made a name for himself in the West through blaming Moscow for the death of his auditor, Sergey Magnitsky. Der Spiegel has picked apart his story and uncovers it has major credibility problems.
* Bill Browder is an American-born ex-pat living in London. He gave up his American citizenship for British.

Anti-Russian sanctions based on fraudster’s tales? Spiegel finds Magnitsky narrative fed to West by Browder is riddled with lies

Spiegel Online
Wie wahr ist die Geschichte, auf der die US-Sanktionen gegen Russland beruhen?
Benjamin Bidder

Brazil Aims For $18 Billion From Its Sale Of Key Refinery Assets — Tsvetana Paraskova

In late April, Petrobras approved the sale of eight refineries as part of its divestment plan. In May, the energy firm struck a deal with the Brazilian antitrust regulator that will allow it to sell those downstream assets in a bid, the company said, to encourage greater competition in the industry....
Brazil Aims For $18 Billion From Its Sale Of Key Refinery Assets
Tsvetana Paraskova

A New Pipeline Could Undo America’s Influence In Asia — Simon Watkins

From the moment that the U.S. re-imposed sanctions in earnest on Iran late last year, Pakistan has been looking at ways to resuscitate a deal that had been agreed in principle before the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) last May. This deal involved moving as much gas as Pakistan needs from Iran’s Asalouyeh into Pakistan’s Gwadar and then on to Nawabshah for further transit if required. At the same time, China has been in long-running discussions with Pakistan over the specific projects that Beijing wanted to place in Pakistan as part of its ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR) programme. All the while, the U.S. has been trying to stymie any such arrangement but understands that the Iran-China-Pakistan deal is now back on, and with a vengeance.
China’s covert strategic deals are virtually always buried in interminably long anodyne statements that belie the true laser-focused intentions of Beijing and this time is no different....
A New Pipeline Could Undo America’s Influence In Asia
Simon Watkins

Venezuela Unveils First Gold Processing Complex in Mining Arc — Paul Dobson

The Venezuelan government has launched its first gold processing complex as part of efforts to overcome US-led sanctions.
According to government sources, the Manuel Carlos Piar Complex in Matanzas, Bolivar State will initially process twenty kilograms of gold per month. When completed, it will reportedly have a capacity of 200 kilograms a month, which would make the complex the fifth largest in Latin America. The installation employs 150 workers and is made up of nine heap leaching plants which transform gold ore into commercially marketable gold bars.
Venezuela has 32 certified gold fields and the world’s second largest gold reserves, but currently depends heavily on costly foreign assistance to process the material. The gold industry was nationalised by former-president Hugo Chavez in 2011....
Venezuela Unveils First Gold Processing Complex in Mining Arc
Paul Dobson

Who Pays the Tax on Imports from China? — Matthew Higgins, Thomas Klitgaard, and Michael Nattinger, FRBNY

Tariffs are a form of taxation. Indeed, before the 1920s, tariffs (or customs duties) were typically the largest source of funding for the U.S. government. Of little interest for decades, tariffs are again becoming relevant, given the substantial increase in the rates charged on imports from China. U.S. businesses and consumers are shielded from the higher tariffs to the extent that Chinese firms lower the dollar prices they charge. U.S. import price data, however, indicate that prices on goods from China have so far not fallen. As a result, U.S. wholesalers, retailers, manufacturers, and consumers are left paying the tax.
Liberty Street Economics — FRBNY
Who Pays the Tax on Imports from China?
Matthew Higgins, Thomas Klitgaard, and Michael Nattinger, FRBNY

Steve Keen - Renegade Inc: Lies, Damn Lies and Climate Statistics

Steve Keen says do away with economists and a modern ecomomy will run perfectly well without them, but you couldn't do away with engineers or scientists. Spot on!

It will come as no surprise that a recent poll indicated that economists are amongst the least trusted professionals. They've made blundering mistakes on everything from claiming financial crises can happen to not facing the most obvious recessions. But all that pales into insignificance when inept economists get involved in modelling climate science. A recession we can recover from, but the breakdown of our planet, we cannot. Host Ross Ashcroft travels to Kakanomics - the leading economics festival in Norway – to talk with the renegade economist Professor Steve Keen to understand the scale of the damage that blinkered ideology has done to the future of our planet.

Bill Mitchell – [Annotated] Interview with Asahi Shimbun in Tokyo – November 6, 2019

During my recent trip to Japan, where I made several presentations to various groups, including a large gathering in the Japanese Diet (Parliament), I received a lot of press interest, which is a good sign. I am slowly putting together the translated versions of some of the print media articles. Today, I provide a translation (with my annotations) of an interview I did with the centre-left newspaper – Asahi Shimbun – on November 6, 2019 in Tokyo. This is a daily newspaper and is one of the largest of five national newspapers in Japan. It has an interesting historical past but that is not the topic of the blog post today. The article opened with a statement introducing Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) and then followed a Q&A format. I have expanded the answers reported in the paper to reflect the actual answers I gave to the two journalists during the interview and to a wider press gathering at an official press conference the day before in Tokyo.
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
Interview with Asahi Shimbun in Tokyo – November 6, 2019
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Links — 24 Nov 2019

Fort Russ News
Russian intelligence: Events in Bolivia is an attempt to destabilize Latin America
Paul Antonopoulos

India Punchline
Bereft of soft power, India stands diminished in Hindu Kush and Central Asia
M. K. Bhadrakumar | retired diplomat with the Indian Foreign Service

Intel Today
Douma Attack — Internal OPCW E-Mail Reveals Crucial Omissions
Ludwig De Braeckeleer

‘Window is closing’: US Senate makes last-ditch effort to ax Nord Stream 2 pipeline

Sputnik International
Evolution of Value Conscious Consumerism Makes India a Great Market for International Brands

Paul Mason on Tory Lies, The Media Machine and What We Can Do About It

Another good one from Paul Mason.

Caught in the act! How ‘hot mic’ exposed would-be MP’s fake news ruse

This is simply hilarious!

A trip to Ashfield in Nottinghamshire to meet controversial Conservative candidate Lee Anderson takes a bizarre turn when Michael Crick exposes a fake-news ruse – thanks to a switched-on microphone.

Daily Mail

Caught in the act! How ‘hot mic’ exposed would-be MP’s fake news ruse

Nationalisation of public services could save £13billion every year

Research based on studies by Greenwich University has revealed public ownership of services such as broadband, buses, energy and NHS could save billions for the tax payer

New polls suggest the Tories have a 19% lead. Labour is offering a really good deal, but many voters reject it, why? For one thing, it is the anti-Labour bias in most of the media, and also people have been told we can't afford it, although Labour's spending plans are only midway compared to the rest of Western Europe.

People naturally hate debt, so they think the government should scimp and save too. But almost every business that has become successful started out on loans, and no one would own a home without one either.

It would be easy to educate people about government investment if we had a media that wasn't almost entirely owned by oligarchs, most of whom aren't even British, or live in the UK.

Public ownership of rail, water, energy, buses, Royal Mail, broadband and the NHS would save the UK nearly £13billion every year, a study has found.

Daily Mirror 

Nationalisation of public services could save £13billion every year